Monday, January 30, 2017

"All the Pretty Things,"






Ever since the package with the book arrived in the mail, I've yearned to lose myself in the writing.  Coming from my friend, Linda, I simply knew I'd love the book.

So with an ache in my back, and my bed calling me early one evening a couple weeks ago,  I found myself immersed in reading from the first sentence.  I read late into the night, not wanting to read too much, yet doggedly turning page after page, longing to know the whole story all at once. 

But that ache in my back?  Somehow turned into a searing, teeth-clenching, pain.  It gripped the muscles in my lower back, with spasms of mind-numbing sensations.  

After attempts with Advil, and Tylenol, the heating pad, and then ice, plus massage from Superman failed to assuage the assault on my back I finally turned to Oxy.  With my mind numbed, my speech slow and plodding, and the pain masked by it all- days turned into nights then faded back to days- and I was lost in the haze of it all.  The book sat, beckoning me to shake my head free from the fog.  But every time I came up for air, I was mired down again with spasms rippling through my back.

I knew I would see Dr. Panwalkar soon, I just needed to get by a few more days.  Rick tried to get me to go to the ER, but I stubbornly clung to the idea I'd persevere.  My scans were clear, in my back area.  This was not cancer.

It was my week free from chemo.  It was sunny outside, and the temps rose into the 30's, making it warm for January in Minnesota.  How could I not get better?  

Somehow, I cobbled together a way of managing.  I sometimes could string together hours at a time, in which I functioned at near normal levels.  I'd dive back into the book, madly in search of the pen to highlight the phrases and paragraphs that resonated so deeply with me.  How could she know my pain?  How could she breathe such life into the brokenness I endured?  Edie's story is not mine, and yet her ability to make me feel as though I had walked in her very shoes, and her in mine, was uncanny.  

I look down at my hands, grasping the pen I used to highlight, wondering away.



At the same time, I've been knocked down, Nolan is struck down with illness too.  He fought basic cold symptoms all one week.  We use our Thieves and Lemon oils which keep him going, and some Emergen- C each day.  But its a Thursday night after hockey practice when he comes into my room,  feverish and chilled at the same time, with a bad headache.  Rick drops everything to take him into the doctorr.  Nolan's lymph nodes are swollen all around his neck, and they need to rule out Mono, and then they swab for Influenza and take blood work.  He arrives home with a positive test for Influenza and a box of Tamiflu.  He sleeps long hours, his body going from fever, back to aches and pains, then chilled and congested and miserable again.  

  

While I'm quarantined away from him, battling my own pain,  I finish Edie's book.  As I get up to put the book away, the pink pen flies out of the pages into my lap,  as my heart warms with the love that surrounds it.  

I'll never forget his sheepish smile, and the playful way his eyes beamed, even though he looked away as he handed me this pen, just days ago...

"Mom..."  Nolan says, his cheeks curl into dimples and the smile originates from somewhere deep within him.  "This was supposed to be for you at Christmas.  I made it in wood shop.  We learned how to use the lathe, but I kept getting the bottom piece too thin and it broke on me.  I had to get a new one and start over with the teacher's help." 

  I'm melting on the spot as I feel the weight of it in my hands.  It's then that it I turn it over and see the pink breast cancer ribbon.  It seals it.   It really was for me.  





I reach up to give him a hug and whisper an "I love you, " to him.  He hugs me back, all the way around, and whispers to me, I love you too, Mom."  









Days later I see Dr. Panwalkar.  We talk about the pain in my back and he examines me.  He thinks for a long time, and then says I should try a muscle relaxer for awhile.  He warns me it'll make me sleepy and more foggy in the head perhaps, but should help release those muscle spasms.  He also says he wants to see me again in a few weeks, and we'll also talk about scans soon.  The last little tidbit is that while my blood work shows low counts- he is still going ahead with treatment- because the good news is, my tumor markers have dropped down to just above normal.  

~all shall be well~



Thank you to all who have reached out to me!  It humbles me so to know you come in search of me when I'm quiet for too long.  Your prayers, cards, emails and texts, do much to lift my spirits.  So grateful! Love to you all~ 
















22 comments:

  1. I was just thinking this morning that it had been a while since you posted. Thankful as always for this update,knowing the exertion it required. Love you. Continuing to carry you in my heart throughout the days. Hope Nolan is getting well.

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    1. You've been so supportive and such a faithful friend. Love you right back!

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  2. Oh, that pen is beautiful! So sorry to read of your back pain, but encouraged by your tumor markers.

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    1. Thank you, Kass- I'm encouraged too!

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  3. Flexeril and heat pad for those back spasms. Yes the drowsiness, but really helps with bad spasms.

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    1. The Flexeril has proven to help- along with the heat and Advil. Sorry you are familiar with it too!

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  4. I wonder why I cry every time I read your posts. I guess that is because I get emotional when I see anything relating to breast cancer. I am a 19 year survivor thanks to a good surgeon, radiation, and chemo. But most of all my praise goes to my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God your counts are good. The pen is beautiful and will always be a keepsake. Your son is a keeper. Take care and God bless.

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    1. Oh Francis, 19 years!! That's so encouraging, and I love that you shared that with me! Your testimony is powerful, and how can we not cry when we relate so well to someone else's journey. Hugs and love to you, Francis!

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  5. Oh honey,
    I just knew that All The Pretty Things would touch your deepest soul. It touched mine... as I gasped and cried and finally had words for some childhood hurts that had haunted me. Edie's words touched me, as they touched you, and like you I read her story into the late night.

    Her vivid words, and her ability to express her heart on her sleeve, reminded me of one of my other favorite writers...YOU.

    Your words reach deep inside me and I often feel like I can hardly breathe. I come away from
    your story more grateful for each day...choosing JOY even when it is beyond hard. I come away so grateful for you, my precious soul sis, sharer of life-lessons. I can feel God's love through your love. It just doesn't get any better than that. Oh, and by the way dear Vicky, you have had more than 1 MILLION views on your blog. Your words speak to all of us.

    You are in my prayers every day, sweet Vicky, for your back and for sweet Nolan's recovery. And that pen, carved and made with a son's deep love for his Mama, is a visual reminder of how deeply he loves you. Tears ran down my cheeks when I saw it. And I am thanking God for tumor markers that are down.

    Love you to the moon and back, my dear friend!
    Linda

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    1. Dear soul-sis- you got it so very well! And to put my writing in the same vicinity of hers, touches me more than words can say. I had so hoped I'd catch my blog going to the 1 million mark- and I missed it! But I'm celebrating it, nonetheless- thank you for noticing and celebrating with me. Your words, your insight and wisdom, your own blog writings have been so enriching and endearing to me that I aspire to one day be just like YOU! Love you to the moon!

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  6. Dear Vicky, it is so good to hear from you! And praise God for hopeful news! The pen is a remarkable gift. And so pretty in the light. A gift of love. XOXO

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    1. How good it feels to have you drop in here, Roxane! I need to make the blog rounds soon and pray I can be steady in reading and commenting too. But despite the quiet, please always know you're in my heart and never far from my thoughts and prayers.

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  7. You and Linda made me put this book on my Amazon wish list. Sounds like a must-read. I'm so sorry for all the back pain and the agonizing days. I truly hope the muscle relaxants are doing the trick. I've been in physical therapy for two months trying to manage mine and I don't begin to have all your other trials, my friend. Can't imagine.

    That pen. No words. Except maybe exceptionally beautiful and carved right from his hands and his heart. What a gift. So like you....brave, determined, and tender. Sending love....

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    1. Yes, Robynn, I can't believe I didn't say just that. So glad you gathered I am wholeheartedly endorsing this book! You will relate- on so many levels you will. Thankful for your kind words about Nolan- I know the same can be said of your own two- plus so much more! Love you dear friend- feels so good to see you here!

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  8. So much emotion, I don't think my chest can hold it.

    Your writing....your heart....your love for God and your family...your faith always, always blows me away.

    Thank you. You're such a gift in my life.

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    1. YOU are such a gift to me, sweet Julie! Your thoughtful and insightful words always inspire me so! Love you dear one.

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  9. You continue to be in my prayers, Vicky. What wonderful children you have. Hope this week is an easy one for you.

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  10. P.S. Your banner picture at the top? Meant to tell you that it looks like it's right out of a magazine. The photographer really captured an overall feeling of your family that is so compelling and meaningful. Also, hope Nolan is on the mend and feeling much better. May the rest of you avoid it as well. XOXO

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  11. Your beautiful soul shines so brightly in every post, Vicky, and I keep seeing you in bright and healing light. May you find comfort and relief from the back pain! Healing wishes for Nolan, too. The flu is so prevalent right now.

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  12. That pen...beautiful and a very special gift from a very special son. I was so glad to read that your tumor markers are down! I check here whenever I can to see if you have posted an update, Vicky. Love, hugs and prayers...always.

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  13. I write this to you and to those you love because I love you....
    I hope that you have found relief from the pain that you are suffering in your back, sweet friend. You endure so much...and with grace.
    I do hope that Nolan is feeling better. Sending warmest hugs to him. As a Mama, I can understand completely the anxiety one feels when one of our children is sick...and it doesn't matter how old he/she is....so my prayer is that your Nolan is feeling much much better.
    Love you, Vicky.
    And the pen....
    No words to describe the priceless beauty that entails every aspect of that pen.
    It simply comes down to love, doesn't it.

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  14. I had just discovered this book myself when you recommended it to me last week and now that I've read your words about it, I will definitely borrow it for myself. Super impressed you can read while on meds! I am not sensitive to medicine in terms of fuzziness or sedation, but it does make my focus (or lack of focus) CRAZY.

    And a double hurray for those dropping tumor markers!

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