Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Both my mind and body have been caught up in the turbulence of life this past week.  I waiver between feeling like I want to heave to fighting off the fogginess of nausea meds... both leave me feeling less than...

Last Tuesday we met with the financial counselor... after a long day of chemo, I was unprepared for the stormy conditions she would unleash.  I could see copious notes she had taken.  I began to fade out when the words "restricted policy," were spoken.  As much as you know this is coming... you somehow want to duck before it makes final impact.  Tuesday there was no place left to duck.

(We don't dispute the numbers.  Our morals don't allow us to not pay what we owe.  But what we can't clearly see yet, is how we will be able to pay our long term debt with the criteria being set at this time by the hospital.)

I snapped back to present day when she bleakly stated, "Well, you could always cut back on treatment..."  I blinked as anger surfaced, momentarily.  Was she joking?  Did she mean to say that?  My stomach lurched as I tried to fathom her intention.  Am I to question the kinds and amounts of tests and labs the doctor wants to run?  When a scan is the only thing that determines where the cancer is, how do you just say no?  We sat in stunned silence, but there wasn't much to be said after that.  And...

She is not the enemy.  My anger simmered and eventually melded into distant compassion.  What must her days be like?  Stuck in a tiny box of an office, cramped in a small corner of the cancer clinic, delivering sobering news daily.  I decided I don't have anymore fight in me, to fight against her... besides, she is not the enemy.  I'm on empty the rest of the week...

This weekend I set out to be reminded of all that we still have.  We drove up to Grand Rapids, Minnesota to pick up our baseball yearbooks that Rick designed and had printed.  We dropped the kids off in Park Rapids with Grandpa and Grandma and Rick and I were alone for a few hours.  We found a spot by Lake Pokegama and I sat, letting the water wash away all of the yuck so heavily clinging to me.  Wave after wave crashes over me as I sit and feel the refreshing coolness.  The water is clean, clear and smells of the earth.   It grounds me... absolves me... washes me with grace.

I start to name my gratitude for the day...

  • I can still bear the sun in short doses.  
  • I have energy to walk all the way down to the shore.   
  • I have tan skin causing a healthy glow.
  • I am more than a big fat number written on some hospital account
  • God is bigger than all of this- the mess, the yuck, the burden, the cancer...
  • And I still see my future.  

We stopped in Walker to see Chase on the Lake.  I haven't seen the resort in years and it has definitely changed and grown.


  1. Oh, you have more grace than I. I would have asked if she would consider cutting back on treatments if she were fighting for her life.

    Keep looking to that future, Vicky. One step at a time.

  2. Not only is God teaching you about life, but you are teaching all of us about God's graces and how you are handling the challenges of cancer. I (we) are learning through your writing Vicky....thank you.

    So glad you could enjoy the water...water is healing! Bless you my friend.

  3. My heart is heavy as I read your honest and prayerful words. I use that word purposely...I am reading a lovely book called Prayerfulness by Robert Eicks, and I see you as one who walks in the presence of God and lives a prayerful life. My prayers continue for you as you face challenges with grace, and ultimately victory.
    Love from a friend in Illinois

  4. Is is OK with you that I cried at the words, "It grounds me... absolves me...washes me with grace."...? I know that "All Shall Be Well" my sweet friend...and you make things better for all who read your words. I don't know if you have any idea of how powerful your witness, words, testimony are....but know they are forever-reaching.
    I'm loving the fact that you and Rick spent quiet time together at the lake. Beautiful photos that reflect so much more than the eye sees. Much love to you, my Sister.

  5. Isn't it a sad situation when not only does one have to go through this horrible disease, they have these added worries as well. Cancer, and everything that goes with it, plainly sucks. Make a daily list of what you do have, such as the one you wrote. Take it day by day by day, and sometimes its easier to take it hour by hour. One thing I've learned is that things, somehow, have a way of working out usually. Wishing you well.

  6. There's a special grace that you share with us as you walk through this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. Like the others who come here, Vicky, I am once again blessed by your words. I, too, have been healed by water, many times, and hope to many times again. Someday, I look forward to splashing in the water with you. I'm so grateful you had that bit of stolen time...for your own thoughts, and to just be near your husband, too. You both needed that, I'm sure. XXOO, Roxane

  8. Vicky I can't imagine what you were feeling hearing those words. And I can't imagine that lady having to tell people such things either. Ugh.
    Take care of your health. The rest will fall into place.

  9. Oh Vicky I wish we could cleanse the world of such injustice. It just boggles the mind that patients with serious disease are menaced by economic rupture and faced with such double bind choices. I am so sorry that you and Rick have to bear this too.
    So wish I had a magic wand to swish it all away.

    Love and hugs ...

  10. I had tears in my eyes as I read this! I wanted to just read the riot act to that person in the little office -- until once again some of that wonderful grace washed over me and I hear Him say, "Trust Me!" Please know, my dear one, that I didn't trust very well, but with all that I could, I grabbed hold of His hand and clung to it for my very life. He has a plan for YOU. He's worked that plan out for you, and nothing can stop that. If only people in these little cooped up offices understood that. Isn't it strange how these things come at us, like a HUGE wave out of nowhere. We watch the water come up at us, threatening to erase away our "line drawn in the sand" -- the place we believe our faith stands firm. The wave comes up, almost touching ---- and YES!!!!!! we find out it is tried and true faith. These times will come, Vicky, again and again. Yet He says, "Trust ME!" I'm praying for you, and I know He will carry you through!

  11. i would have been a bit stunned by her words myself and lucky for you, you knew where to go with your anger....
    i might not have.

    the cleansing the water gave to you was such a gift...but you knew it would be. otherwise you wouldn't have searched it out.
    your heart knows what you need right now.

    thinking of you always....xo

  12. Vicky It amazes me angry that someone would even suggest such a thing. You are a hero in how you handled things with grace. When I come and read your words about what your life is like right now, I sense such a wonderful woman. What I liked the best of this post is that you can see a future, that is a powerful comment and I pray it is a long, long one. hugs dear friend.

  13. I wonder if this women has uttered that same irrational suggestion to other cancer patients? Does she get paid to say that? Is it simply part of the job description? I don't think, we I in her place that I could sit across from a family and say that...I'm so sorry she thought that was an option Vicky. So sorry you have to even deal with this when really all you should have to deal with is recovery.
    My heart hurts at the same time a smile tugged at my lips when I looked through the photos again. God sends us help, sometimes it's not the overwhelming force of the cavalry. Sometimes it's a moment. Like your time at water's edge...sigh. I love you.

  14. my sweet, sweet girl. i feel the heaviness and i feel you straining to put your head above to see beauty.

    both are always present, aren't they? i love you. i love you and i am straining my neck with you to keep your head above it all... with the One who knows it all.

    i wish that was enough to take away the heavy... but just know i'm walking with you. lean on me if you need to, friend.

  15. Oh, Vicky. What injustice you face, and what grace you show in the all of it. You are here to be an example of what we can be in the world.

    "I can still see my future"

    Hold close to that thought, and know that it will all workout. One step, one day at a time.

    Thoughts and prayers and love to you.

  16. Oh, Vicky...my heart is heavy with concern that you even have to think about finances at a time when you are to be concentrating on your recovery. I am sorry for the injustices of this world. It is unfortunate that so many don't understand the financial burden and hardship a family endures when walking the cancer journey. Please, remember though, God knows and He provides in remarkable and awesome ways!

    Prayers continue...

  17. Can it be so insane that you have to face the finance monster while you do all you can to recover, withstand, and maintain? So wrong but what you did/do to handle it is so right. Please God, send Vicky every last dime she needs to receive the MAXIMUM treatment to win this battle and not have to make crazy decisions like "less treatment." You are in charge of all of it, Lord. Give her peace. Heal her body. Make a way on those days when there seems to be no way. Thank you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


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