Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"...grace enough to bear it..."

It is a good thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it.” ~Spurgeon  Anne Voskamp

I read this quickly as I head out the door for chemo.  "Grace enough to bear it " echoes through my head.  It is my mantra for the day.

As I settled into the waiting room early yesterday morning at Roger Maris, waiting for my pager to flash signaling my turn for blood work, I scanned the full room.  An older grandfatherly type sat just kitty-corner from me.  Was he a patient?  I am often surprised when I see a flash go off and notice the pager is not in the hands of the one I thought was the cancer patient.  But the next flash I saw was from the pager in his hands and off he went.  

Everything was running behind and there was an unusual amount of waiting yesterday.  

Except for Dr. Panwalkar who throws open the door promptly at 9:45 am.  From the doorway, In a thick Indian accent he says my name and it resembles something like this "Wicky,"  "Wicky I have your scan results, everything's good!"  "Liver still clear, spine and lymph nodes stable."  

I match his smile, knowing I have been given another reprieve.  I have earned the golden ticket to 3 more treatments of TDM1, "the miracle" drug.  Prayers are being answered!  I am counting grace.

Yet, I have to honestly tell him I've struggled with more fatigue.  I've been less able to do as much.  Dr. P is thorough in his questions and takes everything in.  

He thumps my spine, checks my liver, listens to my lungs.  He goes to check my feet, but my tall boots cover my ankles.  I carefully unzip one so he can see, I have no swelling.  The strain on my back causes me to leave the boot unzipped as he asks me to lie back.  Sensing the problem, Dr. P carefully reaches over and zips the boot for me.  Its such a simple, unadorned, gesture, but it leaves me touched by his compassion, and I count grace.

I have just one more "new thing" to share with him.  I have had some dizziness.  Its hard to describe, but its almost like vertigo sometimes.  Its been a mild symptom, but it visits often.  He again questions me thoroughly and suggests we do an mri.  I smile when I add "with sedation."  He laughs and says yes.  Either I am experiencing side effects from the treatment, which is what we suspect, or some new activity has started in my brain.  Waiting takes over once again.  Next week I will have the mri. But I will deal with that next week.  Today is grace.

We conclude our visit and he walks me to the infusion center.  As he turns to leave, he places his hand on my back and says "I'll see you in three weeks."  Compassion and grace.

I sit shivering in the infusion center waiting room.  A stranger sees me with my arms wrapped around myself... "would you like my coat?"  "Its all warmed up and I don't need it?"  

Another woman nearby suggests I ask for a warmed blanket.  I smile and say no thank you, I'll settle into a warm blanket when I get my room.  But of course I count more grace.  You don't find many "strangers" at the infusion center, just unfamiliar faces disguising the grace within.

My infusion concludes uneventfully.  Rick is out of town with Nolan, but as luck would have it, my friend Carrie is working and offers me a ride home.  Grace.

I walk down the hall out to the lobby and notice the same grandfatherly man from the morning, walking next to me.  "You're still here too?" he asks.  "yes," I say, "its been a long day."  We've been there for 7 hours.  "Well," he says, "even though the days get long, I guess it sure beats the alternative."  I laugh as I see he gets it.  He is grace too.  We don't do this because we WANT to, we simply HAVE to.  

I arrive home to a sick little boy with flushed cheeks, a fever and achy body, wrapped in a blanket next to Grandma on the couch.  

And even in this, is grace.  It affords us the time to snuggle in bed and doze on and off, sipping our sprite, nibbling on crackers and just being quiet with each other.  

Even Crosby has gone to the neighbors for a "sleepover."  I take my meds and drift off to sleep, fully steeped in "grace enough to bear it."  

I am continually humbled and awed at how much each and every one of you, show up, love on me and my family and continue to sustain through prayers, and kind gestures.  I pray often that God multiplies back to you tenfold, the blessing you are to me.  


  1. Your are a blessing to us too, Vicky. Counting grace is what allowed you to make it through your very long day yesterday.
    Reading this I am right there by your side even if a day later. Sending you strength and healing energy and daily prayers for help you count even more grace.
    I hope your little one feels better today.
    Hugs from afar dear friend

  2. Vicky, I have just come from Roxane B. Solonen's "Peace Garden Writer" blog where she shared the story you wrote for "On the Minds of Moms". Your account of your sons and their ways of drawing comfort from and giving comfort to you is touching.

    Your blog about your journey is so inspiring with your beautiful prose, poetry and photograpy. You will be in my prayers and thoughts for you to beat this thing called cancer.

  3. Hi Vicky,

    I´m thinking the completely day about you! And I think about the time differenz between us. 7 hours, my day was going to the end and your day begins to be so long and important. I send you many hugs.


  4. Oh Vicky...I heart you! You are such a blessing and I am so proud of you for the way you handle things. All's grace, dear one! You're living a beautiful example. Big hugs to you! :)

  5. And it's grace that enables you to see these many moments of grace and share them in such a meaningful way with us.

    Be blessed, even as you bless!

  6. I thank God for the gift of "you" in my life. Even though we have never seen each other officially, I feel that warm place in my heart each time I read your words and my heart sings "friend" to my soul.

    God bless you my sweet friend!

    Each time I put on your bracelet. I say Team Vicky! Jillian and I are cheering that chant all the time :)

  7. You are not just receiving grace, Vicky - you ooze grace. Your post is a tender tutorial on how to BE grace.

    You have become my teacher and I thank you.

    Hope the after-effects of chemo aren't too difficult today.

    ((((gentle hug)))))

  8. Oh, Vicky! I needed this today. I, too, was so moved by the quote on Ann's post and wrote it out so I would never forget it. But you made it real today -- it was "grace with skin on." I had a tight throat and my eyes burned as I read this, as it brought me back to the waiting room waits, the people watching, and the interactions that went on there. Something about it, isn't there?! Maybe it's the reality check, the severity of what's going on --- I don't know --- but suddenly we SEE grace! Not only see it, but feel it and taste it and wrap ourselves in it. And we are never the same again. The comments above me have voiced my thought ---- YOU are grace with skin on, my friend!

  9. this made me smile, cry and pray more for you vicky!

    i came to "know" you through Sara. Another prayer warrior in your corner! All will be well dear one!

    praying you feel stronger and the mri is clean!


  10. Hi beautiful Vicky! I've been waiting to hear from you, hoping you're okay with me having featured you today on Peace Garden Writer. I wanted to surprise you, but I think you might have been tipped off. Which is good. Sometimes surprises are for the birds. Still, hoping to hear something. And if it takes a while, that's A-OK.

    Hugs and love from across the river,


  11. Vicky,

    God continues to shower you with grace and you continue to share that grace with others...God's hands are gently wrapped around you...

    Abundant Blessings,


  12. This post is pure beauty. I have tears in my eyes. I'm so thankful for small graces that you not only received, but you noticed and counted. I am convinced that when we do that they multiply.

    Today is a hard day here. It's exhaustion and fatigue and melancholy and isolation and loneliness.

    I am thankful for the perspective your story offers.

    I am thankful for you.

  13. Each piece of good news you receive is a blessing, Vicky. It gives you that inner strength to keep fighting! That is such good news that everything is stable and that you can continue receiving this wonder drug.

    Hugs and prayers my friend are with you always!

    "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." ~Jerry Bridges

  14. Hi!
    I am praying for you Vicky and do hope for the best outcome for you.
    I take pleasure in hearing good news for you your boys and that dear husband.
    You are a good family.

  15. You are grace. In the moment. Seeing everything beautiful around you. Affirming it. So thankful for results that are positive, praying without ceasing for those awaiting response. Love you, friend.

  16. Wow, what a long day. Enjoyed your have a great doctor taking care of you!

    Thinking of you Vicky.

  17. Oh, Vicky, I have to admit that my heart stopped a bit when I read the title to your post. I am thankful for the news from your scan. Praying for you as you await the MRI next week. Praying for days following chemo that 'are not too terrible'... And you are a blessing as you count the graces and find the glimpses of His goodness in the midst of difficult days.
    Many prayers.

  18. So thankful for His grace which sustains us through the hard times. You are a woman of much grace and strength. Praying all of your tests come back clear!

  19. Vicky... you are the gift... you are the grace we are receiving through the way you are traveling the road... Thank you, dear friend. Grace, indeed.

  20. Still walking with you and can surely visualize all that you are saying!! Each day, just enough grace for each day. Bless your sweet hear Vicky :)

  21. Vicky, I agree with Bonnie, you teach all of us so much and you ooze grace. Hope your MRI brings good news. your doctor sounds very compassionate and that made me smile when he zipped your boots, tells me you are in good hands for sure. sending a big hug and healing energy. c

  22. What a great post. You're amazing, you know that right? To notice those little moments of grace, with what you're presently going through....we should all take more notice of these things. I hope your sick child feels better too.

  23. it is through your grace, that grace comes back to you...i've always believed this and now i see it first hand as you write about it.....

    i hope your mri next week shows absolutely nothing and your symptoms just magically go away and that your little guy is on the mend....


  24. Hello VIcky,

    Thank you for talking so openly about your journey. Your selflessness in sharing helps us all to know and understand more about what can be for some a very lonely disease. Your story and the way you approach this challenge is so uplifting to the human spirit. You encourage all who read your captivating words...

    I must tell you that this is my first visit. I believe I was meant to happen upon your blog tonight. It came to me quite by chance through a visitor to my own blog - Robin at All Things Heart and Home. I so enjoy her blog, and this is where I saw your beautiful photo and felt compelled to learn more about you.

    I, too, am going through breast cancer. I am doing well now and have just returned to work, albeit for half days for awhile until I build up my stamina again. I thank God every day and every night for each special moment granted to me. Your heartfelt article in "On the Minds of Moms" is so eloquently written, perhaps putting into words the thoughts of many of us going through this. I am sure so many women can relate.

    Given that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is so important to keep at the top of our minds during all months of the year that early detection is key. Whatever we can do to help women have access to regular breast screening programs is so important - it is something that connects us all in the communities that we live in, isn't it? Every time a woman is diagnosed, all women feel it and it makes us rally even more.

    Thank you again, Vicky, for giving your readers more strength to meet whatever challenges we face in life, and, too, for reminding us how precious our health can be and how quickly things can change in our own lives. I believe your lesson on grace can be applied to all things.

    You are most welcome to visit me anytime at my on-line home. I hope that your week ahead is filled with much love, support, comfort and beauty.

    Blessings, prayers, and hugs to you and your family,

    Linda at Beautiful Ideas


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