Wednesday, March 14, 2012

If I'm being honest...

I'm coming up on my 1 year cancerversary.  I have extremely mixed emotions about it.  It slammed up against me walking through the doors of the Embassy Suites last week.  Last year at this time,  I hadn't been diagnosed yet, but I was growing concerned with the lump in my breast.  It didn't stop me however from fully participating in all of the experiences of the state tournament.

This year's tournament started off with a bevy of emotions I was so surprised to encounter.

The shedding started day 16, the first day of the hockey tournament.  Not clumps of hair, just all over hair shedding on a continuous basis.  I'm both fascinated by it, and a little appalled.  I find piles like dust bunnies skidding across the floor.  The back of my shirt looks furry sometimes.  I run my fingers through my hair with 6, 7, and 8 strands coming free all at once. The realization that new hair, new growth isn't replacing what is falling out, sinks in slowly.  

You think you are prepared for it.  But honestly?  The sinking feeling in your stomach tells you- not so much.  So Sara/Raquel/Victoria/Stella (??) sits on her foam head, waiting, beckoning from the tall dresser in the bedroom.  Soon enough her time will come.

 I've learned a lot about letting go... each hair is symbolic in a way, of all the things I'm leaving behind... many of which were never really mine to begin with- I just didn't know that. 

But, I feel vulnerable in ways I haven't before.  

I'm reminded to choose surrender over and over again.

Dr. Bouton called me from his cell phone late Friday night, while I was still at the hockey game.  My biopsy showed NO signs of cancer.  Smile.

Surrender.  The wound will just be what it will be. 

Big confession:  I have always been a helicopter parent.  Hovering, watching, intervening when necessary. I quickly discovered at the Embassy Suites this year,  this wasn't even remotely possible for me.  Lung mets make breathing hard work at times.  A slow burn begins and without much exertion, my lungs are on fire. I have to gauge how far and how fast I can go, constantly.  I also have to decide how to expend the limited energy I have.

I think the helicopter in me crash landed this past weekend.

With two boys wanting to play with their friends in often two different places in a large hotel, I had to trust them. With Rick working- downloading, editing, shooting photos, I was grateful every time someone would tell me they would watch the boys in the pool, or take them to the expo, or let them eat breakfast with them.  I felt on the verge of tears half the time, with realizations of my limitations coming left and right.  I had to rely on other's eyes and ears and place my trust in them, as well as in my boys.

Yesterday, I shouldn't have been surprised when Dr. Panwalkar told me my blood counts were too low to do chemo.  I lived both well and hard those past few days at the hockey tourney.

Any struggle I encountered this past week was met with an equally uplifting and supportive encounter with someone.  I'll return next Tuesday for blood work and hopefully chemo will recommence.

Tomorrow I have a pretty big day.  I will have sedation at 1:00pm, a brain MRI, then radiation simulations.  They will use a combination of scans to plot where the targeted radiation will go.  I will also have my mask formed, which goes over the back and front of my head and then is screwed down onto the table so I don't move.  Hello claustrophobia.  Hello double Xanax. 

How am I feeling about all of this?  Terrified, but surrendered.  

Not my way, but His way.  Not my time, but His time.  Not my plan, but His plan.

My plan is distraction tomorrow.  How can I pray for you?  If you have a specific request, please leave it in the comments below or email me.  


  1. Hi Vicky,

    Yet, again you bring me to tears with your grace in handling your journey - yet again you gift me with words to use in my current situation and remind me as I should know, that He is in control!

    I would request that you pray for a friends 6 month old who is having heart surgery in a few weeks! Logan is having a whole in his heart fixed - :)

    Thank you Vicky Thank you!
    Angles of love and light being asked to hover over you along with His peace!


  2. Your generosity of spirit and unfailing grace in the midst of such challenging times continues to amaze and inspire dear Vicky.

    Wishing you the easiest possible experience tomorrow.

    Surrender is good. I often wonder if our resistance to what is (the thing we consider undesirable) is also (without our realizing it) a resistance blocking our healing. Surrendering to what is possible for us in any given moment frees up energies within to work on healing. Well ... that's my two cents worth for today ...

    Love and Light ...

  3. So much wisdom in your words and in your action Vicky. You keep on teaching me about grace. Surrendering is something I seems to have so much difficulties with yet reading your words, I see it is possible. Not easy but possible.

    My heart is always with you and I pray that your tomorrow will be filled with peace and total surrender.

    You are loved more and more everyday xoxo

  4. Vicky, I don't really know you but feel very close to you at this moment as you have spoken so clearly and graciously about your situation, your feelings about your anniversary with cancer. I'm praying for you in His strong name, and praying that you will feel His presence in a dear and precious way, tomorrow and always.

    Please pray for my dear parents, if you happen to think of it. Life long believers and my mother has advanced Alzheimers; my father visits her daily. Peace for my mom, and strength for my dad. They live in Alaska. Thank you.

  5. My prayers right this moment are for YOU. When you're screwed down to the table, close your eyes and feel the blanket of vibes and good karma we are all sending your way.

  6. Wow, how incredibly gracious to ask how *you* can pray for *us*. If you could pray for peace for my grandfather, who is struggling with melanoma, that would be wonderful. And know that I will be lifting you up in prayer as well!

  7. Well, I'm going to be praying for you throughout the next several days. I can only imagine how difficult tomorrow will be, and, unfortunately, I do know how the hair loss feels.

    If you'd like to pray for us, Brian is taking his TX education test Friday - two 4-hour tests.

    And my one-year anniversary is coming up as well - March 30. I have very mixed feelings.

  8. Praying for you, dear Vicky, that peace will embrace you as you have your tests.

  9. Ai-yi-yi, girlfriend. Would it be helpful at all if I told you my other friends who had to lose their hair during chemo got better hair afterward? Maybe not because you've already got that GORGEOUS head of hair but let's hope for even MORE fullness of beauty! I'm so sorry you have to look at the strands falling away and ponder why. And I'm sorry you stamina and the meds limit you - though you make Herculean efforts that astonish me.

    The MRI thing - yeah, I can barely read about that one. Thank you, God, for medicines that make these modern miracle machines bearable. Thank you for creating them simultaneously because I would never go in one without the other. Believe me, I've tried.

    Prayers for me? I know you said NOT to say, "But it's nothing compared to what you're going through," and I understand that. But it does feel that way and I will only say pray for health stuff. It's daily - got a little more bad news that will scare me if I let it so trying not to let it - but it is NOT the level you face and I simply HAVE to say that. I love you and am sorry not to be a better friend to you. I wish I could kiss all your friends who are so faithful. With them it is NOT the thought that counts because they put their thoughts into actions and it is the actions that make a difference. Please tell them I love them all and ask for God's blessing on them.

    I will be thinking of you often, Vicky, and praying each time I do. Love you.

  10. My thoughts and prayers will be enveloping you tomorrow Vicky. I know how hard it must of been not be able to hover around your boys (I know because I am that type of Mom too). But you are so blessed to have so many friends waiting to help you and to watch over Nolan and Colton. You can rest in the knowledge that they are under watchful eyes who care.

    Blessings and hugs my friend,

  11. Your candor and humanness about your treatments is refreshing. These descriptions and accounts are a prayer in themselves, but if you were to pray for me it would be that I could feel even more keenly the presence of divinity in all that you are going through.

  12. Vicky, you are amazing. I just can't find the proper words to express what a true inspiration you are.
    I am praying for you, and I hope tomorrow everything goes really well.
    Thinking of you and sending many hugs!

  13. Oh the hair thing!!!! What is it about the hair, anyway???? But I remember that depressing time when every hair on my body came out. Talk about "bald as a baby's bottom!!!!" Maybe it's being able to SEE the reality of it all. Or losing what styles us, sets us apart from everyone else, only to be left with. . . .nothingness. I'll tell you one thing, when it comes back, you will appreciate it more than ever, believe me. It's been three years now since I looked like a marine soldier, and I still say thank you for!!!!! A day never goes by that I don't think about you and pray for you, Vicky. Your grace and strength are amazing!

  14. We are all praying for you dear heart.
    You know, I'd be collecting the hair and thinking this was an excellent opportunity to keep it and maybe make a doll to knit the hair into. Once I get well, the doll would become a keep sake both for me and my boys.My brain always thinks this way.
    My heart is heavy for you thinking about all this ordeal you have to go through.But I have confidence you will pull through. Just keep going and looking forward.

  15. I'm thinking of you Vicky and praying that your tests come back positive.

    You are so brave......I'm learning a lot from you my friend!

  16. There are no words...only prayers! You have found the strength of the journey--may you continue to feel His love and peace.

  17. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you go through these next days.

    I'm sad for you that you are losing your hair but think the wig you picked out is lovely.

    YOU are lovely! Inside and out.


  18. Oh, Vicky, my heart and prayers are with you. I have been seeing so much 'light' lately and it never fails to bring my thoughts to you and to ask the Father for His peace, comfort, strength and healing for you.

    The hair thing is hard. And even though I am nearing my 5 year 'cancerversary' which seems completely unreal, I still vividly remember how hard that was.

    Prayers...I have a changing job situtation, trying desperately to choose trust and not worry. Still looking for direction for Micah for which residencies and where to apply for. Thank you for your prayers.

    Many prayers being said for you and for your dear family as well.

  19. Vicky, thinking and praying for you and your family.

    Remember, you are the King's daughter as you go through your procedures today!


  20. All I have for you today is L.O.V.E. This post took my breath away. I will have some treats for you soon! Pray that I picked the right ones! xoxo

  21. Vicky-
    Praying for you. You have so much heart -- Heartfelt wishes for peace and happiness.

  22. well it's thursday and i'm just reading this.

    i pray that the xanax and distraction worked for you very much !!

    i think the hair loss, truly anticipated, yet scary, is kind of a sign of life...a sign of moving on to what's next. i hope you can look at that and the soon to be wig as a positive move, not a negative one.....xoxooxo

  23. Hi Vicky
    I don't know that I have commented before, but I have been checking in on you and praying for you for awhile now. {don't have a clue how I landed here the first time :-) }
    But, I have been thinking about you all day in the radiation thingy and just praying PEACE because that has to be one of the scariest things to have your head immovable. {I am very claustrophobic}
    I admire your grace and strength and faith, please know that it is inspiring so many people ~

    And as a Minnesotan that is living in Texas, I enjoy the glimpses of a life I left behind.

    Take Joy!

  24. Once again I am in awe of your courageous spirit. Your authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability are amazing. You are a real example of what it means to Live Beyond. I am praying for you, Vicky.

  25. Consider it done sweet sister in Christ. Praying all you have asked and that you would feel His loving arms cradling you throughout it all. He knows you and is with you.
    Love and light.


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