Monday, November 16, 2015

when moments sustain...

I'm trying to learn this new landscape of weekly infusions.  I come away from infusion with a steroid induced thrum going through my body, heart and mind.  I fully use it to propel me into going out, seeing people, steeling myself for the tapering off of those adrenaline boosting drugs. I'm making up lost time, from all the months of seclusion this summer and sickness.   So I live those moments full because I can go from active- to flat on my back in sheer exhaustion, in mere seconds. 

And the rest I am coping with?  Is more nuisance and inconvenience.  It feels like I need handfuls of Imodium to loosen the tether I feel to the bathroom.  And the bloody noses.  The dry, cracked, bleeding nose.  The vaseline, the humidifier, the saline, the swabs, the kleenex.  Just another taxol side effect, more bothersome than worrisome.   

So I had every intention of being here, updating all that's transpired this past week or so... but it was Saturday night, when I crashed in a chilly heap on the bed.  Nolan had hockey tryout scrimmages we'd attended, and despite the fact it was Superman's birthday, he was coming down with a cold, and so we simply ordered pizza in, and crashed early that night.  

But in between the urgent rush to live full, and the crashing and burning that comes shortly after?  Are all the sustaining moments that bless beyond measure.  

Because it feels like the hard, is cushioned with His grace filled gifts, always. 

Like when my cousin, Pam, sends me the above card, in black and white- its one of those moments that sustains me.  The words, seep right into my heart and I'm nodding and smiling because they fit me so.  She sends the best cards, with offers of help when I need it, and words that speak to me, and I just need her to know it sustains me so. 

And then, at the same time, my friend, Connie, comes and brings me the cross from above.  It fits so perfectly in my hand, and I'm clinging and holding and hanging on again.  Thank you, Connie.  

Then the surprise from the Brantners.  They don't even know me!  But they bless us with a Bell State Bank Pay it Forward check, that is generous, and touches me, because they've never laid eyes on me. But they humble me so, and honor me in a way that is hard to attach the right words to.  But I'll start with these... Thank you, Laine and Tiffani.  We went to the Moorhead bank branch and deposited it in my old "benefit," account.  Every time, its close to being depleted, something shows up.  I feel like He shows up.  And we bank our gifts, knowing when the new deductible hits in January?  We'll have help.  Blessed help.  

How about that collage picture on the bottom?

It was weeks ago when the call first came.  I was sitting in the PT waiting room, surrounded by patients, waiting my turn for the Lymphedema therapist to see me. 

I answered the phone in a hushed voice, and heard a hushed voice in return.

"Hi Vicky, this is Chery.  (Chery is a Psychologist that facilitates our stage iv group.) We were wondering if there is any chance you might want to go to New York City?  My mind hits pause, because did she really say, New York?  Me, go to, New York?  

"We have a Breast Cancer Conference, sponsored by the Avon Foundation, and were wondering if you'd like to attend with us?  I'll go, and one other, plus you."

But most of this is somewhat lost on me, as its noisy in the waiting room, and I can barely hear, but I know I heard New York, and I'm saying Yes! 

And suddenly, its only a couple of weeks away, December 1st, and I'll be leaving for New York City! We booked our airline tickets, and reserved hotel rooms, and the excitement of going keeps drawing me forward, sustaining me.  The Avon Foundation granted us money to help run our support groups, and my mission?  To help garner more funds!  

And I have a special friend, Barb, with both enthusiasm and wonderful taste for fashion and style.  She generously brought the "New York City," bag from TJ Max and filled it with things I could wear!    She clipped ideas in pictures(above) and ran them past me, and then proceeded to get me all the right sizes, and mix and match colors and truly just gave me the confidence to feel like I'll look fine when I go. 

Could the sparkling cider have arrived at any better time?  Linda made sure to include it in a box with  a pretty sweater, cute hats, and a scarf and the beautiful Rumi card.  Its a Colton favorite and he can't wait to open it and enjoy. 

As small as I feel sometimes, vulnerable, and stripped bare.   How is it that my life feels so big?  Far bigger in ways I could have ever dreamt it could be.  

Its Ann Voskamp that sings it home for me: 

“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks."

I'll humbly be whispering my thanks tomorrow as I go in for lab work, then doctor's appointment, then infusion for Taxol, Perjeta, and Herceptin.  It's a long and full day... but this much I know is true...

~All shall be well~

Can I pray for you?

Please leave requests in the comments below if you are so inclined.  


  1. Heart so full....I rejoice in your grabbed happiness. Grab some more in NYC.

    I can relate to the nosebleed problem. It's still happening to me, despite humidifier, ointments, saline solutions, vit. K & C, cauterization, resting....and I can't blame it on TAXOL. I make it sound so much more than a mere inconvenience and I feel guilty. I really do think of you and all you're going through every time my nose bleeds. YES, let's pray for each other. I'm such a wimp.

    1. You are not, Kass, its truly miserable when they hurt and bleed so much and we have to continually deal with them- with very little that will just heal them altogether. Sigh... prayers friend!

  2. I love NYC. So happy for you! I'm with Kass I am the wimp! When I think of all you go thru weekly and see you clinging to your smiles and joy, I feel all but guilty with my pain and trails. Trying to get cleared for for knee surgery this morning, and being thrown the curve of the EKG showing something they won't clear me till I see a cardiologist. An unfamiliar ground for me, waiting to hear when I get in and what is going on, my mind doing the anxiety at 160 miles an hour on all the what ifs, etc. then knowing you deal with all your side effects weekly, yep. I am a wimp! It is bringing me to my knees asking God for strength and guidance in this unknown journey.
    Praying for you my friend!

  3. Well they definitely knew the right person to ask. And I'm praying for strength for you and protection from any other illness as you travel. You will be, as always, an enormous blessing to those who get to hear you and I hope you even get to have a little fun. Maybe Dr. P will let you miss your infusion that week before so all the side effects aren't as severe? I'm SO sorry you are experiencing so much pain and misery in your body as you battle on, friend. And always encouraged to hear of those who bless you in such specific, practical, and loving ways.

    I go in for more diagnostics next week and then off to UCSF the week after. Praying I connect with the doctor and he's actually somebody caring and knowledgable. It was a big weekend for us and I spent three hours in the tub last night and I'm still in bed at noon today. Paying for our efforts on the property with stomach pain, sleeplessness, increased neurological symptoms, and nausea. But I still move and grab all I can when those symptoms abate because that's my way and I'm also squeezing out every good thing life has to offer in the spaces, because there are days you simply can't. And what you face is on such a much more intense scale, Vicky, that you are a constant inspiration to be courageous. Love to you and can't wait to hear more about the trip. XOXO

    1. Oh Robynn,
      You are in my prayers right this very minute that you will have a doctor who is caring and knowledgeable. And I am praying about those symptoms that you are dealing with ...that there would be healing and a cure found for the nausea and sleeplessness and neurological symptoms you described. You, like our Vicky, are so inspiring as a you "squeeze out every good thing life has to offer in the spaces." Sending you loves and hugs, friend. I so look forward to your comments and wisdom!

    2. Hi Robynn, Are you still blogging? I just read your posts from 2013 and enjoyed every one. Looking for more and I sympathize with 'the finding a good doctor thing'. Love your sense of humor!

  4. Oh Vicky! I am so thrilled you are going to NYC!! I will be praying for you! much, much love!!

  5. All manner of things shall be well :-)

    I'll pray for you and you pray for me, okay? I am flying to the States tomorrow. I appreciate the prayers for a good travel day.

    I am so excited about your trip to New York !!! What a blessing!!!

    Love and prayers from over here ...

  6. How exciting for you. I live in NJ and we go into NYC often.
    This is the absolute best time of the year to visit.
    Can't wait to hear all about your trip.

  7. YEAAAA for your upcoming travels! xoxo Excited for you :) I'll pray for you during my infusion tomorrow if you pray for me?! :)

  8. Oh my dear friend
    How completely perfect that they chose YOU to come and share and go to NYC!! You will have such a blast and they will be touched and changed after hearing what comes from your heart.
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you have an adventure to look forward to.

    And God Bless your dear friend, Barb, for getting you all decked out with wonderful fashions!
    You are already beautiful inside and out and that will make you "feel like a million bucks," as my Grandma used to say. And God Bless dear Ann VosKamp for her words that whisper God's
    presence and reminder that HE only gives love.

    Today, as always, I am so, so grateful to call you my friend! I celebrate you and how much you matter in the lives of all of us. Give Colton a hug for me when you open the sparkling cider.
    I was so happy to send it his way, knowing it would put a smile on his face. :) :) :)

    And if you have a second for a prayer, please pray for my beloved Bert. Know that we pray for you every day as you get infusions and deal with those nasty side effects. Yet like the little engine that keep right on chugging. You are NOT, and I mean NOT, letting taxol or cancer steal your JOY!!!

    Sending you loves and hugs and the moon and back.
    Your soul-sis Linda

  9. so EXCITED for you that you get to go to NYC!! will be praying for strength for the facing of each day. i know you will embrace every moment. how sweet of friends to purchase hip clothes!!

    my one request would be for peace as we approach Thanksgiving: we have been traveling, Bob has been traveling, and when we fly the day before Thanksgiving we'll land to meet Michael's girlfriend. she was an answer to prayer before they started dating. i just want to be able to not manage anything but go with the beautiful flow of everything.

    hugs and love, sweet dearheart.

  10. Well ...... I have to tell you this amusing - yet true - story. The picture of your scripture card reminded me of a similar card I received several years ago. It was actually part of a set of 100 cards. I would randomly choose one each day and it was always just the right one. So ..... The morning that I was to check into the hospital for surgery for metastatic bone cancer (yikes!), I encouraged my two sons to each choose a card to keep with them through a day that would be equally difficult for them. So my turn came; I pulled my card; I was shocked and not necessarily in a good way. My scripture for what I thought was going to be the worst day of my life was "This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Really?? I was having surgery for bone cancer!! And The Lord is calling me home??? Today??? But you know what?? I have learned that EVERYDAY can be paradise in spite of your circumstances. I treasure that card. I keep it near me always. God is so good. And obviously has a sense of humor at times. Keep fighting, sweet girl!! You've got this!! Happy paradise to you!!

  11. My prayers for you are never-ending ones.
    Feel them.
    Feel them.
    Feel His presence. His love. Always.
    I love you sweet friend.
    I. Do.

  12. NYC! What a town. Okay, city. You will love it. You amaze me, Vicky. I run ragged and get sick for a couple days and forced to stop. This is your reality and you handle it so well, really. No prayers from me right now, just the hope that prayers will continue to enfold you. Your willingness to be bare before us and share your fears and dreams and life is what starts it off, and the gifts come because you give. It's beautiful. :) XXOO

  13. How exciting, Vicky! I'm am smiling just thinking about you going to NYC! And, it sure looks like you will be a fashionista too. :) I will be spending Thanksgiving with my Mom and brother in CT and awhile after. I will be thinking of you being a few hours away and praying that you will be having a wonderful time. I have no doubt, that you will be a huge blessing to that conference.

    Love, hugs and prayers my dear friend. xxoo

  14. Hallelujah!!! Hallelujah!!! You bring so much glory to The Father, Vicky.

    So much love my friend.

  15. You are on my mind and in my prayers daily, Vicky! The awful side effects that you constantly battle, the fatigue, trying just to keep up with the daily life with your active boys...I can't imagine how you cope. And then you share your beautiful self in your words and in your faith...and it all makes sense. God is seeing you through at every twist and turn, and by sharing that with all of us, you continue to inspire everyone who knows you.

    I am so thrilled that you are going to NYC! I will pray that you will be feeling as well as possible, and that it will be an incredible experience. It's quite a well-deserved honor...and you will be fabulous!

    Looking forward to seeing you at a hockey game very soon! Take care, dear friend! Love, hugs and prayers, always! <3


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