Friday, April 29, 2016

keen eye

It was Dr. Panwalkar that summarized what the last 6 weeks have felt like, "Wow, " he said on Tuesday, "you've really been through it this past month!"  As the days blurred into weeks and now months have gone by, it does feel like a lot when you go back and add it all up.

Yet the irony that always remains, is that Dr. P suggested going back to a higher dose of Perjeta, because I seem to be recovering from the c-diff.  But he did tell me it was my decision, and he'd go along with whatever I felt.

So I put my faith in him and ultimately, I know its with Him, and said yes lets do the higher dose.

You see, I've been whispering the same word, prayerfully, over and over again... strength.  Help me find strength.  Please, help me find strength.

While I've come to know the prayers are answered, what has been such a revelation to me, is that often they don't come the way I think they will.  

Awhile back, we were given the gift of hockey tickets to go and watch the University of North Dakota play their last home game of the season.  

I didn't know I was already coming down with C-diff, having just finished antibiotics for strep throat. Usually, travel and anything related to hockey gives me such a lift.  

But despite the great game day atmosphere, the awesome play of the Sioux, and the big win that night- I couldn't ever get past feeling sick and uncomfortable.

I squirmed in my seat.  I tried to sip a sprite.  I rejected food. I just felt miserable.  

I was relieved when it was time to go.  

We fell in line with each other, realizing we needed to head in the opposite direction, against the crowds streaming out.  So we watched for an opening, and suddenly I saw her.

A few yards down from us, the crowd seemed to diverge around something, then come back together in front of us.  

A woman was shuffling her feet, her arms looped over a walker, and her head bent so far forward, you could only see the top of her head.  Watching the effort it took her to pick each foot up, and get it to align in such a way to carry her weight forward, was something to behold.

And she looked to be, completely alone.  

How could she see where to go?  Her head didn't come up, not once.  People streamed in and around her in a steady flow, as she slowly steered herself forward.  Oh the trust and faith she must have, that she would be okay somehow.  

I could only stand and watch.  What could I do to help her?  I would startle her to even try and say something to her.  Plus I was jarred in between Nolan and Rick, truly nowhere to go.  When she finally passed us, she left a gap behind her that the rest of our family could squeeze through to the other side of the hall.  

What just happened?

We all walked quickly to the truck, but my thoughts still followed her.  How would she get home?  How would she fold her walker up?  How would she steady herself to get in a vehicle?  How could she even zip her coat, or put on a hat or scarf?  How?  

As we sat shivering in the truck, waiting for it to warm up a bit, I finally couldn't keep my thoughts quiet any longer.  

Had anyone else seen the woman with the walker?  The one who seemed all alone?

Its Nolan who speaks up.  "You mean the one bent over?   She wasn't alone, her husband was up ahead of her.  I saw he had keys in his hands, I wondered if he was going to get the car?  She looked like it hurt to walk.  I couldn't even believe she'd be at the game."

I'm stunned.  My hockey obsessed son, just mirrored my very thoughts back to me.  There sure were a lot of hockey things we could have all been focusing on. But the way we see things, has clearly been transformed.  Our eyes more keenly aware, of those on margins, much like ourselves.

Its Rick who speaks up next.  He turns and smiles at me, before he says over his shoulder to the boys, "she was probably there cheering on a grandson, not letting anything get in the way of doing something she loves.  Pretty amazing, how dedicated we can be to what we love despite the toll it takes on us."  

The image of her circles my brain on the way home.  When I prayed for strength?  I had hoped somehow it'd be given to me.  That I'd feel bolstered, reenergized, or renewed somehow.  What I didn't fathom, is that the epitome of "strength" would parade before my very eyes.  My keen eyes that now see- that if she has the strength to do THAT, than surely, I have the strength to do THIS. 

I've started so many blog posts- but not had the capacity to sit and finish them.  So here are a few tidbits from the past couple of weeks.

My completed art project - my photo transferred onto this beautiful piece of wood.

Along with a fantastic meal, a sweet friend gathered goodies in a bucket and this one I've turned to time and again.  

So many gray, gloomy, drizzly days in a row lately. But these keen eyes?  Help me see the extraordinary in the ordinary precisely when I need to see it most.

What do your eyes see more keenly these days?

Monday, April 11, 2016

a year ago

It was a year ago this past week, that my dear mom, Mary Ann, went to Heaven.  But even as I feel physically, more like Snoopy up there in that photo, emotionally, I have felt peace.

My word, choose, was what I decided to use as my guide this past week.  I just wanted to be open, to feel what may come- grief, loss, sadness, and sit with it, then "choose," to let it all go.  Empty, to fill, with joy, with love, and peace.

I'm still in the throes of c-diff.  But Flagyl seems to slowly be knocking it back.  I still have a few days left of antibiotics, and will hopefully be able to rid myself of the bacteria completely. Food is a challenge, and energy elusive, but He sprinkles grace in all the ways that nourish me, despite what it may seem.

My friends put together a sign-up genius meal plan, and it's already close to full!  The very week, I can use a big dose of "motherly" love, is when comfort food starts streaming through my door.  My words to express the depth of what I feel, elude me, but my thanks-giving transforms into thanks-living, and I'm still numbering my gifts into the thousands, literally.  The food, the love, the ahhhs of my boys with stomach's full and in spite of what I lack to mother them, they are filled and then, so am I.  

It was infusion time, last week.  I was expecting I'd have chemo on Tuesday. Despite how I feel, I still need to keep cancer at bay.  Yet, as my stomach churned,  and I was running to the bathroom all morning, I was wondering how I would do this? 

Its my nurse, on Monday, and her gentle touch, and soothing tone, that begins the sprinkling of grace. She inserts the needle for blood work, as she tapes and smooths the ragged edges, and re-tapes the tubing, her eyes brimming with light and encouragement. Her hug wraps 'round me as she says goodbye, she sets the gentle tone for the week. She "mother's me," in a way, and I feel my own mother near.  I leave, more confident I am prepared for chemo the next day.

It's Erin, the PA I see, Tuesday. So many have reached out through email to me, asking about the latest news from Dr. P,  whose calendar is simply full.  I'm fighting against feeling like such a burden as a patient, in a system that is both first rate, and at full capacity at the same time.    

We breeze through the appointment that day, all things seem stable, and chemo is a go.  I'm quickly settled into my infusion room, and then Marissa, the artist, comes.  
I've always said if you choose, so often what you choose, comes to you. So this day, I'm choosing joy, instead of sadness and grief.

Marissa shows me my new project we had started.  (I'll show pictures when its done.)  But the process, of transferring this sunset photo onto a piece of wood, is soul soothing.  

And as we work, in and out, nurses, and providers, and smiles and energy flow past my door- as joy seeps into my heart, bathing it in a warm glow.  

~all shall be well~

Slowly, I'm more out of bed, than in bed.  Food starts to have taste again, and is more tolerated by my stomach.   

I'm greeted by these postcards, from my book club friends, who wrote to me from their last meeting place.  Thanks girls! 

I spent an entire day last week, reading through my old blog posts about my mom's last years of life.  And then I stumbled across this gem...

If ever anything surmised the true sass and wit of my mother, her the Lucy, me the Ethel- capturing the hilarity of that day and living it again, fills me so.  I can only imagine the shenanigans that began the day my mother entered her heavenly home.   

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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