Monday, March 6, 2017

when joy finds you...and so much more...

It's Monday morning, and I'm just glueing my seat to this chair and doing a long overdue post.  I'm sorry for any worry I cause, when I'm absent from here- I will certainly have Rick or someone update for me if I'm unable to do so and I have news about my health- otherwise just know I'm hanging in there! 

Its already been a couple of weeks since Dr. Panwalkar called me with the findings of my PET Scan.  He simply relayed to me that cancer is once again growing larger in my uterus, my colon, and there are more spots appearing in my lungs.  "Its worse, he said, it has gotten worse. But we'll start you on Taxotere right away.  You had a good response to it the first time, we only quit when the side effects grew too difficult."

So for the last two weeks, each Tuesday I've gone into Roger Maris for infusion.  But it was clear last week, something else was settling in- a deep cough and a lot of gunky green coming along with it.  So I was given Levaquin- a broad spectrum antibiotic, along with my infusion.  Boy, have I felt crummy.  I'm mostly somewhere between a recliner, or my bed, heating pad in tow, and Crosby too.

And yet somehow?  When I so desperately needed the light to shine through all the dark, I've felt it shining in at every angle.   

My cousin Jackie sent me this little treasure- a blue journal with a comfort cross that was hand made by her husband, Fred!  The thoughtfulness of gifts like these, truly touch me at a deep level.  My thank you's may mostly come from here these days, although my gratitude flows out from heart- beat by beat.  Thank you Fritel family!  

Sara said it so perfectly- I grabbed this from fb yesterday...

This sweet package arrived in time for Valentines day from sweet Peggy.  Again- she crafted so many lovely pieces together and touched me through and through.  The gift of her never ending friendship and prayers have been the biggest blessing to me.  So thankful, Peggy!

Then out of the blue, this beautiful bouquet showed up- and what I love is how color filled- it is and how much pure joy I feel, every time I lay eyes on them.  Thank you soul-sis-Linda- your abundant encouragement, prayers and ability to walk with me through all of this is such a gift to me.  

Do you know I take you up on your offers of help?  I really will reach out when I need something.  My stomach is so extended, while the rest of me shrinks in ways.  So in pure panic mode with a need for something to wear- my friend Sue went to a store and the owner graciously let her bring two bags filled with clothes for me to try on!  They were comfy, cute, in my price-range- and precisely what I needed at a moment's notice.  How lucky am I?  Help around the corner- always.  Sue fixed dinner, then brought these cute mini roses- with the heart attached on the front.  But as I go to take a picture of them, what strikes me is how the light glows in and around the roses- resting fully on that heart.

Maddy!  Look- the dutch shoes with your beautiful note brightened my day so much!  They're sitting right next to me, always.  So thankful for our friendship and shared prayers across the miles!  

Do you all remember this?  This is the documentary I was honored to be a part of!  Emily and her mom, Lori both sent me Dvd copies and Blu-ray.  I was lucky enough to have my best friend forever, Kristi come and we watched it together.  Oh my- its so powerful, and such a well done documentary.  If you'd like to follow along about where and when its being shown, please follow their Facebook page here!  Thank you, Emily and Lori!! I'm touched beyond words!  

So you never fully know how touched you can be, by the simplest things... like a mantra band with two of your favorite words- love and light- sent to you from someone you deeply admire and appreciate- who walks their own journey along side of you.  Ahem- notice the light surrounding this one too?  Thanks sweet friend!

As long as some of my days have been- the highlight is often when Rick brings the mail into my bedroom.  I treasure the cards, the meaningful notes, and all the support I feel.  I could add another whole stack to this picture, but I'll never get this post done if I don't forge ahead right now, with just what is here.  Thank you everyone! 

Its always amazing to me, that my inside and outside don't often match.  I even have some color in my cheeks here on infusion day last week.  But I carefully applied make-up, threw powder on my bald spots, and had my new clothes to wear-  because I was honored to be asked by Sanford to do an interview with their media team, during infusion last week.  I pray I am worthy because its a pure gift of telling my story- and more importantly sharing how extremely blessed I am to have been given the chance to live- despite having cancer.  I always pray someone will garner a kernel of truth about how they might do just the same- that some hope will spread- and the light will keep shining!  

Somehow my infusion flew by, and I forgot about the camera, and just spoke to my hearts content.  

And even with all of this glorious stuff happening?  The best was yet to come...

Before I get there- I just need to say a huge thank you for all the prayers- the messages and notes you send me.  The meals brought to us, the treats, the flowers.  A book from a friend.  And a handmade quilt from another... still so much to post at some point... I'm just so grateful.  

For one of the first times, I was too sick to go to the section championship game last week, in Thief River Falls, where Nolan and the Moorhead Spuds would play against Roseau to determine who would go on to the State Tournament.

So I curled up in a chair, next to my radio and listened to Larry as he spoke the words we've dreamed of hearing one day! 

"Your section 8AA Champions are the Moorhead Spuds!"  

So grateful for all who sent photos my way.  With Rick being the photographer of the Spuds, I'm pretty blessed with the special ones he managed to send me.

Nolan getting his medal from Coach Ammerman.

Just one of the many victory shots...

But the one that sneaks up on me?  The one that is priceless to me?

Is when Rick tells me that not only did Colton come running onto the ice, he literally leapt into his brother's arms and hugged him like there's no tomorrow!

And his big brother?  Hugged him hard, all the way back.

Is joy not written all over their faces?  

It was early the next morning when they arrived home.  They all burst into the bedroom and finally, my long awaited for hug came to me, too.  

So we're packing today.  Rick has been cutting and printing giant "heads" of the kids nearly nonstop all weekend.  We're all happily up to our ears in planning and preparing to go to the State Hockey Tournament, on Wednesday, with the Spuds taking on the Hill-Murray Pioneers once again this season, Thursday at 1 pm.   We beat them in OT our last game of the season.  We have so much hope for these boys, and this team.  

One team.  One dream.  ONWARD MOORHEAD! 

And one last little present today?  Dr. Panwalkar said it would be ok for me to skip infusion this week.  I'm still worn down, tired, and having some pain.  But I'm going- no matter what it takes- I'll see you at the X!!   


  1. Was just thinking of you today and delighted to see this post in my feed. I am again so sorry that things are so very difficult. Good luck in hockey!! Your boys are amazing.

  2. The picture of your two sons is priceless. The picture of yourself is not too shabby either. Good luck to the team and enjoy your trip.

  3. I've been thinking of you so often; I'm glad to see read this post. I love seeing your sons filled with such joy, and delighted you will be going with them. My prayers are with you and your family. I'm far away, but close in prayer.

    BTW, you look absolutely beautiful in the photo you shared. Love and light are radiating from YOU. God bless you, Vicky. And good luck, Spuds!!

  4. GO SPUDS!!! thankful for all the good things happening that you were able to record here, and that you will be able to go to the championships! gifts--all.

  5. The joy on those boys faces and in your words. So wonderful!

  6. WoooHOOOOO, Vicky!! No matter what, I know your mother heart is celebrating Nolan and his teams' victory and I'm celebrating with you! Congratulations!!!! So glad you are determined to travel to the next event though I know it takes so very much that you may not have. May you travel on angel wings, sweet girl.

    Grateful for each tender soul that sends you such thoughtfulness and love.

    Not happy to hear of cancer growth but hopeful with you and Dr. P that the chemo drugs will beat it down once more as we prayerfully wait for that breakthrough. Thank you for your continuing blessing of spirit and heart in all you write so perfectly. Love you, Vicky.

    1. Oh always have just the right words..."as we prayerfully wait for that breakthrough." Amen and Amen!!!

  7. Oh honey,
    You are so surrounded by love and light, by care and prayers, by hope and gifts. Yet here's what I know for sure...YOU, Vicky Held Westra, are the real gift. As precious as that amazing hand-made cross, as beautiful inside and out as all those flowers, as caring as every card you have ever received... You give each of us the gift of sharing your heart and your story.
    You give us a gift by sharing photos of your precious Rick and Nolan and Colton. And that picture of the boys embracing...well, my tears just began to overflow. Their grins show their JOY in just being there. And the hockey win...and more to come. You are LIVING LIFE FULLY...
    my dear soul-sis. While it is not easy, and the test results aren't what we wanted to hear, we will just double up our praying efforts. Love always wins, my dear friend, love ALWAYS wins!

    I love you to the moon and back and I will never, ever stop praying!
    Can't wait to hear about the hockey tournament!!

  8. As you lovingly thank those who brightened your days and nights, (and include photos,) I think to myself, "There is a selfless, loving, sweet angel walking...." Your words are always revealing yet gentle. I am truly amazed at the gifts you have. I know they are from the Lord, and I thank Him for them....and I thank Him for you.
    Now. Let's talk about those Moorhead Spuds. YES! YESSSSS!!
    I'm so happy for them...and for you and your family. Congratulations, team.
    Thank you, Rick, for the amazing photos. You captured the sheer joy of the evening.
    Sending you much love, Vicky.
    Always, my friend. Always.

  9. My heart is filled to the brim. I've been missing you! So good to feel like we're having a cup of coffee together.

    Cheering for Moorhead!!

    And I LOVE your outfit--your jeans and that adorable top with fringe. So cute!

    So much love,
    Julie, your sister in Georgia :)

  10. Praying for your week and cheering for Moorhead oxoxox
    Loving you deep and wide from here sweet friend xo

  11. The mantra band is awesome (they show up daily as an ad in my Facebook feed and I'm always tempted to buy). And those pics of your boys are just good for the soul!

  12. Dear Friend!! Sad to hear you have to endure more cancer growth, and have to put up with more fighting, and submit to more resting. I pray over you this Lent Season. And I pray God reaches your soul in a deep manner. May this season be something different, something more... May you lead your family to your Jesus in ways they will carry with them forever. Much much love and rest in His Mighty Arms!!

  13. ...and thanks for letting me know that mail reached you. Very sweet of you. XOX

  14. Dearest Vicky,
    GREAT NEWS!!! I am SO EXCITED that first the SPUDS beat Hill=Murray, sand then beat
    Lakeville South. They are now headed to the FINALS!!!!!!!!... the first time since 2009!
    OH MY GOODNESS! All of us are cheering on the Spuds, and especially Nolan.

    And your interview...another "Oh My Goodness!" How wonderful to see you so beautifully share your mind and heart and spirit! I plan to show my classes, since they have heard all about you! :) Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers that you will feel well enough to go to all of these hockey games.

    Love, love, love you, soul-sis!!

  15. So happy to hear about the Moorhead Spuds! Just know I am always thinking of you Vicky. FYI, you look beautiful in your photo.

  16. Hi Sweet friend,
    It is Thursday morning and you have been on my mind, in my heart and in my prayers.
    Know that I am praying for you for strength for this journey and for energy to enjoy each moment.

    Love you to the moon and back, Vicky Held Westra!
    Your soul sis Linda

  17. Hi Sweet friend,
    It is Thursday morning and you have been on my mind, in my heart and in my prayers.
    Know that I am praying for you for strength for this journey and for energy to enjoy each moment.

    Love you to the moon and back, Vicky Held Westra!
    Your soul sis Linda

  18. Hi Sweet friend,
    You have been on my mind and heart all week and I just wanted to send you
    some LOVES and HUGS and Prayers this morning. It's early here in Spokane,
    and I woke up thinking of you. Right this minute I am praying for your strength and energy and pain management. May you know in your deepest heart of hearts, that whatever you are going through that He is right there with you!!

    Love you always to the moon and back, my dear soul sis!

  19. Hi Vicky,
    Just a note to let you know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Went out with the intent of helping my husband mow but the tractor wasn't cooperating. So I'm back in the house with the intent to clean up the kitchen and make supper but decided to check in while the chicken thaws. Anyway cyber hugs and blessings to you and yours.


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