Friday, August 11, 2017

life in my days

I arrived at Roger Maris, on Tuesday, the first day of August.  It was one of the valet parking men who opened my door, and for the first time in 6 years after greeting me, wondered if perhaps I might like a wheelchair?  I smiled and affirmed that yes, a wheelchair was the safest route for my little chicken legs to go. 

It was a day filled with so many new experiences, amidst so many well known activities I could do in my sleep.  Like stepping on the scale before I'm taken back to the exam room.  But this time?  I see a number I hope not to visit anytime soon.  108.  Oh my.  It shows, as much as I feel the frailty.

My blood is drawn and then the wait begins.  My tailbone is sore after a few minutes of sitting and I add this to my list of little concerns to address.  Yet mostly, I wait to hear what the nurse practitioner I'll see, will address with me.

I'm wheeled back into the exam room as my phone starts to ding, alerting me to test results coming back on my labs.  I decide to just wait and let Carrie the NP, tell me.

Moments later Carrie steps into the exam room and offers a warm hello. She sits down and turns to face me, seeking my eyes, and talking directly to me.  She simply wants me to know I'm in charge of how this will go.  That she wants to listen to me, and let me dictate how I want things. 

Its a new conversation and yet, it truly allows me to follow my heart.  I simply tell her these are new unchartered waters for me.  They leave me wanting her and my medical providers, like Dr. Panwalkar, to lead me with their experience.  I know the decisions are mine to make, but I welcome their wisdom, their perspective, and skill in navigating this new course we're on. 

So she smiles and we move right into my lab results. I'm a bit flummoxed by my results.  In the extra week I was given to recover- most of my counts had risen into the normal range!  I could do chemo!  What? I'm instantly struck by the power of prayer.  Nothing else can adequately explain how high some of those numbers grew! Just hearing that tiny bit of news was enough for me to say yes, I would do another round of chemo. Relief flooded through me. While I still have some lower counts, that leave me a little lightheaded and dizzy when I move at times, Carrie felt with time some of those counts may still climb as well.  The rest of the exam went by quickly.  

The chemo dose was reduced a slight amount, but the second infusion of Carboplatin and Herceptin went well.  With steroids in my system, the yucky side effects didn't show up for a few days.  But I also had just the right meds to help me combat them.  

So how am I doing?  Overall, I think I'm slowly starting to recover.  I have had a few days with pain that was hard to manage, but through the Grace of God I somehow made it through.  I can readily admit I have cried, and surrendered, and shouted when I need to.  And I'll see Dr. Panwalkar on the 22nd and will ask for his advice on what I can take to help get me through days like that. But after a few rough times, steadily the days have gone better.

I started reading more.  I'm hungry for some good reading suggestions.  I've also started eating more.  Thanks to all who have so generously cooked and served a meal to us, we're so grateful.  I always feel the love sprinkled in with all the comfort and nourishment the food provides. It truly makes a difference in our lives and I am always seeking my own ways to pay it forward in some small way.  

As hard as this has been on the boys, our bond just strengthens with time.  They check in with me often, and help with everything from getting me meds to laying in bed watching tv with me.  

My phone bings and bleeps with texts and emails- so many wonderful friends just checking in with me.  And so many others sharing encouraging words with Rick to bring home to me-my blessings overflow.  

And I've opened the door to my home, and my bedroom, where friends have come and chatted the hours away.  We just set something up in advance and they text before they come over.  It uplifts me so to have these face to face interactions, with so many going out of their way to offer support to us.

Love to you all!  


  1. I saw this pop up on FB and couldn't wait to read it!

    Ohhhhh, I'm grateful, relieving, amazed, and filled with love~~~~~~

    You have the ability to draw readers into your heart in one line. We're right there with you. You're so incredibly talented--and gracious--to welcome us into to your world.

    I love you dearly and I'm praying.


  2. So glad to read of your improving health. It's also nice to know you wail and shriek as other human-type beings. This mortal existence is tough, joyous, painful and full of all kinds of wonder. I'm so honored to know you.

  3. I hope to be one of those visitors soon! Vicky I think you'd enjoy "The Power of Silence" as much as I am (Cardinal Robert Sarah). It's easy to read in chunks too - a plus. You made me giggle with the line about chicken legs. You are anything but chicken dear one! Always in my prayers...

  4. Well, "Chicken Legs" - it's so good to hear from you. So good to hear that you are finding more strength, feeling some improvement, taking more treatment and still finding ways to live your days. That you have so many people who surround you with love in the many ways that they do, is a testament to just how special a person you truly are. You go girl.. you just keep doing, being, living, shining your light on us all...

  5. i have been as hungry for your words as you are for reading material! thanks for using your limited energy to share your world!

  6. What a journey, dear Vicky. I feel as though you've gone coast-to-coast on the Oregon Trail, in a covered wagon, or maybe an uncovered wagon, with bad guys chasing you. And yet, here you are climbing down and announcing that you've arrived, the VICTOR!

    I'm so glad you got answered prayers in the form of such good lab results. And that there is a plan and you are having some better days and meaningful time with your boys who I know are the best healing medicine there is. Love you and I'm going to find a good book and have it sent to you. Thank you for this post, Honey.

  7. My dear, precious soul sis,
    Oh what a gift you are to my life and my heart. Oh what a reminder you are about choosing joy and love and GRATITUDE, no.matter.what. You, dear Vicky, are my role model for how to live life fully. How truly powerful it is to choose to Iive your moments, and squeeze all the love and joy from them that you can.

    Thank you, thank you for sharing so authentically about having to ask for a wheelchair and for weighing 108 lbs. It seems to me that in those moments that are hard, when we feel so vulnerable, that our light shines the brightest. Yours is shining so brightly that I can feel it in Spokane!! Often courage doesn't roar, honey. Courage often comes by waking up that next day and living life as fully as possible. Your courage helps me, and others, to live more courageously. Thank you for sharing about your boys and while they are sad, how they minister to you, their precious Mama, by their presence and love. I know how you love them, and Rick, and how they love you!

    And thank you for sharing about your lab scores. I have absolutely no doubt that prayer helped to elevate your lab scores in such a positive way. Praise God for some very positive news!!
    This morning I am asking God, the Creator of Heaven and earth, to sustain and strengthen you, to strengthen your legs so you can be more mobile, and to keep up your appetite so you have strength for this journey. I am asking Him, dear heart, to hold you in the palm of His Almighty hand so you can continue feeling better every day.

    I won't stop praying, not ever. I love you,Vicky Held Westra, to the moon and back...ALWAYS!

  8. Glad you had some good test results. You are blessed to have friends to support you. Praying for God's blessings on you and your family each day. I go for my yearly exam Monday. I am always anxious. Cancer has such a history of showing up again. God bless. Francis C. Moore

  9. You repay it x 1 million by sharing your faith and love of God. And everything in between. Yay for today always.

  10. Strength strength strength. You keep fighting and it is unbelievable. I am so glad you and Rick have all this support around you. I pray you feel incredibly loved. I wish I could do more, like come see you face to face as well. XOX

  11. I am so happy to hear you're feeling better. You have so much grace that shines through your adversities. How I pray for you to regain your strength and continue to live your life. May God be with you...

  12. Vicky, I was so glad to read that your counts have climbed so much higher and that you are starting to feel better! Yes, prayer is powerful! May God continue to bless you with strength, my friend. I'm sending you love, hugs and prayers, as always.

  13. I must say that I opened this post with a little trepidation after reading the last one. Our God never fails to amaze me. So thankful for your increased blood counts. I was struck by your response to Carrie about you leading the way forward but your desire to fall on their wisdom and experience. I pray I have the humility inline to do the same...with everything. Continued prayers for you, your boys and your superman. Adjustments and changes all around. Asking for grace and joy in the days ahead.


I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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