Thursday, December 7, 2017

living my moments

Each time I log in here, I'm at a different point in my life it seems.  I have so many posts started, and not completed because the news is ever changing, every day.  And it seems lately, I shift from having a good day, to a not so good day, rather quickly.  Or a not so great stream of days, turns into a run of better days.  I just never really know, day to day, how I'm doing.  Its easiest to say "I'm fine," because there isn't any other suitable response it seems. 

This past Sunday, the infusion nurse bringing me into the room I would use, commented on how I didn't look like my usual self.  The pain I had been enduring for a few days had taken its toll, and with all the resources I have at home, I'd reached the limit of what I could do.  She could see it in my eyes.  So I had called the oncologist on call who had said I should go right into the infusion center and get iv morphine to better manage my intense pain.  I was thankful I didn't have to go to the ER, and managed a short trip to the infusion center.   But by Sunday night?  I was feeling up to having a visitor.  My friend Katy came, with a stash of food, and good cheer and a sweet soul all the way around.  And I was in a groggy haze of meds, but so happy to just sit and chat away with her.  She met me in those moments and helped me feel comforted and loved and I deeply appreciate that special visit.  I went from one extreme, to the other, all in one day.  

But the one constant I can always count on?  Is how all of you, like my friend Katy, show up for me!    Just look at the friends below who came for a night of fun by the fire with good food and drinks, and wonderful conversation. I was definitely feeling well at this time. Our hockey community surprised me yet again with the gift of a stadium blanket, that has a battery attached to it and heats up just like my coat! They brought it to me this night and I was blown away with their generous gift for me.  I used the blanket just last week, and it saw me through a chunk of the game and even with a low battery the warmth was just enough to help me sit comfortably all the way through.  My neighbor, Darla, brought me to the game and we were both feeling great after seeing Nolan line up right in front of us, and score his first goal of the season!  I'm so grateful and feel so blessed by the giving spirit of so many friends and families who show up, time and again, to help us move through this crazy roller-coaster of a life that we're on.  

From cards that arrive in the mail, to visits from people that bring food.  One acquaintance brought a pillow with the words "all will be well," on it.  She had just learned how to make pillows and it's beautiful.  I also received a new journal from a friend visiting from the cities, with many other goodies. I'd love to show pictures of it all, but I'm afraid I'll leave someone, or something out.  I surround myself with all of these things and they are tangible reminders of just how much everyone is supporting not just me, but our whole family.

I snapped this quick photo of the boys heading out on the road for their first hockey trip of the season.  I just wasn't up to traveling and was grateful I could watch the games streamed on my computer.  Colton on the left, a freshman this year, is a team manager for the Spuds hockey team, and Nolan is a junior forward for the team.

After my crazy adventure through the infusion center on Sunday, Dr. Panwalkar showed up at my appointment Tuesday, with concern written all over his face.  We had quite a somber, although thorough visit with him.  He too, can see the difference in me at a deeper level.  He was filled with compassion and concern.  He said after listening to my lungs, that they sounded like I was much more limited in air movement on the left side and wanted an X-ray done before I left the clinic that day.  He'd go ahead and get a procedure lined up for me to have the lung drained of any fluid, if necessary.

I was surprised by how quickly the nurse's aid took me back to the department for the X-ray and then how quickly they took me back to get it done.  Dr. Panwalkar managed to read the film before I left and felt I didn't have too much fluid, so no draining would be necessary.  I just had to be careful not to push myself too far past my limited ability to breathe deep.  Too many tumors on top of old radiation damage is taking its toll.

But I had tolerated the last chemo session pretty well.  My white blood counts were low, but I'll be getting a series of 3 booster shots next week to help them climb back up again.  We also bumped my morphine up a bit more and added in some Advil for inflammation.  All throughout my visit with Dr. P he was very in tune with me and took his time answering each little question I had.  I'd lob a concern out to him, and he'd ponder it carefully and volley back to me with feedback I could use, or suggest something to try.   But Dr. Panwalkar seemed to be able to tell, I didn't need to know more than what was facing me right now in this moment.  Its too tricky to try and look out a ways when day to day everything can change so fast.  Meeting me in the moment seems to be the best way to do this right now.

In one of the first books I read about a woman's journey through cancer, the author, Katherine Russell Rich told of her checklist she used to determine how she was doing.  She would ask herself, "Are you in the hospital?"  "Do you need help with breathing?"  "Do you need help getting up and walking?"  If she could answer no to these questions, then she was doing just fine.  These have stayed with me and helped see me through what I face day to day.  We could all use a daily checklist to help determine how we're doing, couldn't we?  

One of the other new found treasures I've been reading is Oprah Winfrey's book called "The Wisdom of Sundays."  I've often pondered what has shifted my focus to taking in the small moments and treasuring them in a new way.  Why is this such a big presence in my life?

Page 16.  I just had to turn the page to number 16 and the words resonated so deeply with me.  I've spoken before about how I just want to expand my time and not worry about extending it.  I use all my senses to hear, smell, touch, and taste all that is offered in any given moment.  Gary Zukav wrote about just this experience saying "As people become multisensory they begin to become aware.  Millions of us are acquiring that sense that life has a meaning, that I have a purpose, that I am more than this mind and body...  Multisensory perception does not make us more kind or patient or caring or less angry.  It makes us more aware.  And when you get that sense, the spiritual work begins."  

The more pared down my day to day life becomes, the more I can allow myself to grow spiritually.  I'm working on that.  I have so much to learn just right here in the now.  So I just keep trying to live my moments as fully as I can.  

On the outside I may look fine.  But it won't always reflect how I am physically doing on the inside.  Maybe thats ok.  Maybe I can be ok in some other ways, and not worry too much about the rest.

Thank you for coming along with me!  My gratitude is overflowing for the abundance I truly feel I have.  

When you get lucky

When you get lucky

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