Archive | May 2012

To Every Thing There is a Season

And a time to every purpose under Heaven.  A time to be born, a time to die.  A time to blog and a time to play.  A time to be well, and a time to be sick.  Ok, well, maybe that isn’t the exact words to Jeremiah 3:1-2, but it seems appropriate for me.

There are a few reasons I haven’t gotten to my blog lately.  The main one is that we took off early Saturday morning & spent the rest of that day & most of Sunday out at the Sea Gypsy in Lincoln City with the Ylens.  It wasn’t the sunniest weather out there, but it was mild, and there was hardly any wind!  Soon after we arrived, we went out to the beach to relax.  It’s not often that you can do that out here on the Oregon Coast!  Tom & the kids had given me a pop-up shade – kinda like half a tent – for my birthday.  It worked perfectly on the beach!  (Yeah, I know, I need a pedicure. 🙂 )

 We built a small fire and roasted hotdogs for lunch, then the kids played in the water.  They said it wasn’t that cold, but were definitely interested in going in and playing in the pool later in the afternoon.  Probably one of the most fun parts of the trip was having the campfire in the evening and eating s’mores & singing songs on the beach.  After a late breakfast on Sunday, some of us went to the outlet mall for a while, and then packed it all in to head back to the valley.

My brother Ryan arrived Sunday night after we got back and we did the whole campfire/s’mores thing again.  It seems to be our standard, go-to, evening snack anymore.  If nothing else, it’s a fun, relaxing get-together activity, and allows small children to play with fire under parental supervision – which is thrilling for them! 🙂

Monday & Tuesday were a flurry of activity with Uncle Ryan.  My cousin Stephanie & her husband Brad hosted a Memorial Day BBQ at their house.  I couldn’t believe how many people were there – all our local cousins showed up, plus a lot of Brad’s family as well.  Even my Grandpa & Grandma were there.

L to R: Ryan (my brother), Sherilyn (not my daughter 🙂 ), Amanda, Andrea (my sister), Casey (Amanda’s brother), Me, Stephanie (who pulled weeds in the rain for me), Daniel (Sherilyn & Stephanie’s brother)

On Tuesday, we hung out at Mom & Dad’s for most of the day, then went to my niece Anika’s T-ball game, and then her sister Maija’s softball game.  Her game ended with Maija being the winning pitcher & getting the winning RBI.  Not bad for a second grader.  Then back to Dad & Mom’s for more s’mores & time to hang out with Ryan before his flight out this morning.  Sometimes I feel sorry for Ryan, he comes and ends up getting completely OD’d on nieces, nephews & family. 🙂

As far as how I’ve been feeling goes, I have definitely not recovered as well from this treatment as from the first one.  The last few days I’ve actually had a bit more nausea than usual, and have even had some itchiness return along with one day waking up with night sweats.  I’m gonna have to talk to the doctor about that at my third chemo session tomorrow.

I had some time today to work on bills.  Yikes!  I have effectively doubled our normal monthly bills this month.  Thanks to my sister, I do have some hints on medical bills that I will share in another blog.  This one seems to be pretty much done.

Incognito? I think not.

I went to my son’s choir concert last night.  Because of where I am at with my treatment cycle, I had to wear a mask, and since my hair is getting a lot thinner, I just felt it was time to put on a hat.  Let me tell you, if you want to stand out in a crowd, try that outfit.  The little kids are the best – they just wide-eyed, open mouth stare at you – like you’re from another planet.  It’s actually funny if you’re in the right frame of mind. 🙂  Middle schoolers – they look at you weird & when you walk into the bathroom, you feel compelled to say, “Don’t worry, I’m not contagious.”  Adults are a little more discreet – a glance, and then usually a smile, or they’ll just look away.  Unfortunately in the past, when I saw people that were wearing masks in public places, my first thought was, “Oh brother, a germophobe!”  Yeah, God is using this to humble me.

I have to tell you that I did consider grabbing a sharpie and writing a big smilie face on the front of the mask though – just to make the best of it. 🙂  Unfortunately, my middle school-aged children were somehow not really keen on that idea.  I don’t think it would be bad – might make people laugh!  Not saying I won’t do it later… *insert evil laugh here!!!*

Cancer is a funny – read strange – disease.  There are so many people out there with cancer.  You pass them in the store, you see them as you’re driving, you may even be working with them, and yet a lot of the time, you have no idea.  Each person handles their cancer differently, and that’s ok.

Some are completely open about it (like me).  I feel that if I’m going to go through this, I might as well make the most of it & let other people know what all goes on.  Maybe it can be less intimidating for others if I do.  And I have to say (as you will read on) this is the view that I am growing into & this is my heart.

Some people downplay it.  I have to say I’ve been guilty of that – you want people not to look at you and say, “Oh, that poor girl!” but rather make people believe that you have a little handle on your sanity (even if you don’t).

There are those that LOVE to be the victim, and capitalize on the attention.  Ok, so at the beginning I think I can safely say that I had a bit of this.  Yes, I’m confessing.  But at the same time, wouldn’t you?  I mean, this is CANCER.  You know – the big “C”.  That disease that KILLS people!  Don’t I have a RIGHT to feel sorry for myself?  You bet I do!  (Editor’s note here: this is probably not the healthiest place to stay for too long.  Once in a while – ABSOLUTELY!!!)  But if you are finding yourself in this place for long periods of time, please let your doctor know and they can help you with this.  Support groups can be a GREAT place to find sympathetic ears, because if you do choose to park your little hiney in this place too long, it unfortunately WILL drive a lot of people away.

Some hide it, or deny it outright.  They continue at work taking unexplained “sick days”, their co-workers know something is going on, but no one has the nerve to ask, or they ask and are told, “Oh I’m fine.” Well, they’re fine alright, just a different definition of “FINE”:
Wow.  This whole blog went an entirely different direction than I intended, but I think that’s alright.  That’s part of how cancer works.  It takes you places that you didn’t plan to go.  And now to spin it back the way I was thinking would just “wreck” it.  So I guess what I’d like to say is, give a little grace when you come across people that don’t look quite like you expect.  There’s probably more going on than meets the eye.

A Glimpse into my Thoughts…

I’m struggling this week with writing.  Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I don’t know how to say it. My goal of this blog is not to be a place to complain, yet I do need to be real.

Those of you who care about me and read this blog know that I’m not a person that wants to go around & whine all the time – I can’t stand people like that.  But yesterday it just got too much for me.  So far, each morning this week, I have woken up feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck.  Every muscle in my body aches.  I could take prescription meds for it, but then I’d have all the other side-effects that make life yucky. Sometimes I don’t know what is worse, feeling cruddy with the natural consequences of chemo, or feeling cruddy from those side-effects.  It’s like a lose-lose situation – I can think clearly & hurt, or I can be foggy headed & not hurt.  Neither option is pleasant, but one of them is necessary.

Since my hair started coming out last Friday, I can just run my hands through my hair and it comes out.  I’ve been telling people lately, “God knows the hairs on my head, but I’m keeping him on his toes!” I can just imagine Him up there in Heaven, busy about His other “duties” and looking down here saying, “Kristin, quit that! There goes another 12…” LOL  So I was pulling out some pajamas last night, and came across a scarf.  I thought I’d try putting it on.  I knew that I didn’t know how to do it right, and that it probably looked a little goofy, but when Tom started grinning & chuckling at it, I just lost it.  I know he wasn’t meaning to be hurtful, but I couldn’t help but be hurt.  It’s rough enough knowing that soon I’ll be bald, but I think part of the reason it scares me is because I don’t know how to make myself look nice.

I am so grateful for all the prayers and good thoughts.  Thank you.  I saw a post on Facebook today that I liked and hope you enjoy it too.
Sometimes, I just want to be done with the journey, yet I know the road is still so long ahead of me.  Please pray for strength not only for me, but for others battling this evil disease.

39 is Mighty Fine!

I’ve been struggling with what to blog all day. This was definitely not the way I would have written my life story for the beginning of my 39th year, but maybe that’s why God doesn’t let us see what’s ahead – cuz He knows we’d go running for the hills! 🙂

I am so thankful for all the wonderful birthday wishes from family, friends, and so many others! I was given fun balloons & an inspirational piece of artwork from the Bussell’s, a dozen roses and cupcakes from the Poff’s, a super fun birthday card & pizza from the Haile’s, multiple birthday cards from others…the list goes on enough that I’d better stop before I forget someone. Oh, I did! Grandma Gerig gave me a pretty china dish as well.

Overall, I had a good day, and I know it’s a direct result of you – all of you who are praying for me & lifting me up. Thank you. I appreciate each & every one of you. Now my goal before I turn 40? BEAT CANCER!

The Rise of the Chemo Monster

Apparently chemo makes me cranky.  I didn’t think it made that much of a difference in me, but I think what happens is I just can’t handle multiple things happening at a time, especially conflicts.  While a bunch of things were going on, Tom said, “Here comes the Chemo Monster!”  We all had a good laugh over it, and it makes me try harder to not be grouchy. 🙂

Interestingly enough, I have felt pretty good as far as post-chemo blech is concerned.  Yesterday morning, I didn’t even feel like I’d had chemo the day before!  I had enough energy to strip the bed and clean the kitchen since it was a disaster.  I could tell that I did need to rest myself a bit though, so for the afternoon, I stuck in a movie – “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” – and just hung out in the living room.

As I was looking around on Facebook, I came across a group called, “Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s Disease Awareness and Survivor’s Club”.  I’ve found it to be really helpful, as a lot of questions that I have had about this are already answered on there.  Plus, I’ve found others who have just recently been diagnosed as well.  But the coolest thing I found was a photo that someone took of a cancer survivor looking in the mirror.  I’m not going to give you the details yet, because when I saw it, I emailed it to my brother-in-law, Mark Ylen (who happens to be a professional photographer) and told him I wanted to do this picture, but didn’t have the technology to do it, and did he want to?  His answer was, “Wow! I think I have to.  I had a dream about taking cancer pictures just last night.”  So after they got back from my niece Maija’s softball game, we had a photo shoot. 🙂  I’ll post the picture later – it’s definitely not ready yet.

This morning, Andrea came over and we had coffee on the deck.  It was nice just sitting and visiting with her.  I’ve now decided it’s time to camp out on the couch for the rest of the day – I can feel the steroids wearing off and the yuckiness starting – it’s weird to feel good yet know that I’ll head downhill again soon.

6/28/12 Auction items update

I just wanted to update you all with more specifics on items to be auctioned off. This came from Scott Schuler – DJ for KRKT radio station 99.9 in Albany, OR.

1. 2 Sunday passes to the Oregon Jamboree

2. “Autographed items are en route from some of Nashville’s biggest stars for auction”

3. 2 single person, bottom fishing trips with Cap’n Dan Zimmerman on board the Mariner out of Depoe Bay

And then he says…more to come! So stay tuned, it’s gonna be fun!

Save the date: 6/28/12!

More info to come, but on Thursday, June 28th, 2012, Keller Williams Realty Mid-Willamette is putting on a Fundraising BBQ and Auction. It will be a come and go as you want, from 11:00 (for business lunchers) all the way to 7:30 pm. Scott Schuler with country radio station KRKT will be there providing entertainment and so far auction items include a pass to one of the country music festivals this summer, and an autographed guitar!!!

I am blessed beyond measure!