Archive | October 2012

Better Than I Deserve

Some days it seems like words just flow while other days I feel stuck in my writing, but I felt it important to update all of you who care about me and my family.

It’s almost as if I’ve been waiting for the hammer to fall. Waiting for that moment when I start feeling horribly rotten again. The weird thing is, it hasn’t happened like it has in the past. Now, I’m not saying I haven’t had any side effects, because I have, but they have mercifully been so much easier. I definitely got cranky yesterday though 🙂 and naps have been a daily occurrence lately.

I have to believe that it is because of all the prayers going up on our behalf, but also, maybe partly because I know this is it! There are no more chemo sessions in my future. Yes, I go for hydration treatment tomorrow, but that’s going to be my last IV for a while. I am really excited about that!

Thank you all for yummy meals and coveted prayers. Onward to health!

The End Is Here!

It’s official.  I am done with chemotherapy!!!!

I’m tired, and a little bit uninspired as writing goes – which is normal for after chemo feelings.  I brought an entourage with me today: Mom, Tom and my sister Andrea.  Joanne was my nurse today, she & Shawna have been my main nurses throughout this journey.  It has been such a blessing having nurses that care about you taking care of you.  I can’t say enough positive things about Willamette Valley Cancer Institute oncology nursing staff.  Almost makes me want to go into nursing…almost. 🙂

It’s also been amazing to have a doctor with the same faith as you.  Having Dr. Sharman as my doctor has been meaningful because I know that not only do I have a doctor that is beyond gifted in the medical field, but he has the Great Physician on his side.  To know that he is going to the One that is the Healer for guidance.  Thank you Dr. Sharman for your care.

All the support I have had during this 6 month journey has been overwhelming.  It’s difficult to remember who all has done and given what.  At least with the mealtrain.com website, I can go back for the past few months and figure out who all has brought us meals. 🙂  I can’t begin to tell you about my mom though.  She has pretty much rewritten her spring, summer, & fall to make sure that I would have transportation to and from all my appointments.  This has allowed us to have some good one-on-one time that I will treasure forever.  Now to figure out how to continue it, because I do not want to go through this again! 🙂

Thank you all for the prayers and support.  I’m going to close for tonight because both kids have Health speeches to finish (before tomorrow of course!) and they need my help.  And right now, I’m thinking clearly enough to be able to help them, so that is QUITE an opportunity for them!

 

Joanne and Me – the END of Chemotherapy!

‘Twas The Night Before Chemo

‘Twas the night before chemo
And all through the house,
The mama was blogging
About her next bout…

Of chemo and steroids
And nausea meds and fluids
She wondered and wondered
Just how she’d get through it.

She thought about how
This was the last time
She’d ride that bad ‘coaster
Of sickness and find

Herself feeling groggy
Each moment awake
Or nauseous and dizzy
Instead, she would think

Of her strength returning
And feeling brand new
Of thinking all clearly
And losing weight too.

She thought about how
God had brought her through this
The fight of her life
Had been much short of bliss.

How scary and awful
The path she’d been on
Had seemed at the start
But now that it’s most done

Had been a long road
Of learning to trust
A God who is faithful
To every one of us.

He never did leave her
He never did go
He stayed right there through it
And wouldn’t you know

She knew He was there
From the bittermost part
To the triumphant ending
That was due to start

In less than 12 hours
She’d enter the room
Where others had traveled
The same path of doom

And exited victorious
As winners as champs
Her last day of poison
She’d have the last laugh.

So on to recovery
Twas happy to know
That the rocky next week
Would most certainly go

The way of all memories
Fading with time
The scars being reminders
About a worse time.

How lessons were learned
And how miracles lived
How God answered prayers
And how families gave

OF MEALS!

OF CAR RIDES!

OF GIFTS OF THE HEART!

OF PRAYERS!

OF WELL WISHES!

OF PURSES AND ART!

OF LABORS OF LOVE!

AND OF MONEY GIFTS TOO!

The list that she had,
Well it just grew and grew.

So much to be thankful
So many who cared.
Sometimes she just wondered
Why her life was spared.

She knew she had purpose
And purposed inside
To always remember
And never to hide

Her light in a corner
But let it so shine
That others would wonder
How could she be fine

Having been through this journey
Not totally done
But feeling triumphant
Like she’d already won.

The dishwasher’s going
The kids tucked in tight
It’s time for this mama
To just say good night.

My New “Favorite” Song

Had to write a quick blog about a song I heard tonight on KHPE 107.9 (our local Christian radio station).  I actually heard it a little while ago because I put in on an Evernote list in my phone as a song that I eventually want to get on iTunes.  Anyway, it makes me happy, and talks about how it’s good to be alive…  And just in case you’d like to hear it, I’ve included the official YouTube video at the bottom of the page.  So enjoy, and live, because it’s good to be alive.

“Good To Be Alive” by Jason Gray

Hold on
Is this really the life I’m living?
Cause I don’t feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake, every breath that I take you’ve given
So right here, right now
While the sun is shining down

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive, yeah

Hold on
If the life that we’ve been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the giver
Then right here, right now
This is the song I’m singing out

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive
[x2]

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say “thank you”

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be, it’s good to be alive

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say “thank you”

 

(Click the picture to play the song.  That hint is for you mom. 🙂 )

Sometimes It’s Hard to Write

I have a friend that is a real writer. You know, the kind that write books that get published and people actually buy to read. Her name is Karen Barnett. She recently got back from a writer’s convention or conference or something where she had even been nominated for an award. (Man, I really hope I’m getting the details correctly.) Me, I just blog. And I don’t do that very well sometimes. But I think that comes with the territory.

Like right now. I’m pecking away on my iPad, because I can’t sleep. I overdid it today. I know I did. But that’s ok, because I can rest tomorrow. Thank goodness for meds, though when you’ve taken everything the doctors say to take in order to get some sleep and you still can’t, that’s not a good sign. I do feel like I accomplished something today though. I got through a bunch of drawers of craft stuff that I haven’t touched in what seems like years, and whittled it down a lot. I figure the local Boys & Girls club can use the sequins, Pom poms, and felt ornament kits more than I will have time to. And my kids don’t seem to have the same interests as I did when I was younger, so they aren’t likely to use them either.

Uh oh, I must have disrupted the cat. She moved from where she was cuddled up beside me. Tom hasn’t been able to sleep well either lately. He’s out in the garage playing with a jigsaw that he bought a few weeks ago. He has some big dreams about making puzzles and having Sharolyn do some painting on them. They started one of an ostrich & I have to admit its starting to look not too bad. Of course, once he got a finer blade for the saw so that it didn’t look like a shark had chewed the pieces out of the scraps of wood that he’s been using, that helped too.

We had a good talk tonight. Fear has been real here. It’s nice being able to finally get to this point where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But beating that battle has only made other fears and concerns come to the top. I have been so glad for the incredibly unseasonal weather. I don’t want the rain. Not because I don’t like the rain – I LOVE hearing it pour. Knowing I’m cozy and warm in my house. But last year we were thinking that the roof looked like it needed to maybe be replaced, so we had a couple different contractors come out and take a look at it. They thought it would be fine for another year, and it was. But I was supposed to be able to work this year and get a new roof put on. Um, that didn’t quite happen. In fact, last year when I crawled the ridge of the house to put moss-be-gone stuff on it (because I didn’t want Tom on the roof repeating the broken back fall of 2010 – or was it 09? who knows – I noticed that the ridge line was showing some cracking, but not any holes or anything. Well a couple months ago I was trying to make good on a “promise” to Blaine about putting some stuff on his walls in his room, and in the process of trying to find a stud in the wall, I found daylight where it shouldn’t be, a quarter sized hole in the ridge above his room. So I’m glad for the sunshine. It means one more day that I don’t have to worry about rain coming in where it shouldn’t.

Then today, I got a wonderful gift of works from my friends, Lionel & Kristen Wilson. They sent over the sweetest gal named Emma, that did some organizing and cleaning in my kitchen. I don’t know about you, but sometimes time gets away from me, and I don’t get to things that are important, like cleaning out cupboards. I mean, it’s one of those things you can put off. That is, until you have moths flying out of your cupboard like kamikaze pilots. Then you have to quit putting it off. Except now, I think my mom would kill me if she caught me standing on my countertops. And to put it honestly, I’m thinking my balance isn’t so great, so I should probably stay off them.

Then there’s always that stuff that happens when people don’t understand what people are like inside. Tom is the best, most wonderful husband ever, but not everybody realizes that there are truly good people that don’t have ulterior motives going on inside when they do things on the outside. I have to admit, I’m even at fault sometimes for taking his actions the wrong way. In the process of someone just being kind and giving, people see (or think they see) more into something. Then people get hurt. Then hurt people hurt other people, and they hurt other people. And soon we are all hurting. It’s just not fair. He’s had to face the fears of “what if Kristin dies, how will I take care of the kids? How will their needs be met?” I know we have tons of wonderful friends, but truly, in the middle of a crisis like cancer, you don’t think or act clearly. People going through stuff like this need extra grace not judgment.

Oh, another thing that happened recently was that my dishwasher quit. Now, I’ve been without a “real” dishwasher for probably 14 years, cuz we moved from our new house before the kids were born. I’ve had portable ones, but truly, they don’t work quite the same. So recently, I’m loading the dishwasher like normal, putting in the little brick of Finish dishwasher detergent, and open the dishwasher at the end of the cycle only to find a crumbled up brick still lying there mushy from the humidity in the machine, but definitely without clean dishes. It worked off & on for a while. If I’d stand there and keep starting it over & over until I heard water coming into the machine. But one day a couple weeks ago it just wasn’t going to pump the water anymore. Now here’s God’s sense of humor. He KNOWS Tom doesn’t like junk hanging around the house, so what does HE do? HE sends LikeNu Appliance to deliver a refrigerator to the neighbor’s house – while they’re not home. Guess what? They take non-working appliances from your house for free! Junk be gone! But then, no dishwasher, not even a gimpy one. So with all the Sears ads we did some shopping and I got a great deal on a new Maytag. Gonna go built in, but that means I lose a cabinet, drawer & cutting board. Ouch. I use those things…a lot… But you gotta do what you gotta do. So since there’s demolition involved, I can’t really go with a home job, I need someone who knows what they’re doing, hence a contractor. Casey Hooley had just done some work for my mom and put some beautiful vinyl wainscoting up in her kitchen, so I asked him to come bid the job for me. He did fantastic work and I have a new working dishwasher IN my kitchen! Oh the simple joys. But in the process of this, it needed to be electrified (for lack of a better word). But we couldn’t do that because we had what had to be the original fuse box from when this house was built in 1948. And it was having it’s issues too. If you whacked anywhere near the box, the main would flicker off. (This is not a good problem by the way.) So Dennis from McLain Electric came and changed out the panel and gave us a circuit for the dishwasher – YAY!

As most of you know, if you start a home improvement project, it usually will morph into something that you didn’t expect, like dry rot or something equally fun. This project hasn’t disappointed, but has been a little more merciful than I expected. So far, I think the only thing we have left to do that’s tied to the electric panel-dishwasher job, is an unexpected leak under the house. Naturally. Oh, and then today Emma put some contact paper down in the cabinet under the sink because the wood was looking so bad. It was a good thing she did that, because when she was all done, there was a generous sized puddle in one spot and a smaller one in another under the dual sink. At least the plumber hasn’t been here yet. I’m definitely going to get some issues taken care of while he’s here. I might even add the loose toilet and the shower diverter that has never worked right since we moved in while he’s at it.

It’s 1:25 am. I guess the meds didn’t work. I should be conked out right now. Well, at least I got some writing done. Maybe that will free up space in my mind so I can sleep now. I hear Tom coming in. I guess I’ll call it a night. Definitely wrote a lot more than I planned. Talk to you later.

Chemo: Treatment #11

This is almost it!  I got my 11th chemotherapy treatment today and I’m so glad it’s done.  I, of course, do not feel good anymore – those last 3 days were so wonderful.  I’m just going to enjoy the memories of those great days, and know that I will have more to come in the future.  Until then, I am going to hang in there through these coming cruddy days.

My appointment with Dr. Sharman went well today, he gave me a little bit of an idea what I can expect for the next year or so.  Because my insurance year resets on November 1st, I asked for my next PET scan to be before the end of October.  So he set it for Halloween – should be interesting. 🙂  After my last chemo on the 15th, Dr. Sharman told me that for the next 3 years or so, I will have physical exams every 3 months, and PET scans twice a year.  He also said that it can be harder entering into “Survivor Mode” because as a cancer fighter, I’ve been living with tunnel vision.  I have been focusing on what’s important to beat this cancer, and pretty soon, my tunnel will be opening and I will be starting to see (and allow) more things into my frame of vision.  Please pray that I will be able to add things gradually while balancing getting well at the same time.

This is so cool.  I mean, I’m talking about getting WELL!  Only ONE MORE CHEMO TO GO!!!!!!

Oh, and if any of you out there love to cook or just enjoy food in general, this is one of your last opportunities to jump onto the Meal Train – toot toot!  It’s pretty easy, just go to the link here: http://www.mealtrain.com/?id=m9rq8qphlkst and pick a day.  The days are all pre-scheduled so all you do is pick the one that works for you.  My friend Angela Miller set it up, and I think I will forever be in her debt.  Or if nothing else, I definitely know how to set things up for my friends when the tables get turned some day.

Before closing our appointment with prayer (at my request) Dr. Sharman reminded us of some Scriptures during our appointment today.  I don’t remember if this verse is exactly what he said, but when I just looked it up, it is really appropriate!  In this passage below Paul is speaking to the Philippians:

19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been give to us in Christ Jesus. 20 Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.   Philippians 4:19-20