Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's Next

So I’ve been pondering what to write next. Life feels like it’s finally getting back to normal. My energy and emotions are doing well for the most part. I finally heard from my oncologist today about the next medication (for the abdominal tumors) that she wants to put me on. She says the research is good and that 6 out of 10 people have good success with it. We are now waiting for it to be approved, by whom I’m not sure but I suppose it’s sort of like getting authorization to bill for these meds.

I mentioned in previous posts that I was ill at ease with what happens next. I was feeling like I had to start life over again…as is with most big issues and changes in life. Since my last post life has become a bit more clear. The mandate is still the same as it was before the radiation knocked me out, which I felt was to watch for what God is doing and share his love in those places. I suppose that may sound a bit general and airy fairy but it’s the simplest way to put it. To explain it more would be an entire post in itself. Interestingly enough, as I’m wondering what I’m supposed to do next, there happens to be a local info/prayer meeting for “Partners” which is an organization that helps the displaced people of Burma (inside and outside of the country). If you want to know what’s “really” going on in Burma check out partnersworld.org online.

The people of Burma have been on my heart long before they hit the news last month. Our pastors have been visiting Partners in Thailand over the last two years and have always come home with heartbreaking stories along side amazing stories of joy, love, grace and mercy. Living the basics of what Jesus taught truly happens in these places. It’s like nothing our western minds can comprehend. Finally having the chance to meet a few of the guys that run Partners was really great. They shared information that isn’t broadcast over the news and clarified details of the war and the people affected.
This was one of those moments when you have to make a decision…do you hear this info but file it away somewhere because it’s just too much for your heart to take and figure what can I do anyway or do you let all the horrific stories and joyful stories sink into your heart and at least try to do something about it.
For me, if I liked it or not, these stories became woven into my heart and I can’t just let them fade away into the ether. What I’ll do has yet to be revealed but for now it’s a journey into discovering my emotions. Might sound funny but really, how many of us actually connect with how we’re really feeling. Perhaps it’s just me but anytime sadness or heartbreak shows up, in an effort to stay in control, I push them down. After all, I’m “strong” don’t you know. Funny thing about that statement is that it’s backwards. I think to be truly strong you need to be able to let the emotions come up, whatever they may be.

If I am to love on people effectively I think I need to be connected to the entire scope of emotions – the good and the hard. I suppose we all need to do that to live healthy lives but my guess is we all struggle with that in some way or another. To wade into the river of heartbreak and disappointment is a very scary thing. There’s a fear that if I open that door that I may not be able to shut it again. I know it’s a lie but never the less very real. I don’t know what it’s all going to look like or how many times I’ll stumble but I know it’s a journey into a more authentic me. No doubt it will take a life time.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Getting Back to Normal

Ahhh, I just realized I only wrote once in September…and it’s already October. Well, trying to figure out the insanity behind debilitating depression early in the month and then trying not to be too uptight about all the Dr appointments, the month completely got away on me. Good news is that for now the worst of it is over as you’ve seen in the last post.

I was a bit concerned about the last meeting with my hematologist but as it turns out since this was the first time there was a substantial increase in the leukemia marker my Dr isn’t yet too concerned. He believes it’s due to all the other meds I’ve been on in the past 5 months. I’ll be doing another blood test this week to see if this is an ongoing trend or just a one time thing.

I sort of feel like this portion of cancer treatments is over and life will get to back to normal for a while again. Weird thing is that I don’t know what normal is supposed to look like now. I’ve spent 5 months “being sick” and all of the sudden last week almost all the “sick” dropped off and normal reemerged…now what? I know…it’s definitely a good thing but it’s really strange too. I have to change the way I do life again instantly. You finally find out what works for you with the illness and you have to change it because it’s not what works for you when you are mostly well. It’s sort of like when you change your life to get healthy and loose weight…you change all the things you eat, you have to make time to get to the gym and whatever else…but you “do” life differently. I’m now trying to figure out how to do life again. Well, that might sound totally odd or perhaps really basic considering the worst of the illness is done and I should be ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong now, I am ecstatic! It’s just a little daunting to start life all over again. Although I hate to admit it, I do feel like the big “C” looms overhead waiting for the next time it can kick me. It feels a little like I’m going to get life in order again just in time for cancer treatments to kick the shit out of me again…and that’s really not a fun prospect.

Anywho, that’s what’s on my brain for the moment…whatever it’s worth.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Good News!

First...sorry to those of you who have read this on the prayer chain or facebook already. What can I say, I'm so incredibly blessed with all the people who want to know what's going on. Thank you!!!

Some of you know that Friday was the big day at the cancer agency… finding out if the radiation worked. Good news…it did! So far the abdominal tumor shrunk from 9cm to 7cm and will likely shrink a bit more over the next month. Wooo Hooo it was worth it. Additionally the other smattering of tumors have not grown any further in the past three months either. In fact one of the Dr’s suggested they’re not even certain that they are tumors. Double Woo Hoo! Lastly the Dr is finally changing the medication that I’m on to control the tumor growth. That’s really good news because the one they’ve had me on for the most of a year and a half has been causing far too much havoc to stay on for the long term. It was causing a lot of different things but the most debilitating was daily pockets of massive depression that meds couldn’t counter act. Life’s just too short to not be able to enjoy it because of meds!!!

Unfortunately she did let it slip that the genetic test they do to keep an eye on the leukemia had a “blip” in it. It didn’t totally surprise me but I’m still disappointed. I see my hematologist today at 1:40 so at least I don’t have a long to wait to find out what she meant by blip. So then, all in all it’s good news for now. Yay God! And thanks to all of you who have prayed…it really does make a difference, even if the “healing” doesn’t look the way we’d like ;-)

Please do continue to pray as God leads. We've got good news now but it is an ongoing struggle.

So much love to you...thank you for caring!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Crinkled folded paper
To do, groceries, packing
Remnants of weeks past
Attempts at organizing life

Piles of papers just the same
Appointment cards, receipts, bills

How is it that life comes down to these
The only proof of what you’ve done
Where you’ve been
What you’ve bought (and just HAD to have)

There must be more
If you have children you can see them grow
But for us, adults
Truly children in big bodies with big responsibilities
How do we quantify who we are?

It’s not what we’ve “done”…not really
It’s not piles of papers or houses full of stuff
It’s that stuff on the inside
Things we’ve learned
Love exchanged
The hard stuff we’ve cried endless tears over

Endless lists and piles of paper
Scraps with emails addresses and phone numbers
Proof of what we’ve done and where we’ve been

Just little reminders of how we got here

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just Make the Call

When would you ever imagine it a difficulty for a woman to pick up the phone and call someone to talk? Never … right!?! Well, turns out that this gal’s got the problem. Oyi, I can’t believe I just admitted it…let alone continuing to write about it. Oh ya, remember that being brutally honest thing I spoke of at the beginning of this thing…well its back as per God’s encouraging. Duane says it’s good though…means my brain’s healing, or was that my heart???

So today was the first day back at some normal actives. My church gets together at a coffee shop every Wednesday afternoon and before treatments I was there every week. I loved it. It’s a time to connect, talk and pray if need be. Today something odd happened. I chit chatted a bit … the usual “how are things going?” and so on, listening to some of the other discussions that were around. I began writing in my book trying to figure out this feeling that had popped up and then there it was…I feel like I’m going to have to reacclimatize back into my life. For the last three months I’ve been living with my hubby in Vancouver and seeing friends occasionally on weekends…but that’s it…roughly that’s the extent of my social interaction for three months. I began to ponder what my life was before leaving it for a while, activities – they were good but were they just busy stuff, friendships and depths of them, what needs to be rebuild, what needs to change. Needless to say some major unexpected introspection…and I was just out for a coffee and a laugh!

A friend suggested I needed to share more or something to that effect. He also asked who my backup was…you know, the friends you call when the world is at its end and you need to blubber on someone’s shoulder…or phone. I said my hubby of course…seeing as we live apart during the weekdays. Hmmm, as far as anyone else…whom would I call? I know who I could call but I wouldn’t? What would it take for me to call them? And darnit, why do I find it so hard to call a friend when I’m struggling with something? If people ask I’m happy to share and even be honest most of the time…but what is it about reaching out that’s so hard? Perhaps when I was at coffee shop more often I could share enough that I didn’t need to call….perhaps but still sounds like a copout. I don’t want to bug anyone with my stuff, yep there may be some underlying stuff or whatever but I think that’s what makes most sense to me. I think it started back the first time round when I was 15. The treatments took nearly a year and by half way through friends were tired of hearing the same cancer stories and friends were lost. When you have to not talk about cancer so you can keep your friends…well that’s a pretty fucked up bullet to have to swallow. Never the less, it happened and made an impact on a 15 year olds heart, I suppose I’ve carried it all this time.

So now what? I can lay it down and forgive and all that…but it still doesn’t make picking up the phone any easier. I’m embarrassed that I’m having such a hard time with this. It really really bugs me. It’s not that I don’t want to be close with people, it’s not that at all. Perhaps a part of the social part of my brain fell out.

Why is your button being pushed?
Because you have a button tooooo push.

What’s left?
You’re afraid of wasting peoples time.
You think they don’t want to hear from you.
You think you may not be close enough of a friend to call.
Lie, lie, lie…all lies…I know.

E-mail’s easier…does that count?

Monday, August 27, 2007

She's Baaaack!

Hello Friends!
Many thanks to you all for prayers, warm wishes and emails checking in to see how I was.

Needless to say the past 6 weeks since my last hospital stay have been rather arduous. The pain meds I was given continued to cause me more grief than good and I finally am on new something new. And there was much rejoicing!!!! Yay!

Today I am back at my place in Abbotsford…the first stay longer than a weekend in three months. Last week Thursday was the first day I have driven since my first hospital stint in June. Last week was also the first week in months that I didn’t have all those nutty side effects the first pain meds caused. Again…there was much rejoicing!!!

So if I’ve had all this time on my hands you might ask “why haven’t you been updating you blog?” Well, I had slipped into a dark funk and wasn’t really interested in communicating unless absolutely necessary. I had a few bright spots over the last while (namely Julia coming out and spending the day at the beach with me – yay!) but for the most part I couldn’t think straight, let alone write. Being away from most of the people I loved was difficult and I caused me to withdraw further even when back in Abbotsford. When you put everything together you have a recipe for something that’s dark, dingy and very unhappy. Yep and that was me for a good part of the past month and a half. Duane, on the other hand was wonderful through it all! He did everything he could to help me out…which usually entailed a trip to the beach ;-) Thanks hun! You’re the bestest!

That sort of wraps up the short version of recent happenings, perhaps I’ll feel inspired to unpack it all a little in the future. For now, however, the fatigue is catching up with me so I must go.

Much Love,

Friday, July 13, 2007

As for this week!

Seems all my notes are quick these days, it’s all I can manage for the moment…

On the bright side, I was released from hospital yesterday early evening. The report I received from the doctor regarding the CT scan was that the tumor had not grown (which is good news, obviously) although they didn’t have any further helpful info. They are guessing that the reason for the swelling is that they took me off the anti-inflammatory too soon. Of course there’s good reasons for that too… and bla bla bla.

In hospital they were able to try out a few new dosages of pain medication. Good for the pain management but not so good for life management. “What does she mean by that?” you might ask. These meds are at such high doses that I have body twitches and my hands shake and twitch (imagine typing on a keyboard when your hand is twitching all over the place). My brain is foggy at best and apparently I watched an entire 1 hour TV show last night that I don’t remember. Oh and I have the most interesting activity in my imagination let me tell you! I suppose more correctly they would be hallucinations. Anyway, you get the idea.

I don’t really know what else to tell you, I guess you’re already seeing that it’s been a pretty rough week. I’ve been working away at some of my writing that I was looking forward to posting here although nothing ever got finished.

So then, there you have it. It’s the best I can do with scramble for brains but at least it’s something. Oh…here’s another bright side…I got to enjoy the hospital’s air conditioning during this intensely hot week!

Here’s to better luck next week!