Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Cry

Its been a hard two days of juggling work, the role of mom and wife, and cancer. Two long days of tests and appointments and blood work and waiting and complications, two different contrast dyes, blood dripping down my clothes, a cardiac nurse who accessed my port - probably her first one since nursing school - etc., etc.,  I answered the question "are you pregnant or breastfeeding" SIX times Tuesday afternoon. Why, no. No, I'm not.

Brian and Becky were stuck with the chore of live-texting through the adventure, so I won't document it step by step here. I actually managed to make it through the 6 hours at Vanderbilt Tuesday afternoon/evening and felt tired, but good. What I had forgotten is that the emotional fall-out always hits the next day for me.

And, unfortunately, the next day involved a busy morning at work then a rushed trip to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center. The lines were out the door. The waiting room was full. The oncologist I was supposed to see had been called out of town so they'd given me a substitute (who was a lung specialist, not gynecological). No one seemed to know what was going on. Extra sets of labs just in case. Brian was stuck in traffic and over an hour late.

I just did not want to be in yet another exam room. Rehash the last 4 years. Hear another oncologist tell me my case baffles them, but that ultimately there's nothing they can do to eradicate the cancer, just try to keep it from taking over my body for as long as possible.

Jenne and Kari saved the day. Not only did they drop everything, grab up their babies and come to Sarah Cannon when they heard Brian was stuck in traffic, but they brought those cute babies and stroller and carriers right into our little exam room, laid hands on us and prayed. The ugly cry made an appearance, but it was okay.

And when the appointment was over, Brian headed back to Clarksville to pick up the kids, and Jenne, Kari, the babies, and I camped out at P.F. Chang's for a whole lot of bites (as they put it). We took advantage of the 4:00 lunch menu and appetizer happy hour. We all laughed, talked, and did enough crying that I am certain we scared our server.

It was after dark and past time for me to make it home in time for church by the time I left Nashville, there were multiple traffic jams, and it was Becky's turn to join me in the ugly cry on the phone. Side note: not the best idea to drive at night with eyes swollen from crying and then add more tears to the mix. 

I'm already a bit better this morning. A good cry plus sleep is restorative. But I do find myself in a questioning, doubting, why is this happening state of mind the last several days. It's hard work to keep trusting that good really can come out of this ugliness and that God can redeem these days and this situation for my husband, children, family and friends. It's hard looking forward to a very uncertain future. It's hard to think about the decisions that are going to need to be made, maybe sooner than we'd like.

In my immediate future, however, I'm going to try to finish the 8-10 hours worth of work I brought home with me in 6.5 hours today. All while listening to the kids argue through their NINTH snow day in a row. And when I finish up that, we're going to proceed to have a good couple of days as we wait for the next appointment on Tuesday. It's Rory's 7th Family Day this weekend, and while we haven't decided how to celebrate (pretty much because it totally snuck up on us), we will do some celebrating. 

And when that family celebration is over, Brian and I have date night scheduled (at the Ryman Auditorium!) this weekend.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Closing Out the Weekend

We wrapped up our weekend with cancelled church services because of the crazy 6 inches of ice on our church parking lot which refuses to melt. School is still cancelled (that's 7 snow days in a row) tomorrow. As a result of no church services, we decided to visit a local church (LifePoint). I initially didn't want to go - not too proud to admit that I would have enjoyed sleeping in one more day.

However, as usual, it was the right choice - Brian's choices are pretty much always right. It was awesome to attend church without having any responsibilities. Now don't get me wrong, we love being church staff and ministering to others. But, oh my stars, was it ever good to just be ministered to. The kid's classes were good, the music was awesome, and the sermon was biblical, practical, and powerful. Brian and I both struggled to focus on the service and not spend all our emotional energy critiquing and comparing this well-established church with its dozens of church staff with our still very new and work-in-progress church. My OCD perfectionist flawed personality tends to take over during our own church service as I notice all the things that go wrong or could be improved and how I can "fix" them. (Yes, I am fully aware this is not the joyful worshipful attitude that should accompany a church service.)

All of that to say, it was a blessing to attend church yesterday morning. And my favorite part? When Camden's Sunday School teacher shook his hand on the way out, patted his back and told us, "this young man is going to do big things for God one day." How fantastic for Camden to have that encouragement. There are men and women who have the gift of encouragement, and they are invaluable.

Slight change of topic, but I would appreciate your prayers over the next few days. I am having yet another unfortunate reaction to my chemo drug and started the evil steroids again. I'm committing to the full 3.5 day regimen this time since the 24 hour regimen wasn't successful last weekend. It is insane how sick the steroids make me feel, but my skin was in very bad shape and it just needed to be done.

Tomorrow I visit Vanderbilt for lab work, an ecco-cardiogram to test my heart health (this chemo is particularly tough on heart function) and then a CT scan to check to see if my cancer is growing, stable, or decreasing. It feels like a very big deal. I know, they're all big. But this is the first time in the last 4 years that I've had active, progressive cancer and this scan is a big one because it determines if I've worn out yet another chemo drug.

As if that weren't enough for one week, I have an appointment with the clinical trial program at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center on Wednesday. Obviously, we may have some big decisions coming our way based on this appointment along with my scan results.

I'm doing my level best to take it one day at a time. I do not want to waste any energy worrying about these appointments, and since I won't have scan results until I see Dr. C next Tuesday, I don't want to spend the next week in misery.

We've been studying Abraham during my Friday morning Bible study, so this verse seems appropriate.

Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Rom 4:20-21)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

7/52: Pastel

This week's theme was pastel and there's not a whole lot of pastel in our house, much less with my black-eyed, black-haired Korean gal. However, she gave me about 10 minutes of cooperation in 10 degree weather and we attempted a pastel snow picture. The first one is my official pastel picture, but I included the other attempts because it was pretty darn fun.








This is a new face I'm seeing often these days.


By the way, she has 3 shirts underneath this dress, a pair of pajama pants and a pair of hot pink sweat pants. LOL

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow Day #3

Snow Day #3 and there might be a few cracks in the snow joy. Clarksville is essentially shut down - restaurants, coffee shops, library, city offices and schools. We've made soup and hot chocolate (for the one child who actually enjoys hot chocolate), been completely lazy, finished books, caught up on TV, played a lot of Wii.

And we participated in a Monopoly game that lasted 3 hours yesterday. In other words, it was never ending.


Brian got stuck trying to take the kids to a friend's house for a sledding party Monday so we tried to recreate the experience in our flat little yard, and it was not super successful. It did, however, get Camden and Rory out of the house and they enjoyed getting pummeled by their dad with snowballs. We also pulled out this snowman kit we received from some friends earlier in the ear and made a snow man on the back deck.





[My friend, Christine, has some truly stunning snow pictures (and snow volume!) if you want to see some real winter weather.]


Brian and the kids are off for take #2 on the sledding party, and I'm settling in to get some office work done. It's supposed to be -6 tonight with more snow on Friday so I'm imagining that we'll all still be enjoying these extra days together for at least 48 more hours. There's nothing really on the schedule except fitting in work when I can and maybe baking cookies with Rory later on - yum!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow Day

So you know Tennessee doesn't get any kind of real snow/ice very often, and while the predicted amounts keep going up and down, Clarksville is currently getting hit with the biggest snow/ice storm in many years. As in since January 2003 (which happened on Becky's wedding weekend). It's fairly exciting, especially if you're a teacher or a kid. And, actually, my own office closed down for the day so I didn't have to worry about work either.

I snapped a few pictures while Brian got the van de-iced. He's taking them to some friend's house for a sledding party while I'm staying at home warm and cozy. Does that make me a bad mom? When they were little, I was all over stuff like that. Now that they're 8 and 11, I'm kind of all about staying wrapped up indoors. That is horrible, isn't it.

Trying on Brian's hats.



I'm cracking up because this is the same snow gear they've had for the last 3 years (which means my pictures from the last 3 winters are all the same). We just don't have enough snow/cold weather to warrant cute hats every year.




This one shows how fast the snow is falling.