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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

+2mos

It's been 2 months since my last chemo infusion. I am asked all the time how I'm feeling. I am well. I mean that. I feel good.
Things that have returned or have been restored: my appetite (woohoo!), my sense of taste, my energy (mostly), my hair (everywhere), my strength, my life, and joy. Joy, like I've never known it before.  

It's good to recognize that joy though. Especially since we've experienced so much non-joy recently. Another family member battling cancer, a broken car x2, a broken dryer, a broken water heater. All this in the last few weeks. Good grief! But God is good and we know it will all be okay.

After spending most of last year in one doctor's office after another, I'm so thankful to have a bit of "normal" back in my schedule. I'm more selective on how and where I spend my time and trying not to stretch myself too thin. My integrative oncologist has helped me lay out a plan for this healing year, both what I put in my body (food, environmental, etc) and what I put out (exercise, therapies, etc). I'm already noticing the healing to my brain. Bye bye, chemo brain! I feel like I'm dancing my way through the week-  Monday = ballroom dancing lessons, Tuesdays & Thursdays  = aqua zumba class, some Fridays we dance again to practice what we learned on Monday. Other Fridays, Nathan and I are walking for miles. This Friday, I just might be found on the mountain for the first time in 19 years. Pray for me! 😂

I'm still homeschooling my boys but this past year has pushed them into further independence. That's not a bad thing though and I'm glad to be back on track with them both.

I'm spending more and more time in my art studio. The transition from being a mobile operation to having a permanent location has taken some adjustment but I have hope that it will turn out well. Don't get me wrong - I love it. It's just different than what I've been doing and will take some getting used to. (Eventually it will bring in a profit, right? Lol)  I absolutely love being able to share this venture with others, what has been so healing for me. I've started reserving a seat or two from each class to gift to someone "just because" and that is good for me too.

I have a blood test to go do this week. I've been putting it off because of the cost but I really can't afford not to do it. $700+ to check my blood for circulating tumor cells. This first time will be a baseline test.  I'll have to do it again in the spring. I wish my insurance covered it. (The good news is that last week we finally got officially documentation that I have been approved for coverage through a special program.) So many of you have generously supported our family this past year and we sincerely thank you all. If you have it on your heart to help with this upcoming expense, please contact us or visit our donation page here. Each and every dollar makes a huge difference, no matter if it's $5 or $500.

I'm praying blessings and joy over each of you that reads this today 💜 Go hug a loved one...a few seconds longer than normal. Smile at someone you don't know. Do the unexpected just because you can. Say "I love you" often. Call a friend and catch up. Drop by and visit someone you've been meaning to connect with. Count your blessings.

1.23.2017

1.23.2017 - More time painting on the wall today makes me very happy 😊 Can't wait to finish it so I can share!

1.22.2017

1.22.2017 - BE JOYFUL! I don't know how many days I have. Neither do you! So why waste time grumbling and complaining? We are given good gifts every day! Praise God for each one.

From today's Sunday school teaching:
"And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 8:15
Solomon's odd exhortation to enjoy life seems out of place because "the world is ungrateful," as Martin Luther put it, "always looking elsewhere and becoming bored with the things that are present, no matter how good they are."
Do not underestimate your daily bread and drink. Do not belittle your weekly work. Thank God for such gifts.
[Ecclesiastes, Douglas Sean O'Donnell]

1.21.2017

1.21.2017 - I spent most of today in my art studio, one of my favorite places to be lately. After a lovely tea and painting party, I started working on a secret project.  It makes me smile just thinking about it. Music blasting, paintbrush in hand, singing my heart out. Yep. Good day. And I got to wrap it up with my JAF family 💜 God is good.

1.20.2017

1.20.2017 - Ski school got cancelled today so I got an unexpected day with my beloved. Coffee,  Lowe's, working on "stuff" at my studio...and...more dancing! Lol 😂 #dancingfools

1.19.2017

1.19.2017 - Do you know what this is? That's right, it's a $3 solution that saved us the hefty cost of replacing our dryer. The repair guy didn't even charge me for a service call. Hallelujah, THAT makes me very happy!

1.18.2017

1.18.2017 - After-dinner selfies at my mom's house followed by a rousing game of Scrabble. I lost by 1 point.  😭 Life is good.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

1.17.2017

1.17.2017 - I almost skipped my aqua zumba class today. I'm just soooo tired...BUT I'm also determined to keep making life-giving, life-restoring choices. I love being back in the pool, Getting my workout in, even when I'm tired, and so I went. No regrets. (I did discover that I need a new towel though. This one's frayed and a bit threadbare but it's my favorite.)

1.16.2017

1.16.2017 - Yes, this is really the 3rd time in the past week that I'm posting about us dancing. But we really like it! 💜

Sunday, January 15, 2017

1.15.2016

1.15.2017 - Little things like this, seeing the discoloration of my finger nails growing out...the new, healthy nail growing in.. makes me thankful for each day, each moment. It makes me more selective on how I spend my time and who I spend it with. Each moment is a gift from God and I don't want to miss a single one!

1.14.2017

1.14.2017 - This is as close as we got to a photo of us ballroom dancing at tonight's Winter Wonderland Formal. Maybe someday we'll actually be good at it but meanwhile we (usually) enjoy the process of learning.

Friday, January 13, 2017

1.13.2017

1.13.2017 - I promised this kid that I'd walk with him today. Our goal was to walk for about 45 minutes. We enjoyed it so much - the laughter, the fresh air, the sunshine - we just kept walking. We dropped by my mom's house to say hi, went downtown and I bought him a chai latte (with caramel, please), and circled back home. My fitbit tells me we logged several miles today but there's nothing to measure the joy I get from spending time with this kid. I'm so proud of him 💜 Plus, he likes to give me hugs. And they're my favorite.

1.12.2017

1.12.2017 - This handsome guy...I love him so. He takes such good care of me and of our family. He works hard to make sure we have all we need, often sacrificing his wants to provide ours. His energy seems endless, he's always ready and willing to lend a helping hand. His love runs deep for those he cares about. He makes me laugh with his silly sense of humor. His eagerness to take care of me warms my heart and makes it full.  I don't know what I would do without him. I'm so thankful to have him by my side, doing life together.

♡|| I love you, Charlie ||♡

1.11.2017

1.11.2017 - Hot mama! Lol 😂 No, seriously. This is me "perspiring" in 140° infrared sauna...because ladies don't sweat, right? Uh...no...
Whole-body hyperthermia...raises my body temperatute higher than normal and..."may cause certain immune cells to become more active for the next few hours and raise the levels of cell-killing compounds in the blood." (American Cancer Society) Basically, it brings on a temporary fever, boosts my immune system, helps with pain, cellular healing, and detoxification.
This, for a girl who (used to) hate sweating. I now look forward to this treat. 😊

1.10.2017

1.10.2017 - Got my new specs today. Love them!

1.9.2017

1.9.2017 - dancing with my beloved at the Evergreen Ballroom 💜 (I really need to get a picture of us there and dancing!)

1.8.2017

1.8.2017 - "I've got my eye on you!" 😂 I can't tell you how many times I've sent my sister strange pictures like this but each one makes me giggle. And oh, my friends, laughter is good for the soul!
Truth be told, I don't know that I've ever looked this closely at myself...mostly a quick glance and I'm on my way. Now I see my reflection looking back at me and I like who I see. I am more accepting of my "flaws", knowing I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I see scars and wrinkles that mark my skin, telling my tales of the years I've been blessed with, the adventures I've lived, the battles I've fought. I see a head full of new, babysoft hair growing longer each day and know that I am healing. I praise God for  it all and am thankful for each day and each new discovery. It's not difficult to imagine him saying the same thing to me, "I've got my eye on you!" And I know that he does.

♡ I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ♡ Psalms 139:14

1.7.2017

1.7.2017 - My baby turned 15 today. How can that be?? So happy to celebrate with some of our favorite people. And some killer bunnies 😉🐇 Happy birthday, Nathan!

1.6.2017

1.6.2017 - goofy puzzles with my goofy man (with help from our goofy son) equals our strangest stay-at-home date night ever.

1.5.2017

1.5.2017 - I find such pleasure in taking something from God's beautiful creation, like this little bird, and creating a painting from it to share with others. A gift to be shared is the best gift of all.

1.4.2017

1.4.2017 - Nothing brings me back that childlike joy like SNOW ❄ And we got more the last few days than this area has seen in a hundred years! I'm so happy to spend this beautiful morning walking around the neighborhood, playing, laughing with my son.  (He was the only one willing to make snow angels with me!) He didn't challenge me to a snowball fight. I'm a sore loser when it comes to things like that 😉

1.3.2017

1.3.2017 - It has been 216 days, or 7 months and 2 days, since the last time I was able to get in the pool. A week and a half before my bilateral mastectomy. I have missed my twice weekly aqua zumba class immensely but my doctor didn't want me in a public pool while on chemo. [Photo: The other day, I realized that a "normal" swimsuit would not do. I am thankful for my sewing skills to alter 2 swim tops into one that would work.] Today was the day!! Despite the snow, I went to swim, dance, and get hugs from the teacher. The locker room afterward required a huge amount of courage. All was fine until I sat to put my shoes on. 2 teen girls burst into the locker room and stopped when then saw me, then continued on. Then I hear this, clear as day-
Girl 1: "I thought about shaving my head once, but it's too ugly. I would never do THAT."
Girl 2: "Yeah, I would have shaved mine too if it wasn't so long now. Long hair is pretty. Buzzes on girls is ugly."
You're right, girls. Long hair is pretty. Short hair can be too. But neither will hide the ugliness of your rudeness.
Me, directly to them: "Don't be rude, girls. Battling cancer doesn't leave room for shallowness or vanity."

1.2.2017

1.2.2017 - As much as I think selfies are silly, they've allowed me to document and record all the physical changes I've gone through this past year. Like my hair growing back. And eyelashes. Hallelujah 🎉

1.1.2017

1.1.2017 I love watching these guys play in the little bit of snow we got to start the new year. (And Zelda fetching snowballs 😉)