celebrating!!

October 30, 2016

amazing, how much pure joy & gratitude can fill a day! and one that starts with radiation, no less. 🙂

thursday, october 27 marked the final day of 33 radiation treatments, every morning at 8:15am, and oh my gosh i was SO ready, so done. this morning ritual was a dark spot on every day and on my final drive there, i was beaming.

 

20161027_081156

(pick a robe every morning)

20161027_081201

(i always used this same dressing room – crazy creature of habit i guess :))

i felt the love and warmth around me even as i arrived alone that morning, as i had texts and messages and virtual hugs already surrounding me. and then, i was blown away when i walked out of the dressing room in to the waiting room to find a dear kindred friend there! waiting with hugs and joy! (and the gift of her presence in that place means even more as it was revisiting hard places she’d walked years back with her beloved). she recognized the tech, bruce, who came out to bring me back – and she reminded him that he needed to play “hit the road jack” during my final treatment. yes!

 

16223

 

i lay on the table, laughing and with tears rolling down my cheeks as that song blared and i was finished and gave hugs to bruce & kalvin. done!

next was our thursday morning bible study & preschool, followed by an invite from grandma to come to her house for a bowl of soup on that rainy day. perfect. as we finished lunch, my precious aunt nancy arrived with these beauties, and more hugs and love.

 

20161027_133430.jpg

 

when we arrived home, there was a note at the door that a flower delivery had been attempted … it arrived a couple of hours later and again i was just completely blown away. so much kindness from a friend who lives in colorado, who has walked this hard road.

 

20161027_150512

 

mid-afternoon, the crashing radiation fatigue hit and i tucked in to our cozy bed, sunlight and big puffy clouds out my window, and took a lovely short nap while hubby picked up maddie from school.

then it was time to get ready for our date – the most crazy generous gift ever from heather, offering to have our boys come over (plus kids of our other best friend) so 8 kids under age 9 for the evening while we got dinner out. oh yes!

 

16366.jpeg

 

i sat in her driveway, smiling through tears reading her card filled with words of such deep encouragement and love … then hubby and i tucked in to a booth at a local restaurant and filled our bellies with yummy food, fabulous red wine, and heart-filling conversation, dreaming of things ahead.

 

20161027_180108

 

the celebration started even earlier than thursday … and thinking of it even now overwhelms my heart. one of my best girlfriends invited me and our other bestie out to a celebration dinner tuesday night. we sat for hours, and they spoke words over me, having seen me at my darkest and hardest and lowest, knowing this journey so intimately.  we cried and hugged and truly celebrated. i couldn’t have walked this hard road without them and i can think few things as life-giving and soul-lifting as being truly seen and completely loved. carried by love; such grace and gift, this kind of friendship.

Advertisements

Wednesday, I love you.

October 19, 2016

the gift of a few hours alone each wednesday has become a pocket of such refreshment and refueling. i am not sure i truly understood the deep and real ways that deep relaxation, invigorating creative work and simple pleasures just for the sake of pleasure – how these things actually move my body toward healing.

intuitively and experientially, i now know this to be true. we need to pour in to and build and prioritize the beauty, the quiet, the joy-giving, soul-filling, creative around us and within us.

i am so thankful for today, for every wednesday when i drop my littlest loves off to play and learn with others for four amazing hours.

my first stop is the sauna, which is like a literal happy pill that energizes, fuels and invigorates me *every time, in ways i couldn’t have imagined.

then, i allow myself the treat of tucking in to a local coffee shop (often parking and taking a brisk walk first) to read, write & study. bliss!!

today, after leaving the sauna, i couldn’t contain a big grin and drove on the back roads of town, windows down, music blaring … singing and laughing and feeling the deepest soul exhale.

it’s been so beautiful to shift away from what felt like an empty call in our culture for “self care” toward an understanding of the deep richness of cultivating quiet, creativity, and restoration on this path of healing. these pockets of time are a gift & this mama feels no guilt, only gratitude.

 

20161019_150349

counting the kindness

October 15, 2016

i’ve kept a little journal, logging moments big and small where i was given a gift of deep kindness and generosity. i am so thankful already that i have this record because rereading it brings back such appreciation and gratitude.

just this week, i was blown away by kindness-out-of-nowhere; 2 surprises arriving a day apart that brought me so much joy. i feel humbled and also it makes me think how much it means, deep in to this journey, to have faithful support still rallying around. particularly walking through this home stretch of 33 radiation treatments (6 to go!), the gifts of love mean so much.

20161014_121334-1

this totally adorable gift arrived from my precious lifelong girlfriend, jaina. how completely adorable is all of this, with her handmade card and personalized bag? and the pink and gold polish? love.

the next day, this arrived: 

20161013_131806

the picture hardly captures the beauty of this hand-quilted pillow … colors that i love, and that verse,  “i know that my Redeemer liveth” (job 19:25). such a beautiful, thoughtful gift.

((kind of a funny story of how it arrived:). it was after lunch, the boys were watching their requisite one cartoon before rest, hubby was working away in his office and i snuck a bathroom break (gasp). from inside the bathroom, i heard hubby calling “babe” so i came out to see what was going on, pulling my pants up all the while. lo & behold, standing there in our living room was darling bonnie, a lovely lady who was in my bible study small group last year. hubby was decked out in his fabulous robe! lol. apparently, josiah heard the doorbell ring and rushed to greet our visitor, inviting them in. 🙂 ))

such kindness honestly enveloping me every step of this journey and i feel a gratitude words cannot capture.

this weird in between

August 24, 2016

last week felt different, felt like a turning of a corner. i’d been sailing along, feeling healed from surgery in july and just cruising along with my every-three-weeks herceptin infusion.

then the heart palpitations hit, the day after my last infusion. for several days, i was sidelined, hesitant, worried. what was going on, why was my heart pounding and racing and skipping?

was it the herceptin (which has as it’s main side effect, impact on heart function)?

bigger than that, and underlying really all these next treatment steps, is this: if i believe that i am healed, and the post chemo breast MRI said “complete response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy” and “no visible residual abnormalities” and “completely resolved”

and the pathology from my surgery (lumpectomy and 12 nodes taken) revealed “no residual invasive carcinoma seen” – NONE!

and the surgeon said the pathologist only sees this maybe twice a year and used the word “miracle”

then do i walk into unknown and potentially huge side effects from continued treatment?

i am thankful for the question – for the hard pause this last week represented and the grappling that feels inextricably linked to this healing journey.

more questions, more seeking, more praying, another invaluable consultation with my integrated oncologist, more revealed.