December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May jolly St. Nick fill your stockings to the brim :)
I am filled this year with the Holy Spirit and am so grateful for Jesus Christ and hope to be a better instrument of His word into 2009.

Blessings to you.
(12 radiation treatments down 16 to go.)

December 19, 2008

Running on Empty

I was feeling really weary last night and then after picking up the kids from an activity I realized my gas tank was reading ZERO miles till Empty....oh my gosh...just a few minutes earlier it read 43 miles to Empty...what happened???!?!?!?!?...I only went a few miles away from the after i panicked and had a cry...I tried my new meditation tape to try to refocus myself...

In the light of day I realize that many people offered to help and ultimately someone came to my rescue. Today was radiation treatment #8 out of 28. I read the Bible this morning and was captured by this passage from Romans:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:5-6, 13

I am encouraged by those words and will focus myself on endurance and hope today despite feeling my own personal fuel tank feels like it's on on Empty.

God is an awesome God.

December 18, 2008

Checking in before the holidays

I'm very apathetic and lethargic these days...trying to work on being in the moment. My body feels heavy and the urge to "do" things has escaped me lately. My brain is cloudy and my thoughts wander. Concentration is hard and minutes turn into hours and nothing has gotten done. I fell like I'm in a dream...floating.

This picture was taken over Thanksgiving--->

I closed my etsy shop for now. It's going to get chaotic with the holidays and I just need to take a break. I've gone back and forth about it since the diagnosis...but for now, it's the right thing for me to do. The website is still online but nothing is for's just there for viewing.

I'm reading a book recommended to my by a social worker, Full Catastrophe Living, using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
It's not Christian but more Buddhist in philosophy (however I try to remember that any form of meditation is silently listening to the whisper of God)

It's all good stuff to remind me to be in the moment and focus on my work on "being" rather than "doing". I need a lot of practice at that.

I found some interesting cancer related sites and wanted to share them as well...

I kicked cancer's ass
Stories, resources and support

Circus of Cancer
a how-to website for when your friend has cancer

Blessings to you all :)

December 13, 2008

Ice Storm and Hot Flashes

So here in NH we had the worst ice storm in a decade Thursday night into yesterday. Our town lost power and we lost power for over 24 was cold and the kids were home from school.

To see more beautiful pictures from ice storms ---> click here<---
Thank you to Dave Delay from flickr for permission to use his photo :)

I still had my radiation to go to...the childcare that I had set up for Sara wasn't available with the storm cancellations, so my good friend Karen came through for me and took all 3 kids so I could get to my appointment on time. I managed to get gas and a quick stop at Sam's club for some ice melt that the nice employees put into my basket and again into my car for me.

It was a woman older than me that helped me lift the 50 lb bucket into my car...she looked no bigger than me...i felt embarrassed that I couldn't lift it for myself...I feel like a frail, little, old, bald lady...I told her of the mastectomy and she helped me with a grin.

"You gotta' do what you gotta' do, right?" she said.
I replied, "it sure beats the alternative" and we both smiled.

So 3 days of radiation are done and 25 more to's a huge contraption. The whole room is probably worth millions of dollars...and all there for get well. I lay on the table topless and a big arm comes around me, like when you go to the dentist and get x-rays but about 10 times bigger. Then these teeth-like metal plates form a square-ish shape behind an acrylic window with a "heart block" so that the radiation doesn't penetrate my heart. I have 3 "fields" so the arm moves into 3 different positions and I will get x-rays weekly and the tatoos are already permanently marked on my body so the machine can precisely line up each day in the same spot. They tell me fatigue and some sun burn-like skin irritation will occur, but I'm already fatigued...I usually crash by nightfall. I get the hot flashes mostly at night now too. So how worse can I feel?

When radiation was done...I drove home and saw all the beauty and destruction that the storm did. I wish I had time to take some pictures but then I gathered up the troops packed a few bags and trotted off to my parents house (as I thought they had power). We got there and of course, like Murphy's Law, power was out there too (they were happy to be in Florida during this whole event!). They have a propane fire place so we stayed and layered up the beds with extra blankets.

It was cold but I still managed to have my hot flashes and I just kept kicking off the covers and taking my hat off, only to then get cold again and slipping my hat back on and burying my face in the about 4 am the electricity was back on. The morning was filled with chaos with the kids and we were able to come back home as our power had returned too.

I'm beat.

I know of several friends that still are without power, probably till next Tuesday?! I pray that they get power sooner. It makes for a long day with kids...I am so dependent on power...I try to think of what it was like for women 150 years ago when the pioneers went west and 300 years ago when New England was first being settled. Women gave birth in the middle of ice storms and in the dead of winter. I'm glad I live today with medicine and surgery and chemotherapy and awful as those things can be...I'm glad they exist.

So President Bush declared NH in a "State of Emergency" which seems like my life lately. I'm tired of being a storm that needs to be on everyone's radar.
But I do appreciate everyone...
and the fact that I matter to so many people. This is part of the gift of Cancer...feeling the love...I feel it every day. Be warm and dry my family and friends.
Blessings to you all.

December 9, 2008

A Beautiful Life

My mom gave me a great card, from Hallmark, for my birthday. It reads....
How to make
A Beautiful Life

reflections for a Daughter on her birthday

Love yourself.
Make PEACE with who you are and where you are at this moment in time.
Listen to your heart.
If you can't hear what it's saying in this noisy world, make TIME for yourself.
Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.

Take chances.
Make Mistakes.
Life can be messy and confusing at times, but it's also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path might be a stepping-stone.

Be happy.
When you don't have what you want, want what you have.
Make DO.
That's a well-kept secret of contentment.

There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to MAKE YOUR OWN WAY.
To know where you're going is only part of it.
You need to know where you've been, too.
And if you ever get lost, don't worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.

Life isn't days and years.
It's what you do with time and with all the goodness and grace that's inside you.
MAKE A BEAUTIFUL LIFE...the kind of life you deserve.

December 3, 2008

Winter, too, shall pass

I was struck by an empty field on my way to my radiation simulation yesterday. I feel like these dormant branches...suspended in time, frozen by fears...the cold has set in in NH and the sun grows dim. I feel like crawling into a hole most days. I see moms holiday shopping with their kids as I go to pick up prescriptions and they give me a look and acknowledge my head scarf...then quickly turn away. Some women have looked me straight in the eye and wished me's very strange, watching people react to me. But most days I avoid looking at myself too.

I am down to 117 pounds. I'm not trying to loose weight but nothing appeals to me. Cooking is a chore or makes me nauseous. I don't enjoy eating at all. But I do try to prepare something for the kids and I manage to eat a little in front of them. Look at these suspended dried up flower/seed pods. I feel dried up too. My skin is flaky, my hair is just growing back...but my body reflects winter much more than spring...I look forward to the spring of next year...
Radiation starts December 10th (5 days a week for 6 weeks). I got my tattoos done yesterday. Laying on the table for over an hour was very emotional. I was stretched out with my arms over my head...topless...and tears were streaming down my face...the technician came to me and wiped my tears and told me to try to be still and not mind was flooded with thoughts...reality of this past year.

It's Christmastime...and my birthday is this weekend...and my gift to myself is barely a 1/4 inch of hair on my gift is life...cancer free...but in constant fear it might come back. Emily (8 1/2) has asked me several times..."Mommy, are you going to die?" I always assured her I wouldn't...but looking over the past several months...i really could have.
I took the picture of the clouds as I got back into my car after my simulation appointment. My head is in the clouds most days lately.

I then proceeded to drive past the hospice that is part of the hospital. I thanked God that the girls do not understand that word. "Hospice". I'm alive, I'm healing, I will be better soon. Thank you Jesus for carrying me these last few months, shielding my mind from the anguish of cancer. This is just a spell...a brief blip in the life of me...I'm going to be ok. God has a plan and it's His will, not mine. It's a relief to be able to let go.

Read about my original diagnosis here.

Read about Art Therapy and how me and my children have managed Cancer here.