The Prom-Mom's Perspectives and Ramblings...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Boys--Part. 2

It seems the 'report' from Monga *who has the boys during the hardest part of my week* is that our little Gray is missing school for a second day in a row due to being a bit less than 100%, health-wise, today.
On a day where this mama's heart can't help but sit and perseverate on her little sick guy from afar, it seemed appropriate to use this blogging moment to cover my 2nd precious boy...

my Grayson Milo.


Up until a few weeks ago, this journey seemed to be a more matter of fact subject for Gray than anything plaguing him with or causing him obvious emotional turmoil. We've discussed my cancer as a topic, just like any other topic *with BOTH boys* and answered any and all of their questions honestly and as thoroughly as we feel led. Mind you, I'm not checked out enough with either of my little men to think that mommy's sudden preoccupancy with medical appointments and influx of 'concerned visitors' wasn't somewhat rattling...but it was not until Gray's week of pure and utter rebellion *which is very contradictory of who he is for all who know him* took place that I had to truly step back and reevaluate his underlying needs...some of which I think even he himself was unaware he had. 

It was during the weekend of chemo #4 that mom and I came to the conclusion that it was time........
MUCH had happened in the past month and a half--enough to make ANYONE'S head spin--and poor little Gray, old enough yet unexposed to mommy's weekly 'routine', had clearly developed some pretty dark fears out of the 'unknown.'

I'd wanted to sit him down, in person, and tell him that Nana and Mommy had decided we'd like to take him with on our next trip (that coming weekend) and explain to him why we'd concluded that'd be good----I had this whole vision in my head of him, snuggled up to me, having one of our heart-to-hearts about it and getting to hug him tight as I told him. Although this was FAR from what it ending up looking like, what happened was much better.

Gray had stayed overnight with Monga and Nana *something they do at least once a week right now* and Aaron and I had planned to go out on a little mini-date, just to get me out of the house. 
As we were getting ready to leave, my cell phone rang and it was our eldest--SINGING--with his beautiful Nana accompanying him on the guitar in the background. Moved to instant tears, I hit the speakerphone button to let Aaron listen too. 

'My God is Greater, My God is Higher, My God is Stroooooong-er than aaaa-ny ooo-ther', sang our little guy...over and over and over and over and over, again. 
It must've gone on for two minutes or so.

...and, oh that darling little voice!!!!! Praising. His. King.
And wanting to share it with us.

It just DOESN'T get better than that, folks.


When he was finally done and Nana strummed the last chord, he paused and then exclaimed 'Did you like it, mommy?' A blubbering mess on the other end, I managed to *grmph the throat lump away enough to reply, 'Oh honey, that was just beautiful...such nice singing, sweetheart, we loved it!'
Another pause, which I'm absolutely SURE was his ear-to-ear grin at Nana, followed finally by, 'I'm glad', 'That's a good song and I like singing it.'

After a few more tender exchanges, our conversation wound down to the goodbyes at which point Gray was reminded that I was supposed to tell him about a 'surprise' but never did. Reluctant *with the earlier image still in my head* I was tempted to tell him he had to wait...but instead broke the news--'Nana and Mommy are going to take you with to Portland this coming weekend so you can see where mommy goes to get her medicine and meet all mommy's doctors and stuff.'
*BIG pause* followed by excited giggling, 'Ooooooooh!' *growing more excited as it sunk in* 'I get to go with?!' *Bursting with happy* 'Hhhh-ooooo, yay, I'm so excited!!!'

That Sunday, driving up with our little Gray all snuggled into the backseat with his Leapster, snacks and blankie, mom and I just looked at him and then each other--sooooo confirmed in our hearts that this was so right
When we arrived at our dear friends Jon & Nora's house, he was practically doing a hyper dance in their entryway, he just couldn't contain the many emotions of 'being included'--like he had almost graduated to another level of involvement on this journey, and I suppose he had. ;)
He spent that weekend getting to be the center of attention--'Aunt' Nora did mac & cheese dinner upon our arrival, just for him. 'Uncle' Jon ventured downstairs with his rather pushy but eager and curious little 'engineer buddy' to show off his extraordinarily impressive train project. Even Delancy, their adorable, retired guide-dog put up with Gray's over-zealous and happy little self. 
At OHSU that next day, Gray met so many of mommy's medical team...and of course, all were adoring and kind to humor his introduction. I can't say it wasn't reeeeally nice to have the attention be OFF of me, for once...and even though we still talked about ports and iv-towers and medicines, it was quite refreshing to receive Gray's 'take' on them. I'm not sure that I will ever look at being hooked up for chemo as being anything other than 'becoming a cool robot,' again. 
I quite like that way of looking at it, in fact. ;) 

When chemo treatments were done, we loaded up our little side-kick and took a tram-ride, of which I believe is STILL the highlight of the trip for Gray since anytime he tells people about mommy's hospital, the tram is an important related topic *'...and you get to FLY up to the top of the hill!' ;)


It's been a few weeks since then and Gray still recalls all the details of our trip with him. This last weekend when they stayed behind and daddy and mommy went, he said to me 'Say hi to your nurses from me' and I could hear that edge of satisfaction in his voice--like, 'Yeah, pay my regards to all those new friends of mine up there, ma.' ;) If that's not proof enough that we made the right decision, his acting out practically disappeared over-night! NO, he isn't the perfect child... but the 'going out of his way to torment little brother' stuff and the 'arguing like a snotty teenager with mommy' stuff just vanished. Thing of the past. For now. Thank goodness.

Parts of this journey just plain stink. I'm not gonna lie.

There are times that I wish we just didn't have the boys so they don't have to 'do this' with us... but as soon as I start to say such things, God's voice chimes in and reminds me that He is working in them through this, too and it's not my place to keep them from growing stronger and closer to Christ and developing their OWN little testimonies--whatever they may be--from it.

As hard as it may be for my mommy's heart alone to grasp, when I remove myself and my own soul intentions for my children, I am reminded of the one steadfast and constant thing I can do for them that we should ALL be doing for our children, daily--cancer or no cancer--
and that is,

PRAY.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's a C-sister?

This particular entry has been a LONG time coming, let me tell ya...
So long in fact that in order to get it right, you get to do a bit of time-travel with me, assuming you make the choice to read on. ;)

Rewind to the beginning of October... my port-placement surgery.
No, I'm not going to take you through the surgery itself. Heck, I was put under for it, so my memory of it *other than mine and mom's antics with my cool Bear Paws 'blow up' hospital gown, pre surgery* pretty much starts, post-surgery when, magically--I awoke in the recovery area and first met her--

Amy.

Laying there, facing each other's beds from across the aisle, neither of us really had anything else to look at--but, well--each other. Finally after one too many awkward eye-locking moments, we waved and said 'hey.'
Little did either of us (or for that matter the 5 or 6 other recovery patients, unwittingly eavesdropping as our 'conversation' rose in excitement and volume) know how completely ordained this 'chance meeting' was. Like any initial conversation with a complete stranger, we started out with basic introductions... 'I'm Amy...'I'm Hayley.....nice to meet you.' Then the 'What'd you have done? Oh, just got a port installed...' followed by what became the go-to phrase of all remaining conversation...'Me too!'

Me. Too.

Two little words that in a matter of just 5 minutes or so changed EVERYTHING about who Amy was and now is to me.

As the conversation continued, you could here giggles from behind the *if you can even call them this* curtains/room dividers that separated us from the other patients and families visiting their loved ones in recovery. Who could blame them?! I'd of been giggling too and still get a good chuckle now, reliving our first meeting through this entry. ;) It WAS funny... funny haha, but then not, at the same time.
It quickly became funny AWESOME. At a scary, unsure start to what is bound to be a LOOOONG journey for me, God gave me Amy... and in turn gave Amy, Hayley. :)

Our situations are nearly identical. Both moms with younger kids. Not even 10 yrs age difference. Same type of cancer. Same spread to lymphs. Same doc. Same treatment plan. Same willing participants to additional studies.

It's almost crazy! Almost.


Fast forward to pre-chemo.

The next time I got to see Amy was at chemo class, in which 'coincidentally', we were the only two 'students,' attending with our supportive family-members and loved ones.
Amy had chopped off her hair--though I honestly didn't remember it being longer at our port-surgery meeting----but then I was still coming down off of drugs at that point, ha! :-P According to what she's told me, though, it had always been long before but she'd chopped it short and put a nice big blob of bright pink in the front *breast cancer awareness of course!* :)
It was here that I got to see and know a side of Amy that--even if hurting badly inside at her news, OUTSIDE of some seriously big factors she already had going on in her personal life--that I truly admire. I remember when we got to have the conversation about our initial responses to the news of cancer and I've absolutely loooooved sharing Amy's with people because I feel like I can so easily imagine her doing so...
Vacuuming her house, singing at the top of her lungs 'I have cancer, I have cancer!'
Bahahahaha!

Yes.
Just a brief glance at the beautiful lighted-heartedness she strives to maintain in this battle.
It's a matter of fact to her, having cancer. Of COURSE there have been tears and anger---I see them there when I look deeply into her eyes---especially in her tough outside circumstances, cancer is the LAST thing Amy needs.......not that anyone 'needs' cancer, ha!

BUT IT'S REAL. It's there. It's a mountain God has allowed for her, too. Yet, it's almost like He said 'Ok, ladies...this is a pretty big mountain so here's a fellow hiker, going in the same direction--if nothing else but just to pass the time as you hike since you both seem to love talking!' ;) LOL.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when mom and I went to chemo #4.
Seeing as we had to stay two nights due to my MRI & biopsy appointments, we finally got the long-awaited and anticipated opportunity to meet up outside of hospital walls and spend some real, get-to-know-you time with Amy.
Can I just say how totally surreal it is to lock arms and walk a boardwalk with someone you 'barely know' and yet feel so comfortably with, as though you've been best friend's for life?!!
Sorry for those of you who don't KNOW God is very, very real... but I frankly can't explain that kind of connection beyond God. I feel like I could tell Amy ANYTHING in a manner that I would tell my closest girlfriends or for that matter the very deepest, closest girlfriend I have--my mom--and not think twice about it.

This is why Amy is now, endearingly, my 'C-sister.'
 Mind you...C still standing for Courage... and Courage still standing for Christ. :)

After that dinner-date with her and my mom, we finally got our 'stuff' together and exchanged all info--emails, cell numbers, websites (see Amy's CaringBridge link at the bottom of this to follow her beautiful blog), and all forms of contact. Now we text, mostly, and last week she and my wonderful hubby finally got the chance to meet at my chemo #5.
We talk to each other about chemo's and side-effects of which I am soooooo thankful Amy has had little of, comparatively...though the hair began falling out almost simultaneously...go figure. ;)

Most recently, via text, Amy told me how much she genuinely loves and cares about me, though prosed it with 'in a non-stalker-ish kind of way'...obviously scared that she might freak me out in saying so.
Thrilled that she said it, I quickly responded with 'I can honestly say the same, and you need not explain cause I really do love you very much, too!'

God's love is such a wonderfully, UN-worldly feeling. I don't even truly know how Amy feels about God... I have gathered from her blog that she doesn't consider herself to be 'religious'---though I myself steer FAR from that word, too. ;) But it just never ceases to amaze me how He works in our lives. How His timing is just so Perfect---like when you're putting together a jigsaw puzzle and suddenly every piece you pick up is going into place, right where it needs to go and it's suddenly so automatic that you find yourself not even having to THINK about it.

I don't have to think about Amy... it's just so automatic for me to love her like I do. I don't 'choose' to pray for her and thank God for her...... it's just something that hits me everyday--as routined as brushing my teeth, yet it's backed with an excitement and anticipation like nothing I do that's 'just' routine.

I suppose this entry could ramble *like it already hasn't* on and on without any certain ending...any 'moral' to the story... and I suppose that's ok if there isn't one.
As much as I adore all who still make the choice to come here and read my random ramblings, I'm not writing really writing that kind of mini-story for you. I just wanted to finally introduce you to sweet Amy...so that the next time I refer to her (and there will be many more times, I'm sure!) you'll of had a little introduction to this awesome fellow courage-warrior who IS

 MY C-sister.

Amy :)

Complimentary wine hour at mine & mom's American Cancer Society hotel--
just a partial, celebratory glass for us two chemo-patients told to avoid the anti-oxidants~ ;)


Walking the beautiful boardwalk to go get some grub and 'get to know' each other~

Amy's Blog: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/amylivbradford



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh the tiiiimes, they are a chaaaaang-in'...

Firstly. I love that song.
Since I've been home a lot more, I've been following re-runs of The Wonder Years on Netflix
(yes, we have NO tv...haven't for almost 3 years now and never looked back.)
Side-note?
BEST. DECISION. EVER.
But, that song has played on a few great episodes now and so maybe that's why Dylan was so fresh in mind, tonight as a blog title.

Whatever the case, I know that I owe MANY of you a deep and sincere apology, tonight.
I know that I MAJORLY jumped the gun on said shaving-party and have already received quite the influx of messages about pulling one, for lack of a more accurate description, totally out of my boo-tay this fine Monday evening. :-P

HOWEVER! Before you want to riot in front of my house (since I did provide the address on the 30-min-warning facebook post, tonight, ha!) you have to know just how bad it was getting.

Imagine this:
Sitting, not even touching your head and not 5 minutes after the prior shirt brush-off, you look down at what looks like a cat *which you DON'T EVEN OWN* with long, dark fur has once again jumped back up and rubbed it's molting-self all over your top!

Seriously!?!? :-P
Don't even get me started on what it looked like after each purposed and much-procrastinated head itch had to finally happen. OY!

IT SIMPLY HAD TO GO.

So, in an attempt to gather even one other outside soul to come and share in some good, old-fashioned bald-jokes, have a good piƱa colada and just create some good ol' LAUGHS *remember my last post?!* ... we returned home from chemo day #5 this evening and not 30 min. later, were inviting whomever might be crazy enough to drop all and come over to participate. For the many of you who are bummed at me for such little notice (especially when I'd just said Saturday was the plan), I apologize... but as I lay my head on this Christmas-themed throw pillow that is magically maintaining it's crisp white background color, I'm only a little sorry. I'm sure you can understand. ;)

AND, since I can never get enough of good laughs and awesome company of friends, I'm still thinking we need a gathering---nonchalant, no silly cordialities or major 'plans' on Saturday here, at our place. Come on, who doesn't want to rub this head, now, eh?! (...and I gotta admit, a "Thumper" side of me creepily comes out when you do, ha!)
So yeah.
I hope to have that gathering, regardless. Same time... 7-ish? Same simple drink-making plan, kid movie-watching (since my kids can never get enough of others!) and maybe even meet some of you lovely people who I've, technically, become cyber-friends only with, thus far!?!

Aside from that long apology, let me just say, AGAIN, what an amazing man I married!!!
Directly after HE shaved MY head, I shaved his. <3
...and then, out of the total blue... my mama's, too!!!!!!!!!! She too just blows me away.
And yes, there were some sentimentalities wrapped into that part, for sure.

Oh goodness, what a day! What a glorious, glorious day. :)

Chemo with my love and even an awesome short visit with my c-sister, then crazy, unplanned head-liberating, then some fun, big family news (which you'll just have to wait on, sorry) at the end of it all! :) OH, and if that wasn't enough, after our evening bible-study on Heaven tonight, right before bed, my two sweet little boys and their two sweet little neighbor sisters all wanted to ask God into their hearts.
Talk about Perfection and blessings!!!

YEP. Life. IS. Good.

...and now, I think I'll take this new, bald head to meet it's lovely, soft bed pillow cause it's late...and technically, until tonight, they are strangers~ ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh, Hair!

Well, first of all...
HAPPY BELATED THANKSGIVING to everyone!!!
I sincerely hope that you all found yourselves enveloped in good food, wonderful loved ones, rested time off and beautiful memories this week!

I certainly did.

For the first time in 10 1/2 years of marriage...
Thanksgiving was at OUR house! :) :) :)
What an absolute BLESSING it was to have all whom we hold dearest to gather and celebrate in life, with us, at our humble twinkly little abode.
Complete with fabulously hideous Christmas sweaters and fantastically obnoxious wigs--we made some great, great memories of spills at the adult table (yes, not the kids table, ha!), coffee upsets, awesome picture-opportunities with ugly-sweater 'accessories' and good, old fashioned laughter.

Sorry, but there really is NO BETTER MEDICINE in life than laughter.
I'm convinced.

Early into this journey of mine, *ours*, the docs and nurses alike on my team advised me to laugh at least once a day. To be honest, once is a bare minimum, in my opinion. I have found, so far, that two or three good laughs a day are a necessity for me.
Sorry, but when a person's weekly life goes from filled with 'normal busy' to 'chemo busy', laughter becomes one's sanity.

This week, I'm finding myself in need of laughter even more than usual as the impended inevitable of 'operation lose hair' has FINALLY set in.
Yes indeed.
I simply HAD to laugh at myself after the night that I realized the hair on my head has been given it's eviction notice from my weekly medicines.

Picture this:
I finish my normal evening shower, grab what I KNOW to be a clean towel off the rung, start drying off with said-towel, look down to see a rather large amount of dark, short hair all over myself, think to myself *in a very air-heady manner* 'Who on earth dried a dark, long-haired dog off with my towel?', realizing 10-seconds later there is no dog of such description in our possession--yet still, grab a new towel from the cupboard thinking that will make a difference, only to have a complete repeat of the prior scenario.
Finally, brush all the hair off by hand, stand in front of my mirror, run my hands over my head (ending up with a handful of singular hairs between each finger) and let all sink in.
Of course, initially... the sad. It's really happening. I'm losing my hair. ...and I'm not old... and it's not gray.
It's just.
Truly.
FALLING OUT.

But, once past the emotions, I've had some good laughs over my silly-blonde response, haha!

Besides. It's. just. hair.
And now that I KNOW I'm losing it, my one prayer is this:
When this is over, I have received my 'free and clear' card and it all grows back in...
I WANT TO BE BLONDE AND CURLY-TOPPED! ;)

That's right, blonde.

Firstly, I think it would be fun to be the polar opposite of what I was for the first half of my life.
Secondly, I think as long as I'm going to continue to be so air-heady, it's only appropriate that I would take on the 'social image' of air-headed-ness... you know... be 'a blonde.' ;)

As far as the curliness... well... I've always wanted curly hair.
There's nothing else to it than that.

I suppose that leaves us all begging the other inevitable then--
when's the hair-shaving party?!! :-D
Well, since I probably won't be physically maintaining it for much beyond this week, if that...
I'm thinking THIS COMING Saturday, we'll do the honors. ;)
Anybody up for attending??!? Really. ALL ARE INVITED!

...and yes, this party will be complete with some good 'pre' full-shave 'looks' as well as TONS of bald-jokes and possibly a viewing of the movie/musical 'HAIR', lol...
Yes! Bring on the laughs!!!!!!






Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dishing it up~

Well, while I DO have a whole post typed and saved... TOTALLY separate of this one (the promised continuation of My Boys)
it will have to stay saved on my desktop for now because there is something weighing very heavy on my heart that takes precedence.


Tonight, I, obviously, cannot sleep.

After spending an incredibly LOVELY, quite good-feeling day around my two precious little men, some dear former students, and finally some dear old friends...a day that felt nearly 'cancer-free' in fact...I met up with my dad tonight to hear some jolting news.

I don't really even know the people. In fact, the only thing I know of the mom, Kris, is she was dear and darling enough to send my parents an ENTIRE BOX of stuff for their grandsons (my children)--toys, activities, etc--for the days that they would be spending with Monga and Nana so mommy can rest and recoup on her worst days after chemo-Mondays. Talk about dear!!!
My dad, "Monga,"went to school with her years ago, but that I know of, I've never met her.

Anyway, apparently dad spoke with her just tonight and she had the horrific news that her daughter was just murdered and she was on her way this evening to pick up her body.



HOLD THE PHONES!!!
Are you kiiiiiiiidding me?!?!?!!?!?!?!!!!!!!

A girl, around MY AGE, lost her life by her husband's hand---who then turned around and took his own life, too. Obviously, an abusive situation.
BUT SERIOUSLY?!!
My HEART SANK... and frankly has not returned to my chest since my dad told me.

I don't even know whether or not Kris reads my blog, but I know that she was moved enough by my cancer news to go far above and beyond with her kind gesture and good wishes...and I feel, even having never met her, that I am to do the same.

So I am reaching out to all of YOU, who have already joined me in my own battle--
my PRAYER WARRIORS--
Join me now in lifting this family.

I apologize I don't even have the daughter's name----but it doesn't matter.
GOD KNOWS.
...and I want to know that as many of us as possible are praying for that precious mama's heart.
Pray for them with me, please!

My dad said when he briefly spoke with Kris tonight that her words were 'Cherish your daughter, Kyall...cherish all the moments you have left with her.'

Talk about a DISHING. UP. MORE. PERSPECTIVE.

NONE of us know, people. We don't know when our last moment is. Don't take any of them for granted!!! I know I keep saying this (I'm like a broken record by now), but I feel it's just screaming at me these days!! The moments are fleeting and we really don't know when the next IS our last.

All this 'month of Thankfulness' stuff...I love it and I hate it at the same time, honestly. I love it because I love seeing people be thankful. But I HATE it because I don't think thankfulness should be a 'theme' of a month.........it needs to be our every day, EVERY MOMENT, theme!

My prayer for us all, tonight, is that Kris's awful and sudden loss be a reminder of this. As you sleep, safe and sound, may you remember (or possibly LEARN) of the sacrifice that your Lord and Savior made for you to be here and Praise Him for the every breath you take.
And before you go to sleep---or start your day *tomorrow, lift Kris and her family up in prayer.
While I don't know her personally, I have a feeling she'd do the same for you~


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Random Inspirations...

My apologies to have 'abandoned' the blog this past few days. 
I suppose I'll let it speak to life...and just how blessed I've been to be LIVING IT this past week. ;) Look forward to a second blog tomorrow... a real one. 
But for now, here are just a few of the many inspirations I find myself reading and revisiting... beyond my bible... from week to week. ;) Enjoy!


Men spend their lives in anticipations,in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every otherit is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.
~Charles Caleb Colton



Everything that happens to us leaves some trace behind; everything contributes imperceptibly to make us what we are.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



As I grow to understand life less and less,
I learn to love it more and more.

~Jules Renard



One life - a little gleam of time between two eternities.
~Thomas Carlyle



The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.
~Elbert Hubbard



Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.
~Samuel Smiles



Believe with all of you are that you will do what you were made to do.
~Orison Swett Marden



If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
~St. Clement of Alexandra



When the best things are not possible, the best may be made of those that are. ~Richard Hooker


and this last one, being how I've replace 'courage' with Christ*
...is personal my favorite~


The man of wisdom is never of two minds;
the man of benevolence never worries;
the man of courage need never be afraid.
~Confucius

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Boys-Part.1

I know what you may be thinking...
wait.
That title doesn't have to do with cancer?!

In all the craziness of this past couple of months literally REVOLVING around me and 'my cancer', it's time...it's PAST time, in fact, that I take some steps back again...and I encourage ALL OF YOU to take some steps back WITH me.

Don't get me wrong. The cards, the meals, the gifts, the gestures...all in response to ME and how I've somehow 'inspired' you all...they are beautiful. They are beyond just thanks, quite honestly. Humbling...
as I keep saying.

But in the mix of all this mess that is now life and in fact the fight FOR life are MY life's most prized gifts, still there, still 'being' what they always have been......

My. Boys.



My husband will never speak aloud what true sides of me there are; what he sees and experiences of me that almost no others around me, do.
The fire that matches the red wig, quite honestly. ;)

He has and will never use my short-comings to lash out, or 'get back' at me for things that are very honest truths in the way that my firey-femaleness tends to do, him.
He has and will never make me feel less than beautiful enough---even when I'm one giant broken-out BOIL from head to to---I'm 'still just as beautiful to him.'
He is these things to me because he loves me, and perhaps he loves me in a signifcantly deeper, more mature love than I myself have yet to learn.

Since cancer entered our lives, Aaron has continued...gone about, WITHOUT COMPLAINT, supporting our household, swallowing his real stresses, working over-time to provide and protect us from any further pressures than are already sitting on our daily lives. He has gotten up (he's never been nor will ever be a morning person) in the early hours to get over to the clinic on a daily basis---even seeing patients before he's technically open---doing 'whatever it takes' and all the while hoping he's fooling me that he and every thing is still completely under control.


Something I've always loved about our relationship is...no matter HOW DISCONNECTED we get just in the craziness that is life, week-to-week... I know him.
I know when 'all is not fine' ..and we know that about each other. We don't require words anymore. Not that we don't use them or need them.. They just aren't imperative in communicating the crucial stuff. There is no hiding. There is no successful pretending.
WE ARE RAW.

We don't count 'partial anniversaries' or sit eager by the front door, waiting for the other to come home. Those were the newlywed days that, though once upon a time we vowed we'd never 'get old in', translating it as a sign that we'd forgotten how to love...it is, in fact, quite the opposite.
Our love is too mature--we grew out of those things when the memories of EACH CHAPTER became far more meaningful than just a date on a calendar and realizing, still, that these memories are being written every MOMENT of every day that we are allotted.

And we're still learning.

I'm learning that Aaron's love for me runs much deeper than how many projects I can get him to accomplish for/with me, while Aaron is learning how to enjoy accomplishing some of the necessary ones... not 'for' me but WITH me. ;)

You see...
I'm learning, right this very second as I'm typing, even, that relationships aren't about the 'I' or the 'Me' or the 'My' AT ALL. They never were. THE VERY DAY we said 'I DO'...
'me' became 'we.'

I am not going through cancer. I am not fighting a battle for my life.
WE are battling for our life to continue...TOGETHER!!! This victory will be OURS because my life IS his, as his is mine.
The unification of marriage that Christ talks about is acting and is very, very REAL. The oneness of the man and the woman, when married, is not metaphorical and is, in fact, CRUCIAL to a marriage's survival.
No, I'm not turning this into a marriage-help blog. I mean, certainly, if you gain any good reminders from this entry, great. But this is me preaching to well, me..this is God TEACHING ME to LET GO OF 'ME.'

When you see your spouse today, don't just 'do something nice' for him/her... don't just 'leave little notes around the house'........sure, those are all beautiful gestures and very sentimental.
But God's love for us...His DESIRE for us is to step back from sentimental and just the temporary shedding of 'me' and instead stride forward, into Him,....our spouse tied three-legged race-style to our side, forgetting all about the 'me' ever existing.

This really is where WE, ALL thrive.

My marriage to Aaron is far from perfect---he and I both know that. God is currently, in fact, using cancer to continue to fix many of our previous problems. Funny how that works. ;-P
But it shouldn't take cancer. It doesn't.
It just takes wanting to be in God's awesome presence of Joy and Grace...and once you've had even the most menial taste of that kind of thriving, letting go of 'me' is an equal joy to gaining the 'we'~

Monday, November 12, 2012

A quickie...

It's late.

I'm tired... and have a long two days ahead.
There is SOOOOOO MUCH floating through my mind these days and I'm super happy to have my internet back up and running at home now so that, on the 'good days' as they are now being termed ;) *terminology that reminds me of my sweet grammy kiki*, I can continue to pour all the ramblings out onto paper--errrr--here.

Meantime though, here's just a quick update:

Back in P-town for another go.
Week #3 this one is~

Hahaha. Sorry, just pulled a 'Yoda' in that last sentence.

Anyway, tomorrow is machine-time and the big mystery remains...what will the 'theme' of this week be?! Yes. I know. It's pathetic to theme my weeks by chemo side-effects, but hey. Gotta stay entertained. ;) Just pray for no diarrhea.

Yes. I did. I did just talk about my poop.
Figured I'd let you all in on that convo, whether or not you wanted to be, ha! It's daily talk these days.
But as my funny family says *per kiki* POOP IS ALWAYS FUNNY! ;) Well. Diarrhea's not. But. Um...

Anyway.
Time will tell what this week's theme is. What I do know is the BIG-PICTURE theme is KILL CANCER! That's ALWAYS the theme, no matter what. ;)

...and speaking of which...
We stay one more night up here tomorrow night because Tuesday is MRI and biopsy day!
Yeah.
You all know how I feel about biopsies.

BUT.........
#1 This is the last one for a while!!!! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <--Me, being excited!
#2 We LIKE finding out how much cancer we've killed, YES WE DO!!!

Sooooo...
if you are a praying type *and if you weren't before and are still following, I sure hope you are NOW!*........ PRAY FOR REDUCED TUMOR!!! :) :) :)
We want to see LESS CANCER on that screen on Tuesday. Yes Yes Yes.
Murder. Of. Cancer.
Arrest me if you must. I PRAY I have murdered. ;-P

....
And now that I have entirely lost my marbles, to bed I go~

Love to you all...thank you for your continued prayers and support. Can't say it enough.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Changes!

As you can see, we've had a little 'face-lift'...as promised. ;)

Though things are still in progress and of course, always being better organized, I hope you find that the links and things added to the site are helpful.

Please note the new tabs at the top...all designed for making it easier for you, my readers/fellow-fighters/supports to know what's going on. Also, special thanks to my beautiful sis-in-love Erin for the pretty pics...she is a talented, lovely girl and we adore her for the memories and support she continues to provide us. :)

The new Blessing Us link provides you with this link to our CaringBridge site which I plan to start utilizing in the coming weeks, if just for organizing a few play-dates for the boys to break up the monotony of mommy's 'bad days.' I have added some various tasks for the weeks through December if you are one who keeps asking me know how you can help us out through this phase of treatment. ;)

The new Upcoming Events link will help you stay tuned to ongoing and/or upcoming fundraisers that I've been made aware of. If you are holding something and want/need me to add it to the link, please email me at: hayleyziebart@gmail.com and let me know about it. :)

The new Treatment Updates link will be briefly updated each chemo week. It's purpose is just to keep you up-to-date on what our next appointment/P-town trip looks like each week. Please FEEL FREE to ask whatever specific questions/prayer requests I may have if I don't mention them.

Lastly, I've re-posted a revision of the first blog I ever shared about our 'cancer news' under the My C-Story tab...just because although my blog existed long before cancer, this Courage-journey has obviously taken over the next year of our lives and hence my blog-topics...at least for the most part. ;)

I hope you find that these revisions are helpful---please, please, please provide me any feedback, whether positive or constructive as to how I've set things up/what I can do to set them up even better.

Thanks for following, everyone!
LOVE YOU ALL~

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chemo Week #2--aka Rash Week

Well, it's nice to be back, I gotta say!
We started the week by having our wireless router go out on us.
I was sad feeling like I couldn't blog or do the internet-thing, at first, but by Tuesday's side-effects from chemo, none of it was on my mind or top of my list.

This week's moral---a rash. A very *gross, in my opinion* acne-like, itchy and uncomfortable rash...
all over my chest, face, neck, shoulders, back, inner thighs and scalp.
SUPA FUN. ha~

I was told that the Decadron *lemans terms, steroid* that they give me both the night before chemo, orally, and then the day of chemo through my port, was likely the biggest culprit. Supposedly, it feels to my body like a hormone that surges through a 13 yr old pubescent boy's body and hence causes such side-effects. Cause cutting my hair all off didn't make me feel boy enough already, lol!!
Oh goodness. I just have to laugh, cause otherwise I cry, ha~

The steroid drug is necessary, though. From how it's been explained to me...they have to get my heart over-active--pumping FAST--so that as soon as the chemo goes in and to my heart, it doesn't stay there for longer than it has to before reaching it's final intended destination. Makes sense.

The good news about the rash is my doc was able to prescribe a cream that is helping. It's topical, obviously, which means it's taking time to completely disappear, but as far as wanting to itch my body off, it's settled. With time and cream, I'm slowly feeling myself again.

I've decided that this part of the hike is going to have lots of surprises--(snakes jumping out, poison oak encounters), etc--my doc tells me it's good to expect those, even though I'm not sure exactly what each will be. In lou of this, I've decided to start calling each week by it's 'surprise'--this week was Rash Week.
I figure by the end of this, I'll be through enough side-effects that weeks will actually be surprisingly normal and am told to expect this, too! :)
All in all... this too shall pass. ...and as we keep looking at it as a family, this is one LESS week we have to do before we reach the end. :) :) :)
Thank goodness~

Oh, and as far as the supposed Norwalk virus that's been reported rampant at Gray's school and throughout our community?! I think we may of actually dodged it.
While we are really feeling for our friends who ended up with it, I have to say...like I told Aaron...I think God knew we already have ENOUGH on our plate as it is, ha! ;-P

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Village...

Yes... I know this is the title of a good, though suspense-filled movie...and so I tried a couple of times to come up with a different title for this post, but I just couldn't.

I played with titles involving the word family... and then with words like 'loved ones' to encompass friends AND family... but nothing fit quite so well because everything I came up with seemed, somehow, to leave out important people. If I say 'loved ones', it doesn't include those we've yet to meet whom, even still, are praying for us and reaching out in head-spinning ways. Though we do love their hearts, we've yet to have the opportunity to know and love them BACK *though believe me when I say, we FULLY intend to at the end of all this.*


So. That leaves me back at that word... 'village.'

It is the village that, on this trail, I keep crying out in tears of joy to see when I simply need to take a moment and look behind me. They are there. Looking at me. Smiling. Ready to catch me if I slip and build my assurance back up that I can do this.

It is the village that has already loved on and doted over my children's every emotional and physical need.

It is the village that has begun to hold phenomenal and generous fundraisers, knowing that the bills and expenses amidst all the other chaos are very real.

It is the village that continues to back us in prayer from a far, all over the world, really.

It is the village that keeps the standing offer of all-hour phone-call duties, store-runs, child-care...any need really, at all.

It is the village of people. Both believers and non. Local and distanced. Related and not.
People from all walks of life---young, old, married, single, parents, grand-parents, kidless, working, retired---who are, truly, getting us through this.

I found myself, more than once, all-out bawling this week.
Aaron made a joke that I shouldn't 'use' my tears because they have 'chemo-chemicals' in them...it was only a joke. But we both had a good laugh over it.

I did though. I cried a lot this week.
I cried when I felt sooooo darned crappy that I thought 'there's just NO WAY, Lord...you have underestimated what you can do with and through me.'

I cried when I woke up to run to the bathroom for the hundredth time for crappy business. :-P

I cried when Aaron and I had a discussion about finances which of course led down the same stress-path it always seems to.

I cried again today, too. But today was different.
Today was because after a rough week of chemo-effects and money stresses, I still had something so completely and utterly intact---My village.
At some point today, whether in the midst of a visit from one of my dearest girlfriends who came, bearing gifts she knows she shouldn't have, or whether being delivered jello from my precious mommy who has all good intentions of helping her 'c-sick' daughter... or maybe in the moment that another dear girlfriend popped in with a serious fiscal blessing from a recent fund-raiser... it dawned on me...I HAVE A VILLAGE and it hasn't gone anywhere.

Sure, life has continued on for everyone else. Soccer games have been had. Birthday parties and trick-or-treating have been enjoyed. Even some vacations has been taken. Heck, I certainly don't expect everyone's lives around me to be on the stand-still that ours has to be right now...nor would I EVER WANT them to be!!
But, that beautiful, amazing, awesome village of people are still surrounding me. They are still sending flowers. They are still stopping in for visits. They are still offering help. They are still just waiting for ME to say 'ok, this is what I need.'

What a moment of awe.

I'll tell you, having people... 'loved ones', 'friends', 'relatives'... around you is one thing.
But when you have a VILLAGE---you have a FAMILY of people from all areas of your life who, in times like this, really are what it takes.

You know what they say about 'It takes a village to raise a child?'

Well, You, my village, (along with my God) are what it's going to take for me to beat this cancer.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Continued perspective...

It's amazing how our perspective on life can alter our experience of it.
I continue to be awed *and maybe the even more accurate term is, disgusted* at how cluelessly I was skipping through life before all of this.
Getting up, going to work, raising my children, managing our house, playing mom's-taxi, cooking meals........ the list of house-mom, as many of us well know, is endless...
Which means endless time..... which also means endless ENERGY.

My whole life, people around me have always said 'Oh Hayley, you are such a BALL of energy!' ...and it's true, I am. I am comfortable being so because I really do use it.
Although we're only four days into this trek, I can already see that energy (or my sudden lack thereof) is going to be the hardest part of this particular trail. For perhaps the first time in my life, I feel sincerely ZAPPED. Not even right after having my two children have I felt so drained.

.....
.....
....

Well. That was a nice nap, ha! Fell asleep (initially, literally, on my keyboard!)
Like I was saying.
DRAINED.
Such a weird feeling for me... like an on-going flu or something~

The past few days have been a challenge... like reaching a hiking trail that started with an immediate steep and slippery climb. As in real life, I went with the bend over, hands to the knees and 'push on' approach, but I'm not fooling anyone (myself, in the least!) that the 'pit stops' or in my case, naps, haven't played a huge role, already. While I know I need them, it is a challenge to allow myself to be so lazy. Sitting around just isn't, nor has it EVER been 'my thing.'

Still, as another 'courage warrior' said to me a few weeks into all of this, 'You will do what you must because it's YOU who's going through it.' And she's right. I am. As difficult as it is at times, I will.

In the early part of my day, today, right as I was facing my hundredth bathroom run in 72-hrs and thinking to myself... I just don't know if I'm cut out for this!...
I came across an email from a friend of a friend, through my mom.
I've said before, and will say at least a thousand times more, I'm sure, that God never ceases to amaze me with His timing. At a moment in my day where I just felt so beat-up by all this, the most perfect message sprayed across my computer screen.
She is another survivor--spreading her healing thoughts my way--but she shared something that God revealed to her in the midst of her hike--something I really needed to hear today. Because I don't want it to lose it's context (...and I'm a half-asleep typer these days), I'm copying and pasting it, here:

----


I am a 19 year breast cancer survivor...I know the huge combination of thoughts, feelings, questions, roller-coaster way of getting the news and going through the recovery process.  I shared this briefly with your mother the other day when I dropped by UVAA...and I pass it on to you...[in case it is "the message-of-the-day-from God"]  :)  It was a HUGE stronghold for me those many years ago---and for that matter, has become one of my "life-verses."  

It is Phillipians 4:6-7...which is probably familiar to you---reminding us to be thankful and to take all of our concerns to God in prayer..BUT..the part that leaped out for me (that was what God knew I needed) was the last part of the verse that says:

"AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH PASSES UNDERSTANDING. WILL GUARD YOUR HEART AND MIND THROUGH CHRIST JESUS"  

I think God knew I needed that "guard my heart and mind" because sometimes, left to my own---my heart and mind could go bonkers---way out there with the worst-case-scenarios, the what-ifs....so when some anxious fear/thought would come into my awareness,  my prayer became just that: "guard my heart and mind through Christ Jesus"

----



THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING,
WILL GUARD YOUR HEART AND MIND.

Yes, Lord.
I pray that for myself, right now.
And I pray that for us ALL!!

Guard our hearts and minds, Lord... and let a Peace, FROM YOU, surpass all my understanding of this and leave me with nothing........
but Your Perfect Peace.





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