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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Captive~


There are a few definitions that can be found for the word captive. I was so intrigued by some of the descriptives used after a basic Google search that I simply must share them before I move any further into this blog.


#1: A person who has been taken prisoner.

#2: A prisoner of war, who is forcibly confined, subjugated, or enslaved.
#3: One who is enslaved or dominated; slave.
#4: kept within bounds; confined.
and finally, my favorite...
#5: subjugated; obsolete

Obsolete. No longer produced or used. Out-dated.


One thing all of these definitions make certain is, captivity, is not a nice position to be in.



For the past four weeks worth of this hardcore 'AC' round of chemo (AC standing for Adriamycin-Cytoxin--the poisons they are currently injecting into my 137 lb body every two weeks), I have been a captive.

My brain simply is not my own. Amidst my very worst days--which are patterned to be the following five days, post infusion--my brain's function is best drawn out in a flat-line. Seriously. I feel like as though my heart is beating, therefore I am alive... but my brain, is well... dead. People talk to me, I see them, I feel my ears picking up the vibrations, but my brain does nothing to translate information. I spend half my time asking for things to be repeated and the other half of my time praying that people won't figure out I'm pulling the mean, superficial ol' 'smile-and-nod' routine on them, just to be polite! It's awful. And for those of you who know me and my incredibly SOCIAL personality, you can imagine that faking conversation is about the worst kind of torture for me.

Aside from my brain's function, my body is equally useless. Just picking up my hand to pick up a fork to stab a piece of food that I know isn't going to taste very good anyway *but still must eat* wears me out.

For a solid four days after this current regimen or 'cocktail' as my mother likes to call my medicines, this is my function... or lack thereof. 

CAPTIVE.


And now for the part where I admit another form of captivity--a form where the cancer-blame-game doesn't apply.

Hello. My name is Hayley and I am a control-freak/worry-a-holic who preaches God's reality but continues to inflict unnecessary depression and fret upon oneself for reasons unjustified.

You know what I'm talking about. We all do it. But lately, I'm deeming myself the Queen of it.

I'm beginning to wonder if these medicines are giving me some sick, masochistic tendencies as I swear, I see the cage and I say to myself, 'Get in there!' 
I wish I could explain our flesh, but it really is so deeply complicated and warped... and I suppose that I know God didn't sacrifice all He did for us and pay our dues if the flesh was so easily defined. 

You ready for this? 

Newsflash, everyone: Life is not in your control!!!!!!!!!! 
Plan all you want. Plot all your desire. Lay out the next 10 years on a color-coded chart, laminate it and hang it on your office wall for all I care. You still have no control!!! 
Don't you think I had a plan? A two year and a five year...and boy does can my husband attest how captive I 'was' of it--and yes, am still trying to be!

CAPTIVE. I am a captive of cancer. True. 

But BC *before cancer*, I was/am a captive of myself.

The funny thing about captivity, like when you see a killer whale at SeaWorld, how their dorsel fin flops over because their body and their very nature just knows they aren't where they belong--is things don't function to their utmost potential. The captive killer whale will do tricks and 'listen' to people's instructions for a while...but eventually, that nature rises up in them and terrible outbursts of behavior occur. They know. They are not where they belong and they are not doing what they were made to do. Their purpose for life becomes... obsolete.


God MADE us for one purpose.

HIM.

We were not designed to be wrought with stress and fear...doubts and regrets. 

We were not created to be spent by things, entertainments and luxuries.
We were not knit together to be wasted on any aspect of living that this world offers.

As our dear pastor reminded this past weekend (on this same subject, mind you)...we came into this world with nothing and we are, all, leaving this world with nothing.


So before you spend another precious gift of breath *and I'm preaching to myself here too!* on anything 'your life' may 'need' to be happy, or feel less stressed because you 'have it all figured out'... 

STOP. 
Find the front of the cage, reach your figures through to the latch, open, open some more, step out, close your eyes and call His Name! He is absolutely the only source of freedom this world offers...
and I don't know about you, but I'm ready *again* to start living for the purpose I was created~

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Many of Love Day's To You~

There are many reasons why I choose to title 'today' what I do, each year, but I will just start by wishing everyone a happy many of 'Love Day's' and share with you my personal thoughts around this subject, especially as of late.

As I have attested for around the past 5 or so months now, a person really does not know the breadth--the very depth--of love that exists all around them until something in their life, like my current situation, sheds awareness to and touches so many.

From my very first day at OHSU---filled with scary and unfamiliar tests and appointments and surrounded by initial strangers there to poke and prod, I was given the opportunity to experience this kind of love. A situation that could have remained scary, became quite comforting and even silly in moments. Sure, we were working to 'keep it light' but what really floored me was how my medical team responded...with this young woman, obviously scared out of her wits and still in udder shock of it all...recognizing all these things, they all banned together and treated me with LOVE.

Throughout this journey thus far, it's been the same. Roseburg residents, reaching out as strangers, expressing their desires to become acquaintances once life 'slows' for me--people from all over whom I've never met, going out of their way, taking a personal interest in my life, my children, my career-aspirations---all the things that exist in my 'now normal' and my 'plans after this normal,' too.
NEVER ONCE has any of them laughed at my dreams 'A.C.' (after cancer), but in fact have encouraged me to grasp to them.

Don't think that this show of compassion and endearing love stops there.
Certainly my God and my own family are the epitome of love in my life...
but they are not what this blog is about.
My love for them comes easy, naturally. Their love for me, the same. It doesn't negate from the depth--in fact, I truly believe that it stresses into all kinds of new 'territories' of true love in which you endure each-other's pit-falls, insecurities, struggles, etc and uphold each other through each wane.

But I'm focusing on more 'distant' love right now.
What does it take, from us, to show love, true. affectionate. compassionate. love. to those that go beyond our most personal bounds?!
Jesus walked this earth loving those whom he'd never met---whether or not the love was ever returned---and in many cases, where what was returned was scoffing, hatred and horrific acts of anger and spite.
But He still Loved.

I've always had a hard time with holidays--our nation and world setting aside a day 'to be nice'... 'to focus on others.' Maybe it's partially due to my upbringing and how my parents viewed most of the big, commercialized holidays, but maybe it's also due in part to where I'm at in life, now. I don't like the selfish-spin that today sets us into--that we have to acknowledge our love for one another, today--cause God forbid we do the same every other day, not knowing if tomorrow will even come.

I'm not trying to be clique, so I apologize if it's coming off that way. I suppose the point I am desperate to make is this:

Today, when you name off whom you love, if you feel so driven, stretch beyond your family and friends. REACH OUT to someone who may not have someone--or if you're so inclined and comfortable--share the ultimate love that was shown them to even be standing in front of you---
God's Love!
And as you sign off, remind them, and yourself that the love and compassion that we should have for each other is anything but circumstantial or 'annual,' alone.

His isn't for you, so why should yours be for others~

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Here comes the RED!!!

Stay tuned, people...

This chemo (A/C) round has run me through the full gamete of responses and emotions *again* and I've come back around, full circle, facing tomorrow full on fired-up! I'm SO ANGERED UP about having to get that nasty stuff, again, I figured... what better week for the infamous red wig but this one!

For those of you who think this lady is all sweet and no fire, just ask my hubs... or my family. Aaron's even said to me before, 'Sometimes I think you're this super sweetheart to everybody and then you come home and have stored up all your 'fire' for me.'
haha. Sorry honey.
He's right, though. I am a bit of a rose.
Blossomy, but watch out for those thorns, teehee. What can I say.
VERY IMPERFECT -->right here<--

Of course, hubs has also said that maybe God's 'gift' to me for this journey was that very fire. He's right about that, too. It very well may be what gets me through the chapters and years of fighting still ahead of us.

Whatever the case, today while packing for tonight/tomorrow up here in P-town for infusion #14, I did it...I went and dug out my 'firey-hair' and packed it up!
Tomorrow, come morning, I will be placing that puppy on this bald head and facing my 14th 'poison reception' with head and spirit, on fire!!!

You hear me, chemo?!  I'm FIRED UP to receive you.
BRING IT ON, A/C... I see your red color and I raise you MINE!!!

Bring. It. On. ~


(PS: Tune back here soon for wig pics) ;)

Ready or not...

Well, just another Saturday night filled with the anticipation of yet another trek up 'the five.'
I'd be lying if I said I haven't become tired of this routine.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, a trip to P-town (our once home-town in what also seems like another lifetime ago, now) was filled with eagerness...plans for shopping, fun dining-out, hotel stays... a mini-vaca, if you will.
Now, each time that we go, no matter what we do before the actual infusion, it's harder and harder for me to focus my thoughts on anything else. It's a sort of conditioning that's happened... like the way that Pavlov's dogs would hear the bell, and BAM, salivation!

That's me.
Only I'm hardly salivating.

As soon as we're on I-5 I find myself getting somewhat antsy, and by the time that we pass by the Sutherlin exit, a silly kind of confirmation overcomes me.
Yep. We're headed there.
Again.

This week seems to have a little extra hold on my nerves. I blame that entirely on two weeks ago when I received a new dose of conditioning--the 'red bullet'--the round that two weeks ago put me in bed lock-down.
I really would do many things to get out of going up the freeway tomorrow. But once again, I'm without a choice--the same scenario I've been in for going on nearly five months, now--walking a wilderness walk, Leaning on Christ Alone to conquer these never-ending fears and anxieties, worries and frustrations.

I haven't packed yet, which I suppose is somewhat of a subconscious rebellion if I'm being completely honest. The other reason for that could also be the fact that going up the freeway nearly every weekend for 15 straight weeks causes a person to become a very efficient and minimalistic packer. :-P

There are so many things that I wanted to do/accomplish this week before the anticipation of being 'laid up' was upon me so heavily, again... but I'm telling myself what a sweet family-member recently shared with me. If I died tomorrow and God asked me, did you vacuum and dust your house yesterday, Hayley... and I said 'No, Lord, I did not. I went to the duck pond and took my boys on a bike-ride to the park instead'... I'm pretty sure he'd agree that was an adequate excuse. ;)
So, no. Not all is done before leaving tomorrow. But all that was important received my invested time......and headed into this week, knowing I will likely be seeing my little men on a more limited basis again over the next 5 days or so, I'm content enough.

My prayer in all this continues to be the same...especially if we have to endure this right now. Or EVER, for that matter. :-P

Embrace this week, everybody. Live in EACH MOMENT. Focus on your many, many blessings. Praise God, every minute of every new day that you awaken to.
As you sit down to eat a big dinner, enjoy and savor it a little bit more than you did last week. As you go to work, remember what a blessing that is. Ask yourself the 'what-if's' with each thing that you want to complain about.

Remember that nothing is forever. Things can change over-night... even moment to moment... so embrace your situation and be grateful for how things are and remember that all the Grace, Gratitude and Glory belongs only one place--
our Loving Creator~

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tested~

Even as a kid, I HATED tests.
Just my physical reactions to them, alone, seemed to amount to enough to send me on a one-way ticket to anxiety-ville. My stomach would twist into pure knots, my hands would shake and become all cold and clammy, leaving my poor pencil in a sort of earthquake-slip n' slide disaster-zone. My legs would shake, my bladder would tease me that I 'had to go,' especially during the occasions the teacher absolutely forbade it.
And no matter how hard I studied, how much I planned ahead, and what consumption technique I utilized, it seemed the material would just 'magically' flit out of my brain right as a test packet hit the top of my desk.

UGH. Talk about miserable.

Even better was receiving that marked up test BACK. Oy.
I still favor and appreciate my teachers who were kind enough to hand back tests with the 'half-fold' grip or even better, just set them upside down on our desktops.
Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't a terrible student. I really did, always, try my very best and never got what I consider horrible grades, but certainly wasn't a straight-A student, either. Tests were just, always, a struggle and...as I learned by the time I was in high-school with a select amount of involved and genuine teachers who cared less about the grade and more about the student...test-taking atmosphere's just never sufficed for calculating my knowledge retention.
For this, I really did, whole-heartedly hate written tests. 

As time went on and I advanced through high school and into college, I got better at taking tests...certainly it helped that most of college involved classes that were extra interesting to me, but throughout my school years I became more aware that some tests were better than others.
For instance, multiple choice were the worst for my personality-type because I'd 'know' the answer, but then absolutely couldn't move on before reading all of them which would then leave me changing my answer, but then I'd second guess that and go back to contemplating my initial answer and finally become sooooo intimidated by it all that I'd tell myself to 'move on and come back,' leaving me at the end with 'time up' and sporadic blank entries to show for it. It was horrible.
Essay tests on the other hand were usually pretty easy for this chatty-Cathy... especially when I'd studied extra hard for the test, I could wipe the floor with most essays. It also helped that English *though it doesn't show in my ridiculously informal writing-'style' on here!* was my favorite subject, next to music. ;)


Over the past few months that we've been on this journey...hike, up 'Mt. Courage,' there have been days where the hours, the minutes... even the moments, feel like the worst test imaginable. Even as I describe the written kind that once, seemingly, consumed my life, I find myself back at that word.
PERSPECTIVE.
Isn't it some kind of incredible that when I named this blog (a year and a half B.C. *before cancer*) that the Lord brought that word to me... 'Perspectives and Ramblings'.... and now what a different meaning it has taken on, since!!!

Yes.
What a scary thing tests were once... how scary and intimidating that piece of paper were for me and my #2 pencil.
Bah! What I wouldn't give to make this test that simple.

Recent days:
We're talking, *again*, about mommy's sickness... 'no, mommy's not dying, even though, true, mommy hasn't been able to really get out of bed for three days.'
I'm texting, 'Hi students...so sorry to have to do this, but we have to cancel lessons for tomorrow cause there is just no way that I will be able to teach.'
People are messaging, 'Hi Hayley, just wanted to let you know about this documentary I just watched that I think you should watch...it talks about what we eat and do that gives us cancer and how to avoid them.' <--while I DO understand the amazingly, loving intentions...I can't even start into this one. :-P
Bills are stacking. Finances are lacking. I'm still hacking. Boys need packing. and suddenly.......
it all rushes back.
My stomach starts twisting, my hands start shaking and become all cold and clammy, my bladder feels anxious and my mind, goes blank.

I'm ABSOLUTELY... overwhelmed.
I'm so done with all this!
Maybe I should just call Deirdre and say NO MORE! I don't want another drug to enter my body! I don't want another needle to puncture my port!
In fact, I WANT THIS PORT OUT!! It's itchy. It's ugly. I'm over it.


But here's the funny thing about this test. Just like the others, no matter how I feel about it...I have to take it. There is no 'exit trail' on this hike. There is no option of leaving spots blank if I am to pass.
HOWEVER, unlike my tests in school, I have only one answer for every scenario... every page.


GOD.


'Son, even if mommy does die from this, we don't have to be afraid because GOD knows.'
'Students, even though I can't teach you tomorrow, I will be back, because GOD'S healing me.'
'Friends/Aquaintances, even though I appreciate your beautiful and well-intentions on the subject of cancer and cancer-related 'miracle cures,' just keep praying for me... cause GOD hears you.'
'Bills and finances. Well. We're doing our best... and thank the Lord that, GOD provides.'
'Nasty cold...I rebuke you, in JESUS name!'
'Boy's having to leave... though I struggle with this, I'm so thankful for family and GOD'S provisions!'

Does this mean I like tests now? That this one is easy??

HA!!!

(no)

But I will say this.
What more awesome Teacher to have behind a test than one, who in 'giving it,' provides one
Simple Answer to every problem on it~

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Simple Life...

This blog has gone on for long enough now that I fear I may be RE-typing posts and beginning to just sound like a skipping record these days. Of course, the chemo-brain being taken to a whole new level in this round doesn't help my uncertainty in the matter either. So whatever the case, bare with me.

I suppose like all things in this life, what prevails over and over again is our lack of humility and human tendency to turn right back around and self-thrive not two seconds after we preached with lip-service that we 'learned such a good lesson!' Yes. I'm talking about the impossibility to ABIDE in humility and be grateful IN THE MOMENT...for whatever that moment is... just because you happened to RECEIVE it.

Most of you know that I'm on facebook and in fact, many of you even followed me here from there, so it's you who would be especially privy to what I'm talking about. *and don't think for a SECOND that I'm about to claim myself as an exception to this! I have in fact, been one of the greatest offenders!*

So it's posts like 'ugh, I got a flat tire today on my commute today, then I had to stay an hour late at work, and then by the time I got home, it was too late to order take out so I had to cook and now I'm just beat.'
Then, the best part: 'One of the most awful days of my life.'

A hundred 'you know it's!' to the first person who can name every single thing wrong with this... aside from the fact that it's an obvious complaint.


Want my take??

You have a car. <--BLESSING.
You have tires on said car. <--BLESSING.
You were able to afford to get said tire fixed on said car. <--BLESSING.
You have a job. <--BLESSING.
Your job provides steady hours for the time being. <--BLESSING.
You have a house to come home to. <--BLESSING.
You have enough money to choose to pay someone to cook your meal, if you choose. <--BLESSING.
You you have enough money to stock your cupboards with food to cook. <--BLESSING.
You have electricity in your house that runs a convenient appliance called a stove that will cook said food from your cupboards. <--BLESSING.

..and sorry if I insult you, though i believe you need one for saying this--I HIGHLY DOUBT this qualifies as a top most awful day. AND if it DOES, the fallen-nature inside me has wished some not so nice things on you, now, ha! :-P
No, I don't mean that.
Well.
A little.

My point is...with a nation quickly approaching some times many of us *as in younger than my grand-parents age would be* have never seen, I think it's high time we got some things about ourselves and our thought-lives sorted through!

As one of my sweet *albeit mouthy with great intentions* sister-in-loves said to someone just days after we heard my diagnosis--as well as another of her friends husbands, facing a similar battle--
PERSPECTIVE IS A *-I-T-C-H. *Sorry, can't even type say-it, haha, but it's so true!!

Perspective, perspective, perspective.

I learn it and learn it again and then yet again... and it seems in this journey there are few limitations to the new perspectives God's allowing me to experience, like *as of this last week* suddenly being nearly incapable of feeding/walking/bathing myself--bed-ridden with fatigue, nausea and body-pain.
Well...
that's just the Lord's TINIEST DOSE of what a paraplegic is faced with living with and getting around!
Really.
Isn't THAT a humbling thought.

The idea of never being able to kneel on the floor in front of our bathtub, leaned over my little mens sweet little bodies, picking up, squeezing the soap onto their big, round heads... making up silly rhymes or songs as we scrub... scooping the water up into the rinse cup and pouring it over their heads as we sing new rhymes about water over our faces, so as to avoid all the unnecessary drama of such. STANDING UP, grabbing their color-assigned sharkey-towels and lifting them out of the tub--not cause they still need that, but BECAUSE I CAN. Making up even more silly tunes about drying off, all in good bonding-purpose--because it's the best part of this!

Yes.
I DID just describe, in ridiculous detail, giving my children a bath.
And yes.
IT IS A BIG DEAL.

But here's the problem I'm having with all this.
I don't want to 'inspire' you temporarily with this post... this is not my intention AT ALL, in fact.
I want to CHALLENGE you. I want YOU to challenge YOURSELF...

ABIDE in the blessings. Don't just count them. ABIDE in the 'what-if's.'
I'm finding that 'counting my blessings' does not hit my core strings nearly so much as when I say to myself.. 'WHAT IF I couldn't *insert current activity* I'm tempting to complain about.

I have this laundry recipe in my laundry room that I printed out a while back and it is a GREAT example of this very thing. The recipe is a real recipe from at least the 1800's I'm sure that outlines, in grave detail how to do laundry. It starts: 'Cart large wash tub and washboard outside. Fill with water from the well. Stoke the fire and boil the water.'

HAHAHA.
If that much right there doesn't humble a person to silence, they need a sick-in-the-heart evaluation, stat!

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely LOATHE laundry. If there's one thing I'll happily put off for days and days and days, it's laundry. But let me tell you again *and myself also*...

PERSPECTIVE. She really is a *-I-T-C-H.

We have it sooooo good. I'm not just talking our society or our modern conveniences...
I'm talking even the simple things that frankly, when it comes down to it AREN'T SIMPLE AT ALL.
It takes a LOT--aside from poisonous drugs surging through my body--for things to go right in my physical functions to be able to bathe my children. That movement is a BLESSING... we are threatened, daily, that it won't always be an option for us...whether it be from old-age, orthopedic issues, a horrible unexpected accident, etc.

I really HATE how we are so flesh-made this way. We 'appreciate' it when lose it?
WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!!

So, before my chemo-brain takes us on the ultimate ride into rant-land *again* let me just conclude with this...

This week... and then this month... and then year... and then the next five years... and the remainder of your life *however long or short that may be cause YOU DON'T KNOW* every time you begin to open your mouth to complain--before you allow the nasty words off your lips--force your brain to ask 'What If'.......
and then after you realize the blessing, thank God for the 'simple life' you are leading---that even in it's greatest simplicity, is the most complicated and complex structures that will ever exist.

Oh.
And you're still not deserving of any of it, either~



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