Friday, March 30, 2012

Trying to get the words and the page together

More than a million things are swirling around in my head.  I compose the most brilliant and thought provoking masterpieces in my head.  In the shower, or while driving, or while laying there not falling asleep.  About perspective and change, about our trip to New York, about undocumented birthday parties, about cancer and life and morbid thoughts, about parenting and working and surviving, about living and experiencing and thriving.  

And then.  

I come here, and I also don't know where to start.  My blog has become a short and sweet (thankfully) commentary on the skin cancer that I had.  I say (thankfully) because it was removed so quickly, it is won and done.  Mixed with that is a lot of pictures of our family on Mount Hood this winter.  And we are basically in the same outfits in each picture.  Cancer, beautiful white mountain silhouette against a blue sky, eye bandage, same green snowpants, same blue coat, same gushing of gratefulness.  

This winter, like no other, being on the mountain, made me feel the most alive.  There and quiet moments alone are the places I felt closest to God, and I felt clarity.  Clarity of priorities and emotions.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was living a good life.  I can feel it when I breath in the frigid air and feel the burn of the cold wind on my face.  When I smile at my loved ones and when I use my muscles and power to move my strong body along in the snow.  

I am filled, consumed with emotions, and it's just swirling there inside of me.  

Let me see if I can start to explain, and not delete my post for fear of judgement.  I need to get something out.  A good friend told me to just try and process one emotion at a time.  I want to start to unravel the knots my thoughts are in.  So here I go, one thought.  

I think that I've always thought deep inside that if I had to guess how I would die, it would be from cancer.  I mean, I know it's morbid, but if we are honest, most have a hunch one way or another.  Or a hunch might even be too strong of a word.  We aren't supposed to talk about it, unless we are trying to be weird or creepy.  Anyway, Lawrence told me long ago that he thinks the way he will go is in a car accident, he's always had that feeling.  My guess is that a lot of people, if ask, think cancer.  Why not?  All we hear about these days is this or that has links to cancer.  I sure remember thinking as I baked to a crisp while running on the logs and flumes of Wallowa Lake summer after summer that of course I would probably get skin cancer, not that I even knew why that was bad.  Not that I imagined the good kind of skin cancer was THIS bad.  Not that I knew anything.  Except that if I got a really bad sunburn, it would eventually fade into a sort of tan after a few painful days.  If everything causes cancer, why even try to fight it?  

Well...that's not entirely true, but you get my point.  I don't live that way now.  We do a lot of things to fight it.  We eat organic fruits and vegetables when we can, we have a toxin free house, use make-up, soap, cleaners, and laundry soap that don't have harmful cancer-causing chemicals.  I breastfed all of my kids until they were a year.  I don't use deodorant with aluminum in it.  I mean, I do things, lots of things.  Now I'm eating a Paleo diet, and feeling great on that hoping the supposedly cancer reducing effects are also true. 

Before my real cancer experience, I've worked myself into tears imaging myself as the title character in "Tuesdays with Morrie", I've written my own "Last Lecture" stories in my head, recorded imaginary videos even.  Most of my imaginings are consumed with the great impact, what I must leave behind, documentation and advice for those that love me, for those who aren't old enough for the wisdom and teaching I must give them.  I've thought about how I would be at peace with going to Heaven, but then am filled with anguish about the pain of those left behind.  Now I know I am an extremely thoughtful person, with a big imagination, but I can't possibly be the only person who thinks about these things.  Or maybe I am, no one ever shares these thought with me if they have them.  And I'm am closer, close-close, with more people than anyone I know.  People who would share it.  

So when I heard the word cancer, it was like a confirmation of my worst fears!  My worst fears, that really weren't supposed to be true, those were just crazy fears that I'd conjured up.  "A little bit of skin cancer" she said, and I couldn't imagine what that meant.  But there was a plan, and I needed a plan in order to let her off the phone.  Then I waited a few weeks and prayed and had more faith than I ever have before, and that's saying a lot because I have loads of faith in my heart.  I felt love like I've never felt before, and again, I have more love in my life than I know what to do with, so it is saying something when I can pinpoint the time in which I was most loved, and I just experienced that time.  Then I had the surgery and it is all fine.  Fine.  Soreness near my eye, fullness in my heart.  

And, you know, that's not what you think of when you think of cancer, when your worst fear plays out as a true story.  When you think of cancer, you think of long term battles and treatment plans, you think of life changing perspective and bald heads.  And the thing is, some life changing perspective did come, and I was brave, and I am forever changed.  

I asked one of my friends why no one was commenting on my blog these last two weeks, while I wrote about my recover, when I know so many are reading.  She said, what is there to say?  It's awkward when you don't know what to say.  I guess.  Except that since I'm a blog writer, when I read a blog and I don't know what to say, I say "hugs", "thinking of you", "yay!".  Say something because nothing feels like, well, nothing.  

And now it is all over, and I'm not going to die, and I never was going to die.  There wasn't even a shadow of a doubt that in the end I would be cancer free and go on living.  I went through a battle and I was scared and I was strong.  Yay me!  My support network surprised and amazed me.  Yay loved ones! While I physically can see a scar, and a misshapen eye that every day looks and feels better, emotionally I feel changed in more ways than I can say.  I guess that is because I let myself go there, even if for a few minutes.  To the land of what if.  To the land of I need to be here no matter what.  To the land of ohmygoodness, what if I wasn't?  And my cancer that used to be a fear "out there", one that I was just imagining in my head, just like I am nervous when my great driving husband goes on a drive without me, just like I don't want my family to fly separately.  But now, it's in here.  In. My. Body.  It was in my body for 5 years and I didn't even know it.  and I looked at it in the mirror every day.  It reminds me of May 1994 when my fear of the dark changed from boogie man fear to real bad-things-happen-in-the-dark fear.  

What other cells could be malforming in my body?  I want to get my cervix checked and my breasts too.  I want to go BACK to the dermatologist, just to be sure there is nothing else.  I want to go right now, not in another year.  I want the same for everyone I know, get checked, all places.  I want some sort of guarantee that what I just went through is as bad as it's gonna get.  That was my life long bout with cancer, and man was I lucky.  But that's not the way it works.  And to be clear, I'm not living in fear, but with new prospective.  Easy to beat cancer or not, I am a cancer survivor, and a very blessed woman.  Those two things I know to be true right now.  

What then?  

How do I integrate back into the mundane chores and responsibilities of every day life?  I mean, every day life, do you know that I just beat cancer? How do I do it during the months of April and May, when I would typically live at the office, releasing my poor mommy-time-wanting-kids to the care of our nanny and my husband and their teachers?  I usually dig deep and just do what is needed of me, but work isn't the only or most important thing to succeed at, not in my new perspective.  In fact, I  want to go there do my best job, and be home for dinner most nights.  Every night.  I certainly wasn't able to do that last year, and I'm trying to figure out if that is even a choice I have, one I can make.  Am I pretending I don't have control over that, or do I really not have control over that.  I need to find a way to have control over that, to find out if that can be my choice.  I think it is, I think it can be.  A two inch scar on my eye tells me that I get to make every second count.  Every second of my only eight hours at work, and then every second of my nights and weekends at home.  

The thinker and planner and doer in me knows there has to be a way to make that possible.  To be more disciplined, to make a plan.  But how?  I can't think of a way to make it possible, but I know deep down that I must.  I must.  This cancer didn't threaten to take my life away like it could have, and it might have just reminded me to take it back.  I can't be the stay at home mom and wife I often dream of being.  But all or nothing isn't the goal here, finding a way to make the most of every second in a wise and present way...that's what I will set out to accomplish.  The tugging in my heart tells me to resolve to make some changes to celebrate living.  To celebrate the blessings I was given.  By God.  To me.  Whoa.  

This week I resolve to: 
-Look in the eyes of the person who is speaking to me and listen, especially my kids
-Spend more time holding my children, and less time directing them
-Say, "in a minute honey" 50x less per week
-Acknowledge the small stuff as small stuff and move past it
-Delegate the work
-Less time outs, more looking to the root of the matter
-Pray often, lift up the little stuff, the details, God's not just there for the catastrophes, draw close in the moments and listen
-Think about this moment at this moment
-Give less value to what others think or feel, give more value to what I think and feel, what Lawrence thinks, Lily thinks, Addie thinks, and Bryson thinks, and to what they each feel
-It's okay for others to disagree with me, it's okay for others to roll their eyes at me, they aren't where I am at.  That will not break me, nor should it change my feelings about myself.  Consider carefully at these moments who I am living for.  I am not living so that I won't ever disappoint others, so stop acting like I am  
-Eat dinner with my family every night M-F
-Look at the beautiful reflection staring back in the mirror, not the swollen eyelid, not the red scar that cannot yet tolerate make-up, not the wrinkles, but instead the truth, the youthful face of a big hearted, blessed, and healthy woman
-Memorize one verse which will uplift me when I forget Who's got this
-Sleep 8 hours a night.  Every night.  

 -Laugh, laugh, laugh
Is that a lofty list?  Maybe, but my full heart is just getting started.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I got to see them ski!

Since 2007 Lawrence has been taking Lily and Addie up to the mountain to learn to ski individually.  Except for his last two birthday's I've stayed at home with Bryson, and whichever girl isn't getting her lesson that day.  

I went one time to watch with Addie on my back, and it was fun, but Lily was just starting out on the rope tow.  The next time I saw Lily ski was in 2010 right before I returned to work after having Bryson. I was RUS-STY.  So it was hard to watch her ski while I was barely making it down the hill myself.  

But this Saturday, all the stars aligned, I was feeling good enough to go up to the mountain, and Lawrence's mom stayed at home (read: went shopping) with Bryson.  So Lawrence and I went skiing with BOTH girls.  It was a lot of fun slash really stressful.  

I have to admit, I never have to worry about anyone else when I ski.  Lawrence follows behind me or leads the way and I never think about what he is doing really.  Not so, when I'm in charge of 50% of our kids on the ski lift / down the mountain.  

Still it was super fun.  Lily really can ski as well as I can now, and it made it fun to just zip down the mountain together (except when we were supposed to go back to the lodge for lunch and she went so far ahead of me that I couldn't catch her and she "didn't hear me" yelling STOP!!!! She ended up on a black diamond and I made her take her skiis off to hike back up.  She was NOT happy.  And people were heckling me from the ski lift "You are making your kid walk all that way back???".  She wasn't happy, I wasn't happy.  But we pulled it together and got happy again.)  She was careful the rest of our runs to stay with me and although I had to pay more attention than I usually do, it was really awesome seeing her so skilled and independent on her skiis.  She even rode one of the smaller lifts on her own a few times (see above). 

Addie and Lawrence - tips up!
Addie had a harder time.  She would have preferred to stay on the bunny slope the whole day, but Lawr stayed with her, really patient, and she ended up having a great day, with sore tired legs by the end.  At 28 pounds she is still so light that the wind blows and she goes sideways on the mountain despite which foot is digging in.  

I had a lot more fun than Lawrence did and it made me realize that this is what skiing has been like for he met me.  

First he got me skiing, bought me ski stuff, helped me to love it.  And now he is doing that with the girls one at a time.  He gives up his love of skiing on his own to share it with us.  What a gift it is to be loved by him.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3 weeks

Three weeks ago, I carpooled with Shawna in the morning, we laughed and vented, I got a call at work in the afternoon, it was the dermatologist and she said I had cancer.  I cried the whole way home.  Today, only 21 days later, I carpooled to work with Shawna, we laughed and vented, the stitches from my surgery were removed yesterday, and I don't have Cancer any more.  We stopped for a glass of wine on my way home from work to celebrate.

I had Cancer and I don't have Cancer anymore.  It's a hard concept to wrap your head around, especially in a span of just 3 weeks.

God is good.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Karate Kid

Last summer I bought a deal on Plum District for 2 weeks of Karate classes at a little family Martial Arts studio down the hill from our house.  You could walk there.  It expired in January and so we called to use our classes.  I bought 2 deals, one for Addie, one for Lawrence.  We thought it would be neat for Addie to have something just for her.

We were disappointed to learn that the studio had been purchased by a much larger center about 30 minutes from our house, right across the street from Lawrence's office.  We decided to bite the bullet and sign Addie up for 2 weeks of class.  We could do that drive for a few classes.  Except SHE. LOVES. IT.  The owners are excellent and they traded in our 2 two week sessions for 2 MONTHS of classes all for Addie.  Then when my mom bought her a Gi, she got 2 more weeks.  So 2.5 months later we are still doing Karate at an inconvenient location, but it has been so so good for our middlest, littlest, girl.

The first day she was so timid.  But by the end of the first week, she had found something that was incredible for her.  It is Addie's first thing that is just for her and all about her.  She is so disciplined and tries harder than any other kid out there.  I'm so proud of the way she has owned this.  I love how she is learning about respect, focus, and confidence.

She was easier to spot before she got her Gi (thanks Grandma Lanie!)

I love my little Karate kid.  Now if I can just figure out how to fit it in with Baseball.  Letting them each have their own thing sounds good in theory, but it might just take a small miracle to make it happen year round.  Karate "season" may be almost over until Baseball season is out in June.  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The power of smells and flowers and moms

Once again, still, I feel humbled by the thoughts and prayers and acts of kindness that keep coming our way.  Flowers, food, the sweetest emails I have ever read just keep flooding my in box.  My family keeps showering me with love.  It's amazing how much good comes with bad news when you are open and ready to look for it.  And honestly, I think if you were closed and had your head in the sand, you still couldn't help but be moved by all of this LOVE.  

My eye is definitely healing.  It is no longer swollen shut and we finally unbandaged part of it so I can sort of see out of my right eye, which is helping a lot with the lack of equilibrium I was feeling.  I'm also not nauseated anymore, now that I sort of have two eyes.  I had originally planned to go to work tomorrow but I think I will wait another couple of days to go into the office.  I haven't been able to look at the computer screen for more than a few minutes and I certainly don't feel like I can see well enough to navigate complex excel schedules.  My staff will have to make due without me for a few more days.  And given our annual audit is coming up in May, and I don't get a day off in April or May, I think taking advantage of this time to heal is really important, and I am going to allow it for myself.  

Addie would definitely prefer I cover my eye back up completely.  The bruising is down my check and clear to the outer edge of my eye, it looks like I have purple eyeliner drawn part way out on my temple.  And today is started to yellow.  She thinks I look totally creepy and she tells me so quite often.  She makes sure to sit on my left side as often as possible, and anytime she looks at me she covers her eye, shudders, and looks away.  Yesterday it was sort of hurting my feelings, but I realize it is kind of gross to look at and I can't blame her.  

Lawrence and his mom have been doing everything with the kids, so the time I do have with them has been just enjoying them, and what a treat that is.  They've been doing all the obligatory driving and diaper changing and teeth brushing, and I just get to sit and cuddle or play and talk, and it's just...nice.

I get my stitches out on Wednesday.  On Tuesday Lawr has his dermatologist appt scheduled with the same woman who took the original biopsy of my eye.  How about YOU, do you have YOUR appointment scheduled?  Some of the dermatologists can't get you in for a while, so make a call and get it calendared.  Put it on the list to take care of by the end of March.  Do it! Also, NO TANNING BEDS. Seriously, I don't have the energy to go retrieve and post statistics.  But I promise you, they raise your risk of getting skin cancer by a LOT.  And as someone who always said, "yeah, yeah, what doesn't cause cancer?", and who went to the tanning bed from the age of 16-27, believe me, THIS was not worth it.  And don't forget, I had the "good" kind of cancer, the "easy" to fix kind of cancer, the no-waiting-for a prognosis kind of cancer.  So exfoliate, find some self tanner, and use your sunscreen.  Or, OR, help me get in style and let's let pale be the new tan.  Pale with a dash of blue veins, that is.  

My mom came this weekend, and that was awesome.  It was healing for us us both.  I was fine and there was nothing she could "do", but she just hung around for a few days on and off, played with the kids, and sometimes you just need your mom.  I'm glad she knew that.  We didn't spend much time together talking or anything, but it felt good having her here and the kids really thought it was awesome having TWO grandmas here.  She brought me a few scarves from my friend Will's store, beecrowbee. His store smells like a mix of lemongrass, peppermint, and other general goodness that only he can create.  YUM.  Every time I breathed in the yum that was the scent of that scarf I felt soooo good.  I love the power of smell.  

I got a picture this morning of the kids with both grandmas.  They are so rarely in the same place at the same time together.  I have a favorite picture with my two grandmas during my high school graduation, the only one in existence, and my two grandmas lived in the same town for the last many years of their lives.  So I took advantage of getting a picture of the kids with TWO grandmas, I didn't end up getting one that had everyone looking at the camera and looking good.  But as I'm learning as the years pass and I have more kid pictures, that doesn't matter.  Perfection in so many areas of life is no longer a goal worth striving for.  

We have flowers in every room of the house and it is so beautiful and bright.  I was considering posting a few pictures of my eye, but when I just looked at them again, they are so monsterous, I just don't want to.  Although I do think I will do a post later marked DO NOT LOOK AT UNLESS YOU REALLY want to see, with the progression of the most monstery to the less monster to finally healing.  

And I can almost bet my ASS that you won't go to the tanning bed after you see how "easy" it is to get rid of the "good" kind of cancer.

Signing off...thanks again for all the love and beauty.  From the very bottom of my heart.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How are you feeling today?

I think I feel about as good as I look.  Which isn't great, but it could be worse.  

I'm definitely not a sight for sore eyes - but I'm praising God that the cancer is gone.
If I answered every email and text I've gotten today that asks me how I'm feeling I'd have to keep my eyes open much longer than I can right now.

The surgery took about 4 hrs rather than 7, so that is a good thing.  I took an adavan (sp?) because I was so anxious I couldn't stop tearing up.  Turns out they need that area to be very dry, so my waterworks were not helping.  

After they took the first bit of skin they had me wait while they tested it.  I asked the nurse if anyone ever only has to get one cut of skin taken to get it all.  She said all the time.  I got my hopes up.

When I came back to the waiting room, which was filled by people at least twice my age, a whole couch of people stood up, and I was surprised to see my brother and Heather had come to keep Lawrence company in the waiting room.  They brought some games and there was jenga, but unfortunately I had NO depth perception, or really many social skills.  Gone were my dreams of blogging, reading, and organizing photos all day long.  Still, it was nice to have the company, even if I didn't say much. 

I was disappointed the second time I went in because they said, "It tested postitive for more cancer so we have to take more".  Boo.  I was now super annoyed at the nurse who told me that it was possible to only get one cut.  So they took more.  And it hurt A LOT more.  So many numbing shots and cauterizing, the cutting hurt the least, but it was hard not to think about how bad this was going to hurt later.

That time they had to bandage my whole eye because I was bleeding so much and they needed more pressure.  I felt very self conscious walking into the waiting room, however many of the elders in the room now joined my with a white bandage over some visible part of their body.  What did I expect at the Skin Cancer Surgery Center?  Anyway, I know I was even more anti social that time, but it was okay.

The third time they called me back with good news.  Negative, they'd gotten all the cancer.  Yay.

Now they needed to discuss the reconstruction.  They called in Lawrence since I'd had that medication, he had to sign off on it.  The doctor showed him where he would pull skin from and it turned out that he would need to cut a little more to make the scar less visible.  Lawrence signed off on the whole thing, then he did a very BAD thing.  He handed me a mirror.  I'm sure this is on over exaggeration, but there was a massive hole, that I could not unsee.  Shutter.  

The reconstruction part of the surgery actually took the longest.  There were two nurses scrubbed in and they have me a Vicadin before they started.  

After it was over, I was all bandaged up, and they sent me with a prescription to the drug store and a list of bandage type stye I needed to buy.

We dropped of the prescription and then went to get some lunch while we waited, because of the way the tape was on my jaw it was hard to open my mouth.  That's when I started getting really nauseous and the Novocain really started wearing off.  I was in pain, wanted to puke, and wanted to get home.  I ate a few bites of the chicken on my salad, took another Vicadin and went straight to bed.

My sweet Lawrence could not stop checking in on me.  It reminded me of nurses at the hospital. :)  I did get some good rest.  I came downstairs for some dinner delivered by my friend Tanya (Paleo even!)  After about 20 minutes I started to get Nasous and pain again, so I headed back to bed.

Luckily my bandaged eye finally swelled all the way shut, they told me that would happen, and it made it feel better because I stopped blinking.  Otherwise it was hurting everytime I blinked under that bandage.

After all the kids were in bed, I tried to watch a little tv last night but it really made me sick, working with one eye is not working very well for me.  I thought I would vomit, but went to bed at 9 and after laying with eyes closed for a while I was a bit better.

Today I just took my first Vicadin, as they paid just started again.  I'm supposed to shower soon and redress my stitches.  I can't believe the doctor got that large hole into a straight line of about 40 stiches that goes from my eyelid down midway down my nose.  They said both of my eyes would get black and bruised by so far my "good" eye has only a tiny bit of bruising in the corner. 

The kids have been amazing and sweet.  They each cuddled with me for their bedtime rockabye and prayers.  Bryson has been especially gentle (gentle is NOT his gig).

I'm glad to have Carol here with the kids and to help Lawrence with everything, and of course I am SO grateful to my wonderful husband who is bending over backwards to make sure I am comfortable.

He just called and urged me to turn on my Griz game (basketball) since they made the big tournament. 

It is half time, but I might put it on and just listen, watching isn't going to happen.  

I feel discombobulated and dizzy.  I'm in a little pain.  I'm so so so glad that the cancer is gone, and other than a stitches removal in a week, I'm done with this.

Sorry again for the mass update, but I've had my eyes open for my 20 minute max and it's time for more rest.  Just resting is hard for me.  I have books I want to read, stuff I want to do, but I just can't see well enough until my other eye unswells so I can unbandage.  So rest it is.  I'm sure my body appreciates it.

Forgive typos in this, I can barely see the screen well enough to read it the first time, much less re-read and re-edit, so misspelled stream of consciousness it is.  

I appreciate all of the calls and emails and texts and facebook messages.  I have never been so covered in prayer, and so so loved.  My family is blessed to have all of you in our lives.

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

cancer free

this is lawrence. jenny did great today. they were able to get everything in just under 4 hours. she is in pain even with vicodin, but cancer free. she is resting and recovering now. we appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some swelling and pouring of my heart

I'm scared. 
I'm overwhelmed. 
I'm loved. 
I must ramble for a minute.  
Or a bit longer than that.  

All the love that has been shown to me in the past 2 weeks is unreal.  My heart could honestly explode.  It hurts and I don't know if that is from the love or from the anxiety, but I think probably about 50/50.  

The surgery tomorrow could take 3 hrs and it could take 7 hrs and it could take 9hrs.  The reconstruction portion could take 45 minutes or 2 hrs, and could be more involved than the cancer removal.  All the paperwork I'm reading over tonight says to plan to be at the skin cancer removal center for the entire day.  We won't know until they make the first cut how much more cancer there is to remove.  The surgery is called Mohs, and they take only a small layer at a time so that they can test it, taking as little healthy skin as possible.  I don't want to do it though.  I don't want to have an eye patch or feel pain every time I blink or raise my eyebrows.  I don't want to lay there awake while they cut away on my eyelid.  

I'm bringing 2 books and a to do list to the center.  Between each phase of surgery there is an hour wait time while they test what they've taken and figure out where additional skin needs to be removed.  Lawrence will be there with me, in the waiting room.  He can't be in the surgery with me.  I was totally looking forward to holding his hand while they poke that numbing needle into my eyelid.  Shudder.  Hopefully they give me a stuffed animal to hold while I hold my breath and clinch my jaw, like in the biopsy.  That stuffed animal made all the difference.  Except for helping at ALL!!!!

Our nanny and Lawrence's mom will be here with the kids, and my brother is going to bring us lunch at the cancer center, if needed.  Several friend from church are bringing us meals over the next week, and I have a few playdates set up for the kids to get them out of the house so I can rest.  Everything is taken care of and offers of more help keeps pouring in.  I feel so loved and cared for.  

I know you are probably laughing that I'm taking a to do list to the hospital, but it's a "fun" to do list.  Like organizing some photos, and writing some blogs.  Documentation the wonderful life that I live.  No excel spreadsheets, no thank you notes.  I know, you wouldn't put it past me.  I wouldn't either.  

Thank you notes.  Wow.  I'm gonna have to send like a million of those.  

I need to compile a blog that shares all the nicest, funniest, and most wonderful thing that people have said to me.  So that on a bad day I can read it over and over again.  And know that I am loved.  

I've felt God's peace up until yesterday.  The anxiety has definitely be creeping in.  

Today I met with a friend to pray, I got my hair done, I went for a run with Lily, she rode her bike and   after she was done, I ran laps around the play structure while she showed me her stuff on the bar.  At 6:30, she didn't want to go home.  Neither did I.  We played tag, we raced as fast as we could to this landmark or that.  I smiled the whole time.  I put the kids to bed and snuggled with each one a little longer.  

I posted something on facebook, and got more love.  MORE LOVE.  I didn't know there WAS more love to get.  And there was.  And there is.  

I'm not going to say that this is a good thing, but as I said to a friend tonight, I can't remember the last time I felt THIS loved, and I certainly can't help but let that wash over me.  

A peace that passes understanding.  I have a taste of it.  I just have to get through tomorrow, and I will be okay, not everyone can say that.  The weight of the love that I feel from every direction will carry me through.

And it feels good ramble, dump, vent, proclaim goodness, whatever you want to call it.  

Thank you for loving me this much, your love and prayers are touching me, deep in my heart.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Lawrence!

We took a vacation day to celebrate the man of the house and it couldn't have been a better day.
Happy Birthday, we love you so much!

Monday, March 5, 2012

So, it's not the best news...

...but it's not the worst news either. 

On Tuesday I went in to have a biopsy on a little bump of skin on my eyelid.  It's been there since I got pregnant with Addie and I figured it was one of those weird skin things that happens with pregnancy.  When I went to my first dermatologist appt for a full body check in mid February, she felt like we should take it off just as a precaution.  The procedure was no fun.  It wrecks me to have needles of Novocain in my mouth, so in my eyelid...ack, no good.   

Thursday I got a call from my doctor that it was skin cancer.  I have Basal Cell Carcinoma.  I went into shock and don't remember much more of the conversation with her.  Somehow I opened a Word document and started typing.  Then I hung up and dialed a number on that paper, made an appointment and kept typing.  No blood thinners, no ibuprofen, no drinking for one week after.  Once in a while I would whisper "how do you spell that?".  Later when I read my Word document, there was only one line of words that I even remember typing.

Basal Cell Skin Cancer.  

What I do know is that if you have to have skin cancer, this is the best one to get, it is slow growing and usually does not spread.  

I will have something called Mohs surgery done on March 14 at 7 am that will take all day, I am to expect quite a bit of bruising, and there will be a reconstructive surgeon there.  This wouldn't be as scary except that I have had this thing on my eyelid for 5 years.  The picture above shows the spot on my eye where the cancer is.  The Mohs procedure sounds dreadful, but at the end of that day, I should know one way or the other if all the cancer is gone, and the doctor believes it will be.  

A friend from High School got melanoma in the fall, she sent me an email at that time to urge me to make a dermatologist appt and get checked out, when I did, this thing on my eye was the last thing I was thinking about.  I only considered taking it off as a cosmetic thing, and I'm so jumpy around my eyes that I didn't hate it enough to go through that. I'm so thankful for her urging, I don't know when I would have gotten around to doing it if I didn't put it on my NY resolution list, for the sake of my 4th grade BFF.

Lawrence, who sometimes has a knack of reacting to medical things in an unsympathetic way, could not have been more amazing or more exactly what I needed Thursday night.  And every day since.  He sure does come through for me whenever it really matters.  He said and did all the right things.  He cried.  He loved on me.  I have so much support in him.

I was up most of the night Thursday and Friday, not being able to shut my brain off, praying, thinking about how to tell everybody.  I know a mass email or a blog is a shit way, but the energy that it takes to share all the info, especially over a phone call is almost so exhausting I can't bare it.

I got the call from the doctor (who wasn't worried A BIT when she removed the "thing") at work at 4:45.  Luckily I carpooled with my my good friend Shawna, so I didn't have to drive home and I got to weep next my friend while she sat there not knowing what to say, but listening and working through it with me.  And that was okay, perfect actually.  I am so grateful that I got the call, gathered my things and I was able to see the face of my friend within 10 minutes.  Then I told Lawrence when I got home, then I called my mom after I got the kids to bed.  Then I called my brother Friday morning.  

I had Lawrence tell his family because I just can't find the balance of dropping the news and then reassuring them that it will all be okay.  I am amazed at how much nerve and energy it takes to work up dialing the number to deliver this kind of news on a phone call.  

Written word is by far the easiest way for me.  Each time I have to tell another person, it feels really chest crushing.  My brother told me to stop worrying about others feeling bad, and I know he is right, but that's just how I am.  And cancer is a really scary word.  I hate to cause worry or sadness.  But I need to just let my care taking guard down and let myself be cared for.  Loved.  Worried about.

Dear friends, I know I will be okay, and even now I feel guilty dumping this on you and bringing any stress to your day.  At the same time, I also need your love, prayers, & encouragement.  I know I need to learn to feel entitled to my feelings, and allow myself to feel how much this sucks, and let those that love me carry some of the burden for me, with me.

This weekend I meditated on this verse:
Be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4: 5-6

And also this verse:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all things acknowledge him and he shall direct your way.  Proverbs 3: 5-6

Please pray that I will have the peace of God which transcends all understanding these next few weeks. 

I also please ask that you take the time for yourself to get checked by a dermatologist, and put it on the list of yearly appointments that are a must for your own self care.  I hate to think how long I would have gone if it wouldn't have been for ShanRae, and I also know that I NEVER imagined that this thing I've looked at in the mirror for the past 1800 days was cancerous.  

In spite of all of this, and maybe because of all of this, I had an amazing wonderful weekend with my family, and an outpouring of love from those who love me.  Emails, texts, words of kindness and encouragement beyond my wildest imagination.  Words that tell me how much I matter to people.    I wonder if there could be a better medicine.  

I hope that you understand why I couldn't deliver the call to each of you individually, but I just couldn't do it.