Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reunited, and it feels so good...

So...the reunion between Gage and me....not at all what I had pictured or hoped.  I went to the airport to meet him, my sister, and my brother-in-law.  Mikey went with me.  Ben, Sadie, and Dylan were still en route to Idaho.  My parents went to the airport, too.  When they came out of those doors and approached us, I saw Gage, I knelt down, and I gently said, "Gagie!" I opened my arms to have him run into them. 

And he ducked behind his uncle Chris and wouldn't look at me or touch me.

It was devastating.

I had a hat on, and we had FaceTimed so often that he had seen me bald and he had seen me with hats.  So it wasn't that.  He was just...weirded out.  Plus he had been up for a really long time and had flown for a really long time.  And he has autism.  Change, transition...these things are hard for him. 

I feel so guilty about this whole thing.  He's doing so much better than he was when he left, but sometimes I think, "Did this mess him up emotionally?  Is he going to have abandonment issues for the rest of his life because of me???"  But then he'll actually ask me, in a complete sentence, for something that he needs, and I think, "My sister did such a good job!  He has grown by leaps and bounds!!"  It's just so complex.

Anyways, it took him a few hours to warm up to me, and a few days, really, to get back to where we were when he left, but things have been great since then.  Right before we left - the passing of the child from the aunt to the mommy:

And no, my left pinky isn't deformed or broken.  I'm not sure what was happening there.

He did really well on the long drive to Oregon:

And he has settled in really well to our apartment.  He and Micah sleep on the third floor loft area.  It's a large room with the kids' Wii  and our computer all set up.  There's a couch up there....it's nice.  Because the kids all spend so much time up there, and Gage likes to be with them, he really loves having all of his toys and his bed there.

Micah is also thrilled to be reunited with his siblings.  He and Gage got along for about....a day...and then they got back to their incessant fighting.  Micah is jealous of Gage's toys.  Gage is jealous of Micah's toys.  Neither will share.  It's fun for me.  But honestly, I'm not bitter about being back in Referee Mode.  My family is together!!! 

We have dinner together at the table!  We play games!

We snuggle!  I can take care of things while Ben is at work!  He, Dylan, and Sadie are glad to have me back.

I have to take little rests throughout the day still.  I mean, it's only been two weeks since my last chemo.  The first day we were here, I worked most of the day to organize and unpack things, and I started feeling really gross and had to rest for quite awhile in the evening.  Yesterday, I tried to rest a little bit more, and only collapsed into a heap at about 7:00 p.m. instead of 4:00 p.m. :)  It will just take time, and I need to be patient with myself.  This reminds me so much of trying to recover from my hysterectomy.  The pain from the surgery didn't last long.  It was just the sheer exhaustion that I felt afterwards that killed me.  It was a good two months of major resting.  My oncologist in Idaho told me that it would take about six months to really get back to the stamina I had before this whole thing began.

Things are in the works for me to see my new oncologist soon.  I've had to make a lot of phone calls and jump through a lot of hoops and do all that crap you have to do when you get new insurance and move to a new state - finding a primary care physician, getting a referral from him, blah blah blah.  But my dad and I chose an oncologist here in Bend long before I got here; we chose a health plan that had her in its provider network.  I'm supposed to start radiation in two weeks, so hopefully we can get things going soon.

I got lost yesterday trying to find the bank.  Haha!  But it wasn't entirely unpleasant.  Bend is adorable.  Evergreen trees everywhere.  Cute little craftsman-style houses.  Mom-and-Pop stores galore.  I think I'll really like it here.

The apartment...well, it's drafty.  It hasn't really gotten very cold here yet until the last couple of days, so it's taken Ben and the older kids by surprise, as well.  It's -10 today, and our ground floor is frigid.  It has like five windows, and a really drafty front door, so I think that's our problem.  I'm trying to find all of our blankets (Ben hasn't completely unpacked from clear back in September), and when I do, I'm going to literally tack them against the windows to help keep the heat in. We won't have much natural light, but at least it won't be like 55 degrees in our living room and kitchen.  It's weird living in a townhouse again.  The last time I lived in a townhouse, I was in college.  Lots of stairs, but that's good for the ole' quads.

I tried to get the Two Littles enrolled in school before Christmas break, but I haven't completed that process yet.  I was so sick and didn't finish the forms for Micah in time, so he may start school a day late.  Ah well.  An inconvenience, not an emergency.  And I couldn't get the lady at the special preschool to call me back, and she is off work all this week, as well, so Gage will probably start school a day late, too.  It will be okay.  I'm doing my best.  I'm really trying to watch my mental health, which means not stressing myself out about things not being perfect from the get-go.  I'm unable to hit the ground running.  So I'm hitting the ground limping.  Literally. Because my dumb foot is still giving me trouble.  So I'll limp along and slowly get everything ship-shape, eventually.

Kay, Gage just pooped in his pull-up, pulled a poo berry out of it, and tried to hand it to me.  So I'm on diaper duty (And yes, I need to potty train him.  Don't judge.  And remember that mentally, he's a two-year-old.  Baby steps.  I keep telling him that, if he poops in the potty, he can have a little wooden birdhouse like Micah does.  Oh, boy, does he ever covet that birdhouse.  Yesterday, he ninja pooped in his diaper, snuck into the bathroom, put the poo berries from his pull-up in the toilet, then proceeded to show me that there was poop in the toilet.  The kid has autism, but he is smart.  I had seen him sneak into the bathroom, but I hadn't seen him sit on the potty, so I knew his game.  I gently told him that I had to see him actually do it.  He understood that I was on to him and wisely let it go.). 

See ya!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Too scary for a little six-year-old.

So.  I spend a lot of time on the couch.  We've established this.  It comes with the territory.  The territory of chemo.  This territory should never apply for statehood.  It's not good enough to be a state.  It's a wild west, vigilante kind of desolate place.

Anyways, I end up watching a whole lot of really stupid kids' shows.  My personal top worst kids' show is Caillou.  He is such a WHINER!!  And I know he's voiced by some adult woman who just talks whiney and thinks she can pass as a little preschooler by doing that.  Not.  Caillou is a selfish punk.  Even though his name is cool.  But cool names do not necessarily a cool person make.

Narrator:  Caillou felt jealous.  He wanted his daddy to only pay attention to him, not to any of the other children on Caillou's baseball team.

Caillou:  Daddeeeeeeeee, I know you're the coach and all, but...I'm jealoussssssss!!!!!  Wahhhhhhhhh...

Even the lyrics of the theme song refer to his naughtiness:  "Growing up isn't so tough, except when I've had enough...."

Aw, you've had enough of your carefree life?  Your endless stream of snacks?  Not having to work?

Can't stand that kid.

Though I do need to give the animators of Caillou props for making his mom look like a real mom.  She's got a spare tire.  Because she has borne children.  Reality.  It's refreshing.

So now that there are some good Christmas shows on TV, and because Micah is the Holiday Man, I can usually talk him into switching from Horrible Caillou or Stupid Johnny Test (another hated cartoon of mine - "Hi!  I'm Johnny!  I'm selfish and use people and think it's funny to get crappy grades and play video games with my talking dog all day!"  *Shudder*) to a good kids' Christmas movie.

He's a huge fan of any rendition of A Christmas Carol.  He hasn't seen that one from the eighties with the weird, scary Gollum-like creatures that hang out under the Ghost of Christmas Present's fluffy robe.  Have you seen that one???  *Shudder*

So Home Alone was on the other night.  He was like, "It's not a cartoon.  I don't want to watch it."

I was like, "Babe, this show is seriously hilarious.  You'll love it.  I promise."  He said okay, and we snuggled in to watch.

As the danger to MacCauley Culkin increased with these menacing robbers casing his house, Micah started getting really agitated.  "Mom, I changed my mind.  I don't want to watch this.  I'm weally scared.  Can we watch something else???"  He started pacing and looking around for the remote.

"Oh, sweet, don't worry.  I've watched this show a ton.  Those guys don't lay a finger on him.  He is so smart.  He is going to kick their butts.  And it is really funny when he does."

"But why isn't his mommy there yet??"

"She's getting there as fast as she can.  Don't you worry.  And he has that nice guy next door with the beard that he can hang out with if he's scared."

Brow furrowed, he snuggled back in with me.  There were a couple of more times that he didn't think he could handle it, but ultimately, the blowtorch to the head, the iron to the face, the tar on the feet...he was giggling.

"You were wight, Mom! This show is funny!"

Then we pulled out A Christmas Story to watch.  Looooooooooove that movieeeee!!!  Micah had been playing a game on the iPad, but he eventually lost interest.  As he should.  Because this movie is the greatest.

But during that part when Ralphie just loses it, tackles Scott Farkus, and starts beating the crap out of him, Micah freaked out.  He started BAWLING.  He ran toward the TV, put both hands up to it, and shook them back and forth.  Then he turned around and blocked our view of the movie with his body, weeping and frantically searching the room for the remote.

"No!  NO!!  I can't watch this show anymore!  This is so scary!!!!  I can't!  I can't!!"

"Oh, kiddo, come here," I said.

He ran into my arms and tried to bury his face in my rock-solid weird boobs.  I rubbed his back.

"Are you scared because Ralphie beat up Scott Farkus?"


"But don't you remember all the times Scott Farkus hurt Ralphie and his friends?"

A pause.  "Yes."

"That didn't bother you."

"Well, it did.  It just wasn't as scary."

"Well, Ralphie was so tired of that, and he was so sad that he wasn't going to get that special gun for Christmas, and he just kind of...burst.  But look at Scott Farkus now - he got a little bloody nose, but he's not crying anymore.  And now he knows what it feels like to get beat up."


"And I'll bet he'll stop bothering Ralphie and his friends from now on, huh?  Look, I'm not saying that it was okay for Ralphie to fight Scott Farkus.  What do you think he should have done instead?"

"I don't know."

"Tell his mommy, that's what!!!  Tell his teacher!  Tell his daddy!  If anyone ever tries to hurt you at school or on the way to school, don't be like Ralphie, okay?  Tell me or daddy or your teacher or the counselor or the principal.  That way, nobody gets bloody noses."

Sniff.  "Okay."

It surprises me how tender this little man is.  Very, very sensitive.  It makes me feel badly.  I feel like I'm extremely careful about what I let my kids watch, and I thought I was playing it so safely...

By the way, at the end of Home Alone, where Macauley Culkin and his mom see each other at the base of the stairs and run and hug each other, I bawled like a baby.  It just...I don't know.  Macauley Culkin has these really big red lips, like my little Gagey.  And Gagey and I have been apart, and it's just been so awful, and I get to see him in two days!!  And I hope his face looks like Macauley's face does when I see him. I can't wait to hug and hug and hug him.  My little man.  Back with me again.  I can't WAIT!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

No diggety. No doubt. Unh.

Kay, first, a little housekeeping.  Thank you, oakleyses, for ruining the fun for ALL of us.  As Oh said in The Year One, "Well, there won't be any berries in the fruit salad now, so we all lose."

Oakleyses, this...this person, or computer program, or whatever the heckfire he is, spammed me.  He put all of these stupid long-arse comments on here that just listed products for fancy-arse clothing and purse brands.  Like five comments on each post.  The d-bag.

Look, Oakleyses.  You have NO IDEA WHO YOU'RE MESSING WITH HERE.  I have gone to hell and come back.  And I will get up in your grill and cause you a world 'o' PAIN if you think for one MINUTE that you can get onto my teeny little piece of the internet, where my friends and I gather to enjoy some peace and fun and communing with each other, and ruin it!!!  I will find out where you sleep.  And I will find a way to insert the Red Dragon into your body.  And then we can see how you feel about stupid-arse Louis Vuitton bags or whatever the hell you're selling or whoever the hell you work for.  Can you sleep at night??  Really?  Is it really worth whatever they pay you to get onto a CANCER SURVIVOR'S blog and ruin it??????????  (Hint:  No, no.  It's not.)

And just so you know, Oakleyses.  My readers don't give a rat's ARSE about Coach Bags or whatever.  They have more substance than that.  I ain't no fashion blogger.  We talk about deep stuff and funny stuff on here.  We talk about raising kids.  We share our souls.  My readers probably have one purse that they got at Wal-Mart.  Because Dolce and Gabbana bags DOOOOOO NOTTTTT MATTERRRRRRRRRRR.

Now let me just say that, if you really love bags and choose to spend your money on them, good on ya.  I'm just saying that my bet is that most of you don't really care about that stuff.  Otherwise, you wouldn't be visiting my blog.  Am I RIIIIIIIIIGHT??

So.  Goodbye, Oakleyses.  You watch your back.  I'm not kidding.  I may be weak right now, but I'm scrappy.  Visualize Joanna's two seconds on screen in Mockingjay Part 1.  She's skinny and bald. Um, I'm fat and bald.  But the point is, she is ripping out that oxygen thing and getting ready to fight whoever is up in her grill.  That's me.  Picture me sneering.  And please picture me skinny.  I will punch you.  I'll sit on you.  Whatever it takes.  Get off my piece of internet.  Buh-BYE.

Sorry.  That lasted longer than I thought it would.  Phew.  I've got a lot of anger inside sometimes. As Sadie used to say, Saw-yee!  So now I have comment moderator turned on for my blog.  I'm sorry I have to put another obstacle in front of good, honest, nice people.  It makes me mad.  But we gotta do what we gotta do.

Now to the fun part.  No Diggety.  By Black Street.  Circa...I don't know.  1995?  1996?  My very hip sister, Nat, had the CD.  One year, in that 1995 or 1996ish time, we were given the assignment to wrap presents.  We were sick to death of Christmas songs by then, so Nat popped Black Street into the CD player, and we listened to No Diggety on repeat.  Really loudly.  I'm surprised my dad didn't put a stop to it.  There are some nasty verses in there.

Thus a tradition was born.  Every year, all through college, and whenever we got married and visited, we listened to No Diggety and wrapped.  And rapped.  Bwahaha!  We loved it like 18 years or whatever before Pitch Perfect made it come back.  When I studied abroad in London, we went to an LDS singles dance, and I requested it.  That is how long No Diggety has been a part of our family.

One of my favorite parts of the song (there are tons) is at the end, where each singer names his girlfriend or wife.  I mean, during the song, each guy talks about how cool his girlfriend or wife is. Which is awesome:

Sheeee's got class and style...
true knowledge by the pile...
baby never act wild....
very low-key on the profile...

Isn't that cool?  I love that.

And then at the end, each guy says his wife or girl's name:

Jackie in full effect.
Lisa in full effect.
Nicky in full effect.
Tomeka in full effect.

So, of course, we would yell each others' names during that part of the song.  "Nat in full EFFECT!  Brianna in full EFFECT!  Alexis in full EFFECT!  Karlenn in full EFFECT!!"  It was the best.  Of course, we played No Diggety at Brianna's wedding reception, and I was in dang China for Lexi's, but I have a hunch it was probably played at her wedding, too. [I will regret missing Lexi's wedding until the day I DIE.  It makes me want to cry.  Every day.]

I actually felt good enough to wrap some presents yesterday! This is a HUGE deal, you guys.  I got the flu with this last round of chemo, and I couldn't even sit up for like five days.  So the fact that I'm able to sit up yesterday and today is HUGE!!  It's funny what you become thankful for.  I'm thankful I can sit up.  So, since I couldn't wrap/rap with my sisters, I sent them a leetle video:
Warning:  I look really poofy from IV's and from the chemo.  I'm starting to not even care anymore.  I mean, the jig is up.  I don't have hair, dude.  Who cares if I'm poofy?  I'm alive.  So I sent it to the sistahs, and you know what I got in response?

Lex:  Karlenn in full effect.

Kar:  Alexis in full effect.

Nat:  Beej in full effect!

Beads:  Nat in full effect!!!

I love my sisters.  Merry Christmas, my loves.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dang side ponytail.

I felt well enough to go to Micah's little Christmas program at school on Friday.  To my utter surprise, he actually sang all the songs!  My boys, historically, have a hard time singing in things such as this.  Like for the Primary Program every fall (which is, by the way, my favorite sacrament meeting of the whole year - so hilarious!!!), Dylan kind of lip-syncs.  And barely moves his mouth. Micah just stares blankly out at the audience.

But not this time!  I think maybe it's because the songs were about the holidays.  Micah is a holiday fanatic.  Decorating for them, counting down to them....that's what he's all about.  That's the only thing I can figure.

I had the hardest time getting a good angle for photos.  There was a girl in front of him with this ENORMOUS high side ponytail with this HUGE red scrunchy in it, and she was just a teeny bit to his right - enough to make that ponytail be right in front of his face.  I did my best, but I was like, dude.  Note to self.  Never make high hair for Sadie for any of her school recitals.  So that she doesn't block some poor bloke's face.

I made my way to the other side of the gym, tripping over people, ducking, etc., and eventually got a kind of decent shot of him:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ohhh the Poohish.

My BFF, Pooh, came up a few days ago, originally, go to chemo with me and to kind of nurse me and give my mom a break.  But my docs wanted me to have a few more healing days under my belt before they hit me with my final chemo, so I don't go in until Monday.  It's a bittersweet situation. It's been nice to have a few more days to climb out of the chasm of illness I was in, but I also wanted to get the dang thing done.  But it was just so much fun to feel well enough to spend quality time with my lifelong friend and catch up and chit-chat and kind of...heal each other.  Like best friends do.

We did some stuff - a little bit of eating out, a little bit of movie-watching, a lot of laughing...  It was great.  It took us like 17 tries to get this selfie to come out kind of okay:
Oooh, ooh, and I felt good enough to teach ballet on Wednesday, and she came and watched (and took a photo for me):
I'm gonna miss these girls so much.  It was my last time teaching them!!  I'll be too sick next week, the following week is Christmas, and then I'm gone... I got all of their last names, though, and many promises were made to friend each other on Facebook.

Last night, while we were out to eat, I tried to do a photobomb on a picture of my son, but it looks instead that I'm wanting to take a bite out of him:
We also got our crafting on.  Pooh is not a crafter, but I help her in her urges to have the finished crafting project.  We painted a big letter B to put in her living room (her last name starts with a B). She was very nervous, but it turned out really cute.  And then she helped me glue some stuff onto my Christmas cards.  I'm seriously unsure about my ability to get them finished and out in time for Christmas this year.  If not, hey, next year's cards will be ready, right??  Cancer makes you realize priorities.  Is it a big deal if my Christmas cards don't get sent out this year?  Nope.  All that matters is that I'm alive and that I get to be with my family again.

Oh, and a little interesting side note - my poor mother has, once again, caught a bug, which, once again, seems to have entered my system.  This is another coughing bug.  Which I can handle.  It's the stomach bug that I cannot do again.  It's uncanny - for the last three rounds of chemo, she gets sick right before I go in.  And then I go in, my immune system gets killed, and I get her illness, but ten times worse.  I'm popping the echinacea and vitamin C like nobody's business, but.... I don't know how much it will help.  I told my mom that her immune system is shot, too, if she keeps getting sick every three weeks!!!  We have taken every precaution; it's just been...unfortunate.  We're unlucky ladies.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Okay. I'm back.

You guys, I am so sorry for not having posted in so long.  But DUDE.  I have never, ever been as sick as I was the past few weeks.

The thing is, it's not just the chemo side effects, which by themselves are horrific.  But now it's to the point where my immune system is so ineffective that I catch every single little bug floating around. We have been so careful.  We've kept me quarantined.  We use face masks.  We disinfect every dang thing.  We are hand sanitizer maniacs.  And yet, I keep catching these horrible bugs.

If you remember, my fourth round of chemo had me fighting bronchitis.  This fifth round involved another head cold (somehow my body fought it off before it turned into bronchitis again), which had me coughing so hard that I was vomiting.

The worst bug I caught this time, though, was The Intestinal Flu from Hell.  We're talking the violence of food poisoning.  Have any of you guys had food poisoning??  Oh my word.  It's awful.  It's nightmarish.  It has you wishing you were dead.  "Death is okay by me!" (What movie?)  And I had this flu that was just that violent, FOR SEVEN DAYS.

I went in for IV fluids and tests the first four days, and everything indicated that this was "just" a virus.  Yet it wasn't going away, and my body was expelling any form of fluid, IV or otherwise, just as quickly as they put it in me.  I was on the floor of the bathroom for four days.  Because being anywhere else was too far to travel and get there in time, if you know what I mean.  I was crying, crying, crying. But without tears.  Because I was that dehydrated.  I had to wear Depends.  Which are actually quite comfortable.  I'm a fan.  Because they kept me from soiling my pants.

When you're dehydrated, you start vomiting violently.  So that started happening, too.  I had been drinking, drinking, drinking clear fluids, but I couldn't keep anything down.

Eventually, in the worst part of it, I couldn't drink.  My body wouldn't let me drink.  I knew I had to, but...it was weird.  My mom kept trying to get me to drink, and I just couldn't.

Of course, we were in contact with my oncologist or his PA's every day.  They sent me to the ER one night for fluids.  They sent me to a local instacare twice for fluids.  They recommended Immodium (which did NOTHING for me, which was weird).

Finally, I decided to go to the hospital in a neighboring city, because that's where these doctors are based, and they had no idea how serious this was.  All of these different places were doing tests, but they weren't sending the test results to my oncologist, and my oncologist wasn't contacting these places to get results.  Or to even see how I was doing.

I'm not going to lie, I'm still pretty miffed at my oncologist.  I know he's busy.  But I could have DIED, you guys.  My potassium levels were dangerously low.  The hospital nurses told me that's why severe dehydration kills people - low potassium levels.  I felt that my doc, and his PA's, didn't care, or didn't care to know, what I was dealing with here.

So I recruited my dad to drive me to this city - it's only half an hour away.  By darn it, I was going to see my doctor.  Not some random ER doc.  Not some random instacare doc.  HIM.  And the reason I recruited my dad is because I needed a bulldog.  Dad can get stuff done.  I'm jealous of his feistiness. For reals.  I have a hard time getting up in peoples' faces when it needs to happen.

So we got up there to the hospital, and basically, I demanded to be admitted.  And I demanded to see my oncologist.  The ER doc was all, "Oh, we'll call the PA who is on call..." and my dad was like, "Nope.  You're going to get a hold of her oncologist.  And he will come and see her.  Tonight.  Or I will find his house and knock on his door."  The ER doc was like, "Well, alrighty then."  But I am a fan of him, because he called all of these places I had been to and gathered all the test results and information to give to my oncologist.

So my oncologist showed up, saw the results of the tests, realized how truly ill I had been, and said, "I'm not letting you leave for at least three days."  And I told him, "Oh, I'm not leaving until this crap [get it?] is GONE.  If it takes 20 days."

So I stayed there for three days, and it was a nice hospital.  My nurses were attentive.  I had continuous IV drip the whole time, as well as a heart and oxygen monitor. Look - I'm that girl from The Fault in our Stars!
 See what I was doing there?
I just needed Ben to be upside-down next to me.  And we would both need hair...

And here is my glowing heart and oxygen monitor:
It was BRIGHT.  I had to tuck my hand under a pillow to sleep.  And if I moved in my sleep and my hand came popping out, LAAAAAA!  This bright, glowing fingertip woke me up.

This reminded me of the theme song from Goldfinger, one of my fave Bond movies.  I was so bored in my bed in the hospital that I changed the lyrics.  Do you want to hear them?  Of course you do!

RedddddddFINGA!  She's the woman...
The woman with the ruby touch
A cherry's touch
Such a bright FINGA!
Beckons you to enter her hospital room...
Please come on innnnnn....

Thank you very much.  I'll be here all week.

I was also on a potassium drip for the first two days.  Each little potassium IV bag was worth a box full of bananas, they told me.  They gave me some pretty powerful stuff for my...ah...dysentery, wink wink.  It would work for awhile, and then, well, the floodgates would open again.  Finally, one of the PA's (I got a daily visit from the PA's, but I didn't ever see my doctor again.  Sigh....) was like, "All of the tests show that this is a virus.  But I want to try antibiotics and just see.  Maybe you have a bacterial infection that didn't show up in our tests."  I was willing to try anything.

Whether it was the antibiotics or the virus finally running its course, I was able to leave the hospital Friday.  Though things still aren't completely back to normal, they're manageable and much better.

Except I got a UTI on Monday.  So now I'm on antibiotics for that, as well.  Three antibiotics total, currently.

I'm supposed to do chemo tomorrow, but only after I have a visit with the doctor and he feels that my body can handle it.  I feel...not strong, certainly, but not in the throes of devastating illness, either. Emotionally, I want to hit this thing hard.  Like a football player that's running with the ball and hits his helmet into the gut of a defender, which I have learned is against the rules.  (I have been watching a lot of football with my dad these past four months.  I've become quite a fan of it.  And I get it a little bit more.  And I mean just a little bit.  It's so complicated...  I am a huge fan of the Packers.  They are amazeballs!)

I just want to get the darn thing done, you guys.  But if the doc doesn't think I'm ready, they'll have to postpone it to Monday, to give me a few more days to heal.  We'll see.

There is also a lot of fear associated with this round - what will I catch next?  Bubonic plague? Cholera?  Smallpox?  You are left so defenseless.

Spiritually, round number five was tough.  It's really, really hard to continue to say, "Thy will be done," when you legitimately feel like you're dying.  When you beg for help, and the help doesn't come immediately, but you really do need immediate help, that's tough.  It's tough to say, "Heavenly Father answers us on his timetable.  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes the answer is 'wait'" when you're crying on the bathroom floor for the fourth day in a row. It's hard to wait for the blessings promised in a priesthood blessing when you're vomiting so hard that you pull your diaphragm muscle (not kidding about that).

I have to admit that I felt a little...angry...at Heavenly Father.  Which I'm repenting of.  I've never been mad at Him, throughout all of this cancer process.  But something about an immediate, ongoing, life-threatening illness really pushes you to very dark places.  And I also have to admit that my faith in Him faltered a little bit.  Not that He exists and knows all things, but...that he would save me.  I feel really guilty about having these feelings.

But as I think about this concept of a child being mad at her Father, I think about my own kids.  There are times when they're really mad at me.  But I know, as their mother, what is best.  No, Micah, you cannot use a knife.  You'll get hurt.  No, Dylan, you can't play iPad for 20 hours a day.  It's not healthy for you.  No, Sadie, you can't play until you clean your room.  You need to learn responsibility.  We all have to enforce things or disallow things, because we're older and we see the bigger picture and we want what's best for our kids.  And when they're mad at me for these things, I shake my head in frustration, but I don't take it personally.  I just say, "They don't get it.  Eventually, they will."  I've got to hope that Heavenly Father is that same way with us.  Being angry at Him isn't a good thing, but I'm repenting.  And He will forgive me.  Gladly.  Because He's perfect.

Another thing I've been thinking a lot about is the First Presidency Christmas devotional that aired on Sunday.  Elder Christofferson said something that really resounded with me.  Now, I know that Christ atoned for our sins so that we could repent and be forgiven and have a chance to live with He and Heavenly Father, right?  I also know that he suffered our pain, emotional and physical, so that he could know how to succor us - send us help - in the way we need.  I also know that going through trials makes us more sympathetic and kind to others, as well as helping us to grow and learn.  But that sympathy part really hit home for me when Elder Christofferson said that, like Christ, we too go through pain and suffering so that we can succor others who encounter the same difficulty.  I guess I've never thought about it in that way.  Because I've had breast cancer and have been going through chemo, I'll know how to help anyone in my neighborhood, circle of friends, acquaintanceship, or ward who goes through it.  I'll know exactly what things help and what things really don't help.  I'll know exactly what she needs.  I'll know exactly what to say.  Because I've literally been there.  So this is a chance, really, to prepare to serve others in the future.

So.  That's where things sit right now.  Physically, I'm doing...okay.  Weak, but okay.  Spiritually, I'm repenting.  And also very, very grateful that Heavenly Father helped me and spared me.  Emotionally, I'm ready to get this last round DONE.  So I don't ever, ever again have to say, "I still have such-and-such more chemo sessions to do."  I think that, once I'm done with this one, even if I get really sick again, I'll have hope.  I'll have the ability to say, "I'll get better.  I won't get knocked down ever again. From here on out is nothing but healing."

That will be a great feeling.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I retract my former statement.

Not too long ago, I told you that cancer/chemo wasn't the worst thing I had ever gone through.

I've changed my stance on that. Chemo, specifically, without a doubt, is the worst thing I have ever, in 37 years, encountered. It has brought me to my knees.  It has me begging Heavenly Father for mercy.

Please pray for me.
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