Archive | November, 2012

Clinic

30 Nov

It’s been a month. We returned to the old familiar place. It’s a routine now. A poke for blood with a wait in the outer room. Once buzzed back to the bone marrow wing we are warmly greeted by Crystal. Halfway down the hall we meet the scale and height measurement ( I joke that they think I might grow in between visits). Then I answer a long list of questions: Change in meds, are you in pain, nauseous, diarrhea, are you able to get dressed; and the best, do you feel safe at home? The day someone says no I ponder what would happen next. This is when we wait the longest. Dr Sobecks is always behind.

Today we reviewed counts and other numbers. No major reasons to be concerned. My platelets did drop a bit,which isn’t overly concerning, but in the end they want to see the trends of all numbers rise. Nothing crazy just going to keep an eye on it and see how they change in the next week. I also get to lesson my cyclosporine dose… Here’s to less hair, ( on my arms)I hope.

I journeyed up to the old floor to see my buddy John. I love seeing him. Please pray for him as his transplant is planned for next Wednesday December 5. It was a great visit.

Parenthood-cancer emotions

29 Nov

If you have followed you know that Wednesday is date night on our couch with Parenthood. There are many things we enjoy about the show. This season brings about the cancer story and the many things that go along with it. This week as we watched I found myself thinking, yes that happens, and wow I felt that too.

As someone dealing with cancer in life and the possibility of death your mind goes places it doesn’t normally go. It is ironic how our days are never guaranteed, cancer or not, but cancer ups- the-anti. I remember Dr. Petrus sharing a story with me, how he had diagnosed someone with a very fatal cancer and that same day her spouse was killed in a car accident. Truly, our days are each a gift. The character in the show dealt with the questions and fear of how long will she be around and she wanted to see and do as much as possible with her family. I recall wondering, will this be my last Mother’s Day at school? Will this be the last birthday party for my girls? I even felt some change in how I parented, because I certainly did not want to be remembered as mean, old mom.

I am blessed that my story has not ended, and that thus far my fears of the lasts can wait awhile. Yet I am encouraged and inspired to live life with an eternal perspective because tomorrow is not guaranteed, and things of this world are temporal. Cancer or not the hope that comes with the promises God gives us through His son gives purpose to each day. Be certain for tomorrow is uncertain.

You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40 ESV)

Remember When…

28 Nov

Adam and I have the opportunity to go down memory lane each semester. We share “our story” and how we fell in love and became a family. Keep in mind our audience is a room full of high school seniors, they either are amused or bored. I tell myself the best, That regardless of the audience it is always fun to go remember when it all started and how it started.

I won’t bore you with details of how and when it all started. We have the chance to reflect and praise the Lord that He prepared us for one another. It is encouraging to hear, even today, my husband say, “his must haves list” became less important because the only “must have” was to be a Christ follower and the rest seemed to fall in place. I love reflecting and sharing lessons learned along the way.

Today we talked of a new part of our story, in addition to our wedded bliss, cross country move, birth control pregnancy only 5 weeks into marriage, and the three girls we raise,I rejoiced and shared at how the Lord journeyed us through these seasons and built our marriage on his truths and his ways in preparation for this past year. I am in awe of how he protected us and strengthened us through a desperate time. I praise my loving husband for choosing to serve our God first with his faith and out of His devotion to him came overflowing love for me and our three girls. There were days that his endurance required super natural energy. He served without reserve and loved without return. His presence in my days and our girls days offered love and comfort to all of us. The Lord prepared our marriage to withstand a journey un imagined.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 ESV)

Boy blood

27 Nov

I am not sure if I should blame my boy blood or my drugs, but I am growing arm hair like its my job. At this point you can laugh, because yes you read that correctly, my arms are covered in manly fur. It’s every girls dream. Thankfully my hair on my head is coming in as well. It’s funny because people will comment on how long my hair is, yet in all honesty long and my hair don’t belong in the same sentence. In prospective it is growing quickly.
One of the side effects of cyclosporine, my immuno- suppressant is hair growth. It’s awful when hair grows where we aren’t expecting it. This whole encounter even forced me into a face waxing. Thankfully I am growing hair. Today I spent way more time trimming my arm hair than I desired. I probably could have cut it for locks of love. Thankfully in the scheme of life hair is just an extra.

20121127-221549.jpg

Guess where we visited in Atlanta?

Black bean and butternut squash burritos

26 Nov

These are a favorite around our house. Hope you enjoy as much as we do. I love to follow this blog www.ohsheglows.com
Visit if interested.

Yield: 4 burritos or 3.5 cups of filling

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, & roasted
1/2 cup uncooked short grain brown rice (yields: 1.5 cups cooked)
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
One 15-oz can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
3/4 cup Daiya cheese
4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)
Toppings of choice: (avocado, salsa, vegan sour cream, spinach/lettuce, cilantro, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on squash and give a shake of salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast chopped butternut squash for 45 mins. or until tender.

2. Cook brown rice (for directions, see here)

3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in salt and seasonings and stir well.

4. Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice and sauté for another 10 mins. on low.

5. When b’nut squash is tender remove from oven and cool slightly. Add 1.5 cups of the cooked butternut squash to the skillet and stir well. You can mash the squash with a fork if some pieces are too large. Add Daiya cheese and heat another couple minutes.

6. Add bean filling to tortilla along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day for lunch in a wrap or as a salad topper.

Get Away

25 Nov

We enjoyed our first family get away since cancer diagnosis. We traveled as a family unit and enjoyed being away from the normal schedule. It felt like a success. Kids travelled well, and we all had highlights to our trip. Family time at the top of that list.

We have adventures to share and memories to hold tight. Getting away from home and being somewhere new helps us to relax and forget about the daily responsibilities of home and life, this is good for my mental health. Adam and I both agree this was time well spent!

We were house/dog sitting for a family that lived close to David and Jess. We learned that we will never own a dog, although this was already understood with Adams allergies, it confirmed our decision. We also realized how stressful “living” in someone else’s home could be with three children. We survived with minimal casualties.

I addition to these adventures we enjoyed the sunshine and outdoors of Georgia. We visited stone mountain and its Christmas celebrations. Most remarkable to me was the Christian message that was presented to thousands of people visiting this tourist site. I praised Him that a glimpse of His truth and the true meaning of Christmas could be shared with so many. Possibly even people who have never heard the true peace that He offers through the gift if His son. My heart rejoiced in the moment! He is the reason for the season!
We are embracing Christmas tunes without guilt now that we have passed thanksgiving. We can’t think of a better way to spend the holiday than with family.

Family

24 Nov

Recently I received a family gift. It is family conversation jar. A mason jar filled with questions to start family talks! I thought it would be fun to share as an extended family while visiting my brother. One of our first questions was, “Why do you think God gave us family?”

Ironic we would have a question as we sit as a family (minus Jonathan and his crew). I love hearing our kids process and respond. Paige answered, “so we can help each other.” Hayleigh was the last to answer the question and without pause she said, “to serve each other.” I decided I should write down these responses so i can remind them when serving and loving each other is challenging in our home.

For me I realize that family means a lot. Outside of my relationship with Jesus, there aren’t many things I think I could live without but family is one of them. In addition to the love given and shared within a family, I have experienced how family can give new life through blood. We have seen how our family in Christ gives life through caring and being an extension of his love for us through prayer, generosity, concern and reaching beyond ourselves.

I can only begin to imagine what our eternal home and family will feel like. I realize through this journey that other than the many loved ones here the joy of eternity was quite appealing. I am glad He was not done with me yet, although the joy of heaven is a wonder I look to with great anticipation.

20121124-223639.jpg

20121124-223649.jpg

20121124-223703.jpg

Thankful

22 Nov

As we sat around the table we all shared what we were thankful for. The cap was five things. No more than five allowed. It is wonderful to hear the things that bring us joy. The answers ranged from houses, food, family and health. I realize this year I have always taken for granted I was a healthy girl. It has never even been on my radar. This year my family realizes life has unexpected circumstances and curve balls, I love to hear my kids speak their hearts. I am fairly certain this season of life hasn’t phased them, and their thankful hearts are for life as they know it. A house, a mom and dad, family and school (Sometimes).

When we take time to ponder the things in our lives that deserve praise and gratitude our hearts should be turned to the giver of life. He cares for us and gives and takes away. I am thankful he choose to give this year. He has allowed us to see Him more in the things of life around us. Thanksgiving is a fabulous holiday. One that should force us to reflect inward and act outward.

Thankful for the sunshine and time with family, and my big brother as we celebrated his life of 35 years! Happy birthday David!

Homeless Thanksgiving

20 Nov

“I am so glad we didn’t miss this mom!” As we left the homeless or nearly homeless dinner these were the words from Paige. Words that came freely from a heart that is young and unguarded. It was late and much more convenient to head home with our tired children, but our half awake little girl begged to attend and serve at the homeless meal. As I ladled gravy onto the turkey I smiled seeing my children serve unaware of the different environment. It blesses your heart to see glimpses of Christ in your children. Forces me to pray that He would fill them up and be their center as they grow. Gratitude abounds for our home, family, and health.

Random cancer moments

18 Nov

Living as a cancer survivor comes with funny encounters. Today I was in a new environment where my eyes picked out others battling cancer easily. It is strange how my heart beats for them and desires to know where they are at in their journey. It is amazing how your eyes meet and there is a common ground. Fighters that are working hard to beat an invader of life.

Today a lady approached me and complimented my hair cut. She said, “she wished she was brave enough to cut her hair this way.” I wanted to reply it takes more than braveness to endure this hair style, but I instead replied, ” it’s actually grown this way not been cut this way.” Not sure if it answered her question or not, but it at least explained it wasn’t a chosen hair style.

We ran into a high school friends mom at the store. I never know what people know of my journey and I want to offer some explanations. I gave a very brief recount of the past 7 months of our life. Her statement that followed was,” I think last time I saw you, you had longer hair. ” I thought to myself, really, didn’t my story just offer explanation for my very short and tight hair style. Maybe it was because she lacked any other words.

I was approached by an acquaintance that clearly was uncertain to my story, but couldn’t figure out how to ask me. She walked away and then came back to inquire how my work is going. This was her way to find out what I was doing in life, and why i had little hair. I have no problem telling of my journey. I didn’t choose it.

My life is forever changed by leukemia. I pray I never loose the perspective gained through this season. I am grateful for the ways He has allowed me to see more of Him and share more of Him. Hair or no hair, cancer or no cancer I desire to proclaim His purposes through normal and awkward encounters.

20121118-205332.jpg