Archive | December, 2012

Special Aunts and Uncle

30 Dec

All of us have relatives, some more than others. I am lucky enough to have two aunts, and one uncle of which I adore. We have always had unique relationships throughout life. I have many fond memories, and hope to share a few. Uncle Ed, my moms older brother, is sophisticated and classy. I always desire to impress, but often my gaseous self and awkwardness are not quite that sophassy ( my own word). I can hear his voice now, ” nice one Allie”, in response to a belch on the front porch of the cottage. We have a way of enjoying each others presence when opportunities arise. I remember our many conversations about things we ” wanted” vs. things we “needed”. He has been more than generous to our family over the years. Our visits are few, but always enjoyable. He has journeyed this road with us and made known us he is lifting us up to our Creator. The tone in his voice,over the phone, reflects one of concern and compassion. I am thankful for him and my many stories I could share.

My mom is the middle child so we know why she is so scarred. Her little sister, whom everyone claims looks so much like mom, is my Aunt Tara. To me it’s generally just Tara not because she doesn’t deserve the title “aunt”, but because we are friends and it always felt right. She also lives out of town. We have seen a lot of her lately with all of the medical upheaval here. We welcome her visits but wish away the medical stress. Tara has always been someone who’s heart beat with mine. Her special gift through out my growing years was to bring her kids home for my birthday, just after the holidays. She/they were always my best birthday present. Tara and her family have walked with us both physically and emotionally. The first time down this road Tara was driving here when she learned the news of both my diagnosis and moms TIA. Without hesitation she was here to love and serve us. We have always teased and called her our live in maid… Because she works so hard, she is a natural care giver. They would both say being out of town family is hard, but they both do a great job of extending love and care for us.

Aunt Sue, I know you all think you know her because she is my faithful blog poster. Aunt sue is 10 years younger than my dad, but managed to have her first baby while my parents were having their last. We were the girl cousins, aunt sue had her kids reversed girl, boy, boy. Tara (cousin) and I had many childhood activities which we both enjoyed. We shared a love for our grandparents. Sue and her family are our local family. We always let too much time pass in between visits, but when we make time we are grateful we did. Aunt sue has pursued and prayed, rubbed feet and even provided the “cootchy cream” for my head shaving. Yes this sounds sensual, but its simply a fancy shaving cream. Don’t tell adam I told you, but he uses it too. The occasional drop by visit is a huge luxury to being local relatives.

After the holiday season many have stories of their annoying family, but i share with you my loving extended family. This is a snapshot of my family, there are many more relatives worthy of sharing. My life is full of people I am grateful for. Today I wanted you to hear about three people in my life who have journeyed with us like many of you. I challenge you today to be sure you tell your family the things you love about them. There are plenty of other people in the world to put them down and tell stories. Family is a gift, a gift filled with drama for sure, but regardless a blessing.

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Mohawk

30 Dec

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My hair was falling out by the handfuls. It was hard to not want to play with it. I felt quite dirty and was getting annoyed at seeing it all around the house and even in the foods I prepared. Today was the day to take care of it. Heather, my lovely hair stylist joined me for the adventure today. She asked, does it feel the same as last time? Harder? Easier?” I am not sure I answered her. It feels disappointing to be doing this again. I am certain it will be very cold in the dead of winter. I did always joke I was an “on time” date when bald. It’s a much quicker style.

After Heather beautified my girls with braids we went to work on my mop. I decided to have some fun with it this time. We tried out the Mohawk, punk, style. And will settle with bald.

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Updates

28 Dec

I noticed today as I answered a lot of questions that possibly I have not explained my status well. The doctors discharged me very early for Christmas, they broke the norm so I could be home. This is pending no fevers, and or other ailments that coincide with infection. I have returned twice to the clinic for outpatient treatment. This is where they check my counts and give blood products if necessary. I continue to be at my “low” from the chemo regimen and will remain here for probably a week.

In the meantime, we are waiting for a match to then proceed with a stem cell transplant. Currently in the national registry I have two preliminary matches. One we call a motivated donor because they went and already had labs done on December 19. The lab results take up to 3 weeks meaning we may know something next week. If they are a good match we would have a plan for what is next. If they are not a strong match we hope that among the existing co-op and the donors at the Kashi lab drive may provide a good match. Until we have a match the next move is to continue to wait, hope and trust. It’s a trend in my life. I must really need to get better at this. I am not a great passive waiter, i prefer to be actively pursuing a goal, but at this juncture I am embracing the waiting, hoping and trusting. We are Enjoying the days as they come for none of us are promised tomorrow.

On a lighter note my hairs are falling out again. I could have gotten used to a hairstyle.

Tomorrow night- CVCA Be The Match

27 Dec

a>http://www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/Armstrong

This is happening tomorrow night! Thank you in advance for the support and love!

Diary or diarrhea? December 14

27 Dec

Paige and I were going through her basket today. You know the one where all her junk lands. As we cleaned it out we found her notebook/ journal. She loves to write about her days. At school she writes in her diarea. It makes me smile. Last week she sent a piece of paper to the clinic with Adam for me to record the events of my day. In this way she is like mom, like to know the plans and what’s happening next!

December 14, 2012 (picture 2nd grade hand writing)

Dear God mom whent back to the hospital I had a fever today too it’s so sad. But we trust in God we can only do anything. (Interpretation : one thing)
Love page ( she claims she hates the I in her name)
Ps might here more (write more)

I embrace her simple childlike faith today when the future seems very unsure and the journey unclear. We can only do one thing trust in our loving, all knowing, Creator!

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I think you might be Santa?

26 Dec

Tonight as we gathered around the table I heard Hayleigh talking. She was the first one to the table. She tends to be our most eager and easy eater. As we all were shuffling around washing hands and gathering food she is talking.

” Papa, I think you might be Santa. You know why? They say he delivers the best presents of all, and you delivered mama the other night.”

I am not sure if Hayleigh knows the effect of her innocent, yet endearing words, but I needed those encouraging words today.

Merry Christmas

26 Dec

Happy birthday Jesus! Hope that everyone enjoyed their Christmas. We actually surprised the girls with momma coming home late Christmas Eve after all were in bed. This was exciting for me and for them. Our early bird Paige came to our bed to snuggle up with daddy at 4:30 a.m. to find me in bed. Then the same of Hayleigh at 6:30. It was fun to see them wonder who was in bed with daddy. I was up by the time mollie came down! This was all very fun and a wonderful surprise for Christmas.

Our morning was great the girls of course loved present time. I struggled to stay awake yesterday. This chemo regimen hit hard, and they warned us I would be tired. This was an understatement. Throughout all if my treatment I have remained active and strong, I experienced a new level of exhaustion. Regardless, it was wonderful to be home for the Christmas celebrations. I could not have been in a better place for the day.

Of course this year was different in many ways, too many to list, but I realize the gift of Jesus remains the same regardless of our circumstances. Loss and death seem magnified during the “holiday seasons”. We struggle because the memories aren’t what we remember, but ultimately the purpose of the season is so we remember who the true gift is, and that is why we celebrate. The rest is simply a bonus as a result of time together. As life is more uncertain then ever, the gift of baby Jesus, and the life of our Savior, keeps life in perspective and allow this heart to overflow with gratitude. Merry Christmas!

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Hospital Caroling

23 Dec

I love Christmas time! Traditions and family time are a top priority. For obvious reasons this year is and will be different! Today my friends BJ, Sue and their friends brought Christmas to our halls in G110 and G111. I love music and the truth of many of the carols. They encourage and remind us of His truth and the depth of this season. The music and the presence of my family encourages my heart. I love this time of year!

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CVCA- Bone Marrow Drive

22 Dec

http://www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/Armstrong

Please see information for event next week!

God’s Truth

22 Dec

Jesus Calling

My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when time is right, the way before you suddenly clears– through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift. You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My Power and My Glory.

Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the oath I have prepared for you, depending on my strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles– and you will. Miracles are not always visible to the asked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My Glory!

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped. (Psalms 63:2-11 ESV)

Hope this meets you in your life as it did me. You don’t have to have cancer to need Him for your next move. He created you and loves you and will lead you.