Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Musings From A Late Fall Day.....

Me, The Weenie and Scout are snuggling under a pile of blankets this morning.  The sun is out and the winds are up a bit early today.  I am not ready to give up sandals...I usually wait at least until the first and second snowfall to give in to shoes.  I've bought 3 pair of shoes in the past couple of weeks.  Two have been returned.  The last pair I chose may find themselves back among their friends at the shoe store.  Perhaps another pair of Converse is waiting for me : )
I saw Dr. Clark yesterday.  He counted, recounted and counted again the number of treatments I have had since March 16.  During the month of November I will move up to 3000mg of Xeloda and will finally - 9 months and a "little summer vacation" later,  finish my chemo regimen. 
Yes, there will be a lot of follow up appointments and tests, but I will not have to take anymore rat poison.
Since I already wrote my "final report" - I respectfully ask you to return to my post of "Happy Trails" to read how deeply I feel about each one of you and your tremendous support.
There are many others things going on in our lives at this time.  I am looking forward to the time when we can get out of town and breathe some fresh air (yes, there is fresh air outside of Albuquerque...really, trust me, there is) take some time to see some sights and not think for a bit....other than what sounds good for breakfast. 
Everyone believes it should be the most exciting time.  Believing "this person has been cured!"  That is not true.  I have, as scores of others have, completed one chemo regimen. Cancer is never done with those of us who have had this visited upon us.  It doesn't rule your life; but it is always lurking - maybe to never rear it's ugly head again or waiting to launch a counterattack. 
So on the flip side, there are a lot of deep feelings.   There is great comfort in knowing you are "being watched over ever so carefully".  There is this amazing bond built during these months with your doctor, nurses, and their incredible staff - pharmacy, technicians, even the people in the lab.  They have been my guardian angels.
I am still here.  Some of my recliner mates have not survived.  Thankfully I only know one 'for certain' who did not survive.  The rest, I just keep in my mind they too have finished their treatment and are living their lives....even though I know this is not the case....some denial is ok in this particular journey.
  I do not know nor will I never know why one lives and one dies.  Until you live through cancer, come close to losing your own life, stripped down and raw, putting yourself fully God's care and keeping, and come back to the land of the living is not something any human being - anywhere understands.  There are a lot of philosophical reasons (my very least favorite of all of these is because I "had a positive attitude" - bunk), there is a lot of talk about passages in the Bible or other sources to read - all religions think they can explain the secret things of God.  I can assure you and will state very strongly; we who live on this side of heaven, DO NOT have a clue about the mysteries that belong to God.  How many mysteries of God are there? I'm clueless.  Prayer and intercessory prayer is certainly in the top 5.    If someone claims to be able to explain this to you or claims to understand it him/herself, grab your bag,  dust off your feet and walk away.
 What I do know, is God is a keeper of all of his promises.  When we see the sun; feel the wind on our skin and in our hair (those who still have hair), and see the handiwork of his good pleasure all around us, having faith in something far greater than ourselves, perhaps we do not have to "fully know" or comprehend.  "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so".....and those who 'have the faith of a mustard seed" - this is sufficient for the day.  His Grace.  However, as humans, we will keep reading and searching to reach understanding that 'gets us through the day'.  He says to 'study to show yourself approved" - it is a call to know Him and his will for our lives. He commands that we gain wisdom - but only God's wisdom is to be sought, wisdom cannot be found in anything or anyone else. 
  I have a great many questions - and they all begin with "why?...." and even though I want answers, I will not get them. I might get a slight glimmer and think, ah! yes, that is why - but it's only my human insight or POV.  It's not God's. 

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

The hymns of days past speak to my heart in a new way.  I hear the words; the tune or lack there of no longer matters.  I am so grateful for those who sat and penned their soul's hurts and praise to paper.  Likewise Streams in the Desert.  Words leap off the page and embed themselves into my heart - they are testimonies by humans, thoughts and faith sharpened by winter's blasts and Satan's never ending weapons thrust at our hearts, minds and marrow.  God's word is the foundation; He has provided for every storm that comes our way.  Trust Him, He is worthy to be praised and worshipped.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

I'll be back for more......if you care to join along.  love kathryn

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Excitement before the Calm

Worth noting:  This week in our readings, two passages have been mentioned:  "Do not fret" and "Be anxious in nothing."  I think of those passages several times during the day.  Apply as needed.  Hourly is a good idea.
After many years of listening to Molly talk about "what she is going to be for Halloween" - there is silence on that front.  Still, as I mentioned earlier, I do love to buy pumpkins and set them around the house and on the front porch.  I believe our present porch looks much better with an entire congregation of pumpkins.  This year, it's a small congregation.  But the congregants are interesting looking. TJs buyers did a great job.
Love the Fairy Tale pumpkin and the nubby gourd like pumpkin. Cool.
There have been some moments this week.  Jim has been through what I'll term the "vertigo flu".  Believe my chemo is creating some good ol' fashion aching joints.  A little Tylenol, some down time, hopefully ease that pain. 
I stuffed my chemo pills in a little skinny pocket on Friday.  I was doing some laundry and putting things away and glanced into the dog bed that sits under a bench in the kitchen.  Coco's face was right next to a chemo pill.  aaaack!! Genius (see bottom of page).  I asked her if she ate the other one.  "if you want me to have eaten it, I did".  I persisted, looking frantically for the other pill.  "Did you eat the other pill?" The face showed a definite "no". Her last fast was "if you wanted me to, I did; if you didn't, then I didn't."  She remained unnaturally calm.
My voice was raising as I was still crawling on the floor, then running down the hall, looking in their regular places they 'stash' their stuff.  Scout, did you eat a pill?  Blank face.  I called the vet - which I should have done the moment I saw the pill.  'Bring them in immediately.'  Talk about a rough moment, they were given a drug to make them lose their breakfast.  No pill.  Perhaps it had already gone into one of their systems.  Infusions, IVs.  oh my word.  I was sent home.  Again, down on my hands and knees.  In the darkest little corner under the cabinets, set that 'other pill'.  STOP, don't do another thing.  I found the pill.  Whew!  My heart did not slow until late in the day.  Lesson learned  No stuffing pills in pockets until I'm hungry.  Eat anything, take pills. Later that same day - a lap and sitting with the safer member of the family  : )

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. ~Christopher Morley

love kathryn

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Publishers Retraction.....

I didn't know what I was thinking!  Perhaps I was hasty, perhaps I was thinking this particular chapter was completed.  Perhaps I was wrong.  I have received kind emails wondering why I was going to close my blog at this particular time.  You do know this is me, Kathryn, I do have my own brand of logic.
Posts and emails are welcome as always. 
Have a wonderful weekend.
love kathryn

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Trails To You - Until We Meet Again....

The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart. ~Alan Alda
Growing up in the generation of long good-byes, usually beginning at the kitchen table, strolling through the dining and living room, out onto the front porch. Last but most important, was the folding of the arms, while leaning into the car window, for the last goodbye.  The best comes last.
I've been re-reading some books that hold a special place in my heart.  Books on "places" are personal favorites. 
God is a God of places.  He created the earth.  He wanted us to have a very special place.  He created the universe and the deepest oceans.  He likes places that speak not only of majesty and mystery, in his infinite love, he wanted us to be "blown away" by His creation.  These places prove His abundant and overflowing love for us!
This blog, has been a different sort of place.  Technology allowed me to share some of my journey with cancer.  Some rough days, things that made me laugh,  things I was mulling over.  By virtue of cyberspace and regular mail,  I received many notes of encouragement.  Thank you!
 Today, I'm closing this place; my blog.  I've looked around, dusted off a few things, smiled and shed a tear or two. I have enjoyed 'this place', but it's time to turn out the lights, grab the door handle, take one last look around and close the door.  As I said in my opening, the next chapter is unfolding.  Like all of you,God only knows what will be written next.
My blog provided a place for people to walk along side of me.  Your prayers brought me through deep waters.  My heart is full of remembrances, cards, food, emails, visits, tears, love, and laughter. You provided a sanctuary for me. I am here because of your precious prayers and support. 
I have lived in the Psalms.  I continue to live there and am seeking a deeper dependence on God.  The words of David and others have spoken when I couldn't think or pray.  Though these were people like me - like you, they spoke boldly and fiercely and thousands of years later, we are comforted, startled and encouraged.  God can withstand our anger and hurt.  Though sometimes we find we are in places we didn't want to go -  He is Jehovah-Jirah.  He Provides. 
 "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."
To my dearest friends and family.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for standing in the gap, not only for me, but for Jim and Molly for many in my extended family.  Thank you for being here, whether in person or in thought, for walking so faithfully with me.  Thank you to the many I do not know personally; for being so generous in your prayers.  Blessings!
Most of all, I thank you God, for being so ever present, so mindful of me. He is my mighty rock and my refuge!"    
I love you all, kathryn
and now from Lake Wobegon --
"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."
  ~Garrison Keillor

Friday, October 8, 2010

This little surgery....

will be performed on October 29.  She said plan on staying overnight.  So with toothbrush, toothpaste,  hairbrush and pillow in hand...on your mark, get set, GO. 
O! it's just a perfect day.  72 degrees, sunshine and no clouds.  Time to get out of the house and savor this autumn day.
 I'm on the hunt for cheap pumpkins.  Whew! I was shocked to read $10 on a medium sized pumpkin.  I may have to just have one - the one  I already have.  Next year I may plant my own.  I've never grown pumpkins...the only thing I know is they need to have space to grow.  I'll have to read up on this.
Take good care and enjoy the weather!
love kathryn

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another Gorgeous Fall Day

I tried, no ethanol.  Dr. M. said it is used and can be successful but not often.  She sat down and said, now, let's talk about your surgery.  A partial thyroidectomy. She went through the entire procedure and asked if I had any questions.  I've read a great deal regarding this surgery, so I think I'm ready.  I understand the risks etc. The next day,   I ran into a patient at the cancer center.  When I mentioned Dr. M's name to someone, she turned around and said, 'she's very good'.  I pray she is.
She said I will go in in the morning and if all goes well, I go home that evening.
All I need is a day and time.  I vote no more surgeries after this. 
I also know, I have no control over anything.  Ok, I can control how much apple pie I consume...sometimes.
Aren't these fall days just lovely?
love kathryn

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Next On My Agenda....

Next:  A little right side thyroidectomy. Time and date not yet determined.  The surgeon will consult with my oncologist.  Though it's not "day surgery", I will get to go in and come home that evening.  I like that.  I've spent quite enough time walking the halls of Presbyterian Hospital.  
So much for my dreams of a 'little ethanol...
Enjoy this beautiful day!
love kathryn 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Post It Note of Sorts...

Medical Front or Back:
I took my 1500 mg/day of Xeloda this past week. I am off this week, except for routine blood work to see how things are going. Next week, 3000mg/day. The worst of side effect is still neuropathy. Hands, legs, feet. I must say, it is beyond strange to not be able to feel the bottoms of my feet. I massage them, but the feeling is weird - to say the least. I take medication which helps in terms of pain, but the 'pins & needles' & numbness sensation is always present. (for those of you medical junkies, this is absolute! layman's language).
Next on the agenda. I think I mentioned I have a complex cyst on the right thyroid. I've been through two aspirations, both times, the cysts has returned within hours. First biopsy: benign (thankful!) I see the surgeon tomorrow afternoon. I have been reading about the use of ethanol (via shot) to get rid of recurring cysts. I hope this is THE option. My first thought at reading "ethanol" - I could pull up to the gas pump and say 'fill 'er up'. I will know the game plan by late afternoon.
On a very serious note: The impact of the two well known and skilled balloonists, who were caught in a storm over the Adriatic Sea, widens. Molly received a call from her photography partner (from HSC), her uncle is Richard Abruzzo. She asked for prayers for their family. And the family of Carol Rymer Davis who resides in Colorado Springs.
Time to take a Sunday afternoon nap. Thank you for reading along. I'm very, very blessed. I've done so well on this drug and remain so very thankful. Life is good.
love kathryn

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday In Albuquerque

A friend sent this quote the other day.
“But I remember more dearly autumn afternoons in bottoms that lay intensely silent under old great tree. '
When he posted it, this statue in Washington DC came to mind. When we lived in Northern Virginia, we would go downtown on those rare fall days with blue skies and crisp fall air. We'd take in the museums and mosey around the District drinking in the scenery. Washington is beautiful in any season, but most certainly fall takes the cake for me! There are statues all over the city. However, Mr. Einstein is still my favorite. No tall edifice, no grand towering pillared memorial. Mr. E is sitting on a retaining wall made for sitting. He looks a bit tired and disheveled, and has an open book on his lap. Like no other statue in Washington DC, this says, 'come sit a spell'.
As I was searching for a photograph of this statue, remembering that particular fall day. There were children were running and playing, climbing all over "him". They had no clue who he was or what he had done in his lifetime, but they knew this was very cool statue. AND! their parents were allowing all of this, no one had to "behave and get down". Best part, "he" is fully accessible and has a very large lap.
Though there was no room close to Mr. Edison's lap that day. If there had been no one around, I would have pulled out my book and spent the afternoon with Mr. E. It was a place I could easily get lost - not quite the wheat fields of Kansas kind of lost, but you go with what you've got.

I will never understand quantum theory/physics, nor can I comprehend God's ways. But I do know, we are all God's children. Thankfully, He is a living God, not a statue. He loves it when we come and sit in his lap. He doesn't mind when we are crying or all messed up; or have sticky hands and faces, or stumble right into him with runny red noses, blinding tears and a why? on our lips. That's when he begins his work in us. He cleans us up, blow our noses, hold us tight, helps us see ourselves through his eyes. He wants us to see the beauty inside ourselves as well as the beauty of the seasons.
Fall. Crisp air, cool nights and mornings, time to pick up a bag of apples and bake something apple filled, go to a fair,, (or the Balloon Fiesta) prepare hearty soups and muffins that only taste good this time of year. And marvel in the beauty of this season.
love to all,