Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Magic

Since I'm not sure how much time I'm going to be holed up in my room this Christmas, I decided to invest in some Christmas magic. I don't know that mom understands. On one hand, she complains and makes faces whenever we discuss Christmas decorating. Yet, on the other hand, she encourages the children at times to add more to the mess.

The True Magic of Christmas...The Birth of a Child who was and is our King

For example, on Monday night when Max, Mason and Aurora were decorating the tree, someone asked if we should get more bulbs for the tree. Trying to be considerate of mom, I suggested that perhaps we had enough. Mom disagreed and thought we should continue to add more. I was surprised and mentioned that I thought it may be good to minimize the number of bulbs as would make clean up easier when Christmas was over.

A similar incident happened when we were pulling out the mugs. I wasn't about to argue about that one at all!

The First Christmas Mug of the Season!
When mom brought me my coffee yesterday, I swear it tasted even better because it was served in a beautiful Christmas mug.

It was just what I needed to get into the Christmas Spirit. Now if I can just bake some goodies. That would take the cake!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Dream Come True

It was a dream come true. Breakfast at the Storyteller Cafe with the family and a crew of fuzzy wuzzy Disney Characters. It wasn't Mickey, Goofy or even Donald who can be found at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel, but in many ways it's better.

Blurry but better than nothing

The Storyteller Cafe has Baloo, Chip and Dale and a few other second class citizens that most of us aren't familiar with. Does it matter? Not to M1, M2 and A1. In many ways, the experience at the Cafe is better than the kitchen. The characters spend more time with the guests and the children didn't seem the least bit disappointed that Mickey and Pluto were no where to be found.

M and Brother Bear...At least we think it's Brother Bear

On top of that, there is the game of "Follow the Leader" in which the characters dance around the dining room with the children in tow, after which they do the Hokey Pokey and a few other old time favorite songs. The whole thing is simply magical. It's what Disney does best...making the experience top notch and worth every penny that is spent there.

Shar and me enjoying the sunshine at the Lego store

The added bonus? The food was plentiful and delicious and the service outstanding.

Breakfast of Champions

The best thing about the morning? Spending it with my family. What a fun time we had.

Disney glasses are the cutest!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Is it Just a Dream?

For the past few weeks I've been living in a fog. It's as if I'm in a dream. I keep waiting for the dream to end.  The whole experience is disturbing. The last few days I've been using the oxygen that Hospice has given to me and it seems to make a difference. As I sit here typing, while I don't feel 100%, I don't feel the need to runaway the way I used to.

Here are my fears. I hate to list them and give them credit, but then I think that by listing them, they lose their stronghold over me. That's ultimately what I want. Sometimes I think I'm going crazy.  Conversations don't seem real so I'm constantly asking everyone if they are really there and are we really conversing.

This is especially true when the communication is occurring via telephone or text message. For example, yesterday Uncle Frank called. I felt so badly for him. He was sobbing and sobbing as he asked for prayer for Blake, Becky and Jadon. After the call ended, I sat there questioning whether the conversation was real. It didn't seem like it, but I know deep inside it was.

I guess that's it. The bottom line is this. Even though I question all of this, the bottom line is I know it's real. Perhaps the point is, I wish it wasn't...wasn't real. Because that would hopefully mean I'm not stuck here in bed talking to myself, experiencing shortness of breath, and all the, excuse my language, crap that comes with it. It wouldn't be so bad if I could write, create art and take photographs when I'm in this state, but I can't.

Bottom line is photos today :(

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Truth

The light coming into my room in the early morning hours has been so lovely. When the shades are drawn it looks gray and dank outside so it's always a pleasant surprise when the shades are opened and there is sunlight streaming through.

It's one of the many things for which I can give thanks to God. The importance of thanks has been an on-going theme in my morning devotional. It's amazing how much focusing on thanks helps lift the spirit. A few mornings ago, as I was reading my devotional, I was struck with the realization that my thanks to God were superficial.

Sure I thank God when I reading my devotional and bible verse(s) in the morning, but throughout the day, my acknowledgements of the treasured tidbits become few and far between. A better job is needed on my part to continually be in communication with God, thanking him for all the joy he is putting in my path.

This is the day that the Lord has made

For this is the day that the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it. It feels so good to say these words because they are so true.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

In 2012 I traveled pretty extensively...Here's a little list, in no particular order...

  • Italy

  • Austin

  • Boston

  • Sacramento (and all the little trips to Old Towns)

  • San Francisco (April 2012)

  • San Francisco (not once, but twice!)

  • San Diego/La Jolla

  • Monterey

In 2014, my world shrank considerably and thus far I've been able to travel to the following...

  • Phoenix (spring training for Dodgers)

  • Sacramento

  • Boo Hoo Hoo
Trying to work out a trip for my last big hurrah...or something that will kick start me into spreading my horizons.

Wondering where 2015 will take me. Somewhere over the rainbow. I hope.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's a Four Letter Word

For over a month now, I've been trying to get my creative emergence on. Some days I don't get anything done, others I put a layer of paint on a canvas, but at this rate I won't have any product to open my shop until 2016...I kid you NOT!

I watch the children in envy. At this early age, they are the epitome of creative emergence. Give them a few paint brush, some paint and a blank piece of paper and in no time at all, they are presenting you with a masterpiece.

There is no second-guessing, no obsessing about whether the blue should be placed to the left or the right of the green, or if the yellow is too close to the blue. When do we lose our creativity to fear. Fears of making a mistake. Fears of what others may think. Fears of not being good enough.

's a four-letter word.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It Took the Cake!

Yesterday I spent the day in as close to a catatonic day that I ever want to experience. I would much rather never ever experience it again. From the time I awoke to the time I closed my eyes for the last time, I was in tears. Not the running down your face tears, but the sobbing so loudly at times that someone would come to see how I was doing.

I didn't want to admit it at first, but one of the reasons for the breakdown was likely due to the change of medication. On Thursday, my doctor and I agreed that I would cut down on not only the steroid (one pill in total to 1/2 pill) but the morphine, too (2 pills in total to 1 pill in total). After some discussion with my mom and dad, we agreed it was probably too much for me and I likely was going thru some sort of withdrawal.

Mom is also not convinced that I took the correct dosages in the morning. That could well be. Regardless, I was a gigantic mess for most of the day. Crying because I was an emotional mess, crying because my neck and leg hurt, crying because I couldn't get comfortable, crying because everyone was worried about me, crying, crying, crying.

We decided to go back to the dosage of medication that I was on and see what happens. So far so good. I'm still feeling a little odd, but the pain is gone (hip hip!) and I haven't dropped a single tear today. On the plus side, around 9pm, Brie came to my room which was at first strange since I thought she left several hours before then for a party at Janae's.

Turned out Patrick had to work overtime and she had been waiting all this time in the car for him. I felt so badly for her...and him. He must be so tired. At any rate, I was still have trouble processing everything in my brain, but I was able to fake my way through it all. I suggested that we do something to pass the time and help her relax. She surprisingly agreed so she helped straighten my room and put together a shopping list for Target.

In what could be called divine intervention, he texted her, just as we were finishing up the shopping list. By this time, it was almost 10pm. I was pretty tired, but happy that she was happier than she was when she first walked in. As a reward, she brought me in a little late night snack...a yummy yummy cupcake from Max's birthday party!

I must say, it took the cake!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

These Two...

These two, as my grandmother used to say, "are full of the dickens." My, oh, my, today they took the cake and were on a sugar high almost the whole day long. It was hard not to laugh at their antics as they kept their daddy on his toes for most of the day.

That's the way it goes sometimes. It did make me laugh when we got back from the doctors and the two of them were squished together on the couch, covered with blankets, surrounded by a boatload of toys, happy grins on their faces as they announced that they in a fort that made them intervisible (no typo here).

Oh, how I love these two. Intervisible or not!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Life is But a Dream

Been living in dreamland for the last few days. My brain doesnt seem to be in sync with my vision making everything I see and feel like a question.

Am I really here?

Is this a real conversation?

Is this person sitting here in front of me?

Am I still alive or is this heaven? (It better not be heaven because I'm hoping for soemthing better!)

One thing that keeps me going are the grandbabies who keep me laughing and smiling...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Little Interruption

These little hands are part of the reason my little shop will be opening about a week late. How can I help myself when it brightens my day just to hear his sweet little voice say, "Hey, hey, grandma, grandma!"

At this point, I'll take all the interruptions I can get :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 01, 2014

The truth is, I gave up on myself and as much as I hate to admit it, if I gave up on myself, that means I gave up on God. If He is able to do all immeasurable things then why did I cave like a blob of ice cream that landed on the sidewalk on a hot summer's day?

If it wasn't that August was a long month, I would have missed it all. As it was, I slept through most of it, unwilling to raise myself from the self-induced coma which put me in a vegetative state for more than 80% of the day for most of the month.

There are days and conversations that I flat out don't remember. This I do...

  1. I begged to be taken to respite care
  2. I considered and actually asked to have a catheter put on me so I wouldn't have to get up
  3. Thousands of prayers being said in my name and even in my pity-party state, feeling them circle around me, protecting me from my doubts and fears
  4. The gradual awakening of my soul until I could begin to visualize myself walking out of this room
  5. Friends and family who continued to visit even though I would fall asleep throughout their visit
  6. The kind and thoughtful stream of visitors who brought food, ice cream, pie and other treats that provided add incentive to pull my bottom out from this bed its been glued to for too many days on end
  7. My mom and dad, while lovingly supportive, who also knew when to push me to push myself
  8. Care team members who took time out of their day to pray and encourage me. There were times, I wanted to tell mom I wasn't up for company, but I needed each and every groan uttered in my name
August has ended and a new month has begun. I plan to take it not only one day at a time, but more like, one hour at a time. I won't pretend to know how the start compares to the end, but this I know, 
God has not, will not forsake me. He is where He has always and will always be...right beside and right behind me. He will give me strength when I am weak, I need not be afraid. No matter what, these are the truths that I carry with me. He loves me that much. He loves YOU that much. No matter our trials, they are of equal sorrow, equal need, equal importance. 

He may not answer our requests as we want him to, but when he does (and HE always answers) we will find his response(s) even more powerful, magnificent, fulfilling than we thought possible. Knowing God and reading His word, why was there any doubt at all? 

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭10‬ NLT)

Monday, August 18, 2014

These Four Walls

It's been a long time long in fact, I had begun to give up. Not to sound melodramatic, but that was my reality and it stunk, stunk bad.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? It's best not to think ahead. "Take it one day at a time, Debbi," I quietly tell myself. Looking ahead is too scary. I trust in God. I do. That's not even a question. The question is, "am I strong enough to face what's coming?" I wish I knew. I know that God is. That should be enough. It's him I trust, not me.

But today, the coffee tasted so good. And I was able to sit at the edge of the bed, my body straighter than the day before. I ate almost every bite of my breakfast, enjoying every moment of it. And I actually talked about going outside Friday, even if my stomach turned at the thought. Still it feels good to begin to think of things outside of these four walls.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


He came a little over two weeks ago, invited in moments of quiet desperation, a psychical therapist with a melt-me-away french accent, who was intended to show me how to get myself up out of my wheelchair, recliner and bed. After weeks of, slowly but surely, climbing out of the haze clouding my mind and the weakness permeating my muscles, I was suddenly losing the battle.

I could no longer remember days, let alone minutes or hours, each day was spent with eyes mostly closed, body barely moving, mind closed, thoughts too muddled to make sense of much of anything at all. Things were inexplicably taking a turn for the worse.

I had no strength, no hope, barely any faith. I had not given up on God, but I could feel myself giving up on myself. I began to talk about moving to long term care as my family hopelessly looked on willing me not to give up, afraid that such a move would mean all was lost.

Thankfully, I have such a family to pull me up, refusing to let me give up so easily, just as I had been so unwilling to give up just weeks before.

Now, I can see myself fighting the fight. I can visualize myself walking to the bathroom, to the dresser on the other side of my bedroom. Its not quite time yet, but I will get there. I've begun to put little goals out there and taking the steps I need to make these goals a reality.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Shoes

A week and a half ago I ordered eight pairs of shoes. Yes, eight. It seemed such an extravagant thing to do considering the amount of walking I'm actually doing. But I needed to face reality and I only had four pair that I was able to wear. Two of them sandals which I haven't worn a lot lately, one pair of dirty tennis shoes and one pair of black flats. New shoes would help me not feel so shabby or so I hoped.

Seven of the eight pair were delivered yesterday which was ironic because I was at a low for most of the day. The delivery did nothing to pick me up. It was rather like a slap in the face. Why bother to open up the boxes? What was the point? All night long, the boxes sat untouched, like an unwelcome visitor. 

Mom talked me into opening one of the the boxes this morning. I still didn't have the desire to look open the box, but I didn't want to make her feel bad. Inside was a cute pair of clean blue tennis looking just like the picture I saw on-line. I could wear them tomorrow, she said cheerfully, for chemo. I nodded in agreement.

After Brie got up, I asked her to open the rest of the boxes for me. One after another, cute shoes came out of hiding. And then my tears began again. The night before I had slept poorly again, the pain in my legs crying worse than a newborn baby. What was the point? Why did I go and buy so many stupid pairs of shoes?

Is this really my life?  

The answer was so clear. Yes, Debra, it is! 

So what are you going to do with it? 

After lunch, I cried some more, calling out to God, my healer. I know he has the power. I know. I know without a doubt he can heal. I know without a doubt he can heal me. Please do it Lord, please. At least let me walk again without pain. At least let me sleep tonight without pain. I have given up so much. I held nothing back from my prayers, Why should I? He knows me like no other so no point in pretending. 

And then I slept for thirty minutes. Since that time, the ache has subsided. The ache in my leg and the ache in my heart. 

Things for which I am thankful for
1. A God who listens to my cries and comforts me
2. Friends and family who care for me and about me
3. A delicious meal my mom so lovingly prepared the night before
4. Brie for helping me so much this morning
5. A medication to help with the nerve damage that seems to be working (thanks be to God!)
6. A day of work
7. New shoes...eight pairs of them

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tired of the Pain

After days of positive thinking, of saying, at least, mentally I feel strong, of pushing past the pain, I took a step backwards. I could feel it coming all day yesterday as I did little to move off my recliner, pretending that I needed a Sunday of rest. As I pulled myself off the recliner this morning, anxious to get the morning started, apprehensive that with each step I took, the pain would commence. The truth is, I've gotten to the point where I want to move as little as possible so tired of the pain that I'm in.

At lunchtime, I tried to pull myself out of my funk by writing in my daily journal of gratitude. It wasn't working. I tried harder by moving myself to the patio. It made me feel a little better, but not enough. I tried even harder by walking one and a half times around the patio.

By the end of lunch, I was back on my recliner, my legs aching, crying out loud. The pain, I can take. The self-pity, not so much. Still, I pray for a reprieve from the pain. I am praying, pleading, begging the Lord that the new medication I'm taking will give me relief.

I was reading something today that someone wrote about waiting and how waiting for the unknown was the hardest. I get it. I think about one of my biggest fears, paralysis. It may come tomorrow, it may never come. Today, it was foremost on my mind. I can't sit forever, it's not good for compression, yet I don't know what else to do, standing is virtually impossible, walking not much better.

A thought struck my mind. I'm afraid of paralysis and yet, here I am, spending most of my time doing what I'm most afraid a chair. Yes, I can still get up, take a shower, get my food, dress myself, but even that I'm not doing much of. I haven't taken a shower since Friday...yuck! I know, it makes me feel even worse.

In some ways I felt an amount of relief. If that would be my lot in life, well, then, I could handle it. In some ways, perhaps the pain would be limited, I don't know. I hope so.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Would You Bring?

We added a new supervisor to our department last month. She's been killing it. I love it when a new employee isn't afraid to speak up and bring positive change. In an effort to get to know her team better, she invited them this week to a breakfast potluck in which she asked them to bring something that showed who they are. Who doesn't love a breakfast potluck? I'd choose them over a lunch/dinner potluck anytime.

I wanted to attend the meeting just to see what everyone brought as their one thing and so I could share what I would bring. What would I bring? The answer wasn't that hard. It's probably not what other's would think. No, not one of my camera's nor a cup of coffee. If I had to bring the one thing that shows who I am, it would have been my charm bracelet.

I say would have been, because in the last year I either misplaced it or someone stole it. While it makes me feel bad, I'm surprisingly not as heart-broken as I thought I would have been, but that's another post.

One spring, my family took a short trip to San Francisco. It was memorable for many reasons. One of which, while on the streets of the city, we found our way into a random souvenir shop. As we looked around for cheap treasures that would mark our visit, dad took Eliz and I up to the front of the store and there beneath a glass case were silver sterling charm bracelets and charms galore.

I don't know that I even know what they were before that moment but I was amazed when dad asked if Eliz and I would like to have one. Yes, absolutely, before he changed his mind, yes! Thus begun decades of collecting charms from our moves and our travels.

Whenever we found ourselves in a new place, the hunt for our silver loot would begin. I had charms from Delaware (a silver piece in the shape of the state), the Franklin Mint, Italy (the Colosseum), Spain (a fan), Greece (the acropolis), Indonesia (a puppet), Hong Kong (a bicycle car) , Singapore (another bicycle car) , Germany (a beer stein), Alaska (a totem pole), Texas (a cowboy boot), Sacramento (a gold mining car), France (the Eiffel Tower, of course!), just to name a few.

In time, my charm bracelet became full with almost every other link taken by some silver trinket. I loved the little jingling sound that was heard each time I moved my arm as the charms clinked against one another. The charms represented where I've been and who I've become. I've left part of myself in each place and have taken a part of each place with me, forever in my heart. Still there are some places that I've not been able to come back with a shiny treasure. Florida is one of them. I've been to the state, at least half a dozen times and I've yet been able to find a charm.

My charm bracelet has been so special that when Brie was about the same age as I was when I got mine, I bought her one and little by little, she has been slowly been building up the number of charms hanging on the links. It's one of the things from my youth that she just gets.

With so many charms, some still not even attached to the bracelet, it was my plan to purchase another bracelet, put half my charms on one bracelet, half my charms on another and give one to Matthew and one to Brienne for them to give to their daughters. So why aren't I heartbroken that I no longer have my bracelet in my possession? I still don't believe it's missing forever. I have hope I will find it. It's either in my car or my room. I'm not sure where, but I will find it. I must find it. It's not lost forever, it can't be.

If you had to bring one thing to a potluck that represented who you are...what would you bring?

Monday, April 7, 2014

On the Cusp

I may not be able to do all the things I used to be able to do or do all the things I want to do, but somehow I have the strength to do the things that are really important. At the end of the month, I was able to go to my nephew's web exhibit at the LA Art Institute.

It's so exciting to witness someone on the cusp of living their dream.

I think it doesn't matter the age that you are once you figure out what your dreams are, I think it matters that you follow them.

I love the courage he has shown in following his dreams. I believe in all of us lives some form of creativity. I believe those who tap into it either as a form recreation or as a job live much more fulfilled lives.

After the exhibition, we went to a most fabulous place called The Counter for lunch. I wasn't sure what to expect. Man oh man, it was delicious. You could order your own burger or select from one of their recommendations.

Mine was so amazing that I salivate every time I look at the picture I took of my burger.

Cooking, to me, is a form of creativity. Which is why I enjoy taking pictures of food that I feel is well prepared.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Love You Bro!

We made a pact that started after Elizabeth turned 50. We would all get together for a mini-vacay at the place of the birthday sibling's choice (within reason). In someway it wasn't really fair to Eliz because she didn't pick San Francisco, Angela and I did. It was somewhat of a compromise because I wanted to have an Extreme Makeover/Home Edition for her and Angela thought a weekend in San Francisco was in order. We managed to pull both off.

A year and a half, my choice was Monterey, California where we stayed at Asilomar, which allowed us the opportunity to gather together in the lobby for games and pool. I enjoyed every moment of our vacation, especially Sunday morning when everyone met down by the beach for communion and family fun time.

Two years later, it's Victor's turn to hit the magic number. His request was to meet in Phoenix so we could go to a few Dodger spring training game. With so many Dodger fans in our family, it wasn't hard to get everyone to say yes.

This is my family.

The ones that I love.

We aren't perfect, but we are there for one another.

And in case you didn't know it, we're Dodger fans (and some are Angel's fans too).

Happy birthday, my dear brother! And many, many more!

I love you Bro!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weary, But Not Exhausted

It's the end of a long day, I'm weary, but not exhausted. There is a part of me that is at peace knowing that tomorrow, I see another specialist which comes as a surprise to me. Not that I'm seeing another specialist, but that I'm at peace with it, hopeful, in fact, that it's the beginning of some relief from the constant pain and struggle to walk.

A week ago, I felt exhausted and, honestly, the thought of talking to my oncologist about the sudden disintegration my ability to move around was too much to bear. The last thing I wanted was to spend more time at the medical center, reciting my woes, being poked and prodded, especially since much of medical diagnosis is based on guess work and ruling out things. I was talking to a friend of mine who is going through pain of her own caused by spinal stenosis. After much research, she went to see a doctor who claims to have a good recovery rate. Out of pocket it would cost over $5,000. There is no doubt she is worth the money, but the problem isn't whether she's worth it, the problem is there is no guarantee in the results.

Which is why I'm surprised that I was relieved that I was able to get an appointment so early. But I go into the appointment believing, not in the doctors, but in God, whom I trust above all. He can give the doctor a clear direction, the right diagnosis, the perfect treatment.

While today wasn't perfect, it was good. It started the moment I got up and saw a note that Brie had written to me the night before. It was simple, it was sweet and included two hearts. It was what I needed.

I drove into the office, my walker neatly leaning on the back seat, my mind waffling back and forth about whether I would use it. I knew I should use it, but my pride was ready to get the best of me, except for the fact that I had to park a little further out than I normally do. That was my sign to pull out the walker as I got out of the car. I prayed that I wouldn't see anyone on my way in, but as I approached the building, I run into a co-worker. Instead of being appalled and embarrassed, I was strangely comforted. My comfort grew as we walked together into the building and got into the elevator.

As the elevator made its way up the building, I told her that she was my godsend, her presence was exactly what I needed. I had to fight back the tears and her words of encouragement made it easier to step into the office, pushing my walker in front of me.

The day wore on. I was busy throughout. Not a crazy, mind numbing busy, but a constant busy, one thing coming after another in perfect succession. My chair was so uncomfortable and just when I thought I couldn't sit in it one moment longer, I would forget about the pain and time continued to pass until 4pm came and I could get up and leave, thankful for the walker which made it easy to get to my car.

In between that time, my Sunny Boy called which always put a smile on my face and then I got a call from his little mini me, telling me that they were coming to visit tomorrow.

Yes, I am weary, but I'm not exhausted. Yes, I am weary, but I have hope. again. and it feels so good.

I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. Psalm 130:5

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Hurt and the Healer

There is a song by Mercy Me called The Hurt and the Healer. The lyrics resonate so deeply within me right now. I've been listening to it over and over again and each time, there is a different part of the song that speaks to me.

It stared with these words

Sometimes I feel that all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on you 
Lord take hold and pull me through
So here I am 
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the Healer collide

I've had this song on my playlist for years now and it's as though I'm hearing it for the first time, starting on Thursday sometime after my chemo. I was in such a low place, one the lowest I've had in a while. Since last Saturday, I've been fighting back tears constantly in part due to pain, in part due to fear, in part due to hopelessness. I've been flailing about by the wind. When I heard this song, I was brought to sobs, each word so graphically describing how I felt.

Even though the song brings me to my knees metaphorically, it has also given me the hope that I had lost. I am alive. And even with the pain, there is hope.

Yesterday it was easier to be positive. My pain was minimal, walking was easier and even though I was sure it was the residual effect of the Decadron I was given on Thursday for the chemo, it didn't matter. It was a good day and I needed it. Brie was leaving for a trip and asked me to come up to her room as she finished her packing. It felt so good to spend time with her laughing and talking like normal. Yes, he took my heart and breathed it back to life.

This morning, I took things easy and then seized what was left of the moment and went out armed with my camera, notebook and iPad. I could feel the strength slowly dissipating from my body, but I didn't care. Yes, I wanted so badly for it to stay, but I was grateful for the reprieve.

Now that the pain has returned, I pray that the hope stays. Even as I am weak, I feel His strength. He takes hold and pulls me through. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Things I Wish I Could Do

Things I wish I could do right now…

  1. Clean up my room
  2. Find my comfy sweat pants
  3. Bake some chocolate chip cookies…or at least make some cookie dough
  4. Find my Rebel battery charger
  5. Go to the beach and take pictures of the storm
  6. Work on a scrapbook 
  7. Go get a Mayan Mocha
  8. Walk without pain
The truth is, I supposed I could do the first seven of the list above, but that rotten number eight is becoming the bane to my existence so I'm going to needy to find things I can do even in this condition…

  1. Write
  2. Pray
  3. Find at least a dozen things to be thankful for
  4. Finish my taxes
  5. Create a photo book
  6. Call someone I love
  7. Read a good book
  8. Stop feeling sorry for myself
Need to get to it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

First Things First

Saturday, February first, twenty fourteen. January began with much angst, but the reality was, the first ten days or so of the month were much kinder and positive than I could have imagined. This is why it's best to take things just one day at a time especially when I know things can turn one way or another with literally a blink of an eye.

The hardest part of January has been the discouragement I have felt. In my current state, moving around is difficult, painful, tiring. Just the thought of going anywhere wears on my mind. The bulk of my days are spent on this recliner which is becoming my prison, albeit a comfortable one at that. I long to go to the beach, walk along the ocean, the sound of the wave beating new life into my heart.

But even more than that, I long for the joy that I experienced late last year. At a time when I would have thought all was lost, I held tight to my confident hope in God. As the days continue, my confidence in him is still there, but my joy is not. The other day I tried to be angry, but I couldn't be. I know he is working in my life. I know he is here with me each and every step of the way. I know there is purpose to all of this. But I am weary right now. I need a reprieve. I need joy again.

It's the first day of February, the month of love and I want this month to be the month in which I love upon those around me, whether they be family and friends, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers or those who grate on my nerves. I want to find love with my camera again. I want to get out on sunny days and on the days that I can't get out, make better use of my time at home, writing, reading, not just sitting and doing much of nothing. I want to find joy again.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

So Brave

Cycle 13, Day 2 - For reasons unknown to me, as I sat down to journal today, it became important to document the cycle and day of my chemo treatment. The month is also officially half-way over. The year began with much trepidation and after days like Tuesday, it's no wonder.

As I was driving home from shopping this evening, I was giving much thought about the future and plans and I realized that I really have no choice, but to live by God's words to live from day to day and not worry about the future. There are moments when the future scares me more than anyone can know. Can I walk this path? Can I deal with what possibly is ahead? And then I do the only thing I can do, let it go, because I don't know what's ahead and I just pray that God would take me as I sleep. But not today and not tomorrow. Not this year.

I've been struggling a lot the last week. Though I smile and pretend that everything is okay, I grow weary of this "new" normal. I hate every step I take, my head perpetually pointed downward, unable to look anyone in the eyes from a standing position, shuffling my hunched body in such a way that people look pitifully at me or pitifully away. I long…hurt…wish…pray…for the days when walking from my car to the office, or wherever my destination, was done without a thought.

I've been asking God to help me find that place of thankfulness where my mind is in sync with the outward show that I display to convince my co-workers, family and strangers that I'm okay. I'm such a faker. Today's devotional verse helped a lot.

"Do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

I thought of these words as I began my hated walk from the car to the lab this morning, silently cursing the nitwits who thought it was a good idea to put as much distance between the two by needlessly separating them with empty space and not one, but two water fountains.

These thoughts do me no good, but the truth is, they are there. But today as I finally arrived at the entrance to the medical office, I realized I had made the walk in less pain than previous weeks and I had not needed to stop to catch my breath. Never mind, that I must have looked a like a horrible sight because a lovely couple stopped to ask me if I needed them to get me a wheelchair. I smiled and thanked them for the kind offer. I am always thankful for the kindness of strangers. I am learning that there are many, many kind strangers in this world still.

At the Lab, the blood draw was incredibly painless. I didn't feel the needle slip into my vein at all. I complimented the technician, thanking her for being so good at her job. She simply responded, "You are so brave". I am? Her response made me want to cry. No, not really. Not this past week. I've been an insolent baby. Not as I sat in the lab chair, where I look away each time my blood is about to be drawn, refusing to look at the needle poking into my skin because if I look, I might have to run away. I was not brave on Tuesday, as I drove home, fear taunting me the whole ride home.

No I am not brave, I'm just doing what I need to do to survive, but it was sweet of her for telling me that I am anyway.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When a Plan Works Out

"If you don't come into the office, I'm going to come to your house", my former boss jokingly (I think) told me yesterday as he stopped by my office to make sure we were still on for our meeting for Wednesday. "I'm planning to be here", I assured him, trying to quiet that little voice inside my head that was saying something else. 

The whole day, I felt uncomfortable. My leg was still hurting, every chair I sat in pressed hard against my back and every step I took felt torturous. I couldn't concentrate, my thoughts muddled as I counted the minutes before I could leave. When the moment finally came that I could be set free, I left my laptop at my office in quiet defiance to that warning voice inside my head.

My plan on the way home..stop for a mocha at Ink & Bean, but my neck had other ideas. On the drive home, it began to stiffen like it was developing a bad case of rigor mortis. I continued on my path to Ink & Bean in quiet defiance to the pain that was growing by the moment. 

I can't deny there was relief mixed with disappointment when all the parking spots on the street where Ink & Bean is located were taken. Yes, there was a parking garage nearby, but there was no way I could put my body through the extra walk. Lack of front row parking was the sign I needed to say I tried and keep on driving home. 

By the time I arrived at the house, the pain was so great, I couldn't move my head without hiding my distress. Tired of going from 60 (30 really) to zero in less than minute, my tear flowed. If it weren't for the loving, kindness of my mom and Brie, I would have fallen into a mass of wallowing self-pity. 

Mom tended to my needs, getting me my pain meds (which by the way did NOTHING to relieve the pain), water, a blanket, the heating pad and serving me dinner, as I took refuge on my recliner, trying my best not to move my head.

Brie took off where mom left off, getting me Ginger Ale for my nausea and my things from upstairs since I determined that it would be best for my neck to sleep on my recliner and telling me to text her if I needed anything as she went up to bed. As I slowly put my pajamas on, I tried not to think about what would happen if I didn't feel any better in the morning. 

While the pain meds didn't do anything for the pain, they did make me drowsy enough to sleep most of the night. I woke up a few times. Once to take more pain meds, once to the feeling that an earthquake had just passed (it had, a 4.4 centered in Fontana, at around 1:30pm) and a few times to check the clock so I could count how many hours I had left to sleep. 

I awoke to the alarm at 6:00am, slowly moving my head, first to the left and then to the right. While I didn't have a lot of flexibility, I wasn't gasping in pain either. I got up from my recliner, still no gasping, my hope began to grow. By 7:05am, I was in my car, pulling out of the driveway, my confidence growing that I would make it in time for my 9:00am meeting. 

I had planned to head home after 11am when the meeting had ended, but there was no burning need. It was 1pm before I realized that I wasn't feeling any of the discomfort I had felt the day before. My mind was in the game so I worked through lunch with the thought that perhaps I could get out of the office at 3pm and stop at Ink & Bean.

I love it when a plan works out. I love it too, that healing came so quickly. I praise God for the day.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Day After, The Day After Christmas

On the Friday after Christmas, we gathered at my dad's to celebrate Christmas with him. We don't do this every year, mostly years that Vic and/or Eliz are in town.

Before we went to dad's, I took any takers to Dripp since it's only ten minutes from his house.

I tried the Turkish Latte…blech! It was the most horrible coffee drink EVER!

It was the first time I ever sat upstairs. Up to this time, I had never even ventured into that section.

It allowed me the opportunity to get a few shots with a different point of view.

We had a fun time at dad's. It was odd having a gaggle of little ones again.

Max was exceptionally cute. He found a little flower that he went around giving and then taking back from all grownups. First he gave it to Aunt Sharonda, then asked for it back so he could give it to his mom. At least he was polite about it, telling Aunt Sharonda, "I'm sorry". He even gave it to Uncle Greg.

After a delicious Italian meal, some time just hanging around together, there were a number of scrumptious desserts to enjoy.

Then we got down to business exchanging presents. Aurora was given the first gift to open and Max excitedly asked if there was a "big" present for him.

Somehow he lucked out and Great Grandpa pulled out a large wrapped box with Max's name on it. Max was beside himself with joy and even more so after he opened it up to find a set of five jumbo action heroes in there.

Nothing sweeter at Christmas time than the pure joy of a child.