Monday, October 30, 2006
For Susan...I guess only the really cool people get to be Snapdragons.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Actually, it's rather apropos...I have a lovely bouquet of sunflowers from dh in the house right now and I "wore" sunflower face paint last night at our Harvest Festival.

  posted at 8:42 PM  

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Call me stubborn...
...but I find myself very lacking in patience these days when it comes to my own physical limitations. In light of the many sweet and overprotective people in my life and the fact that God has already numbered my days and I can't do a think to shorten or lengthen them, I've compiled a list of things that I refuse to give up while I still am physically capable.

-- My physical relationship with my husband. Enough said (blush, blush...).

--My children. I love to watch them, to teach them, and to engage with them. Dragging through the afternoon and evening is worth every moment when I get to watch the dancing, the goal scored, or their performance with the church choir.

--My friends and family. I never want to isolate myself from such a loving circle--even if I've occasionally avoided the phone lately, it's not because I don't love them, it's just because I haven't been in the mood to rehash the latest developments.

-- Service. It brings me such joy, and there is always something I can do, no matter how limited. This week it was baking for the harvest festival cake walk (with my older children) and face painting (sitting down the whole time, LOL!). I wouldn't have missed all the fun.

-- My doula clients. God bless her, my last one brought in two people to do the "heavy lifting" part of her support, but still had me there to suggest, support, and direct. She even arranged for my transportation. Yes, the two days with her required close to three of recovery and it was worth every extra ache and pain. Each birth is a miracle...I can't imagine anything more life affirming or joyous.

On the other hand, there are things I could easily get used to:

-- I love my cleaning ladies. While I know that being able to clean my own house will signal the welcome return of my strength, I can't get super excited about dusting and cleaning our toilets when they do such a great job!

--I haven't been asked to volunteer for anything since this all happened. I get to be very choosy in what I do, and there is NO guilt.

-- Grocery shopping. I've never been a fan of it (too many morning-sickness episodes in the stores) and it's been lovely to have my mom do it.

I guess it's all about counting the costs. Right now, I'm just counting the days until I'm allowed to drive again. I'm having flashbacks to being fifteen, but without a learner's permit!

  posted at 10:35 PM  

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
On my heart
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
Proverbs 31:30a
I find it somewhat astonishing that in light of everything that has occurred in my life in the last few weeks that the first thing people usually comment on is my appearance. Chiefly that, 1.I've lost weight (in reality, only about 5 pounds, and at least 1/2 lb of that was kidney and tumor). and 2. I look "good" (I guess this means I no longer look pale and deathly ill).

Long before I landed in the hospital, I had begun the long, slow process of shedding "baby" (and stress) weight. However, I'm tall, large-boned, and muscular, so the weight loss process elicited little comment, with the exception of people who hadn't seen me in months. Evidently there is some truth to the whole "last five pounds" thing, as it somehow pushed me into the realm of an obviously healthy weight.
On the positive side, my clothes fit well, and part of me hopes that I can keep my current body, especially when I'm allowed to return to exercise more vigorous than a walk to the mailbox. But I find myself intensely uncomfortable with yet one more thing that calls attention to myself in the midst of all of the recent drama. I have to constantly remind myself that it could be worse...people care enough to want to make conversation and tell me that they care without requiring me to rehash the ugly details of the disease process and all I need to do yet another time.
It's also a negative. I don't "look" sick right now. For the sake of my family and to boost my own mood, I'm making an effort to pull myself together (hair, makeup, flattering clothing) every morning. The makeup covers the pallor (being an anemic redhead is lovely) and the circles under my eyes, and I'm happy to say that most of the time, I look pretty normal. What it doesn't show is that I get tired taking a shower most days... and I think it's more difficult for people to extend sympathy (and service) to someone who doesn't "look" ill, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that sitting around in my PJs would only throw me into a depression...
Which brings me to...
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17
I'm wondering if there is some sort of pollen in the air that causes women to have really bad days. I allowed myself the luxury of a good wallow yesterday, and it seems like several of my friends have been following suite. Of course, I felt a bit of a heel when I read a friend's blog where she (discreetly) commended my attitude later in the day!
Commiserating with my best friend (she had a cruddy day, too) she made the comment that cancer "trumped" her problems. That didn't sit well with me at all.

It seems to me that we all have our problems...and if they are enough to bother us, then they deserve sympathy. It's not a competition, as I can always find someone worse or better off than myself. It was a good reminder to beef up my every-short storehouse of compassion.
Also, it's okay to feel whatever (sad, mad, unloved). Our emotions are gifts and need outlet--hopefully healthy outlet. It's okay that I've allowed myself the occasional moment of self-pity. God understand.
What's NOT okay is to buy into lies. The blessing of my conversation with my friend wasn't that we were able to "dump" on one another (which we did), but that we used the time to point out the truth to each other as well. It made all the difference. A sharpened sword pierces the gloom much more effectively than a dull edge.

  posted at 5:24 PM  

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thirteen Blessings that have come out of the last two weeks

1. I'm alive. 90% of people who contract this type of cancer show no symptoms
until the disease is in its end stages.
2. Lifting restrictions mean no housework. My nails look amazing.
3. For once, ALL of the clothes in my closet fit well. There's nothing like morphine and major surgery to knock off those last stubborn five pounds.
4. My family has been incredible. I couldn't manage without my mom here to keep things running and pick up the baby for me.
5. Again, there is no doubt about how much my family loves me. My house is being professionally cleaned for the next six weeks!
6. I have been overwhelmed with cards and words of kindness from all around the country.
7. My local "village", including a church we have been attending less than a month, has overwhelmed us with delicious home-cooked meals delivered to the house.
8. I've had more time to reflect on all of the little things in my life that bring me joy...listening to my children read, snuggling them, attending Bible study, sipping coffee with a friend...
9. Not that there was a lot of doubt on this one, but this has all confirmed how much my body NEEDS exercise for stress management. Taking a (slow) walk yesterday was so wonderful that I'm longing for a hike on "my" mountain or my sunrise yoga class.
10. This has been (and continues to be) an opportunity to exercise patience with the medical community (where are those final pathology reports?) , with others, and with myself.
11. It has also been an opportunity for this very service-oriented person to allow herself and her family to be served (ouch!).
12. For the next month or so, I have a LOT of grace extended to me. There are no expectations that I "should" do anything.
13. I might actually have the time this year to start working on Christmas gifts before having to burn the midnight oil in December!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

  posted at 2:07 PM  

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Wordless Wednesday: Thank You, Laurie!
Mmmm....No sugar added Iced Blendeds are excellent medicine.
 Posted by Picasa

  posted at 1:17 PM  

Saturday, October 14, 2006
Since I'm stuck sitting on my tush...
My sister-in-law Susan tagged me with this meme.

1. Favorite memory of your mother?
My mom is one of the most capable and selfless people I know. She is ALWAYS there when I need her. In fact, she's here right now, sitting on my head and taking care of my children! Among the many things we share is a certain amount of insomnia...I remember laying in bed as a child and listening to her sew clothes for us. I always felt so safe and taken care of that I would eventually be lulled off to sleep.

2. Favorite memory of your father?
My stepfather was very much my "dad". My favorite memory was of how happy he was on my wedding day, and how he cried when he danced with me.

3. What one skill would you like to wake up tomorrow and be able to do (though you'd never learned it)?
I'd love to play a "practical" instrument like piano or guitar. I've rarely used my skills as a clarinetist or oboist since leaving high school!

4. Which one of your dreams has come true?
In light of recently adding "cancer survivor" to my resume (more on this at some time--I'm still processing this last week or so!), and knowing that becoming pregnant with only one kidney is generally frowned upon by doctors, it's a blessing to be able to say that both my husband and I always dreamed of having four children. Being their mom is a privilege that I try not to take for granted--even on the tough days.

I'm tagging: Sally and Amy. I'd tag Meredith, but I'm not sure she's ready to go "public" with her blog just yet!

  posted at 8:28 PM  

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Even though the suggested title for the week was "13 reasons it's NEVER a good time to lose a kidney..."

Thirteen Things about my 11 year old Birthday Girl

1. Her conception was more than a bit of a of the things we had promised my dad before getting married was that I would finish my degree, and she was born about 11 months after graduation!
2. I confirmed my suspicions on the day I took my professional boards. Somehow, I still managed to pass.
3. She was my longest labor and the only "medicated" birth I've had.
4. I didn't know her gender, but the second she arrived, we "knew" who she was and had no problems agreeing on her name.

5. She is named after EVERY doll I ever had as a child, and in honor of her maternal grandmother and great- grandmother.
6. She brought joy and focus back to our family after my dad died. We loved to just sit around and watch her!
7. She talked and walked EARLY. She's always been confident, and never afraid to share her mind or her faith with people. I love that about her.
8. She loves, loves, books and learning. She'd read cereal boxes and wallpaper in absence of other suitable material.
9. She's compassionate and exceptionally good with older people. They love her too. She has a wonderful relationship with her "adopted" 82- year old "Mom-mom" and was a huge comfort to her at the time of her "Pop-pop"'s death.
10. She is fearless on the soccer field. (Motto from age 5 "No ladies on the soccer field"). I've seen her take a ball to the face, get up and keep running.
11. She's ambitious and driven (hmm...wonder where that came from?). She WILL finish what she starts, even if she gets frustrated or bogged down in perfectionism (again, where did that come from?).
12. She's in that "girly-girl" tween stage. She may rough and tumble on the field, but she's going to do it with impeccable cookie-dough lip gloss on, thank you very much!
13. She is my right arm at home. I don't know how I'd get through the day without all the things she does to help, from cooking breakfasts to toddler-minding.
Happy Birthday, R!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

  posted at 10:38 AM  

Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Wonderful Wednesday
I'm HOME! For those of you who know me IRL, you know how awesome that is. For those who don't...well, it's eight days later and a kidney short--not to mention a lovely seven inch, twenty-three surgical staple scar.

Oh, and plenty of time to be still and know that He is God.

And that, no matter what, He is good. All the time.

Thank you for the flowers, the notes, and mostly the prayers.

More tomorrow. I'm off to hug my kids and my husband...again, and again, and again.

  posted at 9:11 PM  

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