Both kids are defensive players, with my daughter primarily playing goaltender. It was while watching her work her tail off this weekend that I was hit with a word picture of the answer I want to give when asked the question “How do you feel about all of this?”—and I’ve been asked that question a lot lately.
When dd is in the goal box, her concentration (if she’s playing her “A” game!) is intense. She’s the only person on her team with the exception of the coach who has a clear view of the entire playing field. She’s concentration on getting her job done, no matter what it takes.
I, on the other hand, am sitting on the sidelines watching other kids fire balls at my child’s head, watching her frustrations, holding my breath as a kick narrowly misses her face, waiting in a rush of adrenaline to see if she’s going to shake off this hit, or if this time she’s seriously hurt. In a word, it’s painful. But it’s also wonderful to see her giving something she loves so much her all.
So, how does this relate to how I feel?
Sarcoma is my “box”…and I think I’d much rather be in the box having the balls hurled at my face than watching someone I love take the hits. I’m caught up in the process of getting my job done—not just the job of getting better, but the job of taking care of my family, of being a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. It’s so much easier to bet the one who has to experience this than to have to standby and watch.
That part of me that hurts the most is for my loved ones who have to watch this all happen and see them in pain.
I know that my “coach” (oh but He’s so much more than that lame sports metaphor!) sees the whole field of time and space…and that more than any coach, He is the Lover of My Soul. Because of that, I want to give this game MY all, for this time in my life to mean something more to all of the people whose lives touch mine.
The sarcoma that the urologist thought he "got it all"?
Technically, it was a grade 3 sarcoma with a 12 year survival rate of 35 percent.
Oh, and could my husband and I be in Los Angeles the next morning for a consultation with the only expert in this half of the country? He "just happened" to have an opening.
That we would get such a quick appointment.
That we have enough ready cash to buy tickets on six hours notice.
That my friend Lori would listen to me gripe on the phone and still send us pizza for dinner (smile).
That my aunt would drop everything to pick us up at the airport and chauffeur us around Santa Monica.
That my friends would drop everything to cover childcare and shuttle my blessings around...and that they all got where they needed to be.
Chemo isn't really an "option" at this point. It's the wise thing to do if I want to be around to hold my grandchildren (which I do).
The most effective drug for my chemo can cause kidney damage...so, with one kidney, the best place for the first two rounds of chemo, plus observation time, is in the Santa Monica clinic.
I have to be gone from my family for three of the next four weeks.
My husband doesn't get to be there to hold my hand.
With chemo, the chances of the cancer never coming back increase to between 80 and 90 percent.
Who knew? Not only is he my knight in shining armor and my best friend, he's a rock.
My family is once again rushing to my rescue.
I've been overwhelmed with calls, messages of love, and offers of help.
This is happening REALLY fast. (I have the surgery to place my port on Monday).
Christmas, and all of its associated hoopla, are still going to happen. The world doesn't stop because we're in crisis, and the laundry still needs to be done, and the kids still need to eat.
The schedule lets me be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The people who love me--some of whom are coming for Christmas--don't give a fig if cards get sent, if the tree is up, if the presents are purchased or if we eat off of paper plates. It's going to be an amazing holiday with love as the main course.
His grace was, is and continues to be sufficient.
He who began a good work in my will be faithful to complete it.
He knows the plans He has for my family, to prosper us and not to harm us.
He will keep me in perfect peace; my eyes are fixed on Him.
Today, she offered an insightful post about "normal" in light of a major life change. It really hit home.
When I first got sick, my first thought was that above all I wanted to keep things "normal" for my family for as long as possible. That lasted all of two days until I went into the hospital. There was no way that their "normal" Mommy (you know, the one who keeps close tabs on and coordinates ALL of their schedules while maintaining order on the home and school fronts) could continue a "normal" schedule.
To quote my mom, "Sweetheart, (your husband), (stepdad), and I are all juggling and WE can't get it all done.
Needless to say, with mom and stepdad home and husband back to work, things are not "normal" for us. But we have begun to develop a new, different normal...and it's bearing some very sweet fruit. With the future looming uncertain for us (Chemo? Radiation? A new job for my husband out of state?), it's highly probable that normal will continue to change for quite a while.
And like, Susan said, that's perfectly okay.
1. I finally got hold of my final pathology report. The thing on my (now absent) kidney was a synovial sarcoma.
2. There was no staging on the report--this was a bit frustrating but hopefully will get cleared up sometime next week.
3. Evidently, renal synovial sarcoma is pretty rare. We've only found about 20 cases in English medical literature from 1999 (when it was first identified versus renal cell carcinoma) to 2005.
4. If nothing else, this confirms just how special I am...but you all knew that anyway!
5. I learned that this a really depressing thing to google.
6. As a result of some of this 'net surfing, I spent some time being ticked at God (don't worry, He can handle it), some time eating foods that are really bad for me, and some time pouting.
7. I also made sure that there were actually pictures of ME in the shots we took on Halloween.
8. I dealt with some incredibly rude people. I'm particularly butting heads with some receptionist at the oncologist's office and have had to make no less than six phone calls to make sure the paper trail is connected and I actually GET to see the doctor sometime soon. ARGH!
9. I was blessed by some amazingly kind people. We sent out an appeal for help with soccer carpool for my eldest...and had four responses (out of seven other families on the team) in less than an hour.
10. My six year old dd asked me, "Mommy, why do you like lying down so much?".
11. I've been re-establishing my authority with this same kiddo all week...a little acting out?
12. Our microwave died, I got to by two new pair of glasses for my son (sports goggles and specs--and his last 'script' was less than a year ago!), and one new pair for my daughter (who lost hers while switching glasses for soccer). Life certainly does go on...I suppose this could be considered almost "normal" at our house!
13. I got to drive again today! My mom leaves Sunday, but I can't lift for two weeks still...so the little one is learning how to use stepstools to get in and out of our SUV and into his carseat.