I wear pink in my scars and love in my heart

Aug 29

My heart is full after last night’s event.   My people surrounded me with a lot of love in a lot of ways.  It is easier for me to pretend that we’re all there for “a good cause”, but the reality is that my people showed up for me… it’s personal and I feel very loved by the way that my people stand in solidarity.  Everyone who engages in events like this sacrifices something for the betterment of another: time, money, energy, etc.  The folks who aren’t directly impacted by breast cancer and who show up to these things–those folks are my heroes, even more so than the “survivors” because they are choosing to stand with a hurting community by choice.  I have so many selfless friends and family.  Thanks for the thoughts, prayers, walks, donations, high-fives, and cheers; you make me feel loved and worthy of the mission: Do Today Well. Going to breast cancer events is emotion-packed for me.  I wear pink in my scars, my prognosis, my physical energy level; I don’t need to actually wear pink to know that my life is intimately tied to it.  Seeing the “in memory of” signs is wrenching, but I make myself read them and see them — really see them — because that is part of this story too.  My mind goes to my friends who have died.  There is a bluntness and an unfair brevity there that hurts; the worst truth is that my feelings are tiny in comparison to those of their friends and family who miss them minute-by-minute and are doing life without them.  It’s hard; there is no way around that truth.  However, I know all I can do is Do Today Well, for me and for them. There were a lot of great moments for me, but my favorite was probably kneeling before the paparazzi of my friends’ cameras after the race as all the kids who walked with us gathered around me for a picture.  We’re raising the next generation of givers; not only do I have the love and support I need as I navigate my hardships, but I see the community that Maren and Greta have forming around them also....

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Stuff vs Soul

Aug 27

I woke up this morning with a head cold: sore throat, stuffed up nose, watery eyes, and aches.  My first thought was: seriously?  I need a cold like I need a hole in my head.  Today was slated to be my catch up day.  The chemo funk has mostly lifted, Maren’s going to school, Greta’s off to Phenom’s house for the day and I’ve got ten days months worth of tasks, lists, minutiae, and miscellaneous to focus on.  Brad rarely travels, but he happens to be gone this week so I am the last (wo)man standing in our house. After resisting the urge to just go back to bed (mostly because I could hear minions making noise), I did a self-assessment and decided “push through the pain” to continue on with my day as planned was just not realistic.  Grace; I am getting lots of practice at dumping buckets of grace out on myself and accepting buckets of grace from those around me (thank you).  I took a deep breath and began to prioritize.  I structured a day that only included the essentials, allowed time for a rest, and was life-giving.  Basically, I focused on restoring strength to my soul and de-prioritized restoring order to my stuff. Today I handled the essentials, did some reading, and then I had lunch with a soul-filling friend, took a nap, and picked up the girls.  The day flew by and I accomplished 5% of what I had thought I would get done today.  I canceled the Jen Girls Night Out portion of my evening plans, knowing that once I’d mommed my girls in the twilight hours I would have an even more empty tank.  Letting my tank get empty is a bigger deal these days because I don’t recover as quickly: over-exerting is something I pay for over the next several days/week, so my mind is always analyzing how much is too much.  It’s tricky and I’m still adjusting to “lost time” as I’ve come to know it as a result of this particular treatment’s cycle. The evening transition zoomed by also: Maren off the bus, dressed for volleyball, picking up Greta, and driving to volleyball practice.  I shirked my coaching duties...

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Aug 24

In a comedy of errors that is omnipresent in our home, Greta spilled glitter paint on the kitchen floor today.  I’m just pretending that the sparkles I see across the floor are because it’s so sparkly clean, and not because glitter-glitter-glitter everywhere.  Greta is the kid who often leaves a trail of glitter wherever she goes; today, she’s just doing it literally instead of figuratively.  I’m running out of rooms to barricade off, so we’re embracing the glitter.  Seriously, I love kid art. This is the same girl with whom I shared the following conversation: “Greta, do you want to do some dance lessons or gymnastics classes soon?” “Are those the only actibibbees I can do Mom?” “You can pick anything you want.  What else did you have in mind Greta?” “I fink I want to do yoga.” Long pause from me.  “Yoga?” G, “Yep.  Yoga!” “Do you know what yoga is Greta?” Cheerfully, “Nope, I sure don’t Mom!” “Okay.  Dance, gymnastics, swimming, soccer?  What about those?” “Mom!  I already said yoga!” “Right.  Okay.  Let me look into yoga for four-year-olds G.  I’ll get back to you.” G, looking out the window and swinging her legs, “Mmmmkay Mom!”  Muttering to herself, “I’m going to do yooooogggggaaaa.” This conversation took place at four in the afternoon.  It’s now six hours later, and she mentioned yoga at least three more times this evening.  Maren-mind-like-a-bear-trap-Anderson is helpfully mentioned all of the places she thinks might have kid yoga and recalled there’s a free yoga class in Hyde Park on Saturdays for kids. Zen, here we come.  I hope they don’t mind that she comes to class covered in glitter. In other news, I’m slow-to-recover this cycle and I am thinking that this is due to over-doing it in the early days of this cycle… no one thing in particular, just too much life-ing.  Whittling down to “just the essentials” is a challenge for me because there is so much gray area.  Well, we also had/have the indoor flood, so that didn’t help.  I’m so careful sometimes — like vacation week — to not dig myself into a hole, and then on “normal” weeks, I let my guard down and end up walloped....

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A little healing goes a long way

Aug 20

I’m going to go ahead and say that it has not been a great day today. I’ll also be honest and say that as I start typing this post, I am mad and frustrated. I had high hopes of adventuring with Greta today: the library, lunch, perhaps some crafting or art.  I am soaking these long days with her before preschool starts and delighting in her four-year-old self.  Yesterday she was my sidekick as we went to the oncology office for my saline infusion; getting a liter of fluid is proving to make me feel better in the post treatment funkiness, so I’m doing it every treatment.  Greta colored, ate snacks, and charmed the nurses.  She got a warm blanket for me and held my hand when she thought I should be brave.  Her sweetness is potent and I love having her as my buddy; she makes the mundane fun and the average extraordinary. I knew it was bad when I sloshed through the threshold of my master bath from the master bedroom.  Water.  A lot of water.  The bathroom floor and baseboards were covered, the carpet and padding in half our bedroom are water-logged.  I threw towels–all our towels at the problem and then I went to the garage for the shop vac.  My eyes didn’t want to believe what they were seeing: water raining down from the ceiling above.  Not good.  So very not good. I was that wife who called Brad with that news.  (I hate being that wife.)  I called my dad (since Brad is in the middle of a deadline) with the “how do I convert the shop vac to a wet vac?” question. As this is our second flood this year (I know, right?), I know what to do.  Just like last time, the threat of mold growing in dampness means that we need professionals.  The water remediators, the carpet haulers, the industrial equipment.  I vacuumed eight gallons of water out of the carpet because I feel like I need to do something.  Now I’m woozy and need to stop, so I’m forcing myself to sit and wait for the professionals to handle it.  It’s only money and stuff; I’ve handled (way) bigger...

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Highs and Lows

Aug 17

I had chemo today, so tonight’s post-eleven-o’clock-at-night post is brought to you by my steroid buzz.  Go chemo go!  Kill the cancer! Things are good; I feel there have been some yo-yo high-lows going on in a myriad of ways. We spent the last day of Maren’s summer vacation together: a Mommy-Maren day of fun; it was awesome.  I love my girl. Greta starts school (four-year-old preschool for 2.5 hours in the afternoon) in two weeks.  She’s ready, and I’m ready for the structure. Maren and I had a wrenchingly tough conversation about my cancer reality; she’s eight and she’s asking all the real hard questions.  I’m giving her the truth and I ache at the bluntness.  This conversation was the first time we cried together; oh, Lord this is hard!  This came on the heels of our day of fun together and I was able to see how many of our talking points from earlier in the day were good material for me to reference as we navigated the hard topics.  I feel like God was with us throughout the day giving us chapters in the story He is writing in us.  While we were moving through the day, we talked about challenges and how everyone has them.  We labeled our big challenge as cancer, and we came up with ideas of things that might be challenges for other kids/families.  She wanted to be on the lookout for challenged kids at school so she could help them be strong.  One of our stops was a craft store where we made a doodad to hang on her backpack and she chose a the bead that said strength to put on it.  She’s so my kid: we’re drawn to positivity, hope, inspiration and we are intentional about blowing ember to flame to make it grow.  Would you all join me in praying for strength — her request — for my girl? On Maren’s first day of school, she missed the bus.  It is already time to polish the SuperMom badge off again as it was totally my fault.  But the bus was four minutes early, which is a lot of minutes in the bus stop world.  Who misses the bus...

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