What do I have to give

Dec 14

What do I have to give

“I’m so glad you’re better!” I’ve heard this from half a dozen people in the past month.  I don’t really know what to say when people say that to me because it’s rarely happened before.  I must — for the first time since all this started — look normal.  Technically, however, I’m the sickest I’ve ever been over my almost four years of dealing with breast cancer.  I do feel well right now, which is cause for much delight, but I still have cancer and deal with symptoms daily if not hourly (toes, bloody noses, acne rash, rosacea, cracked skin, gastro distress).  I don’t want to be a downer, but I do think that most people have no idea what metastatic cancer means, so I am trying to both keep it real while keeping it positive.  The perception that I’m medically “normal” is isolating for me; it’s odd how that works. On to much more delightful things. Seventeen of our neighborhood families got together to put the lights and wreaths up on our house this year.  And fancied/prettied the bows, and replaced the burned out bulbs, and climbed up and down (and up and down) the two-story ladder, and replenished the strings that had gone out, and and and and!  It was a bamboozling effort!  Since we celebrated an extended Thanksgiving in Wisconsin this year, we were majorly behind in decorating; it was such a gift for it to be done.  Wow!  This is a great example of a great “gift of service” for cancer people; I can’t believe the selflessness of these folks.  Our village, I’m telling you, they are amazing.  Every time I look at my house from the outside, or see the warm glow of lights from the inside, I am all kinds of warm-fuzzied.  I love it.  Thank you neighbors. This morning as I was making Greta’s bed, I found the sweetest thing.  A note to Santa written in big sister’s handwriting and personally signed by G.  She was so delighted to show me, and tell me about how, “Me and sissy wrote it together” and “I drawed a picture on the back because I bet Santa likes presents too.” My delight was replaced with a little...

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I’m in!

Dec 06

On the way to church today, we were continuing a conversation that started over pancakes this morning.  Brad and I think Maren should take some music lessons of some kind.  Maren has no interest and is pushing back.  We are gently pressing on. She is still saying no. Obviously, we have hit a new parenting stage: we are in the tweenage years people. It has arrived.  She’s delightful in six new ways, so it’s cool to lover her in six new ways, but the emotions of this stage are for real. In the car, over my shoulder, Maren was emotional; earlier in the conversation we picked a random instrument so as not to create scars around an instrument we are actually considering: guitar, piano, ukulele, or violin.  We gave “music lessons” the moniker “trombone lessons” for the purposes of our conversation. In my best rational Mom voice, “I think you should play the trombone because blah, blah, blah,” and I yammered on with my reasons I thought it was a good idea. Even-tempered, yet teary Maren: “But I am not interested in music at all.” “Daddy thinks it was one of the best things he did for himself and it helped him in lots of ways.” “But I don’t want to play the trombone!  I’m not going to be good, and I’m not going to like it.  Why should I do something that is scary and that I’m not into?”  The kid has persuasive arguments. “Hey guys!  I’ll play the trombone!” pipes up a little voice from the way back of the van. “What Greta?” I say. “Mom, I’ll play the trombone so Maren doesn’t have to!” she says.  She’s grinning from ear to ear.  In her mind, she has solved all the world’s problems. Right then my heart just melted for my littlest girl.  In our new van, she prefers to sit in the way back.  Maren prefers the captains chairs in the middle, so it makes it easy to focus on one kid at a time.  I treasure the fact that Greta was following the conversation, and that she interjected when she thought she could help.  That is so Greta: she casts a ray of sunlight into most...

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December

Dec 01

Hello December! Wow; time flies, doesn’t it? I’ve been away from writing for a few reasons.  The drug I was on for most of 2015 was a hard one for me tolerate.  As I weaned off it and switched to a new drug, I began to feel significantly more capable on a day-to-day basis.  It turns out I felt like crap for those months, and I’m now willing to admit it.  Ha!  I’m oh-so-gratefully normal enough to do things like clean out my storage room, sort/clean out/organize hand-me-downs, and hang pictures.  Greta’s four.  She’s going to start noticing that she is under-represented on our walls for Pete’s sake. I think I’m at the stage of life where I feel always behind.  Always messy.  Always disorganized.  Always late.  I get a lot of things right, but I get a lot of things wrong too.  I worry my “let’s get together’s” ring untrue because of my lack of follow-through.  I hope I don’t hurt feelings with my embarrassing backlog of email and social media.  I hope my future self doesn’t lament these un-recorded days and thoughts and stories.  I feel called to GO and BE and SPEAK and WRITE and SHARE but I don’t know exactly how to do that except keep doing what I’m doing: Do Today Well. I’m also pretty sure that most of you reading can relate to my failings, and find comfort in my calling them out.  All that stuff is just the minutae of life anyway. The good stuff of life is good.  Really good.  If we could get some cancer stablization, regression, or NED, then things would be really great!  Dear Lord, I ask for mercy, mercy, mercy from this cancer! It used to be that the hardest person to tell bad news to was my mother.  Somehow, in the march of time, the September scan marked the time that my 8-year-old daughter became the hardest person to whom I have to tell bad news.  I want to give Maren her privacy as she ages and not out her emotions, so I tread carefully as I write about her.  Suffice to say, coming of age with a mama with serious cancer is a helluva burden for a little...

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