Monday, September 23, 2013

Sickness, Cancer, Fear, & other thoughts

Samuel is sick. Yesterday he was nauseous for a lot of the day and then threw up. He seemed better in the evening but this morning he was throwing up bile again.

I have to confess I feel pretty sick myself. Although I don't think it has to do with whatever Samuel has. It's the pit of fear in my stomach that's building.

October 22nd Samuel is scheduled for his next CT scan and since I found out last week I've felt this dread building inside me.

I'm tempted to think somewhat irrationally and question, "Is this just a stomach bug?" or is it an indication of something much more sinister going on. I expressed my fears to Mike this morning and he gently reminded me that Samuel didn't act sick until he was on chemo. Oh yeah.

Oh that's right, things seemed perfectly normal until they weren't.  That's the sucky thing about cancer you don't know it's growing until it's grown. It hides. Things seem okay and then wham, it hits you out of left field.

It's hard to remind myself of truth. Nothing has changed. God is still in control. I'm not. He's for us and He's for Samuel. He loves Samuel a billion times more than I do. I need to rest in Him. Living out of fear and anxiety will not help me deal with my present or my future.

And yet my knees are knocking. And my stomach is churning. My hands are shaking.

It is an effort to force myself to take deep breaths.

How do you trust God and yet still quake inside? How do you believe His promises but are still scared?

I acknowledge my fears. I am afraid. I am afraid of Samuel having cancer again. I am afraid of Samuel dying. I am afraid of losing a child. I am afraid I couldn't make it through. I am afraid of the "worst happening..." again.

And then I pray.
Jesus, I am scared. I am scared of Samuel having cancer and I'm scared of walking through treatment again. I'm scared of him dying. I know you have ultimately defeated death. I know you are the victor. I know that Samuel is in your hands. But I'm freaked out and I don't want to lose him. Please help me to have peace in the midst of anxiety. Please calm the storm in my heart and soul.

Lord, this is fear talking. There is no proof of there being cancer. Help me to be grounded in reality. Samuel is sick right now but that doesn't mean it's not something as simple as a tummy bug or the flu. Help me to recognize that fear is yelling loudly in my head. Help me to take my thoughts captive. Help me to  trust you with this day. This moment.

I know that you will be with us on the day of the scan. You will give me the grace for that day on that day, when I need it. Help me to release these fears to you, "rational" and "irrational". I know that you are more than enough for me. thank you Jesus. In your name I pray, Amen.

I ask for help. Friends, I need some encouragement and prayer. Would you please pray with me? I need God's peace to rule in my heart and my mind. I need my thoughts renewed. I'm struggling with depression and discouragement. I'm weak.

I let go of the "extras". I need to put aside all the unimportant tasks right now and do only the basics. Feeding the kids. Giving medicine. Offering snuggles and kisses and wet washcloths. This isn't the time to clean the pantry or organize my medicine cabinet or wipe out the fridge or make exquisite meals. It's time to sanitize the doorknobs and lightswitches and make more chicken noodle soup.

I have to stop beating myself up. I'm not perfect. I will overwhelm myself trying to do things perfectly. I need to be kind to myself and not berating myself for not having it "all together". I need to treat myself like I would a friend. I would never yell at my friend or tell her she's dumb or ask her what her problem is. I would be loving and compassionate and gentle and probably get her a cup of tea and tell her to sit down and breathe. I think I need to treat myself like a friend right now. Be gentle.

Grattitude. When I think of the things I'm grateful for then my attitude changes. Mike has work today which he hasn't had for a few weeks. Yay. There is gas in the car. I have money to get the groceries I need today. I have help today coming at noon. I don't have any medical appointments today or any other scheduled events. I have the opportunity to snuggle with my boy and love on him. The twins will be leaving shortly for kindergarten. I will probably get to drink a cup of tea today. I have dinner started already.

So yeah, people. These are my thoughts, my struggles, my issues. God is my hope. He is my strength and portion forever.

Going to go change Peter's diaper. And maybe even take a deep breath.

Friday, September 20, 2013

First Day of School Pics

September 3, 2013
First Day of School

First Pic. Why so dark? Because it's 5:51 a.m. People!
First Day of 3rd grade

First Day of 2nd grade
First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of Kindergarten
The haze is due to how muggy it was outside. My camera kept fogging up!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

what not to say

I was grateful when I recently stumbled across someone's post about what not to say to a person battling with a mental illness.

People have asked me in the past about what are good things to say and do and not do for people dealing with depression, grief, loss, etc. This was a good start...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom!

Dear Mom,

I know the last ten years have been a challenge. I guess that's putting it mildly. We've been through hell and back with losing Libby and Sam... and then with the crazy medical issues of my kids. And yet Our Faithful God has sustained us!

I'm so grateful that you're my Mom. I'm so thankful for the woman I've watched you become. You fighting bitterness and giving in to JOY. You're a miracle Mom. Your attitude has provoked me to look for good in the midst of difficulty and to find things to be grateful for.

What a sweet time it's been recently building our friendship. I'm so grateful God gave me you for my Mom... and my friend. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hair Donation.

Libby recently cut her hair and donated her pony tail to Locks of Love. My heart swelled with pride when she told the hairdresser that she wanted to give her hair to a child that has cancer.


Monday, September 16, 2013

End of Summer...

Visiting Great-Grandparents in Fries, VA 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

august 20th

August 20, 2010 Samuel was diagnosed with cancer.

August 20, 2013 My niece, River Anne was born.

What a difference 3 years makes.

Fire Ants, Broken Flip-Flops & God in the Midst of Trial

August Recap:

I've tried to post a few times now and just hadn't been able to. The last several weeks were too intense. In fact I got physically sick when I tried to blog about it. Literally. Threw up. Yeah, that's bad.

August 20th was eventful.
3 years prior was the day Samuel was diagnosed with cancer (rhabdomyosarcoma).

But on this particular day, August 20, 2013, I was keeping my 2 year old niece Madison  because my sister-in-law was giving birth to my new niece River Anne :)

Peter's legs
I needed to get groceries and thought the kids would enjoy an outing. A trip to Target and then icedream at Chick-fil-A was the plan. Instead we had an adventure: getting attacked by fire ants outside in the parking lot of Target. Peter looked like he had a bucket of fire ants dumped on him. I rushed the kids inside and asked a manager who quickly called the paramedics.

It was eventful. We had about 7 Emergency vehicles blocking the whole entrance of Target. The bites were the worst on Peter. He had probably over 75 bites. Feet. Legs. Belly. Backside. Bottom. Arms and even neck. It was terrible.   I was getting bitten all over my flip-flopped feet but I was too concerned with brushing the ants off of Peter.

I had to strip him of his clothes. He looked like he had red hives all over his body. His body was swelling significantly. I asked for Benadryl and the Target staff graciously accommodated. Michael & Samuel had some bites as well. They were crying and clutching me. I sat on the floor and held Peter in my lap with Samuel and Michael clinging to me for dear life. I was trying to keep them calm, telling them to focus on taking deep breaths.

Target had to section off the fireants section for a week!
Libby and Ian were hysterical. Poor kids. I don't think they knew what was happening. As terrible as this may sound I was just so incredibly thankful that Madison hadn't gotten bitten. I know that would have been terrifying for my brother and sister-in-law. Kristin just had a c-section an hour before the fire ant episode occurred. I couldn't imagine having to call them and tell them "Yeah, Madison is in the hospital..."

So we had ambulances and fire engines and police. I was talking with the EMTs and various firemen. It brought up all those traumatic times where we were rushed by ambulance to the children's hospital. It was kind of PTSD day. Nothing like seeing my kids in the back of an ambulance to get my heart pumping.

2 days later Peter gets stung on his finger by a wasp and his little finger turns into a sausage and his hand turns into the Pillsbury Dough Boy. So yeah, Benadryl, baking soda poultice pack, then ER.

Broken sandal... wah-wah-wah.
So these were some of the larger stressors but sometimes it's when the little things that go wrong that I just fall apart. Like your favorite pair of flip-flop sandals snapping and breaking when you're out and you can't just go replace your shoes because you're not home.

Things just seem to keep happening.

Mike's part-time teaching job we thought was secure fell through. The plan HAD been that he would just teach 2 full days a week and work his other job but unfortunately they scheduled him to work in the middle of the day, every day of the week.  So  he had to turn the job down. It would keep him from working his current job at all.

It was very crushing and disappointing.

The new van we were recently given broke down. So once again we are back to owning one working vehicle. Such a bummer. Especially because our working car needs some major repair work.

The bus did not come the first two days of school for the twins. So we had to drive them. We waited an hour the first day and it was a no-show. Then the next day I only waited a half an hour before I decided to just bring them in again.

These things have worked themselves out now. Kids are in school and have adjusted rather well to their schedules. I'm still breathing. I actually have a little more time to get stuff done while the kids are gone for some of the day.

But I once gain realize how amazing it is that God gives us the grace for each day. He knows just what we need. He knows just when to have someone drop a starbucks gift card in my lap (Thanks A!) He knows just when I need a respite from the normal daily life grind.