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Monday, March 02, 2015

Date Night

Last night was date night, and, despite the very rainy evening, it was spectacular. Dinner at Burger Republic followed by a Sam's Place concert at the Ryman.

If I said cool things like live music is my jam, then I would say that. Live music is my favorite thing in the entire world. Whether it's a concert that you sing at the top of your lungs, clap, dance to the music and fully participate or whether it's a more casual quiet environment like last night at the Ryman. Whether it's music so loud you can feel the beat of the drums mimicking the beat of your own heart or whether the sound of the notes wash over you - my favorite thing ever. We're planning to go back just as soon as possible.

NeedtoBreathe is my absolute favorite band (they have been at the top of my concert wish list for 2 years now), and they were on stage for just a few songs, but it was pretty spectacular. The guitar mic went out at the beginning of their Rivers of Wasteland song, and they both just unplugged both guitars, pulled the third guy from the piano, stepped to the front of the stage and sang. Because of the Ryman's small atmosphere, we could still hear perfectly. I will forever remember the sound of the crowd whispering quietly along and our feet tapping out the rhythm on the wooden floors. It was pretty magical. The sound of "oh if God is on our side, who can be against us" sang in a chorus of several thousand people was awesome.


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And this one of Brian cracks me up. I refused to walk to the front of the auditorium for a selfie (I do not ever choose to be in front of people), so Brian did it on his own.

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It was a very late night, I didn't sleep well, but I'm ready to tackle work today followed by a birthday party for a friend. Tuesday I will see Dr. C at Vandy bright and early.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Rory is 8

I've had these lists for the kids running in my head for several months now, and I decided I better get them down on virtual paper or the details will be forever lost in the vast emptiness that is my brain these days.

So. Rory is 8.
(this is not her birthday - just Rory as an 8 year old)

She sings with complete abandon and lack of self-consciousness. It's sweet (albeit more than a tad off-key), and I know this stage will end sooner rather than later.

No matter how grouchy she might be each morning when I get her up and stick her in the shower . . . as soon as the water hits, she starts singing. Same with the blow dryer (which she's done ever since she was tiny) - as soon as the air hits her hair, she starts singing.

And speaking of blow dryers, she is at the stage where she HATES the 5-10 minutes it takes me to blow dry her hair (which I do not do every day, by the way).

She is a giggler. A , serious, infectious giggler.

She's always had such a tender heart. I have to say that recently, it's not been as tender. My cold heart is probably to blame for that.

She writes notes on post-it notes and leaves them all over the place. She especially loves to do this when I'm on the phone.

She's just not sure what she likes to do, how to spend her time, to eat, etc. This seems to be typical of a second child - pulled toward what Camden prefers without strong preferences of her own.

She is a people pleaser, a mama-pleaser in particular.

She is a care-taker with a sweet heart. She loves to "help" me out with anything that might make me feel better when I'm sick.

She is independent. Or wants to be in the worst way.

She wants to stand out in that particularly desperate way some girls have. I think her teen years might be interesting.

Her feelings are hurt very easily. I would like to say that this has made me softer. In fact, it's made me try to make her tougher, and I don't think I'm very proud of that.

She loves to perform for us, whether it's singing, dancing, exercising, etc. She performs, and then she poots. Because she is forever full of gas.

She cannot be bothered with little details like using correct words. She will substitute one word for another and think nothing of it. I used to think that something might be, well, wrong. I'm pretty sure that she just can't be bothered.

Her room is a constant disaster. About a year ago, I cleaned out approximately 75% of everything she owned and put it in the garage and told her she could earn it back when she could keep the rest of her room clean. It's still in the garage.

She is an incredibly expressive reader - she LOVES to read out loud.

Today marks 7 years home with her forever family.

I love her.

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These photos from Saturday are also serving as my Week 8/52: Perspective.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Cry

Its been a hard two days of juggling work, the role of mom and wife, and cancer. Two long days of tests and appointments and blood work and waiting and complications, two different contrast dyes, blood dripping down my clothes, a cardiac nurse who accessed my port - probably her first one since nursing school - etc., etc.,  I answered the question "are you pregnant or breastfeeding" SIX times Tuesday afternoon. Why, no. No, I'm not.

Brian and Becky were stuck with the chore of live-texting through the adventure, so I won't document it step by step here. I actually managed to make it through the 6 hours at Vanderbilt Tuesday afternoon/evening and felt tired, but good. What I had forgotten is that the emotional fall-out always hits the next day for me.

And, unfortunately, the next day involved a busy morning at work then a rushed trip to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center. The lines were out the door. The waiting room was full. The oncologist I was supposed to see had been called out of town so they'd given me a substitute (who was a lung specialist, not gynecological). No one seemed to know what was going on. Extra sets of labs just in case. Brian was stuck in traffic and over an hour late.

I just did not want to be in yet another exam room. Rehash the last 4 years. Hear another oncologist tell me my case baffles them, but that ultimately there's nothing they can do to eradicate the cancer, just try to keep it from taking over my body for as long as possible.

Jenne and Kari saved the day. Not only did they drop everything, grab up their babies and come to Sarah Cannon when they heard Brian was stuck in traffic, but they brought those cute babies and stroller and carriers right into our little exam room, laid hands on us and prayed. The ugly cry made an appearance, but it was okay.

And when the appointment was over, Brian headed back to Clarksville to pick up the kids, and Jenne, Kari, the babies, and I camped out at P.F. Chang's for a whole lot of bites (as they put it). We took advantage of the 4:00 lunch menu and appetizer happy hour. We all laughed, talked, and did enough crying that I am certain we scared our server.

It was after dark and past time for me to make it home in time for church by the time I left Nashville, there were multiple traffic jams, and it was Becky's turn to join me in the ugly cry on the phone. Side note: not the best idea to drive at night with eyes swollen from crying and then add more tears to the mix. 

I'm already a bit better this morning. A good cry plus sleep is restorative. But I do find myself in a questioning, doubting, why is this happening state of mind the last several days. It's hard work to keep trusting that good really can come out of this ugliness and that God can redeem these days and this situation for my husband, children, family and friends. It's hard looking forward to a very uncertain future. It's hard to think about the decisions that are going to need to be made, maybe sooner than we'd like.

In my immediate future, however, I'm going to try to finish the 8-10 hours worth of work I brought home with me in 6.5 hours today. All while listening to the kids argue through their NINTH snow day in a row. And when I finish up that, we're going to proceed to have a good couple of days as we wait for the next appointment on Tuesday. It's Rory's 7th Family Day this weekend, and while we haven't decided how to celebrate (pretty much because it totally snuck up on us), we will do some celebrating. 

And when that family celebration is over, Brian and I have date night scheduled (at the Ryman Auditorium!) this weekend.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Closing Out the Weekend

We wrapped up our weekend with cancelled church services because of the crazy 6 inches of ice on our church parking lot which refuses to melt. School is still cancelled (that's 7 snow days in a row) tomorrow. As a result of no church services, we decided to visit a local church (LifePoint). I initially didn't want to go - not too proud to admit that I would have enjoyed sleeping in one more day.

However, as usual, it was the right choice - Brian's choices are pretty much always right. It was awesome to attend church without having any responsibilities. Now don't get me wrong, we love being church staff and ministering to others. But, oh my stars, was it ever good to just be ministered to. The kid's classes were good, the music was awesome, and the sermon was biblical, practical, and powerful. Brian and I both struggled to focus on the service and not spend all our emotional energy critiquing and comparing this well-established church with its dozens of church staff with our still very new and work-in-progress church. My OCD perfectionist flawed personality tends to take over during our own church service as I notice all the things that go wrong or could be improved and how I can "fix" them. (Yes, I am fully aware this is not the joyful worshipful attitude that should accompany a church service.)

All of that to say, it was a blessing to attend church yesterday morning. And my favorite part? When Camden's Sunday School teacher shook his hand on the way out, patted his back and told us, "this young man is going to do big things for God one day." How fantastic for Camden to have that encouragement. There are men and women who have the gift of encouragement, and they are invaluable.
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Slight change of topic, but I would appreciate your prayers over the next few days. I am having yet another unfortunate reaction to my chemo drug and started the evil steroids again. I'm committing to the full 3.5 day regimen this time since the 24 hour regimen wasn't successful last weekend. It is insane how sick the steroids make me feel, but my skin was in very bad shape and it just needed to be done.

Tomorrow I visit Vanderbilt for lab work, an ecco-cardiogram to test my heart health (this chemo is particularly tough on heart function) and then a CT scan to check to see if my cancer is growing, stable, or decreasing. It feels like a very big deal. I know, they're all big. But this is the first time in the last 4 years that I've had active, progressive cancer and this scan is a big one because it determines if I've worn out yet another chemo drug.

As if that weren't enough for one week, I have an appointment with the clinical trial program at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center on Wednesday. Obviously, we may have some big decisions coming our way based on this appointment along with my scan results.

I'm doing my level best to take it one day at a time. I do not want to waste any energy worrying about these appointments, and since I won't have scan results until I see Dr. C next Tuesday, I don't want to spend the next week in misery.

We've been studying Abraham during my Friday morning Bible study, so this verse seems appropriate.

Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Rom 4:20-21)



Saturday, February 21, 2015

7/52: Pastel

This week's theme was pastel and there's not a whole lot of pastel in our house, much less with my black-eyed, black-haired Korean gal. However, she gave me about 10 minutes of cooperation in 10 degree weather and we attempted a pastel snow picture. The first one is my official pastel picture, but I included the other attempts because it was pretty darn fun.

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This is a new face I'm seeing often these days.
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By the way, she has 3 shirts underneath this dress, a pair of pajama pants and a pair of hot pink sweat pants. LOL