Thousand Gifts 935-959

 I had the bright idea of making a wreath for our front door, and when I saw these pretty silver and blue ornaments at Hobby Lobby, I thought that they would be perfect. Since it's mid-December and I was just getting it put together I thought maybe they could work for January too since blue might equal frosty/cold/snow/whatever. Two problems: (1) I can't make a bow to save my life so thank goodness for crafty 4th grade teachers. Brian took it to school and let his fellow teachers save me. (2) I somehow managed to forget that our front door is blue so my pretty blue ornaments kinda clash with the blue door. Oh, well. It was a good thought anyway.


We had a lovely Christmas get-together with our Sunday School class Saturday that included a white elephant gift exchange. And I love white elephant gift exchanges where you really get into the spirit and bring crazy things. It was a fun way to spend Saturday evening. And thank you to Brian who let me crash on the couch all day so I'd have the energy to have a good time.

Sunday Brian decided I needed a Christmas gift a little early and surprised me with a Keurig! I've been wanting one forever, and I have to say that the convenience of an instantly fresh hot cup of coffee is pretty fun. We both think there's kind of a weird aftertaste to the coffee, but several people have reassured me that we just need to run water through the system several times and we'll be good to go.

I've struggled alot more than usual mentally with this chemo treatment. I think it's hard to continue to stay positive when there's no end in sight. And it's becoming abundantly clear that there is no end in sight for me and chemo. I told Becky this morning that I'm really tired of being grateful for the small things. It is a constant mental struggle to not let fear overtake me, to stay positive, to be in a good mood despite everything happening.

And, of course, it's when I'm tired of working at being thankful that I need to work harder. And when we got off the phone, I pulled up my Thousand Gifts list, and was running through it before I posted and noticed #948 and #950 which I had written down last week. Clearly, I needed to read them again. I want to push forward and continue to be thankful. But it feels hard today.

And unless you've been a cancer patient, had multiple surgeries, etc, you can't understand the aches and pains that each day brings. Sometimes I just want to laugh when people ask how I'm feeling because I promise that you don't really want me to answer that honestly with my laundry list of issues. Today I'm headed to see my primary care doctor for my blood pressure and for yet another scar tissue issue - this time in a different spot. And I just feel tired by the constant presence of cancer in my life.

936. a new chemo drug to help prevent cancer from growing
937. that insurance approved it (it's very expensive)
938. late stay at school when I can't get there to pick up Camden quite on time
939. jolly baby in the Santa suit ahead of me in line at Michael's
940. Rory's hand massages
941. a warm December day
942. when Dr W called me a rock star
943. for fellow chemo patients who think I'm much younger than I really am
944. having tacos for lunch with Rory and Tina
945. " Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable." Isaiah 40:28
946. late night bursts of energy thanks to steroids
947. cute monogrammed shirts
948. this blog post on when you don't want to say thanks
949. cool breeze blowing through the house after warmer days
950. because thanksgiving is more than a holiday
951. Camden and Rory's excited faces when they see me after a day apart
952. good medical results for a friend
953. "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by." Psalms 57:1
954. a sweet owl canvas from an unexpected source
955. friends who can help out with wreath bows
956. a fun December night surrounded by friends
957. Trader Joe's European Sipping Chocolate
958. seeing Camden and Rory sing their little hearts out in the Christmas program at church


Renee T. said…
The wreath looks great! ( I can't make bows either) Keeping your family in my thoughts this Christmas. I hope the four of you have a wonderful time :)

Judy Turnbough Bailey said…
I love your wreath, too! I continue to keep you, Brian, Rory and Camden in my daily prayers. I cannot imagine the pain and struggles you are going through but I pray that today you will have some encouragement.
Randi Oh said…
let go and let god. the fear is a natural given - the fight to keep it at bay during times of pain and struggle is not done without great difficulty, intense concentration (even if that means doing something that just takes your mind away, like scrapping!) = what you are going through is more than hard on so many levels. there is a light at the end of the tunnel. try to envision being in the tunnel - you are on a journey. why? only god knows but He will be with you through it all. i know your faith is immense! your list of thanks or blessings is awesome! i am going to start one instead of trying to remember or come up with one in a time of fear. i hear your pain and want to take it all away and fix it up. i pray for you. i hope today is a good one AND i love your wreath :)

this is what i have been saying for you. It is a prayer that is usually said in temple.

May it be Your will, O LORD my God, that you quickly send a complete recovery from spiritual healing and physical healing to, Melissa.

I hope your Christmas is merry and bright. You, Brian and your children are in my prayers.
Karen said…
I think one reason people love you so much and offer so many prayers on your behalf is because you are so honest. If that means not feeling happy or particularly grateful on any given day, as hard as it is to want to push through it, that's just the way it is. In some ways, I find knowing what's really going on with someone I care about helps me focus my prayers on what they really need at any given time. So for you, I pray for peace on the days that are hard and the knowledge and comfort that you can take a break from being outwardly grateful when you need to. And I'm going to start calling you a rockstar all the time. That's a sure pick-me-up! :-)
I still think the wreath looks really cute. I'm sorry to hear how hard it is. I often wonder how you feel day to day--during and between chemo rounds. I hate to hear how hard it really is. But I am glad that you tell us, because how else would we know how to pray for you??
Vicky said…
I say feel, what you feel. The burdens DO stack up and it does get hard some days to go on as if everything is fine- when clearly its not. And you would know way more than me. In the early months I was so dang happy to get treatment underway, but now, I too struggle with the "foreverness" of chemo... people ask me all the time if I am done with chemo... nope, not even close.

You are speaking your truth and I think God hears that and knows... I pray your burdens lift and your spirit soars soon again :)
I love the wreath!!! I agree with the others... I can't even fathom what you are going through on a daily basis... I'm pretty sure we'll all keep reading no matter how brutally honest you are. Hang in there... :-(
Tiki said…
First off, I love your wreath! I remember trying to make wreaths with my mom a long time with some gimmicky plastic thing that was supposed to help - it did not. Whoever did make your bow did a wonderful job. :) I love that it's not just a Christmas theme.

Second, I don't know how you stay positive Melissa. Outwardly you do such a wonderful job of entertaining your blog readers with photos, favorites, fun stories, and just an upbeat spirit. I can only imagine that living with cancer is completely unbearable and the mental struggles that must go with the physical ones are totally understandable. I'm so glad to read that you are wrapped in love by so many fantastic friends and family that live close to you. You deserve it.

Hugs and Merry Christmas Melissa. May the New Year grant you blessings.
Jill said…
"And I just feel tired by the constant presence of cancer in my life."

I bet you do. I bet you do. Praying things will be different. Much love, Jill
Anonymous said…
I've been meaning to write this to you for the past few weeks. I too have/had (too soon to tell) ovarian cancer. A dear friend of mine wrote to me about a dear friend of hers when I was going through treatment. We'll call this woman Mary. Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer 25 years ago and survived. She was then diagnosed with stage IV (yes, IV!) ovarian cancer 20 years ago. She goes through chemo and takes the drugs they tell her to take and aside from treatments she's still living a very full life. Twenty plus years. I'm finished with treatments and in the "wait and see" period right now. I also have two children, both from Korea, who are very close in age to your kiddies. I absolutely CLING to the mantra "20 plus years" and it helps me to breath a little easier. Hopefully it helps you too.
Jenny Sue said…
I am in Michael's class at church and Becky was a gentle presence in my life while fighting cancer last year. You are prayed over often and you are right, people just don't get it when they have not gone through it. Yes, it gets exhausting answering all the questions every time you run into someone. There were times I stayed home because I did not have the energy. Yes, it is hard to find things to be grateful for some days. Yes, there are days that you curl up in a ball and cry. Yes, God is always there and bottles every tear. Yes, you are loved, held in His palm and He is aware of every hurt and fear. Yes, it is ok to express all of them to Him. Praying for you. Praying that you have the strength and grace to take care of your little family's hurts and fears. That you are strengthened and fears are calmed. That you find joy in the hard times. That God will continue to be glorified through your life.
Anonymous said…
As always, continued prayers for you and your family. Thank you for your honesty as you opened my eyes once again and taught me another lesson with asking a person who is facing what you are facing how they are feeling. Merry Christmas to you all. I just LOVE your blog. xoxoxo Claire Borrero

PS I LOVE your wreath.
Krista said…
You are closing in at the end of your 1000! I love how you have done that. Your wreath is lovely! So crafty!
Praying for a pain free holiday for you!
Elizabeth Frick said…
Hey Melissa. I've been so out of touch for too long. And when I saw Brian's post on FB today, I had to make the time to stop over and say I'm thinking of you and sending you so much love.
Anonymous said…
Good Morning Melissa!
Wish I could cry with you....
And tell how very beautiful I think your door wreath is.
And the 2012 calendar that arrived...and quoting Camden,
"I love it, I love it, I love it!"
"And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."
Love you all, Gma E.

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