Sunday, December 31, 2017

Closing out 2017

"But the angel reassured them, "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

Christmas 2017 highlighted changes in our family (both immediate and extended) - those changes run the gamut between difficult, just not the Lord's plan, and blessings. Our family was missing two members this year and we felt their absence keenly. Brian, the kids, and I drove to East TN before Christmas for a very quick trip and celebrated with Brian's parents, grandpa and aunt in their new home where they now live together. Christmas Eve was our annual appetizer night at our house. Mom and dad came early Christmas morning to watch Becky and the boys along with our family open presents, followed by Christmas dinner at their house with both sets of my grandparents.


My feet had a chemo reaction and blistered up the week before Christmas. At the same time, Camden was sick, which delayed our trip to East TN (he also missed one day of exams). He passed on the fever to me and I was sick Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As a result, the girl's annual Boxing Day shopping trip had to be postponed to the following day, but not canceled! We enjoyed a delicious and leisurely breakfast and coffee at Milk and Honey, but shopping was a complete bust. I do not know why we didn't take one single selfie to document the day.

Becky, William, and Xavier stayed with us for the week, and their love affair with Camden has not lessened. Poor Rory continues to be on the outs. Becky and I had one long afternoon/evening of nothing and we managed to watch 4 episodes of This is Us while she was here. I completely blubbered through the last 2 episodes, which is fairly typical although I'm generally in bed late at night alone instead of watching with someone.



We sang Christmas carols on Christmas Day, which is always my mom's request and it was lovely. The 5 grandkids sure do enjoy music. The following day the grandkids put on a little program for the grandparents and my Grandpa Elledge sang The Lord's Prayer and my Grandma Hale brought out her omni cord. We even played a quick game of charades with Christmas carols (definitely the kid's idea; William and Xavier's twin connection totally dominated).

Camden's favorite gifts were his Madden 2013 (yes, 2013) game and the dual controllers although he cried when Gramps gave him a pocket knife. Rory is in love with her Instax camera. I am ridiculously excited about my Lipsense holder and Brian likes his new comfy stadium seat. We are hoping to spend our Christmas money on a beginner espresso machine and milk frother which may easily move to the top of the favorites list.

Between the sickness, the trip to Kingsport, hosting family, and shuffling back and forth between our house and my parents, it was a very full 8 days. Completely worth the effort to make all the memories, though, and I'm so grateful to be here and experience it together. Brian, the kids, and I have spent the last 3 days mostly in our p.j.'s being 100% lazy. Kids have been sleeping in until 10ish and the adults have enjoyed the quiet time. Brian has been working his way through episodes of the Blacklist while I have been reading and browsing Instagram. We've left the Christmas tree up way too long, but I'm having trouble bringing myself to take it down. We are experiencing unusually cold weather. Cozying under the blankets with the tree lights twinkling has been my favorite thing.







I am planning to post Christmas pictures (along with Utah pictures - finally) sometime in the next few days, but post-date them to this past week so that they will print in my 2017 blog book. Brian and I return to work (much too early!) on Tuesday. Wednesday is a very, very full day at Vanderbilt for me, and, to be honest, I'm struggling with anger over the need to go at all. I'm not sure it's possible for anyone to understand how difficult it is to do this week after week with no end in sight. I knew when we received the news last November that the cancer was growing that this was going to be my life. I know I am blessed to have the opportunity to participate in this clinical trial and I am definitely blessed that the chemo has been working, but that doesn't make it easier to experience. 

I have enjoyed our Christmas break, but the time has passed much too quickly. Someone mentioned on Facebook that the week of Christmas is the fastest week of the year, and I completely agree with that. I guess if every week were Christmas break, then we couldn't possibly enjoy it in the same way. But I'd like to try!

My parents hosted a little family get together tonight with Michael, Liz, Addison, grandparents and my Uncle Dennis and Aunt Dana. We were home by 9:00 and the kids are tucked away on the couch watching Rogue One. Brian has been asleep for an hour and I am well on my way. 2017 was full of memorable experiences: our trip out west, the Crowder concert, an evening with John Crist, and my parents/grandparents moving to TN are at the top for me. I also took 2 work trips and continue to be so thankful for my job and the opportunities it provides. 2017 has been challenging on many, many levels and has brought about hurt for some of the people I love most. I don't know what 2018 holds, but I know that the Lord is good and He is with us.



Amy said...

I hardly ever comment anymore, Melissa, but I do read every post. I'm sorry that you have to continue these treatments every week without end. I really cannot imagine how very difficult it is. I know you are so weary of it all. I don't know any details about what has gone on in your family this year but for months now I have noticed the absence of a person in many pictures and so I have just had a feeling that something was going on. And my heart just breaks for your whole family but definitely a certain part of it. I have been praying over the last few months even without knowing what was really going on and I will continue. Praying that 2018 brings much healing to your family.

Vicky said...

I have such a warm feeling as I read your words- and such contentment at the end of your post. I relate on so many levels- especially the chemo feelings. We want to feel grateful and express our gratitude, but its so hard to bear at times. I had a booster shot today that was a 2 minute procedure- but its the other 1 and 1/2 hours I spent at the clinic just to get that shot that wear on me. You give my own feelings, voice, and do it well. Thank you for sharing.

Owlhaven said...

Love seeing your family at Christmas!
Praying for you as you go forward....

Una said...

I think of you of you often Melissa. I can’t recall how I stumbled upon your blog years ago, but reading your posts brings light to my life. The joy in how you live each day, your spirituality, and your tenacity as you fight cancer, are a shining example of living it right.

Little did I know I’d also be a player in the weekly Taxol game. Your posts helped me navigate that too.

Thank you for being authentic and sharing your lives with us. And your book recommendations 😊. Wishing you a fantastic and healthy 2018.