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Friday, November 10, 2017

Five on Friday (November 10, 2017)

A final word: be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies,
but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world,
against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy
in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. -Eph. 6:10-13

1. This has been a difficult, stressful, don't want to repeat anytime soon kind of week. Betrayed and weary would actually be an honest description of how the adults feel today. Not coincidentally, my daily scripture writing theme this month is strength. God is sweet to provide encouragement ahead of the time we actually need it. I'm wearing my "But if not" t-shirt I received from Becky for my birthday this morning. The blog post explaining the shirt is worth reading.

2. Chemo this week was a full-day event. As usual. I really need to lower my expectations for these days because I am forever thinking the multi-step process will proceed on schedule, and I will have time left over for errands or coffee or work. A bright spot was having my favorite nurse back. Kris is a delight and I love catching up with her. While nurse assignments are random, I have been lucky enough to have her nearly half the time.

3. Last night was the first basketball game of the season. Camden had some playing time and chalked up an assist, several defensive rebounds, and 2 steals. It's incredible how in one year his body matured and those long arms no longer flail about but move with purpose. New this year is the requirement that players dress up, as in actual dress shirts and dress shoes on game days. Camden had none of these items, of course, so we had a shopping trip Tuesday that could only be described as stressful. I plan to return to online shopping and returns as soon as possible.

I noticed that Camden looked a little puny on the basketball floor and when we got home, he was running a high fever. You know he's sick when he literally shivers his way through supper and doesn't eat. So we're convalescing together today as I am also not well. He's missing Tip-Off tonight which is the school's official opening ceremonies for basketball season. His coach signed him up for the 3-point competition, and I think he is simultaneously sad and relieved to be unable to participate.

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4. Sunday is my birthday and it's kind of fun to see all the birthday coupons and rewards roll in. I've cashed in my Sephora and Cold Stone Creamery rewards so far.

5. I leave for Greensboro bright and early Monday morning for the annual work planning retreat (my first trip to NC I believe). This means lots of juggling of kids and schedules. I'm so thankful to have my parents a mere 15 minutes away. 

The weekend includes Veterans Day parade (our church has a float), birthday party (Rory's friend), moving my grandparents in with my parents (yes, a second set of grandparents), and then a birthday dinner Sunday with parents, grandparents, and the rest of the family.

Veteran's Day chapel at school
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Our very own Daniel from 180 speaking to the students
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Sunday, November 05, 2017

Halloween 2017

I mentioned Halloween was a bit of a bust in terms of costumes, but I wanted to post these anyway. Rory was SO hyped up for the evening.

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Friday, November 03, 2017

(More than) Five on Friday (Nov. 3, 2017)

Since I'm covering more territory than the past week, I cannot condense events down to just 5. I have listed them in chronological order, not order of importance. ;)

1. The kids both participated in the annual PVCS Talent Show on October 21. Rory performed a monologue and Camden played/sang. Their prep and strategy for performing is completely opposite, which always cracks me up. Rory haphazardly practices and is full of excitement over being on stage. Camden obsessively practices and is a total bear with loads of performance anxiety. Adding to the angst is the fact that his 14-year old voice is changing almost daily and he suddenly could no longer hit the same notes so he and his teacher worked out alternate melodies. Oh, the joy of the teenage years.

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2. A longtime dream came true October 24 when we attended a Crowder concert. He is my favorite, favorite, favorite and his live show was just amazing. Adding to the experience was the small venue and our 4th-row seats. Truly my favorite night of music ever. (Yes, we had two major date nights in one month - John Crist + Crowder in a 10-day span is memorable!)

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3. The annual birthday trip with Becky was last week (she traveled to Nashville this time). Lots of laughing, eating, and coffee drinking occurred. A busier than necessary schedule as usual. Two days in Nashville. We visited 3 coffee shops, ate grilled cheese and BBQ nachos (not together), tried out the new cookie dough spot, and spent a fun time at a Nashville favorite McKay's used bookstore. A complete bummer was my mom coming down with vertigo, ending up in the ER and having to miss one of our days together.

(You have NO idea how many times we took this picture trying to get the right one.)
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The No Baked shop was fun to try, but I'm not sure it's at the top of my list for treats. That Five Daughters Bakery donut a few pics up? Definitely!
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4. If you are local, a tour of Olive and Sinclaire Chocolates (only available by reservation and on Saturdays) was awesome with lots of incredible information about the process and tasting along the way. They are 1 of 4 bean-to-bar chocolate shops in the U.S. I was completely convinced to blow an entire paycheck on expensive chocolate by the time we left. Brian is thankful I did not give in to that urge and only bought a $6.50 coffee mug and a solitary cinnamon/chili chocolate bar.

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Hairnets required
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5. Rory went to her first sleepover Friday (she hosted her first sleepover this summer) and came home sleepy but happy. Thank you, Anna, for such a fun time!

6. The Trunk-R-Treat our church hosted was an enormous success Sunday night. The actual holiday was uneventful. I tend to forget how big Halloween is for many families. For the umpteenth year in a row, we did not plan costumes. Rory threw up some pigtails and we added freckles to her face and called it good. I am finally accepting that Camden truly hates scary costumes. If at 14 he still refuses to answer the door on Halloween, it must be a real fear!

7. Camden has had double practices for the past 3 weeks (basketball and cross country). Thankfully, cross country ends today with the final district high school meet (he's still middle school but was chosen to participate). Because this is a high school met, he ran a 5k instead of the standard middle school 3k and finished with a time of 25:22 which was a personal best. He said it felt like the race would never end. Ha! I am really proud of the hard work both kids put into cross country, especially the last several weeks. They've been running 4-5 miles in practice 4 times a week (plus basketball practice for Camden).

8. Brian has been helping out a fellow teacher (off work because of surgery) for the past 3 weeks, which means 3 a.m. wake-up calls every day. He is certainly beginning to look as if he's been getting way too little sleep, but I'm hopeful we're about to turn a corner. He continues to be the most hardworking, patient, reliable, loyal man I know. Which is good, since I married him.

Weekend plans are a little light (for me anyway). Saturday plans include Brian and Camden helping a church friend move followed by a guitar lesson for Camden. Rory and I are holding down the fort managing the laundry and baking pumpkin bread. Sunday is very full with a service at the nursing home and budget meeting.

Hello, weekend!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Lashes and Brows

After talking with the oncologist yesterday (I actually didn't get to see my own doctor but the oncologist who created the trial drug instead), the decision is to move forward with the taxol + clinical trial drug at a slightly reduced dose. I am to keep the doctors a little more informed on how I'm feeling regarding the neuropathy and let them know before the side effects become severe. I admit that I brushed the extreme numbness and pain aside for too long. I'm not sure if the outcome would be any different if I would have said something earlier, but moving forward I'll be less of a superhero. ;)

I did not intend to cry (and haven't cried up to this point), but my poor nurse was on the receiving end of my tears as I pointed out my eyebrows and eyelashes were growing. I am feeling a slight bit obsessive over these eyelashes/brows right now. Most days I can put aside the fact that I am a hairless human, but not-so-far from the surface, I feel very vulnerable and self-conscious. I think I can chalk up my newly developed make-up obsession to this vulnerability.

So I am going to work on feeling grateful for this ongoing chemo and pray that these drugs continue to work. After all, they are producing the most progress I've had in 6.5 years and it would be silly to feel sad about that.

Just for memory-keeping purposes, I'm going to mention that my number one thing I am grateful for about this break is that is has allowed me to go back to 3 days a week of work. Not only has it been a crazy time in the office and I couldn't have possibly kept up during chemo, but the extra money has been very timely. AND that break included the weekend Becky was here for our birthday trip (so sad it came and went so quickly!).

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. Ps. 116:17

Monday, October 30, 2017

Choices

After a fun 3-day birthday weekend with Becky, I dropped her off at the airport Sunday morning. Drove myself home, proceeded to become ill and then slept for over 7 hours throughout the day.  Thankfully, as I usually do after a day like yesterday (which happens occasionally; too often to call rare, but not a common occurrence either), I feel like a new woman today.
I will blog more about all the fun things that happened (and the fun food/coffee consumed) over the weekend later. But today I wanted to let you know what's happening Wednesday. 

After 6 weeks off Taxol (and I have a small bit of hair and eyelash growth to prove it), my appointment with the oncologist Wednesday will determine whether I have to take a permanent break from not only from Taxol, but also the clinical trial meds. Selfishly, I just want to be done with it all. I am perfectly satisfied to skip chemo and wait for the cancer to return. I'm ready for hair and eyelashes again. I'm ready to feel better. If the choice were only mine, I would absolutely choose to stop Taxol for good.

Probably not the wisest choice. So the prayer is that my doctor will be wise, the side effects will continue to diminish, and that the best choice will be abundantly clear. 

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