Friday, November 18, 2016

11/18/16 A Year of Lukewarm Showers

Dear friends and family,

Well, November is here, and that means I have been in chemo, this third time, for a full year.  I'm not going to sugar-coat it.  This past year, without a remission in sight, has been tough.  It has included:

  • 12 days of chemotherapy.
  • 12 weeks of post-chemo sickness.
  • A few other weeks of colds/flu due to my low immune system.
  • About 100 mouth sores (Doxil causes them).
  • About 100 bruises (from low platelets--currently at an all-time low of 57, normal is 150-400).
  • About ten days a month with low energy (due to low blood count--normal is 35-45, I'm at 26, and my oncologist just called to say they are going to give me a blood transfusion).
  • 12 months of lukewarm showers (Doxil causes hand and foot blistering if exposed to too much heat).
  • And a partridge in a pear tree!  No, just kidding.  That is for next month's post!
But as Thanksgiving will be here in just six days, I am trying to focus this week not on the trials of the past year, but on all I have to be thankful for.  Just a few of these things include:
  • Experiencing God's presence, love, peace, and strength on good days and bad. 
  • Steve, Renee, and Daniel, who love me, serve me, and shore me up, even on my crankiest days.
  • Weekly Green Lake walks with my aunt Julianne, equal parts mother and friend.
  • My sister, Marti, who has moved heaven and earth this very week to get our other sister, Xan, into the Union Gospel Mission's Hope Place, a residential program for women struggling with homelessness and addiction, and who was a great chemo buddy last month, and caring sister always.
  • The smart, deep, loving, and faithful women in my Monday noon Bible study who make sure God hears my name daily.
  • My new oncologist, who brings years of training, research, and renown to help me live my longest, fullest, and best life.
  • The basics--our home, food, clothes, health insurance, and enough money to pay our bills, give to the charities we love, and have a little leftover for some trips.
  • All my other friends, family, and acquaintances who read this blog and think about me and/or pray for me (aka YOU)!
  • And lastly, the fact that I will be in Kauai for a blissful pre-chemo vacation in just 12 days, two hours, and 39 minutes.  But who's counting?!
This Thanksgiving, I hope your list of struggles is shorter than your list of blessings.  And as I struggle to come to terms with the post-election turmoil in our country, I hope I can be a person who does this:

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  Colossians 3:12-13


Thankful for a son who is going to be a great dad one day!

Thankful for an Alki Beach walk with Steve, followed by a delicious dinner and fierce game of dominoes with our friends, Lynette and LaVonne.

Thankful to see the play of Carole King's life story with Renee and Riley on our "girls day out."

Thankful for my Sis, Marti, who loves me always and understands how the difficulties in our childhood have impacted our lives today.

Thankful for grandson/godson/great nephew, Jericho, who brightens up all my Saturdays.

And I close with a photo of Jericho and me, jamming and singing with our guitars, "our version," of Jesus Loves Me!