Don’t worry about me

I had someone insinuate this week that our family lacked faith.  That we should “just believe” and mom and Bob would be okay.  Well….I do believe.  I believe that God loves us and I believe that He wants Bob and Mom to be healed, whole, healthy.  I don’t believe that God wants cancer to be in them.  I do believe in an all-knowing, loving, personal, mighty, healing God.  I believe we are all going to be okay.

I sort of questioned this accusation for a bit (but really only a bit, because people say the strangest things to us, and most of the time I have to filter out the crazy talk; and I find this to be crazy talk).  But, as I spent my ‘bit’ questioning our faith – “God are we not doing something?  Is there something we’re missing here?  Should we be doing something differently?  Or more, or less of something?” – I really examined this accusation.

I’m convinced that we are not having a crisis of faith here.  We are not failing to believe, we are not discounting God, we are not scared of the outcome.  I read in Matthew the other night about JC saying to the disciples, “where is your faith?”  I don’t feel that JC is asking me that.  He knows.  I have faith, I’m standing on it.  Every day, every minute.  I have not turned away from God, I’ve run back into His arms where I feel safe.  I’ve expressed my sadness, my exhaustion, my fears to Him.  I’ve allowed Him to comfort me.  My flesh cries out to Him.  My soul remains planted in Him.  I believe He hears, and I believe He is with us and will heal.

So what is this person seeing that makes her think we have no faith?  Our walk?  Our journey?  It is the walk of human beings.  We are tired.  We do complain.  My flesh and my emotions cry out and sometimes I whine!  Sometimes I draw away from people too.  Sometimes I feel the need to protect myself from others and their words and their “help” by not listening, by not engaging in those unhealthy conversations.  I know where I am.  Just because I won’t let everyone in – doesn’t mean I’m pushing you away.  It just means – I’m needing my space here!  God is in my space.  He’s got me.

So I went to church again last night.  Pastor Jill was praying.  She doesn’t know this person had questioned our faith.  She said, “Kim you have a strong foundation, you know where you are.  Rest in that.”    Thanks God.  Thanks Jill.

So don’t worry about me.  Don’t worry about our faith.  But if you feel the need, pray for us.  Pray for us to have strength as we walk out this journey.  Because sometimes we’re just tired.

update:  mom having a bone marrow biopsy this morning to let us know how the chemo worked, but last week her peripheral blood draw showed blast cells again and her healthy blood counts were dropping a bit.  so they have scheduled another round of chemo to start monday.   just part of the walk.  i still believe that mom is okay, and going to be okay.  just updating here.

bob still swelling in his legs.  very tired.  he says, “i’m not gonna die, just want this crap gone.”  still fighting.  still believing.

BMT visit

Bob and I were aware that we would be discussing another transplant with the doc, so we decided this past weekend to talk about whether or not we were up for it.  We talked all weekend about life and death.  Did we want to fight this fight again?  Did Bob have it ‘in him’ to fight; do I have it ‘in me’ to fight again?  IF we decide to have the transplant, and IF Bob crashes again….do we want life support?  Do we want to fight so aggressively for him to live that we will agree to keep him alive on machines (should it come to that)….??  (all this while taking down our Christmas tree — FINALLY)

I talked to the TEAM at work, told them we’d better be prepared on the WORK  front too.  We’re discussing ways to keep Superior afloat — NO, NOT JUST afloat, but prospering during the next few monts of uncertainty.  Bob and I will possibly not be at work for a month or so.  At most, our involvement will be minimal.  I trust them.  Told them that my priority was going to be Bob, and fighting this disease.  They can fight the monsters at work.

So yesterday, Bob and Teresa and I went to see the Doctor.  (thank God Stan married a bome marrow transplant nurse)  T was our brain for the day, she listened and asked questions and was generally the calm, cool, collected one.  I didn’t do so badly either.  ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Aimie prayed for us before we left.  It was a good prayer; “God we trust YOU, give the doctor wisdom and speak through him.  We will trust that you have Bob in the right place, with the right doctor and you are in control.  Let us hear YOU speak God.”

The doctor was great.  Weirdly, he almost feels like family.  Bob’s cancer markers are down to 155 (from 187) BUT they need to be under 20 to be normal.  Bob’s not feeling great so they’ve decided to stop all chemo for one month and see how he feels; “is this the chemo making you sick, or the disease?”  In one month we will get cancer markers drawn again and if they are still high we will go to transplant.  We see the Doc on February 14th.  We met the Bone Marrow Transplant coordinator, she discussed some pre-transplant details; go to the dentist, go to the dermatolgist, we’ll talk to insurance, we’ll check your frozen stem cells, etc etc etc.  They will also get a psychologist involved to help….blah blah blah.  Same old stuff.

So as I leave the office, I’m thinking, “OK God.  You’ve got a month.  If you want to miraculously heal Bob and take this crap away once and for all….now would be a really, really good time.”   Reading the book of Matthew this morning.  JC said “according to your FAITH let it be to you.”  The he healed a bunch of people who believed.   God – we still believe.  Even when our flesh cries out and our brains are numb and our emotions are like a roller coaster – we still believe.  We always turn back to you.  No matter what we face, we know you are with us and we know you will never leave us.  I find comfort in that…and I trust you.

Is this a TEST?

I’m reading Job.  (following a “read through the bible in a year” plan)  Maybe because I’m relating a bit too much with what I’m reading….but is this a joke?  Is this a test?  It feels sadistic.  I’m sorry; this is just a rambling stream of consciousness, but life just feels cruel right now. 

I’m reading in bed, listening to Bob moan and groan from the other room.  He walks like he’s sick, talks like he’s sick, breathes like he’s sick…. this morning says “my legs hurt, my arms hurt, my back hurts….” Complains like he’s sick.  UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

As I sit here and SEARCH for my faith…a few things stick out to me from what I read in Job:

9:33  Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both.  (so Job was old testament…no Jesus yet.  We DO HAVE a mediator, right?  Jesus does mediate for us. He prays for us, He died for us, He “took” this for us.  Why can’t I let him have it?  Why does it keep haunting me? )

12:9-10  Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this.  In whose hand is the life of every living thing.  And the breath of all mankind.  (has the Lord done this to us?  Or has the Lord allowed the enemy to do this to us again?  And why?  Is this a test?  and if so…I think I’m failing – at least right now.)

13:3  But I would speak to the Almighty and I desire to reason with God.  (I desire to reason with God.  I desire to talk with him and cry to him, and beg him for life again.  I desire to throw myself on the ground and kick and scream and cry like a child.  I desire to know why?  Why is this happening again?  And why is it so much the same…so many freakishly similar details; yet so very different.  I was naïve last time.  I ran into the fight, sword swinging and yelling and cursing the enemy – cancer be gone!  Now I’m weary, I’m tired, I’m pensive. My thoughts drift to, “Why fight so hard for this?  What if Bob is just finished?  Why should I fight so hard for him to live when he seems to not really even enjoy life anymore…he’s so sick.  Who would want to live like this?  What’s there to live for?”  Yuck yuck yuck.  This is where I’ve been for a few days.  Feels like I’m stuck in mud.  God pull me out.  Speak to me, reason with me.  I’m ASKING….)

14:19  …so you destroy the hope of man.  (I don’t want my hope to be destroyed.   I know our lives are in God’s hands, and I know that God loves us; but I’ve been there…for the past few days I feel hopeless.  God I know you are my hope, please don’t let me lose hope in YOU, You’re all I really have.)

16:6  though I speak, my grief is not relieved, and if I remain silent, how am I eased?  But now He has worn me out.  (yup)

19:25  I know that my Redeemer lives.  (yup….God make this real to me again.  Help me to KNOW  KNOW  KNOW  KNOW in my heart that you live, that you are here with us, that you do answer prayer and that you will see my faith and not my flesh.  I am so weak, so confused, so angry, so selfish, so done….I thank you God that you are not finished.  Not finished.)

Sorry to any of you reading this….just felt better to puke it out instead of leaving it in.  It’s tearing me up inside.  I need to find my hope again.  Need to find my strength again.  Need to find my God again.  God help me.  I need You.

Fight or Flight

The “fight or flight response” is our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival. 

Something happened this week to remind me that we are in a “fight or flight” situation.  It’s not that I don’t realize every single day that we are under a huge amount of stress, and it’s not that I don’t realize every single day that Bob and I are fighting cancer again.  I am aware that we are not functioning normally when faced with normal tasks, BUT I think I’ve just come to realize that this is a fight or flight situation, and the reaction of fight or flight is very different in each of us.

I think I’ve been choosing flight mode.  Run away, hide from it.  Don’t face it.  Avoid it.  I know it’s there, it’s still constantly nagging at me; but I guess I think that if I can run away from it or hide from it, I won’t have to deal with it.  Funny.  I’m reading about fight or flight reactions and most women tend to flee.  How far can I run?  How far can I go before I have to turn around and face it head on?  Maybe I’ve reached that point.

Bob has chosen to fight.  Thank you God!  For awhile I thought he was not going to fight, he wanted the easy way out.  Bob has been weary from the past fight and the current nagging illness that he’s been feeling for the past … oooohhh year or so … ontop of the past 8 years of not feeling like he ever came back to 100%.    But something in Bob clicked, something happened and he just intuitively (like a good fight or flight response in men) started the FIGHT.

I hesitate to write this, but feel that it makes this post so much more understandable.  Bob is a very easy-going man.  But not under this much pressure…he snapped.  He actually found himself in an altercation this week.  There was an incident involving Bob and another man.  Bob and this man had a verbal altercation over something that is not important to this story.  The words lead to an actual physical altercation.  Someone pushed him a bit too far, in a moment of his life when he is facing a huge fight or flight decision, the little ‘push’ (literally) lead Bob to Fight.  Bob pushed back, FORCEFULLY.  I hope this also relates to Bob’s fight for life.  I hope that Bob will forcefully push cancer back again.

Stan and Rusty are calling Bob ‘Rocky’ now.  Rocky and I went to the doctor that afternoon, after the ‘Fight’.  Bob’s entire mood had changed.  He’s in the fight again.  We will be meeting the doctor again on Tuesday to discuss battle plans.

A quick update on mom:  she’s positively wonderful.  Her doctor has nothing but good things to say.  Her counts are recovering nicely, and he will perform a bone marrow biopsy in a few weeks to have a diagnostic record of what we already know in our hearts.  Mom is cancer free.  She’s got some fight in her too…obviously.

My very good, bad, terrific day

Today was a bad day.  I hate that I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster.  I want off.  “Jane…get me off this crazy thing….”

Bob and I are discussing a second bone marrow transplant.  I know we’ll be going to see the doctor this week and he will be discussing another transplant with us, so I thought Bob and I should discuss it ourselves first.  If the doctor is going to be telling us what HE thinks we should do…I think WE should already have our own opinion.  I hate that we’re talking about this again.  It’s so different this time.  Last time it was – “Okay whatever it takes let’s do it.”  More or less.  This time — I don’t want to do this again.  I don’t want to do this, period.  So Bob and I are ‘arguing’  about it.  I say, “It makes no sense to do a transplant.  It failed last time.  Why do it again?  Why go through that again?  I don’t think I can go through it, I’m not sure I can do this again.  I really am not sure that I can handle it.”

He says, “I don’t care what I have to do, whatever it takes to feel better again…even if I have to go through hell again to get better, I will do it.”

I cried a lot today.  I think I’m scared, I KNOW I’m angry.  I hate this.  I don’t want Bob to die.  Bob will not die.  I keep pulling away from him.  I’m angry with him for being sick.  I feel like he needs to stop this.  Irrational.  Blah blah blah blah.  This roller coaster is making me sick.

Read this today in Job, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”  I don’t like that.  Because really…do we have a choice?  We accept whatever we get.  I can throw myself on the ground and scream and cry all I want; but I have to pick myself up and move forward; whether good or adversity come my way.

BUT….BUT…BUT —– TODAY WAS A FANTASTICALLY GOOD DAY TOO.  My Connor, my first grandson, my very special grand baby turned 4 years old today.  The Connor that doctors told us would not live, would not make it to his delivery date, would not make it through birth, would not cry when delivered, would not make it through the emergency surgery that they rushed him to at one hour old…is four years old today.  The Connor that beat the odds four years ago, that survived lung surgery at 3 days old, that now has two full sized lungs…is four years old today.  And this made me cry today too, but good tears.  Tears of joy, tears of gratitude, tears of wonder.  I am so thankful that our prayers were answered, our Connor lived and thrived and blesses us each and every day.  I told him happy birthday and he told me, “Grammy I love you so much.”  Melts my heart.

Emotional roller coasters have their moments.

Forward Motion

We went to our Wednesday night church service last night.  Bob has been feeling so down lately, and I must admit I haven’t been very helpful to him; still wallowing in it all myself.  We rode home from work together and on the way I asked if he wanted to go to church.  We weighed the options:  go to church or go home and put our PJs on and get in bed.  Believe it or not, it was a tough decision.  We made the right one.  Pastor Sarah Bowling was spectacular last night.  It was her birthday, but it felt like she was giving ME a gift.

First of all, if you’ve never been in a church service where the praise and worship is so powerful you can feel the palpable presence of God…you’re missing out.  The lights were dimmed, the band started to play, the worship leader sang…and I became immediately lost in it all.  I just closed my eyes and told God, “I’m here, speak to me.”

I listened to the words of the song, “here in His presence, I am undone….”  That did it; the combination of me opening up to Him and standing there vulnerably waiting for Him to speak, then the music and lyrics at just the right moment…I was undone alright.  I sobbed.  Shoulder shaking, tear spilling, nose running sobbed.  And it felt wonderful.  I just allowed myself to let go.  No sense in trying so hard to hold it together in front of God…what’s the point.  The music continued to play, “Here in your presence, I am undone.  Here in your presence, Heaven and earth become one.  Here in your presence all things are new.  Here in your presence everything bows before you.”

I opened my eyes to see Bob moving from our pew to the front of the church, arms raised high and dropping to his knees.  He felt it too.  We both in our own personal moments with God, laid it all down and just worshipped our God, our creator.  The next song, “I love you, I love you, I love you.  I love you, I love you, I love you.”  He was speaking, and I was listening.

I could have left as soon as the worship concluded, I felt that I’d gotten what I had come for.  I felt simultaneously drained and refreshed.  I had given Him all of my pain and fear and He had replaced it with peace.  I was good.  And I had hope again, hope for a future.  He’s not leaving us.

Glad we didn’t leave after the worship ended.  Sarah preached on “walking into our provision”.  WOW.  Bob looked at me during the message and said, “This is all for me!”

Sarah talked about Abraham walking his son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him.  Imagine.  We think we’re walking through a hard time…imagine that walk.  Abraham kept walking….kept his eyes on GOD and not the problem…was obedient to God…and in the end, came back down the mountain with his son alive.   God provided, God saw what Abraham was doing and saw what Abraham needed and HE PROVIDED.

Maybe we’ve been cowering down, hiding under our shield of faith on this battlefield…but not actually advancing.  Maybe we’ve been telling God what we need, like He doesn’t know.  We’ve been shocked into this paralyzing place where all we do is look at our circumstances in awe…instead of looking at our God in awe.  We stopped advancing through it, we have allowed this junk to stymie us.  We need to WALK it out (regardless of whether it’s the first or fifteenth time) we need to keep moving, keep advancing through it.  Walking into our provision.  God provides health, healing, peace, life…we’ll walk it out.  We must keep our eyes on God, not the junk, and allow our ‘forward’ perspective to drive us into forward motion.

RESOLUTION to Count my Quarters

Thank you all for listening to my whining.  Thanks to you who responded and let me know that we are not alone.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

There are resolutions to the litany of issues that I rambled off the other day (in my puking session).  Katie feels better, Jordan is better, the building got appraised again…evidently they measured wrong.  (really?)   Our job finishing up without incident, and SAFELY.  My chest cold/virus is clearing up…I even visited with mom without fear of infecting her.

Mom’s counts are recovering nicely.  She has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and they will dicuss her next bone marrow biopsy date.  We suspect that will be some time this month and we also suspect that it will show NO CANCER.  So mom will be finished (again),  and hopefully once — no twice — and for-all.

Bob will see his doctor in 2 weeks to discuss his next step.  Bone marrow transplant?  We’ll see.  He doesn’t feel well.  He’s pretty emotionally beat up about it all.  Speaking about death.  yuck, yuck, yuck!!  I told him today that I want him to be strong, I want him to fight to live and that if he gives up now I think I’ll be mad at him.  (just being honest)  I want him to keep fighting, I don’t want him to give up yet.  Is that selfish?  Do I care if it is…

I guess that no matter what problems / issues / concerns we have….they will be resolved evenutally.  I’m just trying to patiently wait for those resolutions,  and trying not to whine anymore.

I heard a story once; a young boy was walking home from school and found a quarter.  He was so excited to have found this quarter and thought to himself, “If I keep looking I might find more money on the way home!”  He walked the rest of the way home, searching the ground for more coins…becoming a bit disappointed that he wasn’t seeing any more money.  Upon entering his house, his mother noticed the frown on his face and asked what was wrong.  “I found a quarter, but then didn’t find anything else….”  His mom asked, “How many quarters did you have this morning?  And how many now?  Count your quarters.”

Resolving not to whine: I’ll focus on the positive and count my quarters.