Words Cannot Express {Simple Moment, Bigger Picture}

I have heard through the grapevine that a college acquaintance of mine has started the journey; the healing path toward remission from breast cancer. On a mutual friend’s Facebook wall, she wrote about leg hair. That’s right; LEG HAIR! I remember telling others that while my head was bald, I still had to shave my legs. GAH! But eventually, the chemo made even that stubborn leg hair fall out.

I am grateful for the healing I received.
For the hair brushing my cheeks.
For the hair bristling on my legs.
(Yes, I am even grateful for the need to shave!)
I am grateful for the doctors I continue to see.
For the words I heard just this month, “Your labs look fine.”
I am grateful, so grateful, for the forty-two years God has given me;
For my husband and daughters; there are not words enough to express my love for them.
But yet, in the pit of me, a ball of fear reigns, like a tightly wound ball of yarn.
Panic’s claws threaten to unravel the ball; to pick at it; to make it–and me–come undone.
Fear’s tendrils weave through my body, threatening to stop me in my tracks.
With God’s help, those tendrils of fear dissolve. Words cannot express His love for me.
He gently winds that fear back up into a ball and weaves the fear away.
He was with me through my diagnosis and healing;
He will be with me at the end.
Fear has no hold on me.
He is with us now.
And I am thankful.

Bigger Picture Moments this month are all about Gratitude. Visit Sarah at This Heavenly Life  for more thoughts about thankfulness.

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Like Weeds in July

As I was walking around my yard today, I noticed that despite our attempt to keep up with the weeds, they have sprouted tall and big and strong. That’s what two weeks away, lots of July heat, humidity, and thunderstorms will do to those pesky weeds.

Yes, there are a lot of tall, bright green weeds growing in my garden. They’ve grown and spread out of control. In the past two weeks, other things have sprung up, just like those weeds, out of my control.

The past two weeks have had a lot of loveliness, moment of joy and peace and togetherness. My family and I have been on vacation, and it had all the elements of a great vacation: long car rides, crabby kids and parents, mosquitoes and sunburn; quiet hikes in an ancient forest, drifting down the river in a canoe, getting sprayed by the waters of Niagara Falls.

It was during the second week that those pesky weeds really started growing during our time away.

I had planned to write some blog posts during that second week; the house we were renting has wireless internet, I had my laptop, and we were going to have some time to relax. However, as I tried to start my laptop that Sunday morning, the computer would not start up no matter what I tried to do. Restoring the computer to an earlier time wasn’t working; my IT husband didn’t have any resources with him to troubleshoot the problem, and so we gave up. We decided it was a blessing in disguise to be without our laptop so that we could fully concentrate on our vacation.

Another weed…early Wednesday morning, Emmy called desperately for me; she had thrown up all over her bed. Ed and I soothed her and cleaned up the mess. After a couple more episodes and a couple loads of laundry, her stomach finally settled down. Emmy and I both slept on the large couch in the living room. When Emmy woke up the next morning, she gave me a huge grin. I knew then that she was feeling better.

But just a couple of days later, Lily caught the same stomach bug. The morning we were supposed to leave, I was sick. As I lay in bed, Ed and my sister packed up our things and got the car ready. As we drove toward Illinois, I couldn’t wait to be in the comfort of my own soft bed.

Despite being achy, our drive was smooth going until we reached the highway exit by our house. It was closed and we couldn’t figure out why. There shouldn’t be any construction. As we pulled of the ramp going east instead of west, I saw that the ramp was covered in water.


As we tried to turn west toward home, which also meant we had to cross the river, we had more “uh-oh” moments. More roads were flooded and more bridges were closed. We found a street that was open and crept the van slowly through the water that threatened to close that road as well.

As we finally drove through our neighborhood, I prayed that our basement wouldn’t have water in it.

It did.

What a tall weed we had come home to!

First Ed unpacked the car, then he started emptying the basement. (Most of the water had already gone back down into the sewer…it was all sewer backup.) I went up to the bedroom to rest, and after taking a nap felt well enough to help him.

Overall, we have some ruined carpet that we tore out (we wanted to get rid of it anyway). Some of our books got too wet to salvage (my art books from college and an old set of encyclopedias) and a small amount of my teaching files were also wet.

It could have been much worse. We use our basement for storage, and most things are kept in plastic tubs. There was only about an inch or two, and the water only covered about two thirds of the basement. Our neighbor told us that early Saturday morning, there had been 7 inches of rain in 2 hours. That’s a lot of water. It turns out our sump pump wasn’t running, so Ed installed new sump pump last night. Even if the pump had been working, there’s no guarantee we would have come home to a dry basement.

And Ed got my laptop up and running again. Yay!

We have lots of pictures to remind us of the good things that happened on vacation. Despite those weeds, we built a lot of family memories during the past two weeks, and I’ll write more stories about our vacation soon.

(Those weeds won’t get the best of us!)

Here’s a photo I took of our evening stroll in Niagara Falls. The lights were shining on Horseshoe Falls, we had just had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant overlooking the falls, and Lily and Emmy were enjoying every minute of their evening…as we were allowing them to stay up waaaay past their bedtime.

The moon rising over Niagara Falls; July, 2011

Hoping you are having a wonderful summer as well,
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A Mother’s Prerogative

My daughter was sick this week. Actually, both my daughters were sick, but my oldest felt fine. It was my youngest, my Emmy, who suffered from the strep they both had contracted.

My poor baby was having a lot of pain from the strep. She had had her first dose of antibiotics, and the Tylenol I gave her at dinnertime helped her fall asleep. But then at 10:30 that night, she became restless. I brought her some more Tylenol, but she pushed it away.

She didn’t want to be awake; she wanted to be asleep. She keep tossing and turning; refusing to take the Tylenol I offered her; refusing to snuggle with me.

Finally, finally, she swallowed the thick pink liquid, but by now the pain had gotten away from her. She started screaming and crying so I took her downstairs. What could I do with this child? I felt so upset that she had such pain that I almost burst into tears.

I snuggled with her in a blanket and sat on the couch with her. I turned on an episode of Clifford that I had recorded. Her favorite show. The big red dog distracted her from the pain she was feeling.

I sat and snuggled with her in the middle of the night, watching TV. Not something I would normally do with my three year old child.

When she started feeling better, I was able to put her in her bed. She slept soundly for the rest of the night. The antibiotics did their job, and now she is feeling much better.

Sometimes, a mother just has to break the rules. And that’s a mother’s prerogative.

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My Bed is Calling….

Due to this NaBloPoMo thing I’ve started, (you know, National Blog Posting Month, the month where I’m supposed to blog every day?) I feel like I need to write something. Last night, however, I was up almost every hour with Lily, who had a terrible stomach flu that’s going around her school. It was like having a newborn all over again, except I would much rather change a diaper and nurse my baby than hold my child’s head over a bowl while she retched. Poor baby…she was so miserable!

She’s much better now, so far no one else has starting throwing up (knock on wood!), and I’m going to bed. Good Night!

P.S. Sorry for the brief and somewhat yucky post.

A S-tick-y Situation

This post is coming to you from a new laptop! Ed went out last Friday and bought us a new Gateway since our old Dell has slowed down to a snail’s pace. Isn’t he the BEST?!?

I think Ed might be feeling sorry for me. I haven’t been feeling well lately, but now I’m started to feel better.

A couple of weeks ago, I had just taken a shower and was toweling off when I noticed something. It was a freckle that really shouldn’t have been there. A freckle that stuck out from my skin. A freckle that wasn’t a freckle after all…it was a freckle with legs. Turns out that freckle was a deer tick. As my brain was panicking, I carefully looked myself over and found a couple more ticks, yanked them off, and then ran downstairs to check Lily and Emmy. I found three deer ticks on each of them. I’m shuddering as I type this…ew, ew, EW!

We had just spent the weekend hiking in the woods down in Kentucky, which is where I think we got the ticks. The girls’ pediatrician put them on antibiotics just as a precaution against Lyme disease. She suggested I see my doctor as well, since the ticks were embedded in our skin for two to three days already. (Excuse me while I shudder some more — EW!)

My doctor put me on an antibiotic as well, only I was to take the super-duper killer of that nasty Lyme bacteria, while the girls took amoxicillin since they are too young to take the super-duper antibiotic. My system did not respond well to this medication. I felt like such a wimp. I’ve weathered cancer, for heaven’s sake, and chemo, and two Cesarean sections, and this antibiotic whipped me.

The first morning I took doxycyline, I felt more nauseous than I ever have before. After telling myself, “I won’t throw up, I won’t throw up,” I finally threw up my breakfast. Me, who never threw up once during chemo! My nausea was so bad that the doctor prescribed an anti-nausea medication. Then there was heartburn. The Saturday night after I had started taking the medicine, my chest was burning so bad that I couldn’t sleep. The next day, I noticed that I was having a lot of pain when I was swallowing food. The pain continued to get worse, right in the middle of my chest. On Tuesday, I begged my doctor to let me stop taking the doxycyline. She agreed. By Thursday, every time I swallowed, pain stabbed throughout my chest and into my back. Either the heartburn or the medication had damaged the lining of my esophagus. I called the doctor again, and she prescribed a medicine to help my esophagus heal. And all this was happening because I was taking medicine to prevent Lyme disease…I was never actually sick! I’m finally able to eat without pain, and the constant heartburn feeling I was having is gone.

Ed had some deer ticks on him as well, but his doctor didn’t prescribe anything. Ed is supposed to be watchful and check in with his doctor over the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the girls have started school and I began a new, part time job. I supposed it’s a good thing that time just keeps rolling; I barely had time to feel sorry for myself. So there you go…an explanation at last!

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