Seeking the Kingdom on Earth

Hydrangeas

I know that Christ asked people to seek the kingdom of God. Seeking is a process I need to adhere to in order to be a follower of His Way.  Just like his twelve disciples were people that lived with him, ate with him, walked with him and watched the Master to learn how he approached situations, how he gave comfort and healing to others, and how he served, I need to read and pray and most of all listen. James 1:19 nails it, “Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to get angry.”

I am struggling with habits destructive to change, however, I keep running into myself. A few weeks ago, I was journaling and heard a speaker on Focus on the Family that was the author of a book called “The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk.” Her name is Shelly Beach. She stated how she realized how so many of her underlying thoughts, below the surface of her consciousness were directly opposed to becoming healthy or passionate for God, even though she was busy living for him, even in full ministry. I struggle with thoughts and habits that are directly opposed to life-affirming responses to God’s promises and that are opposed to seeking His Kingdom.

Grace is unmerited favor that we can never deserve. God uses grace in acting in our life to do what we can’t do on our own and I need to own that, breathe it in deep and get real in it.  Living Life with Jesus day by day and shutting up to listen are such hard and yet vital things for me to take on this year. Practicing the meditation of listening for God whenever I am breathing and being still while still living in the day to day are where I am stumbling forward. We are commanded to be still, but I judge myself when I don’t get enough done or feel misunderstood or called lazy. Still I must look ahead or I will fall behind.

I wish so much that there were a magic bullet or pretty sparkly pill that could fix me in all my messiness or craziness but God doesn’t make the journey that way. In humans, we have an intense desire to achieve and yet our self-will, fallen since Adam, wants the easy way and quick fixes.

There is no quick fix and no easy way. After cancer, I feel even more mixed up and lost than before, and with more issues, but God is with me, I do know that. And…. I am not the only one. This woman’s article that my niece posted is so much of what I have seen, even down to the post chemo issues medically.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2015/03/16/lost-in-transition-after-cancer/?EXIT_URI=http://mobile.nytimes.com/loginReturn?url=/blogs/well/2015/03/16/lost-in-transition-after-cancer/

Advertisements

Hair – Three Weeks Into Chemo

Well… I think it’s starting to happen. I could just be imagining it, but,I don’t think so. Was super tired this morning,and had the worse headache so far.

I slept longer, had a quieter day with friends, but tonight, after dinner, my scalp started tingling and as I ran my fingers through my hair, I could feel some strands coming out. Oh well, it is what it is, I am not super freaked but, i really had rather hoped and prayed to avoid this particular side effect. Later on, it is more definite, it is happening, ugh.

Tomorrow is 3 weeks out from Chemo and Dr. Ram told me it might happen around this time. My DH’s ideal response was “I will love you no matter what”; he makes life so much easier. Besides Jesus,Douglas is my rock.

20130327-040440.jpg

Friends

Thank God for my dear friends.

Today I went to my District Office. I found out my donated sick leave runs out on April 29th, 2013. This necessitated filling out the official paperwork for Medical Leave (without pay) that will begin April 30th, 2013, and goes for the rest of this school year. That will take me out of my current school and classroom placement. This means I will need to go and clean out my things from the classroom probably before the end of the school year. It’s hard to think about, but when I start Medical Leave, it will probably be time. That may mean a small storage unit or something until the future is clearer. Chemo will not end until well after the end of the school year and I have other health issues to deal with, as well. I did complete my intent form today, for next year, so at least that is out of the way, too.

The reason I mention friends is that my dear friend Laura met with me, knowing this whole situation is anxiety causing, and basically held my hand and walked me through it with the lovely lady in the medical leave department. Jacki in the leave department has been exceptionally helpful, and Laura has, herself, dealt with going on Personal Leave to take care of her ill father after he fell and broke his hip. I admit, I teared up and cried today while feeling overwhelmed with the whole work anxiety/fear thing. BUT, once again, God is in control and I MUST let Him be in charge and TRUST that He has better things in store for my future.

I have teacher friends that are willing to come and give their precious time to help me get things packed up and out of the classroom, and that means so very much to me. Teachers understand how much the pressure has been increasing over the past few years. I pray for my other teacher friends who also have had health issues or who are just feeling the strain, no matter what state they are in.

For me, in the past year especially, friends from all over have come out of the woodwork. Friends I haven’t seen much since childhood, ones that I have only known in the past year, and ones that have been there all along, or are only a phone call away. They have encouraged and reminded me of how they love me, just as I am, with all my quirks and lifelong foibles. I am blessed to be able to have friends that, even though we may not connect often, whenever we talk, it is like we had just spoken yesterday. I am blessed to know so many good people. I am thankful for my friends.

As far as how I am feeling, I am now trying another med that may help with the ADD and sleep. I have been very tired, and have been dealing with what I have come to call my Chemo headache. I don’t know if anyone has felt it quite this way, but it is like at the edges of my head and neck, like the trace of a headache, but not like a full blown one. My head is just kinda achy in spots. Maybe that has to do with the brain swelling that chemo can cause. I also heard from my doc to not take too many herbal things because they might interact and actually lessen the effects of the Chemo, which, obviously, wouldn’t be good. I want this be the one and only time, God willing, that I ever have to go through the Chemo process.

Right now, it is time to enjoy the rest of the day with my husband. Doctor’s and other appointments are done for the week hooray!

20130322-153843.jpg

20130322-154422.jpg

The Road Goes Ever, Ever On

20130315-205956.jpg
On day 2 post chemo, it is going well. Aside from a little sun sensitivity, I am feeling good. I am praying it will continue being a breeze to ride through.

It was a lovely day today, I read a book, accompanied my DH to an Italian Deli, he wanted an eggplant roll but they didn’t have any in the case. I got one chicken apple sausage link and then we both had snacks in Costco. Ate GF all day. Didn’t exercise today, we went to see The Call with Halle Berry, it was early enough that I was in bed just after 8pm.

Last night, I did get out on the E Lake Mead to Northshore Road to Boulder City and then home. Scarlett got her 3000th mile. I am hoping for 2000 more by June 1st. Riding Scarlett is such a blast, she makes me feel strong, that the Cancer is just a bump on the road and that I will ride right over it. Riding a motorcycle is just such freedom and I feel empowered. Just call me Red! I pray my hair will come back in red and curly, but not very likely.

OK, we started with a picture of a road, let’s end with a road picture! Goodnight.

20130315-204918.jpg

20130315-205912.jpg

First day of Chemo

image
Yesterday, 3-13-13, was my first experience with chemo (and coincidentally, Scarlett my HD CVO Street Glide’s very first birthday!) and I think it went very well. The port I had installed last Friday made the process much easier and I was back to the Blood and Cancer Center where I knew all the nurses from my prior six week’s experience with iron infusions; first Dextran, that I did not do well with (got hives), but then another iron that worked great. Anyways, the staff there are lovely nurses and do their best to make sure everyone is comfortable.

At first I was stressed when I signed in because I was late (but they knew I already had a physical therapy appointment that morning when they scheduled me), but rather than expediting me, the check in receptionist told me there were still a few ahead of me for Dr. Ram. Since I was supposed to see my doctor first, then get chemo starting at 11:45, I freaked out a little since it was already 11:30. Well the time came and went as were sitting in the waiting room, and it appeared to be a super busy day. Finally my doctor’s nurse came and got us (my dear husband (DH), came with me, bless him). We THEN endured another very long wait, and finally saw Dr. Ram for a few minutes. Good news: he said I could drive myself next time! He went over some of the procedures, entered my plan on the computer, and wrote me a few prescriptions. At last, we were ready to proceed.

It was 1:00pm when I snagged the one and only empty recliner in the chemo area. I brought a bag full of things along to occupy the time during chemo. I had my red prayer shawl that a dear friend had gotten for me (someone knitted, anointed, and prayed over for the shawl for healing), a few books, my iPad, some snacks, and water. I got settled in and the nurse Radka explained that I first would get Zofran and some steroid type meds, then IV liquids, I think it was, then some Benadryl and something to relax me, and the final meds of taxol and carbo. I had thought it was supposed to be take 5 hours, but maybe it sped up because of me having the port and starting late because Radka told me it would take about 4 hours.

When I was settled, my DH went to get me some chili. Before this, I had taken a little chill pill while the nurse was doing the first-time extra paperwork. After the IV’s started, I randomly picked a movie called “Then She Found Me” on Netflix. I can’t tell you much about the movie, but here’s the gist of it. Helen Hunt, the main character, was adopted and grew up Jewish, and desperately wanted her own biological child. After she got married, at age 39, it looked like her husband was bailing on marriage not even a year into it. At any rate, that was the time, right after my DH brought me some yummy chili (GF), that I drifted off to sleep. I woke up a few times to see the woman’s birth mother (Bette Midler) show up after her adopted mother passed on, and the delectable Colin Firth was there as a single parent of one of her students and a new love interest – yum! I guess things probably worked out, one way or another for a happy ending, and when I woke up, the end credits were rolling.

When I very comfortably came back to consciousness (no pain or nausea), it was about 5pm, and the meds finished up about 5:15pm. Really, I felt pretty normal. I had been warned, though, by a lovely woman I met at Layers Bakery Cafe the prior week, that they pump you full of steroids, so you might feel pretty good the second day but to not overdue it, because day three can hit like a ton of bricks with fatigue. I cleared all doc appointments for Thursday and Friday, in order to figure all this out.

Since I felt quite decent, my DH dropped me off at Coyotes Mexican for a bite to eat with my Black Mountain Harley Owners Group (BMHOG) for their monthly ‘meet and eat’. My DH really doesn’t enjoy that sort of gathering, so he came back and got me about 7:10pm as I was starting to feel tired. About 8pm so we went to bed. This is my DH’s normal bedtime or thereabouts since he has gone to day shift, praise God! Now, he gets up at 5:30am, which is not so easy for me, since I have ALWAYS been a night owl and he is a morning person anyway. But, one of the big deals about chemo is that my nurse advised to take as few of my regular meds as possible for the few days around chemo day because some meds and vitamins can interfere or decrease the chemo’s effectiveness, so this was an Ambien free night. I will have to check out the web for more information about possible med interferences.

After three hours sleep, speaking of night owls, I woke up at 11:45pm and decided to enter my days eating on ‘My Fitness Pal’ and found out I was low on protein for the day. In order to fix that, I made my IDS Vanilla Cinnamon protein drink. I warm up about half a cup to a cup of liquids first (I add some variation of what might include water, Almond Milk, Half and Half, Oregon Chai SF Chai Tee, or coffee) and then add my Upcal D and protein powder and blend it in my Magic Bullet. I LOVE that thing. So now, I am finishing my drink, my blog entry for the day, and heading back to bed. Incidentally, even with all the stress, I stayed GF, soda free, as sugar free as possible, and even caffeine free for the day!

Maybe if I feel really good, I will take a short ride on Scarlett today. We only need 48 miles to make 3000. I wanted to get it done on her first birthday yesterday, but I ran out of time – story of my life!

The funny thing is how life happens…

While you are making plans. I wanted to be out on my 2012 Street Glide with at least 10 thousand miles on it by this time of the year. Instead, I am starting chemo on Scarlett’s birthday. One year ago, my beloved CVO was born (built). She was built on March 13th, 2012, and I start chemo on 3-13-13. Weird, huh? Cancer is seriously annoying me, I have too much to be do with trying to get healthy physically, mentally (see post below) and emotionally (ditto). I am hoping chemo won’t slow me down too much, there is too much to do, and being so ADD, I get distracted all the time! God is with me, I know, and I am thankful for the many miracles He has done so far.Image