Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Update #47

Wrote this around 2 PM today. Didn't get a chance to send it out until now. I'm, thankfully, home!
Sitting at Roswell. Waiting for my scans. Again.

Not a place that I am unfamiliar with.
But not a place that makes it easy for me to rejoice.

The sad part is that I'm not alone.

In the last 15 minutes, there have been 30 other people, couples, families who have walked by my little, out-of-the-way place where I've set up shop as I wait. Whoops. Make that 31.

Time to be honest. Do you know what question I have asked myself over and over again during the past almost three years when I'm here?

Do I care?
Do I care that there are hundreds and hundreds of other patients here?
Or do I just care that I'm here?

Perhaps my answer to this question isn't completely black and white, but I do have a definitive answer to that question.

Chad and I have taken a very nice Christian worship song that has a line it is that says, "It's all about you, Jesus. And all this is for you, Jesus" and we - when we think the other person is being a bit selfish or egocentric - will sarcastically sing it to the other one but replace Jesus' name with one of our names. In essence what we're laughingly reminding each other of is that there is One who deserves to be the center of the world, but neither one of us is Him.

So, because Chad's off getting a quick bite to eat in the cafeteria, I guess I'm stuck singing that sarcastic version of that lyric to myself. Because, truth be told, that's how I feel right now.

I could lie to you and say that I don't care as much about myself as the others' who are in this place. I could pretend that I've never thought about it before or that it's a silly question. Or I could even lie to you and say that, from now on, I will care about others more than myself; after all, that's biblical. But since I have committed to walk this journey out with you as authentically as possible, those are not viable options.

The truth is that I'm in process on this one. And, while I wish my honest answer isn't what it is, the reality is that's where I am: I care very much what happens to me and sometimes that makes me focus only on me and what this means for my husband, my kids, my dog even :)

So why am I sitting here with a smile on my face after coming to this "you're not as good as you thought you were" realization?

Because, as much as I know that God intends for me to see things a bit differently than I see them today, I am so much more in awe of Christ.
Of His selflessness.
Of His countless examples of choosing to prioritize others.
Of His ability to change His own difficult on earth situation at any time by calling "legions of angels" to release Him and, yet, choosing not to.

Why would He do that?
Why on earth would He do all that when He could have easily and simply and quickly and painlessly have chosen not to?

(Here comes the reason for my smile…)

So that you and I could experience a forgiveness, a restoration and a freedom that is beyond words. Beyond what we deserve.

So that you and I could express our weaknesses and failures and questions and doubts and know that we will not be tossed aside as useless to Him.

So that you and I could be in a place - while not unfamiliar, but difficult - and know that we can experience a joy and a peace that defies the boundaries of our walls.

So that you and I can know that hard circumstances don't deny a good God.

Thanks, God, for that truth.  I needed that. I go to try to beat my record in the "How Fast Can You Chug Your CT Smoothie" contest, my heart is lighter and my mind is calmer. Good stuff.


P.S. I'll get the results on 2/6. Be back in touch then.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Update #46 And Then I Promise I'll Be Silent for a Few Weeks

Kinda easy day today.

Doctors aren't all that concerned about my tumor markers being above normal as they're only slightly above normal. However, they were adamant that it is time - actually I'm technically overdue - for repeat scans and so I will be going back to Roswell on January 30 for scans and then, the next week (2/6), for my regular monthly appointment.

My shoulders can relax again for 3 weeks. Gotta like that.

Thanks for loving us through this time. And I am behind on my reply emails so please know that, although perhaps I've haven't yet responded to something you've sent me, please know that I am so incredibly thankful for and encouraged by your words and even by your "no-words just frowny-face signs" that you send along!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Update #45

Bottom Line: Tumor Markers up outside of normal. Meet with dr. tomorrow morning (9:30 ish) to hear plan. Most likely scans will be scheduled near-term and then the treatment plan will be discussed based on those results.
The Bigger Story:There's a group who is doing the bible study I wrote last fall and they wanted to have an intro to the study. So, today, I went online to find the link to the four messages that I gave at my church in the summer of 2011 to send that link along to them. To help them "pick the best one" I stopped and listened to two of those messages.

Just minutes before hearing the news about my tumor markers, I got to listen to a girl (me) talk about what it was like to anticipate hearing potentially hard news the following week when she was going to have scans because her tumor markers were going up and the most likely explanation was that her treatment plan probably wasn't working any longer.

I heard her (me) talk about the provision and the promises of God and how - even when this Hill of a Hard Circumstance threatens to block her view of God (the right view of God, the full-of-promises and full-of-power and full-of-love view of God) - God is never for one second off His Throne. He is never unaware of her. That He is always seeing her, even when she can't see Him. That He is always acting in accordance to a purpose that far exceeds what she can imagine.

Boy did this girl need to hear that.

I know…doesn't it sound so bizarre that I was so encouraged by an August 2011 message from my own self? Quite honestly, I don't know if that makes it a great message that worth's hearing again or makes me a pretty poor truth-keeper! All I know is that I needed that powerful reminder because my Hill still lies before me and I still have to choose where my eyes will rest:

Will they rest on this scary Hill or will they rest on the face of the One who has already done more than what should be enough for me?

Oh that the "right answer" will be, in fact, the answer I choose...
Be back in touch soon.

By the way…here's the link in case you might want a reminder as well.
Scroll down to 8/24/2011 and you'll find a 5 minute intro by Chad. Then you'll see that there are four messages from me (dated 8/23 - 8/20. Not the real dates, but that must have been the way they identified the messages) I'd recommend the 8/21 or 8/20 one…

Monday, January 7, 2013

Update #44

Had a tough interchange with Emilie last night. My hold-her-cards-close-to-her-chest kid said some pretty hard things to me. While I don't know, in full, where some of her complaints and perceptions come from, some of them I absolutely do. I cringe because I know exactly where some of them come from.

They come from me. From wrong choices I've made as a mom. From wrong things I've said, from poorly worded comments I've made, from numerous times I don't stop and listen - truly listen - to the internal, softly spoken voices of my kids.

The truth is that Emilie's perceptions - some of them anyway - come because I've earned those perceptions. And that's…well…that's a huge "ouch."

Yes, it's painful at any time to see the effects of your weaknesses, mistakes, sins.
It cuts to the core at any time, right?
But it cuts particularly deep when you hear those words the day before you head to the doctor to find out what your tumor markers are doing.

Shouldn't you, Kristie, of all people know better? Shouldn't you choose better? Shouldn't you prioritize better? Live better? Love better?

Oh yes. Oh yes, I should.
But I don't always remember that.
And, because I don't, last night's conversation happened.

Tears flowed.  And then, thankfully, apologies poured out. Snuggles happened. I love you's were said. Smiles returned. The light was turned out and goodnight's were spoken.

And then what happened?
What do you do after you leave her room after hearing these hard, hard things?

You go into your room. Into the dark closet and you spend several minutes crying. Quietly so that she won't hear and be alarmed.

You spend more than a second thinking - wrongly, but you still think it anyway - that perhaps your children would be better off if someone else was their mom.

You spend a few painful moments wishing you could make everything all better. Wishing either your cancer diagnosis were gone or wishing that you'd never make another mistake again. Yet knowing that both would be nothing short of miraculous outcomes.

These moments are painful. Yet they also serve as deep reminders.
Humble reminders of who I really am. And who I am not.
And that I have a God who sees me.
Exactly as I am.
Imperfect. Mistake-laden. In a wimpy puddle of tears in her darkened closet.
And that He loves me anyway.
He forgives me anyway.
He holds on to me anyway.
He never walks away. Even when I might very well deserve it.

The dark moments of last night are a reminder of the depth of grace - undeserved favor - God has for me, for you. That, through Christ, He called us His own when we were far from deserving. And He keeps us as His own when we don't reflect Him very well.

And, ultimately, that's why I'm sharing this story. Not so you'll assure me that I won't be on the next America's Most Wanted for being the Worst Mom in the USA. But because even in the darkest moments, you and I both need to know that God's forgiving truth matters.

So as I head to Roswell tomorrow to hear - yet again - the internal status of my body, I would covet your prayers. Not just for my tumor markers to be in the normal range, but that - just as God's truth penetrated my darkened heart last night - it would penetrate into any of those dark places in Em's heart as well.

Thanks friends. Back in touch tomorrow or Wednesday…

Thankfully there are many, many, many fun and silly moments too!

Update #43

Some updates are difficult to write and some are easier.
This one is super simple:
Tumor markers went back down into the normal range.

Wow. I'm truly floored.

I think this goes without saying, but praising Him was easy today.
And I am thankful for that.
Superbly, superbly thankful.

Oops. Daniel's bus is coming. Gotta go. More later. (Or perhaps not…after all, did anyone know that there are only 21 days left until Christmas?!?!)

Thanks to you for, once again, standing in the gap for my family and me. I will never know how to express the depth of my appreciation.