Monday, November 17, 2014

Doing Battle, Week 8

Physically I was feeling better and better this week, though I've noticed my oxygen supply leaves something to be desired.  Mentally I faced a few challenges.

Have you ever see the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray?  So hilarious.  Except this week I felt like I'm living that.  For two months every day has been cancer.  Some of it has been wonderful, some of it has been hard but that same track keeps playing.  

Someone described it like watching a split screen.  Normal life is happening but always there in the corner is the cancer show.  This week I just wanted to watch the normal life show.

Shaun very delicately wondered if the cause of me feeling down might be due to the fact that I haven't run in a month.  I think that is exactly it.  I'm having withdrawals from the endorphins I've been addicted to the majority of my life.  So, we spent some time looking for treadmills.  Hopefully this week...

We got a packet in the mail from our insurance company this week:

Dear Ms. Cour:
We recently notified you that we will move you to a new plan for 2015 that meets all of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Coverage under your current plan ends on December 31, 2014.....

This "Affordable" Care Act has taken our monthly premium and doubled it while increasing our deductible, making our annual out-of-pocket health insurance cost more than $30,000.  I'm having trouble picturing Obama and his people sitting around a table coming up with this new and improved health care system, seeing what it would cost self-employed middle-class citizens, and being ok with that.

Thankfully Shaun has been working with a broker from our church and we are switching plans for 2015.  There is still no part that is "affordable" but we will save a few thousand.

Amy and I went to see a Genetics Counselor, as recommended by the surgeon.  She spoke extensively about chromosomes and genes and DNA, complete with charts and graphs.  With information I provided she was able to put together my family tree.  She took into account me, my siblings, my children (7), my father and his parents and siblings (9), my mother and her parents and siblings (5) and all my first cousins (25) and my (blood) nieces and nephews (14).  

What I thought was quite remarkable is that of those 60 people, just three, including me, have been diagnosed with cancer.   Must be that hearty western blood (my parents were born in Montana and Idaho).  :)

In the end I chose to do the testing (a simple blood draw...from my port, which is completely healed and causes me no pain while sleeping and doing other regular activities), primarily to provide as much information as I can to my siblings and children.  We have over 20,000 genes in our bodies and right now they are only able to test a small handful of those, but at least it will be something.

In the midst of feeling down this week, God recalled these scriptures to my mind even before I was out of bed one day and I've been mediating on them throughout the week.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

From the Message: So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.

This morning in my inbox Christine Caine was using those same scriptures:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Your God is bigger than any challenge you are facing. Our problems that seem so overwhelming will grow small in the light of His greatness. Last time I checked, the devil was small enough to fit under my feet and God is big enough to fill the heavens and earth.

Be encouraged today that our God is well able to do all things! Just focus on Him and His promises.

Today as I go for Round # 3, I choose to focus on His promises.  Did you know there are more than 8,000 in the Bible??  And they are there for you and for me.  He doesn't place them in our hands, but they are within our reach.  Take Him up on His promises...He will NOT fail.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Project 365, Week 46

I was afraid this fall would go by at a snails pace because of my treatments, but instead life continues to move along at a rapid clip.  We enjoyed some warm weather but then towards the end of the week it turned cold and we saw the slightest bit of s-n-o-w.  Boo!  :(

November 9
Shaun took the three younger kids to be part of Pillars of Fire, performing close enough to home.  He reported it was a standing-room-only crowd and the show was powerful.

I took this off of FB...looks like the stage was as small as they said.  Avery fell off during one scene, and even though she was mortified, I heard she played it off like a pro.
 November 10
Lots of work to be done.
 November 11
The kids were off of school but the girls had several engagements throughout the day, so Aiden and I took a walk.  Though we're nearing the end of the pretty part of the season, there is still much beauty to be found (and many leaves to be raked! :).
 November 12
I love watching these two be carefree kids.
 November 13
Slaying dragons by himself in the yard.
Another performance, this time in Massachusetts at a women's retreat with about 800 in attendance.  It was Aiden's first time in this show and Shaun said he did great.  Later, Brent said many commented on his cheeks.  :)  I have pictures from a late ultrasound that show those squeezable, kissable, caressable cheeks.

Amy and I gathered this pictures from Instagram.

 November 14
Thirty-five degrees at game time for R's last home game and also senior night.  I only stayed for the first was cold!!

 His coach took the time to tell Shaun and I what a "fine young man" we have.  Sometimes I feel like I am buried in the day-to-day with him, so its nice to be reminded that he really is a good kid.  He's worked really hard and been very committed this football season and he's learned a lot about life along the way.  Good stuff.

 Like I said...cold.
 November 15
I went to wake Aiden up for church and he was just too sweet lying there sound asleep.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Signs of Life

Instead of seeing imperfections as thorns in my decorating flesh, I want to open my eyes and see them as signs of life.  These messes all stem from gifts in my life.  I still clean the mud off shoes (or make my boys do it), but I also know that if a neighbor walked in and saw a trail of mud, I wouldn't need to be embarrassed.  Its just proof of lives being lived, and houses are for living.  My home is a reflection of our life, and life's messes can be gloriously beautiful. ~The Nesting Place


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Saints Day

Last year Avery did a Saint project and I felt like it was a major deal that took up a lot of her resources and ours.  She spent hours and hours on research and writing her paper and putting her costume together.  Like her daddy, she's a bit of a procrastinator and a perfectionist.

Amanda is more like her momma....get it done right away to "clear it off your plate" and "good enough" is perfectly acceptable.  When I was going to college I prided myself in almost always being the first one in class to hand in an best work was done if I didn't deliberate.

Amanda did the project very independently and handed it in well before the deadline, despite us urging her to give it some more time.  But she was confident in her efforts and never looked back.

She first chose St. Hope (for her middle name) but there was precious little information on her and only tragedy at that.  So she landed on St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and merchants.

Third grade was in charge of mass and Amanda had a special responsive reading, in addition to her saint presentation.  She nailed both and I was so proud.

Aiden and I snuck in back for the first 15 minutes until Amanda had done her part.  Shaun joined us just a minute after I snapped this.

There was a reception after that I opted out of because of germs, but a classmate's mom sent me this picture.  She said she ate snack with Amanda and a couple friends and she described Amanda as sweet and witty.  That she is.  And very loved.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November's 10 on 10

I'm feeling black and white this month and the times are definitely approximations.

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month (Monday)!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}

11 AM
Aiden had been out late doing theater the night before, so we didn't see him until after 11.  He always comes down fully dressed, down to socks, usually with shoes in hand.  Then he gets to work on breakfast, since most days he didn't eat dinner the night before.
 12 PM
It was a beautiful day so Aiden went outside and scrounged up some important work to do.
 1 PM
My mom stopped by with food and took the girls on a little outing.  (The girls were off of school for a teacher in-service day...yay!)
 2 PM
Enjoying the day.
 2:30 PM
Waiting for cousins to arrive.
 3 PM
Pop and Kiki brought some food over too and got to see nine grandkids in one shot.  :)
 4 PM
Amy brought food (we are WELL cared for!!) and stayed for a wonderful visit.  She's had a cough so I hadn't seen her in two weeks.  :(  We had a nice quiet conversation since we banished the kids outside to minimize the possibility of germ-spreading.
 5 PM
Aiden slept through our morning school session, so Amanda did it with him before dinner.
6 PM
Shaun is plugging away on some house projects.  Always good to see the joint compound come out!
 7 PM
Avery facilitated a science experiment before bed.