Monumental Moves

“Who’s your favorite hero?”

“I have so many! Jesus, my parents, my sons, and Abraham Lincoln,” I replied. There are SO MANY. How do I choose?

James went on to share how his little boy, Arlo, LOVES Abraham Lincoln. Our quick bond was formed over the love of kids and history.  By the end of our cordial conversation, I had functioning internet (admittedly, it was a long 5 days without it). I rejoined the 21st century, and little Arlo would soon have a signed copy of my Missouri children’s book. To me, it was monumental.

Today is President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Washington/Lincoln Day, George Washington Day, or maybe Presidents Day depending on where you live. For most states, it’s an official holiday. I join others in celebrating leadership that has impacted positive changes. Rather than complaining about the combative, capsizing with the confrontational, and crippling ourselves over the corrosive, could we celebrate our capabilities? Can we cling to what’s ceremonial without being callous? Will we stay calm instead of cheeky? What’s it going to take?

Well, Arlo received his book. I’ve met new neighbors. I’m writing to you for the first time in a LONG time sitting in a different home. My little bluff is not here. But Finn and I have a backyard. It’s monumental. My youngest son and family just visited. It was monumental. Hopefully, I’ll be visiting my oldest and his family in the next few weeks. It will be monumental. I have a monumental request for those that truly know me. If I become negative and grow into a mean old woman you have permission to shake me into shame. Cancer CAN’T make me callous! If there’s anything I’ve learned in trying to grow my grit, wisdom, and emotional maturity, it’s this: I’ll not live a life of faith only to lose it at the end. Like always, my flannel keeps me warm. My faith keeps me moving. It’s monumental!

I’m on day 23 in my new rental home, day 279 since being diagnosed with cancer, and day 38 since I last published. It’s been two weeks since the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The death toll has surpassed 46,000.  My heart hurts- desperation, loss, mourning, and even celebrations. In an instant life can change and crumble around you. Life is monumental. I’m still here. I’m the girl who wishes to serve to help the devastated lives, the girl who prays over family and all of you each morning, the girl who attempts to be nice to everyone I meet, and the girl who could be bitter but chooses not to dive in that destructive ditch. I’m the girl still curious but ok with not knowing (that’s taken much practice). I’m a girl with a song in my heart, memories in my mind, and a longing in my soul. I’m the girl who wishes to see her grandkids grow, learn, and gravitate toward goodness. I’m the girl that still believes love always wins. Love is monumental.

“There’s Your Sign!”

It was bittersweet. Approached by my neighbors and dear friends, a DIVINE-DIRECTED DEAL was made. My home was swiftly sold, and another home was rapidly rented.

The day of the move arrived. “Did you all see that zebra on the side of the U-Haul?” Looking outside we shared a good laugh and a simultaneous chorus- “There’s your sign!” Even more monumental? The painted words described the mystery of America’s first horse in Hagerman, Idaho. One of my daughter-in-law’s grandparents lives there. How many can say they’ve been to Hagerman? “There’s another sign!”🦓

Thank you, God, for my precious neighbors, current and past, and the ministry that will merge through this monumental move. Thank you to my tribe of “hiking hooligans” (love that name given by my blogging friend, Tim!) for making this move so smooth for Finn and me. My family and I are so thankful for all of you!

A tribe of friends, a zebra, a U-Haul, Finley, and a monumental move!

Have you heard of NET yet?

Recap since last May’s diagnosis: Last summer I downed 44 doses of chemotherapy (which had little to no impact). Last September I had round one of a four-part radiation treatment used to treat tumors of inoperable Neuroendocrine Cancer. Lutathera, also named P.R.R.T. (Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy), is a radioactive targeted therapy for neuroendocrine tumors. Unlike typical radiations, this includes administering amino acids to protect my kidneys as the medicine binds directly to this specific cancer receptors. THIS IS VERY STRONG STUFF!

Results from my scan two weeks ago showed improvement! Yay! The largest tumors on the pancreas and liver have shrunk. The bones and lymph nodes are a bit more stubborn.

With improvement, there are also risks. The first round wasn’t too bad. The 2nd treatment (Nov. 29th) resulted in much more sickness. The holidays, family visits, weather, and the recent move have kept me absent. I wanted to be settled in my new place and ready for round number three…IT WOULD HAVE BEEN TOMORROW.

Why do I feel so lousy? My blood labs last week offered evidence. My platelets and other cells are low. I’m at high risk for infection. No wonder I feel weak! The players that would help me make this decision were not available. The roles were muddied. Advocacy was active-my own and from family and friends. This morning I received an affirmative phone conversation. The wise and right choice was made. I was too low.

I’m learning the roles of all my doctors. The surgeons, oncologists, geneticists (I’ll share that later 😉), primary care, endocrinologist, bone radiologist, and the list goes on. One doctor orders treatment, the other administers (you follow up with assistants), and another one helps with symptoms. There are many layers.

This Wednesday I will have more blood labs and visit my oncologist. We will celebrate the good stuff and hopefully, find ways to grow my strength and build the blood. Decisions are tough. As much as I want to shrink the tumors, statistically, they return. ANY SHRINKAGE will help the tumor burden I was told. However, if the treatments make me so sick how high is the cost?  As much as I ask for surgery, it’s not going to happen. My blood issues make things trickier. All I can do is follow my heart and my gut. How blessed am I to have family support?

My faith will be forged through these monumental moments in my life.🦓 💚

Friends, you are loved. No matter what. P.S. Finn and I love you too. 💕

Have faith 💛

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