01 March, 2011

Buying Time

LJ is home from work today. He's getting a rotten head cold and since the roads weren't all that great this morning (even though is LOOKS beautiful outside). He figured he would stay home and try to nip the sinusitis in the bud. At any rate, it's affording me a while to write, something I'm finally ready to do.

All the Sunday Six posts and posts about playdates, video links, and the mundane things of life (while important to me in a certain light - and I really do HATE abortion; and I'm pretty sure I *really* do *need* these shoes, these boots, and this bag) - well they've all just been a distraction, a bit of a ruse, a trick I've been playing on myself so that I won't have to write about Real Life.

Real Life is Cancer. My Mom has cancer. She's had it once before a few years ago. She had surgery just before we moved back to Canada, and that was supposed to fix the problem. But something wasn't right and she could feel it. Then her leg started to swell...and swell. Then they found The Tumour. And The Blood Clot right beside The Tumour. Which is right beside a major artery or something so it can't just be removed, no quick fix. So all summer, she had radiation. Then it took forever to get a CT to see if the radiation had done anything besides reduce the swelling incredibly. It hadn't really. And now there are Spots on the liver.

The good news is that while one of the spots has increased in size, two of the others have shrunk somewhat, and the fourth is hardly visible at all on the CT. The bad news is that chemo...well...it doesn't necessarily guarantee a cure or remission or any of those good things. What it does, bluntly, is buy time. How much time? There's no telling that at this point. As long as the tumour and spots are shrinking, it's buying lots of time, but it's still not a guarantee. There are still three more chemo treatments left before the next CT and the next re-evaluation and a lot could happen between now and then....

We all get to a certain age where we realize that some day we're going to die. That's a near surety. By accident, old age, or some wretched disease, unless the glorious return of Christ happens before then, "It" will happen. It's a reassurance to me that the Sovereign God of our universe knows EXACTLY when I will draw my last breath. My 'fate' if you will, was decided long ago. But there's something about confronting it head-on, or in this case, with a beloved family member, that brings that cutting reality home in a more real and painful way then most of us will ever admit being ready to deal with. When our grandparents pass on, it's a horrible thing. Often, we have loved them like second parents, we have learned from them, grown with them (even though they never really seemed to age)....And then one day they're gone and death is one generation closer to us. To ME.

In the meantime, while we're buying time with drugs and praying for a miracle all the same (knowing that God will do exactly as He wills - nothing more, nothing less - Oh, how we would be so completely lost without God's sweet, sweet Grace!), we wait. We try our best to treat every trip like it's the last, every holiday like it's the last....and I mean every 'I love you', Mom, like it's the most important phrase I'll ever say to you. I have no idea how to tell you Mom, how very much you mean to me, how very much I love you, and how I have no idea what I'll ever do without you. For now, thank you for being so strong, for persevering, for sharing with us what God is teaching you through this, and for fighting. I - WE - love you.

I know you maybe didn't want me to write about this, Mom, but thanks for understanding that I need to. I've needed to for a long time.

02 February, 2011

While You Were Out

If this doesn't break your heart, you should check to make sure you still have one.

CAUTION: This is pretty graphic and is NOT for viewing with kids in the room!! (Seriously.)


02 January, 2011

Sunday Six - Post-Christmas Ed.

Christmas came upon us with the haste and fury of a nasty Nor'easter and now it's passed us in a blur. We've been hopped up on way too much sugar for the past week and a half and now will have to wean ourselves off our favourite drug. The girls got far too many toys and had far too few naps. Next week is back to reality and settling down to enjoy our gifts!

In no particular order, here are six of my favourite presents (there are probably more than six, but I can't name them all now - mostly because I'm tired [I probably need some sugar]).

#1) I knew this muffin pan was coming because I was there when LJ bought it. I've been dreaming about it (truly) since we got it home. I've been waiting a whole week to break it in and the wait is nearly over because on Monday morning, I'm breaking out my apron! Recipe suggestions anyone?

#2) Junior Mints. Never was there a candy so chocolately- (it's a word, now, okay?) glazed in perfection. I've never tried, but I'm pretty sure I could eat Junior Mints every day. I'm guessing I shouldn't, but then, we did just acquire #6....

#3) Coincidentally, we bought this exact CD for my brother this Christmas. I haven't had a chance to even listen to it yet (having only been its recipient a mere four days ago) but I listen to some of it online all the time so I plan to do so very soon. The only reason why I'm not listening to it right now is because the Little Goat is fast asleep in our room and that's where our presents are hiding out for the time being.

#4) Socks. All of us got socks this year. I can always use socks. Especially when on the first very cold day of winter I sadly discovered that my favourite pair of Smartwool socks has a huge hole in the bottom. How that escaped me last season I can't figure, but I now have a grand total of FIVE replacement pairs of socks to keep my tootsies toasty all winter! Woot!

#5) Cash. Some people think cash is a cop-out, just an easy (perhaps lazy) way to give a gift. I disagree. When giving a gift to someone you're close to, sometimes the fun it letting that person pick out something they've secretly had an eye on; letting them save the money for exactly the right moment when they spot the Perfect Thing - a thing you might have passed over or missed in a hurry to choose a gift. It's also a lovely expression of love when the giver doesn't have the physical fortitude or ability (or is too far away and mailing a box would be too expensive) to spend time shopping themselves. We got some greatly appreciated monetary gifts for Christmas and so far we've made a grand total of two purchases with said cash: a toboggan for the kids (which Squawky hates, by the way) and...see #6.

#6) This was a complete surprise! I've been hinting about it for weeks (months, maybe) but figured I should stop because even I was getting tired of hearing myself talk about it. We got a couple of very nice Christmas gifts of cash (see #5) and LJ suggested we divvy it all up and get whatever we wanted. We've since changed out minds and no gesture was a greater expression of that decision than the secretive purchase of this on Wednesday. LJ's parents were visiting and he was at work. The rest of us were out for the day and when we got home, it was sitting in the garage! The only downside is that I am now officially Without Excuse. It's got lots of nifty exercise workouts pre-programmed so I'll let you know how it goes.

Two thousand ten was a bittersweet year for us. We've been so richly blessed with so much but the realization that time is rapidly slipping away from us in other areas has been difficult. We are grateful for how far God has brought our little family and for all the special moments He allowed us to have and all the sweet, sweet memories He created for us this Christmas.

Now, the New Year has begun. Turning over a page on a calendar (we really should get a new one, shouldn't we?) doesn't change much that's happening in our lives, but it does give us hope in the sovereignty of God to carry us through another 12 months. May you be blessed beyond anything you can imagine and in ALL things in 2011.

P.S. The pork roast turned out great! In fact, everything about the meal was lovely.