Made to survive
Monday, March 17, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
words crowd the tiny screen of my cell phone as i push them up and down to see what has escaped. i blog in defiance of what is happening in my life right now because this is "my crowd" where i feel welcoming hugs and comforting words.
thoughts crowd my mind, keeping me awake at night. worries, fears, hurts, and negativity. i push them out. refusing to belong to that crowd, and reach for His words. His "crowd."
i let myself escape into the safety and comfort of Him.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
|Image Source: WeHeartIt.com|
i watched it for so long, i was almost late logging into my computer
i don't remember ever seeing a bluebird here before
and i've lived here for a very long time
i've seen robins and orioles and kingfishers and eagles
i've seen hawks and mockingbirds and cardinals and blue jays
but i don't think i have ever seen a bluebird
it appeared on a "blue" day for me
so perhaps it was a sign
they say bluebirds bring happiness
so maybe there is some on the way for me
i've been struggling to wrap my mind around everything that has happened in the past two weeks
it is so hard to even comprehend that it has only been two weeks
things were apparently happening long before that
ignorance truly was bliss
i feel as if i have woken up on some foreign planet
or in a parallel universe where there are no such things
as happily ever afters
the more i learn about the man i married
the less i know about my life as it was
it was a beautiful bluebird i saw this morning
and i hope i see it again tomorrow
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I don't know what you've been facing lately, but I know that it is the encouraging words that I have been reading and hearing the past week that have kept my heart from sinking when things have begun to turn upside down in my life.
Words have come from unexpected sources that confirm that this path that God has put me on is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now.
Scriptures. Casual comments in emails. Quotes read in magazines. A status on facebook. A pin on Pinterest. A blog post that reaches out to my heart and just says ... yes, you are right where God wants you to be. Even when things have been the most painful, when the truth that He is revealing to me cuts me to the core ... I know that He is still with me and that there is a plan for all of this.
I may not see the road ahead of me just yet because I am still blinded by the trees, but I know that with His master GPS ... the road is being made clear, the path will be known, and the destination will be glorious.
The other truth and encouragement that has carried me along this road has been the knowledge that I am not alone. Not just that God will never leave me or forsake me, but the truth that there are others ... like you ... who have walked this path before me and survived. There will be those who follow in my steps also one day and realize that they too will survive. Whatever the road, whatever the journey ... we are not alone in our walk and whether we reach out to hold someone's hand along the way, or we trudge along on our own ... we are not alone.
Take my hand ....
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
soothing my mind as i review
forms that will end my marriage
rain ... falling like tears
blink blink blink
wipe the tears away
rain ... showering me clean
cleansing my heart
refreshing my spirit
rain ... watering the seeds of hope
new growth and fresh starts
washing away the past
rain ... tap tapping on the skylight
soothing my mind as i drift to sleep
curled between the dog and cat
Monday, March 10, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
On 30 May 2012, I had laser surgery to remove some cancerous cells that have invaded my body. It isn't past tense on purpose. The cells are still there ... just waiting. The rare vaginal cancer that I have ~ Vaginal Intra Epithelial Neoplast ~ has an 80% chance of returning ... and spreading. So I'm really kind of in limbo.
It still amazes me that so few women that I've spoken to about my cancer have ever heard of it, or knew that it was possible.
The National Cancer Institute believes that vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that affects less than 2% of all gynecological cancers in women. I believe that percentage is wrong. I believe that more women get it, but because they don't get annual pelvic exams, it isn't detected until it gets to Stage IV when it has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.
This is a cancer that is caused by HPV. The delayed and unexpected gift from an unfaithful fiancée over thirty years ago. That said ... mothers, protect your daughters [and now sons] by getting them the vaccine. It will protect girls from approximately 19,000 cancers, and boys from 8, 000 cancers as they grow up. [stats from here]
The information below is paraphrased from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America's website. I'm sharing it not to cause panic, but to show how important it is for women to continue to have annual pelvic exams even if they have had a hysterectomy (partial or full) or have ever been told it wasn't necessary to continue the exams.
The point that I really want to stress is that this IS a cancer that can spread if it goes undetected. You must be an advocate for your own health. Get annual exams especially if you have had to have a hysterectomy due to any kind of dysplasia. Get annual exams even if you haven't.
I had my hysterectomy in March of 2006 and continued to get annual pelvic exams every six months for two years after. Then I was able to go back to just once a year for the next three years. I didn't have any abnormal test results (again) until December 2011 when my test came back showing dysplasia in some cells. The vinegar colposcopy biopsy done in January came back VaIN 1. Another one in February came back VaIN 2, and by the time of my surgery in May ... it was VaIN 3 ~ Cancer. That is how quickly it advanced. The surgeon felt that he had removed 95-98% of it ... which sounds good, but still leaves "something" to begin again.
This is the shadow I live under. Not the "if" it comes back, but the "when" and the "where."
I'm supposed to go back for a pelvic exam every six months now, but I had to go to the county health clinic for the one in December 2012. They'd never heard of my cancer before, so did a simple exam, without vinegar which is now being used to see cancerous cells. [read this article]
I was due for another one last June, but didn't go because I wanted to go back to the doctor who did my surgery a year ago, I just couldn't afford it.
Even after I got a full time job in September last year that offered insurance, I couldn't go for another exam in December because none of the doctors I needed to see accepted my insurance. I would have had to pay for the office visit in full and just don't have the money ... or the desire to add to my stack of bills that give me nightmares. When I changed my insurance to the next level up at open enrollment ... the money they started taking out of my paycheck to cover it put me back on that paycheck-to-paycheck roller coaster. Paydays I have to decide what is more important ... lights? water? food? gas in the car to go to work? Not to mention that I would miss work to see a doctor and then have a smaller paycheck as a result. It is a vicious cycle.
There are a combination of guidelines set by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) to stage vaginal cancers. These guidelines help doctors get an overall picture of the extent to which the cancer is affecting the body by taking into account size, shape and spread.
"The TNM system evaluates the size and extent of the tumor (T), the spread of the cancer to the lymph nodes (N), and whether or not the cancer has spread (M) to other sites, using the letter M to indicate metastasis. The combined summary of the categories TNM are reported as Stages 0-IV. The FIGO system, on the other hand, stages vaginal cancer based on the size and the extent of the tumor (T)."
"TNM Stage Grouping for Vaginal Cancer
The following are the TNM stage groupings for vaginal cancer:
- Stage 0 Vaginal Cancer - Called carcinoma in situ (CIS), this cancer appears in the epithelium, the top cells lining the vagina. Women may also hear their doctors call this Stage 3 vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN).
- Stage I Vaginal Cancer - The cancer may have grown throughout the vagina, but it has not spread beyond the vagina. It has also not spread to the lymph nodes or other distant sites.
- Stage II Vaginal Cancer - Doctors have discovered cancer in the connective tissue near the vagina. The disease has not spread to the wall of the pelvis or other areas of the body.
- Stage III Vaginal Cancer - The vaginal cancer has spread to the walls of the pelvis and/or the nearby lymph nodes. No distant sites are affected by the cancer.
- Stage IV Vaginal Cancer - In Stage IV, the cancer may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes. There are two ways to classify stage IV depending on where else in the body the cancer has spread to:
- Stage IVA - The cancer may be found in the bladder, rectum or other organs located next to the vagina, and possibly the lymph nodes. Distant organs or sites are not affected.
- Stage IVB - This is the most advanced stage, indicating the vaginal cancer has spread to distant sites elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs."
Friday, March 7, 2014
she was willing to love him
she was willing to help him
she was willing to share her life with him
she wasn't willing to lose herself
she wasn't willing to take part in the things that destroyed them
|Image Source: WeHeartIt.com|
she was willing to love him
she was willing to pray for him
she was willing to let him go
He was willing to take the cross for them
He was willing to die for them
He was willing to love them
He was willing to forgive them
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
What if ... love was all it took to heal people? Cure them? Free them? Help them? What if we tried anyway? What would it hurt? Even if from a distance ... isn't it better to just love?
and the greatest of these
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It has been a trying week, hasn't it? I know I've struggled. Layoffs at work ... dead car battery in a week when the paycheck needed to stretch farther than it did ... anxiety ... frustration ... choices ... decisions ... heartbreak. Aching heartbreak and loss.
But it is the small things that make the biggest difference in our days. Friends who come through to help when you call. Amazing sunrises. Astounding sunsets. Spring flowers rebelling against the latest cold snap. Warm snuggles under the covers with my cat. The comfort of my dog leaning up against my legs. The words that tell us of truth ... and of love.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Overwhelmed with a plate full of fear and worries.
Yesterday's messages from churches helped.
But it's Monday ... and Mondays can usually bring their own stress.
This Monday, however, brought some relief.
I escaped the short list for the May 2nd layoffs at work.
So am able to breath and know that at least ...
I have room on my plate for dessert.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
All is well.
I listened to an incredible message this afternoon from Joel Osteen titled "All is Well." I would highly recommend listening to it, no matter what your circumstances or beliefs, it is a powerful and positive message about changing our attitudes about the challenges and trials that we face.
Which while directed to parents and children, from Ephesians 6:1-4 and Deuteronomy 11:18-21, I could apply to my own life ... and to just how to act towards anyone in our lives.
laugh about catching people on my blind side, but
i'm the one who isn't laughing
now. sometimes life throws you a curve.
drops the other shoe.
slides the rug right out from under you.
in times when you think you know where you stand
darkness descends and you are left wondering what is real.
even those things you once felt were safe ... aren't anymore.
don't let go of the light within you. hang on. hang on.