Monday, September 29, 2014

It's just life...

Today started a little bit quieter.  Steven received two units of blood, and in doing so, also received Benadryl.  Apparently chemo is no match for Steven, but Benadryl?  It gets him EVERY. TIME.

I spent much of the morning catching up on "ordinary" stuff.  I paid some bills, and made dentist appointments for the kids.  Both were reminders that life goes on.

Although it feels at times like the world has stopped spinning, I realize that hasn't.  In fact, on the drive to the hospital this morning, I realized that in a couple of days, it will have been a month since this current portion of our journey started.  There are days it feels like an eternity, and others it feels like minutes since our world was turned on its end.


We have spent almost a month now with the nurses and care associates on the 7th floor of Mercy and they have all been amazing.  The seamless way they make this uninvited time in our lives a little less strained has been an answer to a prayer I didn't even have the clarity to pray.

There has been numerous times that they have stopped me in the hall with words of encouragement. They have shared parts of their lives and in the process, became a part of our extended family.  Steven has this uncanny ability to connect with everyone on some level and, in the process, he has learned intimate details of the lives of everyone from the nurses to the ladies that come and clean his floor.  

I'd like to think that we are a part of their extended family too.  I'd also like to believe that the thoughts of Steven, and our kids, stay with them after they have left the hospital and that their prayers for him continue after they have returned home to their normal life.  After all, he isn't just a name on a chart.

He is a blessing to so many that have had the pleasure to know him and, I believe, that he is also a blessing to those who are, just now, getting the privilege to know him.

It was when passing the nurses station today that one mentioned the shirt I was wearing.  It was one that had been brought to me by my friend, Manda.  It was the same shirt that a very secretive, yet effective, group of people had made and wore to a benefit that was held for our family only NINE days after Steven's diagnosis.  These secretive people have never once wanted acknowledgement, or a pat on the back.  And, to me, that speaks VOLUMES as to the intent in which their generosity was displayed.  I will never know how many people were in this group and I will never be able to say "thanks" enough.

I have since found out that these shirts are being purchased and worn as a symbol of hope.  Hope for Steven.  Hope for those with leukemia.  Hope for the future.

It doesn't hurt that they are cool too. 

Who doesn't love a mustache?  Steven was sporting the handlebar mustache long before it was cool to do so.  Although, if you ask him, he will tell you it has ALWAYS been cool to do so.

And now, some of these same people that have worked with, and for, Steven, on the 7th floor of Mercy, want to show their support, and hope, for him, and his journey, by getting shirts of their own.  

This is so moving.  And, once again, I have no words.


Today a nurse also mentioned that she read my blog.  I'm not sure why, but this shocked me.  I even mentioned to Steven that I didn't even know how she would know about it.  

It's a smaller world than I've ever realized.

After she began saying nice things about Steven and I, I gave voice to some concerns that had been rolling around in my head, in an effort to set the record straight.  

It is imperative to me that everyone realizes that although my words may flow well, and paint an acceptable picture of our journey, it is no way meant to minimalize my imperfections or, for that matter, Steven's. Although, admittedly, he has fewer than I do.

Please note, I will never admit to saying this.

There have been people remarking on my strength despite my assurances that I am anything but.  There has also been little said about the day to day trials that we face.  

Everyday trials that everyone faces....

Lately there has been much focus on the big picture, leukemia, and the blessings and the curses.  However, in making this the focus, little has been said about the shortfalls, that namely, I have.  I am still the person I have always been.  Those weaknesses and imperfections are still there.  Sadly, cancer hasn't erased those.

There are times I want to have a pity party for myself.  There are times I find myself aggravated with my hard headed husband.  

Yes.  The same husband that has cancer.  

There are times I am short with the kids and just need a moment to collect myself.  There are times I have no idea what the "right thing" to do is.  There are times that my faith waivers and I find myself consumed in fear.

There are many times I just want my old life back.  

I'm not strong.  I'm not amazing.  I am deeply and thoroughly flawed.  

I am dealing with something I had never even imagined dealing with and I have no instruction manual that tells me the best way to handle it.

But, in Steven's words, words he spoke just moments after his diagnosis, "It's just life".  Although there are dark moments, and moments we'd like to take back and do over, as long as we are on life's journey, the only thing we can do is to keep moving forward.

I am not special.  I am no stronger than you.  I have moments everyday that I am not proud of.

I am not amazing.

I am just trying to make it through this life...with my entire family in tow and intact.

Please pray for us all.


Manda said...

I know a few things: I will never convince you that you are amazing so I will just say I love you....second..your writing IS amazing..and third, you look super hot and skinny in the mustache shirt....

Sara Herren said...

I agree with Manda..... on all accounts!!!!! You rock that shirt, girl! And you are so loved, as is your children and so is Steven. So is Sarah, Lynette, Joyce, Bob.... the list goes on and on. Love you.

Anonymous said...

You sound pretty amazing to me! From reading your words you seem much stronger than you give yourself credit for! I will be praying for your family!

Donna Vincent said...

Kim I do not personally know you and Steven very well. I do know that with Gods will and strength you guys will get through this and your sweet family will remain in tack. I so enjoy reading your blog, I feel like I know you through it and a prayer is said each time for Steven and good health to come his way. Would love to help, I want a shirt too!

Cindy Butler said...

Kim, I am so sorry you and your family have to go through this journey. My heart is truly breaking for you all. The memories of this journey will make a great story for your grandchildren. You just grab every "imperfect moment" and remember it. Each imperfection we have makes us who we are and I really don't know anyone who would want to change you. Your love for each other and your faith will see you through this. You are an amazing person everyday not only just through this journey.

Cindy Shannon said...

I love your blog, keep writing ... it is good for you and most definitely good for us, your readers. Thank you for your transparency, because real people give us hope. I will always remember your commitment to 'create knowledge'
and here you are.
I will continue to pray as so many are praying and reading your blog.

Kay Wilson said...

Kimberly, no comparison to my "just life" events... but, it stinks. Not sure how I "looked" strong some days. Because often I was crumbling inside. Your transparency is there, I hope you don't feel the need to defend yourself or your abilities to walk out this journey. We serve a big God. I have no doubt He carried me more often than I carried myself, and just as your children won't always feel your immediate presence you know exactly where they are and when they have need of you.... So does God.
You are doing great!! You are a treasure to your husband, children, parents, sister and friends and family. Much love and many prayers. Kay Wilson

Mike and Linda Flores Family said...

I hope these few words of encouragement will help. I know we don't know each other except for waving at each other as we pass on the road. I guess I'm not a very good neighbor although we have lived up the hill for almost 4 years. I have been where you are for the last 4 years. You will lose your identity, you will be by your husband's side no matter what and you will also try to take care of all of the things that life throws at you daily. All of the everyday things don't matter. Your family is what matters the most. You are a unique Child of God. He knows you personally and he knows what you can handle. Don't be afraid when you come to the end of the line and your energy to put things in Heavenly Father's hands and let him guide and help you. He loves you and won't let you fail if you put your trust and faith in him. I am close if there is "ANYTHING" I can do to help. I don't want to intrude but just ask and I'll be there in a heartbeat. Your neighbor up the hill, Linda Flores.

Marlana said...

Embrace the imperfections and all the good living that comes with it! I know that everything that is happening right now is not in your plan, but I have no doubt that what you want from this life keeps you going every step of the way. Your family means the world to you and you will find the strength each day to pick yourself up and do what needs to be done to show your love and support for them. It's who you are and who you will always be. Not just everyone has had to ride the emotional roller coaster of cancer or watching someone they love be sick. You are given grace to react however the heck you need to and want to! (That was my stab at almost potty mouth! Do you know who I learned it from???) Ha!

I hope to get to see you or talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

Cancer patients and their families are amazing! That is why some nurses work on the oncology floor. There is nothing more humbling than to see the strength of a cancer patient and their family. The sheer will to live and to persevere leaves us speechless. Cancer patients and families are an inspiration to those that care for them. May the Lord Bless and Keep each of you during this stressful and uncertain time in your lives. May He grant you peace and strength, and may He restore Steven's health. Blessings to you each day.