Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mending

I have had periods of complete peace since the last time I updated my blog.  However, Sunday evening, my emotions started to feel like a roller coaster once again.  I was able to keep myself in check, but I will admit, it was a bit of a struggle.  I could feel the weight of our situation bearing down on me.

I tried to find the peace I had, and recapture it.  Doubt, worry, and anxiety, crept up my spine and I could physically feel the effects.  I prayed with Steven and crawled into my twin size hospital bed, being keenly aware of his absence and feeling more lonely than I can ever remember feeling.

****

We have tried to keep the kids upbeat and positive, and have tried to incorporate some fun into their weekend hospital visits.

This situation is no fun.

This is a scary time.

This is the last place any of us want to be.

We all miss our home.

However, with the help of family, the kids have been given many opportunities to get their minds on the more joyful aspects of life.  A little over a week ago, the weather was perfect and allowed  us to make a quick trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  The kids enjoyed being outside, the animals, and just getting to act like kids. 



I enjoyed being witness to those things as well. 


 
The absence of our children, our friends, and our home had started to take a toll on Steven as well.  Although the kids are used to my tears and emotions, they aren't familiar with their daddy showing his.  Love, compassion, and empathy?  Yes.  Tears? No.  Battling cancer, insomnia, the resulting fatigue, and homesickness is enough to bring anyone to tears.  This was not a sign of weakness....just a sign of Steven's humanness.
 
However, to a nine and 11 year old, fear naturally accompanied the tears they were witness to.  It made them second guess their conviction that their daddy had already beat this.  It was a tough weekend for our kids.  The second one in a row.  The distraction provided by our friends and family, doing their best to make the kid's lives as secure and as normal as they can be, was, and still is, invaluable.
 
This past weekend the kids joined us and everyone's spirits were much higher.  Blake, being one to always say what was on his mind, entered the hospital room and said, "Are you going to start crying again?!"  I knew he had carried that fear with him and was hoping for reassurance. We all laughed and assured him that we didn't think so.  Not this time... Steven was feeling much better, and had been able to sleep the week before. That, coupled with his recognizing that he needed help in dealing with all the emotions that come with this diagnosis and treatment, had resulted in, emotionally, a much better week.
 
The weather was beautiful and, as long as he wore a mask, Steven was allowed to go outside.  We walked with the kids to the front of the hospital, to a playground, and watched them play.
 
 
Steven had also found two books at the Barnes and Noble on the hospital campus, one about horses and one about muscle cars, that he thought the kids would enjoy.  He took them and bought them for the kids.  We sat outside, on the picnic tables, and watched as the kids opened and read their new treasures.
 
 
 
 
On Saturday, Julie and her good friend, Mitzi, joined me in taking the kids to the City Museum.  They loved it!  The kids would often see things and say, "Daddy would like this..", although Blake didn't think he would be a fan of the rooftop experience.  He thought the height would get to Steven, but it definitely didn't get to Lakyn who chose to ride the Ferris wheel at the top of the building with Mitzi.
 
 

 
 
Julie, Blake and I looked small as we sat on top of the 11th story waiting for them to finish their ride. 
 
I can only imagine how small everything on ground level looked.
 
*****
 
Saturday evening the kids left to head towards home.  Jason and Sarah were taking them to a Chiefs game the next day.  We, as a family, had plans to attend a game the weekend Steven was diagnosed.  Sarah and Jason were determined to make sure the kids still had a chance to go.  Sunday, Steven and I, (who aren't football fans) watched the game from the hospital room.  I guess we felt that sharing this common experience, a football game, would somehow make us feel as if we were closer to our kids in that moment.
 
As we saw the Chiefs continue to widen their margin of victory, we laughed as we knew that Blake would be celebrating heartily.  He wasn't a football fan before, but has an obsessive personality.  Once he takes something in, he's hooked.  We knew there would be anxiety and devastation if "his team" didn't win, and when it became obvious that they would, we were sure that he would be experiencing a high.
 
When we received this text from Sarah, we knew we were right.
 

She said he was playing air guitar and making the "rock on" sign with his hands. 

We also received another pic showing how spoiled our kids were getting on their current expedition.


It was after they called us, to report about the game and inform us that they were on their way back "home" that you could almost feel the loneliness of the hospital room settle in.  There was a heaviness in the air.  Although neither Steven or I verbalized it, I knew he felt it too.  He hugged me tight and we just stood there, in silence, in each other's embrace, all too aware that our journey was far from over.

It would be some time, before we could share in the kids sentiments and excitement, knowing that we were truly, on our way "back home".

*****

Yesterday, a good friend of Steven's came to see him.  His daughter-in-law, a friend of mine, brought him.  I took the opportunity, while Steven had company, to go to Target and grab some things.  It felt both very normal, and completely abnormal, for me to do something as simple as buying laundry detergent. 

While discussing the road we were on, and all the possible outcomes, I found myself getting anxious once again.

We knew that if Steven's brother was a match, then the plan was to go to transplant as soon as possible...whether or not this round of chemo got the cancer to below 5%.  (Getting it below 5% makes his odds of recovery higher, though.) We knew that if he wasn't a match, but the chemo was successful, that we would have maintenance chemo until a match was found.  However, looming there in the background, making me dwell on all the other uncertainties, was the possibility of his brother not being a match AND the chemo not doing it's job.  This left us with more uncertainty than I felt I could handle at this time.  Too many unknowns. 

Almost as if God had heard my plea, Jammie called Steven that afternoon, and told him that he had just heard that he WAS a match.  "6 out of 6" is what the nurse said. 

Most will never understand, or comprehend, what a complete and total blessing this is.  It was an answer to more than one prayer; prayers that were prayed long before the leukemia.

No, technically, it doesn't change our overall odds of beating this disease.  But it does give us a pretty big boost in the morale department.  It is one piece of the puzzle we HAD to have...and the fact that this piece has been given to us by his brother, is a blessing....and a miracle of sorts.

*****

I still do not know what our future holds.  No one but God does.  But I can feel, every day, the blessings He is providing.  I can see healing...and I am not talking about the cancer.  My heart, and hearts around me, have expanded, healed, and grown during this time. 

He has mended things I didn't even realize were broken. 

Please continue to pray that He mends the one we all know is broken-Steven.  And, please pray that this round of chemo worked. 

With this healing may we, together, move forward and continue this mission of healing, expanding, and opening hearts.  May we move toward offering understanding, love, and acceptance, and always strive to mirror the very traits God shows to us.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On loan

This past week I have found myself having more peace than I have had in the last six weeks.  It has been an answer to my prayers.  That isn't to say that I am not, at times, still over come with anxiety about how everything will turn out.

That's my nature.

This IS scary.

However, I have had more clarity about all the good things that have came about as a result of Steven's diagnosis.  During this time I have also felt God specifically pushing me to reach out to others.  I felt him telling me specific things that I needed to do, to be in accordance with His will. 

As I write this I am aware of how this can sound as if I am painting myself to be very "privileged".  At least, prior to this, I know that I myself sometimes felt like others who told of God speaking to them must have some special, holier than thou, relationship with Him.  Because, honestly, I couldn't hear God over all the other voices that were spinning around in my head.  How could I ever begin to distinguish which one was God's voice over all the others?  

Now, please know this:  If you don't know me well, do not be fooled into thinking that I am some good person who is quoting Bible verses and leading prayer groups out of my home.  If you know me, you know that I am deeply flawed.  I gossip.  I've judged others.  I carry old wounds around with me, and am reluctant to let them go.  I listen to "questionable" music. I have little patience.  I am a control freak.  When you look at me, you do not see peace.  In fact, when you look at me, you don't really see anything but me.

Although, I have spoke often on this blog about God and His role in my life, do not look to me for spiritual, or religious, guidance.  In fact, if you know me well, you know that God, and my relationship with Him, is something that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.

Specifically, my first panic attack was at the age of 10, when I became paralyzed with fear that I would, most certainly, go to Hell.  God could never, would never, love ME enough to save me.

I wasn't good enough. 

Call it Catholic guilt.

Through the years I have become more aware of God's mercy and forgiveness, but at times, still struggled to believe that all that was meant for me.  This struggling led me to seek a better understanding of God, but all within my own comfort zone. 

Sitting in this hospital room is definitely NOT my comfort zone.

However, while sitting in a St. Louis church a week and a half ago, far from home and all too close to reality, I began to speak to God in what, for the first time, felt like what was a two way conversation.

The conversation has been ongoing ever since.

I guess, technically, I can not be sure that the voice that I have been hearing belongs to God.  There is no way to prove that this voice is not simply one of the other voices in my head that has a tendency to place thoughts in my mind and feelings into my heart. 

I myself have wondered if the things I felt God telling me were actually coming from God and even asked my friends the same.  "How can I be sure God is speaking to me?"  Sometimes I am hearing things I don't really want to hear.  Some of the voices in my head bring worry and fear.  Some have brought peace.  How do I know which voice comes from God?  Sometimes I find myself trying to make deals with "the voice".  Bargains, if you will. 

I felt specifically, at times, like God was showing me, that if my greatest fear was realized, and I lost my husband, that He would still make something good come out of the devastation.  The examples He gave me were very specific.  Not wanting to accept that Steven's life had to be a traded for the good, I began to willingly come forward and tell God, that I would, right now, walk towards Him and His will, and start working towards it, if He would spare my husband.

Before I returned to the hospital room, from church, one of the situations God had showed me, had already began to be resolved.  I again wondered if this was God speaking to me....

If I can not be sure of God's voice, then what can I be sure of?  

Although there are many things that I am unsure of, I can tell you that I am sure that the peace that has came as a result of the voice most certainly belongs to God. 

In fact, I have found myself reconciling with the fact that Steven is not mine.  He never has been.  Sure, he has had my heart since I was 13.  I dated him for 8 years, wearing him down, and eventually married the only man I had ever loved.  That was almost 14 years ago.  More than half my life has been spent with him.  Steven is the largest part of me.

But he isn't mine.

God has loaned Steven to me, and to all that know him, for the last 41 years.  If we are lucky, we will get to have him for at least 41 more.  But if not, I know, that I am called to be thankful for what I am given and for what has been already given to me.

Moments after learning Steven had leukemia, someone (a nurse, an aid, etc..) came into his room on the cardiac floor of Mercy and sat with me.  She hugged me although she had never seen me before and told me to lay my husband "at the foot of Jesus".

I think this week I have realized the fatigue I have caused myself, and others, clinging to the false belief that Steven was mine. I think that I have been in an exhausting tug of war with God.  I have been clinging to the fear of losing something I have never truly had.  God has had him the entire time.  He still does.  He always will.

Sure.  There is still fear.  Sometimes I still have moments of anxiety.  However, now, they are moments.  Steven is still God's.  Nothing has changed and nothing will change that. 

Now that I have stopped tugging Steven, trying to pull him away from the One who has always had him and whose grip has never weakened, I will just say "thank you" for all the years I have had and I will pray that God continues to "loan" Steven to me for many more years to come.

Please pray this too.

*****

On Thursday Steven wanted me to go home to be with the kids.  Although I didn't want to leave him, I gave in, and gave him his wish, and arrived in Conway just in time to pick them up from school.  They were surprised and excited to see me, as well as excited to return home.

After some encouragement, I let the kids skip school on Friday and instead of heading up that afternoon after school, we left that morning for St. Louis and were looking forward to surprising Steven by arriving earlier than he anticipated.  When I was less than a couple of miles from the hospital, Steven called to tell me he wasn't doing well and to not bring the kids. 

(At this point I was second guessing our decision to surprise him.)

I continued on to the hospital and the kids stayed in the waiting room while I checked on their daddy.  He had been taken after I left the afternoon before to have his three remaining wisdom teeth pulled.  The reason given was that it would decrease his infection risk during transplant.  They had given us NO indication this was going to happen.  That evening he had spiked a fever and had alternated between chilling and burning up. 

All of this happened in my absence and I felt terrible.

I walked in and found him sitting with a cloth on his head.  I'm not even sure that it registered to him that I was six hours earlier than he had originally believed I would be there.  I told him the kids were in the waiting room and he wanted to see them.

His fever broke and that afternoon he was well on his way to recovery.  He has felt good ever since then. 

I think the kids were the best medicine.

*****

Many people have asked us what the plan is.  I will try and explain it the best I know how:

Right now, we are waiting for his counts to recover from the chemo.  We are on day 14.  It could easily take two more weeks for the cell counts to come up.  At that point they will do another bone marrow test and we will be able to come home.

The bone marrow test takes two days for the results to be known.

IF this round of chemo worked (please pray that it did), AND they have found a match, we could, at that point, possibly be two weeks out from transplant.

IF this round of chemo worked (again, please pray that it did), BUT they don't have a match, we could, at that point, head back to Springfield, to do maintenance chemo until a match is found and they are ready for transplant.

IF this round of chemo did not work, BUT they found a match, they could potentially take him to transplant with active leukemia.  This is not the best scenario, but preferable to the other alternatives, if the chemo did not work.

IF this round of chemo did not work, AND they don't have a match.........?  We just don't know. The options become a little more limited and clinical trials have been mentioned.  I'll be honest, lingering on this scenario steals my peace and I have to purposefully not think too much about it. 

During those times I recall the verse, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart, I have overcome the world". John 16:33  I have found that repeating, "I have overcome the world" helps me to put things in perspective and put things back in God's hands.

Please pray for healing, for continued peace, and for us.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peace be with you

It has been over a week since we found out that Steven's "induction" phase of chemo didn't completely do it's job.

Since that time there have been percentages thrown around as well; Percentages of this round successfully getting the chemo, and there by providing the best outlook for a successful transplant, percentages of transplant success, and, of course, percentages of survival.

All are right around 50 percent.

The doctors are the first to say that the studies, and percentages, are flawed.  Most studies were done 15-20 years ago and medicine, namely antibiotics, have changed.  Also, Steven is younger than the average age of someone that has similar diagnosis, with his plan of treatment.

These exceptions, in my mind, make his odds greater than 50%, which would mean the odds are in his favor.

However, since the doctors themselves haven't told me that, I have been paralyzed by that number-  50%.  Although the doctor assured me that 50% was actually good, I told her it wasn't good enough when you have your husband and two kids to think about.

*****

Steven finished up his second round of chemo on Monday night.  This chemo was a "much stronger" version. 

You couldn't tell that by Steven.

Every morning, without the incentive to beat Dr. Holden, he has continued to rise, put on his regular clothes, complete with cowboy boots and hat, and start his day.  He has had no nausea.  He has had no fevers.  He has had no pain.

He has been a little tired, only evidenced by the fact that for two days he has taken short naps each morning.

I worried that his lack of side effects could potentially mean that he was somehow "immune" to the chemo.  The doctor assured me this was not the case, he just tolerates it really well.  I wanted her to go ahead and reassure me that this was also a good sign for the overall outcome.  But she didn't.

Every doctor has said there will be no way to know if the chemo has worked until this round, including count recovery, is over.

That's three more weeks.

I continue to pray that this round works and I beg you to do the same.  Mentally, I need it to work.  Although I am praying continually for my strength, I don't know how well I would do hearing bad news once again.  The attending oncologist told me that if this round works, and his leukemia, (which was at 10%) drops below 5%, his percentages for a successful transplant, and cure, go up.

I need them to go up.  I pray they go up.

Please pray this too.

*****

I have been battling lately with negativity.  I have prayed and prayed.  When I finally feel the peace I have been praying for, I toss it to the side remembering that I did have peace, and felt secure in it, but lost it when arriving in St. Louis and receiving the second dose of unexpected news. 

I feel like peace betrayed me.

I don't trust it anymore. 

Some might say that in forgoing the peace that has been offered to me,  I am not fully trusting in God.  I don't think this is the case.  I don't want it to be the case.  In fact, I know, that if God gave me nothing more than His forgiveness and salvation, I would still be in His debt. 

He owes me nothing and in forgiving me, and saving me, He has given me everything.

He doesn't have to heal Steven.  It wasn't part of His agreement. 

People pray every day for cures, miracles, interventions, etc.  and they don't always receive them in the way they would like.

I have no doubts that most of these people are more deserving of God's grace than I am. 

I also know that God will be with me no matter what the outcome is to this journey, and maybe feeling peace is a result of that promise.  Instead, by refusing to accept it and clinging to worry and despair, I am placing contingencies on it, and rejecting it if it isn't given to me as a sign that I will get my way.

I want the peace I receive to be a sign of healing, a sign that Steven will be with me for years to come, and a sign that this will end in a stronger, more spiritually alive, family.

There is NO way to guarantee this. 

Please pray that I begin to accept the peace God offers me without restrictions.  Pray that regardless of what happens, that I can be strong and an example of God's love.  Pray that my children will have faith stronger than mine.  Pray that I focus on all the blessings surrounding me, as there have been so many. 

Pray that through this situation, and what feels like a journey through Hell, that we might bring people closer to God.

Please pray for us.



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Spinning plates

Steven was discharged on Friday, allowing him to be home until he was to return to Mercy on the 14th to begin his second round of chemo. The exception to his newfound freedom was an appointment on Tuesday, at Barnes, with Dr. Jacoby who would be coordinating Steven's bone marrow, or stem cell, transplant.

While home Steven took every opportunity to do the things he loved.  

We went on a buggy ride because his horse, Big Sexy, "was really wanting to go"...


...and he enjoyed every moment with the kids.  

They are his life.


He made a point to do everything with the kids that they love to do.  He wanted their life at home to "be normal".


And that IS what Steven always does.

You see, Steven has always made time for his kids.  Lakyn rode her horse and Blake rode the tractor.  These are common occurrences that they share with their daddy.

It was no wonder that Lakyn said that Steven being home made everything feel as if it WERE "back to normal".

In fact, it felt so normal that she even asked me to get out our Halloween decorations for the house.  The house we had spent very little time in lately.  I obliged.

The signs of the "abnormal" part of our life were still there, such as Steven requiring more rest periods, but they were small in comparison, and we chose not to focus on them.

Except for the signs of encouragement from the kids...

 
Those signs we focused on.

*****

I think my first mistake was putting my sense of peace in the hands of the doctors.

The doctors do not prescribe peace. 

That has to be found elsewhere.

It was for this reason that when we arrived on Tuesday morning, 3 hours from home, with confidence in the fact that we would be returning to said home, the peace was knocked out of me by a doctor who believed that we needed to stay.

3 hours from home

For 3-4 weeks.

I had, mentally, prepared for the stay when the transplant was to take place.  However, the current news, and the reasons behind it, stole the air from my lungs.

Although possibly not all that uncommon, (honestly, I'm really not sure) hearing that there were still "immature cells", which are generally a sign of leukemia returning, and that the second round of chemo needed to start right away, and preferably in St. Louis, stole my very fragile sense of peace from me.

Obviously the peace hadn't been well placed.  I had treated it like valuable china spinning on stick in a circus.  

One false move and it all came crashing down.

Hearing that if the second round of chemo didn't put Steven into remission, the percentages for all other positive results went down, made me shatter, just like spinning, off-balance, china.

I know that the doctors still feel as if there are options and a chance for a cure.

I know that Steven is tough.

I know that percentages are based off of many 80+ year old people that skew the odds.

And I know, but needed to be reminded, that the doctors aren't in any more control than I am.

They have knowledge, they have education, they have experience, and they have the ability to treat Steven....but they don't have control.

God does.

This proclamation is easier to say than it is to practice.

I'm a control freak.

It is my false sense of control, that lead me to be so easily shaken, AGAIN, by this disease.

I must work on it and pray on it.

Please continue to pray for us all.


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Home Sweet Home

A little before 7:00 Friday morning, Steven called and told me that the doctor was going to release him.  

He was going to be able to come home for the first time since he was diagnosed, four weeks ago.

I had left the hospital Thursday night feeling defeated and that our chances were slim that we would be out of the hospital much before his appointment in St. Louis on Tuesday.  His counts were creeping up.  His white cells were at 600, and needed to be at least 1000 before release.  

I think Steven also thought he'd be in for a few more days and took matters into his own hands. His mustache had started getting a little thin.  So, using some small clippers, he went ahead and shaved his mustache off.

He later sent a selfie to the kids and after they both started laughing hysterically, Blake stopped and declared that daddy looked "scary".  

I thought he looked about 15.  A very handsome 15 year old.

Steven informed me that life was "too short to sport a sorry mustache."

The news that his cell count had jumped overnight, and that he was coming home, blew me away.  I started shaking and I couldn't get to the hospital soon enough.

Steven was ready when I got there.  In fact, he had already packed up everything in the room and was waiting as patiently as he could for the nurse to discharge him.

 

The nurse came in, and gave us our paperwork and there was no shortage of nurses willing to see us out.  They all made us feel like family that they hated to see leave.  When they brought in the obligatory wheelchair to wheel him out, Steven refused. He would walk out in his own.  

As he started to walk out, the nurses stopped him and told him he needed to wear a mask.  Of course, Steven resisted.  

They told him he was only allowed one refusal on discharge. 
 
He chose to wear the mask.

They also told him that, although he was restricted as to what he could physically do between this release and his next round of chemo, laundry, cooking and giving his wife foot rubs were fine and not frowned upon.

(Have I mentioned that I love his nurses?)

We couldn't get home soon enough, and pulling into our driveway had never felt so good.

 

*****
Steven had been really missing Rowdy, his 12 year old Austrailian Shepherd.  Rowdy had been Steven's sidekick since he was a puppy.  This was the longest they had ever been separated.

In fact, for a little over a month leading up to Steven's diagnosis, Steven had found himself getting increasingly frustrated with Rowdy. You see, Rowdy couldn't get close enough to Steven.  At times, Steven had trouble walking because Rowdy was pressed against his leg. Steven couldn't even turn around without Rowdy being right behind him.  If Steven walked three feet, Rowdy walked with him.  Many times Steven felt as if he was getting tripped up just trying not to fall over Rowdy.

However, after finding out that he had leukemia, Steven couldn't help but wonder if Rowdy had known all along, and simply didn't want to leave Steven's side.  

Knowing now myself, I understand where Rowdy was coming from.
 



Rowdy was excited to see Steven.  Carl, my beagle was too.

You see, Rowdy showed his excitement by running to Steven and staying right by his side, just as he did before.

Carl?  He showed his excitement by peeing, and chewing on Rowdy, just as he did before.
 
 
 

 
 
Poor Rowdy.

****

After getting settled, Steven went and did some things in the shop.  We then went and checked the cows and the horses.



There wasn't a part of our place that he didn't inspect.

However, it didn't take long for him to realize that he couldn't pick up, physically, right where he left off. Soon after returning to the house, he went to bed and slept for three hours.

I didn't mind cuddling up with him and napping awhile too.  

****

I told the kids, when they woke Friday morning, that Steven was coming home.  They both had sleepovers, at their close friends houses, already planned.  I told them it was up to them whether they still went.  

Lakyn, the child who admitted that news of daddy being gone was harder to accept than news of the leukemia, said Steven would probably need to rest his first night home.  They both agreed that they were going to go ahead and go to their sleepovers. 

I was shocked.  And, initially, I was a little disappointed.  However, after talking to Steven, I decided to take this as a sign that we've done a decent job of keeping things as normal as we could by making it a priority for the kids to see their daddy as often as possible and by granting Steven's request that I be home with them almost every night.

*****

Since being home, I have read just enough of the paperwork that was sent to Steven from Barnes to be overwhelmed about what lies ahead of us.

I know that this journey has just begun.

I am choosing to consciencely put this out of my head until our appointment on Tuesday.  Please pray that we receive the information they give us with grace and clarity.

As long as Steven is ultimately healed, we can, and will, do anything.

Please pray that he is.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Mile markers and Landmarks

Today a mile marker on our journey came into view. 

For four weeks now, we have been on this road, not really knowing how much progress was made each day.  There are obvious landmarks passed, such as the end of the first round of chemo, but after you lose sight of those landmarks most of your time is spent not knowing how far down the road towards recovery you've actually gone.

Today we found out.  Steven's blood count is trending upwards now, and it is even possible that he might be discharged as soon as Friday. 

He has an appointment scheduled for him at Barnes in St. Louis, Tuesday, October 7th.  It is at this time we will hopefully get more information regarding their treatment, and his transplant. 

We also learned that because his doctor will be gone, Steven will not start his second round of chemo, here in Springfield, until the 14th. 

This translates into almost a week and a half spent at home.

For Steven, I am overjoyed.

For the kids, I am ecstatic.

But, honestly, I am a little worried.

Steven doesn't do "taking it easy" well.  He already feels as though he has fallen behind in work and he says that he has "a lot of stuff to do around the house", but when I ask him what I can do, or what needs to be done, he doesn't really know.  I know that it isn't actually obligation that makes him need to be on the move, it's just that Steven doesn't rest when he has been working full time. I know it will be next to impossible for him to sit still knowing that he has been absent from his "normal life" for over a month.

I'm hoping that the doctor puts the fear of God in him.  It can not be beneficial for Steven to wear himself down prior to going into round two of chemo.  I want him to have his strength and I pray that he goes through the second round as smoothly as he went through the first.

Please pray that too.

*****

Having a week and a half at home has also pushed the potential timeline for "completion" back even further.  I know that I am borrowing worry, and that things rarely go as planned, but IF things go smoothly, and Barnes IS ready for us at the end of round 2, then we will most certainly be in St. Louis during Thanksgiving and, most likely, Christmas.

I know they are only holidays.  I know that in the big scheme of things they don't matter.  Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't about a place, but a feeling, and family. 

However, knowing the excitement that surrounds that time of year, I want my kids to still have that excitement, and I will do my best to make it happen.  I know that worrying about something as trivial as that, is just that, trivial.  However, I am trying to grow and to learn.  I am used to clinging to a false sense of control.  Giving it up, and letting it go, is hard to do.

*****

A lot of the worry that I place upon  myself is unnecessary and unimportant.  I am finding that, by worrying, I have not been giving my kids enough credit.  Although I want them to have a life that is as close to normal as it can be, they prove to me that they KNOW what is important, regardless of whether they are living a normal life or not.

In fact, Lakyn sent these things with me, to give to her daddy:





On the back of the picture she wrote "I love you so much daddy.  Don't worry.  As long as you get better this won't bother me.  I love you.  You are an Amazing dad.  I miss you every day-every night.  We can do this together.  You are the best dad ever.  I could not live without you and mommy.   Love you, Lakyn"




On the sheet of paper are notes from her Adventure Bible that she jotted down.  They are verses that she felt would be beneficial to her daddy.

They were beneficial to me too.

My kids are constantly teaching me.

The verses might be beneficial to you too....  The paper says,

"Words From Bible"

  • God's voice thunders in wonderful ways.  We will never understand the great things He does.
  • Abram believed in the Lord...His faith made him right with the Lord.
  • I will certainly bless you, because you have obeyed.
  • I am with you.  I will watch over you everywhere you go.
  • The Lord gives "YOU" strength.  I will sing to Him.
  • We will do everything the Lord has told us to do.  We will obey Him.
  • I will go with you and I will give you rest.
  • He is the Lord.  We trusted in him.  Let us be filled with joy because He saved us.
  • You will find peace and rest when you turn away from your sins.  Depend on Me and you will receive the strength you need when you stay calm and trust in Me.
  • The Lord is our King and he will save us.
 She then wrote, "I hope you enjoy it.  I love you so much. -Lakyn

Blake has also looked outside of himself and the struggles that he has been forced to face.  He commented the other day that he was placed with the perfect teacher to be with him during "our current situation".  He went on to say that his teacher had faced hard times, and losses of her own, and that she knew how tough things could be.  

Especially in this time, I am so thankful that he hasn't been blinded to the blessings that are currently in his life.

****

Leave it to my kids to help put things back into perspective.  Mile markers and landmarks on our current journey are of no importance when compared to the mile markers and landmarks of life. 

Please pray that I keep my perspective clear.  God has a plan.  We are on His road.  Mile markers and landmarks aren't necessary when you let someone else lead the way.