Trying

I slept all night, again.

Except this time, sometime in the middle of my dreams, without getting out of bed, I rolled from one side to another.

I woke feeling amazing, and confident I was stronger than ever in my life.

I got up and went for a walk, hungry to taste these last-of-summer mornings:

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I watched the sunrise, missing my old neighborhood that was so new it didn’t have any trees yet to block the rising of the sun, even though I love this cozy neighborhood full of trees I had missed and longed for during those years without them:

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I walked slowly but deliberately, feeling my calves move up and down the rolling hills of our streets.

I made it 2.48 miles.

It is a new post-surgery record.

It is embarrassingly slow, though, but at least I am trying.

(Obviously speed is not a goal right now.)

Even better, I discovered the neighbor’s car has eyelashes:

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I was home before the babies were awake, so I took my shower while I was still able to stand, and even folded some laundry!

That was all I had in me, though, and I laid down for a two hour nap.

The kids were finishing their simple cereal breakfast when I woke:

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We got them ready, and headed out to our very first ever birthday party.

I mean, they have had their own birthday parties with the family, but this is the first time we were invited to another child’s birthday.  They were so excited!

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I took them myself, making it almost 50 minutes before I all but had to crawl to the car.  It was an amazing almost-normal-of-an-hour, where my kids didn’t think I was sick and weren’t worried about me and didn’t notice if I was still asleep again today.  It was just us, mom and the kids, at the park, like always.  It was amazing, and we needed that – they needed that – and it’s why I made myself go.

Walking two and a half miles AND trying to go to the park with the kids was probably too much to try in one day.  But that’s one of the things you learn later.

I was trying.

They were so good, and I so wanted to maintain this illusion, and so wanted to do something nice, that I used another gift card (thank you!) and took them to McDonald’s for lunch.

That was the giveaway, though, and Five knew something was up.

I *never* take him to McDonald’s, even if it is one of his favorites because it’s all he knew before he came to us a year ago.  Sometimes Nathan will take him.  Nathan’s parents have taken him when we have had child emergencies and they were our backup plan.  But me?  Nope, it doesn’t happen!  They were so excited!

Except Five is still appalled that the toddler really is a saucy girl, and likes it hot as it comes, and will dip anything into any kind of hot sauce we can find, as much as we will let her.  Five just covers his eyes and says, “I can’t even watch, mom.”

They are trying.

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We all had so much excitement that we came home and all three of us slept almost four hours.

I was grateful.

Nathan, who has barely gotten to work this week, was grateful.

He is trying so hard to take such good care of us, but there are so many appointments and meetings and this and that.  It is hard for him to get in the hours he wants to work, and I know he is so tired.  His service to me does not go un-noticed, and his consecrated living has been a powerful experience for us all.

It’s the little things.

Like the way my water jar is filled when I open my eyes from a nap.

Like the way a plate of Canteloupe appears just as I think I might need a snack.

Like the way the curtains are closed when I wake up in the morning, but open by the time I get to my reading chair.

Like the way I come out of the shower and there is a steaming plate of egg quesadilla waiting for me.

Like the way the blanket is adjusted better on my chair after I come out of the bathroom.

Like the way I go out for my morning walk and the front garden is suddenly mulched where Nathan’s parents weeded it last week.

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He is trying, so hard.

He is really good to me.

He and I continue to discuss and prepare and ponder and pray about and for our decision about treatment options.  We are deciding, I think, on option two, the milder medicine with the integrative approach.  When we think of the aggressive treatment, we just feel cold.  When we think of the integrative approach, we feel very comfortable and almost eager to get started – except for the terrifying feeling you get just before jumping off the high dive.  It is a big commitment, and it will bring lots of changes, but my life will depend on us following through.  No pressure there.

The doctors, except for one aggressive one I do not like anyway, are supportive and think it is a wise choice.  Because of the way my cancer was organized into that “rope”, they are pretty confident that was how it was spreading, and so feel confident they got it all.

Oh, yeah, AND IT WAS DEAD ALREADY.

So. We are getting ready.  We were given an exercise bike, and already had a treadmill.  We used some gift cards to get a half-off price elliptical that will be here any day (even if I can’t use it for three more weeks or until cleared by the doctor).  That, by the way, was only possible because a couple showed up the other night saying they had been to Sam’s and brought us this giant box of wipes and pull-ups, which is what we were going to use those gift cards for until that moment.  So again, we are so grateful for all the help that is truly making my recovery possible.  So many helping have changed what for us could have been a death sentence into a community healing that has been beautiful to behold, indeed.

We were also given a new juicer, which is exciting.  We already love the prepackaged juices (green machine, blue machine, etc.), but they are so expensive!  There is finally an alternative brand in town that is almost half the price, but it is very much watered down.  We are excited to save the money and add the nutrition by learning to do the juicing ourselves. The one we were given even does wheatgrass, so I am super excited about that.  Execpt: I have no idea where to find wheatgrass in this town, so we will see.

We are also reading the research given to us by the nutritionist, the doctors, and the researcher we are following.  We have interviewed several integrative teams, and I know who I want to work with, and that feels like a relief to almost have a plan.  We are being sent one of those wrist bands that records sleep, heart rate, oxygen levels, activity, etc., and it works with the running/walking/nutrition app that I already use.  My team can monitor any of my levels at any time, just from that.  Isn’t that crazy technology?  We will also still have our nutritionist friend “on call” for help, questions, or recipes when we get stuck.

The medicinal eating is something we are still learning about, and I keep studying.  I know that I eat different types of things on different days, and that it changes based on my other medicine and pain levels, nausea, and fatigue.  I know that I have to eat within thirty minutes of waking up, and then must eat every three hours after that. When we finish our training course, we will work with them to start creating meal plans and learning what to feed me to make my medicine work best and my body best be able to metabolize it and for me to feel the healthiest and strongest!

That’s the goal, anyway.

I might not notice if I am still sleeping three to four hours at a time for every hour I am awake.

But it is something.

And I am trying.

My estrogen shot from surgery is supposed to start wearing off this week, and so we are waiting for my prescription to be in so that I can start taking that if I need.  I didn’t have any problems with the shot, so I would rather just keep that except for the whole stabbing-myself-in-the-leg thing.  Yikes.

My stitches have all fallen out of everything everywhere, and my staples are all gone, and as of last night even my final steristrips were gone.  Healing from surgery is progressing, and I am grateful.  I still cannot lift anything, and still feel very bruised and tender.  But the pain is starting to fade, and I am not even on Tylenol anymore (except when I do too much), and I can move more comfortably.  I am grateful for sleep.  I miss exercising, but am grateful I am allowed to walk, and so will walk as much as my body is able anytime it feels like it – which right now seems to only be very first thing in the morning, but for a good bit.  It feels right, and stretches me out a little, and is helping my healing a great deal, I think.

I could not play with the kids again this afternoon like I did this morning, but we sent them out to the sprinklers in their swimsuits, so they haven’t noticed yet.  I cannot even get out of the chair tonight.  When I feel guilty for being an absent mother after they have already been abandoned, I throw popsicles at them because we should definitely be teaching them some skills for emotional eating.  Sigh.

We are trying, all of us, and what makes the difference is all the help we have received.

Truly.

Thank you.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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