Saturday, 8 June 2019

all the sins we see

He raped me. My friend, sweet and gentle, said it straight out like she was talking about the movie we'd seen not too long ago together. I remember I was instantly angry. Did you report it? I asked. She snuggled her new baby son to her, we could hear our husbands downstairs in a life and death Mario Kart match and she shrugged. No. It was so long ago, he went to the same church as me. Besides, she said, I was dating him. It was my fault. 

It was my fault. 

Her son is so grown now, almost eleven, like mine. Hard be believe he could fit in the crook of her arm so snugly, he's big and strong now. Tall like his Dad, smart and generous. So much has changed in that time, but her words have haunted me. We don't talk about it, not about her stories or mine. We're older now, mature or something? We've obviously gotten beyond those stories, it's the pain we don't share - we just know, just understand. It's a familiarity, an expectation, that in vulnerable hearts scattered around us, disguised as beauty, strength, overconfidence, anxiety, fear and anger in the women we encounter. It's an awareness, that perhaps something like this, is one of their stories. 

I was nineteen when I said those words too. Because, it was my fault, wasn't it? I had certainly been the one to encourage him by emailing back and forth with him on a regular basis. It had probably been my idea to meet up with him to go for a walk. Of course I had noticed that it was getting late, and that we were walking into a more and more isolated area, but I hadn't had a boy like me before. Not one that had admitted it so openly, or who had been so sweet and complimentary. Maybe I had the idea from watching a romantic movie or two, that when a boy asked to kiss you - that was what he meant. Just a kiss, awkward, blushing, not frantic or groping, or pushing or panicked, not desperately trying to think of an excuse to leave, finally saying - it's getting late, if I miss curfew I'll be in trouble. Then relief, and thinking, it's done - I'm free. 

The freedom was fleeting, as it turned out, he'd left marks on me. Big, glaring, obvious. I probably would have preferred the A on my chest. It would have been less noticeable. I knew, at that point, staring in the mirror before getting ready for bed, I couldn't hide it from anyone. In light of having the world's eyes on me, I did what a good girl does. I assessed the level of my sin (somewhere between shoplifting and sex) and I took responsibility. It was my fault became my mantra - my safe space. Because if I owned the guilt, maybe I could weather the shame. I repeated it at breakfast the next morning, my transgressions obvious to my family, and I was ashamed. When I went out that afternoon, and ran into a pastor friend, and he confronted me about what happened, I repeated it, and I was ashamed. When my friends asked, I said the same thing, and I was ashamed. It felt like God had put out an APB on me, and I had to confess to everyone, anyone I came across I owed an answer to. When I later confronted the boy himself, he confirmed it was my fault - wasn't that exactly what I had asked for? After all, I had let him do that to me. 

It was a good lie, it turns out. Because no one ever asked me, is that what you thought would happen? Is that really what you wanted to happen? Are you OK? I don't believe that this was your fault...

It has taken years for me to listen to what I most needed to hear - What an asshole. This isn't your fault. You didn't leave any mark on him, he didn't have to confess to his parents, his family, his church, his friends. It's fine with him that you carry the mark, the brand, the shame - he doesn't want any part of it. You're strong, you got out of there, before things got worse. It's no one else's business. I love you. (God)

Ok, so maybe God didn't say asshole, but you get the drift. When the words finally sunk in, it was like a shock to the system. It wasn't my fault. He took advantage of the situation, he assaulted me. It opened a door. Instead of it being painful for me to say this boy's name, I could forgive him, I could be free of him, and most importantly, I could forgive myself - and  heal up an old, A shaped wound. 

My point. Of course. This experience has taught me about who I am, and how I am defined. But more importantly, it has made me soft to the sins we see. Touted usually by vulnerable people who don't fit in to a Christian box, or society's box, or some other box that we're so eager to fit inside. People feeling pain and shame, who think the eyes of the world are turned on them - and that God's judgement is on them like a branded letter A. It's time to love them, to hear their stories, to share their pain, their laughter, their healing. To no longer be afraid that shame is greater than love. That blame is greater than love. 

It's not your fault. It's no one else's business. I love you. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

GSA's The Last Battle

Over the past few years, the issue of Gay Straight Alliances and their connection to Christian schools has one that has caused ripples of concern in many communities determined to stand toe to toe with the Alberta NDP government. It has come down to theology vs. politics, and the fight has centered mostly on small, rural Christian schools, as well as with Catholic districts uncomfortable with the new legislation. As with most things, I'm late to the party but I finally know what I think about it all - or at least I will by the time I'm finished writing this. 

From what I understand, this struggle stems from the way each group defines the origins of homosexuality and trans-gendered people. Something that I am no where near qualified to speak about, and so will avoid it as much as possible. The government stated that Gay Straight Alliances cannot be banned, and should be supported in schools. GSA's provide a safe space for students who may be wondering how to "come out", or who are dealing with other relevant issues of that nature. Student attendance in these groups would not be reported to parents. For Christian schools, this creates an uncomfortable situation. Christians look at issues of sexuality in many different ways, and all parents sending their children to Christian schools have varying expectations regarding how the topic of sexuality is dealt with for their child. On top of this the question of religious freedom is a very important one. I can understand the Christian perspective that feels the government is infringing too much on religious beliefs. This, and other logistics around Christian schools has ended up creating tensions politically, and socially across various groups. 

As a parent, a teacher and a Christian, this issue has given me a great deal to consider. It seems that I am facing an intersection of ideologies and moving forward can be uncomfortable in any direction. As a parent, I want to teach my children to love, and show love especially to people who are different to them, or to people who are experiencing different things from them. As a teacher my heart is for the students who come, even in Christian schools from difficult situations and backgrounds, and I want them to grow and thrive in spite of circumstances. As a Christian, I think that we come from a many different positions on sexuality, from the perspective that any alternate sexual lifestyle is sinful to the point of view that God is love, and that he created each person as they are. As a person of faith, I want to find the perspective that is the most healthy, and affirming to teach my own children. 

As a teenager, I grew up in the "true love waits" era in a strong purity culture. I was proud of my purity ring, and made my stance on premarital sex very clear. I didn't want it, and that was that...until I got a boyfriend, then my world shifted dramatically. Then, not only did I want it, I wondered how much I could get away with before I really "stepped over the line." I wanted to be free to explore my sexuality to it's fullest extent, but there was one thing that held me back. 

I grew up in an imperfect but very loving home. My parents said I love you, I support you, you are wonderfully made. But the one thing that prevented me from participating in a sexual lifestyle before I was married, was the absolute fear that I would get pregnant. Pregnancy, similar to homosexuality or being transgender is impossible to hide. It leaves the individual open to public scrutiny. Once pregnant, abortion was out of the question, and I knew if I had to tell my parents that I was pregnant the shame would be a lifelong stain. It would color me and the baby in a way that we would never escape , and that feeling was so tactile I held myself back. The mask of purity was held in place firmly by fear, I was no more "godly" than the next person, and whenever someone older commented on how well I was doing, and how I was an example to other younger people I died a little on the inside. Because a "pure" relationship with God wasn't even what was holding me back, it was fear. I know that I was not the only one. I know of instances for others where sexual assault and even rape went unreported, because of the guilt and shame those individuals experienced, and the fear that they would be judged by their own faith communities. 

I say all of that, only to point out - that I came from a loving and supportive home, and I was terrified. As Christians, we see the very best in our brothers and sisters, and we want to believe that they too would be loving and supportive of their children with an unintended pregnancy, or coming out as homosexual, or transgender. But the truth is both sad and alarming. On twitter there is a group that calls themselves "Exvangelicals" and identify as people who have left an evangelical church, and in many cases have left Christianity all together because of abuses they experienced, yes - at the hands of pastors, people in authority, but often because of abuses by parents. These stories have shocked and saddened me. But, it is important to hear them and to change the way I raise my own children.  

On a recent road trip we chose an old favorite audio book, C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle. It's a story that Brad and I love, and hope that our children will begin to love as well. I find, it's always nice to hear a familiar tale once again, but this time around something stuck out at me that I hadn't paid attention to before. 

Around half way through the book, Lewis introduces a character named Emeth. I have since learned that this character is somewhat controversial, but while I was listening to the story Emeth captivated me. Emeth is in fact not from Narnia. He is instead, a servant of the Tisroc, and called a Calormene - long standing enemies of Narnia. Emeth is in Narnia as a part of a secret invasion force. In search for his god, Tash, Emeth finds himself in Aslan's country, and face to face with Aslan himself. Emeth tells Aslan that his desire is to meet with Tash, and that his entire life has been done in service to this god. Interestingly, Aslan welcomes Emeth to his country, and explains that "I take to me the services which thou hast done to Tash [the false god]... if any man swear by him and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him." CS Lewis, (The Last Battle)  
This position is of course controversial in Christian circles as it seems to imply that Lewis believes people from various backgrounds and beliefs might be saved, even without the direct knowledge of Jesus. I learned that CS Lewis defended his writing from Jesus' parable about the sheep and the goats. 

I think that every prayer which is sincerely made even to a false god, or to a very imperfectly conceived true God, is accepted by the true God and that Christ saves many who do not think they know him. For He is (dimly) present in the good side of the inferior teachers they follow. In the parable of the Sheep and Goats those who are saved do not seem to know that they have served Christ.(CS Lewis, commentary from a letter 1952)

If you're still reading, you might be wondering where I'm going with this. As you might have suspected, I'm not here to argue Lewis' theology. The truth is, I haven't spent much time thinking about inclusivisim or soteriology. But, I deeply respect CS Lewis and his works. What struck me most about this part of the book was the exploration by the author of a question that was deeply important to him in spite of the fact that was, and still is controversial. By the way Lewis describes Aslan throughout the Chronicles of Narnia, the reader can make inferences about Lewis' personal relationship with God as a loving, devoted father, but as the books point out on several occasions Aslan is not a tame lion. Yet, Lewis feels comfortable in his relationship with God to ask these deep, controversial questions, and come at them with an answer from a very different answer than what is believed in the mainstream. 

This leads me into some conclusions about GSAs. From the perspective of a teacher, of course you always think the best of student's parents in your classroom - but if you are honest you know that each situation is very different.  What the child experiences at home may be very different than what it is presented to be. As a teacher it is my legal obligation to report any suspected incident of abuse - ultimately for the safety of the child. In a Christian school, as anywhere, this would be an extremely difficult situation. As a teacher, it is most important for me to hold my beliefs and obligations in balance, but when the situation calls for it, when the situation calls for it, the thing that I am obligated to do would take precedent over personal beliefs say, for example, about who I might believe a parent is. 

For Christians the subject of homosexuality and trans-gendered people is a difficult one, we don't have good theological answers, and the answers we do have feel conflicted at best. Yet, it is time to face the reality that there are  Christian kids grappling with these issues and don't know how to express themselves, yet are desperate to do so. From my own experience, I can say that if there had been a place that I considered safe when I was dealing with coming to terms with my own sexuality, it might have made things easier for me and for others. I believe as Christians, as people of faith, we have something positive to bring to GSAs. We have to set aside that it is uncomfortable, and grapple with those issues on our own later, and reach out to these kids like Jesus himself reached out to prostitutes and the least among his own people who were considered visible in their sin to the society. It didn't change who Jesus was, or what he was going to do, but it showed us his love in action standing against the norms of his day. Just as CS Lewis was able to sit at the feet of his Father, and ask a difficult question, so should we. 

This year, that's where I intend to be. Happy New Year. 

*Images are not my own. Copyright CS Lewis - The Last Battle 

Sunday, 23 December 2018


 I've had anxiety my whole life. Thinking about the symptoms, and when and where it started is impossible. I've been anxious as long as I can remember. On the anniversary of the day that I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I had a panic attack. It was intense, and took hours to recover from. Over the following four weeks, I experienced several more. The symptoms were becoming immobilizing and all consuming. My face would tingle, and I wouldn't be able to move. They were unpredictable, and my anxiety only increased. 

It has been this crux that has compelled me to ask for help, and I realized something. My perspective was totally and completely fractured. I've grown up believing that the worries, fears and anxieties that have plagued me were sinful, they were the result of weak and wavering faith. I've learned that rather, this anxiety is a part of who I am. It's not a part I enjoy, but I know it's not going to go away. It's something that I need to live with, and I have a choice. I can continue to experience panic attacks, guilt over feeling that my faith isn't strong enough, fear that I am not a good mother, that I am teaching my kids that anxiety is "normal". Or, I can accept it. I can learn about what I'm dealing with, and start to use the tools at my disposal to change the way my brain functions. To allow that "fight, flight or freeze" response to work in a more regular way. 

From a faith perspective I know that God loves me the way that I am. I know the anxiety doesn't come from him, and that he loves me in spite of it. That he doesn't want anything to come in the way of our relationship, and that in the dark moments, when the fear builds and the panic comes that he is with me too. That he never leaves. 

It's a journey. It's about me taking a step today, to confront the things that I have been taught that have led me to believe things that are wrong. It's about me teaching my kids that being healthy isn't just in your body, it's in your heart and mind too. 

Merry Christmas, and hopes for a brighter New Year.

Monday, 22 October 2018

My Lymphoma Journey

Looking back on this past year I sometimes feel like I am looking back on someone else's life and experiences. According to how doctor's measure lymphoma remission, mine started just after my final chemo treatment was finished in April, and so I've technically been in remission for around six months, but it feels pretty new to me. I've had lots of time to think and reflect and wonder about it all.

In February 2017 I had a full body x-ray. I was seeing a chiropractor, and he wanted to get a good idea of what my spine looked like etc. At that time, I wasn't made aware of anything abnormal. The only reason I point this out, is because the next x-ray I had, in November 2017, picked up a mass in my chest 11cm x 8cm in diameter. The difference in a mere ten months is astounding.

People often ask what symptoms I had, how did it all start?

I can remember as far back as March, and between March and May of 2017 the things I experienced could have been symptoms, or they could have been random, but I remember that at night I could feel a slight pressure in my chest. It would made me cough a dry, breathy cough. But, the cough was intermittent, and the pressure/discomfort in my chest only happened at night, and I didn't really recognize it as anything significant. As the months progressed, I began to be tired, at first - tired at night, I fell asleep quickly and slept all night long (which is probably why I didn't recognize that pressure in my chest, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it). From there my tiredness increased. In the evenings I had no energy left from the day, and I would fall asleep in front of the TV, then wake up and be able to sleep all night long. The tiredness did progress to a place where I would wake up feeling tired, but that was closer to when I was diagnosed.

Another thing I experienced that I now believe was connected, was I had developed severe pain in my legs and feet, that increased over the months of about May - Sept. to a place where I could barely stand to walk. Walking was so painful, that getting anywhere was a chore, and I excused the fact that I was consistently out of breath on both my weight, and my very sore feet. On our small family vacation in July 2017 I had an excruciating visit to the museum in Drumheller and the Calgary Zoo. I could walk, but only short distances before I was fully out of breath, and the pain in my legs was nearly crippling. But, I got myself some shoe inserts, and kept expecting that the pain would eventually subside. I was still coughing, and in August, I began to feel something in my throat. It felt like something was always caught in there, and I had to constantly try to clear it out. Still, only a mild irritation, and all things were disconnected in my mind, and so I didn't think to talk to a doctor about it.

The cold I had persisted, and in September the "lump" in my throat was becoming more pronounced. I had to swallow food twice, and I was starting to feel itchy. When I ran my hands over my abdomen, I would end up scratching and scratching. Each of the symptoms I mentioned never fully subsided, instead, more things just kept adding themselves on. By mid October I was feeling constant pain, like a pulled muscle in my shoulders and central back. Even visits to the chiropractor were not helping. I have a condition called SVT, where my heart will beat very quickly now and again, and I have to have a short rest to get it to slow down.  Episodes of a racing heart were happening more frequently, and they seemed different from my regular SVT. During another trip to Calgary I was in the pool with my kids and hit my knee on the tiled edge of a seat. My skin split open, and the cut bled significantly. I can remember being surprised at the time to see so much bleeding from such an insignificant cut. At the same time I noticed a large, very dark bruise on my side. I could not remember an injury that would have caused such a huge bruise, and it was about that time I started to feel a lump in my left thigh. Also around this time, I was exhausted, even getting up the stairs at my house was a chore and I was coughing almost continuously. To top it all off, I was now struggling to swallow water, my chest was tight and painful and I was exhausted. It was a day's worth of energy to walk from one side of King's campus to another, which is not a big place.

I went back to a Doctor at the walk in clinic, and though I did describe my symptoms, I sometimes wonder if I could have been more clear. I was diagnosed with Strep Throat. The antibiotics seemed to help a bit, and I was just nearing the end of my cycle of drugs when I noticed a firm but movable lump in my upper thigh. Very concerned, I went back to my Doctor. I had been worriedly pressing at my leg before my appointment, hoping that the lump had disappeared, and when I showed my Doctor she actually got quite upset with me. My entire upper leg was bruised. I was merely pressing, and bruising almost instantly. She thought I probably had a lipoma, and wanted me to get an x-ray at my next opportunity. I had also started coughing so violently at night, that I was vomiting, and so it was about two days later that I was getting ready for a shower and noticed a tight, hard lump about the size of a dime in my groin. I showed Brad, and we decided that I should point it out when I got an x-ray in a few days time. That night, at about 2am, I woke up in extreme pain. The lump in my groin had grown from the size of a dime to the size of a large lime. Convinced it was a hernia, we sped off to the emergency room.

Looking back on all of those symptoms, it seems laughable that I was "surprised" when the Dr. came back to tell me that they had found something suspicious on the x-ray. But, I think that it's hard to keep track of symptoms when you're going about your day to day life experiences. In health, I've always had different symptoms now and then, they resolve, and a person moves on. I do remember just before I was diagnosed, I was feeling pretty awful, and I said to Brad, "I don't think I'm ever going to be normal again." I'm also a serial googler, and I looked up my symptoms all the time. I know I came across lymphoma sites, and though I could relate to some of the symptoms, I couldn't relate to them all, and because lymphoma is rare in 30 somethings, both me and my Drs missed it. I've generally accepted that it's no one's fault. Do I wish I caught it earlier? Yes. All the time. But, we caught it, we treated it, and hopefully we've cured it.

I spent about four very uncomfortable nights in the hospital before my biopsy. My symptoms increased, and I was trying to adjust to the idea of having cancer. It was like life was coming to a full stop, and something different, something unrecognizable was starting. My mom dropped everything, her entire life, and was here in Edmonton. The two weeks before being referred to the Cross Cancer Institute were probably the worst of my life. The itching had increased to a fervor, and I was scratching so much my skin was bruising, bleeding and coming off with the scratching. I felt like the itch was down in my muscles. I was coughing all the time, and could hardly eat due to the fact that I couldn't swallow. I was coughing and vomiting, and couldn't take a full breath. Brad said he often laid awake at night worried I would stop breathing. I couldn't get up the stairs, and I was having bouts of the chills.

I was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of December for my first PET scan (Stage 4, DLBCL) and first round of chemo. My Doctor told me that untreated, I had about six months left, and that even with treatment I would likely have to go through radiation treatments once chemo was finished. I was pretty much ready to agree to anything. Lymphoma is different from other cancers because for most people, chemo makes a person with cancer feel sick, but with Lymphoma the symptoms are so severe the chemo alleviates them very quickly. I was feeling so rough from the Lymphoma, the first round of chemo was quite literally a relief. I was given the standard R-CHOP, five chemotherapy drugs: Rituximab, Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine, and Prednisone. Prior to about 2007, Lymphoma patients were typically given the CHOP drugs, but when Rituximab was added Lymphoma survival rates began to increase. Initially I had a common reaction to the Rituximab, it made my head itch, but Benadryl was my savior. My symptoms decreased significantly, and throughout the six chemo treatments if I followed the prescribed recommendations, taking drugs when I needed to, I was nausea free and was able to continue life in a relatively normal manner. During this time we fixed up, and made some minor changes to our house, got it sold, found a new place and moved in. At my concluding PET scan I had achieved a complete response. It was nothing short of a miracle.

The chance that someone under 40 gets lymphoma is about 10 in 100,000. So, in a way I won a pretty crappy lottery. But, in another way, I won a really important lottery. I was presented with a drug study for Lymphoma. It was a study of about 45 adults all over the world. After being treated with chemo, I was given a drug infusion that lasted 24 hours a day for 8 weeks. I am being studied to see if this drug will help to prevent a relapse. Though relapses are fairly uncommon in Lymphoma, they happen in about 15 - 30% of cases. The drug moves through your body attacking both active and dormant cancer cells. I was the first person in Canada to receive this particular drug for Lymphoma. I hope that this study will result wider government approvals.

I've been out of treatment now since the end of June. I am very hopeful that life will continue normally. I feel like I've only really scratched the surface - but I want to remember as much as I can. I hope that I can help others, who may be experiencing lymphoma right now. I am so grateful for my Doctors, Health Professionals, The Cross Cancer Institute, The Lab Technicians, The Nurses, the Canadian Health Care System, they saved my life.

People often wonder what to say to the individuals impacted by cancer. In my opinion, it's showing that you care. That might mean sending kind words or a meal, and finding out how you can be involved in finding a cure for cancer, means the most.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Not the Most Important Thing

Life goes on. I think that’s the beauty of it, tinged perhaps, with a bit of sadness, a bit of hope, but ultimately joy. I find myself standing in a strange place. Two roads diverging in a wood maybe? My scan is coming up this week, and next results. I’ve been feeling really good – and I take it as a reason for great hope. There is a question that has been rolling around through my head, what’s the purpose?
As a Christian I have developed a belief that life situations have purpose, but, as I put that belief to the test, it starts to sound somewhat hollow. I think it goes back to that age old criticism, “if God really loved people, why is the world such an awful place? Why is there pain and suffering?”

There seems to be an acute awareness of pain these days. Over the past two years I’ve followed politics, both Canadian and American. I’ve toyed with the idea of not even bringing it up, but the potential confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations of women that have come forward have affected me more than I expected it would. Hearing women’s voices in so many different ways has gutted me. It puts my own experience, fear, heartache in stark perspective. I’ve never experienced sexual assault, but I have close friends who have experienced both sexual assault and rape. From what I know, these instances were never reported, and I am gutted by the heartbreak, the tears, and the self-blame. This Supreme Court confirmation is the first time in my life where I have seen a raw delivery of a woman’s story, and a wave of misogyny and disbelief that leaves me confused about purpose in a whole new way.

Why did I get cancer? Why have these women been assaulted? Would a God who really loves me, and who purports to love these women allow such things to happen? What if there is no purpose? What if Dr. Ford’s testimony makes no difference in the long run? What if?

So, maybe purpose is the wrong place to focus. As a parent I would never set out to intentionally harm my child in order to have them learn “something”. That is reprehensible in my mind. The love I feel for my children is all encompassing, and I know that God’s love for us is even beyond that. So far, I have not once been able to prevent them from getting hurt, but when they are hurt I hold them, and comfort them. I tell them that even though things look bad now, we’ll be together and slowly things will get better. The focus is never on the purpose behind their hurt. I can’t imagine our Father being any different.
Today my kids are participating in the Terry Fox run at school. Olivia said to me, “You can choose to run for anyone. My friends and I are running for you.” That seems to be as much purpose as I need.  

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, 16 September 2018

What do we say to the god of death?

Not today. In case you're wondering, that's what we say - not today, according to George R.R. Martin and me lately. 

Over the summer I had the opportunity to meet up with a dear friend. Having experienced significant illness and challenges herself she asked me an interesting question. "Do you relate to the term "survivor" as it connects to cancer? Does that feel a bit militant to you?" At first, I didn't really know how to answer - mostly because I didn't yet see myself as a survivor. 

So, what am I waiting for? Someone's permission to be a survivor? Isn't the connotation of the word survivor connected to a struggle? Overcoming in a fight? 

It's taken a bit of time, a bit of processing, but I have an answer now. I'm a survivor, and I've embraced the fight. This cancer crept into my life, quietly, lethally and it damn well tried to kill me. So, yes, I fought back and continue to do so, against anxiety and fear, against seeing the future as dark and fearful. I look it straight in the eye and scream into the void. Not today! 

When it took me a day's worth of energy just to have a shower on my own, I fought by having one. 

When I was first diagnosed I walked around the hospital, but walking was nearly impossible.

I laughed, I visited with friends, I spent time with my kids, I went out with my husband. I fought for the life that was in danger of being stolen. 

I don't know what's going to happen, but make no mistake. I'm going to fight for life, for love, and for all that I hold dear - no matter what my results say. It's ok to fight, it's ok to be militant, and it's important to accept being a survivor. 

So, what do we say to the god of death? Not today. Not today. Not today. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

90 Days

My last set of test results were not what I wanted. They weren't bad results, thank God, just really not what I wanted. 

I'm not a great wait-er. I'm the one who goes and buys my kids Christmas gifts, and I can barely wait until Christmas to give them. I want to charge in the house with the Amazon boxes (God Bless Amazon), and let the kids rip into them right there. But - I know - then there would be nothing for Christmas, and Christmas is special - and the waiting is just as important as Christmas morning itself. 

So, when the Dr. said - the tumor has shrunk, but we still see activity and we'll have to wait three months to confirm what it is with another first thought was, hell. I'm going to be living in a special kind of cancer purgatory. The scan in 90 days can go two ways, one is for the tumor to either shrink further, or stay the same size.  If that's the case, I'm on Remission Road, and I can maybe start building a "new" normal - whatever that is, it will likely require counselling. But, if there is growth, we start what could be a long road that ultimately ends in further treatments, more waiting, several procedures, and a stark recognition that things are somewhat more serious. My Dr. did say to me that in the majority of the cases he has seen, the tumors usually don't grow. Which was nice of him to say - but I've found that things aren't necessarily easier. 

I'm about in the middle of the 90 days. So far it has been both better and worse than I expected. Some days I am a strong, hopeful survivor where nothing is going to get to me, and others I am quiet, serious, withdrawn and sad - searching for something, anything that will tell me, you're going to be alright. For example, there's a medical paper posted online that talks about PET scans, Deauville Scores, and SUVs. I've read it probably 172 times. Why? Because it gives me a bit of hope? Because I'm crazy? The jury's still out. 

So, what to do in the waiting? Well...I'm trying out a few things. I try to put the medical paper's down, try to put my phone away, and try to go out side to sit in the sunshine. I try to kiss my kids (when I can catch them), and give out hugs and treats as often as possible. I putter around, drive places and pretend that everything is "normal". I try to laugh and listen, to read and think. To cry when it comes, and accept joy as a part of the little things. To remember that the waiting is important, even when I can't control the outcome, when I don't know the outcome. 

To wait. To hope. Always to hope.

all the sins we see

He raped me. My friend, sweet and gentle, said it straight out like she was talking about the movie we'd seen not too long ago toget...