Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Accepting a Different Kind of Christmas

Today is day 7 post-chemotherapy, and this is the point where everything that goes in my mouth has a burnt taste to it.  My strength is slowly returning and I look forward to enjoying a week and a half or so of feeling pretty good before my 6th and final treatment on January 11th.  I am coming down to the last few injections into my expanders that are needed for the over-expansion process.  The hope is that as soon as I can build my immune system again after the final chemo, I will be able to undergo my second surgery in which the expanders will be replaced with implants.  The expanders feel so foreign to my body that this second surgery is eagerly anticipated.  I continue to receive physical therapy treatment on the same days that I have my expansions in order to help reduce the muscle spasm of the pectoralis muscles. 

In the time since I last updated my journal, we have enjoyed a lot of family time.  Blake’s mom, Ivy and her husband, Jarrett’s visit from Oahu, HI has been a welcome change from the routine we have come to know since this journey began.  We celebrated Koa's 4th birthday with a winter luau complete with a Hawaiian plate of Kalua Pork, Mac Salad and Rice.  Christmas has provided some variety as well with Blake able to take some time off work allowing for more time to just be still and take it all in.

For me personally, this Christmas has been about acceptance.  I realize that most of the time my mood is based on how accomplished I feel.  The accomplishments usually include how organized my house is, how much time I spend with my kids, how consistently I have exercised, and how much time I spend with the Lord, just to name a few.  With the notorious hustle of the holidays, it is also about how many thoughtful gifts I can give.  Chemotherapy has definitely affected my ability to accomplish and has, therefore, set me up for a real season of feeling down.  Although I continue to be far from mastering it, my weakness during this time has been a good lesson in accepting what the Lord has for me.  I wasn’t able to give as many gifts this year, but between the Ulman Cancer Fund supplying gifts for our kids and trying to treasure the time spent with my family more, it turned out to be a pretty great Christmas.  Although we have received some free house cleaning, it can be quickly undone with the kids’ toys/games strewn all over and that is okay. My overall fatigue makes it hard to spend as much time playing with the kids but we have been blessed with rare occasion of having both sets of grandparents to love on our kids this Christmas.  I desperately miss the burn of a good workout and the high of a good run but have been able to take a few good walks recently.  As far as my time with the Lord, it has been more about being still and reflecting on all that He has brought me through in the last few months. In my acceptance of my lack of accomplishment, it has been more clear than ever that Christmas is simply about accepting the greatest gift given to us, a Savior come to earth as a baby.  

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