Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Now

As I sit and reflect back to the last 4 months I am in awe of what the Lord has done. There are stories upon stories I will be able to tell my children, their children and on and on. As the positive things have occurred and I am so grateful for them, there has been a part of this journey that has been difficult. Not the faith part I feel I have that one down as good as I can on this earth. Not the trusting part I feel I can do that semi good. But the Whats next Lord. Where are we now? What could possibly happen now that everything has occurred. I mean I found out I have cancer, I await results of what type of surgery, I go into surgery have a bilateral mastectomy, have chemotherapy and lose my hair. Now what?
I think this part falls into patience and all that know me well know I am not very good at this. Everything that has occurred has occurred quickly. Now the waiting begins..... Wait for my last chemo, wait for my hair to come back, wait for a normal life again. Whats that? Whats a normal life? As I write this I am about to go through my 3rd cycle of chemotherapy treatment. I only have 2 left. But I find myself dragging my heels as it approaches. Now knowing what I and my family endures through each treatment makes me cringe. Knowing that I will be aching so bad I am moaning makes me crazy. Knowing that my kids see me cry when I hurt makes me sad. Watching my husband bounce from work to home trying to do his best with the personality he has been given makes me nervous. There is part of me that KNOWS for sure my Lord is in control of all of this but there is a small part of me that says when is enough enough? These are the normal thoughts of a person living in a world of sin and being human and having a battle going on in my head most of the time. A battle of fighting for the Lord. At times I become tired and at times I have strength only the Lord can give.
This time of year is amazing in a normal life for me. It is my favorite time of year because it is all about Jesus Christ, love and family and friends. It is about giving of yourself in ways you would never do on a regular basis (even though I should). It is a time when I can use my gifts and talents for the Lord. But something is different about this year. The gratefulness I have in my heart is overflowing. The love I feel for those around me is unspeakable. My heart aches for my family with love I can barely stand it. This year is different. It is not "normal" but yet my new "normal". Let me set up a picture for you to imagine. My life before all of this was great. I love the Lord, I have a husband who loves me in ways you could never imagine. I have been entrusted to raise 3 beautiful girls and I love them dearly. I have 2 sets of parents that love me and my family unconditionally. I live in an amazing house that I was able to design and make our own. Now imagine my life through the NOT so normal period of time. I love the Lord in ways I never thought I could, I know Him more intimately than I ever had before, I have to and want to rely on Him at all times because He is my life, I have a husband that has stood by me and loved me through the most changes a women could ever go through or endure on her body and yet he still is attracted towards me and loves me, I have children who I love so much and treasure each minute with them and hang on their every word, I have children who are much more compassionate for me and for people than they ever were before, I have 2 sets of parents who I love so much and am so grateful for them and they are so supportive of me it is unbelievable, I have supportive friends who help me and care for me as if I am their own family. I have new friends that I would have never known. I am living in a home that has become my safe haven with my family even when I am not feeling so safe. My life has changed dramatically!
I am so grateful for the changes because who I was before all of this and who I am now may seem to be the same minus the hair. But who I am inside and who the Lord is transforming me to be is totally different and I keep hearing Him whisper to me. "Just stay the course, just be patient with me, I am not done with you yet".
As we enter this time of year and I know there are different trials out there that so many are going through. We are all facing the same thing and that is the inside change the Lord is trying to make in all of this. So stay with me on it and stay the course, be patient, He is not done with us yet!
I love you all. Please be praying as I enter my 3rd cycle on Tuesday. Pray that my fatigue body gets strength to endure this cold and flu season. Pray that this treatment would be a piece of cake!
I hope everyone had as blessed Thanksgiving as I did and really reflected on how thankful we all are for what and who we have in our lives

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How I Became Bald

I always have to start my writing by thanking everyone who has been praying for my family and I. The Lord definitely knows when to bring people in front of me even if it is just an encouraging word or letting me know they are praying.
Well as my Journey with the Lord continues my story seems to grow. Grow in length but also and most important grow in the Lord. I know in my mind that you can never "know" the Lord completely until we get to heaven but in my heart I felt like I knew Him really well. I am beginning to realize that I get to know Him better and better and a lot more intimately each and every day. I am loving how my communication with Him is a minute by minute conversation with every step I take on this Journey with Him. He gives me strength when I need it, Grace when I don't deserve it and Peace when I don't feel it. Thank you Lord Jesus!

3 weeks ago I was at UCSF receiving my first chemo treatment. They had told me between 10 and 14 days I would see thinning in my hair and about 2 1/2 weeks I would lose all of my hair. Monday of last week while all of my girls were at school my hair began thinning, and I mean thinning so bad within a couple of hours I had lost the whole bottom of my hairline. Probably the weirdest thing I have ever experienced in my life. With every tug I realized that it was happening. Everything I was afraid of was coming to real life. But it felt so surreal. I was hanging out with my sweet friend Gretchen and I would look at her and she would be starring at my head. I finally said "What are you looking at" she replied to me "your hairline is gone and it looks like your pony is about to just pull out". Now in my mind I was thinking "oh no we leave on our family vacation in 2 days couldn't the Lord wait until we got home to let this happen". I knew that if I didn't shave it our vacation would be an emotional disaster, not only for me but for my kiddos as well. I picked the girls up that afternoon and told them that mommies hair was coming out in clumps and it was time for a "FUN" shaving party. They were so excited they could hardly wait until they got home. I set up shop for the 3 little hairstylist and me as the client. They started with the scissors. Pretending they were in a salon and styling my hair all kinds of ways. I told them we needed to shave my hair into a Mohawk because I have always wondered what I looked like with one that was real! So Jeff picked up the clippers and started to shave. When he was done shaving I let the girls style it and stick it up straight. They could hardly do it because with every swipe through my hair clumps were falling out. We pretended we were rock stars and took lots of pictures of every style they did. If I could have I would have kept the Mohawk I loved it!!!!! After all the fun we proceeded to shave the rest. Reality set in. My hair was just about to be completely gone. I sat in the chair as tears fell down my face. I looked over at London thinking she would be the last one I needed to worry about! But in her little mind you could tell she was scared. Not scared OF her mommy but scared FOR her mommy. Then I looked at Halle my 7 year old and she was weeping. I looked at Madison and she just held it together pretty well I think trying to let me know she was OK. After Jeff was done shaving my head I went and looked in the mirror. WOW who is this? We all look so different with and without hair. There was a part of me that liked it, it was different. But there was a part of me that looked sick. In my mind and my heart though I am not sick so why do I have to look like this and feel like this? That night was a great night, the Lord had given me the strength to do what we did and to be OK with it all. Then the next day came.......
I woke up and walked past the mirror startled a bit at what I saw. But trying to justify the feelings in my mind I went on like no big deal and got the kids ready for school. I walked them out to Gretchen's car and said my goodbyes. I joked with her kiddos that I was the only bald women they know and let them feel my head. They all giggled and off they went to school. I walked into the house and all I could do was cry. It was weird. It was the beginning of something I dreaded to walk through. My girlfriend Kristin had called the day before and asked if we could hang out that day for a bit, so it was time I got ready. Now it only takes me 10 minutes to get ready now BUT what was I going to choose to wear on my head? How will I tie it? Will I make it work? Will people stare? Will it create good conversation or will people dodge me? All of the things going through my head. As I tried on all of my scarves they were all a bit warm and heavy so I pulled Kristin along with me to the mall to look for some old school bandannas for our trip the next day. I found myself crying the whole day off and on. We were even in a store and I whipped my scarf off to try another on and looked at myself in the mirror and both Kristin and I broke down. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE!!! We started laughing, pulled ourselves together and off to the next store we went. Later that afternoon I had to go to school for Halle's birthday in her class. The first appearance at school since I shaved my head.I was going to a place where I should be the most comfortable but I couldn't even hold it together for a split second. I walked into her classroom and even Halle hadn't seen me with a scarf on yet. Halle's teacher Mrs. Boren had had a talk with the kids before I came in so they would know what to expect. They all looked at me and went on with their business no questions asked. After the party I walked out to get the other girls thinking in my mind I don't want to run into anyone lets just get them and go. As I walked out I ran into my girlfriend Erin and All I could do was tell her this stinks and cry! Then Gretchen comes up and all I could do was tell her this stinks and cry! Then Mrs Skiles comes up and gives me a hug and all I can do is cry. I'm thinking to myself HEATHER PULL IT TOGETHER!!!! I told the girls I know I need to break down but why on a day when I am busy and have to be around everyone?
That night we packed out bags and off to Disneyland we went. I was thinking thank you Lord I get to get away with my family to a place of fun and not worry about a thing. We had a great time together laughing and just enjoying life.
As I sit and look back on this last week I am so thankful. The Lord works in ways that boggle my mind. He does things in such a complicated way but yet so simple. I mean he knew when my hair would fall out even though we had a vacation. He knew I would break down the second day even if it was in front of many people. The Lord has helped me in our minute by minute conversations as to why He does things the way He does. I really feel like my hair came out before we left so that I wasn't anxious day to day as to when it would happen. I also feel like it gave me time to be bald, where bandannas in public, experience the looks and whispers I will get when I walk into a room. All of these things are preparing me for the next day the next phase. All of these things are happening to me for a reason and I choose to live each day the way the Lord wants me too, even if it is uncomfortable at first. If I wasn't going on this Journey I would have never experienced a bald head (its very round and good shaped thank God), my girls would have NEVER been able to cut there moms hair, I would have never been transparent with all of those people, I would have never been able to bond with my girls and my sweet hub during the shaving process, I would have never experienced shopping with Kristin the way I did, I would have never been able to have conversations with people that I have had about life experiences and the Lord, I would have never been able to see such compassionate people step up and help, I would have never known how much people cared about me the way they have. I could go on and on about the I nevers. I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I do know that the Lord has made each and every day an experience I will never forget.
Thank you for being a part of my Journey with me. My prayer is that people would see the work the Lord is doing in me and want to have that relationship with Him as well. It makes going through something hard very easy.
Please be praying for me on Tuesday as I will go to the 2ND treatment. Pray that lives were touched by Jeff's letter. Pray that the people sitting next to us going through treatment will somehow see the Lord in us.
Love to you all