Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spiritual Airlifts

I feel like I'm surfacing from the bottom of a shallow pool - not from the bottom of a deep lake or pond or something, because I've been right there beneath the surface of the water, able to see and hear all that is going on around me, but unable to be part of much of anything.

I can see you out there, shimmering away in your busy, busy world, running from one thing to the next, chatting on phones, tapping away on your devices.  I don't feel part of that world anymore, but it's okay.  Just the thought of rushing anywhere makes me too tired

There is a freedom in this kind of tired.

When I was kind-of-sort-of-tired-but-not-totally-tired I was way more frustrated; I had that nose-pressed-against-the-glass feeling, like I should be out there participating but just can't.   Now that I'm full-on-bone-weary-tired I'm happy to let go, to lie down and rest.  I don't have the energy for anything else, anyway.

I'm about halfway (well, almost halfway) through treatment, and the honeymoon phase of this is over.  The reality of what I'm up against plunked into my lap last week, wiggled around, and made itself comfortable.

I am no longer driving myself to treatment, because it's too tiring to sit up that long.  My appetite has all but disappeared, and I can't taste anything anymore.  Except for COFFEE.  I can still taste coffee - thank God for small miracles.  I'm down about 16 lbs in two weeks.   The ulcers/sores in my mouth make it impossible to eat anything solid (although in a fit of desperation and determination last night I sent Steve out for a cheeseburger from McDonald's and damned if I didn't nibble that thing half to death) so I'm on a liquid diet.

The feeding tube will go in this week, and now I'm actually looking forward to it.  My body craves nutrition.

I spend most of my time sleeping, or reading.   I don't get on the computer much these days, and I'm way behind in responding to emails.  If you sent me an email in the past week and haven't heard back - I'm sorry. I'm here, shimmering beneath my pool of water - and I'll slowly work my way through them.

I didn't set out to give a laundry list of all my symptoms and struggles, though.  Although it does feel good to get them off my chest.  And maybe it will make what I really wanted to talk about more powerful, because what I wanted to talk about was how overwhelmed and amazed I am at the generosity that surrounds our family.  It is hard to admit that you need help - at least it is for me - and I balked at the idea of needing people for the first couple of weeks.   I'm over that, now.  We need you, and we are so very grateful for all your help.

To all of you who bring meals to our front door step - THANK YOU.  I'm usually coming home from radiation around 6pm, dog tired and weary, and to walk in and see my family sitting around the table eating a nutritious meal means so much to me.  The mommy-guilt part of being sick is tough  - all the things I can no longer do -and your delicious meals do more than feed my family - they feed my spirit.

Thank you for all the cards, notes and emails.  I read them all, sometimes again and again.  I can't respond to every one of them, but they matter to me.  They matter a lot.

Thank you for the Amazon gift card - so many of you contributed to keep me up to my ears in books (and apps!) for my Kindle.  Thank you for the Grocery Delivery gift card - we used some of it this week and it was a life-saver during a particularly difficult time.

Thank you to my incredible Mom, who is steadfastly by my side during treatment, keeping me company, coming to my house to watch the kids so Steve and I can sneak off to a movie.  The other night she came armed with her favorite recipes and putting them in my blender.  She knew it was difficult for me to to smell the delicious meals coming into my house and not be able to taste/eat them - so she blended them, one by one, into delicious soups.  They are so good; even the kids like to eat them.

All of your generosity keeps my little family trucking along, keeps their lives as normal as possible during this less-than-normal time.

My friend Sean, and his lovely wife, Sue, came by a few weeks ago with a Prayer/Hope Box.  I have known Sean for over fifteen years now - we worked together back in the 90s and have remained friends ever since.  Sean and Sue have been through their share of health struggles, and their unwavering faith has always been inspirational to me.

It's a pretty bejeweled cigar box, and inside they filled it with inspirational Scripture and Psalms. I take them out and read them when I need a boost, when I'm feeling at the end of my rope and my own faith is wearing thin.  This morning, I pulled this from the box:

Be strong and courageous;
do not be frightened or dismayed, 
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go
 Joshua 1:9   

Sean encouraged Steve and the kids to put messages/pictures in the box, too.  When his wife was ill, he would put tickets to things they would do together when she felt better, along with messages of how much he loved her.  

The box sat on my bedside table, forgotten by everyone but me, I thought.  

The other night I had a bad reaction to some medication and was throwing up for most of an evening.  The kids were still up, and Steve got them into bed as I was retching in the bathroom.

When I finally stopped dry heaving and made my way - slowly - into my bedroom, I saw the Prayer Box sitting on my pillow. 


With tears in my eyes, I opened the lid, and saw this: 



A note from Greta that says: "Cancer has the word 'can' in it."

She knew I was having a rough night, and she remembered the Prayer Box and added this note all on her own.  She was still awake, so I tiptoed into her room and gave her a big hug.  

"Thank you," I said. "Your note was just what I needed.  I feel so much better."

She beamed.  "I'm sorry you're sick, Momma," she said. "But I know you can do it."

And I can; with all of you to help me along - all your prayers, generosity, words of support, encouragement and advice.

I can.   





45 comments:

  1. Thinking of you so very much.
    Love and prayers. Always.

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  2. Damn, you're making me cry.
    Hugs to you. I think of you often.

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  3. All my thoughts, Ellie. Your babies are just as amazing as you are.

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  4. Oh Ellie. You can and you will. You must. Good luck--not sure if those are the right words--with the feeding tube. Glad you are ready for it.

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  5. Keep on truckin, your doing a great job!! You CAN do this!

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  6. You have an amazing daughter. Well done Ellie.

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  7. Ellie, you are an amazing woman! God bless :)
    LuAnn

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  8. I love you so much. Halfway through, even if the last half is uphill over rocks and in stilettos.

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  9. Another beauty of this...is that you, in your tired-weak-ready-to surrender-to-tubes-and-help-state are a spiritual airlift to us on the outside looking in at your faith, perseverance, strength and hope. You are being squeezed, and what comes out are the fruits of the spirit. You are on my praying lips and heart daily. Though I do not "know" you in a real sense, your sweet spirit and soul has slipped into my heart. I care very much for not what is only going to happen at the end of this journey, but every step in between. I am thanking God today for giving you the strength to once again touch my heart today with your gift of words, and your gift of God's presence in your life. Blessings dear, and lots of love. Wishing I could do something for you too.

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  10. Oh Ellie I love your heart which your children so obviously inherited.
    The verse you posted is my daughter's life verse, she chose it because as she puts it "I'm not so strong but God is for me"
    We will be praying that verse for you tonight together as a family, please know we're here ...loving and praying and expecting nothing right now
    xoxoxox

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  11. Halfway through, that's a blessing. Ellie, you're in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your journey, you will be a source of encouragement and inspiration to someone out there.

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  12. This - this crucible - is refining and beautifying someone that I already thought was pretty amazing. I can't begin to describe how your transparency, your tenacious faith and your vulnerability all rolled into one, touches me deeply.

    I'm not exactly sure why, but something tells me to share the contents of an album (yes, vinyl, that dates me) with you... something that was done in the late 1970s ... by a Christian comedian. I found it on a site called grooveshark, and you can copy/paste the address in your browser, then click play all, when you have 45 minutes to just sit back and listen. Your journey reminded me of an experience this guy - named Mike - had in Viet Nam. And that's all I'll say about it, except to give you the site.

    http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Hey+Doc+/3465351

    I hope that someday, you will know just how many lives you have touched. Mine is one of them.

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  13. Your daughter is as amazing as you are! Thinking of you.

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  14. So happy you are surrounded with such amazing liove. Thinking about you.

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  15. This made me cry...because it is such a beautiful post. A testament of the human spirit and of kindness. I think and pray for you daily.

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  16. Ellie thank you for sharing your journey with us. We will walk through it with you. We will pray and think of you daily. You are an amazing woman. A wonderful mother and wife. You care so much about your family. Now that you have the feeding tube it must be somewhat easier for you to get nourisment. Remember Ellie we are all on this journey with you. I will end with I will pray for you...

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  17. Effin' sobbing over here. You (and Greta) are teaching me how to be brave. Sending so many prayers and so much love. xo

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  18. Such an uplifting story, so beautifully told. Wishing you strength and thinking of you, Ellie.

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  19. I am with you Ellie. I remember how the love and prayers of those areound me buoyed me through my ordeal. It was like a wonderful warm blanket on a cold night. Glad I can join others in doing just a bit for you as was done for me.

    And half way through. Wow! The light at the end of the tunnel may be pretty damn dim, but it is there.

    Hugs,

    Mike L

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  20. yes Ellie. you CAN. And you WILL. And we are canning and willing along with you near and far. Thank God you feel it. When you do....

    I'm all into some chats with God and today as I sat in church with my family, a lot of my God talking was about you. Sending you all kinds of soul-fueling strength......

    xoxo
    Lee

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  21. Ellie, what a strong woman you are. Been thinking of you a lot and praying that your treatment goes well. Your daughter's note was so touching. You CAN get through this!

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  22. You are such an inspiration to me. So strong, so focused. Hugs!!

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  23. thinking about you. Love your family and how they are taking care of you. :)

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  24. The word you used ...shimmering.. is the way I think of you as you go through this process. You maintain your grace and appreciation for so many things instead of being angry and self centred that it teaches all of us to try and be better than we are in our lives. The loss of 16 lbs is scary and I hope that the feeding tubes help as I was amused to picture you nibbling the cheeseburger. This made me smile and I was happy to know that you are still the same determined person we all admire.

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  25. You're always in my thoughts. Thank you for keeping us posted. So glad you are surrounded by so much love and caring.

    Hugs,

    Libby

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  26. Ellie -- your post and your daughter's note were so touching. I'll never forget her note actually. it's beautiful and positive, just like you even as you go thru the worst of your ordeal. A lot of us are praying for your strength to get thru this and for your healing. Thank you for being a giant dose of inspiration and giving to us as you help yourself. You should feel very proud of yourself and your daughter. I love your authenticity of your posts. You are not alone. Love, Joanne

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  27. Yes you can! Yes you can! yes you can! Lots of love to you - rest up, dear girl.

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  28. Oh, I'm crying! That is such a sweet note. Also, I'm so glad to hear that your social support network is in full swing; with all of that love and support it makes it so much easier to focus your energy on getting well!

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  29. You can. Such an inspiration my friend. Thinking about you and continuing to send so much love. xoxo

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  30. Ellie, thank you for writing this. I'm a long time reader, but I don't think I've commented before.
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Dec. 6th. Though my journey is different than yours, I find many similarities and enjoy so very much the thoughts you share.
    That note made my day, too. Thank you.

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  31. Ellie - I am so grateful for you and your wisdom. You are handling all of this with such grace, such courage. If you can feel "free" in the midst of all this, then, oh my, you are really free. Even if "the shallow pool" gets a little deeper this next few weeks, here's a verse of scripture to consider: (if I were there, I'd put it in your prayer box, but, know that you have a cyber-prayer box, and that's where I'll place it.

    "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you" Isaiah 43:2

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  32. Oh what a strong girl you have! She could only have known to say that because you are her mother. So amazing.

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  33. I don't know you and likely never will except through here, but you are special, as is your daughter. I am praying for you and your family. Much love from BC Canada.

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  34. My daughter is an avid reader of Crying Out Now and your blog and just wanted to add my prayers and wishes to your list. Additionally, I will put you and your family in my God can, and remember God can.

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  35. Oh my, that's beautiful.

    {sweet girl, raised right.}

    You're still in my thoughts, Ellie.

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  36. Wow! Sure you can. I was looking for daMomma and hit on your link over there, and found you. A speedy recovery, dear.

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  37. My prayers and positive you 'can' thoughts are being sent to you!
    Shelley in SK

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  38. I stumbled upon your blog after googling "cancer inspiration words" under images and came upon your photograph "Cancer has the word can in it." Your post is so moving. You are such an inspiration.
    I am the founder of Layers of Love. You can see what we do at(http://www.layersoflove.net)if you'd like. More importantly, I would love to send you a blanket to provide you with comfort and warmth as you go through your treatment. My email address is patty at layersoflove dot net if you send me your address I will get you a blanket right out.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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  39. You SO can!

    Sending lots of prayers your way.

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  41. Erica @ Pines Lake Red Head introduced me to your blog. You are incredibly strong to be able to share your journey with us. Keep fighting you good fight! You have a new fan and follower from WV.

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  42. So much love to you, Ellie. I think of you so often.

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  43. From one crafty mother to another, you write an amazing blog. I hope you find it therapeutic to write and that it gives you strength. I am the daughter of an alcoholic (I'm 40, she's 65 and sober for 25 years), much of what you write resonates with me. Your piece about not writing about your recovery was wonderful, and your thoughts on your current struggle are moving. It's amazing the people that you find in this blog world, some truly special folk. Many thanks.

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