Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thanksgiving Pie!!

Oh my goodness...Friends, you are looking at the physical embodiment of love. 

Last year I had Thanksgiving Pie for the very first time. My dear friend, Blue Skye, personal chef to stars, made this for our November Supper Club. Flaky, crumbly crust, homemade cranberry sauce, tender is all things yum. This year being my first GF Thanksgiving, I have been obsessing for two weeks over the idea of this delectable concoction, with calling and requesting the recipe from Skye on my perpetual-but-not-quite-completed to do list. (Did I mention that all this delicious is gluten free as well!?!)

Late tonight I received a text from another friend on her way home from dinner with Skye and family, asking if she might possibly be able to bring by a Pie over for our family. YES!! Can I even tell you how very loved and cared for I am feeling right now? Without any mention or having been asked, the very culinary desire of my heart has been met...I just love how Holy Spirit prompts and in love The Body responds. Thank you, my friends, for loving us so well!!

And as I am snitching still warm tastes inconspicuously from the edges, I think I will need to call for the recipe tomorrow. At the very least, with a big THANK YOU!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Thing Is...I DON'T WANT THIS!! (The "c" Word, Part 2)

It's been a busy while since I've last written - the Seminary Wives' Retreat went very well and was so much fun, the children's show was amazing and is now wrapped, and the painstaking cadence of chemo has been strung throughout. Tomorrow is a big day - the first peek inside since having started chemotherapy, and I have had echoes of our previous fight for insurance coverage in scheduling it. This week we also paid a brief visit to the hospital where Eric's diagnosis and surgery occurred, while visiting his dad after a neck surgery, and randomly ran into both one of Eric's surgeons and post surgical nurses prompting many emphatic hugs and How are you?'s.

It reminded me of the first week of all of this cancer business.

Evidently, there is a particular phrase that has reached frequent status in my personal usage. "The Thing Is..." spoken with particular emphasis on the word "thing", and followed by some declaration or another, can apparently be heard escaping my lips quite often.

Back in August, in urgent care, as we became more clearly aware that we wouldn't be leaving as quickly as planned, I began to mentally benchmark the places that salvation from what seemed to be shaping up could beautifully occur.  A mistaken identity due to a swapped test, an infection masquerading as tumor, carte blanche miraculous healing - each and every consulted expert, test and procedure felt rife with possibility for good news.

And each report stunningly came in with nearly worst case scenarios.

Hopes were kindly, although hesitatingly, permitted and then dashed procedure after procedure...I was escorted by the GI specialist himself to a private office to discuss his colonoscopy findings. Not good, but technically not a final diagnosis until pathology came back. When pathology confirmed cancer we moved quickly on to the necessary surgical colon resection (the tumor was blocking his appendix, which was threatening to burst), and his surgical team met with me, while he was in recovery, sharing particularly grim news. During their time in his abdomen they had a solid visual of his liver...and it showed visible evidence of metastasized tumors throughout. They took a biopsy of one of the tumors, and while path needed to officially confirm diagnosis, they were very certain of what it would read. I immediately asked about liver transplants as an option, and they said that in the US that is not available to anyone with metastatic, stage four disease. I asked every question I could think of and tried to force my brain to brilliantly uncover the information necessary that would unlock the hidden solution to all of this. They responded with great sympathy but few answers - while quite expert in the area of surgery they performed, we needed to speak with oncologists for more exacting prognosis information. It was late at night, and the remnants of friends and family members waiting for the last OR occupants overheard some of our long conversation. I was met with many tears, words in attempt of encouragement and well intended embraces as I passed back through the waiting room to the bleak hospital hallway. I breathed slowly and deeply so I could continue to function in sanity, and squared my shoulders to head back upstairs and meet Eric in his room - this night, at least, we still had some work to do. In order to heal, he would need to walk, and I could focus on helping with that.

After a long and sleep-sparse night, Eric had taken a couple of walks and was finally resting. I needed to grab clean clothing, shower a bit of the stale off of my body, and try to eat a little non-hospital food. As I drove home a song, Overcomerby Mandisa, began to play - I had not heard this song before, and come to think of it have not heard it many times since, but that morning the lyrics opened the floodgates. I sobbed nearly the whole way home, through my shower, and until I physically couldn't cry any more. I began to talk to God, audibly explaining exactly how I thought all of this needed to go and finished with a resounding near wail "The thing is... ... ...I DON'T WANT THIS!!!"

I felt nearly overwhelmed with fear. What-if scenario flashes of terror, loneliness and loss came in vivid and rapid sequence. While Eric lay sleeping in a sterile hospital bed, I flung myself onto our days old rumpled bedding in noisy sorrow and lamented everything that was unfolding.

And then I was quiet.

In that silence I finally heard what "sounds like a thought", as God lovingly and patiently asked me "Do you trust Me?"

The flood of what-if's returned in rapid succession. I forced them back with a "Yes! I trust You to heal him!" But He replied "Not do you trust Me TO, Do you trust Me?"

I tried again, "I trust You FOR complete healing...", "I trust You WITH Eric's health...", "I trust that You WILL save him!" And with each attempt I was overwhelmed with conviction regarding my 'hangers-on'.

"Do you Trust ME?"

And from that day, for me, my answer to His question has been the litmus of my battle. Am I trusting in our (excellent!) team of doctors and their support staff? In a particular medicine, plan or procedure? In insurance? In a diet, supplement, or environment? In Eric? In my own self?

The Thing Is...each day, in each situation within that day, I have the opportunity to answer His question. Where does my trust truly lie? Tomorrow, as my Love is injected with more chemicals than I even care to consider, as scans are made of his still strong body, and as we wait for more answers to our endless questions through this cancer ridden journey, I will choose to trust in the One who already knows every outcome. And repeat as often as I have to until it can be complete with no 'hangers-on'.