Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time to set sail again ...

Memorial Day weekend in West Virginia

My time on the Island of R&R is drawing to a close. On Monday I set sail again, headed right into a storm! But storms don't last forever ...

The kids are at their summer camps this week, and Matt and I are enjoying "date week"!! It has been delightfully quiet - no-one pushing anyone else's buttons. We went out for dinner last night and enjoyed not having to return by a certain time. We can watch whatever we want on TV! I had a to-do list for this week that is as long as my arm ... haven't crossed much off.

But truth be told, I am really looking forward to seeing the kids again. We pick up K-man Friday afternoon (tomorrow) and his sister on Saturday morning - after watching her perform in her camp musical.

A couple of weeks ago we were treated to a long weekend at our friends' cabin in West Virginia. It was a spectacular weekend in every way - the hospitality and fellowship of our friends, the weather, the quite/remote setting, and no schedule or list of to-do's but RELAX! And that we did.

This lovely cabin is buried in a remote valley of West Virginia

K & T & Biskit enjoyed some time paddling on, and swimming in, the lake

Biskit enjoyed much of our weekend away off-leash - a first for her!
In the past 8 weeks I have been feeling top notch! I have been exercising regularly, eating everything, and I feel as healthy as ever. Hard to believe I have cancer. What I do have is a new appreciation for the taste of food, for every breath I breathe, for every precious moment with my family & friends, and for the infinite ways God blesses me daily.

School's out for summer. Check out how our kids have grown through the year! The last day of school was also our beautiful baby girl's eleventh birthday!

Growing up so fast
T's summer swim season is off to a great start. I hope to be able to go to the last couple meets and the (3) championship meets in late July.

Here in PA we are having a pretty mild and quite lovely summer so far, warm to hot days with lovely cool nights. Anyways, summer has offically started (on Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere) and it's getting hotter. Or is it my hot flashes brought on by medically induced menopause? We haven't got A/C units in yet, but Matt promises they will be installed by the time I get home from hospital next week! So, about that ...

I set sail again on Monday. Surgery is scheduled for next Monday, June 27, around 1pm, to remove what is left of my cancer tumor and install an ileostomy (temporary bowel diversion). I will likely be in hospital around 5 days (for pain management and until return of modified bowel function), and I am pretty sure I will be laid out for much of the next week or two. I am told a visiting nurse will be helping me out at home as I get used to the ileostomy. Grandma (my mother-in-law) will care for the kids the week I am in hospital, and Matt will take vacation the week I come home. One of my goals (apart from cure) is to be driving again by July 18.

I am very positive and full of faith going into next week. The surgeon said the tumor appears to be nothing more than a scar (from radiation), and he was very pleased. I anticipate that the surgery will go according to plan. I am mentally/spiritually prepared to endure the pain and discomfort ... at least that's how I feel now! I'm sure I'll be complaining and grumpy next week!!

Best scenario - the remains of the tumor come back negative for active cancer cells and the ileostomy is reversed in 5-8 weeks, with no follow-up chemo needed. End of treatment. Anticipated scenario - if cancer/tumor still active, then 4 weeks recovery from surgery before starting chemo - 8 sessions: once every 2 weeks (approx. 4 months) with ileostomy reversed about a month after chemo finished, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, God willing.

I imagine much of the next two weeks I will be in a painkiller-induced daze or asleep! I really need to write a list of daily and weekly chores to keep everyone on track (and pets fed!) ...

I hope to be home by Saturday, July 2nd, so I can be part of K-man's 12th Birthday celebration ... I just need to wrap his gifts and hide them before he gets home from camp!

This handsome dude will turn 12 in July!

Be joyful always: God has given me a peace that surpasses all understanding (or worry)
Pray continually: I have many friends enduring cancer treatments/surgeries that have been heavy on my heart these past couple weeks. I pray for their healing, comfort, wholeness, and the same hope and peace that I have experienced.
Give thanks in all circumstances: So many people have signed up to care for me and my family through these upcoming weeks. And I have myriad prayer warriors. I thank God for each and every one of them.

Until next time ...

By God's abundant grace,

Sandii :)