Low Key

I have celebrated big all along this journey. Hokey day just because I felt good. Trip to the beach when I finished the first round of chemo. A long trip to the beach when I completed Chemo all together. I was thrown a party just before I had a double mastectomy. 

Now here I am at the end of radiation. Done this intital leg of cancer. And I cannot think of any better way to celebrate than with my favorite two humans at our favorite restaurant. So low key it is. 

 Cancer will not defined me, but it won’t ever leave me alone. I will have more frequent doctors appointments then I did before. I will begin medication in two weeks that I will likely take the rest of my life. Some of my chemo side effects will be with me always. Those are just the realities. Cancer is a journey you don’t come back from the same. You don’t get to the end and move forward as if nothing happens. You and those closest to you, those that haven’t left your side, will be forever changed.

Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

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River Memories

I remember this time I was probably 8 going to the river and just going for a swim. The hole was pretty deep and we were near a small dam. Always having an old funky pair of sneakers to wear when you got in.

        The water is always freezing when you first touch it. But it’s one of those colds like water out the hose after mowing the yard… freezing, yet the most refreshing, alive feeling you felt in a quite some time.

         I remember being 14 and staying with nanny and Papa’s that summer while we were getting work done on the kitchen. I walked down to the bottom, through the fence and right past those cows to their drinking hole. Next thing I did was jump on in. Swam around and found a rock to hold onto to I could “float” and not get taken off. There is something adventurous and freeing about swimming in a crick or the river. Feeling the water flow over your feet as you walk. 

        I hadn’t felt that feeling in quite a while, so recently when my mini human asked me to join her in the river. Join her I did. It seemed like such a good idea walking down that hill, climbing down those rocks and walking into that freezing cold river water for just a few moments I forgot any part of me hurt. I wasn’t thinking about how different I appeared. I was laughing and enjoying the water with my girl and my nephew. Then I came home and I’m laying there trying to sleep reminded that I’m not 14 anymore. Happy moments and memories don’t come so easily any longer. I am still fighting for my health. I am still fighting for my new normal. But for a few moments that day I was simply enjoying the freezing flow of the river.

     Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

Honeymoon

When I married my husband 7 years ago there was no honeymoon. We, well I, was eight months pregnant and we didn’t have the financial means to go on any fancy trip. We have since spent the last seven years moving, learning, struggling, finding balance, getting settled and getting blindsided.

 2016 found us getting settled and finding balance. We had moved into a house that gave us room to relax. Room to explore. I found myself relaxing around mid-spring. As a family we started to adventure, spending weekends exploring and surrounding ourselves with people we love. In the fall the hubs and I decided our little family would be spending Christmas at the beach. Hotel was booked and the relaxing continued until December 19, 2016. 

All of that back story leads to last week. My mini human got to experience camp. She spend the week surrounded by other mini humans who are walking their own versions of the cancer journey. The lightness and clearing of her eyes was noticable and reassuring upon picking her up. 
The hubs and I were able to enjoy a staycation version of a late moon. The week was full of doctors appointments, good news, next phase planning and spontaneity. We enjoyed visiting a new restaurant, going to a PG-13 movie without having to find a babysitter and we to see Whisky & Chamomile and Blue’s Traveler in concert.  Spending the week just the two  of us, laughing and being together reminded us what we’ve been fighting for. 

During hard seasons when you are doing hard things you need these moments in order to get a chance to breath. 

Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Bedtime

Bedtime has become the stuff of hot flashes and insomnia. It is hard to sleep when your mind is swirling and your neck is sweating. Bedtime has become a time of longing, wishing and hoping. A time of trying to take my current mile marker, one moment at a time. And yet longing to be able to use the time “more wisely”. There are business things I would much rather be doing. There are household things I would rather be helping be. But here I sit as my mind whirls and twirls longing to sleep. 

        My body is confused. And we need a break. I mean an actual “we don’t have to talk about cancer, no more medicine to take, no up coming appointments” break. Between the chemo(poison) and the forcing my then 33 year old body into menapause, with monthly shots, has been a long 8 months. 

     Starting with the discussion of a unusual spot on my right breast to a diganosis no one wants to hear. Followed by three weeks of marathon diganositic appointments to the start of chemo. More news you don’t ever want to hear, with the results coming back positive on the genetic testing. The discussions and decisions you have to make. Telling your 6 year old she can’t have a sister. Taking things off the table that were once sitting there happily as possibilities. (Don’t get me wrong, I am completely open to fostering and adoption… it’s just different when other options are taken from you.) Moments of loneliness in a crowded room. Being misunderstood because no one will ask me questions. Panic attacks at the grocery store…that store is off limits. 

        God promises, “I know the plans I have for, they are plans to prosper you, give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11  I believe that is just has true in very long and hard season as it is when things are going well. I envisioned 2017 looking very different than it does. But I will not lose my grip on the one who hold my future.  

     Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

Residual

Hearing those words “It is cancer” is hard. Hearing the plan for treating said cancer is hard. Receiving treatment for cancer is hard. Chemotherapy is no walk in the park. These are statements of fact based on my experience. 

          Residual side efforts, three weeks post chemo, are strong. Chemo brain is in full effect…the forgetting is real. The pain I feel when doing simple, everyday tasks like washing dishes, has me to the point I can’t do them. Walking begins the day painful, yet manageable. Then comes evening and it is hard to walk to the bathroom. There is no exact timeline for any of the side effects to go away. These are the things I have the biggest struggle with…the cancer I can deal with. Upcoming surgery I have no problems with. I’m not even too nervous about radiation. But the side effects, that I have no control over, no guarantee when they will pass…those I have some struggles with me. The struggles have me looking like this some evenings. 

          

             At the beginning and end of each day I remind myself of all the things I have that are blessings to me. Another day to see the sky and spend with those that mean the most to me. The hubs and mini human a close second. Their complete health. The rest of my health. The strength to fight another day. Framily that stand with me has my pack. There is so very much that I am thankful for during this hard season, including this season itself. 

            Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

It’s Called Hard Love 

Friends, 

We say things, i.e. “How are you doing”, “If you need anything, don’t heisitate to ask”, “Let me know if there is anything I can do”, “If you need someone to get your mini human and give her a playdate for the day, let me know”. Often times with the belief that we have to say something. I am learning that sometimes it is better to say nothing, rather than say something that…

1. You don’t really mean.                               2.You have no desire to follow through on. 3. You think is expected of you to say.           4. You are saying out of the need to say something, but haven’t thought through and therefore is hurtful or insensitive.

I can say from experience I would much rather a person say nothing than say something they don’t​ mean and won’t follow through on. It’s terribly hurtful and lonely to find yourself in need and no one is there to help meet that need. To look up when you have fallen and weak only to find no one standing there to help you up. Its not always easy to say you need help. 

Sometimes it’s easier to just push through the thing, whatever it is (in my current journey emense pain from the chemo med), than say I need this or that. Pushing through could be easier for many reasons​. Being let down is the biggest for me. Offers forgotten. Needs overlooked. Neglect and abandonment felt. Then there is just the simple fact that sometimes, other things  need the attention more immediately than taking the time to beg for help. God has not let me down once. He strengthens me when I feel weak. God truly is all that I need.

 My heart hurts because I believe we were created for companionship, for fellowship, to journey alongside one another. And not just when times are good and worth celebrating, but when times suck and we need reminding to push on and press into the Father. That’s called Hard Love. 

Just remember big things, my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and love hard.  As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,

Randi

Reset Buttons

During hard seasons you have to remember to take time to breathe. We get so caught up in the motions of the new normal that we don’t recognize that our breathing has changed. So when we do realize our breathing has changed,  we look to the things that sooth our souls. The very things that calm our breath to renew our strength. It has to be the things that work for us has individuals. 

My things are making jewelry…Which I cannot do right now, music… Listening to all the music (see the last post for specifics), and the beach! Just listening to the waves and watching them break. Smelling the salt in the air resets my soul. I feel a strength wash over me. So to the beach we went on March 10-12. I needed to have my soul reset. Praise the Lord for reset buttons. And new mercies each morning. 

I received another reset button this past week when my oncologist held my treatment after I went to the ER with a fever over the weekend. I spent the week able to make jewelry. I worked on new designs that had been playing around in my head. I did not feel the pain I had for the previous two weeks. I started to feel almost normal again. Then today was treatment day. And so the journey continues! 

Just remember big things my friends! Big things are coming! So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and keep your chin up. As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Randi