Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho...It's off for fun we go!

Tomorrow morning Gilles and I along with John, Yvonne, Bill and Ann are heading south; destination - Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I've been looking forward to this trek for a little while now. Our plan is to attend "In the beginning - the Creation Story" at the outdoor theatre. The anticipation of lots of laughs, a break from routine and spending a relaxing time with Gilles and our good buddies have served as my distractions for this month. I am hoping I will endure the eight hour trip gracefully and that I won't be tossed out of the van for bad behaviour. I am actually feeling pretty good physically this week, although a little tired at times. Usually this week before the next chemotherapy treatment is a good one for me, so the timing of this play and our trip works.

As I pack my little roll along suitcase I smile as I think how nice it is not to have to pack bulky shampoo and conditioner bottles along with my hairdryer and special twirly hairbrushes. Instead I toss in a few hats. Sigh. I am getting used to being bald except everytime I pass a mirror I still scare myself. I popped in to see Colleen today. Colleen is the downtown hairdresser who I love. I asked her if she could give me a perm. She swatted me then gave me a hug. Everyone is so nice to me. :)

I guess my entourage does not mind hanging out with a bald old gal so for that, I am thankful. I hope I don't make too many people ill at ease as we travel onward this weekend. I think part of that is me, although I am amazed at the many different responses I get to my appearance. I think the best has to be the double takes when I am in a vehicle. I think people want a closer look to see if I am male or female. If they stare long enough, I usually wave. Then they get flustered and look away. The odd few wave back. :)

I wonder what will happen at the border. Is there any legislation banning baldies? I guess I will see. If they give me a hard time maybe I will fein sickness. Hopefully it won't be real. I guess we'll soon find out. Right now I am off to see if this body will lie still and drift into a relaxing REM state without a sleeping pill. Those wretched little yellow tablets typically knock my socks off the next day - a hangover that I don't need on an eight hour trip. So I am going to do my best.

Okay...let's think of something to sing. What's my favourite hymn? It is Well With My Soul...sing along with me...

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul."

You sing beautifully...Night, night...ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dark Day

An uneasiness settles in crowding out my sensibility

Foolish boomer; your purpose is vague;

Your mind scattered

Never completing; always beginning,

Making lists for Comfort; never adhering.

From whence thou cometh, Procrastinator?

Find your focus -

Sit. Stay. Roll over.

Play dead...

Thursday - not ready for the weekend.

Backing out gracefully.

Sorry. Nobody home!


"Come to me all who are heavy burdened..."

The Son came out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Balcony Purgatory

Today, in church I sat in the balcony with Gilles. I am supposed to stay away from crowds during chemotherapy due to a compromised immune system. Apparently the voices of wisdom say that between 10 and 14 days are my most susceptible moments. It's day 11, so we are smack dab in the middle of that. Hence my placement in balcony purgatory.

Looking down on the congregation from my comfortable perch, I had some funny thoughts run through my head this morning. First I wondered what it would be like if I fell over the railing (it's the drugs). My second thought centered around where I would fall and would they stop the service or would the organ play on for effect? If my head covering fell off, how many little children would I scare? Then I realized it was Sing Sunday and the junior munchkins were elsewhere singing their hearts out. So I wondered how many big people I might scare. Odd thoughts for a 52 year old, huh?

Lest you think maybe I should be loosening my head covering a tad, staying well back from the railing and listening more to what is happening in the pulpit rather than paying heed to the drugged voices, this all took place before the service began. (Really) Clearing my mind of cluttered thoughts is always a challenge to me when I go to church. This morning was no exception.

Luckily, though, I felt a bit of a shift in my thought patterns. I'm giving the credit to God, because I know if left to my own devices I would be trying to figure out how many sausages were left in the fridge and if there would be enough for lunch. Instead, I found myself looking at specific people. I wondered about them and prayed for them.
Sid is looking a little thin these days. Was he feeling okay? The Fowlers, who had just buried their son and brother last week, were bravely sitting in the pew leafing through their Bibles. Were they seeking a scripture for comfort? I looked at the DeMols and thought how healthy they looked. I prayed their lives would be long and happy. I looked at the Mol boys and thought how big and handsome they were. I prayed they would make their Momma and Poppa proud and that they would make good choices. I looked at Richard and wondered how he was feeling and then I felt awful because I had forgotten to pray for him lately. God nudged me and told me to pay better attention to the needs of others. Richard is back on my prayer list. Randy wasn't standing. I prayed she was not in pain. There were so many souls that I looked at and thought of this morning. I saw my gardening angels. I looked at all the different sweet friends who had brought us meals and treats and senna tea (wink) and flowers over the past months and then I thought about my hall wall plastered with get well and encouragement cards. I prayed again and gave thanks.

Yes, the corner in the balcony is a little distant geographically speaking, but I think for now it's a good place for God to prod me and keep my mind off sausages and more on rejoicing for all the right reasons.

The directive in the Bible - Ephesians 6:18 (paraphrased) "Pray at all times and on all occasions..." became very meaningful this morning. Pastor Kramer in his sermon defined prayer as a supreme expression of fellowship. I know I have lots of people praying for me. I have a lot of friends out there supremely expressing themselves on my behalf, so I see today as a reminder for me to reciprocate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I saw Jesus Today.

(Photo: Garion [Gary] Fowler)

This morning I had a call from a mom who's 19 year old son was killed in a car accident last week. She buried her baby on Saturday. Yet she called ME this morning to see how I was doing. I cried when I heard her voice. "How are you doing, Glynis?" she wanted to know. I could sense the sincerity in her tone.

I should have been the one to call her and offer her the comfort that she was caressing me with on this quiet September morning. She soothed me and helped my tears subside.

What a testimony to the power and the mercy found in the Lord. "I have no strength," this brave mother uttered when I asked her how she was doing. "I am totally dependent on the power of God." She admitted to having none.

I have been going through some valleys since my chemotherapy treatment last week and it has seemed a tougher and more cobbled pathway this time around. But my valley has been nothing compared to what this valiant mother has faced along with her family. Yet she was concerned about me.

She talked about Garion - Gary, her sweet son. I could sense the smile on her face as she remembered her boy. She told me about the pain that was present, but she was trying to focus on the good things. She knew her son loved the Lord. He was the big military lad who wrote a scripture verse in his high school year book and didn't give two hoots about what anyone might say about it. She knew his sense of humour and his love of family. How she would miss that. We talked for a while about families and some other things and then we finally said our goodbyes.

When I hung up the telephone I sat for a moment contemplating what had just occurred. Then I realized what had happened. I had just been treated to a special gift. Kathy called and I had caught a glimpse of Jesus.

Chemotherapy Lament

A blank canvas
Bare, prepared, awaiting -
The brush of the Master
I sit, transfixed
Fifth Chemotherapy
Drained spirits,
Causing me to alternate between
The present and the sub-future
Out of body experience
Reminding me of the fragility
And fickleness of
The nervous system...awry
The digestive system...askew
The circulatory system...aberrant
The nurse digs deeply for her remedy
Psychological...physiological thriller
Visit from friend cheers me
She shares her heart
Massages mine
Soothes my soul
We laugh; we cry; we contemplate our existence
Goodnight sweet Jesus.
The Master signs His painting
Precious; loved.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Open Door

Once upon a time there was a door. The door, slightly ajar, beckoned the curious girl. Should she heed the counsel of the wise? After all they were the ones who had affixed the 'do not enter' signs Were they not the ones who knew best; who knew what was good for her; who knew what really lurked there in the darkness? The girl did not want to enter the way via the ominous door but the urge was overpowering; luring; impossible to resist.

She had been warned in a dream long ago that she might discover this inviting, open door one day, but she had also been cautioned in a second dream, about the perilous path connected to the door. She had paid no heed over the ages, thinking it a bit of a foolish delusion.

Now, compelled, the girl reached for the handle. A sudden rush of pain surged through the girl's body and she immediately tried to release her grip. But she couldn't. Soon she was pulled behind the door. "No! No! She cried. Her tears fell. Unrelenting. Before she knew it she found herself spiralling down, down down. Her landing offered only thuds and more pain.

"Self-inflicted," someone said. "If she hadn't gone through the door, this would not have happened.""If only she would have listened and not believed the lies then this may not have taken place. The people gathered and peered in, not daring to tread even close lest they get drawn nearer to the abyss.

The girl heard the muffled moans and the cries of the wise ones above. She worried what she might do to escape, to flee, to run and hide from the darkness. She wanted to return to the familiar, the comfortable, the place where accountability was shrouded in what worked best for her. Being with the wise ones made her feel secure. Why did she choose the door? She chastised herself and waited for the wise ones to drop the rope and rescue her.

As the girl lay, waiting, hurting at the bottom of the pit, she became cognizant of her blindness. Her eyes were open but the light would not, could not, pierce the moment. Her terror slowly turned into panic. Screaming. Dreading the end.

The darkness settled as a fog but for a split second, the girl caught a glimpse of light.Her flailing arms ceased. Her laboured breathing steadied. The blindness began to subside. Shadows appeared.The girl listened for the voices of the wise ones. She heard no moans or calls. As her eyes adjusted to the strip of light she tried to make sense of the shadows. Her heart hurt for a moment for she sensed the wise ones had used their knowledge to her detriment. She knew the mindset of the wise ones. She knew they had decided that better one lost than an entire populace.

The girl wiped her eyes. Her sadness pulsated for a moment. As she turned her head toward the light, she felt a chilling, refreshing shiver. The light was the direction. The girl's heart quickened. She could see no ground before her, yet her senses were heightened. "" the sound reverberated from within.

She journeyed on. Clueless. Yet she experienced an odd sense of peace. It was a peace that seemed to pass any understanding that she had ever experienced before in her life. It was a peace that defied any words offered by the wise ones. The peace was indescribable; comforting; real.

Soon the girl realized the darkness had dissipated. She looked around the vast, green fields that lay before her. She reached out. Fine ferns brushed against her face, caressing her like a mother's gentle hand. Creatures, great and small frolicked and played in the meadow before her. She wanted to call them animals or insects but she could not find words appropriate; satisfying; suitable.

Then she spotted the people. The people. Glorious people. Radiance abounded. The Light enfolded each one of them as they danced reverently around the throne.The mighty, adorned throne shone as a spectacular, radiant jewel. Brightness and beams of light travelling from the throne to the people defied magnificence.

A deep longing filled the girl's soul. "What must I do to receive this Light?" she asked.The people turned to face the questioner."" The chorus echoed in superlative song. The girl listened for a long time. The voices continued and she felt loved like never before.

The girl looked up. "I confess...I believe...I trust..."A symphony of voices joined the girl as she rejoiced."But what about my people?" The girl concerned herself for the wise ones who had cared for her.

The Light stood up. The people were jubilant and joyously worshipped.The Light pointed to a set of stairs on the other side of the throne."Your journey begins. Go tell the others what you have seen...Tell them what it means to be truly wise."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sleep - Where Art Thou?

(Photo: My happy hubby still loves me!)

It's four in the morning and once more my early dawning is making me a tad crazy. I have been sitting in Gilles' chair since 2:30 reading e-mails and playing the odd game of Spider Solitaire. Perhaps I should have popped a pill but when I hit the sack earlier, my body was begging for rest so I thought I would have no problems sleeping. (Sigh) Now I am wide awake.
I haven't eaten much since my last chemo on Thursday - a banana and a plum about completes the menu for the past two days. The steroids, which over the chemo months, have caused me to gain weight, have perhaps decided to give me a break. My appetite seems suppressed for now but I am not worried. (I have a few extra pounds to get me through) I am sure that once the day officially kicks off with some semblance of daylight, then I will soon be snooping in the refrigerator. I just hope the nausea does not return. That's not a pleasant feeling.

My energy level waxes and wanes like the tide. I try to use those waxing moments to think about my blessings. There are many. In fact, I think I will do a quick count right now:

Here Goes:

1) Gilles - who rallies, encourages and is my gatekeeper who offers unconditional love to his whiny-baby bald wife. He is sticking by the deal we made 30 some odd years sickness and in health. I love him so much.
2) I have a family who loves and supports me in many unique and different ways.
3) I have friends who are like family - they rally and feed us; they pray for us and keep their word. They mean it when they say..."If you need anything..."
4) I have faceless friends on listserves (Inscribe and TWG) who give me moments of pure bliss as they minister to me in beautiful words or fitting scripture, humour and sharing of their own situations and challenges.
5) My CA125 blood levels are heading in the right direction (down!)
6) Treena and Frank's little baby will soon be making an appearance and I can hardly wait - yikes...that means I will be a 'great' Aunt again! Time flies...
7) I serve a God Who is directing my life in an amazing way. I am learning to love deeper, become more forgiving, to show more mercy, to not overreact to the trivial and the things beyond my control and to just know that He is truly in control of every breath I take.
8) Small towns are the best.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rejoicing, Reacting and Rallying

(Photos: Trevor and Janice...Amanda and Jason...I am so blessed knowing that my children are happily wed and independent.)
Yesterday, September 11th, was my fifth chemotherapy day. more to go. And hooray, Laurie, my nurse got the IV in the first time around! It was another long, day but I am not complaining because things are looking hopeful for me. My blood work is showing good results. My CA125 has dropped from a whopping 1500 to 16! The lump on my wrist turns out to be a benign tumor on the blood vessel. (Breathing a big sigh of relief and dancing a [rather lame] happy dance!) After my last chemo on October 2nd, I will be checked again in six weeks. This is to make sure the treatments zapped all the nasty, invading cells. Watch out for the happy dance then. :)

At the cancer clinic I was blessed to have my friend, Cindy, next to me again. She and her sister, Denise - her designated driver and cheerful companion, were my mates for a while. Cindy was scheduled for her usual one hour session but due to a not so very nice reaction to her new drug, she ended up staying for over two, maybe close to three hours. It is amazing to see our angels in blue (nurses) expertly rally around when things go awry. The minute Cindy reacted, the emergency kit was brought out, the appropriate drugs were administered and each angel knew their role. Cindy's reaction was reversed and after a sufficient rest and trial period again, her drug was resumed and all was well. I was behind Cindy's curtain praying without ceasing as the angels worked. I praise God that He has gifted these nurses and has given them love and compassion for their patients and their jobs. One thing that I noted before they had closed Cindy's curtain to work on her, was the calmness that prevailed. There was no sense of panic - just efficiency. That is a blessing in itself.

My heart goes out to Cindy. Her road is long. At only 39 years, Cindy has breast cancer. The doctors started her on chemotherapy then she will have radiation and then surgery. She has three young children and her husband who is a pastor, is struggling to do his best to keep normalcy in the household and church. It cannot be easy.

I look at my situation and consider how blessed I am. My children are definitely affected by my cancer but they are married and independent and able to understand so much more. And I am 52 with grandbabies. My prayer is to be healed from this silent cancer and to see each of my grandchildren grow up but if I should not be healed, at least I have lived a life that holds treasured memories and I know my children will be okay. Of course I plan on making it to my rocking chair holding tightly to Gilles' hand, but I am also ready to hear and heed God's direction. Meanwhile I take up the guantlet and rally on.

This early morning, though, my rallying soul is a little tired. As is usual after my treatment, I had trouble sleeping and finally climbed out of bed at 4:45 after lying awake for ages. I let my fingers do the walking (So far they are the only body parts that don't ache) and started to attempt to catch up on some e-mails.

I don't know what later today will bring. I hope to have the energy to attend the visitations for the dear young people who died in the two separate vehicle accidents but right now I am not certain if I have. The old mind is willing but the flesh is definitely arguing. Gilles will go, of course, and represent us both if I cannot make it.

I continue to be so grateful to all our friends and family who have supported us in so many ways - from pedicures (thanks angel) to prayers and everything inbetween. I remain humbled and thankful. Now I am getting a little weepy so I am going to take a breather. I love you all. Thanks for caring enough to read my rantings. Bless you ALL this day and beyond (even those who challenge me in my faith [wink])

He Will Not Leave Us Comfortless


This week has vanished. It has been a sad week around our community. Two separate car accidents have claimed four young lives. On Sunday afternoon, what was supposed to be a family-fun outing at a volleyball game, turned into tragedy. An elderly woman went through a stop sign and t-boned a car. Daniel Hordyk, the 21 year old driver along with 15 year old Christina Bosman and 2 month old Chloe Bosman were killed. Sarah Bosman, Chloe's dear mother and David Bosman, her brother in law, were seriously injured. Then, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, more sad news transpired. Garion Fowler, a sweet 19 year old young man from our church, was on his way to work. People can only speculate what happened next as Garion side swiped a dumptruck. He was killed instantly.

We ask why these things happen and we consider and contemplate. Prayers come fast and furious but seemingly without answers. Because our logical and finite minds cry out for answers, we sometimes get frustrated and even angry. Then we remind ourselves God is in control. He does not wish for His children to suffer and perish. He only allows it to happen because we live in a fallen world made up of choices and consequences and free will and death. All of us are doomed to leave this earthly state one day. Some deaths seem so untimely in our books, though. And that is the sad part. These young lives that were lost seemed so full of potential and hope and joy.

A baby dies. A baby just a little younger than Jocelyn, my granddaughter. I can barely fathom the sadness of the family. But God has called all these young ones home. They are in the presence of Jesus and are savouring eternity. The faith of all of the grieving families is strong and unwaivering. No, it does not make it easier to lose a child because you are a Christian, but the measure of comfort these families are finding in Jesus helps ease the burden. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

The journey for friends and relatives of the Hordyk, Bosman and Fowler families is going to be a long one. Does anyone get over losing a child? Once the visitations and the funerals are over and everyone goes home, this is bound to be a difficult time for them. The grieving will intensify.

I hope that if you are reading this post, you will be moved to pray with me as we think of the tragedy and the brevity of life. When Jesus left this world, he prophesied that there would be sorrow and pain when He said He would not leave us comfortless. The Holy Spirit hears and knows and although the concept can be difficult to understand for some, the Triune God reigns and responds to those who call out to Him.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

We Did It!

(Photo: This is me receiving accolades and an award for getting the most money for sponsorship. My sponsorship amounted to $2085.00! They tell me my mugshot will be
in the Barrie Advanced Times. Yikes!
How can I thank everyone who supported me?

(Photo: We are all winners!)


It will be a weekend to remember. I am absolutely zonked tonight but I am grinning from ear to ear because along with my hardy and encouraging cast and crew, we made the entire 5 Km Winners Walk of Hope (in the rain!) I only had to stop once. My leg ached a tad so I donned my trusty elastic stocking and continued on my way.

"The girls" - Amanda, Janice, Jocelyn, Pierrette, and I along with our brave boy - Trenton, packed up our kit and caboodle and headed for Barrie this weekend. We had been preparing and waiting for this big moment for a few months.
Registration for the walk was at 8am and then we were to take part in the warm up exercises at 8:30. The walk would follow at 9am. Luckily for us, things were about 1/2 an hour behind schedule. Due to the fact that we had little munchkins to prepare for the 'trip,' (nursing baby and potty training toddler!) we, too, were about 1/2 hour behind as we skedaddled out of the motel. So it worked out nicely. The only issue was the not so pleasant weather.

I was a little disappointed about the rain that was constantly with us on our trek but later I realized it had rained for a reason. :)

I listened to the different speeches from sponsors and organizers and the mayor and a member of parliament along with some others. One person indicated in her speech how much she appreciated the dedication and tenacity of all those involved and how the grit and determination of participants to continue to walk in the rain only enhanced the importance of the purpose of the walk. As I listened I thought how the rain was a good representation of all the tears that had been shed for those who have died from ovarian cancer.

One gal who came forward to the microphone moved me to tears as she spoke about her Mom. They had just buried her yesterday, September 6th. She had died from ovarian cancer and by participating in the walk, this grieving daughter felt this was her way of helping to celebrate her mother's life and a way to give back and help raise awareness about this insidious disease.


Front Row - Pierrette (Amanda's mom-in-law) and Trenton (just waking from a nap);
Back Row - Yours Truly, hogging the umbrella; Janice (pretty and soggy daughter-in-law) and Amanda (pretty and soggy daughter carrying pretty and not so soggy, granddaughter


So we didn't get the prize for raising the most funds like we thought we had! Our team, the Sunflower Seeds, had had this friendly online rivalry with the Teal Titans, another team, over the past weeks and by Friday we had raised a whopping $6005.00. We were convinced that we were in first place, but I guess those sneaky gals had gone and got themselves $25 or $30 more than us! It was fun. And the friendly online bantering about our sponsorship proved a great way to make friends.

This walk has been a great distraction for me. I have so many people to thank and the frustrating part some days is where to begin. Bless you all for supporting me in so many ways from monetary to emotionally to spiritually. God has put each one of you in my path for a reason and I am thankful. Now I am going to bed to rest these weary bones. Sweet dreams to you.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Little VS a Lot

(Photo: Trenton in his own little 'hottub.' Isn't Amanda a good photographer? )

It's Monday morning. Labour Day they call it. I've done the dishes, cleared the counter, put in a load of laundry and cleaned out the fridge (nothing bit me). Later on I will make the bed, talk to Amanda about some of the work I need her to do for me and then I have mounds of paperwork to dive into. I'm hoping that that will just about do my labour for this holiday! I have a funny feeling there will be more. But that is okay. Today I feel good. I feel like tackling some begging chores.

The medical powers that be tell me not to overdo it but to do things when I feel up to it. Friends and family say the same. My brain sends different messages sometimes. One of them is, "If you don't work you are lazy." Another whispers in my ear, "If you don't have everything spic and span in your home and your life then you are idle." Then the final insult to injury murmurs, "Sitting around enjoying the sunshine is wrong because there are other people who would like to do that and they can't. "

On Saturday I thought I was up to doing a little. And I was. But sadly I think my little turned into a lot. I paid for it in the evening, though. My joints ached. I was fatigued. And, just to top it off, I had a fever. My fever was not too bad - registering 37.9C on the richter scale. The post chemo directions said I was to contact the doctor if it was 38C degrees or over. I was teetering.

I dragged my sorry self to the kitchen with a lot of help from Gilles. There I dug greedily into my medications, intent on knocking myself out for the night. I took a couple of pills to alleviate pain and a sleeping pill to help stimulate snores. And to think I was so reluctant to pop a sleeping pill a few weeks back. I am still not crazy about doing the pill popping but I am finding if I take a pill every so often to help me sleep, I feel better.

I half expected to be very drowsy Sunday morning and I was thinking that rolling out of bed would not be an option. But I was amazed at how much better I felt and it was good to finally make it back to church.

We had a bit of an unexpected surprise later that day. Gilles' sister, Aline and her daughter, Deva, from North Bay had come down for a surprise visit. She was at Carole's (their other sister) home in Fergus so we trotted down there after lunch to spend a little precious time with them. We were only planning on staying for a few hours, but we ended up there until almost 8:30pm. Did I mention they have a hottub and a soak was the perfect medicine for this achy old soul? Now that was the kind of little that turned into a lot, that really was good for me.

So the moral of the story for yours truly? Listen to the medical experts. Pay attention to family and friends who love me and stop listening to those nasty, annoying voices who go by the names of Guilt, Blame and Negativity.