Monday, May 7, 2012

Tumor marker stable

I am happy to share the news that my recent blood test showed my tumor marker at 12.0, which is considered to be stable from last month's 11.6. While I would prefer, for example, "stable at 11.0," I am so grateful to God and to all of you who continue to carry me, my health and my family in your prayers and positive thoughts. My next test is a CT scan near the end of May. Keep on praying. Prayer is so good and immensely helpful. Positive thoughts are fabulous and lift everyone they touch.

After a few weeks off chemo, I realize that I feel a bit ungrounded without my strict chemo schedule. Possibly, I miss the structure it adds to my life, or the feeling that I am doing something really hard and therefore, everything possible. I'll get over that. I am more disoriented by feeling less connected to God and the spiritual side of my life. It was as though I walked into an amazing room, and now I don't see it. The change surprised me and I cannot figure out how to step into that space again.

In the meantime, life continues to move along. I have the chance to incorporate activities that have been on my to-do list: start a macrobiotic diet, enrich my meditation and gratitude practice, write more, and learn to row. Somehow, "watching Downton Abbey" snuck into my days and I became addicted to the show. Unplanned, but fun.

Also unplanned: We got a hamster. When our first son turned three, the second was born. When the second turned three, we got a dog. When I noticed this pattern and realized that we will soon have the dog for three years, I knew that we needed to add another member to our household. 

Tiron or any state agency would not be supportive of adding a child to our family. A second dog is out of the question for now.  Then I saw that a friend needed to find a home for their hamster. I surprised myself by jumping on it faster than a good buy on RueLaLa. I felt that same excitement combined with the same anxiety that someone might claim it before I do. I immediately emailed my friend expressing our interest. Later that night, I casually ran it by Tiron. He wasn't enthusiastic but didn't vehemently object. I think his words were, "That isn't what I was expecting." Or maybe, "I can think of worse things." Regardless, my mind translated his words into, "Sure. Whatever you want."

The boys excitedly discussed names for the hamster. The dog had no idea that his perch on the pedestal of "only pet" is about to go away. The babysitter, I think and hope, added the care and feeding to her list of things to do. Tiron appears to be relieved that it doesn't need a daily walk. And I'm happily stepping outside my comfort zone by letting a rodent-like creature live in this house. Add that to my list of things I never thought I would do.

That is the kind of surprise that I welcome.

Still feeling unmoored, I went to Mass and prayed to get some insight into how on earth to reconnect. Then the priest opened the Mass by saying that the readings today focus on maintaining our connection to God. Exactly what I needed! Once again, if I calm down, stay patient and provide even a sliver of opening, the light can shine in. I'm not yet seeing that beautiful room, but at least I feel like it is possible.

I hope that you are finding space in your life for the activities on your love-to-do list, and that you also have some openings for happy surprises. I hope that everywhere you look, you feel the blessing of the connections in your life. I do feel so blessed to be connected to you.

With love and gratitude,

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