Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Perfect Dress

A few weeks ago Sarah, Ashley, and I set out on a search for the perfect wedding dress...

 (Yes, it was a windy day!)

We visited several wedding boutiques where Sarah was treated like the princess she has always been (hence the name "Sarah"!)...

As Sarah tried on many gorgeous dresses...

Ashley and I took a look around the store...

 After a two day search, Sarah found the perfect dress and placed her order...

(Sorry, no photo available! You didn't really think I was going to show it to you, did you?)

We were all super excited and started the drive home. It's hard to believe that I really bought a wedding dress for my sweet Sarah! Every girl dreams about her wedding day, and it is so exciting to see those dreams come true for Sarah!

On the way home, Sarah said, "Mom, I'm so glad you got to do this with me!"
I replied, "Of course I went with you! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!"
Sarah paused and explained, "When you were sick, I didn't know if you would be here to do this with me."  Her eyes filled up with tears and they spilled onto her rosy cheeks.
I started to cry too, so sorry for the fear my girl had to face; and so eternally grateful that I am here to be a part of her wedding.  

Thank you, God, once again, for the gift of THIS day with my girls!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


"Scanxiety" is a documented phenomenon experienced by cancer patients and survivors. The Community Dictionary defines it as:

"the tension which builds particulary amongst those who have or have had cancer as they move towards their regular check up scan, hyperscanxiety being the period as they await results!"

Luckily, I don't suffer from this phenomenon. Tuesday morning, we are driving to the surgery center for my colonoscopy and Mark casually asks me, "So, how are you feeling?" "I feel fine," I reply. "I don't feel nervous at all." 

And then it hits me... I, in fact, don't feel anything at all. My emotions are completely shut down. What I DO feel is tension in my jaw and knots in the muscles of my shoulders. I haven't slept well for a week. And it occurs to me that perhaps I am experiencing "scanxiety," it's just manifesting itself in a different way than it normally does.

I ask Mark, "And how are you feeling?"
His answer, "I don't feel anything either. I'm numb."  Scanxiety victim number two.

The staff at the surgery center are amazing. I don't even feel the IV as it is inserted into my rolling vein! I climb onto the table, they gently cover me with a warm blanket (that I know will be stripped from my body as soon as I am asleep!), I watch as two medications are injected into my IV, and that's the last thing I remember. I wake up in the recovery room to the sound of a sweet nurse, telling me that my colon is normal, handing me pictures of my insides, and telling me that the doctor will come see me soon. 

My colon is normal.  Did she just say that?  I drift back to sleep. 

A little later Mark and I arrive home.  He wraps me in a giant hug and we hold onto each other, so thankful for good news one more time! 

I feel like I can live again. At least for a couple more months until my next PET scan!

Monday, September 19, 2011

May I please be excused?

Sunday evening, standing beside the kitchen sink, I slowly pour the Miralax powder into the glass, add water, and begin stirring. This is day five of twice-a-day laxatives shots, leading up to the full colon prep on Monday afternoon. Tuesday I have the pleasure of Colonoscopy #4. 

Miralax is colorless, odorless, tasteless, grit-less, but still I gag as it goes down. It's a conditioned response I'm sure.  I make two batches of jello, put apple juice and sprite in the refrigerator. I am ready for Monday's clear liquid diet. I walk by the Half-Lytely box - I can't even look at it - I dread the Monday evening adventure it implies.

I climb in bed Sunday night, thinking to myself, "God, may I please be excused?"  

I remember as a child, coming in from playing outside, rushing through dinner, and then asking my mother, "May I please be excused?" I was finished with dinner and so ready to get back outside to play some more. 

And I find myself with the same feelings. God, may I please be excused? I have done everything - all the treatments, and appointments, and surgeries, and lab work, and tests, and scans, and exams - I am SO done with this! I want to go on! May I be excused?? Please?

I'm sure He smiles at me. "Take my hand, Laura, let me walk with you."

Monday morning. I am starving. My stomach keeps telling me to go fix something to eat. My brain intervenes (thankfully) and reminds me that jello is the only thing on the menu today! I decide to make this as pleasant as possible and serve my jello in Spode Christmas Tree China!

At noon I swallow a small pink tablet - Bisacodyl - it's stated purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is to cause diarrhea! Let the run, I mean fun, begin!

Are you sure I can't be excused, yet, God?

Reading materials and baby wipes in the bathroom, check!
Path cleared to the nearest bathroom (because I WILL be running!), check!

This evening's drinking of Half-lytely still blocked from my mind...



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Feeling Life

Have you ever really FELT alive? Felt the strength and power living inside your physical body? Most of the time I just live my life, so used to living in this earth suit that I am not aware of the life that is present inside it. I go through the routines of my day without giving a second thought to the fact that there is life inside of me. Then I got sick with cancer. Suddenly, the fact that I had life, and that life was threatened, brought it all clearly into focus. Each new morning was a celebration, every meal kept down a victory. The ability to take a walk, or open a jar produced a wellspring of gratitude.  Quiet moments, whispered prayers, unspoken looks became treasured proofs of life to hang on to.

Fast forward two years... 

I grab a walking stick and step into the river. The water is high, the current is strong. If I'm not careful, if I misstep, I will be quickly carried, tumbling, downstream. I plant each foot deliberately. I feel the strength of my thighs as I stand strong against the rapids. My heart is beating. Adrenaline is firing into my system.  My lungs are drawing in clean, crisp mountain air. I follow my guide and begin to climb up over the falls to get to the quiet pools above. The river fights against my path; I struggle on, up over the giant rocks. Finally reaching the other side, I step on the rocks of the bank. I feel so alive. I feel so strong. And I begin to cry. I am so grateful for this moment. I am thankful that my body is healthy. I am thankful that I have life living in me. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. And so begins a private worship service, just me and my God. Feeling Life. You have been good to me!

"You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. 
My life was preserved by your care."
Job 10:12