No less than twenty topics crossed my mind since I last wrote, but I couldn't find the time to sit and write about any of them. Blame it on the book launch, my birthday, my son's birthday, a trip to Colorado, the visitation of a dear soul, medical tests. Actually, don't blame anyone or anything. Life simply happens, but now I find myself staring at the date, realizing I only have a few hours left if I expect to squeeze in one post before March roars in like a lion. Or blows in like a lamb. Or springs up like daffodils. I'm not sure how March arrives, really.
Life has been full and rewarding lately, yet reality is beginning to hit fairly hard, suggesting I give up something because I'm beginning to feel like Stretch Armstrong. Remember him?
find concert venues for someone whose message and music I fancy. The great part is I love it all and want to do it all. I love the people involved. I no longer choose to work with people I wouldn't care to be around. (Though I realize God could place me in an environment where He's more concerned with building my character through difficult people than He is with how many sushi and salad luncheons I get to enjoy over meaningful conversations with others I cherish.)
Now here's the reality. I can't do it all. Not even half of it well. Oh, and did I mention I'm attempting to raise three children who at the very least won't make Mommy Dearest comparisons of me in their future memoirs?
Over a year ago, I would have thought I could do it all...nearly. Maybe not with the best attitude, but I would have been capable and proficient. So what happened? A breast cancer diagnosis that rendered me incapable of burning both ends of the candle. Prior to breast cancer I was the master of staying up late and rising before the sun to complete my work. A simple cup of coffee eliminated the sleepies and powered me to keep running like a little machine. But now...Now......
My insomnia rules the roost. It's one of the many side effects of Tamoxifen that I take daily. So, if I care to get any sleep at all, it means I must take supplements or one of a couple sleep aides prescribed by my physician. If you're familiar with sleep aides, you know there's no taking one then setting your alarm to awake 5 hrs. later. No. If you want any semblance of sleep you must try to sleep off the effects of the medications, which take, on average, 8 hours. All the amount of coffee grown in South Sudan won't wake you if you don't get the full amount of sleep.
Believe it or not, this little loss of freedom bothered me...a lot...up until a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure of exactly when or why or how the switch flipped but I finally had to concede that there are only so many hours in a day and what I can't accomplish in my sixteen hours of awake time just doesn't get done. I can learn to work smarter, perhaps a little faster when I'm not fatigued, but I can't work longer. It's part of my "new normal" as those of us in the cancer world are accustomed to hearing.
Interestingly, researchers have conducted studies linking the lack of sleep to breast cancer. You can read about one such study HERE. Maybe when I was younger I should have been more concerned with getting ample shuteye than wearing aluminum-free deodorant.
Now, I attempt to do a better job of how I spend my hours.
"So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is."
~ Ephesians 5:15-17
And sister (or brother) our heavenly Father knows exactly how much time you and I have in a day. He knows and understands our limitations. And His will for us CAN get accomplished in the amount of time we have. He wouldn't will for me, or for you, what would be impossible for us to complete. It may require His divine assistance, but I believe the Lord wants to be included in all that we endeavor.
Well, gotta go. Time to take my med then go to bed!
With poetry like that, maybe I could start working for Hallmark cards?
On second thought...
Have you ever heard that what you do on New Year’s (Day or Eve, I’m not sure which) you’ll do the rest of the year? If there’s any truth to that, I’ll be stranded half-dressed out in the cold throughout 2018.
On New Year’s Day I headed to Mass full of hope and good intentions while the children slept. About five miles from home, my vehicle’s engine overheated. This had happened once before back in October while getting the kids from school. And like before, I eventually managed to coast my vehicle to the parking lot that adjoins my neighborhood. Again, I began to walk home. But unlike the brisk fall day’s chill that chided me for not having a jacket, the morning of January 1st was a frigid 17 degrees when I set out for the 2-mile walk. Thankfully, I learned my lesson the first time and had a coat, but I was wearing a dress - with no nylons, no hat, no scarf, no gloves – I may as well been in Nome, Alaska.
I called the house to have my husband pick me up, but he took his sweet time. My brain was too frozen to let anger build beyond the surface, which at this point was like a skating pond, when I discovered he made himself a cup of coffee before leaving to get me. He redeemed himself by building me a nice fire to sit beside once we returned home so my thighs could thaw.
My word for the year is HOPE.
“…hope that is seen is no hope at all.
I was thankful to have received this word just the day before as I prayed prior to the priest’s homily, a.k.a. message. I asked the Lord what my word should be for the year and it flashed in my mind quickly, in big block letters. So HOPE it is.
Somehow, that simple word gave me comfort as I first sat stranded along the side of the country road, with the ignition off, hoping that the engine would cool faster than my body so I could soon venture closer to home. My heart and mind filled with hope, knowing that all would be o.k.
I needed this word at the forefront of my mind when less than a week before I called the doctor’s office to request my biopsy results. To give you a little background, a transvaginal ultrasound revealed some “questionable” results, so my doc recommended a hysterectomy. I didn’t like the recommendation, so we agreed to an endometrial biopsy to hopefully rule out uterine cancer. He said the results would be in “next week” – that was Dec. 21st.
I had peace from the beginning and wasn’t anxious about the wait. I could wait one week for the findings. But when I called the office six days later (close enough to a week) and the woman on the other end of the line informed me that results for that particular biopsy take 3 weeks to receive, and possibly longer due to the holidays, my heart sank. I became despondent as I got off the phone. Three weeks? REALLY? I could wait one, but not three... But why not?
After allowing myself to wallow in my frustration for about thirty minutes, it’s as if the Lord asked me, “Do you really believe in my goodness?” Ugh...I conceded...yes, I do. I knew I needed to place my trust in the Lord with the timing, with the outcome, with my heart in the waiting. I needed HOPE…hope in what I didn’t already have (results) and to wait for it patiently. None of us like to wait, do we? After my resolve to trust and not despair, I immediately felt better and haven’t been concerned with it since.
My wish for 2018 is that my hope (and joy) will continue to grow and flourish as I learn to trust in the Lord with each new day, whatever it brings. Privately, I may also pine after a new car in hopes that I’m never again stranded outside when it’s below twenty degrees.
Happy New Year!
Several weeks ago a friend shared with me that her co-worker had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was scheduled to have a mastectomy. Her office wanted to do something special for her and asked for some gift ideas. I provided a list that I've since massaged and am now sharing it with you ...just in time for Christmas...though barely.
#1 Clay Cross
This list is in no particular order, though I'm leading with a "must have." A dear friend from church gave me this clay cross when she heard of my diagnosis and impending uni-lateral mastectomy last year. Your fingers wrap perfectly around the cross for soothing comfort. I slept with this at night and sometimes still hold it to quell anxiety. You can find it on Amazon. I don't know why or how it works, but me thinks it contains elf magic.
#2 Items Designed to Pamper
All women relate to the mantra "Look Good, Feel Good." Understandably, when you receive a cancer diagnosis, you have every right to sleep, eat and breathe in nothing but jammies and a robe for as long as your heart desires. But there comes a time when you must get groceries. Some fun bath accessories, a dab of nail polish, lip balm/gloss can help you face the world - or at least the UPS delivery person. If you know of someone recently diagnosed with cancer, or any kind of cancer, consider a basket full of small gifts designed to pamper. Toss a scented candle in there while you're at it.
#3 Novelty Socks
Now, if your friend has just indulged in a pedicure with some of the items you gave her in the gift basket, she may not want to cover her freshly lacquered toes with fun, cozy socks. But she will eventually, and probably before the polish chips away to nothing but little squares of paint on each nail. I received several pairs of warm socks and I wore them all. of. the. time. Still do.
#4 A Journal
Now, I need to confess that I'm not a huge journaler, though every other year I tell myself I'm going to start doing it. The point is, many women do, and if you're looking for a great gift idea for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, consider giving a journal with a nice pen. This way they can record all of their thoughts and perhaps prayer requests and see just how good God is at answering them.
A merry heart does good, like medicine, according to the book of Proverbs, so give the gift of laughter! I adore Chonda Pierce and was thankful to receive this after my diagnosis, but any DVD featuring a comedian can help redirect downcast thoughts that may be brewing and serve as a reminder that there's still a lot of joy to be had in this imperfect world of ours.
"Music has charms to soothe the savage breast." I always thought it soothed the savage beast, but considering the topic I'm happy to be corrected. I fell asleep too many nights to count listening to Collin Raye's CD entitled His Love Remains. I recommend any comforting music, praise songs in particular, that can help ease a troubled heart and mind.
#7 Adult Coloring Book
Adult coloring books with colored pencils and pens are FUN gifts! But beware, if you give them to someone who has children living at home, they may never see your gift again.
My sister-in-law Kym gave me this blanket and I've used it so much I've worn a hole through it! I honestly felt like Linus from Peanuts the way I took this all through the house with me for MONTHS after my surgeries. Who am I kidding? I STILL sleep with it! Give the gift of warmth and security with a plush blanket.
Shortly after my diagnosis I was told to eat more chocolate. Not by my doctor, but by someone who had walked this journey before me so I trusted her and ate my fair share. I have no regrets. Nor any more chocolate. I hope Santa thinks to put some in my stocking this Christmas!
#10 Cute Mug & Beverages
What goes great with chocolate? Anything. I mean, coffee, unless you're trying to sleep at night. Then I grab some Sleepytime Tea. Consider giving a decorative mug full of tea bags and/or a bag of coffee...with chocolate.
#11 Inspirational Book
Of course I must add Joy Is Contagious...Cancer Isn't to this list of gift ideas, and not just because I assembled it and have a chapter in it. But because the stories remind us that even when we're facing something as scary as cancer, God is with us. And as far as gifts go, His son, Jesus, is the greatest gift of all. Additionally, the book goes well with chocolate and coffee while wrapped all snug-like-a-bug-in-a-rug with a blanket. And don't forget the socks.
What would you add to this list?
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.