Flashback Friday – January 8, 2020

Back to the saga of 2020…

I met with my Primary Care Provider and we discussed the whole cancer thing. But we also discussed diabetes. Because, you know, cancer isn’t enough.

You may (or may not) know that I was diagnosed with type two diabetes in May of 2016. I was never able to control it. I had periods of time that were better but not consistently, even when I was eating really well and exercising. A lot.

In 2019 I trained for a half-iron distance race. That’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run (70.3 miles total). One does not just “do” a race of that distance. At least THIS one doesn’t. It’s quite a bit of training. I did the training. And the race (in September 2019) did not go as planned. That’s a whole ‘nother story. But when we did blood work in December, my blood sugar numbers were awful. (A1C for those who know) All that moving, they should have been great. After all, type 2 can be controlled with “diet and exercise”. But they were quite the opposite of great. My PCP said “I don’t know how to help you. I’m out of ideas. I’m referring you to an endocrinologist.”

So on January 8th, I walked into an endocrinologist office expecting a lecture about better dietary compliance. But he listened to my history and very calmly said “You’re not type 2. We’ll do blood work to confirm that but I’m 99.9% confident that you have adult onset type 1. Your pancreas shut down over a couple of years instead of immediately but you were never going to be able to control it with diet and exercise.” I immediately burst into tears causing the him a fair amount of concern: Endocrinologist “…I can see that I’ve upset you…” Me – now laughing and crying simultaneously – “No! No! I’m so RELIEVED!”

The bloodwork confirmed the diagnosis. He took me off a med for type 2 that was actually working against me, prescribed me rapid acting insulin and put me on a Libre Freestyle.

The Libre is a device I wear on my arm and scan to get blood sugar readings instead of having to stab my finger every few hours. It’s fantastic…now. But trying to put it on the first time was fifteen minutes of dramatic tears, declarations that I would just continue to do finger sticks because “my fingertips are numb now anyway”, and begging to call a friend that wears the same device to “find out how it feels”…at 10:30 at night. My hubby finally threatened to put it on me himself (to which I responded “DO NOT TOUCH ME!! I’LL DO IT!”) and eventually I was able to push down on the “installer” enough to insert the little needle in my arm. Jon stared at me expectantly. I sheepishly said “Oh. I didn’t feel anything.”

This has all been at LEAST as much fun for him as it has me.

So that’s how we started our year. Surprise! You’re insulin dependent! That was the first appointment of MANY to come.

My new hardware

In the beginning aka Miracles #1

It’s been almost two years since I posted. Does anyone still read blogs? Maybe not. I know I often don’t take the time to even read an Instagram post, much less a full blog post!

I’ve decided to document the past year/my cancer journey. I don’t really know if there was a reason. But the thought has come up more and more often lately. Last week a co-worker commented that she had appreciated being able to keep up on social media but thought I should blog the journey. That was the confirmation I needed. And if I’m being REALLY honest, I kinda miss writing. So maybe no one else will read this and it’s just for me. But maybe God will bring who needs to read it. So with no further ado – let’s start at the beginning.

Once upon a time…October 2019 to be exact….

Some co-workers and I were taking our usual walk break and discussing mammograms. That sounds really random. Context – the company health fair was coming up and St. Luke’s Health Care was going to be there with their mobile mammogram bus. I mentioned that I had never had one (at 43 years of age). I had a whole list of reasons: it’s a hassle, there’s SO MANY false positives, there’s no family history….I wasn’t planning to sign up for an appointment. But the day before the fair, my teammate Crystal mentioned she had called to make her appointment and there was one left. She told me I should call and schedule it. And she had HER list of reasons: they were coming to me, insurance paid for it, my doctor had recommended I get one… Fine. I called and got the last open appointment – which also happened to be the last appointment of the day. October 11, 2019 I had my first mammogram. (Miracle #1)

The next week they called and said they wanted me to come in for a diagnostic mammogram and scheduled me for November 21. I was irritated. Obviously they weren’t concerned since it was over a month away. It was exactly why I didn’t want to do this…it was a hassle.

On November 21st I went in for the diagnostic mammogram. The tech cheerfully told me they were going to try and “squish that spot out”. Yay. They tugged and squished and squashed and smashed. And then told me to sit in the gowned waiting room for the ultrasound tech. At which point I thought “Huh. Guess it didn’t ‘squish out'”

I laid on the table while the ultrasound tech rubbed the cold wand up around my left boob…and up into my armpit. And I thought “That’s lymph node territory. Great.” I was not surprised when she asked me to wait for the doctor. I was not surprised when the doctor came in and told me they wanted to do a biopsy on a spot on my breast…and my lymph nodes. I did feel like they were treating me like a fragile vase they were expecting to shatter at any moment…which kinda irritated me. I was fine. I mean, I was irritated by yet ANOTHER appointment. But I was fine. We didn’t even KNOW anything yet.

The biopsy was scheduled for December 11 – two months to the day from the first mammogram. We didn’t tell anyone except my parents and sisters and a couple of close friends. After all, there wasn’t much to tell.

Welcome to 2019

There were a couple of things I wanted to be very intentional about going into 2019. I wanted my first morning to start slowly with coffee and a new devotional book. I wanted to listen to “Come Alive” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. And I wanted to go for a run. That last one was not because it’s January 1st but because it’s the 6 month anniversary of hurting my hip.

The morning was lovely and almost exactly what I wanted. I just listened to my song. But I did not run. My hip has been aching since yesterday and today moved up that scale to actual pain a few times. Given how poorly I felt my last two workouts, coupled with the ouchies and the fact that we were pretty occupied cleaning out/packing up a house most of the day, I decided not to force the issue for the sake of such an anniversary.

I have a rough outline of some 2019 events. Lots of concerts, two races that are paid for and at least one or two more that I want to get on the calendar. I don’t make resolutions (they just cause me to feel guilty) and I’m not setting a “word for the year”. But I do want to continue working on being present in the moment/situation, being intentional in relationships and continuing to chase a few goals. None of that is new. Those are areas I will probably be working on the rest of my life. But it’s nice to take a deep breath on the 1st day of the year and remind yourself that every day (hour…minute…) is a new opportunity.

2018 Review

This week between Christmas and New Years is odd. It doesn’t quite feel like 2018 anymore but it’s not quite 2019 and it’s like this black hole of the year. It’s not BAD. It just is.

I decided instead of a (late) week in review post about a week that had almost nothing to report, I would just do my year in review. This one is mostly for me. I’ll be impressed if you make it through all. the. words.

January 2018

Because of work schedules etc, we started the New Year having our family Christmas. I thought maybe having to be available at 8am would help curb the older boys partying. What ACTUALLY happened was Hubs and I were at a friends’ house until after midnight and *I* nearly died at the 8am start time I scheduled. (I laugh about it. Now.) We spent the rest of the first day with our Good Friends, watching an Indiana Jones marathon. It was a fun way to kick off the new year. I signed up for an indoor mini tri later in the year. And those same friends we started the year with? Well the husband has a January birthday and so does my hubby so we celebrated together with a big meal out.

February 2018

Game night with Good Friends. Winter Olympics. I did my first (and last) tri of the year…a mini indoor. Signed up for my first half marathon later in the year (spoiler: I was not able to do it)

March 2018

Hubs and I made an EPIC road trip to Indianapolis for a friend’s wedding. There is a whole HILARIOUS hotel story that I might have to tell you sometime but will probably rank as one of our funniest, and most disturbing, memories ever. He surprised me on the way home by stopping to visit one of my oldest and best friends. Then Hubs went on his first Africa trip of the year.

April 2018

Started with Easter service with my son and then taking Grandma to her church & lunch. Locked my youngest out of the house. (It was an ACCIDENT.) The youngest was awarded “Student of the Month” – an achievement still memorialized on the refrigerator. I bought new running shoes that I was able to put very few miles on. I went to our work women’s retreat. And it snowed. 

May 2018

We celebrated 9 years of marriage! I attended the first annual Treasure Valley Mission Conference and started to get an inkling of what God wanted me to do locally (it had nothing to do with “missions”). About a week later, God very clearly informed me I should be working with our church’s youth group program…specifically 6th grade girls. Despite my protests that I’m not a “kid person”, I volunteered and promptly started praying for my then unknown co-leaders. (They are AMAZING) I bought a wetsuit in anticipation of ALL THE RACES I had planned. (ha) I did a 10k race with a friend. I was under trained and under fueled and it was much hotter than I expected. But I ran with a wonderful woman who made it incredibly fun. The leg/foot cramps afterwards were NOT fun but I discovered pickle juice works miracles. We saw the Glitch Mob with friends and a middle school play that Good Friends’ daughter was in (that was surprisingly hilarious and entertaining!). My middle son turned 20 and my oldest 21 (what?). 

June 2018

Celebrated our Good Friends’ OTHER daughter graduate high school…and cried more than when my older boys graduated. I participated in my first Color Wars with our youth group (like dodgeball but with socks filled with that colored powder). Freaked a barista out after because the colored powdered mixed just right to look like I had major bruising down one side of my face/neck. Nice. Left the same day for the first camp with my youth group girls where we walked approximately 8 miles a day, with hills, did zip lines and bb gun shooting and rock climbing, had wonderful God times, and (mostly) enjoyed being together. Went on a hike I haven’t done in years with my friend Kim and her husband and son. My mother had major oral surgery and a few days later my father had a heart attack. Thankfully he had nitroglycerin and was able to mitigate the damage so we get to have him around awhile longer. 

July 2018

The Amani Children’s Choir from Uganda were in town and led our church worship at a service in the park. I danced enthusiastically with my oldest and tore a muscle in my hip. I was on crutches for 3 weeks, in physical therapy for longer than that and out of all races planned for the year. We worked a fire works stand on the 4th. My husband made the biggest sales of the year wearing a god-awful patriotic cat suit. We went to a party at our Good Friends house later. We attended the wedding of friends from work (same woman I ran the 10k with). I was part of the crew that helped him pull off a pretty sweet proposal but I didn’t document when that happened.

August 2018

My parents came to visit for my birthday. I invited a bunch of friends over to spend the evening on my patio just hanging out and it was wonderful. My youngest started high school. I cried. A lot. No really. A LOT. (But he is THRIVING at this school.) I got back in the pool for the first time since my injury. We went to the hot air balloon festival with friends. 

September 2018

The youth group did our annual “Slip & Slime”. But this year we used foam, not the green slime and chocolate syrup of years past. It was so much fun and the blue dye washed right off. I was so excited to be able to participate a little because I was still barely walking without crutches. I got to take pictures of my oldest and his wonderful girlfriend. We had a President and Board Summit at work – a major event that happens every other year. I had the opportunity to fly on a float plane and land on the river before the event started. I got to go to one of my 6th grade girls cross country meet (SO much fun). 

October 2018

Our former roommate (“foster adult”) got married. It was beautiful. They are LSU fans and I love them enough that I wore a purple dress and gold jewelry to the wedding. No seriously. That is LOVE. (wooo pig sooie) My wonderful husband bought me a ticket to go see the Mixtape Tour (New Kids on the Block, etc)  next year with friends. I may have jumped up and down. My friend Kim invited me to go to the Casting Crowns concert with her. It turned out to be one of the best concert I’ve ever attended. I went to Leader Retreat for our youth group leaders at the same camp where we went with the kids that summer. I attempted the “high v” with another leader. It was terrifying and exhilarating. But mostly terrifying. It snowed. We celebrated the birthday of the wife portion of the Good Friends. My husband left for his second Africa trip of the year…and his longest trip to date. I got to spend Halloween going to dinner and a movie with my youngest.

November 2018

The youngest and I continued our November 5th tradition of watching “V for Vendetta” even though we were the only ones home. My husband came home from Africa. We had a memorable Thanksgiving. The Hubs 102 year old grandmother decided it was time to move to assisted living.

December 2018

I signed up for my first half-Iron distance triathlon to be done in September 2019. We had our first snow of the season and it was on a Sunday so I got to stay inside all day. My great-aunt (my grandmother’s twin) passed away. The Hubs surprised me with tickets to go see Hugh Jackman on tour next year with friends. Grandma moved into assisted living.  Christmas was nice, quiet and somewhat relaxing. I RAN FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE JUNE. (Yes. I am yelling. It is warranted). (That is possibly worth it’s own post.) And we’re only a few days away from 2019.

Are you still here? Wow. I went through a bunch of pictures from 2018 with the intention of one big picture post. That’s not going to happen primarily because the pictures mostly feature other people. I had a lot more thoughts on this year and one word that kept coming to mind as I was reviewing Facebook posts and pictures and texts. But as I started typing, I found I don’t really want to get into it any further publicly. Not now anyway. The year was not bad but in some ways it was “second hand hard”. Very little in my immediate life was negative but there was a lot hard stuff surrounding us. There was a lot of good too though. That’s life though, yes?

R2D2 vs C3PO

My husband and youngest son have been watching “Clone Wars” on Netflix. It’s a Star Wars animated series. I don’t know the timing within the Star Wars universe (after Anakin is a Jedi, before he’s not) or if it’s considered canon (probably?). It’s not something I really watch although I’ll tune in occasionally. But they usually watch if I go to bed early or am busy elsewhere.

The other night I was in the kitchen while it was on. It was an episode that featured R2D2 and C3PO. And I realized…C3PO irritates me. Or at least he did that episode. But I had a certain admiration for R2D2. C3PO was whiny and immobilized by fear. R2D2 took action. C3PO criticized and was sort of buffeted along by events. R2D2 made solutions happen.

Of course that’s a quick impression based on the few minutes that I was listening. I have seen the movies though and would say overall that’s their “personalities”.

Maybe I wouldn’t like R2D2 if I understood his beeps and whirrs. But in that moment, I realized that although I might resemble R2D2 more physically (short and round), my natural tendency is to react more like C3PO in stressful situations. I can get whiny and want to just curl up under a blanket. But my desire is to consistently be like R2D2 in all respects. I despise the idea of being controlled by fear (or discomfort). I would rather take action through fear or stress. I would rather take the initiative. It takes being conscious of reactions (or lack thereof). It takes practice.

There’s the quote “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to act in the presence of fear.” (I did not a quick search to credit someone and found a range of similar statements credited to a plethora of people). I don’t think we can live our lives with the purpose God intended if we cannot act in the face of fear. I’m regularly wrestling with staying in a safe, comfortable zone and stepping out to push limits or take action. I just thought it odd that Star Wars could bring that thought process to the forefront again. To R2D2 – may we all be more like him. Except with more clear communication.

Year of No Nonsense

It’s been a  hot minute since I’ve splashed words about this space. I had 2018 all planned, scheduled and tied neatly with a bow until life casually spewed gasoline about and flicked a lit match into the middle of it all.

  • I cancelled an early season race in anticipation of returning to the Philippines. And that trip never came together.
  • I volunteered to co-lead the 6th grade girls group in our church’s youth group – something that is so far outside my comfort zone that it’s not even in the same time zone. Not to mention it completely torpedoed my anticipated schedule.
  • I planned on racing in July, August and September. And July 1st I tore a muscle in my hip resulting in crutches for three weeks and physical therapy. Three and a half months later I still feel regular pain/discomfort and cannot run.

Those are the big ones. And yet, it hasn’t been a bad year. It wasn’t what I expected but it has been full of fun, meaningful, happy moments and events.

That being said, as the tail end of 2018 barrels towards us at an unnerving rate, I am also drawn to the idea of a “Year of No Nonsense”. What is that you ask? For me it means a life focused on a few things: being present in the moment, being kind to myself as well as others, being intentional with important relationships, banishing laziness but embracing rest without guilt…and learning the difference.

I’m a planner by nature. Some of my triathlon friends met to discuss our race plans for next year and I showed up with a spreadsheet. But there’s a necessary balance. I’m attempting to enjoy the process and/or journey instead of focusing on what comes next whether that’s one set at at time in the pool or one conversation at a time.

unnamed

 

Manic Mon….um…Tuesday?

This past weekend was crazy busy with wonderful events. It started with a work party on Friday night and I was non-stop busy until bedtime Sunday night. I minimized a lot this season…shopping is scaled back, baking was almost non-existent. And yet, somehow, I feel more frazzled than ever before. Small details are starting slip. Maybe because there’s more events? More expectations? More white elephant gift exchanges and causes to be supported and schedules to be worked around? Whatever the reason(s), we’ve made compromises this year. Some of the local friends/family that I would especially like to spoil won’t even be receiving a Christmas card. My plan is to put together something after the New Year for them. And our family Christmas? Well…due to older boys’ work schedules, that is happening New Year’s Day. Instead, LilBit and I are decorating gingerbread houses and drinking hot chocolate on Christmas Eve Day before he leaves for a week.

All that to say, there has been no organized menu planning. Last night I planned spaghetti & meat sauce since I had meat sauce in the freezer already. I pulled it out to throw in the microwave and thought “Huh. That doesn’t SMELL like spaghetti sauce…” I thought briefly it might be chili then realized it was from smothered burritos. So I pulled out tortillas and chips and we had  nachos/tacos. Tonight was slow cooker beef and broccoli. Tomorrow is going to be ham and white bean soup in the Instant Pot. Thursday is a Christmas pot luck and I’m taking sausages & meatballs in the bbq/chili sauce. At some point this weekend, I’ll use the rice left over from tonight to make fried rice & egg rolls. Next week? No idea. We’ll figure it out as we go. I’m at capacity for keeping track of details and planning.

I don’t expect to do another Worship Wednesday until after the New Year either, although tomorrow’s chapel topic at work is Worship in Song so that’s cool.

Amidst the season busyness, I found myself being quite grateful for little things today: a coworker that hums pleasantly throughout the day, a walk with teammates, the realization that my mother raised us to be flexible and relaxed about when we celebrate holidays, fun conversations, laughter, and Christmas cards in the mail to name a few.

I expect this week to start slowing down and I’m looking forward to a quiet, restful holiday.

May the Fourth be with you

There’s no reason for that title. Except it’s May 4th and I raided my husband’s side of the closet to wear a shirt with the Millennium Falcon on it.

I was thinking about my “Book of 2017” the other day. 124 pages have been written and more of those have been “high points” than not. We spent a week in Seattle with friends and family. We relaxed and visited. We did some touristy things. We went to a concert and then hung out in a tiny little pizza parlor with delicious local sodas and laughed…a lot. We got a break from the OMG BRUTAL winter. My doctor put me on a once a day insulin shot and it did WONDERS for managing my blood sugar. I’m even racing again this year and have started training. I went ball room dancing with a friend while Jon was out with his friends. We spent a Saturday exploring parts of Idaho I had never seen…and saw a herd of elk. We’ve had an abundance of comfortable, enjoyable evenings at home. We’ve watched movies, been to concerts, survived a week of multiple not-small injuries to family members, spent quite a bit of time with friends. I’ve started reading some fascinating text books. Oh…and I accepted a job with Mission Aviation Fellowship that starts on the 15th. Yep. MAF. Where my husband works (and TheKid for now) (But we only overlap for 5 days.) (And that’s good considering he’s also moved home).

We’re about a third of the way through the second quarter of this year. (How convoluted can I make that?) In many ways it’s slipped past quickly, almost without notice.  But my goal is to be more intentional with both my relationships and my time the rest of this quarter. Hopefully my hubby and I will be carpooling pretty often (ie, I will be chauffeured…my life is rough) and we joined the same gym. I’m kinda excited to see how the extra time together and the new commonalities affect our relationship and how we can use that. I’m very excited for the environment I’ll be operating within now although it does mean being firmly inside a Christian “bubble”. I’ll have to be very aware of becoming insulated against the world.  But it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside so I’m naturally more optimistic….and I’m kinda excited for the next 56 days…and beyond.

Two pages down, 363 to go.

365-page-book

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day. I don’t know if Brad Paisley actually said it or not but I rather like the sentiment. It seems everything I’ve read lately has discussed finding (or re-discovering) your true identity: those passions and activities that light you up and make you uniquely you, the traits that have been with you since childhood but perhaps have been buried in the responsibilities and ‘should’s of adulthood. I wasn’t feeling particularly unsure of my identity. However, I did realize that reading and writing have always been integral to my life but I have let them slip to the back burner in the past few years. It’s easy to let happen when doing the whole wife/mother gig and picking up random hobbies. The idea of reintegrating them reinforces that whole restoration theme.

I’m not saying I’m writing all 365 days this year (Ha!). I’m not even setting a goal to write on a set schedule or read X number of books. In fact, if we’re staring at blank 365 pages, mine is off to a slow start. Yesterday we went out to breakfast and upon returning home, I promptly crawled onto the couch and stayed there watching a Fast & Furious marathon until bedtime (with a break to watch football while Tokyo Drift was on because that movie does not count). No shame. Day two has been moderately more productive with dinner cooking in the crock pot, a clean kitchen, a brief yoga session and lots of reading. Most might not consider that a story worth reading but it has been perfect for my last day of vacation. Obviously I don’t know what the next 363 days will bring but I have an idea what I would like them to look like.

 

Time Marches On – 2017

Another year is almost in the books and the natural inclination is to look ahead to the new one. I don’t make New Year resolutions. I don’t particularly like setting myself up to fail. But as I’ve considered what I would like my life to look like in the coming months, one word keeps coming to mind: Restoration.

It’s the same word that resonated at the end of 2015 when I was preparing for my previous trip to the Philippines. But it made sense at the time. I was tired and felt burned out and ill equipped for the trip. I spent the few months before departure focusing on rest and restoration.

This time I don’t feel burned out or bone weary tired but I feel this need to pull back and focus on the details of life that matter most. It’s a desire to focus on restoring habits that strengthen my health on all levels: physically, spiritually and mentally. It’s a craving to spend more time in quiet moments and activities like reading and writing and prayer. (Perhaps not coincidentally one of my Christmas gifts was a coloring book and colored pencils. Perfect.) It’s wanting to spend time in the kitchen cooking meals that nourish my family and friends and relying a little less on chicken from the deli or Papa Murphy’s pizza. It’s wanting to sit across from friends, coffee (or tea) in hand for more time than I spend in a gym.  The closest relationships in my life deserve purposeful cultivating instead of just “letting them happen”.  But for when I AM there, it’s a focus on yoga and swimming rather than heavy weights and running shoes.

I don’t know that this is my “Word of the Year” or that it is the theme for the next 365 days. But it’s what I’m starting with and what I’m using as a guide for life and calendar decisions right now.