Thursday, December 12, 2013

Digging Out

Six Days.

Six Days.


Six days is how long it has been since we have had any kind of normal (cough, cough) in our household.  Six days ago, Old Man Winter caught DFW in his sights, and life as we know it came to a complete standstill. Here's what I've learned in the last almost-week:

Ice is pretty when it blankets your world and you can snuggle up by the fire with nowhere to go.
Ice is fun when school is cancelled for the first day.
Ice ceases to be pretty or fun when school keeps closing and cabin fever sets in.
If you live in a continual state of winter, 3 pairs of flannel pajamas is not enough.
A major ice storm is in Texas what a major heat wave is in New York.
You can only toss so many coats, jeans, gloves, scarves, hats, and socks in the dryer at one time.
Little boys do not freeze or tire easily.
You should clear the ice not only from your windshield, but also from the roof of your vehicle before you drive.

Our children's children will be regaling their children with stories of The Great Ice Storm of 2013.  How we didn't see our youngest for more than 24 hours because he went to a friend's house and stayed...and stayed...and stayed.  Or how we got what seemed to be the last loaf of bread in the city before store shelves were completely emptied by crazy frantic citizens...or how the freighbor girls, who hail from Michigan, shared their real live sled and showed our Texas boys a thing or two.

Finally--FINALLY!--this morning, everyone went back to work and school.  I love my family, but all of this quality time (and wet shoes tracking in leaves and mud) has pushed all of us a little closer than we want to be.  There is still plenty of ice around.  We live on the north/sunny side of our street and there are still several inches on our back patio!  Across the street, where there are more shadows than sun, dangerous icicles (seriously!) still hang from the rooftops and the sheet of white in the yards remains largely the same. Every night, what little bit has melted refreezes on the driveways and sidewalks.  Because it's still cold.  Yesterday we reached a whopping 37 degrees...heat wave!!!!  

Now, you might be wondering how a Texas girl passes the time when she is iced in.  Good question.  I'll tell you:  She warms up with a bit of radiation.  Oh, yes.  While the rest of the world is snuggled up drinking hot coca and playing board games, I (and my darling I'll-do-anything-for-you friend, Rachel), drove into Dallas to the hospital for radiation treatments.

Here's the deal on radiation:  I've never done it before.  I've never done it before because radiation is not a typical treatment for ovca patients.  In my case, the cancer has been too widespread to risk radiation in lieu of more traditional treatments.  Now, though, I've exhausted traditional.  We are all done with standard.  The choices are 1) Non-traditional, or 2) Nothing.  So, I am allowing myself to be radiated.  In exchange for making the trip to the hospital every. single. day., (You heard me.  Monday through Friday, for three weeks.  I get off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.) allowing strangers to use me for their own personal sketchbooks ("x" marks the spot!), and risking a slew of side effects (they were said to be no big deal.  Liars.), I might get some relief from the harsh, relentless symptoms of fast-growing Monster.  Did I make a deal with the devil?  Perhaps.  It has not been an easy go.  Of course, everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.  Topping the list:  nausea, extreme fatigue, and fever-like chills and shivers.  Rounding out my bottom-of-the-barrel, my radiation oncologist had a medical emergency of his own and will be out for the remainder of the month.

Reeeaaalllyyy?!?  I only need him this month.

This morning I woke up feeling super-nauseous.  I have plenty of meds to meet all sorts of needs, but today not even prescription-strength anti-nausea was making dents.  I went ahead and went to radiation anyway, because I thought I could not feel much yuckier.

Bad call.  I found out I could feel worse, and I found it out while I was getting sick in a McDonald's parking lot close to Highway 75, with my deserves-better-than-me freighbor patting my back and looking on helplessly.  (I switched drivers yesterday.  Lucky Rachel.)

Damn cancer.

I hate this wretched disease.  If you piled all of my "dislikes" together--cold feet, wet blue jeans, empty toilet paper rolls, children with no manners, alarm clocks--it still could not amount to the level of hatred I have for cancer.

Susan graciously delivered me into my own driveway, although hers is about 10 feet away.  I managed to wiggle back in to my pjs and when Little Middle and Baby got off the bus, they found me on the couch in exactly the same position I was in when they went to school this morning.

I've had a few words to say to God about this new treatment, and they haven't all been nice.  Actually, hardly any of them have been nice!  I am so over it.

When I started writing this post this morning from my position on the sofa, I occasionally glanced up to look at this:

It's not a perfect tree, but it's ours.  There is something really peaceful about sitting by the Christmas tree, isn't there?  I yearn for that peace all the time.  It is a hard-fought battle every day.  "Let every heart prepare Him room....."  

Lord, please help me to make room for you.  Thank you for being my Friend and for being a safe place for me to go.  Please give me joy, especially in this season.  I want to be soft and open to You and to Your spirit.  I believe that you can heal, both inside and out.  Please let this be a season of healing and miracles.  I want to be ready to receive my King:  You.  Thank you for loving me and for your promises that are always true.  Amen.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Allyson, there is something peaceful about a Christmas tree. When I hauled our 10+ year old tree out or the box, I thought nothing could look more pathetic. Then the treasured ornaments went up, the lights went on and...magic. I like to sit in the dark with just the lights of the tree and just breathe in God's holy presence and resultant peace. Blessings to you, mighty warrior. Love Kathy

Anonymous said...

You never cease to amaze! May God be with you and family.
From a friend you've never met!

Anonymous said...

The last paragraph was beautiful Allyson, it brought tears to my eyes. Praying for you from Illinois.

Tillyiam said...

I'm praying specifically for your nausea. I understand what chronic relentless nausea does to any quality of life. Looking forward to meeting you one day!
Your sister in Christ Jesus,

Anonymous said...

We have never met but your beautiful words draw me in and make me feel as if we are old friends. I have read every word, every post. You have profoundly touched my life in ways that I can't even explain. I so appreciate your honesty, your humor, and your observations of the world. You make me think. I am always happy to see a new post. It's like a phone call from a friend that I have been needing to talk to. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday. I think you are an amazing person. In spite of the horrors that Monster brings into your life, you inspire people to look at you and think, "well done." You are a true woman of Faith.

Anonymous said...

Allyson, I have always meant to write to you but always stopped. I feel the pain that you and your mom are going thru. I lost my daughter 3 weeks ago from that terrible disease, ovca. She was 22 years old and had bravely fought the disease for 4 1/2 years. The last 3 weeks have been so hard for us. We have pictures that we have constantly been staring at. One of the regrets that I have was I hoped I hugged her more in her last few days. I tried but she was in so much pain every time. So every little moment of time when we had to help her go to the bathroom, I would hug her and kiss her while assisting her. Luckily, I had 3 voicemails from her that I haven't deleted. I listened to that voicemail every time I wanted to listen to her voice. On nov. 20th we were told that we had 8-12 weeks but we only got 1 1/2 weeks. How I wished we had that 8-12 weeks. That last 1 1/2 week went so fast. Please email me if you want to talk - Faith is the only thing that has been keeping us going. Faith that the Lord has her now and she is not in pain anymore. Faith that her mission in life is now done. Your faith has helped me a lot these past couple of years ever since I found your blog.

Anonymous said...

It says in the last days that people will be able to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. I am a friend of Sandra's. I am laying hands on you right now and you will recover. Beleive it. Your faith is amazing. You are an inspiration. Get sunshine and eat more. Banannas are also good for people who have radiation.