Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lessons from Jacob

I was in the hospital last night -- this time with my son, who had been running with friends and tripped and landed on his wrist. It has a nice, clean break and is expected to heal quickly. The initial trauma and pain is behind him, and he is dealing with having his right hand in a fiberglass splint until he gets a cast sometime in the next few days.

He's managed to get through this in relatively good spirits, especially as my husband was taking him out for ice cream on the way home from the hospital, and as I picked up balloons and gum and small presents along with his pain medication. Something about being excused indefinitely from washing the dishes helped, too.

But today I noticed a special spirit about Jacob in the face of this challenge. As we were getting ready for church today, he started making a mental list of things that he can do with his left hand. Some were easy. ("I can get a straw out of the drawer for my drink." "I can still open Mom's car door.") Some were more challenging -- like dressing and writing -- but he was determined to tackle those as independently as possible. By the time we got to church he was sharply dressed and groomed, and he had neatly written his name and drew a self-portait with his left hand.

This won't always be an easy situation for him to deal with, and perhaps when the novelty and attention wear off he may get frustrated and tired. But today my son taught us all a great lesson as he chose to focus entirely on his abilities and his possibilities rather than bemoaning his disabilities.


It happened -- I have reached the point where I have officially been married longer than I was single! I was married when I was twenty-one years and three weeks old, and today marks another "month-a-versary," as our wedding was twenty one years and one month ago.

While I was thinking about that today, I decided to set (what's left of) my mind on the point where I'll have been treatment-free longer than I was treated. My last chemotherapy infusion was about two years and two months after diagnosis, and if my math is correct that would mean I would pass this milestone in about seven or eight months if all goes well.

If I pass that one, I'm sure I'll focus next on the point where my "A.D." life exceeds my "B.C." life. That would be in a little over 35 years...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Answered Prayers/Having a Blast

I don't know how much available space remains on this blog, but it doesn't matter -- there still wouldn't be enough room to list the many ways prayers have been answered for me. There is great power in prayer, and I continue to appreciate the many prayers that have been offered on my behalf.

In my morning petitions I have sometimes felt prompted to ask for the opportunity to help someone that day. Each time I have done that, I have been put in touch with someone else who is dealing with glioblastoma or cancer of another type. I am certain (or at least certainly hopeful) that my prayers are not creating the disease, but rather creating the opportunity to consecrate this life experience to a good purpose. ("Because I have been given much, I too must give...")

I have also been contacted via comments and questions on my blog, by people who do not know how to reach me directly. Some have provided me with their contact information, and it has been a privilege to be able to contact them. I have gotten to know some really wonderful people who share this unwelcome circumstance.

I finally decided to do something more about this. I have just created an email support group for glioblastoma survivors and those who love us. It's on Yahoogroups, and it's called (fittingly) "Having a Blast." Those who are interested may subscribe (it's free) by sending an email to:

It's a place where more people can share what's on their mind!

Got Another Date...

...and another new vocabulary word:

tympanoplasty (tim-PAN-o-plass-tee) - reconstructive surgery of the eardrum.

On November 3rd -- exactly one week after my next MRI -- the right side of my head goes under the knife again. But this time my skull remains intact. The surgeon will take grafting tissue from either the tragus (more vocabulary -- this is the little pointy part of your ear that holds earbuds in place) or somewhere else around my ear and make a new eardrum to replace the one that was damaged by radiation.

Four days later, I am scheduled to sing at a Families Supporting Adoption conference. My right ear will be completely packed with dissolvable stuff on both sides of the new eardrum, so I'm hoping the piano will be to my left. And if there is another Messiah performance this Christmas, I should have better hearing by then.

Considering how gruesome the informed consent process was for each of my cancer treatments, I think it's pretty awesome that this eardrum thing is the worst complication that I've had.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


(No, not 45 days since my last post...although there has still been too much space between blog entries, and lots to write about!)

Today marks forty-five months of survival, and I remembered it without Mom having to call me!