Friday, October 31, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
But regardless, I've been in pain for about two weeks now and I haven't been able to get the pain under control with just Tylenol and ibuprofen. It's been a vicious cycle. So I finally gave in on Monday night and upped the ante to Percocet. I HATE drugs (which, I'm very aware I need to get over in the coming months, but hey--this is an honest blog, I'll never lie to you about what I think and feel). I took the Percocet as prescribed every four hours by my doc. And yep, the pain went away. BUT, it brought with it dizziness, vertigo and hours and hours of being violently ill. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how people get addicted to Percocet (I know we all have our vices, but....), this crap makes me feel VILE.
Like curl up in a little ball and whimper for your mommy kind of vile.
Which I did.
And I called her and told her I just wanted to hear her voice. And I think I made her feel bad because she's a mom just like me and she doesn't like her baby hurting anymore than I like having my kids hurt. We were pitiful together. She told me how people were amazed at how strong I was. And I laughed. I told her, I don't think people would think I'm all that strong if they saw me now. A pale, shaking, barfing, stooped, shadow of myself. There was no strong in this picture....a lot of pitiful. A good bit of whining and a lot of feeling like a little kid that just wants mama to take it all away.
If you've read my book (if not, go buy it here!) you'll know that my mama was one of the greatest formative forces in not only my faith but me as a person. I love my mama and I'm not afraid to say it. :) And when I'm pitiful and not remotely strong, she's the person I call to get a good dose of sympathy or a swift kick in the rear.
I worry a little bit (OK, A LOT), about how I will tolerate the chemo. I'm a puker (my son gets it from me) and it is sincerely the one side effect that I would choose to avoid at all costs. It takes like 3 anti-nausea meds to keep me from puking from surgery and that doesn't always work. I hate to throw up. Because once it starts....it doesn't stop for at least 24 hours. And I worry that if the Percocet would do this to me, it will be infinitely worse when my system is hit up with something far stronger.
It is what it is and I won't know till I know...but I'm pretty sure that if it's bad, the first thing I'll want is my mama.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Yesterday was the two week "anniversary" of my cancer diagnosis. It still seems a little unreal to me. It's not like we will be celebrating this "anniversary" with cake and champagne. Heck, most days I still ask myself, "did they really call and tell me I had cancer?" It's real alright, but it doesn't feel real. It doesn't feel like it could possibly be right. I still have far more questions than I have answers. I still don't understand why God has put me in this journey--I'm still 100% sure I don't like it. I'm still 100% sure that somewhere, someday, somehow, I will understand, but today is not that day. Yesterday wasn't either and I'm pretty sure tomorrow I will have will have many of the same questions.
I'm still racked by guilt/anger/confusion/frustration/shame/shock (I don't know--pick one of those perplexing feelings and fill in the blank) how I am supposed to lead people to a healthy life (Hey, BUY Christ Walk HERE: It's coming in December and it rocks big time) when I'm obviously broken in some way. I feel a little betrayed by my health practices. I wax high and low between wanting to go full on granola with my approach to my cancer treatment and thinking screw it, I got sick anyway. I'm pretty sure the balance is sort of somewhere in between, but I haven't quite gotten there yet. I look around my house and wonder if the plastic caused this. Is it because I use a cell phone? Is my Keurig dripping carcinogens into my coffee? Is my food really organic, or just another gimmick with more pesticides? Is my shampoo giving me cancer? Where did this crap come from??? And WHY, when I've worked SO HARD for my health, would this would happen?????? I want answers. WHO is responsible for doing this to my body. WHAT is causing this? HOW did this happen? WHERE was I negligent? I really want the answer to "WHY ME?!?!?!?!?"
I have no answers. I may never have answers. That, right there, is what you call, "embracing the suck." It's a favorite military line and it is so apropos.
And while I am fighting this reality internally, my body hurts. I'm sorry, maybe that's just too much information. But I do. My body just hurts. It's probably one of the reasons I am up so early. In someways I'm bouncing back from the surgeries wonderfully. In other ways, I am so aware that my body is just not right. I can lay flat on a hard surface and everything feels out of whack. My left arm and shoulder constantly ache since they took my lymph nodes out. I cannot get comfortable. And. I. Simply. Hate. Pain. Medicine. My guts feel rearranged. My mind feels fuzzy and my hands shake. My body, mind and soul feel completely at odds with each other. I need a serious realignment. Where is God's chiropractor?
I know the things I can and need to do. I'm sharing with you my thoughts and feelings. If I put these things aside, I am an intelligent person, and I know the health care field well. I know what I can do and things that will help. I'm just not thinking very clinically right now. I know that I can go to the chiropractor, or the massage therapist, or the acupuncturist. I can try essential oils and yoga and relaxation breathing and prayer (all of which I do, do some of the time and in some sort of way), but honestly, sometimes it is hard to find the time to do any of this when you are fielding phone calls from case managers, nurses, surgeons, movers, oncologists, work and then there is laundry to be done, or naps to take, and sometimes just getting out of bed. My body needs many more hours to heal and I am impatient with that process. Clinically, I know what I need. I know this is a matter of time, but at my heart, in my inner core: I Don't Have Time for This! And there lies my inner struggle.
I have yet to give in, or embrace my new reality. I am still fighting it tooth and nail. I want to wake up tomorrow (not at 3 am though) and it to be gone. And I mourn that it will not just go away. I feel like I have a big, fat label on my forehead.
Folks, in the psychological realm of things, I am somewhere between denial and grieving. It's a stage. A season. It will pass and there will be a new season. One of acceptance. The new season will be for the warrior. I know it's in me. She's just very tired right now. A little sore and a little beat up. It will come. Just not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon.
And as 3 am turns into 6 (it takes awhile to write these days) am, and I pour my coffee into one of my favorite cups, I'm buoyed by its message, "Goonies, never say die."
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
“Don't just read this book--do this book. There is no better book available to inspire and assist both individuals and congregations to start a walking program. Follow the plan outlined in this book, one step at a time, and you will strengthen not just your physical wellness, but also your spiritual and emotional wellness.”
––The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, creator of “Living Compass Faith & Wellness Ministry” and author, Your Living Compass: Living Well in Though, Word, and Deed
“This book offers so much more than a walking program for individuals and faith community groups! It is a very thorough, comprehensive, and current look at the interconnections of spiritual, mental, and physical health. In the format of forty days of meditations, exercise, and nutrition information with suggestions for journaling, this book lends itself well to a Lenten health ministry opportunity. In writing about her own challenges with hearing loss and an autoimmune disease, Courie brings hope for living with infirmities, and she does this very personally, in a comforting, supportive, and affirming style.I have done several walking programs in our congregation, but I am excited to pursue the many new ideas and perspectives in this one!”
––Ginny Wagenseller, RN, FCN, parish nurse at Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Westport, Connecticut and Province One representative for Episcopal Health Ministries
“For those of you who are looking for a comprehensive approach to walking, fitness, spirituality, and prayer walking, Christ Walk is for you. This disciplined forty day program will make a fine Lenten or anytime approach to getting your body, mind, and spirit healthy.”
––Sara Lee Macdonald, blogger of Walk With Me on Our Journey
“As a priest and endurance athlete, I’ve been keeping a training log and journal for years but have long sought a comprehensive and cohesive way to reflect on mind, body,spirit and athletic pursuits. Christ Walk is the book I’ve been waiting for. Whether you are taking the first steps to wellness or have a full race calendar, those seeking to integrate faith and fitness will find Fitch Courie’s book to be a wonderful resource.”
––The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, co-captain of the SteepleChasers relay team for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, half-marathoner, and sometime triathlete.
Anna Fitch Courie has taken what she discovered in part on her spiritual journey through Education for Ministry and put it into action. Christ Walk is a book that teaches you to see God acting in your life and how you can act in return. Anna’s work on the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and an agent of change in the world will help you change your daily life. Take a walk with Anna (and with Jesus!) on her journey and learn how to follow Christ’s example of walking your way into wholeness. Anna knows that life is one big pilgrimage.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Where is the guidebook, the parenting book, the answer that won't scar them for life, is a lie, will make them hate God, or fill them with fear.
There is no RIGHT way to handle this question and there is no parent that has been in my shoes that this question crushes them. All the love in the world cannot promise my children that the cancer won't kill me. The probabilities are not in the favor of the cancer winning, and as I told them, I could die tomorrow walking across the street, but really, I cannot promise my children that this won't kill me. No one can promise their children that they won't die early.
And they know it. And it fills them with fear. And they hold it in. My kids are the warriors. They look in my face and they know I am afraid and they know I cannot give them the pat answer they want. Of course we laugh at it. Their mommy is too stubborn to let cancer kill her. But I cannot promise that. I cannot say to them that if I die, it is God's will, because I do not believe that. This journey isn't just about me. It is about this disease and how it has infected all of us as a family. Of all the stupid stuff I've come to terms wth over this week, this is the one question that stops me in my tracks. I bumble through my responses, I hem and I haw and I answer somewhere between "no" and "mommy will fight this tooth and nail." And yet none of my responses feel right.
Every parent simply wants to raise their children, see them succeed, grow old, marry, have their grandkids and find happiness. No parent wants to leave their child, at least not me. And I'd give anything not to have had that discussion or hear that question from my babies.
How would you answer it?
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
About 10-15 years ago, I was home visiting my parents. My mom was sitting in her recliner rocker and we were visiting. It was good to be home. I love sitting with my parents in their living room and just talking. We catch up on things we've wanted to say forever, but some how fail to do in the busyness of life. Going home is always good.
As we were sitting their chatting, my mom started to rub her chin. And she got kind of silent. And you could see she was fidgeting with something on her neck/chin area enough that I said, "Mom! What ARE you doing?"
My mom: "Anna, I have whiskers."
Me: "You do not have whiskers. There is nothing there."
My Mom: "No really. I can feel them. Get me my tweezers."
Me: "Ew! No! Do that in the bathroom!"
My Mom: "But I need you to help me pluck them."
Me: "Eh. I love you, but not that much."
My Mom: "Don't let me be that old woman with three whiskers hanging off her chin that no one will do anything about."
Me: "Mom! You DON'T have whiskers. Look, I can't see anything!" (I really did walk over and check out her chin)
My Mom: "But they are THERE! I can FEEL them!"
Me: "Mom, It's in your mind. You are beautiful to me as you are. There are no whiskers."
My Mom: "Just promise me you won't let me be an old lady with whiskers."
Me: "Ok, Mom, but you don't have whiskers."
Let's fast forward about 10-15 years. I'm sitting on the couch. Minding my own business. I cannot remember if I was reading or watching TV, but I somehow touched my chin. And I touched it again. And by God. There were whiskers. I couldn't see them, but I sure could feel those suckers. And as I looked into the mirror, they are in the same dang place as my mother's "whiskers."
Thanks for the genes mom. Come again????? What happened here?? Really God, what is the evolutionary point of whiskers? How can this possibly contribute to your grand plan? This makes no sense whatsoever. #Iamnotahappycamper
I don't think of myself as a vain person, but these whiskers things have set me off. I know EXACTLY how my mother felt 15 years ago. It's a coming of age thing. Or rather, age is coming quicker than I really want thing. It happens. The whiskers are there. They are another example of my body is doing its own thing while I have other plans for it.
And at the end of the day, my whiskers really aren't going to make me any other person than who I am. And I can guarantee you that none of my friends notice them. But they are there. The reminder that while you cannot see them, I can feel them and they remind me that I am changing.
Whiskers are God's plan to keep us humble. Just as we get comfortable with our bodies, something happens and changes that reminds us that this is just a human shell. It's a reminder not to focus on the mundane part of our bodies, rather what we can do with it, not what it looks like. Our bodies are weird. They have a mind of their own and they will do things outside your will. We can try to exert control over our bodies that we might not have and be miserable, or learn to live and love the shell we have.
In part II, I'll discuss what to do when that shell is scarred. Tune in tomorrow for the second part of learning to love the shell you have.