Empowering ourselves

We deeply appreciate all the help that you give us. Meals, visits, rides, play dates, cards, activities, being lifted through your prayers and positive thoughts – All these areas where we need help and some where we cannot begin to handle by ourselves.

I know that we aren’t the only ones going through difficult changes. A friend of mine is getting a divorce. She is in the middle of redecorating her condo so that it doesn’t feel like it did when she was married. Her business is suddenly booming and she handling the legal details on her own. While this keeps her busy, she missed having her husband for both emotional and practical support.

But then, after a particularly busy day of running her business and meeting with lawyers, she realized that, though she was tired, she was also energized. By doing all the things she needed to do to take care of her life, she felt strong and empowered, and emotionally on a new level.

I could relate. Though the chemo drugs knock me down, I feel fortunate to get back up again. Often, it is slow return to life, and I don’t feel like doing much. But I find that if I do little things as soon as I can – take a shower, get my own glass of water, eat – then, gradually, I can do more and more. I notice that the more I do to take care of myself and my family, the better I feel, not just physically but about myself and my life.

Rather than a hassle, it is empowering.

For example, I love cooking. Cooking isn’t just one step: It includes planning and shopping and prepping and cooking. It involves managing the timing of the various parts of the meal as well as setting the table and serving the meal. And, inevitably, cleaning up.

Another example on the other end of the spectrum: As anyone who has been to my house knows, I am not the best at managing clutter. It feels like a chore, drains my energy, and is last on my list of things to do. But now I realize that having the energy and focus to go through the clutter (and essentially move it around) is a blessing.

I hope that you feel empowered as you go through your day, managing your life and contributing to the lives of those you love, one step at a time. And from those of us who receive your help when we need it: Thank you.

Love and blessings,

Change in Plans

Normally, I get my CT scans done at Dana Farber, but today’s scan was scheduled at a suburban location of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I was to arrive at 8:30 a.m.

As scan locations go, it was actually perfect. It was close to my son’s school, so I could drop him off with a comfortable amount of time arrive for the scan prep. The building was easy to find and had ample parking. Walking in, the lobby was bright, the signs were clear, the halls were uncrowded.

When I entered the waiting area for the scan room, one other patient was calmly waiting in a seat. They had two people available for check-in. Both chatted in a friendly, welcoming way.

I decided that I would ALWAYS come here. Boston’s normally packed waiting room was filled with frenzy and anxiety. This place was calm and the air felt clean.

I filled out the form they handed to me….it was a different form than the one in Boston, but the questions were similar enough. One stood out, though: Are your veins difficult to access?

Since mine are, I really appreciated that question. To have any hope of finding a vein, I needed to be well-hydrated, which I was not. My veins roll, so the needle has trouble going in and they need to fish or re-stick. If and when they do get in, the valves are close together, so they typically don’t get a return and need to try again. All this results in huge blood bubbles under my skin and black and blue on top of my skin that doesn’t heal for a week or me.

I used to be polite and say okay. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, and I wanted to be open to the chance that it might work. But they always gave up and said I needed an IV nurse, and I always arrived home with bruises. So now I know.

I told the nice nurse that I needed to use my port. She pointed to a vein on the back of my hand that looked good, but I know that vein is just a tease – it looks attainable but then rejects the stick as soon as they jab me.

No. I can come back another time.

She left and returned 10 minutes later. She said that she checked the schedules at all the locations where they have an IV nurse and they are full.

I can come another day.

They found an appointment for me at 4 p.m. today in Boston and verified that an IV nurse would still be there. So, I returned home to eat before I have to fast again, write this little note to you to ask you to continue to send good energy this way, and then will prepare to arrive in Boston at 2:30 (to allow time to do the port access and drink the drink).

I’m actually pretty calm about all this – the place felt too good to be true! It’s a bummer to lose this whole day to the scan, but that is the way it is going to go today. The primary bummer is that I repeatedly assured my son that I would pick him up from school, which I can no longer do. One by one, in his world, I am becoming the Queen of Broken Promises and Disappointments.

Thanks so much for your support. I hope the logistics of your day are much smoother, or, if there is a glitch, it is for the better!