Watch With Me

I am about done writing about cancer for awhile.  For some time I have been wanting to blog about things I think about and have learned in my life… turns out that right now I think about cancer, and have a lot of lessons that I have learned in the past or am now learning.
Last week my sweet husband, Mark, shared a thought with me.  He was sitting in church (Jackie and I were still at the hospital) and pondering on the idea of Christ suffering in Gethsemane.  Christ asked his disciples to “watch with me.”  
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matt. 26:38).
Christ did not go alone to the garden.  He brought trusted friends.  He had to face his agony alone, but he brought friends along to be with him beforehand.  When people ask how they can help our family, we are at a loss… it is hard to know what would help??  We have many things that we must do, things that must be faced.  Yet, the most wonderful thing is to know that we have friends “watching” with us – and most importantly, we see that we much “watch” with our friends.
I thought that the thought was beautiful and I am grateful to have a husband that takes the time to have deep thoughts.  This past week I have learned about a new trial some of our extended family members are undergoing and it seems almost beyond my comprehension.  We really do all have our own adventures here in life – and I will always choose my own.  But, I can watch with them.  I can pray that they have the same comfort that we have felt.
A week at home has gone by – I came home from the hospital with a day’s worth of adrenaline left and I caught up on many things.  On Tuesday, I crashed.  My first inclination is to muscle through it – but I remembered past lessons learned and I just embraced it.  I sat with Jackie, read a book, took a nap – and did just enough work to keep the home running.  Wednesday I was limping.  Thursday and Friday the fog lifted and I thoroughly enjoyed several visits from good friends.  Yesterday we were outside as much as possible – and I worked as hard as I could and today I am sore, but feel great.  I loved the hard work, but I am also pleased that I let myself relax and heal earlier in the week.
Lessons learned… I am blogging about this so that I can re-read and remember in years to come.

Our pre-op date to
a Chinese Restaurant

As Greg completed chemotherapy I wrote down many of my thoughts – here are a few of them (condensed) regarding how we dealt with all of that – I expect that it will be helpful in many situations:

We decided early to be realistic about the stress that cancer would put on our relationship as a couple.  We know from the experience of others that it can draw you closer or tear you apart.  We chose to be closer…..
We also realized that  life would not be able to go on as normal, and we had to choose what to let go and what to keep.  It was important to let the other children keep some activities because their lives would be very disrupted and they would need to have things to look forward to….We had to limit the number of children in the house due to Greg’s low immune system, but tried to have friends over as possible….. Also for the children – we tried to make this all an adventure that the family would have together.  Going to the hospital was fun….. 

We thought this “fortune”
was well timed.

To help Greg and the rest of the children forget our troubles, we included all of the children in doing small acts of kindness for people…  This included making baby blankets to be send around the world as well as making cookies for our neighbors.  Once we bought about 20 large Costco containers of Jelly Bellies just to brighten the day for our friends.  We knew that we were having a trial, but so are others – theirs just aren’t always so apparent.

Back to the present.  My favorite lesson learned during the past few weeks has been the notion of Trust.  That word just filled my whole being as Jackie was in surgery and I had those hours by myself.   A few days ago I read this scripture:
…for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God, shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions… Alma 36:3
Continuing to practice Trust – that would be a good daily goal so that I will be ready each time it needs to be truly put to the test.

ICU after the ventilator and other
machinery was removed.
Nice and Calm.

Now for our medical update – Jackie is 1.5 weeks postop.  She ventured outside yesterday to watch us work for one hour.  It completely wiped her out, but felt good.  Her pain is changing and getting worse in some ways as she moves around a bit more.  Tylenol handles it, so that it good.  She had her worse pain yet on Saturday as she woke from a nap with a sneeze – her first sneeze and she didn’t have a moment to prepare.  Now there was truly some recovery time after that—yikes.  A milestone today – I left church early to come home and care for her… after her shower she decided it was time to put on a little mascara.  Yay!  Lounging about always seems that it would be appealing, but Jackie can attest to the fact that it gets very boring very quickly.  Our post-op visit isn’t until the 31 of March.  Both our thoracic and orthopedic surgeons have families on spring break until then.  I am anxious to hear the pathology report, but I guess I will have to wait.  I have also heard from the neurosurgeon and Natalie will not be going in for an appointment until the 23 of April.  She isn’t too pleased to have it pushed so far out, though I assure her that it is a good thing to not be rushed – it certainly helps my anxiety level.  I have been rushed before and it does not mean good news.

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