Spiritual synchronicity at it's most magical!

Week 6 was my hardest so far. The physical symptoms were at their most painful in every part of my body, I was exhausted, and couldn't think straight or remember anything. All that opened the door for my emotions to plummet right into the proverbial toilet! I was feeling irritated, sad, angry, and just overall DONE with this "aweful" experience. I wasn't sure I could take one more day, let alone several.

I am so grateful for all of your well-wishes, thoughts and prayers, and I believe that is literally what carried me through last week. Had it not been for the hundreds of you lifting me on a flying carpet of love over and above the actual experience to higher ground, I may have been one of those patients whom my doctor referred to, the one who gets 1/2 - 3/4 way through and quits the treatment because they can't take the intensity of it all. There is one of you in particular who has literally taken the time to be with me, via phone or in person, every day to pray me in before each treatment...that's quite a commitment and I so appreciate you.  Last Thursday morning was especially rough and I literally did not want to get out of bed and face yet one more trip to OHSU, where the radiation appointment only takes 20 minutes, but with distance and traffic, the entire journey ends up being about 4 hours. Her prayer that morning reminded me of gratitude and the love of all of you carrying me through, that Spirit was still here even in the most difficult times. She closed that prayer asking for Spirit to please send me a sign of some sort to help me keep going.

Before the beautiful sign reveals itself, the "day" happens. That day my son was my driver and on our way back from radiation, the car stalled at a traffic light about an hour from home. He kept cool, got it started again and off we went. In that moment we both were laughing and hoping to encounter only green lights the rest of the way. We arrived in the heart of downtown Newburg, about a 20-30 min drive from home, though famous for its traffic, and the car stalled again. No... not stalled. Died. We were in the middle of 3 lanes of rush hour, and nothing Tristan did could get that car moving again. He has his permit and this was a first-time experience for him. Again, through a cycle of 4 red to green lights, he stayed calm, continuing to say, "What do I do now Mom?" Finally someone made it out of their car and offered to help push us, as did several others and Tristan. while another tried to get the outside lane of traffic stopped so we could get safely off onto the next side road. I slid into the driver seat to maneuver the car though I had no business being behind any driving wheel.  We made it and while the others made their way back to their cars, we began the next phase of the adventure: arranging for a tow truck. Once I got past the "Today is a busy day for calls so your hold time will be longer than usual" message from my insurance company, we managed to arrange the details and was told the tow truck would be arriving within the hour. Excellent! I called my daughter to please come meet us because we would need a ride as the garage it was being towed to was too far to walk home from. Now, to set the mood for our less than an hour wait. It was one of our hottest days so far, about 102 degrees. We were sitting on the sidewalk in the mini spot of shade we had found. We were out of drinking water. I was exhausted from radiation and generally depressed from the moment I had awakened. This was not a good day! BUT....it was turning out to be an important one. As I sat there in my state of overheated exhaustion and pity, I remembered I still had a choice. Yes this experience was happening, but I could choose how I would deal with it.....the way I was, or the way I would want to be. In that moment, all frustration left me as I watched Tristan chill on the sidewalk. He was just as annoyed, hot and frustrated as I was because for him it meant this delay had just ended the possibility that we would get him to the high school on time for fall class registration, but he was ok. I could be too. And so I started listing in my mind all the things to be grateful for right here and now, in the middle of this experience. People helped us. We were pretty close to home. We had found a pocket of shade in which to rest. And on and on it went. My other girls happened to be driving by at one point from a "date" together, and were able to take Tristan home and Jordan prepared dinner so the kids could eat. Kalie, already on her way, arrived safely. And when we got the news that the one hour wait was likely to be 2 or more due to traffic the driver was stuck in, I took a break, laid my head back on my pillow (yes on the sidewalk!) and chuckled. More time to remember I always have choices. And really now, how many times do you stop and notice that the sky often looks like a magnificent piece of art, as it definitely did that day. Ok, and when the tow truck finally did arrive 2+ hours later, I could tell he was as frustrated as I had been, but now I could offer him understanding and kindness because I had been able to shift my thinking. By the time the car was loaded and we arrived home, it was almost 7 pm (I had left for my radiation at 11 am). It turns out this was also the evening I had promised my youngest that we would see a movie in the park, and keeping that promise was a priority. So we made it home just in time to load our blankets and chairs and head for the park, in which we all had fun, and I slept through the big finale! It turned out to be one of the longest days I've had, and honestly it was only all of your energy that kept me going until midnight when we got home, because I surely had none left of my own. So thank you!

I know that story was a bit long, but it's an important set-up for the spiritual "sign" that arrived in the mail that same afternoon and was waiting for me when we arrived home. If you'll remember my last update referred to SISU, a Finnish word that loosely translated means to sustain courage. My doctor had introduced me to it the week before after hearing about it from a patient. A new favorite word of mine, I had said. So I open this box from Mary and Rob, who live in Missouri, whom I know from my Mary Kay days, but haven't seen for years. I pull out the coffee cup pictured above, and start to cry. This is an undeniable, miraculous sign! Not only did the presence of the cup bring me to tears, but so did the beautiful words Mary had written. It turns out Rob is 100% Finnish and his mom referred to this word often. As a couple, they decided to gift me with his SISU coffee mug. Wow!! What are the chances people????

Here's what I've learned and continue to be reminded of:  1. When you are open to the power of God (or whatever word resonates for you most) and 2. You are willing to stay open to the fact that wonderful things are always happening, then 3. synchronicities like this can become an almost frequent occurrence.

Thank you Rob and Mary (this story was shared with their permission), for your generosity and for being willing to listen to a calling that brought you into this as participants of my much needed sign. I love the additional words on the cup, but I think my favorite is SPUNK. Last week I allowed the heaviness of my situation to crush my spunk, but your timely reminder of SISU has brought my Spunk back!

So a brief medical update now...the radiation machine has been down so my missed appointments for last Friday and yesterday will be added onto what was supposed to be the end Wednesday.  If everything goes as originally scheduled today, I will still have 4 left, with my last one occurring on Friday now. It's the final countdown!

I had my last chemo appointment today and the picc line has been painlessly removed! WooHoo!!!!  Though I'm not able to eat much, my levels continue to look good and I only lost 1 pound since last week. My left leg is starting to develop blood clots again, so I have "won" the honor to go back on the anti-coagulant shots for another 2 MONTHS! Gulp. Yes 2 months of self-administered belly shots. SISU, my friends, SISU!

Persistence.  Resolve  Spirit.  Heart.  Courage.  Guts.  Determination.  No Fear.  Tenacity.  Spunk.

May we all embody as much SISU as we can, as often as we can.
Much love to you all,

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