Not sure where to begin this morning. It is so hard lately for me to just sit and allow myself to feel, to reflect, to just be. How do you stop the chaos? The mind races to the next thought, the next worry, the next thing to do. As I sit here typing I watch the second hand move on the clock above my desk. My heart races, as I try to slow it down to follow the second hand. Jeanie, stop for a moment. Take a sip of warm chai, breathe.
Where to begin? Well let me start with this morning. As usual the kids got out the door at 6:30 am by the skin of their teeth. I went upstairs, as I do every morning to check the damage. Shut lights, off, close the drawers to the dressers, tidy up a bit. Ok looks like a pretty decent morning. The kids surprisingly did alright. Then the dogs start to bark and run around. Which kid is coming back to the door? Who missed the bus? I ran downstairs to calm the puppies down, and was blown away but what I saw. I know I didn’t have my contacts on yet, and my glasses were a bit blurry but OMG! Walking up my snowy walkway was my beautiful cousin’s wife Kathleen. Again this is 6:30 am. Kathleen lives down in Plymouth, MA, over 2 hours away! And there she was with a huge basket in hand, as well as dinner prepared for my family. Who does this? She is a busy mom of 3 very busy kids and it is a school morning. She left her house at 4:30 am (even fully dressed) to see me! Her response,” I know how busy life is and I wanted to make sure that I catch you”! All I could do was break down and cry. She is such a beautiful soul and I am so so lucky my cousin Chris picked such a gem of girl! This girl truly has one of the largest hearts I know. She literally will drop everything to help someone. And did she every pick the most perfect morning to surprise me.
The Christmas season is upon us. Every window in my house has a wreath. Every room has been decorated. This is by far my favorite time of the year. I take 2 weeks to decorate. The Christmas songs, the baking, the wrapping, I love it all. But this year, I am really having to dig deep to find that spirit. Pulling out all the Christmas boxes always brings me down memory lane. Each ornament takes back to that beautiful moment in time. I always reflect on all that has changed in the past year as I take out decoration. I could not help but think and worry about what this year will bring. I am first week into my second cycle of chemo. The overwhelming sense of fatigue has set in. I tried to push through it, but my body is weakening. Physically I am tired. Emotionally I am exhausted.
The past few weeks have almost seemed like an outer body experience. The love and support we continue to receive from everyone. Our local police department grew beards and raised money in our honor for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in November. The unofficial total raised was over $5000! And ended with an Officer shaving his head at the high school! Our town did a Be The Match Event and had 35 young people swab to be a match! This is the town we live in. Everyday I either find a gift in the mail box or the door bell rings with a beautiful meal prepared for our family. Or like this morning at 6:30 am I open the door to find a beautiful friend just wanted to drink coffee with me and be there.
Saying I am overwhelmed by all this attention would be an understatement. The continuous acts of kindness I see everyday. I shake my head in just complete disbelief. With all the negativity that we see and read about everyday on social media and the news, my world has been nothing but showered with love and goodness. I often wonder why us? Why are we supported so much? What have we done to deserve such love? The other night around the dinner table we discussed this. This then led to discussion about Church and Religion. Having grown up Catholics, my husband and I were married in the Catholic Church. We began our married life belonging to a wonderful Church. We had our boys baptized and in fact our son Cameron was baby Jesus at the Christmas Pageant at only less than 3 months old. But soon after that we found ourselves moving further and further away from the Church beginning when all the scandals became public. Since my illness, I have had hundreds of people praying for me and sending me Mass Cards and Crosses. I read them, and keep them tucked away in my night stand next to my bed. Not feeling the need to revisit my own relationship with God. To be honest I have been kind of upset with him. Confused and angry that I am diagnosed with an incurable cancer. That my kids have to have a sick Mom. That my husband has to fall asleep every night next to his sick wife worrying what tomorrow will bring. But somehow knowing my stack of prayer cards in my nightstand brings comfort. Lately, I can’t help but think that all these incredible acts of kindness that we continue to receive, all of these beautiful people in our lives are gifts we are receiving are knocks on the door from God. They are being sent to us to comfort us. This love is real and it feels like a huge hug. So Sunday my girls and I went to our town’s Church service. During mass, the minister asked if anyone would like to ask for any prayers. My sweet Sarah spoke out and asked everyone to please pray for her mom fighting cancer. I love my sweet girl.
Last week as I left my doctor’s office and headed to the infusion room of chemo, the Social Worker at the hospital stopped my and asked to talk with me for a few minutes. She couldn’t have picked a better morning. I had just had a week off from treatment for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I had just started to feel human again. Driving into the hospital that morning, I found myself having a little pity party. In addition, a friend who also has Multiple Myeloma who also received a Donor Transplant last year, texted me that her cancer is back and her numbers are rising and that she was heading back on chemo already. Why the hell was I going through all this? Is it worth the risk for the chance that it might work? It was as if the Social Worker could read my mind. She sat me down and all she had to do was ask how I was doing. The flood gates opened. I told her about how scared I was and how I just wanted time to stay still. I didn’t want the holidays to come. Because once Christmas was over, I will be heading to Dana Farber on 12/29 to see if this is all working. If it is working, then that means I will be preparing for transplant. If its not, then we will need a new plan, more aggressive treatment. God I just want time to stop. She sat she listened. And then she offered me the most beautiful comforting words. She is a Christian and she could not help but see the similarity in what I was going through with that of the season of Advent. Advent is all about the wait and preparation of the birth of Christ. In a way I am going through my own Advent. And for me it’s about trying to find the peace and joy in the moments prior to my big anticipated event. So the big question is, how do you do that?
Last night as the kids and I were about to sit for dinner, I sat in the kitchen and cried. All the kids just looked at me with concern. They asked did you get bad results from the doctor. I just looked at them and told them no. I am just trying to get through today. I just want to feel the Christmas Spirit. My son Mitch looked at me and said “what are you talking about Mom. Every corner of this house is decorated. You have more spirit than anyone I know”.
Moment to moment I guess that is how I will try to find peace in joy in this season of Advent.