“A Caring Friend”

I’m going to be clear here about something….especially for Bible people who send anonymous messages and have others send messages to stage four cancer patients about yoga.

Yoga means to yoke or Union.

Unless you are in my brain, you don’t know who I am joining myself to. It isn’t a religion, it’s a philosophy.

It now has scientific studies to help cancer patients.

Science is also finally catching up to what the ancient yogis knew-that nothing is solid and everything is moving.

Energy.

It’s also breath-work. I’ve had it work when I’ve had to have my blood pressure taken over because it was high. I’ve used the techniques I’ve learned and it lowered.

So please.

All you bible twisters who use it to scare people, especially stage four cancer patients just trying to find ways to get through the day…

Stop.

Stop using the Bible as a weapon of fear.

Stop judging and “being a good Christian” and maybe read up on what you are twisting.

I know my God.

I know my Jesus.

So stop.

You see…

My ear hurts, I didn’t sleep, and I got another message yesterday on my blog from someone hiding behind the moniker “a caring friend”. My lymph node hurts and my armpit is itchy.

I got another message this week that some people should be blocked because apparently they are judging me, talking about me with friends, and Facebook.

I opened myself up on here to control the rumor mill beast, and maybe also help a person or two.

Some days I really regret it.

Other days I get messages or comments from people thanking me for helping them, or find new research that gives hope.

I’m on a see saw while playing whack a mole over a graveyard.

So I’m throwing this out there.

Don’t unfollow me.

Defriend me please.

Don’t judge me or discuss me.

Maybe look at your own life and see what you should do to change, maybe become someone who doesn’t judge a woman with a terminal illness trying to stay alive.

Don’t tell me yoga will anger God and imply I wont get into heaven, or have my prayers to be healed heard. Keep your scary twisty versions to yourself, thank you very much.

That’s it.

I’m posting this to my blog as well, because yesterday I got a twisted ignorant message.

I’ll pray you, “a caring friend”.

See?

THAT is what a good Christian does.

May my ear stop hurting, my lymph clear up, and all cancer be gone.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Dharma Talk

In Yoga Teacher Training, each of us had to give a Dharma Talk. We were to weave some of the yoga principals into a talk that was personal to us. I chose the theme of “Surrender”. This was my talk….

“Surrender, Clouds, Leave it on the Mat but take it all with you”Niyama (personal Observance)

I chose Isvara pranidhani because the past two years I have been learning to surrender to God. I’m still working on that, as I still want what I want….Complete healing from breast cancer, and forty more years to watch my children grow up.

When I was first diagosed, I was graspng, in a state of panic. Eat organic? Give me all the kale. Do the Gerson therapy? Bring me to the Giving Room for all the juices. Fasting? I wont eat for days if I have to. Exercise? I’ll get a rebounder and do yoga and qi gong, and walk a 5k. I was doing everything…and what I needed most to do was nothing.

Be still and breathe.

The cancer diagnosis was a huge cloud that made it hard for me to see. I went to a meditation class and the teacher explained we are mountains, and everything else is clouds. Notice the cloud, name it for what it is…fear, anxiety, anger, sadness…then let it float away. Just let it be, and be. I prayed and truly learned what “Thy will be done” really means…

Isvara pranidhani.

Isvara pranidhani-Celebration of the spiritual-“Lay all your actions at the feet of God” It is the contemplation on God “Isvara”, in order to become attuned to God and God’s Will. Ishvara pranidhana focuses not on ego but on the sacred ground of being, it reunites us with our true Self. As Indian yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar states in his Light on the Yoga Sutras, “Through surrender the aspirant’s ego is effaced, and…grace…pours down upon him like a torrential rain.”

Ishvara pranidhana provides a pathway through the obstacles of our ego …the clouds we try desperately to blow away….and it sends us toward our divine nature—grace, peace, unconditional love, clarity, and freedom.

As humans, we carry with us an expectation of something in return for our dedication. I ate the kale, I drank the juice, I did the yoga, I breathed, I forgave…Why do I still have cancer? But it is not for me to know the answer to my why’s, for the act or surrender to the why’s is what will me wise.

Yet I still I want results. So I come to my yoga mat and breathe. I want peace and joy and love. I want to be a better human being. I want to be healed. How many of us can say we would keep returning to the cushion or mat if we hadn’t at least once felt our bodies opening and our hearts responding? We find peace and surrender at our mat, and faith that as we surrender, so shall we be saved.

I believe it is this unshakable faith and devotion that ishvara pranidhana, the final of the five Niyamas, wants us to cultivate. It can be translated as “devoting oneself entirely to the Divine,” and Patanjali mentions it more than any other Yama or Niyama.

The gentle voice in the Yoga Sutras that began with ahimsa, saying—Let go of who you think you are, and become who you truly are—becomes a roar.

We have to surrender from the “I” and return to love.

Because love is all there is.

When we surrender we see through the eyes of love, we start to accept life in its crazy, beautiful entirety, and in doing so we free ourselves up to do what makes our heart sing. We begin to let the divine spark inside us express itself. Life becomes an adventure.

But the challenge is we have to trust the outcome. When we are fully surrendering, we have no expectations.

I am not looking for peace. I am peace.

I am not looking to be made perfect. I am perfect.

I am not looking to be healed. I am healed.

I am not looking to be made whole. I am whole.

I am not looking for love. I am love.

I practice yoga for the love of yoga, not because I want to be a better person or think yoga is necessary. I practice yoga so I can live in the present, and become wholly open to what is, and devoted to love for love’s sake.

It’s difficult to surrender when times are hard, clouds cover you in your mountain, and it becomes so dark. Yet I have learned things in the dark that I could have never learned in the light. Things that saved my life over and over again. There is only one logical conclusion…I need the dark as much as I need the light. Healing is a process, it ebbs and flows, like the phases of the moon. “All in all, the moon is a truer reflection for my soul than the sun that looks the same way every day. “_Barbara Brown Taylor.

So I will continue to dance under the moon in the dark, surrendering to the push and pull on my soul. When you surrender and let go…love flows gently in. I am learning to leave all of my ego and expectations on the mat, and take all of the love I get in return with me when I leave.

May it be so.

I am healed.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Crow Pose

It’s hard to get everything done in the morning, between chemos, supplements, teas, packing for the day, mouthswishing, juicing celery juice, cutting the lemon for the water, adding Manuka honey to the chaga…

I just have to get up earlier.

I’m sore today.

It was an intense weekend at Yoga Teacher Training. Friday night I gave my dharma talk to the class, and that took all of my energy to get through it.

Saturday we did a lot of assists and wrote up practicals, and I arranged for Qi gong after class as an offering to the other teachers. Yesterday I made corn muffins and a crock pot of chili to feed the class.

I think I feel like a fraud sometimes in class, surrounded by others who have so much more time to devote to the practice, and know all of the meanings of the hard to pronounce words for poses and what the koshas, bandhis and sutras are. So I fed everyone chili.

But near the end of class, after I admitted my energy was way off, my friend laura came over and told me that it’s normal. The first time she took teacher training she felt the same way. It made me feel so much better. Then she gave her talk on the sutras and it all clicked.

I’m out of my comfort zone…

But I’m still in the game.

Im grateful to be able to play.

Saturday we did crow pose, where you lift up your body and rest your knees on your elbows. I couldnt get up, and only one foot could come up. It was frustrating.

Yesterday?

I focused, put a blanket in front of my head so I had a cushion when I face planted, (which apparently I’m an expert at), took a deep breath, Rose up on my tiptoes, slowly bent my knees and car down and spread my knees wide, put my hands down shoulder width apart, rested my knees above my elbows, squeezed my arms into my chest, lifted my hips high, lifted my feet off the ground…

And I flew.

I shocked myself and fell over from the shock.

The I did it again.

And again.

At the end of the public class I showed

everyone I finally did it. Paula took a picture for me.

Instead of looking at myself with a critical eye…the wig looked off kilter, I’ve gained weight from the chemos, why the heck did I wear patterned pants?

I saw me.

Flying.

Strong enough to hold the weight of my body up in suspension.

Not giving up.

It felt good.

I may be a crow in kindergarten today.

We will see if my achey body allows.

Today is Monday.

It’s a new day, a new work week.

A new chance to start over.

May we all have a beautiful week full of peace, joy and love…

And healing.

ALL the healing.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Finally… a Good MRI… on Nanny’s birthday.

I woke up yesterday and decided to keep rob company as he ran from job to job. Even though I was exhausted from no sleep, pain from all of the injections the day before, liver tenderness and UTI pain, I wanted to just ride in the car with him. We spent the day before in the car driving from the hospital to Queens and it was stressful. I just wanted to hear Christmas music and not cry.

He was able to drop me off at the giving room and I had some organic cinnamon buns and celery juice and a coffee smoothie. I laughed with Paula and Andrea and it felt good after such a long day the day before. I put on my rose gold wig and felt normal.

When we came home, I packed up some of my best cancer books, some inspirational books, and some soup and juices and miso for a new friend.

The bond that forms almost immediately when you meet someone in the arena with you is hard to explain.

You can just look into each other’s eyes and sit with the fear and pain,even if it’s a caregiver.

But you can also use the four letter magic word… hope.

Hope comes from faith.

Faith gives you strength.

Strength helps you love.

Love heals.

We sat for a while and it was one of those “God whisper” moments for me. I knew I had to see her, and felt almost manic until I did. I don’t remember a lot of what I said, sometimes I knew my eyes looked off to the side, words came out, and then I thought…”I hope that was ok to say.”

I left and heard from another friend who I sent to my friend Jennifer Williamson. She had a healing experience and was glad she went.

My friend Amy texted to see if I got my lab results, and when I went to check my email…. there it was.

The email from my oncologist.

The fact that she used THREE exclamation points two times and also used the word great is huge for her. The tumor shrank almost in half.

Listen, I pushed for the MRI for two reasons. One was medical. I wanted a baseline because I hadn’t been in treatment for the liver for a good six weeks and if there had been more lesions, I wanted a true reading to compare again in eight weeks.

The other was a God whisper. I wanted one because Odile had been working so hard energetically and I felt it. I had prayed that we would do the MRI and it would be clean.

A miracle.

I’m so thankful that door number two was the one that opened.

I sent the email to family and friends and Facebook. It’s amazing the support people give. Once again, because of Facebook, it was an amazing day to share great news. I also emailed Donnie and Odile. I’ll email Snuffleuffugus next week when I’m ready for the new batch.

Then I slept on the couch for about an hour. Do I know how to celebrate or what?

I also discussed with Rob going to the Annie Appleseed conference. We went two years ago and it was amazing. The lineup Annie has now for this year?

Huge.

There are people in the cancer world who have gone viral. One is Chris wark. “How Chris Beat Cancer”. He has interviewed many people who have achieved remission. He will be there. I had a God whisper and contacted two other women I’ve come to know who have huge followings. Nalie Augustin and Stephanie Seban. They connected through cancer and have become best friends. They are even writing a book. They also use my herbalist and I had sent them pictures and told them about my meeting. We all messaged back and forth and I’m now trying to connect the dots and find a way to have Nalie fly from Montreal and meet Stephanie at the conference. We four women… Ann, Stephanie, Nalie and myself can all be with him in one place. Nalie has over sixty one thousand followers, and by spreading Ann’s Appleseed foundation, so many more people can be helped.

Fortuitous intersections and placing people in each other’s paths.

I’m praying it all comes together.

I had dinner with the kids and then tackled organizing all of my supplements. It’s overwhelming. This morning I’ll finish filling all of the ziplock bags.

I slept on and off last night. In my groups they say insomnia hits with these medications. I’ll have to work at sleeping better.

I woke up to the news that another friend I’ve made has passed. Sarah Day, thank you for your friendship and love. I’ll miss you.

I’m tired of friends passing away. I’ve now lost count…. yet each one is a mark on my heart.

Today we may try to see a movie. I was supposed to spend the day getting injections at the hospital. Because I emailed and my oncologist is a rock star and knows how mentally draining it can be to visit, she got me everything I needed Wednesday .

I cant believe it’s Friday. My vacation wasn’t much of a vacation, so I’m hoping to salvage it.

Nothing will change for me because of the news yesterday, other than the feeling of fear. I almost emailed the Boston doctor and wrote,”Dubious plan, my ass! Suck it!”

But I didnt.

My oncologist feels it was the tamoxifen, but we added the tamoxifen for the breast, not the liver.

I think it was the celery juice every morning, the hardcore sticking to the pills regime, the meditation, the reconnective energy work with Jennifer Williamson, the energy healing with Odile, the juicing from paula, the organic food, the fasting, the prayer, setting boundaries emotionally, a bit of the tamoxifen, faith in my oncologist and team, Rob holding me up, and Mary and Jesus and God and angels and prayers.

I’ll keep doing it all.

I realized it was my nanny’s birthday when I got the big news. Big things in this journey always happen on holidays or birthdays.

Thank you, Nanny.

I really needed to end the year on a good note. It’s been a while since I had a good scan.

Today may healing continue and the path be easy.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Hospital, Injections, and my Herbalist… oh my!

My Christmas was not at all what I had expected. I was up up all Christmas Eve night with pain and some bleeding. I still managed to get in a quick Christmas snuggle with my three kids and continue our tradition.

Christmas morning I met a friend who was able to test my urine and I had a raging infection. We spent the morning on the phone with the oncologist on call. He checked for an antibiotic that I could take, then we threw the kids in the car in their pajamas and drive forty five minutes away to get the medication.

Then, we got news a stomach bug hit my sisters house, where we were supposed to go. I felt horrible for her and her husband. They had been preparing for days to make it a special Christmas. Instead, we needed up hosting and had a small Christmas here with my mom and dad, my sisters mother in law, au pair from Germany and two of my nieces. It needed up being lovely and calm and peaceful.

The next day I went to the hospital for the MRI. What a way to spend the day after Christmas.

On the way to the hospital I told rob, dad, paula, and sister jill that I thought my doctor would admit me. The pain in the liver was scary, it hurt to bend, and I had the doctors voice from Boston in my head…”Your liver may function now, but it can go very quickly.” Cried on the way in and rob held my hand.

At least I made through Christmas.

That’s how the mind works.

Which is why people with stage four are emotionally exhausted and mentally all…of…the…time.

I prayed to God and He showed up.

My technician Wayne came for me immediately and we picked up our conversation where we left off six weeks ago. The MRI was about 45 minutes, and I listened to Christmas music among the banging and whizzing and beeping. The contrast burned as it went in at the end and I did my best to not cry and move in the tube.

When I finished I had to go get another needlestick for labwork. We had kept the IV in from the MRI hoping to avoid another needle, but couldn’t use it. The tech was new but kind, and as I became overwhelmed and cried because they didn’t have a vein finder, she cried too. And got it in one stick.

Then we got news that my doctor got my email and ordered all of the injections, saving me a trip tomorrow back to the hospital. So off I went to pull down my pants and bend over and two nurses slowly inject the fassy in the assy. I got two warm packs, sat down, pulled my pants low again and got the zolodex. My belly skin gets pinched, the needle is inserted, the trigger gets pulled and coils release a pellet into my stomach. It hurts like hell.

Then the blood tech realized she missed a test, but the IV was still in, and one of my chemo nurses was able to get blood from it. Thank you Jesus.

I was handed a cup and off I went to give another specimen.

Then we left.

I hadnt eaten so we went to the cheesecake factory for breakfast. I had eggs and spinach and mushrooms. When I went to do the mouthwash in the bathroom, I got sick. Panic set in again, with the mind saying, “vomiting is next with liver failure after pain….”

Paula sent me a picture of an angel, and we both gasped. It looks like the other angel pictures I have. I believe in angels around me. It is comforting.

Rob had gotten the car, and when I got in and told him I had gotten sick, he went right into Rob mode. Reminded me the labwork shows liver function is fine, get the Boston doctor out of my head. I think I got sick because of stress and pain. My body just released everything, and I was empty for Snuffleuffugus.

Snuffy called me and asked me to come to his apartment to get him, as his computer and printer are broken as could we bring him to get it fixed.

We pulled up and rob helped him carry his things to the car. I love Snuffy. We went to the diner and they all know him, as he just walks to a table and sets up shop. We got right to business and he took my pulse the traditional Chinese medicine way. He closed his eyes and said my stamina was low. Imagine if it was high?

He looked at my tongue, skin, eyes, breathing, voice, urged me to keep drinking water, and made me eat. I had lentil soup.

He looked over everything. One thing he pointed out was a specific number from the original biopsy that was high, and how it is different on the liver. It’s a question to ask doctor now. He also said he wasn’t worried the pain now is from liver failure. He thinks his tea and the medicine are causing the liver pain. I’ll go with healing over failure any day.

We discussed how he helps many of my friends. In the cancer world, there are people now making a living off of blogging and documenting their lives, writing books. I’m talking thousand of followers. Two of them use him, and he said he doesn’t take many patients anymore, because they all weigh so heavy on his heart. I messaged the two “famous” women to let them know I met him and he loves them. We have a secret snuffy society. Some of you reading know him, and love him too.

He said it’s better there are many small mets instead of a few big tumors. It’s easier to treat. He will add things to ease anxiety and help me sleep, and strengthen stamina. He said my chi is strong. When the organ is strong, cancer won’t spread. That’s the universal truth. I was showing him a picture of my children when paula texted me one word…”amen”.

He saw that and asked what it meant. I told him I had updated her, and that many of my friend pray for me.

That’s when it happened.

He looked at me and told me his wife is a violin teacher, and one time played in Portugal… for the celebration of Fatima.

I gasped and looked at rob and started to cry. He told us his wife saw the Virgin Mary and there was a picture of her that was taken and sent to the bishop. He verified it.

Now his wife prays to Mary three times a day… and is a Buddhist. He told me it is ok to pray to Mary too, she will hear me. Even God needed Mary to complete his work of sending Jesus down.

We stayed for two hours because we could tell he didn’t want to leave. He is lonely, and all of his family is in Hong Kong. He misses them deeply. We drove to staples and rob and I carried in his computer. The girl that worked there initially was aggravated with him, as he is hard to understand due to a stroke and his accent. I wanted to say “Dont you know who he is? He is saving lives! Be gentle!”

He walked away for a minute, and she turned to us and asked how she could help us. We both looked at her and said, “We are with him. He is our friend and we are making sure everything is ok.”

Her demeanor instantly changed toward snuff and became kind and gentle. Amen.

Rob said he wanted to just buy him a new computer and printer. Snuffy doesn’t charge much at all considering what I am paying others. He is a humble man, and lives a very modest life. This is his passion and gift. A true healer.

As we left him, he told me again he has confidence I will be ok. It will be a long journey, always keep bags packed, and it will be bumpy. Keep praying and work with him. Then he hugged me. I said over and over in his ear how I loved him. He said goodbye to rob and gave him a thumbs up.

Then he shuffled away.

We drove home mostly silent.

It had been a day.

Then my friend paula texted me how they discovered carbon monoxide in her home and the fireman said she was almost the story you hear about on the news . She had been falling asleep earlier and her dogs had been bothering her for days. They knew. Thank you God for saving Paula. All of you need to check your CO2 detectors for the new year.

So here I am today.

Sore, exhausted yet can’t sleep, and got an email to start the chemo again.

I plan on mostly staying home unless I run out for something. Yesterday was a hell of a day.

Today will be a healing day.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Christmas Eve 2018

It’s Christmas Eve.

It feels like only yesterday it was Thanksgiving and we were scrambling to get paperwork together to go to Boston. That trip sucked all of my hope out for weeks. In a way it’s a good thing it was the Christmas season so I was surrounded by the story of love.

Yesterday my kids had the Christmas pageant at church and we even had a real baby Jesus. I have always loved the story of his birth, and hoped seeing the pageant would help me get the spirit. I loved seeing my kids in it, but it didn’t.

Maddie was invited to a friends house, and Morgan and quinn went to another. That gave rob and I enough time to wrap their gifts. There’s not a lot. But they’ll be happy.

They’ve still got me, and two years ago we thought it was my last Christmas. I’ll slap a bow on me tomorrow morning with a forty year warranty.

Morgan never had a birthday party with friends, and with this upcoming week being busy with MRI and injections and such, I told her she could invite a few friends over for a sleepover. So I found myself last night making chocolate chip cookies, Oreo truffles, fudge, and peanut butter kids drop cookies. I finally cleaned up the kitchen and got the girls all tucked in and lights out at 10:30.

Now?

The tamoxifen has me up, heart racing and sweating.

Today I’ll get the girls bagels, then do last minute running around. Robs parents said they will stop by for a quick Christmas Eve dinner so I’m getting what I need.

I think we may go to robs church tonight. I’m hoping hearing the Christmas story on Christmas Eve will bring me the spirit.

I find myself drawn more and more to Mary. I bet she didn’t feel the Christmas spirit either on that first Christmas Eve. She was a teenager who just traveled with her husband, a Virgin pregnant with a baby who she was told would be the Savior.

The King of Kings.

But this king didn’t come with all you would think. No servants to fetch her water or rub her feet or swollen ankles. No caravan to bring her to Bethlehem. Not even a room with a view when it was time to deliver.

She labored, pushed, and probably missed her mom. All she had was her husband, and even he wanted to leave her at first until the angel came to him as well.

Mary didn’t have it easy.

Sure, she lived to see Jesus perform miracles. Raising the dead, restoring sight, healing all sorts of afflictions.

That’s my son! I’m so proud.” I wonder how often she thought that.

We know eventually what happened to that baby, and how his mother had to watch him years after that night in the stable come to be tortured, crucified and die on the cross.

Watching your child die is a pain no one should ever suffer.

Yes, she saw him rise from the dead, but pain, sorrow and grief must have washed over her like a tidal wave for those three days.

The trials of Mary were great.

Her faith was greater.

Rob and I stopped in an antique shop yesterday. I saw an old cracked, dirty religious statue of Mary, holding an orb, which the man said was the Earth.

It was from the early 1900’s, and the moment I saw it I cried. Rob bought it for me as my Christmas gift. I held it like a baby and was filled with love. There were a bunch of elephant statues all over the store, and the man looked at me and gave me a golden elephant. I cried again, and told him how elephants have a P53 mutations and don’t get cancer.

The treasures you find in other peoples trash.

Maybe tonight as rob and I take our children to the church we were married in will be when I get the Christmas spirit. But perhaps I’ve missed the real reason why this time doesn’t feel different.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had the spirit all along.

Just like Dorothy from the wizard of Oz, when Glinda tells her she always had the power to click her heels three times and say “There’s no place like home.”

Perhaps it doesn’t feel different because some people need the season to remember the reason, and I’ve got the reason in my heart every day, no matter the season.

Today may everyone take a moment to read the Christmas story. Take out your bible or google it. Read it to your kids. Not a Santa story of how Santa comes down the chimney, but the story of Jesus, and how love came down from heaven at Christmas. How a teenage girl believed, and her husband soon followed, and together they welcome love into a stable, surrounded by animals. How the heavens opened up and angels sang, and shepherds saw them. How three wise men came bearing gifts and worshiped a little babe.

And how that one birthday is still celebrated all over the world. In a time when there were no cameras, no internet, no GPS, no Alexa or Siri, no social media… a birth of a baby in a stable went viral.

Amazing.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone.

I am healed.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

“No anguish I have had to bear on your account has been too heavy a price to pay for the new life into which I have entered in loving you.”

― George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”- Khalil Gibrand from The Prophet

“One word

Frees us of all the weight and pain of life:

That word is love.”

― Sophocles

Luke 2:1-20

1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

[2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

[3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

[4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

[5] To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

[6] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

[7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

[8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

[9] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

[10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

[11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

[12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

[14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

[15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

[16] And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

[17] And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

[18] And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

[19] But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

[20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Xoxo

Keri

Merry Monster

It’s been a while. I know.

So here is the update.

The CARIS testing came back and we met with my doctor Friday, as well as with Donnie Yance. We had a firm solid plan and we all felt confident and on the same page. I started tamoxifen to try and shut down the estrogen, fulvestrant to also address estrogen, and everolimus to address some mutation. I’ve got mouthwash to swish four times a day so I don’t het mouth sores.

Then the doctor from Boston called and said it was a dubious plan, and won’t work, and don’t waste time on it.

That single phone call sent me back into the dark place again.

Don’t ever tell words don’t have power.

So now it’s been days of no sleep and crying and emails and calls and praying all during the week before Christmas while teaching kindergarten and activities galore.

Yesterday I had parents in and had stations, all on about four hours of sleep, six total since Sunday.

Here is today’s Facebook post.

Thanks for checking in.

I’m still here.

At 3:30 I thought to myself, “Whew. Craft day is done. Success. My doctor was firm in the last email we stay the course and now have one more option should we need it. I’m off to Morgan’s volleyball game!”

Then I got my labwork. The tumor markers are creeping up again. I was single digit my last chemo session, and now it doubled. I quick researched my FSH and estrodial levels hormone values, and thank God I was next to my friend Amy who knows which numbers are liver panels. Those looked ok.

The MRI still hasn’t been approved by insurance so it’s tentatively scheduled for January 2. I really wanted it before the new year so i could close out this year with this whole issue done and start fresh.

Tabula rasa, blank slate.

Then I got Donnies thoughts and felt better. Both brilliant minds used almost same terms in sticking with a proven therapy over an unproven one.

Then?

The phone rang and the Boston doctor called. She immediately apologized to rob for upsetting me. I cant listen to her voice anymore. She has the sweetest tone, and hearing your death approaching in a sweet voice doesn’t make it any easier. She said my doctor agreed to change my course and stop tamoxifen. That was totally news to us.

She said again there are things coming out all the time and down the pike, and if I end up in her hospital someday, she would be more than happy to set me up with someone else if I am not willing to see her again.

I’ll see her in forty years.

So another sleepless night. Is tamoxifen stopping?

My doctor sent me an email stating she spoke to the Boston doctor, she seems very nice, she was fine with the plan, even had some future options, and also thinks we should stay with the MTor inhibitor until we see if it is working. What the heck?

So once again I was up all night, emailing questions.

That leaves me with about four hours of sleep, jus enough so I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed for a trip to the high school I’ve organized for the entire kindergarten called “Merry Monsters”.

We created monsters, sent them to the high school, art classes sewed them to life, and today the chamber orchestra will play holiday songs as we receive the merry monster gift.

Remember the book, “Where the Wild Things Are?”

I feel like Max. I want to go to my room and sail away, have a wild rumpus, and forget about everything for a while.

(Although, I’ve often wondered about his mom. While he is off having this wild adventure, she is probably wringing her hands questioning her actions and words.)

I want to sail away and have a big glass of wine, (I cant because the interaction with the mouthswish is horrific), eat

cookies and cake, dance, even roar and gnash my teeth.

Be the King of all wild things and no cares in the world. See my crown? I’m the daughter of a king. Let me straighten it a bit.

I cant stay on the island.

My sail goes back up and back adrift, in uncertain seas that have been throwing me around for two years, and I’ve been in a storm for weeks.

I want to take a break.

But I can’t. That’s not how stage four works.

I’m not max. I’m the mom, wringing her hands and questioning if every step she takes and word she says is the right one.

Do you believe in angels?

I do, because I’m surrounded by them.

One angels name is Paula. She brought me warm food called falafel for lunch and fresh juices because she knows I’m not sleeping and barely hanging on here. She ordered me special miso soup too, non gmo and organic.

Another is Ali Katz, who texted me last night and made me a vegan chili.

Another is my sister Jill, who is my opposite but loves me

Fiercely and can make me laugh with a single meme.

My friend amy who tells me in an auditorium things I need to hear about believing my intuition and looking at labs in a gym.

My brothers who keep texting me.

My friends at work who hug me.

My co-teacher Penny who I know I can make nuts and pulls together everything I need for a craft day effortlessly.

Donnie and his assistant erin, who released a blog about God.

My maggie, who sat and stuffed sock snowmen with me and sent me pictures of miso soup.

Angels.

This is a season of miracles. I keep finding people who believe in Hope, deal in faith and walk in love.

I keep praying to God to take this away.

Jesus, heal me.

You can do anything! If you love me, you’ll do it.

Instead, they’ve given me more.

More grace.

Grace doesn’t mean everything will be easy. It’s a net that God throws to us when we are in the storm, frantically bailing out water.

It catches things, shields us, scoops us up when we fall. He is grace and mercy and the net.

God lives in spirit. His promise is always there. Like the stars in the sky.

The stars are still there, even when you can’t see them.

So I continue to believe.

Believe anything can happen.

Believe that when I see madame Swoosh today for the third time this trip, a miracle happens.

Keep working on letting go of anger and forgiveness. Anger is like playing hot potato with a broken heart. I’m done passing the hot potato and not playing anymore. I’m forgiving the doctor from Boston but not going to play with her anymore…at least for a long time.

Today I pray for a safe trip for our kinders, the high school students enjoy the magic and remember the feeling of the season they had when they were five, I get a final answer on my treatment and an mri scheduled sooner, and Madame Swoosh gives me energy so I can sleep tonight.

Jesus. Take it away.

Take it away.

Take it away.

I am healed

Let the wild rumpus begin.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri