“Mom, are you stage 1 or stage 2?”

This popped up in my Facebook memory feed today. I remember this car conversation like it was yesterday.

Here’s to all the moms in all the stages, especially my fellow stage four thrivers.

“Mom, are you stage 1 or stage 2?”

Yup.

Maddie just asked me that in the car. Apparently she had been googling.

We were talking about mindset, and how high school may be more challenging, but mindset will help her get through it. Just like when I drink my magic Chinese potion. I don’t think of how much I gag and how gross it is, but instead think of how it is curing me.

Then she asked me.

“Mom, are you stage 1 or stage 2?”

Took my breath away. I kind of thought we discussed it, but I guess we glazed over it.

I didn’t know what to say. I gripped the steering wheel, then took a deep breath.

I told her the truth.

I said, “Maddie, I’m what they call stage four.”

I knew from her expression she knew what the internet says. How the internet takes away all hope.

But then I kept talking…

“But mindset, Maddie! Some women hear that and go home and wait to die. Not me! That’s not my story. That’s not OUR story. That’s why I’m always researching and putting on oils, taking detox baths, eating organic, going to the reiki class. I’ve spoken to women like me and they have been alive for years! I’m cured Maddie. I’m going to live. Do you believe that?”

She said yes. Then said she thinks eating organic is what everyone needs to do.

At that moment, my brother Rob texted me “I am stronger than I think I am.”

Then Madison spoke about paintball, got out of the car, and went to confirmation class at church.

Me?

After I walked her in, I sobbed on the side of the road in my car and texted my husband at work so he knows she knows.

Then I called my brother rob.

Couldn’t breathe, sobbed, and he just let me cry until he could calm me down.

Dried off my tears, went back home and made Quinn organic cereal breakfast.

I hate she even googled it.

I don’t know if I handled it ok.

I think she is OK.

But I plan on sticking around for years and years and years to make sure she is ok.

This is hard.

(I picked a hell of a week to go off my Zoloft anxiety meds they put me on when I was diagnosed.)

Today I feel pain and sadness deeply.

No more numbness from the Zoloft taking it away.

But I will go out and find Joy in life, just as Dr Snuffleuffugus told me to do.

Sometimes I wish we could go back to when we didn’t think about stages, planned surprise vacations (even though they never happened).

We will work to find joy every day.

And the only stages Maddie will have to think about are stages of life.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Reiki reiki RA RA raaaa!

Here is last year’s post.

A throwback…

“Reiki, Reiki, Ra Ra Raaa!”

Yesterday was a hard day. I sat in meetings all day and discussed ways to help children. There are a lot of people who have no idea about how hard some children’s lives are.

My heart broke for some of them. Life is hard and unfair sometimes… and downright awful for six and seven and eight and nine year olds.

There are also a lot of my friends in pain. Emotional and physical. We need more kindness. I sent out my care bear light and love healing light all day and night.

I went to the school laser light show.

I let Quinn hang out with friends, morgan helped at the snack table, and I sat in the back with the PTO board. These women work so hard, and are so unappreciated.

(I did have one feel my boob in the back of the cafeteria to let her see what a tumor feels like. I hope the cameras don’t pick that touching moment up.)

Last night I shivered all night.

I just could not get warm.

So today…

I am going to a Reiki level One Certification class. Sandy is coming with me. For two saturdays, we will learn how to lay hands and send healing energy, as well as send energy to others.

I originally signed up for me.

I plan on laying hands on myself as much as I can.

But this morning I realized I will send energy to others.

To the children in my building and town and nation and world, who have lives that need as much love and light and healing as possible.

To my friends, who carry burdens that at times seem too heavy to bear.

To people who volunteer time and are unappreciated, yet do it anyway.

To my doctors and Dr Snuffleuffugus, that they continue to heal me and be lead by God’s hands.

So if any of you feel warmth from 1-5 p.m. today, don’t worry.

It’s just me in the Giving Room, sending you my Reiki Care Bear light and love.

xoxo

Keri

Teaching Others, Unexpected Days, and How to Apologize.

I spent the last week sharing my flu shot. I had another teacher ask me about The Giving Room, and I also told my nurse about it. I shared extra flu shot with her, as her Room is a literal hot bed Petri dish.

Listen, if your kid has a fever, don’t give them Tylenol, then send them to school and pray it doesn’t wear off until school ends. And follow the 24 hour fever free rule. If your kid’s fever breaks at 3:00 pm and wakes up the next day without a fever, guess what? That’s NOT 24 hours. Schools have children and teachers and kids with family members with compromised immense systems. It’s not just about your child.

Rant over.

Anyhooooo…

I told both teachers I had too much going on and just couldn’t make the Giving Room this weekend.

I woke up yesterday so sore I told Rob I wanted to stay in bed all day. He told me to do just that, but I knew if I did that, my mind would tell my body it was sick.

So I got up.

Then I heard the whisper to not only go to the Giving Room, but to bring others. I texted one friend and she couldn’t go, then I texted the teacher.

She could.

I told Paula I was coming.

Once again, the Giving Room was amazing. Paula gave a master class on juicing and brain health and gut health and holy moly is that woman a blessing to everyone she meets.

I told Paula about how I had been sharing my flu shot with the nurse.

Ten minutes later?

My school nurse walked in the Giving Room for the very first time.

My other friend was shocked, and Paula just smiled. That happens all the time with me when I go there.

My friends experienced the full vibe and said it was like she was in a vortex of happiness and love.

We finished, I showed her Good Food in Mattituck and Lucia came out and hugged me. They make great soups.

We said goodbye then I had to run and get Maddie. Then I had to drive Quinn to a birthday party.

I spent two hours talking with an old friend that I don’t ever see. We talked and then walked outside for fresh air. We talked about everything, and life.

We talked about apologies, and how if you apologize and add the word “but…”, it’s no longer an apology.

It’s an excuse.

We talked about happiness suckers. Friends are people who are happy for you when good things happen, not people who say, “Must be nice”.

We talked about boundaries.

Setting boundaries for our kids, even when it’s hard.

Setting boundaries with friends.

Setting boundaries with family.

Setting boundaries within ourselves.

The power of forgiving others, and more importantly, ourselves.

Going to church.

Finding a church if you don’t have one that all of your family feels comfortable going to worship.

Man, it was a good walk and talk.

I haven’t been to a girls night out in a long time. Maybe everyone’s busy, maybe it’s because I dont really drink anymore, maybe it’s because no one wants to hang out with a girl who reminds you that life is short.

That’s ok.

I’ve learned that instead of “girls night out”, I love “family night in” just as much.

But spending time with friends, laughing and crying and walking in the dark and just being yourself… that can be healing, even in a parking lot during a gymnastics party.

I came home, Rob made a nice warm soft dinner for my jaw, and I felt peace. Kasha the wonder dog stayed by my side, as she probably knew the rain was coming which makes my bones feel older.

We are off today, on this rainy achey bone day, to see Maddie run in her last league track meet. She’s had a banner weekend.

The Navy ball, third chair in the best of the best from all the school orchestra, and now a meet.

Morgan’s bedroom is finally finished and she is sleeping on her unicorn bedsheets.

Quinn’s been working on his pinewood derby car with his dad.

Life is good.

No church today, but that’s ok. I’ve got Jesus in my heart.

My cowboy is singing to Eric Church, and we are happy.

My bones may be aching, but my heart is full.

Today may we all realize our burdens aren’t as bad we tell ourselves, and our blessings are bigger than we think.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Make the Memories

The past week I’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of different people about how short life is.

Some of us end up having that fact smack us in the face, then spend all of our time trying to prove that saying false.

Some unfortunately never get the chance.

I made a choice to always try and make memories and magic over the regular and day to day.

Hence…

Instead of “Pajama Day”, we did “Pirate Day”.

I dressed to the nines with what I had in my closet. When I came downstairs, Rob just looked at me and shook his head. Quinn said, “Looks like you’re really going all out pirate today, huh mom?”

We hung a sign outside the door so as soon as the kids arrived, they knew it was a special day. We wrote “How to be a Pirate” books. We got maps from the Great Pirate who sent us on a treasure hunt around the school. We marched with our red solo cup hook hands, eye patches covering our eyes,

Pirate hats on our heads, a stuffed parrot clipped to my shoulder, flag holders waving our pirate flag, and growled “AAAAARGH! Shiver me timbers!” to anyone who got in our way as we searched to fill up our pirate booty bags and plunder the treasure. They got a real metal key to remind them to always look for treasure, a mini treasure box to remind them that no matter how small, kindness is the greatest treasure of all, gold coins and gems, and a Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie book each, because filling our minds and reading books is better than gold!

Then we had ice cream sundaes and played Musical chairs to pirate music.

We made memories yesterday.

They may not remember the math lessons, the writing craft moves, the reading tools, but they’ll remember how they FELT yesterday.

That’s more important to me.

I ran into my sister quick, and took a selfie. I love that she gets me and lets me take selfies with her.

My mom showed up and refused to be in my selfies.

I’ll get one, eventually.

Then we went in to the salon to get Madison’s hair done. I love Gabriel Loren Salon. Raquel and Ashley and Alex are like our fairy godmothers. They always make us look great and feel better. We brought Madison’s dress there because we wanted them to see Madison all finished.

Raquel told me that as Madison came out, Quinn said to Raquel…”When she comes out, I may need a moment.”

They love their sister.

The picture shows it all where they all stood together.

We went to robs office, showed Tyler and Marisa, and Rob told Maddie he was speechless.

I’m glad Rob can look intimidating, because I want boys to know that Madison is something special, and her father is going to make sure they all know it.

I’ll also show the boys how I have a little Liam Nesson in me.

Madison was so out of her comfort zone. Her track coach was there and said he never saw Madison in a dress before.

I said me either.

I’m proud that she took a deep breath, stood up straight, and said, “Here we go…” as we walked into the ball.

I’m proud that she didn’t act embarrassed when I walked in with her and then picked her up early so I could get some pictures. She even let me kiss her goodbye in front of people.

Some kids act embarrassed of their parents around their friends. That makes me so sad. I’m glad Madison didn’t do that to me.

Even though I looked like a haggard Pirate.

(Don’t worry, I took off the eye patch and hook when I walked her into the dance).

We took the kids to dinner and I met a Facebook friend for the first time since we connected on Facebook. We talked a lot and it was nice.

Then the four of us had dinner. We were at a restaurant where my dad and brothers go every Wednesday. I took a selfie with “their” waitress and sent it to the three of them. I told them that she now loves me more, and instead of being their waitress, she will now go drink juices with me on Wednesday’s because she has switched to Team Keri.

We love to torture each other through text.

I love my crazy family.

It’s my brother Rob’s birthday today.

He hates social media. So no long post about how much I love him, how his texts every single day to me last year that said, “I’m stronger than I think I am” helped me get through each day, how the Haka he sent me helped my get through the first few injections, how he was a hero in September 11, and how I’m so glad God gave him to our family.

(See what I did there?)

I’ve decided I’m grabbing every moment I can. Nothing is promised to us.

All we have is now.

Take the pictures.

Take the selfies.

Make the memories.

Today Madison has HMEA, which is an orchestra that they select kids to be a part of from all over the Hamptons. Morgan has dance. Quinn has a party.

Lots of memories to be made today.

I’m tired.

My jaw still hurts.

My body aches.

But my heart is full.

Go make memories today.

May we all do something that will stay with us forever, and take a picture for us to look at. Let’s share in each other’s happiness.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

“ENOUGH!!!”

Did you know there were 11 school shootings in the first 23 days of 2018?

No?

Probably because we’ve gotten used to the news of angry, depressed, mentally ill teens getting hold of guns and shooting other kids.

It’s not a gun issue, people.

It’s a social issue.

What about suicide rates?

What’s going on with our kids?

Are we talking to our kids?

Are we talking enough?

Do you talk to your kids when you drive or are they on their phones, snapping and texting other teens?

Why did you let your child get a social media account when they were in fifth, sixth grade? Because everyone else was and you didn’t want your kid to feel left out?

Wait until that excuse is said right back to you when they say, “But mom, everyone else is vaping/smoking/doing drugs/partying/drinking….”

Instead of dealing with other issues, administrators in our schools are dealing with crap that happens in cyberspace… after hours as during school hours.

Guess what?

You let your kids have an account, you’re an accomplice. There’s such a thing as passive aggressive, and kids have been known to post pictures of groups of kids and state how much fun they have with these people, just to hurt people that aren’t in the picture. (As a matter of fact, some adults do that too.)

How many kids would be ok with you taking their social media accounts away?

If they throw a fit, you’ve probably got an addict on your hand.

Their brains and neurons are still forming. We’ve got five year olds who have been raised in front of iPads, that don’t know how to hold eye contact, have conversations, or take turns playing. App creators and social media billionaires admit they purposely made these things easy to use, consulted psychologists, and made them addicting.

Know what it does to your kids when they get more likes and followers? It’s a similar affect in their brain as a drug.

Know what happens when they don’t get likes? They get depressed and questions themselves.

Homes used to be safe havens. Safe zones. Now the bullying follows them to bed. Kids sleep with their phones.

Blue light technology screws up their sleep patterns.

Science, people.

Stop raising entitled kids.

Morgan asked me when she could go get her nails done like other kids. I had a whole conversation about needs and wants, inner beauty and outer beauty, and oh my God, are you really pouting over your nails when your mother was told she would be dead in a year and is still here???

Teach your children to count their blessings, not their “likes and followers”.

You know what?

I dont care if I get one freaking like.

I’ve said my peace.

If this post made you uncomfortable or angry, maybe you should look at your own kid’s social media accounts.

Chances are your kid is the one who is addicted.

Today I’m off to go throw the biggest pirate party ever. Instead of pajamas, I bought eye patches, pirate hats, jewels, pirate maps, and Elephant and Piggie books for the kids. I’m trying to raise children who will discover working together, playing, and using their imaginations can be fun before the social media and peer pressure sucks them all in.

My kids don’t have a single social media account. My kids come home, do homework, talk to me, play board games, and watch tv at 8:00 for the superhero shows.

I’m not special.

I’m being a mom.

Setting boundaries.

Today, I am praying for all of today’s youth, navigating a world without boundaries, that can be mean and cruel and scary and cause problems and make kids more depressed and anxious and sleep deprived.

May they all put down their phones, disconnect from social media and connect with real life.

Because man, this world is beautiful if you look up from your phone.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Grit, Guards, Invisibility Cloak and the Lions.

I went to the dentist. It’s hard to tell if I have the beginning of osteonecrosis of the jaw. She actually said the same thing my Chinese herbalist said about the drug. It fills in the bone sometimes so quickly, which can cause the bone to die.

Which is so ironic, as I am doing everything I can to keep everything in my body alive. The only thing allowed to die the last year was the cancer.

I’m keeping everything else alive and with me…(except the appendix, which I will always be grateful for because it showed them how my body can fully heal.)

I refuse all radiation and X-rays due to some crazy thing they’ve told me I also have that should I get X-rays, pop! Pop! Pop! More cancer will grow.

No questions please.

Thanks.

So, we discussed applying heat and ice, and we put plaster molds in my mouth for a guard. I’ve got so much grit I’m apparently also gritting my teeth.

I mean, it’s not like I have anything to stress about.

I was messaging with a friend at 5:30 am, and I wrote to her about these hard times we are both apparently in.

There is a speech that was given about being gladiators in the arena by President Roosevelt.

It’s me.

I’m in this arena.

I was thrown into this arena with nothing. I was walking about, living my life, then BOOM!

I’m in this arena with lions circling me.

Cancer has different arenas.

I skipped over the other stage arenas where you get a little bitten off but get let out.

Not me.

I’m in the arena where you never get out.

So now I have to be cunning.

Sometimes the lions just circle me.

Those are the dark days.

Sometimes I stroke the lions and they lay quiet and I sing them songs of the lessons they’ve taught me while trying to eat me.

Sometimes they pounce and hold me down and take a bite or two.

The difference now is that the bloodthirsty crowd is on my side.

“Kill the Lions!!!”

Call me Spartacus.

I’ve received something that helps me when I need to go to my corner to catch my breath.

When I need to feel strong when I’m tired.

That helps me bring out my courage when I am afraid.

Jesus.

If you look at the history of the arena and wild animals, I believe that Christians were the ones thrown in the arena.

I’ve got Jesus in the arena with me.

I cover myself with him.

Kind of like the Harry Potter invisibility cloak.

The lions can’t see me.

Then I get a brown box delivered to my door with potions made from recipes that have been handed down for generations from a country across the world that helps my body stay strong.

And I live to fight another day in the arena.

Somewhere there is a scientist working hard on a medicine that will someday slay all the lions, or at least tame them.

I’ve got to keep fighting until they do.

With my invisibility cloak wrapped around me like my faith, and Jesus in the ring holding my hand.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

“A Poem”

Good morning.

I’m tired.

I snapped at my kids last night. Constant jaw pain, not eating, aches bones, dealing with people who underestimate my tenacity, and trying not to grab my face mask every time I see people cough while the news blares warnings about the flu…

I’m tired.

I’m standing up to people because of something that’s bigger than what it appears to be.

I tend to stand up a lot.

I’m tired.

I’m going to the dentist today and am envisioning hearing that I’m just clenching my jaw and it’s not osteonecrosis from whatever medicine they give me to stop cancer from going to the bones…

Which works because it apparently causes your bones to disintegrate.

Sorry, nothing left here, bones are dead, move along, there’s a nice organ somewhere nearby.

I’m tired.

Teachers work hard.

Longer hours than you think.

Then add in a faculty meeting.

I’m tired.

I didnt go to sleep with a meditation playing. Instead I found a channel with a preacher quoting the Bible and how much Jesus loves me.

I wanted the word to fill my head as I fell asleep… and woke up…. and fell asleep… and woke up…and fell asleep… and woke up.

I’m tired.

The rain and cold are hurting my bones, and I need a vacation somewhere warm where my feet won’t get numb when I put them in the water to pray.

I’m tired.

But I ‘ll hug my children this morning and apologize. I’ll go to the meeting and then sing silly songs and teach children how to be superheroes and open their toolbox in their mind and THINK! I’ll come home and catch up on laundry and cleaning and go food shopping and get myself some soups.

I’m tired.

But I’m here.

I’m holding on.

Tough times don’t last.

Tough people do.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri