“Round 14 and Footprints”

It was a quiet Sunday.

We went to church and something in the sermon struck me. Pastor spoke of how immediately after Jesus was baptized, He had the heavens open and God spoke to Him, then led Him into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil.

I realized three things.

He went immediately.

Didn’t even get to celebrate this amazing thing. “Hey John! Can you believe it! I’m the Son of God! Did you see that?” Nope. He went immediately into the wilderness.

When He was there, we all know He fought the devil. But He wasn’t alone. God was with Him, and angels ministered to Him.

Why forty days?

I guess that’s the length of time that God figures is a good amount for a test. Noah was on the ark for forty days and forty nights, and Jesus walked the Earth for forty days after Easter.

Forty days is a testing time. A time of trouble, where you lean on Him.

I also heard of Abraham, who was told to go kill his son. He went immediately. All things are second to God.

I don’t know how he did that. I struggle with that part.

But in the end, God said, “Wait! Psych! Just testing you…”

I bet Abraham breathed a huge sigh of relief.

He was told all of his descendants would number the stars in the sky.

Two men, who lived so long ago, and we still hear their stories.

They left a footprint for all to see.

Pretty amazing stuff.

My kids went with my brother and his wife for a day of nature walks, card games, and a sleepover.

I went to the Giving Room to drop off all of the coolers from the juicenado day earlier in the week. As I left, my sister in laws friend who we had just spoken about in church that morning pulled up into the lot. That always happens when I am there. Paula would tell you.

I went to Good Food and they gave me flowers for my niece. It’s her fifth birthday today. She is my sprite, and makes me laugh. Happy birthday Julia!

I came home and cleaned, got exhausted, and then mustered up the energy to check out the new restaurant in town. It’s lovely, and I hope it makes it.

Today I begin round 14 of chemo. Superpowers activate!

I’ve been up since 3:00 am. I saw a video with Scott Hamilton from some website called “I am second”. It struck me that it fit with Abraham. All things are second to God. Twice I heard that in one day.

Keep Jesus first.

Maybe this waiting period for the PETMRI is my trial. Maybe this whole stage four thing is my trial.

And if I just focus on keeping Jesus first, my life will continue to be blessed and healed.

That’s what I pray for at 3:00 am.

Today my best friend is driving down with her husband and sons. I’m expecting to laugh a lot.

It will be good for my soul, and my cells.

Today, may we all put Jesus first, and remember “I am second.”

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Via Delarosa

“Via Delarosa”

On Friday night my mom was waiting for me at home. I cried a little, bit not too much, because my kids were nearby. I’m good at crying and pulling it together in the next breath.

My mom helped me pull more strength from where I didnt think I had any left.

She told me I just have to keep going.

I told her how tired I was.

First the stage four diagnosis.

Then another horrible thing I’ve been privately dealing with because of some scientist playing God and telling me about how brain cancer and bladder cancer and colon cancer are all waiting in the wings for me.

Then having to undergo surgery because the appendix decided to join the fun.

Three times I’ve fallen and felt like I’ve had enough.

Three times in one year.

It hasn’t been an easy path.

I woke up yesterday and Morgan went to dance class. Pretty quickly after she got there she asked me if she could be a part of the Living water Easter play. Her teacher also told me they want her to be in the “Via Delarosa” dance. I had no clue what that was, but sounded pretty, so I said yes.

I went for a walk on the beach with one of my dear friends and her daughter, who is also my student. We looked for sea glass, and right before we left, I finally found two blue pieces. I got all the kisses from them and felt happy.

I told rob I would get Morgan and drive to pick her up.

In the car is where I do my best crying. I also called another dear friend and told her how tired I was. She told me how Jesus fell three times while carrying the cross, and he kept getting back up.

I didnt remember hearing about that before, but again, I didn’t always pay the closest attention. She is also Catholic, and Lutherans and Catholics have different things we hold close.

I loved the fact she said three times he fell, as I felt like I’ve fallen three times.

I dried my eyes and went in and got Morgan.

Came home and another friend sent me pictures from inside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and prayed right where I prayed at Christmas. There was a spot in the wall I loved.

Then we went to my nieces birthday and I had some great avocado pudding.

I was in bed by 8:30.

I’m up now and going to rush to get to church. I looked up the part about Jesus falling three times.

It’s not mentioned specifically in the scriptures, I think… which is why I have not heard of it, as my church is strictly bible based.

But I read something amazing.

The road Jesus walked on?

It’s called “Via Delarosa”.

The name of the dance I was told Morgan was going to be in on Easter.

That, my friends, is called a God Whisper.

Jesus fell three times carrying the weight of the cross.

Then?

He was nailed to the cross and the cross carried him.

I’ve got to give all my worry and the weight of it to Him.

I can spend the next few weeks struggling and falling under the weight of the worry of the results of the upcoming MRIPET scan, or I can live my life and give it all to Him.

The results will be the same either way.

How I choose to wait for the results is my choice alone.

I will give it to Him.

I’ve been helped along this path I’ve been walking by so many. I still have many helping me.

Today I will give thanks for all who have reached out the past two days with calls and texts and offers to take my children for sleepovers.

My family has been amazing. They’ve been by my side and helping me the last two days.

I’m a lucky girl.

Today may we all stop carrying our burdens and rest on the cross.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Throwback…”Grieving and Rejoicing on the SS Joy”

Last years post…it feels like Groundhog Day.

“Grieving…and Rejoicing… on the S.S. Joy”

Most of my teachers friends will be posting pictures this week of vacation photos and fun getaways. I’ll admit it was hard yesterday hearing of all the fun things that were planned… and WELL-deserved. Then inevitably I would be asked if I had anything planned.

My response?

“Well, I have to have my vision checked Tuesday, Wednesday my brain and skull are being checked for metastasis with a brain scan at stonybrook, and Thursday I am having blood drawn to check if I’m neutropenic from this third round of 21 days straight of chemo. Good times!”

I grieve for the vacations of the past. Oh, we never went anywhere, but I didn’t have to worry about cancer.

I am also grieving for Morgan. I sent her coach a text this week thanking him for his part in the secret swim fundraiser. She was a talented swimmer. All three of my kids swam. They would glide effortlessly in the water, flip and continue to swim lap after lap… just a smooth rhythm. I would sit and watch in awe, as I can only hold my nose and doggie paddle. I made dear friends there, “swim sisters”, and we would talk about our lives, children, and celebrate their accomplishments. Cancer took that from us. It’s just too far to drive, and now that we’ve been out of the routine, I can’t see us getting back into it anytime soon.

There’s a lot of grief that happens with cancer. You grieve for the food and wine you used to drink. You grieve for the carefree days when you never thought about how badly you want to live. You grieve for your children, that now they are known as the kids whose mom has cancer. You grieve for your husband, who hasn’t had his fun and carefree wife in months. You grieve for your parents, who had to sit and hear a doctor say their daughter would die in a year or two. (Screw her… and not gonna happen, mom and dad.)

But here is the rejoice part.

Rejoice means to be “full of joy.”

We are slowly finding our joy again.

Filling up our cups.

Morgan meditated with her social worker yesterday. She told me she had a picnic on a mountaintop. She saw Gigi, my beloved nanny. She said Gigi told her she would see her again, and that she has me in her hands.

I never told morgan about me hearing nanny say, “We’ve got you, doll” during my reiki. I think Nanny and poppa have all of us…along with God.

Morgan is also going to try out a dance class at a local church today. I’ve found her spinning in circles lately. So today, she will go be with friends and dance… and hopefully find her joy again. She hasn’t really wanted to be away from me. It’s time to push her out of the nest a bit to test out her new wings. She won’t swim, but she will fly.

Tonight we will go to my niece Julia’s birthday. Being around my crazy family brings me joy. I’ll tell my family all about the amazing support I’ve gotten this week. The bracelets, the swim team, my school district than ran out of bracelets and had to order more, the school to the east two towns over that collected money for us.

They will make fun of my stamping of feet when I got my shot, then hug me. Julia likes to smack her butt at me. I’ve videotaped me smacking my own ass and sent it to her. Now that the shots were given in my abdomen this week… Julia and I will have a lot of butt slapping going on. (I may even bring my COWBELL.)

So yes, we’ve grieved… and will probably continue to grieve the little things. In order to heal, I need to grieve everything, and then forgive and move on. I’m working on it.

But grief isn’t the tidal wave that is used to be. It will still come…

but instead of the tidal wave that pulls you under and you can’t breathe, it will come in waves, sometimes even little ripples.

I’m now climbing into my lifeboat called the S.S. Joy…. and I’m the captain of this ship. I’ll navigate through the stormy seas with my crew, hold on to each other when we get tossed about, and know that sunny and calm days always follow the storm.

The S.S. Joy.

It will keep us afloat for a long, long time.

Re-joice. Re-joy.

Find the joy again.

Yes, there is cancer in my body… for now.

But I will refill my body with so much joy, there won’t be any room for the cancer anymore. It will either leave my body, or decide to switch teams and join my joy cells.

So this spring break, I’ll be on my own ship, taking on new passengers as I convince my cancer cells to hop out of the big waves into my S.S. Joy. We may not serve alcohol and seven course meals…. but we’ve got filtered water, organic food, dancing, hugging, and ass slapping.

I am cured.

I am cured.

I am cured.

⚓️⛴💃🏼💚❤️👲🏻🍵💨🐲🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏻‍♀️🏊🏻🦄🐺🐯

Coming Back into My Body Now

I went into school dressed as a 100 year old woman for the 100th day of school. The kids all said I looked beautiful. I had sparkly silver shoes with clear plastic heels, glitter gold leggings, a black top, a scarf, and a crown, with pearls and sparkly jewels. My hair was up and had baby powder in it. I explained that I had just won “Glitteriest Grandma”’at the senior center prom. One student asked where my cane was, and I explained I don’t need a cane when I dance.

We marched through the school with our 100th day projects, sang songs, counted to 100, and made a hallway museum.

That was all by 11:30.

Then I dropped them to lunch and headed to the cancer center.

I did run home quick. I wanted to take my herbs, do some wheat grass shots, grab a green juice for the ride, and I decided to change and try to fix my hair. I had a feeling about this appointment.

So here goes.

Ok….my labs stink.

My oncologist has decided to hold off the next round of chemo to give my cells a few extra days to try and regroup. I’m not starting today.

This weekend my body gets two free days to rest.

It starts Monday.

She wants me to stay on the highest level of chemo of 125 mg for at least one more cycle.

Rob ordered it immediately after the appointment and it will be shipped overnight.

I have to go for bloodwork in two weeks to check how my counts are.

We are also scheduling the PET MRI for March.

She said being tired like I am is normal. Listen, I make this look easy.

It’s not.

You know how you feel at the end of a long week?

That’s me… every morning.

We kept talking about bloodwork and the dentist visit I had.

We talked about the next appointment with the oncologist in four weeks and one injection. I’ll get the ginormous one but not the bone one due to possible osteonecrosis. The PETMRI will also include my Brain, and they can check the jaw.

She measured the tumors in the breast. When your oncologist gets out a tape measure two appointments in a row, your heart stops.

Then you ask.

“Has it gotten bigger?”

No, but..

She isn’t happy it hasn’t gotten smaller, and she had hoped by now it would have disappeared.

She mentioned that it’s possible there are dormant cancer cells laying inside the tumors, and wants to check the uptake in the MRIPET.

That’s when you start to write the shitty first draft of the next part of you me story.

You think to yourself, “It has happened. The terrible thing. This is what the terrible thing feels like. I remember from last year”.

I started crying and said I cant believe this is my life.

She stopped staring intently at her screen and looked at me and said, “I know. It’s hard.” Then she went back to looking at all of my former scans and the screen.

Hard is an understatement.

Then?

I left my body. I started to float out of it and there was a buzzing in my ears. I looked at rob. He said, “Don’t go there.”

And I knew I had to find some hope before I left the room.

A glimmer.

I actually took a breathe and came back into my body.

I asked about possibly being ogliometastatic, and she said that could still be true.

I asked if it’s possible for someone to live as an ogliometastatic patient for a long time and die with these tumors having just lived there.

She said yes.

Her goal is to still have me live as a chronic disease patient.

But, she said that there are possibly cancer cells lying dormant in the breast, inside the tumor, encapsulated.

In my mind I thought of a ticking time bomb.

I thought that I have to do all I can to keep the beast in the breast asleep.

Somehow, for the next forty five years, I’ll have to sing lullabies to the beast every second of every day, starve it of the sugar and stress and sleep deprivation it wants, and instead tell it stories of Jesus while I breathe and let it taste all the goodness of organic foods as we breathe in unison while

I sleep.

We finished up with my oncologist and I told her to drink pineapple juice for her cough.

Then I texted my family.

Rob went from desk to desk and made all of my appointments and did the phone calls. I sat on a couch, stared out the window towards the hospital, and had a pity party cry.

The shitty first draft started again.

“See that hospital? That’s where you’re going to end up at the end.”

My family kept texting me and pulling me back.

Rob was positive and tends to hear the good things, so he will keep filling my head with the good things, after i get out the good cries.

He spoke of Jesus and how I am his miracle. How two different mediums said I would live a long life, and had a direct connection to God.

I pray for that every second.

I’m tired.

Still trying to catch my breath this morning from when she took out the tape measure again yesterday.

It’s going to be a long month.

Please pray for another good PETMRI.

I need it.

We went out to get something to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. I get the Mexican salad, no cheesecake.

I looked at all people around us and thought how they are taking their lives for granted.

As if the shooting in Wednesday didn’t make them realize. I was still so sad that instead of bedtime stories I’m talking to Madison about what to do if someone tries to shoot her in school.

It’s been a crushing and exhausting week.

Suddenly I got one of my feelings and knew I had to go next door to the book store. I actually walked around Barnes and Nobles with my hand out in front of bookshelves until my had felt I found the book I was supposed to get.

“Trade your Cares for Calm” by Max Lucado.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

I also got messages other ways.

My e-friend Onyx sent me some hope on a new therapy.

Paula went to the beach to video the sunset.

Rob and I watched it in the middle of a busy restaurant. Everyone had a view of a mall parking lot.

We had a sunset to watch.

Suddenly, there were three seals in the water.

One on one rock, and two on another.

Three seals.

3.

Then we went home, I hugged my kids and tried hard to not cry.

My hero, Ann Fonfa, had an interview released with another hero of mine, Chris Wark.

On the night I needed hope.

It’s an amazing interview.

You should all watch it.

Today is Chinese New Year,

Year of the Dog.

I’ll try to find something appropriate to wear, and try to keep the kids calm before we begin the weeklong break.

My mom and dad told me I’m doing too much and to rest over the break.

I feel like a woman on fire and want to clean and catch up in the housework and make memories with my kids.

I’ll have to find a balance.

Today, may the beast in breast continue to sleep.

Onward.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

One year ago on the 100th Day…

Throwback post on the way to my oncologist appointment.

“100 Days”

Today is the 100th day of school. It was supposed to be Monday, but you know…

Snow.

Myself and the rest of my 26 kinders will dress up like we are 100 years old.

Oh, I will be quite a sight.

100 school days ago I was angry and frustrated. We had school choice hit our district, and it hit our school hard. We had two building given the option of sending their kids to us, with no extra funds give by the state. I suddenly went from 21 to 26 kindergarteners in a matter of three days… right before school started.

Now?

I’m still exhausted when I get home, and it takes me longer to get through everything. But, I also got more hugs and have bigger dance parties.

100 school days ago I would rush out of the building, grab my kids, then drive almost an hour for swim practice. I would sit for three hours, then drive home exhausted. I would eat Panera or whatever crap I could pack to eat, do homework in the car. Now?

I come home and have an organic whole food plant based dinner. I’ll snuggle on the couch or take a bath. I miss my swim family terribly, and will always feel bad Morgan no longer does what she loved and excelled at. But morgan loves being home and snuggling, and Quinn is happy playing with kasha.

100 school days ago we were planning a super secret trip to Disney in October. Then a hurricane hit so we rescheduled to Christmas. Then cancer hit, and it’s postponed indefinitely.

100 school days ago…

I didn’t know I had cancer. Oh, I had it, but I didn’t know. Instead, I was worried my husband had cancer, and my daughter had alopecia. Morgans hair is back, Rob’s biopsy came back clear, then boom.

I was diagnosed stage four out of the blue.

I wouldn’t wish to go back 100 school days, because back then it was growing without me trying to stop it.

Instead, I’ll wish to make it to 100 years old, along with rob.

So today, as I dress up like a 100 year old woman, I’ll give rob a preview of what’s to come.

These 100 days of school have truly been life changing…

but I try to focus more on the good changes than the bad. It’s not always easy, but I have my family, friends and all of you to remind me about the good.

Here’s to the 100th day of school…

And being a cured 100 year old cancer free mom/teacher/friend/hot wife.

I am cured.

I am cured.

I am cured.

❤️️👲🏻🍵💨🐲🐦🦄🐺🐯💃🏼👵🏼

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Thoughts and Prayers… and Action.

I had planned out my post for today on last Sunday. I was going to talk about how it’s the 100th of school and how we are all going to dress like we are 100 years old, then I have to go to my oncologist appointment and pray my labwork is good. I’ll also have to explain why I look like I aged fifty five years since the last visit.

I was also going to wish Marguerite a very happy 92nd birthday. I love this lady. I left church for a short while this year, and she brought me back. We now sit with her every Sunday. She reminds me of my own Nan. Strong, feisty, classy, full of grace and love. She means more to me than she knows.

I never plan on my posts, ever. I wake up and they come to me.

I should have know better.

After teaching kindergarten all day, having an epic faculty breakfast and lunch, organizing for a “juicenado” and having 47 juices delivered, I came home exhausted.

And that’s the thing.

I came home.

In Florida, there are too many people who went to school that didn’t get to come home.

Another school mass murder.

I wish the media would stop saying mass shooting, because it takes the focus off the murder part and makes it a trigger for politics.

Right away people became separated.

“It’s the NRA’s fault!!! They elect people through funding!”

“It’s Obama’s fault and thank God we now have Trump!”

“Screw Trump! He is a racist and I hate him!”

“It’s the republican congress fault!”

“Screw the thoughts and prayers people!”

“Less guns!”

“More guns!”

Meanwhile, my heart is breaking as I tell Maddie to always be vigilant, explain how to use a book bag as a shield, to throw things at a shooter if cornered, and to run in a zig zag if being chased.

Yes, it’s a gun issue. There is no reason for semi automatic guns to be out there. But I also support the right to bear arms.

I’m one of the good guys. I don’t have a gun, but I know as the daughter and sister of police officers, I’ve always felt safe when good guys have guns to protect us from the bad guys.

And there are bad guys.

There is so much more to this than just a nineteen year old getting a gun. He had been suspended. He had posted on social media. I’m sure if you ask former teachers there would be some who say they always thought he would be the type to do this.

Simply suspending kids doesn’t work. They end up somewhere.

We need to do more.

Get to the bottom.

Make mandatory counseling for the student and the family. I dont know how you can make someone go to counseling, or attend parenting classes. But I wish we could.

Ban all social media for teens.

If you aren’t deemed responsible enough to vote until you are 18, or register for a gun until 18… why on Earth do these kids have Snapchat and social media?

Those sites are weapons.

I heard of a child who tried to kill him self because of something posted on social media. This child was under the age of 13. The kid who posted the thing that was so hurtful? Got back his phone and continued posting the next day.

These children have lost their sensitivity chips. They play violent video games and become immune to the violence. Someone posted a Snapchat video from inside an actual classroom yesterday.

All I is saw was a girl crouched, the legs of another student lying down, and then screaming. Multiple shots being fired into their room.

It was real.

Instead of covering their head, a child decided to film it.

While a reporter was interviewing a student, an eleven year old, the camera went to his mom, he suddenly smiled and held up his fingers while a friend came over and they goofed for the camera.

It is always “Look at me” for these kids now.

Instead of looking inside at themselves, they are always looking at others and judging the others while comparing themselves.

Then there are the family units.

I know people whose kids have social media pages. I don’t think they’ve checked their kids pages recently, and if they have, and they are ok with what their kids are posting, or what other kids are saying and writing to their kids…

It’s enough to make a kid question themselves and snap.

If your kid is under 18, shame on you for letting them have social media accounts.

There.

I said it.

People are afraid to say hard things.

Your kid may just be posting pictures of animals and flowers, but they have opened up the gate to see what other kids post and write.

Ask amy teacher in a middle school or high school, or an administrator, and they will tell you about social media.

But parents care more about their kid not being left out than the safety and well being.

Don’t even try to tell me I’m wrong.

NO kid needs Snapchat. Their life won’t end without it. Try and think of what possible reason your kid needs it that doesn’t make them sound like a narcissist human.

Guns are bad when in the wrong hands.

So is social media.

Families have stopped spending time together as well. How many families go to church together regularly? If you celebrate Easter and Christmas, you should at least be reading the Bible. Get to know the guy you’re celebrating twice a year. Going to church. Teaching your child to pay more attention to being a good Christian more so than being the most liked poster on snapchat.

If anything I wrote here made you angry, fine.

Anger causes action.

Don’t write your anger on my page, though.

Because if you’re angry at me for what I wrote and have time to write a response about Obama, Trump, NRA, Republicans, Democrats, Snapchat, social media, not my kid… save it.

Instead…

Talk to your kids.

Write to your local officials and ask what is the plan.

Not national.

They haven’t done squat.

LOCAL.

Big changes start in little places.

This is more than guns. It’s breakdown of society and families.

Unfortunately, schools are the target.

Now we have to worry about when a fire drill is pulled? I can’t even.

I am a teacher.

Diagnosed with stage four cancer a year ago and have an oncology appointment today to make another full body scan.

I am planning on beating all the odds and seeing my children grow up and hold my grandchildren.

I am also planning on seeing one day this nation stop pointing fingers and yelling at other people and instead come together to fix this crisis.

It’s the 100th day of school.

May all children who go to school today feel safe. May all staff members feel safe. May all parents feel safe.

May we all find a way to come together to be parents instead of friends to our kids. Make hard decisions. Help children who need mental health help get counseling. Help parents learn how to raise kind children.

And may my appointment be a good one with good labs.

Oh, and happy birthday to Marguerite. We love you so…

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Ps. This is a painting my daughter painted last night. I thought I would add some beauty to this post.