Jumping Hurdles at the Oncological Olympic Trials

I went yesterday to give the blood for the trial. It’s like the semi-finals or qualification round for the Olympics. It took Dorothy a while to find a good vein. She is the vein whisperer though, and got one eventually. I asked to pray over it, then took a picture so all of my friends could pray over it too.

Then we went to breakfast at a new place that was unbelievable. The man who worked there and the state trooper encouraged me to try the goat cheese omelette, and I am so glad I did. I felt like we were at Epcot in Disney in one of the countries. Perfect and organic.

I came home to find a woman named Diane planting flowers in pots on my stoop. Someone anonymously sent spring to my doorstep. I love it. We had a beautiful long talk and I smelled the potting soil and healed even more.

I picked up the kids and took them to the Shrine. My grandparents always went there, and I’ve heard so much about it. You couldn’t believe the traffic and tour buses. We found a spot right by the entrance, “I always get the best parking spots”, and headed to the chapel where our friend Eileen was singing. She has a beautiful voice and I’m so glad I was able to hear her sing. Quinn wanted to buy a candle to light and pray over, because the priest said it would last five days. We also put my name in an envelope for special prayers for healing. Eileen asked Father Hugh to bless me, and before I knew it, I was crying in the church with my eyes closed and body tingling while he held me and then drew a cross on my forehead. I also felt a sharp pain in my breast.

Healing pain.

Cancer cells popping away from the tumor and being swooshed away by my blood.

“Pop pop swoosh”

Then we went to the gift shop and saw my friend George and Cathy. Cathy has been such a steadfast rock for me, and wants me to go to Israel with her one day to walk where Jesus walked.

I just might.

She said she wanted to bring me into the chapel and get blessed by someone very special to her… Father Hugh, the man who had just blessed me.

Cathy and Eileen are two of the kindest, faith-full women I know, and now they know each other. I’m so glad. They both took me to the rock and I gasped when I saw it. Remember when I wrote about the veil? I felt Him there. It’s a thin space.

Then cathy went back to volunteering and we met Eileen’s daughter Johanna, her friend, and Eileen’s Husband steve. We walked the stations of the cross, and prayed at each one. We asked for mercy for us and for the whole world. You’re all good.

I loved that my children saw people from all walks of life and cultures, heard prayers and songs in other languages. I also loved that my girls saw statues of women being honored. Women are important. God used women in the Bible for important jobs. Mary had the most important. She was the ultimate vessel to bring Jesus into the world.

We ended up at the gift shop, and my kids wanted rosaries and crosses. Lutherans don’t pray the rosary, and only pray to Jesus. But their dad is catholic, and we all end up at the same place.

We came home, had dinner and then went to my church. It’s a solemn service, with black covering the cross and candles, and we walk out silently and complete darkness to signify how the disciples and women felt when they left the day Jesus died.

The disciples scattered, but not the women who loved Him. In fact, Jesus first appeared to a woman after resurrection. Mary Magdalene.

Because Eve sinned, the first woman who was pure was then a sinner, and she was told from then on she would lose her voice, be less equal than man. But then Jesus reversed the curse, so to speak, and took Mary Magdalene, a sinner, and gave her authority to not only be a witness but to preach the gospel. To be an equal with men.

I love that.

Easter is a time when everyone is invited to the table to eat and drink and believe, but not everybody comes. Man has made it too cloudy and judgmental and distorted the message.

Women will work harder to spread it.

The good news is love.

I had a miracle happen last night. I was told yesterday that I had more hurdles to clear before the trial can start. I have to take a pregnancy test. That brought on some very interesting conversations with the kids. “Mom, you can be the new Virgin Mary!”

“Mom, whats a virgin? Am I a virgin?” I also had to get Dr Snuffleuffugus to give me the ingredients for the scientists to check before the study begins.

My heart sank with that one. I had a better chance of being told I was pregnant. We asked once before and he dismissed the question.

I woke up this morning to an email… with the ingredients. Don’t ask me to share. I wont. He didn’t include portions and measurement.

I’m hoping it’s enough for the trial scientists to say… “Oh! Its just some asparagus and other stuff… She is good to go!”

So, I’m laying here with Quinn on my arm, breathing on my face, my dog laying on top of my legs, holding the ingredients in my hand that are passed down from generations of master herbalists, feeling like Hermione Granger as I whisper them to rob, and prayed that I’m not pregnant.

This is my life.

I’ll take it.

I’m going to walk this morning at Indian Island, take a pregnancy test, clean and go food shopping for Easter tomorrow. I’m hosting in the morning then going to my brothers in the afternoon. Then I’ll go to the Giving Room tonight for a full moon meditation and then pray at the beach.

I’ll pray and give thanks for all of my blessings.

Today, may the cells continue to pop and swoosh away, may the pregnancy test be negative, and may everyone realize they can come to the table.

Everyone.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

(And if the pregnancy test isn’t negative, boy oh boy, will my post be a good one tomorrow!)

Xoxo

Keri

Blurred stage

I’ve been busy living life and trying to pass tests for a new trial… here is an oldie but goodie…

“Blurred Stage”

Warning. This is a preachy one.

But it’s a good one. So stick with me.

Last night I was flipping through the channels around 7:30. I came across a minister who was on fire preaching about Mark 8:22 when Jesus healed a blind man. I was captivated by his theatrics and words. I even grabbed my bible to take notes.

(Rob was like, “WHAT are you watching?”

“Just go with it…”)

There were actually 3 touches used to heal this man. The first was when Jesus took him by the hand and led him out of the town, Bethsaida, where had had fed the five thousand.

Why did he take him out of town? The man on tv said that you can have the greatest seed in the whole world, but if you plant it in poor soil, it won’t grow. That struck a chord. We are all made perfectly. It’s how we are raised, or our environment, or our current situations, that makes us flourish or whither. I was in a bad state before getting diagnosed. I was angry, unforgiving, not eating well, running around at a million miles per hour. I’m still in the same physical place, but spiritually I’ve shifted and moved. My seed can now grow and heal.

Then Jesus spit in the mind man’s eyes, touched the blind man again and said, “Can you see anything now?”

The blind man was honest. He said, “Yes, I see people, but I can’t see them clearly. They look like trees walking around.” That took courage. Here he was, away from everyone, with a man everyone said healed and performed miracles. When it was done to him, he essentially said, “Ehhhh, it’s not your greatest work”.

I’m better than I was, but I’m not what I’m going to be.

Blurred vision.

A lot of us are there. We want to be better. But we aren’t there yet. We are seeing how to be better, but it’s still blurry.

The story had a happy ending. Jesus touched him a third time. (3). The mans sight was completely restored. Jesus sent him away and said, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.” That’s so important. Why would you move your healthy growing seed back to the poor soil? Why, after doing so well on diets, do people go back to poor habits?

Once you move, keep moving. That’s why I tell people I can’t go back to the way I was. I can’t go back to a million miles an hour, eating crap, drinking wine like its water. My vision is getting clearer.

Ask yourself, are you living in the blur?

If so, keep moving. It will get clearer.

I once was lost, but now I’m found.

Was blind, but now I see.

I am cured

I am cured

I am cured

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Canaries in a Cancer Coal Mine

Years ago, men would take these sweet yellow birds that love to sing, and send them into dark tunnels. If they stayed alive, they knew they could go into the tunnels and mine for coal. If they died, they couldn’t go.

What’s a birds life worth?

Not more than money.

We are all canaries.

How many of you remember hearing about someone getting cancer when you were little? It was rare.

Now, everyone knows someone.

Why?

Greed.

People used to grow their own food. Keep storage of their food and eat what the land gave them.

Now?

If you look at pictures of farms, you’ll see men in hazmat suits pouring chemicals into barrels that will be sprayed onto plants. Then? We eat those plants…that are covered in chemicals that the man had to wear a biohazard suit when growing them.

People used to have to kill their own livestock for meat. The animals were treated well, fed grain that wasn’t genetically modified, and killed as humanely as one can kill something. Now?

Animals are fed chemical food, they sit in their own feces, some never see the sun, and are slaughtered.

When we were little, we only had two or three vaccines. Now?

They keep coming up with more. Yet we all keep getting sicker.

Kids used to be able to play and be kids. You would get outside and run with friends until mom called you inside.

Now?

Kids are sitting in seats taking tests which make companies a lot of money, while their childhood is stolen. They don’t play games, or run, but sit like robots when they get home, devices in hand, staring at a screen by themselves. Their brains are making connections. I shudder to think what this generation of children will deal with medically as they grow. I was the microwave generation, but that was when I was a teen. These children are constantly bombarded with radiation.

Men are making money hand over hand, and we are all dying slow deaths while singing.

We are the canaries.

I spent the morning yesterday teaching my children how to sit and breathe free. Instead of spending the snow day cooped up, we flew the coop so to speak and went to The Giving Room. Paula taught my kids yoga, and we laughed as Quinn gave commentary all throughout. He said he may want to be a yoga teacher. We all ended with meditation and Paula read a prayer over us. We were filled with peace, and I know that yesterday I gave them a memory that they can go to when times get hard. They learned that simply by being still they can be happy and feel happy.

We came home, and Morgan and I went to the grand opening yesterday afternoon of the new Marshall’s and Homegoods. I am off chemo, and feeling better, and Morgan wanted to check out the new stores. We walked around as the DJ blared music, trying to get our cart around. Here’s the thing.

Everyone looked angry. Not one person was smiling. We said, “Excuse me”, and a woman who was standing in the middle of the aisle turned around and glared at us. The energy was horrible. We got out of there quickly.

We didn’t buy a thing.

As we walked to the car, Morgan said something so profound.

“Mom, all those people were mean and unhappy because they think they have to buy things to be happy. They don’t know you have to choose to be happy. You can’t buy it. You have to feel it.”

And that, my friends, is how to be happy.

You choose it.

Greed. Some people can have all the money in the world and be miserable, be healthy and unhappy.

And others can have so little, yet feel so rich.

It’s a choice.

Will you be the canary who sings for others as you go into the tunnel and make others rich?

Or will you break free and sing your own song, as you fill your life and others with happiness by just seeing the beauty in front of you?

Today I choose happiness.

I pray for my friend Paula’s dad who is having a procedure done. I pray for all of those who haven’t learned how to be happy. I pray for all of my friends who need healing.

May we all breathe with ease, sing with joy, and share our love.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Patient X

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged. My Facebook friend all know what’s been going on.

The cancer has woken up again.

I had a whirlwind day of shock, devastation, different options presented…

And the opportunity to enter into a trial.

I’m choosing the trial.

If I can do something now to help people become healed in the future, I’ll do it.

Telling my kids for the second time that there is cancer awake in the body is something that wasn’t easier the second time around.

I had to wait a few days to see if I would be considered for the trial.

Yesterday, on the first day of spring…

In the day we noticed that the bulbs we planted with santa and my dad at Christmas have popped up out of the ground…

I got the news I’ve been accepted, as long as I pass the EKG.

My heart is strong.

So is my faith.

My energy worker said that there is this thing called retrograde, and the cancer had to wake up in order to be completely healed.

She also predicted I would be admitted into the study.

I would hit remission and be completely healed.

And I would be written about in trials.

I’m going with her.

Jesus also has plans for me.

I’m going with Him.

Here is my entry from Facebook today.

You’re all caught up.

In a nutshell… it’s awake.

I’m changing my diet and adding leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables at every meal.

I’m adding to my team a nutritionist and adjunctive therapies targeted specifically for me.

I’m going to hit remission in three months.

Watch me.

I’m making history again.

““Phase Two”

I’m patient X.

The first patient accepted into the trial at the hospital. They’ve denied several. Phase one was successful, so they’ve expanded the trial into nine hospital nationwide and have 135 slots.

I felt like Charlie from Willy Wonka.

I’ve got the golden ticket…

I still have to pass the EKG test. They also want me to wait before starting because my counts were really low. My oncologist is stuck in Barcelona because of the snow, so we are holding off my bloodwork until Monday…

When there is another possible storm.

I cant even.

I have a snow day today, and another one probably tomorrow. If we get this other storm, there goes spring break.

It stinks, and I cant help but think that everyone who feels like something is being taken away and is so upset, they get a small taste of what it’s like being told you have cancer.

“But I had PLANS, damnit!!!”

“Sorry, cancel your plans. Your fun plans have now changed.”

Except my plans were to live a carefree long life, and now it’s all needles and specific food and supplements and adjunctive therapies and trials.

Perspective.

I found comfort that I was told about being accepted on my terms for the trial on the first day of spring.

New beginnings.

My friend jen had to cancel my energy healing session, as her daughter was sick. But she had told me two days ago not to worry, she felt I would get into the trial, hit remission again, and be written about for results. God gives people gifts and uses them as vessels. She is one.

I explained to my kids that God didn’t only speak to the people who lived long ago and are written about in the Bible. He is still alive, still speaking to us… we just have to listen.

I went to BJs to get extra greens for the storm, and a man that worked there was staring at me at the produce aisle. He struck up a conversation about produce, and when I said I was looking for organic, he said, “Oh, you’re a fancy person?”

It’s time for people to realize that it’s a crime for the fruit and vegetables we eat are sprayed with chemicals that may make the fruit last longer, but kills us quicker. So i told him I was rediagnosed, and the organic food is saving my life.

He got serious, then came right up to my face and began to talk about faith and God. Suddenly this man who had moments earlier tried hitting on me became a man who prayed over me.

He even found me later in a different aisle with a psalm he pulled up on his phone about how Jesus is with the broken-hearted. I showed him my necklace and told him I was strong and courageous because Jesus.

Because Jesus.

BJ.

BJ in Bjs wholesale club.

When we finished, he looked embarrassed and like he didn’t know what just happened. I did.

The Holy Spirit was with us.

That’s how it works.

Where two or more are gathered in my name with open hearts…

Even in Bjs wholesale club while there is a run on milk and bread… or organic vegetables.

Maddie was already up this morning, so I’m up because I had to go tell her while she was in the shower that school is closed. I hope we get the call tonight about tomorrow.

Today may we all stay safe and warm, and may all of our first responders and doctors and nurses be safe and warm…

Especially mine.

May all of the cells in my body be healed completely, as I spend the day watching white snow and visualizing white light entering every cell.

In Jesus’s name, amen.”

Xoxo

Keri

Only Good News Today, Please

“Only Good News Today, Please”

I’ve been up since 2:00 am.

My breast is hurting, and my stomach too.

I’m saying it’s cancer carcasses disintegrating for the breast and nerves for the stomach.

It’s kind of inhumane to make a person wait 48 hours or more after a test that will say either, “Ok , still clean. Here are a hundred more tomorrows just like you had yesterday…” or “Sooooooo, the horrible thing has happened. On to the next chemo.”

I had really hoped that I would have gotten results yesterday, while I was home. Apparently the snow held it all up. Seriously?

Now I’ll be teaching all day waiting for the email or text or call.

How did this become my life?

Rob held my hands last night and I said I wondered what our life would look like right now had this never happened. The what if’s can break your heart. We promised to take more walks together and hold hands more. To take more trips, even if just for a day.

Waiting for news like this can put things into perspective. Big things become inconsequential and little things matter so much more.

I’m also praying for my friend Johanna and her mom Eileen. Johanna is a hero, and her mom has taught me all about grace under fire, and breathing underwater. She writes for a column every Sunday and her columns about faith lift my spirit. Johanna is undergoing brain surgery again today, for something like the 90th time. I’ve got a lot of prayer warriors here. Please hold them in prayer today for a successful surgery. They have been in the arena for twenty one years together, and they know how to keep moving in their chariot. I’m still learning, and watching them has helped me give the wheel to Jesus more.

Jesus, take the wheel.

I was so naive when I was walking around saying I would be cured right I after I got the stage four diagnosis. Now I understand what all those other stage four people meant. There was a video I posted of two other stage four women, one in her thirties and one in her twenties. One has been stage four for the past seven years.

She said she is tired.

Don’t get her wrong, she is grateful to still be alive when she has had so many friends die from the disease. She feels like an eighty year old woman physically and emotionally because many of her friends die. She is tired….because she has been on chemo for seven years.

And as horrible and exhausting as that sounds, that’s what my best news today will bring. More of the same chemo. The same chemo that exhausts me, keeps my body in a constant state of danger from infection and if you listen to the commercial, death from infection.

And that’s if the good news comes.

I’ve spent the past four hours reminding myself that I have Dr Snuffleuffugus and the herbs. I have organic juices and supplements and reflexology.

I have Jesus.

So today, may my friend Johanna be surrounded by His love and peace. May her surgery be successful and her recovery quick. May my good news come early and give me the hundred more tomorrows and then some.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

I didn’t have any pictures for today’s post. So I’ll just add one here.

Suspended in Air

“Suspended in Air”

That’s how I feel, like a freeze frame. When someone jumps, the movie freezes, you hear some narration voiceover, then the movie starts again.

I feel like I’m suspended in midair, mid jump, waiting to land when I get the results.

I woke up yesterday and was strangely calm. We got the kids ready and dropped everyone off to school.

When we got to the cancer center, Rob said, “Let’s go show them what a miracle looks like.”

He may not be a man of many words, but when he speaks, he always says the right ones.

There is a technician there who I’ve seen a lot, and she was there yesterday. I said it was good luck.

It took a little while to find a good vein, but one popped up eventually and they started the IV. Then they brought me to a door with a large caution sign.

Radioactive.

Then another man loaded up this machine with the radiation dye, pushed a button, and this red liquid flowed through the tubing into my arm. I saw him backing away and he said there wasn’t any protection around the tubing so he had to move away from me.

I asked,”WOW… should I step away too?”

Then we both laughed.

Radiation humor.

I asked if I was turning green yet, like Bruce Banner, and he better not make me angry.

I wore my superhero shirt and my Wonder Woman socks. I decided to make it a theme day.

The IV was removed and I said it deserved to stay in a little longer after all the trouble to find the good vein.

I was then brought to the isolation room, and they close you in with an automatic door that closes and opens very slowly with a button. It reminded me of when they rolled the stone in front of Jesus’s tomb.

For one hour I sat and read a book, texted rob, and saw an episode of Friends.

Then it was time, and my technician was Wayne, the same one from May. It fit in with the superhero theme of Bruce Wayne and Batman, and I imagined I was being slid into the bat cave.

They put two heavy plates over my chest and abdomen, and my arms were stuck to my sides. Earplugs were put into my ears and I realized no music would help me get through. Then my head was wedged into place and a huge white mask was placed over my face. It looked like a goalie mask and I said, “Lets go Islanders!” and Wayne laughed.

Then he gave me the “Holy crap” button in case I started to panic and needed to get brought out.

The test started and I was slid into the long tube. I tried very hard to not imagine it as coffin. The whizzing, whirring and clanging began. At first I thought my heartbeat was too fast because I heard a loud and constant thump thump, and realized it was the machine. It was a challenge to make my heart beat slower than the constant beating in the tube, but I did it.

I prayed a lot. I Imagined getting a phone call today saying it’s all clear. Pictured my oncologist walking into the room Thursday and saying, “You look good, Keri”.

I may have even dozed off.

After almost an hour, I was slid out and the tech and Wayne moved with lightning speed to unstrap me. They said they don’t want anyone to have to be like that longer than they have to be. My superhero name is “The Hot Flash” and they could be my sidekicks. I was told 24-48 hours for results.

I came out and rob just hugged me.

We went to a restaurant and I ate. A ladybug landed on my shirt, and rob just shook his head. We’ve had the same waitress a few times and we talked. She became emotional, told us she is going through some things with her kids and life, and said she had asked God for help or a sign, and then I showed up. I laid my hands on her and prayed for her. We’re now friends on Facebook. I told her that’s how God works. Instead of looking around us in times of trouble, just look up and talk to Him.

I said to Rob I feel like I’m crazy sometimes, and who have I become? He said that what I had just done I never would have done last year, and now I helped someone who needed it. Again, right words, right time.

Morgan had been on a trip to the museum of natural history and was sending updates. She sent us a picture of a naked lady statue and we laughed. She is one funny kid.

I spent the rest of the day resting. A friend I used to work with and had been messaging with passed away. He had played Santa for our school assemblies for a few years and I will miss him. I was sad for his loved ones, yet know that when he took his last breath on earth, he took his next breath in heaven, surrounded by loved ones and with Jesus.

I prayed for the faculty and families of Mercy high school. Everyone was caught off guard with the school closing announcement. There wasn’t much compassion or loving kindness shown to them, and I pray they are all given peace. The home districts of the children will hopefully say, “Welcome Home! We are glad you are here!” I hope they all remember it was men who made those decisions, and men who handled the way they were told. Anger is understandable, but to not lose faith in the love God has for them. They are shocked, sad, confused, and angry. My district is going to have a seventeen acts of kindness program coming up where we honor those lives lost in Florida. Everyone now has a chance to make a difference for these children and families, and welcome them with open arms and hearts. Laws about guns will be written by men, but loving kindness can be shown to others by all of us.

We’ve got a snow day today.

Which means I get to clean and catch up and use all the nervous energy to do the laundry I’ve procrastinated about. My brother said to see if the radioactivity can melt snow, and if so, can I come clear his driveway?

Humor runs in the family.

Today may we all stay warm, safe, and know that when the freeze frame gets unstuck, we can keep on moving forward, with laughter and loving kindness.

Onward.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

When a Picture is Worth a Hundred Tomorrows

“When a Picture is Worth a Hundred Tomorrows”

There is a saying about pictures.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Usually when you look at a picture, you are reminded of something from your past.

A loved one, a special place, a special feeling, words that were said.

Today I will have pictures taken that will tell me my future, medicines I will have to take, which path I continue to walk on.

I’ll have an IV put into my arm, become radioactive, and then sit for an hour isolated in a room.

Because you know, being alone is a great thing before a test that decides your fate for the next few months.

I’ll imagine the radioactivity that is injected will make me a superhero, with superhero powers. I’ve actually got a paper stating i can’t be working three feet of children or pregnant people for six hours after the test.

I’m a danger to babies and children, imagine that.

Then I’ll walk into a cold room with a giant machine, be strapped down so i can’t move, have a mask placed over my face, and then be slid into a tunnel that will make banging, clanging and whirring noises for the next hour or so while a voice every so often will be piped in and tell me to hold my breath while I’m trying to breathe and not panic.

The last time I walked into the room there was a painting on the wall of a beach scene with a sailboat. The thing is they want to keep you calm. But they forgot that when they strap your head down and place the mask over your head, the mirror they place over your head so you can see the end of the tunnel? Makes everything upside down.

That’s fitting actually.

It has seemed like my life has been turned upside since the stage four diagnosis.

“What’s up is down and what’s left is right and the carefree future I had planned went poof overnight.”

I went to church yesterday even though I was anxious and exhausted. I had hopes it would ease my soul.

It didn’t.

Which means I drove out to the Giving Room to find my peace there.

I did.

I sat and breathed in the smell of fresh organic fruit that has helped my body stay healthy. I received a beautiful sketch that Paula had someone make for me of the condensation Rorschach picture that was on my bathroom wall after my hot shower this week.

I originally had seen an angel, or me in someone’s hands.

Now I see me at the crossroads of two paths, forging ahead on my own path.

My path to healing.

I tried so hard when I came home to hold it together and not let the horrible things stay in my head.

The “What ifs”.

Images of organs, bones, side effects, a future without me kept fleeting the horrible thing happening pictures into my mind, and I would have to push them out and make new ones.

Healthy organs, healthy bones, healthy days, a future with me in the pictures.

I cried in bed last night, and rob was once again whispering into my ear the good things.

How I long for the days when he only had to whisper sweet nothings to me. I’m sure he does too.

“No matter what”.

So today, I’ll go have my pictures taken.

I’ll try to smile when the person says to not breathe.

That’s a choice I have control over.

And I may feel alone when I’m in that long tunnel, but I’ll have Jesus with me, and we will have plenty of time for me to ask Him for plenty of time.

I’m also praying for my friends who are going into the city today for a test of their own and pictures being taken.

May we all get pictures back that not only tell us of our past and present inside our bodies, but give us a future too.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri