Moondance

It was a marvelous night for a moon dance…

I woke up yesterday and spent and hour and a half detoxing in the tub while water bombing. I’m actually heading in to the tub to detox again this morning. More and more hair keeps coming out. I’m just not ready for the Mr Clean look.

I brought a dear friend with me to the Giving Room and Paula and the staff did their magic with juices. I had an açaí bowl and sweeeeet momma… it was amazing. I also tried the spicy carrot sauerkraut for probiotic and it was spicy yet tolerable. I came home with two jars of cookies from Alli Katz Kitchen, chocolate chip and ginger snaps, for the kids when I get them. My children have gotten more women who love them and we are so blessed.

I got a text that one of my former students was having a birthday party today. I went to her birthday three years ago and actually got into the inflatable pool with the kids. I wasn’t sure I could make it today, so I ran Over quick to look at the cupcakes she made. I also had her sister years and years ago, and now she is college, in the same sorority I was in. The student became the sister.

I found myself giving multiple women lessons on how tumors can feel. Mine have become much more defined, and I am having them feel my breasts to see what it feels like.

It’s one thing to teach how to palpate, but I always remember thinking, “But how will I know how a tumor feels?” I no longer look at my breasts like they are these hot sexy things. I see them as teaching tools. Seriously. If you want to know how to palpate and find a tumor, I’m your girl. It’s easy to find them now, as they take up half of my breast. But soon?

They’ll be gone… so if you want a lesson, just ask. Truly.

Rob came home for lunch and we went through my protocol. We went ahead and ordered my first month, and will be figuring out possible substitutions with my friends. I have to keep faith that all of this has come to me and is in God’s plan for my life.

I went to the farm to pick up my CSA and has a lovely talk with a Valley Stream native, whose mom was just at the 50th anniversary party for the barents of my best friend from high school. Amazing.

Then my sister picked me up with her sprites and her new au pair from Germany. I had sent her a snap video of me singing a song I sang for a concert when I was in 12th grade. I sang it again in the car and she said she didn’t recognize it but knew it was German.

We walked to the end of a beach where it came to a point and met with Alli Katz, Paula, Allegra, Laura, Dori, Andrea, and some other women. It was cloudy and windy and the mist was thick. My nieces kept collecting treasures as I sat and just breathed and looked for the moon.

It was the longest lunar eclipse for a century, and we kept praying we would see it. Right as some of the other women started to pack up and leave, Paula, Allegra and I started to sing a song we learned a few months ago. Wouldn’t you know, we saw a light peeking out from behind the clouds, and then?

We saw the beautiful moon.

Of course.

We all cheered and yelled and clapped and sang.

Soon we packed up and my sister and I sang a laurie Berkner song about the moon and how it takes care of me as we walked the long walk back to the car.

I pretended to call the moon, and santa, and told my nieces stories and made up songs. They are adjusting to my wig, and want me to get pink and purple and blue wigs.

I’ll do it.

If there is any way to make this journey seem magical instead of scary…

I’ll do my best for the sprites.

I came home and rob and I hung out with Joe. They lost game two and have to win today to advance to the finals. I’m selfish and want him to win so he stays with us longer.

They finally put up more pictures of the camp at 11:30 last night. When I look at morgan she seems happy. I’m not getting as much of that feeling with Maddie and Quinn. I’ll be happy to see them all today at 5:00 when they get home. I’m hoping to not crash so hard today and instead feel well when I get them. I’m sure they’ll need showers and I’ll have lots of laundry.

Today may my children have safe travels home, may the Tomcats win, and may I feel well as my body heals.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Cycle Two Day One

I’m done with the crying for the day. Yesterday was overwhelming for a lot of reasons.

More hair came out in the shower.

I had to restart chemo.

It took two tries to find a vein and a port was discussed. I know everyone said it makes it easier, but my gut still says no… I dont know why, and I’m a needlephobe.

I got lots of hugs to make it easier.

I did the same routine, went to the deli across from my school, for hugs, great food, and a selfie since they weren’t busy.

Then I ran into school and got hugs from my security guard and one of my custodians. I’ve talked about faith so much with these men. They are my brothers in Christ… and we make each other laugh. They also both worked at the local hospital. One of them would always appear, either when I had my babies or when I had emergencies. Gifts from God.

I hugged our secretaries and we laughed. They are the front line in schools, and sometimes deal with not so nice people. Be kind to school secretaries… every day, even in summer.

Actually, just be kind.

Then it was off to the hospital.

As soon as I walked into the chemo curtain area, I saw the mother of a dear friend. She was going to be there all day, so rob and I told her we would keep an eye on her and get her whatever she needed. I messaged her kids and it felt so good to focus on someone else. I sent her reiki and grabbed extra snacks for her.

I got hugs from my friend Heather, and she always fills me with hope. Hermina waked through the unit and I told her to tell my oncologist that I’m doing well. She loved my short hair and shirt my student gave me. She said she wished everyone had the attitude I did. People like me always do better.

It was good to hear.

A volunteer was handing out pillows and I got one that was mint in color and had animals on it.

Deer.

The day after i find out my chinese herbs have antler of the deer in them and I’m going to name my blond wig “Bambi”.

My blood counts were fantastic, and my white blood count is even higher than it was on the low dose pill form.

They pushed anti nausea meds and then it was time for the taxol. The blood pressure cuff went on, the frozen peas and blueberries went into the socks and onto my feet and hands, and rob started spoon feeding me ice chips while I dictated a new email asking if there was any way we could substitute some of the supplements with other brands that friends have offered to get for me wholesale, as well as eliminate others that aren’t essential now like the neuropathy cream so I’m not spending a mortgage payment every month. I also have issues swallowing pills, and there are about seventy a day when I added it all up.He replied late at night that we can substitute some, eliminate the sinus and cough care, take out the neuropathy, he is being very aggressive now and hopes to lessen it all as I finish chemo, which could possibly be in two months or so.

So today we order, then sit with all of my angels sent to me and figure out where I will get substitutions.

I sailed through the first fifteen minutes beautifully with no reactions.

I wore a bracelet for a young man going through his own journey, and held him in sacred space all day. We are both walking through the fire now, but that’s when impurities rise to the surface and gold become more pure. I can send prayer and reiki from anywhere to anywhere.

Isn’t that great?

Taxol finished then they started carboplatin.

When I finished my nurse said I did really great and was her star patient.

(Or “highly effective” as Cuomo now makes me get rated.)

We decided to go to Joe’s game and it was lovely. We sat with his mom and dad and talked and talked. His mom and I snapchatted joe, and after the game he had two moms giving him”mom talk”.

We took Joe to Alive on 25, and ate at Parebelle. My dad always goes there with my brothers, and the waitress knew them, and my story, but didn’t recognize Electra, my silver wig alter ego. She said she would never be able to tell i just had chemo. She was an angel, and brought me three huge glasses of water at once and kept them all filled for me.

We came home and watched more Game of Thrones because the steroids hyped me up, and I have ringing in my ears. I also cant hear well. Donnie said it’s because of the copper in the carboplatin, which is why detoxing is so important. I’ll get my full hearing back and the ringing will stop in a day or two.

I also heard that Wednesday at Camp was the sharing circle night. It’s when the kids share why they are there. It’s a very emotional night, and my kids heard stories from children that didn’t get the happy ending. There are lots of tears, and it broke my heart that I wasn’t there to hug them. I cant even think of them sleeping without me. I’m glad they do it midcamp. This way they have formed bonds and feel safe sharing, then have two and a half more fun days. I get them back Saturday at five at the university, and I’m going to hug them so tight.

I’m not sure of my plans today.

I may head to the Giving Room, just for the energy. They sent me videos and have learned how to snapchat, and made me laugh all day yesterday when I needed it.

I’ll clean the kids rooms a little more and wash their sheets. Even put a little treat by their pillows.

I haven’t gotten any pictures from Wednesday or Thursday. That’s hard.

May I get pictures of my children smiling today.

May the ringing stop in my ears.

May I detox quickly.

May I figure out my new protocol.

May I be happy.

May I be healed.

May I be at ease.

May we all be that way.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Adding to the Team

It’s been a few days. I’m fine.

I took a break from blogging to live life, and get my children ready for Camp Kesem.

It’s a camp many colleges have for children that have a parent with cancer. It’s amazing, and my kids are gone all week.

I finally Skyped with Donnie Yance from the Mederi Clinic. I’m going to share a lot, because there are some important things he told me that may benefit others.

Here is my post from today….

What a day.

I felt peace seeing my kids, and although hearing their voices tell me they are having a great time would be even better. There were no pictures posted from day three at Camp Kesem, but I’m ok. I’m so thankful that all of these college kids have given up a week of their summer to bring joy to children who have had too much sadness in their young lives. We need more people like these counselors.

I went into school and tackled my file cabinets. I organized all of my binders and have it pretty well set up. All I need to do now is label everything with kids names, learn what new curriculum we will be getting, and do bulletin boards. It sounds simple, but right there is about three days worth of work.

I came home and hung out with Joe. I was so nervous about the Skype call I had coming, so he hung out with me and we watched Game of Thrones. I had a stress headache so no going outside for some sun. Instead I sipped water and laughed whenever Joe got shocked at twists and turns.

Then it was time for the call.

I’m going to be honest. When I spoke with Donnie three weeks ago, death came back to my heart. I got scared I made a mistake with the chemo, that the cancer would come back, and that we were making wrong choices. I had pretty much decided that I would listen to what he has to say, but not add him to my team.

I invited my dad over in case Donnie had family history questions, as well as Maggie. She had the connections that got me to this point, and is brilliant. Whatever I wouldn’t be able to follow, I knew she would.

I decided to wear the reddish brown wig, “Amber”, for my own confidence. Then it was time.

I called him up on Skype and we had a video glitch at first. Then? I saw him. Right behind him?

A cross hanging on a wall.

The first ten minutes I was all nerves, we had some small talk, then he dove right in.

Man, he is brilliant.

Almost a savant.

He went over all my bloodwork, and explained it in very technical detail with lots of medical words. Had he been my first stop in the cancer world, I would have been overwhelmed. But because I’ve read many of his medical papers and journals, I kept up.

There was a lot of good news with those thirteen vials of blood he took. He said he was like Sherlock Holmes, and puts all the pieces of the puzzle together. That is when the feeling hit my gut, and it was my sign that he was going to be added to my team. Madison’s name in camp this week is Sherlock, and she has spent all summer reading every original book and watching the series.

The biggest thing he is working on is my fibrinogen. I’m at risk for clots with the level I am at, and he will work on it through his supplements. He went over my PH and it is low. THe ratio of one area of blood to another is at a good range, and my CBC is good. He discussed how the tumor makeup of HER2 was very high, 70%. That’s what shows how fast moving the cell division of the cancer is. Mine is very fast and aggressive. My heart dropped. However, he said that numbers over 15% respond better to chemo, and although mine is high, we should get a good response. He even said I could have complete response after nine sessions, and the tumors could completely go away. I had a crash course in bloodwork and tumor cell makeup. He even talked about a new drug in trial that looks really promising.

Donnie said again how toxic the chemo is, and liked the idea of the peas and blueberries. He said he can handle any neuropathy that would come my way anyway, and with his help, I shouldn’t get any.

We discussed the CARIS biopsy, and we’ve decided that we will have both biopsies done when surgery happens. He even thinks I may have such a remarkable response, there may not be any tumor left to remove. He discussed how surgery can be very taxing to the immune system and spur more metastasis, but said we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I was afraid he would be adamantly opposed to surgery, but he said either way he could support me.

He is very impressed with all the moves my oncologist is making. After hearing us explain how she is treating me as an individual and not cookie cutter, he said she sounds like a great fit. He would love to talk to her.

We talked about Dr Snuffleuffugus. I told him all of the ingredients, and he said that Snuffy has been doing an excellent job. Did you know I am drinking the actual antler of a deer every day? Yup. That’s one of the ingredients.

Thank you, Bambi.

I may name my new blonde wig in your honor.

He said to keep using Snuffy, and I felt relief. I love this Chinese man, and feel secure with him. I think he has grown to love me too.

We discussed how I left Sloan because I didnt feel any hope, and he said I have made every right choice. He even said that my decision to not do Xgeva every month and instead advocate for every three to four months was smart.

We discussed diet. He told me instead of eating sploosh, I’ll be adding a shake to my day. He wants me to eat more miso soup, kimchi, sauerkraut. He said eighty five percent plant based and fifteen percent good whole dairy and fish, with the dairy being a mixture of cow, goat and sheep. He said to simply eat as well as I can.

We discussed my weight, and he said the drugs and steroids have puffed me up and given me the water retention. We discussed next steps and drugs to possibly go to. We discussed how to address the cancer stem cells, so cancer doesn’t pop back up in a year. He doesn’t think the liver spots are malignant cancer spots. He said it’s probably benign.

He told me to exercise, and we discussed meditation. He said vagal tone breathing is very important as it stimulated the parasympathetic nerve for the immune system. Guess who has been teaching me that all along?

Paula.

We discussed chaga mushroom. Guess who came into my life last year? The owners of chaga island, Debbie and Bridget. He loves that I am drinking it.

We discussed faith. He told me how important it is for people to reach the level of asking their purpose in life and then doing it… with love.

Love and faith.

Every time a drug, a therapy, an herb, or anything came up, he said he had written a paper on it, or done a study, or given a presentation.

He is brilliant.

Probably the most brilliant man I’ve met. Now I know why Martha Stewart loves him.

We talked for two hours, and he was going to write up an entire proposal for me. I didnt ask how much it will cost. I’ll figure it out when I get it. We are adding it to Snuffy‘ herbs, but my kids are smart and will get full scholarships to college anyway…. (I’m adding that to my prayers every day.)

As we said goodbye, Donnie told me he didn’t want to overwhelm me with research papers and journal articles and nutrition ideas and recipes, as it was our “first date”. I told him it was a great first date, and I even had my dad in the back seat listening in as a chaperone.

I had to make an appointment for a follow up in four weeks, and I spoke to his assistant, she didn’t have openings until January. I’m on a wait list and she said there should be a cancellation the week I need it.

When we finished and hung up, I cried.

I had peace and hope and clarity.

Rob feels the same.

Maggie does too.

My dad was maybe overwhelmed at all the technical talk, but said he supports adding Donnie to the team.

They left, and rob and I made dinner.

We sat on the back deck and ate with joe, had a glass of wine, looked at the stars, talked about the kids, his games, and rob schooled him on music. I said to Joe that I felt bad he had met us this summer instead of three summers ago when nights like this were the norm. He said he is glad he came to us this summer, learned a lot, had his eyes opened, and was happy.

I told him someday, he is going to help a lot of other people from what he learned this past month.

It was a beautiful night.

Robs parents stopped by and we filled them in on the meeting. I snapchatted my nieces and nephews. This is hard for them as well, and the easier and funnier I can make it, so they know I’m ok and get used to my shaved head, the better. Joe joined in and we laughed and laughed at the video filters.

Then we watched Game of Thrones.

Today I’ll go for a walk, clean and do laundry, then go to the grand opening of my friend Alli’s new business.

Tomorrow is chemo day.

I’m at peace.

Thank you, Jesus.

Amen.

Xoxo

Keri

God’s promise

I did it.

It was more beautiful than I imagined.

When I knew I was going to lose my hair, I had a vision come to me of being on the beach surrounded by those I love.

Within moments Raquel sent me a message she would love to do the honors…. and saw me on a beach.

I went for a two mile walk yesterday morning while Maddie ran, then came home. My partner in crime from Cortland drove down to keep me occupied during the day, and we laughed. Sharon always has crazy ideas and somehow always talks me into doing them. We put on my wigs and scarves and laughed. Our friend Beth sent me a gift certificate for scarves and we marveled at how crazy it is that one year later after Beth shaved her head from chemo, here I am doing the same.

I went to pick up the baby’s breath crowns and flowers, and cried when Landscape Adventure said they were a gift. I used to love going into that flower shop at Christmas and looking at all of their villages, and now God has given me two amazing women as friends. I chose baby’s breath because it is a sign of new beginnings and a flower of the Holy Spirit.

Then I took a shower and did my hair for the last time in a while.

We got to the beach and started to set up. Paula brought blankets and crystals and I brought mason jars with lights. People began arriving and I immediately felt surrounded by love.

People from all phases of my life, from Valley Stream, to cousins, family, aunts, Roanoke, Aquebogue, class moms, friends, soul sisters.

Soon it was time and everyone gathered around.

Rob stood at my back as I thanked everyone. I told them how I pray this is the miracle oligometastatic case I’ve prayed for. I told them how that morning my friend Eileen mentioned scripture of how God will never let sparrows fall, and knows every hair on our heads, and that one year ago, a nun in a peach field said the very same thing to me as I cried through a fence.

Then it was time.

Quinn did the first cut.

Morgan did the second.

Maddie stayed in the back.

Then Raquel whispered if she should just get out the clippers and I said yes.

I closed my eyes as she buzzed off all of my hair, and prayed to Jesus to give me the miracle.

I was filled with peace, and breathed.

When I opened my eyes, I was covered in hair, and surrounded by love.

I asked for a group photo, and we saw a cloud with a little rainbow in it. Paula and I were like…”of course!”

Then everyone gathered for the group shot, and then we all just hung around while I took selfies with as many people as I could. (If I missed you, I owe you a selfie…)

When the night ended, I checked and saw my friend Tracy who took pictures for me sent me some.

My jaw dropped when i saw the group photo.

It hadn’t rained, and yet over us all…

A full rainbow.

And a cloud with the number 3.

God’s promise.

Paula even called me and was shocked.

None of us saw it while we were there, only the little one in the cloud.

That’s like God’s Love.

You hear of it, may see a glimpse, but then can look back and find it was over you the whole time.

Thank you to everyone who came, everyone who sent prayers and messages, and everyone who loves me.

I still haven’t really looked in the mirror, but when I looked at everyone’s faces, I had love shining back at me.

I wish everyone could have that feeling.

It makes you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world.

May today mark the beginning of a new chapter, one full of healing.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Driving lessons

It’s day three.

I had a pretty great day two.

I was all jazzed up and couldn’t sleep from the steroids, so I did all the detox things… dry brushing, mouth care, and Epsom salt bath. Some strands of hair came out and my heart stopped. I prayed it would stay in for the weekend, as I have my nephews high school graduation party today.

I started my day by walking two miles all by myself while Maddie ran. Well, not really, because I was on the phone with my dad and mom the whole time telling them every detail from the day before while they were telling me to sit and not overdo it. We always manage to laugh and joke through tears and hard times…”Linda, listen, listen to me, leeeeeeeenda, pa pow!”

I brought maddie to work and took Morgan and quinn to the beach so I could eat my sploosh by the water. I saw a bunch of students and gave out points in the “Spot Your teacher” game. I had some lovely hugs and a deep discussion about faith and Jesus with someone who just clicks with me. Turns out she is a Valley Stream girl, and there was another Valley Stream girl on the beach with us too. Never knew any of these women when I lived there, but my old hometown keeps showing up in my new one.

The kids and I picked up Joe and we went to The Giving Room for KFS Free juice day part two.

Saw more students and gave out more points. We ran into Madison’s Latin teacher and told Joe the story about how when I was pregnant and so very sick, I was given the number of another teacher who had the same condition. I called her crying, not thinking I could live through the pregnancy, and she told me I could do it.

And I did.

And years later she had Maddie as a student.

God’s hand at work again, putting people in your life you need, when you need them.

I showed Joe the store Good Food and we picked up some empanadas, went grocery shopping and gave out more points to students, then ran home, made him a quick lunch and he went to the game.

More strands of hair came out, and I decided that instead of waiting for day 21 to come and have clumps of hair start falling out, that I would take control.

A lifeshock can knock you off your feet, steal your breath, and fill you with fear. But then?

You can stand back up, breathe in slowly, and replace fear with faith.

I sent some messages to friends and family that Monday evening around 7 we can all meet at the beach. I’ve ordered some sprigs of baby’s breath, as I had a vision of baby’s breath come to me. I looked it up, and it’s a symbol of purity, love, new beginnings, and the Holy Spirit. Everyone can bring a towel to sit on, my friend Paula has found a prayer that’s perfect, and Raquel is coming to cut away all the hair that’s left, and we will let the wisps fly to the wind, to the sea, to the sky, and let our prayers carry it up to Heaven.

Then everyone can toast with whatever beverage they choose to bring. I’m not having kids come, except my own and their cousins. I’m hoping to be strong and courageous and full of peace, and then laugh.

I ran quick to where my old summer house was and saw people who i grew up with and called family. I also saw the people who bought our old bungalow, and hugged them too. They were my best friends parents from Valley Stream.

And there she is again.

Valley Stream.

I keep having a little bit of my hometown in my heart everywhere I go lately.

Quinn finished golf camp and played in the actual course. We were allowed to follow him in golf carts, and it was my first time ever driving a golf cart. It was amazing. Maddie has been nervous about driving, so we switched and I gave her the very first driving lesson of her life.

Almost two years ago I was told I wouldnt be here. I remember thinking how I would miss teaching Maddie to drive.

Then I changed the story I was telling myself. We always write the shitty first draft and say all the things we will miss, instead of all the things we will do. We can tell ourselves any story we want.

Make it the good ones.

As we watched Quinn play from hole to hole, I got a text that a friend was having a lifeshock moment.

We finished with Quinn, rob took the kids home, and I went to her and sat for two hours holding a hand, breathing, talking about Jesus and life and how blessed we are, and feeling energy. It was two of the most beautiful hours of my life.

Sometimes, just sitting in sacred space with someone and breathing can be a beautiful gift, for both people.

I came home, had dinner, and went to bed.

I’m about to go do the whole detox thing again, as my mouth is tingly and I want to stay ahead of mouth sores. I’ll see if I can go for a walk, and then I’ll rest up for the party.

I’ll get more hugs and love and heal even more.

It will be a beautiful day.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

More Cowbell

This is a long one but I know that some people need to hear some things and follow along for cancer reasons as well as other things. I’ll do my best.

Yesterday I had a lot of gut feelings strengthened. Madame swoosh said that I know things, things come to me, and it’s almost creepy, but I need to stop thinking and just trust it. Don’t worry if it makes sense, just act on it. That anything is possible if you believe.

That’s the Holy Spirit at work.

She also told me to stop looking at every millimeter of my body while in the bathroom every morning. She said she saw me doing it and to stop it.

Which is hard when your oncologist Emails you two weeks into treatment and asks if you feel your tumors changing.

Rob and I left early and as we drove I saw my teaching partner Penny and her husband walking the road. We pulled over and got a quick hug.

It set the tone for the day.

I went to the Meetinghouse Deli and got my hugs and food for the day. I love those ladies, and they got me through my pregnancy with Quinn. Now they are getting me through chemo with food made with love and hugs and love notes.

I ran across the street for my hugs from the office. What teacher goes into school during summer vacation just for hugs?

This teacher.

I walked into the cancer center and all the ladies loved the hair. It’s bittersweet, as it’s something I would never have done or chosen, and it will only be for a few days as the third treatment is when it falls out. But it’s nice to know people will like how it looks when it grows back. I looked up Captain Marvel and pretend to be her.

My nurse Luisa took my vitals and told me they all pray for me, the nurses, doctors, secretaries, techs, janitorial staff. Then I saw my friend from high school’s sister in law Kim who hugged me quick.

My oncologist walked into the room with a new fellow, and right behind them was my special nurse Heather. She always finds me for hugs when I need them. I think my doctor is always a little surprised when she sees all the nurses hugging me. Love is the greatest medicine there is, and Stony Brook gives out extra.

She stood right in front of me with an excited look and I asked right away if she wanted to check the breast. She did and went right to my armpits, then nodded her head and smiled. Then she felt my breast and said, “Yes, lymph nodes are definitely smaller, tumor is more defined and smaller.”I grabbed onto her arms and cried.

She explained to the fellow how the tumor was taking up half of my breast and then the fellow examined me. As she did, my oncologist explained to her how I’m doing my own research experiment with the frozen peas and blueberries and socks, and explained how it made sense. She also said I am not her first oligometastatic patient but I am the first with something else going on. It felt good to hear that she has had other oligometastatic patients. She knows what it looks like.

She thinks I could be one of them.

We also discussed the liver and that it actually could be cancer. She doesn’t know why it isn’t lighting up as cancer though. When the chemo is done, she will compare all of the scans side by side. It could be too small to light up now. If it is cancer, this chemo should take it away. She also was glad I had all the blood taken elsewhere and would like to see the results, as well as discussed the biopsy. She said she is familiar with the CARIS, but they are actually starting to move away from it and using the Guardian360, which is a molecular one with more information. Her plan is to biopsy it after it is removed from surgery. Her plan made sense. That gut feeling immediately came, and it felt right. I told her I am interviewing the man from Oregon and will rely on my gut feeling to see if I add him to my team. She also said I was doing great as she looked at me. I told her Dr Snuffleuffugus was supporting me with his herbs. She told me I am now on a three week on, one week off cycle, as week three could be harder.

Three is a good number for me, so I am praying for the best. No chemo next week.

Then we left to go to chemo, and on the way I saw Wing, my nurse from my original biopsy.

More hugs.

We had trouble getting the IV and needle in, as they went by my wrist and didn’t use the heating packs like we usually do. The second nurse tried, asked me, “Where am I going?”, put a hot pack right where I pointed, and it went right in. She said it didn’t look like a good vein but it was a great one, so much so that Rob said blood came out and the nurse said not to look.

I breathed.

Then you wait for your labs to see if you can get chemo. They check your liver, kidneys, and red and white blood cells. I got the green light and we started.

Rob got right to work with the socks, peas, blueberries and ice chips spoon feeding in my mouth. He explained the reasoning as my nurses because it was a whole new crew. They watched me carefully the first fifteen minutes, looking if I took a deep breath or sighed, taking my blood pressure every five minutes as well as taking my temperature. Allergic reactions are serious and the nurses are on top of it.

It was funny when my nurse tried to take the temperature orally, as it wouldn’t even read because my mouth was too cold. She had to use my armpit and remarked how great I smelled. We had an informative discussion on deodorant, (i used Schmidt’s vanillla and rose yesterday because my secret nurse Amy gave it to me and joke I love hugging her because her armpits smell great.). I also told them how Danielle from the Peaceful Scorpion suggested just plain aloe from an aloe plant. We also discussed almond milk over regular milk and carageenan free is important.

She wrote it all down.

The nurses took a tour of the new building they are moving to in November. It has more privacy for patients, and even a place with an electric fireplace. I love the thought of it being more cozy. Comfort matters when you are in a chair for hours.

My friends Amy and Raquel sent me pictures of Amy donating her hair to locks of Love, right as I was talking about how I laughed about loving to hug her and smell her armpits. God is always right on time. Two angels in my life in one picture as I speak of them in a chemo chair.

I also got a funny watermelon picture from the Giving Room and laughed out loud. They are still recovering from Free KFS day.

Oregon called as well as we discussed how I will fax my results as soon as I get them. We also discussed the biopsy and she will let Donnie know. My hope is that I have this rock star oncologist learn about this rockstar holistic specialist and together they will be like the wonder twins and find ways to cure all cancers of all stages and types.

I finally finished and came home to beautiful sunflowers from a mystery friend. Thank you, friends. Cases and cases of Essentia Water and sunflowers left by mystery friends were silver linings.

I drank and drank water to flush it out of my system, then got picked up by Paula to go to a special evening.

I’ve heard of this woman, Maryann the Medium, for years as she is my sister in laws high school friend.

I love Jesus. I love the Bible. I know some people feel that mediums are wrong and evil spirits come through them. If you go to them you could go to hell.

I also know the Holy Spirit. I also have felt heaven a few times since the diagnosis. It’s pure love. That’s why I’m not afraid of the actual dying, because instead of just reading about it in the Bible, I’ve felt it.

Pure love.

Just love.

And isn’t that Jesus? He gave us a commandment to love. When you feel love, to me? That’s Jesus.

Jesus is love.

I sat in a room last night and there were several people I know. Maryann went to three of them.

I listened as well as felt the love she was talking about. She said everything I’ve felt. How there is no pain, no suffering, just love. That’s how the Bible explains heaven, that Jesus died for us and we all get to go there when we die and feel love like we’ve never felt and be healed.

She spoke of how our loved ones don’t want us suffering in pain and sadness, but to live and smile and honor the lives we have been given.

That’s sounds a lot like many of the Bible verses I’ve been reading.

She gave peace to many in that room.

As I got up to leave, a woman turned around from the front row and I saw my Heather again. I started and ended my day with hugs from her. God keeps putting her in my path. I’m so glad.

He always picks who I need when I dont even know I need them myself.

I came home and hugged the kids, then rob and I sat with Joe a while. I told him about my day and night, and explained that it was the Holy Spirit that whispered to my heart to take him in to our homes and hearts, as crazy as it was. I said how it can be hard for me to have such beautiful moments like the evening I just had and know that some people I love and respect think it could send me to hell. Rob mentioned Moses and Isaiah and other prophets in the Bible and I felt better. I also sometimes feel bad when I bring out tokens and prayers some Catholic friends have given me where you pray to Mary or St Jude or St Peregrine.

Rob said that I am always asking other people to pray for me here in earth. I ask on Facebook and Instagram and twitter and my blog. I can ask whoever I want to pray for me, but I know that Jesus is the one to go to and through. It’s never wrong to ask for prayers.

Have I mentioned how much I love Rob?

I’m up, as I think the steroids have me all jazzed up. I’m drinking water and then going to try and go back to bed. If that doesn’t work, into a detox bath I go.

I had a beautiful day yesterday.

Thank you to all of you who prayed and texted and sent messages and made by day even more beautiful.

I am so lucky.

Today may everything be as it should be.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Round Three

Today is round three of chemo.

Yesterday was phase two of haircuts.

Have I mentioned it’s been quite the summer?

I laughed yesterday morning when Paula decided to take on the behemoth 7-11 and their “Free Slurpee” day. I’ve never heard of the phrase “chemical shitstorm”, but now that I have, I’ll never bring my kids to free slurpee day again. I went to get thirteen vials of blood taken for the tests that Oregon wants, and got updates of the Giving Room running out of watermelons because Paula decided to make it “Free Watermelon Lemonade Day”. Pictures of watermelons, messages of FOKers (Friends of Keri) showing up, and lots of jokes made the morning go quickly.

Then I went for the haircut.

My mom came with me along with Quinn and Morgan. I’m doing my best to make this not so scary, and Quinn was super excited because I told him he could cut my hair. He did the first cut, morgan did the second, then Raquel brought out the buzzers.

That’s when it got real.

But wouldn’t you know, suddenly a song came on the radio.

Mariah Carey.

Hero.

It’s a song I used to sing along with and pretend I was Mariah Carey. The lyrics are all about finding strength to carry on and how the hero lies in you.

I couldnt believe it.

Raquel said the music always seems to find you when you need it.

The buzzing began and I saw in my mind how I will look when I go totally short. It’s scary for me. But this cut will help me adjust until that moment.

I’m so lucky God sent Raquel to me. There isn’t a bigger heart in Riverhead.

My kids loved the cut, and we went to get Maddie. She was shocked when she came out of work but said she liked it. Rob said he thinks I look beautiful, and Joe rubbed my head for good luck.

Everyone on Facebook was super kind and helped me get through the evening shock of not feeling hair on my neck. Thank you.

I joked how now that I look like the singer Pink, I may quit my teaching job and learn how to be a silk scarf acrobat. Glitter in the air and all that good stuff.

We hadn’t been sure all day if we were going to have plans or not for the evening, but ended up staying home. We watched some YouTube guy whose job is to go to Disney and make videos about it. It was nice to escape reality a little.

Today is round three.

I’ll be meeting my oncologist and praying when she examines me that she feels the tumors are softer, then I’ll go sit in a chair for hours and hours as I visualize magic potion entering my veins and Rob puts socks filled with frozen blueberries and peas on my hands and feet and spoon feeds me ice chips.

Do I know how to party or what?

If you manage to get to the beach today, put your feet in the water and stop and pray for me. Something about the beach and water. Feel free to send me pics. I’ll be breathing and praying and pretending I’m there with you.

Tonight I’m hoping to spend the night with three women who have become soul sisters. My soul has become quite good at recognizing who has that tiny spark that will help me light my way, and these three women have full on flames of light.

Surround yourselves with goodness, it makes life beautiful.

I’m off to get ready, take the steroids and pre-meds needed, then heading to the deli to eat like I’m about to head to downtown Cortland, get a hug from my school’s main office at 8:30, then I am off to the hospital.

Three has always been my magic number.

May round three be magical.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri