Not Today

I’m sick and tired of people badmouthing Facebook.

Let me tell you about Facebook for a minute.

Because of Facebook….

I’ve been able to research new drugs, find ways to combat side effects, and not feel so alone at three am in the morning when I’m up crying and praying that the five year statistic won’t apply to me.

Because of Facebook…

I’ve been able to share my story, and have had people sent to me. They then go to my healers, and i get messages like I did yesterday, from a woman I’ve never met who went to see Madame swoosh yesterday, and thanked me so much for the peace it brought her. Peace to someone with stage four breast cancer is fleeting… and helps me get back to sleep at three am.

Because of Facebook….

My nurses and staff at the hospital can keep up with ME, Keri, and know me as a person, not just a patient. They know who I am as a mother, teacher, wife and friend, and message me when I’m up at three am.

Because of Facebook…

I get support from people I knew from high school, college, former families of students, friends, and strangers. Support that gets me through the night now as I know a scan is coming in a month.

Because of Facebook…

Memories pop up from when I was first diagnosed and I can see how far I’ve come. Memories also pop up from before I was diagnosed and I can remember what life was like before cancer, and before the Scanxiety entered my life… especially at three am.

Yes.

I went to bed crying with rob trying to calm me down last night.

Yes.

I was up at three am trying to breathe through Scanxiety of trying to find a vein for the radiation, being stuck in a tube with banging and clanging for an hour while praying to God and Jesus and all sorts of prayers that for once can it be a good scan and oh my god please take it away forever.

Facebook is a reflection of you.

If you have issues with Facebook, you’re not using it correctly.

(And those who bash Facebook who have never even had it and refuse to sign up? They probably already know what theirs would look like.)

I am up and getting ready for school. I got an email from Hermina that tried to make me feel better about the rising tumor markers, and an email from Erin saying she is meeting with Donnie today. Tumor markers for me haven’t been reliable, but seeing them rise to the highest they’ve ever been doesn’t help a girl get back to sleep at three am.

I rewatched the Game of Thrones episode last night. I feel like Arya. She has faced death over and over and over. But every time death comes, she has the same answer.

“Not today”.

That’s what I say to the God of death when he comes at three am.

“Not today”.

And I’ll keep saying it for the next month as I wait for the scan, and get the results, and continue treatments and pills and potions.

I’ll keep saying it for the next forty years.

What do I say to the god of death?

Not today.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

What a week…

I went to the hospital Thursday. It started out rough.

Rob found out his aunt passed away, and I spent ten minutes in the car with Quinn who was crying and saying he felt “weird”.

Hospital days are hard on him, and he gets anxious and can’t explain it.

But when he brings his stuffed animal into the car and hugs it all the way to school, I know.

We practice breathing, I hold his hand, we talk about the good things, and I remind him I’m doing ok, and even though it may be scary to think of mommy going in and getting shots, I’m doing ok, and we have a Chinese man and a man in Oregon and a French woman and a brilliant doctor and compassionate nurses and Jesus all helping us out.

Then I managed to get him into school, and I went to his teacher and cried and got hugs.

I texted my parents and rob, cleaned up my face, and got ready to start my day.

That was all by 8:00 am.

I taught all morning, wrote the script for a show with another teacher that our kinders are doing, ran to my parents to drop off Quinn’s stuffed animal so he had it when he was picked up, then went home.

My friend Paula came and dropped off some juices and we had lunch together. We looked at some of my new books and it kept my mind busy as I waited for rob.

Some were recommended by my friend Juli at “Knead and Seed”, and one was recommended by a teacher who prayed over me last week with another teacher and principal. That was amazing, and I’ve never been prayed over before like that.

Then it was time to go to the hospital.

Everything went well.

My port worked, I got the injection in the belly for the bones and the two in the lower back/buttocks for hormone suppression,(“Fassy is the Assy”).

My doctor sent in her fellow to meet me. She said Dr Stopeck and Hermina love me, and said she should meet me because I’m an interesting case.

She asked me about my research, knew about my Annie Apppleseed conference and wrote it down, took pictures of my “Vital Strategies in Cancer” book that I’m reading to share, and Donnie’s and Snuffleuffugus names. I told her about Jane Maclellands book “How to Starve cancer”, the “Radical Remission” book, and “Hope Never Dies” by Rick Shapiro. I told her all about Donnie Yance and the Mederi Center, and how Donnie and Dr Snuffleuffugus are helping my body stay strong. She also looked up my blog. She asked if she could examine me and I told her I always let people feel my breast if they want so they know what a tumor feels like, even a dead one. Maybe I’m also teaching future oncologists as well. Every medical school should have patient interaction practicals where they can sit and talk with patients about how we are supporting ourselves through treatment.

Dr Stopeck came in and said I look great. We laughed and joked about juices, and spoke about a big conference she is heading to soon.

We are also scheduling a MRI/PET scan for June 10. The tumor markers are rising, which is always hard to see.

However, I’ve been banging a gong and shouting for years against standardized testing that our students are more than a score.

I am more than a cancer marker number.

My right leg went a little dead, as the liquid as it is injected or needle could have touched a nerve, so I was dragging a leg a bit at Morgan’s junior honor society induction.

But I was AT the induction…

Because I ‘m counting UP.

Onward and upward, friends.

My next appointment for injections is June 6, field day. I’ll scream all morning for my kinders then head out for the last appointments of the day.

This past week was difficult where I work as well. We’ve had a lot of heartache and anger and disgust. My district was in the news for something we never ever EVER imagined would be in the realm of possibility.

In times of like these, people either pile on and make the fire burn bigger and hotter and spread…

Or people walk into the fire and say, “I’m here. I am with you. Here, have some water. We’re going to make it through.”

Those people are especially important when children and young adults are involved and are discussing what has happened.

Morgan was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. It was a beautiful night and I saw so many former students.

I saw a lot of my district administration at Morgan’s ceremony. I went up and talked to them all after the celebration.

Listen, let me be very clear.

Everyone may not agree at all times.

But they love this town and the kids in it.

It’s been a week for them too, and now they have had a lot more work thrust upon them and a situation they never dreamed would ever be in the scope of reality, while also dealing with their own feelings of shock and anger and disgust.

Social media can be brutal, and everyone is taking a beating, and I am sending prayers of love, guidance, wisdom and strength to everyone.

I wouldn’t want to be them right now.

It’s been a week.

A total roller coaster of a week.

But it’s now in the past, and today is a new day.

I’m staying where my feet are.

Madison took her first AP exam in Physics, and she studied right up until ten pm Thursday night. “Four or more” is the rallying cry I made up for her and her friends. I had a bunch of them come and study last weekend at my house. They needed a quiet place to focus after all of the news they had heard. Maddie feels confident she may have gotten a four or five.

I’ve got a busy day, and lots of prayers in my heart.

Especially for Madisons ROTC unit that will be holding their heads up high at a competition, and showing other schools what our district REALLY is all about.

Prayers for a former student and his mother, who have been in my heart since he was in my class many years ago.

Prayers for my friend Alycia’s children and mother who will have their first Mother’s Day without her.

And prayers for everyone reading this. May you all know the love of Jesus and have it fill your heart.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Are we Not Like the Birds?

I found this post from last year on my Facebook memories. It’s a good one…

“Shin Teriyama’s Chorus at Dawn”

I did not sleep much last night. Pain from the injections, disbelief that I’m a stage four cancer patient in a trial, wondering how this became my life, hot sweats, then Quinn climbing into bed around 11:30.

He had been doing well, but then the hospital happened yesterday.

Two steps forward, one step back.

He draped his arm over me most of the night, as if subconsciously holding me. Even when he rolled around, he ended up breathing in my face, arm over my chest. I was up anyway, so I practiced breathing my love over him.

Dawn came, although the night was long. And with it?

The birds.

Roosters, assorted birds, and the woodpecker. I remember my friend jen telling me that whenever I heard a woodpecker, that was from my Uncle Larry. I videotaped it so my mom and dad, (who stalk me on Facebook), could hear it.

Uncle Larry was singing away today.

There was a story I read when I was first diagnosed about a man from China, Shin Terayama. He was a successful businessman, and then?

Diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer with metastasis to organs. They sent him home to die.

Instead?

He looked at the cancer as if it was his child. He sent it unconditional love. Whenever he was in pain, he thought of it at his child telling him of a pain, and so he did what any parent would do. He touched where the pain was and would say, “I love you, it’s okay. I love you.” He also noticed the birds singing. He did research and came up with the theory that birds sing in the morning because that’s when photosynthesis happens, and oxygen is at its purest. So he got up every morning and breathed deep, sending love to the cancer child, and listened to the chorus at dawn. He also played the cello and felt music healed him.

Some others say birds sing in the morning as a mating call and as a way to let others know they are still here, and their territory still has them in charge. “Yes, I made it through the night. Yes, I am strong. Yes, I want love.”

Are we not like the birds?

Cornelia Van Dalem wrote in an article that ….”In the book A Pilgrimage with the Animals, Dr Lascelles introduces us to the subtle nature of animals, and points to our failure to understand them as spiritual beings having a role and function in the labyrinth of life. “I want you to think of what you call the dawn chorus of the birds, that strange moment of nature just before the morning light seeps through. Suddenly, as you may have noticed if you have been lying awake, every bird in the neighbourhood breaks into song as though obeying some signal. For a time, while it is dark, the air is filled with orchestrated sound – the triumphant, challenging and positive sound of birds in song.”

“Now, why is this so? What prompts the birds into such a performance unequalled at any other time during the day?….This massed heralding in of the day awakens the earth in a magical way. Yes, actually awakens the earth as though God had arranged it, as indeed He has.”

“Animals are blessed with an instantaneous and un-thought-out wisdom. They are in direct contact with God and they act and live as though they are fully aware of it. Men are also in contact with God, but most of them act as though they have never heard of God because they are largely veiled off from their divine centre by their own thinking minds of which they are so proud.”

Amazing.

The plants in the ground also react to the birdsong, and know it is time to grow. Think of where there are no birds at all. Is there much life? Deserts? Think of the rainforest… how lush and vibrant. It’s the birds singing to the plants to grow. God’s own alarm clock for all of life.

Don’t we all come to life as well when the bird sings?

The first song I ever played for my kids was the Iz version of “Somewhere

over the Rainbow”. Right after they were born, I had Rob press play in the delivery room.

Want to know the second?

“Blackbird”, sung by Sarah Maclachlan.

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise”

As for Shin, he was diagnosed in 1988, and one year after being sent home to die…

He was cancer free.

And has been for thirty years. He dedicated his life to helping others.

I love happy endings.

So tomorrow, set your alarm, then go outside and listen to the birds. You won’t hear them sing during the day,

But at dawn…

You’ll hear a symphony waking the world to a new day.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

The Courage to Pray

This past week was rough.

The energy was horrible, lots of strife, shocking news, and unsettling feelings.

It wasn’t only me feeling this energy vibration.

A lot of people said it was a hard week.

A big part of the issue is the weather. It has been raining or cloudy and cold for what seems like weeks, and that affects us emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. I bet everyone is vitamin D deficient at this moment.

So when I received an email Thursday from a colleague that she felt called to contact me and pray over me, I immediately said yes.

It takes courage to reach out to someone and say, “I feel called by God to pray over you”, and have a message of love and compassion come through. Sometimes people want to pray over you because they don’t agree with your life decisions or choices and want to change you.

But this message was for healing.

It also takes courage to accept the prayer.

All you need is faith the size of a mustard seed in order to believe that your story is already written, and He knows the plans He has for you and they are good.

So I got up early went to her school, and we were joined by the principal and another teacher for prayer.

Let me tell you…

I’ve NEVER been prayed over like I was yesterday. We were in a circle, holding hands, and the second they started simultaneously praying over me, I began to cry and couldn’t stop.

Literally couldn’t stop.

Like weeping, sobbing mess , cry in a flash and can’t stop.

Then?

They all laid hands on my spine and prayed some more, and when I opened my eyes? There, right in front of me, was a picture of Jesus.

One that I love.

I kid you not.

The energy totally shifted as they prayed over me and I absolutely felt His presence among us.

It was healing, beautiful, amazing, and I was also awed at strength of the prayers that these three colleagues said over me.

I hugged them all when they finished, cleaned my face up, and left to head to my own building in a bit of a daze.

I was in a thin place at that moment, where the veil between God and us was lifted.

I called Rob and cried all the way to my school as I told him what just happened.

I got to school, and something happened that would have alarmed me had it happened any other time, but because it happened right after I was

Prayed over, I feel it was a sign of healing. (I’m sparing you physical details, but I told some friends and I am ok.)

I felt full of love the rest of the day.

A switch.

If I hadnt actually experienced it, I wouldn’t believe it, even with all of my faith.

I also ordered a book by Stephen Furtick that one of the people who prayed over me told be to read. It’s about the chatterbox in our heads.We all tell ourselves the bad story, or worst case scenario. Don’t listen to that chatterbox, and instead tell yourselves the best possible story for your life that you can, and then know that your story can be even greater because God can do anything.

Quinn was supposed to camp out last night but it was postponed due to all of the rain. He is already up and out of the door with rob to begin the camp out today.

I’m in a detox bath cleansing out the rest of the leftover negative energy and toxins to begin this week anew.

I also had a great conversation last night with a man who I feel wants to do great things for the kids of our district. We spoke the same language, and I felt amazing energy over the phone.

There are two types of people.

People who see all the negatives and talk about that, and people who see the potential and positives and speak about those.

The latter are my kind of people.

That’s a post for another day.

I cant wait to tell you.

Today I’ll catch up on cleaning, and prepare for tomorrow. The kids in the high school had quite a week with a lot of questions and emotions, and some have a big AP Physics test this week. They want to reset and get to a quiet place to study and focus to prepare for their exam, so my basement will be a study hall all day tomorrow for the kids who really want to buckle down and focus.

I’ll be upstairs praying over all of them.

Madison was talking to me about her generation, and how many of them can be cruel and cutting and not at all empathetic. She said that teens always rebel, and that if you look at the news, the “political correctness” has been a huge focus. Which means kids will always rebel and do what they are told not to do.

Which has true for generations.

We are a reactionary society and tell kids what not to do and how to be, when instead we should be having conversations, building relationships, allowing all opinions to be heard so we can learn and grow and listen to each other, and adults should model it for them.

“Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t cut it.

“Let the children come to me” does. Let the children come to us and talk WITH them, not TO them. Hug them, and make sure they are ok and feel loved.(Not entitled, but loved.)

And maybe someday, when they see someone who needs it, they will have the courage to say,”I’ve been called to pray with you, come pray!”, and they’ll hold hands and give blessings over other people’s hearts.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri