Get up and Get Grateful

It was a rough weekend…. but today I wake up grateful.

The side effects hit me so hard, I had to go to my parents house. I didn’t want my kids to see me in such bad shape.

I spent all day Sunday crying, dealing with headaches, bone pain, nausea, and feeling like I fell into the deep dark hole of “How is this my life and how can I keep going on like this?” My mom and dad took good care of me, and this almost forty seven year old felt like a seven year old again with toast and tea and my mom telling me to keep breathing. We also watched Christmas movies.

Add on more messages of people saying how disgusted they are by innuendoes and false posts about teachers… and many who are reading it are thinking it’s implying me… by people who are just angry and love to bash people…

And then news of a friend who has suddenly needed brain surgery for Mets…

It was a rough day.

I prayed for my friend, and for the angry people who love to beat up others in social media. Hurt people love to hurt others. Angry people love to stir up anger.

I’ll stick with the healers and love givers and people with kindness.

Monday was better.

I’m staying ahead of the bone pain and nausea as best as I can. We try to keep the kids occupied during the heavy chemo weekends and my friends came through.

My kids are learning a lot about who surprises you and who you learn you can count on. It’s surprising when people say to just ask if you need help, you ask, and suddenly no help is available. But it’s also surprising who just steps up and helps without being asked.

The kindness of others can be so humbling and awe inspiring.

We even managed to get out and run to Target so I could get makings for broth and some more OTC drugs.

And we got the best parking spot:

I’m off to work today, and will be able to mask the pain of the bones. It might snow, which is always a beautiful thing when you are in a class of four and five year olds.

It’s magic.

May everyone’s day be full of magic.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Why Surroundings Matter

Yesterday showed me something so important.

Your surroundings matter.

I took off yesterday morning so I could vacuum, mop, wash sheets, catch up on laundry, and clean the kitchen.

Then?

I decided to put away all of the Halloween decorations and autumn lights… and set up for Christmas.

I said to myself that if the tumor markers were bad and went up, at least it would look like Christmas. While I’m sick on the couch this weekend, seeing Christmas lights would make me happier. If I had to tell my kids bad news, seeing Christmas when they came home would soften the blow.

Your environment matters.

We went off to Stony Brook and I was anxious. They finally opened their huge new wing in the main hospital. Going for chemo is always stressful, then add on a new place and new procedures…anxiety rises.

But man oh man.

It was fantastic.

They have valet parking for patients. Do you know how amazing it is to have your car called for and waiting for you after sitting in a chair for hours getting chemo?

There is artwork everywhere. The lighting is amazing. It feels like an art gallery or museum.

The security guard welcomed us and walked us to the elevator and pressed the button for us. There were dolphin balloons right where the elevator opened, as the pediatric center is there too. I saw several children with bald heads in wheelchairs, and lifted my palms out toward them quietly and sent them prayers. I’m lucky it came at 43 years of age. Ill never get why it hits children. We need research now to fix this.

The people at the check-in desk now wear uniforms and look like flight attendants. You get a tracker so they monitor your wait time and know where you are. That was great as we were able to leave to get soup and drinks in their new Panera right… down.. stairs. There is a Jamba Juice too! They accessed my port in a nice Spacious room and it worked like a charm. The waiting room has floor to ceiling windows and is beautiful.

I was called in to the infusion area and I couldn’t stop smiling. When I was showed my chair spot?

I couldnt believe it. It was almost as big as a hospital room. My chair had seat warmers!!!Rob even had a little couch! I looked out a huge window instead of staring at a nurses desk.

The paint was a light cream instead of mustard yellow. They had hanging lights. There is even an area with a fireplace for goodness sake!!!

I had a brand new nurse for me this time and I threw her off because I was smiling so wide. We talked about how fancy it was and laughed as we spoke fancy to each other.

The most comforting thing though was the faces. I saw all of my friends. They aren’t my nurses anymore. They are my friends and sisters who I can cry with and get hugs.

Jean kept coming over and checking on me, and she is family now.

Dr Stopeck was away and her assistant was called out on an emergency, so we saw her nurse Mary and discussed a new blood tumor test Donnie really wants me to get. OncoDNA is the name and he feels it will give me a better look at options down the road.

Hermina stopped by, and I also met another patient of Dr Stopeck’s. It was amazing. She is a teacher too, stage four from the get go, started at Sloan and was told to go home and get her affairs in order. She fired them and found Dr Stopeck four and a half years ago. As we talked, I kept feeling like we would have a connection, so I mentioned chinese herbs, Dr Snufflufogus, Donnie Yance, Rick Shapiro, Annie Appleseed, Nalie Augustin, Stephanie Seyban, books and movies…I kept talking because I knew I would say someone.

And then she asked how I met Donnie and Snuffy..

I told her because I taught a boy and his name…

And she said…”Wait, from the Golden Earthworm??? I get my CSA from there and my cousin used to work there!!!”

Hermina and I looked at each other and I said, “There it is! Six degrees of separation!”

After we exchanged contact information, my nurse came over with the tumor markers.

They all…went…down.

I sobbed and sobbed and cried like a baby.

They went to get Jean and we hugged.

Rob and I took our picture and I let my family know, then I texted my nurse squad, then I put it out for all of my prayer warriors on social media. You have no idea what that meant to me.

It means more time.

It means that as I am so sick this weekend and feel like I’m going to die, I know I’m getting more time to live.

Jean and Hermina also discussed my pain. I told them how I cried all night one night and felt like my back was literally breaking. I’m hiding it well, but I’m in constant pain in my back and legs while exhausted and nauseous. Jean had Hermina turn around and she she pointed out on Hermina where my biggest bones are in my body… the sacrum and thigh bones. That’s where the neulasta is hitting the hardest, and forcing the marrow to produce mature white blood cells faster.

It’s not cancer growing.

It’s the body fighting.

We finally finished and as we walked out, Rob and I stopped by the fire place to take a picture.

We gave hugs goodbye, turned in the tracker, met the valet attendant and left.

Then I called my mom and cried.

Rob was hungry so we went to the mall to eat, I pounded more water, and we took a picture by their huge Christmas tree. If I wasnt so tired I would have tracked down Santa in the mall and sat on his lap for a picture.

My dad texted me when he brought the kids home that they were so excited and surprised to walk in and see Christmas set up in the house. They had spent all day knowing their mom was in the hospital and not knowing what the markers would be when they got home, which is traumatic for a child, and came home to a clean house and Christmas. They were thrilled for the good news.

Here’s the thing about yesterday and what it did for me.

You see, our district has put up a bond. Our schools are overcrowded and I believe one building has the same toilets from almost one hundred years ago when the building was built. I’ve gone to Eastport for NYSSMA and I walked around in awe. I’ve gone upstate for swim meets and walked around in awe in those buildings. Then I come back to riverhead and think… “I wish we had that”. But we are land rich and people poor. Politicians have never done their job or done right by us or helped us.The initial proposed bond was pie in the sky and a dream. It’s been cut and cut and cut again to bare bones. Yes, there is a track and some athletic additions. Can they cut that too? Yes.

Here’s the thing.

I went into chemo yesterday and felt so at peace, so happy, so comfortable… because of the care the hospital put into making the surroundings good for the patient.

Imagine if society does the same for children?

I busted my ass and got donations for a courtyard this year while going through chemo, and every time we walk by and look outside we see beautiful and colorful mums, straw bales, corn stalks, scarecrows… and every single child smiles.

Your outside surroundings change your inside makeup. When you are surrounded by chaos, overcrowded, it affects not only your education, but your physical and emotional and mental state. This in turn affects your hormones, your immune system, your inflammation, even your DNA. It literally changes your cells. What are we doing to our children?

If your surroundings show you are important, you are cared for… that you matter…

You can do anything.

There are numbers going around and misconceptions being spread. People need to call the district office and find out their own tax increase. I’m expecting mine to be about $500 or so a year. Is that going to be easy? As a stage four cancer patient whose money goes to treatments? No. But if this bond fails, I shudder to think of what will happen. Split sessions? Cut sports? Music? Clubs? My kids deserve the best. So do yours. I cant afford private school, so that’s out of the realm of options.

Riverhead is all I have.

Riverhead is all I want.

The teachers are like my nurses in the infusion center. They are the heart and make it work no matter what. They are the best. Just look at my kids, thriving through their mothers cancer diagnosis. We couldn’t do this without them.

Your environment matters.

It mattered more than I thought it would yesterday. It made yesterday even better than I dreamed.

We can do the same for our kids.

I’ve been up most of the night. The neulasta machine on my arm is uncomfortable and blinks a green light every few seconds. Morgan had a nightmare and was calling out “Dad!!! Dad!!! I woke up and saw blinking light and thought the police were outside… but it was the neulasta light blinking on my arm by my eyes. You don’t go back to an easy sleep after that…at 10:45 pm.

I’ll go to work today, and keep tissues handy as the sweats began pretty intensity when we left the hospital. Literally dripping down my face into my eyes. Remember the movie airplane? Yup.

The heartburn also began so Prilosec and Claritin for bone pain will begin on top of all the other pills and potions.

It’s purple day, so I’ll wear my purple hair… which will look great as my face gets redder and redder as the day goes on.

I got a message from Erin that Donnie likes the idea of doxil as a possible next step. She also said Donnie’s wife jen saw the movie yesterday and she said it was amazing. They are excited I’ll be at the premier and asked permission to acknowledge me in the program and at the show where it will premiere. I cant wait to meet Donnie and hug him and the staff in person.

Please pray for me today as I enter the next hard few days. My family and friends have all stepped up and offered to keep my kids busy so they don’t have to see me on the couch sick all day. I’m going to head into the detox bath in a bit to begin to try to help lessen side effects while keeping my arm and the naulasta contraption above water.

May we all have a peaceful day.

Stay warm, friends…

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Last Round AC

Today is the fourth round of chemo.

I remember getting the news that I had to do Adriomycin and cyxtoxin. Rob ran to school, I sat in my assistant principals office, we called my oncologist, emailed my herbalist, emailed Donnie, and I sobbed and sobbed as rob told both my principals the news. We had been warned this is the hardest chemo they have. We weren’t sure I would be able to work, as many are too exhausted and nauseus to function. I sobbed over losing my hair again… knowing this time it would all truly go.

But somehow…

I’ve made it through.

I continued to work, and we finally hit our groove in kindergarten. I managed to have an entire garden donated thanks to amazing friends, and we have a beautiful courtyard. There were fundraisers held for my oncologist, and this month we will be giving her a check to help fund her research. I shaved my head with my children and husband, and brought back out the wigs. I was featured in articles and wrote an editorial for stage four awareness. I called out racism and prejudice and sexism in the town and was banned from a group. I wear that as a badge of honor. I received a letter telling me I am no longer allowed communion in the church, was contacted by multiple news organization, and decided to have peace in my life over and exposing the evil that lies in men’s hearts who hijack the teachings of Jesus. People who talk the talk and don’t walk the walk are the worse hypocrites. I taught breathing and meditation and yoga and manifestation to over sixty colleagues. I’ve been vocal over the school bond vote, and continued to fight for our children… all of them.

I’ve learned to try and find the sick twisted humor in all of this.

And now, I’m getting the fourth round.

I’m anxious.

My back has been hurting more and more.

The tumor markers dropped, but today will be the really important one. They need to drop even more. You can’t stay on this chemo, as it damages your heart. We need the markers to drop so we can order just an MRI, then we need to find another chemo to keep it stable… and pray and pray for more research and more drugs to keep me alive.

I’m leaving the hard season and entering a storm.

The time before a scan is dark.

You could get great news, or you can get blindsided. I’ve been blindsided every single time for the last almost two years. Every single chemo they’ve had me in hasn’t even given me the three months breathing time. Maybe I’ll decorate for Christmas to help me breathe.

Today I head to the brand new wing in the hospital. It’s going to be all new today…new doctor office, new infusion center. Im not seeing my oncologist as she is in South Korea giving a talk to their medical oncology association. But I’ll see everyone else.

The last round hit me harder, and I’m expecting this one to be worse. I was supposed to play in the Harlem Wizards game tonight, but the chemo won’t end in time. I decided to take off this morning too, and clean the house. There’s nothing worse than being sick and looking at a messy house and piles of laundry. I’ll get a jump start this morning, then head to the hospital at 12.

Port access and labs are at 1:30.

Then a visit to the oncology assistant.

Then the chemo process begins at 3:00.

They push fluids and anti nausea meds and steroids first, then the syringes of adriomycin, then the bag of Cytoxin. I’ll be drinking tons of water and running to the bathroom. This chemo makes your pee red, and you have to try and flush it out as fast as you can.

I’m hoping to be finished by 5:00 or 5:30.

I’m not ringing the bell this time.

I’m hungry too, as I’ve started the fast. Nothing to eat from Tuesday night until Saturday.

People still get shocked and think I’m going to be done with chemo.

Then they hear we have to figure out a new one.

Stage four means chemo forever… until we run out of options.

Please pray the tumor markers drop drastically, this round of chemo knocks it all out of the body, and it stays gone for years and years and years and years.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

One time… at EdCamp…

It was a good day yesterday.

I always love being around my colleagues, as after having worked in this district for over 22 years, they’ve become family. As my children move up through the grades, I get to know more and more amazing people.

I was shocked when I was called up to the stage to lead the pledge, and had a total mini panic attack on the way up.

The whole time I was thinking…”Crap… how does it start???”

That’s called chemo brain.

I’ve said the pledge every day for over 22 years, but yesterday? For about thirty seconds as I walked up to the stage, I was working on remembering the first three words.

I got it before I got to the microphone.

We had a beautiful moment as a staff when a former graduate of our district came back to give a keynote speech. Shamel Lewis was one of those kids who gave his teachers a run for their money. (He has since changed his name to Antonio Diaz). He was removed from his home from CPS at two years old and sent to live with foster families. He was beaten as a child. He was hungry. He was diagnosed with ADHD. His father was incarcerated and both parents had substance abuse issues. He stole yo-yos at pulaski because he didn’t have any toys at home. He can count on one hand how many christmases he celebrated. He told us how he was beaten once so bad for taking popcorn when he was hungry.

But here is what he also had.

Two teachers who believed in him, fed him, loved him.

Because of the relationships that formed, he was told about the two paths he could take. One was the path of his family, and the other was the path to freedom.

He was steered toward sports, and he joined football, basketball and wrestling. In eleventh grade he joined track… and went on to become undefeated. He broke records and went to states.

THIS is why sports matters.

He said he loved school, and worked hard.

He went off to Syracuse university, got his degrees and is currently working on his doctorate. He has formed his own organization, which teaches young men how to become good husbands and fathers. He speaks to schools on the importance of forming relationships with students. He spoke about how he became a Christian, and as a young man , he only heard the words, “I love you” maybe three times. Once he became Christian, he heard it all the time.

It was great, and I think the district should bring him back to speak to every child from pulaski street up to the high school.

Stories matter.

He has an amazing one.

The rest of the day was filled with everyone choosing classes that they felt would benefit them. I had gotten to school at 7:15 to set up my class and I am so glad I did.

I brought a whole bunch of yoga mats, flowers, tea light candles, my portable speaker, handouts, essential oils, and had practiced my class over and over the night before.

I kept the lights off and as people walked in, the gym was transformed into a sanctuary. I taught two classes. The first one had about twenty six people or so and went smoothly.

The second one had almost forty people.

Here’s the thing.

Almost one week after being told I could no longer get communion in part because of yoga and energy work…

God sent me over sixty people to teach how to breath, do yoga, meditate and manifest miracles in their lives.

I had more people in that gym with me in one day than my former church has had in their pews in years.

That’s called validation.

I also attended a class with kindergarten teachers around the district. We’ve had our hands full with so many issues this year. No one works harder than kindergarten teachers in the beginning of the year.

Period.

We have so many concerns, and being around others who have the same concerns helped us to feel not so alone and not so crazy.

The day ended and I went home, pretty exhausted.

My back is hurting again. Rob said it’s from all the lifting I did of the crates of yoga mats and blankets. I’m praying that’s what it is.

Today I begin fasting, and won’t eat again until Saturday.

It’s so hard, especially as today is usually the day I begin to feel better and normal. Then BOOM! Chemo tomorrow and the cycle begins again.

I’m anxious about the tumor markers tomorrow, especially after having such back pain and pain in my right thigh bone. I’m praying it’s the neulasta.

Today I’ll teach all day then prepare for tomorrow. I’ll clean up the house a bit as this weekend I’ll be on the couch recovering.

Election Day is over, and I hope the elected officials figure out a way to help our school district, instead of just saying to vote no on the bond. They get to make their budget and only have to have their council vote on it. Hopefully they remember how hard they worked for this election and the votes they got and remember we are working even harder for a more noble cause…

The children.

Children like Shamel, who came from such trauma and poverty that he had to steal his teacher’s lunch in order to eat that day. Because voters supported the school back then, he has become an amazing man who is giving back to the society in a huge way.

Paying it forward.

Today may we all find a way to pay it forward, form relationships that help us make the world better, and breathe.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Beware the Bears

Today is a big day for two reasons.

The first is Election Day.

I have not been happy with the ugliness and mean spirited spiritedness of the town supervisor race. Supporters and candidates have taken jabs every chance they can. Things are said and you don’t know who to believe. I hope whoever wins decides to work with grace, compassion, and class, and realizes that the school district needs help.

The school district needs the bond to pass.

The school district is the heart of the town.

The town council race, on the other hand, was totally different. I watched all five candidates and wished all five could be elected. They handled themselves with class, knowledge, and they all seemed as if they could hang out at a party and be friends. That’s what we need. People willing to work with anyone and everyone to make this town as great as it can be, instead of sneering and snarling at each other.

No matter who you vote for, make sure you vote. It’s a right and privilege, and every year I’m shocked more people don’t vote. We have become an apathetic society. It’s time to get involved and help make the changes we need.

No matter who wins, hold them accountable.

Raise your voice and stay involved.

It’s also a big day in the school district.

We are having a superintendents conference day and the district is trying something new.

EdCamp.

There are multiple sessions addressing everything possible that an educator could be dealing with today. It’s like a menu, and the district is using its own teachers as well as outside experts to facilitate the conversations and learning.

I’m teaching two sessions.

I chose to discuss what I feel is the biggest threat to educators and students today…

Trauma.

It doesn’t matter what program we choose to teach, or which standards we are told to use…

If the children are coming to us with trauma, they won’t learn.

Imagine you are in the forest, and you see a bear. Your body sends a signal to increase cortisol, adrenaline, your pupils dilate, your heart beats faster, your breath increases, and voila! Your body is now in fight or flight mode. You can fight the bear or run away.

Which is great, if you’re in a forest… and there’s a bear.

But what if the bear is in your house every night, disguised as a parent with a substance abuse problem? Or a parent who abuses you? Or the bear is a parent who is in jail and missing?

Or what if the bear is disguised as a bully, and follows you around in school? Or your family went through hell to escape their homeland where there was danger, and you are now in a new place where you don’t understand the language but know that the people around taunt you and Give you side eye?

Or what if you were born here and are a citizen, but because of how you look those same propel assume you don’t belong and taunt you anyway?

Or what if you don’t follow the societal norms and love you who love, or want to be who you feel you were meant to be?

Or what if your poor and can’t afford the cool

Kids clothes?

Having a bear follow you around all day causes immeasurable trauma. And no one is safe from the bear. I mention childhood trauma and people will think of others from poverty level backgrounds or different cultures. But actually, we all have trauma.

My own children are suffering every day with the bear. Our bear is cancer bear. They live with a bear that every day says their mom is going to die and makes her sick and lose her hair.

Trauma changes you. Emotionally… mentally… and physically. It actually gets under your skin and changes your DNA. It affects your immune system. It causes inflammation.

There was a study done and children with trauma are four times more likely to abuse drugs.

Twelve times more likely to attempt suicide.

Who cares about learning geometry when you don’t want to live?

Our country is great with public health crisis awareness… when it wants to be.

Drug campaigns, HIV/AIDS…

They are now waking up to vaping.

But WHY do kids vape?

It’s because they need to feel or escape from something in their lives.

Which is where my class today comes in.

Meditation, mindfulness, manifesting, yoga, breathwork.

Give the kids and adults some tools they can use to move through trauma.

Tame the bear.

I’m nervous, as it’s always harder to teach in front of colleagues. I’m loading up my car with extra yoga mats and blankets, essential oils, my portable speaker, tea light candles and flowers.

The teachers in my district have had several bears following them around.

We all know how much the bond is needed, and we’ve got people running in politics saying to vote no. They should walk through our halls someday. Bears.

We are dealing with an influx of students and are overcrowded. Bears.

We’ve got children who don’t speak the language and we have to educate them with limited resources. Bears.

We’ve got new programs .. not one.. but two.. to learn and navigate while dealing with overcrowding and language issues. Bears.

We’ve got different cultures and races clashing and we are tasked with bringing them together. Bears.

We’ve got townspeople and the usual commenters bashing the jobs we do, when they couldn’t even last a day if they were to walk in our shoes. Bears.

We’ve got our own lives and children and families and issues we have to leave at the door every day. Bears.

So today, I’m going to play some soft music, hand out lavender oil to rub on their hands and breathe in, and teach them how to relax, restore, breathe and reset their fight or flight so they can help others with the bears that follow them around.

I’ve only got a half hour.

I’m nervous but happy to be of service to these amazing men and women who are helping my own children as they deal with cancer bear.

I hope my class today is a gift they take with them and use every day as they face the bears.

May we all vote today and the best people for our town win. May they work together to make this town the jewel that it can be. May the staff of our district come together and learn and become energized, so they can go back tomorrow and continue to do the amazing work they have been doing.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Homecoming

I had such a wide ranging amazing day yesterday.

And it started off with me thinking I wouldnt be able to get out of bed.

I woke up completely exhausted, as most teachers do the days after Halloween. I forced myself to get up, take my herbs and supplements and meds, took a shower, drew on my eyebrows, and then laid down on the couch. I rested for another hour then off I went.

The North Fork Breast Coalition was hosting a spa day for breast cancer patients at the Blue Sage Day Spa. I resist going to any and all “support group” type activities. It’s hard as I tend to absorb the energy of others, and I’m much better talking one to one with others. But I love Melanie, who organized it, as well as Charlene, who owns the spa and has been a dear friend for years. I was surprised as soon as I walked in by two women whom I’ve met them through facebook and one at last year’s gala, so there were familiar faces which was comforting. We all introduced ourselves, and the majority of women were stage four. Two are newly diagnosed, and I sat and realized that I’m the women for them who I looked for when I was first diagnosed… years out from the shitty prognosis, still living my life.

I hoped that by being there those women saw hope as well.

One woman said she had found my blog one day, and she learned more about stage four form my blog than from any oncologist.

And THAT is why I continue to share.

I had a lovely treatment, and then left a little early. It’s too hard for me to be in “Cancerland”, and needed to be in a normal life setting to rebalance myself.

Madison has just ended her SAT after five hours so I went to check on her, then ran to the homecoming game to check on Morgan.

Let me tell you…

Going to the homecoming game was amazing. I got so many hugs from former parents and students. Everyone was on a great mood. Our team, which was moved up to division one and placed on the bottom of the boards, won the game and will be in the playoffs. The school pride was palpable. How I wish we could bottle that up and have everyone see what I see.

I stayed for the band and cheerleaders and cheered them on at halftime, then went home and slept on the couch.

My dad asked if I had checked Facebook and when I did, I was blown away.

You see, years and years ago, MTV had a show called “The Real World”, a show where they put strangers from all walks of life into a house as a social experiment. There was a young man named Kevin powell, who has gone on to become a a well known and respected author, activist, blogger, public speaker. My friend Mark Naison, who is also a well known professor and author, shared my blog with Kevin about the denial of communion from my church..

Kevin decided to write an article and had it published in the national publication called “The Progressive”.

I wad shocked, and humbled.

He wrote eloquently and hit the nail on the head. So thank you, Kevin.

https://progressive.org/dispatches/american-graffiti-church-cancer-hate-faith-powell-191102/

Rob and I took the opportunity of me being semi-well to go out to dinner for a date.

It was lovely, and felt like the days before cancer took over our lives. Then we crashed the Riverhead Class of 89 reunion.

I didn’t even go to riverhead, but having taught here for years, I feel I’m a blue wave. It’s a great group of people in that class year, and we ran in for some quick hugs.

We came home and as we walked up the stairs to bed, rob started laughing. He said, “Keri… it’s 8:30.”

When you took into account the time change, I was in bed and asleep by nine.

Two words….

Rock… star.

Today is Sunday. Many people will be going to church today.

Not me.

I’ll be going to the rotary pancake breakfast early with Morgan and her friend who slept over. Rob used to be so involved in rotary before cancer then had to step back. I’m so grateful they still let him come to events to volunteer and be around them all. It’s a great group of local business people who do amazing things.

Then I’m off to get Maddie from a sleepover and finally my Quinn who slept outside all weekend with the boys scouts. He is tired and cold and hungry, and I cant wait time get him home and snuggle up with him.

I’ll rest this afternoon, as it’s a big week.

I’ll be teaching at our districts Edcamp on Tuesday, have a pop in observation this week, start fasting Wednesday and chemo Thursday. I’m also playing basketball in a fundraiser against the Harlem wizards Thursday, and hope to go to a book release party for a friend on Friday.

I’ve got a lot of life to live this week.

If you’re going to church today, pray for me.

If you’re being given communion, savor every second of the ritual, a ritual that has been done for years and years years.

I’ve been invited to so many churches in the past few days I have lost count.

I’ve been shown the true face of God through all of this, and have had the spirit of Jesus shine through strangers.

May you all be invited to the table, and if not..

Set your own place wherever you may be, and know you are loved.

Take, and eat.

Take, and drink.

The body and blood has been shed for you.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Communion and Releasing Heaven on Earth

Today is an incredibly busy day for my little family.

We are scattered like the autumn leaves through town.

Quinn is at a boy scout campout all weekend. I know he is in the best hands possible, but this mom never sleeps well thinking of her little boy in a tent in the woods in the cold. I cant wait for tomorrow to get him back and run him a nice warm bath.

Madison is taking her first SAT today. She said that this is the one where she has to learn how to beat the system and the test, and she will score higher next time. I was a wreck when I took my SAT, but she is calm, cool and collected.

Morgan will be with her best friend, either hanging out or going to homecoming.

Me?

The north fork breast health coalition is hosting a day at the Blue Sage Day Spa for breast cancer patients. There will be light snacks, juices from The Giving Room, and we each get two treatments. I have avoided support groups in person like the plague, and this is my first time being around other patients without protesting funding or at a gala. My friend Charlene owns the business, so I know I’m in good hands. I’m still in some pain so a day of pampering is nice.

God always comes through with His timing.

I went last night back to Spa Belleza, and it was lovely. I had a gentle massage with oils and hot stones and reiki. I felt the heat coming off of my head, and when we finished, Tina confirmed it. She said that was good, as it was the liver detoxing. All of the energy was leaving through the head.

My crown chakra.

Let it all go.

I went to my niece’s birthday as well, and as soon as I walked in, my sister jill gave me bread and a sip of her red wine. For the first time in a long time, I actually had communion from a real Christian.

I was contacted by yet another media outlet to run the story about the church denying me communion in a letter. I actually almost said yes, because the hypocrisy is astounding. But then I realized that God knows what they all did. That’s enough for me. Some people said they want to write letters and call or protest. I say don’t waste your breath. One of the silver linings that has come out of this is that many former members who left have reappeared in my life this past week. Apparently this is a “thing”, and the church family I used to know scattered due to similar instances. It’s a shame, as the families that used to go to this church were amazing. Eventually the elders and pastor will learn that those who judge others and make the church into a jury room will be left alone in their own pew.

You can’t minister to an empty church.

I said to some yesterday I will pray for them, because to them the Bible is used for punishment and sin and is like a jail.

To me?

The Bible set me free. It tells me stories of miracles, friendships, strong women, children who faced giants. A man who loved me so much he died for me before I was even born.

I also realized something yesterday that filled my heart.

People are talking freely about Jesus and God’s love with me all the time. Look over my wall the last two or three days. Four years ago?

Jesus was only mentioned at Christmas and Easter.

Now?

Every single day.

Every…single…day… I have people praying for me, telling me how much He loves me. Quoting scriptures that fill me with peace.

Stopping me in the halls of my school and discussing faith.

It’s beautiful.

I look in the mirror and cry when I see myself with no eyebrows or hair. I said to someone that every morning I think of that magnet man you used to use as a child with a red pen with black magnet pieces to draw eyebrows and hair on this little board.

But maybe I’m more like a newborn.

Stripped clean of everything as the medicine takes all the cancer away. Stripped of all pretenses and former beliefs, and reminded of what is the basic fundamental.

That no matter what you look like, what you do…

You are loved.

You were born with grace, beauty, and His love surrounding you. Every layer we added on as we go through life should add to the beauty, and if it doesn’t…

We can shed it.

I heard yesterday a beautiful quote.

Rather than finding heaven on earth, we need to release heaven on earth.

Imagine that?

I’m off to take some more pain medicine and take a detox bath. It’s homecoming today. I wish the town would show up for other sports and activities and concerts and have a pep rally for all the smart kids who take advanced classes or got to Boces and learn trades.. We need to cheer on EVERYONE.

I’m also crashing the riverhead high school class of 89 reunion.

I crashed their last one and loved it. It’s a great group of people and will be nice to get

More healing hugs.

Today may we all release a little bit of heaven on earth.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri