S.S. Xeloda and Father’s Day

Every time you go to write a Facebook status, it has “What’s on your mind?”

Oh Facebook, if you only knew.

Since you asked…

I’m pretty proud of myself in how quickly I can move through the emotional roller coaster. Looking back on last week, I had a scan, waited with baited breath to see if I had a new primary cancer, found out I didn’t but then received some pretty devastating news that I’ve blown through yet another chemotherapy, had to decide what to do next when all of the options are a person’s worst nightmare, then get told that one expert may not agree to it and another expert still hasn’t answered any of your emails.

Add on teaching kindergarten full time, end of year anxiety about next year’s grade level and if you would be moving, kindergarten orientation, Father’s Day art projects, and sadness over the passing of a mother of woman whom someone I love…

Then I hosted Father’s Day.

It’s been a week.

Yesterday I went on Amazon and ordered cold gel socks and gloves, as well as special cream. My xeloda Facebook support group is full of women constantly posting about hand and foot syndrome, suffering from extreme painful skin conditions as a results of this chemo. Everyone is different with side effects hitting them at different times, along with nausea, indigestion, Diarrhea, vomiting, hair thinning, insomnia, extreme fatigue, dizzyness, and switching around doses to try and find one that makes life worth saving.

Talk about surreal.

I’m looking at these posts and it’s like you’re on the dock, about to walk a plank onto a ship and seeing everyone suffering, and being told, “Here… get on and try to save your life. You may be able to handle it better… or not. Hope it works! Not sure how long you’ll be on this ship…Bon voyage!”

At least it’s summer and I can figure it out and not worry about work.

We spent yesterday trying to figure out all of the drop offs for my kids for their camps. We have to drop off morgan and Quinn in two weeks, early in the morning, for the weeklong cancer support camp for kids through camp Kesem at stony brook. (They still have spots open, so if you know of kids with cancer or who have a caregiver with cancer, send me a message). Then we drive up to Rhode Island the same day to drop off maddie and possibly another cadet for a leadership training camp for NJROTC. All in one day.

While on a new chemo.

Two weeks later we are going up to get Maddie and see the big graduation, and want to stay an extra day or so to sightsee. We looked for hotel deals last night, and we booked rooms while praying I’ll be ok and able to make this trip.

We went to cowfish last night and I found myself thanking God for another Father’s Day. I thanked God for cowfish. I thanked God for the trees, the water, the sunset, the ship my kids love playing on, the food, my family, my life…

And prayed for more time.

I am going to training all day today for a new phonics program. I’ve been teaching five year olds and six year olds for well over twenty three years now. I’ve lost count of new programs I’ve had to learn, but it doesn’t matter.

If the kids know you love them, you know what they need to know to be successful and you make it fun, it doesn’t matter what program you have to teach. It’s just a new fancy dish to serve the meat and potatoes on. I’m the chef, serving up whey they need to grow.

I have not been on chemo for five days now. I probably won’t start this new one until midweek. It’s been nice not worrying about the 7:30 am and pm time frame. This new one will be twice a day with four pills. I’ll enjoy the freedom now, fleeting as it may be.

May today be a quiet one, with my Chinese herbs and multiple supplements and salads and organic juices healing me in the inside, my breathwork keep me out of fight or flight mode, my body move out of the tense stance and relax, and may my mind stay where my feet are in the present moment, and not aboard the S.S. xeloda.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Running the Race

Yesterday was a marathon.

It was flag day, and I had forgotten, so I quick prepped flags for the kids to color and make hats to wear. At least I wore red, white and blue.

I also finished up our Fathers Day projects, had them laminated and cut them all out.

It was kindergarten orientation, and i had my kids go to the playground while the new batch came in. With four year olds, you have to switch activities pretty much every five minutes. We read a story, took a tour of the room, sat and talked about what we do in kindergarten, sang “The Wheels in the Bus”, colored a picture of a bus, used pattern blocks, jumped on my mini trampoline, looked and sea shells, read another story, and talked about things they could do to get ready for kindergarten.

All in about forty minutes.

Then the parents came and picked them up, my kids came back and they went to lunch.

It’s hard for the kids to see me and think of me with other kids. So we went into the garden after lunch and I brought out my mini speaker. I played relaxation music and we all kneeled and weeded in the garden. Our garden is ready to be harvested and next week we will have sugar snap peas, kale, lettuce, radishes, and arugula. As we weeded, our principal brought out our new principal to meet us. What better way to meet than outside in nature with soft music playing. We showed him our garden, and we even picked some mint and gave it to him. I have a former superintendent that I love who always comments “mint” in some shape or form in many posts here in facebookland. I thought of him as we gave the mint and prayed for many mint years ahead for us all.

Then we read outside for “R” day, went to gym, had snack, then played.

After school we had a reception for our new principal with staff, then I did a handoff of Quinn to rob for tennis, madison got dropped off for a Flag Day ROTC drill team performance at Polish Hall, Morgan and I ran to Target, then we went back to my school for Family Night.

We hung up signs for my principal like they do for seniors at the high school at their last games. There were games and bouncy houses on the field and parents and kids all over. My friends Tony and Nancy from the Lighthouse deli and catering were there serving up food from the grill, and it was a flashback of when we all worked at Claudio’s together. Another friend Joann gave me a great hug and I always feel the peace of Jesus when I am with her. I had had a vision of getting something come to me and putting it into my pocket earlier in the day.

As i spoke to Joann, my other friend Keri came up to me and pulled me aside. She said she had something to give to me. It was a coin of St Jude, the patron saint of impossible cases. She told me a beautiful story, and we both cried a little. Everyone disappeared as we both spoke about faith, and how miracles can happen, and Tucked the coin into my bra next to the tumors.

Then I walked around and saw former families and students and got a lot of hugs. I held babies and told them I would have them in five years.

May it be so.

Then I ran home and quick changed for the North Fork Community Theatre Gala at pelligrini vineyard. We sat with a lovely couple from Huntington and wouldn’t you know, we knew people in common from Riverhead as well as Valley Stream. We are all connected, and as we get older and open our eyes, the world gets smaller and smaller.

There were performances and actors sang songs about the light. One woman sang “When you wish upon a Star”, and I had to hold it together. Another man sang “O sole mio” and brought down the house. The youth troupe sang a song from Pippin, their summer show, and we were blown away by their talent. Rob and I won $400 in the fifty fifty raffle, and I felt bad not giving it back, but I’ve got herbs to pay for and copays. It had been a pretty crappy week for me, so maybe God said, “Let’s have Keri and Rob end the week with something good”.

My dad was at the flag day event at Polish hall where maddie was, and brought her home for us. Turns out, he won the grand prize and got a beautiful new grill. I guess God said my Mom and dad had to end the week on a positive note as well, as this was hard on them too.

Thank you, God.

Today?

I head into the detox bath because I am in pain. Then I’ll rest, do laundry, and clean. I’ll try do some restorative yoga as I am in quite a bit of pain. I’ll also crack open the brand new phonics program that I have to learn before September and am receiving training on Monday. Tonight quinn has a birthday party and he is so excited.

I got a text from a mom who went to Nationals to see her daughter run along with the other girls that everyone raised money for this past week. They set new personal records and performed and placed top ten. They were so grateful to everyone for helping them run the race and get there.

I received an email from Donnie’s assistant yesterday, and parts of it were concerning. She said he really wanted me to get the new biopsy, and she doesn’t know if he will get on board with xeloda. But there was some positive as she said the scans weren’t as bad as one would think. She was wondering why they didn’t measure the size of all of the tumors to check for actual growth, and they only measure SUV uptick. In two spots I actually had less uptick. She will be speaking with him again Tuesday to give him all of my notes from my meeting with my oncologist. Thank God I’ve educated myself and become CEO of “Save my Ass Inc.”, and can send detailed notes. I wish all of my team could have a conference call, but for some reason no one speaks to each other, so I am the middleman while trying to decide which person to listen to as I navigate these turbulent seas in the S.S. Life boat.

My herbalist has mentioned to stop all chemo and go to Mexico, and I havent heard from him since I told him about the progression, so now I’m worried he is upset, or breaking up with me. I’m sure he is just busy, or traveling to Hong Kong, but the mind is a tricky thing, always whispering the worst as I run this race.

I did get amazing news yesterday. A friend who is an amazing advocate and presence on Instagram has stage four ovarian cancer. Brittany Crosby has thousands of followers on Instagram as she chronicles her life, draining her stomach every day, running a business, thriving and spreading God’s word. She was told recently that she also had a new primary cancer… breast cancer. The same week I was told they were looking at the ovarian cancer marker and it could be a new primary ovarian cancer for me.

I found out Wednesday my ovaries were clear and I didnt have ovarian cancer.

Brittany?

She found out yesterday she was misdiagnosed… at a top cancer hospital… and it’s the metastatic ovarian cancer that has spread to her breast, NOT a new cancer.

A miracle for us both, just flip flopped.

Thank you, Jesus.

It was a marathon day yesterday.

It’s been a marathon week.

But I’m still in the race.

And I’ll keep running until I cant run anymore, but I know I’ll have everyone to help me walk, or crawl, and stay in this race. There’s no winning…

But there’s no losing either.

There’s just living.

May God continue to let me live and run this race for forty more years.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

A New Path… Xeloda.

I taught yesterday morning and received my scan report. It’s a hard choice to decide to read the report on my own, but I want to be prepared and be able to have clarity when I make decisions. There are a lot of new bone lesions, more liver, and the breast and lymph node are active again. There was one part that said the esophageal area lit up as well.

I was able to cry a bit with my friend heather who is a nurse when she came to see me once we arrived. Then it was time to see Dr Stopeck and Hermina. We discussed Donnie’s email from the night before. She said I was just on everolimus and had progression with that therapy.

She said that she feels I have heterogenous cells and the biopsy would not tell us anything new, as even if the cancer flipped, the options on the table would all work for triple negative.

She is also stopping the faslodex hormone therapy and holding off of the zoladex until a blood test shows ovarian activity.

Dr Stopeck said the CA125 is now a good marker indicator for me with the breast and lymph node activity. She felt the node and also remarked the breast is firmer upon examination.

She mentioned a new clinical trial she is starting on Friday but said it is too early and the dose would be too low for me now. She also said she wants to

hold off on the araura kinase trial as it is still too new.

She feels xeloda is my best bet now. The other options like doxil etc are all IV chemos and she feels that based on my scan and the fact that although the cancer continued to spread, the liver isn’t all that active in uptick when we looked through the scans.

Her plan is 500 mgs of xeloda. She said my BSA was a good number and I should tolerate the higher dose well.

She is planning two weeks on and one week off with blood tests on the off week.

I’ll take four pills twice a day.

Diarrhea and nausea are possible side effects. Good times.

She also discussed hand and foot issues and suggested udder cream.

She is meeting with someone about a lotion next week which is showing to help xeloda patients with the hand and foot issue.

She had originally wanted me on xeloda before we chose verzenio, and feels confident about this plan of action. When I last spoke to Donnie, he had said that he also thought xeloda was a good option as well, and had mentioned it in a prior conversation in December. I was concerned he had suddenly said to not take it the night before, and my herbalist also said to not take it.

This is where I pray for discernment.

I’ve got one of the top oncologists in the country, a leading researcher and expert who I love and loves me telling me she feels this is best bet. I’ve got a Chinese herbalist telling me to stop all chemo and go to Mexico. I’ve got a top expert on supplements and food telling me to do a different chemo.

All while trying to decide which one to choose that will help me live.

I’ve felt the word xeloda in my heart, and even joined a Facebook support group. Two friends of mine were on it and both had three years on this drug.

Three.

We looked closely at the scans, and I saw my clear brain, lungs, spleen, ovaries, kidneys, bladder and esophagus. THe report had me confused and I’m glad they are all clear. There isn’t cancer on the scapula shoulder area, and we said I’ve probably been hunching over and guarding my breast.

In fact, I’m doing it now.

So I’ve got to retrain my body to open up my chest area. We mentioned the pain in the areas where the cancer is, and we both said it’s probably a good idea to stay away from pain medicine so I can tell if the treatment is working by less pain.

We discussed how she has seen patients go the “no chemo” route and it not ending well. I’ve seen people not do chemo and get to NED. I think for me, a blend of both worlds is what I need. I emailed my other specialists and I start next week.

Then?

I went and danced.

My union had a party for the retirees of the district, and we honored my principal. It’s hard having an end of year party while in the midst of report cards, class orders, packing up and still teaching… and it’s on a Thursday.

But we did it, and we danced away. I feel like the old dinosaur teacher as we have so many young teachers staring out, but they taught this old dog a new trick with my phone and we all laughed. It’s called boomerang, and it reminded me of how quickly we all bounce back all day long. We may get shaken up a bit, but we steady ourselves. It felt so good to laugh and celebrate and dance. It reminded me why I love my class dance parties.

My sister took morgan and quinn to hulling night at the Strawberry festival . She gave my kids memories on a night they could have been home worried about me at the hospital.

Best sister ever.

Today is meet and greet day in a lot of ways. It’s kindergarten orientation, and my class gets to go play on the playground while the new batch of next years kids come to visit . It’s always a shock when my five and six year olds leave and suddenly my room is full of four and five year olds again like in September. I realize how much growth has gone on in this little room, and how sad I’ll be to let these children go. Our new principal is also coming to meet us, so it’s a day of first impressions all around.

Tonight is family night at the school, maddie has a ROTC event, Quinn has tennis, Joe has a game, and rob has been invited to a benefit for the theater.

It’s been a week.

Someone I went to high school with had a heart attack and passed away yesterday, leaving behind his wife and children. A woman who I’ve known my whole life also passed yesterday after living a full long life. I’m sending both families love.

We never know when our time here will be done. As scary as this whole cancer journey is, I’m still here.

Living, laughing, dancing.

My children are blessings, my husband is my rock.

I am a lucky girl.

May I continue to be lucky and blessed and be healed for forty more years. May all who come into our building today feel the energy and love we have for each other and our children, and continue to add to the love.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

God’s Signs while Chaperoning

God sent me signs yesterday.

It was a beautiful day for a field trip. I’m so glad I went, as Quinn kept giving me cuddles and nudges and telling me he loves me all day.

We walked through time as we visited all of the old houses and shops at Old Bethpage Village. At one house, an older gentleman had a violin that was made in the 1800’s. He played us a song and talked about how it was made. We were pressed for time but he asked if we had time for one more song. He said the song was “Amazing Grace”.

He told the children that the song is about God’s grace, and His grace is for everyone. The composer of the song was a slave trader, and came to the realization that slavery was wrong. He gave up his business and went back to England. He became a priest, and spent the rest of his life trying to atone and abolish slavery. Right before he died, England signed into law abolishing slavery, without a shot ever being fired.

Then this gentleman played the song, the children started to hum, and the teacher and moms started to sing along.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I’m found,

Was blind but now I see.”

It was solemn and beautiful.

As we walked out quietly, another teacher came running up to me saying, “Keri!!! Keri!!! Come here!!!”

At first I was worried something happened, but she brought me to the dirt road and said, “You want your sign from God it’s going to be ok? LOOK UP!”

And there, after singing about God’s grace…

two rainbows circled the sun.

Halos.

The sun, a symbol of the light of the world.

Two halo rainbows circling the sun, rainbows a sign of God’s promise to us.

It took my breath away.

We went into another house, and on the wall were intricate carvings of Jesus in the garden, and Jesus as a baby.

On the wall where the man played violin there was a spot where the candle was missing, but there was the smoke shadow, which looked exactly like the angel that appears on my bathroom wall.

He was with me all day.

When I came home I went to Danielle at the Peaceful Scorpion, and she has handed some fascia work. Fascia is the connective tissue that runs all through your body like a butterfly net, and it holds all trauma. The issues in our tissues build up and cause disease. She has a gift at helping me fall asleep multiple times, and I needed the healing session.

I came home and rested the rest of the day.

Today is a big day.

I’m teaching in the morning, then going to the hospital to find out my options.

Thank you God that I still have options.

Then I’m off to a retirement party for my principal. My head will be spinning I’m sure, but I love this man who has supported me and took me in when I felt broken as a teacher. I will always be grateful for him, and the environment he has fostered.

Today may I have discernment and clarity. May the treatments put before me lead me down a path of healing.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Progression and a Night of Strings

I had just picked up my kindergarten and was walking back to class through the hallway when I got the email.

My sons teacher was walking with me and read the email alongside me. I held it together, quick dropped of my class to another kinder room and walked to my assistant principals office, closed the door, and cried and cried. I called rob and cried some more. Then I called my mom and cried. One of our secretaries held my hand through the phone calls and reminded me to breathe. Then I went and cried with my principal. He hugged me, I took a deep breath, then went back to work.

I got my class, we finished a math lesson, then I dropped them off at music. I went back to my room and sent my email to my team informing them of results. It’s a little scary that I don’t know how much progression there is, but I know its bones, lymph and liver. Truth be told, I’m not surprised, as I seem to be intuitive. My liver had been hurting, my scapula and clavicle and hip joint, and breast. I’ll see tomorrow where it all is. She didn’t say brain, lungs, ovaries… so that’s hopeful.

Some more friends came into my room and hugged me, and my assistant principal called me and reminded me of my faith. I went into the reading room and my three reading teachers prayed over me.

Then I went to get my kids and they were ending the class with a dance party to Taylor Swift’s song, “Shake it Off”, so I did. I danced and sang… and shook it off.

We read for reading workshop, had snack, then I taught them how to balance six dice on a popsicle stick that they held in their mouths for “minute to win it Olympics”, and then taught them “Tenzi”, a dice game. We ended our day with playtime and a dance party.

I came home and told Joe that we would be telling the kids at dinner and keeping it light. My sister came over to check on me, and then rob came home and we discussed how to tell the kids. We all sat down to dinner and somewhere in the middle I said that my doctor called and told me the results were in. The medicine isn’t working so I have to try a new one. I’ll go to the hospital again this week and decide. My doctor will draw all of the possibilities on a big piece of paper, then we will choose.

They all said ok, then quinn talked about the puberty video, we all laughed, and they kept talking about their day. I looked at Joe and whispered, “And that’s that…”.

My kids are three amazing, courageous, hopeful, brave and loving kids and I am so blessed.

We all went to the night of Strings, and Paula met us there too. She is usually gobsmacked at how busy I am, and last night she saw the fruits of our labor. It’s quite a night, where you see the students in our district when they first start with their string instrument, all the way to high school. The progression is amazing. I told Quinn that my dream was coming true and all three kids would be playing together. He said not quite, because his little ragtag group of violins were only playing twinkle twinkle at the beginning. When the concert ended, he was bubbling over because his teacher got them all up in the finale onto the stage, even though they never practiced the song, and they “played the D string on the beat.”

He said, “See mom? Your dream came true”.

Amen.

Today I’m going to chaperone Quinn on his field trip. We are going to old Bethpage, and I’ll make memories with him.

Life is for living.

Tomorrow I’ll go to the hospital in the afternoon. Then I’ll bring all of the options to my team. Dr Stopecks email last night was hopeful, and she said we just haven’t found the right treatment yet, and sometimes it takes a few tries. Snuffleuffugus will tell me to go to Mexico and stop chemo because they are poisoning my body, Donnie will tell me he will add more pills, Swish will keep swooshing, and everyone will keep praying.

Some people get focused on the “Why, God?” Im switching it to “How, God?”

How can my story be used for His glory?

I’ve been able to keep going because I’ve researched and found stories of people who have been much worse than me and have continued to live.

I’m going further into the fire for refinement. My story will be that much greater when remission comes, or when I prove that you can live with cancer all over for years.

Madame swoosh has said she saw so much more cancer inside of me when I saw her a month ago.

She was right.

But she also said I’m not dying.

I’ll hold onto that too.

I’m not dying.

I’m living.

Every day.

And I’ll keep living until my story ends.

May my story continue for forty more years.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

“Not Today”

Man, do I love people sometimes.

I was uplifted all day long in prayer, texts, messages, and Facebook.

I always wear either a special shirt or socks when I go to the hospital. Yesterday’s shirt was a nod to Arya Stark from Game of Thrones. She was asked several times, “What do we say to the God of Death?”, to which she replied…

“Not today”.

As I explained what the shirt meant, people smiled and said, “Not today”.

I went to the hospital, and they let rob come in with me for the insertion of the IV. I was quite a sight with hot packs all over my arms as I walked into the room. It took some time to find a vein, and it blew when they flushed it.

I put my big girl pants on and told them to just go ahead and do the inside wrist.

For this of you lucky enough to never have had an IV put into your wrist, let me tell you.

It hurts like hell.

I held onto rob and he even helped the tech because blood was spurting out and onto the floor.

Once we cleaned up, I went to the room for the injection. My friend Heather who is a nurse found me, and you know when you see someone who loves you right after something hard, you start to cry?

Yup.

She hugged me, I started to breathe, then everyone left the room as the machine injected radiation into my wrist. I felt it as it traveled up my arm and into my body, and I prayed that it would just float around without any cancer cells gobbling it up.

Then it was into the isolation room for one hour.

I listened to a Brene Brown sermon that I wish everyone could listen to. She spoke of how she loves God, but she and church have had a difficult relationship. She spoke of the three things she loves about church…

The singing.

The passing of the peace. Wishing peace and receiving peace from strangers, people who may be so different from you in terms of politics and attitude and the way they live, but one day a week we all end up sending peace to each other.

The rail. Coming up to the rail and getting on your knees and breaking bread with others, believing that you are saved.

She also spoke about how we’ve become so isolated as a society. People defriend others in social media who they disagree with politically or on social issues. Not me. I have all sorts of people on my feed, and I see everyone’s points of view. Other people only see one side, and it’s becoming harder for others to meet in the middle.

She spoke of how people become so mean and spew hatred about others. People became upset when President Obama and his family were ridiculed. Those same people are now some of the worst offenders towards President Trump. She said you can’t say it’s wrong for one and not for the other.

And that’s what’s wrong with society today.

It was a great sermon.

I also read a new Oprah book and it helped me stay calm.

Then I went into the room with the machine and was strapped down, chest plates laid over my body, me head strapped down with the big face mask, and into the tube I went. I requested the Nat King Cole Christmas station, and since they were looking at my brain as well, they couldn’t give me headphones, but they piped it into the room. I breathed, looked at the upside down beach picture for a moment, then closed my eyes and meditated and listened to songs about Jesus’s birth and family and love and Christmas trees.

I even fell asleep and scared them when I didnt answer right away when they asked how I was doing.

After about an hour or so we finished, and rob and I went to eat then went to Barnes and Nobles. I got four books that spoke to me, one was the book the shaman told me to get.

Later that day, the shaman commented on my blog that had the picture of the book in it. The universe winked at me to let me know the book was the right choice.

The Untethered Soul.

I rested the rest of the day with my kids and joe staying three to five feet away from me. We joked about me being radioactive and had a quiet night.

My daughter’s track coach who is one of the most dedicated and amazing coaches I’ve ever met posted a fundraiser for four student athletes to go to a national meet they qualified for. Our town is big with football, lacrosse and cheerleading. Track?

Not so much.

I had one of my God whispers that these girls had to go to this meet, and they needed $2,500 to get there. I shared his fundraiser and rob and I donated. Then?

People in this town filled my heart with love.

In just a few hours, they now have $3,000 to help them get to the meet in North Carolina.

Some people hate facebook.

Not me.

Last night it helped a former student see how much this town supports and loves her and her teammates.

Man, I love people.

Today I’ll do my best to not check my email to see if my oncologist manages to get a wet read of my scans even though she is in NYC.

Then I’ll go to a Night of Strings at the High School, where all three of my kids will be playing. It’s a beautiful night.

May today bring peace, laughter, love, and great scan results along with beautiful music.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Scan Day

It’s here.

Scan day.

Yesterday I managed to breathe and stay calm.

Rob and I went food shopping, which seems like a normal thing to do, but it’s a sign of faith and hope. I could get some pretty devastating news in a day or two, but I’m still going to be here so let’s get meals for the week. As we walked out I told him that I have to remember that no matter what news I get, I’m ok now.

I also got a portable speaker from Target so I can bring my students outside and do relaxing yoga in the garden. It’s an expense I didn’t plan on, but it will be worth it to spend three weeks breathing and stretching and trying to teach the kids how to do this on their own at home.

Then Quinn, Morgan and I went to one of my student’s birthday parties. I always joke to parents that you don’t need to hire a magician or clown, just invite me. It was at my Miracle Maggie’s Farm, and it’s a thin place, or a place where I feel like I’m “in the veil”, separated so slightly from heaven. It truly is heaven on earth. I saw former parents and students and current, and I breathed and hugged them all.

We came home and my summer son Joe came home. Hearing Quinn call out from the lawn, “He’s here! He’s here!” was the sweetest thing. We eased right back into our routine, he ate, we gave him snacks and water, caught up quickly on his exciting year, and off he went. He ended up going in as a relief pitcher at the game and we were excited watching the live feed at home.

A neighbor needed some help, and Rob spent about an hour or so helping her out. I sat on my stoop and watched him and thanked God for this kind man. Another neighbor came and sat with me and it was nice talking about life and kids and faith.

I read a book called “Before We Were Yours”, and I forgot how much I used to love to read for pleasure. Juli from Kneed and Seed told me I needed to do more of that. It was a nice escape for a while.

I’m up now hydrating and praying. Getting my oncologist’s email last night confirming that it could be cancer cell die off that made the tumor markers rise so significantly helped me breathe. She still wants to see if my ovaries are functioning and what’s going on with them. As a person who has been shown that multiple primary cancers are on the way and death is close, it’s even more of a struggle to visualize a different ending to my story.

But I’m doing it.

Part of me doesn’t want to get my hopes up because it will be that much farther of a crash should the scan not go my way.

But the other part of me knows how my cells listen to my thoughts, so I’m manifesting great results.

I spoke for about an hour last night with someone who was just diagnosed again with cancer. She is now armed with more information to become her own patient advocate. I questioned some things her team has planned for her, and she said she had a weird feeling about it too. That’s the thing about when you are first diagnosed. You are in a tornado and just want to land and get out and can’t breathe or hear. You also feel weird questioning the experts. But here’s the thing.

YOU are the expert because it’s YOUR body. Who are WE to question plans?

The patients.

And any doctor with their weight welcomes questions.

I’m hoping all of the water I’m drinking now, along with the hot packs I’ve got for my arms, will help with the insertion of the radiation tube. I’ve got a special shirt for today as well. I’ll ask for Nat King Coles Christmas pandora station to play while I’m in the tube, looking at the mirror strapped to my head which makes the beach scene on the wall upside down while the machine bangs and buzzed and whirs and makes all sorts of noises.

I miss Alycia, as we would talk through scans, and would always say, “Great scans, making plans!” I think of her children every day as I look at mine. This disease is so unfair, and I pray that in my lifetime we can perhaps find a way to fund research that will make ALL cancers manageable without side effects.

Today will start the results countdown.

I’ll pray for healing, great scans, peace while I wait for the news, and easy vein access.

May it all be in my favor.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Ps yesterday was my day in town. June 9th is a day the town named after me two years ago on the night of my benefit. It was a good day to hold onto hope.