Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you, and misses you. Because one day you might wake up from your sleep and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.~Unknown

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just a little note...

Not feeling the greatest right now but my heart is so full that I wanted to make a quick post to express my love and gratitude.  My heart is so full right now with gratitude and a keen awareness of how very blessed I am.  Today my prayer is just that each of your hearts will be touched with an awareness of how good you are, how loved you are, and what a blessing you are in my life.  Don't know the words to express that except through the spirit of love that I feel right now.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Laura Story - Blessings

Tonight is the eve of my next chemo treatment.  I spoke with Katie earlier and as we discussed the chaos of the week and my treatment tomorrow we came to the agreement that we both felt a little sad, knowing what the week following will bring.  My last treatment was hard and was followed by side effects that have left me feeling uncomfortable and fatigued.  I'm just at that point in my treatment that the toxins have built up and the effects are showing. We decided that we both just felt like crying and agreed that maybe that was exactly what we should do.  So, tonight, I am shedding a few tears in anticipation of yet another treatment that will take away that sense of being and feeling like 'me' that I always get a glimpse of right before another treatment.

One night last week I was over-tired and became discouraged and overwhelmed.  I sat in my front room praying out loud to the Lord all the things that were troubling me.  How tired I felt, how insecure about my future I felt, the things I felt I was missing out on...As I did so, somehow my thoughts turned to all the wonderful blessings that have been a part of my life this long winter.  My heart warmed as memories of good friends, kind words, warm feelings, and tender mercies that have met me at every corner of this journey.  I found myself thanking the Lord for this opportunity to experience His love and the love of others in such an intimate way.  So in leiu of yet another treatment, I can honestly say how grateful I am and how blessed I am to have been given this opportunity to experience the infinite love of my Father in Heaven.  Miracles happen, hearts are softened, love abounds, and tender mercies lead the way through the darkness of despair. 

This song expresses what I have come to beleive with all my heart about life and the journeys that present themselves to us when our hearts are open...

Love and gratitude always....Cyndi

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Butting In

I know this is Mom's blog, and I've got my own to write my feelings on, but I decided tonight to give my two cent's worth about life.

Life kind of sucks these days. This is by far the hardest trial I've come in contact with. And apparently you don't get a pass from sadness just because someone you love has cancer. In fact, I feel we are more sensitive to what others are experiencing because of the hard things in our lives right now. Where did my bubble go? I want to go back.

Tonight I sat reading some of the posts from the beginning of this blog. As I was reading, a lot of feelings came back to me. The initial trepidation and then panic of mom's diagnosis. The sadness we all felt watching her have surgery right before Christmas. The relief and rush of emotion I felt when I first heard her voice when she came out of surgery. And the utter unfairness of it all, and the disbelief that we would all survive the next year intact. I remember saying to Angie right after New Year's, "I'm ready for 2011 to be over. I don't want to do this year." What a sad commentary on how terrified I was feeling. And I'm not even the one who has cancer!

I don't feel these last four months have been my most successful. I've been bitter and angry a lot. I've struggled with negative feelings and despair, and wondering regularly how we were going to get through this. I've found myself being ultra sensitive and getting my feelings hurt often. I've hid in my corner when I can't stand to see what's happening to my mom. Chemo has been rough. People always say how great it is that she only has two left. In my head I think, I don't know how she's going to do two more. It's so hard on her.

Tonight as I read back to December 15th of 2010, I realized something. We've already made it this far. And I did not believe we could. I knew we didn't have a choice, but I thought at least one of us would've thrown in the towel by now. But we haven't. And I mean when I say I am incredibly proud of every single one of my family members that have stepped up to the plate. I didn't think we needed to get tougher. I thought we were good. Thought we'd seen enough. But apparently there's more for us to learn. And we're freaking surviving. And we're even starting to have a good time.

As bad as chemo is, we laugh. We flirt with mom's nurse and irritate everyone around us. We make fun of mom when she dozes off and starts snoring. We give her crap for cheating at Words with Friends. We enjoy the awesome food at the hospital cafeteria. And then we all take turns trying to nurse her back to health, even when it's not doable. Sometimes we just sit around and cry with her.

I've always been told that this life is short compared to eternity. That the things that happen here will be made up for in eternity. I've struggled with that. It's really bothered me. I want everyone to be happy HERE, I don't want to wait for the other side. Here is all I know! But the last few weeks, it's started to settle in me. That the things we learn here are so important for our life after this one. That this time on earth is SO SMALL compared to what lies ahead of us. And that trials we endure here will only make us better in the end. I used to hate that line, but I'm starting to love it.

I'm thankful to a Heavenly Father who not only tests me, but has given me more to see me through it. I'm just sorry that I don't always see those blessings when things are hard. I'm thankful that He trusted me enough to give me these trials. That He knew that I would still find my way back to Him, and that I would swallow my pride and realize that only He knows what is best for me. And that I need to trust Him. And trust that He has made me strong enough to not only survive, but do it in a way that makes Him proud.

"Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now."

So, right now, I'm proud of my mom. She is truly one of God's most special princesses. I'm sorry for what she endures, but proud that she has never faltered. Through it all, her testimony has remained solid. And at the end of the day, she's taught me that if I don't have that to fall back on, nothing else matters.

And we will survive the next few months. The sun is starting to shine (sometimes), and we've got a lot of things to look forward to for the rest of this year. And even as it gets harder over the next few weeks, the end is in sight. And mom is going to survive, and look super hot doing it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

As most of you know, I feel a very deep love and sense of gratitude towards Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  I have always resonated with the messages he has eloquently provided during general conference.  It was the message of one such address some 15 years ago that led me to the opportunities I have had to seek counsel and comfort from him over the years. Yesterday, I was especially touched by his words.  Not because they sent a personal message to me but because of the humility present in his words.  He is a spiritual giant in every literal sense of the word but yesterday, he spent a majority of his talk giving credit and acknowledgement to others, President Monson in particular, rather than a topic of his chosing.  He gave credit to the Lord for the inspiration given to the speakers of the conference whose message may reach the aching heart of someone needing reminders of who they are. I loved listening to this man who has served with a strong committment to members all over the world as he brought us back to a remembrance of the goodness and love of others.  I loved that he put aside his own experiences and reminded us of the things that we often overlook or underappreciate and made it about the experiences of others.  Not once did he include his own sacrifices or contributions.  Rather, the tears that filled his eyes were for the sacrifices of others.  To me, that was humility at its finest and love at its most infinite peak. 

To those who may feel overlooked and unappreciated (as we all do on occasion) let this be a reminder that always, someone is aware of you and loving you for your efforts.  We are never alone in any of our efforts or contributions however grandiose or meager they may appear to ourselves or others. I am so grateful for people who are able to look beyond themselves and recognize the worth and value of others who are oftimes hiding in their shadows.  Bringing others out of our shadows provides growth, love, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and humility to bless our own lives.  So often, tucked behind our accomplishments are those whose hearts do not know of their worth and are silently praying for someone to give them a way to shine their light and share their knowledge.  My own heart has been humbled as my pride has come face to face with the realities of cancer, and caused me to be more aware and more tender towards others.  I feel remorse for the times I have fallen short of this and pray daily to never forget this important lesson.

With that said...maybe Elder Hollands words were once again...personal towards me.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Under the wings of angels..

A week has passed since my last treatment and I feel like I am starting to surface again.  This treatment was tougher than the last but from what I hear, that is to be expected as the poisons accumulate in the body.  Friday is a blur but I do remember those who were there to sit with me.  A special thanks to Angie, Katie, Travis, Amy, Jacee, Carissa, and Joe who entertained themselves, me, my nurse and surrounded me with a sense of support and love.  Each of my children, my sister Amy, and my parents took a shift 'babysitting' me during those first tough days.  My friend Tammy arrived each early morning to drive me for my dreaded shots. I am coming to love those days...irrespective of how awful I feel because it is quiet, down time with the people I love the very most.

Right before I was diagnosed, I attended a retreat for women in Colorado.  The dining room was encased with  books and tapes from the retreat for sale as well as a select area that contained purses, jewelry, aprons, and other handmade items.  As we filtered in to eat, most of the women browsed through the books and other material for the retreat.  There were 500 women in attendance and I was surprised that more did not wander over to the multicolored fabrics that adorned the handmade items.  The chatter that filled the dining cabin as we ate was typical for women and did not dull until the announcement was made that truly changed the course of the evening.  As we finished the last morsel of a delightful dessert,(you know me, it's always about the food!) the origin of the handmade items was explained.  This was a Christian retreat so spirituality was included in the conversation and in the ambience of the room.  The announcer began to tell the story behind the handmade articles.  These articles had been made by women in third world villages to sell to support a charity that was fighting against young women of their country being sold into sexual slavery.  The stories told were shocking and dismal but as the evening ended, it was not the tragedy of the stories and situations that caught my attention and occupied my thoughts.  I was so touched by what happened as the dining room closed and we left for our individual cabins.  The once slightly overlooked area of colorful patterns became a shopping frenzy as women rushed to make purchases.  By the next day, the goods were gone-much to the dismay of those who had not yet made a purchase.  Such is the heart of a woman.

Such are the hearts of the women in my life.  It has been through the hearts and hands of the women who know and love me that I have been sustained and supported.  Without hesitation, the hearts and hands of women have banded together to form an endless circle of service to surround me with the love I have needed along the way.  As I knelt in front of the toilet while tears of sickness flowed, the cold rag on my neck from Amy had a healing, calming touch and reassured me that I could be okay. Friday, as Kyrie rested her head against mine and cried with me, I felt the calming closeness of friendship.  As each of my daughters sat on my lap and held me as we cried, I was blessed  again with a calming spirit of being loved.  As women brought meals to my home, I felt the calming assurance that I was being cared for.  As my mother made homemade soup and encouraged me to rest, I felt the calming safety of being a child again.  As my voicemal filled with the messages of love and support of my sisters and friends, I felt the calming safety of belonging.   Like the women at the retreat, these women who love so freely and give so generously rushed to give aid.  Truly, if one were to wonder where to find the love of the is in the women who, despite their own fears and heartaches, rush to lift the burdens of those who suffer around them.  How grateful I am to be found among the greatness and goodness of the women, young and old, who shelter me under the wings of angels as I struggle through this illness.

Gratitude and love always...Cyndi