For my 40th birthday a few years ago, friends gave me a decorative sign that reads, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
A word of advice…. If someone gifts you that sign… GIVE IT BACK!
For those who know me, you also know that I don’t sit still well or enjoy being bored, so the sign is extremely appropriate. However, even I could use a little stability and calm.
And while I’m not sure that will ever really come to us… we do have 5 kids, a dog, a cat and a Bex… we can see that God is moving in our lives and in our family and that maybe… just maybe… our understanding of what calm means has changed enough to know that even in the shakiest parts of the storm, peace and stability abound.
I think back to updates I gave a year and a half ago, focusing on healing for our family and it was hard in the midst of the chaos and crisis to understand how that could even happen. But now, having ridden it out (or at least this phase), God has continually proved faithful to our family and is providing stability in His care of us.
Today, I received results from my 5th CT Scan over the last 15 months and it was STABLE. And, not only was it stable, my breast tumour has actually shrunk a little more. The Dr found it slightly shocking and odd that after 19 months on a medication my tumour would continue to respond but I’m really happy to take shockingly odd.
In a few weeks, I will be meeting my Vancouver Oncologist for the first time. I am very excited about this and hoping that our conversation will revolve around what pro-active treatment for MBC could look like. At this point in time, there are very few proactive options as patients with metastatic cancer essentially just wait for their cells to mutate and then move to a new live of medication until all lines have been exhausted. Slowly, research is looking for better options and I am interested in learning more about them.
For the most part, my body continues to feel pretty normal. I’ve had a few randoms pains that are always mentally upsetting but they seem to just move on and not lead to anything serious.
Over this past winter, I struggled with some seasonal depression, finding it hard to get motivated or find pleasure in my usual hobbies. But understanding that it doesn’t last forever, helped me to sit with the sadness and the quiet and learn new things about myself. This dark season was a time of growth and as the weather warms and the sun shines, I can feel my body and heart both open to new ideas and new pursuits.
For me, this involves more advocacy work in the areas of Child & Youth Mental Health and Metastatic Breast Cancer. Both of these of course have a spot deep in my heart and I am grateful for the opportunities to connect with people in these fields.
Our kids have also been working hard to not let us be bored. With 5, there’s always something going on. However, I think it’s fair to say that Dave and I are getting pretty good at rolling with the punches. We’ve done a huge amount of growth in the parenting area over the last 2 years and while I wouldn’t recommend our personal program of chaos and mayhem, I do recommend doing your own work as an adult and learning how to lean into parenting from an emotionally mature perspective. We are by no means perfect and will never be, but we are constantly learning and enjoying the relationships we have with our kids.
Eli is still living in Squamish and loving the area. When he’s not working, he’s enjoying snowboarding with Grandpa & Grandma & gaming with his PR friends. We have had short visits with him in Squamish and last week, we were blessed to have him home in PR for a few days (too bad Mom and the twins were in Vancouver for most of that visit).
Maddock was finally able to go to France this spring break and loved touring through Paris and the French Riviera. I’m hoping that he’s got the travel bug so that I finally have an adventure partner. (This boy even made his Mama cry when he brought home perfume for me as a gift from France). He’s also been working at the Arena concession stand and is enjoying his work in the food industry.
Abbott and Judah are also loving adventures right now. The 3 of us joined up with Grandma, Auntie and some cousins to do a little trip to Vancouver over spring break. Abbott said “It was fun, Mom, but it just wasn’t a great adventure”. I love it. They are also enjoying their weekly Parkour classes and will be starting Therapeutic Riding again in a few weeks. It’s hard to believe that these guys will be 8 years old on Saturday, but this is such a fun age with them.
Koen, always our firecracker, has really been struggling the past few months. His anxiety has overwhelmed him to the point that he is unable to attend school and often can’t leave the house. This is overwhelming for him and then also for the rest of us as we learn to support and encourage him. Next week, Koen and I will be travelling to Vancouver as he has been admitted to the Healthy Minds program at Children’s hospital. This is a huge answer to prayer as we have been waiting for about 2 years for this opportunity. He and I will be staying in Ronal McDonald House for most of April and are looking forward to exploring Vancouver and connecting with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while.
Dave continues his work and has been enjoying making videos for his YouTube channel. And, ever the book lover, he has three lists on the go and is reading through the Booker Prize winners, the Giller prize winners and the Pulitzer in Fiction winners. This brings much joy as he spends time not only reading, but searching through used book stores to find new titles on his lists.
Soooo…. after a rough and unsteady two years, we are coming to a place of answers, a place of leaning into pain and acceptance, a place of healthy minds and bodies, a place where chaos is not the only thing controlling our lives.
This feels good. We’re still a long way from thriving, but we’ve gotten good at walking the steps of simply surviving. Our goal 2 years ago was to “suffer well" and I think we’re nailing it. And, for a brief time, we may even be beyond suffering and looking into “being” well.
It’s not lost on me that this could be just a season. I know very well that there are ups and downs in both the cancer and mental health worlds. But to feel the weight lift, even briefly, is a great gift.
While we probably won’t ever reach the boring level of life… unless it’s just me sitting at home not finishing the 12 projects I’ve already started…I am pleased that in the midst of whatever phase this is, we’re ok. Breathe deep with me….ahhhhh…. we’re ok. And man, that feels so good.
Praise be to God. For He has sustained us, and keeps us going every day.
And Thanks be to you. Our Family. Our Friends. Our Community. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you.