Friday, July 26, 2013

The Winds of Change

Back in January, Mark was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  For all the things we've done in our lives, this was the most heart-stopping terrifying thing I have ever heard  It still frightens me--I don't think there will ever be a cough, a sniffle, or a pain that won't bring CANCER back to the forefront of my thinking.  At the same time, we have been blessed immeasurably--from having health care in Beijing to insurance that bridged 2 jobs and 3 countries over the course of 4 months.  Two employers that have been staunch supporters. Friends that carried us through the months of chemo.  Family that has supported us in so many ways, including having us live with them for what was supposed to be a couple months, but will turn out to be 5-6 months total.  Prayers have been lifted up around the world from friends and strangers and it has given us so much strength and peace.  At every step of the way, God has made the rough places plain and we have been so fortunate.

I thought I would keep notes during this time and write about it.  I actually started during the first 2-3 weeks when the diagnoses were coming in, but I was too frightened and overwhelmed to keep it up.  Now, I look back and I can't remember many specific details.  I have a sense of feelings and emotions, of certain conversations, but I'm amazed at those who can recount such specific memories.  I realized that I could write about  cancer but I couldn't recount it.  Maybe that's because I don't want to.  My story wouldn't be the story of  a warrior, one who met the challenge head on and fought hard.    It wouldn't be the story of a caring nurturer, one who lovingly tended the sick with patience and gentleness.  I would write about the person who somehow held it all together, who packed two international shipments, who managed every detail of a full-time job, 3 children's schedules, and an impending job change from Beijing to Saudi Arabia.  Who booked 3 camps and 10 flights during the month of June and drove from Seattle to Iowa, also during that same month.  Who refused to read anything about the type of cancer that took up residence in our lives, but threw herself into the details of life, something that she could control when everything that mattered most was at-risk.  Maybe that wouldn't be the sort of thing people would want to read, but that is what is was and is.

Now we're at the beginning of the end.  The stem cell transplant started today, bringing hope and anticipation of the end, and worry and stress because we will head to Saudi Arabia to our next adventure without Mark.  I let blogging slide in Beijing--strangely, it seemed life there was too "normal" to find something to write about.  Looking back over the posts from Tanzania, I found so many memories that I had forgotten!  I regret not writing during the past 5 years and I want to make time for blogging again.  I should set other goals (neatness, better eating, exercise, and oh-so-many others) and I probably will have the most stressful 6 months of my life, but I want to capture our lives in "the Kingdom."  I want to share more than just a few snippets on Facebook and do some writing to think about what we're seeing and experiencing.  Check back in and see what we're up to!