Thursday, April 30, 2009
Right now, my heart is heavy, and I am sad.
I know I have so much to be thankful for, and I am... I truly am. But today, reality seems really real and it hurts and it's hard.
You know, you always hear about situations, things people are going through, and you feel bad and wish you could help. Sometimes things hit closer to home and it gets you pretty shaken up, but you thank God that it's not your own flesh and blood or your best friend or something of that nature. But sometimes- it is you, it is your family, it is that person you love, and it is hard.
I don't think we walk around identifying ourselves as those in the midst of crisis. We live very normal lives, resume normal activities, laugh, joke, play. We have to... But every once in a while, you hear a song, see a commercial, that loved one has a rough day and life snaps back into focus: my little brother has cancer. It's not a reality I like to face, to be quite honest.
I would give anything, as I know so many others would, to take it all away, to make it all stop, to fix it once and for all, but the reality is that we can't. I, in my own power and strength, cannot do a single thing. Some days, that's the most discouraging and frustrating thought. Sure, we can do little things, maybe even big things to lighten the load, help make things easier... but we can't take away the pain, the fears, the uncertainty. We can't take away the hours of chemotherapy endured, the nausea and vomitting, the 5 surgeries, the 33 radiation treatments, the hairloss, the scars, the loss of vision.
It's days like these, though, that I am so thankful that we serve a big God. Like I said, I can't do anything... but He can. I'm thankful that we have a hope and a promise that we can cling to. Psalm 119:68 says "You are good and what you do is good"... I want to have a heart that always recognizes that- in good times and bad. When nothing else makes sense, I have no choice but to continue to cling to that- He is good and what He does is good. And that "all things work together for good for those who love God..." (Rom. 8:28). And that "We know and rely on the love that God has for us. God IS love..." (1 John 4:16). If God is love, even these trials, these hard times, are going to be used for our good. It doesn't always makes sense- but His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We may never know exactly why... but I think we've gotten a glimpse of it already. He IS being glorified in this, we ARE being taken deeper into a relationship with Him. My heart is echoing a song we sing during worship:
Holy, You are still holy
Even though I don't understand Your ways
Sovereign, You will be sovereign
Even when my circumstances don't change
Lord, I don't deserve your tender patience
When my unbelief has kept me from Your truth
I want my life to be a sweet devotion
You are still holy.
And one of my most favorite verses:
Isaiah 63:3- You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Jordan and I packed up the double jogger, measured out a course and set out to run 4 miles. When we returned to the school where our van was, we felt too good to stop, so put in a quick, hard mile on the track, making our total 5.25 miles on the evening.
Man. It was incredible.
We chit-chatted, didn't have a watch going, just enjoyed the evening- no pressure at all. I've always, always wanted Jordan to run with me... but he never used to like to. It probably had something to do with the fact that I could beat him- just joking.. sort of. I'm so thankful that he WANTS to now! But anyway, he's been working SO hard since January on getting (and staying) in shape. (I'm so proud of him, btw, and he looks AMAZING!) It was so nice for him to be able to push me and keep me going! We both had our doubts about being able to complete 4 miles to begin with (which is really embarassing for this once nationally ranked runner...), but we finished it very easily, pushing the return trip into the wind and picking up the pace. Once we got on the track- I remembered all of the reasons I love to run. I worked into a nice pace, breath nice and steady, arms and legs moving fluidly. Gosh, I felt alive. I even found myself strategizing and picking it up here and striding out there. It was incredibly relaxing, motivating, freeing, enjoyable. I can't wait until my run today. And it's been a loooooong time since I've been able to say that.
Moving on, as I'm sure you're all bored to tears.
CALLING ALL MOMS: Do you allow your toddler to watch tv ever? What shows have you found appropriate? Movies?
We don't have any kid friendly movies (yet). I let Corban watch Curious George(which he's currently doing), and will flip on PBS random times during the day, but am feeling really convicted about it, after I heard DW on Arthur drop a "I could kill them" out of anger. I know to some of you that may seem small, but I see how impressionable Corban is. He picks up on attitudes, actions, phrases. I want to be so careful about what we're allowing in. Jordan says 'let's just get rid of the tv', which is half tempting, but there are days when it's so nice to pop in a movie for Corban, watch an episode or two of House during nap time, etc. So- what's on your tv??
Also heavy on my heart this week- my little brother has his 12th round of chemo today. That transpires to 24 weeks, or nearly 6 months of this. And it's getting hard. He's always had the most incredible attitude in all of the rough things he's faced, but this is taking it's toll. He dreads chemo... and if I could think of a stronger word, I would use it. Thank God, he's only sick chemo day and the day after, but those two days are pretty terrible. He has an MRI on May 19th, which will help determine the course of action from here. Please- keep praying!
I'm not kidding you when I say that he handles this better than the rest of us. And it's not naivety- he knows what's going on. He's an amazing, incredible young man. He told my mom the other day, with confidence, with a quit-worrying-about-it tone, that he knows all of the cancer cells are dead. Praying that he is oh-so-right. Mom was also talking to him about losing his hair (which, after 6 months, is just starting to happen- he lost it all on his arms and legs awhile ago, but just now is his hair obviously thinning). Anyway- she was talking to him about it and he very non-chalantly says "Mom- it's just hair. And it's not like I'll be bald forever. It'll grow back some day." Always finding the positive! I'm so so proud of the young man that he is turning into. I could learn a lot from him for sure.
And lastly- I found this incredibly hilarious and sums up my day yesterday:
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
I also changed the 'name' of my blog. It previously was just a . , now it's 'the mcg family'. Woohoo! I'm considering making it a more widely known thing that I do this... mostly just a few friends and family members known. But I really enjoy doing it, and wouldn't mind a bigger 'readership'. Still debating though.
Lastly, this weather makes my heart very happy. We ventured out of our germ-hole/laundry pit this afternoon, and I took the kids on a nice walk. I ran into Mama Bears first to get a chai, and then ventured down the road, Cate in the wrap, Corban in the stroller. I somehow managed to spill a good bit of chai all over my flip-flop-laden-feet, however, so I was a sticky mess. Oh well, saved a few calories?! haha. We walked over Geist Resevoir, and stopped at a patch of grass to sit and watch the geese in the water. I loved hearing Corban jabber on about what he was seeing! I love seeing how his little mind grows and learns every day.
Anyway, I'm really getting off now. Enough is enough already! Off to fold the laundry that's downstairs at least. :)
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Jordan got up for work and I sat on the couch and sobbed like a baby. Corban wouldn't latch on to eat to save his life (ha), I needed Jordan there with me, but he (mistakingly, I'll add) was called into work. I was so afraid to care for this new little life all alone. I don't remember the details of the day or the time frame of the next series of events, but I know they were closely linked. Corban was barely nursing. We were using sugar water just to get him to latch, and even that wouldn't always work. I'll spare you the details, but for myself, aside from worrying about not nourishing my son, I was in excruciating pain nursing as well. We had yet another weight check, and he still wasn't gaining enough. And had thrush on top of that. It took all I had to not burst into tears right there in front of the doctor. I felt like I was failing at being a Mom. And I was scared.
I went from the doctors office to Target to fill his prescription. At this time, he was all of 7 days old, and I did not have an insurance card for him at that time. It was going to cost many limbs without insurance, and I couldn't do it. When the pharmicist told me the price, I lost it. She was so sweet and kind, and made phone calls and got it all worked out for me, bless her heart, but I was a wreck. I wanted my baby to be okay, I wanted my husband there with me, I wanted to not be crying, for crying out loud.
I don't know why I just told that story, other than them being some of my first moments as 'Mama'... first moments of realizing the depth of my love for that little boy, how I would give anything in the world for him to be okay, how I wanted to give and be for him everything he needed me to be.
Those things haven't changed.
Corban had a little bit of a cough yesterday, and I noticed wheezing after picking him up from the toddler room at church. He is just a wheezer- since he was 5 months old, colds just end up in his chest, it seems. But anyway, we got up this morning, he wouldn't eat, was very whiny, clingy, etc. We were snuggling on the couch watching Jonah (veggie tale style) when I realized just how labored his breathing was. First of all, I could hear it above the movie. His chest was going in, his belly way out with each breath. It was fast and whistle-y. That Mama instinct kicked in and said "Something is wrong!". I whipped out the nebulizer (okay, so maybe I searched for it for ten minutes first), and pinned him down... literally, and attempted to hold that darn mask over his mouth until the medicine was out. It was a long, arduous few minutes, I snuggled him, and then all was well. I put in a call to the doc because I was worried- he'd never been wheezy like that before, and I just wanted someone to tell me he was fine. In a matter of minutes, though, his breathing was back to just like it had been before the nebulizer.
If I hadn't of been driving to the doctor's office, I probably would've gone to the Emergency Room- that's how scared I was. He was just moaning, wheezing, coughing, grunting. No normal noises were being made by my boy. He was miserable, and his breathing was - what words to use?- I don't know- it just sounded terrible. Long story short- we were at the doctor for an hour. It took two of us to get him through a second nebulizer treatment (that had the same Albuterol that we use at home, plus another medicine), as he squirmed and screamed and twisted and cried the whole time. He took a dose of an oral steroid too, and then the doctor came to listen to him for a second time, after him having medicine to calm things down. She could hear the crackling that indicates pneumonia on his lower right lung. We were sent home with antibiotics, steroids, and instructions to use the nebulizer 4x a day until this clears up.
Those same feelings I experienced in the first few days of his life- the fear, the desire to make it all okay, the hoping, praying that I was doing the right thing,the depth of my love for that little boy, how I would give anything in the world for him to be okay, how I wanted to give and be for him everything he needed me to be- were there full force. I once read a quote somewhere about deciding to have a child is to decide to have your heart go walking outside your body. Okay, so it's a little cheesy, but you Mom's can attest- it's so stinkin' true. Have you seen someone hurt your little ones' feelings? Oh man. Heard your child laugh... that real, deep, innocent belly laugh? Seen them give? Watched them learn? It does something inside of you. Being a mother has taught me so much about love... what it means, what it looks like.. unconditionally. There's a great vulnerability in it, too. A lot of unknowns. A lot of hoping and praying. A lot of surrender. A lot of denial of self. A lot of recognizing ones selfishness. Oh, but the love. The joy. The absolute delight of seeing your baby's first smile. Hearing "I love you" for the first time... those giant bear hugs with shouts of "Mama!". There's nothing greater.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love being Mama.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Mama and Daddy made Corban a sweet new room with a sweet new bed, clad with covers and all. Have I mentioned, though, that said toddler hates covers? Oh, well he does. Since the day he was born, in case you were wondering. He managed to unswaddle himself at a day old, and wouldn't stand for a blanket on him from that moment on. Anyway, if I were a toddler, I'd be so excited at the prospect of an un-cagelike bed. But apparently that's just me...
So we gear Corban up for the tranfer. "Oh, you're big boy bed is so neat!" "Look at that cool pillow with the bear prints on it!" "You can even look out your window!" "Covers!" "Freedom!" Ahem. Maybe we should've left that last word out.
Day number one went a lot like this: Put Corban in bed. Turn around, walk to door, turn back around and put Corban in bed. Go downstairs. Listen to numerous thuds and wait for tears. When they don't come, stay put. When the thud is really loud, run upstairs holding breath for fear of what just 'thudded'. Put Corban back in bed. Go downstairs. Go upstairs. Put Corban in bed... and so on and so forth. It went just like that for two and a half hours. Yes ma'am. I climbed up and down the stairs for that long. And then finally, with tears in his eyes and nary a hair on my head left, I cuddled up next to him, sang Jesus loves me twice, and off to dreamland he went. Victory!
I prepped myself for Day 2 of nap time with a venti latte from Starbucks. (I ordered a tall, just so you know, but they messed up - to my benefit!). I tell Corban the whole way home about going to bed in his big boy bed, to which he responds with his new favorite word: No. Oh boy. Not the reaction I was looking for. However, when I went into the crib room to get his paci (Yes, he still takes one), he said, "No- big boy!". I proceeded to put him in bed, prayed with him, shut the gate, and walked out. I got wrapped up in a phone call, but was listening for those thuds and/or tears, but they never came. Sure, I heard him walking and jibberjabbing, but it was in his sleepy voice and didn't want to risk distracting him by going to see what he was doing. 30 minutes pass and I hear nothing. Nothing at all. Silence. What?! I tiptoe up the stairs, creep around the corner and cover my mouth to stifle my laugh.
There was my little boy, sound asleep, blankie snuggled under arm, facedown...
on his wood floor.
Right by the door.
In front of the gate.
The sweetest thing I've ever seen.
Okay- maybe not. But it was precious and priceless. I snapped a picture on my cellphone, but apparently am cellphone illiterate and can't figure out how to upload it onto my computer. I went back up an hour and a half later to try and get a picture with the camera, but he was semi-awake and sat up upon my arrival. Shucks.
Anyway, I'd considered day two a success. It took far less time, and didn't involve me at all. Maybe this transition will be easier than I thought afterall. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Thus concludes todays story.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Anyway- we're alive and well! More to come someday!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Wasn't that fun?! They were very close in age in all of these pictures... no more than a week or two apart. They definitely resemble eachother! :) I plan on writing a real update at some point in time.. but that requires time and free hands... a rarity these days. Posting pictures, however, just takes a mouse and no typing- thus all of the photo updates. Anyway, I have two crying children and a sick husband, so my free time is (way past) up! Enjoy!