August 16, 2015

I am sleepy and itchy but I am still funny!

I am in the middle of recovering from Round#2 of chemotherapy. It is complicated to sort-out which side effects can be attributed to chemotherapy vs. pain medication. There are pros and cons to every situation, so let’s do a quick chemotherapy pros and cons list.

Get to sleep a lot – typically wake-up around 10:30-11:00
Increased Body Aches – deep bone aches
Husband is even more attentive – well his baseline is that he spoils me already but it is even cooler now!!!
Memory Loss
Get to read beautiful cards that are being sent, filled with special memories and words of encouragement
Slight Nausea
Unlimited reflection and meditation time
Additional quality time with my family and friends
Increased Sleep
Nurses, family, and friends willing to help make me comfortable, feeling surrounded by love, and taken care of
Loss of Appetite
Time to write letters and cards to people as I reflect on memories that I want to put on paper
Don’t get to drive my car
A clock is not necessary, as time simply does not matter – for the most part

I get to spend quality time with my friends and family every week – super awesome fun times snuggled up on the sofa in our blankets watching a funny movie or TV show

“Oh my gosh…babe you scored” is what I hear nearly every day, after Curtis checks the street mail and/or PO Box mail; he walks in carrying a handful of letters that are all addressed to me. I LOVE IT!!!  It brings me such great joy and lifts my spirit to receive the letters everyone is sending. I cherish each written word and long to read and share more memories. I hope people do not mind me sharing some of these precious words on my blog. Please keep writing, I will continue to write back as long as I am able. Curtis took me to Hobby Lobby – my first post chemo outing, 45 minutes in length and it wiped me out! However, during my Hobby Lobby adventure, I picked up some really cool things to make the cards I write to everyone are super Jazzy! I hope you all enjoy them because I am having so much fun writing back.

Elaine Markley authored an amazingly touching piece of poetry, which was accompanied by a handwritten letter, that is now framed and displayed in my home. I want to share it with everyone – I hope Elaine does not mind.

Facing the enemy head on
Not backing down
Troops rally around you
You are not in this alone.

Miracles do happen
Being hopeful one will come your way
“She makes broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked the Universe on her shoulders
and made it look like a pair of wings.”

Laughter is the universal medicine
Happy endorphin's flow freely
Side aches and happy tears shared with friends
Who else would ever admit they “prefer weed up their ass?”

From near and far, young and old offer hope
Your warmth spills over to touch so many
No borders, no barriers, no boundaries, no strangers
Only joy to share with a special person.

Fill the trunk
Share your thoughts now to be treasured forever
Capture good times, sayings, pictures
Make memories real and Christina’s wish fulfilled

Christina Christina
Always in our thoughts
Always in our hearts
Always hopeful
Your journey has made everyone you have touched
a better person
  Elaine Markley
August 5, 2015

As I visited with some friends this morning, I spoke of how neat it is that I get the opportunity to hear how I have influenced the lives of others and relive memories while I am alive. Most of us will not get this opportunity; it is typically at a funeral or celebration of life ceremony that people share these beautiful heartfelt words and memories about their loved one. However, for me, I get to hear it, read it and relive it while I am alive. This is one of the many pros of knowing that your life is winding down!

As I take a quick break from typing, to itch myself – the morphine makes me itchy, I think about how strange it is that I have cancer and that I am dying. I then quickly remind myself that I am open to miracles. It makes me sad to think about dying when I am so young; I have so much more that I want to do with my life. It too makes me sad when I catch my husband, out of the corner of my eye, looking at me with deep love as his heart breaks that he may soon be losing the woman he longed to grow old with. It hurts my heart when Curtis’ expression of sorrow is so deep that it is indescribable. I watch Jackson as he makes himself something to eat in the kitchen, and wonder if this might be the last time I get to see him do this. I tell Jackson I love you before going to bed, hanging-up the phone, or leaving the house (I have always done this will all my children) and wonder if this will be the last time he will hear those words. I watch my son Cole be defiant yet call it being independent whose verbal expression is incredibly self-centered and uncaring – thinking, this is not how I raised him to be and hoping he will step back into the giving person I raised him to be. I cling to the words of my son Carlos who called to just let me know how much he loves me and to make sure that I knew he is going to “make something” of his life. To hear him say that I have been his number one role model in his life and how much he loves me. I reflect on my son Dominic who expresses that he does not know how to even imagine me no longer being alive – that he can’t even go there, it is too painful. It is interesting to see how the people around me respond as my life is winding down. My hope is that everyone will find peace and be able to respond in love – while I am still alive. Life is a precious gift.

I have made many mistakes during this lifetime and hope that I have repaired these wrongs, learned from each experience, and grown into a better person. With gratitude, I say thank you to everyone that has touched my life in small and large ways – you have enriched this journey and I am thankful.

Please keep sending me letters and bringing me hope! My trunk is quickly filling; I may need to get a larger one before you know it! Live each moment as though it is your last. Love hard. Give freely. And SMILE more!!!

Thank you to everyone that is donating to my End of Life fundraiser - one of my desires is to stay at the beach at least one night monthly and because of the donations received thus far, I am getting ready to schedule my first August trip! 

Today, I am hopeful~