September 4, 2016

Embracing each day...

I can tell you that I know today is Sunday, this a good start as time escapes me often which in turn is a blessing and a curse. The highlight of the week, hands down, was Jacksons first football game of the season – he is a senior this year so every game is a huge deal. Thanks to my special angel Elaine Markley, that takes care of my family and I on many levels, Curtis and I were extended superior seating accommodations; we parked at the east end of the football field and watched the game from the comfort of our vehicle. Elaine greeted us with a bag of popcorn, a program, and in true cheerleader fashion she was bubbly and bouncy as ever. An added bonus of the night was getting a “hi mom” from Jackson as he ran past the car at half-time. I do not recall much of the actual football game – I am living in the moment on just about every level, but I do remember a few things: the sweet visit from my friend Becky whose southern accent and words of encouragement makes you smile leaving you feeling like a million bucks! My friend Jenny who is always filled with surprises and a willingness to lend a helping hand whenever needed. She ordered t-shirts, with Jacksons #53 printed on them for Curtis, Winston, and I along with a pink Spartan hat for me to wear when the weather turns cold. As the 3rd quarter began, I quickly started to fade, the Spartans were having a great game and Jackson was playing the line like a beast, but it was time for me to go home. Friends Elaine and Mindi met Curtis and I at the gate with encouraging words of support and guided us off the field. Friday was a spectacular evening.

Have I resorted to highlights & low lights, well perhaps after all this is about real talk. It was a rough week, yet upon reflection, I need to consider if this was a rough week or the experiences of this week are quickly becoming the typical week. Pain control continues to be a moving target; I remain eternally surprised that anything on my body would hurt at all based on the amount of pain medication I am taking. With the help of Curtis and hospice, we are becoming increasingly savvy at tracking the pain and knocking it back before it gets too far ahead of us. Concurrently with pain control, I am managing wound care with the assistance of my dutiful, ever so loving husband Curtis. Each day in the afternoon it is shower and wound bandage change time. We are both getting used to the yuck that comes along with changing bandages and cleaning out ulcerated areas of the mass – it is not fun and sometimes requires a couple Xanax for me to get through the process. For a while now, I have been using fresh neem leaves, made into a paste by Curtis, to place on the ulcerated mass. My Ayurvedic practitioner Sharon is sending me fresh picked plants and shipping them from Texas to Oregon. I have been told by the hospice RN’s that my wound will not heal it will continue to get worse as my body will not have the resources to heal. My thought on this matter is that anything is possible and I am all about producing the impossible! Watch me heal. I remain open to a healing miracle. 

I keep saying that I need to start writing little notes about events that occur during the week because if you have not picked up on it by now, my memory is not the best – which is completely okay with me, I accepted this stepdown a while ago. This actually enables me to live in the moment on an entirely new level than ever before. Each moment and interaction so precious, incredibly authentic, and filled with rich deepened love.

As I sit here typing at my large kitchen island, I look to my right and see the most glorious blue sky, speckled with white clouds and think, what a delightfully blessed life it is that I lead. On January 1, 2016 I chose a word that was to define this year, that word was gratitude. This word is the best one to describe where I am at in my life – the essence of my life in the year 2016. I rest nicely and quite lovely in gratitude in large part because of the amazing people I have in my life. I am surrounded by family and friends that love and adore me – they see the best parts of me and cultivate these parts. I have the most loving and dedicated husband, this man loves me and when I say he loves me, it is a love that I don’t think most people experience. He loves me: even though, even when. It doesn’t faze him that my body and beauty have faded over the years, what he sees and experiences is the most perfect and beautiful wife. He sees his best friend, wife, lover, his everything. It does not matter that I am bald. It does not faze him that I walk around the house passing gas at will, because I need to. He does not care that I peed the bed this week – he just got out the carpet cleaner and started cleaning it up. When he finds me emotionally broken, confused, and in pain; he simply embraces me. This man LOVES me; he does not see me as broken or damaged, he sees me as perfectly imperfect – the beauty he calls Sweet Pea.

I have been blessed with amazing individuals in my life – it is all of you that make it easy for me to walk this journey filled with positivity, grace, and peace. I am forever grateful for this as it makes this journey one of beauty. I love the angels that walk this earth, that are here to lift me up and help me be a better version of myself. My acupuncturist Mandi that comes to my house to provide treatments. My friend Rita that provides her healing touch through massage. My friend Belinda that will drop everything to come be with me, clean my bathrooms, and either brings me nuts or a fresh baked pie. My friend Elaine that has continued to bring over dinner once a week for over a year and when I say she brings over dinner I mean it. She brings all the fix’ns from napkins, desert, main dish, sides, drinks, bouquets of fresh flowers, plants flowers in my planter boxes outside the house…I could go on and on. My friend Candice who I worked with years ago, decided to surprise me and dropped off the most amazing jasmine plant along with a lovely card and gift cards for my boys – the plant is in my bedroom and it is remarkably beautiful! I just have good people in my life that care about me and my family. This is just a few examples of the love I have from others in my life. Oh how I am blessed.

I was saddened to learn that a land mark along the Oregon Coast at Kape Kiwanda known as “duckbill” was naturally destroyed by the weather. Not to worry though, I have a photo of me siting upon this glorious structure; Curtis hoisted me up there during a visit a couple years ago so I will forever have this memory. I love that in one of the photo’s I am throwing up my beloved peace sign – something that I experience nearly all the time, peace. *UPDATE: it turns out that there was a group of people who destroyed this structure by rocking it back and forth until it loosened and tumbled down the hill. What a disappointing situation.  

Please do not forget that I would love to hear from you – please write me letters. I am doing my best to respond to each of you, but know that it lifts my spirits to read your words, reading that you are thinking of me, and that we have shared something special during this life journey – it is such a gift. Although I am not really having visitors to the house, I love to get texts, emails, but hand written letters are my favorite. I appreciate the level of privacy and respect we are receiving as a family and I thank you.

Christina Garrett
PO Box 192
Philomath, OR 97370

There you have it, a little update. I am not sure how much time I have left but I sure am trying to make the most of it. I am thankful for the care hospice is providing; to think that a few weeks ago I was in such pain and so ill that I thought my journey was ending. Each extra day I get here, I am embracing.

Many have asked how they can help our family. One of the easiest most helpful ways is to send gift cards to stores such as: Safeway, McDonalds, Subway, or Panda Express and mail to either my home address or to PO Box 192 Philomath, Oregon 97370. The gift cards make it easy for the kids to go grab a quick bite or pick-up groceries for the family. Thank you to everyone that continues to pray, send healing thoughts, and positive energy our direction. Although I am unable to respond to every email, text, phone message, FB message etc. please know that I am reading and listening to each one and appreciate the continued support. 

#duckbill #CapeKiwanda #hospice

Today, I am hopeful~