Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Ripple Effect

There are bubbles in the bath and we're talking about the rainbows that can be seen in them.  How light can be reflected, refracted, how when it shines through a raindrop, a prism of colour can create a rainbow in the sky.  I'm no physicist, but together we lean in and can see the wonder and the beauty.  Then it's gone and we're back to blowing bubbles, trying to catch them and hold them.  They're fragile and they pop if you touch them.
And life feels that way.  Fragile.  Intangible, and it will pop and be gone like that bubble in a nanosecond.

I'm drying my hands and the silver band on my wrist glistens, reminding me of the journey, reminding me to keep breathing, reminding me to keep going.  It's the eve of another visit to Children's Hospital.  Not the dreaded MRI this time, endocrinology.  We got this - it's a breeze.  But I find myself fending away haphazard memories and thoughts that are preying on my hard fought for confidence and tranquility.  The fear is never too far away.

I think again of all that light, and how I described radiation to Jasmine.  And then I think about how her treatment is responsible for this follow up appointment at Children's, not the cancer, but the route to recovery.  The medicine given to bring cure can often feel as hazardous as the initial diagnosis.  And I wonder when a child's body is overcome by the effects of chemo, and goes in to organ failure, does that child die from cancer or from complications of chemo - did the cure take their life or the disease?  They blend together and I'm not sure and it stops the breath in my body.  I choke and turn away, keep breathing.

I look at a 7 year old girl and wonder what the doctor will say.  Is she growing?  Last time we saw Dr. Dan - all first name terms at Children's Hospital - he thought we might be starting treatment by the next visit.  Artificial growth hormone.  The radiation could have damaged the pituitary gland, it controls and is responsible for  a whole range of things that the body needs.  If she's not growing, or it's slowing, it's a marker that "she might need some help with this."

Which reads we ready ourselves for the next step of the journey, the side effects on the side effects, and the drugs and the side effects that they produce and the other side effects and this is how we roll post cancer diagnosis and treatment with our baby girl.

I think about how Jasmine is always throwing off her sweater, wants to wear shorts in the middle of March when there's snow outside and will merrily run round in a pair of teva's over rain boots when it's damp and the windchill is - 20.  She may no longer be able to regulate her body temperature.  She may have convulsions, may develop epilepsy, may go in to premature puberty any day…. or not at all…. she may, she may, she may….. and I can't reconcile myself to all this, so I counter with the battle cry of she may not.

And yet, there's something so remarkable about her recovery that I can't dwell on the what if's for too long.  She sits in the middle of the bath tub and the ripples spread out, reaching the edges and the further out they get, the gentler they become.  Two years on the ripple effect is lessening it's death grip on me.  It's there, but the waves that come don't always rip me to shreds and drown me.  They're gentler the further out we get,  I'm learning to ride the wave.  The mascara Monday's come and go, but the miracle keeps on going.

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Linking up for another Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker.  Each week she gives us a prompt and we get the freedom to write for 5 minutes unedited, without worrying if it's just right, we just write.  Click the link and join the community

The joy is in the detail.  It's as simple as that.  Like the way she can giggle and snuggle in so close that her breath is like feathers on my neck.  I thought I knew what joy was.  I thought I understood that emotion.  These last years have been so vastly different for me.  I thought I had had a broken heart before, but Jasmine's cancer took me deep to a pain I had never experienced.  A raw anguish that still viciously can snap at my heels and heart any time it chooses.  A beautiful 5 year old girl - facing the extreme of her own mortality.  5 years old - cancer.  They just should never be in the same sentence never mind the same beautiful body of a little girl. She could be your little girl.  She is mine. Jasmine's faith and forbearance and joy in the details have been the mainstay to keep me sane.  Just as that pain has depth, I thought I'd known joy before, but not to the extreme of having a second chance at life.  To have held her slipping away from me, then to hold her now with life coursing through her being.  She sings, she runs, she dances, she laughs loud and long, she shows me what it looks like to see the beauty, to live it, to be joyful in the details, to notice and to care.  There is nothing as radiantly joyful and truly glorious as looking her oncologist, her neurosurgeon, her endocrinologist, her audiologist, her radiologist, her nurse clinician, her social worker, her comrades with all their battle scars and chemo weary bodies in the eye and celebrating with JOY those three letters and one word.  MRI - clear.  It does something from the inside out, every single time.  And I will fall to my knees every single time, heart fully thankful for His measure of grace and love that is given.

Friday, 14 March 2014


Linking with Lisa-Jo Baker as a flash mob of writers this Friday.  We're given a prompt and then we write, without worry about whether it's just right.  Join us by clicking the link?

Today's prompt is ~


Ever seen those videos which show a single person, still, while the crowd of people round them move in fast frame speed.  So many people, so many places, so much to do.  That seems how life goes these days, but oftentimes I feel like that solitary person alone in the crowd.  It throngs around me, and hums, coming to life, creating it's own breath of life and moves forever forward and onward, gathering momentum.
I don't know why, but I crave the stillness in it all.  As though if I jump in with the crowd, I might just get swept away, might not be seen, might not matter.  It might just take me where I don't want to go.  So I'll keep trying to figure that out, longing for simplicity and quiet - but NOT solitude.

Because being part of something bigger is a beautiful thing.  Belonging is exquisite.  Community is warm and caring and can create something extraordinary.

I don't wish to do this life alone.  So please, count me in!

Friday, 7 March 2014


We are joining Lisa-Jo Baker this morning for 5 minutes writing free, unedited, without worry if it's just right - just write!  The prompt today is 

Willing  - GO!

"I will willingly do that for you."  I hear the words strong and clear and want to jump in with both feet and say them. 

But these days I have an already overloaded schedule and I am coming to the realization that to be willing to do something costs me something.  
If I'm willing to do something it is normally at the expense of something else.  

But what I'm also learning is that I need to be discerning between choices then when I pause long enough to really think things through, to really take time to breathe and choose wisely, then my heart follows with a true willingness.

But it takes courage and love to be willing.  Because what's important is the willingness to be brave to accept things, to take the faith filled route, rather than the fear filled one.  And when my stubbornness and fear around change seems too big, the best thing I can remember is that we are not in control.  That the one who knows and is sovereign over all has all the answers and if I am only willing to trust, then my heart can be opened to life, love and adventure of the spirit.  And who wouldn't be willing to live a light filled life?