I was in a very reflective mood today. I was thinking about the way things were before we got this diagnosis and how things are now. I just wanted to share with you all some of what I've been considering today!
1. NEVER take good health and life for granted. About 9 months ago family and friends were getting on my case to go in for a checkup - I hadn't done that in a while. Not only did we do me but I did the kids. While at that time nothing was caught except the node on my thyroid - I thought we were doing really well. HA - surprise! And you never ever think that your kid will be the one who winds up with something like this - I always figured I'd be diagnosed with breast cancer before any of my kids would get sick. I learned a valuable lesson!
2. Just because you appear healthy and are trying to eat better or do something good for you health doesn't always mean you will be healthy forever!!Looking at Alyssa I would think she was the picture of health. Thankfully that is good because when they staged her - she was on the A side, not the B side which meant she had drastic weight loss, night sweats and other side symptoms but the cancer was still there and frankly the first 2 times her neck swelled and went down I passed it off as allergies or a cold. NOT SO - that is a classic sign of Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
3. We have more friends than we think we do. Wow. I was so overwhelmed with the friends who came out to support us in this. I was in awe - I knew I had friends but I have FRIENDS!!!
Folks who I thought were just acquaintances stepped up and did things for us, my close friends really rallied around us took the reigns so we could be free to just take care of our daughters and son. Folks we've only met once or twice have called, checked our blog, prayed, brought us meals, watched our kids and hugged my daughter thru this. My family is abundantly blessed and I count sooooo many people as blessings in my life.
4. NEVER take your family for granted. Again, I am abundantly blessed. When I think of some of these kids/families who don't have the support system we do I think about what it would have been like to NOT have the family, extended family, and in-laws I have. AGAIN, I could them all as huge blessings and they all play their part and are there for us in this and I can't even begin to thank our family enough for all they are doing, have done and probably will do before this is all over with. Having a husband who is there for you too and a partner in good times as well as bad is something I cannot even imagine not having. He is just awesome and I thank God daily that I have him.
5. Don't just give up the stuff you love because you are going thru rough times. When this was all new I was ready to sell all my goats and throw myself into caring for Alyssa and using the money for her meds/medical bills. UM. Yeah, money is always nice but really I can't tell you what a huge blessing and smile therapy having the baby goats has been through this. It has helped us all. Alyssa who thought she was done with goats and doing dogs only is back in goats and has chosen a doeling from our crop for hers. It's worth it to see her so happy while holding that little doeling.
6. LET GO!!!!! I'm a pretty self sufficient kind of gal (and probably a bit too prideful to boot) I like to do things myself and not rely on others. I strongly maintain NOW that sometimes you have to let go and let others or something like this will eat your lunch - I had to let go and actually ask for help from folks and that wasn't easy - I was even THANKED for letting folks help - I am so dang grateful to everyone for all they have done and do that I can't even begin to let folks know the gratitude and appreciation my family has for all the folks who've done things for us. I've had days when I couldn't even begin to think about cooking and am so grateful we have someone who is taking care of that! I've had days where I go thru the day and am up at the hospital and will be there and realized I forgot to water my animals and had to ask. I forgot to go back to the feed store and get the right grain for my goats and had a friend who I asked and she did it for me. Sometimes you just need to ask!!!!
7. YOU are stronger than you think. I've been asked by many folks how I'm doing this? I don't know - I don't have time to think about it - I just do it. I love the verse that says "I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me" in Phillipians and the one that says that we need to ask
and "He will give us the peace that surpasses all understanding" (can't remember where that one is right now but I do know that those two verses are the two I can say we are living right now. He has poured out his peace in our heart and Strength in our bodies to get thru each day. Sure we go to bed exhausted or have days that we think we might be near the breaking point with grief or whatever - but we are still here and still walking thru this!!!!!
8. NEVER ever forget your other family members. My other two kids have been incredibly tremendous thru this trial. They have stepped up to the plate in so many areas it's almost stunning. But just because they do that doesn't mean you get to forget about them and their feelings. Nik has said he sometimes feels left out and forgotten in this and no matter how hard you try you may still fall short. I have to remember - they are little and need love and attention too - they can't be forgotten thru this either. I was blessed in that I was able to take the two little ones out to eat for a thank you lunch to them because they have been so awesome. I want to do more but sometimes money is tight or time is tight and I can't but the night cuddles and school time and trying to keep their schedules as normal as possible just has to suffice sometimes!!!!
9. Be Flexible. HMPH. I am one of those folks who thought I was flexible and realized I do not like my little schedule messed up. I am learning that schedules need to be changed when they need to be changed and sometimes, something you thought was a priority - ISN'T. yeah, sometimes you find out you are iron woman when you need to be well - Gumby!!!!
Neither one is good or bad - they just have their appropriate place in life!!!
10. GIVE when you can and where you can. I was told I was a very giving person. I realized thru this that I'm more selfish than I should be. I can give more than I ever thought possible and that sometimes it isn't the size of the gift that matters - It's the heart behind it. Everyone has something to give even if they think it's small and menial - to the receiver, sometimes that little gift may just be the thing that lifts their WHOLE DAY!!!!!
I'm sure I've learned more than this but I can say - I've learned A LOT!!!!!
The biggest thing I've learned - GOD IS GOOD! Abundantly, Incredibly, Undeniable GOOD!!!!