Vacation is a good thing! Especially when it’s to Colorado and temperatures in Dallas have been well over 100 while you’re gone. We are at Horn Creek Family Camp in south central CO with Jamie and her family. I’ve heard her talk about this camp since I met her in 6th grade and Scott and I came last year – schlepping a 7-wk old Lincoln who slept through most of it but multiplied our joy. We couldn’t get enough of the mountains, slow pace, time together, time with Jamie and her boys, Jamie’s extended family (parents and sister and nieces), new friends from small town all over Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska so we came back. And it’s even sweeter this time around. As I write, I’ve been resting with windows open and a big aspen outside our window with mountains in the distance. God sure shows His majesty here and it has refreshed my soul.
At the end of last year, before we knew God allowed cancer as part of our 2012, I only had 2 significant events on the calendar. In January, I spoke at Watermarks women’s retreat (after a couple of years out of the teaching saddle) and we planned to return to Horn Creek at the end of July. And though cancer was a surprise to us, it wasn’t to the Lord and He has again shown His mercy in the timing. Scott and I have reflected again this week about the unexpected gift and timing of Lincoln who will likely be our only biological child unless God shows off again. But I’ve also marveled at how God situated the timing of our diagnosis and treatment so perfectly between the retreat and Horn Creek so we have been able to enjoy both. I went to the doctor for the first time on the Tuesday after the retreat and I finished chemo 2 days before we left for CO. Back in March when chemo was being scheduled I remember repeatedly counting out the 14 weeks of weekly treatment and then the 8 weeks of bi-weekly treatment and each time delighting that I would finish on the 20th so we could leave for camp on the 22nd. He sweetly ordained the first doctors appointments, insurance uncertainties, port placement and first day of chemo such that our family could rest together this week as we marvel at His creation.
It’s been especially great to be here and have extra help and lower temperatures because the chemo side effects have been harder than I’m used to. I don’t know if its the change in climate or cumulative effect of chemo but its another reason I’m glad chemo is over. My eyes are almost constantly painful and watering, my energy levels have been low, my tummy has been off, and the bottom of my feet are tender and raw. My mouth has been sore and my toe still isn’t healing well. And the other big toe looks headed for the same fate. Yesterday, Scott told me he thought it was looking a lot like the other one and told me I needed to be prepared to lose it too. Then, to seal its fate, he accidentally stepped on it last night as we watched skit night so it really doesn’t have much of a chance now. I am bald and without eyelashes, eyebrows, or big toe nails. And in some weird way the chemo is rotting my finger nails too so they’re added to the unattractive side effects list. Chemo attacks all fast growing cells so that’s why skin, nails, hair, mouth and GI cells are hardest hit along with cancer. But, again, find myself thankful that my experience is still better than most folks and I can enjoy participating in most activities with Lincoln and Scott – including daily naps for all. And, f you don’t feel too great, this is a great place to be! Scenery, weather, daily teaching and encouragement and lots of help. Jamie’s boys are precious playmates and companions for him and her 10-year-old niece, Caroline, wants to take him for walks, feed him, and play with him daily. So, though I write this laying in bed for a mid-morning nap amidst eye drops, medicine, chapstick and interrupted by tummy pain, my heart is better than my body. I’ve loved the time with Scott to pray, play, talk, and explore. I’ve loved the time with Jamie and her family to laugh, fish, play, explore, and travel. And I’ve loved the time with the Lord to refresh my soul with His love, His creation, and His Word.
We leave camp tomorrow and in the style of my free-spirited husband, we will roam Colorado without a definitive plan for the next week. This is a stretch for me – an exercise in dying to self and dying to the need for a plan. But he loves to explore and wander so we will. And I’m sure I’ll love it even if I don’t exactly know what ‘it’ is. The little I know is that we will spend more time with Jamie and her family in Buena Vista and, at some point, join some friends who are camping somewhere else in CO. I don’t even know where that is. And I’ve laid down the law that I am nowhere near motivated to camp with Lincoln but we don’t have hotel reservation either. Did I mention dying to self and the need for a plan? I admit it’s good for me even if hard for me. And admit that watching Scott’s delight in the mountains and love of exploring is good for me too.
We expect to be home next Friday or Saturday. And, the following week, I have doctors appointments Monday and Tuesday and then surgery on Wednesday. I have had to confess to Scott and the Lord the anxiety about returning to Texas heat with lower energy levels and a hard week ahead but trusting the Lord will provide the energy and help I need. He’s good like that. And y’all are great too. Thanks for caring and praying. I’d love your prayers for continued rest and refreshment, reprieve from side effects, and trust in the Lord for what awaits us when we return.
With love and thanks,