Story. The past seven days has been filled with delicious stories, stories that warm and encourage. Posts and pictures from friends make me smile. Texts bring laughter and support. Story has held me together.
My parents 51st wedding anniversary.
Wesley calling, sharing about baseball and college.
Elizabeth texting updates from Florida fun.
Tim helping with chores (and talking too), sharing Chinese for lunch.
March madness cheering.
Girl talk with Melody.
Returning to a collaborative staff.
Being greeted with delightful, “Yeah. You’re back!” from children.
The cooks giving me hugs (they are so delightful!)
Reading posts and smiling.
Receiving comments from Slicing friends, old and new.
I have been teaching at Pierceton Elementary School for 21 years. Wesley had just turned 1 in July before I began that August. All three of my children attended PES. My coworkers aren’t just a community of teachers, but a staff of family. It has been no surprise they have given me encouragement through my surgery.
As a pick-me-up, a sunshine box and bag were delivered. Cute notes from kindergarteners to third graders made me chuckle. But I honestly think my coworkers think I am bored. As family is, practical jokes are to be played.
A smile led to a chuckle.
The chuckle continued, getting louder as I continued to pull items from the bag.
Tim came in from the other room to see what was causing the fuss and just shook his teenage head. I had lost it. My laugh roared loud and long as I held up the Whoopi Cushion. I couldn’t talk; just pointed.
I do believe my coworkers think I am bored and need something to entertain me during my recuperation days. They certainly know how to make a girl smile. A spiderman paddle ball! Just what I wanted!!
So if you’re bored, come on over. There’s more in the box. I’m sure we can find something delightful to do. :)
One month ago, my Friday was not relaxed like today.
One month ago, I finished one more load of laundry, tidied up the main floor, vacuumed the rugs, washed a few dishes, cleared the counters, and even cleaned the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.
One month ago, I needed to stay busy before we left … left for the hospital.
Yesterday, I shared about enjoying a sunny day with books, felt-tip pens, and writing time. That morning, I was ready for answers and a solution. You see, school began August 5. On August 6, my female cycle decided to kick in for the first time in eight months. Really??? I should have known stress would trigger it. I was on the hopeful side of being done with “IT”. But the normalcy of nature played it course.
Two weeks later, IT happened again. Are you kidding me??
Time passed and IT didn’t stop. Pain increased. Tiredness seeped my energy. I struggled to remain normal when my body was not cooperating. My first appointment, my doctor predicted that my body was beginning to change and medication would be able to regulate the cycles. I was relieved. I just wanted IT to stop, go away, be done!
But… precautions had to take place, “Just in case there might be something amiss.” My first appointment led to an ultrasound, then my first biopsy. That biopsy led me to a gynecologist specialist. The second biopsy was inconclusive. “Just in case” a more evasive procedure happened and the third biopsy showed I had some abnormal cells, possibly cancer.
I remember staring at him, pen in hand, a bit shocked. The C word had arisen. I guess I knew cancer was a possibility all along, but it was something I didn’t dwell on. Who wants cancer? Not me. He referred me to a gynecological oncologist to perform a hysterectomy, “Just in case.”
Three months from my initial doctor’s visit, I had surgery. My husband and daughter were there. Staying calm and not worrying during the waiting days between appointments was not easy for three months. Scripture, prayer, my Savior calmed my unknowing. Family, friends, my school encouraged. Facebook and texts showered written blessings.
One month ago, surgery was successful. It cleared me of the amiss in my body. The pathologists would check, “Just in case” their initial diagnosis was incorrect.
At my follow-up appointment, my doctor explained, “Your uterus was checked millimeter by millimeter. Cancer WAS found in a small area.” The “Just in case” saved me. No chemo needed right now. I’m on an observation status with six month checkups prescribed for five years, “Just in case.”
On Nov. 11, I had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. School had been going well, but I needed some time for me. I decided to take the entire day. I woke up at my regular time, got ready, bid Tim good-bye as he caught the bus and then… Headed for a day immersed in books.
I read a picture book, noticed craft, wrote, planned and then did it again. The sun was shining. The day was awesome! Of course I had to see the doctor. That wasn’t as fun. Questions arose … more than I had thought. Doubt crept in. The “what if?” began. The next few months changed, were tense. (More tomorrow.)
Sitting at home remembering, thinking back, makes me doubly thankful I had the day for me.
For the past three summers, my youngest son has been my assistant during summer school. Tim doesn’t have any extra training; he’s just a young man who is willing to help. His first year of helping, I modeled how to catch the kids acting appropriately. I remember hearing him stop mid-sentence, “Tom, stop ta…. I notice how Sam is standing quietly with his voice off. I notice Sally with her eyes on me.” After class that day, Tim said, “Hey, catching them being good really works.”
I finished teaching kindergarten two weeks ago and wouldn’t have survived without Tim. My hat is off to kindergarten teachers. These kids are inquisitive, attention-seeking, and energetic. During a read a loud, the kids would be captivated, participated, and definitely cheered for more. We had fun.
During small group instruction, Tim would circulate among the students who were reading independently from their book bags. He doesn’t know any specific strategy except for listening. Tim would ask them questions and encourage each on a job well done. He also helped keep the kids focused. I loved capturing him one morning listening in. I wish I had Tim during the school year, to be a live audience and respond positively to the efforts each kid makes. Does he plan to be a teacher some day? Maybe not the professional kind, but he’s definitely learning the life lesson of assisting others.
Did I mention my children to you lately?
Did I mention how my thoughts are on them so much these days?
Did I mention that the years, months, days now seem like hours left to share?
Did I mention how I do Wesley’s laundry so I can see a glimpse of him each week?
Did I mention he is a junior in college according to credits, is playing baseball, mastered the 6 minute mile at 5:48, is learning to throw a new pitch and looks promising to be on the varsity lineup?
Did I mention I text him just to say I am thinking and praying for him to receive a delightful, meaningful response in thanks?
Did I mention Tim is playing basketball and is a team vocal leader?
Did I mention his timid personality is changing into a confident, quiet young man, who is trusting the words of his parents and Lord?
Did I mention he loves helping the little kids during the mid-week youth activities and is learning to be responsible, trying to be gentle through play and gracious with words?
Did I mention Elizabeth loves helping people?
Did I mention she likes volunteering at the blood drive, loving on her preschool mid-week kids, teaching and admonishing them?
Did I mention the wrestling coach relies on her to take charge of the stats, equipment, and even his keys (which he continually seems to misplace)?
Did I mention my kids decide to talk to me in the middle of an activity and how I am listening?
Did I mention how time has passed too quickly for this mother of teenagers?
Did I mention how I love my children, grab hold of the moments, and tuck them into my memory?
Did I mention … these fleeting thoughts on a cold, snowy morning are just a glimpse into my heart?