Snap shots and memories of our journey with cancer… so far

I have a few half written posts about this cancer journey we are on. Nothing seems to feel right, to say what I want to say, to convey to you in words that roll off my fingers onto the page with ease. What I have are snapshots in my mind. They’re kind of like Snapchats, where they last for a few seconds but I don’t have them saved anywhere.

I wish I was a painter. I’d paint them all so I could share them with you. But all I have are words, so here are some snap shots of memories I take with me.

  • The doctor in the emergency room as he runs to catch my son’s gurney as we headed to an inpatient room. It’s lymphoma! He said, waving tests results in his hand. Jeremy and me in the elevator moments later, Well, at least we know what we’re dealing with I said to him.
  • The nurse in the middle of the night whispering to Jeremy so as not to wake me up. I’ll come see you after my shift. I have some information for you. And she did. She finished her 12 hour, middle of the night shift and spent another hour on her own giving us education and information. Bless her.
  • The coffee and tea cart outside the room across the hall from Jeremy’s first room at City of Hope with a sign: For the grieving family only. As he was wheeled in on the ambulance gurney, I took in the scene, crying family members carrying armloads of their loved one’s belongings. Reality check.
  • The moment Superman – aka Dr. Saro Armenian – came in to Jeremy’s room after a week at City of Hope without much direction. He told us he was taking over his case, he had a plan, he had a team and we were moving toward full diagnosis and treatment, today. He was our savior in that moment. I’ll never forget it.
  • The nurses changing Jeremy’s sheets at 4:00 am because they were soaked with sweat (a symptom of his Lymphoma). My son, weary of the pain and difficulty breathing, crying in the night, I don’t want to do this anymore mom.
  • The strange sense of solidarity with all the fellow mask wearers and IV pole pushers at City of Hope. This isn’t a place you go when your illness can be treated by your local oncologist. It’s almost a knowing sense of being in this together.
  • Hearing my son say Hello and Have a nice day to other patients, breaking the awkward silence in elevators and waiting rooms.
  • Seeing little boys and girls with bald heads and pale faces, their tired mommies and daddies, lives on hold for now, enduring pain no parent should have to face.
  • Seeing the toxic chemotherapy drugs drip into my son’s veins for the very first time as he slept, unaware. Knowing, that sometimes good things can come from toxic things.
  • Hearing my son say, I have T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma for the first time. Words new but now part of his identity.
  • Hugs from nurses who see your tears and cry their own with you. How do they do this hard thing?
  • The way I hear the Holy Spirit say to me over and over and over again, Don’t worry about tomorrow. Today has enough trouble of its own. Your daily bread, that’s all you need right now.

There are more snap shots in my mind. I could go on. It’s all just raw and real and not flowery or sugar-coated. I don’t want to forget any of these images. I want to remember them all, remember the days when our life came to an abrupt stop, and we started a journey we never expected to take. I want to remember the days of living day by day, of receiving the mercy of just enough, our daily bread.

Thanks for reading friend. Wherever you are today, I pray you’ll hold on to the snap shots and remember the moments no matter how hard or how sweet.

10 Comments on “Snap shots and memories of our journey with cancer… so far

  1. Blown away. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. I don’t even know what that is – except that it’s some sort of cancer. I’m thankful to not know what that is – I guess if I did, it would mean I’ve had a close family member who had it. Sending you and Jeremy big hugs through the Universe. I will be praying for him.

  2. Beautiful, sad, sweet, frightening, stark, inspiring, painful, hopeful pictures. So meaningful. So intimate. So vulnerable. Open this album again. Share the pictures. Take us with you so we can stand closer. And picture us, arms around you, lifting Jeremy high, cursing the cancer, blessing the chemo, seeing life, knowing God loves you…more than you will ever know.

  3. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you, day by day: that God will provide peace, courage, rest and comfort: that the doctors will have the wisdom to use their knowledge and skills to the utmost, with the best treatment for Jeremy’s condition; that healing, and recovery, will result from this terrible ordeal.

  4. Kari, thank you for your transparency, allowing me a window into the inside of your journey in all its raw pain and paralysis, as well as the gifts that unfold unexpectedly. You are in my thoughts and prayers always.

  5. Wow Kari, you are an amazing woman and I’m so glad Jeremy has you to lean on. Continued prayrs for his full, speedy recovery.

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