Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monkey Bars, Duct Tape and Bungie Cords

Many of us carry duct tape. That isn't so surprising. I buy it in the little flat rolls so that I can conveniently drop it in my pocketbook. I never go on a trip without it.

Bungie cords - okay I got some flack on that one the last time I went to China. But in Tokoyo someone threw my new rolling suitcase off the airplane and onto the tarmac. The result was that the new suitcase now had no pull-up handle and the entire wheel assembly was broken rendering it useless. Ah - the joy of bungie cords. I took out a couple of them and strapped said suitcase to my larger roller affectionately nicknamed Bertha. We lost less than 5 minutes doing this. Nobody was laughing now.

It was on this trip to China that we adopted Lulea. Three years later, her speech issues although vastly improved, still linger. Sometimes she says things that you really have to listen hard, digest and try to translate. She came in the den shortly after Christmas and said, "Mama, I like your monkey bars." Well, that's what it sounded like anyway. I frowned, had her repeat what she said and then sat and tried to digest what in the world she had been trying to tell me. She became a bit insistant at that point. Both her frustration and mine was mounting. Finally she motioned to me and said "I show uo." The minute she headed to the bathroom it hit me and the mystery was solved. I had been the recipiant of grab bars for the bathroom, which I really appreciated. To Lulea they were monkey bars. How funny her perspective!

Being prepared for the future is a favorite topic of mine. Type A to the core, I carry duct tape and bungie cords. Sometimes though the future brings with it, an altogether different set of circumstances than what we felt such a great need to be prepared. As expected, my monkey bars have been a life saver - till this weekend. Over the weekend, three days to be exact, I a significant amount of function. My left side decided to go on strike. Then my hearing began to diminish. Finally, the strength in my both legs vanished along with decreased strength and function of my arms and hands along with a fair maount of tremoring. Oh yes, and then there's the approximately 20 pounds that suddenly appeared over the course of the last week.

At my oncology appointment this morning, my blood work was again just fine. That was very welcome news. Because of the extent of my downward spiral in such a short time there was quite a bit of consternation that perhaps the tumor in my brain was growing out of control. The verdict however went in another direction which was bit unexpected though welcome. This is all evidently a fairly impressive effect of a high dose of steriods.

One look at me and my oncologist went into high gear and arranged for new radiation treatments to begin Tuesday. She isn't the type to throw her weight around unnecesarily so when she says jump - people do. Once the radiation has begun, they can begin weaning me off of the steroids - thank goodness. Driving is out of the quesition - my legs don't work well enough for it to be safe. In fact, both my onc and a PA in another office insisted that I go buy a quad cane. That is not exactly something I would have forseen just a week ago. But for once I decided to be sensible and listen to my doctor when she pointed out that if I fell and broke a hip or a femor they would have to suspend all treatment until I was healed. So I got the cane. It's a metallic purple and blue - A throwback to my younger years, I call it my British Racing cane.

As a result of all of this functional loss so suddenly, I had the most humbling experience of my life and it is not without some trepidation that I tell this. I have lost so much strength that I was unable to stand up in the bathroom and had to drop to my knees and crawl out. My husband calmly though took charge. He had to have me reach around his neck and hold on so that he could lift me back to my feet. I didn't want to do this - I wanted to figure out a way to do it myself. I cried in pure frustration and humiliation. But he calmly assured me that he could lift me and all I had to do was to reach out, put my arms around his neck - and trust that he really could get me up. And this wonderful caring dedicated man to whom I have the honor of being married did exactly that. I tried to thank him, but that wasn't what he wanted. He simply wanted me to trust him to help me. All of my preperations were for naut. My duct tape, my bungie cords, not even my monkey bars were of any use without trusting another to help me.

Suddenly I realized, Lord Jesus that's what you do for us. Everytime we stumble and fall if only we put out our arms out to you, you take them. You then pick us up to our feet and set us on our way once more. You sacrificed your life to ours - to saving us from our selves and our stubborn insistence on doing it our own way. All we have to do is reach out our arms and trust that you really will pick us up once more. We don't need duct tape and bungie cords - we need you.


Linda up north said...

hahaha!! You funny lady! You are not "type A" you "are prepaaaaarrrred" (my favorite line from the movie 'Hoodwinked'). I see you are prepared in all the important ways. I am sorry to hear your body is not working well for you right now... oh the huge drawbacks of this mortal existence.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Romans 8:37 "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."
It should go without saying (but just in case it doesn't) I am praying for you constantly, continually... you are on my mind all day long.

Laura Spence said...

Cindy My love and prayers are always with you and your beautiful family. Thank you for all you have done to bless my life. You rock!

petersonclan said...

I am so glad this is just from the steroids... I hope that you will see improvement SOON. I also am praying for you continually.

Barbara said...

God bless your wonderful husband!

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you. Jenne in OR

Marjorie said...

My thing is duct tape and zip ties. lol. We had a similar experience in China though it was the hatch door of the van transporting us and 2 other families from the airport to receive our children. After the driver stuffed all our luggage inside, the latch on the door broke. We were stuck there in the parking lot while he decided to call someone else to come get us (another hour to even get to the airport). At that moment I looked at my husband who was wearing a backpack with a "silly" bungee cord thing strung through it. We took it off and were able to tie the hatch door shut and made it to our appointments on time...with all our luggage. :)

God bless you Cindy. Every blog post from you speaks to my heart. You are loved by those who have met you...and those (like me) who haven't yet had that privilege.

Anonymous said...

It must be so frustrating to go through these changes and so rapidly. I pray they abate. You might want to check out the book "The One Minute Cure," too. Maybe there would be some help to slow down the progression of the cancer in there. I wish you joy in your family and peace in the Lord. Your attitude is amazing!

Vicki said...

I love you so much!! The book of John came to my mind as well. God the Father is such a caring and loving Vinedresser and He is always willing to pick up His precious vines and place us in just the right spot to produce much fruit for Him. You are an inspiration, Cindy. Thank you for being my friend!!

day by day said...

Hi Cindy...I just wrote a long comment and blogger ate it on me! In short....I linked over here from LCC...I am inspired more than words can say!!!...I am praying for you!!!

Let me know if you would like me to post a link to your blog from mine and gather more prayer warriors. Where 2 or more are gathered in His name...

You are truly an inspiration, my sister in Christ!!!!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing MoM and precious wife you are! I will not soon forget the monkey bars or the bungie chords or duct tape. I will be reminded of uplifted arms and how desperately I need my Savior. What peace we can have in knowing that He is always there for us and sometimes He sends an angel with skin on..........(your hubby) to help carry you just when you needed him.

You'll be in our thoughts and prayers!

Twilla and Ken Eden

Anonymous said...

Thank you for living your life as an example of how to do it right.....no matter what.

Mom Of Many said...

Okay, first, I have never, ever used duct tape...that must explain why I am so "not together"...LOL!! I have got to get some...and to think you, my sweet friend, don't go on a trip without it! Too funny!

On an entirely different note, I am sure that having your body betray you is one of the worst possible things in life. I am so sorry.

I will email you separately. Much love and prayers...Linny

Kathy said...

Cindy, I came to your blog for the first time from Linny's. I am praying for you, and I will be fasting on Monday, along with so many others, as we storm heaven on your behalf. The song you posted ("His Strength is Perfect") is such a wonderful truth. May you rest in His strength.

P.S. I take bungee cords, duct tape, AND zip ties with me when I travel. You just never know . . . !

Tina said...

Totally inspired by you and bawling my eyes out after reading this post.My prayers are with you and your family.God bless.

Dadoo's Wife said...

oh, my. i am speechless. overwhelmed. just stumbled upon your blog (to fast on Monday). it is a delightful honor to beg the Throne on your behalf.
I'm committed to praying for you and family.
~a sister in the Body,

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