Cholangiocarcinoma

Doesn't that sound like something funny or benign? "Hey, stop making me laugh with that cholangiocarcinoma of yours!".

Mami died of it. It killed her in 10 months. No questions asked. One powerful round of 2 chemo drugs that reduced the tumor to half its size in the first half of the treatment and seemed like doubled in size within a few short weeks after the treatment ended.

Cholangiocarcinoma. Bile duct cancer. About 2,500 cases discovered every year in the US with only 5 to 10% of them being intrahepatic, or inside the liver. The survival rate for people diagnosed with early-stage cholangiocarcinoma is about 30%. However, only about 20% of cholangiocarcinoma is found at an early stage.

All that said, Mami had less than 6% chance of survival. Thing is, we were lucky. I've heard of cases when this is found and all they can do is stitch the patient back up and send them home to die. We had 10 months with her. Ten months where she fought as hard as she could. With appointments, radiation, chemo, biliary catheters and way too much time being spent in a hospital room.

But 10 months nonetheless and for that, I am grateful.

February is Cholangiocarcinoma awareness month. Ironic because as many of you know it's also the anniversary month of my mother's passing. I wanted to share something of this disease with you.

But there are so many medical terms, so many ins and outs. If you come upon this page looking for information for yourself or a loved one, I don't want you to focus on the percentages. They are just that: numbers. I believed in Mami's treatment up to the very end. And I didn't think those odds applied to us because you can't let yourself think that way when you're in the fight. If you are reading this, keep fighting. Equip yourself with knowledge and a great team of doctors and you can beat this thing. I believe that, even after our experiences.

I am grateful that we were able to meet a pair of wonderful doctors that did so much to bring us hope and understanding of this disease.

Dr. Roh at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Wow. I only wish we had found you earlier. It is my belief that if we had, things might've turned out differently. Thank you for showing compassion during our visits. For holding Mami's hand. For being genuinely concerned about her and her family. Thank you for caring. After we saw you that first day, Mami had renewed hope. I believe it was the human touch, the holding of the gaze that did that. I will be eternally grateful.

Dr. Maddipatla, I loved that you drew on the exam table paper. That you finally identified specifically what was going on inside of Mami. That your staff was compassionate and caring and always available to me for any questions I might have. Thank you for that call after one of her last stays at the hospital where you wanted to share with me some additional alternatives for treatment and giving us one last bout of hope. We so appreciated you taking the time to look. I can tell you that her previous oncologist never took that kind of time. It meant the world to me that you weren't condescending. That you spoke to me clearly and as your equal. We were partners in the fight and for that, I have no words bigger than thank you.

We hear about all kinds of different cancers but rarely hear of this one. I'd never heard of it until we were faced with it. This month, I want to do my part in sharing some of the factual information but I also wanted to make it a point to tell you about these great doctors that we found on our journey. They weren't all like that but man, am I thankful that the last couple were. I think they prepared us for what was to come and more importantly gave Mami comfort that she was getting the best treatment possible.

For more information on cholangiocarcinoma, head on over to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation's Facebook page. For signs and symptoms of this disease, you can check out The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation as well as Cancer.org.

Don't forget that if you ever feel ill or don't feel "right" consult with a doctor. I'm providing this information to bring awareness to this disease. But also to remind you to listen to your body and seek medical attention as needed.

As always, feel free to share your stories here. Do you have experience with this disease?

The Eulogy I Never Gave

One of my mom's friends came up to me after the funeral and told me she'd been disappointed to not have heard me speak. I eulogized my grandmother and she thought I'd do the same for Mami. But I didn't. I let her childhood friend go on and on and on about her. Because it made me happy to have gotten a little bit more of the story we did not know. The part of Mami that she didn't speak much about. But since then, I keep thinking that perhaps I should have. I found a copy of my grandmother's eulogy recently and it struck a chord. The title of it was: I will not mourn her. I couldn't say the same thing about Mami though.

If I'd written a eulogy 2 years ago I would have included the bible passages that the church would not let us read because they felt they knew a little more about death than we did. You see, I wanted to read 1 Corinthians 13. Because it defined my mother. But apparently, that verse is only appropriate for weddings because it's about love.

I remember reading it to her in the middle of the night as we stood around waiting for that final breath. Remember my dad attempting to read from the bible but being unable to form the words as his beloved laid there, eyes closed with life seeping away with each breath. It was as if his breath was taken away as well. So, I took it from him and let him leave the room as he cried.

And I read the words that described her so that she would hear them and would take them with her to where she was going.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Faith, hope and love. Some days I wish I could go back to that last day. When I sat at her desk while she watched from her bed. I wish I'd crawled into bed with her. Held her. Told her I loved her and how much I would miss her. But I didn't. We spoke every once in a while. I took care of whatever needs she had. Asked her if she wanted food, water. Made sure she was comfortable. I tried to make her feel like this was just another day. That I did not mind caring for her every need. Because I didn't.

If I'd crawled into bed with her she would probably have kicked me out. If I'd shed a tear, she would've told me to stop it. To not start with the waterworks. But oh, how I wish.

Mami was everything. I don't know how to describe our relationship. I know that my eulogy to her was written before she passed as I got inspired to write Denial or Deliverance and then I did do the obituary to share the news but, sometimes I think there should have been more.

But there wasn't. Because I think that's how she wanted it.

After she passed, my mom was moved by a relative while we waited for the funeral home. Her face, slack with the lack of life was frozen in one of her funny face. Though I was mad that she was moved at the time, I can't help but think this was one of her many pranks, her many jokes.

If I'd eulogized her, I wouldn't have spoken of the pain or the sorrow. I would've spoken of the laughter. The sense of humor that she instilled in her kids. The pranks. I would've told everyone how one of my brother's favorite things to do was call her and change his voice to sound like my dad. And what a kick she used to get out of that. I would've spoken of the fact that my sweet mami used to go to the park for lunch when she worked at a convent and play pranks on people. Strangers who she'd never laid eyes on would be greeted by this pretty young woman and asked a thousand questions as if they were old friends. The poor people never had a clue. She would leave them wondering where they knew her from. Yeah, she was funny.

Perhaps I would remind everyone of how when she was telling a joke, Mami would sometimes laugh so hard she would start crying and the words would come in fits and spurts. That her laughter was contagious. As was her love.

So many people loved her. At times that was a source of strife for us. We never felt like we had her to ourselves. The kids, I mean. There was a little resentment there. But now it just means that there are more people for us to share her memory with. More people that understand what we mean when we say we miss her. When we reminisce on her life, her legacy.

Mami leaves behind nothing but love. Love that ties us all to her and that by extension ties us all to one another. She left this world a better place because she taught us to give, she showed us the meaning of sacrifice and she reminded us of what's important.

If she was here right now she would tell me she didn't need a eulogy. But she would advise me that the best way to eulogize her is through my life. Living the way I was made to live. Doing the things that are deep needs of my heart. Loving the child that she waited so long for and never allowing myself to stop reaching for my bliss.

Mami passed away on 2/2/11 at 11:11 a.m. but every day, there are glimpses of her and for that, I am grateful. We will celebrate her homegoing by gathering together in her name and sharing some of the stories of our hearts. Do you do something special to honor a loved one?

Bang the Drum: A Face of Courage

Many of you know my story. You've passed through this site and have read something about me losing my mami to cholangiocarcinoma (gallbladder cancer) last year. What you might not know is that my papi is a cancer survivor. Five years ago this September, I sat in a doctor’s office with my parents and my sister and heard the news that I already knew was coming. I must’ve appeared detached with my notebook and my questions because I remember the doctor asking me if I was a case worker. Um no, I’m just anal retentive thankyouverymuch.

Papi had stage II laryngeal cancer. He’d already had surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal chords and so the next steps would be radiation. After the diagnosis, it was almost as if they had told him he had high cholesterol or something. At no point in time did I see him anything other than “let’s get the gloves on and do this”. I knew from day one he would be okay in the same way that I felt deep in my gut that mami’s cancer was a whole different beast that we’d never seen before.

Through the appointments with the radiologist, the measurements, the discussions, he was strong. We were happy about that but, it was more than that. I remember we were in the waiting area of the cancer institute one day and started up a chat with a lady there. Her husband had the same type of cancer and had also been battling depression. She took one look at dad and asked how he was doing it.

See, when you get radiation, especially on your throat, you are in a good deal of pain. The first few days are okay but later on, it’s even difficult to swallow saliva, let alone food. A lot of people lose weight and have a hard time getting through meals. We’d read all of the pamphlets and booklets, came up with shakes and ways that he could eat his food during this time. Everyone gets those and everyone knows what needs to be done.

Doing it, is a whole different thing. And man, did dad do it. He actually GAINED weight during his treatment. We had a week or so before his radiation started and so he prepared by increasing his calories. He would blend his food when he couldn’t swallow well and would will himself to do so when chances are every cell in his being was telling him to do otherwise.

Papi was determined that cancer wasn’t shit to him. I thought he was crazy. But, just like I realized that mami wasn’t in denial but rather was at peace with her path towards the end, papi was determined as all hell that this wasn’t changing his life. Do you know this man was remodeling the master bath when he got diagnosed and he continued to do the work?! Like a remodel. A new bathroom. Knocking down walls, putting in a bathtub, the whole shebang!

Yes, it took him longer than it would have if he had not been going through radiation. Some days he would do very little and often he would be seen sleeping on the couch because radiation makes you super tired. There were days that mom would get mad at him for not resting but, he wouldn’t listen.

When speaking to others and having them tell me what they went through with a similar treatment, I can’t imagine the pain he was feeling. But he never talked about it, just fought on. And, I’m glad he did. Five years ago this September, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and he kicked cancer’s ass.  In the face of everything that has happened since, I’ve grown to realize that doing that takes a lot more courage than I ever thought.

This October, Ford Warriors in Pink® has launched its first ever produced documentary, “Bang the Drum: Living Out Loud in the Face of Breast Cancer.” The film honors 11 men and women breast cancer survivors who have demonstrated strength and courage in their battle with its “Models of Courage” program. 2012 marks Ford Motor Company’s 18th year of support for the breast cancer cause. In that time, Ford has dedicated more than $115 million to the breast cancer cause.

http://youtu.be/qLB2RqcVLJA

You too can get involved in this tremendously worthy program! When you buy Ford Warriors in Pink apparel at fordcares.com, 100 percent of the net proceeds go directly to support breast cancer awareness all year long.

To keep connected, be sure to check out Ford Warriors in Pink on Facebook and follow@WarriorsinPink on Twitter.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ford Warriors in Pink. The opinions and text are all mine.

I Wish She'd Had More Birthdays

Every year for the last 7 or so, I've participated in the Relay for Life.  I loved the idea of doing something to help others, enjoyed the events because it gave me a chance to pull together a team of friends, join for a common cause and generally have a great time at the overnight events.  And so, this became part of my yearly to do list which I very much looked forward to. My dad was diagnosed with stage II Laryngeal cancer in September of 2007.  And the relay had a different meaning for me. But, the odds were good and after 29 days of radiation, it was as if it'd never happened.  He's been cancer-free ever since and has had more birthdays since.

After that, I met the frog princess's dad.  He is a survivor of a pheochromocytoma. He'd been in a coma for 6 days before the doctors found out what was wrong and he remained in a coma for 6 weeks.  And the relay had a different meaning for me.  Malignant pheo's are rare and the survival rate at 5 years is 48%.  But he has been cancer-free since 2004 and has had more birthdays since.

Then, on April 6th, 2010, mami was diagnosed. I remember that the relay certainly had a different meaning for me that May.  Because it seemed that we were fighting a different animal this time.  We had a 10-month battle with cholangiocarcinoma.  We all fought.  We all prayed.  We thought we had a chance even though this type of cancer has a very low rate of survival.  In the end, Randall (it's what we called the tumor) got the best of her.  We don't say that he won because she is pain-free and in heaven now so the joke's on him!

Mami died 4 days before she turned 65.  And oh, I wish she'd had more birthdays!  I will once again sign up for our relay for life this coming spring.  Because I want to make sure that YOU and I have more birthdays. Do you participate in a local Relay?

This post is sponsored by American Cancer Society.

Dear Mami: If Heaven Had an Inbox

Dear Mami: You have been gone almost 3 months now. It's unreal to me that you are truly no longer a being on this earth. I struggle most days because you were such a big part of my life. How does one go on without a limb? I still feel you here, near me in the same way that an amputee feels phantom pains.

So much has changed and yet not much is different. As I navigate through the decisions in my life, I remember conversations of the past where you shared some nugget of wisdom, reminded me of something important I needed to keep in mind or just reiterated my worth. Invaluable thoughts, all of them. Now I stare at serious decisions that must be made and I can see them from your perspective. From a place of peace. The most frequent phrase I hear in your voice as the thoughts race through my head is this: forget it. That doesn't matter.

I am your child so you know this is one of the hardest things for me to do. But I believe that I am getting better at it. The perspective of losing the stronghold of my life, the bearer of my soul, will do that to you. In focusing on those words I am feeling a certain level of peace I had not yet experienced. Yes, there are flare ups and there are annoyances because I am human after all. But mostly, I smile. Because it's taken me so long to see exactly what it was that you were trying to teach me. I wonder. Did you know my life would come to this crossroad? Did you perceive it (after all, moms know everything, right)?

One of the things I loved most about you (and not just because you're my mami) was your ability to be clear and concise and yet be impartial. If I was arguing with someone else that you loved and told you about it, that never changed your relationship with that person. It is a difficult thing to do when you are a mother and all your heart wants to do is protect your child. But you did it perfectly and seamlessly. In that manner, you taught me that everything I do should come from a place of love. No matter what someone else has said or done. I am to act from that love that is in my heart and I am to let whatever that is, go.

In death, you remind me that most things that we worry about are not important and that in giving them thought, emotion or words we, in fact, breathe life into them. I picture your knowing smile as I type this. The one thing I absolutely adore about you (besides how perfectly you loved me) is how proud you are of me. I choose to use the present because I like to think you are looking down on me now from your place in heaven where everything is much clearer. Now you look down and your heart fills with pride because I have arrived to the place where you so lovingly walked me to. To myself. With all my flaws and imperfections. With all of the things that you loved most about me. With all of the worth that you prayed for and instilled.

And I realize as I take each and every step, each and every day that every action you took in steering my heart and actions (whether intentional or not) was to get me to this place. To remind me of how I am loved and therefore how I need to love. How I am valued and how I need to value.

I am moved to write these words because, unfortunately, there are still moms and daughters out there with a less than perfect relationship. And I know you wish them to know that the bond is never broken. Not even after your child holds on to your hand and watches you take your very last breath.

Giggles and Hugs (and a pinch of sorrow)

There are a million things to do.  A million tasks that must be completed.  But, I would be missed if I did not pause for a moment and reflect.  First of all, I must say that the tasks are all bullshit.  On my death bed, I won't think: shit! I wish I'd had time to scrub that toilet that one day of that one month of that one year so long ago! But perhaps, I might remember the giggles of my little girl as we played this morning or how ecstatic she got when we jumped in the shower (it's like a water park to her!). I am stressed.  I sat down tonight to get working on some flowcharts.  But to be honest, my mind is packed with thoughts and feelings that are not letting me concentrate on the task at hand.  I am reading a book called Focus at the moment which I hope will put me on the right track.  But, it's more than just not having focus.  You see, today is the 2 month anniversary of my mami's death.  I sit at my desk surrounded with images of her.  And I remember so much all at once.  Her smile, her greeting to me (she'd always say: hello little one).  Her spirit.  I also remember her work ethic but most of all her very clear perspective on priorities.  We were always it.  No questions asked.  No stopping to pause and wonder if that was the right answer.

One day I hope my frog princess can say the same about me.  That she was always the priority in my life.  It's making me rethink the Evo and the iPhone.  Making me wonder if I should really get that iPad2.  I want my child to remember my eye contact, not the sight of my phone or whatever other distraction I might find in the course of a day.  All I want is time with my child and time to get through this grief.

To say that I miss my mami is the understatement of the millennia.  I have so much going on and her advice was always readily available to me, no matter what.  As I walk through situations I hear mami's voice in her dismissive tone usually saying: leave it alone or let it go, but I still want her words. Her presence.  Yes, I know she is "with me". That she's in a better place.  But to be honest, that shit doesn't bring much comfort.  I mean it does but at the end of the day, it doesn't make me miss her less.  It does not, by any means of the imagination, buffer the pain.  Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that it does.

Every night, the frog princess and I pray.  And I always start thanking God for whatever it is that I am thankful for on that day.  I always thank him for my baby girl.  And some days, that's all I got.  My gratitude session is followed by prayer and petitions.  I don't wish for my mom back (Stephen King made sure of that because all I can think of is Pet Cemetery and who wants a crazy zombie mom, you know?).  I don't pray for anyone to take her place (that's all kinds of impossible).  Some days, all I can pray for is help and then a quick thanks.  Tonight, I should've prayed for a miracle on this flowchart.  I think I'll go pray for some divine intervention on this after I post.  I pray for God to ease my pain and the pain of those closest to my mami.  I pray for God to help me understand her absence and accept it.  I pray for other people afflicted by cancer.  Pray for health and all kinds of other good stuff.  It's important to me that I continue to pray for others. Some days, I just have the thought and strength to pray for God to let me make it through another day.  I cannot imagine what things would be like if I didn't have my frog princess. Can't imagine the additional hollow I might feel. I am so thankful and blessed that my mami got to meet her granddaughter.  Before she got sick we were driving one day and mami said: I always have prayed that God would let me see my grandchildren.  Though I could not have predicted what was coming, I remember thinking: why didn't you pray for more? But, that's the character of my mother.  She was content with what she was given and pleased when her prayers were answered regardless of what was to come.  Mami didn't want fancy cars, a big house, expensive things to fill it.  Mami wanted her family.  More and more I find myself thinking that that's the route I want my life to take as well (not that I have ever been a materialistic person, mind you).  My mind is filled with so much emotion right now, I can't pluck the thoughts so perhaps I will call it quits for the time being.

In the meantime, I will not regret choosing to spend time with my child today instead of tackling the task list.  Tomorrow, I may do the same.  Who can resist giggles and hugs, especially when they so efficiently ease the sorrow?

News

(if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant or real emotional right now, skip this blog entry ;-) )

It is with a mixture of great sadness and pure joy that I write this.  Mom's body lost her battle with cancer though her spirit won the sweetest victory the morning of February 2nd.

She passed sweetly, softly and in the arms of her children.  We could not have been more blessed to have witnessed the spirit of this beautiful woman leave her body to take her rightful place in heaven as a child of God.  The best part was that was our fears of her discomfort and pain in her last hours were never realized. Mom was pain-free, comfortable and peaceful as she made her transition and that was a wonderful gift to her family.

I want to personally thank each and every one of you for the beautiful cards that you sent her and the powerful prayers that you sent up.  I want you to know that they were answered.  Mom is healed!  Perfectly and completely.  Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as those that are left behind embark on a new journey.

My mother was the nucleus of our family with a magnetism that will surely be seen in the coming days.  Everyone that she met became family.  As her kids, we were always slightly resentful of having to share her with so many people because, as you very well know, every child wants their mami to themselves.  However, we learned a lot about how to treat others, how to live life and what really matters.  I would like to think we radiate some of her light and goodness because of it. Due to her gravitational pull, mami is survived by a great number of people, not just blood relatives.  I cannot name them all and will not because it would be a great tragedy if I forget someone's name.

Again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  They were heard and they continue to sustain us as we mourn the homegoing of this wonderful woman.

Denial or Deliverance?

I had a little bit of time while waiting in line at the McDonald's drive thru (don't judge me! It was a bistro and I had a buffalo chicken sandwich and I didn't even eat the bread (no, I won't count the fries)!).  The phone decided it wasn't going to work so I thought it was a good time for me to do some contemplating.  I turned off the music and thought about all that's been going on lately.  The new job, the baby, my relationship with the man.  But mostly, I was in deep thought about my mami's illness and I wanted to have a conversation with God.  These words are a direct result of that conversation. I have been feeling bad that lately, I have been planning for the worst with regards to my mami (though somehow that still needs to be done.  Each and every one of us should have our affairs in order because it's not just the people with cancer that die).  I feel at peace.  And I feel as if maybe we have more time than I think.  That perhaps God will grant us that wish.  Dad decided to have a priest marry them since they never did the church thing.  This despite the fact that we were going to have a surprise party for mami on that day.  But, he wanted the wedding and I'm sure that's why mom is going along with it (for being almost 65, my mom is horribly practical and marriage is something that you must hear her speak of b/c I CANNOT do her logic justice).  I can't be mad though because hello? My sister and I were planning a surprise party that I am sure in part was for us.

I had all kinds of great and fabulous logic when I parked the truck but I don't recall what that was.  I went to see about her discharge during lunch but they were taking too long so I answered as many questions as possible, handled as many open issues as I could and went on my way back to the office. On the way to my car, I saw one of her friends heading in to the hospital.  She gave me a big hug and a ton of calming energy.  She smiled as she spoke and said not to worry that she was being prayed for (don't I know it?  My friends, friends friends, people I will probably never meet are praying for my mami and I am SO grateful).  She said that God can work miracles so, why not now?  She didn't say anything profound and did not mention anything I didn't already know deep down in my soul.  There's a calm right now.  And perhaps God is giving me that calm despite the circumstances not turning out the way I'd like.  But, I have learned (and re-learned over and over again) that we cannot give up the joy of now for the uncertainty of tomorrow.  In doing so, we miss the gift that we are so desperately afraid of losing.

A Chinese proverb states that an inch of time cannot be bought by an inch of gold. So why try?  It also cannot be bought with worry, fear, anger or sadness.  All I have is NOW.  All I will EVER have is now (thank you Eckhart Tolle).  This one moment is all I can claim.  I can't claim 5 p.m. or the weekend. I can only claim that which I am present in.  So, this is where I am at.

At the moment, I feel peace.  Calm.  A certain joy that I can neither explain nor decipher and which I won't try to.  I told The Man the other night that I don't feel that there's anything left unsaid between mami and I.  She is not a person that says I love you though, I will bet all the tea in China that the people that hear those words every day haven't been loved as well as I.  Mami is all about action and intent.  Words are nothing to her.  Action dictates how she responds.  I have sat with her on many occasions during chemo without saying a word.  Interjecting this thing or that over an 8 hour period. Being perfectly comfortable in the silence.  Because there is nothing left to be said.  She knows how much I adore her.  I know how devoted she is to me.  Our love is palpable and needs no words to describe it.  The things that I would want to say to her are not for today. I would want to have conversations with her as the frog princess grows, as  I come across an issue and need advice, etc.  I want her for the future.  For always (doesn't everyone feel like this about their mamis?).  So there's really no stress because we get back to the fact that all we have is today.  I wish all of my relationships were like that. Where we'd instinctively know that we'd NEVER do anything to hurt one another.  Where an apology is already on file if we ever should do so inadvertently. Where love is not doubted.  Where love is not questioned.  Where it is already a fact that we won't desert one another.  She has known that I'd be here for her since I was woven in her womb.  And in the same way, I feel like I've known that I would care for her always.  There's a comfort in that.  Not a burden, not an added stress.  But a genetic predisposition to simply do and be.

I do not know if I am diluting myself into thinking that mom will not pass in a short period of time.  I don't know if God is sending me this peace so that I can function day to day while the inevitable gets nearer.  I trust Him.  I am in love with the song No Matter What and these words sum things up for me especially: "I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not, I trust You.  No matter what."

I am human, though, and will fall to stress at times.  But I pray that this feeling continues til the end of my days.  About this situation and everything else that arises in my life.  I plan on returning to the book The Power of Now so that I can have these principles reinforced.  And I will return to my bible.  I'm reading Job.  If it can happen to him, why not me?  I read about Elijah earlier today.  How he prayed for no rain and it did not rain for 3 and a half years.  I will pray.  For mom's health.  For God's will to be done.  He won't give me more than I can bear.  I am a witness to that statement.  I continue to be.  I am a witness to His power, His goodness and His grace.  I have His blessings.  And in all that I STILL forget that He's got me sometimes. I will try my best not to do that.

I looked at my mom today and, thinking in the car, I realized that it wasn't denial that I have been seeing in her eyes when we speak about her condition or about the fact that medically, we have no more options on medications, trials, surgeries or procedures.  What I have been seeing is deliverance.  And a level of faith I hope to get to some time real soon.  It starts now.

Thank you for your continued prayers and your words. God has sent each and every one of you into my life for a specific reason and He continues to move you to minister to me.  For that I am eternally grateful.  To Him for sending you and to you for listening to Him.

I need to go get some work done.  Because as we all know, life doesn't stop.

If I could leave you with one last thought: decide what's important to you, that which is most precious and divine, then devote sufficient time, energy and love to it so that there is room for nothing else.  Not regret, not pain, not what if's.  Because you won't get a do over and if time is a most precious gift, we shouldn't waste it on feelings that will take us away from enjoying it.

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