Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas pix

Here are a few of the pictures taken in the days leading up to Christmas!

Happy New Year from the chemo chair!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all! Sorry for the silence-- it was nothing personal I can assure you!

Where to begin?? Well, I managed chemo #3 and it is not that it is getting easier (on the contrary) but i seem to be managing it or accepting it better in order for it to take its course--understanding that i will feel like 'that' for a number of days but that i will feel better.... As I came out of the fog I was greeted by my dad and Susan who arrived in for a 2 week visit over Christmas! I was so happy to see them and it was so special sharing our Christmas together and watching the kids excitement mount in the days leading up to Christmas Day!

We managed to keep extra busy (no surprise there) and went into Galway city for some shopping, eating, merriment and a lovely choral Christmas carol concert!. This was in addition to all the kid's school shows! We also did a magical visit to Santa down in Bunratty castle which was spectacular!! I don't know who was the most excited between grown ups and children;-)

I think my favourite part of the chaos Christmas morning is listening to the excited exchanges among the kids as they wait for us to get out of bed!! All 4 were so funny guessing what might be downstairs at the Christmas tree for them and little Sheila kept saying 'I cannot believe it!' She hadn't even seen all the presents at that point-- she was only commenting on the extra decorations that Santa had hung up in the hallways:-). Needless to say, Santa did not disappoint-- in fact, he had gone quite mad with the number of pressies under the tree! Yikes- I must have a word with him for next year! Poor dad and Colman were taking things out of packages and placing stickers on toys for hours!!! But the kids were delighted with their loot!! We fell into bed that Christmas night wrecked tired but so happy as we recounted the comedic routines of the day!

I am sure I am leaving some things out but it was a blast and we were sad to see Grandpa and Nona leave on the 28th :(. We softened the blow by going up to colman's home place Carrick on Shannon to visit with his fun family and friends and had a lovely time!

Came back last night to face the music today of round 4--half way point! Not the most ideal way to spend New Years Eve but alas it has to be done!
Besides Colman and I are long past the point of toasting midnight-- we had loads of that craziness in our New York days! Tonight we hope to do a family movie night and likely I will be off to bed with the kids!
It's been so nice having the extra week off-- but I really needed it physically and mentally. I find the every 2 weeks very tough and it is getting harder psyching myself up for the sessions. At this point I can barely drive past the hospital without my stomach churning! My hair is gone, my head is cold but my wig is fabulous and I am repeatedly complimented on how well I look, how beautiful.... It's a good/bad thing really-- I enjoy and appreciate the compliments (who wouldn't) but I don't feel very fabulous or beautiful! And sometimes if I am being honest, I am scared too! Thankfully, those moments pass quickly and I buck up and take another step, another breath, firm in the resolve that I will get over this, through this and kick the ever-loving *{+^ out of it!

I really enjoyed the masses over the Christmas period. All the lovely music and carols are always a favourite but the theme of love and hope abounds! It gives us all such an opportunity to remember how much we are all loved by our friends and family near and far but above all else, how much we are loved by our Father in heaven! It gives me such joy and fills my heart with an overwhelming strength, calmness and love! I am extremely thankful for my faith which has brought me through and taught me so much in my life! For those of you who may be struggling, sad or lonely this time of year-- I pray that you will find the peace, joy and love that was born on Christmas Day-- that it will fill your heart and your life in the new year!

I promise that I won't let too much time pass before I write again-- I know some of you get worried when you don't hear from me!! Please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers! Colman has been so amazing and supportive throughout and I know I am truly blessed to have him in my life! I couldn't ask for a better friend and partner!

Lastly, thank you all for all the phone calls, texts, emails, cards etc etc-- we are truly humbled by your love, thoughts and prayers! I love you!

Always, Heather

Monday, 10 December 2012

Twas the night before chemo #3

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the silence lately—especially after my ‘downer’ of a last entry! Rest assured that as soon as I felt that the fog had well and truly lifted—I was out and at ‘em!!! It has been a very busy, yet productive week of wellness! Started with picking up my very glamorous wig (everyone says it makes me look younger and this hair hat keeps my head warm, so it’s a win-win). It’s funny because I can walk into a room and wave to a friend and they just look at me like ‘who is this stranger waving at me?’ But it is nice to be able to go out and about and not feel self-conscious about my bald head!

 We hosted our annual caregiver Christmas party at work on Weds the 5th and it was attended by 70 employees as well as the Mayor of Galway came to congratulate the Home Instead National Caregiver of the year who is one of our lovely employees! It was a wonderful event and the caregivers were so sweet, kind and supportive as well as excited to see me since the news broke. I emerged with so many promises of prayers and well wishes!

On Thursday I attended a very special healing mass. I had heard of this priest who offers a ‘Family Tree’ healing mass about 6 years ago but never had attended one. It was a horrible windy and rainy day out and I was quite fatigued but the thought of going to the afternoon mass would not leave me. And so I bundled up and went up the road to a lovely, 200+ year old church at 230pm.
I have to admit that I didn’t really have huge expectations of what or who would be there but it was one of the most special, inexplicably loving and yes, miraculous experiences of my life.
As this lovely 90 year old priest held and prayed over me, I could feel my burdens being lifted, my heart on fire with love, peace, joy and pure happiness as well as feeling utterly calm. I inexplicably kept focused on an image of Jesus walking in front of me and me saying ‘Jesus, if I could only touch your robe, I know I will be healed’, like the man in the crowd who is healed when he touched Jesus’ robe and Jesus told him that his faith had healed him. On this day, I heard the voice of Jesus lovingly and sweetly say ‘Heather, just trust, you WILL BE HEALED’ I know without a doubt –I WILL BE HEALED!
And when I checked the tumours, they have become noticeably smaller since Thursday. Hallelujah Honey!!! The amount of prayers being offered for all of those who had gathered, strangers praying for each other to be healed, offering everything up for each other. It was truly a blessed experience! So full of love and peace as I walked out of the church after 6pm!

 On Friday, Colman and I went into Galway city to help Santa with his mission and thankfully he is in a very good place for Christmas morning!! It’s great because as I head in for Chemo #3 tomorrow and won’t come out of the fog until sometime next week—a little late for running around trying to get sorted! That evening, we also took our office staff and their spouses out for Christmas dinner and drinks and had a wonderful time! We are so blessed to have such a great, hard -working and supportive staff. They are stepping up to the plate and giving it their all—not just because I have been side-lined but because they truly care and don’t want us to have a single worry about work!
 For that we are again, deeply appreciative!
 The weekend was spent just happily spending time with the kids, loads of love and laughter! We are anxiously and excitedly awaiting the arrival of Grandpa and Nona from North Carolina. They arrive on Saturday and stay until the 28th of Dec. It will be so special having them here and sharing our holidays with them! We are booked to see Santa Claus at Bunratty Castle which I think will go down a treat for the little and big kids!! (That’s us by the way!)

Finally, my every 2 week chemo session would have me due again on Christmas Day. Thankfully, they are not interested in working Christmas day! So, I was able to convince the hospital to let me have until Monday the 31st of December off!! That means that not only should I be in good form for Christmas but I also get a blessed 3 week break from the Chemo! And by the end of 2012, I will officially be half way there!!!
We are delighted and really looking forward to having the extra week off around Christmas 

 So, as I head back into the haze guys, rest assured in the knowledge that I WILL BE HEALED! I am strong in faith, hope, love and the greatest of these is LOVE! I love you all and thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all of the love and support that I get from your thoughts and prayers! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! PS I WILL BE HEALED!! And I love you too!!!