Sunday, October 28, 2012

Confessions of a cancer wife.

The summer we reunited.

I love Brian. I always, always have. I fell in love with him when we first met and I tried so hard not to love him while we were apart, but in my heart of hearts, I knew I still did and I probably always would. When we got back together, I picked up right where I left off loving him.

I try to keep this blog honest and not sugar coat things. I have bad days. And that is okay to talk about because it means that when I have good days, and I talk about those, you can know that I am being completely genuine.

So...true confession time.

Confession #1- Sometimes I worry that I love Brian too much. I love him so much that I need him. He makes me so much better than I was without him.  I have grown tremedously being his wife, and while I know that I could live without him, I never want to ever again.

Confession #2I spent a lot of time this year pushing Brian away. I know this sounds horrible, but a cancer diagnosis can really throw your life off balance in very unexpected ways. The most unexpected reaction I had started out as a subconscious distancing of myself emotionally from Brian.

Right at first, I wanted to be by his side each and every second. I wanted to lay with him and hold his hand and just look at him all the time. I was so nervous after surgery that he would fall, or have another seizure. I wanted to control every aspect of his days so that I could safeguard him against those things. Which in retrospect was silly because no amount of sheltering from me could have prevented his second seizire, or any that he might have in the future.

After a few months, Brian was getting stir crazy from being at home and he was finally starting to drive again. When he didn't need me there every moment, I started to realize I didn't want to be home all the time. I wanted to spend time with my friends and get out of the house. So I did. About once a week I would call my mom, or a girl friend and get away for a couple hours to just cry or vent or listen to someone else's life.

Then I started to get irritated with Brian. I was angry for things that weren't even his fault. I was mad that we couldn't try to have a baby, I was mad that we weren't looking for houses, I was even mad that he was sick. It felt like the DVD of our life started skipping at the worst part of the movie and we couldn't move on.

I don't think Brian really noticed it, except that I was moody. But I was really going crazy inside and even a little bit outside. I just thought if I didn't love Brian so much, if I did my best to focus on the things that annoyed me about him, that it wouldn't hurt so much that he was sick or that someday I might not have him with me.

I'm typing through tears right now because even the little time I wasted on those thoughts feels like too much. But I am writing this now because I did have a great breakthrough.

I don't know what changed, except that I really have been praying about it a lot, but for the past week or so, I have felt so much better. I also think it just takes some time to balance back out and get things sorted when something really big happens in life.

I have been really weepy and emotional to Brian, almost like I am letting my guard down and letting my love for him break through the little wall I was building around my heart. I told Brian last night that I feel like I love him more than I ever have. Even more than our wedding day, and I was really overflowing with love for him that day. He said, "I think maybe we have just come to understand what it means to love each other."  That just about broke my heart into a million pieces.

Most of us know what it feels like to love someone, but I would venture to guess fewer of us know what it really means to love someone else completely. As for myself, I feel like I am just barely starting to understand this, and I am almost grateful for the terrible year we have had because I feel like that learning process has been expedited in the face of our trials. I honestly think I would have kept coasting along not pushing myself to a deeper, more profound love. I think we would have made it there eventually, maybe a long time from now when we had spent a lot of years together. But this year we have really been faced with the fragility of life and what a blessing it is that we get to experience it at all.

Maybe I do love Brian too much, but its nothing short of what he deserves. He is the best husband to me. He thinks I give him too much credit, but he is honestly one of the best men I have ever known. Certainly the best I could have chosen as my companion. Neither of us are perfect, and I know we have made mistakes and will continue to do so, but I think the important part is that we are committed to continuing to try to be better for ourselves, our families, our friends and most importantly each other.

Love is a gift, so appreciate the love you have and strive for the love you want! You will be happier for your efforts! I do have a lot to say about what it means to love someone. I am going to think about that more and try to organize my thoughts.

But now I have to get back to real life. The dryer just kicked off and I have a test to study for!

Love, Lindsey

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fake it till you make it!

image credit

Last Sunday, we went to Peoria for church since it was our semi-annual conference. I was really excited because I got to catch up with a couple of my Peoria friends. One of my favorite friends was there and she was asking how Brian and I were doing. I started with the usual "really good...." that I do with acquaintances,  but then I remembered I was talking to a real, sweet friend, and I said, "actually, I feel I am just faking it a lot of times. I have some really hard days." And she told me sometimes you just have to fake it..."fake it till you make it!" The way she said it inspired me so much. She was right.

Then on Monday at school I was talking with my friend Mellisa. We are at the point in the semester where we are starting to feel the burn. We have only six weeks left! I try my best to surround myself with positive people at school. I have such a support group and we always encourage each other. I think we were talking about clinical paperwork or an exam or something, and Mellisa said, "we have to fake it till we make it!"

I don't feel like its a coincidence that this silly phrase came my way in two separate circumstances from two separate friends. I have a strong testimony that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.

Lately, I have been praying for direction. I love the fact that we can communicate with God. When we communicate with Him, its through prayer, when He communicates with us, its through inspiration. I believe that we all have the ability to receive personal revelation. Elder David A. Bednar puts it so very beautifully right here. He compares revelation to light. This can work in three different ways.

1. Sometimes, it is like turning on a light switch. A dark room is very suddenly and brilliantly lit up. This kind of instantaneous revelation is rare.

2. More commonly, revelation is like the rising of the sun. Very gradually, the light gets brighter and brighter until we can see clearly.

3. Still other times, receiving inspiration is like a foggy day. There is enough light that we know it is daytime, but we can see no more than a few steps ahead of us.

I feel like my days are foggy. I know there is light around me, but I don't really know which way to turn or what to do. I keep praying to know what God would have me do. Because I have to believe, if we are being allowed to endure such a trial, Heavenly Father has something important planned for us. I know that must be the case. I feel it in my soul as I write this. Whatever is in store, I know that I have to have the faith to take those blind steps. If I have learned anything, its that God expects us to utilize the agency that he has endowed us with to make the best choices we can. We can't always wait for a sign, we need to step forward in those foggy days with the assurity that he will be there to guide and correct us on our path. Stepping out like that still takes a lot of courage for me, but I am going to fake it till I make it ;)

I am also grateful for the way God answers our unspoken prayers. This week, I have been in high spirits. I have felt more peace than I have in weeks. I am slowly starting to understand that this unexpected peaceful feeling is an answer to a prayer I didn't utter, or maybe that someone else did on my behalf. Either way, I am so thankful for it because Brian isn't having a good week. He is the strong one. So strong, that sometimes even I can't tell when he is feeling low. But this week I can definitely tell. His radiation treatments ended last Thursday and on Sunday, he started developing a pretty nasty rash on his head. It has since migrated further and further down his face and now it is down to  his cheeks. It is painful and it burns. He went back to the radiation oncologist and the nurse told him to take Benadryl because it looks like an allergic reaction. I nixed that since he is on Keppra and you can't take antihistamines with Keppra (woohoo nursing school!) The doctor recommended he try some hydrocortisone cream, but that was Monday and it continues to worsen. He is going back tomorrow to see what can be done.

I think this just has him bummed out because he was so looking forward to radiation being over and now he is having crummy after effects. I am glad that I feel better this week because I need to be the strong, positive one for awhile. I have been trying to be better about my attitude around Brian. Whenever I need to vent or cry or complain, he is my sounding board. He is my companion, my partner, my rock. In this instance though, I don't want to vent my worries about him onto him. He already worries so much about me and how I am dealing. He worries about everyone else all the time and himself last of all. But that is just my Brian.

Anyway, if you are the praying type, or the good vibe type, or the positive thought type, please shoot any and all of those things Brian's way this week. Specifically for the resolution of whatever rash issue he has going on. I think the sooner he starts feeling back to normal, the sooner we can move on and cheer him up.

Love as always,


Monday, October 22, 2012

Summer Recap!

Here we are in mid October and I realized I never even did Part II of our anniversary celebration! In all of my worrying, I sometimes forget to "love life and see good days" (1 Peter 3:10), but we had some really fun times this summer. Since I am short on time, I thought I would do a quick photo recap of the summer!
We spent our anniverary in Chicago in July. We went to the Field Museum and then to our favorite Brazilian restaurant for a really awesome dinner.
Then, in August we had a great party for our friend Marcus from church. It was his birthday and he told me that he had never had a real birthday party!!! Can you believe it?! Obviously, I couldn't let that continue. So with the help of our friend Bob, and the missionaries, we threw Marcus a grand party! We had a cookout, and I made a pie and a cake!! It was so fun to see how excited Marcus was, but I really think I was more excited!
In August Brian's sister Adrianne and her sweet family came to visit, and last month Brian's mom and sister were here. It was a great opportunity to squeeze in some family time in between school, work, and treatments.
This was our anniversary dessert! We had already eaten an obscene amount of meat when they brought this out to us! And we ate it. ALL.

Me with our cake. It was bigger than my head.

Mmmmmm...Fogo de chao

Getting ready for our feast. Marcus and one of his many talents.


Chris (Marc's mom), me, Elder Brinkerhoff, and Bob

Happy Birthday Marc!!

Lighting the candles!

More candles!

I was obvioulsy the most excited!


Banana Cream Pie

Brian and Marcus

Us with Marc

Us again, with Bob

This is what Brian looked like when his hair first started falling out. It fell out a lot more.

Me and Aaron post meltdown.

My neices and nephews are practically the only kids that like me, so I take all the snuggles I can get.

And Jack. He is spoiled. I love him.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A great night!

Tonight was a really great night. I was invited to speak at the ICC Educational Foundation's Community Celebration! All of the scholarship recipients and benefactor's were invited to attend. I was so blessed to be surrounded by my parents, and Brian, and I got to sit with my scholarship benefactor!

What a wonderful experience. Mr. Gilmore was a quick witted and pleasant dinner companion. We got to know each other during dinner and I found out a lot of interesting things about this 92 year old gentleman.  A lifetime Peoria resident, he served in WWII as a navigator flying all over Germany, and he was president of Caterpillar for seven years after starting there as an apprentice six months out of high school. He said that he and his wife wanted to donate a scholarship because he never had the chance to go to college. He said if ICC had been around when he graduated from high school, he would have jumped at the chance to attend.

My contact person at ICC was Stephanie and she was just awesome. The event went off without a hitch in great part to her hard work! I was really nervous to give my speech, but I got up there and tried my very best. I may not be the best speaker, but I was able to successfully convey my message of hope amidst our trials, and faith in spite of adversity. So many people came up to me afterward to thank me for my testimony of a loving Heavenly Father, and to offer their sincere prayers to Brian and I.

I am tired after all of the adrenaline rushing through my system, but I am just so full of gratitude and love that I had to take a moment to talk about it. Attitude is so very important in how we deal with trials. Mine hasn't been the greatest as of late, but its nights like these that make me grateful for the people around me, who consistently lift me up and encourage me to do things I never thought I could do. Things like giving a speech in front of a room of 900 people!

I am so grateful for the generosity of my scholarship donor, so grateful for the love and support of my family, and so very, very grateful for my husband who inspires me to keep striving to be the very best version of myself.

I am at peace tonight.


P.S. Two more days of radiation!! We can make it!!!