Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the silence is broken

Wow, it has been awhile. 2 weeks, I apologize. No excuses, I should have written. I will not bore you with tales of sickness and woe, misery and laughter. Suffice it to say, it has been a very fun-filled and yet at the same time completely miserable two weeks. My entire family was here for Thanksgiving, it was so good to all be together again. Some of my sisters and brothers I hadn’t seen in a year.

On second thought, why not bore will be fun...just wait and see.

We left off on the last posting during our idyllic trip to National Harbor, which made a very abrupt turn upon the news that our sweet little kitty kat, Lizzi, had died. We knew it was coming, but it turns out that the actual happening hurts much worse than the knowledge of its coming. Shortly thereafter, my mom, who had been here to care for the kids while we were gone, left to return to Florida. Thus the woe part I had mentioned.

Ah, next the sickness. Dr. Jemsek saved the best for last - or at least the last so far. Tigecycline or Tyg for short. Nasty when taken alone, almost unbearable when paired with Meropenom, Daraprim and Leucovorin. A sadistic little concoction. They could have institutionalized me, maybe should have, probably would have if they could have. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them sam I am. One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish.......rabbit trail, bunny trail, funny trail, rabbit trail....

Just a little Dr. Suess for your reading pleasure. He always lightens the mood. Or so I am told.

Back to the sadistic little concoction. It turned me into a crazy sick lunatic. During which time, my family came to town. My poor family. I’m not sure they knew what they were in for. I had some good pockets, a few great pockets. But for the most part I was pretty sick. The week was blurry. It could have been worse, I could have not been there at all. There were very hard times, but there were very, very good times as well.....

I chose a slight green chair that swiveled and rocked as my roost. Sitting in my green chair, laughing at the kids laughing and screaming. Laughing at my younger sisters’ attempts to avoid the laughing and screaming at all costs.  Me directing, as my daddy hung the garland and the wreaths just as I said - making our beach house look like Christmas.  All the kids decorating the christmas tree. Christmas morning. Robyn’s excitement forever burned in my memory - her sharp intake of breath as her eyes grew wide the moment she realized she was getting an American Girl doll. All of the children as they opened their gifts and played with them for hours.  My momma’s yummy roast beef and mashed potatoes and corn on Tuesday, the day we celebrated Christmas.

Enjoying all the amazing things everyone made for one another...... cross stitched families by Amanda, gorgeous lamps for the girls by Jordan and a washers game for the boys by Josh, beautiful handmade wreaths wrapped in handmade bags for the girls by Susan along with lovely scarfs, delicious homemade salsa from Michael - of which I honestly ate half a jar in one sitting, a meaningful book from Mindy. So many gifts, so much love poured into each stitch, each paint covered hand and staple. Each thought put into everything. So much love here.

Dad’s latest invention - a three wheeled motor cycle which holds not only him, but mom and all the grandchildren as well. Altho mom preferred to just let the grandchildren ride as she watched from the porch, sweet tea in hand. Watching them drive off down the road - helmets atop all heads -  as the giggles of the girls in their matching jackets float up to our balcony, people on the street stopping to stare. That was the big hit of the week. Cries of “Papa, pleeeeeeaaaaasee take us on a ride!” were a constant chorus. We treasured those moments of child free silence. Although by the time we got our coffee and got to the lovely white rockers on the sun-filled porch, their laughter could be heard coming back down the street. We were oh so grateful as “papa” smiled up at us with a wink and took them to the park and then another few turns around the block. I think he was having just as much fun as they were.

Thanksgiving day - the smell, if not the taste, but the smell of Susan’s cinnamon rolls in the morning. Late afternoon - mom's traditional meal. All 16 of us, minus our sweet Ben - who drew the bad luck of working in St Louis on Black Friday. 17 minus 1 gathered around the long table, holding hands and singing in harmony before Daddy prayed. Playing games, and laughing till it hurt. Sharing, crying and praying with one another.

Memories of my momma washing my thinning hair and both my younger sisters helping me make it look pretty. Slightly disgruntled cooperation as the yearly tradition of picture morning commenced. Moans and complaints as our one location suddenly turned into three.  Wardrobe changes by the ones who don’t even realize the extent of their beauty. Down the pier, looking for sharks, finding just bird poo instead. Finally making it to the beach, sitting in comfortable silence with Mindy, the warm sand covering my feet, watching our girls run and play as Michael took one picture after another. (Thank you to the genius that is Michael Logsdon)

Our special dinner at Travinia. Our last night. Talking about New Year’s Resolutions since we’ll be far apart on that day, some serious and thought provoking, some not so serious. So much laughter, at the same time, tears.

Tears as we say goodbye. Hugs that hold on for dear life, never wanting to let go. Sobs that wrench at your gut and break your heart. Begging God to bring us all together again soon.

As I type this out, I realize how blessed I am. sick or well, watching from my green chair, or being in the middle of the action, being cared for, or taking care of others, I am blessed beyond belief. Thank you my sweet Father. In the midst of so much pain, You have showered on me such great love.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


God provided this amazing modern hotel, Aloft, right on the Potomac River, smack-dab in the middle of a little corner of Prince Georges’s County, Maryland, called National Harbor.
It’s an old-school, meets new-school 3 block area replete with cobblestone crosswalks, gray haired gentlemen playing chess in the middle of the square, quaint little shoppes such as “Hats in the Belfry,” “Charming Charlie,” and a gorgeous view across the Potomac. 

 I know, I know, I just couldn't stop taking pics!!!!

Gorgeous trees that have turned for fall glistening bright red in the sunset, an awesome 70 ft. statue of a giant attempting to free himself from the ground called “The Awakening” by J. Steward Johnson Jr.


I am sitting in my very vogue purple striped chair ready to snuggle into my cozy platform bed. My husband and I watching Live Free or Die Hard on our wall hung flat panel TV, as we both work on our computers. One of our fav things to do.

Windows look out over the tree-lined square with the gray haired gentleman playing chess, the cobblestone crosswalks and the quaint little shoppes like “Hats in the Belfry” where I tried on one hat after another - my fav being this $350 beauty. Between that and the gorgeous fascinators I tried on, I’m convinced that either I was born in the wrong era or on the wrong continent. 

Dinner is a Philly roll and a yummy all natural Ginger Punch for me and Lemongrass Chicken for him at this great Thai place just up the block. Lights twinkle in the trees, but these aren’t your grandma’s twinkle lights. These are little box lights fading slowly from one soft shade to another wrapped tight to the branch in perfectly random order. While speakers on the lamp posts quietly emit tones of smooth jazz that almost make you want to dance. like a party for your eyes and ears. 

I love this little slice of heaven. I love how God knows exactly how to wink at me and calm my heart in the midst of one of the most difficult months of treatment thus far. I love that I am not forgotten. I love that every tiny little detail of this place speaks to my soul, sparks my creativity, awakens my senses that have long been craving to be aroused.

Then the dawn. Moving silently down the square as it lights up one golden tree after another with its brilliant light. No sleeping in here - between that and the clattering bell of my alarm - I am wide awake. The same can not be said for the man snoring next to me. Apparently he is immune to both.

The cute apartments across the way boast french doors and wrought iron balconies, their multi-colored brick facades trying to replicate cities of old like New York and DC - now I am really jealous. There is even a rooftop garden. Imagining the parties and the urban chic get togethers they have up there makes me painfully aware of my sweet little home (that I do unabashadly love) in suburbia. I feel like we are in an episode of Friends - updated for 2011 of course, and much, much cooler. This place is magic. A tiny mock city. These are popping up all over the nation - I want one.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

oopsie daisy

okay, in "messy bits" I accidentally gave you the wrong reference. I said it was Isaiah 31:10, but it is actually Isaiah 43:2-3.  :o)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

messy bits

I am watching, for the 5th or 6th time, the movie Letters to Juliet. Charlie just said, and I am paraphrasing here, ”Look, you made a decision and you got to skip all the messy bits.” Claire countered, “life is the messy bits.”  I think, with what is left of my spirochete infested brain, that this part of my life could be considered a “messy bit.”

That was the first paragraph of this blog. and then I was going to expound with lavish detail about how the messy bits are hard but we have to be strong. BlaH, BLAH, Blah, Blah freakin’ Blah!!!!

My mom says I am so mad at this "messy bit" that I just end up picking something to be mad at and take it all out on that person. Well the good thing in this situation is that it is not a person. It is one of my favorite mugs. Fairly new. I bought it on a whim for myself on my birthday. It was from anthropologie, where I never spend my money because it is too expensive. It was so pretty, and it matched me. It was my fav color and it had my initial on it, lowercase, which matches me too. I am so mad at that beautiful little mug that I drank from just this morning.

I am so mad that I am sobbing as I type this. My mug is gone. I went to pick it up, instead flicking it with my pinky, just enough to make it wobble and fall into the bathroom sink. In a split second it was gone. 5 shattered pieces, no longer able to do its job. My beautiful, special mug, bought on a whim from an expensive store. It’s gone.

Guess what. The thing I am mourning is not my mug. As I write this, ragged and bare, for you to read, it is not my sweet mug I mourn. It is me. I am sobbing over the loss of me. Where have I gone? I am lying next to the sink in 5 shattered pieces. I once was beautiful, special, favored. I could do my job. I could handle all the hot, steaming coffee you could send my way. I could fulfill my purpose. Where is that girl. She is gone. I can no longer do what I was made to do!! This disease has ripped that right out of my hands and left what? What is left in it’s place? I see 5 shattered pieces that can do nothing, that have no purpose and should be thrown away.

Oh my precious Lord, how can I do what you created me to do when I am lying here, shattered and useless? How can I mother my children when I am completely broken. How can I be a wife when all that was beautiful and helpful about me is now gone.

The lovely colors and the very things that made me who I was have been torn away from us by this, this hellish thing that has ravaged my mind and my body. Leaving a mind that cannot think straight, or remember, or read, or talk without pausing to recall a word or and entire train of thought. A body, battered and bruised, no longer strong and able, but weak to the point I cannot lift my own daughter, I cannot walk without assistance, I cannot care for myself, I am losing my hair. I cannot walk casually through the living room bending to pick up toys and clothes, cleaning my house as I go. I cannot meet my Robyn at the door and fix her a snack after school. I cannot get my girls up in the morning to dress them, feed them breakfast, kiss them goodbye and drop them at school. I cannot do the most basic things. All the little and big things that make up a mother. I think we surpassed "messy bits" several paragraphs ago.

What am I worth now? The list is never ending of all the things I cannot do. I know, I know. Look at the bight side. God is providing. He isn’t letting me go. He is in control. He will never give me more than I can handle. Well, guess what God? I don’t feel like I can handle anymore!!!!!!! Do you hear me? I am overwhelmed by this storm. I am a broken and shattered mug, lying beside the sink in 5 useless pieces.

A pause, my torrent of words and rain dies down and I step out of the boat and onto the water. I can hear Jesus calling from the shore, “Brooke, trust me, walk to me. Trust me, I know you can do this.”

Breathe in, breathe out. Placing one foot in front of the other, hands outstretched towards my Jesus waiting for me on the shore. In my broken brain, bits and pieces come to me. I begin to remember a verse that my mom taught me not long ago. Was it Isiah? I can’t remember how to spell it, but I think that was it. Isaiah 43:2-3? As I walk through the rivers He will hold my hand, and through the waters, I will not be overwhelmed. As I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, the flames will not consume me. For He is the Lord my God, the Holy one of Israel. My Lord and my Savior.

I cling to that verse, I trust my Lord, I breathe and put one foot in front of the other.