Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shower me

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I continue to have so many people to thank for your thoughts, prayers, and generosity.  But today, I wanted to give a shout out to all of those who have sent me a wonderful card or several so far.
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Laurie, Christi, Angela, Shell, Mom and Ken, Janice, Brenda, Kathy, Aunty Geet, Road Shop, Frank and Dena, Stacy, Cassie, Lynn, Anya, Kelly, Roxanna, Lisa, Cheryl, Jill, Jenn

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Yesterday was another emotional roller coaster day, but what I want to focus on is one of the most emotionally safest places for me.  If you haven't guessed yet, it is directly related to today's post title.  The shower... my shower... is a safe haven for me.  I climb in there and I turn the water on as hot as I can and I lean against the wall and just let the water rain down on me.

I remember when my oldest was born...we ended up going back to the hospital after we were home a couple of days to some issues with his nursing and weight.  This would be my first experience in a hospital not including my actual stay for the birth, but that was joyful.  This stay was stressful and hard even though it wasn't extended.  If I recall, it was only a 3 or 4 day stay.  I think on the second night, the nurse suggested we go home for a little bit.  She would get a nurse to sit with Hunter while we were gone.  We took her up on her offer and we drove home and Kevin suggested I take a long, hot shower.  It was just what I needed.

My next most stressful occasion was when the twins were born.  They were too pre-mature to be born here locally so we had to go down to Seattle for their birth.  The hardest event was the night we drove home from Seattle, an approximate drive of about 2 hours, without our 2 new babies.  When we got home, Kevin suggested I take a long, hot shower.  Again, the perfect place to let go.

Fast forward to current events... I've taken several of these long, hot showers and I love the fact that the water washes the tears away, almost like they aren't really there.  The noise of the running water drowns the crying and nobody is the wiser.  Nobody bothers you when you are in the shower... its private and all your own, unless of course you only have one bathroom like we do and two 5 year olds that come and go as they please to potty!  Ha... see life continues no matter what is going on.

So, yesterday was a shower moment... I did go get my hair cut... and I did really well to not cry at the salon... but I did cry later.  All my friends who have met me and know me know that I'm not "into" my hair.  Its what is attached to my head and bugs me daily... wavy, crazy, frizzy, drive me nuts hair.  I was surprised at my reaction to the lack of it.  I got it short, short, short... most everyone suggested getting it cut if you have long hair, its apparently very disconcerting when it starts falling out when its long and the average time for hair loss is about 2 weeks from the first chemo treatment.  Who knows, I might be lucky and not lose any hair, but its more of a probability than not and I wanted to be pro-active.  I wanted to be in charge.  But ironically, afterwards I felt out of control.  I stood there naked and washed my lack of hair and every time I touched my head I felt what was missing.  I looked down at my port which was now free to breathe and again, it was ugly.  There is still some residual yellow bruising along my collar bone.  The goo from the dressings were hard to get off and I couldn't rub too hard because it is still sensitive.  I then looked at my arms and the backs of my hands...I have scabs and bruises from the IV needles and blood draws.  I can still see every single hole that has been made... these aren't the arms and hands that I remember.  My body isn't even the body I remember.  I let the shower just run and thankfully, nobody else needed hot water last night.

My reaction to my lack of hair scared me though because now I'm worried about my reaction to the lack of no hair.  My friend Lisa and I went to the wig shop after my haircut and I have to say it was creepy.  I did try on a couple of wigs and made notes... no purchases yet.

I will post pictures when I'm ready which in all honestly won't be long :)

On a final note, I want to end with the joy that I had cuddling up with the little ones while they listened to me read The Lion King... you know its all about the circle of life.  I'm thankful that Kevin's mom is staying with us for a bit and I'm thankful for all of you.

Until next time...

-Katie

44 comments:

Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...

Thank you for sharing Katie. I am thinking of you.

Hugs.

Emily Painter-Davis said...

Katie,
I too find the shower cathartic.
I hope and pray for peace for you.
Many blessings.... and enjoy those cuddles!
Em

Cassie said...

I feel the same way about showers, Katie. My kids are constantly knocking on the door, though, asking questions about school, haha. Thanks for sharing this journey of yours. . .I can't stop thinking about you and your family.

I was cleaning out my 'craft cave' the other day, and I have just a few of the buttons left that you gave me a couple years ago. . .do you remember that? I have had the little note you made me up in my cave this whole time, because that was the first time someone ever sent me a RAK. . .love ya, Katie ;)

Shell said...

Oh, sweet Katie .... I've always said that the only place I can cry is in the shower. It's the only time I'm even close to 'alone.' I totally relate with the 5 year olds ... I only have one 5 yo (and a 14 yo, a 19 yo, and a dh......), but it seems that, regardless of the fact that we have 5 bathrooms, the one I'm showering in is the one she needs to use ... RIGHT THEN. :) Kids.

I think of you often. :) Prayers continue.

Jak Heath said...

I think you have found a haven where you can just let go Katie, it isn't the easier=st to keep smiley and cheery when inside you want t scream, I too can relate to the lack of privacy as it always seemed our girls need potty when one of us where in the shower.
Now onto your haircut, I can't wait to see it, try not to look at it as a need to do or a loss but try to look at it as a new styling a make over, also remember you are beautiful no matter what, all you friends and family think so.
Love you Katie.
Jak x

Tiff said...

Katie, keep going strong my friend! We are all praying for you and secretly willing the hot water to last just a tad bit longer for you. HUGS HUGS HUGS!

Christi said...

Your writing is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey. You really do have a nack for the written word. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Showers ... yes, the hotter the better.

Allison said...

Hugs from me to you. You have me craving a shower now but mothering calls! Maybe later...

Meredith said...

I love the shower for all those same reasons... I am glad you have found a place that is yours, and where you can just be. Again, I am just in awe of your outlook and attitude..you truly are an inspiration. I am curious as to where exactly you live... I live in Vancouver, BC - I think maybe I am not that far from you? Thinking of you always!!

Runnergirl Creations said...

Katie, I'm praying for you everyday! I'm sending you a card. I've posted a link to your blog, from my blog so others can lift you up in prayer. Much love & blessings to you! ~Stephanie

Donna C said...

My friend told me that when she was treated for cancer 11 years ago, she found it cathartic to write her thoughts. It seems from your frequent and eloquent blog posts that you too find it cathartic to write your thoughts. There are alot of us out here listening to you and caring about you. Keep writing, we will keep listening.

Holly said...

I had to ask around to get your address, but I finally did so you will be getting a card from me soon! I thought about you getting your hair cut yesterday and I can totally understand your reaction to it, but I'll bet it's really cute and you know the thing about hair is it grows back! You are one strong woman Katie Renz and you have a lot of people there to help you when you don't feel so strong. Keeping you in my thoughts.

IamDerby said...

Beautifully written. Hang in there Katie! Can't wait to see the new do. When my friend JV was battleing breast cancer she shaved her head into a Mohawk. Her students loved it

Jenn said...

You are in my thoughts constantly, Katie. I, too, love the camoflauging effect of the shower, it's a good place to be. You are remarkable. (((hugs)))

Candy F. said...

The shower is a great place to escape! The next best place is the movie theater because you can be alone and cry and no one sees you or bothers you. You've gone through so much in such a short period of time so I say take as many showers as you need and let the tears flow. Love you!

Gloria said...

You have a talent for expressing yourself in words so beautifully! Hope journaling your experience is theraputic for you....I enjoy reading and keeping up with how you are doing. Take care sweetie!

Amy said...

Katie, thank you for sharing your life with us. Big Hugs to you...and Just a little nurse trick :) try alcohol pads to get the adhesive residue off left from the port and IV dressings. It can also help when removing stubborn tape when taking the dressings off. Just remember to keep your skin moisturized because it can be abrasive and burn if you use it too much.

Jennie said...

Thinking of you Katie. A nice hot shower is a good thing, there is joy in big and little things and they are all the more apparent when going through a trial or difficult time. My heart goes out to you and know I am praying for you...

Bobbi-Lynn said...

You are amazingly strong - although I bet you don't feel that you are. Taking control is a good thing, just keep trying to be positive. You have so many people praying for you.
God bless.

Sherry said...

Katie, you are so inspiring...even as your are being challenged, you give many of us courage. I wish you endless hot water..

Kelly S. said...

I can't wait to see your picture...I bet it really does look so great. You have such a pretty face and smile! And you are welcome :)

Marg said...

I only found your blog today 'by accident' but had to let you know I am profoundly moved by your writing and wish you well on your journey. Sending gentle Hugs from the UK

DeAnna said...

I think of you often now that I've found your blog. My family is keeping you and your family in our prayers. The talent you have with writing your thoughts and feelings makes me understand what you are going through. Your writings will touch many young women that may someday have a health journey too. I wish I was there to help in any way possible. You are loved by so many.

Suzi said...

I hope your writing is as cathartic for you as it is inspiring for the rest of us. You may not feel "inspirational," but you are FIGHTING and you are real. That inspires me. Don't be surprised when there are days you want to give up the fight, though. Those kids, if no one else, will remind you to carry on the battle. When it's over, what a book you will have written! I hope the royalties make you rich! :o)

Laura Isham said...

Continuing to be in awe of you. Prayers are constant, and love is coming your way from Wisconsin.

Dinahsoar said...

When you are in the shower do some visual imagery. Imagine that the water washing over you has the power to wash the cancer away and out of your body. That is dilutes it and renders it weak and easily destroyed by the chemo.

I used visual imagery when I had cancer--I'd just seen the movie Beauty and the Beast and I imagined the wolves from the movie running around in my bloodstream scavenging for cancer cells, devouring every last one, until one day they hunted and there was no food left and I was unable thereafter to continue the imagery.

The imagery tool came to me via reading about a documented case of an 8 year old boy with an inoperable brain tumor who was completely cured through imagery.

I figured what the heck...it can't hurt. Today I believe it is a powerful tool in the arsenal of weapons to fight cancer or any disease.

As for the 'why me' question--I never asked that...instead my first thought was 'why not me?'...I reasoned people get cancer every day and I am no better than they..so why not me? Instead my question was 'what?'.

As in 'what is this about Lord?'...'what is it I am to learn?'

And like you and multitudes of other I felt my body had betrayed me. My cancer came to light at a time when I felt better than I'd felt in 20 years. It was a shock.

In the spiritual journey and the process of discovery the verse in the Bible that states "I will not die, but live and proclaim what the Lord has done' seemed to speak directly to me as from the Lord and I was given the confidence that I would live to speak about 'what the Lord has done'.

I learned to say with Job "the Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord'. And Job also said "thou He slay me yet will I trust him'.

This time can be a drawing nigh to God and a journey of discovering the Almighty who is a very present help in the time of trouble.

And lest you think I was not scared and afraid--I was terrified. But as it all unfolded God and his ministering angels--family, friends, strangers--were there uplifting me and having hope when I was hopeless.

Curt in Carmel said...

Hair or no hair, you are still one of the most beautiful people I've "met". No disease can take away the beautiful person you are. Remember that. You are truly inspirational and I so wish you peace and strength to get through this. I continue to keep you in prayers and positive thoughts daily. Keep the faith and fight the fight. . .Best, Curt

BLUEYEDUCKstudios said...

Katie- "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

Numbers 24: 25-26

~ Katey

~~~~~~~~~~~~

and if I could sing this to you I would ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ6QaZcPphM

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
...My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
King of glory and of grace,
One with Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

The Stamper's Touch said...

Katie, a day doesn't go by that I don't think of you. Your honesty and creativity with your words is so refreshing. Oh how I wish I could give you a hug right now! Bet I would burst into tears at that very moment too!!!!!!!! Stay strong and keep writing because "I'll be back!"

Linda

Karinn said...

You have so many people loving you and sending you hugs and happy thoughts. We all love you. I've been a huge fan of yours for so long and I love reading your blog, seeing your beautiful and amazing creations (and that includes your beautiful kiddos too). You're in my prayers and thoughts and I know you'll be back on that treadmill soon! I've been away from my computer at home for most of December, I had no idea when I checked my favorite blogs today what you were going through. Keep positive, we all are, for you :0)

Davi said...

Like you said the shower is that private place where you come and as that water washes over you it soothes and cleanses physically and emotionally. Seek the Lord while you are there in that private place and allow Him to lift you up and strengthen you. I bet your hair looks darling.

Sue from Oregon said...

I can't imagine...I think cutting your hair is just another step in the continual reality checks that are bombarding you. A nice hot shower seems to wash all that away and relax the soul. Hugs to you Katiebug.

Peggy Houston, TX said...

Katie Katie pretty lady - you're a rockstar! and doing just fine.

Shawne said...

Just wanted to stop by and let you know I've been thinking about you,that's all. I just spent the holidays with my family and my brother in law who is forty this time last year was in the hospital battling cancer, it was in his lymph nodes too, they really were not giving him any chance, the origin of it was too close to his spine to operate, he and my sister have four children. Today he is 100% cancer free, he went through hell but made it, you just never give up. I know your strong because you stilll laugh at the irony of your kids busting in on you in your me time. The bathroom is never sacred for mommies is it? :)

PAG said...

Hi Katie
There are some local resources in Bellingham that you might want to take advantage of.
The cancer center near the hospital has wigs, free of charge plus there is a class they do to that is called look good feel good that has professionals that show you and provide you with makeup and ways of putting on scarves and such. There are also free services such as massage, accupuncture and other things that might work for you and it is all free of charge.
The services are wonderful and at times makes the not so good feeling days a little better.
Best of luck to you.
Cancersupportbellinghamwa.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Katie,
I so wish I "met" you before this journey you are on now,but I was compelled to read more and more of your blogs going backward.

I thank you for bravely writing of the journey, not just stop your blog writing. Courage shines through.

I hope it helps you to know that I am praying for you, for your husband and boys. May God hold you in His arms of love and grant you rest and strength.

I encourage you to journey through this in your own way, not trying to "do it right" or let others tell you how you should experience it, but to be yourself, follow your heart and let God lead you to His love, to what He has for YOU.

I pray for strength for your fight,as a nurse I can't tell you how many miracles I have seen first hand..and that you will find your way to peace in your soul as you declare war on this

Linda

AShu93 said...

I wish you hours of long hot showers to help you feel better. Know that lots of people are thinking of you & praying for you & your family.

Sue Ann said...

You are an amazing woman ....... keeping you, your children and family in my thoughts and prayers!!! xoxox

ReneeK said...

Hi Katie!

Your posts have really brought to the forefront of my mind my journey with cancer and chemo...I hope it's helping you to document your thoughts in your blog. When I was undergoing treatment I wasn't very familiar with blogs and I now wish I had done exactly what you are doing. Even if no one read it, it would have been a good release.

You are in my thoughts daily and I pray for you and your family.

Renee

Pat Turner said...

Katie,

Sending good thoughts to you!

And a little tip- Avon Skin So Soft bath oil will take sticky residue off of anything, even you! And you can pick the scent you like. I used it to remove duct tape residue from the neighbor's kid, the time I taped her to a tree. Go ahead, laugh- it was a very rewarding experience, though.

christine said...

Dear Katie;

You and your family continue to be in my daily prayers!!! You are an AMAZING and STRONG woman!!!

Hugs,
Christine

Terry said...

Praying for youand sending good thoughts on your road to recovery. A positive attitude is 1/2 the battle and you are winning! Hugs!

~amy~ said...

You are such a wonderful writer...I can hear all the emotions in your words...I'm sending you good ju-ju...maybe it will come in handy when you need a quick shower but can't take one?

Beautiful Greetings said...

Katie,
You have been in my thoughts and prayers constantly. I only know you through the crafting community and some time with CDS but have been following your journey weekly. Stay strong, stay positive and know that you are loved.

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