grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Four

on July 4, 2015

As I read the following CaringBridge journal entry this morning, I shed a tear or two. You see, the Empty Nest I thought I’d be so looking forward to actually materialized just last month. Allie and Dina both moved out and forward (*see yesterday’s post regarding my choice of that word) within a week of each other, emptying our nest and leaving earsplitting silence in their respective wakes.

I seriously thought I’d be the mom who changed all the locks and threw a huge party when this time finally came. I told everyone who would listen that we’d be dancing and rejoicing for days after the last chick flew the coop.

Let me here, publicly and loudly, admit that this whole Empty Nest thing…well, it’s totally for the birds. (See what I did there?)

Don’t misunderstand.
I’m thrilled and excited and happy for each of my four girls.
They are bravely forging bold new paths and courageously claiming their newfound freedoms and responsibilities with the grace and aplomb that would make any mama weep tears of joy.
(Next year, one will be living in Japan, one will be living in New Zealand, one will be living in Virginia, and one will be living across the river in Mandan. These girls. Bless.)

It’s just awfully quiet around here sometimes.
No bad quiet…just odd quiet.
I haven’t seen a stray sock in days.
The laundry room is fully ours…no mysteries or messes that we can blame on anyone else.
And things do stay where we put them.

Moral of the story?
Enjoy the days when you’re in the middle of them.
Even the hard, yucky, messy ones.
They all pass more quickly than you could ever guess.
And when someone tells you you’ll probably be sad about things like girls growing up so fast it’ll make your head (and heart) spin, for the love of all that is holy, believe them.

Oh, and just for the record, Empty Nests are great places to hatch Second Acts.


Oct 22, 2010
A foretaste of things to come…an empty house on a Friday night! A little bit of Heaven here on earth, if you ask me! 🙂 I know some of you will tell me that Empty Nest Syndrome is a very real, very sorrowful thing and I deeply want to honor you and your experience — so please don’t get me wrong when I laugh loudly and smile brightly at the thought of the girls growing up and moving on to whatever the next chapter in each of their lives is going to be…I know I might be a little sad, but Empty Nest for me will mean so many happy things! For instance, when our Nest is truly Empty, that will mean that we completed the Herculean task of raising 4, euphemistically speaking, ‘strong-willed’ girls – without committing homocide. It will mean that each of those precious girls is on her way to becoming more of what God planned her to be – and we will get to witness it from a distance, not these ‘court-side’ seats that sometimes provide us with too much drama and excitement. It will mean that I will be able to celebrate that magic Five-Year ‘Cancerversary’ – since our little Allie is 5 years out from graduation. And those are just some of the Biggies. It will also mean many Little Things that I’m sure will bring much joy to my heart: There will be no abandoned socks found laying around in the strangest places. There will be no weird, unexplained Clothing Mysteries in the laundry room. There will be no need to house the treadmill and exercise bike in the downstairs family room (ie – one of the children’s bedrooms will be converted to a fitness room…maybe then I will be motivated to actually USE those pieces of equipment!). There will be no plaintive wailing at the site of a mostly empty refrigerator…wait, that wailing may still come from Stan. There will be days on end that things stay where they are left and/or are supposed to be (read- the TV clicker, the furniture, etc). I could go on and on…but I think you get the picture. Don’t you? Did I mention that all of this dreaming of an Empty Nest is coming from the mind of the Mother of FOUR Teenage Daughters?! That tidbit alone may elevate your understanding. No?

As you can see, it can’t be All Cancer, All the Time here. There must also be random dream sequences and lots oflaughter as I tickle my own funny bone (and I hope yours, too) with these thoughts. Thank you for humoring me. 😉

These last few days have been a mix of feeling better and feeling not-so-good. Stan came down with a mighty bug that went straight to his lungs last Saturday night and has been a coughing, hacking mess since! He even missed 2.5 days of work! You know he’s sick when that happens!! He went to the doctor right away on Monday and was put on a powerful antibiotic when he informed said doctor that his wife has breast cancer and will be starting chemo soon. After he got that prescription (and a lovely little yellow face mask with which to protect others from that nasty bug), he and I went to MedCenter to sign the 19-page consent form agreeing that I will be part of a clinical study as part of the cancer treatment I am about to undergo. We laughed uproariously with Mark, the research oncology nurse, and Dr Reynolds, who stopped by the room we were in to let me know that he had just viewed the pathology slides from my surgeries. He thanked us for arranging to have them sent to him and, in the same breath, told me the cancer I am fighting is, and I quote, ‘very agressive and very nasty.’ That was a bit disconcerting to hear, to be honest. I have heard ‘aggressive’ and seen ‘bizarre’ (in relation to the look of the cells), but the ‘very’ part being added to those words hit me in a totally different way. I don’t yet know if I have qualified to be a participant in the study, but Dr Reynolds assured me that, even if They say I do not qualify, he will use the same protocol as the study due to the ‘very’ nature of this cancer. That is comforting to both Stan and I.

I got to do a lot of the Kid Driving this week. (Mostly Allie as Sammi and Dina end up riding together most days and to most things.) That always helps me to keep one foot in the Normal Realm.

Stan and I spent Thursday evening celebrating a friend’s birthday and attending the once-monthly Mastectomy Support Group. The time celebrating was too short but filled with much healing laughter and the time at the support group was edifying and comforting. There were almost 20 women there who have walked the road I have my tip-toes on and to see their smiling faces was to have the privilege of viewing Hope itself. It is my prayer to have the blessing of being a Face of Hope to someone else a little further down this road. Stan and I then went to Applebee’s for appetizers and walked out to the truck at almost 11pm. When that little truck turned over but inexplicably wouldn’t start, we called a tow truck and tracked down Sammi and Dina at a friend’s house to come pick us up. It wasn’t the best way to end such a stellar night, but, again, the laughter shared with those 3 teenagers brought more healing. Thanks guys – for the ride and the laughs! 🙂

This morning, Stan came to pick me up and drive me (because the garage the truck was towed to was short-staffed today and they won’t be able to even look at the thing till Monday – but I’m not bitter!!) to a follow-up appointment with Dr Helbling. There is so much laughter to be had at these appointments with him, his PA Jackie (aka – Julie) and his nurse Lacey (aka- Kevin) that Stan actually pulled a muscle in his side today! (Probably doesn’t help much thatlaughter for him is currently a trigger for that awful cough!) Oh well, it was joyful, joy-filled and even though that blistered spot is taking its own sweet time to heal, it IS looking better and just needs to be given patience and TLC.

Tonight, Stan got to choose the movie and so we went to The Social Network. It was a great movie – and the popcorn was wonderful! 🙂 The guy falling on top of me as he tried, drunkenly, to get to his seat I could have done without. But that, too, afforded Stan and I precious moments of laughter as we compared notes on the way out of the theater about which of the guy’s body parts landed where! (Don’t ask!)

I’d best sign off for now. We are going to watch a little TV before the girls get home from their movie. Some good comedy before bed will bless us with even more, you guessed it, laughter! 🙂

Have a super weekend, all! Find the Funny wherever you can and savor the Laughter it brings! 🙂 🙂 🙂

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. (If you let Him, that is – commmentary mine 😉 ) ~Job8:21


4 responses to “July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Four

  1. Its lovely to see just how much laughter you were able to experience during what must have been an incredibly scary time in your life. Love the wonderful support that your husband offered you. ❤

    • LauraK says:

      Laughter really is such a gift, isn’t Suzanne? Even in the scary times. And yes, Stan was really so steadfast in all of this…I’m pretty grateful.

  2. Susie Huwe says:

    What 4 beautiful daughters you have Laura! This picture of them is just delightful!!

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