Friday, June 28, 2013

                                                                                                           June 28, 2013

Dear Jane,

Addy and me June 19, 2013

            " And I believe in miracles.
              Something sacred burning
              in every bush and tree.
              We can all learn to sing the
              songs the angels sing.
              I receive the blessings.
              That everyday on Earth is
              another chance to get it right.
              Let this little light of mine
              shine and rage against the
              night." -Steve Earle          


               In gratitude for stark,
               white mornings...For another
               chance to get it right.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

                            June 25, 2013

Dear Jane,
     Feeling a bit discouraged this afternoon as I sit to write.  Adler was scheduled for Chemotherapy and Scans this morning. However, after his Oncology team reviewed Adlers blood counts from his last Chemotherapy session and compared them to previous rounds, they felt Addy's white blood count (ANC) would be too low to safely move forward with Chemotherapy today. We rescheduled for next Tuesday. Large pieces of me feel so very grateful for the extended break from the pummeling that Chemo delivers. Yet, emotionally, I ache as I realize this extended break leaves me taxi-ing the cancer runway for the next week in preparation once more, for the scans/imaging. We haven't had extensive scans performed since the very beginning of this voyage and I must say my heart feels caught in a constant "treading water" state. It's a "broad spectrum" sort of fear that accompanies the pending scans...Seemingly swallowing me whole everyday.
    In an attempt to swim rather than tread, I want to share with you the sea of love we swam in last Wednesday evening as several young men in our neighborhood (along with dear family friends and even my little brother)raised funds for Adlers treatment by shaving their hair. To watch these beautiful boys (men) so willingly watch their locks fall to the ground in support of my son, was a sight that will linger near forevermore.

And all the kings men
June 19, 2013

Floating ever along,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

                              June 19, 2013

    Dear Jane,

Adler March 2013


Adler June 2013

Hope is a dangling participle
grammatical error/broken
your son has cancer
hope is a comma,
another breath
another day more
hope is a semi colon;
separation between what
what may be

-One day more,


(Top photo taken by my sister in law Emily Utley )






Saturday, June 15, 2013

                             June 15, 2013

Dear Jane,
Dad, my Betsy girl and I

     My boys are squirreled away making last minute Fathers Day preparations. I can hear through the wall the plotting and planning..."I think we should wake him up early." "No, he'll want to sleep in. I would." "McKay, do you know how to make shrimp? Dad loves shrimp." "No, I'm shaky on shrimp making...But, I can make flapjacks. What do you guys think about flapjacks?" "What about shrimp flapjacks McKay? He'd REALLY like those?"
     Fathers Day has become such a bittersweet Holiday for me. As I am certain it is for many. I lost my Dad to suicide on March 7, 1989. I was Thirteen. And even still....all these years later, it feels like an out of body experience giving voice to such a pivotal, life changing day. I took my boys to Salt Lake yesterday to visit my old stomping ground as well as my Dads grave. We pulled the overgrown grass surrounding his headstone and left a pile of carefully selected pinecones gathered by his Grandsons hands. And even in the midst of walking the grounds in search of pinecones I had a mental conversation with myself: "Did this really happen? Did my Dad truly die?"...And, I suppose, there is a "yes" and a "no" attached to that later question. Yes, my Dad did, in fact die... but he is still very much alive. He is in McKays love affair with flapjacks covered in peanut butter and maple syrup, in Sampsons quick wit and appreciation of music, In the way Adler laughs and claps at the same time and in Ollies insatiable love for books and answers to life's riddles. I need only look within the walls of my own home to find that which was never truly lost.

             "Goodnight, sleep tight,
              and pleasant dreams to you.
              Here's a kiss and a wish
              that all your dreams
              come true. Until
              we meet once again...
              Adios, au revoir,
              auf wiedersehen.
              Goodnight." (Sung each night
              to me and my siblings by my
              Mom and Dad).

                     Dreamwishes to you,

Friday, June 14, 2013

                                June 14, 2013

Dear Janey,


Adler June 14, 2013

    My mom has shared with me on many occasions the origin behind my name. I've always loved my name and I think it's because I know my mom loved it (and thus, me) even before I was born.
   My mom would sit on the edge of my bed sometimes as the bedtime cha cha was nearly complete. She'd stroke my hair and tuck it over and over behind my ear. To this day, there is not a more calming, more soothing gesture than to have my hair brushed or braided etc...She'd tell me about how much she loved me, about her own childhood and sometimes she'd tell me about me. She shared with me that the name "Sara" reminded her of fields adorned with their summer best. Sunflowers. Fields full of a yellow symphony....Playing with all their might. Fulfilling the measure of their creation by seeking sun and offering sun all in the very same instant.
     My middle name is Joy. Sara Joy. Named after my beloved Grandma: Neva Joy. My Grandma was the very essence of the word joy. She was good and kind and diligent. My Grandma had brilliant, blue, sparkling eyes. In the whole of my family (parents and all Four of my siblings) I am the only one who has blue eyes. I like to think they came from my Grandma. I close those blue eyes and imagine walking with my Grandma...But, in this scenario, we are more "equals"...No age or time or space predetermining our status one with another. In my minds eye, we walk in silence. No words punctuating our "heart-steps." She knows. And, I know that she knows. Knows every abiding sorrow surrounding my current life circumstance. Knows my pleadings, my longings, and my daydreams. Knows my confusion and the angst of true loss.  She knows my secrets, my successes, and my shortcomings. Yes, she knows. And, she loves me still. We stop walking....She looks into my eyes and I into hers. And, in that exchange...true healing abounds.
Neva Joy Lee and me

   The week after Adler was diagnosed, his dear friend and classmate Ava danced her way across our lawn (have you ever noticed children don't walk?...They swoop, they glide, they shimmy, they swoosh. But walking....Never)carrying a blue, plastic, Dixie cup. She knocked on our front door and upon my answering, began to explain that their class (Adlers class) had planted seeds a week or so before. Addys teacher had asked Ava to drop off Adlers seedcup in hopes that he still feel a part of his classroom adventures. We began watering each day and soon enough, a small scooch of green began to yawn and stretch. Weeks and even months passed. Addy and I took turns watering as well as guessing what kind of bloom we thought might emerge. I awoke this morning with Adler at the side of my bed..."Mom, mom, you've got to come and see this!...Follow me mom. Quick!" We held hands down the stairs and scurried towards our kitchen windowsill...A sunflower symphony serenading.

            "Keep your face to the
             sunshine and you cannot
             see the shadow...It's what
             all sunflowers do."
                                                                                        -Helen Keller

                 -In shadows and in sun,  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

                               June 9, 2013

Dad and Adler June 6, 2013

Dear Jane,
      I hesitate writing this morning. For a myriad of reasons really. Overwhelm, exhaustion, vulnerability and fear of sounding like a middle aged whiner bo name but a few. 
           This past week has inched by like a snail running a marathon. Each day packed with hours burdened by minutes. Each day a barrage of new questions making their way to the surface for air. Sometimes the air came in calm, gentle, bouts.    Sometimes the air came in hot, lung bursting, gasps.    And sometimes, the air never even came at all.
     The saga of our week reads more like a full fledged novella. Some pages sticking together from tears and perspiration and some pages so "dog eared" you can't find where your last reading session ended or where your new session awaits.
    Addy spent the whole work week in the Hospital in some form or another. Some days were out-patient as we searched the glossary looking for clues and some days were spent in-patient as we searched the chapter titles praying for answers. Finally, Addy's fever broke like a wild stallion being corralled. Slowly Addy caught up to the snail as he regained his coloring and pain subsided. We're still searching for the elusive energy elf...Hoping he'll make a Midnight drive by "energy-ing." As long as we're already hoping, might as we'll hope the energy elf is off gallivanting with the appetite elf  and that the energy elf rides a bicycle built for Two.
         We're home now. Still many questions painstakingly searching for air. Jamie and I were trained by "home health" to administer medications and fluids from home. So thankful that home health even exists as I am certain the deepest sort of healing can be found at home. Blessed home.
    "Counts" (blood counts and otherwise) are still running low. Addy's ANC (white blood cells...which ward off and fight infection) are at 0.0 So, our prayer for today is that miraculously, those counts will rise allowing Addy to regain strength and that the persistent and relentless nausea will take up camp someplace far, far, away.
            For now, I plan on celebrating our release back into the wild.  Because, I have come to know... "All good things are wild and free."

            "Where seldom is heard a 
             discouraging word and the 
             skies are not cloudy all day",


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

                                       June 4, 2013                                                      

May 2013

Dear Jane,
     Another evening has found her way to me. Tender mercy. The house is settling into it's nighttime self...seeming to exhale the weight of the days events.
    It has been a rough few days for Addy. He's running another fever...His Second in Three weeks. We were already scheduled to be seen today for our "routine" chemo treatment. But, upon waking we realized Addy was still arm wrestling a fever and we were asked to come in early to begin the "clinic waltz"...Pokes and prods and swabs and stethoscopes.  A tiresome dance indeed. After the music ended and antibiotic administered along with blessed Zofran we scooped up our  Adler and waltzed our way right on home. 
    We wrangled the afternoon away. Glancing often out the kitchen window....Looking for sleep to come and take us to her. We head back in tomorrow for another dance. Another series of tests and tubes and answer-less questions.
       This is the Second week in a row that Adler has been too sick to receive treatment. And, although the logic based side of myself knows this to be the necessary protocol...The crazed, heavy hearted, momma bird inside of me wants to fly and scream and yell and stomp and seep deeply. I lay in bed and play a terrible game of hide and seek. I'm always the hidden. The questions relentlessly seeking. No matter how well I've camouflaged myself, how well I hold silently still as to not be heard. I'm always and in "all-ways" found. 
    Two weeks with no treatment... you think would bring blessed relief. An escape from the nausea, stomach pain, exhaustion so paralyzing that breathing itself is all you can muster. But, relief has not found its way to us this go round. I begin to simmer and stew as the days turn into nights..."What if the cancer is spreading right this instant?" "What if at this very moment as we sit here watching "Wordgirl"...cells are rapidly growing and dividing?" I try to keep busy hoping to outrun and outwit these mind numbing, tag-teaming questions and thoughts. To little avail. Sadly no amount of laundry folding or house sterilizing can compete with this game of hide and seek. No sir, not even Houdini himself could get out of this patootin' contraption. 
    On a much merrier note, I feel like a babushka nesting doll who has found all of her pieces as my boys are out of school for summer break. And lucky for me, I know the "Summer waltz" by heart.

           Summertime is always the best
           of what might be.

               -Love and more love,


Saturday, June 1, 2013

                                                                                                                June 1st,2013


May 2013
     Adler: "Mom, If cancer was in school...
             I'd give it an "F"."