I have had a crazy couple of weeks. First was my chance to speak. Darryl had the opportunity to share our story a few months ago at a men's breakfast in our church. Since then I've thought a lot about if that is something I would like to do, could do, and what would I say. In some ways it feels like I have so much to say, too much to say; and yet so much as been said here with all of you. Writing words is in my comfort zone - my release, but speaking is so different. I met with my pastor on Friday. He's more than a pastor; he's a great friend as well. He visits/checks in with me every so often, so I thought it was one of those get togethers, which it was. But after a great discussion about our upcoming Sunday service, we cooperatively decided it was a good Sunday for me to share some of my thoughts. We did it interview style, and I basically shared my thoughts about the gains and losses of living and dying. (Phillipians 1 was the scriptures we were studying). It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, and one of the easiest at the same time. The thought of going in front of hundreds of people to talk about dying seemed ridiculous in my head (and my pastor's), but in my heart it felt completely right and the words came easily. I knew God had planned this for me, and the words came straight from Him and out my mouth. I know my interview has spread like wildfire over Facebook. Social media has changed our world. I thought I was speaking in church on Sunday, now hundreds are listening to my voice who don't even know me. I do pray that everyone who hears it is blessed by it in some way. I'm fine with it being spread; it's just so interesting to me how communication works and has changed. The only sad part was that my mom heard it on Facebook before I had even told her I had done it - sorry mom.
Another huge highlight for me is that I'm going to start teaching again! I got the perfect job: I'll teach one afternoon a month at Voyageur School. Five years ago I was trained to be a Roots of Empathy facilitator. Roots of Empathy is a program developed by Mary Gordon; it is structured around watching a baby, from the community, grow over the course of a year. The baby visits the classroom once a month and through observations and discussions, we talk about feelings and care for the baby. This is transferred into deeper more caring relationships for the participating students. It really is a fascinating program that I love teaching. I am so excited to be able to do it. The guidance counsellor at Voyageur School is a dear friend. She called me a few weeks ago asking me to be a facilitator at her school because she needed to run one more program and had no one to do it. She knows me well, and I think she's doing it more for my benefit then hers - thank you. Furthermore, I'll be teaching with an amazing teacher, who has been one of my many supporters this year. I'm so excited to be in her classroom. I taught at Voyageur for 5 years, so it feels like going home. The whole staff has embraced me with tons of support this year (notes, e-mails, meals, nights out). So it's great to be back, even if in a small way. I went in to do some planning this week; it felt so good to talk like a professional. It's been so long, and I wasn't sure if it would all come back (I still feel like I have chemo brain somedays). But once I started it came back to me right away. Hopefully the same will happen when I'm actually in with the students. We start our first lessons on Oct. 9. I can't wait!
I continue to feel really good, but unfortunately my feet have gone numb/tingly. We spent today trying to figure it out. I was once again amazed at the care I receive. I called my nurse this morning to tell her about my feet at 9 am. By 10:30 I was at the hospital having blood drawn. By 12:30 pm I was told all my blood levels were normal. So, based on my symptoms or lack there of, we're pretty sure the new medication I'm on is causing it. I'm trying another supplement to counteract the buzzing in my feet. Hopefully it stops in the next few weeks. I am so thankful for a team of doctors and nurses that know me well and get things done quickly to help me try to find peace of mind - which I rarely have, at least not completely. But there are versions of it.
I can't end my writing today without mentioning Michael. He is my cousin. We were both diagnosed with cancer (at similar times), we were both told we were terminal. We were not close in age (he was 10 years younger then me), we lived in different provinces, but through the few e-mails that we shared, we understood each other. Michael was (and continues to be) an inspiration to me and thousands of others - he made his journey on earth count. He went to Heaven this week. He was dearly treasured and will be dearly missed. And yet we know that now he is in a place "that is better by far". My prayers are with his family, who will feel a huge emptiness and loss for a long time. I pray that the hole that is left in their life will be filled with peace.