Friday, March 28, 2014

bike ride to skolka

This morning, Martin and the girls put on their helmets and gloves, got on their bikes and set off of the 4 min bike ride to preschool. Now in a quiet house, I am sitting here thankful. So thankful. This bike ride to school is a special ritual at our house that has been put on hold for a long time. How good it feels to brush the dust off and start it again, despite the cold rainy morning!

'The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!' Luke 17:5
I am thankful this morning not because things seem more normal and a little more healthy here in our home, but because I can feel the way my heart, my hope and my faith have been stretched. I want to take this moment, freeze it and remember it so that it can be a building block in my faith. I admit that there were times this winter that I did fear that when spring would come, this morning wouldn't happen. That the bikes would stay inside. Not only because Martin was ill, but the girls were also sick for so long. That this morning would never happen again.

Even in that fear, I could feel the shift in my heart moving from longing for health to asking for faith.

So this bike ride is news and it does mean something for today. It doesn't promise anything for the future, but it reminds me that change happens and that God is healing our little family in many ways. Who knows if next week it will happen again. 'Lord, increase my faith today.'

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2 months later..

After dinner tonight, I knew I had to write this blog post. The girls did something completely unexpected, something that brought tears to our eyes...something remarkable.

Az po dnesni veceri nastal ten spravny cas, abych napsala dalsi zpravu. Stalo se neco necekaneho, neco co me rozplakalo, neco vyznamneho a  muzou za to Sofia a Mia.

Two songs shuffled through the playlist that we had started listening to this past January. 'So glad I'm here' and 'You are my sunshine' by Elizabeth Mitchell. Sofia mentioned that we listened to those when Mimi and Oompah (my parents) were here this winter because of Martin. And then Mia started telling funny, good memories from when Martin was in the hospital. We were rolling, laughing so hard. I asked them what else they remember, and I couldn't believe it. They spoke of good memories.

Sofia poznala dve pisnicky, ktere hraly v pozadi a vzpominala, jak jsme je poslouchali v zime, kdyz tu byli moji rodice a Martin byl v nemocnici. (Elizabeth Mitchell: “So glad I’m here” a “You are my sunshine”). Do toho ji skocila Mia a zacala vypravet co vsechno legracniho se prihodilo kdyz byl Martin v nemocnici. Vsichni jsme se smali, Miu neslo zastavit, a ja jsem tomu nemohla uverit.. Oni si pamatovali ty hezke chvile!!

It has been a terrible season for us. Brutal in many ways. But by God's grace, if we look real hard (or just ask the girls) we can see little glimpses of goodness. And if we take a BIG step back, like a 3 month step back, we can see big good.

Porad jeste prochazime obdobim, ktere je hrozne. Dokonce  v nekterych ohledech, brutalni. Diky Bozi milosti, (a  nebo kdyz se zeptame holek) je mozne videt stripky toho dobreho. A kdyz se nam podari dat si jeste vetsi odstup, pak I v tech poslednich 3 mesicich muzeme videt vetsi dobro, co se udalo.

I think I've needed to wait this long to write this blog post to be able to start it in this way. I have mentioned to people that I have wanted to talk about this time in past tense...and it just never seemed to come. We are still very much in it. But tonight, after dinner conversation with the girls and Martin I do feel that now is different than January and February. Thank God.

Hrozne bych si prala, abych mohla psat o vecech v minulem case. Proto jsem I odkladala psani blogu, protoze to porad byla pritomnost a ja chtela aby uz odesla. Sice se nase situace moc nezmenila, ale dneska jsem uz , diky Bohu. schopna videt rozdil oproti lednu a unoru!

The most recent update is that Martin is (we are) still in recovery. The treatment that started in November with arsenic, then chemo in his spine, radiation and finished over Christmas with very aggressive chemotherapy was a lot. As intense as his treatment was, this recovery time is even more so. It's long and slow and frustrating. There really is no news other than Martin is resting and taking it slow, and the girls and I are keeping normal life moving along.

Martin se zotavuje z celeho narocneho cyklu lecby, ktery zacal v listopadu. Nejdriv arzenik, chemoterapie do mozkomisniho moku, ozarovani a pak jeste vysoce agresivni chemoterapii pres vanoce v nemocnici. Jeho telo dostalo zabrat a tak zotaveni jde velice pomalu. Tak pomalu, ze je to k nastvani. Martin hodne lezi, odpociva a kazdy den se snazi udelat o krok navic, mezitim co ja a holky mame normalni tydenni program.

Martin came home from the month stay in the hospital on 22 January. This was amazing news and of course we were thrilled. To have our little family complete again was an incredible feeling. I really mean it when I say it was one of the first nights of good sleep for the girls and I. I don't want to forget the goodness of his return and the news of his remission. This is amazing news and although I know that, my struggle is figuring out what that means.

Martin byl propusten z nemocnice 22.ledna. Byly jsme nadsene, nase rodina byla znovu spolu a bylo to uzasne. Byla to prvni noc po dlouhe dobe, kdy jsme se s holkama opravdu vyspaly. Remise leukemie a jeho navrat domu byly pro nas tim dobrym. I presto, ze to bylo dobre, zapasila jsem s tim, jak to bude dal.

The next several weeks after his return home were extremely difficult and a very dark time. He was here but wasn't here, and although we knew he was recovering from treatment, it was (is) so slow that to us, he actually seemed more sick than ever. He was weak, tired and dealing with some side-effects that were no fun! We experienced the deepest part of the definition of fatigue. In my book from the American Cancer Society, it describes fatigue as: 'when a person has less or no energy to do the things he or she normally does or wants to do. This is different from the tiredness that comes with everyday life. Fatigue related to cancer treatment can appear suddenly and can be overwhelming. It is not relieved by rest and patients can feel more tired after rest. It can last for months.'

Nasledujici tydny byly extremne narocne a temne. I presto, ze byl Martin doma, tak vlastne nebyl. I presto, ze se zotavoval, vypadalo to ze je vic nemocnej nez pred tim. Byl unavany a slaby, a vedlejsich ucinku pribyvalo. V jedne knizce o rakovine popsali tento druh vycerpani tak, ze je to kdyz “clovek ma minimalni, nebo nema zadnou energii pro veci,ktere dela zcela bezne. Toto je odlisne od unavy z kazdodenniho zivota. Vycerpani spojene s lecbou rakoviny prichazi necekane a neni jednoduche se s tim vyporadat.
Pacienti se po odpocinku muzou citit jeste vice unaveni, ne vzdy je odpocinek ulevou. Toto muze trvat cele mesice.”

Thanks to fatigue, I learned about energy. A shower, a card came, watching a movie, reading or talking on the phone, walking across the flat...any of these would knock Martin out for several hours, even after sleeping 15 hours. I learned that it takes energy to even focus on someone and connect. It takes energy to be an audience member of a two-girl concert and react. It takes energy (and strength) to balance the laptop when watching a short show. It takes energy to bring forward personality. All of you who know Martin know just how much energy he has and it is hard to imagine him without it. Especially for weeks.
Diky “vycerpani” jsem se naucila hodne o energii. Sprcha, karty, film, cteni, hovor na telefonu, prejit z loznice do kuchyne – kazdy krok bral Martinovi energii na nekolik dalsich hodin, I kdyz predtim spal  treba 15 hodin. Poznala jsem, kolik je potreba energie soustredit se na rozhovor, kolik ho to stalo energie aby si vyslechl koncert co pro nej holky pripravily, nebo kolik energie ho stalo udrzet laptop a podivat se na talk show nebo film. A co teprve byt porad tou samou osobou? Ti, kdo znate Martina, vite kolik mel energie, a ta ted byla na nekolik tydnu pryc.

The struggle of these past few months have been holding it all. I have had the chance and support of talking regularly with a really great listener/counselor. She calls it the 'both/and'. The more I think about it and reflect on it, it is the 'both/and' that has pulled, pushed and shaped me. Learning to hold both the really hard reality, fears, disappointments and even anger together at the same time AND the beauty and hope in Jesus. To hold them, sometimes in balance, often clumsily. To feel the weight of BOTH. To not confuse the good news of the Gospel with good test results, although related. To gaze on each one, react to both the hard and the good. To let them lead me deeper into the other, ultimately into deeper grace and love for the Lord and for Martin.

Behem poslednich mesicu jsem se snazilo to cele nejak vydrzet. Jsem rada, ze moje mentorka umi vyborne naslouchat, protoze diky tomu presne odhadla, jakou radou me muze povzbudit. Jeji rada do me situace, presne popisuje kde se nachazim, jak premyslim, a jak me to ovlivnuje. Na jedne strane je tu zavaznost nemoci, strach, zklamani a hnev, na druhe strane je tu nadherna nadeje v Jezisi. Nekdy se zda, ze obe strany maji stejnou vahu. Je to zapas. Kazda me vede vic k porozumneni te druhe, ale obe me privadi k hlubsimu vztahu s Panem Jezisem a Martinem.

It is not easy to hold both at the same time. It's definitely easy to camp in self pity or sadness. Or to step completely out of it and into 'Everything will be fine. God is good. It is good'. Life is going back and forth...we can't stay in either place too long. But to hold them both...that is where the miracle is. Henri Nouwen says that to drink the cup of sorrow and the cup of joy is the to drink the cup of LIFE. I love that image and that Jesus leads us in it. This is what I want to learn to do for the rest of my life and teach my girls. Or maybe learn it from them!

Jsou chvile, kdy je jednodussi se litovat, byt smutna. Pak jsou chvile, kdy si rikam,
“Dopadne to dobre. Buh je dobry. Bude to dobre.” V zivote nemuzeme zustat prilis dlouho na jednom miste. Balancovat zivot v realite nemoci a zaroven mit nadeji v Kristu, to uz je zazrak. Henri Nouwen rika ze pit z kalichu bolesti a pit z kalichu radosti je pit z kalichu ZIVOTA.  Chci se to ucit po zbytek zivota a taky to chci ucit moje holky nebo to mozna budou ucit ony me!

We are juggling the 'both/and' and are healing. The girls actually have passed pneumonia between each other and I am trying to gracefully be the healthy parent. In some ways it seems like our life which was going a million miles an hour in many directions has shrunk and is boiled down to 'just' getting us healthy. Instead of 'shrunk', I should say 'focused'. I still remember the harsh snap into focus that happens when the doctor calls with bad news. The phone call at the end of October. Just Jesus and family with cancer (both/and!). That's it. Painfully clear focus. I have felt tired from all of the 'focusing' and feel the urge to zoom out, but I can't yet. I'll write about patience in another post :)

Pretahovani obou stran pokracuje a my se uzdravujeme. Holky si mezisebou predaly zapal plic a ja se snazim, abych byla zdrava. V posledni dobe mam pocit, ze je to muj jediny ukol – postarat se aby vsichni byli zdravi. Je to moje priorita. Uz od konce rijna, kdy nam zavolal Martinuv doktor, aby nam rekl o relapsu. Pamatuji si, jak to zmenilo muj pohled na zivot. Je tu Jezis a my, rodina s rakovinou.

Martin is (slowly) getting stronger. He was looking pretty poorly and had lost a lot of weight, but is starting to get a little stronger. We like to compare Fridays. I must say that today he is better than last Friday. It is not a steady increase, and I guard my heart from excitement and expectation, but he is better and we are thankful.

Martin pomalu nabira sily. Nevypadal dobre, hodne zhubl, a nemel vubec silu na normalni veci. Kazdy patek srovnavame, jak se citi oproti predchozimu tydni. Pomalu se to lepsi. Dneska je silnejsi nez byl pred tydnem. Pokrok ale neni videt kazdy den, a tak I ja se musim drzet pri zemi a neocekavat nerealne. Jsem moc vdecna za to ze mu dneska je lip!!!!

We continue to be forever grateful for YOU! Thoughts, prayers, calls, all of the million ways you have loved and supported us.... I can't begin to say thank you.

Jsme Vam velice vdecni za neustalou podporu! Diky za to, ze na nas myslite, modlite se za nas a pomahate nam I mnoha praktickymi zpusoby.

Now that I have broken the silence, more posts are on the way :)
Ted, kdyz uz jsem konecne prolomila to dlouhe ticho, tak brzo pridam dalsi zpravy

grace and peace,

thank you, Martin Hasik for translation.