Learning to Fly

I’m not feeling too good right now.

I’m making my way through round 16 of chemotherapy and so far it’s been pretty awful.

The last few months I have been receiving treatment every 3 weeks. This was for an infusion and then 2 weeks worth of Xeloda tablets. As my CEA and CA markers are still climbing it’s been decided to go off the Xeloda and back to the 5FU infusion… which is good, it’s what I wanted. Only problem is that the Xeloda hasn’t had the extra week it usually has to get itself out of my system and coupled with the heavy dose of 5FU, yesterday and today have been some of the most painful Hand and Foot disease I have ever experienced. My hands and feet burn, I walk like an old man shuffling down the hall. I can’t hold anything in my hands and both my hands and feet are purple in colour. I can’t do anything to ease the burning sensation as I am also receiving the drug Oxaliplatin, which has as it’s main side affect an extreme sensitivity to the cold. As mentioned before, this shows itself as quite painful pins and needles whenever I’m exposed to the cold. So, on one hand my body is burning and on the other I can’t use anything cold to try and relieve it. So I have to ride it out.

On top of all that, my CA-19.9 markers have come back in at 87.9. I started chemotherapy almost a year ago and they were at 88.0. So it feels like I have been through hell for nearly twelve months and now… now I’m right back where I was at the beginning and I have to do it all over again. I’m devastated.

It’s been a pretty rough 48 hours.

But…

Jakob turned 2 the other week, and I was here to see it.

It was so much fun watching his little face light up as he opened each new present. He is just learning to talk so most of his communication comes in the form of sounds that sound like a word but aren’t quite there yet. As much as I want him to start talking so we can communicate better, a part of me wishes he would stay an unintelligible little chatterbox for as long as possible. It’s does my heart good to listen to him chatter away.

Cody and Jakob are two very different people. Cody is very much an alpha male. Wherever we go, Cody usually ends up with a bunch of kids following him, doing whatever he suggests… like the Pied Piper. Jakob, on the other hand, is a comedian in training. He knows when he gets a positive reaction to his antics and repeats them at will as long as the laughter continues… or until he gets bored. I must say, it’s very hard to resist his cheeky little grin.

I love them both so much.

Whenever I come home from work or the hospital both Cody and Jakob run down the hallway to meet me. It’s a moment I look forward to every time I leave the house…. especially when I’m heading up to the hospital for another round of chemotherapy. Over the last few months I have noticed that when Jakob greets me a good portion of his approach is flat out running, but at the very last minute he launches himself into the air and it’s up to me to catch him.

I don’t think it has ever occurred to him that I won’t catch him. He trusts me completely.

And that’s where I’m at right now…. running as best I can and hurling myself into the arms of my heavenly father.

Trusting that he will not let me fall.

Trusting that, despite the rising cancer markers in my body, I am very much on his radar and that what I am going through is known to (and understood by) him.

Trusting that he is a God who heals. A God who is full of mercy and compassion.

A God who is with me as I walk through this seemingly endless valley.

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~ by Kristian Anderson on September 27, 2010.

30 Responses to “Learning to Fly”

  1. Hey Kristian,

    I have been following your blog since the news story broke about the beautiful video you made for your missus. Sometimes in life we meet people who completely throw our ways of thinking into question. These people walk with us like Angels amongst men. They live through times of such adversity and pain, only to smile back in the face of the devil and say “I am strong”.

    Your strength has shown me that when humankind is at its weakest, our humanity must be at its strongest.

    We will live strong

    Peace

    Jaz from London

  2. I have been holding my breath, praying for you and hoping that you’d blog again – thank you for that. You are completely correct – God does have His arms open wide for you – to give you the comfort you give your precious family. I will continue to pray for your physical comfort and complete cure or total remission – we know through God anything is possible…….remain resolute in your faith in the Lord and in your cure.
    The Grandma from America with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

  3. I’m so glad to hear that despite how hard chemo is you are still able to enjoy your boys.

    I talked to my kids about your family and later on I overheard my 10yr old girl asking her 12yr old sister “what is chemo?” her 7yr old brother chimed in that you were doing your 15th round of “Keno” he thought that if you kept on playing it would distract you from worrying about your cancer and that if you won you could pay the doctors to make you healthy again. The innocence of kids is so precious.

    I hope your kids make you smile like mine make me.

    Thinking of you and lighting candles at mass each weekend
    All our love
    Gina and family.

  4. Don’t despair, not even over the fact that you don’t despair. When all seems lost, crop up new forces; this means you live.

  5. Hi Kiristian,

    I too have followed the blog since the video that hit the news.

    You’ve got an incredible fighting spirit and are an inspiration for so many.

    Keep fighting, man. I know you can make it.

  6. Like so many others, I came across your blog after seeing the beautiful video you made for your wife. I have read every post and have been encouraged and challenged by your faith and perseverance. I join with you in prayer and expectation for your healing.
    Ephesians 3:14-21
    Blessings,
    Kaylee

  7. Keep your head up mate

  8. Hi gorgeous guy
    I have tears of compassion and empathy pouring down my face. I remember that burning pain so well! I pray that it subsides fast! Hang onto Christ with all your strength my darling. For me it helped to remember the nails in His hands and feet and to think of my pain going there. Also just getting into worship would help take me ‘above’ the pain. (I sang through many a LONG night.) Oh my darling you are still in my prayers. With love, tears and HOPE! Love bubbles and blessings Ursh

  9. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-29)

    God is not only with you my friend, but he is holding you; not with one hand but with two! The Father and the Son are both holding you tight; whatever the road ahead brings, you are safe in the hands of God, as is your family.

    I can’t imagine how daunting or scary it must be for you and your loved ones to face this, but this faith you have, it is not a natural faith but a supernatural faith. God has given you the grace and the faith to stand firm and face this, like a tree planted beside streams of water. Carry on Kristian, with the sure hope that God will not let you go.

    May you continue to be blessed, as by opening yourself you are blessing so many others. Peace be with you. Kia kaha 🙂

  10. for your inoperable liver tumours severl people have been sucessfully treated using SIRT selective internal radiation therapy, tiny radioactive beads are inserted into the liver via a vein in the leg. Might be worth looking into. Also ask your oncologist about Avastin?

  11. Have also been checking / hoping / praying for a new blog entry :o)
    Am glad to have you back online so we can all be with you in spirit as you fight this ugly disease.
    God Bless
    DEB

  12. […] Learning to Fly « There is a crack in everything Sometimes in life we meet people who completely throw our ways of thinking into question. These people walk with us like Angels amongst men. They live through times of such adversity and pain, only to smile back in the face of the devil and . your cancer and that if you won you could pay the doctors to make you healthy again. The innocence of kids is so precious. I hope your kids make you smile like mine make me. Thinking of you and lighting candles at mass each weekend . […]

  13. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings to you.

  14. Hi Kristian,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story ~ I love and appreciate your strength, faith and honesty. I pray for you and your family daily. Keep running in the direction you are going He is there and He will catch you!!!

    I pray for you and your sweet little family each day.

    Hugs and Blessings,
    Cris

  15. Hello! you and your family are full of life and beauty, thank you for sharing all of this.

    I would love love love to write something about you for what I’m doing (its a small little website I am in the process of building, not profitable or anything but still hopefully helpful) and i was wondering if that would be ok. You inspire – it’s a gift.

  16. Hi Kristian,
    I learnt about your blog from the video which you posted for Rachel. It was quite ironic that when I saw that video that was the exact same day my husband was diagnosed with bowel cancer which has also spread to the liver – we had just come back from the doctor. Like your situation, my husband’s liver can also not be operated on – last week he commenced his first round of chemo. Everyday presents new challenges and a lot of raw emotion but you certainly do start to appreciate the little things, in our case our 2.5 year old singing and dancing along to his playschool DVD. I honestly wished you, Rachel and the boys all the best for the future.

  17. You have a great attitude, Kristian. You mentioned in an earlier blog post that you were holding fast to the promises God has made to you about your future. Keep that faith! God will not let you down. I read a quote this morning on another blog I follow and thought it appropriate to share with you.

    “Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future.” -Robert D. Hales

    God has a lesson for you in your trials. I pray He will reveal His purpose in His perfect timing, and that you will know His presence with you constantly as you face these difficult times.

  18. Hazel (from the Philippines)

    It is finished!

    Hold your hands high!

  19. hi kristian,

    you are in my prayers!!! GOD BLESS you and your fanily… HOLD ON!!!E

  20. So glad you blogged again. We, all the readers, are with you giving you strength and positive vibes and learning about how amazing the human spirit can be during testing times. Thank you for sharing all this with us. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  21. There is something I need to thank you for…sometimes the things we do change the lives of others, even though that wasn’t our intention. A week ago tonight I happened upon the video that you made for your wife’s birthday. I was so blown away, overwhelmed, in awe. As I’ve done so many times in the past, I immediately bought the song and put it on a CD to listen to in the car. The next day, I went to the spring with my 83 yr. old cousin to fetch water. The spring has always held and captivated me ever since the first time I went there with another cousin a few years back. Keep in mind that the moment before I went to the spring that day my life felt perfect. Each and every corner of my life was blessed. I’d created this life and worked so hard to simplify everything, and it worked. The only thing that was “missing” was a person to share my life with…but I didn’t even feel as though it was missing. My life was just plain good. Then, at the spring, I met the most kind, beautiful soul of a man. The way that he treated my older cousin, the way the light caught his eyes when he smiled as he knelt down to get water…the way he tipped his hat as we left. After I dropped my cousin off I found myself driving back to the spring. The internal dialogue was nothing short of entertaining, “What are you doing? What will you do when you get there? Of course, he’ll be gone, so why do you want to go back to the spring?” I don’t know why, I suppose it was just to feel close to him. Then I told myself, “Look, I’ll just listen to the new CD I made (all legally purchased music:-)) & when a bad song comes on, I’ll turn around. Of course, I knew fully well that I don’t put bad songs on my CDs. As I was half way back to the spring, the song that you inspired me to purchase, Train’s “Marry Me” came on. I’d never actually listened-listened to the lyrics since I bought it the night before. As I drove, with the music wrapped around me he sang, “Marry me…if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe”, and my heart just jumped. Could it be possible to love someone so truly and deeply so quickly, I wondered. By the time I arrived back at the spring, I’d decided to write a note and put it in a bottle and tape it to a root right at the spring. I just knew that if he were to come back the next day he would see it…I just knew. Luckily, as one does, I always have a fountain pen and nice paper in my car:-) So, that’s what I did. I wrote simply that he was amazing…that no one would believe I’d gone to the spring, didn’t come back with an ounce of water…and I wasn’t even thirsty. I wondered if he would find it, or if someone would just tear it down to use the bottle. How I wondered…how I dreamed.

    Well, here we are…four weeks ago today (Thursday, 30 September), I met this magnificent man at the spring. We are engaged and will marry next Friday (we are in upstate New York in the US). I can’t say that all of this happened because I saw the beautiful tribute you made for your wife or that listening to the song the next day made all the difference.

    I can tell you that “meeting” you and your family through the video changed my life and opened my heart…

    I can tell you that I’ve told my friend whose little boy is afraid of thunder to tell him that when he thinks he hears thunder, it is just the walls I built for so long around my heart…tumbling down…far down. I love those walls for protecting me until he came along…but I don’t need them any longer. We’re good…we’re so very good.

    So, from the bottom of my soul…thank you. Thank you for allowing outsiders to share in the joy of your love, your life, your dreams, in a very small way. You have blessed my life, that of my fiance, and everyone we will meet along the way will sense something different about us, because of your willingness to share your light.

    Kindest regards

  22. Sorry…I meant to write “four weeks ago tonight”, not “a week ago tonight”:-)

  23. Hugs. Prayers.

  24. Hi Kristian. Glad to see you back on the blog. We know just what you mean about the hands and feet. My husband has been off the Xeloda for 4 weeks now as he could hardly walk at all and the symptoms are only just starting to dissapear. We are just over a year since diagnosis and I really appreciate your honesty as to how you are coping as we find my husband is going through exactly the same as you.Have just completed second lot of infusions of Folfiri and Avastin and when I read him your quote about the extreme tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest or sleep and only leaves when its good and ready he said that is exactly what its like. Anyway take care, you and your family are in our thoughts constantly.

  25. Lots of prayers coming your way from the Walsh (Markovina)’s 🙂 and virtual hugs too!

  26. Hi Kristian, know that my husband and I will pray for you and your family. Stay strong.

  27. Kristian! We’re showing your video in church tomorrow in Richmond, VA, USA as an encouragement to married folk to hang in there with their marriages. Thanks for making such a creative and inspirational message. Our crowd will sure to be impacted by it. And your family in Christ across the ocean will be praying for you and your family during this difficult process. Keep the faith my brotha!

  28. I like many people in the last two months have happened upon your blog. My friend sent me a link and I then spent the next hour reading through the most amazing thing I have ever read. Ever. I feel a little bit like a spy, because I understand that this blog is for you and your family, but I am also so very grateful that you chose to share it with me, a complete stranger on the other side on the country. All I can say is that your strength, your pure conviction of character got me through a pretty stressful week. You gave me the gift of perspective for which I can not thank you enough. Reading, no, pouring myself through your life one of the things that came to my mind was an amazing quote I heard and how much I felt I needed to share it with you and have you believe as I do, that this is exactly what I feel for you right now.

    “What I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that though I do not know you and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”

    I hope you understand how much you have changed the world by just being you, and how you have changed my life by choosing to share yourself this way.

    Wishing you lower numbers.

    Katie.

  29. how are you, Kristian? hope to hear from you soon.

    Jesus’ blood be upon you!

    Hazel (Philippines)

  30. Hi Kristian I am hearing you good old 5FU aye it does have some horrible side effects thats for sure I had a name for it 5 F*** U and thats what i used to say to it every time I had it I would talk to my cancer and say suck eggs cancer here comes F*** U to get you. It ahs been a year since I finished chemo and feeling quite well now I hope this gives you some possitive vibes sending warm hugs 🙂 Kim

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