Monday, June 27, 2016

Opposites

Dear Family and Friends,

Sun and rain. Yin and yang. Sickness and health. Joy and sorrow.  Life is a series of opposites. Never was this more apparent to me than on our recent family trip to Maui.

When I planned the June trip, it was to be a celebration that six months of chemo was over and to enjoy time as a family before Daniel starts back to med school in July. Little did I know before paying for the trip, that I would not be done with chemo and in fact, would switch to a new oncologist and decide to start a more rigorous “double chemo,” two-drug regimen the day before our trip. Yes, I enjoyed eight hours of chemotherapy on June 7th and boarded a flight for Maui the morning of June 8th. Not really the best of plans.

Thus began 12 days of opposites that went something like this:
  • ·      Days of constipation and stomach pain—days of beautiful island sunsets.
  • ·      Days of diarrhea—days of sitting under a shady umbrella on a comfy lawn chair, looking at the ocean while reading a great book (and steps from the pool restroom)!
  • ·      Days of mouth sores and extremely painful tongue ulcers—days of beach walks, with my toes in the warm sand and ocean, and a good excuse to eat ice cream.
  • ·      Days of tropical winds so severe that the ocean was too rough to swim or snorkel in—days of snorkeling after the winds calmed down where I saw turtles, and fish of every color, size, and variety.
  • ·      Days of being unable to sleep near my husband because he was sick and I had no immune system—three days alone with him after he was better, enjoying the Maui film festival under the stars, a catamaran trip with three different snorkel spots in one day, and seeing one of my favorite movie/TV stars—Viola Davis—in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel!
  • ·      Days of sadness as we processed together our family’s grief over the Orlando shootings and prayed for the victims and their families—days of reminding ourselves that in the end, God’s love, mercy, and grace will triumph over evil, hatred, terrorism—and even cancer. 


Yes, life is series of opposites. Ups and downs. Love and loss.  Hope and despair. But through it all, Jesus, who Himself endured the ultimate suffering for us, is our family’s constant companion. Today I read some of my favorite verses. “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 "No," I remind myself when I’m sick, "I will not feel terrible every single moment of every day!"  And “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 Thanks be to God.

How can you pray for us?  Please pray for my mouth sores to heal so that I can get my next chemo on July 5, for the chemo to work (!), for my PET scan that will be in another 2-1/2 months, and for strength for our entire family to continue on this unwanted and most difficult journey.  Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and support!

With love and gratitude,

     Gabrielle 

On a May trip to Tucson with my dear friend, Doris, to see Barry Manilow and some good friends!

Taken by Steve at Cannon Beach where we went for a three-day escape in May.

Saturday joys, visiting the Science Center with Steve, Renee, and Jericho, shown here in the butterfly house.

A day trip with Steve to Deception Pass and Whidbey Island.

Renee took me to see Paul Simon's concert at Chateau Ste Michelle Winery!

Renee and Riley enjoy the pool at our condo in Maui.

Daniel and I on one of Maui's "red sand" beaches.

Steve and me on Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach.

This is the lawn I sat on, gazing at the ocean, and steps from a good bathroom!

Steve and I visited this goat dairy where they make the best goat cheese!

Disembarking from our catamaran day trip!

Steve as we hiked at Iao Needle park on Maui.

Oh how I love jumping into a cold, fresh water swimming hold on a hot day!

Ulna Beach where our condo was located.

Daniel and I attended the Maui film festival under the stars and saw movie/TV star Bryan Cranston (sitting 12 feet from us), and Steve and I had a nearly full moon as we waited for our film to begin!