Archive for December, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 (8:55am)

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…

Today is surgery day. I’ve got great surgeons and I’m hoping for the best. I’ll be asleep and trust that they have my best interests in mind, and that they will be able to do healing work I can’t do for myself. I have to give up control and trust. But I believe that it is God who ultimately holds my life in the palm of His hand. He has certainly walked with me though so much in my life time. I have no doubt it will be the case this time too.

It is a good thing knowing that there’s very little about my life’s journey I would change. I’ve always tried to live in the moment and to invest in the lives of the people who are a part of my world. This journey with cancer has made me even more committed than ever to make the most of the time I have and to live with passion.

This has been a hard season. I’m very tired physically, but I have a renewed sense of purpose. On the front of my teaching notebook, where I keep my study plans for my students etc I have this quote:

“Courage doesn’t always roar

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying…

I will try again tomorrow”

For years now my life has been measured day by day, and many times moment by moment. Here’s to once again dedicating each of those moments, long or short, to the Creator, who has loved me all along the way, and to you too, the precious gifts that God has placed in my life. All my love to you all. I’m looking forward to our next time together.

Hi everyone. My surgery is scheduled for the 28th in the afternoon. The great surgeon I wrote about in a previous post has agreed to do the surgery robotically, which should make it minimally invasive, with a quick healing time. I would certainly appreciate your prayers.

As some of you know, the co-pay after the medical insurance will probably be between 6,000 and 7500. I can’t get a straight story from anyone at this point since everything is “just an estimate.” Friends and family have been amazing… helping with gifts to help with the surgery since they know that I’m self-employed and the sole provider for my family, and my husband has a slew of medical bills all the time too. So far quite a bit has come in which I’m so thankful for. What an incredible Christmas gift for me this year.

Several people have been asking how they could help. If you would like to find out more about how to help you can write me at lindabmusic@cox.net or if you would like to give you can click on the donate button below.

12/22/11

The other day I was watching something and they mentioned South Carolina’s state motto: Dum Spiro Spero. Translated it means  “While I Breathe, I Hope.” I even lived in South Carolina for awhile and I didn’t know.

Anyone who’s known me for a while knows that one of the maxims I live by is “There’s always hope as long as we’re still breathing.”  Life has a way of creating all sorts of twists and turns. There is certainly no guarantee that everything will be easy, or comfortable along the way. But I was thinking the other day about how in the midst of some of the toughest times of my life I also met some of the most amazing people, and had incredible experiences along the way.  These last few weeks have been tough physically and emotionally, but I’ve had such a sense of God’s presence with me. I’ve also been overwhelmed by the love and support of the people who populate my world.  I am so thankful for each one of you and the history we share together.  I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that I’ve got some great traveling companions for the journey.  And in the mean time I’m more committed than ever to really live fully in the moment and to be fully present with everyone I’m with.  In the midst of the holiday season and the busyness, hopefully we can all remember that the greatest gift we can give each other is ourselves.

I’m reminded of this Old Testament scripture:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
   he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
   he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 (12:27am)

Some Info About Me You Won’t Find On Medical Intake Forms…

 I just moved this post over from my other less intense blog…

Who knew cancer could be such a time consuming job????  The other day I had to fill out 12 pages of questions for the oncologist that will be doing my surgery. By the time I was done she knew a lot about my medical history and the medical history of my family. But I stopped and wrote her a note about the parts of me she wouldn’t find on the questionnaire. I wanted her to know me and not just my diseased body parts. This is part of what I wrote her. I thought it would be appropriate to share it here with you too. Thank you so much to all who stop by here and are concerned about me. Thank you so much for your prayers as well. Here’s a little bit of my story …

12/8/11

Some information about me you won’t find on the forms:

I’m currently self employed teaching guitar / bass / drums / mandolin / uke / keyboards / hand percussion and photography and visual arts. I work on average 12 hours a day 6 days a week to pay the medical bills for my husband who has a large number of medical issues including being an insulin dependant diabetic. Since the early 2000s my husband has been unable to work. I have been keeping up my current pace as sole provider for my family. Being self employed our insurance and other meds are over 1500 a month. It was all working pretty well until the economy went south. Now it’s a struggle to make ends meet, but somehow it always works out. I am incredibly thankful to be able to do something I love for a living and have any work given the economic state of the country.

Before teaching I worked as a photographer / media producer and then also at several churches. I realized that my heart and passion was to reach the kids who were at risk or struggling, and that I could do a lot more good really investing in a smaller number of lives. I do that now in the midst of teaching. I also mentor struggling kids. As my student’s parent’s have lost their jobs, I’ve tried to continue teaching as many as I can. I also started an instructional youtube channel so that the ones who couldn’t afford lessons could learn. To date it’s been viewed by over a quarter of a million people.

I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my life including growing up in a home with an extremely mentally ill mother who died when I just turned 14. I experienced extreme abuse as a child.

While I wouldn’t wish many of the experiences I have had on anyone, I know for a fact that they have helped shape the good part of who I am. I’m a stronger, more hopeful, more compassionate person because of it all. Had my husband not become sick, there are so many students and other people I would have never met that I treasure having so much in my life. I have former students all over the world now leading worship in their churches, mentoring other kids, working in foreign countries helping others, producing video that has helped make a difference. One of them, who has lived in Afghanistan for many years told me a while ago… “You might never make it to this country, but everything we talked about and everything I learned from you, I’ve carried here with me.” I believe that the lives of the kids I’m with every day are precious. I want the legacy that I leave to be that they know that they are loved and that they were created uniquely for a purpose. I might not be able to get out of my teaching room very often but they will.

I’ve overcome a lot in my life. And I’m a fighter. It’s my hope and my prayer that with your help I’ll be able to overcome the cancer that’s in my body. I appreciate so much your willingness to take on the challenge of the surgery.

I am glad my prognosis is so good. But either way, whether I win or loose this battle, I know that I’ve already had three lifetimes worth of amazing experiences filled with amazing people. I am ready to fight the cancer because I have so much to live for, but I will not let it define who I am any more than the other obstacles that I’ve faced.

When my mother died in her 40′s she had hemolytic anemia as well as some kind of aggressive blood disorder. I had a conversation with her doctor who was also a family friend and loved me. At the time they weren’t sure if there would be a hereditary component to it or not. He gave me the best advice anyone could have ever given me. He said “We just don’t know, if you do get it, you will most likely die. You want to really live your life… each day.” That’s what I’ve done all these years and that’s what I’ll keep doing.

Thank you again so much for taking the time to see me. I just thought you might want to know a little about the person connected with the cancer. I’ve heard that you are amazing at what you do, and I’m thankful to have you in my corner.

Thursday, December 15, 2011 (1:52am)

Important Things I Learned From My Husband…

My husband and I have been married since the early 80′s. There has been a lot of living along the way. The last few weeks I’ve been looking back at my life and remembering. In the process it made me remember again just why I love my husband Ken so much, and how much I’ve learned from him over the years. Here are just a few of the highlights in no particular order…

There’s only one s in “sauce.”

Spelling has never been my strong suit. Scrabble was not the game for me. My mother’s reaction to my horrible spelling was to tell me to spell it like it sounds. She was from West Virginia though so with the thick accent it didn’t work well. Dog still sounded like dawgg to me. My Ken has always patiently helped me work through stuff like that.

When tying your shoes, the left shoestring needs to go over the right one.

I was an only child growing up in a home with a mentally ill mother. Her teaching style was to show me how to do something, scream at me or beat the crap out of me if I did it wrong. I missed the normal developmental things like effectively tying my shoes, or learning how to play games etc. I was an adult when my husband actually showed me how to tie my shoes so they stayed tied and faced the right direction. :) I was also clueless when it came to being a part of a family and making that work too. He has modeled for me what family looks like and has been my family all these years. That’s an even more important life lesson than how to tie my shoes.

If it’s sloppy, eat it over the sink.

Food and life gets messy sometimes. It’s always good to control the mess as much as possible. Drippy fruit is easier to contain leaning over the sink. Sometimes people’s lives are every bit as messy. For all these years our lives have been populated by a huge number of people. Many of them ended up at our house during times of stress or crisis. Ken is not a real “people person.” Both of us by nature would make great hermits. But in all these years with the diverse parade of humanity coming through our doors and sometimes sleeping on our couch, Ken has always been so supportive and willing to have them there. I’ve seen him be incredibly tender to some who’ve been so wounded. I’ve seen him be incredibly patient with people who could have driven almost anyone crazy. And every day he puts up with a steady parade of people coming in and out of the house for music lessons… all this from a man who doesn’t particularly care for music.

Real love is worth waiting for.

Ken and I met when I was probably 19. He’s 8 years older than me. He was a grown man who had been on his own for quite some time. I was still trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted. I was also still trying to work through the lingering effects of the abuse I experienced in child hood, that left me afraid to trust anyone with my heart. He fell in love with me when I still had a lot of baggage. In true photo-geek fashion he started buying compatible camera equipment before I was ready to even date him. He loved me while I was too afraid to love… until the love I felt for him grew larger than that fear. He loved me purely in a way that made me feel safe. Some of the other guys I dated before him loved me in spite myself. They were threatened by some of the very things that he found appealing. And after all these years, even though I know I drive him nuts some times, I’ve never questioned his love or his acceptance of me. What an incredible gift for a husband to give his wife.

Sometimes real love is tough and requires sacrifice.

In my 20s I had a crazy work schedule that took a toll on my body and my social life. My sleep schedule was turned around for a long time. I was tired and exhausted a lot of the time when I wasn’t working. Ken was always so good to help pick up the slack and go out of his way to help and take care of me. There were a few years where I just physically didn’t have it in me to work full time, and he kept at it when I couldn’t. A few years ago his body said NO MORE to his crazy work schedule and the incredible stress he was under at work. He was able to do it a lot longer than I would have been able to under the same circumstances. These days he faces a lot of physical challenges. He keeps track of all the different medicines and all the things that keep his body regulated much better than I could ever do it. Even with the physical things he faces every day he manages to keep things going around the house and helps support me with my teaching business. In the process I get up everyday and put one foot in front of the other and keep working even when I’m exhausted because that’s what I need to do to make sure we have the medical care we need. It’s a tough gig with the current economy but we’re making it. It’s certainly not the life we dreamed of… but it is sooooo worth it. We have each other. We have an amazing group of people who are a part of our lives. I have amazing students. Would I love a life where we could rest and have less stress? You bet. Am I incredibly thankful that we have each other in the midst of the real life we lead? YES. Sometimes life is just hard. But it’s all worth it. I feel like I’m just beginning to understand what real love really is.

 

I Didn’t see this coming….

12/10/11

 

I’ve lived through a lot of crazy stuff during my lifetime. It’s been quite the ride along the way. When I was young I had my whole life planned out. It’s been nothing like what I expected and it’s never dull or boring. I think most people can think of their “worst case scenario” for things that might happen. For me, most of the time, what actually materializes is different that what I expected. When I get in the middle of it I find out that the reality isn’t normally as bad as the fear. But I have to admit, in all my worst case scenario, cancer wasn’t even a blip on that radar. I was diagnosed right after Thanksgiving. I got the phone call from the ob / gyn… “The good news is you have something I can totally fix… the bad news is that it’s cancer” right in the middle of teaching. My next student showed up right after that phone call. That next lesson was a tough lesson to get through. Thankfully, they caught it early and the prognosis is good. I’ve been down the cancer road with enough of my friends to know that it can be a roller coaster ride. As far as that goes I’ll have to wait and see.

 

One thing I can almost guarantee is that the whole experience will be an opportunity for a variety of amazing encounters with people… some of whom I have probably never met before. Hopefully I’ll be able to say in the moment and not get caught up with the what ifs. You’re all welcome to come along for the ride if you would like.