WARNING! THIS IS A LONG POST. SORRY!
Time flies when you're havin' fun!, already at Huntsman again, writing from my hospital bed. In just a few more days, i'll be able to say that i'm halfway done with my treatments!!! I am on round three of six. whoop whoop!
I have been feelin pretty good this round. So well that I was able to go to the pilates class yesterday morning :) Huntsman is so great! They offer so many activities and special treatments for their patients and their loved ones. So, hopefully, I have another good morning and can go to yoga and get a little massage today haha, now you don't feel bad for me do ya ;)
This round, I am getting more for my money. My levels didn't drop too much last round, so they have upped the dose of my chemo this time. They say I shouldn't feel a difference in feeling more sick or anything, so let's hope that's the case.
People ask how I feel and I figure I should talk more about that. I have been doing really well, especially this last week before I came in for round three. I've been using the word "normalcy" a lot. That's what cancer has shown me, I long for normalcy. And last week I felt it a lot more! I was able to buy my own groceries, go on a date, take care of my sweet kids all by myself, clean my house, and have a game night with friends! It was heaven. I also think i'm getting used to feeling 'blah' all of the time. I feel the yuckiest while i'm in the hospital. First, because I get so anxious to have my port accessed. The port is like my permanent IV. It's an awesome little device, but freaks me out, and it hurts to get it poked.
*here's a pic of it when it was newer. You can see the line going up and straight into a main artery.
*This is what it looks like when they've accesed it. They jam two long, thick needles into it so my chemo, fluids, and anitibiotics can be put through there.
*onced it's accessed, it's nice because there's no more poking. They can do everything though it, even draw blood.
Second, because as soon as the chemo gets hung, I feel poisoned and nauseous. But like i've said, now that I know what to expect, i'm able to keep up on my medicine, so that helps a ton.
So once I get home, I deal with the nausea and chemo effects, along with the bone pain that comes when I start my shots. But that's what pain meds are for :) After about 10 days, no more shots, the chemo has warn off, and I feel good for a while, then I start all over.
It's all very surreal still. It just kind of happened and I don't feel like I've had time to process what's going on, I just do it. haha, It's probably better that way.
In my last post, I mentioned that there were two experiences last winter that really strengthened and touch my life. I shared the story about my friend Marie last post, this time I want to tell you about my friend, Patrick. Marie and Patrick's stories happened within two weeks of each other.
It was the beginning of December, and as I mentioned in my last post, I was still feeling a little down, and realized that I needed to actively pray for, and work hard to, serve and try to help others so i'd stop being so self consumed.
That particular week had been long. All three of my kids had strep and lucky me, I got it too. I had been cooped up, and needed to get out! It was late, I was still sick and sounded like a man, but decided to go to a movie. (if you haven't gone to a movie by yourself yet, try it! It's a nice little outing)
For you who know me, of course, the first thing I had to do before going to the theatre, was stop at fresh market and fill my purse with gummy hamburgers! I pulled into a parking spot, and saw a younger guy walking into the store in front of me. I noticed him because he was only wearing a short sleeved shirt, and it was FREEZING outside. As I followed him in, I couldn't take my eyes off of him, and then it came... that voice telling me what I needed to do.
At church, or in life, when we talk about the spirit communicating with you, everyone recognizes it differently. Well, for me, I know the spirit is telling me to do something because I start feeling a really urgent, anxious feeling. Like, 'do this right now.' When I saw this young guy, that feeling came right away, along with the thought, "Ask him if he needs a coat. Give him a coat."
Darn it! I wanted to act on this prompting, but was feeling a little nervous because I didn't want to offend him or freak him out. I couldn't see him once I walked into the store, but was keeping my eye out. As I walked to the candy aisle, I saw him! ahhh! My anxious feeling was getting stronger. "Ask him if he needs a coat. Give him a coat." After grabbing the whole box of gummy hamburgers, I was going to do it. I was going to go offer him a coat. Haha, can I just remind you that I looked and sounded like death, not to mention I was carrying a box of candies shaped like hamburgers...
I walked up to him, feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest and started talking to him.
Me- "Hi :) I am so sorry to bother you, and I hope I don't offend you, but I noticed you weren't wearing a coat and I want to give you one. Can I give you a coat?"
I can still see his face. Total shock. He was looking at me, eyes wide open, like, 'who is this crazy sauce?'
Patirck- "Uhh I just got off of work."
Me- "It's just so cold and if you don't have one, my husband has some extra ones and i'd love to give you one."
Patrick- "I have a coat, I just got off work and came here."
Me- "Are you sure? I promise I have one to give you."
Patrick- "Yes, thank you though."
Now, feeling like a total freak, I said goodbye and walked away. Well the feeling didn't leave! 'WHAT?! I already tried giving him a coat! Now what?!' Another thought came..."Leave him a note."
I hurried to my car, still feeling my anxious feeling, and scrambled to find a pen and some paper before he came out of the store. I scribbled something like this...
I would love to give you that coat if you'd like it. You say the word and I will just drop it off at your door.
Love, your scratchy voiced coat friend,
I left my number on the note, stuck it to his windshield, and hurried away.
Ahhh, anxious feeling, gone. I did it. I followed the prompting I received, now I could relax and feel good, knowing I did my part and at least tried.
I was in the movie theatre enjoying the hilarious movie, 'Austenland', when I receive a text from an unfamiliar number. Could it be?! It was!
Patrick- "Hi Jen, this is Patrick. I am sorry for the way I acted at the store. I was in total shock by you and by your kindness, I didn't know what to do."
Me- "Well when I saw you without a coat, with it being freezing outside, I couldn't not offer. So, can I drop one off to you?!"
Now, this is the part of the story where I kick myself. We exchanged a few texts and I did not write down the rest of our conversation. But what I remember is this...
After the movie was over, as I walked to my car, I received one of the nicest texts, full of compliments, I had ever received. Especially from a stranger. Patrick told me how I was a light and an amazing person. He could feel love exuding from me and it made him want to feel the way I did. He told me I was a special person and a lot of other very very kind and uplifting things.
Well, I was a full on wreck. With tear filled eyes, and tears running down my cheeks, I knew right then, why Heavenly Father prompted me to talk to Patrick. It wasn't about a coat. He didn't want me to help Patrick, He wanted Patrick to help me.
In that moment, I felt Heavenly Father's love for me so strong as I read that text. It was as thought the text was from Him, and not my new friend.
I text Patrick back, thanking him and letting him know he had just blessed me. I told him that I thought I was the one trying to help him, when he was the one who helped me.
It was now after midnight, I walked in my house and I could not stop thinking about the experience I had had. There it was again, the urgent anxious feeling was back. I had so many thoughts racing through my head, and I knew exactly what I needed to do. I got out a pen and paper, and started writing Patrick a letter.
(haha this poor kid. He had no idea what he was in for...5 whole pages later!!!)
Now, at least I did one thing right, I made a copy of the letter I wrote him. I'll share it with you.
I should be asleep, seeing as i'm sick and my kids will be waking up earlier than my body wants to, but i cannot sleep. My mind is racing with thoughts and words since our encounter tonight. I needed to write you this letter to let you know that you were an answer to my prayers.
I am a young mom of three beautiful babies. I am 24 years old and have a 3,2, and 1 year old. Crazy I know. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with them, but as you can imagine, it's exhausting and overwhelming at times. Today was one of those times. All 3 of my kids have been sick for over a week now, and of course I caught it too. But the hard thing about being a mom, is that you can't really be sick. Life goes on, diapers need changing, and you just have to suck it up ;) I had to get out of the house! So I decided to get lots of candy and go to a movie, all by myself :)
Now, for where my story begins...Patrick, do you know that you are a son of a loving Heavenly Father who knows and cares about you?, well, you are. And I am a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who knows and cares about me too. Tonight, I was reminded of that. You see, I try to live my life in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. Some may say it's weird, or constricting, but I know it's the only way to be happy. There are few things in this life that bring me more joy than when i'm serving, making a new friend, or lightening someone's load. I always go away feeling that I was the one who was blessed, and tonight was no different.
As I got out of my car, the cold air took my breath away, it was freezing! Then I looked in front of me and nearly died when I saw you, short sleeves and no coat! As I followed you in the store, I suddenly had an urgent feeling and the thought, "Ask him if he has a coat, give him a coat." Well, from previous experience, I have come to know and recognize that voice very well. That is the Holy Ghost speaking to me. And I know that when He speaks, I listen and obey. He speaks to me as I rear and teach my children (some may call it mother's intuition), He speaks to me when a friend needs help, He speaks to me if I need to be warned of danger, and He speaks to me to bring me comfort. Tonight, it was the latter, comfort.
I have been feeling a little down lately. I have been feeling kind of alone and unappreciated. I have been praying for comfort. Tonight, as I walked toward you, nervous of offending you and unsure of your reaction, all my uneasy feelings went away when we made eye contact. I could tell you were shocked (I would be too, if a crazy grossed voiced girl started talking to me) but your eyes were so kind and sincere. But the urgent feeling didn't leave. I then was given the thought, "leave a note." Scrambling for something to write with I left a note and drove away, hoping 1. You wouldn't think I was a crazy creep and 2. That you would text me.
I was beyond happy when I received your text! And I will have you know that I cried the whole way home, after reading and pondering on the sweet and kind compliments you gave me. Now I still don't know if you need a dang coat or not ;), but what I do know, is that if anything, Heavenly Father used you to bless me, one of his daughters who needed a little extra help. Your words meant the world to me and were an answer to my prayers, letting me know that He is proud of me and loves me. Obviously our Heavenly Father loves each of us so much, Heck!, He'll send us two crazy promptings to act on just so we can receive a simple text :) He cares about every detail, and I am grateful because those details bless me and you. I hope you felt the same spirit I did tonight, I think you did.
Thank you for making my night and for, you yourself, following those promptings and blessing me. Here's to following the promptings we receive, serving and making new friends! Cheers!
love your scratchy voiced, coat friend Jentrie Williams
After convincing Patrick that I wasn't totally crazy and he could trust me, he gave me his address and I sent my letter the next morning. I was so anxious for him to receive it.
He got the letter and let me know how much he enjoyed it. We have been friends ever since. We send an occasional text and now have a special little bond. I don't know how much my letter influenced him, but I hope he felt loved and important.
As I was washing my dishes the other day, while listening to some conference talks, I was reminded of this experience with Patrick, and the one with Marie because of these quotes from Elder D Todd Christofferson's October 2014 talk...
Desiring His help, we must exert ourselves.
Their desire to help us is undoubted, and their capacity to do so is infinite.
I know that to be true. And when I follow that counsel, I always come away blessed and uplifted. They know all of the details, and can work through us, if we want them to.
Thank you for blessing me and helping my family and I through this time. I am the luckiest girl.