Saturday, August 07, 2010

Safe harbors

I realized yesterday, I am completely surrounded by safe harbors. I have a safe home. Incredibly loving, generous friends. People who are more than willing to drop their own lives for a week to walk into hell with me. (Ranging from my housemate and friends who feel like family, to one who offered to go with me to chemotherapy after meeting me at the Ranch once.) A church I love, and others that are also homes. A refuge I can go to whenever I want. Good work I can come back to, where I am a safe harbor for others. My God, myself, my community.

I’m still struck by a line from last Sunday’s sermon. She said that the idea of the reign of God was for all of us to be together, "everybody safe and playful.” A and I looked at each other and smiled. The idea was so Carol. And so right.

We are so loved.

I have a killer growing inside my body. I have a PET scan tomorrow that will tell us whether it’s responding to the biochemotherapy that leaves me still feeling sick weeks after it’s done. Results of this scan will tell my doctor whether to keep me on the same treatment regimen, or give me high-dose IL-2. The side effects are different. I’d be in the ICU. PET scans take some time to interpret. It’s possible, though not their ideal or mine, that I might not understand what I’m in for until we’re back down there. And I won’t really know, until I’ve experienced it.

I am surrounded by compassionate, competent caregivers in the hospital, and friends who love me. It is the one place I don’t feel safe. We fight this disease in my body. The chemicals course through my veins, and do what they do. I can’t control how the drugs affect me, how I feel, or how my body responds. All I can do is allow it to happen, and let my people love me through it.

I’m not sure of the point I’m making. There’s some connection between coming from as much safety and love as I live in, and going to the place that keeps me awake nights. My next trip is almost two weeks away. I’m going with someone who has been a gift since the day I met her. She loves me, and she’s up for this. I trust her, I trust my Riverside friends, and I trust my care team. I know that I’ve done this twice, already faced the completely unknown once, and can do it again. I know I can do what I already know, if that’s where they keep me. I already know to expect some things as IL-2 reactions, because I’ve had them on the low dose. Still, I’m already afraid.

I can’t find the point I’m reaching for. Maybe I’ll have to be on the other side of fear to articulate it. What I can do, is be grateful for all who hold me in love. For all who keep me as safe, everywhere I go, as I am.

You know who you are. I love you.

12 comments:

it's margaret said...

And you are so very brave. Yes. You. Are.

Love you too.

Two Auntees said...

You are definitely held in love!! Being afraid is human. I am so happy that you have places and people that are safe harbors for you.

Jane R said...

Dear Kirstin, you are indeed loved and brave and afraid and faith-filled! Thanks for inviting us along. Lots of love to you, and white paws of healing from Maya the feline bishop.

Rani said...

As always, I'm in awe of your concise articulation and bravery. And then you mention fear. And of course, you are afraid, but it is cushioned with so much knowledge and love, I forget that it's important to say it. I'd like to visit you in early October. I'll send you the dates when I know them, hopefully it won't be at odds with your treatment. xxo

Kirstin said...

Love to all of you.

Rani, that would be great! Early October should work, depending on exactly when.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Much love and many blessings, dear Kirstin.

Steve said...

I am often frustrated that all I can do is pray for you...and then I am reminded that our prayers are also the biggest gift that we have. Please know that you are held in our hearts and lifted in prayer throughout our days, Kirstin. Blessings.

Kirstin said...

Steve and all: If the greatest thing you can do is pray for me, the next greatest thing is to tell me that you're doing it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kirstin,
Thank you so much for posting as you do. We look forward to hearing how you're doing and what you're feeling. You express yourself so wonderfully, we feel like we're right with you in this. Thanks for being our friend. We pray for you at every meal. Also for Brother Jude. God's blessings to you...
With love,
Mary Beth & Mary Lee

Mimi said...

This is amazing, dear Kirstin. Be assured of my continued prayers. And hugs and love.

Lisa Fox said...

Given what you said to Steve, let me say: You're in my personal prayers, and in this parish very far from Sacramento.

I hope you continue to find safe places and places filled with love. I know you will.

susankay said...

Kristin - you are safe and well. No doubt. I pray that you will continue to know thaat.