Tuesday, August 2, 2011

right angles.

it may sound cliche, but there are SO many things we take for granted. i never knew just how many things that could include.

Last week I actually thanked God that I was able to turn to "toss and turn" in bed without getting dizzy. When the dizziness issues started at the end of June I had to basically be lifted into bed and positioned on my pillows. If I turned my head or body either way, the world would spin. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night and try to turn the other way to get more comfortable and STILL don't get dizzy, I thank God again.

When I sit up from bed and get out of chairs by myself without getting woozy, I am surprised and very, very grateful. this was not the case for most of the past month (but you already know that from the last post). I am overjoyed every time.

I keep track of things in a health journal and every day that doesn't include vertigo gets a "no vertigo-yay!" on its date. After a few physical therapy sessions to readjust the crystals from my inner ear back to where they should be (they explain it better), I have not had an attack since July 21 and many of the other symptoms have improved significantly.

When we stand up to walk, we assume we can do just that: walk. We assume that our vestibular system is working and that information is being sent from our brains to our eyes and that our bodies know where they are in space so that we can balance and that the muscles in our legs will support us. Many of these functions have been temporarily compromised, but let's talk about the muscles in my legs, which began atrophying due to the steroid. This is reversible with physical therapy (which I do twice a week) and with weaning off the steroid, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. I walked from my room to the bathroom all by myself today without holding onto anything. I took 3 walks around the living room today. I consider it a successful walk when my legs feel strong, when I can walk with my head up rather than looking down and when my arms swing naturally at my sides rather than tensed in the air to keep balance. "Look at meee!" is a victorious announcement when this happens. I will not take my muscles for granted. I will thank God for every fiber and every bone and every system that works together.

One of the days after last month's chemo cycle, everything tasted DISGUSTING (it can do strange things to your taste buds sometimes). I even tried to eat a piece of raspberry-filled Ghirardelli chocolate and it tasted like gravel. we tried out various foods and none of them worked. my mom brought up some watermelon and I gave it a try. it worked! watermelon tasted like watermelon and it tasted good! I cried happy tears.

There are some frightening statistics about my specific type of tumor. (tip: never research your diagnosis. Never look where it says "prognosis.") We just went to an appointment where the doctor told us that since the surgery was done well and since I underwent radiation and chemotherapy and with my continued chemo treatments I can expect to have a normal lifespan. he was smiling when he said this. I was smiling when he said this. even though i honestly hadn't thought about the percentages in a long time and certainly haven't dwelt on them, the joy of having a doctor confirm this hope is something that cannot possibly put into words.

People around my age are "pushing 30"; when I turn 30, I have just beaten a statistic (which my doctor said that I would). I do not fear turning 30 or 40 or 50 or any "old" age; I look forward to it because that means that I. have. survived.

I am alive. I underwent the most serious and dangerous type of surgery that exists. twice. And I AM ALIVE.

One day I will not be surprised when everything feels normal and when everything works the way it should-but I will remain very, very grateful.


  1. I have happy tears after reading this :) Thank you Jesus for the good news and for the good news that's yet to come!

  2. Cherisse I have been praying for you so so much!! I know its hard to say the right thing and I know you and Tim don't want empty cliche empathy words so when I dont know what to say I just say I love and I'm praying and I think about you every day! Your my sister (almost) and I am so joyed- not just happy but a deep joy in me- to hear all these amazing things!! You are the strongest woman I have ever met and I KNOW you will get through this and your testimony will be one of the greatest of our generation! You have through this brought hope and faith to so many people that may have otherwise lost it. This I know will in the end produce the largest most beautiful puzzle - its like when you can't find any pieces to fit together and you try and fail over and over again and then you find a match, and it always seems after that one match you can put it all together. I know that is what is happening! I know I'm saying alot but dont doubt for one second it isnt all genuine and from the deepest part of me- It has been in there for so long it has to come out sometimes!! But I will stop (lol!)

    Again- I love you so much Reesie!
    You are beautiful through and through and everyone you know is LUCKY that they can even witness the smallest part of that!
    I know I am!
    Words can not express how I admire and love you so much!
    As always Love and Prayers


  3. Thank God for those little things that are huge triumphs!! I feel like I am right there cheering with you when you post about those! :)

  4. Reesie, I'm trying to think of words that have not been used already; amazing, strong, beautiful...You are a witness to us all to be amazed and thankful for the smallest of things such as being able to sit up, walk and even taste the delicious flavors God has given us to enjoy, as well as reminding us how to be strong in our faith that God is with us always even when faceing tremendously frightening situations life throws at us. Your trials and tribulations humble me. I thank God for holding you in his arms throughout, and safely guiding your doctor's hands. You have strengthened my own faith by your example. God Bless You and Tim. Love Mom


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