• Anniversary,  Coping,  Grieving,  Honestly,  Hope,  Leah,  Memories


    On September 18th, four years ago, incurable cancer became a part of our story. I had to write about it in order to cope. Writing felt like the air I needed to breathe. On September 8th, only one year ago, the remains of my beloved mother were sealed inside a niche in a columbarium at Glendale Cemetary in Washington. It had been eight months since her death. At the time, I couldn’t write about this.   I have been bereft and I have been silent. I would like to try to find my way into a new space of writing. I’m not sure what that will mean, but I do…

  • Awesomeness,  Bipolar Disorder,  Dan,  Dr. Singh,  Gifts,  Gratitude,  Hobbes,  Hope,  Marriage,  Sunday Sunday

    Sunday, Sunday – Edition 1

      We survived another week! Time for another. Things that made me smile … What made you smile? The kindness and generosity of somone who is going to help us get Hobbes treatment to remove the tumor on his tummy. Creating a new playroom for Raine so that he can pretend he is an American Ninja Warrior. Vegan cookies from Cyd’s. My options are thin for a dairy allergy, so when in Peoria … Buy 4 cookies and live large! ( I would share a photo…But you know it! I ate them so fast.) Catching up with friends. Celebrity name drop! TAYLOR BLACK. JON BYLER DAN. ALLYSON PATTERSON. The support…

  • 2017,  Dearest Don Raine,  Family,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Holidays,  Hope,  JD,  JD,  Joy,  Love,  Memories,  Nate,  Nature,  New Years Day,  Oregon,  Parenting,  Raine,  Travel,  Values

    Dearest Don Raine – This Was 2017

    I regret that I didn’t write and share photos more in 2017 in this special space. The loss of Grandma Mary at the end of 2016 extinguished a spark in my heart. I worried that the spark could never return. I now know that her death changed me, Leah, as I know myself, evermore. It feels like I had to get used to this new version of me all year long. If you should lose a physical part of yourself–this is what I imagine it would feel like. How does one begin to live anew without want for what was lost? A leg, hands, sight, or hearing? I find my…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Cancer,  Coping,  Hope,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  NSCLC,  Podcasts,  Research

    Podcast: “Fighting Cancer” from TED Radio Hour

      At certain moments in time, I do like reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries related to the science of cancer. It is helpful for me in mitigating the anger and depression while knowing loved ones who died, are actively dying, or living precariously with the disease, like Dan. For someone who completely hated the subject of science in school for 20 years, I really am fascinated by it now and really geek out often with certain subjects. Expect me to share what I find–good or bad–more in this space. I listened to this podcast today while driving to and from work. I like to hear the individual voices who…

  • Announcement,  Flowers,  Grandpa Don,  Grieving,  Home,  Honestly,  Hope,  Illinois,  Life Lately,  Moving,  Scanxiety,  Washington

    We Are Moving (Again)

          In 14 days, we are moving to my dad’s house in Washington. We will also get another round of scan results. Honestly, I can’t figure out what I want to write about. I feel numb with exhaustion. The move wasn’t an easy decision. There were so many different layers to our choice. I still can’t exactly put into words the myriad of emotions I have had about it, back and forth, over the last six months. I still find myself shocked over and over again at how life is so unpredictable, for better or worse. We’d appreciate your thoughts and good vibes for the next two weeks.    

  • 2016,  Alexis,  Art,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grateful,  Hope,  Leah,  Logan,  Music,  Peoria,  Raine

    Roots, Interests, and Limitations

    For making a big decision about how you are going to spend the majority of your minutes in a day, especially in such a way that you might be provided compensation for your time, I have always failed pretty miserably. I think too big, I think too small, I hop around with ideas, or I avoid thinking at all and keep with the status quo for fear of change. My best advice is to go back to your root values and strongest interests, and then be really honest with yourself about your limitations. That was my starting point when I searched for employment in Peoria last November. I took 2 hours…

  • Cancer,  Dan,  Grieving,  Hope,  Hospital Stays,  Illinois,  Leah,  Oregon,  Raine

    Where Life Takes You

              *** There have been places on a map where I have lived. Washington, Illinois. Goshen, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois. Moments of growth or disappointment moved me. I visited a place or two in Europe. Small trips took me across my country. I have photos. I have memories of where I slept, the streets I walked, who I was holding onto. What was joyful, what was learned, what was scary, what was mine. There were also maybe-places, hope of living here or there. Lists of locations and contingencies. I wrote Oregon down in my heart when it was so very broken. I should have never written it down. It…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Honestly,  Hope,  Hospital Stays,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Oregon,  Raine

    My Mega Blog Post

    We have enjoyed a beautiful start to Spring here in Carlton, Oregon. Raine enjoyed celebrating Easter with egg hunts, gifts, treats, and time with friends. Dan’s exam and maintenance chemo treatment on the Friday that followed Easter was without concern or change. For Christians, Easter is a celebration of Hope. I remember learning about Easter’s entire procession as a child in Sunday School. What stood out to me was the palm fronds waved and placed in adoration of a spiritual leader. And then the death of such a beloved teacher and inspiration, to be followed by the mystical resurrection of his body. It was fascinating for me to contemplate as…