Wow. The Last Day: a full day, an emotional day.

If there was one thing that did not cross my mind I would say it was the emotional toll my heart went thru today. I was thoroughly excited to come back to the CHIPSA Hospital on Friday, November 27. I was also excited and ready to have Ryan come back home with me on Tuesday, December, 1st. Then Monday hit. Oh my. What a day.

I awoke light hearted and ready to tackle what was ahead. After breakfast our day started with Dr. Lopez meeting with us to ensure we understood the next steps including all of the supplements, treatments and nutrition. (you can read all about it here: The Last Day: Next Steps, Part I) I walked away confident and scared at the same time. A million thoughts and emotions seemed to hit all at once. I stayed focused on the task at hand and kept busy taking care of a few things like ensuring we had our medical letter so we wouldn’t have any challenges taking all the syringes and different vials in the airport and little details here and there.

Around noon time Giovanni, one of the nurses, took Addison and I to the beach at Playas de Tijuana. We had a nice break soaking in the sun, chasing the incoming waves and doing cart wheels on the sand. After a local seller bugged us enough, I even spent ten bucks total on a bracelet for each of our children. Ahhh. . . the beach, the sun and all my concerns seemed to blow away with the crispness of the ocean breeze. It was the calm my mind needed. It was the peace my heart wanted.After about 90 minutes we ventured back to the hospital as lunch was waiting on us. 20151130_120139

Ryan had left for his dental check up to ensure his mouth was recovering well (it is) and then headed to get a tattoo: #LUELFSTRONG. Gasp! I know, right?!? Don’t worry, he spent two weeks ensuring it was doctor approved as he was given the information of the ink and its ingredients. The ink is considered “organic” and the treating doctor approved it. Look at it this way. It’s Ryan. That’s what HE needed to do for HIM. Its his calm in the mind. His peace in the heart. Its his way to go thru the process of overcoming cancer. I know it would not be my way as I have no tattoos and no interest in them, but I’m not him. He is not me. So let him be him.

After lunch, while Ryan was gone I started going thru our clothes, sorting everything in the room preparing to start packing. A few moments later, Jesús came in the room and brought a box full of syringes and more. And, that’s when I froze. I just stood there looking at all those syringes to be used for the B12 injections, the vaccines and the Coley’s treatments. First of all, if you knew me in middle school and early high school, you know I’m a fainter. By a fainter I mean that I fainted 12 times between 5th grade and 11th grade, mostly at school and mostly during science class. Yeah, syringes (or the field of medicine as a whole) are not something my mind/body necessarily likes. With natural low blood pressure anything can tip me over and I’m flat on the ground. After staring at the box in front of me for a few moments I take deep breaths and off to find Lupita I go. Lupita, one of my very favorite nurses, has a heart of gold. She enthusiastically came back to the room with me so I could sort out which syringes would be used for what. She chatted with me for a bit and as we spoke the kindest words left her mouth, “I wish I could go back with you.” Oh, Lupita, you have no idea how my heart agreed . . . And darn it, how those words broke me and tears started flowing. I gave her a long big hug as I knew she was done with her shift and stayed a few minutes late for me. As she left the room, tears continued to flow. And, then Yolanda said goodbye. I saw the cooks ending their shift and they said goodbye. Jesús said goodbye. It was just too many goodbyes! I just love these people!

I gained composure after a while and continued to ensure I had everything I needed, played a game of Monopoly with Addison and a bit later Ryan returned to the hospital. I must say, I was impressed with the tattoo and its meaning. The artist did a great job, he really did.12289720_1537016739956793_1082036220951979843_n

Ryan and Addison headed to their haircut and again, I stayed behind. This time because I knew the packing needed get done. As I stood in the room it hit me. As I stared into the suitcase it really hit me. 20151130_175048

Why am I crying?
It took me a moment to even gather my thoughts.

Shouldn’t packing up my husband be a joyous occasion? Is it the fact that I have come to love so many of the nurses, doctors and staff here at CHIPSA Hospital that every goodbye hurts? Is it the fact that we finally get to go home and my heart is happy that the treatments are working? Is it the fact that they have cared for my hubs so well that fear is setting in on what the next 90 days requires of us at home? I imagine its all of the above. I cry because I love my husband and I cry . . .

Because a little part of me wanted a miracle.
Yes, its true. As rational as I am, as level headed as I am, as much research as I have done a little part of me wanted this to be over. I just wanted my husband back. I didn’t want to bring home a patient, I wanted my husband. I just want to go home, be a family again and live the lives we had been living, albeit with a different nutritional approach. I just wanted to wear my red glass slippers, click my heels three times and go back to life without cancer. But its not so. Its not what is happening. As I crumpled onto the blue hospital chair I accepted reality for what it was, letting myself sob. I let it out. I let my heart feel. I allowed myself to let it go. To let go of the miracle I secretly hoped for. I allowed my heart to wrestle it out, letting my soul search, dig, find, ask, seek until it finally came to a cross roads. Do I look at the past and fail to experience the greatness of what is happening today? Or do I allow my soul to cleanse, leaving it all at His feet, thus moving forward with courage and a peaceful heart knowing that this is just a small part of our adventure?

Then something happened. It took me all night to get to this point, but I saw the sun rising in the horizon. A new day. The breath of fresh air. The light of day. My heart let it go and I was at peace again.

I came to this understanding:
We live in a world where we expect to do one thing a few times to gain the results we want and then are depressed and/or quit because it didn’t come fast enough. We go to the gym and give up after a month if the 10lbs weren’t dropped or our six packs didn’t develop. We buy lottery tickets every week expecting to become wealthy, but wonder why years later we are still in financial disarray. We do a 5 day detox and then eat crappy foods the rest of the year hoping the detox will work wonders and keep our health optimum. We take a flu shot to ward off the vicious flu each year but fail to actually feed our immune system properly so it can ward off all sorts of diseases as it naturally can…

We are constantly expecting miracles.

Yes, I did want a miracle. Reality has proven that there’s no “miracle” here, but the facts are not the norm. Until the time of Ryan’s dental procedures he was eating full healthy meals which he will regain once again. It is not the norm for a stage 4 cancer patient to have energy. It is not the norm for a stage 4 cancer patient to grow a beard during therapy. It’s not the norm for pain and swelling to completely go away. It is not the norm that Ryan has already experienced a decrease in swollen lymph nodes. None of this is the norm. For that I am thankful. To bring home a husband ready to tackle the next phase, that is not the norm. That brings peace to my heart.

Today, I accepted that my heart may go array at times and that tears will cleanse my soul. It’s ok for me to do that. It’s ok for you to do that. It’s ok to wrestle all of these questions. Without wrestling, we lose sight of whose we are and who He is. He is the lamp unto my feet; guiding us all the way.

#luelfstrong
#gracebasedliving
Caroline Luelf

Posted by imagineucan24

7 Comments

  1. Magnificently stated! I sobbed all the way through because I had the same experience three weeks ago at Hope4Cancer, only as the patient. I wonder if we would have the same experience here in the states? I have spent many hours with other family members at hospitals and never had an experience like this.

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    1. Theresa, How are you doing since leaving that clinic?

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  2. So wonderfully stated. Hopefully when all this has passed and Ryan is declared cancer free, you can write a book about it. It would help a lot of people I am sure. But even now your journey is helping others.

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  3. Cecelia Douglas December 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Wonderful, inspiring blog. It is evident that God is walking every step of this journey with you. We continually hold you up in prayer and are looking forward to being with you around Christmas. Love all of you bunches!

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  4. Once again, beautifully spoken Caroline…straight from the heart ♡
    God Bless you, Ryan, and your family in your every upcoming endeavor.
    Peace be still~Hugs!

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  5. Colleen Swanson May 16, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I just ran across your blog today! What a joy to read your journey! Keep the updates coming! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband and I wish the very best as you progress through this! You are on the right track! I believe it is very courageous to take the road less traveled. I am sure it can be lonely at times, especially if friends and family may not agree or understand why you have taken this path. Stay strong! I am rooting you guys on!!

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