The Kennedy crew at the Sooner’s spring football game on Saturday.
I feel like I have a great deal to share. So many posts in my head that have yet to be fully processed and published. However, it seems when I finally have the time and motivation to sit down, I am either too exhausted, too melancholy or hurting too bad. And so, tonight, you will get an abbreviated update (at least for me) with a whopping pictorial expose on our lives over the past couple of weeks. (My apologies for picture quality, I used my iPhone.) From Houston to Norman to Dallas and back again. (Indeed, we rarely stay in one place very long. I honestly have no idea why I ever unpack.)
Speaking of . . .
Tomorrow, I will head to Mercy hospital in OKC for a 6:30am MRI of my T/L spine. (The pain in my back/ribcage continues to increase and we’d like to have a closer look to take to my Tulsa doc this week in hopes he has some solutions.) Then, on Wednesday at 2:45pm, Chris and I will be in Tulsa for some more tests and to meet with my potential new holistic-minded doc. We should have a personalized treatment based on my test results after our appointment on Thursday at 9:30am. The nurse even mentioned the possibility of an IV infusion – of what – I am unsure, but I am hopeful the port I desperately want removed (but remains sticking out of my chest) will come in handy.
Just so you know, Chris and I enjoyed our phone consult with the doctor on Monday. Thank you for praying over that. We have been pleased with our experience with the Tulsa doc thus far. Why?
-- The office manager identifies me by name (not a medical record number) and she is incredibly efficient. I can reach her almost immediately by phone or email. How refreshing!
-- The doc is a believer. It is wonderful to mention the name of Christ and know he is in agreement. How crazy to think we could pray with him at our appointment!! How thrilling to know he is knows the Ultimate Healer. Hooray!!
-- The doc’s ultimate concern is for us to have a total peace about the game plan. I love feeling there is no judgment or string’s attached with our decision. We are free to move forward as the Lord leads.
-- The doc is open to medical means as well as holistic to achieve healing. It is so rare to find someone open-minded and educated/experienced in both practices. This is good news as stereotactic radiation and even another surgery at MDA are very likely in order to control the cancer and manage my pain. (More on that in the prayer requests below.)
Okay – enough writing (at least for now). Many of you have ben praying our family would enjoy special times together, that I would find joy each and every day. Ultimately, that I would truly be able to live in the midst of this fight. Well, here’s how God has been answering those petitions. I have definitely attempted living more fully – not always successfully – but worth the attempt. Now . . . if we could get the pain to quiet down at night so I could sleep without narcotics and if He would rid my body of this filth – forever – we’d really be in business, right!?
I love each and every one of you, my hard-core warriors, because you are willing to get dirty in this battle with me. Not every day has been easy. Nights are definitely hard. There is still so much I am trying to process but hope is not lost. There is still more life to live, more bold & expectant praying to do, and more glory for God to receive in this unexpected journey.
Since we had an open weekend during our last visit to MDA, we had oodles of fun at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Alexa had been begging to return since her inaugural visit in the fall. We also enjoyed lots of time with nature. Thank goodness the only times I captured from this visit were good memories.
Our fave stop at Rice Village – The Chocolate Factory. Rice Village is the equivalent of OU’s Campus Corner . . . on steroids.
The azaleas were in full bloom and just amazing!!
Alexa Hope modeling the azalea she picked.
Alexa and I stayed with my parents for a few days after our return from MDA. Then, we trekked back to Norman to spend a few days with Chris before he flew off for a conference in CA. During our short stint at home, my life-long bestie, Denise, and her son, Deacon, visited us from CO.
With fresh laundry in tow, Alexa and I headed back to Dallas to spend five more days with Mimi & Pop (where we are treated like royalty). Apparently, Pop worked Alexa over every day (and vice-versa). She actually napped in my arms twice. This was a rare gift, and I treasured every second rocking my sleeping beauty.
Alexa yelled at me one evening to see what she was doing. Apparently, this is how the younger generation exercises and enjoys entertainment on their iPad. Maybe if I had worked my core like this as a youngster, I wouldn’t have these back issues.
The highlight of this trip was getting back in the saddle again. It had been almost two years. The ride was euphoric, exhilarating, intoxicating. It felt so good to feel a burn in my legs. I was only able to ride seven miles because my left pelvis started hurting and my radiation doc said I could only try cycling until it hurts – don’t push it (that was so hard for me to do because the rest of me felt pretty awesome). It was so beautiful, because on that ride, I didn’t have cancer. I felt like my old self – just really out of shape. Nothing on that ride hurt minus my pelvis. However, that evening was when my back pain greatly increased. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten on the bike since because I think two wheels may be have been the culprit to my increased pain. So sad, because on that ride, I felt the most alive (and normal) than I have in a long time.
I had to take a pic of my right hand. In September, I was told I probably wouldn’t have a right hand. And that is why we still have hope, warriors, because I DO still have my right hand. He delivered my arm from the beast, and He spared the three fingers I needed to shift gears and brake. Now, we gotta get my back into cycling shape.
I also purchased Alexa an official tee and hot pink t-ball bat because I think she has pretty decent hand-eye coordination. Of course, I loved playing t-ball & softball so it was a bit self-indulgent. Unfortunately, I think swinging a bat didn’t help my back either.
Upon our return to Norman, Hol, invited me to a women’s retreat at Falls Creek this weekend. We only attended the Friday session as I was eager to get home to spend some time with Chris/Alexa as well as sleep (or attempt to sleep) in my own bed. We had a great time reminiscing as we explored the youth camp we had grown to love and that had challenged us spiritually in our teenage/college years. It wasn’t quite the same with the posh, new conference center but there will always be something very special about the campground, even with air conditioning.
I finally felt grown-up enough to sneak up and see the boys’ quarters of the cabin. Oh wait, this was a women’s retreat and they were remodeling the girls’ side – oh well. I felt like a rebel for a moment. Yep, I’m living it up.
Hol at Devil’s Bathtub. Apparently, it has been renamed Boulder Springs. Okay – so, like I said, this is Hol in front of Devil’s Bathtub. We also walked up to the Prayer Garden and enjoyed some quiet moments of reflection and prayer.
The highlight of the Red & White scrimmage was reconnecting with high school friends, Allyson & Amy. I honestly forgot their was a game because I was so immersed in conversation and laughter as the memories came flooding back. It was a wonderful afternoon. All of the laughter was good medicine, I sat through the whole game and never hurt. We plan on reconnecting for game days. Love ya ladies!! It felt like nothing had changed.
Alexa didn’t last too long during the game, so she and Daddy headed to a local park to wait on Mommy to finish her mini-reunion. Alexa loved laying in the clover beds. I want to sneeze just looking at her.
A’s birthday dress. She finally got to wear it this Sunday because Mommy finally ironed it!!
We had a fun thunderstorm roll through today, even included a little hail. Once it cleared up, Alexa was ready to go puddle-hopping. We had a blast finding the best puddles and splashin’ away.
- If you are a part of the “Praying for Kelsey” Facebook page, I apologize for any redundancy.
-- I won’t stop boldly asking and believing for total, complete God-sized healing!! NO MORE CANCER!! NO MORE GROWTH!! NO MORE SPREAD!!
-- Protection of my lungs and all organs. If indeed there is cancer in my lungs, for it to dissipate completely.
-- For pain relief for all of the areas which hurt on a continual basis – mainly my upper right back, right ribcage (front & back) and sternum. There is a a lot of nerve sensitivity throughout this area. I am weary of taking meds (day & night), and I am concerned with how this might interfere with holistic methods. But, I have to sleep at night and function during the day. It’s a conundrum. Please pray I would be able to get good night of rest again.
-- Would you specifically pray for pain-relief and the ability to lay still during my MRI tomorrow? An MRI with contrast of the T/L spine is lengthy and I am very concerned I won’t be able to lay still on the hard surface that long. This is the most trouble I have had sleeping comfortably with pain since my diagnosis, so it is unsettling to think about being stone still for over an hour inside a tube.
-- Wisdom to know if we should pursue getting the tumor in my right calf resected at MDA while it is still a reasonable size and “easier” to remove. The tumor is bothersome when I move – which is often.
-- Wisdom for our family as we seek His will concerning this next phase of treatment. We want to clearly hear God’s voice on what is best for me and sense His peace.
-- For great wisdom on the Tulsa doc’s part to discern the best course of action for me, to be willing to be aggressive and think outside-of-the-box when it comes to healing a compromised body like mine.
-- As much as I am ready for this to end, I don’t want to waste this suffering. For our family to be still and sensitive to how the Spirit leads us each day, so we can make the most of every opportunity to glorify Him.
-- More laughter. More endurance. More fight. More healing. Less pain.
-- For complete trust in the Lord and what He is doing. For our eyes to stay focused on Him in hope and confidence. To drown out noise and the Enemy’s mocking voice.