Getting Back

I’ve not used this as a blog much anymore since the second surgery and I say I will start using it again, but it doesn’t ever happen. But that stops tonight. Because this is the place that I process. This is the place where I don’t read anything back over. Unedited. Semi-uncensored. Real. Raw. I started this blog before my first brain surgery. I would read back over my post, but that would break my cardinal rule! =0)

I didn’t understand at the time the ramifications “brain tumor” would have on my life. Some would say I was in denial. But I’ve processed things at my own pace, along and along. I didn’t look up what type of tumor I had until the December after I had the first surgery in June. When the tumor increased in grade, I didn’t process it (what with the radiation, chemo, speech, occupational, and physical therapy) until a transatlantic flight to the Ukraine. Still then, I didn’t share it with anyone until March. That the movie “Stuck in Love” let me know I want to see Enoch and Evy go to college. That’s the age group I spend my life working with so I will hope beyond hope that I get to see it happen.

Evy asked me on Tuesday if I would be around when she is a grown up and I said honestly, “I hope so.”

I’ve been hesitant to share openly, honestly and vulnerably on here because this is a public forum whether I post these blogs on facebook or twitter or not. I began working a new job two years ago and I didn’t want them to judge me as weak, broken, or not enough, especially after the second surgery at the end of the first year I was here. I KNOW that’s not what most people thought, but that’s how I felt. I tell my students all the time don’t wear masks, don’t hide who you are, and I feel like I’ve had a mask on here. I don’t mind posting sermons or speaking gigs, but I’m hesitant to share the day to day because it’s filled with all of the challenges and I feel like if I don’t write them down and just shake them off or zip past them than I’m not dwelling on them, but as my mom reminded me this past week, what a wonderful testimony of what God can do. I’ve received my share of challenges, but God’s grace and love and peace and strength is ever sufficient for all my needs. Mom often hears the Mother Teresa quote, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” I do not even begin to think of myself as Mother Teresa, I’m not that saintly and I like tv shows too much, but I can do the best I can to be as authentic as I can be. Sharing the good times and the bad, the mountain tops and the valleys.

PS – I did the title based off an old Silers Bald song.

Getting Back

I’ve been preaching for four Sundays now.  Reading from a manuscript.  Sunday was the first Sunday I had the nerve to do the communion liturgy and benediction extemporaneously.  I bet it was the shortest communion extrapolation ever!  I’ve been frustrated with how slow a process it is.  I came home late in the afternoon after having lunch with the students and something prompted me to reach for The Legend of Bagger Vance among the collection of our DVD’s.  It was a God thing.  I needed it.  And God knew it.

 

“Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Something that we were born with. Something that’s ours and ours alone. Something that can’t be taught to you or learned. Something that got to be remembered. Over time the world can rob us of that swing. It can be buried inside us in the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. Some people forget what their swing was like.”

 

“You know I can’t quit.”
” I know. Just making sure you know it too.”

 

“Look at his practice swing. Almost as if he’s searching for something. And then he finds it. He settles himself right in the middle of it. Feel that focus. He’s got a lot of shots he can choose from….But there’s only one shot that’s his. Authentic shot. And that shot is going to choose him. There’s a perfect shot out there trying to find each and every one of us. What we got to do is get ourselves out of it’s way and let it choose us.”

 

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can. But you ain’t alone. I’m right here with you. I’ve been here all along. Now play the game. Your game. The one that only you was meant to play. The one that was given to you when you come into this world. You ready? Take your stance. Strike that ball. Don’t hold nothing back. Give it everything. Now’s the time. Let yourself remember. Remember your swing.”

 

It was like my own personal pep talk.  I need to be me.  I need to trust my own voice.  I need to be centered on God and all that comes with it.  It reminds me of the old Siler’s Bald song Getting Back.  With the lines like, “I crawl, I run, as you wait for me//With open arms, there you stand//take my heart in your hands//I’m going to keep my eyes on you//I pray this life you’ll see me through.”

So there’s progress.  I was able to do the chinese balls with my right hand.  I wasn’t able to do that a month ago, so I dreaded it when my occupational therapist placed them before me.  But I was pleasantly surprised that I could do it!

It still terrifies me to stand in the pulpit.  But I know I’m not alone.  May my nervousness draw me closer to God.  This is my prayer.

Thanks for all of yours!  I walk this journey with all of you by my side and a great cloud of witnesses looking on.

Little Hairs

I’m crying alone at my desk with the door closed because it’s been a really cruddy day.  And I can’t go anywhere without seeing these little hairs everywhere.  I’m frustrated.  And I want to go on a date with Mike and stop thinking about these things.  He’s promised me to shave my hair completely off tonight so I won’t see the little hairs anymore.  I may be vain.  But I liked my hair.  I was sort of attached to it.  Or it was to me any way.

Bald is beautiful.  It will grow back.  This too shall pass.  It’s only for six weeks.  There’s people worse off than you.  No one is unaffected by cancer.

But I want to scream.

And break stuff.

Then I listen to The Call by Regina Spektor and the tears are flowing freely down my face.  I first heard the song on The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian soundtrack.  I really relate to the beginning of the song, “It started out as a feeling/Which then grew into a hope/Which then turned into a quiet thought/Which then turned into a quiet word
/And then that word grew louder and louder/’Til it was a battle cry…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY0QcSQf_mc

Thanks for letting me vent.  I’ve stopped crying.  I will hold fast to the truth of John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This Too Shall Pass

The surgery was successful.  The doctor said he got it all.  The speech is improving and the hand is almost back to normal.  Answered prayers!

Mike got a call from the radiologist on Monday to say that it upgraded to a malignant tumor.  Grade III.  Continued prayers!

We met with the radiation oncologist today.  The oncologist explained that the surgery was successful, but the likelihood of recurrence is pretty good.  I will start radiation and chemo on Thursday, 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  It will be 20-30 minutes a day.  This will be preventative with minimal side effects, the worst of which is described as fatigue.  They said I would have temporary hair loss randomly and permanent hair loss at the site of the tumor.  But during treatment I will still be in the office, and rocking my speech and occupational therapy.   

Change of summer plans.  

At least I get to see the kids more. 

LOVE – Songs of my Soul for Now

In an hour I go to the hospital for my second brain surgery and it feels super surreal to write that.  I wanted to post a quick blog before I go to say thank you to everyone who is praying and who has been supporting us.  We can feel your love and the community surrounding us!

I spent this past week with 30+ students from Gator Wesley touring around the state of Florida doing our Spring Tour – singing, dancing, rocking out, reading scripture and so much more.  There’s a song that they sing in one of the sets (and I love the mash up that they do) called “Set a Fire” by United Pursuit Band and one of the lines says, “There’s no place I’d rather be…but here in Your love…”  I’ve felt that from each of you.

Campus ministry is this crazy special place where things intersect – struggles, fears, hopes, dreams, silly Vine videos, lots of laughter, and experiences that both challenge and inspire. The students this week have inspired the heck out of me.  I’ve been ministered to in their music and their passion and their faith, and even more than that in their zest for life!  There weren’t many stops during this tour where I didn’t feel moved in some way and though I couldn’t figure out how to share that with them without becoming a blubbering hot mess, I want to let them know how special this week was for me.  Even the trampolines.  And the cold water of the spring when knocked off a raft.

Two of the songs that they’ve been singing are two favorites of mine that I’ve been holding dear over the past few weeks.  They didn’t know that when they picked the songs how much they have been resonating with me and yet again, I know that God is weaving all of this together in mighty ways.  The first is Meredith Andrews’ “Not for a Moment.”

And the second is by an amazing band that we hosted here at Gator Wesley called Bellarive.  It’s their song, “Taste of Eternity.”

These have been the songs of my heart.  Worship taps into a place that breaks down the barriers that we place.  It digs in between the walls that we’ve built to protect ourselves and the layers of stress and muck that this world provides.  May the scales on our hearts and our eyes be removed that we may see God more clearly and know God more fully, as God draws us to God’s self.  I know that no matter what happens today, I know that I am God’s and God is ever in the midst working things together for good.

Y’all have humbled me speechless with all of your texts, facebook messages, tweets, and cards and I hope that each of you feels the love, hugs, fist pumps, and high fives that we have for you!  Thanks for being on this journey with me.

Much love!

Cheers to a new haircut!

Grace and Peace,

Narcie

The Anger Stage

So it’s there.  A little bit after the parental units, but nonetheless, the anger stage is in the house.  I, like most of you, know about the stages of grief and it’s almost worse that I know this and realize this and can clinically say, why of course, Narcie Jeter, what you are experiencing is a quite substantial dose of the anger and sadness stages of grief.

Lord knows why it took me so long and why I went into survival, defuse the situation, and keep bouncing along mode except for the fact that I just really don’t want to deal with this.  I really don’t want to think about surgery again.  I really don’t want to show the kids the scar from the last time and let them know this is all going to be okay.  I really don’t want to feel so freaking ticked off and frustrated and distracted and weepy.  Weepy.  And not in a nice, cute crying way, but watching old episodes of Dawson’s Creek and crying like a nutcase.

I don’t really know how to make this feeling go away so besides the Dawson’s Creek marathon which is strangely always comforting (nutcase, I told you), I’m trying to blog it out.  Maybe if I articulate whatever this is…since I don’t really have a punching bag and I probably shouldn’t throw things against the wall so late at night.

I don’t actually know what I want.

I don’t know if there’s an answer.

I don’t even know if there’s a question.

Things I know:  I love my family.  I trust God.  I know there are many, many people praying.  I appreciate that greatly.  I love what I do – all of it – silly, serious, and in between.  I am tired.  I am worried.  I am scared.  I am loved and cherished by an amazing man who is more than I ever deserve or imagined.  I have done this before and I know all will be fine and it’s a great doctor and facility.  I can’t decide if this is a big deal or not a big deal or if it’s just normal, which is weird and not quite right.  I’m already wondering about the next surgery or what will happen…  I have the two silliest, sweetest, most unique and precious and precocious children imaginable and I swing between the hope that they may never know anything about this because I wish I could control things and realizing that this isn’t just my story but our story.  I realize that there are a heck of a lot of people dealing with things more awful and challenging and I sometimes feel whiny and weak for even articulating this.

And yet.  When I start typing and I stop feeling the waves of anger for a bit and I stop crying along to “I Don’t Wanna Wait” like a sad sack, I know that God is carrying me and holding me each step of the way, which ironically in some ways makes me cry more.  And for the record, I’m not writing that as a pastor and I don’t care a hill of beans if anyone reads this, but it’s just good to feel and know that.  Even as silly as that may seem to some.

Thanks for being on this journey.  Thanks for praying.  Even if I don’t always answer the emails, comments, facebooks, fast enough or at all, know that I appreciate them and I read them.  They help that “held” feeling when it’s denial, anger, sadness, and yuck city.  Love you all.  Especially my crazy WNWers that would let me share my Dawson’s obsession.  And if any of you reading this make fun of me for my silly, trashy, and immature tv watching….you’re going to get it.  (I kid.  Mostly.)

***I also realize that I write plenty of run-on, stream of consciousness sentences, and I, nor the English major inside of me, actually cares.  So ha!

Surgery Date

It’s official.

Surgery will be on May 10th and pre-op on May 3rd.

Thanks for y’all’s prayers, your comments on the blog, your comments on facebook and all of the messages!  Much love to each of you.

All of us greatly appreciate it.  As I know more, I’ll let you know.  As I process more, I’ll try to post.  The in between time makes this a bit surreal but I know that God is with us.  I know there are quotes out there like “Never trust quotes posted on the internet” – Abraham Lincoln, and I don’t know if this one is completely true or not, but as my uncle Carlee would quote John Wesley saying, “The best of all is, God is with us.”