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July 2023

July 31st, 2023 
As I sit here this morning, coffee in hand (obviously) I'm trying to organize thoughts and memories of July.
Apparently it's been a full one, because I need to cheat and go through my photo library to translate this month into words.
The month began with one kid just finishing her second round of chemotherapy, and the other moving out.
Yup, Jack is officially a new homeowner.
One of the best parts of this entire experience was that my niece was our real estate agent, and we were able to really bond over this time.  
The other is watching Jack learn to adult. Budgeting, setting up a home, paying bills and perhaps my favourite thing… watching him cut grass with a push mower for the first time in his life (why does it make me giggle?)
As for our girl, Jess was not doing well.  The month began with a visit to the ER with side effects we weren't prepared for, and that still haunt her today.
As she prepared for round three of chemo, our oncologist decided it would be in her best interest to pause her treatment for a week.
Her blood test results showed she was low across the board, and physically couldn't handle the next blast of a 5 day treatment.
They brought her back the next day for a blood transfusion, and sent her home for a week of rest.
I don't think I've ever appreciated the value of rest as much as I do now.
I'm a mover. A doer. I don't like to sit. I don't like to rest.
But this particular week proved that rest can be more effective and productive than I ever gave credit for.
I watched Jess improve day by day.
From barely making it from the couch to her bed, to being able to walk around a bookstore and go out for an early birthday dinner and actually EAT.
Rest was the nurse who helped our daughter feel good again.
Rest was the cook who helped our daughter eat again.
Rest was the friend who made her feel human again.
To say we dreaded the Sunday night that ended this week of rest is an understatement.
To know she was only half way through treatment and had to endure what she just completed all over again was terrifying.
But, with the help of a better drug strategy, Jess made it through her first week of round three better than we ever expected.
Which brings us to this past week, which wasn't quite as enjoyable.  A few good moments, woven into the bad.
She quietly admitted to Mark and I after having a good day where she was even able to go see Barbie (yes, we saw Barbie… and LOVED it) that it really takes the odd good day to know she can get through this.
As for Mark and I, life outside the hospital walls still moves on.
After one of our dryest springs we can remember, Mother Nature has been sassy with her rain timing.
Start second cut hay?  Rain.
Start wheat harvest? Rain.
Start a delayed canola harvest? Rain.
Start baling straw bales for the sheep? Rain.
I'd like to say for the record, I never try to wish rain away… I just wish the timing was a bit more accomodating.
We've taken on the roles of me on hopital duty, and Mark trying to keep everything running at home.
We also celebrated Jess turing 21, and Mark turning 50.
As we turn the corner into August, we can finally see the end in sight.
July felt like we were in the middle of a lake where both shores couldn't be seen… and we were all barely treading water.
It was the love of so many that was our life jackets that floated us here, where we can see the shore.
The messages, gifts, Jess themed cupcakes from from her friends that were also shared with the chemo staff. 
Visits from family, and friends who make Jess feel normal and less alone.
Books who not only help Jess escape the reality of what is her summer, but also me who for the first time in ages began reading again (much to Jess's shear joy).
The medicine may be healing Jess physically, but these small gestures are what's healing us all emotionally.
It's these small gestures that will keep us floating towards that shore, that although in sight, still feels too far.
But wow.
That shore.
The one complete with a bell, standing stoically, waiting for our daughter to ring joyously.
That's what I catch sight of.
And suddenly, I feel a rush of the tide that will help us get there.
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