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***Warning. This is super duper rambly. I have posted some pictures of Emmie at the end, so feel free to just skip to those if you want!***

First things first… remember back in July, I had a little blip in my lungs show up on my yearly CT scan, which wasn’t a concern, but something we did have to follow. Then, in the follow-up in September, it looked like it might have, maybe grown just a weensy bit, or else it was just one of those weird things of measurements in CT scans. So I had the follow-follow-up one in November, and I knew it would mean I would either have a wonderful holiday season, or a really really terrible one.

Thankfully, blessedly, it was GOOD!!! I truly have not felt so thankful and relieved in a very long time.

We’ve also been getting good news on many other fronts as well lately, including several fantastic scan results from some of my fellow cancer warriors, so it was truly a time to be thankful.


We had a great Thanksgiving with my folks in Reno, even if Emmie and my mom did both come down with an awful, awful stomach bug the night before the big feast. I forbade my mom from touching anything even remotely food-related, since witnessing Emmie’s horrific night made me REALLY motivated to try not to get it too, which meant that me, Peter and my brother’s amazing climber friend Tyler made the Thanksgiving meal. Seeing how it took three other adults to do the work of one Mom, I honestly don’t know how she does it!

We returned from Reno safely, but Peter was struck down by the bug last night. Again, it was awful. I am honestly very nervous about my own fate tonight.

I’m never a germaphobe, but I have gone full on Howard Hughes with this thing. I’ve wiped down everything a sick person touches, I’ve been washing my hands so much that they are bleeding and raw, and I’ve been super crazy about what I will touch, especially before I eat. I just know I’m going to get this thing too and all of this will be in vain. Ah, well!

In an attempt to get out of the germy house a little, Emmie and I went to church this morning. She and I attempted two weeks ago, but I somehow had the time for Mass totally wrong, and so we got there just for the tail end of it. Happily, she loved the little bit we were there for and literally did not want to leave. That made today a little bit easier, and she did really, really well. She loved watching all the people, especially all the other kids, and even knelt on the kneelers and held the hand of the other toddler next to us during the Lord’s Prayer. Both his mom and I just about died at the cuteness. I think Emmie also really liked the music and liked the ritual, just as I do (since she really is my mini-me in so many ways).

It felt so, so good to go back. I have been a lapsed Catholic for many years now, but the new Pope and my own recent health scares (and blessings! All is FINE!) have really inspired me to go back.

***Pause for a brief political/religious break***

I stopped going to church partly I think because I no longer saw the Church reflecting the Faith I had been brought up with. You know, love thy neighbor, do good works, blessed are the poor, etc. I felt like the BIG message of Jesus/Christianity/straight up humanity was getting lost in the obsession over abortion and gay rights. The Catholicism I was brought up with didn’t give too much airtime to those things, and I never really understood the Catholics who saw those as being central to their faith.

Did Jesus ever say one word about abortion or homosexuality? No. But he sure talked a LOT about money, and specifically how obsession with money was pretty much terrible.

So now that we have this freaking awesome new Pope Francis (who is a Jesuit, like the priests in my family!), I truly felt my faith renewed. This was the kind of church I would want Emmie to be brought up in, or at least have the option to choose to join when she was old enough. The “radical teachings” the Pope is spouting already seem to be bearing the kind of fruit I was hoping for.

In mass today, the priest discussed a new work group the parish was forming, all about how best to go out into the community to serve people, according to one of the Pope’s new pronouncements. Freaking awesome. I don’t know what they did before, but it was clear that they were taking Pope Francis’ words to heart.

Even the homily spoke to me deeply and truly refreshed my soul. It felt so wonderful to be back in my spiritual home, I can’t even describe it.

I have to confess, my faith has gone through many cycles throughout my journey with cancer. I know for some, it strengthens their faith and provides deep comfort and solace. For others, it may make them question it. I had a weird blend, where I would need it desperately at some times, then other times I would find much more comfort in science and rational thought. For now, I am very happy that I can find joy and comfort in my faith by going willingly to it, rather than needing a refuge from fear or sadness.

And now…. Emmie!IMG_8282 IMG_8255 IMG_8249 IMG_8018 IMG_8015