Friday, May 22, 2009

This post has been floating around my head for a long time but due to health issues hasn't made it to the blog until now. Sorry about that.

Celtic Thunder. An extraordinary group of five guys from Ireland and Scotland who have joined together under Phil Coulter and Sharon Browne to form and outstanding singing group. Kylynn and I are big fans. We watch the DVD together. In the car Kylynn always demands to listen to Celtic Thunder on my Ipod, she requests specific songs and sings along, sometimes she sings along in Gaelic. We talk about the five guys in the group as though we know them and call them by their first names. Kylynn actually has given nicknames to two of them. George she calls Georgie and Damian, her favorite in the group, she very affectionately calls Dami. We love Celtic Thunder and so when I saw that they were going to be in Illinois, and not too terribly far away on their spring tour this year, I looked into getting tickets.

I managed to get three tickets, for mom, Kylynn, and myself, and on April 24th we drove up to Waukegan, IL to see our boys. The whole night was a blast! Kylynn was SO excited about actually seeing Celtic Thunder live on stage, but she really hasn't been to any concerts so had no idea what to expect. Sitting in our seats before the show started we were all already having a great time. Kylynn had gotten her Damian t-shirt and her show program and was happy as a clam sitting, looking at the pictures in the program, and having mommy read to her about the guys. And I must say that Celtic Thunder fans, at least where I was sitting (with the exception of two weirdos in front of us), are the nicest fans in the world. Everyone was talking with us and were so nice to Kylynn. One lady sitting next to my mother (who, after learning that the lady was from Minnesota, told her about me and our frequent trips to MN.) has actually kept in touch with my mom and has sent sweet gifts for Kylynn ( a little Irish stuffed bear and another Damian t-shirt!). So before the show even started, again with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Probably-on-a-day-pass-from-a-psychiatric-hospital sitting in front of us, we were having so much fun. Then the lights in the theatre went down and Kylynn's eyes got huge just taking everything in. She was awed by the lights and the sounds and the mist but nothing can top the moment when she saw the guys come out on stage. Now, like I said, Kylynn loves Celtic Thunder, and like anything that Kylynn is interested in, she has a lot of information about them. She has seen their first DVD a million times, plus she knows each guy's voice just by listening to it. So whenever there was something different in the show than it was on the DVD Kylynn was quick to point it out and ask why. Like I said, she loves Damian and came to the show already knowing that his voice would be different than on the DVD (he was 14 when the DVD was recorded, he is 16 now and his voice has gotten deeper) but the look of excitement of her face when she heard him sing at the show for the first time was just priceless! I have to say that I was a little worried about Kylynn being able to sit though both acts of the show, especially since it was way past her bed-time, but she was so enthralled by the guys that she did excellent! I probably had as much fun watching Kylynn watch the show as I did watching the show myself.

That's not to say that the show wasn't excellent on it's own, it was, it really was. The guys are just fabulous and I enjoyed hearing and seeing my boys live and seeing and hearing the changes that they made for this tour. I love all the guys and think they all are so amazingly gifted, but I have to say that I enjoy Ryan probably the most. He is intriguing and his stage presence is just incredible. I could listen to Ryan sing "Desperado" all day and I am always amused by his song "Heartbreaker", never fails to make me smile. He also sang "Ride On", a song that I enjoy and think he sings very well, but also one that cracks me and Kylynn up because Ryan does this odd squatty stance and arm movement in it (check out the DVD you'll see what I mean). Don't get me wrong, Kylynn and I like it and it works with the song and especially with Ryan's stage personality, but on the 24th Ryan did the "squatty arm thing" no less than 4 times in the song, maybe more. Awesome! Makes me giggle just thinking of it. Thanks Ryan!!! He did, also, sing "Every Breath You Take" which he sang fabulously, but will always be thought of as "the stalker song" in my mind. Sorry Ryan, but even Sting admits that it's a bit of a creepy song. Keith, also a favorite of mine, has a voice and personality that I just adore. He sang "Castles in the Air" just beautifully but I, honestly, miss him singing "Mountains of Mourne". I love the way he sings that song and I could just listen to it over and over. Keith also had some other wonderful numbers in the show. I love him singing "The Island" and "I Want To Know What Love Is" and he also performed "Lauren and I" which he wrote himself. And then there is Paul, who is also a favorite, and he has a voice that is just incredible! He is a classically trained tenor and his range is just spectacular! He sang "Love Thee Dearest" and "Remember Me" with all the power and emotion that is on the DVD, but what really knocked my socks off was Paul singing "You Raise Me Up", wow! He had the crowd on it's feet for that one. Paul also seemed to be in a particularly playful mood the evening of the 24th and he just cracked me up the way he joked with the audience and the other guys. Well done Paul! And George (or as Kylynn would say, Georgie) was fabulous too, he is also a favorite (are you sensing a trend here?). George has this beautiful deep voice and I just adore it! He sang "Yesterday's Men" and did it so well! He also sang "My Boy" which I love but always makes me cry. But what brought down the house was George singing "500 Miles" by the Proclaimers. I would walk 500 miles just to hear Georgie sing that song again, it was wonderful, George at his very best! And last, but certainly not least, there is Damian (or in Kylynn's world, Dami), who is Kylynn's favorite but also beloved by me as well. This kid, he's only 16, has a voice that I am not sure how he contains in his body. Such a powerful, beautiful, and now deep, voice! Damian, charmed us all with his versions of "Happy Birthday Sweet 16" and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do". Damian is just so adorable when he sings, and as I tell Kylynn, I just want to pick him up and put him in my pocket he is so cute! But the two songs that Damian sang that I really love are "Bird Without Wings", which makes me cry but is just gorgeous, and "Come By The Hills" which is a song I have always loved. Damian starts off "Come By The Hills" in Gaelic and I love that, more than that, I love that Kylynn can sing almost that entire first verse in Gaelic as well. Also, the song, "Come By The Hills" ends each verse of the song with the words, "...and the cares of tomorrow can wait 'til this day is done." I love that. I would like to say I live each day like that but it would be a lie. What I can say though is that for that one night, the 24th of April at Celtic Thunder, all the cares of tomorrow did wait because I was busy having a great time with my little girl and my mom. Thank you Celtic Thunder!

*This just in* If you want a little sample of what we saw at the show go here and watch the clip. Then, if you like, follow the link at the bottom of the page and go pre-order your own copy!

And so, even on the rainiest day, there are people and events that can take us outside of our own troubles, even if just for a short time, and carry us away to happier things and give us moments to remember forever!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hey, I know it's been awhile since I last posted anything but there has been much going on. I went back up to Mayo on April 29th and met with my oncologist and the liver surgeon and it was decided that surgery to remove the tumors in my liver was possible and that it would be scheduled for Monday the 4th of May. So we went back home for two days and packed then returned to Minnesota on the evning of the 3rd. With me I had, my husband, Eric, our beautiful little girl, Kylynn, my mom, and my sister, Julia. It was nice having so many people along. Kylynn really wanted to come with this time, and truth be told, I really wanted to have her close by so I am glad that there were enough people there to help with her and be able to come see me.

I get nervous about any surgical procedure, but this surgery was going to involve a 7 and a half inch incision in my abdomen and so I was a bit beyond nervous. Plus, I had never had a full blown open surgery at Mayo before and so the process was all new to me and I was not able to see my daughter, husband, or sister before surgery. I did get to see mom but only for a short time and only because she got up at the crazy early hour and went with me. I was the first surgery of the day and the procedure went well. I was back in my hospital room before early afternoon and I would like to say that I was resting comfortably but I was miserable. I was really sore and uncomfortable for most of my hospital stay mostly due to my incision and my limited options of pain meds. Stupid allergies. Anyhow, I finally got released on Thursday afternoon and had a LONG car ride home. Since, I have been staying at my parent's house as Eric needed to return to work and I need help with Kylynn. I am getting better slowly, each day is a little better, but I can really tell if I over-do it one day because the next I will be sore and exhausted. On the plus side, I did get to see all 4 for my sibling in one weekend, all together actually. My sister, Amy, and her family came up from Tennessee to see me and my big brother, Ken, was in town from Michigan with his wife and came by to see me. And then my sister Julia and my little brother Jeff who live near by were around. It was really nice. I know that it may sound silly and that many may not believe it, but my siblings are my best friends and I love them all very much!

All of this makes me think back to January of 2006 when all of this started, and when I had my first open liver surgery here at a Chicago hospital. Back in 2006 I went into my surgery asuming that this would be a one time thing, that they would remove the cancer, and that I would return to my "normal" life. Sitting here, a little more than 3 years later, I wonder if this is going to become my "normal"? I sure hope not, and I know that upstairs right now there is a beautiful little girl who has been praying for it not to be. I do know now that this isn't a cancer that we can just remove and be done with, it is not a cancer that knows remission, it is not a cancer that is common and has a set course of treatment. But I have beaten the odds so many times already, my liver has put up with more than any liver should have to, and keeps functioning well. I know that I am going to keep fighting. And most importantly, I know that Our God is a God of miracles and ultimately this is all in His hands. I will trust in Him.

It has been a long couple of weeks. I am sore and tired. My husband and family are stressed and tired. My sweet baby girl is praying every night for her "mommy's tumors not to come back." It is all overwhelming. But even on the rainiest day my husband, daughter, and whole family are there to hold umbrellas of hope and encouragement for me and God is there working on a beautiful rainbow for all of us, even if we can't see it yet.