Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This week a young boy from Sioux Falls passed away from cancer. This morning I read from the Team Tayden FB page, an even younger boy was admitted to hospice. A few months ago, one of the most beautiful woman I loved (Kerri Krump) passed away. And there are so many more lives touched (and taken) every day by cancer. 

Six years ago today, as my family waited the cold sterile waiting room of Sanford hospital for 9 hours—I was in the surgery room having my breasts removed. The pain, the emotions, the fear…the questions all return for a visit on this Christmas Eve day. 

I remember the morning of my surgery and the hospital chaplin saying to me…someday you will think cancer is a gift. I remember thinking (in not so nice of words)….well, you know what you can do with this gift! Unfortunately, cancer has a ‘no return’ policy. Six years later, I still don’t see cancer as a gift….but please let me share with you what cancer has shown me:

Cancer showed me fear.
—God showed up and held my hand through many friends and family.
Cancer showed me pain.
—God showed up and comforted me through medications.
Cancer showed me fatigue.
—God showed up and reminded me it is okay to rest.
Cancer showed me courage.
—God showed up through cards, words, and love of others.
Cancer showed me love.
—God showed up through others as they walked with us.
Cancer showed me…..that each one of has a purpose in this life….and a choice on how to live it. We can choose to love others. We can choose to forgive. We can choose to embrace every moment of this life. 

Now, six years later, I am blessed with the perspective of time. 

Yes, cancer robbed me parts of my body and my life. Yes, cancer claimed the lives of some very special people. Yes, cancer sucks! 

Cancer, caused by a cell that got it’s wires crossed up…isn’t a choice—and it happens. Left untreated it most likely will kill. To receive treatment is a choice. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and many other options are available to help us fight back. Sometimes the treatment works, sometimes it gives a little more time. Cancer affects all.

Lately, my heart is heavy by another disease that is destroying lives and killing many people. It too starts as a small cell that got it’s wires crossed up…and it starts in the heart and left without treatment it grows to bitterness, anger, resentment, etc. 

Thankfully the treatment for this disease, costs little—well, perhaps some of our pride, but this gift once given, will be one of your greatest gifts ever.


Cancer has forced me to slow down…and when a person slows down, they get to see things often missed in the busyness of life. I see so much pain and hurt caused by others to others. Some of it may be intentional, often though I believe it is more of a reaction to their own pain (hurt.) Often, it is a mere misunderstanding…and always it is a great waste of time. 

Time…a precious gift! 

This Christmas—My prayer and wish for you is to leave your check books and credit cards at home…and give someone who hurt you the gift of forgiveness.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Ponderings...

This week I've learned of a classmate who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a dear friend diagnosed with melanoma, a sister of a dear friend diagnosed with cancer and a former coworker (and inspirational influence) diagnosed with leukemia.

Tears...for the hurt this life sometimes offers...

Hope...for the finding of the One true One who wipes away the tears!

This week I also celebrated with my husbands uncle as he completed his round of chemotherapy! 

Praises...that he withstood the challenges chemo often brings with it.

Hope...for the finding of the One true One who heals!

Lows...and Highs...

Through it all, clinging on to hope and the promise of the one who gave us the greatest gift of all: 
Christ our Lord. 

SHINGLES UPDATE:  I thought I was kicking the Shingles pretty good...and Wednesday even had a bit of energy to spare...but than came Thursday...and Friday...yesterday--I was still in my pjs at 430 in the afternoon...and today--well, I made it to lunch time--fell asleep and woke up at 230.  Geez...I keep telling myself--embrace it, stop fighting it and enjoy that you are at the stage in life where you don't have any little ones who need tending.  


That was one of the hardest challenges I faced when I was going through active treatment for cancer--
and it is one of the hardest challenges I continue to face. 

I sometimes feel like a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum. "I DON'T WANNA take a nap."

Well, I decided if I'm going to rest...I'm going to embrace it!

So, I've been reading and learning...

discovering and pondering...

AND listening...

AND believing!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Word of the Year: B.E.L.I.E.V.E.

It seems as I once again...let too much time escape between blog posts...

This time there has been a reason--you see...5 years ago, Christmas Eve, I had my breasts removed to save my life. Needless to say past few months brought with it a roller coaster of emotions. Let's just say--like many life changing events, a person's walk with cancer is never over...

For the last few years I have chosen a Word of the Year. I started thinking about my word for 2014 in November, just minutes after I heard my oncologist say, "Congratulations, you've graduated and don't need to come back!"  As I called my family to share the exciting news, tears of joy flowed. On the phone to my daughter, she goes--"Mom, why are you crying?" Tearfully, I stammer out, "I didn't ever think I would live to hear those words." I started to thinking maybe my word for 2014 would be thankful

Shortly after that appointment, I came up with the crazy idea to make scrap books for my husband and children. Seriously, whatever possessed me to think I could make 7 scrapbooks (hubby, 3 kids, son in law, son's girlfriend, and grandson) with pictures from the last 27 years--in the 3 1/2 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Well, those 3 1/2 weeks were filled with many tears and memories as my hubby and I worked together to complete this overzealous task.  Maybe my 2014 word should be joy

Urgghhh, a few days before we were scheduled to travel to Montana for our Christmas celebration, we hit a bump--my right breast became flaming red, hot and painful. Off to acute care we went. Now, I haven't ever had a lick of problem with my new “girls”...even through radiation, so this recent development kind of surprised us.   For most, when you get a rash--you think, infection? But once you get cancer, it is hard to NOT let your mind go there...the what if's?  Thankfully, a shot in the you know where, some strong meds (and prayers) --the rash cleared up and off to Montana we traveled for our long waited Christmas celebration. (It was the first Christmas in 5 years we were all together celebrating the miracle of this special season.)  Maybe my 2014 word should be celebration

January 1, 2014...still no word…I spent some time reading over my goals of the last few years and pondering over dreams.  I read blog posts on what fellow bloggers were choosing for the 2014 word of the year. Still no word… 

I took a ponder...and I heard a whisper...



Again, Believe...

Seriously, God...believe???

For a few weeks, I did some more pondering, reading...praying...

And last week...I came down with Shingles.

Seriously? Frustrating…as I have (once again) been spending time on the couch.  Thankfully, I have meds to keep the pain under control and rash didn't get that bad, but the fatigue--oh, goodness--did it ever bring flashbacks to the good ol' chemo days.  Slowly, I am regaining my strength, but have cleared my calendar the next few weeks from any "extras."

Okay, now back to my word for 2014....
Look what I found in a box of stuff in my basement...

My word for 2014 is believe.

With my unexpected couch time this past week, I have pondered on the word believe.  

Why do I think the word believe found me for 2014?  You see, when I was going through cancer treatment and writing updates on Caring Bridge--I loved putting words to my thoughts. (Awakening a childhood dream I had forgotten existed.)  Shortly, after I was done with active treatment, my oldest daughter said, "Mom, you are done with cancer--don't you think it is time to stop with the Caring Bridge updates?"  I will admit, my heart sank a bit at the thought. My dream of writing coming to an end?  Seeing the angst on my face she quickly said, "You don't have to stop writing, maybe start a blog or something."  A blog? What was a blog? Well,...I went to Google. I remember typing in the words: What is a blog? Followed by the question...How to start a blog. Kim's Ponderings Beyond Breast Cancer was born...and for the first few years, I loved it! 

That was until I started to think more seriously about this dream of writing. I began following writing blogs, reading how-to's, researching proper techniques, etc...the more I learned...the less I found myself writing. I started struggling more and more...who was I to think I could ever learn to write, especially since I didn't start writing until my 40's? There is too much to learn...and not enough time (or life) to learn it all.  

FEAR strangled any words I had to share. 
When I was writing on Caring Bridge...I was too sick to have fear keep me from sharing my words--after all, I had a bigger fear--death? 

When I first started blogging...the excitement of learning something new kept fear away.

But when I began realizing what I didn't know...and how much writing would require—fear crept in...Leaving no more room for the writing dream.  

Last week when I was sitting on the couch pondering about believe...

It came to me...

God has a plan...and a dream for each of us--but we need to believe this, before we can take the steps to make the dream come true. it is February 1, 2014!!