Sunday, October 4, 2009

Caring Bridge Entries

Monday, August 31, 2009 9:14 PM, CDT
Today is a long anticipated day….radiation was completed!! Since December last year, we have actively been fighting a disease we never thought would hit our family. After all, we were trying to live a “healthy life.” But as you all know, cancer shows no favoritism, one just never knows…
So, now what? Well, the radiation oncologists said the two weeks after radiation can still be a struggle with the fatigue and skin burning, so I plan to continue with the resting and applying creams to my skin. I have a doctor’s appt with my oncologists this Thursday, anticipating that I will then go to every 3 months follow up. The greatest chance of reoccurrence is within the first three years, so I appreciate your continued prayers. Currently I have tissue expanders in and will need surgery this next spring to exchange the expanders with my “new girls”. (We have to let the skin heal for 6 months after radiation before we are able to do surgery.)
So that’s the physical update, the emotional and spiritual is a little harder to put in words. I believe it will take many months for us to process how this journey has and will affect our lives. Cancer has dominated every aspect of our lives for 9 months, how do we find our way back to normal life? Do we even want to find our way back? What is our “new” normal going to look like? How do we conquer the fears of a reoccurrence? Is there a way to prevent a reoccurrence? How can we use our challenges to help others? How can we use this journey to honor God? So many questions, with only one answer—I am going to continue to trust in the Lord and believe in His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
It is with smiles that my children have advised me that my caring bridge journal will no longer be needed--as I no longer have cancer! So after tonights entry, I will only be updating my caring bridge after my oncology appts or if there are changes in my health. Through this journey, I have found I do enjoy writing, so my daughter and son-in-law are going to help me set up a blog, hopefully this next weekend. So, for those of you who enjoy reading blogs, I will notify you of the address when my blog is created. Words could never be enough to express our thanks and love to all of you who have supported us on this journey. We appreciate you all so much! A special thank you to my family—I am so blessed! Also thanks to my great team of coworkers—your willingness to let me take the time to heal and your support is so appreciated! Above all, thank you God for giving me the chance of another day to love and share in all your lives.
Thank you for sharing this life changing journey with us! Blessings to you all!!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 9:20 PM, CDT
Hi everyone! Well, it has been a few weeks and I haven’t had a chance to create a blog yet, so thought I would give a quick update on my caring bridge on how the healing process is going. Physically I am slowly regaining my strength. I am learning how to pace myself and very thankful for the patience of my family and coworkers. The last two weeks or so I started having a lot of pain in my upper rib and mid back area, so Monday I had xrays. Thankfully, the xrays just showed inflammation; nothing a little Aleeve and rest won’t heal. (Side effect from radiation and possible overdoing it—not me?) I met with my oncologists a few weeks ago; we discussed the stats of reoccurrence rates with the triple negative diagnosis. My cancer was staged at a 2b (our of 4) and has a 33% chance of reoccurrence. To be honest, I would love those numbers to be higher, but it is what it is…think I will just turn this fear over to the Lord and trust Him. I was forewarned that after treatment is completed can be the hardest times for some patients. So far, I have been so busy living life and resting, that I haven’t had time to even think about being done. Saturday morning as I was reading a magazine, I came across an article called Lessons I Learned from Living with HIV/AIDS by Shane Stanford. Although Shane’s journey of being a hemophiliac, who discovered he was HIV positive at 16, is much different than my journey with breast cancer, some of his thoughts sure hit home with me. Shane states…“No, this is not a path I would have chosen, for I am no martyr, and I certainly don’t qualify as the perfect Christian. But, oddly enough, so many miles now into this journey, I wouldn’t trade what I have learned from the disease either.” (Every day it seems as I become more aware of the lessons.) Shane goes on in his article to state that he has come to view his medical condition, as the doorway through which he takes hold of something more valuable—something that affects his view of others, influences his relationships, and frames how he sees God. What a great visual for us all to remember. He also said “Life is learned not from studying or spending time in a classroom, but from living, sometimes with blessings and opportunities, but more often with struggles and challenges. And it is not a one-time thing. No, the learning does not stop; we just have to keep showing up.” (A special thanks to everyone for helping me to continue to “show” up, especially when I didn’t think I had the strength or energy to go on.)
On Christmas Eve when I had my mastectomy surgery, I had a chaplain visit me and say that someday I would think of my cancer as a gift. Recently I shared my struggle with this thinking with Pastor Allen. (I just couldn't say and still can't say that any cancer is a gift.) Allen helped me understand that I didn’t have to think of breast cancer as a gift, but seeing God and trusting in Him through this journey was the gift. God’s hand in our journey has definitely been one of the best gifts we have ever received.
Well, my bed is calling my name…thanks for the continued prayers!

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