Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:12 PM, CDT
Many memories were created Saturday morning at the Avera Breast Cancer Race. Before the race started, all breast cancer survivors were presented a beautiful rose and invited to participat in the survivor walk. What a humbling moment, to be walking with so many sisters afflicted with this dreadful disease, while family and friends stood on the sidelines cheering and clapping for us. It made me wonder what exactly it means to be a survivor. Did I become a survivor when I was diagnosed with breast cancer? When I had my mastectomy? Or when I am finished with chemo? According to Webster, the definition of survivor means to remain alive, to carry on despite hardships or trauma, to persevere and to remain functional and useful. Hmmm, guess this does describe my family and I…and so many others. Our family’s battle may have been breast cancer (notice past tense), but I believe that there are so many “unsung” survivors…people just trying to make it through today…I wish I could give you all a rose…
Back to the race day memories, I don’t know how many of you have ran a 5K, but there is just something about taking on a challenge and conquering it. We had many on our team who ran their first 5K—my mom (thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone to show your support—I hope that I am as physically fit as you when I am your age). I knew that my brother Jody would love the competition of the timing of the event…now we all know what time we have to try and beat next year. I wish you all could have seen the pride on the faces of my sisters, Bobbi and Annie…I am so proud of you both! My sister in law, Sharla (Jody’s wife) and brother in law, Jamie (Annie’s husband) were also runners on our team—thanks to you both. Congrats Rick, Lori and Ash, race day wouldn’t be the same without you three! Also, a special thanks for our walkers Kalina, Brett, Rhonda, Mike, Amanda, Wyatt, Deb, Terry, Nick and Sandy…every step you took reminds us that researchers are one step closer to finding the cure. A very special thanks to my husband and sister, Tammy, for standing along the side lines cheering with our nieces and nephews…while I had the fun job of snapping some great pics with my early mother’s day gift! **check out the pics in the photo section
All of your support really helps encourage me to finish the chemo race…concentrating on the finish line so that next year, I will be able to run the 5K and show everyone what their “big sister” has in her!
We were able to attend Kelsey’s recitals on both Friday and Saturday night—thanks sweetie for such a great performance! We are so proud of you!
Many of you have asked how I am doing. As I don’t like to complain, I am unsure at how to answer…emotionally and spiritually I am doing very well, physically it is getting harder with each chemo treatment. There’s this thing called fatigue that is an unwelcomed guest in my body…thing is, he won’t get the hint and leave…so I have been taking more and more naps. (This is challenging as I have never been a nap gal.) I have also been started on a stronger pain pill for the bone and muscle pains. We have been warned that the side effects of this chemo treatment are accumulative, so I may be bringing a sleeping bag to work before treatment is finished! (smile)
This week will be treatment number #6 out of 12!
Thanks so much for your prayers!
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending!” author unknown
Sunday, May 17, 2009 8:00 PM, CDT
Surprise!!!! And what a surprise it was! A special thank you to my hubby and children for my surprise birthday party last night! I am such a blessed wife and mom! Thanks also to our family and friends who celebrated with us! Just when I was wondering if this journey was going to get too long for all of us, my stamina and spirit is reinforced by all the love showered on me!
Last spring, since I had very few risk factors for breast cancer and our life was crazy busy, I was going to cancel my first mammogram appt, however, I kept hearing the words of an elderly woman I had recently phoned for my job. (Part of my responsibilities at work includes calling members and checking on them to see how they are doing and if we can help them with any health concerns.) We were discussing mammograms and she made a statement to me that I would like to share with you all…she stated “a mammogram is the gift I give myself every year!” So I thought to myself, how sad it was that life was too busy to give myself this gift...hmmmm…I kept my appointment. This mammogram showed a few calcifications in my right breast, I did a biopsy, it was benign...6 months later in October I did a follow up mammogram…normal….1 ½ months later I had a painful lump in my left breast, which unfortunately was a highly, aggressive, invasive breast cancer. I share this story because one of the reasons I am able to celebrate this birthday (and plan to celebrate many, many more)… is that I gave myself the gift of a mammogram and breast health awareness. Ladies, please, please, please…give yourself this gift and gentlemen; remind your special lady of the importance of the gift of awareness.
Cancer brings on a whole new awareness of celebrating every breath of life….
Here is a prayer that I came across in my reading yesterday morning…
Father in heaven, heal me, I pray. Not because it is in my best interest, but because it is in Your nature to do so. For You alone are the Great Physician. Grant me the grace to remain faithful in the face of pain, suffering and fears. Guard me from the temptation to resign to passivity, negativity or anxiety. Thank you for surrounding me with people who care about me and who pick me up when I fall. (This morning as I reviewed my notes from yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of my surprise party)
Thanks again for everything—there is no more blessed than I!!
The more I learn, the less I know - Good thing God is in the lead!
Thursday, May 21, 2009 12:45 AM, CDT
6 down! 6 To Go!!!
Just wanted to take a few minutes to let everyone know that we are doing good and anxiously waiting for Thursday’s treatment! As long as I pace myself, I have been doing okay this week. Fatigue and bone pain are still a challenges, along with some hand and feet numbness, but all tolerable. I, personally think that all the love and prayers from everyone is what is carrying us through this stretch! Many thanks!
We were able to attend my niece’s 8th grade graduation tonight—congrats Amanda! Graduation is such a great time to reflect on accomplishments and share in the excitement of future dreams. On the drive home, I started pondering about dreams and what can we do to keep them alive for our children and ourselves? Remember a month or so back when I talked about my dream of writing and I challenged you all to think about your dreams. Have you had the chance to think about your dreams? Have you been able to take any steps in making your dreams a reality? (Sometimes the first step is always the hardest.) I know two of my brothers added a four legged member to their families. (Fulfilling their dream of owning a certain dog breed.) Some of my family members completed running a 5K. (I don’t know if that was exactly their dream or not…but what a great accomplishment!) I will admit that even though I seem to have more time, I really haven’t done anything about my writing either…except maybe realize how important it is to still have dreams and goals!! (I am very fortunate though as I have accomplished many of my dreams: wife, mother, relationship with my parents, siblings and many friends, and great job!!)
At my niece’s graduation, I did have the pleasure of meeting two breast cancer survivors…hearing their story’s and journey gave me hope and encouragement! Speaking of which, thank you to all who write in the guest book, send me personal emails, cards or call me…I am so encouraged by each and every one of you! At night when I can’t sleep or when I get a little weary—I reread the guest entries and my cards—helps reminds me of all your love, support, and prayers!
Most people don’t know that there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life!