Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It never ends...

"Yesterday, the sad news was announced  by Good Morning America host Robin Roberts that she’s battling a rare blood disorder similar to leukemia highlights the very real risks of cancer treatments. (Her heart-breaking interview posted above shows how tough it is to battle health problems while in the public eye.) Roberts’ condition, called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), is a pre-leukemia thought to be triggered by chemotherapy drugs given to her five years ago for breast cancer...."
to read more please go to this article by the Boston Globe.

My words are all jumbled...my thoughts confused...my heart is so sad...

my faith is in the Great Healer!!

72 times and counting...this is the number of times I have attempted to write my thoughts on yesterdays announcement by Robin Roberts.  I am struggling to find the right words.  Three short years ago I heard the devastating words, "You have cancer,"   My family and I made some tough choices regarding treatments, knowing that the treatments themselves could have life time consequences. 

Sweet words..."life time."  

 Last evening, I read that Robin and I (like many breast cancer survivors) had the same type of chemotherapy that doctors think may have caused Robin's MDS. Talk about hitting close to home.  And, I will be honest, for a few minutes...the fear started to creep in...but not for long.  Because, like Robin says, "Focus on the fight, not the fright."  Although, I do have some long term challenges from my treatment choices, I don't regret any of my decisions and yesterday's announcement by Robin reminded me, once again...

Life is a precious gift!

Ps...ok, for the record...I do think it stinks that Robin finds herself in another battle...it makes me angry and I so can't wait for the day when cancer is NO more!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It is...what it is....

Since my chemo treatment I have been trying to grow out my hair.  The last time I was at my hairdressers, she stated, "Right now your hair length is in the ugly phase.  We can either cut it today and you will have a cute cut, or you keep letting it grow out." So, I asked her, "How long will I be in the ugly phase?"  She stated, "Probably 4 or so months."  Confidently (as I so badly want to try having long hair--NEVER has my hair been this long), I said, "Let's do ugly...it's summer, I can pull my hair up if I need to." 

A few days after that, I was shopping for some dress pants for work.  Guess what?  The size I normally wear were a bit baggy, so I tried on the next smaller size.  Well, let's just say this size was a little too tight.  Since I needed the pants, I had to buy the larger size...which make me look like I have "diaper butt." 

The next day, with my "diaper butt" pants and hair in a pony tail, I started giggling...bad hair, bad butt...I guess this summer, it is....what it is....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer 2012

I don't know if it is because we live in the South Dakota, or not, but summer's go way to fast...and before we know it, winter will be here.  This summer, I decided to add a section to my "dream notebook."
My dream notebook was something I started when I was going through cancer treatment.  This notebook is a gathering of words and pictures that inspire me to set goals and pursue dreams.
In the inside cover I have words that inspire me:
On the first page, I have written some "labels" that described my feelings at the time of the my cancer journey.
Next page, started with some "word" from our Maker.
Then a random collection of pictures cut from magazines that inspire me to dream and set goals.

Being Adventorous!

Reading and writing

Writing for a magazine publication

Cute haircuts

sitting by a lake
Tonight I started a new section! 

I gathered my supplies:

Okay, I am off now to set some goals and dream a bit....of what I want to experience this summer!

Question:  How about you?  Do you have a dream book?  Or have you made a list of things you want to do to celebrate summer?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Boot Camp Survivor

Today's survival picture!!

The first of May, a few coworkers and I joined a "boot camp" at a near by gym.  Oh, goodness....does "boot camp" put a whole new meaning to the word survivor!  We have this class on Mondays and Fridays at noon.  Today I asked the instructor, "Will we ever not hurt so bad after class?"  Her reply, "Nope...you are using different muscles all the time and most likely you will feel it!'

A few weeks ago, I had left the class in tears.  You see, I am the least fit of everyone in the class.  I am the one who struggles to keep up.  I am the one who comes in last with every set of exercises.  I also develped shin splints.  That day I ached all over and was frustrated my lack of ability. 

When I returned to work that day, I was sharing my frustration with a co-worker who doesn't exercise with us and she politely reminded me that my fellow boot campers hadn't experienced the cancer journey...and basically said, "You need to give yourself some grace."

So, that afternoon, I was having coffee with a dear friend.  I shared with her my frustration and exhaustion from boot camp, and shared with her the words used by my co-worker to encourage me.
My friend challenged me with her words.  She said, "Kim--what if you wouldn't have experienced your setbacks through your cancer treatment?  What is wrong with being the last one on the team?  Isn't it okay to just be who you are and where you are at?" 

Hmmmm...good questions...

So....I still am the slowest in our class....and I still struggle lots!  But, my frustration is gone, now replaced with embracing the moment and celebrating whenever we "survive" a day at boot camp!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

National Cancer Survivors Day

Today was National Cancer Survivors Day, with many communities having a gathering of some sort to honor, support and encourage those who have survived cancer.  To be honest, I am so busy living life, that I have never taken the time to participate or really even think about this day.  (After all, cancer has taken enough of my minutes.) 

However this morning, I read a thought provoking blog writen by my friend Marie, along with some interesting follow up comments regarding this national holiday.  (The post I read is http://journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com/)  Marie shared how some individuals struggle with the word survivor.  Marie challenged us with these questions, "Is the word survivor just another label, or is it a word to be embraced?" 

Here is my response to Marie:

Shortly after I was diagnosed and someone first called me a survivor, the hairs on my neck stood up. I found myself wrestling with the term? After all, I didn't do anything special.  I was diagnosed with cancer.  I did the treatment that was needed to try and save my life. Finally,  I looked up the definition of survivor. According to www.freedictionary.com the definition of survivor is:
1. To remain alive or in existence.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere
3. To remain functional or usable:

I, personally, don't see anything wrong with these definitions of survivor, and would say that all three definitions describe some part of my cancer journey.  At times, for lack of better words, I have called myself and others, "survivors." For many of us, the cancer journey did and continues to provide hardships in our lives that many others don't or won't have to face. I don't believe this makes us better or worse, it just is...

We have two major hospitals in our area, and I was invited to both of their "National Survivor Celebrations" today. I declined. It's not that I am against the day or their choice to celebrate...to be honest, I am too busy celebrating the blessing of living.

How about you, what are your thoughts using the word "survivor" to describe someone who has or is walking the cancer journey?