Tag Archive | cancer survivor

One Year Ago Today…

One year ago today,

I had hair, long hair.
I was scared.
I didn’t know what to expect.
I had my first PET scan.
I wondered what the doctors would find.
I was afraid of having my blood drawn.
I was terrified of chemo.
I worried about the future.

Today,

I have short, fun, sassy hair. But I HAVE hair!
I am still nervous when I go into the doctor’s office.
I know what happens when you’re diagnosed with cancer, and it’s not fun to go through.
I know that the doctors have found that I no longer have cancer!
I still don’t like having my blood drawn, but it’s not as scary as it used to be.
I have conquered chemo.
I am at peace about my future, and it looks good!

I’ve come a long way in a year. I’ve seen and done things that I never want to repeat, yet wouldn’t trade, (and no, I’m not lying). I am writing this as I sit in the waiting room for my 6 month post-chemo checkup with Dr. Sharman at the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute in Springfield, OR. I am so thankful for the love and care they showed me through my battle.

Do I worry about my cancer coming back? Sometimes, but it’s usually only when I’m sitting in places like this. Most of the time, I’m out being normal – living my life!

I have to say a special thank you to Keller Williams Realty Mid-Willamette, and the non-profit foundation of Keller Williams Realty International, KW Cares. If it weren’t for the financial assistance that we received from them and many others not affiliated with KW, we would be buried in debt with little hope of recovering for years. For all you have all done, I am so grateful.

God has truly been my strength through all of this. I’m reminded daily as I hear songs on Air1 and KLove – songs that encouraged me through the tough times. He gave me the strength and the will to make it. Everyone else was like God “with skin on”. You gave me encouragement, love, hope and inspiration. Courage to make it through. And because of that, today I am cancer free.

On the left is my first PET Scan, on 4/23/13, and on the right is my most recent PET Scan image on 1/25/13.  Note that the cancer mass in my chest (the irregularly shaped one) is no longer lighting up with cancer!  The other large, dark spots you see are the heart, kidneys, and bladder.  And of course my brain & face, but I figured you knew that. 🙂

1-24-13 PET Scan

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Reflections of 2012

I don’t know about you all, but for me, I can’t help but think of the past at Christmastime.  Grandparents that I’ve lost, homes I’ve lived in over the years, my children as babies.  This time of year seems to breed nostalgia.  Of course having all the Christmas songs going in the background probably contributes quite a bit as well.

When I think back on this whole year, I realize I have seen a lot.  Had you told me that I would battle a life threatening disease and win, I probably would have tried everything I could do to stop time and keep it from happening.  I don’t think that would have worked though. 🙂

Just last Sunday I found out that another cancer warrior I know has only a short time left here.  That makes 2 in the last 7 days with just a couple months of life to live.  Of the 5 people I know that were diagnosed within 1-3 months of me, my Aunt Judy & I seem to be the only ones that are winning our fights.  Two others have gone to be with Jesus, and then this one I heard about on Sunday.  Cancer is so unfair.  These other friends deserve to live too!!

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t take life for granted.  It sounds so cliche to say this, that I almost didn’t.  But really, unless you’ve fought this fight, you can’t totally understand.  Now I get the meaning of, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.”  Take advantage of the time here and don’t waste it.

Smile more.  Laugh more.  Get upset less.  Realize that it really doesn’t matter that you didn’t get the close parking place at the store – be thankful that you can walk the distance.  Hug your kids.  Kiss your spouse.  It’s ok if the dishes sit in the sink.  Go to bed if you’re tired.  Don’t try to work yourself into an early grave.  It’s really not important.  Done is better than perfect.  Enjoy life.  Pray more.  Worry less.  Trust.

Past & Future

Photo courtesy of Mark Ylen, Ylen Photography

Psalm 118:17 – My Declarations

I don’t feel like I’ve been doing enough “declaring” lately (as my Psalm 118:17 verse talks about).  So I thought that today, I’m going to declare 10 things that I am thankful for through all this:

10. Friends that take my kids places.  This week the Nace family was so kind to come and pick up Blaine & Sharolyn for some fun times in Seattle.  Between going up the Space Needle, riding the Duck (ask them about it) & going to Wild Waves, I don’t think we will ever be able to compare to the fun they’ve had with them.

9.  My sister-in-law, Teresa.  She was able to take me to the chemo lounge for my fluids today with such  short notice.  That was a huge blessing.

8.  My church family.  Pastor Scott Miller had a great message yesterday on 2 Peter 2:9-10 and even worked my Psalm 118 bracelets into the sermon.  If you’re interested in listening to it, you can hear it online.  I brought a bunch of the bracelets along and was able to give a bunch of them away after the service.  It was fun seeing all those lime green bracelets on so many arms, and hearing all the encouragement from so many people.

7.  The Albany Fire Department.  After a scary incident with our fuse box on Saturday, they made sure that there weren’t any hidden flames or hot spots that were going to smolder and start a fire after they left.

6.  Tom’s cousin Dick McLain.  Kinda tied in with number 7, it’s nice to have an electrician in the family that we can call on to give us the extra peace of mind about the fuse box.  It turned out to be probably something like a motor or something under the house that hasn’t been used in years, and when Tom put some fuses in, it just gave “juice” to something that didn’t need it, causing the smoke.

5.  Applesauce.  Lots and lots of applesauce.  Mom, Andrea, all the kids, and I (though I don’t think I was that much help) worked up a bunch of applesauce last week.  It was so much fun.  I told my mom, I felt like I was in a Karen Kingsbury book the way we were all working together with the kids and each other.

4.  Nurses that care.  I am so blessed to have nurses that don’t look at their job as just a job.  The gals at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute are so kind and compassionate.

3.  Mom.  How can I even begin to list the many ways my mom has been helpful?  She’s been the one to take me to almost all my appointments.  I selfishly actually enjoy having this time with her.

2.  Tom.  Having a husband that is willing to put up with my mood swings, and crazy feelings is so helpful.  Many times I feel as though I truly don’t deserve it.  I pray for the courage and strength to push through all this yucky stuff so that we can have some good memories this year!

1.  God.  By far, I couldn’t make it through all this without Him.  I am so glad that no matter what I’m doing whether it’s chemo or a PET scan, I’m not alone.  That makes things so much more bearable.  I honestly don’t know how someone can make it through a cancer journey without having God alongside. But you don’t need to have cancer to be blessed by Him, or have Him feel close.  For me, it’s just that it seems more “real” when I’m faced with something like this.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t WANT to have something wrong with me, but I will trust Him with whatever I have going on.

I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the LORD.  Psalm 118:17

6/28/12 Auction items update

I just wanted to update you all with more specifics on items to be auctioned off. This came from Scott Schuler – DJ for KRKT radio station 99.9 in Albany, OR.

1. 2 Sunday passes to the Oregon Jamboree

2. “Autographed items are en route from some of Nashville’s biggest stars for auction”

3. 2 single person, bottom fishing trips with Cap’n Dan Zimmerman on board the Mariner out of Depoe Bay

And then he says…more to come! So stay tuned, it’s gonna be fun!