On January 1, 2014 everything looked the same as every other New Years Day … a calendar of days to be filled with new adventures, new celebrations, new friends, laughter, birthdays, get together’s, holidays, etc., etc., etc. But that all changed 1 week later. Within 1 week I had a doctors visit, a 3-D Mammogram, an ultrasound, a biopsy and a diagnosis of Breast Cancer. This New Year would still be filled with days of new adventures, new celebrations, new friends, laughter, birthdays, get together’s, and holidays; but each of these moments will now be viewed from a different perspective. They will be appreciated more. They will be remembered for years to come. They will be treasured. The adventures may be ones that I would never have picked or imagined I’d go through – yet the celebrations will be small moments of pure joy while sitting alone, reflecting on how truly blessed I am to monumental times of whooping it up with family & friends. There will be shocking moments that will take my breath away. And moments (or hours) of crying alone or in my husbands and children’s arms.
This has been a completely New Year to say the least; but the year is not over. Not yet. In the 7 months of this 2014th year, my life has been poured into by my family and friends. Friends from grammar school and high school (thank you Facebook!) that have not only kept “in touch” but have prayed for me, lifted me up with encouraging notes, cards, gifts, flowers, etc. Friends and family from NY to CA all made me feel like a Rock Star – the texts, the phone calls, the emails, the cards, and especially the flowers all had Tim answering the door every 5 minutes those first 2 weeks after surgery! My best friends knew the words I needed to hear and the cute pajamas I’d want to wear! Don’t even get me started on my church family (!!) “new friends” took care of our meals for 3 weeks (!!) and lifted up my spirit with each visit! Even though I have had a bi-lateral mastectomy with a sentinel node biopsy (Stage I, lymph nodes clear, no complications, no chemo, no radiation = a monumental celebration!). And had tissue expander’s filled each week (this was not so much “crying” in my husbands arms as it was “sobbing” uncontrollably due to the pain and realization of what I had just gone through). Along with my most recent surgery (2 weeks ago) of having the tissue expander’s exchanged for silicone implants… my final surgery!!! (I’m waiting for complete healing before “whooping it up”, but believe me… there will be dancing, jumping, crying (tears of joy) and lots of laughter as we celebrate!). I look at these 7 months as a blessing and I give God all the glory! Even in the darkest of moments, light shone through so much brighter than I could have imagined. Even through tears, there was joy in the mornings.
There are more doctor appointments to go to. More medications to be on. More trips up to Moffitt. But I can honestly say, Cancer has not stopped me, stripped me or side-tracked me. My faith in God and His promises, along with the love and support of my husband, children, family and friends has gotten me through my darkest New Year yet. I have a complete and amazing testimony of God’s provision, miracles and love …. and I know He isn’t done.
The following are not my words; yet they very well could be. I came across them during one of my first visits to Moffitt Cancer Center. They have stuck with me because of the truth behind them…
“Each of our lives is a story. We journey along a road of experiences and emotions, passing significant milestones along the way. Suddenly, the road beneath our feet takes a sharp turn, breaking from what has been certain. Cancer causes the break. Perspective ruthlessly shifts; you and your loved ones sees the road differently than you did before. However, we see the road has not ended. It continues on through new hills and new valleys. We know life has done this before, curiously forcing us into foreign places and down roads that seem impassable. Yet somehow these challenges become fertile soil where seeds of faith, strength, hope, love and resilience mature and grow strong.” Beyond The Shock