It has been TEN years!

Today marks 10 years since my cancer diagnosis.

A lot of life happens in 10 years. LOTS of good, a fair share of bad…and as I sit back and reflect on it, I’m just so grateful for every bit of it.

I spent the first 6 years after being diagnosed worrying so much. I was clutching so hard to just wanting to live. Every little ache or pain would send me down the trail of panic and what ifs.

I had the biggest recurrence scare in 2018. It was a huge wake up call for me. A call for me to stop living in a state of waiting for the other shoe to fall. To stop letting the ups and downs of life affect me so much. A call to make changes so when the day comes that I leave – whether that is tomorrow or in 50 years – I will be proud of myself for having embraced and appreciated the life that God put in front of me.

“Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger.” – Hillsong United

When you think you are going to die, you realize how, in that moment, you would take ALL the stressful life moments just to stay on this side of Heaven. You would take that stressful work issue, relationship, parenting moment, etc. with gratitude, just to stay here. Being a member of the cancer club means that I have met several people who haven’t gotten the amount of bonus years I have gotten. And so every time I start to let anxiety or stress get the better of me, I remind myself that those people would have traded places with me in a heartbeat – no matter how hard things feel in that moment. 

I consider that perspective a gift. It has helped me spend the last 4 years asking myself what I need to do to feel at peace with who I am. It has made me ask myself what a life well lived looks like. It has made me a better person. 

Ten years after that terrible diagnosis, I know what is important to me. I work hard to keep those things front and center.

My faith has grown, and I have grown immensely in learning how to release control and trust. I’m better at riding the waves that life hands me, and work hard to not be too tied to the outcome of any of it because in the end, it will all work out and it will all be good. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m getting better and better with every challenge that is put in front of me.

“You let me be where I’ve been so I can be all that I am. Better for it.” – Riley Clemmons

And this growth has allowed me to see the challenges in front of me as an opportunity to become a stronger, braver, more compassionate person.

So at 10 years, I remain completely grateful. Grateful for what I’ve learned, how it has shaped me…and even more grateful that I was surrounded by so many people who have loved us through all of it. From childcare to meal trains to celebrations of milestones to prayers to just being present.

If you are one of the people who supported us in anyway during that time, please know that I am forever grateful, forever changed and constantly working on how I can pay it forward.

And to my husband – thank you for being my biggest and best cheerleader, supporter, nurse, partner and best friend through all of this turmoil and growth. I’m the luckiest that God chose you for me.

Cancer roller coaster

I last posted a little over a year ago about what it feels like to be on the the “other side” of cancer.

“Every single ailment you have – a headache, a weird pain close to the cancer site, a dizzy spell – you immediately go to a recurrence in your head.”

Last fall, I had a really bad pain in my left side which, after a trip to the ER thinking I had a kidney stone, turned out to be a rupturing cyst on my one and only remaining ovary. A couple months later, it happened again, then again. Continue reading

The saga continues…

So, if you will remember that in my update blog a couple weeks ago, I talked about not being able to breathe on Day 1, 2 and 3. After that, I wound up with this dry cough that would never become productive. I thought I might have caught a virus or something.

Two and a half weeks after my surgery, that cough was still there and becoming more and more pesky. I couldn’t get through sentences without coughing, and the cough would sneak up on me so covering my mouth was near impossible. After spending a day in meetings coughing all over everyone, I decided to see if my family doctor could give me a cough suppressant or a steroid…or something so people wouldn’t think I was coughing flu germs all over them!

Continue reading

Hysterectomy pathology is in

I waited as patiently as possible all week for the pathology to come in. By the end of the week, my patience had faded and my worry had fired up. On Thursday, I spent a long time researching whether benign tumors/cysts were ever smooth. Dr. Wayman described mine as smooth (unlike cancer), but was it impossible that it was cancer?

I remember when I went for my biopsy right before my diagnosis, and the nurses were talking amongst themselves. I heard one say, “Is it vascular?” and the other said it was. It was code for something…I was sure of it. They left me alone in the room right after that, and it was all I could do to not jump off the table to get my phone and start Googling “vascular mass in breast.” Was vascular good? Bad? Continue reading

Day 6 Update on Hysterectomy

Day 6 after my hysterectomy – the first day I feel fairly normal.

Going into this surgery, I promised myself I would be gentle and patient with myself. I rushed things back in April (and in past surgeries), and I regretted it very much so I wanted to be sure I took my time getting back to 100%.

So for anyone who might be going through this surgery, I thought it would be good to document my experience thus far.

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Surgery No. 10: Hysterectomy, tube removal, plus surprise ovary removal

A familiar image -- getting ready for another surgery.

A familiar image — getting ready for another surgery.

Man, I thought I was a pro at surgeries, but as the date got closer, I was getting pretty nervous about the pain that would come with a hysterectomy.

I like to know what to expect. That’s a big reason I have kept the blog updated. I want others who are newly diagnosed to be able to stumble upon and read my story. I have read and kept up with many cancer blogs over the last 4 1/2 years since my diagnosis. It helps me to hear other stories.

So as it relates to the hysterectomy surgery, I wanted to know what was coming. I have two friends who had gone through one in the past couple months. They both have their own stories about how things went. And, I definitely appreciate hearing them because I wanted to go into this with my eyes wide open. Continue reading