5 weeks ago I went up to the Huntsman to get some genetic testing done. Since they have re classified the cancer I have as being a "wild strain" they wanted to be sure I didn't have 6 mutations which can occur with this type of Cancer. While I was there they explained to me if I tested positive for 1 of the mutations then the chances of my children getting this type of cancer would be 50%. If I tested positive for 2 of the mutations, then their chances would go up. Which would mean that they would need to go through getting blood draws, scans, and all of the hell that cancer can cause. We chose to receive these tests because my husband said a long time ago that "knowledge is power". Having the knowledge that we do, or will receive will help us make the proper decisions for the future. Needless to say, I was heartbroken after the appointment and I cried the whole way home. All I could think about were my babies, my sweet babies. This cancer can do whatever the hell it wants to do to me, but not my babies. The last 5 weeks have been difficult waiting for the results, and I have cried a thousand tears. I called those who were close to me and shared the news, they were heartbroken as well. During these last weeks I held my babies closer, prayed harder, pleaded, bargained, sent out good thoughts. Enjoyed my life more. I was humbled. So humbled. As I have said before God knows me and knows the desires of my heart. He was near. I felt Him.
We had my appointment this past week. Both my husband and I felt that I would most likely have one of the mutations...since this journey has already been a hell of a ride. We sat down with the Doctor, she first said that my scans looked like everything was still stable...but they were going to send my scans to a panel of doctors just to make sure. Relief and what a blessing. Thank you for all of your sweet thoughts, messages and prayers. The next genetic Doctor sat in front of us and made small talk. She then said that I surprisingly didn't have any of the mutations. The tears flowed, my gasp of relief was audible. I looked at my love and he was just as relieved. The Doctor said that if I was to have tested positive that in actuality my babies would have had the cancer...my heart felt like it skipped a few beats. The room was silent. In my mind and heart I thought that God is good. He is aware of me. He loves you. He loves me. Life isn't always what we expect it to be. Life is hard, mixed with happy, sad, tragedy, triumph, pain, power, love...so much love. We have to find it, we have to be it. We all have hard things to deal with in life. The question I ask myself all of the time is How will I deal with it? How will I let this experience mold me? At times I have failed miserably. At times I have stumbled and have fallen...but there has always been good in the darkness, light when I felt like there was none to be found...yet I have chosen to get up...and I'm not stopping.
Sometimes the best talks I have with my kids are when we are driving in the car. Tonight was the perfect example. My baby girl asked me if I was ever going to get better from being sick? This topic has come up several times over the years. We always are direct and frank with them. They are aware when "Mommy needs to rest" or "Mommy doesn't feel well" or "Mommy has a doctors appointment". I told her I had a doctors appointment tomorrow, and I think it was on her mind. Maybe they are too aware, but I want to be open with them...because Life is fragile. Life can change in a moment. second. breathe. I told her that yes, I wanted to get better, of course I want to get better. That is why mommy does what she does...because I want to Live. I have to believe that I will get better...but I live my life each day the best that I can. I work hard. I play hard. I live hard. This is me. I am me and I am happy. I told her all of these things and that that is how she needs to live her life. Do her best. Be her best, if you fall, you get back up and fight harder. Believe in yourself and be happy with being you. My brother made a cd and this song was on it. In fact, we were listening to it tonight when she was asking me these questions. I told her to listen to the words, feel them. Believe, don't merely survive. Be yourself. All will fall into place...it always does, and not always the way you think it will. Roll with it. Let life lift you. It will work out. I've gotta believe.
I remember playing house and wanting to be a Momma since I was little. From the days of playing with my baby dolls, and house with my brother, sisters, and cousins. I remember dressing up in Grandmas clothes and jewelry, walking around the house in her heels with my sister and our nylons sagging down our legs, to our ankles. Wearing her clip on earrings, putting her red lipstick on and wigs! Dressing up in Grandpas Navy uniform, and pretending to be out to sea...oh the days of being a kid!
I especially remember loving my little baby dolls, and carrying them around, they were my treasures! I had this one baby doll that when you would pull the string on the back of it, it would cry. I remember pulling on that string and doing my best to comfort my little dolly. I loved her. I guess my Momma knew that she was my greatest treasure...because one day I decided to take an orange crayon and draw all over my Mommas treasure, her rock wall fireplace. The story is that she scrubbed and scrubbed that and it never did come out. Oh, did I get in trouble for that one! Little did I know that karma would be coming back to me soon. Around Christmas time I couldn't find my sweet dolly, but I found her on Christmas day when we went to Grandmas house for breakfast. We were sitting in the front room and I remember opening this present. It was wrapped so nicely, and I ripped through that paper, so excited! When I opened the lid, I was devastated! My beloved dolly was in that box, and she had marker drawn all over her face, her hair was ratted, and she had a bandage around her arm and leg. She looked like she'd been to hell and back. Oh, there was a boom of laughter and I can still hear my Momma and the whole room laughing. I guess my Uncle took my baby doll to the Dr. to get fixed, because the pull string was fading and not working so well (and because I colored all over the rock wall). I picked up my sweet doll and pulled the string and she started a shaking. I dropped her to the floor and ran outta that room sobbing about my baby doll being "fixed" by Uncle Noel. Boy, I didn't like him very much that day, but I grew to love him again. I learned my lesson the hard way to respect my Mommas things and not draw on her treasures!
I found her not to long ago in the same little box she was delivered to me all those years ago, bandaged and everything. Inside was a little poem written by my Momma. I opened it, read the poem and laughed and laughed about it. My kids wanted to know what was so funny and I got to share with them the memories I had when I was younger. I think they were a little creeped out by how the doll looked! I did pick my dolly out of the box and hugged her anyway...
I guess I've been feeling nostalgic as of late. Reminiscing of people, and experiences. I'm just really grateful for memories, good or bad...they remind me to feel. They let me laugh till my stomach hurts, or cry till I can't cry anymore. I get to remember all the living I've got to do and it warms my heart and brings a smile to my face. I recognize that I am truly blessed. God has been good to me all these years.
I usually get my scans every 6 months...at least that's what it's been for the last few years. Since all of the issues I had in October I get to go in today. The 3rd month, 90 days, it's already here...arrived at my door. Surprising me among-st all that life has been offering us this little while. This past week we had an unexpected death in our family. A great man, mentor, father, husband, papa and friend. Our hearts have literally been broken. Literally into pieces. Amidst all of the emotions, and sadness we have felt hope. So powerful. So necessary. So understanding. So needed. Hope. Hope in the plan of salvation. Hope we will see him again. Hope in his love. Knowing that love does not break the bands of death. Hope in our God and in His Son. Hope that families are forever. Hope that there will be a new day for us to wake up too. Hope, it is fueling me now, teaching me, molding me...I've had to let it be my compass. I've found it in the darkness...and it has been found...over and over again. Not just from this sudden death in our lives, but from our many experiences in this life. Hope has been one of the many things that have anchored me in this journey. Many times, over and over again I've heard..."you shouldn't be here...you aren't supposed to have survived...you are dying." I have chosen to hear you are living. You're not a number. You are supposed to be here. I have hope...you can't take that away from me. No one can take that away from me but myself...and I will not stop believing in Hope. Whatever this life throws at you or drops at your doorstep. Choose. You get to choose how you accept it. As I am preparing to walk outside soon. I have already chosen hope in my heart...and it has set me free.
As I have reflected on my life the last few weeks I have been reminded time and time again that we are all intertwined. I have thoroughly enjoyed the season that my life is in right now...especially after the roller coaster of October. I am so grateful that I have been able to enjoy the holidays with my family, and surrounded by those that I love. I've been surprised, uplifted, and purposefully chosen to make memories with the time I've been given. I've felt so much love...an outpouring of love, really. It is so strong that I cannot deny that there is a God. I know He is real. I know He lives. He is all around us. He is in your thoughts when you think of another, He is in the way you care for your child. He is aware of you and may send someone to your front door when you are in need. He is in the beauty of our earth, the sunshine, rain, snow, light, darkness, sorrow, pain. I have been enlightened by His love...by your love. He is in you. Thank you. Thank you for that phone call, for that smile, that visit, that surprise party, for your thoughtfulness, for putting me in my place, for listening, giving, for just being. Thank you for reminding me that life is good, even when it is hard. That people are good. That God is good. I have truly been blessed. I am aware of the grace that surrounds me. I am grateful my heart is beating. I am alive.
It has been quite the ride the last few weeks...difficult, but beautiful. This last week we were able to meet up with an educated Doctor up at the Huntsman, who took the time to review my case and history to give us a second opinion. Who took my many scans, and labs, and, and, and in front of a panel of Doctors to discuss my body. I received a call back from her this week with good news. They determined it was not in my bone, nor in the marrow. How is this so different from the last radiologist? You have a rare type of cancer that is hard to detect to someone not familiar with my case. My cause. My life. But, you have a mass in your pelvis...and we will monitor it...and you will come back soon...and we will see what happens...In all of this of course you know by now the tears are falling. I praise my God, for He has shown mercy on me. For there is light even in darkness. For there is good even in the bad. These past few weeks many wonderful people whom I love have reached out to us. Sending good thoughts, prayers, uplifting me. Guiding me on this journey in love and kindness. The only way I can explain this feeling is that I have been sustained. Sustained. This feeling has nourished my soul, empowered me, lifted me up. Gratitude has filled my heart a thousand times over. Gratitude. It has made me ponder the power of many, how we can help each other. Love lifted up in unison...to a higher power. How it can change a person. How it is changing me...and I am thankful. I am thankful for this life I have been given to live. I am thankful that I can taste the bitter to know the sweet. I am thankful that having Cancer makes me see life clearer. I am thankful for each moment...the good and the bad, because it is helping me grow. What a ride it's been, what a ride it is. What a ride it will be and I'm sure as hell happy to be on it.
Today I received the results back from my 6 months scans. I don't know what I was expecting to hear, just hoping for good news. I have been surprised with how much peace I have felt over the last few days. Getting scans are so hard, and the waiting game is usually more difficult. I have most likely cried a thousand tears today, and I'm sure I have a thousand more that will come. Things are looking better in my Liver and abdomen, for this I am in awe and so grateful. They are seeing some shrinkage in both of them. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard my Doctor say that to me, but there was more to come. It was my pelvis, irregular bone marrow, probably metastatic disease...Irregularity in the peritoneal coverings...in my bones. What does that even mean?? What are you trying to tell me? I asked again. The cancer has spread to your bone marrow in your pelvis. Silence. Shock. Amidst all of that I felt a form of peace. This same peace I had felt when I knelt in prayer before my God pouring out my heart to Him. I know He knows my heart and what I desire in this life. I know He heard me. I told Him not my will but His, and whatever the outcome I would do what needs to be done. I will fight. I will live to see my babies grow up. I will. I will keep going even when it is hard. I will not give up. I will not let this cancer beat me. I am stronger then this cancer. Of course a part of me is heartbroken, of course. Of course I thought of my sweet babies, and my heart hurt. They make me stronger. They make me want to hold on tighter. Cancer can't take that away from me. I will continue to live. I will live harder, love harder, hold longer, forgive easier, smile more, be more, do more, listen more, give more. I will keep going no matter the cost. I have been so blessed. God has given me 9 beautiful and heartbreaking years to watch my babies grow...to be with my husband, my soul mate. Cancer can't take that away from me. I can only hope and fight for more. I will not be afraid, for my God is on my side. He is aware of me. He is aware of you...a tear drops from my face... I let go and soar.......