Saturday, September 26, 2009


It happened again.

"Love your hair! is it naturally curly?"

And, this time, I answered without hesitation.

"Yes.  Thank you."

And then exchanged a knowing glance with my husband.  One of those glances we call the "we should be married" looks.  A look that says everything.

The remarkable thing about this verbal exchange is that it took place at Jerry's office.  

The woman doing the asking WORKS there.

So, Jerry, if it IS  in fact the chemo that makes my hair curly, apparently not everyone who works with cancer patients understands that.

I am sticking to my answer.  

The curls are natural.  


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Race for the Cure

Today I participated in my first "Race for the Cure".  

The entire morning was filled with conflicting emotions.

Team Strong and Courageous.  An amazing team of support. 

There for me.  To support ME.  

There because I had breast cancer.

But that very fact punched me in the stomach a million times throughout the morning.  

I kept thinking "I shouldn't be here" everywhere I went.

Survivor City?   That is a great thing.  A great place.  But why was I there?

I said to Becky "this is not right.  We should not be here."  

And she completely and instantly understood. 

We should not have been there because I should not have had cancer.  Another "how did this happen" moment.

As we walked to meet up with the Team, we heard the live radio broadcast.  Celebrating different survivors.

"We have Mrs. ____, a breast cancer survivor who is 93 years old!  She is here in her wheelchair!  And she has battled breast cancer FOUR times!"

"Another survivor!  Her breast cancer has gone to her brain, and she has battled TWENTY brain tumors!  She is here!"

I looked at Becky.  

She looked at me.  

"ooohh.  20 brain tumors."

I had to fight back the tears.  

I guess it is good to know that people can and do battle this monster of breast cancer multiple times.

But not me.

I don't want to.

I want to be DONE. 

And I found the radio broadcast disturbing in its reminder that cancer may not be done with me.

So, even though I am cancer free, I will still need to be strong and courageous.

Strong enough to refuse to pick up the bag of fear.

Courageous enough to live.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Change the Past?

Would I, if I could, change the last year of my life?

Blot out the pain and awfulness of breast cancer?

Take away the surgeries and chemo?

Reclaim the time spent on so many doctor visits?

Call back the millions of tears?

Erase the sudden and terrific fears?


Interesting questions to ponder.

But there would be more questions that would have to be considered before I could answer any of them honestly.

Would I return the courage and strength that God has granted me?

Take back the boldness of sharing my faith in the God who has promised me that He will be with me wherever I go?

Would I go back to being a stranger to my family?

Release the 'reconnections' with so many friends?

Live, again, with no thought of my own mortality?

Give back the renewed understanding of what a solid, strong, and wonderful man I married? 

Take away the pain my daughters have experienced? 

Take away the joy they felt hearing the words "cancer free"?

There is no question.

Not really.

And it doesn't take me much time to ponder.

Because I know the answers.

I wouldn't change my life.

I am thankful for the difficulties.

Because I am thrilled with the blessings.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sack of Fear

It has been ten months since my life changed drastically.

In the first months after I was told I had breast cancer, I wondered if cancer would ever be out of my consciousness.  

Would it ever move out of my eyesight?  

Or out of earshot?  

Would it ever be anything other than my entire world?  

Stop consuming every thought?

Stop feeding and creating terror?

I asked Evy and Maureen, friends who are also breast cancer survivors, those questions.  Really.  

I remember standing in the reception area at work and asking Maureen "does cancer ever move away from right here?"  as I held my hand two inches from my face.   

At Applebee's with Evy, I sobbed (literally) that same question, in many different forms. 

Their answers were calming and reassuring.

But I didn't believe them.

I just returned from 7 days at the Oregon Coast.  

It was Beautiful.

Beautiful weather.

Beautiful time with my family.

Beautiful time with God.

Beautiful in the freedom of nothing.  No schedule.  No list.  Nothing.

I read books -- entire books -- for the first time since last summer.  Even non-fiction.  That means chemo brain is relenting.  Somewhat.

And I did read one novel.  It wasn't anything great or remarkable.  In fact, almost a waste of time.  But there was one quote in the book that hit me over the head.

That quote answered my question about the terror of cancer moving out of my consciousness.

In the book, one character says to another:  

"do not pick up a sack of fear and carry it with you everywhere, just waiting until the next test and diagnosis..."

Perhaps cancer terror can move out of my consciousness...but it is up to me.

There are lots of different things in life that I can fear.  






Life itself.

But, perhaps, if I refuse to pick up the sack of fear and carry it with me everywhere, perhaps then I can see past the cancer.

I won't forget the terror.  

I won't forget the blessings.

But I will not continue to be terrorized by cancer.

I will not pick up the sack. 

I refuse.