How will I celebrate 5 years of being NED? I’ll get a group of women together to show their scars and tell what it’s like to be a survivor! Check out my latest project!
You know on fourth of July when you watch fireworks and at the very end they put off a bunch at the same time. But you keep waiting and waiting for that finale, and they keep teasing you, and you keep thinking it’s the end and it’s not. Well that is probably a good way to describe my reconstructions. I keep acting like I’m done and I’m not. I keep saying one more, and it’s not. But I truly am at the end now. In two days I see my dear plastic surgeon for the last time for him to give me nipples. Yes, nipples. There is something very strange about writing about nipples. I’m comfortable writing breast, not quite so with nipples.
But I’ve decided to do it. I’m saying goodbye to the Barbie Boobs and hoping they really do look realistic with nipples.
And really….the last finale will be getting the nipple tattoo’d. I promise.
Wish me luck:)
I’m starting to think pink. It’s taken me a while. I now own a lot of pink stuff. Pink shirts, pink socks, pink bags. This year I decided to have fun with the Komen Race in Kalamazoo. Last year I was the first place finisher but this year I’m proud to say I was 5th! Some amazing 40 year old survivor rocked the race in 21 minutes. And it was 95 degrees. When I was checking out the results I met the 4th place survivor and she was 65! I love it! We totally high fived!
I tried to stay upbeat this year. It was pretty emotional for me. But I know deep in my heart that my friends who passed this year from the Motherswww.motherswithcancer.com with Cancer Blog would want me to live and laugh. But sometimes it’s still hard.
I’m trying out some new names. I haven’t pastored in several years so I don’t really feel like clergygirl anymore. And I’m starting nursing school in September. I actually feel like a post-cancer girl who was thrown a curve ball, who’s trying to figure out my place in this world. I’m also a little angry (thus the hot, not because I think myself hot, lets just be clear about that right now) about breast cancer in general and what it takes from women, and men too. Is it ok to be angry about breast cancer? I’m angry enough to run a marathon to raise money for research. I suppose that qualifies as being a little hot under the collar.
So you can tell me what you think of my new name. Does it fit? Did you prefer clergygirl?
“After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”
Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, “He can’t talk that way! That’s blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins.”
Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, “Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . .” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12
I recently spoke at my church on this passage. I challenged the congregation to be “mat carriers” for each other and talked about the “mat carriers” I experienced while going through cancer. Then I saw this video and it reminded me of how much it means when people reach out to you and truly care for you during difficult times in your life. The paraplytic had four friends who carried him to Jesus, they dug through a roof to get him to the feet of Jesus.
So thankful for the people who cared for me and went above and beyond to help me feel His presence…..even today.
I spoke at a cancer conference yesterday at a local church. I knew I was supposed to speak about my experience with reconstruction but somehow I missed that I was supposed to speak in the main session and share my testimony. Woops! When I arrived I forgot to pick up a schedule on my way in and I had this very creeping feeling that I was supposed to be up on the main panel. Maybe it was when the coordinator announced she had survivors from their 60’s, 50’s, 40’s and 30’s. I looked around for the other 30 something survivor. I dunno….just had a feeling. So after a woman in her 40’s spoke all of a sudden I heard my name. Yikes. All I can say is that it is a good thing my professional experience involves speaking in public. I was actually glad to speak and to not have laid awake last night worrying about what I would say. It was better this way.
It’s actually these kind of opportunities that are helping me heal.
I preached a few weeks ago at our church.
They are reminders to me that I am not completely washed up and useless. Which is very much how I’ve felt this past couple years.
Worried the cancer ruined my ability to function fully. Worried the painful experiences with the church would forever ruin my spirit.
I do believe I have been hurt by the “bullies” of life. I know I’m not alone. Beaten and broken physically.Words that hurt.
I could go on and on.
But I’m counting on deeper things than physical hurts.
I’m hanging on for the soul awakening. The blooming yet to come from living in the fear of the Lord rather than fear of people or cancer.
I am far deeper a person than my breasts or my issues with anxiety.
I am thankful for people who have given me opportunities to remind me that I am far more than my physical struggles. That I am capable. That I am healing. That I am blooming. That my soul is in good hands.
I’m going to get my vitamin D checked this week. Now that I’m mostly finished with treatment I want to make sure my levels are good. Here’s an article that talks about breast cancer and vitamin D levels. That and I try to get outside for at least twenty minutes a day. It’s a bit hard here in Michigan since most days are cloudy through the winter. So my new doctor agreed to having that checked and my thyroid checked and wrote me a script. Since my thyroid area was radiated I want to make sure it’s OK as well.
“But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!”
When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. And so the two of them traveled on together to Bethlehem.” (Ruth 1:16-18)
Ruth had a hard decision. Go the safe route with Orpah, back to her people and familiarity, or travel into the unknown. Commentaries will say that Ruth loved her MIL so much that she couldn’t part with her. That might be the case, but I think Ruth was willing to travel the more difficult path. She wouldn’t leave her MIL in crisis.
She had no idea where she was going. She knew very little of the God of the Israelites. And even Naomi knows she won’t be having more sons and Ruth probably isn’t going to be “miss bachelorette” as a moabite woman in Judah.
Ruth had a lot of unknowns and her future looked grim and she had every reason to turn back. Who can fault Orpah for making the decision to return?
On this breast cancer journey we don’t really have a choice to travel this path of the unknown. We don’t get the option of turning back.
When I was diagnosed with IBC I had about three weeks of testing before I started chemo. During that time I was sure they would tell me it was all a mistake. It wasn’t. In fact things got worse when they found it in the other breast. I tried to figure out how I could get out of having chemo. I couldn’t. Then with the mastectomies I traveled to U of M sure they would tell me that since the cancer was gone after chemo I wouldn’t have to have mastectomies. I did. Now I am at the eve of starting radiation. I don’t want to do radiation. I will.
I am taking the path of big question marks. The difficult road.
But I’m not alone.
Just as Ruth traveled the difficult road with Naomi, John describes Jesus as the friend of all friends:
“When the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.” (John 16:12)
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Ruth stuck with Naomi. Jesus walks with you.