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April 2013 - Denise Neish

Two years ago today

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Two years ago today

Written Apr 28, 2013 12:52am

Two years ago today was the hardest day of my life.  Two years ago today I was scared all day.  My world had already been rocked when I found out I had breast cancer, but I had already had the initial surgery, and was adjusting to the idea of beginning chemo.  I was really worried about the effect on my family, but I knew I would be okay in the end.

 

Then, when the lab results came back and I was told the cancer had spread to 24 lymph nodes, my confidence started sinking.  The nervous patter in my heart and flutter in my stomach that I had felt for the last couple of weeks increased.  My appetite was gone, and worry gnawed at me, but I tried to appear brave on the outside.

 

After discovering the 24 malignant lymph nodes, a PET/CT scan was ordered.  I waited 5 long days for the doctor to call with the results.  I was told he would call me that evening on his way home from work.  A foreboding feeling had been building for days, and I was mostly numb by the time he called.

I won’t relive it.  The friend who “knew” that she needed to come by right before the doctor called, . . . taking the call alone while standing in my driveway, . . . and physically shaking as the doctor began stalling around and asking if my husband was with me.

He did not allow me to have any hope at all.  When he told me I was “incurable”, he refused to acknowledge that in some rare instances people defy the odds.  He offered me the option to not even go through chemo, . . . not to fight it at all!  I will not give more details of this conversation, but I was told in no uncertain terms that we could not get rid of all the cancer because it had spread too much.

 

Two years later, I have been in full remission for a year.  I ran 10 miles this morning, helped some family members move, played with my kids, weeded in the front yard, and am going on a date with my husband tonight;  dinner and the temple.  I have had two perfectly clean PET scans, 6 months apart, and am hoping for another in a couple of weeks.

 

I have learned some things over the past two years.  One is that life is short; . . . for all of us.  Whether we live 38 years, or 88, it will feel too short.

 

Second, because it goes by so quickly, there are some things that matter, and some things that don’t.  People matter, but stuff doesn’t.  And some people matter more than others.  Family is the most important.  Teaching your children everything you know becomes vital, and somehow, what you teach them becomes something that you think about all the time.  ‘What are the most important things I can be teaching my kids, and what fun memories can we make?’ is a thought you have several times a day.  Wasting time on trivial stuff becomes something you want to avoid.  You want to make all your time matter.

 

Third, having courage is vital to just living happily in this world.  We have less control over our lives than we sometimes think, and there are plenty of things to be scared of, but courage is truly the power to live a happy life.

 

Finally, I know without a doubt that God lives and looks out for us.  I have felt real comfort, love, and peace flood my mind while I have poured my heart out to Him in prayer several times.  I have had friends, a family member, and even a nurse come to my rescue when I desperately needed help right then.  There is no question in my mind that I was the recipient of some divine help.  Those who miraculously came to my aid have told me that they felt inspired to call or come right at those times.

I cannot ever deny God’s hand in my life.  He has also helped me gain some personal maturity and acceptance.  I know I can trust Him completely because He wants long-term happiness for me and for my loved ones.  I know God lives and loves me, and loves every one of His children.  Come up with any explanation you want, believe what you want, but He really is real.

 

I don’t want to deal with cancer again, and I hope I won’t, but I am grateful for what I have learned from it, and I am looking forward to much happiness in the years ahead.