I was contacted shortly after posting my head-shaving videos on youtube by producers of “Right This Minute”. They asked if they could use my videos and put it into their show. At first I thought it was just an online thing, but it was on national television. I thought they did a nice job of putting it together. I will say they gave me a lot of credit, and may have been exaggerating a bit with their description of my “extremely” healthy habits, etc. I appreciate their kind words and my kids loved that they were on t.v.!
I have been doing chemo again for the past few months. My hair is not completely gone, but we just shaved it off before it got too thin. Chemo is working really well. The cancer was growing in my liver and bones. My liver was looking pretty bad, but Taxol has been doing the trick. My tumor markers have been dropping quickly, so that’s great! I will continue on chemo for as long as it is working, but I’m happy to report that it is working well, and I am still feeling pretty darn good.
I wrote this article 3 1/2 years ago, when I was in remission, after the craziest year of my life battling cancer. I sat down one day and decided to record a few of the many ways in which I recognized that God helped me through it all. I wanted to remember for myself, and I wanted my children to know, that there was no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father walked with me every scary, difficult step of the way. After I wrote this I sent it to the Ensign, a magazine that our church publishes, with the thought that possibly my story could help someone who might need to hear it. Then I forgot about it.
Three years later, over the summer, I heard back from the Ensign, letting me know they wanted to publish my article. I didn’t even remember I had sent them anything! I reread the article, made a few changes to make it current, and sent it back. They published it in the January 2016 Ensign that just came out.
It makes me feel good to be able to testify of something that I know. God lives. He loves us. He will help us travel our course in life if we turn to Him. Sometimes you experience something that makes this so clear and obvious. For me, my health challenges have been that type of experience, and I sometimes wish everyone could know what I know, and that it could bring them the happiness, peace, and strength that it has given me. Some may call that patronizing, others may say that in my desperation I needed to believe, and so I did. For me, I really just love people and am grateful to know that God is real, and I hope to pass that along to benefit others who feel as hopeless and overwhelmed as I did for a time.
Most readers of the Ensign already believe the same as I do, but thank you for allowing me to share, and please pass on to anyone who may benefit from it.
I was stunned with a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis at age 37. I waited to have my lump checked, as my OBGYN advised, because I was pregnant. Our assumption was that it could not be cancer because I had no family history of breast cancer, I was young, and felt completely healthy.
By the time I was diagnosed in April 2011, the cancer had spread beyond my breast to 24 lymph nodes, two spots on my spine, and one on my pelvis. The doctors told me I was “incurable”.
I had four very young children, a husband who needed me, friends and family who loved me, and a strong desire to live for all of them. My prognosis was almost more than I could bear.
I am a lifelong runner, and I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints (a Mormon). My faith is what strengthened me the most, but an outpouring of love from friends and family, as well as some tenacity gained from years of competitive running, helped me wage a good battle against the cancer.
My husband and I sought out the best doctors and treatments, and after several months of chemotherapy, several surgeries, radiation, and lots of drugs, my cancer retreated, and I was in remission.
I needed so much help with my young family during my treatment, but I was surrounded by many people who were willing to step in and help our family during this stressful time.
I believe we are in this world together for a reason. We need each other. Extreme challenges often bring out the best in people, and I am forever changed by the love and thoughtfulness of those who prayed for me, took care of my children, brought meals, and visited me.
I enjoyed two years of remission, gradually regaining my strength. Running had such a positive impact on my psyche, and I did a few half marathons. Prayer, and trust in God, gave me peace in my heart.
After two years of remission, I had a recurrence of the cancer in my right iliac bone. This was disappointing, but not altogether surprising. I am taking some drugs which will fight the cancer without harsh side effects so that I can continue to feel well.
I am more thoughtful about how I spend my precious time each day. Teaching my children, and looking for opportunities to help others, brings me a lot of joy. Improving talents, such as playing the piano, and writing, have lifted me. I am currently training for a marathon. Enjoying my marriage and family is my top priority because I believe our family will be together after this life.
I will do positive, deliberate things with my time, no matter how long that is. I believe I will live a long time still, and I am optimistic and happy. Cancer cannot take that from me.
So I guess it’s my “cancerversary” today. It was 3 years ago today that I was first diagnosed with breast cancer (3 weeks after that we discovered it was stage 4). It seems like a strange thing to celebrate, but really, I am just feeling contemplative today. Grateful to still be here, and incredibly grateful to be in remission. I celebrated by running 6 miles on my treadmill today.
Next month seems like more of a legitimate reason to celebrate because (assuming my PET scan in May goes well) I will celebrate two years of remission.
But a “cancerversary” might be a good excuse to get a chocolate cake or something? Plus there’s the fact that it’s Spring Break!!