Every 3rd of July I am reminded of fighting for my life in The Cleveland Clinic. Four years ago today I was in surgery, literally hoping for a miracle. Little did I know the miracle was sitting right here in Arizona, with Doctor Lettieri. On…
I was recently asked “why are you happy, and how do you remain happy?” The truth is, I have to work on Happiness every day of my life. I did not intend on being diagnosed with late stages of breast cancer, or the side effects that followed. I thought at the time it was a joke, I was still going to continue training for that Marathon I always wanted to run. To me, I was happy, after all I had the life I always dreamed of, stay at home mom, room mother for all 4 of my children’s classrooms, loved driving the girls to dance and Blake to baseball. My life was surrounded with good friends, and a wonderful family.
I have always been a runner, kick boxer, cycler, core trained and weight lifter, this was my life and I loved every second of it. The day I had to listen to a doctor explain to me what type of cancer I had I did not respond, Eric was crying it was such a blur, why was he crying? This is not real, we will get a second opinion and of course I will continue to train because this is not real. Even now when I look back at that day, it amazes me how I responded, no tears, no emotion at all. Blake was at the airport flying up to Utah to see his girlfriend Lecith, and Kaitlyn was living in Utah going to school and loving life, she had found the man of her dreams and I could not be happier with her choice. Eric called Blake and asked him to come home, he wouldn’t, he told Eric to just tell him what was up. When Eric told him, he was angry thinking we knew for awhile and just didn’t tell him, I explained to him the doctor had just told me I had no idea….we did not hear from or see Blake for a week, he went to Utah and would not answer his phone. We then called Kaitlyn to tell her, and she reacted just like I did, no emotion–however, Brian told me later that she was really upset, maybe she thought like I did, this was just a little thing that was going to go away. Kayla, Jeremy and Haleigh met us at the house and I remember Eric standing at the kitchen sink, the kids and I were sitting at the table, I just said it “I have cancer” immediate silence entered the room. Kayla started to cry, Eric was still crying, Jeremy was in a sullen mood, not sure how to react, but asked if I wanted a blessing. Haleigh, she was and is my baby girl, this announcement could not have come at a worse time for her, it was a week before her senior year of High School.
Since that day I have had to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart. I had no idea what was about to explode in our lives as the Villain took over. The “things” that were so important to me, suddenly were insignificant. The first 3 years I never went one minute of my life without thinking about the Villain, every appointment, bone scan, MRI, and test that was written out on my Mayo Clinic itinerary gave me anxiety. I still get anxiety when I step off the elevator onto the 3rd floor of the Mayo Clinic, I can smell the chemo, the sickness is in the air.
Tonight, I just can’t sleep my mind is racing, I feel unprepared for this trial I am having now. I need some calmness in my life. I just want to fall asleep and be with Eric’s mom and Dad, dream of being in a safe place, with no pain, no hurt and in the arms of people who unconditionally love me. I have to remind myself everyday of the many blessings I have. I see my reflection in the mirror and want to cry. I don’t expect anyone to truly understand. Now, I have to learn to accept the person I see in the mirror, and remember to smile with my eyes. I loved Elder Holland’s talk about depression, I have read it over and over again. Depression is REAL, if you have ever experienced it, you know what I am talking about. When Robin Williams took his life recently, so much discussion on how selfish he was. I know I cannot completely understand his reasons, my heart was with him, how well he hid his depression and made us all laugh, while he was struggling with his own demons.
I don’t think a person can actually go through some of the things I have endured and be unchanged. So I say to the people who feel discouraged and mis understood, have faith, hold onto the knowledge you have of Hope for a better day. I loved when Elder Holland said “above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can ever comprehend” It’s amazing to me that the love He has for us never leaves, He will always love us, that love is unconditional. I so wish I could say I am happy all the time, that simply would not be true, I struggle with it daily, but know it is a choice and it feels better than being depressed.You can wake up everyday and decide to make the most of the life you have been given. It does not necessarily mean changing your world, but changing the way you look at it.
Mun 3, 2010 Dr. Michele Halyard and Dr. Schuster Today I had an appointment with my radiation/oncologist Dr. Michele Halyard. It was a follow-up from radiation, the purpose of the appointment was just to check and make sure my skin was healing properly and to…
April 9, 2010
Today was my 5th day of radiation. Yesterday and today Eric was off so he went with me. The radiation technicians took him back and showed him all the machines and let him watch while they radiated me …. he said it was really interesting. While Eric was there he was talking to Chris (radiation tech) who was with me everyday this week, come to find out they have a mutual friend. I have to say that the technicians who work with me everyday are the nicest, most compassionate people I have met at Mayo Clinic. Finishing this 1st week of radiation has been therapeutic for me …. I think I have been really anxious.
My skin is a little red, but I was told by the technicians that the side effects will not really be seen until after the 2nd week. Right now I am feeling so much better, I have put some fears aside and I am ready to conquer this radiation mile-stone.
I am so looking forward to Haleigh getting home on Sunday. She has been gone for 10 days doing Humanitarian work in Guatemala. Eric and I have missed her so much … she really lights up our home when she is here. I told her a couple of weeks ago she is not allowed to go to school out of Arizona, I am sure of that decision now. I have heard some parents say they can’t wait until all the kids are out of the house, but I don’t feel that way at all …. I miss the hustle and bustle of life when they are here, and I miss the friends who come to visit when they lived here. If I had my way they would all live in Arizona.
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center: https://www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/education-centers/cancer-education/arizona
January 24, 2010
Trust –verb-to believe in the honesty, integrity, justice, etc. of; have confidence in; to rely or depend on; to put something confidently in the charge of
Tomorrow is round 7 of chemo, and I am feeling like always very anxious, I always feel anxious the night before chemo. Today at church Teri Larsen was asking me about my chemo treatments and how they affect me. After I told her, she said “I wouldn’t go”
I’ve been thinking about what she said all day today, because there have been a few times on the morning of chemo that I have sat in my closet and cried like a baby, I have said to Eric “I don’t want to go today” and like always he gives me the “pep” talk then Tamy shows up and off I go, reluctant and angry at the world, but knowing that this battle rages on it’s just a new day. It’s so hard to be strong, but I will if I know there is even a small rey of light.
Today I decided to read everything I could get my hands on about TRUST. I’m not sure why this word kept coming up in my mind, but I believe it’s because I am being taught. President Greer talked in our Sacrament meeting today about our Bishop being teachable, that he is a good student, very easy to teach because he is able to listen and act upon what he has been taught. I want to be that person too, I think I have a long way to go, but I know the Lord is trying to teach me so much right now. The scripture that keeps coming to mind is in Proverbs 2:5-6 and 8 “Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart; and lean not unto thine OWN understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge HIM, and he shall direct thy paths. It shall be HEALTH to thy navel; and marrow to thy bones.
I wonder sometimes if we trust ourselves more than we trust in the Lord, I’ve said it before but I think sometimes we think we know more and we get in the way of our own progression. Eric and I prayed about the doctors we should see, we prayed about all options chemo vs. natural, we have poured our hearts out to the Lord for help in making these decisions, so now it is time for me to stop doubting and go forward in faith. My son has told me over and over again how much he prays for me, and that he has a strong conviction that I am going to be here when he gets home and that all will be OK with me. This week I received a heart felt 3 page letter from a boy in our ward, he was one of our Sons when Eric and I went on the trek, we fell in love with him and have great respect for him. Without divulging the entire letter to you, I will tell you he had a trial that made him turn to the Lord and as he listened to the spirit tell him what to do, even when he received his answer he did not want to do it, but decided that if the Lord gave him this answer he would do it. In the end he learned to TRUST and have FAITH in the Lord, give it to him, and he learned a great life lesson from it. I learned from him, that on the days, like tomorrow, I give it to the Lord and Trust in HIM.
Tonight I feel like I am going to give all that I am, tomorrow I will not despair, I am going to put my life in heavens hands, I want to be worthy to stand before the Lord and say I did all I was asked of, I want to be able to hear the master when he teaches me. I want to TRUST.
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/mayo-clinic-cancer-center