It has been quite the ride the last few weeks...difficult, but beautiful. This last week we were able to meet up with an educated Doctor up at the Huntsman, who took the time to review my case and history to give us a second opinion. Who took my many scans, and labs, and, and, and in front of a panel of Doctors to discuss my body. I received a call back from her this week with good news. They determined it was not in my bone, nor in the marrow. How is this so different from the last radiologist? You have a rare type of cancer that is hard to detect to someone not familiar with my case. My cause. My life. But, you have a mass in your pelvis...and we will monitor it...and you will come back soon...and we will see what happens...In all of this of course you know by now the tears are falling. I praise my God, for He has shown mercy on me. For there is light even in darkness. For there is good even in the bad. These past few weeks many wonderful people whom I love have reached out to us. Sending good thoughts, prayers, uplifting me. Guiding me on this journey in love and kindness. The only way I can explain this feeling is that I have been sustained. Sustained. This feeling has nourished my soul, empowered me, lifted me up. Gratitude has filled my heart a thousand times over. Gratitude. It has made me ponder the power of many, how we can help each other. Love lifted up in unison...to a higher power. How it can change a person. How it is changing me...and I am thankful. I am thankful for this life I have been given to live. I am thankful that I can taste the bitter to know the sweet. I am thankful that having Cancer makes me see life clearer. I am thankful for each moment...the good and the bad, because it is helping me grow. What a ride it's been, what a ride it is. What a ride it will be and I'm sure as hell happy to be on it.
Today I received the results back from my 6 months scans. I don't know what I was expecting to hear, just hoping for good news. I have been surprised with how much peace I have felt over the last few days. Getting scans are so hard, and the waiting game is usually more difficult. I have most likely cried a thousand tears today, and I'm sure I have a thousand more that will come. Things are looking better in my Liver and abdomen, for this I am in awe and so grateful. They are seeing some shrinkage in both of them. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard my Doctor say that to me, but there was more to come. It was my pelvis, irregular bone marrow, probably metastatic disease...Irregularity in the peritoneal coverings...in my bones. What does that even mean?? What are you trying to tell me? I asked again. The cancer has spread to your bone marrow in your pelvis. Silence. Shock. Amidst all of that I felt a form of peace. This same peace I had felt when I knelt in prayer before my God pouring out my heart to Him. I know He knows my heart and what I desire in this life. I know He heard me. I told Him not my will but His, and whatever the outcome I would do what needs to be done. I will fight. I will live to see my babies grow up. I will. I will keep going even when it is hard. I will not give up. I will not let this cancer beat me. I am stronger then this cancer. Of course a part of me is heartbroken, of course. Of course I thought of my sweet babies, and my heart hurt. They make me stronger. They make me want to hold on tighter. Cancer can't take that away from me. I will continue to live. I will live harder, love harder, hold longer, forgive easier, smile more, be more, do more, listen more, give more. I will keep going no matter the cost. I have been so blessed. God has given me 9 beautiful and heartbreaking years to watch my babies grow...to be with my husband, my soul mate. Cancer can't take that away from me. I can only hope and fight for more. I will not be afraid, for my God is on my side. He is aware of me. He is aware of you...a tear drops from my face... I let go and soar.......
Sometimes I can't breathe. Literally. My mind, heart and soul. I am so tired and the tears fall down my cheeks. I think about running away, just leaving everything. I mean do you think I'd be able to take a vacation from cancer? From reality? Sometimes it is hard to face what is before us. I try so hard each day to live life to the fullest. I'm calculated with my time. I think about it everyday. I hold a lot in. I mean, I can just feel myself pushing everything down inside at times...my throat is so tight and my tears are on the surface, ready to explode...most times that is where they stay, is inside. This past week they overflowed, and I cried and was sad, and felt lost, alone and broken. Broken from the heaviness of terminal. Broken from finding a new treatment path. Broken with my reality. I just couldn't get out of the damn, dark hole. I just couldn't find the light. Yet somehow over the last few days I've been able to see and feel better. I received a note from an old friend, was able to visit with my sisters, I felt loved...better yet, I let myself feel loved. I was reminded of my sweet blessings and the treasures that I do have from my sweet kids who can just sense when I need a little extra help. Who hugged me a little longer, and gave so much love. Then my sister said something to me and it clicked...it just clicked. It's ok for me to let myself feel these things once in a while...but it's more important to not let it get in my way of living. Feel it, then be done with it, get up and get going...so here it is. Here I am. I'm going...I'm almost there.
I have caught myself telling my kids many times that the experiences that they have had in this life and the things that they get to do at their young age is a privilege. In fact, I explained the word to them at the beginning of the Summer...when they were given the opportunity to help on the farm, and help in our home. We are very blessed in this life and they have had many opportunities with being able to work hard and play hard. As I have reflected today about sending my beautiful babies to school...my heart has swelled a little and I heard in my mind and felt in my heart that I in fact have been the one who has been privileged to raise them. It has been a privilege for me to be their Momma, to watch them grow and learn. There is no place I'd rather be. No name I'd rather be called by. What a hard and beautiful thing it is to watch them fall, and wipe away their tears. To see them get back up. I am in awe of their strength and abilities. It has been a blessing to learn from them. They teach me everyday. I am so happy and my life is better with my sweet babies. I have held them a little tighter tonight...knowing in a blink of an eye a year will have gone by, then 5 and 10 and someday, I'm sure I will wonder where the time has gone? I am enjoying each moment. Time is ticking and I recognize and am grateful that I have been given the privilege of being on this ride. There is no place I'd rather be then right now. Here. Living.
I feel so blessed. Even when life is difficult at times...I am blessed. Tonight was simple, and we got to spend the evening with my sisters family. We picked raspberries and my sister made the kids delicious shakes! We visited on the porch in the cool evening, and the kids ran wild and played until the sun went down. We came home tired, but full...full of love, life, happiness and appreciation for the simple things of this life. I am thankful for today...for the messes that I helped my kids pick up, for the time I spent with my sweet sister, for the love I felt when I watched my kids play, for the admiration I felt towards my soul mate. I am thankful I could feel...all of these things. That I could experience these small and simple moments. My heart feels full tonight of gratitude to God for all He has blessed me with. I feel that He is keenly aware of me and knows me. I'm so thankful to have a full heart...and know I am blessed to live another day.
I remember when I was first diagnosed with Cancer, Andy and I didn't want to know the statistics, we didn't want to know the survival rate, we didn't want to know our chances. We didn't want any of that in front of us. We decided together we would find the good and fight like hell no matter what came our way. Oh, it was hard, so hard. It still is hard at times...but it has been worth it. I did find out a few years later after doing the chemotherapy that my doctors were certain I would only live 3 months, but I am still alive. It is amazing what the power of your mind can accomplish when you strive to find the good in hard situations. When you choose to be happy amidst sadness, or difficult things. God knew what He was doing when He gave us our agency. It really is quite amazing that we as humans have the ability to find the good in this life. That we have the choice to be kind, to reach out and help others, to love, to give, to accept, to cry, to be...just to be. I am so grateful for this gift and the choice that I have been given. Each day that I am here, I am in awe of the experiences that I have. They aren't all easy, but they each have shown me how I can choose to live. I choose happy. No matter what life brings to my door. I will find the good. I will.
Today was our first experience with a track and field day with the kids. What an adventure it was! For weeks my girl has been practicing each event that she signed up for. Daddy has been working with her and giving her tips. Several times she has told us that she was so nervous! I explained to her more then once that everyone gets nervous about doing things at times...even us! I went on to tell her that I was even sure that Olympians get nervous before a big race, and they practiced all of the time. One night she said; "Mom, what if I come in last?" I looked at her and told her that it didn't matter...just keep running, even if you know you're last, keep running. Don't give up, run as fast as you can, and keep going! It doesn't matter if you're last, it matters if you do your best...it matters if you finish the race.As I watched her line up to the starting line, her arms were in the running position, she was focused, she was ready. They said go, and she ran, she ran so hard, and her little body kept on going. My heart burst with love, and I got a little choked up. I was so proud of my baby girl. She ran her heart out, and ran across that line! Was she first place? No, but she finished the race! We found each other and I just hugged her so hard, praising her. Loving her. You finished! You did it! I love you! I'll never forget her beaming face, her smile spread across her lips. Her determination and heart will be forever burned into my memory. Such joy. Such happiness to finish something she started...even though it was hard. It was such a beautiful moment for me to watch her work so hard at something and complete it. This experience today made me reflect and think about what it might be like to sit at the feet of our Savior when our journey in this life has ended. I imagine He will say something similar to us: You did it! You didn't give up! You kept going even when it was hard! You finished! I love you. I'm sure we will feel Joy. So much Joy, that we didn't give up. May we all keep trying, keep working, keep loving, keep feeling, keep learning, keep failing, keep getting up, keep being, keep forgiving, keep going, until we cross that finish line.