This was from a post five years ago, celebrating my life after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2010, as I headed towards my future.
‘I wasn't sure if I'd still be me without my trademark big blond hair and my boobs. Would I still be me? It was not easy losing my hair, and even harder waking up from my mastectomy surgery to find a chest as flat as a kitchen counter, where two fat bunnies used to be. Greater than that, would I survive? I found out though there is a me that was not diminished by cancer, despite all of its obvious losses. I found out I was stronger than I thought, loved more than I realized, hair and boobs do not make the girl, and on my worst cancer days I could still see something beautiful in me. I traveled to the Kingdom of Lost Breasts. I walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and reclaimed my Faith. I am an overcomer. I am blessed by an awesome merciful God. I don't know why I was spared when others weren't. Maybe so you could hear my message. God is good. Love your life. Your health is like gold in your pocket. The good is for today. Help somebody. Forgive somebody. Love somebody. Be kind. Laugh louder than the crying. These are just a few of the things I learned in cancer camp.
AND it's not just about our boobs. I hate those slogans like 'Save the Tatas.' It's about our lives. Despite all the strides in early detection and treatment, in the U.S. 40,000 will die of breast cancer annually. Women of color have the highest mortality rate, often due to late diagnosis. Know your risks. Make your peace and health a priority. I'm five years out from Stage 3 lobular carcinoma breast cancer. It was in my lymph nodes too. Every single new day I remain cancer free is a blessing and a gift. Oh what I would have missed if cancer had its way. Thank you Heavenly Father for the legion of angels you sent me, and for Your grace that out of my sickest darkest place I received the greatest healing of my life and heart and marriage.’
Fast forward to 2018... It was so discouraging and disheartening when breast cancer metastasized or spread to my bones in late 2018. Oh what a blessing though to have almost two years of remaining stable, despite being Stage4 and back in cancer camp. This is no small feat given the median survival after metastatic breast cancer is about three years.
Fast forward to 2020... In recent months I’ve had lots of nausea and indigestion, which is typical for the treatment I’m on. Even though my recent scans in June showed no progression, I recently had a colonoscopy and endoscopy just to take a look around. I’m sad, discouraged and disappointed to tell you there has been progression. Pathology confirmed there is now cancer in my stomach and colon. Yikes. 🥴
This is typical of Stage4 breast cancer, a treatment can work for a period of time and then unexplainably stops working. Then you’re on to the next treatment and so on. Additional pathology is being done on my tissue samples to determine if this is the same lobular breast cancer that has progressed, or a whole new cancer diagnosis. Gulp. Once this has been determined, I’ll start a whole new treatment plan.
Will you pray for me and my family? Pray for my peace in the storm, my strength and courage, my healing? Will you pray for my Hubby, who worries so about me, feels so helpless, and is devastated thinking about his life without me? Will you pray for my sons, Adam and Zac, who are so amazing and supportive but this is hard. It hurts. Hurts bad.
Other than the love of my family and friends, the only thing that keeps me going is all the silver linings and angels on my path, all signs of God’s faithfulness during my first trip to cancer camp ten years ago! I know without a doubt He will use this to blossom purpose out of my pain. I know there is a divine plan for me, and I’ll do my best to keep showing up for my sacred ordinary life, and laugh louder than the crying.
Love Deb 💗