In December 2019 I went to my normal mammogram that usually lasts about 15 minutes.
Mine lasted what seemed to be an hour; then I was lead to the ultrasound room, for another half hour; then my husband and I talked to the radiologist.
He suggested a biopsy.
The biopsy results came back with a positive breast cancer diagnosis.
Looking back on this experience I was walking into an unknown place emotionally and physically.
In that time I came down with a very horrible virus bug that was a cough and breathing and chest issues.
I think the times in the hospital I picked up something.
In urgent care they gave me an inhaler and told me to wait till my surgery was over.
After the lumpectomy I was no longer sick but only using my inhaler sometimes.
In 85 days I had mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, MRI of both, lumpectomy surgery, and then radiation.
The lumpectomy came back clear and it seems the biopsy removed the cancer.
Sixteen sessions of radiation was just a preventative measure.
It was a very interesting and surreal experience.
I now have a surgeon, an oncologist, a radiology doctor, my regular doctor and a few others to add to the list.
In 85 days my world changed.
After that the awful covid virus arrived, so I was quarantined because it was safer and because I wanted to be.
Radiation lowers your immune system and I definitely do not want to get a serious illness on top of what I am dealing with.
One of the side effects of radiation is fatigue and I do think I am experiencing that.
It’s hard for me to actually rest. My word for the year is rest. Isn’t that funny?
I will have a mammogram and or ultrasound every six months for at least 5 years.
I started a ‘drug therapy’ they recommended for survivors of breast cancer.
It is still hard for me to actually say, “I am a cancer survivor.”
It is kind of emotional and I wear pink with a new appreciation for the color and meaning now.
My husband got a ribbon tattoo representing his mom and me.
He said he would never get another one but he had to get that one.
This diagnosis is something that is in my chart now, my life and my story.
Looking back on the experience would I change anything?
I don’t think so.
I really liked the radiation team and would spend more time with them as ‘people’ not med techs.
I have tried to not say, “why me” because why not? I am not anyone more special than anyone else.
This experience has taught me more empathy, compassion and joy.
I rang the bell when radiation was over.
Every day is a gift now. Every day we get a new chance to make a new change of direction and give hope.
Today is our grand daughters 21st birthday.
She was supposed to arrive in July but she came in May. Emergency issues showed up at the doctor’s appointment.
Our daughter was rushed into surgery and we were greatly surprised by a tiny 2 pound 11 ounce baby girl.
I remember standing in awe in the NICU room beside her little bed.
She was bright eyed, beautiful, feisty and perfect.
Faith Elizabeth was born and we were grandparents. This is my hand next to her head.
It’s life changing to realize a new generation is born. We were HER grand parents and we had a vital role in her life as she would grow up.
It has been a blessing and an honor to walk with her and watch her.
Not only do we try to give guidance and prayers but we try to do our best to believe we have influence. When she came home from the hospital I quit my full time job to stay home with her. It was such a fun time to be with her and watch her grow and mature. I went back to work when she was able to go to first grade.
We have never stopped praying for her. Never stopped worrying, and never stopped encouraging.
It was always our desire to be solid for her. A sure thing, a positive role model.
As she has grown into a beautiful young lady I pray she will always know we are here for her always.
This picture is of her from a few years ago. I won’t post a current picture of her because of privacy issues.
Today is our grand daughters 21st birthday.
We wish for her love, life and health and always happiness.
Today would have been my dad’s birthday.
I can’t remember a birthday spent with him. Most likely when I was very small we might have made him a cake.
He left our family when I was five.
Then I met him again when I was in my thirties.
If I allow myself to remember all that I had missed it gets a bit sad and crazymaking.
He was a cowboy type of guy. Wearing cowboy boots with his western shirts and cowboy hat.
He sheared sheep and became very well known in the business. It’s not easy to wrestle a heavy sheep while shearing the wool off of them.
He did it and made a name for himself. He also was an auctioneer. One of the best.
He also welded iron gates in his older years.
He always had a dog till he couldn’t have one anymore.
After many years of being divorced and away from each other, he remarried my mom.
So when they both passed away they were married to each other, just as it was in the beginning.
It was a love that never really went away; although years distanced them, the heart was still fond.
I got to know him on some level in my adult years and we came to an understanding.
He was my dad and I was his daughter and very much like him in many ways.
In fact when he first came back into our lives my husband was amazed how much we were alike.
Years didn’t matter. I missed a lot by not having him around as I grew up.
It would have been nice to have a choice to be with someone else when our mother was having her moments.
I do not relate to a close ‘knit’ relationship that some girls have had with their dads.
Dad kept his space and his distance. Sometimes he would hug me and show he cared; but it was guarded most of the time.
Today would have been my dad’s birthday.
A day I remember for many reasons. Mostly because I miss him.
Life has changed in the last few months.
Everyone is affected by this virus that has invaded our world.
Times are not what they used to be or even as we know it.
I went to the store with my husband the other day; and as I tied on my mask and breathed into the fabric as I walked I felt so strange.
Feeling so unnatural yet so many that I saw were doing the same thing.
I could see people smile at me but I could not see their smile. I could tell by their eyes.
It made me sad. Personal contact is lost when you can’t just ‘be’ with others.
Our church has been on line. I do have to admit it’s a blessing to sit on your couch in pj’s drinking coffee while ‘at church.’
We do miss the face to face chatting. The personal sharing with others.
I am not ready to venture out yet because my resistance is down since having radiation treatments.
By nature I am an introvert and really do enjoy and thrive with time by myself.
Although I do have to admit that even for me, this drawn out seclusion time has been hard.
It’s one thing to choose to stay home on your own; but when you are told you must stay home it then becomes an issue of control.
Who wants that? No one.
I wonder how things will change when it all breaks open and we can be free again.
I also wonder about the messages that have been told to us over and over.
Stay home; be safe. Wash your hands over and over. Wear a mask for safety.
It’s all weird to me. Now I am always one to wash my hands that is not a new thing.
I think they are telling us over and over, and gets irritating.
We are smart people and I do believe we can figure some of this stuff out on our own.
I am saddened by the deaths that have taken place. I am also saddened by the time not being spent with loved ones.
This will end and it must.
Time is valuable and we have people we need and want to see.
Life has changed in the last few months and I pray that very soon we will see a normal way to live soon.
The other day I kept thinking about the verse in Proverbs which is in the Bible, that gives great meaning to our current situation.
The one I originally thought of, said: Hope deferred makes the heart faint.
But when I went to look it up I could not find the word faint I found the word sick.
The word sick also fits because we can be sick from waiting, with a sad heart, like a heart break.
Then I looked up the meaning of deferred. It means; withheld or until a stated time. Delay.
Hope deferred makes a heart sick; because the desire to go places, see people, be away from the ‘rigid’ lockdown is forbidden.
In some states some have been arrested for going to a park, or on a walk or for not following the rules.
It’s so totally against our ‘United States of America’ to set rules that tell us where and when we can or can’t go.
A simple trip to the store now requires rules to abide by.
A visit to the Doctor’s office brings more risk right now than help.
This has been really hard on the kids who had to learn from home after they closed down the schools.
And the parents, my goodness the parents; had to juggle school, work and daycare that is not open.
We struggle. We wait. We pray.
There is a season where all that we know and feel comfortable with; is no longer here.
Life as we know it; is delayed right now.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Freedom. A tree has branches which means all aspects of our life will open up and we will be free to go somewhere.
To be with people we care for and spend time with, the desire of so many of us is to go to the beaches, the lakes, the campgrounds.
To spend time with loved ones and hug and experience the grand children.
To finally get a hair cut or manicure.
Hope deferred makes a heart sick, and sad and kind of hopeless.
We will get through this virus stage and we will someday have a lot to share about it.
For now, I’m reminded.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes; it is a tree of life.
He taught us how to pray to Him.
It was a simple teaching; not full of words to impress anyone especially those who were listening, it was a teachable moment.
It was about perspective and position. He is God.
We are praying to Him… a Holy God.
When you think of the magnitude; the very thought that we can even begin to get close to the throne of a Holy God;
it stretches ones imagination we desire to want more.
To learn more, listen more and walk with him more; just as the disciples did.
These are His words:
Matthew 6: vs 7-13
When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do.
They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.
Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
And don’t let us yield into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
I like the simple words. Read them again. Slowly.
Our Father… relationship
In Heaven… His place
May your name be kept Holy… reverence and respect
May your will be done… His will NOT ours
On earth, as it is in heaven… For HE is a holy God
Give us today the food we need… remember the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness, HE provided fresh manna for them every day.
(notice it says the food we need, NOT the food we want)
and forgive us our sins… I think this refers to attitude of grumbling; the people of Israel didn’t like what He provided.
as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us… He actually does a much better job.
And don’t let us yield into temptation… when we grumble we think we can solve our own problems
but rescue us from the evil one… the enemy will tempt us and torment us until we give in.
He taught us how to pray to Him.
There were other things He said but it would be too long of a post.
Matthew 6 is a teaching about prayer and fasting. It is a good reminder for us.
A promise given to us that HE will be with us
Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
King James Version (KJV)
When I think of this Psalm I read it in a personal ‘1st person’ towards me version.
The Lord is MY shepherd. I shall not want.
(meaning I need nothing else since I have a shepherd to look after me. In the old country a shepherd watched the sheep for hours and hours risking his own life for their safety.)
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
(He wants me rested and not weary, and green grass tends to be soft.)
He leadeth me beside still waters.
(bringing refreshment to my spirit and coolness to my parched way)
He restoreth my soul.
(He helps me to feel new and revived.)
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(He keeps me going in the right path, the right direction as I follow him.)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
(When I was diagnosed with cancer. It was not scary but it did make me think)
I will fear no evil: for thou are with me
(there is safety in knowing evil cannot take His love away from me and I am not alone.)
Thy rod and they staff they comfort me.
(when I walk in the trails I often will take a walking stick to balance me and keep me safe; it is in the knowing that it is a help to me.)
Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
(He provides food for endurance and strength so I can go forward.)
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over
(It is like a healing balm, oil for protection and health; He gives me more than I need)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
(comforters, helpers to walk alongside me)
All the days of my life
(I am not ever alone. No matter how I feel)
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever
(what a wonderful promise to be given to us, in the house as family, with our father)Amen and Amen
A promise given to us that HE will be with us no matter what.
This season of waiting is the most surreal season I have ever experienced.
At age 65 you would think I have dealt with a lot of stuff and I think I have, but this is very strange.
A virus putting the entire United States and even beyond that in a weird sort of quarantine phase.
It is a deadly virus. Many have died and many have survived and no one really knows how it arrived here.
I personally feel this ‘pause’ is kind of good for us all; but I really miss family and friends.
The not being able to go out when you want is kind of hard but it’s for a good reason.
Togetherness is weighing heavy on many children’s hearts and even parent’s who are weary of the entrapment feeling.
Not that they don’t love or want to be with their children but all the time, 24-7 is hard.
I cannot imagine being a parent of a small child or two and having to stay inside all the time.
In Oregon we are allowed outside to walk or do some social distancing; exercise or shopping for essentials but some states are not open.
Some states it is mandated to stay inside.
Even here if one is caught trespassing on a path for walking it is a $1200 fine.
The days of going to the beach, park or camping are not here.
Not now, not yet. Not for several months.
I think when it all breaks open I still will move with caution; since I am considered a ‘cancer patient’ with a fragile radiation history.
We do most of our social visiting over the phone using a zoom call or a family video call or our church is even doing services over the internet.
It is changing many things for many people.
Some companies are allowing employees to work from home.
Some companies are laying off or letting people go… and some are never returning.
It is a strange time for sure.
I often think of the scripture verse, “hope deferred makes a heart faint.”
Wishing to go somewhere. Wanting to do something other than staying home.
I guess it means I must be patient.
I can go to the beach again someday. I can stay in our trailer again. someday.
The season of waiting is hard but ever so necessary.
Let’s be still and KNOW HE is GOD in this.
An idea to help you through this time that we are in.
I have often thought of the old fashioned way of handwriting letters again.
It is a way of returning to the old ‘ways’.
Not typed, or email but an actual hand written note or card.
I am a keeper of things, such as these notes and cards.
Ask my husband and he will tell you I have boxes of words written to me by others.
They are keep sakes that I cannot throw away.
Someone took their time and spent minutes of their day, thinking of me, of us and our friendship.
The gift of words is a connection. Within ourselves and with others.
It’s really hard to spend time with others right now since we are in a required restrictive rule around our land.
I so want to go to the beach, or find a lake, or sit in a restaurant with family or friends again.
I want to see and spend time with my grand kids and not have social distancing be the normal way.
When I think I cannot stay home another day, I have to remind myself what I have survived already.
Looking back on the 65 years of my life, some of those years were not that easy.
Even though times were hard growing up as a little girl; the resilience and fortitude that I learned through it all; prepared me for a time such as this.
I think it would be good and thought provoking to sit down with a pen and paper and write down the moments that we remember.
The times what were frustrating and difficult and how we made it out of those moments.
When we (me too) thought it would not end, we could not go further, we could not make it; and we did.
Write down everything. Don’t over plan the words; just write them.
It validates the inner strength we have within us.
I read another quote one time and I firmly believe it.
“The longest journey you will ever take is from your head to your heart.” Katy Perry from American Idol.
My heart tells me I am struggling somewhat with this ‘isolation’ time.
My head tells me that soon we can go places and once again be normal.
The journey becomes my choice on how I will choose to react.
An idea to help you through this time that we are in, is write it down.
Replace negative with positive and know that it’s going to be alright.
We are in this together. A lonely path going somewhere.
The days between Good Friday and Easter were only three.
The followers of Jesus didn’t know what to do.
They had seen the glorious entry on Palm Sunday and they had seen the chaos and turmoil surrounding his death.
It was too much for them. They couldn’t understand and they couldn’t sit with the knowing that HE told them this would happen.
Peter said, “I will never deny you.” Yet when it came down to the pressure and self preservation of the moment. He did and he did it more than once.
We can understand the self preservation mode, we have seen it with this new virus that has attacked our land.
People buying unusual and crazy things, people making unwise choices.
Because for some people; there would be a cost if they did not, self preserve.
The followers of Jesus did the same.
I can’t even imagine what Mary felt like, and the women who loved Jesus.
The quiet… the waiting. The wondering. The deep sorrow breaking and shattering their hearts.
What is next? No one really knew.
Even His closest friends had no idea that HE would indeed be buried and HE would rise as HE was appointed to do.
I would imagine the followers also felt betrayed a little bit.
They never thought HE would actually be killed.
So much to process for them. So much to think about just as anyone who is in a grieving mode, remembering back on conversations and moments.
The days between Good Friday and Easter were a time of waiting, deep loss and misunderstanding.
We only have to wait for what is to come… for every one.