My Cancer Free Anniversary

There are many opinions on when you become cancer-free, a survivor. Does the clock start ticking when a scan or blood tests comes back with no evidence of cancer cells? Is it after chemotherapy…or after radiation? Or is it after the initial cancer surgery when you have clean margins…or the lymph nodes are clear? And I wonder why I even need to identify how long I’ve been cancer-free? Yet another line of questioning where I find myself turning to Cancer Services.

During the Breast Cancer Support Group, I realized that determining a cancer-free anniversary gives you a consistent point in time to pause for celebration. Regardless of where you are in the journey…still in the shadow of the disease or living your new “normal”…its good to acknowledge the life you have. And the timing of this milestone is a personal decision for each survivor.

I became a survivor two years ago today.

A tumor was removed from my left breast along with four lymph nodes on July 25, 2012. The doctor announced clean margins meaning that the tissue surrounding the tumor was free of cancer cells. The lymph nodes were also clean indicating that it is not likely the cancer had spread into other areas of my body. This was exactly what we had hoped and prayed to hear! Continue Reading My Cancer Free Anniversary

NASCAR Racing Experience…One Sweet Ride!

What to do for hubby’s big FIVE-O birthday? It had to be bucket list worthy. Nothing was coming to mind. The Plan: Conduct a poll with the guys at work. The Result: The #1 bucket-list gift for a man is the NASCAR Racing Experience. Sure, I can see the appeal.

Drive a REAL race car…at HIGH speed…on a REAL race track…and you can PASS other cars!

Ready to Drive And the clincher – it was half price (with a Living Social offer from one of the guys). Sounded like a great idea but I had one problem. I had never heard James talk about NASCAR so I wasn’t sure he would like it. Thankfully, I didn’t have to struggle with the choice for long. The very next day his sister called offering free tickets to the Coca-Cola All Star Race. What perfect timing! I brought up the race topic “innocently” (me. innocent. yeah right). He jumped on the invitation. Decision made. Continue Reading NASCAR Racing Experience

Fortress in the Sand

This poem was written to share the struggles and emotions that  swirled around me during cancer treatments. This picture was taken two weeks after my first chemo infusion. My body had a really tough time processing the toxins. My first infusion was on a Monday. By Friday morning, we were in the emergency room dealing with the  wave of side effects. More on that later.

The inspiration for the photo was the “Footprints in the Sand” poem that we’ve all read. Though I knew it in my heart, I wanted a visual reminder that God would be carrying me through this valley. At this point I knew very little on just how deep and dark that valley would become. (Side Note: In looking for a link to share the Footprints poem, I was surprised to learn that there are multiple versions and WAY too many people claiming to be the author. So, I’m going to leave it to you to look it up… if you wish to have a refresher.)

If you have trouble reading the poem, you can find a text version here.

Fortress in the SandUntil next time… Remember to follow your muse!

Metamorphosis

After my body image epiphany in the “More to Love” class, I was drained but floating on “Cloud Nine”. I embraced each new assignment in anticipation of continued break-through. The effort to complete each task and the insights gained from it were totally dependent on where I found myself  emotionally on the topic. And that’s where the beauty of this class shined! I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful group of ladies who shared their experiences and their hearts with each new day. We formed an amazing bond of trust and acceptance as we posted to our secret Facebook group. As I devoured the daily posts it became obvious that we were dealing with the same issues though the specific details were different. We offered sympathy and encouragement through the lows and applauded each victory! We started the month as strangers, maybe even a band of mis-fits, but ended the month celebrating as sisters! Continue Reading Metamorphosis