Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keeping My Eyes Above the Waves

It’s been a crazy past two months. Steve had his surgery in late November and did great. It was really nice having him home for the holidays. I spent the month of December focusing a lot on the kids. Stephen turned 5 and we had a big party for him. Followed it with tons of Christmas activities and prepping. We had a superbly blessed Christmas. I was in awe over the twinkle in each of my children’s eyes for the magic the time of year brings. Everything was made good again. My marriage and motherhood seemed stronger than it has been in years. 

January brings up many emotions for me. Not only was Stephen scheduled for surgery but I had my first mammogram and breast ultrasound in January- my biopsy, my diagnosis; it’s also the birthday of a daughter who is no longerwith me, and her “angelversary”, along with memories of her funeral and burial . . . oh,  and it’s mine and Steve’s birthday. That’s a whole lotta crap to deal with in one month.

Stephen’s surgery went great. He was hospitalized for a couple days and discharged home. He healed up quick and has been doing great after his liquid-only diet. He is now on soft foods now and can have solids again in a month. We have been very busy with genetic appointments and follow up appointments with him. He has many tests and more appointments in the spring.

I had my scans at the beginning of the month as well. Everything was stable- no regression and no progression. I do have some gallstones, which could be drug induced, and may need my gallbladder out if I have another attack. The compression fracture in my back is possibly pinching a nerve down to my foot and makes it hard to walk. I am loading up on more medication to help with that. Since putting me back on chemo wouldn’t really do much of anything, I am still able to continue my break from chemo- it’s been one year and I love it. I go every couple weeks for my maintenance infusions, which help keeps my cancer at bay. I still deal with the perfuse swelling of my optic nerve as well and will follow up with that doc soon. I am going to be getting another port and have been working with the dermatologist to help rid my body of any staph that may have been lingering after my repeated infections. I feel okay though. I definitely am still not how I used to be, but, I am slowing accepting the fact that I won’t ever be that go-get-it person again.

It’s been 2 years since I was diagnosed. The average survival rate for a woman my age with advanced breast cancer is 18-24 months, and a less than 15% chance of surviving 5 years. I am officially on borrowed time. I am happy to be around another year and yet absolutely scared shitless to see what the next year may bring.

I’ve been asked before if I am “over” different things. Am I “over” the death of my daughter, “over my diagnosis”, am I moving on from grief and cancer? Honestly, no, I am not over or moving on from anything. I am living through it. I have been living through it since she died and since I was diagnosed. There’s no other way. 11 other months out of the year I am fine. I can do okay; my grief isn’t raw, it doesn’t consume me, but it still lives within me. And when January comes, I cannot help but suffer through those moments all over again. January makes me question so much. I cannot understand why I was chosen to walk this path.

It comes down to one thing: trust. Do I trust in God enough to know that all things will work out for the good? Can I trust that I don’t have to worry, just pray? I won’t lie, when the ocean’s rise, it’s hard for me to keep my eyes above the waves and focus on Christ. But the minute I take my eyes off of Him, I sink. I try though, I try so hard. I get so shaken, and I feel so worn. I try to make sense of it all. There has to be a reason, after all. At least that’s what everyone always tells me. There’s a reason it happened, and only the Lord knows; but I want to know why. I can hear Him telling me to just trust and not rely on my understanding; to stop trying to figure out the chaos. He reminds me I have strong roots, the waves and wind won’t break me. Sometimes I hear loud and clear, and it’s a great feeling, but sometimes I can’t help but doubt the plans. And you wouldn’t know what that’s like unless you have walked in my shoes and have experienced these kinds of tragedies. You have no idea how I pray for peace so that my faith doesn’t have to suffer or have an ounce of doubt. It’s so damned hard some days . . .

I turn 31 today. I’m here another year. I am extremely thankful to be here still. My next year I plan on fixing my eyes on my relationship with Christ, loving on my hubby, spoiling my babies and crossing some things from my mommy bucketlist. I won't get over anything, I'll continue working through it.


  1. What a beautiful uplifting post. I am so glad you and your family had such a joyous Christmas. I pray that you will continue your remission (or whatever it is called). And I am surprised people would ask you if you are "over" either of the things that they asked you about. I don't think anyone ever gets over the death of one of their children. And since you are living with cancer how could you "get over it." But I also believe that those people were probably well-meaning and just don't quite know what to say. God bless you and yours.

  2. Hi Kate,
    Yes, that question you get asked... getting over things you've been through just isn't going to happen. There are things in my life that I will not 'be over' either and some people don't understand that. In fact, I don't even want to be over them. I do look back while trying to focus on the here and now. And I do, of course, also have hopes for the future. But getting over certain things, not gonna happen. Your post is beautiful. So glad your holidays were joyous. And then came January... Such a mix of joy and sadness. I am sorry your sweet baby girl died, but you will always be her mother and she will always be your daughter. No one would want to 'get over' that. Happy birthday to you! I admire your faith. Thank you for sharing.

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