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All Sickness Ain't Death

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"All Sickness Ain't Death." (2017) Four words that came to me for the first time in nearly 28 years as I laid in the hospital bed wondering what was going on with my body. And while I felt so miserable, I began to get nervous as I laid there.  Was I going to get better?  But then all of of a sudden George and this phrase jumped in my head, and I reminded myself this was just a bump in the road. I was just ill for the moment. 

     "All Sickness Ain't Death." (1989) The four words my Intro to Social Work professor quietly wrote on the chalkboard while we took our first exam.  After he wrote them, he never really explained them. He left them there on the board for our own brains to ponder.
     What those four words meant to him had to be profoundly different than what they meant to us...a bunch of freshmen just happy to be at college and free from home. He knew this, of course. We were clueless of the oppression, segregation, and racism that this man had …

Enduring Uncertainty

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Can you endure your uncertainty until it shows you another way? 
     Uncertainty causes anxiety as it attempts to make you feel powerless. Uncertainty steals your ability to control situations in your life that you so desire to control. While struggling to hold on to some small piece of control, you desperately search for a new path, a new way to survive, even it is only temporary.  The horrifying uncertainty begins the second you hear those words..."You have Metastatic Breast Cancer."
      I have been faced with the challenge of enduring uncertainty too many times over the past several years. Progression is found and the immense feelings of uncertainty hits again. You start a new treatment, and there is a small sense of relief...maybe this is the way. But then you don't know what the side effects will be like, or if your body will even be able to tolerate this new drug or multiple drugs. How long will this treatment work...maybe 6 months, 12 months, or maybe I will…

Moving Forward...Always Dragging My Cancer Baggage Behind Me

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As we stood next to each other in church, she looked over at me and said, "Mom, your hair." 
I leaned towards her and whispered, "What about it?"
With a smile, she whispered back, "You look like you did before you got cancer."
     That was over 4 1/2 years ago when she was only 8 years old.  I have lost my hair twice...once when diagnosed Stage 2 in 2012 and once when diagnosed Stage 4 in 2014. I fought tears as it broke my heart thinking about all that she has been through at such a young age. When you have Stage 4 cancer, the journey continues...whether you want it to or not...and you just keep dragging the cancer baggage behind you...trying to never let it get ahead of you. I was reminded in that moment that I am not only one in my family dragging the baggage.  My husband and five children are too. 
     And so my path changed again this week.  I was on a phase 1 clinical trial for a new HER2+ targeted treatment. Unfortunately, after two treatments, my …

Believe Me, It Takes Great Patience to be a Patient

It was only my second infusion, in early September of 2012.  I was sitting in the infusion center, IV in, and ready to go.  We waited over an hour for the Herceptin to come down from the pharmacy.  I was about to lose my mind.  I felt like I had already been so through much waiting for the radiologist reports, the oncologist visits, the breast surgeon visits.  I was so impatient in that moment, when Becky grabbed my arm and said, "You are going to have to learn to be patient, because this is the way it is in hospitals.  Things don't always run smoothly."  I take myself back to that conversation often, and am proud to say that I have taught myself to be a patient with a lot of patience.

Labs need time.  The pharmacy needs to be accurate. Every patient's questions need to be answered. Emergencies happen. All of which create continuous delays throughout the day within the hospital.

It may seem unreasonable and that your time is not important.  It may not seem fair. But, w…

The Mystery of Strength

It was 30 months ago that I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. 2 1/2 years.  I cannot even begin to explain to you just how grateful to God that I am here, LIVING, and typing this post.

What is strength? What does it look like? What does it feel like?  Can it be measured? 
Well, everyone has it but some wonder if some have more of it than others? I think not.
Strength is something that everyone has. Strength displays itself in many different ways. Ways that can neither be understood nor explained. Really, it's a mystery. I suppose we store it somewhere within our souls...until we need it. I don't think that anyone necessarily has more than anyone else. I think it is a large spectrum. Some only need to find it every so often, while others must use it to survive.

Until I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, I led what I would call, an easy life. I flowed through the motions of life and things always seemed to work out like it should for me.  I always had a we…