Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting the Mail

Today I went and got the mail.  No wig.  No hat.  Just this....

Yes, I took Emma with me.  She was my security blanket.  It felt good.  Baby steps.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The whole last week leading up to my final radiation treatment, I was pretty emotional.  The end was so close.  The reality of the past few months hit me and I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude.  Sometimes it would just hit me out of the blue and my eyes would well up.  It still happens.  A lot.  Today it hit me again while I was thinking about our family trip to Disney World a few years ago.  It was such a magical time and I was so grateful to be there with my little children and how much I look forward to being able to do that with Caleb and Emma.   I just have so much to be grateful for.  I will not take this second chance for granted.  I realize now more than ever what  precious gifts I have.  Life!  Family!  Love! God!  I have learned so much and as hard has it has been, I am truly grateful for this experience.  I have come to know myself in ways that I would have never known.  I have learned that I can do hard things.  I have discovered courage in the very moments that I needed it.  I have witnessed miracles and have benefitted from selfless acts of service by so many people.  I have felt the powers of heaven.  I have been surrounded by loved ones.  I have learned that faith is a decision.  I have learned that although surgery and chemotherapy took away nearly everything feminine from me for a time, I have never loved myself more or thought of myself more beautiful.  It's strange that I would think that, but that is how I feel.  The reality that I am a daughter of God carried me through those times.  It is a time that I will cherish.  My relationship with my Heavenly Father grew immeasurably.  I know He loves me and for that I am so thankful.  So, it is with a very humble and thankful heart that I write this post about my last treatment.

It was really important to me to have my whole family with me at my last treatment.  We started this journey all together and I wanted to end it all together.  My treatment went as usual.  I changed into my gown,  said "hello" to my new friends, went back to the machine and got lined up, and listened to the familiar beeps that signal a treatment is occuring.  I closed my eyes.  When the beep stopped, I opened my eyes with tears of joy and relief.  I had finally finished.

It was a great feeling to walk through the (exit) door and be surrounded by those who I love the most.  They have been my rocks and my greatest motivation.

After the treatment, we went and got some breakfast and then did this....


Caleb (so brave)

Lila (really wanted to like it)

Collin - A natural and LOVED it!

Braden - Another natural and LOVED it!


This was seriously FUN!  We are all eager to go again.... and maybe, someday, out of a plane! We spent the whole day together as a family and it was wonderful! 

I am so deeply grateful for all of the support that I have had through this.  I couldn't have done this by myself.  I am especially thankful for the strength I was given by a loving Heavenly Father.  He knew how to help me when I didn't know how to help myself.  I am thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that through His selfless suffering He could understand my sorrow and pain.  I am truly grateful.

(Below is a letter I wrote for my sister who was giving a Relief Society lesson on "Tender Mercies" and asked if I would write something about what I was learning.  I have learned SO MUCH!)

As a relatively healthy, 37 year old woman expecting my fifth baby, imagine my shock to find out (from my husband - who is a radiologist) that I have a grade three breast cancer.   According to statistics, I should not be the one with breast cancer.  No family history, young age, multiple births and I nursed my babies.  This was completely unexpected!  In those tender moments of discovering this news and being comforted by my sweet husband,  the only words that came to my mind and that I could quietly utter were, "It's alright ... It will be alright”.  I kept repeating this over and over to myself and to my husband.  What at that moment seemed like my own subconscious trying to digest and come to terms with the information, soon became clearly recognizable as the Spirit speaking peace to my soul.  This provided a foundation of trust in the Lord that I was not going to be alone in this process.  That if I put ALL of my trust in Him, it truly would be alright.   The next few weeks were a whirlwind as we went to multiple doctor visits, had surgery - which threw me into early labor, had a beautiful , healthy baby girl (a month early) and then started chemotherapy just a couple of weeks after her birth.  It seemed like each day there was some new hurdle to get over.  I relied heavily on the Spirit moment to moment to help me get through these challenges that I was facing.  Through this process I came to understand more fully the love that Heavenly Father had for me, the reality of the gift of the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation.  I was more grateful for Temples and the promises of Eternal Families. I didn’t understand why this was all happening and truthfully I never questioned it, but what I did understand is that Heavenly Father loves me even more than I know and that He has a beautiful plan for me and for everybody  which involves doing hard things sometimes in order to grow in ways that we otherwise wouldn’t have.  Given my choice, I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t sign up for having cancer.  However, because of this experience I have witnessed miracles, I have grown spiritually, my family has become closer,  I have seen amazing love and generosity from caring friends and neighbors who have so lovingly served me and my family.  I have bonded with complete strangers because of similar circumstances.  I have felt the power of prayer, fasting and of priesthood blessings. It has been hard, but because of all these things, I wouldn’t take it back if I could!  I have been so richly blessed and I am grateful for these experiences and for the many, many tender mercies that I have received.

As I have pondered the scripture, Proverbs 3: 5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”   I have come to appreciate the eternal perspective and to be more grateful.   I know as humans it is natural to want to be in control and make our own path, but if that were so, how much we would miss out on!  It is my testimony that if we put our complete trust in the Lord, he WILL direct our paths.  We will become better people and He will provide ways for us to grow and to become more like Him.  That is the goal!  I am grateful for Free Agency.  For the ability to choose faith over fear and to choose to trust in the Lord and in the great Plan of Happiness.  I am grateful for the promptings of the Spirit that has carried me through this difficult time and for those first whisperings and stirrings in my heart that it WOULD be alright.  And it is.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Preparation for the Boost!

Yesterday at my radiation appointment they spent a little extra time getting me ready for my "boost" treatments.  This is where they isolate the tumor bed for treatment rather than the whole breast.  I guess when the surgeon removes the tumor there is a possibility that a cancer cell could get stuck on the surrounding skin and so my last 6 treatments will focus only on the tumor site where tissue was removed.  They drew a little road map of this on my body - which will remain until I am finished.  This helps them know exactly where to treat.  I am getting SO CLOSE to being done!  I only have 7 more treatments!

While I was waiting for my turn this morning, the lady before me came walking into the waiting area.  She was an elderly lady who was wearing a wig that looked like a headband with sparkly, white hair poofing out the top.  That was one spunky grandma.  I loved it!

Why cry when you can laugh?!