To My Dearest Family and Friends,
There are years of our lives that pass like strangers on a busy New York sidewalk-as quickly forgotten as encountered. Then there are those years whose events cling to us as tenaciously as sick children to their mothers. 2013 has been such a year. It is my experience that the most profound events of our lives rarely end up on the six o' clock news, however most of these experiences will be the ones that will change us either for the good or for the bad. Regardless of this at times difficult journey, this year has been so very good for me. It has been a profound year for me to grow, learn, and yes suffer some. The devastating diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer has been life changing and affected each of us in different ways. I hope that it has made you realize how important each day is, how important the relationships you have with other's are and that you don't take anything or anyone for granted.
My greatest hope has been to own this trial and to become better through it. When I was in the hospital with this new diagnosis, Tenielle said to me, "In the preexistence when challenges and trails were given out, you raised your hand to this trial." I have thought many times about this comment, it has gotten me through my toughest hours in knowing yes, I must have been faithful enough to take this burden and make the best of it. It has been difficult for me to imagine that I agreed to never be able to bear a child in this mortal life, to never be able to feel the kick of a baby inside of me or to experience all the things that come along with having a child, but I know I must have had to have had an immense amount of faith to accept this trial. I will ever be grateful for the gift I have been given to be able to love other mother's children. How grateful I am for all of the sweet children in my life, to be able to impact their lives and for the love I have for each of them. Every Christmas Season I think of Mary and what it would have been like to bear the Son Of God. Even though I will never experience anything like this, as a woman I will always wonder and think of her at this time of year.
I have had amazing medical care from doctors, nurses, therapists and others at St. Lukes over the past 7 months. I know that I was placed in their hands at this time to experience their expertise and skills. This trial has opened my eyes to how I can be a better provider, to listen better to my patients, and to be guided more by the spirit in my profession.
My greatest strength has been my family and my friends. This journey has allowed me to see more love and goodness than I have ever thought possible. I have learned to rely on others, to let other's serve me and to find joy in the little things. I have come to realize that the little things are really the big things. The most important lesson I have learned from this journey is the sweet assurance that the atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I testify that the atonement is more than just for sin, but that our Savior suffered for our heartaches, pains, sorrows, disappointments and physical and emotional struggles. I have physically felt my burdens this year lifted from my shoulders, as I have allowed the atonement take place in my life.
I will never be able to express to you the gratitude in my heart for your prayers, fasting, thoughts, cards, phone calls and genuine concern for me and my family. On the day of my first chemo treatment mom and I were driving on the freeway; I turned to her and said, "I feel so many people praying for me right now." I testify of the power of prayer and of priesthood blessings. I have done amazingly well through chemo treatments and am in remission because of the many prayers said in my behalf. It is because of prayer that I experienced minimal side effects from the chemo. Over the past several months I have developed greater faith in my prayers and in the prayers said in my behalf.
I believe that the way for me to show my gratitude to my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ is to serve them, to be like them and to grow closer to them. This Christmas Season allows us to focus more on our Savior; it is my hope that we won't stop this focus when the tree comes down and the presents are unwrapped, but that we will continue to focus on him throughout our lives. Will you join with me this coming year in finding ways to serve others more by going out of your way to find opportunities to bring happiness to others in need of an extra boost, to become more Christ like in all that you do, think and say, and that you will develop a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son whom this season is all about?
When you look at this picture I hope that you don't just see a bald head, but that you see hope, courage, strength, determination, patience, victory and an overcomer. When this journey began I was afraid that I wouldn't be the same person; I'm not, I'm better. I believe we are all better from this. It is my hope that when life gives you more than you feel you can bear, that you will remember me, my struggles of this past year and realize that you to can get on your knee's and ask your Heavenly Father for assistance through your trials. There are so many things I have learned this year but four that have truly impacted my life. 1-Everyone has a trial, whether seen or unseen. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, you never know what trial other's are experiencing. 2-There is no way around trials, only through them; mom often reminded me of this during the hardest times, that we can’t go around this but only through it. 3-I can do HARD THINGS and so can you. 4-Our purpose of coming to Earth was to be tested; this life was never meant to be easy, but to be worth it. Sometimes tests are hard and sometimes they are easy, if we have a positive attitude our tests will always be easier.
I hope this Christmas Season brings you the most joy and happiness that you have ever experienced and that 2014 is your best year yet!