I don't know about you, but I think I look pretty healthy (and I loved my hair) in May 2013. Little did I know my life was just about to change. (It's kind of fitting that I just happened to be wearing the Ovarian Cancer color days before being hit with the diagnosis.)
I admit I've had a little anxiety, been a little tearful and maybe just a little nauseated knowing this week marks 2 years since being handed the most deadly diagnosis of all female cancers. I don't think it was really 1 day, but rather 3; as the doctor appointments and tests started June 3. I was actually given the diagnosis and test results on June 4. I met with the GYN Oncologist and had surgery on June 5 2013. My life changed in a way I never imagined. In a matter of moments the dream of bearing a child was taken from me, I was given the label Cancer Patient (and now a Cancer Survivor) and I was no longer the independent person that I have always been, but having to rely on others to do practically everything for me. I definitely didn't choose this battle, but the fighter in me definitely came out when it was time to fight. Do you know that I fought for 9 little people ages 6 years to 8 months? Those sweet nieces and nephews of mine were my number 1 reason to fight. I didn't want to be the Aunt who was dead that they visited once or twice a year at the cemetery. I wanted them to know me, to know of the love I have for each of them and I wanted to watch them grow up to become warriors in the fight for good. Through this experience, these kids learned that Heavenly Father answers their prayers.
Part of me feels like 2 years ago was forever and the other part feels like it was just a few months ago. I literally went through 15 days of misery in the hospital where I couldn't even pull myself up in bed without the help of my amazing nurses, I couldn't shower without an entourage of people helping me (talk about love from my cousin Callie) and I couldn't eat anything except for Popsicles and ice chips. But the worst part was having an NG tube not once but twice and for 5 days each time; oh and lest we forget the dreaded ileostomy bag AKA Hank. GRRRR. That blasted thing was most unpleasant for 7 months.
At least my toenails always looked nice thanks to my cousin's and friend's painting skills.
It was then onto 4 months of chemo with its harsh side effect's, but all along there were so many people praying for me and my family, bringing in meals, sending cards, well wishes and gifts. I had such an amazing support system all of who had great faith that I could conquer this giant. I know that Heavenly Father heard each prayer said in my behalf, I felt their love and His love as I endured day after day.
"Your scars tell a story...Although they may not make you feel attractive,
they are a witness to a miracle, that God blessed you to live,
and that you have accomplished very difficult things."
She couldn't have said it better. My scars remind me every single day that I am a miracle! God blessed me with endurance, hope and faith on my toughest days when I felt I couldn't withstand one more IP chemo treatment or its side effects of bone ripping pain. He answered my heartfelt prayers said while I layed flat on my back in bed, covered with blankets to keep me warm on Summer days, when I wished I was out at the pool basking in the sun. A friend from church brought me this super warm blanket and told me she felt funny for bringing me a warm blanket in the middle of the Summer, but what she didn't realize is that I was freezing all the time and that blanket kept me warm, until of course when the hot flashes would seize upon me and I'd kick the covers off.
(You can't really tell in these pictures but I was totally crying or had been.)
"Our journey through life has periods of both good times and bad. Each presents different challenges. How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build." L. Tom Perry.I was able to conquer this Galiath because of the foundation that I had built my life on previous to my diagnosis, which consisted of Jesus Christ, my relationships with family and friends and having a positive, winning attitude. It did help that I took nurse Marybeth's advice which went something like this:
Will you help me this month by sharing with at least 5 people your experience that you have had with me as we have traveled this course together over the last 2 years? Because you all know we went through this together. Will you also talk about the symptoms of OVC:
And while your at it advocating for such a great cause, you might as well go ahead and