Today is a day of celebration for me.It's my cancerversary!!!!!!
What's a cancerversary you might ask? Basically, it's the date a cancer survivor considers that they became cancer-free. Some people choose their diagnosis date. Others select the last day or their chemo treatments or radiatiion treatment. Others consider it to be the first clear mammogram, scan, etc.
Since my tumor came out clean with no evidence of cancer in the surrounding tissue or lymph nodes, I consider my cancerversary to be January 30, the date of my surgery. So, this means today is my one year cancerversary!
One year ago, on this date, I wrote a blog just before I headed to the hospital. It is entitled "To All The Awesome Brothers And Sisters In Christ!" As I read through that blog, I reflected on all the changes I've endured over the past year. There have been a lot of them!
In a comment I made later that night, I mentioned that I'd been told prior to the surgery that the tumor was 2.0 - 2.5 cm and when we learned the lab had trouble locating it we rejoiced because that suggested to us it was smaller than believed. Two days after writing that comment, I learned the reverse was true. The tumor had grown since the last scans and was actually 3.5 cm. It was growing pretty aggressively at that point. The problem in locating the tumor in the lab was due to the marker coming out and my surgeon actually had to leave surgery and come make a positive identification as a preliminary biopsy had to be done before the surgery could continue.
In 2008 I was sliced, diced, pickled and fried. I also got a lot "sweeter" (chemo-induced diabetes). I gained incredible respect for what the human body can endure and can attest to the fact that we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. I am in complete awe of God's design.
In 2008 I faced things I never thought I could face and went places I never thought I could endure. I've had people lift me up in ways I'd never been lifted up before. I had brothers and sisters in Christ come along side me and say, "We want to walk with you and hold up your arms when you just can't do it anymore." Yes, we do have our faults but I have discovered the Body of Christ is truly amazing in spite of our faults.
In 2008 I had to become extremely vulnerable. That wasn't something I wanted to do. I wanted to be tough and strong but I quickly learned I was not. I could either take a risk, open myself up and truly receive and give love or I could seal myself up even more which would result in not really living at all.
Physically, the very location of my cancer made it impossible not be vulnerable. Any dignity you may have had has been stripped away by the time they finish treatment. However, when it came to emotional and spiritual vulnerability, I had to willingly place myself in God's hands and say, "Here I am, do what you will."
I wish I could say this was easy. It has probably been one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I've ever done. I've shed many a tear over it at times when I wasn't physically able to cope with it. That's when I had to remember that God could and He did!
In all honesty I have to say the joy I've been given has far exceeded the pain I endured.
In 2008 I looked back and discovered I really didn't have regrets to speak of meaning I realized that I really had been pursuing the things that mattered all of my life. I'd always understood that life without God is not life at all! People were much more important than things and relationships take work, hard work. Money and worldly position have always had very little meaning for me as I really do view those things as temporary and learned very early in life that life as you know it can be changed without warning in an instant.
Life as I knew it has changed forever. Even if I no longer had to poke myself a couple of times a day and even if there is never a recurrence and I live a long, productive, wonderful life, this past year has touched my life irrevocably.
God, however, has not changed and He never will. He is still my Heavenly Father and I am still His princess!
I am rejoicing daily and looking forward to many more cancerversaries remembering that the very best is yet to be!
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39 (NIV)
All I can say is praise God! Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!
I love you dear sister and I, too, continue to lift you up in prayer.
Happy Cancerversary K! Praise the Lord. I am so happy for you. Working in a hospital O.R. I see the stinking disease of cancer often. I'm so thankful God has healed you and given you the gift of life to continue in Him. I know what you mean about all your dignity being stripped away in the hospital. Our Pastor had prostrate cancer, of which he was healed of too. He once in a while will use that as an example. He tells of those lovely gowns that are open in the back and reveal your derrière. Then he tells of how he didn't want the nurses to help him with his shower...until one day when he was so weak he could hardly stand. Then he said when the nurse asked if he wanted her to stand outside while he took his shower, he said, "NO! Stay here!" He had to admit he needed help. That is what some of us need to do, admit we need help. That is when our Father is right there to come along side us to help us. I'm thankful he helped you and our Pastor and all those who have battled cancer. I use to pray for those that had cancer that came into our O.R., but I have grown lax in that. Thanks for reminding me K. I need to start praying for ALL those that come into our O.R. Bless you K for sharing this with us.
May you have the most wonderful and joyous day of your life today!! You continue to be a shining example to all who read your posts of all a person goes through in their journey dealing with severe disease and sickness. Your willingness to be open and honest about your feelings, your doubts and fears along with sharing your victories have been an inspiration to many of us going through similar battles. Thank YOU.
Unless a person has to deal with a chronic disease or devastating situation such as cancer, it is hard to understand the raging battles that go on within the mind and heart. It is hard to understand how a day such as this, would produce such feelings of joy unspeakable and thanksgiving. Unless a person has experienced the mind numbing time when a doctor says in so many words, "you may die from this", it is impossible to appreciate the thrill when those words did not come to pass. Unless a person has been to the floor of the valley it is impossible to really enjoy the mountaintop.
I thank God that He has healed you "K" and given you the heart of a servant and a champion to take your experiences and use them as means to help others. So many would simply be content to bask in their personal victory, but thank God you have made it your mission to use your victories (and set backs) to help all of us better understand what it is like and what it means to live with such a serious and devastating disease for a season.
Thank you and enjoy you day, for you surely deserve it!!
Happy cancerversary, dear Princess K!
I think we should all praise God and eat some cheesecake in your honor.
It is my prayer that as I share my journey, others will truly realize that our God enables us to be victors over our circumstances rather than victims! There is no darkness so dark that God cannot penetrate it and slay it! There is no path that is too dark, steep or hard for God and to be with God on those terrible paths is far better than to be a smooth, sunny, pleasant-looking path without Him because the former leads to true life while the other one leads to destruction.
I wrote a blog during chemo which was called something like "It's A Setback, Or Is It". I can't remember for sure. The title contained the word setback anyway.
I had been looking at my bloodwork results and was concerned that some things were coming back somewhat and other things seemed to be getting worse.
My oncologist told me that while those appeared to be setbacks, they really weren't. He was actually causing those particular numbers to go down on purpose and systematically dismantling some of my defenses so that the drugs could destroy cancer cells without the interference of my immune system.
This is one of my "cancer lessons". What I view as a "setback" may not really be a "setback" at all. I need to trust that God is in complete control and He has a purpose for everything which befalls me whether I understand it or not. I have to say that if one person comes to understand this truth through something I say or do, it is truly worth the cost!
I know you mean well but please do not use this blog as a forum to give medical advice. That is not the purpose of it. Also, while I understand many people have had horrible experiences with uncaring medical personal, I have found my "team" (breast surgeon, nurse navigator, oncology radiologist, radiation oncologist, oncology and radiation nurses and staff as well as last but not least, my oncologist) to be some of the most compassionate and caring people I've ever met and I thank God for them daily.
You just keep on rockin that cancer. God be with you the whole way
Thanks for all your kind and encouraging comments, everyone!