I am speechless.
If you know me well, you probably think that’s unbelievable.
But the truth is I don’t even know how to begin submitting my comments for something such as this, which has both touched me profoundly, and overwhelmed me completely! I guess I will begin with the same reaction I had when I first (unknowingly!) clicked on the link for this blog.
“Wow . . .” (And a lump formed in my throat. Not the cancer kind of lump, mind you.)
Thank you, Cheryl, for starting this blog!!
I guess I should tell my story.... I am actually writing a book (No Pouting, No Doubting) about my experiences, hoping they will someday help someone else. But for you loyal blog readers, I will summarize the best I can....
Most of you know I was diagnosed last May (2009) with cancer of the left breast. I opted for a double mastectomy, being as proactive as I could be. I was thankful to learn that I had NO cancer in my lymph nodes, nor any place else in my body. There was some initial confusion, as one doctor diagnosed me as Stage 1 cancer, while another said Stage 3, and yet another Stage 2! My oncologist prescribed a treatment plan of radiation and chemotherapy, and I began to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for those treatments. I had all the preliminary scans done, blood work, and picked out a wig. In the weeks leading up to my chemo start date, however, I could not shake the feeling that something was not right with my treatment plan. I could not pinpoint it . . . I thought perhaps radiation was not in my best interest. Then I dismissed it all as fear and pressed forward. Still the feeling remained. Something was not right. I went to the temple and prayed for guidance. I felt impressed that neither chemo nor radiation was right for me. But how could they not be? It’s what you do! It’s just what you do, right? My husband thought so, too.
On June 25, 2009 I had surgery to place a port in my chest for IV access, and the next day I was set to start chemo. That night I could not shake the feeling that this was wrong, and I knew it wasn’t fear. I had battled that fear and left it behind. I’d been to girls camp the previous week as a leader and felt energized and ready to fight and stand tall. But that morning I got down on my knees and prayed, and again I knew. This plan was all wrong. I encouraged Scott to pray, too. Then he gave me a blessing. A beautiful blessing! And we both knew. I had been receiving promptings of the Spirit that I needed to heed. We decided to postpone chemo, at least for that weekend, as we prayed more and visited the temple again. It didn’t take much for us to have our answer confirmed. Chemo was wrong for me, and so we sought out other options for care. My oncologist disagreed with my decision, but respected it and supported me. Through the help of some wellness doctors, I worked to build up my immune system. I changed my diet, exercised more, and took supplements. I began to take much better care of myself and felt great!
In November of 2009 I had a PET scan as a check up. My oncologist practically cartwheeled into the room to announce, “You must have a guardian angel!” My PET was perfect.
Fast forward six more months to May 2010. It was time for a follow-up PET scan again to make sure I still had a clean bill of health. Had to bust through some red tape: The insurance company denied the authorization, saying there was “no evidence of tumor recurrence.” It took two months of appeals and a new submission by my doctor’s office before they finally agreed to approve the scan. Suddenly there was trouble... Some lymph nodes lit up, as well as a few other possible problem areas in my skeletal system (But didn't I have spots in my skeletal system before? And they went away?!). After three failed lymph node biopsies, I was able to find a new specialist who performed a node biopsy with precision. True to his instinct, there was no cancer under my right arm. But under my left arm, the node biopsy came back positive, and my oncologist painted a bleak picture . . . six months of chemo, and a lifetime of an IV drug called Herceptin. I was devastated. I gave myself a nano-second to cry, then I squared my shoulders and got ready to fight again, and fight harder.
Once again, I have felt incredible promptings that I need to pursue the naturopathic route to wellness instead of the conventional treatment prescribed. I am not anti-chemotherapy by any means. I know there are valid uses for that treatment. But there has been way too much gray area regarding my diagnosis . . . And besides that, when you receive a direct answer, you just know it (title of a chapter in my book!). I have had some spiritual experiences that are too sacred, too precious to me to post on the world wide web . . . But suffice it to say, I am certain my decision to seek holistic care is correct. It is important to me that my friends and family understand that, as my husband puts it, “not doing chemotherapy should NOT be confused with doing nothing!” It is quite the contrary. I am engaged nearly every minute of everyday in battling this terrible disease. Diet, supplementation, alternative medication, exercise, meditation, and especially nutrition are a full-time job, and most of it does not come easily for me! I only wish insurance would cover naturopathic care, as it is effective and much less costly than chemotherapy. There are also some additional therapies that I wish to do when finances allow (such as Vitamin C IV infusions). Like many people in this economy, our financial situation is precarious. But, knowing we are doing His will, Scott faithfully decrees, “The Lord will provide.”
I have felt confident in my decisions. I have felt the hand of the Lord in my life and have no doubt that His Spirit has given me guidance. I am humbled by the love I have felt from Him, and the knowledge that He is mindful of little me. Nearly every morning there is temptation to fear, to be discouraged, but I choose not to listen to that voice. I am happier than I have ever been. And I know I will win this fight.
This recurrence of breast cancer has been surreal for me. I had a brief moment or two of grief, but otherwise have felt completely peaceful and calm. I know that cancer is my refining fire. It is my companion now, and I don’t have to be afraid of it. It brings me to my knees . . . and that is when I can stand tallest.
During this difficult time for our family, so many people have offered help, even financially. It has been a huge blessing. My dear friend, Lorene, is pounding the pavement to help promote my “No Pouting” tee shirts. Money for a juicer was graciously given by a family member. This fundraising blog was started! Without any solicitation on my part, my realtor and friend, Jennifer Moore, has sent out over 2000 letters to business associates promoting my shirts and asking for donations. She even established a bank account in my name. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of help.
I am so grateful for all of you who are part of this Army of Angels, who have such giving and loving hearts. I am grateful for your frequent messages of encouragement, prayer, and support, which truly carry me. Thank you for loving me and my family. Words are inadequate to express what your sustaining love means to me, to us.
So.....How’d I do?? Kinda long. I’m new to this blogging thing! :D
More to come soon. . . .
With love and blessings,