Monday, March 22, 2010

The Two Dates That Have Forever Changed My Life.

Here I am, one year later. The one year anniversary of the two dates that have forever changed me, my life, are here. March 23rd and March 24th 2009, are dates that are forever engraved on my brain. I remember vividly March 22 of last year. It was a Sunday. I went to bed that night, having a hard time falling to sleep, planning everything I needed to accomplish the next day before we headed to Nashville to spend Monday night in preperation of my first cancer surgery on Tuesday March, 24. I have thought a lot about that Sunday night lately. I have thought a lot about how we make plans for our lives, we think about the things we plan to accomplish, what order we will do things in...when we will be done. There is a song that Breaking Ground sings, that talks about just these things. I may not have it word for word but it goes something like this...
"It's funny how we do it, Make plans for our lives. We plan for success and try to pass the pain right by. But it just doesn't work that way, God has a different plan, He works in ways we never see, beyond the scope of man. When the journey takes a detour unexpectedly and I try to accept and understand what it all means. When I'm pressed to show the world what I really believe, I will trust you Lord...With my life."
I have to fight to keep my emotions in check everytime I hear this song. It describes how I have felt over this past year. March 23, 2009 is a date that my life began to take an unexpected detour, one that If I tried to understand it or make since out of it, I would have a difficult time. I can remember so many times sitting in Church listening to Bro. Jones preach to those with broken hearts and those facing difficult trials in their lives. I remember thanking God for my life and His blessings and knowing that although it was not me at that moment the message was meant for, It could very well be me one day in the future.
That Sunday night last year, as I laid there making plans in my mind, I had no idea those plans were to become so insignificant within a few short hours. I had called and talked to my Dad earlier that day and knew my Mom still had a terrible headache that she had had for several days. That Sunday night around midnight Dad called to tell Wendell he had taken Mom to the hospital and he would keep us informed. Every other time anyone in my family was taken to the hospital I would have immediately went. This time I didn't. We did not know how serious it was at that time. After a pretty sleepless night, we found out through phone calls early Monday morning that they thought Mom had had a stroke. Wendell and I immediately headed up there. By the time we got there Mom was already on life support. She went to be with the Lord that Monday night March 23, 2009 at about 7:00 p.m.
My family insisted I go ahead with my surgery, the cancer had grown a lot since my surgery was first scheduled and if I cancelled, it would be several weeks before I could reschedule. The threat of the cancer spreading more within that time frame was real. Dad let me know he wanted me to go ahead and he would wait to have Mom's services until I got back. Part of me felt almost selfish in going ahead with the surgery but there was the part that thought my kids needed me around and I didn't want the cancer to spread even more. So Wendell and I left the hospital that night, drove home, packed our bags and left for Nashville around 10:00 p.m. It was a long drive. We were both exhausted and almost in a numb state. I remember telling him, on the drive out, that I know God has a reason, but I was sure having a hard time understanding what it was...why this order of events?
Since that time I have to say I still don't understand everything but He has revealed some things to me. I miss my Mom terribly. I was on so much medication over the past year that I find myself grieving even more now, than I did then. I guess if there is a blessing in this that I can partially understand right now, it is the fact that she didn't have to see me suffer through all the cancer "stuff". Being a Mother myself and knowing the love that a Mother has for her children I am glad she didn't have to endure seeing me in the shape I was in. My Mom was such a beautiful, young looking, vibrant woman, that I never dreamed she would leave us at such a relatively young age. She was just 66.
Then of course the other date, March 24, 2009 was the date of my first cancer surgery which has definately changed life as I knew it!!! I guess if there was one thing I miss the most, more than pizza or breads, it would be the ability to sing!!! Ok, before those that know me well, start cracking the jokes...I didn't say sing WELL!!! I just said sing!!! When our Church congregation is all standing singing a hymn I guess I miss being able to join in more than anything else.
But, all in all, as I sit in Church and listen to Brother Jones preach to those with a broken heart or those that are going through a trial in there life right now, I thank God for my life and His blessings and I know that although the message is not meant for me at this moment, It could very well be, one day in the future.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'll Take Boring!!!

I haven't written a post in awhile, not because I have been busy, but because my life has somewhat returned to normal, and my normal is probably very boring to any one else. However, I will take "boring" over the "excitement" of the last year any day!!!!
I went to a dermatologist on the 9th for the place on my arm I had mentioned in an earlier post. It turned out to be Squamous Cell Carcinoma. I went back and had it cut out and will go back tomorrow to have the stitches removed. The place was small but he cut out quite a bit, I had to have eleven stitches. The good thing was it was on my left arm, the one already deformed from my previous surgery!!! I have now found a small knot on the right side of my neck, I will ask him about tomorrow. After all I have experienced over the past year every little bump or pain seems to trigger a response in me now. I just try to continue to pray and ask the Lord for His will to be done and most of all for the grace to make it from day to day.
I also go tomorrow for blood work in anticipation of my up coming PET Scan which is scheduled for April 6th.
As time goes on, I find myself living life with a very different attitude than I had before cancer. When I was first diagnosed it was so easy for me to just pray and turn it all over to God and know His will would be the best for me. Now having gone through all I have gone through there is always the fear, of the cancer returning, lingering in the back of my mind. I know if it does God's grace will still be sufficient for me, but I can't help but be a little scared now that I know what physical suffering is like. I am not afraid of dying. I don't wish to die. I want to live here with my family as long as the Lord allows. But I am afraid of physical suffering. I know I have probably spent way too much time on the Internet researching oral cancer, because now I know more than I wish to, of the possibilities.
As far as my physical state right now.... I still struggle with swallowing. I eat mostly soft foods, but I can eat a little chicken or steak if I cut it in very small bites and "wash" it down with gravy or mashed potatoes or pinto bean juice!!!! I still can't eat pizza or burgers or bread or chips, so fast food is not an option for me when we go out. I have to go somewhere where potatoes are fixed in ways other than french fried!!! I wasn't able to eat anything acidy, like ketchup or dressings because it would for some reason burn my mouth. But that seems to be getting a little better. I was even able to drink a few sips of a beloved Diet Coke the other day!!!!! My arm and leg, (where they took the graphs), although they look awful do not give me any problem at all. The only place I still experience pain is in my jaws, teeth, and ears, but pain meds take care of that. My speech is understandable unless I talk too fast, but I have been thought to be mentally challenged by some when I open my mouth and speak!!! I must admit there have been a few times when I have felt a little self conscious over my speech but for the most part I am able to laugh about it. I still have the port in my chest where they administered the chemo and I can't wait to get it out!!! The chemo doc told me to leave it in until I have had two clean PET Scans. My second one is coming up soon so hopefully......