Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Normal life...whatever that is....

Yesterday, while at the plastic surgeon’s office, I saw a patient who was exactly where I was just 7 months ago. She had received her cancer diagnosis and she had decided her treatment plan. My heart hurt for her as they were scheduling her surgery. She had a look of grief and confusion and her husband just looked sad. As we rode down the elevator together, her and her husband held hands. I felt bad because I stood next to her with my very thin, short hair. I'm sure she was thinking, "That's going to be me." I didn't speak to her at all. I know how she feels. The last thing you need is for someone to tell you it's going to be okay. You feel like your the only person in the world with cancer. So, my resolve was to silently pray for her as the elevator moved . I thought about this encounter throughout the day.

I see people all the time at chemo and we talk cancer. But here was this beautiful women so hurt and confused. She has no idea what is about to happen to her. I realized that as a breast cancer survivor, I can truly help others who are going through this experience. I understand the emotions of breast cancer and felt them all. Maybe that's why this all happened. No, God didn't give me cancer but He did give me strength, healing and a faith that I have never known. As I rocked Ella to sleep last night, I actually thanked God for this experience and for the cancer. I know it sounds crazy. I am so grateful that God loves me so much that He carried me right in the palm of His hand and I desire to be faithful to the direction He wants me to go.

So, what's next? Well, the best news is I return to work TOMORROW night!!!!!!! I have missed it so much. I am nervous because it has been 7 months since I charted, started an IV, coached a laboring patient, etc. But I know I get to ease back in. We are so blessed to have Joel's dad, Wayne, visiting with us for several weeks. He is such a help and will make the transition back to work an easy one. As for the rest of my reconstruction, I have 2 more procedures to go. They will be separated by 6 weeks. By this summer I'll be the new and improved Lisa (and hopefully have a hairstyle)!

As for the blog, it will continue. However, the look will change. We are no longer "just an ordinary family, fighting breast cancer." We are an ordinary family who survived breast cancer! I have some things I want to say. So now.....as I clear my throat....be prepared for my acceptance speech:

  • To my amazing husband Joel: there is absolutely, no way I could have done this without you. God knew exactly what he was doing that day back in August of 2000 when we met for the first time. You kept me laughing which was the key to my recovery. You prayed with me, hugged me, and allowed me to cry even if I woke you in the middle of the night. You also allowed me to express whatever feelings I was having and gently led me back to the fact that God would never leave me. You took care of Ella, the house, the dogs, and me during those times I couldn't all while working 5 days/nights a week. I love you more than words can express.

  • To my "Ella Bella:" you are the reason I got out of bed. You kept me smiling because who could be depressed when you look at that beautiful smile. I cherish every minute I had to focus 100% on you. You were a champ and I appreciate that you started sleeping through the night during all of this too! Thank you for being such a good baby and for loving me no matter how short my hair was. You are my sunshine!

  • To our parents: thank you could never be enough. I appreciate the babysitting, driving me to appointments, cleaning, doing laundry, and encouraging words. I'm sure you all didn't mind getting to spend a little extra time with Ella. Family truly is the most important thing in this life.
  • To Candice and Alyssa: thank you for being such amazing friends. Thank you for crying with me and for letting me talk out all my frustrations. Thank you both for taking time out of your busy schedules to spend several days with me. I love you both.
  • To our extended family, friends and church family: thank you for the meals, cards, and support. Joel and I were continually overwhelmed with the love and support we received from you. We are blessed.
  • To my girls at work: thanks for not forgetting about me. Thank you for the phone calls, cards, gifts, and laughs.
  • To Deb in Michigan: thanks for all the words of encouragement you left on my blog. Who would have known that someone I have never met would play such an important part of my cancer fight? Although we may never meet in this life, I want to give you a great big hug when we meet one day in heaven.
  • To all of you who prayed for us and supported us: thank you is not enough. I felt your prayers and could not have been so strong without you.
  • To all of the cancer survivors and cancer patients I have met: I am honored to join this elite group. You all are an inspiration.

From the words of Deb in Michigan shared with me, "I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing!" Believe me I am DANCING!!!


GE is me said...

Lisa, I've followed your story from the beginning. You've been in my prayers. A friend sent me an e-mail tonite that I think you might want to see & sign the petition. It is in regards to a bill to make insurance companies stop doing drive thru mastectomies.
Please e-mail me @ geisme777@yahoo.com & I'll be happy to forward that to you.
God Bless & I'm glad your recovery is going so well. How did your 1st day back at work go?

Deb said...

Lisa...WOW! I am so touched. Thank you for your sweet words and I am so looking forward to that day we meet above and you can bet I'll be looking forward to that hug!

You always wonder if your words of encouragement really help. Thank you for making my day! I can't even begin to say how much you have encouraged me through out this. I thank you for allowing me to travel this journey with you.

I'll keep in touch.

Keep on dancing!

Michigan Marine Mom

Anna:) said...

Lisa! It is so great to see your smiling face and cheerfulness when you come into work! We are all so glad to have you back (even though we work different shifts!)

j.yue said...

this is very special to read after so much worry for you. cancer is one of my worst fears and it has been amazing following your journey through this as my dad has been fighting cancer for some time now as well. my eyes welled up with tears reading of your amazing husband. your marriage encourages me.