Test of Faith

I haven’t had any reliable Internet the last couple of days. Seymour and I took off, and drove to the beach. We saw the ocean, but it was raining, so we didn’t get to enjoy it as we had planned. The trip wasn’t about walking on the beach. It was about all the time spent together in the car, sharing a room, and talking and listening to one another’s life stories.

As I was driving to my Mammogram appointment Thursday morning, all these recollections of my Breast Cancer journey came to mind. Driving down a country road, toward the city, I saw a slide show before me. Moments where my faith was tested, and I was ready to call it quits. Seymour mentioned that I suffered in silence, so why did I feel so exposed?

I arrived at my appointment, was escorted to a screening room, and stood before that massive machine for the first time in a year. The last time I was there, I could only hug it, and sob. This time was different. The technician had to keep moving the machine upwards to accommodate my height. I was stronger now, so maybe I was standing a little bit taller.

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The technician used the machine to take pictures of both breasts in 3D. When she was done, I went to sit in a private lounge, just for women waiting for the test, or the results.

I sat down across from a woman, I guessed to be retirement age. She had been crying, and was clutching the front of her gown, trying to keep it from falling open. I had been right where she was sitting, so I asked her, “Are you okay?” She started to cry some more.

She told me that she had been so faithful with her Mammograms. She had received one every year for as far back as she could remember. She was late in getting this one, and when she did, they saw something concerning. They had just done a more in depth one, and she was waiting to hear the next steps. She was at her beginning, and I was at my end.

The first thing I assured her of was, there is no such thing as ‘late’. You are here now, and that is all that matters. I shared the names of all my doctors with her, and she frantically took notes. The technician came back to get me, and as I left, I looked at her and said, “God bless you.” She whispered the same to me, and I told her, “He does everyday love.”

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My journey created a profound intimacy with God. It’s still there, even though my journey was coming to a close. God was getting ready to test my faith, as see what I had learned.

The technician escorted me to a different room, which I recognized immediately. There was the table I had laid on during my biopsy. She asked me to lay on the table, and open the right side of my gown. I laid down, and asked her, “You realize the lump was in my left?”

She said, “Oh I know Mrs. Holmes, but we saw something in the right that we need to take a closer look at.” My world stopped. I realized I had been so concerned about the left one, that I hadn’t paid much attention to the right. I felt the warm gel hit my breast, and the wand of the sonogram machine started sliding around. At that point, I lost all control.

I broke down, and started sobbing on the table. The female technician patted my arm, reassuring me that it was all okay. I told her, “I cannot do this again! I cannot go through it all again!!!” But you know what? If I needed to go through it again, God would be there. My next thought was, I would have both breasts removed, so at least I could come back as a 36C!

She completed the sonogram, and left the room to review the results with the Oncologist. When she returned, she exclaimed, “You are all good Mrs. Holmes! It’s only a cyst!” There was more than one test given here, and thanks be to God that I was able to pass ’em both.

Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, a recent Breast Cancer survivor, and she loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

 

 

 

First and Last

I woke up this morning to the sweetest Meme awaiting approval on my Facebook Timeline. She posted it my personal page, but I met this woman on my Letitgocoach Facebook Page.

tycoach2This is not the first time, and I hope it won’t be the last. To hear it is oh so sweet.

The appointment with my Oncologist went very well on Monday. We basically thanked one another for being there, and said our good-byes. He said if anything comes up where I need him, to just call. Well, let’s just say, “Thank you Doc, but I hope this is the last time.”

I have my mammogram tomorrow morning. This will be the first one in exactly one year. The first time I had one it showed the lump in my breast, and was extremely painful! They are not supposed to be painful lovely. I had waited until I couldn’t wait any longer to go have the mammogram. I remember standing there, hugging the machine, and sobbing.

This one won’t be painful, unless I have a really sucky technician. My hope is that I have the same one I had the first time, so she can see what God did in that year.

I’m a completely different woman from the first time, but it won’t be my last.

My surgeon wants me to have one every 6 months for two years. I looked at her like, “Gosh! Will this journey ever end?” The journey continues, and I’m just better than I was at the first. Thank you God it wasn’t my last.

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Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, a recent Breast Cancer survivor, and she loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

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The Cone Down

A pretty sight for me is this red tea in a pink mug. It’s cold and rainy here in Texas, and I am back at my farmhouse. I learned today that Radiation is going to get better tomorrow.

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Radiation is better than Chemo. Thanks to Chemo, I guage life’s upsets upon it. If something happens that is disturbing, and going to take some walking through, I ask myself, “Is it as bad as Chemo?” Nope. I haven’t found anything as bad as Chemo.

Tomorrow at Radiation, they begin my cone down. I’m excited because the radiation will no longer be pointed at my chest. It is already looking quite lobster like, so no more burn.

For these final few sessions, they pinpoint an area about the size of a quarter, where the lump used to be. This is the left side of my breast, up under the armpit. They will zap me right there in that spot, and after 8 more zappos, it will be over! That is called a cone down.

I have met an amzing group of women at Radiation. It’s worth going just to bond with them each day. They were intrigued to discover I write, and looked up my Blog. Those sweet souls asked if they could refer other patients to it. I am humbled and honored.

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We do life together, and so did the women at Chemo, but I was usually unconscious within minutes at Chemo. Those women took care of me when I couldn’t. They still hold a space in my heart, but Radiation is nothing like Chemo. You walk in, and you walk out. You drive yourself there and back, and you don’t feel the urge to take a nap as soon as you get home.

Every part of this journey has held me exactly where I needed to be.

My life feels pretty Zen about now. I am so grateful to have had this journey, but I’m also excited that it’s almost complete. If you or someone you love is going through Chemo, just know, that is the worst part in my opinion. It does getter better and you will get through.

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Barbara is a Writer, a Letting Go Coach, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, and she loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of 2016 that she had Breast Cancer. She has completed Chemo, and is going through Radiation. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

Humble and Kind

I woke up this morning thinking of these words. Humble and kind. They go hand in hand. When I stay humble, kindness  seems to pour out of me. I learned this lesson the hard way years ago.

Then of course, living in Texas, these words reminded me of a Tim McGraw song.

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“When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you. When the work you put in is realized. Let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.” Do you have a dream you’re dreamin’?

My dream is for people to feel loved. To encourage them through whatever life is throwing their way. I have to believe by starting this Blog in 2014, God will use it to reach people. To let them know that life is a beautiful thing, even when it doesn’t look, or feel very beautiful.

I believe it’s easy to get wrapped up in the likes, follows, and numbers attached to it all. This was a struggle of mine, because I like statistics, but numbers are not always accurate. What about the silent numbers. The people who are in so much pain, that silence is all they have.

I have been touched by those people, so I know they are there. They won’t hit ‘like’, or make a comment, but they breathe in what you’re saying. I’ve received private messages from these wounded souls, and I treasure those messages. The souls without a number attached.

My week has not been pretty. Having frozen water pipes over the weekend, and then running out of gas were unexpected events, but both those things could be easily fixed, with time. I want you to know, that whatever you’re going through will be fixed with time. Time is truly your friend. It may not feel that way right now, but give it time. Time tells all, and heals all.

As I say this to you, I am also saying it to myself. My left breast is burning from the radiation.

I pointed this out to one of my radiation technicians yesterday, and she said it was normal with where I am on this journey. I have reached my limit with the radiation, so my skin will stay burned until it’s over. A couple of weeks, after my last treatment, it will go back to normal. This translates to me that I have two more weeks of feeling the burn, but it will end.

We live in an “I want it now”, society. It’s funny how the lessons show up quickly, but the good things take time. I have spent a lot of time on this Breast Cancer Journey, but so have the people around me. The pace is slow, and is physically and emotionally stretching, but I’m gonna take my own sweet time. Even through the frustration, I will stay humble and kind.

 

mescarf (135x240)Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, and loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of 2016 that she had Breast Cancer. She has completed Chemo, and is starting Radiation. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

People Mean Well

My daughter and I live in a very small town. We found out recently, that people ride by and look to see if our vehicles are here. They know when we’re home, and when we’re not home. I’m sure they mean well, but in today’s world, that could be considered ‘stalking.’

There is a man who lives in this little town that seems to know everybody’s bizness. He knew when I was going through Chemo, when I had my surgery, and he knows I’m going through Radiation. He didn’t hear it from me, but somehow he knows these things. I wonder how?

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His wife has had Breast Cancer, and from what I gather talking with him, she is battling it again. He didn’t go through doctor’s to heal her. He knows people from years ago that cured Cancer naturally. He stopped by my house yesterday, and handed me a bottle of dark liquid.

How do we discern the right path? I believe there are signs along the way.

God has healed me, and He used everything I went through to do so. Will the Cancer return? I don’t know, but will cross that bridge if it appears. I thank God everyday for healing me, and I haven’t asked Him to send backup. In other words, I haven’t prayed this man into my life.

That was the first sign for me. Another sign is, whatever he just handed me is illegal. He told me he could go to jail for giving it to me. That was a big red flag because I don’t do illegal.

I would love to meet his wife one day. To see her, and hear her story. He said she has lost 40 pounds, and is healthy as a horse. Going through Chemo, I lost 20 pounds, and I didn’t feel healthy. I felt very frail, and missed that extra weight. Slowly, I am gaining it back, and 20 pounds kept me in the safe zone. Losing anything more than 20, I would be skin and bones.

As if I hadn’t heard enough, he just had to throw this in. This liquid tastes like death itself. For it to work, I will need to cut out ALL sugar, wheat and pasta. Welp, that did it for me!

I love wheat! My man has taught me how to make our own pasta, and I cannot imagine my life without chocolate. So, he was handing me something illegal that tastes like death, and I may lose 40 pounds because I would have to stop eating! I eat healthy, but love my treats. Everyday just happens to be an occasion to celebrate with a piece of dark chocolate, or two.

When people come into our lives, there is always a reason. I haven’t quite figured out the reason behind this man, but God will show me in time. He is pretty comfortable barging into people’s lives, so maybe no one has told him ‘no’ before. God knows I have learned how to do that too. Whatever the reason behind it, I know it will be for my good, and God’s glory.

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Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, and loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of 2016 that she had Breast Cancer. She has completed Chemo, and is starting Radiation. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

Don’t Be Angry

I woke up thinking of a lady I saw at Radiation. She was agitated in my presence, and I couldn’t grasp how to comfort her. I thought she was scared, but I found out later, she was angry.

There are 5 stages of grief, and when I found out I had Breast Cancer, I went through them all. Some people get stuck on a certain one, but you need to keep going. Don’t get stuck, and roll around in one. If you do that, you are going to miss out on the point of the journey.

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I stayed in Denial for quite a while. Every doctor I met, told me the same thing, and I just sat there ready to bolt. My daughter would go with me to the appointments, and listen for me. Even though I was sitting right there, I wasn’t actually hearing what they were saying.

Then I got just flat out pissed off. In came the yelling match with God. Have you ever noticed, God doesn’t yell back? He just patiently waits for the fit to subside. All the questions, but the most popular one was, “Why?” I had plans for 2016, but now I was going to spend it killing Cancer? Well, God and Chemo took the anger right out of this girl.

Good ol’ Chemo. That is where I learned the most. I could write a book on that alone.

I was bargaining my way through every chance I got. Let’s face it. I usually get my way, but the doctor’s wouldn’t budge. “Can I take a longer break?” No. “Can we just stop right here?” No. “Do I have to come back and keep doing this?” Yes. They were focused on the cure. They had a plan to kill this lump in my breast, and they succeeded. I’m glad they told me no.

Waves of sorrow would wash over me during Chemo. I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I definitely felt sorry for myself. I couldn’t do anything about anything! All I could do was open my eyes to a new day. Sometimes it took a few days to become stable enough to shower. I just laid in bed thinking of what I would write, if I had the well being to write it.

Acceptance.

This was the sweetest part of the journey. Once I finally accepted the journey.

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God didn’t do this to me. Being an overthinker, I went through every scenario trying to pinpoint what caused this Cancer. Does it really matter? It wasn’t about the lump. It was about what God was going to do for me, that I couldn’t do myself. When I got to that point, and I had to ask for help from God, and others, I believe God started to smile down on me.

God doesn’t want us to walk through this life on our own. He is with us every moment of everyday, but we tend to only call out to Him when needed. In my anger stage, I told God, “I can’t do this on my own.” He was there every step of the way, and my heart is full of His goodness and grace. Don’t be angry. This wasn’t done ‘to’ you, but God will use it for you.

 

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Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, and loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of this year that she has Breast Cancer. She has completed Chemo, and is starting Radiation. She is in the midst of writing a book which you can help support with Patreon. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

 

 

 

Turning Inside Out

I don’t typically Blog at night, so my hope is, this reaches someone who needs it.

Today was a day of comfort. I got home late yesterday afternoon from Christmas visits. A friend I haven’t talked to in a while, spent time with me on messenger this morning, catching up. It was good to reconnect with her, and I always learn something after hanging out with a friend. Today, she told me, “It sounds like you are right where you need to be.”

There is a difference between ‘right where you need to be’, and ‘right where you WANT to be.’ If I’m right where I need to be, it involves growth, and preparation for where I want to be. I have grown a lot this year, and it’s all thanks to walking through this path of Cancer.

God has gone before me, and placed the right people in my path. Today, I wore some comfortable jeans, a long sleeve shirt, my favorite scarf, jean jacket, and furry boots to Radiation. Walking in, I was comforted just by what I was wearing. It didn’t bother me to trade in my warm clothes for the hospital top. I was still smiling walking down the hall.

When you go through Radiation, the technician takes an x-ray of the area first, before every treatment. That is how they know they have you in correct alignment before they zap you.

I have two wonderful, female technicians. They saw how happy I was to be there, and one of them said something that really struck me. After I laid down on the table, and the machine was in place for the x-ray, she tapped my leg and said, “Smile pretty for us on the inside!”

She was joking because of the x-ray that was being taken, but it has stuck with me all day.

Smile pretty on the inside.

Maybe what you’re going through has taken away your smile. Or, you smile, but you’re hiding the hurt inside. You are not alone, and let me encourage you, that you will get through it. Place your hand over your heart, and feel it beating inside of you. Life can feel like it’s turning you inside out, but until that feeling has passed, smile pretty on the inside.

 

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Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, and loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of this year that she has Breast Cancer. She has completed Chemo, and is starting Radiation. She is in the midst of writing a book which you can help support with Patreon. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

 

 

 

Look and See

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My favorite part of this Breast Cancer Journey, is the people God has placed in my path. Friends I’ve had for years, and new ones, love on me. I salute all you Beautiful Souls that give us care in the Cancer Centers. You make a difference in peoples lives every single day.

I don’t know where you are in your journey. Mine is nearing the finish line, and God is finishing up with a bang! There is one thing He drilled home quick. “It’s not about me.” I always love hearing that. “This is not about YOU Barbara.” No God. It’s about the journey.

Try not to rush the journey lovely. One day it will be over, and you will want to look back at everything you learned. If you are pushing yourself through, you are missing all the beauty.

You might be wondering, “What beauty?” Oh love, the beauty is YOU.

When your hair starts to fall out, go ahead and shave it off. You don’t need it, and I love feeling the air touch my naked scalp. I tried to hide it in the beginning with scarves, but living in Texas that was too hot and itchy for me. I pulled up my big girl pannies, and walked outside with a bald head. At that point, I stopped worrying what other people think.

I told myself in the beginning, I was wearing the scarf for them. Didn’t want to shock them seeing a bald headed woman in public. Well honey, if you think that will shock them, you aren’t on Goggle enough. There are a lot of things more shocking than a bald head. It’s actually an exhilarating and freeing part of the journey when your eyes aren’t hiding anymore.

This entire journey involves a lot of waiting, and a lot of the unknown. Get good with that.

It would be very stressful to face every stage of the journey, and bulldoze my way through. That would be ME making it happen as quickly as possible, and not giving God a chance to work. Running on the fear of it all, and not resting in His peace. I had to take a lot of my old behaviors, and flush them down the toilet for this. I wasn’t going to rush anyone, including me.

When people asked about my hairless head, I would tell them I didn’t have a choice. It was done for me. This usually opened a door for me to share how extraordinary this has been. This has been an amazing journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. He will do the same for you, if you look and see.

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Barbara is a Writer, a Mom to her 17-year-old daughter, and loves God. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. She found out in March of this year that she has Breast Cancer. She has completed Chemo, and is starting Radiation. She is in the midst of writing a book which you can help support with Patreon. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

Dear Sober Me

It’s been raining this week in Texas. The sun broke through the clouds this morning, beamed through the front windows, and filled my home with light. The air outside was cool, but the warmth of the sun felt fabulous. Now it’s cloudy again, but that is only the weather.

I am grateful every morning I wake up, but even more grateful to wake up sober. Today marks 18 years of sobriety for this chick. So, even though the weather is cloudy, my mind is not, and neither are my eyes. There is a lot on my mind at the moment, but my eyes are shining bright! Asking God for His help 18 years ago, was the best decision I ever made.

I just returned form a very long appointment with a Radiologist. Just to check my level of patience, they had me waiting from the very beginning. I went yesterday, which living in the woods, is a 45 minute drive to see them, one way. They had me scheduled with the wrong doctor, and asked me to come back today. So I did, and there was more waiting.

A nurse came in and asked me lots of questions. Once they were answered, another lady came in that is the doctor’s assistant. She liked to talk, and I sat there listening to her describe every aspect of radiation. By the third time I looked down at my lap and zoned out, she got the message and stopped talking. I just wanted to see the doctor and leave.

The doctor eventually came in and went over the same information as she. It was like they were trying to talk me into it or something, so I said, “What are my next steps, and when do we start?” They said their goodbye’s, and told me to expect a phone call this week, or next, about scheduling a scan of my breast. Two weeks after the scan, they will start treatment.

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It’s a good day to be sober. I cannot imagine following this Breast Cancer Journey hungover.

God took my desire to drink completely away when I asked. I can’t recall a craving in all these years, but the thought of a drink has crossed my mind. Fortunately, I learned very well that a glass of wine, or ten, does not fix anything. The circumstance I was drinking over was waiting on me the next day, along with whatever chaos I caused while drinking.

I was hoping my Breast Cancer Journey would be over by the end of the year. Radiation will begin sometime in December, and be 5 days a week, for six weeks. The journey will fall into the new year. My sponsor would ask me, “Would you like some cheese with that whine?” I have nothing to whine about. We will continue the journey as planned, and stay sober me.

 

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Barbara is a God follower, a Writer, and Mom to her 17-year-old daughter. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. Part of her mission is to show people they can start over at 50. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

When Worry Assails

Many of my daily devotionals recently have been about trusting God. It’s not so hard to trust Him, but to lay your life at His feet, and to trust Him completely with the outcome.

I’m still working on that.

Looking back over my life some rather large mountains have been removed. Things happened that I had no control over, and I worried how to get through. Worrying about the future. It’s human nature to visualize ourselves coping badly in those situations. It’s my nature to devise a plan, and fix it, but that is not including God. I’d rather have God lead.

He is the master fixer of my life. My life is very simple today, and I don’t stir things up like I used to. When a situation presents itself, I know it’s going to be an opportunity for God to show up, and show off. I will need to stay out of it, and respond as little as possible. The most recent being my Breast Cancer Journey. Oh, I had plenty of ideas how to handle that.

Sitting here this morning, pondering my appointment with the Radiologist this afternoon, thinking my journey would be over by now. Having the lumpectomy a few weeks ago, and the Cancer being removed, we should be done. Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be sitting here dreading my appointment! This is me worrying about the path ahead, and not including God.

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A dear friend sent me this earlier this week. She knew nothing of my upcoming appointment, so I’m sure it was God prompting her to send it. It brought the whole Breast Cancer Journey back into view. ‘You are living through a major expansion of your faith’, describes this journey perfectly. Yes, I am uncomfortable, but I believe that is okay today.

Isn’t that why we shrink to begin with? The discomfort.

I told everyone that would listen that I didn’t want radiation. In my mind, after the surgery, I was done. It sounded good, but I must keep walking through open doors. When I told my surgeon I didn’t want it, she gasped! In amazement she looked at me and said, “Barbara. How can you come this far, and not finish the journey? This is the last leg of the path!”

Thanks to Chemo, I am not afraid of this path. Chemo could have easily been the worst thing I’ve ever been through, but God was there. Chemo was a dark, and lonely path, but it could have been so much worse than it was. I wasn’t sick during it, and the only side effect I really had was the extreme fatigue. It knocked the wind out of me for at least three days.

I didn’t write much during those dark days, as friends tried their best to encourage me.

They would say, “You’re so brave”, and “You kicked Cancer’s butt”. Oh no darlings. My body was curled up in a fetal position in the middle of my bed, and I was gazing out the bedroom window depending on God to get me through it. He did, and He will continue to do so. Radiation may look like an inconvenience to me, but it’s really an opportunity to be used by God. What I wanted to be complete, is obvious today, that’s it’s only a curve in the path.

 

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Barbara is a God follower, a Writer, and Mom to her 17-year-old daughter. When she started this Blog in 2014 Letitgocoach was the name that stuck. She enjoys helping people Let Go of what is holding them back from having a beautiful life. Part of her mission is to show people they can start over at 50. Her life is beautiful, and an example of Letting Go and Letting God. You may connect with her via email. Letitgocoach@gmail.com