Living God’s Best

I ran into a friend yesterday, and she asked, “Are you okay?” She had a look of concern on her face, and I assured her that I was. She had read my Blog about the Cancer scare, and wanted to make sure I was all good. She is not the only friend that wasn’t sure, so let’s see if I can be more clear.

What we go through in life is a test of some sort.

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I don’t believe there is Cancer in my breast. The technician wasn’t sure what she was seeing during the sonogram, so I had the films sent to my Oncologist who knows my history. He didn’t see anything concerning, but wants to see my next film in six months. I’m not worried, so don’t you be either!

God used that situation to reach the right people, and I now have really good health insurance!

In March, or April of next year, I will have another mammogram, and have faith for God’s best. Since walking out of the imaging center a month ago, I have made life changes, and am still making them. When God shows me His best, I want to give Him my best in return. The entire incident brought this to the forefront of my mind.

“What do I want my life to look in six months? Am I living God’s best?”

In Six Months

Once Cancer leaves your body, it doesn’t completely leave your mind. I said no to going to see my Breast Surgeon.

Instead, I called the imaging center, and asked them to send the films to my Oncologist. If I had to choose who to go see, it would be him. His office called and he agreed with the Radiologist. He’s not concerned, but wants to see me in six months.

When I left the imaging center, those words were playing on a loop in my mind. “See you in six months.” How would I live my life the next six months? What have I been putting off doing? I listened to my heart the whole way home.

As soon as I walked through the door, I bought concert tickets to see Noah Gundersen.

My daughter has seen him in concert, and he is one of our favorite artists. He’s not very well-known, so the tickets are cheap. She wants me to see him in concert, and she asked for these tickets as part of her birthday in August.

She had a priority list of things she’d like for her birthday, and we did everything on her little list, except the tickets. He’s playing in Houston, so that meant spending the night. I called my co-worker, and asked if I could work her hours. She said yes, so I made the extra money to enjoy the upcoming concert, and we will spend the night in Houston.

My daughter thought maybe I cancelled my appointment because of money. I said, “No darling. We have the money, but we are going to see Noah, and cherish the moment.”

Wait With Me

I write about a beautiful life, and that is my hearts desire to share with you. Right now, I feel the need to get this out, and writing always helps soothe the soul.

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Once again, I am waiting.

Last Friday, I went in for my 6 month checkup, and had a mammogram.

It began as routine, and then the technician came in for more scans. This is the left breast that held Cancer last year. After having 6 scans, I was escorted into the sonogram room. The technician rolled the handheld device over my breast for what seemed like a very long time. She sent the scans to be reviewed by the doctor, and in came the doctor.

The doctor tried to sound casual as she spoke. “You have a couple of areas I’m not sure about, but they are not screaming Cancer to me. I’d like to see you again in six months.”

Does Cancer scream?

I left there concerned, but not worried. Wasn’t going to jump to any conclusions until my Oncologist saw the film. I knew she would know if there was any cause for concern.

She called today and wants to see me. “There are areas of concern…” Her first available appointment is 10/24, which is almost two weeks away. I ask that you wait with me.

The First Sentence

I opened a letter from the imaging center where I had my most recent mammogram. The words filled the entire page, but after that first sentence, I didn’t need to read anymore.

“We are pleased to inform you that the results of your recent breast imaging exam(s) show no signs of Breast Cancer.”

This last letter was the opposite of the first one I received exactly one year ago. The first letter told me the exam saw Cancer, and the last one said, “End of story.” There was a beginning, and an end, but my story is far from over.

Some of the journey is documented here, but who you see today is the woman on the other side. How did I survive? Through love, and God. That is also what you read about here.

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In the same way the first sentence of that letter caught my attention, so will the first sentence of a Blog. I’ve been reading a lot of Blogs recently, and they show me who I used to be. I’ve had the privilege of being a lot of what I read. The Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Stepford Wife, Preacher/Teacher, and those roles helped create who I am today.

Even though I may not fully see her yet, I know where she’s been. I don’t write long Blogs, because after about 500 words, I lose interest, and imagine you would too.

Do you ever wonder why you’re here? I have been thinking about that a lot, and I don’t really know why. All I know is, God opened this door three years ago, and here I stand.

Seeing who you’re not anymore, helps you along the path of who you want to be.

Every circumstance has strengthened my character, and my relationship with God. Sitting here I am reminded of the first sentence of an Ed Sheeran song. “I gave all my oxygen to people that could breathe.” Been there, done that. Today, I can tell you how good it feels for my body to breathe.

 

Test of Faith

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, but 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 is 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.

First and Last

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 was the first and last.”

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 was 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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What A Year

I went to see my Breast Surgeon this morning for a follow up visit. She said, “You look great! You cannot even tell you’ve been through an all out war!” All I could say was, “God is good.”

She always hands me a list of my next steps. She wants me to wait a few weeks, and have a mammogram, but let my breast heal from the radiation. She said, “If you wait one month, you will have your mammogram exactly a year from when you had that first one.”

The journey began around March 7, 2016.

I had to stop Googling first thing.

That will scare the crap outta ya. Instead, I found Blogs written by women walking a similar path. This one woman was ahead of me on the Cancer path, and she was a comfort. She gave an in-depth description of the Chemo I would be receiving fondly known as The Red Devil. She is a truth-teller, and that is all I needed.

The last Cancer post I read, was written by a woman that was nearing the end of her journey. She was looking forward to it being over and feeling that sense of elation. I thought I would feel that too, knowing that the worst is behind me. It has been different for me.

It’s like everything in my life is more vividly colored, more intense. I notice things now, that I had missed before. I am more in-tune to my heart, and listen to my body, and soul.

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I have a myriad of feelings, but, “Whew! That’s over!”, hasn’t been one of them. This quote sums it up, “New Year, New Feels, New Chances, Same Dreams, Fresh Starts.

When I have my next mammogram, it will show nothing, which is better than something. It’s been a year.

Chocolate and Chemo

I woke up this morning wanting to put the brakes on my life. Just for a few days. Everything happened so fast. The list of who I’ve seen and what has been done is huge. Tomorrow, I get my port placement inserted very early. Austin is growing on me.

I went to see my doctor today. He is delightful, and has a sparkling attitude. He was going over the results of the MRI, with this puzzled look on his face. He said when they did the mammogram and ultrasound, they saw three other small satellites floating around the one mass. After reviewing the MRI, which is significantly more detailed, there were none.

No satellites. Just the one mass alone.

He looked puzzled, but it was no surprise to me. I flat out told him, “God is healing me!”

He smiled, nodded his head, still looking at the MRI and said, “Yes. We need God.”

Then I went to learn all about Chemo.

I had my book ready to take notes, but didn’t need it. On her lap was this large binder filled with pages , which were all going home with me. I put my book away. She started flipping through all the pages, and at first it was mild. She was telling me what I could expect from the medicines.

It was all good until she started talking about some negative effects of the combined Chemo. My face was priceless I’m sure as I looked at her and said, “Rebuke.”

I’m just walking up to doors on this journey. Tapping to see if they open. When they do, I walk through and see what the person on the other side has in store. God has lined up the most wonderful people for me. My doctor laughs and says, “You’re gonna be just fine.”

The lady in the Chemo department is excited about me being there. I noticed about 3/4 of the way through her stack of pages, she just stopped and put them up. She said she didn’t see any need to go over the rest because I was gonna be just fine. As I was leaving, she told me, “We’re gonna have fun! I’m so glad you’re here. We need you.”

God has me right where I’m supposed to be. After we left Austin, I stopped and bought this.

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A bowl full of chocolate that I best enjoy now, because chocolate and Chemo don’t mix.