Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm Back . . .

I’m officially back in the game, only hopefully a new and improved version of myself :).  I started back full time at work and have been excercising pretty consistently the past couple of weeks - running 1-3 miles a day and doing yoga, weight training and a lot of stretching to get my body to bend again the way it did before :).

I feel 90-95% back to my normal self with just a few souvenirs left to remind me where I've been.  Mild hotflashes are still lingering, a few challenges with pain at the surgerical sites and some slight achiness in my feet. But on the upside, I've lost about half of the weight I gained from chemo and my hair is long enough that people I haven't seen in awhile are commenting on my new hair cut - lol!

I continue to visit my Oncologist every 3 months to make sure I am still "cancer free" and will see my doctor the end of this month to determine when my surgery to remove scar tissue will be.  For now I am holding off on taking Tamoxifen - the medication many patients take post-chemo.  For me the benefit is very small, since my tumor was not estrogen positive.  But it is something I will continue to discuss with my doctor over the next year, since I want to do everything in my power to safeguard against future issues. I am just really enjoying having my life back and seeing how much I can accomplish in one day is absolutely wonderful!

And I even signed up for a fun event to support breast cancer awareness and research - it is a Susan G. Komen snowshoeing walk/race.  Some great friends who have been supportive through my journey are doing it with me - our team is called the "Bosom Buddies" and we are planning to be the most enthusiastic, highest fundraising group in the race!  If you'd like to help here's the link:


As I reflect on the last year and the challenges I have faced, I know that I have gained so much more than I have lost.  Given the chance to erase this experience from my life I wouldn't do it because now I have a different view of the world that I wouldn't trade:  
- I have less fear and more faith than I did before I started

- I have less loneliness and have come to know that I have many more friends than I ever realized

-  I am less concerned about small, unimportant things and have more gratitude for all that I have
- I have come to know that true beauty comes from the inside out and radiates in the way we live our lives and fulfill the measure of our creation.
- I have come to know on a deeper level that no matter what situation we find ourselves in life there is always someone who is much worse off than we are. 

Choosing gratitude is so much easier and enjoyable than questioning God's wisdom in allowing us to experience whatever trial or difficulty we are going through.  I don't know why I was chosen for this particular trial but I do wonder why I was blessed to have been delivered from so many things that have happened to others in similar circumstances. 
I know that where much is given, much is required and it is now time for me to give back.
“And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

“And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you.  And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?”

- Mosiah 2:23-24

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life!

Happy 2012!  I am so thankful for this new year of life I have been given.  Yes, 2011 was quite a year – it was definitely challenging but I grew so much through the unexpected journey I found myself on.  While I am thankful to be on this side of the trial - given the chance, I wouldn’t trade the things I have learned and the blessings I have been given along the way.
Last week I had my first “hair” cut since I lost it all – emphasis on “hair” since that is about all we took ;).  Just some very tiny trimming to give it more of a shape, so that I don’t get a side mullet or have creepy neck hair :).  It felt so good to sit in that chair again, knowing it is growing - since the last time I saw my stylist it was falling out and we were shaving it off!
Things are going really well – for the most part the side effects have really decreased or gone away.  I have been on vacation from work since the 23rd of December and return on January, 9th.  At that point I plan to go back full time since I have been on a reduced schedule since the beginning of chemo.  It is great to have time off for something other than recovery and so I have been able to spend the past 10 days visiting with friends and family, catching up on unfinished projects at home and running errands that have been on hold since my diagnosis . . . and now I am spending a few days visiting my best friend from high school in Georgia.  Love those Weislers!!!
Blessings seem to be coming every day for me.  This biblical verse truly fits:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  -Malachi 3:10
Truly, the windows of Heaven have been opened and I can hardly keep up in showing my gratitude for the many blessings the Lord is pouring out upon me. 
Saturday was an exceptionally good day – it started out with an hour drive to the LDS Bountiful Temple to share in the experience of my close friends’ sealing and blessing to their newly adopted daughter.  Their story is an amazing journey of sacrifice, trials and finally after many years, miracles and great joy in receiving this beautiful little girl into their family. 
As I was headed up the freeway to meet them, I began to feel incapable of driving and extremely anxious due to the fact that I was running late, hadn’t eaten much, and was a little tired from staying up late the night before – the combination of these things usually isn’t pretty when I’m trying to drive or use brain power in general.  So I was really struggling to keep driving and fight the urge to get off the next exit and forget the whole event. But I really wanted to share in this special day and so the only thing I could do was pray for help to make it safely and on time.  As I drove and prayed, I was reminded of a song I learned at church when I was a teenager.  We used to sing it when I was a missionary in Ontario, Canada if we felt discouraged or out of touch with the Spirit.  Here are the words from my favorite verse + a link to the song:
Long before the time you can remember,
Our Father held you in His arms so tender. 
Those loving arms released you as He sent you down to earth. 
He said: “My child, I love you.  Don’t forget your great worth.”
Walk tall you’re a daughter, a child of God.
Be strong- please remember who you are. 
Try to understand, you’re part of His great plan. 
He’s closer than you know - reach up, He’ll take your hand.

I made it to the sealing and was so blessed to be “in the moment” as I took part in that angelic experience.  The words of the song and the spirit I felt as I remembered that the Lord is always much closer than I know really touched me and helped me get through the anxiety.  I testify that He hears and answers our prayers in a way that will be best for our eternal progression.  I'm thankful for the many experiences I have been given to learn first hand the depth of His love and sacrifice.