Last year I wasn’t able to travel for Thanksgiving. I had just come home from the hospital after my double mastectomy and had opted to start reconstruction at the same time instead. A year later, I went to my family’s for Thanksgiving even though an ice storm was coming. My family remembers things from last year I try to recall but can’t. That’s a part of my new normal. There are so many missing links within my memory bank. It’s a struggle some days and often upsets me, but then I’m reminded of the blessings in life I’ve been granted. So I’m thankful I’m here.
This Thanksgiving season we welcomed a new bundle of joy to our family. Our grandbaby is beautiful, and we are very much in love. Another great reason to struggle through the tough times in life. There are so many blessings you can’t possibly see on the other side of the heartaches and struggles of today. I’m so thankful I’m here to spoil this tiny, little life.
The pain of a year ago has come and gone. I’m thankful God granted me the strength to get through it all. I pray I never have to go through such pain ever again. Whenever a doctor asked me to rate my pain on a pain scale with 10 being the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, I promise you most everything is going to be well below a five. There’s just no pain I’ve ever known that even comes close to what I felt those few moments after surgery when we struggled to control my pain. Thankfully, I was given a great cocktail of medication and my husband took great care in giving them to me at all the right times. Today, I still suffer from discomfort and stiffness, but I’m no longer in pain like that.
Someone asked if I’d regained full range of motion and could lift as much weight as I could prior to my surgery. No, not even close. Restrictions. Restrictions. Restrictions. This probably isn’t true for the masses. I’ve had four breast surgeries though. Two were done at the same time and the other two of them were only 6 weeks apart. I’m about to have my fifth one. One day, I’ll be allowed full range of motion again and get to lift more weight, but until then I am trusting that I am healing as I should.
Fatigue is my enemy. We fight every day. I’m told it’s normal. I pray it’s not my new forever normal though. With a decrease in stress though, I really think I’m starting to do a lot better.
A year ago, I only wanted to help others go through what I was going through. Today, with the help of my family and friends, Courage to Conquer Cancer is bringing comfort to others and helping them heal. This is an answer to one of my prayers. I asked at the very beginning for God to please use my journey through surgeries and treatment to bring Him glory and help others. I continue to ask God to guide us and help us help others. Whatever I can do to ease the burden of someone else, I hope by His grace we will be able.
I’m scarred. I get that. I’ll never look like I did before I had surgery. Thankfully, Jonathan makes me feel beautiful in spite of it all. Those scars mean more than most can comprehend. They are proof of a battle fought but not of defeat. They remind me I’m stronger than I ever thought possible. They prove beauty and womanhood are defined by much more than we give ourselves credit for when we are well and healthy. Those scars – they say I lived, I survived! Therefore, they are beautiful!
A year ago, I never imagined in December of 2015 I’d still have more surgeries to go. That wasn’t on my surgical outline. How quickly my story changed after my pathology report came back. I went from you’ll be done by spring break to early summer of 2015 to you should be done by late spring or early summer of 2016. A year from now, my beautiful story should be even prettier.
A year ago, I felt like I had the world on my side. I felt the presence of so many who stood behind me and beside me. I was warned that many would fall to the wayside. I’m sure they have. But my fortress remains so strong around me. If you’ve only whispered a positive thought or only commented or liked a post or you barely took a second away from your precious day for us, I’m grateful for you. To those who’ve poured themselves and so much of what they have into me and my family, I’m forever in your debt. All of you are part of my success story. Thank you!
God has a plan. It isn’t mine. But it is good regardless. I have faith all my struggles and heartaches today will prove worth surviving because of the greatness and beauty in a future I cannot see yet.