Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fighting The "What If'" With The "It's Not Gonna Be So"

Sarah both emailed and called me yesterday to tell me she was going to, and had already, made an appointment with Dr. Bretzke. I tell it this way because I found out about the appointment being made before I found out she was going to make the appointment. Dr. Bretzke is the surgeon who did Sarah's bilateral mastectomy last March.

Sarah has been feeling a pain or a pang between her armpit and her implant on the right side. That was the side her two small tumors were located. She talked about this pain with Dr. Migliori in December and he thought it was because she was still healing from her reconstruction surgery. But, the pain hasn't gone away.

She wants to be checked out by Dr. Bretzke and she will also have a blood draw and have her "cancer marker" checked out along with other things.

This is new to us. In the new world of cancer you learn things you don't want to learn. One of those things is that a person can have a recurrence. They can be cancer free and have done all the right things in their treatment and one day... it can come back.

There is something new you live with once you or a loved one has or had cancer. It is called the "what if." It is not something you dwell on. In fact, some days you forget cancer has invaded your world. You forget and you start to live.

And, when something reminds you of the "what if," it takes you off guard. You feel vulnerable once again. You did it find me again? You get scared. And, you want to meet that fear with some new knowledge or wisdom or grace.

You leap to action. You make the calls to calm your fears. You become proactive again. You do whatever is in your power to take some kind of control. You look to the heavens and talk to God. You say, "Please, let it all be ok." You know, in some part of you, that it is going to be ok. The cancer won't be back.

You want to believe. You do believe. And, in the midst of believing, the "what if" creeps in. You let it have a voice. You do your best to make it a small voice. You know if you don't let it have a voice at all, you will make yourself sick. And, you have to stay well. You will stay well.

Sarah's blood draw is tomorrow. The results will be sent to Dr. Bretzke in time for the appointment next Tuesday. Dave and I will at Dr. Bretzke's with Sarah.

I haven't cried yet. My tears are still unshed. I feel them. I haven't given in to them yet. I expect I will. If I don't they will come anyway.

Grief is a funny thing. Our bodies don't know the difference between the imagined and the real. If we get afraid that something bad might happen, our bodies react as if it had happened. I don't know of a way to stop or change that. The best we can do is to know that that is a real phenomonon and talk to ourselves about it....and love ourselves in all our humanness.

And, believe.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Sarah received this letter from Davey's teacher in her email today. I had to share it. If we ever wonder how our lives touch the lives of our children, rest assured, while we may not know exactly how, we can count on the fact that they do. I am so proud of Davey. He is 7 years old and in the 2nd grade. Here is the letter.


Davey has connected in a huge way with our “Pennies for Patients” campaign (leukemia kids in MN) which started today.

To our class, he talked about you going through cancer treatment and losing your hair...which was in our little video. We also talked about all the family love and support happening.

I asked Josie Vandewege (head of student council 4th and 5th graders) to let Davey be a special “mascott/helper” on some of their collection days. She’s going to look into this and make it happen.

What a wonderful little boy Davey is.


Saturday, January 08, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

A New Year And A Happy 98th Birthday Dad Video

It's pretty amazing. 2010 is over. I want it to be over. It has been a hard year. It has been a year filled with the death of my 36 year old niece, Briana, two emergency room visits for my dad and Sarah's breast cancer and all that meant.

I feel better today, but I have spent the last five days doing nothing. I got worn out walking up the stairs so I rested. I didn't feel like eating much so I ate what sounded palatable and looked like I could at least swallow. I took some time to cry. I cried for many things. I let the tears flow from my eyes and words I didn't know were there be said.

There is healing happening. You think if you can get through something, it won't catch up with you. That's not true. Whatever you don't have the time to feel or take the time to feel will eventually find you.

I am glad I had the time to do what I needed to do and dared to do it. Some feelings hurt. They hurt to have them...they hurt to feel them...and if you do, they get better. I prayed to God through my tears. He said it was ok to weep. He said He weeps too.

I feel better.

It is a new year. I don't know all that is in store for me this year. I know there are many good things as I start this year. I am grateful for Sarah being cancer free and returning to her old self as time goes along. I am grateful for my dad being ok. I know we are going to be able to see Adam, Sara Beth, Joseph, Kallsen and Parker this summer if all goes according to plan. We are going on a one year cancer free celebration cruise in March and there will be other life altering things coming up I know. All of them will be faced with new wisdom, new breath, new eyes, renewed courage and less innocence.

The last two days I have found some new life in doing slideshows of photos set to music. The one I am sharing today is of my dad's 98th birthday party in September 2010.

I hope you enjoy it. It has a lovely ending.

I love you Dad! Thank you for being my dad! xo xo xo