November 06, 2022

Fourteenth Year Cancerversary

              My husband and I at my 40th High School Reunion.                                                    Am I seriously that old?!

It has been fourteen years since I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. The remarkable fact is that I am so busy living my life that the remarkable date passed without a thought. I go weeks now without even thinking about the years of intense pain, treatment, side effects, and the mental battles I faced as I examined my options and the genuine possibility that m life would be cut short.

I continue to post occasionally on this blog with the belief that I can offer hope to those who are presently dealing with those dark days and endless nights of treatment.

I am now 58 years old. Mother of 5 and grandmother of 9 with two more on the way!! I am in my eighth year of teaching high school. If that was not enough to keep me busy, I felt inspired to also start working on a graduate degree. I am halfway through an online program to earn a Master's Degree in Education. It has been a steep learning curve but I am gradually getting used to the intellectual rigor and learning so much!! The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know! I have no idea where this will lead me in my career but it has already improved my teaching abilities.

Life can get better and there is hope that your health may improve. I just had my bi-yearly labs and all my numbers are within the normal range. At my last visit with my oncologist, he told me that I was the sickest patient he had seen who is still alive without being on maintenance since the stem cell transplant and follow-up medication. I have to really sit with that thought to fully comprehend what a miracle that is.

My hope is that I can continue to learn, grow, and become a more faithful follower of Christ. He has granted me more time on this earth and I hope through His strength I can help others along the way.

Whether you are just beginning a difficult journey by looking at the mountain you have to climb, or standing at the top knowing that you made it but did not get there by yourself, please know that life is good and the Savior Jesus Christ knows and loves you. Look to Him and know that He will be by your side and strengthen you in your journey.

February 20, 2022

What I Needed Someone to Tell Me


Painting "Hinds Feet" by Daniel F. Gerhartz

Two women I know were diagnosed with cancer this week.  My heart goes out to them and my mind goes back to those dark days after diagnosis.  One of the hardest parts is the fear of not knowing what to expect.  There are so many questions.  Some which the doctors can answer, some which you don't even know how to ask, and many that can never be answered.

I have been thinking what I would have wanted someone to tell me when I was first diagnosed.  I had many family, and friends running to support me in the beginning.  I was somewhat embarrassed to have so much attention focused on me.  I didn't want to go anywhere for fear I would see someone I know and then have to explain everything and keep from breaking down. It took too much energy to be strong for everyone else.  

What I really needed was for someone to come to me who had already been in my shoes.  Although well meaning, I just didn't want to hear about someone's "cousin who died from the same cancer."  (Yes that happened, in front of my children!)  I desperately needed to hear from someone who had survived!  Who walked "through the valley of the shadow of death," and lived!  I wanted someone to tell me that they did it and I could too.  That it is possible that the prognosis, and Google, and research, and statistics, Do Not have to apply to me!  That believing that you will survive may help you do just that!

I wanted someone to be honest with me.  To tell me it is going to be tough but spare me from all the gory details unless I ask specifically about them.  To tell me some blessings that came through this trial and explain to me how to replace the constant fears with consistent faith.  

I needed someone to help me figure out how to drop my roles as a wife and mother and focus solely on preparing for the battle of my life.  Learning how to step back and let others take over the daily tasks of family life.

I needed someone to tell me that a cancer diagnosis is an opportunity to seek and rely on faith in God.  That He will send angels here on earth to carry and support you, and heavenly angels to bare you up in your dark days and painful nights.  And that peace can return to your life whether you are healed or not.

I am in a place now where I can be that messenger to people I know and to others I have never met. I hope that you may find an increase in faith and peace through your journey.

Fourteenth Year Cancerversary

              My husband and I at my 40th High School Reunion.                                                    Am I seriously that old?! ...