If I’ve learned anything since my diagnosis, it’s that there are two ways to spend my time:
On things I need to do.
On things I want to do.
If something doesn't fall into one of those categories, it’s gotta go.
We climb the Mt. Everest of life obstacles, and then we just want to slide down the other side of the mountain and creep back into everyday life so no one asks us about what we just did.
I JUST CLIMBED MT. EVEREST - why would I want to talk about it?
Sounds kind of silly doesn’t it?
When we scale a challenge, WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT IT! We should acknowledge what we’ve overcome.
A few weeks before Easter, our pastor, Will McLeane, approached me with an idea: “What if you shared a live witness of your breast cancer journey in front of the congregation on Easter morning?”
What I heard: “No pressure, but how about sharing your testimony in front of hundreds of people on the church’s most visited day of the year?”
I love public speaking, but there’s something so reverent about being on stage at church and leading those in the congregation. It was something I had never done before and hadn’t very much seen before, as I spent a majority of my faith life growing up in the Southern Baptist church.
It was April 10, 2018.
The girls spent the night at Jennifer’s parents’ house because we were headed out early to Rex Hospital. This was a planned visit, though. Jennifer had surgery scheduled for the morning with Dr. Jendro to get her port placed.
Just one year earlier, to the day, I was driving Jennifer to Rex for another appointment. 2017’s third passenger was a soon-to-be-born 9 lb, 1 oz Halle. 2018’s third passenger was a 6cm cancerous tumor and what felt like the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Two words so simple, but two words I’ll never, ever forget.
March 25, 2018 was like any other day.
Unbeknownst to our group, in approximately 48 hours, our lives would change. Our roles as parents and siblings and in-laws would evolve into oncology amateurs, fundraiser event planners, and the strongest support system.
We went camping this weekend for the first time as a family. And by camping, I mean we rented the cutest little cabin in Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. We enjoyed a campfire dinner, made s'mores and took a little hike on the trails by the river.
However, when the sun went down and bedtime showed up, the real trouble started.
One week post-chemo!
"They" say that's one of the toughest weeks. The one right after chemo, especially your first round. It's a week of figuring out how your body will respond after the infusions, and it's different for every person.
In fact, because the infusion can have such a wide variety of side effects on your body, the standard protocol is go day by day "day 1, day 2, day 3, etc."
I'd argue that hour by hour would be more realistic, but no one has time to count hours and symptoms.
It's only been three weeks - three weeks since we confirmed the mass, the diagnosis, the treatment plan. And yet, here I am completely in awe of more community, answered prayers, and a cheering team that most people in their lifetime will never have the privilege to experience.
Yes, this is truly a privilege.
Instead, I want you to know why I feel so fortunate today. It's something you need to chew on. It's something I need to intentionally remember every day.
Exactly two weeks ago, Sunday, March 25, 2018, I zenned out in an amazing hot yoga class with my sister and a few of our friends then I headed home to prep for a busy week, as I did nearly every Sunday.
Like most Sundays, I'd have dinner with my husband and our daughters, review the weekly calendar for the family, and catch up on some email before going to bed.
I'm sure I probably did those things, but I've forgotten most of that day.