￼I’ve tried writing a few posts. Thinking I might have something to say but couldn’t find the words. I’ve been trying to paint but just not able to be happy with the stroke of a brush on canvas. I have picked up a book or two. Or four. Inserting myself into a different place as a different person. Playing make believe. Pretending I am someone else from long ago or from the future. Full of strength and beauty. The heroine of the novel. The woman other characters look to as a role model. That is not the woman I feel myself to be. I’m tired. I’m sick of being sick not looking sick. That must sound strange to the ears. Why would I want to look sick? I don’t fit the normal cancer patient file. I know that. There has been so many miracles on this long journey. And I thank God for them every day.
As people were celebrating the exit of 2019 and entrance of the year 2020, we were with friends celebrating as well. In the back of my mind I was thinking of 6 years prior. Not only was I saying goodbye to 2013, I was cautiously wondering and worrying what my orthopaedic surgeon said just that morning.
Going back a few months, to February 8th, 2013, I had hip surgery to fix a labrum tear (the cartilage along the edge of bone) in my right hip joint. After a lot of physio, I still had pain. Only half the pain as before the surgery. The surgeon was extremely satisfied with the surgery and recovery, but we couldn’t figure out this other source of pain on the right side sacrum (lowback). Fast forward to December 2013 I was scheduled for an MRI with dye. Results would be ready December 31st. New Years Eve. He told us he wasn’t sure what it was. It could be anything. Go home, celebrate the New Year and call your family doctor in the new year. He knew. He knew it was secondary cancer as he had follow up care for me with a hematology oncologist at Juravinski Cancer Centre. (Which is why all my care has been there.) He was thinking it started in the blood. Deep down, I knew different.
January 2nd 2014, we went to my family doctor. She tried to aspirate the mass I’ve asked about in the past. It didn’t. Not good news. The next couple days was bone scan, CT scan, mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. A few days after that, ‘sorry, it’s cancer’. After meeting with my oncologist ( the same wonderful dr. I’ve been seeing for 6 years!) nothing about my cancer was normal. There was no sign of cancer, to the eye, showing in my left breast. It felt ‘different’ to me. That’s it. No pain, no skin changes, no discharge. Nothing. Even my oncologist had a hard time finding the 5.8 cm mass. The month of January, 6 years ago, was full of the unknown, doctor appointments, radiology appointments, scans and tests. Followed by medications and surgery. And more recovery. Followed by more medications and a stable few years until the disease starting progressing into my liver and lung. I went from having a back issue to having stage 4 breast cancer within a month. So we leaned on the only one that could hold us up. Our Father in heaven. 2 Timothy 12:1-2 (ESV)
We laid our weight on Jesus. However close this burden clung to us, we clung to God even more. It’s a miracle that I am still here running the race 6 years after diagnosis. It’s a miracle that when my white blood cell counts down, my Dr. finds a way for me to receive injections to boost those numbers. It’s a miracle when my hemoglobin is too low, I go for a blood transfusion to boost those numbers. It’s a miracle when my Dr. tells me not to expect high enough platelets, that the numbers are higher than usual. It’s a miracle, I don’t look sick. Or feel too sick. (Some of the time!) There have been many times in the past 6 years where I question the direction of these miracles. Where I question why I’m still here running this race and others have crossed the finish line into Jesus’ arms. Why couldn’t we all see miracles? I know there are answers for that. And I plan on asking. In the meantime I will continue to say, “Thank you, God, for all the miracles. “