Posted by: healingseeker | January 25, 2010

Four pity parties but mostly feeling strong

25 Jan 2010

My first pity party was 23 December 2009 when I discovered my then walnut-size lump on the left side of my left breast.

My second pity party was Jan. 4th when I had my diagnostic mammogram. By then, my tumor was 3×5 inches, very firm, and there was a 9,999 chance out of 10,000 that it was malignant. I cried in my husband’s arms. Thankfully, they did my breast biopsy the same day.

My third pity party was Jan. 7th when the pathology reports returned to designate that I have two kinds of cancer in my left breast – ILC and IDC. I started doing research. I discovered that IDC is the more common form of cancer – Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The ILC is the more rare form of cancer – very aggressive and tending to have a mirroring effect in the other breast – Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. I felt a lot of fear coursing through my body. Plus, I wondered how I was going to be able to maintain my storytelling career over the next few months with lowered immunity and white blood cell count and lowered energy. That’s when I really began the “Why me?” questioning.

My fourth pity party was the morning of Jan. 21st when I discovered a marble-size tumor while I was taking a shower right next to the 3×5 inch lump. It frightened me badly as we haven’t been able to start chemo yet. I sobbed in my husband’s arms. He prayed with me out loud while I felt so much fear due to the stall in treatment. I met my wonderful oncologist that day. That’s when he laid out my treatment plan that includes 24 weeks of chemo, then a Mastectomy, then several months of a chemo-radiation cocktail, followed by 5 years of that low-dosage chemo tablet. I have a bone scan and cat scan scheduled for sometime this week. It takes 2 days for the results to come in to see where all my cancer cells are located. It probably won’t be until next week that my chemo begins. My husband and I will be so relieved when that day comes as we want to aggressively fight this cancer with everything we are worth.

My husband has me on every prayer circle he can get his hands on. God is a very big part of my life. Most of the time, I feel strong in His love for me. I understand when people say there is this roller coaster of emotions. One thing I am doing that I find very therapeutic and calming is to blog about my breast cancer journey, starting this NING network, writing how to articles on about what I am learning for the benefit of others, and trying to spread the word about the vital importance of getting every dimple, rash, nipple discharge, and lump checked out as it could be a sign of breast cancer. I would love to know that what I do keeps another woman or man from having to go through what I am going through.

My mantra is: “I am looking good, feeling good, healthy and whole. I am a breast cancer survivor aka thriver.” My family and friends all know that what I want most from them is their prayers, a listening ear, and to help me hold that vision.

After meeting with our oncologist, we went to visit my mother-in-law in the nursing home. Before we left, I had my mother-in-law and her wonderful roommate laughing as I put on a bit of a clown act. We all laughed so hard, tears were pouring down our faces. That was healing for all of us.

At 2:30 in the morning, I finally realized something very important. The path-of-least resistance is to tune my radio dial to that fear-based frequency of being fearful, regretful, angry, worried, and all those other negative emotions. But those emotions will not serve me or help me heal. They will deprive my body of endorphins and serotonin. I realized instead I need to vigilantly as possible keep my radio dial tuned to those positive, peaceful, calm feelings of confidence that of course I am going to survive this breast cancer journey – healthy and whole, a breast cancer survivor aka thriver. That more positive radio dial is going to give my body more endorphins and serotonin. It buoys me up. God is a very strong force on whom I can actively lean upon for unconditional love and support. Also, I have been gratefully amazed at how supportive and caring other people are about this journey. Well-being abounds for all of us.

The other night, I had such a feeling of utter calm and peace. I had a little talk with God. The gist of what was said is the following. “God, I release the outcome of all of this into Your hands. Whether You have given me a few months, a few years, or a few decades, I release that timing into Your hands. Whatever amount of time You have given me, I intend to live that time as fully as possible.” Other favorite phrases that apply:

* “Let go and let God.”

* “Well-being abounds.”

* “Be at peace! Trust the Universe.”

Yesterday, my husband and I went to Red Lobster. Since I’ve learned that chemo tends to dull your taste buds, we wanted to go to one of our favorite restaurants to enjoy and savor our food while I still can taste. It was yummy! On the drive home, I felt so utterly confident that I am going to be a breast cancer survivor. I am going to get through this healthy and whole. It was a good feeling!

I may give in to pity parties again as we need to allow ourselves to vent outwardly rather than implode inwardly; however, I will give myself a time limit of 15 minutes or one hour or so. Then, I want to once again re-tune my radio dial to that positive radio station, aligning myself with all the other breast cancer survivors out there as I too wish to be one with them.

My final thought: Years ago, my Sunday School teacher knew a woman who witnessed her husband cleaning out his gun barrel. When he went to blow into the barrel, he accidentally shot his own head off. My teacher was amazed that this woman was able to maintain herself in a strong way rather than giving in to constant bouts of weeping, etc. My teacher finally asked for her secret.

The woman said, “Why should I come down from the mountaintop into the valley, when it is such a hard climb back up again.”

Those are certainly words to live by. So even though there may be times when we slide down the mountain a ways into despair and hopelessness, let’s keep climbing that mountain toward hope and confidence and peace. We too will reach the peak of that mountain to join our thousands of sisters (and brothers) out there who are proud and grateful breast cancer survivors. There on that pinnacle, we will thrive together.

With so much love to you all,

Healing Seeker aka Debbie

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