Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The New Year Ahead

As the old saying goes, “Out with the old and in with the new.” Unfortunately, sometimes the old follows you into the New Year, stirs things around. When that happens, there's nothing left to do but to continue to deal with it.

I never thought the words would ever come from my lips. I mean, cancer is something that happens to someone else, right? It's not suppose to hits close to home, but in November 2011, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I had a lumpectomy on December 2, and am scheduled to have a mastectomy this Friday, January 13. Contrary to superstition, I'm told 13 is a lucky number--let's hope. Fortunately the cancer was caught in a very early stage during a routine mammogram. This development comes on the heels of my husband’s stroke in June from which he is still recovering. Needless to say, I had no problem bidding 2011 goodbye. On the flip side of things, when life turns things topsy-turvy, it lets you see things from a new perspective and that's not entirely bad.

I wasn’t going to blog about this or make it public. In fact, as active as I have been online since 2004, this is the first article I’ve written since my husband’s stroke. However, several close friends have encouraged me to journal my thoughts. After letting it all sink in for several weeks, I've decided that it may be good for the soul after all. More importantly, if my experience helps another ... well that's what it's all about, isn't it?

Last Sunday I had a PET/CT scan. I was instructed to go on a low-carb diet/no dairy/no sugar for at least four days prior to the scan. I decided to play it safe and did it for seven. Bad timing considering all the cookies and candy we had left over from Christmas. Ugh!  My only thoughts while I was slipping in and out of the scanner (quite comfy I might add) were of food. Whatever I decided to eat was going to be loaded with carbs.

Normally a pillar of strength, as the surgery date draws near, nervous, anxious tears seem to be just beneath the surface. I hate that. Yet, in spite of the challenges ahead, and there will be many, I can't help but feel grateful that I listened to that little voice that told me get checked in November instead of the usual time in March--thankful  that this "pest" was caught early, and the team of doctors on my case is treating it aggressively. Most of all, I'm grateful for the love and support of my amazing family, wonderful friends and neighbors, great co-workers, and faith that God hasn't led me this far down the path to let me fall.

So ... I've only made one New Year resolution--to add “cancer survivor” to my bio.

Hope to get the results of the PET/CT scan this afternoon when I see my oncologist. More later.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Prayers have been going up for you, dear friend, for continued success in beating this thing. I know you are strong enough to handle this and your husband's illness/recovery, but any time you need to talk, you know where to find me.

J D Webb said...

I echo Aaron's thoughts. Glad you decided to journal. It's what we writers do, isn't it? Write when we are hurting or searching for answers. You have a personal story to tell which will be a source of strength for someone who needs it. You can help families affected by stroke as well. You're going to prevail because God has more wonders in store. That offer to talk still stands for me, too.

Marta Stephens said...

Aaron, you've been a dear friend for a long time. 2011 has been hard on all of us, hasn't it?

I'm a firm believer that all things happen for a reason and that one of these days that purpose will be revealed. In the meantime,He continues to watch over us. :)

Marta Stephens said...

Hi JD, the funny thing is, this writer could find the words for months. After Rick had his stroke, I just felt the need to walk away from anything that distracted me for caring for him. Now that this is happening to me, I think it's time to share and hopefully as you say, be a source of strength for someone else. The greatest fear for me is the unknown.