Fighting the Big C

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine. She has cancer. Life is not always easy for her. I know it scares her, but she is too darned brave to really admit it. I would be scared, and I’m sure you would too. But this is not a sad story, or a story written to make you feel sorry for her. It is a story of bravery and courage and determination. She has given you an abbreviated version, but realize it all goes much much deeper. I always remember her saying, “well, I’m not dying today, and I’m probably not dying next week, so I guess I will just keep living! ” Heather is a single mom raising her daughter without much family around. I know she does have some amazing friends who are very supportive. When you say your prayers, offer up a little one for Heather. She is fighting a very tough battle right now, and I really want to see her win! The Big C needs to GO!!

Peace,

Julie

 

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 1998. “May I please use your phone?” The doctor had just dropped the “C” word on me and I wanted my mom. She worked in the hospital across the street and I knew she would come right away. I know what the doctor said, but I wasn’t sure I was hearing her. I’m 33 years old with a 2yr old and I’ve just been told I have cancer. I was definitely in shock. My mom got there and she asked the doctors to repeat what they had told me. Yep…that’s what they said…cancer. Three days later, I was in surgery for a modified radical mastectomy on my left breast. It all happened so fast. After having some time to recover from surgery, I started my first round of chemotherapy. I was certain that I was going to die soon. That had been my experience with friends & loved ones in the past…you die. I was living in Oklahoma City at the time, close to my mother, and decided that I would leave my daughter to my older brother, Dan, who had 2 kids close to her age. Thing is, he lived in Michigan and I felt like I should get her there as soon as possible so she could get to know him and his family. So that’s what I did when my chemo was over with. I moved from Oklahoma back home to Michigan. As it turns out, I had a good, clean 10 year run with no cancer. I found my dream job and even got married again. Then, in the spring of 2009, I began to feel excessively tired. I acquired a cough that I just couldn’t shake. I started with my family doctor…no help there. I was referred to a pulmonologist…no help there. After running from doctor to doctor, I decided to go to a bigger and hopefully better hospital. I went in through the emergency room, told the ER doc my history, and he sent me for a CAT scan. About 4 hours later, the results were in…cancer again. This time, it was found in my lungs, ribs, spine, and pelvic bones. They kept me for a week before letting me go home. I thought for sure I was going to die this time. This is really bad! Soon after my hospital stay, I would begin my second round with chemotherapy. I didn’t lose my hair the first time, but this time I did. I was so proud of my hair…it was a big point of vanity for me. Try losing your hair one time and see if it’s not a point of vanity for any woman. I slipped into a very deep and dark depression. I imagine I cried for almost a year straight…this time includes the 8 months of chemo. One day, when I started to feel a little better, it occurred to me that I still wasn’t dead and I probably wasn’t going to die tomorrow, or the next week. I didn’t actually know how much time I had to live, but I decided that day that I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for death anymore. I decided that I was going to live everyday to the fullest and to the best of my ability. Since then, I have had radiation on some of the bones involved and my lungs are completely clear of cancer. I am still fighting the fight, but on my terms. I have cancer-it doesn’t have me. Today’s date is October 28, 2013. I am still living!