Thursday, May 27, 2010

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light....I'M DONE WITH CHEMO!!!

So I am officially FINISHED WITH CHEMO!!! WHOOP WHOOP!!  I went last wednesday for my last chemo treatment and the day was very different than how I imagined it would be 4 months ago when I started on this journey.  The idea of being "done" with chemo is one that is surprisingly scary to me.  When the words "You have cancer" were uttered to me back in november my whole world changed, in fact it broke.  I was forced to look at my own mortality and let's face it that's not something very many 24 year olds do.  Now almost 6 months after my diagnosis I feel as if I've always had cancer...I've always been bald.  Sometimes I find it hard to remember my life before this. 
I remember after being diagnosed how hard it was to utter the words "I have cancer" to those closest to me.  Now it almost comes natural to tell people "I have cancer" or "I have been undergoing chemo".  I've become "The Girl With Cancer" and now it kind of scary to think of not being that girl anymore.  I know to some this sounds crazy but if you've been through it then I think you can relate.  I pray that God will help me use this experience to continue helping and encouraging other people.  Though I am done with chemo I am still without hair and I believe as it comes back it represents the restoration and recovery that is going on inside of me.  It only took a short time for me to enter this journey and I know it will take time before I am truly recovered.  Although as my strength comes back sometimes I wanna run as fast and as long and I can smiling and screaming all the way, praising God that I am threw with chemo and that I can move on with my life. 
On my last chemo day two of my biggest fans were with me, My mom and Step-mom.  I am also lucky enough to have the world's greatest doctor (Dr. England) show up with flowers and food to congratulate me on my big day.  I am beyond blessed to have him as my doctor and to have met his amazing wife.  The have been two angels to me through all of this.  You don't find many doctors today with the heart and compassion Dr. England has and I feel blessed that he is not only my doctor but my friend. :) I know that the devil wanted to take all this and use it to bring me down, but I refuse to let that happen.  And yes I"ll admit I have my days.  But chemo has taught me so much, I am stronger now....wiser I suppose you could say.  Part of me feels older even thoug only a few months have passed since I first started seems sometimes that I've lived a lifetime.  I thank God for getting me through and know that he will guide me in the road ahead. Thank you to everyone for all the continued support and onto the next step in my journey...RADIATION!!!
Psalm 28:7
" The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and I am helped"

Monday, May 10, 2010

I am Yours

First off, let me apologize if this post if kind of long but I wanted to share a story. :) So last week I found myself in a situation I thought I had long gotten over. It all started when I was out today shopping around for some mother's day things. It was a beautiful day and so of course people would be out just as I was enjoying it. I was wearing a hat with no scarf underneath and was feeling pretty good about everything. However, almost immediately upon seeing the crowds of people my entire body froze in my car. I began looking at myself in the mirror and became so self conscious of how I looked that it almost brought me to tears. I ended up sitting in my car for 10 minutes waiting for the crowd to leave before I felt strong enough to exit my car, I know I know I'm pitiful. Many times I don't wear just a head scarf out for the shear fact that I know with just a hat it's not as obvious that I have no hair. But today I had a hat on but I was over whelmed with the feeling that people were staring at me and I know that not that many people are staring at me and that I'm probably just over doing it but I still many times, like today feel like that. In fact I don't think its actually the fact that people are actually looking at me because I look weird, its the fact that I don't look like everyone else. My eye lashes are still in tack but I have few eye brows left and usually try and draw them on. I have many times stood in front of the mirror and cryed at the image I see. It's not me, I dont' have my hair and its over whelming at how much that can take from you. But it makes me look at who am I really, I am not my hair, I"m not my long eye lashes, I"m not my eyebrows, or my chest. I am not defined by any of these but yet I feel as if it keeps me trapped unable to escape. I find myself not wanting to go into places like restaurants and the mall with my friends (who may I add have been amazing and so wonderful in encouraging me through this whole thing.) because I feel like the odd ball of the group. Before we go in any where everyone fixes their hair and I find myself jealous many times of them and I know that's wrong....I miss my hair and how much comfort I never realized until now that it brought me. I know that sounds so crazy and probably stupid to many but its the power cancer can have over you when you let it. Its so easy to let this disease take so much more than your hair, your energy, or your health from you, It can take your hope if you let it. Its hard to explain the anxiety of not looking like everyone else. I feel at time like the 16 year old girl I once was, who was always worried about what I looked like, constantly brushing my hair and looking in the mirror. Now that seems so petty to me, for its not about looks though many times we dont' even realize how much emphasis we put on how we look.

After all this I was reading my bible and came to

Psalm 139: 13 "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb". and

Psalm 139:15 "You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb"

I tell myself God knows everything about me. He knows all the hairs that were once on my head and he knows all the ones that will be once my hair is back. He sees my heart, my struggles, and my pain. And I know he knows and is always reminding me that I am his. I am still beautiful though by the world's standards I may not be but I am wonderfully and perfectly made in his image. My struggle is that it is hard to tell myself and make myself believe, especially as a 25 year old woman.

I feel after everything that I am stronger now than I was at the beginning of this but I still struggle. I still want God to talk to me, right now on my time, give me answers, make this all go away. But through all of this I am learning patience because you see I'm not on my time but his. And I, like so many others forget that sometimes. I've had people tell me that I'm so "strong" but let me tell you I dont' feel strong many times. But if that's how it seems I want everyone to know its because of my trust in a God that never fails and my faith in knowing he is always there. You see I know in the end hair or no hair, in sickness, through it all....I am his. :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chemo #5

So this last week after my chemo has been a rough one. I have always had a problem with stomach cramps ever since I began chemo. The pain can become so bad at time the only thing I can do it rock myself back and forth and pray for it to be over. Last week was almost like the pain reached its peak. At about 12 am in pain I decided to call the MD who told me to take some lortab and pretty much knock myself out. I found myself running through the options of what was "really wrong" in my head. Perhaps I had stomach cancer and they hadn't found it yet. When my back began to spams I thought I had cancer in my back. Oh how satan can attack you at your most down and out times. At the time I didn't see it but looking back now I can clearly see how its a perfect time for satan to attack me and get me into the "sickness" mindset. Well I have something to say...."MY GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY PAIN I MAY HAVE." Now dont' let me get you thinkin that while hurled over in pain I smilin thinkin how great God is. I can admit that that has never happened and that I am just as human as any one else. I know we all have hard times but I want everyone to know that its only temporary. I wonder at times, like I'm sure so many people do, why am I going through this? How much more can I take? Will this ever end? For me I know that my pain is only temporary, though I know for me and others that I so hard to see. I want people to know that in your most desperate hour you can cry out to Jesus. He knows we're broken he knows we need him and he's there. You think alot about your own mortatlity when told you have cancer and espcially when you are going through all the stuff they put you through to kill the cancer and make you it doesn't come back. It's scary I won't lie. I know I can't see him and I know in hard times its hard to know he's there but I'm tellin you he is there. My favorite line in the poem Footprints
 "My child when you saw only one set of foot prints it was then that I carried you". My Step Mom sent me this picture and I wanted to share it...funny how one little picture and speak so many words
Rainbow Tree soooo BEAUTIFUL :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Early Act Video

EARLY Act Video from Chris Cook on Vimeo.

This is a video created for Breast Impressions, Inc. The women there put this on a DVD and sent it to the Oklahoma lawmakers in Washington DC to ask them to vote “yes” on the EARLY Act that provides funding for early breast cancer detection and edcuation. It created quite a stir in D.C. The DVD has now been sent to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The EARLY Act was authored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Strength In Pink

Strength In Pink Pitch Video from Chris Cook on Vimeo.

Strength in Pink is a feature length documentary that will tell the stories of courageous women dealing with breast cancer through interviews with breast cancer survivors and those currently battling this common disease.

Strength in Pink will also highlight the unique efforts of individuals and organizations such as Breast Impressions, Inc. and sculptor Kendall Howerton who along with the help of Roller Derby girls are attempting to raise breast cancer awareness through art to women of all ages and walks of life. Visit to donate.

The hardships, and challenges of women who have survived breast cancer and those facing the uncertain future of a recent diagnosis will also be explored and how the disease has affected their lives and the lives of their loved ones.