Monday, May 7, 2007

THE BIG 'C'

In May of 2000 I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I was given 3 months with a 3% chance of survival. I asked Daryl, “Why am I going through the chemo, surgery and radiation if there is only a 3% chance?” His reply, “Because the kids and I need you.” Morgan and Amber were 18, Rachel was 16 and Rebekah was 12.

Every week we traveled 2½ hours to the cancer center in Lubbock for treatments. I received 3 different types of chemo, a shot of steroids and a shot of a chill out drug. The summer passed with building stress and dread. My hair loss at the beginning caused me deep distress.

We began to receive calls, cards and email from people all over the United States and other countries saying that prayers were being offered up for me. We could see God’s finger prints in every little aspect of our lives. Yet, my life still hung in the balance and stress was beginning to take its toll on the family.

In October I was scheduled for surgery. The surgery didn’t take place; the chemo had stopped working. The cancer doctor began to pour over his papers looking for the next ‘rabbit’ to pull out of the hat. Two new cancer drugs were introduced. After the first treatment there was a noticeable difference in my symptoms.

In November I was admitted to the hospital with chest pains. After extensive tests were run it was determined that the chemo had caused massive ulcers in the esophagus.
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January 2001 came and I underwent a left mastectomy. Two weeks later the lab results were in and the cancer doctor sat stunned. There were no signs of any live cancer cells in the tissue that had been removed and tested, only skeletal remains. I would continue to receive chemo for another 16 months. We all continued to hang on for dear life.

Summer came and I began 27 days of radiation on top of the chemo. Each treatment left me weak and more lethargic than the last. My mouth had sores; my chest wall was badly burned and blistered. Could my body withstand the possible cure?

August rolled around and I had completed my radiation, with only 9 more months of chemo left. It also saw me in the hospital with a staff infection. After a week, I came home with an I.V. attached to my hip and antibiotics to be administered daily.
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Four weeks later I was back in the hospital with another staff infection. Again I came home with an I.V. and different antibiotics to be taken daily. The infections delayed my weekly chemo. Birthdays, special holidays, normal childhood events passed with little notice.

October brought about a deadly blood infection. I spent 8 days in the hospital, 3 of those days barely hanging on by a thread. Daryl, the kids, family, friends and ones I didn’t know continue praying, praying, praying. For the third time I was release from the hospital with an I.V. and antibiotics. But this time the doctor said, “I wanted you to have 6 more months of chemo, but we’re through. I’m afraid we are going to fool around and you are going to die and it won’t be from the cancer.” It was like the sentence of death had been lifted. I felt free and ready to take on the world. I was naive; I still had a long recovery. Like Humpty Dumpty I had been pushed off a wall and it would take the ‘King’ to put this old egg back together.

Today 2007, I continue to have chemo related health problems. Physically I’m not the same person I was 7 years ago; spiritually I’m not that same person either. I see people, things and time through God's eyes. The Big 'C' changed my life forever! The Big 'C' was a life altering experience! The Big 'C' was a blessing!

There is so much more to this story than can be written on these pages. From time to time I will write in more detail about how we found laughter when there was no hope, tears when God answered prayers, extra tidbits of humor and insight and how each child reacted differently from the other.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."


Like Paul Harvey I will post "the rest of the story" Wednesday after Top 10 Tuesday.

16 comments:

Mommysmart said...

Hello!

I just wanted you to know that I have not been a very good “bloggie” friend lately. I have still been lurking, just not commenting. Finals are over on Tuesday and I will have more time to let you all know how much your blogs brighten my day.

Monica

lisa leichner said...

I'm enjoying your story and looking forward to the rest. I'm glad it has a good ending. :)

Anonymous said...

When are you going to start writing your book?...These are just such good stories and blogs that they just brighten my day when I read them...You are my funny roller coaster friend...Love ya lots...Me

Monalea said...

Monica, glad you're back. I have been missing you. When I checked and you weren't commenting on Trey's either I didn't feel so badly. Ha Ha! What are you going to be when you grow up???

Lisa,
I love writing, thanks for reading.

Roller coaster friend, the book is in the beginning stages....can I count on you to buy one????

TREY MORGAN said...

You are a brave woman. I've always been amazed at your faith.

Glad you're still hanging around.

nb said...

A 3% chance? How devastating! I'm so sorry that you have to continue dealing with the after effects, but I'm so glad you're here.

Neva said...

Dear friend,

So grateful the even "BIGGER C" gave you to all of us for longer.
Love ya much

Peace and prayers
Neva

Monalea said...

I'm glad I'm still here too. I would miss all the fun blogging, all the nonsense that goes with it, and all my new friends, Monica, Lisa, Di and nb.

Monalea

Anonymous said...

Oh you bet and I will carry it around with everywhere I go...Love, Me

TREY MORGAN said...

Here's a thought about cancer:

One of the toughest things I struggled with during my cancer was realizing what Dad (Ross) must have went through when he had his cancer. I would look at my kids wondering what their life would be like without me, knowing that Cooper wouldn't probably even remember me. It was a tough thing to think about. It's as if I understood what he felt when he looked at his 3 kids when he had cancer, knowing that he wouldn't be around to watch them grow up and knowing that more than likely some other man would raise them and they'd call him dad.

That was really tough on me!

Monalea said...

Trey, I'm so glad you shared with me about how you felt about Dad. I often wondered the same thing. I'll bet after he got up to heaven he knew just who God would send...Papa. Only God could send two awesome dads in one life time.

TREY MORGAN said...

You are right. Very right!

NB said...

I'd venture to say that your dad prayed for your second dad to enter your lives. I think it's all a part of his heaven to see that you were taken care of well. I'm sure he is very pleased with how things turned out - and very proud of the both of you!

I know you'll always deal with the "what if...?" and "I wonder what it would have been like if...?" questions, but it's nice to hear you speak so highly of both of your dads.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I learned that God is more powerful than a 97% chance death sentence. Through this whole event we've seen the power of God, the mercy of God and His love. Love yo sweetie!
Daryl

The Preacher's Household: said...

Lisa,
True love stories never have an ending.
Darryl,
I am glad to see you chime in.
Trey,
I have not ever been severely ill, but I have thought about someone else raising my kids. I am far too possessive, but I see second parents and praise God for them. I would hate if James had to go through it alone - the struggles and the good times.
Monalea,
I am so glad you are sharing parts of your story. I am really looking forward to all that you have to say. I look at your struggles and I don't envy you. I look at your faith, love of family and friends, your out of this world perspective and your Godly attitude and I envy you greatly. You are a special woman. God wanted you around to teach us so we can see little bits of Him.
Love you,
Kathy

(Sorry, I'm a little late in reading - I'll try to keep up!)

Monalea said...

nb, I had never thought about my dad praying for another dad, I'm so glad you shared that with me.

Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses. It tells me that God makes good out of bad everytime and that I can know this.

I also warn my girls of living on 'what ifs'. It steals your blessings.

Daryl, I love you!