"Pink" Times Two

Pink used to be just a color but now it takes on a whole new meaning. I thought I knew fear the first time I found out that I had breast cancer in 2000 but with it's return this spring I now know it's full depth. I had wondered, along with others, what changes this new year would bring. My oldest moving across country, and my 2 others starting high school, and junior high was where I had my concerns until I found the lump. After the tests, the lump was breast cancer! Now my focus had to be on getting myself the best care possible to rid myself of this disease. I had never really thought that something like this would happen to me since I thought of myself as a healthy active 42 year old woman. As soon as I could think straight I tried to educate myself as much as I could about what my options. A mastectomy and TRAM reconstruction procedure was what I decided would be the best for me. Even though no cancer was found in my lymph nodes, chemotherapy for several months along with six weeks of radiation was the treatment plan. The support of my family and friends got me through this very rough period of time. I was able to go back to teaching after healing from the surgery but finding the energy was a struggle. Life seemed to be going back to normal with hair returning and good doctor reports. I joined the Relay Rockers, my Relay for Life team working hard every year to earn money for more cancer research. Life's celebrations like my son getting married,and my oldest daughter graduated from college, my 50th birthday,and 25th wedding anniversary were enjoyed. This honeymoon period lasted for 8 years! Every six months the blood work was good and I nearly forgot about my past until closer to the next doctor visit. I was so proud to say that I was a breast cancer survivor and felt such empathy for others that I talked with having to go through it. But when my cough and voice changes proved to be recurrent cancer in two lymph nodes in my chest this spring, I was really hit hard. I know that without faith in God that I wouldn't be able to do this with my strength alone. My faithful prayer warriors hold me up when I am down. The caringbridge site where I can journal how things are going is a wonderful way for me to keep everyone informed about life's ups and downs as a second time cancer patient. The chemotherapy treatment this time is every week for 3 weeks and then off a week before starting up the round again. Cancer at this point is incurable but with all of the latest research being done, it is said that it can be controlled sometimes. I have had over 2 months of chemotherapy with several more to go. Currently the chemo has reduced the size of the lumph nodes but it is undecided when I will be done with therapy. My left vocal cord is still paralyzed so it won't close causing me to cough and have poor voice quality. I continue to enjoy teaching children to read and find pleasure in creating quilts with the time and energy that I am given. If it is in God's plan, I hope to continue giving children the gift of reading. The quilts are made to wrap my loved ones in love. When you see "pink" - remember the stories you have read because no one ever knows....

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Shari Lynne says ... on Wednesday, Sep 17 at 10:12 PM

I am glad that you told your story here Teri. You never know who you inspire by telling it. You are a sweet wonderful woman that I am so blessed to know. Just focus on one day at a time. I am here for you. God Bless you.

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