It was the summer of 2014 when I found it: a decent sized lump in my right breast, enough to palm in my hand, all amidst caring for my family of 7 children under and nursing my baby girl. Looking back, it seems like a slow motion replay of a scary movie and blink of an eye all at the same time before I was diagnosed with STAGE 3A HER2+, PR+, E+, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (with Tumors in a few Lymph nodes to boot). Although it was news to my family, I somehow wasn’t surprised. From the moment I felt that lump, deep down, I just knew. And I was oddly okay with it. I had a strange peace that came from somewhere that was surely not my own. I am the first to admit that I DO NOT have it all together. I’m not very good at tying up loose ends and often find myself flying by the seat of my pants; therefore, to think that I’d be able to do this on my own, and have peace in that, would be a good laugh! Yet, I knew I’d be ok.
“Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will give you a peace and grace beyond understanding.” —Philippians 4:6
No doubt, it wasn’t long before my mind began shifting into “super-mom mode”. My kids were so young: 5 kiddos, ages 10 and under (4 girls & 1 boy). How could I make sure that they would be ok? How could I help them cope with it all? How could I make sure that this fun-loving family of mine didn’t suddenly enter into a phase of their childhood that they hoped would all just “go away” like some kind of bad dream. I wasn’t about to let this cancer take away our joy, our peace, …or our family. My kids needed their Mommy and my husband needed his wife. We needed to take cancer by storm, show it who’s boss and make sure these kids have a Mommy… for good. I didn’t want to lose my place in this family that easy. They are my world and no ugly cancer is gonna kick me out of it without a fight!
I turned my life over into the hands of the most perfect strangers, emphasis on the “perfect”. Before my diagnosis, I hadn’t stepped foot into the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center before and had only heard of the legend of “The Pirate Doctor”, Dr. Jay Saux. … I trusted him from the moment I met him, and have followed him as he has led me through some very rocky days during each phase of my treatment thus far, continuing to go the extra mile with no stone left unturned. It’s no wonder why I could let go and keep calm, singing Bob Marley “3 Little Birds” throughout my treatments, even at my sickest and still most painful moments now. He’s the best, no doubt. Likewise, with doctors like, Dr.Stolier and Dr.Sullivan as my surgeons, I have been in the best of hands, taken care of as if I was the only patient. It wasn’t because I’m extraordinary; rather, because that’s the kind of doctors that they are. Even in my most painful burns in radiation, I’ve had techs and a radiologist, Dr.Woods, who could keep my frame of mind going, finding reason to laugh and enjoy even the most difficult moments while still taking the greatest care of me and kicking cancer’s tail!
Some days it feels like we’ve been on this journey for a very, very long time, yet I know we have to keep trucking until I reach “remission” and furthermore have been “cured”. So far, I’ve completed 6 large rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and Phase 1 of Reconstruction, over 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments, and will continue my monthly targeted chemotherapy through August with plans for 2 more surgeries before “remission”. Yet in all this, I feel blessed. Why? Because, in all of those moments of prayer (when all I could do was sing rasta songs instead of rote prayers or any organized thought) God, and Bob Marley, were right: “Every little thing is gonna be all right.” I’m not worried, and that’s a really good feeling.
*Thank you for every little thing! It takes a village. Thanks for being a part of ours. Feel free to keep up with us on our journey: www.every-little-thingblog.com