Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So, now what?

Wow, its been too long since I've posted on here! Since we got back from Jamaica life has been crazy busy! Which is a good thing! We have done a little more traveling, which I love to do. We went to see Scotts sister in WI (ALWAYS a wonderful time) in May. Last week we went to Phoenix, AZ for four days. My first time there and it was beautiful! Well, not so much the brown, desert looking yards and adobe buildings, but the weather!!! The sky was so incredibly beautiful! We didn't see one single cloud while we were there! We stayed at the wonderful Fairmont Princess resort. One reason this was such a special trip is because my mom went with us. Our first real vacation together! Someday, we will get my dad to go with us! We also got to see some cousins, one that I hadn't seen in at least 20 years! Another thing we did was visit my naturalpathic doctor. I had not yet met him in person and its great to now put a face to the voice! Which brings me to what I want to talk about now.
So, the nasty "c" is gone, now what? Well, If I were to listen to my oncologist I would become a total wreck, anguishing over every little twinge, obsessing over the scar tissue...."is it bigger? is it changing?" ( ok, i admit to doing a little of that anyway! ) Pretty much they are sitting there waiting, like vultures, for this "c" to return. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to her for getting rid of it. But thats where she stops. She hasnt given me one bit of advise on how to go about keeping this away. Really!!!! Well, except to tell me that altho I feel like a ball of fire I need to get plenty of rest!  I actually got so upset with her p.a. that I told her I never wanted to see him again. I'm not normally a difficult person, but desperate times call for desperate measures! We're talking about my life (and my emotions!) here. She had already said I could have my port taken out when I had to see Drew one day. (name changed to protect the not so innocent) When Scott casually mentioned something about when I would get my port taken out, Drew proceeded to tell me that I didnt want to have it out, that I would be needing it again. When I told him to not tell me that, he responded by saying he was just being honest. From day one I have approached this whole ordeal by being optimistic. So far that has worked out well for me. To have this man sit there and tell me such a negative thing, going above what the Dr. had told me, infuriated me. If I had kept that port in, thinking I was going to need it again someday, how could I face each day with a positive attitude? Not only would it be a constant reminder of what I had gone through, I believe that if I had kept it in there thinking I would need it, then I really would need it someday. Law of Attraction! A couple years ago I read a really great book called "Throw out 50 Things" by That book made total sense. Are you keeping old medications in your house because someday you might need them? Well, if you have an attitude like that then you just might. I am determined to not need that port again, so why keep it in my body? This same reasoning is why I had a wig burning party! Now, dont get all horrified that I burned perfectly good and expensive wigs. I had gotten a freebie wig at the American Cancer Society. It wasnt made super well altho it was the one I wore most. (another tip that I wish my Dr had told me before I went and spent a ton of money on others) By the time I was finished with it, it was getting a little ratty looking so that is the one I burned. The others I donated to someone just starting this journey. I never want to wear a wig again. What good would it really do to have those wigs sitting on a shelf? Every time I saw them I would have a pang of fear, a jolt of "what if's", a little nausea at the thought of going bald again. I don't need that. I emptied my cabinets of all the shots that I hadn't needed, threw out the Ativan, (altho, this one was very handy while going though treatment!), purged the house of any "sick" related items! And last month I weaned myself off  Effexor.  That was not fun but oh so liberating!! Of course, the Dr's want me to stay on it. I think my Dr is beginning to see that I am not her typical patient. She has become a little softer and does seem to appreciate the positive attitude. And, when I told her I never want to see Drew again, she said no problem. She even admitted to me that he was out of line in saying that and that she would be talking to him.
I go in once a month for blood work to keep a check on the tumor markers. We want them to stay between 0 and 30.  the lowest they have gotten was 15! And thats after she told me I may never have normal markers! They have slowly crept up and are now 21, but still completely normal! And thats where Dr Rubin, my naturalpathic dr comes in!
When I was declared "c" free, I knew the big war was over, but I still needed to keep up the fight for good health. As I mentioned earlier, traditional medicine has no means for keeping it away. Once its treated, their work is done, and all they can offer is to "keep an eye" on things. Thats not enough for me. I didnt go through all this just to do it again someday! Besides, my hair is growing out and I don't want to lose it again! I contacted Dr Rubin, sent him all my records and had a phone appt with him. Talk about the complete opposite of my dr!!!! He was so positive!! He told me that altho he couldn't get rid of "c", once its gone his job is to keep it away!!! It amazes me that he was so willing to admit that he couldnt do what traditional medicine did in getting rid of it, but yet they have no respect for what he can do in keeping it gone. They practically roll their eyes at what he has me do. But thats ok, I believe in him and thats all that matters! He has me on a regimen of suppliments that will keep my cells healthy.
But thats not all I'm doing. From the very beginning I have done energy work. I have some friends that do Healing Touch and I am so grateful for all they have done and continue to do for me. They helped me get through treatment, it was practically a breeze!! Ok, well, thats going overboard a little, but its amazing what they can do. They helped the chemo work, everytime I had my markers checked they had dropped 60%! My dr's were amazed. I had several drs ask me what I was doing, yet when I told them, they weren't interested in learning more.The most one dr said was "Wow, you have a strong mind and a strong body!" Hmmm....I think he called me headstrong!
I also did a lot of visualization. I would focus on little pac men eating up the "c" cells, and I would "clean" my body with "soap and water". I still do this.
Nutrition is also so important. Lots of fruits, veggies and beans. I no longer eat bread and  I rarely eat meat. Processed food is horrible!! I totally cleaned up my diet!  I try to go organic as much as possible, the chemicals used have estrogen in them.  I am also making sure I don't gain weight as fat also contains estrogen. I find it ironic that my dr encourages weight gain.
Exercise is also very important. 
Most of what we have learned about "c", and keeping it away, we have learned on our own through research. It saddens me that the dr's don't at least refer patients to someone to help them with this. It scares me to think of all the patients that just go along with what the dr says, how many just go home and give up?
Now, all that said, I do realize only God knows my future. Everyday I ask Him to carry this burden for me, and to keep me from fretting and worrying.  Prayer is so powerful, and He helps me through the day.
Hot weather is here, the pool is ready, and this is going to be one awesome summer! We are planning our next get away, a trip to Ecuador to see our good friend, Rich, who is there preaching the Gospel. I cannot wait for this experience!
Till next time, friends! Stay strong and stay positive!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!

Jamaica!! It was wonderful!! We loved every minute of it. A lot of giggles, belly laughs, deep conversation, naps on the beach, shopping, zip lining, eves dropping, (but it really isnt eves dropping if the people talking are not trying to not be heard, is it? Very entertaining beach drama!) restaurant hopping (two dinners one night!) stair climbing,  dessert eating.... I guess I could go on and on! Yes, I had dessert. Several desserts. Nutrition is so important but so is feeding your soul! (as  one book I read put it!) I fed my soul in Jamaica. A lot. But now Im back on track, and feel very satisfied once again with my broccoli, spinach, and brown rice. :)
Its been quite a year, and it is amazing to me to think of all the good that happened amongst the bad. I do believe I am happier now that I ever have been.  Not that I wasn't happy before, I was!  But I did have my moments of frustrations, times that I thought were so devastating, like the numerous times we would be negotiating on a bigger house and at the last minute Scott would decide we shouldn't go through with it, for whatever reason. Yep, I pouted, cried, gave the silent treatment. Oh my word, and he still loves me! Its so amazing how much I now am so content with our little home. Plus, we have all the money we aren't spending on a huge mortgage to spend on vacations!
Another thing that I have noticed is how much my friends mean to me. I've always loved my friends but now I cherish them. I value every time we are together. It used to feel awkward to say "I love you". I wonder if that was a pride thing? I dont know why that was something that I rarely said, but I do know that now sometimes I can't KEEP from saying it! How wonderful is that!
I find that I have so much fun with my patients at work. Even the ones that are difficult. The other day I was working on a guy that really is rude, obnoxious and just downright nasty. I was the lucky one that day to work on him. But to my utter amazement, he didnt bother me! Wow! I chatted with him, and soon, he actually started holding a real conversation with me! I thought about that a lot since and realized that before I would have just pretty much ignored the poor man. But this time, in chatting with him, I gave him the chance to show me that he does have a vulnurable side. It ended up being a nice visit, and another lesson learned.
You know that book that was popular a few years ago titled "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"? Well, I went through the "Dont Sweat the Small Stuff" for Dummies. I lived it this past year. Some of the things that I thought were so important I now realize don't mean a thing! All that matters is loving others and living right before God. Anything else that we get to enjoy is just a bonus. If we are fortunate enough to have some natural blessings in this life that is wonderful! And Im seeing now that I have a lot of that! I love my job, how great it is to go to work everyday with friends!!! I have a cute little house that  I love to decorate. Hobo the dog makes me laugh so much, especially when he gives me those looks like he thinks Im just an idiot! The littlest things now bring joy to me. Spring has always been my favorite season, but this year the flowers are brighter, the leaves on the trees seem miraculous, the sound of motorcycles make me smile and think of my brother, the neighbors radio blasting just make me happy I'm here to hear it, and the air is sweeter.
And now I'm thankful for another day that has ended and looking forward to another beautiful day tomorrow!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The journy begins...

I saw the breast surgeon the next day, Thursday. What a wonderful man he was! He was so kind, he explained a little to me, altho he said normally I would see him after I had seen the oncologist. He was very positive, although later, when it was all over, he told me he was so scared, and that the staff was afraid for me because the grumpy, mean patients always make it and I was nice!  I saw the oncologist on Friday. She is great, also. We were all impressed with her amazing ability to write perfectly upside down. But all I really remember of all the things she wrote down is when she wrote, " you are stage 4".  Maggie, Scott and I just froze. Once again, time stood still. We had originally been told stage 3. But stage 4!! Thats not really good! At all. Oh wow. We all just kinda stared at her for a moment, not breathing, until I managed to collect myself and find my voice. "But I was told stage 3" I said, as if that would make it so. "Oh no, she said, you are stage 4. Early stage 4, though." Uhm yeah, there's a bright spot, I guess. Gotta look for all the positives! Thats really about all I remember of that visit. She did explain that the next week I would be busy every day getting a pet scan, MRI, brain scan (which the guy who did it was happy to report nothing was there, funny guy!), bone scan, and port placed. I don't remember that week-end at all. On Monday I had to have a couch potato day, I couldn't be active at all or I could have a false positive with the pet scan. I also got a hair cut that week because we were going to start chemo right away. I was told I would start losing my hair after the 2nd treatment. Mom and I have always jumpe in and get things done that have to be done. As far as we were concerned getting my hair cut right away got things moving forward and helped us feel like we were doing something to get this going! It was really strange to go from waist length hair to chin length hair! The first time I washed it I jerked my head back so hard, expecting the heaviness that used to be there. It was like when you go to pick up what looks like a heavy glass bowl but is really plastic and your arm goes flying through the air as if you are preforming some strange dance. I practically got whiplash! It took awhile to get used to that.
After all the scans and tests (I've always hated tests, I never did great on them!) we found out "c" was in my breast, one lymph node and multiple tumors on my liver. There was also one tiny little spot on my bone in my right arm that the doctor felt was just a freckle. It was so small they couldn't tell for sure if it was "c'. Freckles on my bone?! Crazy. Never heard of that. She said we would only know if it was a freckle for sure if it was still there when chemo was done. Unfortunately, it was gone which means it WAS "c'. Im really glad I didn't know that at the time, I think I would have had a harder time with that! There was also a little spot in my lung, but that spot turned out to be ok! Whew!!!
Every day when I went in for my tests, I would get text messages, emails, and facebook messages that encouraged me and lifted my spirits! One morning really stands out in particular.  As Scott and I were leaving really early the morning I was getting my port placed, my cousin and neighbor, Sheila, opened her door and cheered me on!! That meant so much to us, and I will never forget it! She was there encouraging me in the battle! I never felt alone. I really felt all the love and support in an almost physical way. It was that that gave me strength, knowing others were fighting with me, desperately praying and sending positive thoughts my way.
The next week we started chemo. I was ready to "KICK IT"! And the cheers started from my crowd of supporters, letting me know they were there, right there with me, fighting this "c" with me. The roar of encouragement that poured out from them would make my heart race, would make the adrenalin pulse through my veins, and my face break out in a huge smile, just knowing that with this kind of support I really COULD win this battle! I was pumped up and ready to FIGHT!
Round one was finally here. Mom, Scott and I marched up to the desk to announce we were there to take on "c". Another awesome thing happened. The receptionist left, and came back with a beautiful potted flower! My wonderful co-worker, Maggie Bilows and her husband had sent it, and it was waiting for me, to encourage and cheer me on. We saw the Dr first. We were laughing and giggling when the nurse came in to access my port. She gave us a really strange look, like, uh, dont you realize whats going on here?! I got a little nervous when the dr told me all the things that could happen to me from the chemo. yikes! But I sucked it up and said "Bring it on, I can handle this!"
I got to pick out my recliner, and there were chairs there for mom and Scott. Soon they came and started the meds. Things are a little hazy now, I dont remember very much. But I will post on here what I wrote on my facebook fight team page about my first treatment. It is below.

A very successful Round 1!! thanks to my amazing TEAM, your cheers and cartwheels got me through it!! I guess I will have to admit being nervous, and a little emotional today, but when i got to the desk to check in, they said wait just a minute, and came back with a beautiful flowering plant that our receptionist at work,and her husband sent in!! that just made the best start to the happy juice!! So then we had to go through all the paper work, things that could happen but probably wont....whew....almost made me want to run out of there, but then I thought, NO!!! "C" isnt gonna win this!!! Then she stuck the needle in my port, didnt hurt when the needle went in, but since its only been a week, I was little tender on the inside, but really it wasnt bad at all! Then we went to my recliner where we had to wait a bit for the juice to get there. They put in some good drugs first that stops puking, and thats what made me loopy. I knew what I wanted to say but had a hard time getting my tongue to work! I felt a little like my g'ma!!lol so after that wore off a bit it got better. There is no pain at all, and I dont feel sick. I have to keep taking meds to help with that. Really weak, and "dizzy" , (oh shut up kevin)sitting on the couch is feeling really good! When I left they gave me a pretty blanket one of the dr.s nieces had made, and then a china cup someone had hand painted. so pretty! oh and then because I used a certain drug, that company gives away neck pillows. In my woozy state I first thought it was a toilet seat riser thing, and I thought good grief why do I need one of those???! Was relieved to know that I wont be needing one. :) It was really a pleasant experience,everyone is so nice up there. And mom went with with Scott and I. We had some laughs as always, the nurse came into the room and looked at us very strangely, like this isnt the time to be laughing, guys! I was trying to wait to go to the bathroom until I was done with the juice, but there came a point that there was no waiting. I could hardly stand up!!! Mom helped me into the bathroom, with my little juice cart walking along beside me. I had to go so bad, and Im trying to not sit and touch anything, and Im hanging onto the rail, attached to the juice cart, with mom helping keep me steady. And I could not stopped peeing. so then we got tickled! Mom thought I would never get finished! finally made it back to the recliner and finished up. Now back home. will try to post more pics! Thanks TEAM you dont know how much you are helping me!
We're KICKIN' IT!!!!
Hard to believe all this took place one year ago this month. What a ride its been. I will continue this story, but first, Im going to go to Jamaica and create some new fun happy memories for the month of March! Maggie, John, Scott and I will be leaving tomorrow for a week of sun, sand and celebrating!!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

And the other shoe drops....

The next day was wed. and I knew I needed to be at work. It wasnt going to do me one bit of good to sit at home and feel sorry for myself. When I got there my co-worker Marni had some pretty flowers for me! I don't remember much about the morning until I went to my appointment to have my liver ultrasound. I should say here that the minute I left the first drs appointment on Friday my side quit hurting. No pain whatsoever. I have always wondered about that.....was that just a prompting for me to go to the Dr?  Scott picked me up at work and we went down the street to the clinic. He wasn't going to let me go to this one by myself! But for some reason the tech wouldnt let him come in with me. The ultrasounds don't hurt at all but, wow, there is a lot of time to lay there and think all kinds of things! The tech took a TON of pictures. She had a GREAT poker face too. And she didn't talk much so I figured that was a bad sign. When she finally finished getting her portfolio of my insides she let me get dressed and go out to Scott. Poor guy, he was going crazy out there! As we walked to the truck I told Scott that I was afraid that this liver problem might be related to my breast "c". I don't remember his response. Back at work, I went to lunch with all the girls. I have no idea why it didn't dawn on me at the time, but that was the first time we had all been to lunch together! Later I realized they just wanted to be with and support me! Maggie and I had gotten there before the others. I do remember telling her that I thought it was going to be ok, but if it wasn't, I had to be willing for whatever happened. I would have to be ok with that too. As we left, my phone rang. It was my new dr. "Kendra, can you come to my office?" My heart dropped, my throat closed up and I knew. As I walked to Maggies van, everything started to feel surreal. " You can tell me now. I already now about the breast cancer." "You have liver cancer" she said. "Ok, can you tell me what stage it is?"
She told me stage 3, but the next day we would find out it was stage 4. I told her thank you and hung up. Funny, isn't it, thank you for telling me I have cancer! I never heard from her again. Maggie had been patiently waiting for me in the van. I got in, looked over at her and told her the latest. "Give me your keys, Im taking you home now".  "No, Maggie, we have a patient right now! We need to get back to work" I said through my tears.
"We are not going back to work. Im taking you home, call Scott and tell him you are coming home".
So bossy Maggie called work and told the girls and they canceled our afternoon. I remember feeling so bad about the patient that was already there waiting for us to work on her teeth! I called Scott and it was like a replay of the day before. "Please come home. I will talk to you then." After this, he never left again for months because he was afraid he would get another phone call. It took him a long time to even leave my side. Maggie gets me home, all the while listening to me repeat over and over, "I cant tell Scott. I cant tell mom. I cant tell Scott. How can I do this to them?" Scott wasn't home yet when we got there so Maggie went in with me. It was so strange. For once we didn't have anything to say. And that's very unusual! We sat on the couch, and would cry a little and then sit in silence. We had been waterproofing our basement and I finally asked her if she wanted to see it. She hesitated, then said "sure". We floated on down to the basement where she made polite comments then back up we went. I don't remember much else until Scott got home. When he walked in the back door, Maggie left. I just looked at Scott, hugged him and managed to choke out those dreadful words. "Its in my liver".  A lot more crying and we just clung to each other for the longest time. I could feel Scott's heart breaking as he held me close. He cried and said he didn't want to lose me. Surely he knew by now how stubborn I am! Its going to take more than this for him to lose me!   Eventually we went out to sit on the porch. Its so weird how our lives changed with that phone call. We hardly knew what to do. As we sat on the porch trying to figure out how to tell our families, I noticed that the porch really needed painted. Had I not sat down long enough lately to notice this? When I mentioned to Scott that I was going to have to paint the porch this summer he just looked at me as if I had just told him I was the Queen of England. He didn't even respond to that! But that's all I could think of, getting that porch painted! Needless to say, it didn't happen that summer! Finally, we called my brother Kevin and asked him if he could get my family together at mom and dads for a family meeting. Beth, my sister -in -law, was able to leave work early and my dad even closed up his shop! We waited until they would all be over there then we went. When we walked in they were all sitting there in the living room, the ones I love so much. I had a hard time even looking at them knowing I was the one causing them so much pain.They had all stopped their busy lives and came rushing home to be there for me. Once again, I just kinda blurted out that the cancer was also in my liver. There were more tears, questions, and hugs. My dad pulled me onto his lap and rocked me like a baby. Finally, we started making calls, or I should say they all did. I could not bring myself to say those words again. I couldn't even think them!! I did get on face book and told it all in my status. Mom wanted to set up a Caringbridge site for me also, for those that wouldn't be on face book. My first reaction was "No!" Caringbridge is for those that are dying!!!! I'm not dying!!! But I told mom to go ahead if she wanted. Later I came to love that site! Altho I was very glad to disable it when it was time. We ordered pizza, ate and talked for awhile. By this time we were getting back to our "normal" selves. I started feeling very positive and knew that with all their love and support I would get through this. We would do it together! We finally left and when I got home I checked face book. I will never forget the outpouring of love and encouragement! And then I noticed Kendra's Fight Team come through the news feed!! My wonderful Aunt Sue had set up a page for me! It was so awesome, as I watched for several hours people joined my Fight Team to help me in this battle. I was so overcome with such powerful feelings of love for these people! I remember my status that night..."going to bed with a smile on my face and love in my heart". Really!! I was smiling!!! Through all the tears and anguish, there was happiness. And I believe that my healing actually started then.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And then what happened....

Ive been asked "what did you do when you found out?" Well, I did the  only thing any reasonable girl would do. I went shopping! Retail therapy! Oh just kidding, I'm not THAT positive! I did have a bad moment or two!
When I left the dr office I hardly knew what to do. I had gone by myself thinking I was just gathering information for getting a silly ole cyst removed.  Scott was two hours away, so I didnt want to go home. Besides, I didnt want to tell my mom until Scott was with me, and mom, being mom, would have been calling me wanting to find out what I had found out. In fact, I had already ignored one phone call from her! Sorry mom!!
I called Scott and asked him to meet me at home. I still wasnt sure what to do, but felt the need to go back to work and be with my co-workers. They are awesome and I knew thats where I needed to be right then. I called Maggie and she met me in the parking lot. Hugs and tears, and lots of encouragement. Maggie ended up being a HUGE help and support throughout all this. She made phone calls, took notes, set up an organizer for me. Not to mention all the phone calls of support to my mom! She went to every dr visit, asked questions that we weren't in the frame of mind to even think about. Then patiently answered all our questions later when we tried to remember what all the dr said! It is my hope that anyone going through a major medical problem has a Maggie!!

Ok, back to my story. I get a little off track when I talk about Maggie, and I just have to tell everybody what a great friend and support she is!

So I went in to work. Its amazing how hard it is to say those words, "its cancer". It was awful. But my work family was so incredible, I will NEVER forget how they all surrounded me, Jim hugging me on one side, Mary on the other side, and the other girls surrounding us, all a tight little huddle of tears. After the initial shock, they got to working on setting me up with a doctor. Jim went and called some of his "connections" and by the time I got home he had an appt with me for two days later! At this time I didnt know about the liver yet. That appt was the next day. The oncologist even stayed after hours so she could see me. That was so wonderful.

I made it home and Scott was waiting for me outside. He was a little pale, and I could see the worry on his face. It broke my heart. I couldn't believe I was doing this to him. He knew it was bad. Once again I had to say those horrible words. We hugged. We cried. I kept telling him it was going to be ok. I just knew it would be. And then we had to go tell mom. To this day I don't know why I didnt wait for dad to get home. But I just needed to tell my mom. Moms always make things better, no matter how old you are! Besides, I figured if I didn't get over there and talk to her she was going to just keep harrassing my phone!!  We drove up and mom was outside doing something with her flowers. She looked up and smiled at me, and I remember thinking, "I cant tell her this. This is going to tear her up."
You know how you look back and wish you would do things differently? Well, this is one of those times. Mom has always been strong. She is the one who taught me my positiveness. She never gets worked up, never blows thing out of proportion, always steady. So I knew she would be my rock. But it must be a little different to be a parent and hear this news. I hope to forget someday how the next few minutes went. But the whole time I was telling her and Scott it was going to be ok. At that time I became determined that it would be ok. I was NOT going to put my mom and Scott through anymore than I had too. I was determined that this would have a good outcome. And I really believed it would!
And it did! And thats enough for now. :) 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The beginning....

2nd post Here is how it all began. The fall of 2008 I stood up and stretched, and just happened to run my hand over my chest. Thats when I felt it. I teeny, tiny little lump. I froze. No! It couldnt be!! So the next day, I called the dr and they said to come right on over. I had just been there for my yearly a couple weeks before. I saw the nurse practitioner, whom I always saw. She did a quick exam, reassured me that it was nothing, just a little cyst. Since I was 39 she suggested that maybe it was time to get a mammogram.  Sounded fine to me. At that time I didnt know that there are routine mammograms and there are diagnostic mammograms. I was sent for a routine mammogram. (even tho I had a lump!) At this time you couldnt see the lump, just feel it. So the tech that took the mammogram didnt know it was there. I anxiously waited for the results, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when it came in the mail!!! A perfectly normal mammogram!!! Yay!!! So, time goes on and this little lump becomes bigger. And bigger! At this point there is no pain, but its becoming very visible. This worrisome little cyst! By the time another year rolls around and its time for another yearly, I'm really wanting it checked out again. It had gotten quite large, even to the point that when I had certain shirts on it was peeking out the top of my collar!!! So I was really wanting to see what the dr had to say about getting this cyst removed. The nurse practitioner that I had seen for many years had retired the year before and I was to see a dr that I had only seen one other time. So she does my exam, and I tell her my concerns about this cyst that is just getting bigger. She feels around, and really does a pretty good job at examining it. Which later makes me realize she must not have seen many cancerous lumps. Again, she calls it a cyst, says I can have it out if I want but it will leave a dent in my breast and did I really want that? Hmmmmmm.....lets see, a dent in my breast or a huge lump sticking OUT of my breast, which do I want?!! She said she could set me up with a surgeon, but since she didnt really think it a big deal I decided to see if I could do some natural things to make the cyst go down instead of surgery. She once again wrote out a script for a ROUTINE mammogram. This was all in the fall of 2009. I wasnt in a big hurry to get the mammogram done, I was busy and since I had just had a clear one a year ago, and the fact that I was only 40, I just put it off. Starting about January of 2010, I started having pain in the area of the lump. I couldn't stretch my arm out straight away from my side either! And the lump was huge by this time. So I decide maybe I better get that mammogram. I made the appt and nervously showed up. When I opened my gown to let the tech place those cute little stickers on me, (if you havnt had a mammogram, look it up!) the tech's jaw dropped. She asked me "What are you doing here? You need to be at Memorial, thats where they do the diagnostic mammograms!" I reassured her that no, my doctor sent me here, this is nothing but fybrosystic breast disease. I could tell she was in a quandry! She finally took the x-rays, then said to me " You really need to get an ultrasound on that! I cant go behind your dr so dont tell them I said this but that lump needs checked out!" I brushed her off, once again placing all faith in my dr. I mean really, the Dr is the Dr! This girl just took the x-rays, for goodness sakes. My Dr should know if this is anything more than a cyst, for crying out loud!! So the results came back, once again all was clear!! Awesome!! Time goes on, cyst is starting to feel hot to the touch, and really painful. Then one Sat. morning I rolled over in bed and "ouch!" A horrible pain in my right side!!! I quickly rolled onto my back. "whew"! the pain went away. I gingery tried to roll to my left side again...."gasp"!!! Very painful! "What in the world did I do to my back!" I thought. As the day went on, my side was a little tender and achy. I made an appt to see my chiropracter, thinking I must have gotten something out. When I went to her, she really didnt see anything that could cause that kind of pain.  A few weeks went by and the pain came and went, but was never as bad as that first day. I once again went to the chiropractor and this time she examined my liver, gallblader area. She recommended that I go to my primary dr because there was nothing wrong with my back that would be causing this kind of pain. I was like. "Really?!! I dont even HAVE  a primary dr! I have never needed one!!" I was annoyed to have to go find a dr and make an appt. I got in to a dr right away in Petersburg. I immediately liked this Dr. She was great! Very professional and nice. She checked me out, and noticed my liver was a little distended, and that she wanted me to have an ultrasound just to see if anything was going on there. So, by this time I thought maybe I should have her look at this cyst just to see if she thinks it should come out. Once again, when I opened my shirt, the poor dr just about had a stroke right there! I could see that she was trying not to look and act too shocked! She told me she was going to send me for an ultrasound of it!!! Now after 1 1/2 years of having this cyst, Im FINALLY getting a dr to send me for an ultrasound. I hadnt even known to ask for one or I would have that very first visit. This was all on a friday. The breast ultrasound was set up for the following Tues and the liver ultrasound for Wed. I give that Dr so much credit for being on the ball! Unfortunately about a month after I started treatment, we got a letter stating she was leaving that practice and going into E.R. care!!! BUMMER!!!!!  So, thats how it came to be that I was already stage 4 when diagnosed. Why didn't I do more? Why did I just take the first two health care professionals word for it? Why didn't I know about ultrasounds? Why, Why, Why!!!! But really, I did everything right, had mammograms and kept having it checked out!!! THe tumor was so high up on my chest that it didnt show up on the mammograms. So I don't beat myself up over it. I cant hang on to those negative thoughts, because it certainly doesn't change the outcome of anything. I dont hold any grudges against the nurse practitioner and the Dr for misdiagnosing me. What good would it do? To be nursing bitterness and hard feelings would only bring me down. I refused to let that happen. I forgive them both, because I know in my heart they didnt mean to. They were careless, yes, but it was not an intentional thing that they did. They are only human. The Dr is aware of all this so Im just hoping that she learned from this and in the furture will treat ANY little lump with a little more concern!
 There is such freedom in forgiveness. To hang on to bitterness, to want to retaliate only brings hardness of heart, and that only brings a heart that cannot be dealt with by God. I am so fortunate that I made it through treatments and didn't even have to have any surgeries or radiation. I have a little scar tissue where the tumor was, and now have a scar where my port was. But a couple physical scars is a small thing, compared to the emotional scarring of a hard heart. I honestly don't think I would have healed so well, if I had clung to bitterness, regrets and grudges. Letting it all go brought peace, and peace brought contentment and joy.