Happy Thanksgiving! It's always been one of my favourite holidays, usually because it was my first long weekend off since the school year started. This year is so different. It's a holiday of reminiscing.....a year ago I was at the beginning of my journey. I sat around our Thanksgiving table wondering what the week would hold. My biopsy surgery took place the week after Thanksgiving last year. What a year!! We have been through so much. The "we" in this sentence is a lot of people. I often forget that, although it is me at the centre, my journey has been travelled by so many, many have been affected, many have been changed. The "we" that I have particularly thought about this weekend is our families. In my mind, each family member plays an important role for me. Darryl's family (his parents and sisters) are my cheering section. They are full of encouragement constantly. All of them remind me often that my words matter, and they spread my words to "their people". There are clumps of people who pray for me and cheer me on (who I don't even know) because of them. They also help out with anything I need help with: jobs around the house, shopping, anything. I know I can depend on them for anything. They pray for me more than I know, they send messages, give gifts and make phone calls just when I need them. My parents are the ones who check on me (often - thankfully). My mom calls most days, and she can read my mood through my voice on the phone. She knows the instant she sees me what kind of day it is based on my body language. She comes over to spend time with me on weeks when I'm low, just because I need someone. I'm still my dad's little girl in many ways - his heart breaks to see me sick, but he believes I will be well with no uncertainty. He feels good when he knows I'm feeling good. My parents also help with so many practical needs and would drop anything to be help me with whatever I need. One of the relationships I am particularly thankful for this Thanksgiving is my brother. A year ago we were not close. Even though I only have one sibling, I think we would both agree, that we let life take us away from each other. We were always at different stages in life (we are 5 years apart), so we let our different calls in life keep us busy and uninvolved in each others' lives. Now he is not just a brother, he's one of my best friends and a part of my medical team. He is a doctor, and his advice and opinions are invaluable to me. He is the one who holds some of my deepest, darkest secrets that needed to be said, but never repeated (when I was in the hospital). He is very involved in my life now, along with his family. His wife is also one of my dearest friends who has been there for me countless times. I am so thankful for this. And then there's Darryl. He is so intertwined in my life that he can practically say, "I have cervical cancer" and he's never even had a cervix! I am the face to my cancer, but his struggle and fight are just as fierce as mine. In fact, sometimes I feel like his has been harder. I can talk about my fear of death, and my fear of becoming more sick. He cannot talk to me about his fears of my death or his fear of watching me get sick. He has to be strong for me all the time. I cannot even find words to tell you how amazingly he has supported me through this past year. We have both sat in waiting rooms wondering if the other would get through a huge surgery. We have sat by each others hospital beds hand-in-hand crying tears of joy and tears of sorrow. He has loved me through weight loss, hair loss (I did actually loose a lot of hair - I just had a lot to lose), emotional roller coasters, and countless Dr appointments. And through all of it, he continues to tell me he loves me and that he loves that God chose me to be his wife. We both agree that we would rather go through all of this together than through none of it apart from each other. I often marvel at the fact that I am married to one of the best people in this world! I am so blessed!! He is also a huge part of this blog. I've encouraged him to write, but he hasn't shown interest yet, but he is the editor. Nothing gets published without him reading, rereading and polishing what I have written. This Thanksgiving I have thought so much about how thankful I am for him. Of course I am thankful for my girls. They are what keep me normal - everyday. Even on low days, when the girls come home, I feel normal again. They bring joy to each day and they demand so much from me that they keep me feeling normal. And then there are all my amazing friends that love me like a sister - you all know who you are. You are also a part of my family, and you have carried me along this journey in different ways: listening to me vent, encouraging me (with daily texts), crying with me, making me laugh and just being there for me. You are the ones that make me feel normal when I'm with you, but I know you are there if/when I need to cry, or talk, or sort through my thoughts. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for all of these people that play different, but very important, roles in my life. I value all of you more now than I did a year ago. You are all precious gifts to me.
This week WE are facing another bump in the cancer journey: it's scan week. I wasn't going to publish this, but I feel like I have been brutally honest through this journey, and I refuse to pretend everything is ok when it's not. Please don't ask me about my results if you see me. I won't get them until the end of next week, and I will share them when I am ready to share them. I will decide when that is. This week life is stressful for all of the "we's" in my life. We wonder what will be found and pray for what won't be found. This time around I am trying so hard to just give it to God. He will let whatever He wants show on those scan results. I refuse to let cancer take away my joy, take away my peace, and take away my faith. I will try my best to believe that the future is fiction and the results are just one piece in the puzzle of my life not the final say (whatever they show). I will cling to the promise that God gets the final say. 1 Peter 4:8-11 "Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only one plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ - eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word, yes He does!" (The Message)