Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love and Cancer

I've been given many blessings throughout this life, so I can’t complain, however I've given myself permission to be sad, at times, about having cancer. Especially as  family and friends see my health decline, and when I'm fearful about facing the chemo room. I also struggle with those reality moments cancer forces you to endure, even when I realize those "reality moments” give me greater appreciation and  perspective for the beauty of life.

My  current reality is I've been battling  Stage IV Ovarian Cancer, and received the  treatment to match the diagnosis. A cancer reality  I learned quickly is our earthly bodies are susceptible to the hardships of this earth, and it's difficult to grasp the demands of the fight; adequate nutrition, weight loss, nausea, pain, appointments, bills, and constant pokes, pricks, scans and sticks. 
The half way point of my treatment is when I really began to “feel it”, and honestly sometimes it felt okay to think about revolting, but I kept in mind, we must never give up the fight!

Maybe the hardest Cancer reality is the terminal illness connotation it brings. My husband Benjamin and I, in a half-hearted attempt, wrestled with the actuality and logistics of a Cancer diagnosis, but we'll never forget the moment it really hit us! It was relatively late in the journey, considering our first meeting with my Oncologist was in November 2012, and hard to forget since we were clearly told "it had spread" and “you can die from this”. Death's the unspoken awareness  with Cancer, causing conversations between family friends, to get a bit awkward. Benjamin and I have a keen awareness of how Cancer sometimes can lead to an uncomfortable reality. Benjamin lost his father and grandfather to Cancer, and I also saw my mom BEAT Cancer, but lost my grandfather, an uncle, and a young cousin to the fight. The realities of Cancer are intricate, but for Benjamin and I not truly real until Valentine’s Day 2013. 

I was two months out of a major surgery and two months into a tough chemo regiment when reality struck. I’d completed my sixth cycle of chemo, and worked up enough energy to ride with my Valentine to grab takeout. It was a beautiful day in the middle of an Oklahoma winter, and pulling out of the parking lot I was excited about our “dinner in” when I heard a familiar song. I turned up the radio to hear Adele (who I love), as she sang “Someone Like You”. For those familiar with her work it’s actually a break up song, but as I heard the melody she sang " I heard you settled down,  you found a girl, and your married now, I heard your dreams came true...”

 The words jolted my mind, my reality, and tore at my heart. I immediately  thought, “If God doesn't heal me, I' want to be in Heaven, receiving word my Benjamin had someone to help him and make his dreams come true”. The thought was tough to swallow, and my emotion became greater as Adele sang out “I wish nothing but the best for you, don’t forget me I beg, I remember you said, ‘Sometimes it last in love but sometimes it hurts instead".  I was moved beyond tears, and realized I wouldn't be able to hide or hold the pain in. Reality hit like a ton of bricks, I was sad, and wrestling with the idea of OUR dreams not coming true.

We continued down the road and Benjamin tried to console me, as I quickly realized we were passing the cemetery I'd driven by earlier with my mom. I wasn't driving when we passed it on our way to a blood draw, so I'd had plenty of time to glance at the cemetery’s lone visitor. I don’t know what he looked like, but I know he had a great love, and he was looking forward to being reunited someday. The man came prepared with a white lawn chair to enjoy the cool afternoon while seated next to his Valentine's grave. In a glimpse I knew he was talking and creating sacred moments. 

As Benjamin grew concern over my tears, I decided it would be easier to tell him about the image of the man seated next to his sweetheart for Valentine’s as the reason tears continued to run down my cheek. As I reflected and talked about the Valentine's Day romantic we were moved to tears, and into a moment where God provided us with the opportunity to talk about the sometimes tough realities.
With tear soaked eyes we made our way off the road, and to a place we could see the sunset God had shaped into a pink heart just for us; a sign of Hope or Silver Lining of sorts God  used to paint over the darkness.

If you or a loved one needs someone to talk to about Cancer realities please feel free to message me at or 

Much Love to all!

My husband Benjamin and I right after I shave my head-
January 2013

Benjamin and I before my surgery
-December 2012
Photo cred: Neely Jacobson Photography

Two surgeries ,5 months of chemo, and the day
before I graduated with my Masters in Social Work!
"Fall in love and Accomplish What You
Never Thought Possible"
-May 2013