The Breast Cancer Diaries | Part 7Laura Ann Miller
NOTE: This is part 7 in this series, click for part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6.
Sunday January 30, 2022 | Holding On To Hope
Last Sunday I was sad and emotional. I had no energy and my hair was falling out.
I could barely get off the couch and I felt guilty. Was this because of chemo or was I spiraling towards depression? And on that day when I finally got out of the house but ended up sitting in the car while Mike played hockey, I received text after text. I know it was God using others to lift me up. The week since, I’ve received texts from friends and family still, but not like that. I’m in wonder of it all. And I feel better today.
August helped me cut my hair twice and Mike finally shaved the rest of it for me yesterday.
I ventured out with him to the grocery store. I walked outside with August at nursery where we marveled at the flowers and caterpillars on the milkweed. We watched the Monarchs flutter from flower to flower and treated ourselves to a smoothie and a milkshake.
I’ve been outside to photograph one of my orchids beginning to bloom and treated myself to a beautiful new pale purple and yellow orchid with the most blooms and buds I’ve ever seen on one plant.
My heart and spirit are lifted.
I think I’m figuring out a rhythm to this cancer treatment. It takes me about a week to feel more like myself, to get up and move and enjoy the taste of food. Mike and the kids take care of me for a week and then I have energy to be more present and take care of them. I get nervous that this could change, but I hold to hope that we can maintain this rhythm. I hold to hope that all my emotions and sadness will not consume me.
February 1, 2022 | Tuesday
Today I’m starting the process all over again, round 3. Tuesday blood work. Wednesday chemo. Tuesday I go alone. It’s a short appointment and they no longer let family accompany anyone because of the new Covid variant. I know where to go now, I know which exit to take and about how long of a drive it is. So today I decided not to use the GPS. But then there I was on 95 lost in thought over all this cancer stuff when I realized I had long past my exit by three exits. Thankfully I gave myself extra time today. I made a u-turn and headed back south. I realize now I need the GPS companion to pull me out of my fog. Because I’d rather take a full tank of gas, turn the radio up, and just drive than take the exit to the cancer center.
It’s good I didn’t drive off into the sunset today. I made it through the bloodwork and saw my doctor afterwards. She thinks the tumor has softened which means it’s responding to the chemo. We’ll do a follow up MRI most likely after I finish all of the chemo treatments. She is so kind and gentle and reassuring with me. I’m thankful to have her as my Oncologist.
February 2, 2022 | Wednesday
I’m here. Starting round 3. I shared the photos of my haircuts with my nurse. She’s been with me from the start here in this chemo room. She asked if I had any photos since I shaved my head, but I don’t. I haven’t been brave enough to take a bald photo yet. The last photo with the slight fuzz on the top of my head felt brave when I took it, but now that it’s all gone I’m more comfortable with my scarf, long and tied with the soft flowing tails draped over my shoulder like a ponytail.
I’m next to my old spot, one seat over against the wall with the red abstract heart. I still have the windows all around and the tops of the palms and the gentle rain falling outside.
Valentines decorations adorn the walls, wooden red hearts, little pickup trucks carrying loads of pink and red hearts. It’s busy. The chairs all seem full, machines take turns beeping steady, nurses attending to each one while getting newcomers hooked up to the IVs. Individual TVs are on as well. I have my book and I’m ready for round 3. It’s about three hours. I can’t wait for Mike to pick me up and whisk me away. I don’t have it in me for our cancer dates after chemo, so he brings me a treat from Panera Bread for the ride home: It’s my sugar and carb treat every 2 weeks. Lack of hunger and weird taste as side effects have helped me a lot on my goal of eating healthier, whole, natural foods.
February 6, 2022 | Sunday
I keep thinking of the women who have been on this path ahead of me, was it the doctors too, who told me in no time at all I’ll be looking back on this journey, a distant memory of having walked this path? At the time it gave me hope. It’s hope I still hold onto, but I’m in the valley looking up at a mountain and I cannot see the top. I can only see the sheer size of the mountain I have to climb. I’m not sure I’m equipped properly to make it to the top. How will I get there? It seems so far.
February 8, 2022 | Tuesday
An Ode To My Favorite Scrunchie
I still think of picking you up
And twisting you
Around my long blond hair
Even though it’s been gone
Now for some time
I miss you as an accessory
As an option standing by
Faithfully around my wrist
Now you are too tight
A defense for not needing you
I look at you
on my bathroom counter
I wonder if you’ll be my favorite again?
February 12, 2022 | Saturday
I keep thinking back to my first appointment with my surgeon, what did she say? How did she say it? You’ll be cured? This is curable? Something about five years…
And then to the oncologist in our cancer multi-modality day, she was so knowledgeable about genes and family history and statistics by age. We sat and listened to everything the doctors had to say. Any questions? No.
It seemed like they had covered everything, but now a month and a half into this journey questions pop up in my mind. I wonder if I can call the Doctor, who was so good with the numbers, and ask her for more statistics. What is the percentage that when I’m through all of this, it’s gone for good? That I won’t face cancer again?
And then I started digging into a never ending online rabbit hole of ways to eat, foods that are healthy and have anti-cancer properties. I do believe this is a helpful, healthy way to live, a more mindful way to eat. It’s a chance to assess the convenient, sugary, processed foods I love and realize I can and should do better for myself. I want to do what I can to help myself heal and be healthy in addition to the plan my doctors have laid out. I believe in change for myself on this journey.
But then my Grandma shared this devotion with me yesterday-
Where is Jesus in the Storm? from Max Lucado and this pulled at my heart,
“You do not fight the wind and waves alone. It is not up to you to find a solution. You have the mightiest Prince and the holiest Advocate standing up for you.”
Another reminder from God to Trust him.
I don’t need to find a solution. More statistics won’t bring me peace. I can’t control this outcome or the future.
I can only Trust.
I reread those words, “it’s not up to me…” and I feel a gentle exhale.
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’re and o’re!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!
O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
just to trust his cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me
neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking
life and rest, and joy and peace.
-Hymn by Louisa M. R. Stead (1882)
I so much appreciate your sharing your journey. Your sincerity and your uncanny ability to show such strength but not hide your fragility. This makes me think of your writing about your brother which showed such tenderness.
The Lord must be taking such delight in you and I cannot imagine the ways He will use your journey to magnify His Name.
Thank you for sharing a part of this journey with me. Even in the hardest parts I see the goodness of God with us and this brings such gratitude and hope. love you.
Thank you, dear Laura, for your sharing such a transparent version of this piece of your journey. Your faith in action is an inspiration. (((hugs))) Susan
Thank you! It’s a daily process of keeping my focus on Jesus. ❤️
Dear — and I do mean DEAR — Laura. Your courage and faith shine through your words. Your words tell of your angst but also of your trust in God….You wonder if the cancer will stay away. God will be there whether yes or no. I have lived with the yes or no for some 60 years and it is only through what you are going through that the thought comes up again.
You mentioned the Pandera bread and it brought back another memory. I think it was Heidi took me to the bakery and I had a taste of that delicious bread. I also love your poem; August is so grown up looking; and the part about the mountain ahead of you looking so high reminds me of how Chet was always ready to see what was on the other side of the mountain ahead of us. It was always good and I pray the other side of your mountain is beautiful as well.
I love how you added the words of the hymn=”Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” Keep on doing that, Laura. You are not alone. Always in my prayers, Gran’ma Betty.
PS. My friend, Susan, is still waiting for a go-ahead with her chemo. I’ll see about forwarding her poem of today. Love from me to you.
I’ve been asking God for peace going forward in this process. I know God has answered the many prayers through you and friends and family. I reread your words three times and knowing God brought you through this as well, (with healing!) and Grandpa’s perspective on the mountains gave me new peace, joy, and hope last night. I am going forward with his perspective of anticipation and excitement for the good on the other side of this mountain!
I am continuing to pray for your friend Susan.
I love you.
Ode to your scrunchie!
And, just so you know, yes it’s sounds clichéd, but…
you’re so beautiful!
So many scrunchies tucked away! ❤️
My sweet friend, I love you to pieces! I admire your strength and pray for you every morning!
Thank you for all the prayers! They truly hold me up. love you ❤️
Your beautiful words touch me every time I read your updates. Thank you again for sharing your journey with us.
Thank you ❤️
Thank you for sharing your journey. Your transparency…🤍 God has given you such a gift. The way you communicate through writing is incredible. It moves me.
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.
I love you my friend. Praying for you.
Thank you for being such an encouragement to me through this whole journey! Love you❤️
Thinking of you ♥️