A few days ago I had to get an echocardiogram done in order to know if my heart is strong enough to start a new chemo regime. I have never liked getting them done, because they go all around my mutilated left chest wall in order to see your heart, and I now have a sizable tumor laying under it. To help you understand…I don’t look at it that area, I don’t touch it (only Dr. Pluard is allowed to), I guard it to the point I need massages to relax my muscles, and now I’m going to let someone run a wet, gooey, cold, metal device all over it?!?! Ugh…does this journey ever get any better? What’s funny is my answer is, “Yes, yes…it does!”. It does because I was willing to take the RISK. Or maybe I’m just an emotional basket case and can’t contain myself…regardless of what label I’m given…it made for a great experience and I have another new friend, named Toni.
Please don’t think I walk around signing zippy de do da all day and dancing with unicorns…because I don’t. But what I have learned to do is look for opportunities to make a really bad situation better. I doubt Toni was super excited when she looked at my chart and saw the challenge that laid in front of her (or maybe she was because it was something different…ya know, like poking me in the foot with a needle versus my arm). And I feel pretty confident when we were walking to the imaging room, and my voice began to crack as I began to tell her about my numerous surgeries and multiple radiation treatments. As, I told her my about my own inabilities to look at, touch, or even pay much attention to the area she was getting ready to probe with some camera attached to it…she simply said as she put her hand on my shoulder, “It’s ok, it’s going to be ok…we will get the images they need”.
And it was…it was better than ok! As she probed and prodded (actually it wasn’t bad at all) we talked. I told her about Jill’s Hope and how were working to help other fight the fight. She loved the concept…she loved the holistic idea of where Eastern and Western Medicine meet and say, “Oh, hello there…let’s work together to better treat the whole person”. It was one of those conversations that jumped from subject to subject with ease. Then I took the RISK to say how blessed I really am and how God has played such a role in making everything happen just at that right time. I explained how since my diagnosis it’s become easier to not sweat the small stuff, let things go that I could never have before, and by simply being willing to listen/look for God… I have been able to easily hear/see him. I see him everywhere in everything when I’m willing to look. She got it…she understood! You know like we both weren’t zombies on the Walking Dead. We were on the same team. That team called being a CHRISTIAN. She was more like an ANGEL that day.
Toni walked me all the way out to my car so I could give her a Jill’s Hope brochure and card. Then she was willing to take a picture with me for this post. I told her what I was going to do with it, I just wasn’t sure how I’d incorporate into a blog. Then…Sunday rolls around and the sermon was about RISK. Go figure…you go to church and you feel like the whole hour was made just for you. Love it when that happens.
R – Remind yourself of the power of God
I – Invest in relationships authentically
S – See others from God’s perspective
K – Keep in mind you an ambassador of God
The message was about taking the risk and talking to people about how you feel and your love for Jesus. It instantly made me think about my encounter with Toni on the day of my echocardiogram. How nervous I was. How much I just didn’t even want to be there. I know my energy radiated that as well especially when I’m almost crying just walking down the hall. So by me taking the risk to be authentic and let my emotions out, Toni was able to comfort me. The moment she put her arm around me and said it would be fine, I believed her. I was able to relax and talk about my passion with Jill’s Hope and how blessed I truly am. Another appointment and another new friend.
Besides gaining a friend and facebook follower, I also got the news that my heart is strong enough for my next round of chemo. This is where the story telling is more factual and seemingly not as fun, but I’m going to attempt to add humor to avoid completely boring you. So here we go…
I mentioned in my last FB post that I might begin a new immunotherapy/chemo cocktail regime if a qualify for the trial. If I don’t than I would continue on what I was on, which is Halevan. Feeling like I needed much more than Halevan I had really put all my eggs in the immune/chemo combo. Meaning I began to think that I must qualify and If I don’t I’m in immediate trouble. Well, as normal I didn’t hear everything the Dr. said…or I heard everything he said and I retained 10% of it. What he said was, if I didn’t qualify for the trial then I would start a new chemo called Daxol. Daxol is in the same family as the dreaded A/C – Red Devil. So this is going to sound funny, but that makes me happy and excited. I did not qualify for the trail (to explain why would take too long), but regardless it isn’t going to be available until late March. I’m excited because there are so many new therapies coming to the cancer world, and maybe there’s going to be one that buys me some super extended time.
I just want to leave you with saying I appreciate you taking the time to visit and read this blog. There is absolutely no way anyone can get through a journey such as this on their own. There is no reason anyone should have to go on any journey on their own! I dare you to take the RISK of being authentic with others in your feelings, emotions, and beliefs. You might cultivate a path of kindness and love, and be someone’s angel here on earth (Toni). Probably best not to RISK sharing all your feelings about politics right now, but that’s your choice. 🙂