Sunday, May 9, 2010

A collective thank you

It's been a little over eight months since my diagnosis. During that time, I have been treated, consoled, hugged, prayed for. I've been examined, imaged, poked and prodded and cut into (all with good intentions, of course!) I've been touched by so many people...this is definitely an inconclusive list.

First, I thank God; for this test that He just knew I, for some reason totally unbeknownst to me, had the strength to pass.

I thank my husband...really, that word seems so insignificant for all that he has done for me. For giving up an important job to drive me lots of miles so that I may be injected with toxic chemicals that left me sick and exhausted, and for picking up my slack around the house because of it. For making me laugh when I felt like crying, and for kissing my tears when I did cry. For so lovingly and tenderly emptying my surgical drains, changing my bandages, and rearranging my pillows. For loving me more now than ever before, and for the million times throughout this process you've told me that I'm beautiful. I can't imagine going through this journey with anyone else but you holding my hand.

For my parents: for stopping whatever it was that was going on in your life in September and flying Mom to Hawaii to help me pack up for my move when I was a mess. For opening your guest room for a month until our stuff arrived in Washington and we could move in to our own home (and helping us unpack.) For driving me to countless appointments, including my first round of chemo, and sitting by my side as we, together, waded through the complicated medical jargon that is included in a serious diagnosis such as cancer. For showering me with love, concern and affection...I'm a very lucky daughter.

For my sister and brother-in-law, who have taken on the challenge to walk 60 miles in my name, and have raised nearly $5000 for breast cancer. For being there at the hospital during my surgery, and the many visits they've paid and love that they've offered. I'm so blessed to have a close relationship with my sister, and am so grateful I have been able to go through this in the shadow of her love and support.

For my extended family and friends: you were there at the airport (at the gate, even!) to greet me at the start of what's been a long process. I can't think of a better way to feel more love and encouragement than that! For all of your Facebook messages, visits, and meals, and all means more to me than you'll ever realize...everyone should be so lucky to have such an amazing family. For Kathy, my breast cancer guru, who called me because she knew I wouldn't call her...who reached out to me and told me what to expect because she'd been there before, for lovingly and compassionately shaving my head when my hair was falling out, for trimming my wig to be appropriate for my uniform, and giving me my first post chemo haircut.

For my medical team: the doctors who studied long and hard to be the experts in this horrible--and too common--disease; who carefully and knowledgeably devised the best treatment plan for my situation. For the surgeons who meticulously removed harmful tissue from my body and sewed me back together. For the chemists and pharmacists who invented the chemotherapy that destroyed the tumor that threatened my health, and developed medications so that I wouldn't feel quite so terrible from its toxic side affects. For the nurses at MAMC who so lovingly administered that chemo, who made sure I was comfortable and wrapped me up in blankets and cheered for me on my last day there.

For my employer and boss...the military isn't always the easiest life, but this is one situation where being a veteran has proved invaluable. I've had state of the art medical care and have not paid a single penny--other than Seattle parking fees--for it. That's something to be extremely grateful for! Thank you to my boss in Hawaii for seeing that moving me to Washington, while not the traditional way of dealing with a limited duty situation, was the best option for me. Thank you to my new boss for giving me all of the time off I needed to rest, recover and get healthy. Thank you for cutting Brian's tour in the Middle East short and moving him to Washington with me. For Brian's boss giving him time off to drive me to 18 rounds of chemo, tons of medical appointments, and three weeks at home to help me recover from surgery.

Thank you to everyone out there praying for me, encouraging me and supporting me. Thank you to all the women who have gone on this journey before me. Knowing that you have made it through all of these milestones has helped me feel not quite so lonely.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but am grateful beyond words that I had each and every one of you on my side...I am a stronger, better woman because of it.

With so much love and gratitude,


  1. What a beautiful post from a beautiful woman. You are loved by many - near and far. I am praying for you and wish you nothing but the best as you continue on this journey.

  2. I'm not sure how you do it--but your do with grace, dignity and pride! Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sis. I know this journey isn't quite over but you fight and amazing fight and I thank you for that--and I thank you for allowing us to help you, I know it isn't always easy. I love you so much! You amaze me each and every day.