Coming to you live from the midwest
So.. In case you missed the last blog post or my personal explosion of happiness on social media:
I AM CANCER FREE!!
Tomorrow marks one week since my PET scan made Monday, March 23rd an eternal holiday in my calendar. The past week has been crazy amazing adjusting to life back home and also just absorbing the news!
A little update of the past week's events:
- Well, sleeping Monday night was nearly impossible, knowing that I got to go HOME bright and early the next morning. It was harder to wrap my head around the fact that I had finally gotten AMAZING news because I was so use to the opposite. I still often think, "alright, where's the catch here?" I was up nearly two hours before my alarm was suppose to go off because there was NO way we were going to miss that flight home, not on my watch. I couldn't sleep and I was completely overwhelmed with the wonderful reality. I laid in bed and read my daily devotion in a book called Jesus Calling (which I would highly highly recommend by the way) and it woke me up even more to how amazing our God is. I really found comfort in the ending phrase "Remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you." It helped me to remember that my cancer is/was not apart of who I am, and it cannot/did not take my security that I find in Christ.
- As part of my typical morning getting ready at the extended stay, I read myself these notes one last time. This one rang so loudly. My life is now a testament to that!
- Looking out the window of that plane as we were taking off is something I will never forget. It was like some corny part of a movie with a fairy tale ending - except it was even better. My mom and I both held each other and bawled like absolute babies. (I think the lady sitting next to us thought I had a fear of flying or something because she was definitely staring and I didn't stop sobbing until we were safely in the air out of Mesa). It was an incredible feeling to leave knowing that I would not be needing to return, at least not unless I wanted to. I constantly thought to myself that the last time I had been on a plane I had a rare and aggressive cancer and I had no idea what I was really getting myself into or where life would lead me. Sooo.. saying that I was happy on that plane home is an ultimate understatement of what I felt.
- When we landed I had another fairytale movie moment waiting for me. As I walked to the baggage claim, I saw some skinny little thing with a kid on her hip jumping up and down with a neon pink poster, and I was like "yep, that HAS to be my sister." I completely lost all composure, as if I had forgotten that I was in a public setting. I cannot tell you how amazing it was to see corn fields, to hear "you have landed in Omaha, NE is it 12:37 PM" coming off the plane, and to say "I AM HOME!"
- After getting our bags and regaining composure for about 30 seconds, I had yet another little moment as I saw Lisa pull up ready to bring me to my new home (her house). I had no cares for the fact that it was rainy and 30 degrees, or that I still had my sunglasses and flip flops on, or that I had just left sunny hot weather. I was on what you would call cloud nine.
- Walking into my new humble abode was priceless and incredible. By this point, my hope for regaining composure was out the window. I walked into the door and cried even just looking at the big white chairs in the kitchen, thinking about the future mornings I will get to wake up and have tea there. I looked at every thing in that house with so much more meaning, it was an emotion I haven't ever experienced. What was even more exciting was walking down stairs to find a celebration waiting.
- I have been settling into my new home in Omaha and loving every minute of it. At treatment I dreamt about what it would feel like to finally be home and settled in. It's even more amazing than I dreamt up, especially being around the kiddos and all of their energy. After a couple days of adjusting to the change and setting up my new lifestyle in Omaha I finally feel truly ready to continue therapies this coming week!
I've had a hard time learning how to express this sheer happiness I feel. I don't like to even use the word happy because it's such an understatement for the extreme joy I have. The simplest things I do throughout my days at home now mean a tremendous amount more. I was putting my nephew Jude to bed the other night and as we were lying there reading books I just praised God for giving me the gift of a second life, and getting to be a healthy aunt to my nephews and niece. To be able to watch them grow up, to play with them, to hold them, and to love them for the years to come is absolutely priceless. I haven't ever felt this wonderful in my entire life and I am overwhelmed with praise and gratitude. It brings me to tears often thinking about how blessed I am with how much support and love I have had throughout this journey that has only just begun.
I often also think about what my life would look like if I hadn't followed this path. I think about the fact I could be turning 21 and going through menopause right now, especially living through some of the side effects of that extremely early menopause, and I am so grateful for getting to keep my quality of life. The fact that I was able to get through the surgery AND fight the ovarian cancer AND keep two functioning ovaries?! - That is a miracle by God's work right there.
Coming out of treatment for cancer feeling happier and healthier in all aspects of life is something I never would have imagined possible for myself, and I still sometimes struggle to believe that this is reality now. I know that there are people out there who still have disbelief in what has been my course of treatment, but I knew in my heart from the beginning that with the right faith and attitude, this would work. I catch myself multiple times a day in complete awe of what has taken place. It makes me want to give back in the biggest way. It makes me want to share all of the knowledge and experience that I have gained. I want to share the joy. I want to help others in any way I possibly can. I want to show people who have immense fear of cancer, or any disease for that matter, a whole new perspective. I want to be a person who any and every one feels like they can come to with any ailment in life.
Please, please share my story any and every where. Even if it only reaches one person that is in the position I was three and a half months ago, it will be considered successful in my book. The point of sharing this journey with all of you and being completely open about it is not to gain support for myself, but to gain support for this view of cancer in a positive light and also to show the world that there is more than one way to successfully cure it.
With all my love and gratitude,