I’ve written out similar posts to this three times now, and it still doesn’t sound right, but I’m going to just put it out there anyway.
I’m a very social being and love being around friends, family and attending large, exciting events. However, I’m finding that I don’t really love a lot of attention, which is why I think I have been hesitant to share my current situation. With that being said, I still feel a need to purge this information in a somewhat safe and public forum. Maybe it’s just to give my friends answers without feeling like they are intruding, or maybe my words can encourage someone else to take action and go see their doctor, (2 people so far) but mostly I want to show my gratitude.
There is really no easy way to segue into what I need to say, so I’m just going to say it. Two days after I last updated this blog I got a call letting me know that the mole that I had removed because of “bad cells” had actually come back positive with melanoma. I know. My thoughts too. Needless to say, I had a very rough 2 days basically freaking out, and then I was scheduled to have a PET scan a few short days later.
I was praying very hard and very often. My family and some friends were doing the same, and I was able to have a priesthood blessing from my husband Jake, and 3 other worthy priesthood members from our church the night before the scan. I can’t even begin to tell you all of the emotions and fears that I was feeling, but after that blessing I have not felt much of anything except peace.
The scan came back clear and we did a big sigh of relief and celebrated with the kids last Monday. Then on Thursday I met with an oncologist to go over what I thought was only going to be test results, but instead learned that I’m not quite out of the woods yet. He wants to refer me to a surgeon to remove a little wider margin of skin on my arm and do another test to see if the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes (apparently the PET scan doesn’t show small cancer cells).
The news was quite a blow, but I still feel confident that everything is going to be okay. It may sound naive to say that, and believe me, I do know all the risks, but I can’t deny that I know in my heart that everything will be all right. That’s not to say I may not get good news, but I know I’m being blessed and prepared to accept anything that may be coming my way. I have faith in my doctors and especially my Heavenly Father who I know has a plan for me.
Okay, that’s the scary, not so great thing that has been consuming much of my time and energy lately. On the flip side though, I can not even begin to explain the transformation that my mind and heart has experienced through this trial. My testimony of Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost has never been stronger. I have felt safe, protected and emotionally and physically strong through every step. If this news came a few years earlier I know that I would not have been able to handle things as well.
There are huge blessings in being obedient and in line with God’s commandments. There is a peace that only comes with putting your faith and family first above all and even though I still feel I’m still just learning and growing spiritually, this has made me realize the leaps and bounds that I have progressed.
I am so thankful that I was prompted to prepare myself to go to the temple when I did. I didn’t know that my actions and life changes would ignite my husband’s testimony and conversion. To know that my family is sealed together for eternity has always been important to me, but only in the last two weeks do I really feel like I truly understand the significance of that blessing. I ache for those who don’t have that comfort and reassurance when facing life’s burdens.
The first day I learned about my cancer, I swore I would never yell at my kids again and that chores for them were a thing of the past. We would only have fun, play all day and I would teach them everything I could as soon as I could. I would write long journal entries every spare minute that I wasn’t do those other things, etc. That plan didn’t even last one day. I still get on them about homework and picking up their dishes after meals. They still have to keep their room clean and help me with the baby. And yes, I have even raised my voice a little… or a lot.
What did change and will never be the same is my perspective. I am so grateful on every level and I will always remember ALL of the blessings I have been given in my life. I couldn’t have been born into a better family (extended too). I cherish my memories with them and am so thankful for every single one of them. And my friends? Seriously, they are the family that I got to choose. I don’t know how I would get through a week or even a day without the help, support and company of my friends. I have such positive and strong women in my life and I feel honored to know them. With all the worry and stresses we have experienced so far, we have not had to worry about who is watching or picking up kids from school and one friend even put her family on hold to sit at my scan appointment with me for 3 hours.
Another change is my priorities. I have had to put some of my responsibilities and “extras” on the back burner right now because I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle trying to do it all. This last week has felt like a huge break and my house is slightly less chaotic. Only slightly, but I’ll take it! The days and nights when Jake and I and the kids just get to be home together are the moments when life seems to slow down a bit and then the next busy days or week feels much more manageable. It also helps that our kids are still generally unaware that anything could be wrong, so their laughs and smiles help me forget any problems too. I really have the best kids, even if they don’t let me sleep. Ever.
Okay, now that I’ve been ultra sappy, and before I change my mind about posting this at all, I’m going to push publish. But please don’t worry, or pity or anything. Your prayers and friendship is all I need right now. And maybe a listening ear when I have more things to purge, which I’m sure I will. Also, if you have questions or have gone through something like this, please let me know. That has been the one hard thing; not talking to someone who has been there who can relate. If that’s you, I’m all ears!