Five years ago today, Thursday, May 21, 2015, I heard those 3 dreaded words that changed my life forever: You have cancer.
Two days before I had had a colonoscopy that revealed a large tumor in my rectum that was most likely malignant, but we wouldn't know for sure until the pathology reports came back. Looking back on my journal entry from May 21, 2015...
I've tried to carry on as normal, but it's constantly on my mind. Please, God...let this tumor be benign! A simple surgery to remove it, a small bump in my life's road.
Dr. Carlson called. It is malignant. I have rectal cancer.
Happy 58th Birthday to me.
Told our children. Trying to be brave and strong, but the tears just come...my eyelids just can't hold them back.
I'm scared. Kim holds me and we cry together. I love him so much and am so very grateful we will face this together.
A rectal ultrasound is scheduled for May 29. God, here's a chance to show Your great POWER! Praying that the tumor will be miraculous gone. Praying for a miracle!!!
That ultrasound would reveal that the tumor was still indeed there. Stage 3 rectal cancer. Over the next year I would undergo 8 weeks of chemo (4 rounds @ 2 weeks each), 5-6 weeks of daily radiation, 8 more weeks of chemo (4 rounds @ 2 weeks each), 6 weeks of recovery then surgery to remove the tumor and get an ileostomy bag that would thankfully be removed in a second surgery 12 weeks later. And then, of course, it took another several weeks before I finally began to feel "normal" again.
Although it wasn't the same "normal" as before.
While I certainly would never wish it upon myself, looking back now I am really grateful to have gone through it. That dark time strengthened my faith in a way that could never have happened without that storm and it gave me a whole new perspective on life and what's truly important.
Cancer, as traumatic an experience that it was, made me a better person in many ways...stronger, more grateful, more compassionate, more loving, and definitely grew my faith walk and taught me to rely on God.
God carried me through the tunnel of cancer to a brighter life on the other side.
Tomorrow I will celebrate my 63rd birthday, and every single day I thank Him for the opportunity of a new day to enjoy His incredible Creation and make more memories with those I love. Amazing what a close brush with death will do to realign perspectives...
I am so grateful and blessed to be...
...surviving and thriving.