Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey | 11 comments

Hug of A Lifetime!

Each of us has our own way of dealing with a cancer diagnosis in the family.  Some of us are nearly immobilized by fear; some cling to denial and others, like my first-born, find a way to fight back.  My older daughter was in Mexico studying for much of the time while I was enduring chemotherapy.  She returned to Atlanta when I was at the mid-point of my treatments.  On one of her visits to me in NC, she shared with me that she was going to walk in the AVON 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk which was 60 miles.  She explained that it was a way she felt she could fight back by raising awareness and money for breast cancer research so that others would not have to endure what breast cancer patients have to endure.  Now, she was not a runner or even a regular walker.  Sixty miles is a long way, I offered, but she was determined she could do it.  “Mom, how bad can it be when I compare it to what you have gone through these four months!?”

So the training, talking, encouraging others to join her began.  All this was going on as she continued working on her 2nd degree in college.   She kept me posted throughout her training and fundraising by getting people to sponsor her as I continued my chemo treatments…each of us pushing ourselves…her to go further…me…to manage my side effects of nausea and extreme fatigue.  Both of us working to stay strong.  My third treatment was the most difficult with the nausea being the most horrendous causing me to need IV fluids three days the following week.  One more treatment to go…I can do this became my mantra!!

My other daughter became engaged and planned a wedding for November.  Surely I would be stronger by then.  Perhaps, I would even have hair again!

I did not tell my Atlanta daughter that I was planning to surprise her in Atlanta the weekend of the Walk.  I prayed and prayed that I would be strong enough to drive the 4 hours to Atlanta.  My son-in-law was to keep the secret.  My doctor helped me out by giving me some steroids prior to my last treatment to help with the side effects.  Boy, did that work!!!  Not only did I not have the bad nausea, I had appetite and could eat!!  Woo-hoo!  I got through my last treatment which gave me a few weeks to recuperate and I drove to Atlanta to surprise my little Energizer Bunny!  I arrived the day after she started.

The next day, we rode the route shouting encouragement to the walkers making certain she was not in particular groups to spoil the fun.  We knew where their “lunch stop” was to be so we went there planning the surprise.  I was so pumped I felt like I could have done the walk.  (However, that definitely was not the case!)  My son-in-law found me a chair and I sat along the side of the road where she would enter the “lunch stop.”  We watched and cheered hundreds by hundreds who arrived ready for their break.  How exciting this was. I was wearing my favorite cap of black sequins with big gold-sequin stars which I called my “Celebrate Life” cap.

Finally, I stepped out into the road on top of the hill they were climbing, looked at the next group coming forward and I spied her.  She was leading the pack, on the very front of her group.  I raised my hand and I saw her hold her arms out toward me as she did as a toddler and I read her lips, “THAT’S MY MOM!!!!”

It was such an emotional moment in our lives, everything seeming to move in slow motion!  Finally….the Hug of a Lifetime!

What JOY!

That inaugural walk turned into 7 Breast Cancer Walks for her, making new lifetime friends, inspiring others, recruiting others and learning so much about breast cancer and why their is HOPE!

I knew very clearly that God, indeed, wanted me to get strong enough to go to that walk.  God introduced me to hundreds of women, younger and older than I am, who had their first diagnosis 10, 20 even 25 years prior and they were still fighting…fighting to live and boy were they doing that!  God wanted me to see that if I had a recurrence, I did not need to fear that it was necessarily a death sentence.  I saw it and a lot more.

I realized, I too, have a story to tell, walks to support, children, grandchildren and friends to love and a Gracious God to serve.  One way I do that is by listening to others recently initiated into the club that no one wants to join.  I can share all the oh-so valuable lessons I have learned along my journey and I can still learn more lessons through the sharing of HOPE!  And, here it is, nearly 13 years later!

 

 

 

11 Comments

  1. 1-16-2012

    Wow!!!! What a blessing!!! You are such an inspiration to ALL of us!! Big Hugs!!!!

    • 1-16-2012

      Martha, many thank to you. Shelley surely has enjoyed getting to know you and walking together. She admires you a bunch, as do I! “Don’t waste the miracle!”

  2. 1-16-2012

    Pat, Your blog is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing. My first couin, who lives in Sanford, had a mastectomy last Thursday. She will get the drains out tomorrow and hopefully get the pathology report. She is so frightened. Please pray for her.

    Doris

    • 1-16-2012

      Thank you, Doris. I will certainly pray for her and will be eager for you to share her report. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  3. 1-16-2012

    Martha directed me to this post through a facebook posting. Thank you Martha! This is a beautiful post and truly captures why we walk. Keep it up Pat!!

    • 1-16-2012

      Many thanks, Michele. I am thankful for each day I have and the caring and inspiration of so many is what keeps us going!!

  4. 1-16-2012

    Hi Pat, It always helps to hear other peoples experiences and feel their strength. It brings hope and joy to those of us who continue to fight. My girls ran together in a run for GYN cancers. That was such a joyous experience for me.

    Thank God for teaching me sooo much through radiation and chemo. I know He remains faithful to me and so many others.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • 1-16-2012

      You are so right, Elsie. These walks teach us all so much and renew our strength. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  5. 1-17-2012

    Love this post. Great. Thanks.

  6. 5-15-2012

    Pat, I see you on the Cornell U. Heron Nest Web Cam Chat. (I mostly lurke :-) I, too, am going through breast cancer. I am 49, have 4 kids, the youngest of whom is 4. God has been so amazing through all of this. The day I went for my needle biopsy, I could tell by how the techs were acting that this was not good. They left the room to get the doctor. As I lay there in the dark, afraid and alone, I felt God’s presence. He said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m going to go through this with you.” And He has! It has been amazing. He has brought so many good things out of this experience. I’m through with chemo now. My hair is growing back. People tell me I look good in short hair. I smile and tell them it’s the grace of God they see. Still have to have a mastectomy this summer. But I figure after chemo, hey, nothing is that bad!

    • 5-23-2012

      Amy, my goodness, we ARE kindred souls, it appears. Surely sounds like God has walked every step with you on this journey. I feel the same way as you do about the mastectomy not being so bad after having experienced chemo. I am so glad you posted and I will be praying for you right along. How about letting me know when your surgery is. FOUR kids…awesome blessings but challenging when mom doesn’t feel so good. Peace, love and joy!

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