Tag Archives: diagnosis

One year….

I want to apologize for being MIA on the blog. I am struggling with the “what now” of being done with chemo and radiation.

It is hard to believe, but this journey started just over a year ago, on August 5, 2020. Mu gynecologist had referred me for a diagnostic mammogram after I had discovered a lump and made her aware. I went in that day thinking the lump I felt was nothing major. A cyst or clogged milk duct, no big deal. I left that appointment with so much fear and uncertainty. The doctor wouldn’t speculate as to what she thought was going on. All she would say was I needed a biopsy and that the ultrasound showed not one, but several suspicious masses. She called them “satellite” masses feeding off of the larger one that I was feeling.

I got in the car and cried. Chris did what he does and said all the right things, but my mind was swirling. My birthday was coming in a few days, my oldest was moving to college, 2020 was already crazy with COVID, and now cancer. I knew by the look in the doctors eyes it was cancer. I knew when I left that day our lives had just instantly changed. The emotional torture to come is something I want to share in a separate post. I am going to do a few post reflecting on the last year, but I want to end with an update on life in Cotterville.

We moved Jordan back to college for year two last weekend. He is thriving and we are so proud of him. We know this is going to be a fantastic and exciting year for him. He is doing apartment life this year. He now has two roommates he met last year at school and they adopted two cats today!

Isaac has had a great summer including a trip to church camp. He had an awesome time. He has battled sickness, (yes, the other C word, COVID) but is healthy now and ready for school to start on the 11th. They are starting so early this year! He will be finishing his time on the elementary campus as a 6th grader!

Eli is a character. He brings so much joy to our family. He is doing speech and vision therapies and doing so well with both! He is very independent and knows what he wants. He does specific things to make us laugh and is just all around a great kiddo! He will be going to preschool at our church this year so he will be having a blast at school while I work!

Chris and I are doing well. We are excited about school starting and getting back into routines. Chris is still working from home which everyone enjoys. We hope this can become a more permanent thing eventually! I am working at the church a few days a week and love every single minute of it. I don’t even really like to call it work. That’s how you know it’s where God wants you to be. I will be starting back to school at the end of September and will hopefully graduate by mid-2022!

As I struggle with the what nows, I would love your input on what you would like to see me and post about. I want with all my heart to continue telling the story God is writing in my life, I am just struggling with the how. Please share ideas in the comments or reach out to me directly!

Picture of Isaac and I when he returned from camp. Look at the hair! I will do a better heart update soon!
Eli at work with mommy!
The latest picture I have of Jordan is from a summer trip to Arkansas. He checking out a plane with Todd!

Taxol Treatment 9 of 12

It has been a minute since I’ve updated. I feel I just repeat the same things over and over, but I know a lot of you want to know how things are going. I am working on a few different posts and would love ideas on what you want to know. If you have a question, leave a comment. I plan to do a Q and A post soon!

This past Thursday I had my 9th Taxol. It went much the same. The doctor has been giving me an extra bag of fluids each treatment which seems to help my energy levels the day of treatment and the day after. I came home and slept for several hours, but then slept zero Thursday night. The lack of sleep does a number on me emotionally. In addition, the medications mess with your hormones which too makes me emotional. There are times I feel like crying for no reason at all. I feel like if I start crying I may never stop. This has been a struggle the last two days.

The expected pain has started to set in and I fully expect tomorrow to be the worst day of it. That seems to be the routine. By Tuesday I am usually feeling much better and ready to tackle it all over again by Thursday. Okay, that’s a lie. I am never ready for treatment day….Just when I start feeling better I have to get knocked down again.

I keep telling myself I have been doing this since October and there are only three weeks left, four counting recovery, but it feels so far away. I am tired. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally. I want so bad to be done….but then a whole new scary journey begins. I know what to expect now with chemo, but what will radiation bring?

I feel I don’t talk about the emotional struggle enough on here. My family and close friends see it, but I don’t share enough about it. The is almost as much about the mental fight as the physical, if not more. I want to quit. I want to feel normal. I want life the way it was in July of 2020 when there was nothing wrong with me. The reality is, my life will never be the same. I will forever be post-diagnosis Carrie. My families lives will never be the same. They will all have gone through this with me. It’s hard on them. They put on a brave face for me, but I know they hate it and are tired too.

So how do we make it? God! We pray. We lean on our friends and family when we can’t support ourselves. We keep a positive attitude and find the good in whatever we are dealt. When I can’t see positive, someone else helps me find it. We keep a sense of humor about it all. Sometimes people may be put off by us laughing or joking about my cancer, but laughter helps. Sometimes laughing is all we can do to get through.

My medical team at Texas Oncology is great. They are always positive, but real. They tell me what to expect and support me as those things begin to happen. But mostly, they are awesome because they get me. I feel comfortable being honest and telling how I’m doing. I know they won’t get upset if I didn’t drink enough water that week or lost some weight. If I say I was so mean this week to my family, and they assure me it’s the chemo making me that way. They are awesome because they laugh with me when I crack stupid jokes….or wear silly shirts! They cheer me on and are just as excited as I am that my chemo is almost over. It will be weird not seeing them every week! But they swear after this they never want to see me again (at least in the office).

I have said so many times that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. This week, and over the past five months, there have been moments of not being okay. I want to thank those who have listened to me, cried with me, and picked me back up. For reminding me what I have already overcome and told me I only have THREE MORE TREATMENTS! 5 months of chemo done, ONE to go!

I saw this on Amazon and had to have it. The staff loved it!

God > Cancer!

It’s Okay……To Not Be Okay

I have been rolling this blog post around in my mind for a while now trying to say what I am really feeling. For the most part, my blogs are upbeat and positive. I try to always find joy in every situation and help others see that even in the darkest of times there is light.

The last four months have been hard. There have been a lot of physical changes, from surgery to chemo and its side effects, but what I haven’t talked about is the spiritual and mental battles that come along with a potentially fatal diagnosis.

When the word cancer was first mentioned I took it very hard. I would lie awake at night thinking about all I would be missing in the years to come. How would Chris handle raising three boys? How can I make sure everyone is prepared for me to potentially not be around. My mind went to very dark places. I questioned why God would do this to me, to us. I questioned what I had done wrong in my way of living to cause the cancer. Was it something I ate? Was it the products I had used? Were my genes to blame? Would I be passing this on to my kids? There were so many questions and for weeks finding the positive was nearly impossible.

When I received the actual diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and was told that it was found early and a stage II, I felt relief. I remember hearing “state 2” from my surgeon and saying out loud, “It’s only stage 2”. Once the actual diagnosis came down it was easier to find hope and joy. I no longer felt I had a death sentence. I believed with all my heart I could fight and win. Looking back I wonder how I would have reacted had I heard it was stage 4 and terminal. Would I have been able to find joy? Would I have been able to remain positive and share Jesus even with a literal death sentence? I hope I would, but thankfully that is not something I have to find out.

When I write blog posts I often hear from the readers how positive I am and how much of an inspiration I am to so many. I have struggled feeling worthy of those titles. There are days I don’t feel positive. There are days I don’t think anyone would see me as an inspiration. There are days it is hard to get out of bed and put on a smile. There are times I am not okay, and everyone needs to know that it is okay to not be okay! (As a side note, I am honored by the positive responses I am getting from this blog and love your input, kind words, and encouragement to keep writing!)

We all face battles. Whether it’s in our career, our marriage, our family, or our health, we all have struggles. It is okay to be upset. It is okay to have pity parties. It is okay to question God and wonder why it is happening to you or someone you love. What is not okay is staying in that valley for too long.

Over the past 20 years, probably longer, I have battled with depression and anxiety. For years I allowed it to rule my life. I allowed it to dictate every aspect of my being, including keeping me out of the church and away from God for nearly seven years. That is the part that is not okay. If you are in that place right now, ask for help. If you know someone struggling with their battle, offer to suit up and fight with them. Provide strength and encouragement, but be brave enough to give tough love when they need it.

Having a strong support system is critical to winning a battle. I am blessed to have so many fighting alongside me right now. I am blessed to have family that has stuck by me through my darkest times and helped me find the help I needed. This journey has brought back fears of going back to those dark places, but with the help of our Lord and the people He has placed in my life, I feel confident I won’t slip, and if I do they won’t let me fall far.

I want to end with a few lyrics from a song that I have always loved, but that holds more meaning to me now. It is a song by Martina McBride, most of you have probably heard it. It’s called, I’m Going to Love You Through It. The song tells the story of a woman, the same age as I am, that gets a breast cancer diagnosis. She goes through surgery and treatments and has some bad days. Her husband says the following:

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear
That I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it

We all have days where we feel we can’t go on. The tears start to flow and won’t stop. And that’s okay. My prayer is that you have someone there to hold you up, wipe your tears, and love you through it all.

I also listened to this song as if God was singing it to me. Some of the lyrics don’t work, because He is not physically here to hold my hand or dry my tears, but He is there to make sure I am never alone. He is there to take my fears upon His shoulders and carry that weight for me. He is always there to love me and help me through any battle. For that I am grateful.