Monday, August 18, 2008

Five Years Ago Today....

My life changed forever. Five years ago today I was told I had can
cer.

Talk about a thread killer! Ooo...poor choice of words there! Sorry. I know it always seems like such a 'downer' to talk about this but it really is all good.

Ok...maybe it didn't start that way...of course it didn't! ....

...There I was with my then 3 and 17 month old boys, sitting in the doctors office not expecting anything out of the norm when he tells me I have cancer. The world stopped moving for me at that moment....and I wished I could stop time. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be there to see those boys grow up. I was afraid that I would miss all of the firsts...first day of preschool, kindergarten.... Who would kiss their owies. I was numb.

Five years ago today.

One month of diagnosis....biopsies, scans, more biopsies.... Six months of chemo.... One month of radiation....that's what my tatoos are from, AJ... ;) I didn't elaborate because I guessed it would end up being a thread killer! ;) (there goes that word again!) They mark you to line up the machine that releases the radiation.

....it's not a thread killer though....

Five years later....

Two first days of preschool, two preschool graduations... Two first days of kindergarten, two kindergarten graduations.... Another baby! Never thought that was possible...chemo induced menopause...didn't realize I would come out of that.... So many firsts....sports, having the chance to teach my son to ride a bike!

My life isn't all roses, but I can certainly appreciate that there are so many areas that are better than I could have ever imagined.

One of the great things to come out of my diagnosis...I now take time for myself. This is something I never did before. Once the boys went to sleep there was always more things to do...cleaning...laundry... My friend and neighbor, Amy, introduced me to stamping. This is the perfect 'Me' time.

I am so very thankful for all of the lessons I have learned along the way. Don't get me wrong, if I were given the chance I would never have chosen this path...NEVER! Chemo sucks! ...sorry....there really is no good way to put it! They don't have a whole line of clothing with that sentiment for nothing! I still remember the poor nurse whose shoes were completely ruined when I ...ok....we will just leave that one alone....she is one of those sweet angels that really is here on a mission!

Ok...there you go! Don't be down! This is a good day...all in all....five years later...still cancer free...I am looking forward to at least another five!

Ok...have I completely bummed you all out?! I totally didn't mean to. This is a good day! One of the things that I remember from this day five years ago...that I didn't think I would be here. I truly thought that I wouldn't last six months! I had never known anyone to survive cancer. How amazing that here I am five years later!

See...it's all good! Yeah, I'm a completely different person...but I think it's for the best...I think the changes are all good. All right! Thanks for letting me vent! Today was a day of lots of hugs in my house. I am truly so very thankful for all that I have. You know, my boys are completely oblivious to this type of thing. They remember when mommy didn't have hair....but that's really it. They really don't remember all of the other stuff. I'm glad. Yeah, there was some fighting today. You know how brother's get on each others nerves! But all in all...this was the most amazing day ever!

...because five years ago...I didn't think it would happen!

31 comments:

Megan said...

congratulations on 5 years! keep on fighting the fight!

Angela said...

YOU are my HERO! What an amazing battle to have fought and WON! I am so proud of you, and I LOVE that you took a moment to SHARE YOUR STORY as an inspiration to those that have the same struggles today. You are a source of hope and inspiration...and of course you know I LOVE THAT! I just posted projects made with the Unity KOM on my blog...I missed yours, I THINK IT IS AMAZING and I ADORE IT...but not as much as I adore you! Hip Hop, my friend not 5 years to the future, but 50! Game on...Nothing but GOOD TIMES!

Rene' Sharp said...

So glad to hear you had the strength & determination to get through it. Keep living a positive life!

Dani said...

Jennifer, thanks for sharing your story. You are a true inspiration and I'm so proud of you. :) I sure enjoy your blog!!! Thanks!

Tiffany Johnson said...

Jennifer, Your post speaks volumes to me... We just found out that my MIL has stomach cancer and they are giving her 6 months. She has set-up milestones (graduations, visits, etc) to keep herself motivated. I hope that she learns to find time for herself just as you have :) You're such an inspiration...

mudmaven said...

And we are all so happy that you are still here sharing all that you do and feel with us. You are truly an inspiration in all ways! ~chris

corinnesomerville said...

Jennifer, I visit your blog daily and enjoy all your creative genius and like a lot of others I visit daily but don't comment very often but today I had to thank you for the courgeous to share your journey these past 5 years. I'm so proud of where you've come and so proud of where you're going.

Julie Campbell said...

Jennifer!!! I FINALLY put your blog on my Google Reader about 11 pm last night. For some reason, I was thinking about you and zipped onto my computer to get everything updated. Oh my goodness! I'm so glad I did!!! What an amazing post! I am so happy that I met you at CHA! You're blog post just made me cry... but in a good way! Congratulations on 5 years!!! This was such a perfect reminder about how incredible LIFE is!

Dawnie said...

Jennifer, I've been reading your blog for months and I have to say this is absolutely the best post ever. What an amazing journey you've had - and so inspiring! I'm so glad I found you and no longer just for your artistic talent.

All the best - and MANY, MANY more to you!

Dawn

Cat said...

congratulations on this milestone! what a wonderful outlook you have - i can only imagine just how much chemo sucks [i have a friend who is a survivor too] but it's behind you now :)

Silke said...

Jennifer - I didn't know and I'm soooo glad that you have made it thru this difficult time!!! Way to go girl - you are my *Hero* too!!!

I had a scare about 1 year ago and I saw my life flashing in front of me too...thinking about my girls growing up with out me...so I know a bit about how you felt hearing this terrible news...!!!

Thank goodness you have overcome this and I'm so happy and excited for you to come this far...keep your positive outlook that will help you thru it all!!!

Big hugs
~Silke~

MamaDuck said...

Thanks for taking the time to share this! It brought tears to my eyes! I am so thankful for your friendship. Thanks for all you do!

Kim said...

Thank you for this post! We are in the middle of this right now. My mom just finished radiation so I know all about those "tatoos". My comment to her was - Playboy can always airbush those right out of your centerfold spread. She's 60, so it was pretty funny, even the doctor laughed! She is now heading into chemo and we are hoping for it to all work out. You are an amazing person and even more amazing to share this! There are going to be lots more years ahead!!

melissa said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Not a downer at all, but a real inspiration and a challenge to appreciate what we have (DH, kids, good friends) and invest in the things that matter. I know I'll be thinking about this all day!

Curt in Carmel said...

You are a lesson to all of us that there are so many more important things in our lives that REALLY count. Like the title of the book that was out awhile back "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff". When you think about it, there isn't much that isn't small stuff when it comes to what really matters in life. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your anniversary! Best, Curt

Hilmarose said...

Jennifer... I am not going to make a long comment... but have to say Thank you for sharing your story.

Annabelle said...

God bless you, for surviving one of the worst trials in any person's life. We get tested, but god gives us strength to move forward, to do whatever it takes. I'm happy to see you doing well and hitting a glorious mark, five year in remission. thanks for being a inspiration. May god grant you many more ears filled with health and happiness.

Anonymous said...

Your story brought back memories of the same trials I went through 7 years ago. It's definitely not something that you like to remember but it did change my perspective on life to appreciate everyone in my life more and to live life to it's fullest each day. Losing ALL the hair on your body and all your fingernails and toenails and all sense of dignity surely makes a humble person. Sharing my love for stamping and sending the hundreds of cards to friends, family and patients at the cancer centers gives me a mission of health and happiness. I enjoy reading your daily posts and all your creativity. Your five years remission is a reason for celebration and soon it'll be the next five and another. You are already inspiring others well or otherwise. Cheers.....Marilyn

Kimberly said...

Wow. Jennifer, I had no idea about what you went through. I cannot imagine. You are amazing and strong and I wish you continued good health and millions of hours more with your family and your stamping! :) (((HUGS))) and thank you for sharing your courageous story!!

Carolyn King said...

You are amazing.....what a pleasure it was to meet you at CHA...only wish we had longer to chat.

Congrats on your wonderful milestone---onto the next 50 years!!! (((Jennifer)))

Stephanie P said...

Jennifer,

Big hugs to you!!!!! Thank you for sharing...not a downer, but an inspiration. What a big day to reach 5 years...Wishing all the best in the future!!

Brooke said...

Jen.. I am so glad you are here.. I love ya girl.. you have become one of my great friends.. and we have all the Hip Hoppin fun from being roomies at CHA to bind us together with those fun memories. I don't know what you were like before... but I can say that the way you are now.. can't be beat! you are one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have met..thank you for reminding us all to enjoy each day and stay positive! I am so blessed to call you my friend and so glad that you fought cancer and WON!

Jocelyn said...

Thank you for sharing your story. What an inspiration! Congratulations on being cancer-free for 5 years now. Keep on fighting! Be strong and positive always! Take care!

DeniseLynn said...

Just getting caught up on reading some of my favorite blogs after being "out" for some time. I am reading with tears in my eys and a lump in my throat. Tears of joy {for you - 5 years free - YES!!} and sadness and some fears too. Your words are great and encourageing too as I think of my friend just now in the depths of radiation and a couplke other friends who are getting through hoping to hear the word "remission". The way you worded it all here touched my heart deeply. Love this blog of yours - you inspire the artist in me and now you've encouraged me to keep on encouraging my friends.

Linda E said...

Wishing you and your family bountiful blessings.

terrie B:)X said...

Absolutly `Fantastic`
Jennifer...Yaah way to go girl....
You are a `Beautiful`
I have to admit it brought a little tear to my eye!!!(But one of happiness for you all)
"Many Blessings"to you and yours:)xxx

Chris said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It made me think of 11 years ago when I heard those words from my Dr. My kids were older but I was so afraid that I would not see them graduate and that I would never see any grandchildren. Aren't modern medicine and the Grace of God wonderful? I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that you will have a very long and healthy life with your family. Hugs to you!!

Nettie said...

what an incredible, heartwarming survival story Jennifer. I applaud you for your strength and for all your exceptial talent. I did not consider it a downer at all and feel just as excited for you as I bet you feel today:)

Nettie

carole (TruCarMa) said...

Wow, wow, wow -- Jennifer! What an amazing post! I was just catching up (okay, so I'll never totally catch up...) on some of my google reading and came on this post a second ago. Truly one of the greats -- I can't believe all you've had to go through. You must be one strong lady with big reasons (I know of at least three... ;) ) for still being here! BIG HUGS, MY FRIEND!!!!!

Tammy Hershberger said...

Jennifer, you're amazing! Congratulations on your anniversary! Coming from my last job working for an oncologist, I know just a little bit of what you've been through and admire you for coming out so strong on the other end! Way to go, and here's to 5 more years times 10!

Holly said...

I saw your cute boo basket and had to check out more of your work...wow. My prayers go out for you and your family for many more years!!!
hugs,
HOlly