On August 4, 2017, after a routine mammogram, a call back and a breast node biopsy, with my family at my side, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
I prayed during the previous days when they called and said to bring a family member because I had a feeling that it would be a positive diagnosis. Our son’s mother-in-law, Robin, was just finishing up her breast cancer treatments and we would be heading to our favorite place in the world, the beaches of Indian Shores Florida, to celebrate her journey and enjoy our family time together, as we have the past summers.
Going through my head right before my appointment was the story in Psalm where Jesus had gone to the temple and overturned all the tables and he was angry. I was angry as well. I remember many of the stories in Psalm because during the spring and summer our church, Sunrise United Methodist, was studying these scriptures. Recently, we had a Sunday school lesson on the fact that anger is ok when things go wrong, but the scriptures in Psalm are a place for reflection. No matter how bleak it seems, God is with us. At that point, I felt his presence even more and knew he was going to give me the hope, strength and patience to deal with this and it was ok to be scared and full of negative emotions. If it was not for Brian, Briana, and Jonathan taking notes, listening, asking questions and keeping track of all my doctor appointments I may have not made it this far because frankly I really was not hearing all the information I just knew I had breast cancer.
August 7, 2017
It stinks that I have cancer but it’s just going to be a path that I’m taking with my family, my church family, and my school family at my side. I am going to fight this. My dear friend Frann several years ago had a serious health issue and she made it through with flying colors with lots of hard work and healing hands of physicians and medical professionals. I know I will be in good hands as well I kept telling myself my God is with me!
You see I have a great role model. My best friend Robin just had a breast cancer fight and I saw her fight with grace, hope and faith. My other dear friend Pam had this same fight 11 years ago and is doing very well. I also have many church members who over the past few months have had a cancer diagnosis and have seen tremendous healing in the power of prayer from our congregation and our minister, Jennifer. I knew I was going to be in good hands because recently a scripture, Psalm 121, had been shared with me by a dear friend, Kristen, that we are calling on the Lord for help and to put our hope in his word and he will watch over you as you come and go. After a lot of Dr. appointments and decisions we had my surgery date of September 11, 2017.
Friday, August 11, 2017
I was so glad that we could take our annual family vacation to Florida, we had so many great conversations, laughs, food, music, building a puzzle, long beach walks, reading, beautiful nature, wonderful ocean blue water over my feet, and amazing sunsets. We just enjoyed our time together. I’m so blessed to share this time to celebrate and love our family and build upon my faith as I prepared for my cancer journey.
Friday, September 8, 2017
My prayers were answered that our first grandchild, Elliott Ann Holt, was born on September 8 at 9:59 a.m. Brian and I are now a Gigi and Poppy. We are so blessed that Greg, Morgan, and Elliott live close by and can spend lots of time with them.
That same day Elliott was born, my dearest friends Robin and Kristen, with all my prayer warriors, had a prayer circle and blanket made for me and my family the Friday before my surgery. I had my church family, my school family and several of my best friends all in the same place. They tied knots on the blanket, prayed with me, and offered words of encouragement. I was so blessed to have these friends there supporting our family. I was very emotional, tears of joy and tears of fear at the same time.
On September 11th, at 10:00 a.m. my next journey began at Wake Forest Baptist Health. With all my family, extended family, friends and my minister Jennifer there for me, my double mastectomy, port pump, reconstruction and hysterectomy surgery lasted about 9 hours. I recall Brian and my minister praying for me that the healing process will begin and thanking all my wonderful team of surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals. as I arrived in my hospital room around midnight that night Iam forever grateful to all of them. The next days to follow were tough but I made it through after resting, and being told to stay on the couch and enjoying our new granddaughter, many cards and calls from friends and visits from school colleagues and friends.
The hardest part of all this healing was not being able to be at my school working with my students and my staff at Clemmons Elementary. I have many colleagues and friends that have picked up the various aspects of my job. I’m very grateful for all of you at the school level and district level and especially my substitute Barbara who is also a breast cancer survivor she has been there every step of the way helping our students and staff and offering me words of encouragement.
I am also very fortunate that I have so many friends, church family and colleagues who have provided our family with meals, gift cards and meals out. I am forever grateful for my longest and dearest friends Marie, Ramona and Barbara who have been with me during my times of crying, anger and happy memories of my life and the future. There have been times I could not talk about my feelings with my family and they were there to listen to me and to encourage me to keep the fight up and continue with my strength and to learn to concentrate on myself and the healing process and let others be. Learning to communicate my true feeling. They are keeping me focused on the important things like taking care of me and rest.
Friday, October 13, 2017
I was able to eat lunch with my good friends at the Technology Help desk, Kim and I enjoyed conversation and food and was able to get hugs from many others that hour. I'm so honored to be part of a great team at work, that's why I love my job.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
This past Sunday we shared a meal with family. I am so happy the Dave and Lisa Smith, Robin and Tim Bralley, Greg, Morgan, Elliott, Briana and Jonathan were all together to eat, pray and laugh. These times together have become so special to me these past few months.
Monday, October 16, 2017
I enjoyed a dinner and conversation with my friends Melody and Mary, we laughed, we cried and they encouraged me to continue my fight, Melody earlier in August shared with me her father’s cancer verse for when he became overwhelmed or needed decisions to me made. I read this each morning as I start my day and sometimes more when I feel overwhelmed. Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you, you just need to be still.
I have loved all the text's and phone calls today as I prepare for my first Chemo Treatment tomorrow
As well as a surprise visit my son Greg, Morgan and Elliot, they gave me a beautiful healing gift basket filled will love and special items to assist with my Chemotherapy. I now have my very own Kindle to read all my favorite books, healing products, warm pants and a very soft hat for when my hair falls out. I love them so very much and cried tears of happiness as I could hold Elliot one last time before my treatment begins. They understand how hard it will be not to see her for a while, but will love our daily snap chat and face time conversation .