Friday, September 07, 2007

How's Your Sister

My sister, the breast cancer survivor, recently sent out this update. I thought I might share it with you.

I know I have mentioned to some of you before my feelings on finding out I had breast cancer, but I would like to share with all of you that I have never believed that God gave me cancer or do I believe that God allowed me to have cancer. I do believe that God gave me a hug strategically delivered by (my son) Jacob that led me to find the lump so that I could find it early and get it out. God gently reminded that my mom had breast cancer, my aunt had breast cancer and 5 of my maternal great grandmother's sister's had breast cancer. I took those reminders and decided I should not wait until my yearly exam in August with my doctor to have the lump checked out.

And on that note, it is with most excitement that I SHOUT, "I am done with chemotherapy and I am now in the group that has an 85-90% chance of survival rate!!!." The last drug of Taxol was very manageable. My eyebrows and eyelashes thinned more. And I did experience some bone and joint pain usually 2-3 days after chemo for 2-3 days. It was usually mild during the day but hurt a little more when I would lie down at night. (nothing a little Vicadin wouldn’t take care of…) Oh but I could do without the hot flashes.

I will be returning to work on September 13th so I could use a little prayer that my transition back to work, getting up early, getting the kids ready, myself ready and everyone off to school, daycare and work with as little screaming as possible would be appreciated. I have gotten quite used to my 8-10 hours of sleep and very casual clothes.

This where I feel like I am giving my award speech...
Throughout this experience first and foremost I am grateful to God for blessing me with the most amazing man for me in my husband. I know that Jason's love for me has deepened during this journey, he is keeping his promise he made 8 years ago of "in sickness and in health". And when he looks me at me, I feel as beautiful to him today as the day we married. For my beautiful children who just love me because I'm their mommy. For my parents and parent in laws whose smiles of joy that greeted me the day I got out of surgery represented the epitome of unconditional love. For my sisters, brother, sister in laws and brother in laws who inspire, love and make me laugh. For Stephanie and Katie who organized dinners and kept my family well fed. To my sister Dianna for doing the 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk and our Goby's co-workers and customers who donated $2300 for her sponsorship. To my bosum buddy and breast cancer survivor of one year, Sandy who lifted my spirits and kept me encouraged. For my aunts, uncle, cousins, elementary, high school, UMD, softball, Goby's, US Bank, Station 4 B shift and wives, St. Paul firefighters, SJV and daycare friends and friends I have met along my 37 years, you have reminded me of the precious gift of friendship, and the kindness and generosity that goes along with it. You all have truly defined one of the greatest bible verses, 1 Corinthians 13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love."

Surgery and chemotherapy has taught me to become a little less vain and I have learned that hair and breasts do not define beauty or femininity. I know I am loved by you all for not what I look like on the outside but rather how I impact your life through my actions and words. Although, I did have a little bit of a struggle with the hair loss initially (oh who am I kidding, it's still a bit of struggle today) BUT, health is more important than vanity. And in the words of Jason again, "your hair will grow back, you’re doing the chemo so the cancer doesn't" (This does not mean however, that I will be skipping out on reconstruction… there is a reason God gave some people skills in plastic surgery).

And finally, this time I am early. Ladies, here is your reminder to please perform your monthly self-breast exam. If any of you ever finds something in your breasts that you think is suspicious, my recommendation is to get it checked as soon as possible and urge your doctor to have it checked by mammogram. I also strongly encourage you to have your baseline mammogram by the age of 35. Remember "early detection, early cure". Life, health, family, friends and faith are precious don’t ignore what your body is telling you out of fear.

Be strong. Love and peace to you all,


Attila The Mom said...

Thank you so very much for sharing this. :::sniff sniff:::

Beautiful. Best of luck to your sister.

mabel said...

What a fab chickie. I am in awe of people who can show such grace under fire.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sharyl and Sven,

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful, love-filled letter.

You are proof that prayer works.

I am so happy to hear that you are now in the group with the highest survival rate, but I guess you could still be hit by a bus so be careful. The percentages are probably about the same.

I wish you the very best of luck as you continue your healing process, surrounded by love and comfort. And I hope the transition back to work goes smoothly for you.

Susan in San Francisco