Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 103

    Normally I'd sit here and write about my every move; Each activity day in and day out. I write about this to jog my memory someday when my own memories have too many holes and I can't remember who was there for me and what I did each day. I've been writing in detail in my phone so I can journal it in later, and decided that this entry would be different. Much has happened since I last blogged about 40 days ago. I'd like to focus more on the major events and share with you some person stories that, before yesterday, I wouldn't have even considered doing. This is all so personal already, haha, but after praying about it, I feel that God really wants me to open up even more and let you all into my life to a greater extent. About a month ago I had another bad reaction to my Chemo. I was itchy all over and they thought I was allergic to a specific drugs. After taking me off of one of my chemo bags, I still had reactions. Even now we don't know why I get blotchy red in certain areas, but It's contained to small spots, so I'm sure It's nothing to worry about. :) The following day I had a PET scan, which Is something I'm VERY eager to tell you all about! I wasn't necessarily nervous about my PET scan, but I was definitely anxious to know the results. I prayed basically all day, every day, for the entire week before the scan. I cried and cried, as I prayed that If It was Gods plan, that the cancer would be exactly how he wanted it. I prayed that God would allow me to stay calm and give me immense strength If the cancer had spread, or worst case scenario, was terminal. I was 2 months into chemo, and for all we knew, my body could've been rejecting chemo because of the allergic reactions I'd been seeing. After finding a peace with whatever the results were, during fluids the next day I was called into Dr.Reynolds Office. I couldn't stop fidgeting. He walked in and sat down with a big smile on his face. Only moments later I was given news of a miracle. After looking at the PET scan, my Doctor told me that the cancer was completely gone. After only 2 months of Chemo, every bit of the cancer had vanished! He was just shocked, and told me that he didn't want to throw the word, "remission" out there, because to a patient, that word holds beautiful meaning. He did tell me though, that I'm basically in remission. :) From what they can tell right now, I should only have 3 more months of Chemotherapy, which is only to make sure that the cancer is all wiped out. I've always known how great my God is, but WOW! To be in this beautiful situation, and to see him work such a miracle.. I've never experienced God in such a personal way before. Cancer is kind of a big deal, but God is kind of a MUCH bigger deal, and a sweet healer. I'm half way there! I've been on Chemotherapy for 3 months now, and I only have a short 3 months left! After examining my condition, I was originally told that I might not be done until January of next year, and I had accepted the challenge. I'm now being told that I'll be done about 4 months earlier than planned. It's just mind blowing and a blessing, though calling it a blessing is without a doubt an understatement. I waited a month to tell all of you this incredible news because I kept having bad allergic reactions, and didn't want to tell everyone of this beautiful miracle, and then find out that due to me being allergic to who knows what, that the timeline has changed. I was told by my doctor that he sees no reason why I'd need to be put through more than 3 more months of these drugs, so I then decided It was time to tell everyone. :)

    Now that I've told you that I'm well on my way to being a cancer survivor, I have a few stories I'd like to share. I'm praying that someone reads these stories, because God is so present in each situation, even when It doesn't feel that way sometimes. When you think your life is crumbling, God has such beautiful plans for you. He has journeys you can't possibly embark on without his perfect love and guidance. Never give up hope, because we would be foolish to do so. Jesus was nailed to a cross for our awful sins. He bared more than I could ever willingly throw myself into like He did. I didn't willingly give myself cancer, but I have the choice to willingly give my battle, troubles, fears, hopes, dreams, heart and life to Christ. Life is a much easier journey when you have God leading your every step. Nothing will ever be perfect, there will be tragic events in your life, and you will endure such rough obstacles, but If you chose to allow God to come into your life, and hold your hand along the way, you can enjoy the hard times and give him praise in every storm.

    Now, on to a few stories I'd like to share. They may seem silly to some of you, or maybe they will change your outlook on both small & big things. I hope these personal events mean something to someone like they do to me:

    A few hair stories- About a month ago Jake and I decided to go out for a date night. For the first time I felt brave about going out to a restaurant without my hat. I felt invincible, and the bravest I've ever felt. I've never been ashamed of my hair, or lack of, but the reactions you get from people can be cruel and hurtful. My hair is growing back slowly, but It looks like chemo hair. It's all patchy now, and long in some spots, short in others, and is growing rapidly in the back(It's about an inch now in the back), but slower and VERY thin in the front. Well I just felt brave and asked my husband what he thought about me going out on our date without my hat. He told me to just bring the hat. My heart broke, but I didn't let him know that what he said hurt me deeply. Once we pulled into the restaurants parking lot, I couldn't hold it in any longer and just lost it. I cried for about 45 minutes, and then finally explained to him the hurt I felt. To me, the act of bravery in that area was a huge step for me, and when he told me to bring my hat, I thought he didn't believe in me, or that he was embarrassed by how I looked without it. My poor husband felt awful and only told me to bring my hat because he thought It would be a good idea just in case I felt uncomfortable. His intentions were right, but It was perceived wrong. What can I say? I'm an emotional Chemo patient. About a week ago I was outside with my husband Jake and he picked up his head not knowing I was leaning over, and our heads hit pretty hard. I ran inside a mess, and locked myself in the bathroom. Though Jake would never judge me, I've always hated crying in front of people. Even now, when I do cry(which is about every few days), If I'm with Jake, I turn my head of try to keep quiet and calm so he doesn't know. 3/4 of the time he has no idea. I don't like him to worry about me more than he has to. Let me tell you something about me really quick. Before cancer, I never cried. I didn't cry at my wedding, I only shed 2 tears when Jake proposed, and I hadn't truly shed more than a tear or two since my parents divorced about a year ago. I'm just not a crier, and I'm most definitely not emotional. Little did I know that I'd be the MOST emotional I've ever been once I was diagnosed. I cried for the first time in about a year on march 7th when I was told I had cancer, and since then all it takes is seeing an old married couple walking hand in hand, someone else crying, or a sad movie, and I'm a total mess, haha. Having that said, I sat in the bathroom for at least 30 minutes just crying. I knew that the impact of his head hitting mine hurt so badly because I didn't have any hair. Hair is like a cushion, and once you don't have it, everything you hit your head on hurts 10x's worse. After praying and having the strength to tell Jake what I was feeling, I felt much better. Even in what I feel are silliest situations, God doesn't find them silly. He is still there in every moment, and the biggest comfort you can imagine.

    Yesterday I was sitting there during Chemo, and a sweet older gentleman walked up and said hi once he was done with his chemo. I had talked to him briefly that day, but just a comment or two here and there. I introduced myself and shook his hand. He asked how old I was, and I smiled and said 19. All of a sudden he just lost it. He began to weep, and I just stared not knowing what was wrong. He walked away because he was crying so hard, and my nurse Roxy asked him what was wrong. He just looked at me with sweet tears in his eyes and told her that It just isn't fair, and that I shouldn't be there. He said I'm too young to be there, and he just looked so heart broken. As he was walking by, I told him I'd be okay, and that I was getting better really quickly! He just cried harder and left. My heart broke for him. My heart breaks for older men and women who have to go through this. Being young is of course difficult, but In my opinion he shouldn't have been there either. I'm no different than him, and that sweet, selfless man deserves a life full of healing. I'm going to be praying for him continually, and ask that If you feel it's on your heart, that you will too, please? It's hard moments like these where God gives me strength. To watch him be touched by my smile within a matter of 10 seconds, just broke my heart. He was such a sweet man, and deserves hope. I'm praying I touch more people with Gods love, and just want everyone to know there is hope. Even in the smallest of situations, with God, there is always hope. I never just say words, everything I blog is from my heart.

    Please know that the strength I have to get up each day with a smile ONLY comes from God. I'm nothing without Him, and I'm so incredibly thankful for this disease! I just might be sad to see it go. :) I know that God has plans to use this entire experience for great things, and I pray I hear his every will, and complete everything He has planned for me, without selfishness or pride! I pray to be humble and kind, and live a life that Glorifies him greatly. It's a big task, but I serve and big God, who will do amazing things through this beautiful cancer! I'll soon be a cancer survivor! Ah, the feeling is refreshingly wonderful. I am blessed and could not be happier with the life I have. Two days ago I was at the dollar theater with my husband watching, "Soul Surfer," and I advise you all to see it! There is some bad acting here and there, but the message is powerful, and Is based on a true story. They actually did a great job sticking to what really happened to Bethany Hamilton, and that made the message even more powerful and personal to me. After the movie had ended, I got up and hugged my husband, and cried for a long time. I felt such a strong sense of God in that moment. I was crying because I'm just so happy. They were tears of happiness, which I've shed very few of in my lifetime, since like I said, I'm not a crier. This girls story of her faith in God, strength, and perseverance was so inspiring. There were so many times during that movie where I could relate to how she felt. Though she's in a very different and permanent situation, I could relate to almost her entire story.. From not being able to do the same things I used to do, to losing a piece of you. Hers was her arm, while mine was my hair. (Like I said, hers is permanent and completely different) I could just relate to the pain she felt when others didn't reach out, and the feelings she had for those who did. The way she knew that others didn't understand, but thought they did, and realization of what life is really about when she went on a missions trip, which I have done to mexico multiple times in the past. This Journey Is so different from the others I will face, and I'm thankful for this one probably more than any of the others thus far. It has made me learn what It's like to be selfless, has taught me to ask for help(which I just don't ever do.. until now), has led me so much close to Christ than I'd thought possible, given me a heart for cancer patients, drawn my husband and I closer than we've ever been, has strengthened our marriage in permanent ways that we're so blessed with, taught me to love and have compassion, and the wonderful thing is that our journey has just begun! I can't wait to update you all throughout the rest of this cancer journey. I'm halfway there, and I'm sure there will be wonderful stories to tell, and praises to be sung! I am so blessed to be able to honestly say that I am SO happy with this life Jake and I have together, and also for these next 3 months of chemo I'm able to go through. I have so many more hopes and dreams now, than I've ever had before.. So many things I want to do, so many organizations and lives I want to be a part of, and also many places I'd like to see. I've never been so full of life, and I'm ready for anything! Bring It! ;)

With Love,
   Brittany Mae :)