A new year is often a time of new beginnings, fresh starts and resolutions…. but what happens when looking back is so overwhelming you are a bit afraid of a new year starting. When the past year was filled with heartache, celebrations, surgeries and changes that the new year with all of its unknown seems a bit scary.
If you are like me I kind of hate the new year resolution trend. I hate the notion that we mark a new year with endless to dos and expectations that often come up short. I would so much rather look forward with hope. Hoping to simply be around for whatever comes my way.
Maybe that is why my week has been hard… and overwhelming. I am afraid of the new year but more than anything overwhelmed by the last.
(Taken in January of 2015)
This time last year I was preparing for my first round of chemotherapy. By the end of January my hair fell out and the physical characteristics of being a cancer patient began to take place. I went into menopause and stayed up late in the evenings with hot flashes, insomnia and night sweats. By the middle of March I was already on my fourth round, and spent days in the hospital receiving shots and nights praying over blood counts that I hoped would come up. I finished my last round of chemotherapy on March 19 and flew to Houston, Texas to celebrate with my parents at the Rodeo. Shortly there after my grandmother passed away suddenly and I flew back to Indiana to celebrate her incredible legacy. April was a surgery month when I received my permanent implants and said goodbye to the dreaded expanders. May 10 we welcomed my nephew to the world when my sister and Josh celebrating Brady Warren’s arrival. June was marked with weddings and enjoying the new hair growth on my head. The beginning of July I flew to Mccall, Idaho to celebrate two dear friends wedding. August, I celebrated again my cancer journey by spending a week in Cabo San Lucas with three of my best friends. The summer faded to fall as I struggled to adjust to tamoxifen and the many side effects. I took two work trips to Vancouver and Napa Valley before celebrating my cancerversary by running in the Rock N Roll Denver Half Marathon in October. I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Karens for the Cure and walked in my very first Susan G Komen Race for the Cure as a survivor. November I had yet another surgery, a small revision to my breasts, took a brief visit to the ER and slowly began to heal. December brought joy as I looked forward to the holidays and spending time with my family. And that brings me to today….
Today New Years Eve has found me in tears. Just yesterday at work I was speaking with some coworkers as they asked what my plans were for tonight. My eyes filled up with water and said I was not sure. That to be honest I have been taken back by this holiday as it has been a reminder of this year. I explained that I honestly couldn’t believe that I survived it at all.
Survivor. The new label I get for beating cancer as so many say. For “surviving”.
Tomorrow I will give myself another chance at taking Tamoxifen. After speaking with my doctor she indicated that without this medicine I am left with a 25% chance of my cancer returning. With the medicine I can drop that to 15%. I agreed it was worth another chance but I am prepared to abandon it for good should the side effects be too much to bear again.
So while the new year looms ahead I am praying for more good days, more joy, more patience and hopefully by the grace of God for my cancer to never return again.
From the very bottom of my heart I would like to thank you for journeying with me this past year. For showing me God’s incredible grace in the ways you have showed up for me. For the countless meals, gifts, celebrations, accompanying me to the doctor and for your prayers. I could have never done it without you. Even in the midst of it all I think God is incredibly good and that gives me incredible comfort.
Happy New Year
“We want suffering to be like pregnancy—we have a season, and it’s over, and there is a tidy moral to the story.” I’ve come to sense that isn’t what faith is at all. What if there is never an end? What if the story never improves and the tests continue to break our hearts? Is God still good?”
― Kara Tippetts,
(Just taken over the holidays with my nephew)