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Too Many To Count Two

Saturday, April 28, 2007

woman to woman

"Enduring health problems - either your own, a spouse's or a child's"
There is something about the early morning that I love, the smell in the air of a new day fresh and full of possibilities, the light which is bright and clear but not harsh like it will be in a few hours. (thanks Tori) Our family is divided into night owls and early birds. It's very funny to watch. I am an early bird, so is S and H. (this does not mean I don't occasionally enjoy sleeping in) Right now Lucy likes to get up early too but it's too soon to tell if she is going to stay that way. DH is a night owl as are J and D and E. On mornings when we have no where to rush off to you can see this natural separation and many is the day when I have some quiet time first thing. Today is one of those days. I decided to catch up on some blogs and realized that I missed Lei's woman to woman. So better late than never I'm going to participate now.
My sisters and I have all faced rather serious health problems in our 20s. Anna had life threatening colitis which ended up with her losing her colon after losing a decade of good health. MSV was diagnosed with epilepsy and had a hysterectomy because anemia was exacerbating that condition, which means she lost her ability to have more babies and almost her ability to drive. I had cancer. Interestingly each of us say we would keep our own rather than trade with one another.
Hopefully the rest of the women in the family will skip this particular trend :)
When I was pregnant with S I got a goiter which we didn't really notice until after she was born. When I went back and looked at pictures I could see it but I guess it grew or somehow became more noticeable after because that's when we took a look at it. I had a biopsy and it was cancer. Of course I was shocked. Immediately my attitude was well, okay this stinks but lets get it behind us. It's been 17 years so I am trying to remember how we "endured" it.
My biggest worry was the girls. I wanted to make sure they were okay. My mom and Grandma Joyce took care of them a lot, especially when I was in the hospital or going to the doctor. Several ward members also kept them. When I had my surgeries both mom and GJ wanted to be at the hospital so the Overtons kept them. When I wasn't in the hospital I wanted to take care of them myself but I was very grateful for their safe care when I couldn't.
Physically how we endured it was with the help of family and ward members. Friends brought in meals, took care of the kids, helped with some of the stuff that had to get done.
Spiritually we endured it by relying on the Lord. Literally. Before my diagnosis I had a priesthood blessing that promised, among other things, that I would live to raise my children and the ones I would yet have. I believed that and thought about it often. When I first found out I was shocked and cried. The news was broken to me very poorly. My endocrinologist was a jerk. He called me on the phone and said your test results are back and you have papillary thyroid carcinoma. I don't have time to talk about it right now so if you have any questions call Dr B (my OB who had referred me to him) and I'll see you in the office tomorrow.
I got off the phone and thought, that sounds bad, maybe I should call Dr. B. (denial). So I did. He got on the phone right away. After I repeated back to him my conversation, and he finished cursing under his breath, he asked are you sitting down?
No you're not, Sit down.
Are you sitting?
You have cancer.
Are you there?
sniff, Yes.
Do you understand?
more silence
What do you want to ask me?
Do I have to stop nursing S?
Are you sure?
We need to make sure you will live, not that you will nurse.
Am I going to die?
Hopefully not.

Then he talked to me some more, until I was done crying and we had a plan. Then he showed up for both surgeries and came to the hospital every day for every treatment I had. I loved that man. What an awesome doctor.
When there is a crisis blessings from the Lord are easier to recognize. Their sweetness fills your heart and gives you the strength to carry on. I never had to walk alone. When I was afraid I could pray or sing a hymn in my head and I felt better. I plead with my Father in Heaven for strength and courage and he answered me. I was able to tolerate my treatments well, recover quickly and take care of D and S.
Of course there were moments of fear and uncertainty but I clung to what I knew and pushed through. I know I was positive because several doctors were worried about my attitude fearing that I didn't understand what was going on and was in denial.
My cancer was unusually aggressive and growing quickly, maybe because of the pregnancy and the hormones that run rampant through your body at that time. The surgeon said if we were a week later it literally would have been too late. But we weren't. And I got better.
I know the Lord has a plan for each of us and a timing for our lives. My job is not to worry about when that time is up but to worry about what I do with the time I have. I try and use it well. I try to be good. I fail most of the time but there are moments along the way when I do the right thing, when I remember who I am and what my Father wants from me. Hopefully it will be enough.
Now that I am older and my body is tired and groans with the little complaints that come from living, having lots of babies, never sleeping enough, and the general abuse and neglect it has to endure from me, I try to keep that same attitude. To do the best I can with each day. To do what needs to be done even if my reflux is keeping me up, or my "whatever" hurts. I don't take for granted the blessing of life, the privilege of being here and having time to take care of my family.
and as a fun aside, when I was done with being treated I took D to Disneyland and we had the best day! Very fun. We rode Dumbo together and ate frozen banana's on a stick and enjoyed the magic of Disney and look at my month left until we have that magic again! Enjoying the magic along the way is key to enduring. Men are that they might have joy. Since no one's life is perfect~ free of pain and trouble~ I have to assume that means to find the joy during that pain, while in the struggle. I try to do that.
and as a not fun aside: stupid blogger won't let me format paragraphs.... I don't know why but it's most annoying.


utmommy said...

I don't think you fail at doing what is right. You are a wonderful mother and have endured a lot and still remain faithful. You are a wonderful example to all.

Anna said...

You are always an example to me. Your faith has been a strength to me, and I often try to emulate you...often unsuccessfully, but I try nonetheless.

Mel said...

"When there is a crisis blessings from the Lord are easier to recognize."

I like that!
Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing this.

I have a good life said...

I had already heard much of your story...but how inspiring to hear it all! You have always been such an example to me of goodness and of peace and of selflessness. You are a great friend!

Joyismygoal said...

tried 8 X's topost You are an example of great faith and what it accomplishes I seem to rely on myself and fail

wendy said...

I am so impressed by this entry. You are amazing! You have such strength and courage!

I have a friend, who just this week found that she has an abnormal thyroid and is having lots of testing done. she also has a new baby. scary.

Lei said...

What an amazing and beautiful post! Do you mind if I link to it?

Thank you for participating... it's never to late to add your thoughts!!!

Montserrat said...

Wow, what a story! I really liked this thought, "I know the Lord has a plan for each of us and a timing for our lives. My job is not to worry about when that time is up but to worry about what I do with the time I have." Thanks for the reminder to keep things in proper perspective.

Lisa M. said...

Thank you for sharing this with me.

Belladonna said...


Yeah, the new blogger is a pain when it comes to simple things like this.

Here is a way to get around it.

Every time you want to start a new paragraph, enter a line with just 1-3 characters (*#@) or a simple period. Then make those characters to be the same color as your background. They will serve as a place holder to allow for "blank" line breaks so your narrative will feel easier to read.

Hope this helps.