Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category
What does breast cancer “look like” to you?
Stephanie was 30 years old and 17 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Provision Project has met many women who have endured breast cancer treatment while having a baby on board. It’s a miracle to see beautiful newborns born perfectly healthy. The way our bodies are made is so amazing … women are usually able to have chemotherapy without harming their baby in any way. And many babies are born with a full head of hair!
Natalie, the “Bump,” was born in June 2013 and continues to thrive in every way. Hear her and Stephanie’s story here.
by Kristin Knerr
I am honored that Provision Project has asked me to tell my story. This project is very close to my heart, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this group of women who have inspired me and encouraged me so much.
I don’t want to tell the story of my diagnosis or my journey through the battlefield. My story is most likely much like yours. The devastating phone call, the destruction of body, mind, and spirit. The confusion, the sorrow, the suffering, the agonizing pain. The coming undone.
What I want is to give you the most valuable weapon you must have if you are to survive and move on again. I want to give you hope. I want you to know in your darkest and loneliest of hours, that you will come out the other side again. In the burning away of all that you are and possess, do not let go of your hope. The sun is going to shine, your hair is going to grow back, you will laugh out loud, and you will grow strong once again, I promise. I will never say, “Don’t give up,” because I did, one thousand times. Victory isn’t in the not giving up. It’s in the getting up, over and over again. I don’t recall ever thinking that cancer would be the death of me, but I certainly do remember thinking that despair would. Connect yourself to other survivors because they understand, and they need you to survive as well. I am here with you. My name is in the link here somewhere, and I want you to friend me or message me. Take my hand, I’ll go with you as far as I am able. When you want to give up, I’ll stand in the gap for you.
After I finished treatment, I was left with some significant physical disabilities. I was not able to walk very well and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. I would wake up in the mornings, and the first thought I would have was, “I can’t” and I would cry myself out of bed. It took almost two years to be able to walk normally and a lot of physical therapy, but here I am, on the other side.
A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to climb Mount Tetakawai located in Sonora, Mexico, surrounded by the Sea of Cortez. I was accompanied by my daughter, grandson, and a precious friend who has stayed with me through it all. Funny thing about mountains, they don’t look very intimidating when you see them from a distance. But when you stand at the base of them and look up, it appears insurmountable. I think being on the cancer battle field is a lot like climbing that mountain.
Mount Tetakawai isn’t an exceptionally large mountain, but it is technical and complicated. There are large sections of shale and slate with razor sharp edges. There are a few sections of rock that you can’t actually climb but can sort of throw your body over them. How did I climb that mountain? One rock at a time. I stopped and rested a few times, but I kept going. I came to a few spots that made me laugh because I knew there was no possible way I was strong enough to get through it, but I did. The love and encouragement from those that were with me got me over the top of several boulders. When I looked up at the mountain looming overhead, I knew I couldn’t do it, but when I looked at each rock as its own challenge, I knew I could do that. Let me tell you, the view from the top defies description. I was somehow changed inside, standing on the highest point, witnessing the way the ocean met the sky.
Keep going. Keep reaching up and forward, and keep your eyes on the little obstacles in front of you because before you know it, you will be at the top without even knowing how you really got there. Be courageous, be fierce, and most of all, be full of hope.
What does cancer look like? You might be surprised. This is Caitlin.
“I’m sitting at the doctor’s office for a check up and came across this picture as I wait. I can’t believe that is was over a year ago. I was just finishing my 5th round of chemo, barely any hair on my head and soon to deliver our little Lilian. It feels sometimes like that wasn’t my life, that surely at age 30 I couldn’t have gotten breast cancer. The last two years have been hard. So hard. I have felt indescribable exhaustion and huge waves of fear that my cancer could return. But above all of that I have seen the strength & courage that God placed in my soul. I have seen unwavering support from everyone around me and have gained the most beautiful gift of all, a new perspective. Thank you to those who continue to walk side by side with me.”#pregnantwithcancer #youngbreastcancer
No one should have to make a decision between, “Should I pay my mortgage, utilities, buy groceries or miss out on a medical treatment?” This is especially true when you’re a single mom who is battling Stage 4 cancer. This was exactly the situation that Arizona mom, Tiffany, found herself in several months ago.
“In 2004 I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. I found out I was five weeks pregnant right before my mastectomy was scheduled,” she shared. Tiffany had her daughter, Ezri, in February, had her mastectomy and went on Tamoxifen.
In 2010, “My oncologist said I was ‘considered cured,’” she said. “He didn’t really base it on anything scientific. It was just his opinion.” Then in January 2011, she asked her regular doctor if she’d run a tumor marker test. “In February 2011 I found out the cancer had metastasized to the bone, and I was Stage 4.”
She started immediate, high levels of chemo. During all of this, her daughter’s father left, and Tiffany was a newly single parent on disability struggling to pay the bills while fighting cancer. “I used up my savings. My family had a fundraiser to help me out while I waited for the disability payments to come in,” she said, adding, “I was living on less than half of my income with 100% of the bills being my responsibility along with my treatments.” (more…)
Jasmine is battling Stage 4 breast cancer. She’s a young (29!) giving, loving single mom with 3 beautiful children who is fighting every day to be there for her kids. She was diagnosed when she was just 17.
Because of how advanced her cancer is, she is required to journey 247 miles (four hours one way) every other week to receive the treatment she needs to stay alive. She has no car of her own. (more…)
by Melissa Powell
If you were to see the scars that rest on my now flattened chest you might not consider me lucky, but you are not looking deep enough.
If you were to watch me climb out of bed each morning stiff from the medicine that continues to keep the stalker at bay you would not consider me lucky, but you are still not looking deep enough. (more…)
by Jeff Tomczek
Your relationships are about to change. All of them. Some will get stronger. They will probably not be with the people you would expect. The people you want to handle this well might not be able to for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons will be selfish. Some of them will be entirely innocent and circumstantial. All of them will be forgivable because no one plans for cancer. Carrying bitterness or anger won’t help your recovery. Fighting for anyone to stick with you won’t cure you. Those who can, will. (more…)
by Jan Owen James
Yes, I have had breast cancer. And I fought it. I probably had surgery. I might have had radiation. I might have had chemo. I might have lost my hair. I might have looked differently. I might have acted differently. Thank you for supporting me through that season of active treatment.
But now what? I look “normal” to you. I “seem” like I have good energy. I am acting pretty close to the way I used to, or so it seems. I may be back to work or back to the regular routine I had with the kids before cancer hit.
You say, “I’m so glad you got through it!” “I’m so glad that’s over!” “I’m so glad you’re DONE with that!”
But guess what? I have a secret to share with you. (more…)
After we’re diagnosed, all of us experience “losing” friends to cancer. The following article explains why the people we “think” will be by our side might not be during cancer …. and why others we never expected take their place beside us.
I Lost a Friend Today
by Beth Whitley
I lost an old friend this week. Not in the idiomatic sense that he passed away, nor in the literal sense that I misplaced him in a crowded supermarket and never found my way back to him. Although, metaphorically, perhaps that’s exactly what happened: we lost each other in the crowded supermarket of life, and by the time we realized we’d gone astray, there were just too many aisles and trolleys and shelves of tinned goods to find our way back. Of course, if I hadn’t been pushing a wheelchair maybe I’d have been able to keep up a bit better. (more…)