Archive for the ‘Surviving’ Category

Oct 05

How Your Donations Have Helped a Single Mom

Janet Smith, and her daughter Arianna, moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2010.  In 2012, when Arianna was only 10, Janet was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer after swelling in her right arm prompted her doctor to recommend a mammogram. Besides undergoing chemotherapy and having a bilateral mastectomy Janet has undergone rounds of radiation for brain tumors and surgery to remove a mass from her stomach. With all that she was going through she found that she also needed knee replacement surgery, which created a whole new set of problems for her.

Needless to say, Janet, who is a single mom and living in a state at the opposite end of the country from her family, suffered financial difficulties. Her career as a stockbroker was thriving when the nightmare started. She thought that she could continue working, but (more…)

Sep 07

This is Day One: Breast Cancer Journey

This is Day One: Breast Cancer Journey

 by Rachel Dubree

Rachel is a mom of four beautiful, brilliant, and talented children, a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, drill sergeant, short-order cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, manager, peacekeeper, nurturer, cheerleader, role model, trendsetter, innovator, mentor, leader, teacher, sports fan, prayer warrior and Jesus lover.  And she just happens to have breast cancer. 

It’s a beautiful morning! Breeze is blowing. Sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Pups are wagging. God is still good. I still have cancer.

In fact, I have been aware that the beast is residing in my person for 2,542 days now. In that time, I have done endless loads of laundry, driven countless miles to and from schools, attended multiple open houses and parent teacher conferences, cheered from the bleachers at a gazillion athletic, musical and academic events, prepared hundreds of meals, updated the family calendar for months on end in everyone’s specific color and run miles upon miles on my own two feet. I have laughed and made love. I have raised my hands in worship and prayed. I have danced. Boy, have I danced. I have been fine. (more…)

Sep 04

When You Find Yourself in the Deep Dark

Final post in a series on Life After Cancer.

by Lynne Hartke

When my husband was in college, he and a group of friends went spelunking in an undeveloped cave near Columbia, Missouri called Devil’s Icebox.

Unbeknownst to them, while they spent hours exploring the the 6.25 miles of underground passages, it had started raining. When they attempted to return to the entrance, through a narrow tunnel where they had to meander like snakes on their bellies, they noticed the water was rising.

The only place to gasp for air was when there was a break in the rocks in the ceiling. An air pocket. In the scramble to get out of the narrow section and save their lives, all the lights in their carbide head lamps got drenched.

Their lights extinguished.

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Aug 28

Relationship Challenges After Cancer

Cancer does not only touch our lives. Cancer touches the lives of those closest to us. How to we handle the relationship challenges and losses?  Continuing in a series on Life After Cancer.

 

 by Lynne Hartke

 “Will you die like Grandma?” my then-sixteen-year-old daughter asked when I told her I had breast cancer.

“One day [my son] saw me struggling to sit up,” Tina wrote about a time after her mastectomy. “I couldn’t hug him due to the pain. He stood against the wall, and I saw fear in his eyes. No child should ever have to fear the appearance of their mother… but there it was…that look of fear. Even as I write this, the tears start welling up.”

Cancer does not only touch our lives. Cancer touches the lives of those closest to us.

(more…)

Aug 21

The Emotional Upheaval After Cancer or A Fish Out of Water

After cancer treatment, many survivors feel like a fish out of water, on the outside looking in, with emotions all over the place. How do you fit into life again?  This is the third in a series on Life After Cancer.

 

 by Lynne Hartke

“I had a wedding to attend in Las Vegas,” Denise wrote when I asked her about the emotional changes and losses of life after cancer. “I was determined to attend. The wedding was for a daughter of a dear childhood friend. The date was circled, labeled and engraved in stone. The good news is that I made it to the wedding, but it was a challenge. Probably more mental, than physical. I had about 1/4 inch of hair, boyish looking and the ugliest slate-gray EVER since I wasn’t allowed to color it yet.”

 “I found a dress; it was okay, but having lost ten pounds [from treatment], I just didn’t even feel like I looked good at all! At the reception, I can remember feeling like a ‘fish out of water.’”

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Aug 14

The Physical Losses of Cancer

As cancer survivors, we all sacrificed parts of our bodies in the hope that we would live. Later we realized the physical losses of cancer were only the beginning.  This is Part 2 in a series of Life After Cancer. 

by Lynne Hartke

Several years ago, while our daughter was asleep and home alone, a burglar entered our house through an unlocked window.

Let me rephrase that.

A BURGLAR CAME INTO OUR HOUSE WHILE OUR DAUGHTER WAS HOME ALONE AND SLEEPING! (more…)

Aug 07

First the Earth Shook: Life After Cancer

For every cancer survivor, first the ground shakes. Then the tsunami comes. The only difference is the number of waves.  Physical losses. Relationship Challenges. Emotional Upheaval. It’s a wonder we don’t drown in it all. A 5-part series by blogger and 7-year breast cancer survivor, Lynne Hartke: Life After Cancer.

by Lynne Hartke

“Whomever reads a map, explores a place with their mind.”

The words are displayed next to two maps at the Visitors’ Center in Paracas, a small fishing community on the coastline of Peru. The exhibit implied that Paracas can be best understood after studying the two maps. The topographical map showed the elevation changes of a desert plain. The nautical map showed a community affected by its location to the sea.

I smiled when I read the words because I have never been good at maps. I am directionally-challenged. At our hostel, the night before, I had taken three wrong turns to find the kitchen. Maps confuse me. As I stared at the maps on the wall, Juan Carlos, our tour guide, motioned us to move on to the next exhibit.

Vamanos amigos. Come this way, friends.

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