Tag Archives: hope

How Did My Breast Cancer Affect My Husband?

Me with my wonderful husband at Paige's wedding, January2010
Me with my wonderful husband at Paige’s wedding, January 2010

Being a caregiver as a husband

Cancer – When we first heard the news one thing I remember is that my oldest daughter (21) came to me and asked, when is mommy going to die. During this time when we heard the “C” word it was a death sentence. Although we were a strong, faith filled family we believed that God was in control of everything in our life. But for some reason it seemed that Cancer was something outside of that layer of faith.

There were times I encountered different people who had this disease and I remember laying hands on them and praying for them. But now the disease is in your life and for some reason it was harder to find the faith I had praying and believing for others.

What did I learn?

Through this experience I learned more about my faith and myself that I would have never known without this encounter. I use to think I know what people went through but I had no idea. Looking back I see that the caregivers go through a different emotional experience than the one that has the actual disease.

Cancer was something that brings out all the different emotions out of your spouse. Although her faith was strong there were times that she showed her real feelings. Being the husband you are the one person on this earth that she can confide in. Of course she tries to never show this side of herself to anyone else; to the outside world she tries to be strong and brave.

I would have different people come to me and ask how your wife is doing, which you would expect. That would have been my question but now I add, how are you also doing? Just remember that Cancer has a major impact on everyone in the family and it changes your life.  It is up to you if this change is negative or positive.

Added Responsibilities

Trying to carry the load of all the different family issues that needed to be completed along with my work responsibilities created an overwhelming state of mind at times.  This is such a difficult time and if you let it, it will consume your thoughts and pull you down. Stay as positive as you can. If you start thinking about all the negatives you start asking why and then the blame game starts. As men we have the tendency to try to figure everything out and if you get caught up into this process it will show in your attitude.

Your life will also change and your responsibilities as a husband will expand into areas that you are not used to. As the husband you need to try to stay strong for not only your wife but also your kids. This is not something you cannot do alone, you need the guidance and direction from the Lord and you must take time to get along and pray and ask God for help. It is not wrong to ask him why and express your feelings but know he is a loving God and He is the only one that can help you during this time. You may also need to find a man friend you can talk to outside of your family. This person should be a good friend and hopefully be someone who is spiritually ground and is of strong faith.  They must be someone you can trust and confide with and take time to fellowship together. Go have breakfast, golfing or fishing, just find the time to just meet and talk. .

As the head of the house the man takes pride in being the provider but with a sickness of this magnitude, we need to now change our mindset. I researched and read what I could but it never prepared me for what I was going to encounter.  There were people I ran into at work and in church that were facing the same situation and in two of the cases the husband refused to accept the cancer and they got bitter.

I found that when a man encounters this type of news it does one of two things. They accept it and try to do their best to adjust their life and it moves them closer to God. Then there are those that go into denial and blame God which drives them away from the one source they need. They go into denial and with this attitude it creates a non-supporting role and causes more tension on the whole family.

Be A Good Listener

I am not saying you need to be super spiritual and that you will be perfect in handling everything that comes your way.  Just do your best and be supportive and encourage her, There will be times she will say things that she does not mean but learn to just listen and not try to correct her or give advice. This is something I still have a hard time trying to do to this day. Just be there and listen to her. Hear what her needs and wants are and ask how you can help. Do not force your agenda on her, let time take its course. She is processing and dealing with heavy stuff, so don’t try to understand everything. We would not know until we were walking in her shoes. Show patience, humility, compassion and Love.

The most important thing you can do is to continue to lift her up in Prayer and be a positive conduit feeding your surroundings with words of encouragement. Find the best out of your situation and meditate on those things. Believe that God will move in your situation and you “Will Conquer Cancer”.  Doug

I hope Doug’s insight will help others who may be on this journey.

I invite you to follow me of Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Cheryll’s Story , Part 2

Cheryll's Story... The cross is for my faith in God. The pink heart is for my compassion for others with breast cancer. The word 'hope' stands for always having HOPE. The pink ribbon is in honor those who lost their lives to breast cancer. The pink crystal is my reminder to stay grounded and stay in faith that God has this and every part of my life in his plan.
Cheryll’s Story…

This is part 2 of my sister’s story.  I admire her courage.

“Two days later, my gynecologist was calling me. The nurse told me that the doctor would call me, but I know something wasn’t right when I had a message from my gynecologist office. They called me on the 16th of Oct. to come into the office the next day. I told her that was impossible, I had started a new job in June and I can’t take the time. I told her to just let me know now. She kept saying you need to come in, after going back and forth she finally relented and said again, you know I don’t want to do this over the phone.

I told her I had cancer 23 years ago and I am going to act fast and attack, so… I said, ” Tell me now!!! ….I have breast cancer, right?” she said, “Pathology confirmed that you have breast cancer and I have an appointment set up for you tomorrow to see the surgeon”.

I thanked her.  I was shocked, but there is an underlying story and other things which are converging into this story which I can’t go into right now. I knew in that moment that the Lord was with me, without a doubt.  I was at work when she told me and for a brief second a tear came to my eyes and a big lump formed in my throat, but it was very short-lived. I shook it off, my boss asked if I was okay, I answered with a shaky voice, yes, are you sure she said,  and at that moment my yes was firm and sure, I was quite sure that all would be fine and I told her so. I had such peace, such knowing and no fear that I knew everything was going to be fine.

Later, I would end up telling my sister the same thing and she recognized that I had no fear. Again, other things were going on in the background, so I was confident and not fearful.  The next day I was in the surgeon’s office with my husband and my mom to discuss procedures. We reviewed options and a lumpectomy was a good choice. My cancer was stage 0 and had not broken out of the duct and had an intermediate growth rate. I really didn’t want surgery since the cancer had not broken out of the duct, but the doctor stressed the point that we can’t be sure that it didn’t spread. Cancer being what it is in microscopic form it could have traveled.

So far I felt that the news was fantastic and that proceeding with the surgery is the best precaution.  We met with the scheduling nurse and told her to get started with everything right away, I wanted this lumpectomy to be done before year-end. We set up the test within 2 weeks for the mapping, blood work and such on Nov 9, 2014. They also reviewed my lymph nodes to be sure we didn’t have to remove those also, which turned out to be fine.

The surgery was scheduled 3 weeks later for Dec 2, 2014. Everything went well, and again within a couple of days we found out that the lump had no cancer, not only within the ranges or the margins as it is called, but there was no cancer in the entire lump. This was of course a marvelous blessing.

There were many things going on in the background and I know that the Lord God had everything under control and that He had touched my body. I had a close friend pray for me and we claimed my healing in the name of Jesus which was towards the end of August after the initial meeting with the radiologists and I know again that all would be well.  A few weeks later as I was lying in bed praying, I felt the Lord touch my body and a beautiful sensation went through my chest and I knew without a doubt that I had been wiped clean.

Being human, we seem to wait to be told the news from doctors, surgeon and various professionals that all is well, but I knew all was well.  Now I had to go thru radiation to make sure that there was definitely no residual cancer left behind.  Precaution is the important word here. The surgeons nurse described this procedure as necessary, like using all the ingredients for a cake.  You cannot leave something out and get the recipe right, so radiation is the rest of the recipe.

Many things happen on several different levels in our lives, and it’s God working us, proving us, sharpening our faith , walking and talking to us , preparing us, so.. so.. so many things go on that we are blissfully unaware of until we see it all come together. Again these are the under currents in the Christian life.  They go on in the unseen spaces of our lives. I was shocked at first and there was a reason for that, yet I automatically knew all was going to be okay.

My sister Cheryll
My sister Cheryll

It was shock, then knowing immediately, no fear, no problem, I will be victorious only because the Lord God is in control and it’s all okay.  It is very simple, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, I am going to be okay. The resolve was simply, I am okay whether I am in heaven or I am kept here for a while longer on the earth by His grace. I did not allow fear to disrupt my home life, my husband came home, I told him about the news, told him it’s going to be fine. He had a shaking in his voice, I said,  “ Ugh ugh, no It is going to be okay” and didn’t miss a beat, prepared dinner, sat down and continued to say It’s all okay. I am an attacker, we are going for it, so let’s not worry about it. That is just what we did and my husband was with me all the way. I am thankful and grateful for my mom who was a tower of strength. If she ever doubted, she didn’t let me know.  I am thankful for my husband.  He handled it well, and he did well because I handled it well, and I did well because God already handled it well. God handled everything to perfection.  Be blessed. Cheryll”

Thank you, Cheryll for sharing your story. I am so thankful that Cheryll shared her story.  I hope it helps someone you know.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be blessed.

Laura

How Do You Tell Your Story?

My first locket... Blessed, Hope, Cross, Pink Ribbon, Pink Heart
My first locket…
Blessed, Hope, Cross, Pink Ribbon, Pink Heart

I tell my story in many ways. This is how I began to tell my story.  I hope you are encouraged by my story.

On December 26, 2008, my life changed forever.  I was 47 years old when I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.   I did not think this would ever happen to me. In all reality, it did.  By the time I was diagnosed, the cancer was Stage 3a and Grade 3, a very aggressive form of cancer.  The silver lining in all of this is that it was triple positive cancer.

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes forever.  From that point on, you are known as the one who has cancer.  Some people deal with it by talking to everyone about every detail.  That just wasn’t me.   I prayed, spoke as if I was already healed and immersed myself in worship. I am a woman of faith and I put my trust in God to bring about His divine will.

It took years for me to be able to talk about my diagnosis and progress without tearing up. Eventually, I  became the principal at my own school.  I began to share my story with those who needed words of encouragement. Inner healing began to take place every time I reached out to help others.

During that time in my life, Origami Owl Custom Jewelry found me.  With the assistance of one of my teachers, I designed the locket in the picture above.  Wearing my custom locket gave me voice when I had no voice. I chose each of the charms because they have special meaning to me:

  • Pink Ribbon – Symbol of Breast Cancer
  • Cross – My hope is in the Lord.
  • Pink Hope oval – I was speaking ‘hope’ over my situation. (positive attitude)
  • Sparkle Pink Heart – I love anything pink and sparkly.
  • Blessed Plate – I am blessed.

In October, 2014, I began to share my story through my Facebook page and on my blog.  The purpose for my Facebook page is to: inspire, encourage and empower. I recently reconnected with Origami Owl to discover that their Mission Statement embraces the very purpose I started my Facebook page.

“Our mission is to be a force for good; to love, inspire & motivate people of all ages to reach their dreams & empower them to make a difference in the lives of others.”

I recently became a designer with Origami Owl to tell my story and to continue to be a force for good, inspiration and to make a difference in the lives of others. Every story is unique and important. YOU are important. How do you tell your story?

As my story changes, so does my locket. I have added... Designer Charm, Blog, Hope (script) Also, I put all charms in a heart locket because the cause will always be close to my heart.
As my story changes, so does my locket.
I have added… Designer Charm, Blog, Hope (script) Also, I put all charms in a heart locket because the cause will always be close to my heart.
Heart locket-different angle
Heart locket-different angle

I invite you to visit the Origami Owl Stories page to read more stories. http://www.laurasjourneyofhope.com/origami-owl-stories

Be Blessed.

Laura

Keeping It Real

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I’m just keeping it real.  How is it going with your gratitude journal?

I have been keeping my gratitude journal since May 1st.  On April 30, 2015, I invited you to join in. So, how is it going?

I am journaling (writing my thoughts) right before I go to bed because it helps me focus my attention on the good things that happened during the day. I don’t really like to use the word journaling because for some that is the first roadblock and you might say, “I don’t have time for that.” or “I can’t add one more thing.” However, we all have 24 hours in the day and I encourage you to:

  • Take 5 minutes to reflect on something that you are thankful/grateful for and write it down. (beginning or end of day)
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Keep it easy. (start with 1 thing) You don’t have to write a long list. Just start.

I said that I was just going to start with one thing and I ended up with 3 things on some days because once you recognize the positive things in your life, you will begin to see more and more positive and focus less on the negative.

Here is my journal from this week.

My personal gratitude journel
My personal gratitude journal

You can see on Mother’s day Sunday, May 11, 2015, I wrote:

  • Call from my girls
  • church
  • nice day

Okay…overall nice day.  I spoke to both of my girls on the phone. I could focus on the fact that one of my girls lives out-of-town and the other one works Saturdays and Sundays and always has since she had children. I’m keeping it real! That is very painful but I can’t change it so I accept it and focus on the fact that they called me.

Monday, May 11, 2015, I only have one thing written down, “finish 1st draft of e-book”.  I was working on the first draft of my e-book until about midnight and I was just thankful to complete it before my deadline. (You can be looking for the release of that book in the next couple of months. It is about my journey through breast cancer as a working mom, wife, daughter and believer.)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015, was a banner day because I wrote 4 things.  I was so excited that my physical therapy for my wrist was good. Sure it hurt but he said that the joint is becoming more flexible. (Thank you, Jesus.) A highlight from that day is watching my grandchildren and Wyatt actually kissed me goodbye, That’s huge. Also, I connected with a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a while.  We get so consumed by technology that we forget the value of a real conversation.

 You can see from my entries that I’m just keeping it real, nothing fancy.

So how is it going? Post in Facebook comments or on the blog comments.  I want to hear from you.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Twice Sisters

I'm on the left. (Laura) My sister is on the right. (Cheryll)
I’m on the left. (Laura)
My sister is on the right. (Cheryll)

My sister and I are ‘twice sisters’ meaning we are blood sisters (born sisters) and pink sisters.  Both of us have been personally affected  by breast cancer which makes us pink sisters.  In September/October of 2014, my sister called me to tell me that her mammogram was flagged and the radiologist really wanted to do a biopsy because she saw a cluster of cells.  I told her that the majority of biopsies turn out to be benign and my motto was..’Don’t worry until you need to’.  Now, we all know that is almost impossible but I really try to practice the concept.

Cheryll had a real peace about the whole process.  It seemed like a lifetime had passed from the first call about the biopsy to the results call.  In the meantime, I prayed and prayed and prayed!!

She had just started a new job and I prayed to God that she would be okay and not have to join the Breast Cancer Survivor group.  I have traveled that road.  I was diagnosed the day after Christmas in 2008 with Stage 3a, Grade 3, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  I prayed that she would not have to go down that road and that she would never have to endure chemotherapy and radiation. I prayed for a clear report.

When she received the biopsy report, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was devastated.  I thought I took the bullet for the family. I cried. I cried for her.  Then  I prayed…okay God, if she has to have this diagnosis, I pray they caught it early.

Thankfully, they caught it early at Stage 0. She would only need a lumpectomy and radiation. The doctor was amazed and told her that it was unbelievable that it was only Stage 0. Regardless of what stage the breast cancer is a 1, 2, 3, or 4, a diagnosis brings so much more with it. Not only does it take a toll on you physically but it takes a toll on you emotionally and psychologically. It’s not like a root canal that you fix it in 2-3 visits to the dentist.

Okay…my view/opinion about breast cancer… the very hormone, estrogen, that defines you as a woman ends up globbing together with other estrogen cells to become breast cancer. So the very hormone that makes you a woman, trys to kill you, and the treatment robs you of your hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and so much more. I hope you can infer that I find this entire concept, hideous, outrageous and unacceptable. However, I can’t change that so I will only give it this small paragraph.

I am glad to report that Cheryll is cancer free.  I have invited her to guest blog. I hope she is able to share her story soon.  I am blessed to have her as my sister and now we are twice sisters.

I invite you to follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be Blessed.

Laura

Renewal of My Soul

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Along came a beautiful hummingbird and then his mate a couple of minutes later. They fluttered around the aloe plants and obtained the nectar from the aloe bloom.  Now, we had lived at that house 14 years and I had worked in the yard at all times of the day and I had never seen a hummingbird, much less a pair of hummingbirds.  Then, I remembered a verse in the Bible about God taking care of the birds of the air.

Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

I sat in silence once again but it was a good silence.  The kind of silence and time with God that renews your soul.  I knew God had my back in all of this.  I knew God was in control.  I went inside and began to review notes in my devotional book.  I read the notes from the Sunday that I was in the hospital, March 15, 2009.  In those notes was a phrase…“I know God remembers me.”  If fact, that phrase is listed 73 times in the Bible in reference to God taking care of us.  Then,  I listened to my favorite praise and worship song, “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker. Here are the words to the first verse/chorus:

I have a maker

He formed my heart,

before even time began

My life was in His hands

He knows my name

He knows my every thought,

He sees each tear that falls

and hears me when I call

He, my God, remembered me all along.  I just needed to go to the source of strength. My spirit had been renewed by some quiet time with God and the hummingbird visit.  I only saw them one more time after that day and haven’t seen them since.

I will look for them again this April/May.

I invite you to follow me on FB @http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope

Be Blessed.

Laura

10 reasons I know that cancer made me a better person

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I understand more deeply.

I get hurt more often.

I appreciate more quickly.

I cry more easily.

I have hope deep in my soul.

I love more intensely.

I have a stronger faith.

I am thankful for God’s grace.

I believe in miracles.

I live more passionately.

Words cannot express the joy I feel when I wake up in the morning and realize that I have been given another day to:

live

enjoy my family

spend time with my grandchildren

go on date night’s with my husband

plan my daughters’ weddings

call the repair man for my washing machine…even though this should frustrate me, I am just blessed to be here.

Live life! Take nothing for granted!

I invite you to follow me on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.

Be blessed.

Laura

How A Locket Helped Me Tell My Story

My Locket
My Locket

On December 26, 2008, my life changed forever.  I was 47 years old when I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.   I did not think this would ever happen to me. In all reality, it did.  By the time I was diagnosed, the cancer was Stage 3a and Grade 3, a very aggressive form of cancer.  The silver lining in all of this is that it was triple positive cancer.

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your life changes forever.  From that point on, you are known as the one who has cancer.  Some people deal with it by talking to everyone about every detail.  That just wasn’t me.   I prayed, spoke as if I was already healed and immersed myself in worship. I am a woman of faith and I put my trust in God to bring about His divine will.

It took years for me to be able to talk about my diagnosis and progress without tearing up. Eventually, I  became the principal at my own school.  I began to share my story with those who needed words of encouragement. Inner healing began to take place every time I reached out to help others.

During that time in my life, Origami Owl Custom Jewelry found me.  With the assistance of one of my teachers, I designed the locket in the picture above.  Wearing my custom locket gave me voice when I had no voice. I chose each of the charms because they have special meaning to me:

  • Pink Ribbon – Symbol of Breast Cancer
  • Cross – My hope is in the Lord.
  • Pink Hope oval – I was speaking ‘hope’ over my situation. (positive attitude)
  • Sparkle Pink Heart – I love anything pink and sparkly.
  • Blessed Plate – I am blessed.

In October, 2014, I began to share my story through my Facebook page and on my blog.  The purpose for my Facebook page is to: inspire, encourage and empower. I recently reconnected with Origami Owl to discover that their Mission Statement embraces the very purpose I started my Facebook page.

“Our mission is to be a force for good; to love, inspire & motivate people of all ages to reach their dreams & empower them to make a difference in the lives of others.”

I recently became a designer with Origami Owl to tell my story and to continue to be a force for good, inspiration and to make a difference in the lives of others. Every story is unique and important. I invite you to visit my new website and create your story @ http://www.laurastarner.OrigamiOwl.com.

Also, I invite you to join me on FB @ http://www.facebook.com/laurasjourneyofhope.com.

Be Blessed.

Laura