Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Strong But Scared

Once in awhile, I come across something that will just hit me in the gut, and all my fears return.  Honestly, this is not a bad thing.  It reminds.  It causes me to reach out to the source of my true Strength.

This happened last night, as I was reading up on the Susan G. Komen controversy, and by clicking on some links I stumbled upon one of the most beautiful examples of love I have ever seen.

A photo documentary of his wife’s battle with cancer.

A husband, a photographer, who captures his wife’s journey through the lens of his camera.  It stopped me in my tracks and I was glued, watching with immediate tension on my insides.

I can talk the brave talk, as in this post that I wrote where I speak of “laughing at the future.”  Most days I truly am able to laugh, and I face the future with a peace and a smile, thankful for each moment.  But then, last night in the midst of pink ribbon controversy, I see the reality of what my future very well could entail.  I think of that pretty little pink ribbon, wrapped all nicely looped, and how it so does not represent well.  Breast cancer, any cancer, is not pretty and pink.  It is ugly, terrifying, messy, and rips loved ones away from each other.

Frankly, I don’t want to talk about pink ribbons or the money making games that seem to always come along with it, so I won’t.

But I will tell you of this beautiful brave soul, whose story started out as mine.  Our cancers exactly the same type. Lobular.  Our tumors exactly the same size. 6 cm.  Our treatment exactly the same. 4 months chemo, 5 weeks radiation, a double mastectomy, reconstruction. Our men both full of love for us.

Here is a excerpt from their about me section:

In September of 2007, I married the girl of my dreams. Five months later, Jennifer was diagnosed with Stage 3B Breast Cancer. Completely numb and in a state of disbelief, we entered the world of cancer. A double mastectomy, four months of chemotherapy, five weeks of daily radiation, reconstructive surgery and finally we were told that Jennifer was free of cancer. It was just after our first anniversary.

Cancer, however, opted again to interrupt our life. Some two years after Jen’s initial diagnosis, we received news that the breast cancer had metastasized to her liver and hip; ultimately the cancer made its way to Jen’s brain. A little over a year and a half after this second diagnosis, Jennifer passed.

 I know this is my reality.  That this amazing woman’s story could very well be mine.  As hard as it was to look at their journey, so brilliantly captured by a loving husbands lens and words, I am grateful.  I am grateful for this REAL awareness.  So raw that I could not turn my eyes away from his words.  So real that I had to read his entire blog, despite the tears it brought.  I read with tears running.

This is cancer.  Not pretty pink ribbons.  Not pretty pink anything.  Mostly, shades of grey.

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  • Mary Bennett
    June 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I have stage4 colon cancer. For about the first year, I didn’t blog. Then I did blog about it once, but it didn’t seem like it belonged on a blog about frugality, saving money, book reviews. It seemed like a whole other life, one with extremely dark corners, so I started a new blog about the cancer and nothing else. At the time, all I could find on the web about stage four colon cancer was keeping us comfortable, and death. But I was in remission, I was going to live, and I wanted to blog about how scary it was to have colon cancer, and the thoughts, I wanted it to be real for other people who had colon cancer, so they could get another perpective that ended with hope. But then, less than a year later, just after Christmas, it was back. And it’s never left for more than a few months at a time since. Sometimes I don’t feel hopeful at all, certainly not pretty blue ribbon hopeful. But now I am finding blogs of other people who have had colon cancer stage 4, and they’ve lived past the 5 year mark, and are doing fine. There is hope, sometimes. This is my blog on cancer I’d be honored to have you visit on either blog.
    Mary Bennett

  • rkbsnana
    February 4, 2012 at 6:31 am

    So very well said. And what a forum you have for your thoughts, words, and prayers. As an RN, I see breast cancer (as well as all cancers) as evil and vicious. Yet you who are in the midst of or survivors of as such brave souls. I can only imagine the terror that must grip at times. That God will bless you and yours is my prayer.

  • elaine @ peace for the journey
    February 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Prayed for you while out walking this afternoon. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in a story… “our story”… that before you know it, we’ve taken on the sorrow and pain in a very tangible way. Clouds form in and around our hearts and it’s difficult to see past the sorrow. Praying the clouds will part for you and that you are able to walk in sunlight the rest of the day. You are precious to me!


  • Queenie
    February 4, 2012 at 1:44 am

    So true and so well-said: cancer is not “pretty pink anything.” Thanks for calling it like it is, sister.

  • Missy
    February 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing the link to this family’s journey. Awareness of true reality is so important for everyone to have. Continued prayers for you always.

  • Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    It’s like you speak for me! I am on a breast cancer journey also. I told everyone I could, I am NOT a pink ribbon person. I am a WARRIOR person. This is a battle.
    I try to stay away from the grey, but like you, I get stuck in the REAL sometimes. I have such a wonderful life. God has given me so, so much. And, yes, I beg Him not to take me away from my husband and children, but also know that God’s timing in my life has always been perfect and blessed. My friend just passed away from brain cancer leaving a beautiful daughter and wonderful husband. I got so scared at first. But, we have to realize that all our journeys are not the same. Thank you Amy for making me that I am not alone.

  • Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Oh,sweet Amy, thank you for being you. Transparent, honest, and holding-onto-Jesus you. We love you, and we continue to pray for you. Love, Aunt Linda

  • Nancy
    February 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I found you through Deidra, too. I walked through this with a dear friend, from the phone call confirming the diagnosis to the day we had a party during her last treatment, to the day she felt well enough to sing at my daughter’s wedding. She is truly strong, but scared, for all the reasons you mention. Grace and peace to you.

  • {Adventuresindinner}
    February 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    “But through the grace of God…”

    So very glad that your story has a very different ending.

  • redemptionsbeauty
    February 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I found you through Deidra. Oh my, I have tears dripping off my face as I read this. Thanks for sharing it and revealing God’s faithfulness in your words.

  • karen gerstenberger
    February 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I am grateful to you, Amy, for being so honest. You light the way for others with your truthfulness and your love, hope and faith.

    Yesterday, one of our Camp Goodtimes family members passed away from cancer, and I was reminded of the blessings of community that have come with this terrible disease. But we need to keep searching for better cures.

    My book is in the final stages of publishing, and then I will be in touch about placing an ad here. I can hardly wait to share it with you. God bless you and all of the cancer community.

  • Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Loving you, unknown friend, and praying for you and your family today.

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