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Beating the odds

Mother's Day 2015

At this time last year, I was bald. I was throwing up; I was living at the Hope Lodge on the U of M campus. I was going to the clinic on a daily basis to have blood drawn to check my white blood count. I had tubes hanging out of my body. But I was also meeting new friends; I was witness to friends and family that supported me and strangers who provided entertainment and food. Each day, I was greeted with kindness and understanding. My husband and grandsons shaved their heads to support me.

In October of 2014 I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I was told by a couple of doctors that I could live a good 5 to 10 years; that this type of cancer is incurable. They said this with a smile on their face, like it was a good thing. I had no idea what multiple myeloma was.

I had passed out in the shower and broken my arm. A trip to the emergency room showed a smoky mass on my arm where it had broken. More scans showed lesions on my skull, chest, hip, and spine. Blood work and urine tests verified their suspicions. Earlier that day I had said a prayer of healing because I knew there was something wrong. As I was saying the prayer, tears just rolled down my cheeks. I was begging for help. I had pain in my hip and arm but I had no idea it was cancer.

I had surgery to fix my arm. I had radiation daily for two weeks. I had chemo once a week for 9 weeks. Most of this went pretty smooth. I was constantly talking to my healing angels; giving myself Reiki healing energy and I had friends who were sending me healing energy also. Many family members and friends were saying prayers for me. I truly believe that is what got me through this stage.

Next course of treatment was a stem cell transplant. Up to this point I still hadn’t done much research online. I thought the typical outcome didn’t sound very promising to me and I didn’t want to plant that thought in my mind. So I trusted the doctors were doing their best to kill the cancer that was in my body and that my angels were by my side. The doctors at the U of M were surprised at how quickly I had gotten to this point. I heard several times “This is not typical”. I just smiled, knowing my secret weapon. After building up my stem cells, having them extracted from my blood and then given back to me through the stem cell transplant, I’m back to where we were a year ago.

They said it couldn’t be done. Even when the test showed they could not find a trace of cancer cells in my body, the doctor told me “Don’t let this fool you. Just because we can’t find it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.” Seriously? I know he’s trying help me be realistic but how about just saying “Congratulations, you are cancer free”. Apparently most people go through all the treatments and still have a trace in their blood that sits dormant for several years and then it activates again and they start over with treatments. The doc did tell me to go home and have a glass of wine to celebrate, so I have to give him that.

So the tubes have been removed, the scars are healing, I go in every three months to prove that I’m still perfectly healthy. The doctors tell me to keep doing what I’m doing, but they never ask what it is that I’m doing. I’m back to work and living a “normal” life. But what was the purpose for all of this? I believe we go through experiences for a reason. I had to learn to accept help from others. I’ve always been very independent. One of my observations while going through this was, people really need to be kind to everyone. When I was going through radiation and chemo, I looked perfectly normal. No one could look at me and know what I was going through. But, when I was bald, people understood that there was something happening. Strangers would ask me what kind of cancer I had and how I was doing. Cashiers let me into their 20 or less line, even though I clearly had more than 20 items. I even had a child ask me why I was bald. You could tell mom was embarrassed that he asked but I simply told him I took medicine that made my hair fall out, but I’m all better now. He just smiled at me and they walked away.

I hope that I can be an inspiration for others who are going through similar situations. I hope that my strength and faith keep me healthy. I hope to share some of the things I learned while going through this process with others who are there now.

I am so thankful to my friends and family who supported me, provided food, cleaned my house and to my husband who was by my side, helped me with anything I needed.

It seems I hear of someone at least once a week that has just been diagnosed with cancer in one form or another. If I feel they are open to it or they are asking for prayers, I add them to my list of people I send healing energy to each night. It’s not much, but I feel I am helping them in my way.

My motto “I am radiating Perfect Health”, and I am!

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