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Change is GOOD? !

Life seems to be moving forward at a standstill.

I had 3 surgeries last year. All of them trying to give me back physically what cancer took from me over 3 years ago. While it is worlds better than the first attempt which resulted in bent ribcage, excruciating pain and visible deformity, I am still here trying to get it done, I have had so many surgeries and it looks like I still have one more attempt to fix the ‘girls’ but there is light at the end of the tunnel (headlights to be exact). That light will arrive on the 27th when I get to have my TATS4TITS or TIToos completed. It will be the first time in over 3 years that I will look kind of normal. We are all born with nipples and the darker skin around them called the areola. Well my last surgery in December I had new nipples made… they are not like the original ones as they will not change shape or size (no sensitivity to temperature/touch etc), and when I first saw them I swear they could be seen from the international space station – I freaked out because if you read between the lines (heck forget reading) this means I would have permanent nipple hard ons. Which means never going braless again…. Not that I did that often or that I have the breasts for that now…. With DIEP surgery they are more like real breasts (fat based) so they are not high and tight like most implant based reconstructions and definitely not like augmentation. But again it was a shock … as the professionals said (women who have had this same procedure done) they do shrink and now they are acceptable so to make them look like natural normal breasts next. This may be more info than some wanted but as I have said my blog will be real… as I see it and feel it I say it and share it.

I have seen and felt some really hard stuff thus far this year.

A precious woman named Michelle who I met through connections at YSC originally, a woman with whom I had developed a relationship based on both our breast cancer connection but in sad untimely deaths of others close to us. Mine my precious nephew Joey and her – her brother Michael. Both men too young to be gone so soon. We connected immediately spent time in small groups at first then had lunch outings and countless conversations, I had promised her I would always be a safe place for her (I believe I was)… I could go on about this amazing woman just 32 years old married a short period of time beautiful on the inside and outside and one who literally lights up a room when she walks in. Well beautiful Michelle and I had spoken at length in December about her cancer advancing, the difficult side effects and the extreme pain she was in, caused by the tumors in her liver growing so large that they were pressing against her diaphragm. Over the prior few months with some new procedures and attempts to slow progression and manage the increasing pain she spent extended periods of time in the hospital… Just after the New Year the doctor said there was no further medical treatment or intervention that could be done her body had enough and her liver was shutting down. This caused a pretty rapid decline in her health and though I had seen Michelle as her fun, bright, exuberant self in December at a Pink Links Christmas Party, I saw her alive for the last time while she was in hospice care. The family was gracious enough to allow just Brigid and I to see her there, the time was precious, short and difficult. I felt Michelle in the room, I touched her and prayed for her as soon as I saw her as I had always done… but it was different. The body was failing the beautiful soul. I can still see her the way I will always remember her. As the blue eyed beauty with a passion for others, no regret, and determination to fight…to live and love. That is my Michelle. Michelle was the first Pink Sister that I was truly close to that I lost. It made this disease so real to me. Too real too painful and too close to home.

In the less than 2 months since Michelle passed I have lost 2 other woman, who I may not have been as close to physically and who I honestly never met in real life, but women I shared life with on a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivors Group – we are a group of women who share the commonality and reality of this particular disease and its aggressive nature. I pray for these women, we talk – really talk about us, our disease, its implications, realities, real stuff, some stuff that even those with other types of cancer may not fully understand…. Tonya lived in Texas and had 3 school aged daughters, she had been surrounded by family and close friends for the past couple months while she steadily declined…then there was Roberta who had been given the go ahead by her Dr. to go on a celebratory cruise with her husband and suddenly passed away, with all those she loved unable to get to her… people who found out about her passing days after it had happened all the while thinking she was having the time of her life… how sad and hard…

In the midst of pain I also had the joy of seeing one of my best friends marry the man of her dreams. I will always remember the Michael and Jen story as it unfolded … they met shortly after my diagnosis while I was going through chemotherapy and I have watched the good and bad times, the joy and pain and their ongoing commitment to each other, the tests and reassurance of faith. What a pleasure and treasure this was for me. I got to spend a couple extra days helping Jen. I met Michael’s amazing family some of whom I now consider to be some new family of mine. Their wedding was so intimate, beautiful and God honoring. I rejoice knowing they did it the right way and they will continue to be blessing to others and be blessed.

I also made some choices. I had been weighing a relationships for months and I finally decided to end that. It was not good for me any longer. I had allowed myself to drink the Kool-Aid for too long and finally had enough (the poison can kill you). I wrestled with this decision and God and when I finally did what I felt I was being led to do I felt an immediate sense of relief. It was the right choice, interesting how when we finally decide to listen and honor God in decisions how he immediately provides peace and reassurance

In the past few months I have spent a great deal of time thinking about words. The things people have said and what I heard them say. Things I have said and what others heard… Funny but the same words seen by two different individuals with their own prejudice on a situation can be worlds apart. I can say for me (and let’s be honest for probably all of us) we have said words that once spoken we wish we could take back. Words spoken in moments of fear, rage, uncertainty, intoxication. I have heard truths as others saw them and said my own truths, dealt with promises and commitments made and not held up.

Odd things is we all have our own truth… even in the same situation these differ from others in small to extremely large ways… we do not always have control on what others hear in our truths because these are peppered with their own thoughts, feelings, perceptions and realities.

Time changes people. Changed people sometimes no longer connect the way they used to. I am sad by this. By a relationship that I miss, I will forever miss but having listened to an opinion and their peace, I shared mine and things changed.

Maybe cancer changed me too much… I was hurt and I am sure I have hurt. I have seen the best in people and the worst in people. I have made some amazing friends but as many survivors will tell you… others (family and friends) they thought were there for the long haul disappeared. I have apologized and forgiven… honestly over time I have probably forgotten more than I have remembered and I am happy about this. I don’t want to live in pain of the past. I want to go forward, plan and have a future without history biting me in the back again.

I have often wondered is this preparation for a big change for me… For Rich and I and our plans/desire to move to North Carolina. A new home… a new place… new friends… one must wonder.

I came in to 2012 with hopes that it would be a year of good stuff and at this point …

But I am happy. I am okay with change… both that I had a hand in and that which has been handed to me.

I have been having fun with my hubby, spending time in bible study, a book club and cultivating relationships. Some old and some new. God is Good!! All the Time!! All the Time!! God is Good!!

GLORIOUS DAY – Casting Crowns

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a Virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He

Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

‘Cause living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him
The grave could not keep Him from rising again

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day, oh, glorious day

4 Responses to “Change is GOOD? !”

  1. <3 u Friend

  2. Wow Patti, I love reading your blogs, I LOVE the realness, the honesty..truly. I was amazed at reading this because I have gone thru much of the same experiences/emotions. I too had to let go of a relationship ( I love the “had to stop drinking the kool-aid analogy!). I am still learning that it is OK, and like you said, people change…not every close relationship is meant for a lifetime. That is sad to me. I have a hard time letting people go and this friend did it in such a hurtful way but am focusing on all my other “for the long haul” friendships and there are many so I am blessed. I love your open heart, and when you have such a big heart it will experience pain…as you have…but there is ultimate JOY too. You are an amazing inspiration.

  3. Patti,

    It was great to see you the other day and as I read this new post, it brings tears to my eyes of the ups and downs that you have gone through. I really do think that God has given you a gift. You continue to amaze me with your blog and posts on facebook. You are one amazing woman who is touching everyone who you come in contact with. Hugs to you.

  4. <3

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