Six years post cancer

Six years.  Can it really be over six years now since I heard the words, “you have breast cancer”?

It has been quite some time since I have come back to my blog.  I have even considered taking it down a few times, but my husband reminded me today that there are still people who tell him that they have read it recently, and passed it on to friends.  I hope my story can inspire and encourage someone else in their cancer journey that there  is hope and many people do survive~and even thrive!

Romans 8:28 says “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  In my cancer battle, many positive things came out of it.  I learned the true value of my family and children.  How incredibly short our time can be with our loved ones, and that they are precious beyond measure.  Don’t waste your time chasing money, fame, possessions, etc.  In the end, those things never matter.

I also learned not to sweat the small stuff.  “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27.  Worrying never gets you anywhere.  It is a useless exercise in  futility.  Find joy in the little things.  Tomorrow will worry about itself.  Today is a new day.  Make it worth wild!

Happiness is a choice.   “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4:11  If you let your happiness depend on your circumstances, you will NEVER be happy.  Life is full of little land mines, and your contentment depends on your reaction to those circumstances.  There is always someone out there who is worse off than you are.  Find the good, and resist the urge to dwell on the bad.  It’s too easy to get wrapped up in feeling sorry for ourselves.  Nothing good comes from that.

I am blessed to have seen my oldest graduate from high school this year.  My middle son letter his Freshman year in track in high jump, and my daughter get straight A’s in school and make varsity volleyball in middle school.  They are all amazing people on the inside, which I am even more proud of.   I have a husband who is committed to being the best husband he can be to me and our family.

What more can I ask for?

May God grace you.

Julie

2013 Julie

August 1st, 2014 Julie

5 Years Post Treatment

Wow!  Time flies.  It has been 5 years now since I went through chemo therapy.  My oncologist tells me that is the “official” 5 year mark that most cancer patients look forward to.  I went through so many challenging health issues BEFORE I found out I had cancer that I am not one to dwell on my cancer.  The cancer treatment was easier than having the doctors tell me for several months (even years)  that they didn’t know what was wrong and how to treat it.  At least when I had cancer, they knew what it was, and what to do about it.

I am happy to say that I am cancer free (as far as I know).  We have had a relatively quite 5 years now in our home and it has been a real blessing after so many years of difficult health issues, one after another.  We just returned from a lovely trip to Mexico (just me any my husband).  We try to get away together every few years if we can.  It is so important to a marriage to have that “husband and wife” time.  We are so often wrapped up in being “mom and dad”.  The best thing you can give your kids is a good marriage.

I have 3 teens now and I am so thankful that I can still be here for them.

Blessings

 

 

Add comment April 12th, 2013 Julie

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

I love this song.  It says everything that was in my heart when I was sick that I wanted my husband to know.

“Chasing Cars”

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Add comment January 17th, 2012 Julie

October, Breast Cancer awareness month

October is breast cancer awareness month.  You will see pink ribbons all over the place.  Even on the food you buy.  Please consider buying products with the breast cancer ribbon on them if the company will donate part of the cost to breast cancer research.

Four years ago this January I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer.   I was just 40 years old with 3 small children.  The youngest was just 6 years old.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am that breast cancer research has come as far as it has.    If it had not been for treatment I would not be here today.  There is still a long way to go however.  Breast cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death, lung cancer being number one.

Please remember that somewhere there  is a grandmother,  mother, wife, sister, or daughter who is dieing from breast cancer.   Help save them today.

Thank you, Julie

Add comment October 9th, 2011 Julie

Breast cancer, taking a womans children away!!!

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!   I am livid!  Today I learned that a young woman (Giordano)  in her 30′s diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer has lost physical custody of her children to her sorry excuse for an ex husband because she has incurable cancer.   This whole situation is wrong on so many levels.  First, the fact that the husband  was such a wimp of a man that he could not stand by his wife in the first place during her darkest hour.  Unbelievable selfishness.  Being a married  woman, I am quite sure that she has made many sacrifices for him and their children during their marriage, as all women do.  You would be amazed how often a man turns on a woman when she needs him most in a serious illness situation.  Here is  a statistic I looked up:

The results were surprising. Women in the study who were told they had a serious illness were seven times as likely to become separated or divorced as men with similar health problems, according to the report published in the journal Cancer.

Then, after he leaves her because he is no longer the center of attention, he goes to court and finds some insane judge that agrees with him that he should have physical custody of the children because she has cancer!   Being a stage III breast cancer survivor, I have to say I am outraged!   My children are the reason I kept fighting during my year and  a half of endless treatments.  I cannot imagine if they had been taken from me by a selfish loser of a man who once called himself my husband.  Time to recall this judge and kick this “ex” in the rear end!  What is wrong with this picture?

Add comment May 11th, 2011 Julie

Please pray for a friend

Please pray for a  customer, and friend  who recently found out that she has a very rare form of cancer called “Carcanomia of unknown primary”.  She has had several scans and they cannot yet pin point where the cancer started.  In treatment of cancer,  it is very important to know where the primary cancer came from.  It is a difficult concept to understand.  Before I had cancer and read more about it I always assumed if you had cancer in your lungs, that meant you had “lung cancer”.  Not so.  If it is cancer that has spread from say, your breast, than it is breast cancer in your lungs.   When cancer spread it is called metastatic. Her cancer limits her ability to be out in public, so she is going to be spending a lot of time at home.  She is looking for things to keep her busy, like needlework.

Be thankful for your health, each and every day.  It is a major blessing in and of itself.  That can change in an instant!

Add comment March 3rd, 2011 Julie

Survivor! 3 years!

Three years ago, in January I was diagnosed  with stage IIIa breast cancer.  A week later I had a mastectomy.  Six weeks after that, chemo started.  I had infusions of chemo drugs every 2 weeks (dose dense schedule) for 4 months.  My hair fell out 2 weeks into treatment.  Probably the  most devastating part of the whole process.   My Grandma died a few days later.  During chemo, I had to have nightly shots in my stomach of a drug to raise my white count so that I could keep up with the does dense schedule.  Between chemo and radiation, I started the reconstructions process which required several surgeries.  I drove myself two hours round trip, every day for 6 weeks to radiation.  Then I spent 9 months  having  infusions of Herceptin every 2 weeks after radiation.  In all, it was a year and a half of weekly, and some times daily trips to the hospital.

I am happy to say, I have been cancer FREE for 3 years now.  I am healthy, happy and going strong.  I am blessed with a good husband, and 3 incredible kids.  I try to remember every day that things can always be worse, and have been worse.  Don’t sweat the small stuff!

julie

Add comment February 2nd, 2011 Julie

Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Portland

On Sunday we did our second annual Susan G Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer in Portland.  There was an incredible turn out.  One of the biggest in the country according to the news.  Approximately 35,000 people total walked, ran and just had fun for the cause.  There were reported to be 3,500 SURVIVORS in attendance (including yours truly).  They raised Two Million dollars for research.  I pray that they find a cure in my time so my daughter doesn’t have any chance of ever having to go through all that I have had to in these past 5 years.

We lucked out and the race was basically dry weather after several days of rain.  Just as we made it past the finish line, it started to rain again.  We chose to do the 5K walk this year, which is an accomplishment in itself after years of ankles issues.   Years of exercise and determination has finally made it so I can exercise at a semi normal pace, which is a true blessing.

Shockingly, a young teenage couple w/ a little child in the race had the ignorance and or nerve to SMOKE a cigarette while the smoke blew in our faces.  Seriously?   In a herd of cancer survivors and cancer fighters you are going to smoke a cigarette.  Proof that they just don’t get it!  Hello!  Unbelievable!

Thank you to all who participated in the cancer walk.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you all are willing to donate time and money to those of us with cancer.  God’s Grace to you.

Add comment September 20th, 2010 Julie

Susan G. Kohmen Race for the Cure coming soon

The Susan G. Komen Race for the cure is coming up soon in this area.   Nancy Goodman Brinkman started this organization in 1982 in the  memory of her sister  Susan, who died of breast cancer.  What an incredible sister bond.

We are planning on doing the 5K this year.  It has been almost 3 years since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.   I know many people that have died in the last 3 years from all forms of cancer, including breast.  I praise God every day that I am still alive and able to watch my kids grow up.

I just met a nice lady that has become a friend who shared with me that her mother died of a rare form of stomach cancer when she was just 9 years old.  It made me think immediate of my own 9 year old girl and how difficult it would be for her if I were to die while she is so young.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t hear a new story about someone who has cancers.  50 % of the time it is breast cancer.  This terrible disease has got to be STOPPED.  It is destroying lives and families.  Please join us in supporting cancer research in your area by purchasing products in your grocery store with the breast cancer pink ribbon on them.  Better yet, think about running/walking in the Race for the Cure in your area.  Start a team or just walk by yourself.  Just know that you are saving someones life with every step you take.

God Bless You!

Julie

Add comment September 12th, 2010 Julie

3rd Zometa infusion

It has been an amazingly quiet year at the McDonald house.  I finished breast cancer treatment (at least the biggest share of it) last summer.  It has been a nice, quiet year of no significant medical problems or treatments to speak of.  I do still have check-up’s for cancer every 3-6 months and for Fibromyalgia every 4-6 months.

About 2 weeks ago I had my third infusion of Zometa, an osteoporosis drug used in the treatment of cancer.   I have an infusion of the medication every 6 months.   It goes on for 3 years from the time I started, so I have about a year and a half left of the infusions.  I just had my 3rd infusion and it went well.   The first time I had the drug I felt like I had the flu for about a week afterward, but the last 2 times I have felt okay other than being overly tired for about a week.

In the mean time, I have taken to eating as cleanly as possible  in an attempt to at least slow the growth of any further cancers.  It is amazing the terrible things in our food supply.  We have started a garden this year and are trying out best to keep it pesticide free.  I buy organic as much as we can afford.  We are eating food in the most natural for we can get it.  No, a cheese burger and fries from Wendy’s is not in it’s most “natural form”. ha  Fruits and veggies and clean meats.

I am also trying to rid my environment of as much chemicals as possible.  This is a challenge in our society of smells and potions to cure everything.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is coming up again in our area  in September or October.  This year we plan on doing the 5 K.   It is a great way to  celebrate my victory over cancer.

The battle does go on.  I have  a dear friend that is currently battling kidney cancer that has spread to her lungs.  She is an older lady and this is her 6th cancer in her life time, so she has done amazingly well.  I am afraid this is going to be the last battle, however.

I also know a very young man dieing of kidney cancer as well that has spread all through his body.  He is a husband and the father of a young girl my daughters age.  We continue to pray for him every day and his family at this very difficult time.  Cancer is a ruthless killer.  It sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

Be grateful for every day you have that is healthy and free of disease.    Your life can change on a dime.

Add comment August 22nd, 2010 Julie

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