By Lee Ann Morin
A year ago, my world was turned upside down. I opened a my-chart result expecting to confirm a kidney stone. Instead, I read the words “multiple lytic osseous lesions… metastatic disease… multiple myeloma or lymphoma.” It took over a month to get a definitive diagnosis of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer to lymph nodes, multiple bones, and sub centimeter nodes on the lung. There were a lot of moments of tears, fear, and anger. I was carried through those initial moments by my loving partner, my kids, parents, siblings, friends, coworkers (past and present).
Treatment was met with the anticipation of what it would entail, hope that it would work, and fear that it wouldn’t. Due to the type of MBC I have, I have been able to take endocrine therapy and avoid chemotherapy for now. Fatigue has been the most difficult side effect but I’ve made peace with it, rest, pace myself, and practice self care when I need to, even if it means declining activities I like to do. I have a great support system and a fiancé who, with one look, knows my level of fatigue, tells me to go lie down, and takes care of the rest. ️
When I started my MBC journey, I was grieving for the life I thought I was supposed to live. I was angry and asked, why me god? Why me? I had too much to live for! I was sad more than anything else. I was sad I might not get to see milestones in my kids and grandkids lives. I was sad I might not get to live to see retirement. I was sad I might not get to grow old with my love. I was sad my parents might have to bury a child. I was sad that the one parent my kids could depend on might not be there for them.
No one knows what God's plan is for us. No one. I am only too familiar with the "Why me" questions as I have had to answer this question before. When I miscarried three precious babies. Why me? When I found out my first rainbow baby, Garrett, had spina bifida. Why me? I was working at a job that I was totally burnt out from and dreaded going into work every night. Why me? When I was married to a good man who was an alcoholic. Why me? When I had to pull my big girl pants up and work my ass off to make a plan to leave a life that was sucking the life out of me. Why me? When I finally found the relationship with Dave, I had always dreamed of, and then he was in a horrific motorcycle accident and was facing a long recovery. Why me?
An Answer To My Question
I was able to finally answer my question to God. Why NOT me? If I had not had the miscarriages prior to both of my sons births I would not have THEM. If Garrett didn't have spina bifida he and I wouldn't be the people we are today without all the hard lessons learned. (I would never want my baby to have to go through what he does but he lives his life with grace and humility and there are a lot of lessons there!).
If I didn't have the tremendous stress of working at the hospital in the trenches, I wouldn't have been pushed to search for my dream job that I absolutely love.
If I wasn't a codependent, I wouldn't have learned all the lessons I needed to to be the strong, independent person I am today and to finally have the courage to walk away.
If we hadn't had the opportunity to go through the extensive hospitalizations, surgeries and recovery, Dave and I might not have the unbelievable faith filled bond and relationship we have today. I have faith that there is a plan. No one has an "expires by" date! Yes, I have terminal cancer, but I am also alive and for right now I feel pretty darn good. I trust that this is part of my journey on this earth and I am learning from it, may help others from it, and feel blessed by it, as I do all the other "why me" moments I have had.
Cherishing Every Moment
In retrospect, what an amazing year it has been! I have been very transparent with my journey and have been touched by a lot of people I had lost contact with. I have become closer to my siblings. I have a dear friend who has contacted me- Every. Single. Day. since the news! I step outside the box a little more, break the rules a little more, and have made an effort to speak to people when I normally would have been quiet. I live a little more.
Treatment so far has stopped progression, although I have fleeting thoughts about it each day, it doesn’t consume my life. I can’t control it but I can control how I respond to it. I can control how I choose to live my life. I don’t take anything for granted, ever. I am planning my wedding to my best friend. I am planning trips. I am planning my retirement. I cherish every moment with my kids, grandkids, parents, family, and friends. I eat the ice cream without guilt.
My advice to anyone going through a difficult experience is to just find joy in every day and have hopes and dreams for the future. That’s the best we can do.
Thank you for sharing your story, Lee Ann. SBC loves you!
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