Giving Thanks……AGAIN

Just a few more days until Thanksgiving……..and while I’ve always loved Thanksgiving…….this holiday has taken on an even more significant meaning to me over the past few years. Thanksgiving 2020 marks three years since I finished up my chemo. So much has happened in those three years……I went on to complete radiation and get a clean bill of health. Every cancer patient’s favorite three letters are NED – No Evidence of Disease! I’m overjoyed to say that I have continued to show no evidence of disease since then! Praise God!

That’s not to say that there haven’t been some hiccups along the way……but all in all, I have done exceptionally well.

Thanksgiving of 2017 was definitely one to celebrate. I was more than thankful to have twelve rounds of chemo in my rear view mirror. Mostly, I wanted to be able to taste all the food I loved again! 🙂 I remember whining a bit that year because I was struggling with some mouth sores. It didn’t take my mom long to put me in check……and remind me how blessed I had been through all my treatments. She was right – but I was still not happy about the mouth sores!

Celebrating Thanksgiving that year was very humbling for me. I didn’t have to look far to realize just how blessed I had been, and that I had oh, so much, to be thankful for. Thankful to have half of my treatments behind me…….thankful to have survived chemo with minimal collateral damage……thankful to have been blessed with the support of friends and family…….thankful for AHHHmazing doctors and nurses…….thankful to live in such close proximity to a world class cancer center…..thankful for friends and folks I didn’t even know praying for me…..and thankful that God had healed me and allowed me the privilege to still be here.

I’ve struggled some this year with lymphedema in my left arm and breast. Along with that came a bout with cellulitis – but my doctors reacted quickly, got me in PT right away and later had me outfitted for an in-home lymphedema pump that I use daily for an hour of lymphatic massage. I had been doing really well until the last few weeks, and it flared up again……so I’m back in PT several times a week from now until the first of the year…….wearing that dang compression sleeve every day…….and a different compression sleeve at night…….and still doing the 60 minutes lymphatic massage an hour each day. It’s hard to believe that removing one dang lymph node has caused all these problems. Well, honestly, radiation did a number on my lymph nodes as well. In the grand scheme of things, I’ll take the excess lymphatic fluid over cancer ANY day!

So this week, as I celebrate my 3rd “anniversary” of completing chemo…..I have much to be thankful for! 2020 has been a most unusual year – and mostly we are all quick to list off the many ways that 2020 has sucked……and it definitely has…….but there’s been a lot of good things about 2020 as well. I know for us, the pandemic forced us to slow down and spent much more time TOGETHER at home, which has been really nice! We’ve had to be creative about how we do things and it’s forced us to think outside the box! I challenge each of you to focus on the good that 2020 has brought into your life.

I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy time with your family and friends that are like family!

Here’s a link to my 2017 Thanksgiving post…….

https://temporarylumps.com/i-sucker-punched-chemo/

Be blessed!

Sonja

Colossians 3:15-17 The Message

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Worth Mentioning….

Well I couldn’t let May 2019 come and go without mentioning a few things……

May 1, 2019 marked 2 years since my initial cancer diagnosis. Isn’t that crazy? Two whole years? It almost seems impossible!

And I know this is going to sound crazy……but when you have spent a year or more in the fight of your life…..with a calendar full of doctor’s appointments, tests, chemo, radiation and who knows what else…….you grow to be thankful for those days of no appointments. And suddenly, the days turn into weeks and even months. Can I tell you that I was blessed to go from December 18, 2018 to May 7, 2019 without a single doctor’s appointment! Can you believe it??!! That is a total of:

  • 140 days
    • … or 20 weeks 
      • … or 4 months & 19 days

Four months and 19 days away from Duke Cancer Center. What a blessing! I had my diagnostic 3D mammogram done on May 7th. The technician took the first set of film…….sent me out to the waiting room…….called me back for more pictures at my incision site……and sent me back to the waiting room. Eventually they called my name, handed me a sheet of paper with my results on it and said I was free to go……all was well! 🙂

Here’s the actual note from the radiologist:

The lumpectomy site shows no mammographic evidence of recurrent malignancy. There are no suspicious masses, calcifications, or other findings in either breast. 
Impression 
No mammographic evidence of malignancy. RECOMMENDATION: Mammo Diagnostic in 12 Months is recommended for both breasts. The exam was electronically reviewed by a staff physician. The patient has been or will be contacted. BI-RADS: 2 – Benign

Praise God! I was elated that everything checked out fine! Then, the next week on May 15th, I had my 6 month follow-up with my surgeon. Again – all good news! Halleluiah! And she asked if I would be okay if she put me on a 12 month follow-up plan. Are you kidding me?! Heck yeah, I’m okay with that! God is so good!

Now, the next appointment I have on the calendar is a follow-up with radiation-oncology, but that won’t be until September……so I get yet another break from constant doctor’s appointments. God is good!

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of hearing two friends share their testimony at a local church. Talk about God-signs and God providing. Their story is quite powerful. If you need some encouraging today – take the time to listen to these testimonies and see just how intricately God handled all the details to have these two lives intersect and how that intersection become a truly life-changing encounter! Here’s the link to the audio file!

http://theresabaptist.org/media/613539-2531467-1880572/message-of-testimony

Today, I had the chance to sit and visit with a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. As awful as it is to hear the word cancer, I was blessed to be able to just sit and share the good, the bad and the ugly of a cancer diagnosis…..but as we were sitting down having lunch, I told her that she probably couldn’t see it now……but when she has hear treatment behind and life back to normal…..I assured her that she WILL be able to look back and see how this crazy cancer was much more of a blessing than a curse.

Last night I was talking with my pastor after a meeting at church…..and I told him that if I could design my perfect “job” – it would be one in which I could be a cheerleader and encourager for others going through their own cancer battles. I just think that would be pretty awesome. I was so blessed with people taking me to treatments, sending cards, texts, meals, etc. I just want to pay that forward and do the same for others walking down that scary path. I’m a good listener, a really good talker, an excellent driver, and I’m not such a bad cook……there are many ways that I can pay it forward, and I am going to do that every chance I get.

Today, while visiting with my friend, she shared with me that we were both in the same place a few weeks ago – and it was before she had shared with anyone about her diagnosis. She felt sure I caught her staring at me – but truthfully, I didn’t notice. She told me today that she was looking at me, knowing that I had recently been through a similar fight, and she was encouraged to see me out and about and just living life. She said she told her husband if I could do it, she could too! And she’s exactly right! She has a great attitude and she is going to show cancer a thing or two, I’m quite sure!

When I visit with folks who have recently been diagnosed with cancer, I love that I can offer them a copy of my book as a form of encouragement. I honestly love gifting the books – I feel like that was one of the main reasons God laid it on my heart to publish the book was to share with others and offer encouragement to them.

My book is now available on Amazon in both the traditional print/paperback book and it is also available on Amazon Kindle! https://www.amazon.com/s?k=temporary+lumps&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

http://amazon.com/author/sonjavaughan

Tell all your friends! 🙂

Hope the rest of your week is fabulous!

Sonja

Luke 1:45 New International Version (NIV)

45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”