Sunday, November 27, 2016

4, 5, go.....

Back to that late Friday night, early Saturday morning.  Why couldn't I stop crying?  Of course my sister pissed me off but what sister doesn't occasionally?  Reggie and Sonja were sincerely worried about me.  I was worried about myself.   I wasn't seeing things as they were.  My vision was not quite right.  My depth perception was off.  And I kept crying.  I'm the one that usually made Brook cry, what in the hell was going on?

Honestly, I had felt like I was dying for a few months but couldn't get a doctor to confirm it.  The headaches, confusion, fatigue, weight loss, loss of eyesight on more than one occasion, and finally the blood that I had spit up the week before.  They were signs.  And God has always given me signs when something was going on.  When I needed to do something.  That Sunday after Thanksgiving was horrible.  As I lay on the couch, contemplating the past few months and what they meant, I knew this was my last chance to have someone advocate for me to be seen in detail.   Someone who would not take "no" for an answer.   There is no greater love than that of a parent for their child.  I knew what I had to do, I had to have my mom take me.  I knew if I didn't, death would be knocking at my door in a few weeks.  I knew it to my very core.  I no longer had the energy to even speak.  Everything was blurry.  Not having control of your own body is one of the most frightening things that can happen.

The rest you've heard before.  Piedmont Henry confirming the brain tumor.  Transferring to Piedmont Atlanta, waking up after brain surgery.  And on Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4 years ago today, I heard those four words that would change the course of my life forever.  I never thought 4 words could have such an impact or that anything in this life could make me feel as helpless as when they said, "You have lung cancer".  Those 4 words, forever scarring my life.  What do you do when you get that news?  You think that you have control still.   You can fix this, "can it be cured, lets start chemo now"   Followed by a "no".  Then the inevitable, "how much longer do I have?"  Followed by, "with what we know now, 12-18 months".

NO, I had just turned 33 and was a single mom to a 7 year old little girl.  This was a dream,no, a nightmare.  I felt like I was floating.  But, I wasn't and it was no dream.  It was the grim harsh reality  that had been flung upon me like a thief in the night.  That thief stole my life, I thought.

Looking back, 4 years later, even under heavy amounts of pain relievers, I still remember it as if it were yesterday.  It was such a defining moment in my life.  There was a before, and now we are in the after.  Ironically, I don't know which one I prefer more.  The before gives you a false sense of invincibility whereas the after, well, you know what's going to happen.   You're just not sure when.  It brings it to the forefront of your mind.  But it also gives you a chance to get your life right, with God and your family and friends.  It's not the quantity of years that define who we were, but the quality is how we are remembered and how we live up to our greatest potential.

So, this is my 4 year cancerversary.   This is Team Draft's 5 year anniversary that Chris and Keasha  started when they were married, 11/27/11.  Sadly she passed away the next month.  She was a fighter, and so beautiful.  Her tenacity and love for life is still an inspiration to me. Chris has become a very good friend over these past 4 years.   We've laughed together and cried together (maybe it was just me crying).  We've lost so many but I can't stop speaking out.  Team Draft makes that possible, as does Lung Force, Lungevity, Free to Breathe, and Bonnie J Addario.  I'm a patient advocate for the Bonnie J Addario foundation, and as an advocate for this foundation, it is my duty to persuade you to give to this organization that has been the center for so much research, especially for young people, like me.

Giving Tuesday is this Tuesday.  If the Lord puts it in your heart to give, please consider the  Bonnie J. Addario Foundation.  I want to see my girl graduate from high school, college, get married.  I want to be a grandmother.  Please help us.  I've lost so many friends to cancer,  If you don't want to donate to Bonnie J. Addario, please consider another lung cancer organization as we are so underfunded, yet the deadliest of all cancers, both male and female.  I named several in the paragraph above.  Just google them.

And by the Grace of God, I am so thankful to still be here.  And I can't even put into words the emotions that I feel when thinking about how far I've come.  I owe it all to our God and His grace.  I know I'm not alone, and neither are you.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  God bless you!  And let's continue Team Draft's mission to change the face of lung cancer!

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