Christmas, 2009

ChristmasStorm1225halfblockeastl-1164215_lgA major Christmas blizzard spanning 4 – 5 days back in 2009,  dropped approximately 21 inches of snow, blown around by wind gusts approaching 50 miles per hour. This massive storm punctuated the beginning of my cancer treatment, pointing out to me, in no uncertain terms, that, not I, but a much greater force was to be in control of my destiny.

The snow was just beginning to fall as I walked into the Cancer Center on December 22, 2009, to receive my first chemo treatment following surgery for Breast Cancer. This on the heals of just finding out that a PET scan had shown a possible abnormality in my thyroid as well. I would have a biopsy in early January to determine the status of that.  These storms of both nature and my personal life at the time, were reflected in my Christmas Day post back then. In re-reading it while working on my book, I decided that this might be an appropriate time to share that post from six years ago.  Hopefully it will act as a reminder to us to always hold onto hope in the midst of life’s biggest storms.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25,2009

Merry Christmas, all! What a different Christmas it has been. The weather…what about that? It certainly has thrown a monkey wrench into lots of people’s plans. We were fortunate. Kelli and Brett had originally planned to drive home right before Christmas but decided to come a couple of days early to be with me for my first chemo treatment. That meant they were here safe and sound before the first snowflakes fell. Michelle and the kids, of course, live here in town so they headed over early yesterday bringing all of their stuff with them and just moved in. So, we had a big slumber party last night for Christmas Eve.

It was the first time in many, many years that I was unable to host the big Christmas Eve bash for Marilyn, Russ, Jen and the kids and anyone else who happened to be in town. That made me sad. But there will be others.

We missed Matt and Sara, too, but are happy knowing they are safe and sound and enjoying Christmas with their Denver family. They will begin a new adventure on Sunday as they load up a moving truck and move to their new home in the mountains.

This morning, I woke up a little after five with a really raspy cough. Got up for a bit but then was able to go back to bed and sleep for a couple of hours before getting up feeling much better. Only minor nausea. We were just getting a late start on opening gifts when the power went off…what a strangely old fashioned feeling that brought an unexpected peace to our Christmas morning.

Unfortunately, at some point, my mind strayed back briefly, to Christmas 15 years ago when my Dad had just received his cancer diagnosis. The day after Christmas,we took off for Denver to help them prepare to move back to Iowa to begin treatments. As we took down their beautiful Christmas decorations, we had no idea that it would be for the last time. That was Dad’s last Christmas. And, given the uncertainty of my diagnosis right now, I realize I could be in that same position, though, every part of my being refuses to believe that. When Christmas, 2010 rolls around, I plan to be approaching the end of my chemo treatments and preparing to begin radiation. Still, just in case, my plan was to enjoy this Christmas to the fullest, and I have. I’m trying to not focus on the upcoming thyroid biopsy and how that result might change the course of my life.

As far as I’m concerned, if it turns out to be cancer, that will just be another bend in this tunnel. I will deal with that when and if it happens. For now, I cannot yet see that light at the end of the tunnel, just as we’ve been unable to see across the street due to the heavy snow, but I can see the lights of Christmas all around me, reflecting off the huge drifts of snow and sending a comforting reminder of the Christmas miracle. It has been a different Christmas, to be sure, but a wonderful one in its own way.

In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us everyone.

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