Monday, August 31, 2015

Three Years

I think cancer is one thing that unanimously strikes fear in people. Not only do we all know that people die from it, but in my mind I have always associated it with suffering. The definition for suffering is this: "the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship." I'd say that adequately describes a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment. Having cancer has always been something I feared.  And then...three years ago, I received the devastating news that I had breast cancer. What followed was a crazy ride of doctor appointments, screening tests, surgeries, and chemotherapy. 

Not only is cancer a physical battle, it's a mental battle as well. In that case, I'm sure I had it relatively easy since I'm generally a pretty positive person. However, there were many days that I had to talk myself through. One of the most notable times was on a field trip down to the Oregon Horse Center. I was a tag along with Tarra and April, while they schooled the indoor trail course. It was 5 days after my first chemo treatment and I felt like crap. I had been very nauseous after that first one and I remember riding in the truck, chewing gum, and telling myself that I was going to make it. 

Another very distinct memory was probably my 6th chemo treatment. I got to the office before all of my support crew and I remember going in to the chemo room for them to access my port and draw blood. I had this overwhelming sense of dread and I just wanted to cry. Instead, I took a deep breath and started chatting to the nurses, telling myself I was okay and I could do it. I'm telling you, the mental game is real and it can be a struggle. 


Roz and I on the beach two days after I was diagnosed. Equine beach therapy was definitely needed.
That's where your support group is crucial. The amount of love and support I received was immense. Not only was my family with me every step of the way, but so were my church family, co-workers and friends. Thank you! 

My parents were incredible; attending doctor appointments, helping with my horses, assisting with medical bills, and feeding me all sorts of cancer fighting food. 


Last chemo - We had a party! 
Kellie sat with me through all but one of my chemotherapy treatments. We spent hours in that chemo room, while my body was pumped full of cell killing chemicals. After only a few treatments, smelling that room made me nauseous and it was difficult to go back every two weeks. 



 Kellie dreamed with me about having a Cardi baby, and I now have one of my very own.

She is a gift from God!
Tarra encouraged me, brought me brownies, and sat through a chemo treatment with me. She and April both worked Chevy for me. What a gift that was!

Wearing pink in my honor - October 2012
My other barn mates were all supportive, cheering me on, asking how I was doing, and helping me in any way that they could. 


Some experiences in life are difficult but you just have to keep marching through. There are days when you don't think you can go on, but you continue to put one foot in front of the other and eventually you end up on the other side. Although I hope cancer is an experience I never have to go through again, I made it! I'm happy and healthy 3 years post diagnosis, and I'm doing the things I want to do. I gained some serious perspective throughout the ordeal and I'm doing my best to encourage others facing a cancer diagnosis. Enjoy every precious moment you are given...that's what I'm trying to do!

21 comments:

  1. You are an inspiration, Alanna, and have been since the very first blog post of yours I read! It has been a blessing to get to know you a little bit; I look forward to more opportunities in the future.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. It was great meeting you at Perrydale Trails and I'd love to meet up again some time.

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  2. Ever since I stumbled across your blog, you've been an inspiration. Love this post!

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  3. Loved reading this. Your positivity is amazing and helps people through all kinds of stressful situations, not just cancer.

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. I'm glad to hear that. I've been praying for you!

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  4. Following your journey through this blog was so unique and inspiring. Thank you for letting us follow along, and congratulations on the milestone!

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  5. Definitely congrats on the Milestone, I am really grateful to have you and your journey in my life even if I don't know you personally or in person. *hugs*

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    1. Thanks! It's always great to get another year out.

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  6. Congrats!! Glad you kept kicking and here's to many more exciting years with Ms Emi!

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  7. This is just the best. :) Congratulations on three years!

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  8. You just rock. I know the whole mental game play, although I am sure yours was much more fierce and important. And now you have three adorable ponies! Here is to many many more years!

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    1. I don't know. I think you've got a pretty tough mental game going on too. Hang in there!

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  9. thank you for sharing and congrats on 3yrs!!!

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  10. You are amazing! What a great attitude.

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  11. Congrats on three years! I'm so happy you made it through and are happy and healthy. I am always in awe of your positive attitude through it all. You are an inspiration!

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Please leave a comment. I love to know that you are reading along!