Thursday, April 12, 2012

12 Down, 0 To Go...

Well, the day has finally arrived.
  I'm having my last treatment as I write this post.   I've had a total of 12 treatments over five months.  It's gone by incredibly fast.  You wouldn't think it would, but it does.  And it's funny, I think my family and friends are more excited than I am.   
I don't terribly mind treatment.  Weird, I know.

After I passed out little bouquets of flowers to my nurses and a baking book to my nurse who is a master cake pop maker (and who's skilled at giving pain-free shots and drawing and getting blood when no one else can), I settled into my big chemo recliner and decided to write this post now rather than later.

In anticipation of completing my treatment, I have found myself asking the question,  "What have I learned during this diagnosis that I didn't already learn during my first diagnosis?"  The answer?  Nothing.  
Nothing new, that is.

What I continue to know is that God is with me on this road called cancer.  I am so not walking it alone.   I've faired quite well on this leg of treatment and I owe it all to Him.  

Again, I'm a wimp.  
Not strong.  
Not courageous.  
Hate roller coasters.  
You know the drill.  

However, He has provided me with strength, peace and hope.  Three things so necessary to fair well on this road called cancer.  And this road called life.  
Three things one doesn't often have without Him.  
He is my everything.

Just yesterday, I heard something that hit home.  When I heard it, I just knew it was a nugget of wisdom.  I was having lunch to celebrate a friend's birthday and sat next to a woman I had just met.  (By the way, all who attended the lunch were cancer survivors).  As the discussion turned to, 
"If you could, would you choose to go through this again?" 
she said something I will never forget.   (Well, knowing me, I may forget so remind me if I have to ask you!)
  She said, "I tell people we don't go through it.  
We grow through it."  
I loved that.  
We grow through it.

I talk to God every day, all day.  Pretty much always have.  And the one thing I am thanking Him for lately is my growth.  In these last two years, I have grown.  Not a ton, but a tad.   I see myself as a little baby sprout.  A baby sprout that has big ambitions of one day turning into a little ol' bush.  And then, just maybe, into a tree.  Can't imagine ever becoming an oak. 
 Just a little ficus tree would do.  
But for right now, I relish just being a sprout.  
With really green leaves.

But more important than that question is this question.  
What have I taught others through this second diagnosis? 
 It's not all about me, you know!

I do my best, wherever I go, to sprinkle seeds of faith.  Maybe I give someone a necklace.  Maybe I strike up a conversation.  Maybe I wear my "can't do cancer without God" t-shirt to treatment.  
God has specifically placed me in the Westlake office near my home instead of down at Cedars this time.  And I've met some really wonderful people who I can visit with so easily.  I hope many wonderful friendships are a result from being so close to home.  
 With God at the very heart of all of them.

But one thing I know for sure is that I want to try and keep my treatment schedule as my new Thursday schedule.  
I relish the six hours of relaxation at chemo.  
Legs kicked up in a recliner, writing, reading, listening to music.  Connecting with others.  That's good stuff.  I plan on continuing that every other Thursday in my house from 8 to 2.
With no guilt.  And no laundry!

So again, I take this time to thank all of you for all of your help over these last five months.  So many tears are floating in my eyes right now just typing these words that I can't even see to type any more.  

I thank you for your thoughtfulness and for remembering me.  And my family.  For taking my kids and occupying them so they don't sit with me all weekend following my treatments while I gorge on watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  
Thank you for the encouraging emails.  And the cards.  And the flower arrangements left on my front porch (just like the one I found today and used in the above photo.) 
You'll never know how very much your kindness touches me.  

I'm trying to duplicate your random acts of kindness for others.
Just a few days ago, I offered to do a Costco run for a friend of mine who has cancer.  I then asked my kids to join me to deliver her 80-pound bottle of Spray 'n Wash and bags of organic carrots.  

When Jake was saying his prayers last night, he added, "And thank you that we could help Mom's friend today.  And thank you that we'll be able to help more people who need our help."

Hello?  Why don't I keep a box of Kleenex on Jake's nightstand?  For me!

Look, cancer has been a good thing in my life.  
For so many reasons. 
And, initially, I hated to hear the words "chemo" and "cancer" come out of my kids' mouths.  (I now use the word "treatment" as often as I can - I like that one better.)  But I have seen growth in them as well as in me.  
A growth towards compassion.  
Towards kindness.  
Towards God.  
And I'll take that stuff all day long.  
I'm not sure how much we would have seen without this trial in our lives.  But by placing it in God's so very capable hands, we're able to give Him all the glory.  
And all the gratitude.

So to all of you, I thank you!
And to God, I couldn't have done it without you!


  1. Oh, what an absolutely beautiful post! Ruthie, what a testimony! Blessing abundant to you my friend!

  2. Congratulations Ruthie! You are a true inspiration! You always give me a new percpective to my diagnosis and survival. I thank you for that. I try to live in gratitude in all things big and small, especially small. Blessings to you and your family.