In 2017, I received devastating news that I had been diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Although the cancer diagnosis was horrible, good things came out of it. I was fortunate to be taken in by the Holiday Streaker nation. During that time, I gained new friendships, rekindled old friendships and received so much strength and prayers from people I didn’t even know. I continue to have routine specialist visits, MRI’s and blood work and I have been blessed with good health.
I would not change the path I have been given for anything. Today, I love a little deeper, smile a little bigger, laugh a little harder, and embrace those that are dear to my heart. Right now those include my two new granddaughters, and of course my 22 little kindergarten friends. Some would still consider me an expert “eyebrow maker”! Chemo took those from me and they never grew back quite right. Thank goodness for Maybelline!
I came out of treatment on two heart medications, osteoporosis, and on a daily preventative cancer medication. I can go to bed at night with my handheld cross in my palm and know that I Got This! Supporting Holiday Streakers since 2017 is something I am proud to be a part of and I am thankful that my husband does enough workouts for the both of us!
Charlotte is such a empathetic, smart and entertaining kid. She loves to learn so we’re constantly looking up answers to her questions like “Does a sea cucumber have ears?” and “Does a bucket wheel excavator have stabilizers?” and “Why don’t fan blades cut like a saw blade?” Needless to say, our heads are full of this (useless?) information now too, ha!
I didn’t realize how much time and effort the recovery process was going to require. The recovery from HSCT for MS is often referred to as a roller coaster, and that is an apt description. Recovery has been about more than just improving my blood cell counts. It has involved me relearning how to walk in proper alignment, both loosening and strengthening formerly spastic muscles, drawing and painting and threading beads to improve my hand eye coordination, working my balance, my ability to process complex thoughts and multiple things at once, as well as processing and healing from the mental/emotional trauma of the 23 months since I was unexpectedly diagnosed.
At this point, I am doing very well. With the exception of a random rough day every month or so, it would be hard to believe that just a year ago I was struggling to maintain my ability to walk without an assistive device. I used to experience moderate pain daily, and now I am almost completely pain free. Honestly, with the exception of a random tight muscle day here and there, and random tired day a couple times a month, and occasional neuropathy in my feet, I no longer experience the difficulties that were caused by the lesions in my brain. The improvements I have experienced in this short amount of time are incredible. The treatment I underwent truly changed my life.