A LONG-awaited hello to my friends and family! I've been trying to get up the energy to post for a while now. I'm not sure I'll get through a whole post, but my Mom finally encouraged me to at least type something today since it's been a few weeks since I've given anyone an update.
I promised everyone on this blog that I'd post the good and the bad, be honest about how I'm feeling or how things are going. For a while now, I've been in the really, really tough times that every cancer patient knows are coming but could never fully prepare for. At diagnosis I made the decision to fight for my life, to not back down or give up but to follow this journey all the way through. I knew my journey would involve pain and difficulty, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
This is one of those times that things are painful and difficult, and I'm not the cheerful, positive, bubbly Sarah when I'm on a lot of meds and in a lot of pain. I'm trying to learn what is means to still be "Sarah" when I'm not in a cheerful, positive "Sarah" mindset. It feels like it takes so much energy to be social, so I haven't felt up to keeping in touch with any of my friends for the past couple weeks, which is definitely just not "me." I think the best way to cope with feeling so off is to remind myself that this is temporary. I'm going day-to-day, sometimes just hour-to-hour, focusing on getting through and finding a way to distract myself from pain.
When things seem to be at their worst, though, somehow the Lord finds little ways to remind me that I am not walking alone. My Kaydee Ladies (sorority sisters!) have sent me so many wonderful care packages; I can never thank you all enough for the smiles you bring on the gray days. The chaplains here at Loyola have frequently offered a prayer and encouragement. The nurses here on the peds oncology ward are there for me and always willing to give me a little insight into real-life clinicals! Thanks, too, to my new friend Father Gavin for his visits and support. My "twin" cousin, Evamarie, visits me and cheers me up. The cards, pictures, and expressions of love truly brighten my dark days.
Now...how about some GREAT news?!
To prepare for my bone marrow transplant, the doctors tested my siblings to determine if any of them is a match; if not, they would begin a search on the international bone marrow registry. After much prayer, we learned that my sister, Mary Faith, is a perfect match for me. Yes, that's my sis whose pictures are posted earlier on this blog! What a blessing--each sib had a 25% chance of matching. My brother, Ben, expressed no surprise at the news--"I knew it! You and Mary both love to shop for shoes and for purses! Of course you're a match!" he said wisely. By the way, Ben is 11 : )
Some people have asked about my treatment timeframe. Well, it's all up in the air. A schedule for either more chemo or the beginning of transplant procedures is dependent on many factors that are complicated and tricky, like how my body recovers from this last round of chemo and whether those stubborn cancer cells finally bit the dust. So, again, God is asking me to face the future day by day, trusting Him and His timeframe.
"Even miracles take a little time," reads a beautiful disney snowglobe that I received as a get-well gift. I am willing to wait on God's timing. He holds me in the palm of His hand, truly. Even during these difficult days, when I am not feeling up to posting on this blog or emailing or texting, know that I am fighting through it. I am willing to do what it takes to overcome cancer and to use these days of both darkness and miracles to learn what God wants to teach me.
Please continue to pray for me, for my family, for the medical team which oversees my care, and for my fellow patients here at Loyola. I might be knocked down, temporarily, but I won't stay down. I am a fighter and a tough cookie...day by day...and I'm looking forward to my match, made in heaven! Thanks, sis!