Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A long road

I had my last chemotherapy treatment on July 21st. I passed out and vomited for the nurse and made sure to go out with a bang! I guess by then my body had had enough! I had had enough! I have had enough!!!

There was so much excitement at the end of my treatment, we all hoped the tumor was gone, the doctors were having a hard time feeling the tumor so I think we all took it as a good sign. If the tumor was gone I would probably not need any chemo after surgery, when they originally thought I would need at least 4-6 more cycles. I had an MRI, mammogram and ultra sound on August 1st. That morning was the MRI, it looked good! Then in the afternoon I had my mammogram and ultra sound. I think the technician could sense my anxiety and asked me if I had any questions. I asked if she saw anything and she showed me the tumor in excitement of how much smaller it now was....she didn't know that I was hoping it was all gone.

I was devastated of course. I wanted this to be the end. I did not want more treatment. I did not want traditional chemo. I didn't want to lose my hair and get sick worse than my first round of chemo. I couldn't stop the tears. All the strength and optimism I have had through this fight seemed to dissipate as I hit the floor mentally and could not pick myself back up. I looked up and I told God "You are gonna have to carry me now!!"

This month has been a struggle for me. I think I almost lost the fight in me for a while. But faith is strong ....and you know what so am I. Yeah my armor is kinda busted and I am one very tired soldier, but I want so bad what is on the other side of this. I want my life back! I believe there is a purpose for this experience and that it will in the end influence my future somehow...don't have that one all figured out yet but I know I have already changed so much and learned so much.

On Monday August 29th I will be having my surgery. I am having a bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders. Translation: They will be removing both of my breast (everything except the skin) and putting in expanders (that are small implants that they slowly fill up) to stretch my skin for permanent implants in the future. And for all you inquiring minds, yes I will be "upgrading". Heehee :) After my surgery I will be in the hospital for a few days and then go home to recover for about 3-4 weeks. During that time they will dissect the tumor and see how much actual cancer was left, which will help determine how much more chemo I will need.

I have to have faith right now, it is saving me. But not just faith in God, but also my family, my friends and myself. Its so easy to get down, to see the bad, to focus on it, to wallow in it and then slowly start to live in it. But this too shall pass, unless I don't let it.

The following is a saying I heard or read early on "I have cancer, cancer does not have me". It took me a little fighting to really understand it. Cancer can NOT have ME! Somebody very special to me reminded me who I am yesterday. My Dad was cheering me up and shared with me his perspective on how people see me. He then asked me if I was proud of the person I was, not what I had accomplished or achieved, but of the quality or type of person I was... So screw you cancer you can't have ME! because I love being ME!! Big 'ol cheerful, hopelessly optimistic, positive, caring, loving ME!!


  1. Keep up the amazing spirit Natalie. You are one special lady. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Pete. I'm sure everything will go fine on the 29th. Love, Aunt Elizabeth

  2. You are a great writer Natalie! You have lots of friends and family that are here to support you and Peter in any way we can!!!

    If there is any time that we can visit/go with you to Stanford, etc. please let us know!

    Can't wait to see you guys again soon!

  3. Natalie, thank you for sharing your blog on FB. I just read it from the beginning. I am so so sorry for this struggle you are going though. It is devastating news, but your faith and strength is ever so present. As you know, you will get through this with flying colors! Thank you for sharing your journey. I will be praying for you. Hugs, my friend!
    - Lauren (Hoffmann) Green

  4. Natalie, My thoughts have been with you and Peter--prayers for a full recovery. Keep on marching girl, your army will help you all the way! Love ya, Beth

  5. Uhh. I'm so sad, but I can't help to smile when I hear all of your optimism. You're so strong Natalie, keep your spirits up and we'll keep praying for you.

    - Jay Yu