May 21, 2018 is a date I’ll remember forever. I can’t believe a whole year has passed. It’s been much different than we had imagined.
The Good News
Even though I had never before considered it, I began to feel the tug to write a book. Our Alzheimer’s journey was exhausting and heart-wrenching, and many tears were shed. Along the way, I realized that, like me, many families end up navigating the journey alone – guarding the diagnosis, keeping the secret, and stumbling through the process. Most dread what the next day will bring but are too exhausted and afraid to think beyond the present. Still, I felt honored to care for Mom and Dad as they had cared for me, and I wanted to encourage others by sharing my story.
I immersed myself in my memories, notes and old emails, and re-lived the story as I began writing Dancing Around the Chaos. This was uncharted territory…I didn’t know how to write a book, but I marched forward as if I did! I was reminded of so many moments in those last few years that are now precious memories, and the entire process turned out to be a healing experience for me. After a year of writing, the manuscript was complete, and the release date was set! It would be May 21, 2018.
The Bad News
Just a few days before the release date, my doctor admitted me to the hospital for intense pain that just wouldn’t go away. We were stunned when the cancer diagnosis came. It was May 21, 2018.
I had never heard of Multiple Myeloma but soon learned it’s a blood cancer related to lymphoma and leukemia. We braced ourselves for what the future would bring, and once again, tears were shed.
As we planned for radiation and chemo and scheduled multiple appointments at MD Anderson, Dancing Around the Chaos launched as planned. The timing was so incredible to me. God had allowed me the time to complete the book He had laid on my heart years before…without being distracted by the cancer already growing in my body.
We had learned on the Alzheimer’s journey that the future is unpredictable, that we had to take one day at a time and try not to look too far down the road. The cancer journey would be the same. The future was nothing like we had imagined, but we had learned how to march forward, even through uncharted territory. Writing Dancing Around the Chaos had taught me this.
Good News…After All
After the diagnosis I said that I would not be afraid, I would not tremble. But, honestly the year held many fearful days, and I did tremble. Have you heard the Bible verse about being thankful in all things? I wondered…how could we possibly be thankful for all things? I didn’t understand it. Eventually, however, I came to understand that it doesn’t mean thankful “for” all things but rather thankful “in” all things. And I can honestly say today, one year after May 21, 2018, I have much to be thankful for…even on this cancer journey. Here are just a few things I’m thankful for:
- God allowed me the time to complete Dancing Around the Chaos without being distracted by the cancer already growing in my body.
- Mom and Dad never had to know I had cancer…or spend time worrying about it.
- We live close to MD Anderson and have access to Multiple Myeloma specialists.
- I was a candidate for Stem Cell Transplant and am now near the end of the 100-day recovery period.
- My husband takes sweet and tender care of me. My family loves me.
- My friends encouraged me and prayed for me on the Alzheimer’s journey and are doing the same on this new journey too.
- I have a renewed hunger for God’s Word and treasure this time to soak up the words.
- I have virtually no pain…a huge contrast from last year at this time.
- I have learned to truly treasure time. Life is short.
- God is with me wherever I go…whatever journey I’m on.
The cancer diagnosis certainly was not good news…there have been many difficult and fearful days, but lots of good news has been sprinkled in throughout the year too. I could write pages of things I’m thankful for. This list is just a small handful. On sleepless nights, instead of counting sheep, I count blessings. There are many!
Thank you for spending time here, Tracie
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18
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