Thursday, April 28, 2011

With a terminal prognosis, "tomorrow is a big word""

This time last year, Terence planned today's hunting trip as a goal for 2011
“Now”.  That has been an important word to Terence and I for the last 20 months.  I am saying this because when Terence was diagnosed 22 months ago with prostate  cancer and told he was terminal, everything stopped for us; it was as if the world stood still. At best we could only "frame the now".  Cancer was something totally unexpected, specially because no one in his family had cancer, and that word for me, was only to be read in articles or heard about someone's else's parent, child or friend... but never, ever ‘us’...

Suddenly, our work and our businesses were no longer important anymore.  The new dark cloud descended:  Terence was beyond standard medical treatment for this an aggressive type of cancer…. My heart literally melted every day in grief.  I mourned the loss of our future, our plans of growing old together (as we had assumed we would); just about every day we would shake our heads in disbelief and say "is this really our life? It doesn’t feel like it.”

Told to come home and get our affairs in order, we were stunned. Terence handled it much better than I.  I cried for days. I lost my voice, was suddenly sullen and quiet, the grief was so deep.  My sisters flew in from Hawaii and immediately took charge of medical research for clinical trials.  My kids came home.  Extended family took us on a cruise to Alaska, provided a month long trip home to Hawaii- all in order to  “frame the now” of our lives. we were desperately trying to deal with the prognosis of “there is no tomorrow for Terence and Sherry.”

Now that is difficult to take. Terence continued to move forward and tried and plan for our future- in the midst of being told face to face  “you have significantly less than 12 months…..”
For 14 months I spiraled and tried to find my legs- they were kicked so viciously out from beneath me. Unable to think about tomorrow because it the thought of a life without Terence brought such heart ache.

Tomorrow.  A big word!  Suddenly, we find ourselves making plans for our future.  The shock has worn off.  The pain of cancer is still here, but with the necessity of having hope. What do we want to be doing in 2 years? Let’s live near the kids.  What do we want to be driving? Shall we start a new business?  

 Up until 2 months ago, planning our future was painful –what changed? 1. Maturity. It brings Hope. With that comes the realization that the doctor's are just doing their job and telling you only what they know (and it's not the final say).  2. Hope in the Lord..... He has a hope and a future for each one of us. One that is good. And finally, 3. Who else will plan your future if you don't?

We are slowly moving beyond the fear of tomorrow, the fear of death and hoping in a future again- even against medical odds. Because death has no sting.

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life is worth the living just because He lives”.

Thanks for your prayers friends!
Blessings. ~ Sherry

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Know You are a Cancer Survivor!

Top 10 Ways to Know You are a Cancer Survivor!
(Sharing with our cancer friends)

10 Your alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m. and you're glad to hear it.
9. Your mother-in-law invites you to lunch and you just say NO.
8. You're back in the family rotation to take out the garbage.
7. When you no longer have an urge to choke the person who says,
  "all you need to beat cancer is the right attitude."
6. When your dental floss runs out and you buy 1000 yards.
5. When you use your toothbrush to brush your teeth and not comb your hair.
4. You have a chance to buy additional life insurance but you buy a new convertible instead.
3. Your doctor tells you to lose weight and do something about your
    cholesterol and you actually listen.
2. When your biggest annual celebration is again your birthday, and not
    the day you were diagnosed.
1. When you use your Visa card more than your hospital parking pass.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our mantra!

April 19, 2011

Celebrating my daughter's birthday.
 I just got the latest report that my PSA has climbed 20 points in less than a month.  If this trend continues - it’s obviously not a good thing.

Fortunately the “mantra” that Sherry and I have established is “Live Above Cancer”---------this statement is a belief that enables us to try to rise above our circumstance and not be drawn down to the pit by bad reports.  I am realistic and don’t deny the doctors reports, but there is so much life around me to enjoy, starting with family and friends.

My daughter Nadine and wife Sherry
Yesterday was my daughter’s 32nd birthday.  It blessed my heart because our entire family was here to celebrate with her. On the other hand I recall my 32nd birthday- it was a great day with my wife and kids, but to have your siblings and parents with you too is a great blessing- which I didn’t have!   

So for me, to live above cancer, is to recognize and enjoy God’s blessings on my life.

Happy Birthday Nadine, let's do it again next year!