Saturday, May 31, 2014

Who needs Lawrence Taylor?



While pondering the adversity in which I currently find myself, I see that I am trying to play offense. I want to be proactive and do everything in my power against the other team: Cancer. (I can't imagine what their mascot must look like...ew). I want to let the other members of my "team" do their jobs (the things I cannot do for myself), and help me trounce my opponent.

It reminds me of a movie, Blind Side, which I love. The film begins with this narration;

“There’s a moment of orderly silence before a football play begins. Players are in position, linemen are frozen, and anything’s possible. Then, like a traffic accident, stuff begins to randomly collide. From the snap of the ball to the snap of the first bone is closer to four seconds than five.

“One Mississippi.

“Joe Theissmann, the Redskins quarterback, takes the snap and hands off to his running back.

“Two Mississippi.

“It’s a trick play, a flea flicker, and the running back tosses the ball back to the quarterback.

“Three  Mississippi.

“Up to now the play’s been defined by what the quarterback sees. It’s about to be defined by what he doesn’t.

“Four Mississippi.

“Lawrence Taylor is the best defensive player in the NFL and has been from the time he stepped onto the field as a rookie. He will also change the game of football as we know it.

(TV Video of the actual play in the background)

“…And we’ll look at it with the reverse angle one more time. And I suggest if your stomach is weak you just don’t watch…Legendary quarterback Joe Theissmann never played another down of football.

“Now y’all would guess that more often than not the highest paid player on an NFL team is the quarterback. And you'd be right. What you probably don't know is that more often than not the second highest paid player is, thanks to Lawrence Taylor, a left tackle. Because, as every housewife knows, the first check is for the mortgage but the second is for the insurance. And the left tackle’s job is to protect the quarterback from what he can’t see coming; to protect his BLIND SIDE. The ideal left tackle is big, but a lot of people are big. He is wide in the butt and massive in the thighs. He has long arms, giant hands and feet quick as a hiccup. This is a rare and expensive combination the need for which can be traced to that Monday night game and Lawrence Taylor. For on that day he not only altered Joe Theissmann’s life, he altered mine.”

So far, every person checking in on my team is altering my life.  I’m thinking about all these people who are expressing their love, offering their gifts, in essence: protecting me, and my own blind side. There is so much I don’t yet know about this thing I have to fight. Lots of things I can't see coming...But doctors, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, lab techs, nurses and every other medically trained person who will help to cure me will have trained for years, and have even more years in experience. They have a game plan of which I am not yet aware. That’s hard for me as I am a “plan” fanatic. But I am the quarterback, not the coach. And a quarterback does not a whole team make (though some of them might think so.) I have to do my job, trust their duties to them, and know they have my back.

More importantly I have team members, friends and family, who have reached out with their deep wells of love and willing hearts, their strong hands, and their tears quick as a hiccup. I have the power of infinite numbers of prayers. I have been given one Priesthood blessing by my husband when we first found out the mammogram was abnormal, who told me that whatever was wrong would be easy. His patriarchal blessing reveals he has been given the gift of healing.
We are both given Priesthood blessings today that were powerful and specific. My husband is blessed with courage and strength and understanding and the knowledge of how much his Heavenly Father loves him. I was told, unequivocally, that I will be healed, and I will be restored to wholeness; that angels will attend, that more angels than doctors will be at work on me at any given time, and that I am the matriarch of a large family who needs me, and I will live long into the future. The Spirit was powerful and this moment in time will be my fall back when doubt creeps in, as it always does. But I’ll be able to say: No! I had that blessing and I will be restored to wholeness as promised.

With all of these resources working to protect me, how can I fear? There are things I do not yet know…they're on my blind side…but it would appear I have battalions of left tackles.

Looks like me and my left breast are headed to the Super Bowl! Who needs Lawrence Taylor?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The good news is...

May 25, 2014


The good news is I’ve been wondering what book I’ll write next. This might be it. I’m toying with “Cancer is a Bitch!” for the title. I’m quoting my daughter, who’s also fighting the disease. The bad news is I’ve been diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. It’s been 30 years since my last mammogram. I should have had one 16 years ago. I waited until two weeks ago. I have become an object lesson!

This is my story of overcoming the next Goliath. I know it’s a story of survival, because I am a survivor. I have survived my own and others’ battles with mental illness, divorce, addiction, health issues, death and just last year stared down a pulmonary embolism and won. Really it’s not me that’s the strong one. It’s Heavenly Father. I’ve just learned what to hand over, and what is up to me. I’ve learned the power of love, prayer and priesthood blessings, and inspired medical teams with cutting edge technology at their fingertips.

I’m grateful for it all. The friends who encourage me with words like “fight like a girl” and “you’ve got this” and “whatever you need”. The family members who are at the other end of the journey I am just beginning, who’ve already kicked this disease’s backside to the curb. The doctors and nurses, the radiologists and lab techs ready to take this cancer (I refuse to call it “mine”) and toss it out with tomorrow’s trash. Like Audrey, whose firm “I’ll handle it from here”, put me at ease while she performed the mammogram that likely saved my life. The son and daughters who are here at my door within minutes of hearing my news. I’m deeply grateful for them all!

I’ve been in a lot of hard places, carried heavy loads and had mine carried. I’ve had my name whispered in prayers in many temples, and even more homes. And I’m constantly in prayer for others. I believe in prayer, and I’m planning to spend a lot more time on my knees. Right now I’m praying it was caught early enough. I’m praying that I can handle the nausea, and that I’ll get to keep most of my hair. And I’m praying every woman I know will learn a lesson from my experience.

Have a mammogram. Have them regularly. And be grateful for even the worst results…for therein lies God. I can’t wait to see what blessings come next.

Remind me I wrote this when I’m cursing chemo, will you?