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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two years later...

This past labor day weekend Ross and I went to Martha's Vineyard one last time before the summer ended. It was beautiful as usual, but it also made me a little somber. Since it's the place that Ross proposed to me back in 2009, it's really special. However, since we only go in the summertime, it also reminds me of how many years I've been fighting cancer. I was diagnosed in July 2009, so the summer is always a reminder of how long it's been. Which, to be frank, really sucks since I love summer!

That first summer I was diagnosed, Ross proposed shortly after and I truly thought I would only be in treatment for 6 months and then I could move on, plan my wedding and be happy and healthy. And Lord knows I wish that happened. The following summer we went to the Vineyard a few months after my auto stem cell transplant. I had dealt with a year of vigorous treatment, I had to wear a wig, I didn't look or feel that great and I had a PET scan coming up in just a few months. I was so scared of what might happen if I wasn't in remission, and yet and I still thought that after all I had been through, I would be. But it wasn't my time yet.

And then this summer rolled around. In some ways I'm better, I'm stronger, not as physically fragile. Yet I still have cancer. I can't see it or feel it but I know it's there. And I hate it with every fiber of my being. I'm tired of thinking about it, talking about it, hearing about it, crying about it, and fighting it. I never in a million years imagined that I would still be dealing with this disease two years after we were engaged. I thought by now I would just be getting regular checkups and feeling like a survivor. So it's hard. Martha's Vineyard looks and feels the same each year, and yet my physical and emotional state have changed so much since that summer and it's hard not to think, where will I be in a year? What will be my mindset next summer when I step foot on the Vineyard? Because this world of medicine is so up and down, I never know what obstacle I'll have to face next...and believe me there are many. Starting this journey I thought it was just the cancer that would keep me up at night, but there are many, many other side effects that I would have never imagined. And it's a lot to deal with--just one of these side effects would be hard but I have like 10! So I'm scared...I wonder what's next? After the horrifying blood clot, I decided that situation had to be my rock bottom and I have nowhere to go but up. But unfortunately I don't get to make those decisions.

Today I had my 3rd treatment of SGN-35, which was FDA approved and now made available to everyone in my sucky position (basically anyone with relapsed or recurrent Hodgkin's) all over the country. My doctor said, "lets get you into remission and then we'll go from there". His confidence makes me confident. He said that the FDA approved this drug quicker than he had ever seen them approve something before. And yet, we never know until I have a scan, which will be after my 4th treatment. Lord how I hate the scans. They are the bain of my existence, the fear and stress that surround them is like no other. But it's a necessary evil to find out what's going on inside my body. Sometimes I just want to run away and never go back to the hospital or doctors office again, and I wonder what would happen? Maybe it was all a mistake? Maybe I was never really sick. I know it's not true, but sometimes I play the "what if" game with myself in the hopes I can wish it be true.

So two years later, here I am. Stronger? I guess some would say that. As much as I moan and complain, I have and always will be a fighter. It's exhausting to say the least but what other choice do I have?

14 comments:

  1. Dear Morgan:
    You will prevail. You have dealt with this diagnosis in an amazing way. I visulize you completely healed and living a happy, productive, God filled life!
    Love,
    Mommie

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  2. Dear Sweet Morgan,

    You are as eloquent as you are beautiful. You are your mother's daughter! I know how hard this is for you and Ross and your family. Thank you for being so transparent and strong. Here is a scripture the Holy Spirit inspired just for you, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." I believe you are healed and whole and will go forward to minister to others in their time of need. God is good all the time.
    Hugs,

    Gay Madden

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  3. Hi Morgan,
    I agree with Gay, that your words are beautiful and eloquent. This must be part of the bigger plan - that you will get through this sucky disease, and will continue to blog and give strength to others who so need it and perhaps do not know how to express their emotions. How lonely a journey you are on, despite being surrrounded by so much love. And yet how ironic in that its a disease that so many battle. Two weeks ago my very best friend from college called to tell me that she has cancer: adenoid cystic carcinoma of the salivary glands. A very rare cancer, with not such good stats, and that if caught early, will almost surely come back, statistically speaking. She is an obgyn (part time now), teaches yoga, is a vegan, and generally the healthiest person I know. That's so wrong!! She too is surrounded by love, but feels so alone. I told her about your blog, and encouraged her to reach out to find blogs like yours. You are an inspiration to others, Morgan. Always remind yourself of that when you are in the loneliest corner of your soul. You have a mission - no matter how much you know that you did not choose it! Hang tough girl.
    xo, Julie

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  4. Morgan, you have been through so much. No one can say "I know how you feel." No one can know how scared, or angry or just plain weary you are on any given day. And no one can begin to explain why you are having to go through this.

    By now you have probably scanned down to see who the heck I am. You don't know me, and I actually know you only through your utterly magnificent parents. I hope it cheers you to remember that there is an actual army of people you may not ever have met, who are fighting alongside you. Just like the tides at your beloved Martha's Vineyard, the prayers keep comin', washing over you many times each day, directing God's healing to you. We're all standing on that beach with you.
    Love,
    Anita

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  5. Dearest Morgan!

    YOU ARE STRONG - no question marks! As I shared with you in church one Sunday last year, this is your cross to carry, but only for a short while. You are going to beat this and you will have a testimony, but the test comes first. Linda always updates me on your progress and setbacks, but in the deepest part of me I always know that you will be just fine. This cancer has its season and its season will end just as the summer is coming to a close and fall begins. God's time is not our time and we have to keep pushing through knowing that He is always by our side - even when it is so dark that you can't see in front of you. Trust that soft voice that continues to tell you that you will win this fight, that you will be healed, that you will be cancer free - because YOU WILL! You won't fully know your strength until you cross over into remission and you look back over your fighting years and think "Wow, I did that?" Struggle is amazing because it hurts so much while you are in the midst, but when you come out you have grown into your "other self". You are each and everyday becoming your "other self" - the stronger Morgan, the more faithful Morgan, the survivor Morgan, the advisor Morgan. You are truly becoming her and without this experience you wouldn't have. You have angels incircling you constantly, you know that from surviving your blood clots, so remember that all WILL be well. If you survived that, it was not your time and it won't be for a looooonnnnnnng time! Think about your children, your grandchildren and your Golden Wedding Anniversary because you will celebrate all of those precious moments. God is watching, God is whispering, but most of all God is moving - He loves you so dearly, my dear!

    Lots and lots and lots of love,
    Your sister in spirit - Nikki Fleming

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  6. Dear Morgan,

    Our prayers are with you and Ross. We know you're going through a tough time and we admire your courage. Please know that God is watching over you and Ross. He also hears your prayers and he is working with your medical team to help heal you.

    Here is something that may help you during this time. "Read something positive every evening and listen to something positive every morning".

    Love,

    Pam Young

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  7. Hi Morgan,

    You are so precious and just think about how precious you are to God. You are going through tremendous challenges right now, but you are fully equipped to handle them. I know you're tired, but believe your time is coming and God will surely show up and show out for you. Just trust and believe that you are not only going to get through this, you are going to thrive because of it. Just roll away the stone, step out in faith and let God do his thing.

    As I have told you before, YOU are my inspiration. You and your cute hubby are going to have a great life together. Just expect big things, dream big dreams and God will provide big favors. Its already done.

    Love you Morgan.

    Cheryl E.

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  8. wow! thank you everyone for your amazing comments, thoughts and words of hope, I so appreciate it. The interesting thing is that at the exact day and time many of you were posting your comments, I was feeling pretty down. Just the usual, crummy, "woe is me" feelings I get every once in a while, totally out of the blue. So to see that so many people were thinking of me and wishing the best for me at the time is wonderful. God is good!

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  9. Sweet Morgan-You have every right to be tired and frustrated-but I am really excited about this new drug and I just pray it will take you to the end of this chapter in your life. I'm like your mommie-I know you will win and I think something wonderful awaits you for having gone through this struggle. Hang in there and know how many prayers go up for you each day.
    Love, Carla DuPuy

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  10. Morgan, I love you. You are an inspiration for so many of us. You even have me blogging.(smile) I have never done this. I am so bad. You are a beutuful,caring young lady and you have found a great guy to share your life. I can only imaagine how hard this is for you, but as you said you are a fighter. always remember you have soo may people in your corner, but you have God looking down on you. I am not going to get mushy,but again know I love you and you are always in my thoughts.

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  11. ok that last post was from your Aunt Sharon see I said I was not good at this(smile or laugh again)

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  12. Morgan,
    You have and will always remain in our thoughts and prayers. The strength you have shown during this difficult time is amazing. Be blessed, and know that you are child of God. We pray for you and we love you.

    Wayne and Sierra Davis

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  13. Hi Morgan,

    What an inspiration you are...I was given your blog site by my friend Peggy. I am 29 years old, and am reading your words and cannot even imagine what you have been through and continue to go through on a daily basis. Your words really hit home. What a strong and motivating woman you are. Although we have never met I am praying for you. It definitely sounds like you have a great support group and are a fighter.

    I wanted to share with you another blog that I came across from someone dealing with a similar situation, it's called "My Big Girl Pants."

    http://mybiggirlpants.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-to-expect-when-youre-recurring.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyBigGirlPants+%28My+Big+Girl+Pants%29

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  14. Thanks Ali for the "My Big Girl Pants" blog! I am inspired by her...it's amazing how many strong women there are out there fighting this fight!

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