Thursday, December 29, 2016

The year is coming to a close

2016 is coming to a close and with it, a year of transition. While I would like to say this has been a year filled with nothing but blessings, I have to be honest and say it's been a year filled with many challenges, too.

My focus this year has shifted from revolving completely around health issues to learning to love myself. That probably seems like a strange thing for a 59 year old to say but it's the truth. I haven't loved myself, in fact, I haven't really even liked myself. That may come as a surprise to family or close friends who take the time to read my blog especially since I always try to emit an air of self confidence. It's been hard to admit I don't really know who I am. I've always been something or someone to everyone one else...a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, but who am I really? These past few months, I've begun to delve into and answer that question. I'm sure 2017 will yield more clarity as I continue to seek out my identity as a person. Now don't misunderstand me. I know full well who I am in Christ. I understand whose I am. I completely comprehend that I am nothing without Christ. He is my life. But I want to discover Bonnie. I want to learn more about what drives me, what I like and dislike, how best to use my gifts and talents. I want to pursue my dreams and discover hopes for tomorrow.

As 2017 approaches, I've already purposed in my heart to spend more time in prayer asking God to help me hear Him clearly. I have a burning desire to write and I feel Him leading me to begin my life story. A book is on the horizon and I know my cancer journey will be a major portion of the book. I've learned so much over the past 2 1/2 years and I know God didn't allow me to go through everything I went through for no reason. In order to glorify and honor Him, I need to tell my story. His timing is always perfect and I know it will happen. I'm just trusting Him to pave the way.

While I don't remember everything that transpired throughout the year ( I do have each event recorded in my journal but I'm too lazy to go get it and look them up to record here, so I'll just jot down a few)

The good:
We enjoyed two vacations, one to the North Georgia Mountains and one to West Palm Beach, Florida. It was wonderful to get away to both locations and very special to spend time with family.

I was able to spend some time with my oldest daughter, Erin, who came into town for a family funeral. She lives in Texas and I don't get to see her often so that was a real treat even though it was just for a day.
Me and my beautiful Erin

I was finally approved for the 15 chamber compression pump for Lymphedema. The insurance company had been dragging their feet for over a year saying it wasn't medically necessary. It was a huge victory for this equipment to finally be approved. I'm thankful for the perseverance of the medical representative from Flexitouch and the documentation to substantiate the claim submitted by my oncologist.

I was able to take a 100 mile motorcycle ride with a new friend. She and I traveled to Pine Mountain and areas nearby on a Honda Valkyrie. It was freezing cold and I had on so many clothes I felt like the Marshmallow man from Ghostbusters, but it was well worth it. There's nothing like traveling 80 miles an hour with a cold breeze blowing in your face and the feeling of freedom that accompanies it.

The bad:
We had to put both cars in the shop this year for regular maintenance and ended up spending more than we intended due to unexpected repairs. We're thankful for good mechanics and having both of our cars paid in full. It's so nice to have no car payments even though we'd love to get a new one in the near future.

Regular visits to doctors continued and will continue for years to come. It's frustrating this is now a permanent part of my life thanks to breast cancer but it's necessary followup. I'm glad I have excellent doctors.

The ugly:
My broken wrist
Falling and breaking the Scaphoid bone in my wrist was a painful and challenging event. It was an unexpected injury and occurred while I was outside playing ball with my granddaughter. Falling in a leaf covered hole isn't a good thing when you're 59. Sticking out your arm to brace for a fall isn't a good idea either! I learned this the hard way. I am still experiencing pain from the break and continue to have swelling and bruising even after months in a Spica cast.

Jenny Cooper
I lost two sweet friends, Jenny Cooper and Linda Juul. It was heartbreaking to add these two ladies to the ever growing list of friends who've lost their lives to cancer. I've lost 4 friends in 2 1/2 years. It scares me to even think about the possibility of recurrence, but at the same time, makes me realize how blessed I am to still be here. I pray constantly for their family and friends. Breast cancer sucks!

These couple of days in December will be spent in deep reflection. I'm asking God to give me a word to focus on in the New Year. This year's word was JOY. Last year's word was TRUST. As I seek Him, He always answers and each word has been so timely and precious to me. If you've never done it, I would highly recommend it. God wants to speak to His people but we have to be ready to hear when He answers.

I'm sure I'll post once or twice more before the 31st so hang in there! I'll be back soon.

Linda Juul



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