Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Survivor insight…"


UPDATE… 


I'm updating this post to include a gift I received this Saturday morning…

If you've read my Edith Sanford speech, or have known my story, you know that the book One Thousand Gifts, a dare to live more fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp, has been my saving grace.  



Today, in an email from my friend Jenn, I found out that Ann Voskamp, (because of Jenn ) linked to my Edith Sanford story on her blog A Holy Experience

I'm completely humbled and honored- with a big side of tears and a joy filled heart.  

Thank you Jenn- thank you Ann!  I am a blessed woman! 












It was truly the most worrying experience I've had in awhile. 

We ushered in Christmas preparations with a long night at the ER.  I won't go into a lot of detail, but it essentially involved loss of blood, lots of it- and a need to get it stopped.  

I was fortunate that my ER doc, and the OB-GYN on call, as well as the Oncologist on call- worked together to get me back home in time for Christmas Eve preparations.  

I still had to go in and have another biopsy done Christmas Eve morning, but, with a some drugs, and pain well-managed, I was able to enjoy Christmas with my family.  

I slept most of yesterday late afternoon and well into the evening.  Each day I gain more strength.  I will have test results sometime next week.  


Today I awoke to a surprise.  

Do you remember when I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at this "Embracing Life Health Retreat?"


Dr. Panwalkar gave a presentation… 


and Dr. Terstriep and her team planned, organized and facilitated the successful event for all of us Breast Cancer survivors.


Then you all asked if you could read my speech?  


Well- today you can!  

Dr. Terstriep, very graciously shared it today on the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation's blog called DeCoded.  


Words are powerful: survivor insight from Vicky Westra


I continue to be honored, touched and truly "embraced," each day I travel the cancer journey.  

I don't think its a coincidence, that on this day, at this time- my own words came back to lift me.  To remind me- to help me- to live my moments full.  





















49 comments:

  1. Vicky, I'm so sorry! Oh my gosh. I'm glad you could get the help you needed when you needed it but how scary for you and your family. God be with you as you wait and comfort you and may this be a glitch that "came to pass" and now you're moving forward. Thank you for posting the speech. I will head there to read it. For whatever reason when I read your blog on my Facebook my comments don't post so I've been reading without commenting but want to go back first and re-read and comment. Love and warmest hugs.

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    1. Thank you Robynn- you are so faithful in your reading and commenting and always touch me with your keen and wise perspective. Love to you and warmest hugs right back!

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  2. Oh, No!!! I have been thinking of you this all time and was a bit too busy with Christmas preparations to read any blogs. Hoping your are getting better and stronger, sweet Vicky. Sending prayers your way always and hugging you so tight xoxox

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    1. Sweet friend- I am indeed getting stronger and feeling better. I've seen the work you've been doing Anyes- and am so proud of you! You inspire me with all you've undertaken :) Hugging you tight right back!

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  3. I am so glad you were able to get the help you needed. No wonder I woke up the other night with a really strong urge to lift you up in prayer. Of which I did yhen and there and do so every day! Glad you were able to be home for Christmas! Living moment by moment is not easy, but you make me aware that we as people whoa red ealing with or have dealt with cancer need to take each moment and enjoy it to the fullest! Rest lots and get stronger! Love you!

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    1. So good to see you here Verna! I have been resting a good deal and am definitely getting better and stronger. It has to be all those prayers you say for me- thankful for those and you Verna! Love you :)

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  4. your speech is {was} amazing and i'm thrilled you shared it here!!!
    xo
    ps...hope all is well with you now...as in no more blood :/

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    1. Beth- thank you- and yes- (most) blood held at bay and I am feeling stronger for sure :)

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  5. I was (am) right there with you as I read this. Ab-so-lute-ly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. So much love to you!! xoxoxo

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to both come and read and also for leaving such kind and encouraging words- it treasure them so! So much love right back to you!

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  6. Vicky, I tried to post on their site through Discus but there was a glitch so I'm posting here what I tried to say to them with the hope they will read it here:

    "Thank you VERY much for posting this and for showing us the incredible woman who has taught us so much over the years. I love her....we love her. Vicky and I are opposite ends of the same broom. I beat the bushes with the handle end and rail against what is - Vicky sweeps up messes and makes the world more beautiful. Thank you for printing this in its entirety and for bringing her into the lives of more and more who will be enriched and blessed by her. Her story and who she is will touch many who NEED to know her and be blessed by her words and her journey."

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    1. So sorry for the glitch Robynn! But gosh- thank you for taking the time to write such beautiful and encouraging words. Love the broom metaphor but you know I'd argue that you and I can be found at both ends depending on the day!! Maybe I can copy them to the post :) I'm trying to catch up a bit today and haven't even had a chance to comment myself!

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  7. I don't think I've said it enough times yet... you are so gifted, so amazing, and these aren't just words.

    Sending prayers that your test results will be good and the residual issue resolved.

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    1. Thank you Karen- you encourage me so- so lucky to have you continue to come along! I am definitely feeling stronger and better and think everything will be just fine :)

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  8. each time I visit here, you continue to amaze me! I hope that the power of prayer leads you through this daunting path you walk right now. I continue to pray for you and too many friends who are battling this vicious disease. May the infant child Jesus and his Holy Family enfold you in their arms.

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    1. You're so kind and gracious in your words Norma- thank you. All of you who pray for me lead me through this path- I could not do this without those prayers- they sustain me so! Hugs to you and prayers for all the people walking this daunting path right now!

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  9. Thinking of you - hoping you feel stronger each day. I am going to read the speech now. But I know it will be awesome!! Take good care of yourself and savor all the moments :-)

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    1. I knew it - it was absolutely awesome!! Well done, you!!

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    2. Susan- thank you! I am feeling stronger and am up and about more each day. Have loved seeing snippets of your adventure! Hugs to you!

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  10. I'm so sorry you had to go to the ER! Oh honey, how stressful. But I'm happy they got you home quickly...and Thank you for posting a picture of Dr. Panwalkar!!! I picture him each time you write about him but now I know what he really looks like! xo Off to read your speech! ox

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    1. I miss you sweet friend- we so need to catch up!! Glad you enjoyed seeing Dr. P- if you ever get a chance to see that post you'd hear him too :)

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  11. okay...just read your speech...I'm speechless :)
    Truly - so many life lessons and treasures there...I'm printing it out and keeping it with my Bible to read over and over in the coming year. Thank you sweet friend ox

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    1. Oh how that touches me so- you've mentored me in so many of the things I've shared and I am deeply indebted to you for doing so! Love you honey~ to the moon :)

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  12. God bless you Vicki.... so glad you were home for Christmas Eve. Loved your speech. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me. I wish you much health and happiness in the new year.

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    1. Thank you Katie- I need to come visit soon! I'm a bit behind in catching up but am excited to see all that has happened :) Much happiness and health to you and yours in the new year as well!

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  13. Vicky, dearheart, i am moved deeply by your words here and by the words of your speech. He has put His Truth DEEP in your soul, and you are sharing what you know, unashamed, yet winsomely humble and vulnerable. it's SO beautiful!!

    His light is a floodlight bursting through your clay pot, honey--and--side note--i continue to be stunned by how good you can look under fluorescent lights in a hospital gown! my pastor said that eternal life doesn't start when we die--it begins when we are saved, so you're living your legacy every day {Robin had some influence there!}, and He is getting all the glory.

    i am thankful that there were three well-trained doctors--2 specialists, available 2 days before Christmas--to cooperate to get you taken care of and back with your guys. i will pray about the upcoming results, and i'm anxious to hear what word you're choosing for 2014. LOVE YOU!

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    1. Oh Jenn- your beautiful words touch me so- you have such a way with them! I love the part you shared about what your pastor said- such a great perspective! I feel so blessed that through all of this I haven't looked really sick very often- or felt really sick either. Its part of the excellent care I receive and truly has given me a good quality to my life!! Am working on that word- will let you all know!! Love you too!

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  14. Headed over to read your speech. Hope this finds you much better and gaining strength.

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    1. Thank you Susan- I am indeed feeling stronger and well again.

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  15. Oh my gosh Vicky, the ER on Christmas Eve? You are such a trooper and such a strong woman. I'm so glad you were able to go home and spend Christmas day with your family. Rest well my friend.

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    1. I was so grateful to get the green light on going home instead of staying- I put that vibe out there right away and they were really helpful in getting me on my way as expediently as possible.

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  16. Was not able to get your 'words' but I imagine they were powerful and beautiful. The sight kept telling me they were not available. take care and God be with you.

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    1. I see that my links were broken! I fixed them early today- so sorry for the inconvenience :) Thanks for trying though!

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  17. Vicky, I'm headed to read your speech. Please know you are prayed for. You are prayed for and thought of oh, so very often! Throughout these everyday chores -- I'm praying for you. Praying for strength for you and that you will know a deep joy in your heart.

    You continue to amaze me.

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    1. Cheyenne- am anxious to see if you've posted- I so feel such comfort and peace through your words. I have been blessed with returning strength each day and know that all of you praying for me make a huge difference in my life. So thankful for you!

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  18. Oh wow! I read your talk and then had to take that link and post it to my FB page. I have been wanting to share you. Much of what you feel is how I relate to things..but don't have the words to form it correctly. I so love the way you right about allowing yourself to fall down on that pile of laundry...to FEEL...strength real strength doesnt have a mask..it allows hurt, pain, fear and vunerablility in...only then laying on that floor...can we let go and rise again to face all. Praying for you always...and much love!

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    1. Peggy Sue- so sweet of you to share- I left a comment for you on your blog! Thankful for your prayers and support- plus your kind words always. Much love to you friend!

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    2. Peggy Sue-
      Hello friend. I thought of you during a recent vacation as there was a 50's restaurant named "Peggy Sue's". It made me smile each time I saw it! :) Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Happy New Year!
      Blessings!
      Linda

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  19. Precious Vicky, what an amazing inspirational woman you are in the midst of this battle. I've never had breast cancer, yet I've had uterine cancer when I was much younger. I was greatly moved and encouraged by your words and your speech. God is good and his mercies fail not. I pray he continues to meet you in the places where hope, love, and peace are needed most. That he carries you through the storms, showing you the gifts and beauty that all of it entails. May grace be what fills your being today. God bless you Vicky!

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    1. Diane- so nice to hear from you. Such sweet and encouraging words- thank you for gracing me with them. My heart is truly joy-filled today thanks to kindness and grace bestowed upon me through you and Him. God's blessings to you!

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  20. Oh I am so happy you made it home for Christmas!
    I just came to say I hope you had a good one with the family and read about this
    unexpected thing that happened to you.
    My heart goes out to you Vicky and your family.
    Sending you hugs, lots of feel betters and hope and faith for a real cure even if you say that in your case
    its just maintenance. Miracles happen every day and I wish one for you.
    xoxoxox

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    1. Vic- I am feeling stronger every day and even managed a day of hockey this weekend- so all is good. Scans the end of the week and then Dr. P to make sense of it all for me :) Thanks for the support and encouragement always!

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  21. Oh, wow - just read your update. I know this is a very big gift for you! Also explains why an old college friend linked up to your edith sanford post on facebook - she had seen it on Ann's blog. I told her I was privileged to "know" you. Praying as you wait!

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    1. Oh my- that is crazy- small world eh? Yeah- its been exciting and overwhelming- all in a good way. Thanks for the prayers- more scans the end of the week and then Dr. P next week and then we will put it all together.

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  22. Wow. Your story of faith is very inspirational. I try to always check out Ann's "good stuff" ... It does not disappoint. You've got a place on my home screen now...and my prayer list. I love how God uses the internet to connect people. He is in control.

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    1. Kellie- so wonderful to hear from you! Its taken me so long to make the rounds and get caught up, but wanted you to know how much it touched me to hear from you! God DOES use the internet to connect us and I oh how I love that too! Blessings and love to you!

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  23. Oh Dearest Vicky,
    Happy New Year, dear friend. I am home at last from a seventeen day vacation with my hubby, a much needed break and retreat. While gone, I had access to a computer which would let me read your posts, but not comment on them. What a relief to be back and let you know, in words you'll receive, how much you mean to me, all of us

    I have been praying non-stop, especially since reading this post. What a hard way to celebrate Christmas eve and I am so, SO grateful you got to come home and be with your family. I am beaming that your powerful and healing insights were shared on Ann's "Holy Experience." As hard as this journey of yours has been, you are choosing JOY and GRATITUDE. You are choosing to lean on the Lord, and not on your own strength.

    You, dear Vicky, have been a beacon of light and hope to so many people. Cancer may be part of their story or some other challenge that hurts their heart. You are so real, honest and transparent, dear friend and your authenticity ministers to all of us who care so deeply for you.

    I won't stop praying, not now, not ever.

    Love you to the moon and back!
    Linda

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    1. Loved reading that you've been away relaxing and rejuvenating! Thankful for your gracious words always- they touch me deeply and I hope you know how much you in return- do for me as well!! Love to you sweet friend!

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