Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fight like a girl...

Page 57, Ann Voskamp's one thousand gifts,

"Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant-a seed- this plants the giant miracle.  The miracle of Eucharisteo, like the Last Supper, is in the eating of the crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful.  Do not disdain the small.  The whole of the life-even the hard-is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things.  It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing.  The moments will add up.

"Even the hard."  And its gotten hard.  So very hard.

There was a sadness around Dr. Panwalkar's eyes when I met with him Friday morning.  He was businesslike, professional.  No time for small talk.  Lots of big talk.  The PET scan reveals the cancer has spread, a spot on my liver, a spot in my vertebrae in my back.  This means, of course, stage 4.

The room deflates.   He asks "were you expecting this?"  "No, emphatically, no."  I have been hopeful.  We sit in silence a bit as he begins to outline a new plan.  The aggressive treatment is used to help stage 3 not turn into stage 4, so since that has already happened, we need not beat me up with this aggressive Adriamyacin just yet.  Plus, I will benefit from getting the HER-2 sooner, and it does not play well with Adriamyacin.  He explains I now quality for a clinical trial of a new drug, that works along with Taxol  and 1 of the other drugs.  He is scientist today, medical doctor today, and I do my best to follow what he is outlining. But it is foreign sounding, risky sounding, and suddenly I realize we don't know if this is what's best.

There will be no treatment today.  We will seek pre- authorization from the insurance company for the tests that would need to be done if I were to decide on this clinical trial.

Dr. P gets up to go, and hesitates just a moment.  I tell him "I'm listening to you, I've heard you, but I'm not letting that determine how I will fight."  He nods his head "prove me wrong, he says, I hope you will prove me wrong."

We leave for home.  I pray for discernment.  A new thought is cropping up over and over again... to go to the Mayo clinic in Rochester for a second opinion.  I arrive at home and see Colton's blanket lying next to my bed with his pillow.  He snuck into our room and slept next to me on the floor last night.

I collapse on my babe's blanket and weep.

But the "gifts" keep filling in the spaces.  My Thanksgiving journal is overflowing.

Spring walks through my door with flowers from my sweet friends Robin and Sara.

Anne brings me the tiny white vase with the word love inscribed on it.  She also brings me the "Fight like a girl" shirt, and a whole bunch of pink breast cancer accoutrement.  Ohhh and yummy monster bars which we devoured.

Amy, oh my... on the day she comes to help pick out blue paint, she brings these daisies... and then

Another knock at the door and more sunshine comes in the way of flowers from Matt and Julie, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Julie's own mom has battled breast cancer twice, and beaten it and Julie was the age of Nolan (10) when her mom found out.

My other sister-in-law, Kelly, sent me The Miraculous Medal of Saint Catherine Laboure and has asked that I be remembered in a Mass each week for one year for those seeking healing.

The shirt Anne gave to me.

And then Amy came up with these, as in, she MADE them.  Its her very own version of a wordle, done in colors to match my bedroom.  Do you see the breast cancer ribbons painted in the background?  Could it not be any more perfect?

And, my one word, come to life on my wall in a canvas!  I'm speechless, with a big side of giddy.

"All shall be well..."

And Grace, sweet little Grace.  She gave Colton and I each an envelope and made these for us.  She is Colton's heart friend, and he couldn't be in better hands.  Thank you Grace.

And the emails I get?  The facebook notes.  The cards in the mail.  The texts?  The phone calls.  

Donations were collected at Family Fun night last night for us.

Suddenly I see what this is doing.  One of my friends, meets another friend.  And a neighbor meets my relatives.  And a stranger battling the same thing, stops by our house to give me a hug, and is a stranger no more.  A community is growing.  Bonds are forming.  Bridges are being made.  

And its this, I think, that wins the fight.  Thats what I would tell Dr. P.  The science, yes, the medicine, yes, but my secret weapon?  I have all of you!  

I'm giving thanks for each and every one of you.  
Thinking back to Ann's book and the quote up above...
"The moments are all adding up."


  1. Sending more positive moments your way...from me to you, Vicky.

  2. Vic,

    We all know you will "fight like a girl"-the wonderful courageous girl you have always been.

  3. Vicky,
    The flowers are beautiful! The shirt says it all, and I know you will! Everything you are receiving is showing you how much you are loved and cared for. And, the same goes for all the prayers that are being said for you and your family.

    "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination."

    Love and hugs, Eileen

  4. Vicky you are an inspiration...I am in tears reading your words and thoughts. To see the good in this takes a special lady...YOU.
    Yes you will beat this. Yes you will prove the doctor wrong.

  5. I am so moved, that the shivers and tears are there all at the same time. I have been praying for you, have called others to pray, and I have your link right at the top of my blog! I just know that the people who prayed me through my journey through this will be praying for you, too! Your quote from Ann's book came alive today -- alive through you to all of us. And we will all be counting the small things with you, for they will all add up to the larger. It won't be long, and all of this will be in the rear view mirror. But until then, I KNOW you will fight like a big girl, and we will pray and hold you up!!!!

  6. May the moments, the love, the connections contribute to your healing Vicky.

    As soon as you are ready, begin your own research as there is a lot of info out there that can help you ...

    Always available if you need to talk ...

    Love and light,


  7. Gosh! I can't believe all this is happening to you.
    I am with the doctor. Prove him wrong !!!!
    Many have. I have read many stories where people did by changing their diet
    Juice it up with all the immune system stuff like cabbage and broccoli and parsley.Purify your water. Chin up Vicky and keep fighting and by all means get second opinions.
    One doctor says one thing and another might say something else and maybe offer answers.

  8. Vicky....fight with all your mighty spirit! I pray that God will give you the strength, and we, the little people will pray for you.....we will be the prayer warriors! God does grant miracles and I will pray that HE will hear all of our prayers.

  9. You will continue to be in my heart....thoughts and prayers...

  10. Absolutely, fight like a girl!!

    I have something I'd like to send you, if you feel comfortable doing so, please send me your mailing address at

  11. Vicky, okay, this isn't what I wanted to hear. mother-in-law beat cancer twice and is a survivor. She was on an experimental drug and it worked. I need to share that with you because I know and her love because of that test drug. She was 33 the first round. She is a beautiful person and I do believe and know that God performs miracles. There are all sorts of miracles happening already. Trust in God. Trust in God. You are in His hands, Beloved child of His. He will not leave you for one minute of this. Count on that.

    I am waiting for my chance to see you but feel I'm no the outer circle and I want to give you time. But it's going to happen one of these days soon. I'm needing that hug.

    I am so glad to know you, Vicky. I'm thinking of our time together at Usher's and all that was shared that day. You are giving such a powerful testament of God's love. Thank you!

    XXOO, Roxane

  12. Dear Vicky,

    Remember that song, "Eye of the Tiger" from Survivor? That went through my head when I read your post title. I know that you'll fight and we're all in your corner and you'll win because you're a champion in every way. I'm thinking of you and sending my love and prayers to you each and every moment, my friend. Love - Kelly

  13. I don't know you at all and this is only the 2nd time I'm visiting your blog. My heart goes out to you and your family. I paused in front of my computer, bowed my head, and prayed that the Lord would help you through this situation, give you peace, and miraculously heal you. Stay strong. Remain faithful.

  14. What beautiful gifts you have received from friends. Praying for you.

  15. Vicky I have to share, my dad, which I didn't know until I shared with him about you, had stage 4 cancer. All his surgeries and all the rounds of chemo and almost 2 years later he is 68 and cancer free. You do what you have to do to survive! You are so loved Vicky.

  16. Amazing. That is what you are and what your words are...Standing right beside you always...Your BFF.

  17. Oh, Vicky ... my heart reaches out to you and your family. Fight the good fight as I know you will.

    I'm an annual visitor to Mayo ... they do remarkable things there.

  18. Clicked over her from Robin's blog-
    You amaze me! The fight you have in you is inspiring! My friend just got her 5 yr clean bill of health after a tough fight with stage 4 breast cancer! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!! My prayers are with you! ~ Kerri

  19. You are my hero and my inspiration. I love how you are so open to the beauty and love that is around you. Look for good, as good follow good.

    Prayers and thoughts are with you.

  20. I love you, friend. and no matter how you choose to medically fight it, you have a world full of warriors fighting it with you. I'm first in line :)

  21. Don't you worry Vicky. You will heal completely. It won't recur. You will be well taken care of. I am praying fervently that the second opinion proves that the first diagnosis was incorrect! Sending across loads of love, positive thoughts and asking for God to give you strength you didn't think you were capable of. Take care. We are all right with you, right through.

  22. Dear Vicky,
    I am sure you will fight like a girl, like a man, like "the Klitschkos" (two german boxing Champions).
    I will pray for you.


  23. Vicky, I am praying for you!


  24. God is holding you so tightly in those strong arms and against her full heart. Prayers continue as you come out of your corner fighting. Watch for the crocuses and snowdrops: proof again of LIFE in the coldest of winters.
    Barbara in Urbana-Champaign, IL

  25. Vicky, Your attitude is amazing, you are so strong. I believe you are a fighter my friend. You know I would want a second opinion. I have heard up here in Canada how amazing that Mayo Clinic is. I have a feeling you will just prove it to the doctor that faith, family, friends can make miracles happen. prayers to you everyday. hugs.

  26. Trust your instinct and get the second opinion...pull out all favors to get you into Mayo (or wherever) as soon as possible. I am continuing to believe in your your heart!

  27. You are amazing! It has to make a girl feel good to get all those fantastic gifts?

    Go to Mayo, it is worth checking out everything. We are all here to support you Vicky. Much love!


  28. P.S. I tried to grab your button for my blog and it says "function disabled"....

  29. I am a college friend of Julie's and she has asked for prayers. I sit at my desk at work crying reading your blog. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I will be following your blog. Keep your strength and hug your children as often as you can!

  30. I am a 14 year survivor of breast cancer. God is good. Will pray for you and your recovery. When I hear news about any kind of cancer, I always think back to how bad Lance Armstrong's cancer was, and that he survived and raced again. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. God is a God of miracles.

  31. My friend, you are such an amazing writer. And these photos--you can take great pictures too.

    Thank you for allowing me the privilege to pray. Teary-eyed at the flowers from Robin and Sara.

  32. Like many others here, I've come from Sara's place. God has embedded you firmly in my heart. How could He are so very dear.

    Do you remember the story of the sick man on his mat whose 4 friends carried him to Jesus? Well, I'm one of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of friends with a tiny piece of your mat carrying you in prayer to Him. Jesus sees you. May you see Him all around you, in every moment of today.

  33. Praying with you from
    georgia. Praying for God's embrace and the power of the Spirit of love.

  34. Praying for you. I am glad to hear you are being surrounded by love.

    Love that fight like a girl shirt!!!

  35. I just came from Robin's and wanted to say hi and to ask you to PLEASE FIGHT with all your might! I will be praying and following your journey and hopefully holding you up in some small way. God bless. Go get that second opinion but also trust your instincts too. Sending love to you. Bloggy friends are THE BEST, I would be honored to be a new bloggy friend to you. XO, Pinky

  36. If they tell you to find a support group, it seems you can check that off your list. The support from your family and friends is amazing, as well as from your extended friends in the blog world. Your in my prayers. And being dad to 3 grown girls...I know, If you fight like a girl, you'll be in good shape.
    All the best to you.

  37. I cry for you and your family. My heart just breaks for what you all are going through and for your precious little boys. I'm constantly thinking of you and praying for you. Hugs!


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