|Me, Errin & Mike at Errin's breast cancer fundraiser last Saturday night.|
There are times when life hits you over the head with a sledgehammer. That's been my life lately. Head, meet sledgehammer. Sledgehammer, meet head. Ouch.
In September, my sister, who happens to be my walking partner, therapist, neighbor, boss and best friend, sat my mother and I down to tell us she was sick with breast cancer. Turns out it's not just any old breast cancer but a triple negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer, staged 3C. You'd have to be a breast cancer expert or a doctor to fully appreciate that diagnosis but to simplify things I'll just say it's a pretty bad diagnosis. IBC is extremely aggressive and, thankfully, pretty rare at only 1-2% of all breast cancers.
Since then, I have been integral in my sister's care, making and accompanying her to appointments all over the Twin Cities area. For anyone reading this that lives in the area I'd like to give a shout out for the Piper Breast Center. If you're diagnosed with breast cancer I wouldn't consider going anywhere else. Period. They are a top notch facility with exceptional doctors, nurses and staff. I'm grateful for the amazing care my sister has received there. Her extreme diagnosis had them altering schedules and making it possible for her to begin chemo in record time. While it's scary to see doctors do that sort of thing, I'm thankful they take her care so seriously.
In the meantime, as if that weren't enough, my dear husband had an accident up at our cabin while removing our son's tree fort from a rotten tree. It all came down unexpectedly when he was working on it and hit him square in the face. He didn't let a "small" injury like that stop him and both he and our son, Daniel, went out deer hunting the next morning even though he was in a considerable amount of pain.
We don't have a telephone up there and cell service is spotty so I didn't hear about it until he was on his way home two days later. It was a shock to see him because he was barely recognizable as the swelling and bruising were quite severe. Our oldest daughter burst into tears at the sight of him! Mike is not fond of doctors but I managed to drag him in to see one the next day.
Turns out he had multiple fractures all over his face and a potentially more serious opening in the cranium allowing air into the brain cavity along with a concussion which included bleeding and swelling of his brain. We ended up spending the night in the trauma unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. After working with three separate teams: Trauma, Neurosurgery and Plastic Surgery, he was discharged the next evening. We've been back to see all sorts of specialists since then and to make a long story short, while we have a few more doctor appointments to keep an eye on him, my husband should be fine. It's a miracle that he was not more severly injured and that he doesn't need surgery. I'm feeling very grateful for the outcome at this point and pray that his healing will continue.
So, what do you do when loved ones are injured or become ill? How do you walk through the valley, supporting them, without losing your mind? Trusting God gives me strength and keeps me sane. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have His comforting presence through it all. Slowly, painfully, I release my dreams of growing old with my husband and my sister at my side to God, learning to trust Him with my most cherished possession of all: my family. It's a process and some days are better than others but I'm grateful for His faithfulness as we walk through this valley, together.