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Jen's journey
#1
We are all on a journey through life (don't I sound philosophical?) and mine in the past year(s) has been somewhat different to expected - well, what do we expect from life? Especially having the strong faith that I have, I thought life was meant to go well, though I knew suffering existed and counsel people who are suffering, as I know God can and does comfort..

Here's a little of my recent journey - a few years ago I was living in Switzerland and had to rush back to Richmond, KZN as my Mum had terminal cancer.. soon after my arrival, my (only sibling) brother visited from P.E., and he wasn't well.. tired etc. A month later he died suddenly - and I was devastated. That was the second worst day in my life. My Mum took another year to pass away from slow starvation, while I nursed her all that time - but also had to watch over my Dad, who had dementia, and was like a child in the home. Soon after Mum's death, I did the hardest thing I've done in my life - put Dad in a home in P.E, to be near my sister in law, as I just had to go back to life and work in Switzerland. I felt like I'd abandoned my Dad, he was confused and hated being there. That was the worst day in my life.

After a number of months Dad also passed away - I'd lost my whole blood family within 2 years. I still don't know if the grief is all 'worked out' (does it ever?) - I think the hole that each person leaves never closes, but we learn to walk around it.

Early in 2004 I moved to England - starting a new phase in life and work and friendships etc. Then mid-2005 I started feeling a pain in my side and abdomen - which led to discovering the worst of the NHS! Waiting lists for every test imaginable, while the pain worsened and the pain-killers grew stronger and stronger, with morphine on the list. My wonderful GP persevered, though I felt sometimes that maybe it was all in my mind and that if I just snapped out of it, it'd go - but it didn't.

Finally, in March this year, I discovered that I had breast cancer. It's been surreal, I have to tell myself it's true - but the scars are there to prove it. My faith has been severely tested, I've received prayer and prayed up a storm myself, but it hasn't been healed. I have no option but to trust God, and that's the best option there is. He never did promise that we won't suffer, but He did promise He'd walk through it with us. I've now discovered and experienced the best of the NHS - suddenly everyone has been on my side, quick, efficient to get me the best treatment available. And I've discovered what love really means through my friends sacrificially forming a strong support sytem and safety net for me to fall into - taking me places, nursing me through the worst times, persevering when my emotions have been totally unpredictable. I wish everyone could have friends like this..

Now it's chemo time! My first one was 3 weeks ago and horrendous, I felt like I was dying amid all the side-effects, then slowly emerged from that to feel somewhat 'normal' again. The pain in my abdomen has since been assumed to be cancer cells in/on the ribs - and the pain since the chemo hasn't been too bad - is it from the medicine or the chemo that's working? I don't know, but am glad that something IS working. My next chemo is this Monday 31st - and I don't have the same dread I had before as I know what to expect, and somehow I expect it to be better this time. After all, some people don't suffer from the side-effects; do I have to? But I can't switch that off or on, must just keep on praying..

And now, too, my hair is falling out in handfuls - and I went for a wig fitting this afternoon. Found one that I feel comfortable and good in.. will I have the courage to wear it? Suddenly hats and scarves are interesting, when I've never looked at them before now..
the saga continues.. Sick
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#2
Dear Jen, thank you for sharing this traumatic time in your life with us.

:hug:
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#3
Thank you for that, my prayers are with you
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#4
Jen

On a personal note, you're in my thoughts and hope that life does indeed smile warmly on you in the coming months and years.

On a light note.. Forget the wig. ( peak caps etc are quite fashionable? )

You at least have the day to look forward to having a full head of hair.. Others (like myself :wall: ) get ribbed all the time.. so enjoy having the cool scalp in these warm summery days.
I certainly enjoy using less shampoo, not having to worry about a hair dryer.. and waking in the morning is like the movies - you look the same as you did when you went to sleep..
Big Grin

Keep up the happy thoughts :thumbs:
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#5
Confusedpring:My dear friend..... you are so brave! Thanks for sharing this.

It is a honour to walk through this with you ..... and yes, you will be the same Jen without hair as with hair.

I will brush up my 'doekie' skills and help you with it...... and we won't mind seeing you in a fancy hat everyday.... like as if you are going to the Ascot. Smile Never thought of the sjampoo saving bit :haha:

Will be praying for Monday and the few day after.

Sterkte and lots of :hartlik:

:hug:
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#6
Jen

Your story brought a lump to my throat. You are so brave and thank you so much for sharng this with us.
It is hearing life stories like this that makes the rest of us appreciate what we have.

I wish you all the best, love and light. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
:hug:
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#7
TracyW Wrote:Jen

Your story brought a lump to my throat. You are so brave and thank you so much for shareing this with us.
It is hearing life stories like this that makes the rest of us appreciate what we have.

I wish you all the best, love and light. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
:hug:


I couldn't have said this better... I read your post last night and it really touched me...
We are all here for you hon!

Thank you for sharing this with us.

:lovef:
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#8
Jen,

My thoughts are with you, you are one brave lady and remember that you are not walking this alone. :hug:

Sterkte for Monday and keep us updated on your progress. You have done alot in the past few yrs and i am humbled by your strength.

Love Cub
:hug:
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#9
Hi Jen

Thank you for sharing.... I support Cancer Research by doing their races and with a monthly contribution... my reasons are not set in stone because there are a few distant family members who have not spoken to me in 20 years who I hear do suffer but it is more for the people out there like you, unknown to me but full of strength to fight on... I believe that the medical community is putting the funds to good use and where in the past the mere mention of cancer put dread in people, today you know it is a battle that is often won... not to say it will not be easy but I wish you all the strength in the times when you are low...

God bless and like Cheffie said - who needs wigs! funky hats and headscalves are way kewl!!!!

You are still the same person inside!

:gogirl:
To regret past mistakes is to live them over again....... move on and live your life without regret!
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#10
Wow Jen, thanks for sharing your journey with us. You are one brave lady and I can only wish you the very best. :hug:

Like tracy said it is true life stories like this that make us appreciate what we have. All the very best with your treatment, you are in my prayers. :lovef:

...and you have one group of amazing friends :thumbs:
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