Over the past year or so, this has become one of my favorite quotes...."Gratitude turns what we have into enough." I will be the first to admit that it's not always easy to live by, but I try my best to remind myself of this mantra as often as possible - especially during those toughest times.
If you would have told me a year and a half ago that I would soon be diagnosed with cancer, then find out that it was the most aggressive and advanced stage, learn that I cannot have children, and all the other emotional and physical obstacles that have come along....I would never have believed you if you told me I would reach a day where I would be grateful to hear the words "stable disease"...but I truly am.
I will never forget the shock I felt during my first meeting with Dr. F, when he explained there was a stage of breast cancer that was no longer curable. I didn't understand - couldn't comprehend it - and didn't even worry about it too much since I figured there was no way that could apply to me. Well, fast forward to today and here I am living this seemingly entirely new life and I find myself grateful for stable, stage IV cancer. It's just crazy how much your life can change- how much you can adjust to, and what your definition of "good news" can become.
Although I will always have hard days and there will always be aspects of my life that are difficult, I am so thankful that I am able to have the outlook that I do. I attribute a lot of that to your prayers. I really do believe that through your prayers and well wishes, God has helped me learn how to cope with this life and how to continue to see my blessings and be grateful for them, amidst the pain and heartbreak that comes along with living with this diagnosis.
Since my last post when we received our great news from my scans, life has continued along at our usual busy pace. I have had a jam packed schedule of photography clients and I am loving growing this business. Mike and I just spent the weekend in Chicago visiting some of my best friends and it was a blast, as always.
This upcoming weekend is the Susan G. Komen Ride for the Cure in Ann Arbor and I will be there cheering on Doug and Kyle as they bike 30 miles to raise awareness and funds for this cause. This is a great event and my dear friend Kyle is still trying to reach her fundraising goal, so please consider donating whatever you can to her efforts. Please click here to donate!
Also, please consider supporting the "Meghan Malley Rally" 3 Day team. They are working hard to raise the necessary funds required to participate in this event in just a couple of weeks. They are participating in this event on August 17 -19th in order to help spread awareness that this disease does impact young women, and also to help generate awareness for metastatic disease and the critical importance of research in order to help find a cure. I would sincerely appreciate any donation you are able to make so that my friends can participate and further advocate for the issues that mean so much to me, and to each of them. Every dollar does make a difference! Please click here to visit the team page and click on any team members name to donate to that person specifically.
As if I haven't asked for enough already...I have one more request. Our good friend's little 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor (a type of kidney cancer) just a couple weeks ago. They have since found out that the cancer is Stage IV and has spread to her lungs, vena cava and is approaching her heart. Sweet little Cecylia has a long road ahead of her as she just began chemo in the hopes to shrink the cancer enough to have surgery to remove her kidney. This will then be followed by a heavy course of radiation treatments. Our friends are optimistic and very hopeful that this treatment will be effective for their baby girl, but of course this is a terrifying time for them. Mike and I have been so blown away by the outpouring of love and prayers for us and we are confident in the fact that it has made a positive impact on my health. So, I figured I would ask for all of you to add Cecylia to your prayers because I just know it will help. Please specifically pray that she stops coming down with fevers that repeatedly land her in the hospital. Please pray she is able to heal in the comfort of her own home with her parents and 2 year old sister, and that she becomes stronger each and every day so that her body is best equipped to battle this cancer.
Thank you so much! I hope everyone has a great week ahead.
I can finally breathe for the first time in weeks....SCANS LOOKED GREAT! Thank you God and thank you to each and every single one of you that have prayed for us, sent us well wishes and good vibes as we awaited these results. The amount of relief and gratitude I feel is overwhelming. I truly had a bad feeling about these tests this time so I am completely overjoyed to be wrong! Dr. F was very pleased and said we will stay the course with my current treatment plan as long as I continue to feel well. I will see him again in 8 weeks and will continue to receive my monthly injections every 4 weeks, along with my daily oral meds. The next big thing on the horizon will be to have my ovaries removed but since things look good right now, I don't want to rock the boat. I am going to enjoy the rest of my summer and look into this procedure closer to my next round of scans which will be in 4-6 months.
I cannot thank you all enough for all the love and support. I truly mean it. I am off to enjoy this sunshine with Mike and my pup - we couldn't be more grateful for this day.
ps - thank you all for your prayers for my dear aunt. Our prayers were answered and she was able to let go on Wednesday morning. I am confident that she is now back in the arms of my grandparents, my Aunt Maureen, and Uncles Pat, Shawn and Joseph.
I am being 100% truthful when I say that there has not been one moment throughout these last 15 1/2 months where I have asked, "why me?". I have never said, "this isn't fair", or had a huge pity party for myself. I have had my fair share of sad (okay, even devastated) moments, or times where I felt a little angry, frustrated or discouraged but I have never let it suck me down that big black hole of despair for very long. I have held tight to the faith that God has a plan for me, and although I may never understand it, He is watching over me and wants the best for me. I have spent more time working on my relationship with God since the day I was diagnosed. We had a little heart to heart where I said, "Hey, remember me?! I could really use your help right about now!"
There have been many "coincidences" along this road which I now don't believe were coincidences at all. There have been people that have been brought into my life for very specific purposes at seemingly the exact perfect time I needed them. There have been so many scary and stressful moments where I have been shocked at the sense of calm and peace that I felt come over me. It is in these times especially, that I know God is with me.
Although I was raised in the Catholic church, I found myself distanced from it the older I became. What always seemed to cause me frustration and confusion, and ultimately my lack of participation within the church, was the question of, "if we have an all knowing and all loving God, how does he let such bad things happen to such good people?". I have struggled with this thought since I was a little girl and it has always been a huge source of internal turmoil for me.
I am truly thankful for a few very special friends that help me work through these thoughts, and who share with me their thoughts and beliefs which have helped me understand that God does truly want whats best for me. He is not punishing me through this cancer. But, bad things do happen - and that is just life. I have been finding more peace lately by putting my trust in God and I am sincerely grateful for that.
With that said, it doesn't mean that my faith doesn't waiver. Traveling this road ultimately leads to many moments where it is hard to have faith, where it is hard to remember that God is with me, and where it is a challenge to focus on my blessings. The past week or so has been an true example of this.
Aside from having my scans completed last week and knowing those results are looming over my head, there have been a few other things going on in my personal life that even on their own would be devastating and difficult to get through - let alone all combined at the same time, on top of everything else we have already been dealing with. I had a few days of deep sadness, frustration, and confusion as to why so much could possibly be piled onto our plates right now. Why have I been through so much already at just 30 years old - more than many people go through in a long lifetime? These thoughts led to an impromptu pity party where I was the guest of honor. But, ultimately I needed to throw that party. I needed to let myself break down, release the tears and cries, and with that, release my worries, frustrations and fears to God.
I have come to truly detest the saying, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" - I just don't believe that. I believe so many of us go through times where it is too much to handle, and that's when we need to rely on Him.
As the dust has settled over the last few days, the clouds of that deep sadness have lifted a bit, but I know I am headed straight into another potential storm on Thursday. I am praying (more like begging) for good news. I could really use a break right now - I need it more than ever.
Thank you for your continued prayers and words of encouragement. That is what helps me get through these difficult times. And thank you to those of you that have prayed for my Aunt Helen. She was taken off life support on Friday but is continuing to hold on. I am asking for prayers that she is able to let go, give her body the rest it deserves, and return to her family in Heaven who await her.
I will post on Thursday after my appointment with hopefully nothing but great news!
***REMINDER - There are TONS of great fundraising events happening to benefit the 3 Day team as they each try to raise at least $2,300 for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day For the Cure. Please check out the details and attend if you are able!
First up, Zumba this Friday night....
THIS WEEKEND - HUGE Garage Sale at Becca's house. Lots of great stuff - not your average garage sale finds! Please visit 367 East Saratoga Street in Ferndale from 8-3pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Next Thursday, July 19th - Fundraiser at Rosie O'Grady's in downtown Ferndale. Please join us starting at 6pm for all you can eat pizza and salad buffet out on the front patio for just $15. There will also be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. Please pass this invite along to all your friends and family - it will be a great time!
The following week, come join us for some yoga!.....
We are also continuing to sell the adorable kids apparel as well! Please contact me for orders or you can place an order directly from Brinley's website at
http://littleonesforacure.blogspot.com. The onesies are available in 12, 18 and 24 months (special order at no additional cost, 3, 6 or 9 months) and the t's are available in 2T, 3T and 4T sizes.
If you would rather make a donation directly to the 3 Day team, please visit the link here.
and pick a team member to donate to. Thank you for your support!
Last but not least, my dear friend Kyle is once again participating in the 30 mile Ride For the Cure in Ann Arbor on August 4th. Please consider helping her reach her goal by donating here.
My blog to keep you all