Holding Space

With Shelly Vaughn

My Story

My story is not my own, but of my entire circle of family and friends who are helping me through an unexpected challenge in my life.  This is why I titled the blog “Holding Space” because of the deeply meaningful idea of “holding space” with someone during uncertainty and how it can heal, grow, and transform everyone involved.

I’m a 36 year old mother of two girls (ages 7 and 9).  They are lovely and loud and full of life… and I’m struggling to keep up with their energy level lately.  I’m a wife to my high school sweetheart- a man who I had no idea could fill the role of “caregiver” so well.  I am a faithful follower of Jesus… a role that I have doubted and then been drawn back into more in the last few months than ever before.  I work as a speech-language pathologist at our local Children’s Hospital.  It’s a dream job really, and I hadn’t realized until lately how much my training and experience led me to the perfect place for flexibility with work through this diagnosis.  Speaking of the diagnosis- it’s officially called “stage 2 invasive poorly differentiated ductal carcinoma (estrogen and progesterone postitive; HER2 negative).   It’s an aggressive form of breast cancer that was caught fairly early while doing a self-check.  (Side note to women- please remember to do your self-checks diligently.  I found the lump just 3 weeks after a previous self check!)

I’m in the middle of Adriamycin/Cytoxan chemotherapy followed by 3 months of Taxol chemotherapy.  It’s like a constant science experiment to figure out medications to relieve these side effects.  I do love science, but I’d gladly be done with it right now.  After chemo will be surgery (extent to be determined) and likely radiation.  It’s a lot for a body to endure.  I consider myself a healthy person- an active runner and volleyball player.   I’ve got a pretty strong immune system from working with germy children for so many years.  And yet, I’m suddenly the weakest person in all of my social circles.  I long to feel energized, and hungry, again.  As with any challenging experience, it helps to write and share feelings with others- especially because the support from loved ones carries me through the hardest and ugliest times of this.  I share this with you openly… in hopes that as people hold space with me through this, I can someday return the favor to show love in the same way to others in the future.  tumblr_inline_omvh0hFLml1uhycnm_500

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