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.