Grate-full! Hope-full! The Journey Continues, Part 4

Hallelujah, chemo is over! So happy to have this major hurdle behind me. Ready for my taste buds to return, ready to have hair to wash and style again, ready to have eyebrows, eyelashes and nose hair again. Heck, I’ll even be happy to shave my legs again. It certainly reduces the amount of time it takes me to shower and get ready, but I’m happy for all those things to return. While I’ll be done with chemo, I will continue to receive Herceptin every three weeks for the rest of the year, but the side effects of that will be a breeze compared to chemo.

We met with the surgeon and finally have a date for my surgery. On May 22nd, I’ll have a double mastectomy followed by six weeks of radiation. Dr. Marissa Howard-McNatt explained that due to radiation treatments, my reconstructive surgery will be delayed. I knew radiation had been mentioned, but it was a surprise to me that I had to delay the reconstruction. Radiation is also going to limit my options for methods of reconstruction which was also a surprise. I haven’t had my appointment with the plastic surgeon yet, so I can’t really intelligently speak to all that, but I’m anxious to learn more about it all very soon. I must remind myself, one step at a time.

Over Easter weekend, my sweet husband organized a long weekend at Atlantic Beach for our family. Beach vacations are a family favorite, and it was so nice to spend time together just relaxing on the beach all day. We love walking along the surf, challenging each other to an occasional game of bocce ball and combing the beach for shells and unusual finds. We discovered Atlantic Beach while our girls attended East Carolina University and it was our first trip back since they graduated college. So, it was fun to reminisce about their time at ECU and forget about doctor appointments and the reality we’ve been living since December, even if just for a weekend.

While we were there, we attended an Easter sunrise service on the beach for the first time. The sound of the ocean and the smell of salty air made it all the more special. The pastor said something that really resonated with me. He commented on the beauty of nature around us, but he reminded us to see the beauty of Jesus in the faces of people all around us. Jesus has never been more present in my life than right now. I certainly see him in the faces of family, friends and the countless medical professionals caring for me. But, I also see him in the faces of perfect strangers. It’s amazing where you see him when you’re open to his presence. He will surely find you where you are! In return, it is my greatest hope that strangers around me might also get a glimpse of Jesus through me. I remain grate-full and hope-full!

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