An update [from Margaret] from the unexpected journey along the yellow brick road …
Believe it or not there actually used to be a Land of Oz theme park at Beech Mountain in North Carolina. My mother found and sent the brochure and pictures of me with my little brother and father from our visit in 1971. I vividly remember how enchanted I was even then with Dorothy’s story. Today I remain stalwart in my belief that my breast cancer experience is best viewed through the lens of a winding, long, scary, and joyful journey along the yellow brick road.
According to my calculations we are off to an excellent start with quite a few miles already behind us. Here are some of my “numbers” as mere words seem woefully inadequate to express my heartfelt gratitude for the overwhelming grace, mercy, kindness, love, support and prayers from all of you:
33.33333% chemo complete (2 of 6 finished and on 1/29 we will be 50%)
2 = surgeries complete
3 = biopsies complete
7 = scans complete (PET, Bone, MRI, Ultrasounds, Mammogram, and EKG)
29 = panel of genes tested which came back “unequivocally normal”
3 months = breast cancer survivor (from date of diagnosis 10/24/14)
174 = # of inspirational songs you all have shared with me for my special playlist
210 = # of “3 Good Things” noted in the past 70 days (and truthfully there are almost always more than 3 good things even on the worst of days!)
387 = # of cards, notes, and letters of encouragement & support from you all. WOW
And now for one of my recent favorite quotes which rings so true for where I am in this journey: “It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” – Anne Lamotte
Inevitably on the days I cannot sing I hear your songs and my heart and spirit are lifted. Thank you.
I also feel the need to share with you what an amazing partner I am blessed to call husband, best friend, and most recently care giver. He will hate that I am saying these things but I insist. Many of you have experienced first-hand his pastoral care, his calm amidst the storm, his wisdom, his strength of spirit and character, and his knack for saying not just words – but the right word at the right time. This journey is long and scary and can go from laughing and singing to despair and back with lightning speed. He has exceeded my wildest expectations in the daunting care giver role and told me over and over how much he loves me – not with words but by fixing me the same roasted vegetables that taste good to me every night for days, making trips to the drugstore and the grocery store at a moment’s notice, doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen immediately after cooking so I would not suffer from nausea because of the smells, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sitting through “chick flick” movies with me, walking Deacon first thing in the morning and last thing at night, driving me to and from, and telling me that I am doing great when I most need to hear those words – all without even a hint of complaint and while continuing to serve his flock. I am so grateful. I know that I dare not compare him to Glenda the good witch but hopefully you get the picture!
My sincere thanks again to all of you for making my world a lake and not a glass.
“An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. ‘How does it taste?’ the master asked. ‘Bitter,’ spit the apprentice. The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, ‘Now drink from the lake.’ As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, ‘How does it taste?’ ‘Fresh,’ remarked the apprentice. ‘Do you taste the salt?’ asked the master. ‘No,’ said the young man. At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, ‘The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things . . . . Stop being a glass. Become a lake.’
With gratitude, joy, and hope,
Margaret (in the turquoise raincoat at The Land of Oz)