Journeying to the Other Side of Breast Cancer: 2 Down 10 To Go…

It has taken me an entire week to be able to actually write out my experience at my second chemotherapy treatment. By all accounts it was a pretty great day. My youngest daughter, Jasmine and I wore bunny ears and distributed candy bags just like I planned after my first treatment. That morning my goal was just to see one person smile. My goal was met exponentially. I saw smiles from the parking lot to the building, in the waiting room, in the infusion unit, and on my way back to the car after.

While in the waiting area, I met a beautiful older woman who was waiting to have her final chemo treatment. This had been her second bout with breast cancer, 23 years after the first. She shared that she was retired now, but when she first had breast cancer she worked everyday and this time she had not been sick once. She smiled as she told me about her Easter shopping plans for her grand babies after her treatment. She absolutely loved my bunny ears. She said I thought of everything, because my ears matched my shirt. She went on to encourage me by saying, “You can do this. I know you know God’s got you. It is His load to carry. Just keep your eyes on Him. Before you know it, it will be your last day too.”

I made “special” candy bags for the staff that included a card thanking them for the care, compassion, and excellence they show in doing their jobs. The ladies in the lab, who are always very pleasant, were happy to have a pick-me-up for later in the day. With all the smiles and all they joy I felt inside I was unprepared for the sudden drop in my spirit when my name was called to go into Dr. Mendoza, my oncologist’s, office. His nurse, Lakeya, took my blood pressure and it was elevated. When he came in the room to begin my exam we talked a bit first. He was surprised by and graciously accepted the small gift and card I gave him. He was also a fan of the bunny ears.

I told him the night before when I got out of the bathtub I looked at my body and saw all of my battle scars and thought out loud, ‘My body has been through A LOT!’ I shared that at age 46 there are days I feel more like I am 86. He said, “Ms. Ransome your body has been through a lot. But, your positive attitude and optimism is an encouragement to others who have been through a lot less than you.” I appreciated his kind words. After he gave the green light, it was off to the Infusion Unit. 

The Infusion Unit had a totally different vibe that day. My Jasmine, in grand Easter Bunny fashion, went from patient to patient with our Easter “basket” (it was really an Easter gift bag from the Dollar Store. Lol), offering candy bags, which got a lot of smiles and laughter. It was wonderful. When I sat in what my friend and fellow breast cancer warrior, Wanda, calls the “big chair” the feeling that rose in Dr. Mendoza’s office resurfaced. My infusion nurse, Fini, was a real sweetheart. She agreed to continue distributing the candy bags to the patients after I left and any that remained the next day. As she began preparing the first of the medications, just before she placed the needle in my chest, I could feel the tears beginning to fill my eyes. 

I told myself, ‘Stop it! You cannot sit here and cry with bunny ears on. It goes against the whole concept!’ Still the tears began to swell, but before one drop could fall, just as the needle pierced the port in my chest, I felt a very real presence rise up inside of me and step in front of me. It’s hard to put into words. I know Jesus is real. I know Holy Spirit is real and lives on the inside of me. But that day, I could feel Him stand in front of me while I, Lisa, cried inside as He continued to smile and love on all of the people in the Infusion Unit through my body. No one in that room knew what I felt like in those moments. 

The rest of the day was wonderful. I spent time with my beautiful grand babies, which is heaven on earth to me. Though I felt pretty bad physically, I was able to make it to Sunrise Service on Easter/Resurrection Sunday. We had our family dinner at my older sister, Leslie’s, house. I wasn’t able to eat much, but being with my family made my day. We ended up watching a marathon of a show called, “Being” on Centric. It’s an autobiographical show in which different celebrities tell their story. The one we watched about Vanessa Bell Calloway stuck with me. She is a fellow breast cancer warrior.

In her story she told how she reacted when she was diagnosed. She said she was so angry when she got home she wanted to throw things, but didn’t wanted to break her nice stuff. Instead, she laid on the floor and just pounded the floor. Listening to her and her loved ones speak about how they felt struck a chord with me. I thought about the day I was diagnosed. I didn’t feel anything. Though I cried, to me it was just another thing that was happening. It didn’t warrant any massive expression of emotion. It was no different than the car accident, the stroke, the abandonment, the divorce, the childhood molestation, the every-other-thing that had happened in my life to that point. It was as if I had grown to expect the worst of things to happen.

When I got home from Leslie’s house I shared with her and my baby sister, LaShawn, how I felt watching that particular episode. Breast cancer isn’t like any other thing I have experienced in my entire life. The day of my diagnosis I knew I was in for yet another fight. Today, I’m no longer expecting the worst of things to happen in my life. I believe with my whole heart come what may, my very best days are ahead of me. Still, I told my sisters I need this to be the last hard battle for a good long while. Only time will tell… 

For today, I am so thankful that whenever I need Him, Jesus is always right there. I fell in love with Him 41 years ago and the sound of His voice still melts my heart. A touch from His hand still chases the blues away. He is still my Healer, my Deliverer, my Lord, my Love, my King, my Savior, and my closest Friend. Our relationship thus far has been a true fairytale with lots of dragons to slay, chains to break, dungeon rescues… But, my Knight In Shining Armor has always been up to the task and never let me down. As we continue writing the epistle of our relationship for all the world to read according to the way I live my life, I have no reason to believe He will not continue to be who He has always been for me, my Everything, the Man of my dreams.

(Pictured above: top left, the beautiful nurse, Lakeya; bottom left, the equally beautiful Infusion Unit nurse, Fini; top right, my oncologist with the most cheerful smile, Dr. Mendoza; bottom right, my Easter Bunny accomplice, my daughter Jasmine)

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