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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Battling The Shark

I have just spent five days with my husband, girls, and Taylor, one of Landri's friends.  We left Monday and drove to Rockport, Texas for some fishing and fun.  My scheduled chemo day was Thursday, but we moved it to the following Monday to enjoy the trip.  Since I am half-way through the chemo I decided a few days extra would be o.k.  I start the new rounds of Taxol on Monday.  I am not looking forward to it, but who would be?  It is not supposed to be as "sickening" as the Adriamycin and CytoxanSo since I have cheated and got a few extra days without chemo, I feel good.  Most chemo schedules are every three weeks.  My cancer being Triple Negative Breast Cancer is aggressive.  Therefore, my chemo treatments are considered "dose dense", which means I get them every 2 weeks instead of three. 

 I did feel pretty good on the trip.  I laid back during most of the driving because I still get car sick easy, especially now.  We went on a big fishing boat with probably 40 people.  That was definitely a mistake on my part.  I was sick the whole time, but the girls and Kevin had a blast.  Landri won the contest for the biggest catch.  She caught a 37 inch shark.  There was a girl that caught an even bigger shark, but she had not entered the contest so it did not count.  However, my hubby decided he had to pick it up and have his picture made with it.  As I watched the battle between this girl and this big shark, it reminded me of battling cancer.  When she first hooked it and knew it was a shark, everyone gathered round her.  There were screams of shock amongst the people that stood at her side.  She fought hard for a while, but she was not strong enough.  Her husband took over and helped her with her fight. She needed his strength.  Turns out you don't "reel" in a big shark like that all the way.  You have to leave it in the water.  Then, the professional came in with his spear-like hook thing and a big net.  It took a couple of people, all the while the girl was still hanging on to the line doing the best she could.  With the help of others, the shark was brought on to the boat.  It was still flopping and fighting, but it was out of its element, so it was struggling.  Finally, the big "fisherman" dude picked up the shark by its tail and reared back and slammed him on the deck a couple of times.  The shark was knocked out cold.  I thought at first that this was a little harsh, but since he was only about 4 feet from me, I was glad he did it.  You see, I was laying across a wooden bench fighting my own battle with sea sickness and could barely move.  The shark was put in the tank on the boat.  This was like a water trough.  There was no lid or anything on it.  I could not help but think "I hope that thing doesn't wake up...I hope he is out for good."  Later, the shark did wake up and he began flailing around in the shallow water of the tank.  The water only covered the bottom half of the shark.  The shark was so confined that he finally gave up and eventually died.  This battle with the shark gave me hope and reminded me to never give up.  It told me that I am to use the help that others offer, and let the professionals do their part.  In the end, you must fight harder than the shark....the cancer.  Get your body healthy, feed it right and take the cancer out of its "element".  It was amazing to see this "scary" fish being taken down.  It took a lot of people's help, but the girl finally beat the shark.  Eventually, when the boat returned to shore, I overcame my sea-sickness.  In the end, we came home with a total of six sharks....all cleaned and packaged in neat little fillets.  

On the way home, we decided to stop in Salado, Texas, one of my favorite places.  It is a tiny historical town that was built around a spring-fed stream.  We made a rest stop there and on the way out stopped at Horsefeathers, my favorite little shop.  On the way out of that shop Presley saw a cute little store behind it called The Pink Pony.  I told her we could go inside, and Kevin and the girls went to the car.  We weren't in there for long when Kevin came through the door with another man at his side.  He said this man wanted to meet me.  When Kevin was out in the car, this man came to the window and knocked on it.  He had seen me in the store and he asked Kevin if I had breast cancer.  An easy guess considering I am bald and boobless, but I can understand wanting to be sure.  He had a gift for me, a candle...and he wanted to give it to me personally.  It turns out, this man's wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer.  We talked for a bit and I gave him one of my blog cards to give his wife.  Kevin gave him his number, knowing that as a husband it helps to have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through.  Was this all a coincidence?  No.  Sometimes God takes us off our path and on to a new one for a reason.  But it is hard for that to happen when so many times we insist on doing the driving.  We must let go and trust.  We must allow God behind the wheel of our life.  Trust me, he is a much better driver.  Please become a follower by clicking "follow" to the right of the page.  Don't forget I love reading your comments.  I have had some of the most amazing comments from people who have given me much hope and inspiration.  And even the smallest of comments and words lets me know you are out there.  I truly look forward to reading what you have to say.  Until next time my friends...


elliebelfiglio said...

I am so happy that you all had a good and advanturous time in this trip. You all needed it. This was a trip that prepared all of you for the rest of your journey and road to recovery.
What a comparssion you made in your blog! Love it. See you Monday.
Love you
From here to there

vickyboiles said...

wow penny that was such a God Wink that you and kevin were taken into the paths of the man whose wife has the same cancer. God sends us each other to encourage, support, love. He knows we are hurting.
my dearest friend - you amaze me! in the midst of all your fight - hurts, fears, courage, you find the time to be available to help others. this has always been your character.... but it is now illuminated even more in your dark time.

i love you! I need you by my side again at work.

Tyler Brandley said...

I agree with Vicky. I'm so glad you and your family had some fun and got away for awhile. I like Salado too! It is such a quaint little town. It’s fun to go there at Christmas time where for one week they light luminaries on all the pathways and main streets. It was good to see you today and I continue to lift you and your family up in prayer. I can't wait for you to get better and be back to work. We miss you so much!
Love, Tyler

Yolanda said...

So glad that you and your family had such a wonderful time away. Sounds like a fun trip! I love when God works!!! No coincidence at all that you'd meet a man who's wife was just diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. No coincidence that he felt a pull to meet you. God is good all the time!!!

Patsy Fulkerson said...

Dear Penny,
What a wonderful time. You have discovered the place I love best where God clears your brain and shows you what is important. He lets you know He will take care of you. Just like you to forget about yourself and help others.
LUV U - Miss you.

willow58 said...

Wonderful that you could take a break! You are a fighter and a trooper, Penny! We love you! There is not distance in the Spirit. Our thoughts and prayers and love are with you always!

SingingWarrior said...

Well, I'm in tears right now. Tears of thankfulness that I have this indirect connection with you through this blog. Your blog is also helping those of us who are wondering what we can do for those we love who are fighting cancer. In the last 2 wks I've had 2 friends diagnosed with cancer, one lung and the other kidney. Sometimes I wish I could just take a baseball bat at Cancer and beat the hell out of it! Just know that I'm praying for you as much as I'm praying for 3 other friends who are battling cancer.

Annika said...

Dear Penny,
I came across your blog today. My name is Annika, I am a 37 year old Swede that have the same diagnosis as you. I first found out in Dec. 29 2009. I would love to "chat" with you. I wish you all the best in this horrible and extremeyl tough battle!
Warm regards,

Leigh Bracken said...

I am the man that gave you the candle and whose wife also has breast cancer. I was surfing the web about Horsefeathers due to the fact that we have since had to close the store. My wife had to have her fifth major sugery which was her second brain surgery.
I hope you are doing well and it was a shock to see your message on the internet, but an encouragement.
Leigh Bracken