Year to Year

Good evening! I just have to tell you that Tuesday this week was a beautiful day. And not only because I woke up to the sunrise beaming through the fog rolling in through the field behind our home, but because… it was my LAST day of radiation! I received treatment to my tailbone Monday and then on Tuesday we did my C7, neck. Now that the metastasis are treated, I will have follow up visit in January and a bone density scan but, other than that, I am just about in the clear for Christmas! Praise God.

Speaking of holidays, this Thanksgiving was one of the best I have had in a long time. At least in terms of being able to enjoy myself to the fullest! Bryan and I left last Wednesday morning and headed down to Monticello to my grandparents house. It was snowing when we left Lexington, it was snowing the whole drive down there, and it snowed even harder the whole rest of the day once we arrived! We got to spend the day relaxing, helping my grandparents prep for company, and sitting watching the snow fall down through the valley. It was perfect. Then later that evening, everyone started arriving, with the exception of one aunt and uncle and their kids, and the festivities began!

Thanksgiving Day was just exceptional. I still ate as healthy as I could but I ate whatever I wanted! Turkey, Mae-ma’s home grown cream corn, several of Aunt Betty’s deviled eggs, home canned green beans, mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake… My oh my, it was delicious. And the best part was that not with one single bite did I ever have to wonder, “Is this going to make me sick? Should I really eat that? It’s my favorite but I know I’ll be miserable later…,” NONE of that. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, regardless of what time of day, what we were doing later, or how it made me feel in the past. What a blessing. I’m telling you, if you have never had to truly police what food you eat for any length of time, take a second and thank God. Being free from that one aspect alone has completely changed my life, and I will be forever grateful that I do not have to ever go back.

Apart from the wonderful foods, for the first time in about 7 years, I got to enjoy my favorite part of going to my grandparents; spending time out in the mountains with my family. For as long as I can remember, every time we visit my Mae-ma and Pae-pa, we always spend as much time outside and we do inside. We usually come inside for meals and/or UK games and then it’s right back outside. Whether it’s four-wheeling, hiking, dirt biking, or taking an after dinner walk, time outside is one of my favorite things to do, but especially with family.

This year, outside time was a double blessing because we all decided that we wanted to go to Pilot Rock. Pilot Rock is a place we don’t get to visit every time we are in Monticello because it is about 30 minutes from the house, but when we do go, it is always a memorable time. I know I shared a few weeks ago about how driving through the towns where my parents grew up was such a memorable time, right? Well this is another one of those experiences! Pilot Rock has been around for I don’t even know how long, but members of my family have been going there farther back than my great grandparents. It was probably a hangout kind of place in late 1800’s and early 1900’s. One time my dad and uncle even found my great grandparents names carved into the top that they must have put up there about 1918 or so. To get to the rock you take the main road until it becomes a winding back road, until that becomes a gravel road, and then the road stops. At that point, you have to hike up the back of the mountain and then straight up the back of the rock. Normally the trek up isn’t so bad, but this time the path was covered in wet, icy leaves. Let’s just say it made for lots of slipping, “woah woooooah-ing”, arm flapping, and lots of laughs!

Once you get to the top, you walk a little ways through what looks like your usual woods until you take a few more steps. And then… it’s nothing but drop off and the most beautiful view of the valley and mountains in the distance. It takes your breath away.

This was Bryan’s first visit to Pilot Rock and, in a way, it felt like it was mine as well. Now that I think about it, in some ways, it was! It was my first time being up there as Bryan’s wife. My first time cancer free. My first time not spending the whole time worrying about my colon. It was my very first time fully healthy! And all the while I just kept looking out at the valley and thinking about how beautiful it was. The sun shining, the fields, the trees, but most of all, the moment. Thinking back to last year and how heavily burdened we all were, how stressed, and how sick… But now, in that moment, it was so beautiful because I was so free. Free from cancer. Free from my colon. Free from chemo. Free from the toilet. Free from foods. Free from anxiety. Free from blood clots. Free from swelling. And free from the chains the devil tried so hard to clasp me in for the rest of my life. Last year, I remember thinking about how much things could change in just a years time. At that point, in the previous year I was still dealing with Crohn’s but I thought I was about to have everything resolved and figured out. And then, in just one year’s time, I was living with stage four cancer, bald, exhausted, more sickly than I had ever been, and with no plausible end in sight. But, thank you Jesus, in one year’s time, seemingly ALL of those things are gone and were not a part of my Thanksgiving in any way! And, once again, I thought about how much of a difference just one year could make. Our God is good!

I’m sorry if this all seems pretty scatter brained, I have been writing this in more than one setting when I have been able to find the time. December is behaving as December always does and it seems all I am doing these days is ‘finding time’ for things! But, as I have said before, even the busyness is a blessing. So where are things with me? I will be done with my externship at the clinic as of next week! After that, I will take my boards in the beginning of next year and then find a job! I have my regular monthly appointment with my doctor in Louisville next week but other than that, I pretty much have a normal life right now. I’m sorry the news is nothing dramatic but hey, I could only take so much yall :). I hope you’re having a wonderful night!

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