Now What?

Today, one year ago, I discovered the lump that would change my life and Tom’s for the next year.  It was a playoff football game I was watching on TV when I jumped off the couch, upset at a call made on the field, crossed my arms and felt the scary lump.  I can’t remember what teams were playing, but because of what I considered a bad call, I found that lump.  My oncologist discovered there were two lumps, not just one and there were two lesions on my liver.  This is Stage 4 Metastatic breast cancer which isn’t something you want to be diagnosed with.  Today, one year later, after a very aggressive treatment regimen, I am in remission.  My oncologist told me that only 1 in 5 patients with my diagnosis reach remission.

What have I learned over the past year?

  1.   Always wear lipstick
  2. . Find an Oncologist with a sense of humor.  It helps.
  3.   Expect the unexpected.
  4.   You will be stunned at the number of friends you have.
  5.   When your friends set up a meal train for you, tell them chicken noodle soup is your least          favorite dish, because if you don’t, by the end of the meal train it will be.
  6.   Tillamook Salted Caramel Toffee Gelato is worth every single calorie.
  7.   It’s really hard not to have hair and you will be stunned at how big your ears are.
  8.  A scary cancer diagnosis is a great motivator.  After thinking about and putting it off for several years, I wrote our family cookbook and memoir.
  9.  Staying positive is essential.
  10.  Staying active is essential.
  11.  Make cookies for the nurses, they will think you are a superhero.
  12.  I really missed wine.
  13.  Everyone needs a Tom
  14.  Always wear lipstick.

I keep asking myself the NOW WHAT question and the why did I get so lucky question, am I supposed to do something amazing?  But I am finding happiness in just the routine things I wasn’t able to enjoy this past year and feeling so grateful to be able to do them.  I do want to make some changes, which I will probably write about, but I am a changed person for sure.  What that will look like this coming year, I will find out!

14 thoughts on “Now What?

  1. ingrid says:

    I just read your post and cannot believe you were diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. you are truly remarkable to be in remission. I am so happy for you and Tom! a wonderful 2020 to you both. ❤❤❤

  2. Donald Dobie says:

    Super news Stevie. Hope to see Tom and you in Port Townsend some day. BTW I too am in remission next month will be one year.

    God bless,

    Don Dobie

  3. Diane Fair Hunter says:

    Stay positive, Stevie, and the world will be your oyster!! You have come a long way, and there is a reason! Keep moving forward!!

  4. Susan Blevins says:

    Oh my, Stevie!

    Gay told me you were not feeling well for the New Year’s Day party. Darn! I sure wish I had been there.

    My New Years here paled in comparison to the festivities you and Tom put together on New Year’s Day.

    Miss you! Will call soon.



    • Ruthann Gaard says:

      Great news Stevie! Brian is cancer free as of January 6 now for 16 years. He is also doing great after his hospital stay this past February. Prayers were there for you and him. Celebrate!!!

  5. Susan Blevins says:

    You are truly amazing!
    I know my ups and downs thinking of you and your struggle and of Tom are nothing. (I’m glad you have a Tom.) Not exactly nothing. All of your friends have followed you all of the way through the ups and downs. You have amazed (and inspired) everyone.

    Now what?! BOISE! Come and relax. Free room and board. Room service is great.

    All my love to you and Tom!


    Susan B.

  6. Michael Bender says:

    Everybody loves you Stevie. You’re our hero the way you’ve managed this stuff. Inspiring. Thanks.

    Howdy to Tom and kiddos.


  7. Janice Huss says:

    Great going Stevie! Life. IS worth living! We moved from Phoenix after 47 years there to Idaho. At age 72 and John at 75! Love the change and would do it again . Now we need a puppy! Going to Brother’s Wednesday! Step Dad there will be 96 in May. There. Grandkids are the best! Our son John got home from Bagdad Dec. 8:: best Christmas gift we ever got. He is staying in Idaho now! There. IS. A God. And he watches over each one of us! Best wishes. Always!! Janice Huss (Lange). & John.

  8. Laura Richmond says:

    Super happy new year to you….you are a funny…courageous….sweet….beautiful lady and loved by so very many of us…..

  9. Sarah says:

    Wait…what about butter??? And I would love to buy a copy of your cookbook! You (and Tom now) are such great chefs!!!
    Yes, 2019, the year to put behind you now. You were a champion and champions always win! So proud and happy for you!
    Love you!

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