What a difference a year makes!

This time last year I had just come out of surgery! It marked being halfway through my treatment for cancer! One year on and  I am writing this post from beside the sea! We are enjoying a short break away to recharge our batteries after a busy few months!

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All climbers know that reaching the summit of a mountain is only half the story! Navigating your way down again is the other half!

From the accounts I’ve read of mountaineers scaling Everest, they say that the descent can be as dangerous as the ascent, if not more so! The fact that mountaineers are totally exhausted from lack of oxygen, food and water means that they can make simple mistakes.

Over these past few months I have been recovering from the effects of chemotherapy treatment and surgery. It has not been easy! My body was left with a number of side effects, which need to repair. The chemo has left me with tingling and stiffness in all my joints, especially so in my arms, legs and hands. The surgery has left me with a hernia! The stomach wall was weakened after such a huge surgical incision and developed a small hole through which some of the abdominal tissues now slightly protrude! Swimming regularly has really helped. Being weightless in the water has meant I can stretch without pain or discomfort!

Alongside this I have been taking a Barre class! My daughter–in-law introduced me to this last summer and from the first class I was hooked! It involves repeating intensive core conditioning exercises whilst holding onto a ballet barre. In my case I am hanging onto the barre for dear life!! It’s really hard work but has helped my body gain strength and tone. As a direct result, the tingling in my arms has now disappeared and my legs are strong enough to do a combination of walking and jogging. The joy of being able to move again without pain, is something I don’t take for granted anymore. The hernia does not bother me and the surgeon says he will operate to repair it when I’m ready! Although it’s a simple operation I’m not quite ready to face hospital and surgery again just yet!

Apart than the physical side effects, I am doing well. The reason why I haven’t posted for so long has been that I’ve been enjoying life again! I returned to work in September taking up the reins of leading my fabulous team again. They have all been so kind in helping me integrate back into the world of work after 10 months of absence. 

I continue to have regular appointments with my oncologist to check on my progress. Since September, both my blood and scan results have been normal. My next check up is in March.

Over the past few months we have had many joys! Two more precious grandchildren have arrived making us grandparents of five! We’ve also had two trips to the USA, one where we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday and the second to celebrate Christmas with our eldest son and his family. Second to playing with my grandchildren comes learning how to master machine appliqué and free motion quilting, theatre visits, weekly youth work, birthday celebrations and singing again with our music team….to mention but a few!

My first attempt at machine appliqué!

These joys in life help me to bear the challenges too! Friends of mine are still fighting cancer and continue to go through difficult treatments to kill off these rogue cells. I continue to pray for their healing, wisdom for the doctors who are treating them and for courage to keep pressing on! We said farewell to one dear friend at the beginning of January and we are saying another in a few days time. These two had lived long lives and seen children and grandchildren grow and flourish.

The deaths that are harder to bear are those of young people in the prime of life, some with young children. Rachael Bland from BBC Radio 5 Live is such a person. She began this fabulous podcast ‘You, Me and the big C’ with two friends who also have experience of cancer. She was only 40 when she died in September but has left this amazing legacy of openly talking about cancer. I applaud that! #YouMeBigC

When I started ‘climbing Everest’ all those months ago, I knew it would be the hardest thing I’d ever faced. It was and it is! I will continue to write this story as I make my way down the ‘mountain’ charting the ups and downs of the journey. My security lies in the fact that even though this is unknown territory for me, I have faith in God who knows the path ahead.

The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need……….. Psalm 23:1

And right now I’m enjoying walking on the beach!

7 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes!

  1. This is an inspirational story and it is so encouraging to read your experience Carole. Thank you so much for sharing the journey. Love Penny

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  2. My Dear Carole Anne, you are such an example of Faith in a Wonderful God, to all of us who read your blog. What a Testimony you have here. God is faithful, + you have been faithful in your obedience.I know you are grateful. I am so pleased you are happily receiving all the many Blessings of your walk with him, pleasures at hand + increases in your family,etc. May you live long, + the way open before you. God is so Good. Could I ever have expected all these things, way back in your early ‘teens, during our camping holidays in Oban ??? Carry on rejoicing. God is with you all the way. With my love, Joy Walker.

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    1. Dear Joy. Thank you so much for your kind words. One thing I do miss through all that I’ve been through is mum. Gill and Simon have been wonderful and my daughter Abi has been to many of my chemo sessions with me. Ian has nursed me through it all but I’ve still missed my mum. I was thinking of our camping trips in Oban the other day. Special times!
      We’ve just come back from the USA where we spent time with 2 of our sons and their families. Our grandchildren are so precious.
      Sending you lots of love xxx

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  3. Thank you Carole for your latest blog so good to read it
    We are journeying with many friends going through cancer at the moment (too many) and it is comforting to hear your testimony as we pray for and stand along side our lovely friends
    Graham’s younger sister went to heaven in November but we know she is now healed and free from Cancer
    Just reading in Hebrews 2 this morning in the Passion translation……….the Lord validated their ministry
    With signs
    Astonishing wonders
    And all kinds of powerful miracles……..
    Nourish your heart in My promises
    Laugh at your impossibilities and the miracle will be birthed in your heart

    So good to see you pushing through impossibilities with your fitness
    You are to be commended
    We continue to pray for you each day
    Luv Joy xx

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    1. Dear Joy. Thanks for continuing to pray for me. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss of Graham’s sister. I have friends fighting cancer too and it’s a tough journey. I stand on God’s promises every day and know they are solid rock!
      Love and blessings to you and Graham. Xx

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  4. What a blessing to meet you during Nancy Goudie’s Spiritual Health Weekend this month and sit with you at the Banquet when you spent time talking to my granddaughter Sophia and myself. How amazing that we shared a common journey? No one but God could have planned such a meeting! Thank you for your care and kindness.
    And though I have never climbed any physical mountain, I certainly comprehend the heights of a cancer journey to the summit and back. May God continue to bless and use you Carole. Love Dawn x

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    1. Dear Dawn, thank you so much for your kind words. It was so lovely to meet you and Sophia at the banquet too. I hope you are both doing well.
      I have just come back from being in the USA for 3 weeks seeing my children and grandchildren. Lots of fun!
      Praying blessings on you and your family. Love Carole x

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