Friday, October 17, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness -- Reflections from the Journal of a Survivor

This time it was someone that I love~

October is designated as the month to focus on Breast Cancer Awareness --billboards, magazines, posters, celebrities.  Much time and effort is given to raising awareness so that hopefully, one day, there will be a cure for this devastating disease.  On a personal note, I have not needed to wait for October to arrive.  Thoughts of breast cancer have filled my every waking moment for the last 10 months.  Every day, every night, every breath~

Breast Cancer does not discriminate. It is an equal opportunity disease.  Rich, poor, young,old.  It does not care if you are 33 years old and the Mother of two beautiful babies ages 4 and 1. 
 I know this because breast cancer has invaded our lives -- the life of my own beloved family.  This time it found it's way to my beautiful daughter in law, the Mother of our precious granddaughters.

 This has been the year from hell. And yet -- through it all, Alicia has fought this disease with courage, and determination, and grace.  Amazing grace.  With her mastectomy, chemo, and radiation now behind her, finally she and her family are starting to move past all the struggles that have overtaken their life this past year. I have not shared our family heartache with you because I have been holding my breath -- for the last 10 months.
When you watch someone that you love slowly crawl their way back through the gates of hell, it changes your own life forever.  Our grandbabies are still too young to understand, but someday, they will know how strong their Mother was and how courageously she fought this disease so that she could be there for them -- always.
And all the while, my son carried the weight of worry,
 for his wife, and the Mother of his children,
on his own shoulders.
Breast Cancer affects those we love,
and those who love. 

 has graciously offered
 to share with you now, some reflections
 from her own personal

"Breast cancer is NOT--
pink ribbons,
It's not strong enough 
to stop GOD"

"lots on my mind tonight, 
as I approach the end of my chemo treatments. 
 I have been thinking about how the world views breast cancer. 
 I feel that it has been glamorized 
and that it is really no big thing 
to go through~"

"breast cancer is real. 
 It takes a part of your life from you. 
 Yes, you can come out stronger than before.  
With God on your side,
 you know that you can make it through-- 
but the hell that you have to go through to get there--
 is more than what is shown on television."

"if I could get the world to see one thing about breast cancer,
it is that it's not pink ribbons,
 5 K runs, 
and support groups~"

"it's nights of being afraid to go to sleep,--
having to look people in their eyes
and see them feeling sorry for you."

"it's wanting to eat something,
and it tastes so bad--
it's watching your body transform into
something you don't even

"it's watching your friends and family
hurt-- and you can't fix it."

"there is a lot of bad from breast cancer,
and I've yet to find the good.
What I have found,
is how great my God is."

"even on my worst days,
I have always felt God's strength.
It's through his strength that I have survived.
This is a part of my story that He has written
specifically for me."

"I am stronger 
and I have a new outlook on life--
but not because of cancer."

 "it's because for the the first time
in my life,
I've had to completely give
everything I am, and everything I have
to Jesus."

"He has guided every step of my battle
with cancer."

"THIS is what I want the world to know~
cancer has not made me stronger,
God has."

~perhaps you or someone you love 
is also facing this difficult journey to wellness.
 Alicia would like to provide words of comfort or support~~
you may contact Alicia through me-
I will forward your every email to her

 "Only by weathering the great storms,
can we appreciate
the most beautiful
Tyler Knott Gregson

Please allow me to share with you
 the latest in my "Seraphina" knitted collection~
my "Breast Cancer Awareness" wrap.
The charitable proceeds from the sale of this 
wrap will be donated to the
Susan G. Komen Foundation. 
you can find all the details
about this heirloom quality wrap
Some updates~
We've been away on travels.  With Alicia on the mend, the Gardener and I traveled to Canada for what would turn out to be the trip of a lifetime.  I'll be sharing some of those photos with you soon.
 This photo was taken in Perce', Quebec

While we were in Canada we were witness to their own
 Breast Cancer Awareness project --
I brought home a lovely pair of pink mittens to share with you. 
 If you would like to be considered for the drawing --
 please just leave the word mittens at the end of your comment or just tell me that you would 
like to be entered.  


Please, please remember my very special charitable project for Josephine's Children.  If you could find a small space in your heart for these precious children, it would make such a difference to them.  Donations of craft supplies and/or a $5 Walmart card will be accepted until December 15.  You can find all the info here.     (there are some wonderful prizes to be given away also!)

ps --- I've missed you all!


Betty said...

What a powerful post this is. Your daughter in laws journal excerpts are humbling; we take so much for granted when we are healthy and we think we can empathise with those who are suffering but we only see the surface, your daughter has shown how powerful God can be when we let go of our burdens and ask Him to help. Wishing all of you in your family happy times ahead. Betty

Createology said...

Dearest Vicki thank you for sharing Alicia's Grace and strength and courage. I cannot imagine traveling her journey. It is October and I am doing my Mammogram this morning in fact. My annual gift to myself. Prayers and Healing Energy for Alicia and your entire family. Life is precious!
I am thankful I was able to help out Josephine's Children. Will look forward to your travel journal and photos. Blessings...

Magpie's Mumblings said...

It's hard to type anything with such tears in my eyes. Yes I have tears - both of sorrow for your lovely family having to go through this, but also of joy that faith has brought you through. Blessings on you and your family, and most especially on your beautiful daughter-in-love.

maggiegracecreates said...

what a humbling post. I am a two time cancer survivor (two primary unrelated cancers) and there was that one line from your daughter-in-love's journal that caused me to stop breathing momentarily. Because I remember those nights of being afraid to sleep and the looks in people's eyes. The wrap is stunning, but her words......her words are haunting. I could have written them myself in 1996 (breast cancer) and again in 2010 (renal cell carcinoma). I wish you all the best - and as Alicia and her family take each new day I wish her grace, beauty, joy, strength, and peace. Much love, many prayers. Teresa Atkinson (maggiegracecreates)

Anonymous said...

God bless you all.

Cathy said...

Thank your dear daughter-in-law for sharing her thoughts with us. I'm glad that she has her faith to help her through such a difficult time. I wish her all the best.

liniecat said...

fingers SO crossed for Alicia X

gigi knits said...

We all think it will never happen to my family.but it does happen & when it does it feels like your world is upside down with two words "Breast Cancer".
You and your family have all the prayers I can send your way as I have been in your shoes.
So happy for you that you had a wonderful time in Canada.
xoxo my dear friend

Maria said...

Firstly, what a beautiful tribute to Alicia you wrote. Secondly, how moving were Alicia's journaling of her fight against this terrible disease. Moving,inspirational and also thought provoking...seeing from the other side the view of the disease and all those fund raising ventures.

Julie Marie said...

A very touching post dear Vicki... you had shared your story with me some time ago, as you know my own familys story... and I have prayed for your daughter in law and all of you ever since then... I am so happy to hear her treatments are over and she is doing well... my prayers will continue... and as I read her journal, I felt as if I was reading my own sisters journal... although as you know hers did not have a happy ending... no, it's not pretty pink ribbons and 5k runs... it's heartaches and sleepless nights... many many prayers... and now just clinging to precious memories... praying for a cure... xoxo... Julie Marie

Anonymous said...

Tears are streaming down my face. This precious young lady is so special to me and as she traveled this journey, I was so amazed at her strength, her love, courage,grace and I could go on and on. I must admit there were times I felt so ashamed of myself. I would wonder if it were me, could I handle it like she did? So young, but oh so wise. I love you baby girl, Sis Sue

MAGS said...

What a beautiful way you have honored my Sissy. Throughout this journey her strength and fight have been fierce. Her faith and trust in God has been unshakable. Everyone who hears her testimony will be a witness to the goodness of our God. She is truly the most amazing person I know. I am a blessed person to have her as my sister <3

Sue Kosec said...


Please tell Alicia that I've been praying for her ever since you shared her story with me. It's wonderful that she's kept a journal of her journey - she'll never regret those words so brilliantly written.


Your knitted creation is absolutely AWESOME. Of course, I wouldn't expect anything less. You sure can make knitting needles sing beautiful tunes.


I can't wait to see more pictures and read all about your vacation of a lifetime. It'll be like being there with the two of you. You always paint such a true-to-life picture.


Josephine's Children are going to be so excited. I can't wait to shop for them!!!!

Mittens! Did I say "mittens?" Yes, I would love to be included in the opportunity to win these. I know exactly who I would give them to, too.


Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Dear Vicky
I applaud both you and Alicia for writing this very real 'Breast Cancer Awareness' post and I admire Alicia for sharing her thoughts from her journal with us.

Her words "it takes a part of your life from you" makes my heart ache.
All the pink ribbons in the world can't make one feel better about it.
Seeing their family photo with her lovely husband and two precious girls, I feel so grateful that Alicia put her faith in God and He gave her the strength to fight and win her battle.

I can’t begin to imagine the depths of despair you have all been through this past year.
I'm sending prayers and love across the seas for you all.
Family is everything.
Take care
Shane xox

Sea Angels said...

Dearest Vicki
Breast cancer is a terrible thing. I have lost cousins and Aunties all in their thirty's to this illness. It is a burden and dread in all our hearts for family and friends and strangersand their familys that may have to cope with it. Much love and prayers for all of your family, lets hope by the time your daughter in laws daughters have grown this horrible disease will have been eradicated, conquered.
With much love
Lynn x

Catherine said...

Sending my love and prayers from here in the UK. Such a moving testimony by your daughter-in-law. I hope she is now well on the way to recovery. We have recently been told that my brother has an aggressive form of bowel cancer and we are all going through so many emotions- anger and despair mainly. Hope seems so far away at the moment.

Dorthe said...

My dearest Vicki,
Oh I`m happy ,that Alicia, is now through and on the other side of this nightmare, and all her dear family, as well, counting you, whom was so very much there for them in this very difficult, and heartbreaking time.
Alicia`s statement is touching, and with a sister, and 2 close friends forever lost because of Cancer,-I know that, this sickness has nothing with pink or glamour, to do !! NOTHING AT ALL !!!!! Thank you for sharing your daughter-in-laws thoughts ,and for your beautiful posted scharf and mittens to winn. Dearest Vicki, you are alwayes so nenerous, and the kindest woman,ever !
Warm hug from Dorthe

Julie said...

God bless you all xxx

Susan said...

Alicia, so moved by your words. Thank you for sharing. Many blessings. Vicki, as per normal, you don't post often, but oh my when you do.......

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

No, breast cancer is not about pink (men get it also), races or ribbons; it is about brave people who fight the hard battle for themselves and their families.

The good news is that a majority of women beat this horrible disease and in the coming years, with all the research, there will be a cure. This has to do with the women who over the years have spread the word about breast cancer and have pushed for the research and funds to "find the cure". They re the worriors of women's health which had been on the back burner of all research that was being studied and funded.

Alicia said it all beautifully and she speaks for many survivors of this disease. This battle can be won, but it is hard, very hard.

Mosaic Magpie said...

Alicia is such a strong young woman. Fighting the fight for not only herself but for her precious family...your family. Two small girls, needing their mother today and always. Two small girls with a bright future ahead of them that Alicia will be a major part of. Her words and thoughts sobering and so very true...we see pink ribbons and think of the beauty, but there is an ugly side to those ribbons as well and Alicia has seen it. Praying special blessings on Alicia and for her family, you included. You do so much for so many and I am honored to be your friend.

Mosaic Magpie said...

I forgot to mention your beautiful wrap...the yarn is gorgeous and I love all the flowers dancing around. The beaded ribbon is a nice touch.

Julia said...

Vicki, I'm at a lots for words... Alicia said it better than I could have ever have said it myself. How fitting and generous of her to share here thoughts on Breast cancer here on your post in October.

As a survivor, I have some idea of what she went through but my kids were all grown up. How difficult and frightening this must have been for her and the whole family.

She is right, cancer didn't made her strong but her trust in a loving God did.

Wishing her good health and a smooth road ahead. Thanks for sharing this.
Hugs & prayers.

Quinn said...

Please thank Alicia for sharing her deeply personal thoughts with us. Even with the best intentions, it can be so hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes when you just can't know what they feel about the struggles they are going through. Thank you.
And thank you, Vicki, for the reminder about Josephine's Children! I bought a WalMart gift card ages ago to send, but haven't yet mailed it! I will do so this week.

Mereknits said...

Bless your DIL and all of you. She is brave and a fighter and she should be honored for all that she has fought through to get to where she is today. As a cancer survivor myself, I sometimes get irritated with the walks , ribbons and such. I am not taking away anything from breast cancer survivors, but I feel it should be all cancer survivors. Are the rest of us less important because we did not lose a breast? It sounds silly I know, but everyone fighting cancer is important.

Best of luck to your darling DIL. You must all be so happy she is doing well. Cancer affects the whole family so I am sending you positive thoughts too Vicki.

Deborah Montgomery said...

Such a powerful story. I'm sorry you and your family has had to go through this difficult time. I will pray for complete recovery for your beautiful daughter-in-law. What a testimony she has.

Suztats said...

Blessings to Alicia and her family, and to you, too, Vicki. I can't imagine how scary the last 10 months have been for all of you. And all the while, pink scarves were arriving at your door.
Too many of us have seen how cancer affects our families and loved ones. Prayers have been sent up for you and yours. Blessings.

Amy at love made my home said...

I hope that from now only good things come to you and your family. xx

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

I didn't know why I always cringed when someone said, "my disease has made me stronger". Your wonderful Daughter-in-law's articulate words sang to me. The disease is not the hero, our spirit is.
All my love to you Vicki and to your son's beautiful family.

In regards to 'Josephine's Children', thank-you for the reminder, and may I send a Canadian Walmart gift card?


yaya said...

I've seen breast cancer in the OR and in my wonderful best friend Donna. It has changed the way I look at cancer and understand a bit more of what someone goes through after diagnosis. Your Daughter-in-laws words are so perfect...they are her story and her feelings and I'm sure many are touched by them. I know I was. Thank you for sharing them with us...the mittens are beautiful and a great way to help bring awareness. I gave the last of the scarves to our Women's health center for their breast cancer awareness fund raising event. They were so excited to have them! Prayers to you and your family Vicki. I'm looking forward to your Canada pics!

Louise Doney said...

Thankyou to your daughter-in-laws very powerful testimony to her faith in God. I've never heard her insight to battling cancer verbalized quite that way before and it was a eye opener. My sister is a breast cancer survivor and I would love for her to have those mittens since she lives in the frozen north of Pa.USA By the way , love your blog. Thankyou

Jen said...

Hello Vicki, Thank you for shareing Alicia's journey as her words are so true it is heartache and sleepless nights. How amazing she was through this with her young family to think about. I am a breast cancer survivor. It is a disease of global impact.It is such a challenging experience to ever face and I know with God's help and a supportive family Happy days to come.

Josephine Namujumbi said...

Alicia thank you for sharing such an inspirational story! I am so touched and thanking God that you have sailed through. I am praying for your complete recovery! I know what it has been for Vicki..Love to you Vicki for having a good heart for others..may you continue to be in blessings! My children will be very excited to receive the gifts! Blessing to you Alicia, Vicki and your grand daughters.

Buttons said...

WOW this is a post I needed to hear my best friend is fighting a battle that is very similar but with rectal cancer which they now believe it has spread.Not knowing is a "Hell" in itself. I am going to forward this post to her. I think every form of cancer survivor or person that loves them or going through this need to read this. Alicia I am so happy you made it through the "Hell" that you had to go through and your message will not be lost. It is very much needed.
HUGS and prayers to you and your family Alicia and Vicki you are amazing.

Canada eh Vicki cannot wait to read about it. Hug B

lynn cockrell said...

Vicki, I am so very sorry to hear about your precious daughter-in-law and that she has been through so much in her battle with breast cancer. I will use a word that I do not often say about anyone or anything. The word is "hate." Yes, I HATE cancer-cancer in all its horrible forms. I lost my father to pancreatic cancer and my dear son-in-law has been battling Stage
IV kidney cancer for over three and a half years. It has ravaged his body and mind. He has undergone numerous surgeries on kidney, lung and brain. I will not go into what the results have done to his body and mind--a true horror story.It not only victimizes the one with the cancer but the spouse and children and, indeed, the entire family. I know you can relate in so many ways. I will be praying for all of you!

2Turtle Doves Designs said...

So sorry to hear about the struggle your family has weathered.

Cancer is a thief; but with G-d's love, grace, and mercy; fear is beat back :-)

My lifelong friend died 10 years ago from a 24 year battle with cancer. My daughter had an ovary removed 4 years ago and was told the other was sterile - she blessed us 3 months ago with a beautiful Grandson. My husband's niece just went through breast surgery yesterday - it was a day of nail biting, but she is on the mend tonight. Just 2 hours ago my sister called to tell me she has bone cancer. The neighbor next door is away spending final moments with her terminal sister ... it seems like cancer hovers over all of our lives.

But so does the love of Yeshua :-D It was GOOD to read you DIL's victorious words tonight :-) May G-d keep her healthy for the rest of her life. Shalom.


val said...

What a beautiful post. There simply are things in this life we cannot share openly to our least not while we are in the midst of struggle.
No need to put my name in the hat for the mittens sweetie. I am just happy for you all.

gigi knits said...

Once again "BREAST CANCER" has come to my extended family . She going to have double mastectomy on Friday ( tomorrow) as it is the aggressive form and once again it is a young mother of 4.
We all have to work hard to help find a CURE for this !!
Vicki I pray every night for your family and all women who are hearing those 4words that will change her life forever .
You Have Breast Cancer..
Love u

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Alicia's battle this past year. Cancer doesn't affect one, it affects all. The family becomes a part of the entire diagnosis and treatment. I am glad to hear that she is doing so much better and pray for continued health and wellness. Best wishes, Tammy

miaismine said...

I have a Pinterest board titled "Breat Cancer - my mom, my sister-in-law, my cousin, my aunt - my heroes. They've all battled breadt cancer. My sister in law battled twice - 20 years apart. My cousin survived stage four breast cancer.

I learned last week I may be adding myself to the list. I'll benpicki up orders for the biopsy next Monday.

I so appreciate your daughter in law sharing her journal excerpts. At the time it gave me a new realistic perspective as I cared for my sister in law last month. And now quite possibly for myself.

Regardless of the out come, she's right: Breast cancer doesn't make us stronger - God does. Thank you for sharing!