celebrating the lives of cancer survivors with family and friends

2013 Guest of Honor

Jan Frey-Jones

I have just been chosen as Celebration for Life, a nonprofit cancer fundraising organization's 2013 Cancer Survivor and honorary guest. Here is my story.

So there I was enjoying a relaxing shower after a spring induced eventful Saturday with my beautiful autistic son, Dylan. My son is my constant source of joy. Upon discovery of the odd shaped lump I immediately thought obviously this is a contusion from the horseplay on the trampoline. Yeah, that safe world of denial, because after all I have always taken very stellar good care of my health."

Here is where the journey begins. Waiting room.....moments of fear....keep reading while I wait for the diagnostic mammogram results. Oh, no...I don't like the expression on the radiologist's face. Biopsies? Why? Hey, as long as I can still work at my job and not discuss it...I can be safe. April 20, 2012, we meet with a summit of doctors to discuss the recent biopsies. There are too many people in this room for a negative result. A dubious lymph node fine....ok....but the tumors please don't say c-a-n-c-e-r. Fast forward as my husband and I walk out of there into an overcast afternoon. Too many thoughts. Calling friends finding strength. My dear sister came over the next day. Planting flowers will cheer me up. Haphazardly their roots enter the carelessly created holes; why do flowers always take the hit?

This too shall pass....Ephesians 4:13-' I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' Am I really absorbing this scripture? Or do I feel justified in my mental pouting. With the guidance of my church and my Uncle Paul, a pastor after God's own heart; their direction seemed to steer me back to a safe level of consciousness today. And as I make that turn off Ridgeview Ave. the sun greeted me with a direct, 'it is going to be ok' grin. Where is my sister who regaled me with the safest dialog earlier today when my anger obscured her wisdom for that time being only? I actually am happy again. I place where I generally reside. How long am I able to stay there? Meanwhile, my brother became a research scientist spanning the internet and a hero disguised as a cheerleader.

As long as I try to avoid interference. I didn't set out to play soccer this year with my life. The biopsies concluded the cancer, safe for that lymph node which rode the storm out like REO Speedwagon's memorable hit circa '75. However one certain radiologist not privy to my exam with a deplorable attitude did not victor over my mind. Pain is temporary, pride is forever, remember. There was another radiologist with much compassion who felt no chemo would be necessary. However, premature their suggestions may have been it gave me strength not to worry about chemo down the road. Fears of the physical damage chemotherapy can bring such as congestive heart failure, brain fog, bone pain and a constant state of feeling too sick to be functional were my worst fears. I need to be here for Dylan. Being blessed with a bar none cancer surgeon who knew the script, was what it took to bring me around in a gentle diplomatic way upon the discovery of the most deadly type of breast cancer,HER2 positive, that I possessed. Until, 2006, before a miracle drug Herceptin, that form of cancer was considered a death sentence. Dr. Dodge, I applaud you for your revelation of this to me in a digestible delivery that I could understand and still remain standing. And yet, still in my stubbornness to embrace chemotherapy, a close friend took me to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion to instill the inevitable.

2012 consisted of four surgeries, roller coaster rides, some which peaked into levels of fear. Excruciating pain from chemotherapy I never could have conceived of and moments which delivered humor and much over whelming amounts of love from friends and families.

My thanks and never ending appreciation for the love and constant support from God, my family, friends, doctors and even strangers. This is why I am here....my "Verizon team."

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