Dear Friends,

Please don’t get the wrong idea.  I know it’s been a long time since I posted a blog entry, but you’re on my mind every day.  You have no idea how grateful I am for all your prayers and good wishes

Let’s begin with news from the ‘”front”.  I started a new round of treatment last week.  We’re now in Round #2,  No radiation, this time out; and I only have to deal with chemotherapy on alternating weeks.  Since my chemo comes in pill form and can be administered at home, I only have to go to the Dana Farber once a week.  That’s a big improvement over Round #1 when I had to go to the hospital every day.  So, I suppose you could say that things are getting better.  I’ll be done with this round on November 29th, at which point I’ll meet with Dr. Lee and we’ll figure out how to proceed from there.  We’re taking it step by step.  As Dr. Johnson told me at our last appointment, “It’s an aggressive cancer and we can’t let up.  Your MRI shows us that you’ve responded to the chemo and that’s good news.”

I’ve got to hold on to ‘good news’.

Of course, it’s not as if things are rosy.  This first week presented me with a number of unpleasant side effects.  I’ve got nausea, and I’ve got a prescription for anti-nausea medication; I’ve got anxiety, and I’ve got a prescription for anti-anxiety medication.  I take pills to help me cope with the pills I take.

There’s a new program for cancer patients at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine.   I’m excited for the chance to get a mental boost.  It’s really just what I need because, as Paul says, I spend all day ‘sleeping and weeping’.  Weeping is one way of coping with all the losses since I’ve been diagnosed; sleeping is the other way to cope.  Losses.  I’m just now getting my head wrapped around the scope of these losses.  There’s the loss of my independence, the loss of my job, the loss of my confidence.  The worst loss is the loss of identity.  I can no longer do any of the things I used to do so well, the things that used to define me, the things that made me who I am.  I don’t know who I am anymore.

You would cry too if it happened to you.

The grief just doesn’t go away and I’m not going to pretend any of this is easy for me.  Paul wants me to make the best of what I have left, but I’m just not ready to do that.  It’s going to take time, a lot of time; and it’s going to take a lot of patience from my loving friends and family who, let’s face it, don’t really understand what I’m going through.

Do you remember that line in Moonstruck when Cher tells Nicholas Cage to “snap out of it”?  I wish it were that easy, but it ain’t.

I want to share a story of a young couple who have really won my admiration.  A little over a year ago, my great-nephew, Cpl. Douglas Vitale, stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan.  Not only were his injuries life threatening, but he lost two legs and suffered severe brain damage.  His father, my nephew Dale, and his mother Becky had to relocate to Florida to be aid with Doug’s recovery.  The entire family has faced enormous setbacks, and they’ve done so with grace and with an enormous amount of faith in God.  They’re now on a path of hope.  I saw that hope in Doug’s smile when I saw a photograph of him putting on his prosthetic legs.  I hear it when they talk about moving back home to Pittsburgh, which they’re going to do as soon as the wonderful folks at the Wounded Warrior Project and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation have finished building them a new home.

It’s hard for me to feel sorry about my losses when I think of the losses that family has suffered — there were physical losses, and memory losses, and the losses his new bride had to endure to be with her husband as he goes through rehabilitation in Florida.  Their story is one of faith, of hope and of love.  With all the losses they’ve suffered, they face each day with anticipation of the future.  I admire them.  They give me the courage to face each new day — I wish I could do it with their sense of optimism.

So, I want to ask a favor.  You’ve all been so generous to Paul and I.  Be generous to Doug and Alexis as well.  Please give a donation to these organizations in their name.  God is good all the time; and, as my friend Mary Lou Heagarty always says, “He’s getting better every day.”

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


About pamvbradford

I am a fifty seven year old banker specializing in government banking. I have a beautiful twenty-one year old daughter and a wonderful husband. My husband and I recently downsized, and purchased a beautiful condo in Watertown MA. We love our new home. I know I am a very fortunate person. I am surrounded by supportive family members, by supportive coworkers and by the marvelous support of our faith community at Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington MA. As the Psalm says, "There is nothing that I lack." My whole life changed on July 18, 2012 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The news came from out of the blue. My tumor was removed by the marvelous Dr. Mark Johnson and his wonderful team of surgeons at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The surgery truly was a miracle. I couldn't possibly have gotten better care. Now the 'easy' part is over. The tough part is to learn to walk with God in the midst of danger and surprise. My mood shifts from gratitude to fear and back again but I know God has a purpose for me. There's a reason I didn't die on the operating table. There's something that God wants me to do. This blog is my effort to share with others, with all of you, what it is that I am learning as I put one foot ahead of the other, live each day as it comes, and discover what it is that God has to teach me. Your prayers keep me going. Your love comforts me. Your knowledge and faith guide and teach me. God bless you all!
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6 Responses to Losses

  1. Pingback: [Post from Paul] Who’s Interested? | My Walk With Jesus: My Heart is on the Journey

  2. Chris & Peg says:

    Pammy–we’ve been keeping posted on your progress through Stephanie and your blog. No one can imagine what it would be like to go through this. We want you to keep strong and know that we’re thinking about you. We’ll be around during Christmas & if you’re feeling up to it, we’d like to come by & see you. Love, Chris, Peg & the kids

  3. Lorie says:

    Pam, your strength continues to amaze me. Very few people could find the energy to love the way you do, asking your friends to pray for Doug and Alexis. It’s this love of yours that draws so many people to you. Amid all the losses – and they are real, painful, and unknowable to the rest of us — you still overflow with love and can’t help sharing it with others. God is truly with you, because God is love.

  4. Chide says:

    Pam, I’m so grateful to hear your doctors say those things! Your doctor sounds wonderful in giving you that news – I wish mine were a bit more awesome. You’re right about the whole loss of identity thing, but from the looks of it, you’re doing quite well and I’m glad for it. Keeping ploughing through this! You can do it!

  5. caffieneplease says:

    I’m glad to hear the good news!!! One thing you wrote that stuck out to me was that you said you have lost your identity. I can completely relate, but don’t forget that your identity is in Christ Jesus. As He is, so are you. Don’t lose hope.
    When we were seeing all the doctors for my son’s brain tumor, I had my radio on a christian station non stop. That really helped me through my storm, and I hope it can help you. I don’t know where you live, but you can probably find your local station at their website. http://www.klove.com
    God bless you, and I hope you have a good thanksgiving.

  6. ronald lancaster says:

    Pam, Each of us breathe a huge sigh of relief when you got the news of no new growth. But for you, the beat goes on. The physical symptoms, the anxiety, the sadnessand losses. You are so correct when you say that no one really understands what this is like for you. You are the one with aggressive brain cancer….and we have not walked even an inch in your shoes. Empathy can only go so far. I am thankful you can express these feelings, and I would give my heart for you NOT TO GO THROUGH THIS. I have no words to express my sadness. I am just standing on prayer and faith that you will seein time a good outcome. I know what my Thanksgiving is about, and I trust that yourswillhave moments of peace and joy. Love you so, Julie


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