Monday, October 5, 2015

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, REJOICE!" (Philippians 4:4)

And so it began, just as I completed my novena (9 day prayer) for the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux (http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=105)  and wondered if I would receive any roses...

On September 30, 2015 I began the day with a beautiful communion service celebrated by my Deacon Dad with my mom by my side. Many friends and family were already praying as the day before I had gone through the biopsy of three areas of my left breast. I had been experiencing symptoms of mastitis since the beginning of August and was referred to a breast specialist. After the mammogram and ultrasound, it was determined that I should have two suspicious masses and one swollen lymph node biopsied.

Later in the day I received a call from my friend Amy letting me know that she would be my "Breast Health Navigator." I didn't know that she worked for the center in which I had had the biopsies performed. What a blessing to have a friend guide me on this journey as a friend and also in her professional capacity. She is truly an angel! I feel so much more confident with her by my side.

That was the day I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. My type is rare as it is also inflammatory and is multicentric (fancy word for the fact that it is multiple quadrants of the breast).
To say were were shocked is an understatement. However, from the very minute of the diagnosis Peter and I decided we would remain positive and always count our blessings.

That evening a set of angels, our dear friends Floyd and Jennifer, showed up at our door with flowers and the time to listen and pray with us. We knew we would not be alone. I'll never forget when my sister in law, Christina texted me to remind me that to be given this cross to bare is an honor. How beautiful to have family and friends who will remind us of the true meaning behind the struggle of life.

On October 1st, the day I was expecting to announce a fun and big promotion with my business in order to celebrate my birthday month, I was calling friends and family to share the news and ask for prayers. And YES, St. Therese did send me roses through various friends and family! Also on this day we bought the newest car we have ever owned and it is my favorite color, RED! What a blessing!

These past few days have been filled with many tears but also with many amazing moments of grace as angels have been sent to lead us on this new path. On the day after my diagnosis two friends showed up at lunch time with my favorite soup! What a blessing!

My sister spent that day with me to be my side as I researched while mom watched her kids- what a blessing! My mom, dad and siblings were calling all relatives and friends to ask for prayers- what a blessing! Already, my sister in law, Lora, and my mom were sending me information and doctors' names, another blessing. Nicole, my dear friend at work, was taking care of letting colleagues know the news and was assisting with delegating my work load. She placed a beautiful pink rose on my desk that has brought me much comfort.

Another dear friend, Kelley, brought us dinner that night. We could have cooked ourselves, but it sure was a comforting gift to receive a meal and know that we would not be alone on this journey. Another friend, Ms. Papania, showed up at our door later with an amazing loaf of bread she had made for us! What love!

A friend of a friend, Julie, who just went through breast cancer, has become an instant friend to me, calling me, texting me, sending me e-mails, making sure I knew that I was not alone and that she had just won the battle herself and she would be there to help me win! She is an oncology nurse and her husband, Dr. Jorge Spinolo, is an oncologist. Wow- such expertise right at my fingertips to guide me and comfort me.

My dear friends Sonia and Greg, another pair of angels, hosted me and my boys at their house Saturday so that the boys could play while Sonia (a wise pharmacist) could help me translate my reports and help me research options. Greg cooked up an amazing healthy dinner for us and was sure to cheer us up when the conversation became somber. Sonia will be by our side at as many doctors' appointments as she can make to lend her wisdom and support.

My business sisters have shown amazing support with their phone calls and messages! I am so blessed to have them as part of my life! Tonight, after an essential oil class, Kay and Lauranell prayed over me! So amazing!

All the while my brother Gene and Lora have been calling me and checking on me and just letting me cry on the phone with them. Gene keeps reminding me that I will get through this and that I need to rely on God. He sent me a beautiful book of meditations to help quiet my spirit and listen to God's voice. This is simply not what I had planned for October! But God has other plans and I must accept them. Each one of you reading this blog are a part of my story. You are each praying and supporting us.

So many angels surrounded me at church as so many friends hugged me and promised their prayers. I even received several thoughtful cards and even gifts! Wow!

Then Sunday evening another pair of angels arrived at my door. Lori and Joe were bringing me their juicer so that I could begin making nutrient rich juices to boost my health. When I said I probably didn't have the right ingredients to practice with, Lori pulled up several bags of produce they had brought with them. WOW! So, there we were juicing and laughing.

Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends have called me, many have sent messages via facebook and e-mail. Several have offered advice. And many survivors have offered their wisdom and love- Leslie, Susan, Cindy, Chris, Nikki, Julie, Lynn, Dianne, Helen, Kathryn, and maybe more.

(WHY ARE THERE SO MANY???? Why must so many women suffer through this. I have learned that one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. You have got to be kidding me!)

Breakfast with Lisa this morning was such a welcomed distraction and a time to concentrate on my business as well as be comforted by a friend. She shared so much wisdom with me! Hugs from colleagues this morning at work were reassuring and comforting. No matter where I go I know I am not alone! I have angels to support me in every corner of my life. What an amazing blessing!!!

There are even two friends who are bringing me a scapular from Pennsylvania! Thank you Regina and Fr. Kevin!

Well, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th, we will have our first meeting with the oncologist. I'm sure we will learn a lot and have many questions answered. Not to worry, I do have a second opinion lined up. Thursday I will be having the MRI done. We will have a couple of weeks of seeking answers and options.

I promise to keep you all posted here. I didn't want to be blasting details on facebook.

Thank you all for your many prayers! October is the month of the Rosary in the Catholic Church. Please say a Rosary for me and my family! For more information on the Rosary, click here: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/rosary.php

May God be praised and glorified throughout this journey!
May we each strive to Savor the Blessings!

29 comments:

  1. We're praying for you and your family Cristina.

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  2. You will be right up there on my prayer list. I am sorry have your name there, but I know you will seek the wisdom of the holy spirit and know that His wisdom can be heard through the words of the doctors who advise and treat you. Love and Prayers, Pat

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  3. You know you can call, text, or email me for anything! Your positive attitude and your gratitude will greatly help you to get through this. You're a tough cookie and cancer doesn't know who it's messing with! Xo. Julie

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    1. Thank you Julie! You are a big part of the strength I feel. I am so thankful for you and your willingness to stand by me through this fight. Much love to you and Spin!

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  4. I have a friend, Terry Arnold who is an inflammatory breast cancer survivor - she does a ton of fund-raising and education. Let me know if you want contact info. She's on FB. www.facebook.com/terry.arnold - really, an awesome woman. Prayers for you.

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    1. Thank you! I will definitely send her a friend request on FB and hope to talk with her soon!

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    2. She is a research fiend in this particular form of cancer - has tons of connections and knows the latest research. She has spent thousands of hours raising money for research and has a heart of gold. I think she can put you in touch with the best of the field.

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  5. We will be praying for you and your beautiful family!

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  6. Christina, thank you for sharing your story and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, I know we don't know each other that well, but I will never forget your kindness in sharing the oils with me to help my daughter!

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    1. Thank you dear friend in Christ! I treasure your prayers.

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  7. Kelley and I are always here for you sis, and I am in awe of your strength and positivity which has been a trademark of who you are Cristina. My Angel on Earth is always in my heart and know that I will do absolutely anything I can to help you and the family in this fight. I believe you will win, and you will win with dignity, strength, and the Grace of God. I love you sis, and will be here for you completely.

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    1. Thank you Chris! I am humbled by your response.

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  8. I have to be honest here ... my first thought when I heard the news was "expletive (repeated many times), if only the good die young, Pete and the kids are (another expletive)." Then you emailed me your page, and I quickly realized that the uproar from earth to heaven over this one must have been deafening. I am adding to that cacophony. I won't promise to leave out the expletives. You have my love, prayers, thoughts, support, and most importantly contact information. I know you have a multitude of people, but if you need anything -- even at 3:00 am -- let me know.

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    1. Thank you dear friend!!!! You are so special to me. Believe me I have had some moments of screaming and anger. But I am always brought back to the fact that God loves me and wouldn't allow this happen for no reason. We need to party together again soon!

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  9. Hey, Christina, this is Debbie Jones you are an inspiration to us all and prayers are lifted to you and your family I love your Heart , your smile and your family's I know you have a lot of support but if you need a shoulder to cry on I'm here or anything at all I'm just around the corner, I'll come running !! Love ya Sister in Christ

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    1. Lol I'm on my husbands computer why it came up Fred Suddeth

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  10. Cristina: Please know I will continue prayers along with all the Magnificat Sisters. I will be offering my daily Masses and Eucharists for your healing and wisdom in decisions plus for your family.

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  11. Loving you and your husband. What a beautiful amount of support you've received already! I'm here if you ever want to talk. Love you. You're a gift. Rosie B

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  12. Christina, wishing God's healing blesssings for you as you begin this journey. So glad that you are surrounded by angels - angels have helped me get through many times of crisis! I am just around the corner (Bruce Way) and will be glad to help if you need me. I am praying for you and your family.
    God Bless You, Sally Baker

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  13. I am praying over you and your family. God is with you.

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  14. You are in my prayers daily, Cristina.

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  15. Cristina, the cross is never easy but our God is a God of mercy and He will give you the graces and strength you need to persevere. He is doing this thorugh the body of Christ here on earth. Their hands and heart are truly Christ's ministering to you. You are in my daily prayers that the Divine Physician will heal you completely.

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  16. The Wojtkuns are praying for you! Thanks for your example of faith to guide the rest of us.

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