Saturday, May 29, 2010

Between a rock and a hard place!

We did indeed have the third MRI scan on Tuesday despite the emergence of a migraine headache and all of the fear that was still in place from the last scan. When we got to McKay Dee, we were lucky enough to have the same nurse, Sue that we had the pleasure of meeting during the second MRI (the magnet is always on-- Sue!).

My emotions were high and the quantity of sleep low, but I felt loved and supported as I walked back to get scanned with Brenda and Justin at my side. Brenda was snapping photos and Justin was making sure that everything was just right (even though it was his birthday…and the reverse should have been happening). These things were comforting but I continued to feel sick at my stomach and pain in my head. The lack of control in my life and the outcome of the MRI were proving to be difficult to bear.

Like life, even when it is difficult to bear it often goes on anyway and so did the MRI. Instead of placing my face on the specially designed cushion, Sue took it off and stacked a number of pillows instead. It was far more comfortable! That comfort lasted about 1 minute until I was put into the MRI tube and felt absolutely stuck BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. My arms were pinned above my head and I knew I was in that position for the next several minutes. Does the word claustrophobia come to mind? It came to me!

And like life again, just when you think you cannot handle a situation any longer, it is over and so was the MRI. Now, we just had to wait for 24 hours to get the results with Dr. Stinnett. I could not get the idea of being stuck BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE out of my mind. I thought about the cramped tube of the MRI; I thought about the confining situation that my mind was in with thoughts of the tumor; and I thought about the restricted and proverbial ROCK AND A HARD PLACE that my family has been in since the cancer diagnosis.

This feeling of being stuck and having very little control stayed with me through the night (my companion instead of sleep) and throughout the day leading up to the appointment with Dr. Stinnett. To be perfectly honest, the day was miserable…I was weepy and sad and pitiful. I had made the choice to focus on the negative. I was sure that the news from Dr. Stinnett would be bad and I was trying to prepare myself for the news, so that I could comfort my family and friends.

I walked into his office stuck BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE; battling with my circumstance and the emotions that were right on the surface. I was feeling the pressure and looking around the office at my parents and Justin, I decided to go say hi to Lisa before Dr. Stinnett came in to share the results.

She, of course was busy, busy in her blue Martian outfit and mixing the chemotherapy drugs for the souls who were hooked up in the chairs. I poked my head in the office and said hi with a smile. She took my smile as a sign that I had received the good news and she burst from the office and with a huge hug told me, “Congratulations!”

I hugged her back and looked at her dumbfounded. She tried to cover her excitement and stated, “You haven’t met with Dr. Stinnett yet have you?” I shook my head no, but the cat was already out of the bag and I began to question her about details. She told me that I would have to get the details from Dr. Stinnett because (with a smile) she was “already in trouble!”

I almost ran from the chemotherapy room back to the office and just about scampered right into Dr. Stinnett. He got a sharp look and said, “Did Lisa already tell you?” I smiled a big smile and said, “Yes, but she told me that I would have to get the details from you!”

He playfully acted dejected as we walked into the room and then broke into the news about the MRI. Simply put, he told us that the news was better than he could have anticipated. The tumor had indeed responded to the Taxol regime and had shrunk from a 7 x 4 cm tumor to a .8 x .6 cm. It had almost completely been obliterated!

I felt so happy…so free! For the first time in 5 months I felt myself take a deep breath in and soared with a new hopefulness. Justin and I were able to talk about some of the scary stuff that we had not dared put into words, like feeling like the first round of chemotherapy (the doxorubicin and cytoxin) was the real heavy hitter…the one designed to make the most impact, so when that had not effected the tumor we were both silently devastated. It was amazing that in an instant, in the reading of one report, the ROCK AND A HARD PLACE that I thought I was in had parted and given a little breathing room and I felt my more natural optimism returning. I knew that my Heavenly Father had blessed me as a result of many, many prayers on my behalf. I felt grateful!

When we got home, I went out into my yard because that is where I love to peacefully reflect and to my surprise Justin was directing my attention to a little plant that was forcing its way up through a tiny crack in a big rock. I smiled and we talked about being stuck BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. I stared at that little plant for a long time and wondered about the lessons that could be drawn.

Like that little plant, there may be circumstances that are out of our control and the weight of the situation may even feel like a gigantic rock laying on top of us, but even with this type of pressure there is still a choice to be made. Will we be crushed by the weight of it all? Or, will we find a way to make the best out of the conditions that we find ourselves in? That’s the rub isn’t it? This lesson is not just about cancer or a shrinking or non-shrinking tumor; it’s about all of us and life. The difference is just in the details. We all have our own ROCK AND A HARD PLACE to deal with and when we do make the choice to follow the light and emerge through the tiniest of “cracks”, we are infinitely more compassionate and ready to serve those in need.

I will forever be grateful for this experience because I do feel like that little plant…a little bedraggled and worn… but I have been able to breathe deeper having weathered a part of this storm and I look around and I notice others in a different way; a far deeper way because I know that I am not alone in having felt stuck BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. I know that I will not always be able to “see” the trial and struggle of my brothers and sisters, but I know now that I have the ability to sense and feel things for others at a new depth and have the potential for new understanding for those who are hurting around me. For this reason, I am truly grateful for my personal experience of being BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

Love to you all,



  1. That is amazing news, Becky! I have been thinking about and praying for you...I'm so glad you got some good news! I love the way you are so inspiring. Love you! Tammy Mills Thomas

  2. Becky! My heart is soaring! What GREAT news! We are so happy for and your family! Thank you for sharing your story. You always make me think and you have a great perspective and understanding about things. You have taken something difficult and gained an even greater level of kindness and compassion toward others. We Love You! Jen Holtry

  3. Hurray! Thanks for keeping us all in the loop on this. Oh, YAY! If I could still do a cartwheel...
    What nice news to hear on a Sunday morning. My heart will be full of gratitude today.

  4. What a perfect way to end this holiday weekend. That is such fabulous news! YAY! You really need to go out and eat tons of chocolate and have a slurpee. Happy day!

  5. I am SO happy for you all!!! What an incredible blessing! Thank you for sharing the news. All our love!


  6. WOW! We have been following your story and are so happy the many prayers in your behalf have been answered the way we have all hoped. We love you and appreciate your insite and perspective. You have taught me a lot about life and love. We love you Becky. Thanks for doing all this with such grace. Love, Rock and Vickie

  7. Congratulations Beck! I am so happy for you and Justin and the boys! My heart feels so overwhelmed with JOY! You are such a strong person! I have been praying for you so much lately knowing you were going to have the MRI soon! I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and that so many people have been praying for you! I am so happy! You are so wonderful thank you for sharing this experience with me and so many others! It is so inspiring! I love You!

    Love Whit

  8. Becky- I am speechless with the joy that I am feeling right now! I love your blog- it makes me feel like I am just sitting there talking with you about all of this. I am so very happy. We have been praying and praying for you friend. I cannot wait for this to be over. I love you! Clair

  9. I love you so much, Beck! This makes me SO happy!!!