The Cancer Chronicles

Dear friends,

About 4 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I went through an amazing time. Sorry, no photos to share.

It all began in the Fall of 2007. I felt a lump in my breast, but didn’t think much about it.

In February of 2008, I was supposed to address the Minnesota Harness Racing Association for the Hall of Fame Presentation.

We had purchased a “new” truck and were confident about it. About halfway to our destination, a winter storm picked up. Not too long after that the truck broke down. But where the truck broke down was horrible. Right on  the side of a busy interstate with semis roaring by.

We had a pay as you go cell phone and got help. They hooked up the truck and got us into a hotel.

That was one of the most boring weekends I have ever spent. The snowstorm just kept raging. They couldn’t  get the truck fixed.

Thankfully, I was able to email my Hall of Fame speech, so all was not lost.

I remember stepping out of the bathroom shower and seeing the lump on my breast. I knew that when we got home I would have to get it checked out.

I did go to the clinic and found out, yes indeed I had breast cancer. Thank God for the snowstorm or I might not have made it through the whole thing.

I was quiet throughout my my experience because I did not want a lot of people calling me all the time and me having to prop them up. I told people close to me, my family, don’t call me for an update, I will call you.

I am still not sure if I should be writing about this. So many loved ones die from cancer. I made it through so far but I can’t live forever. Somehow though, I think recalling this makes me realize and stop denying the fact that I did struggle through cancer. And that may make me stronger.

Does that make any sense?

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7 Responses to The Cancer Chronicles

  1. chlost says:

    It makes a lot of sense. Even though I haven’t had to fight cancer, I can totally understand your hesitancy to share this experience. I would think that it would be very difficult to worry about others and their reactions while having to worry about yourself and your health.
    I think that is why the caring bridge sites are so popular with families struggling with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. It allows a one-time update so that everyone who loves and worries about the individual has the important information without having to make that person and their family talk/console many people.
    I also think that I would want to maintain some privacy over my health.That being said, I really appreciate that you feel comfortable in sharing that part of your life. I admire your strength. I am so happy that we’ve been able to get to know each other through the blog.
    And who would have thought that you’d be thankful for being stuck in a blizzard?

    • Beth Dale says:

      Caring bridge sites are good, but sometimes even immediate family can be too worried all the time, siblings, children, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and even your own partner have emotional responses. You don’t want to get 5 phone calls a day. You don’t want to have to bolster their spirits. I told my partner, Bruce, “I never want to see you cry out of worry for me. If you want to, fine, just not in front of me.”

      That was one horrendous blizzard for sure! I am not a very religious person, but I thank God for the blizzard that saved my life!

      Thanks for your thoughts and support! I am so fortunate to have made so many blogging friends. Who’d have ever thunk it!!! I know I am richer for the experience.

  2. littlesundog says:

    I have not had a brush with anything life-threatening, and I can’t say anyone in my family has suffered with cancer. However, you shared about your experience, and that is always good for those of us wishing to have understanding… not only for ourselves (if we should have to deal with such an ilness) but also to know how it is we can help or just be available to help someone dealing with a situation like cancer. I never thought about having to deal with other people’s reactions, nor the need for quiet and privacy. That you have voiced this and shared with us how your cancer experience was for you and what you needed (or didn’t need), you have helped many people have a better understanding of the big question, “What DO I do when someone I love has a life-threatening condition?” I think we have to ask what it is THEY need as an individual, and not just assume we know what is best. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. Beth Dale says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. Every person is different and situations change too. One thing I do know is that when facing an illness like this, the last thing the person with the disease needs is to comfort others. Depending on the situation and the person, they may or may not need comfort from others. All I knew was that I had to get well, worrying about it and trying to deal with anyone else’s worries was not going to help.

    Thanks for writing! You are amazing!

  4. jbcamera says:

    I am so glad you made it through! I appreciate your blog so much, I have nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award. The details are on my blog,

  5. A young friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer and hesitated to share the news given she didn’t want a “pity party.” I understand. Everyone feels differently about who should/shouldn’t know and we all react differently after hearing such news. It’s such an individual choice. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  6. Rustey says:

    Beth, you were always a strong lady. I don’t think adversity is needed to make one strong, It’s the strength you have that gets you through the adversity. Keep the faith! My family & I have truly enjoyed your writings…….I feel closer to you because you open up your head & heart when you write & take pictures.

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