An Open Book

sisterSTAFF Blog

An Open Book

May 30, 2010

Good day, Ladies!  I hope the Memorial Day weekend has been relaxing and reflective for you.  In last week’s blog, I mentioned that I had something emotional to share with my Sisters, so here it goes.  Let me first explain why I waited until now to share this story: I didn’t want my personal life to interfere with the success of the 2010 Weekend for Women Conference.  In other words, I didn’t want the success or lack of success of the Conference to be attributable to my personal situation.  The past six months have been very challenging for me for a few reasons.  As many of you know, I had my thyroid removed in September 2009 because it had grown too large and had many nodules.  In October, the surgeon called me into his office and told me that thyroid cancer had been found and I would need to undergo radioactive iodine treatment.  A month later, in November 2009, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  It was very difficult to diagnose his exact type of cancer, so there were numerous tests (and even a surgery performed to get a biopsy).  The awesome oncology doctors at Duke finally diagnosed him with a very rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a mutation of Hodkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgin’s lymphoma) in December 2009 and he began chemo on the Monday after Christmas.  Thanksgiving and Christmas 2009 were the most solemn holiday gatherings I have ever experienced at my parent’s house.  During that same time frame, I was also working hard to secure enough money from sponsors to hold the 2010 Weekend for Women Conference.  Then, on December 1, 2009, I was laid off from my job in pharmaceutical sales (before I had undergone the radioactive iodine treatment that was scheduled for January 6, 2010).  NOW, all of that could be overwhelming.... 

I am glad to say that putting my faith in God gave me the peace I needed during that difficult time frame.  I had MANY conversations with God.  I came to terms with the things that were happening to me because I knew He had a plan for my life.  I realized that being laid off from my job was God’s way of telling me it was time to take a step in faith with Him with DiabetesSisters.  Losing my job was actually a blessing because it allowed me to realize how fulfilled I felt when doing DiabetesSisters work full-time.  But, it was much more difficult for me to deal with the uncertainty of my dad’s situation.  This was his second bout with cancer (the first time was my senior year of high school) and this time he was much older.  During chemo, he lost weight and his hair fell out immediately.  I was reminded of the frailty of human life every time I looked him.    Fast Forward to May 2010- I underwent my treatment in January and was in isolation for five days. My company allowed me to stay on short-term disability until my cancer treatment was complete and my thyroid levels were at an appropriate level for me to return to work.  My dad completed all six of his chemo treatments and received a report that all signs of the cancer were gone.  Hallelujah!    

When provided that background, you can better understand why the success of the 2010 Weekend for Women Conference was such as achievement and a blessing for me and for DiabetesSisters.  None of it would have been possible without God.  The pWeekend for Women Planning Committee met monthly (without fail) from October 2009-May 2010.  We learned a lot from each other and grew closer together over the planning process.  I tell you all of this now because I am an open book (ask anyone who knows me!) and there were many times that I sat down to write my weekly blogs that I wanted to share all that was going on with me, but I just felt the time wasn’t right to do so because I needed to do what was in the best interest of the growing nonprofit known as DiabetesSisters.  Now, I can rejoice with MY SISTERS in the triumphs of the last six months!