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December 22, 2015

6 months to live...I learned this today~

Team Christina
Please make a donation to my treatment fund

The other night, I lay in bed awake, many thoughts twirled about my mind.  At the urging of a recent acquaintance I tried something I had never done before, I began praying to Mary. My head resting upon a pillow; a prayer clothe tucked inside, the room darkened, the sound of multiple fans humming that have been thoughtfully placed around my bedroom to help calm my hot flashes. I gently closed my eyes; quickly tears began to flow as I prayed silently – I asked that health be restored to my body, for me to continue living; I need to at least finish my job as a mother. After all, a special birthmother entrusted me in 1999, to raise her child – I must finish my commitment, he is only 16 years old. I asked for more time. I tearfully plead my case and opened my soul as I prayed; I have no memory of where my prayer ended and my sleep began. I do not think this is where the story will end, but rather a beginning to something wonderful that is just around the corner.  After all, I have found the most usually, peace as I walk this journey through breast cancer. I have become increasingly willing to present as transparent, open to receiving, and continue reaping the benefits of this new perspective – this new sense of being.  

Recently I watched two documentaries that have allowed me to experience a deeper peace and acceptance of this journey I am on, regardless of the outcome. The first was entitled “How to die in Oregon,” although there were moments that were difficult to watch, there were more times that the terminally ill individuals in the series would reflect on their situation and it made sense to me. I knew that feeling, that experience they were sharing, which meant someone understood me. In the end, it provided my soul peace that this is the right choice for me and my family, when the time is right.
The second documentary was entitled “A woman like me”, it interweaves the real story of Alex Sichel, diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011, with the fictional story of Anna Seashell, who manages to find the glass half full when faced with the same diagnosis. The documentary follows Alex as she uses narrative film to explore what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death. At one profound moment, this tearful woman breaks, she speaks of fearing that she will “die angry” as she wonders, “why me” then remarks “I feel like what I am supposed to think is why not me!” She is trying to figure out “who is to blame” and finally says, “I fucked it all up!”

What struck me is when she exposed her anger after learning her cancer had spread; she questioned – why me [referring to the cancer diagnosis] and was on a quest to find who was to blame for this cancer. Her conclusion was that it was herself to blame.  For me, I only recall small moments that may be defined as anger, but mostly sadness is what rises up. I count myself fortunate to have not been angry about this disease, equally I have not really asked why me – I typically say, why not me. I too believe I have found peace along this journey because I know this is only one lifetime, that there is something greater out there – beyond this lifetime for me. Deepening my spirituality over the past 4 ½ years has been the catalyst for peace, comfort, love, acceptance, and hope. Knowing there is something greater and bigger than me in the world provides there is a greater purpose for all things.

Today, as I was driving home from my oncology appointment in Lincoln City, along the coast toward Newport, I pulled over several times to watch the furry of the waves crashing into the rocks. I saw the waves furry as them speaking to me; their deep sorrow of the news I received, the waves dancing in revolt of the 6-months to live diagnosis. I then looked off to the south and saw a small break in the weather where just a small bit of blue sky rested only for a moment, then disappeared. There is always a bright spot, in every situation. I too reflected that all the women I have known that have lost their lives to cancer – were true warriors, there was a grace, positive resilience, and silent strength held by all these women.

What is next for me? Well, here it is, the Real Talk. There is concern that the cancer has spread to my liver, this is not a good thing. I will be having a PET/CT scan next week to see what is going on. I too will continue to monitor my bloodwork and hope that the cancer cells will stop dividing and multiplying like crazy! These cancer cells are overachievers and like to outperform – of course, they do! I am considering getting a “bump” of Abraxane – one chemo infusion in January, if the tumor markers continue to elevate. I am only considering this in order to [potentially] hold back the cancer long enough until I travel to Germany –although there is risk involved with that choice; my body may not be able to handle another poisoning session – I may not recover. The Abraxane may not work; it may only make me sick. Lots of things to think about and monitor over the next couple weeks. Oh hell, it’s all a crapshoot from here on out. Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer= death, it is only a matter of time. There is nothing curative – only interventions that may be life extending; I am hopeful for an extension that includes quality of life without too much suffering.

I ask you to consider my prayer I mentioned earlier – I asked that health be restored to my body, for me to continue living; I need to at least finish my job as a mother. After all, a special birthmother entrusted me in 1999, to raise her child – I must finish my commitment, he is only 16 years old. I asked for more time. Please help me get to Germany for this last chance treatment to extend my life and continue praying for a miracle. Please donate to my treatment fund – there is not much time left.


Preferred way to Donate by Mail: 
Christina Garrett
PO Box 192
Philomath, Oregon 97370

Selco Credit Union Direct Deposit:
"Team Christina"

 Today, I am hopeful~