Remission… Finally

20 months ago I started a journey, a fight, a mission and I asked you to join me. Nothing could have prepared me for what this journey meant and what I would go through along the way and to this day I still have trouble believing I actually survived for so long but today, after all this time and one hell of a fight I can finally tell you, we won! Cancer’s ass has officially been kicked and I am in remission. I couldn’t be more proud to bring you this news. I can only hope that those of you who have walked with me, fought with me and carried me for the last 20 months are as proud as I am today.

Looking back on my previous posts, I think it’s only fair to say this fight has been a tough one, sometimes too tough to share. There have been days when I felt like giving in, days when I felt like the monster inside me had won and days when I couldn’t see an end to the agony. It was those days when I relied on you, whether you knew it or not, I read each comment, each message and thought about each prayer. I thought about all the people all over the world who were fighting with me, walking with me and I let that carry me through. I have no doubt that you, the wonderful people who have been there since the beginning, are the reason I managed to get this far and this victory is most definitely not mine alone. I fought for you as much as I did for me and I soldiered on through it all just to reach this day for all of us and for the thousands of people who haven’t won their fight yet, for those who are still suffering, still in agony and all the journeys that still have to be taken.

The last 6 months were definitely rock bottom for me; there are no words for the things I went through. I honestly believed it was coming to an end and not the end I had hoped for. The worst had to be going off of 100 micrograms an hour of morphine… cold turkey. Imagine your skin being torn from your body or being stabbed over and over with no end, that’s what it felt like and that was just the physical side. The end of morphine took me into a depression so deep that most of the time I barely knew who I was never mind what I was fighting for. As hard as it is to say, I lost my will to live, to function, and even to breathe. No one should ever have to go through that. Taking life one day at a time became impossible, I was fighting one moment at a time and that fight took everything I had. I almost lost myself and that will always be the thing I hate most about the journey I’ve travelled. I shudder when I think of how I couldn’t bring myself to lift my head from my pillow, how I pushed everyone away from me, even my own husband. It was such a dark time that today, I still can’t tell you how I got through. There is simply no earthly explanation for how I am here today. I saw a saying the other day, “If you don’t believe in miracles, remember you are one”. That really is the only explanation I can give for being able to tell you this story. There is no way I explain to you the hell that is withdrawal from morphine coupled with the pain of the monster called cancer eating away at me but at the same time, there are even less words to describe how it feels not to be bound to that drug and free from that monster.

In the middle of this darkness, we were hit with another tragedy, our house burnt down and I lost my two guardian angels, my little yorkies, Charlie and Britney as well as most of my possessions. Even though they were material things some things cannot be replaced and that hit me hard, very, very hard. That loss sent me even deeper into the abyss of depression and it became even harder to imagine living any kind of life. Now I look back and realise that another miracle occurred that night. I had, for the first time in a very long time managed to drag myself out of my bed and visit my brother. Had I not done that I would have been in that house and again, I wouldn’t be here to tell this story. So, now that the darkness has begun to lift and I am able to function again, I am just grateful for every single moment. The house is being rebuilt, the relationships I sabotaged are being repaired and I am alive. Thank God, I am alive!

I stopped relying on the world of medicine when I stopped the morphine and I swore that no matter how bad, doctors would not cure my cancer and so I stopped seeing them. The medical world had failed me too many times and I wasn’t willing to go through it again. I fought the pain with my mind, my soul and everything in me but I wouldn’t let a doctor near me again. I wouldn’t have survived the horrible depression without medication but I wouldn’t allow anything for the cancer. Then, out of the blue I woke up one morning and decided that to know and so I went to the doctor and allowed her to do the tests to determine how bad my cancer was. As long as I live I will never forget the phone call I received a few days later. My doctor was in shock and all I really remember from that conversation was the word REMISSION. My heart sank into my stomach and I just sat there as she explained how they could find nothing, the cancer is gone and apart from a very deep depression, a spastic colon and irritable bowel syndrome, I’m healthy. If that is not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

My goal when I started this blog was not only to tell my story but to inspire others in their own fights, not only in cancer but in life. I hoped that opening my life to the world would change things for somebody somewhere, give someone a new perspective and encourage a struggling soul to keep fighting. Today, in my own way, I believe I reached that goal. I survived! Hopefully someone out there has been given a second breath and a will to keep fighting just by knowing that it can be done, cancer can be beaten and one person can have the strength to take on a journey of agony and come out on the other end alive. I can finally say, with evidence and experience, no matter what your fight, no matter what your journey, you can do it, you can win. All it takes is ONE DAY AT A TIME!

I’ve thought about this day so much over the last 20 months, in the beginning and for a long time since then I believed that today would be the end of my journey and my life would be what it was again… normal. I believed that beating cancer would be the end of the long road and I would celebrate like there’s tomorrow. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The truth is, my journey is far from over and my fight, although no longer for myself, has really just begun. I’ve learnt so much, changed so drastically and grown so rapidly along the way that I realise now, there’s no turning back. I may be in remission but there are thousands of people out there who aren’t and there are millions of people out there fighting all types of fights, how selfish would I be if I stopped now. I have to keep going, keep fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, keep inspiring for those who need someone to walk with them like all of you have walked with me. Needless to say, the word has not seen the last of me and my story will continue as long as I have breath in me.

I will never be the person I was when I started this journey and I never want to be. I may not be running any marathons any time soon but I will be here and I will continue this journey called life as a stronger, wiser and more grateful being. I’m not sure what comes next but I hope that you will continue to walk with me anyway.

Until we meet again.

Much Love

One Day At A Time

X

5 thoughts on “Remission… Finally

  1. CONGRATS!!! And all the praise to the Lord who carried you through all you have been and for never leaving your side. He is GREAT! It is such a relieve. And well done for rowing with the punches, fighting this horrible ordeal and for never giving up.

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  2. This is the most fantastic news ever!!! Wow it really blows one’s mind. Well done my babe. Your strength is…wow!
    Luv u so much
    Ticky-Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

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  3. Mandy – Congratulations on beating the monster!!!
    It has been absolutely awe-inspiring to have run this marathon alongside you. I am a Christian and to be honest, I did not think you would come through this battle the victor! I have a friend who was diagnosed with colon cancer a couple of months before you and he, sadly, died in Jan last year. I guess one just kinda loses hope and faith – until a miracle like you happens and we witness God at work in this beautiful world.
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us and for giving us – who are fortunate enough to have escaped cancer thus far – an insight into what really happens mentally and physically when you are invaded by this disease. Most of us have a close friend or relative who has or has had cancer, but so often people don’t go into the nitty-gritty of the whole awful experience. You have and I am richer for that knowledge.
    Continue taking life one day at a time – may the next phase of you life be pain- and disease-free and filled with appreciation of life, joy and happiness.
    Much love
    Linda
    PE

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  4. Hi Mandy,
    Since the day I was told you had cancer and only six month’s
    to live, I said to your Dad ,no ways is Mandy going to give up.
    If there is one person who is a fighter, It is Mandy .
    I believed that every day of the last 20 month’s and still believe
    Mandy is a fighter and not a looser.
    Continue taking life one day at a time and have a life filled with joy
    and happiness but most of all wisdom from past experience to concur
    the future.
    Elsie

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