Scars in the Sunlight

With Shelly Vaughn


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Cover Photo

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I didn’t think to tell everyone that the cover photo for this page was taken by Rob. He has such talent for photography. He went out the morning after we learned my diagnosis, to a part of the CVNP that we frequent. He took this beautifully serene photo without knowing I would even be starting this page. It perfectly represents the start of my walk- foggy; unknown yet familiar; I know what’s at the end of that path when it’s clear- it’s just hard to see right now. I love my husband!


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January 30 Update

Thank you all for the messages and prayers today. It was long, but good. The port placement was actually really cool. Painful, but neat to watch them doing it (it was just a local anesthetic). The surgeon even turned the monitors toward me so I could see them better and watch what he was doing. They also had a nurse there to hold my hand and scratch my face if anything was itchy during the procedure! It was a really great surgical team. Then I had my chemo teaching… so i know what to expect for treatment. I’ll list the schedule below so that if you’re not interested in details you don’t have to read the whole post. 😉 Last was the biopsy of some lymph nodes- on the side opposite of the port placement. So I’m sitting at home with ice packs on both arms trying to relax. My mom and Rob were both there to help with everything today.
Best story of today- I was laying on the bed while the nurse was prepping me for the biopsy. I happened to look over at the pocket of her scrub top that had a small label on it. Guess what that brand label said- “Liana”. No joke! Who knew that was a brand of scrubs?! It was not a coincidence, i know that. It reminded me of why I have to be ok with this (and thankful it’s me going through it and not one of my children.) Like my friend Megan reminded me this morning- every step I take forward is one closer to putting cancer behind me. It helped me feel much more relaxed going into everything today, anxious but eager to take each step. Sorry that I don’t have time to write thanks and replies to everyone, but know that I’m reading and cherishing every message and card I’ve received. I feel so loved.
Chemo schedule:
I will start next Thursday 2/9. I’ll be given a combination of 2 drugs every other week for 2 months. I think they said around week 2 is when I’ll lose my hair. (at least i won’t have to shave my legs!) There are a ton of potential side effects- we’ll see which ones my body responds with. (ugh… none of them are much fun.)
After those 2 months, I’ll start a different drug weekly for 3 months. It’s not as hard on the system and shouldn’t have as many side effects. So after 5 months I should be done with the drugs and wait a few weeks after that to plan for surgery. That is determined by my lab results from genetic testing and how much the cancer shrinks with chemo.
This week: EKG on Thursday morning for a baseline. (chemo can have some negative affects on the heart) and MRI on my liver on Friday evening (not a concern, just ruling out a probable benign cyst that is common for women “my age”– I still haven’t figured out if that means I’m young or old).

Love and hugs to you all! 🙂

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (This was going through my mind all day.)


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January 28 Update

Originally Posted on 1.28.17

Hi everyone. Thank you all for the prayers during the week and especially yesterday. The amount of relief I felt when I heard the bones and other organs were clear is unexplainable. I had some moments of feeling “almost normal” last night. I had a wonderful lunch out with Trisha and a friend, and visits from other friends in the evening. So now I know a little more about what my walk through this will look like. Monday I will have my port placed, do a chemo class, and they want to biopsy one of my lymph nodes. After that, I assume I’ll know my treatment schedule.

Everyone asks how I am…. I’m ok. Not great but not depressed. Sometimes very anxious and sometimes a little more relaxed and trusting that this all has a purpose beyond me. It seriously depends on what minute you ask me during the day. Last week, I was mostly just consumed with worry that it had spread. My parents were here to spend some time which was great (with the exception of the Steeler loss) Since yesterday afternoon, I notice a different feeling that brings me to tears at times. The best I can describe it is that I’m grieving the loss of my healthy body. I’m planning (physically and emotionally) to not feel well. I’ve always been physically active and healthy and never any problems. It makes me sad to think many weekends will be spent laying on the couch. And weekdays I may barely have energy to get through the day. Of course, everyone responds differently and maybe it won’t bring me down too much. I already have a friend lined up to hold me accountable to keep moving… even if its just short walks around the block. It’s a strange feeling to plan for this… and I suddenly want to get everything checked off my to-do list. But I also want to just enjoy time with my family. It’s a tough balance on a regular day, let alone when you have this kind of issue on top of everything.
My girls are doing ok. We share information with them on their level and they seem to be dealing with it well. Rob… I always knew I married the best guy and, man has he shown it this week. He works hard, comes to my appointments, and does everything around the house just so I’m not stressed out about it. He/we will be calling on friends to help with the girls when I’m not feeling well. We have had so many offers to help and we will be taking you all up on it when the time comes. Please pray for him this weekend (since nothing new is happening with me anyway)- I know it’s hard for him to think of me going through this and to see me sad when I have my breakdowns.
I fully expect to recover from this and one day look back on what an experience it was. But standing at the beginning of this road, knowing the challenge ahead, is very overwhelming.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”


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Bones Are Clear

Originally posted on 1.27.17

This is Trisha, writing on Shelly’s page….
Her bones are clear!
They are doing more tests to look closely at other cysts, but those are all less scary.

I’m sure she will find the perfect words to share later (maybe even coupled with a beautiful picture that Rob takes). She will probably bring a tear to your eye, which will continue to remind us how amazing she is.
💖


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Overwhelming Support

Originally posted on 1.26.17

The overwhelming feelings of worry and anxiety this week have been shadowed by the overwhelming support from all of you. I cannot thank everyone enough. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life. It’s so strange to be going through these medical procedures and sitting in waiting rooms with sick, elderly people when I feel so well. But I guess this par for the course.
Tomorrow we get the results of the CT scan, bone scan, and MRI. We’ll also have a better idea of what to expect for treatment. So I ask that you all pray hard tomorrow morning. Best case scenario that we’re hoping for is that it hasn’t spread beyond the one lymph node that we know of.

Lots of love
-Shelly.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul… Hebrews 6:19


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“Holding space for another person is incredibly profound. When you hold space for someone, you bring your entire presence to them. You walk along with them without judgment, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. Yet you’re completely willing to end up wherever they need to go. You give your heart, let go of control, and offer unconditional support. And when you do both of you heal, grow, and transform.”


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The Diagnosis

I think you all have heard that on Friday 1/20, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I am overwhelmed, but already feel extremely loved and supported. To simplify sharing information with everyone, I created this group. So here is the information I have so far: I will have a CT scan Tuesday, bone scan on Wed, MRI thursday, genetics test and dr consult Friday, then my port placed next Monday (with a chemo class afterwards). Results from these tests will dictate exactly what kind of chemo I get. After at least 3 months of chemo, I’ll see how the cancer responds and then determine what kind of surgery I will need. It’s a lot, but I’m glad to get it done and get this started. I’ve already been showered with love and have had family in town to help me these first few days of this “tornado” of information. Thanks again for everyone’s support. This is my encouragement for today: “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14