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Motherhood, Clay & Cancer

I realize this title is a loaded one. In fact, I have thought about and struggled to figure out how to share about these significant parts of my life. If you have followed along with me on Instagram, then you might know parts of my cancer story. I was diagnosed in September of 2018 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Two weeks prior to this diagnosis, we had just shared that I was pregnant with baby number four. I was 16 weeks pregnant at that time and felt the world come crashing down. I was in a place where I was moving forward with some new business ideas and excited for new opportunities, new work and new life inside of me. Everything at that time pretty much came to a screeching halt. My work as a studio potter took a back seat for a long time. I knew I didn't want to close my doors completely, but had no idea how I would be able to slowly move though business plans with this life-altering news. It was an incredibly scary and dark time. It was also a very grim outlook at the time. My husband, Andrew, and I clung to each other and clung to the hope that only God can give.

This picture was taken the same day my doctor called me with the diagnosis. Andrew and I spent the afternoon in a private room with doctors and nurses reviewing my options and crying as we held each other. When we got home, we put a smile on our faces to greet our other three young sons and I asked Andrew to take this picture. I wanted to document this incredibly hard day for our baby. I chose his life above my own that day - even though that meant I couldn't receive the treatment I needed until after he was born. Asa was my great joy, hope, light and partner through all the harsh drugs and symptoms we went through together. I knew his tiny, developing life was important and I was his voice. I fully believe his life was planned long ago and his life was prayed for before we ever knew him. Asa was my hardest pregnancy and birth of my four, but he was born perfect and untouched by all the chemo. He had at short NICU stay at 36 weeks and to this day I still marvel at his precious life.

This is a very tiny snap shot of 20 months of intense drugs, hard side effects, surgeries, a birth, recoveries, trying to be a strong mama to my boys, and keep my hands in clay whenever I felt up to it and motivated. In June of this year, I had all of my baseline scans repeated and received the tremendous news that my scans were clear! I have a few bone lesions on my spine from the beginning of my cancer diagnosis that have remained stable and some have shrunk or disappeared altogether. The plan is to just sit tight, take a break from drugs and monitor those lesions. Now as I transition out of constant infusions and frequent doctor visits, I have found what a difficult place this is to be. Cancer will always be part of my life, for the rest of my life. I will always have scans, checkups, consults and continue on some form of drug to keep me as healthy as I can be. I feel a bit as though I have been thrown out deep in the ocean to swim and it feels uncertain and scary, but also freeing.

My family will always be my first priority, but I am finally feeling excited about getting back into studio life, production and creating. I am working towards figuring out a schedule and system that will allow me to do so. Coming up in August, I have another surgery (related to reconstruction) and then more scans. Life is sure busy and precious and I'm trying to move through each day with gratitude and hope and trust that God goes before me in all things. Feel free to scroll through the Instagram archives to read more of my cancer story. So many of you have been a great support to me and my family and I am forever grateful.

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