When you were born, on that very noisy day which you started off by screaming, a whole bunch of people had a whole lot riding on you. And you, you just wanted the next breath of air. And the one after that.
You have been breathing a long time now. You no longer scream for the next one. Life has taken its course, and you have followed its twisting path.
So, here you sit, having taken a long course of intentions and detours. You look to the future, seeing that arrow of trajectory into the next years, and you can imagine what it will be like. Some of it will be hopes. Some of it dreams. Some of it fears realized. Most of it fuzzy and unknown. You take another breath, and take another step. Then another of both. Here’s Dru’s story of faith and profound peace she had found in her life… while fighting cancer.
Breast Cancer October Relay
Illuminate. Encourage. Shine!
Campaña de Concientización Contra el Cáncer de Mama.
Alienta. Incentiva. Brilla!
On my left hand, I wear a gorgeous, customized ring that sparkles in the light. I designed it myself. Ironically, the brilliance and shine which dances off the bright, pink stones is a reminder of my darkest time, when I went toe-to-toe with my greatest adversary, breast cancer – and I beat it!
I had never been seriously ill. I’ve always been a go-getter, physically active, raising two kids, while my husband, Bruce, had a highly successful management career in a large mechanical engineering firm. When the travel grind got to be too much, Bruce and I decided to buy a SpeedPro Imaging franchise, a branch of the nation’s leading, large format graphics and printing company, near Des Moines, to get him off the road for good.
I continued to work my regular job in customer service for a nationwide company, and then would head over to our new printing business and work with Bruce, doing the books, until 8 or 8:30 at night. We needed the benefits at the time. Little did we know.
In November 2008, a biopsy on a growth in my left breast revealed the worst: Stage Two Breast Cancer. I was only 52 years old.
I was stunned. There was no family history of breast cancer. I exercised, didn’t smoke or drink. So, HOW did THIS happen?
For three days after the diagnosis, I scared myself with relentless, online research during the day, which led to fearful sleepless nights.
Bruce and I have a deep, abiding faith. On that third night, I woke Bruce to pray with me. That’s when something wonderful happened.
While he prayed, I suddenly felt enveloped in a warmth, comfort, and love, like I’d never felt before. I felt God’s presence that night, letting me know everything was going to be okay. I felt so empowered, I asked Bruce to stop praying, right then, and shared with him the message I had received. We held each other the rest of the night.
In December 2008, I had a double mastectomy, which was my choice. The surgeon told us they had gotten every bit of the cancer; it had not spread, but they still wanted me to do chemo.
The intensity of the pain during recovery and the chemo treatments was something I had never experienced before. The chemo also left a rancid taste in my mouth, so nothing tasted good, except Mexican food. Thankfully, the spices seemed to cut right through that awful taste.
The chemo also forced me to depend on others, especially Bruce.
I felt so bad for Bruce. He was trying to get the new business off the ground, while being my care-taker at the same time.
We even had to adjust our weekly “Friday Night Date Night” tradition. I couldn’t go out, due to risk of infection, so he would bring home take-out, and we’d watch something funny on TV, and cuddle on the sofa.
My last chemo treatment was on my birthday, April 6th. I was so relieved that I threw a party for everyone involved in my treatment.
Today, I am cancer free and coming up on the 10th anniversary my diagnosis. I’m still, physically, very active. I swam in a 3.5-mile “point to point” endurance race, twice, at West Lake Okoboji in Iowa, and jumped off a 50-foot cliff into the water around Los Cabos, Mexico.
More importantly, I’m back working full-time alongside Bruce at our SpeedPro Imaging business. Our franchise has become number one in the country, in gross sales. We have also been recognized for generating a record amount in sales for one month in 2016. We’re also able to slip away to the lake house with the kids, and grandkids.
I’m very active in breast cancer support roles in the Des Moines area, and I’m always ready mentor to any woman who is facing what I faced. Bruce decided to donate production time, as well as large and small banners from SpeedPro, to any group wanting to publicize the fight against cancer.
I am grateful to God for my healing, and to my family and friends for the unending prayers, support, and positive attitudes in dealing with this crisis. Every memory, every step of my journey, I decided would be captured in a special ring.
Dru’s Ring Born Out Of Her Faith & Perseverance
On my toughest days, dealing with the pain and nausea, I would focus in my mind on designing a ring I would wear, not as a “cancer survivor,” but as a “cancer overcomer.” It’s the ring I wear today.
• The four small, pink Tourmaline stones represent the chemo treatments I had.
• The smaller diamonds, symbolize the strength and love I received during my experience.
• But the large, trillion cut Tourmaline stone in the middle is the focal point. The bezel set symbolizes the cancer is contained, and can’t escape. The three sides of the stone represent the stages of cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Healing.
• The milling around the whole ring declares I’m still feminine and beautiful, and it’s in the shape of a ribbon, a symbol of breast cancer.
The brilliance of the ring is something to see. But it’s my successful journey which truly makes it shine.
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