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Survivor Stories 2013: Lynn Jones

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Survivor Stories 2013:
Lynn Jones

1. How did you first find out you had cancer?

I found out while at work via telephone.

2. How did you react when you heard the news?

It was as if I jumped out of the plane and had no parachute. All my life plans fell flat and splattered on the floor of uncertainty. At first I didn’t even call my husband, but just kept working. A few minutes were needed to digest the information. I didn’t want to fall apart on the phone or at work. I prayed a direct prayer to God that day and said, “Why me?” I felt He answered back, “Why not you?” – Funny how we only consider life’s struggles as injustice when they affect us personally.  After my chat with my Maker in that moment, somehow I knew that I would be okay, no matter how bad it was. It was that measure of positive hope that kept me fired up.

3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?

First of all, the cancer was too large to operate. I was given front running chemotherapy before my surgery with hopes to shrink it enough to make it operable.  It was the typical ACT plan – (Adriamycin, Cytoxan, and Taxotere) A few months later, I finally had a single radical mastectomy followed by more rounds of chemo. The hard treatment was finally finished up with five weeks of radiation and five years of Tamoxifen. It was a ten month process.

4. What most surprised you about your treatment?

I was surprised that I was not horribly sick. In fact, the only work I missed during chemotherapy was on each treatment day and the day following – (mostly due to my intense red coloring.) I also was shocked at the weird chemo effects like losing all my nails, watery eyes, and finding it hard to swallow. On another sad note, everyone on the planet told me that my hair would grow back, it didn’t. I look like a star for Shudder Island. There are a few lucky folks whose hair follicles can be totally destroyed by Taxotere. Taxotere made me lucky and “follically” challenged forever.

5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?

Breast cancer is not a death sentence for the majority of folks, it’s a journey. I suggest looking for beauty in the struggle and celebrating it. It will change your life forever.

6. How long have you been cancer free?

I have been cancer free for three fabulous years.

7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?

Two wonderful things – I have a greater sense of time and a greater capacity to love. I don’t just have good ideas anymore – those good ideas are things I try and accomplish. No longer do I care if my house isn’t up to snuff to have folks over, I’m not waiting until everything is perfect. People are my focus and I just seem to love all kinds !

8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?

Get your mammograms as they are due. I let only one year pass my scheduled appointment. Also, don’t try to treat yourself with over the counter things for hot flashes without your doctor’s input. I actually “fed” my estrogen hungry cancer with maca root and an herbal form of estrogen. The hot flashes left but a monster was created in its place.

Lynn Jones is a playful storyteller at heart. She draws upon her vast experience in Christian ministry: facilitating youth camps, outreaches, church planting and pastoring with her husband of 34 years. As a recent breast cancer victor, she is a voice of hope for those struggling with physical, emotional and spiritual needs. She makes her writing debut this September with her first book, The Invisible Rocking Chair and is busy working on a second book that will contain her inspirational charcoal artwork. Lynn resides in southern California and is the mother of three adult children. In her spare time, she can be found looking for “pillars” in her butterfly garden with grandchildren and chasing her two black labs.

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