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The gift of love and connection

Keeping everyone in the loop with a patient journal

The greatest confirmation of wealth in our lives is to love and be loved. No matter what our circumstances, love is the most valuable gift you can ever hope to give or receive. Through a totally unexpected twist of fate, a wonderful friend introduced me to CaringBridge, an emotional lifeline that connects me to a heartfelt community of personal cheerleaders and creates a two-way flow of love.

I hope to be a “wonderful friend” to you and others by sharing my story.

My Future, Suddenly Untracked

In November 2010, I was in nursing school, aspiring to care for oncology patients in a medical/surgical hospital setting. Before that, I’d been a hospice volunteer and a CNA (nurse’s aide) in a nursing home. My long-term goal was to return to my first love—caring for those in hospice. Graduation was around the corner, my grades were at the top of my class, and I was set to go onto the registered nurse program. My future was bright.

But the day after Thanksgiving, my doctor told me that my CT scan revealed a mass entangled amongst major blood vessels. I wasn’t sure I was hearing words correctly. My world slowed to a crawl, my knees turned to jelly, and I found myself walking around in a kind of dream. But reality kept coming at me — and hard.  The biopsy confirmed that I HAD CANCER!

From Caregiver to Patient

On December 9, 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage III/IV Pancreatic Cancer. Even more bad news; it was not curable, and pancreatic cancer’s dismal prognosis loomed in front of me. I was looking at lifetime chemo treatments to stay alive. I thought, “I’m not ready! I have plans! I am just too darned young! How do I cope?”

In one life-changing instant, I’d gone from caregiver to patient. But from that moment forward, I was determined to have a positive influence on my physical, spiritual, mental and emotional healing.

The Power of my Patient Journal

Then I started a CaringBridge site, which quickly became the key to my emotional support system. My pancreatic cancer journal is a safe haven where I can share my innermost thoughts. And to my amazement and delight, awesome people respond, sending their love and encouragement back through the guestbook. I don’t even know some of them!

It’s new for me, but I’m learning to intentionally participate in my life’s purpose and viewing my cancer as an opportunity for personal growth. It allows me to experience a heightened sense of life and ultimately, hold dear what is important.

CaringBridge Can Inspire and Help Anyone

You, too, have your own powerful, personal story. You are special—whether you are a patient, caregiver or well wisher—and you can discover first-hand the value of channeling love through CaringBridge, with your own free website. Simply because inspiring and supporting the needs of others can create true joy.

About the Author:

Beth Keathley was a CaringBridge Amplifier and first ever guest blogger. She bravely shared both inspirational posts and encouraging videos chronicling her journey with Pancreatic Cancer until her passing in 2013. She was a supporter of the CaringBridge mission and it was an honor for us to have her as part of our team.

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5 Replies

  • By Nell Kauls

    I found your story so inspiring. It gave me perspective on my life. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • By Barbara

    We are all called to serve one another. I find I get more from those I serve than I give. It is a rewarding experience!

  • By Rachel Henscheid

    Hello everyone who is get5ing a kidney or receiving a kidney good luck and take care .You might be sore for a while but you will fill much and much better andI got a kidney from a 62 year old and it has been 2 years and im feeling wonderfull.Rachel Henscheid.

  • By Brenda

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for your positive outlook on life! I have been looking for a place of encouragement and support, and I am so excited about finally being able to express my own feelings, but also support others in the process.

  • By elise lovejoy

    I had always dreamed of being in the health field so while still in high school I took a class to train to be a CNA and work in a convelscent home in Sebastopol . After high school I thought thought I would go back to JC and train to be a dental assistant. I
    did’nt graduate,but I decided to go into orthodontics so I got a job in Sebastopol and worked there 11 years. An opportunity came up to work in a different Sebastopol office a nd I worked there for 16 years. Until Igot fired for having a seizure.It was 2010 and for about two years on and off I decided it was time for a career change; I love animals so I went back to JC and took two classes, one computerclass and an animal health class I first time Ienjoyed school I was espiring to be a vet tech. Well for the last two years I was experiencing some strange problems and I would experience a panicky sensation and then Iwould stare ahead and then Icouldn’t walk or talk and if Ihad anything in my hands it would drop out. I finally with urging from my daughter I went to the Kaiser to a neurologist, I finally had aCAT scan and an MRI the doctor said okay done so Ithought I had cataplexy I went home and got a call he said you need to come back in you have a tumor he didn’t say a cancerous tumor but my stomach dropped when I got this newshe had told me over the phone which I thought was unprofessional so I vowed never to see him again and I did not. They arranged for me to go to Redwood City to talk to a neurosurgeon .That concludes this blog. Hugs, Elise Lovejoy