hope is true.

As many of you know, my cancer ride has been particularly bumpy these past couple months. In October I experienced progression in my hip – which we treated with radiation.  Then, in December a scan showed progression in the lining of my lung.  But when we went in to draw out a diagnostic sample of the fluid… it was gone.  (The reaction to which I shared in this emotional live facebook post.) Oh my, what a day that was! I left the hospital high-fiving everyone I passed. Hundreds of you celebrated with us. (thank you!) We were enveloped with peace and had a glorious holiday.  Spending 10 days at our farm (our first Christmas there) welcoming family & friends from Michigan, traveling to Chicago to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary.  Each toast and hug made more special in the context of our shared gratitude. Often, I just looked around and silently breathed, “thank you.”

The plan was to give it 6 weeks and scan again to see if the fluid was truly gone . Wednesday was scan day … UGH…  Over the past 5 years living with metastatic breast cancer I learned to ride these waves of paranoia.  Some days not giving it a second thought – others, more recently, each inhale a worrisome wonder.  For someone who uses breathing as a healing act of grounding myself … the idea of cancer in my breath was unsettling.

As a result, I was pretty down and I couldn’t quite articulate it.  Until one day on a trail run it hit me.  Literally stopped me in my muddy tracks. I had fallen victim to the “possiblity of progression.”   I was living in the hope that… The hope that the cancer was stable.  The hope that I didn’t have cancer in my lungs.  The hope that my medicine was working… Somehow hope had become contingent.

We have to live in hope.  Not in the hope that

On Tuesday I emailed myself this reminder.  So that if I got bad news I would remember:

Hope is true.  It isn’t contingent on something happening.  It is believing in something bigger than ourselves, when we can’t see it and trusting.  Believing we are safe even when we feel threatened.  Arriving at a place of trust and surrender.

I needed the reminder.

The CT scan showed more fluid than in December.  So, yesterday I went back to the hospital for a thoracentesis to drain a diagnostic sample from my left lung.  As I clutched the pillow and leaned over the table I closed my eyes and remembered the joy of the last time I was there.  I buried my head in the pillow and cried.  This time they found fluid. A lot.

They drained 3/4 liter of fluid from my lung.  I was floored as I watched the yellow liquid squirt into the jar.  How did I not feel this?  I had run 3 miles the day before… The docs said this was probably due to the fact that I am healthy and my body just made up for it.

After a long day and some ugly tears, I was finally home around 6pm and took it easy on the couch studying the Civil War with Wills.   The boys were great putting themselves to bed and didn’t seem phased by the fact I didn’t get off the couch (maybe I should try that more often).

When I was getting ready for bed I passed out in the bathroom.  Luckily I felt it coming on and laid down.  I yelled for the boys to wake up and had them call our friend Charlotte, a doctor who lives nearby.  I was dehydrated from not eating or drinking all day while I waited for the procedure.  And,  I was in a good bit of pain.   A little gatorade and TLC and I was feeling better before long.  I hated having to call the kids to help me – but they were champs.   Charlotte stayed with me until Jay’s flight landed from Minneapolis around 1am.  I was sound asleep.

It has been an overwhelming couple days. Grateful for a community of friends who drove me to the hospital, sat with me, made me laugh, drove our kids where they needed to be, brought dinner and helped me up off the bathroom floor.  You can’t face cancer alone.

I am in much less pain today as I take it easy at home. The fluid was sent for diagnosis. We’ll know more in a couple days.  And, we’ll make a plan.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have five years of stability on my first line drug (Arimidex).  When I was first diagnosed I sank into a dark depression.  I’m grateful I climbed out of the darkness and embraced these past 5 years.   When I was first diagnosed I would never have imagined there could be so much joy – the strength of my body running marathons & all night relay races, mountains climbed, waterfalls to swim in, cheering our boys to victories, new friendships, marriages, cliff side champagne toasts, swimming with sharks and dancing all night.

Hope is true.  It isn’t contingent on something happening.  It is believing in something bigger than ourselves, when we can’t see it and trusting.  Believing we are safe even when we feel threatened.  Arriving at a place of trust and surrender.

Thank you for loving us and your prayers.  I will update when we have more details.

hope & peace-

18 replies
  1. Joanne Skupin
    Joanne Skupin says:

    We love you Lara & I am so glad you have people in your life to help when needed. Drink more Gatorade & stay hydrated. Good thoughts and prayers are coming your way.

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I received a bracelet in 2013 made from one of your scarves. I didn’t know much about anything then. You are an inspiration. And I aspire to be more like you! 🙏🙏🙏🙏

  3. Maya
    Maya says:

    Keep that fight going ….. Tears are flowing while reading this …. Your family will hold you up !
    Hugs from back home !

  4. Alana
    Alana says:

    Thank you for sharing, Lara. So sorry you are having to go thru this. But, living with MBC, we learn this is just another bump in the road. If you ever need a shoulder or an ear from someone who lives this same journey daily, I’m always here!

  5. Carolyn Fuerst
    Carolyn Fuerst says:

    I’m following you sister! When my lung cancer metastasised to my spine, they fused everything together and a few months later my lungs were filling up with fluid and they were draining 2 liters a week. Then they were giving me hospice information when my oncologist did a blood test for a new treatment called Targeted Therapy. I had the mutation that enabled me to start this new way of treating cancer. It worked for over 2 yrs when it metastasized to my brain. Apparently the blood dam barrier keeps the medication from working in the brain! Then another “new “ drug came out that works in the brain. Everything has been working quite well and if this medication stops working,there’s 2 new ones that have come out since. This April will be my eleventh year since this all started. Awhile back I told you what I was told by an oncologist,”If you think you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on,because there’s new treatments coming out every month!”
    You’ve got scarves to make girl! , so tie a knot…you’ve a purpose!

    • Lara MacGregor
      Lara MacGregor says:

      knot tied! Thank you for the reminder and inspiration. It’s kind of like each time you tie a Hope Scarf… that knot is symbolic of this hanging on. Hmmm… I might have to write about that.

    • Lara MacGregor
      Lara MacGregor says:

      thank you Heather – I’m just going to live out my adventure dreams vicariously through you since you can still do all the things!!!

  6. Patricia Pavkovich
    Patricia Pavkovich says:

    Lara your message is a beautiful
    one. Your courage, strength and spirit is inspiring. Sending healing love and light from my heart to yours… many blessings your way♥️🙏🏻Patty in Florida

  7. Laura Hollister
    Laura Hollister says:

    My mother told me during one of the most difficult parts of my life that,”It’s going to be alright.”At the time, I could not fathom how things were ever going to be ok, but it turned out that things were indeed ok. I think that is the same idea that you much more elegantly expressed here about knowing that you are safe, and living in hope no mater what. You are safe, Lara!

    • Lara MacGregor
      Lara MacGregor says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Laura. The feeling that you can’t imagine how things could be ok is suffocating. It’s hard to believe in something so hard to comprehend, but that’s faith. Believing in something so much bigger than each of us. The idea that we are safe no matter what is powerful.


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