Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's talk about posture ....

When you have breast reduction surgery that I had, you are cut from arm pit to arm pit with one inch left between incisions on your sternum.  When I look at my incisions, I think 'wow, that's a lot of cutting'.  I'm ok with that because I know Dr. Chow got as much of the cancer out as possible.  But let me tell you what an incision of this nature does to your posture.  Now I have always had excellent posture.  I sit straight with no slumping, I walk straight with no slumping ... slumping is not something I have ever done nor do I plan to start now. 

I was told after my surgery to continue keeping my shoulders back and not give in to the incisions by rounding my shoulders down over my incisions.  I thought I was doing that and I know I was some  but maybe just not all the time.  Until yesterday other than my doctors appointments, I had not been out in public so I decided in the afternoon to take a field trip with my sister to Sam's.  I made a conscious effort to hold my shoulders back just the way I always have as we walked around in Sam's and guess what?   It wore me out.  I could feel the tugging across my incisions as I walked with my shoulders back and my back became very tired.  We were there maybe 30 minutes and I could not wait to get in the car to sit down. 

I will continue to relearn to hold my shoulders back and my chest out like I always have and continue to suck in my stomach to keep my stomach muscles strenthened.  I know my back muscles will continue to get stronger and the incisions are healing nicely.  Actually the incisions I'm told are doing really well.  I would post a picture but it might freak everyone out.  They don't bother me at all.  You see I look at them with gratitude and love and not hate and despise. 

Today focus on your own posture.  Do you slump and round your shoulders or do you walk with your head held high and your chest out.  Humor ....  I try to stick my chest out and there ain't nothing there BUT rest assured I'm sticking it out and walking proudly.  When I look at myself in the mirror from the side, I am only as thick as my skeleton.  I continue to be amazed at what God is showing me during my journey in every realm of my life.

On another note ... Our friend, Anna, wanted to pick up dinner for us at Sammie's BBQ in Riverside last night for dinner.  We chatted about it and I suggested we meet there for dinner instead  (another field trip).  I was actually able to put on a really stretchy t-shirt yesterday so I was up for the public.  My sister and Anna and I have dinner frequently on Saturday nights.  Anna told me to invite my girls and dinner was on her.  I'm always  up for time with my family and Anna is truly a dear sweet friend so I told the girls and it all worked out for us all to meet a Sammie's for BBQ. 

The girls, babies and son-in-law all go in to get a table and Pat and I sit in the car waiting a minute on Anna to get there and here she comes around the driveway.  We get out of the car and greet each other and walk in and the kids have found the perfect table where we will all fit.  I get around the back of the table and my sister helps me get my jacket off and I get seated and look over at a couple that has just walked in and sat down, the man facing me.  We exchange smiles and I hear him place his drink order and I did a double-take and it is Nolan Ryan and his wife having dinner at Sammie's BBQ in Riverside.  Everyone was seated by now at our table and I just quietly under my breath tell everyone ... Don't look now but Nolan Ryan and his wife are here for dinner.  He has his glasses on to read the menu so at first the family didn't think it was him ... I knew it was because I heard him order his drink and he has a distinct voice.  No one else in the restaurant (not that Sammie's dining room is that big) knew he was there until he got up and they left.  My son-in-law did go over and got him to sign the back of my grandson's picture that he carries in his wallet.  It was a pretty awesome night.  And the ribs were superb. 

I don't know what today holds but I do know who holds today. 

Isaiah 41:13    I am the Lord your God.  I take hold of your right hand.  I say to you, 'Do not be afraid.  I will help you.'

Blessings for this beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Changing the name ....

If you are reading this blog, most likely you know me and if you don't but someone shared my blog with you, you know or will know that I have a sense of humor.  I've been told at times that it's a 'sick' sense of humor but none the less, I have a sense of humor.

When first diagnosed with cancer, I knew how I wanted to walk my journey through it.  I did not want to walk with my head down and a "poor pitiful me" mindset.  NO WAY!  I wanted to walk it glorifying my gracious God and being able to educate others in this dreadful disease.  I wanted to find the good in the journey and boy have I (that's another post).  I even found you can have a sense of humor while walking this journey. 

So with that said, I wanted you to know that I have decided that I will not say that I have had a mastectomy (no, there's no denial here ... read on), I've decided I will tell people that I have had a
breast reduction...  LOL ....  Find the humor here, I did. 

Another kinda funny story from this Saturday morning was when I told my oldest daughter that I used to have a beauty mark on my face just beside the left side of my mouth.  Oh, you know the Kitty from Gunsmoke kinda 'mole' on a woman's face ... well that's what I'm talking about but it was near the left side of my face.  Well years ago I got scared that it would turn to cancer and had it removed.  I told Alicia this story this morning and then I looked at her and laughed and said, "I got cancer anyway".  We both chuckled.

You see I have control over the way this cancer can make me feel or not feel.  I can be doom and gloom and 'oh whoa is me' or I can be upbeat and find the good about what's going on around me.  I chose the second.  Yes, I do have down days but I take a deep breath and I whisper a prayer and I put a smile on my face and get through those.  Even when we are completely healthy we all have down days.  It's what we chose to do with "those days" that matters.

While on a field trip to my sister's house (she lives across the street from me so it was a short field trip), I was in her study and saw the following poem.  Please take the time to read it, print it and put it somewhere so you can get to it and read it when you think things are just going all wrong.  Enjoy!

There is nothing --
     no circumstance,
     no trouble,
     no testing --
that can ever touch me until, first of all,
     it has gone past God
     and past Christ,
     right through to me.

If it has come that far,
     it has come with a great purpose,
     which I may not understand
     at that moment
but as I refuse to become panicky
     as I lift my eyes up to Him
and accept it as coming from His Throne
for some great purpose of blessing
     to my own heart,

No sorrow will disturb me,
No trial will ever disarm me,
No circumstance will cause me to fret,
     for I shall rest in the JOY
     of what my Lord is.

                         -- Alan Redpath

I leave you today with thankfulness.  I am thankful I was able to get up this morning.  I am thankful that I can now move my right arm more freely.  I am thankful that I know my left arm will be more mobile as the incision where they removed my lymph nodes heals.  I am thankful that even though I still have three drains, they are working properly and taking the fluid out of my body while it is healing.  I am thankful for the warmth of the sun as I stood in my driveway this morning.  I am thankful for the incredible love that surrounds me everyday from an awesome Father in Heaven and all His magnificent angels He has put around me to support and take care of me while I am walking this journey. 

Today I hope you find humor and laugh.  And when you laugh you will feel so good.


Friday, October 28, 2011

And it was just a glitch ....

Praising God that the nurse was able to clear the drain and all is working well now.  Thank you sweet Lord. 

Philippians 4:19  And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Prayer Request
There is a family I know whose baby, Avery Love, who is suffering with a form of cancer.   Little angel Avery has been so sick with an infection in her central line that she has in for her treatment.  She's been through so much at such a young age.  Please pray for this little angel and her family as they continue to watch little Avery go through so much.  Here's a link to her little Facebook page.!/averylovecurtis

Thank you all for your prayers for me.  I know God is hearing every one of them. 

Now to continue my Friday Night Lights marathon. 


Sometimes there are glitches ....

As much as we all want things to go without any glitches, sometimes there are just glitches.  As I've posted, I still have three drains.  There were a total of four with two on each side.  One was put in my lymph node areas and the other was put across my chest cavity on each side.  On Wednesday they took one of the drains out on my right side which was good so now there are three.  I watch these drains and they should be emptied twice a day, measured and reset.  (If you've ever had surgery and had drains you know what I'm talking about).  Early evening yesterday, drain #4 on my left side which produces the most fluid, clogged up.  My sister who is also my personal incredible nurse got home worked and worked to get the clot out which is right where the drain comes out of my body ... nothing was getting through.  We called the nurse navigator at Joan Katz Breast Center in Baylor-All Saints and she told Pat to keep working the clot and if it wouldn't open up to put a 4X4 gauze and tape it over the drains for the night.  Generally the drains are sealed off with little surgical disk and cellaphane looking tape is placed over the whole area so that I'm able to shower with no problems.  Pat tried again and worked and worked and nothing.  So she dressed that side with the 4X4 and this morning, there is nothing in the drain which means it's really clogged up.  The one good thing is that the fluid is not yet coming out around where the drain is put in but once I get up and get moving, I'm sure it will.  So today I will need to contact Dr. C's office to get there before noon and get something done to fix this.  Dr. C was not ready for this drain to come out on Wednesday when I was there so I'm not sure what will happen.  However, God does. 

Please pray that this is a minor glitch and the medical team can get it opened up.  My left arm with the clogged drain is where the 16 lymph nodes were removed which produces more fluid due to no way to rid my body of the extra fluid.  Eventually my body will begin to absorb the fluid once I start to heal really good in there.

I'm thankful to continue feeling better every day.  Sleep was not a good friend of mine last night, not sure what was up with that but one thing for sure, I have all day to nap after my field trip to the doctor office. 

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  Today I ask that if you are given an opportunity to contribute to the breast cancer cause, please do.  It's those contributions that help women like me have wonderful support people like the nurse navigators at the Joan Katz Breast Center.  These are wonderful women who seem to work all the time.  They are literally available at all hours and so kind and helpful.  I'm praying God prepares my journey to lead me to be able to touch lives as mine as been touched with these women. 

Looking forward to a wonderful day, I mean after all I get a field trip out of it.  <smile>
I am claiming today ....

Isa 41:10  "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday ...

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I have so many things to be thankful for today and I know that I am blessed beyond measure.  So this morning I wanted to share with you some of those things.  I pray that when you read this blog today, you will stop and remember how blessed you are as well.

I'm thankful for my awesome Father who has not only lit my path to walk this cancer journey but He has gone before me and has been here beside me all along and carried me when I couldn't seem to find my footing to walk alone.  He has dried those tears I hid from others as He alone calmed my fears.  He has given me the strength and courage to keep walking and holding on to Him.  He has given me the words ....  It is well with my soul. 

I'm thankful that I have such a loving and caring family who have been so supportive and want only the best for me.  They have put their lives on hold to give to me and take care of my every need, all the way down to the least little thing that all of a sudden for me without full use of my arms is such a big task.  Example:  Think about getting out of bed or even out of a chair from a sitting position.  Do you realize how many chest and arm muscles you are using?  Neither did I until now. 

I'm thankful that God has surrounded me with so many friends who have sent the sweetest comforting cards and beautiful flower arrangements,  so many of my friends have prepared delicious food so my family isn't having to prepare meals.  My friends have called to check on me, they have come to my house and been with me during the day while my family is at work. 

I'm thankful that my situation is not any worse than it is.  While I have cancer, it is not near as bad as some folks who are struggling today.  Think about it ... You get up and your ankles are stiff from laying in bed all night.  Think about the homeless man in downtown Fort Worth who has no legs but gets up every day to sit on the corner of 2nd and Houston St. in his wheelchair and greets people.  All of a sudden those stiff ankles aren't so bad, huh?

I'm thankful God has given me an opportunity to share my journey with cancer so that others might learn more about the disease.  Praying that ladies will realize that bump they feel in their breast is not normal and they should go get it checked out no matter how scarey it is.  If this is happening for you right now and you're afraid, call me.  Together we can walk through what ever is happening.

I'm thankful as I sit in my recliner this morning and can hear the wind blowing my wind chimes on my patio.  The delicate tinkles that remind me I'm still alive and I still have so much more life to live.  I'm thankful as I look out at my yard that was groomed yesterday by an awesome young man, Justin.  I'm thankful that a friendship with he and his Mom that started back when my girls were in daycare with Justin has continued all these years.  I'm thankful for this cooler weather.  I love the autumn/fall/harvest season and I'm thankful I am going to be able to enjoy it this year.

I'm thankful that each day I am feeling a little better than the day before.  I'm thankful on those days that I get ahead of myself and think that I am feeling great, God slows me down and says ... hold on a minute sister, I'm in control here.  (Note:  yesterday was one of those days.) 

I've so much to be thankful for and could go on and on but instead pray that you will stop right now and thank God for all He has given you ... from the smallest thing like a good cup of coffee to the largest thing ... that He gave His only son to die on that cross to save your soul.  He loves each and every one of us and He wants us to love and recognize Him.  Take some time today and every day to thank Him.  He has answered many prayers lifted up for me and I'm so thankful on this Thursday. 

I close this morning with a thankful heart for a God who loves me beyond measure and a peace that I can not get anywhere else. 

John 14:27  27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Many blessings!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A little update ...

Today was my post-op appointment with my surgeon, Dr. C.  My youngest daughter, Bonnie, was able to take me to that appointment.  I'm praising the Lord even more today. 

My pathology report from Dr. C ...  First words out of her mouth ... there were no surprises ...

The three tumors in my right breast were invasive lobular cancer which is very good because it's non-agressive.  Of the three tumors, the largest tumor was 1.6 cm and was stage 1.  And as we knew, there was no lymph node involvement.  Also, I got one of the drains out on this side.  This is big YEA moment.   (DEFINITION:  Invasive lobular carcinoma typically doesn't form a lump, as most women expect with breast cancer. Instead, invasive lobular carcinoma more often causes a thickening of the tissue or fullness in one part of the breast. )  The thickening of the tissue was what I felt, there was no defined lump/bump.  So do those self-breast exams and if you feel anything out of the ordinary soft breast tissue, go see your doctor. 

The two tumors in my left breast were micropappliary cancer.  She didn't really give me an explanation for this type.  Dr. C had removed 16 lymph nodes on this side and out of the 16, only ONE of the lymph nodes were affected.  That was the sentinel lymph node.  The largest tumor is my left breast was 2.5 cm and was stage 2. 

Dr. C also scraped and biopsied tissue from the left side of my chest wall muscle to ensure there was no cancer there and it was clear.

I still have three of the four drains but I'm ok with that.  Dr. C explained to me today where the drains were and what they were doing for me.  I go back to see her next Wednesday to see how things are progressing as far as the fluid in my chest.  I go see my Oncologist, Dr. Y on Monday where I'm assuming I will find out about any further treatment. 

All in all, this whole report today was a good report and we are all Praising the Lord.  I don't know what's ahead as far as further treatment but God does.  He has my path layed out and continues walking beside me during this journey. 

I have received so many beautiful cards, flower and food.  Thank you all so much for caring and sharing with me this journey.  I'm happy you are walking with me. 

I must share a little glitch that happened on Monday night ... I got that stomach virus that is going around.  Now let me tell you that throwing up is hard enough without having your chest cut open from arm pit to arm pit.  Whew I'm glad that's over. 

Today has been a big day for not just me but my family as well.  God is good all the time. 

Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Recuperating ...

I am home from my surgery, actually got to come home Wednesday early afternoon.  I was pretty shocked that my surgeon told me I could go home so soon but really happy about it.  Being home gives a whole new definition of recuperating, although I must say, the staff at Baylor-All Saints hospital in Fort Worth were the absolute best.  God has put so many wonderful people in my path since I was diagnosed.

I'm going to share what I remember about the surgery.  I dutifully got to the hospital for check-in at 5:00AM before people even got to work.  Some of the folks were a little perplexed that I was there so early.  I just told them that I was following orders and in my own mind I was thinking ... it's my surgery day!  Yea, they are getting the cancer out of my body.  By 6:45 I was surrounded by my wonderful family and friends.  They took me to be injected with the radiative dye that would show my surgeon where my lymph nodes were.  Gotta tell you that injection hurt pretty bad.  They inject the dye right in to the lesions.  And it was an "ouch" moment. 

After that we grabbed my family again from that waiting room and the next stop was the double doors  ... you know those double doors that you really aren't sure really happens back there.  They began prepping me with an IV in my left hand and the anesthesiologist came and ask me a bunch of questions.  There was a team of about six people not counting my surgeon working to get me ready for surgery.  They gave me bunchs of stuff through my IV, one of which was benadryl which made me groggy.  Now benadryl might not have a sleepy affect on anyone else but it does me.  My surgeon, Dr. C, came in to talk to me and ask me if I had any last minute questions and also told me that the PET scan had come back clean.  Praise the Lord ... I said that about three times and ask her if she would go tell my family.  She said she would tell them when she went to speak to them after my surgery.  I think about 9:30ish they were ready for me in the OR so away we went.  Man, it was cold in there. 

As it turned out, the 3 hour surgery that was to be ended up 5 hours.  My right side lymph nodes were clean but the left side still wasn't playing very nice and allowed the cancer to get in those nodes.  The result of that was she had to take lots of lymph nodes, cut further under my arm to my back.
This side has been the side that has hurt the worse.  Once the pathology report comes back on that and it should be back by next Wedensday which is when I will see her for my post-op, we will know to what extent my lymph nodes were invaded.. 

It was a grueling day for my family and friends who were there waiting on me to get out of surgery.  Of course I had no idea that anything was going on.  Once I was out of surgery and in recovery for a small amount of time, they wheeled me up to my room.  There I was reunited with my family and friends, all of whom were crying.  Of course being kinda dopey and as I looked at all their faces and saw tears, I was just sure I was dying.  I think I went from person to person asking what the outcome was.  I couldn't figure out why they were all crying but come to find out it was because it had been such a long day for them (time meant nothing to me) and not that there was anything wrong with me.  Praise the Lord.  I remember my speech was pretty slurred when asking them one by one as to the outcome.  I think they chuckled at my speech. 

When Dr. Chow came for her rounds on Wednesday morning, she said I could home that day.  Of course then everything became a whirlwind.  The nurse navigator and a volunteer came and showed my sister how to bleed the lines on my drains, they fitted me with my camisole which has insets that hold the drains.  They showed my sister how to massage my neck, shoulders, hands and arms to keep the lymphatic system flowing.  And again, they were the sweetest ladies.  We waited until I had some lunch so I could take a pain pill before we left for the ride home.  Everything worked out well.

Last night (Thursday) I was itching so bad I couldn't stand it.  I ended up having to take a benadryl for the itching.  My sister has been in contact with my surgeon's office who will call out a new pain med for me.  I am not a medicine taking kinda gal, so it doesn't take much to mess me up.  I'm thankful for the pain meds though because the left side where she took the lymph nodes there are nerves that were cut and boy, when you touch that area of lift your arm wrong it makes you want to slap your Mama.  <smile> 

All in all, I know God is walking before me and He is using me as I walk this journey.  Thank you all for your continued prayers, they mean so much to me. 

I'm wearing out now so I'm going to close.  Thank you all again for all your prayers and support as I walk this cancer journey.  Please continue praying for what's to come.  God knows where I'm headed and I put my complete faith in him. 

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's SHOWTIME ....

It's SHOWTIME is what my brother says when there's a happening.  So many times that he's been in the hospital and getting ready to have a procedure for his heart, he says ... It's SHOWTIME.  I thought that appropriate for today as I get ready for my surgery.  While they will take both my breasts today, they will also be getting the cancer.  Thank you Lord. 

My prayer today .... Father, you walk before me.  You hold my hand, You calm my fears as only you can.  For all that You are and for all that You do, I say thank you.  I know that You are the great physician and You will guide the hands of the surgeon and all that assist.  I find peace from within knowing that You have complete control.  Father, I ask that you be with Justin as he defends his thesis at the exact time that I am in surgery.  Father, give him a calm and peace and all the words that he needs.  He has prepared for this defense and he is such an awesome young man who knows You as his Lord and savior.  Father, I pray this morning for those who are facing much worse circumstances than I.  I pray that they know You are with them and to let go and let You hold their hands.  Father, be with my family as they face the wait while I am in surgery.  Thank you for each and every one of those you have put in my path during my journey.  Father, I love you, I know you are with me and I know you have my life in your hands.  Thank you for loving me and sending your son to die on the cross for me.  I pray all these things in Your awesome name and give You the praise.  Amen

Today I claim some scripture that my little buddy, Jarod, claimed when he was going through melanoma cancer.  Jarod has gone to live with the Lord now but he has walked with me every day since September 15.  His incredible Mother, Greta, shared these scriptures with me when I found out I had cancer.  Greta, I love you and appreciate you more than you know.

Psalm 27:5-9 

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.salm 28:6-7

Psalm 28:6-7
6 Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Morning Before ...

Another early waking morning.  It seems 3:00 - 3:30 am is the time of morning that my body wants to wake.  I have always been an early riser but never this early.  It's ok, early mornings are so peaceful. 

Questions I've been ask recently are: 
Are you getting nervous?  No.  I'm looking forward to the surgery and getting the cancer out of my body. 

Are you scared?  No.  There isn't anything to be scared of.  My awesome Father, the greatest physican that ever was or will be, will be in that operating room with me tomorrow.  With Him there, why would I be scared. 

How long will you be off work?  My surgeon told me six weeks with a double mastectomy.  I plan to take as much time as I need to fully recuperate so as not to have any lasting repurcussions from the surgery. 

Do you have enough leave to take this much time off?  Yes.  I've been blessed with an incredible job that offers good benefits. 

Will you have to have chemo?  This is undetermined at this time.  My oncologist, Dr. Robyn Young will make that determination once all the breast tissue and the lesions have been tested. 

How long will you be in the hospital?  My surgeon, Dr. Anita Chow has said two nights.  They want to ensure there is no infection and also to ensure they regulate the pain medication. 

Do you have someone to stay with you once you get home?  I'm blessed to have my family.  My sister lives across the street from, she's a nurse for 40 years now, and she is taking her four saved days of leave to be here with me.  With her and my girls, I'm in great hands. 

This morning I'm enjoying my coffee (I won't get any tomorrow <smile>).  I'm spending time in the word of God.  I have an incredible daily devotional book, Jesus Calling - Enjoying Peace in His Presence that reaches my heart.  If you do not have a daily devotional, go to Lifeway Christian Bookstore and pick one up.  I'm praising God that He has gotten me to this point.  When I was called and told the day that my surgery had been scheduled, it seemed forever away.  During that 'wait' time, I have been able to attend two classes that pertains to breast cancer, go to many needed appointments, have a PET scan, just so many things that needed to be done.  During that 'wait' time, I've also been able to share my story, start this blog and I hope reach out to many women to help educate them. 

Last night I watched a recorded show called "Five".  Did anyone watch this show?  It was every woman's story who has walked the breast cancer journey.  As I sat and watched it, I thought ... my goodness they are telling my story.  This show was on Lifetime so check your show listings and watch.  You will be glad you did.

In closing today, I want to share the first verse of a song that plays in my head constantly.  You will probably know this song, so take a moment and sing the words as you read them. 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

As I close this morning, I ask that you continue to pray.  Please add my oldest nephew, Justin to your prayer list.  He will be defending his doctorate thesis tomorrow at 9:00am at USC.  We both have big events coming up tomorrow and we both know that God is walking with us.  Thank you for your prayers. 

Today ... please know that ... It is well --- It is well with my soul.
Blessings for this Magnificent Monday - go and make it a great day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time ...

Thinking back tonight on the events since September 15, 2011, I have to say that time has not stood still.  The day I found out I had cancer, my world stopped or so it seemed.  Since that day, life has continued although at the time I felt sure that the world had stopped.  It didn't, the world continued spinning and I continued living.  I waged a war against this dreadful disease that has invaded my body, my world, my family.  You know you can hurt me all you want but you better leave my family alone. 

As you can imagine this weekend has been filled with last minute preparations for what is to come.  I'm a planner and I want to be organized.  I want to ensure that everyone has everything they need ... because that's who I am.  I am sure there is something that I've forgotten or just didn't have time to get done but in the over all scheme of things, I know it isn't going to matter. 

What matters is ... I've spent time with my family and loved on my grandbabies.  I also got the good news that Braxton will become a big brother in May 2012.  I'm excited for the new one to get here.  Braxton will make a great big brother.  I'm so thankful for my family.

I do want to thank everyone who is praying and has put me on their prayer lists.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I'm a prayer warrior and please let me know if I can pray for you.  Also, thank you to so many for the beautiful uplifting cards I have received.  It swells my heart that you took the time to buy a card and send it to me.  Each and everyone has lifted my heart. 

I'm thankful that you are walking with me on this journey.  Please feel free to share my blog with others.  Who knows who will find themselves on this journey in the future.  I pray for them right now. 

So in closing tonight, I want you all to know that I'm praising my Lord. He continues to walk with me and hold my hand. He whispers His sweet words in my ear. He loves me no matter what.

Psalm 107:1  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

I am blessed and sending you blessings.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who am I?

Upon my diagnosis with breast cancer, I knew immediately that I would most likely have to have a double mastectomy.  And sure enough that's what I was told and not just that but that I was told that I was not a candidate for reconstructive surgery.  So what did that mean to me?  To me it meant, there was a better chance of my surgeon being able to remove as much of the cancerous breast tissue as possible which meant a better chance of survival.  A better chance of a long life to be here to share about my Lord.

To further let you in on the feelings I've had since my diagnosis.  I've never thought much about not having breasts until now and to tell you the truth, I haven't thought that much about having the mastectomy since my diagnosis.  My breasts do not define me.  My HEART does.  If people are looking at my outer appearance and missing my heart, they are missing out on the real me.  I never thought twice about my surgeons decision for me not to have reconstruction surgery.  Even if it were an option, my decision would be to not have reconstructive surgery. 

While we are on the subject, let's talk about NO hair.  What if I have to have chemo and lose all my hair?  Here again, my hair does not define me.  My HEART does. 

All in all I look at it as just breasts and hair.  Who cares?  Neither one are my defining factors.  Will you, the person reading this, reject me if I dont' have breasts and hair?  Of course NOT.  But to answer the title question --- Who am I?  I am Gena, Mother to Bonnie and Alicia, Grammy to Madelyn and Braxton and any other little grandbabies that come along, sister to Pat and Marvin, Aunt to Justin, Travis, Lindsay and Krystyn, friend to many, co-worker to all my NWS family but most importantly --- I am God's child.  He loves me no matter what.  He sees beyond my breasts and hair, He sees my heart.  He loves me no matter what and He loves me just the way I am. 

So tonight I leave you with this ..... Tomorrow give an encouraging word to someone, you never know what someone is going through.  Pass out some smiles, give a homeless person a couple bucks, pay it forward at the fast food or Starbucks drive thru by paying the tab of the car behind you.  Listen to people when they talk and do not be thinking about what you're going to say as soon as they pause to catch a breath.  And when you do these things, look toward the Heavens and know that God, our awesome Father, has just smiled down on you.

Ephesians 4:32  32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

It is well with my soul. 

Nutrition Information

First, let me say that I am sharing this information given to me by a nutritionist at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and in no way am I saying that you must/should follow this.  I'm sharing this for information purposes because I believe knowledge is power.  Power over our body and what you choose to put it in.

While I have followed these guidelines for years after being diagnosed with migraines however, I did learn some things many interesting things from this class.  Migraines can be caused by what you eat so I have followed several of these guidelines.  This information if from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

30% of all cancers are diet related

Weight, activity, vegetable and fruits, increase complex carbohydrates, limit alcohol

Being overweight increases your chances for cancer
Exercise is important.  At least 30 minutes of walking a day can make a difference
Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that protect our cells against free radicals.  Free radicals are cancer promoters.
Vitamin A - sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, orange and dark green vegetables
Vitamin C - brussel sprouts, collards, cabbage, broccoli
Lycopene - tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit.  Cooked tomatoes offers more lycopene
Carbs and grains provide energy
Limit white bread and pasta
Choose 100% wheat bread, pasta, toritllas, brown rice, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, and rye
Protein provides engery and essential amino acids
Limit or avoid read meat.  No more than 11-18 oz of beef per week
ELIMINATE processed meat - bacon, sausage, hot dogs.  Processed meats contain sodium nitrate ... you should eliminate sodium nitrate from your diet.
Fish - have at least twice a week.  Canned salmon and tuna are good sources of Omega 3
Eat more plant proteins - Beans, nuts and seeds
AICR recommends a total vegetarian meal twice a week
Avoid trans fats and saturated fats (also called partially hydrogenated oils)
Use olive oil and canola oil
No more than 2 grams of trans fat per day.  Limit processed food due to trans fat.
Chose more often - olive oil, canola oil, olives, avocadoes and nuts
LADIES - limit alcohol intake.  More than 1 drink can increase your chances of breast cancer or a recurrence.  Serving for women is 12 oz beer; 5 oz wine; 1.5 oz liquor
We need Vitamin D and Calcium which plays a role in cancer prevention and recurrence
Soy is estrogen positive.  If you're not using soy - DON'T

Again, please know that I am just sharing what I learned.  Basically be aware of everything you put in your body for nourishment. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

I appreciate all your prayers and ask that you continue to pray.  Prayer is a powerful thing.  Please add a dear friend of mines brother.  He has been given some disturbing health news.  I don't know his name but God does.  Thank you for walking with me on my journey through breast cancer.  I know our God is an awesome God.  I pray for each and every person reading this blog and I pray that you remain healthy. 

It is well with my soul....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Day Closer

Today is one day closer to my surgery.  In seven days I will undergo my bilateral mastectomy to remove the cancer.  I am looking forward to next Tuesday.  You may think I'm sick in the head but I'm not.  I'm ready to have my body rid of this cancer.  Whatever comes after the surgery, I'm up for. 

Something I want you to think about today.  Think about everything you put in your mouth to eat or drink or smoke.  Tonight I will post some information about nutrition that I learned in a nutrition class I took for breast cancer patients. 

Blessings for this beautiful rainy Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Two Greatest Accomplishments

My two greatest accomplishments.  I am so proud and so blessed. 


A little more info ...

I scanned some information to put here on my blog.  The info is an explanation about ductal carcinoma and gives you a little look inside the milk duct.  The top pictures (round circle) on the right of the sheet of paper are what a healthy non-cancerous milk duct would look like sliced open (magnified by many thousands).  The milk duct allows the milk to move through the duct like a straw.  The picture in the middle is an example of a milk duct being invaded by cancer cells.  Cancer is this diagram is called in situ or pre-cancers and are maintained in the duct and hasn't broken through the duct.  Once the cancer has grown beyond the duct and breaks the milk duct wall (bottom right picture) then it becomes invasive and can allow the cancer to spread.  Invasive ductal carcinoma is what I have been diagnosed with.  However, at this point the doctors believe it is still pretty much contained around the lesions/lumps. 

There are three grades to cancer.  Grade 1 - Low Grade or Well Differentiaed.  Grade 1 cancer cellls still look a lot like normal cells.  They are usually slow-growing.  Grade 2 - Intermediate/Moderate Grade or Moderately Differentiated.  Grade 2 cancer cells do not look like normal cells.  They are growing somewhat faster than normal cells.  Grade 3 - High Grade or Poorly Differentiated.  Grade 3 cancer cells do not look at all like normal cells. They are fast growing.  My cancer is grade 2. 

The PET scan went off without a hitch.  Once I was finished with that, I got in my car feeling much better because they had injected me with radiative sugar water which immediately raised my sugar level.  I got to the nearest Starbucks for my Skinny Vanilla Latte extra hot and found me a McDonald's and got a sausage biscuit and headed back to work.  The Starbucks was the best I've ever had.  <smile>  What started out as a very sick feeling kinda day with a migraine to boot, ended up with me feeling very good. 
As far as I know I do not have any other appointments until next Tuesday when I have to be at Baylor-All Saints at 5:00am to prep for surgery at 9:15am.
My prayer requests tonight are for my family, my doctors, and that nothing gets in the way of my surgery.  Walking around with cancer in your body is something I never want anyone to have to experience. 

My God continues to walk beside me.  He loves me and has already shown me so much through my journey so far.  I want Him to use me in this experience to aid those who may have to walk this path as well as to help everyone understand more about breast cancer. 

Numbers 6:24-26  "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace."

Blessed and sending blessings.

PET Scan Tuesday

Today is my PET scan at The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.  I'm praying it all comes back clear and clean ... please pray with me.  I followed the protein and lettuce diet yesterday to a "T".  Of course cannot have anything this morning except water.  I'm holding out ok. 

Yesterday was my pre-op at Baylor All-Saints.  That took about 2 hours but got it all done. 

It's one week from today that I have my surgery.  Please pray with and for me that nothing gets in the way of the surgery.  I'm ready to get this cancer out of my body. 

It is well with my soul .....

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hope ....

Friday, October 7 was my appointment to meet with the Nurse Navigator at Baylor-All Saints.  I went in to the Jean Katz Breast Center once again not really knowing what to expect.  It was beautiful and off to the left of the seating area was their store.  I could see wigs, scarfs, camisoles, etc.  While I waited for my Nurse Navigator, Sheree, I could hear laughter from the back.  Sherree, my Nurse Navigator is a survivor and I figured she was one of those ladies back there laughing.  My appointment time was almost there and out walks my surgeorn, Dr. Chow.  She had been part of the laughter group.  Her eyes lit up when she saw me and I know my face must have been aglow.  We exchanged greetings and chatted a moment and out comes Sherree.  What a beautiful lady.  She shook my hand and gathered my paperwork and away we went for yet another meeting about breast cancer.  When you're where I'm at, these meetings can be kinda scarey but this meeting was not scarey.  We went in a meeting room that had a large window and when I looked out, there was the most beautifully landscaped courtyard.  Oh my what a calming effect plus you all know I love the outdoors.  I commented on the courtyard and she said they had a patient had paid to have that done toward the end of last year and it just flourished even in the heat from this summer.  Before the landscaping there was just a bunch of dirt. 

Immediately I felt very at ease with my Nurse Navigator, Sherree.  One of the first things I ask anyone who I meet with is .... Would you tell me  your story?  I ask Sherree to tell me her story and she did.  It helps when you are sitting in my shoes to hear about others.  We moved on to my story (the one you've read on this blog) and then she dug in.  Now I gotta tell I'm no medical guru and sometimes this estrogen/progesterone talk confuses me.  I grab as much as possible and certainly ask as many questions as possible.  Sherree was just a wealth of knowledge and she shared with me that my case had been the topic of the 'tumor meeting' that day. 

Tumor meeting ... wow, they have tumor meetings?  I'm sure if I had been there in person, it would have made about as much sense to me as some of the weather service meetings I've been in where they discuss outflow/inflow, AWIPS, dual pole, etc.  <smile>  Anyway, Sherree explained to me that in tumor meetings there are surgeons (mine was there), oncologist (my oncologist MA was there), radiologist, genetic counselors, and Sherree (nurse navigator).  The point of these meetings is to discuss treatment.  It seems my cancer is considered two cancers (well yea, I've got two breasts) and because my cancer is not the same in each breast (go figure, I couldn't be normal), my cancer is a good topic for tumor meetings.

I have estrogen/progesterone negative tumors in my right breast.  This means the cancer is happy and stays put, doesn't really go out looking for a party (lymph nodes).  And on the scale of growing, that scale is called the Ki67 scale, it's speed of growing is at a 10.  Think of a turtle race, the tumors in my right breast are turtles racing and they are very slow.  These tumors are happy just hanging out.  The tumor that was biopsied in my left breast, well he isn't playing so nice.  He is adventurous and looking for a party at a little faster pace.  He is considered a turtle on steriods.  His Ki67 speed of growing is 70.  This guy is looking for a party.  And yet another test that was done on the biopsied turmors was the HER2 test.  As it turns out, my tumors were HER2 negative which is a good thing because that is another determination of the rapid of growth. 

The tumor team looks at so many factors in these turmor meetings and primarily discuss further course of treatment once the surgery is finished.  They discussed the Oncotype testing for my tumors once they are all removed.  The Oncotype testing is to determine further course of  treatment.  Evidently this tumor team gets all my pathology reports, studies them and then they discuss them.  Sherree mentioned to me that in the beginning of the meeting there was one doctor who said he/she didn't feel like Oncotype testing was necessary, some were on the fence, others thought it should be done.  In then end, they all felt my tumors should be Oncotype tested. 

So once my surgery is done and they find out if the cancer is in my lymph nodes, all the determinations will be made as to whether to proceed with the Oncotype testing.  But let me share this.  At this point, both my surgeon and my oncologist have done extensive lymph node feel test as well as reviewed the pictures taken during an extensive sonogram and they cannot see or feel anything out of the ordinary in my lymph nodes.  PRAISE THE LORD! 

Sherree moved on from the medical end of this meeting to the part of telling me where my incisions will be, the process Dr. Chow will go through to remove all the breast tissue and fix me back up.  The surgery will last about 3 1/2 hours.  It helps to know where the incisions will be and kinda what to expect.  She explained and showed me the drains that will be placed during the surgery and that there will be two drains on each side.  I will be able to shower 48 hours after my surgery. <smile> They want breast cancer surgery patients to move their arms some to brush your teeth, brush your hair, put on makeup but not do anything like sweep the floor or do tasks like that that is a repetitive movement.  While the blood vessels will heal and seal off fairly fast, the cut lymph nodes where they biopsy take a little longer to seal and heal and must be given the opportunity to seal themselves off. 

God has put so many wonderful people in my path since my diagnosis.  Sherree is now added to that list.  At the end of the meeting after everything was discussed and my questions answered, Sherree stood up and gave me a big hug and handed me a stone.  On this stone was the word HOPE. 
I cried and she cried and she whispered in my ear ....  "Breast cancer is not for a sissy's.  You are strong and you are going to be ok".  Again, Sherree is another amazing woman God has put in my path. 

Another point of interest and I know this post is long but there's so much I want to share, last Thursday morning I met with a genetic counselor.  Pia, was her name.  This appointment was to determine if I was a candidate for BRAC testing, the test that determines if I carry the breast cancer gene.  These tests start with family history and if it is determined there is a family history of breast cancer, in my case there isn't.  Pia determined from my family history that I have less than 1% chance of carrying the breast cancer gene.  This is another PRAISE THE LORD because that would affect my daughters as well as granddaughters. 

Today I have my Pre-Assessment appointment with Baylor-All Saints.  Chest x-ray, blood and EKG, complete the paperwork.  Today I am also on a high protein, fresh vegetable diet because my PET Scan is scheduled for tomorrow. 

My prayer list .... first, please continue to pray for my daughters as they walk with me on this journey.  They are such a blessing to me and have been so supportive.  Pray for my sister as she continues to walk with me also and explain all the medical jargon that I don't understand.  Pray for my brother and his family, my nephews, cousins - all my family - as I know this is tough on all.  Pray that the PET scan doesn't show any cancer anywhere in my body.  Thank God for tests like this that we can find out and begin treatment if the test shows there is.  Pray that nothing gets in the way of my surgery next Tuesday, October 18.  Walking around with cancer in your body is just not fun.  Cancer patients want it out yesterday and I'm no different.

I leave you today in a much better place than I was a month ago.  I also want to leave you with words from our God.

Phillipians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

With hope and many blessings ...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Live for this moment ....

Matthew 6:25-27

 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

Let me tell you what happens to you when you find out you have cancer?  You no longer think about tomorrow, next week, next year.  September 15 the day I found out I had cancer, I began living the way God intends for us to live ... strictly for this moment. I am not promised five minutes from now, I have only this very moment in time.  Your way of thinking totally changes.  So if you are worried about tomorrow or next week ... DON'T ... God has it all handled.  Talk to Him, He's happy to give you hope, comfort and most of all His awesome love. 

I have heard many people who have cancer say, "Why me?"  I have to tell you those words never crossed my lips because if I say "Why me" - I must also say, "Why not me?"  What makes me exempt from cancer?  Nothing absolutely nothing.  I'm not any different than anyone else.  Oh and by the way, God does not give us cancer or other diseases; He is however here to pick us up and carry us through these tough times.  He loves us and doesn't want any of us to hurt.

It is truly amazing what God has shown me in the last month about my life, my heart, my all.  I listen as He often whispers His comforting words in my ear.  He calms my fears, my anxiousness, my pain.  He has a plan and I'm willing to go where He leads me. 

I pray for those reading this blog that they understand God is in control of our lives.  He loves us like no other can.  He offers us words of encouragement when we think we cannot go on.  I praise His name during all the precious moments He allows me to be here.  Psalm 23 brings comfort and peace to my soul.   

Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the LORD



Remember the family pictures I mentioned in my earlier post?  I wanted to share some of them so you can see part of my family.  I have a wonderful brother and his wife and their girls.  I will be sharing pictures of them soon. 

I will be sharing more information about breast cancer in upcoming posts.  I pray that everyone who reads the information will share it with others and heed what they read.  We are all walking around with cancer genes in our body, not everyone will develop actual cancer.  Your body is a temple of God, take care of it. 

Look how much love surrounds me. L-R My sister, Pat, my oldest daughter, Alicia and her daughter, Madelyn, my youngest daughter, Bonnie and Braxton and her hubby, my incredible son-in-law, Buddy.

My little angels that God gave us last November, Madelyn was born November 5 (left)  and Braxton was born November 30 (right).  Yes, I'm blessed.

Trying to walk and loving the grass.

Holding my grandbabies makes me happy.

My incredible sister, Pat.  The day I found out I had cancer she told me she wished it was her.  I told her NO, I'm meaner than you and I can fight harder. 

Psalm 121:7-8
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Where I Am Today ...

Today I am in a better place than I was on September 15.  I have much more information as to the degree of cancer I have, what it's called and pretty much where I am going as far as treatment. 

First, let me say that I have invasive ductal carcinoma.  Ductal carcinoma is a very common type of cancer that women get in their milk ducts.  Invasive means that some of the lesions are no longer contained in my milk ducts but rather broken through the outside and have a tendency to want to spread.  The large lesion in my left breast doesn't want to play as nicely as the lesions in my right breast. 

On Tuesday, October 12 I will have a PET scan to see if there is cancer anywhere else in my body.  I pray that there isn't and that all my cancer is contained in my breasts which appears at this point could very well be the case. 

I will undergo a bilateral mastectomy on October 18.  Bilateral means two ... I will have both of my breasts removed.  I am not a candidate for reconstructive surgery nor did I want it.  My surgeon explained to me by not having reconstructive surgery she would be able to get more breast tissue out without having to save the skin.  I'm perfectly ok with this.  My decisions may not be good for everyone but they are good for me.  At this point, my surgeon and oncologist do not think that my lymph nodes have been invaded but they will be biopsied during my surgery. 

I will meet with my oncologist after the surgery on October 31.  By that time all the other biopsies results should be back and she will know more about the course of further treatment.  We will review at that time what is next. 

I don't know where my journey is taking me but I do know I want to educate as many women on breast cancer as possible so that we can stop this dreadful disease. 

Praising my Lord ...

Ps 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.  

The Road I Am On ....

Now that I have filled you in the sequence of events, I would like to share with you where I am today. 

First and foremost, I'm walking with God.  He is my heart, soul and spirit.  He has provided me comfort when I did not think I could be comforted.  He's given me strength to share my story that I didn't think I wanted to share.  He has restored my soul.  I take every opportunity to share my awesome God with everyone I come in contact with. 

Now let me share with you the beautiful women I have in my life.  First, I have the two most amazing daughters that anyone could ever have hoped for.  They are supporting and kind and caring.  I had asked to have some family pictures taken before my body went through surgery and possibly chemo.  They made it all happen.  Another incredible lady in my life is my sweet sister.  She has done more for me than I deserve.  She has accompanied me to all my doctor appointments, she has prepared a list of questions for the doctors.  I am blessed. 

I have a wonderful woman surgeon that is now in my life.  She has answered all my sisters questions and the few I have come up with.  She is patient and kind and coming around with a sense of humor.  She's smart and one of Fort Worth's best surgeons. 

My oncologist is also a lady and let me tell you, God spoke to both my sister and I about this lady and she has proven to be wonderful.  She's smart and patient and kind.  At the end of a very long day and after my sister and I had been in her office for about 2 hours and the appointment was wrapping up, she looked at us and said, "Can I pray?"  Now just how awesome is that.  When the prayer ended, we all stood up and she came around the little desk area and hugged me like there was no tomorrow. 

So yes, I'm blessed with wonderful women in my life and I am so thankful for each and every one of you.  You have made my journey so much easier in your own special way and for that I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
Psalm 121:7-8The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

My Journey - Part 4

September 14, 2011 - The call never came so I figured ok, well perhaps tomorrow. All the while my girls were telling me to call Solis where I had my mammogram done. I honestly figured they would call me so I didn't call.

September 15, 2011 - My appointment with my gynecologist was 1:30 on this day so I left work and got to the office and check-in and am handed my folder to take to the waiting room which was normal practice for my doctor's office. On the way around the hall, I noticed a report paper clipped to the front of the folder so when I sat down I flipped the front page up and determined it was my pathology report. I immediately saw the word carcinoma and I threw the folder down on the seat beside me as if I had just seen a snake. My heart raised and I remembered letting my head fall back against the wall ... thinking No Lord No, don't let this be true. I gather enough courage to pick the folder back up and flip up that cover page and there it was ... all three lesions were cancerous. About that time, the nurse came around the corner and took the file and said, "How are you today?" I remember saying, "I was better before I read that report". She said, "you didn't know?" I told her no and she apologized profusely. Of course my blood pressure was off the chart that day. She immediately roomed me where I sat all alone with 50 gillion thoughts running through my head yet none of them made sense. It was a jumble of thoughts, a mish-mash and my whole body wanted to scream but there were no words that would come out. When the doctor came in my room, he apologized for the way I had found out and we talked. He said he would suggest surgeons and oncologists but I had already talked to my sister about the possibility of me having cancer and who to use. I firmly stated who I wanted as my surgeon and who I thought I wanted as my oncologist at the time and told him, I needed his help. He was the doctor and he had the clout. He assured me he would do everything in his power. By the time I was dressed and out in the hall, he had made me an appointment with my selected surgeon for the following week. The next day his nurse had me an appointment with the oncologist I thought I wanted to use. Things changed in that area and I am thankful God put my oncologist in my path on this journey. 

I left the doctor’s office and got in my car.  Numb is a good word to describe the way I felt.  I remember looking at the trees and how green they appeared and oh yea, that job that I have, all of a sudden it didn’t seem so bad.  Grandbabies … wait they have to get old enough to know me.  I want them to know who I am, I want them to laugh at me and with me, I want to play with them for years.  STOP, make it go away. 

My sister left work early to come home and my girls … oh my girls.  My heart broke at the thought of having to tell my girls.  They had both called several times and had text me anxiously awaiting the results of the biopsy.  All I could do was text them and ask them to just come straight home to my house which I know scared them to death.   

It was a tough night for all of us.  My incredible son-in-law picked up both the babies from day care and came over.  He went and got us dinner and we all sat around the table in that all too familiar family way and chatted.  There were tears as well as laughter.   

I said that day ... Today I cry, tomorrow I fight.  And that's exactly what I've done... however, not alone.  God has carried me through my tougher days and held my hand and whispered His all too calming words "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth".  Psalm 46:10    He is my awesome Father who has lit my path for this journey, He guides me through my toughest days, He calms my fears. 

The Journey - Part 3

September 13, 2011 - I went to work for half the day and then went home to meet my youngest daughter who was going to go with me to the biopsy. We had lunch and conversation was light-hearted. When we got to the mammogram place, I was informed they would be performing core biopsies on the lesions. Core biopsies are done with a person driving the sonogram wand finding the lesions and the doctor watching the sonogram screen to know where to go in with the deadening needle as well as the instruments used to capture the core of the lesion to be biopsied. There were two biopsies done on the lesions in my right breast and one done on the larger of the two lesions in my left breast. I was told they would be calling me with the results of the biopsy either the next day or the following day which was Thursday which was also the day I had my appointment for my yearly exam with my gynecologist.  I remember looking at my daughter on the way home and saying, “I won’t look good without hair”.  She was very comforting and told me to just wait and see what the biopsy showed. 

The Journey Continues - Day 2

September 12, 2011 - I got to my mammogram appointment, completed my paperwork indicating that there were two lumps in my breast which changed the mammogram from a screening to a diagnostic.  After the mammogram of which you could plainly see the lumps, I was taken in for a sonogram on my both my breast. The doctor scrolled over every inch of my breast, finding the two lumps I had found as well as two more in my right breast and one more my left breast.  My lymph nodes were songrammed and appeared clean.  The doctor came to the conclusion I needed biopsies on these lesions so my biopsy appointment was set for the next day.

Phillippian 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say Rejoice.

The Day My Journey Began

Mid July 2011 - I don't know about you but I do my self-breast exams on a fairly regular basis.  You know the soap up the hands in the shower and walk the fingers around the breast.  I never felt any abnormalities which always made me feel at peace.  Except that night in mid-July, as I was doing my exam, I found two lumps, one in each breast and they were about the same spot on each breast.  I thought hmmmm this is strange but went on with my shower and did another exam.  They were still there and yes, lumps were what I was feeling.  The next day I call my Dr. office and was able to get in within 2 days.  My doctor checked out the lumps and thought it was rather strange that they were in the same place on each breast.  He wasn't too alarmed and felt perhaps they were hormone driven.  He is not a big advocate or an estrogen/progesteron hormone so he wanted to take me off my current hormone and put me on straight estrogen.  He wasn't concerned and said let's watch these a couple months until your yearly mammogram.  He wrote me the prescription for my mammogram in September and dutifully I made my appointment for the mammogram and my yearly physical with him.  At that point I thought nothing more about the lumps.  Perhaps the new estrogen only hormones would make these lumps go away.  I continued to do my self-breast exams but those lumps weren't going anywhere. 
Jeremiah 33:3  "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."  Little did I know just how much I would be calling.