Saturday, December 31, 2011

Little of this and that ....

Thinking back over 2011 I have to say it has been a good year.  I do not look back with any regrets.  Do you?

I have watched my grandbabies who I love so much grow and learn and become 'little people'.  They bring the sunshine when it's cloudy outside.  Besides my own two girls, they are the greatest things in my world.  I love watching these babies as they journey through their little lives.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer which threw me for a loop at the time but as I've walked the journey, it has taught me more than anything in my life.  There is no amount of schooling that could have ever taught me more.  Cancer has brought me closer to my Father in Heaven.  Without Him I would not be where I am today.  I realized that I have wonderful friends and appreciate them more and more every day.  My family ... they are the BEST ever.

I found out that I will be having another grandbaby in May 2012.  We grow more excited everyday as we wait on this new little one.  Here's a recent baby bump picture of my sweet daughter, Bonnie.  In this picture she is 17 weeks.  She is still teaching Math in Irving ISD.

My oldest daughter, Alicia, graduated Dallas Baptist University with her teaching degree in August.  She pretty much immediately got hired in Keller ISD as a 7th grade Texas History teacher.


We are about to ring in a new year.  At midnight tonight we will be granted another gift of 525,600 minutes. What will you do with the gift of those minutes?  Will you look at yesterday and have regrets?  Will you allow worry to take up a single minute of your gifted minutes?  I will continue to love like there is no tomorrow and accept love as well.  Cancer cannot defeat me, it cannot steal my love. Of all the things, love is the greatest.

I know I am blessed.  I have been surrounded by the greatest family and friends a girl could have.  And speaking of being surrounded, God put just the right medical team in my life to help me fight the cancer. And I will never forget the people who are journeying through cancer treatments just like me who have shared their stories with me.  They all have a special place in my heart.  

My 525,600 minutes will not be wasted.  Anxiety, stress, worry, regret, what if or why me will not steal one minute of my time.  I live every minute in the minute, just ask anyone who is around me daily.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.

I wish for you and your family a wonderful blessed year in 2012.  You hold the key as to how you will spend your gifted 525,600.  Make it worthwhile.

I am glad it's the weekend with three days off.  My nephews are still in town so we will be enjoying a few more good meals together.  Tomorrow I will be cooking black eye peas with ham, fresh greens cooked with bacon, of course fried cabbage and cornbread.  I will rely on others to check the seasonings since my taste buds are kinda non-existent for now.

After all the musings of this post, I will close.  Like the title says ... Little of this and that ... reflections of a wonderful 2011 gone by and hope and love looking me in the face as 2012 begins.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-2, 13
 1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Do you ever think about abundance?  What does that word mean to you?  Money? Wealth? Prestige?  I have been thinking about abundance and the amount of it in my life.  It holds no money meaning to me but rather the abundance of everything in my life.  I believe God provides us with so much abundance and sometimes we do not realize that is what it is.  When you pray, what do you pray for?  I pray for everything all the way down to parking spots.  Yes, I pray for parking spots.  I had someone tell me one time (and he didn't appreciate his abundance) that I was wasting my prayers and God was not hearing my prayers for a parking spot.  I told him that God hears all my prayers even if it's for a parking spot.  And what happens when I get that close parking spot, well first I thank God and then my heart sings because I had expected to find that spot and there it was and that's abundance. defines abundance:


an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply:
overflowing fullness: abundance of the heart.

Just think about needing something ... let's say you are sitting on the couch and you need an ink pen.  Now it's going to require you to get up and go find a pen but suddenly you look on the end table and there lies a pen.  You looked at that table expecting to see that pen and there it was.  That's abundance.  Abundance comes in many forms of things/happenings/events in our lives.  It is not coincidence, it is abundance.

We are all abundantly blessed with family, friends, homes, food, cars, jobs and the list could go on and on.  Abundance is not coincidence ... abundance is an overflowing of love from our God and our faith.  It is my belief that God has abundantly blessed me and I am so thankful.  You may say, "But Gena you had cancer" ... First off, God did not give me the cancer but He has been here to get me through --- that's abundance.  

Today consciously think about your abundance.  Don't grumble and complain that you have to get up and go to work today ... throw your leg over the side of the bed, get up and say "I can't wait to get to work".  Realize your abundance in everything.  When you do, you will find a happiness within and your heart will sing.  

 1 Timothy 1:14-16  
14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 

John 10:10  

 10 The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

It's your abundance, recognize it and be thankful. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good Numbers ...

Tuesday was blood work for me to check my blood counts.  My white blood count was really good.  They like to see at least 1.5 and mine was 4.68.  Thank you Lord.  My red blood count has done a continual decrease so I've been instructed to eat more beef.  I'm not a real big beef eater but if it keeps me from taking iron pills, I'll eat it along with fresh dark leafy veggies and pomegranate and grape juice.  Started the beef tonight with dinner at my sister's and she cooked chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes/gravy, fresh green beans ... all the way our Mama used to make.  It was scrumpdiliumpious.  LOL

My white blood counts were so good I decided to hit the office this morning before having to leave at 10:30am to get to Mexia for my dentist appointment.  I got my permanent crown on the second baby tooth and I'm good to go.  Plans for the third baby tooth are coming in 2012 and then they will all be GONE.  Thank you Lord.

That's about it for now.  Something I want you to think about ... Abundance.  I've been thinking about abundance and I plan to post on this soon.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grammy's Elves aka Grammy's Angels

It was an absolute precious wonderfully blessed Christmas.  These are Grammy's angels that have my heart.

Have a terrifically blessed Tuesday.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Little Update ...

It's Monday morning after Christmas Day and all is quiet in the house.  Just Tootie and I are up early.  I love early mornings when the world is still quiet and the hub bub of the day hasn't started.  This time of morning and a good cup of coffee gives me time to reflect on many things.  This morning brings many thankful blessings in my life.

Our Christmas traditions changed this year and guess what???? ... it all worked out so perfectly.  I am on Facebook and for several days had read many posts from people that seemed sad because their family traditions had changed and letting go of those traditions were very difficult.  My heart somewhat ached for these people as they were allowing past traditions to steal their ability to be happy and make new traditions.  I know some of them had lost loved ones this past year and I certainly understand how difficult that can be in and around the holidays.  It is not that we forget our loved ones who are no longer with us because we don't ... but I guarantee if any of us could talk to that loved one(s) and tell them how much we missed them, they would say ... "Go ... have a good time ... I'm doing just fine".

This year with two one year old grandbabies our own family traditions changed and you know what, I believe the way our family events worked out was the very best Christmas effort ever.  We ended up having much more time to be together by using a different schedule.  Just because we couldn't all be together on those old tradition time frames ... the important part was we were all together so we could relax and chill out and enjoy opening presents and eating.   Grandbabies need to be home on Christmas morning to play with their Santa toys and have fun ... rushing off to grandma's house seems so unfair.  My girls Dad and I have always been flexible about scheduling any holiday events even before grandbabies and for that I'm so thankful.  Hopefully your Christmas scheduling was not hectic and no one got overwhelmed and all flowed smoothly.  Our's sure did.

Those of us who have children and/or grandchildren know that sometimes the simplest gift for a child can be a box.  No one understands this or knows why but boxes are just good play things.  My nephews, Justin and Travis, gave my grandbabies each a big box.  Inside each box was this little small stuffed University of Texas bull with a tag that said "Saw 'em off" ... my nephews are both Aggies.  But  it wasn't the little stuffed bulls that Madelyn and Braxton cared about ... it was the big box they were in.  My grandbabies had a great time in the boxes and played forever.  Below are a few pictures....

So next year if you have a little one to buy for and just uncertain what to get ... go to Home Depot, buy a heavy duty box and wrap it up and watch the fun begin as the little one plays in the box.

This morning finds me with a grateful and blessed heart.  I hope your Christmas was as blessed as ours has been and that you look toward the new year with hope, love and faith. God has blessed all of us and for that I am so thankful.

Blessings for your Monday.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

My most precious gift in my whole life did not come in a box marked Tiffany with bright colored paper but rather a little baby who was born in in a stable and had His first bed in a manger.  I accepted this gift when I was young in my teens.  With this gift came eternal life. There could never be another gift so grand.  He alone has given me the peace and comfort that I have needed to walk this temporary journey of breast cancer.   Thank you Lord for the ultimate gift of your Son.
Happy Birthday Sweet Jesus.

I am praising the Lord this morning for a good nights sleep and waking at a decent hour (5:30ish am).  I've had some coffee and gotten my make up on and will be dressed here shortly.  I am so thankful for feeling good and being able to be up and about with my family as we celebrate Christmas.

Tonight we will celebrate with a simple but one of my favorite meals.  Mexican food.  It won't be the traditional big spread that we usually have on Christmas Eve when my whole family is here but a little toned down version.  Tostatos are on the menu for tonight and I can't wait.  Just can't wait.  I love Mexican food and have high hopes of being able to taste everything.  My sister and her sons, Alicia and Madelyn and if Bonnie and Buddy and Braxton can make it, will gather around my too small dining table and fellowship and eat.  I'm so looking forward to it.  My brother and his family will be missing but he felt that would be best due to my lower immune system at this time.

Christmas morning we will celebrate with 'big breakfast' as we always do.  In the afternoon we will be joined by Bonnie, Buddy, and Brax for our family Christmas celebration of opening gifts and more food.  Brisket, baked beans and cole slaw are on the menu for tomorrow afternoon/evening.  Can't wait for that either.  My sister will slow cook the brisket in the oven all seasoned up and I will make my wonderful baked beans.  The cole slaw we will either make or get at Sammie's BBQ.  Simple meals but very tastey.

Yesterday afternoon we got a visit from my other daughter, Stephanie, and her hubby, Scott and their little girl Peyton.  Stephanie has been part of our family for at least 15+ years and she is such a sweet heart.  She calls me Mama Gena and I call her my daughter.  They had bought me a Christmas gift and it made me want to cry.  They are such sweet caring young folks and I am so blessed that they are part of my family.
Stephanie had ordered me a little hat and I love it.  Of late, bald has been my preferred method of being and slowly but surely the hats and tams are taking over my preference for head gear.  I have the two wigs I bought and if I need hair I will have it but after getting bald, comfort is my main goal.  And if you're wondering, there is some hair still hanging on to my head.  Recently my girls Dad was here for something and we compared shaved heads ... I told him he needed a haircut to get his hair as short as mine.  <laughing>  We both laughed.   I've been told that I sport 'bald' well.  I believe once a woman gets past the initial phase of going bald, the process of being bald gets easier.  It has for me and for that I'm so thankful.   Thank you Stephanie, Scott and Peyton.  I love you all three.

Last night the girls had Christmas Eve Eve with their Dad, Lu and Colton at Bonnie and Buddy's house.  They had a wonderful time and the food I heard was scrumptious.  This makes my heart smile as I know they had such special family time.  Christmas for a blended family can become very hectic and overwhelming sometimes but I am so thankful that the girls Dad and I are so flexible as far as scheduling.

I was able to catch up on my devotional readings last night and it was so good to be in the word of God.  I bought myself a New King James Version Bible Jesus - Calling Devotional Bible.  Jesus Calling is the devotional book I use and I just love it.  I love this new Bible as well.

OK, got some energy to burn and I hear little voices in the den so I better get off this computer and get with going with my day.

I want to wish you and yours the very Merriest Christmas of all.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Closing Out Chemo Week - Treatment #2

I made it through round 2 of the chemo.  My eating has been a little more off this time as well as my water drinking this time but all is improving every day.  Wednesday seemed to be my bad day as far as energy and over all feeling cruddy and I'm glad I'm past that.  I did get out Wednesday afternoon and Tootie and I walked up and down the street twice so I felt that an accomplishment.

Of course I'm always on a search for food I can taste so yesterday I made chicken and dumplings ... but ... I used a lot of chicken bouillon cubes to flavor.  Chicken bouillon cubes are very very salty so my chicken and dumplings were very very salty.  Bummer.  Another meal bites the dust down the garbage disposal today.

Last night Bonnie, Buddy and Braxton came over for dinner and we had spaghetti, salad and garlic toast.  It was very good what I could taste of it and it hit the spot.  Then to top that off, I had some chocolate ice cream and milk as a treat.  No taste but the cold was good.

My sister shared with me a story of a woman she had spoken to who said she ate kosher pickles during chemo which had a good taste to them.  So I may be buying me some kosher pickles for snacks.... who knows.

My nephews got home last night and we are so excited to have them home.  They always bring a special blend to our family.  Guys watching babies = hilarious.

All in all things are well.  I'm happy I'm up and about this morning and feel like writing on my blog.  I miss posting but the days after chemo I don't really do much of anything.

* I made it through round 2
* I'm up and about this morning and looking forward to Christmas
* My left arm is doing well as far as staying stretched out
* So many many more things ....

Prayer Requests:
* Pray for those who are homeless and in need
* Pray for my friend, Kim's Dad, who has fallen twice in a matter of a couple weeks.  He broke his shoulder and his kneecap.  Father, please watch over this precious man.

Let me know if you have special prayer request.  I would love to pray with you.

For now I leave you with a happy heart, energy and thankfulness and thinking only of the "nativity" refusing to allow the "negativity" to get close.

Merry Christmas ... many many blessings!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chemo Round #2 Complete

Yesterday morning proved busy before leaving for my second round of chemo.  Since Tootie had been so sick, I called the vet and got her in before I left for chemo.  Next I grabbed the checkbook and house taxes statement and headed out to the sub-courthouse to pay my yearly taxes.  Got back and while I am on annual leave this week, I logged in to my work email and took care of some emails.  My friend, Alverna, got here and I packed up and away we went for another busy day at The Center.

Tootie - The vet ran blood work on her and then gave her a shot with medicine in it to settle her stomach.  They offered her some canned ID dog food which she loves and she ended up eating four servings for the several hours she was there.  There was good news as the blood work came back good, he said if he thought that we should watch anything, it was her pancreas.  But at that he didn't see anything really strange.  She is on two antibiotics one of which has an inflammatory drug in it.  She was her usual bundle of energy when Alverna and I got there close to 5:00pm to pick her.

Chemo Round #2 - Blood work check came back very good so I was ready for another round.  I ask Helena, Oncologist Nurse Practitioner, if (1) she thought I would benefit from B12 shots.  Her answer was she didn't feel I needed it because my blood counts rose so well after the treatments.  (2) If I could begin taking Juice Plus is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 17 different fruits, vegetables and grains. Each ingredient is specially selected to provide a broad range of nutritional benefits.  Juice Plus+ is a complement to a healthy diet. Juice Plus+ is the simple, convenient, and inexpensive way to add more nutrition from fruits and vegetables to your diet, every day. Juice Plus+ is supported by clinical research conducted by researchers at leading hospitals and universities around the world and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Juice Plus+ is recommended by thousands of doctors and health professionals around the world.  My precious doctor of 29 years who is now retired suggested to my sister that I begin taking Juice Plus.  Helena was very informed about Juice Plus and said I could take it, just not the day before, day of or day after chemo.  I will begin taking this soon.  For additional information on Juice Plus, visit the following link ...

After the appointment with Helena, it was back up stairs and grab a chair and wait to be hooked up.  It was just a few minutes and my port was being flushed, the Aloxi (anti-nausea med) and Benadryl was being run through.  Then the Adriamycin aka Red Devil was begin the cocktail.  I found out they like to infuse this drug first so with all the water I drink, it will flush very quickly through my kidneys and not just sit in there.  Next in my cocktail is the Taxotere.  Taxotere has a side effect of turning your fingernails blue so they give you an ice pack covered in a cloth and you hold your fingertips on the ice to shrink the little blood vessels in the tips of your fingernails which keeps the Taxotere from getting in there and your nails won't turn blue.  This, of course, would be temporary until the chemo stops but if I can avoid any more changes, I will give it a try.  The last part of the cocktail is the Cytoxcin.  I don't know of any side affects for this drug ... chemo brain maybe this morning but I do not remember anything being said about that.  Once all the drugs are infused, there is another 10-15 flush of my port and I'm finished.

At that time, the long (not really long) walk begins to the car.  Alverna always gets the car and pulls right up to the door so I don't have as far to walk.  These meds take immediate hold on my energy level and my face becomes flushed.  We went by to pick up Tootie and while Dr. C was talking to me, we had to sit.  So unusual for me but it happened.  I have the best vet ever... family owned and operated.  They are all so sweet and they love our babies.

Alicia and Madelyn were running out for dinner when we got home so I fixed me a bowl of homemade soup, ate and showered.  Since my hair is falling out at such a fast rate, I washed it with shampoo twice, pulling on all that I could get my fingers on because it's kinda short.  I slept on a towel which is a little rougher than my pillow case in hopes of it getting the rest of it out.  It's pretty sparse this morning.

After the shower, I went to bed at 8:00pm, turned off my cell phone and slept until about 10:30pm at which time, I struggled with hot and cold flashes for the remainder of the night.  I woke at 4:00am and got up began eating and having coffee.  The feeding frenzy has begun I can tell.  Every hour and a half is the schedule for my eating.  I didn't get my Arby's yet but that will be my plan for the day.

At this point, I'm 1/3 of the way through my treatments.  Two down and only four to go.  Praise the Lord.

* I feel pretty weak this morning, but I know it could be worse so I'm happy.
* I have not experienced any nausea.  Praise the Lord.
* I know the meds I'm taking is killing anything that might have gotten loose in my body.
* My sister is feeling so much better from her tonsilitis and strep throat. This is a good thing because she will have to glove and mask up this evening to give me my Neulasta shot.
* My ice water is tasting very good this morning.  Coffee too.
* I got to visit one more time with the survivor sister who finished up her chemo two weeks ago.  We talked extensively and if you remember I told you she looked young.  She's 32 years old.  Cancer is not selective as to your age, gender or anything else.  She handled all this with such grace.  I wish her all the best.
* You - the people who have supported me during this journey.  You are awesome and your prayers, cards and emails mean so much to me.  

Prayer Request:
* My energy level.  I want to try to handle this round of chemo differently if possible.  Plan to get some walking in today outside (with head cover).  The walking is highly suggested by medical personnel.
* Shakiness subsides.
* Those who may beginning this journey.

This morning I am happy that I am where I am.  I'm blessed beyond measure and I love living every day to the fullest.  Christmas is coming and we all can't wait.  My grandbabies make Christmas all the more fun.  
Talk to our Father today.  

I claim this scripture today.

Mark 5:34  

34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Monday - Chemo Round 2

As I posted yesterday, the steroids began and offered up much energy to my already high energy.  Sunday morning I kept both my grandbabies while their Mommy's ran to Kohl's to spend Kohl's cash that my sister and I had accumulated and was expiring yesterday as well as the 30% off coupon I had gotten in the mail.  Their savings amounted to $246 and my oldest ended up spending $25 of her own money and my youngest spent $35.  I don't remember how much they said they actually spent because they were so impressed by their savings.  Anyway, the babies and I crawled around on the floor going from toy room to den where there are more toys.  We had snacks ... all of us .. mine was my beloved fruit cake. Yum!  I made a grocery store run and bought us lunch.  My sweet cousin, Reta, came by and brought me a plant and we had a good visit.  After Reta left, it was time to begin cooking.

I started a pot of beans and beef and vegetable soup.  My sister has been very sick so I made her another pot of potato soup.  I made a different recipe for bran muffins (remember earlier post?).  My recipe includes raisins and pineapple and I think has more flavor than the original muffins I made.  I made cornbread muffins and rice for both the beans and vegetable soup, if wanted.  It all tastes really good to me right now.  Praise the Lord.

After all the cooking, I was able to get out and walk up and down my street twice with my little Tootie.  I needed the fresh air and I thought it would help her as she was throwing up.  I gave her a little Pepto Bismol thinking that might settle her tummy but it didn't.  This morning she has thrown up just a tad and I think there was blood in it.  I will somehow get her to the doggie doctor, if not today, tomorrow for sure.  I have to leave for my chemo at 10:30 so that doesn't give me enough time to get her to the doctor today.

After downloading a "free" book on my Kindle app on my Android tablet and starting the book and reading, combined with all the activity of the day did make me tired but guess what, steroids really do not care if you are tired.  I was actually pretty wide awake at 10:30pm when I decided I might try to get in bed to sleep.  After some tossing and turning, I drifted off to sleep only to wake at 1:30am and stay awake, watched some TV until 3:00am when I drifted back off until 3:50am.  Got up and made the coffee and here I am.  Since I know what to expect, it's not so bad.  I know the sleep will come in due time.

AND it's official this morning .... my hair is falling out.  Somewhat at an annoying stage right now so I'm thinking it's time for the shortest buzz with the clippers.

I will be on annual leave this week as I have 40+ hours that I must use or lose.  I'm so thankful to have saved my leave and have it to use during this time.  Yes, I'm blessed.

* Great weekend

Prayer Request:
* My sister as she returns to work today
* My nephews as they travel home on Thursday
* All those walking this journey as new journeyers
* Chemo round two goes as well as chemo round one

James 1:12

 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Blessing ... make it a good day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Morning ... steroids begin

My waking time this morning was 3:39am.  That is really good in my eyes because I didn't have to wake up at 2:00am as originally instructed to begin the steroid regime.  I talked to Helena, the Oncologist Nurse Practitioner on Friday about waking up at 2:00am to take these steroids and she said ... "absolutely not.  You can start taking those when you get up at 8:00am" ... I haven't slept until 8:00am in forever.  I knew since I wake up extremely early every day, I would be just fine not waking up at 2:00am to take a pill.  Helena told me, "my goodness if I woke to take a drink of water and a pill, I would never go back to sleep".  I told her that was my exact sentiment.  So when I woke up I took my first two steroids for this round.  I had to get my December chemo calendar out that has my list of things to take and the order in which to take them so I ensure I take everything and make sure I take it in order.

Yesterday was a very productive day for me.  Cleaned house all morning and did laundry.  Since my sister is so sick with tonsillitis and strep, I made her some potato soup and got her some ice cream, took it over and left it on her front porch and rang the door bell and ran .... <smile>  Just kidding, didn't run, just walked really fast.  I'm praying she feels much better today.

We have decided to suspend our family get together on Christmas eve this year due to the chemo.  Every year for 17 years that I've been in my house, we have had a big feast with my sister and her family and my brother and his family.  My brother is really concerned about getting together this year since Christmas Eve is next weekend after my chemo.  He's afraid I will get sick.  I appreciate their concern so much.  However,  I will really miss our homemade Mexican food feast that I usually prepare and everyone being here and the hub-bub that usually accompanies one of our get togethers.  I've added a few pics from Christmas 2010 get together.

We all know ... Family is the best!

My sister Pat - My brother Marvin and me.  I got left
out for height.  

Travis, my nephew, relaxing with my pooch, Tootie.

My great niece, Addy and her sweet Mom, Krystyn in 
the back ground.

My oldest nephew, Justin.  Yes, he did just complete
his doctorate at USC in October.  

Alicia, my oldest, with her legs tied in a knot on the 
hard hardwood floor.  Can you do this?  NOT
Bonnie and her hubby spent Christmas Eve last year
with his family so I don't have any pics of them for 
Christmas Eve.
And we had two precious angels who were added
to our family.  Aunt Pat holding little Ms. Madelyn.

My brother aka Poppy playing with his sweet grand 
daughter, Addy.  He swings her and she laughs so loud.

Rene, Addy's Daddy, Pat and Travis in the food line.

We always have such a wonderful time when we get together be it crowded around my dining room table or sweating at my brothers for our family and friend July 4th party.  Family really is everything.

Today is grocery buying, Arby's roast beef buying, and wrapping the remainder of my Christmas gifts.  I plan to be walking today as well.  It was such a beautiful day yesterday and every time I went outside, I just wanted to bottle it.  My front flower beds need cleaning out and how I would love to mow and edge my front yard one more time just so it has the manicured look for the winter.  Sick ... I know but that's me.  I doubt the yard work gets done but who knows ... I've had my first two steroids.  <laughing>  

As I sign off for today, I wanted to share a poem with you that I received from a sweet friend.  You know who you are  ... Thank you.  

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
Rather look to them with full hope that as
they arise, God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
And when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
The same everlasting Father who cares for
you today will take care of you today and
every day.
He will either shield you from suffering or
will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace and put aside all anxious
thoughts and imaginings.

We have no need to worry, we have a need to believe and love our Heavenly Father.  He has everything under control ... EVERYTHING.

* The beautiful weather we had yesterday
* High energy and feeling great.  Do not take your good health for granted.  When you go outside, look up to the heavens and thank God for your good health.
* My family.  I know they love me so much.
* After tomorrow I will have chemo round #2 behind me and there will be only 4 treatments left.  Praise the Lord.

Prayer Requests:
* My sister gets up this morning and feels better.
* Debra, who started her journey on Friday by having a single mastectomy.  She's a friend of one of my co-workers.  I do not know her personally but I do know about her journey ahead.
* All those beginning their breast cancer journey and those who may be having a hard time on their journey
* All goes well with my chemo round #2

I cannot tell you how very much I appreciate all your prayers.  I know that our awesome Father is hearing each and everyone of them and He loves loves loves hearing from you.

Wishing you many blessings today and for the week to come.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Weekly Review --

What a great week it's been.  I worked all week except for my two appointments. Blood count check on Monday and dentist on Thursday.  It was good to be back at work in my office and being able to interact with my coworkers.  I really love what I do for the NWS and when you like what you do, it makes work a better place.  

I had great energy this week and my appetite has been good.  The no-taste and bitterness are still with me but I play like I can taste whatever it is I'm eating.  I try not to complain as I feel that this is a temporary situation and just with me until I finish my chemo.  Alicia, Madelyn and I went to Olive Garden last night for dinner and I had soup and salad and two Sprites (you know my new favorite drink after the Dr. Pepper phase).  I love the Chicken and Gnocchi soup (that's pronounced No-key).  I ate a whole bowl of  salad by myself.  With a little salt on it, I could taste it and it was so good and that soup is divine.  

I have something that has been on mind all week long.  Negativity.  The world we live in can be a very ngative place.  Negativity breeds negativity.  When someone is negative and shares their negative  thoughts with others, it can spread .... just like a cancer.  Negative people who share their negative thoughts with others wants to "rally their troops" or "get others on board with them".  After all it's no fun to be in the negativity boat alone but so much better if you have a whole boat full of people on board with you.

Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I joined those negative troops or I got on that boat of those negative people.  Since my diagnosis, I have not and will not sign up to be one of the negative troopers nor will I get on the boat of negativity.  For years my sister has told me that "people are human and humans will always disappoint us.  Do not put your faith in humans, put your faith in God".  I didn't listen for years until now as I walk  my journey.  I have learned what is really important in this world, I have stop putting my faith in humans because no matter what, I cannot change someone.  Instead my faith is in God.  I was thinking yesterday while walking at work that I will replace the word negativity with the word nativity.  I don't know what you think about when you hear or see the word nativity but I see a baby named Jesus laying in a manger surrounded by his parents, Mary and Joseph.  A light shines about His beautiful head and He brings light into the world of dark (negative).
Yes, this is just a graphic and no, we do not know this is what the birth scene looked like but my FAITH tells me to believe that baby was sent here for me.

I had someone share a negative thought about some of my posts on my blog.  I had to remind myself once again that people are human.  The same day I had two beautiful ladies who are dear friends in my building (J and D) share how  they love everything I write about, they see the humor in my writing and encouraged me to be a writer.  I could have let that one negative comment take me down the negativity road but I chose to cling to the positive remarks from my friends.

My thoughts of yesterday have guided my words today and I will not buy into the negativity any longer but I will cling to the nativity.  Join me and let's make the world a better place with less negativity.  Remember we cannot change humans and the way they are but we change ourselves and share only the positive and be better people.  We have our Lord in Heaven who sees and hears everything ... He is in control and has everything under control.

This week I began thinking about what I looked like before cancer and chemo and what I look like today.  My looks have changed but my heart is still the same.  Come with me now as I walk through my hair changes ....

Before surgery and chemo.  

Once chemo began and after a couple of weeks, my hair began shedding ... not falling out but shedding so my sweet sister-in-law came out and scissored my hair in to a spike.

Spikey, brown and very easy.

After about a week of the spikey cut, I decided I needed to get accustomed to wearing my wigs.  Friday before last, I put on my wig and went to lunch with a friend ... out in public for the first time.  I didn't feel as self conscious as I thought I would.  

Short and auburnish.  I really like it but am always ready to take it off when I get home.

This past week about Wednesday my head got sore and itched.  Those who have walked this journey before me have shared that when your hair begins to fall out, your head will feel different so I was not sure if it was wearing the wig for three days in a row to the office or the chemo taking affect on my hair follicles but I decided to have my girls - if they could do it (it's tough watching your Mom lose her hair) - buzz  my hair off with clippers.  Alicia, Madelyn and I headed to Bonnie and Buddy's house and out the clippers came.  Alicia buzzed it off ... first using a #3 guard and then a #1 guard to get a little closer.  Immediately my head felt so much better.  Soooooo...... 

...... here's my buzzed head ....
The remainder of the little stubs will fall out but for now
this is my hair.  

Thursday when I got ready for work, I wore my wig over my new stubby cut.   My hair is the last thing I put on when getting dressed. And let me share and I know all my lady friends will be jealous (right!) - it takes me about 25 minutes to get completely dressed.  That includes washing and moisturizing my face (very important ladies for everyone even if you are not taking chemo), brushing my teeth, putting on my makeup and getting dressed ... and then putting on my HAIR.  <laughing>  Easy peasy !!!!

Friday morning I woke with a migraine headache and decided I just did not want to wear the wig.  When I have migraines my head feels like it's in a vise and putting that wig on just wasn't doing it for me.  So I got in my hair drawer and pulled out a turban and a little flower embellishment, put that on my head and away I went to work.  

These type head coverings are not half bad. 
Very comfortable especially at work when I talk
on the phone.  

This is my show and tell for this post.  Hair is hair and it will grow back once the chemo is over and I know that.  Once I mourned losing my hair and actually started through the process, it all became easier.  It's not near as bad as I thought it was going to be.  

On another note ... my grandson, Braxton (one year old) is walking.  It is the absolute cutest thing ever.  Bonnie said he just let go and took off one night this past week.  When I can I will get a picture of him toddling along.  Madelyn took three steps in a row last night.  These babies have my heart ... can you tell?  

* Good energy, good appetite
* Spending time in the office this past week
* People I work with who help me so much in many different areas
* Family and so many friends
* The life I'm living

Prayer Request:
* My sweet sister, Pat, is very sick with tonsillitis and strep throat
* Headaches that I have been experiencing this past week
* My next round of chemo on Monday
* All those walking this journey just like I am.  

In closing, remember the reason we celebrate Christmas.  We all celebrate with gift giving but remember the greatest gift of all was given by God.  He sent his Son, Jesus, to die on that cross for all of us.  My prayer is that you have accepted that ultimate gift.  

Isaiah 9:6  

6 For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Blessed and sending you blessings!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Work Day 2 ...

I had a busy and very productive day at work today.  After work I had an appointment so I didn't get home until 12 1/2 hours after I left this morning.  I'm tired tonight but it's been a very good day.

My hair is officially falling out.  It's kinda annoying so I plan to find me some clippers tomorrow evening and buzz off as much as possible.  When I was talking to my survivor sister at The Center on Monday (the lady who was just finishing up her last chemo last week), she mentioned that the hair she looked forward to growing back MOST was her nose hair.  NOSE HAIR!  I didn't think about that hair but it all made sense.  For over a week now I couldn't figure out why when my nose would run, it just ran right on out.  HELLO!  When I looked, it all made sense.  There wasn't much getting in the runners way.  <laughing>  Now you may think this is gross but I said I would share everything on this blog.  Who ever thought about nose hair?  Not me.  I continue to learn things on this journey of mine.

I continue to work my arms with hopes that one day I won't have such a pull on the under side muscle on my left arm where the lymph node dissection was done.  I do my windmills and my towel stretches at least twice a day.  This is a slow process (but then again I a type A and want everything to be fixed yesterday).  God continues to work on my patience, doesn't He?  Thank you Lord.

I continue to count my many many blessings.
* I work for an awesome agency who has been and continues to be so supportive.
* I love feeling good and having high energy.
* So thankful for the good blood count report on Monday.
* I was able to walk a mile yesterday and it feels so good to be active.
* My eating has leveled off and while I still need an occasional snack, I am back to a regular three meal a day eating routine.  Good meals too.  I still don't have much taste but at least not everything is bitter right now.
* Thankful for the little stickiness under my left arm where the lymph node dissection was done.  Stickiness means I may be sweating just a tad under that arm and I'm told that is good.  Thank you Lord for the stickiness.
**** So many many things to be thankful for.

Prayer Request:
In the last week I have had two friends share with me that they have women friends who have recently found out they have breast cancer.  Please pray for these ladies as they begin this journey.  I know they are probably scared and the unknown is so hard.  My heart reaches out to them.

God is so good to me and I praise Him for all He has done for me.  Seems a mere thank you is not enough but to our awesome Father, it is.

My nephew shared a wonderful blog post from a woman and an A&M football player.  Please take the take to read this incredible story.  It brought tears to my eyes.

Hoping your Christmas season is going beautiful and you are not overwhelmed with all the commercial but instead putting the focus on the real reason for Christmas.

I am blessed and I send you blessings!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Monday ...

This morning found me headed back to the office after not being there since Monday, October 17 ... the day before my surgery.  I was a little overwhelmed with grabbing this and grabbing that ... after all I wasn't going to be where I could go to the kitchen and grab a snack if I needed one.  It all turned out well.  It is good to see everyone and be back even it's for just one week until the next round of chemo.

I had to leave early to get my blood work and am happy to report that the most of the counts are really back up.  While in the lab area, I ran in to the lady who was taking her last chemo treatment last Monday.  She said it all went well with just a smidge of nausea.  Praise the Lord.  We chatted pretty extensively about our hair loss and she enlightened me on several things in the hair loss area.  She was such a pleasure to talk to and in the midst of our conversation, she said she has a three year old.  This tells me she's pretty young and yes, she had breast cancer.  I can only pray that this blog will reach many women and save lives.  You are never too young to have breast cancer.

While I was at the Center, the wig place called and said my altered wig was ready so I was able to run out and get my other wig.  It's very similar to the one pictured below but the hair is straighter and it is not highlighted.  I like both of my wigs very well.  Speaking of hair, I've been told you will be able to tell when you are getting ready to lose your hair because your scalp will feel funny.  I am now reporting that my scalp is feeling funny so I figure the hair loss is just on the horizon.  That's ok ... I'm ready.  I've mourned the hair and now I gotta let it go.

Other than a trip back down to Mexia to the dentist to get my permanent crown, that should be all the appointments I have this week.  Praise the Lord.

I wanted to share a piece I read in the daily devotional.  This spoke volumes to me.  I'm so thankful for my Jesus Calling devotional book that I use.

      LET MY PRESENCE override everything that you experience.  Like a luminous veil of Light, I hover over you and everything around you.  I am training you to stay conscious of Me in each situation you encounter.
      When the patriarch Jacob ran away from his enraged brother, he went to sleep on a stone pillow in a land that seemed desolate.  But after dreaming about heaven and angels and promises of My Presence, he awoke and exclaimed:  "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it."  His discovery was not only for him but for all who seem Me.  Whenever you feel distant from Me, say: "Surely the Lord is in this place?"  Then, ask Me to give you awareness of My Presence.  This is a prayer that I delight to answer.  

Personally what I got from this message was:  All I have to ask is for God to make me aware once again that He is with me in any place or circumstance that might come up.  He never leaves us, we leave Him.  I'm thankful I have Him to walk beside me during this journey and I know on those days that I just can't make it, He carries me.  Thank you Lord.

Leaving today a little tired and a heart filled with love.