Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Wonderful Beautiful 'Normal' Saturday ...

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or any other dreadful disease, you know what I mean when I say 'normal Saturday'.  If you have been blessed and not been diagnosed with something dreadful and continue to live your every day life, let me explain about a cancer patient's life.  Once we are diagnosed, our life seems very abnormal as to what it was pre-diagnosis.  Our life revolves around doctor appointments, pre-surgery and surgery dates, doctors, nurses, medications, treatments ... all these becomes our new normal for a while.  We might not have much else to talk about because we, as humans, always talk about what is happening in our lives.  We want our 'normal' back except we will never have the old normal as we knew it but instead a new normal.

Saturday morning I got up and got some breakfast, cleaned up a little around the house, did a load of laundry ... and decided ... I'm going fishing and I did.  I grabbed two of my rod and reels, my tackle box, some bottled water and headed up to Lake Bridgeport to fish with my long time friend, Phil, and his cousins for the day.  I cannot tell you how it felt to be 'normal' again.  Goodness ... fishing ... and I love to fish.  I caught two big crappie and a smaller one and the others fishing caught about as many.  Fishing has always been a passion of mine since I was a little girl.  My Daddy would take us out to Lake Grapevine, bait our poles and I would sit and watch my bobber forever just waiting to catch that fish before my brother or sister.  The love fishing stayed with me throughout my life and I am blessed to have my friend, Phil, who has a little cabin on a slew at the Lake Bridgeport.  Praise the Lord.

I read on my Facebook this morning a post from Sheree LaFavers Bennett, Nurse Navigator at the Joan Katz Breast Center, located inside Baylor-All Saints Hospital, that her sister has been diagnosed with  recurring breast cancer which has spread to her lungs and bones.  I am going to try to copy/paste the info below.

Posted by Sheree LaFavers Bennett on my Facebook page ...
Both of my grandmother's had breast cancer in their 40's, two paternal aunts have had breast cancer, one paternal uncle has had prostate cancer, maternal aunt with uterine cancer, Mom died of ovarian cancer, my sister had breast cancer at 32 and I had breast cancer at 36. Robin now has recurrent breast cancer and it has spread to her lungs and her bones. Please lift her in your prayers, visit her page and leave her words of encouragement and most of all...know your body. Do you annual mammograms, breast self exam and annual clinical breast exam. If you do not have insurance, we can get you a free mammogram. The Joan Katz Breast Center provides free clinical breast exams any business day for anyone. Call and make an appointment 817-922-2223. Robin, I love you more than you know! Fight like a girl!
Robin has chosen privacy settings that require you to log in. Your e-mail address allows us to see if you already have a CaringBridge profile.

Please visit Robin's CaringBridge site and pray pray pray for Robin, Sheree's sister.  Also, know your body ... if something doesn't feel right, go have it checked out.  I personally feel like I know my body very well ... that is why why these strange things happen to me, I call The Center to ensure these things are normal or if I need to have them checked out.  Please pray for Robin as she walks through the troubled waters of her diagnosis.

Psalm 105:1-2 - Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name, make known among the nation's what He has done.  Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.

*  A fishing trip that proved to be so relaxing and productive.  <smile>
*  Feeling better.
*  Healthy grand babies.
*  Family and friends who I love very much.
*  Opportunities to pray with and pray for others.
*  Many many more ...

Prayer Requests:
*  Robin, Sheree's sister, as she walks the troubled waters ahead.
*  My survivor sisters as they continue treatment.
*  The side effect of the chemo that has caused my hip pain.
*  Radiation continues to go well.  Sure has been good having a two day break.
*  That I get through the remainder of my 21 treatments without incident.

Thank you for your love and concern and most of all your prayers.  I love you all.
Blessed and praying blessings for you today.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Little of This and That ...

I continue to feel the need to share everything that is or has happened to me during my journey through breast cancer and treatment.  I share the good and the bad of my journey, the comments from people whether they are good or bad and most of all the love of Jesus.  In sharing the good and bad of it all, I pray that those reading my blog understand that this is what I set out to do .... Share my journey ... good or bad.  If I can help one person know my sweet Lord or one person to know they are not alone in their own journey, then my efforts have not been wasted.  God put this blog in my heart right after my own diagnosis and I will follow and obey Him.  My prayer now is that He continues to open doors for me to share.  I would love to be able to speak at women's meetings.

Speaking of sharing, I had a survivor sister tell me yesterday on my Facebook page that I had been an inspiration to her.  My heart sang and my tears flowed.  I felt so humbled that my efforts had reached someone walking the breast cancer journey.  I cried and thanked my Lord for allowing me to to share this journey.  To my friend, W. L., you continue to inspire me with your smile and your upbeat attitude while walking your own journey.  Let me tell you about my survivor sister, W. L., I have never met her in person but we are connected by our hearts as we walk our journey of breast cancer.  God blessed me with survivor sisters ...

I had an appointment with my lymphedema therapist, Linda, this past Thursday.  She measured my left arm ... the arm where the 16 lymph nodes were taken ... and it measured smaller than when I first saw her in January.  Praise the Lord.  She gave me some helpful exercises to do while taking radiation to keep the skin stretched in my radiation area.  The radiation has a tendency to tighten the skin and goodness knows I do not need that as mine is already tight enough.  I ask Linda why they say that radiation can increase your chances of lymphedema and she said she was told that the radiation collapses the lymph nodes which stops the flow of the lymph fluid ... now it all makes sense.  My skin is beginning to look darker on the left side of my chest so I know I am getting the affects of the radiation.  I have two full days of no radiation which gives my skin time to heal.  I have another great group of folks taking care of me in the radiation area.  God has richly blessed me with all the medical team who cares for me.

I have had something happen to me that I never in a million years thought could happen.  I have almost lost my taste for my beloved coffee.  I have drank coffee for as long as I can remember.  When I was a little bitty girl, I started drinking coffee ... black coffee.  I have always loved the smell of it and the taste.  I have gone through periods of drinking it black, with cream, with cream and sugar, back to black and now with just cream (Coffee Mate... love me some Coffee Mate).  In the mornings, I can drink my first cup and it's pretty good but by the middle of the second cup, the taste changes and it becomes so bitter that I end up pouring half of it out.  Maybe this along with all the other taste changes, no appetite I am having will fix itself.

Speaking of drinking ... Thursday night I made me a glass of chocolate milk for my snack (and additional calcium) and it tasted really bad so I poured it out and chalked it up to my 'taster'.  Last night I fixed me a little bowl of cereal ... same thing, it tasted so bad that I only had one bite. It tasted like dirty socks smell.  <laughing>   I ask my daughter to taste it and she was not to keen on the idea but she did.  She said get the milk carton and let me smell.  (My smeller is a little off due to the sinus infection)  She smelled of it and the milk was bad ... the expiration date was June 7, 2012 but obviously this was mismarked.  I bought the milk last Saturday and it had a far off expiration so I trusted it ... YUCK!  I drink organic 2% milk and have never had this happen.  I sure don't need bad milk hanging out at my house when I have no appetite and a taster that is semi out of commission right now.  <laughing>

Today I plan to get some type of fencing put in my tomato garden for the tomato plants to lean on.  These plants are full of tomatoes.  I also need some type of trellis for those cucumbers, they are full of cucumbers.  All of my garden is doing very well and it is so much fun to watch these things grow.

*  Ability to write about my journey on this blog.
*  Family and friends who continue to support me.
*  Feeling better every day.
*  Knowing the side affects are just that and should go away.
*  Ability to throw my legs over the side of the bed every morning and get up.
*  So many more things that God has blessed me with.

Prayer Requests:
*  Those who have found out recently they have a life changing disease.
*  My survivor sisters who are going through treatments.
*  The family who lost their loved one (wife and Mom) this past week.  The Dad is in his 80's and his wife of 68 years has gone to live with Jesus.
*  People who have drama in their live will realize it isn't worth it.  Let hard feelings go and live the life that God has planned for you.

Romans 12:9-18

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Blessed and praying many blessings for you today.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bald and Bold ... sort of!

Bald women are brave,
Brave bald women have courage,
Courageous brave bald women ...
Are given their strength by God.

A funny story ... I went outside Wednesday afternoon to water the garden.  I believe that every gnat that was within miles decided to visit my backyard that afternoon just so they could buzz by my ears and sting them.  I shooshed more gnats away that day than ever and by the time I got in the house, my ears were blazing red and hot from all the stinging and shooshing.  <smile>


I never in a million years thought I would ever be bald.  Bald happened to other women ... you know the one's that got breast cancer and had to take chemo.  My heart was always with those women.  Then one day ... I was bald.  Being bald for the most part (once I got accustomed to it) hasn't bothered me.  It has actually been a blessing in so many ways.  Those mornings I got up after a round of chemo and didn't feel like doing anything ... I didn't have to worry about my hair.  If I get cold, I put on a cap ... if I get hot, I take it off.  Being a bald woman has emotional ties to it no matter how you look at it, however, it is part of the chemo process and my hair will grow back.

Let me tell you how a bald woman feels and we do have feelings, feelings that run really deep.  I pray you never discount that fact when you see a bald woman.  Some women never get accustomed to being bald.  I had a survivor sister who told me that she could NOT look at herself in the mirror when she was bald.  She could not stand the fact that she had no hair.  I, personally, worked through the heart ache of losing my hair before I lost my hair.  I found a comfortable place  with my baldness and I feel I have a good attitude about it, however, that does not take the sting away when a person says catty remarks about my bald head.  

I walked in to a funeral this week and an acquaintance of mine threw up their arms and said, "Oh Gena, the glare is blinding me."  Very inappropriate, very hurtful and not funny at all.  I was taken aback actually and it really did hurt.  Let me make a suggestion to those who are reading this who have hair, if you do not know what to say to someone like me who is bald due to chemo, just do not say anything at all.  Talk to the person just like you would if they had hair.  My heart, my mind, my soul hasn't changed one bit only my appearance and that is temporary.

Dear Survivor Sisters ...  If you haven't lost your hair, most likely you will ... if you have lost your hair and are currently bald ... Remember, God gave us a special light that shines from our sweet bald heads that matches the halo our Angel has so she is able to find us easily.  God loves us just the way we are ... He doesn't care that we do not have hair and He would never want us hurt because of someone saying something inappropriate.  We have courage that not everyone has and He gave it to us.  Praise Him.

I am currently going through another side effect of the chemo ... remember chemo does not immediately leave your body like so many think.  Remember in earlier posts how I mentioned that so many people thought just because I was finished 'taking' chemo, that I would go back to being the get up and go person I was before ... yes, I am much better now that chemo is finished but the side affects still happen.  For a couple of weeks now, I have been experiencing some pretty severe pain in my hips ... bones and muscle.  At first I thought I had just used some muscles in the Race for the Cure that I had not used in a while and the pain would stop.  It hasn't.  When I sit for short or long periods of time and get up, my hips hurt so bad it almost doubles me over.  To walk hurts, to lay in bed on my sides hurts.  I looked up the side affects once again of the Taxotere chemo drug and this is a side effect that can happen 1 to 3 months after finishing chemo.  I tell you that Taxotere is a trouble maker.  <smile>  I decided today I might should call The Center to ensure that this was really what was going on and it is. It's perfectly normal ... for a chemo patient.  I ask my dear sweet Helena, nurse practitioner, if I could take Advil and she said yes because I was no longer taking chemo.  Tonight before bed, I will take two Advil and see if that helps the terrible pain in my hips that wakes me every night.  Praise the Lord that this is normal and that it will end.

I hope your week went well and that you have a wonderful weekend.  I was planning to go fishing tomorrow at Lake Bridgeport but decided I better wait until I am finished with the antibiotics and get the stuffiness completely eliminated ... plus with my hips hurting so bad, I just didn't want to try it right now.

I am blessed tonight.  God has been so good to me ... it's amazing how He opens your eyes when you allow Him to do so.  Praising Him tremendously ...

Blessings sweet family and friends.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Radiation and Garden Update ... and more

Radiation is going well this week ... today was my 10 treatment and that means there are only 23 remaining treatments.  The radiation ends May 29 and my new grand baby is scheduled to be delivered May 30.  God is so good.  So now a  little more about my radiation treatments.  Have you ever heard a trainer tell someone they are training  ... Feel The Burn ... ?   I have a new take on that saying ... I am beginning to FEEL THE BURN.  The left side of my chest and under my left arm is where my radiation is applied.  Dr. C told me there would be a build up affect of the radiation and after about two weeks, I would begin feeling the results.  Well I am!  It's not bad though ... primarily tender.  I think I am more concerned with the fatigue the radiation can cause because that means my energy level drops and that does not make me happy because I like to have my energy.  I am not going to let it get me down though ... I made it through chemo, I can make it through radiation.

My garden is growing and growing.  I don't remember if I reported that I have cucumbers.  Little baby cucumbers.  They are funny looking when they start growing, matter of fact I didn't know that it was a cucumber, I thought it was part of the vine.  <smile>  ... well I've never grown cucumbers before.  My tomato plants are full of tomatoes.  I'm watching all my little darlings close because when they get a hint of red on them, I'm picking them to put in the kitchen window to ripen ... picking them to beat the mockingbirds from pecking them and ruining them for the rest of us.  <smile>  I love my birds but we may have to have a 'come to Jesus' meeting if they start pecking my tomatoes.  I have to admit that I have become very protective of my little garden.

I am happy to report that work is going well.  Might I add that by the end of the week, I'm exhausted.  I want to start walking again on a regular basis ... I need to start walking again ... it helps my energy level.  Note to self ... get up and get away from your desk and go walk.

One day at lunch I was able to listen to Pastor Robert Morris' sermon titled --- Ten Deadly Sins (with our mouth). If you have 30 minutes, take a listen ...  God can only bless us if our mouths line up with His word.

I am having dinner with two sweet retired NWS friends tonight.  I can't wait. It will be good fellowship and food.

Closing today with a happy thankful heart.  In the past two days, God has provided me with more opportunities to share my journey about Him and my breast cancer journey.  My prayer is that people reading this blog, gain strength, comfort, knowledge and most of all that they know that they do not have to walk their journey alone.  God will walk with them just like He walks with me ... every day and every night ... through all my treatments, appointments, reports ... all of it ... He is with me.

*  The love of my God.  No matter my circumstance, He never leaves me.
*  Opportunities provided this week to share my blog.
*  Feeling good.
*  Only 23 radiation treatments remaining.
*  Positive attitude.
*  Hearing from my survivor sisters this.  Lunch on Friday with one of them.
*  My new grand baby will be here before we know it.
*  So so much more.

Prayer Request:
*  One of my survivor sisters is still having some issues with her chemo.  Please pray for W. T.
*  Another survivor sister is taking early rounds of chemo.  Please pray for W. L.
*  Unspoken prayer request.  God knows.
*  Anyone recently diagnosed with breast cancer or another life changing disease.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Harboring vs Letting It Go !!!

Webster defines the word 1) 'harbor' (noun) a place of security and comfort; and 2) 'harbor' (verb)  a part of a body of water protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage.  Today I want to talk about the noun of 'harbor'.  Something that has weighed heavy on my mind since my diagnosis is how for many years and for whatever reason, I harbored ill feelings towards people who had hurt me or said something I didn't like or want to hear.  And now when I look at the definition of the word harbor as a noun, that means a place of security and comfort,  I ask myself, how in the world can harboring ill feelings towards someone mean a place of security and comfort?  Does it mean that if I do not let that person or persons who hurt me back in to my life that I have found security and comfort?  Has it made me feel better to continue holding a grudge because one time someone hurt me by what they said or didn't say, what they did or didn't do, excluded me from a function, etc?   Sometimes people do not know they have hurt us and yes, there are times that people do know they have but holding grudges only allows the devil to slip in and whisper in your ear ... 'remember when so and so said this or so and so did that ... remember how it made you feel'?  I say ... slap the devil off your shoulder and let it go.  The longer we hold a grudge, the harder it is to let it go.  

I have learned by acknowledging the issue, I have a choice to make ...  move forward or stay there harboring those ill feelings.  I have tried communicating with the person(s) whom I have been in conflict with and to understand the other persons point of view.  This didn't mean I had to agree with them but trying never hurts.  In the long run, does an apology make it better?  Aren't we just wanting the person to acknowledge our hurt feelings?  Often times I have discovered that the person I was in conflict with had moved on and never thought twice about the issue.  Holding on to a grudge, drains you physically and emotionally.  Rehashing the incident, I have found keeps the embers burning and those old hurt feelings resurface and the devil gets back up on my shoulder and whispers in my ear so that I continue to live the hurt over and over again.  Forgiveness sometimes is a hard thing to do especially if you have been deeply hurt but I believe that it is truly the only way to let go and have peace.

My story ....
I have a long time friend, a person I have known most of my life.  We started elementary school together and went all the way through graduation of high school and the years here after.  We  stayed in contact but were not shopping buddies or anything ... friends.   After my breast cancer diagnosis, I never heard from my friend.  Nothing!  Months later, I got a text message from this person that said something like ... I haven't bothered you through your whole ordeal but wanted you to know I have prayed for you.  Quite frankly I was hurt because I didn't know about your surgery until the day of.  My response was ...  REALLY?   I have been fighting for my life and you were HURT because you didn't know about my surgery?  Needless to say, I thought this was about the most selfish thing I had ever heard and I was upset and mad.  Oh you know what I'm talking about ... you have probably at one time or another had a similar reaction to something someone has said to you.  Side Note - When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you really only want your immediate family to be there to talk to at the time.  Perhaps this person did not know that.  After much thought, I ask myself ... why am I harboring these ill feelings?  This person is a longtime friend and a friend of my family for many years.  So recently I let it go.  Does it take the sting away from what was said ... No ... but there's always bee balm to help that sting.  How can I not forgive when Jesus forgave me?  I do not have the energy to even 'want' to harbor ill feelings toward someone much less have the energy to 'do' it.  I know this person realized that perhaps what they said was hurtful and I know that they would not intentionally hurt me.  Praise the Lord that He alone has brought me to the place that I can forgive when someone upsets my little apple cart.  I do not like having ill feelings toward someone, it drags me down.  

So today ... I say if you are harboring ill feelings toward someone, let it go.  Bring back the peace and joy in your life.  Get rid of the emotional and physical strain on your health ... yes, these types of things bring your health down.  Knock that trouble making devil off your shoulder, step on him,  and move forward.  

I write with love and compassion as I walk the human walk just like you.  I am not exempt from hurt and pain but I can chose a different path on my life journey ... the path to 'let it go' in order to find the joy God intends for me to have.  I'm blessed and I know it.  God has taught me so much while on this journey ... I'm so thankful.

Matthew 6:14-15  "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Monday, April 23, 2012

I know ...

... My Redeemer Lives.  This song is great and lifting my spirits.  If you have never heard it ... click the following link:    You may have to get through the ads but it is worth the wait.

I took today off for the antibiotics to have 72 hours of getting in my system.  If bronchitis and sinus infection were not enough, I took the dog outside and some pollen from some where got going in the right side of my nose and my right eye ... runny nose and watery eye *not both eyes *  Praise the Lord.  Sometimes I feel that my spirit is being tested but I refuse to fail the test.  I know that what ever I am going through right now ... there are others going through much worse so I will not park on my feelings but chose to pray for others.

I went to radiation this morning and that went well.  It was my day to see Dr. C. and once again he assured me that in a week or so my skin would begin showing the signs of the radiation with the burn.  I guess they truly just want you to be prepared.  With God's help, I have battled the chemo dragons and I know with His continued love, I can battle the radiation dragons also.

Job 19:25-26 ... I know that my redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand on the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I will see God.

*  Knowing that I will feel better.
*  Knowing there are people praying for me and others.
*  Knowing that My Redeemer Lives.

Prayer Request:
*  Long time friends have lost a family member.
*  My survivor sisters ... W. L --- W. T --- L. S. --- S. F.  ... who are currently all going through breast cancer treatments.
*  Anyone ... who today will be diagnosed with breast cancer or some other dreadful disease.

Thank you for all your prayers ... not for just me but all that I add to my blog.  Prayer is such a powerful thing.

Blessed !!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Morning ...

Psalm 16:8  I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  

Ms. Cough had company late yesterday afternoon.  Mr. Fever came to see her.  He didn't even knock, he just came on in without a welcome.  He got to 100.7 before I could bat an eye so I decided to show him. I called The Center to get advice/antibiotics whatever I needed to boot him and Ms. Cough both out the door.  Helena, Oncologist Nurse Practitioner, called me in 10 days of Levaquin (antibiotics) and the cough pills that I take.  I know I have a sinus infection and bronchitis.  When you've had the same thing repeatedly in the spring and sometimes in the fall for years, you learn your body well.  This morning my fever was 99.7 when I got up but I believe I've extinguished it with a Tylenol for now.  When I spoke to Helena yesterday, I ask her if I could take antibiotics while taking radiation ... I was thinking the sunburn affect could get worse since they always tell you to stay out of the sun when taking antibiotics ... she told me yes, you can take antibiotics while taking radiation.  Pray that my visitors go away soon.  I do not want to feel bad ... I want to feel good and back to a somewhat normal life.

I didn't really do much of anything yesterday.  I changed the sheets on my bed, washed the sheets and a load of towels.  I had lunch with my friend, Peggy.  We met at Panera Bread and enjoyed a wonderful salad and great visit.  We had not seen each other since back before I was diagnosed.  She was headed to meet up with some people and later in the evening heading downtown to the Main St. Arts Fest.

Above:  My sweet friend, Peggy.
After lunch I came home and Alicia had been to visit the cupcake place up the street from us.  Oh my goodness ... she bought six cupcakes and had gotten me a dreamsicle cupcake.  It was divine ... along with the chocolate Almond Joy cupcake that I had after I ate dinner last night.  There are two cupcakes left and I don't know what they are but beware ... I may end up eating them both.  <smile>

*  The sweetest medical team that a girl could have.  They continue to take such good care of me.
*  Madelyn, my grand daughter, has two more teeth.  She's only had four front teeth forever.  The other night, Alicia found the two in the back on the top.  Praise the Lord.
*  My friends, Jeff and Kim, who always check on me and ask if they can do anything ... like mow my yard.  Is that not just the sweetest?  I may take them up on it soon as the front yard is getting rather unruly after the rains.
*  I know My Lord is taking care of me and hears your and my prayers.
*  Beautiful weather.
*  So many more blessings and praises.

Prayer Request:
*  Spoke with a retired NWS friend yesterday and found out his wife, S. F. is going through a second round of breast cancer ... via a skin cancer and also has leukemia.  She is very sick and in desperate need of our prayers.
*  My friend, P. L., as she continues to recuperate from her recent hospitalization.
*  Those who have recently found out about having breast cancer or any other dreadful disease.  Our prayers are so needed.
*  My cough and sinus infection gets cleared up soon.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.  You all mean so much to me and I am so thankful that I am able to write this blog and share with you not only my journey but ask you to pray for many others.

Psalm 55:22  Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

Blessed and praying blessings on you today.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday This and That ...

I made it through a full week of radiation treatments.  I feel ok this morning.  I am consistently using the Remedy Repair Cream on both sides of my chest.  The cream is thicker than regular lotion and very soothing.  I have only 26 treatments left.  Praise the Lord.

I am asking this morning for prayer that this cough I have will go away.  I am doing everything I can to get this thing to go away and it keeps hanging on.  I am even staying inside out of the wind.  I do not feel I have allergies but I think today I will begin taking Claritin along with the Albuterol Inhaler and the Singulair.  Both of these meds are prescription and help to keep my bronchial tubes open and seem to working well to do that but this cough just keeps hanging on.  I - Praise the Lord - have not had any temperature and I do not want any of that (who does, right?).  Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Today my friend, Peggy, and I are are going to try to meet up for lunch.  She's in town and we haven't gotten to see each other since before my diagnosis.  I'm looking forward to a visit and little lunch and catching up.  Friendships are so special and so important and must be nurtured in order to remain in tact.  I'm so thankful for my friendships and the understanding of my friends as I have walked through the troubled waters of diagnosis, surgery and chemo.

Yesterday I was able to catch up on a couple of sermons from Pastor Robert Morris at Gateway Church. Both sermons were about words and they were very insightful.  In today's world where people say what is on their mind at the expense of others, it would do everyone good to listen to these sermons.  Pastor Robert gave out several scriptures that support what God says in the Bible about words and the use of.  Something that really stood out for me was ...
God records every word you say for judgment day.  Now that's pretty scarey ... and then Pastor Robert followed that with ... Until you give your heart to Him.  There are seven divine words to heal a relationship with God or someone else and it's never too late for that ... I was wrong, will you forgive me?  Sometimes it is hard to ask forgiveness but it is well worth the end result of mending a friendship.  Pastor Robert said there were six words that mean nothing ...  I need to ask your forgiveness.  He mentioned this is not asking for forgiveness, this is letting the person that they wanted to be forgiven but if you do not ask for forgiveness, these six words mean nothing.
Words cost - Words hurt - Words last.
Choose them wisely because none of us can unspeak words.  
Proverbs 26:19 ... is one who deceives their neighbor and says, "I was only joking".
- I have found that people who cut me to the bone and then say "I was only joking" are very insecure in themselves so taking me down, built them up in their own minds.  Since my diagnosis, I totally ignore the person when this happens and it happens on a regular basis.
Mathew 12:37 - For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
- Think before you speak.
Psalm 141:3 - Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
- I have prayed this prayer.
Psalm 39:1 - I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle over my mouth while in the presence of the wicked."
- How many times have you wished you had not said what you did ... if only the muzzle had been present.
Pastor Robert is a good Pastor and I always learn from his sermons and I am so thankful for that.

I am so thankful to have been ask to do a presentation for a conference ... the topic is Cancer - Do's and Don'ts.  My prayer is to share with the audience 1) what happens when you find out you have cancer; 2) how to handle the news your co-worker has cancer; 3) things to say or not say to a person with cancer; 4) answer any and all questions that anyone may have.  I have always said ... knowledge is power when dealing with this disease ... whether you have it or not.  My prayer is to be given the opportunity to speak at as many functions as possible to educate others on cancer.  

I have some cleaning to do today and grocery buying is definitely on the "to do" list.  I need to check Pinterest for some easy crock pot recipes.  For a few weeks now, I have not had much of an appetite so cooking is very difficult but buying 'take out' is so not what I want to do and I get tired of 'take out'.  My daughter and son in law are so faithful in buying groceries for all week and cooking every night.  They are my inspiration.  Now don't go thinking that Alicia and I get take out all the time because we don't ... Thursday I did get Pei Wei lettuce wraps and last night she wanted fajitas from Mi Pueblos, so we went out and split a single order and still had some to bring home.

Before I go babbling, I will close.

* Radiation is going well.
* My grand babies are feeling better.
* Friends - old and new.
* Feeling good.
* Opportunity to speak about cancer.
* Many many more praises.

Prayer Request:
* A friend, P.L. has been really sick, hospitalized, home now and very weak.  Pray for her continued healing and strengthening.
* My survivor sisters to continue and hang on through the remainder of their chemo treatments.
* For those who use words and hurt others.
* My cough goes away.

Blessed and praying blessings for your day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Little Of This and That !!! Happy Friday!

Good Friday morning all.  I pray this morning finds you all well and good.  Here ... I am Praising the Lord that I am feeling better.  I have had several very tired mornings this week and I am not sure why.  I have a cough and goop in my chest that I am working to get rid of by using my inhaler and Singulair and major Vitamin C.  I feel much better this morning ... Thank you Lord.

Today is radiation treatment #7 ... Praise the Lord ... that means there are only 26 to go.  Someone at work yesterday mentioned that I had five weeks left ... my preference is to use the day count down instead of saying FIVE WEEKS.  <laughing>  Unless you are sitting where I am sitting you probably do not understand this but it makes perfect sense to me.  <smile>  This morning I am taking donuts to the radiation folks.  Dr. C, Radiation Oncologist, is the sweetest.  He needs a nice donut from my neighborhood donut shop.

I am thankful that I am finished with chemo but I have to tell you that I miss seeing my friends that I made while taking chemo.  I keep in touch with two of my survivor sisters and hope to always do that but I do miss seeing them.  We are going to try to get to lunch or dinner very soon and I cannot wait to see them and catch up with them in person.

Some of the family were all together last night for a few minutes ... both grand babies, daughters, and my son in law were at my sisters.  My son in law showed my sister how to Spanish texture her bathroom.  Guess that's on tap for this weekend ... sure glad I got my port out.

Speaking of my port coming out, tonight I get to get the taped up incision wet in the shower.  The last two nights I have used a covering over the incision because I couldn't get it wet.  If I move wrong, I feel the soreness but for the most part, I do not feel it and figure it's healing well.  Thankful!

Below are some garden pictures I took yesterday.  Are you a redneck if you use shoe mold and tie wraps to stake your tomatoes?  If the answer is YES, then call me a redneck.  The two mistakes I am seeing as far as my first garden are 1)  I did not use the tomato cages on my tomatoes for them to grow up in for support; and 2) I really need to trellis my cucumbers (I will be working on this over the weekend).  Other than that, I think I have done very well.  I harvested my first produce yesterday ... see below:

Above:  Banana pepper for my sister.  These are not hot so
I don't really care for them but my sister loves them.

Above:  Now this is what I am talking about ...
JALEPENO PEPPERS ... Baby!  <smile>
Above:  See the shoe mold and the green
tie wrap?  It worked ... 

Above:  My largest tomato.  This was the first tomato and she
is still growing.  

Above:  Little Roma tomatoes.  Aren't they the cutest?

Above:  Why I planted green bell peppers I have no idea.
They are not my fav.  I prefer the red, orange and yellow bells.

Above:  More banana peppers.

Above:  Beautiful dill.  

Above:  Beautiful basil.  Alicia used some of this Wednesday night
in a little pasta dish she whipped up for dinner.  
Best get dressed and ready to head to radiation.  There is thunder outside and rain heading this way.  Praise the Lord!  Maybe it will wash some of the allergens out of here.  There are so many people suffering this year.  I even started sneezing yesterday.

Count your many blessings ... all of them ... even when you are walking through 'troubled waters' ... count those as blessings.  Remember God is right beside you and knows what you are going through and He will not allow the waters to wash you away.  Take your problems to Him and when you ask Him to help ... leave the problems with Him ... do NOT pick them back up and carry them with you.  He's GOT it!  He will take care of you.

So blessed and praying blessings for you today.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Port Removal and other stuff

I believe I might have had a little anxiety Wednesday morning before getting to go have my port removed.  I seemed to be in a 'down in the dumps' mood and you know ... it was OK that I was there because ... there are so many unknowns when it comes to cancer and treatment.  I allow myself now to feel what I feel.  I allow myself to rest when I need to rest ... cry if I need to cry ... laugh as much as possible ... shrug off the things that in a week won't matter.  Praise the Lord ... He has brought me to this area of life ... the way I should have been living all along.  Oooopsss got a little side tracked there.  I left work at 10:30, got home in time to change clothes before my friend, Bunny, got here to take me to The Center.  When she got here, she got to meet Tootie (she loves animals) ... and then it was off for the new adventure of in office surgery (sort of).  I mean it did include deadening ... a lot of deadening ... and a scalpel that cuts through skin and stitches.  I consider that surgery ... don't you?  I, of course, had to put one of those little red riding hood paper cloak things on.  You know the ones that don't cover too much but just enough and if you try and pull too hard to close it ... it tears.  Dr. B came in and we talked and he listened to me babble about this and that (if you know me, I do that - no comments from my friends and family who know me well).  Dr. B shared that his wife was a four year survivor of breast cancer.  Praise the Lord.  And he shared that she never wore a wig either ... maybe one time.  So I'm not the only one who doesn't like those things.  After I babbled and we talked a few minutes, it was time for me to get in the chair that turned in to a table.  His nurse who has been with Dr. B for 12 1/2 years which was when he got out of his residency and started his practice, is so nice.  She was in the room to assist, a medical student named Sammy, and Bunny.  Bunny was so funny because she positioned herself so she could see the entire procedure.  The nurse ask her if she blood bothered her and she said, "nope".

Dr. B ripped that lovely little cloak from my right shoulder, tucked it in and taped it so he had access to the port.  He proceeded to tell me he was going to deaden the area around my port and it would sting ... and it DID.  <smile>  He got finished with that deadening and started sticking me with a needle and I could feel it.... at this point I shared with him my thyroid biopsy experience with Dr. C when she put two deadening shots in my neck that didn't work because I felt the remaining five sticks when she went after the nodule samples.  Dr. B gave me a little more deadening and Praise the Lord I couldn't feel the needle sticks after that.  He then ask the nurse for another drape.  When he was opening it up, I thought he was going to put it over my face so I couldn't see what was going on.  Am I a nut or what?  This drape had a small hole in it and he positioned it over my port to keep it sterile and began cutting in the old scar where he put it in to take it out.  Then the tugging began ... I mean a lot of tugging.  Dr. B explained to me that he made a smaller incision and was trying to get the port out through the smaller hole.  Whhheewwww I thought the port was grown in to my body and wasn't wanting to come out.  <laugh>  Boy, the things I think about.  Ohhh ... before this started and I was in my babbling state I ask about bleeding to death when the tube part of the port came out of my vina cava ... Dr. B explained to me that it was like taking blood from a vein ... the vina cava would close itself back up.  Whhhewww again ... I was glad to hear that.  Once the port was out ... and let me say this ... there was not much blood at all.  Bunny said she kept looking for blood but there wasn't any.  OK, so once the port was out, Dr. B got this long piece of thread or whatever they call it suture stuff and threaded his needle.  You would have thought he had cut me from side to side with as much suture stuff as there was <smile> ... anyway, he got me sutured (I almost said sewed) up and put three pieces of tape over that and then gauze and more tape on top of that.  I am not supposed to shower until Friday morning ... I did a modified shower last night.  I just don't sleep well if I don't shower ... weird I know.  The table lowered and became a chair again  and I got up and got dressed and away we went.  Dr. B and his nurse are such sweet people ... and they listened to me babble.  <smile>  Dr. B's nurse as she was bringing us back to the procedure room ... said I looked beautiful.  She said not everyone could pull off the bald look but I looked beautiful.  That made my day!

I ask Bunny if she was hungry ... after all my appointment was a noon which is lunch time for me.  We decided on Mexican food so we stopped at Mi Pueblo's out here in our area and had a bite to eat and visited.  She brought me home and we sat in the driveway and visited some more and then I came in and had a nice nap.   I am so thankful the port is out and I pray there is never another time that I will need one.

Above:  My souvenir ... my port.  Dr. B said he liked using
this particular port because the company donates part of the
purchase to breast cancer research.  He said they were a
little more expensive but worth the cost.  

Above:  This is where the port was accessed for all my blood
work.  The center black part is a soft pad that the needle goes in.
Radiation treatment #5 this morning went off without a hitch.  I found out a little more about radiation and fatigue.  I was under the impression that the fatigue comes from going every day Monday - Friday.  Not really!  The fatigue comes from the radiation killing the bad cells and the good cells trying to rebuild and they work very hard and that causes the fatigue.  The radiation tech said that radiation is a lot like taking 10 days of antibiotics.  The antibiotics are killing the bad stuff and the good stuff is trying to keep up and rebuild themselves and after you take them for a while, they can cause fatigue.  The way I'm explaining this doesn't make a lot of sense but this is what was explained to me.  I totally understood it this morning when Vanessa was explaining it and thought I would remember it all ... Can I still claim chemo brain?  Yep, I sure can.  So two more treatments this week ... that makes a total of eight down and only leave 25 to go.  Praise the Lord.

Bunny said she could see my hair coming back in and she said it looks blonde.  Now if you look back at my pictures when I had hair ... my hair color was blonde but that was not my real color.  I know I know you are so surprised ... I was more surprised when I cut all the blonde off to find out what color it really was because I had colored my hair for sooooo long, I forgot.  <laughing out loud>  So we will see what color it comes back ... I say it can come back purple as long as it comes back.  (NOTE:  I really don't want purple hair however purple is a good color on me in clothing.  OK, I'm babbling so I better get.

*  The port is out and there was no emergencies.
*  Dr. B and his nurse are so sweet.
*  While I'm tired, I feel good.
*  My grandbabies are on the mend.
*  Bonnie doesn't have that much longer until baby #2 arrives.
*  So so so much more

Prayer Requests:
*  Those recently diagnosed with breast cancer or another dreadful disease.
*  My survivor sisters that I miss so much are doing well with their final treatments.

Blessed and praying blessings for you today!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Port Removal Day and more.....

Good morning ... it's already Wednesday and PORT REMOVAL day.  I am having this procedure done in the office ... remember when I had it put in, I went to the hospital and was put to sleep (my choice).  I opted not to be put to sleep again so in the office it is. They will deaden my right shoulder to remove the port which causes an unknown for me as to how I will feel or how much use I will have in my arm.   My friend, Bunny, is taking me to my appointment.  Thank you Bunny.

I begin my days now with radiation at 6:00am.  So far so good.  Dr. C, my Radiation Oncologist, told me Monday that I can expect to start seeing a sunburn affect after a couple of weeks.  After my treatment this morning, I will only have 28 more to go.  Praise the Lord.  After I leave radiation in the mornings, I head to the office.  Tuesday morning I was in and out of radiation in 12 minutes.  Getting undressed, getting set up on the table and redressed is the longest part of the whole ordeal.  Radiation is about a little over a minute.

I have met another sweet lady who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Please pray for W. L.  I know how she is feeling and all the unknowns are so scarey.  There is just no two ways around it ... she needs our prayers.

This is a short post but I wanted to check in.  I will post tomorrow about how the port removal went... praying for nothing exciting.  I have concerns about when Dr. B. takes the line out of my vina cava.  I know too, that he does this all the time and is very good.  

*  Feeling good.
*  Getting port out.
*  Able to walk at least a mile a day now.
*  Radiation is going well.
*  Much much more.

Prayer Request:
*  My new friend, W. L., who has just begun her breast cancer journey.
*  Port removal goes well.
*  All who are awaiting results from biopsies of one kind or another.
*  All who have been given the breast cancer diagnosis.
*  My friend, Alverna's hubby has been dealing with some health issues.

Blessed and praying blessings for those who read this blog.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Finishing the Race ... The Race for the Cure

The Race for the Cure walk was yesterday morning.  As fate/luck/whatever would have it ... my grandson, Braxton, got sick with strep so his Daddy and him could not come to the race.  My granddaughter, Madelyn, had a sinus infection that was backing up in her eyes and with the wind blowing about 30 mph hour at times, Alicia decided it best if they stayed in.  I know they would have had a great time and we missed them.  I picked Bonnie up and we headed out to the race, thinking that we would get there early enough to get a clos(er) parking spot but that was not the case.  I would say we had to walk half a mile to get to the festivities which meant after we walked the 3.1 miles, we would walk another half mile back to the car.  Yeppers, we got our exercise in yesterday and YES, she has only six weeks until her baby is due.  Trooper ... Mom's trooper.  Below are pictures that I couldn't wait to share with you.

Above:  Bonnie and I (looking up for a reason).

Above:  Middle - Yvonne aka Fred from The Center.
She's my other 'sista'.
Fred's daughter was there to support us too.

Above:  Left - Helena, Oncologist Nurse Practitioner who takes
such good care of me and explains everything and answers all
my questions.  Right - Pam, nurse navigator, at The Center who
is just an awesome sweet lady that I met with before meeting
with anyone else.

Above:  Supporters everywhere.

Above:  The Center's booth, providing water.

Above:  Deborah Johnson Couch and I.  We've been friends since
.... forever.  

Above:  L-R Bonnie, Stephanie (my other daughter that I didn't
birth, her hubby, Scott, me, Deborah, Sydney (Deb's daughter),
L.J. (Deb's daughter in law) and down front, Peyton, (my other
grand daughter).

Above:  Deborah, L.J., Syd celebrated Mrs. Johnson who
passed last year and me.  Thank you girls. 

Above:  There were so many supporters.

Above:  Having fun waiting for the race to begin.

Above:  So cute ... 

Above:  Me, Carol Womack, Deborah, L.J. and Syd.

Above:  had to have a picture with the ladies with the pink hair
and the middle lady has on pink eyelashes.

Above:  The massive people ahead of us and No, we were not

Above:  A band playing on the corner right after we started.

Above:  See all the people ahead of us?  There were that many
 behind us.   

Above:  Syd noticed this guy in front of us.  We determined
he was a 'true coffee addict'.  

Above:  The lady in the pink shirt beside this man was
mostly likely his wife.  The pink shirt designates a survivor.

Above:  The last hill was a 'killer'.
I am a "SURVIVOR".

Above:  This sign says it all.....
Praise the Lord that I am finished
with chemo.  

Above:  We finished ....
Praise the Lord!
The second round of radiation went well on Friday at 6:00am.  For this treatment, Billy, used a 'bolus' which is a silicon filled pad to put over my radiation area.  Dr. C, my Radiation Oncologist, wants to use the bolus every other day to ensure that the radiation gets the topical area of the affected area.  Every other day, the radiation will be directly on my skin which will go a little deeper.
Above:  This is what the radiation machine
looks like.  The large arm that is over head
rotates to both sides of the table.  That is
the radiation giver.  (NOTE: that is not me
on that table.
I continue to Praise my Lord for all He has done for me.  He has brought me from that scared little lady on September 15, 2011, to having hope and knowing that He is beside me all the way.  He continues to carry me on the days that I cannot carry myself.  I give Him all the Praise.

*  My grand babies are feeling better.
*  My family and friends who continue to support me during this journey.
*  My bald head.  Yes, this is a blessing.  My baldness has opened many doors that has allowed me to share my awesome Lord.
*  Answered prayers.
*  So so so much more.

Prayer Request:
*  My radiation continues to go well.
*  My daughter, Bonnie's, pregnancy continues to go well.
*  Both my grand babies continue to get better.
*  Unspoken prayer request.  God knows.
*  My survivor sisters as they continue to go through their treatments.

God has blessed me so much and I continue to give Him all the praise.

Blessed and praying blessings for you who read this blog.