Wednesday, August 31, 2011


 My Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law do some awesome mission work in Arizona, and along with running their own mission there they also have a shirt printing business called Little Blue Bird Studios which helps the kids on the Apache Reservation learn work ethics and figure out some long term goals for their life. Below is a little video on Apache Youth Ministries (AYM).

So Little Blue Bird Studio has decided to help out our cause and make some t-shirts on behalf of the breast cancer fight that I am fighting and so many others have and will have.
Below are designs and colors you can choose.
"Fight like a girl"
 "Someone I love needs a cure" 

V-Neck Color Choices

If you would like to purchase a t-shirt please email size, style, design, and color to:
 $15.00 plus $5.00 shipping for up to 10 shirts.
There is also a long sleeve T (not pictured) that can be purchased for $18.00
or Hoodie in black for $30.00
Mail Payment to:
Little Bluebird Studio
PO Box 1613
Whiteriver, AZ   85941

Hoodie in both designs available on black only
Men's T both designs available on black

Thanks for your support.

Monday, August 29, 2011

pieces of paper

That is all a book is...pieces of paper bound together. I'll admit I'm not a big reader, but there are on occasion books I'll pick up and read. I mentioned in an early post that I had gotten a few books from people for support and encouragement, and I fully intend to read them all. Any bit of hope I can get I'll take it, but today's gift of a book seems to be "emotional stage appropriate" Its called, What Cancer Cannot Do. Last Thursday at my chemo education appt. I got a huge binder filled with pages of what Cancer (chemo) is going to do. Its so overwhelming when I talk to people about it I can only remember half of what it says. But today has been a good day. I got to chat with a friend I haven't seen in a while, and she brought us dinner for tonight which always lightens the burdens of the day, and her Mom sent me this new book. This afternoon Nate took the kids to their 6 month dental check up and I have quiet house to myself. So I turned my favorite direct tv music channel for a little mild modern country, so far a great line up of Taylor Swift, Rascel Flatts, and Carrie Underwood, and I began to read this book... I got to the 6th page and read the most appropriate verse for my right now.
" Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" Matt 6:14
The chapter was even amazing it seemed to summarize what I've been feeling the last couple of weeks. Talking about how once you have cancer most of our life worries seem so trivial, and more of our worries fall to what is important in life. Living each day as if its our last. I know if you've ever been to church or seen any type of motivational speaker you've probably heard this said, and we always walk away thinking its a great idea, but I've go bills and kids and work and relationships. And yes, it all matters, but I guess from this new perspective what matters are what bills do I have to have and what can I live without, have I told my kids I loved them today or sat down and played with them, did I work hard today or just show up, and in my relationship do we fight because we love each other or do we fight because we can't forgive.

The chapter ends with this "Psalm 90:12 tells us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. In may ways cancer is a wake up call that tells  us we must stop worrying about a future that we cannot control and a past that is already behind us. It is a reminder to start thinking about what really matters. It is a mandate to boot ourselves out of the recliner of sorrow and self-pity, grab a hold of healing and get back to work. It is a mandate to love each day because no matter what it brings, God gives us this day and he will be with us in it."

I hope that even though most of you haven't had cancer to give you this perspective you will take it and do it  anyway. Thanks Tiff and Connie. You are both a blessing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Information Station

What a long day. I'm not sure I would say that I gained what some would call a "wealth" of knowledge, but I gained some information today. Still trying to process it.
Let's start at the very beginning, its a very good place to start.... sing with me everyone. As I drove to Goshen this morning I had gotten a CD from a friend with some uplifting songs, and I finally had the chance to listen to it today. They were all great songs, and I listened to the CD about 3 times through-out the day, but there was one that kind of reminded me of how I've kinda been living lately
Thank you to my friend Michelle for the CD it is doing its job! Can we say "new blog theme song"!!! Please Listen!

After I got to Goshen and wondered around Walmart a bit, I got to have lunch with my friend at South Side Soda Shop, it was good food, and great conversation. I miss my friends a lot lately and so it was a good opportunity to take my mind of the upcoming appts. Finally the inevitable was upon me, and I had to make my way to the cancer center, but it was nice to be greeted with a warm hug from my Grandma when I got there. My first appt. was an ECHO where they looked, listened and measured my heart. Nothing to hard to do, besides laying on my side, but the lady that did it made me as comfortable as she could. Next was chemo education, of course this was an easy appt, but this is where all the overwhelming information comes in. Hair loss, nausea, what not to eat, when to call, places to avoid, how long, how much, how come....and so on and so on and so on. And then... they scheduled the first treatment, which they did not schedule next week. First chemo Sept. 7th, 9:00-11:30am. In a way I'm kinda glad its not next week as they had told us because Nate and I's wedding anniversary is next week, and Hannah's birthday so I won't have to miss out on those things, but in a way I was kinda preparing myself for next week so I'm a little disappointed I have to wait longer to get this show on the road.

Finally the end of my day had arrived, and I got to end it in the best way. I got to go to a good part of the hospital where I again was greeted with a warm hug from my friend who I haven't seen in a while, and then the best part.... I got to hold a brand new...I'm talking hours old...Baby! She was sweet and smelled so good, and I was excited to get to meet her, and see another friend.

And last but not least not only is it clean sheet day, but its brand new sheet day which makes me very happy!
Thank you friends and family for the warm hugs, and good conversation, and for standing beside me when times are tough!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Post-Op...once again

I have been told that writing while on vicodin may not be a good idea, and that if I start typing about butterflies and rainbows, that maybe I should put a disclaimer up first, haha! So here it is!

I just wanted to share a little about my day yesterday. As I posted previously we got to the hospital, and went to Day Surgery at 8:45am, we talked with my PA for little bit, about some small little issues I've been having, and what was going to be happening and then she showed us a port that looked like the one they would place in me... this is what it looks like
And actually I'm a little puffy where they put it but you can hardly see the bump at all. Its a little bigger then the size of a quarter. My surgeon that did my mastectomy did the port surgery also yesterday, and he was great again. I was completely awake the entire time, despite the medicine they gave me to make me a little loopy and we had a full conversation while he was working. Besides our first meeting on the day I was diagnosed he always seems so full of happiness, which eases my mind especially in situations like yesterday. The actual surgery part took only about 20-25 minutes, and I was wheeled out of the hospital about 12:30. Once I got home, I was feeling a little more pain then I really wanted so a couple of Vicodin later I was able to rest and be pretty pain free. This morning I'm feeling some pain again, but its not horrible, and my trusty pain meds are going to be helpful once I eat. Today I'm just taking it easy, but hope to be feeling good for my appts, on Thursday.

Also, I wanted to say a special thanks to S.T. for coming up and saying a prayer and sharing some nerve lightening conversation with me before my surgery. My MIL was also amazing yesterday driving me back and forth and keeping me calm while we waited, and also feeding me afterwards. Its amazing what the power of a prayer and love can do.  Love to you both!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

and so it begins....

Port surgery tomorrow... around 10:15.  Hospital check in 8:45, O.R. scheduled for 45 min, recovery time hopefully just an hour or less. Pretty scared to go back to the same place where my last surgery took place, and to be only consciously sedated this time around. I'm glad to have family, friends and prayer warriors surrounding me. And so the fight against this cancer shall begin....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Appointment Update

Well, I just couldn't wait any longer for the Cancer Center to call me yesterday so I decided after I posted that I would wait until 3pm and then call them. Lucky me, they had been talking about me all day, oh boy! Never fail when our family, Nate specifically in this situation, tries to plan around things we always seem to overbook. Nate had an option of going out of town next week or the week after, and as we had been told chemo would start 4 weeks out we planned that being the first full week in Sept. so the really important appts. shouldn't be until Nate got back. WRONG! After talking to the nurse and schedulers yesterday I will be getting my port placed Monday morning, and have my echo scan and chemo education appts. on Thursday possibly also my PET scan depending on how quickly they can get the insurance per-cert. that is needed. They also told me that chemo would start the last week in August. Everything is a week earlier than expected! who wants to be my stand-in husband next week?!? I feel like by the end of the week-end a little break-down may make an appearance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Frustration... it should be a stage.

So we were suppose to hear from the Cancer Center, by Monday at the latest Tuesday about my next appts. We STILL have NOT. I was told if I hadn't heard something by Tuesday to give them a call Wednesday. I did just that, and the nurse said she'd get back with me sometime during the day on Wednesday. Its now Thursday morning, and I'm still waiting.....
I really hope to hear something, anything today. I'm getting more and more anxious about it the longer I wait. I feel like they have forgotten about me and in the mean time the cancer could be growing or getting worse.

As I sit here anxiously I will tell you something that gave me a little peace of mind yesterday. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but let me start by saying I don't believe it when people say that someone that has died is watching over us. I don't believe this because as heaven is talked about in the Bible it says once we get there, and I'm paraphrasing, we will be made new, we won't suffer or feel pain. I think that if we could see what was going on with our friends and loved ones on earth that we would suffer with empathy and hurt for them. So that being said, I feel like when people tend to believe that their loved ones are watching over them it is actually God, giving us a boost through-out our times of trouble. God knows every hair on our head, you don't think he knows what was special between you and someone that has passed away? Of course he does!

So the last time I saw my Grandpa and he was able to have a conversation with me at length before he died of cancer, he told me so much that I wish I would have had a tape recorder to remember it all. Something I do remember though was once diagnosed he began reading. My grandfather was a man of God, and had a wealth of knowledge about the Bible and religion, but at this time he began reading... reading ever thing he could get his hands on about heaven and God. I know that it gave him peace to do this, but I didn't think too much about it until now. In the last 2 days I've gotten a couple different books from people in my life, then last night Nate's Grandparents came to visit. In conversation with them they began to tell us how they are planning a move to the active living area of Greencroft Senior Center, they told us they sold their old cars and got a new one... it happened to be an HHR, the same kind of car my Grandpa drove before he died. I didn't think too much of it, lots of people drive those, and the one my Grandpa had was bright burnt orange you don't see too many of those around...well wouldn't you know it we walked them out and their HHR was the same color. At this point I had been kinda in shock...not only because of the car, but because early in the evening at dinner Parker, our oldest, had said he wanted to run a race at the local park. I had told him I didn't know anything about it, and he told me to check out this website well I hadn't had the chance yet, but if you know my son at all as soon as dinner was over he had it pulled up and ready for me to see. So in the middle of our visit with Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jo, Parker pulls me out of the room pretty rapidly and excited, like something was wrong. I came into the computer room to see my Grandpa Shank staring me in the face from the computer screen. On this website a race was ran and an honorary award in his name had been given.
Now like I said before I don't believe that this is my Grandpa giving me signs from heaven that he's watching down on me. I do believe that God is trying to give me a boost to fight the fight, and even though my Grandpa's battle ended 3-months after his diagnosis, and he knew it was terminal, he never gave up hope in God. In fact he wanted to get to as many people he could to tell them how great God was ... here is something I read at his funeral it is a conversation between him and his friend Pastor John Rohr.

Following is a summary of a phone conversation with Richard Shank on Wednesday, June 10, 2009. Richard had just discovered one week earlier that he is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that is already affecting his mobility and could conceivably affect his brain in the near future.
Pastor John Rohr

Two days after I met with you and your dad, I discovered that I have cancer, a particularly aggressive form of cancer that is traveling up my spine. When I drove home from breakfast with you two weeks ago, that was the last time I drove a car. Since then, my mobility has lessened to the point that I will not be able to walk in the very near future.
The doctor told me that the cancer will then spread to the brain, rendering me unable to function in a thinking capacity. I am currently on pain medication, but I am careful in its use, because it is already affecting my retention of thoughts and words when I am in conversation. I want to remain lucid as long as possible because I still have so much to say to my loved ones and friends.
I am not afraid to die.
Naturally, there will be sadness when that day comes. I have worked with enough families as a chaplain to know the grief that many experience when a loved one dies. Yet I also know with the utmost assurance that when the day of my funeral arrives, I will be the lucky one, for I will be in heaven, in perfect fellowship with my Lord.
While I do not want to leave my family, I look forward to that day when I will walk the streets of heaven. Not because of someone's image of golden streets.  That is not what I find attractive about heaven, but the warmth and joy of being fully in the presence of God and singing his praises. I believe that we don't have a clue to how glorious heaven is. When we reach that place of (being with) God, we will be so amazed by the reality of eternity, that we will be, forever singing the praises of God's kingdom.
That's why I want to go through these radiation treatments. I still have so much I want to say to my family and my friends and anyone else who will listen. Short of going out and stopping traffic, I want to tell as many people as I can what I have learned about what is truly important in life.
I remember several years ago talking to Ken Harrison, a local golfer who had won many awards in that sport. He had just discovered he was full of cancer, and he said to me, "Dick, do you see all those trophies?  They are nothing but junk to me now. Worthless pieces of treasure that are absolutely helpless in addressing my current predicament."
That's what is on my mind now as well.
I want to help people consider the things that are filling their lives, and to tell them that most of those things, that they think they cannot live without, are worth nothing to them in light of eternity.
This is where I still have something to offer those who will listen.
You see, I have lived what one could call a successful life in the world's terms. But none of that means anything to me today. The only thing that I care about is to be at the center of God's will. Everything else is secondary to being in the presence of God.
I can honestly say that these last few years have been the most meaningful time of my life. I cannot count the number of times I have ministered to the dying, holding them in my arms as they died, never knowing my name.
Now I find myself in the same state of being, and I bear this responsibility to share what is in my heart. “God so loved me, in spite of myself, that he gave his only Son, and that believing in him, I may have 
eternal life. 

So today I will keep going on my Grandpa's strength, and know that God has a plan for us all. Thank you Grandpa for being so strong in your faith and giving me a little peace today, and thank you to those who continue to send cards, Bible verses, encouraging words, and prayers lifting me up so God can have His way with me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stage 2

I think I was in 7th or 8th grade when we had a unit on Death & Dying. In this learning unit I distinctly remember 2 things. There was a field trip to a funeral home to which my Mom would not let me go because it was a funeral home in direct competition with my Grandfather's funeral home, and she said I didn't need to go because I basically grew up in the funeral business, and if I had any questions or wanted to see anything I could ask my Grandpa. The second thing I remember was learning the 5 stages of grieving: 
  • 1. Denial and Isolation
  • 2. Anger
  • 3. Bargaining
  • 4. Depression
  • 5. Acceptance 
In retrospect it never dawned on me that these 5 stages were not only meant for the "death & dying unit". Looking at these now I see that I'm right on track, and tonight was no exception. As I was sitting in our church service I was overwhelmed with anger. Something I haven't really felt until now. I couldn't sit there for long, pretty much as soon as Nate came and sat down from being on stage I had to leave. I got up and walked out the back door (Nate was right there behind me) and crying all the way. I just feel so mad!! Mad that we're in the prime of our lives, our children are still so needing, and there is just so much life going on right now. I can accept that I have cancer, but I just wish it wasn't happening right now. Even almost every doctor we've met has the same statements, "you're so young" or "because of your age we're going to..." I know, I know... God has a plan, right? Well today I'm going to be mad at God for his plan, he's big enough he can take it. Tomorrow is a new day, maybe he and I can work things out then, but for today I'm just angry!                                                                                                                                

Friday, August 12, 2011

The higher you go, the harder you fall.

Its funny how the title quote works. "The higher you go, the harder you fall" really in all aspects of life sick or healthy, rich or poor. I feel like today is one of those days. I was really happy yesterday learning there isn't going to be surgery in the near future, and I even did some shopping, but today after taking in all the upcoming appts. to be had as I stood in the bathroom straitening my hair I just lost it. All in about the last 12 hours things have started to just hit... more appts., Nate finally was able to get out of the house for work today, and is planning a business trip before chemo starts, and then I thought about losing my hair and how I want some family pictures taken before that happens, and the thought of planning all that led to thinking about I have wedding pictures that need finishing edits, and the kids start back to school Tuesday. Life is moving at a pretty steady pace, and all the sudden I have headed to the on ramp of the emotional expressway.
Nate's been working from home since surgery, and now I feel so overwhelmed when he goes anywhere, like he's my security blanket in case anything gets too overwhelming I can wrap up in him and everything will be fine. I feel like that's so horrible, kinda like a lifetime movie I saw recently where the mother made sure she knew every step her 30 year old daughter was taking and when she didn't like what was happening she'd freak out take some anxiety drugs and fake an illness or injury to manipulate her daughter into not doing anything but being with her. I don't know how the movie ended, but I'm sure it wasn't good. Thankfully I'm not that evil, but I can see how the character felt so scared and alone when the thought of her daughter having other things to occupy her time was so overwhelming. I know its not healthy to rely on him so much and honestly I've never been that type of person. I'm the wife that if I want the furniture moved or something put together. I just do it. I don't wait for my husband to help. In the past I've asked Nate if that is something he doesn't like about me, that I'm so independent, and he's always said no, but now I'm the complete opposite and feel like I am suffocating him.
I know that God is the one who gives me strength to get through each day, but it sure helps when I have Nate's strong arms to lift me up. Today I want to hide and cry, tomorrow is a new day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The doctor is in...

Got a call from my surgeon's assistant today. She said that the surgeon and pathologist both agreed they were comfortable with what had been done, and they don't think another surgery is necessary. Great words to hear, "no more surgery", but the emotions are a little different knowing that the dirty little cancer is still inside me. They are pretty confident that with chemo and radiation that microscopic piece of no good cancer will die a painful death, but as the oncologist said it would give us a little more peace of mind to know there was none there to start.
So next up.. PET scan, ECHO scan, chemo education, meeting with mind and body counselor, and dietitian, and finally about 1-1/2 to 2 weeks before chemo I will get a port inserted near the collar bone under my skin for chemo and blood draws to be easier. Then in about 4 weeks chemo begins.
Right now I'm ready for the fight, I want to get this started and kick some cancer butt, however, I know that once I'm in it, things will get a harder and I probably won't feel exactly like I do now, but I wanted to state for the record so I could be reminded when that time comes!
So today I am grateful for a ready-to-fight attitude, and no surgery. Tomorrow is another day and I will face it when I get there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sentence of the day!

A new friend sent me a book today, I flipped it open and the first thing I read was this:

"I know God won't give me more than I can handle, I just wish he didn't trust me so much"
- Mother Teresa

Yep, that pretty much sums up my last 2 weeks!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On the front porch swing

After having my drains removed last night I knew I wanted to get out of bed today at least for a little bit. So I woke up took a shower, put some real clothes on and.....went back to bed. Yep, thats right. I've had a headache since last night (still do) and with taking a shower and getting dressed I was pretty pooped. So I rested took some of my headache meds until around 4, and finally decided headache or not I was going to venture out. I made it! So I sat on the front porch for a couple hours, then decided I couldn't sit anymore I gently swept the porch and picked up a few random kid droppings, and now I am pooped again. My chest right in the middle feels like someone has piled a few bricks on it every time I take a breath. I feel pretty defeated right now... maybe I pushed I really didn't do much, but I keep thinking about the fact that the Dr. typically sends people home the day of the surgery with no restrictions other than driving, and lifting. Otherwise its life as normal. How come I can't feel "normal" after 12 days?
Some days the emotions are good, like today, and then all the sudden BAM! I feel like I'm flying down the emotional highway. All because someone walked by the house.
As a women I've always noticed if my husband glaces at another women, intentionally or not. Now that I've had my surgery and lost one of the things that attracts my husband to me its amplified times a million. Of course I know in my head he isn't looking at women because he is necessarily attracted to them, it could have been just because they walked by or came over or we're watching TV, but I'm jealous that something that I once had has been stolen from me, and that my husband can no longer be attracted to me in that way. I know there are many other things that he is attracted to, but lets face it the vast majority of men, are sexual driven. I'm not going to get real personal here, but my husband is no exception, and to feel like I'm unable to please him kills me.
So sitting on the porch today was nice, I enjoyed the fresh air and the sunshine, but seeing people out and about doing there thing was hard, it frustrates me, it hurts me, it makes me sad. I want it back, I want my normal back!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A pain in the drain!

PTL!! My awesome neighbor who happens to be a PA in Ft. Wayne came over and took out my remaining two drains. (No, worries we got permission from my PA in Goshen) And to top it off she did an amazing job and I barely even felt it. I just had to write about what a good night I will have because of her kindness. I've had so much anxiety over these stupid drains this is going to make everything a little brighter! Thank you again so much Jenny you really did make my day!

On a side note, please say a prayer for Jenny as her husband will be deployed to Afghanistan in Oct. and between training and deployment there isn't much time left for their family to spend together they have 2 kids under age 5, he will be gone for a little over a year. Fighting for our country. Another ribbon another important cause!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

No pain, no gain

Today started off with lots of pain, and ended the same. Thankful I had two of my best friends to keep me company and keep my mind off of it for the better part of the day. Its amazing what friends can do to your day. Once the chaos had been settled with the 8 kids in the house they both came upstairs and laid in my bed to have a little tear shed with me. I haven't seen them since before my surgery so it was an emotional greeting to say the least. We were able to talk the day away, literally until their kids were more than ready to head home. It makes me remember something I learned when I was around 8 or 9 that I think has been one of the only lessons I took from my brownie troop at that time, and I've posted before, but a song about friendship the lyrics are:
Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

These two particular friends have both come into my life at different times, and when I think about that song I think yeah silver and gold are worth different things, but in regards to my friends silver and gold are both shiny and worth so much more when held on to, in my eyes priceless. So even though there was pain today there was time for friends, and reflection, laughter and encouragement. And now, is time for sleep. Thank you friends for your love and support. Its worth more than you know. I love you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is strong and brave?

Over the last 11 days since I received my diagnosis I've been called strong, brave and even an inspiration. I appreciate those comments whole heartedly, but I'm curious what people who say this mean. Mostly because I feel like the cowardly lion, or a small child who wants to run and hide not be brave. And sometimes I'm so emotional I can't even carry my own weight I do not feel strong.
Today was a long day with all the appts. that were scheduled, a very emotional day I wanted to cower in the corner and cry mostly. Not be brave or strong. We learned more about my cancer, we learned first and foremost they did not get it all in surgery they missed as defined by the pathologist a "tiny focal" area that depending on tomorrow's case meeting with all my doctors may require another surgery. We also learned that I have a very rare type of cancer called pagents disease, which besides the lumps has several other symptoms that I was not knowingly experiencing. We learned that it will take a total of 53 treatments beginning six weeks after my last surgery 20 Chemo over a span of around 5 months and 33 radiation treatments, Mon-Fri. for 15 minutes every day until the 33 are complete, and then I will take a pill for the next 5 years as continued treatment. Once that is finished in 6 months or so I can go in for reconstruction surgery.
I was able to get 2 of the 4 drains that I have in my sides removed, which I can still feel the pain from, it was incredibly painful and at the same time I was so glad to have at least some of them out. They were my #1 drains which started clear up by my collar bone and went out the sides of me. The other drains my #2 drains are said to be under my incisions near where the bottom of my breast was...I'm told those aren't as painful but still not enjoyable to have removed.

So when I think about strong and brave I do not see myself, but I'm glad others seem to think so my evil plan is working.
The road ahead is long, and frankly scary as hell from what I imagine hell to be. Its kinda lonely, and dark, but I've got a match and I feel like there are people with lanterns along the way, its just going to take me one step at a time and to find them, and to realize at the end of the night the "son" has never failed to rise again. Its just sometimes easier said then done. So thank you friends and family for your encouragement. Please Please don't let it stop because I'm still searching for you all one step at a time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some answers

6 days post-op and the waiting was just too much. Nate and I called the PA today at the surgeon's office to see if they had the pathology report. To our surprise they did, and Candace the PA for Dr. Henry seemed to be very forth coming with all the results. They found NO CANCER in the left breast or lymph node they took from the left side. PTL! On the right side however, where we already knew the cancer was they took out a total of 17 lymph nodes and found cancer in 2. It was described to us in this way... My body in this case my breast and the blood stream closest to it (in the arm pit essentially) is the high way and the cancer was in my breast, and got on the high way (into 2 lymph nodes). Which means it could possibly be somewhere else they don't know how far down the highway it got. They did tell us regardless the treatment wouldn't change. The next step most likely after recovery will be another surgery to place a port under the skin and to begin chemo. We meet tomorrow with the radiation doc for his/her recommendation at 10 am, then with a Naturopathic doc at 1, the surgeon's PA for post-op exam at 2, and the oncologist who will confirm chemo and/or radiation treatments at 2:30.

During our talk with Candace she said the pathology report said I was a grade 3 and in her best educated guess my cancer is Stage 2 which could change depending on just how fast the cancer was driving down that highway. If its in other places then it could change to a higher stage, and if its not as bad it could change to lower stage. Of course our prayers are for it to just be in the lymph node and no where else, but the reality we must face is it could be somewhere else. The chemo and radiation will be very aggressive and hopefully take care of that. More scans and test will be done along the way to see how I'm progressing.

So looking at the bright side of things Praise God for no cancer on the left side. Today I'm thankful for clean sheets on my bed (and lots of other things that got done), a nutter butter blizzard, and continued prayers on my behalf.

Monday, August 1, 2011

And I survived

When I was younger in the front seat I stood
looking through the glass peering over the hood
no child restraint or safety seat I wanted to stand
happy and free.
And I survived

A little bit older not much wiser in years
I swam at the city pool
not with Mom just my peers
And I survived

We'd play out all day from morning to night
drank from the hose and riding our bikes
no helmet no water bottles we didn't need much
just the sidewalk, our friends some dirt and dust
And I survived

As I grew more things I thought that I knew
I wanted to go tell that girl a thing or two
I didn't look both ways on that one way street
In the blink of an eye that car swept me off my feet
And I survived

Heartaches and Heartbreaks soon came to pass
Each time feeling something like shattered glass
And I survived

Then he came along and swept me off my feet
a house and a baby we were almost complete
then came 2, 3 and #4
all with little pain meds, but nothing more
And I survived

Our days were longer and the nights not so much
but life was a blessing we have been blessed with so much
Then on that hot afternoon in July
the words I couldn't imagine were floating right by

The Doctor said no worries we've got great care
but most likely you, in time, will lose your hair
not to mention your breast, and I couldn't stand up
I leaned over to cry on his strong chest

This journey has only begun
such a long road to travel
but prayers to the great One
by his believers have unraveled
He holds me now as I can't stand on my own
and my family in Him stands strong in my home.

The story has not ended, no not everything has been said.
I want it to finish with three words you have read

Happy highs and Lousy Lows

Yesterday was a great day. Although I didn't sleep at all, I had a total of 7 people come to visit. It made me happy to see everyone and I even had some comic relief with our cousin Denise and her husband.

Soon enough though everyone went home, and I had taken my last pain pill at 1pm, the house was dark and the tears were hot. As I began to rethink the events of the day the kid came home, that was good, but my oldest daughter (7) and youngest son (4), who are two peas in a pod were curious, and rightfully so. Hannah couldn't find the words to describe so she said I looked "young". Maxwell wanted to see where they "cut" me. I let him. He later told Nate that "the doctors cut off Mommy's boobies and made them black" referring to the incision site. He and Caedence both were curious to see the drains and where they went in, and what was coming out. I didn't really want them to see those, but inevitably I couldn't keep them hidden forever.
As I was reviewing all of this in my head, laying alone in my bed, the tears began to flow hot and heavy. The thoughts of no longer having breast began to sink in a little, and the fears of how the kids will react to the hair loss when the time comes for that.
Also, around the same time I had started to feel some discomfort. I tried taking one of my milder pain pills but it just gives me hives so it wasn't helping, and I was and am still feeling strange sensations where my breast once were. Sometimes vibrations, sometimes like a drip of water is running down my chest, and worst of all last night was a cold knife like sensation across the incision site. My arms are beginning to get some feeling back too and its like the feeling when your foot falls asleep and its just starting to wake up, when you feel as if you want to jump out of your skin when it touches anything.

As I began to feel each new thing I was thinking back to Wednesday and how I felt like a 5 year old when I was wheeled into the operating room. How big and scary it was, and how there were so many people with masks on as they began to call out my name, birth date, and what surgery I was about to have. It was all like a scary nightmare I'm glad the anesthesia worked quickly once I got in there.
All of these feelings combined were too much I just had to cry and cry, but today is a new day. I've got a new bottle of the pain pills that work and am about to get a shower, one of the high-lights of my day. I look forward to the encouraging words I will receive today, and sounds of laughter from my children.