welcome

(photo of my sister's backyard fence...all photos are thru my lens)

This is just a way to express my thoughts as I walk this path and journey through as a breast canSURVIVOR.

Make cancer mad, just piss it off by misspelling it..... like "canzer"

In remission ~ December 2012

Invasive Moderately Differentiated Ductal Carcinoma T1cN0M0 Stage 1

Estrogen receptor-positive cancer - Here is how it began



Friday, February 19, 2021

A Sense of Peace


 

It was just 9 years and 2 months ago when I received the diagnosis of breast cancer. I don’t think that anything can prepare you for that kind of news. It’s a real punch in the gut and you can’t help but lose a sense of peace.

Is your faith standing trial?

It takes a lot of faith to trust God’s will for your life, much like Job, who lost absolutely everything in his life, even his wife and children. It’s hard to imagine that when most would feel like life wasn’t worth living anymore, Job remained strong in his faith. But, like most human beings, Job did reach a point of questioning and blaming God.

I had decided early on in my treatment that no matter what happened, I wanted the level of Christian maturity & grace to be able to plant my feet firmly in God’s promises. Oh! He has many promises, indeed!

Our faith will always be tested throughout our life time. The question is, will we still praise God in our “wilderness” just as much as when we are on the mountain top? 

 

Faith under fire.

 

When faced with a diagnosis, it is normal to think about our own death and this is when Romans 8 spoke clearly to me. God has promised that nothing can separate us from His love.  This is when I began to experience a sense of peace. 

 

[Rom 8:38-39 NLT]

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

[Jhn 16:33 NLT]

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

 

 What steals your sense of peace?

 

The Bible tells us of many other ways we can lose peace in our lives. Think about those times of stubbornness, foolishness and unforgiveness. How many times can you get your peace back by just saying “I’m sorry”?

Even our past can keep us chained and we can lose peace if we hang on to those things that weigh us down. It steals our joy and peace; just like worrying about tomorrow robs our joy of today.

Our attitudes, emotions and relationships with one another greatly affects our sense of peace. Romans 12 is a guide in learnings God’s will for our lives and how to live in peace with one another.

 

Pray for a peace that will settle your troubled heart. 



In God’s presence, there is a security and tranquility that removes all burdens. 

[Phl 4:6-7 NLT]

6 Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

7 Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.


Peace that Passes ALL understanding 


As my faith matured, even the fear of dying released its grip.  A supernatural and divine peace that can only be found in Jesus Christ washed over me.  Heaven is my home

[1Co 15:55 ESV]

55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"

 

It was during this journey that I would tell others, "You have to walk thru it to get to the other side".  This just means either you will get through the situation or you will come to your final destination. With God’s Holy peace, you will be able to press on in any storm and endure until the end.

[Jhn 14:27 NIV]

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


Peace be with you, my friend ~


Friday, February 12, 2021

The Fragrance of Prayer

 


Prayer is one of the greatest privileges that we have! It is a precious opportunity to express our love to and for God; to have the honor to praise His name and to tell Him “thank you”.  Prayer strengthens your personal relationship with our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.


The Bible tells us that as God’s children, our prayers are like a sweet fragrance [incense] to God.  

 

[Rev 5:8 NKJV]

8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

 

The golden incense-altar was the altar of prayer and the altar of burnt-offering was the altar of atonement and consecration.  God gave detailed instructions for the altar in the tabernacle [Exodus 30] and gave very specific spices for the incense.  We are told that aromas hold specific meanings for God, both pleasing and those that makes Him recoil.

 

[2Co 2:15-16 NKJV]

15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

16 To the one [we are] the aroma of death [leading] to death, and to the other the aroma of life [leading] to life. And who [is] sufficient for these things?

 

Christ himself is the fragrance and it is through His righteousness that His fragrance covers our prayers straight to the throne room of God.

 

[Eph 5:2 ESV]

2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 

Jesus also encourages us to pray in unity. This is a beautiful harmony of voices that reach God’s throne. Just think, He treasures all of our prayers and keeps them forever.  Prayer is so powerful because Jesus tells us that He is among us while we pray!

  

[Mat 18:19-20 NLT]

19 "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.

20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them."

 

Jesus gave us instruction and the perfect template (pattern) to help us communicate with our Creator. He certainly doesn’t want us to repeat ritualistic words or to speak mindlessly, but He does want us to pray specifically and boldly.

 

[Mat 6:5-15 NIV]

5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.


Important factors


Just what are the key factors that are important as you speak to your Heavenly Father?

 

9 "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, - How beautiful to give a declaration of praise, acknowledging that God is Holy and to be revered. He is Lord of heaven and earth. He is our Creator and our Heavenly Father. His name is never to be taken lightly. How often have we put God inside a box to fit Him inside our minimal understanding of who He is? 

 

10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. – Pray for His will to rule and reign in our world. His power and presence will enter our lives here on earth as He wills it in heaven. There is a very distinct connection between earth and the heavenly realm.

 

11 Give us today our daily bread. – This declaration of dependence upon God as our provider acknowledges that everything we need is provided by His gracious hand.

 

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – We are indebted to God because He forgave our sins. We must willingly forgive those who have sinned against us. This is where we must ask for grace to do so.

 

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' – We have an enemy of our souls. As we go thru difficulties and times of temptation, we need divine deliverance. We have power over the evil one because Jesus paid an enormous price.

 

Some manuscripts include “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” – All that God is and all that God does lives forever. There has never been and never will be anything greater than God in all the universe.

 

Jesus continues by telling us:

 

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

Thankfully, when we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us by searching our hearts and praying for us.

 

[Rom 8:26-27 NLT]

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.

 

 

There is nothing that you can’t talk to God about. He is interested in every tiny thing going on in your life. You can pray your way through the day by allowing prayer to become like breathing.  Don’t worry if you pray in a whisper, out loud or silently. 

 

Just….pray ~

 

 

Resources:

The Power of a Praying Woman Bible – by Stormie Omartian

The BibleProject

Blue Letter Bible

 


Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Power of Faith

There are many things that we already have “faith” in; such as a chair will keep you lifted up right off that floor and we have faith that it will continue to do so and not break apart. 

Faith is so much more and as we dive deeper into the heart of Christianity, we find the definition “Faith is a firm, cordial belief in the veracity of God, in all the declarations of His word; or a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, and because He has declared them.” 

[Heb 11:1 NIV] 
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

[2Co 5:7 NIV] 
7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 

People of this world have a hard time believing in God. If there were a good God, why is there so much suffering?”  Why didn’t God create a world without suffering? Well, He did! Man messed it up….God didn’t. 

The word “suffer” means to “stay under”. To suffer means to finish your goal even when you experience adversity. This is a very interesting concept – to “finish your goal” even thru suffering. 

You have to walk thru it to get to the other side. 


We demand to understand why everything happens in our lives but sometimes suffering can seem pretty random. There are a lot of mysteries hidden in God and He is not going to give you all the answers.

[1Co 13:12-13 NLT] 
 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love. 

God doesn’t want to hear all the “whys”, but instead, He wants to hear “I trust you, God. Even when I don’t understand what is happening, I trust you to work it out for my good. I will keep my eyes on you.”

[Prov 3:5-6 NIV] 
 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

As we learn to trust God, the power of our faith grows and we can see God’s will in our lives more clearly. The decisions and consequences we make daily will always be a teaching moment for God, whether we suffer the consequences, or turn and seek God’s will in our lives. When we place our trust in God and seek His will in our lives, we also learn a great deal about who we are in Christ. And when bad things happen, God doesn’t always get you out of it, but He will give you grace to get through it. 

[2Co 12:9 NIV] 
 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 

During hard times, you can either give in and give up, or you can allow your faith and trust in God to grow stronger. Our love and compassion for others takes on a whole new meaning when we face life issues. God will allow us to go thru things that He could deliver us from, just so He could use you to deliver other people from that same thing. Do not give up when it’s hard. 

Half of the scriptures are about God delivering us from suffering and not one of those says “when”. 

[Psa 34:19 NIV] 
 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 

Faith dispels fear and worry. Fear is a liar and it leads you to forget all that God has done in your life. Fear makes you think that you are all alone and the oppressive spirit of fear seems to be the dominate emotion of this day and age. The Bible tells us that fear is not just an emotion or feeling, but an actual spirit that manipulates and operates in many people’s lives [2 Timothy 1:7]. This is why you find so many people constantly worried. We need to be guarded so we do not allow fear to creep into our lives.




Anxiety and stress are both the children of fear and it destroys our bodies, our soul and our minds. The power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we do not need to fear. We have not been given a spirit of fear for our hope rests in Jesus Christ, our defender and our sustainer. He is sovereign and He is always in control. 

[Jhn 16:33 NIV] 
33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." 

We don’t know our future, but God is already there. 


As the world continues to groan and the nearness of Jesus’ return comes closer, others are looking at Christians. How are they responding? Remember how Paul’s faith touched others during his suffering in prison [Acts 16:25 ]. The world needs to see something other than cowards. They need to see people that will stand up and not run away from every hard place in life, but will say that in the midst of all their trouble, 

God is good & I trust Him & I love Him & He will bring me out of this & I will have victory in my life. 


[Rom 5:1-2 NIV] 
 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 


God knows what you are going thru today. He knows your pain and every tear He holds in His hand. You just need to invite Him into your situation. 

 


Blessings to you my friend ~

Monday, January 25, 2021

Chemo Brain versus Something Else

 



We’ve all experienced a minor hiccup when it comes to our memory.  We laugh about it and even make up silly songs. 

 


The chemo cocktails are toxic. It kills cancer and it also kills good cells. I’m not sure how long the effects last or how age can tamper with our memory, but this is the next battle I’m facing. 

It’s a little more than forgetting why I walked into a room to do something.  The first time it happened, I forgot who my husband was and I lost a decade of memories.  It finally came back, but man, oh man, it really blind-sided both of us.   When it happened again 6 months later, I made a doctor’s appointment.  Again, my memories returned, except the last several moments when it happened.  Those moments are gone. 

My doctor wrote amnesia.  Hmm, sounds like a better description than black outs.  Oh, I’m fully awake when it happens and alcohol is not involved (which evokes the connotation of the word “black out”).  I haven’t decided how much I’ll share or how raw, but this issue almost cost me my marriage.  By the grace of God, our marriage is whole again and better than before. 

Insurance denied a CTscan, so an EEG has been scheduled in February.  Until then, no driving allowed and just trying to keep tranquility all around me and “be still”.

 

Don’t fear for the future, God is already there ~


Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Sound of Wisdom

 


There are seasons in my life when I experience major transitions. Some come out of left field and some were choices that I needed to make. Decisions should never be made lightly because they always come with consequences.   As we peel away the layers of each decision we ever made, we can see both the blessings and the losses.  


The unintentional consequence can be your biggest polishing stone. 

 

As God refines us in the heat of the fire, that is when we mature in our walk with Him.  When the fire is the hottest, is when He is the closest. 

Webster’s dictionary (1828) defines Wisdom as, “the right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them.”  It is more than “prudence”.

  

Wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment

either in avoiding evils or attempting good.

 

Solomon was deemed the wisest man by having the power of discerning and judging correctly. The mind is “sense and reason”, without the Holy Spirit. Reasoning blocks discernment.


Proverbs 

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;

3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair;

4 for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young-

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-

6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 the [reverent] fear of the LORD [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; But arrogant fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline. 


The fall of man changed God’s original intention for us, but our character is developed by the Word of God and in His commandments.  Unforgiveness steals our peace, steals our joy and prevents answered prayer; it hinders God’s presence in our life. Mercy prevents us from being self-centered. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 

 

Is your wisdom of sound judgment?

 

 

How are the consequences stacking up against the decisions you make in your life? What can you follow to ensure sound wisdom?

 

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13 Now all has been heard;  here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, 
Knowing that He is almighty God] and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

 

It's that simple.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Speed of Grace

 


As I turn the calendar to the year 2021, it occurs to me that I am approaching the 10th year I began my battle with cancer.  I remember thinking, “I want to walk thru this situation with as much grace as I’ve seen other woman do.”  

It was important to keep HOPE alive and to give GLORY to God with each step of my journey.


2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  

Perhaps I sugar-coated it too much and left out some raw emotions.  It’s hard to find balance when sharing personal life stories on the net.  And then the year 2020 came and played a major part in all of our lives.  I wanted to stand on the mountain top and declare all the injustices that were happening in my life. Loss of parents, loss of a job, loss of friendships, the (near) loss of my marriage and loss of memory.  

Confusing and unreal stressful situations became my every day battle ground.  It was during this time that I held fast to what I knew to be true . . . I had to readjust my attitude and protect my heart from bitterness to take root. 


I again asked God to give me the grace 

[to forgive and ask for forgiveness] to walk thru the valley. 

 

I watched as God’s hands worked as the Master potter against the hardness of this old clay pot. The fire continues to refine and polish my soul as I mature in faith.   I have learned that feelings [emotions] are not truth.  Emotions are fickle and they change without any notice at all.  


Mature and learn the fruit of self-control by learning the Word of God.

Remember - Celebrate your progress and thank God for it!

 

Ephesians 4
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. READ MORE....

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

The speed of God’s grace, 

in His patience with each one of us, 

begs attention in everything He does for us. 

 

How much time do we really have on this earth?  How long will it take for you to come to the Saving Grace that is in Our Lord Jesus Christ?

 

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 

Blessings to you my friend ~

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Anniversary #5 - Who's Counting?

I guess I'm counting, or at least trying.  I'm a little unclear on how you come up with "The 5 Year Anniversary".  That's the so-called time frame when the stats are a little more favorable. 


        December 9, 2011 - Diagnosed

             December 14, 2012 - Last chemo treatment

                    December 20, 2012 - Port removed


Do I feel out of the woods?  

Nope, just on the edge of the clearing


On a sad note, we lost our father October 19, 2017 from colon and pancreatic cancer.  It took him quickly, although we "know" he probably had it long before he was diagnosed.    

My sister and I took him to our oncologist.  As we left, I noticed the photo that I gave Doc Esther a few years ago hanging in one of the rooms. [I really thought it was hidden in a back closet]

The lilies are from dad's front yard. 
It's been surreal the past few months. 

I just keep plugging away. One day at a time and try to just live in the moment.  The years just seem to pass by so fast!  Do you ever just want to do a "do-over" ?!  ugh....

I'm not sure what I'll do with this blog.  I started it to just help me wrap my head around the diagnosis and to share with friends/family in a place other than facebook.  Then it quickly became a place for me to remember dates during my year of treatment.  I also wanted to help anyone who found my post or mention of resources.  (although I'm sure there are mountains of better information).  In the end, I find that writing helps me deal tremendously with life . .  since I was 9 years old and kept a diary.



Perhaps this is my last post.  At least for now.  Perhaps I'll keep this blog floating in the clouds for awhile.  Be well, Be safe, Be happy

Blessings to you, my friend ~

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Not Again

No, really, it's not happening again.  Thank God!  But, boy, did I have a scare.

I found a new lump and finally called my oncologist and made an appointment.  They got me in same day.  This process (like last time) always happens incredibly fast.  So, I left work early on Thursday and made my way thru the familiar building.  I didn't tell family because I didn't want anyone to needlessly worry.

It was the nurse who did the initial exam and then said that she wanted Doc to see for herself.

Oh, Boy....

I laid there waiting.  Please, Lord, I don't want to go thru this again.

Doc came in and was amazed that I even found the lump.  She said it was "small".  I told her there was pain associated to it too.  I asked her "what do you think?"  Doc looked me in the eyes and softened her tone.  "You're original cancer was small and you've been taking Tamoxifen.  Very unlikely this is cancer.  I think it's scar tissue from the breast reduction.  But, let's go ahead and make sure."

So, I was scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound the next day.

Man, what a flashback that was sitting in the waiting room wearing my "ball gown".  The technician only smashed my left side (thankfully not a full mammogram).

Then the ultrasound.  I watched the screen as this technician meticulously measured the dark matter. Surprisingly, the tech said that she was giving the information to the radiologist who would give me the results before leaving the room.  Good, it's Friday and I didn't want to wait over the weekend for an answer.

So, after she was done, she left the room and again, I laid there remembering that first time (in the same room).  This time, I hung onto the words my oncologist had said the day before.  I wasn't going down that dark path in my mind.

NO! Not again!

And, sure enough, the radiologist confirmed that it was scar tissue that had balled itself up to make it feel like a pea-shaped hard lump.  He said that I would be doing this again in 6 months to monitor the area.

I don't think I can tell you how relieved I am.  You see, this had been detected for a couple months before I finally got the nerve up to make the appointment.

OK, OK, next time I won't wait as long.  And, yes, I'll tell my family beforehand instead of trying to "protect them".

PRAISE GOD! It's NOT back again!! PLEASE STAY THAT WAY!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

# 3 - Anniversary

It's hard to believe! 


December 9, 2011 was the day I received my diagnosis.


December 14, 2012 was my last Herceptin drip and


December 20, 2012 my port was removed.




How can time

feel like yesterday

and also

feel like a life time ago

at the same time?





Thursday, February 20, 2014

I've "Graduated"

On February 11, I had my 3 month visit with my oncologist, Doc Esther.  She was running late and just as she was starting to take my information, a phone call from ICU pulled her back out.  That is definitely more important than my check-up.  So, I tried to occupy myself while waiting.

During the exam, our small talk turned into who we were named after, other names of her siblings and "older" names that aren't used very much.  How many children do you know with the name "Carol"?  Esther is a good Biblical name.

Needless to say, I forgot to tell her the areas that were painful.  I know, I know .... first time I didn't write a list for her. Who am I to try to remember the things I wanted to relay to her?  If it is any consolation, I did remember to show her 2 moles and she said they were nothing to worry about.

Right before she hurried off to the next patient, she said "You've now graduated from 3 month visits to every 6 months".

Progress.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Annual Mammogram

On January 13, 2014, I had my "annual" mammogram.  I went back to the place (Reflections) that had originally found my cancer in 2011 ... talk about deja vu! This would make the 2nd mammogram since my diagnosis.  Surgery sites on both breasts and you might ask ... did it hurt?

Yes! Bloody hell it did!

The technician was great though and the intensity only lasted for a bit.  After I left, my mind settled down and I placed all thoughts in a corner shelf in my mind.

On January 21, I received my results via US mail. I must admit that my hands were shaking a tad as I opened the envelope!


When I was diagnosed, I received a phone call a few short days after my mammogram. So this time, when a week passed, I was thinking positive thoughts. Piece of cake ~


Thank you, God, for watching over me!




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Arimidex vs Tamoxifen

I have been taking Arimidex since August 2012. As the months go by, my pains are more extreme. My husband is the only one I really "show" just how bad.  After all, I'm in remission. I should be "all better now". That is what most folks think. They don't understand that poison streamed through my body killing cancer cells AND my good cells.  It takes time to repair, it takes time to get your strength back.

I don't mean to sound so whiny

I am very grateful that I have made it this far through "my journey".  I do try to have a smile on my face, stay out of "my bubble" and focus on others (thank God for the type of job I have),  and I get up every day to go to work.  I have to.  The mornings are the hardest .... that is when the pain is the worst.

So, Sept 12 I had a visit with my favorite oncologist to discuss my meds.

Quality of Life VS Recurrence 

Taking the estrogen blocker will give me a 40% chance of keeping cancer away .... at least this type of cancer.  I'm HER2 protein positive and estrogen receptor positive.  Just a little aggressive and mean-spirited.

Doc changed my meds to Tamoxifen, stating that I should start to feel  better in about a month and the bone pain will not be a side effect.  She said that the worry would be blood clots, uterus cancer (don't have one of those, so I should be good on that count).   I came home and looked it up on WebMD to read the reviews from other patients.  Looks like the same kind of complaints as Arimidex patients.

They don't call it "practicing medicine" for nothing!

I've given my life to God and I will give Him this too.  My church family gave me a prayer cloth anointed with oil and their prayers.  It is precious to me.

I'll be sure to keep you posted .... still living in the moment, each day at a time.

What Rock do you stand on?


Originally posted Saturday September 14, 2013

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 - The Year of Adventure

It has been a while since writing on the blog.  I just moved some posts from In This Together BCS to my original blog .... so you will see about 7 of them that actually belong in the year 2013.  I'm not sure if I'll continue writing (not sure if anyone is reading), but I wanted to combine my posts because I can turn my blog into a book.  I thought this would be a nice keepsake.

I have to look at my timeline to really remember the "whens" and "whats" of the past 2-1/2 years.

December 2011 - Diagnosed

2012 - Treatment

2013 - Recovery

and now we come to 2014 .... I have decided to call it the year of adventure!  I want to DO something! I want to explore! I want to take my camera and capture unique and beautiful things through my lens! I want to check off things from my bucket list!  Even though my pain has returned (same as when I was on Arimidex), I want to do these things.

What do YOU want to do?



Oh, hey, check out my beautiful sister, Christie ~ A picture of health!


Tamoxifen - Day 50

It's a miracle! The effects of my last estrogen blocker, Arimidex, is practically out of my body. And, boy, do I feel so much better!

I don't think I will get to 100%, but 50 days into the change of meds, I sure am feeling like me again.
Celebrated with a new cut, color and style!


Originally Posted Thursday October 31, 2013

Planning Our First Event

Christie is a creative woman who has many, many wonderful ideas.  When she feels a project coming on, the wheels start spinning, ideas start flying and thoughts are written down on anything handy.

See that  book of notes?  If you remember, you are lucky....(joke).....what I was going to say: If you remember, there is such a thing as chemo brain.  It is hard to hold onto a thought.  We just have to write down everything! One page has a sentence written on it, but it is upside down on the page.  It was funny to watch her when she noticed it, "huh, wonder how that happened."

See that phone in hand?  It has the latest technology, apps, internet connection and all.  Constantly ready to keep the ideas rolling ... at all 24 hours of the day.

The current project is our very first event ~ A celebration of our win against breast cancer.  I can guarantee that with Christie's ability as a public speaker and teacher, this will be informative with a flair of wit, laughter and thought-provoking revelations.

So, where do I come in?

Well, I'm the "sounding-board", the ying to her yang, and the organizer of these ideas.   Not the planner, (not going to happen), the organizer.  My hundred years of office work will come in handy as we begin to lift off the non-profit inthistogether.org

Oh, how I love Microsoft OneNote!!! (check it out if you haven't seen it).  That is my job this weekend. Creating our notebook, sync it on sis's computer and teach her how to navigate.

She is going to LOVE it! 

After this event, we will welcome feedback, collect more ideas, tweak it here and there and then .... take it on the road.

In between all of that, we are looking for our Board of Directors.

The divine appointments over the past few weeks have multiplied.  We are both meeting women who want to get involved by using their God-given talents.  As they tell us their stories of their own journey or of a loved one, an instant connection is made.  And, of course, a hug is freely given ~


Originally Posted Saturday September 28, 2013

Tamoxifen - 1 Week

One o'clock in the morning - after waking up ump-teen times, I decided to stay up for a bit.  Took 2 more pain pills and logged on.  I've had some inquiries about the effects of the Tamoxifen.  Can't say it is any better than Arimidex ... yet, it's only been a week.

The pain is intense and I just wish I could describe it in a way to make myself understood.  I'm trying not to let this show at work and when I come home in the evening, I collapse.

My bones feel like they have been smashed by a sledge-hammer.  The shredded pieces like glass in my hands, arms, knees, legs, feet, ankles.  Today, my left elbow feels like I hit it against something hard.  I'm still bruising very easily. I'm hunched over like I'm 110 years old.  It is worse in the morning, and now seems to carry throughout the day.  I'm starting to have menstrual pains (I don't have a uterus and no cycles for 11 years).  What's that about?  My surgery sites (original surgery, plus nodes under my right arm, and reconstruction on my left side) all produce stabbing pain.  Sometimes the pain hits unexpectedly that I "yelp" out loud.  That can be embarrassing in public.

I tenderly hold my hands, softly rubbing to help ease the stiffness.  My neck and back ache so much.

So, this is the medicine to keep cancer away.  It sucks.

I've completed year 1 of 5 ~ can I endure 4 more?


I'm falling apart

Originally posted Saturday September 21, 2013

Thrive!

Tonight was a long time coming .... A celebration dinner with my good friend "M" and my sister, Christie.  M & I had planned to get together after our treatments were done to celebrate coming through to the other side (M was diagnosed 2 days before I was).  When Christie was diagnosed, we then decided to wait until the three of us could come together and make a toast to success!

Tonight was it! Panara's.... yummmmm

I was thrilled to introduce the 2 of them and tickled pink when we giggled like school girls as we shared our more humorous stories.  And the conversation doesn't always have to be about cancer.  We shared about our families, our learnings from our experiences and how it changed our outlook in life (ok, alot of it was "because of cancer") and just enjoyed each other's company.

Chemo brain was a huge part of our laughter as one of us would start a thought and then forget what we were going to say... and then the other 2 would have to try to remember key words of what was being said in order for the memory to jolt back into the moment.  If you don't get it, don't worry about it!  It truly is a memory loss that only a chemo cocktail can promote!

I thought it very interesting when M said she didn't think of herself as a survivor, but as a thriver.


No matter what your circumstance

Everyone should strive to thrive!


Originally posted Monday August 19, 2013

Follow-up Appointments

The morning of July 23 was certainly busy.  My follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon was 8:30 am.  He announced that the tissue sent to pathology came back clear. All Right!  The swelling has gone down some and he was pleased with the work he had done.  He left the room and the nurse proceeded to remove the surgery tape with tweezers and small shears, and snip the long pieces of stitches.  I left there feeling a little tender and raw.

No more appointments for the plastic surgeon! Yay!

I made my way to work and then had to leave again for my follow-up appointment with my oncologist.  It has been awhile since being there and I walked into the place to see much change ... reconstruction.... the place had more room and organization.  Doc was also impressed with the breast reduction.

"No more leaning to the left!" she said. Funny Doc! 

We discussed my current state of being as she recorded it on the computer system.  I saw my history of the last 18 months and we had a good chat. The smile on her face was enough for me!

I can remember her saying,
 "You will be able to fire me in 5 years". 

My next appointment isn't until November 2013. Nice!

I feel like I have come out of the depths of hell and am now renewed as my healing continues with each new day.

May peace be with you ~


Originally posted Saturday July 27, 2013

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

A friend of mine shared this with me.  I just thought it was perfect for everyone and especially those who are going through cancer diagnosis.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PWKZVbG9egQ


Originally posted Sunday July 28, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Moving to a new website

My sister and I are SO excited!  We have combined our experiences and set up a new website that also includes our blogs.  A brand new look and new endeavor.



Come and take a peak!

 
 
 
This is the last post on Living in The Moment ....
 
but I'm not remaining silent!
 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back to Work!

Tomorrow is my first day back to work since June 28.  Getting butterflies in my tummy, which seems to happen after being off for awhile.  Never know what I'm going to face when I get there (kinda hard to describe).  But, I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be!

This month makes 1 year since my radiation treatments ended. I think that is long enough to make a decision. Most of the bleeding/seeping has stopped, and the bruising is slowly clearing up.  Still looks like Frankenstein! I don't regret the procedure, even though sometimes it feels like someone hit me with a baseball bat (too graphic?)

~~~~~~~~~~


Saturday, we had a wonderful get together with extended family from my father's side.  It was great to see everyone again....it seems once a year now.  There is also an emptiness in our hearts for the ones that have moved far away and for the ones who are now in spirit.  The world keeps turning and we keep getting older. 

It reminds me of one of my favorite songs that I have posted before. It makes you think about your own legacy.


Nichole Nordeman - Legacy 



My sister and I are developing a website.  Christie is the brains of the operation and my husband is working on logo ideas.  We hope that it will be helpful and hopeful to breast cancer patients.  It is a need to "give back" and to help others going through the brutal journey.  So....stayed tuned!


Christie's green thumb

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Follow-up from Reconstruction

My follow-up appointment was this morning.  It lasted all of 5 minutes.  He was amazed at the bruising.  Good news, no signs of infection.  Just remembered, I forgot to ask about the pathology report.  I'm sure it is fine or else he would have brought it up.

I will have to go back about 3 more times.  At one of those appointments, the surgery tape will be removed and the stitches.  Doc said that it will look more like the other breast in about 3 months or so. 

Would I do it again?  Probably. The weight on my shoulders and back does feel lighter.  My bra straps aren't leaving crevices on the top of my shoulders!

Kind of wonder if I should have done the other side as well.  Guess I won't know until I'm fully healed.  Will they really be symmetrical?

My sister is managing her radiation treatments.  She is a real trouper!
No need for a scarf anymore! What a beauty!


Me & Christie
Next follow-up is July 23. Same day as my oncology visit .... wonder what Doc Esther is gonna think of my "boob job".

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reconstruction - Post Surgery

Hello all! Day 1 of post surgery.  Yes, there is pain - plus, taking antibiotics as instructed.

Last night, I was curious (who wouldn't be) and decided to peel away the bandages to see my ta-ta.  Lots of blood on the gauze and I can see where the cuts were made. Still have the marker drawing on my chest (tic-tac-toe anybody?)

I get to shower after 3:00 today!

So, as I was exploring, I found an electrode on my hip from the EKG.....and I was worried they would leave something "inside" me during surgery! hahaha, I was lucky!


Electrode laying on the lid of my laptop

Amazingly, I didn't go to bed when I got home until after midnight.  I woke up a lot too because I couldn't get comfortable. 

I don't regret doing this, not for vanity reasons, but for comfort.  They don't make bras that come in 2 different cup sizes.  (although that would be an interesting manufacturing business)  Doc says the breast will start to look "normal" in 3 months or so. 

My follow-up appointment is July 9th. 
 
 
Have a Safe & Happy 4th of July America!





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pre-Surgery Testing

Talk about walking down memory lane..... I started at the same place (building) where my diagnostic mammogram was done Dec 2011. 

First was the check-in with a nurse to ask a few more questions for my record.  She did my vitals and then sent me across the hall for my EKG and blood work.  A big kudos to Sheila who didn't even make me flinch.  Two vials and she was done!

Then I made the walk across to the other building to radiology.  Now that really brought back memories.  There, I had my chest x-ray.

So, I'm pretty sure everything will check out okay.

Ready for surgery, July 2

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pre-Admissions

The hospital pre-admissions called me today to update all my information.  She said the last surgery recorded was December 2011 .... lumpectomy.  Yep, that sounds about right.  That long ago? A lot of times, it seems like yesterday. 

I am to report to pre-surgery testing tomorrow at the same place I found out I had cancer.  Glad she told me that because I planned to report to the place I had the port inserted.  (would have been the wrong place)

This little process here is taking me back to some memories. 

And that's what they are....memories.

I try not to think about that "anvil-over-the-head" feeling.  I'm in remission and want to stay right there!

I'll be off work for a total of 12 days.  Hope to hang out with Sis for some of those days.  Looking forward to some R&R.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reconstruction

I finally decided to do it .... Reconstruction. 

Most people kinda give me a double-take when I tell them, "no, they aren't touching the affected side. They are taking care of the good side."  I really don't want things stirred up if you know what I mean.  The plastic surgeon said that it is more difficult to reconstruct skin damaged from radiation.  Besides, it really isn't that bad.  It's just much smaller. Ha! So, we are downsizing!

June 25 - pre-surgery testing

July 2 - Surgery

Doc said recovery is 2 weeks. Since I have a desk job, just taking a week. 

No worries, no concerns, looking forward to some down time at home.

I'll certainly let you know how things are going!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Shot of Cortisone

Hi all!  I finally got some tests done (June 4) on my right knee to discover moderate arthritis aggravating my knee and making life difficult.  It actually started with soreness and swelling in the back of my knee that my family doctor thought was a Baker's cyst.  The MRI and x-rays did not show a cyst....just a little bit of fluid.  I met with an orthopedic doctor (June 7) who took a lot of time with me and diagnosed me and gave me a cortisone shot in the knee.  I've never had one of those miracle shots before and WOW, it has provided such relief!

Today, I had my first physical therapy session to learn how to build some core strength and begin on the road to recovery.  I have sessions twice a week. It was so difficult to try to walk and exercise through all the pain throughout my body.  The cortisone shot not only helped my knee, but a lot of other joints, aches & pains. 

Once I fulfill my sessions, I will be able to utilize the facility for FREE for a month!  I like that :)

This weekend is actually the first time I have felt better and felt like "me" in almost 2 years.
 
A-MAZ-ING!!!!
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Howdy

Monday, the beginning of a new week.  How have you been?  I haven't had much to report under the "cancer" umbrella.  I have an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss reconstructive surgery. Don't know if it will happen yet, but I thought I would check it out.  I am doing better in my diet....trying to exercise more, dealing with the bone/joint pain.

Matthew has finished the bulk of his classes.  One more during the summer and he will graduate in the Fall.  Now, he is job searching.  Such a job in itself!

Jasmine has now moved in and going into the 3rd week of being home.  Lots for her to get settled into, but she will find her way.

Casey just closed on her first home.  Her new job and her new home are keeping her busy.  We hope to see her in August!

All of our fluffy-butts are doing okay except Moe.  He is not going to make it much longer. That makes my heart sad.

On another note, my sister had a 2nd surgery and this time CLEAR MARGINS!  Today was her first day back to work and soon she will be starting radiation.  She is a strong woman and doing well in her journey! 

I will keep in touch from time to time .... stay well and be happy!



Colorado ghost town

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Looking Forward

When all this cancer stuff began, blogging became good therapy for me.  To tell you the truth, it really helped keep dates and events organized.  Chemo brain still haunts me.  So, when I thought about the name of this blog, living in the moment was exactly what I was doing.  I had to learn from step 1 terminology and everything else a person has to comprehend when hearing those words "you have cancer".  Since I didn't have a crystal ball and I didn't know from day to day what was going to happen...perfect theme.

Now, I don't blog as often because a lot of the treatments, tests and appointments are done.  I'm still taking the Armidex (5 year pill), still see my oncologist every 3 months....and I'm sure tests will occur from time to time. 

Cancer took a whole year + some and I'm ready to move from "living in the moment" to something else.  A reoccurring phrase has been cropping up in my conversations with Christie
 
Looking Forward

She is in the middle of her treatments....first chemo, then surgery, next is radiation.  It was, and may still be, important in her journey to live in the moment but I think she is getting to the point of looking forward.  We had fun thinking them up.

Looking forward to ~

  • Having "my" time back again
  • Energy, strength
  • Hair!
  • Warmer weather
  • Taking walks with each other
  •  Living life!

And, there are others I have thought of .... what are you looking forward to?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reconstructing My Life

Yesterday, I saw my family doctor as a follow up to some medication changes he recently made.  I'm doing just fine in that department.  He wants to do another blood panel in 4 months.  He seemed very pleased at the last results .... about $100 came out of my pocket for it.  So, one more, then I'm putting my foot down.

Today, I saw my oncologist for my 3 month check up.  She asked if I had my colonoscopy screening set up since I'm now "of age" .... Should of had it last year when I turned 50, but I was busy!  Now that I turned 51 last week, guess I should put it on my calendar.  She asked if there were any relatives who had colon cancer.  I don't think so. 

She asked about the neuropathy, the pain.  And I asked about the weight gain and fatigue.  You will NEVER believe what she said! Eat right and Exercise! Imagine that!
 
Questions for doc

As usual, I had my written questions next to me.  She would look them over and answer them during the examination. 

* Since I'm taking estrogen blockers, why not just yank my one and only ovary and be done with it.  She said NO. Leave it as is.  (anybody know why? I got side tracked and forgot to ask)

* Should I get reconstructive surgery?  I really didn't care either way (nor does my husband).  But as time is going on,

my girls are getting more and more unbalanced.

Not my daughters, the other "girls"

She recommended the procedure and also recommended a plastic surgeon.  My sister heard great things about this doctor, so I will begin making plans.

That's all I can remember at this time.

All our prayers for the Boston people and the visitors from all over the world that were there during the heart-shattering chaos.  Prayers for the first responders, the people who began caring for the victims and each other ... for the families of lost loved ones and those who were injured. 

This world is broken .... ask God to hold you, give you comfort and amazing grace ~

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday

A beautiful day today ~

It started with an endearing church service.  The children are so darling and they are always a part of the service.  Today was even more special than normal.

Then, we spent time at my sister's house with the family.  Not all of our loved ones were there, as our youngsters have moved to other states.  Thank goodness for video chat and cell phones!

God is our refuge and strength, a ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Psalm 42:5

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

Friday, March 15, 2013

CureSearch Children's Cancer


Maxwell Krem, MD, PhD, from The University of Washington strives to treat his patients as he would want to be treated, delivering state-of-the-art medical therapy. He hopes that his research will lead to targeted therapies. Read more

Sheridan Bautista was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of seven. Doctors found a tumor located above her left knee that encompassed 75% of her femur. She immediately started chemotherapy. Read more

When an adolescent is diagnosed with cancer, their future is daunting, not only because of the cancer itself, but also because of the unique aspects of psychological and social development that occur during the teenage years. Read more

The 2013 CureSearch Walk season is underway! Join CureSearch at one of our upcoming Walks as we honor and remember those affected by children's cancer. These very special days will include prizes, music, food, and fun activities for the entire family! For a full list, click here.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a member of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, is pleased to announce that this year's Childhood Cancer Action Day in Washington, DC is scheduled for June 17-18, 2013. Read more

Experience an adventure and help CureSearch by taking the Ultimate Hike challenge! Join CureSearch at one of our 11 upcoming hikes across the country. Each trail will provide a significant challenge no matter the level of hike experience. To find a hike near you, click here.