Saturday, November 03, 2012


I just realized I haven't written since May! That's just unacceptable, but, I have been a little busy. Let's see, I finished chemo July 7th, had the first of two reconstruction surgeries in September, had an emergency surgery a week later, and then just had the last one yesterday! Woo hoo!! Almost done...I'm in the home stretch.

This time last year I was walking around with a tumor - unsure of what was going to happen. Crazy what can happen to you in a year. This time last year, the doctors were telling me it was just a simple cyst and there was nothing to worry about.

Now, a year later, I feel like the breast cancer expert. I spoke at my kid's school for breast cancer awareness month. That felt  a little weird. What do you tell a group of 9 and 10 year olds about cancer? They seemed to only know about their grandparents who died of cancer and their dogs that had tumors. But I left that classroom feeling brave and strong.

My body is still not yielding to my whims, but eventually, I pray, things will be back to normal. Or at least, maybe I'll yield to the new normal.

So now I just want to focus on the rest of this year. Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday all year is coming up quickly and I'm so excited for it. I created this awesome spreadsheet last year to manage what was cooking and when and what appliance would be used at what's a thing of beauty for people like me. I love excel spreadsheets - I think they can make everything look great. And, it does make me feel just a little bit in control.

There are a lot of changes happening in my family - exciting, scary, thrilling, life-altering changes - it could be stressful, but miraculously enough, I'm not feeling any stress...first time in many years that I'm actually feeling true peace. It's as though God is just tying up all the loose ends. It's a great place to be.

Consider it pure joy,  my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

14 weeks down...6 more to go...

After today, I only have SIX more chemo treatments to endure! While it may sound like a lot, when you consider that I had a total of 20 weeks of treatment, 6 more is a cake walk. I still have a very long way to go - 52 weeks of Herceptin infusions, two-three more outpatient surgeries and the agony of growing back my hair.  But, this, the scary part will soon be over.

This past week I've been asked by a few friends the same question, "how has this whole process changed you?"  This is a very hard question to much has changed. I've changed physically, emotionally and spiritually.  My priorities have changed. My attitudes and prejudices have changed.

I think I'm quicker to laugh. I think I'm a bit more patient with people (except when driving!). I'm definitely more protective of my time and that of my family. I'm quicker to say no to things I don't want to do.

While having cancer is a real's's ugly and painful and scary, today, I wouldn't change this experience for anything (wow!- not something I would've thought six months ago).  I've learned so much about myself. Like, I'm so much stronger than I ever thought I could be. I truly believe that I can do anything, can get through anything.  I've met so many wonderful people...the people that I meet daily are so amazing and I now get to be part of that 'club'... the survivors.

Princess K and I cuddling on a rainyday
My children have had the privilege of seeing what love really looks like in watching their daddy take care of their mommy. They've seen their mom at her weakest and most vulnerable. They've seen her act like a goofball, swinging her wig around to "I'm sexy and I know it." They've witnessed the generosity of strangers. They've seen the love of friends and family pouring out on our little family.

The lessons my family has learned, and continues to learn, are priceless. While I wish I had never been diagnosed with cancer, I'm thankful for this moment. Thankful for miracles and thankful that God's grace is always enough.


 PS. I'm thinking I'd like to put a team together for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Walk/Run in Miami on October 20th. As a team, we would need to commit to raising $1000 - I think that's an easy goal...if you're interested in joining me, let me know!!! If we start fundraising now, it'll happen!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

could it be the rain???

Today was the second of twelve weekly chemo treatments...went well, five and a half hours sitting in a chair...not my idea of a great time, but luckily, it was raining and cold, so I cuddled up in my blanket and slept  most of the day. So far, I'm handling this 'cocktail' MUCH better than the last. So much better, in fact, that I did not feel nauseous once last week! Thank God for miracles!

I met a lady at Chick-fil-A on Saturday who wanted to know where I got my hair cut! Of course, I felt compelled to tell her, it was a wig...she's a 5 year breast cancer survivor! The people that God puts in your path to encourage you is absolutely amazing! We sat there talking for probably 20 minutes, both of us crying over our chicken and exchanged phone numbers, with a promise to attend a support group with her.

I haven't wanted to commit to a support group because I'm not sure I want to sit around and think about cancer for an hour. I don't want cancer to define me, even though I know it will always be a part of my story. I have a new date to remember - November 18, 2011. That's the day I joined the ranks of the millions of women who have a unique story to tell.

But, as I meet people at the doctor's offices, and they tell me their story, I know it's all part of the healing process. There's an elderly woman I see every week who is here all alone, has lung cancer and she told me, very matter of factly, that she thinks about ending her own life, that she has no quality of life anymore. I cry for her, but more importantly, I'm trying to be her friend. She seeks me out in the oncology room now and makes sure to tell me that she'll see me next week...maybe she's turned the corner? I hope so.

Is this why I'm going through this? I've never asked why me. I don't think that's a fair question and it serves no purpose. Why NOT me? I'm no more special than anyone else, not a 'better' person, in fact, I'm a selfish, sinful person who doesn't deserve the grace He's giving me.

"Grace is the offer of exactly what we don't deserve. Thus, it cannot be recognized or received until we are aware precisely of how undeserving we really are.  It is the knowledge of what we do not deserve that allows us to receive grace for what it is. Unmerited. Unearned. Undeserved. For that reason, grace can only be experienced by those who acknowledge they are undeserving." - Andy Stanley, Grace of God
Maybe it's the rain, but I'm feeling a bit introspective tonight.  Praying tonight that God will continue to give me grace, not only in how I deal with everything being thrown at me, but in how I deal with the people I meet, my nurses, doctors, patients, insurance people. I'm coming out on the other side, healthy and whole because Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2 down..14 more to go...

I'm almost finished with round 2 of chemo. Side effects this time around were pretty awful. So much so, that we've decided now would be the time to take a leave of absence from work and make my new 'job' going to the doctor's office three times a week. Trying to be more proactive to prevent all the side effects and make it so that I don't feel like crap for 7 days.

Luckily, I only have two more of this aggressive, icky 'cocktail'...the last twelve weeks are supposed to be much more manageable and 'easy.' That would've been great to have known three weeks ago, but I digress.

In other news, I've lost all my hair.

When I said that chemo made this whole experience 'real' - I didn't really know what I was talking about. Having a towel full of your hair come out --- that makes it REAL. Since diagnosis - that was my first real meltdown. I thought I was totally prepared for it, you know, I bought my wigs, scarves, caps. Really thought it wasn't going to be a big deal. Boy, was I wrong. It was a big deal. And the completely raw emotion that erupted was unlike anything I could've imagined. Luckily, it only lasted a couple of hours and I decided it was time to move I had a friend shave it all off. We experimented with a 'Flock of Seagulls' do and a Mohawk. Discovered that I'm lucky - I don't have a crazy, misshapen head and I can pull off bald like Sinead.

The bonus of losing your hair? I don't have to shave my legs anymore. This couldn't happen at a better time, with summer coming quickly.

In the meantime, I'm remembering Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Have a great day and be thankful for all the 'little' miracles in your life!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

and the party has begun...

Well, I've had surgery... I've "recovered" from losing a prominent part of my body...and now, I've started chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy...such an odd word and such an odd experience to go through. Sitting in that room for 6.5 hours made the entire thing very "real". Yeah, I was scared before being hospitalized, but it lasted a moment. Chemo...this is an entirely different animal and one I'm, quite honestly, terrified of. Imagine sitting in a room with people who look like they've got a foot in the grave already and you're the only one that appears to have any life left. It's very surreal and at times, felt like I was watching it all happen from the outside.

I did my first treatment two days ago, received my Neulastin (helps keep your white blood cell count up) yesterday, and aside from a little bit of queasiness, thought I was doing great. By no stretch of the imagination did I believe that this was going to be a cake walk, but I thought for sure I could handle it.

Then I got in the car tonight to drive home from work. All of a sudden every bone in my body ached and was tender to touch. I called the doctor, to make sure this is normal...usually, my experience has been, they tell you 'oh, that's normal, you'll feel better in a day or so"...not this time. No, instead it was, 'yeah, that's normal and it will probably get worse over the next day or two.'

Meaning, hold on to your hat, lady, cause you ain't seen nothing yet.