Friday, February 27, 2009

Girls Having Fun & Wiggin' It!

We are starting the weekend off on a great note. We have had another blessed day. The girls received a special gift today from two friends named Andrea and Sarah at coop...their very own wigs. Now when Mommy puts on her wig Laura and Leslie can wear theirs as well, although I'm jealous because their wigs are alot more colorful than mine!

I am also happy to report that we have had some beautiful crosses and pendants donated by a very talented glass artist named Shelly Maxfield in Texas. We are using the money from the purchase of those (as well as money from a bake sale & other donations) towards the purchase of more shirts! So far we have raised $184! That's a lot of shirts! We are up to 79 shirts now total, so close to our original 100 goal! Every day I continue to get emails from people all over the country who are inspired by the T-Shirt ministry. Your continued prayer and support is making a difference! Lots of love,


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fatigued but Fulfilled

Hello all Prayer Warriors out there!

Today I woke up after a full night of rest absolutely exhausted. I have never felt so drained in my life. The thought of just getting up and making breakfast was overwhelming to me. For a moment I had a mental image of myself in a wheelchair getting chemo treatments and it really bothered me. Thank goodness Randy was able to just stay home today. After a couple of hours of rest I am feeling so much better and able to enjoy another day again.

Yesterday my Dad, Laura, Leslie and I made a visit to the radiologist's office in North Knoxville. I had the privilege of seeing Julie (the nurse who had encouraged me after my biopsy) again. What a joy it was to give her a big hug and thank her for all the comfort and compassion she had shown me and Randy on that day! I gave her about 5 shirts along with some breast cancer pins and contact information about myself and the local breast cancer support group. Julie was so excited about the shirts that she took me back into the office to show them to some of the other nurses. I also had the opportunity to give one of the shirts to an amazing woman named Angela. She has two sisters just like me and is a breast cancer survivor. Two of the sisters have already had breast cancer. She had just finished an MRI procedure to see if the cancer had returned. I was blown away by her smiles and faith in the midst of what she was going through.

Julie said she had seen alot of young women diagnosed recently with breast cancer and that the need for prayer was great. Please pray for these women and for Angela. My heart really goes out to them.

As I close today I would like to leave you with the message "Cancer is so limited." It was on the card Julie sent to me following my diagnosis.

Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot rob our peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
Cancer is so limited

Godincidence Through This Blog!

Dear friends and family,

Today I am just going to sit back and let you read an incredible email I received the day before yesterday from a wonderful girl named Brooke Estrada in Las Vegas. She is pictured here from the Avon Walk last year with her friend Dawn. Brooke is on the right side. The subject line of her email was "He answered my prayer with your blog!" It is so EXCITING to see how God can take something so awful as cancer, turn it around and use it for something good!

"Good Morning Kerry,

My name is Brooke Estrada from Las Vegas, Nevada and I found your blogspot while Google-ing images for a faith-based breast cancer awareness t-shirt.

I am a walker in the annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Rocky Mountains and I was recently online looking for a t-shirt to possibly purchase in bulk for my friends, family and other supporters of breast cancer research and awareness.

I am also a Christian and as such, believe in the healing power of prayer. Over the years I have been walking and raising money to help support this important and necessary cause, and recently I started to wonder why I never see any t-shirts, buttons or mottos that praise our Lord, amidst the pink ribbon crowd.

When I came across your image on Google, I just had to see where this wonderfully powerful message was coming from; so I followed the image to your blogspot. I am so deeply moved by your story and just astonished at what a beautiful work God has done in your life. Your faithful, patient and joyous outlook through your ordeal is a testament to Gods amazing grace. You are truly exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit and the more I read your blogs, the more I have to lift my hands up and shout "Praise God"! For Jesus truly does save!

But Kerry, the t-shirt issue was the least of my concerns regarding My Avon Walk. I had been feeling so unmotivated; suffering from a lack of inspiration. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves; that commandment in itself should have been all the motivation I needed. But I had been so indifferent about this cause, so disheartened; that is, until I read your blog. The light of our Lord and savior shines so brightly through you that I have been touched by it and filled with both love and hope and a new found encouragement in both my walk with God and my walk against breast cancer. I hope you do not mind, but I mention you on my personal Avon Walk page. I also include the url to your blogspot and include a picture of your terrific t-shirt in case anyone wants to purchase it in your support. Additionally, I ask those who visit my page to pray for you and others who are battling cancer as well their famillies.

Thank you for your inspiring story; it has been such a beautiful blessing from God. I will check your blog as often as I can and keep you in my prayers and prayer requests. Isn't it just wonderful how He knows exactly what we need and always provides? Praise God!"

All I can add is "Amen!" Brooke's email has been such a tremendous encouragement and blessing to me. Please pray for Brooke and her team. Her Avon walk will be June 27th & 28th in the Colorado Rockies. Pray for her continued encouragement, her ministry and for the upcoming walk. We can't wait to hear about all the wonderful things He will do through her! Lots of love to all,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free to Be Me!

Hello dear prayer warriors!

I still seem to be humming along with minimal side effects to this go round of the chemo. The achiness from the Neulasta shot is worst at night but is actually getting better overall. I am sleeping and eating well. I even worked out yesterday and pumped a little iron. Can you believe it?

Yesterday I had a fun day with my sister Shannon. We took some pictures in our new GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER than cancer shirts, did lessons and cleaned. We spent the morning missing our other sister Mitzi when what should happen but a package arrived. It was from all her neighbors and our dear friends in King George, VA. Inside were 3 beautiful lapel pins called "The Three Sisters." Shannon called it a Godincidence because the timing was extraordinary. (Thank you all so, so much. They are already a family treasure to us and we are wearing them proudly). We then went downstairs, read the wonderful comments from the blog the last couple of days, emailed Mitzi and had ourselves a good happy cry.

Laura and Leslie seem to be adapting well to my new bald head. The only funny thing is they want it covered all the time. I think the change is a little much for them. As long as I have a hat or wig on though they are fine. I don't mind wearing something anyway. It gets a little chilly up there! Every once in a while Laura and Leslie will ask to rub my head. They think it's fun. They are sleeping at night together more. Laura seems to really need the security in that and I believe it is helping her cope. It was a habit I was trying to break before the diagnosis but am letting it slide now. Yesterday Laura and Leslie were hard at work pulling one of Leslie's loose teeth. As a result, we had a visit from the tooth fairy last night complete with a note and fairy dust. They were so excited. I've read the note to them at least twice this morning.

I feel like this go around I am free to be me. I have to take it a little easier but I am doing the things that I enjoy. I cannot tell you how much that means to me. I plan to call Julie at the radiologist's office and drop some of the cancer shirts off in the next couple of days. I was reading Hannah's prayer in I Samuel 2: 1-2 this morning and it captures some of my emotions now at being able to enjoy the day to day things of life.

Then Hannah prayed and said:
"My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high...
for I delight in your deliverance.
"There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

Enjoy your day to its fullest as well! Lots of love,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Captivated by Amazing Love

Dear prayer warriors,

Your prayers are working! Thus far my second round of chemo side effects have actually been a little better than the first. The doctor has prescribed me Nexium for the heartburn and it has helped tremendously. I still have the aches and pains all over from the Neulasta shot and some fatigue, but I was able to enjoy this weekend with my family. What a praise is that!

This weekend I also did quite a bit of thinking about the great irony of breast cancer. What do I mean by that? I mean how the disease itself and even the treatment of it strikes women to the core of something we value so highly (in other words)our beauty.

For example, the first two things I was told I would loose in this fight against the cancer was at least one breast and my hair. Yes the hair loss is temporary and yes I can be reconstructed but the truth of it is these are two areas in which a lot of women place their self confidence and define their beauty. Just think about it a minute. How much money do we spend on our hair...on our bras? How often do we compare ourselves to other women, wondering if we truly are "beautiful." I was guilty of it just last week comparing myself to women in the plastic surgeon's office.

Fortunately for me (even though I've spent my fair share of money on beauty products)I know that my value is not defined by my outward beauty. Just last year I participated in a Bible study with my Pep Moms group on this very subject. I believe now it was another Godincidence preparing me for my diagnosis. At the time we studied a book called Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. The authors talk about how God made women uniquely beautiful and wired us the way we are for relationship. The book says "A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she's loved. Cut off from love, rejected, no one pursuing her, something in a woman wilts like a flower no one waters anymore." The authors then go on to say that we look to feel beautiful and loved in many places(through our appearance, our peers, our spouses,etc) but the only one who can truly make us feel beautiful and loved to our core is God. They say "If you'll open your heart to the possiblity, you'll find that God has been wooing you ever since you were a little girl" into a relationship with Him. "The story of your life is also the story of the long and passionate pursuit of your heart by the One who knows you best and loves you most."

I may have a bald head, but I am supported by the love and encouragement of my dear family and friends. I WILL loose parts of myself that I once highly valued, but I KNOW that I am held in the arms of God's Amazing, AMAZING love. What could be more beautiful than that? I hope you realize He feels the same way about you too. Lots of love,


Friday, February 20, 2009

Bald Like Kojak

Dear friends and family,

Last night Randy and I made it official and shaved my head. It was hard at first. I cried for about a half hour but I have quickly adapted. There is a silver lining too...I know that I will save lots of money on haircare products this year!

Randy's first comment was I looked beautiful, which was so very sweet. Laura's first comment was I look like a boy. So in honor of that (for those of you old enough to remember it), I struck a pose like the hero on Kojak that show from the 1970's. I'm holding a sign with his favorite line and sucker. The "Who loves you Baby" in this case is not just referring to me but to God of course who is carrying me through all of this and will carry you through any trial you may face.

Today was another blessed day. I debuted my new wig to rave reviews and I got filled with my weekly quota of hugs at coop. I also got lots of pictures of my prayer warriors there. I spent the day with my wonderful students and friends.

I stopped by the cancer center to get my Neulasta shot. It boosts my white blood cell count to boost my immunity through the chemo. While there I talked to the wife of the man I mentioned yesterday who cannot keep anything down but jello. His name is Neil. His wife is a five year cancer survivor and they are always together. It turns out he's come down with a yeast infection of the mouth called thrush, which has made even the jello hard to keep down. It is forcing him on a milder dose of chemo. I mentioned to the nurse that we keep running into each other and she said "It's no coincidence." Isn't it neat that she should say that? So please pray for Neil and for his recovery. I believe it may be another Godincidence.

I had a very sweet surprise today. Randy came home from work with his head shaved. We now have matching bald heads. Too bad the movie "the Coneheads" came out so many years ago. I do believe we could have been perfect for the parts! Thank you all so much for your continued prayer. Hope you all have a blessed weekend. Lots of love,


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Living STRONG With 2 Down, 4 To Go!

Dear prayer warriors,

I especially felt you guys out there praying for me as I went for my 2nd round of chemo treatments this morning. I had several emails and phone calls that were timed just right and were such an encouragement. One verse sent to me by my wonderful mother-in-law was Phillipians 4:13. "I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me." I feel tired but strong on the inside, strong where it matters.

This morning I did some comb overs in a few places to hide my bald spots. I totally know now how men with male pattern baldness feel. I have been sleeping the last couple of nights in some chemo hats to prevent all the shedding on my pillow. I haven't washed my hair in several days because I know there won't be much left afterwards when I look in the mirror. I am ready to shave it off and Randy and I are planning on doing that either tonight or tomorrow night. He's joked about using one of those flobee vaccuum hair trimmers on me for years so I guess now is his chance. I guess there's no where to go but up after that horrible junior high perm my sisters are just now admitting was a big mistake. Maybe it's time I try out my perming skills on them. What do you say Big Sisters? Ha, Ha, Ha :)

My doctor was very encouraged by the shrinkage of my tumor and added that Sponge Bob has now shrunk to half his original size! Isn't that AWESOME?! Praise God!!!

The chemo treatments went well. I am tired but smiling inside. The nurses there are so kind and funny you can't help yourself. There was a older gentleman who told one of the nurses he came to chemo "just to see her." It was very sweet but I do believe he was flirting a little bit. Another hospital volunteer who looked to be in his 70's kept coming up to me, bringing me warm blankets and ice cream. You'd be surprised by all the smiling and laughing that goes on there. It is heartwarming. There is sadness too though. Like the man who can't keep any food down but Jello. Or the woman my age who had to be brought in on a wheelchair. They say the fatigue builds with each treatment. I am planning on walking to each of my treatments.

The past few years I've seen many of those yellow bracelets that say "Live Strong." Today I feel like I am doing that. Another verse also comes to my mind Joshua 1:9"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for your Lord God will be with you wherever you go."(NIV) He was with me in that chemo room today and he's with you wherever you are. So LIVE STRONG!! Lots of love,


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Balding AND Beautiful with ATTITUDE!

Dear friends and family,

Today is a new day. I am feeling much better than yesterday morning. All of you have lifted my spirits. You are all so beautiful. It showed with every comment you typed out for me yesterday and all that you shared. It showed with every word you spoke in prayer.

Over the last couple days I have begun meeting survivors. I have met two thus far, one at my church and one yesterday. I cannot begin to tell you what an encouragement they have been to me. The fantastic woman I met yesterday named Evie kept telling me over and over again I was beautiful. I didn't have to tell her where I was at or what I was feeling. She just knew. I believe meeting these survivors is another Godincidence. He has brought them into my life to help me get through and I am so thankful for it. They are so beautiful.

Today I would like to share something else from the Pep Moms Retreat a couple of weeks ago. Marla Delong our speaker included a handout about Attitude.

ATTITUDE by Chuck Swindoll

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude to me is more important then education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.
It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day! We cannot change our past...We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I respond to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.

Thank you all for giving me back my ATTITUDE. I'm going to get my movie star glasses and the next time I walk into that plastic surgeon's office I will stick my chest out, hold my head high and let my true diva out! Lots of love,


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feeling "Freaky"

Today I woke up crying. I'm am starting to feel a little like a freak.

Yesterday I went to the Plastic Surgeon's office. He will be doing my reconstructive surgery after the mastectomy. His office was a very posh one in West Knoxville with a commercial constantly running for Botox in the waiting room. All the nurses and receptionists were gorgeous and Randy and I speculated that the doctor might offer a nice employee discount. I saw several women coming in and out. All of them looked absolutely beautiful and I had to wonder what they were here for...nose job, tummy tuck, face lift or what? They didn't look like they needed anything done to me. Then there was me. I'm short, "pleasantly" plump and wearing a frumpy jogging suit. Were they wondering why I was there too? Probably, but I bet they did not guess why. They probably took one look at me and figured it was liposuction or something. Isn't it sad how we all judge one another? Then I ended up looking at all these brochures showing what the incision would look like. It is a cresecnt moon shape right across the very center of the chest. They have to use skin flaps to "recreate" a nipple and then tattoo over it. Sounds weird hunh? I was physically examined (as if every doctor in Knoxville has not already examined my boobs). Then they were subsequently measured and photographed. I know it was necessary, but I felt humiliated.

I don't blame the doctor or the people there. They were great. The truth is this appointment came on a day when my hair loss was staring me in the face, literally on my robe I see it, on my shirts on my pillow, everywhere. Randy and I can joke about it, how I am "shedding." Sounds like a puppy dog, doesn't it? We've even laughed about how I should wear a fishnet as I prepare dinner just like those ladies in school cafeterias. But the truth is deep down it does hurt. I am not a vain person but I am feeling a little like a walking freak show. Most of the time I am okay with it but every once in a while it does bother me. I know the hair will grow back. I know the doctor will "reconstruct" me, but deep down I know I will never be exactly like I was.

Fortunately because I am a Christian, I know that being changed is also a good thing. I have talked to lots of survivors and you can tell their life is a wonderful testimony to God's grace and love. I want to be that sort of testimony and I feel that grace all around me. I talk to my little girls alot about being beautiful on the inside. I know that is what really counts. So "freak show" or not, I am going to try to be beautiful today in the ways that really matter. Lots of love,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Get Those Blinders Off!

Hello prayer warriors!

Today is another blessed day. I can say that even though I scratched my head yesterday and a big clump of hair came out. I know there are many more clumps to come. But its okay. Because this week I spent in the company & fellowship of beautiful people with the hint of daffodils peeking out of the earth and spring coming.

Yesterday I saw a feeble middle aged man collecting aluminum cans. These were cans flattened by cars and he was in the parking lot of a gas station collecting them. This man was so disabled, his legs so unsteady that he had to hold on to the car to keep from falling as he picked them up from the ground. You know I have never in my life seen people doing this and yesterday was the second man I’ve seen scrounging for cans in two weeks. Both were in tattered clothing. The other was an elderly gentleman at yet another gas station digging through a trashcan. I know the economy is tough right now but it really brings it home how hard some people have been hit.

It also makes me wonder why have I never seen this before? Is this some new phenomenon? Or is it because I’ve had blinders on and always missed it before. Maybe I was so caught up in my day to day rushing around that I never took the time, never had the interest in noticing this before. It reminds me of a song. “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath. It happens to be my daughter Leslie’s favorite song on Christian radio right now. Here is an excerpt:

"All those people going somewhere. Why have I never cared. Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see. Everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken hearted. The ones who are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see. Lord give me your eyes...

Here's a link to the music video on God Tube:

You know the day I went to the cancer center to get my PET scan results, all I could think about was myself. I was shaking in that waiting room thinking I'm going to die young. I had prepared myself for that reality. There were moments when I was at peace about it and many when I wasn't. There were probably several people around me just as scared as I was. When the doctor gave me the good news that the cancer had not spread to any vital organs again it was about me. What a bad year I was going to many surgeries, how many chemo & radiation treatments.

But you know what? When I returned to that waiting room the first thing I saw was that woman shaking. I feel like in that moment the blinders came off. It literally reminds me of that image in the Bible of how the scales came off Paul's eyes after he had his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. All of a sudden I began to see things that were oblivious to me one second earlier.

So are you going through life with blinders on like I was? Are you ready to pray for God to take off your blinders? Believe me, it may not be pretty, but I promise you can and will be blessed by it. Lots of love,

Friday, February 13, 2009

Prayer Warriors

Keep the shirt orders coming.. When we started this ministry, I told Kerry I had a goal to have 100 shirts made and we are almost halfway there. As of today, I have ordered 48 shirts - PTL!! Take a moment and get in front of the camera with your shirt on and email it to me ( so I can include you in this slideshow..

Amazing Drs. Visit & Two Godincidences (YES TWO!)

Hello friends and family!
Yesterday I had an INCREDIBLE trip to a doctor's office that I wanted to share. This doctor is a Radiation Oncologist who might be responsible for my radiation in the fall once I've finished chemo and surgery.

First of all let me say that neither he nor I could find my biggest nodule during the physical exam. We looked all around my biopsy scar. They say a tumor that is less than 1 cm cannot be felt. A month ago my biggest tumor was 1.3 cm and easy to feel. Yesterday we couldn't feel it which I assume means it has shrunk at least .3+ cms. Isn't that an AMAZING answer to prayer already y'all?! A real Godincidence I'd say!! PRAISE GOD!!!

The other AMAZING part of the visit yesterday was what this doctor said to me. I had been told before by another medical oncologist that I was "a perfect candidate for chemo." I remember at the time being a little irked. "Was this a compliment?" I wondered. I knew deep down how the doctor meant it and today it is now crystal clear to me. He meant that I am healthy enough for chemo, so healthy in fact that my chances of pulling through it well are very high. The doctor yesterday explained that when people have a lot of other risk factors like smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse, etc. it makes his job much harder. For example a woman who is 400 lbs on the radiation table has a breast that is harder to aim the radiation beams more precisely into because of its size. With me he can avoid hitting the heart and lungs, but not so with this other woman. To her the treatment can also, years down the line, become the danger. The doctor talked about the women who pioneered this treatment in the early 1900's. Apparently two college students started it in their dorm room way back when. Those pioneering subjects would defeat their cancer through radiation only to die 10 years later from heart attack because of the overexposure. How lucky am I, he said, that I am not one of those pioneering women. That I am healthy enough to tackle chemo and radiation. Kind of puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

The doctor also talked about the Aids epidemic he witnessed in Philadelphia in the early 1980's. He was talking about how biochemistry is so miraculous. How God has made us so well that he has given us those white blood cells that fight off the cancer and good old lymph nodes like Sponge Bob that soak it up. These Aids patients would come to his office with throat cancer one day, a month later pancreatic cancer and still a month later some other cancer because their white cells were powerless to stop the spreading cancer. I knew Aids was so very awful but this really brought home to me just how awful. So are you thankful today for those white blood cells? Boy I sure am. If you ever had any doubt that you are "beautifully and wonderfully made" here is your proof.

I started to have a little pity party asking why I was so young getting this disease. The doctor couldn't explain it but again said how lucky we are in today's society to live as long as we do. Many women 100 years ago didn't survive childbirth, let alone live long enough to get breast cancer. It is a new way to look at it, isn't it? Anyway, I am now so thankful, so thankful that all I have is breast cancer. My prognosis is good. Recently praying my Dad had a vision about me being a grandmom some day and I feel in my heart it is true. I can't wait for what lies ahead.

As I close out today, I would like to share another Godincidence. This one concerns my webmaster (and the dear friend who started this blog for me) Melony. It was her idea to send one of our GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER than cancer shirts to Isabelle (the little girl now at St Jude's with brain cancer). Here is an email I got from Melony yesterday. Maggie and Molly are Melony's daughters ages 7 and 4.

I have to share my God moment with you today. A few weeks ago, I went to the store and gathered a few things to send to Isabelle in a care package. As I was packing everything up, Maggie was determined to put this silly little stuffed elephant that we had left over from Molly's party in the envelope. I did everything I could to convince her to not put it in there, but she insisted....Fast forward to today.. I received a thank you note from Isabelle's mom and the one thing she talked about the most was how symbolic that elephant is at St. Judes. She said that elephants live in herds and the whole herd loves, protects and raises the baby elephants and that is what life is like there. A "herd" of different families caring for each other's children. WOW!! I was instantly in tears because I knew in that instant while I was reading that note that God had used Maggie to send them a token of love and I tried to interfere!!

Isn't that AMAZING? Who would have thought what an impact a little stuffed animal would make? But Maggie knew. A child knew. How cool is that? Have a blessed day, y'all. Lots of love,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What a Feeling! Nodule Announcement! Tony Update!

Do you guys remember that 1980's song "What a Feeling?" Yes, I love that old '80's music. Well I've been feeling like that song all day. I didn't take my nausea medicine today and I haven't needed it. The girls are well and playing upstairs and I am so thankful for that.

There seems to be a pattern to my first round of chemo. The first several days are hard with stomach trouble, coughing and heartburn. The second week I am tired but (as long as I take a nap or two during the day) I feel wonderful. I am hoping that the dose they give you in the first round is the same as they do in subsequent rounds so I can know what to expect. When I run my fingers through my hair, my scalp hurts although those little hairs are still hanging in there. It is a weird sensation. They say I will loose my hair after the second treatment.

Today I'd like to give you an update on Tony D. Alexander. Alot of you remember that I prayed with him at McDonalds the day my PET scan results came in. My Dad found out Tony's case worker and called her. She said Tony is now living at the rescue mission. He is still waiting on his disability application to go through but the case worker assured my dad that she is doing everything possible to help his case along. Please continue to pray for Tony and for that woman I met shaking in the cancer center. Every time I go back I am hopeful that I will see her again so that I can talk and pray with her. I haven't seen her yet, but I am going back on Thursday to drop off two more shirts.

Also today I have an announcement to make! We didn't have a lot of responses on the "Name my Nodules" contest, but all the entries were excellent so here is what I have decided to do. On days when I am feeling bad, I will call Sponge Bob & those blasted nodules either the "bikini bottom bunch" or "big nodule, medium nodule and little nodule" (in honor of our friends in King George). On the days I am feeling bad, I will go with my sister Shannon's suggestion of "dead, deader, deadest and totally eradicated." I thought you guys would approve.

On another fun note, I've decided we should add some more pictures! Please take a picture of yourself. I would love to see your smiling faces! If you have one of our cancer shirts, take a picture of yourself in it and email it to Melony, my web master at We have already given away two shirts to others touched by cancer. One went to a little girl with brain cancer who is about the same age as my youngest Leslie. I will be dropping two more off on today at UT. If you know of someone who could use a shirt, please put it in your comments or email us. We see this ministry getting bigger and touching more lives!
To close out I thought I would share with you the note I wrote to those who will receive the shirts. Each recipient will receive the shirt along with the note and my blog address attached by a breast cancer pin. (Thanks Amy Parker for the pins by the way. We are putting them to good use!) Here is the letter:

Dear Brother or Sister In Christ,

You have just received this T shirt because you and I have something in common. Both our lives have been touched by cancer. To have cancer or to have a loved one with cancer is literally to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death described in Psalms 23. Cancer is bigger than all of us.

But you know what? Early on in my breast cancer journey I learned that God is SO MUCH BIGGER than cancer. He can and will carry your through your own cancer journey. Just put your faith and trust in Him.

I have had many wonderful verses passed on to me. One passage kept coming from several sources, and I cling to it often. It is found in Isaiah 43: 1-2. It says:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will
Be with you; and through the rivers, they
Will not overwhelm you; when you walk
Through the fire you shall not be burned, and
The flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior…”

Please know that everyone within our T shirt ministry will be praying for you. If you have a special prayer request, please let us know at

May God bless you and keep you.

Your Sister In Christ,

Kerry Osborne

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Have you been spray paintin' ?

Greetings from a mommy who is totally covered in spray paint!

Today I hosted a playdate with 5 kids including my own. We rounded up a bunch of shoe boxes and spray painted them for a project I am doing in my Narnia class at coop.

The reason I bring this up is because this is precisely something I would NOT have done a month ago. Many of you know that it took Randy and me two years to paint the trim on our house (and that was only finished when we finally hired somebody to do it). I cannot tell you how many times I painted in the past and Laura and Leslie wanted to help but I told them no. Painting is dirty and messy. You ruin your clothes. It is smelly. It is yucky.

And you know what? It is so much fun (if you let it be fun)! And so today I let the kids get dirty and messy and smelly and we all loved every minute of it.

Today my stomach felt so good that I drank a cola for the first time in two weeks and ate (gasp!) potato chips...a food so "forbidden" to me before. And you know I savored every minute of it.

So what's spray paintin' to you? What is that thing that you never do because you will get "messy" in someway. Is it getting on the floor and making a fool of yourself while you play with your kids? Or is it something else? My recommendation would be to do it and do it right away. Savor every minute of it. Make yourself a memory because none of us know how many of those precious moments we have left. So go out and get dirty and share on the comments what that looks like for you! Lots of love,


Monday, February 9, 2009

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Hello all! I woke up this morning feeling great! This weekend was so very precious to me. We spent the whole day yesterday as a family. This weekend Laura told Randy that she was so glad he was her dad. Those moments are so precious and it just made my heart so happy.

Yesterday Leslie never did develop a fever. This morning she was still itching a little bit but there was no visual sign of her rash at all. This afternoon she seems to have forgotten all about it. What a huge answer to prayer!!

Today I would like to share with you something I learned at the Pep Moms retreat on Saturday. Our speaker was Marla Delong, a counselor through Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church. She was absolutely fantastic and the fellowship with those other moms on Saturday was such a blessing to me. Marla had us do a couple neat exercises. One of them was to read the information below to see whether or not we had "inner peace."

Symptoms of Inner Peace
Author Unknown

* Be on the lookout for the following symptoms of inner peace:

1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
3. A loss of interest in judging other people.
4. A loss of interest in judging self.
5. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
6. A loss of conflict.
7. A loss of the ability to worry (This is a very serious symptom).
8. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
9. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
10. Frequent attacks of smiling.
11. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
12. An increased susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it!

If you have some of all of these symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed at your own risk!

After reading this at the retreat, I just had to smile and write on my sheet "Me to a T." But I could not have said this a month ago, especially on #4, 5, 7, 11. I'm not saying I won't ever slip back on a number or two, but I have learned that life is so precious, y'all. If you have inner peace you LIVE and LOVE every minute of it. That is my wish for every one of you out there today. Lots of love,


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Fourth Night... a Godincidence!

I know I was guilty of leaving you all hanging on Friday so here (as Paul Harvey says) is "the rest of the story"...

Just as I had the three previous nights, I woke up the fourth night at exactly 2 in the morning. This was Saturday night. Although I knew I had cancer at the biopsy Wednesday I was not "officially" diagnosed until Friday, so this was the day after I emailed all my friends and notified everyone. In other words, the amount of people praying for me had just skyrocketed in those 24 hours.

The neat thing is that the first thought I had when I woke up this time was not "where is the cancer now?" or "how far has it spread?" as I had the other nights. I woke up instead with a feeling of complete and utter peace. An inner voice immediately told me that everything was going to be alright. I felt as if I was being held by some invisible arms. I then realized that I was totally basked in moonlight. Randy was right next to me (and sleeping closest to the window). The moonlight completely enveloped me but not him. Now our window has shades that were completely drawn y'all. I am still trying to figure out how this could have happened. The shades do not cover about 1/4 of an inch of that window and from that tiny sliver all this light came through. Not once in 10 years sleeping in the same bed in the same room had I ever been basked in moonlight before. I turned over and fell right back asleep. Isn't that beautiful?

This weekend I had a wonderful conversation with a gal named Tiffany at the Pep Moms retreat about all the "conicidences" we've both experienced in our lives. She called these "Godincidences." I truly believe that fourth night being basked in moonlight was a Godincidence.

The chemo makes me feel dry from the inside out (my skin, my nose, my mouth) but generally I am doing well. I had a scare early on in the weekend and had to call the doctor at 2 am in the morning. Apparently the chemo medicine has "put my ovaries into a state of shock" and I have started bleeding. My doctor reassured me that this is "normal" and should pass in a few days. I am very blessed in my care. I have called my doctor twice during "off hours" and she's always been right there to help. It is strange though what becomes "normal" isn't it? There are foods I ate a week ago that I will not touch now because of how they will affect me.

As we begin a new week, please pray for health in my family. The doctor prescribed me iron pills to boost my immunity which is now somewhat depleted by the chemo. Leslie woke up this morning with a virus and strange rash on her back. She doesn't have a fever. The pediatrician said it may just go away. I am hoping it does. This is usually the time of year when my family gets the sickest, so I would really appreciate the prayers for our health.

I can't wait to share with you more tomorrow about the Pep Moms retreat and more "Godincidinces" that I have experienced. Have a blessed Sunday. Lots of love,


Friday, February 6, 2009

The Only Creepy Coincidence

Hello dear friends and family!

Today was another blessed day spent with my sister and friends at coop. I am looking forward to a weekend full of such fellowship with some pep moms pals and my inlaws.

After sharing with you all about my biopsy experience the other day, I thought now would be a good time to share with you the only negative "coincidence" I have experienced throughout all this. In fact it was down right creepy, all because of the source. The good coincidences I have no doubt have all come from our great Heavenly Father and His divine plan for my life.

This "creepy" experience occurred the very night of that horrible biopsy. You only have to guess what mental state I was in at that time. Even with the encouragement of Randy, my family and that special nurse I told you about named Julie, I was terrified. I knew the lymph node had been swollen since at least mid October. This was January. I knew the cancer was very aggesssive. I had only to wonder how far it had my lungs, to my bones, to my brain, to my liver? As you can imagine, sleep that night was hard to come by but (with a little medication) I finally did fall asleep. Then at exactly 2 am that night, the phone rang. Randy and I let the answering machine pick it up. It was what most people would call a "prank call" except it was unlike any I have ever heard before. This was not a group of teenagers giggling on the other line. This was not some silly drunk. This was a grown man with a very deep voice, almost incomprehensible except for a tirade of obscenities. Although Randy did not hear this, I believe I also heard him say something about Jews. Now Randy and I are not Jewish but this gave me chills none the less. Whoever, whatever this person was immediately sank me back into my fear. For the rest of the night I lay shivering in bed. For the next three nights at exactly 2 am I woke up, let my worries consume me and became terrified and shivering. Randy would sometimes just wrap his arms around me and try to calm me down but, as you can imagine, it was not easy to do.

Although I do not know for sure, we both were deeply struck by this "prank call" and have speculated as to its source. I contemplated playing back the answering machine message to try to decipher it further but it was SO EVIL sounding I couldn't bear to do it. All I can tell you was that it felt exactly like a spiritual attack. Fortunately in the days that followed I knew I was being covered in prayer and then all of the good "coincidences" began to become so clear to me.

Later on this weekend, I will share with you what happened on the fourth night after that prank call.

Tomorrow please pray for my sister Mitzi and her family. They will be traveling home to VA. Have a blessed weekend! Lots of love,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

TGBD (Thank God for Blessed Days)

Hey friends and family! Tuesday was such a great day that yesterday I got a little overconfident and didn't take my nausea medicine until my stomach started to churn. Yesterday was rough but today (with a little better planning) was terrific. I got my hair cut short like GI Jane (Look out Demi Moore) :) and picked up my new wig. I spent the day with my Mom and my sister Mitzi and thanked God for every blessed moment.

A word to the wise: if you wake up tomorrow feeling good and you get to take your kids to school, go to work, do the laundry or (yes) even get to clean the toilet, consider it a blessed day. Even though I've only had a few yucky days, I feel like Snow White now, "whistling while I work" on those days when I feel good because all those little mundane things I so appreciate now. It means that you are alive, that you are in good health and that you can LIVE every minute. Tomorrow may be TGIF but I'm TGBD (thanking God for blessed days). Lots of love,


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Dear friends and family,

Shannon's biopsy went really well and they found ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! YEAH!!! Below is a post I wrote this morning. I didn't want Shannon to read it going into her biopsy and so I waited until this afternoon to post it. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Okay y'all. Grab a hanky and pull out a box of kleenexes. I hate to do this to you but I've been lying awake half the night worrying about my sister Shannon's biopsy today, and I've just had something laid on my heart that I must share with you. This is the story of my own biopsy. It isn't particularly flattering of me and is one of my "darker moments," but I believe it needs to be said especially because it shows how much God has worked on my heart in this last month.

On Thursday January 8 I went in for my mammogram and ultrasound. No sooner had the tech done the ultrasound than a Radiologist appeared. He showed me a normal mammogram with several lymph nodes that looked pea sized. My single node looked like a big old ping pong ball. He took one look at my ultrasound and announced "That enlarged lymph node was not caused by a dislocated shoulder." I expected him to add "in my opinion" or "it is unlikely" but he did no such thing. He acted certain that I had cancer. This made me mad. "Who does he think he is anyway?" I wondered. He striked me as being arrogant, unsympathetic. I really wanted to be optomistic. I thought I'd give him a chance to redeem himself and so I asked "Just so my mind doesn't run away with me, couldn't that enlarged node be caused by an infection or some other possibility?" He looked me straight in the eye and simply said "No."

I am sure he tried to soften the blow after that but the truth is I did not hear it. I only remember him saying something about doing a biopsy the following Wednesday and how a nurse would follow up with me and answer any other questions I had later in the day.

First thing I did after the biopsy was go and see my parents. Everyone had to hear about this "insensitive doctor." Before the day was out the entire Booth & Osborne clans were convinced I had run into the worst doctor ever. Randy even complained to our family doctor who calmed us by saying the Radiologist couldn't know "for sure" and that he was probably just saying the worst to "cover himself."

A few hours after the ultrasound a nurse did call. I was in the dressing room at Stein Mart. (Yes, when I got bad news I went shopping). I complained about having to wait almost a week to do the biopsy. She was very comforting and told me that most women (who were about to restart their their monthly cycle like me) have to wait 2 weeks because it messes with the results. She said the doctor was making an "exception" for me. I did not like being an exception. Through all of this I decided in my mind that CANCER WAS NOT THE PROBLEM. THE DOCTOR WAS THE PROBLEM and that is how I coped for the next week. I did not even tell friends or ask them to pray for me because I'd already decided THAT doctor was WRONG.

On January 16th, I started the day with an MRI. I can honestly say it was one of the weirdest experiences I'd ever had but I will save the details of that for another day. When I came for the biopsy, I was greeted by the nurse I had talked with on the phone. Her name was Julie and she was wonderful. She gave me a warm robe to wear. She must have offerred me a drink and snacks three or four times as she took my vital signs. She chatted with me, distracted me and calmed me down.

When the doctor came in to the biopsy room I was lying on the table. There was an ultrasound tech and student tech already there. I immediately asked him how my MRI results looked. Again he did not sugar coat anything. He said "There are enhancements on both sides but those on the left are more worrisome and suspicious." It was then that I "got it." I said "So you believe I have 'it' in the left side and in the right side I do not have 'it'." He never used the word "cancer." I never used the word "cancer" but from that moment on I (and everyone in that room) knew that I had cancer.I don't blame the doctor for being upfront with me now. I realize he wanted me to stop grasping at false hope so I could understand the reality of what I was up against and deal with it.

The biopsy really did not hurt (so please if you ever have one, take heart). They use numbing medicine. The worst part for me was spending the next 2 and 1/2 hours on that table, being poked and prodded as they took 15 tissue samples knowing the whole time I had cancer. I didn't want to "make a scene" and so I held back the tears and felt completely, utterly alone. Randy couldn't help me. My parents, my sisters couldn't help me. And you know it did not even occur to me to pray at that moment so that God could help me?

But you know He did. As soon as I left the biopsy, Julie was there again. I just let it all out. She hugged me. She told me that she could tell I was a "woman of faith" and that God would get me through it. She kept saying He would get me through it. To make myself feel better I asked her if she'd seen people alot worse off than I was. (And wasn't that a terrible and selfish thing to ask?!) She said she had and that made me feel better (again not very flattering on my part). She took me out to the waiting room where Randy was. She kept checking on us until I was able to leave and she left me assured that she was already praying for me. She called me and sent me a card a few days later. I know deep down she is still praying for me.

And so I've decided when the first round of breast cancer shirts come in, I want to take them to Julie. I'm going to attach a business card with my blog address on them using breast cancer pins and I am going to ask her to give them out to the women she meets that need them. I know she will be an angel to them just as she was to me. So are you crying yet? Can you see though what a difference God has made in my heart just in the past month? Thanks for listening. Lots of love,


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hump Day!?

Dear friends and family,

Yesterday evening was a very good one for me. I was able to stay up past 8 p.m. and tuck in the girls for the first time in a few days and the side effects seemed to be lessening. This morning I am feeling bright eyed and am hopeful that perhaps I am over the "hump" of my 1st round of chemo.

Today I'd like to share with you another "coincidence" from the past few months which again reveals how God has been working in my life through all this (and indeed before I even knew I was diagnosed).

There was a period of a few weeks last summer when I was in a funk. Laura's 1st grade Berean achievement test scores had come back "average" and for a perfectionistic homeschooling mom this was a blow to me. Everyone else I talked to said their kids did "great," and I was left to wonder what was wrong with me. I called the director at Berean who said Laura performed in line with her classmates but I still began to have a crisis of confidence. I have since retested Laura and learned some personality traits (like wanting to finish "first" and the refusal to use scrap paper in math tests) had more to do with it than me or my teaching method. Still, all of this made me down for a couple weeks last summer.

It was at this time that I went to a Summer Library series event at the Corryton Library. It was about the K9 unit at the Knoxville Police Dept. and there was a police officer there with his dog. I remember him distinctly because that officer passed away suddenly a few weeks after the program. While at the library I reconnected with a mom I had known from YMCA basketball a couple years ago. Our kids played great that day. I remember thinking to myself I should invite her to a playdate but I was too shy. She asked me first. From then on we began to exercise regularly at Corryton Church.

This other homeschooling mom lost her mother to MS and ovarian cancer a few years ago. As we worked out for the next four months (unfairly not even shedding a single pound I may add!) she began to have concerns about her health. She began to see a series of doctors and a tumor was discovered on one of her ovaries. It looked like she might have to have a hysterectomy but she was getting conflicting opinions. Over Christmas there were fears that she could have ovarian cancer. I was praying for her through all this, comparing notes on what doctors say (and don't say) and soon realized that I had a lump in my breast as well as under my shoulder. We began to have doctors appointments on the same days. She began researching the gene linking breast and ovarian cancer and it soon became clear we were coping through each individual health crisis "together."

The week after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, this dear friend underwent surgery to remove the tumor and one ovary. The tumor was benign (praise God!) and she is almost fully recovered.

Before having her kids she had worked as a surgical tech. She had witnessed chemo port surgeries, implants surgeries and other procedures that with my breast cancer diagnosis are now in my future. She's already helped me prepare for those. What's funnier is she'd even passed on some special sports bras to me when we first started exercising that are just what I'll need for my "falsies" during radiation (in between my mastectomy and reconstructive surgery).

Isn't it cool how God works in your life when you least expect it? And just think. That is just one person in my life right now. Imagine how much clearer I see each and everyone one of you now with such wonderful delight and appreciation. God is so good. He's so, so good isn't He? Lots of love,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Announcing..Sponge Bob and the Brunettes Have It!

Dear prayer warriors,

The chemo is starting to have its effect. I've been having heartburn (which is related to the nausea), fatigue and bone pain. Except for a couple of hours last night it has not slowed me down too much. I have just been forced to take it a little easier today. Please pray that the side effects do not worsen.

Now for an interesting story. On that Friday I was diagnosed, the first doctor I saw described the enlarged lymph node(s) under my arm as a big sponge that soaked up the cancer, keeping it from spreading as long as it could. I have now affectionately begun calling my big ol' lymph node(s) Sponge Bob. (No offense to the cartoon. It is silly I know but it makes me smile in spite of myself). The last two days the numbness in my arm has been better. I am hopeful that the tumors and Sponge Bob are already starting to shrink. The lymph nodes will now hereafter be referred to as Sponge Bob,so don't be surprised if you see his name pop up every so often.

In addition, I have an announcement to make on our wig color poll. Drumroll please.....
Brunette was the winning wig color and it is now on order!! It was a very close poll. If you voted for another color, don't be disappointed. Several of you suggested I should not limit myself to any one color and I am all for that. This may be the first of several wigs I will be sporting in the upcoming year. :)

Anyway, with one poll at an end, I thought it would be fun to start another. I am calling it "Name My Nodules." A quirky poll it will be but all in good fun. You see on my left breast there are actually four cancerous spots or nodules. The largest is about 1.3 cm and they collectively are about 4 cm. I come from a family where we name everything (even our cars). Yes we have had cars named everything from Fluffy, to Zippadee to Boot Scoot Boogie, and so it seems only natural to name those blasted nodules. I had thought about some possible names like "the rockettes" or "Sly and the Family Stone" but I know you clever blog watchers out there could do much better. So, please keep your comments coming!!! (They are a daily encouragement to me) and put in there your suggestions for nodule names. The funnier the better. In a few days we will have another poll going.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. God, and all of you, are being so good to me. Lots of love,