Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life is Good

Hello prayer warriors!

We are home safely from our trip. I already miss my sister and all our dear friends in Va. It feels good though to be back in TN getting ready for round 3 of my treatment...radiation.

Today I met with the Radiation Oncologist and the radiation therapist who will be overseeing my treatment. The Radiation Oncologist said again what a miraculous pathology report I had from the surgery. He said if the response on the tumors from the chemo was so great, just imagine what it did to any of those "bad cells" that might have been floating around in my system. Yippee!!

They put me through a CAT scan today. It is a big square box with what looks like a big donut hole. You just lie down and move back and forth through the opening while the machine scans you. They were getting precise pictures and data of my anatomy so that the doctor can line up angles and trajectories they will use to shoot the radiation. They also make customized molds they put against you to prevent any of the radiation from reaching your vital organs. They will be shooting side angles of the remaining chest tissues, straight on angles of my scars and also the lymph nodes near my neck for prevention. The individualized nature and preciseness of it all is very fascinating. Because my breast cancer is on the left side (near my heart) I have to use a special machine. On the plus side, it means that machine is less busy and I had my pick of the times. I will start treatment on August 3 at 8:45 am in the morning and go 5 times a week for almost 7 weeks (or 33 treatments).

I am actually excited about starting. Life is so good. I had a wonderful visit with family, there's a new school year to look forward to and still a little bit of the summer to enjoy. If life can be this good, just imagine how good eternal life must be. Lots of love,


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fun, Fun, Fun

Hello Dear friends and family!

This week I am up in Virginia visiting with my sisters and their families. We are having such a wonderful time. There's been lots of swimming, video games, movies and laughter.

I continue to recover well and feel truly blessed. Thursday night we got together with many wonderful friends in King George who have been praying for me these many months. Some of them I met for the very first time. It was truly a joy to see them and thank them for their wonderful prayers and support.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Psalm

Hello Dear friends and family,

I am doing great! I'm back to sleeping in the bed and rolling over. Yeah!!! I'm stuffing my bra daily and about to glue on some falsh eyelashes tonight (wish me luck). Except for these usual breast cancer oddities, all seems right with the world.

Today I thought I'd share with you something I wrote way back in January after I was first diagnosed. It was the weekend after my first chemo treatment when I attended a Pep Moms retreat. The speaker read a psalm in which King David had poured out his soul during hardship. She then had each of us write a Psalm about what was burdening us down. I remember distinctly that Casting Crown's "The Voice of Truth" was playing on a boom box at the time. I was among several who got up and shared my psalm. We all cried together over different problems, fears and worries that were burdening us down. After almost 6 months I revisited my psalm today. I guess it just shows again God's goodness. I reference a storm in my psalm several times and I must say God's grace has truly carried my family through it.

My burden is heavy Lord
So so heavy.
Cancer stinks Lord.
Some days I feel really bad.
Some days I can't do what I enjoy.
And Lord that stinks.
I want my life back.
I want my energy back.
I want normal back, Lord.
But Lord I know you are greater than cancer.
You are greater than anything Satan or this world can throw at me.
Your love will carry me through this storm.
You will carry me through this storm.
You will hold my hand. You will hold my husband's hand.
You will hold Laura and Leslie my daughters' hands
Against the waves that batter against us.
For you O Lord are so great.
How great is our God. Sing with me how great is our God
And all will see how great, how great is our God.

Of course the last two lines are from the well known song, How Great Is Our God. It was the first song I heard the next Sunday in church after I was diagnosed. How blessed I have been to have gone through the storm so well. I guess all that is left now are just a few thundershowers. How good is that? If there is something burdening you down, I would encourage you to write your own psalm. It did wonders for my spirit. Lots of love,


Friday, July 3, 2009

Feeling Whole for the Holy One

Hello dear friends and family!

Surgery is now 3 weeks behind me. I am still very swollen but it is going down. I am now sleeping in the bed again at least most of the night. I can't roll over on my side and have to sleep on my back. Usually between 2-5 am I wake up with a terrible back ache and I sleep the rest of the night in the recliner. (I have new appreciation for LaZboys let me tell you). I have lost most of my eyelashes and eyebrows now too but the hair on my head is definately coming back. My arm mobility is improving. I am reaching over my shoulders now and (with some squirming) can usually pull clothes off over my head. I'm back to driving all over town too. These are all very small victories but I will take them. Life is ALMOST back to normal.

The emotional side of things is still taking some getting used to. Lately breast cancer has made me feel like I am half a person. It can make you feel like half a wife. You aren't as beautiful for your spouse as you were before. What's the use of dolling up when you don't have hair, eyebrows or even eyelashes. It can make you feel like half a woman. Not only is my hair missing but my chest too. Sometimes I feel androgynous. Yes it is temporary but it still can be SO depressing. You want to do something about it, but what are you going to do? You can't make your hair come back any sooner. You can't make the surgeries or the radiation visits over with quicker or be any easier. You can't make the scars disappear or make the swelling go away any faster. So you try to be one of those glass half full people. You look for the silver lining. You tell yourself "I'll shop for scarves and hats." Or you think "I'll pick my own bra size!" Goodness knows I have an large bandana collection right now and reconstruction will certainly make me feel more normal in the long run but neither of these things (or any of the other "silver linings" I focus on) will make me feel whole again inside.

SO how do you feel whole again? Well it isn't by anything you can do yourself that's for sure. The only thing that makes me feel whole again is knowing that God is in control and that He is the one who can fill me up inside. No one person and no one thing on Earth can do that...just Him. Everything you have in life, everything you've achieved....your health, your financial stability, your spouse, your children, everything is a blessing on loan from Him. Those things all make you feel wonderful and happy but nothing else can make you feel complete. I have lots of moments when I struggle with the emotional side, but this knowledge is what carries me through. I can't imagine battling this disease with out it. Hope you are feeling whole inside too. Lots of love,


PS: Brooke Estrada emailed me and said the Avon Breast Cancer walk in the Colorodo Rockies was a huge success with lots of answered prayer and Godincidinces. More details to come later!