Quick Update

Hi!  I know it has been ages since I posted.

Just wanted to update and ask for prayer requests this week.  Some of you have recently heard my name on various prayer lists regarding my arm — I would tell you what is going on with it except I don’t exactly know!

I did very well in physical therapy after my surgery to recover a full range of motion and all was well, but about 6 months ago I started having complications with my arm and axillary (armpit) region on the side where they removed all of my lymph nodes.  Most issues were addressed through additional physical therapy and lymphatic message, but I have had a lingering and continual cramping on my right side that is just enough to interfere with my daily routine and be a constant reminder that I am in a broken body.

Now, after a few months of physical therapy and after seeing several doctors, we still aren’t sure what is causing the cramps.  I really would love to get to the bottom of this because in addition to cramping during the day time hours, sometimes it cramps all night too.  I am already tired, so missing sleep because of this is bothersome!  I need all of my energy to keep up with these crazy kids!

Look how they have grown compared to my blog banner…it has been almost 2 years now since that picture.

Growing like weeds! Ella is 3, Wade is 2, and Cadence turned 5 in April…

 

So anyway, I have been waiting about 6 weeks now to be seen by someone in sports medicine.  Evidently if I need any xrays/MRIs they will be ordered from this set of doctors. Would you just pray for direction for them tomorrow (Tuesday)?

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Also, I have an appointment with my Gynecologist Oncologist on Thursday.  This is part of the precautionary screening for Ovarian Cancer that I am having because of my BRCA mutation.  I know this doctor is extra concerned because I have a known BRCA 1 mutation and an unknown BRCA2 mutation, and if my first appointment with him is any indication, he will be trying to schedule me for surgery at his first open date.  I will just say that I am not completley at peace with that option, but in the back of my mind feel like I should just play along and pretend I agree with the doctors’ recommendation. Play it safe.  I guess that is better than the alternative.

I heard just this past week about a well-known young lady (I think 39 years old) with a late stage Ovarian Cancer that totally and completely snuck up on her.  Pray for her, by the way, if you think of it.  It must be very sad and depressing to have no eternal hope.  I don’t think she has faith in Jesus Christ although she certainly covets our prayers right now.

And so do I!

Hope it is okay to pop in with this random little update for those of you who still tag along!  I will try to be back soon with an update!

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Happy Happy Day

And Happy Groundhog Day.  It is February 2 and I haven’t blogged in months.  Sorry about that!  But I bet all of you were as busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas as I was.  Oh, and if you didn’t get a Christmas card from us this year, I am truly sorry.   I had my computer worked on when I was sick and I think my master Christmas card list got deleted along the way.  All I had to work with was my basket of recent cards and a phone book/directory.

I just wanted to pop in and say hello to everybody!  I think it is fair to say that I am still getting better every day, but pretty much back to normal.  Every day gets a little farther away from that day 1.5 yrs ago.

I LOVE the old hymn chorus that the kids sing at Sunday School and come home singing too: “Every day with Jesus, is sweeter than the day before….” — and it truly is!

My only complaint is that time is going by too quickly.  Cadence’s birthday will be here before I know it and I just can not believe she will be 5 years old and big enough to go to  Kindergarten next year.

Ella and Wade are growing just as quickly.  Becoming less needy.  Growing up right before my very eyes.  (I think I’ve been watching too much Duck Dynasty – pretty sure I never used that phrase until watching that show!  “Right before my very eyes!”)

Anyway, some of you might remember that last year I made a commitment to Project 365, a photography goal of taking at least one picture every day.  I’m sure the objective was for me to learn how to use my camera better, and I feel like I did, but as an added bonus, I get to look back and see the year in pictures and see the growth of my kids (and my hair 😉 ) in one convenient place!

I took a picture (almost) every day!  Sometimes with my regular camera.  Sometimes with the iPad or iPhone. I’ll include the album below – if you’re bored you can click through them.  I’ve shared some already on Facebook, and true to my indecisive nature, some days have more than 1 picture because I couldn’t decide. 🙂

Click on the flowers to view the album.  Don’t ask me why there are 500+ pictures in a Project 365 album.

Enjoy!

2012 Project 365

Thank you for your continued prayers!!!

Goodnight

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Broken

Not sure what prompted me to visit my blog tonight, but I see there are still a few of you checking in periodically…what a privilege to be loved, thought of and cared for by you all.

A mailbox full of cards last week was just exactly what I needed to lift my spirits.  Thank you Jenni (and Lydia and Colleen) for coordinating my Card Shower, and thanks to all of you that participated.  It means a lot to know you still care!  And Jenni, thanks for the visit yesterday too!

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I scanned back through my posts over the course of the past six months, and I know my postings were sparse. Mostly I just didn’t feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to write, but as you are aware, sometimes I DO feel prompted to share part of my story with you!  Tonight is one of the nights that I DO feel led.  Actually, I think I’ve been needing to write this for a while, but looks like tonight is the night!

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Way back last summer when I was first diagnosed, somebody very near and dear to me told me that I needed to “direct my thoughts and control my emotions” … they encouraged me to stay strong and do what I needed to do as far as treatment, but suggested that at the end of my trials, I would more than likely be “a broken woman.”

This was spoken in love, although I didn’t feel like the person telling me this really felt qualified to tell me so. I didn’t believe it, but I said, “Okay, I’ll try to keep my head in the game.”

Honestly, I was actually kind of offended.  I did not intend to be defeated either physically or emotionally by cancer.

I should have listened. 🙂

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Fast forward a year from that conversation = me <— BROKEN.  Both physically and emotionally.

Satan has a way of getting people when they’re down!  Perpetuating negative emotions.  Prompting self-doubt.

Crushing my spirit with news like I am not a candidate for reconstructive surgery.  (I didn’t blog about it, but that was the news from the plastic surgeon.)

Time heals all wounds though, right?

I am now 15 months from my diagnosis.  I continue to get stronger.  I continue to get positive reports from the doctor.  My hair has grown back (darker and way more curly).  I have my prosthesis.  I take care of my kids.

Most importantly though, I am working daily to “control my thoughts and direct my emotions” … For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Tim 1:7 KJV

I still have challenges, both physically and emotionally, but I am not defeated.

I am pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed

I am blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure

And his joy’s going to be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night

His joy comes with the morning

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Counting my blessings during this season of Thanksgiving.

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Brave Taylor!

*UPDATED AGAIN*

I talked to Taylor’s mom recently and she told me that she had raised over $8,500 … this one child has raised over $8,500 with the match from the company – isn’t that awesome?!  WTG Taylor! 🙂

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I had so many people taking care of me when I was sick and undergoing treatments.  Outside of my family, the effort was led by our Sunday School teachers, Neil and Wanda and Charles and Mary.    How privileged we were to have them praying for us and making sure our needs were met.

Last night I got a message from Mary regarding her daughter, Taylor.

Here is a picture of Taylor:

When Mary brought food, Taylor and her little sister Logan would run in and it never phased them one bit to see me sitting in the recliner just bald as could be.  They would come right over to my chair, flash their pretty little smiles and ask me how I was doing.

They showered me with thoughtful gifts, warm visits, sincere prayers and of course, the aforementioned hot meals. 🙂

And guess what Taylor is going to do now…she is going to cut all of her hair off and shave it!

From Taylor: I, Taylor Marie, will be going “Bald” to raise money and keep the dream alive for a Cure! Every 3.5 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. Please help me by supporting my cause….This is a decision that I have made to keep hope alive for kids that are fighting for their life.

Isn’t that brave?  I had flashbacks to shaving my head.  I was so overwhelmed and scared even though I didn’t think I would be.

But you know what, just as soon as we started cutting, my fears were gone, and here I am a year later needing a haircut!

UPDATE: To give to Taylor’s campaign, follow this link.  She has some contributions that aren’t showing up yet, but she is a little over halfway there and has $2500+ … let’s help her reach her $5,000 goal…money has to be submitted by tomorrow (Friday 8/17) morning: http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/572485/2012

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I made a little collage of my hair before/afters…looking back at this it is amazing to me how quickly time has passed!

Taylor, you are brave!  Can’t wait to see how beautiful your little head is.

Taylor is accepting donations for St. Baldrick’s to help find a cure for children’s cancers.  Contact me if you don’t know Taylor but would like to contribute.

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Last year at this time…

Last year at this time I had just gotten off the phone with Dr. Baker from the Breast Imagery clinic at Duke.  I had an aggressive, early Stage 3 breast cancer and was about to begin a whirlwind of testing, biopsies and scheduling so I could begin chemotherapy as soon as possible.  Well, actually we didn’t know all of those details at the time, but bottom line, he confirmed it was cancer.  It would take a few weeks for all the details to shake out.

Last year at this time, the prospect of eight rounds of chemo filled me with dread, a double mastectomy to follow seemed like a nightmare, and being finished with radiation seemed like a distant dream.

But now it is all behind me!  All the blood, sweat and tears are a thing of the past…at least most days.

What an emotional roller coaster this past year has been.  So many “ups” — the love and support I received from my family and friends AND the peace and mercy that God provided me during this trial were very real..

If I had ever doubted the love of my family and friends, it was reaffirmed in a very clear way.  My number one Love Language is SERVICE and when I was in bed for 9 months watching everyone take care of my family (and me), I knew in those moments that I was loved.

Every single card, phone call, comment, email…every meal, visit and gift…every prayer you prayed…I knew I was loved.

That is not to say that every day was sunshine and roses.  It was hard to give up control.  It was depressing not to be able to get out of bed.  I hated the nausea.  I hated that it hurt to walk.  The surgery was painful.  I hated most of all that I couldn’t take care of my kids like I wanted to.

But the Great Physician was taking care of me!

And now, one year later, I am trusting in Him that I am cancer free and well on the way to getting back to NORMAL.  My hair is back.  My appetite is back. 🙂  I take care of the kids on my own.  I clean my house on my own (sometimes!).  I cook meals on my own (most of the time).  I have truly been blessed.

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Today, I still tire very easily and I still visit the hospital much too frequently for my liking, but I am doing well!  I met with one of my doctors on Monday and she feels like I am recovering “at or above average.”

I still have some upcoming procedures and surgeries that I am kind of dreading, but I will continue to take things one day at a time, and hopefully NEXT YEAR at this time, all of the dread will be a distant memory and I will only remember the good times!

Good times like this one…I said to the girls, “Kiss her on the cheek…”  For once, they both listened. lol

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Did you think I forgot about you?

I didn’t forget about everyone.  Life just goes on.

Can you believe it has been a year since I started the blog?  I was at the hospital yesterday for a check up and it occurred to me that exactly one year ago I was at the same hospital for the very first breast biopsy that set this journey into motion.

Check back in with me tomorrow if you feel like taking a trip down memory lane with me.

It has been quite a year.

And because I know you like pictures…

Remember this photo?

They aren’t that little anymore!!  My babies are getting big!

Goodnight

 

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Cancer Center

I don’t know if I ever posted about the new Cancer Center at Duke.  It is beautiful.  When I had physical therapy in the past it was at a separate hospital clinic.  Now they have a therapist on hand at the cancer center which is very convenient.

Here is one of the waiting rooms in the breast clinic:

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And one of me from the other day when we were up there…my hair is a little longer now.  I have no idea how to fix it…:

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I had kind of dreaded going to this appointment.  In fact, I have had very limited use of my right arm for a few weeks, but didn’t want to endure a painful appointment.  I cancelled the appointment they initially scheduled for last Friday and  rescheduled for today.

And I am happy to report that it was not painful at all.  🙂

I think we made a little progress on my range of motion, but I’ll go back again once a week for a little while and hope to feel all better again soon!

It is late and I’ll be up early tomorrow to get the girls ready for their last day of preschool for a while.

Goodnight!

 

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