Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our worst, HIS best

Well ain't that grand, another blogger randomly found me, and then shared my SURRENDER PRAYER in her blog!  Yay!  That made my day!  Check it out, click here! I love that, half way around the world and sharing my prayer, and going to be a Dr. no less!  Thank you Rosa! So cool!




I recently found this quote, and it deeply touched me, and summed up how I view my breast cancer diagnosis now, my mission, my calling.  "It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary."  Wow have I been placed in and sought out situations to put that into action!  Praise God for giving me His strength and tenderness to share a word and a prayer and a message of hope to so many who are weary.

Thank you Jesus for all the ways you blew my heart and my life wide open after my diagnosis.  Thank you Lord for all the Sisters I met through this blog, thank you Lord for all the Sisters I met on the Y-me message boards, thank you Lord for all the survivors I met and walked with as a Hero of Hope for the American Cancer Society.  Thank you Lord for this newest opportunity to be a servant leader for the Cancer Survivors Circle just started at my church.

Yes yes it sure would have been nice to receive an EARLY DIAGNOSIS, not Stage 3 and every bit of the toughest cancer treatment, but hey, as The Good Witch, my oncologist once said, "Baby you got street cred."

Every fear, every heartache, every horror, every tear, every loss, every poke, cut, poison and burn from breast cancer, will never diminish what I have been abundantly given in BLESSINGS AND PURPOSE.

I used to say "why me why me Jesus?"

Now I say "Thank you Lord, thank you Lord for taking my greatest challenge and darkest hour, shining your LOVE AND LIGHT ON IT, and using it all for Your glory."

Thank you Lord.  Thank you.

GOT JESUS?


Don't take my word for it.


Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.



When it seems as if things just can't get any worse,

THAT'S WHEN GOD IS COMING WITH HIS BEST.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Give Me Some Hope to Follow, And I Will Run

Cara Girl and I had a great time walking the survivor's lap August 3rd at the Vallejo Relay for Life last weekend.  Oh what a victory for us both, especially Cara, who didn't let her pain or her cane weaken her determination to get around that track!  With the donations of friends and coworkers, I raised almost $1600 for the American Cancer Society.  (It's not too late to make a donation in my honor, JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK until August 31, 2013.


3 year survivor, proud of my balloon!

That lady saved my life, The Good Witch, Dr. Lesley Martin

My rock and photographer, my Husband.

Cara Girl and me.






Happy happy happy cancer survivin Diva's!

Some of the luminaries I made.



It was such a great weekend, little did we know in just a couple days, everything would change.

From Cara's Facebook post, 8/7/13:

Hello! So I would really appreciate it if most of you would take the time to read this. So I have received some really BAD news. So as you all pretty much know that I have been fighting a tough 1 year and a 1/2 fight against the cancer called leukemia. Well just recently I have been having a ton of bruising again, a ton of bone pain, and some headaches. So we raised the concern of what has been going on to my doctors and they decided they wanted to run a bunch of tests. Since they were not for sure of what it could be. Yesterday I had a bone marrow biopsy and we ended up getting the bad news. I HAVE RELAPSED. Meaning all my bone marrow (why I've been having bone pain) is filled with leukemia cells everywhere again. So this has been another scary roller coaster for my family and I but I feel like my doctors are on board, they know what they are doing, and have a good game plan to get this nasty stuff out and to go back into remission. I have been hospitalized for the next month. But most of my treatment will be me staying in the hospital months at a time. I will be getting a bone marrow transplant at some time and I might possibly have to go to New York to get another type of treatment. Where I will be the first one from UCSF to do it. Which is kind of a cool thing even considering the circumstances. It will be a long journey of things so I don't want to bore any of you right now. So as I go I will keep you guys updated as best I can. Just please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers! We sincerely need it right now. Thanks for all your support already. xoxo. -C — at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

My reply:


Cara, I keep thinking about this last Saturday morning, when we walked the Survivors Lap at Vallejo Relay. We were so happy, and I was so proud of us. Every step was a victory, and I saw you didn't let your pain or your cane stop you. Little did we know in just a couple days our joy would be dashed and pulled out from under us with news that leukemia was back with a vengeance.

Many people break under the stress and strain of heartache and uncertainty and suffering. Many people break wide open and become the living dead. There are some people though, very few, who do not break, BUT RISE. They rise and show us this is how you do it.

Cara Hansen is one of those warriors who faces the unthinkable and does it with courage, grace, optimism and humor. Cara I cannot help but think you were chosen to blaze a trail, not only in leukemia treatment, but as a beacon to all of us. Girl I love you, I'm proud of you, and I'm sorry for everything you've already been through and what's to come. There is not a one of us who are survivors who don't look over our shoulders to see if cancer is coming for us again. Honey, this ain't your first rodeo, you will do it, you'll do it good, and I know many others will be helped by your sacrifice. I only wish you didn't have to.

Please my FB friends and family, please keep Cara in your prayers, pray that she'll be given strength when she feels like giving up. Pray she'll be given hope in the wee hours of the night when it seems like dawn will never come. Pray that her body and spirit will ready up for this next battle. Pray for her family too. When cancer happens, it happens to the whole family, and Cara's family is under the terrible stress of cancer and it's financial devastation. Please help however you can, but mostly, pray for Cara, and in her honor, LIVE with gratitude that you or someone you love never has to face something like this. 

We all love you Cara, we are heartsick about this, but so very proud of you. 

Lord hear our prayers for Cara, we cry out to you, Jesus hear our prayers. Take this suffering Lord and turn it into Your glory. Help us trust You have Cara in Your hands and have a plan for her health and her life. Give us peace knowing that when we fall in despair, that's when You are there to catch us, console us, strengthen us. Hear our prayers Lord, we need a miracle right about now.

Cara I love you. You're the bravest girl I ever met, and the brightest light. 

Rise baby. Rise.



Will you please keep Cara Girl in your thoughts and prayers as she readies up for her latest battle against leukemia?  If you are so inclined and able, here is the link to donate towards Cara's medical bills:

Cara Hansen's Leukemia related expenses. | Medical Expenses - YouCaring.com

Thank you for all your help and support for this beautiful girl that I love so much, we all do.

Cara and her Sissy Bonnie, at UCSF



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DIEP in the heart of Texas


Naw, I didn't have my DIEP in the heart of Texas, but part of my heart lives in Texas, hey there to my Sister Jane Marie.  Hey Girl.  Congrats on the newest baby of the family, Rebecca, 18 years old!  She was just legally adopted by my girl and Sister Jane Marie and her Hubby Rick when Rebecca aged out of foster care.  That is awesome!  Welcome Rebecca!  I'm your Mama's breast cancer Sister, I'm a writer girl that dreams.  Welcome to the family Hon!

Well, it's been a bit over three months since my breast reconstruction using the DIEP procedure, using my tummy tissue, fat and skin to re-create some boobs for me, or FOOBS as we call em in the business, fake boobs.

Lord Lord I don't even know where to start telling you about my experience, and if you're a Sister considering this option, it ain't for the faint of heart Baby.  I did not want implants, and after two C-sections and a poochy muffin top, I was willing and eager to transform my belly fat into two breasts made of my own tissue.  I was prepared for what was ahead, or so I thought.

I was not prepared for what would turn out to be the most difficult part of restoring my body after a bilateral mastectomy and radiation.  If you had asked me at any point during these last three months if I'd do it all over again, that would have been an emphatic hell no.

I realize now, especially with the gentle guidance and wisdom of my Sister, Irish BC Warrior, that this procedure is not for sissies, and its recovery is not measured in months, but way way longer.

I had some wound healing problems, due to radiated tissue, that required a SECOND SURGERY only 7 weeks after the big surgery.  Prior to that second surgery, holes on each of my breasts opened up and would not heal, and I had to pack them with gauze.

Lemme tell you, with all that I've been through since a cancer diagnosis, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING was harder than this.  I have never been in so much pain and agony as this.  I recall one evening in particular, after a visit with my Plastic Surgeon earlier in the day.  He had cleaned up my wounds, help me Jesus, then stuffed the hell out of them.  Later that night I had to pull out the long ropes of gauze so I could re-stuff them again.

The problem is the dressing gets stuck in there, and there is no way around it, it is damn painful.  I had holes in my new breasts that were 3-4 inches deep, and more than one.

I stood in front of my bathroom mirror that night, and felt like a Civil War soldier dressing my own wounds from a .44 caliber six-shot revolver.  My poor Husband watched in agony as I completely lost it trying to do this.  He could not help me; it's one of those things that hurts so bad and you have to feel your way, no one can help you.

I have had moments during cancer treatment I just wanted to quit, and say "I'm sorry folks, I can't do this, Lord Jesus in heaven, take me home NOW."

I don't even know how I got through it, well, yes I do, the strength and power of my Savior and Heavenly Father, and the love of my family and friends.  That is the ONLY THING that kept me going through the biggest physical challenge of my life.

After the first surgery, I had those melt away stitches, but they didn't do the trick.  After the second surgery, I woke up to hard Frankenstein stitching, my surgeon wasn't messing around.  It looked absolutely awful, but it did the trick.

Sister, if you have been radiated and decide to go for a DIEP, be prepared for wound issues.  It's common.  Radiated tissue does not have the same blood flow as regular tissue, and there's usually lots of scar tissue that doesn't want to heal or behave.  Be prepared.

I am finally getting to a point, in the tiniest of increments as the days pass, where I don't regret this difficult reconstruction choice.  Husband keeps reminding me "You're only a few months out..."  Sisters keep reminding me "It'll be worth it.  Keep going."

After almost 15 weeks, which included one week in the hospital, two surgeries, six drains, incisions from hip to hip and large moon shaped ones on both breasts, and numerous healing issues, every stitch is out, every scab has healed. I'm rebuilding strength, have returned to work part time, and areas of hard scar tissue that itch and hurt are softening, and prickly tingly burning nerves are slowly reconnecting.

In my clothes, I look a lot like my old pre-cancer self, but these new breasts are lumpy, not the same size, have numerous hard spots, and my torso is still very swollen and sore.  Did I mention I have a new belly button?  I'm also sorry to say my nipples didn't survive the journey.  If you remember, I had a skin sparing nipple sparing mastectomy, and although plastic surgeon removed and re-attached them during the 8 hour DIEP surgery, they just didn't make it.  After weeks of trying to heal then scabbing off, all that's left of em is a dot on each breast to mark the spot.

This ain't my first rodeo,  I know things will get better.

Patience.
Faith.
Baby steps.
Fight like a girl.
Gratitude.

ACCEPTANCE.

Sister, these are some of the things I'd like you to know if you are considering DIEP reconstruction:

First of all, a DIEP is not a single surgery.  The first and main surgery is all about moving the tissue, and its successful blood flow.  You've basically had a tissue graft, and that is the main focus of the first surgery, the survival of the graft.  There are many smaller procedures after the first one that involve tweaking the large surgery.  These are more cosmetic in nature and may include lipo, nipple reconstruction, nipple tattooing, and various nips and tucks to achieve size and symmetry.  These later surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, at least three months or longer after the first big surgery.

Be prepared Sister that after the big surgery, your new boobs aren't finished yet.

That first week in the hospital is a real bitch, but no pain, no gain Baby.  The sooner you get up and start moving, the sooner you'll begin to rebuild your strength.  (I'd like to thank the nursing staff at Stanford Hospital where I had my surgery, for your excellent constant loving care.  and of course, my plastic surgeon, Dr. Gordon Lee, for your skill, kindness, compassion and encouragement that we would get through this together.)




Don't let them use one of those dry shampoos on you while you're in the hospital.  My hair puffed and frizzed up like I'd been electrocuted in a Tom&Jerry cartoon.

Eat lightly while in the hospital, stay hydrated and be prepared that you may not poop for days.

You will have 4-6 drains while in the hospital.  I had six; two in each breast, and two in the groin area for my stomach.  I came home with four drains, then down to 2, then all drains out a couple of weeks after surgery.  Get yourself a drain belt, makes things so much easier!  It's a fabric belt with velcro loops and you can hang all your drains off it.  My hospital supplied it to me, check with your Dr.


Also very handy when it's time to shower with drains is a garment or pants hanger with the little clips. I would clip my drains to the plastic hanger, then hang it on the shower towel bar.  Your mobility is limited though, so be careful, you can only move as far away as the slack from your drains.

Be prepared to sleep in a chair, with your bed elevated, or with a bed lounge pillow. You will not be able to use your torso to pull yourself up, your legs will be doing all the work.  I tried sleeping in a comfortable chair, but really wanted to be in my bed.  I made a huge nest of pillows for myself, and even then, getting up and out of bed was a daily victory for weeks.

For gosh sakes, make sure you go home with good pain meds, Vicodin didn't do it for me, I needed Dilaudid.  Make sure you mix in stool softeners and gentle laxatives for as long as you're on pain meds.  Ativan, an anti-anxiety medicine that also helps with nausea, was a must have for me.

Wear the tummy compression belt they give you in the hospital for at least 6-8 weeks after recovery.  Wear a comfortable but supportive bra 24/7 for weeks after surgery.

You will need all the help you can get from your family to help you in the first few weeks.

Be prepared that if you have been radiated, you may have wound issues, i.e., wounds that will not heal.  This is typical, your Dr. will get you through it, it does get better!  I promise.

One of the remedies I found after the second surgery that really helped my healing was Oreganol.  It's a pure form of oil of oregano, which for centuries in many cultures has been used as an herbal antiseptic, anti-microbial and antibiotic.  I mixed a few drops with olive oil, and used this on my wounds with great success.  I wish I had known about it after the first surgery.

Click here to read about Oreganol P73.

Have or develop a network of Sisters who have been through this!  Nobody gets it like somebody who's been through it, and on that note, I am so grateful to my Sisters Norma and Irish BC Warrior Pat for talking me through this!




Whatever your reconstruction decision, do the homework, but be prepared in cancer treatment and/or reconstruction, things often do not go as planned or expected.

Welcome to life on the planet!





I DON'T LOOK LIKE WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH

This song I heard in church a few weeks ago sure resonates with me.

Lord I don't look like what I've been through.

Remember this?




That was me in the chemo chair, after five months of the good stuff to save my life.  Oh Lord, Oh Lord, what you've brought me through.

This is me three years later, walking with my son and other Vallejo Relayers at the Vallejo 4th of July parade.


Lord I don't look like what I've been through, all glory to You.

My family has been through some hard times and heartbreaking losses these last three years since my diagnosis.  We lost three beloved family members, first my Uncle Jody,


Uncle Jody and me

then Virginia, our Grandma, and my other Mama.




Then just a couple months ago, our Hallie dog.




We were devastated by Cara's girl's leukemia diagnosis just two years after my diagnosis.



We've done our best to manage under my crushing medical debt, and months and months of lost wages when I was recovering from cancer treatment and my reconstruction.

Despite the twists and turns of this life, that every family faces,

many gifts arrived after my cancer diagnosis.

A return to faith.

A return to gratitude.

And 'rithmetic Baby.

It's all about how you do the math.  What are you going to count?  All the tragedies, disappoints, heartaches, losses and suffering?

Or will you begin each day with gratitude for all the gifts and angels delivered to you, right when you thought you could do no more?

I had a rush of gratitude this morning while on my walk by the waterfront close to home.




The Holy Spirit flooded my body and I wept with all I have to be absolutely grateful for.

Walking and crying.

Walking and praying.

Walking and praising.

I may not be where I'd like to be,

but thank you Jesus I'm not where I was.

Thank you Lord for all the times you pulled me out from under, You Lord, my Lifeguard that walks on water.


Thank you for all you've brought us through, keeping our family intact, and moving in our family and in my marriage.

I cling to you Lord.

Cover me.

When others look at me, let them see You, and all the ordinary and extraordinary things that You can do.

Amen.









Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Go Angelina!

I have so much to tell you about, almost one month out from my DIEP breast reconstruction.  Wow, hardest slowest month ever.  I thank you so much for all your love and support during a challenging recovery, and will be blogging about it this week.

I wanted to share this with you though, another Sister, a famous Sister, who was not diagnosed but I still regard her as part of our sorority.  She took her health into her own hands with the fearlessness she has always been known for, and then spoke about it! Bravo! Bravo!

Click on this link to read her statement.

I applaud you Angelina, for your practical, brave decision, nevertheless it made me very sad.  Of course, when faced with the decision between our breasts and our lives, we choose life.  We choose life.

That is not to say it makes losing your breasts any easier, even with all the love and support we receive from the men who love us, and the plastic surgery options available for reconstruction.

Early prevention is just not enough.

It hurts every time I hear of another woman whose breasts are butchered and altered because of breast cancer.  Not to mention all those who die from breast cancer every year, despite our best efforts and advances in treatment.

Early prevention is just not enough.

We want a cure.

We want a cure.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rolling in the DIEP, Shall We Try Again?

So I'm just over a week out from checking into a five day spa visit in Oz, otherwise known as Stanford University.  I got a date with a wizard there named Dr. Lee, and all his peeps who gonna make me over.

Cut cut here,
Snip snip there,
And a couple of new tata's,
That's how we keep you young and fair
in the merry old land of oz.




FLOPSY AND MOPSY, THE SEQUEL!

Oh Jesus Lord in heaven, Lord I just have to trust that all the times my plans got jinxed and dashed and I was QUEEN OF THE GLITCH, it was because you had something BETTER for me.  Is this it?!?  Tell me this is it.

I need to graduate from cancer camp folks!  Although I'm almost three years out from diagnosis, I still feel like cancer girl every time I look in the mirror, every time I get dressed, every time I look down and feel these hard Nerf like footballs stuffed in my chest!  I will not have made safe passage out of The Kingdom of the Lost Breasts until I can buy a bra!  I haven't worn a regular old bra for 2 1/2 years!!!

So here's a reminder of what we're looking at:

DIEP, or Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator
It's a good illustration that gives you an idea of what they'll be doing to me.  Mine is a little different though.  My incisions will be directly under each breast.  They'll take the tissue expanders out, and plop the whale blubber that is my muffin top in!  Voila, foobs!  No implants, just my own tissue stuffed in there.

It's a long surgery because it's two in one, tummy tuck and breast reconstruction.  It's a long hospital stay, about five days, so they can closely monitor my tissue graft to make sure it has a good blood supply and lives.  Living foobies!

Oh breast cancer, oh breast cancer, what a party you've thrown for me Baby, aren't you fun?!!

Oh and don't forget, my nipples will get moved around too, so they'll be in the right spot once the reconstruction, reduction and lift is done.  Pray for me nipples that they survive the journey!

Recovery will be about 6 weeks, once I've passed through the initial phase of hit by a train, run over by a bus and pink steam roller, then dragged like a rodeo rider whose foot is caught in the saddle!  Rumor has it I'll be coming home with four to six drains hanging out of my new body, oh joy oh joy.

YOU KNOW I LOVE THOSE DRAINS. Emptying em, stripping em, trying to figure out where to pin em, hanging them up in the shower, gettin in bed with em!

Some party, eh?

Start your praying for me early, that Jesus has his hand on me, giving me courage and strength and humor, and more importantly GUIDES my surgeon and those who will be taking care of me.

I can't look, am I almost there yet?

THURSDAY, APRIL 18th - FLOPSY AND MOPSY, THE SEQUEL!

Stay tuned...

  

Monday, March 18, 2013

I am. This day.

God said I am.

Not I was.

Not I'm gonna be.

I AM.

THIS is the day the Lord has made.

THIS DAY.

Hmmmm.  Blond brain at work here.

I AM.

THIS DAY.

Not yesterday.

Not tomorrow.

Right now.

This moment.

You got it?

Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Surrender

There is always so much to pray about, friends and family whose hearts are burdened in dark valleys looking for answers and God's comfort and a way out.  Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.


In addition to my Bible and other current reading, there is a little book I keep on my nightstand,






I read it every evening before bed, and then look up the Bible verses she references.  The way Sarah Young has written each daily devotional, it's as if Jesus is speaking directly to me, like the loving Father Redeemer Healer Counselor he is.  It's so comforting and reassuring.  (Hello my Midgey Midge, don't go buy this, I already bought one for you and will mail it, kiss kiss)


For those following Cara's story, she recently marked the milestone of her one year "cancerversary" as we call it in the business, one year out from diagnosis and a year of the wild roller coaster that is leukemia treatment.  We are grateful and praise God that Cara is in remission, but her treatment continues and has been full of very challenging side effects and collateral damage.  Most recently she suffered a bout of shingles and was back in her old stomping grounds at UCSF for a week.  She is home again now, and I know her beloved at-home nurse and furry angel is very happy to have her home.


Cara and Sunny

My son Adam aka Batman and his girl, Cara
Your continued prayers for Cara and her complete healing and recovery are most needed and appreciated.  I'm sure God has had His hand on this sweet girl; her smile and spirit and courage and sense of humor have touched so many people.  Even those of us who already really loved her.  She is a real warrior, just doing what she has to do.

I love you Cara, it won't always be like this Hon, it will get better and better!

I had a wonderful surprise message from Angel B, remember her?  Her name is Becca, and she and Alaina aka Angel A, both from Novato High, made a pink ribbon blanket for a cancer patient, which ended up being me!  I was blessed to meet these girls in person when I surprised them for a visit at their school.

Alaina and Becca, making my blanket
Becca has a friend named Amanda, another teenager diagnosed with cancer.  Will you join me in prayer for Amanda?  And for Becca too, whose love and concern for her friend inspired her to contact me.

After a cancer diagnosis, you feel as if when people look at you, this big letter 'C' is branded on you like the scarlet letter.  What is it we want from you, you blessed Muggles who are cancer free?  We know you can't fix this, we know we have to do this on our own, and there really are no words to take away all the fear and grief and uncertainty we feel.  We just want to feel normal, we want to feel your love and quiet presence, and we really need your prayers.  Those are really the best words you can give to us, your constant prayers lifting us up to the one True Healer.

I am about a month away from my upcoming reconstruction surgery, and I'll admit to you, the closer it gets, the more I am dreading it.  I am praying hard every day for God's peace and comfort and strength.  My courage ain't what it used to be, but I know for sure, this is a necessary passage of graduating from Cancer Camp.



I seem to be getting stuck in my head, revisiting the hard parts, and sometimes I still grieve for what I went through, what I lost, and for a body that still is so foreign to me.  I pray that God will strengthen my resolve, keep me hopeful and trusting, and give me the physical strength to endure a long surgery and several days in ICU.  I'd much rather be going to a different kind of Club Med, but I'm blessed that the Club Med I'll be going to is Stanford University.

Will you pray for me, that my fear and dread will be replaced with trust and faithfulness and I'll find my courage again?  I seem to have lost it.

Little Muff, Big World
On our walks together, I'm walking Muff, and God is walking me.  The world and my head can be so noisy.  I go to my peaceful places so I can hear His whisper, and get rest in His presence.

John 16:33  I give you peace, knowing I have overcome the world.
Thank you Lord, for all the times I call out to You, and You answer with a "there there now Little Debbie."

Thank you Lord.



I surrender to you Jesus, every worry, every fear, every problem, every heartache, every ouch, every thing that does not serve You.  I surrender to you, and open myself to Your perfect plan to take all this mess of my sacred ordinary and turn it into Your glory.

I pray
when others see me,
they'll
see
You.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Almost Three Years Out

My friend Jenny gave me a great book to read, it's by Regina Brett, a breast cancer survivor and columnist for the Plain Dealer, out of Cincinnati.



I am really enjoying this little book of simple common sense treasures, and it's for anybody, not just my cancer peeps. I highly recommend it.

Jenny also forwarded me Regina's latest column regarding her fifteen year "cancerversary."  In April I will be three years out from diagnosis, or as I like to say "From Stage Three to Cancer Free."  Praise God.

I'll be celebrating with my reconstruction on April 18th, do I dare say the date?  Oh Lord, deliver me to this date, healthy, strong and ready.  I am so so ready to git her done and continue to move forward!  It's crazy to think I'm almost three years out, my cancerversary is April 21, 2010.

I'm not surprised to read in Regina's article, that even after fifteen years of survivorship, the what if's still creep and linger.  I imagine once you've been diagnosed, no matter how far out you get, there will always be a bit of looking over your shoulder.  Cancer is scary.  Cancer treatment is hard hard hard.  There aren't always happy endings.

I have my days where I worry about recurrence, where any little pain or ache makes me pause and think "Uh oh, what's that?"  I try not to focus on them, instead focusing on what I can to better my odds against a recurrence.

What have I changed since my cancer diagnosis?  Way better at managing my stress, and investing in what brings me joy.  More prayer.  More nature.  More whole foods.  More greens. No artificial flavors, sweeteners or preservatives.

Mostly though?

Way way way more gratitude, seeking peace, avoiding drama, connecting daily with my Higher Power Jesus Christ, and being present in my life.

I sure have appreciated all the love and support I've gotten, but there's something that worries me now and then.

If I were to have a recurrence, I think you'd all be so disappointed and discouraged and angry and maybe lose hope.  The beauty for me is this -

even if ultimately I have not been cured,

thank you thank you Lord,

for how my heart and blond brain have been healed.

No matter what happens, will you always, when you think of me, think of the joy and love and passion I live my life with?

Promise?

This is what survivorship is to me, it's not about the cancer or if it comes back.

It's how I live every day now, however many days are gifted to me.

Gratitude

changes

everything.

Try it.

1Peter 3:4



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Glimmering

That's how it feels sometimes, this gratitude in me, like I am glimmering, sparkly, like rays of sunshine through a crystal, exploding in rainbows out of my blond brain.

Well let me see, since I last saw you, I made a trip to see the Good Witch! Oh how I do love her, my Diva cancer doctor touchstone, but it's a struggle Baby, missing her and yet hatin to walk through those CANCER CENTER doors.  My sentences do run on today, deal with it.

I have been on a schedule, like most cancer faithful, of seeing her every three months.  Just shy of 3 years of doing that!

Imagine my glory and surprise and elation when she says to me "Okay, so I'll see you in six months..."

Huh? What? Stop the presses.  Wait a minute Lady, could you REPEAT THAT PLEASE?

Like ice cream dripping down my chin on a 100 degree day, oh yes, yes, this is good good good.

My God is good good good.

"Wait a minute, could you repeat that please, and aren't you gonna try and strong arm me into a PET scan? I haven't had one since a couple months into chemo."

I was all prepared for her answer, I was ready for her, but she got me.

"Well, I probably would have liked you to have one last year, but you talked me out of it, and now you're so far out and doing so well, I don't see the need for one.  We'll do one if we need to, if we feel like we're chasing something."

Yes we are chasing something alright.

JUST GIVE ME SOME HOPE TO FOLLOW AND I WILL RUN. Jarrod Gorbel

No oncology appointment, no lab tests, for six months?  And no PET scan?




Yup. That's how I felt.

Almost three years out, from Stage 3 to cancer free.

Lord you see me dancing,

gangnam style?


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy things

You must focus on the happy things.
The things that bring you peace.
The things that bring you calm.
The things that make you want to try again.
The things that bring lightness
and joy.

You must focus on the happy things.






























































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