Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My "No Visitors" Sign is Down

My "No Visitors" sign came down today.  So that means besides phone calls, emails, following this blog, you are welcome to come visit.

I saw my doctor today and at this point, my immune system is still good.  That could change in the future as more treatments happen, especially if they include the removal of more lymph nodes and/or chemotherapy.  At this moment in time, though, my immune system is working.

Please call before you come since I do have appointments happening.  And, once these drain bags come out, I might be out doing some visiting of my own (or shopping, or eating out, or watching movies)  :)

Please be respectful of my decreased energy level.  I'd like to jump right back into normal activity, but I did have major surgery a week ago and I'm still pretty tired.  I'd love to see you, but maybe not for hours at a time. :)

And We Wait

I had an appointment with the oncologist today to go over my pathology report and create a plan for the future.  I've been excited and nervous for this appointment.  I am ready to have a plan in place and get things moving.

Well, we are still waiting.  My pathology report was somewhat inconclusive and more testing needs to happen before we make a decision on the next step.  The good news is the tumor was only 1 cm and the margins were clear.  There was nothing additional found in the breast tissue.  The confusing news is about the lymph nodes.   The dye only reached two so only two lymph nodes were taken out and tested.  One was negative.  Yay!!!  One was micro metastatic  1..8mm.  So, what do we do next?  The oncologist thought we needed more information from more lymph nodes.  That means more surgery.  BOOOO!!!

After discussing the impact of additional surgery on my arm strength/usage, we decided to wait on surgery.  An oncotype dx test will be performed on my slides and the results of that test will  help determine the next step.  So, I'll be waiting on those results for the next 4 weeks or so.  What does that all mean?  I'm glad I have a great treatment team to figure out my options and help me balance the risk of cancer vs. the risk of side effects.  I certainly couldn't figure this all out on my own.

My mom asked me if I had been praying for patience since I'm sure getting reasons to practice patience lately.  :)  I wonder when I will have learned patience.  I know I'm not there yet.  This waiting is about to drive me crazy!!!

Thankful thoughts for today:
Treatment Team
Fresh Air

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Expectations vs. Reality

Expectation: I will need assistance after surgery
Reality:  I definitely need assistance after surgery.
I am so thankful for the great assistance I have had.  My wonderful husband took a week off work to help me with surgery and follow up.  My mom came to spend some time with me and will be handling the assistance I need while my husband goes back to work.  I"m so thankful for great family and friends.

Expectation: I will have no use of my arms for an indefinite period of time
Reality:  I can move both arms to shoulder height and have almost 100% usage of my left arm and more of my right than I expected at this point.
Stretching and twisting is not possible, but I don''t think that is really a indication of arm usage.

Expectation: I will never need to wear a bra again if I don't want to
Reality: I have to wear a post surgical bra to help protect my incision as it heals and provide pockets to hold my drain bags. 
I guess I have some more waiting to do before I can choose to go bra less.

Expectation: I will manage after surgery pain with no prescription pain meds
Reality:  I've been taking pain meds as prescribed regularly
I have a history of managing pretty serious medical issues with over the counter pain medications by choice because I tend to have annoying side effects from prescription pain meds.  I would generally much rather deal with pain than side effects.  PTL there have been no annoying side effects this time around.

Expectation: I will not be up for visitors for awhile
Reality: I am not up for visitors for awhile.
I expected to not be up for visitors.  I did not expect being quite so exhausted.  The beginning of the week I could only manage to be awake and fully functional for about 30 minutes at a time before it was time to sleep again.  I am now able to manage a little longer at a time, but still needs lots of naps all day long.  Part of the reason I am not up for visitors is that I can't stay awake.  Part of the reason is that I just want to stay in pjs all day and not do my hair.  So, I just don''t feel "dressed for company" and don't really want to get that way.  Love you all, but I'm still not ready for visitors.

Expectation: Taking care of my drain bags will be annoying
Reality: Taking care of drain bags is annoying.
Taking care of my drain bags is super annoying.  This is something I definitely need help doing.  I was so concerned with how I would possibly manage drain bags and wheelchair usage/transferring.  I'm so thankful that my surgeon took my concerns seriously and made my tubes shorter so that I carry them in drain tube bags attached to my surgical bra so there is no interference while transferring etc.  But, they are still annoying.  My son was a bit concerned about what exactly is draining out of my body.  A little gross to think about.  Drain bags remain in place for 1-4 weeks after surgery.  I'm praying for closer to the one week mark.   Drain bags are so annoying!!!  Plus it's extra annoying that I need bigger sized shirts to button around the drain bags.  GRRRR!

Expectation:  I will have a scar when this is all over
Reality: I will definitely have a scar when this is all over.
I can't imagine I won't have a scar when this is all over.  My incision is 26-27 inches long from armpit to armpit.  More on this later.

Expectation: I will need button front shirts for awhile
Reality: I need button front shirts for awhile.
So thankful I had done some research about what I would need post surgery and had some already purchased.  Thanks mom for getting me some really soft ones to help get me through this initial healing phase.

Expectation: I will not wake up from this surgery
Reality: I woke up in recovery
I woke up the day of surgery nervous, unsure of what I was about to do, but feeling like I was making the right decision for myself and my family.  I did some final preparations around the house and then checked my Bible Gateway verse of the day.
"The Eternal will keep you safe from all of life’s evils, From your first breath to the last breath you breathe, from this day and forever."
Psalm 121:7-8
My interpretation of that Monday morning was God would keep me safe until my last breath, which would be later that day.  I didn't tell a sole that was what I was thinking and I went through all the pre-surgery prep as planned.  So my expectation was that I would not wake up from surgery in this world.  Imagine my surprise when I did.  I then told my husband my interpretation of that verse and he thought I was silly for thinking that.   It obviously means God will be with me through whatever I am facing, including surgery and recovery.  :)

Expectation:  Aggressive cancer treatment will help me live a long, healthy life
Reality:  That is still my expectation, but we'll have to wait awhile to find out reality.

Expectation: Dealing with "What Is" is better than dealing with "What If"
Reality: Dealing with "What Is" is always better than dealing with "What If"
I can stop imagining worst case scenarios and start dealing with reality.  Reality is not exactly fun, but it is better than some of the crazy scenarios I had created in my head.

Expectation: I will not be able to eat or sleep normally for an indefinite period of time
Reality:  I have no restrictions on eating and have been sleeping well all day and night (until Saturday  night)

Thankful thoughts for the day:
Reclining couch
The Selection Series
View of my backyard

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Friday, June 26, 2015


Thankful thoughts for today:
Reclining Couch

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Thursday, June 25, 2015


To Do List

This is what I would like my days to look like right now--just a repeat of the above three things.  During the survive phase, it includes things like take pain meds, eat a little something, empty drain bags and dress wound, maybe read a little,  blog a little, check email.   I don't have the energy to handle things like my bathroom project right now even though right now is when I need it done.  So, what do I do?  I think this list is about right.  That's all I can do right now.  Wake up.  Survive for 30-60 minutes max.  Go Back to Sleep,  Repeat.

Why Would I Choose Pain?

When I am feeling good right now, why would I choose pain?  Why would I choose surgery knowing that will take me from feeling good to really feeling not good for who knows how long?  Why would I willingly choose something that will decrease independence and mobility for an indeterminate amount of time?

That's a question I've been asking myself a lot over the past few weeks and have even been asked by others.  If I feel good, why would I make a choice that will leave me feeling not good?

I think this is a choice we should all be making at times throughout our lives.  Not everything in our lives is 100% pleasant, nor should it be.  We choose to work hard in school knowing the long term results are worth it.  We choose to study instead of partying to enjoy long term rewards.  We choose short term pain of childbirth for the long term joy of parenting a miracle.

If we only ever got exactly what we thought we wanted at that moment, how would we ever grow or be truly successful or joyful?  I will not live a life of entitlement.  I do not deserve to have everything I want handed to me and I will not demand it.  I will not focus only on experiencing  pleasure.  I will not expect the world to cater to my wishes.  Sometimes, there must be short term pain in order to experience long term success.

This whole thought process reminds me of the subjective pain scale at doctor's offices/hospitals. "How is your pain on a scale of 1-10?"  Compared to what?  Compared to the worst pain I've ever experienced?  Compared to childbirth?  Compared to a splinter in my finger?  I guarantee pain scale numbers are different for everyone.  When I was asked that question this week, I found myself comparing it to pain I have experienced in the past and knowing that my son writhing in pain a couple of weeks ago rated his at a 5 or 6.   How can I complain when mine can be managed by pain meds?

Why would I choose pain?  Because there is an invader in my body that if left alone, will cause more pain and destruction in the future.  Because this relatively short term pain, will hopefully allow me to have a long, cancer free life.  So, I choose pain.  I choose to not ignore cancer and hope it will someday go away on its own.  I choose short term pain for hopefully long term health.

The good news is this world on Earth is short term and Eternity will be full of health and minus all these short term problems.

"For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.."
                                           2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)

Thankful thoughts for today:
Maintaining arm strength
Time to sleep
Pain medication

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Monday, June 22, 2015

I Am Not a Sideshow Attraction

I've been asked a lot what I need.  What I mostly need is prayer, love, support (from a distance), and respecting my wishes and decisions about the choices I am making as I deal with my cancer treatment.

I am requesting no visitors (other than designated caregivers) until after my first post op appointment.  At that point, I'll let you know if the no visitation policy has changed.

I am going to spend a few minutes dealing with what I don't need.  
I don't need anyone coming over to stare at my new body like a sideshow attraction.
I don't need any crass comments.
I don't need anyone communicating with me like cancer is a death sentence.  That is not how I am choosing to address this.
I don't need negativity of any kind around me.
I don't need people assuming they know better than I and my doctors do about how to treat this cancer.
I don't need anyone getting bent out of shape about any treatment decisions (including my no visitors policy)
I don't need you to make this about you and your need to take care of your guilt about your aunt, cousin, friend, grandmother who had cancer and died.
I don't need you to speak to me with sympathy and pity.
I don't need you to get after my husband for following my wishes and making sure my needs are met.

I do need love and prayer and for you to continue to communicate with me this way.
Check out this great article on the best way to comfort the cancer patient (me) and those around me.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Verse of the day

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Thought I Was Ready

I thought I was ready.  I've been saying for years that whenever Jesus comes for me, I am ready.  This world is not my home and I am ready to move on to my true home in Heaven.  I've also been saying that if I was ever diagnosed with cancer, I wouldn't treat it.  I would just accept that as my time to go and enjoy whatever time I had left without medical intervention.

That all sounds great, but when I was faced with the reality of a cancer diagnosis, I changed my mind a bit.  I decided to do whatever it took, follow all recommended medical interventions, be as aggressive as possible to beat this thing.  I think in my daydream world, I figured a cancer diagnosis might come at a much later time in my life.  I thought I might be facing these decisions as an older woman with a grown family.  I never imagined I would be facing this diagnosis with children still at home.

My gut reaction was, "My job is not done!  I still have the awesome responsibility to raise these two precious gifts all the way to adulthood.  I can't leave yet."

Even as I read that I am a bit ashamed at how that sounds.  I know that God's plan for me and my family is much better than I could ever dream up.  I'm just blessed to get to be a part of helping grow these amazing kiddos on their journey to adulthood.  And, I will be a part of that important work as long as I can.  God will take care of me and my family.  I may not be able to see the big picture or even what is right around the corner, but I do know it will all work out great.  God loves us and will take care of me and my family.

If I were the author of my story, the cancer chapter would end with surgery and no needed follow up.  Who am I kidding?  If I were the author of my story, there wouldn't be a cancer chapter.  But, I am trying to trust God and let Him be in the driver's seat.  I'm trying to let Him drive and I'm trying not to be a backseat driver.  I can't see the end of the road, or even around the next curve.  And, I don't want to.  I'm not sure I would be traveling forward if I could see the valleys coming.  But, I trust God to be with me and get me safely through, whatever that means.

"Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: 'Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.'"
                                                           Luke 9:23-27  (MSG)

I started this post right after receiving my biopsy results.  While attending church, I found myself unable to sing about God taking me to Heaven.  I realized at that point that I was not ready to head to Heaven myself and leave my family behind.   I want to go to Heaven, but I'm not sure I want to go right now.  I just want Jesus to return and take us all to Heaven at the same time.  Maybe tonight?  :)
Whatever happens, I will be trusting God and trying not to be a backseat driver.  He can see the end of the road, I'll just trust Him to safely get us all there.

Thankful thoughts for today:
More lasts

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

"Capes Are So Last Year"

I learned some sad new throughout this experience--capes are not necessarily a good idea.  I was wearing my socks with capes and the cape got caught in my wheelchair casters and ripped right off.  My other cape was safely tucked into my brace.  So, now I have one sock with a cape and one capeless sock.  I wonder if they will still zoom me out of trouble?

If I had just paid attention to the Incredibles I would have already known that capes were not a great idea.  :)

I wonder if a mug with a cape is a better idea?  Do you think that is dishwaher or microwave safe?  :)

Thankful thoughts for today:
Smallville comicon
Farmer's Market
Garage Sales
Cousin Fun

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Keeping Life as Normal as Possible

In the midst of all this craziness, one of my biggest concerns is how to keep life as normal as possible for my family.  I have wonderful parents who are willing to do whatever to help make that happen.  Both my kiddos were signed up for church camp, but since my son had his own medical emergency, church camp was eliminated for him.  I'm so thrilled that he'll be spending the time at Grandpa camp instead.  He's pretty excited and I'm releived knowing that his medical needs will be addressed and he'll be in excellent care.  How do I manage to keep things as normal as possible when we're all home?  Our daily routine will be interrupted since I will not be leaving my house for awhile.  So, how do I keep things normal around here without resorting to too much TV/video games?

I just read an article in FamilyFun magazine titled, "The Happy Family Playbook."  So, here are their seven things to work into family life to help create happiness:
1.  Commit acts of kindness
2.  Lol-a lot
3.  Jump for joy
4.  Unplug a while
5.  Get into gratitude
6.  Go play outside
7.  Celebrate sunny thinking

The good news is we already lol and I'm sure we'll continue to do that.  I will just have to make a conscious effort to involve them in daily gratitude.  And, we already try to monitor screen time and will continue to do so.  We even have a list of things that must be  completed before screen time happens:  Reading, Clean Room, One Chore, Summer School, Something Creative (play, build, draw, etc.).  That is already a habit and will continue.

I think I'm going to need help from all of you to make this a summer of fun and not about cancer.  Any ideas?  Also, how do I help my husband feel like a loved and appreciated husband, and not a nurse?

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It's On!

Thankful thoughts for today:
New roof
New Fireplace
Family coming

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Finding Another Sisterhood

When I first became a member of the wheelchair users club, I was thrilled to find an amazing sisterhood through the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas program.  There was this amazing group of successful women who happened to use wheelchairs and could help me adjust positively to my new normal and live life successfully in my wheelchair.

I am now a member of another club, breast cancer patients/survivors.  This is not a club anyone would choose to join, but once you have joined, do your best to connect with other members.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is that those who have been there are the ones who can help you successfully navigate these uncharted waters you are about to go through.  Those who have been there can give the best advice about what may be coming and how to manage the future.  Those who have been there can empathize with what you are feeling because they've had those same feelings themselves.

I am thrilled to have found a support group through Victory in the Valley.  http://www.victoryinthevalley.org/ It is nice to be in a room of people who have experienced what is coming in my life and can offer support and advice.  It was amazing to listen to my questions being answered before I could even voice them.  We talked about the very things I had been questioning and researching this week and I didn't even have to bring them up.  I left feeling more confident about the decisions I have made and more hopeful about the future.  I know that I am not alone as I go through this.  Although my treatment team of doctors has been amazing and patient about my multitude of questions, sometimes you just need a sisterhood of those who have traveled this way before.

I am thrilled to have found another sisterhood to help me adjust to my new, new normal.  :)
My daughter thinks it's funny that I am excited to go to support group.  She asked me if we meet in "the literal heart of Jesus."  Hee Hee We're full of The Fault in Our Stars references around here right now.  Thank you John Green for providing that emotional release for us.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Success Maker working
Victory in the Valley
Roofers working
Thank you gifts

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Thank God Through It All

Cancer Will Define My Life Forever--Part 2

This is the week I've really begun seriously researching what I am about to experience.  I've been making a list (and checking it twice or three or four or more times.)  :)  I've been trying to make sure I'm as prepared as possible for my upcoming surgery, recovery etc. both physically and emotionally.

I've been living under the mistaken assumption that maybe I could have surgery only and other than a changed body and ongoing hormone therapy, life could quickly return back to normal.  I've been working on boosting my immune system for improved healing after surgery.  Well, today I discovered what I think I've known all along--cancer changes your life forever.

Surgery will include the removal of lymph nodes.  I knew this would weaken my immune system for awhile.  What I don't think I fully realized until today is that we are talking about a permanent change.  Lymph nodes will be removed from my body and they do not grow back.  What this means is that part of my lymphatic system responsible for fighting off infection will no longer be working.  I have been under the mistaken assumption that I just have to be careful to protect my immune system for awhile until it starts fully functioning again.  Although the human body is an amazing thing and it's possible for other lymph nodes to work harder to pick up the slack of the missing lymph nodes, my immune system will be permanently altered.  This is going to be a lifelong battle.  Lymphedema can develop at any time, weeks, months, years after surgery.

My life will be forever defined by cancer.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Preparation time
Restaurant reopening
Ice Cream

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Friday, June 12, 2015

When One Domino Falls

One domino fell out of line today and it's been feeling like much more of a catastrophe than it is.  I know what horrible days are, and this is not it, but I still feel pretty panicked.  I thought I had my dominoes all lined up neatly and as they wavered out of line, there was still time to set them back in line and keep moving forward.  Well, the time for arranging dominoes is quickly coming to an end.  I can see the sand flowing through the hourglass and time is almost up.

So, I was devastated when I was told today that there is no way the bathroom can be done before surgery.  It cannot even go back before committee until that date.  So, although I am thankful for Plan B options, I don't like to think about them.  How am I supposed to relax before surgery knowing this is not settled?  How am I supposed to recover when contractors are working on my bathroom after surgery?  How I am supposed to mange bathroom needs during recovery when my master bath is unusable?  

I'm panicking.  What if we wait so long the contractors can no longer wait on me and can't get to the job for weeks or months?  What if in my panicked state I've done something to make this an even longer process?  

What if one domino falling out of line is only a precursor of what is to come?  What if I'm looking forward to a multitude of disappointments?

This has been a "what if" day and I know I shouldn't do that.  Now that all of you have gotten to experience "what ifs" with me, I will turn my focus to "what is" and figure out what's next.  One domino falling out of line is not the end of the world.  It is just a turn in a different direction and requires more thought about "what's next."

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What Do I Need?

What do I need?   I've been asked that question a ton of times and the reality is I'm a little overwhelmed and not sure what is coming so I'm not sure what I will need.

Right now, I'm needing my construction projects to all be finished.  The good news is, they are in the works with a hopeful completion next week.  There are day to day needs that pop up, but at this moment, they are being handled one need at a time.  I have excellent caregivers lined up for immediately following surgery.  I'm so thankful for my husband and my mom changing their schedules to help me out.

I don't have all my needs for post surgery care figured out yet, but I'm working on it (and I'm sure I'll get more details from my surgeon and the surgical center).  I will learn about wound care and redressing my surgical site the day of my surgery.  I have been learning that infection control will be an important aspect of my aftercare.  I am asking for no visitors other than caretakers and immediate family for the first week.  And then, use discretion and don't bring anything contagious into my home.

I know I need a ton of prayers and I need you all to not disappear from my life.  I need you to respect the need for infection control and not get bent out of shape if you're asked to physically stay away for awhile.  I need you to respect my changes in energy level and changes in communication level.  I will do my best to stay in touch with all of you, but I may not be able to manage more than a few minutes at a time.

I don't know what's coming and don't know what I will need.  Just stay with me throughout these week, months, years.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Church family
Cell phones
Plan B

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

The "Lasts" Have Begun

Today I had my first of many "lasts" that I know are coming.  I went to my class at the YMCA for the last time before surgery.  I've probably already had tons of "lasts" and just not been aware that they were the last.  Now, I know it's not the last forever, but it is the last before surgery.  The worst thing about it all is the undetermined amount of time before I can begin having these experiences again.

 When I talk about "lasts" I am aware this is not finality.  But, at this moment, it feels like it.  Not being able to see the end in sight, not knowing how long this will last, is the worst.  I could be having hiatus from events that are no longer than an extended vacation, a couple of weeks or so.  I could be looking at 4-6-8 weeks.  Or, I could be looking at months, or years, or even permanent changes could be coming.  I think not knowing is the worst.  I don't really know how to prepare and no one can tell me how to prepare because no one knows the answers at this point.

Those of you who know me well know that I don't do well with changes.  I do better with changes if I have as many facts as possible ahead of time.  My favorite part of big vacations is the planning phase.  I really don't do well with changes if I can't see the end in sight and don't know what changes are coming.  And, that is where we are.  It feels like opening a door and stepping into darkness leaving everyone and everything I know behind.  I've been told I will come back to that room of familiar people, places, and things.  But, no one knows how long it will take.  No one can tell me for sure what's in the darkness. No one can tell me if the floor is solid or if I am about to go for a free fall.  No one can tell me if I am about to walk through a door and circle right back around to my familiar life or if I am going to have multiple obstacles and challenges to claw, scrape, and climb my way through.  No one knows what is coming.  Can I just pull the covers over my head and not go through that door?

So, the "lasts" have begun.  Now, how to cram everything important into my last week?  What are some things I should be sure not to miss; to definitely have an intentional "last" experience?

Thankful thoughts for today:
Back to double digits

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Look Forward

Genetic Testing

My genetic testing results are in and . . . they are all negative.  So, what does that mean?  That means the genetic markers for cancer were not passed to me genetically and I cannot pass them to my children because I don't have them.

Does not having a genetic marker mean you will not get cancer?  Obviously not.  I don't have the genetic mutations, but I do have cancer.  I am not a mutant!  (At least not where cancer is concerned.)  :)  It means I do not have the genetic mutation and cannot pass it to my children.  We are all still at risk: 1 in 3 for women or 1 in 2 for men.  Nice, huh?  

I don't mean to scare you, but I do want you all to take care of your health.  Get the recommended routine screenings.  Wear sunscreen.  Live smart.  But, don't live scared.  Everyone should live like today is their last day, because for some it will be.  Some of us will face cancer.  Some of us will face accidents.  All of us will face life changing moments.  Jesus said, "In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." John 16:33  (NIV) We are promised to have trouble in this world, but the good news is Jesus has overcome the world.  With Jesus in the driver's seat of my life, I know everything will turn out better than I can even imagine.

Now for the question that seems to be on everyone's mind, if not genetic mutation than "Why?"  Here is my answer, "Why not?"  I heard Tom Brokaw doing an interview about his book about his cancer journey say the same thing, "Why not me?"  When the odds of getting cancer for women is 1 in 3, why not me?  Why should I be immune?   No, this is not something I would choose, but I will face it head on and spend time asking the question "What next?"

I have learned that asking "Why?" and "What if?" does not serve much purpose in moving forward toward what is ahead of me in life.  It does not help me fulfill my purpose and make a positive impact on the lives of those around me.  It does not help me move forward and discover new and amazing things.  So, I will be spending my limited energy focusing on "What Is" and "What's Next?"  Join me as I do this.  I can't wait to see what God has in store.

I plan on being around for awhile, so take care of yourselves so you can be around with me.  

Thankful thoughts for today:
Change of meeting date
Construction projects getting scheduled
Support group
Church family

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Ready to Get Back to My New Normal

I never thought I would be saying this, but I am ready to get back to my new normal.  I am ready for life to be focused on cancer again.  Well, actually, I would much prefer it didn't have to be focused on cancer at all, but if I have to choose either focusing on my cancer or dealing with hospital trips, seizures, surgery, and recovery for my child, I'll choose cancer for myself every time.

This last week is one I hope to never have to repeat.  I know there are difficult days in my near future, but I also know they will be nothing compared to what I experienced this week.  They will not be as difficult because I, myself, will be the one experiencing the difficulty.  I will not be helplessly sitting and watching my child suffer.  I've found it's much harder for me to surrender the future to God when it is my child we're talking about.  I've found it is so much easier to fall into the pattern of asking "Why?" and "What if" when it is my child and not myself.

So, although I got a mini break from focusing on cancer, I'm ready to get back to it.  I'm ready for the focus to be on that and not have to be on other medical emergencies for those around me.  I told my son I didn't need a front runner.  I can handle injection of dye, surgery, recovery, etc. all on my own without having to watch him go through it first.  Hopefully, he is on the uphill swing and on his way to full recovery.

Now, it is my turn.  So, here we go.  I can handle whatever is coming my way.
My new shirt to help me through this!

Thankful thoughts for today:
Not fighting treatment decisions
Safe trip to camp

"But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."
                                                                    Matthew 19:14

Monday, June 1, 2015

One Major Medical Event at a Time Please

Can we deal with one major medical event at a time please?  Apparently not.    I disappeared from this blog for the past few days because I've bee dealing with a medical emergency.  Not cancer related.  Not even my own.

My son has been dealing with headaches for the last couple of months.  They always seem to coincide with changes in barometric pressure, but we've had a lot of storms lately.  We were headed out of town for the weekend and ended up in the ER in a town about 1 1/2 hours from home.  We spent five hours there and then he was sent via ambulance back towards home.  Not the way I anticipated spending this weekend and definitely not the way my turkey hunters planned to spend the last weekend of turkey season.

Everyone anticipated this to be a shunt malfunction.  Everyone was surprised when all testing showed that it was not and the shunt is still working like it should.  I even heard doctors throw the miracle word around.  I'm so thankful for that miracle and that his doctors recognized it.  :)

We are still on the search for the answer to these headaches.  I don't even care if I ever learn the why, I'm just looking for a way to prevent them from happening.  Next step = EEG and neurologist.  Maybe we'll get some answers there.

This is not a great way to reduce stress and boost my immune system.  But, it is a great way to forget I have cancer for just a minute.  And, it was a great way to realize my priorities.  My kiddos needs will always come first.  I know that taking care of myself (their mom) is the best way to take care of them in the long run.  I'm just glad I didn't have to make that hard choice this weekend.  All my energy could be focused on them.

I hate needing hospitals for me, but I hate it even more when it's needed for one of them.

Thankful thoughts for today:
Time outside

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