Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

While the rest of the world celebrates New Year's Eve, my husband and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary.  This year is definitely more special, as our gift to each other is my life. 

So today represents the end of a difficult year, but a year that has been full of blessings.

It represents a deep love of husband and wife.  We are still as mushy, romantic as ever .... he still opens the car door for me.
And, the fact that I'm a cancer survivor.  I am still wrapping my brain around that one.  The anvil is still over my head and it will probably take time for that feeling to subside.

I don't think that my life will now be a bed of roses, but I sure have learned a lot about myself and the people that are in my circle.  Most of all, I have learned so much about what faith really means in our broken world. 

Last year, I had made a new year's resolution of de-cluttering.  Thanks to my daughter and husband, they were key in making this happen.  Now, it seems that I want a more substantial proclamation.  I have been praying about it and I'm close to putting it into words.

Until then, my friends, may this day be safe, happy, fun, light-hearted, loving, inspired, and may you find many blessings in the new year to come!

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrating the Holidays Despite a Cancer Diagnosis

It is my pleasure to post this message
from a husband and wife who wanted to share
their experience with you ~

By: Cameron Von St James

My wife gave birth to our only child, Lily, in August of 2005. We were already looking forward to the joy that the winter holidays would bring. I have always looked forward to the opportunity to spend the holidays celebrating with the ones I love. I have always been thankful for being blessed with so many amazing people in my life. Heather and I had already started talking about the holiday traditions we wanted to pass on to our little one, and the new ones we would start as a family.

Unfortunately, our holiday spirit and excitement were stamped out just three days before Thanksgiving, when Heather was diagnosed with cancer. Our daughter was less than four months old at the time of the diagnosis. We learned that Heather had malignant pleural mesothelioma, and in an instant our focus shifted from turkey and holiday shopping to fighting a rare and very deadly form of cancer.

I was filled with anger and fear after the diagnosis. Everything that had seemed so positive, everything I seemed so sure about disappeared in an instant. I tried my best to remain positive and hopeful, but my mind went straight to fearing for the worst. I had thoughts of losing my wife and growing old as a single father. I felt that I had little to be thankful for that year.

Despite the horrible news, we did have a Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration with my wife’s family. The family discussed all the ways they would support us in this trying time.  I had been dreading this discussion for days.  We talked about money and childcare. Heather and I had previously both been working, but we were now reduced to living on my income alone, and the diagnosis brought with it a wealth of unexpected expenses that we were not equipped to handle.  Heather’s parents went through our finances with us and helped us figure out what we could liquidate to stay afloat, as well as what they could afford to help us pay for.  I was mortified and embarrassed, and once again I felt that I had nothing to be thankful for. It would be years before I could look back on that day with anything but shame.

Now, however, I can see how very mistaken I was to look at it that way.  Looking back, I can see how truly blessed we were to have such a strong and loving family supporting us through our tough time.  My pride and my fear blinded me to that at the time, but now I can see how very much I had to be thankful for that season.

This holiday season, I will not let go of that memory of our family gathered around, communicating and helping each other. I will keep in mind everything that I have to be thankful for. I have more than many people will ever have; I am surrounded by kindness, love and good friends. Lily is healthy and as usual, this year will revolve around surrounding her with fun holiday traditions.

In the end, with the love and support of our incredible community of friends and family, Heather beat her mesothelioma. She beat all the odds stacked against her, and we have celebrated numerous holidays together since her diagnoses. We are looking forward to many more together in the future.  We hope that our story of success can help all those currently fighting cancer find something in their lives to be thankful for this holiday season.

Husband of Mesothelioma Survivor Heather Von St. James
Read more:
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting Ready for Chemo

Chemo # 3 is Thursday and I've been reading a lot about what I can do to make things go just a little smoother.

I would highly recommend this book, Just Get Me Through This by Deborah A Cohena breast cancer survivor. The information clarified many concerns I've had about chemotherapy. For instance, she suggested eating a  Popsicle or ice chips during the 10 minute infusion of Adriamycin, which will minimize mouth sores. It seems that this drug damages all tissues but won't harm the mouth when the blood vessels are constricted. Now I know WHY the nurse asked if I wanted some crushed ice.

I need to do everything possible to drink at least 64 ounces of fluid EVERY day, not just the first three days after chemo. It seems that when I had that Queasy episode a week after my second chemo it was just dehydration. I actually remember that day at school. The water fountain was being replaced down the hall from my class; I didn't wanted to get water out of the bathroom and didn't make it to the cafeteria. By the time I got home I was feeling nauseous. Then I was awakened at 3 am with painful spasms down my spine; another symptom of dehydration.

The chemo chemicals cause the body to dry up; that includes my skin and eyes. I've been using Alveeno body wash, body oil and lotions along with Burt's Bees facial moisturizers and lip balm for about 4 weeks.
My vision has been blurry and my eyelids feel like sandpaper. Doc said I can use lubricating eye drops.

I've found that sour and spicy foods cut through the bad taste in my mouth which only lasts about a week. We bought cans of frozen lemonade, lemon pudding, lemon drops, a big jar of pickled cauliflower, and a bottle of hot sauce (sounds like pregnancy cravings)!

I used to love drinking a cup of plain hot water (check this post to find out why). But my son recently taught me that if the water is cold and I use a straw I can get it down quickly without the taste buds interrupting my effort.

I also decided I needed something to look forward to as soon as I was feeling better. So I made an appointment for a massage right before we start back to school in January. I'm going to have a pedicure after my 4th chemo. I'm also going to make time to visit with friends.

While I'm recovering this weekend I am planning on coloring Mandala's. I use to do this a few years ago and found it very relaxing. Read this article about how the Creative Process Helps Cancer Survivors With Overall Well-being.

Laughter is the best medicine so I'm going to watch some funny movies on Netflix. 

What movies would you suggest I order?

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve ~ a special night

Candlelight service at 8pm with special music, sermon and communion.

The reason for the season

Sunday service was special as the children and choir presented a Christmas play.  They did a fabulous, fabulous job.  I wish we can do an encore!

Here is a picture of the manger (none of the children, not on public web)

May this Christmas bring blessings and deep peace to you and yours!
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Saturday, December 22, 2012


I created a form on my blog for folks who would like me to pray for them. 
I'm a prayer warrior!

If you would like me to pray for you, just click on the image on my side bar, or you can click on the praying hands below.

Once you click on the praying hands, it brings up this form:

Your message comes directly to my e-mail.  Your request is private and I do not put it on my blog, or facebook etc.  I ask for your e-mail so I can type out my prayer and send it directly to you. 

For me, prayer is powerful. Prayer is a way to talk to our Father and to bring our praise, our worship and our burdens to Him.

I received so many prayers from others and would be honored to do the same for you.

And I do it in Jesus' name ~
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Letter to Santa

Friday was the last day of school and now it's time to get ready for the Holidays. I got home just in time for the Lazyboy delivery of a replacement cushion. I first met Bill in October when he repaired my recliner. We had discussed how he learned to sew, which lead to my job as a home ec teacher (gasp! I said the word) and then to other job related topics. He was easy to talk to so today I pointed out my new head gear and he shared that his aunt and mother are breast cancer survivors. I should be keeping tally every time I hear about survivors because it's a lot!

Lora, Christie, Aleena, and Katie
getting ready to play in the kitchen.
Lora and her daughter arrived shortly after and we spent several hours visiting, making and decorating cookies, making pizza and just hanging out. Aleena brought me some warm socks (she found out I asked Santa for a pair) and a copy of a letter she wrote to Santa. It's the most precious wish and I am so blessed to have them both in my life.
We agree that it was divine intervention when I got my first teaching job back in 1987.  At that time, Lora was 8 years old when her mom lost her battle with leukemia. A few years later Lora entered my classroom and my life. I am honored that she calls me her second mom.

Aleena explained that when she wrote this at school she didn't know that I was her "adopted grandma".
She thought I was her "real" grandma. How sweet is that ?

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Day after Port Removal

Well, guess I will get back on that Coumadin until I see doc Jan 15.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

One Year Anniversary

Dec 20, 2011 was my lumpectomy surgery. It almost feels like a lifetime ago. It is hard to wrap my brain around surgery, 6 rounds of chemo, 33 days of radiation and 17 IVdrips of Herceptin.

Not to mention 3 MRIs, 3 ultrasounds, 1 bone density screening, 2 blood transfusions, 2 echos, hospitalization due to multiple blood clots, followup appointments and just to throw into the mix, a neurologist specialist.

At 8:00am, I was scheduled for my port removal.  The doctor was the same one that had put the port in my arm last January 5.  I had an added bonus of dissolvable stitches, so I won't have to go back and have them pulled and cut out.  The doctor asked if I felt a sharp pain and I said yes ... so she gave a little bit more numbing on the area.  The only other person in the room was a nurse.  The doctor held a conversation with me as she worked and had several questions.  It was a good distraction.

"How did your life change after going through cancer treatment?" she asked.

I have been asked that before.  "I have grown closer to God."

She nodded. "I have heard that before many times from patients."

I explained that my faith has always been strong, but now I got to experience "the peace that passes all understanding" as in

Philippians 4:7

New King James Version (NKJV)
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Gentle, deep peace wraps around my whole being and removes any anxiety and worry I held on to all my life.  This peace cannot be explained by mere words, it can only be experienced.
Once the port was finally removed, doc stitched me up with dissolvable stitches.  So glad I don't have to go back to get them removed.  No bruising yet. Do you remember the last bruise when it was put in? Oh, yeah, and the "multiple" blood clots it created.
After the procedure, I went back to the lobby waiting room.  This is also the day my mom is getting her kidney biopsied.  I waited for my brother in law to bring her.  The place was getting busy since my early morning appointment.  Filling up with patients, wheelchairs, canes....
This broken world filled with broken bodies. 
How many with broken spirits?
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The Anniversay

This is a special day for my sister, Carol.

It's been one year since she had her lumpectomy. I remember that afternoon vividly - visiting her before surgery, amazed by her courage, waiting with our family for the results and thanking God for giving us the news we prayed for: the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes!

Coincidentally, this day is even more special because she is having the port removed from her arm! This signifies the end of her journey through breast cancer and the beginning of her new journey as a breast cancer survivor!

Congratulations Sister! I am so proud of you!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012


image by Griffin Technology
I haven't heard the term "nadir" in over five years (read Angels All Over Town) but I'm in it from day 10 - 14, which ends Friday.

Nadir, meaning 'low point' is between chemotherapy cycles when I will experience low white blood counts known as Neutropenia. This can put me at risk for infection.

So, I asked Doc, "What should I do if a student coughs or sneezes on me?"

We both agreed that first I should give the student a detention! LOL

Then go wash my face and hands and blow my nose. She said that should do the trick.

Some other tips:

  • Stay away from crowds (impossible this evening because of the band concert and hugging all my bff's)
  • Wash all surfaces with disinfectant in my classroom, car, and home daily.
  • Wash my hands frequently with soap and warm water, dry with a paper towel THEN turn off the faucet with the paper towel.
  • Make sure that everyone providing food for me practices safety and sanitation in the kitchen.
  • Never put my hands on my face, near my nose or rub my eyes.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

An Insurance Perk

Saturday, Christie & I went to Elegant Essentials.  What a beautiful shop and gracious staff.  Please check with your insurance carrier on what benefits you may receive when facing breast cancer.  My insurance pays for 6 bras per year.  If you happen to chose one that has more frills than what the insurance company deems necessary, then you pay a portion.  So, I received 5 great fitting bras for free (because I met my deductible) and then paid 50% of the cost for the 6th one.
Did I mention 6 per year for life!


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Christmas Flash Mob

In South Bay Galleria (So Cal) – a Christmas flash mob, be sure to watch it to the end the final minute is the best!
Click here
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Turning Point

Today is December 17th and I'm at a turning point. This is the first time I have been able to look at all of my lab results and chemo information. It's also the first time I have wanted to write about actually having breast cancer. I have been avoiding this for weeks, not being able to grasp what was happening.  I realize that I've been beating around the bush in all of my blog posts up until now. I don't want to bore you with the specifics but you must remember, this blog is more for me to track the events so I can one day look back at this journey.

As I was getting dressed on Sunday, October 28th, I had discomfort under my left arm and discovered a small lump. The first thought that came to mind was that I might have an infection or be coming down with something. Then I checked my breast and sure enough there was a lump the size of a walnut! Good Grief! When did that happen?

The next day I stayed home from school and called for an appointment with my gynecologist. They got me right in to see the nurse practitioner. She said it might be a cyst but wanted to schedule a diagnostic mammogram just to be sure. I tried not to let it worry me since I had my annual mammogram in January and everything was fine.

On November 1st, I arrived for the mammogram at 7:45 am, thinking that this wouldn't take long and I could go straight to school. Wrong! During the mammogram I looked up at the screen and saw a solid white spot. Everything started falling like dominoes, one procedure  after another. Of course, I was in shock and couldn't believe this was really happening. I was asked to go sit back in the waiting room and someone would come and get me for an ultrasound. The minutes seemed like hours and finally it was my turn. I could see the monitor during the ultrasound as the technician was clicking images of a dark spot. When she was finished and helped me sit up I told her I wasn't going to be able to leave until I could talk to someone. She said she would go get the doctor. At the moment they came back everything happened in slow motion.  I don't remember a lot about what was said except she kept repeating, "I'm really sorry." and the word "biopsy". I managed to call Richard and asked him to come to the hospital.

After the biopsy they said that a surgeon could see us. They named three people and one was my sister's surgeon! Carol had a lumpectomy last December, followed by chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy. So we drove to the other side of town where the surgeon explained that I would probably see an oncologist to begin chemo first. It would be necessary to shrink the tumor before surgery. She scheduled a bone scan, ct body scan, lab tests, and breast MRI for Friday.

I was scheduled to see the oncologist on Monday, November 5th but she had to reschedule due to a death in the family. It was the most intense period of time in my life. Finally, on Wednesday, November 7th, we met with my sister's oncologist, Doc Esther. Carol was there, took awesome notes and wrote a summary of the appointment on her blog. Up until this point I had only glanced at it once. But now I'm ready to own it.
I've completed two chemo treatments and had my  follow-up appointment today. Doc could hardly find the lump under my arm and the breast tumor is softening as it shrinks. The Neulasta injection did it's job and all of my lab results were perfect. We're good to go for the 3rd chemo next Thursday.

Now I'm ready to focus and fight like a girl!

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Do You Call Yours?

You don't really have to answer that! My kid sister sent a list of euphemisms and I created this image using Wordle.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Herceptin #17 and The Last One!

Friday, December 14 was my 17th Herceptin drip.  8:00am, I arrived at the clinic and all its familiarity.  The white tree that sits elegantly next to the receptionist window was decorated with beautiful Christmas ornaments.  They have ornaments for each holiday or season .... Easter, St Patrick's day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc... In the past 12 months, I have never seen it removed from the room or undecorated. 

I scanned my patient card and settled in my chair.  I decided to stop for coffee before coming in and SO glad I did.  This was the first time I actually made time to do so.  I pulled out my electronic Yahtzee game and watched as the nurses arrived to begin their work day. I wondered if they really knew how special they are to so many of "us". 

Nurse Regina took care of me today.  Nurse Karen was the other one on site and in the same chemo room.  On the other side of the hallway, it was Nurses Tracy, Dawn and Bev. 

All my angels

It was smooth sailing and the nurses reminded me that I will need to get my port flushed every 4-6 weeks.  It is hard to explain, but it gave me comfort knowing that I would get to come back and see them.  Nicole, the pharmacist, stopped by to wish me well and I asked how long I would need to keep the port in. She said that Doc Esther usually kept them in patients for a few months....even up to a year.  She is a new mom and the conversation easily moved to photography and my all time favorite ~ Shutterfly.  I am still planning on creating a piece for display at the center. 

Once the chemo was done, I collected my things and gave hugs to Regina and she led me to the scheduling desk for the port flushing.  I got it for Jan 15 when I come in for my follow-up with Doc.  Karen found me and gave me good-bye hugs as well.  She is special to me. 

My sister will also have these amazing angels to care for her

I decided to go across the hall to find the other nurses and say my good-byes.  Doc Esther was there on the computer and she watched all the exchanges.

Then she said, "Why don't you go see Kim and have her schedule to get the port removed."

"Really!?" I was shocked.  "Really!?" I said a little louder.

"Yes," she said. "I don't want to have to write out any more work orders for you."

Happy Dance!  Laughter! Delightful squeals!
So, I made my way down the hall and Kim scheduled it for next Thursday, 20th. Naturally, I turned right around and went back to the chemo scheduling desk to cancel the flushing.  Wow, what a turn of events.
As I was driving to work, I was trying to wrap my brain around everything that had just occurred over the past 2 hours.  With the clear results of my one year mammogram/ultrasound , I realized
I'm no longer a cancer patient
I am a cancer survivor!
I am one of God's miracles!

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I've been nauseous for over 24 hours and have tried everything. The kitchen counter looks like a pharmacy. On Friday Richard and Tommy went out for the evening and dinner was on our own. I was craving some good old comfort food, Stouffer's Mac and Cheese. I thought I was just hungry and the queasy feeling would go away. You guessed it...about 30 minutes later I was hugging the porcelain.  Katie came running to the door and in between heaving I answered her questions. Yes, I was fine. No, don't call your Dad. And then she asked a question for which I had no answer.  "Do you need me to hold your hair back?"  It was priceless!

Today I went to Elegant Essentials with my sister. It's a beautiful boutique for women after breast surgery. Her insurance paid for 5 bras and will replace them once per year for life. I bought this cap with hair attached. It made my neck feel so warm. 

What do you think?

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Friday, December 14, 2012

The Children are Precious

In light of those whose lives shattered in an instant today, I am putting my news on hold for now.

As the water pushes powerfully thru debris
May our prayers push their way thru any obstacle
and reach directly to Heaven
The little children who now sits on the lap of Jesus
will never cry again
will never hurt again
and will live in the purest light of love
as they wait patiently to see us again
May the parents, families and friends
seek God's face
feel His arms around their shoulders
and His comfort deep inside their hearts
May we remember them in our prayers
and lift them up in a community of
love and understanding
today and every day

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Roller Coaster Ride

A few days have slipped away again.
Second chemo last Thursday...out of it Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
Tuesday I was weak but managed to stay awake most of the day.
Made it to work for half a day today.

The thing that is different is all the crying. It comes out of nowhere...often and I don't like it one little bit.
I don't understand why this is happening.
I can't believe this is happening.
I don't want this to be happening.
I can't stop this from happening.

My sister says that these emotions are natural, it's part of the roller coaster ride. I'm afraid this ride will fling me so violently that I will lose my Christie-ness. What will be left when the ride stops and I finally get off? I can't even imagine.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Physical Therapy

After work today, I went for my first physical therapy visit.  Hopefully, gently working and stretching will help get the kinks out and return my range of motion and strength.  I will be going every Tuesday & Thursday for at least 4-6 weeks.  I'm really excited about getting to this next step in my journey.

I want my strength back!
I don't want to be so fatigued anymore!

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Haven't a clue

Not much to tell this past week.  After Tuesday, my body felt like it had been slammed by a mac truck.  Amazing how stress can mess with the body.  I'm still getting use to taking Arimidex  My blood pressure, headaches and pain got the best of me and I left work early on Thursday and slept through it.  Saturday, I slept a lot too.

I'm hoping that physical therapy will help me get my body moving again. My first visit is Dec 11.

Lots of anniversaries this time of year.  What date do you use?  The day of the mammogram? Day of the biopsy? Day of the diagnosis? Day of the surgery?  What constitutes the one year anniversary of cancer? 

Haven't a clue.

Christmas is around the corner and I haven't begun shopping or writing greeting cards. Christmas is so different without little ones.  As the years have come and gone, the meaning of Christmas has deepened for me and I surround myself with Christian music and listen to the radio programs that I love.

Wishing you all the joys
of this beautiful and peaceful season.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

My New Theme Song

Received second chemo yesterday. Recuperating today. Will go back for the
Neulasta shot in my belly at 4:30 this afternoon.

My sister, Heather, sent this video last night. I have been wanting to find a theme song 
and Stronger by Kelly Clarston absolutely speaks volumes to me.

If you want to subscribe to Megan's Facebook follow this link: 
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting Organized for Cancer Treatment

Binder with dividers
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I felt so overwhelmed with all of the information I was receiving. I was gathering so many lab and radiology reports and there were several appointments to keep track of. I decided to take control of my treatment by organizing this binder with dividers. It goes everywhere with me in case I become forgetful with "chemo brain". I feel more empowered by having this vital information at my fingertips. 

These are some suggestions for sections in your binder: 
  • Appointments
  • Medical Staff
  • Medication
  • Communication
  • Radiology
  • Labs-Tests
  • Chemo Info
  • Resources
  • Nutrition
  • Insurance - you might want a separate binder or folder

I created the following forms that I can use to record information. (A couple of the forms were given to me by my doctor but I revised them to make everything more uniform). Feel free to download for your own personal use.  I have suggested the number of copies you may need in parenthesis. 
  • Appointments for Treatment (5 copies) Hole punch and keep in binder
  • My Treatment Team (1) Hole punch and keep in binder
  • My Contact Log (20) Hole punch a few sheets for binder. Staple the rest and keep by the phone.
  • My List of Medications (2) Hole punch and keep in your binder
  • My Medical Visits (25) Hole punch and keep in your binder
  • My Food Diary (25) Staple sets of 4 - 5 sheets together. Keep in the kitchen for the caregiver to have easy access, or in the binder for your convenience. Show this to your doctor or dietitian if you are having problems eating.
  • My Weekly Medication Log (50) Staple sets of 4 - 5 pages together. Keep with your tote of medications. 

Create a file drawer or file container to store all of the pamphlets  booklets, and other information you will collect over the next several months.

Use a tote or plastic container for medications and essentials needed during your care.  Store this tote on the kitchen counter. Make sure the thermometer is always returned to this container so you or a family member can find it quickly.

Here are a couple of other suggestions for your binder. A nice hole punch and a vinyl business card holder.
I purchased a Swingline hole punch because 
the lever is easier to push

vinyl business card holder

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    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Blog Your Way to Better Health

    I have been a blogger for over 3 years and have taught students and teachers about blogging. Read more about my passion for blogging.

    When my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago she asked me to help her start a blog, Living in The Moment, which has blossomed into an impressive account of her journey. However, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer a month ago I was practically frozen with fear and the last thing I wanted to do was to blog about it. In fact, I shut down most of my other blogs. Then Carol sent me this article, gently nudging me to reconsider. Finally, twelve days after the diagnosis I decided I would blog about my journey through breast cancer.
    I know you might feel uncomfortable visiting my blog. Every time I checked Carol's blog I felt so guilty peering into her private thoughts. But it's just the opposite for those of us with "blogger blood". We really want people to visit our site as we bare our soul and find our voice. We want to build our own support group of people who will encourage us as we fight this battle. More importantly, if there is just one other newly diagnosed cancer patient who finds answers on our blog then it has served a greater purpose.

    Blog Your Way to Better Health, Health Monitor
    I have so much to say and need an outlet to vent.
    I wish there was a way to keep my friends and family in the loop.
    I want to share what I go through with others who can relate.
    If these thoughts sound familiar, you may want to consider starting a blog, or online journal.
    Blogging can help you better manage your daily struggles—and help you feel better in the process. In fact, cancer patients who journaled prior to their chemotherapy treatments responded better emotionally and physically, according to a study in the journal Oncologist.
    Not sure where to start? Free blogging websites like or make it easy. If you have an email address, then you’re ready to begin. Give yourself a username, password and blog title. And don’t forget to personalize the look of your blog to make it your own. If you don’t consider yourself creative, choose from a variety of ready-made templates.
    Then, start writing your entries! You can blog about anything you want, from your diagnosis to your daily activities. Some prompts to get the creative juices flowing: What was your doctor appointment like today? Did you discover a new chemo-friendly recipe? Would you like to share any inspirational quotes?
    It won’t be long before you’re posting like a pro. The more you update your blog, the more you will build a regular readership. Plus, establishing a community of readers will motivate you to write even more.
    A blog can also bring hope to others. Be a teacher; offer advice on what has and hasn’t worked for you. Your audience will benefit from your guidance, and you’ll feel humbled giving and receiving support.
    Just remember to play it safe: Don’t post personal information about yourself, including your home address, birth date and phone number.
    Updated June 6, 2012

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    Follow Up with Surgeon

    This morning I woke up to a migraine ... haven't had one of those in years. They always affect my vision and I knew that I would have problems driving to my appointment.  Matt was ready to take me, but by the time I was to leave, my vision returned.

    I arrived at the Breast Center with the feeling of deja vu, I was doing this one year ago.  I wanted to sit with every patient in there and hold their hand. I remembered the anxiety and fear and disbelief.

    The nurse updated my information and my blood pressure was 151/111. Kinda high ~

    I met with Dr Partin first and she is just so thorough.  A very sweet lady.  She asked me what plans I had to celebrate my last chemo (Dec 14).  I really haven't thought about that. 

    The thick tissue at my surgery site is scar tissue.  It should be watched for any time of growth.  She explained that since some of my lymph nodes were removed, my system has been interrupted and this could be why I'm not feeling 100%. The pain in my unaffected breast needs to be checked.  She also wants me to try tailored bras at:

    I agree. Time to find something else.  She also asked if I had Fibromyalgia.  Nope.  She is sending me to physical therapy as my range of motion isn't far enough along.  They set me up for Dec 11.  After physical therapy is done, I plan to then go to a gym to continue building my strength.  I am weighing the most I've ever weighed in my life. Time to get these pounds off.

    So, down the same hallways I had been through before for the diagnostic mammogram.  It HURT, but I've been through worse.  The technician told me to take a seat and if there was anything unusual, I would be sent to the ultrasound.  Waiting even 5 minutes gave my brain time to think too much.  It also gave me time to pray and just remember what I have already accomplished so far. 

    The nurse came back to take me to the ultrasound.  So, with this, my emotions were raw.  Each place the wand touched and then stayed at was right where the pain was .... Her fingers danced across the key pad taking measurements of the areas she paused at.  It didn't take long and she asked me to wait for the doc to review the ultrasound and come in to give me the results. 

    Dr. Davis and two other ladies came in .... 3? It must be bad news ....

    "You are all clear on both breasts. Nothing at all to worry about."

    The waterworks poured out.  I couldn't help it and I was just so relieved.

    She took some time with me as I calmed down.

    Thank you Lord Jesus for wrapping your arms around me today.  I felt your presence!
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    Monday, December 3, 2012

    The Anvil

    So, I guess this is what my one doc was talking about when he said that most cancer patients feel as if an anvil is hanging above their head waiting to drop .... this was describing all the little bumps, lumps and pain we feel and wondering if the cancer is back.

    Guess I will find out tomorrow.
    In the meantime, I'm giving it to God.

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    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Catching Up
    On Friday I worked half a day and was glad to get out of there! Not because I hate my job (I love teaching) - because the scarf wouldn't stay on my head! Before my doctor's appointment I stopped by a cancer resource agency, to see if they might have some type of cap that would grip these slippery scarves. They took me to the wig room and showed me several plastic containers with knitted hats and said I could look through those and take whatever I wanted - it was free! Remember, if it sounds too good to be true..... They practically had me in a headlock and said I could have that adorable knitted hat that I picked out if I completed a small survey for them. I sighed and said, "Sure."
    On the second side of the form there was some legal jargon about getting permission from my doctor before starting any of their physical activity programs, etc. I handed her the form and said I didn't need to sign it because I wasn't joining any programs. She said I needed to sign it as a formality, that these surveys are used to gather information to write grants. And if I came back to the facility in the future this form would be on file. I sighed again and said "Okay." I then asked if there were any other places that might have a cap to wear with scarves. She gave me directions to a wig shop around the corner.
    I don't even want to go into the condescending tone I had to deal with. The clerk suggested that I use double sided tape to hold my scarf in place! I tried on some hats and she finally said, "We have some tape you could try." Then proceeded to cut two pieces which I stuck to my forehead and secured the scarf. I said, "I'd like a roll of that."
    The clerk said, "I don't have a roll but can sell you some."
    "Great. And I'll buy this terry night cap."
    "That will be $19.38."
    The tape bothered me all afternoon. When I got home I took it off along with some of what little hair I had.
    I was going to decorate the Bingo hall for our Holiday Pancake Breakfast that night and put on a cotton scarf which stayed on much better. I wore another cotton scarf to the event on Saturday and had no problem with losing the head gear.

    I searched a couple of online stores for chemo patients today and ordered 3 different caps, hats and cotton scarves. Problem solved!
    I told Richard this can be my birthday present. I will let you know how the caps work with all the silky scarves my sister gave me.

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    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Our Beloved Sister

    Missing you, Cathy
    May 30, 1968 - December 1, 2007

    Homesick - Mercy Me


    John 14
    New King James Version (NKJV)

    The Way, the Truth, and the Life
    1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
    2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
    4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

    5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

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    Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (a david bowie tune)

    Thursday was a milestone for Christie.  Plus it was Casey's last night in Ohio.  So what better way to come together than over a delicious meal.  Christie/Katie and me/Casey met at Bob Evans to hear about Christie's adventure and check out her new look.  It was wonderful to just come together in support for one another.

    Katie, Me, Christie, Casey

    As we were leaving our table, a woman motioned to Christie and pointed to her own pink ribbon lapel.  (Christie's scarf is certainly a way for folks to recognize a chemo patient)  Her name is Betty and she wanted to give Christie some words of encouragement.  It was certainly a blessing for Christie as she held Betty's hand and they shared with each other their own experience with cancer.  It was an honor for me to witness it, because it just affirmed to me that this journey is certainly a sisterhood.

    Christie & Me

    My emotions are still all over the place.  It is a mother's delight when we see our children happy and healthy.  Even though I miss Casey, I know that she is exactly where God wants her to be.  Thank goodness for Skype, text, internet and cell phones!

    Friday Casey came to work to see some of the people who remember her from when she worked there and to introduce her to other coworkers.  I enjoyed watching my adult child answering the many questions asked of her.  I remember listening to a talk show about how to change your relationship once your children become adults.  It had some really interesting points.  The one I remember the most is "if your friend was going outside, would you say 'you better put your sweater on' ... well, you shouldn't!  and you shouldn't say that to your adult child either."  Food for thought.

    Once she left, I prayed over her safety on her flight back to Colorado this afternoon.  (and God honored the prayer)

    This week was exhausting and I do believe I'm going to sleep in Saturday!!

    Changes to my appointments

    My annual mammogram and follow up with my surgeon has been moved up to Dec 4.  Looks like they want to do a diagnostic mammo and ultrasound to check out some pain I've been having.  Also got the all-clear to go to my dentist Dec 4 for my 6 month cleaning.  The coumidin should not be an issue as long as I don't get jabbed by some of those wicked tools they have!

    Philippians 4
    6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

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