Monday, October 2, 2017

H&P 29, Appt. with Fleener, 3-month Shot #1

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  Dr. Fleener wondered if I was a person who celebrated or hated October for that reason.  I celebrate it!  
So much so, that I put a pink glaze in my hair and showed up for treatment in pink, head to toe!  

In my appointment, we basically discussed the change in my Zoladex shots, from once a month to every 3 months.  Side effects could be more pronounced in the first month, but taper down in the next two.  Or, it could not affect my body at all.  We will have to wait and see.   

I have been thinking about miracles lately.  Just last Friday I talked to the my sons about the mini miracle that happened, thanks in part, from their constant prayers for my health.  On Wednesday, I woke up with a sore throat.  Throughout the day, I started to cough and feel worse.  Thursday was worse.  I ended up in bed for most of the day, eating soup, drinking fluids, and pumping up on vitamin C.

For the last few years, about 3 times a year, I get a cough/cold that doesn't quit.  I cough so loudly and deeply at night that I keep Stephen up unless I sleep in another room.  Plus, with my immune system as weak as it is, it usually takes weeks to overcome.  Miraculously, I woke up on Friday feeling well.  No tired aches, and even the cough was gone!

When I think about how little time I might have because of cancer, I worry that my sons may not believe in miracles and answers to their prayers if I'm not healed.  How much more important it is for me to explain to them the miracles of healing that I receive, such as what happened last week.  This amazing blessing could have only happened as an answer to prayer.  When the cough and sore throat began, I just knew I'd be facing weeks of sickness, but it cleared up in 2 days.

Then, this weekend I heard a quote that backed up my thoughts on the gratitude for even small miracles.

The Lord is in the small details of our lives…God’s miracles remind you that He is close, saying, “I am right here."  Think of those times, some daily, when the Lord has acted in your life—and then acted again. Treasure [those] moments...(Ronald A. Rasband).

Finding the daily miracles, the "tender mercies" from above is one way to see the good in hard times. I've tried hard to train myself to be more positive, especially since my terminal cancer tries to suck all of the light out of life.  God does remind me daily, however, that He is close and that he knows me and my family and our needs.  All we need to do is start to recognize them and give thanks for those blessings.  I can only hope that counting these miracles as they happen will help my kids to remember how much God loves our family, even though the big miracle might never come.

That I've made it this far is a miracle.  (I've passed the 6 months from February's 6 months to a year to live.) I know further miracles lie ahead, and look forward to recognizing them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

H&P #28

Living in Seasons

I've heard about different "seasons of life."  This phrase usually refers to a persons' age/life events at various times through mortality.  For me, this phrase has taken on more of a literal meaning, as I have started actually thinking about my life in seasons: those 3-month chunks I have in between happy scan results and the next time I have to be scanned again, when I don't have to think about cancer.

After such great news about cancer-free scans and still being in remission, a great sense of relief comes over me.  I get to take a deep breath and not worry about cancer for a season, hoping that the next 3 months will continue with similar answers.

This hope is why I can go on today with a smile, even while the threat of the next cancer season is always looming.  {Winter is coming....}
I try to remember this advice in all the hard things, as our nation and our world seem to be swept up in various natural disasters and attacks of hate.

"Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
                                                              ― Roy T. Bennett

I have hope for today, and the day after that, and for as many days as I'm allowed to stay, knowing that all our days here are only temporary.  I have learned quite well to look for the good in each day, even if it's just that I've been given one more day with those I love.  

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” 
― Tom Bodett

I am blessed to have many "someone's" to love, much still to do, and the hope for more time.  Who knows how many more seasons I have, but I never want to stop hoping for more.  

“Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul 
And sings the tune without the words 
And never stops at all.” 
― Emily Dickinson 

Look who got to visit me today!

Continuing to give cancer the boot---with pretty, pink suede shoes!!

*updates on treatment:  
since the Zoladex shot doesn't seem to be doing its job of putting me into full menopause--I started a full period a day after the last one--I'm moving to only having shots once every 3 months, instead of monthly.  Perhaps my body doesn't want to be told what it will do OR when.  (Not surprised, at all.)  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Shot #6 (Right Side) PET Scan, MRI

I read a 300 page novel yesterday.  

I hadn't planned on it, but I had so much *free* time while I waited for medical procedures.  

First, I have my fifth shot.  This one didn't hurt at all!  

Next, I waited to have my port accessed for the PET scan.  

Then, I waited for the radioactive juice to flow through me and had another PET Scan.  

The technicians weren't allowed to remove the port needle, so I went back to my chemo nurses for that.  

Had a little cat nap during the PET.

I was able to get away from the hospital for some lunch, having fasted since the night before for the PET.   Then, I returned to the hospital and waited, and waited, and waited.  FINALLY, 40 minutes late, it was my turn for an MRI.  Without contrast went well.  Then, we had to wait to have my port accessed AGAIN for the scan with contrast.  FINALLY, the tests and procedures for the day were complete, and Ryan was only ten minutes late to his first day of gymnastics, where I watched and waited and finished reading the last 4 chapters.    

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Girls are Four!

Four years ago, I was opening birthday presents in the hospital and waiting to be released after my mastectomy and reconstruction.   This is what I looked like my first day home:

Four years later, the scars are almost completely faded.  

The nipple area before was patched with skin from my abdomen and later formed into a new nipple, completed with areola tattoos.  

The tattoos have faded a bit, so I'm thinking of having them touched up again, but these girls have come a long way!  

Happy 4th!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

H&P #27 + Dr. Visit

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.
        Jack Layton                                      .

There have been days of terrible news over the last few weeks.  The world seems to be so full of hate, darkness, and destruction.  The thought of the society in which my children are growing makes me sad and a little worried.  We do strive to teach our children (and pray over them) to be kind to everyone, to be positive leaders, and to stand up for what's right, but these qualities seem to be less and less prominent in society.  It's getting harder and harder to have hope in the future. 

However, I cannot allow myself to worry for my sons' futures.  I need hope and optimism for my own future WITH them, so I have come to see the changes that come about when we take one day at a time, give gratitude for even small miracles, and blot out fear for future days.  I have no idea how long I will be able to stay on earth, but I don't want to waste any of those moments angry, full of hate, or lost in despair.  

We do change the world by beginning with our own thoughts and deeds toward ourselves and other people.  It sometimes must start with a personal change of heart and/or behaviors--whether to be more loving and kind, driving out fear, and learning to see the glass half full.  Add in a little courage, and we truly make the world a better place, even if just for ourselves and our own families.

Cancer has taught me to try to be less critical of others, as everyone has their own 'hard.'  I have turned into an optimist out of necessity; what good is the fighting if you don't have hope in surviving?  As I have honestly shared my highs and lows throughout this journey, it's been in an effort to help others, to touch hearts, and to build hopes.  I have LOVED hearing from people all over the country (and a few in other parts of the world) who have been touched through my thoughts and experiences.  It's one simple way I've been able to fulfill my own mission on earth, as well as change the world one heart at a time.           

KICKING CANCER TO THE CURB + mermaid leggings, an early bday present from my sister!!!!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Head Collection

From the beginning of this cancer journey, one of the more fun parts has been the wigs.  I've enjoyed naming each one and using my baldness as a way to get to try out different looks through each new hair style and color.

My sister once asked if it's anything like the movie "Return to Oz," and Princes Mombi.  (For those not familiar with this one, I'm shocked how often movies of the 80's has provided scenes of pure terror for its children.  I'd almost forgotten about this one!)

I guess it can be a little like that, choosing a girl for the day.  Hopefully, it's not nearly as creepy, minus the Powder of Life!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Sale!!!!

For a limited time only!!!

My book is now on sale at Amazon for only

The link is on the side of my blog.

Anyone who buys the book and leaves a (positive, hopefully) review, COMMENT, and I'll donate money to a local cancer support group!

If you already own the book, why not buy a few for gifts?  
Can you really get much under $5.00 these days?  

Host a book club.  The possibilities go on and on.  

Plus, I am happy to sign your book--if you're not local, we can work something out! 

Happy Reading!!!