Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Not So Bad. WHAT???

As you can tell, it's been a while since I posted a new entry to my blog. Chemo has been knocking me on my butt. I don't usually use that word in print but it's the only word that fits. I have been told the cumulative effects of the drugs are building up and it takes longer to recover from each treatment.

Well, the treatments are over. It's been two weeks ago today. And I must believe the above statement. Not only do I still have an almost zero appetite, but one of the drugs is eating the much needed, necessary potassium and magnesium my body needs to function. I have spent two to three days a week in the chemo lab getting four to five hour bags of these chemicals. That is in addition to taking liquid and supplemental pills at home twice a day. Without the proper levels of these minerals, my little ole heart could malfunction, among other things happening. It gets irritating spending all my days hooked up to an IV pole, but I keep seeing the benefits of it waaay down at the end of that long corridor called "Cancer Free."

The journey has been hard this hard summer and it's not over yet. But when I sit back and reflect on the good that has come from this - yes, that's what I said, "good," I can almost make them outweigh the bad, the uncomfortable, the unpleasant, the inconvenience, the sadness.

Allow me the freedom to elaborate:

Professionals who have taken care of me and make me feel as if I'm the most important person in the room. Strangers who have become friends from encounters day after day or week after week in the chemo lab. Even the regular morning workers at the fast food place I frequently patronize when I have an appetite and can drink a glass of sweet tea and eat a hash brown patty. Getting to know the families of people I see everyday that I didn't know six months ago. Mail and cards from friends and some people I have never met that have grown into a huge stack I shall treasure for a long time. Random emails and phone calls from loved ones. Customers from our plumbing business that send word by our employees that they are praying for me. Food dropped off by friends and church members. People I have never met face to face whom I met on the Webkinz for Momz page who became Facebook friends and constantly comment on my posts on Facebook and have sent me home made prayer shawls and lovely sewing accessories for my quilting room. And this is just to touch on the "good" that has come from this dreadful summer of cancer and chemo.

I cannot forget my Lord and Savior, who has comforted me when I cried, calmed me when I panicked, soothed me when I crashed in tears and self pity, and reassured me He is here. He is close. He is holding me. He knows all about it.

Compared to the bad - - the bad could be a lot worse. I have a good prognosis. I have a huge support base. I am trying to keep my sense of humor. I have Mike, the boys, the girls, the grandkids, the sisters, the Mama, the in-laws, I'll go to bed now.

Thank you, Jesus.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Letter to Mom (but yall can read it)

July 18, 2010
Dear Mom,

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all the things you did for me yesterday. You came early on a Saturday, washed my laundry, dried my laundry, folded my laundry, hung my laundry in my messy messy closet, and followed my directions as I bossed you around all day. When I told you I needed to sit down, you sat with me. You brought me water or koolaid to drink, medicine to swallow, popsicles to eat, and read your book while I napped. You put the cat out because he really gets on my nerves right now and you helped me take my quilt wall down, pack it all in the bag and store it for a later time.

The things I described in the above paragraph took just a few hours of your time. This is not even a drop in the bucket of the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years of the things you have done for me and the time you have spent on me. When I think of lesson after lesson, taught either by example or lecture, and if I were to try to list all of them in ABC order, the bookshelves I have in my home would not begin to hold the volumes of information they would contain. Lessons that always had their basic roots in the Word of God; in the example of the life of Jesus. Basic common sense sayings that were part of our everyday life; "Pretty is as pretty does." "Always greet people with a smile and call their name." "If you shake hands, use a firm grip." (yes, this applies to girls, too!) "Give the elder person your chair." "Always say 'yes/no ma'am' or 'sir' no matter the age of the person." "Always tell your hostess your enjoyed your meal." "When you're a guest in someone's home, leave things the way you found them (and sometimes it might not hurt to leave them better!)" And the ever popular "Honesty is the best policy."

When I was a child, you made my clothes even though you admit you never learned to properly tie one of those big old fancy bows on the back of the dresses. I didn't know it. I just knew my dresses were cute, and starched and pressed and usually had some kind of rick rack on the hem! As I became a teenager and the hip hugger skirts and bell bottom pants were popular, I was so much smaller than my teen friends, we couldn't buy clothes in those styles so out came the sewing machine again! It's hard to make hip hugger skirts for a broomstick figure but you managed. But the biggest sewing project I will never forget was my wedding dress. With a two weeks notice before our wedding, you and Aunt Pat set up two machines in the living room. After you had worked all day in a sewing factory you made my wedding dress and two bridesmaid's dresses. And this was all in December right before Christmas.

So many times I have failed to say thank you. So many times I have failed to tell you how much I appreciate you and all you've done. And so many times I have failed to just say, "I love you." So I shall say it now - Thank you, I appreciate all you do for me. I love you.

Love, Rhonda

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vacation or StayCation?

Everybody's talking about vacation. Should they go to the beach - what about the tar balls? Should they go to the mountains? Should they find a cheap cruise? Not many are wanting to stay home. But that's exactly what I decided to do for vacation this year.

I'm wearing my big ole sunbonnet, I've got my little cup full of ice and cherry koolaid and a straw. My embroidery is by my side, my laptop within reach, remote control for the TV, and a lovely assortment of pill bottles at my fingertips.

I shall close my eyes and, via my recliner, travel anywhere my mind wants to take me. If I have to rush to the bathroom, I'll just pretend I came in from a tour of the Mayan Ruins and drank the water by mistake. If I feel a little short of breath it's because I just climbed a trail at Clingman's Dome. The rash on my face - let's see, I had a reaction from eating too much lobster tail at the midnight buffet on the Alaskan cruise. Strawberry yogurt, which has become my daily breakfast, is now a strawberry mousse swirled with fresh berries in a crystal parfait glass served to me while staying at a bed and breakfast in Colorado Springs. The occasional cup of hot tea I enjoy comes from high tea at the Biltmore Estate and is stirred with rock sugar sticks. I just wish I could imagine something that would be a substitute for the smoked salmon bites in puff pastry with dill sauce that would accompany that hot tea.

The way I've got it calculated, by Thanksgiving my appetite should be back to normal. The chemo will be over, all the bad symptoms should have subsided and things should be looking like they looked last Thanksgiving. A shorter hairstyle, a few pounds lighter, and a new outlook on life with a bright future will be very welcome into my home, heart, and head.

This week I read an article by John Piper, who was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. He says I shouldn't waste my cancer. That sounded odd to me but you can read this at Rather than explain all this to you, I shall quote "My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Bon Voyage!

Here we are walking on a glacier in Alaska in 2001. Gee, that was nine years ago. A trip we'll never forget.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Off With Her Hair!

Today is the first day I think I have something to say about it. It's been 5 days since it happened.  I kept putting it off and the time didn't seem right and I didn't feel like sitting up that long and it was too hot to sit outside and mixed signals with my hairdresser caused me to miss her and oh, I don't know, there are a lot more reasons. I think the thing that made me decide it was time was finding hair falling from my head into what little food I have been able to eat. That was too much. My stomach was too weak to handle that. Time to cut the hair off.

Libby and her sweet daughter in law, Mallory, were stopping in to see me Monday and I asked her if she'd buzz cut my head. She said she'd be glad to do that for me. Sis in law, Pat, came over and I sat in the kitchen with a towel draped around my shoulders and Lib started the clippers. Off it came, falling in little strips and there wasn't much of it. The picture Travis took was awful. Awful!! I looked at it and started crying. But only for a second.

I knew it was going to happen. I knew if I took matters into my own hand and cut my hair off before the chemo got it all, then psychologically I had more control over my body than the cancer and chemo. But you know what? That's just a ploy. The hair is gone. The cancer and the chemo caused it and it's gonna stay gone for a long time. "It's just hair. It'll grow back. You have a great looking head." Ok, whatever. You may be right. I've said it myself to gals going through this. But until you've been there and seen that hair you paid to have colored and highlighted hitting the floor - - you can't know how it feels. I've had that hair since I was two years old! Yeah, I was bald until then. Kinda makes me feel like I'm starting over but with a lot more baggage and body.

The picture I said was awful ended up being a good source of laughter. I texted the picture to Hunter and he showed it to the boys. Eleven year old Andrew got very quiet looking at it and nine year old Christian almost started crying. Then Hunter found four year old Jon Carter, who was bouncing on the bed just doing his four year old thing, and when he looked at it he stopped, stared, and asked, "Who is that old man?" (See, I told you it was an awful picture!!) Hunter said, "That's not an old man, that's Granna!" He said, "Oh," and went back to bouncing on the bed. Kinda put things back into perspective for me.

So now I've got my radar on for caps, hats, scarves, decorations for a bald head. Simplicity is the key for me. And inexpensive; ok cheap. Cheap means I can have more options. Maybe soon I'll post a picture of some of my head gear. But today, I think I'll keep this look to myself.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lisa aka YaYa

Being eight and a half years older than your baby sister tends to lead to babysitting. After Lisa got a little older, that is. She spent a lot of time in a playpen in the yard under a tree. We thought she was so cute and she was. When she was about 10 months old she got sick, very sick. She ended up in a hospital in a distant town suffering from dehydration. The hospital rules in 1962 said no one could stay with her through the night, so Dad and Mom had to come home without "our" baby.  After a three day stay, she was as good as new. Maybe even better. When she got the mumps, I was the one that got to stay home from church with her.

Oh I forgot to tell you, Lisa was born on Dad's birthday, too. She was the darling of the nursery at church. The pianist at church was getting married and asked Lisa, and the pastor's daughter, Leeann, to be her flower girls. Lisa's hair was about shoulder length but Leeanne's was much longer. Somehow, they got left unattended in the Sunday School room just long enough for Leeanne to give Lisa a very nice haircut. Lisa was just about to return the favor when someone walked in and stopped her. The wedding pictures still turned out very nice, after an emergency trip to the beauty shop.

Before she graduated from high school, she baby sat my two sons for a few months. One of the boys would get into her chap stick and bite the end out of it. She loved when that happened. That same son couldn't say her name and it came out as Ya Ya. We still call her that sometimes. Lisa graduated from high school and went to nursing school. She became an LPN and after few years became a Certified Cardiovascular Technologist. When she began working in the heart cath lab she would spend nights at our house when she was on call. The very first night, I had to wake her to go to an emergency. When she got her own apartment, she'd still come spend the nights with us during bad weather. She is a very dedicated, compassionate, caring person. With everyone, always, not just with her nursing.
She married and had my only niece. She is no longer nursing but is now the owner of a clothing store and I get to go with her to market to pick out the clothes she sells! We talk every day, if not on the phone, via email in which our sister Libby is included. It's like an all day conversation. She still is our source of medical information.

Lisa is my biggest prayer warrior. She's has never been in a car wreck with me, thank goodness. We drive a lot alike. She's my bestest shopping buddy, likes sushi, gourmet coffee, dogs, listens to me cry, and makes me laugh so hard sometimes I can't breath. She can cook, sing, and puts together a mean scrapbook.

Some folks are fortunate to have a sister. I'm more than blessed to have two! And I get to be the oldest and the bossiest. Libby and Lisa won't let me forget that, either. Doesn't mean I always get my way, but it's my job as the oldest to try!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sun Pants

What did the big elephant say to the little elephant?
Sun Pants!

That requires an explanation. Years ago, I was probably ten years old or less, our family was sitting around the supper table telling jokes. Dad, Mom, me, Libby, Uncle Ray Crouse - Dad's younger brother -, probably Lisa as a little bitty baby. Daddy and Ray would bring home jokes from the construction job and we'd laugh and laugh. Libby decided she knew a joke and she was going to tell it. She was about seven or eight. So she posed the above riddle question and evidently realized she had no answer so she made one up. It made no sense which made it all the more funny. We all rolled and she was pleased as punch that she'd told a joke.

This is the same sister that would tear up my paper dolls so I played with them in the huge claw footed bathtub without any water, of course, because she couldn't reach them. This is the same sister that shared a bed with me till Lisa was big enough to leave a crib and let me as a young teen have my own room. Then Lisa bunked with her. The same sister that tagged along with me, trying to be a teenager and who at the same time liked hanging out with the younger Lisa still playing dolls and coloring. The same sister that was with me in the car when I had my first wreck and neither of us was hurt. The same sister that at one time was all elbows, knees, feet and teeth who blossomed out one summer to become a tall, slim, curvy beauty with a beautiful smile and hair past her shoulders, straight and pretty in that late 60's and early 70's style of no curls and no frizz. Old enough to not let Mom cut her bangs anymore! The same sister that was an attendant at my wedding and mad at my new husband for taking her sister away. The same sister that asked me to be her Maid of Honor at her wedding and who loved my two boys as much as I loved her one. She's still my confidant, secret keeper, and biggest cheerleader. The same sister that took off work yesterday to spend the day with me in a cold, boring, chemo lab, watching a movie on a portable DVD player that we could hardly see, listening through ear buds, and brought me a BLT for lunch from the cafeteria.

This is Libby, the sister that I love and cherish. I can not imagine my life without her in it and a being a big part of it. How do women survive without sisters? I couldn't survive without mine. Next, you will hear about my baby sister, Lisa. I'll have to recover from this post first. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Angels

Well, it's been a while. It's hard to think about writing when all you can do is sit in the recliner and try not to stay bent over the toilet. That's pretty graphic but that's the way it's been. I'm about halfway recovering from the first big round and it's time to go back again Thursday.

While I'm talking about that, let me talk about the nurses in the chemo lab. Angels. Every one of them. They are so smart! They can answer any question, they know just what to do in any situation, they are interested in how I feel, what I feel, and why I feel. They interact with each other in such a manner, I get the feeling they can't wait to come to work every day. They tease each other, they encourage each other, they "sweetheart", "honey", "darling" each other. Anything to make me comfortable, in what they do for me and what they do for each other.

My clinical research nurse is a very special lady, too. She answers my emails within just a few minutes, she asks me questions to find out what I'm feeling, she passes my information along to the oncologist and his assistants and gives me prompt directions. It seems as if her goal is to keep me as comfortable as possible during this time. And she's doing a great job. I feel very cared for, very loved, and in very good hands.

And after saying all that, I'm not going to complain about the way I feel. At least not anymore tonight. Psalm 91:11: "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;" Farfetched? Maybe not.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is This Cancer Inherited?

Questions, thousands of questions. Where does cancer come from? Why do some get it? Why do some get certain kinds? Why? Most of those questions are unanswerable. Research is discovering more and more answers to others.

Shortly after Dad died from pancreatic cancer in 2006, I was talking to my gynecologist at my yearly exam, telling her about Dad and his brothers and sisters that died from other forms of cancer. She immediately asked if I'd be willing to talk to a genetic counselor about familial cancers. I agreed. Before long I had an appointment at the West Clinic in Memphis and talked to Eric. After getting a detailed history of what I knew about the aunts and uncles he began to explain how genetic mutation works. Suffice it to say, he suspected there may have been a mutation in my family. He recommended a test on Uncle Butch, because he is a breast cancer survivor. Yes, that's right, Uncle Butch and Uncle Ray - both breast cancer survivors. Aunts Jessie and Elma both died of ovarian cancer and Uncle Tommy of liver cancer.

After bribing Uncle Butch with a free ride to Memphis and a free lunch, he agreed to accompany me and give them a tube of his blood. (He's such a pushover!) In a few days his results came back positive for BRCA2. That stands for BReast CAncer 2 - a gene mutation that can be passed down that causes breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, melanoma, gall bladder, lymphoma types of cancers. Sound familiar? I gave my sample of blood and I was negative!! The chances of contracting any of these forms of cancer WITH the gene mutation bumps a person to 80%. Without the mutation, I was at the 10% risk of the general population. My sister, Libby, was tested and she, too, was negative.

I did not think, after this test, that I would never get cancer but I sure was floored when I did. Even the surgeon that did the biopsy on the very small tumor that showed up in an ultrasound, was surprised. My first cousin, Kathy, was diagnosed with breast cancer about three weeks before I was. She too, tested negative for BRCA2. So what's up with this? She sees the same genetic counselor as I and they are running more tests on her blood sample. This may tell both of us about another type of mutation. Research on this subject is moving full steam ahead but there are still things to be discovered.

I will write more on this in later posts but for now, I am trying to hang in there with this chemo. There are several variables in my treatments and again I will tell more about that later. This verse means a lot to me this morning: Hebrews 13:15 - 16, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of his lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Bad Day Has Arrived

When I decided to write this blog, I decided it wasn't all going to be about breast cancer. I have more identity than breast cancer. However, today it will be about the side effects of chemo That is, after all, part of the title.

Taking steroid pills the day before, of, and after chemo treatment is a good thing. Until they begin to wear off. Sunday morning, I just wasn't able to get up to go to church. I sat in my chair all day. I did some embroidery, I watched the Andy Griffin marathon, I played on the computer. Mostly, I sat. And tried to get up energy to get up. But the energy was not there. Sunday night, I slept pretty good. Monday morning, I was washed out. Took a shower and put on make up, styled my hair but laid right back down and didn't get up. Not even able to embroider. Today, was just horrible. Until about 2 p.m. I was napping and when I woke up I felt a little better. Still haven't been able to eat much. And drinking fluids is so very important but trying to swallow is hard. I keep plugging away at it, but it's just not fun.

Mike brought me some popsicles and I ate part of a baked potato a few minutes ago. Cantaloupe tasted really good today. When people talked about feeling bad from chemo, I had no idea how bad that was. And I'm sure my experience is not near as bad as some others.

Friends have encouraged me to blog. And that's what I'm doing. So you get to hear all the bad things and the good things. And if I can help someone else through this somewhere down the road, I'll be glad. There may not be a lot of mind boggling revelations or high and inspired spiritual truths, but this is me. And me is what you get.

I cannot close today without telling where my strength comes from. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isiah 41:10 Even though sometimes I may not display that confidence outwardly, deep down I know Who's in control.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's a Good Day

So, today was the annual Red Neck Safari at the farm. Hunter's Sunday school class/church/friends have been coming in May for about five years now. These wonderful, sweet, loving people show up with smiles, food, four wheelers and various forms of transportation designed to run through mud, over logs, and climb hills. The day is spent doing what the machines are designed to do. Then - then - they all gather back at the cabin for a fish fry!! Mike and I and others that are willing to pitch in and help cook and serve, dish up platters of fish, hush puppies, french fries, slaw, all the trimmings and we all eat till we can't move.

Today was the first time I have not been able to jump in and entertain and socialize and have the fun I usually have. Everyone was very understanding and helpful. But it was not the same experience for me. I am having to face the fact that this cancer and the treatments are going to slow me down a little. A little today. Maybe more tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

I was assured and told over and over that I was being prayed for, that I was on prayer lists at the various churches. That means so much to me and I thank every one that has approached The Throne on my behalf. Two Godly men layed hands on me and prayed for me today, standing in the backyard, unashamedly in front of God, nature and all those sitting in lawnchairs praying along.

Friends, family, food, faith. That makes a good day. Cancer or not.

I Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First Day of Chemo

Mike, Mom, and I arrived at the clinic at 8:50 a.m. My clinical research nurse went over some things with me and then I went to the chemotherapy room to get "chemo'd", I guess you could say. I had drips that were supposed to keep me from getting nauseus. Then a drip of Taxotere, then Carboplatin, then Benadryl, then Herceptin. In addition to these drugs, I began taking the clinical trial drug, Lapatinib in pill form.

I am very pleased to report, I had no adverse reactions to any of these drugs. No itching, no chemical taste in my mouth, no drop in blood pressure or oxygen saturation. I sipped on white grape juice, ate peanut butter and crackers, even got in a few small bites of candy bars! Didn't get dizzy walking to the bathroom, enjoyed meeting all the nurses, did a little embroidery, started reading a new book, began listening to a new book on my ipod, played on the Nintendo DS Game Boy, taught Mike how to play a game on it and he took it away from me and played with it, got a cool little goody bag from the nurses, covered up with my Chemo Kalaidoscope quilt, and just got some rest.

I go back tomorrow for a shot of Neulasta that will help keep my white blood cell count from getting too low. It has side effects as do all the above drugs I took by IV today. But they might not show up until about Sunday. As for today, I am enjoying the energy I have. I am praising God for the good day I had. I am thanking God for all the medical professionals that are in my life right now. And I am thanking him constantly for all the family and friends I have that are praying for me and wishing me well and letting me know that they love me - every day. It brings to mind a scripture. Philipppians 1:3-4 "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy - -".

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It Will Begin Soon

I have opted to participate in a clinical trial while undergoing my chemotherapy. A clinical trial is a research study that tests how well new medicines work in people. The main purpose of this trial is to determine if this particular medicine is effective in preventing cancer from returning and in extending survival in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. (That's straight from the brochure)

Let me back up. In HER2 positive (+) breast cancer, the tumor cells have too much HER2 protein on their surface. This protein makes tumors able to grow and spread quickly, and can make them less likely to respond to some cancer treatments and more likely to recur after treatment. I will be helping to determine why some drugs, alone or in conjunction with another drug, work differently in some women.

My tumor was tested to be HER2+ in addition to being positive for estrogen and progesterone. That makes a triple positive. That makes a scary kind of cancer. That makes ME determined to find out all I can about it and to treat it as aggressively as possible. The tumor was removed with negative margins (they got it all), no lymph node involvement, and no suspicion of it being anywhere else in my body. Because of the HER2+ thingy, let's just be on the safe side. Ok? Ok.

I will possibly be helping save the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the near future. These women could be my sisters, daughters in law, granddaughter, nieces, or my friends. Or it could be you. Or your loved ones. Or your friends.

I realize there's a lot of scientific jargon in this post. I have learned a lot of words, phrases, and terms that, 4 months ago I would never have dreamed I would know. I am getting something akin to a "junior medical degree." Personal experience and involvement tends to make one sort of an expert. I said that, tongue in cheek, to say this: everyone's breast cancer is different. Everyone must do what is best for them, based on research, open conversation with doctors and medical professionals and people who have been through the same thing. And prayer, lots of prayer.

Chemotherapy should begin later this week. It's a scary thing. And I dread it. I really really dread it. I have decided I will spend one long, hot, bald summer going through chemotherapy in exchange for twenty more good summers. However, I must remember that "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Relay for Life

Relay for Life, the nationwide fundraiser of the American Cancer Society, is an awesome event. In the years past, it was out there, raising money for cancer research. I thought it was a good thing. But it became much more to me in 2006. My Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April. In May, he walked the survivor lap at Relay for Life. Less than six months later, he passed away. Pancreatic cancer is a bad old cancer. The next year's relay was pretty hard. We watched two of Dad's brother, both breast cancer survivors, walk the survivor lap.

This year, I walked the survivor's lap with my daughter in law, Mandy - she had melanoma, and Mike's niece, Michelle - a 5 year breast cancer survivor. Mike walked with us. He is now considered my caregiver. This year, I can be considered a survivor. As we walked, the people of the businesses and organizations that had raised money all year, were standing on the sidelines applauding us. I felt unworthy because my fight hasn't really begun yet. I was just diagnosed two months ago. The tumor is gone following surgery but my treatments haven't begun yet. Some of the people there have fought a long, hard, difficult, battle with various forms of cancer. Some are still fighting, waiting to be declared, "Cancer Free!" I'll be glad to hear those words, too, applied to me. Hopefully, I'll hear them for many more years.

Next week end I'll walk another survivor's lap, at another Relay for Life event. This time with my two uncles. And I'm sure it will be much more difficult. Dad has been gone for 3 1/2 years. I still miss him every day. We cancer patients/survivors, are fighters. We keep going. We keep running the race. There is a prize at the end of this race. First, hopefully, a cure. Second - "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenword in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:14. Either way, it's a win/win situation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This one is Mine!!

I finished a quilt last night! The Christmas before last I made a quilt for all five grandchildren. Even though only one was ready at Christmas. The others were done before March. Last Christmas I made quilts for Mom, two sisters, two daughters in law, one niece. I was determined to have them done on time. And they were - all wrapped up and under the Christmas tree. This Christmas quilts will be made and presented to Mike, two sons, two brothers in law and a nephew. I have one of those "guy" quilts ready to go to the quilter. I've got another half finished.

But last night, I cut the last thread on a quilt that is mine! It's only the second one I made for myself. This quilt has a special task assigned to it. It will go with me when I take my chemo treatments. It's very cold in that room and I've been told I'll want something to cover up with. Of course, the clinic has warmed blankets that would work just fine. But I want something personal to me. Thus, my own quilt. It will remind me of all I need to accomplish before Christmas this year. It will give me strength to get through this rough patch in my life. It will give me comfort as I sit for a long time in a room I hoped I'd never have to see again. Dad took some treatments in that room four years ago this month.

As I let this quilt be my comfort, it will remind me of another Comforter, the One Jesus promised. "But the Counselor (Comforter), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you," John 14:26. I can't think of anything better to ponder on.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The lifeport is supposed to be a really good thing. My friend, Cindy, said she loved hers, when she had breast cancer. I'm sorry, I just can't get too excited about it right now. I understand the purpose and the use but today it's a pain in the neck, pun intended. My right shoulder and neck are not happy. The tape on the bandage which came up almost to my ear, was very irritating. So Mike clipped some of it off for me. The tape, not my ear. I'm supposed to leave the bandage on for 48 hours. Tomorrow I return to the clinic for an EKG and some blood work. They will take the blood through the port. And that's good because I won't have to get a needle stick in my arm. The handy dandy lifeport will supply all their (medical folk) needs. My lifeport will be the "funnel" for chemicals that will destroy harmful cells in my body. I see the good, I dread the bad.

Will supply all their needs. Hmm, that sounds familiar. Where have I heard that? Oh yes, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Brief Introduction

Putting my writing career on hold just seemed the thing to do at the time. I wrote freelance for a monthly magazine published locally in my town. After nine years of articles, interviews, and research projects, I was ready for a break. It was about that time I was bitten by the quilting bug.

I have done needlework of some kind since I was ten years old - off and on. Crochet, counted cross stitch, embroidery, sewing. As passing interests would capture my attention, needlework would come and go. But I see this quilting thing being the be all/end all of my needles and thread obsession. I love it and am enjoying it more and having more fun than anything I've done in a long long time.

Now, Dear Reader, hang on as I totally switch gears and try to explain the title of my blog. On March 12, 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma. In later blogs I will go into more detail about the early part of this journey. To put the details in a nutshell for this introductory posting, I had a lumpectomy on March 29. The decision was made to proceed through chemotherapy and later radiation. Today, the lifeport was put in for the chemo to begin within the next two weeks.

For the Quiet Times - I have a strong faith in God. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Everything I am, have, or will be is due to Him. The devotion in my daily book for this morning stated, "Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life, These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth. Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me." This from a wonderful book by Sharon Young, writing as if Jesus were talking directly to me. Those words kept me very focused this morning as I was in the hospital. As I apply all my circumstances to these words - well, God is doing a good work in me. Even in the midst of cancer. So I shall continue to praise Him - always. Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.

And this is my introduction post. I may not write every day, but through this blog I will keep you, my family and friends posted on all updates of chemo treatments, progress on quilts, and spiritual growth from my Lord.