Thursday, April 30, 2009

All Shook Up

I'm all shook up! No, I'm not singing an Elvis song.

J received some news this week that really shook me to the core. My heart is aching for her as she walks down this newest path that is being put before her. She shared with me yesterday and it really hit me hard. First my heart was breaking for her and her husband as they weigh options, make plans and figure out how to deal with this news.

Next Satan came at me hard, toying with me that this "thing" that my body has to host for another 3 weeks is growing out of control as I wait and wait. I woke up yesterday with shooting pains and experienced them on and off all day. So of course ole Beelzabub takes the very real and twists them into lies to torture me. And I was too tired to put up a good fight. I let him taunt me.

That was yesterday.

Today I'm fightin' mad! Hebrews 4: 14-16 says (CEV) 14We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. 15Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! 16So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.

In Mark 4:40 (CEV) Jesus asked this simple question. "Why were you afraid? Don't you have any faith?" I admit, I had none yesterday. Hebrews 11:1 says Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. And if we back up to chapter 10, the writer encourages me by saying "35Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. 36Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised." And the promises of God are many!

God, forgive me for doubting that You are in control, and as my father I should know You want what is best for me. Your mercies are new every morning. I know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. (Rom 8:28) Help me Father to daily put on the armor that You give me, so I can defend myself against the devils tricks. I am not fighting against humans, I am fighting against the forces and powers in the spiritual realm. Help me learn to run to You first, to have faith in Your word, so that it becomes my sheild against the flaming arrows of the evil one. I want to be standing firm when this battle is over. (Eph 6)

Run and hide Satan, I'm doin' the shakin' now!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Lighter Side

My brother Tim has helped me see the silver lining in having breast cancer. A conversation we had via e-mail started after he read my last update in which I spoke about the technicalities of my surgery and the removal of cancer, some lobes, nodes, etc.

Tim's response was : "You don’t need all those lobes and ducts and lobular milk stuff anyway, its way overrated. Probably make you run faster. "
True! And IF I ran, I'm just sure I would notice the difference.

While trying to explain to a friend why the Dr. wants me to take Tamoxifen, I told her "...Tamoxifen is an estrogen blocker, kinda like a histamine blocker, but not... my cancer eats estrogen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so we are putting it on a diet. "

From what I read, I'll be the envy of every woman when I gain curves in places I've never had them. My aunt Billie has always told me I'm too skinny. She always says "You need some meat on them bones"! Well Aunt Billie it appears you may get your little hearts desire.

To quote Tim again....."See, there’s always a silver lining."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Update: Met the Surgeon

Dave, Jenny and I met with Dr. Levy today. He is a very patient, gentle, man. We all liked him.

What we found out is that my cancer is less than one centimeter, which is just under 1/2 an inch. It is estrogen positive. The cancer tumor is mixed in ductal and lobular areas which means that the tumor is in the duct but is also in the lobes. (Lobes produce milk and then the milk flows down the ducts to exit the breast). This will make it more difficult to get a clean margin of tissue as there are many lobes. He didn't say it, but this will most likely mean a larger area will need to be removed.

While in surgery Dr. Levy will perform a sentinel node biopsy in which he will inject a blue dye and will follow that dye to the first lymph node and then the second, etc. He will then remove 1-3 nodes for biopsy. A second incision will be made under my right arm to remove those nodes. The results from the node biopsy will come back while I am still in surgery and will determine if they can stop or have to take more nodes.

Dr. Levy suggested that I should take about 1-2 weeks off to recover from surgery and then about a week after that begin radiation treatment along with the drug Tamoxifen. Dave and I will begin researching these treatment options to decide if this will be the path that we decide to take. (I am not a fan of Tamoxifen and it's many side affects, some of which can be worse than breast cancer).

As of right now, surgery will be a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy and is scheduled for May 21st. (Yes another month to wait).

Due to Dr. staffing issues and the fact that my cancer is non-aggressive, Dr. Levy needs to put us off for about 3 weeks. That puts us right at the time of Kelly's graduation from Medical school. He agreed with us that is important for us to attend the graduation and important to Mike and Kelly for us to be there, so we should attend, but "get in after that". I then tried to push my luck by telling him that two of my best friends were coming for a visit on May 20th and leaving Memorial Day morning..and they already had their plane tickets. He just said, "well it's never a good time. We need to get you into surgery". Drats. Sorry Chris and Celia... I tried.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. I wish we could get through this faster, but that doesn't seem to be my destiny. Thank you bearing this wait with me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In Jesus' Name, We Press On

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on.

When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

I heard this song on the radio this morning as I drove into work. I immediately thought of J and what she is having to endure this morning. Hang on tight J, and press on.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I have peace about this journey with breast cancer. I have moments or hours when I feel no peace, and I become nauseous thinking and worrying about what is to come. But most days, I have peace.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions”.

There are parents and spouses all over this world with loved ones off to war. Parents have children involved in drugs or other destructive actions. Some have family members who have horrible diseases. Too many of us know someone who has lost their job and are worried about where the money will come from to put food on the table or pay the next bill. Some struggle with aging parents and aren’t sure how to cope with role reversal, or a serious illness, or even just the demands on time due to Mom or Dad’s loneliness.

How do we have peace, true peace, when situations that are out of our control are not peaceful?

The bible says in John 14:27 (CEV) “I (God) give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace this world can give. Don’t be worried or afraid”.

Philippians 4:6, 7 says (CEV) “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel”

Ah, there it is. Pray about everything and then, because I belong to Jesus Christ, God will bless me with His special kind of peace. The kind of peace where people ask me “How can you be so calm about this”? I cannot explain it any other way, except that I belong to Jesus and I know that no matter what happens, He will see me through each situation so that when it is finished it can be said that God was in the midst of it.

I have always loved the old hymn by Ho­ra­tio G. Spaf­ford,
It Is Well with My Soul. One verse in particular seems to fit very well during this trying time. Like Horatio , I have the peace that passes all understanding. I hope you find the following verse and refrain as comforting as I do.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Superwoman!... NOT

I was diagnosed in March 2009 with breast cancer. I consult with a surgeon at Cleveland Clinic on April 15th to find out what is next along my path. Although I am not looking forward to the days ahead, I am anxious to find out what my journey is going to look like.

Just a few weeks before I was diagnosed, a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer also. She (J) has already had surgery to remove the mass from one of her breast. She has started a 5 year regimen of Tamoxifen. She was told it makes you gain weight. Great! Just what every woman wants to hear. She recently underwent a breast MRI that revealed 2 more lumps in her other breast. J met with her surgeon again today. Afterwards I got a text from her... "Can't do this"! I immediately sent her Ph 4:13 I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me. I then called her as I sensed she needed to talk. Uh yeeaah! They informed her they were not going to biopsy this one, located behind her nipple. Instead they were going to perform a wire guided surgery to remove them. That is, they insert wires to surround and pinpoint the lumps so that when they go into surgery they know exactly where the lumps are. (click here for more information) I've had one of those years ago for a benign lump. It was not pleasant. They also informed her they cannot numb her. Wha...??!!! Are you crazy?? I thought torture was illegal in the U.S.! It was bad enough under the guise of being numb (insert needle, shoot numbing stuff, insert wire...not exactly numb when he started). J, I will be praying for you.

Which brings me back to the scripture I sent J. I used to think that scripture said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Well to my surprise it doesn't say that. It says I can do all things through Christ WHICH strenghtens me. Which means I will be able to do these things (with Christ by my side) and because of what I will go through I will be strengthened. Like iron in the fire. Hmm, I need to ponder that. I 've always been in the mindset of 'superwoman"! You know, Christ will give me supernatural powers to be faster than a speeding bullet and all that stuff. (picture Superman, not feeling the bullet, but catching it!) So, I'm still just me and I still have to endure what I go through, but I will come out the other side stronger for having gone through it. That means I HAVE to trust Christ to get me through it.

God, I believe. Help my unbelief.
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