Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good bye 2015. Hello 2016! Flawless.

Good bye 2015.  Hello 2016!
On December 31, 2014, last New Year's Eve, I had been living 6 weeks since my cancer diagnosis.  

6 weeks.
A puppy needs to be with their mama 6 weeks until they're "weaned".

6 weeks.
The usual time for recovery from surgeries.

6 weeks.  
At the end of 2014, I listed the issues that had arisen since my diagnosis.  Here they are with their current status:

My sister-in-law was battling her second bout of breast cancer.
   - Her last treatment will be next month.  She continues to have a strong, positive attitude.  And who wouldn't?  She will be greeting her a grandchild from her daughter!  Last year at this time, she was fighting for her life - and still is.  This year she is preparing to greet a new life!

My Aunt was undergoing radiation therapy to treat her breast cancer.
   - She has successfully completed radiation and is cancer free.  She is back to taking care of her "orphan" cats!

     - I'm cancer free - a survivor.  I've realized that I'm not ready to call myself a "thriver" yet.  But soon.  I'm even more in love with my dear husband, closer to my son, taking in the beautiful views of nature from all around me.  I have found a new "quiet time" space in my craft studio next to my window.  The view is beautifully inspiring.  One foot in front of the other to a new life.  Hello 2016!

                               Happy New Year to all of you!
new years quote
During my 6 weeks (ha!  another 6 weeks time frame!)  of radiation, I discovered a phenomenal Christian radio station - KLOVE!  As I drove down Mesa to Texas Oncology I would listen to it - sometimes blasting it as a specific song spoke to my spirit.  I would even sometimes sing to it as loud as I could - not a pretty sound - but hey, God hears my singing through my Big Brother, so it's o.k!  I purchased these songs and now listen to them at home, as well as to KLOVE.  

Yesterday He gave me a song that I sang all morning.  It was a great time of being in His presence as I went through my morning activities.  I was also preaching to myself through music, reminding myself of the lessons He taught me during those 6 weeks - and knowing that those lessons still stand.  I also know I will continue to glean from them in the future.

Then, this morning, at the same time, the LORD gave me another song!  Then I realized He wanted me to share them with you.  Sometimes, I may share the same song more than once - it's His plan - not mine!  :)  Here's the part I sang!

And here's the song!  Enjoy!

We all have bumps, bruises, hurts - but by the blood of Jesus, we are flawless.  This year, I have definitely experienced bumps, bruises and hurts, but by the blood of Jesus, I am an overcomer - and so are you my dear friend, so are you!

For today, this is my truth.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Speak? Live.

Today I read Proverbs 29 and, while a couple of verses really spoke to me, verse 20 really stood out.  I learned a valuable lesson about another scripture close to my heart.  First, let's look at Proverbs 29:20.
This scripture immediately reminded me of my husband, who is so thoughtful in his speech.  I hoped to be a person like him, who speaks thoughtfully, yet as these words were written, the LORD reminded me that we are all individuals.  He reminded me that many times my spontaneous remarks bring joy to my listeners.  

Another reminder not to compare myself to others, but to enjoy and rejoice in their positives attributes - and my own.  

Psalm 139:14

I'm slowly learning about this thing called living after cancer.  It's strange.  I still think about it everyday, though not as often.  I asked someone, "How do I move on now?  How do I 'live my life' now?"  She said, "How did you get here?  Did you drive yourself?"
Yes, I did.  She told me, "You go to  your car, drive yourself home, and live."

Sounds simple.  

Feels more complicated.  

Is it really that complicated?  That big of a question.  Can I be getting so lost in the question that I'm not allowing myself to live the life God gave me?  Then I remembered this lesson learned from a childhood Christmas movie, Santa Claus is Coming To Town. Wow, I'm really dating myself, aren't I?  :)

So, I'm living life by simply putting one foot in front of the other.  I hope this helps other cancer survivors to live their lives as well.  

For today, this is my truth.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Recap. Merry Chirstmas!

December 24, 2015
Merry Christmas to Everyone!
               I hope and pray this letter finds you all in the best of health and spirits!  I pray you know how much each one of you is loved and appreciated for the way you have touched our lives.  This newsletter will be a bit different, but then again 2015 was indeed a very different year for our family and friends.  Since Thanksgiving, I contemplated whether or not to send out a Christmas letter, then, this morning, I realized that I ABSOLUTELY HAVE to.  The desire to share with you, my loved ones, God’s mercy and grace overflow - I am compelled to share with you His goodness and grace.
               Late October 2014, I was visiting a family member who was fighting breast cancer for the SECOND time.  The night before I was to fly home, my dear dad let me know that another family member had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Right then and there I prayed, “God, things usually happen in threes, who is the third person?”  His swift response was, “You.”  Okaaayyy.  Me.   So that night, I knew, even before the mammogram and doctors’ phone calls, that I had breast cancer.  And you know what?  I was peaceful in the knowledge that God would answer my consistent prayer as I faced various health issues:  “God, please let me learn what You want me to learn from this.  And please let me be a blessing to the doctors, nurses, medical staff and anyone else I come in contact with during this season in my life.”   Throughout the following year, He was faithful to answer this prayer as well. 
               The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Ray and I listened to the radiologist who read my many mammograms tell us that the location of the tumor was difficult to operate on and he highly recommended that we begin our journey at MD Anderson.  Not surprisingly, the LORD had shown me that we would be taking a road trip to Houston and even which quilt I would be hand sewing the binding onto.  We began sharing this news with our children, family and friends.  At this point, I started a blog which I still write in occasionally:  .
After a several months battling with our insurance company, we were in Houston where the doctors discovered the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.  That was scary to hear.  Despite that news, there were so many opportunities to encourage and be encouraged by my dear family, my dear friend who drove from Dallas to visit us, the staff and residents in our hotel!  I would go to the lobby/dining area and hand sew.  This was a conversation starter so I shared with as many people as I could and, by God’s grace, encourage and be encouraged.  I decided to continue treatment with the wonderful surgeon and oncology team I had already met with in El Paso.  I somehow knew my purpose in Houston had been fulfilled and there was no reason to return. 
               After 6 months filled with 16 grueling chemotherapy treatments, a lumpectomy and ancillary node dissection, 6 ½ weeks of radiation and now facing 1 – 2 years of recovery from all the toxins, I am finally cancer free!  Hallelujah! 
               Lessons learned?  Here’s just a few:

1.  “Let the Big C (Christ) take care of the little c (cancer).  Praying Through Cancer by Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist. 
2.  Live more fully, love without reservation and with all my heart and laugh with gusto daily.
3.  "God is bigger than the boogie man.” qtd. Raquel, a youth from our church.
4.  Some things just don’t matter – most things actually – so simply (I know it’s easier said than done.) let them go.
5.  El Paso has a great radio station – KLOVE.
6.  Life, and you my dear, sweet loved one, are beautiful. 
                   Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!

Celebrate Life!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

One Day at a Time. Just Be Held.

One Day at a Time.
So, I've been pondering this whole Breast Cancer Survivor issue.   In my humble opinion, there is no "right" way to continue life after breast cancer treatments are over.  It's an extremely personal and individual journey.  Naturally, one would hope that we recover and rebuild our lives in a healthy manner. 
I've never done this before.  Have no idea how to do survive breast caner after treatments are over.  I have spent the last year fighting, yes my friend, fighting breast cancer, fighting for my life.  And now I've won.  Now what?
Go forth and live my life, you say.  Yes.  Obviously.  But how? 
Right now my life feels like a Tetris game.  I've built up all these rows and finally got the one long piece that will wipe them out.  My foundation is gone. 
Time to rebuild.  One day at a time.  Trusting in God.  One day at a time.  It's a process, a slow one. 
There's so much I want to do, yet I sense the Holy Spirit telling me, "Whoa, Horsey!  Take your time!  It's a process."
One day at a time.  There is no safer place to be than waiting on the will of God (Majetta Morris, Okinawa, Japan). 
One day at a time.

  Just Be Held.
So while I'm walking on the beach with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, taking life one day at a time and trusting Him, I'll follow the advice in this song by Casting Crowns.

So, I'll move forward one day at a time and just be held. 
Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
 Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands
Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

Friday, December 4, 2015

Surgery. The End of the Journey?

Surgery.  The End of the Journey? 
Today, in fact in 12 hours I'm having what should be my last treatment - the surgery to remove my chemotherapy port!!!  Yes!  It's an exciting a time.  Yet, somehow, as I sit in my living room typing at almost 2:00 in the morning, it feels anti-climatic.  Is this journey really over? 

No, it isn't. 

I realize it will never be over.   I'm a cancer thriver now.  My life will never be the same.  This part of the battle against breast cancer will be over, but it feels like the war will continue for the rest of my life.  After visiting with other cancer survivors, I realize that I will wonder, "Will it come back?"   In spite of these thoughts,

I know in Whom I can rest and trust. 
I know Who holds my future. 
I know ever day is a gift to me from Jesus Christ.
The least I can do is give Him the gift of my life - of a life fully lived in His will.

I have to believe that there will come a day when the words "breast cancer" or even "cancer"  won't enter my thoughts.  Will that day come?  I wonder......

Either way, tomorrow is the end of this part of the journey.  Now my husband and I, along with our family and friends, can begin the process of healing, of discovering what our new normal will be.  

I want to share a scripture, an image, something wonderful that will inspire you, as well as myself.  But, there's nothing at this point.  Nothing the Lord is leading me to write, except what I've already written. 

I'm moving forward to whatever God has in store for me.  And I trust Him.

For today, that is my truth.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Taste and see. Live! Olaf.

November 25, 2015

Taste and see
A year ago this was the week I began the journey into the world of breast cancer – and a deeper relationship with my LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, as well as with my loved ones.  During my devotional time, I had to ask myself the question: “Am I hurt with the LORD for sending me on this journey?”  Admittedly, yes, I am a little.  Yet, honestly, how can I be angry or even hurt – really?
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
Psalm 34:8a

Yes, I did taste!  I leaned on Him!  I continue to learn to lean on my loving friends and family – those He placed in my path for such a time as this.  I now realize that those months spending – sometimes literally all day – in His Word as we prepared to leave Okinawa were part of the preparation for such a time as this. 

 Indeed, this past year I was blessed as I took refuge in Him.  What choice did I have?  I gladly took refuge in Him!  He’s all I know.  He’s proven His steadfastness, love, comfort, strength, grace, mercy, (did I mention love?), and wisdom over and over.  Who else would I turn to, but Him?  Him!  My loving Father, my Comfort, my Strength!  By the way, He’s all these to you as well. 

As I review the blessings my loved ones and I experienced over this past year, the way God worked through us to minister, the way others ministered to us, the wisdom gained, the deeper relationships developed, the newfound joy and serenity I have, all I can say is, “God is good all the time, all the time, God is good!”
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
But those who seek the LORD lack no good thing (!).
Psalm 34:10

I spent six weeks in a hotel as I received my daily radiation treatments.  On the way to the doctor's office I listened to KLOVE radio station.  It's a great station that played so many songs that ministered deeply.   "Good to Be Alive" by Jason Gray was one of those songs!


Here's a picture of a couple of Christmas gifts I made for my grandbabies.  On my husband's request, I'm making another one for our youngest grandbaby.  When he saw his brother's and sister's, he hugged it deeply.  So, he gets one, too!
I got the pattern from One Dog Woof.  My Olaf's nose looks huge in the pic - but I promise, he is not all nose! 
And for today, this is my truth! 
Love and Blessings!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Results. Surgery. Psalm a Day


dr Seuss Thing Logo dr Seuss Thing 1 And 2
Hallelujah!  Thing 2 is benign!  Yea!  Praise God!  As we were walking into the doctor's office to get the results, I reminded my family that whatever the results were:  God is good!  And He is!  Thank you to everyone one for your prayers, love, support, positive thoughts and for being there for me!

August 27th is the big day!  So today my hubby and I are going out to buy pajamas with button up tops.  If I remember correctly, these were invaluable to my sister-in-law as she recovered from her surgery. 

A dear friend of mine recommended making a support pillow for my breast.  She described it as a sort of rectangle that goes from my neck to my stomach.  It should be as deep as my breasts are.  Then, if I sleep on my side, I place it between my breasts to support the operated on breast.  She suggested filling the pillow with polyfill so it will be soft and conforming. We discussed making an extra one as my incision will be on the bottom of my breast. I'll let you know how it works out!  Wow, I don't think I've ever written the word "breast" so many times in one paragraph!

Psalm a Day
I've been reading through the Psalms.  It's been a wonderfully uplifting, learning experience!  I pick a verse from each Psalm and write it in the Psalm a Day section of my journal.  I've been looking for a Psalm a Day podcast commentary, so if you hear of one please let me know! I'd love to explore podcasts until I find the "right one" for me!  (

Today I read Psalm 9 and verse 9 really stood out to me.  It's one of my favorites:

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 
Then the Lord reminded me of a Bible study tool:  focus on the verbs in each verse.
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 
Then I remembered from my teaching days, I would ask my students to note the subject of the verb - who is doing the action.  So I decided to do the same.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 
The Lord is.  He whispered to me, "The Lord is.  The Lord is."   He simply is.  Period.  Whether the news is good, bad or ugly, He is.  The Lord is.
He is for you as well.  The Lord is.
And for today, that is my truth. 
Taste and See That the Lord Is Good, Chalkboard Wall Art  -

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So why?

Why, God?: Why Injustice?
So Why?

I was asked by a non-believing family member this question: "Why would a loving God permit His child to suffer?"  This member went onto say they would never allow their child to go through what I'm going through.  These words were spoken with great love for me, with great frustration on my behalf, and with great confusion.  I understand, my dear one, I understand.

This question was posed to me at a time when I too was beginning to feel anger at cancer - which is a good thing.  And even anger at God, which is an honest and true emotion, one God Himself created.  He can take our anger, our bitterness, our hurt, our fear, our confusion, our doubts.  God is a big God - He can not only take it, He can heal these emotions. 

I pondered this question for some time, then I realized how much good has come out of this painfully frustrating, scary situation.  Yup - I made me a gratitude list. I counted my blessings.  Have you ever done this?  It's so healing.  Here's what I came up with:

1.  My husband and I are closer than ever.
2.  Life is sweeter, richer.
3.  I was able to minister to others in Houston.
4.  My friend of over 30 years came to the United States just in time.
5.   Friendships are deeper and more authentic.
6.   I'm realizing how special my PCP truly is and how blessed I am to have her.
Yes, this journey is hard.  Yes, it stinks.  Yes. Yes. Yes.
Yes, God still sits on throne.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes! Yes!  Yes!!
For today, this is my truth!

Monday, August 10, 2015

My New Companion. Say What? A Quote.

Screenshot 18:03:14 2:11 PM
My New Companion. 
So, I have a new companion.  Her name is Fatigue.  I'm learning to make peace with her, to listen to her.  She is actually becoming a good friend.  I'm realizing that if I simply pay attention to her and follow her suggestions to rest, my life is better, my healing is better, my recovery is better. 
July was tough.  I had a hard time with Fatigue.  August has been a bit better. 
I'm learning to listen. 
I'm learning to laugh. 
I'm learning to trust. 
I'm learning.

Say What?
Ok, so my oncologist told me that the new mass was nothing - remember rejoicing with me about that?  Well, he didn't give me the whole story.  My surgeon shared the proverbial "rest of the story" with me.  The radiologist staged the mass at a Birad 4.  That basically means, "Biopsy this mass NOW."  What a shocker.  So, after dealing with doctor's and such for a week, I finally have authorization and an appointment for an ultrasound guided core needle biopsy on August 18.  If "Thing 2" is benign, we do a lumpectomy followed by 6 - 7 weeks of radiation.  If it is malignant, we do a mastectomy followed by 6 - 7 weeks of radiation.  If Jesus comes back before then, we rejoice!  I should know by the 21st at the latest. 

A Quote
I leave you with a quote from a book I just finished, The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harmon. 

"We all have hard lives, Becky.
Don't you know that?
Sometimes you just have to take your wounded heart out,
stitch it up,
stuff it back in your chest, and go on..."

 Indeed, as we lean on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, He will help us take out our wounded hearts, He'll stitch them up, stuff them back in our chests, and help us to go on victoriously!

My dear friend, keep fighting the good fight. 
Keep on believing. 
And believe me,
I'm preaching to myself tonight. 
For today, this is my truth. 
encouragement - retrieved from:

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

An Update. Good bye Chemo!

Costa Rican Sunset with the quote "She stood in the storm, When the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.
My daughter sent me this quote and I love it!  That's how this journey has been for me - and indeed it has been a journey!  I did find an image with my ocean view, however.  I believe during this time, I have had to adjust my sails - a lot.  It's been hard.  It's been easy.  It's been full of pain.  It's been full of laughter.  It's been a crying time.  It's been a rejoicing time.  Whatever it has been, I'm ever grateful for my God, my family, friends and you - you who are reading this.  You know, lately the words, "Life is so good," has been coming out of my mouth more times than I can count.  And, indeed, as I adjust my sails, I see the truth in that statement:  Life is good!

An Update
I was emailing a friend of mine and decided to paste part of the email here.  Here's what's going on. The second mass did not show up at all on the MRI.  Praise God!

1.  chemotherapy - done!
2.  Five weeks of recovery - that's now until August 17 - 27 or so. 
3.  Surgery - lumpectomy and biopsy of my lymph nodes because the cancer spread to one node.  This should happen between August 17 - 27.  I'm really thinking it will be the week of August 17. 
4.  Three weeks recovery from surgery.
5.  Six - seven weeks daily radiation.
Then I'm finished with treatment.  Because I'm triple negative, there's no other treatment for me afterwards.  My prognosis depends highly on the pathological report of the tumor after surgery.

So, there we go!  Hopefully will be done by November and back to being a university student teacher supervisor by January!  I hope.  I hope. 

Good bye Chemo!
Yup!  That's right.  My last chemotherapy was July 16th!  Yea!   Of course this week I still have the fatigue, some pain in my legs and no strength at all to walk like I was.  In fact, all month fatigue has been my constant companion.  Pain has been beaten down by mega doses of B12.  I intend to conquer the fatigue as well.  Soon.  For now, I sleep when I need to, sew when I can, and live life to the fullest on my good days. 

And life is indeed good!

tinkerbell pixie dust flying
 Tinkerbell. Faith Trust &

My daughter sent me this one as well!  Gotta love Tinkerbell!

For today, that is my truth!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Life is Precious. A Sacrifice of Praise No Longer! Update.

Hello There Everybody!
Life is Precious
I hope you all are doing well and enjoying your Fourth of July weekend!  Life is indeed precious, isn't it?  It can sound like a cliché, until we are faced with difficult situations.  Cancer.  Divorce.  Blood tests.  Financial burdens.  Transitions.  Caring for ill parents.  Missing our children.  Discovering who our friends really are just when we need friends the most.  Unexpected and terrible results on medical test.  Doubt.  Hurt. Past Hurts.  Oh my!  The list can go on and on.  But, my dear loved ones, life is STILL precious. 

Yesterday as we left for chemo, I saw a little boy walking and I said, "Oh little boy, I'm sure you may not appreciate walking right now, but it's such a wonderful gift!  Enjoy it!  Before cancer, I didn't appreciate walking, yet now that is doesn't come easy, I do! 

A Sacrifice of Praise No Longer!
Just two weeks ago, I had worked up to two walks a day, each one was an hour long!  During these times, I prayed, worshipped, and listened to Job over and over again.  I realized that I spent - and spend - much of my day worshipping God.  My so called "prayer time" seemed so short - and simple.  I asked God about this and guess what?  He told me I am called to praise Him.  He told me to just praise Him and the prayers would take care of themselves. 

Lessons Learned from this conversation? Well, read on, Baby!

Praise God
1)  I've not been called as a prayer warrior, but am I ever grateful to those with that precious calling.  My calling is to praise God - in all circumstances.  So I begun to do so.  And guess what?  I feel lighter!  It's wonderful!  And it no longer feels like a sacrifice to praise Him!  Figuring out my calling - or part of it - is why.  Let me encourage you to spend real time with God and realize your calling.  Then live it out.  It's fabulous and peaceful.  Sure, I still pray.  My journals are one of the biggest way I pray.  I pray throughout the day, short simple conversations.  But, oh my gosh!  I love to praise God - even now - all the more now!

2) God will lift up prayer warriors on my behalf.  As it became too hot to walk outside, I took to the mall to walk.  My son lovingly teases me that I am now a "mall walker"!  Yup, I am!  Anyway, I digress.  My husband and I were walking and ran into a couple we know.  We run into each other about once or twice a year.  She works with my husband and he and my husband share a love for cars.  We had a short conversation and then went our separate ways.  As mentioned in a previous post ("Ugly"), it's pretty obvious I'm fighting cancer.  

When she and Ray ran into each other at work, he shared my story.  Yup, you guessed it, she told him the Lord had placed me on her heart for the last few months!  She didn't know why, but He did.  I hadn't seen her in at least a year, but she was praying for me.  God will lift up prayer warriors on my behalf.  Amen!

I am now understanding the phrase "sacrifice of praise."  I'm learning to praise Him in the storm, as well as in the sunshine.  And in doing so, He makes my yoke easy and my burden light.  For this I praise Him! 

Matthew 11: 28-29
I personally know many of you who are reading this.  You are facing difficulties - great trials in your life.  I do pray for you.  I also praise God for you.  He will see you through.  Seek Him with all your heart - you'll find Him, He'll answer you. 

Well, a few weeks ago, an ultrasound found a "mass" near the first tumor.  Eeesh!  Did I ever freak out!  But, then, after a day I realized God is in control.  I decided to name the first tumor "Thing 1" and the second mass "Thing 2".  Remember them?  
thing 1 and thing 2

Well, I got calls from both my surgeon and oncologist.  After their meeting with the tumor board, where they viewed and compared the CD images from April and June, they are in agreement that the radiologist is perhaps being a bit too cautious due to my cancer diagnosis - and I'm grateful for his caution.  They also said it is highly unlikely for a new malignancy to occur during chemotherapy.  So, I am going for an MRI next Wednesday.  It's in God's hands. 

The fabulous news is that Thing 1 has shrunk by 70% - awesome!  Also, the lymph node that previously showed as cancerous appears to be clear!  (Maybe I should call it "Thing 3?)   Overall, great news!  God is good all the time, all the time God is good!

Love you all!

And, for today, that is my truth!

Hello There! Miracles. Ugly. Focus.

Hello There!

It's good to be back.  This fighting cancer is really no joke.  I have had terrible, horrible, bad days, bad days, good days and awesome days.  On the former, it's an accomplishment to care for myself with the assistance of friends and family.  On the later, I just want to be out living life to the fullest!

However, it's good to be back.  I can make no promises, but I can say I have missed blogging, have missed sharing what's on my heart.  I am discouraged that many of you cannot get through to comment.  I believe comments are just as important as the blog itself.  You see, we are all here to love and encourage each other.  I'm working on this.   

For today's entry, it is about six weeks old.  I began it, but hadn't quite finished it.  I've included pertinent updates in red font.  Hopefully, you'll enjoy reading.  The "Ugly" section was hard to write, but it's my reality. 

Enjoy the ride!

Yup, I call it a miracle.  You see, I am on my fourth infusion of Taxol and several events have/have not taken place.  Check this out!

1.  The nurses told me that the little bit of brave hair that has dared to grow in spite of chemo would fall out by the third infusion.  Well, those little hair follicles are hanging in there.  Awesome!

2.  The Taxol greatly exasperated my fibromyalgia pain in my legs.  Infusion number three just about did me in - truly painful.  From Saturday afternoon to Tuesday evening the pain was crippling...mind numbing......awful.  

So much so that I bought a cane. 
So much so that Dad gave me a wheelchair. 
So much so that I cancelled or didn't make plans for last Saturday through Tuesday.

Last Thursday my oncologist suggested that instead of raising the Gabapentin dosage, to try Advil.  Guess what?  I'm 80% better!  I'm able to walk 25 minutes twice a day!  I should've gone ahead and made plans for Monday.  There's still whispers of pain, but they are quiet whispers that are easily silenced. 

3.  The fatique is still there.  Love me my afternoon naps. 

I'm just finished my 10th treatment!  Yea!  Only two more to go.  Since this last post, my little hair follicles are hanging in there.  I even still have a eyelash or two!

The Taxol is definitely doing a number on me.  It's tough.  It's painful.  But, I am learning the true meaning, for me at least of a sacrifice of praise.  And I am learning that when I offer sacrifices of praise the yoke is easy and the burden is light.  More on that soon.

I was able to get up to an hour of walking twice a day for several weeks!  It became a beautiful time of worship, listening to God's Word on my phone, and prayer.  Yes, "became"...past tense.  I am now able to take short walks in my home.  However, I am determined to start over with walking.

Fatigue has become my companion - as has praise, hope, joy, and the peace that passes all understanding. 

Hmmmm.......I believe I'm growing up!  :)

New Insights on Ugly
I am having a hard time with how I look - hairless, no eyelashes and fading eyebrows.  I know, I'm fighting cancer, how I look shouldn't matter.  The truth is that it does matter to me - it really does.  Call me vain, call me shallow - it matters.  I miss my long, curly hair, my long, flirty eyelashes. 

When my sister-in-law visited with her beautiful hairless head (from chemo) and no eyelashes, I marveled at her beauty.  There was no hair or eyelashes to detract from her natural beauty.  Her eyes shone with laughter and joy.  Her smile was even more radiant.  She truly shone with beauty.

However, when I look in the mirror, I feel, well, like a freak.  I feel like Cancer Girl.  I don't see the same beauty I truly saw in my sister-in-law. 

I'm working on this.  Every time I look in the mirror, I tell myself I'm beautiful, then I turn away before I can say, "Liar!".   I'm working on this.

UPDATE:  July 2, 2015

I've realized now that, yes, I do look different.  I look like someone fighting for their life.  War is not pretty.  But, how I look is not the issue:  the issue was that it was easier to focus on these changes than on the fact that I am fighting for my life.  How easy it is to focus on the shallow things of this earth rather than the real issues.  Lord,  I pray, keep me focused!

There's several activities I can no longer do, or they take for stinking ever to accomplish.  My wonderful PCP had a great idea - simple- but wonderful!  Aren't those the best ideas?  She suggested I focus on what I CAN do.  Love it!  She is a wise lady.  So I am and life is richer for it!

Take care my dear friends!

And, for today, this is my truth!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Review. State of the Union. A Future Plan.
Hello There!

I just wanted to review past progress and give you somewhat of the expected time line for the future. 

A Review.
I finished two months of the rough chemo on April 16.  This was the chemo you read about that caused nausea and vomiting.  Thank God that in my situation, I could talk to my oncologist and he adjusted my anti-nausea and vomiting meds to help minimize the systems.  He also added Prilosec to reduce stomach acid.  These changes were really effective!

Best of all, the ultrasound of the breast revealed that the tumor has shrunk by 50%! 

My hair has grown in about 1/2 inch, but the nurses tell me even that will fall out with my current chemo.  My eyebrows and eyelashes continue to fall out.  Thank God I attended a Look Good Feel Better class and learned to draw on eyebrows!  I'm using Systane Preservative Free Eye Drops in the disposable vials as well as Refresh PM eye ointment to help moisten my eyes. 

State of the Union.
On April 30 I began the 12 weekly treatments of Taxol.  The biggest change was no more nausea or vomiting!  Yea!  My fibromyalgia pain has really kicked in though.  It hits hard from my knees to my ankles.  Crippling pain that left me completely dependent on family and friends to help me walk. Again, after a call to my oncologist, we adjusted my medication for that particular ailment and I am now determined to walk 20 minutes a day.  Yes, it's exhausting, but I'm determined.  It can be fun, too!  Just the other day my hubby and I went walking and got caught in the rain.  I laughed and laughed as we rushed home! 


A Future Plan.
After this second batch of chemo, I should have surgery to remove what's left of the tumor, if anything, get clean margins, and remove the lymph nodes that are cancerous.  Following my recovery we are looking at radiation.  Ug.

But I know Who hold my future, so we'll proceed a day at a time. 

And for today, this is my truth!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Heaven on Earth. Sewing Studio. Accepting Grace.

I feel like I've been recovering on my own little piece of heaven on earth.  One piece of my heaven is my awesome sewing studio that I was blessed with way before my diagnosis. 
You know, there are times when God simply wants to bless our socks off.  He did that to me with my sewing studio.  I just have to share this with you. 
It was a project of love from my husband and a lovely couple.  She is a detail person and advocated for me throughout the entire design process.  Even though she doesn't sew, I believe she researched every aspect of sewing/quilting and had some great ideas!  To say that he is a master carpenter is putting it mildly.  This man is gifted beyond words.  Together they make a fabulous team!  Many of their lunch dates were spent drawing on napkins and discussing "best case scenarios".  Hmmm...I wonder what they talked about afterwards - after all the world revolves around me - right?  NOT!  :)Then the four of us came together to design my sewing studio together.  At one point we used Leggos to come up with the configuration of the room!  Hilarious!

It all started when I showed my hubby my dream fabric cutting table and this loving man said, "No." 
No way was my loving, supportive hubby saying "no".  That just doesn't happen in my world.  Now, I'm not spoiled at all, my daughter once said, "well taken care of."  Seriously though, he and I support each other's dreams, mine is crafting and his is cars. 
Anyway, I digress.  So, we talked about it and then I showed him various other fabric cutting tables, sewing tables, design boards and such from my Pinterest page "Craft Room Dreamin' "  ( .  Disclaimer:  Should you chose to visit this page, I caution you to consider this thought: 
funny pictures, pinterest
 His answer was softened to, "Let's see, let me think about it."   Okay.  Progress made. 
We met with our friends and the result is this.  Now, I am not a great photographer and I missed a bunch of details.  My friend's hubby is also a prize winning photographer and one day he will take fabulous pictures of this dream studio.  

This is the door to my studio.  I love, absolutely love fabric yo-yos!  My quilting bee got together and made this beautiful yo-yo garden.  Then a couple of the ladies parked their cars down the block from my house and, under the watchful eyes of my suspicious neighbors, snuck up to my house and "planted my yo-yo garden by my front door" with a birthday card that said, "You've been yo-yoed!"  Each lady from the bee signed the card!  There's even extra fabric yo-yos in the bucket!   
Here is the view as you walk into my room. You can see a part of my inspiration board (more on that later), my rolling scrapbooking cart, part of my cutting table, my design board, and the portable design boards.  The fabric cutting table is huge, stores many yards of fabric and no!  I am not telling how many yards! 
My inspiration board was inspired by one of the lovely ladies at Bernina.  (Pun totally intended!)Seriously, get to know these ladies, they have tons of great ideas they love to share - as well as a sincere love for those of us who visit their shop.  It's my home away from home.  My bookshelves holds quilting, crocheting and scrapbooking books and magazines and notebooks as well as more scrapbooking supplies.  The rolls of flannel you see are actually pretty cool.  They are semi-portable design boards that have pockets on the top through which painstakingly carved dowels (thank you, Baby) fit through.  They hang from the top of my design board from carved "pins".  The bottom of each design board also has a pocket through which another dowel fits to weigh down the fabric.  I have four of these wonderful contraptions.  Come on now, which quilter has only one UFO (unfinished object) going on?  Oh, and the teddy bear in the corner?  He's roughly 30 years old - a gift from my hubby. 

Perhaps in this picture you can see the knobs from which my semi-portable design boards hang.  This Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt is all hand pieced by my daughter and myself.  We are now working on the white and yellow flowers.  This project hangs on the permanent design board.  My daughter found some cool white fabric with tiny hexagons on it, so we are now using that for the white flowers.  The squares on the bottom are designed by my grandchildren for their little brother's quilt.  The ribbon hanger storage to the right of the design board is an ingenious design by my husband.  The rocking chair was donated by a friend and I love it!  Originally, my husband's grandmother's chair was there, but we've moved it into my living room.  Don't you love the lamp?  It was a birthday gift purchased at the shop of La mujer obrera in El Paso, TX ( 
 Here you have a full view of the west wall of my sewing room.  The diamond shaped mini-quilts were hand pieced and quilted by a dear friend.  I believe one is my daughters, but I'm taking care of it for her.  :)  The view outside my window looks out in my "side garden" which I'm preparing a post on for later.  I have two rolling portable storage units on either side of my sewing table.  Both of them open fully from the top and provide tons of storage.  I can remove my sewing table and it's plastic insert, pop in the wood that was cut out to make the hole and wala!  I have a solid table top on which to scrapbook! 

Here is my framed pegboard storage case that hangs above my cutting board.  It holds rulers, scissors, you name it. 

This is only a part of my Heaven on Earth place where I recover.  Believe me, I struggled to accept this very generous gift from my husband and friends.  A lot, I mean a lot of time and money went into this project and I was quite humbled by their generosity.  I prayed and asked God to help me understand, accept and enjoy this wonderful gift. 

And now I do. 

You know why?  

Because this is grace.  This is grace.  This is grace. 

And you know what? 

God shows us His grace every day.  It takes strength and humbleness to accept grace. 
Thank you J., D., and my loving husband for being God's tools in teaching me this lesson. 
And thank you for giving me a piece of Heaven on Earth to recover. 

For today, this is my truth.