Friday, February 27, 2015

Two guys and a girl

I'm home. Port is in. My two guys are taking good care of me.  

My daughter and grandbabies are really sick - respitory issues and a cold.  

You all are awesome!

Wrapped in Love

As I head to the surgery center to have the port put in I carry with me one of my most precious possessions:   My very own friendship quilt made by my dear friends in my quilting bee.  
Can you believe it?  They made this in a mere three weeks just for me!   They've wrapped me in love.  

For this morning that is my truth, wrapped in love. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tears. Depression. Friends. Laughter. Oh oh. A Request.

It was so nice to be home.  I got to see my grandbabies for a precious few moments. They're sick with something a step up from bronchitis, but not pneumonia.  I love them so and miss seeing them so much!   
My daughter came over Sunday night with Baby C. He's grown so much!   It was delightful to see him!   I was showing my daughter the new chemo hats and beautifully glamorous scarves I picked up in Houston.  When I tried on one cap, he took one look at me and began crying in fear. We laughed -- at first.   Then when he gave the same reaction to the second cap, I cried with him.  All I could think was, "I'm going to be so ugly that I'll scare kids on the street!"  I was so sad and depressed for about a day.  
Of course, now I realize that Baby C. is just that - a sweet little baby. Of course he was freaked out!  First I have hair, then my head is hairless and red (the color of my cap). THEN my hair pops out.  Life is good until WHAM!!!  My hair is gone and my head is bright pink!!!!    Eeeesh! Come to think of it, it really is enough to make anyone cry!!!  Goodbye, depression!   You're no good for me!!!
My dear Polly spent Monday with me - in spite of me being depressed!   We had a lovely meandering day!   Just lovely!   (Wink wink, Polly!).  
Today we spent the day laughing, gallivanting, running errands - which included a trip to our favorite Mexican bakery!   Then we went to Isabel's.  Oh my!   Her delicious burritos de huevo con chorizo y huevo con salchicha con frijoles and hot tea were so appetizing!   Yum!   Then we tried to quickly teach Isabel to crochet!   She is an amazing student!   I love how she sticks her tongue out when she's really focused!   After she saw all the possibilities of granny squares, she was hooked!!!!
Well, I cut my hair uber short - about 1" all over.   Everyone kindly complimented on it.  It is an adjustment.   
Well, Friday morning I go under the knife to get the port for chemo installed.  Then chemo starts on Monday.  
Prayers, please!  Would you all do me a favor?   Could you send me your favorite scripture or quote?   I'm planning to read them during my first chemo treatment.  
You know, I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't afraid.  I am scared.  I know I'm on the verge of beginning one of the toughest years of my life - the year I really am literally fighting for my life. I've been through a lot in my life - we all have.  But I've had many joys, many happy times, many encounters with God, many friends who fill my life with laughter and my precious family.  I'm not through living -- there's so much to live for!   Life is good. 
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6.  God still has a great work to complete in me and I want to see the good work he will complete in you as well. So, my dears, I will fight to live, I will fight to see the Lord complete the good work in me, I will fight to see the good work the Lord wants to complete in you, I will fight to live.  There's a song that I love, lyrics say this: 
Sing it over me 
I'll sing it over you 
He loves us 
He loves us now. 
My prognosis is great! Yes, there will be treatment, but my prognosis is great! I will have a full healthy life ahead of me and I will enjoy watching and participating in your lives! We have a great future together, in the name of Jesus! 
And for today, and is my truth!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The plan. A quilt. Some boot cuffs.

A friend asked what the plan was once I get home. As one of my friends says,"Here's the deal!"
1) Tuesday morning I have an appointment with my oncologist to go over the paperwork from MD Anderson. 
2) Tuesday afternoon I see my surgeon to schedule the appointment to put in the port that's used to administer the chemotherapy as well as bloodwork etc.
3) I have surgery for the port.
4) After it heals sufficiently, I will start four cycles of chemotherapy every 2 to 3 weeks.
5) Then, I return to MD Anderson for an ultrasound mammogram and an ultrasound of the lymph nodes under my arm.
6) Assuming that the chemotherapy is working, I will return home for 12 more chemotherapy treatments, every week if I can handle it.
7)  Then, the lumpectomy and surgery on the lymph nodes.
8) Finally, radiation for six weeks.  

I have triple negative breast cancer, only 15% of all breast cancer patients have triple negative breast cancer. The reason the doctors are recommending only a lumpectomy is because this type of cancer rarely metastasizes in the breast again.   It is more common for it to metastasize elsewhere in the body within 3 to 5 years.

So MD Anderson and my doctors in El Paso will be monitoring me very closely over the next 3 to 5 years, if not longer. 

For now I need to focus on getting through the next six months of chemotherapy.

Here's a picture of the quilt that I worked on while in Houston. It is just a panel quilt but I love it.

My daughter asked me to make these boot cuffs for friend of hers, so I did. Aren't they cute?

A bit of romance.

Well, we've left Houston and are spending the night in beautiful San Antonio. Being that our anniversary was this week, we had already planned to spend our anniversary week here. My husband found a beautiful hotel with the Tuscan decor that he knows I love! And that was just the beginning of a beautiful evening that he planned for me.

We spent a relaxing afternoon and evening exploring the Riverwalk! The weather couldn't have been better - it was as if God smiled down on us and gave us a gift of  sunshiny weather. 

We explored the shops all afternoon, dined right on the river, and then explored some more. My wonderful husband hired a trio of mariachis to serenade me. They sang two of our songs, Sin ti and El reloj. One of these days in your copious spare time you should look at the lyrics of those songs. They are beautiful, and truly inspire romance and love.

As the mariachis serenaded me, my husband held me tenderly in his arms as we both quietly smiled and wept at the same time.  We're joyful realizing how blessed we truly are to continue to share such a deep love after 34 years.   Yet we know the road ahead will be challenging.  

Afterwards, I realized we were putting on quite a show for the people around us! A professional photographer was flashing away!

 Our evening culminated in a romantic ride on one of San Antonio's famous riverboats. It was beautiful! My husband is the most loving, romantic, tender husband in the world!  

Life is good my dear friends life is good. I've been blessed with a wonderful man, children who love me and take care of me, my son-in-law, my grandchildren, my parents, my sister, my friends, my extended family, my prayer warriors......I am blessed.

For today that is my truth.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Moving. A Seemingly Endless Wait. A Ministry?

Hello There!

Imagine our disappointment this morning at breakfast when we learned the first available appointment with an oncologist would be this Friday morning!   After the shock, we decided to move to less expensive accommodations.  Up to this point, we'd been staying in an 800 square foot 2 bedroom/bathroom loft apartment with a full kitchen and living area.  Also, breakfast and dinner were provided, as well as beautifully landscaped exteriors, pool, basketball and volleyball courts, covered patio with a barbecue grill and, of course laundry facilities.  We moved to its sister company.  

We share the same facilities.  The main difference is no daily maid service (I think I can survive that one!), and we provide our own dinner.  No problem.   We've also moved closer to a friend I made here.  This apartment has a Murphy bed!   This is so cool as we've never seen one before!   Very cool!  

I finished the binding on the quilt and am now working on my yo-yo quilt.   Here is inspiration for that quilt:

I'm alternating between that one and the Grandmother's Flower Garden my daughter and I are working on. She is really taking off and making hexagons. She's even teaching me easier ways to connect. Keep in mind Both of these quilts are hand stirched.  So even though the two of us are far apart, this project keeps us close.  And here is the inspiration for this quilt:


I'm sorry for the large pictures, posting from our IPad and need to learn how to modify them.  

My son will be returning home sooner than us.  He was unemployed for only two weeks and he found a job!   So, though I'll miss him, it's time for him to go home.  He's so funny!   He's kept us laughing and upbeat.  I love him so!

I hung out in the lobby/dining area as I sewed on the yo-yo quilt this morning.  It was lovely!  Eventually a few ladies stopped by to see what I was making!   How exciting!   

I met a beautiful lady from Dubai that I had noticed beforehand.  She is  obviously very ill and in constant pain.   Her husband tenderly guides her through the lobby and serves her her meals.  As we spoke he went outside and gave us privacy.  

After surviving breast cancer survivor for 14 years, she now has bone cancer.  She and I spoke as best as we could.  She asked what I was making and I showed her the picture above and the pieced part I have.  Then I gave her a yo-yo flower. She cried with joy.  I couldn't believe it!   She's obviously very wealthy and this small gift made from scrap fabric blessed her so much!  He joyful tears blessed me immensely.  We hugged many times, cried together as only sisters can and let each other know we would be praying for each other.  

Then I met another lady from India.  We talked about the quilt.  She left quickly after my husband came back to our table. I'm hoping to sit there sewing every morning and perhaps we can eventually all pray together!  Would you join me in praying for God's will in this potential international mission field?

All things work together!

And that my dear loved ones is my truth.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

Good news

You all are my encouragement, my support and my loving witnesses!   You are greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your texts, notecards, emails and phone calls.  They indeed help.   My daughter has been sending pictures of my grand babies.  They really help.  I even got a picture of her at a basketball game!   She has joined me in making my Grannother' Flower Garden quilt.  It's all hand sewn.  I love that we have this common interest in sewing!

I thank God every time I think of you!  Right, Deb?  ;)

We saw the surgeon and he recommended a bit of a change because of the lymph node situation.  He recommends:
1) surgery to put in the port,
2) chemotherapy,
3) come back to Houston to repeat mammos and see the effect the chemotherapy had on the nodes and the tumor,
4) surgery - meaning a lumpectomy and a procedure on the nodes, 
5) and finally radiation.  

This is good news.  Of course his recommendations are based on what the oncologist says.  Next steps are calling MD Anderson to set up an appointment with an oncologist ASAP.  As my husband got on the phone to obtain authorization from the insurance company, my son took me for a long walk.  

We found a shop called "Appearances". The kind lady there taught me how to wear the various hats, scarves and headbands so I can look stylish during chemo.  My son has been so patient and loving!   

We've met a lot of interesting people here.  A gentleman who taught me why our spoken words are so powerful-after all, did not God speak the world into existence?  I've been dealing with a lot of guilt for the pain and such I'm putting my family through.  I asked this wise gentleman if he felt the same. He confidently relied, "Why? This isn't my fault."  Amen.   I'm finding peace on this trip.  

My men took me to the Houston Zoo.  It was so beautiful!   

When Karen got here, I realized how nice it was to have another woman here.  On that first night, she made me laugh so much my stomach hurt!   

We went to the aquarium and Paradise Beach in Galveston.  That was so wonderful to be reminded of God's immense power to hold back the waters - so this is nothing!   Thank you, Vicky, for teaching me that lesson so many years ago!   

While we were at the aquarium my strong hubby was advocating for me with the insurance company.  He got the authorization for me to see an oncologist almost right away!   

Karen and my son rode the "Lighthouse Dive" five times!    

This is amazing considering my son is terrified of heights!   His courage convinced me to ride as well.  I screamed the whole time!  When I wasn't screaming in terror I was telling my grown man son that he was grounded - for life!  

I have so much to be grateful for on this trip:   My husband, my son (who gave up his week and Valentine's Day), my friend driving eight hours round trip to support me, your texts and phone calls, the wonderful suite we are living in, my Lord and Savior's support, love and guidance.theres so much more to be grateful for!   I'm blessed.   

For today, this is my truth.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Houston Here We Come Part 2

Well, on Monday my husband, my hero, had us up,  packed and ready to leave by 630 in the morning.  

Then I called MD Anderson and found out that I absolutely had to have authorization before they would see me - if we went self-pay, they would need a $21,000 deposit!  They would hold my appointment until 12 PM. Long story short, we got authorization and confirmation of our appointment at 11:45 AM.

We picked up my son and began our long drive to San Antonio. We spent the night there and then headed to Houston the next morning.  

Today I had a digital mammogram and an ultrasound mammogram on both breasts as well as the lymph nodes. Sadly, one lymph node was suspicious and was positive for cancer. Tomorrow I'll see the surgeon and I guess he'll let us know our options.

I'm sad and frightened. I never expected this, as my local radiologist and physicians said the lymph nodes were clear. This one lymph node was difficult to find, even the radiologist here couldn't find it today!  The tech found it and pointed out to him. She has 20 years experience preforming ultrasounds versus the tech back home who couldn't been older than 25 years old. 

Afterwards, we went to the Houston Zoo.  Tomorrow we have plans to go bike riding and then to my afternoon appointment. A childhood friend will be joining us tomorrow night and staying with us. I'm so excited to see her!  

God is good all the time, all the time God is good. I don't know what the future holds us, I know who holds the future. Today, at the zoo, I saw a huge bird. It was so strange because it was standing so very still.  Psalm 46:10 came to mind: Be still and know I am God. So I will do exactly that and lean on his everlasting arms.

Last Thursday night the term "loving witnesses" came up in the reading. And I realized that that's what you all are for me,  loving witnesses to this journey. My heart is filled with gratitude for you.  As it says in Philippians, I thank God every time I think of you. Each one of you. Thank you for being my loving witness.

And for tonight, my dear friends and family, this is my truth. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Houston, Here We Come! Part One

Authorization for the facility. 

No authorization for the doctors. 
Friday, combined hours my hubby and I spent fussing with our insurance company was 6 hours!  That was 6 hours I couldn't spend with my grand babies and my daughter on our planned day together.  At the end, with nothing resolved he said we were going to Houston on Monday - period.  

Sadness descended like a heavy cloud.  I tried to be joyful Saturday. My son came over and did yard work with my hubby.  Then we went to the movies towatch American Sniper.

It was inspiring and an eye opener.  My nephew served several tours in the Middle East.  D. You know who you are. I couldn't be prouder of you.  I remember conversation in Philadelphia that day.  You're courageous beyond words.  Hang in there, my dear nephew!

Sunday was better. A couple of prayer warriors stormed the gates of heaven on our behalf.  My little sister and her boyfriend visited.  My daughter came over with Baby C. and my granddaughter.  

She and I had a talk about Houston.  She asked if I was scared.  I said yes.  She asked if I would get "pokies' (shots or an IV). Again I said probably.  She asked if they would hurt.  Another yes.  Then I asked her if she would pray for me.  I got the biggest hug and a firm yes.  Life is good.  

My daughter took my furry friends, Mia and Sammy, to live with her while we are in Houston.  They're doing great.  Baby C is eager to get to know them.  I think he has renewed motivation to crawl!

There's more to this story, but I'm exhausted.  To be contined.  

For today, that's my truth.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Crushed but not defeated. But still crushed.

We lost our appointment to MD Anderson.  It's been rescheduled pending insurance authorization.  

I'm tired.
I'm so tired.  

The case manager told us insurance company's offices are open tomorrow.  
My husband is taking over for the weekend. 
UPDATE:   He'll have an easy time of it.....they're closed till Monday.  

He's amazing.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's Like the Last Week of Summer Vacation. Insurance Woes.......

Hello Everybody! 

In anticipation of my trip to Houston this last week my friends and family have given so much of their time and surrounded me with support, love, jokes, laughter, tissues as I cried, name it.  Well, guess what ya'll?  You have more time to spoil me!  The appointment has been delayed for a few days!  So, if you thought you were out of town to pamper me - YOU STILL HAVE TIME!  So, all you procrastinators, I'm ready!

Yea, I know, cut the bull.  Today has been a frustrating day of highs and lows.   Elissa at MD Anderson is amazing.  I love her.  Jennifer from my insurance is an angel - a tenacious one who is my cheerleader.  I was ready to give up this afternoon and she kept fighting for me.  So, though we have been delayed, we have not been stopped. 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed!   2 Corinthians 4:8-9

I'm not a super hero, I'm not disgustingly cheerful all the time, but I do have the joy of the Lord.  The joy of the Lord is my strength.  Yes, I'm drained after dealing with my dear Elissa (will I ever meet you face to face?) and the insurance company. 
I am drained. 
But, I am also victorious.  
I am so tired.
But, today, I rested behind Elissa and Jennifer's shield of faith.
So, I carry on, praising God and loving my family.
The alternative is unacceptable to me.   


So, since last week I've been having fun.  My son-in-law invited me to breakfast on Friday morning.  It was wonderful conversing with him.  I feel like I got to know him on a deeper level.  Awesome conversation and bonding.   On Saturday my daughter and I, along with Baby C. spent the day together at various craft shops in town, to include my beloved Bernina quilt shop, Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann's.  Then we had lunch at Olive Garden - just love their soup and salad! 
Sunday Polly and I saw Paddington Bear!  We had too much popcorn and chocolate!  Afterwards we had fish and chips at a local restaurant!  Then we had family dinner at my daughter's home to watch the Super Bowl!  Oh!  The food!  The excitement!  What a wonderful day.  
Monday was our wonderful tamalada with Polly, L, and her daughter and my daughter.  It was wonderful!  As L wrote, "There's something magical when we all get together!"  The atmosphere was warm, trusting, fun, and filled with laughter.  We also had a bit of a discussion about breast cancer.  It is indeed a topic that one must face making their own individual choices knowing all the while that they are loved and supported.  It was a very special night indeed! 
Tuesday Polly, "I.", and I went to a neighboring town to see Paddington Bear again!  Well, "I." hadn't seen it yet, so we went.  Wow, this theater had a café!  We bought our tickets, ordered fancy coffees, and an entrée!  They were delivered right to our assigned seats in the theater on trays!  Wow!  I felt like royalty.  Then we just had to go to Michael's and check out their yarn and clearance items.  Eeeesh!  The three of us are dangerous!  Someone made a silly rule that one the merchandise was in the basket, it was going home with us!  BAD rule! 
Tuesday night  I got to babysit Baby I.  It was great having one on one time with her.  M. came over with gifts and concern for me.  Our visit was cut short as Baby I. had to get home to bed. 
Wednesday J., my parents and I went to see my surgeon, whom I love.  His office staff is amazing!  Another lunch at Olive Garden and back home for a nap.  My hubby and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Cattle Baron.   Love that salad bar! 
These wonderful days prepared me for the hectic day that today became.  I'll know tomorrow if the doctor from MD Anderson is approved.  But, for now, I'm off to my meeting and my quilting bee to enjoy the companionship of dear friends!
Thank you for reading this little blog of mine!  I enjoy the comments and texts from you!  Take good care!
And for today, that's my truth!

update:  I'm not sure why the font is appearing in differnent sizes!  I'm sorry!