Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wipeout and Princesses

Hey all! How's your week going so far?? Looking forward to a short week, maybe, or just a wonderful holiday weekend? Me too. After I posted on Sunday, I ended up having such a good day! Praise God! The weather was beautiful and I went for a marvelous run outside then enjoyed the day with my hubby and my babies. We sat on the riverbank for awhile and watched the kids swim, then we took the boat out for a little while and just rode and enjoyed the sunshine without the beastly heat and humidity we have had here for about a week. It was so beautiful, at 830pm we were still on the deck looking at the river talking about what a wonderful day it was. That's the sign of a good day, my friends!

Now I have a first to report to you: my first running accident. I have been running for 5 years now and have never had a wipeout like I did yesterday morning! Let me set the stage for ya...I stepped outside a little before 7 yesterday morning, the sun was shining and it was 59*...OMgosh! Could it be any more perfect?! I cranked my praise and worship on my iPod and headed out for a hour or so. It was perfect. Probably the best outdoor run I have ever had. I was about a mile and a half from the cabin on my way home, just sailing right along, feeling fantastic when -splat!- I tripped over a rock I guess and I proceeded to eat some gravel. Like, literally, I had gravel in my gum! When I got up and surveyed the damage, I had scrapes to my leg, both forearms, both hands, and my chin (decided to save you the gory pics!). It hurt so bad and I wanted to cry, but nobody was anywhere around to cry to! Thank God I didn't injure myself worse or I would have been sitting on the road for awhile waiting for someone to pick me up! After I assessed my injuries, I dusted myself off and started walking back to the cabin but with blood pooling in my hands I decided that I would get there faster if I ran, so I did. So anyway, I am fine just banged up a little! The deep scrape on my left palm is the worst, so tender and sore. Luckily the Lord guarded my right hand/arm and it's not near as bad as my left. But I probably will start some antibiotics of some sort today to ward off any infection and subsequent swelling, since I don't have any lymph nodes to fight off any infection that may develop. And I can tell my platelets are still in the low range of normal because down my left leg are several bruises where I hit the rocks in the gravel, I guess. Am I completely backwards that I am proud, though, that I got my wounds from running?? You runners out there know what I'm talkin 'bout!

We came home for our big Monday evening at our Sunday School teacher's house: a Princess Party! Quite a few of us have little girls in the toddler/preschool/school-age age group so Janet decided to throw a party to pamper God's Little Princesses (which we all are, aren't we?!). It was a perfect evening! Each girl had a mani/pedi, facial, makeup, hair, crown, and put on their fancy dresses. Can you imagine a party better suited for Katie?? We had "champagne" fruit punch in tall flutes and finger sandwiches and snacks then afterwards we headed to the Jolly Cone (our local fast food/ice cream place) so the princesses could show off their beautiful-ness and have ice cream with m&m sprinkles. It was a wonderful evening for the girls and their mamas. It was one I think Katie will remember forever, I know I will! Here are just a few of the highlights:

At the end of the party we had a little time for a devotional. We talked about how it's not about how you look on the outside, which is fine and wonderful to get all dolled up, but God wants us to be just as beautiful (even moreso) on the inside. He wants our hearts to be pretty, too. The girls were taught the saying, "Pretty is as pretty does."

On another note, Michelle just called with the report from my chest xray and it looks like nothing serious. They said they couldn't rule out pneumonia, bronchitis, or the radiation pneumonitis...but there was nothing that ends in "-oma;" I don't like those sort of words. So that's good. All other possibilities can be treated and taken care of rather easily. They recommended a repeat in 4-5 days to compare. She will fax the report to my drs in STL and they can determine what they want done. Praise God for answered prayers!!!
I hope everyone has a great Tuesday!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Not Quite Myself

What a week, ya'll! Sorry it's been a WEEK since my last post...geez. Not much has gone on other than I am on a serious search for my hormones. OMGoodness...no hot flashes or night sweats, yet. BUT, some serious "downtime" and for a bright-side optimistic kind of girl, it's no fun. It all started with a few tears over a commercial, then into concerns about some shortness of breath and a dry cough that I've seemed to develop, and finally into anxiety and fears about a recurrence of my breast cancer. SERIOUSLY!

What is the DEAL?!

This is SO not me!! I have to keep reminding myself that the hormones are no good for me and I am doing by body so good by getting rid of them, but now I need an antidepressant! Running has been my saving grace...I am always in a good mood after I run, but I can't run all day long. But my morning endorphins have been nice. Um, back to the cough...thanks to my friend Tiffany who is going through the same thing, I think I may have figured out my problem. Radiation pneumonitis is common for those who have had radiation to the chest area...symptoms are shortness of breath and a dry cough. So when I called my dr, they agreed that it did sound like that's what it was, but ordered a chest xray to be sure. Michelle did one on Friday and there was a cloudy area in my right lung, so it's the right side for the radiation exposure. Of course in my frame of mind, I asked her if it was lung cancer...to which she responded, "uh, no." She said it just looks like the radiation exposure inflammation. Of course a radiologist will read it this week and they will send the results to Michelle and to my dr. I am praying that it's nothing else. My mind is just working overtime right now...

I have prayed every day for God to take all this anxiety that's building in me right now. I DO trust Him, completely; I DO surrender my fears and worries to Him every day. I'm just waiting patiently for His strength and peace to fall all over me.

This week He timed a perfect devotion just for me: It was titled "Why Worry?" It says that if you find yourself struggling to let go of worry, try praying Scripture daily that reminds you that God is truly sovereign. He is the One who is ultimately in control our safety and well being. Psalm 91:1-2 says, "The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' "

I hope you have a blessed Sunday! Here's to a brighter day!! :-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


Happy Father's Day! Today is the day we set aside to give extra love and appreciation to our dads; to remember all the things they have done for us and the unconditional love they give. I know that even though we have had rough times (what teenage girl and her dad haven't?!), I am so thankful for my dad and love him so much. He is always there to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. He is a great example of strength, determination, and hard work. He is the best Poppy to my kids that they could ever ask for! They think hanging out with him is the greatest thing ever, and I love to see the way they look up to him. He is truly a very special man.

As I was having my quiet time this morning, I also wished God a Happy Father's Day. After all, He is the ultimate Father! He is always there for us, wants the best for us, and gives us unconditional love. He teaches us lessons when we need them, and picks us up when we fall. He is our greatest encourager, and our best friend.

"So Happy Father's Day, LORD! Thank you for your love, your guidance, and your faithfulness. For being the ultimate FATHER. I pray that I will make you proud every day."

Tyler went with me this morning for my run. Between the humidity and the high pollen count, it turned into more of run/walk. We did 5 miles. I had to keep swatting bugs off me, the air was so thick and humid, and occasionally I would have to cough so hard I thought I'd surely see my lung on the road a couple of times! I am such a wimp. I missed my treadmill so much this morning! LOL I am such a picky outdoor runner: barely cloudy, temperature 55-75*, and a light breeze. Yeah, um, that doesn't leave much time for outdoor runs around here! Haha! But it was a great time spent with Tyler...running is our thing. As soon as we got back, we took off our shoes and went and jumped in the river, clothes and all! OMGoodness, that is the best thing about an outdoor run here at the cabin...going to jump in that crisp, clean, cold river! Ahhhh, it was awesome! If I hadn't had to get inside so I could wrap my arm, I would probably still be sitting there!

The rest of today consists of BBQ and river time. It is going to be hot and beautiful here so it looks like a perfect day for it! Have a great Sunday, friends!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Feelin' Hormonal

Well I can officially count down my treatments on ONE HAND!! I only have 5 Herceptin treatments left until I am finished! YAY!!! Yesterday was infusion 12 of 17 and everything went great. Thank you all so much for your prayers. There is nothing like walking into a dr's office knowing that the LORD walks before you, clearing your path. Our visit with the dr went great; he was very proud of his patient for being the 4th Survivor to finish in last Saturday's race! My labs were perfect, too. All my counts are finally starting to look normal and stay normal post-chemo and radiation. Yesterday's visit with him was all about hormones...

He agreed that a hysterectomy is the best way to eliminate the hormones, but REALLY wants to wait on the surgery until Herceptin is over. ...sigh... He thinks it would probably be fine, but doesn't want anything to mess up the H schedule. We've stayed on track perfectly so far and with being so close to being done, he wants to keep it that way. Understood. In praying for this appointment, I prayed that God would make it very clear what He wants me to do regarding this surgery. Either open the door wide, or slam it shut. [slam!] Gotcha. Loud and clear. And thank you, LORD for making so obvious that even I could get it! So after H yesterday I received a shot of a drug that completely shuts down my ovaries, also eliminating the hormones. I will receive it once every three months (in my stomach...ouch!!) until I have surgery, which after October, can be whenever I choose. Then in 3 weeks when I go back he will start me on another type of anti-estrogen in pill form. So let the hot flashes begin! My nurse said I could probably expect to have "menopausal symptoms" next week...fantastic! Bright spot: no periods! Haha, yeah I know you're jealous! ;-) You know me, I'm a bright-side kinda girl!

Hormones Pictures, Images and Photos

My day wasn't all happy though because while I was on the 7th floor doing my thing, a friend of mine was on the 5th floor just beginning her journey. Her road is much like mine, only with a different type of surgery that will give her the healthiest, most beautiful ta~tas a girl could ask for. So if ya'll wouldn't care to keep her in your prayers, I know that she would appreciate it and be strengthened by each and every one of them. <3>

I hope ya'll have a fun and relaxing weekend planned! We are at our cabin on the river for a couple of days. Summertime has officially arrived here in the midwest...temps here this week were in the mid-upper 90s with the best humidity a person could ask for! Yeah, it's the midwest...the summertime air is just thick. Perfect time to be at the river! Later all!

(group hug!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scripture Memory Team - Verse for June 15

Well darn it, as usual I am a little off of the 15th for my Siesta Scripture Memory Team Verse. But not by much! I didn't have any particular verse in mind this time so I went the comment section of Living Proof's blog and checked out some of the other verses that some of my Siesta Sistas have chosen. I loved them all like crazy but there was one that stuck out to me. And I always think it's a good idea for me to choose a Scripture that is relevant at this particular moment in my life because I will recite it faithfully more often and gets totally engraved upon my heart. So without further ado, my verse is:

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD." Psalm 112:7

When I get to a week that I am going to STL for Herceptin (as I am on Friday) I always get a little anxious in the pit of my stomach. I pray and pray and pray for peace and calmness but my blood pressure is always off the charts, even if I appear to be "calm!" I am anxious about my labs, about what the dr will say, about my port being accessed, just the whole thing in general. I joke that my blood pressure goes sky high as soon as I walk into that building...but I am totally serious! Can you imagine what kind of state I would be in without the LORD?! Without His grace falling all over me and sustaining me? I can't imagine, and I never want to. Praise God for His faithfulness and His mercy, His unfailing love and His "peace...which transcends all understanding..." Philippians 4:7. So if you would say a little prayer for our safety as we travel and for a good dr visit, labs, and treatment this girl would be so thankful. And there's a chance that Jack and I will be going to STL on Thursday night to catch the Cardinals game (without kids...shhhhhh!) so if you want to throw in a prayer for a Cardinals win, that would be okay, too :-) Love ya'll!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Race for the Cure 2009

Katie and I watching the start of the day's events from our hotel room window.

Taking time out to pose for a picture!

Wow, what can I say?! Downtown St. Louis was a sea of pink yesterday...some 65,000+ strong and proud. Whether they were survivors, friends and family of those who have battled the disease, or just those who are supporting the cause, I have never felt so much uplifting and support in my entire life. My family was there to support me: Jack and the kids of course, my mom and dad, my sisters (both with pregnant bellies, plus Ethan!), my Aunt Phyllis, and my cousin Dawn. I proudly wore my pink survivor t-shirt and walked in the Survivor Procession, led by honorary chairperson Hoda Kotb of the Today Show. The most special moment of the day, though, had to be meeting Melody...a girl who's breast cancer blog popped up in a Google search 9 months ago, and who I have gone to with so many questions in email after email. She has helped me so much and I was ecstatic when we found out we were going to be able to meet for the first time! We met at the Survivor's Pavilion before the festivities began and now that we have met, I feel like I can finally say that I have a new friend!

The 5K race began at 830am. Tyler decided that he wanted to run the race with me. We began right near the start line and when the horn sounded, we were off. Tyler was off faster than me, and before I knew it, my son who said he wanted to run the race "with me" was off and gone and I lost track of him rather quickly! But I was so excited when I passed the one mile mark and my time was 7:15!!! Holy cow! I thought, geez, no wonder I'm tired already! LOL At mile two marker, it was 15:45 and I crossed the finish line at 25 minutes! I was pumped...and exhausted! I've always said, "I'm not a fast runner, I'm an endurance runner!" I ended up being the 4th Survivor to cross the finish line...and VERY PROUDLY SO!
That's me back there! I'm almost there!!

It was a very busy, very emotionally draining day. I remember telling Jack within a day or two after I was diagnosed that I was going to "run the Komen race in STL next summer as a Survivor." For that day to be already be here is amazing. I am so thankful to God for carrying me through the last 9 months and sustaining me with a strength that I never knew I had. Thank you, too, ALL OF YOU and your prayers and your sweet comments that have lifted me up and propelled me forward. You'll never know how God has used each and every one of you to fulfill His promises, but He totally has. I love all of you. ((hugs))

"Faith is never the denial of reality; it is belief in a greater reality." - Beth Moore

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something New

Starting on Monday, I began something new at our house. We started having a family devotion time every evening after dinner. I was thinking about this one day and thought, "I do a quiet time and devotion time daily, I should do something with the kids as well." I tossed the idea around for awhile, just sort of mulling it over...until on Mother's Day at church our pastor said something during the sermon about having family devotion time. Of course, this pricked my heart and my ears perked up (not that I wasn't listening or anything!). He talked about what a blessing it could be for a family, and that it doesn't have to be a long, drawn out thing...just 5 minutes is fine! So I started looking for some books or something to guide me to do daily devotions with my kids...let me tell you, I had no idea just how many family devotion books are out there! I wound up at amazon, and before I knew it, I had purchased 4 books!

  • Sticky Situations - A short story with a quiz for every day of the year with Scripture reading and explanations for every day. This takes VERY LITTLE time, but my kids really liked this one!
  • Fun & Active Devotions for Kids - Again, laid out in the year January 1 - December 31 format, very helpful. Short and each day has an activity that corresponds with the story and Scripture. We LOVE activities around here!
  • As For Me and My House - Longer devotionals, most with activities from "Birth Order" to "Complaining" to "Do Not Worry." Again, fun activites keep kids engaged and interested!
  • 52 Fun Family Devotions - Slightly longer devotionals with a little preparation due to the activities, but totally worth it! It was a favorite last night...got my first "Aha!" moment from my 13 year old!

The first evening we sat down to do this, was different. I was nervous at how the kids (the boys, mainly) would react...after all, it's not like mom was taking them out to hunt deer or gig fish. But I just tried to keep the word "obedience" fresh on my mind, knowing that I am doing my God-given duty to "train my children in the way they should go." So there was the usual joking and giggling the first evening, but nothing too extreme. And it didn't take too long, just about 10-15 minutes.

Last night I called to the kids and told them to come on we're going to do our devotion and they came running into the kitchen asking if we can do one with an activity this time. Of course! Whatever it takes to get kids interested in God is what I believe should be done. You have to GET them there first; the teaching and preaching can and will follow. But you can't do the teaching and preaching if they aren't even there to begin with! So I chose an devotion about peer pressure with an activity involving putting popsicles into the microwave as the "trendy new dessert." My kids watched me with funny looks on their faces as I had them bring up popsicles from the freezer and then proceeded to put them in to the microwave! The bottom line is: just because something is supposed to be the "cool" thing to do, doesn't mean it's very smart. That it's often like trying to eat microwaved popsicles...it's just not what the maker intended. This is what got the "Aha!" moment from my teenager...which I loved. They really liked the activity, and whether they heard me or not, they sat still for the Scripture and prayer. I am aiming to do these every weekday evening and see how it goes. I'm going to crack open a book now and find a really cool activity for this evening...they requested it! Praise God!!

Have a great day ya'll! The week is halfway over...yay!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pick Your "Poison!"

Can you say "soooooo goooood"??! I had an urge to make some Rick Krispie Treats this afternoon so the kids and I headed to the grocery store to pick up the things we needed. While there, Zachary found Cocoa Krispies and suggested that we make some chocolate ones, too! I've never made the cocoa kind before, and OMGoodness, I probably shouldn't have made such big pans but man, are they good!! So now I have two mega-pans of deliciousness sitting on my kitchen counter...good thing I have 3 kids and a hubby to share my "burden!" LOL It's all good though...I look at it as "runner's fuel!"

Obviously there is not a whole lot going on around here this afternoon. This morning, however, I was extremely productive having my quiet time, getting in a 6 mile run, mucho office book/computer work, and sheets changed on my bed. Now that my kitchen's already a mess, I may as well start dinner. We are having Chicken Fajita Pizza tonight. It has been bouncing around my brain for a week or two, so I decided that tonight is the night. It is so yummy!

Have a fantastic evening!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chili in the Summer?!

Hey ya'll! Happy Monday! Crazy that here we are full-fledged into summer and all the men-folk in my house are requesting CHILI for dinner tonight! What?! I don't think I've ever made chili from April-August before. It's not a hard and fast rule, mind you, but chili is usually a dinner reserved for those crisp fall days or the deep freeze days of winter...but not today! The temp is pushing 90* and all the boys were chili-hungry. So what's a Mama to do? Make chili of course! So I am sitting here getting used to the idea of having a piping hot bowl of chili for dinner tonight, topped with sharp cheddar and onions, and eaten with Fritos Scoops, not spoons :-)) It's starting to sound kinda good...maybe I should put on some sweats and turn the A/C way down....

On another note...IT'S 5 DAYS UNTIL RACE DAY!!! The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will take place in downtown St. Louis this Saturday. My mom, sisters, and I are participating, with 3 of us walking and 1 of us running...I'll let you guess who's running. ;-) I am looking forward to all the stuff going on and just being a part of it all as a SURVIVOR! It's not too late to donate for this fabulous cause and hopefully someday soon we will have a cure for breast cancer and no one will ever have to face this diagnosis again! My personal donation page can be found here.
Have a great rest of your Monday, friends! <3

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hair Anxiety!

The title of this post seems to say it all.
I have had some pretty major hair, or lack of hair, anxiety the past couple of days. I had come to the decision a couple of weeks ago that it's time to pretty much hang up the wig for good. Not only is it getting rather hot out, but I'm just plain sick of putting it on before I walk out the door. My hair is also starting to grow pretty quickly so I'm getting more and more comfortable just going around with no wig, cap, whatever. But even though it's growing, I'm still very anxious and aware of going without anything on my head. I told Jack yesterday that I felt very "exposed." I know that this will get easier as I do it more and more often, but still to go out to dinner for the first time last night without my wig gave me butterflies. I was surprised, though, at how quickly I began to feel comfortable. But I will admit that when I went to the bathroom and caught the first glimpse of myself in the mirror, with so-so-so short hair, I was kinda surprised. I guess I don't feel the same way that I look? Hmmmm, not sure. It was kinda weird.
Anyway, I thought I'd update you on my latest growth...helped out by my favorite model (and daughter!), Katie! I am currently 3 1/2 months from my last chemo treatment.

Let the silliness begin...Have a blessed Sunday, friends!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Babies Are Such A Nice Way To Start People

Welcome to the world my newest little nephew, Mason!

He was born yesterday at 605pm weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs 12 oz and is 20 1/4" long!! Proud parents, my brother Matt and his girlfriend Charli, are also doing great and are ecstatic about his safe and healthy (very healthy!) arrival. He is absolutely beautiful and is already a blessing to our family. God is so good!
We found out about Charli's pregnancy about a month after I had been diagnosed and I remember saying that "this baby is a gift from God; a blessed sign of hope and promise and will give us something happy to focus on during months of treatments." Charli was never supposed to be able to get pregnant, due to severe endometriosis, so just the simple fact that she did is a miracle in itself. Our awesome God gets all the honor and glory for his always perfect plan! Even when we are not quite sure how things are going to work out, we must be assured that GOD is NEVER surprised and nothing EVER catches Him off guard. While we may be startled by change, we know that He has a plan "to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future," Jeremiah 29:11.
Have a great Thursday ya'll! I'll post more pics when I get my camera cord!
"All my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began." Psalm 139:16

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scripture Memory Team Verse for June 1

I know, 2 posts within 24 hours of each other...are you shocked?! LOLBut I realized last night after I posted that I have not put my Scripture Memory Team verse for June 1 up yet! It's not too late to join in over at the LPM blog! The verse I chose for this time is short and sweet but is a beautiful daily reminder that God is always gracious and always faithful...and His grace falls fresh on us every morning. Praise Him!

"His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!" Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Catching Up

So I have not totally fallen off the face of the earth, in case you were wondering!!

I have merely been enjoying my kids first full week of summer vacation, and all the wonderfulness that having them at home with me all day brings. I think I look forward to summer vacation as much as the kids do! Three months of no schedule (not the daily kind anyway), pretty lax bedtimes, fun river time, and many Cardinals games on TV...ahhhh heaven!

So everything here is going very well with us. I had my 11th of 17 Herceptin treatments this past Friday. My labs were perfect and everything is going great with that. I go back on the 19th for #12....getting closer and closer to that 17 mark!! New development as of today is that I have scheduled my hysterectomy for June 24th. I am very "excited" to get this done for two reasons:

  1. Since it is the ovaries which produce the hormones that fed my breast cancer, it takes those completely out of the picture. No surgery would have meant either anti-estrogen pills for the rest of my life, or radiation ablation of the ovaries to kill them, basically.
  2. A hysterectomy also takes away the risk (albeit small) of ovarian or uterine cancer in the future. I think once you deal with a cancer diagnosis, you become very proactive and preventive-minded...at least I have.

Add to it the fact that we knew we were done having kids before any of this even started, so future fertility is not an issue for us, THANK YOU LORD! It is really a no-brainer for us. I feel very good about the fact that I am making this decision, and am in control. I am making the choice for my future to do all that I can to ensure that I never have to deal with breast cancer again, and as a "bonus" am taking a scary diagnosis of ovarian or uterine cancer out of the picture forever. Yay!

So I know the recovery stinks. But like everything else, is totally doable! I talked to my dr last night and he said that I will do basically nothing for like 2 weeks...2 WEEKS! Around week 3 I can start walking, slowly. Maybe by week 6 I can start jogging, and possibly week 8, running. So I may lose my mind not being able to run for soooo long, but I will survive. I will enjoy my time off and come back better than ever!

So that's about it for now...I'm going to kick back and watch the rest of this ballgame then head to bed, or maybe not! I LOVE the fact that it is 830pm and still light outside!! I hope ya'll have a wonderful evening <3>

Survivor Spotlight Saturday

Hello!! Is it absolutely beautiful where you are this morning?!  Holy cow, if not you should high-tail it to southeast Missouri, ‘cause it...