Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Full Week

Happy Wednesday, friends!


I hope you are having a great week so far. We are in the middle of a crazy-busy week here! We have 4 basketball games on the schedule this week, plus a new Bible study that we start tonight, my dad's birthday tomorrow, and a trip to STL Friday.


So the basketball games are not going so well since our first game win last week :-( We have lost the last 3 so we are now 1-3. But they are improving every day and hopefully things will turn around for the boys. We have 2 more games this week on Thursday and Friday so maybe those will be wins for us!


Tonight at church, we are starting a new Bible study called "Me, Myself, and Lies" by Jennifer Rothschild. Beth Moore did this as a group study on her blog this summer, but I didn't do it so I am super excited to get started! While I am doing the Bible study, the kids will be participating in Power Up, the kids' worship/fellowship time. I'm looking forward to this evening, even though it falls in the middle of a c-r-a-z-y week!


Then Friday we finish off the week with a bang and my last Herceptin treatment!!! I am Believing God for good labs and a great treatment! I am excited to wrap up what has been a year-long journey. As I said in an earlier post, I am a little nervous about making the transition from patient to survivor, but I am definitely looking forward and UPWARD as to what lies ahead. I am hoping to have some time to eat a celebratory lunch before we leave the city Friday, but with us having to get back for Tyler's game at 530pm, that may not happen...we are going to have to boogie back! So we may have to leave the celebration for another time. Maybe we'll go somewhere! Vegas perhaps?! THAT sounds so fun to me. It has been over 10 years since I have been there, and I would love to go back. Maybe, baby ;-)
Ok friends, I'm going to go and find some laundry to do or something. My bathroom needs cleaning attention, too...ick. Does Mr. Clean make housecalls? Hmmmmm.....
Have a great day all!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good Start


"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul." Psalm 143:8

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Transition

Yesterday I took my friend, Tiffany for a dr's appointment at Siteman in STL. She had labs, a new PET scan, and saw her dr. Praise God everything looks great and she is good to go for another 3 months! We had a good day, despite the circumstances.


Tiffany and I have such a strong bond. Who would've ever guessed when she was BFFs with my little sisters, playing basketball in HS, moving into the same suite in the dorms at college, and knowing that she was "my sisters' friend" that she and I would someday have this connection. It's a connection that only comes from having been dealt a tough set of circumstances at such a young age. And we are there for each other every step of the way so when she asked me to take her to STL yesterday, I wouldn't have dreamed of saying no.



Walking around the Center for Advanced Medicine yesterday felt very comfortable. Completely the opposite of when I walked around there one year ago when everything was scary and unknown. Yesterday it felt kind of homey. Weird I know. I was confused, too, at my feelings. How can a place that sees so much of the worst-of-the-worst cases in the world make me feel secure? I'm guessing it's because for a year, that place has been my lifeline, so to speak. The doctors and nurses there have taken such good care of and have put me on the road to being cured. I have been there consistently every 3 weeks for a year. 17 times for treatment, plus numerous others for checkups, labs, and tests. And next week my year comes to an end. Oh I will still be going there for checkups, labs, and tests, but the treatment part will be over.



I have to be honest with you and tell you that this makes me a little sad, and nervous. I will miss all my favorite nurses so much, they have so much compassion and have taken such good care of me for the last year. I truly believe that God gave oncology nurses a very special gift and they are thoroughly using it! So I won't miss the circumstances, but I will miss the people very much. I hope we will stay in contact some. And it makes me nervous because after next Friday, I will no longer be taking treatments. And you might think "But isn't that a good thing?" Yes, it is but after I am finished, I am no longer actively doing anything to be treated. I am no longer taking medicine that kills cancer. I said yesterday that "I wonder if they would just go ahead and give me Herceptin indefinitely!" Not really meaning it, but kinda. Because I don't want to sit here and wait for something else to happen, for cancer to start growing anywhere else. It kinda freaks me out a little. Don't get me wrong, I'm ready to move on with my life, but remember...THIS HAS BEEN MY LIFE FOR THE LAST YEAR.



So I'm trying to adjust to the fact that in a little over a week, I will no longer be on an every 3 week schedule. Funny, but I WILL be on a monthly schedule to get my port flushed out! Tiff and I have scheduled ours together. Monthly trips until I decide to have mine taken out. I may not be in any big hurry!



I'm ready to move on, but kinda afraid to let go. I know that God has big plans for me and I am trusting in His perfect guidance to make this transition from "patient" to "survivor" a smooth, easy, and enjoyable one!


Here are some pics from the luncheon last Saturday:



Me and my dr, Julie Margenthaler.



Me, channeling my Papa and talking with my hands. Hehe;-) I don't LOOK nervous!




Katie behaving herself while Mommy's speaking.




My little princess and all her loot! She came away with so much stuff and LOVED it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Basketball Time!

bulldog%20pride I can’t believe it’s time for basketball season again. Already! I’m excited though, because there is nothing like watching your kid out there hustling up and down the court and scoring! It’s so exciting! Somebody get me a cheerleading uniform, QUICK!

Haha, we laugh, but I would totally put one on and cheer today if they would let me! Might embarrass the heck out of my kid but oh well…my LOVE for cheering is THAT STRONG! Well, and I really like basketball, too ;-)

But the night was a great success despite the fact that I didn’t don a uniform. WE HAD A BULLDOG WIN LAST NIGHT!! The 7/8th grade boys are now 1-0! WooHoo! They did a great job and I am so excited for more games!

More action shots: 8thBasketball 001 8thBasketball 004 8thBasketball 007 8thBasketball 0198thBasketball 0238thBasketball 0268thBasketball 021 8thBasketball 030

GO BULLDOGS!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hope Is On The Horizon

Hi, friends;-)

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend, I know we are! We started our weekend a little early by getting the kids out of school early on Friday so we could head to STL! Is that wrong? Nah ;-)cardscubs But we were so excited to have baseball tickets for our beloved Cardinals on Friday night (from my fabulous dr!) and they was Cards/Cubs tickets! Most people here in the midwest know that the Cardinals and Cubs have a rivalry that goes WAY back and they are the most popular games to go to, obvi. The tickets are hard to come by and especially this late in the season, when our CARDS are playing so well and, I’ll just go ahead and say it, heading to postseason…well, we were just very excited, and thankful!! It was fantastic, we won the game with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth!!! And we were also stoked that we got to see future hall of fame pitcher, John Smoltz pitch at Busch. Awesome. Very awesome.

katie_mom_luncheon But the real reason we were in STL in the first place was for the Longaberger Horizon of Hope luncheon, which they have as a fundraiser for breast cancer research. I was so honored to be asked by my dr to attend with her as a survivor. So so so nervous, but so honored! Katie attended with me as my guest and we had a great little mother/daughter time while the boys spent their time at Bass Pro. There were a couple speakers, lunch, raffle, auction, and gift drawings. I spoke after lunch and as I was awaiting my turn to speak, I was SO nervous. I was hot-flashin’ all over the place, y’all! But once I got behind the podium, I settled down and was able to deliver my speech. I think I probably talked about 15 mins or so. I got choked up twice, and both times were when I was talking about the strength that God has given me and my family. I tried to put in many ‘light” moments, because 1) breast cancer is such a “serious” subject and 2) that’s just how I roll;-) Everybody stood up and clapped when I was finished, guess that’s my first standing “o”! Wow. It was quite the experience.

I know that in order to use us, God will sometimes put us outside our comfort zone and this was def that. But when they asked me to come back next year I didn’t hesitate to say yes. And I would be very interested in doing something like this again. I hope everyone enjoyed it and got as much out of it as I did. It was a great day! I didn’t get my camera out (darn nerves!) so I will post some more pics when Julie (my dr) sends them to me.

Today has been a great day as well. We slept in this morning and went to church where the preacher had a wonderful message on using our spiritual gifts…Hmmmmm….. Boy, God is good! Then we went out to lunch and when we got home I got on the TM and got in a wonderful 8-mile run!! No leg pain whatsoever! Praise God!!! It was fantastic. I watched the lovely ladies of The View while I was running. I hope Elisabeth comes back from maternity leave soon, I miss her;-( Ya know she’s my girl!

We are relaxing now. The boys all went out back to go bowhunting, and Katie and I are chillin. We are waiting for the Cards/Cubs game to start at 7 on ESPN…going for the SWEEP!

It’s going to be a busy week around here, Tyler’s Jr. High basketball season starts tomorrow! Go Bulldogs!!!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, everybody!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Am His

Please take a moment and listen to this song. I heard it on the xm in the car today and practically had to pull over because it touched my heart so much.

Isn't it amazing how, even when we see ourselves as small and insignificant, God doesn't see us that way. He doesn't see YOU that way and He doesn't see ME that way. WE ARE HIS AND WE ARE PRECIOUS. No matter what is going on in our lives, from cancer to a bad hair day...it matters to Him. And He is standing ready to lead our lives if we will just let Him.



XOXO

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Year

Today is a “special” day for me. Today, September 16, one year ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was reading my post from Sept. 17th of last year and it just brought back a flood of emotions. Here is that post:

I am completely rocked. From my head to my toes I could not be any more stunned. I had a great 8 mile run yesterday morning and was making my breakfast when I got the call. When the phone rang, I thought, "here's the call I've been waiting for!" The call to confirm that the lump they removed on Friday is, like we thought, nothing. That call did not come. The nurse on the phone said, "You have breast cancer." I almost dropped my eggs. I have never felt more scared, and devestated in my life. Yesterday afternoon was a blur of tears and doctors telling me so much information I will never be able to remember. We left the dr's office numb and confused.
We left with more questions than we came with. Here's what we know: the lump they removed is ductal carcinoma, the most common form of breast cancer. We have no idea what stage or how far it's gotten, if any, because they have yet to test the lymph nodes (because we thought it was nothing). I will definitely need more surgery, whether it's a lumpectomy or a mastectomy and possibly chemo and/or radiation.
It didn't take us very long to decide that we wanted to be in St. Louis at a major breast center up there. So that is what today has been about. Setting up appointments and finding doctors and surgeons that will become our lifeline in the coming days and weeks. We are seeing a breast surgeon for a consultation on Friday morning. She will look at the slides from my biopsy, my ultrasounds, and mammogram, and possibly do more testing of her own. From that she will determine which surgery would be best. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we go forward. Believing that God will take care of me, and He will never give me more than I can handle. I am leaning on Him and trusting that everything will eventually be ok.
No food pics for yesterday because I didn't eat anything substantial. My nerves just wouldn't let me. I've had a little bite or two today, but not much. I know I have to be strong for myself and my kids so I will pick myself up and be strong. I did manage to muster a little normalcy today, I got on the treadmill and walked for 30 minutes! Walked! Can you believe it? Me either! Maybe tomorrow I will run!

As I was re-reading this I remember how absolutely shocked I was at the diagnosis, how scared I felt for my family, how rocked to core I was. But I also remember the absolute rock-solid belief I had that God was going to take care of me. And boy, has He delivered!! Not only did He show His supreme grace through my physical healing, but also by reaffirming His hold on my life, and my heart.

I have said before that on September 16, 2008 I buried my head in God’s robe and hid there under His protection. It is only recently that I have started to peek out and see that the battle is almost over. My year of treatment is almost done and PRAISE GOD, it has flown by so fast!

I will never forget the outpouring of support that I had on my blog last year, I have read all the comments at different times throughout the last year, and they have helped give me strength and courage. Thank you for all your prayers and your love. If I could hug each of you personally, I would! (((hugs)))

Love Y’all! xoxo




“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ballgame Treatment

I have had a theory that cancer treatment should always be paired with something fun…or something to look forward to. 

Before chemo started last October, Jack got me a pink laptop to use during chemo and to have upstairs when I didn’t want to go sit in the office.  During chemo I bought myself a new outfit or a new pair of shoes each time.  New clothes just makes everything better!  Since chemo ended in February, I have held off a bit, not getting some new every time ;-)  But I have occasionally got something cute to wear.  THIS time, though, we backed up my next-to-last Herceptin treatment with a Cardinals game with our BFFs!!

091109cards 

It is so great going into treatment and be focused on the good time coming that evening.  It was especially nice because everything on Friday was running behind.  The lab misplaced my paper so that was 45 mins late, my dr was 2 hrs behind, and treatment was running slowly as well.  We should have been out of there around 1pm and it was 4pm before we left.  But it’s ok because either was you look at it:

I ONLY HAVE ONE TREATMENT LEFT!!!!!!

Can you sense the excitement?!  OMGosh, I am beyond excited!!  I.can’t.wait.  Ahhhhh, it’s so close. 

OK, so back to the dr appt…I have been stressin about this pain in my leg for a week or so now.  I even took last week off from running or walking to see if it got any better, it didn’t.  I was so nervous to even ask my dr about it, but when I explained it to him, he checked me out and said that he didn’t think it had anything to do with cancer.  (Because, in my deepest thoughts, every ache and pain is cancer now.)  But he said that  it was a combination of running and the Femara that I am on that can cause a specific type of tendonitis and joint pain (can’t remember the big name he used).  He said that if the pain increased or felt different to let him know.  Praise God!  Part of me is still a little anxious about it because the last time I took a dr’s explanation and skipped out of his office 2 years ago, it clearly wasn’t nothing.  But I am just going to monitor myself very closely and don’t worry, I will be calling if anything remotely changes! 

Friday morning I was praying and I have, of course, poured out my heart to God all week about my fears about my leg.  As we were preparing to leave for STL, I got the Daily Bible Verse in my email on my cell phone:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

I felt as if I had just had a ginormous hug from my Father in Heaven and had tangible acknowledgement that He hears my prayers and is listening.  Can you believe God emailed me?!  Hehe, yeah I can, too ;-)

So, since my dr said that I could run, I did just that today…surprise, surprise.  It felt great!  I did 6 miles on the TM and think I am going to stay on the TM for my runs because it is so much easier on my joints.  That asphalt is hard on a menopausal girl! ;-)  Afterwards, I iced my leg and we’ll see how it does.  I am Believing God!

Have a great week, friends!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lending A Hand

Print

Happy Wednesday, friends :-)

I am so excited to tell you what has kept me busy lately!  My friend, Tiffany, and I have been working on getting a fund started in our community to help local cancer patients.  We started the Lending A Hand Fund, a nonprofit 501c3 fund, to help with food, lodging, prescriptions, co pays, etc that goes with being treated for cancer.  All money raised for our fund stays local, which is a big deal.

The idea for LAHF came to us when we were both having chemo last winter.  There is a definite need in our little community for this type of fund.  We are the first to offer help such as gas cards and reimbursement for lodging, prescriptions, and co pays.  Unfortunately we found out first-hand how little there was out there to help Tiffany and I. 

We live in an amazing little town that always steps up to help one another when someone is in need.  Benefits held over the last couple of years have raised tens-of-thousands of dollars for families in need due to deaths and illnesses.  YES, WE ARE AMAZING!  And we think it would be amazing if we had a fund already set up so that we can disburse money to those who need it, as it’s needed.  We have already had a great response to our first fundraiser, selling t-shirts with our logos.  Print We are now taking orders for these t-shirts in cancer-awareness specific colors.  Our example here is in lime green because that’s the color for lymphoma, which is what Tiffany had.  How happy am I to tell you that my family’s t-shirts are PINK?!  Hehe ;-)  And I’m also going to get some other colors…a girl’s gotta match with everything, ya know?! 

We are also planning other fundraisers to hold year ‘round, of course.  There are some that are going to be just plain F-U-N!

We are excited to begin helping others!  Who knows where the Lending A Hand Fund could go?!  May God richly bless it and get all the glory! xoxoPrint

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy 14th Birthday, Tyler!


My little man is 14! Wow, how did that happen so quick?!


I have managed to keep my emotions in check pretty well today. I almost had a minor breakdown in the card aisle at Walmart this morning while trying to pick out a birthday card for my boy, but that's about it ;-) I just can't believe he's 14 already. It seems like just yesterday we were saying,


"Hmmm, ok...this will be interesting to tell our parents..." and now we're praising,


"Thank you Lord for giving us this precious child, at ANY point in our lives."


Of course God's timing is infinitely perfect. I was 17 when Tyler was born, Jack was 20...we were obviously still just kids ourselves. I'm sure there were many times when both sets of our parents asked God, "How could you let this happen? What are they going to do?? How are they going to handle THIS?!"

But God, being God, was able to sit back and say "Trust Me. I've got a plan here."


And that's what our parents did. They trusted God. I have no doubt that they all prayed over the marriage of their 17 and 20 year old. I have no doubt that they gave us every ounce of love and support they had. AND I have no doubt that it took great faith in the Lord to stand back and trust Him, and just watch.

But God knew what our future was going to hold. HE knew that my Papa wanted to have great-grandchildren and enjoy them before he died; he passed away when Tyler was 1. HE knew that at the age of 30, I would be diagnosed with breast cancer that would make having any future children very difficult, if not impossible; and we wanted a big family. And HE knew what a blessing this precious child was going to be to our families now and in the future.

Tyler has grown to be the most hard-working and responsible kid I have ever known. He is always looking for something to do to help out, and never balks when he is asked to do something. I promise you, he is like an adult in a teenager's body! During basketball season he is outside working on his jump-shot at 6am, during baseball season he is outside pitching before the sun is high in the sky, and during bow-hunting season he is outside shooting at his target until it is p.e.r.f.e.c.t. He works hard at everything he does, and is just a remarkable kid. The only thing that could use some work is his dancing...LOL, bless his heart he has white-boy rhythm! And it's ok, he knows it ;-)


Tyler, every morning when I pray, I ask God to place a hedge of protection around you...to keep you safe and healthy and tightly in His grip. I pray that He will give you the strength to stand strong for Him and that you will continue to be an example of what a Christian should be. I pray that you will make good choices, both when we are around and when we aren't. But I also want you to remember that being a Christian doesn't mean that you're perfect, but that you're forgiven. So lean on God and keep Him in your heart no matter where you go and what you do. I am excited to see what amazing things you are going to do with your life! God has big plans for you! I love you, Ty-Man!
~Mom

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Power In Pink


Hey friends :-)

Back in May, I submitted my story for consideration for Under Armour's Power In Pink Campaign for breast cancer survivors. I was so excited, hoping that I may get selected to be the one of three chosen to represent this season's PIP ad campaign. Unfortunately, I was notified back in July that I hadn't been selected, and they sent me the usual form-letter and 2 pairs of UA's socks from the PIP line. Sweet socks, but I was kinda disappointed.

But today I got on UA's PIP website and was watching the 3 survivors chosen tell their stories. I was so touched by all of them, they are GREAT and MOTIVATING women and I can see why all 3 were chosen. Samantha's story touched me the most, though, because we have an eerily similar story, minus the fact that her cancer had spread to her liver before diagnosis...and she.is.so.young. She was 23 when she was diagnosed.

Anyway, I got to looking on the page and underneath the video screen is "More 2009 Survivors." After clicking on it, I saw ME!! And 19 other women with our written stories that we submitted. Now I don't know if they are going to switch these out until they have displayed all the hundreds that were submitted, or if these are finalists, I don't know...but I am SO HONORED to be included! So, if you just can't get enough of me and want to read my story AGAIN, go ahead and click on over and take a peek...lol! And there's a lot of other great and inspirational stories there, too, along with some super cute clothes. I have already ordered and will definitely be rockin' the hoodie this fall/winter!

Later xoxo

Picture Perfect

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, but it hasn’t been an overly-interesting week!  We have had just typical days…Praise God!  You don’t realize how much you appreciate normal, uneventful days until you’ve had a year like we have!  hehe

I’ve taken it very easy on my leg this week, I think I have pinpointed the source of my discomfort…my knee.  I did run 10 miles on Sunday, but took Monday off.  I ran again on Tuesday and had the same soreness.  Yesterday I walked on the TM and had no discomfort at all while walking, and very little afterwards.  Today, Kim and I went to the park and walked and it barked on me a little, but not much.  So I think the walking is helping.  I really think it’s all related to the asphalt-pounding I have been doing (which is MUCH harder on the knees than the TM, which is set to “soft”) and the Femara that I am taking indefinitely and the effect it can have on the joints.  So I will continue to take it easier and go back and forth between walking and running until it gets totally better, which I pray is soon! 

We did have a beautiful walk this morning.  It has been an absolutely beautiful weather week here in the Ozarks!  Just picture perfect!  See:

 August 09 001 August 09 002

August 09 007  August 09 004 August 09 003

Check out the baby deer we saw on our walk.  It still had it’s spots!  So cute!  I haven’t figured out how to zoom on my iPhone yet (I don’t even know if I can) so it didn’t come out very clear, but it’s there!August 09 005-deer

So I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day.  I’m going to figure out what’s for dinner and do some laundry this afternoon.  And hopefully watch last night’s episode of Top Chef that I DVR’d,  LOVE that show!  We didn’t watch because we are die-hard Cardinals fans and we were watching yet another Redbird Rout!  Cards Win!  Cards Win!  Last night it was a 10-3 romp of the Brewers…postseason here we come!  I am so excited, we have Cards tickets for the next two Friday nights!  Yippee!!