Tuesday, September 29, 2015


A week after my final surgery, I am feeling sore but most of all TIRED.  Will I see a resurgence in energy at some point?  I hope so and wait impatiently for that day.  I have less of a desire to do every day things.  Trying to decide if priorities have changed and some things just aren't as important to me as they used to be?  (Cleaning house for example,) I feel like I do much less during the course of a day.  Other things are more important.  I have started taking an hour for personal scripture/religious studies along with my personal prayers each day. I am doing it first thing in the morning in an effort to show Heavenly Father that He and the Savior are more important than other daily activities.  I am taking a new interest in cooking meals.  I have felt such a sense of satisfaction at gathering my family around the table and feeding them meals that they love.  I have started trying one new recipe each week in the hopes that I can keep the family anticipating and looking forward to my home cooking.  It is a way for me to continue to nurture and care for them.  Had a nice moment with Jamison and Sophie tonight.  We were just sitting around the family room talking and I told them how much I loved them and how happy I was that a year after my diagnosis I was still here with them.  They are a year older and further along in their lives and I count it a great blessing to still be here with them, watching them as they grow and mature in this life.  It was such a warm, sweet moment!  I hope to have many more of those!

Michelle Sullivan stopped by with some banana bread and words of encouragement.  So kind.  I have got to get that recipe!  Our Ward family took care of us once again and brought meals in for the first 4 evenings after surgery.  So wonderful, what a blessing they have been and continue to be.

Friday, September 4, 2015

9/6/2015 Reflections

This is the view from one of the hanging chairs outside my back door!  One of my favorite places to be as I read, write or eat.  I love living in the foothills of this ridge.  So peaceful and pretty. Yesterday, I went to the dentist for my bi-annual check up and cleaning.  Saw my friend Shannon.  She is a 3 year survivor of breast cancer.  Shannon had it rough during her battle.  She was one of those, that had just about every complication and negative side effect possible when she went through her treatments.  As an example, to this day, her hair has not grown back.  During chemo, she was so sensitive to the chemo that the minute the IV started giving her the meds, she started throwing up.  And yet, she made it through with a lot of wisdom and encouragement that she has passed on to others.  It was soooo validating to talk with her.  

After taking the "Cancer Transitions," class, I was prepared with the idea that getting back to life was going to take time and for some...it can be even more difficult than getting through treatment.  So difficult in fact that a type of PTSD can be experienced.  REALLY?  WOW...... the questions, "How are you doing?  How are you feeling?" are loaded for me right now. Wonder when that will change.  I have a hard time putting it in to words.  The best analogy I have come up with so far is this:

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible, " St. Luke 1:37. There is a Christian poem called "Footprints." This popular text, describes an experience in which a person is walking on a beach with God. They leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them. Looking back, the tracks represent various stages of their life. At some point, the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the person's life. When questioning God, believing that the Lord must have abandoned His love during those times, God gives the explanation: "During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

That pretty much sums up my cancer journey.  Through the enabling power of the Saviors atonement, I feel that I was carried through treatments.  About the only negative side effects that I came away with were Lymphedema in my right hand and arm and difficulties with memory.  Other than that, all my treatments stayed on schedule and negative side effects were minimal.  I am so grateful for that!  When people say to me, "you were amazing during all of that," I respond, "That wasn't me, that was the enabling power of the atonement, and the prayers that were offered on my behalf."  I could feel such strength, peace, and comfort come to me as a result of people's prayers.

Getting back to my "new normal?"  Well, that has been a bit like this: it's like a toddler that is learning to walk.  The parent places the child on the ground with confidence.  They know the toddler is ready to walk on their own.  The toddler, is ....not-so-sure, and begins to whine and cry.  They want back in the parents arms!  They were cozy and comfortable.  The parent gently coaxes and encourages.  They aren't going anywhere and are following closely in case they need to catch or help steady the toddler.  But the toddler is not yet confident.... That confidence will come with time and experience.  I hope that to be true for myself as well.

Relay for Life

I don' think I ever wrote about this.  Back in March, Maya did Relay For Life through her National Junior Honor Society.  We decided to take part and support as a family.  Thanks to our neighbors and friends, we were able to raise $700.00!  We all wore our Desert Hills Soccer shirts from Vince's soccer days.  The shirts had his old jersey numbers and name on them.  It was our way of having him with us in that experience.  Interestingly enough, he had taken part in Relay For Life the previous 2-3 years as part of SUCCESS Academy.  It was very wet!  Fortunately, we finished our laps before the major rain.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New look

This is what I do while I am waiting on my hair to grow out.  It is so curly, all I can do is tie on a band of fabric.  I am starting to get them in all different colors so I have one to wear with everything.  Helps me to look more feminine, I think.  I try to buy very light or thin fabric, otherwise it gets too hot here in the desert.  Tight curl.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cancer Transitions

I am attending a support class called, "Cancer Transitions."  It is supposed to help us move beyond cancer treatment and cope with common issues in getting back to life again.  There are 8-10 of us that meet once a week from 5-7:30 pm and work with our nurse navigator out of a workbook.  We have healthy snacks and have had an exercise specialist come teach us exercises each week.  They have given us very nice pedometers and we have had a dietician and social worker come and speak with us.  I am really enjoying the class and the ladies in it.  I am the youngest, the rest have me by at least 10 years or more.  Most of us have had breast cancer but one gal has had rectal/anal cancer.  We have 6 sessions to attend.  I hope to be recovered enough from the latest surgery to attend this Tuesday's class.  

Speaking of which, Wednesday the 3rd, I had my final treatment/prevention surgery!  I am relieved to say that so far, I still feel like myself.  Hope that will continue.  I am 4 days post op, so a lot can change.    I had a hysterectomy.  They took my ovaries and Fallopian tubes as well.  This will put me in to menopause and some of those side effects can be pretty drastic.  Here's hoping that they will be bearable.  It's not likely that I will get through menopause without some discomfort, just don't know what those discomforts will be for me or when they will begin.  I seem to remember reading somewhere that within 3 weeks or so I will see some changes.  Time will tell.....

Right now, I have some soreness where everything was taken and a little bit of pain while my bowels and urinary tract are trying to resume their former functions.  I am not supposed to lift anything for the next while and have been resting a ton and taking short walks around the neighborhood.  Our church family continues to take wonderful care of us.  People have been bringing us meals for dinner since Wednesday and will continue through Thursday!  Thank you, thank you!  I can just rest and recover.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lymphedema management

Still meeting with my Occupational Therapist to try to get my swelling down.  She continues to instruct me about Manual Lymph Drainage.  It is taking awhile for me to learn it.  One of the things that could help is to have John wrap my arm with ace bandages every night.  Wear my compression arm band during the day and wrap at night.  Sometimes, all that I need to do to manage my health/body feels overwhelming.  Exercise, drink tons of water, MLD, eat right.  I hope that my "new normal" post cancer will one day feel....normal. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

What a difference a week makes!

Phew!  One week later the relief is immense!  I continue to put a very pure form of aloe Vera gel and Aquaphor on the radiated site morning and night.  I am now back to wearing all my normal clothing!