Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cancer brings about a closer walk

    Waiting for anything is not easy. While I do tend to be a patient person most times, I do have my moments. While I was waiting for the appointment for a surgical biopsy my mind went to places that it should have clearly stayed away from. There are many dark and frightening roads out there for a mind to wander down, each one beginning with the streets What if?
   What if I do have cancer? What if its advanced? What if it has spread? What if.....? What if I have to have chemotherapy and I lose my hair? How will I look bald? What if, it has reached a point where there is nothing that can be done? All negative routes. All roads that only bring one to fear, tears and depression.
   When my journey began I had no one to talk with, no one to answer questions, no one to be with me during those moments when fear attacked. My husband was in a journey of his own trying to find a job, that held him trapped, fearing what we were going to do to pay bills, where was he going to find employment being that a former employer was basically black listing him. So I quietly did what I could to help him- which actually often helped distract me from my own worries.
  Still....... there were those times that I secretly wished for someone to talk to that could offer something. A few moments time away from all the worries and concerns. Someone who knew something, had information that could help me. I did a lot of internet research, but it simply wasn't the same. The doctor of course answered any questions I had, but doctors are busy people and I didn't want to take up too much of her time. So I quietly wished and carried on.
  Now, these years down the road, I know more. Being a part of Relay for life I have picked up on a lot of information. I know of organizations and events and activities that are designed to do just what I had wanted during my battle.
  There was a lot that had to be done before my surgical biopsy. A billion and a half questions to answer. X-rays to be done along with blood work. I had to have an MRI which I loath. I have a knowledge now of how a sardine feels, or at least would if it were alive in that can. I am mildly claustrophobic but determination and deep breathing along with imagining oneself somewhere extra special helped me get through.
   Every day brought me closer, every moment seemed to drag. Time was my enemy as it allowed too many possible scenarios into my thoughts. I knew- this was merely a formality. I did realize that I had read way too many of the grocery store tabloids as my biggest concern was being on the operating table and feel the pain but not be able to tell them.
  The one thing that kept me sane was the knowledge of my relationship with my Savior and that He was with me. I was not walking this journey alone. At times I felt as if He was probably sitting back shaking his head at the thoughts I was allowing to play through my head. We have not been given a spirit of fear..even as I allowed it to play often within. I knew already that I had cancer, but I knew that it was going to be okay. Still, being human with human frailties..
 The cancer was definitely going to be the catalyst that brought me into a closer relationship and walk with my Lord.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

error or no errors I will not be denied..

- An email that I tried to send but kept receiving errors...

Another season for Relay has began. Once again a passionate group of people are banding together to fight the good fight against cancer. Meetings will be held, fundraisers will take place, emails will go out as well as post cards and phone calls. It will be a time of laughter, frustrations, good company, fears, and flat out determination.
Cancer is an enemy of equality. It cares not about race, religion, age, sex or any of the other qualifiers that seperate us. Cancer strikes all. It touches us all in some way. Each of us knows someone touched by cancer, who has fought and won, fought and lost, who fights now. There is an empty place in our hearts where we have lost friends and family members. There is a new person where we work because a co-worker lost their battle.
And we grow angry because we have lost one more. We grow sad, because we have lost one more. Then we grow angry, because it isn't right. It isn't fair to those we know that have had to suffer. We want to do something, we want to prevent another loss.
One way to do this is to educate ourselves. Learn what we need to put into our body for nourishment. What do we eat? What do we drink? What do we avoid? What exercises must we do to strengthen our body, to be more healthy. What do we need to share with our friends and family to help them to become healthier?
What research must we do to educate ourselves as far as the various cancers, the symptoms, who is at risk..
How can we help those who have cancer? What can we do to make their life and battle easier?
Check out the ACS and Relay for Life--there you can learn everything you need to know. There you can find ways to help. There you can find ways to raise dollars to help fight the fight. To help with the research, to help with the programs in place. To help the fighter and their caregivers.
I'm once again writing my story- its over here-where you will find the latest post, and follow the links back to the two previous posts.

Consider, joining us. Consider what you can do to help, whether with your ideas and thoughts. Helping with your time, your talents or yes, your money. Its early, now is a good time to get involved. Locals, our kick off is coming up. Join us and find out what its all about. Join us and see how much fun one can have fighting a serious problem. All.... and that means all...are welcome. Join us, sign up, join a us work toward finding a cure for this vile ememy.

When the phone rings..more of my cancer story

     I was told that they would contact me, they didn't say when. So I waited, and I waited. Then one afternoon when I came in from work my son told me to call my doctor. It took some doing to figure out exactly who to call and get in touch with the right person at that number. Finally, I ended up with the news that 'something' had shown up on the images and that they wanted me to see a surgeon. I was given my appointment date and location. I managed to get through the conversation, but I wasn't happy. I was beginning to get very nervous even as I denied it.
  Before the appointment I drove out and found the office where I would be going. It wasn't too difficult to find, now all I had to do was remember how to get there on the required day. Which I did manage to accomplish. I got off from work early and made my way there. When I walked into the room and went to sign in there was a notice posted that the doctor I was to see was running behind and all appointments would be at least an hour behind. I could reschedule or I could wait. I chose to wait.
 when I finally was taken back for my appointment I wasn't sure what to expect. I did not expect the doctor that walked into that examining room. With a unique way of dress and wonderfully witty personality I liked her immediately. She checked out the images that had been sent over to her then decided to do her own ultrasound. By the time the exam was over she told me that she thought I should have a needle biopsy. I thought that meant another appointment but instead she did it right then. I was told to get dressed and that they would make an appointment for me to come back for the results.
  I returned to work, sore, and secretly worried. I had a week to wait, quietly I hoped and prayed.. but within my mind, unspoken, I knew.
  A week later I'm sitting in the doctor's office once again. This time I'm being told that the results came back with the possibility that I had cancer. It wasn't a definite, I needed to have a surgical biopsy. I had never had surgery of any kind. In my mind all of the horror stories that I had ever read about surgeries came rushing forward to haunt me. Still, it was scheduled and I was given the first of a lot of paper work to take care of. Leaving I had to go and tell them at work that I had a surgical appointment.
  I went to work, gave them the information and then tried to go back to work. I was trying to not stand in a corner and shake. I was trying not to allow it to consume me. I had to be strong. My husband was currently out of work and I had too much to do trying to help him find a job. Once I got home I told my husband about the appointment and upcoming surgery. Then I began to help fill out online applications.
   There was stuff to be done, but there was time. Time to mentally prepare, time to accept, time to decide how I was going to handle this. Telling myself over and over that there was no history of breast cancer in my family did little to no good. Because the words repeated over and over, there is always a first. I prayed that I wasn't that -first- even as I knew I was. Prayers lead me to a comforting knowledge that no matter what, I was not alone in this, all would be well. And that.. I believed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thoughts on the emotions of my cancer

                                                              emotions are powerful

Looking cancer was in 2008....looking back, I can say that emotions play a big part in our life. Bigger than we may realize. There are so many stages to how we take things. I believe that as in many things we must face, each having their own set of emotions attached, we just have to work through each one as we progress into the situation.

I think, as I left that office, there was a part of me that already knew that I had-something-and that it was most likely cancer. Too many of those I had interacted with were just acting too suspicious. From talking way too much to not saying much at all in the way of answering questions. I would hazard a guess in that was the way they were trained, but it doesn't help ones concerns.

As you wait for the call that would give you some answers you begin to allow all manner of thoughts, fears, concerns to run amok in your mind creating all manner of strange scenarios. Or you simply deny the whole thing and continue to go about your life as if nothing is wrong.  There are questions that creep into your thoughts, followed by the not happening denials. You have this continuous running dialog in your head that drives you and anyone you might open up to crazy. Then again, you may simply not say anything, ignoring any and all possibilities.

Fear, is a dark emotion that kills joy. Fear eats at your life, taking big chunks out of your peace of mind. Stopping the music and song that your heart sings. Stealing the colors that make up the rainbow of your life. Fear takes the warmth and leaves you cold. Movement becomes difficult as you fear taking any steps at all, not knowing what may lay right around the bend, or thinking you know and not wanting to face it. Now or ever. Fear is a darkness, you wrestle with thoughts that steal the light and leave you hurting.

Anger as you shake your fists at fate and shout that it isn't fair. Why me, why now, why why why??? You don't want this, you hate this you do NOT want to deal with this. Not now, not ever. Anger is a lot like fear in what it does to your life only it isn't as cold. Its red hot and destroys all within range.

Hope, is what keeps you moving forward. Hope that it isn't as you fear, but knowing if it is, you'll be okay. One way or the other all will be fine.

Trust, goes hand in hand with hope. You trust that the diagnoses is correct. You trust in the doctors who will care for you and that the treatments will be what is needed and will take the dangers away. You trust that those around you will still be there no matter what, that they will help in what ever way you need them as you need them.

You learn a lot as you contemplate possibilities. You learn you are stronger, braver, more capable than you thought you were. You learn about things you never knew or contemplated before. You learn who will be there for you, you learn, who has always been there for you.

Acceptance, in that you have been told the truth. You do have to face this, it isn't going to just go away. Acceptance that there is going to be a lot going on. Doctors, treatments, surgery, medicine and all that goes along with it. Acceptance in that you are facing a long road, but you can do this.

Knowing, that what ever you are not alone.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Remembering my cancer story- how it began

                                         every journey begins with that first step

how it began

I remember going in for that physical. It was just a few short weeks after I had celebrated my fiftieth birthday. Physicals are not my ideal way of spending any time, but its one of those things that needs to be done. It was during that particular exam that the doctor said the words that I had been waiting on. Its time for a mammogram. Now, every year I had waited (except for all those years that I didn't have a physical and was called on the mat for neglecting) to be told those very words. Now here it was, I shrugged, said okay set it up and waited for the appointment.
I have in the past and will forever be honest in that I have no sense of direction. None. Put me in a paper bag and turn it on its side and I still couldn't find my way out. So when the notification came as to when and where I would have my mammogram I had to drive out to try and find the place  before hand. Once that was done all I could do was wait. I don't like to wait, I really want to get things over and done with.
 When the day finally arrived I arrived early. I had heard all of the horror stories, I had heard how badly it hurt how it was embarrassing, how it definitely ranked right up there with all unpleasant activities times ten. The office was very tastefully done, it would have been very relaxing under other circumstances. Understated elegance. I found a seat to where I was out of the way and could fill out all the papers that were on the clipboard. I wasn't finished when I was called back to handle the insurance- sign in stuff. I had barely gotten back to my seat when I heard my name called once again. It was time.
 Following the leader I was taken to a dressing area. Entering the small but tastefully decorated dressing room I was told to strip to the waist and put on one of the available robes. They would come for me in a few minutes. It didn't take long before I was ready and sitting in the chair pretending to look through a magazine. When I heard my name called I jumped, startled out of my mental wanderings. Opening the door I followed the leader once again. Entering the examining room I looked at a very large, very imposing machine. I really, really, really would have rather been anywhere but there.
 The technician was very professional, very gentle and even apologetic. The process did hurt, but not as much as I had feared. Having a female technician did help some. From where I was positioned I could see the images as they appeared on the screen. I had no clue as to what I was looking at other than it was an image of my breast. Once the imaging was done, I pulled the robe back in place and was lead back to the dressing area I had used earlier. I was warned that since this was my first mammogram meaning they had nothing to compare the images to, not to be surprised if I got a call to come back. Nodding and not really paying the comments the attention I should have, I got dressed and left the building. Mark one more thing off my to do list. It was getting close to the holiday season and I had things waiting to be done.
  When I came in from work that one afternoon afterwards and had my son tell me to call my doctor my world tilted. Something had shown up on the mammogram. It had to be examined more closely. An appointment had been made for me to have more imaging done. The first mammogram had been just before Thanksgiving, now here I was going to have to go back in on the day after Christmas. When any self respecting bargain hunters would be out shopping the sales I was going to be enduring more mashing. I still shrugged it off as mere technicalities.
If I could go back...I would not be so flippant in my attitude. To my knowledge there had never been any breast cancer in my family. Breast cancer was a hereditary thing right? Wrong. How little I knew.
 Early on the appointed day my mother and I were sitting in the same waiting area, I in the same chair I had sat in that first day. We talked and made plans for our shopping expedition, we glanced at magazines, eavesdropped on the conversation of others and glanced from time to time at a television that was on but with the volume so low as to have you wondering why. when my name was called I handed my mother my purse and followed the voice back down the hallway. Back in a dressing room I followed the instructions and got ready for what was to come. Just another annoyance to deal with and move on.
 Once I was back in the room with the monster I thought I was ready. That hurts. I am not the most endowed person so trying to have this done is rather painful to say the least. When I realized that they only wanted one side I began to grow concerned. when I was asked to wait while they took the images to the doctor I grew more concerned. this was repeated two more times. Finally I was told to get dressed that they wanted to do an ultrasound. I went back to the dressing room in a bit of a fog. Once I was ready I was lead back down the hallway to the waiting area. The person leading the way chatting nonstop. Actually if I were honest I would say they were nearly babbling, they knew something I didn't. My mother looked at me oddly when she was told we couldn't go yet. I told her they wanted to do an ultrasound- that earned me-'that look'.
  Once again my name was called and I followed the leader down a different hall to a different room. I was given the same instructions though about stripping to the waist but this time I was told to put on a small paper vest. That vest in no way kept me warm in that ice box of a room. Once the technician came in and began the test I quickly forgot how cold I was. She kept going back over and over to the same spot. It all looked like a lunar landscape to me but she saw something else.
 Soon she told me I could go ahead, get dressed and leave. They would be in touch. Once I was back out in the waiting area I had lost all interest in shopping. We did try but it was very short lived. I already could I not after what I had just endured?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Information, Invitations, teasers and Challenges..

What is cancer?

What do you know about cancer? According to the American Cancer Society's web site:
Text Size

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases. Although there are many kinds of cancer, all cancers start because abnormal cells grow out of control. Untreated cancers can cause serious illness and death.

Cut and dried. Plain English. Just a bit cold.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that attacks different parts of the body doing incredible harm not only to the one afflicted, but to their family and friends. Cancer puts the warrior into fighting mode, with the back up of their caregivers. It causes pain, frustrations, exhaustion, loss..of hair, of body parts, of life. It costs one time, health, jobs, money. It costs, time that could be spent enjoying life, not simply existing until the battle is won.

What causes cancer? The link above will give you the technical/ medical information. I have over the course of the past few years read many articles and reports on the topic. Some have said stress, some heredity, some lifestyle among others.

What can we do about it? How can we prevent it? How do we fight.......and win?

We fight by changing parts of our lifestyle that may invite cancer in. Bad diets, lack of exercise, too much stress without stress release, all need be addressed.

What can we do for others who have already been diagnosed? Be there for them. Help them when needed, a ride to the doctor, a ride for groceries or medicines, help with house or yard work. Be there, to keep them company when the fear and loneliness strikes. Be there to encourage even if its merely by your presence. Donate. Yes, you knew it was coming.

Donate your time- a few minutes here, an hour or two there, an all nighter on the night of Relay.
Donate your talents- help create posters, special signs, create fundraising items. Help plan, set up execute things during the year or the night of Relay.
Donate your money. Your money goes to research. It goes to programs to help the warrior. It goes to education, to have the materials readily available. It goes to help have people manning the web site, The 24 hour hotline 800-227-2345.

Cancer touches us all. I've said it before, I'll say it again and again and again. I'll say it until we all realize the facts. Until we come to grips that no one person can do it alone. It takes an army of determined souls reaching out to fight. Reaching out to eradicate cancer in any and all ways. Thinking minds, strong backs, willing hands and tireless bodies-- working toward the common goal.. no more cancer.

Join us? In any way that you are able.. you're  more than welcome.

first person to donate at least $20 online wins a prize
first person to donate $50 gets a bigger prize
first to donate $100..jackpot.

link to my team page:  (If this link doesn't work.. there is a link on my page that will take you to the team page...feel free to join up if you wish...all are welcome.

link to my personal page:  


Sunday, September 1, 2013

What is this thing, that You have done for me?

What is this thing that You have done for me?
Leaving Your throne on high
Lowering Yourself without hesitation
Sent by the Father
Sent to redeem, sent to save, sent to pay the price
Sent to wash clean this stained life

What is this thing that You have done for me?
Born of a virgin, in a stable low
Visited by shepherds and kings
As angels sang on high, glorify
You are here
Sent by the Father
Sent to redeem, sent to save, sent to pay the price
Sent to wash clean this stained life

What is this thing that You have done for me?
Walking among the crowds
The scribes, the ordinary, the fishermen, the tax collector
The sinners like me
You taught who would listen, You healed the sick
You loved
As You brought the Light, brought the Way
Sent by the Father
Sent to redeem, sent to save, sent to pay the price
Sent to wash clean this stained life.

What is this thing that You have done for me?
Leaving Your throne on High
Suffering the insults, the rejection
suffering the blows of the whip, tearing at Your flesh
Your blood running free
A crown of thorns shoved upon Your brow, You suffered
As You were sent to endure
Sent to redeem, sent to save, sent to pay the price
sent to wash clean this stained life.

What is this thing that You have done for me?
As You were hung upon that cross
Nails drive through the flesh of Your hands and feet
Your pain evident in Your face
Yet You forgave in love, as You suffered, as You died
sent to redeem, sent to save, sent to pay the price
sent to wash clean this stained life.

What is this thing that You have done for me?
As You arose, walked alive from the borrowed tomb
The price paid, death defeated, sin's grip lost
Alive, You're alive, hallelujah arisen as promised
You're alive
sent to redeem, sent to save, sent to pay the price
sent to wash clean this stained life
Alive, You're alive and I am redeemed,
Alive, You're alive, and I am saved
washed clean in Your shed blood
thanks be to the Father, that You were sent
thanks be, to this thing, that You have done for me.

What is this thing, that You have done for me?
In Your death, in Your life arisen the price of my redemption paid
In Your death, in Your life arisen, my sins washed away
never forget, I'll never forget
as we celebrate, remember, give thanks
for this thing, that You have done, for me
this thing, that You have done, for all who will come
for all who will believe