Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Setting the Record Straight about Scans!

I guess I just don't know as much as I thought I did about medical stuff and what happens when people say they went for tests, took all day, lots of irritations, etc., etc. I thought they were just impatient, didn't feel good, hated all the fuss and muss, etc. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. At first, I wasn't going to say anything here on my blog, as I thought just saying that I went, did it, and am waiting for the results was enough. But Monday and Tuesday really bugged me, and the more I thought about it, the more I just want to MAKE SURE everyone here who reads my blog KNOWS what they are in for when the doctor decides to send you for "some tests!"

Ok! So this girl calls me, all cheery and bubbly and says, "Ok! We have you scheduled for the CT scans on Monday so you need to come in and pick up this drink that you need to drink before the scan. Can you do that?" (I had just been there a few hours before!!!!) I politely say, "Of course, I'll be right there." Jump in the car, drive all the way back there, and get the white, chalky stuff you have to drink. The bubbly gal meets me at the desk and says, "Now make sure you don't eat or drink anything 4 hours before, and two hours before your appointment time, drink this stuff." That's ALL they told me. NO PROBLEM with that!

I follow the instructions to the letter, but the night before, I begin to wonder ---- someone told me this takes about an hour --- what if I have to pee, or even worse, what if the white, chalky stuff sends my stomach into a fit and I REALLY have to go???? So . . . . I make the decision to NOT EAT any supper the night before or drink anything after about 6:00 pm just in case. OK! I'm in charge here! Doing constructive thinking, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah!

I get there plenty early, sign in, and shortly after, a man in what looks like pajamas comes to get me. He sits down cross-legged and begins to take my medical history. Thought they already had all of that. Then. . . .

"Oh, I see you already have your port. We can use that to put the contrast dye into your veins!" I PANIC! I said, "Oh no. . . . it's still so tender and stuff there!" But he insists!

(For more information about ports and what they are like, you can visit my sister, Juri's, blog as she explains it sooooooo well!!!!)

No you have to understand, no one told me about contrast dye, needles, using that port, that I was getting 2 different scans here, etc., etc. And, add misery upon misery, I had to drink ANOTHER big portion of that chalk. All the time, I'm thinking bathroom. . . . WHAT IF. . .???!!!!!

So now, he has me lie down on this little plank of a thing (mind you, I'm a size 5x here) and I have to balance myself on it with my arms stretched out over my head. He says this will take about 20 minutes. I'm just glad this was NOT the tunnel thing like the MRI stuff. It's like being passed through an arch back and forth. A voice recording goes along with the scan, telling you when to breath, not breath, take a breath, hold it, etc., etc. I did make it through this ok and thought I was home free.

Then. . . . Mr. Pajamas comes back in and rips open this little package and low and behold. . . . a HUGE needle is dangled over my head. A sweet, nice nurse is also over me as I'm flat on my back, still balancing myself on this narrow plank, arms over my head, and they spray this port site on my chest with icey cold spray that is supposed to numb the site. That was a bunch of whooey! I felt like I was in one of those horror movies, staring up into bright white lights, nurses holding me down, a guy behind me dangling stuff, etc., etc. I grit my teeth. . . . and POW, she stabs me in the chest with this needle. Then she moves it all around. . . digging is the only word I know to describe it. Nope! couldn't get it in! Throws that one away, rips open another baggie with a new needle in it. "So sorry honey, but we are going to have to try again." I groan!

Three more tries, each time, I'm stiffening up worse and worse. I'm about to bolt out of there when they call in "Nurse Rachett" -- the big, older lady who seems to be in charge and can do anything. The others move aside and I'm now in a REAL panic, as my sister told me about this one! She hovers over me, starts pushing on my port site, just about killing me, and says, "We need the bigger, one inch needle here." I'm sure by this time, my blood pressure has reached boiling levels, and my back was stiffened permanently, all the time, my arms STILL over my head and I can't even defend myself from these attackers!

Another baggie is ripped open! If you could have seen the size of this needle, you would have died! I wish I had had my eyes closed, but there it was, dangling over my head! I just prayed. And by golly, Nurse Rachett got it in first try. It hurt like anything, but it was IN!

By now, my arms were killing me up over my head, but Mr. Pajama Man told me I it would be just a few more minutes. And so the scan began again. I was sure by the time it was done, they would be putting my arms in a baggie for me to take home separately!!!!!

So now you know what to expect when you go for one of these things. Just let me know and I'll be on my knees praying for you!

So now, I'm thinking, the bone scan on Tuesday will just be a piece of cake, in and out, and have it done with. My good old trusty sister says, "Sure I'll go with you! how long could it take?????" Little did we know.

It was about a 45 minute ride to where it was being done, so we left a little early. Got there, signed in, and then a nice sweet lady came and got us and led us to a quiet, lovely waiting room in another part of the facility. I was taken right in, and I ghought, "This will be over in no time, and we'll be going right home!"


Another needle! This stuff was a radioactive type injection. NO PORT this time! I was the happiest camper ever! Needle goes right in and we're on our way. Then, she says, "OK! Now I want you to go and drink about 6 big glasses of water or other fluids, pee a lot, and then come back in three hours for the scan. THREE HOURS??????
What are we supposed to do for three hours??????

I go out and my sister sees me and says, "Done already?" with a big grin! Then I tell her we have to kill three hours, drink a river of water and pee a lot. Her face went blank, and we went to the car. So. . . .

if you are in line for a bone scan, be sure to plan for this part. Shopping, eating, DRINKING, more shopping!!!! And BE SURE to have a mapped out plan for bathrooms along the way during those three hours. Very important!!!!

We ate our lunch VERY slowly, but that only took 50 minutes. Two hours and 10 minutes to kill. Went to Walmart. More bathroom stops. Now. . . . have you ever tried to shop when you are told you have to kill time???? Ladies, I hate to tell you, but I discovered it is the most boring thing in the world. Couldn't think of a thing to look at, didn't want anything, etc., etc. That clock just wouldn't move. Finally, we decide to head back to the facility and just sit there and watch TV.

MORE bathrooms! MORE to drink!

and we sit and wait!

Finally! they come and get me. Told me to lie down on this thing ---- and believe me, this plank was even more narrow than the one from the day before!!!!! And again, my poor arms over my head. They tied my feet together with elastic bands. At least they had music playing for this one.

Just when I thought it was over and brought my poor arms back over my head, she said, "Since you stated you thought your ribs were broken or something, lets get some extra shots of that!" I groan. Don't mention things like that ever again. Just go with the usual scan. No extras, please!!!!! So, arms back up, and another 10 minutes on the plank!

I was so out of there when that was done!

Pee again!!!!!

By the time I got home, I had had it! I never want to see another bottle of water again. I do have to practice sleeping on planks a little bit though. I'm not good at that.

So now you know what is involved when a doctor says, "I'm sending you for a CT scan and a bone scan." That means two days of your life are shot!

Monday, July 28, 2008

If I Turn On MY Sprinkler, Will They Come??????

This just made my day! If this ever happened in MY backyard, I'd be so excited, yelling for everyone, that I would probably scare them away for good. How this person got this video taken is beyond me, but I'm glad she did because I sure did love it!!!!

Daybook Entry for July 28, 2008


FOR TODAY (July 28, 2008)...

Outside My Window 8 wasps have decided to built a nest directly in the center of my window. They have been there now for about two weeks, and the process has captured my attention. Night and day, each has a specific job. The other day, a thunder storm knocked the small beginnings of the nest off the window. I was so encouraged within myself to see these 8 wasps begin all over again. I HATE wasps, but these 8 have been sooooo inspiring and encouraging to me to keep on keeping on!

I am thinking. . .That I need to buck up! I whimped out at the Cancer Center today as they stabbed me in the chest 5 times before getting that needle to work in my port! It was NOT pleasant!.

I am thankful for... My sister who has gone with me everywhere for these long, drawn-out appointments, sitting patiently with a book, and always encouraging me on! If she could do it, so can I!

From the kitchen... Ham tonight with sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts! One of my favorite dinners!

I am wearing... Tee shirt, black slacks . . . and, since I can't wear a bra, AN UNDERSHIRT! My sister suggested this, as she wore one after surgery for her port placement. And again, I'm barefoot! Guess this will be my uniform for the next few months! The undershirt thing has become quite comfortable for me. Very snuggie!!!

I am creating... More angels. Miriads of angels!

I am going... Post Office, Walmart, a bone scan tomorrow.

I am reading... Can't seem to focus right now. I don't know if it is the Arimidex pill that I'm on or the whole new life path I'm taking, but if it is more than a few sentences long, I'm LOST!

I am hoping... This Arimidex hormone blocker works for me. It sounds so promising in all that I have read. I'll have more questions about time expectations, etc., when I see my doctor again on Monday. I'm REALLY hoping and praying for good news concerning the scans, that they will reveal that the cancer has not spread beyond the breast tumor.

I am hearing... Three baby wrens being taught how to find seed under the feeder. What a LOT of racket out there.

Around the house... Dropped a brand new container of liquid fabric softener on the garage floor. I just couldn't deal with it at the moment, so closed the door, sighed a heavy sigh, and . . . .!!!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week. . . Bone scan tomorrow. Haven't thought beyond that, really. !

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

"I Don't Know About Tomorrow"

I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from it's sunshine,
For it's skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Ev'ry step is getting brighter,
As the golden stairs I climb;
Ev'ry burden's getting lighter;
Ev'ry cloud is silver lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eyes,
At the ending of the rainbow,
Where the mountains touch the sky.

I don't know about tomorrow,
It may bring me poverty;
But the One Who feeds the sparrow,
Is the One Who stands by me.
And the path that be my portion,
May be through the flame or flood,
But His presence goes before me,
And I'm covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand.


I'm so glad to be able to participate with the others in this Notebook entry. You can visit The Simple Woman's blog

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's In There, Anyways?????

So many of you have left comments or sent me personal emails asking if I would share some of the information I have found concerning foods and other products that we use in our homes that have estrogens or estrogen producing elements in them. There are tons of websites out there. I'm not a stupid person, but I must tell you, a lot of it is so technical and so full of 27-letter long words that I just didn't know what I was reading. Some went overboard, making me think that all I would ever be able to eat was organically grown grass, that I could never use soap or shampoo again, or even wear clothing!!!!

It does seem scarey, to say the least, if you are trying to STOP hormone production in your body, that so much of what you eat and use every day keeps pouring it IN!

It also makes you wonder about all these drugs and medications that are being given out that are full of hormones. I know there are tons of women who have no breast cancer issues, etc., and seem to need these. But it makes me think a little more carefully about what will happen years down the road with all of this. I was never on hormone therapy, nor did I take any over-the-counter stuff to ease post-menopausal symptoms. But here I am now, taking hormone BLOCKERS!

Here is one site that seems to speak a little more down to earth about products, foods, soaps, shampoos, plastics, chemicals, and herbs, etc., that are estrogenic.
As I find more information, I will pass it on to those of you who are interested.
This whole website is VERY interesting!!!!

Click here to read the article about estrogenic foods, etc.!

Well, I've tried a thousand times to make that link work to take you directly to the right page on that site, but it won't! So here it is for you to copy and paste:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Daybook Entry for July 21, 2008


FOR TODAY (July 21, 2008)...

Outside My Window The sun is setting in the west, casting colors across the sky that are so beautiful. I see a few crows flying . . . home???. . .
and the last of the cardinals having a late night snack before calling it a night.

I am thinking... Way too many thoughts. My mind seems to never stop, jumping from one thing to another and another. It's hard to concentrate lately.

I am thankful for... My two sisters!

From the kitchen... The best ever yellow squash patties. I don't know who had them posted on their blog, but if you see them in your blogging trails, copy that recipe. Boy, were they ever good!

I am wearing... Tee shirt, black slacks . . . and, since I can't wear a bra, AN UNDERSHIRT! My sister suggested this, as she wore one after surgery for her port placement. And again, I'm barefoot!

I am creating... More angels. Miriads of angels!

I am going... Nowhere. I've become a real homebody.

I am reading... A whole lot about my type of cancer, about foods that have estrogen hormones, about things I need to stay away from. Scarey stuff out there that has been added to food!!!

I am hoping... This new drug works for me. It sounds so promising in all that I have read.

I am hearing... My air conditioner running. It was soooo HOT today.

Around the house... Does the laundry never get caught up? There are only two of us and I seem to be doing so much wash lately!!!!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week. . . The only thing on my schedule for this week is a trip to the vet for Buster to get his shots, and to get his ears checked. He's flapping those things around pretty hard, so I guess it's ear mites!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

"God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness
He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today"
--Don Moen

"This is the way. . . . walk ye in it!"


I'm so glad to be able to participate with the others in this Notebook entry. You can visit The Simple Woman's blog

God Always Makes a Way!

I just want to take the time this morning to thank each and every one of you who have left comments, sent me emails, etc. I've been overwhelmed and so very thankful for all your love, concern, prayers, and constructive help and guidance. I've started a notebook with all this information, websites, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. I feel armed and ready for battle here!

I do want you all to know that I have been entered into a program that I had no idea was available. This Women's Health Program is coordinated through the state and federal channels, and targets women who have breast and/or cervical cancer, no insurance, and who meet certain income guidelines. Papers were filed to enter this program, but only after an "offical diagnosis" was received from the pathologist after the biopsy. As soon as the approval stamp is put on this application, my cancer treatments, meds, doctors, etc., will be paid for through this program.

I am just so thankful for things like this. Had I known there was anything like this out there, I wouldn't have waited so long and let it get so bad before getting help. I just thought there was nothing there to help, so just did nothing.

I don't know how to make this known to women who are in the same situation and need help. I wouldn't have known if I had not gone for that first mammogram offered free in my area. It was these kind people who were so concerned and made the phone calls without me even knowing about it. I got home and the phone rang, and this wondefully kind lady explained who she was, asked about my symptoms, how bad it was, etc., and lined up all the testing and appointments for me.

All I can do is direct people to this agency if I hear of anyone in the same situation, just as some of you have passed on information to me.

As soon as I hear from this program that I have been approved and accepted, funding will begin. It should be any day now, and things will begin to move more quickly. At least I have been able to start the medication the doctor wanted me on, and within a week or so, will be starting more thorough diagnostic scans, etc.

If any of you are reading this and hesitating from going to a doctor or from seeking help due to finances, etc., please know that there IS help out there. Don't be too proud to ask and seek it out. GOD WILL MAKE A WAY for you!

Again, thank you a million times over for all your love and outpouring of prayers and support! You just don't know how much it means to me and how much it has strengthened me over the past few weeks! God has made a way for me through what I thought was an impossible situation, and I know He will do the same for each one of you, too! I love you all so much!!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Will I EVER Learn????

I decided today that my faith level is the pits!!!!! I'm not even sure it's even mustard seed size! I'm a great one for spouting off to people about having faith in God, believe that He will supply. And I've even used examples of how the Lord has supplied for ME in the past. Yeah!!!! That's really easy to do when you are looking BACK on things, believe me, but when you are hit square in the face with something that is IMPOSSIBLE for you to work out on your own in any possible way, that's when we really see what is in our hearts and what isn't! The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

I couldn't even find a mustard seed sized pieced of faith in my heart yesterday, and my day was about the worst one I ever had. It's a good thing people like Colton and all my friends here have hearts bursting with mustard seeds, because I know it was YOUR faith and YOUR prayers that brought this all about!

I was called in to see the cancer doctor yesterday. I was pretty happy about that --- thought he would tell me about the pathology report, I would have a NAME to this cancer thing, a plan would be mapped out for me, and the show would begin. I wasn't scared, nervous or anything, and pretty much in a good mood about going.

Why is it every one of these doctor appointments turn out to be mouth-droppers????? I guess I'm just not used to being a patient and it's all new to me or something.

He rattled off the type of cancer --- one of those ones that has to do with hormones (can't remember the exact name right now) and has a midway growth factor --- not real fast, but not really slow, either. I do remember the words, "hormone antagonistic."
After that, the conversation went down hill. He seemed agitated with me because I had not had the scans yet (still waiting on funding for that) as he can't do anything without knowing how far this has spread throughout my body. And for some reason, I got the feeling he was blaming ME, that perhaps I wasn't "with the program" or didn't really want treatment or something. And I was very self-conscious of the fact that I was showing no emotions on my face, or expressing any feelings, etc. I KNOW I'm not a "facial" person. I look like stone half the time. But here I sat, trying to process all he was saying, thinking about what could be paid for and what could NOT, etc., etc., etc. and before I could process one sentence, he was miles ahead of me talkinga bout something else even more aggravating. Then he whipped out his prescription pad and said that he would really like to start me on one medication that was really good at arresting these cancer cells by blocking the hormone receptors, or something like that, but since it was so expensive, he would write the prescription for the lesser (in my mind, I'm thinking CRAPPY) expensive drug and we would see how that worked for me and would I PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get it filled TODAY, not TOMORROW, TODAY and start taking it TODAY????? (again, I got the feeling that he thought I was not aboard this bus yet!)

My sister and I left the place (again, there she was with the trusty notebook and pen!) and I just said to her, "I'm screwed." I can't remember exactly what she said, but it seemed like an agreement with me.

By the time I got home, I was quite upset, nervous, wondering if I should "put my house in order" and start numbering my days. I was hot, sweaty, irritated, cranky, nervous, and felt like for the first time in my life I had no control over anything ---- not one thing --- in my life. Even the hole in my breast, which seemed like something to laugh about the day before, was now just doom and gloom, as he told me there was nothing he could do about it, as this was the tumor coming through, and just brushed it off. I had asked about surgery, but he said with the condition this was in and where it was located, it would make matters a million times worse.

We talked and ranted, and cried, and paced the floor, but I never once thought about having any faith or think that maybe God was in control!!!! I was so busy with my own thoughts, trying so hard to reread into everything the doctor said, that stopping to take a breath and MAYBE ask God for that wonderful peace He promises us was the farthest thing from my mind.

I finally went to bed, defeated, discouraged, and just wanted to fall asleep so I wouldn't have to think about it anymore.

Wouldn't you know, I woke up at 4:00 am again. Tried staying in bed til 5:30, then HAD to get up! I typed a very crabby email to a very dear friend, then wish I hadn't hit the send button. I'm so glad it landed on very loving, sensitive, understanding ears!!!!!!

BUT THEN. . . . . . the mailman came! There was a registered letter there for me to sign for, and I couldn't imagine who it was from. It looked like a card, but that huge, sticky card was plasted on it, so I couldn't see right away who it was from.
Then I saw my brother's address. I opened the card. . . . and what fell out was a gift from my two brother's families --- enough to pay for this better medication for two months!!!!!

Is it not true that even before we call, God answers????? I hadn't called out at all! I hadn't asked the Lord, or ANYBODY for that matter. But somehow, Tony and Mark, Ann and Sally knew that I would be needing this days ago, and made sure that I had it on the day I would be filling the prescription. Does it get any better than that?

I called the Cancer Center and asked them to change the prescription and call it in for me. I just couldn't wait to get there to pick it up and take that first pill. I felt like I was swallowing my first dose of help, that things have NOW finally started, and I can say we are doing something.

My two sisters, Juri and Johanna have helped me out so much, too, and I just want to thank them here for what they've done! I just never expected them to be here for me like this, to sacrifice for me, and to love me! Without their encouragement on a daily basis, I would be lost, believe me. And now, to have my two big overgrown brothers wrapping their bear hugs around me somehow makes me feel so thankful for my family.

Mark, Tony, Juri, Johanna ----- I don't say it enough! And I haven't said it lately!
I love you all from the bottom of my heart, and if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be doing this, I know!

In spite of my lack of faith, in spite of my crabbing, whining, and fretting, in spite of all my worry, God still had plan for me, one that was not for evil but for good, a plan with a future and a hope.

Will I EVER Learn?????

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rising Above!!!!

This doesn't need words, except for a BIG thank you to Lea from The Potting Shed

So many good things over there! Blessings just fall on you like raindrops from Heaven!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Laughing Matter!!!!

Those who know me really well know that I'm not a laugher! I'm hardly a smiler! Sometimes my shoulders go up and down, and I appreciate a good joke and having a good time. But the belly-buster laughter that some people enjoy was just never my gift.

But today was different. I must say, this will sound so odd and so out of place and almost . . . . . disrespectful in some sense of the word, but today was one of the funniest days, and I laughed til I cried.

As you know, I was scared to death of this visit back to the surgeon who did the biopsy. Not that I didn't already know the diagnosis -- from the very first doctor visit two months go I was told that it was cancer and that the biopsy was a protocol procedure to tell them what KIND of cancer it was. My fear was that he would TOUCH the Black and Decker sized hole he made while doing the biopsy!!!! It was so big and so large and so tender that I just didn't want him pushing and poking around in there. But I DID want him to fix it -- just don't TOUCH it!

Was I in for a surprise!!!!!

My sister was my valiant hero today, marching in there with with with notebook and pen, ready to write down EVERYTHING this guy said about the diagnosis, treatment plan, surgery plan, etc., etc., etc. We were sure the mastectomy would be right around the corner, and that once he saw the mess he had made, he'd want to do it today, if not sooner! Juri was already trying to figure out if she could drive my car home if I had to go straight to the hospital -- it looked that bad to us.

OK!!!. . . . . I strip down to my waist, put that little scrap of paper on that is totally useless, as it covers NOTHING, and in comes Mr. Surgeon. He takes a look at the port side, does a little poke and says I'm good to go, that everything is working good (how would he know that?). Juri pipes up and asks what the stitches were for in my neck. (We had a "pinkie swear" agreement that we would not look at each other when she asked as we had already laughed til we cried over this.) You see, she had asked me about it the day of the surgery, and all I could tell her was that he walked by my recovery room bed and put his hand up to his neck and made a jesture that made me wonder if he had put the port in my NECK instead of my chest!!!!! I was too groggy and numb at the time to even care. But every time I mentioned to my sister that this was all I knew (and I did the hand gesture) she would just crack up!

So, now he explains that I have "very bad veins" in his Indian accent, and that he had to put it on that side. And instead of taking the chance of nicking my lung by digging for "the deep vein", he put it up in my neck. So I'm "good to go!"

And he thought, that's that, and was ready to leave the room.

Again, sister, with pen and notebook in hand, pipes up and says, "Dr., what actually was the diagnosis from the biospy?" And this Dr. Surgeon stretches out both hands and says, "It's CANCER! We already knew that -- it's CANCER!" It was such an emphatic answer that you didn't DARE ask another question. So she shut up!

And then I piped up and said, "How about this hole in my other breast?"

He said, "What hole?"

I said, "The hole that looks like you used a Black and Decker drill bit to do the biopsy!"

I showed him, and he said in his Indian accent, "That is not MY hole!" "And ma'am, I didn't use a drill, it was just a thin wire, and I did it way over here!" (pointing about 1 1/2 inches to the left of this hole!

Something about it was making everyone in the room laugh. It was just too funny. He wouldn't quit about this hole not being his and that I needed to get care for it somewhere else.

And he left the room and we were all done.

I got dressed, and it's a good thing my sister was silent because I just knew we would start and wouldn't be able to stop.

We got to the car, and I said, I KNOW NOTHING! I know no more than I did two months ago. And now I have a huge hole in my breast with no one to take care of it, no one wants to take ownership of it, and I get no surgery as they want to do chemo first. By cracky, I want this thing off!!!!

And so we decided to go shopping. Food shopping, that is. I thought it would help my diet a lot. I came home with a cheese danish, 3 cans of cheese dorito cruchies, tapioca pudding, potato chips and queso dip, and anything else I thought would make good, healthy eating!!!!

I'm sorry. I know I'm supposed to be somber, prayerful, scared, crying, etc. But today????? I'm just NOT! Everyone I have had to talk to today has laughed so hard with me, apologized for laughing, and has just gone along with it.

So the waiting begins. I'm waiting til tomorrow to get this hole checked out by a Dr. I was referred to. I'm waiting to hear from the Cancer center as to what the next step is in starting chemo.

Sorry I don't have more news for all of you who have been praying for me. But from what others have told me, this is not unusual or odd. It was for me, though. I'm just so thankful for this blog and a whole bunch of friends who will read this and wonder if I've fallen off the deep end. If I did, I'll pick myself up tomorrow and get on with business as usual I'm sure!

Thanks for listening tonight to my ranting and ravings!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Daybook Entry or July 14, 2008


FOR TODAY (July 14, 2008)...

Outside My Window I'm noticing how tall my Sycamore tree has grown and how wide it's branches are this year. It's been just a few years since it was planted there, needed a little stick to hold it up straight and tall! Now here it is, giving beautiful shade on hot, sunny days, and shelter for all my little birds.

I am thinking... About tomorrow. I see the surgeon tomorrow, will hear the results of the biopsy, the plans for surgery, etc. The song goes through my mind,

"I don't know
About tomorrow
I just live from day to day
And I don't borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray
And I don't worry about my future
For I know what Jesus said
And today He walks beside me
For He knows what lies ahead
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to under-understand
But I, I know, I know, I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds, who holds my hand.

I am thankful for... So many loving, praying friends!

From the kitchen... Pancakes the size of manhole covers! Thought I would try to lose a little weight. . . . . tomorrow.

I am wearing... A REAL blouse! (what can I say??? since I can't wear a bra, the tee shirt had to go!), black slacks, barefoot!

I am creating... Lots of piles! Piles of coordinated fabric to be cut, piles of quilts to be cut, piles of garbage to go out, piles of wash to be done, etc.

I am going... Post office with lots of packages to mail.

I am reading... Way too much online about breast cancer, rates of survival, treatment plans. . . I know more than I ever wanted or needed to know, but feel I know nothing.

I am hoping...
I have the courage and strength to go through the next few months! I'm feeling this more as each day goes on.

I am hearing... QUIET!!!! I just LOVE it when Buster is sleeping and the cat is sleeping at the same time!

Around the house...
The lawn needs mowing. It has rained so much after a long, dry drought, so I hope the rain holds off long enough to get it mowed. Otherwise, we will need a hay baler!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week. . . I haven't thought past tomorrow! I'm sure this surgeon is planning out my life for me. But I am trying to tie up all loose ends with Ebay and getting everything mailed out just in case surgery comes sooner than planned.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." -- Psalm 37:5.

I'm searching my heart to find if I REALLY trust the Lord with what is around that bend in the road and that He will walk me through it. . . . .


I'm so glad to be able to participate with the others in this Notebook entry. You can visit The Simple Woman's blog


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Most Precious Gift!

Some days are ordinary, some come with surprises. Some days are special, some are to remember always. But then. . . . . One of those days comes that you just KNOW rank up there with the best of the best. . .A day you will never forget for the rest of your life.

And yesterday was one of those days for me.

It started out as maybe a "2" on a scale of 1 to 10 -- 10 being a really good day. I had not slept well as I just don't sleep at all if I have to lie flat on my back and not on my side. I laid there, staring at the ceiling, wondering if I would ever fall asleep. Buster was snoring away, not a care or problem in the world, and that seemed comforting to me. My left breast was hurting from the biopsy and felt as though someone had clamped my nipple to my nose as they used a huge drill bit to do this biopsy. My right chest felt as though they had inserted a cement building block in there. Other than that, I was ok! I finally got up at 4:00 am, made some coffee, and walked about a mile back and forth in the dark, in my nightie, up and down my little sidewalk. Buster just walked beside me as we listened to the whipporwills, the tree frogs answering each other, and the sound of a train far off in the distance. It was calming, actually!

The rest of the day was uneventful, though I seemed not able to concentrate much on any one thing. I felt I was "wandering."

My Brother-in-law brought me my mail early in the evening, and I was surprised to find a package there. I had not ordered anything and wondered what it was. Oh yes! Lea from Farmhouse Blessings had told me a package was coming, as my friend, Colton, had a gift for me.

I want to tell you something, it was a life-changer for me. I haven't been the same since i unwrapped Colton's present. There I stood with big tears running down my cheeks as I held a Barbie Doll in my hands!!!!! Go ahead and laugh if you want. I know I sound like a silly goose here, but it caught me off guard, believe me. First, I knew how much time he had spent looking for just the right gift. Lea had told me that much. And he just KNEW this was IT! There was Barbie, all dressed up in her pink princess dress, with a pink crown! and on the back of the packaging it said, "A beautiful Princess, just like YOU!"

Now don't tell me you wouldn't just swell up like an overgrown ofe and feel like the most special woman in the world for that one moment in time!!!! I never had a Barbie in my whole life. And now???? Here, a little ten year old spends his saved-up money on an old lady who's sick and buys a Barbie Doll dressed as a pink princess to help me feel better.

I just hugged that doll, and I thanked the Lord over and over for the simple love of a child who reaches into his heart and finds more to give than some of us do in a whole adult lifetime!!!!! Of all the gifts I've EVER received, this one just hit the core of my heart, let me tell you!

So when I calmed myself down, I wrote Colton a thank you note. I have to share it with you, as you won't understand his response later on if you don't read this:

Dear Colton!

Today, the mail lady brought a big box to
my door, and I was so excited because I really like getting surprises. And since your Mom told me to be expecting a box, I looked right away to see, and sure enough, it was from YOU!!!!!!

I just tore into that box because I couldn't wait to see what was jiggling around in there!

I put everything on the table, and there was a special present there with pretty paper on it. . . . and it said it was from "Colton!" Now THAT was the one I certainly wanted to open FIRST! I tried to guess what it was, but I just couldn't wait, so I ripped that paper off. . . . .

And I just started crying! I don't think I EVER in my WHOLE LIFE had anyone who thought I was a princess and gave me a princess doll. And FOR SURE, I NEVER had a Barbie doll of my very own, so this was surely a very special day for me. I think you made this day the happiest one ever, and I won't ever forget it! Thank you soooooooo much for thinking of me, and especially for praying for me. I know that I'm really safe and protected by God because I know that Colton prays for me every day!

I want you to know, Colton, that you are the most special guy in my life and that I love you with all my heart! I wish I could just reach through this computer screen and give you the biggest bear hug that anyone has ever given you!

Just remember that when you are praying for ME, I'm praying for YOU so our prayers are crossing each other all the time!!!!!

Thank you again for my princess! I will keep her near me all the time, you can count on that!!!!!

Love you!!!!

And then, a little later, I got an email back from Colton. . . which was almost as precious as the doll itself:

I just read your letter to Colton and he smilled REALLY big and said "Oh man!" He wrote youa reply and here it is ... unedited and unabridged. (Smile)

Dear Cora,

Are you feeling better? God is with you and I hope that you are feeling better. Maybe if you pray, you will feel better. I know that God will touch you.

I think YOU are a present. I love you Cora.

I know this is the first barbie doll you've had in your whole life. Me & mom looked in the girls stuff to find it. And sure enough I found a baby doll that would make you happy.

Hope you feel better.



I know there will be tough days ahead of me, when I wonder if it will all be worth the bother. I know emotions will run wild, strength will be at a minimum, the will to fight will fall off, and I'll be crying, "Why me?" and I won't find a song or a verse in the night hours of this journey.

But you know what? Just the thought of this little, precious friend of mine praying for me, and seeing this little Barbie Princess will be the best encouragement I could ever have. You know why????? Because I KNOW Colton approaches the Throne of Grace with a simple faith that trusts the Father with EVERYTHING!!!!!

Colton, God has sent you into my life because you have walked through places I have never been and you are willing to take my hand and lead me and remind me that everything will be OK just because God said so!

Now someone please tell me if there can POSSIBLY be a better day than this!!!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back Home Again!

I can't believe it's over!!!! I dreaded this procedure for a week, believe me! Not so much that I was afraid with that awful fear you can get, but rather, more like a dread because I've never had an operation or procedure, never been put under, etc., etc. and really didn't know how to act or what to expect. I must say, this outpatient surgery center treated me like a queen from the moment I arrived at 6:30 am to the moment I left at noon. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful team of people. It seemed that their main goal was that I remained calm, was comfortable, and that I understood what was going on each step of the way.

I did feel sorry for the guy across from me. He had a major panic attack and a melt down. Those nurses all came running, gave him oxygen, etc., and then the one southern old nurse said to him, "That's all right, hhhhawnnnnyyy (as only a true southerner can stretch that out!), that's why men don't have babies!!!! There'd be no babies if it was left up to them!!!!!" I guess that was supposed to comfort him. It just made me laugh, but I sure did hope I didn't "melt down" and prove her wrong!

I woke up feeling like someone had punched me in one breast and had inserted a cement building block in the other, but other than that, was fine. A little, tiny nurse (as opposed to my LARGE, 6 foot, 3x sized self) put my socks and shoes on, dressed me, etc. I felt so pampered until. . . . . I told her just to forget about the bra. I never wanted to wear one of those cursed, blasted, uncomfortable torture chamber devises again. But again she said, "OH NO, hhhhawnnnyyyy (here it came again!!!!) ya just gotta wear that thang for at least 48 hours more so they don't jiggle and toss around and get them thar stitches loosed up!" What can I say??????? So I'm still chained up in it for 24 more hours!

Other than feeling a little dizzy and woozy today, I'm doing fine. I thought of all of my "network" as they put me under. Somehow, you were all there in the room with me, and I knew you were all praying and everything would be alright. I just can't thank you all enough for your prayers, concern, and love -- and for holding me up like this. It has been amazing to me, and I feel so humbled and grateful for you all!!!!

I sure do hope I wasn't singing in the operating room, but the last thing I remember thinking clearly was that old Hymn (can you tell I LOVE my old hymbook?)

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ, the Lord, I stand.

I won't have any information about the biopsy results for 2 to 4 days, so here starts another wait. After that comes in, then I will have some scans done to determine the amount of spread and then the course of treatment. At least today, I feel like something has been done to get this thing rolling!!!!

Oh, I almost forgot!!!!! Before I went under, I asked the surgeon if he had looked at the xrays of my left lung (he was the one who couldn't hear any air in my lung). He said yes, he did, and it was clear, "nothing to worry about there!" he said!
So that is a great answer to prayer for me! Scratch that one off you list with a big "thank you" to the Lord!

He is soooooo good, Isn't He???????

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is there A Hero Inside of ME?????

Sometimes a song comes along that just seems to pull you up by the suspenders, gives you a good slap on the back, and a tight squeeze and a hug -- and it makes you look inside of you again and. . . . . sure enough, there is a HERO inside there somewhere!!!!

I sat in the waiting room and felt like maybe this was just Heaven's waiting room. LOTS of VERY sickly, sad, and depressing looking people, just waiting to hear their name called, and then then disappeared behind big doors. Maybe Heaven was back there somewhere, just a few steps away.. . . and then MY name was called! As I passed through that big door, I knew for sure it couldn't be Heaven, believe me. But I did see these sad, sickly, depressing people differently --- they were heroes --- every one of them -- as they sat in those recliners getting their chemo treatments. They certainly found heroes inside of themselves as they came back day after day, week after week. . . . fighting, hoping for just another win in this awful battle!

Today was NOT one of my best days in my life. Maybe emotionally, it was the worst. No. . . . I didn't break down, I wasn't really nervous, nor did I cry. I say it was emotionally my worst day ever because I can't seem to work up ANY emotions at all. I'm wondering if I'm even normal. The Dr. sat there staring at my face waiting for reactions, I guess, and I just had NONE!

I don't know much more than I did the other day --- only more of a confirmation that my worst fears are right. He did say, "most definitely you have advanced cancer, I don't need a biopsy to tell me that!". When I asked was I in big trouble, he did say, "Yes, you are in big trouble here." And when I asked, "Now what?" He said, "I don't know yet what I'm going to do with you."

He poked, prodded, pushed squeezed until I was sure the whole tumor would probably pop out into his hands. That was bad enough, but when he started under my arms, I thought I would die!

He did say that my lungs sounded fine to him, that the other Dr. must have had wax in his ears! That was the only good thing I heard all day.

What's next? The biopsy on Tuesday WITH the added pleasure of having a port put in while I'm under for chemo down the road. Also, CT scans, bone scans, etc., because he wants to know where this has all spread to. And the biopsy will tell him what KIND of cancer we are dealing with.

So that's that!

Years and years ago, I used to go with my Dad to see my grandmother. She was in her 90's at the time, suffering from arthritis so badly, but just as sweet and loving as a woman could ever be. There was such sadness in her eyes as the love of her life had gone home to Glory some years before. Before we would leave her, she would always ask my dad to please sit at the old organ and play her hymn. And to this day, I can't help but get that huge lump in my throat as I can still hear my Dad and grandmother singing "Be not dismayed what e'er betide, God will take care of you." My Dad with his rich base voice, my grandmother with her still sweet alto voice singing in Dutch --- somehow I just know they are still singing together in Heaven.

You just never forget those old hymns, do you?

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

I can tell you this much. . . there would be no hero in me were it not for my absolute faith in a Sovereign God who has everything in His control. Who can help but be a warrior and a hero when HE ALONE is in charge of the battle in front of you?
So many of you have walked this road and have told me your stories and you are my heros. Thank you for your encouragement, for pushing a warrior's sword in my hands, and giving me the confidence that YES! I can fight!

And thank you, my dear, dear sister, Juri, for fighting your battle, for being my hero, for sticking to it to the very end and winning, and for being willing to walk with me into that same battlefield!!! How can I ever thank you???



For these things, I thank you, Lord:
62. All the heros that have won before me!
63. My sister, Juri, who can laugh, cry, hold me up -- all at the same time!
64. Loving friends and neighbors who pray for me.
65. Old hymns and new ones that say what the heart wants to say.
66. Cool, refreshing breezes and a gentle rain this evening!
67. Peach Ice Tea, a rocking chair on my porch, a dog at my feet, and a mockingbird who just doesn't stop singing, in spite of the thunder and the rain!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I've Got The Network!!!!

You know those ads on TV about the Verizon Network that supposedly follows you all around after you buy one of their phones????? You see that HUGE group of workers, technicians, trucks, etc., following you down the street, ready to help you and fix anything that goes wrong.

Well, I just felt like I had my own personal "network" following me around today. And it was ALL OF YOU! I just knew that wherever I went, whoever I spoke to, whoever I had to call, etc., that you were all there, backing me up with prayer, faith and love. And I wouldn't exchange my network for any phone company in the world, believe me!

My sister tromped around all day with me, and I'm so thankful that she is there. She knows what questions to ask, we could laugh together, compare notes, analyze body language of Doctors and nurses who aren't supposed to tell you anything. . . . and of course, we had a HUGE lunch together to celebrate the beginning of this . . . . journey!

This doctor that I saw today was only supposed to look at the mammogram results and set up a biopsy for me. It was understood that he was not taking my case on. He asked me a million questions, poked, prodded, squeezed squished, and pushed on everything ---- never changed his expression, lifted an eyebrow, sighed or even breathed!!!!!

When I got dressed and went to his office, he told me he couldn't hear any air in my left lung (same side as the tumor) and was ordering a chest xray. Also, he ordered complete blood workup and the biopsy stuff. So, after getting home, I started making the calls I had to make to line this all up. After going through 2 phones and running them dead, recharging, etc., I get a call from this Dr. saying he lined it all up for me and that the results would come back to him.

When I called the lady in charge of the program, she said she just about fell out of her chair because he had told her he wasn't taking any more of "her ladies." But . . . he's taking ME!

And. . . . . I get to have the same oncologist and cancer treatment group that my sister went to . . . . and they have a center now just 2 miles from my home. I have a consult with this guy on Thursday, and the biopsy will be done Tuesday. So in reality, I STILL know NOTHING definitive, but I feel that least I'm in the hands of some pretty good Doctors.. . . . to say nothing of "the network" of people that prayed for me all day. . . . and how the Lord heard all of your prayers and worked all this out for me!

This Doctor today was "convinced it is advanced cancer that is spreading." That's all he would say. The x-ray of the lungs . . . . the girl would not tell me what she saw. So I know NOTHING! I guess after the biopsy comes back I will have more to report.

Until then, I just want to thank each and every one of you who have been walking behind me, next to me, in front of me, holding me up in prayer and caring and loving me so much!

I didn't sleep much last night. This was all on my mind. But the Lord gave me a verse today as I sat here, all tired and worn from my running around. I hadn't thought of it in so long, but there is was:

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. -- Psalm 4:8

I'm not saying here that I'm the bravest gal in the world. I'm not! Someone asked me this week if I was scared. I am! To some extent anyway. I'm scared of that needle biopsy. I don't like pain. I don't want a port. Let's face it. . . . who walks into this type of thing with smiles and a happy face????? And I'm not a brave person, either.

But. . . I DO know where my faith lies. And it is NOT my faith that will carry me through, but rather, WHO my faith lies in. And the verse above says it all. It is NOT a doctor or cancer center that I trust, but rather the LORD only and HIS will for my life. He has a plan for me. So I might as well get some sleep tonight, knowing that the Lord is at the head of "my network" and all of you are praying for me! Thank you!!!!!!


For these things, I thank you, Lord:
56. Such a great group of praying friends!
57. That there are still caring people in the medical and professional world!
58. Great greasy lunches out and a sister to share them with.
59. God faithfulness through all these years.
60. Scripture verses I learned as a child that somehow come back when I need them!
61. Buster!