Saturday, October 30, 2010

Enjoying the Day

Beautiful fall day. The sun out, temperatures a little crisp. Perfect opportunity to get out a bit. My husband planted a raspberry bush that has been sitting in a pot for at least three months now, no worse for the wear I might add. It joined the one I already had planted this past spring along the fence. I was able to walk around the garden a bit, picked some tomatoes and jalapenos. Feels good just being able to get outside. Husband then cleared an area for me to plant some lettuce and spinach. He did all the work, I just directed and sprinkled the seeds. Once the weather gets cooler we will put a cold frame around it and hopefully will have greens through the winter. This was
something I was hoping to have but really did not expect it was going to happen, so very thankful to my husband for doing this for me. Endurance still is not great so, after all of this had to rest, lunch etc. I have to remember improvements are going to come in small steps, and  to be content with that. We took a little drive later in the day picked up a
prescription and walked around for a while taking
photo's. It was cool outside and I was tired so it was just
short trip. I am encouraged, though, and it was nice to go 
somewhere besides the doctor. So I have much to be thankful for today, the weather was beautiful, my stamina is increasing, I have a husband who was totally thinking of me when he planned his day, and I had the opportunity to take more photo's, something I enjoy doing. My prayer is I that I will continue to find things each day to be grateful for, that I will be content in my circumstances, whatever that might be, and that I will use the opportunities that the Lord has given me. I may be on the "shelf" for the time being but that doesn't mean I will not have opportunities to be used by God. How I'm used right now may just look a little different then it did before.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Going Solo

Today is my first day alone since surgery. I am feeling better so I am
OK with this. I know it was hard for my husband to go back to work. I am able to do what I need to do for myself. I can make a cup of coffee, have plenty to eat in the fridge thanks to the sweet ladies from our care group who have been providing meals for us this week. Because my range of motion is improving, I can shower and get dressed by myself. My wardrobe still consists of sweats and zip up hoodies. I have a little "nest" built around where I spend most of my day. Books, phones, remotes and IPod on one side and lap top on the other, in addition to pillows, throws etc. I can slide my lap top on and off as needed. I continue to have swelling and pain in my left arm but I think it may be improving. The plastic surgeon recommended massaging the areas that were swollen to help drain the lymph nodes, that along the exercises and elevating arm while at rest seem to have been helping. I have been trying to learn what I can to prevent problems with lymphadema. The surgeon told me that catching it early is key, once
it takes hold it is hard to "cure" it. So I will take the precautions I need to. It's a rainy day today, the perfect kind of day for just laying around, which is all I want to do. I did go into  the garden and took some photo's of my rose It's still flowering even though summer has long been over. I have lots of green tomatoes which will probably never ripen before frost hits, and the pansies. I am so glad we planted those pansies. I walk out my front door and it's like they are smiling at me with their blue and yellow faces. Even my inpatients have taken on a new life now that the heat of summer is over. With a little care we might be able to keep things going a few more weeks. Signs of fall are here as well, even though the temperatures don't feel like it. The leaves have started turning colors and the mornings are cooler. Even though not my favorite time of year, I want to appreciate the beauty and the little blessings each day brings. I came across a scripture yesterday that ministered to me and I felt described the season I am in right now. It's from Jeremiah 17

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him, He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its root by the stream. It does not wither when the heat comes; it's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit" Jer 17:7-8

Another scripture that goes along with this one would be found in Psalm 1

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield it's fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."  Psalm 1:1-3

My "heat" is breast cancer, but because I trust in the Lord and put my confidence in Him, I am like that tree that sends out it's roots by the stream, I will not wither, my leaves will always be green and I will never fail to bear fruit. The key is to trust in Him, feed on his word and to put my confidence on his promises.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fighting for Joy

Progress continuing, slow but sure. Range of motion improving in my arms, stamina improving day by day and able to do more for self . My left arm is not making as quick of progress as my right arm. Having swelling, pain and numbness down to the back of the upper arm. Range of motion not as good on that side either. Saw surgeon yesterday for routine followup. He said they had a hard time finding sentinel node on the left so more manipulation done on that side, thus the swelling, numbness from nerve irritation, may get better may not. Instructed me to watch for any signs of lymphadema. Gave me some things to do to help. I left office feeling annoyed that this was an issue. I wanted a smooth post-op recovery. I spent most of the day in a bad mood, totally focused on these new issues. Going down a "rabbit hole" as my husband said, and trying to take him with me. It took me until today before the Lord showed me I was tying my happiness/joy into how I thought I should progress. My joy cannot depend on complications or lack of, prognosis, treatment plan or how I feel my day is going in general. As a child of God my joy should not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from within.

"Joy in trials says I'm going to find a way to trust Him even though I am not seeing Him" James McDonald

Instead of focusing on what is not going the way I think it should, I need to focus on the great gift that I have. He is with me in all my trials, he is the shade at my right hand, he knows what I am dealing with, again this has not taken him by surprise and he will give me the strength to walk thru whatever I have to walk thru. When I focus on His promises instead of what I am dealing with my with my perspective changes. Another reason to draw closer to Him.
"When anxiety was great within me your consolation brought joy to my soul"  Psalm 94:19

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On our own

 My friend left early this morning. I was sad to see her go but anxious for her to get back to her husband. Her presence in the home made this first week post-op so much easier for both myself and my husband. While I spent my days on the recliner, she cooked, did laundry, cleaned and generally helped take care of me. I don't think she will really know how much help she was to us, especially those first few days when we were kind of shelled shocked after the hospital stay. I am getting better physically each day. Have been able to sleep in the bed for the last two nights without having to come downstairs midway to sleep in recliner. Appetite is slowly improving and we even took a little walk to the end of the street and back. I continue to nap during the day but figured my body is in repair mode so am giving myself permission. I still sleep thru part of most movies I try to watch. I have begun to do some range of motion excersises with my arms to help mobility, it's going to be a slow process, still have pain.
Have begun again to be able to get back in the Word. First week was hard, too hard to concentrate. Friend would read scripture, or I would listen a little on my IPod but it was hard. My husband and I talked again today about God's purposes in trials. Still believe there is much for us to learn. Read something today from a book called:
 When Life Is Hard by James McDonald
  " if life is especially hard right now, my word for you is this, Don't waste it! Don't go through these hard times and then, at the end, not even see the purpose for it or get the good God intended for you. Open your life wide to what God wants to accomplish in you"
So that is my continued prayer, that I don't waste this trial. What a pity if I came out of it no different. This cancer has been an interruption in my life but maybe I needed to be interrupted. It has been a wake up call for our family. So I pray that I will be sensitive to the Lord's leading at this time, to see what he wants me to see, to be changed.

"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.  Job 23:10

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Unsung Hero

Thankful for my sweet husband who has been my biggest support through this. He has been with me at every doctors appointment, waited hours in waiting rooms while testing and surgery done. Prays with me when I am fearful, points me to the truth of God's word. Stayed strong for me even though I knew there were times he would be fearful himself. I know it has been hard for him. So thanks to my love of 35 years, thanks for the multiple sushi meals, because there were times that's all I wanted to eat, thanks for my beautiful bedroom floor, for the pansies, so we could have fall color, for letting me cry when I needed to, for encouraging me, for being my protector, my advocate. Now that surgery is behind me he continues to help in practical ways, helped  me with the drains when they were in, continues to help me get dressed. He has slept in the recliner next to me when I could not sleep in the bed, just so we could be together. He does whatever I need him to do. He does not complain. He is my hero, an example to me. We were supposed to be on an anniversary trip this week,  with the cancer diagnosis it had to be rescheduled. When we finally make the trip, hopefully in January, there will be more than 35years together to celebrate. We will celebrate getting thru a cancer diagnosis as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good news

Visit to the plastic surgeon yesterday and there is good news. Final pathology in, and the sentinel node was clear of any cancer, which means cancer was at an early stage and contained in the breast. Round of tears and tissues for all! Treatment will be determined at my oncologist appointment Novemeber 1, but for now I am just so thankful and I want to stay in the blessing of this good news and not diminsh it by worrying about future treatment. God will give me the grace for that when the time comes. Other good news, drains are out!! This was unexpected because I had been told they would stay in for two weeks. Having them out has greatly increased my comfort level.  I am still pretty dependent for just about everything and this is so fustrating to me. I need to be reminded, that even though I am so dependent, I have a wealth of assist at my call. So, I have much to be grateful for. My prayer is that I will be more thankful for the provision God has supplied than my fustration at my dependence. He has been right on time with my every need and just when I seem to need it.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new each morning; great is your faithfulness"   Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Feeling better physically, but oh the fatigue. I expected it somewhat, but not to the degree I am experiencing it. Showering and dressing are activities that can require a nap following and a trip to the doctor will wipe me out for the entire day. So I did expect some physical fatigue but the mental fatigue has been quite a surprise. Prior to surgery I had picked out books to read, thought I could do some photo editing, listen to teachings on my IPod etc. Ok, so I don't have the concentration for any of that. The biggest mental challenge I am up to is deciding which movie would be the best to sleep through. "Gone With the Wind" is a great one for that. I have seen it so many times no matter where I doze off, I can pick up the story line with no problem. "Sense and Sensibilities" another great sleeper. Used to doing, doing , doing,  most of the time doing more than one thing at once (I am a great multitasker), so this is pretty difficult for me. Hard for me to just sit in the recliner all day. I am trusting that each day will get better, knowing that there are lessons to be learned from every situation we find ourselves in, knowing that this is part of the journey for me. This is part of the "what I can control and what I cannot" lesson and how to be content in whatever circumstance you find yourself in. I pray the Lord will help me do that with each passing day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grace for Today

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it"  Psalm118:24
A verse the Lord gave me this morning as I continue to once again battle fear and fustration. Spending too much time in the what if. The Lord reminding me that he gives me grace for today, does not give me grace for tomorrow yet. Beautiful day outside today, I want to be thankful for the day he has given me today. Take things one day at a time. Be thankful for the small improvements. Remembering he has always been in control, nothing has taken him by surprise!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Moving forward!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone
my hope comes him
He alone is my rock and salvation;
He is my fortress I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God,
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge
Psalm 62:5-8

Lets do this already!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ready Set Go

The waiting is so hard. This reminds me of when Mike was getting ready to go out to sea and you really wanted to savor every minute that he was home before he left, dreading the morning he was going to leave, not wanting to go to bed because morning would get there too quickly On the other hand you kind of wanted him to leave already so you could start looking forward to him coming back. That's kind of how this is feeling. Dreading the morning but on the other hand, lets get this done already.
Went to work this morning, realized it was a waste. I did set up my FMLA, transferred case load, talked to payroll about time etc.Then my coworkers came over with a basket with various items to use during my recovery. Each person had gotten something, enclosed a card and put it into the basket.It was all wrapped with cellophane and a bow.  It was so perfect and overwhelming, plenty of tissues were needed. I could not even open it up at work, When I went home and took it apart I just sobbed. Who am I that these folks would do this for me? There were throws, books, journals, a fleece jacket, anything you could think of that you might make recovery a little nicer, and such sweet cards. I even had one lady put in a coupon for two "southern style" comfort meals whenever I wanted them. After that I realized I just needed to go home. God has been so kind to us through this. His love for us so apparent. Sweet husband was home, he had made some soup, cleaned out the rest of dead stuff in the garden. Later that afternoon we had a visit from three of the pastors, to just talk and pray with us before tomorrow. Again my heart is so full emotionally because of the love and care we are receiving. The Lord has certainly provided for us. I can't say that I am not nervous, I am, but I know he will be with me guiding the surgeons hand. That there will be people praying, lifting us up. I am not alone in this.
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I will trust"   Psalm 91:1-2

Monday, October 11, 2010

Promise of a Better Spring

Today was errand day. Had a doctor's appointment first thing, then had to pick up some odds and ends that I would need after surgery. Found some warm up jackets at thrift store to wear post-op. Had looked on line for mastectomy shirts but they were pretty ugly, not to mention expensive. These jackets are perfect, I just bought them in a larger size. Picked up my prescriptions, anti-nausea stuff thats supposed to help in vomiting post-op, a problem I know I have and some numbing cream. I can thank the breast cancer navigator nurse for the numbing cream. When I found out I would be awake for the injecting of the dye my anxiety level went way up, she arranged for the surgeon to call in a prescription for this cream.... Thank you! Bedroom is done and it is beautiful, just have to move the furniture in, seems a shame to have to put anything else in there but I guess I can't keep our dressers in the hallway forever. Today was another beautiful day and I spent most of the afternoon outside gardening. I planted more pansies and tulip bulbs all the while thinking, why do we plant bulbs. I plant bulbs because it's something to look forward to in the spring, something beautiful after a cold dreary winter. I hate winter. I kept thinking these kind of represent our hope for a better spring, a healthy spring.  Then I started looking around and I had all this dead stuff hanging in pots and  in the garden beds. I had probably two dozen dead dried out sunflowers towering above my six foot fence. I just had to pull those things up, I couldn't look at these dead things all winter long. I began pulling them up and just kind of lost it, had a mini meltdown, I couldn't even finish the job. I asked my husband to please finish it, then went upstairs to shower still in tears. About five minutes later A friend was at our door. She had an obelisk (tower trellis kind of thing) some old windows for cold frame and seeds. Talk about God's timing, we talked about what was going on, we walked the garden, talked about how tears are ok, God keeps track of our tears. Her unexpected visit was again God's reminder to me of his loving care.
"You keep track of all my sorrows, you have collected my tears in your bottle, you have recorded each one in your book" Psalm56:8

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Time Flying

Weekend almost over. We have been so busy and yet I see so much left to be done. Church this morning. Loved on by so many people. We were given encouragement, practical offers for help, and prayer. One friend encouraged me to read Psalm 121, all about God's watchful eye over us. We leave church emotionally full, overwhelmed, cared for, and  blessed. The afternoon spent with son and daughter-in-law and grandkids. The weather has been gorgeous and we were able to sit outside for awhile and watch the kids play. So thankful for these moments. Tomorrow brings one more doctor appointment, few more errands and then we will be done. Mike off the rest of week so he can finish up odds and ends when I am at work on Tuesday. In retrospect I probably should have taken Tuesday off but did not want to start my FMLA till next week. Can't worry about that now, it will be fine
"The Lord watches over you-
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore"
Psalm 121:5-8

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Garden Lady

Beginning of a long weekend, seeing that it was wise to stay close to home. Busy day, running errands, seeing grandkids. Spent most of the afternoon in my garden. Long hot dry summer and breast cancer diagnosis has taken it's toil on my garden, it's so neglected. I bought some mums yesterday and lots of pansies. They will do well all winter long here. I also planted some bulbs for some nice little surprises in the spring. I just love watching bulbs pop out of the ground, it means winter is almost over. So my front entryway looks nice, cheery with lots of color. Have some pots in the back that I would like to fill as well. Pretty clear though, that I will not get everything done. My vegtable garden will probably not get turned under, the fall garden never happened, weeding, probably not. Again it's that letting go piece that is so hard. It's going to be very difficult to just sit back and let others take care of things for awhile, or to just let it go. I have already been told there will be no pushing, pulling, driving or lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for a month. UGH!  Still trying to figure out how I am going to use my laptop, think it's heavier than eight pounds. Hubby working on bedroom, almost done, only baseboards left to finish. It's beautiful and will be a lovely place to recover. He has worked so hard on it for me :) I continue to find great peace in yesterdays scripture, Isaiah 41:10, has been a turning point for me. Church tomorrow then who knows, promises to be another beautiful fall day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Song in My Heart

This week I have had a huge battle with fear, it was all consuming at times. I have been getting better but fear continued to creep in. I woke up this morning with this old chorus ringing in my head. I hadn't sung it in years, and was surprised I remembered the tune and the words
"Fear ye not for I am with you, be not afraid for I am thy God, I will strengthen you , ye I will help you , I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness"
I found out later that this was Isaiah 41:10. God knew my heart, and he knew what I needed, when I needed it. That was comfort to me more than words can explain. I have been "resting" in him since.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Getting Ready

Feeling better than I have been. Last two nights I have actually slept more than 4-5 hours, makes a big difference. Work is winding down. Friday is my normal day off, I had requested Monday off, even before I knew I was having surgery (long holiday weekend) so Tuesday will be my last day for awhile. Visit with the plastic surgeon today, consents signed, preop instructions given, lab and EKG done. The reality of it all is really hitting me. I continue to battle fear, although God's word is winning out most of the time. Went to care group last night, such a sweet group. Continued discussion on Sunday's sermon, which was on our "storms" I need to keep hearing again and again that Jesus is with me in this storm, he is in the boat, he rules over this storm. Thankfully I have people in my life who are doing just that, reminding me. I am  amazed at how God has changed our circumstances so that we can have the support that we do.One of our pastosr told us he believed the "Lord had plowed the ground ahead of us" and I believe that to be true.  We have decided to stay close to home this weekend. Time to tend to my garden a little, maybe plant some pansies. Gardening isn't work for me, it's very therapuetic, I love to see things grow and change through the seasons. A new friend in our care group is also a garden lady, we talk the same language, I love it. Just another example of God's kindness in my life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Battle

The last 24 hours have been a battle, a battle for peace. I am physically exhausted, weeks of too little sleep, dealing with all the details of diagnosis (appointments, tests etc) Fragile emotionally, think this goes hand in hand with being so tired. God showing his love for me through the many kindnesses of friends. Not a day goes by when we are not loved by someone. Recieved a basket full of little gifts to open after surgery from a coworker today, overwhelming, I'm so easily reduced to tears. Another friend  reminded me today to speak God's truth to my heart so that my head does not rule the day. Head has been ruling the day! I will try to get some rest tonight, the doctor gave me something for sleep, think I will use it. You can't do battle when you are physically drained.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
Praying tomorrow will be a better day :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Date Set

Recieved a call from surgeons office this morning, at work no less, and they have set a date. I am scheduled for surgery October 13th. OK, so this took me totally off guard. What happened to the end of the month??? I was ready for the end of the month, but next week, .....I don't think so. Control again out the window. Everytime I think I have a little control over something, it has become painfully aware that I am not. This whole thing has been so out of my control. They set up the appointments with the consulting doctors, the testing schedules, and now surgery, you are just told when to be there. Well they do ask you if it's OK, but you know that you don't really have a choice. So what now? Well I have an appointment with plastic surgeon on Thursday and the surgeon on Monday. Coffee with a friend on Friday, another friend wanted to meet for coffee sometime this week. Grandkids tomorrow night. Maybe a getaway this weekend with hubby. Housecleaning has been moved to the oh well category. Bedroom has to be finished and put back together. Again focusing on what is important and what is not. Trying to remember that although this has caught me by surprise, it did not catch God by surprise. Something I wrote down yesterday from our sermon on  Mark 4:37-41 "The storm was beyond man's control, why are you afraid, you forgot the word, you didn't see his presence in the boat as being sufficient"This storm is definately out of my control, I have to get back to the point where his being present in the boat with me is sufficient.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Perfect Storm

Church today, message was entitled the "The Perfect Storm" Was a wonderful message, reminding us we are not in our storms alone, Jesus is in the boat with us. I need to be reminded of this, that I am not in the boat alone facing the crashing waves. The Lord is with me, he rules over the chaos of my life (cancer) Trails reduce us to the day to day, I have enough grace for today, that's the only place I need to go right now. After church we met with one of the pastors and his wife for lunch. Talked and laughed and caught up on what has been happening with their family and ours the last several months. Sweet fellowship. Just so aware of the kindness of God in our lives
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze"  Isaiah 43:2

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Well it looks like sugery won't be until the end of the month. I don't even go back to see the surgeon until the 14th of October. Hard to wait now that I am ready but gives us some time to prepare. We had planned on doing our bedroom floor this winter but decided to move that project up. My sweet husband has been working so hard to get that finished. I get to use the table saw! I have gardens to weed, flowerbeds to plant, a house that needs a good cleaning, closets to straighten, meals to freeze. Did I mention I am still working? Anxiety creeping in. Have to remember what's important, this is a time we could also use for enjoying the fall weather, taking a little getaway to Williamsburg, or the Outer Banks, biking at the beach, having a sleepover with the grandkids. The floor will get done. Things that have to get done will be done, if not by me, by someone else. I am going to have to let go. 
"When anxiety was great within me, your consulation brought joy to my soul" Psalm 94:19