Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Be Still and Know that I Am God"

These are 2 of the wonderful gifts I received for my AMAZING friends!

So I just wanted to some how express to everyone my gratitude and appreciation through all the support and love I have received since my diagnosis. From cards to flowers, letters, texts, calls, emails and the list goes on. It has given me so much hope and encouragement in my dark times. I never expected all the support that I have gotten. I have received letters from people who have just read my blog to encourage and I have re-gained contact with old friends I have not spoken to in years and it has been amazing. I have so many people tell me that they love my positive attitude and faith in fighting this disease. I believe that having a positive attitude is one of your best allies in battling any disease. The open ears of friends that have listened to me talk for hours have meant more to me that I can express.
I also wanted to share some of my thoughts. I had dinner with a friend the other night and she shared with me many of her life stories and her struggles and dark times when she questioned God. And she said something that has stuck with me. She told me about a really hard time she went through right before she graduated and how one week before graduating school she laid on the beach filled with grief and dispair in a time when she should be happy. She said she looked up and yelled at God and said "What else can you take from me, what else do you want." One week or so later her apartment caught on fire. And in the midst of all of that she looked at me and said she thought of the verse "Be still and know that I am God." Then she asked me do you think god wants you to do just that to just "Be still and know that He is GOD"? WOW....her words hit me strong and hard and I have not been able to forget them. I am not saying God gave me cancer or he wants me to be sick..but maybe part of his plan is for me to "Be still". We don't' know his plans and maybe we aren't supposed to because he is God the all knowing all powerful Creator. Our Alpha, Omega, Redeemer and Friend. I am also certainly not saying God burned her apartment down. But it made me think like she said sometimes God just wants us to be still and know that HE IS GOD. Maybe that is what I am supposed to do....I am praying about that...and trying to come to him with an open heart ready for what he has for me. I don't' know God's plans for my life even though I'm sure like everyone else that I did. I could list questions that I have for God about why things happen, why people die and why we as human beings struggle so much. But I try to remember God struggled too, he came to earth for me, lived a perfect life and died a death that I can only imagine. Even with all of that said I admit I get weak sometimes and I get angry but I know he still loves me and he understands. Its very apparent that this is not a road I would have chosen for myself but God is with me on it...holding me....I just have to let him guide me and I have to know that HE IS GOD and HE KNOWS IT ALL.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hustle and Bustle- 1 Week Post-Surgery Check-Up

Soo I know its been like a week since I updated my blog. But I didn't start feeling good enough to drive and shop until like 2 days before Christmas... so I have been running around like a crazy woman lol. It was nice to drive again but I am still a little sore. I really could have probably laid around in the my pjs for another week and not thought twice about it but I had to finish my Christmas shopping. Christmas was amazing...I got way more than I deserved but I got to be with all my family and to me that was better than all the gifts. We did get some dis-heartening news that Channings uncle Timmy has been diagnosed with colon cancer and the doctors found another spot on his liver. I'm asking everyone to lift him up in prayer. While this is hard diagnosis...I know God is soo much bigger than Cancer...he is soo much bigger than anything.
But I had my one week check up last tues (12/22). The doctor said "You are healing like a champ"....and I replied "Well I am in pain like a Champ". He said that my pain was due to my drain that was still in. They could not take it out because it has to drain less than 20 mls in 24 hours and it was not yet doing that. Dr. Webber said he could take it out but if he does it too soon the fluid from the bag would go into my arm and he would have to stick a needle in there and aspirate the contents. So I said "You just keep that bad boy in there as long at you want...and I will adjust" lol.
So here i sit almost two weeks after surgery and this stupid drain is still draining like 30 or so mls a day. I wont' lie this morning I was pretty depressed. I mean I'm pretty annoyed with this this. When I shower I have to wrap it around my neck and then re-bandage myself when I get out. Then i have to wear a shirt to bed that has a pocket to I can stick the stupid drain in it. Then I have to put a pillow under my arm and I can only lay on one side. I really almost didn't go to church this morning out of the pure frustration of how long it took me to get dressed and the fact that I had to wear my awesome fanny pack to church! But as i sat on my bed and swallowed my frustrations I realized it was only Satan trying persuade me not to go to church. Although my situation is frustrating God is faithful...there is a reason I am going through this. God would not give me more than I can handle. And obviously he thinks I can handle this..I just need to trust in him and know I can make it through...but lets not lie to ourselves that is sooo much easier said than done.
I am positive about this but I have my moments. I have cried looking at my self in the scars and the stupid tube that protrudes from my side. I think of all the patients I took care of that had tubes and drains coming out them and I can honestly say I never had any idea how they felt until now. And honestly..its hard...its upsetting and its frustrating to look in the mirror and see that this is your body that looks like this and there is nothing you can do. Sometimes my heart is so heavy with so many questions and so much to say to god that all I can do is kneel in silence because I know he can see my heart and my fears. But this morning I did my best to lay it all down at cry out to a God who is so great and mighty that he listens to my little prayer when there are soo many others who have prayers soo much greater than mine. But I know he hears my mine...he listens....and he holds me close even when I feel all alone.
I have another appointment this coming Tuesday 12/29 to recheck the drain and a meeting on January the 5th with a oncologist to discuss my next step in chemotherapy treatment. I can only hope and pray that it is ready to come out but if not I know I will deal with it because I know I am strong enough to. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pathology Report

So the pic to the left is me, my tubes, and my awesome fanny pack lol
So last night my surgeon's nurse Laura called me to give me results from my pathology report from surgery. On my right side they took about 1 1/2 inches of tissue and all the margins (that is the area all around the cancer) were clear. The also took 16 of my lymph nodes on my right side. Dr. Webber (the surgeon) likes for less than half of the lymph nodes to be cancerous. Only 2 of my 16 lymph nodes were cancerous. Last the sample they took from my left side was cancer free as well. So this is all a praise report and another testimony to how God is faithful to his promises. :) Psalm 9:1 "I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done, I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High."
Laura said she wanted to wait about 6 weeks to give my body time to heal before we began the next step of treatment. That next step will probably be chemo and then radiation. I will not lie that the thought of loosing my hair is one that terrifies and brings me to tears. However, it is just hair as many people have told me. A woman is more than her hair, more than her body, and more than her looks. This has definately taught me that its what on the inside that counts. Truth of the matter is that one day we will all pass away...our bodies will return to ashes and all the things that we thought were so important like our hair and makeup will no longer matter. I guess that is soo much easier for me to say right now seeing as I still have my hair. But if the worst thing that comes out of this is loosing my hair then I will survive. I have began to look at many things to differently in just the past few days after surgery that I almost can not explain it. Things that I used to get mad or frustrated about now seem to stupid so small compared to the big picture. I know that probably sounds like what most people who are faced with a big illness say...but that is honestly how I feel. I wish there was a way without wishing an illness on people that the world could look at things this way.....I believe it would change so much.
But on a more positive note today is my 1st real days without the pain pumps and I can say that pain is not really a problem it just I am sore. My arm has a weird empty feeling...which could be from the fact that the 16 lymph nodes that were once there are gone just sayin.
I wish I could express on my blog with my much love and support I have received. I usually cry with every card, flower, text, facebook message, email etc. that I have received. It have moved me beyond words and given so much hope and strength. I have said it before and can say it again that the words "Thank You" do not do justice to how grateful I am.
Psalm 13:5-6 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Surgery 101

So I am 3 days post-op. I can say that these first few days following surgery have not been absoloutely horrrible...I mean they have not been great but u know. Before surgery I had to go in and have a few guide wires put in and that was once again not the most pleasant experience. But I survived and kept going on the hospital to get the big stuff done. Surgery went well. The surgeon said he got everything and that he was happy with the way things went. Before surgery I was terrified to say the least...when Dr. Webber first came in my room...I cried as I asked him.... Will you take good care of me? He put his hand on my leg and said yes and I truly felt like he meant it. But still I was scared. I had about 10 people or so come in and out of the room they put me in before I went back and it was so wonderful to see my family before I went back. I made them wait to give me the fentanyl and versad until I had seen everyone so I could remember them. But let me just say when they gave it to me......It was awesome lol. Most of my anxiety went away as soon as it hit my blood stream. But after I had said my goodbyes to Channing and my mom and they wheeled me back into the operating fears soon hit me one last time. I have to brag on my surgeon for a moment and tell everyone a story. As started to put the gas mask on me I threw my had up in the air and said WAIT!..Can you do one more thing before you put me to sleep...Can you pray? And with that he took my hand and a few nurses and the anesthesiologist gathered around me and he prayed for me and for the surgery. It is a moment that i will probably never forget.
The next thing I remember I was awoken by a nurse and can barely remember seeing shadows of my mom, channing, brother, aunt and uncle. I cried a little as some does when under anesthesia and I was wheeled to the car and taken home.
The past few days have been ok. Getting used to sleeping only on ur back is something that I can say I will probably never like. And getting used to getting up with tubes coming out of u and remembering to grab ur fanny back that hold it all is always annoying (seriously I mean the 80s called yesterday and asked for their fanny pack back...I mean seriously who has fanny packs these days lol). However, it is only for a few days so I can deal. Yesterday I finally got to take a shower which was what I will call a maneuvering task because I had to wrap all the tubes around me so they would not hang and pull on me. But I took full advantage of the water and stayed in till it turned cold lol.
Today I am hoping to take out my pain pumps as they look empty..but I won't lie I'm kind of nervous about idea of pulling some small as it may be out of me. I will also say that the support and Love I have felt the past few days has been one that always bring me to tears. I have gotten cards, texts, food, facebook messages...u name it and it has meant so much to me. God has been so faithful to be with me through it all and he has truly blessed me beyond anything that I deserve.
"I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you everyday; yes, I will praise you every day; yes I will praise you forever. Greast is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Psalm 145 1-3

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In Christ Alone

As I sat in church mind began to think of the next 24 hours and what they would bring. As the music began to play I knew God had heard my fears when one of my favorite songs began to play...and my eyes filled with tears as I sang the words...

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

God will not Give us more than we can handle

So this weekend we went to my aunt's house to pick up a new couch she did not want anymore. It was a fun trip and a really pretty drive. A few minutes after we arrived to the house my Aunt's nephew arrived with his mother and brother. He ran up to my Aunt and asked her if she was feeling better (she had been sick the night before) and if she could come shopping with them. She said she wasn't and he hugged and asked her one more time just to check. Seeing Dalton for just a few minutes hit me very hard. You see Dalton has had leukemia since he was 21 months old. He has probably been poked, proded, pushed on more times than I can imagine. I almost did not recognize him he was so thin because he has what is called host vs. graft disease. He had a stem cell transplant and now his body was rejecting his own organs and he in not absorbing nutrients. In a few weeks he will have to have a stomach pump put in. My aunt says he has cried and cried about it. My heart sank and I could feel tears whelling up in my eyes and I swallowed a few times to hide them.
As I watched him walk away...I felt like someone had punched me in the face. Here I was upset over a little breast cancer diagnosis. One in which had great cure rates and many options for treatment. And her stood this young man who had pretty much grown up with leukemia...and yet he was as sweet and loving probably more than more kids were. I thought my situation could be worse and even though I was faced with a bigger obstacle that most people was just that an... obstacle and one that I can overcome.
I thought at that moment of my father. Who had only two options...fight or die. He went through 6 bone marrow tests. Which is where they stick a needle into your hip and pull out marrow while you are still awake. He had two ports put in him and multiple types of chemo and spinal taps. Lord help me to stay humble in all of this and realize that it could be worse.....that God is leading me through this and he would not give me more than I can bear. Even though at point I may feel sorry for myself I think of those like my father and like Dalton who do not have many great options and who have to take what they are given...not matter the pain and suffering it may cause. I wish everyone had just one chance to see things as I saw them realize the important things that matter in life and to realize that we only have one life and that God is that sustainer of that life. Everyday is a gift from him...and I promised myself that I would try and remember that even on the hardest days when I fell like its me against this disease.

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Changes

So a few days ago the radiologist called me to say that the biopsy that they did of my left side ended up being benign. Now today I talked to my surgeon's nurse and she tells me that even though it was benign they still want to take it out because of how hard it was to get to they are afraid if they needle moved at all and they got a bad sample and it was malignant that the cancer could grow and I would be back in their office again in six months. So I agreed with what she said. Now this changes the date of surgery from the 11th to the 14th. So of course I'm not happy but I am ok with the fact that they office is trying not only to protect me but themselves. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose but that just means I have to cut on both sides...something I less than thrilled about but I can deal with. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Consultation

So today we sad down with the surgeon to go over the details of the type of cancer I have. My cancer is what is called estrogen positive which means that it feeds off estrogen, which means that I will never be allowed to take birth control. The cancer has also moved to one of my lymph nodes which now makes it a Stage II Grade II cancer. The doctor went over posibilites of a masectomy and a partial masectomy with me. And honestly being only 24 years old I am just not ready for that. He told me that the cure rate with a partial and full masectomy were the same. Just talking about the possibility of a masectomy to me is overwhelming. I mean my grandmother had one and I have seen picture of women that had them...but for this to meantioned to me as even an option was something that shook me in ways I can not explain.
We also went over different types of chemo and radiation. He said I would do radiation about 6 weeks after surgery 5 days a week for six weeks. WOW...5 DAYS A WEEK I thought and we also went over chemo options and the possibility of hair loss after we talked about these two things....anything else the doctor said for the next few minutes were a blur. I was speechless to the reality of how my life would change in the next few months.
Dr. Webber drew everything out for us on a board and took a pictre of it so we could better understand. But even then taking it all it I know will take some time. After our big conversations I drove home and slowly but surely I broke until I walked into my house and just let go. And that was ok...I have told myself that I am allowed to feel sorry for myself from time to time and be angry. And today I was I was angry at everything and I pittied myself for a while. But soon I was reminded all I did have to be thankful for and that God has and has continued to bless me with a great life. This was not a stop sign...and I would not not continue just because I have cancer. I choose to fight through this and know that I am guided by a force greater than me or modern medicine. That force is my God is so much bigger than Cancer and he will carry me through this.

Friday, November 20, 2009


So Today I went to Park West for a bone and CT scan. I end up having to go 4 hours late because I accidently drank something this morning and was supposed to have no food or drink for 24 hrs. But once again Channing AKA "Superman" (lol) came in to save the day by calling the hospital and changing my appointment time to 12:30. He's sooo always there to save the day...he's amazing. So...I'm just telling you that technology is not what it used to be. Did you know hospitals have the beepers now like restaurants do?? How awesome is that!!! Maybe I am a little too entertained by little things but I'm just saying its pretty cool.
So we get there and I check in while Channing goes to get a drink. Well much to my surprise here he comes a few minutes later w/a bag of chips, a drink, and some cheese cake. I'm like "You know I"m hungry and can't have ANYTHING to eat" and with that little kid grin he says "OH I FORGOT" lol. He's crazy but he makes me laugh and I love him.
So I go back there and they stick me the same stinkin ANTECUBITAL...which in case no one has been stuck there before is probably the most uncomfortable place to have an IV. I mean I can hardly bend my arm. Then she asks me what flavor I want and I'm like "FOR WHAT??". Apparently I have to drink this ice cream milk shake thing...and FYI VANILLA IS NOT THE BEST FLAVOR. LOL
So I have my CT scan and they inject me with this stuff and the guy is like ok "You are going to feel warm and like you peed your pants but I promise you didnt". I'm like "Oh Oh Okay...I think". So all the sudden I feel firey warm and sure enough there is it I could have sworn I just peed my pants lol. But I realize there are two male technicians lookin at me through the glass so I'm like I really hope I didn't actually pee myself cause I realize I can't actually check in the position I am in lol. And I swear at the same time I was peeing fluid was leaking from my ears lol. But needless to say I did not pee my pants and no fluid was leaking from my ears so CODE GREEN we are good to go. :) Oh yea and my bone scan looked great too so its sooo nice to hear good news for once :) Well there's today's adventure...hopefully the next will be even better or funnier.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meet The Surgeon

So today I met the doctor that will do my surgery. His name is Dr.Webber and he is awesome. I felt so comfortable with him and trusting. He actually did the first masectomy in Knoxville, what year he would not tell me lol. Scary would probably be the word for today because I did no really know what he was going to tell me and I knew whatever he said could change my life even more than it already had been. My mom and channing came with me. While my mom was nervous as I was Channing was ready to go. Writing down questions and asking me to come up with more questions to ask. I mean if it was up to him I would just go ahead and have a double masectomy and get rebuilt with a new chest that was rock solid...LITERALLY lol. But I know he just wants whatever will guarantee that once this is gone it never returns.
So back on a serious note Dr. Webber told me that I would meet with the Oncologist, Surgeon, Radiologist and nurses on Monday (11/24) once all my tests came back and we could look at all the options. The one thing we know is I will need a partial masectomy to remove the lump and then chemo, radiation or both. Now I won't lie when he said chemo I asked the hard question "Will I loose my hair" and the answer of course was "Yes". Now I was ok until this moment. I mean as a women your hair is the topic of many conversations and many hard decision on the type of color and cut you want. Now you just want me to be ok with just not having any???? ARE U SERIOUS???? Channing was like well "I will shave mine offf too" lol. This may be one of the hardest things for me, although the decision on chemo has not been made the is one of the topics that hit a nerve.
Then he says many women who get this type of cancer and go into remission live long lives and are still alive for many years down the road. And the thought hits me...."My own mortality." WOW...there's one you might not like to think about. I mean you think about it from time to time esp at funerals and since my father just died 6 months ago the thought has crossed my mind pretty often. But there I sat not just thinking about it but faced with it and I thought to myself "God, is this really my life?". And the answer hit me like a ten ton of bricks "Yes this is my life and I can choose to live it and fight through this or give up and die"...such harsh words but so true.
You know I have always been scared of death...not b/c I did not know where I was going but because the thought of eternity scared me. That might sound weird but its true. But something happend when I thought about it now...facing what I was facing... I felt peace a peace I have never felt in my whole life of reading the bible, going to church and praying to God. It was the most awesome thing and I hope everyone experiences that peace in their lives, hopefully not in this situation but just in some way.
So I go change into what channing calls my "KUNG FOO" outfit and have 3 ultrasounds and 1 MRI done. I mean everytime I turned around someone was wanting to check me out....AGAIN!Funny story about the MRI...not sure if anyone has had one but for a breast MRI you have to lay face down in a pillow and CAN NOT MOVE for 30 minutes! In case no one has seen me since like I was BORN...I have some pretty big cheeks. (Its ok you can laugh I know they are big lol) So the first time they push me back into this this I am pretty much choking on my cheeks and I yell into the microphone "Yea we're gonna have to try this again". So she pulls me out of this thing and I re-arrange my face and we are ready for take off. lol
Then came the of my lymph nodes looked irregular and another biopsy was needed. AND...there was a spot that showed up on my left side that needed to be biopsied. I mean I was drained ready to go and here I was having to do another biopsy. Needless to say I sucked it up and they took what they needed.
So six hours laters I left the office and came out to find Channing sleeping in the care. This poor guy had waited all day in the waiting room w/ no TV, only a few men's magazines and only 1 TV show on his IPOD that I'm sure he had watched a few time over lol. And apparently now he is the breast cancer goooru b/c he read the whole book that the doctor gave us. I do feel blessed to have a man that would just sit and wait all day literally on me....only to have me come out and fall into his arms drained from the day. Today was a day that maybe gave me a glimpse into what lies ahead. Hard days but days ending with the arms of those who love me even in my darkest times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The News

Today was a day that I'm sure I will always remember. I was given some news by my doctors that would change my life and everything I thought I knew in a matter of minutes. I was told that I had breast cancer and my first thought literally was "Your kidding right?". But after a few moments when I realized my doctor was serious...I couldn't believe it. He was talking to me a 24 year old girl whose biggest problem that day was making it to work on time and now I was being told I had cancer.
But there I sat being told I was going to have to ask the BIG QUESTIONS and start looking into the future. To say I was shocked would be an HUGE understatement. I brought no one with me to the doctor because I never thought in my wildest dreams thought I would get news like this. But there I was face to face with I never thought I would have to think about for at least another 10 years. But here I am facing it or at least trying to, asking for everyone's prayers.
I do not know what God's plan is for my life or why it's me that's having to go through this. But I suppose many people say that when they get news like this. But the truth is no one deserves or wants to get cancer but people do and that is the straight of it. All I do know is that GOD IS IN CONTROL. He holds my hand and walks with me through all of this and will lead me through it all. So I hope you all enjoy my story......I hope it brings awareness and maybe some hope and inspiration. I mean I am the biggest baby of them all (lol) and if I can do it anyone can.
My favorite line from my favorite poem "Foot Prints" pretty much says it all...........................
"My son, my precious child,I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,it was then that I carried you."