Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Good Stuff! :)

I am blogging tonight feeling very very good....inside and out. Funny how things can change from "blog to blog" huh? What a difference a day makes!

Last week, I posted from a place of weakness and despair. Despair that literally scared me. I kept thinking to myself..."Do I really have to feel like THIS for the next 4 months?" I realize now looking back that it was the "unknown" again....that had me worried. With the first treatment....I had all those "new things" to go through again. Kept waiting for the "bomb" to go off, so to speak. Didn't know how long "this" would last or "that" would last. Didn't know what medicine might be causing me to feel this way....or what might be causing me to feel that way. It was an experimental week of sorts. And a crummy one at that.

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling like a new woman. Honestly, it was the best I'd felt since surgery nearly 2 months ago. We hit the ground running and were at the ballpark in Conway by 10 and pulled away from there about 11 that night. It was awesome!!

A full day of laughter with my baseball fam, watching my son "doing what he loves", spending the day with David and Syd. Basically I was doing what my heart enjoys. Couldn't ask for a more perfect day.  Call it the magic of Aleve, finally knocking the headache I'd had for 4 days. Call it Day 7 and the chemo finally letting up and me feeling better. What I really think? Prayers were heard. And prayers were answered. I posted my blog all but begging for prayers last week and within hours I felt incredible. Not just ok.....I've felt awesome.

Sunday was a day of "fabulous-ness" too! Up and at it early, we headed to Sunday School and church. David and I hadn't really plugged into a Sunday School class "together" yet and we were visiting one for the first time.  Not just welcomed....but EMBRACED.....we absolutely loved it. I already feel a part only after one visit. David and I had been discussing this for a while, and I've felt a "tugging" at me for some time, and I am so very honored to become a part of such a special group of people. As we walked in, we were immediately met with old friends, new friends, and just smiles all around. Our God is so incredibly good. I'm bummed that I most likely will be unable to attend next Sunday, after my next treatment. But warms my heart that David wants to go without me. big.

Sunday afternoon, we continued "blown and goin" as I prepared to send Syd off to "My Jerusalem" which is a mission opportunity for the middle schoolers. We got her packed, her "snacks" bought, and headed to the parent meeting that night. Later I cleaned the dental office that I clean each week and headed home. Was a full day and I felt awesome!

The fact that I had these days were I could be "me" did wonders for my emotions and spirit. It showed me that while I'll have those crummy days, that I will also have the good ones to still look forward to. Week on....Week off. I'll take it! :)

Worked a full day yesterday and headed off to LR with Sam to meet with Dr. Sneed. He seemed pleased with how things were going and optimistic that we have chosen the right path.  I am scheduled for three Neupogen injections, which are to give my bone marrow a boost to make the necessary white blood cells quicker.  The goal of my "dose dense" regimen is to hit it hard and fast, so missing or delaying a treatment kind of defeats its purpose. 

Some experience side effects of bone pain, maybe a low grade fever to the Neupogen, but so far so good.  I've not seen any effects as of yet.  (Praise God!)  Counts taken today have not shown improvement, in fact they were a bit lower than yesterday.  So my specific prayers are that the meds kick in and improve my counts before Friday!  Friday is chemo day.  Let's get this done.

Medical stuff noted.  So on to more awesomeness!  :)  I didn't realize I'd become friends with such awesome cooks!  I think I have eaten my weight in the best chicken & dumplins I've EVER put in my mouth!  (Sorry to my wonderful aunts....yours are delicious too!)  But sweet Jackie knows how to cook!  She and Tracie were kind enough to feed us Friday night.....with plenty of leftovers!  :)  Last night, Holley and Karen brought us Tacos and all the fixens and brownies!  My Sam was in heaven.  And I'm sure Madison was glad she was visiting on a night when I wasn't doing the cooking!  :) Not only that, we have a couple of extra meals for my freezer.  How awesome is that??   My facebook was hacked today by one of those crazy posts boasting about  how I lost 23 lbs....etc.etc.  I was driving home from LR and my phone was blowing UP with all the people scolding me about still trying to lose weight, etc etc.  Funny thing is....I think I'm the only patient in history that actually GAINED weight during chemo.  Geesh....I gained a lb!  Lordy....its all that good cookin I been gettin!  :)

Also might be due to the fact that my morning "donut hole" habit has somehow kicked back in this week.  The Shipley's lady knows me and has my order there each day  (sad huh?)  but its more than that.  She and I were chatting and she is a 6 year survivor!  :)  She is so sweet each day and always asks how I'm feeling.  Simply precious.

Tonight, I'm again overwhelmed.  The local JA chapter has a service project called "Gathering of Dreams" in which they choose a family that might be going through a difficult "bump in the road" or difficulty, and they keep in contact with them throughout to offer emotional and financial support.  Apparantly, the children and I were nominated and chosen for this.  I am beyond grateful and overwhelmed beyond description.  Another example of how God will never leave us or foresake us. Through this wonderful, self-less, act of love for me and my children.  For those ladies who felt led to help us among all of the many other service projects they provide for our community.  We are so blessed.  Please join me in prayer for these wonderful ladies.  There is not a "thank you" proper enough, big enough, or loving enough that expresses the feelings the children and I have today.....and for the days to come.

There are days when I don't know how I'm going to make it through this.  And then there are days, like today, that I'm reminded of all the goodness of others out there.  Those who offer help in many different forms and fashions.....from sweet meals.....whatever.  And they never expect a thing in return.  I know I sound like a broken record when I go on and on about how blessed we are.  Being far away from family is hard....but God contstantly reaffirms that we are exactly where we need to be.

Saturday, I was at the ballpark....and sweet Ashlyn, 10 year old daughter and "mini-me" of Deb's......was sitting near Syd and I.  She is very curious and so very concerned about what I'm going through.  She was asking when I thought I'd lose my I felt....if I ever "threw up"....hehehe....very curious "little girl" questions.  She went on to say that she SO WISHED this wasn't happening to me.  Went on to say....that a "Good Friend" (and she nodded toward Syd) once told her that God won't put any more on me than I can't handle.  Wow!  Syd shared that with her little friend.....which made me very proud.  Ashlyn heard and BELIEVED that.....which made me prouder.....and further....I needed to hear it!!  (Reminder...this was the first day I'd felt good in a week!)  I immedatiely hugged that little girl so tight.  Looked over and of course David was tearing up!  :)  God love him.  I just couldn't resist sharing that precious moment.

She is right.  God's plan is perfect.  His timing is perfect.  This is what is supposed to be happening to me and the best way I know to get through it is to trust in His plans for me.  Maybe its so that someday I can help someone else.  Maybe its so that my kiddos can witness others.  Its being revealed more and more to me that I have a purpose.  This cancer has a purpose.  I'm not to question it, but to listen.  And trust.

We still share laughs through our "cancer jokes"....Like the day I received a door hanger on my door for a free cemetary plot.  Or when the mosquitos were about to carry us off at the ballpark and I dared them to eat on me.......the red devil will send them right to their death!  haha...  I know this is cancer is a journey that I must take to be a better Christian.  And I'm doing my very best to be just that.  How strange is it that this cancer has been a blessing to me in ways.  God knows what He is doing!  :)

I have another prayer request.  Blue Cross has started to deny my claims based on the suspician of a "pre-existing" condition.  My effective date of the policy was 4/15/2012.  Upon my approval of insurance, I immediately scheduled a routine physical with Dr. Harrison on 4/23/2012.  The lump was found and later confirmed in the mammogram that day.  I am appealing this decision.  But very worried.  The stress is consuming me enough to pay for my $2,500 deductible, plus my 20% which represents MY part of the responsibility, plus the pharmacy co-pays, and plus the monthly premiums to THEM.  Now, I'm facing the fact that excess of $40,000 in medical claims to date (before chemo) that are being denied.  This on top of rarely getting to work a full week and paying all the normal household bills!  So please....pray for me.  Tired of losing sleep over this!  I DID tell the BC/BS rep (kindly, of course!) that the stroke and heart attack that I'm bound to suffer due to the stress THEY are causing me better NOT be denied based upon a pre-existing condition!  :)  Prayers appreciated, my friends!

One more tidbit of business:  I want to take a moment to go on record as saying that I can't possibly name each and every way or action that someone does for us daily.  They would charge me for using too much memory on here!  :)  I am already feeling so inadequate as a friend because I'm just not up to fulfilling my roles to others that I want so desperately to.  Sometimes, I'm not good at immediately responding to texts.....I am so far behind on thank you notes that I'm getting embarrassed.  But mostly, I want to convey to everyone who helps us in big ways, small ways, in prayer, meals, words, cards, texts, money, whatever the case.  That it is NOT going unnoticed.  I mention many by name.  But there are SO many that are worthy of name mentions on here and it kills me to think that I may be hurting feelings.  This blog is for me to heal.  For me to survive this incredible monster we are fighting against.  To work through my own fear, my joys, my sorrows, etc.  So if anyone has felt like you weren't appreciated.....please put that to rest now.  God has placed every person in our paths .....for a reason, season, or whatever.  It's in HIS perfect plan.  And for that.....I know how blessed we are and give HIM the glory.

Cancer does a lot.  Satan likes to remind me on those "woe is me" days what all it has taken from me.  But what cancer cannot do.....

Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

For me...and Through our Heavenly Father.....
It changes love.  It encourages hope.  It strengthens faith.  It provides peace. It increases confidence. It nurtures friendships.  It rushes to create and cherish memories.  It IS courage. It makes you reach for eternal life.  It awakens the Spirit.

That my the good stuff.
In Him,

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chemo 101

It's been a while since I've posted.....and since I've had this blank white screen glaring back at me waiting for me to write something "profound..."  Truth is....there is only a few ways to say that I feel like poo.....And I do.  Big time poo. 

I told the girls at Dr. Sneed's office....."I don't much like the cocktails ya'll serve here.....hangovers are brutal and goin on 5 days now."  :)  That is my attempt at humor under chemo.  So forgive me in humor is bound to get worse.  :) I'm grumpy.  So please try to love me through it!  :) Gonna do my best to record my last which the "ups," while incredible... were few, and the "downs"....well, they were pretty crummy. 

Power Port:
Last Thursday, I had my little "surgery" for the port placement.  I received a Power Port.....which to me didn't mean much, and to most, won't mean much either.  Just means I won't be stuck a thousand times in the next few months -- they can access this hunk of metal in my already scarred up chest.  (Yep, I'm also bitter tonight.  Probably NOT a great day to write, so I'm trusting anyone who might be reading is doing so with a forgiving heart! <3)  Anyway, the surgery went dear Sonya drove me and was my "in case of emergency" person that day.  More than that, she lovingly sat there through my nervousness.  I have and will make this statement a thousand times....I have such dear friends.  Friends who ARE my family.  I will never be able to thank them all properly.  Never.

Was so grateful for the few stolen moments I'd had with Sonya and Shane the afternoon before.  They will never know or fathom how much it means to me to have those moments with them.

Aren't they just beautiful?  I teased them that I looked like I had already STARTED chemo next to them!  They shushed me and wouldn't even acknowledge that with an answer of course!

The Port.  The darn thing just hurts!  It also happens to be on my "bad side" ....which is kinda good.....means I have a port-free "good side" :)  But a week out and its still very swollen and painful.  Down in the muscle kind of pain.  Blah.  Good news is that my "burning" pain from the Masectomy seems to be better.  Or less obvious.  So that is good.  Just still recovering from the "trauma" of all the "stuff" done in that area.  Emotionally....I may never recover.  I look in the mirror and cry at least once a day.  But taped to my bathroom mirror is this verse:

1 Peter 3:3-4
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Para-phrased by my mom...."Pretty IS as Pretty DOES"  :)  I take comfort in scripture as I'm facing more and more of my "outward" self changing with my illness.  And its cure.  Sigh.  Good thing?  Big flowy tops are in this season! :)   AND....I still have my hair.  For today.  :)
New Chemo Plan:
Had my first treatment last Friday, June 15.  "Chemo Day" was met with quite a bit of anxiety.  I worked until noon and then Deb loaded me up and we headed to get this ball rolling!  We arrived and headed back.  My whole plan had changed, effective following a 10:00 phone call the night before from Dr. Sneed, my oncologist.  I am still taking the same chemo meds....just a tad differently.

I am opting for the "Dose Dense" Therapy as follows:
First four treatments:  Andriamycin and Cytoxan
Second four treatments:  Taxol
Total of 8 treatments, every 2 weeks.  I will have to have 3 Neupogen shots in between each treatment. 

Sorry for all the medical mumbo jumbo.  Mainly recording it for my own records.  But, for you guys out there....its supposed to be a little less harder on me, than the 3 month TAC and done a tad sooner than the 6 month option I'd been given early on.  I guess I can call it "ACT"? :)  Same drugs, just in a different regimen.  The "AC" part is also called the "red devil".....

It's even scary in the bag.  Even makes you potty red!  :)  I'll tell ya....I was saying a LOT of prayers while hooked up to the devil.  Deb was there and we were havin fun with the wig basket, and the nurses.  I think I'm going to leave this experience with some definite new friends.  They were so caring and kind.  It must be heart-wrenching what they do each day.  God chooses those ladies and places them there.  I know this.

Deb and I never miss a photo op.....even "chemo fun"!  :)

I have such pretty friends!  :)  In every sense of the word!  Straight from 1 Peter!  :)  I'm sure the other patients were cracking up as we were yapping about nonsense and eating Sonic.  Yep....from the chemo chair!  :)  Bless her heart...she was leaving for the beach that afternoon and hadn't packed a thing.  But was there with me and the devil!  ha

The chemo hit me about like I expected.  Some ways worse.....some ways maybe not as bad.  Extreme fatigue.  So much that this on-the-go insomniac never left the bed....literally....for 3 days.  Day 4 (Tues), I found the recliner.  I signed up for the worst flu bug you can imagine....times 10.  Uggggg.  While my anti-nausea meds worked fairly well.....I can't describe the fatigue.  It's not a matter of "being tough and taking it".....its a matter of literally being able to hold your head up. 

Despair set in as the world went on around me.  Doors slamming as the kids came and went.  Panther games....I have NOT attended as many as I have lately.....even my sweet animals don't know what to think about me. 

I worked half day on Wed.  Took everything I had.  Everything.  To the doc for labs Wed afternoon -- they said they looked good.  Wondering on what scale?  Cause I felt anything but "good"....:)  But I'll take good.  Hanging on to any good news I can get!  Back to Dr. Hagans on this am for a checkup.....again..."all looked good"....that word again.  Good.  Worked until 4.  And I may actually get a full day in tomorrow if I'm lucky.  Sigh.  SOOOOOO blessed with wonderful bosses who are fighting this with me and are full of understanding.

I guess I am feeling a little better each day.  Except for this horrible nagging headache that nothing touches.  Not Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aleve, or even the "good meds".....nothing touches it.  Its from the chemo.  Gonna have to manage the pain....however, its miserable.  Light, noise, everything hurts with a headache striking about 20 on a 1-10 scale. 

I feel like a whiner about now.  I'm doing an awful lot of griping.  I know.  Please understand I'm not looking for sympathy, pity, or tears.  Prayers?  You betcha!  But I'm mainly hoping to help someone out there know what to expect if they are in line for my "cocktail"......and also for myself so I'll know exactly how I felt on what day.  If I'm faced with this again in 10 years....I may forget!  :)

Truth is, I'm trying to face this battle with as much dignity and class as possible.  Many ways I fall short.  This week....I've been snappy and grumpy and not very loveable.  FAR from dignified OR classy!  Glad I have my God!  And my friends who are literally holding me climbing in bed with me bearing orange slushies, or treating ME normal by crying to me with their issues.  It is an honor to be trusted and to be in prayer for my friends.  The ones who are feeding us (literally through the meal train).....texting me, sending me cards, emails, facebook messages.  Each and every one comes in God's perfect timing just when I need it. Visits from friends day and night.... A comfort I can't describe. My "heros" -- "Dana" :) who have fought this fight and won....and who reach out to me and give me strength not just by her kind words of encouragement but also by her example.  Wow.  To my "ball moms" who are hauling my Sam everywhere and yelling for him when I can't be there.  Another blessing.  God is workin!    Which brings me to the "good stuff".....

My Aunt Tootie has been with me all week.  Passing through on her vacation last weekend....she made my uncle leave her here for the week.  She has driven me around, cooked for us, taken care of my kids and my animals.  Such a blessing to me this week!!!!  I honestly don't know what I'd done without her!  It was also nice to just spend some time with her visiting.  We don't get time like that often.....and it was nice.  Even though I didn't feel well....I was able to rest...guilt-free....knowing she was there for my babies.  The ultimate comfort!!  I love her!

I've talked before about the kindness of my friends....and strangers alike.  But this week a couple stand out.  I had an issue with my water heater beginning of the week and the Centerpoint man had to come out and help me with a "gas issue."  I was holding down the recliner that day.....and he was just coming and going through the door doing his thing and as he poked his head in to tell me I'd have hot water in "30 mins" (Yay!), his eyes turned soft and he asked me about my cancer.  At first, I was wondering how in the world he knew.....did I have "chemo" across my forehead already?  Then it hit me that my "cardboard ministry" signs were hanging in the foyer.  He was the sweetest man.  Asked if he could pray for me and made certain before he left that he knew I had a church family and that my children were a part of a youth ministry.  It was very touching.  There was a gentleness about him that made me weep as he left.  I know that I am in his prayers.....and probably will continue to be for a while.

There is another lady in the office building I'm in that came in the other day.  She caught the tail end of my phone conversation before I could help her and gathered that I was having this "cancer struggle". After a few minutes she asked if she could pray WITH me....and took my hands in hers and led prayer right there over my desk.  She led the most intimate prayer for my personal healing. the good stuff.

Stepping into the Ring:
My friend Shannon, gave me a book early on in my battle.  I'm say, that I've just found the time to read it.  I read the entire book in less than 30 minutes.  I realized it was like reading a book about my very own journey.  Wow.  Here is the book:

If you or someone close to you is touched by cancer.....breast cancer, specifically.....this is a MUST read!!!  I have highlighed most of the book as special to me.....and can't help but share a few.....

".....Finding out I had cancer was like going to sleep in my own bed and suddenly waking up in the middle of a boxing ring.  Out of the clear blue, I am standing toe-to-toe with the Heavyweight Champion of the World, the crowd is looking on, and I am in my pajamas and don't even know how to throw a punch."

Boy does that take me back to April 23, 2012.  Standing in Dr. Harrison's office with my friends.

"...Every line the doctor said was a physical punch.  Blow after blow the words kept coming, until I was sick to my stomach and dizzy with fatigue.  The wind was knocked out of me and I couldn't breathe.  I couldn't say anything, my tongue was numb, and my eyes refused to blink.  Inside, I was SCREAMING, NO!  Please, God, no."

"...I was already in the ring..  I could keep standing there, literally getting killed, or I could fight begin to fight back."

Cancer is mean.  Cancer doesn't discrimate.  It doesn't care that it could leave children without their mother.  It is a cruel thief and it deserves my anger.  I AM angry.  I am angry that it has taken my body.  But through my faith and HOPE in my God.....I will give it up to save my life.  It will take my breasts.  It will take my hair.  But the disease isn't getting the "good stuff!"  The "me" that laughs at my kiddos when they toot or that loves reality tv or the "me" that believes love and forgiveness can change the world.  The Cancer Thief has a fight!!!!  It's not taking my "goods."  And the value of it all underneath.  My body hurts.  It's "damaged goods" quite possibly.  But my heart and my faith couldn't be stronger.  I'd get into the ring ANY day with God in my corner!

In the book of Isaiah, it tells us "Your hope will not be cut off."  As I went over these words and thought about hope.....this song in its once again "perfect timing" came on....


Yes, everything....especially in the world of the kids and I.....rides on Hope.  And in Faith.  Worrying about tomorrow is just borrowing trouble.  Today....I live!  :)

"Hope is not a positive mental attitude.  I have hope but am not always positive.  There is no way to conquer true despair with "happy thoughts."  Hope has real strength, but not strength of its own.  The power of Hope comes for the truth it hopes in; no matter the outcome, I can hale life, because the loving, merciful, God of the universe is good and He is looking after me.  So if I fan the flame of Hope everyday, I win."

I have much more to write about in the "goodness" of this week.  But it's bedtime.  Another day.  I kinda feel like I've flunked Chemo 101.  But as I was reminded this week...its a marathon, not a sprint.  I have cancer.  But.....and I say this with a smile.....Cancer does NOT have me!

In Him,

PS....I was reminded today that my struggle, while big to nothing like some.  My children are healthy and happy.  I am blessed beyond measure.  Hug your babies and hold on for a minute. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'll need about 30 minutes....or so :)

Oh. My. Goodness.....
I don't even know where to much has happened since my last post. Yes, I realize that was only a few days ago....but yes....a whirlwind of a week. Welcome to my world!  Saddle up for a long one my friends.....I just "don't wanna miss a thing....". :) I can tell you....that since my last post, I'm already a changed person. He has revealed so much to me this past weekend!

I'm a "list maker".....It's the only way I can stay organized in this crazy, busy world of mine. If ya take away my little notebook in my purse, or the calendar on my phone.....I'm lost. Literally. Well....I'd still have little walking "day planner"....but anyway, you get the idea. That said, I'm going to approach this post in "list form," because I don't think there is one moment  that I won't want to remember forever.

"Look Good, Feel Good":
The week felt odd....Sam was gone, Syd's social calendar was complete all I actually got a little "down time".....So Saturday, I woke up "bright eye'd and busytailed" as my momma used to say! :) First of all, I knew that before my head hit the pillow that night.....that my Sambo would be home! I think I've mentioned a time or two how much I've missed him! :)

Anyway, Syd and I headed to Little Rock to St. Vincent's to attend a little "makeover" session that is geared for Cancer Patients.  Lordy....Another reality check.  I was among those in the midst of a battle like mine.  If you have never gone through anything like this yourself, or with a loved one....its very hard to describe the feeling you get when one day you were fine and "normal" and after one doctor visit.....your whole life changes and suddenly you're sick.  You don't look feel just fine.....but you are sick.  Then the "cure" is what ails you.  Not the illness.  Very backwards.   The surgery has been a "doosey" of a recovery for me.  But Saturday, I was given a really big dose of "you ain't seen nothin yet!"  Sigh.  I know that unfortunately, the worst is still to come.

Anyway....the makeover was fun.  Syd and I were given some freebies from various makeup companies.  We were pampered a bit and given several tips. A little "girl time" is always nice.  It also enabled me to meet a few others "like me"....but different.  But still..."like me."  I was able to ask questions, and share and receive tips for this journey we are on.  I SOOOOO look forward to the day when I can actually go a full day without talking about "cancer."  I know that's not anytime soon.  But that's on my bucket list!!   I also know that its sorta necessary (for lack of better words) that cancer exist.  For you see.....there are millions of people out there facing difficult things, but their silver lining is this:  "At least its not cancer!"   :)  More on that later........

The morning was fun.  I still think however, our highlight was the 2 for 1 deal at Krispy Kreme on the way there!  :)

"Yes to the Dress":
I've talked about the kindness of my friends.  And my support system that is deeper than the neareast ocean.'s worthy of that analogy.  I was contacted by a sweet lady whom I've never met.  Her words on the initial phone call...."A little birdie told us your daughter has an upcoming church program and she is in need of a new dress!"  Wow!  I was stunned.  She doesn't know this, but tears were streaming down my face during our conversation.  She probably thought I was crazy -- because when I tell you this sweet lady was a total stranger... I meant it!  I had never met her. 

I am not good at accepting help.  I hate asking for rides for the kids.....unless I know I can return the favor...."you take, I'll pick up"....or vice versa.  That's normal.  But beyond that....I HATE the thought of burdening anyone.  Deep down, I feel in my heart, that its not a burden to them....because I've NEVER minded helping others with their kiddos.  Ever.  But what I'm getting that I'm becoming very humbled at the fact that I just can no longer do this on my own.  I'm alone here in the sense that I've no family closeby, but God made sure that I'm not alone! 

The worries I'm facing are obvious.  Cancer fears....duh.  That's obvious.  I want to live to meet my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Chemo fears.....I've discussed these.  I just don't want to be their momma at home sick.  I want be a PART of their lives.  Able to be at every activity.  Not gonna happen.  Already missed a game this week.  That was on Monday.  And I'm still ticked about it. Financial fears.....Of course, I worry that when I miss work....I don't get paid.  Duh.  That is a "single momma's" everyday fear....nothing to do with Cancer.  But multiply it 100X.....I am not living "month to month"....its "day to day".....I DO worry where the rent will come from and how to make my car payment.  That's natural....But I know that my God always provides.  Countless have stepped up to offer help in ALL forms....even financial.  (And if you are one of those people, and you haven't gotten a thank you note yet.....please forgive me!  I'm working on them.....:)  Honestly, I'm waiting on payday to buy postage!  ha) 

OK...Back to business....Of course I worry.  But not really.  Everything will work out how its supposed to on the "big stuff." I am budgeting and sticking to it like GLUE.  I've prayed and turned it over to God and I know we will be fine.   HOWEVER, we DO have everyday needs that in the eyes of some....aren't "needs".  The little things.  I've had to break down and buy a couple things to work in (i.e., big flowy tops that hide all that's going on and/or NOT there in the chest area.  Another Example:  A dress for my Sydney.  Bless her heart, she has outgrown everything.  The kids need spending money for this/that.  As a mom, its SO hard to keep their lifestyle as unaltered as possible.  But sometimes....."Mom, can I go the movies?" is a really tough "yes" to say for me.  We are having to watch every penny.  So I have to say "no" alot.  Guilt simply overwhelms me.

So when I received a call that a group of special ladies wanted to buy my Sydney a new dress, you can imagine my suprise and emotion.   Wow!  What a gift!  They will never know what this meant to us.  My now new friend came to our home Saturday afternoon with three dresses for Sydney to try on.  She chose her favorite which she was allowed to keep and was so excited to wear it for the special church service on Sunday.  I was so overwhelmed at the kindness shown to me by other mothers who recognized a "little need" that was for my child.  These kids also "have cancer"......not physically....but emotionally.  God is SO good.

My baby boy is home!:
Enough Said.  I'm even trying to ignore the fact that the first thing he said was, "Can I please hang out with Madison tonight?"  :)  Ahhhhhh, the joys of teen love.  Truth is, I missed her since he's been gone!  She is simply precious.  So of course!  We met the buses at the church that evening and buzzed over to grab Madison and all went to dinner.  I had received a couple of gift cards to Chili's so we headed over!  It was a fun night.  Sam was full of stories.  The kids were all smiles and I felt pretty good! 

Cardboard Ministry:
A couple of weeks ago we were asked to be a part of a special "Real Life Testimony" service at FBC.  The idea was to place on one side of a piece of cardboard your struggle.....and flip it to show how God worked or is working to overcome the struggle.  How FAITH gets you through everytime.  When Clay called to ask, I immediately said yes and talked to the kiddos.  He explained what it was all about and I was very honored to be asked.  I knew I was asked due to my current struggle and the fact that I'm allowing faith to see me through it.  I am certainly ok to share that with the WORLD!  As time went on.....and we met as a group to decide what our cards would say.  It has hit me that Gosh.....I could have about a DOZEN cards.  Oh the struggles and mistakes that I've worked to overcome, that I never could alone.  MY plan never worked.  HIS plan has worked everytime. 

Sunday, I was in the company of the most amazing, courageous people that I've ever been around.  I was immediately more than honored to be a part of it.  But humbled.  I will never forget how that experience changed me.  I am extremely excited to share it here....and make it a part of my testimony forever:

I can't for the life of me figure out how to link it directly but if you will copy and paste the above link into your browser, it should take you right to it.  It is also linked on my facebook.  Please watch it.  I'm certain it will forever change you too.

(Note her pretty purple dress! :))))

Those cardboards are proudly hung in my home.....just like they are, like beautiful pieces of art, as a simple reminder to all of us.....that God is bigger than my cancer.

Panther Baseball:
After both services at church, we hustled on over to North Little Rock.  Panthers had a game and Sam was to play!  :)  Lord, I've not slowed down since that boy came home!  :)  The kicker of the afternoon was that the game was at 3 -- 30 minutes away.....and Pure Energy was having their homecoming concert that evening at 6. He was to be there at 5.  Hmmmmm.....Lordy.  I pray about everything these days.....and here I go praying for a mercy rule....or that they start early, or something!  AND that my "piece of crap" car make it there with no issues.  (I could blog for WEEKS over the apparent lemon I am driving.  You'd think I couldn't get mad at it any longer....its practically brand new with all the new parts I've put in it!) we go.  Complete with my mom bag of wet wipes, deordorant, hair gel, cologne, AXE, anything to disguise the fact that he stepped off the ball field into his freshly ironed and clean choir uniform.  :)

I had been out of the "baseball loop" for about a week so it was great to see all my peeps!  I just love love love my baseball family!

The Lord answered our prayer.....well sorta.  He had a sense of humor with my request!  This practically undefeated team got its mercy rule allright....except we were on the down side!  haha  Too many errors and just a bad day.  We all have those.  Good news is that we made it to church with about 8 minutes to spare and thank goodness I didn't have to sit by my Sam!  :)

I've already blogged about Pure Energy....and how incredible they are.  And to blog about how they worshipped it showed on their they rose their hands to our Father.  Well, I can't do it justice.  Just trust me.  If you left FBC Sunday without feeling the power of our God, then something is wrong.  I couldn't be prouder of these kids, many of which I know and love, and others who I've grown to love from afar.  Another way God worked in us, placing my kids here.  I am without words.....simply in awe of them and how God has worked in those kids.

Sunday couldn't have been a more perfect start to my upcoming week!!  Doctors, tests, and chemo.....sigh. And trying to work and attend ballgames, vbs, and all the normal running. 

"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:6

The "Echo":
Worked half a day Monday, got the kiddos home from VBS, and headed out to Baptist for an echocardiogram.  Had no idea what to expect, but basically its an ultrasound of your heart.  Non-invasive and pain-free....right?  Wrong.  Not on a woman 4 weeks Post-Masectomy.  Ouch!  The tech was precious and very aware, but still.....:(  ouch.  Was finished there about 3ish and was scheduled to meet with my oncologist, Dr. Sneed, at 5:00.  I called to see if possibly he could work me in a tad earlier since Sam had a game that evening.  No luck.  So I camped out at Baptist a while and used their WiFi to start this blog a while. 

My sweet friend, Jon, who works there, came down and visited with me a few minutes which helped to kill time.....and I even wrangled an invite to his Sunday School class on Sunday!  :)  David and I have been wanting to find class to attend together and it looks like we might have found one!  :)  Hopefully, I'll get to start this Sunday, but not sure about the chemo effects.  Might be another week.

Wasn't long until it looked like the sky was going to open up with a storm so I headed on to Dr. Sneed's hoping to slide in early anyway.

Oncology Fun and The Plan:
Deb met me there and we got to catch up a bit!  Always love our visits.  Cute little Josh was there and visited with us too....I guess its nice to have a breath of fresh air in a place like that.  He is definately that!  :)  Spoke with the doc, and decided to go with the most aggressive regimen of chemo (TAC).  I had first outwardly ruled it out, but have kept it in the back of my mind.  We went through the options again, this time with better questions and a clearer mind.  Deb looked Dr. Sneed in the eye and asked.... "If this were your mother....or your sister.....or your daughter.....what would you want her to do?"  His reply, "I would do the TAC, hands down.  This may be our only shot....we need to take it!"  He also let me know that if in fact it is just too much.....we can change.  We are calling these shots together.  He got my scripts together and instructions to eat everything in sight for beginning treatment.  Most likely, I'm going to be pretty sick.  The day will be Friday.

I guess the best news I received from the visit was that Dr. Sneed thought Deb and I were twins!  :)  She is you have to understand what a compliment this was!  Here we are a year or so ago......

Friends and My David:
I just love my friends. Something large like this happening in your life changes you as a person.  It also changes your relationships. Some good....some not so good.  Some shut you out.  Some look at their problems "compared to cancer" silly. I've been shocked by some.  Shocked. The thing is.....we all have struggles.  We all make mistakes.  We all have our issues that no matter how big or small compared to those of us they may be huge.  To them they may be extreme!  I am a do-er.  I welcome being able to lend a listening share be "normal" despite the FBC!  :)  I miss the normality....but also, I have loved the kindness of others who still laugh with me about silly things, who still vent to me about kids, men, "stuff"......It holds me up.....whether they know it or not.  I could list until next week those who are so precious to me......but that's just it....I don't have to.  They know.

I've struggled lately but received an epiphany of sorts.....People who WANT to be a part of your life....will be.  Period.  And if they don't....its ok.  God places people in your life for a reason....and some for a season.....that is just life. 

I'm so grateful for David.  I simply don't know what I'd do without him.  I'm not the easiest to love right now.  We definately need to be praying for him!  :)  I know he didn't "sign up" for all of this.  But I know in my heart he is in this for the long haul. 

This week's stuff:
Wed....nuttin!  :)
Thurs.....check in for surgery to place port at 6 am.  My sweet Sonya is taking me and holding my hand!  :) 
Friday.....Chemo at 1. 
Sat....Sun....Stay tuned.  :(

Game on!!
Prayers needed my friends....

In Him,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Reason to "Sing".....

Ahhhhhhh......Thursday!  This week has been an "odd" one!  First of all, ALL my favorite men have been many many miles from me!  Of course, Sam has been on Choir Tour....And on a wonderful journey among Christian friends and with our God.  I wouldn't trade that for ANYTHING for him.  Selfishly though, I miss his face!  :)  I miss his smile....I even miss tripping over his shoes and his eating me out of house and home!  He is SURE to be running out of money by now.....I promise to make good on any "IOUs" that he may have incurred!  That boy has a hollow leg!  :)  Still I know he is on "Cloud 9"!   Literally.....

Here is was walking a tight-rope high in the air!  Good for him.  I am afraid of heights.....I like my hiney planted firmly on the ground!  :)  Still.....I can't wait to love on him Saturday night and spend Sunday hearing about all of the wonderful ways Pure Energy has touched others and been touched by our Father this week.  Sunday morning will be an incredible service and PE has their homecoming concert Sunday evening.  Sure to be an AWESOME day at FBC.....Friends, come join us!  :)

Also, my David has been working in Texas all week.  Sure have missed that boy!  He kinda spoils me when he's around!  :)  I know he is working hard....and misses home.  Hopefully he misses me too just a tad! Since I've had to rely on pics to see him all are a couple of my favs.....

Words cannot express how I've missed him!  He is the epitome of "Loving me at my Worst" he "Deserves me at my Best!"  :))  God sure has his fingerprints all over his placement in my life. Sometimes I'm not sure if I deserve HIM!  Can't wait to see him tomorrow night!!! 

I will admit though....Syd and I have had some fun girl time!  We've laughed alot at nothing.....we've cried at sappy movies.....we have done some window shopping.....and even bought her a new pair of flip flops!  :)  We have had snuggle time with girly shows and giggled like silly girls.  I tried letting her sleep with me one night....but she is like sleeping with a bucking bronco!  Back to her bed she went for sleep time....but we've enjoyed being "just the girls" for a few days for sure!  :)  Tonight, we have sweet Emme staying with us, so they are off to watch "We bought a Zoo"....and I'm settled in with my Diva weenie dog to blog a while.

I love her!  :)
Syd and I have a date Saturday morning!  The New Outlook Center at St. Vincent's has a "makeover" day prepared for those of us "Cancer Patients".....(wow, that's a group I never hoped to join...) but anyway, from what I understand, they have representatives from Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome, and I'm sure others.....that will come and give make-up tips, etc. free of charge.  Basically, a girly day of "pampering" for a couple of hours.  They do have an emphasis on tips during Chemo....trying to avoid that "gray" look that often comes with it.  Hmmmmm.....I am just starting to allow myself to "go there" about what I'm going to look like through not sure how I feel about that.  I've never thought of myself as a vain person.....but I kinda am a little high maintenance!  :) 

I've never been "pretty" by the world's standards.  But I was JUST starting to feel a little better about myself after the weight loss.  I worked hard at it....and it was nice to see a size 6 again.  :)  Now...nothing about me is "pretty".....and I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to pull off the "chemo look" Saturday is more about something fun and "free" that she and I can do together!  They encouraged me to "bring a friend"....and she is my BFF!  :))  I am also hoping to possibly meet a few others that I can get info from.  I'm all about pickin brains of what is to come for me.  I will quickly meet new friends I'm sure.  God has a way of making sure of that!  :)

This week has brought with it more recovery.  I'm still having the burning pain.  At times, its better, but nights are still complete with ice and ibuprofen!  Still pretty tired in the evenings, and I guess a tad discouraged that I've not bounced back as quickly as I'd hoped.  I'm 4 weeks post surgery.....still holding on a little longer that I'll feel better soon.  I've had ZERO doctors this week.  I've worked a complete week....which means a full paycheck next week!  whoop!  Even cleaned a house in there!  :)  I've had my evenings relatively free since Sambo has been out of town.  Had he been here, you'd have found me at the ballpark.  Anyway, I've used this time spending it with my babygirl, and mentally preparing myself for all the "fun and games" next week.

I've also been trying to get organized at home.  Syd and I worked on the millions of "Thank You" notes I'm behind on.  SOOOOOO many have reached out to us.  I also organized my little office an made files for all the doctors, hospitals, radiologists, pharmacy, etc. etc...  Funny how you can get charged from people you didn't ever see or know existed!  I heard a joke somewhere....."I got my bill for my surgery....Now I know why doctors wear masks!"  hehehe   Ok...I don't really feel that way about my doctors.....they are fabulous and are on God's team to hopefully saving my life!  But this life I'm saving will be forever in debt for the rest of it....literally.  Sigh......I can barely afford the insurance premiums....and by the time I meet my deductibles and my will be a new year and we start over.  Yes, I'm whining!  I know what my brother would tell walk to the shed.....get out my tall ladder.....and just get over it!  Can't change it.  So deal with it I will do!  :)  God will take care of us.  He always has.....So I'm not worried.

Anyway....Next week.  The "Big C", not cancer....."Chemo".....blah.  Before that, a busy week with both kiddos home.....a complete football and baseball schedule, keeping my Sydney occupied, working and three days of doctors appointments.  I am to have an echo-cardiogram on Monday, followed by an oncologist appointment.  I didn't realize when I made the appointment so late in the day that Sambo played that evening.  So gonna pray his flow that afternoon is such they can work me in sooner.  I. don't. miss. ballgames.   Sam plays Tues, Thurs, and the following weekend. 

I have a small surgery next Thurs. morning to get the port placed.  And Chemo begins next Friday.  The dreaded poison that scared us to death everytime we heard it with my mother....and a fear that I'm facing head-on in a short week.  Sigh.  Let's do it....time to "Fight like a girl!"!  :)  Had a visit from my sweet Sonya tonight.  She stayed about an hour and we caught up on things.  She told me about the movie "50/50" that she had rented a few days ago.  She "reluctantly" recommended the movie, even retracted the recommendation a couple of times, not knowing how I'd react....but Syd and I headed to redbox anyway. 

50/50 is about a young man diagnosed with cancer.  Its a "laughter through tears" kinda movie.  While his cancer is much different than mine....from the diagnosis to the still hit home.  The language is what makes it Rated R....they throw that "f" word around a little.  But past was a good movie.  Spoiler alert if you are planning to rent it.......the guy lives so it ended me feeling pretty good!  Although....the chemo parts were exactly what I'm expecting and fearing.  Sigh.  I need prayers.  My anxiety about it is starting to climb through the roof.  I feel the need to make a joke right now.....I stepped on the scales this morning, first time in a while.  So I guess I wouldn't mind just puking about 10 lbs worth!  :)  Just might be a "silver lining" in the old chemo....!  :))

I've rambled my way past midnight.....and that darn alarm clock next to my bed doesn't care.  So, I better get some sleep.....
Before I go, I want to share another song of mine that has meaning.  The kids and I took the KLOVE "30 day challenge" starting the first of 2012.....which is to listen to nothing but Christian music for 30 days.  While KLove has always had its own "button" programmed into my favorite stations.....6 months later....we are still listening to nothing but.  Its on every station at the office as well.  God's word through music helps me through many tough moments.  Uplifts me when I need it.  And helps me to praise and worship throughout my day.  You would be hard pressed to find a song on that station that doesn't speak to you.....but funny how there are some days that one might stick out over another. 

Josh Wilson's "Dark before Morning" tells my story of this very moment in time.  This moment today.  Word for word.....It could have been written about my life.  (and so many others, I'm sure!)  He played a concert with Steven Curtis Chapman at FBC earlier this year....and when he sang the song that night, little did I know how it would be "about me"...TO just a few short months.  (Another God Thing....)  Now, I know not EVERYONE can sing.  Lord knows I can't.  But I've attached a video with the lyrics.  Before you sign off this post....IF you have made it this far...hehee....please sing along.  Turn your volume up!  Listen to every word.....And sing with me!!  :)

For anyone who honored my request.....and sang "loud and proud"....please let me know!  :)

My mom once said that you can choose to be in self-pity and wallow about your circumstances.  Which I definately DO on occassion.  But you also have the choice to "bloom" right where you are planted!  :)  That is my goal!  I'm not there yet......but workin on it!  

Some days there won't necessarily be a song in your heart.....but sing anyway! :) 

In Him,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Concert with God....

Wow....My heart is full today!  Overflowing in fact!! 
Many know that my Sam is gone this week.  Boy do I miss that boy!  His face, his smile, his voice, brightens my everyday.  This's via text that I see all of those things....but. no worries, I feel his love regardless! :)  He is is on Choir Tour with FBC's Pure Energy Youth Choir.  Pure Energy is a "legacy" of sorts.  This year, they have performed their "program" all the way from Benton to Chicago.  Here they are pictured yesterday where they sang in front of the famous "Bean":

I've gotten pics from Sam and OF Sam from various sights around the big city.  Funny how a "high tech McDonalds," a Sports Authority on "steriods" and the largest "Forver 21" I've ever seen are sights that can excite a small town Arkansas boy....but hey!  It's Chicago!  :) He couldn't wait to tell me they "called the hogs" on the Sea Dog, to send me pics of the Sears Tower, the HUMONGOUS Chicago pizza that he ate, and countless others that I've not gotten to see yet.

Lordy....I hope he is remembering to fold his things neatly, and to put on deoderant.  Teenage boys!  I pity those around him if he has forgotten! 

 Last night, I believe he was pretty close to heaven at the White Sox game.  He would have for SURE been in heaven had the Cards been playing the Cubs at Wrigley field....but nevertheless, he is with some of his best friends, and worshipping God at every turn.  That boy is changing as I type this.  As a mom, I can just feel it.  I think it's changing me as well.

Today, they headed this morning to worship at the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue, that beautiful church where "My Best Friend's Wedding" was filmed. Cool huh?   They also performed there.  The audience was empty.  Pews were empty.  And it was planned that way.  They were there to perform a "Concert For God."  How incredibly special is that??!  I can see the power in their faces and feel the worship from here at their performance for Him.  They have worked so hard for a whole year on this performance.  They have sang the songs many times in rehearsals and even on this trip, they've stopped at churches along the way, impromptu performances around the "big city".....but none of these up until this morning, and none in the future....even the "homecoming concert" this coming Sunday, could ever compare to lifting their voices before our God in worship.  Only for Him.  Only WITH Him. 

Ang sent me this picture early this morning of my Sam kneeling before God in that beatiful place in prayer:

This touched me more than any other picture I've seen.  I'm so proud of what he is allowing God to do in his life!  He is a spirit-filled child and I couldn't be more blessed!  I've always prayed that God either work THROUGH me or in SPITE of me to be ever present in my children.  Neither he nor Sydney cease to amaze me with their faith.  The Lord definately works through THEM in me.

I was having a chat with my brother last night.  He and I share an emptiness and a pain from our childhood that only now are we strong enough to really discuss..... that I am not prepared to share on here.  Rather, I'm not at liberty to discuss the feelings of my brother.  However, we have both learned and vowed that our children WILL know without a shadow of a doubt, that first....God loves them. And second, that WE love them.  Thank goodness we had a loving mother that did her very best to shield us from harm at all costs.  All costs.  This is an area where I feel I AM succeeding.  My kids will know.....I love them with all that I am.  And they know that we serve a mighty God.  And it is from HIM in which we are and continue to be richly blessed.

Pure Energy is traveling this afternoon to a detention center and will be ministering and worshipping with them there.  From what I understand, this will be a first for them.  I know that these kids placed there due to unfortunate circumstances will come to know God through our ministry and also that our kids' realize what a blessing the presence of our heavenly Father really is.  I simply cannot wait for an update!  :)  Be sure to check out facebook for many more pics!  :)

They will be headed to their camp on Lake Michigan this weekend for a "retreat" and worship experience like no other for my Sam.  I'll keep you posted on what he brings home from the "mountaintop"!  :)  I'm so incredibly grateful for the "village" that my children and I have been placed in.  Next year, my Syd will be old enough to go.....:))

It has hit me today, after all the whining I've been doing, how lucky I am to be a mother.  Well...not just A mother....but THEIR mother.  When Sam was just a few hours old,  I was curled up in the fetal position in a hosptial bed in Harris Hosptial crying because my baby had just been flown to Children's via Angel One.  (That period of time is a series of blogging for many other days.....).  Anyway, Dr. Renee Montgomery, my Ob/GYN at the time, climbed up IN the bed with me.....and wrapped her arms around me and shook me a little.  Her words shook me to the core......I was crying out "WHY" did MY baby have to be sick.??  I did everything right.....High school, college, marraige, that order.  I ate healthy.  Took my vitamins.  Prayed everyday for a healthy child.  And my words...."Why do 15 year olds on crack get to have a healthy baby while mine is suffering?"  Please don't judge....I was beside myself in fear and worry for my Sam. 

Anyway, Dr. Montgomery's words were these...."Terri, I believe God chooses parents.  Period.  He specifically chose you and John as parents for Sam because YOU can give him the care and love he needs.  A 15 year old on crack can not!"  Wow.  I will never forget those words.  To know that I was hand-picked to be the mother of Sam and Sydney Clare.  How precious and honored I am!  :)

From Proverbs 31 on "Mothering":
A Virtuous Woman teaches her children the ways of her Father in heaven.  She nurtures her children with the love of Christ,  disciplines them with care and wisdom, and trains them in the way they should go.

As a mother, I have my struggles.  I have my moments of "wrong turns" and trials.  But in my village....there are lots of "mothers" in their lives to pick up the slack. That, my friends, is a God thing.  I'm having my own "Concert with God" this afternoon.  In my my office.....I'm praising Him through my storms. I'm singing loudly for Him. I'm worshipping Him in His glory.  I'm forgiving others with His grace.  I am completely and totally in love with and in awe of these creatures He has entrusted me with.  To HIM, I give thanks.

Hug your kids and by all means, tell them about Jesus.  So glad my mother did......(not because I am perfect and have always made the right choices....but because He never left me when I didn't.)

In Him,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Prideful Pretender

I haven't blogged in a while. Primarily because I've been in a "mood" for about a week.....and I've been hoping it would pass. My life was pretty "topsy turvy" busy last week, but in all honesty, I've been having some feelings about myself....things coming to the surface that I knew I probably should blog about.....things I know I should address within myself....things other than the mundane "this is what I did today"....or "this is something nice someone did for me today" posts that everyone has come to expect.

Not a day has gone by that I haven't been told at least once, usually a few times, what an "inspiration" I am....or how enjoyable and inspirational my blog is. The thing is....the last thing I feel is inspirational....I may or may not have the courage to explain why by the end of this post. Most nights, I don't have any idea what is going to be written. I just begin to type and the words come. Tonight is no different. I just know that I have a heavy heart. Don't know if anyone will find an ounce of inspiration tonight. I am burdened.....and I know what the burdens are.....I think. I am just not sure if I know how to convey it. OR if I want to. Let's just see how it unfolds....

For now....I'm going to journal my last few days....not for the enjoyment of any readers out there....but for my records. The pain is terrible. It is not getting better. It is getting worse. And if ONE more person tells me I am "overdoing it" I am going to flip my lid! :) Truth is, when I am working, I am useful. I am needed. I am in my element. I am around people who still see me as capable and they are all they don't understand the first thing about the female body....our emotions....or even remotely what I am going through. You see, this is a GOOD thing. I escape the cancer...for 8-9 hours a day. I am I actually feel a little better. When I'm home, and still, I get stiff. And the pain is much more apparent.

Also, I gotta pay the bills. It's what I do. I don't have a choice. Period. I'm not a hero, or as Deb says, a "Rock Star." Not trying to be. I'm doing nothing more than any good mother would for her children. Still, by the end of the day, I'm tired. I almost dread coming home to all the running that has to be done taking kids here or there. I've finally just had to say no.

Driving is painful. I dread getting in that car everyday. My left side hurts terribly. It's hard to close the driver door. The darn seatbelt is my enemy. Just steering can cause discomfort at times. So when I get home. I wanna be home! The kids are notorious, especially in the summer, for wanting to go here and there at the last minute. Then they get "here and there" and forget "this and that." They don't understand that I can't run run run like I used to. Funny, how I'm too exhausted to care. Now that's inspiration, huh?

Then the guilt sets in. Why should their summer be ruined by this FBC?? How can I let parents with twice the kids I have who are TWICE as busy run my kids around?? It's like a vicious cycle. And its making me very dizzy.

All I want to do is be home. I want to relax with ice packs and ibuprofen. My daughter actually called me boring. And she is right. I am boring. I don't want to look at her and tell her the pain is intense. Sometimes almost unbearable. Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome. It actually has a name.

Imagine yourself falling on gravel or rough concrete. (Kinda like I did a week or so ago...ouch!) You get a "strawberry" or "road rash".....When you sit in a tub of water and the water touches it the first burns like crazy. That is a description of how I feel from one armpit to the other....across my chest. Twenty-four. Seven. My nerves are apparently coming back to life....slowly. But in the form of pain. Anything that touches it....nightgown, soft blouses, a bed sheet.....anything at like an electric current. From dawn til dark. 24 hours a day. Forget wearing that bra and new boobies I was so excited about last week. That won't be happening for a while.

At times, I just suck it up. But others, I just let it go and cry. I never knew my mother felt this way. She never let on the pain she felt. It's a terrible surgery. The thought of reconstructive surgery terrifies the daylights out of me.

But then to say those words....and look in the mirror at the ugliness of my chest....the thought of NOT having reconstruction terrifies me more. Yes, I am whining. Maybe I am just a wimp. Who knows? I just know my life is so altered. And as far as I can will continue to be. Call it dramatics. Call it looking for attention. But my friends who talk to me daily, know that I don't complain often because I know they don't want to hear it. When I'm asked point blank how I feel....a select few have heard that I'm in pain....but most get the general "I'm getting stronger everyday" line. This space is MY outlet. Not forcing anyone to read it. When I look back days, weeks, months, and hopefully years from now, I want the "realness" of today. Today.....and the last 10....have been filled with pain. Physical pain and emotional pain.

I've spent alot of time talking to God. I've been working on my relationship with Him. Working on doing a little more listening and a little less talking. It's no secret that I've not always made decisions in His glory. This week I heard the words, "Prideful Pretender." And I'm going to borrow those words....because boy, was that me! There was a time when I would "lie, cheat, and steal" to get what I wanted. I'd do anything to get ahead. "Robbed Peter to pay Paul" so to speak. I used the name of God to do the Devil's work. Boy, that was harsh. Maybe not the "devil's work," but definitely MY work. When you grow up in small town America, you can never keep up with the Jones', because your happiness will always be "just out of reach." Prideful Pretender. I'm aware that I may be judged by my admission but I've found through this peaceful grace, that I'll bet I'm not alone. Not everyone will blog about it on the internet, or put it on Facebook, or even tell their best friend. But everyone has struggles. Everyone. Noone is perfect and at times we have all done and said things that have hurt others. Some are simply dealing with the hand they are dealt, others are facing consequences of their own actions. The fact doesn't matter. When you are saved by the amazing grace of God....When you make the decision to give Him your full heart and full attention.....When you lay your struggles at the foot of the are born again. You get that fresh start. You get that second chance. You are free. Satan tries to creep in and keep you remembering how you hurt others and how others hurt you. He tries to ruin your current relationships. He stands in the way of forgiveness. He tries to come between you and God. He strategically places conflict. He makes you question your faith. He tries to distract you from His glory. He will not win. Period.

I don't know how I would be here today without My God. I don't know how I would be getting through each painful day without His promise of healing. I don't know how I could possibly be so blessed with the children, family and friends that I am, without HIS loving kindness. I don't know how I would have ever been granted second chances in life without His forgiveness and grace. I am no longer a "Prideful Pretender" but a Christ-Follower. I try so hard to show that in my daily walk. Yes, I fail some days. This blog alone I am in ways falling short of this glory. But please do not misunderstand where my heart is. It is in HIM!

Christ makes you think of things in different ways. Some things just don't matter to me anymore. Things that once did. Things that once mattered alot. I look around at some people in my life, who matter very much to me. Some I just want to spoon feed a dose of Jesus Christ to until they swallow Him whole. I want to shake them until they feel Him to their core like I do. I never want people to think of me as a pretender again. Because I am not. Saved by grace. :)

I know that it was necessary in my walk to get to where I am today. I know there are those who still may have doubts about me. That's ok. That's what happens when you hurt others. That's what happens when trust is broken. Lucky for me, I've turned it over to Jesus Christ. He will never fail me. He will never fail them. He has my life in HIS hands. And I'm simply here for His glory.

This week hasn't been all "gloom and doom" pain. I've had moments of pure peace and happiness. My Sam is in Chicago tonight with Pure Energy. I'm getting updates and pictures that warm my heart and make me smile. I so miss him! My Sydney talked her way into Chloe's house tonight. So she isn't home with "boring mom." The child hasn't been home in nearly a week! lol

My Tootie and Chuck came to visit over the weekend. God love them, I think I slept the whole time they were here! I just died this weekend. I think I rest better just knowing she is here. I so love my Tootie! I wish they lived closer....

On a lighter note....I've given in to the craze and reading the ever so steamy "Fifty Shades of Grey".....I refuse to blog about it. Those of you who have read it understand why. Just wait for the movie! :))

I plead with everyone to pray for us. No doctors this week. I'm working and mostly will be home to rest each evening. So hoping this recovery takes a turn for the better. Next week...the dreaded chemo.....sigh. I have to remind myself that the chemo, though painful, is not my enemy. It's my cure.

Psalm 46:10
"Be still and know that I am God...."
In addition, Be Still...and KNOW God.

In Him,