Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Fluffy" :)

Isn't it strange how you can feel one way about something one day.....and feel completely different about it the next?  Guess that's why my mom always advised me to "just sleep on it".....because chances are that I often feel differently in the morning.

Well, this week?  My emotions are all over the place.  I have been looking forward to September 21, 2012 for about 5 months now.  My last treatment!  And I know I've blogged about it before....but with the last treatment comes a vulnerable feelings.  That I'm no longer "doing anything" to fight the big bad cancer.  I HATE chemo.  It's positively the worst thing, physically and emotionally, that I've ever had to go through.  But there is a part of me that is terrified of being finished with it.  I'm weird, I know.

I left the Doc Monday, feeling confident and reassured.  But in the days since, I've found my self feeling so unsettled and afraid.  I even let myself "google" again.  I had myself dead by bedtime.  Geesh.  I was a glutton for punishment.  Reality is this.....Triple Negative is a mean monster.  There is absoulutely nothing I can do to "prevent" a recurrance.  One article stated that researchers can't even get a handle on it because the majority of patients do not live long enough to do adequate trials.  Wow.  That was like taking a bullet.  Most all Triple Negative BC does recur and most will recur sooner rather than later.

Another stated that the 5 year survival rate was much lower than other types of BC, but less after the "5 year mark".  Nobody likes to think of their own life in the terms of "5 years"......That is the blink of an eye.  Several articles state that Triple Negative BC are most common among those who test positive for the BRAC gene mutation.....the "breast cancer gene."  Since Arkansas BC/BS are essentially making my life almost as scary as the cancer, I don't know for sure that I have this gene. I can't get my test results.  But since I have the triple neg....most likely I do.  Makes me tear up everytime my child walks by. 

I take comfort in the fact that so many are praying for me.  The prayers are heard and answered, I know this.  But I'm now asking that everyone please pray for a cure!!!!   The thought of my Sydney EVER facing this is almost too much for me to bear.  Another reason why the Lord may have taken my mother home years she wouldn't have to endure my struggle.  Our generation has to find a cure.  There just isn't an option.

Satan has been working overtime this week to shake my faith.  I'm ashamed....he gets to me at times.  Sometimes the fear is so extreme, that I can't eat or sleep.  Sometimes, it hits me out of nowhere and I have to just collect myself.  I will be holding my breath until Oct 15, when I get the next set of scans.  And then it will be another 3 months until I can exhale again......I long to be "dancing with NED".....Ned is appropriately named as "No Evidence of Disease".  I want to dance with Ned forever!!!  And then I want to introduce Ned to my child.....and to every woman around me that could be faced with this.

As Robin Roberts said.....we HAVE to love and pray for one another.  But more importantly, we have to find a darn cure.  There won't be another prayer going up from my heart that doesn't ask God for that specific thing.  A cure.  Of course, I am praying specifically this week that tomorrow's "poison" go straight to any evidence of cancer or pre-cancerous cells and ATTACKS!  And of course,  I pray that my fight is over forever.  And I pray that I learn to live with the fear and not let it take over my spirit.  But, if a recurrance leads to help in finding a cure and saves my Sydney.....and the future of other women.....God, let YOUR will be done.

Satan has tried to get a firm hold on me this week.  But my God has a purpose for me.  I intend to tell everyone I know about his blessings that He has placed and revealed to me throughout my immediate fight.  And I say to you, Satan, if the cancer comes back.....I'll fight like a faithful servant once again!!  I feel the need to change the name of Cancer to "Fluffy" or something equally as lame.  Fluffy doesn't sound so big and scary, now does it???  :)  Fluffy is not welcome here......

One last article I read, assured women like me, with the triple negative, to not panic.  That we just have to know our bodies, listen to our doctors, keep the checkups, live a healthy lifestyle, and above all trust in God.  It's not a coincidence that I ran across that particular article.  God knows our destiny.  No matter WHAT we do, or the doctors HIS plan.  And He is perfect.  His will has no mistakes.  So with that....I had to write until I settled myself down and worked through the fear to get to a point that I can find inner peace again. 

I look forward to getting my life back to a "new normal."  To love my children completely.  To let all mistakes of the past they don't deserve a second of my time left.  To make sure that my children look back on all of their beautiful childhood memories and the majority of them include ME! :)  To be the kind of friend that I want!  To reach out to those who are hurting, even if I don't know them that well.  To fight my insurance company until the day I die....or until I win.  To financially get stable again.....enough to own my own home and to drive a decent vehicle. To be a good steward of my money and to first give the Lord what is already His. To have a savings account!  And to teach my children to always save for situations such as the one we have found ourselves in.   To be the best employee I can be and honor God at the office as well as out of the office.  To pray.  Fervently and Honestly.  And to teach my children to spend time with God every single day.  To support to the best of my ability the causes to find a cure.  So that no other family is affected like ours has been.  To always say prayers for my medical team that the Lord bless them as they have blessed me.  To be a loving mother and friend to my children.  To give my whole heart in every relationship....from my friends and family.  And spend the rest of my days being gracious to those who have helped us through this......and continually lift each and every one up in prayer as they have me and that may He bless each one 10-fold.  (And yes, I have a list....and thier names are in my prayer journal!)   I plan to praise God for it all and to remember to thank Him every single day.  Most importantly, I plan to try to live in His favor so that others feel the need to come to Him in my presence.  All in all, to be a Proverbs 31 woman!  These things.....are my bucket list. 

One month from today is Arkansas Largest' support of the Breast Cancer Fight.  Race for the Cure.  I am honored to have 36 women who have already registered to walk with me.  I look at the list and pray over each one as I check it daily.  I pray for their cause and the heros that have inspired them to stand beside me.  It is important to me that whomever chooses to walk on my team know that it isn't for ME.  Everyone has their own personal reasons for joining in the fight.  So please know that by joining "Team Terri" -- you are gaining other team members to stand beside you for your hero!  :)  I gotta get my hiney to walkin!  :)

Here is the link:  Please feel free to share and invite friends!

Let's kick "Fluffy" to the curb!  :)

In Him,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This is "what's up" Doc! :)

Quickie entry tonight to update about my doctor visit....

Syd and I headed out to meet with Dr. final visit with him prior to the last treatment this Friday.  I had a list of questions prepared for him and he eased many of my worries.

When we arrived, I immediately went back for labs.  After giving them my blood, came back out into the lobby and there was Sydney's "Miss Jonna" (She was an aid for her last year in the Counselor's Office at the Middle School) was there with her sweet mom.  I've hoped this whole time to run into her and we finally did.....Such a precious lady and an inspiration to me!

They were having a "bake sale" in the lobby to raise funds for something "race related" I think, and Syd conned me out of a few bucks and hit the "sweet tooth buffet" and came back with some goodies.  No wonder I'm gettin fat again.....geesh.  Yummy!  :)

So this is what's going on...
Today, I had a slight fever but that is usually normal for a week out of treatment.  Normal for me anyway.  Not enough to be alarmed but enough to make ya feel bad.  My counts were "good"...well "chemo good" and on track for treatment Friday.  Graduation Day.  "No Mo Chemo" Day. 

Dr. Sneed reviewed my initial pathology report, and everything we have done since.  Stage 2A, Grade 3 Breast Cancer. Triple Negative.  Double Masectomy, 8 rounds of Dose Dense Chemotherapy, 4 of Adriacytoxin (aka "the blood of Jesus":)), and 4 of the Taxol.  Path report showed lymph nodes to be clear and a really small "Suspicious" spot on the breast bone and some sort of "calcification" on my lung.  Hearing that last part sent my head spinning.  I had never heard about those places before.  He quickly assured that I didn't NEED to worry about those, but it gives us a reason for another set of scans.  So I'm trying not to worry until given a reason to. (ha!)

Following Friday's treatment, I will go back weekly for labs for four weeks.  On Oct. 15, I will have the scans to make sure that everything still looks clean.  In the blook work, they look at tumor markers, and from that they can tell plenty.

If the scans are is where we are:
- checkups every 3 months.  (Eventually going to every 6....annually, etc. assuming the good news continues)
- I can have my port removed if I choose to following the scans.  I will probably keep it for a while but its painfully uncomfortable.  So we will just see....
- I am a candidate for reconstruction...."as soon as I feel" like it.  Again, I'm tired.  In no hurry.  I may never.....I don't have to decide today.  We will see....
- Since I'm "triple negative", there isn't any kind of hormone therapy that I can practice that will prevent the cancer from returning.  That said, he was adament that he didn't EVER want me to take any type of hormone replacement therapy or estrogen producers.  Just steer clear of them.  His gut tells him that.  This will cause me some issues down the road.  But not cancer issues.  So just gotta deal with those.
- Wasn't a fan of me immediately dieting to get this weight off....but felt certain that just being off the chemo I would lose it anyway.  We are butting heads on this one.....
- I told him that I would never ever put medicine of ANY kind into my mouth without consulting him first.  He calls the shots.
- We talked about some other issues and medications that I will continue taking.  I got my answers.

I'm celebrating the fact that Friday is the last one.  And holding my breath for the scans Oct 15.  And most likely, every checkup thereafter.  Dr. Sneed said that "we would be friends for a long time"......I just have to pay attention to my body and communicate with him ANY thing that doesn't seem just right. 

He told me that he and his staff were amazed at my progress and proud of how I've done.  They don't do this "dose dense" therapy on a regular basis.  I had to tell him how special each and every one of his staff members were to me.  I wanted him to know how special they made me feel every time I was there. I will miss each and every one of them terribly and plan to visit!  :)

He hugged my neck and for the first time in a LONG time....I exhaled.  My prognosis probably couldn't get any better.  I still have one more.  And while its no "walk in the park".....I can begin to heal in other ways.  To continue my journey of faith.  To get my life back.  To be a better person.

I've had SOOOOO many love me through this.  As I was typing this blog, the CMA music festival is on TV.  I'm now typing through tears as I've rewinded the DVR a dozen times to see Martina sing one of the most beautiful songs ever written.  And she points to those in the audience, bald, crying, wearing pink, holding up survivor signs.  Wow.  I am beside myself with emotion tonight so, I'm gonna end this post here.  It's too soon to find her perfomance online....but here is the official video:

I can relate to each story told.  What a beautiful tribute to not only survivors.....but to the caregivers as well.  Another moment in God's perfect timing. While I've heard this song a million times before.  Hearing her sing it this moment today. Again,  SOOOOO many have loved me through this.  Maybe WE really DID survive????

To HIM I give ALL the glory,

Monday, September 17, 2012


Writing tonight from a place of fullness of "heart" from the wonderful weekend I've had.  And from a place of ...for lack of better words....fear and confusion.  I'm hoping this entry helps me to sort out my feelings in a productive way.  I'm finding myself in unfamiliar territory.

First the good stuff....
Friday night....watched my Sam play a very wet and sloshy football game.  I'm such a PROUD Panther mom!  It was miserable weather.  Yuk.  But didn't mind being there among the other moms and cheerin for our boys.   Leigh and I cooked up several to go to Chili's.....a table of Syd's friends....and a table of Sam's friends.  And wonderful visits with parents.  (Thank you Scott & Karla for the gift card....we made great memories while using it! :))  A good good night!  :)

All the suprises!!!  :)  Big and small.....each has come in its own time and meant the world to me. Sweet cards, hats, meal cards, movie passes.....Such generosity!  My sweet friend Holley, sent me a sweet text Friday afternoon and gave us the sweetest gift.  2 razorback tickets for Saturday's game on the hill.  My Sambo was so pumped!  Got pics throughout the day from his "view."  Yes, the game was a bloodbath.  But my boy had a wonderful time.  He and David hooked up with some friends and made the trip.....and chances are they probably watched this year's National Championship team. 

Razorback tickets just aren't in my budget this year.  And Sam knows this.  It was a precious gift and I was so thrilled!  How will I ever thank her adequately?????

Since the boys were gone for the day, Syd and I had a little girls' day.  I woke up feeling crummy.  Just that time again, when the counts were dropping, etc.  Headed to the pharmacy and we ran a few errands.  One of which was breakfast at Ihop....Yummy!  While there, our dear friends, Brenda and Blake came in.....from our Cubs family.  Oh how I've missed them!  Got the chance for a quick hug and a visit.  We finished up and asked for the check....only to be told it had already been paid.  I'm gonna get her!  Thank you sweet Brenda.  I love you!
Went home and napped in between Alabama touchdowns.  Still feeling yuk....but the rainy lazy day allowed me to rest.  Chloe was visiting Syd and they were heading to Syd's first babysitting job Sat. evening.  I fed them and dropped them off and met my gang for my dear friend, Shane's birthday dinner.  Lots of laughs as always with old and new friends.  These people are so special to me!!
Happy Birthday to my Shane!
Don't they make me look good?  :)  Pretty accessories for the night! 
Shane has been such an inspirational source of strength throughout this journey.  I don't know what I'd do without her.  In fact....I will have to blog an entire entry in her honor really soon......and share here all of the encouraging words I've gotten from her at the most God-given, perfect times.  She is my Sister in Christ.  We share a special bond...she and I. God bless Shane!  :)
Today, we headed out early to UALR for Sam's baseball game.  Again, precious time shared with my baseball family.  Of course, Sam made me proud on the field.  As usual.  About 15 of us shared lunch together at Shorty Small's.....and we enjoyed the laughs and began planning our next vacation together!  :)  Surely by next summer, I'll be back on my feet enough to join in the fun.  Of the 15, 10 were of the Johnson  Just love love love them.  Envy of such family love and support.  They have always welcomed us with such love and support.  Just makes me smile.  And none of them would "own up" to buying our lunch.  Lordy.....:)
After lunch, ran home for a quick the kiddos to Pure Energy (youth choir) at Church, ran to clean the Dentist's office that I do each week, and got groceries for the week.  Everyone is sleeping, and momma is plum tuckered out!!! 
My heart is heavy and my mind is confused.  I had a small melt-down this evening.  Ok, maybe not so small.  Again, since we have been "on the go" every moment and I've not felt well.....the house is a wreck and the laundry is piled up.  I tend to forget that my kids are just  Sometimes, I have to "nudge" them a little to pick up the slack.  Ok....rephrase....sometimes, I have to down right put the "BEAT DOWN" on them and make threats of "phone removal" etc, to get a fire lit under them.  I'm so ready to be their mom again.  To cook for their be there for them and not just "exist" not rely on others to take them here and there. 
Of all the things in my life, that is the ONE thing that I've always been good at......being a good mom.  Of all the mistakes, failed relationships, and failures in "life".....that is my proudest thing.  I am good to my kids.  I know they know without a doubt I am always there for them and that I love them with all that I am.  The thing that has broken my spirit the most is where this "FBC" (haven't said that in a while!  hehe)  has impacted my ability to be a good mom.  Talk about angry.  If anyone has followed this blog from the beginning....they know that.  My kids have been forced to grow up a little the past few months.  To not only fend for themselves, but to take care of me.  Our lives revolve around cancer....chemo.....doc appointments.  We have conversations like...."Is that your bad weekend?"  "Will you feel like it by Wednesday?"  Ugggggg.....
I have to dodge volunteering for concession stand duty.....and beg on facebook for friends to buy cookie dough because I've simply not been able to do my job.  Buying groceries tonight was a feat.  When I picked up the kiddos from church.....they were excited to see hot pockets!!  How sad is that?  When moms talk about getting dirt stains out of ball pants.....I cower in my seat because I know that Sam washed his OWN ball pants for the game today.  No care for the stains.
Ok ok....I'm done whining about that.  It all built up in me tonight and I was ugly to them.  Ugly to David.  I mean....he didn't sign up for all of this.  I've not been easy to love.  Sometimes I almost force him to leave to give him the "out".....knowing he is too good a guy to ever leave me like this.  I can be mean and ugly and I've had to swallow alot of my own words and dish out some apologies tonight.  Sometimes its just all too much.  And I have diarrhea of the mouth.  I know they love me.  All of them.  David, Sam & Syd.  They understand.  They ingnore it.  And soon, they will have their mom back and to them, this will be a distant memory.  Our faith tells us that.  But I'm not very proud of myself today. 
I'm sorry to you, David.  You have been precious and have done all in your power to come to my every need.  To comfort me.  To support me.  To pick up the slack.  I know this.  And am grateful for this.  I'm sorry to my kiddos, that part of their life has been touched and altered again by this cancer.  Syd actually offered to me her babysitting money to help with expenses.  What a kid.......They have been so wonderful....and today....for a few moments, I forgot that.  For that, I'm sorry.
We couldn't attend church and SS this morning, due to baseball.  That always gets me on the wrong foot. And while I'm so ready to get that last treatment under my belt.  I have lots of fear along with it.  I meet with Dr. Sneed tomorrow.  He better settle in for a lengthy visit!  I've got lots of questions. Chemo is over.  Now what?  I have a list of questions.  Then, I guess the mental/emotional battle begins. Re-establishing a life. Being a mom again. Getting back to work....really focusing on my job.  Learning to not live in fear and panic and anxiety of cancer's return.
I am afraid of stopping the fight....almost as I was when I went in for treatment #1.  I will miss those who cared for me in the medical realm.  I am undecided as to whether to continue this blog.....and if I don't, I will miss this.  I will miss being lifted up in prayer as often when the "old Terri" returns and people begin to forget.  There is just a more emotional side to #8 than just "Yay, its over".  Because for me.....will it ever really be over????  I do have a feeling that life after chemo will be a much better place to be.  My Jesus tells me so! 
I can only pray and ask for God to guide me through my emotional health in the coming I have my physical health.  I'm resigned to turning it over to Him.  While I'm nearing the end of this phase of "healing".....I'm still walking my faith journey.  I look down at my see that familiar verse from Philippians 4:13 that I began with.  "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength."  I'm reminding myself that He will be there for me even when the cancer is gone.  When the chemo is over.  And my hair is back.  And I'm feeling strong again.  I realize now, that ANY strength I feel comes from Christ Jesus.  My scars remind me that, in HIM, I survived......
While I was cleaning in the office alone tonight, I had KLove on my phone.  This song came on to remind me of that strength......

I am not who I used to be.  I am redeemed.
Don't forget!  Time is closing in......Team Terri! We're gonna have a good time girls! :))
In Him,


Friday, September 14, 2012

Love Deeper....

This week has been slammed full!  Where EVER do I start?  I've been itchin' to blog for several days and just haven't felt up to it.  So, in true "Terri" fashion.....I made a list!  Might be a long one.....I'm settled in to write a bit....

Business first.....The medical junk.  Lucky #7 kicked my ever-lovin hiney.  Hoping to work tomorrow....Friday.  Which will be the only day this week.  I'm praying that the Lord continues to protect my job.  For I'm not the most dependable lately!  :(  The bone pain is excrutiating at times.....dull and nagging ALL the time.  Thankfully, it seems to be easing some. I've had headaches this time and some nausea and tummy stuff.  Missed out on some fun "mom things" this week.  Ballgames, church, and of course work.  Glad I've got some great friends....We may be on their couch if I don't make it through one more round!  :)

"One more round"......To some, I'm sure that doesn't mean the same thing that it does to me.  Folks, I've JUST about knocked this thing out!  Let me re-phrase....WE have just about knocked it out.  It has definately been a team effort.  We are continuing to be blessed in more ways than I can ever list.

Last Friday, I went in for my treatment.  Typically, Friday afternoons, I have the chemo room to myself.  Occassionally there are others in and out but most of the time its me and my "chemo buddies" for the day.  Always my sweet Sonya.  I think she has been there nearly every treatment.  Such a comfort.  While I'm now a is so nice to have her there.  If nothing else, we can catch up on girl talk and without fail, we share laughs.  Hope she knows what she means to me.  I'm sure I don't show it enough.

Anyway....Friday was a little different.  We shared chemo time with another fighter.  I didn't even catch her name.  I've seen her a time or two....but today we really talked.  Here I was....going on and on about how I only had "one more after this one".....and the next time "I would have my graduation".....etc.etc.  I'm going to name her "Faith".  Because she was absolutely the epitome of it!!!  Faith came in with a bubbly attitude and a smile.  Going on with the nurses like I do....Wearing a sassy little wig.  This time, she sat directly across from me and we began to chat.  Will never forget this conversation.....

Faith:  "Do you mind if I ask how old you are?"  
Me:  "I'm 41"
Faith:  "I'm 42!" and she smiled. ( It's rare that I have much in common with the others in the chemo room.....other than "chemo" of course.)
Faith:  "What kind of cancer did you use to have?"
Me:  "I have breast cancer and only have one treatment left!  Thank goodness!"  (There I go....bragging again like an idiot!  I honestly thought she was thinking mine was recurring....)
Faith:  "No, you USED to have breast cancer!" ( Big smile.....correcting me that this chemo has done its job....and I've survived.)
Me:  "Absolutely!  May I ask what your cancer WAS?"
Faith:  "Well, I was diagnosed at 31 with breast cancer.....and the doctor says its back in my liver, and I've been on chemo for 3 years.  Indefinately.  But I'm gonna make a believer out of Dr. Khalil.  My God has taken care of this.  It's gone.  I know it is.  I will have my "last treatment" day too."
Me:  Feeling like a COMPLETE jerk.....cowering at my reality check.  My heart sank.....completely sank for my new friend.  8 years out and it came back????  Chemo for 3 YEARS?  Indefinately?
Faith: "Did you have the Adriacytoxin?"
Me: "The Red Devil?  I kicked my hiney!"
Faith: "Girl, I call it the "Blood of Jesus"......."  Said with such attitude and conviction. 

We chatted a bit further about our children and such, and as she left she looked at me and we promised to pray for one another.  But I've not been able to get her out of my mind.  Sonya and I have discussed her since.  She touched both of us that day.  What a true inspiring sister in Christ I found that day.  There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord had a hand in it.  Made me think about a number of things.

This may not be over for me.  It may come back someday.  If so.....God will not leave me then.  Nor should my faith be shaken.  I'm sure the devil was there that day.  Making me cower.  Making me fear the future.  Making me worry.  You know, that is how Satan the form of worry.  Faith has no room for worry.  Only Hope.  I know that is "ok" to celebrate the fact that I've made it this far.  But it's also ok to notice my scars. 

Tim McGraw had this song once...."Live like you were Dying".....or something like that.  I can remember a couple of phrases in it...."Love Deeper and Spoke Sweeter."  This cancer has definately made me truly love in a deeper way.  Love my Christ, love my children, love my family and friends.  Love myself, even.  I know longer look in the mirror and hate myself for past mistakes.  Those emotional scars mean I "survived," just like the physical ones.  And like my friend "Faith".....if it comes back.  We begin to fight.  Again. and Again. 

It has also made me want to speak "sweeter" to others.  And constantly say "I love you."  Not always 100% successful at this one.  I'm pretty grouchy these days.  But I am consitently making the effort to try harder.  Words are so powerful.  In good ways.  And in bad ways.  The whole "sticks and stones.....blah blah blah"   Baloney!!! 

Friends, please pray for my friend Faith.  That her cancer is gone.  Forever.  And offer a prayer of thanksgiving for placing her in my path to inspire me. 

It's that time of year when the men in my life talk about nothing but football, my daughter's activies are all centered around the "game", my TV only picks up ESPN, my newsfeed is crammed with pics and status updates about everyone's favorite team, coaches, blogs, etc.  Football Season is here.

My Sam is one of 2 or 3 sophomores seeing playing time on Friday nights for the Panthers.  That's cool.  I mean, really cool.  He works so hard.  Loves the game.  And there isn't much I'd rather do than be in the stands watching him.  He also plays for the JV team on Monday nights.  My health has forced me to miss some of his moments on the field....and that KILLS me.  While I know in my heart he understands, I also know he KNOWS when I'm there.  No matter the sport.....when he hits the sidelines the first time, he is scanning the stands.  If I'm not looking, David will often nudge me....."Momma...he's looking for you!"......and I'll wave like a fool and he will give me the "head nod" and go on about his business.  I love it.  Without fail....everytime.  Yep, he knows I'm there.  Due to the many prayers, I've not missed much! 

With JV games on Mondays, Jr High on Thursdays, when Sydney dances, and Varsity on Fridays......I'm footballin 3 nights a week.  Makes me tired BEFORE the cancer thing!  haha   Like I said, no place I'd rather be!

Panthers pulled a win last Friday night after a 2 hour rain delay.  Walked off the field around midnight.  Go Panthers!

We were able to tailgate Saturday for the first LR Razorback game.  Best time with my friends and all their kiddos.....I took advantage of every single "feel good" moment that I had.  Lots of laughs and memories were made that day.  Even though the hogs suffered a loss, it was a good good day.  My heart goes out to those kids.  Kids are what they are.  The way everyone downs them.....Can't be easy to hold their heads high and I know they have Mommas.....Lordy.  Again, words.  Ouch.

Tailgate fun....:)

Sunday, we followed Sam to UALR to play fall baseball.  His "green" team pulled out a win.  And I got sweet hugs and visits from my baseball family.  Good good day.

"Last Chance"
Sunday afternoon, the side effects began and have kept me pretty much down all week.  Lots of time to reflect on those I love and how this fight has forever changed me and my "faith."  I can see the end of this battle.  But the war is far from over.  I know there will come a day.....long from now....where I might go a full day without talking about "cancer".  But I can't help but smile at all the love and friendship I have felt throughout this all.  We have come a long way since that day I stood in Dr. Harrison's office.  April 23, 2012.  Changed my life forever. 

So excited for this year's Race for the Cure.  I'm walking with a wonderful team and in memory of my sweet mother.  Forced me just imagine what this world would be like without breast cancer???  Gosh.....we need that cure.  I am so happy to see such a large team forming and so hopeful that the rest of my friends will join in!  Even if you can't make it.....They have an option to register for the "Sleep In for the Cure".....and you get to support us even though you are able to make it.  $26 and a few clicks and ya get the Tshirt.  More help my help this foundation give people like ME hope that I never have to watch my daughter go through this. 

I think I currently have 22 members registered.  We can do MUCH better than that!  I've had nearly 100 "likes" on FB from a silly post before.  Takes about that much time to do much more.  And since Komen is cool....they have a "no excuses" approach!  C'mon friends!  Don't make me seek you out!  I know that EVERYONE has someone that this disease has touched.  Join my team and walk for your personal hero! Or donate in THEIR honor or memory.  :)

Here is the link.....

Thank you! Thank you!  :)

I decided to post a pic of me.....the real me without the hat.  I never want to forget anything about this fight!

My specific prayer in the coming days is this.....That if there is ANY cancer cells left.....even the tiniest.  Any PRE-cancerous cells.  Any trace at all in my body.  That Treatment 1:30 on September 21, 2012, will go straight to them and attack until they are gone.  Heck, while I'm at it.....add that it can leave my good cells alone so I'll feel good!  :)  This is my last chance attack.  Gotta make it count!!!  Please lift me up.

Many blessings and love to everyone.
In Him,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Little Things

Tonight, I can't sleep.  Not because I feel bad or because I'm restless.  I'm simply overwhelmed.  For the most part, I have really had a good day.....physically, emotionally, spiritually.   In the life of a chemo patient....those days don't come tooooo often where the stars are lined up JUST right.  So I couldn't go to sleep without writing about THIS day.  :)

Nothing really earth-shattering happened.  Worked a full day.  Been skipping lunch hours and just "brown bagging" it to the office to get as much work done as I can before another treatment.  First of the month, so its been a tad busy.  And with a holiday thrown in there, this week has been a little extra crazy.  My days have been incredibly productive.  I can now find the top of my desk, and have addressed most of my little "stacks" that needed attention. That in itself makes me feel great!

In my last few minutes at the office, the twins (kiddos of a co-worker) came in after school. Sweet Kinley popped in beside me and chit chatted a bit. She is a 2nd grader and before I could even ASK about her new teacher, etc, etc, she asked me how I was doing......smiled big when I told her I was almost done. She said, "I don't want you to be sick." I told hugged her sweet little self tight and told her it won't be long now. We talked about my hair growing back, what it might look like, etc. She said, "You are stil so don't matter." Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. What a precious precious child!!! She never batted an eye. We shared a snack and a piece of gum and that was it!

Came home to an empty quiet house this afternoon.  Made a big ole pot of beef stew.  And homemade pimento cheese like my Mamaw taught me.  Syd was cheering for her friend Emme at her Volleyball game and Sam was still at football practice.  Cooking dinner felt good.  Felt "normal."  In all honesty, I've not felt much like doing anything but falling into bed on the days I've felt "ok".  When Sam came in the first words were, "Mom!  Something smells great!"   Love it.  The little things.....  To many, I may be over-reacting at such an everyday thing.  But for us, most of our meals have come from the hands of others or a paper bag in the last few weeks.  This was BIG!  :)  It is so wonderful to realize the littlest of things these days.

Kellie Pickler.  Wow.  The girl is awesome.  Shaved her head in honor of her close friend who is battling breast cancer.  Proudly showing her bald hat, no wig.  Simply beautiful.  I had a hard time holding back the tears when my Sonya sent me this pic today.....

Reminded me of the day I made the trip to shave mine.  David made the decision to shave his along with me.....I KNOW how loved I felt on that day.  And I know what a gesture Kellie is making for her friend.  I don't for a MINUTE think it was a publicity stunt.....and it angers me to think people would even think that.  She is a hero in my book!  You go girl!! 

I felt the "love" all over again when Sonya sent this to me.  Another "little thing" that made me smile today.

Picked up the kiddos from church and headed home for all of us to eat....again!  lol  It was a huge pot after all.  I think my Sam ate 3 or 4 bowls and at least 6 "minage cheese" (that is how syd would say pimento cheese when she was a baby....and it stuck) sandwiches.  We laughed and talked about the day.  Made plans for Syd's "game day" and pep rally tomorrow.  Syd spent an hour going through old purses of mine looking for loose change so she could have money for the concession stand tomorrow  Crazy kid....I told her no "extras" this week....we are on a budget!  So she played "finders keepers" for a while.  Everytime she found a'd have thought it was a hundred dollar bill.  The kid found about 11 bucks!   lol

I took a bath and am now in bed blogging.  Kids are in their rooms studying and such.  While ago, I get this text from sweet Bailey, daughter of my friend Sonya.  Despite my trying.....I broke down and let the tears fly.....

Not only that.....she requested prayers for me among her friends on Instagram.  I chatted with Sonya only to find that for some reason....Bailey was just really emotional tonight and felt the need to reach out to me and FOR me.  THAT my friends, hit me hard.  What a sweet little girl.  I was suprised and touched beyond words.  Overwhelmed at a child's love.  At a child's heart.  While it was a "little thing" for her to do.  I pray that she knows and understands what a "Big" thing it was for me.  That child is precious.  And I pray that she recieve 10 times the blessings that she gave for me and my children tonight.

Again, God works through everyone.  We ALL have talents and hearts that can be used to spread His love.  Sweet Bailey and precious Kinley did just that today. 

I'm heading to sleep tonight....ready for tomorrow.  Sam has to be at the school at 6:30 for baseball.  Syd dancing her first pep rally tomorrow afternoon and takes the field at halftime tomorrow night.  She is so excited and I am so proud of her!!  Big day tomorrow for the Bakers. 

Friday is Lucky #7.  Treatment, that is.  7 of 8 will be under my belt.  So please keep us in your prayers as we do this just 2 more times.  I think I can....I think I can.....I think I can!  :)

Please don't forget to register and the Race for the Cure next month. You can  even be a part of us from your couch!!!!   They have Spirit can donate and receive the shirt even if you can't physically be there!  :)  Team Terri......Come walk for your YOUR hero and join in the efforts of finding that cure.  Pah-Leese??????  :)

This link takes you right to my team page.  We need ya! 

In Him,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chemo of Faith

Still rockin along on the "new" chemo.  It IS much better I will admit.  Only two more to go!  To many people September 21 is "just another day" about 30,000 Saline County residents its the "Town to Town Showdown"......the Salt Bowl.  But to me?  and my little circle?   It's "No Mo Chemo" day!  Whoop Whoop!  :)

I feel really good about things.  After treatment #6.....aka #2 of the Taxane......I had a few days of "rotten" but muddled through and managed to even work about 16 hours last week!  Yay!  There is "rotten" and there is "Red Devil rotten".......nothing can compare the two.  While its really not a "walk in the park"......I'll take THIS chemo any day!  :)

Side effects for the medical record:  Treatment Day (Friday) -- feel good.  Saturday....Feel Good, Sunday.....The fade begins in the afternoon.  Fatigue and Bone Pain.  Mon and Tues.....Bad Bone Pain.  All over.  Wed.....Just feel crummy.  Can't really put my finger on it.....just blah!  After that I can function pretty good.....but just really tired.  Thats to be expected with low counts.  Not having to take any more Neupogen shots (we think!) so that saves about 3 trips to the doc a week.  Nearing the end folks!  :)

Had a super great weekend.  Had zero agenda.  Kiddos came and went.  I cleaned my house on Saturday......felt so good!  Did a little grocery shoppin......and watched the Hogs.  Don't laugh at me....but I am a HUGE reality tv buff.  There was a "The Hills" marathon on MTV and I watched every episode this weekend.  Yep, I'm a dork.  Just love the show.  I love fashion.  Kinda made me miss my hair though.  They all have such beautiful hair!!!!  Can't wait for mine to grow back.......well, I hope!   lol   Its a mystery as to what my new look will be!  Maybe I can have Heidi Montag hair this time!  :)

On Sunday, Sunday School and Church was great.  Sunday School is wall-to-wall friends again.  Love it.  When school starts back, so does the routine.  Everyone is back home and church is just more wonderful in the company of friends.  Had a great lesson, wonderful discussion, and talked to me in personal ways.  Pastor Rick, as always, spoke a powerful sermon.  On a dry erase board on my fridge states his words from Sunday....."Are your words....True, Kind, AND Necessary?"  Wow.  Think about how this world if we ALWAYS practiced that?  True. Kind. Necessary.   Something to think about. 

I chatted with a sweet friend, Jenny, in between SS and Church, and she began to tell me what an inspiration I have been to her.  That even through my "storm", I have continued to praise Him. Of course, I confessed that on most days I'm pretty grumpy and don't feel very "inspirational."  I proceeded to tell her what I was working on in this blog.  I have cancer.  And quite frankly.....the cancer, the chemo, the feeling bad, the financial strain it has put on my family, the overall "inconvenience" it has been to me as a mother.....all of all honesty I cannot tell you how it has changed my life.

I don't know how my future is going to unfold.  I may have a scan at the end of this and show cancer somewhere else.  I may be like Robin Roberts.....and suffer something down the road from all the Chemo my body has endured.  OR I may walk out of those doors on Sept 21.....with truly my LAST treatment under my belt forever.  I may live to be a hundred and this be a distant memory someday.  We just don't know.  Am I afraid?  Sure I am.  Will I always hold my breath when I have a test or a scan or xray?  You bet.  Will every little ache or pain or headache or "cyst" bother me?  Of course.  

But I will tell you this.  I will spend the rest of my days.....trying to tell others about Jesus.  Maybe not in words.  But by the way I live.  Will I be perfect??  Never.  But this cancer has changed my life and blessed me in so many incredible ways.  This "cancer" has HEALED me in other areas of my life.  Past relationships, past mistakes, past ways of living.  Things that USED to matter to me....and used to bring me to worry constantly......i,e, money, parenting, useless "gossip" and "drama"......I've turned over to the Lord.  My whole focus on living is now different.  I have never been broker than I am right now.  Today.  I literally have $30 in my wallet.  Zero in the bank.  Rent is due. The electric bill is outragious. Prescriptions that need to be filled. Medical bills out the wazooo.  I have three ballgames to go to this week.  Am I worried?  Nope. faith is in God.  I was invited to ride to a game tomorrow night with a friend....My gas tank is full and the cubbards aren't bare....get the idea?   I have healthy children and in five days I will get another paycheck.  It will work out.  It always does.  Always.

I have friends who gossip.  Who use facebook as a weapon to be ugly and cruel to others.  I have friends who get caught up in drama constantly.  I still love them.  And I will continue to be right there beside them.  And yep!  I use FB to vent from time to the kind Police officer who scolded me for the "incorrect seatbelt" use.  But I am trying to no longer buy into drama of any kind.  I'm trying hard to love others for who they are.  To try to be a light for THEM if only by keeping quiet.  You see?  If it isn't "true, kind, AND necessary" to say......then why say it??  That statement was like taking a bullet.  Ouch.

I have friends that are simply precious.  Who check on me nearly everyday.  Who are "do-ers", show up at my house and wash my dirty underwear......who bring me meals......who cart my kids to and fro.  Who just tell me to "shut up and go to bed....We've got this!" :)  Ones who show up at my office with sonic drinks and hugs!  I have friends from afar that text, call, and write to me.  Send me greeting cards and meal cards, and financial gifts.  I have old friends I haven't seen or talked to in years.....who reach out to me and have made ME a part of their everyday life by placing me in their prayers.  I have new friends.....friends I've met BECAUSE of the cancer....who I will truly miss when all of this is over.  Who I will be forever grateful to for their gentle kindness.  My doctors, my nurses, and even those sweet folks who share this disease with me and understand my fight.  Others who have stepped in to help us.....a family they don't even know.....get through this time.  Sweet ones I now call friends.

I have the friends I've loved for years....who have never left my side.  Who continue to love me and would drop everything to come be with us if we needed anything at all.  I have a very different family dynamic.....and I do feel like I've been brought closer to some because of my illness.  It has brought precious strangers into my life....who pray for me. 

I have kids with the strength of Daniel, and with the patience of Job.  They are MY source of light, fight, and faith every single day.  I am amazed at how they live every single day without a doubt that mom's gonna be ok and this is almost over!  :)  They both are working soooooooo hard and I get a run-down each evening of their day's events, that never cease to make me proud.  Sam is working so hard in football.....and in a few days baseball gears back up.  The kid never stops.  Syd is loving the dance team and is working so hard.  Both are bringing home good grades and keeping up with homework.  They make my job as a mom pretty easy most days. 

I have wonderful, God-loving bosses who fully understand my struggles and who have worked with me throughout this journey and always put my health first.  They make me want to give my "ALL" as an employee and have been a source of comfort to me knowing my job was secure.  Many times I have to text: "Not doing well today...will try again tomorrow".......and the reply is ALWAYS..."Sorry you are not feeling well....take care of yourself."  What a blessing in itself. 

My point is this.  I would do it ALL be where I am now in my faith.  And my close circle knows exactly how brutal this has really been on me.  That is a powerful statement.  And one I make with strong conviction.  The insurmountable blessings that have been poured upon us cannot be measured.  My priorities are different.  My feelings are different.  My whole being has been changed.  It changed everything.  I've prayed over and over for the Lord to heal my body.  And I've made a deal with Him.....for lack of better words.  I will use the rest of my days trying to be a comfort to others going through this.  To be someone else's hero.  Please don't misunderstand.  I'm not trying to say I've grown into all I want to be.  I'm far from a hero......but if my story.....if my words....can comfort another "Momma w/Cancer" then maybe I've found a purpose??

More importantly, I think its appropriate to use the whole "chemo" analogy.  Chemo basically kills ALL cells in the blood....good and bad.  Then the "good" cells reproduce and the "bad" ones are killed.  Gone.  This cancer has truly been my "Chemo."  It has beat me down....even killing my good spirit on some days.  Many days.  BUT.....mostly it is working to kill all the "bad" things as well.  If everything I do is in HIS glory......I believe I will find my purpose.  If my focus is on the things that REALLY matter.....He will bless it.  I have found my second chance within this cancer.  I have found my blessings.  I have found my faith.  I want to continue life with the "good" stuff.  Chemo killed the bad......

I will always remember the ugliness of this journey.  I have scars.....hurts......and fears.  This excerpt from the book, "Little Bee" was shared with me by my dear friend, Statia......(Start w/ On the girl's brown legs.....)

My scars mean I SURVIVED!  How powerful is that?????  And I am constantly reminded how "alive" I am.  My sad story has shown me SOOOO many marvelous blessings. 

What a cool awesome journey I'm on......Don't leave me friends. He placed you in my path because He knew I'd need ya!  :)

In Him,