Thursday, March 29, 2012

Update 9

One of our beautiful azalea bushes

Well, it seems like we went from winter to summer here in Mississippi!  It has been in the 80s for quite some time now.  All of the trees are getting greener by the day, and the dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom.

Today is Day 22 since my surgery!  I am doing really well.  The fog of fatigue has lifted in the last few days.  I still have to take recliner breaks throughout the day, mostly because I get discomfort and muscle spasms when I stay up on my feet too long.  Also, I have been trying to limit using my arms too much---not lifting heavy things or reaching up too high.  However, I am walking 5 days a week (this is my second week to do this), and I really do think that the slow walking is making me feel better.  I have built up to 30 minutes of walking each day, and I plan to walk 35 minutes tomorrow.  My goal is to walk the Coke 10K on May 5.  I would really like to actually run a little bit of it!  I saw my plastic surgeon today, and he said I could try slow running in 2 weeks!  However I complete it, I do plan to complete the Coke 10K.

Our days are busy with running practice, piano and art lessons, schoolwork, and my doctor's appointments. I am hoping that after meeting with my oncologist next week, my doctor visits should slow down a bit.  I am not the energizer bunny that I usually am, so all of these things take me longer than normal.  And while I am not totally fatigued anymore, I tire more easily than I used to.  I am still being blessed with meals from my dear friends, and while I feel guilty about them cooking for me, it really is such a blessing.  

One of our dogwoods

Our barn

Another pretty dogwood

I haven't been able to help with any of our spring yard work, but Jimmy and the children have gotten our yard to looking so pretty!  I think they plan to finish it all up tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Clay's 13th Birthday!

Today is Clay's 13th birthday, and I think he has had a good day!  I had to have some help in pulling off this family birthday celebration.....Jimmy did most of the shopping for Clay's gifts, Julie decorated the table (and came up with the idea of what to decorate with!), and Olivia lovingly wrapped all of Clay's gifts.  I did manage to cook his requested breakfast, bacon and Belgian waffles, and I also made his birthday dessert (not a cake!), blueberry cobbler.

 Isn't this a cute centerpiece that Julie made?

 Julie decorated the table with fishing supplies that were gifts from all of the siblings to Clay.

After breakfast, we continued our tradition of the birthday person sitting in the chair while his gifts are brought to him, one by one.  Today, Sam wanted to sit in the chair with Clay.


 One of Clay's gifts, The Backyard Blacksmith

 another gift, a fishing vest/life preserver

Clay spent his morning playing outside on his ripstick and milling around his blacksmith area.  He received two early birthday presents, an anvil and a forge!  He and Jimmy have to do a little bit of work before he can actually use the forge, but they hope to get it going by this weekend. 

Clay requested that we eat lunch at The Olive Garden, so we did!  Then he just spent the afternoon playing some more.  Around our house, your birthday is a special holiday.  No school, no chores--your siblings do your chores for you!  So I think he has enjoyed his day of leisure.

We will not be having a family meal tonight, because Jimmy has taken the girls to the annual Homeschool Father/Daughter Banquet.  I normally help with this event, but since I am still recovering, I am spending this evening here at home with my two boys.  Right now, they are still outside constructing something!

 Clay with Pokey--remember that this puppy weighed only 5 pounds when we took him in.

Jimmy and the girls

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Exercise Plan

Well, this time last year I was in the final weeks of my very first marathon training.  Today, I walked 1 mile.  It took 17:30.  At that pace I could complete a marathon in 7 hours, 30 minutes.

But it was a mile!  I have walked four times this week...1/4 mile, 1/3 mile, 1/2 mile, and then today a whole mile.  It may be months before I can run again, but I am still going to walk.  I would love to build up to walking for 1 hour each day.

I also went to the grocery store for the first time today since my surgery.  Julie went with me and pushed the cart, however, I think I could have pushed it just fine by myself!

We did a full day of school today.  My goal for next week is three full days of school.  Normally in April I am ordering books and supplies for the next school year.  I may not be ready to think about next year's school until May.  Sam will finally have his 100th day of school celebration next Wednesday.  I hope it will be fun for him.  This will be our last time to do this!

Clay's birthday is Monday, and then I will have three teenagers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Rainy Day

We woke up to rain this morning, and it is supposed to rain all day.  And although the Spartans (our homeschool cross country/track team) usually practice in all kinds of weather, today the rain is too much, even for the Spartans.  So our 8:00 AM practice was cancelled.  Julie woke up at 6:00 AM to prepare a yummy breakfast of sausage and cheese muffins for the children to take to eat after practice.  Now we can enjoy them here at home!

We will stay home today and do school!  I plan to stay put in my recliner for most of the day, and let the children bring their schoolwork to me to check or if they need help.  I am so glad that I spend so much time each summer organizing and planning the children's schoolwork for the entire year.  It has made our homeschool much easier since February 7, when I first learned that we would be having a bump in our road.

Poor Clay!  Yesterday he spent part of his morning spreading out bales of pine straw all around the play area in our back yard--where the swing set and fort are.  Apparently, there was some poison ivy somewhere in that pine straw.  Within just a few minutes of his coming inside, he was covered with poison ivy.  He is highly allergic to it!  It was all over his face, his arms, his feet, his legs, his trunk.  And, he was wearing long pants and boots!  I gave him a benadryl, and had him take a shower, and then Jimmy and I had to leave for my doctor's appointment.  (That's all I do now it seems like.....go to the doctor!)  I had a good report, by the way--it was with my general surgeon, and he said he would see me again in 6 months.  When we got home, Clay's reaction to the poison ivy looked even worse, so I did something I rarely do, I took him to the doctor!  I was trying to think of the last time that Clay had been to the doctor, and I think it was when he was five to get his immunizations!  He will be 13 on Monday.  So the nurse practitioner we saw gave him two prescriptions.  He actually got worse last night before he began to get better, but finally before bedtime he seemed to be getting some relief. He is not awake yet, but I am expecting him to be ok.

I figured it out, and I am 13 days behind in my B90 reading.  So that means that this time around I will be reading the Bible in 103 days.  Here is a verse from today's reading.

"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him."  Nahum 1:7

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another Update (8)

After admitting that I had overdone it on Saturday and Sunday, I really did not learn my lesson.  I thought I did.  I thought I balanced resting and not resting well enough on Monday, but apparently I did not!  By Monday night I was exhausted again, and I spent all day yesterday in the recliner.  All day.

To put into perspective what "overdoing it" looks like for me, here is all that I did.

  • Upon awakening Monday morning, I rested until time to get ready for my doctor's appointment (plastic surgeon).
  • 10:30--I showered and blew dry my hair.  Both washing and blow drying my hair are workouts.
  • 11:30--I drove myself to the PS office.  This was my very first time to drive post-surgery, and I will admit it was hard and very tiring.  
  • 12:30--drove myself home from PS office.  This visit was uneventful.  This was my first appointment with him post-surgery, and he just needed to check on me.  I was cleared to walk slowly and short distances without swinging my arms for exercise.  He also told me to start doing some arm exercises so I can get my range of motion back.  I go back to see him again next week.
  • 1:00--rested in recliner.  My sweet friend who teaches my children piano, came to my house to pick them up for their lessons so that I could rest.  I rested.
  • 3:10--drove Leah and Sam to XC practice (met Olivia, Julie, and Clay there).
  • 3:30--walked one lap around the track.  That's 1/4 of a mile.  That's all I did.  Then I sat in a lawn chair until practice was over.
  • 5:00--drove all the children home and basically rested until bedtime.
That tiny bit of activity combined with what I thought was adequate rest wore me out completely!  I slept poorly for the first time since my surgery.  I had more than discomfort, I had what I would consider pain, so I took tylenol, but still had a restless night.  
I did stay in the recliner all day yesterday hoping that I would feel better.  I felt pretty good as long as I was reclined, but whenever I walked around for a short period of time, I got pretty uncomfortable.  Last night I tried to sleep in the bed, but it just hurt too badly.  I got back in my recliner.  I guess I will be sleeping in the recliner for quite a while.  In fact, in the reading online I have been doing, that seems to be normal--recliner sleeping.  I had another restless, not able to sleep, feeling like I was being stabbed night.  

And this morning it dawned on me, why I couldn't sleep, and why I was so uncomfortable yesterday despite my resting.  I finished my twice a day Valium on Sunday.  I didn't realize how much that helped with the muscle discomfort (stabbings).  In fact, when the nurse in the hospital first gave me the Valium I told her that I did not need that.  My nerves and anxiety level were fine!  (I thought that was what Valium was for.)  She explained that it served as a muscle relaxer, and would aid my recovery.  She was right!  So this morning I took a non-drowsy muscle relaxer (not sure of the name), and I feel so much better.  I am definitely going to continue taking these before bedtime so I can get some rest in my recliner.

I walked 1/3 of a mile today on our driveway.  Very slowly.  And I did not swing my arms. 

Progress.  Slow, but progress.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Labor of Love

I don't really even have the words to adequately describe this absolutely beautiful quilt that was lovingly made for me my by some of my friends.  

Heather invited some of our friends to her home a couple of weeks before my surgery to have a quilting bee....these ladies and some of their daughters each embroidered or painted on the white squares of the quilt.  My three daughters each made a square too!  (They kept the surprise from me.)

Then Heather--sweet, hard-working, staying up all night to finish something, Heather--sewed this entire quilt together.  Piece by piece.

It is a masterpiece.

When Heather brought it to me while I was still in the hospital, I just laid there and cried while she told me who made each square.  I was medicated......I was so sleepy, but I was still aware enough to know what a great sacrifice of time each of the ladies had made for me.

This quilt has been my only cover that I have used both night and day from the moment Heather unfolded it and placed it on me in the hospital bed.

I will treasure this quilt for the rest of my life.

When I am fully recovered, and am no longer lying in the recliner for long stretches each day, I plan to keep this quilt lovingly folded at the foot of my bed.  To serve as a reminder of the fantastic friends that I have.  I am truly humbled by their love.

Joy.  And still a little teary-eyed.  That's how I feel every time I look down at my cover these days.

Monday, March 19, 2012

After Mastectomy Day 12

Good Morning!  I have decided to use the word mastectomy in some of my blog titles so it will be more google searchable.  I really hope to encourage and inform women who may need it.

Today's report:  I think I overdid it the last two days.

I was feeling stronger, and I had basically had no discomfort, so I chose to do a little bit of tidying around the house.  At first I said I would set my phone timer and be up and around for 30 minutes, and then get in the recliner and rest.  That worked for a couple of rounds, but I just kept wanting to do one more thing.  On Saturday, I got myself all ready and attended a 70th wedding anniversary reception for a couple from our church.  I sat the entire time, and we only stayed about 30 minutes, but by the time we got home, I was wiped out.  I mean wiped out!  I got in my recliner and slept for 2 hours!  Frustrating.

Yesterday, I did a little bit more picking up around the house.....trying to get the hospital look out of my bedroom and den.  I folded and put away all of the pajamas and other clothes all stacked around my bedroom, tidied up the various books and cards, and put away all of my medicine bottles.  I folded up all of the blankets in our den, and got rid of all of the stacks of my stuff in there too.  I put away several gifts, put all of my cards in one basket to keep and to re-read....and then I straightened my pantry and laundry room.  I think that was too much.  I felt ok while I was doing all of that, but then the fatigue and for the first time in days, some pain set in.  Frustrating.  So I rested the rest of the afternoon.  And then I showered and dressed and attended our evening church service with my family.  And yes.  That wore me out.  I came home straight to the recliner where I stayed until it was time to read to Leah and Sam before bed, and then I went back to the recliner for the night.

Now, that does not sound like a lot of activity for two days, does it?  But somehow, it was too much!  So I had to take a tylenol last night.  I am resting right now and I plan to rest until 10:30 this morning.  And then I have to get ready, because I have my first post-surgery appointment with my plastic surgeon today at 12:00.  And when I get home from that, I plan to rest all afternoon.  I have learned my lesson.  My mind is willing, but my body is still weak!

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."  Philippians 2:3-4 

I am going to look after the interests of my family and take better care of myself, and not look selfishly at my to-do list, that actually in the long run is making things harder for my family.  

Our school plan for this week:  I am going to read aloud our Sonlight books to Sam, Leah, and Clay each day except for Wednesday (when Jimmy is off and I have another doctor's appointment).  I have asked the three older children to do three lessons in each subject this week--at their own pace.  All I will have to do is check Clay's math and maybe explain a new concept to him.  I can do this from the recliner.  By the end of the week I may have Leah and Sam do some phonics and math, but only if feel stronger.

Fun News:  I got an email yesterday from Beachbody saying that they had shipped my Insanity t-shirt!  Hooray!  You can't buy those shirts, they only give you one if you can prove that you have completed the entire 63 day program.  I filled out in great detail a 3 page application assuring them that I did indeed do every single day of Insanity, only resting two days towards the end when I was recovering from my first biopsy.  So it actually took me 65 days.  Anyway, my Insanity shirt is on it's way!  :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm Getting Stronger!

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7

First of all, let me say that I hope I am not boring my readers with my daily recovery stories, but, I have scoured the internet for blogs written by women who have undergone mastectomies and reconstruction and I just haven't found that many written by women like me--women who are my age, or who homeschool, or are full time homemakers, or just have lifestyles like mine.  So, I want to blog my experience in hopes of helping some lady doing a google search wanting to read about someone like her.  Does that make sense?

So, on to today's report.  Today is day 9 after my surgery.  I have had no pain medication, not even a tylenol in 24 hours!  I still suffer nausea, so I am taking Zofran a couple of times a day. I am not sure what is causing the nausea, but it makes me miserable, so I am taking the Zofran.  I took a shower, washed my hair, put on my make-up, and fixed my hair all by myself today!  And then I took a one hour nap!  

My mama went home today.  She has been with my children for ten days, and she has been at my house with all of us for six days.  But I feel well enough now to be here alone with my children, and I know that she needed to get home to and check on my daddy and grandmother.  Plus my daddy's birthday is tomorrow!  My mama has been invaluable these last several days.  Before my surgery, I thought I would be just fine here at home recovering alone with my family......but my mother insisted that she needed to stay.  Wow!  She was right!  I could have never made it this last week without her being here.  She is just a phone call and three hours away if I need her to come back, but I am going to try to make it alone now.

School--well, we are doing the school of life right now.  My girls are putting into practice all of their homemaking skills, and my boys are doing all of the manly chores.  And they are all earning an A+!  Thankfully, my dear, dear friends are bringing meals to our family six days a week for the next few weeks!  How great is that??  I hope to feel up to reading aloud to the children beginning on Monday, and maybe we can start back to full school a week later.  But, I am not going to push it.  I have many, many doctor visits for the next few months, and we are just going to work around that.  

My reading--so far, I have just not been able to read much except Facebook and blogs. I just get so sleepy and it's hard for me to concentrate.  Several friends have given me inspirational books and I bought a couple of books for myself before my surgery, and of course, I am way behind in my Read the Bible in 90 Days Plan.  I haven't decided if I want to try to spend the next two weeks trying to catch up, or just begin tomorrow where I left off, reading one day's readings per day, and just stretching this plan to 120 days.  I think that is more reasonable.  I can't wait to read all of my new books!  

I cannot thank each of you enough for your Facebook comments, emails, phone calls, texts, and visits.  I treasure your friendships!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Update 7

"We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!  For Your wondrous works declare that Your Name is near."
  Psalm 75:1

Today is the 8th day after my surgery.  And I feel so much better, and so thankful!  Yesterday I had an appointment with my general surgeon (He is so kind!  He is actually off this week for spring break, but met me at his clinic to see me anyway.)  I got two sets of great news while at his office.
  1. I got all three of my drains out!  All three!  I was a happy girl.  So, that meant that I got to take my very first shower in a week last night.  That was wonderful.  It wore me out, and I had to go straight to bed, but it was a wonderful shower.
  2. I received the results on my lymph nodes, and they were negative--I am cancer free!  The surgery completely cured me, and the cancer is all gone and had not spread anywhere!  Praise the Lord!  However, my cancer was hormone receptive, and my husband and my general surgeon will be discussing with the oncologist to decide if I will need to take the tamoxifen.
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever."  Psalm 136:1

I am off of all pain medication except for tylenol, and I still have to take an occasional Zofran for nausea.  I would really like to sleep in my bed at night, but I can only get comfortable in the recliner.  As I am typing this, I am actually sitting in the bed beside Sam.  This is my first time to sit anywhere besides the recliner.  Progress!  I really did not believe the doctors when they told me how long my recovery would be.  Ha!  I thought--weeks of rest, months before I would be running--not me!  But I believe them now.  It is still a workout to walk around my house!

My mother is still here, and she is doing a super job at keeping my house and watching over the children.  She has been my chauffeur, and has really learned her way around Tupelo while driving the children to various activities.  She has also taken the children shopping for shoes and craft supplies, and I think they are going to be sewing for the next couple of days.

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things  which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I am truly thankful that I have been through and will continue to go through (the long reconstruction process) this trial.  I am first of all thankful that it was not worse than it was, but even if I had to endure chemotherapy I would still choose to be thankful.  I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned in compassion and empathy and expressing love to others.  Previously, I always took a meal to mothers of new babies, I would try to remember to send get well cards and sympathy cards, and I tried to remember to pray for all of those who asked me to pray for them.  But I did not do as much as I could have.

But I will never look at sick people the same way again.  I know now what to do when people are in need.  That is the biggest blessing of my journey.  I have truly learned empathy and compassion.  I never realized how much a card, a phone call, a promise of prayer, a text, a thoughtful gift, a meal, help with children and just sitting with the person who was scared about her future really meant to someone in need.  It has made all the difference in the world to me, and I will spend the rest of my life doing the same for others.  

I have learned the antidote to personal stress and anxiety--prayer for others--and I now write down and pray for anyone and everyone who asks for prayers.  I bought a Count Your Blessings journal before my surgery, and while I am going to fill it with lists of my blessings, I am also designating pages for prayer requests.  I plan to keep this book with my cell phone (which is always at my side) and I record the prayer requests as they come in on Facebook and in emails.  I plan to also carry my blessing journal to church and record the prayer requests announced there too.  

God's Word is true.  We are to be thankful in all circumstances, and He does work all things for good for those who love Him.  I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned about caring for others.

Monday, March 12, 2012

After Mastectomy Day 5

Who knew that running a marathon and walking from my bedroom to my kitchen would have so much in common--requiring extreme effort and resulting in unexplainable fatigue!  Today is day 5 since my surgery, and while I am feeling a little bit stronger, and I am still shocked by how weak and pretty much worthless that I am.  I know that the doctors told me that I would need to do completely nothing for one week, and then gradually increase my activities over the next month,but I had no idea what that really meant!  Basically all I do is sit in a recliner and sleep.  I wake up periodically to visit with my family and friends, and's back to sleep!  I am taking less pain medication today, but I am extremely nauseous. I am trying to be patient!  I am ready to be back to normal, and it is discouraging to think that "normal" may be a couple of months away.

So far I have not been able to do any reading.  I just can't concentrate, and then I fall asleep!  But I did accomplish something big today!   I took a sponge bath, sprayed dry shampoo in my hair, and changed my pajamas--all by myself!  I almost feel clean!

I hope to have a more exciting update soon.  I am still so thankful that I made it through the surgery without complications.  I am thankful for my mother staying here and keeping my household running.  I am thankful for my friends for visiting, sending beautiful flowers and sweet cards, and for bringing delicious food.  Most of all I am thankful for my wonderful husband.  He has taken the best care of me!

10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Colossians  1:10-12

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm Home!

I came home yesterday afternoon, after staying one night in the hospital.  I am taking pain medication around the clock (Jimmy typed a spreadsheet of all of my medications so we could keep up with everything!), so I am sleepy.  I am resting fairly comfortably in a recliner.  So far, my recovery has been much better than I anticipated.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers!  I felt a real sense of peace the day before my surgery, and I know it was because of all of you praying for me.

I'll blog more when my mind is clearer!  :)

Megan was right when she said that I have never felt more loved!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

After Mastectomy Day 1

Hello everyone!  This is Megan, Roan's sister-in-law.  Roan asked me to update this blog for all of you to stay updated on her surgery and progress so far.

Roan arrived at the hospital this morning around 6 am for all the pre-op formalities.  Her surgeon visited with her to go over all the specifics of the day and prayed with her.  I don't know about y'all, but I'm so comforted to have such a caring physician taking care of my sweet friend!  Once the versed was in effect, the nurses took her down for the sentinel injection.  This was a pretty quick procedure.  Jimmy, Lynn, and I were glad to see her return in such good spirits.  When it was time for surgery, we gathered around her as Jimmy prayed over her.  It was a sweet moment as we asked God to hold Roan in the palm of His hand...just as He has every day of her life.  The surgery went extremely well.  They did end up taking two lymph nodes, and they will give the final report on those in the coming days.  The surgeon was very pleased, and he kept us updated every step of the way.  They completed the mastectomy and began the reconstruction process all in about two hours. After a little over an hour in recovery, she greeted us in her room with a smile and with a kiss for Jimmy.  Currently, Roan in resting and enjoying her "magic button" as she admires her beautiful flowers and greets her sweet friends and family who stop by to visit.

I know I can speak for Jimmy and Roan when I say that we could never thank you all enough for all the prayers, kind words, support, flowers, visitors, food, etc.  Roan told us about something she recently read from breast cancer survivors.  When one lady shared her diagnosis with a friend, the first thing out of the friend's (and fellow breast cancer survivor) mouth was...'You'll never feel more loved.'"  Roan said that she was exactly right...because Roan has never felt more loved.  She has been overwhelmed, touched, and humbled by all of your love, care, and concern.

Please keep Roan and her family in your prayers this week as she begins to adjust to this new journey.  We are praying for Roan to remain as comfortable as possible and to get the rest she needs.  We are praying earnestly for good pathology results later this week or early next week.

We are also praising God for the good things He has done!  We are so thankful for such a good report today!  We are thankful for the compassionate doctors and nurses who have taken such great care of Roan...and been very helpful and informative to us.  You should know that Roan remembers each of their names, tells us about them, and has Lynn write them down in her notebook.  We are thankful for all of YOU who continue to lift Roan up in prayer!  We are thankful for God's comfort and promises through this bump.  And, we are thankful for Roan!  We are thankful to our Father for blessing us with her sweet life and her precious friendship!  We are thankful that, even now, Roan is glorifying God throughout her trials!

Until our next report...we remain joyful, patient, and faithful in prayer!   

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update 4

Well, my surgery is tomorrow!  I am as ready as I guess I will be.  My house is clean, I am almost through washing/drying/folding all of our clothes, and I will be meeting my parents this afternoon to give them my children.  This all still seems surreal to me, especially since I don't feel sick, and tomorrow after the surgery, and all of my cancer is removed I will be feeling poorly for a while.  But I plan to bounce back as soon as possible!  I have already decided that I will run another marathon, post-mastectomy.  Lynn mentioned yesterday that we should run the New York City Marathon.  I am not sure about that exact one, but we will be picking out a really cool one for us to train for and run.

In my Bible reading this morning I read the following passage in Lamentations.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,

Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

To the soul who seeks Him.
 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26

Many friends and readers have told me that since hearing about the early detection of my breast cancer, they have been motivated to schedule a mammogram for themselves.  Fantastic!  Please do that!  Early detection is so important! I was guilty of taking my good health for granted, and I did not take seriously my doctor's recommendation of having a mammogram two years ago.  I did not want to make the time for another appointment, another school day disrupted.  But, thankfully, this year I chose to have a check-up and do all of the recommended tests for women my age.  I encourage you to take care of your health too.

I am not sure when I will be able to update again.  I appreciate all of  your encouragement and prayers.  Saying, "thank you" seems so inadequate, but I have been enormously blessed by all of you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Homeschooling Home Economics

As I have mentioned before, this year I am teaching my two oldest girls a fairly comprehensive Home Economics course, that I created specifically for them.  I have been pleased with how it has gone.  I still need to take pictures of the long tiered skirts they finished back in January.

Today, I have a post at The Homeschool Classroom that describes how I taught budgeting money to my girls.  I plan to write a series of posts for The Homeschool Classroom that will describe other aspects of our Home Ec course this year.

We had a congregational singing at our church service last night, and I was reminded of God's promises to love and take care of us through all situations as I really listened to the words of the songs. One song we sang is called There's a Rainbow in the Cloud.  I do believe that.  I am looking for the rainbow right now.  I know that the outpouring of love, support, promises of prayers, and words of encouragement from my family and friends have been to me a rainbow in my clouds of fear and anxiety concerning my surgery and recovery.  I also know that God has a purpose and possibly a bigger rainbow!  I am still thankful.  I am still scared.  But I am trusting in the Lord to help me these upcoming days.

There's a Rainbow in the Cloud
Alton Howard, P. West

As I journey here mid the toil and tears,
There's a rainbow in the cloud
He will safely lead, I must have no fear,
There's a rainbow in the cloud.

After storm and rain, fields of golden grain,
There's a rainbow in the cloud,
Winter's cold and pain, summer's harvest grain,
There's a rainbow in the cloud,

When the storms all pass, comes a brighter day,
There's a rainbow in the cloud,
In that City fair, there's a crown to wear,
There's a rainbow in the cloud,

There's a rainbow that is shining,
There's a rainbow in the cloud;
When life's race is run, and the victory's won,
There's a rainbow in the cloud.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Update 3

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

I met with the plastic surgeon yesterday, and we have a plan!  My surgery will be next Wednesday.  I will be having the bilateral mastectomy, a sentinel node biopsy (lymph nodes), and the beginning of reconstruction.  In a few months, I will have a second surgery to complete the reconstruction process.  I will be staying in the hospital for one or two nights, depending on how I feel, and I will have to rest completely for a week, and then gradually resume my activities after that.  I can't remember when he said I would be able to run, but it was either after one month or two months.  I plan to begin walking as soon as they clear me to do so!

I now have a few more days to do what I think I need to do before my recovery period.  I checked many things off of my "to do list" yesterday.  I still need to go to Walmart for my monthly shopping, and I plan to gather and/or purchase the books I plan to read while resting.  I am still a little behind in the Bible in 90 Days plan, so I will use my down time to catch up on that too!  

I am still so thankful that this surgery is all that I have to do to be well!  I know how much worse things could be, and I am grateful for my situation.  I am looking forward to putting this bump in the road behind me!  

Thank you again, so very much for all of your kind, encouraging words and promises of prayer.  It means so much to me!  My friend, Esther, emailed me the words of this hymn, and it is perfect.

"Day by Day"
Carolina Sandell Berg, A.L. Skoog, Oscar Ahnfelt

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

Every day the Lord himself is near me
with a special mercy for each hour;
all my cares he fain would bear, and cheer me,
he whose name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of His child and treasure
is a charge that on Himself he laid;
"As your days, your strength shall be in measure"
this the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
so to trust your promises, O Lord,
that I lose not faith's sweet consolation
offered me within your holy Word.
Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
e'er to take as from a father's hand,
one by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
till I reach the promised land.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Update 2

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:5-6.

Yesterday I had the MRI, and let me just say, that was a terrifying experience!  It ranks up there with my root canal last year!  I am claustrophobic, and the combination of lying on my stomach with my face down in a donut-shaped pillow plus not being able to move, and of course being inside a tunnel with jackhammers pounding in my ears for about 30 minutes, about did me in!  I really thought that I was going to crawl out of the machine for the first five minutes or so.  I just kept repeating to myself, "medical technology is a good thing".  Then I calmed myself by recalling how I had survived the 85 degree Andrew Jackson Marathon, and next I began praying for anyone I could think of and reciting Scripture.  I bet I said Psalm 23 fifty times!  Finally, it was over!

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever."  1 Chronicles 16:34

Later in the day Jimmy and I met with my general surgeon, who is so kind and understanding.  After he and the radiologist discussed the results of my MRI, and after he explained everything to Jimmy and me, I now have my surgical plan--a plan that will completely cure me and also reassure me that the cancer will not return.

Bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

I do not have a surgery date yet, but I will after I meet with the plastic surgeon this afternoon.  It will be one day next week.

I am so thankful for all of my family and friends who are offering to help out in any way.  My parents, of course, want to do anything for me, and they are going to do what will give me the greatest peace of mind while I am in the hospital and recovering--they are taking my children to their house to stay for several days.  I will not be worried about my children at all while they are at Mims and Pops's house!  My mother has two sewing machines and a serger which she will set up for my girls.  They are planning a sewing/crocheting/crafting marathon!  My parents have thousands of Legos for Clay and Sam to play with, and of course they will eat yummy food, watch TV, and in general have a mini-vacation.

My sweet sister-in-law Megan visited me Tuesday, and she came to help out!  She folded all of my laundry (which was a lot!), vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed, checked some schoolwork, cleaned three bathrooms, and took my girls to Hobby Lobby so they could buy a birthday present.  Thank you Megan!

We have declared a hiatus from school for now.  I am distracted, and I just keep thinking of one more thing to do, one more errand to run, before I am house-bound for a short time.  I am hoping that while I am recovering I will feel like reading aloud to the children, but that is all that I plan to do school-wise, until I am feeling back to normal.  

"My brethren, count is all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."  James 1:2

I am still trying to stay positive.  I know that I am fortunate that my cancer was diagnosed early, and that it is curable without months of treatments.  That really is a blessing.  But, the anxiety of the entire situation is sometimes overwhelming.  I can cry at the drop of a hat (and I am not a cryer).  I am afraid.  I can't put my finger on what I am afraid of, but it is still there---maybe it's the unknown of the discomforts of the surgery and recovery, maybe it's the lack of control that I have of the entire situation, maybe it's the fear that I will not regain my physical strength (I wonder if I will be running a half-marathon or doing Insanity again anytime soon?).  But, just like God's Word says,

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3

So, I am praying about my fears, and trusting that God will carry me through it all!

"I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."  Psalm 34:4