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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Decisions

Thank you all for your love, patience, and prayers. This has been a very emotional day for me. My guys were awesome and took me to see Alice Through the Looking Glass tonight to get my mind off the heavy stuff. They're the best and the movie was the perfect distraction.
Updates and decisions:
Today I saw the plastic surgeon to discuss my options for reconstruction. Thankfully Charlie was able to go with me.  The plastic surgeon was very thorough and patiently answered all of our questions. I feel confident in our decision to do the double mastectomy now and reconstruction later. When we take into consideration my current health (good) and fibromyalgia (thankfully well managed now), I think it would be best to focus on getting the cancer out of my body asap and HEAL before adding additional risks and stress to my body. Then, when I'm ready, I'll start the reconstructive process.
Based on what my general surgeon said last week (the one who will do the mastectomy), he can get me in within a week's time. I'll be calling him tomorrow and hoping to schedule surgery for sometime in the next 2 weeks. I keep getting twinges and achiness in my breasts (both), similar to the fullness and tenderness of when I was nursing my babies. I'm concerned with the growth rate of these tumors and just want them out.
For those of you that have asked about bringing meals (thank you!), I have a friend that has offered to set this up as soon as I have a surgery date. I'll share the info here as soon as I have it. My/our dietary restrictions will be included in that as well.
Prayer requests:
Please pray for my family, especially Charlie. We all are handling this differently, but I'm sure you'll all understand the feeling of helplessness he's experiencing through this. He does so much for our family already, but this is different and uncertain.
Please pray for my medical team.
Please pray for my healing. Miraculous and sparing, if it is God's will for me.
Please pray for our family's provision. After this week I will not be able to work and contribute, plus Charlie is missing work in order to be at my appointments with me. A difficult decision when it affects our income, but it is a comfort to me and something he can do ❤
Needs:
I had asked about a juicer on Facebook today and someone is giving me theirs so I can check that off. ✔  PRAYER ANSWERED!
2 odd things I would like to find for cheap soon are a chest freezer and a recliner chair. If you have either one you're looking to get rid of, let me know.  PRAYERS ANSWERED!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Home again

After a terrible night's sleep, we drove the final stretch home early this morning. I want to blame my emotional state on the lack of sleep, but I could feel something ...a fear monster... rise up in my chest the closer we got to home. This homecoming means so much more than just getting to sleep in my own bed tonight. This time I'm coming home to a battle on my doorstep.

I think I'm ready...

Tomorrow I meet with the plastic surgeon who will tell me if I am a candidate for immediate reconstruction after my mastectomy. His answer will determine scheduling and will give us a better idea of what the next few weeks and months will look like.

I think I'm ready...

I still have so many questions.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

California

With my dad's colon cancer diagnosis and my breast cancer, there was no way I was going to cancel my trip home. We'd been saving for 6 months to go to my cousin's long awaited wedding and now I needed to see my dad. More than anything, I needed to rest.

We were blessed to be able to stay in a beach house on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, thanks to friends of my parents ❤ Cool breezes and gorgeous sunny days all week!

I got to teach one of my painting parties when my sister hosted friends and family.

Lunch with girlfriends.
Playing on the beach with my kids, my nieces and new nephews.

From the ocean to the mountains...

After a week at the beach, we headed to my hometown of Lake Arrowhead. I think these mountains will always call me back 💙 More sunshine, more rest.
Preparing to come home ready to fight. I'm almost ready...

Tomorrow...

Questions

I had so many questions and no one could answer them...

How bad is it?
What do I do next?
Does this mean surgery? Chemo? Radiation?
Who can answer me?

All I knew was that I'd been referred to an oncologist and a surgeon. And it was urgent.

That was on a Thursday. By Tuesday I still hadn't heard from anyone. I left several messages for the doctor that were never returned. I finally found out who the referrals had been sent to and called both offices only to discover that neither one had received the referrals. Finally got them to send the referrals again. More waiting...

On Mon, May 16th, 2 days before we were supposed to leave on vacation, I finally saw the surgeon.

At that point, he said I could choose between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy. I asked for more testing.

Tuesday, bloodwork.

Wednesday, BRCA1 & BRCA2 genetic testing. An MRI that night.

6 hours later we left for California.

Flashback

It was January when I first found a lump in my breast. I didn't think much of it since I'd found 2 three years earlier that were "just cysts" and nothing to worry about. I'd used hot compresses to dissipate them then so I figured this one would go away like the others.

Only it didn't.

About this time, a dear friend had shared her own breast cancer diagnosis. It was a wake up call. I had insurance. I had no excuse not to go in, other than a busy schedule with my son's appointments and my flourishing business, so I called my doctor's office. She had a full schedule so I agreed to have another check it. I was originally scheduled to come in early March, but my whole family got sick and was down with fevers for a week. A rescheduled appointment was made for April 14th.

After a quick exam, the doctor agreed there was something there. She sent me for an ultrasound and a mammogram. At that point, I still expected it to come back "just a cyst".

Ultrasound and mammograms a week later on April 22nd. I could see then there was something on my images. A mass was confirmed but there was also a suspicious cluster of calcification resulted in a referral for biopsies.

My ultrasound led biopsy of the mass I was feeling was on April 28th was relatively uneventful with only minor pain following the procedure.

My stereotactic biopsy, on April 29th, to collect samples of the calcification was...awful. Painful during and after, but necessary. If that one had been first, I would have had a difficult time returning the next day.

Waiting for results was torturous. I thought they said 2-3 days. Turns out it was 3-5 business days.

One week after my biopsies, I got a call from the doctor's assistant. "Dr Hennan would like to go over your results." They wouldn't say more over the phone. That's never good.

We waited in the exam room. The doctor came in, apologized for chewing gum like a child (her words not mine) and then continued to smack it with her mouth open. Weird...but that's what I remember.

The calcification was nothing. The lump, cancer. Invasive carcinoma with mixed ductal and lobular features.

"I'm sorry you have to go through this S#@*..."
WHAT? Doctors don't talk like that! Yet she continued to say things like that 6 more times. So unprofessional...so strange..was this a joke? Why is she being like that? Did she really say I had cancer?! What's going on??

I'm so glad my husband, Charlie, was there with me. The rest was a blur. The doctor assured me I could call with any questions, but she didn't really have any answers then (and later wouldn't return my phone calls). I won't be back if I can help it. No amount of gum was going to clean her trash mouth and she wasn't my regular doctor anyway!

Somebody's Prayin'

Originally shared on Facebook on May 17, 2016:

A friend shared this with me today. Beautiful ❤

"Somebody's prayin, I can feel it
Somebody's prayin' for me
Mighty hands are guiding me
To protect what I can't see
Lord I believe, Lord I believe
That somebody's prayin', for me.

Angels are watchin', I can feel it
Angels are watchin' over me
There's many miles ahead 'til I get home
Still I'm safely kept before your thrown
'Cause Lord I believe, Lord I believe
Your angels are watchin' over me."

Music video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mHtWhnZU2Xo&feature=youtu.be

Choosing JOY

Sometimes it's just easier to share once.
Facebook post from May 17, 2016:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
James 1:2-3

Today, I'm choosing JOY.

We've been through a few trials and now we're facing another one. But first...

To those that have asked about Nathan and have been praying for him, THANK YOU. He is improving daily and sleeping nightly. He/we now feel better equipped to handle his challenges as they arrive. I am especially thankful to a special group of ladies, they know who they are, that had been an amazing source of wisdom and encouragement for me as we sought help for Nathan. God knew just what I needed.

A thank you is also in order for those of you that have helped me get my business up and rolling. It is THRIVING, thanks to each of you that have shared a post, attended a class, or hosted a party. THANK YOU! I'm placing my trust in God's capable hands for its future.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:4

And finally, the trial.
I've been enjoying the best health of my adult life these last few years, despite my fibromyalgia. Praise the Lord for his gift of healing! Healthier, stronger, more active in every area of my life. And then I was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple weeks ago. I'm calling on my Prayer Warriors to join me again ❤ I will have more tests done today and we're hoping for an MRI tomorrow before we leave town to visit my family. Please lift my dad up in prayer as well. He was diagnosed with colon cancer 3 weeks before I got my results.

Please don't call right now. I'm trying to keep my line open for scheduling these appointments and I need to spend time with my family. To answer the questions I know are sure to come...Yes, I'll be having surgery asap. Chemo and radiation are likely to follow. Yes, my boys know and they are handling it well, all things considered. Please pray for them and the days ahead. Charlie too.

A couple years ago, I memorized the book of James, but only the first chapter remains in my brain. I can't think of more appropriate words right now ❤

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8

I am asking God for wisdom and healing. Again ❤

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Revival

It's been almost exactly 2 years since I last posted on this blog. I had no intention of bringing it back, but here I am.

A revival...

God is doing a work in me again and my story needs a place to be told for his glory. What better place to tell it than here where I started counting my blessings one by one 5 years ago.

It is indeed a blessed season. ❤ And is probably  time to start counting again.