But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31







Saturday, April 30, 2011

The American Cancer Society - 2011 Relay For Life of Jackson County IN:

The American Cancer Society - 2011 Relay For Life of Jackson County IN:

I have signed up for the Jackson County Relay for Life that takes place May 13/14.  I am seeing the results of the money that has been raised in the past.  Research has brought us so many more options for a cure.  Won't you please help me give back to this cause.  Please click on the link to visit my page and make a donation.  Thank you, Cindy

Friday, April 29, 2011

OUR VISIT TO THE WIG WAM!

I promised you pictures from our trip to the Wig Wam yesterday, so here you go!  This is where it all began...in front of the mirror!  You can see my support group behind me...my daughter Jennifer, my daughter, Erin (yes, they were part of that other support group) and my granddaughter, Jenna.

Let's get started!  At least I'll be getting rid of this gray coming in (no sense in dying it now!)

This lady was so sweet and helpful!  She followed the whole transaction up with a hug....I take all the hugs I can get!  :=)

Not bad.....lighter than my normal hair...but not bad.

Ok, this is more "my color".

What do you think?  Not bad....nah....it's going to be summer and I don't want it that long.  Jen asked "Mom, did you wear your hair that way when I was little?"  "Yep, I sure did....during the Captain and Tenille days"....And Erin said "Captain and Tenille????  Who's that?"  LOL...oh so long ago! (The place on my neck is part of the surgery I had last week....There is an incision there and this is where the port was started and goes down into my chest)

Ok, this one was winning reviews, but I couldn't handle one side longer than the other.  She said it could be cut to match.  Ok, not too bad then.  But, I'm not sure about those bangs...I think they'd drive me crazy.  I like the color though! 

Here's my Er-Bear!  Isn't she so pretty! We all thought she reminded us of one of her aunts!  If you know all of her aunts, can you guess which one?  :=) 

Then Jenna got in on the act!  Uh.....Not!  A little bit too much hair, honey!  LOL!

I just don't think I look good in lighter hair.

Jenna decided I needed to try something LONGER!  NOT!  There's a reason I should not have long hair!  LOL!  As a teenager it was great, but after a certain age....short hair is my friend!  :=)

So, we switched....ick...that's even worse!  LOL!  But, I "humored" her!  Of course she looked beautiful!

While we were there, Loretta "Jen" walked in!  :=) (You know, Loretta and Crystal's younger sister)  Isn't she so pretty! 

Always a celebrity hound, Jenna just had to get her pic with Loretta "Jen".....with attitude! 

Er-Bear, I love you dear....but this is not a good look for you!  :=)

TA DA.....THIS IS IT!  THIS IS THE ONE THAT WON! 

While I liked some of the others from the front angle, I didn't like them from the side or back.  And with summer coming on (it IS going to get warmer, isn't it???), I wanted something short and off my neck.   And, like my own hair, something easy!  She showed me how headbands and scarves would look and I'm a headband/scarf kinda gal.  Everyone agreed on this one, so this is it!  Nothing fancy, but "right" for me!  :=)  And look....no gray bangs!!!! 

It was a fun day and now I'm ready for "that day"!
Thanks Jen, Erin, and Jenna for going with me and making it a special day with "my girls"!   You are helping to make an emotional time better.  I love you all!  Mom/Mamaw

Until next time...I hope you enjoyed our little "Wig Wam trip" and had a few laughs along the way.  Laughter is good for the soul!  Cindy

Temp 98.0

Thursday, April 28, 2011

OFF TO THE WIG WAM IN BLOOMINGTON!

No, this isn't actually it.  LOL!

Just a quick note....we're heading out to the Wig Wam!  If anyone needs anything, Larry will be home.  Unfortunately his job is giving him days off work (caused by the earthquake in Japan affecting Toyota...not what we need right now, but I can't stress over the things I can't change).  He opted not to go with us....said it sounded like a "girls' day".  LOL! 

My girls (Jen and Erin) wanted to take me over to the Wig Wam before I lose my hair to get a wig...so I'll be prepared.  Even though I said I could be a do-rag kinda gal, it will be nice for the "special occasions" to have a wig.  And Erin doesn't wanting me scaring little kids...LOL!   We'll take a camera along and document our wig shopping....it'll be fun figuring out how I want to look!  :=)  Is it true that blondes have more fun?  :=)  I haven't lost my  hair yet....probably in a couple of weeks.

I remember a couple of years ago my hair began to fall out and it was quite traumatic.  I had no idea why it was falling out and when it was going to quit.  I have thick hair, which came in handy, because I didn't go bald before the culprit was found (thyroid).  I remember at that time thinking I needed to go get a wig if it didn't stop soon....never realizing a couple of years later I'd be doing just that.  The difference this time....I know why and I know the end result will be bald.  It seems less traumatic knowing that, although I expect it to be emotional.  I just can't imagine myself bald.

I have been a little nervous about going today....hoping I'd feel like it.  This is the first morning I've gotten up and not thrown up!  Yay....progress!  Please pray that today is a good day with my girls without me getting sick.  I'm hoping the worse is behind me.  I've really been looking forward to this special time with the special girls in my life (except Abby, who had to go to school)

Until next time....invision me as a blonde!  LOL!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I NEVER LEAVE HIS HANDS.....

It's been kind of a rough morning.  I woke up sick and have just been sleeping all morning.  I finally broke down and took one of those anti-nausea pills that dissolve on my tongue (I hate that...LOL...I'd just rather swallow the darn thing and skip that taste).  Anyway, I'll do it if it helps!  This is the first time I've even felt like touching the computer today and the very first thing I found was this video a friend shared with me (thank you so much Brenda).  It's an awesome song and and I want to share it with all of you.  No matter what you are going through, never forget that you never leave his hands.  That is just so reassuring to me.  God knows the pain I've been through in the past year .....and now this cancer....and He has sent me this reminder that I never leave His hands.  He cares that much for me!  What an awesome God I serve!  My prayer is that God will use my life to reach someone who may be hurting and to let them know how much He cares for them.  I know I'll get through this as He holds me in his hands. 



                                                  Temp 98.3

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

LYMPH NODES....NO CANCER AT ALL!!!!!

I didn't think I'd have another update for you today, but my surgeon's office just called to give me the good news!  If you've been following along, you know that I had 3 lymph nodes removed last Thursday and they were negative in the center.  That was good news, but it wasn't saying they were totally free of cancer.  They said they would be slicing them like a loaf of bread in the lab and continue to check that there was no cancer inside each of those halves.
Well, the report just came in!  It's official.....negative, negative, negative!!!!  All 3 lymph nodes came back cancer free.  Praise the Lord!!!!! 

We did indeed catch this early!  It shows me how important those mammograms are......get your mammograms girls!  Remember this showed up in just six months and I'm getting all of these good reports because it was caught early by my mammogram!  My sister, Kim, just scheduled her's today....yay!!!!!  I'm so proud of her for taking that step. 

Until next time...GOD IS GOOD....all the time!

Temp 98.6

How Great Thou Art.....

Yes, He is!  I serve a mighty God and He is with me every step of the way.  I had my first Chemo on Friday and felt great Friday and Saturday.  Then it hit me on Sunday....not real bad, but bad enough to just lie around all day.  Yes I did throw up, but only twice, so it's not like I'm puking my guts out...LOL!  Same thing Monday and now into Tuesday.  I'm really not doing badly though and I know I will not have to endure more than I can take.  Truly, it hasn't been so bad.  I think the worse part is that I don't want to eat anything and I need to eat to keep my strength up....so I try to get things down throughout the day.  This shall pass....very, very soon!  :=)

I still have hair.  LOL!  I figure it might stick around until the next treatment or shortly after.  So, my girls (Jennifer and Erin) are taking me wig shopping this Thursday.  They want me to be prepared and I guess that's a good idea.

Nothing really new to report  I'm doing ok.....just a little "out of sorts", but I expect to bounce back any day now.

I'd like to share this awesome video that touched me.  I hope you will listen to it too and be blessed.  I remember watching Carrie Underwood on American Idol and knew then she had a fantastic voice with a great career ahead of her.  I love watching American Idol and seeing where it takes their contestants!


Until next time....praise God in everything.
Cindy

Sunday, April 24, 2011

MY GENETIC TEST IS BACK!!!!

I was so surprised to go to the mailbox yesterday and find the results of my BRCA1 AND BRCA2 Genetic mutation test.  It's negative!!!!  Yay....more good news!  I was so happy to get it yesterday.  They had told me it would be 2 weeks and two weeks is Monday....so I totally wasn't expecting it in the mail yesterday.  As a matter of fact, I thought they'd be calling me first because it's an extremely expensive test ($3-4 thousand) and they try to get the insurance to pay all of it but at least $375.  So, I was expecting a call first to tell me how much the insurance would pay.  They evidently paid enough for them to go ahead and proceed with the test...I'm eager to see how much they actually paid.  I've already met my deductible and my out of pocket expenses....didn't take long!  I'm so thankful we have insurance.

Anyway, this is good news, especially for my daughters.  If it had come back positive, then it would have meant I had a genetic mutation that I could have passed on to them.  Although genetics could still be involved, these are the only tests they have at this time.  So, we'll take it!  It's actually a very simple blood test.  Then they send your blood to a genetic lab in Utah (the only place that tests for this).  Because of the expense of it and the rarity of a positive result, you have to be qualified to even get the test done.  My doctor told me that only 5% come back positive, so I was honestly expecting a negative result...but it's good to have the "for sure" result. 

Ok, this is two days after my first chemo....and I threw up this morning.  Crap, I wasn't planning to do that.  LOL!  It wasn't much....not a great big deal.  And to be honest, I've got some sinus drainage going on, so I'm not real sure the chemo is what caused it.  I feel better though.  I didn't particularly feel "BAD"...just "out of sorts".  The day I got chemo and the next day (yesterday), I was just fine.  The biggest thing I had noticed is a dry mouth, so I'm constantly drinking something.  I figured it would hit me after the first couple of days, so this would be the day!  But, honestly, it isn't too bad.  And I've still got hair!  :=)

Until next time....I'll just be taking it easy!  :=)
Cindy

Temp:  98.0

Friday, April 22, 2011

FIRST CHEMO DONE.....and pics of my "support group" during surgery....

Well, today was my first Chemo....I got Dr. Vanketesh (my chemo oncologist) to pose with me when he came in to talk with me.  He is such a personable, compassionate doctor and I'm so glad to have him on my "team".  And here are the two nurses that worked with me today...another "part of my team".  Everyone was just so wonderful!


The chemo was put through my port and I really didn't feel a thing...the port is in my chest, right under the skin....you can see where the gauze bandage is...that's the incision they made for the port...I also have in incision in my neck and they inserted the tubing down through it.  I am getting 4 rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan.  My first round was today and I'll go every 3 weeks for the next round for a total of 4.  So, I'll be done with my chemo (if all goes well) by the end of June.  But, I'll only actually be getting it 4 times!  Doesn't sound like much, does it?  But, I totally trust they know what they're doing.

I am feeling no affects of the chemo...yet!  I understand that it may not give me any affects for a few days, as they also gave me anti-nausea medicine intravenuously today and I think they said it would carry me through a couple of days.  So, something might hit me in a fews days, but I'm not planning to get sick.  LOL!  But, if I do, they have also sent me home with anti-nausea pills to take.  So, I'm covered.  I will tell you this....even from watching my dad and sister do chemo....it's not the same as yesteryears.  I think people have such a fear of chemo, thinking you'll start puking your guts out immediately and the whole time....but it's not like that anymore.  So, if you ever find yourself in my place, please don't panic.  Panic will only stress you out and believe me, they've come a long way!

I hope not to get sick, but I do expect to lose my hair and be tired.  I can handle that.  My girls want to take me shopping next week to get a wig, so we'll make it a fun day!  I doubt that I'll wear it every day, but it will be nice to have it available.  I could actually be a doo-rag type of gal!  But, I'm looking forward to going and trying wigs on and my insurance will pay for it.....so why not!  Hmmm...now's my chance to change my looks...LOL!  I hear blondes have more fun...is that true?  :=)

My good buddy, Linda Morrow, took me to chemo today (I didn't think it was necessary for the others to take off work today when they took off yesterday for the surgery). We went at 10 and I was told to allow 4-5 hours...but we were out of there in just 3.5 hours, so not too bad.  And only 35 minutes of that was the actual chemo.  Oh, and I got a private room.  I thought it was because it was my first day and she told me that I would more than likely always have a private room because I'm actually a patient of his and he will always come in and see me, so I wouldn't be put out in the main chemo room where others are.  She said many people come for their chemo from other doctors.  So, it actually was kind of nice having my own private area, complete with a tv!  :=)  And warm blankets and drinks and crackers were offered the whole time.

After Linda and I left, we went over to the Pie Company and had lunch (our first time to try it....it was nice), then we went for a fast trip to The Flower Factory and Christmas Tree Shop (our favorite stores up there!)...then we drove home (actually Linda drove) in torrential rain almost all the way home.

Day 1...good!  We'll see what tomorrow brings!  I have a 31 party tomorrow night and am still planning/hoping to do it.  My only problem is that I can't lift anything (10 lbs.) and while the bags aren't heavy, they probably weigh that much by the time I pile bunches into one bag.  So, I need someone to load me up...and unload me on the other end and load me back up again.  I think I'll call the hostess in the morning and she if she'd help me out on her end and Larry can load me up here.  That would work!

Ok, yesterday I promised to show you my "support group" during my surgery, right?

B/P  118/70    Temp: 99.3   Weight:  Let's not go there!  :=)
Linda went with me.

MY SURGERY PICS FROM YESTERDAY

This is my husband, Larry, and my 2 daughters.  Erin on the left is 32 and Jennifer on the right is 37.  They look nice enough, don't they?  Dont' be fooled...they're very mischievious!

This was taken right after I came out of surgery and I'm still "drugged up"....just coming off of the anesthesia.
Oh yes, aren't they such a sweet "support group"!  My sister, Kim (on the left) joined in on their little fun...I think she may have even started it!  Look what they did to me while I was all drugged up!  They even told me to smile and I did!  I was so drugged up I had no idea they even played with my hair until I saw the picture!  I guess I should have known better than handing them a camera and telling them to document my surgery time.  LOL!   They always think it's so funny when I'm coming out of anesthesia....the slurred speech, the opening and closing of my eyes, and the silly things I might say.  LOL~!

All I can say to this picture and the beautiful hair style they gave me is.....it's a darned good think I'm good-natured and have a sense of humor!  But I am thinking of trading them in for a "new support group".  Any volunteers?

I had a problem with my socks not wanting to stay on my feet, so they snapped this pic...then Erin fixed the socks for me.  LOL...I thought it was a cute pic!

And this was my nurse that took care of me before and after surgery.  She was a sweetheart.  Actually everyone was!

And Pastor Lepley (if I haven't spelled his name right, I'm sure Jen will tell me) came to visit me.  This was after surgery and I think I was wrapped in plastic...LOL!  Actually I think the plastic was over me....they must have put it over me in the operating room to keep me warm.  Those rooms are freezing!

So far....things are good!
Until next time...please keep praying!  I sooo appreciate it and definately feel your prayers are helping me get through this!
Thanks so much for caring!  Cindy


MORE GOOD NEWS AND CHEMO!


I had my first surgery yesterday and this was BEFORE surgery!
I'm documenting everything, complete with photos and my surgeon was so gracious to take her pic with me.

Sorry I haven't updated for a few days...there wasn't much to report until yesterday and then I was tired when I got home.  Anyway, yesterday was my surgery to remove lymph nodes and see if the cancer had spread to them.  They begin with the Sentinal nodes, which can be one or more of the first nodes where the body tissues are drained.  It is very important to check lymph nodes to see if they have been reached by metastasizing cancer cells (in other words cancer in the lymph node) and this is how it would spread elsewhere through the body.  So, the surgery was a very important surgery yesterday!  I went home afterwards a little sore, but pain pills in hand.  I've actually only take a couple of doses.  I tend to have a high tolerence for pain which can be bad sometimes, because I also tend to fluff pain off instead of checking it out.  I also tend to not to like to take pills.  I'm trying to get rid of that mindset and take the darn pills to help myself...LOL!  Anybody that knows me knows I HATE taking pills!  The older I'm getting, the more pills that are coming my way and I'm finding myself getting used to taking more of them.

Breast cancers can be confined within the lining of the endothelial cells along the breast duct (in-situ cancers); or it can start to spread beyond the breast duct (invasive cancers). This is important because the blood vessels and lymph vessels that potentially spread the cancer beyond the breast run along this area (See Figure 1). If the cancer has spread beyond the lining of the breast duct, and is picked up by the blood vessels or lymph vessels, then it can potentially spread elsewhere in the body, or “metastasize.” Lymph vessels are small channels that drain all the tissues of the body. Lymph vessels drain excess fluid back into your circulation. As lymph fluid drains back into your circulation, it goes through lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are collections of lymph tissue that have a high concentration of white blood cells, the cells in your body that fight infection and cancer. The lymph vessels of the breast drain into the lymph nodes in your axilla (underneath your arm), and sometimes into the lymph nodes along your sternum, (or breastbone), and above your clavicle (collarbone)

Anyway, this is where the GOOD NEWS comes in!  They removed 3 of my lymph nodes yesterday and they would have removed them all if they had found cancer in them....which leads to lymphedma* (fat arm).  But, NO CANCER was found in those 3 lymph nodes!  Praise God!  They cut them in half and did not see ANY cancer!!!  They will still continue to slice them like a loaf of bread to check all of the outer edges, since slicing it in half would only show the middle.  But, I'm feeling really good about that and will know next week if they were totally clean!  I truly believe this was found early (get those mammograms girl....mine came on in just six months).  Finding it early gives you your best prognosis.
*Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system, an important part of your immune and circulatory systems. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and as the fluid builds up, the swelling continues. There's no cure for lymphedema, but it can be controlled. Controlling lymphedema involves diligent care of your affected limb.

And here I am all drugged up AFTER surgery!  LOL!
I've got some more pics to show you, but don't have time right now.  But, I have to show you what my "support system" did to me while I was drugged up!  So check back tomorrow.  I'm thinking I might need a new group of supporters after seeing how they took advantage of me while I was so drugged up that I had no idea what they were doing.  Wait 'til you see....you might agree with me!  Let's just say it's good that I have a sense of humor!  :=)

Now I'm ready to head to my first Chemo!  I need chemo because the cancer actually got out of my duct which meant it could have spread to other areas of my body.  I wouldn't have needed it if it hadn't grown big enough to do that.  So, even though I caught it within six months of it beginning, it was fast growing and became invasive.  I can't believe how excited I am to get chemo (LOL), but it's the beginning of killing these cells and any microscopic cells that may have slipped into other areas of my body.  They told me if it was in my big toe, the chemo will kill it!  The chemo will search out any microscopic cancer cells. I also had a port put in yesterday during surgery.  The port is the tubing they put the chemo through and by putting the port under your skin in your chest, you don't have to be poked by an IV every time you get chemo when they can put it in through a port. 

My doctors have been awesome!  All of the hospital staff was awesome yesterday too!  I'm in such good hands! 

Until next time...God is with me every step of the way!  :=)


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I FEEL GREAT!

Ok, that might sound strange for a person with cancer to exclaim that they feel great....but I do!  I just walked a mile on my treadmill and the exercise just does wonders for me!  This is only my third day on my threadmill and I've been very cautious not to do too much, especially considering my ekg last week.  But, today I decided to go for that mile and made it in 20 minutes!  It was great!!!!

Ok, the ekg.....last Friday I did an echocardiogram followed up with an ekg.  These are routine before doing the surgery and the chemo.  Well, the echocardiogram wasn't read right off, so I have no idea what it showed.  But the ekg was an instant reading and it showed that I had borderline ECG...whatever that is (haven't had time to do my research on it yet).  They said the only way to have it checked out is through an echocardiogram and I had just had one a few minutes earlier, so nothing else to do but wait and see what it said.  Probably the most concerning thing with that is that I have a pain/ache that begins at my left shoulder and goes down my left arm.   It's more of an ache than a pain....no shooting pain.  It's the only thing hurting in that area and I must admit, with it being on the same side as the cancer, it can be un-nerving.  But my surgeon said it would not be caused by the breast cancer, so I feel confident it is something else.  I've had it before over the past few years and no doctor has told me what it is yet...and it comes and goes.  It's stuck around for a while now and it's a constant reminder that something is on that side of my body.  Other than that, I have no pain from the cancer itself.  The arm ache may be arthritis...who knows?  But of course it always sounds the alarm with your heart being on the left side and this being a possible sign of a heart problem.  Heart problems run in my family, plus my sleep apnea can be hard on my heart and I have no idea how long I had it before it was diagnosed.  But, like I said, my heart was checked out on Friday and I've had no phone calls about it....so I'm taking "no news" as "good news"!  :=)

Thursday is a BIG DAY this week!  It will be the day I will learn whether the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes or not!  I'm soooo looking forward to my surgery on Thursday.  Larry thought that sounded strange to look forward to surgery....but, as I explained to him, when you have cancer inside of you, you want to get started on getting rid of it!  So, I'm looking forward to Thursday.

And Friday is another BIG DAY, as it will be my first day of chemo!  Dr. Venkatesh told me what kind of chemo he'd be doing and we compared it to what my sister had and I'll be having the same kind.  Now I'm not sure I'll be having the same dosage though....just the same kind.  She went more often than me.

But meanwhile, as I wait for my treatments to begin, I am feeling great and trying to get some things done before I go in!  I have no idea how I'll feel after the treatments begin and I just have so much to get done before Thursday!

I am so encouraged by people all over the country/world who have been pulling for me and sending me well wishes.  One person in Scotland told me they could only get a mammogram every 3 years and made me so thankful that we can get annual mammograms!  Sometimes we just take things for granted!  I have been receiving cards from people I don't even know...survivors themselves!  Hearing from survivors is so encouraging and shows me how curable this thing is!  I thank everyone for all of their prayers and good wishes and kind thoughts.  I am so uplifted by them!  God is using you in my life!  :=)

Until next time....get those mammograms! :=)
Cindy

Sunday, April 17, 2011

DIVINE APPOINTMENTS

I just have to tell you this!  Ever since I was diagnosed, God has put people in my path that I know HE has chosen just for this time.  It just strengthens my faith that He is in control! 

It's only been 10 days since I got the diagnosis and it sure seems like it's been longer than that!  As I go about my normal activities, I have had what I call "divine appointments" with people.  A few days ago I went to a clothing shop with my sister.  As I was looking through one of the racks, a very upbeat smiling sales clerk approached me with a very cheerful, "How are you doing today?"...(me) "fine"....and then (she), "Good!  I believe that any day that we can get up out of bed it is a good day!". What encouraging words and she had absolutely no idea what I was going through.  But, I grabbed onto those words as a direct message from God and I shared with her how much it meant to me and before you knew it, we were hugging and sharing our faith.  That's what I call a "divine appointment".  I believe God puts people in your path...it's not a coincidence.  What's makes this even "cooler" is that Sheila was in the other side of the store having her own "divine appointment" with another sales clerk.  When I went to find her, she was chatting with a sales clerk who had just beat thyroid cancer!  It's always so good to talk to survivors and be reaffirmed that cancer IS beatable today!  I have personally also had many "divine appointments" with survivors and it's just so encouraging.

Well, yesterday I feel like I had another one of those divine appointments, in the form of a Thirty One party.  Who would have though God would use a Thirty One party (it is a faith-based company though)!  :=)  Anyway, my girlfriend, Linda Morrow, had suggested that we form a team for Relay for Life.  I would love to, but the event is already in May, so it's really kind of short timing to get a team together, especially when I'll be going through so much medically right now.  Well, yesterday I had a Thirty One party in a neighboring town with someone I had only met once (at the party she booked at).  I had no idea she was a coordinator of a Relay for Life team in that town and she began to tell me about it.  And she had no idea I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I told her how much it means to me when I hear of people doing these things to help raise money for the research....because I am benefitting from this research!  Before I knew it, the room was filled with women who were involved in this event with her.  By the time I left, I felt so uplifted by these women who are out there caring enough to raise money for the cause and they gave me a Pink Ribbon patch I can sew onto a shirt/purse/bag and hugs and invited me to be on THEIR TEAM this year!  See why I say it was a "divine appointment"?  God knew I wanted to participate in the Relay for Life but did not have the time to get a team together, so He handed me a ready-made team.  Isn't He awesome!  And this will also give me the chance to see what it involves so I know what I'm doing when I start up a team for next year.  I am always just so excited when I see the work of God and it strengthens my faith even more.  God cares about every aspect of our lives....even an event such as this.  He's working out the details before I even know it!  I just think that is so awesome!

Have you had a "divine appointment" with God?  It isn't coincidence...it's God!  I truly believe that!

Until next time....have a blessed Sunday!
Cindy

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Sister Sheila....one of my cheerleaders!

Yesterday after my doctor appointments were all finished Larry and I ate at Smokey Bones (yummmm) and then I ran into one of my favorite stores (Flower Factory) for some styrofoam cups/lids I buy Larry for his coffee.  So, it was just a quick run-in while Larry waited in the car.  And as I was walking down the aisle, I spotted these bags on an end cap and just had to have one!  And I just had to get Sheila one too!  How do we look modeling our new Pink Ribbon bags?  :=)

Sheila just finished up her own breast cancer battle recently and is in remission.  I wish I was at that point, but I am just beginning.  She knows what I'm going through...not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.  I know she will be right there for me and be one of my biggest chearleaders.  She went through chemo and radiation too...lost her hair....and it came back all wavy.  I told her I want wavy hair like her's!  I could skip the gray/white (LOL)...but I'll take the wavy!  Although, I do think the gray/white looks great!  Her hair is so wavy and soft and just beautiful!  Take a look!
I would love wavy hair like this!  My hair has always been thick, but oh so straight!

My sister Sheila is a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit.  I love her so much and am so thrilled that she's in remission!  I believe she's cured....not just in remission!  She was so strong through all of her treatments and I will strive to remain strong like she did.  I know I can do it!  This past year has just made me a stronger woman and God will carry me when I'm weak.  He has promised me that.  Thank you Lord!

Ok, just wanted to show off our lovely bags (aren't they cool?) and show off my sister and her beautiful hair! 

I have a Thirty One party tonight and have to get ready for it....nothing medically happening today. 

Until next time....Keep the faith....Hope is alive!
Cindy
 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A GOOD NEWS DAY!

I will tell you now that being diagnosed with cancer is a roller coaster ride.  It's bad news...good news....bad news....good news...up and down, up and down.  Today was a "good news day"! 

It started out at Dr. Zusan's office (my surgeon at the Breast Center).  They did not find anything concerning with the ultrasound of my other breast.  The MRI showed a tiny spot, but there wasn't anything on the ultrasound.  Plus, the MRI did not show the cancer growing any place else (in my breasts or chest wall or in my lymph nodes), except for another small tumor right below the one they knew about.  So, it appears the cancer is basically in the area they already knew about!   Good news!  I had been so anxious about the MRI and what it would show.

Then Dr. Zusan had a consultation with me about the surgery that is scheduled for next Thursday and explained what she would be doing.  She will remove two of my lymph nodes (the first two) and they will split them in half while I'm still in surgery to see if they see any cancer.  If they don't see any, then she won't remove any more.  If they do see cancer, she will continue to remove all of them.  This will also be a determing factor in whether I will need radiation later.  Also, even if they only have to remove those two, they will continue to dissect them to make sure there are no cancer cells anywhere in them.  If there are, it could mean going back in to remove the rest of the nodes.  So, next Thursday is a big day!
She will also be putting a port in under my skin on the opposite side of the cancer (my right side).  I found out she starts this out in my neck and then it will go down into my chest area.  The port is for my chemo to be administered through and will make it easier so I'm not having to be set up and poked every time they do it.  It will be remain there throughout my chemo and they will hook the chemo intravenous tube into it.  Make sense? 

Dr. Zusan was so encouraging and used that "other C word".  She told me that the goal is to cure me and it' IS curable and that's what they're working toward.  More good news!  She said I have a lot of positive things working for me and she expects me to do well and I was a good candidate to get the chemo first.  She also told me that I would be getting "advice" from others that may differ from my own treatment plan and that I need to trust my "team", as they are the experts working for me.  I appreciated her telling me that, as I know people may have differing opinions on my treatment (and mean well), but I am trusting my team totally.  She said that every person is different, every cancer is different and treatments are different and what was good for someone else may not be good for me.  I totally agree and understand that!  Just looking at me and my sister.....our cancers are so different.  While mine feeds off of estrogen, my sisters did not.   She totally did what was good for her.....but my treatment is not wrong because it may differ from her's.  It's hard not to compare with your sister when she just went through this last year, but I've come to realize....not all cancers are the same.  It's good to have my sister to talk with and we're learning so much together and she's a great support (as well as others).  She understands more than anyone what I'm going through and the tough decisions I face.  I'm so glad she's there for me.

Anyway, Dr. Zusan told me my prognosis is good!  MORE GOOD NEWS!  She talked about my future surgery (lumpectomy or masectomy)....I don't have to make that decision quite so quickly now that I won't be doing that until the chemo is finished (3-6 months from now).  She made an appointment for me with Dr. Jackson (plastic surgeon) so I can talk over the options of reconstruction with him.  Either way, I'll end up with perkier breasts!  :=)  Hey, I'll take all of the bonuses I can get!

My Her2 protein test finally came back...that one had me worried because it was taking so much longer than the others!  But, no worry...it came back negative, so that was more good news!  That will mean that I will not have to have that other drug for a year.  I'm so thankful for that!

Larry was able to sit in with me at the consultation with Dr. Zusan and he really liked her.  He told me he felt much better after listening to her and meeting her.  I knew he would!  She is so compassionate and encouraging....and so thorough!  Now I can't wait for my girls to meet her!  NOT those girls...they've already met her!  LOL!  I mean my daughter's, Jennifer and Erin!  :=)

Next was the Radiation Doctor.  He let me know that if I need radiation, I was not a candidate for the type that you put inside of you to radiate from the inside out (it only takes 5 days versus 7 weeks!).  The  reason I'm not a candidate for it is because I'm having the chemo first.  So, that's off the table!  Now, I may not need radiation at all....it depends on whether I get a masectomy or lumpectomy and whether it's found in my lymph nodes.  If I choose a lumpectomy, the radiation will be automatic.  I would have it every day for 7 weeks (Mon-Fri).  Wowser!  The good news....he said he would refer me to his partner who does the radiation at the Seymour Hospital, so I could have it done locally since it's too much to drive that far every day for 7 weeks!  That kind of took that weight off my shoulder.   So, that was more GOOD NEWS!  He told me that we're looking at early breast cancer and it's curable.  Once again...there was that "other C word"!!!!  He was very optimistic.  Between him and the surgeon today, I felt very uplifted and left with the confidence that they will be doing everything to cure this cancer!  I am going to beat this!

Next was the Echocardigram and EKG at the hospital.  Nothing really to report on this.  They just need to check out my heart before the surgery and chemo, so now I have that out of my way.  Every test puts me a step closer.

So, the game plan is to have the surgery (lymph nodes and port) next Thursday, April 21.  I'm eager to find out whether it spread to any of my lymph nodes.  I'll be coming home the same day...they said it would take a couple of hours.  Then on Friday (the following day), I will begin my chemo!  I'm ready!  I'm excited to get this show on the road...I'm ready to kill this stuff!

I cannot stress enough to GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!
If it weren't for my mammogram, this cancer would be growing and spreading in me and who knows how big or where it would be by the time they found it.  Still to this date, a lump cannot be felt!  I have a confession to make.  I, personally, went several years without getting my mammogram (before this).  It's easy to tell yourself that there's none in your family and minimize the importance and procrastinate.  That's what I did!  Thanks to my sister, Sheila, and my mom....I was able to realize the importance of a mammogram when they were diagnosed.  This cancer in me grew in just six months (last mammogram in August and then this one was in February).  I'm so thankful I didn't put it off again!  The radiation doctor today told me that "1 our of 7 women will develop breast cancer"...he said it's very common.  So, ladies, that's pretty high odds and the chances increase the older you get.  I know the fear of "they might find something"....but if they find it too late, the fear will be much worse.  Please, please get your mammograms!  I hope I am educating everyone as I go through this journey of my own.  Even though you may find it scary, there is so much progress today and many women are surviving this!  The earlier it is caught....the better your chances for a cure!   It is no longer a "death sentence" like years past and you can deal with the treatments if you are diagnosed.  Even chemo of today is different than yesterday, with anti nausea medicine given to you...people don't get sick like they used to.  I'm counting on that!  :=)

Until later.....Cindy

This verse was shared with me tonight (thanks so much Angie).  I will cling to that promise.

Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Surgery/Chemo next week....

I'm way too tired tonight to write much...totally exhausted!  So, I'm off to bed in just a few minutes, but wanted to let you know that things are happening!  The surgery (to check lymph nodes) got scheduled for next Thursday and I'll be able to begin my chemo on Friday.  I'll tell more detail when I get rested up.  Tomorrow is another big day and have to be ready to roll down the highway by 6:30, so I need to get some sleep.  Larry will be going with me.  Tomorrow will be an ultrasound on the new spot found in the other breast, an initial visit with the radiation doctor, an EKG and an echocardiogram at the hospital.  Whew!  This is my 3rd trip to Greenwood this week and I am exhausted!

I'll give more detail tomorrow, but just wanted to let you know the surgery and my first chemo got scheduled.  I can't believe how excited I am to start chemo...who woulda thought?  But, I'm ready to do SOMETHING to kill this thing! 

I wanted to share this video with you that a friend had shared on my facebook.  I love the flash mob stuff and this is a flash mob dance celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  Watch it and be blessed!  You'll enjoy it!  :=)



MEET MY TEAM!

I thought my family and friends would  like to "meet" the members of my team!  As you can see, I'm in good hands! 

Erin A. Zusan, M.D., is a board certified general surgeon, specializing in breast surgical oncology. She has been a resident of Indiana for more than 20 years. She attended Avon schools and went on to earn a B.S. in Biology from Indiana University in 1999. There, she graduated with distinction and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She earned a master’s degree in science from Purdue University at Indianapolis in 2000 before entering the Indiana University School of Medicine, from which she received her medical degree in 2004. Dr. Zusan completed her general surgery residency at TriHealth/Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2009 and her breast surgical oncology fellowship at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan in 2010. Dr. Zusan devotes her practice to the diagnosis and management of benign and malignant breast problems.
She is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the Association of Women Surgeons.
In her free time, Dr. Zusan enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children, as well as traveling.
My thoughts on Dr. Zusan....she was such a wonderful compassionate doctor.  She's the one who had to initially sit down with me and explain the cancer and options and she did it in such a compassionate and understandable way...and, remember, she called me young!  :=)  She will be my surgeon, no matter what type of surgery I have.  I just loved her and felt very comfortable with her.  She talked with me for two hours and took her time explaining everything and answering any questions I had....I never felt rushed! 



S. Chace Lottich, M.D., FACS, is a general surgeon specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant breast diseases. She was the first female surgeon to graduate from Duke University where she completed undergraduate studies, medical school, surgical residency and fellowship. During her surgical training, she became involved in the Y-ME patient advocacy group and subsequently helped found the Y-ME chapter in Indianapolis.
Dr. Lottich is a member of the American College of Surgeons. She is the Clinical Director of The Center for Women’s Health—a multifaceted facility which uses state of the art technology, education, and surgery to manage a variety of breast disorders. Dr. Lottich holds a faculty appointment at Indiana University and is involved in resident training. She is affiliated with St. Francis and Community Hospitals, has served on the Board of The Wellness Center, American Cancer Society, and Little Red Door/United Way agencies, and participated in two ongoing Eli Lilly pharmaceutical research trials.
Dr. Lottich is the proud mother of two sons.
I am not seeing Dr. Lottich at this time, but she is the doctor I saw last year.  She and Dr. Zusan are in the same office, so there's a possibility that I might see her at some time during my journey.  She is the one who did my biopsies and surgeries last year.  So, I included her as a part of my team as she may be involved at some point.  The only reason I didn't go back to her this year is because she was out of the office for five weeks and I didn't want to wait that long....so I was scheduled with Dr. Zusan, whom I had never met at that point.  I believe both of these surgeons are very capable and caring.

Hemachandra Venkatesh, M.D.Hemachandra Venkatesh, M.D. 

Dr. Venkatesh graduated from Bangalore Medical College in Bangalore, India, in 1982. He completed his internal medicine residency at Grace Hospital at Wayne State University and completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He has published numerous research articles and co-authored a chapter on Burkitt’s lymphoma in a current oncology text book.

Dr. Venkatesh has expertise and interest in treating all solid tumors including lung, breast, gastrointestinal and genitourinary tumors. He also has special interest in treating lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, bleeding disorders, thrombophilia and benign hereditary problems. He uses state-of-the-art therapies coupled with personalized, compassionate care. He is a member of the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. V is my Medical Oncologist (chemo) who I met for the first time yesterday.  I walked away from there feeling very good and comfortable with him.  His compassion showed through and he also was very good at taking time with me to explain things thoroughly and to answer my questions.  Once again, I never felt rushed.  And he had a great sense of humor and you know how important that is to me!  Oh, one little tidbit...he asked me yesterday if I was related to Dr. Lottich because I talked fast like her.  LOL!  So, then we had a little discussion on how Dr. Lottich does EVERYTHING fast!  She does!

 

Dr. Peter Garrett

Locations

St. Francis Hospital - Indianapolis

Biography

Dr. Garrett is an Indiana Licensed, Board Certified Radiation Oncologist. While Dr. Garrett is credentialed at several hospitals within Indiana and specifically the Indianapolis and surrounding areas he currently sees patients at St. Francis Hospital located on the Southside of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Dr. Garrett graduated from Queen’s University located in Kingston, Ontario in 1977. After graduating from Medical School he did an Internship in General Medicine through Queens University followed by a Radiation Oncology Residency and Fellowship at the University of Toronto through Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario completing his program in 1981.
During Dr. Garrett’s tenure as a Radiation Oncologist, he has participated in many professional societies and professional committees. Dr. Garrett has also participated and continues to participate in several medical research groups and has been published multiple times.
This will be my radiation oncologist (if I have to have radiation...that's still undecided).  I haven't met Dr. Garrett yet, but will meet him tomorrow.  So, I'll come back and give you my thoughts on him after I've met him.

God....yes, God!     Jehovah-rapha ~ the God who heals. You didn't think I'd leave him out, did you? :=)  He's a very important part of my team!  I mean, with Him on your side, how can you lose?  God has been in the business of healing for many, many years......clear back to the Old Testament days.  And Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and always.  I met God many. many years ago through Jesus Christ!  And He's always been there for me and I have no reason to believe He isn't this time.  Now, I won't get all preachy with you, but He is a member of my team also! 

He is the "great physician" and is with me every step of the way.  I pray for his guidance in every area....for my doctors and for me personally.  I have a lot of major decisions to make and I will search for His guidance in these decisions.  I pray for His peace that surpasses all understanding, which I believe I have already received.  I pray for this same peace for my friends and family.  You see, no matter the outcome of my physical healing (which I believe I am receiving), I can't lose with God!  Either way, I've already won!  I have already received my spiritual healing!

Philippians 4:7, "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

I could not do this without God.  He is my spiritual healer, but I also know He can bring physical healing.  I believe He will be working right along side the doctors and in my heart.  He will bring me the strength that I need to face everything that lies ahead.  I just can't imagine doing it without Him.  I have very strong feelings about God's healings and it's all in His hands.  But, I couldn't trust my life with anyone better!  So, as you can see, I'm in very good hands!

So, yes, I have a very good team on my side! 
Let the "winning" begin!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, CHEMO, MRI, AND PINK HAT...IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

Well, there it is!  My first pink hat!

I had a stamp class in the cave last night and one of the gals brought me a goodie package with all sorts of goodies in it, including this...my first pink ribbon hat!  I loved everything else, but was thrilled with my hat!  So, I just had to show it off!  A huge thank you to Brenda McKain for my beautiful cap, which I will probably need sooner than I originally thought!  And thanks for everything else!  That was so sweet of you and really touched me!

So, that brings me to chemo.  I met with the chemo doctor today....Dr. Venkatesh, Medical Oncologist at the Community South Hospital in Greenwood.  This was my first time to meet him and I left really feeling good with him!  He was very personable and encouraging and everyone told me he was really good!   He took his time to talk with me and explain everything and had a great sense of humor that started coming out at the end of our visit.  He made me feel very comfortable.

He wants me to do chemo first...BEFORE SURGERY!  As I mentioned last night, I thought this could be a possibility, so I'm glad I had prepared myself for it so it didn't come as a complete shock.  He told me my cancer was fast growing (I think I had already figured that out).  I asked him if it could have just come on in the last six months, since I had a mammogram in August and he said yes.  He said he's seen that happen before and especially with a fast growing cancer.  So, I'm content now that they didn't "miss" something back in August.  In reality, a fast growing cancer is not good news....but on the other hand it confirms that it hasn't been there for years and they have caught it early.  Basically my percentage on my pathology report tells them that 36% of my cells are duplicating and growing at a fast rate.  So, it could always be much worse than that.  He said he's seen people come in with 99%!  So, even though being fast growing is not good news, he was very encouraging and positive and told me it was treatable.  As a matter of fact, he used that "other C" word....curable!  Yes he did!  :=)  Honestly, I didn't expect that word to come out of any of the doctors' mouths, so it was music to my ears!

He explained the reasons for giving me chemo before the surgery.  I can tell you now that when you have cancer in your body...you want it removed....NOW!!!!!  So, I wasn't sure about this thing of waiting to remove it.  But, he said by doing the chemo first, it will shrink the tumor (perhaps to a size that would allow for a lumpectomy instead of masectomy...not sure what I'll do about that, but at least this would help the option).   He said the chemo will kill any cancer cells in my body, as well as the cancer cells in my diseased breast, while shrinking the tumor.  He said he has seen some tumors shrink to a very small size and when they've removed them, the cancer was even gone because the cells were killed with the chemo!  He furthermore said that treating with chemo first lets them see how the tumor reacts to the chemo and lets them know if the chemo is working.  As he explained, if the tumor was removed before the chemo, they would have no way of really knowing how the cells responded to the chemo.  So, leaving the tumor in gives them a way to gauge the success of the chemo and change the type and dosage if necessary.  Makes sense, doesn't it?  He did say neither way was wrong, but he would like to treat me this way.  I did tell him the biggest worry I had about it was to think it was still in there for several months, but he reminded me that while it was in there, it would not be growing because the chemo would be killing and shrinking it.  Oh yeah, I forgot that!  After it was explained  to me, I am very comfortable with it, so told him "let's get 'er done"!   I did tell him I had just wasted money on my cute new haircut that I would have skipped if I realized I was doing chemo so soon...LOL....and his response was, "well, I'm about ready to give you a BIG haircut"!  LOL...I loved his sense of humor and that he realized he could joke with me.  I told him I bet his haircut was going to be much more expensive than the $15 I spent on this one!  :=)  Then he asked me what I sold (he asked what my job was earlier) and I pointed to my Thirty One bag on the floor and said, "I sell those bags!" and he said, "Well, we have lots of ladies in this office who would love that" and about that time one of the nurses walked in and he turned to her and pointed at my bag and said, "Hey, she sells these bags...you all need to buy one!" and she took one look at it and said, "That's Thirty One"!  LOL...I loved it!  I handed out several business cards to the office girls!

Ok, I got off track, didn't I?  Ok, so he wants to begin chemo asap....like next Monday!!!!  But, before he can do that, my surgeon needs to go in to remove the sentinal node to check to see if the cancer has made it into my lymph nodes.  She had already told me she'd be removing two nodes.  So, I will need to have the surgery to remove these nodes and to put in a port and then I'm ready for the chemo.  He has put in a call to her to see if they can get me done before Monday.  If they can, then I'll start my chemo on Monday.  If not, then it will probably be later in the week.  Either way, I look to start my chemo next week.  I will have it every 3 weeks, for 3-6 months.  We are still waiting for the Her2 test that may determine the longer period of chemo, plus having to have the other drug, Herceptin, for a year.  I'm so ready to get this show started!  As soon as I have my first chemo treatment I'll feel like we're doing something to get rid of this cancer.  For now I just have thoughts of it in there growing, growing, growing!  I do feel, though, that they are moving things along fast considering I was just diagnosed last week. 

OK, the MRI....this is more bad news, but not necessarily devastating.  It did not come back "clean".  I think I was more worried about this test than any others!  No matter how postive I feel on the outside, I think my body was responding to the stress of it all last night.  I was extremely tired and jittery and felt a huge heaviness in my chest and just coudn't concentrate.  I honestly think it was just nerves and anxiety over the MRI test.  I had those darn visions that like to creep in......visions of the MRI showing more cancer than they suspected.  Well, I got those results this morning and while it did show a couple of more spots, it's better knowing this than imagining things much worse.  No matter how positive a person is, these thoughts still creep in.  Anyway, the MRI showed another very small tumor right below this one and they honestly don't seem too concerned with it.  So, other than that, the cancer in that breast is what they suspected, which gives me some relief.   But, it also showed a very tiny spot on my other breast and that seemed to raise more concern.  So, now I have to go back to the doctor on Friday morning to let them ultrasound this spot and see if they feel it needs to be biopsied.  So, here we go again!  It may be nothing...but could be cancer too....so we need to know!  I'm not stressing out about it.  I feel I'm in good hands and if it's cancer, we'll deal with it.  I hate the "unknown" and even though it wasn't the "clean" report I wanted, I can deal with it better than the anxiety of wondering what they'll find.  And whatever it is, it's tiny....too tiny to show up on a mammogram.

So, today I had a chest x-ray and then Friday I will be getting that ultrasound and an echocardiogram and visit with the Radiation doctor.  Larry is off work, so he'll get to go with me this time.  Tomorrow looks like a "free day" at this point, but if they call me to get the sentinal nodes removed and the port put in...I'm soooo there!  I'm ready to roll!

Until next time.......WINNING!!!!!!!!!


TODAY I GO VISIT THE CHEMO DOCTOR!

Today is a BIG DAY.  I will get much more information today, including the MRI results and hopefully the Her2 test and the plan for chemo will be laid out for me.  Since learning of the possibility of having chemo first...I'm now wondering how soon!   I mean, if they are going to do it first, I could start chemo next week already!  I'm trying to get mentally ready for that, since I was expecting it more like a couple of months from now.  But, it really depends a lot, I think, on my own personal cancer.  I'm getting ahead of myself since I have no idea yet what the plan will be.  I'll find out today and I'm glad!  I think the unknown makes me more anxious than the known.  When you're waiting on test results your mind will wander around to places you don't want it to go.  You try to control it, but it still wants to go there.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still feeling very positive.  But, I have a lot of anxiety about the "unknown".  So, I'm glad today has finally arrived so I can find out these results and find out "what's next".  When you find out you have cancer, you want it out of your body....RIGHT AWAY!  And I have to remind myself that it was only last week when I was diagnosed, so in reality, things are moving along really fast.

One thing I really like about the Breast Center I go to is that they give you a copy of every lab report (maybe they all do....I don't know).  But, I like having those reports and seeing exactly what they say.  So, Monday when I was up there, they gave me the ER/PR (hormone receptor) lab report and I was just looking over it this morning.  Well, on this report the Estrogen Receptor was at 99% positive and the Progesterone Receptor is 71% positive.  So, that's good.  Then it shows a Ki-67 as "HIGH (36%).  Ok, I'm the type of person who wants to know what that means!  So, I turned to my friend "google" and  found that it is a way of telling how fast your cancer is growing. It is an antibody marker to a tumor antigen that can be found in breast cancer cells.  Anything above 20% means the cancer cells are growing and dividing at a rapid pace.  Honestly, this doesn't necessarily surprise me.  When you consider that I had a mammogram last August and they saw nothing and then I had another one in March and it was there and already at 2.5 cm, I figured out a long time ago that it evidently was growing fast.   

Now I don't necessarily find this particularly frightening, although I wish it was a slow growing cancer.  In one way I find it calming because it tells me it hasn't been there for years and just missed on my mammograms.  Yes, my mind has taken me there.  When you just had a mammogram six months ago and nothing was found, you wonder if they "missed it".  With this test showing it's growing rapidly, it gives me a peace that it hasn't been there for years and just missed.  So, it gives me peace that it's been found "early".    I already was graded at "2" which already told me it was faster growing....but not quite as fast as grade "3".  Now I can see where they got that information from.  I actually find this all fascinating.  The good thing about all of this information is that it tells them how agressively to treat the cancer.  They will know how better to treat me by what these lab tests are telling them.  So I thank God that there has been so much progress with breast cancer that they can now test for all of this.  I am finding that even with bad news you can find good!  I look at that 36% and think...."well, better than 75%, or 85%, or 99%!).  I will admit though, that the faster you feel like it's growing, the faster you want it out.  LOL!  I just want that thing out of me!  But, on the other hand, I'm glad to have had the time to think things through and decide what type of surgery to have, rather than being rushed with that decision.

One thing I do know.  I do not want this cancer to dictate my life.  While I know it's going to take over part of my life whether I want it to or not, I will do everything to keep my life "normal", going on with my "normal activities", as much as possible.  There may be some bumps in the road ....but this cancer does not rule!  I am not dying of cancer...I'm living with cancer!  Many women live years and years after being diagnosed and I expect to be around to watch my grandkids graduate, get married and make me a great mamaw!   And with all of the research that has been done, I know my chances of survival is so much better than it used to be.  I thank everyone who has ever donated or raised money for this research!  I am a life that is being helped by your donations!

Well, I need to start getting ready to roll up to Greenwood.  I've been keeping that road hot!  Erin (my youngest daugther) is going with me today.  She also went with me Monday.  Jennifer (my other daughter) is at work so she's been unable to go, but she is a school teacher and will soon be out for summer break, so she'll get her turn at going with me.  I'll be doing my chemo and radiation up there, so there will be plenty more trips for her to take with me!   And hubby (Larry) just found out he has to take some days off work because the earthquake is affecting the Toyota business, which affects the plant he works at.  This is not good for the paycheck, but maybe the timing is good and I can arrange appointments on the days he'll be off so he can go.  Like I said, I try to look at the "good side".  He's unexpectedly off Friday and Monday, so he'll be able to go with me to the Radiation Doctor on Friday.

Until later.....schedule your mammogram TODAY!
Cindy