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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Ok, I thought I'd show you some of the pictures Sheila took the other day, so now you can tell her you saw them!  Not the nude ones though....I may have a crazy sense of humor, but I do have my limits.  LOL!  In this photo, you can see the reconstruction progress after 400 cc (I'm going to 650 cc)  I was considered to be a large breasted woman, so this is considerably smaller than I was and I like that!  I find that women with large breasts want to be smaller and women with small breasts want to be larger!  LOL!

I have lost a considerable amount of weight since my journey began in April.  It fluctuates between a 48-50 lb weight loss.  I can't complain about that and would still like to lose more!  Once I get back on my treadmill maybe I can get it to drop more!  I needed to lose weight, so I'll take it, although I would not recommend this as a weight loss program!  It feels so good, though, to be down this low....the lowest in years!  I have my scales sitting out visable in my bathroom and weight myself every morning.  I think keeping a daily eye on it will keep me encouraged.  I am finding that I get very hungry and have a good appetite, but it doesn't take much to fill me up!  I think maybe my stomach has shrunk, so I don't overeat....when I'm full, I stop.  I eat anything I want, but I think the key is the portion.  Plus, I no longer drink pop/soda!  That probably helps too!  Prior to this, I drank a lot of pop!!!

As you can see, I don't fill this out "upstairs"....YET!  I will eventually!  I have 5 more fills to go, with the last one scheduled the first of November.  I'm going to like being smaller.  Hey, I'll take any of the bonuses I get out of this!

I'm feeling great!  Still get tired, but I'm beginning to feel some energy returning.  It just doesn't last long.  I feel better after getting the drains out though.  If I tire out, I rest.....and it doesn't take much to tire me out!  This shall pass!  Right now I'm not worrying about the fatigue so much and giving my body the chance to heal.  I go back for another "fill" next week.  Larry's on vacation, so he might just go with me!  I'd like for him to see what they do....although it will probably make him queasy to see them insert this needle into me...LOL....I can't feel a thing!

Tomorrow is the interview with the Republic....looking forward to that.  I've ordered the Ovarian Cancer bracelets for Andee, so please let me know if you'd like to purchase one for $3.00.  I'm hoping to have them by the end of the week or early next week.
Not much else going on, but thought I'd give you a little update.  :=)

Until next time....enjoy the beautiful weather and enjoy life!

Monday, August 29, 2011


Today I went to Dr. Jackson's office and got my final drain out!  Yay!!!!  Anyone who has been through this will understand my excitement and even those who have never experienced drains hanging out of their body could probably understand my excitement too.  I didn't feel a thing when this drain was removed....last week it briefly stung when the other one was removed.  So, today was easy peasy!!!  :=)

I asked if it was "normal" to still be so tired and was told....YES, YOU HAD A VERY BIG SURGERY AND YOU ARE STILL HEALING.  DON'T PUSH YOURSELF!   Having had 3 major surgeries (abdominal) before this, I wasn't too worried because I know how surgery can totally wipe you out.  But I had loved ones worrying, so I wanted to ask to put their minds at ease.  I do things.....movies, out to eat, scooping the loop (http://www.tribtown.com/news/night-31583-saturday-joyce.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_5006886947830_786329_5006889937830)....but come home totally wiped out!  It just doesn't take much to wipe me out....even a trip to the doctor.  She said she thought I was doing great!

I did find out that my exchange surgery in December will involve cutting through the same incisions that are healing now.  OUCH!!!  Man, I'll just get the incisions healed to cut into them again!  I always tell them they can do anything to me as long as they knock me out.  LOL!  Actually, this will be a good thing because they can clean up the incision that split open, so that way the scar will look better.

I had my sister, Sheila, to take some photos (nude) of me today, as I want to keep visual track of the progress.  She's scared to death that I'm going to put them on my blog...LOL!  Uh, no....I don't think I want to do that!  These photos are just for my own personal visuals.  Like I said before, they aren't so pretty right now.  I swear, I looked at pics online of people as they were "filled" and they didn't look like THIS!  There's no way I'd show you all...LOL!  But, if you know Sheila and talk to her....be sure to mention to her that you saw the nude pics on my blog...LOL!

This Thursday a reporter from the Columbus Republic will be coming to interview me and Sheila for a feature article they will be publishing in October for Breast Cancer month.  I'll try not to say anything stupid...LOL!  The reporter asked me if she could bring a photographer and I said sure!  Now, hair or no hair for the paper.  LOL!  Actually, I have hair, but still have the "bald look" going on.  Sheila could represent the "hair grown back look", while I can represent the "hair just starting to grow back look".  :=)

I got the Arimidex filled (the 5 year pill to fight reoccurence) and am ready to start on it now.  I'm praying the hot flashes and achy bones won't be too bad....or other side affects.

I'm still pretty uncomfortable because that muscle is expanding and is so tight across my chest and under my arms.
But, I guess when I consider what my body has been through since April....biopsies, 2 surgeries, chemo, and now reconstruction.....I'm not doing too badly.  This all shall pass and one day I will feel "normal" again (now I may not act "normal"....that would be too boring...LOL).  But I'm ready to feel "normal" again! 

Not much more to report today.....so, until next time....
Leave me a message....I love when I get messages!  :=)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This post today isn't about me and my progress....it is about a young woman who is fighting ovarian cancer.  I have asked God to use me and He brought Andee Pagel into my life in such an awesome way!  God indeed works in mysterious ways!

Now, let me tell you the story of how I "met" Andee and heard about her fight.  I received a text message on my phone about a week ago....telling me about someone's sister's cancer returning and the doctor's telling them they could do no more for her.  My heart sunk and I had no idea who it was texting me.  I did not recognize the phone number, so I called it to see who it was.  I could not ignore this text, but I could not figure out who it was from!  As it turned out, the woman on the other end apologized and said her cousin used to have the number that I now have!  So, the text wasn't even meant for me....it was meant for her cousin.

Now, she had no idea that I have been fighting cancer myself all summer and that I have a desire to be here for others.  We had a great conversation and she filled me in on her sister, Andee. 
 Andee is a very young mom of one small child.  She's been battling ovarian cancer and it is back for the 3rd time and this time the doctors have told her they can do no more.  That is just heartbreaking, but she is not done fighting for her life!  She is looking into some treatment centers and is waiting to hear from Penn  State right now to see if she will qualify for treatment with them.
I asked Kelli (Andee's sister) what I could do to help and she said they are trying to raise money for the expenses Andee is facing with travelling in search of a cure.  They are selling these bracelets for $3.00 each and I told her I'd try to help them sell them.  Every little bit can help. 
So, if you would be interested in buying any of the bracelets to help out, please email me and let me know.  I can mail them to you first class (no additional cost, but only in the USA because of shipping costs to other countries, sorry).

Now, I do want to assure you that I do not plan to turn my blog into a fundraising blog, but I feel lead by God to try to help out this family who are heartbroken and fighting for their loved one.  If you feel lead to help in any way, please do so.  Prayers are so appreciated too. 

Until next time....thank you so much....Cindy

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Can you see it??? 

Sheila helped me get some shots of my hair today so I could show you how much it's grown.  It is REAL SOFT and seems to be really growing faster now.

And here's the back.  I think the stripes are made by the sunshine coming in between the blinds.  Not sure what is up with those 3 little bald spots in the middle of my head!  But, wowsa, I hadn't even looked at the back of my head and was so excited to see how much it had grown back there too!

So, my last chemo was June 22.....so this is my hair growth in two months.  Now I think it will just grow faster and faster and I'll keep taking pics along the way to show you the progress.  And hey, it's NOT WHITE!!!!!!  :=)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I'm so excited that I just had to share!  Dr. Jackson's office just called and set up my "exchange surgery" for December 2.  This is where I will have surgery to get these hard, uncomfortable tissue expanders removed and replaced by nice, soft silicone implants.  So, looks like I'll have my new ta-tas for Christmas!  What else could a girl want?  LOL!

I feel a little silly, as I could have had the surgery done in Columbus (20 miles from me) on Nov. 18 or in Greenwood (50 miles from me) on Dec. 2.  I had to make a quick decision on the phone and while the closeness of Columbus seems appealing, all of my other surgeries have been at the hospital in Greenwood and I love that hospital and the staff and just feel really comfortable with it.  So, I chose to wait and go to Greenwood.  Is that silly?  After I hung up I just felt kinda silly about choosing to wait 2 weeks and go further.  I guess it's just a comfort level.

I asked about the recuperation time and she said it would only be a few days, so this surgery will definately be a simpler one!  I've actually heard from others that have had it done that it's a "piece of cake" compared to the masectomy/reconstruction surgery!

Ok, Dr. Jackson's office just called back to set up the "nipple reconstruction" too....Dec. 22 in Seymour.  Moving right along!   I told her I was feeling a little silly about choosing to wait and have it in Greenwood and if we needed to go ahead at Columbus in November, it would be ok with me.  She assured me it wasn't silly and many patients choose to go there and it won't delay anything at all and they'd have all of my records already at that hospital....so now I don't feel as silly!  Looks like everything is going to get done by the end of year!!!  Yay, considering we've met our "out of pocket" on insurance!  The only thing going into 2012 will be the tattooing of the areola.  Yep, I said tattooing!  And that will be several months after the nipple reconstructon, but is part of that charge....so no big deal! 

LOL...I'm so excited to get my new boobs in time for Christmas!  Now I have 5 more "fills" to go....last one is the first part of November.  Wow, what a process!  I will tell you this....they don't look very pretty right now!  I did a full mirror view of them last night and yuck!  LOL!  They definately need filled more to stretch that loose skin out!  And one incision looks really good and dried up, but the other pulled slightly apart and is raw looking.  The nurse said to use neosporin on it.  I just have to keep reminding myself that they will be beautiful in the end!  :=)  But right now they don't look anything like all those pictures I looked at online before my surgery!  I'll admit it, I'm looking forward to seeing my new boobs.....just like I'm looking forward to my new hairdo!  :=) 

Wow, two more things I can mark off of my "bucket list" soon....a boob job and tattoos!  LOL!  Actually, next year I have decided to get a pretty tattoo of a pink ribbon (down by my ankle). 
 I showed you all what I plan to get earlier on my blog, but here it is again in case you missed it.  I will have 3 stars....one for me, one for my sister Sheila, and one for my mom.  I may end up making a few changes, but this gives you the idea what I have in mind.  But, hey, by that time it will be my 3rd tattoo, so getting a tattoo will be old stuff!  LOL!  Might as well get me a pretty one!  Never imagined me ever even wanting one! 

And other than follow up doctor appointments and my tatoos, it appears my journey will be coming to an end by the end of this year!  But, my journey has changed me.  And as I move forward, I want God to use me and my journey to help others.

Until next time....always remember, I am here if you ever need me!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Please pray for my new friend, Ruby, who had the same surgery I had.....double masectomy with immediate reconstruction.  I met Ruby through my surgeon's office.  She lives in Nashville, IN and we were able to meet for lunch last Friday.  We had talked on the phone, but this was the first time we met each other in person.  It was good to share our experience and since I've already had my surgery, I was able to answer any questions she may have and I hope I gave her encouragement.  She had her surgery just yeserday (Monday) and she's been on my mind and in my prayers.  Will you please pray for Ruby too.  Thank you so much!

Well, my birthday was last week but the celebrating continued on last night.  My hubby, kids, grandkids and son-in-laws took me out to eat at Texas Roadhouse.  They must have heard we were coming  because look what greeted us as soon as we entered!
Not only that, but we had a real party, complete with a magician!  Who could ask for more at their birthday party?

And the magician topped the party off with our special hats!  :=)
And when he found out I was a birthday girl, he made me an extra special crown!  My girls were afraid he'd pull my wig off as he measured my head.  The way they were giggling about it, I think they were secretly hoping he would!  I thought about removing my wig later and confronting him about his balloons and what they did to me.  LOL!  Erin said I could have removed it and shown him MY magic trick!  LOL!
Me and my grandkids....Luke, Abby, and Jenna!

It must have been funny!

Luke and Joe (his daddy) were at my party.

And Nathan was there, but I'm thinking he looks a little bored!  Probably upset that he didn't get a special hat!

And there's my girls, plus Abby.  They aren't normal....they took after their daddy!  Look at Erin's tonsils....LOL!  They're going to love me for putting this on here.  I told them when they were little that their face may freeze like that and they never would listen to me! 

What a great time I had with my family!

Today I went to Dr. Jackson again, hoping to get my drains removed!  Well, I was able to get ONE drain out....but the other one remains.  I'm really close on it.  It needs to drain less that 30 in a 24 hour period.  Maybe by the end of the week.....or surely by next week!
I'm at least happy to have one of them out.  Now I can shower one half of my body....if I could figure out how to do that.  LOL!  It hurt a "little" to get it out, but no big deal really.  She just said to take a deep breathe and hold it and I felt a stinging and was bracing myself and then she said, "ok, it's out".  It stung, but it was fast.  She just had to yank it out.  One more to go!  And once I get my other drain out I won't have these lumps under my shirt that make me look fatter than I am!

Speaking of "fatter', I am thrilled at my weight loss.  Not a good diet plan, but now that I've lost it I'm going to try really hard to keep it off.  I've lost nearly 50 pounds since this journey began back in April and people are even beginning to comment on it....so, it's noticable!  I definately had the weight to spare!

And speaking of hair....we weren't speaking of hair????  Well we are now!  :=)  My hair has become noticable now too!  It's gone from the spikey stage to the really soft stage!  I've been able to tell for about a month it was coming back in...but now others can SEE it!!! 

Dr. Jackson also gave me another "fill" today....50 cc on each side.  I wasn't expecting that at all!  So, now I'm up to 400 cc and have to get to 650cc.  250cc to go!!!  That should be 5 more fills!
I'm looking like I'm ready to move out of my "training bra" into an "A cup"!  :=)

Until next time......thanks again for all of your prayers and encouragement thru this journey.  I've come a long way and you have all helped me get through it.    And, if you ever find yourself needing to talk with me, don't hesitate to contact me. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I have had an awesome birthday and want to thank everyone for their birthday wishes.  My day may seem pretty mundane to many people, but to me...it was a GOOD DAY!  First I have had so many birthday wishes from facebook friends....I felt the love!  Every message made me smile!  I've had phone calls from friends and family.  Every birthday wish meant so much because it let me know so many were thinking of me on my special day!

My day was pretty uneventful until about 4 PM when Sheila called and wanted to take me out for a birthday dessert.  Sheila and I always have a good time, no matter what we're doing.  So, we went to Applebees, where we met George!  George was our server and he was an awesome young man.  We asked him to take our pic and another server came along and asked to take the pic so George could get in it with us.

Of course George became one of my new BFFs when he asked if I turned 32 today!  :=)  He was such a sweetie!  And he shared with us that he had lost his dad to lung cancer two years ago.  Our father passed away 10 years ago in October of lung cancer as well.  So many have been touched by cancer and it's so inspiring to meet others who have been down this road or watched a loved one go through it.  It's hard to explain, but there is an instant connection.   Like I've said, God has blessed me thru this journey with the people I meet along the way.  And, today, I was blessed to meet George.

 Then George went and got some of his friends and they all came back and sang Happy Birthday to me!  Does it get any better than this????  :=)  They made my day!  Sheila and I went out for dessert and got so much more!

And look who we ran into there!  Jean Hildreth (sitting next to me) is my daughter's mother-in-law, my son-in-law's mother, and my grandchildren, Abby and Luke's "other Mamaw"!  She was there with her friend and they had just finished up eating and sat and visited with us on their way out.  As it turned out, her friend had also battled breast cancer, as well as Jean had also....and we realized all four of us were Breast Cancer Survivors!  How awesome was that! 

Tomorrow I am looking forward to meeting Ruby, a new friend I have met on this journey.  Actually, we haven't met in person....but tomorrow are meeting in Columbus for lunch.  She lives in Nashville, Indiana and is going thru this journey too.  She will be having a double masectomy with immediate reconstruction next Monday, so please lift her up in prayer!  I hope and ask God to use me and my cancer journey to help encourage others and I hope to be able to help Ruby as she faces her surgery.  I'm so eager to meet her!  We hit it off on the phone...she was very easy to talk to!

My girls couldn't get with me tonight for my birthday....other committments.  I heard from both of them though!  We usually go out to eat as a family for our birthdays (I seem to eat all the time, don't I?  LOL!).  So, Larry & I just stayed home tonight and we'll all be going out on Monday.  I get to choose WHERE and Texas Roadhouse is sounding pretty good to me!  That just makes my birthday last longer!  :=)  Larry would have taken me out tonight, but to be honest...I just wasn't hungry!  And I'm tired, so I told him we'd just wait until Monday!

It's been a great day!  I have everything I need and feel blessed by so many in my life.....it just doesn't get any better!

Until next time....May you have a great day too!


Today is my 59th birthday.  Birthdays after being diagnosed with cancer seem to take on a new meaning.  I look at all of the blessings I have received since my last birthday and know I have much to celebrate today.  I celebrate that I have made it through so much this summer and am still ticking.  LOL!  I celebrate that I feel so loved by those who have been praying for me all along.  I celebrate my family and friends....I am so blessed!  I celebrate that Jesus has been right by my side and He is my Saviour!  I celebrate life! 

And yesterday I celebrated when Linda took me out to eat while we were in Greenwood for my doctor's appointment!  We ate at the Cheesecake Factory and it was such a nice experience, as well as delicious food!  We ate outside in the patio area and it was such a beautiful day.  We both enjoyed it.  Linda had never been there and I had only been there once, so it was nice to go some place different.  Thank you so much for lunch Linda!  I thoroughly enjoyed it!
And we topped it off with this White Chocolate Raspberry cheesecake.  We both knew we were too full to eat one by ourself, so sharing worked out perfectly.  And they even wrote a birthday message on the plate....cute, huh?  Oh, and can you see the hair???  Look close!  I went all natural yesterday...no wig...no hat!  It is just so comfortable and I really don't feel "wierd" at all.  And the hair is actually starting to show now!  Even Larry can finally SEE it!  Every time I'd look in the bathroom mirror I could see it and would go ask Larry..."do you see it?" and he'd always say NO!  :=(  But now he SEES!!!  It will probably start growing faster now.  Right now it's like little "peach fuzz" and I'm constantly taking my hand across it and feeling it.  LOL! 

Doctor appointments this week!
Well now it seems that my life is filled with doctor appointments, but that's ok with me.  Each visit with a doctor just reaffirms that I'm going to be OK!  And I am feeling better than I was last week....every day gets better!  I still get tired, but my energy and motivation is returning!  Yay me!

Tuesday I visited with Dr. Jackson.  I still have my drains, so I wasn't expecting to be able to get my first "fill", so I was thrilled when he gave it to me!  50 cc on both sides...yay!!!  It was a "piece of cake".  The area is totally numb, so I didn't even feel the needle go into my skin.  Once the needle is inserted through my skin into the tissue expander, he pushes the saline into the expanders thru a very large injector.  If you'd like to see how this is done, here is an excellent video (nudity involved).  No, this isn't me...LOL!
One down and six more to go!  I go back to Dr. Jackson next week to hopefully get the drains out!  I'm "so close", so he feels sure they can come out next week! 
The "fills" will be done every two weeks, so they will take me through November and I HOPE to be able to have the "exchange surgery" in December.  No guarantee, but a possibility! 

Yesterday I visited Dr. Venkatash (I sure hope I spelled that right!).  I just love all of my doctors!  And I always love seeing the girls in his office.  He went over my pathology report and even though he can't pronounce me "cured" yet, he did say I have a very good chance of being cured!  He said no more chemo and no radiation...yay!  Basically, all of the cancer has been removed, so to everyone's knowledge, I'm cancer-free at this time.  There are no guarantees that it will never return and to be honest, I think that is a cancer survivor's biggest worry!  But, the doctors watch you closely....I go back to him again in 3 months.  So, I'm not going to worry about it!  I totally trust my doctors and know they will be watching me closely and sitting around worrying about it will do me no good!  So, as far as I'm concerned....I'm cancer free and there's no indication that any remains!  Yay!
He gave me a prescription for Arimidex and I will take this every day for at least 5 years!  It will help in preventing cancer cells to grow.  It is not without side affects and he did inform me that I will have hot flashes and achiness.  Oh joy!  He did say once my body adjusts to the lessened hormones it will get better.  I ask for prayers that I can tolerate this medication and it won't cause too many problems/side affects for me.  Thanks for your faithfulness to pray for me.  I'm thankful to have this medication available to me (this is one thing that won't help my sister with her kind of cancer) and Dr. Venkatash said they may have something new in 5 years!

Anastrozole is used alone or with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation, to treat early breast cancer in women who have experienced menopause (change of life; end of monthly menstrual periods). This medication is also used in women, who have experienced menopause, as a first treatment of breast cancer that has spread within the breast or to other areas of the body. This medication is also used to treat breast cancer in women whose breast cancer has worsened after taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Anastrozole is in a class of medications called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of estrogen the body makes. This can slow or stop the growth of many types of breast cancer cells that need estrogen to grow.

Anyway, I'm doing good!  No complaints!  While cancer sucks, there are also many blessings that come with it.  One of the greatest blessings I've received on my journey is the people I have met that I otherwise never would have known.  God can use any situation in your life and bless you.

So, Until next time.....absorb God's blessings whatever you are going through.  He can bring blessings out of any situation!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Time for an update!  I've been extremely tired and just laying around a lot since the last time I updated you.  I'm trying to decide if this fatigue is "normal" or something to worry about.  I think several things could be attributed to the way I'm feeling. 

I have to keep reminding myself that it's been less than 3 weeks since I had a pretty big surgery.  And having 3 major surgeries in my life prior to this one, I do recognize that surgery itself will take a toll on your body and my fatigue may partly be a part of recuperating from the surgery.  It seems like it was so long ago, but it wasn't....I have to keep reminding myself of that.

I am also very sore and very uncomfortable due to the tissue expanders placed behind my muscle.  Sometimes it can be pretty rough to move, but I don't regret it.  As a friend of mine (who has already gone thru this....Hi Amy!) put it....it feels like you have a sports bra on that is 5 sizes too small.  That about sums it up...LOL!  I just keep reminding myself why I did the reconstruction and how worth it it will be in the end.  But, the fact that I can't freely use my arms and reach far without pulling at that muscle leads to inactivity, which leads to laying around and watching tv or sleeping.  I keep reminding myself that it will get better as time goes on and I heal more.

My hemoglobin  was down at the time of the surgery and I even had to consent to a blood transfusion if they determined I needed it during surgery.  It would depend on how much blood I lost during surgery....they didn't want my hemoglobin to drop any further.  They did not end up giving me a blood transfusion.  But I'm wondering if my hemoglobin is still low.  If it is, that could explain part of my fatigue.  I just had a CBC (complete blood count) done for my oncologist who I will see on Wednesday, so I will have my answer about my hemoglobin at that time.

I have to remind myself that I am less than two months past my last chemo and it's still in my body, so it is still surely having it's affects on my body.

Sleep apnea.  I was diagnosed with sleep apnea last year (before my cancer diagnosis) and was put on a cpap machine and oxygen when I sleep.  I don't know how long I've had sleep apnea, but I've been a very tired person for a long, long time.  So, I don't think I've made up that sleep debt yet.  My neurologist suggested I try sleeping without the cpap and oxygen for a period of time, since I've lost so much weight.  Many times if people lose weight they no longer need the cpap.  So, I have not slept with my cpap and oxygen since my surgery, so I'm beginning to wonder if that is also contributing to my fatigue.  So I think I need to start using it again for now and he will do another sleep study before the end of the year.

So, as you can see, there are so many factors in my life that may be affecting the way I feel.  I'm eager to feel better again and get some energy to do more than just sit around.  I just can't do much and the slightest thing I do try doing will exhaust me.  That is frustrating!  It will pass and I know it will get better! 

So, enough of that!  I'm not complaining....just keeping it "real" and letting you know where I am on my journey.

Last Monday I had my post op appointment with Dr. Zusan (she did my masectomy).  The appointment went well.  She took one look and told me I was a fast healer and it looked really good!  I'll take it!  :=)  She went over my pathology report and discussed the residual cancer they found.  She said the chemo didn't work as well as they had hoped....it was a very agressive cancer....so, the chemo didn't completely kill it.  But she also said that it was rare that it would totally kill all of the cancer, so this was pretty normal.  She was able to remove it all and get clear margins, so that is good.  Of course I have that worry of any cancer cell escaping elsewhere into my body and the chemo not killing it, but she reminded me that it was not in my lymph nodes, so that was a good thing.  She did say there is no guarantee of it not going elsewhere in my body and my oncologist is the one who will treat me now, as he treats the "whole body".  The cancer returning is a normal worry for cancer patients, but I will need to look at all of the "good news" I've received and concentrate on it rather than over-worry.

 I go to my oncologist, Dr. Venkatesh, this Wednesday.  I know he plans to put me on a hormone blocker pill for 5-8 years and that will cut my chances of reoccurence in half.  So with my decison of a double masectomy and this pill, I believe I've done everything I possibly can to reduce my chances of reoccurence.  There is also a thing called a PET scan that scans the whole body to detect cancer.  It would be up to Dr. Venkatesh to decide if I would need to have this, but I'm going to ask him if I could do it.  If it went elsewhere I'd like to catch it early.

I also go to Dr. Jackson (the plastic surgeon) this week too.  I'm suppose to be getting my first "fill' since surgery.  But. I still have those darned drains, so this may get postponed!  I'm still holding out hope for the drains to get removed so I can get this show on the road with hopes of getting all of the fills and silicone surgery before the end of the year.  I hate to have the schedule delayed because of these darn drains!

All in all, I have no complaints.  I knew back in April when I was diagnosed that I was in for a battle that would probably take up most of the next year of my life.  So, I go with the flow and if I don't feel "so good" I just allow myself to rest and take it easy.  I know my time of feeling better is coming and I will be patient and wait upon the Lord!  He is still in control and through all of this He is teaching me continuously to trust Him.

I received a phone call this week from an area newspaper wanting to interview me and my sister for a feature article they will be doing on breast cancer.  I don't want to mention which newspaper it is until it happens.  They didn't say when they would be publishing it, but I'm suspecting maybe in October since that will be Breast Cancer month.  He said he'd been assigning our story to a reporter and we'd be hearing from him.  Sheila and I are thrilled to do this.  It is a great opportunity to educate and encourage other women.  I have prayed for God to use "my story" to help others.  And I know He will.

Until next time.....watch for opportunities to be used by God!  He will give them to you....be a willing vessel!  :=)

Friday, August 5, 2011


Wow, only 9 days out from surgery and who would have thought I'd be feeling like going to an Indians' ballgame in Indianapolis!  But, that's exactly what I found myself doing last night, thanks to my daughter, Jen, and her husband Joe!  Oh, and what a beautiful night to sit outside at a ballgame! 

I had such a great time with my grandchildren, Luke and Abby....and of course the rest of the fam. 

I told Jen we need to make this an annual event!  I did tell her next year she wouldn't have to wait on me so much...LOL!  I admit, though, it was kind of nice just sitting there and letting her and Joe go get our food!  :=)

It's just amazing to me that I'm feeling this good already!  While there's definately some discomfort and I tire easily, I am so thankful for the many blessings of my recuperation.  God is in control and has heard the many prayers brought to Him on my behalf.  Things are going well.  Next Monday I will be going for my post-op visit with my surgeon who performed the masectomy, so I'm eager to hear what she has to say!  May my recuperation be a witness to the power of prayer and God in my life.

My sister, Sheila, told me something the other day that really touched my heart.  She said she believed mom would have been proud of both of us.  I never thought about that until she brought it up and it touches me so deeply to ponder it.  You see, my mom never knew I had breast cancer.  She passed away last year.  Mom, herself, had just been diagnosed with breast cancer in Dec. 2009 and was undergoing radiation at the time of her death.  Sheila was diagnosed in January 2010.....the month after mom.  It was such a shock to all of us.  So, mom knew she was diagnosed and was even still alive to be at her surgery.  I remember mom was so worried about Sheila.  And I have caught myself wishing she had been here with me as I went through my battle.  So, it makes me smile to think of Mom being proud of what me and Sheila have come through.  No matter how old you are, you still want your parents to be proud of you.  It  gives me warm feelings to think of mom smiling at us and being proud.  I miss my mom and so wish I had her here to talk to.  My mom was a strong woman and I believe Sheila and I have inherited some of her strength.  May our strength be a tribute to our Mom.  It's been a rough couple of years, but I know in my heart that things are going to be better. 

Until next time.....hug your loved ones today!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I just wanted to give a quick update on my doctor visit with Dr. Jackson today.  He took the gauze away and looked at his (and Dr. Zusan's) handiwork and said I look REALLY GOOD!  I told him it was amazing that it was only a week ago and I felt like I was doing good, but I couldn't wait to hear it from a DOCTOR!  He said "you had a BIG surgery and everything looks really good....a little bruising".

Yes, I got to SEE myself and it really wasn't shocking to me.  I had prepared myself with research and kind of knew what to expect.  Now that I don't have to have all of that gauze over me, I can tell where the expander is and how my breasts are being shaped by it.  I can feel the expander....it's very hard.  And, to be honest that area is basically numb.  Most of my pain is under my arms, although if I move a certain way I can feel a muscle stretch in my breast area.

I wasn't able to get the drains out yet, but I wasn't really expecting to.  That would have been pretty fast.  My follow up with Dr. Zusan is next Monday and I'll be eager to talk with her and she may be able to take my drains out then...it all depends on the drainage slowing down.

My next appointment with Dr. Jackson will be August 17.  My life now will consist of visiting doctors...LOL!  I also visit the chemo doctor yet this month.  I don't mind...I've got the worst behind me!!!!!  Praise God for giving me the strength for what I've been through. 

Dr. Jackson will begin filling the expanders on August 17, so I'm on my way!!!!   These things are placed beneath my muscle.

Of course, me being me, I had to ask questions!   :=)  I found out that these expanders will require 650 cm (I think it was cm) to fill and they filled them 300 cm at the time of surgery.  So, that means only 350 cm more to go!  I also found out they usually fill them at the rate of 50 cm every two weeks.  So, with the first one in August, I should get 2 more fills in Sept, 2 in Oct, and 2 in Nov.  I'm soooooo hoping to have my new ta-tas for Christmas!  :=)  No guarantees, but a possibility!
All I want for Christmas is my new ta-tas, my new ta-tas, my new ta-tas......"  :=)

Until next time....feel your ta-tas for lumps and get your mammograms!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Wow, I can't believe it's been a week tomorrow since my surgery!  That week flew!  I didn't have much to update you on over the weekend.....just more sleeping and eating!  LOL!  Such is my life now.  I'm feeling really good actually, but can't do a whole lot because I can't move my arms around to reach or stretch or do much with them.  So, I'm still being lazy.  But, I'm making "to do lists" in my mind of what I want to do when I'm all healed.  I'm getting a lot done in my head....LOL!   I think I've got the worst behind me!   I'm just really amazed how good I feel after having a surgery like this. 

Now, I'm not sugarcoating this and telling you there is no pain at all involved, but it's tolerable   I was also able to remove the pain pump this weekend.  It went dry and all I had to do was pull those little tubes out.  No big deal....no pain involved in removing them.  The pain pump was amazing!  Of course I don't know how I would have felt without it, but I think I'm safe to say ..."not so good".

Tomorrow I return for a follow up to Dr. Jackson's office (the plastic surgeon).  I'm looking forward to talking with him and seeing how things are going.  I feel like I'm doing really good....but I want to hear it from a doctor!  The drains are still in and he will be determining tomorrow if they can come out.  I have to drain less than 20 mm within a 24 hour period....I'm keeping a log at home.....and I'm sooooo close!  But I'm not sure it's "close enough"!  Of course I'll be happy to get rid of them, but they really aren't bad at all.  So I can live with them a little longer if I have to.

More pillows!  Remember the beautiful heart pillows Carin gave me in the hospital?  Let me tell you they are constant companions!  You just wouldn't believe the soft support they've been giving me.
These pillows are made a little different.....a "U" shape instead of a heart.  And they came with the little strap to strap them over my shoulder.  These are made by the Vernon Baptist Church and I want to take this opportunity to thank these ladies for this wonderful ministry!  I'm using these in my car as I drive (no, I'm not driving yet!  Can't drive until the drains are out!)

I have to say this.  I have been so overwhelmed by the love and generosity of my family and friends and even strangers!  You can't imagine how much a card in the mail can touch me.  Or an email, phone call, or any communication from people letting me know they care and encouraging me.  This journey has turned out to be spiritual for me and restored my faith that "mankind is good" and God is still in control and loves me.  It has shown me how even a small gesture can mean so much.  I look back on the times when I maybe didn't know what to do.....or thought a card or phone call wouldn't be enough....and I've learned from this journey that you soak up every ounce of love and encouragement....from strangers and family and friends alike.  It's not an easy journey, but you can receive many blessings along the way....just keep your heart open on any journey you find yourself on.  God has a plan.  He can take something "bad" and bring "good" out of it.  I am still very overwhelmed by the generosity of Larry's co-workers.  It just amazes me how people want to help.....even if they don't know me.  I feel like "thank you" isn't enough.....but, it's all I have.  I do hope they know how very much their support has meant.  So, let me say now that if you've called, facebooked me, sent a card, lifted me in prayer, thought about me as I went through my journey, given a gift, a hug.....whatever......God has used all of your gestures to minister to me.  He knows what you have done and I know He will bless you along your journey of life. 

Until next time......"thanks" doesn't seem like it's enough.....but it's  all I have to give you in return.  Please accept it from my heart.  God's blessings to all of you.