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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It sounds so strange, I know....but I am feeling better than I have for years!!!!  I'm happier....maybe because I feel better!  I have more energy to do the things I've always enjoyed before.  I feel more motivated!  And, I just feel good!  I feel so thankful today!

I think for the past 5 years (at least) I have been battling several health problems...even before the cancer and they totally affected my quality of life.  One biggie was Sleep Apnea!  You just can't imagine how much that can cut down the quality of your life!  You just drag day after day after day and never get any quality sleep.  By the time you are diagnosed you are so sleep deprived and have a huge sleep debt to make up.  I feel like I'm at the point of having most, if not all, of that sleep debt made up...yay!  I'm sleeping better than I have in years, even without the machine/mask.  I'm still waiting on my last sleep study results to see if I still need it.  If I do...I'll certainly wear it!!!  But I prefer the freedom of NOT wearing it!

Another factor was my weight!  I'm happy to say I'm keeping that 50 pounds off...so far!  I weigh myself every morning as a motivator to keep an eye on it.  You just can't imagine the energy you gain just from a weight loss like that!  I feel so much better...not to mention looking better!  And today I'm particularly happy because I am wearing a size 12/14 top and 16 jeans!  Do you know how many years it's been since I had a size 12/14 of anything on???  I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming...lol!  Hey, you're talking to someone who was a size 20 and sometimes 18/20!  Good thing I'm as tall as I am, as the weight has more room to spread so I don't look like a blimp!  :=)  Still hoping to lose more....maybe when I get back on my treadmill!

And then my thyroid!  A couple of years ago I got very sick with pneumonia....very, very sick.  I had never had pneumonia in my life and had no idea how sick it could make you!  A couple of months later after recuperating from it, my hair began falling out!   I was totally freaked out...why would my hair be falling out??!  This resulted in a visit to the doctor's office where they tested my thyroid and found it to be out of whack!  So, I went on a daily Thyroid pill and it was increased the next year.  It can take some time to get it regulated.  This thyroid problem affects your metabolism, which can result in weight gain.  I'm hoping it is regulated now and will make it easier to keep my weight off.  It also can affect your energy level and bring on depression, among other things.  So, this very well could have also been a factor in the way I've been feeling for years!

Another thing...I'm just finally feeling happy!  I was prone to suffer from depression and it got especially bad when my mother died.  For the first time in my life I asked my doctor for some anti-depressant medicine.  I had fought it for years and years...just don't like the idea of taking medicines.  But, it got so bad after mom passed away that I didn't care whether I lived or died.  

I also feel that God has restored my JOY!!!  I don't believe He brings on sickness, so I don't believe He brought on my cancer.  But, I believe He used my illness in my life to bring me closer to Him and to show me I was loved (I had spent the year before feeling so unloved....long story).  He has shown me that I am worthy of His love and that I am also loved by others.  He has walked me through forgiveness so that my heart doesn't grow bitter.  Not only has He been healing me physically...He also has been healing me Spiritually.  Without sounding all "preachy", let me just say I love Him so much and thank Him for His goodness!

I was just feeling good and thankful today, so I hope you don't mind me sharing that!  I so wish I had felt this good when my mom was living!  I had no idea why I felt so badly, but now I feel like I'm "living" again! 

This Friday, Dec. 1, is my surgery date!  As strange as it may sound, I'm looking forward to it.  Surgery doesn't scare me....I guess because I've done it so many times.  And this particular surgery is one I'm looking forward to because I'll finally be getting my implants and getting closer to the end of my reconstruction!!!!  Soon I will be putting this cancer journey behind me....but the memories of this year will always be with me and I will continue on with my desire to help others who go through this.  I have met so many amazing women this year who have now become a part of my life forever!  I would not have traded this year.....in spite of the cancer, it has been a very good year!   Weird, huh?  It's really hard to explain.  Of course I wish I hadn't ever gotten cancer....but,. in spite of it, God has taken something "bad" and turned it into something "good".  He has blessed me so much this year!

Until next time....I encourage you to take care of your physical needs...have your annual check-ups and your mammograms!  It can make such a difference in the quality of your life! I am amazed how our body is made and how different parts of it works together and can affect so much!  And look out....God will bless you and can turn something "bad" into something "good"!  Trust Him thru any journey you may find yourself on!  He knows our needs...even before we do!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Dinner at Brown County Inn

I had such an awesome Thanksgiving, which is a change for me.  I'll be honest, I used to absolutely love the holidays....then they became too much work and too much stress and too much money and just brought on depression.  Then last year was my first holiday without both of my parents....I didn't want to celebrate at all.  This year I vowed to find the joy in the holidays again and have found that it may involve making new traditions and moving forward. 

We used to always have BIG family get-togethers with my parents and my siblings.  But, now that mom and dad have passed away, things are just so different.  As siblings we are no longer getting together with each other for a big dinner.  I didn't know what this year would hold, but after fighting cancer, I have vowed to do whatever it takes to enjoy life.  Sometimes you just have to change things up a bit and even start new traditions...leaving the old ones behind.  That's where I find I am at today.  So, we did something totally different for Thanksgivinng this year!  We went away on Thanksgiving Day for a 2 night stay at Brown County Inn, in Brown County, Indiana and ate dinner at their restaurant.

But, first...and most importantly....we had Thanksgiving Dinner with our children (Jen and Erin) and their families....Joe, Nathan, Jenna, Abby, and Luke.  It was a wonderful time!  Of course the evening began with food and lots of it!  I had been teasing Jen that I was going to make everything in the crock pot and she kinda challenged me...so I did it!...except for the fruit salad and pumpkin pie and macaroni and cheese (Jenna insisted that I not make my famous m&c in a crock pot,,,,actually Jenna made it!).  But, I had 5 crock pots going with turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and gravy.  Jen brought Green Bean casserole and deviled eggs and Erin brought salad and Corn casserole.  Add in Texas Roadhouse rolls and we had a feast!  I loved doing it with the crock pots....it kept everything warm!!!  I told my kids I need another one...they laugh...but I'm being serious!

Lots of good food...thanks be to God and the great cooks in our family!

Jenna and Luke

Erin, Nathan, and Larry

Clean the mess up and it's game time!  Jen brought the game CLR...or is it LRC...or RCL (anyway, Left, Right, Center....a pretty no brainer game...lol)?  Hmmm...Well, I'm not sure, but we sure had fun with it!  At first we played with the kids...with chips...then the adults were itching to play with dimes, so we got serious!  LOL!  Erin was the luckiest with that one.  We limited our gambling to $5 each...lol...we're such big time gamblers...NOT!  It was sure fun though!

Yep, that's my family!  :=)....with a couple missing (Jenna and Joe)

Luke...kids are so much fun to play games with!

Abby just horsing around waiting for her turn....

Oh look!  I found Jenna!  Teenagers tend to hide from the camera.

Luke got into trying out my new XBox Kinect game (thanks Thirty One!)

Larry joined him....

It was a great evening with our little family.  Special times....special memories! 

Thanksgiving Day
Then the next day...Thanksgiving Day....we headed over to Brown County. Once we got all checked into our room, we went to their restaurant for our Thanksgiving Day dinner. 
We had never been there before and found the Restaurant to be very rustic and inviting...all decorated for the holidays.  Very nice!  Great atmosphere and great food!

And the food was awesome!!!!  It was buffet style and you could tell it wasn't boxed or frozen food...but made fresh!  I didn't have to cook at thing on Thanksgiving Day!  :=)  It was just so relaxing!

My sister, Kim, and her daughter, Sarah, went with us.  Kim went for the roast beef.  Besides turkey, they had roast beef and ham!  A great variety of food and very yummy!

Our waitress snapped our pic for us.  We all had a great Thanksgiving dinner!

They had the hotel areas decorated for Christmas already and it just really put us in the mood for the holidays. 

We just relaxed the rest of the evening and Kim and I even made it down to the heated indoor pool for a swim before bed. 

The next day we headed into Nashville....we were actually walking distance at the hotel.  It was a beautiful day....not cold or rainy!  For those who live away or who may have never heard of Nashville, Indiana, it is a tourist town full of little shops...think Gatlinburg, TN or Dresden, Ohio.  We met people there from all over the country...Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania....it's an awesome place to visit!  And we only live 45 minutes away from it!

We loved these handmade deer...look at those teeth...lol!

A fun woodsie shop....

Carriage rides all day long....

The town was all decorated up for Christmas...what a great way to kick off our Holidays!  Walking around and seeing people so happy and having a good time and seeing all of the decorations....it just made me happy.  :=)  We had no set agenda...no time limits...just relaxation and doing whatever hit us at the time!  And lots of pictures!  Now, THIS is a great way to spend Black Friday!  And it felt great supporting "small businesses" owned by the locals.

Each little shop had decorations outside of it.  I had never been over at Christmas time, so I really enjoyed the decorations!
And the Christmas music!

We just loved the strolling old-time carolers!

And they were kind enough to let me and Sarah join them!

And then...and then....there he was!!!!!!!!!!  And Mrs. Claus too!

 I got to sit on his lap and tell him how good I've been all year!  :=)  And aren't his elves just the cutest?

And then Kim and Sarah tried to convince him that they had been good too.  LOL!

Now Larry was digging Mrs. Claus.  He even saw her the next day and she remembered his name....hmmmm.....lol!

We had a great lunch downtown....

We just had a great, relaxing day walking around and even made a few Christmas purchases!    Went back to the Inn and rested a bit and then Larry and I headed back into town for a Christmas show at the Palace Playhouse.  It was "Believe, A Brown Country Christmas".  It was fun and entertaining and we really enjoyed.  Back to the Inn and were going to the lounge to listen to a rock 'n roll band, but there was no seating left, so we just went back to the room.

Next morning....Saturday....our last day at the Inn.  Checked out at noon and then headed for a last swim before leaving the Inn!

Kim & Sarah

Fills all done....tissue expanders still in....one week and they will be replaced with
my silicone implants.  Can't wait! 

Do I dare show you what I look like in my swimming suit
without the tank top?????

Oh, ok....too late for modesty now!  This is actually my swim suit I had before I lost the weight, so in reality, it's too big.  I had to pull it tightly and pin it and I don't exactly "fill it out" anymore like I used to...lol!  And I have no butt left...lol...I would rather have no tummy left!  But, here I am!!!  Now, if I could just lose that tummy I have left, I'd be even happier (I shoulda sucked it in...lol)!  :=)  I do have a confession to make...I'm enjoying clothes shopping more now!  Haven't done a lot of it yet, but when I do, it's so much easier to find things that look good on me.  So, I guess you can say I'm enjoying my weight loss....not only for the way it makes me look though, but for the way it makes me feel.  I never realized how much the weight was dragging me down!

We went back into town again on Saturday after leaving the Inn and spent another day looking around.  Headed home and got home early enough to even get out and put lights on our split rail fence...something I've wanted to do for at least 5 years now!  Finally got it done this year!!!! 

We had an absolute great time over Thanksgiving and now today I've been making Christmas gifts and just laying around watching Christmas movies.  It feels good to finally be enjoying the holidays like I used to....instead of being depressed and wishing they were over.  I've simplified things and am just into enjoying an "old fashioned Christmas".

Now bring on the snow!!!!  LOL...yes, we're just "big kids".  Couldn't resist this when we saw it at one of the shops downtown.

Until next time...find that "big kid" that's inside of you and enjoy the holidays!  If you need to simplify things, do it!  If you need to begin a new tradition and do things differently this year, do it!  Sometimes change is good!  :=)  Do what it takes to enjoy this most blessed time of the year!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This Thanksgiving I realize just how much I have to be thankful for.  I have always felt thankful, but I do realize we all take things for granted.  Now, after battling cancer, I try not to take things for granted and give thanks for even the smallest things.....even annoyances.  I try to find the blessings in things that may even be a nuisance to me....try doing that and you will be amazed just how much you do have to be thankful for!  Like the dirty dishes....a nuisance....but it meant you ate!  :=)  Or, like the cowlick at the back of my head...I'm thankful that my hair is long enough now to even have a cowlick.  lol!

As I look over this year, here are just some of the things I'm thankful for....in no particular order...

My family...
A couple are missing...Joe and Jenna
Got Jenna in this one...still missing Joe.
 My family....I love them, they love me.  That says it all!

Special Friends...
  My friends who gave me such great support this year.  I am especially thankful for Linda, who retired last year....just in time to be free to hang with me this year when I needed her most.  And for Martha, who is always ready to come play with me in the cave and has provided me with many "talk sessions" and hugs!  They both are very loving friends and very special in my life. 

I am also thankful for Barb, Vicki, Karen, Angie.....ugh, I don't want to leave anyone out.  You know who you are!  You all are "angels in my life"!

My sister, Sheila....

 I'm thankful for my sister, Sheila, who went through this journey with me...took my nudie shots....went to many lunches with me for good talks and put up with all of my boob talk....and is just always there for me.  We always have a good time together and have always been close, but I think we are even closer today...not only are we biological sisters....we are also cancer sisters. She has been a great support for me.....one of my biggest cheerleaders!

My Sisters....
I am thankful for my sisters, who were there for me (even the goofy one on the left)...and my brother who has been there for me too!  :=)

My Cancer Sisters...
I am thankful for my other cancer sisters....Carin, Amy, Edie, Andee, and Ruby.  We have fought the battle and kicked butt girls!  You all have been so brave and God brought us together for His purpose! 

I am thankful for God who has taken care of me and drawn me closer to Him and blessed me so much in this journey!

My Medical Team....
OOH, now I see why people tell me I look good now...I did look kinda sick...lol!
As you can see, I was much heavier at the beginning of this journey.

 I am thankful to everyone on my medical team, but especially for Dr. Zusan and Dr. Venkatesh and Dr. Jackson.  I could not have asked for a better, more passionate and positive team!

Opportunities to help spread the word....
I am thankful for the opportunities God has provided (and continues to provide) me to educate women about breast cancer and early detection and to spread the word to "get your mammograms" and how important they are!

Mammograms...although I never have to do another one!
 I am thankful for mammograms...especially for those new digital mammograms, that are catching more.  We have a way of catching breast cancer early....never see it as a dreadful thing, but be thankful we have it!  Some cancers are caught in late stages because there is no way to catch them early (ovarian being one of them). I will be forever grateful for the mammogram that caught my cancer early!
A nice, warm bed....
I'm thankful for my nice, warm bed and opportunites to lie in it some mornings until I get ready to get up.  LOL!

Can you find me?  Kinda like "Find Waldo", lol!
I am thankful for research and to all of those who help in any way to raise money for cancer research.  We have come a long way baby!  I'm just amazed at what can be done today to make cancer more bearable and even curable.

Feeling great!
I feel like I've had a make-over!  I'm thinking of keeping my hair short...what do you think?
 I am thankful for my hair (look at that hair....whoohoooo), my new ta-tas (hey, they're fake, but my real ones tried to kill me!), my weight loss (I feel better with the weight off).  I feel and look better now than I have in years.  No complaints.....I'm so thankful that I am feeling so good!

My fingernails....

I'm thankful for my fingernails....because I never had any! I used to chew them down to the skin!
 I am thankful for forgiveness....it has set me free!
My Blog.... 
I am thankful for my blog...it has been very therapeutic for me, as well as giving me a journal to look back and see my whole journey and how far I've come.

My camera....
 I'm thankful for my camera (thanks Jen)!  It goes everywhere with me and has helped me document my journey.  It has captured so many memories with so many special people! 

Crockpots and crock pot recipes...lol!
  I am thankful for my crock pots...all five of them.  LOL!


Arimidex® (generic name is anastrozole) is a newer drug developed for the treatment of advanced breast cancer in women.
 I am thankful for Arimidex...a little white pill that helps keep the cancer at bay.  It cuts my chances of it returning in half.

My businesses....and my customers...
I'm thankful for my 3 businesses...Scentsy, Stampin' Up and Thirty-One Gifts.  They keep me busy and give us some income....plus I have lots of great products!  I'm thankful to Linda and Martha for helping me keep my Stamping classes going this summer when I was too sick to do them.  And I'm thankful to my regular customers who kept me "alive" in my businesses even when I was too sick to work them.

My parents.....
I'm thankful for my mom and dad, who taught me to do the right thing and helped me be the person I am today.  I am thankful for the childhood they gave me.....simple, fun, and innocent!  I think back now on what they gave us all....I smile when I think of them going Christmas shopping for santa presents for us kids.  My mom loved Christmas and as we approach the holidays, I am reminded of what she did for us....always making Christmas a special time, even when money was short.  I didn't realize it then....but I do now.  And, my dad lovingly supported her in what she did for us.  I miss them both so much.

I am thankful for our home....my safe sanctuary.  There's just no place like home.

Community South Hospital....
I look like that guy on tv....Uncle Fester, was that his name?  LOL!
I'm thankful for the hospital staff at Community South, where I have had all of my surgeries and prepare for another one on Dec. 2.  They have been very kind and compassionate any time I have been there and I couldn't ask for a better hospital for my procedures. 

And YOU!!!!
Yes, YOU!!!   I am thankful for you....my readers who I have felt so much support from.  I am thankful that you visit my blog and hope I have helped you learn more about breast cancer and the need to be proactive about your own health.  I am thankful that you let me share my journey with you, as it has blessed me to think I may have made a difference in someone's life.  My prayer has always been for God to use my blog for His purposes and I believe He has and continues to do so.  You are here for a greater purpose than my journey!  :=)

I could go on and on and on....I still have so much more to be thankful for.  But, we'd be here for days and days if I named them all! 

Until next time....sit down and make a list of your blessings....we know we have them, but listing them really shows us just how much we do have to be thankful for.  Start a "Gratitude Journal"...it will teach you to not sweat the small stuff....be thankful in any situation!  It's possible...even in the midst of a trial
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!!!