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

Friday, December 30, 2011


Doctors, doctors, doctors! 
I'm thankful for them all! 
Today I had an appointment with my neurologist......better known as my "sleep doctor".  I went for the follow up for my last sleep study.

Today he released me!!!  Yay!  The results of the last sleep study showed that I no longer need the cpap machine or the oxygen machine!  That makes me very happy, as that mask is really annoying to try to sleep with.  The reason I no longer need it?  My weight loss!  I knew when I got diagnosed with it last year that some people are able to get off of the cpap if they lose weight!  I'm one of those people!

I had my camera tucked in my purse today as usual, so I asked Dr. Van Valer if we could get a picture together since I have documented everything this year in photos, including the doctors and nurses who have helped me.  He complied with my request, saying that he hadn't really done anything for my cancer.  This is true...he did not directly treat me for my cancer.  As a matter of fact, I became his patient before I was ever diagnosed with cancer.  But, indirectly, I feel that his diagnosis and treatment the year before I got cancer helped prepare me for the battle I was in for this year...we were just unaware what laid ahead.  But, getting me on the cpap last year so I could get better sleep and rested up helped me this year with my cancer journey.  My body being rested prepared me to be able to fight this year when I needed to most!  I'm thankful for all of my doctors!

Progress of my last surgery!
On another note, I'm still having some trouble with my nipples.  Darn it, I've had some pretty big surgeries before this one and had absolutely no problems!  This was the lesser of the surgeries and I'm just not feeling good about it.  :=(  I quit using the ointment, as Dr. Jackson, said....but I'm still pretty red.  I thought the redness would be gone by now.  He assured me that it wasn't infected, but I'm not so sure of that and may need to go back to him again.  I had already told you about the one that turned black and I was so concerned about that one.  Well, the other one looks good..BUT....there is a place at the side of it that I swear there is puss coming out of.  And, to me...puss equals infection.  It's not real bad, but I'll keep an eye on it this weekend and hopefully make it through the weekend without having to call.  Holidays are not a good time to get ahold of a doctor, so I prefer to leave him alone on the holiday weekend, unless I get real worried!  Then if it's still putting out puss, I guess I'll need to go see him again on Monday.  I hate to do that when I was just there and he assured me it was ok....but, on the other hand, if it's infected, I don't want to let it get any worse.  I only have one antibiotic pill left.

Former Miss Venezuela dies of breast cancer.
Eva Ekvall - Miss Venezuela 2000
This story appeared in the news recently and it just broke my heart.  Eva passed away on Dec. 17 at the age of 28....of breast cancer.  She admits, herself, that she ignored a lump, even though her grandmother had died of breast cancer.  She published a book about her struggle with cancer, complete with photos while she was going through chemo.....  "Fuera de Foco" ("Out of Focus").  I am hoping to find a copy of the book in English, so I can read it for myself.   She once told a reporter after the book was published..."I needed to send the message of the need for cancer prevention."   May her message encourage you to have your mammograms and check out any lumps!

It breaks my heart that this horrible disease ended her life way too soon....only 28 years old.  It's a reminder that this disease still kills and we need to find a cure for it!  I have stayed upbeat about my own disease, but I would be lying if I said I never think about the possibility of dying from it.  It's just a reality of my life.  I'm aware that it could come back at any time.  So, even though I joke around a lot about my "new boobs", please don't ever think I don't take it seriously.  I just choose not to dwell on the chance of reoccurence.  It is something I cannot control, so I just take one day at a time and have chosen to live with cancer as a part of my life...rather than wait and watch for it to come back.  Does that make sense? 

And with that comes some changes in my life...changes that some may not understand.  I am a different person, but the same person.  I admit that I am enjoying my new weight loss and shopping for clothing is much more fun than it used to be.  But, my daughters don't understand.  My younger one says it's not "me".  I have spent so many years of my life being a "mom" that I lost "myself" and I realize my children never knew the "Cindy" who liked to dress fashionably, and wear make-up and jewelry.  They didn't know me when I was like that...they weren't born yet!  But, in reality, this IS "me"!  I just quit caring about my appearance, I guess, and am now paying more attention to myself.  I don't want to be "fat and frumpy" anymore.  My oldest daugther asked if I'm having a "midlife crisis"....lol!  Uh no...there's no crisis and I'm past mid-life!  Knowing I've basically been a non-drinker my whole life, I think the "buttery nipple shot" prompted this question from her.  lol! 

In the very beginning of my cancer diagnosis, my surgeon, Dr. Zusan, said their goal in treating me was to give me another 20 years.  Wow, 20 years!  Now, while they cannot predict with certainty how long they can give me or that the cancer will ever even reoccur, I can't help but reflect on that statement.  When you're younger, 20 years seems like such a long time.  But, as you get older, you realize how quickly 20 years goes past! 

I had already considered my life expectancy several years back when the doctors thought for sure I had ovarian cancer.  I don't think of it in a morbid sort of way at all.  I'm not really afraid of death, as I have a peace about being with Jesus when that time comes!  But, I have grandchildren that I hope to watch grow up and get married and I'm looking forward to someday being a great-grandma! 

But, at the age of 59, I know what the life expectancy is and have asked myself....what do I want to do with the rest of my life?  Two answers keep coming back to me....I want to LIVE!!!  And I want to make a difference in other people's lives!  By, the "I want to LIVE" statement, I mean that I want to experience life to it's fullest!  I want to do things I may have never done before....like drink a "buttery nipple shot".  lol!  I want to get a tattoo next year!  You know....live and not worry what others may think I should be doing with my life!  I want to give myself the freedom to enjoy life and not bog myself down with others' expectations!  I don't particularly have a "bucket list", but I want to stay open to enjoy life and new experiences!  I have high morals and standards and God will be my guide, so my family and friends don't have to worry about me getting wild...lol!  I'm still the same person.  I just don't want to sit around waiting to get old.  I want to enjoy life....whether I have 1 year...5 years...8 years...20 years....or more!!! 

I also want to make a difference!  I want to be open to help others go through this journey and to face their fears.  I want to be an encouragement to them.  I want God to use my own cancer experience to help others.  He knows this and has already given me opportunities. 

Next Saturday He has given me an opportunity to be a guest speaker at a Relay for Life kick off meeting for 2012.  I am so NOT a public speaking, although some say I have the "gift of gab"!  But, gabbing at lunch with your friends is a whole lot different than gabbing at a microphone in front of 50-60 people!  I get nervous when I even think about it....so....I try not to think about it.  lol!  But, soon I will have to start thinking about it more.  Next week I will need to do some preparation of what I want to say and I've been praying about the message God would want me to give.  When I got the phone call asking me to do this...I wanted to say NO, NO, NO!!!!  But, I can't say NO!  I have asked God for opportunities to help spread the word about being pro-active and getting your mammograms and I've told Him I want to be an encouragement to others....so I can't say NO when the opportunity is given to me.  Please lift me up in prayer that I don't make a fool of myself (lol) and my message is an encouragement to someone in the audience.

In speaking with one of my cancer sisters, she was telling of someone she knew who has Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread and she is not doing well.  She was discussing the fact that she does not know what to say to her.  It made me think about that scenario and how I would encourage someone who may not have a good prognosis and I must admit, that's hard for me.  You can't encourage them by telling them they'll be fine....because they may not be.  I am praying about this and asking God for guidance if I am ever put in that same situation.  I know I even found it hard to know what to say to my own dad when he was dying of lung cancer.  How do you minister to someone who may be dying from the same disease you are surviving?  Why am I surviving while they aren't?  It's a tough one and I've had to tell God I just don't know how to handle that situation and He will have to help me if I ever have to face that.  I want to see the day when everyone will survive it!

Until next time, I want to encourage you to get your mammograms.......and don't ignore any lumps!  Get your annual check-ups.  I go for mine in January!  Be proactive with your health so you will have the best chance of survival if you are ever diagnosed with something.  Your loved ones want you around for a long, long time!  And learn to LIVE......be adventurous and do something "new"!  Like me finding out that a "buttery nipple shot" was pretty tasty....you may find something "new to you" is worth trying!  Maybe we should try sky diving.......  :=)

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