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, January 27, 2012


Hey everyone!  This is just a quickie post to say hi and let you know I'm still doing fine!  I've been "on the road" with a trip to Lexington, KY with my friend Louise (aka Linda.....I'm Thelma...lol).  We went down there for a Scentsy Spring Sprint event....we both sell Scentsy.  We got home yesterday and I got to sleep in my own bed and now I'm heading to Nashville, TN with another friend, Ami, for a Thirty-One Gifts Retreat....we both sell Thirty-One.  I have got to kick start these businesses of mine, as they kind of "died" when I got cancer and had to go through treatments.  So, I'm trying to get re-energized and a good cheerleading session might just do the trick!  :=)

When I came home yesterday I had two phone messages from my doctor's office.....my regular doctor.  I went for blood work last week, prior to my annual check-up that is scheduled for next week.   Well, I was a little alarmed by two phone messages telling me they were calling me with a test result.  Oh no, what part of my blood work didn't look good???  I didn't panic, but it was unusual for them to call prior to the check-up....he usually just goes over the blood work with me then.  What could be wrong?  And of course I didn't listen to my messages until last night, so it was too late to call.  I called first thing this morning and found out my Vitamin D report shows that I have a Vitamin D deficiancy and he wants me to start taking calcium and Vitamin D every day.  Whew!  I actually asked them to check my Vitamin D...they don't do that normally.  But, I had recently discovered that a Vitamin D deficiency could be tied to breast cancer.  If that is true, I wanted to know if I had a deficiency.  Even though I've had my breasts removed, I can still get breast cancer in my liver, bones, brain, and lungs.  Did you know that?  Even though it would be in my liver, if it is that same cell, it would still be considered breast cancer metasticizing there.  So, if Vit D is a factor, then I wanted to know if I was deficient....anything I can do to fight off a re-occurence anywhere is a good thing!  So, I was relieved that was the result she wanted to give me.  She even said she didn't know why he wanted her to call me on that one and she apologized for alarming me (lol).  I guess he wanted to let me know since I had specifically asked for it.  Anyway, all is good!  Maybe next time you get bloodwork, ask them to check your Vitamin D.  I still want to do some more research on it and see what other problems a deficiency can cause.

Until next time...stay warm and get those mammograms!  I will have lots of pictures of my road trips to share when I get back!
Hugs, Cindy

Friday, January 20, 2012


Last night I made some new BFFs!  And got to see my Cancer Sisters, Amy and Carin, again!  I thank them for inviting me to this dinner!  I attended my first Breast Cancer Support Group Dinner.  They go by the name...The Merry Crazies.....and after meeting them, I think I can see why.  They were a fun, crazy, emotional and warm group of women....all who have fought breast cancer and are surviving.  There were 15 of us there last night, which appeared to be the largest group they've had so far. 

These pictures did not turn out well, but I'm going to post them anyway.  I asked the waitress to take them for us and she couldn't get us all in one big group, so she took different shots from different angles.  Do you see me?  lol!  It was probably my fault...my camera takes a second to focus and I didn't explain that to the waitress, so the shots are totally out of focus....sorry!  Maybe I can get a better one next time.

Yep, I'm in red!

We were a group of all ages, different backgrounds, different breast cancers....but many of the same stories, including having the same doctors in common.  Some of us were 5 years out....3 years out....1 year out....and under a year since our diagnosis.  There was laughter and there was crying.  It was good for me to hear "their stories" and very humbling when tears flowed from someone having a hard time with their diagnosis or treatment.  It was heartbreaking to hear one of them share that she was angry.....I just wanted to grab her up and hug her and make that anger and pain go away.  I never got angry....probably the closest I got to anger was when I thought, "gee, I never smoked, or drank, or did drugs...I was pretty much a goody two shoe...so, why did I get this?". It was a fleeting question and while those things may be bad for your health, I have come to realize that none of us are immune from getting cancer....and none of us are more deserving to get it.  I honestly have felt at times that some people think I somehow caused my own cancer and they are immune from it because they do all the "right things".  I guess I used to think like them because I was angry with my dad when he got cancer from smoking.  He still didn't deserve cancer...no one deserves cancer!

It touched me to hear hearts being poured out....hearts that were broken to be diagnosed with cancer and to look at their own mortality for the first time in their lives..  Even the waitress was in tears.  It really is sobering to face that thought.  This support group is a great place to speak of these things to women who "understand".  We can even open up about things we may not open up about with our families.  I think we are instilled with a desire to "protect" our family and may not share some of our thoughts with them.  With a support group, you can let it all hang out!  We may all handle it in different ways....but we all understand each other.  While survivors put on a "strong face" most of the time, there are times when we just need to have a good cry.  This was a good place for that.

You know, I think I was so focused on fighting the cancer that a lot didn't really sink in to me.  Last night I think one big thing sunk in....I had cancer.  CANCER!!!  The big dreaded, deadly disease.  When your fight is coming to an end and there are less treatments and doctor appointments, I think it hits you.  I still feel very positive about my prognosis, but you are never free from the thought of cancer cells being in your body....how can you know if they are all gone?  How can you know whether any went some place else in your body?  How can you know if the chemo killed all of the cells?  The thought is always there.  The thought of it returning someday is always there.  It just is!  I know if that happens....I'll fight again!  But, even though you may seem to the outside world to be "over" cancer, you are really never "over" it...it still hangs it's ugly head over you.  And speaking with those who have survived for years, I can tell it doesn't go away.  

Having the knowledge that any cancer cell has been in your body changes things.  You hear so much about the 5 year survival rate and I don't really understand it.  One doctor explained to a friend of mine that if you make it to five years you are considered "cured".  But, how can that be?  Is there really a time that you are truly "cured"?  What about the women who make it to the 5 year mark and then it comes back at 10 years?  Were they cured?  The word "cured" to me would mean to never come back.  So, while I'll be happy to make it to the 5 year mark, I'm not sure I'll feel "cured".  Now, please don't think I'm being negative....I'm just being "real".  Im not worried....I'm just human and it's a reality of my life.  I know I'm in God's hands and He gives me peace.    

You go on with life....you try to bury that knowledge (although that's impossible), you celebrate any good report from doctor check-ups, and you thank God for every day that you have free of cancer!  And you constantly pray that it does not ever return!

I am enjoying life instead of watching it pass me by.  When a friend says, "hey, let's go to Nashville, Tennessee for the weekend"....I say "why not?", instead of making hundreds of excuses not to go. This is why I have "changed" and find myself wanting to do things I've never done before and being more open to new experiences.  I've even been thinking lately that I want to go ziplining...and I have a fear of heights...lol!  This is why I sometimes take myself out of my own comfort zone and in the process, I find so many blessings I would have missed out on!   We all have a mortality....just some of us have had to face the thought sooner and when you do, it changes you.  I grieve and pray for those I have met who may not be doing as well in their treatments or may not have a good prognosis.  I rejoice with those who are winning the fight.  It's such a mixed bag of emotions.  And it helps to join with others who know exactly what you have been through.....both mentally and physically.

  I will definately be joining this group of wonderful women who call themselves the "Merry Crazies".  I felt very welcomed last night and look forward to getting to know each of them better.  I feel honored to have the opportunity to become a Merry Crazy and I think I can live up to that name...lol!  They were a crazy bunch and even though we had our serious moments, we had lots of laughs!  Laughter is good for the soul!  They meet once a month for dinner and I'm always up for eating out...lol!  I also found out last night that they walk in the Komen Survivor walk in Indianapolis together as a "team", so I'm looking forward to being a part of that!  Some people seem to be turned off by all of the Komen stuff and the pink ribbons....but, it has a place in my life right now.  It's not a sorority I ever wanted to join, but I now have "sisters" who mean the world to me. 

If I had just sat in my home and stayed in my "own little world", I never would have experienced the support I have received from others I never would have met.  I never would have forged the new friendships I made in the past year.  It is good to venture out.....even out of my "comfort zone".  My life has been enriched by venturing out and I will continue to do so.  Life is too short to stay in one spot....I'm going to live life and new experiences and my new "sorority".  I may not have wanted to belong to it, but now that I do....I may as well enjoy all it has to offer!

Today I went for some blood work with my regular physician.  I have my annual physical the end of this month and he always does blood work to go along with it.  They will be checking my liver and kidney, chlorestoral and sugar....and a couple of others things I forget.  I've been feeling really tired lately...not sure why.  Some days I haven't even wanted to get out of bed.  It may just be the winter blahs or a side affect from the Arimidex, but I am glad to have my blood checked for any problems and I will be speaking to him about it when I go see him.  Then I'll see my surgeon on Feb. 6 and I've got some questions for her too.  I actually like going to my different doctors...it gives me a feeling of "doing something" to watch out for any return of cancer.  Once treatments are over, it's hard to just sit back and feel like you're doing nothing.  Maybe that will ease up with time, but immediately following treatment you find yourself still wanting to fight it.

Until next time....do you have your mammogram scheduled for this year?  How about your annual check-up?  I'm so proud of my friend, Linda!  She made her mammogram appointment today...yay Linda, way to go!!!  She actually was able to make it the same day and same time and same doctor I go to on Feb. 6.  So, we'll go up to Greenwood together and I feel sure a lunch and a little shopping will have to follow.  lol!  Hey, we can't let any opportunity for lunch get by us!  If you haven't made your appointment yet...please do!  :=) 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


When thinking of my cancer journey,  I am reminded of all of the support I received from different sources.  It was because of this support that I was able to stay positive and stayed away from depression, which I have always been prone to.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay positive during your treatments and how important this support was to me.  If you have been there in any way to support me...I thank you so much!  You may think it was "small", but I can guarantee you, any support helped me and no gesture was considered small to me. 

They were Zombies...lol!

Just like last night..... I went to watch my granddaughter do a dance during a basketball halftime and upon my arrival I was instantly approached by someone I hadn't seen in a very long time.  This gal was a good friend of my oldest daughter during their teenaged years and spent a lot of time at our house growing up and is now an adult with children herself.  She probably has no idea how good she made me feel when she approached me with a big hug and asked how I was doing.  I actually didn't even know that she knew I had breast cancer.  Just that warm gesture made me feel good....to know that others care.

Tomorrow night I am going with my cancer sisters (Amy and Carin) to a Support Group dinner.  This group meets once a month at a restaurant in Greenwood, but I have never been.  Amy and Carin told me about it and I can't wait to join them tomorrow night!

I want to stress to you....if you are facing cancer or some other life-changing event in your life.....be open to the support of others.  Sometimes it may take us out of our "comfort zone", but you will find that once you get out of that comfort zone, there are blessings and new friendships to be gained!  I could not have made it through my journey without the support I found everywhere....through friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, even the servers in restaurants.  I have even found "silent support" through videos and blogs I have found online.  Just connecting with others going through your "journey" can be so helpful!  I am saddened when I meet someone going through something and dealing with depression on top of it.  I know how easily that could have been me....if it hadn't been for the people that "loved me through it".

I'll be sure to take my camera with me tomorrow and get pictures.  I'm really looking forward to seeing Amy and Carin again, and making new friends! 

Nothing medically going on right now...other than my upcoming annual exam at the end of the month by my regular physician, including bloodwork this Friday.  I urge everyone to get their annual check-ups!  I just continue to heal from my implant surgery and wait for the implants to drop and position themselves.  I've had some concerns, but have decided maybe I just need to be more patient.  I have found that getting the permanent implants isn't the "end of the road".  I look great in my clothing....not so great without them...but, who's gonna see that anyway...lol!  I won't be seeing Dr. Jackson again until Feb. 14 and hopefully he will be able to tell what to do next.  I think I'm surprised at how tight my muscle in front of my implants still is.  I still feel like I've got a tight bra on...even when I have none on at all.  I will just "wait and see" what the next step is and try to be patient.  I've made it this far....I don't need to hurry this!  I am trusting it will all work out and at least I'm not fighting with any infections.

I'm excited.....I love road trips!  This Sunday I will be heading to Lexington, Ky, with my girlfriend, Linda.  We are both Scentsy consultants and we will going down there for a Spring Fling event.  The event is on Wednesday, but we are going a couple of days early to visit with some of her family down there.  We'll be back home on Thursday and then on Friday I'll be heading back out again.

Friday I am heading to Nashville, TN with another friend, Ami.  We are both Thirty-One Consultants and she called tonight and talked me into going to a Thirty One Retreat down there. 

   It didn't take much to talk me into it.....we will be staying at the Gaylord Hotel.  I have soooo wanted to check this place out and Larry and I have even discussed going there in December.  It's a wonderful opportunity and a chance I just couldn't say "no" to!  We will be attending classes to help our businesses and networking with other Thirty One consultants.  I'm sure we will have a lot of fun!  I will also be meeting up with gals I met this summer at the Convention when I was on chemo.....when I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair.  I look forward to seeing them again and showing them that, "hey, I'm ok!!!".

Until next time.....watch for those opportunities to take your own road trip!  It doesn't even have to be far!  Enjoy life!  And remember that we are all in this thing called "life" together!  Let's support each other through it!  :=)
Hugs, Cindy

Yes, even the Pink Ribbon events helped keep my spirits up during my journey.
I know some people seem angry about all of the "pink events", but I embraced them,
and I felt great support from them.  I enjoyed this video and thought I'd share it with you all.
I will be participating in the Indianapolis Komen Race for the Cure in April!  I agree that
breast cancer is much more than the pink ribbon and all of the hoopla...but the hoopla just helps
me get through it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Immediate reconstruction is not immediate at all!  I'm just not real sure why they even call it that!  It's true that you immediately get the expanders put in at the same time as the masectomy....but the rest takes months.  As a matter of fact, when I first went to see my plastic surgeon, he told me up front that it would probably take up to a year.  It also requires additional surgeries and procedures.

Now, I'm not complaining and am pretty good at just going with the flow of "whatever it takes".  But when I went to my doctor this week, I felt a bit of a "let down" because I really didn't learn anything new.  I'm the type who wants to know the "game plan" and when I don't know it, I think I get frustrated.  I went this week expecting him to "fix" the nipple that turned black...he didn't.  I also maybe expected him to tell me what our next step would be.  He didn't.  He just took out the stitches and said to come back in a month. 

I began this process during my masectomy on July 26, 2011 and got my permanent implants on Dec. 2, 2011.  They show you photos of "finished jobs" at the beginning, so I think you get it in your mind that you will look similar when you get the inplants.  Well, I have found out that is not the case and it's just not that simple.  The implants have to drop and settle and until they do...they just don't look as good as I expected.  Now, they look great in my clothing and if that's as good as it gets, I can deal with that.  But, I wish they had shown us pictures taken at different steps of the procedure so I would have known what to expect. 

I met with my cancer sister, Amy, today and she gave me reassurance that I just need to be patient.  Amy went through this and is a little ahead of me.  I have only had the implants 40 days and they have told me they could take up to five months to "settle", so they are likely to change a lot by that time.  So, patience Cindy...patience!  Like I said, I just like knowing the "game plan", but I guess it's just too soon for him to tell me if any more procedures or surgeries will be necessary.  The only procedure I KNOW I have left is the tattooing. 

I could have just had the masectomy back on July 26, healed up, and been done.  The reconstruction is a choice and sometimes a hard one, because it means more surgeries, recovering and healing time, more procedures...at a time when you are just "over" all of the procedures and could just end them all by not doing the reconstruction.  So, you can see why it's such a personal decison.  But, in spite of it all, I am not regretting having it done.  Even though I don't think they look "done" yet (sure hope not), I think they make me feel better as a woman.....more than I realized they would.  I didn't think they would matter so much to me.  So, while I may be a little frustrated with the "waiting game" I find myself in right now, I'm in no pain and am glad I did it and will just vow to be patient.  I can do that!  Meanwhile, I'm enjoying being "smaller" and I know he has done many of these with great success!  :=) 

Oh, I did want to let you know that the infection has gone away and it is healing up nicely.  I got a hold on the infection really early while it was just a small area, so it didn't become a bigger deal. 

I have my annual check up with my regular doctor this month, complete with blood work and then will see my breast surgeon on Feb. 6 for my six month follow up.  Then back to Dr. Jackson on Feb. 14.  So, the doctor appointments continue, but I really don't mind.  As long as you are still "seeing" your doctors, you feel like you are still staying on top of it.  When it's all done, it will probably feel strange NOT to go to doctors anymore.  I think going to them is like a "security blanket" to me. 

A BIG thank you to Amy today for putting my mind at ease.  Having a support system is so important and I have to say, I have had a wonderful line of support from the time I was diagnosed.  I do truly think it makes a difference.  Next week I plan to attend a support group for the first time, with Amy and Carin, and am looking forward to meeting others who are or have "walked this road".

Until next time....whatever you are going through or may go through in the future....don't deny yourself a support group.  People are wanting to help others and it can make such a difference in your journey.  Don't be afraid to open yourself up to strangers....they may become your new best friends!  I know my life has been enriched by others I have met on this journey....even strangers.   We all need to help each other!
Hugs, Cindy

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Just checking in....not a whole lot new going on.  I went back to Dr. Jackson yesterday and he removed the stitches from my last surgery and I won't go back to him until Feb. 14.   I'm really learning to enjoy life, even the simple things.

Last night was our Stamp Class.  I just love the girls and they were such a great support while I fought cancer.  I don't think they even realize how much it brightened my days when they came to my home for class.  I may have been weak, but just having them here creating and  visiting was awesome!  We had a great time again last night!  I love my "girlfriend" time!  :=)

These were the card we made last night.  We did a couple of designs on each card with the Simply Scored scoreboard and the Valentine is glittered up, but it really doesn't show in the picture.  We also made some calendars last night.

Now, I was the "hostess", which meant I got to provide the food!  So, I put my slow cookers to work!  In one of them I made a Bob Evans Shepherd's Pie.  Larry and I had tried it before and it was yummy, so I thought the gals might enjoy such a comfort food.  They did seem to!  :=)  And of course we had to have a dessert!  So, I made my first Slow Cooker Lava Cake and they were my guinea pigs (lol...Larry usually is).  I think everyone approved!

Hey, how could you not love a mound of chocolate like this?  It was so moist and reminded me of a certain molten cake at a popular restaurant.  And of course we had to have vanilla ice cream with it!
I plan to begin a new Cooking Blog to share these wonderful recipes I've been finding and hope to be reviewing Gooseberry Patch cookbooks for them.  You'll have to follow me on that adventure!  :=)  I just love trying new recipes and especially love my crock pots...lol!  Who could imagine you could do desserts in your slow cooker???  I sure never knew!

I found another surprise on my porch last week!
What could it be???  You'll never guess...lol!  So, I'll just go ahead and show you!

A Body Shaper....actually two of them!  See, I told you that you'd never guess!  Have you ever seen that Kymaro Body Shaper infomercial?  Well, my good buddy, Karen Smith, loves to internet shop and I guess she's an infomercial shopper too!  I always wondered who ordered that stuff!...lol!  She cracks me up.  The last time she visited I was showing her my "new body"~lol~ and told her I needed to find me a good body shaping thing to try to flatten my tummy.  Well, she saw this infomercial and instantly thought of me and ordered them for me.  What a doll!  And, I'm here to tell you....they work!!!  Not only that, but I find it to be very comfortable.  Now, I'll be honest....while it works for me now, I'm not so sure it could have worked miracles for me when I was 50 pounds heavier. lol! But, it's helping shape me up in my clothes now!  Yes, I'm enjoying being thinner now....I'll admit it.  And while I don't seem to be losing any more, I am at least maintaining the weight loss so far. 

Karen came up one day last week and went to lunch with Linda and I.  She is such a wonderful person with a heart of gold.  I can't thank her enough for my Body Shapers!  :=)

I have been encouraged by many to write a book, so I've been toying with that idea a lot lately.  Well last night I couldn't go to sleep.....I had the first chapter running through my head.  I finally decided to get up and type it all out and once I did that, I was able to lie back down and peacefully go to sleep.  Do you ever do that?.....have something so heavy on your mind that it keeps you awake?  If I ever do get this book written and published, I hope it's an encouragement to others and any trials they may find themselves in.  I feel like God has transformed me inside and out and I desire to give others "hope" that He can do the same for them!  So, I'm praying about the book thing and if it is God's plans for me....it will happen!

Speaking of books....many of you have told me you were not able to hear the video of the speech Sheila and I gave last week.  So, I thought I'd just share the speech as I had written it out before we went.  This will give you the "gist" of the speech ~it's the outline I used to stay on track and pretty much what I shared at the event~ even though we added other things along the way.  I am going to work on figuring out a better way to videotape something for you.  I hope maybe someone on here can be encouraged by me posting this outline.

Speech for Jennings County Relay for Life
Kickoff Breakfast 2012

Thank you for the opportunity to fulfill a promise I made to God....
When I received the phone call from Ralph Cooley to speak to you today, everything in me wanted to say NO, NO, NO!  But, I couldn't.  You see, I have asked God to give me opportunites to share my journey to help others who have been touched by cancer.....so, when He gives me opportunities, I cannot say no.  He surely must have a sense of humor, though, as I am so NOT a public speaker. 

The Diagnosis
I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma on April 7, 2011.   The previous year my mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer within a month of each other and I, myself, had 4 biopsies.  I was cleared in an August mammogram and they scheduled me for another one in Feb.  I actually missed that one but immediately called them when I realized it and they set one up for March.  I am very thankful that I didnt put off calling them for a re-schedule and mention this to encourage you to stay on top of your mammograms, even if you miss a date.  This shows how quickly breast cancer can develop and why annual mammograms are so important.   I was being watched closely and still got breast cancer within 7 months and it was fast growing.
Family History
I was the third in a row in my family to get the diagnosis.  Most women being diagnosed do not have a family history....we didn't.  Before Dec. 2009, we had no breast cancer in our immediate family.    And although we now have a family history, I tested negative for the BRCA gene.  1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and aging makes our risks higher.  My mother, my sister, Sheila, who is with me today and I were all diagnosed through our mammograms and I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your mammograms.  The earlier this disease is caught, the better chance you will have of surviving it, not to mention less treatments.  So, I want to urge every woman here today that is at least 35 to schedule your mammogram for this year, if you haven't already done so.  And I want to encourage men to not ignore any lumps they may feel, as men can also get Breast Cancer.

Chemo and Surgery
My cancer was Invasive which meant that it had grown beyond my duct into the breast tissue.  Because of this, a microscopic cancer cell could have gotten into my blood stream and be carried to another area of my body, so my treatment included chemo.  I followed up the chemo with a bilateral masectomy with immediate reconstruction.
Faith, Hope and Love
When reflecting on what I would share with you today about my journey, 3 words kept coming to mind....Faith, Hope, and Love.  1 Corinthians 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.   My cancer journey over the past 9 months can be summed up in those three words....Faith, Hope, and Love. 

My faith in Jesus Christ gave me such a strong foundation to know I could get through whatever lied ahead of me.  He never promised me I wouldn't have trials....but He has promised to be with me through them and He has been faithful to His Word.  I never asked "why me?"....instead I asked, why not me?" and trusted God's promises.   I felt God's presence through my entire journey and He gave me such a peace at all times.  I knew that no matter the outcome, I had already won!

Because of the faith I had that God would carry me through anything I had ahead of me....I also had Hope.  Hope for no complications, hope for the treatments to work, hope that I could endure the side affects of the treatment, hope for survival.  I embraced my diagnosis and became a walking billboard, which opened up doors to share with others and encourage them.  It also brought me many blessings of Hope from others I met along the way.

I am reminded of the song by Martina McBride..."I Will Love You Through It"...that came out while I was fighting my breast cancer.
When you're weak, I'll be strong
When you let go, I'll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I'll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can't take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I'm gonna love you through it.
And when this road gets too long
I'll be the rock you lean on
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I'm gonna love you through it. I'm gonna love you through it.

 I can truly say that I had so many who "loved me through it", including God, family. friends and even strangers.

I would not change 2011 for anything.  In spite of the cancer diagnosis....or maybe because of it....my faith has been strengthened.  I had a tough year in 2010 with the death of my mother and things that followed and did not feel loved.  God used my diagnosis to bring emotional healing into my life....to show me I was worthy to be loved...and that I was loved.  He surrounded me with positive people and I had what I like to call "God moments" every time I went out.  I have met people I will never see again who touched my life....and I've met some who I now have a lifelong bond with.  And I developed an even stronger bond with some friends and family members who loved me through it all.  Without the cancer I would have never experienced this love that brought so much emotional healing for me.  
Online Journal
When I began this journey, I began a blog to journal about it and keep my family and friends updated on my progress.  It was very therapeutic for me, as well as being a journal I can now look back on and see how far I have come and see the many blessings I received through it all.  My camera went everywhere with me...it still does...and I captured my journey in pictures.  I realized after beginning my online journal that it was going to be much more than just an update for my friends and family.  I realized that God was using it to encourage others and I asked Him to use my blog and my journey to help others.  It has been so rewarding to see Him do just that and to hear from people I don't even know from around the US and even in other countries. 

Relay For Life and Research
I met Ralph Cooley and several others of you at your Relay for Life last year shortly after I had begun my treatment.  As a matter of fact, Ralph and I compared our bald heads to see who had more hair...I did!  My sister, Sheila, and I attended the Relay together, along with our brother and his wife and found everyone to be so warm and supportive of us.  We left your Relay in high spirits that day.   You have no idea how much you touch people through the work you do.     I came when I was still going through my chemo treatments and was very weak, but your relay was one of the bright spots in my journey last year and I will never forget how you made me feel.

I have been able to benefit from the results of the research that has been done and your fundraising efforts have made the progress possible.  I look forward to a day when these Relays will no longer be needed.....because a cure is found.   But, until then, I commend you all for the work you do to help bring on that cure and to support cancer survivors and their families. 

Life Beyond Cancer
While going through my treatment I liked to say I was "living with cancer, not dying from it".  Even if it took my life, I wanted to choose to LIVE until that day that I'd take my last breathe.  My dear friend who is with me today...Martha.....lost her young daughter to cancer at the age of 21 ten years ago and I thought of Laura often during my journey and the one thing I remember most about her is that she LIVED life to the fullest, even to her final day on earth.  She inspired me to do the same, no matter what tomorrow would bring.
When my doctor first spoke to me about my cancer, she told me my prognosis was good and said their goal was to cure me and give me 20 more years. Wow, do you know how quickly 20 years can pass by?
I was diagnosed at 58, so 20 years would make me 78, which could be considered "cured" when you consider the life expectancy of today.  No matter how many years I have left on this earth, I want my life to make a difference....I want it to count for something.  Cancer has changed me.  I feel I have a second chance at life and I want to live it to the fullest, without restraints put on me by others and by myself.  I want to enjoy life, but not in a selfish kind of way.  I want to be open to new experiences.  I want God to use my life to help others who may take this journey someday.  I want to be an encouragement.  I want to "love them through it",   I want to tell them...Yes, I had cancer, but look at me now...You can do it too!!!!  When I look back on my journey, I don't really reflect on "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of the cancer, but think of the "Faith, Hope and Love" that defined my life during this time.

I am an "open book"...if you ever need to talk or have any questions, don't hesitate to come to me. 


Won't we make a fine bunch of Red Hatters?  lol!
I had shared with you our desire to become a Red Hat group and we're taking the plunge!  We HAVE to think of a name for our group before February....any ideas???  We have scheduled our first "outing" for February 18 and will be having dinner at a Bed and Breakfast, followed by a Drifters concert in a nearby small town.  We are so excited to have come up with a plan!  I can't wait to see everyone in their red and purple garments and to make a fashion statement.  The statement...we're growing older and are ready for some fun!  lol!  Of course I will share photos with you and I actually will be starting up a new blog for our group.  Please send me any suggestions for a name and if we choose to use your name, I will send you a "prize"!  :=)

That's it for this time.  Nothing too much exciting happening in my life, but life is good!  Every day I get up and feel good is exciting to me!  Until next time, release that "inner child" inside of you and go out and have some fun!  Good clean fun, of course...lol!
Hugs, Cindy

Saturday, January 7, 2012



Well, today I did it....I did my speech at the Jennings County Relay for Life Kick Off Breakfast!  When Ralph Cooley called me about a month ago and asked me to do this, I knew God was giving me another opportunity and I knew I could not say no....even though I am soooo NOT a public speaker!  God sure does have a sense of humor!  :=)

Before our presentation, we enjoyed a great breakfast!
My sister, Sheila, and my good friend, Martha went with me.
Sheila had agreed that she would help me out and share her story also.  Martha went along for moral support and to be my videographer, so thanks to her, it has been captured on video so I can share it with you!

I had printed out my "year in review" collages and laid them out to show my journey so people could see how far I had come and that there is always hope through the journey.

I also took along our news article to share with them.

Sheila showing off the picture of me and Ralph comparing our bald heads at the Relay last year. 

Yes, I have the gift of gab.....even in my hands...lol!

Just as I do when I sing, I have a strange talking face too.  lol!
I tried not to read my whole speech, but did use an outline to stay on track.  Sheila and I did ad lib a lot though. 

Sheila and I fed off of each other like "Laurel and Hardy"!
Having her do this with me made it so much easier!

This is Ralph, who asked us to come speak.  He has become very dear to us since meeting him at the Relay last year.  He has a gusto for life and lost his life partner to cancer in December 2010.  I am so inspired by how much he lives at the age of 69!  We all should strive to live such a fulfilling life! 

We were so honored to meet other survivors, such as Beverly, who is a five year breast cancer survivor.  She graciously presented Sheila and I with a beautiful bracelet that she makes for other survivors.  I will wear it with warm memories. 

Kathy works with the American Cancer Society.

We were so blessed by everyone today.
They were so warm and welcoming.....

Now why can't I have a cute little smile like this when I talk or sing???

At the end of our speech, Ralph presented us with a vase of beautiful pink roses.  How sweet!
Sheila and I both felt so blessed and honored to be there and give thanks for the opportunity.  My prayer is that something we shared encouraged someone or touched them in some way.  We appreciated the feedback we got and it was an encouragement to us. 
The warm reception put us at ease and we felt like we were among friends....thank you for that!  We look forward to joining you again  for the Relay in May!

Here are the videos of our speech, if you are interested in them.
I'm sorry they turned out blurry....I have no idea why.  But, maybe you can at least hear them although they are not very loud either.  Listen closely because I have a tendency to talk fast...lol!  Now that I have put my first videos on my blog, I may have to surprise you with some more in the future!  :=)


VIDEO 3 (CORRECTION: The afghan came from a lady in VA, Not PA)

Until next time.....tell God to use your life and see what happens.  But, be prepared to say YES!!!  He may (and probably will) take you out of your comfort zone!  :=)

PS...A special thanks to Ralph for providing me with these great pictures!