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, 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

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