Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping it real.

Went to work today for two classes and then off to the oncologist.  SO here is the nitty gritty. 
On April 11th I will begin  a 24 week chemo/radiation series.  I will begin will chemo.  1 every three weeks for The plan is to start on a Thursday (wednesday the first time) with a 5 hour coctailOchemo then I have the honor of return to the site for an injection to increase my white blood cell counts the next day.  21'2 week rest and we do it again.  I could get up and go get the medication list but that would require me to ----Get up so--maybe tomorrow. I will be bald by week 3.   The way I am choosing to look at this is that I will be doing chemo and rad. for far less time than a pregnancy.  I will have many of the same side effects minus the hair.  

Bumps:  well today was bumpy- my skin itches very badly, yet if I scratch or rub it at all it burns-I don't want anything touching me!  I am kind of scared and sad.  Both boys did not have good showings at the ball park so means it is a moody baseball evening in the home--I am just trying to take cover.

Battles:  Hey, it is happening, the hard part is starting soon.  It was a hard day,  It is hard to hear everything that is going to happen to you in detail.  Oh and reconstruction has to wait for a very long time.

Blessings:  I may have to dig a little deeper today-
John had a good day on the mound
Got some very sweet emails from students today
Got to speak to a man who is really fighting for his life and all I wanted to do was hug him.  That is when it hit me---oh heck- I am fighting too!
This one will be silly but I had just enough time to get the food for the baseball kids in the oven, and to the field before the game started- did not think I would make it.
I am humbled by peoples kindness.

I am going to try to sleep tonight-- hopefully my attitude will be much improved tomorrow- seriously this emo stuff is depressing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A new do!

Went to work today and stayed the whole day- I consider that a great accomplishment.  One week, seven days after having my dear friends removed I stood in front of 14-17 year old completely exposed.  Trust me,  if you want honesty- they will give it to you.  I got all my hair cut off.  This way their attention would be on my hair not the missing parts but, what I felt; what I truly felt- was that they were happy to have me back.  They only had a sub for 3 days and yet I think they felt as I did that it was an eternity.  I am completely honest with them and no question is off limits so I got everything from- so can you walk around your house with no shirt on and it still be appropriate to Seriously, there is a lab in the hospital that cryogenically stores nipples?  The answers are inappropriate no- awkward YES! and yes hospitals do have such rooms.   All in all a good day- but I was so tired when I got home I took a two hour nap and I am ready to sleep again.  It felt good to be back.

With all my day it seems a little unimportant now because I have a few students facing very difficult times.  I want them to know how much I care for them and that I am here for them.  Also, my dear aunt lost her companion of 30 plus years yesterday and today was her funeral.  I am so broken  for her.  Aunt Elaine- I love you!

Bumps:  nervous about meeting with the oncologist tomorrow

battles:  the above and I know and it is ever present that the simple part of my journey is over and hard part is starting.  It seems that breast cancer is a self possessed demon child.  First it takes your breast and screws with your self confidence and then it kicks you while your down- and yet- I feel pretty even breast-less. Truly- aside from the pain I don't miss them----today.

Students were happy to see me, made me feel special.
I went to work today--did you hear that--I went to work today.
I got so many complements for my hair today- maybe should have done it earlier.
God is so amazing that the peace I am feeling is abnormal.  I am a walking example of "peace that passes all understanding".  So much scripture that refreshes my soul to the deepest level.  Psalms 23- heck almost all the Psalms.  There is such imagery there- and the ones I was thinking David was running for his life-several times and he knew exactly where his strength came from- and so do I.  My wish is that I can hear my Savior say "you are a friend of mine"  just as He did with David.   

Thank you to all my friends that made me feel gorgeous today.  Thank you for my forever and always friends.  
I love you all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

tomorrow I go back to work---for one day

So today I pulled the bone headed move of the day. 

Suposed to meet with the oncologist today at 1:30 and some how I transposed the numbers and believed it was at 3:10.  At least I realized this before I drove all the way there.  Very upset with myself today.  I took out my frustration on the dog and went for a three mile walk.  On a good side, I baked some cookies (of course- I went on a three mile walk), and finished the meal for Friday night for the baseball team.  Did the laundry, so overall it was a productive day but I am tired and I am really wanting some shoulder flexibility.  Here are BBB for the last two days-  hang on tight because I already took my pain management meds so there is no telling where this blog will end up.

Bumps: NO and I repeat no range of motion in the shoulder.  This coming from a swimmer- not having shoulder rotation is awful.  Trying to figure out what to wear.  I have been dressing a big busted woman for years.  I have always been proud of my set and now-  I am at clothes stores- completely lost.  Friends if you are on the flatter side--HELP!  

Battles:  Yep-the emotional roller coaster.  Don't get me wrong- I tend to live there anyway but, now-whoa nelly, totally out of control.  I was calm when I missed an appointment (rare for me), and cried in target when I couldn't figure out what kind of shirt to buy.  It doesn't help that I can't raise my arms above parallel to ground.  Makes pulling on t-shirts quite difficult.  If there is a dressing room monitor at target- they could have posted on you tube and got a million hits with the maneuvers I had to preform to get a shirt off- just ridiculously funny.  For your entertainement- imagine having to use the following tools to help remove a t-shirts; a hanger, socks (more flexible) and contortion of the upper body sans arms.  

I got a scripture message from a dear friend right as I was limping out of the dressing room at target.   To be strong and courageous.  Needless to say- I cried.

A lovely fruit basket that is now gone from the Tarchick's and yes, Johnny- I shared- but not the chocolate.  A note about this family:  We were meant to be friends forever.  Our dear friends in Lordstown Ohio.  Many margarita nights and just lovely friends- our lives would not be the same without them.  I love you guys.

I got a hair cut- and I mean a haircut- super short- at least when I go to school tomorrow the attention will be on my hair not my lackOboobs.  Kate (my hairdresser) was super strong yet I cried the entire time.  It was just a new cut today- she will cry with me when she shaves my head.  A very cool girl-

I had delicious dinner provided by the Hoffman family-  estaba delicioso pero se ha acabado.

I am definitely looking forward to work tomorrow.

By God's grace I grow stronger everyday, my frailties are evident but hopefully I am showing everyone around me that- 
My weakness does not show weakness it shows God's strength.

Be blessed everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I know it has been two days

It has been 2 full days since my last entry.  Let me catch you up.

Saturday was a beautiful day.  Great weather, great friend came to lunch and overall a wonderful day.  The only little blotch was that Doug's car broke down and I had to go get him since Steven was running errand with him.  All went well- my hands stayed at 9 and 3.  I was probably more alert than the TWD (texting while Driving) crew.

Sunday:  Church- it felt so good to get up and go church (drains and all).  Aside from a really funky suit and tie combination from Pastor Joel, service was phenomenal.  The simplicity in the message was very "deep".  I feel something coming on with this one- it is still rattling around in my brain.  I think us "christian folk"  make Christianity too complicated.  Time to go back to the basics for the "lookhowgoodofachirstianIam" types.  Along with that a lunch of three generations and the realization that I am NOT ready to go back to work.  Not because I don;t want to go but because my body is not ready.

Monday:  I went into the surgeons because of numbness on my left side and a pins and needles sensation from my elbow to my shoulder (very very bizarre).  Prognosis good but perhaps maybe not on the time scale I would like (ahh my life's story), however the right side drain came out so I am one turkey baster less. I also got to watch John play a little baseball- so yep- good day.

Now the 3 B's
Bumps:  The whole pins-and -needles thing- It is such a weird sensation. I am pretty energetic so getting tired so quickly is kind-of a bummer.  I actually miss not being at work.

Battles: The whole pins-and -needles thing- It is such a weird sensation. Having to wait for healing before I can start the next process and the realization that I will not be done with this whole thing until after Steven graduates from HS.  I had other plans for his senior year.  Having him worry about his mama at this time was not on our checklist.

Lunch with a friend who brought me more that sustenance.  She brought Job 23.  This chapter is chalked full of truths.  I can actually see Job (my version of him anyway) shaking his index finger saying "Hey girl, you got nothing on me- Be strong and faithful and you will see how much stronger and more faithful our God is"
For those of you northlanders- imaging  his-story- very much in the present to my-story.

Lunch with 3 generations.  How often do you find yourself at a lunch table with 3 generations...It is a blessing.  You see just the day before- Melissa and I had chatted about the value of God's promise to generations.  That we have known our value (and it was not in material or physical), because our parents showed us our value: intrinsically, spiritually.  We are loved!  Tatas and money mean absolutely nothing.  We are such a legacy and so incredibly blessed.

Friends who have provided meals:  Christine, Aida, Beverly, Shawn..Food is a healer--thank you!  Darnel thank you for bring lunch to the boys at school.   Such an incredible blessing.  

I got the most amazing hug yesterday from a cancer survivor who was literally tickled pink that I was at the game-  She was genuinely proud of me.  Jean- you are my inspiration!

Rest- it is a blessing.  For those of you who are like me and struggle with insomnia - rest is such a blessing. 

2 things before I close-
For those of you who want to know- about the physical- The scars are long and right now not pretty.  I know because I would want to ask: (I will show them to you if you like). How did you feel when you first saw yourself- the answer- amazingly liberated.  It is weird and I will have to get used to the scars but all in all OK.  The next question would be how is Doug?  which you don't ask and you should ( a least with us).   I know that my breast were a clear attraction to Doug when we met (men are visual).  I also know that he has not remained married to me for almost 20 years because of them.  He is happy he has his wife whose prognosis is good.

now go read Job 23 and be blessed.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I am so glad to have my boys back.  Such gentlemen, such great kids.  We had a great family dinner provided by Aida Herrold.  Wonderful conversation with friends on the phone and I am already missing my mom. 
I went to the school today to make sure all lessons were in order and of course I put them under the wrong week so it took a little longer to finish but it felt good to get out of the house for a little.  I had a beautiful scarf waiting for me on my desk.  It is perfect.  Tomorrow, I plan to leave the house for a little just to get the dog his heart worm medicine and front line.  It is going to be hot tomorrow so I plan to go out early.  

Bumps:  Not being able to raise my arms. and drains.  They are going to be an annoyance but I do see the effectiveness of them.

Battle:  The moving slow thing is not my pace.  I believe that God is teaching me to slowwww downnnn.  This is really difficult for me.  I generally find something to do with every minute of every day. I am being forced to read, rest, and relax.   

Blessing:  My boys are back, we had such a great dinner conversation for at least an hour.  I love that time with "us".  It is not that we discuss things of great and deep nature- nope- it is just that we are together.  Mom and Dad are going to visit my aunt in Vero Beach tomorrow and I am going to miss having mom around.  I appreciate so much seeing and hearing wisdom from Godly women.  I am so blessed to have generations of them surrounding me.  Those are the deep things but the simple things today"  Are that my boys are back and I am not feeling so much pain today.  I tried to make it all day with out any pain meds- that lasted till about 2:00 then I dosed up like a good girl.  

 So while reading today I was going over some verses of "encouragement" I found this little one that many times gets left of of the running the good race verse in 1 Corinthians 9- I think I like it, I hope it encourages you just as it does me:

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

I hope I can run this race God has laid in front of me in a way that would make Him proud.  Not aimless but as a concentrated fighter.  One that has trained, learned from mistakes, and has focus.  Heck, I have the best coach and I know I have a great trainers. Why do I have any doubts. I cannot fail and I will not be disqualified. 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

day 3

Day three is what it is- I have always thought day two was the worst.  I was wrong.  Today, I hurt.  But it is a good type of hurt.  I am itchy and I can''t reach where it itches.  I am swollen but that is to be expected.  At least the pins-and-needles feeling in gone from my left hand.  I am still draining quite a bit from the left jpdrain not so much from the right.   I suppose that is to be expected since I lost my nymph nodes and all that fluid is looking for somewhere else to go.  

I know that it may sound gross but-I am fascinated with our body and how wonderfully it heals itself.  I don't get grossed out by much so if you get queasy easily you may want to skip down to blessings.  I am being held together with glue.  There is and I measured 18 inches of incision from under my arms to center line and I am glued together.  Aside from the surgical wire that is holding my drains in it is all glue.  Amazing right?  Very clean. Very little scabbing or rough edges.  I am really fascinated by all of it.  What I do want to know is what exactly is coming out of my drains.  I know there is some blood, some water, but it looks like oil and vinegar mixing (think consistency). To my doctor friends - Is tissue coming through?  What are the strands of solid tissue? Again, You may think I am weird but I love that kind of stuff.  These are the times when I think- How can you deny a "supreme creator"   Everything works perfectly together and knows exactly what to do. Every cell is designed to do a designed task.  It is really breath taking.

bumps"  I really hurt today.  Hydrocodone is just not quite enough but I do not want to take anything thing stronger.  I feel good, but I just hurt.  Frustrating. 

battles:  My battle is that I feel well enough but pain is frustrating.  Wanting to do and not being able to because of pain is frustrating to me.  I don't like being weak or even appearing weak and yet it is a place that I am going to have to get comfortable.  The reality is that frailty is a blessing.  It is a way to show us where we can improve and it makes us dig deep into out faith.  What I am learning is that my faith does not waiver, but I have so much more to learn.  I think God has a lot to teach me and in my weakness He is able to do just that.

Blessings:  Again- having my mom and dad at the house is so relaxing.  Aunt Jo came to the house today and I cooked lunch. It felt good to be in the kitchen.  (We had tilapia sauted in a key lime oil and a mango chutney.)  I miss the baseball games but thanks to game changer I get to see play by play.   I took a short walk (about a mile) in glorious weather.  I enjoyed quiet by the pool in the morning and in the late afternoon. Hydrocodone is a blessing right now.  Basketball on TV.  But the blessing that made me truly cry today was that at 10"00- The doorbell rang and there was a BEAUTIFUL display of white roses with purple spring flowers from MARISSA!  Marissa- if you are  reading.  you are a true gift from God.  Do not settle on anything or anyone other the the perfection God has in store for you.  You are a blessing to so many people! So do not change EVER!  And thank you!

Once again- if we take the time to think about our day- we will always have more blessings that we can remember.  Here is a challenge to you.  Make a conscious effort to think of the good.  Every perfect gift comes from above.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I am made new

 I am amazed at what our surgeons  can do.  Less than 36 hours ago I was somewhere in limbo land.  I did not know what exactly my prognosis was but I knew I was OK regardless.  Now, I know I am OK.  I know it is not stage 3, that with the removal of my lymph nodes and breast my outcome looks much brighter.  Don't get me wrong, I am not walking in the cloud of oblivion.  I know I still have a very hard journey, possibly radiation,  chemo along with some targeted therapy, but, the future has not looked brighter.  I can say I have be made a new. God is all sufficient.  I have been covered with prayer since the day of my birth and I know that He has always held me tightly. I am not able to express in words how I felt every prayer.  When I was going under, I know I head God say- I am here-I will not leave you or forsake you. I can't explain it-I just know that His presence was definitely in that room.  
  I had comedic nurses, and an anesthesiologist was a prankster. Instead of the count backwards from 10- he says count backwards from 3027 by 27's.  When I said you owe me 3 grand everyone laughed and then it was lights out.  I don't know about you guys but that is the moment that I am the most frightful. I really had a hard time coming to- I know I had a conversation about my tattoo.  But, I don't remember much other than Doug coming in and kissing me and telling me that it was all going to be OK.  By the time I was in the room it was 8:30- I was soooooo hungry.  My family knows how I get when I get when I am hungry so of course Doug and Mom rushed to get me a sandwich and an orange.  I then finished off a pear, and apple and so much water and then I had the realization that I would be up all night in the bathroom and I was connected to the IV and the sexy  massage boots.  This is a dangerous proposition. Then I look and all my wristbands and I notice the one that says- falling risk on a fluorescent yellow band.  Really?  Falling Risk- how insulting.  however when I stood up for the first time- yep you got it- my center of gravity has changed.  A LOT.  

Bumps:  I don't sit still and I get bored quickly.  To all my students- It will be shocking for you but I was NOT a model student.  The next 3 or 4 weeks might be difficult.

Battles:  Maybe I should not have looked in the mirror.  It is quite shocking, but not disturbing.  It is the difference between life and death and I chose life. It really is pretty simple.

Blessings:  Again, so many.  A wonderful dinner from Christine tonight, Doug who brought me a starbucks because he knew the hospital coffee would not do.  My dad who prays beautifully and always prays his heart.  A son who text me just to say I love you.  So many people who pray and pray big - I have known that many students, coworkers, and friends that have left such a deep impact on my soul, I am humbled by the fact that I have touched you in the same way.  I love you all so much.  I am glad that God has placed you  in my life. I am blessed, blessed, blessed.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

hasta la vista baby

Yep they are gone.  The sentinel node exam at 7:30, and then I waited in the ambulatory center until about 10:30.  On e they took me back and I watch as a army of people went about their day.  Surgery started at around 2:30 and ended at around 5.   It did take me a long time to come to though.  I am just now feeling like I am myself. So, here is the skinny.   

Both breast- gone
lymph nodes on the left side gone
port in - check

yep everything that was to be don today is done.

I am feeling relieved ( I am sore, very sore) so very relieved.  I go all in on things so I am all in and lets get the plan of action going.  It appears that I will be doing some Radiation (bummer) and some chemo.  I have not spoken with the surgeon but may family has and they have relayed the information to me.  Seriously don't know know much I would gather since I have and incredible morphine cocktail swimming through my veins.

Bumps:  Sore, it is temporary.  I think I have mooned everyone on the wing.  I don't like feeling like I can't stay awake or focus

Battle:  I am not nearly as hideous as I thought.  The whole self conscious thing is already kickin in-

blessing:  I know that the four corners of the globe lifted me up today because I could feel them.
Great nurses, doctors and staff.  The were courteous even gracious.  They did not walk on egg shells around me .  They were exactly what I needed.  
I know there are many more- but I cant keep my eyes open any more.

Monday, March 19, 2012

less than 12

Oddly enough, I am not nervous now.  2 hours ago, well that was a different story.   This afternoon I was injected with a radioactive isotope  (I really did not like chemistry-and I am pretty sure I misspelled that) but the only warning I received was stay away from very young children. So I am one hot mama.  I bet magneto could find me right now in cerebro (xmen reference).  It came to my attention that a way to control pest is to sterilize them (radioactively) -so if they get up and move- they can't reproduce somewhere else.  Not kill them-just make sure they cannot procreate.  WOW- that is what is happening to me- sadly I would not be able to attract the opposite sex anyway since I will be missing the-"headlights". For my theologian friends (and family), I give  you one of my many questions for God.  Humans are, from a purely scientific perspective, mammals, so why is it that we are the only ones whose breast do not dissipate after we have weened our off-spring?  Don't tell me it is the apple that we convinced you to eat.  Surely, he enjoys a good laugh.  Don't say cows- because they have to be injected with steroids to keep producing milk.  Did I just compare myself to a cow and a bug, even though I can be pesky, I might have thought that one through.

Bumps:  not being able to sleep- but tomorrow I will be out/under for 3 hours.  That should count for something.

Battle:  pesty self confidence coming into play.  I think that is what makes this one hard.  I have really never struggled with self confidence.  Why is so much attention on our tatas?  Why should it matter?  They really don't define me...but I have been carrying them around for 30 plus years.  Talk about baggage!

Blessings:  I feel the presence of God walking with me.  I feel the comfort of so many people praying for me.  I got the message tonight that SFC baseball wore pink for me today.  2400 miles away and you guys can still make me cry.  I love you all.  Kelly Raines- the food was delish!

Love you all.  Will post as soon as the hillbilly heroine (Oxycontin) kicks  in tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Can you recognize.... The Good Shepherd

Today was a good day.  Good church message,good music and left thinking of all the people who have been     me in my life.  We had a good lunch and I took a nap in the sun. 

I am going to start with the 3 B's today:

Bumps:  My bump in this beautiful day was not the ground  where I took a nap, but the fact that I went looking for a pair of royal blue baseball socks.  So frustrating, this would upset me usually but today I was sad.  I wanted everything to be perfect for the boys and one will be missing socks (not that anyone will see what color socks are on his feet) but it is the little things that are annoying.  It is stupid to let something so unimportant bother me.

Battles:  I am really sad that I do not get to see my boys at this tournament. I am really nervous and I am testy.  Most people would say "aw it is only normal", but it is still not an excuse to be mean to someone else. My anxiety is heightened as the day and time draws nearer.  I am praying that I can stay grounded and steadfast in God's word.  I am resting in Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

That is what I am praying- that I will be gentle in frustration and that my heart and mind be guarded during a trying time.

Surgery has been moved till Tuesday morning- but the sentinel node scan will be done tomorrow so quite literally I will be HOT- radioactive hot but HOT none-the less. Thank God for nuclear medicine. The surgeon will know exactly which if any lymph nodes have been affected.  The effect of the radioactive dye will show up on that scan.  That was for Melissa N. Judy Z and Michelle G, That is a set of sentences you may use to show students the difference between affect and effect.
For the non-educator types out there-WE NEVER STOP TEACHING.

Today's sermon was about Jesus being the good shepherd.  The pastor went on to describe all the ways that Jesus was trying to make it clear but the one that struck me was the "recognizing of the voice"  He knows our voice and we know His (even though we ignore it quite a bit).  I started to think about the voices of the people that "shepherded" me and wondered how many of them I would remember.  In true God form about 6:30 this afternoon I got a call from just one of those people.  My uncle Grady- I knew immediately who it was when I heard his voice. Just another way that God demonstrates that he is with me all the time and that He is my good shepherd.  I have some of you that are reading this saying is just a coincidence, that is just not true.  You may dismiss things like that but I will not, I will never devalue the power of my all powerful God that is gentle enough to send me the perfect calming and reassuring voice. (Even though my aggression on the playing field was definitely fostered by this man-he and my mother would battle it out on the tennis court).  
I had the most amazing childhood.  Many Mk's struggle with identity issues but not me.   Soy catracha with a heavy EEUU influence.  I am both. But more importantly, I had the most amazing missionary family.  I had tias that taught me how to be a Godly woman.  I had tios that showed me what being Godly men looks like.  They were all shepherds that listened to God's voice and taught me how to do the same.  I would recognize their voices anywhere.  I am blessed.

Lori Chepke and Jill McKenzie- you two make my day- everyday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

SO I have now had my "dates" with my boys.  John and I enjoyed a meal and an even tastier dessert, Steven and I (as seen on facebook) projected ourselves 100;s of feet in the air. and Doug and I enjoyed our favorite trendy sushi joint.  I feel confident that they know my feelings for them and where I see them in the future.  Each of them is so special in their own way.  For fear of public embarassment for my children I will only mention a few things per person so that all of you will know what makes our family o dinamic.  
John:   God's heart- you truly see the best in people. You are empathetic, I value your insight.
Steven:  Quiet, humble servant who has true emotional maturity.  You are able to accept people right where they are and can see past any fault.
Doug:  You have provided so well for our family, not only your income but more importantly your time.  The hours you have dedicated for our betterment is too be commended.   Very few people would dedicate themselves to anything  as you have to us-

 I had a productive day but an emotional evening:

Bumps:  March madness- my brackets are CRAP!  Seriously-I know this means nothing to many of you but- my brackets are worthless.
Battles: I am out of time-yep that is it-  tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday morning is the surgery and let the cage fight begin- round one.  Regardless-I am out of time-  If it needed to get done- it probably will not.  For those of you wondering- Doug will be staying with me until I come to and everything is OK- then he will go watch the boys.

Blessings:  Lori Chepke, really..seriously... you are by far the most genuinely kind person.  I do not know of anyone who does not have a little venom running through their veins except for you.  Chris is the luckiest man alive and your two beautiful children are so blessed. I feel like to most special person on the world because you are my  friend.  
My mom and dad- who are here with me now.  There is nothing better than being with family.  I am my mother's daughter-  It is quite humorous to see us clean a bathroom.  Toothbrushes beware- we will use you to clean-with bleach- and elbow grease.  
If you do not have facebook you would not know that my eldest-Steven- did the most awesome thing today. He noticed when he woke up that I was stressed, he immediately started cleaning the man cave (he cleans like me) vacuumed, laundry but then he took the comforters to the laundry mat to do there.  I can rest confidently that my house will be in order.
Again to all who amuse me with text along the way- they mean the world to me. 
last one:  tomorrow is Sunday- time to refresh spiritually- it can't come soon enough

Isn't it good to know that God is never far away.  That we don't have to wait till Sunday- He is our constant source of help.  Isn't it good to know that we don't have to schedule and appointment with Him.  24-7 He is with us!

Friday, March 16, 2012

be anxious in nothing

Yeah that title is a lot easier said than done.  I just came home from a baseball game and as I was hugging everyone goodbye it was different tonight.  On Monday the team will leave on tournament and I will not be going.  That alone is shocking enough for all of you who know that I generally don't miss a baseball game that a kid of mine is playing but a tournament in Fort Lauderdale with both of them on the same team is really hard.  When they return everything will be different.  I will be missing the girls, my hugs will feel different, and it will be weird.   I truly felt peoples concern for me as I was leaving.  I had to get out of there quickly because I really was overcome with emotion (so not me).  I wear my emotions on my sleeve but for the first time- I felt weak.  I am praying my spiritual armor back on for a spirit of timidity and fear is not from God.  I am not weak for He is strong in me. 
School was interesting today.  I had to prep the classed for the fact that when I do come back from Spring break- yeah- the girls will be gone and they will want to look but know it is not right and it will just be awkward for all of us until we get used to the fact that- I will still be me- my shape will just have changed.  I am so glad it is Spring break and I am looking forward to my first day to sleep in- that is if I can sleep at all.

Here are my bumps from the last few days:
Focus in school- Mine not the students: Whether we can use the subjunctive correctly in a sentence seems a little petty right now-"Deseo que no (hablas/hables) con tu novio mientras yo estoy a tu lado":  Really want I want to say is- talk to your boyfriend girl- who cares who is around.  Instead- the 3 questions- Are there two clauses:Is there a change of subject:  do you see the word que---why yes it is subjuctive.  SHHH don't tell- I really gave them a study hall today, because I had a few lesson plans to write.
I still can't get my house clean enough.  There is not enough bleach/Lysol in the world to make me think it is sterile-and sadly that is what I feel the state of my house needs to be.
I am tired, really tired because I can't sleep

Battles:  Oh the quilt I feel for not being at the boys baseball games next week.  I know they will be worried even though they say they will be fine.  We are trying to decide what Doug will do- stay with me or let the kids go "alone".  I have a bad attitude right now, part of it is my stubbornness and part of it is hurt feelings.  whatever it is having a bad attitude is not good for me so somehow I am going to have to get over it.  Darn-forgiveness gets in the way AGAIN.  I wonder why our ability to forgive people we don't know is greater than people who are close to us.  
The number of preoperative test is ridiculous.  Tired of being poked and drained of blood- having a port will make this so much easier. 

Blessings:  Beautiful ladies who pull me aside and take their valuable time to truly poor their hearts into me and lift me up in prayer.  Nadine Hinds- thank you for doing that.  I am honored.  To all who joined.  Your prayers are felt. 
 Honest chatter in the classroom today.  A young boy, who I will not name, could not wrap is brain around the whole looking different thing until I said something like"yeah at least I will lose 10 or so pounds"  I wish all of you could have seen both of his hands go up to chest level and and while shaking his head, holding imaginary sugar sacks at his chest and says- so each one weighs 5 pounds?- So funny!
God's perfect plan.  While I may never know the answers to some things, this I do know.  He was preparing me for this moment my entire life.  I know that ever crises I have had, every broken heart, every life lesson learned was preparing me for how do deal with the next thing. Each one of those things taught me valuable lessons for pressure cooker situation and this is a doosie.  I am thankful that He trust me enough to handle this well and I pray I will not disappoint.
I am thankful for sweet text messages from friends that say miss you profe, praying for you friend, or simply good night.  I love you all, very very much.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cup cakes and massages- considering pure joy

Hola everyone,

Monday here, spring break is right around the corner.  I am needing a break from 5:50 AM.  Today, I am feeling much better than yesterday.  I only had one mistake today.  I confused the dinner schedule for Varsity instead of JV.  Corrected- so we are all good.  The students at school are so stressed out this week- you can feel the tension in the air.  I almost feel guilty giving them assignments but, hey I have a job to do.  I had a lovely chat with two beautiful girls today.  It always feel good to hear the students.  I also dashed out of school to get a massage(so nice) and on my way to Johns's game, I stopped and got an assortment of cupcakes.  Game, cooked dinner and now I am sitting down to journal.

"Consider it pure joy" , I came back to that line several times during the day.  I love how god uses friends to remind you that there is nothing He doesn't know, nothing he hasn't endured and nothing is out of his control.  So consider not just OK but consider it pure joy.  Pure joy can be found in the middle tragedy.  Pure joy can be found in tragedy.  I would like to say that I have found my true joy but alas I have not.  What I have found is a reason to consider it.   I do hope all of you will as well.  James is one of those books in the bible that makes or should make "christian types" tremble.  My kind of guy-James.  He speaks-in your face- truths. So I will consider it pure joy that I will have hard times because I have a promise that comes with it.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

Did you catch that promise:  perseverance, maturity, complete and not lacking anything.  So what you are trying to tell me sir is that this will make me stronger is biblical?  OK- I can do this.

Bumps:  Once again I had a blonde moment.  I sent out a reminder email today- asking for someone to fill in the varsity team meal tomorrow.  The problem is that Varsity is not home tomorrow- JV is.  It all worked out- like it always does.  Many of you will not get my funny story of the day- but for those of us who read and write in two languages equally will.  Setting:  Spanish I class.  Situation:  giving direction to an assignment
I gave elaborate directions to the class and asked if there were any question and one student says "mas despacio por favor profe"  so of course I gave the same spiel much slower and louder to find that the response had not changed (imagine deer in the headlight).  Now frustration is kicking in and I give the directions to them again, louder, more emphatically with hand gestures.  Then I ask- Why is this so difficult for you - you act like I am only speaking Spanish or something?  The class erupted in laughter as I then realize that indeed I was speaking in Spanish- they really could not understand.  
So there is my bump- I have lost my marbles.

Battles:  One word -anxiety- I just want to get started!  The baseball family lost a mom this week to breast cancer.  She was diagnosed stage 4 and had been fighting for a while.  her children are in the 8th and 4th grade.  It is scary when even though the severity of our cancers are different  it is still breast cancer.  It rocked me more than I care to acknowledge.

Blessings:  God's word.  I received a prayer today from Heather.  It is amazing how powerful God's word is when prayed for someone.  It does not matter if it is yelled, cried, groaned by the Holy Spirit or in written for as mine was today.  It is so empowering and there is no denying it's strength. I have made a note that a written prayer is such a blessing.    
I do not have to worry about my job for next year.
 Did I mention the massage and cupcakes?  
We thought John had lost his phone- yet it was found on the team bus.
We thought Steven car wouldn't start today- but it did
Spring baseball is always a blessing
Doug got to spend sometime with Cher, Frank and the kids.
Did I mention the massage and the cupcakes.

hey-  whatever you are going through.  It could be a big something or a little something.  It could be a load you cannot bear alone.  It may be a load that you have shared do this  "Consider it pure joy."  That is your goal for tomorrow.

I am praying for all of you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

So it has been a few days since my last post.  Let me catch you up.

Thursday I was at the Spanish competition with 16 student and dear friend Kelly Raines. I spent two days there.  So happy to know that the students did their best and it showed in the results.  Friday I did leave a little bit to go for a fitting for my new self.  I have to get a special one since my back has been used to carrying around an extra 7-10 pounds.  I can see how this may affect my posture.  while I was there I got to experience all of the silicone replacements and even the custom replacements- so creepy.  As I am in there I am thinking- I could go into business making products for breast cancer except for I would have to deal with insurance companies all the time.  So maybe not, but someone should definitely come up with some prettier products.  Saturday, I administered the SAT.  That was not fun, but my job was definitely more fun than the kids who were taking the test.  I got home around 2:00 and  I went out on my special date with John.   Once home, we found out that Cher and family would be at the house so we spent the next four hours cleaning like crazed people.  It was quite humorous even though I did have a total melt down about half way through.  Now everything is done.  But, cleaning was not on my agenda that day so today I spent grocery shopping, grading papers and getting schedules settled for the week. 
I am looking forward to this week being over.  John has games on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.  Steven has games Tuesday and Friday.  They  both have quarter test what seems to be everyday. This is perfect, a week full of normal.   And I mean that, no sarcasm, I love normal.  My normal, while busy and even hectic at times is normal for us.  Everything is scheduled, there is a time and a place for everything.  Does that make me OCD?  
I was unable to go on my date with Steven due to the rain.  Looks like Wednesday is the day for me and my boy.  

Here are my bumps:

I still feel like my time is being stolen from me.  I have everything scheduled.  From doctors appointments to baseball concession stand and everything in between.  I get frustrated when more is expected of me and I am supposed to be nice about it.  Here is my lesson learned:  I will be able to say NO when this is over. It will not make me mean- it will make me stronger.  Problem is- i don't like being perceived as mean.

I am really starting to struggle with the "radicalness" of the surgery.  It hit me as I am getting molds of my tatas for a a couple of prosthesis.  Then you see the model of what I am going to look like- It really is awkward.  Then to hear "it is only temporary"  really makes me angry.  No it is permanent, my boobs will be gone and the new things I get will be my stomach  reformed to look like breast. Then we want to know what I am going to do with my hair.  To which the answer is nothing- I won't have any.  This is where that all american superficiality comes in.  It is about what we look like - not the battles we fight to stay alive.  Hey folks I have cancer, if it is in my lymph nodes- it could be spreading as we speak.  How about you let me get healed and then we will worry about my lack of boobs or what my cute little haircut will be.

Spanish Competition.  It was wonderful to see kids preform well and confidently.  
Being able to monitor and administer the SAT.  So much is put on the value of that test and while I was administering and the kids were so stressed.  I could see value in each of the students there.  I know them more that any test can measure. There were quality kids in that room and the world will be better because of them.  
I am so proud of my boys.  Yesterday, in the middle of my melt down, they completely understood.  They cleaned, they did everything I asked them to do and more.  They are at baseball 3 -4 hours a day, in honors classes and some how keep it all together.  
My date with John was a good time.  John is a wonderful, loving son.  I am blessed !
Did I mention that there are only 5 days till spring break..yep that is a blessing.

I am definitely looking forward to spending time with just the family this weekend.

God is really working on me.  That is always good but it is always scary because it means we are going to have to submit something.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mustard Seed

hey guys,

SO I skipped yesterday and I almost skipped today.  I am tired and I can't really explain why.  Oh yes I can..It is the fact that I can't seem to sleep at night.  Understand, it is not anxiety, or stress- it is insomnia.  Thanks mom! 
I made cookies yesterday.  Johnathan stayed at home today.  There were 6 cookies when I got home, which I promptly took care of.  They were delicious.  But of course they were.  I made them and more importantly they had 1 and 1/2 stick of butter.  Why wouldn't they be delicious. 

I am trying to keep my routine as normal as possible until the last possible minute.  I am going to be selfish with my family the weekend of the 16th.   This Saturday I get to proctor the SAT whoo yooo!  

Here are the 3B's of the day:

Bumps:  Starting to feel a little anxious and having to work through it.  Watching the calendar days slip by me is frustrating.

Battle:  I don't know how to prepare my family for the unexpected.  Heck, I don't know how to prepare me for the unexpected.  I am trusting in God fully.  I know what is on the schedule but I don't know what comes with that.  

Blessings:  I have a pretty flexible job. I can eat anything I want now.  No dieting- bring on the white stuff (flour) , butter,sugar,chocolate and pasta.  I feel like it is my job to get my plastics guy something to work with. I have a group of teachers that would give me their sick days if they allowed to.  I have great students that when the pedal meets the metal- they do the right thing.  I am absolutely confident that I will get through this.  I have total peace.....

Let me fill you all in-
Surgery will be the 19th (bilateral masectomy), a port will be installed. I will feel like the "borg" is taking over my body (resistance is futile).  That is what the chemo will tell all of my little fighting cells as it raids my body.  On a good note I will  be eligible for medical grade, pill form mj.  My oncologist said that it is WAY overrated.  I will not know until after surgery how many sessions I will do but it looks like no radiation.  Reconstruction will take place on June first.

It is all good-  I know that I have more faith than a mustard seed so I can move mountains.

Thank you all for your prayers

Monday, March 5, 2012

Today was Monday-all day-Monday. 
I was prepared for my classes, I have sub plans ready for Thursday and Friday but I am leaving on a Spanish competition not because I will be in the hospital.  Next week is the last week before grades are due so some of my students are starting to panic.  Every time the response is the same- "should have panicked on test one not now- now is toooooo late."  I realized today that the thing a long for the most is calmness.  Anything high energy- right now is frustrating me.  I wonder if this is normal?   I don't want any drama.  It is such a blessing to have a husband and one boy who are as I lovingly describe them as emotional flatlines.  This is not a bad thing-  It is exactly what I need right now.  Solid, not easily flustered, steady, observers, and above all they are constant and unchanging.  Some may see them as removed but nothing could be farther than the truth.  They are 100 percent invested- therefore they don't have time for petty drama and right now- neither do I.   Everything is put into perspective and their response is only to the things that are important, everything else is just noise.  I posted before and I will say it again- I am not lonely in solitude and quiet. 

I guess my funny anecdote today is that  I feel crappy today, head hurts so bad I am nauseous but  I have spent 4 hours watching the cooking channel.  I want to know if I have any friends that can build me a open fire pit for my yard. I would need a pit and an area for a grate so I can cook outside.  I love stuff like that.  Not fancy just good food with simple proteins and veggies done correctly.   All that and yet the though of food make my gag reflect kick in-  Now there is a lovely thought- gross

Now what you are looking forward to-

The 3B'

bumps:  my bump today is that I have no energy to deal with things that are not important.  My classes-important.  I am invested in my students, they are important.  My own children are  the most important- I am squeezing in a date with each one this week because this little journey is going to be hard on them and while a lot of attention will be put on me- I need them to know that they are center of my world and that I would do anything for them.  Not another adult (other than their father) will come before them and definitely not thing will interferer with that.

battles:  well they are kind-of one in the same- My time is being stolen.  I spent 25 minutes today just getting set up with BCBS personal case manager so that for insurance questions I can go to one person not an automated system.  Then another 10 minutes with a breast surgery coordinator, and 10 with gyn coordinator and 10 with a chemo coordinator. SO now they all have to talk to each other to make it come together.  This is going to make out baseball schedule look like a piece of cake.   I am still praying for no radiation...Fingers crossed!  

My blessings:  BASEBALL.  2 hours of thinking about something other than cancer.  Being a proud mama.  It is escape for them and me.  Baseball is for most people a boring game, but for me it is a game that teaches such resilience.  It is a game of failure and you are exposed 100% of the time.  If you are the batter- it is you against the pitcher- all eyes on you.  If you are the pitcher same thing in reverse.  If you serve it up-you look bad.  In the field, on bad defensive play- your done-  they are being evaluated on every move.  the saddest part about it is that you will fail more than you are successful.  a .333 good batting average that is 3 for 10 (7 misses). OBP in 450 fantastic- means you get on base less than half of the times. 1 error- can loose the game.  You can learn a lot from these boys- They will not give up-despite the fact that the odds are stacked against them.  I am going to need that kind of strength.  
Which brings me to the next blessing- I had a great conversation with a student today.  I am blessed that I am in a school where I can say.  "It is not that I am strong- it is that I know how weak I am and it is God in me that makes me strong".  And she gets it- I am only as strong as Christ in me.  
I am blessed so very blessed-    I have spent some time pondering the things I want to say to people as I am preparing for this journey.  I want those who have had an impact on my life to know it.  So some of you- many of you will be getting something soon.
Tyler Gray-  I am honored, humbled and blessed to have a friend like you.  Momma Miles loves you dearly and I am moved by your act of service.  It may seem simple to you but simple is always best.  
The last blessing today is that I said no- really- I said no.  I will not do that for you- NO.   It was empowering-.  There are lessons being learned.

todays verse that calmed me down was this one:  I hope it brings you as much hope as it did me.
Psalm 55:22
 Cast your burden on the Lord,
and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken

Because of this imperative the promise will happen- I am sustained and I will not be shaken

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So yesterday, I was doing that pre-birth cleaning obsessive thing.  Somehow in my mind, the house just can't be ready for me not to be able to clean it (appropriately).  I realize that I have very capable men at my house that are responsible enough to see filth but there is a very clear difference between mom clean and man clean. Since I couldn't sleep I got everything done, hit home depot and fixed some things that needed to be fixed, planted an herb garden (small one), and around 5 was feeling a little depressed that this was going to be how I spent what might possibly be my last weekend with boobs.  It kind of caught me off guard, truly sad.  For the next 6 months, possibly longer- I am going to have the chest of a 6 year old girl.  HOW DEPRESSING.  I started to mope around, feeling sorry for myself and Doug decided that we would go down to universal.  They have a free concert every Saturday night.  Tonight is was the goo goo dolls.  Thank goodness it was not last week I would have seen Boys to Men.  The concert was good, but sitting and doing a little people watching at city walk was even better.  I was almost tempted to create a new foto album for what should never be worn out--EVER.  I am pretty aware of my body.  I know that I am not a svelt super model type (never have been).  I have always been a big boned girl shall we say.  So from experience, I know what  girls of girth should not wear.  Do they not have any friends?  I can excuse the Euros becasue they are after all on vacation and well, from Europe.  So all the white capri, white shoe, skin tight deep V neck purple t-shirt  gentlemen- You are excused.  But, anyone who has lived stateside for 2 weeks should not be caught dead in leather pants and a torn t-shirt and a black sequin bra showing through- oh with TOMS and I love my TOMS.  At least wear some sexy stilettos. It was a good time.  A margarita or two and a delicious sushi snack later and we were heading home.  All of that to say that the day ended well- but you can understand why I may not have posted yesterday.

SO today I am giving you the 3B for two days.

bumps:  I am starting to have a hard time, a really hard time letting go of something I did not think I was attached to.  I know that it is the right decision and actually the only logical one but- Going back to being 6 again is going to be tough.  

Battle:  Aside from having to be type A compulsive about organizing medical information, I am ready to get this started.  I need to learn how accept help a little.  Again it goes back to I take care of people- not the other way around.  That is going to be really tough.

Blessing:  Pink, Pink everything.  I still am amazed at the outpouring of pink at school.  SO blessed.  I have had a friend write me two letters.  I am going to spend a lot of time talking about this friend soon, so Heather, God put us together at an AP class years ago.  We only spent 4 days in class together and yet God has provided me with truly a friend who is grounded in his word and a blessing for years,  You are proof that HE is in control of every situation, everyday, and that He cares for us.  Lori, 3 words- I love you!  The house is clean- even the gout in the bathrooms.  I am rested.  Tomorrow I am planning, planning planning,  Students beware- you will be able to take my class online- so no excuses (not literally because you are still minors so you need a sitter to make sure you stay on task) still no excuses. I am blessed.  God is working on me and I know that He has placed special people for special purposes along my life for just this occasion.  Much love to all

Friday, March 2, 2012

pink day

So I am not going to get into the 3B's today I just have to get right into the day. 

I kind of saw that my room was decorated yesterday but I had no idea what was in store for me today.  As I walked to my room, I think every kid had on pink.  It was a sea of pink.  I felt like every student was wearing something pink.  I was totally speechless.  If you know me, you understand that doesn't happen.   When I got to my room there was a group of 6th grade boys (whom I don't know) waiting for me, The were wearing a pink ribbon around their heads.  One of them said "on a normal day- we would get beat down for wearing this" but we are committed to pray for you, we hope you are better. I was so amazingly moved.   I felt so loved.  There is even a wear pink on Friday for profe day on facebook- I am pretty good about staying up on things and they got me- they got me good.  I must be slipping-totally missed it.  
The day only got better from there- I got personalize letters, my room was filled with balloons, then I got a package from my sister, the boys sported pink on the baseball field and swung a pink maple bat, that was given to me after the game.   Amazing   With this kind of support, and a God who stands before me-  I am invincible (maybe I will have to go get an invincible costume).  
I am ready to get started now.  Still waiting for the surgery date, but I will post as soon as I know.  

There is now way to let these kids know how deliciously awesome they are...I am surrounded by the best and you bring out the best in me.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Here is is..A little late on the posting tonight because I needed to make myself a tasty  treat and didn't get home from baseball till a little late.  So here goes-

All in all a good day- with the exception that I was a complete blonde today.  Drove all the way to my appointment with my plastics guy only to  realize that I left my purse at school.  Such a blonde.  Actually, I was in a hurry and got my papers to grade while I waited, the ipad to input grades but the idea to have a licence while driving or an ID for medical did not cross my mind.  I feel like I have the pregnancy forgetfulness syndrome.

Here is a funny- My plastics guy's name is Kevin Chen.  He is from Salem OH.  Not far from Lordstown OH.  We laughed for a while when I inappropriately asked- "Salem, really Salem- home of the fighting Quakers (which is its own joke), There is no Asian population in Salem."  I knew I would like him because he popped back with "  I know it is a South Park episode in the making- My dad is the OBGYN and the other Asian family  the Wong's run the Chinese restaurant"; I paused for a while and said so the Korean family run the Chinese restautant?  He laughed hysterically and said yes but it was Salem - They just know we are Asian.
He was really good and young.  This surgery is kind of scary.  I am not sure why anyone who did not have to would subject themselves to it.  That surgery will not happen until after I have been though Chemo.  So I have a break-It will be at least a 6 week recovery period.

My Three B's

Bumps:  Found out I only  13 have sick days.  Major illness put such stress on a families income.  This is something that is going to stress Doug completely out.  Insurance doesn't cover 4 dollar gas to a doctors office that is miles away, tolls to get there, and then parking.  Every visit is going to be a least 15 dollars before I have walked in the door.
Battle:  Oh this one is funny because it is all about humility.  I am going to have a battle with self confidence and I was made very aware of this when I am having pictures of me being taken for reference during surgery.  As the snap shots were being taken in front of 1 student doctor and a nurse-doc here is explaining that he has to take this because your weight is not displaced the same while laying down as if I was unaware.  So very uncomfortable.  Pretty sure I have seen where these things go when they are not contained.  SO AWKWARD.

Blessings:  John's baseball team has ribbons on the batting helmets, my room was decorated today, they let me see the surgeon today despite not having id.  I am surrounded by praying people. I got a nap and was able to get all the food prepped for Varsity grill tomorrow.  Got a beautiful letter from a dear friend and a card from a great family in San Diego.  Had a nice chat with a student tonight and was able to solidify that I am not strong- I am strong because of where I get my strength.

I am uncomfortable having attention placed on me- I am not the only one going through this and I am willing to wear my emotions on my sleeve.  The good ones, the bad ones, the mean ones, and the vulnerable ones.  They are all there.   I am working on a Saturday sermon so get ready.  today though- I am glad that God promised trials, for through trials comes perseverance and perseverance builds character and with that there is hope- and that is what I have.