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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Survivor Files: One Year Ago Today

It was a year ago today at my annual check up (which has included a mammogram since I was 35) that my cancer journey started.  It was that mammogram where the microscopic cancer cells showed up well before the time I would have felt a bump or a lump in any form.

Here is why I know God's hand has been in this journey from the very beginning.  Since the birth of our 5th, my annual check up had been happening in November.  At my 2011 appointment I remember not being able to schedule out my 2012 appointment because of something with their computer system.  The nurse told me to call back in a week or two to get on the schedule.

Guess who was busy with life and forgot to make that appointment a year out?  You guessed it - ME!  It was around April last year when I realized that I hadn't had my check up back in November and I should probably call to get on the appointment book.
Me - May 2013

That brought me to May 29th and the mammogram.  The rest is history and if you don't know the history, I have chronicled a lot of it on this very blog.  Here is what I know (and the doctor has confirmed).  1. If I had been in during my original appointment time in November of 2012, these cancer cells more than likely would not have shown up on the mammogram.  2. If I had seen the doctor in November and nothing had shown up on that mammogram, I would have had my next appointment in November of 2013 at which time, the cancer may have formed a lump or spread to lymph nodes which would have been a much different treatment plan.

As it turns out, I have been in and out of surgeries for a year as the reconstruction heals but I haven't had to go through chemo.  I thought originally that radiation was required but after not getting it all in the lumpectomy and having to do a mastectomy, I was able to dodge radiation too.  I can't say that I love the whole results of a double mastectomy and a body that hasn't healed well and the emotional and metal healing is still in progress.

The truth is, there are two more surgeries to complete the actual reconstruction that have only just now been able to be scheduled because of all of my delayed healing.  I am telling you, it has been another year that will not be forgotten but it has been all good.  I like who I am better today by His grace than the person I was in that picture up there.  I love who He is to me today compared to who He was to me then.  It is a journey, one that I don't always enjoy, but another reminder that each day I wake up and move forward is a life of living miracles!  Happy May 29th all!  If you haven't had a mammogram in awhile ladies, sisters, friends, GO right now and schedule it!  It could save your life!

Monday, May 26, 2014

One Little Project Finished and FREE!

I am very excited that I was able to use plarn to make a little something for my clothes line.  Have I mentioned that I have been enjoying having a clothes line in my back yard in the new house?  I have had to wait awhile this spring for the weather to get nice enough to be able to put the clothes out on a regular basis.
My one problem has been running out of clothes pins and not having a way to transport them from the laundry room to the line along with the basket of clothing.  

It was last Thursday when I started cutting up plastic grocery bags to try this new project that I had been envisioning.  On Friday afternoon I bought more clothes pins and on Sunday afternoon I finished it.  I now have a clothes pin bag.  The materials were free to me!  I used an old baby hanger I have been needing to get out of the boys' room (along with the others) and used plastic grocery bags that were piling up in my basket in the pantry.

I think it was a great use of free material and I am excited to do laundry next week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Zach's Great Night

What a wonderful birthday I have had today.  I would have to say one of the best things I got to do was sit and watch my gymnasts at the gym tonight.  They are all fun to watch and I am thankful that all of my kids have found a love for sports that I enjoy to watch!  Zachary had a pretty amazing night at practice!

His coach said that as he was jumping on the trampoline and working on some skills he did a back handspring just out of the blue.  So, they worked on it and got him adjusting this and that to make it a success each time he did it.  Then they moved on to a front tuck jump and I got that on video.

He slept really well tonight!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Has Happened Here?

I don't even remember what it feels like to hold this little man like this!  What has happened to this chubby adorable face?  Well, he is growing up...he is going to school next fall, and I am feeling a little bit lost wondering what is ahead for the next few years.

There have been little people around my ankles for the last 12 years!  It has been wonderful in every way and I know that at times it gets a little difficult to get anything done.  That doesn't really bother me in the grand scheme of things.  I have felt so blessed to be able to "live the miracle" in this way.

I am such a sanguine sidetracked homemaker that left with the house to myself, I will be starting a million different projects and never following through (I know myself, this will happen unless I put some thought into my schedule).  So, that is what I will start to focus on in the course of the next few months.  Matt is going to school, there is no stopping him.  Whether it is 1/2 day or full day, I will have time to be productive or spin my wheels.  I am going to prepare to be productive and lean on God's grace to be successful!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My New Diet

I heard something yesterday that after thinking about it most of the day, decided to make some changes.

The quote went something like this "The best diet you can be on is the one where you eat the things that you cook yourself."  The guy I was listening to made a lot of sense and I wished that I would have made note of who it was because then I could tell you who it was.  It was a random video that came across facebook and the title was more interesting than most to me since it got me to click on it.

I am going to start loving cooking - I have always tried to avoid it and now I realize that the food industry WANTS me to so that they can sell me their processed ready-made food!  So, I took the challenge that I felt after listening to some facts about the production of food and fast food requirements on farmers and decided to do some of the things I have avoided and see if it was as much trouble as I made it out to be in my head.

Pasta...I made lasagna tonight with homemade pasta...even a gluten free version for Zach.  The beautiful thing is, I started dinner at 4:00 and now at about 7:00, all are fed and the kitchen is cleaned up.  And, do I have to mention? It was SCRUMPTIOUS!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bare Walls in the Hall Bathroom

Before - View 1
I have been trying to get over the hump of spending more time up and doing things in my day than I spend sitting and doing things.  Overdoing this past weekend a little isn't helping.  Matt and I got a slow start to the day and he watched an old video that he hadn't seen in awhile. (I think he was walking down memory lane because it is one he has more or less outgrown).

Before - View 2

Helping - Really Helping!
Yesterday I realized that the wall paper in the hall bathroom was going to come off a lot easier than we had originally thought it would.  As we were talking about moving in here and all of the wall paper that we would be dealing with, we heard HORROR story, one after another from others who have tried taking off wall paper!  I pulled off the top layer, sprayed water on the under layer and after about 3 minutes of letting it absorb in, it scrapped right off with my scrapper (I LOVE that thing!)

So, thinking that tackling the rest of the bathroom I talked it up for Matthew by saying we could do a REALLY fun job and surprise everyone by taking the rest of the wallpaper down.  He could stand right on the counter and spray water to his heart's content.  He was actually excited and very good at his job.  It was fun to have a helper, and a real help he was!  We got most of the wallpaper down that we could reach and he told me "Mom! Working is FUN!"  Let's hope he can continue that attitude because no one else under 12 in our house thinks working is fun!

There is a spot above the door and above the shower I couldn't reach without a stool and so that still needs to be done.  Matthew asked me how we would reach above the shower and I told him I didn't know yet, Dad could maybe rig something up for us to stand on since the stool would slip around in the tub if we put it in there.  Matt had a better idea.  He said "Grandpa is 65, maybe HE can do it for us!"  I giggled...and so did Grandma when we told her his plan when she stopped over to see the progress!  She couldn't help herself but to jump in and pull some off too!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Survivor Files: Enjoying a Little Bit of Life

I can't say that I am sorry for neglecting to post in over a week.  I have been living my life and that my friends, is the true blessing!  Very little to no pain in my incision areas with a busy household means for me that things are going well and I am able to keep up with life for the most part.  For that I thank my God for getting me to this point.

We are coming up to the one year point from that mammogram day.  The day that changed the course of my last year.  I look back and think a lot about the decisions that were made and the things I may have done different had I been a "seasoned" cancer patient.  No one gets that luxury though in the heat of the desire to get that yuck OUT OF ME!  Nothing is ever like it seems, and there is not enough small print to read through a magnifying glass that will give you the story of what may happen as a result of the course of action you decide after much prayer and deliberation.

It is all okay though...life is richer, fuller and less apt to be taken for granted each day on this side of the struggle.  The down side?  Well, if anyone is still praying out there for specifics, I would say that finding a new normal isn't easy.  From the daily struggle of the new way some of my old favorite outfits of clothing now fit, to the weak atrophied muscles that don't really work, to the weird new way my body now seems to be storing fat, to the interruption of intimacy between a husband and wife after 21 years of marriage - sacred things...it is all different.  Some things I mourn, and some things I get frustrated about.

Time...more time to get used to regular life again, thankful that I am not in pain and am able to do things that I haven't been able to regularly do without pain.  My big question is do I really want to call the doctor's office to schedule the next reconstruction surgery?  If all goes as planned, it will take two more small outpatient surgeries.  I can always call them tomorrow!