Thursday, April 16, 2015

God loves us even when we're broken...

So on a good day and with John here visiting we decided to take a walk on the beach.  It was not too long before dark so it was cool and quiet on the beach.  It was so peaceful walking along enjoying God's beauty when this nice looking lady walked up to John and asked "Are y'all looking for shells?' It was obvious since I was down shifting through the sand but I'm sure I looked a little scary with my rubber gloves, ziploc bag, hand sanitizer and my wig flying around in the wind (note to self and others - don't EVER wear a wig on the beach!)  John replied "We are!"  She proceeded to bend down with her little canvas beach bag, pull out two empty wine bottles and then dump the prettiest shells out on the sand along with everything else in her bag and said "Get the ones you want, I live here so I can find more."  She then picked up a broken shell and handed it to me saying "Be sure to take this one.  It's broken but it's still beautiful and it reminds us that God still loves us even when we're broken."

This woman was totally tipsy but she was so sweet and so right! She proceeded to put her two empty bottles in her bag, along with a comment about how somebody had really made her mad, and wished us a nice evening.  She was so pleasant and such a blessing.  I had already started a vase of shells so I brought them back (I've turned into such a germaphobic and I sprayed them with Lysol) then added them to my collection.....even the broken ones.

Now the good news - our pride and joy...our gifts from God...our hope for the future...our children. The unconditional love we have for our children is like no other. Even when we don't like them we never stop loving them. This whole genetics thing hit me like a ton a bricks the night before we met with the Genetics Specialist to get the results. We hope to give our children only good things in life and to pass on only our "good" genes!  And I'm happy to say the BRCA1 & BRCA 2 tests came back negative.  That made everybody happy!

And in my appointment with my oncologist this week she informed me that I have responded positively to the chemo so far.  The lump has shrunk significantly (from approx. 1.5 cm to 0.5 cm) and the lymph node is significantly smaller. That was the encouragement I needed to go straight into Chemo Treatment #3.  Only one more of these to go.  All I can say is thank God for nausea medicines!  Next I start 12 weekly treatments of THP which is supposedly not as toxic or hard to handle.  All for the cure. 

I've been overwhelmed with loving prayers and support. Not only from my family and friends but from all the new people along this journey. I pray for the broken lady wandering on the beach but willing to share.  And as I've been reminded more than once...

"I  Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" 
Philippians 4:13

Friday, April 3, 2015

Onward, Christian Soldiers

Onward, Christian Soldiers.....This was my favorite hymn growing up in a small Episcopal church.  I remember as a kid singing it at the top of my lungs marching like a brave soldier around the tables in Sunday school. I'm pretty sure during my second chemo treatment this week that I saw little Christian soldiers, not the Red Devil, with red banners marching in to war.  Or possibly it was those steroids they pre-treat me with first to prepare for the hard stuff. For some reason it sends me into hysterical laughing....the kind that starts out as a snort but ends in a silent, trying to breathe laugh. Just ask my daughter Ashley, who watched in shock. Her reaction made me laugh harder. It's somewhat embarrassing....but much better than crying.  A Silver Lining.  The rest of the day wasn't very good and involved taking all three of my nausea medications. The last one knocked me out and I slept the rest of the night. Another Silver Lining.

I woke the next morning feeling pretty good and was greeted with a surprise...handfuls of hair!  But I was shortly greeted with a more pleasant surprise. My good friend and Soul Sister Melissa was coming through town and with a pair of kitchen shears gave me a beautiful new short hair cut!  My second big cut in a month. My sweet neighbor Jackie had already cut it short once which prepared me.  One more Silver Lining. I still have hair...well a little bit!

There are so many Silver Linings in every aspect of life if you look for them. Let me explain. My life long friend Tammy, who I've known since three years old and love dearly was diagnosed last year with breast cancer. And she received a beautifully written and illustrated book from a survivor friend of hers.  Tammy has successfully completed her treatments now and has passed this book on to me. I couldn't put it down. Written by a breast cancer survivor, who happens to be a hospice nurse/social worker, who experienced every horrible side effect possible of this journey but chose to find The Silver Lining in everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING!  Such a blessing full of ideas and tips and encouragement. And the author's close friend photographer has filled the book with beautiful photographs. Definitely a Silver Lining for me!
A Supportive & Insightful  Guide to Breast Cancer

And help me celebrate with my good friend Carol who after today has one more week of radiation! She too has given me an unbelievable amount of support and encouragement. Let's pray for her as she prepares to start her life again....cancer free!  Such a Silver Lining!  

Much love to all my family, beautiful Soul Sisters and friends and all of those sending prayers, encouragement and love our way. I feel it in my heart and thank God for you all every day. You are my Silver Linings! 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)