Thursday, October 30, 2008

No matter how sick...I cast my vote!!

So today was an okay day. I didn't feel awesome but I certainly wasn't feeling my worst. I went to bed with plans in my head of voting. I had heard about the lines but knew if I waited until next week, I likely would not be able to vote.

My schedule so far next week:
Tuesday-Go to Emory Spine Center to get my spine epidural
Wednesday-Go to Emory Winship all day for chemo (oh joy...already)
Thursday-Still hooked up to chemo
Friday-Hooked up to chemo for part of the day and then back to Emory to have my chemo bag removed.
Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Tuesday-Usually my really bad days after chemo :-(
So....the week is full of exciting appointments. How I long for the day that I go week after week without an appointment at the hospital. It will happen, I know!!!

The line at the library where Kimberly and I went to vote didn't seem to long. After all, we went at approx. 10 am in the morning so not that many people would be off work to vote, right? Well, wrong. Everyone had the same idea as we did. I thought it would move quickly because by the time people get in line, they have educated themselves on the ballot and it is only a matter of process right? Wrong again. It was unbelievable standing in line listening to people talk about voting.

The lady in front of me looked to be at least in her 60s. She told me she had never voted in her life. What????? You've got to be kidding me. Who would lose their vote? Our freedoms in this country are sadly under appreciated. I asked what brought her out to vote. She said that she had just gotten so aggravated with everything going on that she finally decided to cast her vote.

One of the ladies mentioned that a news channel had broadcast a woman who had stood and waited hours to vote but then got to the booth and still couldn't decide so she turned her ballot back in blank. What???? Exciting stuff out there people.

I repeated several times to the others that were standing around me talking that we should vote with our morals because most everything that has been promised....will not happen. The President really only has veto power. You are better to be concerned with who is in the Senate creating laws. I was amazed that when we went into the library that there were those who did not actually know what was going to be on the ballot. Please if you go....go online and read the referendums. They can be confusing and many were asking what they even meant. This accounted for the longer times. Everyone was asking each other if they knew what they meant. I was thinking to myself...what is worse, no vote or an uneducated/just guess vote??? Oh my....Lord you must take the wheel of the authority of those in office and please give us your knowledge to make the right decisions. We stood for 2 hrs.

I should have eaten something before I went with my medicine. I have to think like a little child. Make sure I take my medicine, make sure there is a bathroom near by in case I get sick, make sure I don't have to walk far, make sure I'm covered since I'm sensitive to cold.....blah, blah, know how frustrating that is??? A 39 yr. old baby. Makes me laugh to really think about it. ha. Mom said I should have walked in with one of my masks and I probably could have cleared that place out pretty quickly!! No wait time for us, yeah. I was trying to be big about it and not ask for anything I stood like everyone else.

So......I was able to cast my vote!!! It was the bright spot of my day. I was able to do what I wanted to do.

Now tomorrow, I have to go with Angela to a 1/2 day cardiologist appointment. Bad for her but I'm so glad it is not an appointment for me. She has asthma and has been having a lot of problems with dizziness. Her doctor is sending her to be cautious. I just pray tomorrow is another day that I can get around. You never know with this has a mind of its own and you are playing by its rules. I'm just glad I have options. So many don't or didn't and I've been many things to say thank you for that I don't want to complain.

I pray everyone reading this has a great day. After all, life is to short to sweat the small things....and I've learned the things I used to worry about....they are really just small in the big scheme of life.

Love to all,
Good Night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Okay....let's be frank....

My mom hates when she calls and asks how I am and I say, "I'm fine". She says, "no you are not, why do you always say that?".

The truth is....I'm not fine. Nothing in my world is the same. Everyday I'm in pain. Even on my best days I have pain. It never goes away. There is no way to explain it. As mom stated in an earlier blog, "it is an outta body experience". Unless you go through it, you just can't explain it.

However, there are two answers to how you are doing. You have a physical and mental response. On my roughest days, I wonder to myself how much easier dying has to be and then I quickly remind myself that if it were my time to go, God would have taken me. I mentally work myself through these feelings because I know....going now is not an option. I don't fear it but I'm not ready to go. I have jalot of things left to do so.....for me....this never consumes is a quick response to sudden pain. It is the cheap and easy way out. I have too much invested to think this way. Too much time. left to live....

I choose to mentally be fine. No matter what happens in my day, no matter the pain....I am fine. I will be fine. I will do whatever I have to do to get through this. I have too many people pushing and pulling me along. I have the Lord on my side. What do I fear?

If you ask me if I'm fine based on my physical condition. I'm not fine. My body will never be the same, as told by the Doctors. The Great Physician has not declared it any other way yet and HE is the last say I don't know if I'll always feel this way. I don't think so....

My life used to start in the morning on the interstate fighting traffic for 20 years to go to the same job. My work was stressful but fulfilling and my day usually consisted of meetings, meetings and meetings. Typically the break in our day was lunch and there was always someone ready to go and take a break. After work, as everyone else would do, I would come home to share the remainder of my day with my family.

Now life is sitting at home. The medicine makes it hard to focus. I did read a couple of books this week, which I've not been able to do. This life is not fine. I do not care for it one minute. Everyone says, "sleep, take care of your body, etc. etc." is very hard to do. My mind wants to go but my body stays.

I choose to find something good in each day. No matter what my day brings, I'm just thankful that God gives us another one to share. I can be sad tomorrow but today I'm going to live. :-)

I talk to so many who lives seem to be in such turmoil. I say choose to live happy. As the saying goes something like this....The happiest people don't have everything, they just make the best of what they do have. I know how hard it is to find something but believe me, our blessings far outshine our disappointments. If your disappointments outshine your blessings, you are hanging onto things you shouldn't be. Change it, choose to live...happy for goodness sake!!

I don't know where cancer came from and believe me, I will be so happy when it is gone but I choose to be fine. I choose to live life. I choose to find something to smile about. Physically right now, my pain is probably at least a 5 on a scale of 1-10 and that is with pain meds. but mentally my spirit is a 10 on a scale of 1-10.....and frankly that is the way I like it. :-)

My spirit is attributed to the awesome prayers, care, thoughts, love, food, etc. that you all give! You can't even imagine how much it means. I pray that the Lord pours such blessings on your families.

To God be the Glory Always!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Went to the spine specialist...

Still do not feel up to blogging but for those that know....I went to the spine specialist today about the extreme pain in my back that I've had 3 weeks out of surgery.

They said I had a herniated disc and that chemo was making it worse. It would get worse before it would get better. Apparently the surgery brought out the pain in the herniated disc....oh joy....I've gone from no pain to pain in everything, it seems at times! :-)

The doctor gave me a prescription, set me up for an epidural and physical therapy. I don't think I have enough good days to do the physical therapy with the chemo right now.

I will have the spinal epidural next week, the day before chemo. I hope it helps. I'm over all the pain.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers! He confirmed again that there is no spread of cancer to my that is the good news in my day! Praying that tomorrow is a better day.
Mother's thoughts.
Leah had a doctor’s appointment today with the Spine doctor.
She is not feeling well …. In fact, this chemo treatment has been much worse than the last. She can be feeling well one minute and the next minute be in tears with the break -out pain that she experiences. The week of chemo is a down week for Leah. She says it is unexplainable on how she feels. She compares it to an out of the body experience….. Many weird side effects keep her down. But she is like a jack in the box—you can only hold the lid down for so long and up she pops!!~~ And then from Sat on she starts mentally gearing herself up for her next treatment on Wednesday.

The last 4 months has been a nightmare to say the least. One of the hardest things is dealing with “THE INDIGNITIES" of this type of cancer. Starting with the colonoscopy, and then major surgery, right into chemo even before her body had time to recover, and then test after test of MRI’s, CAT scans, ultrasounds, four mammograms, biopsies makes her feel like she is the meat and the health care providers are the grinder.
But not one time have I heard her say the words, “why me?” Her statement to me is,” why would I ever say such a thing?”

Friday was not a good day. They had to give her IV fluids and meds just so we could make it back home. I try to be as careful as possible driving, but every turn, stop or bump affects the nausea. You talk about stressful driving!! Such relief I feel when I see that she has drifted off to sleep. I shout hallelujah… thank you Jesus… now just keep her asleep until I can get home. It makes me feel so guilty to know that my driving is contributing to my child’s nausea. No, I am not a horrible driver ..... any way I don’t think that I am.. ha! But have you ever driven on Moreland Drive with a sick person? That is when you start singing to your self,
“ Jesus take the wheel, take it from my hands because I can’t do it on my own.!"

Even through her pain and sickness I hear her on the phone many days encouraging other people with their problems. Even at the chemo clinic she stops to check on other patients and give them a word of encouragement.
Even through her sickness Friday she was on the phone checking on her niece who was in the hospital. She worries about her grandma who is going through chemo for breast cancer, and her 90 year old grandfather and her father who isn't well.
Of course, as a mother I want to protect her and keep all of the problems and issues away from her. Are you kidding!!! That doesn’t happen….. you can’t keep anything from Leah. She always has a way of getting it out of you by looking you in the face and asking, “What’s going on?” You can’t lie--- so you have to give in and tell her. She says that dealing with the every day life issues helps her to take the focus off of her pain and sickness.
She let us know early on in her illness that she didn’t want her sickness to be the focus of every day. As much as possible, she wants normalcy to continue in their lives so Angela can enjoy her last year in high school, and for Kimberly to do well in college.

I want to use this forum to say "thank you” to Steve , my wonderful son in law. He has lovingly taken care of Leah since day one. He knows how to make her laugh when she needs her spirits lifted and to comfort and hold her when she cries. He is forever by her side taking care of all her needs and making sure that she recieves proper medical care.….even when he is up all night helping Leah he still goes into work with no sleep and never complains. Leah tells me about the difficult nights and how comforting it is when Steve prays with her.
Leah's sister Lisa ( our oldest daughter) has been an awesome help with all of the medicines, doctors and test appointments that need to be made. Plus, she sits with her on the days that Leah is feeling so bad.
I would also like to thank "YOU"….. Leah's AWESOME SUPPORT GROUP!! YOU ARE THE GREATEST!! So many people have helped in so many ways that I am afraid to start naming names for fear that I would leave someone out. You know who you are ………………….. and I THANK YOU!!
Through your acts of kindness and touches of love you make each day a little brighter!
Your prayers, cards, emails, blog comments, gifts, books, flowers, meals, are the things that help Leah and the family to face another day. I will admit, it is not easy as a mother to see your child sick, and to know that you can't do anything about it, but pray and keep a stiff upper lip.

Leah's attitude and strength through it all are quite amazing. She has such courage and determination to beat the odds! Leah may be down, and hanging on the ropes ….but she is not out for the count… She will get up and continue to fight!!
She has already told her minister , Bro. Johns that she will be the “ come back kid”

We all gain strength from your love and prayers.
Keep the prayers going up, so the blessings will come down!!
We love you all!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Mom was teasing me that today was our bonding day. She always takes me on Fridays to get my chemo pump removed. Oh joy! =-)

Not sure why....but today I was extremely nauseated! We had already left for our 9:30 appt. and I didn't think I was going to make it without getting sick. Mom turned around and came back home to get my anti-nausea medicine, which I had already taken at 3 am.

By the time I made it into my appt. I was very nauseated and upset from feeling so sick. The nurse immediately called the doctor and they started me on fluids, more steriods, and anti-nausea medicine. I'm not sure why but as soon as they started the IVs I wanted to get up and start walking around. The steriods make you very nervous and jittery but they help calm the nausea. It is such a bait and switch. However, now that it is evening, I can tell that the IVs have made me better. I came home and mom put me back on my pain killers so I could sleep and now I'm feeling more normal again.

Mom calls our Fridays our bonding time. However, we bonded a long time ago so this bonding time is unnecessary as I can think of many fun things we could be doing. Thank the Lord she is able to work 4 10 hr. days so she is able to take me to these appts. Steve put his hours into 4 days so he can take me on Wednesdays. The Lord always has a way of putting things in place to make a bad situation into the best possible. I would not want to have to rely on so many other people, as the wait times, etc. at Emory are unbelievable and I wouldn't want to always feel guilty on top of feeling sick.

One awesome thing the nurse did tell me on Wednesday when they started my chemo treatement is that my numbers (all my cell counts, etc.) were really good. She was surprised they were so good as far as I'm into my treatments. Some of them are right on the low end, such as my white blood count was 3.6 and the low end of the scale they like to see is 3.6 but they expected to see much lower.

I told her that so many bring dinner over during my chemo treatments and as a result of this, I'm always tasting a variety of things. I don't have a very large appetite but because of the generosity I always take a little bit of whatever is prepared and this is probably why my counts are staying up. The nurse replied that is probably one of the reasons and not to change a thing. I also know that it is not just the food but all the wonderful prayers, thoughts, care and concern that so many give. All these things are making this journey probably the best that could happen under the circumstances.

I just thank the Lord for his blessings and for each one of you! I pay attention to every card, blog comment, words of encouragement, etc. This is what keeps my spirit up and helps me mentally go take another treatment. Every chemo treatment is different for each person and affects them differently. Mentally going in and knowing that you will probably get another sympton on top of the symptons you've already had is not easy. I've always been a very strong person but this is not what I would have subscribed to show the strength that God gives to get us through. However, I try to live by God's will and not my own so therefore I must accept what HE has for our lives.

Another prayer request, my neice, Amber who is pregnant is in Cobb General Hospital for the weekend with bladder and kidney infection. Please pray for her and her family. She could use a special touch on her body and her spirit. Pray that she finds guidance through this time in her life. She is a sweet young lady but really needs to find "real" direction in her life for true peace and happiness.

That's all folks! Have a wonderful weekend! Love to the Lord and all of you! Thank you for being a part of my makes my days have worth.
Leah :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I have good news to bring and that is why I sing....

I received good news yesterday from the breast center!! The breast masses are not cancer....yeah! So, now my tests have resolved the fact that cancer has not spread to my spine and/or my chest. So, all these tests are truly good for something!!!

Yesterday, I went for my 5th chemo treatment! Mentally I always have to gear up for each treatment. I think that is the worst of this journey. Knowing what is supposed to make you better, initially makes you worse! However, I always have Steve along. He has a way of comforting me. He likes to tell me that we have just a couple more weeks knowing this isn't over until February or later next year. Oh well....he really helps me get through the day.

On Fridays, mom takes me back to Emory to get my chemo pack removed. This takes about 1/2 vs. a whole day on my initial day of treatment.

Today my girls' are leaving on a Church youth trip. I'm really excited for them to go and have fun and not have to watch their mom lay on the couch. They are headed to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge and will be back Sunday.

Not much more to say other than neuropathy has started in my fingers and toes. So, I feel like I have pins/needles everytime I touch something or walk. It is very painful. I wonder if it will go away or this is something to stay. Oh joy! I'm not quite half way through my treatments so I do pray it goes away.

Well, off to my couch.

Love to all,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Let me catch you up...since I've last blogged...

First of all, I'm amazed at the e-mails, cards or comments from those of you who say you love my blogs and you find them encouraging. I appreciate the comments but wonder how in the world you can feel encouraged when I feel like there is always something going on with this journey?......nonetheless, it is the journey that was chosen for me and somehow you have chosen to be part of this so it is you who keep me going....therefore, I will continue to keep blogging. =-)

Secondly, my biopsy Friday went okay. We get to the appt. on time and it is the normal, hurry and wait an hour or more to even get into your appt. I was the first appt. to have a biopsy that day so I wonder how long everyone else waited. When I was finally called, they said I would be about an hour. It actually turned out to be 2 hrs. Doctors are wonderful but wait times are unbelievable.....I thought actually going to a Cancer Center would be more timely knowing what the patients are going through.....but honestly there is less compassion at the Center than at the hospital.

Steve went with me. I remark to him that if mom had come along she could have gone back with me to the other waiting rooms they put you in. The only difference in those waiting rooms is that all the women are in hospital gowns waiting for either their test or test results. Steve said he was okay with going back with me. I told him, "good for you but I don't think the other women would like it!" Of course, he was teasing....So for hours he sat waiting on me.....thus the waiting rooms have become his life like the hospital rooms have become mine. :-)

Once they took me back to do the biopsy, as usual a nurse comes in and preps you for the procedure. As everyone knows, hospitals like to put you in your birthday suit but they do not provide any type of party for this wonderous occasion. The nurse starts the party and then leaves the room with the all time hospital quote, "we'll be right back"......

A half an hour later as I lay freezing and wonder where the Doctor of this party is....I begin to hear voices in the hall and they come closer...."oh yeah I say to myself, they are finally here." I am saddened to hear there are many in this conversation and they are personally chatting and I do not hear an end as I lay listening to this conversation for months (sorry, but you know how it is), the doctor opens the door and continues the conversation and so does everyone else in the hall. I see eyes through the crack of the door. I thought it was going to be a quick short minute but they continue to talk...I think to myself, "do I undo everything the nurse prepped me for as this is uncomfortable knowing those standing in the hall can see me laying here?" I remind myself that they have these kind of parties all the time, it is "I" who hate being in a birthday suit but for them...they do not care. I decide to grin and bear the situation, however wondering how many of them have been in my or other's situation. I know it is work for them but for those of us on the hospital bed anxiously is not fun so please just get it over with! :-)

After the wait, he comes in and I'm so delighted that this doctor is over the entire Breast Center and a Professor of Oncology/Hematology, etc. As he begins talking to me, I can see why others enjoy talking to him. He is an excellent communicator and begins to finally put me at ease. Honestly, I think the waiting put my anxiety at a higher level for this test than the major surgery I just had in July. In July, I was asleep and for this I'm awake.

All I'll say about the procedure is that it is not entirely they forgot to deaden one of the nerves before they put the needle in but compared to everything else....this was a breeze. I have alot of bruising and some discomfort...but I'm going to live from it! :-)

I will say this Doctor was shocked and could not stop talking about my current medical condition as he does my biopsy. It is somewhat alarming that every doctor I go to....always tells me how surprised they are to see someone like me with such low risk factors (no drinking, no smoking, clean life, etc.) to have this type of cancer and at my age! The nurses question me first, then the doctors, then anyone testing me....somehow God's love and protection must show through my explanation because at the end of the story.....the doctor and nurse both tell me that I had inspired them.....the nurse walked me to the other waiting room and told me that I had given her hope over a current situation she was going through. I'm so thankful that other's find the story to be inspiring because sometimes I don't always feel that way. However, everytime I feel that way someone will come along and tell me how much I inspire them through my blog or my outlook etc. It is always a constant reminder to me of how great GOD is!

We will get results this week from that biopsy. The doctor assured me that everything would be fine. I believe that. I will still be happy to have the results in writing because it is the same comment the Colon Surgeon told me when he sent me for a colonscopy. "I'm sure it is not anything but because you are over 35, we'll do it just in case"....and you know the rest of the story.

I started thinking about all the tests I've had since I started this journey. So far I remember 30 tests since July 16th....this includes, MRIs, CT Scans, Biopsies, EKGs, X-Rays, Lab tests, etc. Anytime you have cancer, they always inject radioactive dye or some type of IV because they have to do the testing with contrast so they can tag the cancer.

This only includes each time I go for a test, this doesn't include if they take multiple X-rays, or multiple times they do CT Scans, blood work, etc. This is only 2 1/2 months and I still have more tests to go. I'm really sick of IVs, needles, etc. Oh, I forgot to include the times I've been stuck for the surgeries I've major surgery in July and port cath surgery for chemo. All the hospital visits, waiting times for another test or chemo is sometimes the part that gets me down. Just knowing what is going to happen sometimes starts weighing on my mind.....even though I know without a shadow of doubt in the end it is going to be okay!

In this journey, you still live through pain, discomfort and all the things that the chemo brings your way knowing it is supposed to make things better. Even on my best days, I live with pain. It comes with the territory. I still know God is protecting me and things could be so much worse.

First of all, I have God, secondly family and then I have all of YOU! Thank you Jesus for all the overwhelming support....I can't imagine this journey without it!

I think I have rambled on enough so I'm going to get this posted before I time out.

Love to all,

Friday, October 17, 2008

Off to have my biopsy at Emory today!

I'm dreading another day at the hospital with needles, cuts, etc. but this will resolve the issues with any breast malignancies and will ultimately be a victory day. :-) However, as someone so eloquently put...when God closes one door, he opens another, sometimes it is BAD in the hallway.
How true that is....getting from point A to point B in this process is very tiring. Most days I just go through it and try not to dwell on it....other days, I just want it over!! Hospital visits after hospital visits all for me....UGH....!

For my biopsy, they will take 8 tissue samples and will send them off so we won't know anything for 3-5 business days. So, hopefully I will know something next week when I go back in for my chemo treatment....I hate to think about that again too!!

I'm up and not feeling well so you can tell everything is getting to me. This is not usually how I deal with things but tonight I guess is an exception. So please bear with is going to be okay I know. This too shall pass! :-)

I will leave with this thought that my daughter, Angela sent to me. Thank you Angela!

Happiness keeps You Sweet,
Trials keep You Strong,
Sorrows keep You Human,
Life keeps You Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only
God keeps You Going!

Please pray for a great victory from my biopsy today!
Love to all,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Well, I tried.....

I got up today not feeling as many symptons from the chemo as normal. I said to Kimberly, who stays home with me most days, "why don't we go to the mall to eat just to get out?" I knew the mall would give her a way to walk around and me plenty of seating in case I should need it. Of course, I didn't think I would need it. I was just so glad to do something other than lay on the couch all day. Besides our mall is so is unbelievable how few people are there during the day that I'm surprised they stay open! I'm not sure if it is because of the economy or if it is always that way because I've never stayed home before now.

I try and try to figure out what to do with my hair. What do people do with very thin hair? If I curl it, as I try to do on Sundays, I'll lose more of it takes me forever to try to cover my white scalp! ha. I'm sure no one else would notice but it got to be funny. I would brush it back and the sides of my scalp would show, I move it to the side and it looks like a comb-over......gotta laugh about it....there are worse things than losing a little bit of hair or maybe a whole lot of hair. ha. By the way, those who see me, you won't notice it because I will figure out a way to disguise it for as long as I can. White scalp/Fair Skin=Ugly!! :-)

I'm fine getting into the mall and having lunch. I don't make it very far and the "hot feet" start up. My feet hurt like I'm walking on coals and the more I walk, the worse it gets. So, my afternoon was spent sitting on a bench people watching while Kimberly and one of her best friends walked around.

As I sat on the bench, I notice two elderly gentlemen sitting really really close to each other just enjoying each other's company. I wondered why they sit so close to each other when they have a rather large bench to sit on. I notice as they talk, they lean into each other. It is then I realize that they are talking into each other's good ear. I watch them as they continue to laugh with each other. At one point, the smallest elderly man got so tickled at the other, he slapped his leg and almost toppled off the bench. ha. It was so sweet to watch these two not pay one bit of attention to anyone else...because they were obviously on their outing just like me......

Although it was wonderful to see these two interact with each other....I knew that I was not ready to slow down. I'm ready to get this over and move on! :-)

Please pray that the next few months fly by....I never wanted time to move so quickly.....!!!

Thank you again to those who provide dinner, cards, flowers, gifts, words of encouragement and most of all, prayer! You guys are the best.

By the way, I wanted to mention again the reason I don't eat beef is because they've proven that re-occurence of cancer is 30% greater in those who continue to eat beef even after cancer is removed. My survival rate isn't 100% according to doctors so I don't want to contribute to any re-occurence. Oh Lord...don't even want to think about that!!! :-)

Love to all,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What defines your life?

I was helping a good friend put together a speech today on themself. As this person put together their speech, I noted that they were focused on everyone else and this speech did not define this person at all. In fact, this speech was about everyone else's accomplishments and nothing was noted about them. I noted that no one cared about anyone else except the person the speech was supposed to define.

As I tried to give this person ideas on how you define yourself, I was reminded of a cemetery marker. This is something that I heard a long time ago and have always remembered.

On most cemetery markers, there is a start date (the date you are born) and then there is an end date (the date you hopefully make it to heaven) and in the middle of these two dates is a dash. Although the dash may seem insignificant, it is quite the misnomer, as this dash represents everything you are! It represents YOU! It is who you are as a living breathing soul. It is who you are everyday of your life. It represents all the years you walk the planet.

What type of conversations do you have? What kind of thoughts? Who you are deep inside that no one else really knows? Typically this marker will also have two lines or a few words that sum up this person's life (a good father, military veteran, loved the family, etc.)

This made me think about myself? What do others see in me? Do I exemplify Christ? Do others want to run the other way when they see me? Who am I? When all is said and done, what would those two lines or words to define me, really say? Would I be pleased or would I wish I could do it all over again? No one's life is perfect but we should always strive to do our best. Do I do that?

Our lives are in such a hurried pace that we often forget the most important things to us. I have to remind myself that I don't want to miss out on those things. I want to live life to the fullest but most importantly, I want to go to heaven with my family and friends. I hope my dearest wish is how my life is defined. I hope the dash in my life represents my ultimate goal. I hope the few words to define me make others know how much I loved them.

Have you thought about YOU? Go ahead and try really is quite constructive! :-)It is great food for thought on how you can be a better you. Your education, worth, friends, family, job will not ever get you to the ultimate place that represents your life and that is the second date on your marker...where do you choose to live forever?

This wasn't meant to be a heavy thought...I always strive in my mind to make myself better and I hope you do too! "-) It is a constant day it will be worth it!

As always, love to all! Today has been an okay day...the continuous pain but overall, life is great!

Monday, October 13, 2008

How can I ever say thank you enough?

I just want to again say thank you to everyone for all your blog comments, cards, thoughts, food, care, concern and most of all prayers! I know the steriods keep me from losing weight but I know that the variety of food that everyone sends over helps me to maintain an appetite. This all helps with my stamina each time I go for chemo. Each time I go to the hospital, I look around and am reminded how much worse I could have it.

I cannot respond to everyone but believe me, I pay attention to every comment, every word and every deed anyone does. Even though I don't feel like getting off the couch many days, the words and the thought of having so much support makes each day a little brighter.

I'm so overwhelmed by those who have blogged that I've not seen or talked to in years. I'm equally grateful for those who I would see everyday that would think enough of my family to show your constant love and care.

I am constantly thinking of how I'm going to repay everyone....I just don't know....words just aren't adequate....the best I can do is pray that God blesses everyone the same way you have blessed us and more. I know I say this alot but I guess it is the at the top of my list of things on my mind. I just could never imagine this much love. I know for all of you listening that God is awesome, he is never ending in his love for us and I thank him so much for all of YOU! You exemplify his grace every day through your actions.

Please continue to pray for my back. Thank the Lord they determined there is no spread of cancer to my back but the continual pain sometimes is more than I can take at times. I take narcotics around the clock just to deal with the pain but this is not the way I choose to live the rest of my life. I had to cancel my spine specialist appt. today because I was up sick through the night but plan to reschedule. Please pray that the pain will totally go away or that they would find the reason for the pain. Right now I have "hot feet" feet feel like I've been on hot coals so it is hard to walk. It was on the top of my feet and now it is at the bottom but each day gets a little better. I still thank God because I know his grace and mercy is getting me through. :-)

Thank you Jesus for your blessings and please bless those reading this more than they ever thought imaginable!
Love to all,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chemo side effects have me down today. I'm still hanging in there though! :-)

The side effects have been unwilling to allow me to go to church today but I'm going to Praise God anyway! Even in the midst of my storm, God keeps blessing me. I feel so horrible in my body but yet so refreshed in my spirit. I know it is the prayers that everyone sends up for me. Everyday I wonder how I will ever repay all of you who have stood beside our family with your thoughts, care, concern, cards, food, etc.? You can't even begin to imagine the strength that we get from all the love.

I'm not going to say much today as I don't feel well but want to thank each of you for your continuous service to us. As my friend stated before, and I often remind myself, you are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ here on earth. We are made stronger by your sacrifices. I'm so thankful that God will honor and bless each one of you for what you've done for us. I don't know that there is anything greater than God's blessings.

I love the song, "I shall rejoice today for I shall recover it all"....."Faithful, Faithful, Faithful is our God.....Faithful, Faithful.....Victory is just around the bend. :-)

Please say a prayer as I go to the Spine Specialist tomorrow and have my biopsy done this Friday.
Love to all,

Friday, October 10, 2008

Biopsy next Friday! Oh joy!

I just got in from Emory where they did another mammogram and an ultrasound. Two of the lumps they are going to monitor and the 3rd one they were unable to provide 100% satisfaction that the lump was totally benign. So, next Friday they are going to do a biopsy just to make certain that everything is okay. They consider it to be low-risk but with everything else going on in my body, they said they didn't want to take any chances.

I had my "bosom buddy" unhooked today. So, I'm officially free from carrying around my bag of chemo.

Wednesday when I was getting my chemo, Steve noticed all over the walls and elevators signs of a bake sale today. He said we were lucky because we got to go back today when this "big bake sale" was supposed to happen to support cancer research. We were in the breast center all morning but made sure we stopped by so we could bring home some goodies for Steve.

Well...this wonderful "bake sale" that Steve just couldn't stop talking about was quite the disappointment. I thought I was getting some type of oatmeal cookie but I think I got the organic bran muffin, as earlier discussed....Sorry Steve but I think your time on earth has been extended once you eat this awesome (super yukky) oatmeal cookie/bran muffin/something undescribable. It all goes for a good cause but it makes me wonder who would eat such a thing....oh my, I'm still not sure what it was and to be honest, I think it looked like the best thing on the table. Mom and I chalked it up to a great contribution and a nice chuckle after a hectic morning going from room to room, test to test and then to know we have to return for yet again....another outpatient surgery.

Some things in life are just meant to put a smile on your face and today that awesome, "bake sale" was the funny highlight of the day.

That's all I can muster today folks. I'm tired so I think I will take a siesta!
Love to all for your prayers!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm not afraid to die...and if you aren't either...maybe you should stop eating bran muffins! ha.

On a serious note, I'm headed tomorrow back to Emory first thing in the morning to have my breast ultrasound to determine if the 3 lumps they found are just cysts. I believe whatever they call them.....lumps, bumps, cysts that they are beign. I tend to have a sense when something is terribly wrong and I just don't get that feeling about this. So, I guess I would be surprised if I heard anything other than,.....nothing to worry about....go home you lumpy, bumpy thing! ha. Thanks to Greg and Rosa for their offer to take me tomorrow on their day off. So many have offered to take me back and forth to Emory. Typically it is a very long day starting early as 7 am. and lasting until 4 p.m. so most of the time, my family has been able to take me. Thank you to those who have volunteered. There may be a time we need your help but so far, I've had enough family members with available time to take me.

Of course, this is also the day to remove my chemo pump. All night long you hear this pump run. It sounds like a small motor. However, I have to make sure it runs or else my chemo infusion time runs beyond 50 hrs. Ugh! I'm getting a little more used to it being attached to my chest. Although I tend to go off and leave it....most of the time, one of my kids will notice just before it gives me the big jerk! All I hear is MOMMMMMMM and I instantly remember that I have a fanny pack attached to my chest. Now why do they have a fanny pack attached to my chest....isn't that the wrong name??? Shouldn't it be called something cute, like.."chesty pack?" You know something a little more original? :-) I think I'm going to name it....after all, we are going to be friends for awhile so I must humanize it and give it a cute name. I'm open to suggestions.

On another serious note that I've been discussing with my sister-in-law and that is death. To many this seems to be such a morbid, unforbidden subject. I don't feel that way at all. In fact, I had someone say to me, "soon you won't fear dying"....and I immediately said, "I don't fear dying right now".....are you kidding me? I don't want to die nor do I think I'm going to die anytime before I'm old and rotten but I do not fear it. I've lived for God my whole life and the peace that comes with knowing that someday I will actually get to meet my Lord and Saviour, all my family members that beat me there and seeing no suffering, people are whole, no disabilities, no pain.....can't you imagine what heaven must be like? Look at what the earth has to offer in comparison? Look at the turmoil we are in right now.....I certainly do not want to leave earth or my family but to say I would fear going to gotta be crazy! When it is my time....Beam me up SCOTTIE! I'm ready and willing. I received this cute cartoon tonight which went with exactly this thought and I thought it was cute that I just had to if you want to prolong your time on earth, you know exactly what to do....

Bran Muffins
The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies. Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade. One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.
They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet. They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.' The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. 'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.' The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth. 'What are the greens fees?,' grumbled the old man . 'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.' Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages. 'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man. This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.' The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife. 'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?,' he asked. 'That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!' The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?' 'Not unless you want to,' was the answer. 'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...' 'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.' The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!'

Now we know the secrets to getting to heaven quicker....we'll all be signed up as regular customers to the Varsity!! ha.

Today is my second day of chemo and I've not been totally on top of my game but God has given me rest and peace today.

Remember to make this day another great day!
Love, Leah

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today I had my 4th treatment!

I thought I would blog now that I'm home because normally the steriods and medicines they give that keep me going will last for a couple of hours before it tends to start taking me down. However, I'm believing the Lord for an even better time this time.

Thanks to those who say that I look good through this journey. All the Glory goes to God that I've not lost all my hair (only about 1/2 even though you can't tell it) and I've not lost a pound. In the past I would have loved to have been able to lose but not like this is too painful. The steriods keep you from losing but the doctors have said those that maintain their weight will do better through chemo. If you are too small, the chemo drugs will decimiate you. Well, Ms. Fatty Pants here does not need to worry about that. :=)

I was trying to lose weight before I found out that I had cancer and couldn't lose. When I had my colon resection surgery at the end of July and they wouldn't even allow me to have an ice chip for 10 days, still NO weight loss! No food, no ice.....I was out walking the halls every night. Other people on my floor would get on the scale each time and would lose 1lb.-2lbs. each day. I would get on the change. When I came back to the doctor to determine next steps, they sent me to an oncologist for chemo. The other guy that was losing all the weight, his family was called in to discuss his prognosis. His future seemed bleak. Big picture....maintaining my weight is a blessing in this journey. I feel by looking at others at Emory going through this and how much they've lost that this is part of God's protection.

All the wonderful dinners that everyone has brought to our family day after day has been amazing! I'm not picky and therefore want to taste all the different dishes that others prepare. This all helps to keep up my cell counts. So, thank you for all the is an awesome blessing to our family.

By the way, one of the most remarkable things that happened today was the equation they use to determine my white/red cell counts along with my platelets was actually up from my last treatment and the treatment before...!! Tell me that isn't God's protection. They are expected to continue to go down each treatment and mine was significantly up from the prior treatments! All the prayers, good food and vitamins! Thank you Jesus!

Oh, MRI results....they did not see where any cancer spread. YIPPPE-KI-YAY!! I wasn't looking for cancer spread but the cause of the intense pain in my back, which never goes away. They did not find anything related to the cancer. They found degenerative vertebre, etc that seemed normal with age. They are now sending me to a Spine Specialist. Just like I needed another doctor to go to....but it has to be resolved, as it does not go away and it is not a pain that can be ignored. As I remind myself in this journey, I have options....3 months from could have been over....but God's grace sustained me and now I have choices of medicine that is available...that in itself is a blessing. Options vs. NO Options=No brainer.

I have my ultrasound scheduled for this Friday when I go to get my chemo unhooked. So I plan to have resolution on the 3 lumps they've found, maybe this week. If I can get all these tests out of the way and just focus on one area, I think my focus overall would be more profound and solid. I don't like so many unresolved issues with so little I can do. So if you notice bad spelling, grammatical errors, I'll chalk it up to the drugs I'm on. ha. Remember each time I have chemo, my dog gets that must mean something. He has short term memory loss too....he forgets that he is supposed to bark at strangers....ha. Just kidding....if you know him, you know that he would bark at you if he were totally asleep! :-(

They did note the lesion on my kidney, which I believe was already on a CT scan but my doctor said we would monitor it through my chemo and if it is cancerous, he felt the chemo would take care of it. The MRI pathology report indicated a CT scan needed to be done or a renal ultrasound....she here we go....more tests. They also noted the lump on my spine but they are pretty sure it is just a cyst body is just full of lumps, bumps and cysts....isn't that a disgusting thought!! ha. Hey, I love the vessel God gave me and I'm so thankful he is going to give me many more years to reside in it for HIM! :=)

So new spread of cancer and for that, I say "Praise the Lord, Victory is Mine"

Love to all,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My sister-in-law was in Surgery! She is out of surgery and is an answer to update!

An Update on my sister-in-law, Angie: She is in surgery right now. I've been praying for her all morning. Yesterday she almost fainted at work so they admitted her and decided to do a heart cath this morning. Depending on what they see, they may need to do more. I'm praying that they will only need to do the least possible. She has felt bad for a really long time but they never thought to check her heart. As soon as she went to another doctor, he immediately sent her to a Cardiologist. They think she may have already had a heart attack at some point. She is a young whipper-snapper in her 40s....too young to start all this heart junk, that is for sure!! Please pray for her and her recovery.

Most recent update at 10:30 a.m. She is out of surgery. They found the blockage on her tests to be a false positive. 20% of women show a false positive for heart blockages. She has been so nauseated and sick but they think it may be from beta blockers and other medicine they had given her to keep her from having a heart attack. Praise the LORD!! It was an answer of prayer that she would not have anything major and everything would be okay. They will monitor her and let her out of the hospital today!! Isn't that awesome? Going in the hospital to have surgery not knowing if they will be doing open heart surgery to be told that it was a false positive? It is my answer to prayer today!! :-)

My update:
Today is my prep day for my next chemo treatment tomorrow. UGH! I get the same feelings as you would going into surgery each time I reach this day. Even though I do it every other Wednesday, I know what to expect procedurely but don't know what to expect in my body. This stuff is cumulative so the side effects are expected to worsen. However, God was so great this last time that my treatment was actually better than the treatment before. Please pray for my treatment to even be better!!

However, today I want to focus on Angie. I know God is watching over her and will protect her. We just know the process of getting better can be slow so we are praying for a quick recovery! Thank you Jesus!

Make today a prayerful day!
Love, Leah

Sunday, October 5, 2008

God always answers when we need him most!

I'm facing the 4th chemo treatment this week. No matter if I'm having a good day or not, it always starts chipping away at me mentally. I'm determined to maintain a healthy attitude through this journey because I know my physical state will follow....and I'm a child of the King so in HIM do I trust!

I would consider today to be a good day. I still do not venture very far but going to church is my first priority if I even remotely think I can make it.

As I was praying I asked the Lord for strength and just a word from HIM. Give me more strength this week and the next week through this treatment. It is hard to describe the feelings....because I'm not always sure about them myself. As I finished my prayer for strength and a was almost at that instant that My awesome Pastor, Bro. Johns came to me and said he wanted to pray for me. I don't know all of his prayer but the only word I heard was "strength"......I just prayed and said, "thank you Lord, you never fail me" wasn't but a few minutes later that a dear older saint came straight up to me and I knew it was she who had the word that I was looking for. God did not fail me. As she spoke the words that she felt came from the Lord to share with me, I couldn't help but cry. The Lord is so awesome that he meets even our smallest needs. As we continued to talk, my nose started to bleed. Another silly sympton from the chemo. It was almost like as I was strengthened through the Word, my body wanted to remind me of what it was capable of doing to me.

I explained to her that on the days that I'm physically struggling and mentally I feel drained....I have just said outright, "devil you might take my body but you can't take away my spirit".

God has been so merciful. My 3rd treatment was better than my 2nd. I pray that my 4th treatment is even better than my 3rd. It would be an awesome answer to prayer.

Chemo drugs are very undecided chemicals. Each treatment as it rids my body of bad cells, it turns on me in different ways. As the wonderful person who approached me today said, "God already suffered and died on the cross for your suffering, you don't have to overcome this, God already did it for you." This may not make sense to those who don't believe but for me it was so encouraging because I know that I'm not doing this alone.

So many prayers and so much love has been raised to heaven for me that in inself is a Victory for me! I'm so thankful and blessed. Long before this ever came along....I always said, "Lord if you never did another thing for me, I have been blessed more than I ever deserved" and I still mean it and believe it. This journey has proven to me how God listens, hears and responds to our prayers! I can't imagine a life without HIM!!

As I'm speaking about prayer, please say a prayer for my sister-in-law, Angie. She just found out she has a heart blockage. They want to do a heart cath knowing she may only need a stent or may need open heart surgery. God is able to intervene like HE always does and only require something minor vs. something major because God is awesome like that. She has been having problems with her heart this weekend. Please pray that God will reach down and touch her today!

Since I've been sick, I've craved her homemade potato salad. Weird, I know but I told her that I was sorry about her being sick but I just couldn't make it better by returning the favor of the homemade potato salad. I've never made it before! ha. I can pray for her which I know is more important. It still gave us a good laugh because you always want to return the favor when other people are in need.

As to all for your prayers and encouragement! God is awesome today, tomorrow and forever!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Two tests more to go right now!

Well, I finally did it! I was able to get my MRIs done on my spine. My sister found a place where they do the MRI sitting up. Yeah! The staff were unbelievable and very accomodating. It is still a very large machine! I was in scrubs with a HUGE TV right in front of me on the wall. The noise from the MRI was very loud but we they turned it up to tune out the machine.

The hardest part was that I had to sit without moving for 2 hrs. Try to sit in an upright position, feet planted firmly in front of you, a brace around your neck, your arms are positioned on a bar so they cannot move, they put this emergency button in my hand and then walk out of the room and say, "don't move a muscle or we have to start the test all over again because we have your hip lines set up for testing" and then see if your nose doesn't itch, your feet all of a sudden feel cramped and you can't move. Mom went back with me to do the tests but of course, you can't talk or anything. So, they would put something on the TV to keep me focused and mom would look at me and say, "blink your eyes if it is too loud, smile if it is too low, frown if you want another channel"....I don't think we were ever able to communicate with those was funny watching mom try to accomodate me. :-) Thank you Mom!

They sent home a copy of my actual tests from the MRI and they are sending the actual results to my Oncologist on Monday. The tests show all my organs and so an uneducated person looking at these pictures notices all the spots on other organs. They are unbelievable clear pictures. As I was looking at them, I see 3 spots on my lungs. I kept thinking what is this, what is that??? I know they are focused on my spine but I hope they give an analysis of everything else. I just believe everything is okay and that the doctors will confirm it. :=)

So now, I only have a breast ultrasound, which is the test they keep asking if I've taken. We try to set appointments when we know it will be a good day or a day that I can ride in the car. It limits availability. I'm going to try to set up a time when I'm getting my chemo bag removed so I'm already at Emory. I have #4 Chemo treatment this week so I'm not sure I can get in at this late of date so I may have to wait 2 more weeks. For some reason, I think I'm stalling on this test. I guess because they already found 3 lumps in the mammogram and I just don't want to hear anything else unless it is positive. Not that I think I will hear anything but I'm sick of tests, being poked, going to the hospital, etc. 2 surgeries in the last 2 months and chemo has been enough for me. I feel so bad for those who live their whole life in hospitals. I can't even begin to imagine. I've lived 39 years without this....that is alot of years compared to many so I don't have anything to complain about.

Today has been a lazy day for me. For some reason, I woke up very tired and went to my recliner and went right back to sleep until noon. I then went to the family room and fell back to sleep. I didn't even realize I was asleep. Angela, my youngest, left for work and said she told me goodbye but I didn't even hear her. By the way, please pray for her. She has bronchitis and the doctor gave her a breathing machine since she has asthma to help her. Of course, she is my first concern while also knowing I could also get it.

Well, I guess I'll return back to my laziness today and lay down. Thank you again for the constant cards I receive each day. Each day I look forward to the mail and now Kimberly, my oldest daughter, plans to make a scrapbook of all the cards that I've received and continue to receive. This will be my Life book that I'll treasure for many years in the future. It will not only be my inspiration but will remind me of God's goodness through all of you. Your blog comments, e-mails, etc. are a constant source of interaction and you can't even imagine how important that is to my staying well through this journey. :-)

Love to all,

Friday, October 3, 2008


Leah is having 2 MRI'S of her spine done today. It will be a long day. Will blog later.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Are you spoiled?

Last night as I sat on the phone with a mother as she recounted how her child was made me think about how we as adults act at times and how God must view us.

The mother was discussing how the child had all these expectations of her but was not accountable for any of her own actions/decisions and was using her home as a revolving door.

If we stop and think about our own lives, how many times have we made promises to God if he intervened in a certain situation, we would do this or that from now on.....having ceased our promise to God very early in the process? How many times do we even forget to pray until something happens and then we remember to pray at all? Why do we expect so much from God and so little of ourselves? Why do we get angry because we feel he doesn't answer us or we don't understand a certain situation so we say, "God couldn't be a God of love" or this wouldn't happen? What???? When you make a tough decision that your kids' don't like, do you love them less? No, it is out of the pure love that you made the when we don't get our way we immediately decide we aren't loved?

Many kids are so spoiled today they push all their failures off on their parents. They don't want accountability, they just want us to fix it and give it back to them. They don't want to learn. Why? We have spoiled them and have taken away their consequences because we couldn't stand to see them go through the pain of rejection or fear, etc. So this has become our expectation of God. We treat him as the King of Kings when we want something and invisible when everything is going right. How many times has your son or daughter walked up and it seemed so loving at the time when they wrapped their arms around your neck, "oh momma or daddy, I love you so much" just melted until after they showed all this wondrous affection and followed it up with, "can I go to ________, please, please, I'll love you forever" laugh because it is you who are made the fool......

Just as we have to make the best decisions for our children, make them clear and concise and hold to our word....the Lord does this for us through his WORD. We often fail to hear because we want it our way. We always think we can do it on our own. The Bible says, "lean not unto your own understanding" but yet we rack our brains trying to understand why something has to be the way that it is or why it is the way it is. Sometimes there are just no answers. We have to accept no answer as the answer. It may come to us may not ever be revealed.

I had another call from someone last night who was distressed and trying to find answers. I told him that his continual unhappiness was a result of seeing everything half empty and focusing on the "empty". He had so many blessings in his life but he was unhappy in 1 or 2 areas and that was ruling his focus. So many things in life are incremental. As Warren Buffet, the richest man on the planet or was, says that he earned his billions "one penny at a time". He didn't go out and make money immediately but he made one good decision at a time and kept looking for right financial decisions. He started when he was 6 years old. He made a decision to make money and he held firm as he looked for opportunities.... one decision at a time.

We are so spoiled, we want it our way and now! Believe me, if I could be spoiled and immediately be healed and not have to go through chemo....I would be first on the list. However, I have to accept it is not that way or not yet. Our financial markets are in crisis and we have to do something. Do we panic, freak out or do we make a logical, calm decision and do what we feel is best? We have to hold on because this isn't all going to go away right away as we would all like. It makes us uncomfortable to have so much unrest. However, you learn the most when you are out of your comfort zone.

I'm preaching to the choir here.....I'm in a very uncomfortable zone, I want it to go away right away....yes, I want to be the spoiled adult that I'm speaking about.....but my plans are not to be so I have to accept the journey in life is not my own right now.....lean not on my own understanding because I don't understand it but accept that I'm serving an awesome God who knows the score and will fill me in when the time is right.

So I say the same to you, please hang in there, don't get depressed and know that we will all look back on these times and say, "remember when?"....."we are so much smarter or better as a result of what happened"

No matter what your circumstance, God will get you through.....have faith, focus on all your blessings and pray that God's will is done in your life. Don't be so spoiled!!