Saturday, September 12, 2009

After I wrote my last post earlier today, I found this....

The Biblical Alphabet

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
J oy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
X alting God most high
Y es, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

This and that...

A quiet Saturday morning with the sun trying to peek out but so far unsuccessful. Today we are shutting down our pool as the weather as been overcast and the trees are beginning to drop acorns and such and pool maintenance becomes more work than pleasure. I must say that I only spent 10 minutes in the pool all summer. However, Kimberly laid out by the pool or went swimming most days she wasn't at college or working. She by far has gotten the most enjoyment.
Angela's college classes are from 7 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. 5 days a week and Kimberly goes a couple of days a week from 8 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. with an hour to drive home. Kimberly has decided that right now she is tired of Biology before she even applied to dental school. Although she is only a couple of courses away from applying, she wants to transfer and work towards becoming an accountant, which was her 2nd choice. I had hoped she would finish her pre-dentistry classes in case she might want to go back to that but she has to make the decision. Our only requirement is that she get a degree so whatever that is...just do it!
We are adding a bathroom downstairs or should I say that I'm helping with the decor and Steve is doing all the work. It is wonderful to have someone who can figure out how to do anything. He started with nothing but cement floors and has already built out the walls, set up the plumbing, is currently working on the electrical and will soon doing the tiling. He is one of those people who can pick up anything and figure out how to do it and loves it! It certainly isn't one of my talents, I guess that is why we work together so well. :-)
So far it seems today is going to be another just getting things done days. Since I've been sick last year, we've spent more time at home than we have in 22 years! I love to go and do things but realize that I still have to limit the amount because I get so tired. The girls and I went out one day shopping and after about 2 hours, my legs and feet were killing me! I used to be able to marathon shop. I can't do that anymore nor is it really necessary.
July 4th we spent at home putting in landscaping, Labor Day spent at home working on the new bathroom (we did go to a friends house for a cookout but not out of town) and so I guess Thanksgiving and Christmas will be spent tiling our other 2 bathrooms! ha. My brother said, "well I guess if you are staying home you aren't spending money"...wish that were true but adding/changing cost a whole lot more than going out of town. However, the benefits will last longer so I guess all is not lost.
Yesterday Steve had a test run as part of his yearly physical and so as I was waiting I got into a discussion with a few men in the waiting room. The first man said he had brain and lung cancer and was waiting to hear if his wife had cancer, the other man said he was a 5 yr. survivor of cancer and the other man said he is the only one in his family who has not had cancer yet. As we sat and talked, the man who had the brain and lung cancer couldn't say a sentence without swearing and was just mad at life, the 5 yr. survivor was full of joy and just laughed heartily at the simpliest of things and the 3rd man whose family all has cancer was very interested in hearing about how I had gone through cancer this past year.
It was quite interesting as each man shared their feelings, which is pretty uncommon for men to do but I was the only female in the room and we knew that none of us would see each other again so the conversation became quite interesting! The 5 yr. survivor just told the funniest stories about what he went through with the cancer in the Netherlands (believe me, it seemed barbaric in comparison to our hospital standards). He viewed it as something he had to do and found it to be very funny. The second guy whose family all has cancer says he faithfully gets check-ups and was very serious about health issues and the fact that God/faith is what got me through. The 3rd guy with the brain and lung cancer couldn't wait to go out and smoke, only wanted to swear, thought doctors were stupid and just wanted to get back to work.
As I sat and listened to each one tell their side of the story, I couldn't help but be immediately drawn to the one that was so joyful, encouraged by the serious one who took his physicals faithfully and disheartened at the one with the cancer who was blaming the work he did, the building he worked in and people in general. It again showed me that it doesn't matter what you face in life, it is how you face it.
If I only had a short time to live, I want to live it....not begrudge each day. I'm not judging, as I too have walked the road of uncertainty....I'm just saying, we have to work sometimes no matter our situation to find joy but there is joy in every situation!!
Last night we were watching a documentary on the history channel of 9/11. One of the tapes had a man on the phone saying, "Monday night football saved my life!" He said that he had been up late, overslept the next morning and was only 15 minutes from being on the 38th floor of one of the Trade Centers. You never know why a situation happens in your life but it could be slowing you down for a reason. We often views the bumps in the road as keeping us from doing what we think we should be doing but remember if you have an ultimate belief that your life is in God's hands...well, we have to let him be in charge!
So today find enjoyment in the things that slow you down, look around and enjoy the scenery because it may be scenery you have passed by many times but were too much in a hurry to I always say, if God is concerned about every sparrow, how much he must be concerned about me, you, I , us....let him be the manager of your life's situations!
Now go and take on a wonderful day!!
Have a great week!
Love to all,

Monday, September 7, 2009

So long but not forgotten.....

I've written several times in this blog since my last entry but each time I get distracted and so I close up my thoughts with the point of returning to finish and other things seal the time in my day. I have been negligent in my blog.

I've missed my online friends and family. In fact, many times I just miss the serenity of having quiet times at home and within my day. It seems funny that when I was so sick that all I could think about was getting back to "normal" but now that I'm back to "normal", I realized that maybe I never knew what "normal" was really supposed to be.

As I've said many times before, when I was sick, I lived every second, minute, hour and every day. I was very aware of the time on the clock because my life depended on the next moment hoping and praying that it would be better. It has been great....I feel wonderful, I still have physical struggles but I'm great! However, now I miss so many moments and time in my day. It is scheduled away even before I start that all the things I want to do and the people I want to talk to don't seem to happen because the schedule in my day impedes this type of productive process.

When I returned back to work June 1st, 2009, I knew it was going to be hard. I just didn't know how hard it was going to be!! It didn't take me more than a couple of weeks to realize that I was climbing Mt. Everest in an attempt to be "normal". It was so depressing because it was so physically and mentally demanding and my body was not up to it, that I was literally in tears everyday. Many of you reading this will think, I was around you and I didn't notice any difference. Well, you wouldn't because I'm great at hiding most things but inside I was a wreck.

I made a pact to myself that I would not give up or give in and I would assess the situation after I'd been to work 3 months, which is 60 working days. I had accomplished so much, traveled on business 4 different times in this short span and have literally tried to work through the mounds of pressure and internal/external goals. Although I worked long hours, the work didn't seem to subside and the pressure mounting, I realized that it had nothing to do with my physical strength but the stress of the position had just grown since I'd been gone and nothing was going to change that.

I have just reached the 3 month goal, September 1, 2009. I can say the stress has grown, the work has grown but my confidence that I can continue has also grown. Do I think it is too much to continue at this pace? Absolutely, it is too much for anyone. There has to be more in our days than starting bright and early and ending when the sun is going down at is an evolving process and I firmly believe it is going to be fine. :-)

Although I've not written, there are many others that are going through their own battles and journies through sickness and I've been personally impacted by them through direct contact or through friends and family.

First of all, Tammy Taylor who has posted many times on this blog is going through her chemo. She has highs and lows and knows and feels overwhelmed by the amount of time she must endure this process. Boy, I can remember hearing 6 months and feeling like they said 12 yrs. Until you been through can't imagine it. It seems forever....but we are still praying and believing for her healing in every way as she continues to endure.

Pat Mabery-Lives in California but is a dear friend to one of my friends at church. She has just been diagnosed with liver cancer. Please keep her in your prayers!

Barbara Willoughby-She and her husband has been missionaries to Singapore for years. Originally from Illinois, she met her husband at Bible College and have done an awesome work in Singapore. She and I have talked over this past year. She has been an inspirational friend. She and her husband both have/had cancer. She was 49 and just lost her battle approx. a week and 1/2 ago. Please pray for her husband and 3 children. They are an awesome family giving their all to God to the people of Singapore and really need our support.

Chrisitie Jones-She is a cousin to my friend David at work. We have never met but she has been an awesome encourager throughout my journey through cards and prayers. Her mother-in-law was on vacation to Alaska this past week and had a massive heart attack. So unexpected...please pray for encouragement.

Grace-Diagnosed with breast cancer. She was having a port put in this past week at a hospital in Macon and they punctured her cortoid artery. Her chest cavity filled with blood causing a pneuomothrorax and has caused breathing problems. She was expected to be in the hospital for 4-5 days. They still have not been able to get the port inserted. Please pray for guidance and encouragement as they determine next steps.

David-Our neighbor across the street's son-in-law diagnosed with colon cancer and told by the doctors he only has a maximum 2 years to live. Please pray for God's will and encouragement as our Heavenly Physician is the one who determines our survival rate.

Gary-My cousin's bro-in-law just diagnosed with esophagus cancer. They are still trying to determine next steps and may possibly be headed to Houston, Texas for treatment. Another unexpected situation but no situation is unexpected with God...he knows our need even before we ask.

Carla-Young mother who attends our church was diagnosed with breast cancer and has just gone through surgery. Last I heard she was Stage 3 and was doing well. Another great need that needs lifted in our prayers.

I know I'm missing several more people that I've been talking with or praying for but my mind is failing me.

As we sit and enjoy the time with our families and friends on this Labor Day, please try to remember those less fortunate and those that are on the battlefields oversea fighting for our country. No matter what happens in life, it is what we do with our lives that ultimately matter....I've never been to a funeral yet where they talked about the material possessions any person contained rather it is the memories we make everyday that are most precious. I want my last memory to be standing on streets of gold and hearing the words, "well done my good and faithful servant, enter in"........and then seeing all my family.

No matter when our time on earth is done, it is our eternal soul that lives forever...I want to make sure that I'm in peace on earth and bound for heaven.

Have a peaceful night and a beautiful day!
Love to all,
Good night!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

In the stillness of the night....

Most nights I lie awake, unable to sleep and I listen to the quietness all around me. There is no one else awake, the lights are out...I get up and look out the window and the neighbor's lights are one appears to be up.....all I hear are sighs of someone breathing but very still in their sleep. I toss to and fro wishing I could also sleep. My mind begins to race with so many thoughts of the day, week, on-going challenges and I'm reminded that although these thoughts over take my present time, this is the time my body should be getting energized.
As I try to find a comfortable position, it seems all my bones ache, which make me toss and turn more. I lean over because I know my faithful companions, my little dogs are sleeping on the floor beside me. I reach my hand down to pet them and they too are asleep and do not see me reach for them. I have to move closer to the edge of the bed just to reach them. They wag their tails but they do not venture to get up but let me know they feel me touching them. After a few minutes, I can even hear my dogs sleeping. In fact, Dakota (the boy) begins to snore. I listen in the night with envy.
As I lay awake, I realize even in the stillness of the night and cannot sleep that I am content. The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift and not a right. Every second of every day counts no matter if we are awake or sleeping. It makes me realize how many seconds, minutes and hours are really in a day. We usually wake up counting the time to work, time to have lunch, time to come home, hours before bedtime and bedtime.
I think maybe I should be counting my blessings. Time is more valuable than money because time is irreplaceable. Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. "I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings." Psalms 77:11, 12
I finally did fall asleep very late this morning, as I usually do and the phone started ringing around 7ish a.m. I was in such a deep sleep that I jumped up and realized that someone had taken the phone off my bedside table and so I started running around to find a phone. Normally if we get calls late at night or early in the morning, especially on Saturday, I think something is wrong. By the time, I get to the phone I hear the answering machine kick on. I realize that the call wasn't for me and later not that important to wake the whole family up on a Saturday morning. Jumping up like that out of a deep sleep makes me feel sick to my stomach. So what I thought was going to be a good morning to sleep....becomes restless again, so I just get up. I feel very frustrated that the only morning I get an opportunity to catch up on sleep from the week was taken away!! So now that I've been up, I feel very sleepy but unable to sleep so my day will not be as productive as it needs to be.
However, I am excited because today Kimberly comes back home from Nashville, Tennessee from Youth Congress. There are so many young people at this conference that the mall in Tennessee stays open all night. I know there are parties going on so I'm sure they all stayed up to blow-out the last night. Although I will be very excited to see her and find out all the fun they've had, I'm sure I will see a sleepy daughter come in and go straight to bed. However, it is always peaceful when all the kiddies are home and tucked safely in. It is a content feeling knowing everyone is safe.
So many things have happened this week in the markets and within my Corporation that I realize how lucky we are to have our jobs. It would be nice not to have to work but since we do, it is nice to know we have a place to go to. So many are without jobs....I just pray that things start to settle down, the economy picks up and people are able to find employment.
No matter the situation around us, we must still find happiness. There is more joy for our journey than there is disappointment. If we didn't have disappointment, how would we know the true feelings of gratitude? I don't like to linger long in the pasture of wonder but remember the promise of Jesus, "Cast all your care upon Him, for HE cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
It doesn't matter who else cares about your situation, God does and that's all that really matters!!
Have a blessed day...and remember God who takes time to keep tabs on every sparrow, then surely HE keeps special tabs on you. You are not alone.

Love to all,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good and not so good things!

Life is so busy, I feel that I meet myself coming and going. Life shouldn't pass by us so quickly. It just seems as the sun comes up in the morning, I go to work and the day becomes a blur and then back home and the sun is already gone down and then in a few short hours, it all starts over again.
I try to remind myself that every day is a blessed day. No matter how much we struggle or what we have to go through, it is worth living. A couple of days ago, someone at work was celebrating a birthday and when I said to them..."oh, someone has a birthday," they replied, "I'm not having one this year," to which I said,"I used to say that until I almost didn't have one so now I'm proud of my age because it means another year God blessed me with life." We get so wrapped up in the things that really mean so little and have to make time for the things we savor so much....why does life have to be that way?
The other day I received a little saying about the things we should no longer worry of the sayings went something like this, "I don't worry as much about my job as I do my friends because when I'm sick or in need, my friends are the ones who visit, call, prepare my supper or just lend support....a job is just a job." The job will just be picked up by someone else and pretty soon they will say, "Leah who?" I say, Amen to that...I have been surrounded by so many friends (work, church and otherwise) that I can't imagine a life without them!!
Since I've last blogged, the friend whom I requested prayer for that had the same cancer as I and only given months to live, died 2 days after I made my last post. I must tell you that I was very heart broken for his family. He and I had spoken about our struggle with this disease and he had total faith that he was going to make it. He was 31, left behind his wife, his son (who is 4) and a daughter who just turned 1 the day before her dad had his colon surgery in January.
I must say that I was shocked and unsettled, as it happened really fast. However, God has a plan for all of us and the most important thing is that he was ready to go. He left behind an awesome legacy for his children. So many live long lives and do not give half as much to their families. It isn't always the quantity, most time we remember the quality time.
Tammy, (she worked at my company for 15 yrs. and had left years ago but we reconnected through my sickness) posts comments on here for me all the time has just found out that she has Hodgkins Lymphoma. She has been there for me throughout this past year faithfully reading my blog, sending cards, leaving comments, etc. never knowing that she would be going through the same thing. She was due for a PET scan today. I believe once she gets the results she will know the stage of cancer she is in.
After I found out last week, she and I were talking and she shared an experience with me that really inspired her. She said that as she was going down the road thinking about the cancer and what she was going to go through, she said she just spoke and said, "God will you just give me a sign that everything is going to be okay?". She said it wasn't 15 seconds later that she looked up at the sky with large billowy clouds and a mist started coming down and then the most beautiful rainbow came out of the sky. God has an awesome way of reassuring us if we put our trust in HIM. We cannot do it ourselves. Sorry for those of you who think it is weak to love God, go to church, etc. If you are ever near death or it comes upon you suddenly, I guarantee you will quickly find out how powerless and weak you really amount of money or power gets you anywhere when faced with death!
Please remember Tammy and her family in your prayers. I know mentally how difficult this journey is....many times the mental part of the journey overshadows the physical part. Believe me, physically there are days you wonder if you are going to make it but I always turned my face and faith to the Comforter. HE is the one who brings you through when you don't think you can't but HE can. I saw a saying today, "He won't take you TO, what he won't bring you THROUGH". Sometimes I firmly believe this is a way to test you! Do you really have what you think you have or what you say you have or are you so weak that you just lie down and die?
Sometimes you can do everything you know to do and still it is in God's plan to go. I still want to be remembered for how hard I fought for my family, how we used the resources of family and friends to get through....if you don't want to fight for yourself...fight for your family....don't they deserve a legacy? Show them what real strength looks like...hang on, hold on and fight!
Not really sure why I'm writing what I'm writing tonight. I just have this feeling that someone is feeling very low and needs to know that it is going to be okay. Success is not what we have, our abilities, our high profile connections, it is feeling peace and contentment. No matter your situation, things could be a whole lot worse and they can be a whole lot better. It is finding the balance of being happy in whatever you do. I'm amazed just people watching and finding those who find excitement in the smallest of things and then others who can find no excitement in anything.
I want to find joy and happiness where ever I have to go or do in life. It is no different than taking a long road trip. You can be 20 hours in misery getting there or finding fun things to do on the way (playing games, singing, watching movies or just enjoying the scenery). No matter what, you will still be on the journey for 20 hrs.....just make the best of it and enjoy the ride.
I have to put a mirror in front of myself sometimes and say, "would I like to be around me?"
Ah, I just looked out the kitchen door as I was typing this and the most beautiful bird just landed. I love birds...another one of God's very special creations!

Love to all,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

This and That...

Wow, there have been so many things to celebrate lately. I realized on July 23rd while sitting at work that it was exactly 1 year since I went in for surgery. I thought to myself how much had transpired in a year...the face of death and now the road to recovery! It has been quite the journey.

I e-mailed Steve at work and asked him, "Steve, do you remember what you were doing exactly 1 year ago today?" The ever jokester responds with, "eating chicken fingers". I laughed and said, "how could you, I wasn't even able to have an ice chip, water, food or anything for 7 days besides the fact that I couldn't have anything 2 days prior to the surgery!". I was telling Kimberly and she laughed because she remembered taking chicken fingers to her dad to eat at the hospital because he of course was with me the entire time. It is so awesome to be able to look back and laugh.

This weekend on a whim decided to go to Tenneesee to visit friends, we've not seen in quite a while. In fact, we were best friends for years and then we moved, they moved and we lost touch. When I became sick, we re-connected and they drove for hours on a week night just to spend a couple of hours with us. They live close to Knoxville, Tennessee. It has been so hectic that I've been having chest pains, etc. so I thought a change of scenery would do us all good.

We had a marvelous time. There is nothing like lots of laughter with friends. We had so much fun that we did not want to leave. Since it was our anniversary, we went to a Japanese Steakhouse and then to a place called, Manchies. It is a frozen yogurt place that has all kinds of yogurt with toppings of every kind. It is all self-serve and you fill your bowl or waffle bowls with as much as you like and then you weigh them. It was wonderful!!

They live in the Smokey Mountains so the view was unbelievable. I can see why they would want to live there. The real estate is very expensive but oh my, what an awesome place to live and even more beautiful place to retire.

Today is Steve's birthday so being on the road made it a little difficult to have a cake. We tried at lunch but somehow the wires got crossed and our server never did anything so we finally grew tired of waiting and left. His sister, Vicky made him a cake and his other sister, Angie brought it over once we got home from the trip. I was glad he actually had a cake. I was thinking as I looked at the cake that last year, his sister Vicky made him a cake and brought it to the hospital. So, I guess this year the cake tastes better than ever, especially getting to eat it at home! "-)

Since I've been sick this past year, riding in the car makes my legs swell so I better go and get things under control so I can be rested and ready for work tomorrow.
Have a great night! Thank you all so much for listening and your kind words.

P.S. I just found out that another person who just found out they had the exact same cancer and same stage of cancer that I had, has only been given 6 months to live. This is really the most important thing that I have to say today and that is to please pray for this very young family. God is able to do all things, HE sure has done that for me and I know HE is just as capable to do it for this person. Please remember them in your prayers. They really need a miracle. This really isn't a by the way statement, it has been on my heart and wasn't sure if I should say it or not because I'm not sure who all reads this but the more people praying the better!!

God Bless,
Love to all,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No rest for the weary but time to celebrate one year!!

I have been so busy at work that I've been too tired to even blog. Today, I actually left at 5:30 p.m. I have been working till 8-9 p.m. every night (and all day Saturday) and have been traveling. Honestly, it has been overwhelming and has made me wonder just how long I can really keep this up?? I would have been exhausted with full energy so this makes it doubly as hard. Believe it or not, I still struggle with pain every day. I am a pretty good faker so most of the time you won't know that I'm struggling because I learned that no one likes a whiner.
The great news about today though is something that mom reminded everyone via e-mail....and that is last year on this day, I found out that I had cancer. It seemed like we started traveling through a dark tunnel not knowing what was going to be on the other side. That is when God stepped in and family and friends stepped up and prayer became my strength day in and day out. I still thank the Lord every day for his awesome mercy and grace and pray that I do not squander his blessing.
I knew this was the month but really hadn't thought about the date and didn't really think about, "celebrating"....however, as I thought about the e-mail that mom sent this morning, I realized that it was okay to celebrate the awesome wonder of God. After all, HE is what got me through, how could I even fail to think to celebrate? So, today I'm thankful and grateful that I'm on the other side of this diagnosis.
This day provides me another chance to say, "thank you for all the support and prayers". I still covet the prayers and continue to feel strength. I try to go the extra mile thinking of others who are traveling this road. Every time the word cancer is brought up about someone, I immediately tear up. I never thought I would be so affected by this disease but I realize it is more a disease of the mind. I could deal with what was going on physically a whole lot better than mentally. I was always worried about my family etc. etc.
Yesterday I talked on the phone with the husband of someone who is on their 3rd chemo treatment. I kept wanting to cry on the phone but I forced myself to stay composed. I told him that I thought and prayed for them everyday. I knew what mentally she must be going through and he said, "she just said that last night". I told him to take care of himself, go get exams or whatever he needed because it would make her feel better. He said, "she is #1" and I told him that when I was sick all I could think about was Steve and my family needed to go get exams. These were things that made me feel better. Those who don't have God in their life and go through something like this....I'm not sure how they do it. It can really mess you up. I'm so thankful that so many prayed so I was able to keep a "gonna make it no matter what" attitude no matter how bad it got.
It wasn't anything I did but I just listened to what I knew in my heart and what I had been taught to do. I had been given the tools/resources over my life through family and church on holding on through the struggle and that in the end, I was going to be okay. You can't let go, can't give in and you can't let it anger or change you.....but you are in for the long haul and by staying in and standing strong, God was going to bless us through this experience.
Today, as I frantically work hour after hour, I do not ever forget in my mind God's awesome word of protection for me. There is nothing in my day that is more important than serving HIM or others as he sees fit for me to do.
I think about those in the waiting rooms, waiting for their next treatment, those sitting beside someone's bed wondering if they will have a next breath and I wonder why God allowed me to be spared and given more life. I didn't deserve it but God chose to give it to me. I didn't give myself life and until I take my last breath on this earth, I will never forget the journey of where I've been, where God has brought me and where God is going to take me. It is a walk of faith. It is a strength after and through the struggle, it is a joy that passeth all understanding, it is a road that not everyone will travel but somehow for some reason I did. I don't ever want to take my blessing, hide it and move on.
I know many of you can relate to this in different ways because God has been good to all of us. I wonder what we've done once we received it.....did we just move on and forget it? Or did it change us in some way that made us better or make us want to do more to help others? Life is so short, we can have fun in all sorts of ways but the greatest satisfaction that I think we ever have is helping others and leading them to the same joy that we cherish in our hearts and life.
As I lay down to ready myself for another day, the simple words taught as a child, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" still hold true today. No matter what, I'm thankful for this road that I started traveling as a child guided by my parents, and today as a parent, I'm guiding my children down this same road so that as they reach bumps, holes and detours that they will remember that no matter what God is the Master of our road and in charge of our soul. You just can't get better than that....
Love to all,
Good Night,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh my joints ache!

I could not sleep again last night. My legs and arms hurt so bad. It is just a constant throb. I tried massaging them myself but it didn't seem to help. I finallyb relented and took another pain killer. I realized that I'm now immune to them and they do not work. I'm afraid to try anything stronger, as these are already strong. It was my leg joints killing me and now it is my arms too!

I had meetings all day today but I had a short break between two of them at lunch time so I went and got a pedi/mani and the really only reason I did it was for the massage. It hurt at the time but felt a little better and now the pain is back. So frustrating....the neuropathy in my feet has been getting worse again. However, it is only at the top of my feet and not the soles. I know in the big scheme of things, this really is nothing but when you hurt all night, and can't sleep it does start to wear on you.

I got home and Steve was putting on Angela's new license plate she got from a friend for her birthday (which was Saturday). Happy 19th Angela! The license plate says it all, "#1 Brat". Spoiled rotten kids but they have been such good girls and what a blessing....

Mom, dad and all the rest of the family are either in Savannah or headed to Savannah this weekend. I thought getting away sounded nice but then it just makes you tired so I'll wait until Fall and go to the mountains.

I must admit (I've been putting off saying this) that I've been more than a little stressed. In fact, I think I'd became right down depressed, which isn't my nature at all. After going through almost of year of doing everything to survive, you begin to view things through totally different lenses. You don't realize how traumatic it is mentally until after you go through it. I realize that I was crying very easy over very small things. I feel like everything is going to swallow me up...where ever I'm at, I want to be somewhere else....but don't know where that somewhere else is. I don't like for anyone to get upset. It instantly brings me to tears when I hear someone is sick. My body still isn't as well as I pretend it to be but I don't expect any sympathy so I don't like to bother anyone else with it.

The only person that I will usually bother is poor Steve. I don't know how that guy stays so strong and does what he does. Most would crumble under the pressure he has been under but sometimes I wonder if it doesn't make him stronger vs. weaker like it would most. I know he hides his feelings. We are somehow both good at doing that which is not really good but then again, it doesn't help the situation to whine either.

The only reason I'm sharing any of this is because I think it is important to share the feelings of what you go through...although I've not totally shared everything...I will share that it is more than mentally tough....

Thanks to Steve for going to the mall with me tonight just to get out after work. I was hurting all day and evening but thought doing something different would help. I felt bad because I could tell how tired Steve was and then I felt guilty for asking him to do something. He never complains.

Well, tomorrow is the last work day of this week. Yeah! I have so much to do though, I wonder how I will be able to with the short week. I'm not allowing myself to get into working hours and hours of overtime. My body is not ready and I don't think that I should get into that habit. It is not good physically or mentally.

I'm exhausted. Everyone have a very safe and happy holiday!!
Love to all,

Monday, June 29, 2009

Have you ever had so much to do that you ignore it all?

This is the way I feel today. I have so much work to do at work and so much at home that I'm having a hard time getting anything done. I need to turn into an octupus to be able to reach all the areas that need something done. I guess we all feel that way, huh?

I'm working on a multi-billion dollar contract right now which is the most stressful part of my job. I have a credit performance meeting with the Executive team at another large lender I've just taken on in 2 weeks so I will be on the road again. I've just taken them on and now I get to go share the news of the things that are/aren't working well...oh joy, what a way to break the ice! Here I am and here's your report card, "F". I'll be back in a couple of months to review you again. See ya! ha.

A month after that I will be in Cincinnati at one of lenders shops to be part of an audit of the Corporation. It seems like I'm going to be doing alot of traveling to keep up with everything. I've finally started getting into the groove a little. Some days I would wonder if I was really going to be able to do it. There is no "slow" in this business. It is like jumping on a roller coaster and trying to slow it down with your feet...impossible. I've been back to work a month after being off for almost a year so I think I may expect too much of myself too quickly. All in a day's work for the young'uns.

I can't wait until they get their degrees and really working so I can lay on their beds and say, "man, I really need a new car....and not just anyone will do". "Can you buy me one, please?" Look at them with the sad face, puckered lip and tell them how much I love them....I just bet they will be jumping up with glee at the thought of doing something for me! Yeah right...! Somehow it doesn't work that way...:-) Sounds good though. They truly are our greatest joys in life.

I love my dogs but they don't live long enough. All you have to do is give them a bone every once in a while, feed, water and get their shots once a year and they are good to go. Always happy to see you, listens to all your troubles and never tells a soul and couldn't imagine being anywhere else but home.

This 4th of July I think we are going to stay home and plant some landscaping and deep clean the house. Oh doesn't that sound like fun? We tore out the landscaping in front of our house last year and then I got sick so unfortunately, it left our house bare and looking sick too! We are trying to find a good nursery for inexpensive but a nice tree to plant in front of the house (can't grow very big) and other types of shrubs etc. Steve went by Home Depot by our house and said what was there was pretty pitiful looking. We don't really know what we are doing but we at least know when plants/trees, etc. look healthy.

Well, gonna home a few minutes early to miss the traffic...was thinking a nice nap sounded good.

Love to all,

Everything's fine....

Sorry, I didn't realize that I had not updated this since my last tests. Someone got me on facebook and I updated to let everyone know and then someone asked me about my tests....and I said, "yes, I updated online".....and they said, "don't leave us hanging on the blog".....sorry, I thought I had updated....

Everything is fine from my tests. The spot on my liver they believe is only cystic (fluid buildup). They always tend to locate more cysts or other things within my body and the pathology report will say, "need to closely watch" so I never really feel like I get a "clear no worries" type of clearance.

However, I'm very thankful that I didn't have any new cancer. I will have follow-up tests in 4 months now vs. 2 month intervals. I was glad about that.

The weekend has been a scorcher but beautiful. Man, I couldn't sleep at all last night. I should be on the road right now on the way to work. So I better get off and get outta here. Just wanted to tell all of you how much I appreciate the constant prayers, etc. They aren't taking my port out for awhile. My guess is that they will leave it in as long as they can until I reach 5 year survival without any re-occurance. It doesn't hurt or anything...well, every once in a while it will jab into my shoulder but other than that it is kid's play in comparison to anything else.

Have alot of work at work to do so, 'austa la pasta'.

Love to all,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buzzzzzy as usual....

Another very busy day at work. They are changing customer assignments around and so I've now gained another National customer. So, I will be really really bussssy at work and traveling again in a couple of weeks. In our economy, I'm blessed to have a job but wishing Adam and Eve didn't screw up in the beginning of time. I could see myself eating from the garden...not worrying about work, just enjoying the life God made for us. Adam was too weak and listened to his woman so off to work we all go.....

Tomorrow morning back to Emory to get my results. Will blog tomorrow...

By the way, talked with my best friend growing up that I've not seen in 25 years last night for 2 hrs. She and I grew up together on the same street in Indiana and now she is in Portland, Oregon and of course, I'm in the awesome state of Georgia. Funny the paths our lives take us.....

I'm tired as usual so I'm going to rest....will let you know how things go tomorrow. It is going to be another great day, I just know!!

Love to all,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Belated Father's Day!

I hope all the Father's had a wonderful day today. It was so beautiful that it was just hot!! I almost went out to the pool this afternoon, which will be my first in 2 years but realized that I would be scorched. I stayed in and paid bills. Kimberly came in after dinner and went out to the pool. She lives out there these days.

The girls brought breakfast to their dad in bed. They made blueberry pancakes, eggs, whole grain biscuit and milk. We went to church and had an awesome service (they are all awesome, seriously)!! We went to dinner with the family after church and had an awesome lemon creme pie. It was wonderful to be with my 91 yr. old grandpa, dad and mom, brother-Jonathan and family, and my sister-in-law Angie. You realize how precious pictures are because you never know who might not be here next year. It could be any one of us. We are not promised tomorrow-no matter what age. We have to spend more time enjoying what we have rather than what we do not have....we are all guilty of thinking of what else needs to be done, so on and so forth rather than just sitting, resting and relaxing with our family.

I told my sister-in-law today how sad it is when you think about how much time we are consumed with our jobs. We go to bed early for our jobs. We come home tired from our jobs. So our life is living for the weekend. In this economy, we are all lucky to have our jobs but it doesn't matter if you work at home or away from home, we are always planning our next thing to do. How often do we just sit and reflect?

Speaking of time....I need to go get ready to go to bed. It is going to be a very very busy week at work. I remember Friday when I left work looking at my calendar for this week. It had me tired out already! ha.

Have a restful night!
Love to all,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm so tired...will I ever catch up on sleep?

I had my testing at Emory yesterday. I was exhausted from getting in from the airport at 11 pm. the night before and then getting up early again to go to Emory. I was actually looking forward to having my tests, just to put it behind me....until I got there and thought about drinking that nasty stuff again.

When we got there, we lucked out and got a parking space right on the first level of the parking garage. It hasn't happened in a year going down there. I immediately went and signed into the Oncology lab. The Oncology nurses do a much better job of setting your lines for testing. I knew they couldn't use my port but it needed to be flushed. They push the radioactive dye through my veins so fast that it will blow out my port but the nurse told me that a good port line can stay in for 8 years. I've not had any trouble with my port so I would rather keep it in and keep it free from blood clots. I don't think I would ever have to use it again but it does help to push meds through it rather than always getting stuck in my arms or hands.

The first nurse was not qualified to do the lines in my arm and port so they had to send me back out to wait. The amount of people waiting, as usual increases and there is only 1 nurse doing the more complex procedures. She said since Emory has gotten the Cancer Certification that the numbers have increased but the resources have not. We learn that the nurses are all in a meeting therefore slowing down the progress. In other words, if you had a 7 a.m. appt. and the nurses don't get out of their meeting until 8:30 a.m. you are in a first come, first serve and could be waiting for more than a couple of hours.

The Oncology nurses remember me and start talking as they are working. I feel bad because although I'm being taken care of, I know there are many outside still waiting and waiting....

After my lines are both set in my arm and port, we head to the tunnel to Radiology. We are 15 mins. early for my appt. However, as we sit there and the time passes, we begin to wonder if they forgot about me, as Radiology is usually on time. Two guys came out to get me from the waiting room. The first guy works in Radiology and introduces the other guy with him as a Medical student learning the ropes. I soon realize why they are behind...the guy from Radiology is really enjoying showing this Medical student all he knows about the procedure. I can tell he is disappointed that I went and had my line put into my arm so he doesn't get to show that off. He goes through every single step again, although I could recite it, just for the Med student to hear. As we are going over everything, someone pops their head in the room and says, "you aren't done yet, we have someone else waiting for you?" The guy bends over backwards to allow me to pick the flavors of the nasty stuff, Banana, Berry or lemonade...I know it all tastes bad so I stick with the (2) 20 oz. glasses of pink lemonade (what a falsehood).

They allow me to go back out into the waiting room to drink this stuff over the next hour. If you know me, I have a terrible gag reflux. If it tastes bad, it is coming back up so I try not to smell it. I noticed this family sitting to my left watching me as I smell it and shudder. I can't help it. Steve pulls up his test results for me to read to get my mind off drinking this stuff.

They come back and get you after an hour. The actual test is no big deal but as the Rad Tech explains to the Med student, they have to push this dye into my vein really fast. I've never had pain with that before, except I feel it burning as it goes through my body but this soon as the Rad Tech said, I'm starting your pump, I feel like my vein is on fire. I start to say, "Ow, Ow, are about to blow my vein up", she immediately goes back to turn it down. She said, "sorry I had it up as fast as it can go".....There isn't much you can do because you are laying down with your hands behind your head and the line the dye is running through is connected to the pic in your arm and they wind it through your fingers so essentially you are stuck. They take several scans and its over. Well, except that drinking that stuff always makes me sick to my stomach for a couple of days.

I was back at work this morning. Every 2 months I will go through this testing. Running labs on my blood and having different types of scans. I'm thankful that there are scans that can detect these things early. Now I go for my test results this next Wednesday. I always have an appt. a week after with my Oncology Doctor.

Thanks for all the kind comments. I'm just tired...wonder if I'll ever catch up on sleep again?

Love to all,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Man, oh Man am I tired?

I'm so sorry that it has been so long since I've written. I've been so tired since returning to work June 1st. The first few days, I wondered if I was going to make it. By the time I got to work, I was exhausted just from the driving. I could hardly keep my eyes open. As the days have progressed, I'm not as sleepy in the morning but as the day wears on....oh, I just feel exhausted!

I told Steve last night that I do not feel normal. Although I'm doing all the normal things I used to do, I don't feel normal. It has changed me to the very core of my being. I can't explain it because I've already tried. I think it is the way we should always feel. Being on the constant wheel of change and stress doesn't really get you anywhere. We are conditioned to run a marathon everyday with what we have to do, see, etc. but that conditioning is not me anymore. I hate to use the words, "I don't care" but "I don't care" about the things that do not count.

Someone that will remain nameless was diagnosed with breast cancer two months before my diagnosis. We know each other through our husbands. I've kept up with her through my husband. She had been doing really well until recently. She went into work and spent the day at a going away party. They thought she had overdone it when she starting getting viral symptons. As it continued, they spoke with the doctor and he said it wasn't viral but it was the cancer. They had been so optimistic because they were told the chemo was really helping to clear the spots that had moved to her lungs. They just put her into the hospital Sunday night because she can hardely breathe.

I was so upset that I couldn't stop crying. Steve kept asking me what was wrong and I really couldn't explain why I was crying. The only way I know how to explain it is that I was relating to what she was going through in her mind. You wonder if this nightmare is ever going to go away. Please pray for this family. They really really need a miracle. I know God is able to do anything we ask, we just have to ask him and believe.

I was so happy to hear that my boss' father had colon surgery and is doing well. No chemo or radiation required. He had colon cancer when he was younger but they stopped testing him so frequently. When they did finally test him, it was back. Thank the Lord that it was caught in time before it spread!!

Every day I wonder what am I doing on this earth and why am I here? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing?? I'm so thankful for my job especially the fact that they waited almost a year for me to return. I've been able to jump right in and figure out what is going on alot quicker than I thought that I might. However, no matter where you work or live, is there more to life than this? It is a very strange feeling.

You realize how fragile life really is but yet we take so much for granted. I'm so thankful for all my family and friends alike. So many have done so much....I wonder if I've ever been a friend like that to anyone? If I haven't, then I sure need to be because that is when it really counts.

Well, I'm really tired. I have business travel in the morning, will get back to the airport around 10 pm. tomorrow night and then down to Emory for my testing first thing Wednesday.

Sorry I'm rambling, I think I'm just tired....
Have a good night,
Love to all,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Well....maybe I'm not so strong after all.....

I absolutely feel worn out today. My hands, legs and feet are swollen. I have no idea why but just going into work has me exhausted. My mind and my body are not in sync on getting back to work. My mind is ready but my body is not.

The consultant they hired to work on one of my customers' is staying for a couple of weeks to get me into the loop on what is happening with my customer. I'm thankful for that but the whole job has changed dramatically from before so I learning the job from scratch. Learning is not the hard part, it is trying to understand what has changed, what policy or directive is affected, what supercedes what and what type of authority approval it all requires. You definitelyl have to have a fresh mind to absorb all the information. It is a year's worth of change that I need to get through in a couple of weeks.

Of course, I'm still trying to get access into the systems so I can understand all the statistics, data and performance many people have to be involved to approve the authority for me to have access...just takes forever. So it is always a little frustrating in the beginning just trying to extract data when your access is so limited. This all takes time and I will try to be patient. It is difficult when you have to have intelligent conversations with customers and you don't even know the answers yourself. So this is the part of my normal chaotic world where I used to I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything.

If I took pain killers all day like I did when we went to California, I would be fine. I can't live on pain killers. I have come to appreciate their purpose for when I have alot of pain but I do not want to grow dependent upon them. Many times when people tell me how good I look and how it seems like I'm really getting around is usually because I've taken something. I tease and say I've become a drug addict because I would rarely ever take medicine before but you learn really fast that you take them to survive. This will eventually all go away but it just takes time....

It is amazing how many people have cancer or maybe I'm just more sensitive to it. My boss told me that her cousin has stage 3 colon cancer and wanted to know if I would call her. She has just had part of her colon removed and is about to start chemo. I learned the hard way some tips on nausea, pain, etc. and it does help to talk with someone who has been through it.

Our VP's father has just had surgery also for colon cancer. I told her that we would be praying for him but haven't heard any updated information on how he is doing.

It just makes you wonder what is in our food...if colon cancer is the second most common cancer and 80% of people diagnosed do not have a family just makes you wonder?? My doctors have never been able to determine what caused mine.

The weather has been beautiful and warm for lazy days by the pool. My girls have been able to take advantage of that in between working. I don't feel up to going out to the pool yet.

I just have to remember to take one day at a time because otherwise, it will overwhelm me. I've come to far by God's grace and mercy and I don't need to squander my blessing. My co-workers have been so sweet and tell me that I need to go home and take it easy. I'm thankful that they care and recognize that my body is not up for all this at one time yet. In a couple of weeks, I think I'll be fine. I just have to get used to doing it all again.....

I'm really really tired and already have my pjs on but I'm afraid if I lay down right now, I will fall asleep all evening, wake up and not be able to sleep tonight. Although I may not wake up until morning since I can't stop yawning. Oh, I just feel so lazy anymore....ugh!

Thank you for all the wonderful comments via e-mail, work e-mail, blog comments or in really makes me want to push myself that much more just knowing so many people care! :-)

By the way, Vernie I did notice in one of your blog comments that you would be walking in my honor in a Cancer Walk. It is so hard to believe that you would take so much time to encourage me yet, you didn't even know me until we met at my tea! I feel very humbled that you would walk in my honor. You have been such a wonderful blessing :-)

Tammy-Reconnecting with you all these, it has been awesome. You are just as sweet and calm as you always were. I remember chaotic times at work when you would say, "well, now let's see about that" in your calm and collected way. I know everyone in our dept. then just thought you were the bomb! ;-) You are still great today as you were then!

Linda Shanks-Thank you for all the cards and encouraging words while you yourself are going through physical illness. You were always special to us at always getting into trouble with the rest of us even though you were supposed to be the teacher. I remember you telling everyone, "hurry get back to your seats, Sis. Frazier is coming!!" ha. We had so much fun....those were the first years after arriving here from Indiana. You definitely were special then as you are now....we are praying for your dad.

Mickey -Oh my goodness, you have kept up with me and have helped keep others informed at work...always thinking of ways to make the chemo months better (still worrying about me). All your cards, trips to my house to deliver all the drinks/plastic flatware/plates/cups/napkins/lemon drops/peppermint tea, your calls....You have been such an angel and blessing to our family. I can't say enough about how much you helped us through the work family.

I didn't want to name anyone on my blogs because there are sooooooo many people who have been such a blessing to us. However, I decided today that I'm going to start sharing some of these blessings. I do not want to hurt anyone if your name isn't personally mentioned because I'm so grateful and thankful for all the prayers, comments, calls and support from everyone...believe me, everyone is and has been so important to us!!!

I want to share so that others may be inspired to pass the blessing forward to others. It does matter to those that are sick when they receive a card. It can be a homemade card. It does matter that you are praying and make a point to say so....nothing you do, even a word in passing, pat on the back goes unnoticed. You have truly been the hands and feet of God pushing, pulling, tugging and moving forward the awesome blessing I've received with my diagnosis of, "no evidence of disease".....YOU are the reason. Do not ever think that what you have to offer is to small or really doesn't count...IT DOES!!

I want to have an attitude of gratitude every day I live! I thank you for the blessing you helped bring into my journey would not be the same without YOU!

Life is precious, I don't want to squander it.
Love to all,

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Survived!

Today was my official back to work day. I felt anxious walking into the building but was so excited that I made it to my cube without anyone seeing me. As soon as I set down my laptop, I start seeing heads and smiles around me. I can tell they had been anticipating my arrival today.

The first thing they told me was that I had gone through the wrong door. So, I had to go around to the other door where they had a very large homemade welcome card signed with well wishes from all my co-workers (co-horts in crime). Ahhh, so sweet.

Of course since I've been gone so long, my access into all the systems that I work with didn't work. I couldn't even remember my access codes to get into my phone! You have to remember that I've worked there for 20 years and have used the same code for my phone forever! My mind was just blank...a couple of our IT guys came over and helped me get into the system but I still can't get into all the systems that I really need to use!

Before I knew it, it was lunch time. They had ordered sandwiches from Jason's Deli and everyone brought in delicious side dishes! It was wonderful. However, I was really feeling tired by then and so I guess I was quiet because someone noticed and asked me if I was okay. I guess I didn't realize that I hadn't been talking (imagine that?).

Once I got into my inbox, I had almost 4,000 e-mails. I just started reading them one by one. The bad part is that we are under guidance from our legal dept. that we must retain all our e-mails, work, etc. so there really is no way to delete anything and have a clean inbox. I just started sending them to a folder, called "trash".

I think after seeing all the mounds of policy books, etc. that I have to go through to get a handle on my customer contracts is mind boggling but not overwhelming. I tried to take it all in stride and remind myself that if I could make it through chemo, I can make it reading through stacks of paperwork!

We worked out my business travel on June 16th to fly into Cincinnati that morning, then drive to my customer's office, have our meetings and fly back out the same night (We'll get in around 10:00 pm.). The next morning, I have to be at Emory at 7 a.m. for my test on my liver. The test that I have usually makes me sick so I will just have to take the rest of that day off.

I am very tired! I already have my pjs on so I'm going to go rest. Meet you back here tomorrow. Same place, same time! :-)

Love to all,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Soon and very soon....

I will be back to work on Monday! Yesterday I met my b0ss for lunch so she could go over the changes since I've been gone, so it made me feel a little better.

Sounds like alot of bureaucratic red tape to get the job done, especially now with the government take-over. She said it is very stressful and gets more stressful by the day! UGH!

I'm excited to be going back but quite honestly, just driving over to the office yesterday made me very tired. I think stamina is going to be my biggest challenge but I'll survive! :-)

My brother and his wife are celebrating their 20th anniversary so they are headed to Florida for a few days. I have my niece, age 10 and nephew, age 6 here so of course the first thing they want to do is go swimming. Thank the Lord that my girls are here and can entertain. They are all out in the pool swimming. The water is only 76 degrees, which is still chilly but the kids say it is hot! You know kids.....I think we should be as flexible and resilient as kids are.

I have been tired all day, although I did sleep better last night. It just comes with the territory.

I have so much I want to do before I return to work but no energy to do it. How frustrating, I used to long for days like this to be able to get things done. Now I look forward to having a nap.

Speaking of that, I think I'll take one before all the kids come back in.

Have a beautiful day!
Love to all,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Such a wonderful weekend!

Angela graduated Friday. The school set up her reception and made it so special! They had all the tables in the shape of an 'A' and then they had chairs to spell out 2-0-0-9. They even had lights streaming from the ceiling of the gym in the shape of an A. It was very classy decorated in red and black, which are the school colors.

The actual ceremony was wonderful! They of course try to make the ceremony formal so they don't want you to take large noise makers, etc. Well, Steve always breaks the rules and brought 3 air horns and then gave them out randomly so the noise wouldn't just be coming from our section. In fact, Steve initially was going to give Angela one so that every time a air horn went off that she would counter it with hers. We nixed that idea because it would be too obvious for her to carry it.

She won the highest honor for our school and that is the Pastor's award. It is given to the young person who shows true character, has a servant's heart and goes the extra mile. Well, Angela was so nervous just walking down the aisle, she said she felt like passing out. So when they called her up for her award, our Pastor was quoting the teachers who worked with Angela everyday as Angela, out of nervousness, kept tapping the bottom of the trophy. As he talked, he finally said, Angela is good at many things, such as her drum playing on her trophy!

One of former Principal's from our school talked with her on Awards night earlier in the week and said if she would dance on stage that he would give her $20 or $40. A few others pitched in and said they would give $20. I told them to be careful what they tell her to do because she is motivated by money. They all thought Angela was too shy and wouldn't do anything. Well, as soon as they announced her as a 2009 graduate, she took off her hat (we all thought she was going to throw it) but no, she went whooping and running down the aisle! We were all in shock, as we did not expect that. In fact, I had my camera up and was ready to take a picture when she jumped off the platform and took off. Everyone started laughing because it happened so quickly.

We asked if she had planned that all along and she said, "no" that she had decided on the spot to do something. I think she thought it was the fastest way out the door! Congratulations to Angela, she has worked so hard this year and missed "A" honor roll by 1 point and that is taking a very very full load (Chemistry, etc).

We had our famous large Memorial picnic yesterday at the church. I think we normally have about 500-600 that attend each year. We always start off with saluting the flag with the pledge of allegiance, sing the National anthem with the help of the Boy Scouts and American Heritage girls and then a moment of silence for those who served our country and are currently serving our country. We are a blessed nation no matter the financial crisis we are in! This is truly the land of the free and home of the brave.
We always have wonderful food. The kids have moon walks to play in, a roped off area to ride their bikes, sno cones, etc. The adults play raquetball, volleyball and the famous softball/baseball. The guys always start before our picnic and play all day. They have the famous singles against married men game and also the women's softball. There are those who play horseshoes, cards, just fellowship with others, or stay close to the food and graze all day. I always enjoy watching the guys/girls play ball. It rained at first but then the sun came out and was just beautiful. As it was all getting close to ending, the rain came down. It turned out to be a wonderful day.
This is my last week before starting work. Hard to believe how the time has flown by. I still have the nightly struggles with my legs but so does my grandma who had breast cancer the same time I've been going through all this. It makes you miserable, especially at night but we have so much to be thankful for that I try not to dwell on it and just make the best out of it.
Hope you had a great weekend too!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh my cannot be true!

Angela is graduating tomorrow!! I am officially old! My kids will be in college and on to a new chapter in life. I'm so excited for Angela, however she is not excited. Angela has always been my sensitive and sentimental child who likes to hold onto things. While Kimberly would love the adventure of moving to another state, Angela immediately says, "no!"

We had to go down to the school today to set up a table of picture/accomplishments etc. for the reception after the graduation. The entire time she had her ipod in her ear and paced. All she kept saying was, "I'm not ready yet, I'm not ready yet". I told her that at least she already knows what she is going to do (she is starting medical college June 11th) while many others are still trying to figure it out. It did not comfort her any. Oh to be young again with limitless possibilities.....

Just being gone from 11am. to 5:30 pm. I came into the house so tired. I laid down on the couch and fell asleep for almost 3 hrs. I get tired so easy. However, I did have another bad night with the pain shooting up and down my legs so I didn't sleep much at all. I even took Vicodein and it didn't touch the pain last night. My body must be starting to get used to the pain killers so they aren't as effective. I never thought I would see the day that I would take over 200 mg. of tylenol.

The past few days running around and trying to find things for graduation has put me on my feet more than usual. I've been trying to build up my strength because I'm going back to work in a couple of weeks. I may have to use my lunch break for a power nap until I get my body up to speed. ugh! If I were using pain killers all day I could make it but I'm trying not to do that!

Kimberly is on her break in between semesters from college. She was so excited to have this week as she had planned on swimming and laying out by the pool but it has either rained or too windy. Believe it or not, the water needs to be about 80 degrees before it is comfortable to swim.

I'm sorry that I've not blogged much lately. I've just been busy with Angela's prom, nephew's kindergarten graduation, Awards day at school and now her graduation all within a week's time. After I've been out for awhile, I come home and crash. I've fallen asleep on the couch every day this week early. This is the first night that I've been up this late but I slept all evening and knew that I probably had ruined my night for any real good sleep...... so I'm trying to wear my brain down.

It still feels strange not having much hair. I have the worst time trying to fix it because I'm not used to so little. Last Sunday, I decided not to wear a hat to church and just go with the hair that I had. It sticks up really easy because of the length so I put mousse in it. Steve told me my hair looked like it was stuck to my when we got to church, he got his brush out and started fixing my hair beside the truck in the parking lot. It was so funny because everytime I would see someone pull in, I would start acting like we weren't doing anything. You know it is bad when your husband tries to do your hair for you. :-) I knew that people would do a double-take when they saw me without a hat so I didn't want to look totally ridiculous. I have to hand it to Steve though....he didn't mind at all helping me out....or maybe he didn't want me to embarrass him! ha.

Hope everyone is doing okay. I will get back on track soon. The testing on my liver is coming up in June and I expect everything to be fine. If so, they may be removing the port from my chest in July or August. I have a hard imagining them taking the port out after being there for a year. The cath runs across my chest so it seems like it would have grown into the tissue already there (sorry to be grose). It just seems like it would hurt. They took me into surgery when they inserted it but to remove it the Surgeon is doing it in his office, I'm told. That doesn't make sense to me. I would rather they put me out again.

My testing will continue at 2 month intervals for several years. So, this truly has become a journey....but I'm thankful for prayer, technology, good doctors and all of my support!! It makes my journey much easier to bear. Thank you!
Everyone have a wonderful weekend!
Love to all,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beautiful morning but not a fun night....

I feel very tired this morning so this blog will be short. I've been up most of the night with leg pain and my legs jerking. I'm going to have to get some other kind of medicine. Living on pain killers is not good. I put them off until I can't stand it anymore so I finally took pain meds around 3:30 a.m. and it took another hour for them to start working. Steve's alarm was going off as I started to doze.

The past couple of days I've started having nose bleeds again. My eyes have felt like I've gotten soap in them. The chemo affects are so weird. You think they are gone and then they come back for no reason.

As I type this, I again see the sun shining through the room and the birds chirping right outside my window. This always makes my mornings feel so serene and peaceful.

I have so much left to do for Angela's graduation Friday. They also have the Awards Banquet and Kindergarten graduation tomorrow at 1 p.m. so I am going to lay down for another hour and then out the door to get things finished.

I pray that you are having a blessed day!

Love to all,


Monday, May 18, 2009

Time waits for no man....

I've been reflecting on the fact that this week will be my youngest daughter's High School graduation! It is hard to believe that I will no longer have children in High School but in college. Kimberly (our oldest) is still finishing her pre-dentistry classes and Angela will be attending a Medical College to start her degree.

  • Time is more valuable than money because time is irreplaceable!

  • One thing you can learn by watching the clock is that it passes time by keeping its hands busy (Proverbs 18:9 says, "He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster)

  • If you feel "dog tired" at night, maybe it's because you "growled" all day (Romans 12:18 says, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men").

  • What counts is not the number of hours you put in, but how much you put into the hours (Ecclesiastes 9: 10 says, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with they might....").

  • Learn from other's mistakes rather than making them all yourself (The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise, Proverbs 12:15)

Time can be a friend or foe. It is how we use the gift of time, which will determine whether we view time as a gift. We all have the same amount of hours in a day, how do you handle those hours? Have you ever noticed when 2 people are doing the exact same thing with the exact amount of time, how different the responses are? One immediately focuses and gets busy with the task at hand, while the other procrastinates and only has half of the work done? Or they both finish and one appreciates the opportunity while the other whines about how it wasn't their job? One smiles as they go about the task at hand while the other grumbles and tells everyone else about how much they have to do and waste the time given to complete the task and then grows upset because they didn't have enough time to get the job done.

Or take for instance, two children who are asked to clean their room. One is happy to have the time to get it cleaned, while the other finds it a hefty chore and complains how unfair it is that they have more to do than the other......and they are the ones who made the mess!!

Time waits for no one. Notice when you are vacationing that time seems to fly by but at work when you want time to move, it seems to sit still? Or you have alot to do at work and you have to leave earlythat the work seems like a mountain with time flying to fast?

Beauty products used to slow down the age processing of our bodies fly off the shelves. Everyone is looking for a cure to slow down the natural cause of time. Why do we want to look younger? At 40, I'm glad that I do not have the mind of a 20 yr. old, why would I want others to view me as a 20 yr. old? With time comes wisdom and I would rather have wisdom........however, it would be nice to keep the younger looking skin that is aged with time. :-)

It only seems like yesterday that the kids were playing on their swing set, jumping on the trampoline or sleeping with Barney and Baby Bop and singing the, "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family with a great big hug and kiss from me to you....." song. The time we invest into our children is the greatest investment of all time. You are preparing them for a future of the next generation. You are preparing them to succeed and one day become parents. Just think if your grandkids were raised exactly how you raised your children, would you be pleased?

I pray that we've instilled values, moral and good character into our children. We've given them the gift of time to the point, that sometimes we don't know what to do with ourselves when our kids are off having fun or at college. I think as parents, we all tend to do this.

Speaking of kids, Angela went to her prom this past Friday. She looked absolutely beautiful in her baby pink dress. It is hard to think that is the last prom that I'll be running around shopping for dresses, flowers, etc. She has a good head on her shoulders and is a hard worker so I know she will do well. She has a great big heart for others, as evidenced by her time she spends at a free medical clinic as a volunteer for the past 2 years. She always thought she wanted to go into nursing and having this experience has made her dream become reality.

As for me personally, I'm still struggling with pain in my legs. I do not sleep well at nights but can't keep my eyes open during the day. I've slept alot lately because I just feel so tired all the time. The neuropathy in my hands and feet have gotten better. I still freeze all the time but I hope that starts to go away. I drive my family crazy with the heat during the summer. However, when I get cold, it just causes me to have more body aches. I try to be thoughtful and just pile on more clothes and blankets but sometimes I don't feel I'll ever get warm.

Yesterday the sermon at church was awesome!! We always have good services! I'm so thankful and greatful for a wonderful church to attend, wonderful church family and all my family and friends. Attending church is always worth my time. I always leave uplifted and encouraged! "-)

May today find you as sunny as the weather outside. It looks so beautiful with the sun peeping through my windows and the birds chirping.

Just remember before you start to grumble and complain, that you are wasting the gift God gave to each of us.......time.

I think I've rambled enough. Please have a wonderful day!

Love to all,


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hello, I'm baaaacccckkk!!

Well, it was great to hear from those of you who actually missed me. It wasn't intentional to go on a blog vacation. My computer hasn't allowed me into the application and our family also was able to fulfill my 90 yr. old grandpa's dream.

So let me start off by saying, I'm going back to work in 3 weeks. I can't hardly believe it. I've wanted normal for so long but now, I'm a little worried about it. I think I'm getting the first day back at school jitters. My first thought is how far behind I'm going to be and can I fill the shoes of the person who filled the shoes while I was gone? Silly stuff that I used to tell others not to worry about...well, stupid crosses my mind. Secondly, I wonder how I'm going to hold up going into work day in and day out. I still get very tired from being out for a few hours...and I know that it usually takes a year or so to really get your energy back so I'm trying not to stress to much about that. I'll work my hardest but do what I know that I can do.

Secondly, some of you know that we had a surprise birthday party for my grandpa's 90th birthday last year. I asked him what was one thing he had always dreamed of but never got to do. He said every since he was a little boy, he had always wanted to go see the Redwoods in California. We had a money tree at his party and I started making plans. His birthday is in June so I, always trying to be pro-active made our flight plans, hotel and car rentals for 8 people. Well, after the plans were made in June.....I was told I had the Big "C" word in July of 08. After my diagnosis, my grandpa said that he would wait until I could go. Others offered to take him and I strongly encouraged him to take them up on his offer but he was adament....he would not go until I was able to go.

I was able to call and get our tickets held for a year because of my medical condition but after a year they would expire with no refund. I started making the plans back in March knowing I still had chemo and testing and based on those things might make or break this trip. Well, as you know I got the good news at the end of April and I had set our vacation May 2nd.

I asked my oncologist about traveling with all the sickness, etc. and he said, be very careful but there were not any restrictions on me to take a pleasure trip. So, we had to get a couple of wheelchairs for my grandpa and dad and off we flew.

It was the most I had moved in almost a year. We flew into San Francisco and stayed for a couple of days and then drove to Fresno, which is a great stopping place to visit Yosemite Park and Kings Canyon State Park and then back to San Francisco for a couple of days to rest for our trip back.

I must say it was the most beautiful, breath-taking trip I've ever taken in my life. Yosemite Park was absolutely amazing. The redwoods at Kings Canyon were another moment of wonder. Grandpa got tears in his eyes just looking at these trees. There is not a picture that you could ever take to show the grandeur and magnificant show of these trees. It is something everyone should experience. We saw so many but we saw General Grant, the 2nd largest structure in the world I think and the Giant Grizzly. These trees had limbs bigger or as big as the largest trees. They stood so high that you had to bend your head all the way back just to see the tops of these trees. Some of the limbs were 5 ft. wide. It looked like trees pushed into the side of another tree, the limbs were so large!

The trips over to Fresno was groves and groves of grapes, Pistachio and Almond trees, strawberries, cherries, garlic, artichokes, orange trees and sometimes I wasn't sure what was being planted. At one of the farms, we couldn't tell if they were grapefruits or lemons. We stopped at several of the fruit stands and had the most delicious fruit. The strawberries were huge and were very sweet compared to any we get around here. We passed dairy farms with hundreds of cattle....and then you would pass those most beautiful rolling hills with the sun sparkling over a large lake in between seeing all the didn't want to close your eyes because you would miss something.

In San Francisco, we did all the touristy type of things....visiting the Golden Gate and Bay City Bridges, drove down the crookedest street, shopped in China Town, went to Ghiradelli square, watched all the sea lions on the wharf, ate at Boudin Bakery, shopped and dined at Fisherman's Wharf, drove over to Sausilito, was at AT & T Park, was 2 exits away from Candlestick but didn't have time to visit except to take pictures as we passed by, rode the trolley up Hyde street, rode the public trolley to Union Square and took a boat tour to "The Rock" Alcatrez.

I had to buy a coat in San Francisco because it was cold and very very cold to me. I wore a coat, sweat jacket, extra shirts, etc. the whole time we were there. However, it was in the 80s when we got to Fresno. Everyone tells us that San Francisco Bay is always cold like that. Grandpa, dad and mom ended up buying a coat too!

I must admit the only way I was able to hang with the big dogs on this trip was constantly taking pain medication. As soon as I got home, I stopped taking it and every bone in my body ached so badly that it has taken me several days to re-coup. I find myself finally getting up at night and taking something because when you lay down it gets worse. The past couple of nights have been worse than normal.

This is why it worries me a little bit about going back to work...I worry that I will be able to keep up but I have to try....

The past few days I've heard and read more stories about other's who had cancer and was given a NED (no evidence of disease) diagnosis cancer coming back worse than when they first got it. I wouldn't normally put any thought into those things knowing I have the promise of the Lord and honestly, I don't feel that is going to happen does make me think....what makes me better than anyone else? Why would my cancer be gone but others die from a reoccurence. I guess it is normal to think these things?? I saw where Farah Fawcett is having her last days being filmed so others can really see what you go through with cancer. It is an unsettling feeling that I've not had before. I think when I go back and have my liver tested again in June, I will feel better. Although the doctors say they think it may be an enlarged blood vessel, it had not shown up in any prior tests. Cancer traveling to your liver is the last thing I would want....

I always remind myself that it is normal sometimes to think about these things but not to dwell and know that this battle is not mine but the Lord's. There is nothing that I can personally do to change things but that is when miracles when we, as flesh cannot do anymore and we turn it over to HIM.

I always remember that I need to tell my storm how big my God is rather than telling God how big my storm is.

The days have been so beautiful outside. Angela's prom or Jr/Sr. Dinner as we call it is this Friday so I hope it doesn't rain. Next week is my nephew's Kindergarten Graduation and then next Friday, the 22nd is her graduation. My last child graduating from High School. Where does the time go?? Starting the 2nd week of June, I will have 2 in college....ugh, see why I have to make this work thing work?? ha. I love my work friends and love to contribute so I know I'll be glad to go is the anticipation.

Well, that is alot said, huh? For those of you who've been wondering, asking and waiting....hopefully I've made up for some lost time. I hope all of you are doing well. I've missed the interaction. Steve, my wonderful husband spent his evening getting me back on and rolling.....
Have a great day or night, whenever you might read this!
Love to all,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It is a journey....not a destination.

Thank you for all the kind and encouraging comments on the recent results from my testing!! I'm so excited that God chose to keep me in this world and so thankful for everyone who has supported us through this journey.

Our journey in life doesn't end when the current situation or circumstance ends. The path is never ending and leads you to other crossroads in life, small and great and good and bad. Therefore, I will continue to blog because my journey in this world is not over (Thank the Lord)!

At times, the place in our journey looks like this picture. It has a cloud cover and is not very clear. How do we determine our next steps? We all have a measure of faith so how do we use it?
You might say to yourself, I don't believe in all that...therefore I do not live by faith but we do...

Some examples would be, (ie. When you dine out, you do it with faith that you are not going to get food poisoning, or when you sit on a chair, you have faith that the strength of the chair will hold you up, you have faith that winter will eventually turn into spring so on and so forth). We all have a measure of faith but how is it used?

Do we just assume in our journey that no matter what we do, what is going to happen will just happen? If you want to have a party, you don't just think on it and it happens. You must put the time and effort into making it happen or otherwise it is only an idea in your head.

If we use faith the way we were created to, we would see wonderful things happen in our lives everyday. Don't just pray that you pass a test, study and pray that you receive an "A". If you are in a difficult marriage, pray that God gives you guidance to make things better, if you are having financial problems, pray that you get a raise/promotion/2nd job but just pray with faith and follow the leading of the Lord. He doesn't come down and yell in your ear, many times we are just impressed in our spirit on how we should be viewing the current situation. Many times, the answers are right in front of us.

I want my journey to always be filled and fulfilled with the right amount of faith, hard work and guidance from the Lord. Within this, true happiness and peace is found!

Update on me: I'm officially returning to work in June. I was so happy to talk to my boss yesterday. I look forward to seeing everyone at work again. I have really missed them! I'm not looking forward to the long drives everyday though.

I've not been able to sleep the past few nights with the pain in my legs. I finally took another Vicodein and it wasn't very long and they were hurting again so I got up and took another in the night. I still didn't sleep very well. This morning I feel nauseated, I think it was too much and I took them too close together.

Other than trying to build up my strength, I'm trying to get things done for Angela's prom, graduation, etc. Man, where does time go??

Speaking of time, I have alot to do today. I have an appt. at Angela's college today so I must journey on...
Whatever you do today, do it with joy in your heart!
Love to all,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The test results show.......

NED, NED, NED!!! Yes, you heard right....No evidence of disease! They will not say that I'm cancer free but right now, there is no evidence. They did point out a spot on my liver that wasn't there before and will re-test it in 2 mos. but they don't think it is cancer either!! Praise the LORD!!!

Honestly, I started having complications last week that mirrored what I was having when the tumor was found. It caused alarm and so my Oncologist immediately set me up for a colonscopy today, that was not originally planned. As I got so sick, I told Steve, "I'm just sick of all of this" I went into to the hospital today just over it! I told God again last night, "Okay God, I only have a plan A and that is that I no longer have cancer....I'm standing on YOUR promises".

They were delayed as usual getting me in and back for the surgery but the staff are always so friendly. The doctor gave me pictures of my colon and you could actually see the sutures from my surgery last year (a foot of my colon was removed in July). The colon pictures looked like they came out of a medical book. If there is such a thing as a colon being pretty, looked pretty good to me especially when they told me that they couldn't find anything and can't explain all the bleeding that I was having. I just think that God took care of that too!

My Oncologist started off the visit with talking about the spot on my liver, so at first I was alarmed. I finally asked him how concerned I needed to be since he was not offering this information. He said, "low" but they were going to monitor it closely just to confirm. I then asked if they would re-stage my cancer. He said, "once a 3, always a 3 unless it gets worse and then it would be terminal". The Oncologist looked at me funny for asking that question and Steve replied that I was looking for a promotion. I wanted to move to a better stage since now there is no evidence of any cancer. Right, it makes since to me.....

I must say that I didn't quite grasp how good the news was because I felt that I had to keep pulling it out of my doctor but by the time we walked to get my car....I just started feeling like my life was changing again....very hard to explain. A burden had been lifted and now I could breathe.

Since I had not eaten, Steve asked what I would like for lunch. The first thing I thought of was hot wings. It is one of my all time favorites! He and I went to Taco Mac and I told Steve they were the best hot wings I had in a long time. Steve said his was much better than normal. I'm not sure if they were that good or we were that relieved that a rubber tire would have tasted like a ribeye! ha.

I came home and immediately fell asleep, as I had not slept all night from being sick. I woke up and all I could think about was ice cream. I've not been able to have ice cream for about a year. I fell back to sleep and I woke up to hear the dogs barking and lo and behold, my husband who spoils me way to much was walking in with ice cream. Again, savoring something that was so painful before....was just heaven! :-)

Steve then started his that you aren't dying, dip me some ice cream. ha. He said, I'm not being nice to you anymore, you are on your own! Love him....

The oncologist did give me something for nerve pain and aches so I'm hoping that this will give me better night's rest. I really need to get revved up to go back to work. They are going to release me to return to work full time in June! I had been trying to exercise everyday but my legs and ankles were so painful that I was unable to do it very long. So now I look forward to getting myself back into normal functioning day.

Anglea is graduating from High School, has prom coming up, a Senior Luncheon and then we have Awards night and my nephew's Kindergarten graduation. May is going to be a busy month but it will get me out most days and then will help me build up my stamina.

I've tried my best to reach as many people as possible so if this is the first you are hearing it, I'm sorry. I'm trying every forum possible to let everyone know because I know there have been so many people praying. Mom sent out texts and e-mails to I don't know all you might see this again and again but when God does a great work, I want to make sure EVERYONE knows....

Last year, it could have been over in 3-6 months and today I've been given back my LIFE! Thanks to all of I always say, words are inadequate to express the appreciation and gratitude but God is the giver of the blessings so I know that HE will take care of you, just like HE has taken care of me.

I'm signing off to spend time with my family.

Love to all,


I know I'm rambling but I'm just so HAPPY!!!!