Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm 40 and proud of it!!

Sorry it has been so long since I blogged. The neuropathy in my fingers seem to have gotten worse and typing makes them hurt even more so.....I took a breather for my hands thinking they would get better but I don't think they have so.....I'm going to go on anyway. :-)
I realized that I left many hanging when I said that I would talk about my Surgeon's visit the next time I blogged but then I didn't blog again. Sorry about that, I didn't realize I did that until I had those asking me.
The visit was fine. Basically, I learned what I already knew. The side effects from chemo can get worse after chemo is over and that I was lucky to have almost every side effect listed for the chemotherapy I was on (or is that unlucky). ha. He did mention the close relationship between colon and breast cancer. Breast cancer is what runs in my mother's family through my grandma who died at 47 with breast cancer and all her sisters have either had breast or ovarian cancer. So, I will need to be diligent about my exams but I'm not going to begin to fear these things. He did mention that it might be wise to contact Human Genetics to see if they thought it would be a good idea to test to see if I have the cancer gene that could produce other cancers.
Well, since I last blogged I have had a birthday. Yes the BIG 4-0....I still feel 25 so it is really hard to believe that I'm at this milestone in my life. Normally, I would not have even mentioned my birthday but this year, I'm gladly celebrating another year of blessings. I know I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. The best thing about a birthday is that it is a reminder that you have made it another year. This year I say, "Wahoo" and doing the birthday dance because there were times I wasn't sure I was going to see this day. It was in the back of my mind just thinking that when my birthday rolls around, I will be out of chemo for a month. It always gave me a mile marker in my mind to keep moving.
I have family coming in from Indiana tonight. Two sets of my aunts and uncles, my cousins and their children. They are stopping in on their way back from Ft. Lauderdale from my cousin's wedding last Saturday (my birthday). I was unable to make that long of trip so I'm very sorry that I missed the wedding. They had a beach wedding with a violinist. Mom said it was beautiful. UGH...if it could have been a month later...oh well, hopefully they will have alot of pictures to share.
Well, I'm going to go. I have a dentist appt. today. The chemo seems to have started eating the enamel away on my teeth....that is some bad stuff!!! I want to begin trying to get all these things under control now. I just pray that when I go for all my testing, I will not have more chemo. I can't imagine how much your body can take.
Oh, I forgot to mention....THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes, kind words, cards, calls, etc. It made my day much brighter!
Older and Loving it!!
Love to all,

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lordy, Lordy, Leah's Forty !!!!!


You Know You're 40 When...

The checker at the grocery calls you ma'am instead of miss

The reading glasses in the drug store don't look so dorky anymore

Two words...sensible shoes

Your handbag grows yearly - better to hold your reading glasses and sensible shoes

A dinner reservation for 9 pm sounds absolutely insane

When the switch turns off and you, all of a sudden, need glasses.

You realize your parents were right after-all.

Four door cars seem OK now

You actually start saying the kid they just hired.

The kid they just hired is yours.

You start worrying about tax deductions because you're losing dependents to claim.

You sing along with elevator music.

People call at 9 PM and ask, "Did I wake you?"

You remember life before computers and cell phones

You remember when drivers weren't calling or texting their friends while sharing the road with you.

You remember using a typewriter to do your papers.

You know what white-out is, and how to use it.

My sister turns 40 today. I have been waiting for this milestone. You know as siblings we can't wait for payback and we will continue to tease and pester each other, but I will try and be nice for the moment. lol
It doesn't seem possible that we are getting older. You know you are getting older when you can remember when your parents were that age and you start reflecting back on your teens and twenties because we have kids that are that age now. I think reflecting is a sign of getting older too. ha,ha. Where did time go? They say life begins at forty, welcome to the club.

On milestone birthdays we like to joke about age but really it is not about a number it is our attitude about our age. Some don't feel their age and some do. The saying goes, you are only as old as you feel. Some act their age and some don't. It is how we see things in life. We must love life and enjoy every minute of it. Live life to your full potential and don't sweat the small stuff. It will all work out. Live Well .. Love Much .. Laugh Often.

The last few months have not been easy but I am thankful to still be able to share another birthday with my sister. We have been able to spend lots of time together that in the past wouldn't have been possible because of work, schedules, etc. We probably still spend more time together than the average family does.

We have shared a lot of laughs the past few months. When we were at Emory the other day the place was filled with people and everyone was so somber. We were both talking and laughing and people started watching and listening in on our conversation. One man close to us didn't want us to know that he was listening in so he kept his eyes closed and kept smiling as we talked. Maybe he thought the circus was missing a couple clowns or he was enjoying the conversation. These people really don't have a lot to smile about when you hear their stories but it is nice to know that maybe someone can have some sunshine in their lives for the moment. Laughter is the best medicine. When you can laugh, you feel peace in your storm.

Today we will count our blessings and thank God for each year and for everyday he has given us. Psalm 118:24 says: This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the version of "Happy Birthday" that we sang in church growing up.

Happy Birthday to you,
a Happy Birthday to you
may you feel Jesus near
everyday of the year.
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
and the best year you ever had.
If you are reading this and have a moment, please post a comment to Leah. You can share your thoughts or maybe a memory. It would mean a lot to her and make her day special. Thanks to everyone for all you have done. Looking forward to many more years and making more memories.

To my Sister:
God made us sisters,
Our hearts made us friends.
Love keeps us bonded
Thru thick and thru thin.

"Happy 40th Birthday"

God Bless and Keep you always,
Love ya,

P.S. Congratulations to our cousin Sarah who is getting married today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grandma's Hands

I have been very tired today. I basically have stayed in my chair all day. I'll blog tomorrow about my visit to the Surgeon.

This is a forward I received yesterday and found it very thought-provoking. Hope you enjoy!

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered
if she was OK. Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK.

She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking' she said in a clear strong voice. 'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,' I explained. 'Have you ever looked at your hands,' she
asked. 'I mean really looked at your hands?' I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.

As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer.
They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.
They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war. They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.

They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.

Decorated with my wedding band, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.
They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more
importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home.
And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.' I will never look at my hands the same again.
But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

After that, I don't think there is much to say. So many things we take for granted.

Love to all,


Sunday, March 22, 2009

No matter what trial I go through....I'm just glad I have the Lord to turn to!!

I found this poem today as I was searching for my schedule for tomorrow to return to my Surgeon and to get my port flushed. The port will stay in a year, should I need it again for any follow-up chemo. I just believe that I don't have to worry about that. "-)

However, just having the Lord to turn to in times of turmoil or things that seem to go awry, is such comfort. As my sister-in-law who has recently started coming to church says, "I never had so much peace and joy until I found the Lord, I don't know how I did it without HIM all these years." It really is a peace that passeth all understanding.

I will leave with a funny story that I was telling friends and family today and they thought I should share it on here for a laugh.

I've not had my nails done the whole time I've been sick because I had to worry about infection, white blood counts, etc. However, prior to this, I would go to the same nail shop for mani/pedis and of course, they get to know you pretty well. The nail salon that I go to is owned by a very young couple. They seem to notice everything. Well, I told them that I would not see them for a while because I was sick. Even at that time, they began speaking to one another and then all the employees looked up from doing nails and began saying, "we sorry you sick". I told them that it was fine and that they would see me soon. Well, fast forward 9 months later.....

I never really thought about it until the other day I decided to see if I could stand getting my nails done (of course, most things I was too sensitive but the massaging...oh to die for!!). As soon as I walked in and they looked up, they seem surprised and said, "we thought you die, we not see you for wong time." I told them that I knew that it had been a long time but I told them that I would be back. As they tried to do my nails, I kept jerking my hand away because it would hurt and they would all look up from doing nails and say, "we sorry, you sick". They were trying so hard to show sympathy, so they would begin to chatter to one another in their language, as they would look at me and nod their heads with sad looks. I don't know how many times they would look at me and say, "we sorry, you sick". :-) I knew they meant well, they just couldn't articulate it. Such sweet people....

It is beautiful outside here today. Hope your day is bright and sunny too!!

I Refuse to be discouraged, to be sad or to cry
I Refuse to be down-hearted and here's the reason why
I have a GOD who's Mighty, who's Sovereign and Supreme
I have a GOD who loves me, and I am on HIS team
HE is all Wise and Powerful, JEHOVAH IS HIS name
Though everything is changeable, my GOD remains the same
My GOD knows all that's happening, beginning to the end
HIS Presence is my comfort,
When sickness comes to weaken me,to bring my head down low
I call upon my Mighty GOD, into HIS arms I go
When circumstances threaten, to rob me of my peace
HE draws me close unto HIS breast, where all my strivings cease
When my heart melts within me, and weakness takes control
HE gathers me into HIS arms, HE soothes my heart and soul
The great "I AM" is with me, my life is in HIS hand
The "GOD OF JACOB" is my Hope, it's in HIS strength I stand
I Refuse to be defeated, my eyes are on my GOD
HE has promised to be with me, as through this life I trod
I'm looking past all circumstance, to Heaven's throne above
My prayers have reached the heart of GOD,I'm resting in HIS love
I give GOD thanks in everything, my eyes are on HIS face
The Battle's HIS, the Victory mine, HE'LL help me win life's race.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Looking on the brighter side...today is the first day of Spring!

I love the different seasons. Spring and Fall are my favorite and it just so happens, today is the first day of Spring!! Spring is about renewal. It is all the beautiful flowers, newness of life and opportunity for change.
Just as the storms that seem to come in and out of our lives, so does each season. They are here and they pass on. Let's not lose the opportunity of finding new joy and peace in this season, no matter what we do because very soon; this season will be gone.

I'm feeling much better today. Thank you for the blog comments and encouragement! I have to visit with my Surgeon, Monday morning at 9 a.m. I'm still in the thick of the journey and will be really glad when they say, "it is gone and you are NED (no evidence of disease)!!"

Have a beautiful and sunny day!

Love to all,


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not feeling so well again today

I'm up in hopes that my pain meds will kick in. I can't believe I'm still having, what they call breakout pain. One minute you are fine, the next minute you are not. I struggled with the pain all night and then finally decided to do something about it around 4 a.m.

It started yesterday. I went out for a couple of hours with Kimberly because I've been trying to build up my strength and by the time I got home, I was feeling horrible.

I know it will get better and I can hardely wait. I'm just trying to be patient, which hasn't ever been my greatest asset. :-)

Take Care and Have a wonderful day!
I'll be fine soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Doubt your doubts!! I love that saying!


You say: 'It's impossible'
God says: All things are possible
(Luke 18:27)
You say: 'I'm too tired'
God says: I will give you rest
(Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: 'Nobody really loves me'
God says: I love you
(John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )
You say: 'I can't go on'
God says: My grace is sufficient
(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: 'I can't figure things out'
God says: I will direct your steps
(Proverbs 3:5- 6)
You say: 'I can't do it'
God says: You can do all things
(Philippians 4:13)
You say: 'I'm not able'
God says: I am able
(II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: 'It's not worth it'
God says: It will be worth it
(Roman 8:28 )
You say: 'I can't forgive myself'
God says: I Forgive you
(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: 'I can't manage'
God says: I will supply all your needs
(Philippians 4:19)
You say: 'I'm afraid'
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear
(II Timothy 1:7)
You say: 'I'm always worried and frustrated'
God says: Cast all your cares on ME
(I Peter 5:7)
You say: 'I'm not smart enough'
God says: I give you wisdom
(I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: 'I feel all alone'
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you
(Hebrews 13:5)
I received this today from my sister-in-law and thought it was something we could all use! :-)
As for me:
I always try to do something in my day that gets me up and working for a few hours to build up my strength. Today, not even thinking about St. Patty's day, made corned beef, potatoes and cabbage and then I made turtle brownies. My family loves the corned beef and cabbage meal and it is quite healthy. I've been trying to do most of the cooking so I can make sure we are getting plenty of veggies and fruit. I want to get as healthy as possible so maybe this will make my recovery quicker! :-)
Right now, the chemo seems to have settled in my ankles. I feel as those I've sprained my ankle. Seeing others blog about the after effects of chemo, apparently this is normal! Yeah me. "-( I know things could be a whole lot worse so I'm not going to fret about the things I can't control and turn them over to the ONE I know who can. I've learned not to worry.....well, I'm trying not too).
I will say that I've shared this story with a few of you. It seemed that in the past couple of weeks that everything mechanical started falling apart. We keep things up pretty well but these things were unexpected. It first started off that our air/heat compressor went out downstairs, a couple of days later...the one upstairs went out, we came home a few days later to a busted water heater and our basement flooded, I picked up the phones and they were dead, we walked by our youngest daughter's car and we could see the threads and realized we needed to get her tires changed and then we did our taxes and for whatever reason this year was going to owe several thousands of dollars.
Normally, I would have felt very stressed, especially with the amount of money to make all this happen. I felt bad because Steve got all the work but in the big scheme of things....I just thought, "oh well, what are you gonna do, get upset or get it fixed?" There are bigger fish to fry in life so you just do what you have to do and it will work out in the end.
The great thing was that Steve re-figured our taxes and realized he had missed a deduction and we ended up not owing all that tax money. To me that was a huge blessing in itself.
Stressed spelled backwards is DESSERTS so I found something sweet (which I've not been able to stand all through chemo), ate it and pushed any doubts aside I might be feeling about the current situation. It really helps to control the situation with your mind because it doesn't control you. I think that is when we feel powerless, hopeless and allow things to bother us that shouldn't because we get so down.
So, as the a visiting Minister said Sunday, "Doubt your doubts".
As always, I'm so thankful to have those out there that read, care, leave blog comments, words of encouragement, etc. The reason I don't respond to blog comments is because I haven't figured out yet how to do it. I would love to respond so many times. I'm just so thankful for your consistency in thinking of others when there are so many other things I know you could be doing.
Hoping for another beautiful day!
Love to all,

This and That.....Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Don't forget to wear green today or you'll get pinched!!

I decided that since I wrote such a long blog comment before, I'll just share a short one this time with what is going on around here.

Yesterday, I had to go out for a Jr/Sr Meeting for my daughter, Angela. She is a Senior in High School and her school has a mandatory trip to Washington D.C. It sounds like it is going to be an awesome trip with lots of room for fun so I'm a little jealous! ha.

Other than that, I pretty much stay home most of the time and just try to work on getting my energy back and working through the after effects of chemo.
I return to my Surgeon next week. They purposely made my appt. approx. 30 days after my chemo to see what effects I'm still having to determine a change in meds to get me back on my feet quicker. I know one thing that hasn't changed and is very painful and that is the neuropathy in my hands and feet. I can't wait until they are normal again.

We visited with my aunt and uncle from Indiana on Sunday after church and we were making tentative plans to go see the Redwoods. My grandfather, who will be 91 this year has always wanted to see the Redwoods. So for his 90th birthday, I told him that we would take him out there. I made all the reservations, plane tickets, car, hotel, etc. and then I found out right after that, that I had cancer and had surgery immediately. There wasn't anytime to take the trip last year after I had booked the trip. Delta held our tickets, based on medical reasons for a year and if they are not used, they expire and are non-refundable. So....I'm trying to book travel again in May, hoping I'm released from the doctor, otherwise we lose our tickets. We have 8 airline tickets...that is alot to lose but we've all looked forward to going so I'm hoping it all works out this time. I don't want to be responsible for everyone not going.

My grandpa said he wasn't going until I could go. Although I've told him that there are others in the family who could take him. He is adament that I get well enough to go. So, I hope that the doctor releases me so I can go and then hopefully I will be on my way back to work.

Here are some fun facts about Ireland tradition:

When someone gets a new car it is custom to give them money.

Don't ever get married in May.

Mead wine is served, warm, at weddings. Usually the wedding cake is a lot like Christmas fruit cake. It almost always has fruit.

If a fork falls off the table a woman is coming to visit; a knife means a man.

When you have an itchy nose you should playfully hit everyone you are with and say "itchy nose" to insure you won't get into a fight with them.

Instead of playing "Punch Buggy" Where American's say "Punch buggy [colour of the Volkswagen Beetle that they see on the road], no punch backs!" Irish people say "Yellow registration, no returns". Yellow registrations are a type of license plate on cars in the United Kingdom and every so often you see one in the Republic of Ireland that are from Northern Ireland.

When there is an electrical storm, you should cover all the mirrors in the house or turn them around.

Your 21st birthday is the most important birthday. It is when you are considered an adult and it is a tradition to be given "the key to the house". Some 21st birthday cards still have keys on them as the symbol.

Irish dancers must wear their hair in curls.

On St. Stephen's Day, the 26th of December which is known to the English as Boxing Day, Irish children dress up and go door to door singing and performing. Sometimes they are given money, cookies, cake, tea, oranges, or nothing at all.

Also, common things that of as Irish but really are not: -Corned beef -Kissing the Blarney Stone (mainly a tourist attraction).

Have a fun day!
Love to all,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Hero in Every Heart

Winners are like biscuits-when things heat up, they arise to the occasion!

  • The view from the top is great, but don't miss the many scenic overlooks along the way.
  • Success in life is 10% what happens to us and 90% what we do about it.
  • Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.
  • Victory belongs to the most persevering.
  • Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
    Aim high. That's where glory dwells.
  • Courage is grace under pressure.
  • Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel.
  • If there are not great values behind great victories, the victories are pointless.
  • Every day, try to help someone who can't reciprocate your kindness. Philsophy of Coach John Wooden.
  • Last, but by no means least, courage-moral courage, the courage of one's convictions, the courage to see things through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It's the age old struggle-the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other. Douglas MacArthur

Finding the Hero in each of us has been on my mind lately. As Harriet Beecher Stowe states, "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn".

We all are capable of so much more than we realize or exercise through our actions. If you would have asked me a couple of years ago about cancer.....I would have immediately thought, "no way, I can't or wouldn't want anything to do with it" and it would have been spoken out of fear. Today after having been given this disease, I do not fear because in my mental spirit, I have broken the barrier of fear of living with a possible terminal disease. I have found strength, determination and perseverence about life and living and not about death and dying.

I hear so many say, "how do you do it, I don't think I could go through that?" I say, we each have been given so many God given talents of becoming a Hero over our circumstances that until we are put to the test don't realize that the ability exists. I've not done anything special through this journey except put into place what I've learned my whole life from home and church. Honestly, many times the scriptures I would read did not have the same affect on me as they do today. Why, because I've lived them and know them to be true. I always believed them before but now I've been put through the test of living them and I know without a doubt, they are real, true and relevant!!

Don't let others opinions wear you down and make you feel as you can't because you CAN. If you remove "dis" from disability, you have ability. We must not allow ourselves to become disabled in reaching our potential because of our environment, fears or other pointless opinions. Mother Goose says it this way, "Good, Better, Best. Never rest until good be better and better best". Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant says, "What matters is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

Your mind can only hold one thought at a time-make it a positive and constructive one. We are what we think we are. Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell and rose again. One of my favorite sayings comes from a soda bottle, NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN. To me that means you'll get out of life what you put into it.

Mark Twain says, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great". Don't let anyone hold you back from doing the things that fulfill your purpose in life and give you the greatest satisfaction. Our abilities are God's gift to us. What a waste when we don't use them.

Eleanor Roosevelt says, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face....you must do the thing you think you cannot do. In Ecclesiastes 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.

Lucinda Williams Adams, an Olympic Gold Medalist in Track and Field has this to say about acts of generosity and kindness that we extend to others eventually make a circle and come back to us. The Bible reminds us, "As we sow, so shall we reap". "Sports taught me about service. We are all servants. We're put on this earth to do the best we can and to help each other as we go along. And in turn we receive our rewards. The service I give to my family, to friends, to church, and to humankind is how I repay in some small way the many opportunities I was given when growing up. I was known as the praying athlete. My mom always said, "If you take one step, God will take two." I used that, and I'd say, "Lord.....here I go again."

I always want to be sensitive to what God wants me to do. If He lays it upon my heart to speak with someone, give someone a shoulder to lean on, to speak encouragement I want to be willing and ready. We all have circumstances and valleys in our lives. No one is greater than another. I may have advanced cancer but it is not greater than someone who may be going through a divorce, another type of illness, family problems, etc. They are real to that person. We must use the ability within us to reach out to others. I know I become so pre-occupied with my own family and work that many times I know that I should have reached out to someone.

We all have to look within ourselves and say, "what is our purpose in life" and use the HERO abilities that God has given you to face the fear that comes when trying something new. It is overcoming that obstacle that gives us confidence, determination and the satisfaction that we did what we were put on earth to do.

Someone sent me these 3 words today, "Aspire, Inspire before you Expire." What a simple way to put it. We only have one life to life, why not do it with purpose and leave a lasting legacy that others want to imitate?

When you think you can not do it, refer to the following:
The Two Rules of Perseverance
Rule #1: Take one more step.
Rule #2: When you don't think you can take one more step, refer to rule #1.

Don't forget you can overcome any obstacle or valley in your life, just use the HERO abilities that God has given you and leave the rest to him. As Lt. Col. Donald Valentine says, "Life teaches us about the law of averages. You can't get a hit in life if you don't keep on swinging. A quitter never wins and a winner never quits. There are people who whistle while they work and are magnificent at life, but then there are moaners and whiners. I tell kids, Don't blame, complain or explain."

So the simple take aways today would be, "Aspire, Inspire before you Expire" and "Don't blame, complain or explain" as you go about your purpose in life.

As always, God Bless and Love to all,


Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

I received this information today via a Cancer website that sends me a monthly newsletter and updates. How ironic that Colon Cancer Awarness happens to be the same month as my birthday? I shall never forget this month. :-) I personally am so thankful to my doctor who referred me to a Colon Surgeon and insisted that he do a colonscopy. As I have stated many times before, I was not in pain and did not have any new symptons other than what I had for several years, as a result of a bacterial food poisoning, that my doctor said should have killed me.

If I had not gone and they would not have insisted on the colonscopy, I would not be here today typing this. Should this create fear? Absolutely not, a test is just that; a test. With colon cancer being the #2 Cancer and accounts for the largest percentage of deaths, it is wise to get screened, especially if you are 50 and more so if you have symptons, family history, etc.

I kept putting off going back to the doctor. I had just had my yearly physical in March and by July, I was being sent off for major surgery and subsequently chemo. It was mind boggling then and mind boggling now to go from a "normal" life to a screeching halt.

My brother and sister both need to get a colonscopy. Every time I go to any of the Emory Doctors, they ask me if my brothers and sisters have been tested. So, brothers and sisters if you are reading this.....I'm calling you out!! Please go do it.....I just read that because of my age, it is most likely an inherited gene. I do not want anyone else to have to go through this. If you have to, at least catch it early so it is not advanced like mine. It is not a cake walk....believe me. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done or ever want to do again.

I'm providing information I received today to raise awareness! Your health is a blessing and something no one can give back to you except the Lord.....I took it for granted, however I learned a very valuable lesson.

Here it is.......

Colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is one of the most preventable cancers. Recent statistics show that the incidence (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) and death rates from colorectal cancer are declining, in part due to prevention through screening and removal of precancerous polyps (growths in the colon that can turn into cancer). Colorectal cancer screening has been in the news a lot in the past few months, from studies about new technologies to updated screening recommendations; patients may be left wondering which screening method is best for them. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and this year the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), which represents the specialists in colorectal cancer screening, is educating patients about the recommended screening methods.
"The good news is that death rates are declining from colorectal cancer. The bad news is that only about half of those who should be screened are doing so," said John L. Petrini, MD, FASGE, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. "Age is the most important risk factor for colorectal cancer. ASGE guidelines recommend screening begin at age 50 for men and women at average risk who have no symptoms. Some people may need to be screened earlier if there is a family history of the disease. It's important to talk to your doctor about an appropriate screening schedule. Ask questions and work with your doctor to determine the screening method that is best for you, as each screening option has appropriate applications and limitations."

To learn more about colorectal cancer prevention, log on to the ASGE's colorectal cancer awareness Web site www.screen4coloncancer.org. Screen4coloncancer.org offers visitors a wealth of vital information including disease facts about colorectal cancer, screening options, what to expect during a colonoscopy, frequently asked questions, the latest news about colorectal cancer such as studies and statistics, links to patient support and advocacy groups, educational videos, and how to find a qualified doctor in your area. The content is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. In addition to these features, is the Peter and Polly Polyp(TM) birthday e-Card encouraging the recipient to get screened for colorectal cancer.
New this year to www.screen4coloncancer.org is a patient education video on colonoscopy. This informative video walks patients through what they need to know before, during and after a colonoscopy.

Anyone who has gotten tested in the last year, please post a blog comment. Let's see how many have already been tested and once you are tested, please let us know. We can all be accountable to other another. Just think, if you hate to have it done one time....I will have to have a colonscopy every 3 months for possibly 5 years. Now how depressing is that? ha. However, I would rather be doing tests than surgeries and chemo. :-(

Look forward to hearing from you.

As always, love to all.

Goodnight and God Bless,


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Praying for NED!!

Wow, I've missed talking to my family and friends online. The last chemo treatment was pretty intense and left me with my feet and hands extremely sensitive and........all the other things that come with chemo that I purposely don't share. My hands hurt just typing this but I decided that I have to move on and so that is what I'm going to do......

I would love to say since my last scheduled chemo is over that things are back to a somewhat "normal" status, whatever that is.... The fact is, I still have some hurdles to jump through, not that I will do it any other way than with the Lord, prayer and you. I have many doctor appts. this month and followed by all the testing they do in April. They always wait at least 9 weeks until they start testing to see if the cancer has moved anywhere else in my body and to check to make sure they got what was there. They call this NED (No evidence of disease)!!!! This is what we are praying for.....I really feel that it is GONE, GONE, GONE but I'll let them do the testing so we can prove that. "-) After the initial testing, I will continue to get tested every 3 months for awhile and then proceed from there. However, my Oncologist said they would not know the path they would follow until I am tested and results are returned.

In addition to this, they want me to have another chest exam to make sure the 3 lumps and the biopsy they've done is okay. They felt certain it was okay but want to make sure there hasn't been any spread of cancer during my chemo. One would think that chemo would kill any cancer cells from spreading but cancer can and does spread even while you are on chemo.....go figure, hard to imagine as hard as it is on your body. With mine being at such an advanced stage, increases the chance of re-occurence and spreading.....however, I do not claim it, nor do I hear it and my body can not receive it!! NED all the way!!

My doctor would not even hear of me returning to work yet. I, at first, was upset but since then have figured out why that is so....the chemo effects can get worse once you are off chemo and it takes your body awhile to get back to normal. I have had some unbelievable breakthrough pain, as they call it....so intense that you wonder how much longer you can go through it but the Lord and my family have helped me deal with the pain. One minute I am totally fine and then all of a sudden, the pain starts in one part of your body and within seconds your body feels like it is on fire inside and out and everything hurts. I still am unable to explain the pain. I did find information on my type of chemo and it said it is normal to go from mild to severe pain within seconds and the only thing that helps are pain meds. I decided I could write the articles for the doctors. ha. Not sure that I would want to but I sure could give some tips and advice that are not on websites for others to really understand what they are going to do through and ways to circumvent as much as possible. I'm sure anyone who has gone through it, could do the same.

I did go out for a couple of hours the past 2 days and I'm paying for it tonight. I never ever used to have pain anywhere, now it is what I live with.....so I understand what my doctor is talking about, as far as returning to work immediately. I couldn't even work on the computer for that long and I'm not up for all day yet. I wish I were because I want to get back ut my body right now has been through alot the last 8 months, so it has to rest, rebuild and restore.

Now more than ever, I feel everywhere I turn, someone has colon cancer. I just bought a Christian fiction book yesterday and got to the middle of it and the aunt is dying of.....you guessed it....colon cancer. How ironic of all books that I would pick that one and it is never mentioned anywhere on the cover about it? Reading about others going through the same thing really intrigues me. I guess I still have not fully comprehended the past 9 months that it is actually me going through this...so hearing other's story makes me want to listen, understand and try to relate to what they are going or have gone through.....to see how they are dealing with it. I just know that I have so much to be thankful for and have taken so much for granted that I want to make sure that I listen and learn from others as I continue this journey....

No matter the crisis the country is in, we are still by far the richest people in the world. Even the poorest people in the US are rich compared to so many Third World countries. Our country even has assistance. We think we have it bad and then you see where children are dying from diseases just from the flies. All they need is a $10.00 net to protect their family but they are unable to afford it so people die needlessly from disease; only because they do not have a net.

If God is concerned about the sparrow that falls to the ground and knows the number of hairs on our head, there is no question he cares about the smallest or biggest struggle in our lives. We may feel that our problems fall on deaf ears but I'm so glad that I know where I can turn to and that HE is always listening.

Thank you all so much for your support thus far, I'm going to continue to blog because I want to go back and savor the journey, no matter the outcome. I only expect to hear that I'm NED and I pray that no one else has to take any type of journey that makes you feel battered and bruised. However, always know that God is available 24/7 and you have a friend in me. I owe so many so much and I don't want to ever forget that.
Hope you enjoy the following, I've seen it several times and everytime it makes me laugh. :-)

Little? John the Baptist
Matt. 18:4-5 "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And who ever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. "
Johnny's mother looked out the window and noticed him "playing church" with their cat. He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work.
A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, "Johnny, stop that! The cat is afraid of water!" Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church."

As always, love to all,

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Someone is Praying for You"

"Someone is Praying for You"

When it seems that you prayed 'til your strength is all gone,
and your tears fall like raindrops all the day long
Jesus cares and He knows just how much you can bear
He'll speak your name to someone in prayer

Someone is praying for you
someone is praying for you
And when it seems you're all alone, and your heart would break in two
remember someone is praying for you

Have the clouds 'round you Gathered in the midst of a storm
Is your ship tossed and battered Are you weary and worn
Don't lose hope someone's praying For you this very day
And peace be still is already on the way

Someone is praying for you
someone is praying for you
And when it seems you're all alone, and your heart would break in two
remember someone is praying for you.

How many times have you heard someone say, I am praying for you? What did it mean to you? I will get back to these thoughts in a moment.

I am going to blog tonight because I know that it has been very difficult for my sister to do so lately. It has become very painful for her to type. There is not much to say about her condition without sounding like a broken record. Her chemo. is over which is a good thing but sometimes the side effects are worse after the treatments are over. She had a very bad spell this week. She said it was different from anything that she has experienced so far. You just never know what to expect next. It is a roller coaster as I have mentioned in the past. You are on the top of the hill only to come crashing down moments later. You finally see the station and think it is over only to have the ride start up again.

I keep very close tabs on her and I can be talking to her one min. and everything is fine and the next she is having extreme side effects again. It is unpredictable. I can only imagine how it is for her. Imagine you are sick, you start getting well and you get your hopes up only to relapse again. That is the story of chemo. God is the only one that can bring you through it and make the sun shine again. He has been with her all the way.

Being a caregiver you do all can to help them through it. You try to make them comfortable and wish you could take away the hurt and pain. It is not easy watching a family member or anyone suffer. You know there is only one person who can heal, so you turn to him. There have been many days that I have spent with her and have done all that I can to take care of her and the pain won't go away, you feel so helpless and you know that God is in control of the situation and he is the only one that can take care of her. I just start praying and I have watched God step on the scene. It is such a comfort knowing that he is available 24/7 and we can call him anytime. He expects us to ask. The Bible tell us to ask. We would ask our earthly father so why would we not ask our heavenly father who is our creator. He is a great God who wants to take care of his children.

We will all have difficult times in our life and prayer and a relationship with God is the most important thing to keep first in our life. I can tell you that when I am going through something, the most encouraging words that someone can say to me is "I am praying for you". Sometimes we feel that when we say that to someone that we really aren't doing enough. Do you realize the power of prayer and how prayer changes things? I could tell you lots of stories of how prayer changed things. When God lays someone on your heart to pray for, pray for them. You never know what the situation is and you may never know. It could be an emergency situation. There have been times when this has happened to me and I began to pray immediately only to find out later the situation and at times it was life and death. There is not time to ask questions, we just have to be obedient and do what he asks. We are to listen to the still small voice and respond. Pray and have faith for God to answer. He will always answer in his own time, not ours. Know that he did hear you when you called so don't give up. We are to bring our petition to him. When someone says they are praying for you they are signing their name to the petition that you are bringing before God. Do you know how great that is and how wonderful it makes you feel with so many people behind you. I have watched people and how they respond when you say to them " I am praying for you". I have watched their eyes light up, an extra spring in their step, worry ease from their face, etc. I even tell strangers that I will pray for them. I have never had anyone refuse the offer of prayer yet. It doesn't cost anything but the rewards are great. Just remember when you pray to praise and thank God for all he has done and all he is going to do.

I can tell you that through all of this, it is the prayers of everyone that has helped all of us make it through the situation. It gives strength to make it through the hard times and knowing that people are standing with you. I know your prayers have meant so much to Leah and have been an encouragement to her. Don't ever think that your prayers don't matter. It is what changes things. Thank you for all your prayers and support. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Everyone have a nice weekend and enjoy the sunshine.

God Bless You!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Last night was not a good night!

Last night I think my body gave me one of the last HURRAH's of pain! I must say it was the most excruciating pain I think I ever felt. I felt so bad because it was right before everyone went to bed and what a way to send off your children! My kidneys hurt, everything hurt....it was a another pain I had not gotten before. The great part is that for all intents and purposes, the chemo schedule is over.

I have testing in 9 weeks to make sure the chemo did what it was supposed to do. If it did, I don't have to worry about the chemo again.....if not, well.....I'm not sure and I'm not expecting this to happen so we'll have to wait to see.

Steve, as usual comforts me through the pain and is up within a couple of hours getting ready for work. There are no words to describe some people. I don't think I could have done it without him and even if I could have, wouldn't have wanted to try. I'm in awe of his strength.

My sister, Diane called me from Indiana last night. She told me that it was pretty warm yesterday. It was a whopping 35 degrees and they thought it was warm. I still cannot get warm and it has been warmer than that here. Believe it or not, I can hardely even type right now because of the neuropathy. The cold makes it so much worse. Oh well, as I said....I pray that it is all downhill from here.

I'm going to call my sister to stay with me today after last night. This will be the 3rd time I've actually called and asked someone to stay. Last night was pretty bad and I feel like I should probably have someone, just in case....I can't get it under control myself.

I'm going to sign off, as my hands are on fire but will blog more later. I know the best is yet to come, it is just going to take a while to get there.

As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It has sustained us thus far and I know it will get us through!
Love to all,