A little sunshine never hurt anyone...

Sunshine is the best medicine!  
Is everyone else as happy as I was to see the sunshine after many days of gray skies and rain??!!  I was loving wearing all of my cute rain boots but I did not enjoy the cold, rainy yuckiness.

This week has been full of emotions-exciting but sad, and busy but also slow.  

I met with a young girl that I’ve never met but share mutual friends with on Wednesday night.   She was just diagnosed with breast cancer this month.  I’m sure I overwhelmed her and her sweet mother with information regarding chemo, surgery, radiation, and more.  As sad as it makes me to hear about another lady that has to go through this terrible disease, I do get excited sharing God’s promises and His love.  He is perfect and will carry us through every single day, without ever turning His back.  I’ve witnessed this and want to share this with others during their time of need.  And I also love to remind people that no one fights alone.  

It’s crazy to say that it’s like a sisterhood but it truly is.  We are forever changed by this disease and we have to lean on God and others for courage during the scary times.  
So after explaining the details of chemo reactions, and what pillows worked for me after surgery, and how I loved to suck on lemon drops to keep from being nauseated, down to the radiation routine, I had to stop and simply say, “God’s got this and you’ll be okay.”  And then also this week I learned that another friend of mine was diagnosed and will undergo treatment very soon. She will be going to the same cancer center I’ve spent so much time at recently.  I can’t wait for her to meet the wonderful doctors and nurses who were so awesome during the time that I was there.  

I sent her the verse above, and she responded back that it was her ultimate favorite in the Bible.  I didn’t know that information at all, but wow!  Y’all talk about God showing out and shining through!  His word gives light and he wants the best for us. Please join me in praying for these precious ladies and their families.  Their worlds are pretty “upside down” right now, as I’ve been there recently.  Pray for an all knowing peace and ultimate healing.  God is the ultimate physician and I ask that he heals them completely SOON!  

As for the slow part of the week. I’ve truly rested each day after radiation.  I’ve even crawled back in the bed for a couple of hours, covered up to help with the chills, and slept some.  I’ve also started watching a great Netflix show When Calls the Heart ❤️.   Each episode is full of sweet messages but the one today was just this:  God guides, God provides-Isaiah 58:11
And how he’s done just that throughout this journey for us.  He has carefully guided us down this rocky path, and provided for us immensely, by sending peace and with all of our family and friends to help us through the battle.  He’s also helped pick me up on the days where I thought I could do no more, and given me strength to set out on another adventure. 
This week was Jett’s Mother’s Day program at school. 

 The song, the brunch, the precious crafts!  Every little detail was perfect and made this momma so grateful to have such sweet teachers guiding my child each day. 
We also attended the Laugh for the Cure fundraiser.  I’m not too big on “comedy club” type things but the actual benefit part of the event was amazing.  Tons of money was raised for women fighting this disease.  I could’ve cried big ole ugly tears when the auctioneer shared her breast cancer story.  And then when the bidding began and generous donations were made to help pay for ladies to receive mammograms, wigs, medicine, and more!  My heart was filled with sunshine as the rain poured down outside the Cigar Warehouse downtown Greenville.  I am so thankful for these men and women as they gave money to help others battling this disease.  

  So talking about sunshine... 
Since J has to work Monday, he went with me to radiation today and we celebrated the next to last one.  
They let him come back to see the machine and then he had to stand in the hallway for about 5 seconds while they closed the massive door for “the boost” to occur.  

The boosts have been done on just the tumor bed area so they drew on my chest to mark the spot and then made this template like piece for the machine to know exactly where to radiate.  I looked at it on Wednesday and thought...wow!  That’s just for me?  

 After they finish, it is melted so that others can be made, but isn’t that neat?
  These last few have been super emotional as were the first ones.  The friendships I’ve made and then knowing that this is the final step of killing any cancer left in body, keeps me  a little tearful.  
But on days like today, the sunshine shined through, as I rang the bell as we’ve come to an end.  

J’s been with me every step of the way, and as we stated in our vows, “through sickness and in health”, 
he’s never let me down.
So today was a good one.  
A little sunshine never hurts anyone and I’ve got two guys that bring tons of it to my world.
 I couldn’t be more blessed.  

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”  
John 12:46


It will be okay...

The last few weeks have been full of fun, as I’ve felt pretty good.  Spending time outside, planting flowers and playing with our cutie, has been pretty much all we’ve done.  And I’m okay with that.  

  I’m continuing with my radiation treatments each morning  and only have 5 more to go. 5!!!  Yeehaw!  The countdown is truly on now!  My skin is starting to burn under my arm and I’ve got stickers all over to mark the exact location where radiation is needed.   One of the stickers had to be changed last week, which caused a sore that hurts terribly.  But as far as my chest, it feels fine.  I’d like to think some of the minimal burning is from the constant use of Beauty Counter’s body wash.  It is such a safe and effective skin care line with no toxins. I highly recommend their products for those undergoing radiation soon or just simply for everyday use.  A special thanks to all of my Beauty Counter friends for sending goodies and getting me started on this wonderful brand.  The topical creams prescribed by my doctor have helped as well, I’m sure. 
   I was hopeful about finishing a day early and asked my doctor if maybe, just maybe, I could be done this Friday to celebrate with J since he’s off..  She very sweetly said “no mam, you will need all 33.  So we will celebrate twice, once on Friday with my main squeeze and then again on Monday when I’m officially DONE. And I can’t be more excited than to be finished with this part of my treatment plan, as it’s another step closer to the finish line.  I will miss the friends I’ve made at the Gibbs Center, and hope that I’ll stay in touch, as they’ve been the sweetest.

Last Friday night my elementary school chorus sang the National Anthem and I got to throw the first pitch out. 

 It was an awesome night seeing lots of former and current students and staff.  The emotions hit hard as I miss them all so.  One of my sweet current students must’ve hugged me 5 times and kept saying “I miss you, Mrs. Gault.”  My daddy saw the tears fall as I walked away from her.  He hugged me and said “they love you so and it’ll be okay.”  I know they are in the best care with the most precious sub, but I was with them for over half the year, and built close relationships, as I always do. Saying goodbye was so hard. But I know that they’ll be okay.  

 I went up to the school on Monday to sign my contract and couldn’t not stop by room 202 to hug them all.  They’re a precious group of kids, and they’ll always hold an extra special place in my heart.  They were so understanding  during some of the tougher days after my chemo treatments.  The love notes they wrote me during the times when I was weak, lifted my spirits so.  I’ll miss them next year but am looking forward to being 100% when starting a new school year.

Jett’s had a big week as we brought home a new horse.  He’s been missing our Cookie and still talks about him a lot.  We pass by where he’s buried daily and he always asks, “Mommy, Cookie won’t come back, will he?”  And as much as it breaks my heart to say no, that’s my answer every time. Jett then says, “buts it’s going to be okay, right Mommy?” And I couldn’t agree more with him.  Yes!  All is okay, buddy!  So we are super excited to add Smoke to our family.  He’s a beautiful sorrel and quite a lover. 

 He comes running when you barely whistle and will let you rub on him for hours.  And Jett’s first ride went amazingly well, so that’s even better.  J is of course excited to have him and I just know that they are going to make an awesome team.  So much of a cowboy’s time is spent on the back of a horse and we all have heard the quote:  “no hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.”  I know that’s my guy’s happy place, for sure.  And he deserves it.  He’s been so good to me during this crazy year of doctor’s appointments, tons of medicine, surgery, and more.  To hear him pray for my healing and feel his comforting touch, makes me fall in love with him over and over.  God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed him in my life more than 20 years ago.  My parents were a little concerned with the age difference at that time but  I know that they’ve always loved my guy.   It brings them peace knowing that J takes good care of us, and we’re okay.  

After nine months since being diagnosed, and meeting so many friends that have also been given the bad news of cancer, my heart gets so heavy when I hear that word.  Laying on the radiation table this morning, I prayed so hard for a friend who was having a biopsy done during my radiation time.  She’s waiting to hear back for sure but they’ve told her that it is most likely cancer.  God, hold her tight.  Let her feel Your presence and help her to know that You will be with her through this trying time.  When talking to her just now, the words “it’s going to be okay” came out immediately.  I’ll always remember my own doctor telling me that.  “It’s going to be okay, and you are going to be fine.”  And she was so right.  It’s not been fun and there have been dark days where I’ve wanted to give up, but I’m constantly reminded of the greater power of Jesus.  I can’t help but think that He’s using my story to share His truth with people in my life.  

So do you see a theme here?  IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY!
 I feel like God is speaking to me...
This weekend a book that I had forgotten I’d ordered came in the mail and guess what the title is? 
 “It Will Be Okay”. 

 Lysa Terkeurst is one of my favorite Christian authors and when I heard that she had a children’s book out, I knew it was one that had to be on Jett’s bookshelf.  It’s the sweetest story of a seed and a fox.  Through their friendship, the two characters learn how God is always with them through scary times and how He is always watching over us.  And in the end, they learn that everything will be okay, because God's good and He is kind.  Hearing my mother-in-love read this book aloud to our little fellow, reassured me so of this truth.  There’s no reason to doubt God’s plan, 
as it is always perfect.  

And then the first song that I heard this morning was  Kenny Chesney and David Lee Murphy’s, “It’ll Be Alright”.  It’s got such a catchy beat and I just love it.  

Ha!  Don’t hit the panic button.  I’ve done that several times for sure.  But I can’t help to know just that.  Everything is going to be alright, as long as I have my eyes fixed on Him, as He’s the only ONE who has set my path.  

So just as my precious doctor and my daddy told me, and I’ve said to my friend just today, “it’ll be okay”.  

Last night confirmed that promise as we went to the Outcry concert with friends.  That worship time was unbelievable.  Music always moves me, most of the time to tears, and it happened several times last night as we sang our hearts out.  
My most favorite song of the night was when Elevation Worship sang  “Do It Again.”  

The Lord was present last night.
  I could feel Him in that arena.  
His promise still stands.  I’m still in Your hands.
 He is here now and forever, right by my side.  
And by yours.  
And knowing that makes everything okay.  

“My heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7

“Do It Again.”


Kindness matters!

I knew that I wanted to do something special for the radiation care team that has been taking care of me.  I’ve been seeing them now for 4 weeks and they truly are a breath of fresh air every morning that I walk into the dreaded radiation room.  We are always laughing about something or talking about our kids, but they truly lighten the mood each and every time.  

So yesterday I called Maple Street Biscuit Company and ordered a breakfast for them to enjoy since today was the end of a long, full work week.  I made sure that napkins, plates, and forks would be included and was excited about making the delivery.  I left home early enough to stop by the Five Forks location and as I was nearing the turn into the entrance, my phone rang, showing an odd number.  I answered it and spoke with Michael, who explained that he was calling from Maple Street to let me know that there wasn’t any parking spots on East North Street and that he could run my order out to me so I wouldn’t have to worry about parking.  I panicked.  East North Street!!!  What in the world had I done?  I made the to go order at the wrong location and there was no possible way I could make it all the way across town and then to my 8:30 radiation spot off Pelham.  Immediately he told me that it would be ok and that he’d call the Five Forks location, get the order in, and that it would be ready shortly. And it was.  I walked in, a sweet young guy helped me with coffee, told me the order would be ready in a few minutes, and then he asked me what the occasion was for.  And that’s when I lost it.  As I told him who it was for and how special they were to me during this leg of the journey, the tears started.  I just couldn’t get myself together, thinking about these 2 precious young men and how kind they were through this whole mix-up that was totally my fault. Never once were they snippy or batted an eye to make things ever so perfect.  The bag was packed with all utensils, they readied the food, and then this sweet fellow told me that he’d be praying for me.  I couldn’t leave without hugging him as I walked out of the door.  My heart was absolutely overflowing when I made it to my car and I still had 15 minutes until I needed to be at the Gibbs Center, after all that.  Whew!  God placed those fellows in my path on this early Friday morning adventure.  They didn’t know my story when I placed the order.  They didn’t think “aw, this girl had cancer, so let’s be nice to her”.  They dealt with this situation like Jesus would have, with loving hearts and a smile. They weren’t hateful or irritated, just compassionate and helpful.  And that meant so much to me.  And then to see the excitement from the ladies over a simple breakfast meal. That brought enough joy to my heart to last awhile. Kindness matters, y’all.  So I’ve mentioned this restaurant before, but now I know that it’s one of the best.  So if you happen to go to the East North Street location, ask for Michael or the Five Forks location, ask for Jordan.  

And hug them.  They are both great guys and ones that I will always remember.  

Radiation number 22 happened after all of this and like expected, my skin is beginning to burn.  It’s like a sunburn...you know how you feel like you didn’t get anything after a day at the beach?   And then BAM!  So I’m thankful for two days away from the rays of radiation and excited about a fun weekend ahead.  I was listening to MercyMe on the way this morning and their song “Burn, Baby Burn” came on.  Ha!  How appropriate.

  I’d never heard the song but it caught my attention. The lyrics say: “We shine cause we’ve been saved by grace.  We are the light, light of the world, light up the night, when will we learn? Now is our time, now is our turn, so burn, baby burn.” I’m literally burning now but must remember to light up the world and shine His light on others.  We never know what people are going through and He can use us to comfort them.  Seize the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus and ask Him to open your eyes to the ones hurting around you.  I just know that you’ll find your love burning brighter and stronger when you do.  The guys today were on fire, as their flames shone bright!  So burn, baby burn. 

So for the weekend plans...my school chorus is singing the National Anthem tonight at the Greenville Drive game and I get to throw out the first pitch.  You would think that I’ve practiced since the Hillcrest game and not quite throwing it hard enough, but I haven’t had the chance.  So prayers that the ball will travel a little further.  This girl is so not athletic but I’m super excited to see lots of familiar faces from the school I love so and even some that I’ve taught in second grade.  Clemson’s Spring Game is on the agenda for tomorrow and that’s a must for our little tiger fan.  The Renfrow jersey is laid out and we can’t wait to see them play.  

Many people say that I’m constantly doing something or going somewhere and yes!  I’m bad about not slowing down but honestly, keeping my mind filled with happy thoughts helps keep me “raised up”.   And my complete trust is in God, as I just know he’s taking care of me.  And that’s comforting.  

Please join me in praying for a young lady that I haven’t met yet that was recently diagnosed.  I’ve been where she is right now, scared to death.  I’ve walked the path that she’s about to walk.  Psalm 40:2 states “He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from the deep mud.  He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.”  My hope for her is that she feels the hand of God doing just this, holding her tightly and preparing her for her journey.  

I’ve cannot end this post without sharing a great find that just happened to come across my Facebook feed last week.  So most of you know that I opted for no reconstruction after my bilateral mastectomy.  I feel that it was the best decision for me and haven’t regretted it one time since.  And I don’t think I will.  So yes, I wear prosthetics most of the time and am perfectly happy with that.  BUT...they can be heavy!  So when I saw these Knitted Knockers, I have to say, my heart skipped a beat.  The lady’s testimony who organized this wowed me and I immediately sent in my request for a pair.  The cool thing is they are FREE and since ladies all across the country knit these for this organization, they try to partner you up with someone local.  So Miss LuAnn in Anderson, thank you!  They are light weight and do just what I need them to do!  

I hope your weekend is full of fun.  This spring weather has me ready to plant some flowers and enjoy the sunshine.  
Love you all!  

“Praise the Lord.  Happy are those who fear the Lord.  They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.  Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.”  Psalm 112: 1,7-8



We met our goal!

Thank you all so much for donating to this great cause!  We met our $500 goal!  How awesome is that!  We love you!  



Milestones and Miracles

Today was a milestone kind of day as I finished 17/33 of my radiation treatments.  I’ve gotten into a routine and the actual treatments are a piece of cake.  I never thought I’d say that but they are.  I look forward to seeing the techs each morning and am so thankful for each of them as they seal the deal on the cancer cells.  The skin is starting to chap slightly but the topical solution prescribed helps.   I don’t miss a single dose of rubbing that in to help protect the skin.
  A few days ago, while waiting for treatment, I met a lady that was diagnosed two weeks after me and has been following my blog and story.  She was so kind as she shared how it has helped her a lot with knowing what to expect during each step of the breast cancer journey, from the port placement to now radiation.  It meant so much to hear that the words God has helped me write, have been those of inspiration to her during her fight.  
And then today I saw her again.  She’s actually the mother of a friend of mine.  What a small world!

So after I finished my 17th round, I met my boys and enjoyed a little breakfast at one my favorites, Maple Street Biscuit Company.  I always get a delicious chicken biscuit, topped with bacon, covered in maple syrup.  Y’all! I could lick the plate clean when I’m done, it’s that good.   And it is such a fun restaurant, the food is amazing, the staff is extra friendly, and was a perfect place to celebrate this day I’ve had marked on my calendar!  

After that goodness filled our bellies, I came home to do somethings around the house and painted with my cute buddy.  

I then sat down to read my devotion for today.   Isn’t it amazing how sometimes they are perfectly written for what’s going on in your life, at that very moment?  It focused on suffering and struggles. Whoa!  Speak to me God!   Don’t we all experience these throughout our lives, daily?  

Right now one of my sweet teacher friends has a baby that is fighting for her life.  Hadley Ann was born on Monday and was diagnosed Tuesday with CDH-Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.  She underwent surgery on Thursday and did great.  The doctor was pleased with how smooth the surgery went as he stitched up the hole in her diaphragm.  Please continue to pray for her mommy and daddy, 2 older brothers, and this sweet baby as she still has quite a road to being completely well.  

Many staff and friends gathered yesterday at our school to lift this angel up, praying for ultimate healing and the doctors.   I just know that as Miss Hadley grows up, she will forever be able to tell the testimony of God healing her body. Sweet girl...we are continuing to pray for you as you  continue to fight through this storm.   I know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made and that God will hold you in His hands throughout your entire life.  He’s promised us that.  And I’ve heard you are fiesty so fight , fight, fight, baby girl!  

So back to the devotion for today, in Paul’s letter to Timothy, he shares that struggles will come our way.  We are marked by the battles we fight in our lives, and everyone’s battle is different.  Our hearts, minds, and bodies bear the scars of this world.  But our job is to show God’s power in our weak times, praising His name.
These past 8 months have definitely been a struggle
at times, for sure.  
   But those times have allowed me to see God’s work, as he’s healed me, made me stronger,  and helped me to fully rely on Him through the dark times. 
We all experience different situations that bring us closer to Him and one of my “breast friends” shared my very own surgeon’s testimony with me recently.  Listen as he shares how God is in the miracle business.  
I’ve sent this to many of my close friends and family but wanted everyone to watch.  This touched us all so much, coming from such a precious man that worked with my team to save my life.  If you ever read this Doctor Millican, thank you for your perfect removal of the tumor from my body that tried to kill me.  

So we know miracles can happen. 

It was a miracle that sweet Hadley Ann’s mommy knew something wasn’t quite right in the wee hours of the morning, after she was born.  

It was a miracle that Doctor Millican’s son was found safe and sound.   

It was a miracle that I found my tumor when I did and that it was contained.  

God listens.  
He understands our hopes and fears. 
And when we trust in His love, miracles take place.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
  2 Corinthians 4:8-10




We had a wonderful time this year with our family celebrating Easter.   

Egg hunts, dying eggs, Easter Bunny visits, crafts, prizes, candy, and more, helped usher in this holiday, but we all know that Jesus’ resurrection is what it’s truly all about.  Jett, now four, begs to hear the story of Easter.  As I tell the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and rising from the grave that morning to our blue eyed angel,  I honestly can say that I’ll never tire, telling those stories.  We’ve got several picture books that he adores and the Easter nesting eggs help simplify it as well.  

And he’s quite in love with our resurrection eggs too.  He asks a billion questions that we try very hard to answer so that he can understand.  I think this year with reading the story to him a lot, it touched me more than it ever has.  Just knowing that Jesus conquered death and claimed victory over the grave, turns such sorrow into joy.  Can I get a hallelujah?  
And knowing eternity will be spent with Him, helps me trust in his plan even more, each day.
My complete hope is in Him,  and I ask him daily to heal my body, but also to live in light of the resurrection with great joy and hope.  

The best part of Easter morning was hearing J share why Easter is special to Jett.  Just like most children, Jett got caught up in the presents from the Easter bunny. So to hear the man God placed in my life to be by my side, tell Jett about our awesome Savior, brought tears to my eyes. I constantly thank God for this guy of mine, who loves the Lord, and fervently prays for me and our family.  

So as far as where we are in the treatment plan...radiation is still happening. I’ve felt pretty good these last few weeks and the radiation visits are ticking by.  Today was number 14 and the ladies are just as sweet as ever. Friday will be halfway day and I’ve got a small celebration up my sleeve! Oh and they consider me a “movement risk” and have had to put a ring around my toes so that I don’t dance to the music!  How funny is that?  

 But after each check in, I’ve met some really nice people in the waiting room at the Cancer Center. Many tease me that I could talk to a stop sign, and I could probably, but I truly feel like God has put these people in my life for a reason.  I look forward to talking with them each morning, even if it is just for a few minutes.  Their smiles and kind words of inspiration help so much as we all are going through a “not so fun” part of a journey.  Last Thursday a man followed me in for his treatment,  complimented my pink tennis shoes, and said that he liked “the pep in my step”.  I, of course, thanked him and stopped right then to thank God for giving me the energy and “get up” to take this “bull of radiation” by the horns. With 19 more to go, I haven’t had any redness or irritation.  I’m not holding my breath that I won’t have any but I’m hopeful that it’ll be minimal.  Fatigue is coming slowly, as they said it would, but I’m trying to roll with the punches and enjoy each day. 

We ventured to the zoo with friends last week and since our school district is on Spring Break, we hit the children’s museum with cousins yesterday. That was lots of fun.  The best part of the day was riding the merry-go-round.  

I felt like a kid again.  And who doesn’t love feeling a little youthful!!??  
A nap was a must after these trips and those are essential these days.  I find myself get real snippy if I’m overtired, so a little rest is encouraged by family members.  
hot flashes have started to happen, I guess with all of the hormonal changes after my mastectomy, they were sure to come.  Here’s a funny...  I had one the other night at dinner and my dad actually said he saw the redness creep up my neck.  I may be purchasing lots of fans to carry with me soon because those are no fun at all! 
My hair is coming in like crazy, and we’re on cut number two!  I’m loving the “freedom” of not wearing my wig or a hat most days! 

And speaking of freedom, I’m so not used to being out of school.  I love my job, the kids, my team, the staff, and I miss it terribly.  I know that I’m doing what’s best for my body by resting and healing.  
 So as I sit here writing this, I can hear the birds chirping and the breeze is flowing in through the open windows.  

It’s quiet and it’s peaceful.  
For years I have been so busy working and doing the daily routine of life that I haven’t had the chance to slow down and take in the simple things. 
And now I am. 
He’s made me slow down and with that, 
I can appreciate every aspect of the beauty in a new season. 

A season of good health.
A season of  a stronger faith.  
A season to spend lots of time with loved ones.  

Thank you Lord for your great faithfulness.  
And thank you for your Son.  
Let us remember the reason we celebrate the Easter holiday each and every single day.  

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Oh and thank you so much to those who have donated money to the Power Women in Pink Fundraiser.  $320
dollars has been raised so far and I’m so close to meeting my goal is $500.  Woohoo!  Here’s a little more info about it...

Here’s the link again if you’d like to donate!  


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