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Walk on. Have faith. Fear not.





Excited and fearless are I know two crazy words for the feelings that I had for this #4 treatment, but that's how I felt Wednesday morning.   I was slightly concerned that my counts may have been low because they were for #3 (90 and needed to be 100), but when they told me they were 129 and we were ready to go, I could've done a happy dance!  The last big one of the A/C cocktail!  I can tell that the tumor has shrunk by at least 50% just by feeling, and that is the best feeling in the world to know that these toxins being put in my body are working to kill this!  

So on the way up to the chemo pod I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite songs "Good, good Father".  It brings tears each time I hear it but man....it's true!  He's so good!  My favorite part is this... 



Perfect in all of your ways....never would I say that this road of cancer was perfect by any means, but seeing how much closer I am to my precious Lord and Savior because of this trial.  Yeah, He is perfect!  And the peace so unexplainable.  When I sit in that big chemo chair, or lay on the couch, or in our bed, I truly have an all consuming peace that whether I live 5 years after this battle or 50 years, the peace that I have, knowing that I'll live forever with Him is wonderful. I pray for a long life with all of those I love and those that  love me but his peace.  It's amazing!  

Chemo #4, like all of the others, was somewhat like a party.  My family and friends came to cheer me on, brought delicious treats and huge smiles.  My tribe never ceases to amaze me!  The nurses usually are very shocked by the number of people that come behind me and have told us that only 2 can be with me in the room at a time, but we seem to overlook that rule and stay quiet and no one says a thing.  It's amazing how small talk, visitors and food make the day fly by!



Clint and Cathy Carter came and prayed with us before it all began.  I just love them and will always remember their love and welcoming spirit when I changed my membership to FIFBC.  
The girl tribe kept me in stitches, talking about everything under the sun!  
And this sweet friend!  She was always like a another big sister to me, working at the jewelry store.  "Long friendships are like jewels, polished over time to become beautiful and enduring." ~Celia Brayfield
And didn't we polish our fair share of jewels, sweet Aimee!  
And sweet Meredith and my mother-in -❤️!  I just love them and am so glad they are a part of my family.   

My parent's preacher came and circled us in prayer and is always so precious with the texts he sends me daily as I am recovering.  

And then my massage therapist friend comes in each time to massage my feet right before I leave.  She's so gentle and soft spoken that I almost fall asleep and don't want to leave the heated massaging chair.  I'll miss seeing her but look forward to the Friday massage girl after a long day of teaching.  

And finally this boy!  He hasn't missed a doctor's appointment or a treatment and continues to hold me up
on my weakest days and sees me when I crumble.  God gave me you!  And I'm blessed beyond measure!  

I haven't felt like reading over the last three treatments but did yesterday, so these are two wonderful books that were given to me and I cannot put them down.  


Fervent is by Priscilla Shirer from the War Room and she does a jam up job coaching you on how to pray for every aspect of your life.  My favorite passage so far in her book is in the chapter about FEAR.  



And the other one, When God Doesn't Fix It, by Laura Story,      tells the story of when her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and how she found joy in this terrible trial.  She discusses how tempted she was to be angry with God but then she says "am I going to let my circumstances determine my view of God or am I going to let God determine how I view my circumstances?   Wow!  One of Laura's songs says it all...we pray for your Your Mighty hand to ease our suffering.  

Blessings

So now for another day of rest.  You'll find me laying in the bed probably wearing my new boots!  Ha! Nah!  I'll save them for tomorrow night but they came and fit and I can't wait to rock them.   Meeting the UPS man at the door with my bald head probably scarred him for life, but this overnight delivery made the day worth it!   


So for prayer requests... 
Pray for so many that have just recently found out about a new diagnosis and are suffering and worried.

Please pay that I continue to feel well and can stay active.  

Prayers for the upcoming 12 Taxol rounds through December. 

Prayers for decisions regarding surgery and reconstruction. 

Prayers for our family as they are continuously helping with Jett and making daily life run smoothly.  

And pray for those that are lost.  Pray that they can find Jesus and see His wonderful plan that he has for us all.  

Race for the Cure is next weekend and I'm so excited to see lots of friends who have already won this battle and those fighting alongside me!   It you haven't registered and would like to here's the link!  It's not too late!  

Race for the Cure

So that's all for now!  Walk on. Have faith. And fear not.  

"It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure."  2 Samuel 22:33





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Through the eyes of a lion...



My long time friend Jane sent me a podcast today called "Through the eyes of a lion" and boy did I need it.  I posted this picture on Tuesday because I simply needed Jesus and your prayers.  



I called out to Him and he took charge and helped me stand up again to prove that all things are possible with Him.  I was weak and hurting.  Chemo #3 was tough.  The terrible hurricane Irma was devastating to so many in our country, and the stormy weather here, had me confined to our house.  I believe I had a little bit of cabin fever.  Jett was up at 5 AM on Tuesday morning, going 100 mph, Jeremy left for work not sure of when he would return home because of all of the power outages, I was tired, and felt like a horrible mommy who couldn't keep her eyes open.  I felt the weight of the world on top of me.  Calling my mom who is always there to listen was first, who called my dad because she had a hair appointment and couldn't come be with me at that moment.  My sweet daddy came and laid on my bed with me and let me cry. He held my hand and wiped away those big tears.  I truly was battling depression and y'all..I've never experienced it like this.  Of course I went through some depression when we wanted a baby.  I remember crying myself to sleep at night and praying for God to grant us a child.  And he did.  In his timing.  But on this day, the devil was trying to inch into my heart and take over completely.  I had to really dig down deep and trust His promises.  I wanted to throw my hands up, but I didn't and had to remember this is part of God's plan and I need to lean in more to His word.  When I trust and obey Him, I feel so close and the sense of calmness and reassurance is overwhelming.  

So after such a terrible morning of pain and sadness, my mom finished up her hair appointment., took us to Target where Jett melted down over not getting a Spider Man umbrella.  Target usually brings lots of happiness to us all, but this day was a struggle in all for everyone.  Lunch followed with take out from Panera and I did begin to feel better after getting out a little.  Things were looking up and my attitude started to improve.  I continued to call on Jesus though to pull me through.  They say to always keep your head up because if it is down you won't be able to see the blessings God has put into your life. And let me just say the blessings flowed in like a rushing river all of a sudden.  Dinner was brought by our sweet cousin, Leanne, along with her two littles which included some playtime with Jett and adult interaction for me. 


The cute Smith sisters that I've never actually met, but already love, showed up to let me know that they've been praying for me and brought cactus pens for my classroom and hugs.  My friend Erica came carrying a life sized Cat Boy character that doesnt leave our side for Jett and loved on us.  

An apple pie and a bushel of apples from an amazing breast cancer survivor herself, Brandi and her angel of a husband, Chris.  And then pumpkins for our mantle from my high school friend Leigh Anne and her girls.  I mean, I wanted to just fall on my knees as I was overwhelmed with the kindness of these precious people as they took the time to come and love on us on a day that began so terribly.  This storm has truly allowed us see to how Jesus wants us to love on people in your community and be servants to others during all trials of life.  I pray we can pour the blessings we've received lately on others in the future immensely.  

So listening to this podcast by Levi Lousko, I took some notes.  Listen to this link above when you can but here are a few highlights that I jotted down and wanted to share:

*Look at life through a lions' eyes.  Lions see long sided.  They can see long distances and they have a white stripe under each eye which causes all visible light to go in.  They can take advantage of all light and we need to focus on Jesus' light and see his plan that lays before us.  

*What God produces in you, you can keep forever in eternity.  

*Let God use your pain.  Believe that inside of any pain, there is power.  

*Live with your heart set on Heaven, but with your feet still on Earth isn't easy. 

*Suffering is not an obstacle to being used by God.   It is an opportunity for you to be used by God like never before. 

So I'll end with this...



Jesus, I want to be that soldier, roaring my way through this tough battle. Thank you for being my rock and allowing me to stand on your promises.  

Next week I'll have my last big chemo treatment, followed by 12 Taxol treatments on Fridays through December.

Here are some prayer requests...
Platelet counts up on Wednesday so I can have chemo

Strength and power like no other to rise above the depressing moments 

J, Jett and our family as they do so much to help me with every day life 

Pray for all those that have suffered in the hurricanes and some people that are so near and dear to our family that have their own storms right now

"The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord, lack no good thing." Psalm 34:10

Oh and don't forget to register under Tribe Cactus for 
Race for the Cure.  We're ready!  



Love to all!  


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Chemo round #3

Despite the rain, this round was easy and I kind of feel like an ole pro at it....but let me say I am ready for it to be over!  I don't want to be a professional at chemotherapy!  3/4 are done and one more biggie and then 12 rounds of Taxol and I'll be done, done, done with chemo!  Hooray!  Christmas will be a wonderful time to celebrate for many reasons.  

Lots of friends and family stopped by to pray with us, bring lunch, smoothies, snacks, and more.  My heart explodes each time someone walks in the pod.  The social butterfly in me needs my room full each time to take my mind off of the process.











After therapy today we picked Jett up from daycare and surprised him with a Happy Meal and a Paw Patrol character from the gift shop at the cancer center.  We take one home after each visit and Jett gets so excited over these.


But as we were laying down to watch a movie, he leaned over and kissed me and said out of the blue, "mommy...you're not going to die, are you?"  This hit me in the gut.  Hard.  Like a truck. It almost made me sick and then the waterworks began.  I immediately prayed for the Lord to give me the right words to respond to that and thankfully since his attention span is short like a normal 3.5 year old, he moved quickly onto another topic of conversation.  Whew!  But honestly I do think about dying sometimes.  God only knows the exact amount of time I've been granted on this Earth and I do pray that it is a long life, but we never know.  I want to see Jett grow up and do wonderful things. I want to see him read his first book by himself.  I want to see him ride in his first rodeo.  I want to see him go to Kindergarten and graduate from high school and of course finish college.  I want to meet his wife and meet my grandchildren.  I want to be able to take care of my parents and J's parents.  I want to have grey hair and grow old with Jeremy and enjoy our days together. I want to live a long, full life.   I think about this a lot.  That's why I'm fighting like crazy and will continue.  With Triple Negative (which is the type I have) breast cancer, it can be more aggressive and more likely to reoccur.  15% of all diagnosises are TN and I've met several people who had this same type and are doing well and have been cancer free for years.  So this helps me to stay positive and not think about the bad and have HOPE.  I know my doctor is treating this disease with the best medicines and my personal prognosis is good and I trust that.  I trust God too.  He's held me tight for the past 37 years and even closer these last 3 months.  He'll continue to do so until my last day here.  That's comforting to know during the times when it's tough.  Whew!  Now for when Jett asks that question again, praying I'll have a good answer for him.  Pray for those perfect words too, will you?!  

So for now I'll rest a lot over these next few days and throughout the weekend.  Mashed potatoes, pineapple slushies, and milkshakes are on the menu and I'll be just fine. Normalcy will occur on Sunday again and for the next week, hopefully.    

Thanks for all of your continued prayers and the love you all have poured out over our family.  The Meal Train meals and restaurant gift cards have been perfect and delicious.   Having your prayers and help with feeding our family has been the biggest blessing!  I'm very thankful that my sister-in-law set that up for us to make life easier on our day to day routine.  Here's the link....
Meal Train

So to end this post...Y'all know we love music and the song that I think of constantly when I think of our friends and family is this one.  James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" reminds me of all of my precious friends and the support system God blessed us with.  Our friends have come running just like the song says...winter, spring, summer, fall!  All you have to do is call.  Hugs!  Until we see each other again....

"You've Got a Friend"


"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul."  Hebrews 6:19



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Goodbye hair!




This above says it all!  No hair is on my head and what a wonderful feeling it is, I must say.  More about that in a few... 

This will be a short post but it's been awhile since I've posted.  The 48 hours after my second chemo was truly yucky, but once again I felt better on Sunday and have made it this far at school this week without collapsing on my 23 kiddos.  Exhausted doesn't even describe the feeling after school, but my Mom and Dad, J, and several parents at school,  have been a huge help.  

Jett continues to be such a trooper and he thinks his mommy is extra cool right now.  You see on Wednesday I came home with this little grey box on my arm (NEULASTA meds) that blinked and clicked, and made me like a robot in his eyes and the whole hair thing... bald one minute, BeyoncΓ© hair the next??!  Whoa!  I'm even confused!!  And he hasn't missed a beat.  Thanks be to God for allowing this angel boy to love me through all of this.  We were in the car the other night and he said out of the blue..."praise the Lord, mommy!"  I immediately asked him for what, and he said "cause you have hair!"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  It's when we get home and lay down when he reaches for it, that the tears begin to fall.  Gosh I love that boy and I know it will grow back! 

So what's to come...I have two more big rounds of Adriamycin (the red devil) and Cytoxan on September 6 and 20.  Then on October 6, I'll start 12 rounds of Taxol every Friday.  Surgery will follow in probably February, with radiation, and then reconstruction probably in the summer.  It's going to be a long year but God has this.  He has given me EVERY single little thing that I've needed to be able to sustain, along with your prayers.  He truly takes the fear away and has brought so many new people into my life that I've been able to help through this trying time.  Two precious women right here in Greenville that I've been in contact with are battling the "little c" and I just cannot wait to hug them when we meet.  Our time together will be precious as survivor meets survivor on this journey that we are on.  

Yesterday I had to have a head shot taken for the upcoming Pumps and Pearls Fashion Show in October. 


 How fun is it going to be to walk the runway (and try not to fall) with other precious survivor friends??!! Who doesn't love to be pampered and have a personal shopper pick out some fun clothes for ya!!??  Thanks to my friend Rachel who took the head shot pictures and Erica who always comes to my make up rescue!  And the wig!  Y'all!  I love it so much and may have to just wear it forevah!!!  Nah!  Hoping my hair will grow back and be somewhat fixable.  But seriously...so thankful for something that makes me feel normal.  


But then today it got real again as I had to have my head completely shaved.  Most of my hair was gone but I had these crazy straggles in the weirdest places on my scalp that were driving me insane under my wig.  J was going to shave it for me but I happened to venture to the wig store to get a much needed"gripper".  You see... Jett almost pulled my wig off in church on Sunday.  Yeah that was hilarious!  So the precious lady at the wig store said she'd do it for me and that's what happened and I'm loving it.  Free!  That's a good word to describe the feeling!    



Now that I'm completely bald I can't help but think of this hilarious book I always read to my class each year.  If you've never read Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch, please do!  


This whole bald head thing just cracks me up as I think of the main character in the story.  She gets frustrated and wants to be unique at school so she tries all different types of hair styles and the kids copy her and then she threatens to shave her head.  She ends up not following through with that but her friends and teacher do.  This picture just makes me laugh until I could cry!  



So I don't want my wig falling off at school and traumatizing my little friends.  Hoping the gripper will be the answer!  

Again, thanks for all of your love and prayers.  Keep them coming as each week is an obstacle.  Please continue to pray for my immune system to stay strong.  I love my job and my students and just want to keep doing what I love.  

"Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way."  Psalm 44:18



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I need thee....



Yesterday morning I just couldn't get the words from one of my favorite hymns to leave my brain as I was preparing for round #2. " I need thee, oh I need thee, every hour I need thee, oh bless me now my Savior, I come to thee." I was super anxious.  The first round experience seemed so easy and painless that I just couldn't help to worry about the second one...especially since on Friday this HUGE new lump appeared under my arm.  Nervous.  Nah!  Scared to death was more like it.  I talked to my nurse to see if they thought I should come in on Monday, but we decided Wednesday morning was close enough.  Turns out it that it was some type of infection in the form a boil.  After two rounds of antibiotic, I'm on the mend.  Thank you Jesus!

Yesterday began with my port accesss which was painless because I followed directions.  The directions say that an hour before you go, place a dollop size of Litacain on the portsite for numbing and cover with Saran Wrap.  So last time I listened only partially, placed the dollop on the site and then rubbed it in like I was rubbing lotion on a baby, until J came in and yelled "stop".  See I was supposed to just leave the big blob alone and not rub it in, so only that site would be numb.  This time I did it correctly and it worked.  My best friend Erica met us at the cancer center and went with me for this step.  I know she loves me because the girl doesn't do hospitals and she did great ALL day long!!!!  Next up was to see the doc. He looked at my lump that had me so worried and didn't seemed concerned at all.  And already antibiotics are seeming to do the trick.  Counts were good!πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ» So off we went for round #2 of the hard stuff.  I am on Adriamycin and Cytoxan for these first four rounds.  My sweet nurse yesterday was as calm and patient as my first one, taking all the jitters away.  She was a twin and her sister worked on the very same floor so that was neat to hear their story.  




They were both born with crooked pinkies and said that they made pinky promises the whole time they were in the womb!  Once again, God had a hand in placing these girls in my puzzle.  

During the chemo we enjoyed donuts that Erica brought for the whole oncology floor, Karen's coconut cake for J's birthday, and my favorite, Chicken Salad Chick, for lunch.  

Our precious friends Rob and Sandy White came and prayed with us, leaving us all so comforted.  His voice and words are straight from the heart and as my precious family circled closely around me during this time of prayer, I knew God was present during this huge time of need, just like in the words of that song, "I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord, No tender voice like Thine can peace afford." 


My favorite rendition of this song is by Joey and Rory Feek. Occasionally I'll catch a special on tv with her story of ovarian cancer and hearing her testimony and the her beautiful voice sing, stops me in my tracks and leaves me in tears, every time.  Big crocodile tears.  I often think to myself how terribly sad that God took her so young from her little girl,  husband, and family.   I don't question his plan EVER but wow, to see her strength through it all, praising His name the whole way through, is exactly how he wants us to be.  She is such an inspiration to many and my prayer is to be that encouraging, always choosing joy.  I want to fight for my life, even when it's hard to fight for and lastly I want to be real.  This whole road I'm on stinks!  It's not fun. It's scary as heck.  But in the end, I hopefully want to look back and know that I've helped others get through trials and that's it doable.  

So choosing joy is what we did yesterday.  J's 41st birthday was yesterday and we celebrated big. 


 Pancake breakfast, donuts, coconut cake in the hospital and a visit from his mom and dad, lunch, presents, dinner with family.  I didn't schedule my chemo on his birthday and honestly wanted to change it when I knew it was on his day but I didn't, and he wouldn't let me.  So we took the party to pod 5 and rocked it out.  Nurses enjoyed cake and donuts and hopefully Jeremy felt tons of love on his day.  








The sweetest girl, Lauren, came and interviewed me for the Spirit of the Tiger program.  We had tons of mutual friends and when she left I just couldn't help but think that she was yet another one of the people I've met on this road that has been pure blessings to us.

The last step of the process for the day was the Neulasta patch.  The last time I had to go back to the hospital 27 hours after chemo, but not this time!  Jett truly thinks I'm magical now.... hair changes and a box on my arm like a robot!  It's the little things, right!!??  

So, another great day all around, ending with the most relaxing foot massage ever before walking out of the center, finishing round #2.   Talk about once more feeling like a princess again.

As I lay here in the bed typing this now, with my precious little guy sleeping beside me, I am thinking of my own mommy.  Today is her special day, her birthday.  The love I have for Jett is all consuming like all mothers have for their children, and I know that it must be so hard for my mom to see her baby girl fighting for her life.  So pray for her today.  Pray that we can have a good day, even if it is laying beside each other watching tv, as I take on the yucky side effects.  She's an angel to me and I am so grateful for her love.  So wish her a big day, cause she's something wonderful!  







Again, I'm grateful for you all as y'all have rallied around us so with prayers, cards, visits, meals, gifts, and more.   Love to all!  











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Hair drama!

On the morning after I cut my hair, J woke me up singing this sweet song by Steve Holy.  This single came out when I was in college and I still love hearing it on the radio every now and then.  Shaking with tears that morning as he was singing the words, he simply held me and told me that it would be just fine. He always seems to be able to make everything ok.  I constantly think about how different I must look to him now, but am reminded by his words over and over again... he still loves me and sees the girl he fell in love with over 20 years ago. 


So hair is hair.  You cut it. Dye it. Curl it. Straighten it.  I've done all of the above but the hardest thing yet happened today.  Running my hands through it and hair falling out everywhere hit hard. That was tougher than the big cut last Monday night, I think.  Thankfully when this happened my friend Jamie was visiting when I took my hat off to show her my amazing hair.  Ha!  Hair that had beeen shoved in a ball cap all day, itching and driving me absolutely crazy.  I literally ran my hands through it and came out with handfuls of short hair.  I lost it.  She lost it.  But thankfully God  allowed her to be at my house to comfort me while I cried like a little girl.  Gosh!  That's a sweet friend.

So when Jeremy got home and I showed him, he just smiled that sweet smile.  That was all I needed

It's been 12 days since my first treatment and the doctor said it would happen on day 14-22.  Wow!  A little early, but spot on.  Those doctors are smart people!  

So now for the wig story to go along with this crazy hair post.  We wasted no time and the Saturday after I was diagnosed, my best friend Erica and my mom took me to the wig store.  We walked in, and immediately I was drawn to one particular wig.  Long hair, swoop in the front, and one that I could pull back in a ponytail.   Perfect, right!!??   After trying it on I fell in love until I saw the price tag.  $1500 was not ok!  What!!??  Come to find out, it was half real hair/half synthetic!  




The lady immediately found one comparible and I tried it on and loved it too.   We matched my natural color to a sample. They ordered my very own, and within a week I had a beautiful wig waiting for me!  Half the price, and completely synthetic, which doesn't take on the humidity so I'll never have a bad hair day!  Yippee!!!  



I wore my wig to school for the first time last week and so many people commented and said they didn't even know it wasn't my real hair.  WowZers!  That made me feel good.  But then as I looked at pictures from meet the teacher night,  I realized that over the course of the evening, the wig kept inching its way up which made me look like Fran Drescher from The Nanny.  Y'all!  My hair was so big!  



I know this may seem so silly to some of you but I have to make light of this situation.  So the hair that I still have on my head is really thick, really coarse, and really big even thought it is only an inch thick.  That must be the cause of my wig issues lately.  

But now that my hair is officially on the loose and falling out, hopefully the wig will fit nicely to my scalp, not itch me to death, and we can move on.  And have good hair days!  

My friend Beth gave me two of hers that she used when she had Leukemia and I love them.  Especially the one that fits under a ball cap and has nightgown material for the scalp.  It is so much more comfortable than my long hair one.  I'll be sporting that one tons!

So that's the story of the hair.  I know it's temporary but it is a big deal.  I want to look normal for Jett, especially.  He thinks it magical now that I can go from short hair like daddy to long beautiful curly hair like mommy.  He's just in awe and I love it!  A friend shared this with me the other day and it's perfect right now in my hair drama stage that I'm living in!  



The next step is probably to let J shave it completely.  Did I just say that?  Whew!  I just keep reminding myself that this is just a season of my life and that it'll grow back.  It's just hard.  Really hard.  I am constantly praising God for all he's done so far in this journey.  I stop a lot now and just stand still.  Still in his presence. Asking for his embrace during this troublesome time.  As busy as my life is and chaotic at times, being still allows me to feel God's love just a little more.  

Standing still and seeing the eclipse today proved how mighty He is.  


That awesome moment when the moon covered the sun reminded me of His power and all that He created.  It also reassured me that He's got this all under control.  There's no need to worry or be afraid.  His word tells us to trust in him. I am.  Trusting that this whole hair thing will work itself out too.  He knows every hair on my head and will know me bald too.  I trust that.  

"God is my salvation:  I will trust; And will not be afraid."  Isaiah 12.2



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