About This Blog

This blog is set up to write about inspiring experiences, ideas, humor, and thoughts along our everyday journey--simple ordinary solutions which give life new perspective. Your input is welcome! Simply comment about your experiences OR better yet, contact me to be a guest blogger! We ALL have prespectives and help we can share with each other.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Example of Believers--"Doer's of the Word"

You know how some days you think it is your place to strengthen and lift people, but then it all turns around and YOU actually are the one who is being strengthened and lifted. Today I went visiting teaching, pondering & thinking for several days how I could make each of my gals' days better, but instead they lifted me with their strength, their desires to live and be "doer's" of the word.

At the first of the year, I was asked by the Bishop to give a talk on President Monson’s Conference talk, “To Learn, To Do, To Be.” In the talk we are counseled in the words of Paul to BE an example of believers in word, in conversation, in charity, and in spirit, in faith, in purity. And further admonished in the New Testament to know our sheep and feed them. Little did I know, that I would in a few short months become a sheep that needed feeding, tender care, and prayers. Today was another example of those who I should be sheparding, in turn sheparding me. Truly an example of believers who are "doer's of the word." I have a saying…”it is usually through the enlightened people of the Lord that he sends help to those in need.” Today, I was surprised how much I was fed and I was sheparded in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith, and purity. I love my ladies! And thank the Lord for their goodness on this beautiful day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Circle of Women

Unique, individual, but as one in a strong bond circling those in need. These were my thoughts about women the other day. It seems there isn't a day that goes by that I don't recieve a phone call, a card in the mail, an email, a text, a visit, a gift left on my doorstep, meals for my family, items to help further nuture & heal, prayers...and the list goes on. Each sister has their own distinct talents & insights as to how to serve another in a situation; each providing their gift which together provides for a wholeness--a completness in the healing process of others. I am grateful for the women who circle around me--the Martha's & Mary's who give me insight, love, nuture, and most of all their friendship. Their circle of love extends to ALL in need. They are truly one of God's greatest gifts and creations!

Mis-information is Worse than NO Information

I haven't written for awhile for a couple of reasons; first, the kids came home for the month of July and we played and enjoyed each others' company, and, second, I was hit with some misinformation, which kind of through me for a bit of a loop.

After further testing, one of my lymph nodes came back with a small spot of cancer. The nurse called and told me I would have 6 months of chemo followed by radiation and it would be a 9 month process. It was a shock! Not even the doctors had exptected lymph node involvement. So...that was the first time I went into melt down since all this began. I cried for two days and then sucked it up as the kids were arriving home from NYC. As soon as they got home, we left for Denver to visit my brother (it was a good distraction). When we got home from that short vacation, I had my first meeting with the oncologist. I prayed so hard for good news! Well, somehow my prayer was heard, because the nurse had given me misinformation (I lived with the misinformation for 1-1/2 weeks). The doctor recommended only 4 treatments of chemo three weeks apart over a three month period; then the 6 weeks of radiation follow up (which I already knew I had to do). The chemo I am being given is not as bad as some...I will NOT lose my hair, but it may thin out. It sounds so much more doable!!! Yeah!

Next, I got a port put into my chest below the collar bone to receive the chemo. The surgery for the port was a "piece of cake." I was in and out in three hours. My anesthesiologist was the same man...the guy with a "wooden leg by the name of Smith." I think I told him three times that he did a great job in spite of having a wooden leg by the name of Smith (he never has told the name of his other leg--hahaha). The anesthesia was so good it made me feel like dancing naked to loud music on a table full of beautiful dishes & food in the middle of some big celebration--literally--and I even said that out loud. I kept laughing and laughing and laughing...I was so uninhibited that I remarked it was a good thing I wasn't a drinking person because I could be totally out of control. My poor husband kept apologizing for me! But, it did feel really great to just laugh and feel so carefree about all my woes.

Chemo started on August 10th--finishes Oct. 12th and is followed by the radiation. I will be through with everything for the holidays. Thanksgiving will be a little touchy, but by December I will be doing great! Back to total health with the immunities back on track by early February.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Surgery

Okay...so...I realize all of my dear friends and family are concerned and ask out of concern "how things went" or "how are you feeling." It is wonderful to have such good friends! In an effort to not repeat the saga over and over again, I have thought to put it on my blog. That way it's from the so called "horses" mouth--It's like getting the low-down from me. When you see me just say, "Hey, I read your blog! It sounds like things are going well." That works for me and I hope you too. If not, then feel free to call or stop by.

Anyway, we arrived at the hospital at 7:15 AM. By 8:30 AM I was back in Women's Imaging. Before surgery a needle localization is done to mark all the tumor areas. With ultra sound the lumps are found and then a needle is inserted for surgery. Before the needles are deployed (once a needle is deployed a sort of fish hook expands out and holds the needle in place), the placement is checked for accuracy with a mammogram. Yes, you read that right. Three needles were inserted into the left breast and one into the right breast and then several mamm pics were taken of the right. That turned out okay. But, the left--about 10 pics were taken until placement was accurate and then the hooks were deployed from the needle casing. In this case, the hook marks the spot. The radiologist then draws an area on the x-rays around the tumor spots, which usually indicates about the amount that will be taken out. On the right breast was an area about a small super ball size (nickel). That's been a piece of cake!!! On the left, there was another area a nickle size plus an area a couple of golf balls put together in an oval shape to encompass the cancer and benign tumors. But, you know me...through it all, we were laughing and telling jokes. The radiologist said he hadn't had that much fun at work for along time. In fact, many of the staff came down to the mamm room to see what all the laughter was about. Hey..."it is what it is!"

Next I was wheeled back into the pre-op room. The surgeon came in and shot me with some blue nuclear stuff which would travel to my lymph nodes. I sat around reading and talking to Scott for the next 1-1/2 hours waiting for the dye to make it's journey. By the time I got into surgery it was 2 in the afternoon and I was feeling a little tired. The anethsiologist stopped by. His name was Smith...I made some joke about how "I knew a man with a wooden leg by the name of Smith." He stopped, laughed and said, "You're funny!" "What was the name of his other leg--" from Mary Poppins. The last thing I remembered was being wheeled down the hall telling the doctor he was very clever because I didn't even see him sneek anything into my IV--I was starting to get really loopy and then I was gone.

After surgery, the first thing I remember was seeing the military digital clock with it's blue numbers lighted up on the wall of the recovery room. It was 16:22. The worst part of the whole entire day was just beginning. I have always done really well with anethesia, but NOT this time. I awoke to my legs and jaw shaking terribly and feeling extremely thirsty--notice I didn't say pain. I don't think I was very nice in the recovery room. I was telling them to get me warm blankets, water, and to quickly get something to stop the shaking before it got out of control (flash back from 12 years ago). They kept asking me, "how is your pain on a scale of one to ten." "Hang the pain, I don't know, just get rid of the shakes!" Finally I got some warm blankets and then I answered an "8" on the pain scale. Who knows?...how does one guage pain? It certainly wasn't the worst pain I have ever felt--better than child birth and not all that bad. They must have given me a whole lot of demerol because any pain I had was gone in just a minute. The next time I answered the question, it was "zero." It had been difficult to breathe for a bit. The nurse, with her annoying soft, condescending--like voice kept saying "Breathe, take a breath. You're not breathing." My word, I was trying. Did they think I wanted to stop? I finally got water and then got nauseated so then I asked her to get me something for nausea--fast. That annoying nurse, just said, "Well, you wanted water and now you pay the consequences of nausea." Duh, I realized that and yes, well the water was worth it. The nausea lasted just a bit!

Thirty minutes later I was wheeled back into my pre-op room where Scott had been waiting for me. They moved me from the bed to a recliner, wrapped me in warm blankets and there I sat, hardly able to move, talk, or anything until 9 PM. Have you ever been in such a state that you couldn't move, but your brain was still intaking information? I almost felt paralyzed! For once Scott didn't have to listen to me expel my 60,000 words in the day. I am sure he was most grateful!

The anethesia and demerol really wasted me out. This was no drug induced vacation like my shoulder surgery---I remember hearing a young girl cry out for help from pain. I really felt for her. She had been in a car crash. Later in the day, I remember being back to my cheerful laughing self and saying, Hello, Doctor" to the surgeon each time he walked by from my drug induced coma. He always looked over and smiled as he passed by. I heard him tell the charge nurse several times (I went through several shifts of nurses) I could stay over night if I wanted. How great was that. But, by 9 PM I wanted out. So I was wrapped in blankets again, put in the wheel chair, given a couple of "barf bags," and taken to the elevator. It was there both "bar bags" were used, but NOW I really did feel so much better. I was informed by the nurse it was her experience that anyone coming in to have breast surgery who also had blue dye injected had the same nauseating experience. She felt it was the blue nuclear dye which caused it.

I was never so grateful to be home and back in my bed. I took some pain meds and was out for the night. My friends took turns sitting with me on Friday. Since then, I have been exercising (you are given breast exercises to do everyday to keep the muscles stretched) and have been walking. All my extended family have been camping in Idaho since Friday. I could tell I was starting a "pity party" so Scott drove me 3 hours on Saturday into Idaho to see the family for 30 minutes and eat lunch and then drove me back home. I know..he really does love me...extremely! When I hugged my boy good bye, I made some quip about hugging me gently as I was "now missing half a breast. Well, at least a quarter," I corrected myself as my nieces and nephews peeled laughter over that one. Hey...."it is what it is!"

So you can see the humor is back and life is almost back to normal. The hardest part it seems for recovery at this point is the 1-4 sentinel lymph nodes that are taken out. My arm is a little numb (expected--have you ever tried to shave and can't feel it? It's creepy!). The nodes came back negative during surgery. Good news! The removed tissue will be checked and we will wait two weeks for a test to come back from California which will tell us what my risk of "cancer return" will be in the next ten years. But as for now, the Doctor said the nodes were clean and the surgery went well. He feels he got good clean margins. I will be given time to heal up and then radiation will begin mid July.

My son gave me a wonderful blessing telling me I would still be able to do all that I wanted this summer. And guess what? I am. I will still get to take Meghan to USC in August, still get to visit my brother in Denver, still get to have a 4th of July party AND I still got to see my family camping in Idaho. So we are extremely blessed. Life is good and the Lord is wonderful!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Great Team

I recently read an article on Erik Weihenmayer who has climbed seven of the tallest mountains in the world including Mount Everest. This is amazing in itself; but more amazing--Erik is also blind. Many nay-sayers told Erick he would never be able to meet his goals, they warned him of the dangers, told him he was foolish. Erik only replied with, "They (the nay-sayers) didn't know me. My team knew me." He further stated it is key to always surround yourself with a great team. Together a positive and supportive team can overcome incredible challenges and accomplish great feats.

Tonight is the eve of my surgery. I have been surrounded by a great team of family and friends. All know me, all have been extremely supportive and positive. Together we have exercised our faith and prayers. I have received many visits, phone calls, texts, emails, cards, blog comments, gifts, even drawings from my young neice and nephew containing love and support--cheering me on (hanging on the refrigerator)! With a team like all of you, how could I lose. I appreciate and love you all very much.

I have great faith that everything will turn out well. In fact, I feel extremely calm and peaceful about the whole ordeal. While the world screams & bemoans the "Big C," each time I attend the temple the feeling of peace (the kind only the Lord can give) surrounds me. It's such a miracle that He is able to send such peace. It is almost undescribable--the inner calm. I sort of feel guilty about it--shouldn't I be grieving or crying or something like it? But, He is in charge. I know it. Whatever the outcome, I will yield to His will. With the Lord on our team, no matter--we will overcome.

Thanks again to all of you who laughed, cried, gave me privacy when I needed it, and brought me wonderful reminders of our friendship. Most of all, thank you for keeping me in your prayers, keeping my name in the temple, and carrying me with your extra faith. WE WILL SURVIVE this one too...Hallelujah....Again!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


The other night I had a dream. I was getting ready for a new adventure--flying into space. I was waiting around for the mission crew to get things going, wondering where they all were and wondering what was taking so much time. Finally everyone showed up 20 minutes before liftoff. I went out of the building expecting to see a rocket ship, but instead I saw a fast, futuristic jet on a tall intricate engineered support system of stilts. THAT would be the ship I would be taking to space. Wow! Its cosmetic appearance was black and silver with sleek smart lines. All of a sudden, the notion came to me that I might get nauseated up in space for the three days I would be there and I became a little frightened about going (I thoroughly hate being nauseated). I remembered the stories of John Glenn in space being rotated around for days--hard, but he wouldn't have missed it for anything. So then I thought to myself, “three days of nausea was worth what I would experience on my journey into space—three days was nothing. Oh, the things I would see and experience that most people wouldn’t. What an opportunity!” But, again a bit of doubt crept in as I also thought about my older body. Could it take the “g-forces” at lift-off. I imagined the skin on my face being plastered back as far as it could take (with 50 around the corner, one can only imagine the image I had in my mind), the force of my blood pounding, but then I remembered "they" had g-suits that would help my body handle it and figured, “why not!” I sucked it up, clapped my hands together to cheer myself on and said to all, “Let’s do this thing," as I headed for that awesome cool looking space jet.

Thursday AM I will head off for "cancer surgery" liftoff. I believe I will learn and experience things through this journey in my life that I would not otherwise be able to do. Time will tell where this journey will go, and “the places I will go.” Gotta' love the subconscious mind...

Dance Along Your Journey

Dancing can lighten any heart. Here is a little humor featuring my daughter Meghan dancing with Troy from High School Musical. I hope you choose to dance today!
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