Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Peace That Passes Understanding

Two years ago today at exactly 12 noon the operation of my life and for my life started. It's called a mastectomy.

I continue to thank the Lord for His hand of mercy upon me during those months leading up to the operation and even until today. Months which included first discovering the lump and going to the doctor, having the biopsy, being told it was metatized when it wasn't, going to HUP, undergoing chemo every two weeks for six treatments, losing my hair (which is another story!), and finally on October 19, 2006 having a mastectomy with TRAM flap reconstruction. Afterwards, there was more chemo and eventually radiation but again, stories for another time.

I want to tell about what happened to me the night before my operation and the next day. The night before I was, of course, getting a little anxious. I was laying in my bed not being able to sleep (no surprise I'm sure!) and thinking maybe I should just forget about this and not go through with it. To be honest, at this point I was more afraid of being under anesthesia then anything.

I don't know if it was a dream or a vision, but all of a sudden, I saw myself in the operating room, laying on the table and all around me were people dressed like doctors but some how I knew they really weren't doctors, but angels. And, at my head, though I didn't see His face, Jesus stood next to me with His hand on my shoulder. Such peace and calmness came over me that I actually went to sleep for the rest of the night. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

The peace continued with me up until I laid on the operating room table. I didn't realize until later that the OR looked exactly like it did in my "dream". I even asked the nurse what time it was. She told me 12 noon, told me to count backwards from 100 and that was the last I knew until they woke me up (or tried to anyway!) 8 hours later when I was in the room where I would be staying for the next five days.

My hubby, DD Dawn, and our friends, Marian & Eddie, were at the hospital with me. I was feeling so calm and peaceful that I actually took pics of us waiting in the waiting room for the nurse to come get me. I am, afterall, a scrapbooker....well, somewhat!!

Only two people were allowed to go back to the OR waiting room. Gene and Dawn went with me. Even there, peace and calmness reigned and I continued taking pics (I've tried to find them to post one but can't seem to find them anywhere). I had written on the breast that was to be removed "This one" with an arrow! I wasn't gonna let the doctors make a mistake! Didn't take a pic of that but was surprised when the doctor came in to do his artwork that he didn't say anything! Maybe he's use to that kind of thing being done.

Everything went smoothly with the operation. I was, of course, sore afterwards but surprisingly, not as bad as what some people had told me I would be and I thought I would be. The nurses actually had to tell me to use the morphine pump before I was helped to get out of bed. I guess it worked. It still hurt but don't know if it would have been worse or not without the medicine. I'm not a big medicine person so tried not to use it unless I really really had to! I kept telling myself that "tomorrow this time will be better", which it was. Each day got easier and easier to move and get about.

I will say, though, I don't know why anyone in the world would actually elect to have cosmetic surgery!!!

The thing I hated the most was the drains! Yuck!! Had to come home with four of them. Was really happy when the last one was taken out. Having them taken out was a bit uncomfortable, but thankfully they came out quick. Nurses said take a deep breath and out they came!

The thing I loved the most was all the support I received from family and friends and even people I never met or know. Along with the grace and mercy of my Lord, the support I received helped tremendously in my recovery!!!

When I find myself getting anxious or nervous about something, I try to remember the peace that I received that night two years ago. It was real and I will never forget it.

God bless and may God give you the peace that passes understanding.

Phil. 4:4-7

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Living Proof

This coming weekend, Lifetime TV is airing the movie "Living Proof" starring Harry Connick, Jr. It is the story about the researcher who developed Herceptin, a drug used with breast cancer patients who are Her2Neu, as I was. Starting with my second go-round of chemotherapy I had to go every three weeks for an IV of Herceptin for a year. Many thanks go out to my dear friend, Lillian, who took me most of those weeks.

The following is what I cut/pasted from the site which tells better than I can what the story is about.

“Living Proof” is the true story of oncologist and researcher Dr. Dennis Slamon, the UCLA doctor who helped develop the breast cancer drug Herceptin, and his effort to keep the drug trials afloat. His inspiring journey shows the sacrifices he makes in his personal life and the obstacles that he faces to get the drug approved. Thousands of lives have been saved because of his dedication. (Based on Robert Bazell’s book “Her-2.”) RenĂ©e Zellweger, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, and screenwriter Vivienne Radkoff are the executive producers. Check out the "Living Proof" viewers guide.

"Living Proof" premieres Saturday, October 18 at 9 pm/8c on Lifetime as partof the Network’s Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign. The movie will encore on Sunday, October 19 at 8pm/7c and Monday, October 20 at 9pm/8c.

There are some well known stars, besides Harry Connick, Jr., who are in the movie. I plan to watch it. Probably not on any of these days but I have it set to record since I'll be in TN and most likely I won't get the opportunity while I'm there to see it. But, to be honest, I think I would rather watch it by myself. Just watching the trailer brought back emotions and feelings from that time, which was actually just last year. My last Herceptin was a year ago this month.

I just thank the Lord for people like Dr. Slamon who do the work he does. Without the researchers and even those people who sign up for clinical trials, we would probably not have the medicines and treatments used to fight not just cancers but all kinds of diseases.

Cards for Heroes

I've been trying to get some Christmas cards done for the Cards for Heroes organization. Didn't get too many done, but every little bit helps. I also made a few Hanukkah cards. I've run out of time since I have to leave Saturday for TN. Want to get them out to Sandy so she'll have them on time.

Last year I started in July making the cards, but started late this year. Now I have to get busy making my own Christmas cards!

Merry Christmas!! Happy Hanukkah!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Soul Journal - Paper Dolls

I finally got around to making my paper dolls! I know they are a little out of proportion to each other. It was fun anyway!

I had bought a paper doll stamp but actually didn't like it when I went to use it. So, I checked out some free online paper doll sites and downloaded a bunch of different ideas and went from there.

Looks like my grandfather has flood pants on, doesn't it?!! He worked as an auto mechanic and I only remember him in his work clothes. He smoked cigars and there was always one in his hand or in his mouth. I meant to do that on my paper doll but forgot. Maybe I'll add it later.

My grandmother, though she was on the heavy side, was not a short woman. She was taller than my grandfather! But, of course, you can't tell that from her paper doll.

And, then there's me!

While I was making these dolls I kept thinking what a kick my grandparents would have gotten out of this! They would have had a good chuckle at how I made them look!

Now that I finally have this part done, I'll have to check out what's next but I know it'll be awhile before I get any more done on my Soul Journal. I'm making Cards of Heroes for Christmas and have to get them done soon.

Time to get dressed and go out and do some yard work. It's a beautiful day today!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Exciting, but scary


DH's original plan was to retire October 2009. Last week he received an offer for an early buy-out with his last day of work being November 14, 2008. It's a good deal, so he decided to go for it!

One of my friends commented that she can't believe we are of the age to actually be thinking about retirement already! Where has the time gone?

For months our plan has been to move to TN when DH retired. Now we can start to work toward that goal, but it will take time. There are certain local/state requirements that have to be addressed before selling the house as well as some cosmetic things to be done. Plus, we all know how bad the economy is these days so I don't think we'll be going anywhere any time soon!

I plan to continue my job at the church until we actually are ready to leave. I love my job and the people I work for and with and there's no reason why I shouldn't stay. I know my boss, the pastor, was happy to hear that!! :-)

It's an exciting but scary time for us right now. We're starting a new season of our life, which makes it exciting and fun but because of the unknown future of the economic crisis, it's scary. But, we have our faith in Jesus and that's where we have to keep our focus as we move ahead in the weeks and months to come.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Join the Army of Women Today

I found out this morning about the Army of Women.

Dr. Susan Love, a breast cancer reseacher, is looking for one million women to join the Army of Women to help find a cure for breast cancer. She is looking for women of all ages, all nationalities, all shapes and sizes, with or without breast cancer.

From what I understand after reading the information and watching the video of Dr. Love on The Today Show, which aired last week is that you sign up, then the researchers will send an e-mail describing which type of woman they are looking for in a particular area of research. The research may be as simple as filling out a questionnaire, giving urine sample, etc.

To get information that explains in further detail and better than I can, please check out Signing up is free and you're under no obligation whatsoever.

Think about it! Pray about it! This is important for all women including our daughters and granddaughters. To paraphrase one woman in the video, it would be great for our young daughters and granddaughters to grow up and never know what breast cancer is.

God bless!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Easy Card

I made this card using my cuttlebug and colored it with Prisim pencils and used Dawn's (The Chatty Stamper) baby oil technique. The butterflies are pop dotted.

The whole time I'm doing it, I'm thinking that my friend who will receive it will wonder how come it smells like baby oil!!