Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Fountain of Tears

I have a love hate relationship with being early and on time. Though my soul longs for order I live in a constant state of lateness. I got to the airport an almost two hours before flight.
I just got back from BlissDom, more than a blogging conference. Blown away once again by the attention to detail, BlissDom12  nailed it!  The connections and networking of mentorship was astounding. A genuine sincere group of people who want to express, encourage, explore and excavate the workings of life.   A fantasy world really, but is it? Can I achieve all the things they are sharing and telling me I can? Yes I believe I can.
Upon my departure of the incredible Gaylord Opryland Hotel, I  go back into the world of gray.  I stepped out into the sounds of planes, trains and automobiles.   Cold air greeted me as I wheeled past the headlights. A suitcase wrestler managed the bags as I rounded the stairs into the bus, fruit in hand. Smooth sailing to the airport listening to country gospel, of course, and only in Nashville would you get this.  The rising suns warmth, melts my face.   I go up to the Southwest Airline's counter and just start crying for reasons beyond my control, explaining that I have special needs.   I handed her a letter quoting I had reconstructive surgery, two magnets in my breasts, a wound vac pump and a bulb drain.  They took one look at me and shut down their kiosk to help me.  Beth and Pam, the new girl, saw that I had no clue and I was crying so hard I couldn't think.  They checked me in, tagged my bag (that was overweight but they waved it) and both carried my carry on and helped me through security.  
Not sure why the explosion  of tears came at that time but it did and it was somewhat healing. Saying goodbye to some of my family was harder this time than most.  God is showing me more and more of His family through and in others. More if His Love and divine intervention every step of the way in this journey.   Screaming child just interrupted my thoughts. Lord calm his soul. Heal his heart.  Help his parents know what to do for him.  In Jesus name. Bless the soldiers walking by, who also looked back in concern for the child. 
You know people really are good in their hearts. The ticket agent walked me all the way to the gate. They just showed me Love. I was a mess. I could not stop the tears from streaming. Still streaming as I type.  Their passionate hearts thought something  was wrong. What I had to tell them is that it was an overflowing. I could not stop the tears. It was just part of it. Part of Christs healing.  
We were met by Kathy the TSA security officer who was to pat me down as I opted out of X-ray. I had my letter from the doctor explaining why  if I went through metal detector it might blow up. Or I might. At least so I thought.  Scary not knowing what to expect.  She was kind too. The floor was freezing.  I think I need to design scrub shoe covers in pretty designs for people who have to be barefoot in airports.  I went with her and showed her the letter so she knew what she was dealing with in me. I began to cry again.  Could not stop.  Her hands ran down my back first. And it hit me. Her hands were healing and non offensive, just as ours should be with one another. Just like Jesus.  I held my arms out as if standing in cross like position, balling and hanging my head for as my friend Angie would say, " I was slinging snot crying".  I came to a greater understanding of His sacrifice.   Everyone was very reassuring. Then the bag guy brought in my bags saying all my jewels, mostly costume, had to be looked at. I told him ok, but he better not lose my Rascal Flatts guitar pic or he'd be in big trouble.   I worked hard for that pic.  We had a moment of laughter. Then I was done. Broken a little, but blessed by the grace and humility I was shown by all.  And the healing hands that were so gentle.
Beth and I pushed onward to the gate where John generously took over as keeper of the crying woman.   I said my goodbyes and collected myself. Got talked into buying a way too expensive bag but it rocks.  Sitting still in the morning sun enjoying its warmth I began this post. 
One of the perks of all this is I was first on and will be first off the plane. 

Love love love. It is everywhere. It is in each one of us. We are meant to meet and greet and love one another networking through our stories every day. Being at BlissDom this year is exactly what I needed. It will be my suggestion for doctors to consider if time, disease and medicine allows for all to have a three week break in the middle of chemo to reconnect, recharge and refresh.  Realizing I am not alone in this world of strangers.  So I fly home for more fight. I am ready. Five more treatments y'all. Then, radiation,  surgery, and  Herceptin til Dec.  Yesterday I got the wound van taken off but not the drain.  The infection is gone praise God, but the hole has not closed up and there was another hole forming.  My skin is having a hard time closing up, so I got stitched up yesterday with more waiting.  Not the result we wanted, but still hoping for healing there.  Thanks for praying.  Chemo today hopefully so I can get this done.......
I need more of this weekend. More love. More Bliss. 
I feel blessed to have experienced once again His presence. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bliss Queendom

Very rarely do you go somewhere and you really do feel like royalty. This week I have been in Nashville. One of my other places I could live. I have family here so being with them feels like home to me.
Traveling and recovering from surgery last week, toting a wound vac for a week through hotels, trade shows and airports, attending one of the most wonderful conferences for women around, I walk. Offering up opportunity for grace to be shared, expressions of creativity explored and doted over like a newborn, and loving every minute of Blissdom. Why is it we get these opportunities to explore what God had intended for us all along. To understand the meaningness of connection and how that all works to glroify Him.
A sweet woman of God approached me last night as I sipped on a Sam Adams. Yes after yesterday it tasted really good. We were part of the Handmade Market Place with Blissdom. It was incredible but lots of work. I was pooped. As she approached I felt guilty I was having a beer, but even I like a cold beer every once in a while. She began by introducing herself but I was so wrapped up in my head about me holding the beer I did not catch her entire name. Such self centered narrow mindedness I was having.......As she shared with me how my blog had ministered to her as her sister had died in December of Leuikemia. Complimenting my "out there" attitude in my walk through treatment. She said it helps her understand how her sister must have felt. She has been following the journey since the beginning. I was so blessed by her grace, her strength and posture after losing what was obviously a precious part of her life. She turned and was gone.
I missed such an opportunity to connect with one of God's creations who loves because I was so wrapped up in my own silliness. So if you are this person reading this now, please email or twitter me and let me find you again. I have been looking for you all day.....I know God will bring us together before I leave for another year.
Thanks to Blissdom we met, thanks be to God.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Starting Over

Ok this feels horrible.  Not the chemo but that I will have to start over on this series Chemo: HOW DOES IT FEEL?  What started out as good intentions to help others has not been as easy to get accomplished as I thought. A few things happened on the way to OZ.
With the infection I have been fighting I now must have surgery to remove, clean out and give it more opportunity to heal.  Discouraging to say the least.  I am trying to stay positive, but I must admit.  It has been difficult.  I know I will feel much better once this is resolved.  If for some reason it does not get resolved and they have to take the expander out then I start over on that side after chemo to expand the skin, muscle and tissue......I am trusting the process and looking for ways God is blessing me along the way.  I know there is a reason for everything.  I am getting a much needed three week break from chemo.  Then when I resume I will have five more treatments.  The chemo is what is keeping it from healing all the way.  Please pray for me tomorrow as I have my surgery to repair this wound that will heal in Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2012


After my port was installed, I had chemo that afternoon. I met with the doctor before and we discussed treatment and she patted me on my head, kissed me on the cheek and sent me on my way as she has done for hundreds of others, yet she made me feel special.
Again in anticipation of the medicine, feeling ok here goes and there is no turning back the attentive nurse could tell I was anxious. She gave me something that help with that. I had a port line taped to my chest ready to receive what it is intended for. With every bag they asked me do you know what you are getting today? Then they would show me the bags of medicine and say, " Ok this is blah blah blah and we are going to administer this now. I slept through most of it after they got started. It was all surreal. I mentioned before that I was fine that night, slept great, and even drove home, a five hour drive, from Houston. It was the third and fourth days that were the hardest for me and felt a little flat. Even still it was doable.

All in all chemo has been ok up until this week. Getting an infection really slowed things down. It also played some pretty bad tricks on my mind trying to discourage me. It has actually been nice to have that excuse to rest. I don't need an excuse I realize, but God used this time to show me how vulnerable I really am and how much more I needed Him to take care of me and how much I needed to take care of myself. Again humility.

So why is God having me learn more about humility? Isn't losing your breasts and having cancer humility enough? Is that rude for me to say? Or think? Is that more of that prideful mole I need to bop in the head again? It has given me more to think about. I have felt like my life is just a big mess. I have settled into a big pity party this morning when I couldn't find mt phone. I thought that is it. I am done. I can't even keep up with my phone. How irresponsible blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Then God said," flip back the covers on your bed". PHONE!
Why do I go into the worthless feelings instead of worthy prayer when I get like that? Pitiful if you ask me, but hoping the lesson sticks this time. Even in my prideful anguish my God does not hesitate or resist an opportunity to help me see how He is waiting for me to cry out to Him.
This week I have been a day late with each post. That should tell me something. So I am digging in the Word today looking for answers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I finally feel better, but still favoring my left side. I have not felt bad like that the entire time I have been on chemo. I was a little scared last night. I am better today. I have changed andtibiotics and had a culture done so hopefully we can get to the bottom of this infection. I do have to say there were two thoughts that crossed my mind during this ,yet again, the process of trust and humility of my precious but sometimes proud mouth.

I had to come clean with what I was feeling otherwise I felt like it would just stay stuck inside waiting to come out later in some other way. First thought that made my mind run wild, was the thought that the infection would be what "does me in". I know I know sounds morbid or depressed,but it's reality. So the result was I got mad and said to myself,"No way is that going to the thing after all this". Spoken like a true prideful person. What it showed me was the direct correlation to our fear and anger. I had always taught that the root of anger is fear and thia week God showed just how directly they are involved with ine another.
Secondly, the gruesome thought that somehow this hole where the infection is (I am sorry by the way if this grosses some of y'all out) would just split wide open,the expander would pop out and well there you have it. Showing me yet again how little I know of the human body and how I was complaining too much and not trusting God. It is still all very scary but it also is not something they have never seen before.
So they put me on new antibiotics and took a culture of it or what was coming from it. It is very humbling to wear a mini pad stuck to the inside if a camisole. Never thought I would combine those two thingsn other than if I were a nursing mother
Fear not for I am with you the Lord says. Fear Not!
So I fear not chemo or any other likely thing that would try to separate me from the love of God.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Ooops.  Day 6 got lost yesterday.  Mostly because yesterday was what I used to call for my girls a Sesame Street Grovers Bad Awful Day.  It was a stay low in the bed day. I had an ice bag on my head for the headache and a hot bag on my breast to draw out infection.  It was a really funny sight.  Just moving around hurt, opening my eyes hurt, my head hurt, infection started in my left breast, got shots for WBC to bring those up.  All in all it HURT.
But today, I am better.  Infection starting to respond to medicine.  And as only a small town would have it I had the nurse come by and look at it, take a picture to email the doctor who is in Houston this week so he can see it.  Only in a small town can you get house calls like that.  So grateful.
There are many things, yes, I hate about the expanders, the port in my neck and chest, yet I am humbled by His Love for me to take care of me so sweetly.  I have really had an ok time up til this point and know that this is where the rubber meets the road.  I am in the thick of it and only, after today, will have four more chemo treatments left.  I will have to take Herceptin intravenously til Dec. but hoping I can take port out and just do it in my arm.  They said I could.  Radiation is after chemo but only for about three weeks every day but for only about 5 minutes a day of treatment.  Then I have to wait three months for my final surgery to take out expanders and put in my implants.  A long, but worthy, wait.
Another lesson in waiting.  I am finding that waiting is closely linked to control.  When you are really at the mercy of God, the doctors, the chemo, the process, and your body my willingness to yield is challenged.  I still have that little mole try and rear its head trying to convince me that I need to be in control.  A very humbling experience and one that I obviously need to learn again and again.  I want that submission to Him to be automatic, always.
His word never fails me, always corrects me and gives me peace.
Psalm 27:14  "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
The Word describes it as a gift.  We are waiting for a gift.  The gift.
James 4:6b "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble".
More humility Lord, more grace.  He has granted me so much already. I am thankful He is an endless supply.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I have learned a lot about insistence with chemo. Insisting that what I know is best for me? As if I went to medical school. I do know a lot about some things, but am no expert in many others areas. Just typing and saying the word chemo is a scary thing. It is not a normal word in my vocabulary. It is an exception and I found out that there exceptional people who also have had to use that word in their lifetime. It was clear to me that. I was part of a unique group who have been given an opportunity to praise and know that God is near.

Recognizing how incredible the human body is as it finds and fights its way back to some recognizable sense of normal. Is normal where I want to go? What is normal anyway?
Living intentionally for God everyday is where I have to go each day.

I read another journal entry ,"who knew the simple extension of an arm could mean so much? Our very body that houses and hosts the very Glory of Our King. God has been ever faithful keeping me close in hand. There really is power in His name."

In the story of the insistant friend or persistent friend God showed me how prideful thinking can often lead to.....well lots of stuff. Lots of stuff not good for me.
"God often answers us after long and persevering requests. He hears prayers and grants blessings long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings immediately. He promises only that He will do it according to His will and plan. Although He promises to answer the prayer of the faithful, often He requires us to wait a long time to try our faith. He may allow us to persevere for months or years, until we are completely dependent on Him, until we see that there is no other way to receive the blessing, and until we are prepared to receive it. Sometimes, we are not ready to receive a blessing when we first ask. We may be too proud, or we may not comprehend our dependence upon Him. Maybe we would not value it, or the timing for it may simply be wrong. If what we ask for is good and accords with God's will, He will give it at the best time possible."

Read more: http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/2672/Parable-of-Persistent-Friend.htm#ixzz1lZeGvVLT

I am thankful I have friends who are insisting and persisting on my behalf. I am thankful my Lord keeps knocking though I begrudgingly sometimes answer Him. Why am I hesitating at all when it comes to God. I know it and say it in my head. Forcing myself to listen even when I don't want other the answer. Sometimes i am afraid of the answer.
Chemo and fear dance closely next to one another. I am learning and insisting I learn the difference so that God ca nave His way in me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Pre to chemo, but feel as though it is also part of what you go through with the chemo process.  An entry from my journal back in July prior to double mastectomy reveals much about pre-judging in me.  Not a pretty sight, but learning how to see it before it comes.

July 11th 2011-----"Today I saw the plastic surgeon.  I had made a pre judgement about him without really knowing much about him.  I do that a lot and God is showing me in this experience to greet everyone with a holy kiss as if they too might have news of a cancer in their lives.  I am learning a lot already and it has only been 5 days since I was told---I had to sit topless in a room with two men as they measured, poked, pinched, marked with a marker and took pictures of my breasts--AWKWARD  I was sweating and felt clammy, nervous, and weird (I am laughing now as I type cause this is funny to me reading it).  My mind again was put at east when I learned he was trained at MD Anderson and taught micro surgical procedure.  Um, well shut my mouth.
God has just been with me every step of the way.  I pray it is a simple mastectomy and has not gone in the sentinel nodes.  I pray and pray.  My head hurts, stomach nausea, tired yet I pray-Semper Fi."

I share this with you now as you understand the places I have been have only strengthened me for such a time as this in my life.  I am humbled at the gift.    Today I thought of a great name for my book I have signed to publish and thought I might share it here.....God Gave Me an Upgrade.  

Everything He has done for me has only been for me to draw nearer to Him.  Our lives are so filled the fullness almost makes us too blind to see.  Open your eyes to the wonders of God and all His Creativity.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Being tethered to a pole for hours sitting in a Lazy Boy type chair with other people getting fed chemo right into my jugular vein at first scared the living daylights out of me. It took me a couple times to not cry when they started.   I remember sitting on the bed before they took me in to receive my port and the thought of it just made my stomach do a flip flop.  I barely take Tylenol, so to think of what was going to go into my body was scary.  I really considered myself a fairly healthy person.  Hardly got sick, maybe once a year with cedar allergies, an occasional headache or normal body aches and pains from aging and I am not that old!  I worked out, I ate pretty well and I was generally pretty happy all the time.  So, as I sat there thinking how this could be happening to me and that it felt like a dream and whirlwind, God rested His hand on my shoulder.  So came the lesson in trust.  More trust.  Complete trust.
So after I got my port later that day I received my first round of chemo.  The type of chemo I was on for the first 12 weeks getting it every three weeks, was called, and of course I had to look it up, AC (Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide).  How they get AC from that name is beyond me.  I heard they call this the "red devil".  I refused to call it that and proclaimed angels watching over me.  It is actually red in color and it makes you pee red.......just so you know.  But that goes away in a couple days.
I got my first round at MD Anderson the same day I received my port like I said.  I was pretty anxious so they gave me something for that, thankfully.  Worked like a charm and immediate.  They were thorough, calm and so gentle with me as they administered the meds.  They covered me with a blanket that had been warmed.....how do they do that and can I get one for my house?  It is such a wonderful gift to get that fresh out of the dryer warmth.  The chemo doesn't hurt going in, doesn't sting or burn.  It was more of a head issue getting over the initial shock.  I caught myself saying, "Ok I guess there is no turning back now".  It seemed so absolute and not flexible. So out of my control.  Again trust.   I slept through most of it, but worried more about staying ahead of the nausea than anything.  I managed to do that thanks to my husband who made sure I had what I needed for that.  He is the best.  I slept well that night only getting up once but no throwing up.  It really is amazing how if you allow the enemy any sort of foothold in your mind the visions you have of what something might be like run wild.  It was not like that at all.  I think in my mind I had visions of thrashing about like a fish out of water. Thank goodness it is dare I say, "more sophisticated" than that.  I woke up the next day, all was well and I actually drove my own car home, five hours, from Houston.  It was the next day that took me by surprise.
They had told me that sometimes it is the third and fourth days that I might feel something.  As predicted that was the case.  My head hurt so ice packs really helped there and I was just flu like, nauseated and tired.  I slept a lot.  I did throw up one time only because I took my vitamins on an empty stomach, like normal, but nothing was normal about chemo.  I should have known.  It wasn't too bad.  I kept hearing my sweet friend, Jill, her voice in my head saying, "You can do this, it's not that bad, just listen to your body".  So that is what I am doing.
As I would lay down for naps I felt swirly, tingly, chill like feeling going up and down my back, arms, legs and head.  When I would feel that I would just pray and thank God that it was the medicine leaving no cell unturned, no cell left unchecked and no cell left behind.  Sorry that just came out.   I had to turn my attitude into gratitude as I had been sort of sour about it before. Mostly out of fear.  No lets say ALL because of fear.  It is an interesting force.
So I continued that regime for 12 weeks, lost my hair and lost some weight, which both have been a good thing and very freeing. Not having hair has been the least of all this.  I had a ton of energy during this 12 weeks and was eating right and juicing my way through the treatments.  It was very predictable and really almost easier to plan things cause it was holding so true to course.  I did not plan on things the day of chemo or on the third or fourth days and it seem to work fine.  I got through it and it was the worst of the worst as far as meds go.....so I thought, "wow I really can do this".
I still think that, but this 12 weeks has been different.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This certainly is not my second day of chemo but it is my second day of this series. I will have to go back and you to bear with me as I recount some of my early days starting chemo. As if I am some pro now. As I read my journal entries I read even then God was providing information to every detail to every question. He has met my every need through the initial shock of the news, the surgery and the thought of chemo. I read that before my surgery my eye was twitching so bad I could hardly keep it open. Needing rest. The past two days my eye has been twitching again. Again. Much needed rest is needed. Five days into it and God was teaching overtime showing me Himself in the midst of the storm.
Yesterday I rested all day. I had no energy except to eat, do dishes, a load of laundry, empty trash, make our bed and go back to sleep. Way out of my comfort zone in that I normally don't stop moving. All my major joints ache, my eye twitching won't stop and my head is pounding. I sat in the sun yesterday and it zapped me, but in a good way. It warmed my face, neck and body filling it with much needed vitamins. Such good medicine for me and my soul. I listened to a symphony of birds let out of winter who were serenading me as I walked the yard. It was divine.
Stretching and swaying, reaching and moving for motion is lotion.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012



I am starting another month long blogging feature here to share and explain how chemo feels, for me at least, while I am going through it.  I hope it will help others who may be going through treatments and chemo.  I know everyone's experience is different.  Everyone's treatment is not the same.  Everyone's tolerance and ability to cope unique to themselves.  What I hope this will do is hopefully take some of the mystery out of going through it, the fear and the anxiousness someone might feel when told they will receive chemo.  At any rate here goes another exercise for me to write something every day, that is really what this is about, but also in doing so I will journal my experience here for others to share.

I can say for certain that God is good all the time and has been walking with me through this medical mystery that at times I still am bewildered as to the How? and Why?  I am pleased to have God in my life, to trust and hold my hand when I am afraid.  To carry and walk along side me when I need Him.  He brings to my remembrance all His promises He has kept already and will keep in my life.  None of us knows the plan, but He does so that brings an invaluable comfort level when faced with life threatening disease.  I don't believe this is the end for me and that God wants to use me still for His purpose beyond even what I can see now.  I trust that.  I believe that with all my heart and I hope you do too.  I have my good days and bad and you will hear about those.  I have been journaling my walk so hopefully some of you can relate to some of the feelings if not for me for someone else you may know.  And chances are with the statistics we all know someone who has been affected.

So without further delay I start this month long blog to chronicle, to enlighten, to encourage, to put into writing what some may not be able to, and to bring a hope to those who are scared.  Like me.