Sunday, November 30, 2008

One day at a time!

I got up this morning feeling a bit better because I slept pretty well but as the day wore on the soreness in my arm got bad again. I just keep thinking any day now we are going to start having more good days than bad, but I guess we weren't starting today! Jeff and kids headed off to church and I could do nothing more than sit in my chair and write thank you notes. I kept thinking that any minute I was going to feel better and go upstairs and get a bath and ready for the day but... that didn't  happened. When Jeff and the kids got home I still was in my pajamas and in a lot of pain. I noticed that Jeff was a bit more distant than normal today, I asked if he was upset about something or if I had done anything?  He said no, just that he was discouraged that I don't seem to be getting any better. I felt bad,not that I can do anything about it really, but bad for him. He must get tired of seeing me sick and hurting all the time. I noticed the last couple of days that he went out to the stores while he was off for Thanksgiving, just to get out of the house and do some window shopping. I know he would have loved to have me go with him but I just don't have the stamina.He is a great man and deserves such a better life!

Now for a moment I went into this terrible train of thought that, Jeff deserves so much more than this life with me. All the things that I should be able to do with him and how sorry I feel for being such a sick wife and mother most of our lives. It didn't take long to realize that those feelings couldn't bring anything good with them, THOUGHTS they can be so dangerous. So I tried to not complain any more today and finally at 5:00 p.m. I got my bath and tried to act as if I felt better. The kids made dinner and I was grateful because I knew  I couldn't do a bath and dinner. Lee and Lauren have been incredible and they too do more than their part to help around here, I have been blessed with wonderful kids too.

They wanted to put up Christmas...and so that is what we did for the rest of the evening. I decided this year to share some of my Christmas decorations with others and scale it down a bit, so we were almost done by bed time. What is it about the  Christmas lights that make the house seem magical? I loved Christmas as a child, even among all the terrible things that were going on with me, Christmas was good. My mom was always baking, she wasn't much of a decorator but she sure shared her cooking talents with everyone. Our home always smelled great during the Christmas season. My dad worked away from home a lot and we weren't especially close, he worked at a job his whole life that he hated and he seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders most of the time. But at Christmas that all changed, he was like a child with all the Christmas lights, presents for others and surprises for us.That was a great memory for me. He and my mom were both so generous, especially at Christmas. Some traditions of my childhood I would like to keep and that was one of them.

This year will be a bit different though with me being down like this. We won't be able to do our Open Houses, big Christmas projects and some of our other traditions this year, we will have to improvise I guess? I pray that some how the things we do though, will keep the Christmas spirit in our home and the kids happy. I hate for them to remember only my struggle with cancer this Christmas.

So I will try not to complain any more tonight to you either. I do know this won't last forever but it has seemed like a very long time. Being in such pain is taking it's toll and I really hope that my body starts healing soon so that I can be more like my old self, (if she is even still in there?). I keep making the mistake of comparing my experience the first time with cancer, to now and that is tripping me  up a bit. Why? Because by now I had already made my decision of how to fight my cancer, my surgery was only a lumpectomy and because I only had 2 nodes removed I felt great after surgery. This whole experience has been much much more trying and everything is different, it has only been 2 1/2 weeks since my surgery and it was quite a big surgery. This week I begin the appointments and I think deep down I am dreading all the energy that will take. So much for not complaining any more, sorry about that.

I am grateful for this Christmas season, it truly is my favorite time of the year. I love all the Christmas songs too. The one that comes to mind is Hark the Herald Angels Sing... I need to remember that there are angels every where, family and friends like you, who keep encouraging me along the way. Thank you for that!

Good Night!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Still trying!

We don't do the Black Friday shopping sprees and so we all got to sleep in a bit yesterday. Jeff encouraged me to go with he and Lauren to a couple of places yesterday afternoon, just to get out of the house. It did feel good getting out, but around my usual hour to an hour an a half time limit I was fading fast. It is hard to get that tired because there isn't much I can do except go to bed and that is what I did for a few hours. Lauren has asked if we can get the Christmas stuff out, I must have had a weary look on my face when I said "do you think we should put it all up this year or just some of it?" Lauren was shocked to hear me( MRS. CLAUS ) complain about decorating really worried her. I realized then, that I need to watch what comes out of my mouth. It isn't that I don't love Christmas, because I do... if I could change it so every day was Christmas I would but this year I am struggling to feel anything at all. Jeff reminded me that I felt the same exact way 7 years ago when had cancer and he was right. I guess it's normal to have tougher seasons and or years, this has certainly been one of them.

I struggle when I some times read the Christmas letters that we get from others, as they share all the wonderful things and wonderful places that they went that year as a family, I often wonder what we have done? Some time we joke about what we would put down in our Christmas letter, let's see ...we have family dinners together every night, that we spend one night a week  together , that we fixed things around the house and maybe that we go somewhere on the weekend.  That never seemed exciting enough to write down but this year would have been even less exciting... with all of our sicknesses, the passing of my dad and now my cancer, yes...we will spare anyone of that depressing Christmas letter.

I guess the truth is... we really are happy with our life in general. This cancer has stirred us up a bit but we truly are grateful for our simple and happy life. Yes, there are a thousand things that we would love to do and places to go but ,there is a time and season for everything. I need to try and remember this year to be excited about Christmas, it truly is my favorite time of the year but this fight with cancer has robbed me of much of the usual excitement and energy that I have. We are going to put up Christmas today, we are going to keep those Christmas carols playing on the radio and some way, some how I am going to try and put aside all my worries and concern and catch the Christmas spirit.

I was reading in my scriptures this morning the story in Mark 9:17-27 (in a book that I am reading called DRAW NEAR UNTO ME the author Steven Cramer makes some good points about this scripture). It was the story about a man who had a son who had been very sick for many years. I couldn't even imagine the emotional pain that the parents felt having a child suffer like that,  year after year, with no medical help or hope of ever changing the situation.  He must have struggled with his hope or believe that any thing would ever change their circumstances. Yet in verse 22 the father says to Christ "if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us". Jesus responded by asking him IF THOU CANST BELIEVE, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM THAT BELIEVETH?  In the next couple of verses we read where the father begins to cry and admits that he believes but, to help his unbelief. I can truly relate to that, it seems when things get too tough or my prayers are not answered quickly or maybe as I hoped they would be, then I begin to wonder about why everything is happening like it is. I wonder if I have done something wrong or do I just not have enough faith?  But like the story goes on to tell, the father seemed to be surprised at what the Savior said to him, he had assumed that everything was up to the Lord's power, but Christ reminded him that it is more up to you and your belief in my power. The father wanted to have more faith but the years and years of watching his  son suffer, had worn him down and he asked the Lord to help his unbelief and He did. The boy was healed  and it was a permanent healing. It was a miracle, something we all need though out our lives.

Jeff and I one time began to write down all the miracles in our lives and we were surprised at how many there really have been! I do believe that there are miracles happening every day but many times we miss them because we are too busy or because we aren't looking or expecting them. I need to look more and expect more miracles in my life...because I know they will be there. I need just like this father who had been worn down by worry and stress to remember my FAITH and to keep looking up. My dear friend gave me a plaque that sits proudly on my shelf that says...KEEP LOOKING UP ... THAT'S WHERE MIRACLES COME FROM! So today I will try to keep my thoughts on track and keep looking up!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quite a different Thanksgiving!

This is probably the first time in all our 26 years of marriage that we spent Thanksgiving by ourselves. If we didn't go to someone's home (family or friends) then we had someone that didn't have family near by, to come and join us. This year was different, Amy, John and Angie had John's family in town and spent most of their time with that side of the family and since my surgery we haven't done much cooking AT ALL. A dear friend of ours called us up last week and said "Lynn, I am going to bring your Thanksgiving dinner to you is that ok?" What could I say, just the thought of staying up and in the kitchen for hours with Jeff and the kids to make Thanksgiving dinner made me tired. How grateful we were today ,when she and her sister-in-law and her sweet niece brought our whole Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. I wondered if we seemed awkward? It felt that way, I have always believed in the saying THAT IT IS BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECIEVE, at least I know it is easier. I didn't know how to thank them for such a generous gift and yet at the same time it was all we could do not to ask them to stay and eat it with us. It was a wonderful dinner but a lonely one. We have received so much lately from family and friends that it is a bit hard to take. How I wish that I was in the position to do the same things for others. We have been many times, but lately it seems like all we have done is receive, and that is harder than it looks!

I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had the time to reflect on how blessed we all are. I will close tonight with one of my favorite quotes on GRATITUDE!

"GRATITUDE IS A MARK OF A NOBLE SOUL AND A REFINED CHARACTER.

WE LIKE TO BE AROUND THOSE WHO ARE GRATEFUL.

THEY TEND TO BRIGHTEN ALL AROUND THEM.

THEY MAKE OTHERS FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES.

THEY TEND TO BE MORE HUMBLE, MORE JOYFUL, MORE LIKABLE."

Thanks so much for being such a wonderful and important part of our lives!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Lynn, Jeff , Lauren and Lee

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A better day!

I was determined to make today better than yesterday, I got up and got ready so that I could do some things with Jeff and the kids today. Jeff was off work and the kids got off early from school, so we were able to do a few errands before my energy ran out. I actually went into a couple of stores and it felt good to be among people again and I noticed that I wasn't as self conscience as I was a couple of days ago. Of course I also had on a thick, poofy vest so you probably wouldn't have noticed anything any way, but still I wasn't as self conscience so...that was good.

Of course after my big 1 1/2 hour outing I was down for the count the rest of the day but...I felt a bit better today, spirit wise and physically and for that I am very grateful. Pain is an interesting teacher, one that is unwelcome many times and harsh and yet some of the greatest lessons seem to come from it. I read a quote the other day that went like this...
"THERE IS NOT A SINGLE CONDITION OF LIFE THAT IS ENTIRELY UNECESSARY, THERE IS NOT ONE HOUR'S EXPERIENCE BUT WHAT IS BENEFICIAL TO ALL THOSE WHO MAKE IT THEIR STUDY; AND AIM TO IMPROVE UPON THE EXPERIENCE THEY GAIN."

I have always believed that and have shared it  with others when I have counseled with them. I express to them that they can handle whatever they are going through or it wouldn't be given to them. I have always said that things happen for a reason and I still think that is true. But if they ask the question "WHY?" I still don't have the answer and if it is the same way that it happens in my life, many times I don't know why things happened until LONG after the fact. Time gives you a much better perspective of things and an understanding too. I think it was Jeff who said to me the other night that he wishes we could fast forward to 6 months from now and see all the things that we learned and how much stronger and faithful we have become because of all of it. So true, I know some how some way, that I will beat this cancer and the knowledge and experience that I will have gained from it will be priceless. It is just holding on and getting to that place that is usually painful and long. I have heard it said that ...

"HISTORY HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT THE MOST NOTABLE WINNERS USUALLY ENCOUNTERED HEARTBREAKING OBSTACLES BEFORE THEY TRIUMPHED. THEY WON BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO BECOME DISCOURAGED BY THEIR DEFEATS"

Here it is 2 weeks since my surgery and I have to admit that I do feel better than I did this same time 2 weeks ago. I tried to think of things that I have to be grateful for, on this Thanksgiving Eve and I did! I am grateful that I was able to have my surgery at a time when my sister-in-law could come and help out our family, had it been a week or so later she wouldn't have been able to come. I am grateful that I only had to have a single mastectomy, I am grateful it was on my left and not my right...since I am right handed. I am grateful that Jeff's work was so great to let him be with me whenever I needed him. I am grateful we had insurance. I am grateful for the chance to live in this free country, to live in Washington to have so many dear neighbors and friends. Grateful to have Jeff and the kids and grateful to be alive, yes even though this Thanksgiving will be a different one, a more quite one, I am sure it will be one that we never forget. I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and can come up with your own GRATITUDE list.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tender Love and Care

I think it was Mother Teresa who said "The most important medicine is tender love and care". If that is true then I am bound to start feeling better soon because of all the positive thoughts, love, concern, prayers and service that have been given to me and my family. Today has been a tough day, not sure if that little outing yesterday did me in or not ,but today was a struggle. Not necessarily from the pain but also just the all over fatigue, just a feeling of YUCK all day. I know that is not a medical term, but it adequately describes what today was like.

When I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, a dear friend of mine gave me a book called CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SURVIVING SOUL it was an incredible gift. Through reading it over and over again, I realized that I had a lot of the same feelings as other survivors and that was comforting. One of the stories was of a lady who had colon cancer, since I am feeling a bit under the weather tonight I thought that I would share part of it with you. I felt better after reading it again tonight, this is the wisdom that she shared with me.

"THE NEWS ABOUT MY CANCER MOVED QUICKLY. THE AMOUNT AND THE DEPTH OF JUST A SHEER CARING THAT POURED FROM ACROSS THE CONTINENT WAS A WONDERFUL SHOCK. YOU SEE, ONE OF THE HORRIBLE THINGS ABOUT CANCER IS THE ENORMOUS LOSS OF YOUR SELF-WORTH. I TRULY BELIEVE THAT UNLESS A PERSON WHO HAS THE DISEASE REGAINS THE FEELING THAT HE OR SHE REALLY MATTERS, THE PERSON WILL DIE.

WHEN ALL THE CARDS AND CALLS ARRIVED, ALONG WITH MESSAGES THAT  PEOPLE WERE HAVING THEIR CHURCH CONGREGATIONS PRAY FOR ME, I REACHED A STAGE WHERE I WOULD HONESTLY HAVE FELT I WAS LETTING PEOPLE DOWN IF I QUIT OR DIED.

"FRIENDSHIP" IS ONE ITEM I PLACE ON MY "MUST HAVE" LIST AS PART OF MY OWN GROWTH OUT OF CANCER. MY FIRST STEP WAS TO SIMPLIFY MY LIFE BY DETERMINING WHAT WAS TRULY IMPORTANT TO ME...AND SHEDDING WHAT WAS NOT. IT IS AMAZING HOW SHORT ONE'S "MUST HAVE" LIST REALLY IS! TRY YOUR OWN LIST ONE DAY WHEN YOU ARE FEELING OVERWHELMED--IT MAY CHANGE YOUR FUTURE.

THERE IS A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT THE ROLE OF POSITIVE THINKING IN CURING DISEASE. FOR ME, THERE IS NO QUESTION. IT WORKS.

IT WORKS, THAT IS, IF YOU WORK AT IT. POSITIVE THINKING TO CURE YOURSELF OF PHYSICAL ILLNESS, OR OF LIFE'S NEGATIVE STROKES, GOES WELL BEYOND THINKING POSITIVE THOUGHTS. MY STRUGGLE WITH CANCER TOOK YEARS AND SEVERAL SURGERIES...BUT I AM A SURVIVOR. NOW, EACH TIME I HIT A BAD PATCH, I TAP INTO THE SAME TWO ELEMENTS THAT PULLED ME UP DURING THE CRISIS: LOVE FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS, AND A CONSISTENT USE OF MY MIND TO HEAL MY BODY---CELL BY CELL, THROUGH CONCENTRATION AND VISUALIZATION.

I CONTINUE TO STRETCH MY MIND FOR HEALTH AND TO "KEEP ON TRACK" WITH MY LIFE. EACH OF US CAN DO THIS FOR OURSELVES. YET, MY HUSBAND OFTEN QUOTES, "NO MAN IS AN ISLAND." EQUALLY SIGNIFICANT TO OUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING ARE THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN THE WORLD THAT CONTINUALLY SHOW THAT THEY CARE. CARING WE CANNOT DO JUST FOR OURSELVES, IT GROWS WHEN IT'S SHARED WITH OTHERS...AND IT CAN SAVE LIVES".                                ----------------Delva Seavy-Rebin

I loved what she said and it is true, I do believe that LOVE CURES PEOPLE! I pray that soon I will be having more good days than bad, but until that time I will continue to lean on your love, faith and prayers.

Thank you again, good night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Managing the pain

Last night it was late and I was still awake because of the pain in my arm. It feels like I am tearing muscles under there if I move or reach it a certain way. I was discouraged and feeling pretty hopeless, time seems to be dragging on and once again it had been a LONG day. Jeff sat down to talk to me, he looked so tired and I knew that he needed to get his sleep too but he insisted on staying up with me. No one talks a lot about what the Care Givers go through, I don't think he has discussed his feelings and worries about me with too many people. He looked tired last night, he seems like he has aged a lot these past 6 weeks. Every time he asked me what I was feeling, I just cried and only mumbled out a few words. I told him that I know that everyone thinks I a really tough and that I have always made it through some terrible trials but this one seems different, this one is too BIG! I told him that I didn't think I might be able to make it through this, the pain is too great and the future is still so uncertain. With his usual sweet and calm spirit he simply asked "then what will you do?" It caught me off guard and for the first time I actually thought about what the other options were of quitting.

I told him that maybe my faith wasn't strong enough to handle this situation. I can't feel the Lord near enough to me, have I done something wrong? Does He still love me, why do I feel so hopeless? His response again was simple when he said "Lynn, you have to remember that pain drains you and robs you of hope." His first suggestion was that we get the pain under control.  He then reminded me how much the Lord loves me and truly is close by and told me that it  is manifested through the love of my family and so many neighbors and friends who are praying for me and serving me.  I thought of the scripture on service in the book of Matthew 25:35-40 when the Savior reminds them, that when they serve others they are serving Him. So He certainly has not forgotten me or left me alone to suffer by myself. He has given me a companion who has the patience of Job and loves me unconditionally, He has given me wonderful kids who are making the world a better place by them being in it. He has given me neighbors who are like family and always watching over us. He has given me friends from many states and walks of life that love me and have supported me through this, so am I alone...NO!  Can I just quit and say that I have had enough, or say that I can not do any more trials, pain or suffering...No!

I have to do more self talk, I need to think if I were the one watching Jeff or one of the kids going through this, what would I tell them? I certainly wouldn't say..."You are right, this is just too hard. You are never going to live to tell about this one. Go ahead and just quit, don't believe anything any more, you are just on you own this time."  I would be sitting right by their side telling them how much I loved them and how sorry I was that they were hurting or struggling so bad and that I would be right there with them. I would remind them of how important they were to me and so many others and especially the Lord. I would encourage them to pray and study to rebuild their hope and faith and then I would pray with all my heart that quitting would not be an option that they would choose. I would try to remind them to serve in any capacity that they could, because it is true when you serve others that is where true happiness comes from, and through that service some how your problems don't seem so big.

So I went to my doctor appointment with Jeff this morning and decided to just get more information and try not to worry. The first news I got was she could not take out my drain yet because the drainage was still too much, so we will go through Thanksgiving with it. She looked at my arm and my incision and said that she doesn't see any infection and is pleased with how it is healing. I then explained to her how severe the pain is and wondered if that was unusual? She asked if I was taking my  prescription pain meds, and I said no because they upset my stomach too bad. Then I told her I just take Tylenol if it gets to bad but that doesn't even seem to help much. Her response was, the pain you are feeling is normal, but most people don't experience it because they are on those heavy  pain meds for weeks after surgery. She assured me in a week or so after she takes out my drains that the swelling by then should go down and that should take some pressure off of the nerves. The raw and terrible sunburn feeling and hypersensitivity should go away and then she wants me to start physical therapy and massage on that arm and my chest in a week or so. Other than that I just need to ice it and lay low. I was grateful some how to know that even though the pain will persist for awhile that it wasn't  unusual.

I did  get out for a little while with a friend today and yes it was day light and other people saw me. I was worried that people would look at me but it is amazing how many people don't give eye contact and are too busy to notice anything.  I think that is the first time in my life that I went some where and didn't talk or meet any one, but at least I got out. My girlfriend realized  after a little over an hour, that my energy was spent and I was fading fast and she took me home. The kids were so excited and proud of me for going out in public today, I was hurting too bad and too tired to share in their enthusiasm. But at least they realized that I am trying!

So I will go to bed tonight with a much lighter heart and realize that this pain won't last forever and remember how loved I am. That is a good feeling, I don't have to make any decisions this week about my future, this is still my week off. I will be more appreciative of the wonderful people and things that surround me and I will look for opportunities to start serving again (right from my home). And I will try to remember these 2 quotes ...

NOTHING CAN BRING YOU PEACE BUT YOURSELF   ---Ralph Waldo Emerson

MAKE THE MOST OF YOURSELF, FOR THAT IS ALL THERE IS OF YOU   ---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good night dear friends.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Today our house was full of people, laughter and fun, quite unlike how it has been the past month or so. I am sure it is because all of our kids were together, that doesn't happen often but when it does it seems to liven every thing up. Our oldest son Brad and his bride-to-be, came in last night from Idaho and they got to stay a day with us before heading to her Dad's home in Yakima for Thanksgiving. It does my heart good as a mom to see all my kids together, laughing and happy. The house was noisy and full... just the way I like it.

It was hard watching everyone head out the door today for church without me. I wanted to go so bad but the pain in my arm and arm pit is so sore that it is all I can do to stand clothes on it. I carry my pillow or an ice pack with me where ever I go. I couldn't wait till they all came home, shared with me what they learned and then we just got to hang out together. I was extra tired (not because I did anything) but I didn't want to lay down and miss a minute of them being here.

Krystal's dad came to pick them up at 4:30pm and I cried as I said good bye to them. That is another thing that happens when a crisis hits our lives like this...it makes me homesick for all my kids to be with me. I miss having Brad and Krystal close and although we will see them in just 4 short weeks until their wedding, it still wasn't any easier to say good bye. After they left at least Amy and Angie hung out with us for a little longer before they headed  home. By 7:00pm it was just the four of us again and we just stayed together and talked and tried to think of fun things that we could do this week for Thanksgiving, since we will be by ourselves. Isn't it funny, we feel like with just the 4 of us that we are so lonely. But when Jeff and I had just Amy and Brad we thought we had a big family, but once you go from 6 to 4 it seems really lonely and different.

We also discussed tonight what changes we are going to have to make over the Christmas holidays so that I don't over do it and can take the opportunity to really rest, so we can all be prepared for the wedding (which is just 2 days after Christmas). One of the biggest events we do and LOVE is our Annual Neighborhood Open House, this would have been our 12th year I believe. Since all of our family lives else where,we have tried very hard to make our Neighbors and Friends part of our Family and we get so excited every year to host that event in our home. Even our neighbors from our old neighborhood come and we feel the quote that says...THE ORNAMENT OF A HOUSE IS THE FRIENDS WHO FREQUENT IT  is sooooooo true!  It just starts our Holiday season off right when our home is full of our neighbors and friends. Now with all that has transpired in the last month or so and with all the healing that I need to do ...we are going to have to miss our Annual Open House and I am sad. I know that everyone will understand under the circumstances but... I sure wish things were different!

I go back to the Doctor tomorrow  morning for another Post Op visit with my surgeon, hopefully she will take out my drain and be able to tell me why my arm is hurting so bad. Maybe this is normal but it doesn't really feel that way to me. I have a very high pain tolerance but between my MONO and this, I don't feel like doing hardly anything. I did leave the Christmas music on today all day and that did seem to help a bit and I did let 2 people come into my home and see me so...I am taking BABY STEPS, that is about all I can do right now. I think that many of my friends are surprised that I am not bouncing back quicker than I usually do with other things but, this has been such a much bigger thing that I have ever dealt with and believe me there is no one that wants the other LYNN to come back any more than me. I do feel like however that the old Lynn is gone and there will be a new Lynn that will surface here soon...hopefully a more determined, more faithful and a wiser Lynn!

I will close with a few quotes that Jeff and I looked up tonight. I know that he too is waiting and hoping for ME to return, he has been a wonderful cheering partner for me. Most of our married Life he has done that for me, what a blessing it is has been to be married to him.

Once again, thanks for your love, prayers and concern, you do mean the world to me, and I will be able to make the necessary changes with friends and family like you!

Good night!

JUST BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT, DOESN'T MEAN THAT EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED   --Irene Peter

THE IMPORTANT THING IS THIS; TO BE ABLE AT ANY MOMENT TO SACRIFICE WHAT WE ARE FOR WHAT WE COULD BECOME      -----------Charles Dubois

I CANNOT SAY WHETHER THINGS WILL GET BETTER IF WE CHANGE; WHAT I CAN SAY IS THEY MUST CHANGE IF THEY ARE TO GET BETTER   -----------Charles Licthtenburg

ALL I HAVE SEEN TEACHES ME TO TRUST THE CREATOR FOR ALL I HAVE NOT SEEN    ----Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Change...not as easy as it looks

It has been a couple of days since I have written, couldn't really think of anything exciting enough to write. Yesterday was a painful day in a couple of ways, I saw a few of my friends (for the first time) and I got up and dressed in normal clothes (which was a painful mistake). I guess I am not quite up to anything other than SOFT sweat suits. It didn't take anything to make me exhausted and I think it is hard to feel real positive when you aren't feeling too well. Everyone told me how good I looked and I was glad that I was up and dressed, but even though what they say was the normal looking Lynn, there is nothing NORMAL about how I feel right now.

I had a great friend tell me that when she came to my home that it felt different than it normally does. She said " it felt like you weren't home ...but you were." She didn't hear any Christmas music (which I play all year long), she didn't hear any laughter and the kids weren't  even smiling. I guess she is right, we have had many dear friends come by with dinners for us each night (which has been an incredible blessing) and when they come I am never around, I slip downstairs and hope that I won't have to talk to anyone. I think Lauren said it best today when we were talking about this very subject and she said "Mom, this isn't normal for you, you love to decorate your home, you love to talk on the phone and you love to be around everybody, this just isn't you.!

And so, I have my work cut out for me, I am trying so hard to get up and keep moving each day but honestly I don't feel like doing anything. I know that I am not alone but I sure feel like it. I know people think I look good and normal but there is nothing inside that feels like either of those are true. I am the mom and I know that my attitude and spirit affect my home, I am trying to get back to some of the normal things I do, it is just taking me a bit longer than I thought it would.  I believe in the saying "WE CANNOT BECOME WHAT WE NEED TO BE BY REMAINING WHAT WE ARE.   -----Max De Pree  So, I do know that something has got to change.

I know there are a lot of resources out there for me to contact, many support groups and even other women who have gone through it and even that is not what I feel ready to do right now. They sent me home with many pamphlets about cancer, mastectomies and on and on but...I really don't even want to read them yet. You see I fought Cancer once and although I learned many great lessons from that I really don't want to spend any more of my life studying about it and fighting it. I don't want to belong to any support group or survivors club. I don't want to go my whole life with this body, I don't want to do this any more. I am sorry that this is so honest, I am usually a really upbeat and positive lady. I am sure that I will get there but for now, I guess this is just one of those BIGGER THAN ME days.  Thanks for keeping in touch and believing that I can make it through this.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Power of OTHERS

I have been continually amazed at all the cards and calls that have been coming in lately. I can't adequately put into words what that has meant to me. It has given me strength and courage to not give up. I read this sweet story today...

    I WAS TAKING MY USUAL MORNING WALK WHEN A GARBAGE TRUCK PULLED UP BESIDE ME. I THOUGHT THE DRIVER WAS GOING TO ASK FOR DIRECTIONS. INSTEAD, HE SHOWED ME A PICTURE OF A CUTE LITTLE FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOY.  "THIS IS MY GRANDSON, JEREMIAH," HE SAID. "HE'S ON A LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEM AT A PHOENIX HOSPITAL." THINKING HE WOULD NEXT ASK FOR A CONTRIBUTION TO HIS HOSPITAL BILLS, I REACHED FOR MY WALLET. BUT HE WANTED SOMETHING MORE THAN MONEY. HE SAID, "I'M ASKING EVERYBODY I CAN TO SAY A PRAYER FOR HIM. WOULD YOU SAY ONE FOR HIM,PLEASE?" I DID. AND MY PROBLEMS DIDN'T SEEM LIKE MUCH THAT DAY.                            --------------------Bob Westenberg

I love this story because it reminds me what power we have on others, for good and bad. Every day whatever we do or don't do, effects others.  Many of you have kept my family and I in your prayers and thoughts and we really have felt it! I know everyone's lives are busy but you still took the time to think of us and we are very grateful for that. I will try to do the same for others because when I do ...my problems don't seem quite as big.

Today my sister-in-law Shirley left and I wasn't sure what I was going to do without her. I had become so dependent on her, probably shouldn't have but I did. Everything seemed so much more tolerable with her around, she even came in to some of the pre-op procedures that I had and even though they were hard to watch she stayed right by my side and kept me smiling. She never told me what I should or shouldn't be feeling, but just supported me through it all.  She actually ask me to look at my incision today before she left,she knew that I was struggling with that. I realized that she just wanted to make sure that I was completely taken care of before she headed for home, this was the one last thing that I needed to do and she didn't want me to do it alone.

So I did, I looked for the first since my surgery, wow... I was so surprised at how many areas were affected by this, like my arm pit  and even my collar bone. I didn't cry today so I thought that was progress, but to me it looked gross and that will be an adjustment for my mind to work on. Shirley sweetly reminded me of how beautiful she thought I still was and that she was just glad that I am still here with her. She is a sweetheart ! I know many of you have been worried about me, worried that I am not taking calls or seeing people yet. I am just tired, I am hurting and I am sorta grieving I guess, for part of me that I won't ever get back. I made this decision but I never dreamed that I would be feeling like this. I really hope that I live long enough to help others who have this surgery. I hope that in the future there will be more one on one contact with these women who are having mastectomies. I know there are so many  women having this done everyday but each woman is still a real  person. This procedure might be considered very common but it's very scary and life changing to that ONE WOMAN.  I still say that I got more information and trouble shooting suggestions when I bought my sewing machine. This is a huge surgery, maybe not major... but big.  My life will go on but not quite the same and that is what I have to work through. I have been asked if I am considering reconstruction, the answer at this point in my life is no, I don't want any more surgeries or anything else being done to my body.

So once again, thanks for your positive thoughts, wishes and prayers in my behalf. I will beat this cancer once again and hopefully be even more willing to help others do the same.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today was a good day!

This was the first time in a long time that I didn't wake up with that paralyzing fear about my cancer. I actually felt better all over, my arm wasn't quite as sore, the redness isn't as bad and so hopefully that antibiotic is doing it's job. The down side with heavy antibiotics like these is that they do a number on your stomach but I am working on that too and for now that is the LEAST of my worries.

Since the pain was much more manageable I was able to focus on something like reading today. Shirley did a lot of running around for us and I am sure that she was glad to be outside. She hasn't left my side since the day that she got here, so I was glad that she and the kids got to go do some running around. She leaves tomorrow and it sure will be tough to see her go.  While they were gone I  read a book, it felt good to sit out on the deck ...in the sun and read.

The book that I read was loaned to me by a dear friend and the title was THE USES OF ADVERSITY  It had great advice from those who had lived through unbelievable adversities and pain and how they found a way to profit it and not let it destroy them. One of the true stories that touched me the most, was of a mother who lost one of her children in a terrible accident. After really struggling and trying to make sense out of what happen and asking a million times the same question  "WHY" over and over again in her prayers. She finally bore a sweet and powerful testimony of her knowledge of God, here is what she said at her son's funeral.

"I AM CONTENT TO LET  GOD BE GOD. I WILL NOT TRY TO INSTRUCT HIM ON HIS DUTIES OR ON HIS OBLIGATIONS TOWARD ME OR TOWARD ANY OF HIS CHILDREN. I KNOW HE LIVES AND LOVES US, AND THAT HE IS GOD. HE'S NOT UNMINDFUL OF US. WE DO NOT SUFFER OUT OF HIS VIEW. HE DOES NOT INFLICT PAIN UPON US, BUT HE SUSTAINS US IN OUR PAIN. I AM HIS DAUGHTER; MY SON IS ALSO HIS SON; WE BELONG TO HIM, AND WE ARE SAFE WITH HIM. I USED TO THINK WE WERE SAFE FROM GRIEF AND PAIN HERE BECAUSE OF OUR FAITH. I KNOW NOW THAT IS NOT TRUE, BUT WE ARE SAFE IN HIS LOVE. THAT IS MY WITNESS."

Wow, what a mom, what a daughter and what a lady. I need to keep reminding myself that all of the things that have happened in my life, good and bad have taught me many things. This too will teach me profound wisdom that I am sure I wouldn't have learned any other way. I know one thing for sure, I need to take better care of myself. I did the first few years after my cancer but then got caught up again in the busyness of life and began to neglect myself little by little. I now realize that I can't do that and I haven't been the best example to my kids. I try to do too much, and the sad part is that many times even when I was completely exhausted I still felt bad because I didn't do more. If I had my way I would be SUPER WOMAN; SUPER WIFE; SUPER MOM and SUPER FRIEND.

Now IF my counselor would happen to be reading ,this he would smile because he would realize that he will always have job security as long as I am alive!  :) Oh well, I need to remember BABY STEPS!  Thanks to all of you who have been a great example to me. I can't believe that even at the ripe old age of 49 1/2 that I am still learning so much. After my nightly walk I just looked up into the sky and realized how grateful I am to be alive, to live here in Washington, to have such a warm and beautiful home. Thankful to be married to my BEST FRIEND and to be the mother of such incredible kids, grateful to be a NANA, to have so many family and friends who love me. I felt gratitude tonight instead of fear, what a blessing!  Yes, it was a good day!

 

"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking the week off!

I decided today after talking to my Cancer doctor that I am not going to study, worry or make any decisions for the next week. Yes, I am taking the week off. I set up my appointment with her and the oncologist for the 1st of December and until then my goal is to rest and hopefully get this arm feeling better. The Doctor noticed during my check-up yesterday that the surgery area was a bit red, she thought I might be getting an infection. I have to admit, I was wondering about that myself, because the soreness in that whole area is getting worse and it is swelling more. I started the antibiotic last night and since my lungs are getting a bit tighter too, they are hoping that I will be feeling better soon. The doctor also told me to just relax and not worry about anything or decisions until I heal a bit more from the mastectomy so... I am going to take her advice.

I noticed today that I am hardly using my left arm because it is so sore so I need to really focus on getting the swelling down and the mobility back.

I did however go for a 20 minute walk tonight with Amy, while they were visiting today and so hopefully that will help me sleep better tonight.

One major thing I need to focus on this week is to get my head in the game first. I need to reprint the quote...

"THE GREATEST DISCOVERY OF ANY GENERATION IS THAT HUMAN BEINGS CAN ALTER THEIR LIVES BY ALTERING THE ATTITUDES OF THEIR MINDS."                                  ---------------Albert Schweitzer

I also found this quote today...

"THERE IS NOT A SINGLE CONDITION OF  LIFE THAT IS ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY;THERE IS NOT ONE HOUR'S EXPERIENCE BUT WHAT IS BENEIFICAL TO ALL THOSE WHO MAKE IT THEIR STUDY, AND AIM TO IMPROVE UPON THE EXPERIENCE THEY GAIN"

I hope and pray that I make it through this whole thing with stronger faith, more knowledge, more compassion and most of all with HOPE. I  want to get up every day be among my friends, and really enjoy life.

I am not there yet ... so don't give up on me!

What am I to learn?

Well, it is 3:30am and here I sit wide awake. The pain under my arm is getting so sore that it wakes me up some times. I received a little pillow from my surgeon's office with a lot of booklets and pamphlets a week before my surgery, along with that there was a little pillow in there. I looked at it and wondered what it was for and just put it back in the bag. The other day my arm was getting so sore that I was trying to find something to stick in my shirt so that my arm wouldn't have to touch my side and then... I finally realized what that little pillow was for and how grateful I was for the volunteer who made it!

Sunday was a tough day physically for me, I didn't even bother to shower until almost 3:00 and then I decided to just leave my FACE in the bag (make-up bag). Shirley and I talked a lot, how grateful I have been that she came to be with me right now, I really don't know how I would have done it without her. She will be leaving on Thursday and already that is making me sad. Not because she takes complete care of EVERYTHING in our home and the kids but because she is truly my sister and we have been through so much together.

Sunday evening when the sun went down I ventured outside to take a short stroll, it turned way shorted than I planned because it was so cold outside and I knew I didn't need to catch a chill. (that sounded like something my grandmother would have said)  I sorta felt like BEAST in that movie BEAUTY and the BEAST, he only went out at night. I just don't want people to be shocked when they first see me but then I have to remember ... if I have all my gear on, you probably wouldn't even notice a difference at all...but nevertheless I DO!

Yesterday I did about the same thing...nothing! I know that is what I am suppose to do but even with doing nothing, I felt bad. I am trying to keep my mind at least working some but that sometimes is more than I can do. I am tired of being sick, tired of hurting, tired of wondering what the future will bring. I thought came to my mind when I woke up from my surgery ... I THINK I COULD MAKE IT FROM THIS POINT ON, IF THIS WAS IT .IF ALL I HAVE TO DO IS SURVIVE THIS MASTECTOMY AND THEN I WILL BE COMPLETLY DONE WITH CANCER IN MY LIFE!  But it is the reality that keeps hitting me the face. I have only begun this journey of fighting cancer again, I have to some how accept this wounded body that I now have, I have to regain my mobility and strength, I have to go to more and more doctor appointments to get even more information on this horrible disease and then... I have to study, fast and pray about what my next move will be. Then I still have to DO IT!  Whatever it will be?

I have always said to other women that I counsel with Cancer, that one of the hardest things is to really ENJOY LIFE!  Cancer seems to try and rob you of that, if you aren't careful ...every cough, ache or pain is a constant question IF Cancer might be returning. It is a terrible place to go in your mind and once again the battle begins with controlling your thoughts.

I need to go back to bed, rearrange my 8 pillows that I have in there and try and get some sleep. I am constantly reminded at how blessed I am to have such an incredible husband (who hardly can even find any room to sleep in the bed). He has been my rock as always, I apologized to him the other night for having to be married to a wife who has been sick so much of their life. His reply ..."Lynn, you have been worth it, you are more beautiful now than the day I married you". We have been married 26 years and have definitely had our struggles but looking back on most of them, it was me who was really struggling. I didn't know exactly who I was and it took me forever to learn to really LOVE myself. I always thought ...why does it take us so long to figure life out?  Many of you are probably are ahead of me on that question, but I need to remember we are suppose to have JOY IN THE JOURNEY, it is not the destination that is where the only Joy is but in the journey and the million of things that you learn along the way.

I hope soon that I can find some JOY in all of this, for now though I am struggling,tired, hurting and a bit scared of what the future will bring, I just pray daily that I WILL BE MADE EQUALTO THE TASK! Thanks for your continued love,thoughts and prayers.

Good night or good morning!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Results are in...

Hi, this is Shirley.  Tonight, I have volunteered to be Lynn's hands and voice.  While not as amazing as the proxy I represent, I do have the ability, nonetheless, to relate many of her feelings as I am sharing this experience with her.  I am very thankful I could be here with her to help in anyway...  After all, you know Lynn, the one individual who has "cast her bread upon the waters" many, many times and this little bit of service I have to give can only be considered a very small repayment for the time and love she has given to me for the short, thirty-one years we have known one another.

Today was the scheduled meeting with Dr. Johnson.  The lab report was to tell her the things she needed to know.  Dr. Johnson considered the information she had to convey as "good news and bad news".  She related the condition of two of the sixteen lymph nodes taken in surgery as testing positive for cancer; although confirming that the nodes involved were half-positive and half-negative.  The tumors were determined to be slightly larger than originally thought.

Four weeks need to pass before any further treatment can be considered.  There need to be additional meetings with the oncologist before anything concrete can be determined.  Lynn will also be taking antibiotics for a possible infection in an effort to relieve some soreness and swelling under her left arm.  Her drainage tubes need to stay intact for a while longer, but she was thankful to be rid of the 'fanny-pack" tube that released medication to the surgical site.

Lynn is amazing!  You know her zest and love for life.  It takes a lot for her to admit when she is tired and exhausted but she has reached her limit today, hence the ghost-writer sending you this message.  Please keep her in your prayers and ask our Father in Heaven to help her body fight a possible infection.  Her recent bout with mono and pneumonia has zapped a lot of her body's defenses which she needs to have back.  Although her heart would love to answer every phone call and return every email, her body has to be aware of her limits.  It is not her disposition or nature to ignore anyone but she has to hold back on some of the usual love that pours so freely from her lips and her hands.

I promise to try and sit on her tomorrow and make her rest.  Can you believe she insisted I go out and have her serger repaired today so she could design a more comfortable underarm pillow?  As you might suspect that underarm pillow was more important to her as a means of helping others than herself; she is determined to let the information she has gleaned from this experience guide her to making life better for someone else in the future.  Isn't it wonderful to know that some folks never change? 

On behalf of our family, we thank you so much for all of your love and support; I have been very touched by the cards, flowers, dinners, magazines, craft patterns, clothing, child chauffeuring, emails, phone calls, etc... all filled with love and concern for my sweet sister.  No act of kindness gets past Lynn; even yesterday she spent quite a long time writing thank-you notes.  It troubles her deeply to think someone else might not know how much they mean to her.  Always remember how important you are in her life!

With Gratitude and Love,

Shirley

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What a scare!

Yesterday was beautiful outside and Amy, John and Angie came over to visit so the day went pretty well. I am still moving slow and everything wipes me out, but at least the house was full of lots of laughing and smiles, can't say that we have had a lot of that lately. I started my arm exercises that I am suppose to do 3 times a day, they are very slow and tiny movements trying to give me back more range of motion in my arm and strengthen the muscles. I noticed that putting my arm down to the side hurts more and feels like the nerves have been stretched too far or something. I just figured it was part of the healing process but it still hurts. I also noticed that my drains weren't filling up as much as the last couple of days but there again, since I wasn't told how much or how long it would drain, I thought that might be normal.

When I was getting ready to change for bed, I realized as I took off my jacket that my tank, camisole and bandages were soaked through with all the drainage. It scared me to death,I couldn't imagine that the drain tube could have come out without me knowing it because it is sutured in. I called the on call Doctor and waited for 45 minutes before he got back with me. We searched through all the papers that they sent us home with to see if we had any warnings or instructions for WHAT IF this or that happened, but there was nothing about this on there. Finally when the Doctor called he said that probably the drainage tube was just clogged and told us what to try, then he told us to change the bandages because you don't want that drainage to stay on there because infection. I told him that I didn't know how to change my bandage because I am completely wrapped with an ace bandage and was told not to take it off at all until Monday at my appointment. He said "well, all Doctors do it different but it's not that big of deal to change it". He must have heard how scared that I sounded and hesitant to do it so his next comment was "well, you can come into the ER if you want but I think that is a little overkill!" I won't go into my thoughts about him at that point but I was grateful that he wasn't my surgeon and once again I am shocked at the information that is not given to you after a mastectomy. I also wonder why I had to be treated like I was reacting over nothing? This has really been an eye opening experience.

When I ask Jeff or Shirley if they thought they could change my bandage, they both shook their head NO at the same time. A few hours earlier my dear friend Terry called and left a message, saying that if I needed her for anything just to call. Now since she is a nurse we called her back and she came right over. We were grateful for her expertise and then she also assured us that everything with the incision looked pretty good and told us what to keep a look out for the next couple of days.What a blessing it was that she took the time to come over. Shirley was brave and watched the whole time, I was glad that she didn't faint, I on the other hand, still can't get my nerve up to look.

So today was quite a scare, how grateful I was that I didn't have to go to the hospital and that it was something just as simple as a clogged drain tube. Wish all things were that simple to fix.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What a long day!

I wasn't able to sleep too well last night but I have to admit, it was better than the hospital. I'm not sure that I was ready for how sore I would be today, still I didn't think it was as bad as trying to recuperate  from a C-section. Shirley  had her work cut out today trying to keep me on schedule with all my supplements and rest. Amy and Angie came over and visited today, that was great because I haven't seen them since before the surgery. No matter how scared I am or how much  pain I am in, that little RED HEAD makes me forget it all and smile. When I hear her say " Love you Nana" I realize that somehow I have got to beat this cancer so that she and I can have a lot more memories together.

One of the things that the Doctor suggested I get after my mastectomy was a camisole that holds the drains that are from my incision. There is nothing nice looking about it but it was more convenient. It also has place for the prosthesis for later, so I had better get used to it. For some reason I didn't struggle as hard mentally today but I didn't talk or see anyone either. I know that I won't feel like this forever but for now some how I just don't know what to say or really want anyone to see me.

Now I have never been one to feel  uncomfortable with anyone who looks or is different, that's actually what I did for work for quite a few years. I worked with kids with handicaps, to me they are the most special spirits around. My little niece who now is a young woman has been handicapped for years and yet she has brought our family more joy than anyone can imagine.

When I was 11 years old my oldest brother Mike was seriously hurt in Vietnam and for quite some time we didn't know if he  would even live. I remember one time traveling all night on the train to go visit him in the Bethesda Naval Hospital. My memory isn't that great now, but I won't ever forget walking down the halls of the hospital and going into the ward where all the young injured marines were. Oh my word, I can still remember the smells and sounds of that room. These young men were severely injured and moaning and crying. It scared me to death as a little girl, many of them didn't seem to know where they were and many of them kept reaching for us. I know that they were in a tremendous pain and mom just kept telling us not to stare and keep looking for Mike. As we got closer to Mike, he seemed to look like one of the worst ones there, with all of his injuries, almost his whole body was wrapped in bandages and he was very groggy from  all the medicine. I don't remember how long we stayed or what was said, but I do remember how brave my mom was in telling Mike that he was going to be able to fight this and win. She told him over and over again that we loved him and together as a family we could handle this. As I walked back out of the ward I realized that all I was seeing as a 11 year old girl was what seemed to be pieces of young men, they had all kinds of body parts missing and it seemed like hopelessness was every where.

Well, fast forward years later and my brother Mike not only made it, but he excelled in life and is a husband, dad, teacher and grandfather. Maybe when I am ready, it is him I should ask to coach me on how to get on with my life and feel good about myself again. Losing a breast has seemed so overwhelming, how I wish that since Evergreen Hospital prides themselves in being one of the best Cancer Centers in the nation that they would at least have some volunteers who are survivors themselves, that would personally come in and give you tips on how to survive a mastectomy and the emotional things that come with it. I was lucky or I should say blessed to have a survivor as one of my nurses, but we didn't have that much time together. She did give me a few bits of wisdom and even came back to visit me the next day, what a sweetheart.

Mastectomies are so common but I don't think surviving them is as easy. I wonder if I will ever feel normal about my body again. I am a motivational speaker and only hope to do more and more of it in the future, but for now I can't imagine how I would feel comfortable enough to stand up in front of people. They say that TIME HEALS ALL THINGS and so I will just have to trust that is true and wait. I know I have said this before but thanks for taking this journey with me, knowing that so many people love, support and pray for me, really does make a difference.

So day three, even though it was long... it is finally over and I will wait and hope that tomorrow will be a bit better!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I am home again

I never do too well on the medicine  that they give me in the hospital. It makes me very queasy and light headed, that is why I am so grateful that one of my dear friends stayed with me last night in the hospital. Sleeping and hospitals don't actually go together because of all the checking in on you and taking your vitals every 4 hours. But I was grateful to know that someone was there when I needed something . I was sore but when the nausea finally left around 3:00 a.m. then I felt a bit more like myself.

The women that helped take care of me from the first procedure to the last, were amazing and some how I felt like it was meant to be ...that our paths crossed. Jeff teased me today and said "HOW MANY BEST FRIENDS HAVE YOU MADE, SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN HERE?" I did feel well taken care of but was shocked to meet so many women who were in there for cancer and to hear their stories. We all instantly connected and wished each other luck, it was sad, touching and humbling to say the least.

My spirits were high until I got ready to leave the hospital and first took a look at myself in the mirror, what a shock. My whole chest is wrapped with ace bandages so I actually couldn't see the effects of the surgery but my body still looks deformed already. I couldn't help but cry when I looked again in the mirror. How could this really be happening to me and how will I ever feel normal and good about myself again? I know there are many women who have gone through this and worse, but for today I am just talking about me. How can such a routine surgery now days, leave someone feeling so ugly, empty, sad and doubtful?

I am sorry to be so honest, but I know I need to keep writing  these thoughts to make sure that I just keep feeling things. Today every time the phone rang or there was a knock on the door, I kept saying"I just can't talk to any one right now and I don't want any one to see me like this." My sweet family act like I look just the same but wow that must be hard for all of them too. Jeff just keeps holding me and reminding me that these feelings are all normal and that we will all get through this together, but I can't even imagine that right now. Dear Shirley, my sister-in-law who has been with me through this all, has been a real trooper helping me get dressed, emptying my drains and trying to make sure I rest and get all the supplements I am suppose to take.

I wish I felt better and had a more uplifting entry today but this was my day and personally I am glad that it is over and pray that tomorrow will be a bit brighter.

I have received  many cards, beautiful flowers, books and gifts... all of which remind me of how many dear friends I have and how much I am loved. Thank you for that.. Here is a quote that someone gave me in a book today.

"YOU CAN WORK MIRACLES BY EXPRESSING FAITH IN OTHERS. TO GET THE BEST OUT OF PEOPLE, CHOOSE TO THINK AND BELIEVE THE BEST ABOUT THEM."   ___Bob Moawad

I know many of you are praying for me and have faith in me and some how I pray too that there will be little miracles that happen each day to help me get through this experience.

Good night!

Pretending to be someone you are not

First of all last night in the hospital I realized that I had not written in my blog and I forgot to ask Jeff to write in my blog before he headed to bed. This morning when I asked him if he would write in it today he just smiled and said I did last night and I pretended to be you! Lauren said if you didn't put a quote on it then everyone will know it wasn't mom any way. :)  But, I am at least grateful that he gave you our update.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Hard Part is Over

What seemed like the longest day in history is finally over.  It started with a 9:30am pre-op admission which included an injection of radioactive dye to identify my sentinel lymph node.  This will "light up" the node and serve as a guide for the surgeon during surgery.  It takes a while for the dye to move through my system and find the node.  In the meantime Jeff, my sister-in-law Shirley and I waited and answered calls from many of you anxious to know how I was doing.  Your prayers and concern have been a great source of strength to me.  Thank you again for all your support. 

Finally around 2:00pm prep work began for the final countdown to surgery.  A flurry of visits from the surgeon, Anesthesiologist and surgery nurse took place to either ask last minute questions or give last minute instructions.  The mastectomy began at 2:30pm and ended at 4:00pm when Dr. Johnson informed Jeff and Shirley that all went well.  She had the Pathologist do a frozen section on the sentinel node she removed during surgery.  The report came back during surgery that the node was positive (cancerous).  Dr. Johnson then took more nodes around the sentinel for later lab analysis.  She said that more surgery to remove more nodes later wouldn't be necessary.  After an hour and a half of spent in recovery, and still not really with it, they wheeled me up to my room.  I'll stay here overnight and be released at 11:00am.  Thanks again for all your prayers and well wishes.

Today is the day!

I guess ready or not I am going in this morning for a mastectomy. Having a mastectomy is what I always thought would be the worst nightmare for any woman. But we  have studied, researched and prayed soooooo much about it and realize it is the best choice for me and my health to do this. Having two tumors really narrowed my options. No matter what road I go down next, we realized that we needed to get these cancerous tumors out.

We interviewed different doctors and have decided to go with Marion Johnson from Evergreen Hospital, she seemed very knowledgeable and what can I say ...she has got to be good, because she has the same name as my mom ! My mom has been gone now for almost 8 years and there is never a day that goes by that I don't wish that I could see her or at least talk to her. I have heard my whole life that those who have already passed away are not really that far away from us, actually closer than we think. I pray today that my mom will be close, I could use all the help I can get!

So with that decision we have all decided to WEAR PINK today and think positive. I heard the quote TRIUMPH IS JUST THE "UMPH" AFTER THE TRY!  I have a feeling that is just exactly what I am going to have to do today. I am trying not to be scared and trying not to be discouraged and will give it a little more effort and umph today and for the next few coming weeks to conquer one of the biggest challenges in my life.

We go in at 9:30 this morning and first have a sentinel node test and then biopsy for the first few hours. When those results come back the surgery will begin, they are telling us that it will start approximately at noon. The actual surgery time is suppose to be one and half hours. So by 3:00 this afternoon, this should all be behind me. I will stay in the hospital over night and hopefully will be home by Thursday afternoon. Someone said "do you like to have visitors at the hospital"?  My family would laugh as they told you" NO" because I am totally out of it with  the medication, so I will probably be able to have visitors in a few days.   My sister- in- law Shirley, flew in yesterday to be with me. She has been with me through all my  surgeries and that has been an unbelievable BLESSING for all of us!

Well, I need to go get ready. Once again...thanks for you love, concern and prayers. I could probably use a few extra ones just in case and if you want you can join us in ...WEARING PINK !

Talk to you soon.

Love,

Lynn

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

P.S.

When you write comments on my blog, I don't know exactly yet how to reply back to them so here is my email that you can contact me directly.    www.thewoodards@verizon.net

Also, some of you have asked about how Bradley is doing. I have been so tired and down that I failed to mention to some of you that Brad is getting married on December 27th to a sweetheart of a girl  Krystal Austin. They met at school and will continue to live in Idaho as they both finish off school. They are getting married in Utah where a lot of the family lives on both sides, then we will have a reception for them January 2nd for everyone to meet her. So be looking for your invitation around Christmas. I was telling Jeff that it would be nice if we could slip in a family Christmas wish from us to all of you, since it will be coming in December. Jeff nicely told me that it would be TACKY to say the least. I am not really trying to be a cheap skate, but merely saving my energy. Glad that Jeff was honest about it, before I brought it up to Brad and Krystal.  :)

If you want a sneak peek of the happy couple you can look on Lauren's blog site because she did all their engagement photos..thanks Lauren!  Her blog is ...www.adayinwashington.blogspot.com

That is another reason that I need to go forward in my surgery date, so that I will have the time to heal and rest up before we head for the wedding. Which by the way is only 6 weeks away! Is that wild or what? Christmas is coming it seems even sooner this year, but I don't care because it is my most favorite time of the year! I believe I feel a song coming on!

Monday, November 10, 2008

All clear and ready for take off!

Sounds like something you hear from the pilot of your plane trip. Well, that is the news we got this morning around 10:00. The Dr. called and said that the CT scan read that I was all clear from cancer. Which was such a blessing! They did not want to take me into surgery on Weds. unless they knew, for a fact that the cancer had not spread to my other organs. How grateful we were to hear that news. Jeff received the call while I was getting ready and when he told me he said "well, that was the doctor and he said that the CT scan said that I was all clear, meaning that they didn't find cancer elsewhere". Then he said " they did see some some areas of concern but you don't have cancer". I was heading out the door to my chiropractic appointment and was so happy to hear the news that I didn't push him for information of what they did find. I guess that I felt like I needed to be grateful for that blessing.

Later when we went to the 2nd surgeon appointment, while we were sitting in the waiting room I asked him what else they found? He casually said "oh just that you have arthritis in your lumbar area (lower back) and some type of spots on your lungs but at least you don't have cancer." I began to worry a bit but realized that I could probably handle anything if I didn't have cancer any where else. But I have to admit that the rest of the evening I have felt out of breath and wondering if I am breathing ok?  :) The mind is a powerful tool, for the good and bad...  for worry warts like me! Sometimes, I scare myself!  :)

I usually hesitate calling anyone lately when I have had to tell them bad news, especially my kids, but we know it is important to keep them informed and part of our team. Today was just the opposite, I couldn't wait to tell, Brad, Krystal and Amy about the CT results. It is true, thinking positive is soooooo much for effective that worrying. My grandmother who had a beautiful old rocker that she sat in all the time said. "WORRYING IS LIKE A ROCKING CHAIR, YOU CAN ROCK AND ROCK ALL DAY AND STILL END UP NOT GOING ANYWHERE!" She would be proud that I was quoting her and better yet that I am trying to remember and apply her words of wisdom.

I hope that I will sleep better tonight with this good news. Tomorrow the kids are off school and I am glad we are going to have time to spend together before my surgery. They would tell you that I am just glad that they are off so that they can help me clean the house before I leave and before my sister-in-law flies in. I guess that could be true but,  even working and cleaning together could be counted for QUALITY TIME couldn't  it? 

I have got to start a GRATITUDE journal again, it makes all the difference in how I think about my day and my life. I also need to print off some of my favorite motivational quotes and hang them up all over my house, to remind me on a daily basis of how to fight this battle and to remember I can do this no matter how big or frightening it is. One quote that I have up in my house is..."KEEP YOUR FACE TO THE SUNSHINE AND YOU WILL NOT SEE THE SHADOWS".    -------------Helen Keller   She was a person who truly knew adversity and conquered her problems head on. I  pray that I will do the same.

So today I am thankful for...

The cancer not spreading, for sunshine, for good friends and neighbors, for a warm gift of clothing, for my family and for my knowledge that GOD lives and the knowledge that  He does have a plan for all of us. Thank you again for all that you do and for the lives that you live, that help give me great examples to follow. Thanks also for your faith and prayers in my behalf and my family's.

Love,

Lynn, Jeff, John, Amy, Angie, Brad, Krystal, Lauren and Lee

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I love Sundays!

How grateful I am that I felt good enough to go to church today, there is always something that I learn there that helps me throughout my week. It is like a recharging of my spiritual batteries that sustain me. One of the things that stands out in my mind that I learned today is, by being GRATEFUL it helps us realize how good our life is and disappointments and fears are easier to conquer. It is by counting our blessings that we realize we have always been taken care of our whole life and that things some how work out, even when we don't understand why we have such trials and struggles. Remembering to... BE NOT AFRAID,ONLY BELIEVE  is something that can change our attitude about our life and lessons that we are learning. Realizing all the things that I have been blessed with makes me happy and much more content, how can I even complain when I have so many blessings in my life?

I have tried all weekend to just not think about the test results that we will be getting back tomorrow, from the CT scan. There is absolutely nothing else I can do, I have prayed and prayed that the test will come back, showing that I don't have cancer spread any where else in my body. But then I realize that maybe, that isn't the will of the Lord and my battle will take a different turn. No matter what,I have just got to keep remembering that I have never been left alone in this life. Although I have had many major tests, none of them have I had to suffer or go through by myself. I always knew that my Heavenly Father was close by and heard and answered my prayers. I knew that He would somehow help me rise above whatever challenge it was and learn and grow from it.

Another talk that I heard was about when someone was struggling with a particular trial in their life and in their pleading to God they said "how can I possibly make it through this problem. I feel very unprepared to handle this and inadequate,obviously I know so little about life and how to survive this." His answer came with a sweet assurance from the Lord, that reminded him that HE MIGHT NOT KNOW EVERYTHING BUT THAT HE KNOWS ENOUGH!

That rang true to me, my spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. I don't know everything that is going to happen or how I am going to be strong enough to handle it. I don't know how much more I can take. But I do know enough to keep going, keep smiling, keep the commandments, keep a positive attitude,keep serving, keep praying and to never give up. I know enough to choose the road of faith and obedience. I know there will continue to be more challenges, difficulties, questions and doubts, but I am not alone. I am so grateful for a testimony that God lives and loves me and that with His help and the love and strength of so many family and friends, that I will be able to get up in the morning and be ready to face whatever news we get.

Tomorrow we meet with another surgeon just to get a second opinion. Tomorrow like I mentioned, we get the CT results back. So I need to go to bed and try to get some sleep. I will let you know tomorrow what we find out.

Thank you for all your faith and prayers in my behalf. I can't even explain in words how grateful I am for you and for your examples to me and for the love and friendship we share. I will try to make it through this week and somehow find a faith and strength that I need to accomplish this incredibly frightening experience. I have a quote on my wall that says ENJOY THE JOURNEY, life is truly a journey and thank you for traveling it with me.

Love, Lynn and family

Attitude of Gratitude

Today I heard this poem and thought it was one worth sharing!

Enjoy!

THREE HAIRS

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-M-M, " she said, "I think I"ll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head...

"YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

What a day!

Our day started early, we left at 7:30am to pick up my films and reports, for the doctors, that we were scheduled to meet today. To my surprise when I went to pick them up, one of the nurses came out and presented me with a shawl that her mother had made. This imaging center gives these out, to all those diagnosed with cancer. The shawls are made by other survivors and this is their way to let you know that you are not alone in this fight. I was touched as tears filled her eyes and she told me how much she loved me and was praying that I would have the courage to fight and survive (we only met a few weeks ago.)  Then I read the tag on the shawl and it was called a Healing Shawl full of hope,hugs, love and strength, I felt grateful that those who have survived this terrible disease, and then chose to help others who are now going through it. What a wonderful idea and wonderful gift.

We met the Cancer Specialist and the Medical Oncologist at the Seattle Cancer and Wellness Center in Seattle. We felt very good about both of them and the information that they gave us. I have to admit I like places like this, that treat the whole body verses just the symptom or disease. I realized 7 years ago when Jeff and I decided to take a healthier approach to fighting my cancer that it upset many people. I was shocked at how bold and insensitive some people were, mind you... most of those who criticized, have never had cancer themselves. I found out quickly who my true friends were, those who accepted our decision (even though they might have disagreed) and went ahead and  supported and loved us all the way. Someone said to me the other day ..."do you regret the path that you took 7 years ago?" I didn't have to think about it....the answer is NO! We did exactly what we felt right about. We did not go into it blindly, we studied, had more than one opinion, did a lot of research and then prayed about what we should do. We had a wonderful 6 years.  It is important to take a path that you are comfortable with and believe in. I never counsel other women who have been diagnosed with cancer ,to do anything they don't believe in. So we will do the surgery, get these results from tonight and another test after my surgery and then make an informed decision from there. Trust me... if I could make a decision quicker, I would love to but, I know I need to cover all my bases.

I have to admit of all the creative dates that Jeff and I have been out on in the last 30 years...tonight topped them all, as the worst. At 5:30 we went to the imaging place to do a CT scan, that is where they scan the body to see if the cancer has spread any where else. Dr. Lucas (our cancer specialist) mentioned it is vital to know if the cancer is anywhere else and what we are up against before they open me up. Jeff never left my side, I am afraid that I wasn't as brave as I had hoped to be tonight...then I tried to remember that we are just trying to get all the information about my body as I can. But still it isn't a date night that I ever want to repeat.

Today is almost over and I have to admit, I am glad! I did have some wonderful experiences from the kindness of others, that is never to be under estimated. Kindness does matter, we do need to reach out to others and try to make a connection,and when you do...it is an incredible feeling! I like the saying "THERE ARE NO STRAGERS IN THE WORLD, ONLY FAMILY WE HAVEN'T MET YET"  You never hear people complain about,  people who are just  too kind. But what a difference it can make in someone's life and day. I am looking forward to the weekend so hopefully we can just pretend that JUST FOR A MOMENT that our lives are normal. I just want to hang out with Jeff and the kids and enjoy the next 2 days and try not to worry.

Good Night dear friends and family

P.S. It is late, I sure hope this entry made sense?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ready or Not!

It is weird remembering things that I experienced almost 7 years ago with my cancer, in some ways it is better because I know what to expect. Still in other ways it is worse, because I KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT! Today was the first appointment with the first surgeon, she was nice and seemed to know exactly what she was doing. Obviously she wasn't too thrilled about how we treated my cancer the first time but I expected that. We made a decision that many people disagreed with, so are used to that type of reaction. I had to keep telling myself that I was there only to gain knowledge and information. I did ok, those type of meetings always seem to drain me of my energy. The conclusion that she came up with was for me to have a mastectomy. Now,I sorta knew that was probably in the plan but ...as she began to tell me the details of what she does, then the fear crept back in. I came home in tears almost 3 hours from the time that I arrived, I am tired, stressed and need to just hang with my kids and then head to bed.

Many of my family and friends  ask what they can do and honestly, I am not sure I completely know just yet. We have 4 more appts tomorrow and then one on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So although I am dreading tomorrow, I know I need to collect all the information that I can and then make the right decision. I am having a hard time finding my HAPPY PLACE lately and realize that this is one of the stages( of my emotions ) that I went through last time when I was checking  out all my options. So as they say...THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

I really don't feel that I have anything inspiring to say tonight and I wish that I did. I don't like being so wrapped up in my problems that I can't find a way to understand how to get through it and then share it with others who are struggling in the same areas. A dear friend gave me a book about life, struggles and hope. One of the things the author said I related too, that is just how I feel about sharing my life and struggles with you. Here is how he explained it.

"I HOPE THAT IN SOME SMALL WAY THE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED WILL BE A SOURCE OF INSIGHT, INSPIRATION, AND STRENGTH TO YOU---WHATEVER YOUR BURDENS, WHATEVER YOUR CHALLENGES, WHATEVER YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.  PERHAPS YOU ALREADY KNOW THESE THINGS, AND I DON'T PROFESS TO TEACH YOU ANTYHING NEW.  I HAVE LEARNED, HOWEVER, THAT THERE IS STRENGTH IN ALWAYS REMEMBERING THE LESSONS WE LEARN AND CONTINUALLY APPLYING THEM IN THE VARIOUS SEASONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIVES."

I do know that no problem, trial or pain that we experience is wasted. With these struggles come the ability to develop more patience, faith, courage and humility. Life truly changes when you go through trials of this magnitude and it is up to me if it changes for the better or worse. So no matter whether I think I can do this ...ready or not...I need to start moving forward with more faith and courage.

Good night and thanks again for all that you do for me and my family!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The battle begins

Someone once said that it is scary to go into a battle when you know nothing about your enemy,not their strategies, their weapons, defense and so on. I really believe that is true, and that is why we have felt such incredible fear lately. We knew that we had to fight cancer again but... didn't know any details of size, growth, type or anything else, so finally tonight we got the long awaited call. I am so tired that I will try to  make this short and hopefully be able to at least inform you of what we are up against. I need to remember that you don't need or probably want to know ,all the numbers and figures that they gave us tonight and so I will try to summarize it.

We received good and bad news tonight, but we felt more good than bad. I guess with all the surprises and stats that we had, we thought the worst was ahead of us, so in some ways, it seemed a bit hopeful. (haven't said that word of a while) So here at the notes and I will try to explain them.

* the lump node that they did the biopsy on and  were almost sure  was positive for cancer WAS NOT  (good)

*the two tumors were smaller than they originally measured (good)

*both tumors are what they call ICTIS cancer, that just means that they have spread past their cell was and have infiltrated the breast tissue (bad)

*The number of how fast the tumor is spreading, is lower than they expected it to be (good)

*the possibility and probability of losing the breast is high (BAD)

 

The Dr and the radiologist were so surprised at the results, so we are grateful that it wasn't worse, can't believe I am even saying this! I must be feeling a bit better. So for this week we need to now set up appts with 2 surgeons and 2 oncologist's, after we leave their office we will at least be more informed and hopefully better prepare to make certain choices.

Thanks so much for all your calls, faith, prayers, hope,trust and meals, not sure what we would do without you?  I need to run and get some sleep. We love each of you and appreciate you too!

Take care and remember this quote that a friend sent me today...

"ISN'T IT AMAZING HOW THE LENGTH OF HOURS AND DAYS EXPANDS OR CONTRACTS WITH THE STATE OF YUOR HEART!"

So true, we love ya!

Lynn, Jeff and kids

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another day of waiting

At 8:00am today I met with my Doctor to get the blood test results and hopefully the full results of the biopsy. He called the lab twice while I was there, but still the results were not in. He told me he would probably call me before noon with the information and so the waiting began AGAIN. It is funny how priorities change when you are facing something so big, so life altering and so unknown. I normally want everything in my house to be in order to have the dishes done, dinner cooking and at least a few projects to be working on, but all I accomplished today was waiting and resting.

I was told years ago with my first cancer that if it was to return, you would know it by a few different symptoms. The first being extreme fatigue, I remember thinking well ...isn't that the symptoms for a lot of things? But now it does make more sense why I have not been able to conquer this fatigue and mono and almost anything else that comes my way. The biggest problem is that I am having such a hard time sleeping and eating...fear does some really tough things to your body.  I keep telling myself that even if the news is worse that we than we think, at least we have a place to start...start studying, start deciding and start taking action on. So with that, I hope the results come in tomorrow. Maybe it will, because it will be Election Day!

Jeff has been working from home, one because we totaled our other car last week and we haven't gotten a replacement yet (another low priority) plus, he doesn't want me to be home alone when I get the news. When he is working from home many times he has to use our land line phone for his conference calls and so I can't get your calls when they come in. I know that many of you have wondered if we found out the news today. So as soon as we find out something we will let you know.

We are so grateful for the many meals, cards, calls and prayers that have been given in our behalf, thank you again. I pray that soon I can write more motivational things that will aid some one else on their journey through Cancer but, for tonight I don't have any great words of wisdom other than...hang on and the sun will come up tomorrow. I found a poem today that made me smile and I will end with that.

"IF YOU CAN SMILE WHEN THINGS GO WRONG,                                                                                                  

AND SAY IT DOESN'T MATTER,

IF YOU CAN LAUGH OFF CARES AND WOE,

AND TROUBLES MAKE YOU FATTER,

IF YOU CAN KEEP A CHEERFUL FACE

WHEN ALL AROUND ARE BLUE

THEN HAVE YOUR HEAD EXAMINED, BUD,

THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.

FOR ONE THING I'VE ARRIVED AT:

THER ARE NO ANDS AND BUTS,

A GUY THAT'S GRINNING ALL THE TIME

MUST BE COMPLETELY NUTS.

For some reason this poem made me not only smile but realize that life is tough at times and very scary and that's ok.

Good night!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So much for the saying ...NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS!

Well, we waited all day for the call from the doctor, they had warned us that it may not be until Monday before the lab could get the reports back to us but we were hopeful that we would not have to wait that long. At 4:40pm the phone rang and it was my Primary care doctor just reporting that he hadn't heard anything either and he would for sure call me first thing Monday morning. I have always heard the old saying "no news is good news" but for some reason I didn't think it was going to apply in our situation. So we decided to try to go on and keep things as normal as possible. Amy,John and Angie came down to stay and trick or treat with us and go to a Halloween Party too. It felt good to be among friends and pretend for just a moment that life was normal.

I slept really well last night and that in and of itself was a miracle, between pain and fear...sleep doesn't come that easy. Then at 7:30am I woke up in a panic, my heart was racing and my thoughts were out of control. I was so scared, it kinda shocked me. I had to get up and get moving, to get my head in the right place. It just felt like something bad was going to happen, I kept telling myself that is is Saturday Lynn, you aren't going to get any more bad news till at least Monday. Then at 8:45am the phone rang, Amy answered and said it was the Radiologist. I asked her to please run and wake up Jeff and then I took the call.  Dr. Jacobs sounded so sad, he said that he had made a special trip in today, just to see if he could get me any results so that I didn't have to wait on pins and needles all weekend. I thanked him for that and then he apologized to me and told me that only part of the labs were back but what they did have, wasn't good. Both of the tumors that they did a biopsy on were both malignant or positive for Cancer. He said that he didn't have any information on the lump node or any details on the tumors ...such as size, growth rate, type and if they had spread to other areas or not. He told he was so sorry  and that he would contact me on Monday, I said a numb thanks and hung up.

For some reason,it didn't seem as devastating as the night of the biopsy and the finding of the 2nd tumor and lump node that look suspicious. I really think that night that Jeff and I knew it was indeed cancer and that it wasn't good. All Dr. Jacobs did was confirm our fears. So once again we have to fight and beat Cancer, I think we need to go back to calling it RECNAC again, we like that word better. The rest of the day was spent playing with Angie, calling our family and trying once again to do anything that was normal.

But  it is late, I am so tired still from this Mono and my incisions are hurting , now it seems BIGGER THAN ME again. I need to remember to be strong, it is what we all need. Knowing that the kids need to see their mom smile, and be strong is a good reason for me to try to be in control and be hopeful. They need that and I need that. It is interesting how we all just want to be together, it was hard to have Amy, John and Angie go back to their house tonight, that little cute RED head just brightens up our day being with her. One of the hardest things is having Brad so far away man, we miss him and worry about him. These type of things are so tough to go through when you are that many miles away from each other. But we keep calling him and making sure he knows just what is going on and how much we love him, still this type of news is wearing. We pray that he and Krystal will ok.

I wish that I could have personally called each of you to tell you this news and to tell you thank you for your love, friendship, prayers and kindness but... that would be impossible. Please know that we are thinking of you. I will head to bed but here is a quote that I once read from a mother who was trying to support her husband who had cancer.

"I KNEW WE HAD ROUGH DAYS AHEAD, BUT I ALSO KNEW THAT MY FAITH WOULD ALWAYS BE MORE CONTAGIOUS THAN ANY DISEASE THAT COULD STRIKE OUR FAMILY. I WOULD KEEP IT IN MY HEART AND I WOULD DISPLAY IT MY MY ACTIONS. EVIDENCE FOR GOD-AND EVERYONE -TO SEE."    ---------Jeanette Doyle Parr

"FAITH IS TO BELIEVE WHAT WE DO NOT SEE; THE REWARD OF THIS FAITH IS TO SEE WHAT WE BELIEVE."            -------------Saint Augustine

Good night and thank you!