Monday, December 29, 2008

Our family is growing

It has been quite a few days since I have written because we flew into Utah for the wedding on Saturday. It went wonderful, it was a cold day with snow piled up everywhere, but the sun was shining and we had a wonderful time. Brad looked so happy and Krystal made a beautiful bride. It was only 17 degrees with the wind chill outside when we were taking the wedding photos outside of the Temple. I hope the photographer will be able to photoshop out the red noses and our breath. ( You can see it, it was that cold!)

Krystal had a lot of family there and it was fun meeting them all. It is sorta weird to have never met someone, and then realize that you are now family. Of course I don't think you can ever have too many friends so ....we are excited to have more.

The reception was beautiful and all the decorations came out great. Krystal's family did it all! We had a lot of people come through and it was wonderful to see everyone. It was fun because I got to see a few friends that we haven't seen in years. I was just grateful that they recognized me after all these years! :)

I think the hardest part of the reception for me was having so much pain wearing my prosthetic, I do believe that I am going to have to return to Nordstrom and asked to be refitted. I even cut up an old tie to shove under the bra to get some relieve from the tightness of it. I am wondering if it will always be like this or will I finally get used to all of this and feel like it is second skin? I can't believe it will ever be comfortable again. Wow, I just need to have a week when I don't have any pain in that whole area. I guess that is why it is hard for me to even imagine that I might have to go through any other procedures that could bring pain. I think that I am a tough person but lately I haven't felt that way.

Sunday brought me back to reality on how much energy was used to fly here, do all the family stuff, wedding and reception. Finally my body rebelled and I didn't get up Sunday till 4:00pm. I was wiped out and felt like I was catching something and so I decided to stay here for a couple more days with Lauren, so that I could rest and be able to attend my nephew's wedding reception which will be tomorrow night. Jeff, Amy and Lee flew home last night and arrived in Seattle and home around midnight. I am so grateful that I was tucked into bed by then, that would have been too much for me I am sure.

It is weird having another child married, how can we be that old? I am happy though that everything turned out in the long run and that the weather permitted us to be there all together.
So I am not sure when I will get to write again, I return home on Wednesday. I hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas holiday. Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Abraham Lincoln:
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Tom Mullen:
Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Please let it rain!

It isn't every day that you hear people from Seattle beg for rain, but yesterday that is what we were saying. It snowed hard the whole day and we got quite a bit of accumulation. Usually we would be thrilled to have a WHITE CHRISTMAS (because that doesn't happen often around here) but...this Christmas we were just worried about our flight getting out today. It is 4:00 in the morning and I must be excited and nervous about getting our flight because I have tossed and turned all night. Yesterday was a different day, it started out pretty normal and then we all kicked into our GOTTA GET PACKED AND READY mode and then it seemed like this might really happen!

It will be hard to not have Angie and John with us but I am sure they will be well taken care of by (John's mom) grandma and this will be a short trip anyway.

I need to start waking everyone up. I was hoping to tell you what my FAVORITE Christmas gift was but ....I have to wait a bit before I do that. Trust me keeping this to myself, is hard! :)

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas day and enjoyed the true meaning of it! I will share with you one of my favorite Christmas is the TRUE story of Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer, I don't know if you have read how the story of Rudolph came to be, but it is a sweet story. I guess I can relate on many levels with that story. I tease my family every time I have to put on my camisole with a shape ( or I call it my Mrs. Doubtfire outfit) that I feel just like Rudolph ...when his dad made him wear that artificial nose just so he would be acceptable to go out in public with the other reindeers. The famous line I quote each day is "It's not very comfortable". Anyway here is the web site for you to read it, it is wonderful.

Well, hopefully we are off to Utah to go see my Bradley get married. It is hard to imagine we will have another kid getting married, I still can't believe that we are getting old enough to have are kids growing up and moving on. But as a mom I have to see the up side ...our family is growing. We are soooooooo excited to have Krystal as part of our family! I hopefully will be adding photos of the wedding soon.

Have a wonderful day and remember...

Destiny is not a matter of chance; but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, It is a thing to be acheived.
William Jennings Bryan

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's a wonderful life!

Today brought more snow, we are seriously worried about getting a flight out of here Friday for Brad and Krystal's wedding. We will keep our fingers crossed and our knees bent. It was really a quiet day, we made some deliveries, John, Amy and Angie came over to visit for a bit. We wrapped presents and had just a regular dinner. It is funny how things change throughout the years as the kids get older and move away. Traditions change and sometimes that is hard. This year was John and Amy's turn to spend it with his family and so it was just the four of us for dinner. We didn't have a turkey like normal, we decided since it was just us ,that we would have salmon instead...that worked.

We were hoping that John,Amy and Angie would be able to come back early enough to do some of the Christmas Eve traditions  with us. They didn't make it back till 8:30pm and by that time Angie was beside herself. She was just too tired, she usually goes to be around 7:00pm, she had a fit when they told her to come in the house, she wanted to stay out in the snow and look at the Christmas lights. I finally took her out and we walked up and down the street as carefully as we could. She loves the lights and to her surprise one of our neighbors had built a snowman and she was so thrilled that she broke into song, ONCE THERE WAS A SNOWMAN and FROSTY THE SNOWMAN. She is a handful, but I am telling you the feeling I get when she and I are together is magical. I love being her grandma ( NANA ), she told me tonight that the lights were beautiful, she said "I love you Nana" it is hard to put into words how that makes me feel. I have heard all my life how wonderful grandparenthood was... and it's true! She is a tough little spirit though and gives her mom and dad a run for their money, she reminds us so much of Lauren when she was a little girl,  many times when she is in trouble ...we call her Lauren instead of Angie! :) Even though Lauren was by far our hardest toddler she has turned out to be one of the easiest teenagers, so I try to remind John and Amy that there still  is HOPE!

We did keep a few of our traditions tonight after John, Amy and Angie left. We read a new Christmas book, I try to get a new story every year and this one had a CD with it and so we got to listen and read along. It was a fabulous story and it was read by Dick Van Dyke (one of my favorite actors) . The book is called MR. FINNEGAN'S GIVING CHEST  by   Dan Farr ( , we all just loved it and it's messages. Here are a few of those messages from the book...

...Remember that the Christmas spirit doesn't need to end after December 25th

...We can reach out to others and in doing so, we'll find that the happiness that comes from helping others is proportionate to the sacrifice we are willing to make

...Remember that not all gifts are financial. Your time, love and service are often the most needed gifts.

What a treasure that book was, then we read the traditional Christmas Story from the book of Luke, my favorite part is where it mentions that Mary kept and treasured in her heart the things that she experienced. I can only imagine what an amazing woman she must have been to be chosen to be the Mother of the Christ child, what an honor, what an responsibility and what an experience which I am sure was not easy. She surely learned much from her life and her Son's life.

Last we watched IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE together, I love that movie! What a great message it too had. At the very end my favorite quote was from the Angel (Clarence) that helped George Bailey. This is what he wrote in a bible that he left for George and his family. It went like this..."NO MAN IS A FAILURE WHO HAS FRIENDS". I know that to be true, my life is worth what it is ,because of the Love of my family and friends. I didn't get to send Christmas presents or cards to each of them this year to express that, but I hope that they know how rich we feel because of their love and friendship. This is truly what Christmas is all about LOVING ONE ANOTHER! I pray that you will have a wonderful Christmas and remember what a wonderful life we have. Thank you for being a large part... of my wonderful life!

Good night and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More than just applesauce!

I received in the mail the other day, a wonderful Christmas present.  It was homemade applesauce that a dear friend made and shared with me. It was sugar free (which she knows that I like) and she had shipped me four jars of it. What  a treat and what a treasure her friendship is. We first met this sweet girl when she was in High School and after many hours and days in our home, she became like family. It has been amazing to watch the transformation that she has made over the years. She is now a young mom of 3 and very busy, still she found the time and effort to send me HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE!  I have to admit I haven't been sharing it very well, it just makes me feel very loved every bite I take and so this gift was much,much more than just applesauce!

Today I tried to get the last part of the wedding stuff done and then we were able to do some last minute shopping tonight. We also got to have dinner with Amy, John and Angie...  that is always a high light of our week, you can tell we are thrilled to get out or to just have company. This being snow bound has it's down points. Tonight when we got home there was a package on our front door...who from? You guessed of my angels! She shared a few last minute things that may help me get ready for the wedding, what a blessing.

This has been such a hard experience with having Cancer again, but I am always amazed at all the wonderful people who have encouraged me and cared for me along this terribly hard road. I know life would be so much harder if not for these wonderful family and friends in my life. So I will close tonight with a few quotes that go with this thought.




"NEVER GIVE UP ON ANYBODY."     ---------------- Hubert H. Humphrey

Monday, December 22, 2008

The perfect quote

I found this quote that seemed to be perfect for my last entry and for me personally.

Thought I would share it!


Agnes M. Pharo:

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

Fear Not!

When the kids were little, every Christmas eve we would get together with their cousins and dress up and reenact the Christmas story found in the book of Luke. I have always loved the declaration that the angel made to the shepherds before the Savior was born.

Luke 2:10-11 THE ANGEL SAID UNTO THEM, FEAR NOT: FOR, BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE, FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD.  In a book that I am reading called JESUS, THE VERY THOUGHT OF THEE  by Robert Millet and Lloyd D. Newell, they remind  the reader that the theme for Savior's life was to FEAR NOT, it began the night He was born and continued through His life. He promises to save us from fear if only we would put our trust in Him. But after two thousand years, do we still fear the cost of following Christ? His message cannot comfort  us if we allow his peace to be overshadowed by our anxiety and fear. His saving message if for everyone. When we "fear not" and trust in him, we find safely, direction and peace.

Here is it the most wonderful time of the year and I am really struggling to find direction, peace and the ability to feel safe. Once you have had cancer, safe, direction and peace is a hard place to find. Almost daily you have to work on being safe about your thoughts and feelings, if you don't, your mind and thoughts can get carried away from you and before you know it you have lost the ability to LIVE IN THE MOMENT because you are too worried about the future, how long or short it will be. Cancer tries to rob you of so many things,  it is a daily effort to stay focused and FEAR NOT!  Direction...that is truly something that I need right now. I need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly what I need to do to keep this cancer from returning and be as healthy as I can.

You see, I know that many of you or someone you know, has had cancer and has probably had chemo, radiation and all the normal medication that are recommended and have done fine. But for me, I don't react normal to most things and can't take normally what is prescribed because of the crazy reactions of my body. When I was struggling with my gall bladder, many people kept telling me JUST TAKE IT OUT, IT IS AN EASY SURGERY AND YOU CAN BE UP AND GOING IN A DAY OR SO.  I had surgery in February, I got pneumonia when I came out of the hospital and then mono soon after and I have continued to struggle with it for the last 10 months.  So you see, what most people not what my body does and so this decision for me, must be different. And in my heart, I would much rather do LESS than MORE. So I will continue to study, and pray and try to let go of the FEAR and trust that everything will work out.

I am grateful for this time of the year that really reminds me of this theme and for that little baby in a manger who has been such a guiding force in my life.

Thanks again for being my friends!

Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.
-- Grace Noll Crowell

Thank You!

I just need to say thanks to so many of you, that keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for believing in me when I don't believe in myself. Thanks for your comments on my blog, I still don't know how to respond to them but they are appreciated just the same. Thanks for taking this journey with me... they say life is sweeter when you share it friends! So thanks for being my cheering section, I have certainly needed one.

Many of you have asked about the blog and why you couldn't read it, it was just an error of some kind and we have it fixed now... thanks to my sweet friend. She is a true friend because she never makes fun of HOW MUCH I DON'T KNOW about computers! :)


Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Information!

Yesterday Jeff and I went to our appointment with Dr. Taylor who is an oncologist for Radiation. It was his partner that we went to last time (7 years ago). it was weird walking into the hospital was so quite and empty because of all the snow!  Anyway, the appointment went well and took about an hour and a half. Dr. Taylor was very kind, respectful and thorough. He had studied my records and information before we came into his office because he knew all the details about me, my cancer this time and last. He was great to tell us everything and explain them in a way that we non-doctors could understand. Basically, he just explained Radiation and it's positives and negatives, all the while respecting our decision.

Long story is that we got the information that we came for and left a bit more knowledgeable about Radiation than when we arrived. Still ,it is something that I don't like to think about . Now with all that information and a few other things that we want to look up on our own, we will then need to think, study and pray about my decision. The game plan has changed this time, just simply because my statistics this 2nd time around haven't been as impressive. If I were to start Radiation it would be around the 10th of January. Not the way I wanted to start out the new year! We will see.

More often than not I struggle to come out of any of those meetings, without a lot of fear and doubt.  So I came home and did a few things and then decided to go to bed. I cried myself to sleep, this has been a tough, and emotional week. I know many of these feelings are normal and I just want to keep expressing them for your sake and mine.  Jeff is an amazing man and my biggest fan. He just held me last night and reminded me that I didn't have to do any of it alone and how many things we have to look forward to in our future. He is a great man and for that I am eternally grateful.

So just hang in there with me, I am still on this emotional roller coaster and still learning.

I am struggling with all the has to be done but I do know that all things will work out the way they are suppose to. I really don't have any more to say tonight. Hopefully this finds you well, happy and warm.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

That was different!

Well today started out different, the kid's school was canceled because of the snow storm that was suppose to be coming and like I had mentioned... I had my appointment for my new bra and prosthetic at 11:00. After hearing what the storm was suppose to do, I called my ride and told her not to worry about picking me up and that I would just reschedule. Then around 10:30 am I realized that maybe I should just go ahead and do the appointment because there was no snow in sight. Lauren ( my right arm) came with me and I am sure she has gotten quite an education through this whole experience but she has been a trooper and watches me like a hawk.

I wasn't sure what to expect for the fitting but I will try to explain it so if anyone else has to experience it,then they might have more of an idea of what to expect. I was assigned to a salesperson who apparently does this a lot, there are 2 or 3 women that specifically help survivors with their prosthetics. Mine was nice and very business like, this was her job and she was just doing it. Lauren stayed with me the whole time, I was a bit embarrassed for her to see me like this but she was great and  just positive the whole time. The sales person measures you and then tries to find the right prosthetic that looks the most natural and most like your other side. She was a little worried that mine was not going to look or lay right because of the dip that I have from the tissue that was taken out, there is quite a bit gone and so the prosthetic doesn't lay quiet as nice as she wanted it to. But she just kept trying different prosthetics and different bras until we came up with two that we thought would work. You might be wondering why you can't use  your regular bras? It is because the prosthetic has to have a pocket to fit in and that is why you have to buy the expensive bras. (Remember... what I said about how expensive this whole process has been)

After the fitting was done then we had to sit down and just wait for her to call the insurance company to see  how much of the prosthetic that would cover and how many bras they would let you purchase. When she was writing up the bill it was over $420.00 but that was for the insurance and we would have to probably pay around $150.00 or so. I wish that I could tell you that it was worth that much money but I can't see how it is and it certainly doesn't seem fair that it costs that much especially for women who don't have good insurance or any insurance at all. Wow, there are a lot of things about this whole disease that are very disturbing.

So 2 hours later I walked out of Nordstrom with my new prosthetic and my new bras. Lauren said " well at least you get to carry a Nordstrom bag around the mall, can't say that  you have done that very often. Just don't let people see what you are carrying around." :) What would I have changed in that whole experience?  Well, first of all I would have said to the girl who was helping me to button up her own shirt some, she was extremely hanging out and it was almost an insult to me when I am there to just get something to look normal (when I am fully dressed). I also would have asked her to talk to me more about my life or my family. She was just doing her job and she seemed good at it, she was nice and pleasant but very much just down to work at getting me fitted properly. I felt a lot like just another number or another body that she dealt with that day. I have felt that same way at a few of my DR appointments and that is sad. I just feel like saying " hey, could you just look at me like a person and not a number or a statistic? Could you just show me that you care a little about what I have gone through?  But, I am much more a people person that most and so for me it would have been nice if she would have tried to connect with me, even a little.

I noticed that for the rest of the day I was really down on myself. Down on how bad I looked, down on how out of shape I was and on and on. I also realized that it hurt to realize that this is really final. My life will be different from now on. I sat there in that department and saw all the pictures of other women looking so beautiful and knew that I would never look like that. It's funny because.. it not like I ever looked like that any way ,but now for some reason it felt more final, like I was giving up my femininity. How can I ever feel attractive again looking like this? You don't have to answer, I know there really isn't an answer for least not one that I want to hear. But I am grateful that with this bra and prosthetic maybe I will feel a bit more normal and that my shirts won't pull as crooked as they have been. I am grateful that we had insurance to help with most of it. I am grateful that it didn't snow so that I could do this today and get things ready for the wedding. I am grateful that it was only one prosthetic that I had to be fitted for and not two. ( Just trying to remember the little blessings, that are big)

I had another sweet angel come tonight (in the snow) to bring me some clothes to try on for the wedding. What a blessing that was. Shopping is such a hard thing for me to do because of the energy it takes,as well as how rough it is on my arm to try clothes off and on... over and over again. Actually, I was still hurting this evening from what little time I had the bra on, it fits right across the incision that was for my drain and that is still pretty tender. Hopefully by next week I will just keep getting better and less sore. This cute girl (who is young enough to be my daughter, and I would take her in a heartbeat) was so upbeat and positive and made me feel like everything that I tried on made me look like a million bucks. That is definitely what I needed after this mornings experience. Plus, I knew that she would pick the best things because she is always amazingly  put together and cute! So with her help I should be ready for the wedding.

I need to head to bed, this was definitely a different day, not one that I want to experience again, but I did it and so I will continue to move on from there. I hope my honesty doesn't discourage you, I just really feel like I need to be HONEST and REAL!

Good night dear friend!

P. S. This is a quote that I need to remember tonight!

"If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable;

Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad."

------C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Angels are among us!

Today I got up feeling about the same as always, not much energy but I did sleep well and for that I am grateful. Around 11:00 this morning 2 friends came over and said "we are so sorry to hear about your cancer and your surgery, we have been out of town and had no idea. So we are here to help you in any way for the wedding!" They were incredible, they had everything on paper from ideas to layouts for the Kirkland Women's Club building to stores and prices of everything. Now I don't know exactly what all wedding planners do but I am sure that they could have gotten jobs doing that.  I am so A.D.D that it is shocking for me to see how people can be that organized. I know that I have a problem on organizing things but no one in my family will do an INTERVENTION for me, I have even asked for one! :)

So in just a couple of hours these angels flew in and we decided almost everything we needed for the reception and they are going to take care of all of it, I just need to get some bodies there to help out the day of the reception. What a relief and blessing that was!

I rested some and then picked up the kids, that is the first time I have driven in weeks, I almost knocked over my trash can because I still can't use my left arm really well. I drove mostly with my right arm. As soon as I got home, I ate a bite and then rested some and once again someone knocked at my door and there was another one of my dear friends (another angel ) who had come to help me figure out the table decorations, she is an amazing decorator and has such a classy taste, I think Brad and Krystal will be so excited about how nice this reception is going to look and not because of me, but because of all the angels that have been helping me along the way. I wrote down what I needed to remember and what phone calls and loose ends that I needed to do tomorrow, but that isn't much at all. Now I realize that some times there are things that I have done for Others and they were blown away by what I had done and yet to me it was nothing and that is exactly  how these ladies acted when I tried to tell them how blown away I was for their generosity, kindness and for sharing their talents with me, I actually am excited now about the wedding reception, that is much better than being worried!

As for my energy well...I am still dragging at least about the same as I was. I haven't noticed any real difference from the vitamin infusion I had yesterday. My doctor called and said if I didn't feel any difference by tonight that it might not have made a difference and maybe I just need a few more to build it up in my system. Well, at $100.00 a pop, I don't think I can just hope that it is going to work, I am suppose to call her tomorrow and see how I feel then. Man, I was really hoping and believing that it was going to be just the thing I needed. I will just keep plugging along.

Tomorrow if we aren't snowed in I get to go to Nordstrom and get fitted for my new body part! I am trying to keep this blog G rated. I am excited because I really feel that this camisole that  I wear with the parts already in it, is uncomfortable and not convenient at all. I am not sure if you have seen the movie MRS DOUBTFIRE ( and I am definitely not trying to promote it because it had many parts that I didn't agree with)  but the outfit that I put on every day, looks a lot like the body suit that Robin Williams puts on to become Mrs. Doubtfire. So I do believe any thing will feel better and if that does feel better tomorrow then maybe I will feel more like trying on clothes for the wedding so that I have something to wear. My arm is still pretty sore but my range of motion is better so I am sure that I will be fine.

So good night and remember to be grateful for all the ANGELS that are around us every day!

Here's are my quotes for the day...

Angels can fly directly into the heart of the matter.  ~Author Unknown

The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God.  ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Monday, December 15, 2008

My dream of health

Today I went to the Cancer Center as planned and did my vitamin infusion. One of my dear friends Chris took me and stayed with me the whole 2 hours. It was an odd feeling because we went down the hallway where they do all the chemo infusions or whatever they are called. It was room after room filled with people getting their chemo, one of the nurses told me that it can take up to 4-6 hours each time they come.

The nurse had a hard time finding my veins in my right hand and usually the needles don't bother me but that one really hurt. After 3 tries she said I am going to try a new needle and a different vein and so she did. She first collected a blood sample to see if I have the enzyme that will allow me to get Vitamin C infusions in the future. If you don't have that enzyme then your body won't be able to absorb the Vitamin C and there for the infusions could be dangerous instead of healthy. They will call me tomorrow for the results. This vitamin infusion was a multiple of vitamins, mostly B's. It took an hour and half to run it through my IV. It actually hurt, not bad but it ached my hand and arm that it was going into. Chris and I talked for a while and then I just slept a bit trying to make the time go faster and the pain to lessen.

I asked Chris if she would shut the door while we were in my room because all I could see were all the chemo patients walking  up and down the hall to go to the bathroom and they were all dragging there IV pole with them. There were so really sick looking people there, my heart just ached for them and I wondered if I would be one of them some day? The oncologist doesn't really think so because my cancer is non-aggressive but it is always an option that is thrown out there, for right now that is where I am leaving it...OUT THERE! 

Now the purpose of the my infusions was to sorta jump start my immune system, I don't know how long that is suppose to take but I pray it is soon. While in the middle of my infusion the nurse came in and told me that she just found out that my insurance does not pay for vitamins infusions. Now I had asked about that before and I was told that they wouldn't make the appointment for me until they found that out. When they called and said that I was scheduled for Monday, I thought that was a done deal.  It bothered me that she told me that AFTER I already had the IV in. I explained what I had been told and then calmly said, we need to find out the person who I talked to and cleared it because I shouldn't have to pay for it ($100.00) if that is what I was told. I know she felt bad because she told me after the fact but I wasn't mean at all, just firm about who the responsibility should fall on. When Chris and I were on our way home my phone rang and it was the same nurse apologizing for what happened and said that the administrator told her to tell me that they waved the fee. I was grateful for that!

It is hard enough to be sick and tired and fighting cancer and then have to bear the financial burden that such a disease carries. I have said once before...PEOPLE CAN'T AFFORD TO HAVE CANCER! I was glad to come home and not have to worry Jeff with that bill. I am not sure how long before I am suppose to feel the difference but I will go to bed and DREAM of better health for tomorrow.

Tonight was our Family NIght and we made my grandmother's sugar cookies. The kids realize how rare of an occasion that we make cookies so they were excited. My motive was I want Lauren to take a Christmas Card Photo of them, so I had to hide a plate for tomorrow's photo shoot. :) My grandma Johnny would be proud that we used her recipe and my mom would be proud because we used her tin cookie cutters. My kids were proud that I made something with SUGAR in it!  We even did the Christmas Chicken, to this day I still don't know why we had a chicken cookie cutter but we did and we ate Christmas sugar cookies shaped like everything from a star, tree, Santa and a chicken. Maybe he was suppose to be the Christmas goose?

Well, I need to head to bed...I hope  that tomorrow I will feel better. Thank  you for sharing most of my days and struggles with me. I pray that some day this blog and journey through cancer with me, will be a help or a benefit to someone. Many have told me that it already does, for that I am grateful.


"There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas is in the air!

Well, most of the weekend we did stuff for Christmas and that was good and I felt like things were a little bit normal for a minute. We were busy for most of it and I had minimal energy, but today I have struggled even more to just get the basics done. I did cook today and although it about did me in, I could tell the whole family was hoping that things are going to get back to normal. Maybe it is that word Normal that bothers me, I really feel anything but NORMAL today!

Tonight we went to a LIVE NATIVITY that the kids from church put on, it had live animals and everything. It was freezing cold but the whole thing only lasted 15 minutes, it was beautiful though and a great reminder of what the Christmas season is all about.

I saw a lot of people there that hadn't seen me in a while, they are were happy to see me and I did get a few looks of "oh Lynn, how are you, I am so sorry your cancer has come back". Many of them told me that they pray for my family and I daily. Some told me that I look great, some said you just don't look like someone who has cancer. I listened and responded to each one but there was a part of me in the deep deep part of my heart that was thinking. I might look good, I might look normal and happy but part of me is still struggling to have enough energy to smile and shake hands. Enough courage to get up tomorrow and enough faith to realize that God will let me know what path to go down in curing this cancer.

Many people look at me and wonder why I don't follow the regular route of cancer victims, even my own dad said to me when I was diagnosed with cancer the first time and we discussed what I was going to do..."Why do you always have to take a different road than everyone else?" That's a good question, that is something that I have thought about over and over again. Why?  Because going down the road that most everyone does would be a whole lot easier, less pressure and worrying from everyone and almost less thinking involved, because we already know the steps and procedures that are supposedly tried and true.

I guess it is because my whole life I have only found TRUE HAPPINESS and PEACE when I have followed my gut, my heart or the spirit. Whatever you want to call it, when I try to go against what I know to be true in my heart, I can't find peace and happiness. Without that I feel like I am just going through life guessing and hoping that this way or that way is the right way. I  don't like statistics and I don't like playing the odds. I like having studied, researched, thought about, prayed about and then see what I feel is right for me, just me...not for anyone else, just me!

We didn't stay too long tonight, this cold weather made my incision and arm ache more than normal so Jeff and I headed home early. Good ole Jeff, what a trooper he has been. I know he has got to wish for better things and better times...hopefully he won't have to wait to long for them. I head off to the Cancer Center in Seattle tomorrow morning. I have a blood test at 11:00 and then at 11:30 I start a Multi-Vitamin infusion, it should take about an hour to an hour and a half. They will run multiple vitamins through me with an IV and hopefully that will jump start my immune system. I just need something, in order to be on that plane... in less than 2 weeks. I want so bad to be feeling good and looking good at Brad and Krystal's wedding, I don't want to be the weak and sick one there that has to sit down and rest every minute. I want to be there and be PRESENT for every moment of it. This is a wonderful and exciting time for our family and I don't want to miss any of it.  I pray that this infusion will work it's magic.

I need to head to bed and hope for a better day tomorrow. Here are a few quotes that seem to be close to my heart tonight.

Good night!


Heed the still small voice that so seldom leads us wrong, and never into folly.
Marquise du Deffand

Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world.
Miguel de Cervantes

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time. ~ Winston Churchill

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Positive thinking does work!

Today I had my doctor appointment with my surgeon and like I had mentioned, that I was concerned about some puffy areas near my surgery site and maybe having to have them needle drained. I was grateful to hear her say that some puffiness is normal and everything looked good. I won't have to see her again till January 5th. I went in there thinking as positive as I could that everything would be fine and healing well and it was! I have got to try that more often. :)

I came home and went straight to bed for a couple of hours, all that positive thinking wears me out! :)

So tonight we went grocery shopping as a family, I didn't even have to ride in the Electric Cart! That's progress!  I must be feeling a little  better because this week went by a bit faster than the others. Christmas is only 2 weeks away and that means the wedding is 2 weeks and 2 days away...yikes. Everyone kept telling me to let the kids and Jeff help me with the wedding invitations and so on Sunday we all sat down with our lists and went to work. Now one list was an old one from Amy's wedding 4 years ago, one was from Brad's mission 2 years ago and then we hand wrote others down from address books and phone books. As many of you know, I have Paper Phobia. I am not proud of it but it is a real issue of mine.  When I have to deal with that many papers I get so mixed up and I just keep handling them over and over again.  There is no way any one would want me to do secretarial work for them. Then Jeff had trouble getting our labels to print off straight and so we had to go back and hand write a lot of them. My worry was that we were repeating some of them when the label thing happened and I think we did? So if anybody got 2 wedding invitations please just ignore it and if you if we missed someone then I apologize and just let me know.

Well, thanks for checking in on us, we are hanging there better every day. It has been a month since my surgery, I am so grateful that is behind us now and we have the wedding and my nephew's wedding to look forward to.

Here is your Christmas thought for the night!

"It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless Us, Every One!"
Charles Dickens

"Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone."
Charles Schulz


Now I am continuing to notice a slight downward pattern in my soreness and energy. My face hasn't been out of the bag since Sunday, and that is unusual. My mom always taught me that ..."YOU SHOULD NEVER LOOK AS BAD AS YOU FEEL". But honestly now that I think about that, I am not so sure that I agree. Sometimes being honest about how you feel or hurt is ok, not that you should go around doing it all the time or all day but ...this is the real deal, the real experience. The reason for me documenting this whole cancer experience is hopefully so that my family, my friends and other women will be able to read and get information, inspiration and the truth from it! It also has been healing for me to do this and has given me something to look forward to each day and some days, that is ALL that I did.

My cancer doctor suggested that I get a combination of 3 essential oils to mix together and rub on the whole surgery area and arm to help take away some of the deep bruising and stinging feeling. I did it last night and it did seem to help...yeah! I should be rubbing that mixture all over my body, or just be drinking it!  :)

I really don't like waking up and feeling tired again, I was hoping that my energy and strength were here to stay. I found this quote today, it fits perfectly.  "BALANCING LIFE IS LIKE STANDING ON A BALANCE BEAM.  YOU MUST KEEP ADJUSTING YOUR BODY TO FIND THE CENTER AND THEN READJUST TO FIND IT AGAIN AND AGAIN."    ____________Lisa Hammond

So today I will go to my Dr.appointment (my surgeon)with determination that this should be the last time I see her. (not because I don't like her, but because that means I am progressing and moving on) I am planning on her telling me that I am now ready for my Physical Therapy and Massage, plus soon I can get fitted for my new part of me! I also started a new iron supplement yesterday that should help with my energy level, so today will be better.

I did do some quilting last night and even though it was tough to do it with my arm, I was thrilled that I even wanted to still do it. There seemed for a long time (after this surgery) that I had no desire to do anything, now that is not good! So it is nice to know that many of the things that I felt and experienced were just stages of healing and of grief. Once again, I have to find out who this Lynn Woodard is now, she is different, certainly not the same woman that walked into that hospital a month ago, scared to death. I did live to tell about it and I still have so many changes and decisions that I will have to make  that will totally effect my future ,so the journey has just begun. Today that makes me tired to just say that...but I will do it!

Have a great day and remember this quote,( my kids will certainly need to when they know how little shopping I have done, that's not what it is all about, we know that more this year than ever)!

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other." Burton Hillis

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two steps step back!

Yesterday I wasn't feeling quite as good as I did over the weekend but Amy and Angie were here, so I just stayed down low and hung out with them. I did that small walk last night and that felt good but I actually didn't sleep as well last night. It seems like my arm and surgery area are more sore again. I got up late this morning but mostly because I couldn't get comfortable at all. I got things done today for the wedding, like calls and things like that but not much more than that. (Oh, I did do some laundry) But generally I feel like I am losing some of that energy that I have had since last Weds. and that concerns me a bit. Tonight after taking another LATE shower, I looked at my surgery area and tried to see if anything looked different. Well, all around that area is broken out but I still think that is from the allergic reaction to the tape that she had my gauze on with. But there looked like 2 areas that were a bit puffy and more sore than usual. Now, I hope I am not imaging things, but she said that some times it is normal ( I really hate that word )for the area to drain more, after you have the drain removed and she called it a certain name________? Can't remember what it is but she said don't worry that is why I want to check it again in a week (which will be this coming Thursday) to see if that is a problem. IF so she will drain it with a needle. Shoot, I am still hurting from her taking out that drain, I really hope I don't have to deal with any more needles in that area. My neck is killing me and I know that is because when my arm and chest hurt, I think I tighten my neck to handle the pain, oh brother I am a mess. So tonight we decided for me not to put the ace wrap back on and to put some essential oils on the arm and arm pit area that are suppose to help with the pain. I hope it works!

This whole thing has been such a roller coaster! I really feel like I am making a few steps forward and then today I felt like I went backwards again. I just want to feel good again and I AM so grateful that for the last week, I had more good days than bad. I guess that is a start.

So tonight I am going to head to bed early and see if I can get this whole area calmed down. Amy gave me a quote the other day that is perfect for my blog, the season and my situation.


So I want to make sure that you receive this present from me of gratitude for your faith and prayers in me, it really helps!

Good night!


Christmas Music... the best!

Well, it took some encouragement for me to turn on my Christmas music a week or so ago. I was in such pain and so tired that it really didn't seem to matter... but it does!  Our Christmas this year will be much smaller and different but I am sorta glad. We have seemed to avoid the craziness that usually comes along with that and our lives have really slowed down, which they should this year. We are just grateful that we are all doing well and will be together, if not for Christmas then soon there after. I was going to send our Christmas cards but I believe now that I will wait for New Year cards so that we can include a family photo from the wedding. How exciting! Our family is getting bigger!

I went tonight and did my walk, Jeff was tired and the kids were too,so I went by myself.  Since it was dark already ,I just walked up and down our block (where it is well lit) for a few times. I haven't done that for almost a week, since I have felt better I have been up more during the day and I am more tired by the evening. I will try tomorrow to do it during the day, because I always feel better when I do it. It is not much exercise is a start!

Tonight was crisp and you could smell the smoke from the fireplaces, that always brings back good memories from our winters on our farm. I was looking for the stars tonight but it was too cloudy and I could only see the moon. As I walked I started singing the Christmas songs in my head, the first one that popped into my head tonight was DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? I love that song and it's message. It talks about Seeing the miracles of Christmas, listening to the Spirit of Christmas, Knowing what Christmas is really about, Sharing the message of Christmas with those around us and then Living that way, all year long!  That's what Christmas is all about goodness and light.

Night dear friends and Merry Christmas!

Said the night wind to the little lamb
"Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite."
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy
"Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the the sea
With a voice as big as the the sea."
Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
"Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold."
Said the king to the people everywhere
"Listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people, everywhere
Listen to what I say
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light."

Monday, December 8, 2008

What a great Sabbath Day!

For the past 4 weeks I haven't even been well enough to go to church, I love Sundays because no matter what that means we get to be together as a family, nothing else is scheduled or planned. So what a treat it was to feel good enough and have enough energy today, to go to church with Jeff and the kids. I was worried how I would feel because Saturday I over did it some. We tried to get some shopping done with Amy and Lauren for the wedding and I guess it was  bit too much for me. I must be feeling better because now I am beginning to worry about being ready for this wedding in 3 weeks! We are so excited, but because of everything that has happened I really have gotten behind on what I need to do. We worked on invitations last night, they are later than we wanted but at least they will go out today. I can't turn my neck a certain way this morning, gee this crippled sad body of mine is ridiculous. Oh well, I will rest more today and apply the ice packs.

Right after my surgery, when the shock of what my body was really going to look like for the rest of my life, I wondered how in the world I would ever speak in public again. I was just sure that everyone would look at me different or feel sorry for me. (Now you understand why I need a counselor) I think really that is a normal stage, that any one goes through when a traumatic thing happens to you. Like I said the other day, I realized that I wasn't as self conscience as much any more but still I have my reservations. So today, I did conquer a huge fear I spoke in church today, yes front of everyone!  I had Lauren check me out to see if I looked normal, about 3 times that morning before we left, she has been such a trooper through this all. And to my surprise everyone just acted normal to me, I didn't see pity in their eyes at all...just that they loved me and missed me. I do love speaking and I feel very grateful that I will be able to continue to do that in the future, I will need a new wardrobe but Jeff said that we would think about that later! :)

Two things that I spoke about in church was SERVICE AND FAITH. I have come to realize through this experience, that the service that others have given me and my family have been such a blessing to us and a great help in my healing. I read a quote somewhere that SERVICE HELPS YOUR SPIRITUALITY. I know that is true and I know it is because we are doing for others what the Savior would do if He were here. I love reading in the New Testament about His life, it was one full of service. I know that I am much better at giving service than receiving, we have had people help us for over a month now and I really don't know how we could have done it with out every's help. It is humbling though when you can't do some things for yourself, but I know those who have served us will be blessed for their efforts. The Lord doesn't miss those type of things. I know in the past when I have served others that I feel closer to my Heavenly Father, that He is pleased with my actions. I hopefully will get better and stronger so that I can again return the favor for many.

The next thing I talked about was faith, I feel like I need to have an extra abundance of that, to be able to make the decisions in the future. I read a quote the other day from C.S.Lewis that went like this ..."YOU NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH YOU REALLY BELEIVE SOMETHING, UNTIL ITS TRUTH OR FALSEHOOD BECOMES A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH TO YOU."   That is a true statement!  Many times our lives are so busy and full and everything is going well (obviously I am not talking about my life :) ) that we don't really work on our hope and faith, life is good. But the moment that something BIG happens in your life, everything stops and priorities fall in order. All of a sudden even if you really didn't see yourself as a religious person, now it is time to find out what you really do believe. Trials, sickness, death, disease, broken hearts and accidents have a way of doing that to us. If you ever wondered if there is a GOD, then now would be the time to find out because ...things of this world won't bring the peace and comfort that you need. So it is good to really research, ask and find out just what you believe before LIFE'S LESSONS happen. I love the scripture in PROVERBS 3:5  "trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding". I really need to do this, I am a bit worried about what the future will bring for me, what decisions I am going to make and what I will have to do to make sure that this Cancer does not return. Plus, I really need to rely on the Lord for understanding on how to make all of this come to pass and what is in my best interest. I just need to have more FAITH and do all that I can, to understand the risks that I will be taking.

I need to go back and read all the beautiful cards and emails that many of you have sent to me. It does make a difference when others believe in you and remind you of your strength. Some  times that is HARD to see. So thank you for that reminder and I hope all week I can take the feelings that I had yesterday and be a better person. I love the Christmas season because it does seem that hearts are more turned to each other and that is a great feeling of PEACE in a time when the world is in such turmoil.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I got asked out on a date!

I am still a lot better from the remedy that the Doctor gave me Weds. at the Cancer Center. I got up with still some pain from having my drain JERKED OUT, but my arm is less sore and that is a blessing in and of itself. It is amazing to me when you are in such terrible pain how that distorts your perspective on so many things. I have a hard time enjoying anything. I even struggled reading my scriptures or anything else because I couldn't seem to focus at all. Today was different I got up without too much groaning and then was able to enjoy a couple of things that I haven't been able to do or desired to do for over 2 months now. I read a Christmas book, I started cutting out a Christmas Tree Quilt skirt, I even straightened up my house this is more like it.

Today also I went to counseling, I didn't go because I was depressed ( although I was for a time during all of this) but because I have such important decisions to make about my future and I want to make sure that I am not making those in FEAR but with FACTS about each one and FAITH that this is exactly what I am suppose to do in my life. I emphasize MY LIFE because it is some times hard to make a decision when you have so many examples of others who have already been through it. Not the exact cancer or the exact stage or anything else but everyone knows someone, that has had cancer and the stories they have to tell, can be inspiring or frightening. That is why I try to screen those when they are being told to me.

Eldon Vance ( my counselor ) is an amazing man, he really helps you see where your thoughts are taking you and what thoughts are real and which ones are created from your experiences you are having. He seemed very confident in me and in my ability to make this decisions. I know some of you might be thinking, counseling ...that is for people who aren't stable. Well, that could be me... but I would rather look at it as a strength and knowing when you are stuck and be willing to do whatever it takes to get UNSTUCK in our lives so that we can go on and live productive lives. I would recommend it for anyone, I think anyone could benefit from counseling, many times your are surprised at the habits and fears that control you and like one person I know ,said it the best when she said "I COULDN'T SEE WHO I HAD BECOME!"

I was up all day and still feeling pretty good then Jeff popped the question to me "Will you go out on a date with me?"  I was tired but it was something I wanted to do for a long time.  We never miss our Friday night dates, we have been doing them for 26 years of marriage and in rare occasions we weren't able to do them. I think for the last 7 weeks we have missed them (oh the one Friday night, we went together and did my CT scan but...I didn't really count that as a DATE NIGHT).

We went to a movie that was the least energy taking of our choices but the movie was terrible or at least the very beginning was and so we walked out of that and got our money back and then went and did some window shopping at Target (that is where they have the electric carts at). But it was just fun to be with Jeff and get out some, although when we headed for home I was glad.

So today was a good day and I am so grateful for any GOOD change that is coming. I like the quote that goes like this..."YOU CAN'T HAVE FAITH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BELIEVE IT."  I really do want to believe that life is going to get better and that this will all be something good in the long run. I hope that I can help in any way, to support other women who have to fight this terrible disease. Thanks again for believing in me. It does make a big difference.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Only 3 weeks left?

I thought that things were going well for our preparations for our wedding and Christmas.I thought for sure that I had 4 weeks to get everything done. When John said to me tonight that we only have 3 weeks left before Christmas I was blown away. It is amazing how fast & slow  time goes,  when you are doing absolutely nothing.

I felt a bit better and stronger today and that was certainly encouraging. It has been so long since I have felt even close to normal. I actually felt like straightening my house up a bit and putting in a load of laundry. I had two dear friends come by today and brought us dinner, which was a huge help and very appreciated. Then at 2:45pm Amy went to my Doctor appointment with me. Seem like the only social life I have is my Doctor appointments, this cancer stuff takes a lot of time, energy and money, no one really can afford to have it. I am grateful though that we have insurance coverage for MOST of it, it is unbelievably expensive!

The appointment do I explain it? The Doctor removed my drain today. I knew it was stitched in and so I thought it would feel like having stitches taken out, I was wrong. The  Doctor said "NOW LYNN, THIS IS REALLY GOING TO HURT BUT IT WILL LAST ONLY A MOMENT" and right after she said that she jerked out the drainage tube as hard and fast as she could. Reminded you of when you see someone trying to remove a tablecloth without taking off the dishes and silverware on top of it. Wow, it was like someone reached up in me and pulled something out (well I guess that is what she did).  I am not sure how far the tube went up in me but man ,did it ever hurt. She had me hold a gauze on it with pressure to stop the bleeding and then remind me that it might be sore for a while since things have now been stirred up ,but it should settle down after a while.

So tonight how grateful I was to already have dinner made because I certainly didn't feel like doing anything except to lay down and hold my side. It is 10:00pm and I still have a deep ache and throbbing inside. I am certainly glad that I don't have to bother with that drain any more and I am certainly glad that I didn't know how bad that was going to feel before it happened. But it is out and hopefully there won't be too much drainage after this. I asked her what happens IF there is more drainage? Dumb question! She said that it backs up into a pocket on your chest wall and then she would have to drain it with a needle, but it isn't dangerous, she didn't mention anything about the pain. You know, I have a high pain tolerance but for the things that I have had to endure (pain wise) in the past 2 months have been unbelievable. There is no wonder my body is having a hard time healing.

I notice when I read the news online every day that there are so many people worried and concerned for what the future will be. It is going to take a lot of faith to make it through these tough times and there are so many really going through them. I think the best thing we can do for ourselves and others, is to have more faith and pray for a miracle. I guess that is why I love Christmas so much, it's all about miracles and the gifts that the Christ child brought to each of us. Even though Christmas is 3 short weeks away, I hope some how... we can enjoy every minute of it and realize the whole miraculous change that comes over all the world because of this beautiful season of love, hope and faith.

I will close with one of my favorite quotes from the movie MIRACLE ON 34th STREET,it is  when his lawyer is trying to defend him Kris Kringle better known as Santa Claus if he is really real in the eyes of the court.

Good night!


Fred Gailey: Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to. Don't you see? It's not just Kris that's on trial, it's everything he stands for. It's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.

Another LONG day!

Jeff and I left around 9:30 this morning for the Seattle Cancer and Wellness Center, we had back to back appointments with our Doctor there and the oncologist. They certainly take all the time you need and they are never in a rush. Some of our time was waiting for the pathology reports from my mastectomy to be sent to them. That is exactly why we usually get copies and keep all of them with us to each appointment. Many times we were told all the results and facts have been sent to the Dr that we have the upcoming appointment with and yet when we get there,they don't have them.

We arrived home around 2:00 something so was a very long day! I am sure you are all wondering what we found out, well I am not going to go into detail because there is really no need. We were given all the information and suggestions that they had and then they suggested we see yet another DR for another opinion and then study a few things that they told us about (research wise) and to call back in a week or two and let them know what our decision is. So we still have a lot of research to do and the Dr. really put the focus on me getting rid of this pain first and also working on getting rid of the MONO. She said I already went in surgery with an immune system that was compromised, so that needs to be our main goal right now. I need to feel better. Hurting this much and being this tired, truly doesn't help the decision process, actually it makes every thing an effort!

I did realize something positive today and so I need to recognize it, little as it may seem. I didn't once think about if people were looking at me or trying to tell if I had a breast or not.As I said before when I have all my gear on you truly can't tell, but that still tripped me up even a week ago. I have been pretty down and in the house for the past 3 days and so I haven't been out to realize that, till today. I think that is a milestone!  Some ways that seems the least of my problems compared to  what I might be facing in the future. But it was a big deal and I am grateful for that. Hopefully that will not be a struggle any more.

I need to head to bed, I feel tired, I am still so very, very sore, I feel scared and most of all LONELY. Not because I don't have any one to support me and love me. I do ....there are many actually. But LONELY because I need to make this decision on my own. Yes, everyone will have opinions for me but really it is my decision and my decision alone to make. That puts a bit of pressure on me to make the right decision and figure into all that, the effect it will have on me and my sweet family. Don't think for a minute that I make any decision lightly, I have always considered Jeff and the kids first and I will continue to do so. But I by myself need to know what is right for ME to do. Just me, not everyone else out there that has dealt with Cancer. It is an overwhelming feeling and one that is not to be taken lightly or yet forced into, because you are SCARED TO DEATH  or SCARED OF DEATH. I will continue to study, read, pray and listen to that gut feeling that has never lead me wrong yet. What I need is Hope, Courage and Peace...well, at least we are in the right season for that...there is an abundance of it during Christmas and how grateful I am for that. I need to head to bed, here is my Christmas quote for the day. Thanks for your love and support!


"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." --                                                                                                       ----       Agnes M. Pharo

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My mother

The last time that I was in a Hallmark store I saw these little elf's that you sit on your shelf or mantle. They aren't really cute at all, but I smiled when I read the story about them. They are a remake of the ones my mom had years ago .They sat proudly  on our mantle every Christmas. They were ugly then and they still are... in my opinion but, it is the memory of it that made me want to buy one. I didn't though, but I did think of them the last couple of days when the kids were pulling out all the Christmas decorations. It was 8 years ago today that my mother passed away, she was only 70 years old. I still miss her terribly but realize that each year it gets a bit easier. No one should have to go throughout their life without a mom. I wonder now if she watches over us and would be proud of me and my family?  You see I think this quote is true...

Florida Scott-Maxwell:

No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.

I think many times in my decisions, what would my mom have done or what would she expect me to do? Lately I can really relate to my mom, she has a lot of physical pain in her life, she was a trooper to say the least.  I know she would have loved to see my kids now and how they have grown and developed. I look forward to seeing her again some day but for now,all I can do is take all the good qualities and wonderful things she taught me and be a better person myself and try to teach them to the next generation.

Jane Welsh Carlyle:

Time is the only comforter for the loss of a mother.

Change... the only constant in the world!

I decided to try and write during the day instead of at night. I am pretty worn out by the end of the day and many times my message probably isn't as positive as it should be. Today I got up early to get ready for my doctors appointment.  I am suppose to get my drain out ...yeah!  She thinks that a lot of my pain will go away when that comes out, so naturally I was excited. I had a funny feeling though to call before I made a trip in there to see if my drainage amount has to be a certain number before they take it out. Sure enough it does, mine is still a bit high so we had to reschedule for Thursday afternoon. Change... sometimes it is so hard to do.

I am trying to stay up just a bit today to do just a few of my normal chores. I know you are probably thinking, just let Jeff and the kids do that, but honestly Jeff and the kids do more than you could ever imagine. They do take great care of me, I just need to feel like I am capable of doing something even if that just means putting something frozen in the crock pot and turning it on. Whew, I am tired just writing about that. :)

The guys have most of the Christmas decorations up and then hopefully tonight they will get the boxes all put away and then it will at least look like Christmas in here and that will be a good thing. I do love my home decorated for every season and I can't wait to see the look on Angie's face when she comes over. She went crazy over the Halloween decorations...she is going to love Christmas!

So today I am going to start at least thinking about what I need to do for the wedding...that is only 4 short weeks away. So many people have offered to help and so I think for sure, I will need to take them up on that. I still am laying low so don't worry, if you really knew what I DIDN'T do all day, you would know not to worry about me. Tomorrow will be my appointment with the Cancer Doctor and the Oncologist there at the Seattle Cancer and Wellness Treatment, I pray that they have some good advice and information for me.

I found this quote by Dick Van Dyke about Christmas and wanted to share it with you.

"Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you ... to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old ... Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world ... stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death... Then you can keep Christmas! But you can never keep it "

That is so true, this season really is a time to change our thoughts and actions and hopefully for much much longer than the Christmas season. I do believe that Love is the strongest thing on earth and that is helps HEAL people, that is why I am so grateful for so many wonderful people like you  that I call my FRIENDS. I will make it because I am so loved, I can never thank you enough for that. All I can do, is try to show that same LOVE to others.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
                                      ----------------------      Norman Vincent Peale

Have a great day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December is here ready or not!

Today is December the first, I can't believe it is here already. This time last year Brad had just returned home from a two year mission in the Philippines. I was so excited to see him that I didn't want to miss a minute with him so I had all my Christmas gifts made or purchased by the first of November. It felt so good to have it all done so that we could just hang out together. We needed new stockings (the old ones were 20 some years used) and I even designed and sewed all of them too before Christmas. Usually when December 1st hits, I can hardly wait to wake up in the morning to get started on all my holiday gift making or addressing Christmas cards. Yes, if there was ever a MRS.SANTA wannabe it was me! 

But here it is just a year later and life has changed so much. I once referred to having cancer is like taking the color out of your world, nothing stands out, nothing is as exciting and nothing looks very good. To live in a black and white world when you are so use to COLOR and lots of it, is very hard to deal with. We decided a week or so to cancel some of our traditional activities but I thought at least I could make some homemade cards while I am sitting around to send to everyone. But today I realized, that is not going to happen this year either. I just don't have the energy, strength or desire to spend my efforts on anything other than my normal day to day activities. And even those haven't been happening lately. Wow, I am shocked that this mono, plus trying to heal from surgery has taken so a toll on me, at least to this degree. The pain in my arm just doesn't settle down enough for me to want to do ANYTHING! I head to the surgeon's office again tomorrow and hopefully I will get the drain out, she said that doing that might help get rid of some of my pain...I sure  hope so.

I remember a quote that I heard on the Christmas specials called THE GRINCH , it is when he realized what Christmas was really all about. I know it is true and hope each of you remember that when you don't have anything homemade with love from the Woodard's this year. I know that I don't have to do gifts for everyone and especially homemade ones, but I really enjoy doing something special for all of you.  I guess this year will be different, but I know that everyone understands. For this year ..just being friends and family will be more than enough. I am just glad to be here this Christmas and pray that the pain and exhaustion will subside long enough for me to enjoy some of the magic of Christmas.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.  ~Dr. Seuss

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!