And So it began

"ONCE UPON A TIME"....there came along this little lump...insignificant really when you compare it to the entire world of lumps. That is, right up to the point that it wasn't...insignificant I mean............... and so began my journey.

A NEWER SHADE OF I more then SURVIVE...I am learning to THRIVE...

OF COURSE... we all know things are bound to get a little crazy with a surprise around most every corner...not to mention an assortment of bumps and bruises along the way...but I am ever thankful for them all...they have all made me who I am. So buckle up, hold on tight and enjoy the ride thru what I lovingly refer to as LIFE

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As I spend my days sitting in my chair...there is a lot of time to ponder and reflect on everything including my life with all it's up and downs - the important and the insignificant.  It is amazing when you look back that the GREAT & GIANT obstacles that caused you some much pain, to stumble and even fall aren't so huge anymore and you see them for what they really are...moments or polishing our rough edges off and becoming more of what the Lord has planned for us to be.  At the moment of the trial it is the biggest challenge we have ever faced and impossible to get around or over but when we look back it we have often forgotten all the pain and only see how it helped us to grow and become who were are now.  We also seem to review our part thru rose colored glasses - seeing only the positive...being able to step away from all the hurt and hardship for the most part.  You can see the hand of the Lord directing and guiding us along the path - shepherding us into becoming what He know we are capable of.

There are many things, blessings and tender mercies that I am MOST certainly grateful PLEASE indulge me as I give some "shout outs"...

***MY FAMILY - (both my children and my siblings) Their love and support and constant checking up on me has meant the world.  Knowing that they are there IF and WHEN I might need to call on them they would drop everything in their own lives to come to me.

***MY AMAZING ETERNAL COMPANION - There are so few things in this world that I could accomplish without him.  He is my ROCK, my safe harbor, the twinkle in my eye and the skip in my step.  He is ALWAYS there for me no questions asked and never a moment of resentment.  He  holds the Kleenex when I laugh myself to tears and when things get too hard for me to bear...he wipes my tear and holds me close. He is my strength

***FRIENDS - .  Those who know you warts and all and make the choice to be at your side anyway.  Especially those low maintenance kind that you can go without seeing for extended periods but when you get together it is like you never were apart

***PAST PHYSICAL ILLNESSES - without decades of migraines my pain tolerance would not be anywhere near what it is today.  The ability to departmentalize my pain so it is much easier to cope with has made recover from this and other BIG BOO BOOS much easier.

***FAITH & PRAYERS - I am humbled to be the recipient of so many prayer and good vibes.  I have felt you love surround me giving me strength and courage.  Your prayers of faith on my behalf is so overwhelming.


and Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

     Sorry all that I didn't get this done earlier....but I have been sleeping a lot and didn't want to turn this into some pain med induced babble.

     It is all over.....the boob is gone and I am feeling really good about it. The surgery went really well and I am recovering beautifully.  I was in the hospital from 6am to 6 pm....not too bad.  They did a nerve block so I am still slowly unfreezing but it made it so I was put so deeply under....don't get me wrong....I was still soundly asleep!!!...but waking up was much easier and I had none of the usual nausea or grogginess.  I actually spent my first 2 days at home sitting in my comfy chair in my living room.

     Now that I have cut the pain meds wayyyyy back....I will keep you more in the loop.  VoR and I want to send you all a HUGE THANKS...for all your love, prayers and support/encouragement. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

(dramatic theme music...
thank you again John Barry and Hans Zimmer)

Thanks for all your continued prayers and support.
Catch you in a couple of days.
Etta May

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

     All I've come to the conclusion that I can say in full confidence...(with my poor bruised and batter sore boob in mind)....

IF it was a horse we would have put it down by now!!!!
(seriously animal rights people would have a field day!!!!)

     Today is gonna be spent doing all the running around with pre-op stuff and that dreaded not much time for anything else.  Thanks for sticking in my corner....I am feeling all your love and support and that makes all the difference!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

     These are 3 very simple yet powerful words independently but together their value is far beyond anything we can image. I have been wrestling with these words for a few days and this is what I have come up with.
     I have been really great to this point with everything that has and will happen to me because of this diagnosis. Suddenly I am thrown to a point where, because I am only human, Fear and Courage are battling to dominate my very spirit. So why a needle this Wednesday has become my undoing and the one thing my mind is so fixated on....I don't know. What I do know is that it has become a real hurdle for me and has driven me repeatedly to my knees and the scriptures...maybe that is the whole point....I don't know.
     We all know that fear and faith cannot co-exist so I wonder where my faith (over this one thing) has gone or faltered to allow FEAR to have such a grip? The fact that I have this thought at all is devastating to me.  It's not that anything has changed in my journey, my Savior or our's just this crippling terror over a is very strange to me that I  find myself  doubting His capacity to hold me thru this....but at the same time knowing that I DON'T DOUBT!!!!

     Maybe it is actually more doubt in myself, my worth and my role as His daughter...the daughter of a King. Maybe I 'm afraid of the insignificance of my "craziness" over this one little ordeal (which it truly is in the grand scheme of things)?  Maybe it's my belief that it isn’t really worth His time and attention when you consider all the injustice of the world...knowing that something bigger WILL happen to someone else somewhere and I am really just need to suck it up.  Now...I know in my head and heart that's crazy!!!             

"A sparrow shall not fall on the ground without your Father...hairs of your head are all numbered...Ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matt 10:29-31)

 Of course He will be with me - I KNOW THAT - I just marvel at how quickly Satan can drop a minuscule dot in the water of our life and IF we don't acknowledge, face it and figure it out - it begins a ripple effect that turns quickly into mighty tidal waves that crash into us threatening to capsize our very lives, working hard to knock us off our true heading. We so need to faithfully and consistently anchor ourselves to the Lord. Checking and rechecking that anchor every day repairing any weakness or frays on the rope. It is our lifeline and our only sure way through all the rest of the storms that most surely lay ahead of us.

     As I read this morning two scriptures jumped off the page at is always such a miracle to me when you pray and search...being open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost....that you will be led to the answer you need.

"Be not afraid...for the Lord thy God is with thee" (Deuteronomy 20:1)
"Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and do all...Cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day" (Joshua 23:6&8)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

     I was looking back in my journal as I was putting in some cards that I have received and found the first Tender Mercy of this journey....truly Angel Mail.  I had every intention of it being one of my first posts but in the fast paced movement of this whole got put aside and mostly forgotten until now.

     When I first found my little Troll..I had been in the midst of resettling into my home office (VoR made it beautiful for me) cleaning up old empty file folders.  As I picked up a big stack a card fell out of the middle.....I have no recollection of EVER seeing this I picked it up and started to read the front. 

      I immediately had tears streaming down my face and the most incredible sense of a warm hug completely enveloping me. The poem in and of itself is moving and inspirational but it's what I found when I opened it up...that amazed me.  Inside was hand written note to me from my mom (who passed away over 20 yrs ago) saying that she had kept this and wanted to pass it on to me...WOW!! 

      What a true testimony and such a blessing and miracle to me is that the Lord truly knows us and what we need even before we know ourselves.  His gentle reassurance that I am (we all are) His child and that He is ever watchful and mindful of our every need....emotionally, physically and spiritually and is standing ever ready to bless us and be there when we call.  It is not that he is not there when we need is more often the case that His hand, that is ever on the door waiting to come to our aid, is slapped away by our own pride and Independence foolishly thinking we can handle this life and all it throws at us on our own.  When in truth....the sooner we realize that without Him it is impossible the more joyous and peaceful this life becomes...and that after all is the find/have true joy and to learn.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

     Well....the result are all in and with no big surprises....a full right side mastectomy is the verdict.  This isn't a big shock since we knew from the 2nd biopsy sites that if anything was would be game over for that "girl". VoR and I have read (love the boob book...BTW) and talked at great length about the different scenarios and so we had already come to terms with this possible reality. There was no "weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth" or wondering how each other felt and thought...just a quiet peace  that this is the right thing to do. They have a surgery opening next week so I don't have much time to stew and worry over it and what all the implications of the surgery's aftermath are...for me...that is a good thing!! At this point (as far as they know so far) the lymph nodes are all clear so further treatment will be minimal..but that can change once they are in surgery

     I have to admit though....I was surprised by the reaction I did have once I got home and had some alone time.  I'm so NOT devastated to lose the "old girl" but I think it's more the disappointment that I couldn't "win" my way out of this.  I have a real sense of failure at losing this stage of the fight on behalf of my boob. It's kinda like I had let myself  (and it)down...almost a sense of betrayal...on behalf of my boob but at the same time feeling  betrayed by my boob....confusing I know.  It is a much harder pill to swallow ...feeling like I just "tapped out" and let this ugly, busy little Troll win this round.

     My only point of concern/wonder/questioning is the fact that we are leaving the left one....which at the moment is cancer free...."at the moment".  Knowing myself pretty well after all these years though....the thought of every time I have it tested, feel a bump, have a pain....the immediate thinking it has been "trolled" will drive me crazy....and  I'm not sure that is a great way to live. They want me to wait a year so they can focus on the sick one and get all that healing done rather then have 2 sites to watch...and also to see if I still feel the same.  If so,  then they will remove it too and  reconstruct them both (unless I have already reconstructed the one first)....I'm thinkin....a year is a WAY long time to have this brewing in the back of my mind. I guess we will just wait and see how it goes.....always taking it one day at a time....the priority it to get the "troll infected" one gone before it can get worse.

     At any rate....we are now at the point of stepping out of the "kiddie pool" and jumpin  head first into the "grown-up" one....I just have to keep reminding myself that my "Life guard" is always on duty and will hold me up when it gets to deep and I just can't float....cause honestly....I am a worse then a lousy swimmer...good thing He knows that!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

        The Biopsy results from this MRI will be back tomorrow (Wed) in time for our meeting with the surgeon. We are gonna find out my surgery date and how the entire battle plan for the surgery has maybe been changed because of these latest findings.....Time will tell for sure!! As long as I am done with magnets for a while...I'm good!!! Now I know there are "technically" no side effects from an MRI....BUT...4 days after this last marathon length one....I am still feeling foggy/dizzy/tired...just kinda off. I don't know whether it has anything to do with have 2 MRIs done within 2 weeks...but I'm sure thinkin it does!!!

     I was really affected by crazy dizziness every time they pulled me in and out of the machine. They told me that it had "extremely strong magnets" and I wasn't the only one who had commented on that. You think about the effects from those little magnet bracelets are supposed to have on your can imagine how I felt after 2 hours in the monster ring of them.

     I've got headaches and get motion sick for watching TV for more than a few minutes (heaven forbid if it is fast action or a hand-held camera shot)...and books are taking way too much concentration to focus on. I have had some struggles to get sentences out in the right order...(to the amusement of me and those I am trying to talk to)....and boy am I tired...seriously...I am napping every time I sit down.... what the heck's with that. Now combine that with VERY unhappy darkly bruised and swollen boob and that about sums up my last few days....are we having fun yet??!?!?!!?. I joke that this really sucks...but actually it's just a minor inconvenience and I know is nothing compared to what is in store for me. .

     The bigger challenge was that I had to come face to face with the "VoR had to do everything guilt".....I know what you're thinking ...but this is a struggle for me. I want to be clear so there is no confusion.... that I KNOW and UNDERSTAND without a speck of doubt that I am truly thankful every day for him and his love & support. I am humbled by his willingness to do whatever is best for me... including never giving it a thought when he has to pick up the slack around here humbles me. I am beyond blessed to have him for my eternal companion!!!

He is my very own SUPER HERO!!!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

     SO…apparently I’m not as tough as I thought…why you ask…1) the biopsy itself hurt this time, 2) I had site bleeding for 24 hours so I had to be bound tight with an ice pack for the entire first day…yippee!!! 3) my boob is killing me (of course cuz the two spots couldn’t be close to each other, that would be way too convenient… so the whole “girl” hurts) and 4) my tummy is really upset too…but don’t counting me out just yet…this too shall pass.  This procedure was tougher than I thought it would be (compared to the first one)…either way…OUCH!!!
     All in all…not a banner waving couple of days.  I really guess I don’t feel horrible (it is probably gonna…no…for sure it’s gonna get a lot worse) I’m just achy, tired and it’s occasionally really painful.  On the upside…with the Lord’s help and my commitment to myself and Him) I managed to keep my promise to approach every step of this journey with honesty, humor, grace, patience, co-operation and to keep peacefully calm (which might I add is my constant companion through everything), being positive to everyone involved with my care and treatment.  I know these are gonna be hard promises to keep….good thing the Lord is on speed-dial

**SIDEBAR** I am so committed to this new way of seeing things and interactions with others…that when I shut my fingers in the oven door (stop laughing anytime)on the sharp rough side, I didn’t even think of a cuss/bad word let alone throw one out…WOW!!!
     So here I sit like the “Queen of Sheba” – not being allowed to do anything for the next 48hrs (as per post-biopsy orders). Can I just say the VoR is WAYYYYY too good to me!!!!...and don’t even think of taking this out when you poof/edit this for me ;-)  He has always been the biggest tender mercy  given me by the Lord…they just seem to be gathering more often around me these days…cha ching!) Now I know you are thinking…”stop complaining”.  Let me just say for the record…I am no hero…I am just fine following orders (most of the time) and when I am home alone, sitting around is no big deal…BUT get the VoR here working so hard and efficiently as well as being at my beck and call while I sit around on my keester… copious amounts of STUPID guilt begin to pile up quickly…that inevitably leads to me getting a smidge (some are bigger smidges then others) grumpy…so really…it’s a no win for anyone around here really.  I know I need to get past this issue, as there will probably be a whack load more days like these to come.

     I was reading in my “boob book”(see earlier post for title info) and discovering a ton of new stuff and after myself imposed boycott last week from “boob info/book due to brain overload” it is good to get back into it.  The one thing that surprised me the most was how your body reacts to the radiation treatment.  I always thought it was the chemo that caused the exhaustion but it appears that radiation is as bad if not worse (according to the book) and it’s not like the “I’m pooped from working hard” tired…it’s the “coming down with the flu” tired…so totally wipes you out and it can last for months after treatment is finished…oh yippee!!!  BUT …on the upside…maybe all this will reset my internal clock and solve this insomnia issue…wouldn’t that be a marvie benefit.  Only time will tell.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Just a little ......
FYI..I know curious minds want to know....

     Well....that was NOT fun (or anywhere near as painless as the first biopsy....just sayin.....but I am still alive....really sore but here!!! 
Not doing much of anything for the next couple of days but wanted to let all concerned that the MRI biopsy went without a hitch.  I will have result at the surgeons appt nest Wednesday (15th)

     I've gotten a few cards in the mail....with a stamp real mail route....BTW...REAL  snail - mail is so cool!!!  One  card, the writer (Tracy) put this quote on the bottom....I have always LOVED it and so I put it together with this picture and somehow it  is what got me thru the icky, painful, not great parts of yesterday....(thank you Tracy!!)

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers,
 I really apprecaite all of you !!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Just a little side note today.....

     Tomorrow is my BIG test!!! The MRI guided Biopsy
(insert dramatic Hollywood music...might I suggest John Barry or James Horner)
    It's not that I am necessarily nervous about it...because if you want to get technical...I've had both before...separate mind you... but it isn't like walking in with no idea what to expect.  The fact that it has a 3 hour time allowance doesn't thrill me (laying still that long without wiggling is gonna be a HUGE challenge for me)...or the fact that the noise level was so extreme with the last MRI which did not put me in a happy (Now as long as no one comes out into the waiting room waving their IV again....I think I've got this.)

     I think I am more ready to get some final answers and get moving on taking this bothersome little troll out of me before he straps on runners and heads for greener pastures elsewhere in this old bod. I know I won't have anymore info until after the next meeting with the surgeon but each tick I can make on this long list of things that need to get taken care of....the happier I am.  It is a long road we are travelling but we have come really far in a short time already....and for that I am MOST thankful!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

   I have been reading about what I can do to help myself and get geared up just IN CASE we need to take a more drastic approach then we (the surgeon and us) originally anticipated. Along with the better eating habits and exercise they talk a lot about getting enough here's my problem... a slight rant you could say....

    Ever have those days when you would give your right arm for a NAP...but it is too late in the day?  You know...your dragging around all day and by 5pm it is all you can do to keep your eyes uncrossed... forget open.  Trouble is you KNOW you can't go to bed that early (no matter how enticing that is) cause you just know that you will wake up in a few hours and your body is gonna feel like it had a great long nap. Now...Don't even pretend that you don't know what I'm've been there.....middle of the night all refreshed, be wide awake and ready to go...ARGG!!!! Unless of course you are one of those chosen few who are a sleep before their head hits the pillow (you know who you are...what's worse....I know who one of you are VoR & Random Wisdom...and all I have to say is "REALLY???") sigh!!!!

     So to avoid that bedtime frustration....I push thru the couple of hours of my mind numbing existence....doing all I can NOT to get lured (even for a second) into that big comfy chair...or worse even...give into that soft whispered call of my bed.  Then almost like clockwork...WHAM!!!!  7(is)pm hits and it is like I have just downed all the coffee in Starbucks (minus the jitters & the buzz) to be perfectly honest...I have never actually had even a sip of I am just going off what I have heard and learned on commercials...the most reliable source out  Then I realize that any thought of going to sleep anytime soon....(even giving it that "boy scout" effort) will be I stay up...way too late and start this merry go round if I could just step off the darn thing....alas easier said then done.

     After a few of these little or no sleep nights I try the all-nighter route...I just stayed up skipping a night of sleep hoping for the best the next night.  In my head it is supposed to reset my internal is always that successful in the long term but I do get a decent night sleep out of it. Maybe if I could just talk my body into sleeping before midnight and not waking up by 5am....I would have this all figured out....(may I just repeat..."Hello merry-go-round....I want off!!!!!) ARGGGGG!!!!


Monday, August 6, 2012

     Have you ever thought about beginning a project, that at the time sounded brilliant and not too involved....and then you start it!?!?!  That is me today....well the last few days actually. Now I should be mentioned that I don't know what bothers me more....that this project has taken and is continuing  to take me a few day or that I feel that while Vof R is working his butt painting and redoing my kitchen..I have been glued to this laptop

     In an effort to try and get all my ducks lined up (in case I feel REALLY lousy after we start this surgery and treatment) and my environment orderly and peaceful...I decided to pack away all my CDs...cause seriously...who listens to actual cds anymore...other then my laptop we don't even own a cd player just load them all onto your Ipod. Well...I am officially on day 3 of the uploading.   I actually thought this would go fast since most of them are on my Ipod....WRONG!!!!  I must have loaded them all onto the old family (long since gone) computer so every single cd is needing to be loaded onto my laptop so I can back it all up onto my external hard drive for safe digital keeping....I hope!! As much as I would love to invent a shortcut....I have learned over the years...

     When this is finally done...they will get put in a box...sold on kiiji....or donated to some charity and the ugly cheap gone!!  One more extra piece of furniture gone...check!!!!  It is pretty funny though and I have probably said this in the pursuit of order vast chaos must first rear it's ugly head and try to discourage and derail you before you've even really begun. You really should have seen my office after I / he (the Vof R) did the major reno in my office and  all my schmutz was just dumped anywhere we could find a spot....not pretty!!! Now however....beautiful.. I still have a few pictures to put up but WOW!!!  It is always amazing what a difference a little can of paint and a willing hubby can produce....and boy am I blessed!!!!  Vof R is my ROCK...and a pretty cute handy man too...wink wink

Saturday, August 4, 2012

     There are only a few blogs that I actually follow and fewer still that really inspire me to be/do better....on of them is "The Redheaded Hostess".  I found her insights on the Savior and the scriptures amazing and her guides/ideas for enhancing scripture study SO helpful but it's her outlook and honesty that really touches me.
     A few months ago she had a cancer scare and her "lessons learned" really had an effect on me so much so that I printed them out and reread them several times.  I thought to myself "how great it would be to learn those things and make those changes in myself, I would be a so much better person and I wouldn't have to go thru the whole the cancer part" 

     Well fast forward and here we are...I guess some lessons you have to learn for yourself the hard way.  I am still impressed with her list and have been trying to live what I learned from her as I face my own cancer.  I guess you never know why something touches you or why/what we learn from those encounters but if we are brave enough to act upon those feelings and follow those promptings we are so better off for it.  The spirit prompts us daily to do or not do some it what you want...(the Holy Ghost, intuition, gut feeling, voice in your head (the good kind....), hair standing up on the back of your neck,  second thoughts, etc)...but we know where it comes from and that the majority of the time....if we don't listen, we end up playing the "Oh Krap...if only I..." record over and over in our minds.

     I believe God is always there to help and guide us thru the spirit if we will but listen and the more we listen and heed the more in tune we become... and both the hearing and the listening (trusting that little voice) become easier.....we just need to tune in.  Funny but the more we tune in the less "Oh Kraps" tend to derail us and the more joyful our days become. DON"T get me wrong.....we will still have those troubles, obstacles, trials, sadness, and lets be honest...idiots (in word and actions) that try to turn us into the HAG over the HONEY but our inner peace changes and so our outlook improves and our ability to deal with and even just let  go of the "KRAP" gets easier and that's where growth happens. 

Hmmm...well maybe this says it better then my ramblings have...

"Sometimes the solution is not to change our circumstances, but to change our attitude about that circumstance...
then step back see what happens"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I think it was inevitable (in this mad search/rush for information) that at some point I would hit a wall. 

     Let me start by saying....IF this blog is to be what is designed to honest accounting of my journey...then you need to see all sides of it and not just the "happy go lucky" side....because in truth...I have other moments too....NOT MANY...actually a VERY few.  For me they are just little pebbles on my path that like a rock in your flip flop...I stop and get them shoes/one is perfect on a rocky path after I have decided that I will share them when I allow them to effect my's only fair to you and I need to be honest about this.

     In my quest to make sure I had all the info I need to make an informed decision (when we get to that point) and had every possible questions ready for my follow up with the surgeon ....not to mention be familiar with all the terminology....(you get the idea)..... yesterday my brain just said "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH"!!!!  I had spent yet another day reading and reviewing and by 4pm I was done.  It has gotten so dumb that I feel guilty if I want to watch a movie or read a "fun" book....that my friends is unhealthy....but in my defence....I have no idea how this surgery and treatment are going to really effect me so I have been trying to jam EVERYTHING in right now before we get started so all my "ducks are in a row" and the frustration level will be down. 

     Not that this is a new thing....anytime something major is gonna happen (buying a car or a house or go on VaCa) I have researched it completely and know everything we need to know...and then some. I do believe it is a great trait but as I sit here today...I am officially taking a "Mental Health Day"!!!  It's Boobless Thursday...I am not gonna open one book, website, support group, fundraising anything about this disease.  I may just sit on my keester and watch old musicals...(don't judge)....if I can get past the guilt of wasting an entire day.  I never used to let that bother me but now.....I'm a little more aware of time and all the things I want to do.  

     It is just the little things that have been forced aside since this started that annoy me & make me sad...(VoR and I were gonna go on road trip to catch the fall colors....delayed.  Family reunion....derailed....Florida in the late fall....delayed).  I have to sit back and come to terms with the Time & season for all things and right now...this about getting healthy.  99.9% of the time I good with that....then we get close to a derailed plan and I get sad for a second.  This too shall pass and when I look back this really will be just a blip in my life....and blips can be just that or huge towering mountains that take over our life and we wallow in regrets....I choose the BLIP!!