Archive for February, 2009

Health Update 2/28/09

February 28, 2009

 

img_0667The following is a copy of what I sent out this morning to my email distribution list.  This picture has nothing to do with this post, but all of a sudden this blog has gotten so serious–I just wanted to include one of my favorite pictures.  🙂

February 28, 2009
Hello Friends and Family–
Just wanted to give you the latest information we have. Jerel and I met with Dr. Girard–my Radiation Oncologist yesterday.  She had just returned from the Breast Forum where my case was presented by my surgeon to a room full of oncologists (surgeons, med. oncs, and rad.oncs) and they all discussed the best treatment plan.  We felt very fortunate to have had that opportunity to have all these minds wrapped around our situation.  In some ways, it feels like we’ve had the “second opinion” and 3rd, 4th, etc.
At the meeting, they had the pathology slides from my latest surgery and all the surgeons in the room agreed that we should go back in (with surgery) to try to remove all cancer cells (get clean margins).  This will be a more invasive surgery (similar to the lymph node removal which was a much longer recovery for my arm)–but the surgeon feels like there is a chance he could get clean margins–which would be wonderful.  This would be followed by radiation to the under arm area–proably another 6 week radiation schedule. 
The debate is whether or not to have chemotherapy. They are leaning towards me having it.  It’s tough because while we want to do everything we need to do,just thinking of chemo again seems like such a setback for me physically and emotionally.  But the feeling is that since the cancer has been in there, it could have spread microscopically somewhere else–even though the scans show no cancer in my bones and organs.  But chemotherapy would treat any “undetectable, if any” cells out there.  And of course we want to be aggressive.  My surgeon called me yesterday to talk about the upcoming surgery and he said that he would also be putting a “port” in again– which says chemo is a sure thing–even though we’ve heard no official word on this.
What’s next?  I am going to have an MRI (on both breasts and axillary areas) this coming week– they want to have all in the information possible when they go in this time.  Then, the surgery will be as soon as possible after that. We will keep you updated…..THANK YOU to so many of you who have emailed your thoughts and prayers to us.  I know I’m giving lots of information–but so many people are asking, that this is the easiest way to get the info. out.  But please let us know if you would not like to get these emails–I think there’s a button at the bottom of this that should say something like “unsubscribe”—I just have no way of knowing who wants these details!! 🙂
Jerel and I are both feeling positive about this–we know it will be hard again–but nothing we can’t handle.  We feel God has really given us a peace and a strong faith in Him. Please continue to pray for us.
Lots of love,
Susan
Advertisements

Health Update 2/26/09

February 26, 2009
February 26, 2009
Hello Friends and Family–
We have just returned home from visits with 2 of my doctors.  We saw my surgeon and my medical oncologist.  The GOOD news is that both my Bone Scan and CT Scan are clear…showing no cancer cells in bones or organs.  That is a huge relief to us.
The other news is that the pathology from last Friday’s surgery (lump taken out under my arm) showed a “local recurrence” of the cancer.  The margins were not clear which is of concern.
A team of doctors (my surgeon, my med. oncologist and my radiation oncologist are on this team) will meet tomorrow morning to discuss my case and what the best treatment will be.  It is almost certain that I will have radiation to the under arm area as well as another round of chemotherapy.  We’re not sure which one will happen first.  Possibly another surgery to obtain good margins.
Please continue to pray for us— a little discouraged at having to do chemo again..but definitely willing to do whatever it takes!  Pray for the team of doctors meeting tomorrow morning—for wisdom and direction.
Thanks for all the support and prayers… we’ll update tomorrow.
Love,
Susan and Jerel

Book Review/Family

February 25, 2009

raisingI recently read this book by Dr. Tim Kimmel called “Raising Kids for True Greatness”—it was a great book that challenged me and encouraged me to take a look at how Jerel and I are parenting our kids.

I liked it so much that I took it with me to our Family Retreat in January.  (We went to a great place called St. Christopher– www.stchristopher.org).  While we were there, we had several “family meetings” and during one, we came up with some new family rules.  (Using the book as a guide, we talked about what we thought was important in order for a family to function the way God intended).

Here’s what we came up with.  We played off our last name, and used the word “Laws”– probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

 

Law’s Family Laws

1. Everybody helps everybody.

2.  Be positive and encouraging.

3.  The kids are to listen and obey the parents-always!

4.  Respect one another’s space and stuff.

5.  Help each other make wise choices.

6.  Remember “Please” and “Thank you” are the signs of a grateful heart.

7.  Be quick to rally around a family member who is down.

8.  Eat as many meals together as possible.

9.  Have a lot of FUN!

10. God is #1 in our family.

Hopefully, this will work well for our family.  One funny sidenote– when I wrote them out the first time at the retreat, I accidently wrote for #8, “Eat as many meals as possible”– I forgot the word “together”–so we all still joke about trying to eat as many meals as possible.  🙂

Christopher- Map of Wishville

February 23, 2009

img_0728Christopher–7 years old

One night last week, I was going upstairs to check on everyone in bed.  Almost every night, I have to turn out Christopher’s lamp because he falls asleep with it on.  So, I wasn’t surprised when I walked down the hall and saw light coming from under his door.  But I was surprised to hear “scampering” and then a final leap on his bed. (It was about 9:30, and he goes to bed at 7:30!)  

There was a sheet of paper outside his door that said “Present on my board”–that was left for Jerel and me.  When I opened the door and saw him still awake, flying through the air to his bed, he told me to look at his dry-erase board (a 5 footx 3 ft board on his wall)—but to not tell Daddy…to let him find it on his own.  

This is what was on his board–evidently a 2 hour project:

img_1188

It’s his “Map of Wishville”–the things that would make a perfect world to him.  There’s a Free Lego Shop and a Free Wii Shop, also a Target, a lake, mountains and trails.  He included 2 houses for his 2 best friends.  Jerel and I loved it because it shows how creative he is and shows his personality so well.  

Christopher has always been a builder and has such an imagination.  I can’t wait to see what he does with that as he grows!!

 

What would be on your Map of Wishville?  I’m thinking of mine—maybe some of it doesn’t have to be just wishes!

So, here’s to Christopher—such a sweet, loving, stubborn, kind, strong-willed, smart, creative,hilarious, influential, caring, emotional, responsible, joyful boy!  You are very loved!!! 

dsc00529img_00202

Joy Comes in the Morning

February 21, 2009

Have you ever heard the phrase “Joy comes in the morning.”?   It’s from the Bible (Psalm 30).  Well, it’s true for me today.  Yesterday, I was pretty much devastated to learn that my body is still fighting the cancer.   But, this morning, I woke up feeling much more positive and feeling that I can fight this thing!  I feel good, went to Christopher’s basketball game this morning, and will watch the Tarheels this afternoon.  So, yes— joy  HOPE comes in the morning!

Yesterday, Jerel and I both really thought the mass would be scar tissue.  We are now waiting for the pathology to come back to tell us how much cancer was found.  I have a CT and Bone Scan this Tuesday.  The results of these will determine what we do from here. 

Please join me in praying specifically that:

1.  The pathology will show a trace amount of cancer cells and that the margins will be clear.

2.  The Bone and CT scans will be clear–indicating that the cancer has not spread anywhere else in my body.

3.  Jerel and I can stay positive, hopeful and emotionally ok.

Thanks so much for all the prayers and support and love.  We are continually amazed by our family, friends and body of Christ.

I am working on another post NOT ABOUT cancer at all—it’s about something really cute that Christopher did.  Should be a much more FUN post……  tune in later.

LOTS of love,

Susan

Health Update and Idol Picks

February 17, 2009

One of my purposes for this blog was to find a way to communicate updates on my health-I wanted to give you an update of what is going on with me and ask you to PRAY for me!

I went to see my Oncologist a week and a half ago and he felt a lump under my arm (it was bothering me, so i made my appointment for 2 weeks earlier than it was originally scheduled). He sent me to my surgeon to evaluate it. (my oncologist thought it was most likely extra fluid from surgery)—so I went to my surgeon on Thursday of last week for him to aspirate the lump. When he did, he did not find fluid, but didn’t know exactly what it was, suspecting scar tissue. So, he sent off a sample and I just heard from him yesterday that the report came back that they are “atypical cells”. He would like to “get it out of there” –which means another surgery. I’m okay and fine with the surgery, just apprehensive and nervous about what the report will be….because they will send it off for pathology and from that, we will know if it is benign or cancer cells. My surgeon DID say that he suspects it is benign because it is not “looking or behaving like cancer.” So, let’s PRAY that he is right! 

 

The surgery is THIS Friday (the 20th)—a lot easier than my first surgery. It won’t be general anesthesia–just “local with sedation.”  So,let’s all pray for no more cancer.  Also, pray for me to trust—I’ve learned SO much about trust in the past year–that it’s not trusting FOR something, but IN something. (God)

 

OK—-forgive me, but it helps to think of other things (healthy denial and distraction!)—so here my

Idol Top 12 Picks….I’m doing this BEFORE tonight’s show—

I’ll see how many of my picks actually make the top 12.  

GIRLS–I’m not crazy about any of them, but here are my best guesses:

Allison, Alexis, Casey, Jasmine, Lil, Kendall

BOYS–They are awesome–I had a hard time just choosing 6, dog

Adam, Anoop, Brent, Danny, Matt G, Michael S

Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2009

jerelweb In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d dedicate a post to my husband, Jerel.  Here are some things I LOVE about him (in no particular order and this list in no way includes everything I love…that would be way too much pressure!)

 

I love that when he took me to meet his parents for the first time, he kissed his mom when he saw her.

I love that he will work really hard in our house (hardwood floors and painting kitchen cabinets this year!)

I love that he coaches Christopher’s basketball team and he is so patient and such a good “teacher.”

I love that he seeks God every day.

I love that he loves the wii—he is SO good at Mario Kart !

I love that he is what I call a “dessert snob”   It’s not his fault, he grew up having his mom bake awesome desserts (she still does)

I love that he was so excited to take Bailey to her Father/Daughter Dance. (see picture below)

I love to hear him preach.

I love that he laughs out loud at The Office.

I love the father that he is.  Our kids know they are loved!

I love that he is a die-hard UNC fan.  I love to see him get excited about the tarheels.

I love that he is so committed to working on Saturday nights in preparation for Sunday.

I love Sunday afternoons with him!

I love that he would like clothes from cool stores like Buckle, but they really don’t matter to him.

I love he loves Mac computers and his iphone.

I love that he makes breakfast for our kids most Saturday mornings.

Like I said, this list is not at all complete—just some random thoughts on Valentine’s Day.  

 

dsc004611img_11471

Interview with my kids

February 9, 2009

I got this great idea from one of my friends’ blogs.  I decided to interview my kids–ask them some questions, give them a chance to talk to me. They all throughly enjoyed talking— and getting the personal attention.  In fact, Luke (4 yrs. old) came up to me a few hours after I interviewed him –he was holding a notebook and a pencil and said “here mommy, ask me more questions.”  Here it goes…. these are their words exactly.  🙂

Bailey (turns 9 this week!)

What do you want to be when you grow up?   “A horse back riding teacher.”

Where would you like to go on a trip?  “Disney World”

Where is your favorite place to go?  “Sundance Stables”

What is your favorite restaurant?  “Cicis or Five Guys”

What is your favorite book?  “Little House on the Prairie”

What do you like to do?   “Ride horses, play outside, ride my bike, play wii”

What are some of your talents?  “horse back riding, spelling, reading, making friends”

What makes you happy?  “presents and cookies”

Who is someone you admire?  “Amber-my horse riding teacher”

Christopher (7 yrs old)

What do you want to be when you grow up?  “An ocenographer–I want to study the ocean and take pictures.”

Where would you like to go on a trip?   “Hawaii–there are a lot of oceans there and I want to go scubadiving.”

Where is your favorite place to go?  “The pool”

Who do you admire?  “Mommy–because you’re nice”

What do you like to do?  “Play legos, video games, read and swim” 

What are some of your talents?  “Music, reading, helping others in school”

What makes you happy?  “Swimming and playing with my friends.”

What makes you sad?  “Luke taking my legos, missing dessert”

What is your favorite book?  “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

What is your favorite restaurant?  “McDonalds”


Luke (just turned 4)

What do you want to be when you grow up?  “Spiderman”

Where do you want to go on a trip?  “To Target to get Legos”

What is your favorite place to go?  “Monkey Joes”

What is your favorite restaurant?  “Chick-fil-A”

Who do you admire/think is cool?  “Holden”

What do you like to do?  “Play Nerf guns, play legos, play rescue heroes”

What are some of your talents?  “The ‘stand-a-reller’ “–(he then stood up on the arm rest of  the couch on one foot and demonstrated a stand-a-reller)

What is your favorite color?  “Every single color”

What makes you happy?  “When Christopher shares his legos with me”

What is your favorite book?  “The Polar Express”



My Huge Question

February 6, 2009

Hello!  This is an excerpt from one of Jerel’s blogs.  It’s about an upcoming series at our church….. check out the website- ask any question that you have about God/the Bible/etc.  You can even ask your question anonymously–i know because i already did it and my email address did not show up.  You can also click on “Comments” and see the questions that have been asked so far.  Pretty interesting stuff! 🙂

Here’s a sneak peak at a website that we are going to use in an upcoming series called My Huge Question.  We want you to ask your biggest God questions at this site.  We’ll walk through the Big 5 starting March 8 at Connection Church.  So check out this site, tell your friends about it, and let’s fill it up with our biggest questions about God, faith, Christianity, and life.  Together, we will wrestle with them and see what the Bible has to say.

www.MyHugeQuestion.com

My Hair !

February 2, 2009

img_1094

OK…it’s probably the #1 question I get—anything about my hair.  So, I’m thinking if you are interested enough to look at the blog, you’re probably interested in the progress with my hair!  It is growing!!–slowly to me, but still it’s growing.  I got the greatest compliment this past weekend (ok, maybe not the greatest, but it was still good) from Bailey –my 8 year old.  I was not wearing my baseball hat and I walked into her room and she said “Hey mom, you look like a normal person.” I said “I am a normal person!”–She said ‘I know, but now you look like someone who did not shave their head!”  This actually boosted my confidence a little and I went to church without a hat on the next day!!

Ten months ago when I was told I had breast cancer and would need chemo– it didn’t take me long to think about the whole hair thing.  Honestly, when you are faced with the word “cancer”-hair doesn’t seem that big of a deal.  And I specifically remember saying “I don’t care if I lose my hair…I just want to survive!”–but boy was I wrong.   Exactly 17 days after my first chemo treatment, my hair started falling out.  Not much at first, but after a few days, it was coming out in clumps.   And I did care!  Following a lot of people’s advice, I went ahead and had my whole head “shaved”– it really wasn’t shaved, it was more of a “buzz” –my dear friend Tracie came over to my house (after my kids were in bed!)–and buzzed me good.  It was very hard for me–almost surreal….I couldn’t even look at it that night.  The next day I looked in the mirror and it was awful….and very gray!!  

Thankfully, I had already chosen a wig from the SWEETEST lady at Rolands at Park Rd.  (That’s my shout out to Lygia there–so perfectly suited for that job)—thanks to my mom and dad who purchased the $350 wig.  (yes! i couldn’t believe it either)  I totally loved my wig–I know that sounds crazy, but in a weird way ( and coupled with LOTS of denial–jerel called it healthy denial) it was nice to not have to fix my hair.  Here is a picture of my wig:

img_0503

So, I wore it in April, May, and throughout the summer. (except at the pool I would have to wear doo-rags–thanks june! or hats…it was just TOO hot for a wig)  

In October, my hair began growing back and suddenly, I just got REALLY tired of wearing the wig.  I know everyone is different, so I’m just describing how I felt for ME.  I just started to feel like it wasn’t me–and now that i had “some-not much” hair, I would be ok with hats.  Looking now at pictures (see below) I can see that I was much more attractive in my wig, but I had to go with how I felt.  And I had to LIVE what I believed that I am much more than my hair!

img_0724

So, for the past few months, my hair has grown slowly.  My oncologist (Dr. Boyd who I LOVE!)– said as you see your hair grow back, it’s a sign that your body is getting more healthy and you’re feeling better, etc. And it is so true.  At the same time, I have said “I HATE this!” about a million times–ask Jerel.  I’ve cried in the shower several times….but all the while, I’ve been VERY thankful that I am here to complain about my hair!! It’s been a huge lesson in humility….also having to believe that beauty IS on the inside.  And truly believing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm  139–go read it now!)

OK–I know TMI (“too much information”–in case my mom and dad are reading)–but it was very therapeutic to type all this!!  All my posts won’t be this long.  🙂