propecia lawsuit settlement amount

Dang it. “WRONG TURN”

This isn’t where I wanted to go… Not where I want to be… But absolutely a blessing to be able to…

Change…. Same…. New…

I am sitting here for the first time in over two years and reflecting on history and future…

You see December 1,2008 I celebrated 6 years… Years since I had the Cancer removed from my body. My battle began before that when I started chemo less than 2 weeks after being diagnosed with stage 3 TNBC. A battle that was long (then) but now thankfully seems like a distant memory. I am patiently waiting out the next 10 months!! Because they say for TNBC 3,5,7 (years) are big… So thankfully I am less than a Year from the BIG 7. WHO WANTS TO PARTY!!!

But wow…the last time a wrote I was fresh off having lost both Michelle and Terri… Little did I know that in February my sweet Lisa would be dx with stage 4 (Recurrence), I would spend continual countless hours in the hospital with Jen and lose her in April, I would go on a bucket list dream trip with Taira, see her in Vegas a month later, plan my trip to TN to spend time with her and lose her before I could get there… See Tammy be dx with stage 4 recurrence… You see the Lord Giveth and he Taketh away… And in the past 2 years more lives have left than I care too acknowledge, more families broken, more hearts hurting… More than I want to remember… And a number of new diagnosis just too round out what’s happening in Cancer Universe…

It all got so hard I finally had to start separating myself from it. Limiting my ‘new Cancer friends’ to those who are connected to me first hand (of which there have been a few) by another directly (a few more). .. Not as much group connection (it gets overwhelming) and more direct connection…

The past 10 days have deeply impacted my soul. You see my friend Kristi (I have known her since Jr. High but our friendship has grown in adulthood) received word she had Breast cancer, in fact they scared her to death initially without even having much information or necessary specific results… Then 2 days later she saw a doctor who set her mind at ease (again without having done much in the way of necessary testing) only to then 4 days ago find out my friend now has more info (not all that is needed) but enough… Stage 2 TNBC… What a rollercoaster for her sweet mind to wrap itself around… 2/11/15 “LARGE… AGGRESSIVE… HIGH GRADE” 2/13/15 “SMALL….STAGE 1…. LUMPECTOMY… RADIATION”… Some more tests and time 2/20/15 “4 CM… ANOTHER NODULE… STAGE 2…. TNBC…. More tests… CHEMO” yep it’s amazing how quickly in the Cancer world the wrong messages can be shared and the known become unknown and known once again..

God put me in the battle I was in so I could walk this with others and hopefully offer love, support and hope… Because only those who have truly been there understand the road to be traveled… So now I am getting my boots on and planning some time to be with Kristi… Just GIRL TIME, GET READY GIME and ultimately GO TIME… I am thankful for Kristis sake that there has been so much more research and more knowledge gained about TNBC (such a difference from when I was dx) so that they are better prepared to battle with her.

Join me in praying for Kristi and so many others… And please be diligent and do not allow a busy schedule/life to get in the way of something as important as mammograms/medical awareness.

5 Yrs ago it was the NOTHING… that Changed my Life FOREVER

I was going to say FEELS like forever since I last updated… but then I checked the date of the last post and I can say it officially HAS been. 5 ½ months – A new year…. so much …

I have been trying to figure out who I want to be when I grow up. What do I want to do. Besides pick out a darn house to build… but that is another story.

2012 brought so much pain and heartache. I lost multiple friends to breast cancer this year. Two of them here in AZ. Two beautiful women who inspired me. Brightened up my world who I was blessed to call true friends. Not just ‘ we both have BC’ friends. But talk on the phone, meet for lunch, shop for wigs, laugh and cry friends. We invested in each other. I will miss Michelle and Terri always…. there are holes in my heart that I tried to fill for the longest time with voice messages I had saved just to be able to hear them… then I got a new phone and didn’t realize those would be gone. It hurt… There are also a number of women who are part of a Triple Negative (type I had) Breast cancer group that have passed this year. Too many lives… too many young lives. Couple all of that with many good friends battling daily with stage 4 disease. People with so much love and life ahead of them, young families, and those loving and serving others while still fighting just to make it through days and weeks. I have been amazed by the miracles of healing I have seen and the days numbered and given to each by God. I can’t pretend that I do not get scared or worry about them, their disease, their struggles (physically, mentally, emotionally), their time… which then automatically defaults to fear and worry about me. I try not to dwell or live in this too much… but ask any cancer patient/survivor… it is a forever reality…. it gets easier the further out we get… but that time too is when tests are less frequent… we have forgotten (good and bad) what is worrisome and what is normal… aging… then

I have seen some really hard truths… I have seen accidents that shake you to the core of your being… I have seen Gods Grace and Mercy protect life… and I know those things can change people and how sadly sometimes those changes are not recoverable and this causes more pain and heartache. But awakens us to being hyper vigilant and attentive at all times. I pray for wholeness and healing. I have also seen some wake-up calls… people who at one time told me shortly after I was done with treatment… that I was fine now and prayers for health and healing were better spent elsewhere… now understanding first hand that health is not restored the moment treatment ends… sometimes it is never restored fully… there are days and times and situations when the best we can do is get up and breathe. Each day is best given to the Lord… on these days it is often easier to remember this. When the hustle and bustle of life is on hold/hiatus.

I am watching struggles in relationships…hearts broken, loves changed… repercussions of making the choices, lies and deception… of the differences in how people see a story and view it through our own lenses which can sometimes be flawed… and the many ways a story can be spun… I have had amazing friends move… the same week… too much… I miss some people immensely, others I have accepted the fact that relationships most often exist in one of 3 categories (lifetime – reason – season) and maybe what I thought or even what was originally intended as lifetime is better for all as a very long season… I realize it is okay. It is maybe how God intends to help me be able to leave. To move on. I love deeply… to deeply often… but I also have strong convictions about responsibility and obligations and a BIG mouth sometimes…. not always a great combination. But at least I know me.

In addition to loosing the messages from my Michelle and Terri… another voice message is forever gone… and I know it was likely sick that I saved it… The message left by the breast surgeon on August 22, 2008… then one asking me to call back… for results…. the one that ended in God Bless You…. the one alerting me to a new reality… A call that I didn’t want to return but had to return.. the NOTHING….was SOMETHING… Come back in a year…. Would LIKELY HAVE Been too Late. I don’t know why I saved it…was it a reminder of all I had been through… how far I had come.. was it that there was a Dr. out there who cared… he ends (still to this day) every visit with God Bless You. This matters at least to me.

Below is an update from the Medical Board hearing… From the Doctor that didnt care… didn’t do his job… and put me in harms way…

Was it a win for me… In one way. Yes….

This hearing was originally set for November 17th. I was notified in a letter the end of September that finally someone decided to ask questions of the doctor who had so obviously failed On February 6, 2008. A lifetime ago. He then at the last minute requested a continuance… enough time to/for…

Dr. Sidney Semrad started by apologizing to me and saying he absolutely was at fault and negligent in my treatment. That when I presented with a mass of that size (4cm – a golf ball) he should have done further imaging/diagnostics and/or at least paid attention to the radiologist suggestion ‘ that if there is an area of palpable density an ultrasound would be of benefit ‘ (he obviously palpitated the mass or how would he have known it was 4cm). He then went on to identify the things he has done to address/rectify this failure … all of those things that are protocol in a situation like this (ultrasounds, MRI, Biopsy). He then finished off by saying he had attended (for the first time) the 2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (Dec 4-8), and received 43 hours of continuing education to increase his awareness and knowledge of current studies, diagnostics, treatments… the same Breast Cancer Symposium held in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 In fact this event has been held for 35 years… and he has worked primarily as an OB/GYN for 25 of those… makes one wonder (at least this one). He then lied about his flippant comment (hope the hubby likes golf)… the coward NEVER looked at me… not surprised at all… So Be It.

Do I believe there is a level of remorse for his failure and actions I will say yes. But I will also say with certainty That much of the ‘changes and action’ touted and his showboating occurred because he was finally going to have to appear and respond about his negligence not out of a need to make himself a better physician. That train had years earlier left the station and he didn’t hop on until he needed to sell ‘remorse’. He knew of the diagnosis in August 2008. If he was that concerned about putting forth effort and gaining knowledge to make himself a better doctor especially as far as breast cancer diagnosis, importance of quick action and the scientific advances and studies and even the hard truths of breast cancer why did he not go to this conference in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011… Because in all of those years he did not have to stand in front of a Board of his Peers and explain his actions/answer questions on why he ignored something so blatantly obvious on physical examination – as well as the recommendation of another physician. There wasn’t the potential of losing something…

Win(s) in all of this. 1. He publicly apologized and admitted fault and negligence. NOTE: He was safe doing this now… because within 2 years of finally being diagnosed I did not have recurrence or die. So he is legally safe from malpractice and has been since August 2010… but never before the meeting of minds did he find a way to apologize… would he have had he not been called on the carpet NOPE. He just did those things in advance of the hearing (by having it postponed so he could go to the conference as the last piece) that they would likely require of him but it enabled him to have No Disciplinary Action. 2. There will be an official letter of concern in his file. Not sure if anyone else will ever look for it but its there at least for now. I will hope that to some degree all of this has and will make him more aware and that until he retires he will never ignore someone’s Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Friend again….

The big WIN. 3. There was a group of probably 20-25 osteopathic medical students. One of the physicians on the board said to them… The most important thing that each of them need to hear and know… is NEVER should a woman with a mass be sent away and the issue dismissed without there being Ultrasound, Biopsy and Physical Examination and absolute Negative for Cancer results in the above. It’s not an option… so that other women do not have to suffer this same failure. SO if in this each and every one of those students heard those words… and they tell 2 friends… then hopefully the next generation of physicians will be a strong one. Thank you for you prayers and support I am thankful to God that a good can come of something so wrong.

I guess my stubbornness has at least enabled me to Pay It Forward… for those to follow until there is no more breast cancer… fewer bad doctors… changes… more urgency… SO much life to be lived.

I still need another surgery… I just don’t know when I will be up for it… I’m tired of them for now. Last year I had no surgeries actually putting of hand, possibly foot and reconstruction symmetry work. I continue to dance with NED (he is a mighty good partner). That is not to say its been easy. I spent 5 months in treatment for lymphedema (result of damage from surgeries and radiation). It will never go away. I have to pump my arm every day, I am supposed to wear a sleeve every day but some days I just don’t… they are hot and bothersome. Then there is the lovely night garment that no matter how much I put it on at night it end up on the floor next to my bed in the morning. My subconscious mind even hates that one. I had thought ordering it and making sure it was pretty would be a benefit to me but not really. It looks like a paint spattered Michelin Man arm wrapped in Velcro. Super CUTE. I think I almost put Rich’s eye out with it once. And he still LOVES me. I am Blessed. Beyond measure in this fact.

I made amazing new friends in the last part of 2012. Traveled a bit. Celebrated Life. Laughed. Cried and gave my heart fully to others who are now on this road.

So whats in store in 2013… fun, family, friends, packing a house, getting ready to move, hopefully old wounds healed, no more loss of lives precious and dear to me, faith renewed and growing, health restored and bettered, healing… LIVING yep that about sums it up. I AM GOING TO LIVE in 2013.

Change is GOOD? !

Life seems to be moving forward at a standstill.

I had 3 surgeries last year. All of them trying to give me back physically what cancer took from me over 3 years ago. While it is worlds better than the first attempt which resulted in bent ribcage, excruciating pain and visible deformity, I am still here trying to get it done, I have had so many surgeries and it looks like I still have one more attempt to fix the ‘girls’ but there is light at the end of the tunnel (headlights to be exact). That light will arrive on the 27th when I get to have my TATS4TITS or TIToos completed. It will be the first time in over 3 years that I will look kind of normal. We are all born with nipples and the darker skin around them called the areola. Well my last surgery in December I had new nipples made… they are not like the original ones as they will not change shape or size (no sensitivity to temperature/touch etc), and when I first saw them I swear they could be seen from the international space station – I freaked out because if you read between the lines (heck forget reading) this means I would have permanent nipple hard ons. Which means never going braless again…. Not that I did that often or that I have the breasts for that now…. With DIEP surgery they are more like real breasts (fat based) so they are not high and tight like most implant based reconstructions and definitely not like augmentation. But again it was a shock … as the professionals said (women who have had this same procedure done) they do shrink and now they are acceptable so to make them look like natural normal breasts next. This may be more info than some wanted but as I have said my blog will be real… as I see it and feel it I say it and share it.

I have seen and felt some really hard stuff thus far this year.

A precious woman named Michelle who I met through connections at YSC originally, a woman with whom I had developed a relationship based on both our breast cancer connection but in sad untimely deaths of others close to us. Mine my precious nephew Joey and her – her brother Michael. Both men too young to be gone so soon. We connected immediately spent time in small groups at first then had lunch outings and countless conversations, I had promised her I would always be a safe place for her (I believe I was)… I could go on about this amazing woman just 32 years old married a short period of time beautiful on the inside and outside and one who literally lights up a room when she walks in. Well beautiful Michelle and I had spoken at length in December about her cancer advancing, the difficult side effects and the extreme pain she was in, caused by the tumors in her liver growing so large that they were pressing against her diaphragm. Over the prior few months with some new procedures and attempts to slow progression and manage the increasing pain she spent extended periods of time in the hospital… Just after the New Year the doctor said there was no further medical treatment or intervention that could be done her body had enough and her liver was shutting down. This caused a pretty rapid decline in her health and though I had seen Michelle as her fun, bright, exuberant self in December at a Pink Links Christmas Party, I saw her alive for the last time while she was in hospice care. The family was gracious enough to allow just Brigid and I to see her there, the time was precious, short and difficult. I felt Michelle in the room, I touched her and prayed for her as soon as I saw her as I had always done… but it was different. The body was failing the beautiful soul. I can still see her the way I will always remember her. As the blue eyed beauty with a passion for others, no regret, and determination to fight…to live and love. That is my Michelle. Michelle was the first Pink Sister that I was truly close to that I lost. It made this disease so real to me. Too real too painful and too close to home.

In the less than 2 months since Michelle passed I have lost 2 other woman, who I may not have been as close to physically and who I honestly never met in real life, but women I shared life with on a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivors Group – we are a group of women who share the commonality and reality of this particular disease and its aggressive nature. I pray for these women, we talk – really talk about us, our disease, its implications, realities, real stuff, some stuff that even those with other types of cancer may not fully understand…. Tonya lived in Texas and had 3 school aged daughters, she had been surrounded by family and close friends for the past couple months while she steadily declined…then there was Roberta who had been given the go ahead by her Dr. to go on a celebratory cruise with her husband and suddenly passed away, with all those she loved unable to get to her… people who found out about her passing days after it had happened all the while thinking she was having the time of her life… how sad and hard…

In the midst of pain I also had the joy of seeing one of my best friends marry the man of her dreams. I will always remember the Michael and Jen story as it unfolded … they met shortly after my diagnosis while I was going through chemotherapy and I have watched the good and bad times, the joy and pain and their ongoing commitment to each other, the tests and reassurance of faith. What a pleasure and treasure this was for me. I got to spend a couple extra days helping Jen. I met Michael’s amazing family some of whom I now consider to be some new family of mine. Their wedding was so intimate, beautiful and God honoring. I rejoice knowing they did it the right way and they will continue to be blessing to others and be blessed.

I also made some choices. I had been weighing a relationships for months and I finally decided to end that. It was not good for me any longer. I had allowed myself to drink the Kool-Aid for too long and finally had enough (the poison can kill you). I wrestled with this decision and God and when I finally did what I felt I was being led to do I felt an immediate sense of relief. It was the right choice, interesting how when we finally decide to listen and honor God in decisions how he immediately provides peace and reassurance

In the past few months I have spent a great deal of time thinking about words. The things people have said and what I heard them say. Things I have said and what others heard… Funny but the same words seen by two different individuals with their own prejudice on a situation can be worlds apart. I can say for me (and let’s be honest for probably all of us) we have said words that once spoken we wish we could take back. Words spoken in moments of fear, rage, uncertainty, intoxication. I have heard truths as others saw them and said my own truths, dealt with promises and commitments made and not held up.

Odd things is we all have our own truth… even in the same situation these differ from others in small to extremely large ways… we do not always have control on what others hear in our truths because these are peppered with their own thoughts, feelings, perceptions and realities.

Time changes people. Changed people sometimes no longer connect the way they used to. I am sad by this. By a relationship that I miss, I will forever miss but having listened to an opinion and their peace, I shared mine and things changed.

Maybe cancer changed me too much… I was hurt and I am sure I have hurt. I have seen the best in people and the worst in people. I have made some amazing friends but as many survivors will tell you… others (family and friends) they thought were there for the long haul disappeared. I have apologized and forgiven… honestly over time I have probably forgotten more than I have remembered and I am happy about this. I don’t want to live in pain of the past. I want to go forward, plan and have a future without history biting me in the back again.

I have often wondered is this preparation for a big change for me… For Rich and I and our plans/desire to move to North Carolina. A new home… a new place… new friends… one must wonder.

I came in to 2012 with hopes that it would be a year of good stuff and at this point …

But I am happy. I am okay with change… both that I had a hand in and that which has been handed to me.

I have been having fun with my hubby, spending time in bible study, a book club and cultivating relationships. Some old and some new. God is Good!! All the Time!! All the Time!! God is Good!!

GLORIOUS DAY – Casting Crowns

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a Virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He

Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

‘Cause living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him
The grave could not keep Him from rising again

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day, oh, glorious day

Breathing 4 a Bit & Ways 2 Help

I am relieved…. yesterday was the day…. well one of 4 days a year (every 3 months) that I both look forward to and dread at the same time. it is the day i go to see the oncologist and pray with everything i can (and with whatever others can offer in joining me) that the cancer has not returned that tumor markers remain low and in control and that no other issues present. Yesterday I got good news. My vitamin D was a little low and BP a bit high… both things I can deal with. So thank you for joining me.

I have been getting tired of dr visits… well maybe not all dr but therapy really. I spent 6 weeks goign to therapy for plantar fasciatis on my left foot… to no avail… it is no better which means I am still in pain which really annoys me when i have to think of getting out there and training for the 3 day. then about 3 1/2 weeks ago i began therapy again for my lymphedema. It too is a 3 times a week and I have to drive an hour each way. UGGG. But the clinic i go to is highly recommended by people i trust. women like myself who have this condition and have received treatment and relief. the first place i went to for therapy there was no change and the therapist spent about 20 minutes with me and the rest of the time i was on my own to exercise. At CORAL i do exercises with the therapist , then they spend a good deal of time (25-35 minutes) doing MLD (manual lymph drainage) massage then I use a pump to try and push fluid away from my arm. So far some relief happy about this. Unhappy that they clinic will be moving even further away which will minimize my visits. Scary and wish there was a reputable place close by but will try to manage this as best I can.

So I have some great news Trekkin 4 Tata’s 3 day and the YSC-Phoenix affiliate have been given the unique opportunity to be a part of an MMA event at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. The date is May 12th (Saturday Night before Mother’s Day), so please consider attending this event and using the promo code 10FIGHTER so that the Breast cancer charities get credit and support. We will also have a raffle of some great autographed items.

If you are a book lover please consider looking for my store on Amazon… I am selling a bunch of books on the website all money that i make on the books is going to be donated to the walk. so shop for great deals. The majority of the books are brand new.

lastly i ask you to remember those who are fighting or have lost their lives to cancer (EVERY CANCER) and for the families that are forever changed. I have lost friends this year and also know a number of women in treatment and advanced stage disease. thank you


It has been a long time between updates and I am sorry. Sometimes I just don’t think everyone wants to hear what’s going on and I hate to bother or burden people.

As you may know I had surgery on the 12th of December. This procedure was done in Scottsdale so it saved travel time and expense. I specifically had some symmetry work done and the ADD-A-NIP-TO-Me. Spent a night in the hospital then came home to a week of couch living .

As far as the procedure I have to say I was quite shocked when I was un-bandaged a week after the surgery because I swear you could see the newly created nipples from the international space station (you should have heard the exchange from the Russian, Chinese and Italian station residents – quite entertaining). They looked huge really beyond huge. Everyone said they would get smaller and I didn’t believe them…. But I am here to say they do. Even drastically so. There is still some symmetry work to be done (if I decide I can’t live with the lack of it) at this point I do not know. I go back to see the surgeon early next month and we will talk then. Either way I am hoping to get my newest TATTOO’s in early March and hoping to be able to get the 3D version so they look as real as possible.

I do however have a prayer request – after the last surgery I developed this crazy itch. I don’t mean a little spot that is itchy… I mean my entire body itches all the time. Itching to the point that I literally have drawn blood scratching and the more I scratch the more I need to scratch. I asked the Dr (breast surgeon) – he has no idea what is causing it, he gave me a script for an allergy med but it is not really working, so for the past 6 weeks I have been living on Benadryl and every over the counter anti itch lotion/spray/ointment… etc. after doing some research It seems that body itch without the presence of visible lesions/rash/redness can have a number of reasons… of which liver disease, kidney disease and some cancers (non hodgkins lymphoma and leukemia) could exist. I see my oncologist on the 31st. I will have blood work done the day before which tests a number of things and will be hopeful that there is a reason other than cancer as the result. If nothing shows up then I will ask him to do some additional testing specifically for the cancers listed as they probably are not things looked at in my current bloodwork.

Because of the issue that developed after the most recent surgery I decided to cancel hand surgery figuring maybe my body has had enough with the surgeries int he past year. So we will deal with that later. Hoping it does not get to be too problematic again. But know that I made the right choice at least for now.

Christmas was wonderful. Loved seeing the joy in the faces of Mason and Benjamin when they came downstairs on Christmas morning. JD is a bit old to respond that way and it was sweet to see it. We spent the morning with Rich’s side of the family and then had my side and some friends over for dinner at the house. It was the perfect day except the cleanup and excessive sweets that I could not resist. LOL

New years was spent with Kim and Ed it is so great to have them close by I missed my velcro…. Rich and I had a chance to enjoy both local bowl games with some friends and had a great time. Then we ran to California to celebrate the wedding of Jen and Michael. What an incredible blessing this was, the love of family and friends and the Lord’s presence was so evident. We were able to stay with friends we hadn’t seen in a while and I was rather busy building up to the big day and on wedding day ran like a chicken with my head cut off… but seeing these 2 amazing people be able to marry and begin life together was incredible. It has taken them over 3 years and 2 states of residence and multiple job and personal obligations. It was weird as I stood up to toast the couple and it brought back a flood of memories to the point I had to stop thinking… Jen and Michael met at the Phoenix airport after one of her visits here to Pattisit after chemotherapy. I did get out he was first lovingly referred to as Airport Mike but has been upgraded permanently. But beyond that it was hard to speak without there being tears in my eyes and I didn’t want to go there on her special day.

I also began my year with ‘Jesus Calling’ a wonderful devotional and the first of the daily entries was my life verse… Jer 29:11. How inspiring to have God remind me as my year began of his love. I know now I need to refocus on my relationship with him and on me. Rich and I have decided to do Weight Watchers for at least the next 3 months and see what happens. We both have considerable amounts of weight to lose and I also need to get training for the 3 day 2012. So 2012 is going to be a year committed to getting back in touch with my relationship with God, getting to know myself again and planning lifestyle choices to be in better overall health.

So there it is a quick down and dirty update. Welcome to 2012. Please no more Cancer

You Are MORE!!

You Are More Lyrics
Artist(Band):Tenth Avenue North
Review The Song (17) Print the Lyrics

Send “You Are More” Ringtones to Cell

There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you built,
But what He built to forgive you,
And what He built to make you know.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

Excuses – Excuses – Excuses

Just call me slacker. LOL.

Feels like I have been away from this place forever. Doing a lot of things yet seeming like my days should not have gotten away from me the way that they have.

I kept myself busy for a good portion of October with ‘All Things Pink’. trust when I say there were a lot…

I had a couple of speaking opportunities as well as in the past 7 weeks working about 20 or so events for Susan G. Komen and participating in 3 walks… then my Pole Posse activities on the 3 day. Always a blast. Bubble wrap and censorship will never mean the same thing. Did this with Pam Zack and Donnaliscious Quinn (also known as 1 Hot Donna). SUPER HOT n’ SEXY!!!! LOL

Throw in there a week on Alabama to visit family and see the race at Talladega and a weekend in Miami and there you have it.

Excuses – Excuses – Excuses.

Some of you have asked me about the Warrior Women ‘Days of Triumph’ Calendar and I wish I had more solid information on that. But sadly it looks as if it is not at print for the 2012 calendar year. We *my calendar model sisters and I) are hoping they still do it as it is a great organization and obviously a good cause.

Looks like I am going to have to do more shopping for Christmas this was going to be one of those great gifts for many…. everyone needs a calender and what better way than to support a great cause. At least in my opinion.

I had such a great time walking with my Pink Sisters in October. It is inspiring to see so many people on board for the cause of breast cancer but at the same time I wonder why only October. I wish October was the only month of breast cancer but it is every day… every week… every month… Gets a little crazy keeping track of a large group at these or really any event with crowds and I ‘got in trouble’ (because it is obviously my fault that 10-12 women don’t all walk at the same pace and want to stop for the same things at the same time – absolutely ludicrous – I know) for this and other things mentioned in a prior post. Now I just laugh… It’s a long story but suffice it to say I have chosen not to drink the KOOL-AID. I will not live in what someone else decides I have done wrong… I chose to seek counsel from others (when I say others I mean at least 12 people – all ages and walks of life – some Christian and others not) and explained all that had been happening and the unanimous thought was this one person (primarily – but who gathers and feeds others her lies and her opinions) was jealous and trying to hurt me. I had Cancer removed from my body 3 years ago…. now I choose to remove Cancer from my life…. I also dislike it so much when people question my faith (or anyone’s faith) or throw out the ‘Karma is a bitch’ comment so flippantly. To me that is like saying every person with cancer, who has another disease, disfigured, scarred, limited capacity for a variety of reason or who is hurt in any way – deserved it… I don’t ascribe to this philosophy. We have all done wrong, we have all hurt others… sometimes knowingly and others not. Children don’t deserve cancer, people don’t deserve to lose loved ones, accidents happen and you cant be selective if you believe Karma is king then it should apply across the board not just when it is convenient or when you dislike someone or something. My thoughts – we can agree to disagree.

I have been thinking long and hard about where I go from here… what I can and want to do to directly help others dealing with cancer. I have decided to begin paring down some of the activity that keeps me busy (most of it for good cause) in an effort to have greater impact for others. I will be getting more involved with organizations that are tugging at my heart and I am considering a non-profit partnership with an amazing woman friend of mine. I need to put my passion into action in different ways. On a personal level it is not enough for me to have wonderful friends I would not otherwise have made because of my cancer, to go to lunch, have coffee with, walk or just visit online… I need to put my feet to the ground and go to someone in need, hold their hands, provide something that is needed even if that means I have to do without something to do it… I want to reach out and be the voice and love of God to those who need his love, comfort and compassion, As these things are solidified I will share the information.

Rich and I just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary with a trip I won to Miami for the last NASCAR race of the season. Rheem Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick Inc and the Young Survival Coalition did a joint partnership contest called ‘Chasing the Cure’. I submitted a bit of my story and was selected by the above entities as one of 5 finalists and then it was a public vote. Thank you to all of you who voted for me as it was your assistance that helped me win this phase. I felt so lucky to have been chosen as one of the 5 finalists, because the other 4 women had amazing stories. We spent a whirlwind weekend really a day with the Rheem and KHI team yet felt like we had known them forever and they were some great friends we got to hang out and play with for the day. What made Rich and I happiest was that it seemed they truly had a good time and had the chance to let loose and have fun. I can’t wait to see these ladies again.

Shortly before this trip I went to see a new oncologist at the new MD Anderson Facility… long story short there are so many things that went wrong with the facility – their procedures and professionalism that I will not likely go back. But I did just receive word that the PET scan is clear – there is no sign of metastasis or cancer malignancy. This is wonderful news as it took 2 weeks to get this information (far too long in my book – because that was 2 weekends of wonder, worry, fear). I do however have an arthritic condition call costochondritis… which causes pain and inflammation in joints between ribs and spine. I guess the sad part of this is – I think I have gotten so used to discomfort and levels of pain that it doesn’t even really faze me but when something gets beyond my new normal pain/discomfort level then I really need to address it. This also makes me leery that I may not be able to recognize if something should start going bad until it has gotten to a level that is further advanced… does that make sense… well if yes then you understand if no I do not know how to explain it better.

Parting thoughts

“Putting a BMW nameplate on your car does not make your Dodge a BMW”

“I have a choice to drink the KOOL-AID and knowingly poison myself, leave it sit there to dissipate and go bad on its own or dump it out knowing there is something better to come”


Unintended – not intended; unplanned
Consequence – the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier.

Cancer sucks. I so wish there was a cure or a way to just make it never appear in the lives of anyone. The unfortunate reality is it does appear. It is painful, heartbreaking and ugly while at the same time having the ability to be inspiring, encouraging and beautiful.

As I sit here I am nearing the 3 year date from my surgery – the date when the surgeon removed cancer from my body … it was at this juncture he also removed both of my breasts and all the lymph nodes under my right arm. This is the date I use as my official cancerversary…. Some use the date of diagnosis some the date all treatment ended. To each his own. I have for the past few years and continue to live in 3 month intervals. Actually about 10-11 weeks of living… followed by a week of wonder, anxiety and worry… then when there is good news a live again for a while. This is the pattern of many cancer patients… I am still dealing with cancer… or more accurately the reconstructing of my breasts. None of my journey has been easy. Some have had it harder than I and some an easier path. Much of this is dependent on the type and stage of cancer. While some of it is also dependant on the medical professionals and the body dealing with the disease.

I didn’t choose cancer. WHO WOULD? Unfortunately it chose me.

I trusted my DR. Not something I am good at now…. Hindsight is 20/20

I did fight, still am really – since I have some insurance company battles I need to undertake from treatment I have already received and some that I need. Sometimes the battle and magnitude gets to me for what I have to deal with and what others have to go through as well. I HATE that some people have to literally fight to get a chance to survive. This is CRAZY!

I have met some of the most amazing women in the world. Developed deep, substantial friendships with women who are strong, brave, encouraging, young, old, thin, shapely, fearless, fearful, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends…. Each unique individuals traveling similar journeys – many trying to do this with others as it is harder doing the big stuff alone.

I am surviving and I am doing things to reach out and attempt to help others along the way. I have been volunteering countless hours for the Phoenix affiliate of Susan G Komen. I did some volunteer work for the Young Survival Coalition. I was asked to lead a cancer support group at my church and have been doing this for over a year. I am active with women on a Facebook support group and I try to plan events to help us all connect with each other. I have done walks and relays for multiple organizations. People who know me and my story have connected me with others along the way. I am thankful for the chance to help others. These activities help me probably more than others often times.

I recently made a huge error in the eyes of a friend. It wasn’t intentional…

So around my home it is a joke that I got cancer and it made me popular (in a very small circle)…. LOL I have most definitely been given some unique opportunities and have the honor to be a voice and face against this disease in some big and little ways. I have a voice and I have a story – some would call it compelling, motivational, inspiring, funny, sad…. I call it the truth.

I have been lovingly titled ‘How I Met Your Mothers’ favorite fan. This is because of relationships, lifelong ones with some and new with others.

I was the 2010 Komen Bat Girl – my husband wrote a beautiful piece and it/I was chosen by a panel of celebrities, professionals and media personnel who did not know me to receive this honor.

A friend of mine had participated in an event with the NFL- Cardinals/American Cancer Society in 2009, when the event came about in 2010 she did it again and when they needed more survivors she gave them my name. So I walked on the field at the stadium watched the coin toss and dance/cheered with my ‘sister survivors’.

I was asked to assist with Cancer in the Faith Community conference the Wellness Community put on last year – because of my personal religious beliefs and familiarity with events, event planning and relationships (initiated in another cancer support group I attend).

I was contacted by the Komen 3 day in 2010 and asked to carry one of the Flags in the opening and closing ceremonies. I don’t know how this happened – it just did. I won’t apologize for saying yes. It was an honor.

A Phoenix Photographer was doing a special ‘Celebrate Sexy Survivor’ Photo Shoot contest in October of 2010. Honestly few people entered and when they counted the votes in the end – I had the most therefore I was given this great prize. ANY and EVERY survivor had the chance to participate. It is not my fault that MANY chose not to enter. So yes I won the prize, enjoyed the opportunity, had fun being pampered and my hubby spent way too much money buying some photos.

As a survivor and volunteer with Komen I was given the chance to model at the ‘Night of Hope’ event for the new MD Anderson Cancer Center opening – so I did.

A survivor group I am connected were invited to participate in a Warrior Calendar … many of us got the information and many of us made the call and some became models (6 of us in the group did). I also volunteered to assist with getting things under way for a big event they are doing, help prep before the event and then secured 16 additional volunteers for the big event most of these people my family and friends outside of the group on FB and those few in the group who are volunteering were friends I had connected to the group. Yet very few of those people who did not get to be in the calendar this year jumped up to volunteer or assist in securing additional volunteers. Is it only worth your time to volunteer or give if you also get something directly tangible out of it? I hope that is not the mentality as it wasn’t and will never be my motivation.

So here is where I failed miserably… I had received notification of an event out of state on the same page and time as others in the group. I did not initially register to try and participate because I was over 40. When I was at lunch with friends who were also outside the posted age and still applied and encouraged me to, I went ahead and did it, I actually completed the registration sitting next to them at a table. I was too late the (22) spots were filled on a first come first served basis (nothing scientific, not story based, not survivorship specific, not a lottery, auction or panel of judges). I was put on a wait list in case of cancelation. Periodically over the past few months I was in contact both inbound and outbound regarding the wait list. Last Tuesday they said they still had not received any cancelations, Wednesday they did (it was someone I knew). When this happened I sent an email and said I knew it was last minute and wondered since the cancelation was from AZ, was it possible to change the name as I still would love to attend the event. I was told they were not sure but they asked for my ID information, which I sent to them in the late afternoon on Wednesday. They never said there was someone else slotted to go, implied it was much too late and they were not going to fill it, that there was another plan in place, that they were going to auction the spot off during the next 24 hours… or anything of the sort. The next morning while I was in Physical Therapy (for the cancer induced lymphedema in my right arm) they called (at 9 am AZ time) and told me they had been able to make the change and would love for me to come. They did not say it took an act of congress or that they appealed to God to move heaven and earth, nor that it was next to impossible and required hours of time and effort. So I was super excited. The event was in Nashville, TN. Home of Country Music which is my favorite….

Later in the day after volunteering at a Komen event, I went home to pack and get ready for the trip. I see posts from the friend who was not able to go. Talking about someone being selfish, that God was watching this type of horrible behavior and saying some other cryptic derogatory stuff – I didn’t understand that she was talking about me… see I guess I am also dense. She finally tells/texts me she is hurt and I call her to talk to her. As it was never my intention to hurt her. In fact there was a point in time where I was one of very few people who had her back and I spent a great deal of time trying to help her, support her and listen to her even to be her voice… She told me I was being insensitive, it was wrong of me to want to go in her place, and that it was obvious I was mad at the others who were getting to go. The reality is I was never mad – a bit envious or jealous (hell yeah) as it seemed like a dream trip. What reason would I have to be mad? I was excited that friends of mine got to go. Maybe I didn’t handle it the way she or someone else would have… but I would have wanted someone I knew who was a good friend and person to be able to go. I would have suggested that person take my place knowing they were already on the waiting list. We talked for quite a while, I listened to her, understood her view and cried, I apologized for not seeing the big picture before I acted and at the end of the conversation she said it was fine she forgave me. I even offered to call the event people in the morning and cancel, she said to go and have fun, they have already made the changes. The next morning when issues occurred with one of the other girls I asked the flight attendant if I could get off the plane and let her go, she said that wasn’t possible the flight was completed and ready to go.

I too was hurt greatly by this incident. Because before I knew there was a problem I saw that one friend was in the area where I live literally 3 miles away (lives probably 45-60 minutes from here) and offered to meet her and say hi. I never got a response back. Later that same day I found out that both of these people were in the area and so I was doubly hurt. Then after all is said and done on Monday I found out that they actually were less than 1 mile from me (stopping in to say hi to another friend of ours from the group)… I make it a point when I am in the area where many of these ladies live to try to connect and visit. Ironically she knew I had been hurt greatly earlier this month by this same type of thing.

I was also told that many people in the group do not think it is fair that I do these things and that lots of the girls are talking about it. Funny thing is much of this is stuff that I have done or been connected to prior to there being a group…. And often times it is not related to the group in any way. It is so easy for people to spin a story to have the intended opinion or outcome they want without sharing all the etails and information… I feel for people who do not realize the 3 sides to every story or conflict… ‘a person (1 side) – another person (1 side) – and the truth (which is most often somewhere in the middle)’.

In my heart I get the feeling that there is still some anger and animosity (i am hopeful there is no longer any rallying of the troops against me). But more importantly I hope time does heal all wounds… I cannot change the past I can only move forward. I will continue to work, volunteer, connect and care in the same ways. It is who I am. I am not perfect. I am human. If you feel I am a horrible person for what occurred, I am sorry. I apologize to you too. But sometimes I default to things happen for a reason.

The weekend was filled with both joy and sadness as well as many tears on both ends of the spectrum. It allowed me to recognize the internal scars along with the external ones. The words to the song ‘Address in the Stars’ brought me to sobbing tears …. You see the 30th of this month (this Friday) will mark the 2 year point where my nephew took his own life. Too Young. I Never got to say good bye at least not when he could hear me and respond. I had hours in the hospital to look at him, touch him, talk to him, make him look better (for my brothers sake)… but he didn’t see me, he didn’t reach back, there were no words only the sounds of machines breathing for him (keeping him alive until his organs could be given to others), and it didn’t matter how he looked anymore.

I stumbled across your old picture today
I could barely breathe
The moment stopped me cold,
Grabbed me like a thief.
I dialed your number, but you wouldn’t be there
I knew the whole time, but it’s still not fair
I just wanted to hear your voice,
I just needed to hear your voice.

What do I do with all I need to say
So much I wanna tell you everyday
Oh it breaks my heart,
I cry these tears in the dark
I write these letters to you,
But they get lost in the blue,
‘Cause there’s no address in the stars.

Verse 2:
Now I’m drivin’
Through the pitch black dark
I’m screaming at the sky
Oh cause it hurts so bad
Everybody tells me
Oh all I need is time
Then the mornin’ rolls in
And it hits me again
And that aint nothin’ but a lie.

What do I do with all I need to say
So much I wanna tell you everday
Oh it breaks my heart,
I cry these tears in the dark
I write these letters to you,
But they get lost in the blue,
‘Cause there’s no address in the stars.

Verse 3:
Without you here with me,
I don’t know what to do.
I’d give anything
Just to talk to you
Oh it breaks my heart,
Oh it breaks my heart,
But all I can do
Is write these letters to you,
But there’s no address in the stars.

I would like to thank the amazing group at ‘Women Rock For The Cure’ for the chance to attend the event. I had a great time meeting you all and with my other Phoenix ladies. I also met some of the most amazing and inspirational young women out there. I would not have had this chance were it not for your hard work and commitment to help others in such a passionate and loving manner. I look forward to the chance to come back next year to volunteer so that other young women will have the same opportunity that I did.

What The ‘F’ – please don’t assume I have said something wrong!!!

With all the issues and the last minute change in my June surgery, I am not sure everyone is up to speed. So first off it was done and it went well. The procedure itself was symmetry on the top side and scar revision on the DL (okay the abdomen to be exact). Though I must say I find it funny to say the scar was revised… usually a revision is done to make something better… the scar got bigger – it originally went from hip bone to hip bone. Now it literally wraps all the way around to almost where my butt cheeks start ( I am sure that is a picture you all needed but I did not know how else to describe it. I guess if you think past the initial thought process of a revision you may take it a step further to identify the fact that when things are revised sometimes there needs to be additions/corrections that require more of something… I am not complaining. I am happy with the surgery. Wasn’t a fan of sitting in the post operative room for literally 7+ hours waiting for a room at the Inn. What made this super annoying was that when I talked to my Dr. on the phone the night before surgery and the morning of surgery, he wanted me to walk… move… get up… because of the risk of blood clots which is why they prefer you arrive at least 24 hours prior to going under general anesthesia not 11, and for the first 4 while I was totally awake… totally lucid… they wouldn’t let Rich come back to see me and they fought with me about getting up. Finally common sense or the desire to shut me up won out and I was allowed up and Rich came back, so we could be bored and annoyed together. I also had a great time at a quarterly ‘Pink Ladies’ support group meeting for my surgeons office and I won multiple times though had to keep giving the items back since I was not a local. LOL. I finally ended up with a fun summer pink and cream straw purse and a night at a local hotel… which unfortunately will expire before I can go back.

Recovery in San Antonio was okay, easier than last round. Still had some pretty strict rules on lifting and activities that bounce/work my core. Which really you do just getting up and down from seated/reclining positions. I don’t do well with limitations so this whole thing has been pretty tough on me. I did take a bunch of walks at the mall…. Okay I shopped a bit too. My hubby was able to be with me the whole time since he is able to work remotely. So I as usual had an amazing care taker.

I still need to have another surgery it is what many of us in the BC world refer to as the Addaniptomy – Add-A-Nip-To-Me. LOL. I think there is also some additional symmetry work that will need to be done. In October I will send some revised naked breast photos (hope I don’t get arrested for internet porn). Pretty sure normal people wouldn’t be lining up to see this rack for arousal purposes – so probably safe here…. That way the Dr. will be able to determine if there needs to be changes in surgical time as well as my travel etc. This trip was quite a bit more costly as the American Cancer Society was not able to secure hotels for us this round so that expense had to come out of pocket and 10 days in a hotel is not cheap. On the bright side we have proof that things really ARE bigger in Texas…. I rented a compact car from National on a ‘name your price’ request through Priceline and the didn’t have a compact so we ended up with a Jeep Liberty. My final procedure (HOPEFULLY) will be in 2012 – UGG… CRAP… ICK… BOO… I’m just saying this as I am annoyed that I will be over 3 ½ years in dealing with all of this. On the bright side again … for the final procedure I will not need to travel to San Antonio because it is a tattooing procedure and there are some great tattoo artists in AZ that specialize in 3D nipple/areola tattooing. I am so ready to be done with all of this. Yes I am jealous of those that get all their ‘stuff’ done in a 12 to 18 months. Pray for me and with me that the final symmetry/revision work can all be done on my next visit to San Antonio.

Being home after surgery this round was a challenging… as the opportunity to rest, limit/minimize activity and sleep in my temporary bedroom (the family room) as was needed is hard to accomplish with 2 little ones (my 2 ½ and 4 ½ year old grandsons) in the house. I am just over 7 weeks post surgery and getting to the place where I think I can start lifting and doing more. I of course will clear any real activity with my surgeon as I don’t want to risk any damage to what has been done since I am running out of options should something go wrong.

The FRIENDS: I am actually in California for the first time in 10 months. Those that know me and my relationship with Jen and California should understand this is a REALLY long time between visits. As soon as I arrived I got to do some non-traditional shopping…. There was a sale on the HIMYM stage of old sets that they are no longer going to be using so I got some fun/useful and silly stuff for pretty much nothing. Yesterday I sorted, organized and packaged hair for storage and future use and today we helped her move and organize. What’s in this for me as part of my vacation…. It is not always a requirement for me to do nothing to be able to enjoy my vacation… In fact I think 4 of the last 6 years I have been here with Jen just before the season starts and have helped her get ready. Damn Cancer ruined a bit of that but happy I can get back into the swing of things.

Now for some general thoughts as I am still struggling with the impact, reach and magnitude of this disease, and the inability for many people to really grasp it.

I have the pleasure of being connected intimately with a group of women all survivors – various stages, ages etc…. half a dozen of these women are in stage 4 of this disease, some at diagnosis and some with recurrence and each of them is younger than I. This is crazy to me. When will we be able to eradicate this disease… for my pink sisters… for children (who should be just living life and not fighting for it) for fathers… mothers… husbands… sisters… young and old… for too many people who have been hurt by this disease and those that will be in the future.

I HATE cancer!!! Hate the pain, loss, damage and ongoing fear. But I can also honestly say it has brought some great clarity to me and opened my eyes to truths that though they may be hard to understand and accept are important.

The FEAR : to those out there who have not YET been touched by this disease on some level… It is difficult once you have been diagnosed with cancer to feel safe… certain of a future… to not be afraid… every ache, pain, weird feeling or illness that come along makes a cancer survivor think… Is It Back? Especially those of us, like myself who were diagnosed at higher stages, and with aggressive forms of the disease types/subtypes known to have a high incidence of recurrence and for which there is no adjuvant therapy available to hopefully ward off or minimize risk and maximize long term survivorship potential. So I can say… Today I am good – as 3 months ago my tumor counts were in the acceptable range… Next Thursday I go have my quarterly blood work done and then see the oncologist on Friday (ironically Friday the 19th of August 2011 will be 3 years to the day from when I was told of the cancer and my world turned upside down)… I am nervous… very nervous… I always am when it is that time again. This round I too am going to ask for a PET Scan… some doctors do them annually after treatment… my doctor does not (or maybe this is an insurance thing) but this is one of the best tools to see if cancer has returned. Triple Negative Breast Cancer being very aggressive, with a high Incidence of recurrence and its preferred recurrence host location of Brain, Bone and Visceral Organs (all of which are pretty severe sites). So I want a PET scan… my last PET was in March 2009. So it’s been 2 ½ years. It’s time. So pray for peace for the next 2 weeks for me, I always have trouble sleeping, my mind races… Pray for clear blood results. Pray I get the PET and it too shows NOTHING. Pray I continue to heal from my surgery 7 weeks ago and that I am allowed and able to do something… Pray for my spirit in all of this. Pray I am still blessed with opportunities to speak into the lives of other cancer patients and share important insight and information with women in general through my work with Susan G. Komen. I am really wanting to become more involved, do more, help more, learn more and hoping that an opportunity may come available as the opening of the new MD Anderson Cancer Center becomes a reality. Right Place, Right Time.

VELCRO ROCKS… There is nothing like this FAMILY. But this year was different because Saturday the 23rd the day before vacation started many were celebrating the wedding of Kim and Gary. Sunday 24th were mourned and celebrated Aunt Betty who had a very rough battle with Cancer and left us within 6 months of diagnosis. We rejoiced at new babies already born and one on the way. So many mixed emotions and as we talked about Aunt Betty I could only cry – fear? I was going to sky dive but opted not to because I didn’t want to spend 5 hours in a car for 10 minutes of flight freedom. Probably next year, maybe parasailing… maybe both. We had a great week staying with Pam and Mark Widmer so welcoming to Rich, Riley and I. Happy JD was able to come this year everyone LOVED having him back. Fun to bring Riley on her Birthday present week with us…

The FUN: Multi Class HS Reunion. Amazing time with some very close old friends and a great time connecting or reconnecting with many others. We went to a pre-event party at Kristi’s, then the 9 of us headed over to Terrenea Resort, we were too late to get in – only the first 250 people were given access so we followed Don like his Harem, grabbed Dennis and Marcia and found a place that we could all sit back, and enjoy we ended up at Nelson’s with a bunch of other graduates that also missed the 250 or bust event and then lost of the guests ended up coming to our party afterwards. hahahaha.

Still to come Michael and I are going to watch the taping of The Doctors on Thursday, then Saturday or Sunday we are all heading up to Valencia area to spend time with Hazel and Robin. Monday Megan is coming down from Santa Barbara to scoop me up and take me for the next leg of my trip. Then I leave from Santa Barbara on Wednesday the 17th… I have already told what is to follow.

I had a nice long talk with Pam Fryman… she is such a sweet, precious being and has always been so warm and loving to me and truly interested in what is going on, she even asked WHY I have not been back in so long, wants to know how I am (really with the details)… and tells me to come back ANY TIME. I am welcome to sit and watch the monitors with her or sit in the bar and have ‘a drink’. I feel truly cared about by this woman and many of the cast and crew. What a lucky lady Jen is…. But then again I think they are pretty lucky to have her. Oh and she is up for an EMMY for Make-Up on the show. GO JEN!!!!!!!

The FORECAST: Loving the So Cal weather right now. Church on the Beach on Sunday AM. What an amazing way to worship looking at the beautiful, powerful and magnificent creation of ocean. I miss Southern California a great deal. I miss the place and the people. I was so lucky to have been able to grow up on The Palos Verdes Peninsula, and I am so lucky now to be able to visit. Sunny skies, light breeze and the ability to be outside all day every day… at least for now.



You must, You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through

Well forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not stong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe, maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out


Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and You are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

BLESSINGS: Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe


When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home


What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Just a word of advice to those willing to listen. Think twice before undergoing as needle with anything in it… If you desire explanation I will provide…

So there you have it. The Friends, The Fear, The Family, The Fun, The Forecast, Faith and my Father… Still hoping for Sunny weather, no showers and to be dancing with NED in 2 weeks and forever.


There’s a Prayerful Healing Event Goin’ on in San Antonio!!

First of all, before we spread the GOoD (you know what I mean here!) news about Patti’s recovery, Please say a prayer for all of the people that are/were affected by the Earthquake & Tsunami, in Japan and around the world!! Let God’s Love, Hope & Presence felt with all those that know him, and for the ones that don’t, please let their hearts be open to hear & feel HIS Presence, Hope and Love!

“(2 Corinthians 1:2-5 NIV) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We continue to THANK ALL of YOU for the Prayers!! Patti’s been smothered with it!  There continues to be a Prayer Flood going on in San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital room 551!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!  (did I say THANK YOU already?? HMMM…)

70 hours after surgery and all is GOoD (Perfect, Remember?!)!!!

Yesterday she was so happy to be able to sit in the chair, instead of laying in the bed.  The only downside were those TED (Anti-embolism compression) stockings that were cutting into her leg.  Also, that fern persistent itching (can you say BENADRYL).  That’ll stop the itch, but it’ll also knock you right out.  Yes, she slept VERY well!

The blood vessels that were of concern appear to be healing NICELY!!  There is this cool little, NOISY, box (Ultrasonic Doppler Flow Detector), we’ll just call it the Doppler, they use it to listen to the blood flow.  When we hear WOOSH, SWOOSH, WOOSH, then we know everything is flowing as it should.  (Don’t ask me to say that again!)  She also got to eat solid food for the first time.  It was a momentous day!!

Today was Patti’s first trip out of the room and half way around (Kinda like a VICTORY LAP eh Jim) the hospital floor.  (Seems like an odd way just to get her to sit down in the chair next to her bed???)   Anyway, As you ALL know, Patti’s extremely strong, and of course she made the trip with flying colors.  We’re only gonna do 2 trips today, though.  Don’t want to stress the incisions too much!

Tomorrow, she’ll have more of the same.  We’ll probably get to take 4 complete laps around the floor.  It’ll be kinda like NASCAR Final Practice!!!       :-D Let’s go Racing!!!!

A special thanks goes to Dad & Paulette.  We received your flowers today.  They are beautiful!!

Please continue to pray that God’s healing touch will continue to heal and give her strength for her to begin the next step of the journey.  Please Pray that Patti’s pain is minimal as she begins to move around and become more mobile.  Please continue to pray that God’s presence is felt in Patti and that she feels his HEALING touch!!

We also want to send a special thanks to all of those people that have send well wishes, via all forms of communication (Facebook, Text, Email, Voice…..).  There are too many to mention, and I’d be afraid to miss one!! Please know that you’re Love, Prayers, and well wishes are greatly appreciated!!

In Jesus’ Name…. AMEN!!

From the highest of highs… To…?

So from the highest of highs to the depths…

I have spent the past five days with my sister in law Lori little and her new wonderful  husband Jimmy and my nephews… Well JD was with us too.  Had a great time hanging out.  She had some family over for us on Sunday whom I have not seen for 13 years.  A lifetime to some… But the funny thing is I didn’t feel so out  of it since we are Fb friends Lol.  I must say I ate the best food in the world the entire time and quite a lot of it too.   Lori is amazing she is one of those moms who still cooks the amazing delicious well rounded meals for her family. I never seemed to have time for this nor anyone to model this for me.  They say ‘more is caught than taught’  Now I  wish I had.  Thou I believe much of this activity and trait has as much to do with time, financial resources as well as how you grew up.  I grew up with a single working mom who was gone 12 to 14 hours a day.  So less time and energy at the end of her day.

We went for walks, hung out, went 2 watch two of my nephews play basketball.  Baked… Okay she baked I watched.  But it was fun none the less. Discovered how easy it is to make ‘Patti’s crack cookies’… This could be dangerous.  Holly Lake Ranch is beautiful country roads with tree lined streets, deer in the yard, bunnies and squirrels all over.  My kind of place.  I am a country girl stuck in the city … Oh and Mosquitos… They must think I am tasty.   Guess you take the good with the bad.  Already trying to figure out when I can go back.

So I get to the airport for the flight to San Antonio for surgery.  Called my voicemail there was a message from my surgeon’s office that surgery now set for 230 Thursday which was reset from 3 on Thursday which was reset from 8 am Friday.  So I called the office to confirm that I would be at the hospital at 1230 as was requested.   Only to then be told that Dr.  Chrysopolou has to cancel my surgery.  I am at the gate in the airpot when this is happening and I am ready to board a plane Rich  had left Phoenix  90 minutes earlier to meet me in San Antonio. All I could do at this point was Cry… Cry… Cry.  While sitting on the airplane waiting for boarding to continue, I get a call from Dr.C.   His reason and need to be away is most certainly the priority.  His father lives in England and is very I’ll.  So without doubt, question or a second thought… I know truth is  his fathers life and Dr.C’s need to be with him is definitely of greater importance than my breasts.  I have time and time is not  his side. Bright side a mini vacation with my hubby  for Fathers Day.  

As many of you know… This is my second attempt at reconstruction because the first attempt failed due to radiation damage.  I did a ton of research visited the two most highly rated practices in the country for DIEP surgery and spoke to the 2 surgeons that came most highly recommend to me for this procedure.  Lots of homework went into this decision.  I wanted to have the best possible Dr. In my opinion for me … Without question that is Dr C.   Then as you may also know I was that one case a year that as Dr. C  would say… Keeps him humble and reminds him how important remaining in this game is.    I know him to be meticulous, detailed, compassionate and a perfectionist.  Only to now be told he is not going to  be able to do it.   I have two choices… wait and reset so that I can make sure that the Dr.  I know, trust and believe in will do the surgery later.   or… Have one of the other Dr’s in the practice do the procedure.  Either way not ideal as I would need/want to wait until after the 3rd week in August so as not to interfere with already planned vacation and time with my peeps.    Which means the finalization of all of this will definitely not be until the end of November beginning of December.  But I would much rather wait for my doc… So there is a chancre we will be heading home sooner than expected. After the immediate shock of this I am 100 percent okay with this.  Trust that God is in this and all is his plan and time.

But my day of excitement and the unplanned continues.. lol…  The plane taxied  out to the runway then turned around  because of  an engine failure notification.  Seems for me if it can go awry it will go awry.  LOL

Time to shutdown for landing, back to you later.

Landed last night.  Hubby had the rental car and we headed on over to the  hotel?  While I was up up away, things changed.  My hubby talked PRMA and was told that they cancelled a morning DIEP procedure and moved me into that time  slot.  I did call my doctor on the way to the hotel as he asked me do.  I told him I am not a priority in this situation he is.  He assured me it was the right and best thing to do all the way around.  So surgery resolved and on for 830 tomorrow am, doing a DIEP and being able to make a 4pm flight would have been cutting it close.  So back on with explicit instruction to walk slot and drink a great deal of water of which I did both.  So time for bed and an early wake up call.

Goodnight and I appreciate all the prayers.  Know God is in this and orchestrated things for me.

Sent from my iPad

Clean… High… Cali Bound…

I am sitting in the oncologists office and thinking back to the many hours I spent here just a couple years ago. Time that while both seeming so long ago (a lifetime in some ways… a different time, a different place, a different Patti) seems all too recent (pain still close to the surface, fear still prominent in my mind). Coming here now has a totally different feel to it. I am amazed that even 2.5 years later they still remember my name. Is it like a requirement for staff at places like this to have super memories and so they can remember your name even years later so you know you matter as a person and are worth remembering/knowing even years later? I laugh at this a bit because I have a hard time remembering all their names and there are way fewer of them than there are of us – Unfortunately) I have recently decided that not remembering everything is not all bad.

During the past 2.5 years this place has prompted or promoted varying levels of Stress… Anxiety… Fear… Uncertainty…Joy… Connection…Peace… Now every three months more often than not it is primarily fear. That time when I give blood the day before and then hope that I hear “the bloodwork is perfect…no changes…tumor markers still down”. And I continue to wonder should I find another Dr. one that may believe in a more proactive approach and who does periodic pet scans and the like. Because the fear for me is that in some point in time it may come back. Every cancer patient has this fear. Time lessens it but it is never really gone.

I have seen or heard all too often of late of breast cancer recurrence in women. Women I am connected to in some way. Women much younger than myself. Just as each of them goes to the why me. I too say why them… Why not me… Is it just not ‘my turn yet’… And if ‘yet’ is in the vocabulary…when will my yet arrive? Will it?

Honestly speaking I prefer there to never be a yet . I want to live long, live well, see my baby get married and have babies… (this one a long way off I hope-LOL). See the 3 grandbabies I have grow, play, explore, develop…I want to design that house with the wrap around porch in North Carolina and move in and be able to enjoy it with my wonderful hubby, family and friends… Maybe have a horse… I want to go on a cruise to Greece and Italy with my hubby and make that trip to Hawaii that had to be put off the year JD and Chelsey graduated from HS. (Chelsey then opted for the cash payout in lieu of trip … JD wants to see and play in Hawaii… I would like to say because it’s with me but think there may be way more reasons than that). I want to lose 35-40 lbs. I want to be able to push myself physically without fear of doing damage. I wanna be able to run.. I want to let the past be the past, I can’t change my mistakes, or those of others. I want new moments. Moments where hopefully the sins and mistakes of my past have made me smarter so that my choices and outcome are better this time around. I want the memories of me to be happy, helpful, hopeful and fulfilling. I want to know my Lord and Savior more deeply… I want intentional time with my friends… I want to be able to reach out to others in time of pain and hardship and walk a journey with them… I want to publish my book… I want to outlive my mother. I want to live out my purpose. But first I have to find out exactly what that purpose is.

I started this post yesterday. While waiting to see the oncologist. Wonder if it ever gets easier the waiting the not knowing. Literally 6 of the nurses stopped in my room…actually opened the door back up to ask how I was doing, feeling And to say hi. So my mind immediately went to… It’s back… Something is wrong… They are all just trying to make me feel good or better. Thankfully the blood work is fine. Tumor markers remain at 7 which is where they have been almost since I was done with chemotherapy. They are to be less than 31. My blood pressure though was up. Hmmmm … Not sure what is up with that as I routinely have had good bp results – sometimes even low pressure so we will definitely keep an eye on it. Good news is I will be going to the Dr in a week to start getting tests done for the next round of reconstruction.

I’m now sitting on the back patio at my friend Kellie’s house on beautiful Coronado Island. Flight was easy. We were in 1st class so free cookies – they have the yummy ones again on US Air. Lol. Nick her eldest and the same age as JD picked us up. Holiday weekend all right. Both airports were crazy. Went for a 4 mile walk while Rich working from here and Kellie at work. So beautiful here with cooler Cali weather and the ocean breeze. So now 4 days of hanging out…laughing…having fun… With this wonderful woman I have known exactly 22 years. I just realized we first met Memorial weekend in 1989 at a BBQ at Katie’s house in PV. When we were both mere children… how funny to think back and remember and know that time has passed, lives have changed, yet we still have an amazing connection, we can do nothing or something but activity is not required to fill our time filled with stories and laughter of lives long ago and plans for the future. I am blessed! Thank you Lord.

I love having my hubby around, but don’t tell him…sometimes I need it to be just me and my girlfriends. Because I feel guilty if we are living in memories and he is left out…or I have to split my attention between being two different Patti’s (Patti with friendships and stories of long ago and the Patti he knows, loves and takes amazing care of). It can be exhausting. Lol. I don’t know how people with multiple personalities can do it.

SO for now I close. Praying peace to each and every one of you.

So how ’bout them JUGS

8 weeks since my surgery. Wow. How does time fly by so rapidly yet seem like nothing has happened. I spent the first 2.5 weeks in San Antonio in varying stages of drug induced wakefulness and reality. My days seemed to roll one into another and I wasn’t even sure what was what from one day to the next. I know Barb flew out to help us the first couple days and then Lori and Cade came to spend a weekend. Crazy because I hadn’t seen them in probably 8-10 years. I was so sad that I didn’t get to see all the boys and meet Lori’s wonderful new husband and son.

My days were spent walking the halls of the Holiday Inn by the airport then we moved to another Holiday Inn by the Riverwalk and my days there spent walking downtown San Antonio. I even ventured all the way to the mall one day okay 1 mile (felt like 20) and took a break for a pedicure and a movie. I was totally stir crazy in the hotel and needed to breathe. Rich was working from the hotel room and honestly I think my brain was getting overwhelmed with technispeak while it was still in a diminished state of usefulness.

My return home was precious. There was a huge sign on the garage that my wonderful family had taken the time to sign. THANK YOU ALL. JD had it up for me and he had cleaned the house. In fact Auntie Trish said she kept asking him if he needed help and he wouldn’t let them help he wanted to do it for me. What a sweet thing from my 20 year old. Well he turned 20 the day after we got back. Now THAT doesn’t’ seem real. I still see him as that tiny preemie baby, who was then a sweet little boy, an active young daredevil, only to turn into someone else’s teenager (I am gonna say his teen years are his fathers fault – LOL… sorry John but you are not here to defend yourself), and now a young adult… where did the time go.

For weeks after my return I slept on the couch – going up and down stairs was tough and I had to remain in a semi seated position. My first week I had visitors at least every couple days but think I may have slept through some of the conversations even though my eyes were open and my lips were moving. (NO WISE REMARKS PLEASE). So appreciated those that took time to come over and shop for us, make us meals and do our laundry, you know who you are and I thank you. The last medical drain was frustrating to say the least. It remained in nearing the 5 week mark. CRAZY. It was annoying, painful, wearisome, exasperating…. Then I begged the Dr. to let it come out and they said instead of waiting for 30 cc or less for 48 hours straight I could default to 40 or less. The problem is the more active I was the more it drained but activity was required. For those of you concerned about the term ‘activity’ I am meaning the snails pace I walked around the neighborhood. About 4 weeks after surgery I drove for the first time. Not far only to Wal-Mart – It was hot and I walked around inside there. It got me out of the house and fulfilled my activity requirements.

SO here I sit 8 weeks later. I am now allowed to lift the equivalent of a gallon jug of milk… up from the ½ gallon jug the first 6 weeks – which in itself can be problematic when you send hubby to the store with the grocery list and he brings home the usual gallon jug. Hmmmmm. Still not allowed to do much in the way of aerobic activity. The Dr.’s post surgery notes say 8-12 weeks… so I am being obedient. (KINDOF) and planning to join my dance classes at Express Mie next Saturday (9.5 weeks). Ok for the mommies out there. I did send a note to the Dr.’s office and asked if this was okay and I promise I will listen to them. Just feeling so out of shape and FAT. Seems since the end of December I have been trying to lose weight – better eating, lots of exercise (until surgery) and still the only thing I lost was the weight of the implants (roughly 1.5 lbs each) truthfully that is what they weigh… UGGG. To make matters worse I am pretty sure God got sidetracked when he was piecing me together because there is NO WAY that the upper half of my body should be attached to the lower half. They truly look to belong to totally different people and I am pretty sure no amount of diet and exercise is gonna change that. HATE this.

So back to the topic of JUGS.

I am so much happier now with the DIEP surgery as opposed to the Implants.

• I no longer feel constant pressure and pain on my rib cage radiating to my back. My hope now is over time the damage (dent) to my ribs into my lung will work itself out so breathing will be easier and easier. I had a really hard time for about 5-6 weeks after surgery where taking a deep breath would inevitably induce coughing and an inability to catch my breath.

• They are warm and alive. I used to hate the fact that my breasts felt cold. Hard to explain but imagine a water balloon in evening air for a week covered only by a sheet. That’s kind of the feeling I got when I would touch the breasts before. So unnatural to me.

• The deep indentation from removal of 27 lymph nodes under my right arm is gone. They filled it with tissue. I can actually shave again. I know CAREFULLY. Unfortunately the entire trauma has over time worked its way to my right arm and it is about 1¼ inches larger than my left so I really do try to be careful.

• They are more natural in the way the drop. Before the pocket was opened up (that’s what the call the area where the put the implants in) so much on the left side that I could literally feel the left implant resting on my stomach when I would sit. The entire thing would shift unlike natural breasts where they have a crease then drop. (You know that crease were as we age we can hold pencils, pens, drumsticks, broom handles… you get the idea.

• My tummy is smaller but it’s not really a tummy tuck as they do not mess with the muscle and do as much drastic work as most tummy tucks do. I also have a scar hip to hip from this. No more bikini’s for me. Like I was ever gonna get in one anyway – so no issues here.

• There is considerably more scarring than most people imagine. Especially on the right side and there is skin color variation. These things will lessen over time I feel pretty lucky that thus far I have healed pretty well and when I saw my surgical oncologist – (Dr. Hottie) for my regular 6 month check up the other day he was impressed and said everything looked great for being just 8 weeks out. Praise the Lord.

• Now for the funniest part of the new JUGS. They have Hair on them. REALLY… gotta find out if laser hair removal can be in my future. It is baby fine hair not sure anyone else cold see it but I can when I look down so just like my hubby – I now have a HAIRY CHEST. All I can do is laugh. See breast cancer can take the hair off your head but end up causing you to get it on your chest. WHAT AN EVIL TRICK!

Stage 2 surgery is scheduled for Friday June 17th. So for Father’s Day my husband gets New Boobs. Because that’s the kind of gal I am. GIVE GIVE GIVE. They will work on symmetry issues, size, shape… Remove a couple spots that have hardened (which is normal). Depending on how much work it takes to fix symmetry and scars – they may complete the extra procedure called an ADANIPTOMY. Yes, they will create new nipples which later will be tattooed. If they can not do it this time I will need to make an extra trip to San Antonio. It really all depends on the amount of work to perfect (as much as can be perfected) my new breasts. Would hate to do the nipples too soon and have them not in the right position after next stage healing. SO patience is the order of the day/week/month… pretty sure I didn’t ask God for patience – again thinking he was side tracked during the knitting me in my mothers womb phase.

When this is all over I will change from the Mad White Cancer Patient to the Glad White Cancer Patient.

Please keep me in prayer as I go see my Oncologist in 2.5 weeks and as I have said and or those of you who have been through a cancer diagnosis in any way know. Anxiety sets in before blood tests and results each time. I have a tendency to be fearful of recurrence. To make matters worse, in a group of about 40 gals that fall into the ‘young’ survivors’ category – 3 younger than me have had recurrence recently. Won’t someone please find the CURE for this disease? All cancers… PLEASE!

I know I have been placed on this path and there is reason and I have been blessed to meet amazing people, impact lives of others who have followed me, been impacted by others, and learned about God, me, my faith, friendship, family… I am excited to say that this month marks the 1 year anniversary of the cancer support group I started and co-facilitate at Mission Community Church. What a treasure each life that has walked in that room has been to me. I have seen healing, miracles, laughter, tears, death and life in a whole new way.

Thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for lessons bigger than I could ever learn in a classroom.

Here I am – Downhere

Sometimes Your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes in comes in the Spirit’s breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity

But I’m a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when it’s hardest to stand
I know that You will finish what You began

And these broken parts You will redeem
Become the song that I can sing

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I’ll fail You in the end
In this mess, I’m just one of the pieces,
I can’t put this together but You can

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

Here I Am, all my life an offering to You, to You
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am


I am 2 weeks out of surgery. I feel better daily. No, it’s not easy and pain free but I can do this. I have been through so much and this is just the next step in this journey. I have had my heart broken, my faith tested, my trust in medical professionals rocked to the core, I have lost things that I thought made me a woman and realized that I am a Survivor, A Thriver, A Warrior for a cause, a purpose so much bigger than I am. I have walked a path that has led me to others before me and to many after me. Those that never wanted to be a part of this club but are. I can hold a hand, cry, laugh offer insight, opinion, suggestions, be there to say nothing and just be with others. These are the moments I feel blessed to have been in. Moments of life changed, fear eased, hope renewed. It is not just breast cancer it is cancer as a whole. Too many lives…

Yes I am ready to be done with treatment, I know many who have been though their entire treatment regimen in a year… here I sit 2.5 years and still over 6 months left in my reconstruction regimen. If nothing else I have learned to keep going, keep fighting, keep striving, keep trusting, keep believing and most importantly keep loving and accepting the love of others . Done with cancer as an intrusion in living. But cancer will always be and I will continue to want to be there for others in formal and informal ways.

We are so thankful for the American Cancer Society lodging program and the multiple facilities that have been so generous to us and I am certain others in need.

Holiday Inn Riverwalk – Holiday Inn Select at Airport – Hotel Contessa. Each of these facilities graciously and generously donated hotel rooms for us during this leg of our journey. I can not say thank you enough for this. It is still an expensive undertaking to be away from home for three weeks. Food costs, laundry, medical needs, car expenses… each and every bit of assistance is much appreciated. So I say visit and frequent the types of facilities like these that give back in huge ways to help and make a difference to and for others. I must say at our current facility we stopped in the bar to get a little margarita pitcher (couple glasses) and without knowing who they were initially began a conversation with the Sales/Management team of this facility. How warm and welcoming they were and to hear from them why this particular facility is so committed… multiple people in their organization have parents or those close to them who have or have been through cancer treatment. This facility gives away over 1100 nights a year through the lodging program. This is huge. This is giving back in a big way. To be a part of the program they have to commit to giving away 50 nights a year. Thank God for overachievers.

You Are

Looking for meaning, Looking for Love, Looking for something to Never give up
You are the one
You are the one

Looking for purpose in all of the pain, Looking for someone to hold in the rain
You are the one

You are life more beautiful – You are love more powerful – You are the light that always shines
You are the one

You came in my darkness, You came in my night, You came without warning, You came to my side
You are the one

There’s no before you, There’s no too late, There’s no without you, There’s only today
You are the one

You are life more beautiful – You are love more powerful – You are the light that always shines
You are the one

You are the song I want to sing, You are here, You are everything, You are the light that always shines
You are the one

And I will never move on from You, Oh oh, I will never move on from you

You are life more beautiful – You are love more powerful – You are the light that always shines
You are the one

And I will never move on from You, I will never move on from You


I am now a week out of Surgery. Living in a hotel for the next almost 2 weeks.

Wednesday – Surgery Day. Pretty much a blur for me. We checked in to the hospital at 6:30 and surgery was at 8:30. I remember being wheeled in to the OR and transferred to the operating table… then nothing. I was the only one in nothingness… Because I had a band of angels and prayer warriors storming the gates of heaven to raise me, raise the medical staff and hospital facility and my hubby during this very long procedure.

What I must say without a doubt is that … Dr. Chrysopoulo and PRMA are an amazing medical group. Amazing people that commit great energy, passion, time, resource and compassion to making women feel whole again. This surgical team do about 500 free flap (Microsurgery) reconstructions a year. They are the subject matter experts. They have been doing this type of surgery for over 15 years. Experience counts. I am laughing at myself because I happen to be that one rare case for this year… lol… that as Dr. C. said ‘keeps him humble’. Not only were their issues with the fascia of the stomach that were a direct result of my hysterectomy in 2006 (Thank you again Dr. Semrad – yes that was sarcasm). But I had a vascular anomaly; Dr C described the process of what was wrong and what had to be done and the issue of having to use a piece of my rib to do it… WOW. These issues increased the surgical time from 8 to 10 hours. I am so appreciative I was in such amazingly talented hands, eyes and hearts and could not imagine having had this procedure done at the only other Dr in AZ (outside of Mayo Clinic) who has just completed training in this within the last 2 years, when I contacted them they said he does this once a month maybe and whose practice does not use 2 dedicated surgeons for this procedure as PRMA does. Dr. Minus Chrysopoulo… You are a ROCK STAR Surgeon. Thank you.
5 nights in the hospital in varying degrees of pain, immobility and mobility, I am not sure how long it takes to get 10 hours of heavy sedation out of a body but I know the first couple days I was barely alert. Day 3 was my day 1 out of bed because of the blood vessel issues… Day 4 I went for my first walk… I was hunched over at the waist and barely able to make 1 lap the first time. Then I forced myself for the rest of the day to get back out there and walk an additional lap each time. Day 5 – first thing in the am and walking – gotta show I am well enough to get out of that place. By noon I had walked, had my first shower since last Wednesday morning and prepped to go.

My sister in law Barb surprised me and flew out on Sunday to be with Rich and I and help Rich get settled and set up for our hotel living. What a blessing to have her here for both of us. She had to leave this morning but it was great to have her. Rich and I are settled in. I have done 2 walks this morning one about 20 minutes one for 15 minutes and now I plan to take a nap.

Thank you all for the many prayers, messages, calls… I so appreciate it them all. Thank you for keeping us in prayer, I see the Dr. on Thursday and this will be a good chance for them to tell how well it all went and get a good idea when I am off all types of meds how I am healing. There is still a great deal of swelling from both the fact that they blow you up to make the blood vessels as big as possible and the trauma of all they had to do – Need to get rid of swelling and hoping to get rid of a couple of the drains. They are annoying but necessary.

Love to all.