Sunday, August 30, 2009

Do All Things Cheerfully

I wonder if it is even possible to find joy in all we do, to be cheerful in our trials. Are our afflictions and trials but a moment in time?
According to a talk given by Jeffrey R Holland they are. (Shawna Crum brought over his talk on a CD for me to watch, it is wonderful, thanks Shawna)
When I think of all the people who do not have jobs right now, I wonder if they think this is just a blink of an eye. What does it mean, "if you endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high, thou shalt triumph over all they foes?"
I have felt the hand of the Lord in my life through so many trials I have faced. When I was a young daughter of God, I learned to rely on the Lord, I knelt and prayed day and night for the Lord to get me out of the situation I was in, I promised him I would obey and follow the rules and honor his name...if he promised to just get me out of the HELL I was living in everyday. He did.
Because of the sincere faith that I had in the Lord I was blessed to be married in to a man that I adore and love, who has always treated me with respect and honors our marriage as a sacred covenant between husband and wife. Has our marriage always been perfect? Yes it has, to me it has, a perfect marriage is to understand eachother, even if we do not agree, to be willing to hear the other side and respect eachothers decisions as individuals, to be able to work out any differences by including the Lord in all our decisions. We have learned to forgive eachother for our shortcomings, and love eachother through good and bad times.Is it hard at times? Absolutely !!! but who said it would be easy? I have always believed anything worth having is worth working hard for.
Now as we face this new trial I wonder if I have enough faith to endure it, will I be able to do it with dignity? And can I be cheerful? Is that even possible? I sure want to be, but I know I will fall short and it scares me. I want to have that magnificent attitude and maintain it during the good times and the bad, in sorrow or in joy, what if I fail?
So many people have said to me "You know that the Lord will not give you any trial he knows you cannot handle?" everytime I hear someone say that, (and I too have said it before) my mind says its true, but my heart says "can I do this?" can I be the wife and mother that I want to be, with a cheerful heart? Can I find joy somehow in this journey?
I feel the love of my family, friends and especially the comfort of the Lord. I think during the hard times in my life I have felt the closest to the spirit. There have been times when I have felt alone but I have always been able to re-connect through service to others. Right now I feel a little guilty because I am not giving to others, what am I doing to serve so many who are in need right now? (I will work on that one this week)
One thing I do know without a doubt is that bad times do come to an end eventually, maybe not the end that we were expecting or even that we want, when we are faithful to that end, we will be blessed, and I love this quote and believe it to also be true "heavenly promises are always kept" Heavenly Father will always keep his promises, it is just who he is.
So sounds like I have some questions that need to be answered and the only one who can answer them is me...
1. will I be cheerful during my afflictions?
2. how can I find joy in this journey? this one is a big ????
3. what does it mean to endure it well?
4. forget myself and find someone to serve, who will it be?
Tomorrow its back to the Mayo for more tests to be run, and Tuesday I meet with Dr Pockji (oncology surgeon)to schedule the surgery. I'm a little anxious, but I think the bad news is behind us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dang You Cancer

Today I went to see the Plastic Surgeon so that he could explain the options for reconstruction. I really liked the Doctor and left there feeling like there was some hope, and some good to look forward to, he was compassionate and knowledgeable.
Just when I thought all was good and well in Cancer Land, I got the phone call from my oncology surgeon with not so good news, the biopsy came back positive for another malignancy....seriously? DANG YOU CANCER... I know I need to be learning something, what is it? Because I am losing it. I was grateful I was home alone, because I lost my composure and cried out of control, then I went into the bathroom and threw up several times, what a weird reaction, I am not a person who throws up, I think I have only thrown up a handful of times in all my life. It made me sick to my stomach, I just want it out of me, how can I go on like this?
We went to the church tonight for a little party they had for The Bishopric that was just released. My mind is completely consumed with the information we just received. I was standing and talking to Julie Greer and I thought I was gong to faint.
Tonight while I am alone and in my quiet place, everyone is in bed and I can ponder what is going on, I feel like I need to write it all down so that I wont forget. I knelt to pray and this is what I felt.
I'm aching and crying, I feel like my spirit is fading fast, almost like I'm being buried alive. I have a lot hopes and dreams, I have always had faith in things I cant see. I'm trying to be positive, I pray, I'm really trying to find my way through this test of my faith I know that every fear I face, every lonely hour and tear that falls Jesus has felt it, every bit of it, and when I'm in my own Gethsemane he knows that place, he's been there. Just when I feel like I'm losing it and I'm reaching the edge, I can feel him reach out I take his hand and I finally let go, he is my anchor, he is the only way I can get through this, I Know He Lives.
I am learning to rely on him for my comfort, the comfort that cannot come from my husband (as wonderful as he is) the comfort that cannot come from good friends, and my children. The time has now come for me to turn it all over to the Lord and allow him to catch me in this downward fall I feel is coming. Peace comes over me tonight, something I have not felt before, I know he Lives and he Loves Me.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Today I had a biopsy on my right and left breast, as a follow up to the Ultra Sound results we got on Friday. I checked in at 8am. While walking from my car to the check in level, I noticed that all patients were carrying their Patient Itinerary and some of them studying them intently, I wondered as I watched people why they were visiting the Mayo Clinic. If any of them were there for the same reason I was, I looked into some of the eyes and wondered if any of them had the gospel in their lives, if they knew that Heavenly Father loved them and if they knew they could pray for his comfort. While I was waiting I read from the September Ensign, I decided I would take it with me and read the entire Ensign at the Mayo this week while waiting for Doctors to see me. I love the talk entitled "The Influence of Righteous Women"
by President Uchtdorf. I was inspired to be a better woman, I understand a little more what my eternal role is as a daughter of God. I understand that as I live my daily life with all its challenges, that the Lord LOVES me, that he KNOWS me, he listens to my prayers and that he wants me to succeed.
As I was deep in thought they called my name and off I went to the biopsy room. My nurses name was Cheryl, cute little petite girl with alot of compassion and spunk. Dr Lund came in and explained to me what was going to happen. I took my right arm out of the gown, (the lovely hospital gown) put my right arm over my head he began the exam. This is a needle core biopsy guided by an Ultra Sound, which means he watches on the Ultra Sound screen as he guides the needle to the spot that needs to be biopsied. First they sterilize everything, including my breast. Then with a needle they deaden the area with several shots. Then they make an incision and in the needle goes to the area, he says you will hear a pop so dont be alarmed. The pop is the needle being plunged into the breast and grabbing a piece of tissue, this is done about 4 times on the right side. He hit a blood vessel on the last shot and it started shooting blood in a stream, it took about 45 minutes for him to get it under control. He and Cheryl had to trade off putting all of their body weight on my breast to get the bleeding to stop, (seriously not fun) and with my arm up over my head my fingers were asleep by the time we were done and he felt so bad. Then we started the same procedure on the left side. After we were all done I headed over for another mammo. By the time I left the Mayo Clinic it was around 11:30. I had to be at the Mayo Hospital in Phoenix for a 1pm appointment with Dr. Paul Magtibay Gyno Surgeon. I really liked him alot, he was very compassionate and knowledgable. He told me it would be best for me to have the hysterectomy at the same time I have the mastectomy. I left today feeling totally EXPOSED, I had heard "undress from the waste up and put on this gown", then "undress from the waste down and put on this gown" one too many times today. I live in a very modest world, my husband is the only one (other than doctors) who has seen me without clothes and I do not like to be EXPOSED.
Walking to my car, I read a text from my daughter Haleigh it said "Good luck today mom, I love you so much !" For some reason I started to cry when I read it, I could not stop, I tried so hard to get it under control before I left but was unsuccessful, families who love and respect and care for eachother is what life is all about.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What Cancer Cannot Do

Friday Eric and I went to Mayo Clinic as a follow up to the MRI I had on Tuesday. They wanted me to have a Ultra Sound because of something they found on the MRI.
The Ultra Sound concluded the same result the MRI technician concluded with, I have another lump in the right breast, and one in the left breast that they are concerned about. This news was really hard to hear. When Eric and I left we got to the car and I was trying so hard to hold in the tears and not be a big baby, however I looked over at Eric and he was crying so here it is both of us crying, the first break down and we were able to share it together. I love him so much, and I told him I just feel so bad for him, I dont want him to have to go through this. I told him I am sorry, I never thought this would ever be something we would experience. He looked at me and said that he will be with me every step of the way, he will hold my hand through the good and the bad, we will get through this together.
When I got home to my wonderful surprise there was a gift on the table from a friend in our ward, Dena Weech, she too is a cancer survivor and knows the feelings I am experiencing. The gift she brought to me could not of come at a better time, I needed to hear it. It is a framed quote that she said someone had given her when she was going through her cancer experience. Thank you Dena for sharing this with me This is what it said:
What Cancer Cannot Do:
Cancer is so limited....yet in all these things
It Cannot cripple love it cannot alter hope
we are more than conquerors through him who loves us
It cannot corrode faith, it cannot destroy peace....
For I am persuaded that neither death or life
It cannot kill friendship, it cannot suppress memories...
Nor principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height depth
It cannot silence courage, it cannot invade the soul...
Nor any created things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God
In cannot steal eternal life, it cannot conquer the spirit...
Which is in Christ Jesus our Lord romans 8:37-39

Friday, August 21, 2009

Refuge in Rainbows

My daughter Haleigh and I went to Hawaii for a week about a month ago. One day we were driving back from a day at the North Shore and when we came over this hill, there was the most beautiful Rainbow I had ever seen, I mean it was breath taking. I had never seen a full Rainbow before. I could not get over the astonishing colors, it looked like we were so close to it that we could just drive up to it. The Rainbows beginning was a little hazy and seemed to linger over the homes of the people living on the hill, as the Rainbow continued over to the end, the colors were vivid, and the end was precise and clear. I told Haleigh when you can see the whole Rainbow and the end is in sight that it is good luck, I told her to take it in and enjoy every minute of it because they do not come along very often, in all my 46 years this was the 1st one I had ever seen like it. She was laughing at me and even called her dad to tell him how excited I was to see this Rainbow, and I was a little weird I admit I just could not get over the beauty of it.
I find myself thinking about that Rainbow a lot as I face this new trial of mine called "cancer" It hit me last night as I was trying to sleep, the Lord gave me that Rainbow, on that day, knowing it would give me comfort. I believe like all trials that everyone faces, the beginning is a little hazy and lingers over and around my home like a nasty habit, but it is the end that I am interested in, it will be precise and clear because in the end of this trial I will then know what the Lord wanted me to learn from all of this. I am grateful for that moment I shared with my daughter, now maybe she will understand the signifigance of that wonderful moment I will never forget as long as I live.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Day In My Life At MAYO

I left the house this morning at 9:30 to make the drive to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.
Eric and I went to the 3rd floor to check in at 10:30, it was a reception area much like a bank, you wait in line until the next teller is available to check you in. We filled out a ton of papers, (you know so the insurance can get their money) we were walked back to the breast clinic, where we went into a room and waited for the nurse to come in and ask a ton of questions, finally we were able to see the Surgical Oncologist, her name is Dr.Pockaj (pronounced Pochki) I was impressed with her knowledge, we spoke with her for about 45 minutes.
Then I was handed a Patient Itinerary:
12:10 Routine Lab Work 5 viles of blood
1:20 Radiology Chest X-Rays
2:15 check in for the MRI get the IV put in the arm in prep for the MRI
3:15 actual MRI very loud an annoying, sounded like a sledge hammer going off
4:30 Cardiovascular ECG Electrocardiogram
We got home around 6:30 pm
I am exhausted and hoping that I don't have to talk about any of this tonight. Pretty much nothing more is known today, I will be going back to the Mayo on Thursday or Friday (the Dr will call tomorrow to let me know) at that time I will meet with a GYNO for the hysterectomy issues, a genetics Dr. this will help them to know how to proceed with treatment, and the plastics Dr.
Today I am feeling a little overwhelmed knowing what I am facing, it was good to move forward though.
My sister will call my mom to find out about any cancer on her side of the family that may help the genetics specialist. I don't think we necessarily need that information to get the answers we need, but she will ask anyway.
I am happy to be home with my family, to relax tonight and not to think about the cancer...not sure I can do that, but I am sure going to try tonight. I love my husband, he is a trooper taking me to and from my appointment today, he had a lot of questions for the Dr and I appreciated him for that, because I don't always remember what I want to ask, but he wrote it all down. Tomorrow is a new day, and one day closer to this being over.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Tonight I went to my cycling class that I have been going to every Monday night for a long time. I could hardly make it through, I felt so exhausted. Usually I take two hours of cycling on Monday night and 1/2 hour of weights but tonight I could hardly make it through the 1st class. I am sad to think that I will have to slow down and not be as active as I usually am, I think the cancer will slow me down. I have always been extremely active, running, cycling, weights, kickboxing and step. One of my goals in life is to run a marathon, I decided that 2010 would be the year, and November I was going to run my first 1/2 marathon. I was so looking forward to running and had just started to train for it. Will I ever be able to achieve that goal? I hope so, some day.
Also today I allowed myself to cry a little bit, my mind began to wonder off a little. I have always thought that Eric would be the one who would get sick or need my help, so I have always kept myself in pretty good health, eating right and exercising, knowing that I would need my strength to help him someday. Now as I face this new trial of mine, I wonder if the Lord is trying to teach me to rely on others, especially my husband. Eric loves me so much and wants to be the "fixer" I love that he has taken over and been pro-active in finding the best treatment for me.
Tomorrow we go to the Mayo Clinic and I am a little nervous, Eric will be there with me, I told him tonight that the waiting is the hardest part, I am ready to get going and move forward to get this black cloud out of my body.
To everyone who leaves me a comment or sends me a note on face book or an email, you have no idea what those mean to me. I have put them in a file so that I can go back and read them, I love them, I treasure them actually. My friends and family is what will get me through this with some dignity. Thank you so much, please continue to let me know how you are feeling, I need to hear from you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Life is so overwhelming for me right now, I am so confused about cancer and how this going to affect my life. I worry everyday about my kids, I don't want them to worry I want life to be normal for them, and Eric is my ROCK. Many people don't know that his mother died from breast cancer when he and I were dating. For Eric this news comes pretty hard to him, I cant imagine what he is thinking. I tried to comfort him and tell him that breast cancer is not a death sentence, many people actually fight it and win the battle. I will be one of those people.
I was supposed to have an MRI today, but we cancelled. We are going to an appointment next week at the MAYO clinic and they will want us to have an MRI so no reason to have two of them, plus the insurance will only cover it once. (don't you just love insurance companies?) Oh well that's another blog, another day...
I am being watched over in so many ways and I feel the love of my family and close friends. I know this journey of mine is going to be the hardest thing I have done.
What is a normal life? I feel like we have had so many trials to over come the past couple of years, there is never any relief. What am I supposed to be learning through this? Patience? Faith? Endurance? Love? Because all of those are awesome characteristics to have but seriously? Cancer?
I have not yet broke down and cried and I feel bad when other people cry because I don't know how to comfort them, I don't feel what they feel. It's almost like I am having an outer body experience. I feel so guilty because the tears wont come, I think when they finally do I am going to really have a melt down, hopefully it will be in private. I wish I could go to each person who has sent me a note on Facebook or an email and let them know I appreciate them, that I need them and their prayers that its ok for them to feel bad and if they shed a tear for me I understand and care. Heavenly Father is here, right here in my heart I feel him, I love him and I want my kids to feel him too, to be there for them and comfort them like he is me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The "C" word

Yesterday I was diagnosed with breast cancer...the "C" word was not something I thought I would ever have to go through. I hestitate to post alot about it, but decided I need to get out what I am feeling and let you know what is happening in my little world.
I have been dealing with female issues for the past year, and was told recently that I need to go ahead and have a hysterectomy. I have been kinda bummed about it because the recovery is so long and yucky. The Dr told me he wanted me to go in and have a mammogram because it has been about 4 or 5 years since I had one. My last mammogram showed a lump, but it was not malignant, I had it removed and my Dr told me that I need to make sure to have mammos every 3-6 months because any lumps left un attended can turn into cancer. After a year of that my doctor passed away and I got out of the habit. When I went for this recent mammo it showed a large lump and several small ones on the right breast. My gyno doctor sent me to a surgeon and he sent me in for a biopsy last friday July 31st. The results came in this week I got the call that the doctor wanted to see Eric and I to give us the results in person. Even then I thought that he was just wanting to collect a co-pay to tell me all was clear and that they needed to take out the lump. (it kinda made me mad that I had to go in to hear this) However when I got to the doctors office that was not the news he gave me he said I was positive for ductal carsinoma. Over the next 45 minutes as he explained all my options I did not hear a word he said (good thing Eric was there for that part) all I could think about were my kids...Blake is leaving on his mission in 6 weeks, nothing is going to get in the way of him serving the Lord especially not this, Kaitlyn is very close to engagement, and my Kayla is having our first grandchild in December, Haleigh is so young she needs her mom to help her through her final year of HighSchool.

I thought to myself, this is not real, this cannot be happening to me right now...Oh really? when would be a better time? ha ha I often talk to myself...

The thing is, there is never a good time for trials to come in our lives. I will take each day live it to the fullest and do what I need to do to fight this. I am going to concentrate on all the positive things I have going on right family is the greatest and I dont want them to worry.

I remember my stake President saying that whenever Temples are being built, the people in the area will have trials satan wants to do all he can to keep the family from being happy and will go to every length to break up families, but I actually think this trial will bring my family closer, so too bad satan you lose.