"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Friday, April 30, 2010

Standing Strong

This is Terry. I am waiting for Sarah to return from Surgery. About 2 hrs in of a 3 hr surgery. The surgery was started 3 hrs behind the regular schedule. I have friends and family waiting beside me.

I am not as eloquent (or even know if I spelled that correctly) than Sarah. But we have the same God. I am stronger in faith than I have ever been. I have been a selfish christian and ready to be more. The service I have seen of friends and family has also shown me my own weakness.

My answer to the question, what do you do, should not be, Benefits Administration, but should be I work for the Lord. Let me tell you what he has done for me.

This transformation hasn't come from this experience alone. God has been working on this slowly for awhile, from finding Copperfield Church, joining the right small group where I met Mark who served in the Tech Department where I started serving in, where we started a study called the Truth Project weeks before getting the news of cancer.

Leading a life of service for the Lord is not easy, but I echo the title of this blog as well. "Here Am I, Send Me." I am ready to serve the lord and be a witness to further his kingdom.

Psalm 31:14
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, "You ar my God"

Surgeon just told me Sarah is out of surgery and everything went according to plan (Mastectomy, PortCath insertion and node disection). Sarah will surely blog more later. Thank you everyone for your prayers and support.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


More bad news, but man, does God show up!! That's it- I could end the blog there. GOD SHOWS UP!
My surgeon called tonight and said that my MRI results show that there is a lot of tumor left behind. And it appears that it's already in the nodes.

Bad news. We didn't take it well. But here's the God part...

We met with the plastic surgeon today and learned all there is to know about reconstruction of a breast. So, I know where we're heading. God was preparing the way.

I *finally* reached out to talk to a woman at church who is just months ahead of me in her diagnosis. I asked her how she felt about mastectomy and her words were simple but exactly what I needed to hear: "I decided I'll do whatever it takes to be here for my kids."

Well put.

And here's the best part of all. My surgeon didn't call until nearly 7 p.m. Guess where we were? Church. For small group. Our children were being taken care of and didn't need our attention. So we had our break-down moment in privacy. But just when we'd had all the privacy we could take, our awesome small group gathered around us to pray.

God built this day to protect us and prepare us for what He knew lay ahead. I wish you could see the strength my husband has when He leans on God. I am lucky to have been married to him for five years. Five years today. Never imagined this when we said, "In sickness and in health."

And finally, I talked to Ashley a bit ago. I'm not sure if she was trying to say this or God just spoke through her. But she reminded me that a few days ago I was so dragging my feet about lumpectomy versus mastectomy. I was praying to hear what God wanted. And Ashley said that this may have just been God's way of answering my question.

So, I'm off to bed now. Whirlwind day. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow I get to start attacking this stuff. Tomorrow I get my portacath which means chemotherapy is right around the corner. Bring it on! My disease may be big but I've never questioned that my God is way bigger.

Pray tomorrow. I'm counting on you all to call out to God for us.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


So I go to the hospital to check in for the MRI. Before I met the actual radiology nurse I came in to contact with 4 different administrative people. I asked each and every one of them if they were the ones with the Valium.

I'm not the most claustrophobic girl out there, but I do have a pretty big fear of tight spaces and so I wanted, and was assured I could get, something to calm me down.

The first three administrative people I met weren't amused by my pleading for narcotics. The fourth lady had a different response.
First she said, "Hi."
I said, "Hi. Are you the one with the Valium?"
She laughed a boisterous and dramatic laugh, one I would quickly become fond of in the five minutes we chatted. She said, "You want to know what my valium is?" And she snatched a piece of paper from my hand and began writing. "C-H-R-I-S-T."

I high-fived her. (Really, I did. This tendency to high-five comes out of me at the oddest times.) She began a scripture-filled monologue of how God is the ultimate healer and we, as fellow Capricorns (she'd glanced at the birthday on my chart) share the same zodiac sign as Jesus (here she jokingly reminded me that he was born on Christmas Day). She told me I was being used for the glory of God and that I was not allowed to have a sob story, just a testimony.

She was bubbly, silly, obviously proud of her God, and she had no trouble showing it. I was so happy she had been the one to talk with me today. She reminded me of how I should be sharing Christ. With enthusiasm and certainty! Vivian, if we ever cross paths again I've got to thank you for being so great!

Oh yeah- the MRI went ok, despite me having to do it face down. I will share the humilation of getting a chest-MRI wih you ladies out there some time. But, in the end the valium helped. The MRI started and the loud banging came with it and I thought, "Ok, I've got to pray to keep my mind off of where I am. Ok... pray. Pray... hmmm. What should I pray for? Jesus.... Jesus..... Jesus, thank you for valium!"

Lotsa Helping Hands

I've got a site set up at http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/625677/.
It's where you can learn about our needs and how to help out. We need babysitters for three occasions in the next two days.

If you'd like to be added to a list of people who get email updates when I add a new need to the site, please email me, comment here with your email address, or "become a member of the community" when you clink the link above.

I'm headed to med center for an MRI and likely won't get any of your responses till end of day. So if you can babysit tomorrow it might be best to call me.


Better Today

Ok, I'm still mad I ever gave cancer a point. I've been beaten down the last few days and I'm not sure how it happened. I knew it was cancer before the diagnosis. I didn't flip out after the oncologist told me. I didn't stress for three days, just came home and slept and wondered how long before my cancer-free party.

It might sound like denial to you, but it wasn't. It was acceptance and faith in my big, big God. But once we met with the oncologist and I got buried beneath the huge weight of stats and figures, treatment options and diagnostic tests I lost track of the peace I had in the beginning.

It's just like when Super-Star-Awesome-Dashing husband and I learned years ago that when you spend more time in the world than with the Lord, you begin to believe the lies of the culture. I was spending more time reading about cancer and the facts and my many options. Like I read in James 4 today, I was wrong to make plans without remembering that God is the author of my life. James 4: 13 and 15 "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit...Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'"

I didn't learn how to really trust God with things until very recently. When something bad happened I use to call and complain to others, make a pro and con list, talk to Terry for hours. In these last few months it had become my goal to talk more to God. And I learned how much easier it was to tell God the problem and wait on His answer.

That's what He meant when He asked us to lay our burdens at His feet. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19). “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

I was encouraged reading James chapter 5 this morning...

5:8 "You also be patient. Establish your hearts..."
5:10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord , as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perserverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

5:15-19 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again and heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."

The faith and peace and forgivness God gives me during this time is available to everyone. Our saviour can save your marriage, save your finances, save you from blindness and make you whole. He can make me cancer-free and He can make you whole. Please listen to Him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Worship While I'm Waiting

Today was a hard day. I thought I was just seeing the surgeon so she could check on my stitches from the first surgery. So I went alone thinking it was more important for Terry to be at work. Wish he'd have come because I got the pathology report (which still has more unanswered questions than answered) and we discussed mastectomys.

I'm tired of being told that things will be harder because I'm younger. Apparantly chemo will make me more sick, the cancer is more agressive, I'll bleed more from surgery, and I have a higher chance of recurrence after this intitial treatment all because I'm younger. Everytime I hear someone say they were diagnosed young "at 35" I feel so angry. Man, what I wouldn't give for 7 more worry-free years! I should have had lots more years.

It's when I'm thinking like this that it takes so much energy and willpower to re-focus on God and relax. Music has really helped me with that. Like the "While I'm Waiting" lyrics below. I've heard this song easily hundreds of times but when it came on today I realized that nothing could better put into words how I was feeling at exactly that moment.

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

I can't imagine that anything will be as hard as just sitting around waiting to hear if the nodes are clean or not. Waiting to know if my odds are 80-something percent or less than 30. One small test makes such a difference.

Right now we're waiting on my general surgeon and plastic surgeon getting their schedules together to get me in. Waiting on God to hear an answer about double or single mastectomy. Like the song says, I'm going to move ahead bold and confident.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Waiting and Researching

Today ended the first weekend since the diagnosis a week ago and it was very hard to wait two long days and have no contact with any doctor. It's only been a week since we found the cancer but I've lived twelve years in that week. Waiting is hard.

And now I'm waiting more because the MRI scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled because the MRI machine at St. Lukes is broken. One day longer to wait and one day longer before we're able to start any treatment. Extremely frustrating.

Especially since I've realized that I can still feel a lump. We knew they didn't get it all when they did the surgery a week ago today, but I thought that what was left would only be microscopic. I mean, if I can feel it, why couldn't they see it during surgery? (If I started believing that my outcome was in my doctors' hands, I would go crazy with worry!) It's odd to sit here knowing that I've got cancer inside me still. It's odd to feel the lump and think, "That's cancer."

But after reading about cancer, treatment, and therapy for an entire weekend, I can see benefits to starting chemo before having the rest of the tumor removed. And after some heart-felt prayer time last night, I think I'm actually leaning towards going ahead with the mastectomy as opposed to only a lumpectomy. The reasons are too daunting and long to write out, so I won't try and fill you in right now. But your prayers in that direction would be helpful. Deciding on a mastectomy isn't a single decision- as I'm learning when it comes to cancer, there are always lots of choices. There's partial mastectomy, skin-sparing mastectomy, full mastectomy (which includes removing chest muscles), double mastectomy.

Then you decide whether to do an immediate reconstruction during the same surgery as the mastectomy (which leaves you under anesthesia for hours which can be dangerous) or you can do the reconstruction later (which has serious emotional affects- you're left with a hole, a nothing, where there used to be much), or no reconstruction at all.

And if you decide on reconstruction then you need to pick to use implants or tissue from another part of your body. From there you'd have to decide from which part of the body to remove the tissue.

There are a lot of things to think about. And since we're still just waiting on more tests to get a better picture of the specifics of my cancer, I have lots of time to think of all of these things.

I have bad moments every day. But most of them pass quickly. I've always got the decision to dwell on the bad moment or surrender it to God. And while I have chosen twice in 7 days to be angry for a bit and not immediately take my sorrow to God, most of the time I'm quick to pray and get the big picture.

I've watched videos on youtube where women my age go through chemo, shave their heads, show off their drainage tubes post-surgery, and never mention God through any of it. They thank people for all of their "kind thoughts" (rather than prayers) and it makes me ache that they are in the same position as I am- completely vulnerable- and that they still don't see God. I can't imagine God's pain as He watches them choose to struggle alone when He's so close and so willing to take the pain.

Pain teaches us so much. There hasn't been a day yet when I haven't said at least half a dozen thank yous to God for allowing me to go through this because of what I'm learning in the process. I look forward to those I might meet in chemotherapy or support groups who are still walking it alone. I pray now that I, through my faith, can have a profound impact on them. Pray with me, please.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Here I Am.

The title of my blog comes from Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'
And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"

Downhere - Here I Am
From the album Ending Is Beginning

Sometimes Your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes it 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


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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Still Awake

12:08 a.m.
Guess that makes this "breast cancer day 7."
Got a book written by a breast cancer survivor in the mail today.
Already finished it.
Beginning was empowering. Middle was heart-breaking and scary. By the end I was numb.
Bargaining with God. What can I trade? How 'bout financial problems again? Maybe you could take back the cancer and in exchange Terry could lose his job? No. Don't want to start bargaining. I could lose out that way. What if it weren't me? What if it were the kids? Ok, I'll stick with it.

Terry is so sick. Poor Terry. He's been doing 75% (at least) of all the kid stuff while I try to regain...I don't know...what am I trying to regain? ...Normalcy? ...Peace? .Anyway, he's doing all the early mornings and letting me sleep in. But he's pretty sick. What timing, huh?

Going to bed now. Claiming the scriptures-- my "joy will come in the morning," right? Tonight I need my Jehovah-Rapha. My God the healer.

Today's score (although it's still early)

Here's hoping "breast cancer day 7" ends better than it began...

Breast Cancer Day 6

Can't sleep at night. Not because I'm dwelling on things, just because I feel wide-awake and just lie in bed.
Got some crazy tension in my shoulders. Probably mostly from the stress of not knowing the type or stage of cancer yet. But also because of the tight wrappings we've used since the surgery. We finally went through our mail from the past week and we were again stunned by all the cards you guys had sent prior to the original diagnosis and since.

Come to think of it, maybe one of the reasons I can't sleep is because I keep remembering someone who I haven't written to or thanked yet! All of the meals were so tasty, the gift cards much-appreciated, the words of encouragement so...well, encouraging. Our yard is freshly mowed, and we won't need household supplies for a month because of the generosity of our friends! Even if I forget to thank you individually, please know that anyone who has reached out to me in anyway, has been lifted up to God in return. "I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers." 2 Timothy 1:3

We're mostly doing ok. Even with our ever-trusting faith in God, the day is a roller-coaster of emotions. A lot of what I read says this part is the hardest. Not knowing your diagnosis, your type, your stage. Not knowing your plan of attack and imagining the worst.

One battle I'm fighting most often is this: I know where I'm going when I die. I'm not just ok with going to Heaven, I look forward to being with Jesus. And I know that God is truly my families care-taker and that, despite my ego, my husband and children will do fine without me. BUT- just because I have peace about it doesn't mean I'm ready for it! So every time I feel at ease remembering who holds my future, that peace only lasts a few seconds because with my next breath I'm begging God to let me have more time. I have thought more than once- it's not fair! Hopefully these feelings will pass when we know the severity of the cancer and have a plan.

But when I feel down I sift through my emails/cards and get to read these great things from y'all:

Let us then with confidence grow near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Specific prayers for Sarah have been lifted up to our loving Lord and we walk in faith knowing He is standing in the gap and professing our prayers to the Heavenly Father.

It's hard to turn your thoughts off. We say we want to trust Jesus...and we do trust Him, but we're also fearful of what His will is for us to walk through. To be used by Him for His perfect purpose is scary. We're human. One scripture says to 'praise God for everything' - that's tough, but it's sometimes the only way we can stay focused on Him and not fear itself. He told the woman who had been bleeding for a very long time:
"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
This is my prayer.

... let's remember to ask God to use this for His glory.

My bible verse for today happens to be: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry (Psalm 34:15 NIV). That verse seems so appropriate for Sarah and Terry – what perfect timing it is for that verse to appear today. Of course we know that God’s timing is always perfect so I am claiming that verse for them and will lift those words up to our loving Lord daily on their behalf.

Remember that Ephesians 3:20 says "He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."

Strangly enough, at work we are studying the different miracles of the Bible and it has increased my faith and hope in the great God we serve. After every reading I pray the for the miracle needs in our life and I'm expecting a huge testimony from your journey.

You have one of the strongest faiths in God that I've known a woman to have and it will get you through.

I have sent your name out to my prayer warriors and God will hold you tightly during this time. I was reading in Deuteronomy last month and ran across a scripture that really touched me. It is about God holding you between his shoulders. When we are in times of fear or unknowing somehow we can feel so much safer behind our husband knowing he will protect us. Just imagine that you are behind God and between his shoulders and he will keep you safe. He already knows the future and has a plan. Deuteronomy 33:12.

During these times, I'm always comforted by God's sovereignty. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens by coincidence or accident or randomly. He is in control. And He walks us through it quietly, patiently, and faithfully. One of my favorite verses during tough times is Psalm 30:5 ...weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Praying in agreement with you for total healing, claiming miracles for you!!!

And awesome words of friendship from my ever-humorous, always-eloquent friend, hero, and cancer survivor, Ashley, "I’m gonna stick with you like the plague." Very comforting, Ash. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010


Ok, I'm gonna divide these posts in to two categories (for now): ramblings and updates. Here we go with some updates:

-My oncologist is Dr. Kirk Heyne.

-My surgeon is Dr. Gretchen Zimmerman.

-So far all of my procedeures have been at St. Lukes.

-I am getting a website on "lotsahelpinghands.com" where I will post days of my surgeries/chemo/radiation and let everyone see when and how I need help. If I understand the site right, you'll be able to sign up there to help me and the boys out.

-We still won't know the type and stage of the cancer for sure for a few more weeks.

-We had original surgery Monday the 19th and they cut out some of the cancer, but they missed some and will have to go in at a later date.

Here's the latest:
We found out my cancer is "hormone sensitive." This is a good thing. It means that, in addition to chemo and radiation, I will be able to have hormone therapy which ups the magic number we're always talking about, "cure rate."

My oncologist has decided that it's difficult to tell from films where the cancer actually starts and stops inside me. So the next thing we're doing is an MRI next Tuesday. This will hopefully help the surgeon better understand where and how much to cut out next time.

But, it looks like I'll be starting chemo before the next surgery. Here's why- they want me to take two gene tests (simple blood tests) to determine if I carry the cancer gene. As of now I have a 10-15% chance of carrying the genes. If I do have the genes, then I will have a 65% chance of eventually getting cancer in both my breasts and ovaries. If that's the case then the oncologist will recommend a double mastectomy. So that's why we're waiting before we do more surgery. There's no reason to cut a little more now if we eventually going the mastectomy route.

Starting the chemo now should stop growth of any cancerous cell still in there.

So I'm getting blood tests and MRI next Tuesday. (and we won't need any help after that.) Then the surgeon will put in the portocath (a small tube in my chest that allows them to bypass using an iv for every chemo treatment) and sample the nodes to see if its spread. I don't have a timeline for this right now. One step at a time.

Thanks for the prayers!!!

More Ramblings

First off, Terry was sweet to point out that there were many mistakes in my first post. (Always keeping me grounded, babe.) And I'm gonna tell you what I told him- I don't care. :) "28cancer" will be my diary just as much as it will be a place for you all to find info. And I don't plan on ever editing my diary for good grammar. Sorry Professor Meyer, cancer beats the journalism-bug right out of me.

Today has been a harder day. I ended last night on a good note. Went to Bible Study where I was grateful to be reminded of the many trillions of things more important than some bad cell growth in my chest. And since I wasn't in a vicodin-induced haze, I actually stayed up to eleven with my Super-Star-Awesome-Dashing husband. We've been ships passing in the night lately and I've missed him. Less than a week till our 5 year anniversary...

Anyway, so last night was good and my surgery was healing and feeling better. I was ready to shake the dust off and be a mom again until I would once again be shut down by surgery. But I woke up with stomach pains and after lying on the couch for a few hours I succumbed and called in reinforcements. Thankfully Mel is just down the road, so she's playing with the boys now. Even though there are so many unknowns, I can't imagine anything ever getting harder than facing facts about raising my kids. I keep wondering- why did God put it so strongly in our hearts to homeschool if I might not be here or be strong enough to do it??

So there are three things that I'm focusing on:

1. Allowing myself to be weak, like the church song says, so that He can be strong. Terry and I feel so certain that being in this position allows us to reach friends and family for Christ. We will praise Him in all things and give Him credit for each victory along the way!
2. What can I learn from this? (More on that later.)
3. My cancer-free party! While there has never been, and as far as I'm concerned, never will be, another reason to celebrate that is greater than my marriage to Super-Star-Awesome-Dashing husband, kicking cancer rates pretty high up there. And if and when we beat it, I'm gonna wear pink, and we're gonna have ourselves a par-tay!

Concerning #2 above, here's what I've already learned...

That there are 'best-guess' about 500 people praying for me. And that probably doesn't include any churches where I've been added to the prayer list. Thank God for prayerful friends! I've been most grateful for all of the many responses that have been scripture-filled. Psalms 119:11 says to hide scripture in our hearts, and there's nothing better than being reminded of God's words.

I have gotten emails from people whose names I didn't even recognize. Support from every part of Texas, including from people whom I haven't heard from in years. And it's blown me over. But I feel very convicted-I feel like my hand's been slapped! All of the support has made me aware of how badly I've given support in the past. Whenever someone I know was confronted with a tragedy/emergency I think I became scared of my own shadow and thought that my visit/email/phone call would be only an annoyance. If how I feel is any indication, then I've let many moments go by when I could have lent a helping hand or shared words of support.

So, I'm sorry to any and all of you if I've ever come up short in the condolences/support area. Believe me, the bad attitude came from my own insecurity and is not representative of how much I've thought of you and loved you as you've struggled, too.

Look at that, cancer's already made me better!

Todays Score:
Me: 1
Cancer: Nada

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cancer at Twenty-Eight.

If you're reading this blog then you've already heard our news. I was diagnosed Monday, April 19, 2010 with breast cancer. My first appointment with the oncologist landed on our youngest son's first birthday. Ten days before our 5 year anniversary.

We won't know what type of cancer it is until after my second surgery which we expect to happen early next week.

Here's how it all happened...

I started thinking I was pregnant right around mid-February. My body was changing in weird ways that I could only explain away as a pregnancy. (For example, my tastes changed and food didn't taste the same anymore.) None of the symptoms were big or hindered regular life in any way. I only paid any attention to the symptoms because I thought it was far too early to be pregnant again. Although a third, and possibly, fourth child were in our future plans, we weren't quite ready.

The next thing I noticed was a certain fullness in my left side. This was probably the end of February. There still wasn't anything to report to a doctor, though.

Beginning of March I felt a lump. It seemed pretty big but I managed to ignore it for two or three days. This is when God started to prepare me for the diagnosis we would finally get. I heard scriptures and stories that strengthened my understanding of Eternity. I had a heavy heart for those around me who had turned a blind eye or deaf ear to the truth in the Bible. I began to pray and ask God how I could serve.

And then one day Terry walked in to the bathroom as I was changing and I said, "I found a lump." He didn't have time to react; he was being called to by the kids in the other room. But I already had a feeling we were headed somewhere scary and so I remember everything about that moment. Several times in the next few weeks I'd think back to that moment and realize the significance of it. That it was most likely the beginning for us.

I scheduled an appointment with the doctor and was told that I wasn't high priority because of my age. People just don't get breast cancer in their 20s. If you're diagnosed in your forties, you're considered a young patient. So I waited three long weeks to see the doctor. All the while the lump seemed to grow. I told only a few people about the lump, mostly asking for prayers. I was keenly aware of my unique position. If I were to get a negative outcome- that is to say if the tests were negative for cancer- I could at least have gained perspective as to how a person waiting for a diagnosis might feel. There would be much to gain from being in my shoes so I tried to pay attention and consider all possibilities and outcomes.

But I couldn't shake the feeling that it was cancer. I'm so grateful that God laid the groundwork for me and prepared me for the news.

During that first appointment I had an initial exam, an ultrasound, and a mammogram. I was asked standard breast cancer questions several times: Do I have a history of breast cancer in the family? Was I younger than thirty when I had my children (being younger than 30 decreases your chances of bc), had I breastfed my babies (bfing decreases your chances of bc, too). All of my answers were no so at every step along the way someone was there assuring me that it wasn't cancer. But when no one could tell me what it might be instead, I continued to doubt. I continued to seek God and search for His peace.

And after a lumpectomy this passed Monday, when I was only seconds awake from my anesthesia sleep, I remember the anesthesiologist saying, "It is cancer..." I'm sure she said something else after that, but I didn't hear. Instead I asked her the strangest question. I said, "I'm not done having babies. Can I have another baby?"

In fact, since Monday, we've learned that I *might* be able to have another baby. Chemotherapy sends 1 out of 5 women in to early menopause. I'm taking shots to shut down my ovaries right now and protect them from the chemo.

What else we know:
It's a "moderate" size. It's an aggressive cancer. It grew fast.
The doctor's best guess is that it is a stage 1 or 2. We won't know for sure until after the next surgery where they will sample the nodes to see if it's spread. During this same surgery they will attempt to get all of the cancerous tissue they left behind. They'll put in a porta-cath because I have hard-to-find veins and this will make chemo easier. 

What we don't know:
If it's spread to the ducts yet.
If it's hormone sensitive (meaning hormone therapy would be effective and increase my "cure rate."
Right now I'm supposed to be making a decision regarding mastectomy.

We've got a lot of decisions to make in the next few weeks. Chemotherapy will begin as soon as they're sure they've surgically removed all of the cancer. The doctor said that, unfortunately, the younger you are the more likely to be nauseous after the treatments. But, I shouldn't have as much fatigue.

This post is getting insanely long, but I can't end it without saying a huge "thank you!!" to all of you. The response we've gotten from friends, family, acquaintances, friends of friends, and near strangers has been unbelievable! The calls, emails, flowers, prayers, and food are much appreciated. We're lucky to have so much family near-by and I dare say there isn't a woman out there who can boast a better support group than I've got from my friends. And Terry and I are especially blessed, and mindful of God's perfect timing, when it comes to our Small Group at Copperfield Church. We fell in with a loving, biblically-minded group of people at just the right time. Without them, we just might have all starved this week! This first surgery left me without the use of my left arm for a while and having food provided for us was awesome (and SO tasty!).

With the life and routine of two young kids being our focus during all of this, we won't be shy about asking for help in an effort to keep their lives normal.

There will be many more posts, if the rambling in my brain is any indication. Check back for more info. And send your prayers our way. We believe God will do a lot of good through us if we only let him.