Friday, April 2, 2010

Peach Angel

Since Steve didn’t go with me to the MRI yesterday (I told him I would be fine on my own) he made sure he added some power steering fluid to the car before I left because it had been leaking a little. 

After the MRI was over,  I took my little traumatized self out the door and drove away from the clinic.  Here is my  “not-so-happy place.”



As I pulled away from the MRI clinic, I noticed that the power steering was feeling a bit stiff and I had to work really hard to turn corners.  However, since I knew that Steve had already topped it off, I didn’t get too worried.

At least I didn’t get worried for another minute or two.  And then the steering just seemed to get worse and worse, until I could barely even manage to haul the car around a corner without great exertion and accompanying (ladylike) grunts.

Since I had to stop anyway to put in some gas, I thought I’d just call Steve at the same time to get mechanical instructions.  As I began pumping the gas, I happened to notice an African American gentleman outside the station—just standing there.  He didn’t seem to be in a hurry, didn’t seem like he had to be anywhere.  Just standing.

He stood out to me because of his easy, relaxed demeanor and also because he was wearing a beautiful suit with a peach silk shirt underneath. Peach is one of my favorite colors to wear and I remember thinking, “What a cool ensemble!”

But my “appreciating peach” moment passed quickly and I was soon back to the nitty gritty business of life, which was trying to figure out what to do about the car.

I wrestled the vehicle away from the pump, and pulled over to the opposite side of the station (completely out of view of the peach guy),  barely managing to steer around another car and get pulled into a parking space. 

I pulled out my cell phone and explained to Steve what was going on; he was quite surprised to hear about the problem since he had just filled up the power steering tank.  He said he hoped it wasn’t the steering wheel pump that had gone out, in which case adding fluid wouldn’t help.

So he started giving me directions about how to check the fluid.  Which was about as productive as teaching a duck-billed platypus how to do calculus.

But I tried.

I managed to open the trunk AND the hood (his car has all sorts of different “opening levers” I’m not familiar with) and I managed to find the power steering fluid and the little reservoir that it was supposed to go into.

After setting down the phone for a moment and wrestling with the lid I finally told Steve, “Okay, the lid is off. Now what?”

He said, “Can you see on the little dipstick that hangs down from the lid what the level of the fluid is?”

I peered at the dipstick suspiciously. Nope. I had no clue what he was talking about.  I couldn’t tell where any fluid level stopped or started; it just all looked the same to me.

He then gave me the cheerful news that there was an “optimal level” the fluid should be at, and adding fluid when it wasn’t needed was not going to help matters any.

He had me go back to the trunk, get a cloth and wipe the dipstick off.  Then he told me to put it all the way back in, tighten the lid, and then unscrew it and check it again.

By this time, my arm was aching from where the IV had been, my head was aching from tears and stress and all I could think about was that I was stuck 2 1/2 hours from home and we were going to have to call a wrecker and we couldn’t afford to call a wrecker and I was never going to get home and I. Was. So. Overwhelmed.

I took a deep, calming breath and tried to remove the cap once more so that I could attempt to get an accurate reading.  Well, it turns out that when I had put the cap back on, I had threaded it wrong and now it was on there crooked and was now impossible for someone of my non-strong ability to even budge.

I thought, “Great.  I can’t re-check the fluid level and now I can’t add any fluid and I can’t drive the car the way it is and I just don’t know what I’m going to do!”

About that time I heard a melodious voice next to me and I looked up to see the Man in Peach approaching the car.  How he ever saw me on the opposite side of the station with the hood facing away I’ll never know, but he did.

He said, “Hello, ma’am.  It looks like you might need some help.”

I resisted the urge to fling my arms around him in a most appreciative gesture of gratitude but instead I babbled, “Well, I have my husband on the phone and he said to take the lid off and check the fluid but I can’t get the lid off and so I can’t tell how much fluid I have and the car won’t steer right and I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

He approached the car with great confidence and all I could think was, “Listen, fella, you really don’t want to be working on a dirty engine wearing peach silk, do you?”

That fact didn’t seem to bother him.

With one easy motion, he got the lid off that I had been fighting with for five minutes.  He peered with a practiced eye down into the mysterious depths of the liquid and said, “Oh no, ma’am.  There’s not enough fluid in there.”  And then he took his fingers and splashed them around in the fluid in order to confirm his initial diagnosis.

All I could think of was, “Peach shirt!  Peach shirt! You’re going to get stuff all over your peach shirt!”

He was oblivious to my concern for his fashion well being and simply reached over, grabbed the power steering fluid and very confidently added the right amount before replacing the lid, closing the hood and closing the trunk.  He then suggested that I get in the car, back up a little bit and try to get up a little speed before turning the wheel.  He said that would be the best indication of how things were.

And so off I went. At first the steering still felt pretty stiff but then I felt it loosen up a little bit and figured I’d be okay to drive the car home.

When I pulled up near him to thank him for his help, he said an unusual thing. He put both hands together like he was praying, leaned forward slightly at the waist, fixed me with compassionate and wise eyes and said, “I have only prayers for you.”

As I drove off, I pondered our meeting. Out of all the people in the city of Greenville who could have been at that particular station, there was one there who seemed to be almost waiting for something to happen.  And when that something happened, he was right on the spot, with practical help and with a promise of prayer.

Although I’m not saying he was an Angel, I am saying that for me at least, he was someone God put there at the right time, someone who was there for me when I was tired and frustrated and overwhelmed.

And the fact that he was wearing peach?  It just made it all the better.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A “2 P Day”

Don’t tell anyone, but it’s 10:02 am and I’m still in my pajamas. I didn’t even really wake up until 9 am which is pretty late for me since I usually get up around six o’clock every day.

However, after three days in a row of doctor appointments and the stress that comes with dealing with this sort of new diagnosis, I think I deserve at least a Partial Pajama Day. (Also known as a “2 P Day.”)

And Snowy’s not complaining. He’s tucked right in the chair beside me, sound asleep and not at all concerned as to whether the leg he is snuggled up against is pajama clad or jean clad. That’s what I love about dogs. They don’t worry about a whole lot of nothin’!

I’m also recovering from the non-fun MRI I had yesterday.

I’ve had three MRI’s in my life: two of them were breast MRI’s and one of them was a heart MRI. The heart MRI was completely non stressful. I was on my back, in a comfortable position and didn’t feel at all bothered by the noise, the confinement, nothing. I could have stayed in there for hours and hours with nary a worry.

But the other two MRI’s? Not so much.

Two years ago when I had the Big Cancer Scare (90 to 95% chance of having cancer in one or both breasts) I had an MRI done and came out crying. I just figured that it was a fluke and that for any future MRI’s, I would be fine. Not to mention dandy.


After having my IV started yesterday, I was rolled into the big MRI tube on my stomach with my right arm (the one with the IV) down at my side and the left arm crossed up and over my head. And that position was comfortable for, well, about two minutes. And then it was comfortable no more. My rib cage started aching almost immediately, being smushed up as it was against the hard table.

And the noise. Hoo boy. My family will very quickly tell you that I am hyper sensitive to noise. I will jump at the slightest sound and I can’t sleep unless my white noise machine is turned on to block out other sounds. Well, the MRI is incredibly loud by itself, but they also clamped a pair of headphones on me which was playing oldies music at a pretty loud volume. (In order to block out the MRI sounds, I guess.) I felt like my whole pitiful psyche was being assaulted by those decibels roaring through my brain.

And then I tried to move my right arm a teensy bit in an attempt to get more comfortable. When it ran right into the wall of the machine, the thought suddenly crashed into my brain, “It’s really tight in here. I can’t move. At all. I’m trapped!" (And I’ve never been claustrophobic before.)

Of course, the underlying stress, in addition to everything else, was the knowledge of what was actually being tested. The scan was examining me for cancer. Doctors were going to use that test to decide whether or not I do, indeed, have a contained cancer that can be successfully treated or whether there are other spots anywhere that could be more serious, more life threatening, more difficult to treat. So those thoughts were all scrolling determinedly through my beleaguered brain.

Then suddenly my whole body was as hot as fire; I felt sweat start to trickle down my face and panic start to trickle through my brain. And I thought, “I can’t do this. I can’t make it through this.”

In between the VERY LOUD scans, the tech asked, “Are you doing okay?”

Um. That would be a big negatory.

I replied, “If I come out for a minute, do we have to start the whole thing again?”

She said, “You can come out; you just can’t move.”

I said, “Well, I’m started to feel a bit stressed. (Understatement of the year.) Please bring me out.”

The table rolled on out and I lifted my head a tad (I was allowed to do at least that much) and gulped in some cooler air. The tech patted my back and said I was doing great.

Truth is, I wasn’t doing so great. I was quite convinced that I couldn’t go back in there for another minute, let alone twenty more minutes.

But I did.

Ten minutes later, my torso ached even worse, my back started to hurt, my sacroiliac nerve began to ache, sweat trickled down my face and I felt the beginnings of panic niggling around at the edge of my brain.

I was thinking, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this!”

At my anxious request, the very patient tech brought me back out and calmed me down a little, patting my back, letting me get some deep breaths. And once again, I was put back into the tube to face the battering noise, the panicked feeling of confinement, the minutes that had turned into hours, and the seconds that had become eternities.

When she finally brought me out for the last time, I was sweating, on the verge of tears and felt like every muscle in my body was screwed up into a tight ball. My face was flushed and sweaty, my hair was smushed flat in some areas and sticking straight up in others. I was not a very inspiring sight, on the inside OR the outside. (And yes, I probably WILL take some Xanax for any future MRI’s.)

When I finally got back into the privacy of the dressing room, I let the tears come--partly from the stress of the experience, partly because of the relief that it was over, partly because I was still getting used to the idea that I have breast cancer. That knowledge seems to come and go in unpredictable waves of emotion and denial and fresh realization.

I must say that this is quite a road to walk. I was pondering it all on the drive home yesterday and I think that part of the challenge for me right now is that I’m not in a town where I have lived for ten years and have lots and lots of people that I know well. I’m dealing with entirely new doctors in every category—pulmologist, family doctor, breast surgeon, plastic surgeon. There are no kindly, familiar faces in the medical field that I have any history with; I just sort of feel flung to the wind, in many senses.

And that is not to say that our new church family hasn’t been wonderful and supportive. They have. Different church friends have picked up Sarah from school, taken her to school in the mornings, walked the dog when we were at an appointment, brought plants and chocolate, called us, cried with us, hugged us and prayed for us.

So we’re in very good hands here, without a doubt.

It’s just that I was still just getting used to my new church, my new town, and my new community when this hit and so that’s why I feel a little more “at sea” than I might have otherwise, being in a more familiar place at diagnosis.

But that’s okay.

I think that this cancer diagnosis will speed up the “getting to know everybody” process in a good way; crises have a way of weaving peoples’ hearts together in a matter of weeks, rather than months or years. And that’s a very good thing.

I’ve actually got another story to tell from yesterday about a Peach Clad, African American, Angel Fella who came to my assistance when I needed it. But truthfully, all I can think of to do right now is to climb back into bed, put the covers over my head, and maybe cry a little, read a little, rest a little, and cry a little more.

This “2 P Day” has the makings of turning into a Whole Pajama Day.

And I think I’m good with that.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I stand corrected! Actually, I sit corrected. And in a few minutes, when I go to bed, I will "lie" corrected.

A couple of you graciously pointed out that sniveling can be spelled with one "l" or two and still be correct and when I did some brief Internet research, I found out you're absolutely right.

Learn somethin' every day!

It's been a long day. The MRI wasn't pleasant (to put it mildly) and then I had some car problems to further enhance the joy of my day. I'll write about it all tomorrow but for now, at 7:19, I am already in my pajamas and ready to head for bed. Steve and Sarah are at church, so it's just Snowy at home, keeping me company.

Dogs. A girl's best friend. Well, in addition to a whole bunch of wonderful and wondrous Internet buddies.

Thanks, once more, for your prayer and support. (And for your spelling corrections.) I am blessed!

Horses. Pulmonologists. Beaches. MRI’s. Sniveling.

How ‘bout if we take a little ol’ break from cancer for just a minute and talk about horses instead?

Wild horses. Wild mustangs on a lonely beach in North Carolina.

And why, you might ask, am I suddenly rattling on about wild horses?

Well, because last Friday, some wonderful website friends, Cindy (from California) and Chlorita (from the Raleigh area), were vacationing nearby and offered to take Steve, Sarah and I on a Wild Horse Tour.

About 45 minutes north of where we live is a beach that is only accessible by four wheel drive vehicles. It is secluded and wild and hard to get to and people actually build houses and live there. (Which sorta boggles my brain.)

Friday afternoon, we spent two hours with a guide, driving on the beach just a few feet from the ocean and then crawling up and down sand dunes and weaving in and out of all sorts of wild terrain. At times it almost felt like we were on the moon or in the middle of the Sahara because the landscape was so untamed looking and there were so few signs of civilization. The whole purpose of these tours is for people to catch glimpses of the wild mustangs who have roamed that area for years and, while we did see some of the horses, I was more entranced by the whole adventurous feel of just being in those types of surroundings.

As a point of interest, wealthy people rent 25 bedroom/25 bath homes out there (twenty to thirty thousand dollars a week) to host weddings. There is one particular house that has a chapel that seats a hundred people and the bridal party and guests all come out and stay a week and have the wedding right there; they never even have to leave the house.

Maybe when Sarah gets married, we’ll rent one of the homes. I think I saw $30,000 just lying around in my dresser drawer last night. (ha)

Anyway, it was really a wonderful adventure. Thanks Cindy and Chlorita!




horse tour cindy

My favorite sight on the trip was this sign on one of the houses that said, “No snivelling.” (To snivel means to whine or complain.) Even though they spelled “snivelling” wrong, I admired the pluck and panache’ of these red-neckish people in choosing such a delightful word. So today, if you’re tempted to whine about something just say to yourself, “NO sniveling.” And just saying that word will make you laugh.

Go ahead. Say the word aloud. Now didn’t you at smile at least a little?


Okay, let’s move on from sniveling and wild horses to cancer and pulmonologists.

My pulmonology appointment went okay yesterday although I was slightly alarmed when the nurse took my blood pressure and said, “It’s 100 over 30. Is that normal for you?”

I just about fell out of the chair. Thirty?? Is that normal for anybody? I asked her to take it again on the other arm and it was 100 over 50. So if I average the two together, my bottom number is forty. I have never had a BP number so low in my life but they didn’t seem overly concerned so I guess I’m not in danger of keeling over anytime soon. (Although with all the stress I’ve been under, I would have thought it would have been abnormally high instead.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t find out till after I got there that this particular doctor has two offices—one on the beach which he goes to once a week and one in another city which is his home office. The office on the beach did not have any of the pulmonary function testing equipment so I had to make an appointment in 10 days to go to his other office for the actual testing. (And pay another $50 co-pay. Isn’t that delightful? But no, I’m not going to snivel about it.)

So although I didn’t really get any info yesterday on how my lungs are doing, I was able to have a conversation with him about my cancer treatment. (It still feels funny to type those words.) He said that he would have no reservations about radiation being an option; he told me that the radiation beams are so focused that they would have little or no effect on my lungs.

Now if today’s MRI shows that the cancer is in more than one place, than obviously the radiation therapy would be more complicated and we might have to reconsider. But it’s a relief to know that for now, at least, the lumpectomy/radiation option is still a possibility.

I’ll leave in about an hour for the MRI; Steve’s going to stay behind and teach my class for me tonight since it’s a 4 1/2 hour round trip.

Today’s test will provide yet another piece to the treatment puzzle we’re trying to put together. Steve and I will go back to my surgeon next Tuesday to discuss the results of the MRI and to hopefully make a final decision on what treatment route to take.

I am extra, exceedingly, excruciatingly happy that after I get home tonight, I will having nothing medically related to deal with for at least five days. Well, except to read tons of books and literature about cancer and all its treatments. Which is just a tad overwhelming at times. And sometimes even more than a tad.

But I’m not going to snivel.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Today, I’m going to rewind just a bit and fill you in on a bit more about the actual day of diagnosis.

When I had the stereotactic biopsy last Monday, they made an appointment for me to return to the breast surgeon/oncologist in seven days to get results. However, when I asked the radiologist how long results usually took to come back she said, “Three to five days with preliminary results coming in even earlier.”

I “hmmm”-ed to myself and did the math. (Which, as we all know, is my strong point. Ha.)

“Let’s see. The doctor is going to have my diagnosis on Wednesday or Thursday, but he isn’t going to tell me the results until Monday? What is wrong with this picture?”

Part of my reason for wanting the news earlier (besides just wanting to know) was because, as pastors of a church, it’s much easier to give news to a congregation as a whole on Sunday morning than to have the news dribble out on Monday and the days following. However, I had been told that this was the doctor’s iron clad policy; he only gave results in person.

But I thought, “What does it hurt to ask?”

Since I do a whole lot better stating my case in writing than over the phone, I composed a letter and faxed it to the doctor’s office early Thursday afternoon listing some reasons for requesting earlier results. I didn’t have much faith that it would do any good, but at least I felt better for having tried.

At 5:30 Thursday afternoon, as I was about to put some chicken in the oven, my cell phone rang.

It was the doctor.

He started the conversation with, “Well, I got your letter. And since you went to the trouble of writing, I’ll make an exception and give you the results over the phone.”

At that point, I suddenly decided that I didn’t really want to hear the results after all. Instead, I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and say, “Nah, nah, nah” so loudly that I wouldn’t be able to hear him. I wanted to shout, “No, no! Tell me Monday! Tell me Monday!”

However, since I figured that a woman shouting “Nah, nah, nah” and “Tell me Monday!” into the phone might be somewhat disconcerting to the good doctor, I managed to keep myself quiet during that wee space of eternity when the smallest of silences preceded the loudest of messages.

He said, “I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that you have cancer. The good news is that we caught it early.”

At that moment, I had a strong sense of déjà vu because, for the previous few days, I had kept hearing in my heart, “Good news, bad news. Good news, bad news.” The doctor said exactly what I “knew” he was going to say.

We talked a few minutes more and then I hung up. And gazed unseeingly out the window. And stared at the phone in my hand. And pondered the words that had just entered my ears, my brain, my life, my existence, “You have cancer.”

I didn’t cry right then. I didn’t feel the need to. Instead, I just felt the need to hang on desperately to the numbness that had mercifully accompanied the staggering wave that had just swept through my life.

After a few minutes of standing stock still, alone in the kitchen, I finally gathered up my courage to walk upstairs to tell Steve who had been taking a fifteen minute, pre-dinner nap.

I went into the room and said, “Dr. Habal just called.”

I’ve never see Steve wake up so fast in my whole life. His eyes widened slightly and his expression intensified into a look of fast focus as he looked at me.

And I said simply, “It’s cancer.”

He was off the bed and had his arms around me before I could say anything else; we stood quietly for a few seconds, a few tears finally escaping down my face as I thought of what this news would mean for him as well as for me.

After he and I had talked about ten minutes, we realized the time had come to tell Sarah. Sweet, sweet Sarah, who has fought her own battle with her own cancer monster and won. Sweet, sweet Sarah, whose life would also be irrevocably changed by my words.

I didn’t want to tell Sarah. I wanted to shield her from the news. I wanted her mommy to be healthy and “there” for her every moment she might need me. I knew that the diagnosis would mean times spent away from her, times that I wouldn’t feel well, times when I wouldn’t always have the energy to see to her needs.

And I just didn’t want to say the words; I didn’t want to face the scenarios that my words would usher in. But it had to be done.

She was upstairs in her third floor aerie, puttering around in blissful ignorance when Steve called her down to our bedroom. When she walked into the room I quietly said, “Sarah, honey. You and I are now part of the same club.”

It took half a second for the meaning of the words to sink in. Her face crumpled into tears and she said, “Oh, Mom. Oh, no!”

And then I stood up to gather her into my arms. She cried, and I cried, and Steve stood with his arms around us both, praying for us. Praying for himself. Praying for us all. Praying for grace and peace and strength for the journey.

And as tears and love flowed through the room, we truly did feel at peace; we truly did feel that the difficult road ahead of us would be paved with grace.

After about ten minutes, we were able to talk about it a little and--in true Smith Family Fashion—even find a few things to laugh about. Because you know what? Sometimes laughter is just as healing as tears.

We tried calling Nathan but ended up just having to leave voice mail. He called back about 7 pm, just as he was going into his church to play drums for a college group meeting. When I shared the news with him, he was so sensitive and calm and compassionate. He asked the sorts of questions that I never dreamed a 20-year old College Dude would think to ask. He peered right into my heart and said the things I needed to hear. I hung up the phone feeling loved and cared for, and so very grateful for the amazing person my man child had become.

And in a wonderful “quirk” of timing, Nathan will actually be flying home this weekend for two days. Our regular drummer is going to be out of town on Easter, and since that’s a big service for us, we didn’t want to go without a drummer. The church had already made plans to bring Nathan in, not ever dreaming that when the flight was scheduled, he would arrive just a few days after my cancer diagnosis. It will be wonderful to be together as a family, if only for a few hours.

Today’s exciting medical plans include a visit to my new pulmonologist. I actually had an appointment scheduled with him three weeks ago but had to re-schedule; their next available appointment just happened to be today.

That is such perfect timing because we’re coming to realize that part of our decision making process for treatment will include how various sorts of treatment will affect my lungs. For instance, the breast doctor said that radiation can affect the lungs and the plastic surgeon said there are certain kinds of reconstruction (if I decide to go that route) which are not recommended for patients with COPD. And so to have a pulmonology appointment already scheduled during the very week we’re having to make big decisions is incredible timing.

Of course, pulmonology appointments always make me a bit nervous in themselves, because I’m always worried about whether the annual tests will show further decrease in lung capability. (For new readers: I have COPD and my lung capacity is currently about 60% of normal.)

So while I’m not overly thrilled to be going to yet another doctor’s appointment, I am thrilled about the way the timing worked out. It couldn’t be any more perfect.

And do you what’s even more perfect? The pulmonologist’s office is right across the street from my favorite thrift store.

I’m a happy woman.

Follow Up To Yesterday's Post

I'm up early this morning (5:15 am) and was reading a few more of your wonderful "heart messages." As I was reading, a certain theme cropped up a few times and I thought, "Hmmm. I must have written something misleading."

When I went back to my original post, I realized what it was. (I'm make a little correction there, so it's clear for future readers.)

When I go for the MRI Wednesday, it's not to determine whether or not I'm in the 20% that are misdiagnosed as NOT having cancer. The reason for the MRI is to determine whether or not I'm in the 20% whose cancer is worse than the original biopsy seemed to indicate, i.e, whether it's spread to any other places in the breast.

As much as I'd love to think there is a chance I really don't have cancer, that is not the case. I have definitely been diagnosed with breast cancer. They're just trying to ascertain right now what stage it is which will help determine the treatment.

I'm sorry for any "misinformation" there; we can chalk it up to a tired,under-rested, overwhelmed, chocolate-deprived brain!

More later . . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oh My.

“Oh my.”

That just about sums up my first official day in Cancer World. I am exhausted and overwhelmed and quite sure that I will never be able to make the proper decisions about any of this. So much information to consider! So many scary words! And pictures! And descriptions! And appointments! And procedures! And outcomes! And complexities! And side effects!

It’s. Just. Too. Much.

When Steve and I left this morning (at 7:30 am) I was freshly showered, freshly made up, and freshly rested. And besides, some friends had given me a wonderful gift that brought a big smile to my face. I was feeling relatively perky and even positive enough to ham it up a little for the camera.

IMG_3024 IMG_3025

At 5:30 this evening? With the chocolate exchanged for a cancer book? Not so much.


Is that a pitiful face, or what?

On the bright side, I was incredibly blessed, encouraged, and happy-fied by all of the messages left for me—here and on Facebook. I am overwhelmed (in a good way, this time) with the support I feel flooding in from all over everywhere.

I’m a bit too discombobulated to go into a lot of detail tonight but I will say that on Wednesday, I am scheduled for an MRI. At least 20% of all early stage diagnoses are proved wrong when an MRI is done. (Meaning those cancers are actually worse than originally diagnosed.) Especially, since I’ve had so much “weirdness” going on for so many years, they want to be absolutely sure of what they’re dealing with before going into surgery.

Next Tuesday, Steve and I will make the 4 1/2 hour round trip back to Greenville (it will be the fifth trip by one or both of us) to get the MRI results, meet again with the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon (we met with both of them already today) and come up with a plan of treatment.

Tonight my brain is mush and the only treatment worth considering is a “rescue dose” of chocolate. And then a large application of a warm, soft bed. And then a prescription for at least ten hours of sleep. Followed by a brief dip into the waters of denial before I delve into all the books, brochures and information I’ve been given and hope that my brain will turn out a coherent thought.

Before I close, Steve, Sarah, Nathan and I want to thank you for your prayers, love, and virtual hugs. I have read every comment that has come in. Some I’ve cried over, some I’ve laughed over. And every single one has been appreciated more than you could ever know.

I’ll be back tomorrow . . .

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bad News. Good News. Cancer News.

The surgeon called earlier than expected with biopsy results.

The bad news is that I have breast cancer.

The good news is that it was caught early.

It will still require fairly aggressive treatment which won’t be any fun, but at least the cancer is treatable.

Steve and I will leave early tomorrow morning for a long session with the surgeon about treatment possibilities. So far the options he’s mentioned by phone have been a lumpectomy followed by radiation OR a mastectomy. I'll try to fill you in on a few more things when we get back home tomorrow.

Also, I'll be having an MRI soon to be make sure it hasn’t spread.

I didn’t want to write about the diagnosis here until we had informed our church family, which is why there’s been a slight delay in posting it here since receiving the news.

We’re doing okay.

Taking deep breaths.

Getting ready for this new (scary, tear-producing, grace-revealing) season of our lives.