Friday, September 28, 2012

Health

Oh it feels good to feel good! Nothing like 2 good nights' sleep, no sharp pains in my chest, no chemotherapy anxiety, and a gorgeous early autumn day to make my body, spirit, and mind happy.

I've been singing this old hymn today:
"For health and strength and daily food we praise they name O Lord."

I think this will be my prayer for the weekend - 




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Serenity

On our first date, Scott sat across me at Mimi's, for dinner, and told me about his past. It hadn't been pretty, he wasn't proud of what he'd done, and he very humbly acknowledged his journey to sobriety and living a life of integrity. He then paused, and paused (what he later said was his way for me to walk out, open my mouth in shock, or shake my head anxiously), and waited for me to say something. I quietly opened my wallet and pulled out a worn bi-folded card with the Serenity Prayer on one side, the 12 Steps on the other, and the 12 Traditions inside. I handed this to him. He smiled. We spoke a common language.

God, 
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
the courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference.

I carry this card. I say this prayer. I find comfort. 




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Plan -

Oh goodness - I am exhausted - mentally and physically. What a day -

We met with the oncologist, after a 3 hour wait, in his office - not a good way to start a relationship! He was apologetic, but that didn't do much to ease our already gut-wrenching anxiety.

Great NP, nice doctor, lots of detail, good algorithm showing risks, benefits, etc. But here's the bottom-line:
Stage 1 (good), Grade 3 (bad), Triple Negative (bad), Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (bad, but good that it's not in the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue).
Treatment: ACT Chemotherapy, 4 treatments of AC, 4 treatments of T, every other week - so 8 treatments over 16 weeks.
Treatment begins on Oct. 10.
Before Oct. 10 I need to have:
EKG & Chest X-ray (ACT chemo has a risk for heart failure and leukemia, so we need a baseline)
Port placed
Chemo education class
Breast Cancer specialist meeting
Get 900 bazillion prescriptions filled
Work
Go to Southern Utah to recharge

Thank you for your cards, flowers, texts, messages, e-mails, prayers, thoughts, hugs. If you want more info, call Scott, Jenna, or Tyler! Or, give me a few days, and we can talk. 

There - that's it! Or better, we've only just begun . .  .







Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Waiting and waiting and waiting -

I'm a patient woman, just don't keep me waiting . . .

Goals -

I have goals, I do. But I don't have a 5 year plan, a 10 year plan - I don't have "what I want to be when I turn . . . " plan. Nope, refuse to. Life doesn't happen that way - at least not mine! I have never had a moment in my life when I've been able to map out where I would be and what I would be doing a year, 5 years, 10 years from now.
When my little family moved to Alabama 22 years ago, for a 2.5 year stint, one of the executives from McDonnell-Douglas was in our home. He asked us, "So, what do you plan on doing in 10 years?" I remember this question because I thought it was so ludicrous. Goodness - do we really know what we'll be doing 10 years from now? Interestingly - it was only 6 months later that Clark lost his job, and we left Alabama and headed back to Utah. Who woulda thunk?
Well - I'll take the first paragraph back - there have been some goals, plans. One was for Clark and I to visit Washington DC, where he served his LDS mission. We did, it was beautiful, I fell in love with the area. We came home, bought a picture of autumn in the south, hung it on our wall, and said, "If we ever get a chance to move 'here', let's go." Then we did work toward that - and an opportunity did come, and we did move, and our lives were forever changed.
Another - I was determined to get a college degree. I wasn't sure what my area of emphasis would be, when I began, and I certainly had no idea how long this would take, but I did it - I worked my goal - while the world around me spun, sometimes out of control.
I had other goals, including being able to do research in a small community, fall in love with the community - learn the people. And I did, shortly after graduating from USU with my MA, I went to the Eastern Shores of the Chesapeake Bay, and did research for 3 weeks - too short, but life-changing.
However - I've rolled with my life - never being so rigid with my goals, if something better came along I'd skip it! Having goals is also about being flexible. Flexible enough to sincerely determine if your goal is worth the loss an adventure may bring in its place. For instance, if my goal was to live in Brigham City all my life, and yet the opportunity to move to Alabama came along - would I turn AL down because of my BC goal?
Having goals has given me the freedom to break them as well. If I don't know where I'm going, how can I say yes or no to what lies ahead?
As I'm looking at pictures from the past 10 years, I'm certain I had no idea that my life would be where it is right now. I'm certain I would not have put my life situation as one of my goals. I'm going to mourn the losses, what I've given up when I've chosen something else (and I may mourn the fact that my children went places, did things that were their parents' agendas, not theirs, thus being pulled hither and yon), but I'm a look forward kind of person.
LDS President Thomas S. Monson said, "Learn from the past, prepare for the future, live for today." Sometimes I think we're so busy living in the past and preparing for tomorrow that we don't enjoy the present. So yes - I have goals, I have a planner filled to the rim with things to do, happenings. If I must have a 5 year, 10 year plan it's this - live my life with no regrets, enjoy the journey, seek adventure, love whole-heartedly. There -




Monday, September 24, 2012

Pregnancy -

I was talking with a friend on Sunday about what's happening with my body. We both have children, so I mentioned to her that I'm taking this adventure on like I did my second pregnancy. My first pregnancy, with Tyler, was tough, but just the usual puking, food cravings, and some varicose veins. He was born, life went on! However, as Tyler got older, and I knew we should be thinking about seriously getting pregnant again, I was scared. I knew what I could expect, and I also knew it could be worse this time, based on some issues with my body after having Tyler.
I prepared, as much as I could, for the time I would get pregnant, then I knew if I didn't get pregnant "this month" that I may wimp out. And we did. And all the preparation I did for my second pregnancy was worth its weight in gold; I had meals in the freezer, activities for Tyler, and I was prepared - as well as I could be.
However, oh my, I was so sick. I started throwing up the day after Jenna was conceived, and that didn't stop until around the 8th month! My legs ached - my varicose veins popped out - from my pelvic floor down to my ankles - I had this river and tributaries all over both legs - and they hurt. To keep from hurting too much, Tyler and I would often spend time laying on my bed playing games, visiting, watching videos. Not only did I have stomach and vein issues, but I had horrible headaches, and I had a handful of sweet neighbors who would take Tyler for a couple of hours a day to play, while I slept the headache away.
Well, Jenna was born mid-May, and the sun was out - figuratively and literally. I felt like I had risen from the dead - and I had a beautiful baby girl (we didn't know her gender until she was born) to show for the troubles! And Tyler, Clark, and I certainly bonded with this little one. 
So here I am - I know I have approximately 9 months of a tough pregnancy ahead of me. Jenna has made meals, put them in the freezer. I have canned, frozen, purchased, and Scott has stocked the storage room with foods he will eat. The house is spotless - clean from top to bottom, and all the idiosyncrasies of an old house that can be fixed or updated have been. The garden needs to be harvested, and the yard needs to be winterized, but that will happen. And what can be done, has been done. Until . . .

Until - until I know my next steps, until I know what is being asked of me; until I know how my body is going to handle this journey.

So throwing the pregnancy and adventure metaphors together - I'm going to grow - probably so big that I'll want to pop, there will be some days when I'll probably wish I would never gotten this way in the first place, but knowing there's no way out but through. I'm sure there will be days when I'm excited for this new adventure and days when I beg for normalcy.

I know this won't be easy, I know I will have plenty of teary days, plenty of puking days, plenty of days with a freezing head - and there won't be a new baby at the end of the journey, but there will be a me, a new me - and there is some hesitancy and anticipation.

Just received a call from the oncologists' office verifying my Wednesday appointment. Next step!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vignettes

I need to sleep - The last few nights have been horrible. I wake up in pain, and I can't go back asleep. I am trying to not fight this, surrender to win, but I have found 2 books nearby that are guaranteed to bring on sleep (that and some sleep aids); is it OK if they're religious texts? 

Crying in the shower - I don't have to worry about makeup running, being heard, looking odd. Hot water running down my back, salty tears running down my face. This morning it was a phrase from an LDS hymn that tipped me off, "The dove of peace sings in my heart, The flowers of grace appear." Hymns have brought me much peace over the years, today, the peace came in tears.

No words - My sister, Vicki, called this morning, after the tears, to see how I was doing. I told her I didn't know - and I didn't think I could had the words to express how I was feeling. She said, "No words then, no words." I don't always need to have words to express myself. Please don't think you need to have words to talk with me. Thoughts, prayers, a hand, a hug are words enough.

"I'm in a meeting" - So happy I work from home. Yet this often brings guests to my door during work hours. Today I used this phrase twice, honestly. Tomorrow - I may use the phrase again, just because I need a nap.

Remodeling - Changing our bed and teeny tiny bedroom to fit the future, whatever that is. Out with the old, in with the new. I like change, but the past 2 1/2 weeks have been enough. I want comfortable now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frustration

I cannot bend forward to shave my legs! When I bend forward, or bend down, my glued incisions stretch in the wrong direction and the pain is almost more than I can handle. However, tonight, I'm wondering if I could handle the pain long enough to shave my legs. Hmmm.

Let's not even talk about armpit hair - the incision in my left underarm is about 4 inches long, and right in the middle of my armpit - no way I can even think about shaving there.

On the other hand, I'll be losing my hair to chemo, so I won't have to shave for awhile - one positive aspect!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stopped -

Today I wanted to start a dozen projects - crochet, reupholster, paint, plant, and then I remembered that just because I have a "spare minute" today doesn't mean that next week my time won't be occupied by "something else," i.e. healing.

Reminds me of my dad and my grandfathers and other hard working think it through men in my life. They have taught me to "measure twice, cut once." Or, think first, act second. I am grateful for men who have taken the time to teach me about acting rather than reacting. I am grateful for men who have cared enough about me to teach me.

I am learning to pause - I thought I had learned that lesson last year at this time, but I guess not well enough. However, tonight, I stopped, I put down the needle and thread, and didn't pick up anything to take its place.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not Alone

This morning I felt all alone - vulnerable. My "well-woman" physical, scheduled months ago, really was a "how to survive chemo"  physical and conversation, covering topics like, "You have osteoporosis, but we won't do anything about it until after chemo because . . . " "My goodness, you're already exercising? You'll be glad you're doing that while you have chemo because . . . " "If you're having hot flashes, we can do something about that, without hormones, while you're having chemo . . ." "You should have a flu shot before you have chemo because . . . " "You will need bigger veins than these when you have chemo . . . " "Let's check your levels now, then again when chemo . . . "

Yet the level of intimacy went up too; I was surprised at the bond the phrase "breast cancer" created between me, my doctors, and my nurses. Not just the typical, "You are strong, you can beat this," but, "I was thinking of you, words fail me, but I'm thinking of you." "What can I do for you, for your husband?" "You are in my thoughts and prayers all the time." "I'm just a phone call away." "I am here for you." "You are brave." "You don't have to do 'cute,' do cancer your way." "Yes, that is typical, but don't worry about normal, whatever is you, is you." "You are allowed to have shitty days." "What days are convenient for you?"
Energy coming in - healing energy.


Some days I'm not a believer, I'm a skeptic, but today, when my doctor called (after our morning visit), just to share this with me, I hold on, believing someone hears, someone cares:
Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God (through friends, medical workers, family [RWW]) will be with you wherever you go.”
  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Breaking -



The day Jenna began first grade I began my quest for higher education - Shoals Community College in Tuscumbia, Alabama. I loved learning – and I figured my time for higher education was right then and there.  For thirteen years, 2-4 classes per semester, moving from SCC to UVU, to BYU, to USU, I gained a formal education, and an informal one as well. I graduated from Utah State University in May, 2003, with a Masters Degree in American Studies, my emphasis was Folklore. 
I began teaching at UVU  2 years prior to receiving my Masters; there was a need for a folklore instructor, and the department knew me. I have taught every year since 2001. This means I have been in school for 20+ years, as a student or instructor. 
I love school - I loved it as a young girl, and my attitude really hasn't changed. Learning, putting words to ideas and context to concepts is exhilarating. I am a student and an instructor - an accidental instructor, often learning so much more from my students than I can ever teach them. I cannot begin to even write or share how much I love my students. They have become my friends. The first day of school I walk down the hallway to my new class high-fiving myself, felicitating on my state - I am back in school, what a beautiful opportunity. For me UVU is a constant - it never changes. The campus grows, but the students, they are the same - I can walk through the LA building's hall and see 18-28 year old students carrying back packs, some dressed trendy, others in work uniforms. Some look scared, others confident, some with searching eyes, hoping for something familiar. I want to hug them all and say, "Welcome to the greatest place on earth. You will be fine, you will be pushed outside of your comfort zone, you will win. Enjoy."  I savor the class conversations along with the challenge of getting the students to talk with me and each other, before the second week of school. I love watching my students squirm, question, answer, support, explain, doubt, and grow. I like seeing students in the grocery store, in Facebook, at the Farmers Market. Oh, I would not trade my 20 years in school for anything, oops - I did. 
As I've been preparing for what I thought was my "next step" this fall, I emptied my plate, keeping "only" 1 of 3 classes, keeping my full-time job (that just happens to be in education),  figuring I'd now have some time and room for chaplaining. I categorized what I'd keep and what I'd leave, and teaching was always on the keep list. Yet the doctors have told me I will be spending quite a bit of time at doctor's appointments, chemo treatments, and that I won't want to be exposed to students' germs, and I don't want to expose my students to an erratic schedule and to a sick me - not that there isn't growth for them in that (my ASL professor was dying of cancer during my last semester of ASL, and he taught me so much), but not with my uncertain schedule. 
I dropped my folklore class. There is now a gap, that 23 year record is busted, broken, no-more. Shit, damn, hell - 
I don't want this semester to be without growing, gaining knowledge, learning, associating with other enquiring minds - I have cancer, I will need to learn all I can, I will be growing, but please, get me back to a classroom, any classroom, soon. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Void

This morning, at 48 hours post-op, I took off the Ace wrapping covering my chest. I was not prepared - I have a 4 inch incision in my arm pit, where the doctor removed the 3 lymph nodes. I knew about this one. However - I have about 1/2 of my left breast remaining, with a large void where the rest of my breast used to be. The incision from my side to the middle, bottom, of my breast is about 7 inches long. I have no feeling from my side to my nipple, nothing. Just a big long scar, skin tucked and pulled, and red and purple. As I stood looking at myself in the mirror I went light-headed and pasty white and had to clasp my hand over my breast and look away.

I was taught my body is a temple. I was taught that God gave me this body to take care of, and if I did, it would serve me well. I eat healthy, I exercise, I sleep, and my body has served me well.
I was also taught I am not my body - and that I shouldn't let my body define me - I am MORE than my body - I am not silky long thick hair, curvy hips, tiny waist, perky boobs, pouty lips, slender legs.


I've shown my "left side" to several people today - my mother, my friend, my sister-in-law, my ex-mother-in-law. I would have never shown them my whole breast before, but this time - this viewing, it's about what's not there, what's missing, as opposed to what could be there, what was there, what should be there.
I am not my body - but this is what I have, and I will love my temple - bumps, bruises, scars, veins - because it is in seeing the void that I see what exists.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tidal Wave

Not many answers, but THE most amazing answer - No cancer in my lymph nodes. I am blessed. A dear friend messaged me this evening a thought I want to share:

I am so happy to hear the good news re: your surgery! I just wrung my hands yesterday worrying. I went to bed...worrying, knowing you had a challenge today. I had an early flight this a.m. yet I worried on, until about 11:15 p.m. last night. I felt like I was holding your hand. At 11:15 last night I quit worrying and realized the intention was all wrong. I relaxed and sent prayers of love that all would work out. I knew that is what you wanted. Positive. Not the negative of worry. I felt the shift and wanted to share this with you. Xoxo 


I felt the shift - thank you all for being a part of the tidal wave. Pathology report and doctor's visit next week, then treatment plan for this journey. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Away We Go

I report to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center at 6:30 tomorrow morning. It's same-day surgery, if all goes well. Jenna will update Facebook and this blog tomorrow afternoon/evening. But, if you'd like, you can call Scott: 801-227-4677 or Jenna: 801-857-7753, for an update, probably after 1pm.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Facing -



I'm not one to run away - I am not one to live in fear - I will walk away from anger, hurt, betrayal, poison, but I prefer negotiating, talking things through, working things out, coming to some sort of compromise. I believe in education, intuition, and inspiration. 

Yet I'm not really a risk-taker, unless a risk is defined as driving down a road without a map, or pushing myself at the gym. I won't put my physical self in any place that might be risky - I don't like heights, I'm not a great swimmer, I'm probably not going to sky dive anytime soon. I like intellectual risks though - what a rush it is to learn, to discover, to know I can learn - bring it on! 

I prefer "looking forward to," over "surprise." I love adventure, but I want to know a little about what I am embarking on. Over our back door we have the phrase, "Go out for adventure, come home for love."  I like planning, that's part of the adventure, part of the journey - it's like receiving a gift card for Christmas, and then using it, 2 gifts for the price of 1! 

And here stands cancer.  A risk, a surprise, and certainly an adventure. However - fear, get thee away. I will learn what I can, listen to my own body, and pray for inspiration - it is already arriving. 

What I've learned this past week:
1. Acknowledge it - Breast Cancer
2. Don't blame - it's not heredity, not second hand smoke, not diet. It just is. Why me? Why not me.
3. Listen to myself - I was told "something" was coming my way, here it is.
4. Time - a dear friend of mine taught me, "Give it time, the answer will manifest itself." Reminds me of the tune, "You Can't Hurry Love." Time is of the essence, but all I have is time.
5. Get out of my comfort zone - My comfort zone is this, do, do, do, busy, help, seek, find, do, do, do. Now I will learn to be still - again. 

PS - Boob Day Party was wonderful - a few pics below. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Statistics

The story goes:
Nurse your children for healthy breasts (2 kids, 3.5 years nursing)
Stay healthy - cancer loves fat (I've been busting my buns exercising, for years)
A family history of cancer predisposes you to cancer (NO ONE in my family has ever had cancer)
If the lump in your breast hurts, it's probably not breast cancer (sore boobs mean healthy boobs?)
Only 15% of breast cancer survivors have a family history of cancer
Monthly self-breast exams detect cancer earlier than mammograms - YES

Bottom line - 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer, regardless of the above -
When will WE start preventing, rather than removing and curing?
Ridiculous.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What The . . .

I've talked to many people today - lots of questions, not lots of advice. Reminds me of when Scott and I began dating - "I'm dating Scott Weaver." And to myself, "I'm dating Scott, Scott Weaver - who could have believed that." Then when we were married, "I'm married to Scott, Scott Weaver - who woulda thunk." I'm still stunned that I'm married to the most amazing man in the world, the man I've known of for 30 years, and been married to for 8. Saying "I'm married to Scott Weaver," even to myself, was such a foreign phrase, for so long. And the more I said it, the more I still shake my head in surprise, disbelief, and gratitude.

Kinda been that way today, "I have breast cancer." And to myself, "I have breast cancer, breast cancer, what on earth?" All day, "I have breast cancer." What? "I have breast cancer." And I'm shaking my head in surprise, disbelief, and perhaps, some day, gratitude.

Premonitions

As many of you know, I hurt my back last September, herniated 2 disks, L4 & L5. I continued to walk, while my leg was numb, until I had surgery on Dec. 13, 2011. The surgery was successful - although I still have some nerve damage in my left leg. I continue to exercise, eat healthy, and maintain a positive attitude. I refuse to be defined: "I have a bad back," and so I  work extremely hard to be healthy.

I had to back way down from many commitments over the past year, because of the energy it was taking to become and stay healthy. So I've been able to focus on my body, my spirit, my family, my work. My mantra has been, "Talk to me in September." I had my high school reunion mid August, and I was the committee chair for that, and I really wanted to just enjoy my summer with Scott and family.

I had been asked to become a Supervisor in Training for the chaplain organization I belong to. This opportunity was really enticing, and I said a hesitant "yes," without knowing for sure what that would entail, but having faith that if God wanted me to do this, I could make the time. So just in case - I dropped 2 of my 3 classes at UVU, keeping some room for new. However, the more I learned about the SIT process and those who may be my guides, the less comfortable I was, and this led me to do some deep soul-searching, praying.

August 11 was my 35 year high school reunion - Rigby High School. It was a success, and I was happy with it and relieved it was over! Scott and I went over the mountains into Star Valley and spent a couple of nights. During that time we were able to talk about our fall and winter plans, what was happening, what could happen, and what we wanted to take on, and what we wanted to keep off our plates. One of the things we decided was that now was not the time for me to begin the SIT process - not sure when the time would be, so "yes," I want to teach others how to be chaplains, but "no," not right now. Once we made that decision, we began entertaining the idea of an adventure, particularly that of going to Uganda in May, to work with our friend, David Ssejinja's foundation for 2-3 weeks. We talked with David, decided to, and that would be our goal.

On another note, I haven't brought anything into my life, and as I've been looking at what more I can do, the prompt I have had is, "You need another year to focus on your body." I brushed that aside, thinking that another year of focusing on myself was ridiculous - I'm healthy, strong, even beginning to run, and I could do one more thing. But as one more thing and then another, have crossed my path, nothing, not even chaplaining, is fitting. As well, Scott and I have had an extraordinarily peaceful month. No tension - no stress for me benefits us both, and just enjoying our jobs, our time together, our yard, and our peace. We've been reading a book, Wabi Sabi Love, that talks about enjoying the idiosyncrasies in each other - what we fell in love with can sometimes bug the hell out of us as well. As well - enjoy the imperfections - Colen Sweeten once said, "You can still drink from a chipped cup." So - take it easy, mellow out, don't get caught up in the busy and negative. It's been good for us!

I am a stickler for keeping my annual health checks. I schedule them months before, just so I can have them on my calendar. I had a mammogram and dexa-scan scheduled for this past Wednesday, Sept. 5. I do bi-monthly breast self-examinations, and a month ago my left breast was hurting. I figured it was sore because my trainer, Cody, and I have been working to strengthen my upper-body. Yet last Thursday, Aug. 30, I came home from an evening with the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, and was rubbing my left boob, because it was sore. As I rubbed it, I felt a mass on the left side. I rubbed my right boob - nothing. I had Scott feel, and there certainly was something there. I thought to myself, "I'm glad I have my mammogram on Wednesday," then moved on to the Festival for the weekend, with this in the back of my mind.

The Festival was fantastic, and my lump was still there. And it was Labor Day weekend. So, Tuesday morning at 8:10am, I called my doctor's office, they answered, and were able to get me in at 9:30am. Dr. Dayton was out, but her nurse, Marilyn Sorenson, saw me. Marilyn is awesome; she took care of me when I hurt my back. She measured my mass (1 3/4) and quickly called UVRMC's radiology department and told them they would see me that day for now a Diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound - at 2pm. I quickly canceled my Folklore class, and stewed. I had the tests, they found a mass - without fluid, and did a biospy, telling me I should know the outcome by Thursday afternoon, Friday noon at the latest.

On Wednesday afternoon I went to a Business Seminar for work. I received several calls from my doctor's office, trying to get information correct. Then at 4:30pm I had a missed call from the office. The message was from my doctor - she called me! Her message said to be at her office at 9am on Thursday, she had the test results. Wednesday night was horrible - although a good friend came by, and we had a lovely visit with some laughs. Laughing is always good. I didn't sleep, and Scott tossed and turned.

Thursday morning we were up and out to the doctor's office. Dr. Dayton pulled us into her office, asked a couple of questions, then sat down and said, "Ronda, you have cancer. I am sorry." Woah - kinda knowing, mostly hoping, but still stunned. I mean, me, no family history, young, healthy, estrogen level is great, sheeze. 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer - that's outrageously high - holy cow! Only 15% of women with breast cancer have a family history of cancer - only 15%. Where do the rest of us get it? Where does it come from? I mostly listened, cried, tried to think. Dr. Dayton is awesome - I have been seeing her for about 10 years, traveling from Orem to Payson, and I will continue to do so. She gave me something to sleep, told me to call her, anytime, and made a call to a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer.

Scott and I drove to Jenna's to tell her. While driving from Payson to Mapleton I called UVU and asked to drop my Folklore class. That was so hard - I love teaching, love teaching folklore, love my students. But after last fall's bad back issues and having to teach not feeling well, I just didn't feel like that was fair for my students. So I did.

I told Jenna, Tyler, Marv, Dad & Mom, Diana, Julie, Natalie, Daniel, my siblings, and then I began reaching out to friends - in an odd way, and they are responding. You see, I've been working really hard this past year at being healthy - not just physically, but emotionally too. I've been blessed with a "bring it on" attitude all my life. I like an adventure, I like "hard," I like learning, growing, pushing. I like an adventure, I like going out of my comfort zone - and I realize this is that experience, that journey. I refuse to think of this as a battle, a war, terrorists in my body, etc. It's NOT. It's a journey - and I will not fight my body, I will work with my body. I will not surround myself with war analogies and terminology - that is not a language in my life. I want positive - no negative. I will invite goodness into my life, just like I always do, that's me, that's my world.

I saw the surgeon yesterday afternoon. I have Stage 3 Invasive Ductile Carcinoma. It's the worst type of breast cancer - see I don't do anything half way! The surgeon was kind, was honest, and was hopeful. He said I'll need surgery (schedule for Wednesday) because the mass is growing. They will do a lumpectomy, as well as look at the lymph nodes to see if they are cancerous. If so, then removal of those as well. I will then be referred to a medical oncologist, who will determine what types of radiation and chemotherapy I will need. I'm OK with all of this, just need to be positive and busy these next few days. 

To kick this journey off, I'm having a Boob Day Party on Sunday evening. I've invited the positive people in my life - those who I want surrounding me, keeping the positive in and the negative out. I also want to share my story - we can all learn from this process. I also want to learn - what have others experiences have been. And I want to be able to laugh, to talk about it, to be open and honest with each other. I also want a system of defense - I read this quite a while ago, and it has proven worthy - Decide what path you want to be on, Decide who you want to be with you on that path, Begin your journey. That's what I'm going to be doing - not sure what the map looks like, but that's part of the adventure, and I'll be blogging about it along the way.