Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Am Done!

Last cancer treatment today!  What a relief!
 I am so grateful for the love of my friends and family,
 everyone has been so sweet and good to me through
 all these months of cancer treatment.

I feel well - my hair is growing back,
 and nails are coming back to normal.
I am healed from my surgery, I feel strong
and  I am ready to move on!

"50 shades of grey"

 Virtua Voorhees Fox Chase Cancer Center
has the most thoughtful, extra kind people
taking care of us cancer patients!

I completed weeks of radiation therapy with my friend Sheila  today
and we rang the bell together.  We hugged and vowed to keep in touch,
 because there's a special  bond we share now.

Mr. Milner, Sheila's husband brought us both flowers!  How very sweet!

Thank you, Lord for giving me strength, for never leaving me alone,
 for sending so many dear ones to love me, take care of me, encourage me
They sent me loving messages, uplifted me, gave me gifts, prayed with me,
 laughed and cried with me. Whatever I needed, they were there for me,
and made me feel so loved.


Love, Linda

Saturday, April 25, 2015


I attended a Breast Cancer Awareness Event and the speakers all impressed me.
 Here's what one had to say.:
 "Stop thinking of your self as a survivor and  instead think of yourself as a thriver" said Dr. Maureen Kling. She spoke to a room of breast cancer survivors and patients, of breast cancer being a wake-up call and a gift.
 She explained, it's a gift of appreciating today. "I've been given it through you", she continued.
Cancer makes you wake up and realize this is not a dress rehearsal. You are given 87,000 seconds a day, a "pot of gold" each morning, that you can't bank, can't save, but must spend today. Either to spend them being miserable or happy.  "So switch from being a survivor of breast cancer to a thriver of life", she challenged.
 She made us think.  Then she gave some advice:
Floss your teeth
Watch your Blood pressure. Cancer won't kill you, but heart disease can. Be heart conscious.
Watch your weight.
 Are you getting a colonoscopy?
 Pay attention to your posture, and have an attitude that goes with it.

 Get over "victim",  "survivor",  You already know what to do.
 Life is hard, and until you accept it, it can't get better.
 Take care of yourself.  You know how, just go do it.!
 Life is all about choices and priorities.

  Then she was done, and took questions about scars,  numbness and moisturizers.
We lunched, did yoga, zumba,  had make-up, chair massages, and learned about nutrition, exercise and more so we can thrive!  A happy time for a bunch of "sisters", ladies all dealing with the same thing, trying to learn how to be well, and move on to greater things.

 Thrive-v. succeed, prosper, flourish, enjoy good health, bloom, batten, burgeon, flower.-
                                                                                                                     Roget's Thesaurus

Thrive- grow vigorously  -Webster's Dictionary
I want to thrive!  I hope you do too!
Love, Linda

Thursday, April 9, 2015

'Bout time it's spring!

 They say if you don't have anything good to say don't say anything.
 My father says it is foolish to talk too much, ramble on if you have
nothing important to say. He used to quote  lots of scriptures about that.
 I don't like what's happening in the news,  and I think that y'all might
be tired of hearing about my health issues.  I'm tired of thinking about
 breast cancer all the time myself!
I don't have any new recipes, I haven't done any crafts lately and
 I don't have a nice home to show.
My simple life, minding the grandbabies, may get boring to others,
even if it fills me with sheer happiness.
You can't expect a grandmother not to brag about her grandkids!

You're  not supposed to talk about religion and politics, if you don't want to offend anyone.
I don't want to be negative and go on about my money problems, losses,defeats, and  disappointments. Who wants to hear about someone's unpaid bills, foreclosures,
 and tax liens?   I just flopped at a new business venture, before I even got started.
 So I'll just move on and forget about that.
 There must be something better out there waiting for me, right?
When one door closes.....

So what in the world shall I write about? 
And why am I still blogging? 

 Oh dear! I just remembered that I left the clothes on the line and it's midnight. Raining tomorrow. Should I go out there and possibly startle my neighbor,  or hope it's not raining early in the morning?
I really don't care if they stay on the line until I can get to them.  I don't stress over little things any more.

Okay, my rant is over, the fog has lifted, no more writer's block!

 Oh, good news, my eyelashes are growing back. They are about 1/8 " long, a tiny fringe. I was surprised to see them when I  was applying my eyeliner this am. During and since chemo, I religiously apply my eyeliner every morning, otherwise you can  hardly see my eyes.
 "Fake it till you make it", I always say.  I carefully pencil on the brows too, and now they are returning also, bushy as ever!
 My  hair is starting to come back too!  It takes a while, I guess.  I'll have "a nice short do" for the summer!   But I'll still be wearing my wig until my hair looks good, thank you !
This is a lesson in patience.

Always do your make-up, no matter if you're going out or not,
always wear nice underwear,in case you end up in the ER,  Mom always said.
Always dress your best, you never know who you will meet, I told my own daughters,
(especially my single 35 year old, wink, wink ).

 "Smile, when your heart is aching,  smile even though it's breaking....
 You'll find that life will be worthwhile, if you just smile."

 And I learned it's true, that if you decide to act happy, you will be happy!
I tell myself  "Be strong, you're getting there".
 Fake it till you make it!
 "Act as if", and before you know it better times come your way!
 "Just do your best with what you have where you are",
Didn't Roosevelt say that?   Somehow, I am learning that I have to make the best
of things and keep persevering until my  life gets better.
 Life has so many lessons to teach us, and problems just help us grow stronger
if we keep the right attitude and trust God that we'll make it.
So this is my pep talk, self talk, during this cancer journey,especially.
I must be patient and learn all the lessons,
 and  I suppose this is how I will grow in grace.

It applies to my home too.  I set a pretty table even if the rest of the kitchen is a disaster.
 I make the entry way look appealing, even if I'm not done painting the house, and fixing up. Appearance is everything. Not to impress, but to keep my own spirits lifted,
 and show some pride, doing what I can to make things better.
 I get a kick out of using what I have and making the best of things.
I put silk tulips in my pots outside because nothing was blooming for Easter.
I even put flowers I made from soda bottles last year, into the pots full of dormant plants
 in a wheel barrow, in front of the lifeless brown forsythia hedge, because there were no
blooms in my yard.  Then today, Surprise!  The forsythia exploded into bloom, and I feel
 like spring is finally here.  Soon there will be lots of flowers, and I'll pack away the fakes.
  I did get a real Easter lily from my daughter!

'Bout time!   Knew you'd come!

Hope you have fun welcoming spring, the garden's surprises, the nicer weather
 and planning all spring's activities with your lovies!

Love, Linda

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

No Mo Chemo

Amy's fab decorations for the NO MO CHEMO Party! 
"No Mo Chemo"  that was our slogan last month, when we rejoiced as I completed 16 infusions over 24 weeks of chemotherapy.   We celebrated with a big pink surprise party and lots of friends and family were there to cheer me on for the rest of my fight. It was wonderful!  They honored me with gorgeous decorations,  beautiful cake, delicious food.  And they  smothered me with love,  and lots of hugs and  kisses.  They showered me with gift cards, and special presents. This is tremendously helpful because I have had so little income. I am so blessed and much loved,  I never want to forget this feeling!  I am forever grateful for this extravagant outpouring of love.

Lots of family here , the nieces, nephews,  my daughters and my Mom and me!

Amy made these  fabulous shirts! 
brother and wife,  Bill and Betty
partying with me!

Glorious dessert table with pink treats, candies and cake!

Adorable Gift Card Flower Pot display, made by my nieces Noelle and Jennifer.
 Filled with really useful gift cards from Visa,  Wawa, Shop-Rite, and all
 kinds of restaurants and stores!

Since then, I've been a little busy, pre-admission tests, and my own work to get out of the way.  
Then I had my dreaded surgery, and that went great, with not too much pain, and a scar that is not too bad looking. I am so relieved to have the tumor removed, and my lymph nodes. It eliminates some of the  fear of the cancer spreading.   I am now downgraded to stage 2 breast cancer!  My hair is coming back, I have a little crew cut.
A visit from the littlest family members just delights me and makes me feel all better!
The best medicine!
Niece Becca holding my granddaughter Emilie,
and my daughter Julie holding my grandnephew Jackson -
 they switched babies for this shot! 

 Gorgeous flowers and get well wishes!  Thank you my loves!  They are so beautiful!

My dear sister  took me home from the hospital for a few days and  nursed me at her very comfortable home.  I truly rested,  and was treated like a princess by her and her husband. 
Beverly made Roasted Pepper Potato Soup, whole-grain goodness pancakes and delicious omelets, for breakfast and we caught up on some Blue Bloods episodes and saw some good movies!
 My nieces, sister and mother came to visit with flowers, wedding soup, and cinnamon buns.

After a couple so-so days back at home, at first I didn't feel as good, but I've been steadily regaining my strength. I'm  having less discomfort and getting all the appointments scheduled for the next phase of treatments.  I've been busy with follow-up oncology and surgeon doctor appointments. Next I  will go for physical therapy, CAT scan, an  dexa scan.  Then radiation will begin at the end of March for about 7 weeks.
 Today I went to an endodonist, because they want a root canal , which we've been putting off, to be completed before the radiation begins. I really wasn't afraid, but it wasn't my favorite place to go.

It's funny, that verse was hand written on the back of  
note paper that I wrote the directions to the endodonist on ! 
 God goes with me- even to the root canal doctor!
I miss the babies, because I can't lift, so I am not babysitting, but I am getting to see them
and visited just yesterday. They seemed to grow a lot on the days I miss being with them.
Goodness gracious, she has cut 2 more teeth,  her 2 top teeth, 
 and started standing and walking around the coffee table in the
 last two weeks, since my surgery! 
backyard snow fun with mommy

Out to dinner with Aunt Amy 

Tom  as  the Cat in The Hat , to celebrate Dr. Suess's birthday at school.
I have been thinking about my hopes and dreams, which are all about getting well, beating cancer and living to enjoy many more years with my children, grandchildren and all my lovies.  I feel full of hope, because I am assured that I will be made well.  I wonder what new things I will want to try, I wonder what my hair will look like when it grows back.  I wonder what things I will change to live better.  I wonder how my life will be different, what I will do different and better.
I know I have changed.  I hope I can give back lots of love that I am being given,  and be worthy of His love too!

Thank you for your continued prayers and hopes for me! 
Love, Linda

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy 4th blog-anniversary to me!

  Happy  4th Blog-a-versary to me!

   My blog was supposed to be about being a grandmother, my faith, dealing  in vintage,  love of home and family. and decorating vintage style. I am sidetracked by my recent breast cancer diagnosis, which changes everything for me and requires my attention, uses up lots of time and energy, consumes my thoughts and prayers, as I fight this life-threatening dreadful disease, but I am compelled to write about my journey,  though I am still living my life to the fullest, loving my family,   totally immersed in my grandmothering role, which is probably why I am doing so well.
      Thank  you for following!   I love the many friends I have made through blogging, I am so grateful for their inspiration and encouragement.  I am still learning.
It's been freezing at the bus stop. but we bundle up and take Thomas down there.
Look at her little red nose! poor thing.
So excited for the snow!

Emilie is getting to be a lot of fun and doing new things.
She recently found her piggy-toes.

This baby loves to be held all the time, so grandma gets to sit or recline
and rest quite a bit, which is good for me right now.

Miss Emily and I nap together each day.
  Almost done with my chemo.  1 more treatment.  It is amazing,
I have been able to tolerate it so well.  God  has given me strength and hope and
 everyone is being extremely kind and helpful  to me.
  I have had every side effect they warned me about, but they were manageable.
They gave my a steroid, that helped with avoiding reaction to drugs and
generally gave me a feeling of well-being.

Here are some of my experiences with chemotherapy, and what I did about it.
Common side effects
  1. Alopecia, hair loss- Just get a cute wig and lots of gorgeous scarves and turbans!                                I sell them on my Etsy shop!  www.etsy.com/shop/grandmalay , and I pencil on brows.       I  still line my eyes, or else I look like an alien, because my lashes are almost gone too.
  2. Heartburn or nausea and vomiting-  Pepcid, Doctor. will prescribe Tagamet if severe.
  3.  Diarrhea-   Immodium D, I just needed 1-2 dose 1 day a week
  4.  Fatigue and Achiness- Tylenol Extra-strength  caused by Hemaglobin count being down.
  5.  Hemorroids,   There are many bowel changes, and I got my first-ever hemorroid, and it's   small, but annoying.  I hate them.   I just use some wipes to stay comfortable with it. There are lots of creams  and pads in the drugstore OTC.
  6.  inability to fight infection-  caused by white blood cell count being low, Try to stay away from sick people, avoid large crowds, and frequently wash hands. Wear gloves to garden and do chores.  I fell and scraped my knee and elbow, and it took much longer than usual, 2 months to heal.  I get splits in my fingertips and trouble healing, so I use antibiotic cream and super glue any deep cuts until they heal.  
Less  common side effects,

 *Brittle finger and toenails, which may come off entirely.  The white  tips of mine are deeper and      my nails have gotten a bump in the middle, or ridge, so I've had to cut them back.
 * Neuropathy,  nerve damage, tingling, then causing no feeling in feet and hands.  Mine is slight and doesn't seem to be worsening, but some of my friends in chemo have a big problem with this.
 * Lymphedema-a serious problem with the lymphatic system , making your arm swell and retain water. I am watching for any signs of that,  and I'm  alarmed that so many woman I know have this complication. I do not have this problem, thank God.  I have to watch for signs after the surgery and treat asap if it develops

My best advice, if you get a breast cancer diagnosis is pray, pray, pray.  I don't know how anyone can fight cancer if they don't have faith, and mine is growing, as I go along this journey.  It's so simple to ask the Lord to help you, and he will answer your prayers and give you peace.  You just talk to Him, and ask for your healing and believe He will heal you. If you are not a believer, just tell Him that,  and he will reveal Himself to you if you want to know Him.   It may be through another person, or something you will read.  It will miraculously change you. You just come as you are. God loves you and wants you to belong to him. He will take care of you.
  You cannot go through breast cancer alone.
You are not alone, and you never need to feel alone. Please let me know if you need to talk.  I will be more formally offering support as I learn.. All the survivors I have met are most willing to be of help, offer comfort and advice,  and  provide information and I want to also.

There is never a time when your friends and family will be listening and paying attention to you better than now. Cancer affects not only you, but everyone who knows you and cares for you. 
So let your friends help you, you will need support, and help getting food in.   It's wonderful having them to pray with and for you, and give you comfort gifts.  You can ask them to run errands too, like returning books to libraries,  going to the post office , or minding your children.   Don't deny them the gift of letting them give to you.  They want to help and don't know how to help you if you don't tell them specifically what you need.  Sometimes a ride to the doctor's or going to chemo with you is helpful.

When I come home at night and take off my wig,  I think, Oh my God, how awful I look.
When I am tired, and alone. There are moments, when I look in the mirror, and say, what
 in the world will become of me?   But I don't feel sad for very long because I have hope.
 I sometimes feel troubled because of the financial hardship, but I have to not worry,
but trust that somehow everything will be okay.

  So happy, my chemo is almost finished.  Woo Hoo!
Then I have my surgery, but I have great news about that!
 My breast surgeon thinks I will do well with a lumpectomy,
 instead of a double mastectomy.  Much easier, but I will have
 to be extremely diligent because of risk of recurrence.
 After I recover, I will have 7 weeks of radiation treatments.
 Then it will be spring, then summer and I'm planning to be well,
and celebrate new beginnings.

I didn't  post at Christmas, so pardon me for posting these precious photos
of the kids at Christmas, a little late.  They're just too cute,  I must show you.

Christmas memories

Miss Emilie

The winter is lovely, Christmas with the kids was magical, didn't want it to end.
 But aside from having frozen pipes, I'm now enjoying the in-between season,
between the hectic holidays and spring frenzy-  clean-up and gardening chores.
 I enjoy the crisp, frosty air, and snowy scenes,
 Cuddling with the grand kids in front of the fireplace,
 Eating Julie's delectable chili, cooking hearty soups, wearing snugly PJ's,
 cozy sweaters and pretty new hats and scarves.
(Maybe I should write a new verse for "My Favorite Things",
since I've been singing it to Thomas at the bus-stop each morning.)
"Snowflakes that land on our nose and eyelashes"
"Silver white winters that melt into spring......."  he laughs as I dance around and sing.

 I just love my new hats lovingly made by dear friends for my cold bald head!

Dear Abbey, of  Little Birdie Blessings made this pink hat  for me!
Isn't that the sweetest thing !
My necklace is from another friend, Alicia,
 and it says, "God's got this!"
 I love these sweet thoughtful gifts of hope that show such loving care!
There is beauty and good in everything, The winter and all the seasons,
 and all the times of my life, including this cancer has brought about  many
good things.  many benefits.  I don't mind having no body hair to deal with.
  I didn't have allergies this past fall, because of the steroids in my chemo, no doubt.
 But most importantly, I know how loved I am, and how strong.
 Everyone has been so extra special kind to  me,  my step-daughter and sister-in-law
 making soup for me,  friends and neighbors bringing me good foods and treats too.
  I've received a few care packages as well.

I prayed  for God to teach me grace through this and a chance to share my faith
  and give glory to Him.  With God all things are possible, and I always knew that,
 but now  He seems more powerful, and I am so much more certain.
"And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer
believing, you shall receive."    St. Matthew 21:22
 So this winter,  while I am fighting breast cancer,  and being healed,
 I  am dreaming of spring and summer, when l will be well once again,
and all the things I'll be able to do.
In the meantime, we keep as comfortable as we can, I'm cooking comfort food
 and made these  easy- peasey  chicken mini pies and everyone liked them.
 Easy Chicken Biscuit Mini Pot Pies
I can Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
1-2 chicken breasts or 1 1/2-2 cups leftover chicken , cut up in small chunks
1 small pkg frozen mixed vegetables
 1 can Campbell's cream of chicken or mushroom soup
Press the biscuits into  PAM coated muffin tin
 I separated some layers of dough to stretch the 8 biscuits into 12
mix chicken chunks, soup and vegetable and spoon into biscuit shells
 then bake about 25-30 minutes at 375.

Find joy in the winter, even when it's cold and bleak, get yourself cozy inside.
 Winter will pass and spring will come. it always does, and we don't want to wish
 any time away.
  No winter lasts forever, no spring skips it's turn.
                                                                            Hal Borland
May snowflakes of joy
pepper your door,
while flames of mirth
 up your chimney roar!
Love, Linda

Friday, November 28, 2014

Good things coming out of a bad thing.

 I had another treatment today, and I am so happy to report that I am feeling so well!
 I think my eyebrows are thinning, but I also lost a couple pounds and feel like my clothes fit much  better, and I can wear some things that I never could squeeze into before!
Hell of a way to lose weight though, huh?
I am also feeling very sentimental and grateful, but this is good,
 and I am so much closer to God, and praying constantly!
 I'm finding it very easy to share my faith these days, and don't miss an opportunity,
while people are actually listening to me.
 I am really happy, despite the fact that I am fighting a life-threatening disease!
 I guess it's because of all the love and attention my dear family and friends are giving me!
 I feel stronger, and more courageous,  although I do get weak, tired and achy sometimes,
but it passes.  It's because of promises, like the one I found in Psalms 31:24
 I find new meaning in words such as " hope", and "courage" as I claim them as my new favorite words, my  affirmations. I am claiming these promises, believing them more profoundly.
 I don't really want to be around any negativity, but it really "can't touch me". 
I don't take it personal, in other words, as I am getting tougher. A tough old bird, I am.
So there are lots of good things coming out of this dreadful breast cancer experience.

Painting after chemo today! Poor selfie though.

Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart,
all ye that hope in the Lord.     Psalm 31:24

  Still working, I painted today after Chemo.
No, I am not taking it easy, my dears, I can't.
Maybe later I won't be able to do as much,
 but I am trying to stay very active
and  keep things normal.

Mom and me making a joyful noise!

I had a nice little visit with my Mom  too.
We talk on the phone every day, but she hadn't actually seen me
and I wanted her to believe me, that I really feel pretty good.
  She keeps asking, "Are you telling me the truth? Do you really feel okay?"
We still sing our song every night over the phone, it's a ritual, very sweet.
 Tonight we sang our song together in person.   

Mom's hands, holding the hymn book.
This is the song she sings with me every night.
"Does Jesus Care?", by Frank E. Graeff

I've been celebrating Thanksgiving each day, with a different part of my family,
love being with them!
and I am not sick of turkey, I love it, and I still want more pumpkin pie.
Tomorrow, I'll get me some at sister Beverly's and I'll see all the rest of my lovies!

May you be blessed with family and friends
 and lots of Thanksgiving gatherings and fun too!   
Then we'll be ready to all start Christmas!

Love, Linda