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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Fight Continues

 Today, I started  a new chemo drug.  I'll be honest, I was a little frightened
 because I was comfortable with the routine and knew what side effects
 I was having and what to expect.
Now we're switching to a drug that many have a reaction to.
  I am starting  weekly infusions of  Taxol.
 It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body.
 Prior to treatment I have to take Benadryl, Tagamet, and Decadron.    .

 Paclitaxel (Taxol)
So,  after the bloodwork  lab results , which turned out really great, the doctor examined me said my tumor has shrunken more, and then I was sent to the infusion room. My wonderful nurses started my IV drip.   I didn't have an allergic reaction.  I tolerated the drug infusion  well and my oncologist says that this drug will be easier on me, without the bad side effects the other drug had.

Music to my ears!
    It was a good day, and my oncologist is very pleased with the progress of my treatments!
Many friends are following my progress and perhaps someone reading this will be interested in my experiences in fighting breast cancer, and the protocol of treatments used.

      I am receiving lots of messages that people are praying for me. I am so grateful for this.  Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes.   Thank God for giving me strength and healing my body!
  So many blessings coming my way!  More gifts are coming, someone sweet and generous sent us a turkey. I received a "care and comfort basket"   and  many beautiful cards and mass cards.

Care & Comfort Basket Bundle #13 was delivered today.
A wonderful Care and Comfort Basket from Hearts United Against Cancer,
a South Jersey non-profit organization that shows love and compassion
 to  patients going through  cancer treatment.
 I've been able to stay with my grandbabies on days
 I don't have treatments and it's been so good for me!
Miss Emilie is getting sweeter every day!
Grandchildren are the  best reward for getting old!  
Abby Abate's photo.
We are proud as peacocks of our lovely, dear Abby
 being a National Honor Society member too!
Vintage Treasures by Grandmalay's photo.
 A nice comforting  little tea break, with my vintage dishes and silverware.
I'm finding out how much I am loved. Here you see some special Hibiscus
tea from a dear woman I love,  and a beautiful pop-up card from another friend
 to tell me I am being thought of and prayed for.  I feel loved and blessed.   
       Now  I want to start helping prepare for our families Thanksgiving celebrations.
 Yes, Ted and I will be having 3 different occasions to be enjoying dinners
             and giving thanks with our blended families. There is so much to be thankful for.  

I wish our world could be at peace, that we would learn to love
one another and love God and our country the way we should.
 The TV news is heartbreaking!  I can't watch too much of it right now.
Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
                                                                       -Philippians 4:6
I'm trying to focus on my hopes, my dreams and all good things.
I am craving pumpkin pie!
I'll be baking some next week.

 Here's my simple wish for each of you!

 I hope you have a wonderful old-fashioned time with family and friends,
 and remember to say thanks  to God for all He has given us.
Our freedoms, our families to love, our friends so dear, all our blessings big and small.

Love, Linda

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chemo is working! Yay!

First of all the good news, My chemotherapy is working!
 After the first four treatments (Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide),
my tumor is shrinking and that really makes me happy.
 12 more weekly treatments to go!  It's another drug called Taxol.

Infusion room- I am receiving chemo through a port in my chest.
I have about four hours, of sitting.  I'm not used to sitting around.
And sometimes I am blessed with my sister or daughter accompanying me,
 and precious time to "jib-jab", as Beverly calls it..
But if I go alone, I get lots of correspondence caught up,
 and read or write in my journal.
 The cancer treatments are very time consuming and I have to return to the hospital for an important Neulasta  injection the day after also.  My blood cell counts  days later, have been great!
 There are some side effects like nausea, vomiting,  aches in joints and fatigue, but my symptoms have been minimal and manageable with the meds. they have prescribed.

My girls gave me this cute outfit, and it's cozy warm too.

But my other days  are very important either spent with the grandchildren
or working for my clients , painting and cleaning.

I love taking naps with Emilie on the days I watch her.
 She has just turned 6 months, and we have the most fun with her, she's such a joy!!
Mommy Julie and Miss Emilie,  at six months!

 And Aunt Amy and we love being very silly,
 with Halloween pumpkins and  other holiday fun.

My daughter made me this very special pumpkin!

Today,  after treatment I went to vote.  It meant so much to me- I almost cried, I'm so emotional!
 I really felt honored to have a chance to vote.
 Then I came home and saw this cute post on facebook.

Tommy, age 4, being creative with Aunt Amy and sidewalk chalk.
 No school today, but he still got lessons in civics and other things.

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

So although I have  a lot to go through right now,  I have so much joy in my life.
 Family and friends are sticking by closer than ever, indulging me
 with sweet  presents and deep concern, so I'm feeling truly loved and blessed.
The prayers and thoughtful gestures have been tremendous and so comforting.

Just keep living your life to the fullest, and loving 
and trusting God and I know you'll be blessed!

Love, Linda


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Going Bald!

   Here we are, facing chemo treatment #3, and I am feeling pretty good.
I was preparing myself, my sister gave me a pixie haircut for the weeks
prior to baldness to make the transition easier.
  But  then  I was upstaged by beautiful Joan Lunden shedding her blonde locks!
I was shocked that she has breast cancer!
It stunned me when her photo appeared, splashed all over the news,
 just as I was facing the same exact  thing!
 She's amazing. A couple months ahead of me, with the same treatment plan.
  Chemo to try and shrink it, followed by surgery, then radiation if needed. .
After a few tears, Joan inspired me.
 She says, "It's a tough, challenging journey,
 but I'm making it into something empowering!
I am cheering her on, I will follow her progress  with great interest.
I will pray for her, my sister, my hero.

Joan Lunden  'I'm a Warrior'
cover of People Magazine, October 6,2014
photographs by Ruven Afanador

Martino Cartier Salon, 304 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd. Sewell, N.J.
Yes, I got buzzed too!  Isn't he a hunk!
My family was there to cheer me on!
Amy, sister Beverly, me, Julie, and Miss Emilie.

      I started losing my hair, just as they said I would.  So I got buzzed and
 I got my gorgeous wig from Martino Cartier. He's  a wonderful stylist of South Jersey's 
premiere salon who gives beautiful wigs to women and children with cancer so they
 can feel beautiful,  and  by "Loving them more than the world has ever known, and
 making them feel cancer free,  if only for a moment", gives dignity and confidence.
 Thank you Martino, for taking away one of my biggest fears, that I would look sickly and unattractive.   Now I can try to keep things as normal as possible.

There, That's better!

He has a charity called "Wigs and Wishes" , powered by Friends are by Your Side
through which he also grants Disneyland trips to children and their families.
 I was thrilled to attend  his fabulous gala event at Lucien's Manor,  the other night,
 and he raised $250.000.00. 
Paula Abdul was there at A Night of Wigs and Wishes!

Daughter Amy was my date for the big night!

Fabulous decor and  extraordinary flowers and table settings at A Night of  Wigs and Wishes,
 powered by Friends Are By Your Side

  I am amazed every day by the courageous women who are fighting breast cancer
and surviving, then go on to encourage and inspire.
Survivors who are friends of my friends,  are calling me to cheer me on and tell me
 they are here for me if I need to talk.  Other patients   I meet at the hospital treat me
 like the newest "member of the  club".

Thank you Kathy, for this beautiful Mass Card.

     I am touched by the outpouring of love and concern by  my friends and family.
 So many wonderful people I am meeting because of this disease.

 People are praying for me. I believe that God is healing me.  I claim his promises.

"And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer,
 believing, you shall receive."                                                                                                       Matthew 21:22

Having breast cancer changes everything now for the rest of my life.
 And my family's lives are forever changed.   Life-threatening, scary thing it is.
 Makes you realize that you could lose someone who you thought would always be there.

Amy got a side shaved off,  and  hot pink streaks in her hair,
 for support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

  I don't want to miss a minute. I hug everyone I see.   A little tighter, for a long time.

My little Emilie, now is 5 months old!

 I already knew the little things are really the big things,
 but this takes it to a new level .
 My faith is growing, I am clinging to the  healing words of scripture.
 because they give me courage and tell me that I am not alone.
 My friend Marie gave me a marvelous CD,  by Debra A. Groller,
that taught me that I am healed by Jesus' stripes!

"By His stripes you were healed." 
 I Peter 2:24

"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." 
                                                              Matthew 8:17

I am blessed to have so much support and love from my family. 
They are spoiling me with special gifts and treats, cards, calls and extra attention!
 My doctors and nurses are so diligent and caring.  Fox Chase Cancer Center.
So I am doing great!
Thank you  so much for your prayers and positive thoughts!

                                                       Love, Linda                  


Monday, September 8, 2014

Bad News

For my 60th birthday I got a diagnosis of breast cancer.
 Yes, There it is, I said it.
 I've been having a terrible time telling everyone about it,
 that's the hardest thing for me to do.  My worst nightmare,
  heartbreaking and scary to my children, (especially my daughters),
 my grandchildren, my parents, sisters and friends.
  official website
 Now that my dear ones know, as many as I could reach,
I have decided to share this journey so maybe it will help someone else.
 It is advanced so I must get aggressive treatment.
  A port will be inserted on Sept. 11, and I am starting chemotherapy on Sept. 15.
After a few months, I will have surgery, and then radiation treatments.

I feel very healthy, and strong, and hopeful.
 I know that God will take care of me and meet my every need,
and I believe in the power of prayer and I am praying for a miracle.
 Please believe and pray along with me.

 I want to live.  I have many reasons to live, precious family and friends,
a lot of joy in my life and I shall concentrate on all my blessings,
 my favorite things,  keeping healthy, and working hard to conquer this.

My calendar is filling up with important  treatment appointments. 

My grandchildren bought me  a drink cup and car magnet.
   So sweet, 17yr. old Gary placed one on his car as well!

 Wonderful scripture, beautiful vintage images and sound spiritual guidance from a dear blogger friend
I can always find  Inspiring scripture, sound guidance and beautiful graphics
 from  Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.

I decided to blog about it, because I hope this story will help someone. 
 It will help me to talk about it and share what I learn along the way.

Now I'm in the biggest fight of my life. 
  But good things will come out of it. 
 Already it's shown me some things. 
       1.  My divorce was not the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
      2.  I've learned not to ignore anything that I feels out of the ordinary.
                                   My advice, Please don't put off getting it checked out before it grows, gets worse.                                   
 3.  My faith will help me be strong.                                                
             I have the Lord by my side and He cares for me.                             
     Tonight my mother sang to me the song, "Does Jesus Care?",  
 and it is sweet comfort to me now!

Casting all your cares on Him,
 for He careth for you. 
I Peter 5:7

Love, Linda


Monday, September 1, 2014

I Have Breast Cancer

 My worst fear is real and I am having such a hard time telling people.  So there, I said it.  I want to live,so I have to treat it very agresssively. I have a long hard fight ahead of me.
I am in an advanced stage and have decided to begin chemotherapy  as soon as possible. I have been having lots of tests, and scans. I will have a port inserted on Sept. 11, 2014.   Chemo to begin on Sept. 15, 2014.  My hair is going to fall out after two treatments.  There are lots of meds to take for the side effects.
After chemo, I will face surgery, but that is months away.  Then radiation therapy.
 This is a  long journey, and I am sharing it, so maybe some good will come out of it, and maybe I can help someone else.

I am happy, I feel strong and healthy.  My family and friends are rallying to tell me they are praying for me and I am not alone.  I am meeting the kindest, caring people. My doctors and nurses are incredible.
I am writing a journal  and reading  all the literature I can about breast cancer and my treatment.

I believe that God will provide a miracle and heal me, and will meet all my needs.
 There is so much joy in my life and I will focus on the love and goodness in my world and around me. It's important to me to keep positive and  take care of myself.  I hope my blog will be an inspiration and provide important information.

I believe in the power of prayer and I hope you will pray with me along the way.
 Please keep me in your prayers! 
Love, Linda

Monday, August 4, 2014


 I am getting tougher, stronger, like a weed.
  Hope I'm a good weed as useful as clover, sweet as honeysuckle.
Here's some weeds I've been encountering this summer.

Honeysuckle vine

 In May and early June, honeysuckle vine grows along our woods.
 They're  very fragrant, and I take cuttings for my flower arrangements.
As children we liked to bite off the ends and suck the nectar.
 But I've seen it take over and strangle shrubs and vinca in gardens.
 Is it a good weed or a bad weed?


Notice this pretty blue flowered weed growing along roadsides?
It is chicory.   Also called Italian dandelion.
The young leaves are edible in salads and the roots are dug up,
washed and roasted, ground, then brewed as a coffee substitute.

Queen Anne's  Lace

 Queen Anne's Lace grows in fields at my warehouse,
and I like to cut it for adding to flower arrangements.
 It is the host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars
Wild Carrot, is another name for this plant,
 and it has medicinal uses and you can  even make a jelly with it,
 but you must be very careful!  Because it closely resembles Poison Hemlock,
 once used in ancient Greece to execute criminals, which Socrates was killed with.

 Always make sure you don't eat plants that you are not absolutely certain are safe.

Bishop's Weed

 I planted  Bishop's Weed in my yard too.
  It's a lovely  variegated groundcover 
that also is very invasive, but my friend has a circle garden full of it,
 and it stays contained in the edged, mulched area.    
Also called snow-on-the-mountain, and goutweed,
 I saw some at the Longwood Gardens.

Creeping Jenny

 I  now  love this pretty trailing plant in my backyard,
 around the paving stones,
 But I pulled it out  for three years, thinking it was just  a weed.
  Creeping Jenny is a pretty yellow flowering groundcover.
 I also saw this plant spilling out of a pot of flowers at Longwood Gardens.

                                                      The edible weed- Dandelion  Taraxacum Officinale
Actually, I eat these nutritious weeds, in salads,
 and cooked as a green vegetable, but they do have a bitter taste.
   Vineland, N.J. is the Dandelion Capitol of  the World . 
They have annual Dandelion Festivals celebrating it's culinary uses, 
Dandelion flower fritters,  a tea made from its dried roots, 
and they make delicious dandelion wine too!
 They were brought to America by the colonists as a garden vegetable. 

Trifoleum  replens is the true Shamrock

White Clover,  may be considered a weed in your lawn,
 because it attracts bees who could sting your bare feet. 
But it is persistent and hardy and has many benefits.
It serves well  as a cover crop, a living mulch between rows, 
 is a  nitrogen-producing soil builder, and an important pollen
 and nectar source for bees and butterflies.
It is also a valuable survival food, high in protein,
 and grows abundantly almost everywhere. 
It can be added to salads, or steeped into an herbal tea. 
Infused dried red clover blossoms are supposed to be good
 for lactation, Julie, and help the lymphatic system! 

Milkweeds are prevalent in our gardens, but I let some grow,
 because they are important food for the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
It is the "host plant"  for the Monarch butterflies, the only plant the
baby caterpillars can eat. .

Asclepias   or Common Milkweed

But when a weed grows where you don't want,  it's a pesky nuisance.
Many an hour I've spent pulling weeds!  Good exercise, right?
  Here's a popular weed-killer that's going around on Facebook,
My cousin Jeannie posted it,  and I tried it on the patio and it works!
  I'll try to find the origin to give credit due.

But  here's a stubborn weed that you'll probably need help with! 
 I never heard anything good about this  noxious weed!

   My worst nightmare! Poison Ivy grows everywhere and is hard to destroy.
  I've had several very bad cases of  itchy-oozy  poison ivy rashes through the years.
 I am extremely allergic. There are lots of people using organic weedkillers,
 but this plant is hard to kill and the roots must be killed.
 The toxic oils from the plant can get on your garden tools and pets too.
I've even heard of people getting allergic dermatitis from the wind blowing
the  plant's oils on them.
 I always wash well with strong detergent, when I think I've come in contact with it.
  Old timers swear by Fels Naptha Soap.
  To kill poison ivy, I use a glyphosate herbicide
 like Ortho brush-B-Gone Poison Ivy Killer Concentrate.
 Dig roots out only with extreme caution and protection, and never burn it!
 Tommy told me about a villian that Batman knows named Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy, Batman's foe

Lego Batman character

On our daily walks, I try not to eat the wild mushrooms, berries, and dandelions
 in front of the kids, afraid they will think it's okay to eat any wild plants they see.
 If I pick something, Tommy cautions me, " be careful, that's poison ivy!"

 My sister Beverly was doing some playful trick  photography
 with a huge toadstool she found in her yard yesterday!

In my life, I need to be
"weeding out- Separating and getting rid of the unwanted."
 It makes more room and time for the good stuff.
I hope I can tell the difference, between what I should get rid of, and what I should keep!

  Happy Weeding!  Linda