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! , 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