Monday, October 15, 2012

Survival of a Survivor Girl

Well friends,
It has been months since I have blogged. Time passes so quickly.

I moved into a one bedroom apartment with my lovely little dog, Roxy, and Chance who won the cat choice. Panther went to live with his real owner--my daughter. She had 3 to choose from as all 3 animals are hers. LOL

The apartment living is not as bad as I thought it would be. I live in a small complex for people over 55. I have to say, it has been a few years, BUT I am once again one of the youngest people . The property is very nice, well kept and the flowers and plants are lovely. Most of us have a little dog and, probably, high blood pressure. There are lots of nice people, mostly women, and then your group of busy bodies and gossip queens. I try to think of what they are saying about me.....hmmm...."well, she has perky little boobs" What else could they possisbly say?? LOL

I really wish I could become an advocate for  single, breast cancer survivors. For me, it is not the cancer that did the damage; it is all the wonderful things they did to me while killing the cancer.  I will be forever thankful for being a survivor I just wish they were more resources available for the uninsured survivors.

Once again I am so thankful to say I survived more adversity--losing my house, moving, etc....Just remember We Will Survive!

More stories and sarcasm to come. ha!

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Is A Survivor Girl To Do?

What Is A Survivor Girl To Do?

I have been unemployed for some time now and my child support ended a year go SO I have found myself  in a very challenging situation. What to do?!?!?!? This is one of the few times I wish I had a husband. LOL

The bank must have just loved my house as they kept telling me how much they wanted it back. They kept  losing a page here and a page there when I would send all the documentation for a modification. It never got accomplished. We went back and forth for 14 months as I did try to plan ahead. The house in now sold.

So, I had think quick.......what does a survivor girl do? She starts packin'!!!

I had 3 garage sales, got help emptying the attic, and started selling furniture.I found an apartment in a great community. I move the middle of July and now so ready to leave the responsibilities of a house behind me.God works in mysterious ways as six months ago I felt like my life would be over if I the house sold and I had to move. I have to say now, I am so ready and excited to move into my 55 plus gated community. I know I will feel safe and one of my best friends lives there also.

I met a sweet lady with brain cancer when I was getting approved for my new apartment.....I believe God is leading me into my new chapter and, hopefully, I can offer some hope and inspiration through acts of kindness to some of the people living around me.

I am excited and feel so good about moving now. I still have a lot to do in the next 3 weeks but at the end I will feel peace and harmony in my new apartment.

God Bless you and thanks for supporting my blog. Please comment if you would like to share anything.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I thought "the neck bone was connected to the cervical spine bone".

Another doctor experience:

First, I am told the doctor is very hard of hearing with 2 hearing aides and that I will need to look at him when I speak. This is an elderly man so I do applaud him for still working. :)

The doctor office is located in, shall I say, an older part of town. It was a board certified internal medicine doctor.

He asks me how many surgeries I've had. I am the surgery queen so I started at the top.( NO, not brain surgery but, after all, the CT and MRI's I had that may be next. lol)

ME: I have had 5 eye surgeries
DR: Why did you have 3 eye surgeries?
ME: I had 5 eye surgeries
DR: yes, that is what I meant to say

I told him I had neck surgery for pinched nerves in 2005 and a mile long list of my complaints; one being lymphedema.

ME: I, also, have some problems with lymphedema
DR: Well, yes, that is very common with neck surgery.
ME: Excuse me, the lymphedema is from the breast surgery
DR: yes, that is what I meant to say

So my chief complaint is that I have lost some use of my right arm and hand due to more pinched nerves in my neck, breast surgery and lymphedema. So I have an xray ordered for lower spine. Maybe I need to retake an anatomy class because I thought "the neck bone was connected to the cervical spine bone".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stepmothers, Other Mothers, Only Mothers.....

Happy Mother's Day to All

This blog is dedicated to my step-mother who I will refer to as  Miss N and then as my "other mother".

I met my "other mother" when I was sixteen. She worked for my dad so we would all meet for lunch. She was single and  older than me, lived in her own apartment so at 16 I thought she was awesome. Little did I know I was building a relationship with my future step-mother.

A few years later I started working for the same company. My dad was my boss as well as Miss N's boss.  It was a great year, all of us worked well together, and then the Grain Dust  Explosion of 1978 ......all of us lost our jobs. My dad found a job in another city, my parents divorced and both my mom and dad moved to other cities.

Miss N found a job locally and we stayed friends. So she got to deal with me ....and has been dealing with me ever since. :)

As the years passed Miss N became my step-mother. My mom never lived in town again and she died, sadly, too young. So Miss N was dubbed my "other mother". When I got divorced I no longer had the closeness of a mother-in-law, she too has passed away. So Miss N is now my "only mother".

My dad and Miss N have been married for 30 years. :) What a great lady my dad hand picked with a lot of thought to be my step-mother. I believe there was some special intervention from God. She is the kindest lady I could ever imagine having in my life. My parents help me every month.....they give up so much so I have as much as I need. They have especially helped me since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. My "only mother" loves me much as I love the children I  birthed. She is always there for me, always so generous, so kind, and sacrifices so much for our family. She commutes over 120 miles a day to work, makes nutritional dinners most evenings for my father and really asks for nothing in return. She is the most beautiful, selfless person you could ever meet .I  am so fortunate to have her in my life. When I count my blessings my "only mother" is at the top of the list.

Thank you for all you do for our family,


Friday, May 11, 2012

Cancer Sisterhood~There are a lot of us out there

Today I was doing some shopping and saw an older lady with a Survivor t-shirt on. Well, you know me, I have to say something....I gave her a high five and we talked for a minute. She was a 17 year survivor and got diagnosed again so now she is a 6 month second time survivor. As we were talking another lady came up and we all high fived, she was a 2 1/2 year survivor. It is always so inspirational and uplifting to see other survivors, we all have a story, we all have a big SMILE on our face and are truly blessed. Please say a prayer for all those that are battling breast cancer and to the survivors. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The joys of Lymphedema


Just some good information for anyone that may be experiencing issues with lymphedema. I have it behind my arm and slight swelling down my back. I have been going to an awesome physical therapist in N Fort Worth. If you or someone you know is in the area needing help let me know and I give you their number.

I have tape down my back right now to move to fluid down so it can drain in my groin.It is more irritating than painful, thank goodness. :)

This article is from the American Cancer Society

Why do I need to know about lymphedema?

Women who have been treated for breast cancer may be at risk for arm, breast, and chest swelling called lymphedema (limf-uh-dee-muh). Most women who have had breast cancer will not develop this side effect, but some will. The risk of lymphedema is higher for women who have surgery and radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.
Here we will talk about what lymphedema is, the steps you can take to lower your risk, and what signs you can look for. There is no way to know who will get lymphedema. But there are things you can do to try to prevent it. And recognizing it early and starting treatment right away can help manage it.

What is the lymph system?

Our bodies have a network of lymph (limf) nodes and lymph vessels that collect and carry watery, clear lymph fluid, much like veins collect blood from all parts of the body and carry it through the body. Lymph fluid contains proteins, salts, and water, as well as white blood cells, which help fight infections. In the lymph vessels, valves work with body muscles to help move the fluid through the body. Lymph nodes are small collections of tissue that work as filters for harmful substances and help us fight infection.
Picture of left and right lymph drainage fields of a woman's head and chest

What is lymphedema?

During surgery for breast cancer, the doctor removes at least one lymph node from the underarm area to see if the cancer has spread. Sometimes doctors remove more than one. When lymph nodes are removed, lymph vessels that carry fluid from the arm to the rest of the body are also removed because they route through and are wrapped around the nodes.
Removing lymph nodes and vessels changes the flow of lymph fluid in that side of the upper body. This makes it harder for fluid in the chest, breast, and arm to flow out of this area. If the remaining lymph vessels cannot drain enough fluid from these areas, the excess fluid builds up and causes swelling, or lymphedema. Radiation treatment to the lymph nodes in the underarm can affect the flow of lymph fluid in the arm, chest, and breast area in the same way, further increasing the risk of lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues just under your skin. It usually develops slowly over time. The swelling can range from mild to severe. It can start soon after surgery or radiation treatment. But it can also begin months or even many years later. Women who have many lymph nodes removed and women who have had radiation therapy for breast cancer have a higher risk of getting lymphedema.
Doctors still do not fully understand why some patients are more likely to have problems with fluid build-up than others. They expect that in the future fewer women will develop lymphedema because:
  • Breast surgery and treatment keep getting more conservative (that is, more women are treated with lumpectomy rather than mastectomy).
  • Research advances have led to methods like the sentinel lymph node biopsy (a procedure that allows the surgeon to remove only 1 or 2 lymph nodes).
  • Newer studies are looking at finding which lymph nodes drain the arm before surgery so they can be preserved when possible. This procedure is called axillary reverse mapping.
There is still a lot to be learned about lymphedema, but there are ways that you can care for your arm and breast area to reduce your chances of having future problems. Once lymphedema has started, it cannot be cured. But early and careful management can reduce symptoms and help keep it from getting worse.

Last Medical Review: 03/01/2012
Last Revised: 03/01/2012

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrate Life and Embrace your Friends.....

I am a person with the gift of gab but am finding it more difficult than I thought to update my blog daily. I will try to write more often.
Over the years you meet so many people and amazingly some of them move on when you NEVER thought you  would lose touch, or they touch your life in one way or another--like a guardian angel, and then there are those forever friends.
During my cancer journey I had more friends have daughters and sons get pregnant than not. Each friend was shocked, upset, horrified that it happened to them. I always told them "Celebrate Life", it is a wonderful gift. Each friend went through different ways of coping and accepting the idea that they would be young grandparents. I continued to support them and remind them to celebrate life and embrace the joy of a new born baby even if the circumstances were not your expectations. I am so happy to say many got married, all the children are happy and healthy, and each friend now knows they got the greatest gift of all--a grandchild to cherish and adore. It has been interesting to watch these young couples change and develop into maturing adults that are great parents.
I have another friend, surprisingly a forever friend, whose life I watched be transformed. She was a confused girl, married a few different times and liked to party. When she got married to her current husband she seemed to continue to fight instead of embrace the love they could share. She had to be tough and independent; not sure what made her think she had do that. On occasion we would have a deep conversation about life, the first time being when her mother passed away. We bonded at this mutual sad experience we had in common, both realizing that we could be  very vulnerable. I think with God's intervention she started to change, she started to embrace her husband and being his wife.I have watched her obtain an inner peace that has brought a new found happiness into her life--Well, as long as the Rangers win! LOL  Dear friend, you know who you are and this one is for you!! You have been one of my most awesome supporters but we can keep it just between us. :)

Remember to learn to dance in the rain, live, love and laugh!! Life is good!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Two Time Survivor :)

Happy anniversary, Katy. 4/21/1978, you, your father, and your other mother survived the Tabor Milling Co., North Kansas Ciy, Mo. grain dust explosion. Look at the wonderful world we've enjoyed. You gave us a beautiful granddaughter. You gave us a fine handsome grandson. What a wonderful world.
 ·  · See Friendship · 3 hours ago · 

  • Laurie PiwinskiBill Carter and 2 others like this.

    • Kate Meek Wow, I really thought we were going to die that day. It was so scary.......I will never forget all of us going down the narrow cement staircase with my father getting everyone out safely. It is a wonderful world and a wonderful life. :))
      2 hours ago ·  ·  1

    • Bill Carter We'll never know how lucky we were. Thank the Lord the force of the blast didn't hit the buried tanks with thousands of gallons of hexane, that would have taken out half the town. And thanks to Tabors sloppy housekeeping, the sand in the tunnels kept the blast from blowing up the mill building and the offices.

    • Laurie Piwinski Wow! I knew nothing about this. Praise God you all survived!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Infamous Cardiologist!

Well, I finally met the infamous Cardiologist. He was actually awesome, very encouraging and kind. I am going to live (thank God) with heart disease being treated with medication. It really did seem like I was waiting to see the Wizard but now I can laugh about it since I am not going to be spending hours in their office, having veins not being available for IV's nor will I be getting exposure to radiation from multiple scans. All the scans did show my body to be tumor free so that was incredible news. So glad all of that is behind me. Now I am sending my daughter.......high cholesterol can be genetic and she has it

. So let's all be proactive and have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sometimes you just have to "regroup"

Oh has been too long since my last blog. A breast cancer sister passed away a few weeks ago and I was so sad. She fought so hard for 14 years while raising a family, having an awesome career and a great husband. The family planted a tree on their lake property in her honor.

I had the opportunity to go to San Antonio with a friend  for a few days to "get away" and enjoy the River Walk and adult beverages. :) It was so beautiful and the drive through the hill country was awesome. We saw tons of bluebonnets, other wild flowers and everything was so green and fresh. I had to regroup.

Don't forget to cherish the small things in life; like beautiful wild flowers and the sound of the river.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dear Breast Cancer Sisters:

Dear Breast Cancer Sisters:
Please help me in sending peace and comfort to a dear friend of mine and his family. He lost his wife to breast cancer yesterday. She fought for 13 years. This dear  lady was an awesome wife and mother as well as a corporate leader for a large company. Through her struggles she had the strength, courage and perseverance that most people don't ever have or find. Mrs. F was an inspiration to all on her journey that she handled with such grace and elegance. May the wonderful memories help her family find comfort as they mourn the loss of their wife and mother. Please say a prayer.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

After the diagnosis and treatment...

I just saw a friend of mine that has completed surgery, chemo and radiation for throat cancer. I just had to see for myself how he is doing. It is awesome to become a cancer survivor but the whole cancer experience lingers with many side effects. You are never the same person you were before the journey.  I must add that the experience does create some positive changes in your life but there is also that constant reminder that you are not invincible. The is always that little fear that the big C could return.
For me, personally, I look at my whole life as a journey that has many interesting twists and turns along the way. Pray, laugh and "dance like no one is watching". You have to make your life positive, have an inner peace and know that God is at your side each step of the way.

Prayer Request for our sweet lady Mrs. G

Hello friends,
My last post was requesting prayers for Mrs G having her first chemo treatment. Her blood counts are low so she has been admitted into the hospital. Please send prayers to my sweet friend that her counts will rise and she will be feeling stronger soon. Thanks to all of you that read my blog and for your support to those going through treatment.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Prayer Warriors needed for a sweet lady getting chemo

Hello, I was not feeling inspirational the last week so I didn't update my blog. Now I am feeling much more positive and know I am very blessed in so many ways. :)

A friend of mine had a bilateral mastectomy a few months ago and she escaped having to have chemo and/or radiation. Her mom was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer just recently also. Her mom did not escape chemo. She has had one round and has several more to go. Please say a prayer and send positive thoughts to Mrs G. She has a great support system but needs lots of encouragement for doing this a second time. Thank you for your support as we fight this dreaded disease.

Remember to schedule your well woman checks, breast exams and mammograms. I don't have to have mammograms anymore :) but remember them so well. I had small breasts so it was always a smashing good time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What Cancer Cannot Do and Positive Thinking

Dr Norman Vincent Peale was the author of the book The Power of Positive Thinking. Amongst his many words of inspiration are the following:

“Never talk defeat. Use words like, hope, belief, faith, victory” 

“It's always too early to quit” 

and also  “Change your thoughts and you change your world.

WHAT CANCER CANNOT DO (version 2 anonymous) 
Cancer is so limited that:
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The lone orange gerber daisy.....

I have mentioned before that having cancer helps you allow yourself to look at the world through the eyes of a child. I had a huge garage sale last Saturday. I would estimate that 150 people came, it was chaotic but I did get rid of lots of stuff I just don't need anymore.

I have noticed in my run down flower bed that there has been 1 bright orange gerber daisy. It has been there for a week and no one has commented on it. A little girl in the midst of chaos at the sale noticed the flower. She told me mom to look at the beautiful flower. I, of course, was so touched! We are always or think we are always too busy to look around and appreciate God's gifts to us~a beautiful flower surviving alone in a run down garden persevered, stood high and offered beauty to everything around it. :) It only takes a minute to enjoy looking through the eyes of a child---so full of appreciation and wonderment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gotta love the cardiologist as much as they love me :)

Well, the saga continues.......I spent 3 1/2 hours at the doctor's office today for a CT Scan of my heart. This was my 2nd try as my heart rate was too high the first time. So they gave me meds to lower my heart rate, but it  was not low enough this morning for the test. So they gave me more meds orally and through my IV in the vein they had to DIG for.  I guess they like to bruise me before taking pictures. What is up with that??

I got 2 invitations from the cardiologist today when my appointment was over. They want to see me again 3/30 and 4/20. So glad they give me advance notice so I can make sure my calender has some open time.

I had a huge garage sale this weekend.....made $238 and had to use it to pay for a speeding ticket, $208.10. I paid them in cash and 50 of it was in one dollar bills. It took them awhile to count it but now I don't have to go to jail. LOL  I would be so grouchy if I were in jail that I am sure I would have gotten an early release.

Still packing and trying to stay focused.......I have 10 days without a doctor appointment so I should get a lot done.

Please say a prayer for me that the cardiologist stops wanting to spend so much time with me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My new best friends at the Cardiologist

Today as I continue my Celebrate Life week I got to have lunch with friends that I worked with at Pier 1 Imports. I had not seen them for a few years so it was great.

Actually, I had a Cardiologist appointment again for a 3 hour CT Scan of my heart. BUT my heart rate was too high so they gave me meds to take and rescheduled my appointment for next week. These people must really, really like me as this will be the 4th week in a row that they have invited me back. I must be very photogenic. Now, why would my heart rate be high you ask; can you say FEAR?? I have bad veins and each time I get a scan done they have to dig for a vein.  So often by the 3rd try I am crying and have to remind myself to breath. So since they couldn't do the scan I got to go to lunch with old friends. YaY!

A girl I used to work with has just gone through breast cancer surgery but escaped having to have chemo. She says she feels like she won the lottery! Her mom just got diagnosed with breast cancer again after 20 years of being cancer free. She had surgery and will now have to have chemo and radiation. Please say a prayer for a quick recovery and strength for her to get through the chemo and radiation.

Tomorrow my baby will be 19 years old. :) One more reason for my Celebrate Life week.

Celebrate life week~Call an old friend

Still celebrating my 5 year "survivorship"  :)

Today I met a friend of mine who I have not seen in many years for lunch. We went to grade school together in Kansas City, MO. We have both lived in Texas for 20 years but , rarely, get together. It was such a great day, we spent  3 hours catching up and looking at wedding pictures of our children. It was awesome, almost like I saw her a month ago. You know you always have friends that you could call in a moment's notice even it has been several years since you have seen them last. That is the kind of friend I met today--the ones you cherish for a lifetime.

So since this is my celebrate life week, reach out to an old friend or family member that you have not talked to for a long time. It will make both of you feel so good.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Prayer of Thanks for being a Five Year Survior

Dear Heavenly Father,
Today, through your blessing and grace, I am a 5 year survivor. You gave me the strength and courage to survive my cancer journey. The glorious feeling of exhilaration that I am feeling today is beyond description--I feel like I have scaled a mountain. Today I realize that this experience and my walk with you has given me an inner peace and richness that I may never known had I not gone on this journey.

Thank you, Lord, for the out pour of love and kindness I received from family, friends and strangers. Often we forget that we need to let people help and that most people are kind and giving. It has taught me to look for the goodness in everyone instead of judging. Open your heart and they will come. The prayers and encouragement offered me hope, strengthened my faith, and helped make me the person I am today.

Please bless all those that have touched my life and please help me find ways to give back to those facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Please give me the initiative to offer hope and inspiration to others going through breast cancer treatment.

As I continue to face struggles in my life please guide me and help me embrace the changes in my near future.

And Lord, please make me walk on the treadmill so I can look awesome in that little red dress for Heart Disease Awareness.

In Jesus name- Amen