Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I look so bad when I cry....

My cousin gave me one greatest compliments that I could receive. She said my positive attitude was contagious. :) That absolutely made my day. We all have adversity and struggles in our lives. Trust me...I have had many pity parties; days of being sad and negative BUT, I found, this takes so MUCH energy that it just wears me out. I look so ugly when I just isn't worth it.

So think of adversity as something that enriches other parts of your life and who you are. The struggles we survive don't rob us of joy, wonderful memories or appreciation. It helps us to realize how precious life is.
So today, if you haven't already, go outside and enjoy the trees in bloom or the robins chirping (in TX anyway). The important things in life don't cost anything you just have to take a minute and see the world through the eyes of a child.

Being positive is invigorating. Smile, laugh and hope that my basketball team, the Mavericks, win tonight!

Monday, February 27, 2012


I never thought I would be using social media internet sites but in the last few weeks I have reconnected with 2 wonderful friends that mean so much to me that I had lost contact with. I have had lots of time on my hands on and off over the last few years so I started  thinking  about what and who is really important to me. I decided to look for 2 friends that had touched my life with their friendships.

Both friends I have known since  1979. I won't use their names but Mrs T and I are friends again. She is local so we will get to meet for lunch and a forbidden Dr Pepper. I have missed her and am so blessed to get to  have lunch with her. :)

Then.........a guy I used to work with that was my best friend. We have reconnected and it is awesome. He is happy in his life and lives with a wonderful woman. :) I feel like since my children are raised and taken care of I have more time for my friends.

Being a survivor intensifies the beauty of what is important in life. Find an old friend and do a random act of kindness --your life will be so enriched.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Needing more backbone.....

One thing I did not get from my cancer journey: The ability to confront someone that I have an emotional attachment to. I get so mad at myself but I just avoid confrontation like the plague or cancer. lol

There are so many people that come in and out of our lives over the years; some just for a short time, some like an angel help you through hurdles and move on. Some you swear you will keep in touch with but you don't. Others you become you long time friends. And others you lose track of but never stop thinking about them.

Then there are friends that you need to confront but I just can't SO pray for me to have more backbone so I can get this issue resolved.

It is such a beautiful day in Texas! Love it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

Giving back--when I think about what I am doing now I am embarrassed that I am not "giving back" more as I have been so blessed. I volunteer for Chemo Angels, but chose a "senior lady" in a nursing home instead of someone on chemo. I send her cards and notes every week and small gifts on holidays. She is an awesome lady. I also support a friend here and there that has been diagnosed with cancer. I try to offer encouragement and a positive spin on the situation. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

I found this great blog called 366 Random Acts of Kindness, it is awesome. We should all try to offer an act of kindness. Check this blog out for some great ideas. :)

Please share your thoughts and ideas and please join my blog. :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

The tracks of my heart

I would have thought a CT scan of my heart as a "survivor girl" would show the following tracks:

A heart that was born the baby and the only girl--to my brothers--"Gotta love the Baby"
A heart that has been broken a few times from my first love and ex-husband
A heart shattered by divorce, and the tragic deaths of my mother and brother--and my brother I can't find
A heart that is healed by time, understanding and forgiveness
A heart so full of joy for the gift of my two children, Elizabeth and Dale, they are the most precious gifts (and I got a fabulous son-in-law)
A heart so thankful for my father and stepmother and my many friends and family
A heart that is strong enough to face adversity and to climb, crawl and be carried on  the path to the top of my mountain to celebrate being a 5 year survivor
A heart so touched by the wonderful small things--Deb's grandson's laughter, a rainbow, the wind in my hair
A strong heart that celebrates life and doesn't take anything for granted
A heart that has been truly blessed

AND a heart that is walking on the treadmill every day!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Women's Heart Health Awareness and that little red dress

Well, the other day I decide to follow-up with a cardiologist as heart disease is very prevalent in my family. I also have a stent in a kidney and thought I would be proactive regarding my health as I get closer to being a 5 year breast cancer survivor.....Let me tell you, it was not a celebratory appointment. The worst of it is that I just  can't wear one of those tiny cute sassy red dresses that they use to represent Women's Heart Health. I just don't do red or tight and tiny. What is a girl to do?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A beautiful day in Texas

Today is such a beautiful day in Texas! The sun is shining and it is going to be in the70"s today. My lawn needs to be moved, well, the back anyway. The dogs are small and it is like a jungle out there.

I have pansies planted in pots on my patio so even when it is cold and dreary I have these beautiful yellow and purple flowers providing a ray of sunshine. I, also, have lots of yellow flowers in my yard--they are wild flowers. Hmmm, I believe they are called dandelions. lol

Monday, February 20, 2012

This weekend I went on my first Women's Church Retreat. It was a gift from a very dear friend of mine for celebrating being an almost 5 year survivor. It was a group of 22 women, all ages and I only really knew one of them well. I have to say it was somewhat out of my comfort zone even with my gift of gab. :)

It was a powerful, enlightening and uplifting experience. Sometimes in the midst of my pitty parties I forget that all of us have challenges and adversity in our lives. Everyone shared experiences and how they coped with hurdles in their life journey. These hurdles help shape us into who we strive to be, it offers us strength and a chance to be with our Lord as he often carries us during our darkest hours. We become stronger and can offer strength and encouragement to others through experience, faith and prayer.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful Happy Valentine's Day. I went out to dinner with my man friend and it was fun. We often watch all the couples on their cell phones and wonder why they are out together; they don't talk or enjoy each others company. Poor Vic has to listen to my continuous chatter as we don't use our cell phones at dinner. I wonder how long he signed up to be my Guardian Angel? lol

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lady Antebellum - One Day You Will... my cancer survivors song of hope

Prayer request:  My Aunt Doris has been admitted into the hospital and we need prayers sent her way. Please say a prayer for her and her family. Thank you so much!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dedicated to my Guardian Angel for Valentine's Day

By Katy Meek

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain”

April 9, 2007: I awoke startled in a hospital could I not remember how I got here? As I become more coherent my mind wanders back to my last memory of being wheeled away from my life into an operating room that would change me forever.

A friend had arranged for all of us waiting for my surgery to wear red lipstick. This idea came from a movie, "Why I Wore Red Lipstick to My Mastectomy". This made me have a sense of control.  I found the lipstick comforting as I was briskly wheeled down a sterile hallway. I am freezing cold and frightened, this is so surreal. I drift off.

Struggling to stay awake, as the morphine ebbs its way through my veins, I thought of the bilateral mastectomy that I had survived.  Breast Cancer diagnosis: Check   Surgery: Check

I feel myself starting to panic; did they get all the cancer? Am I going to live? The morphine quickly takes me to a place where there is no cancer; there is no pain or fear. There is only peace, I sleep, I dream....

February 22, 2002:  I went to a club with a friend, I could be so shy but we sat at the bar as no other seating was available. I sat next to a nice looking man, older than myself, but very handsome and single! He kept talking to my friend and I. His wife has passed away a few years ago of cancer. He had awesome blue eyes that twinkled and he made me laugh. This man asked me out and we have been dating since our first date a few weeks later. He became my "special man friend". We danced to a Beatle’s song; little did I know this was my first dance with my guardian angel.

February 22, 2007: We have had a wonderful, exciting five years together dating.....then I felt that dreaded lump in my breast. It became my secret as I feared the lump was cancer. I could feel it in my soul that it would not be good news; so I decided to ignore it and just maybe it would go away. A few weeks later I finally found the courage to make a doctor appointment.

March 13, 2007: At North Hills Hospital I hear the words coming from a stranger's lips, "Ms. Meek I am sorry to inform you that you have breast cancer". I want to fall to the ground, I feel so alone....."You need to see a surgeon immediately". I hear, "I am so sorry; would you like me to call someone for you?" I am about to be sick, I need to leave this small room that smelled of film developer. Somehow, I thanked the radiologist and stumbled to the hallway. I wait to get to my car to cry, the salty teardrops stinging my face. I am sobbing and shaking. I am in shock. I am a single mom. How am I going to do this?

I call my special man friend. Barely able to breathe, I struggle to get the words out, "I have breast cancer".  I am crying so hard...... and praying, "Dear God, please help me have the courage and strength to get through this one.” He is at a loss for words. I felt like I was dropping a bomb.

I worry that this man will not be able to go on this journey with me as his memory of his wife's cancer is etched in his mind. Her pain, her suffering can still make him shudder with each beat of his heart.  I am frightened and I need his strong hands to lift me over the hurdles I am about to face but I was not sure a person can go on a second journey. I wanted to be selfish...but would certainly let him go without guilt or remorse. 

When Vic said, "We can get through this together" I felt such a sense of relief and comfort that this man would take this cancer journey with me. I thanked God and prayed for strength and courage...I never asked why I would get cancer; I just  prayed for strength, courage and the capability to just put one foot in front of the other. During a prayer I felt God's presence and knew I was ready to face my fears. I felt such a warmth come across my shoulders, a peace come over me and weight was lifted off my shoulders. I stopped crying myself to sleep every night.

One of the most difficult things I had to do next was tell my daughter and son that I had cancer. I would be having major surgery to remove the cancer by having both breasts removed. It affects a daughter's future and a young son does not want to hear about his mom's breasts but he has to. We hugged, we cried. My daughter is afraid for my future; I am afraid for hers.

April 2007: Everything regarding my treatment moved fast a period of time. I had a visiting nurse come to my house every other day to change my bandages. This went on for 2 weeks, I had those awful drainage tubes; after an eternity I got them removed. I had never looked at my incision as I just couldn’t bear to see what the surgery did to me.

The nurse removed the bandages while I waited for my reconstruction surgeon to take a look at how it was healing.  Vic looked first so I would know if I could look. He said, “It wasn’t too bad and the incision looked good”, I looked and from that day on I took it all in stride. If he could bear the change I knew I could too.

May 2007: I had a port put in my upper chest for chemo…..this made the reality of it just one step closer. I am so scared. The port just grossed me out for the 8 months I had it, I will never forget the pressure each time that I felt as they connected the IV to chemo.

June 5, 2007:  I am reclined in a “chemo” chair. I feel the pressure of the chemo IV being hooked up to my port. How did I ever end up here? New chemo shoes: check, new chemo outfit:  check.  At least, I looked good! Everyone knew I was a “newbie” because I had hair and I am probably visible trembling.

I have a doctor appointment with the Oncologist and then my first chemo treatment. I am feeling nauseated as I am reliving this day. It was one of the most difficult moments of my life. Fear can be so paralyzing, somehow, with my guardian angel and with God’s grace, I walked the path to the doctor’s office. I am shaking, my heart is racing; my instincts say run and run fast! I promise you there was only one set of footprints walking down the hallway into the chemo room. It was horrible but I lived through it! Well, another notch on my badge of courage. Yes! Only seven more to go! The next few days bring nausea, vomiting and body ache so I sleep; take lots of medicine to control the symptoms. I begin to wonder if I am going to die because I sure feel like it. Then amazingly, I return to life and get ready to return to work.

June 11, 2007: I returned to work. It was a great place to be to feel somewhat normal. I worked between chemo treatments and the company was very good to me. I was paid for all of my time off.

June 2007: A few weeks after my first chemo my hair started falling out. For some reason, I thought I might be exempt from losing my hair but sadly, it was all gone after a couple of weeks. It was another very traumatic, almost devastating experience. I felt like everyone could look at me and I know I had cancer. I got my head shaved to get rid of the few strands of hair that held on tight and got fitted for a wig. The wig was cute and maybe even sassy but way too hot for the hot flashes I began to have. I wore a hat with my head held high. I got used to not having to do my hair. I just had to match my outfit for the day to a hat. Oh yes, don’t let me forget that I started having hot flashes—every 20 minutes or so. Wait, I didn’t sign up for this!

June through October 30, 2007: Chemo came and went as scheduled every 3 weeks and just as I was feeling almost normal again I would get another round. I was sick, nauseated and the bone pain was brutal. Somehow, after feeling like I wanted to mash the death button, I did feel better between treatments. My blood counts were low sometimes and this required cell enhancing injections from hell, other times I would have to be on antibiotics and stay away from crowds, I was always able to go to work (go figure). Vic took me to all my doctor appointments and chemo treatments so I never felt alone. He spoiled me with lunches and Dr. Pepper (my lifeline) while I was hooked up to the chemo. He would insist I leave my house at times just to get out of my fetal position when I was worn out from the chemo.

My son, a freshman in high school at the time, lived the chemo experience with me. He was good about bringing me something to drink and fixing me something to eat when I just could not get up and do it myself. He was great overall for not getting sick when I was violently nauseated from each chemo. Each one seemed to be worse than the one before.

October 30, 2007: Finally chemo number 8 is over!! I am elated! I take gifts to the nurses and Dr. Patel. I survived!

November 2007: Port out, what a relief.

December 2007 to February 2008: Another chapter of my treatment begins….tissue expanders are filled with saline to start stretching my skin for breasts! Wow, as the months and fills I felt like I was going to need a tracheotomy. With my prosthesis on I had boobs from my neck to my ribcage. I never had large breast so it was almost embarrassing. I had to buy new tops to wear to work to accommodate these HUGE appearing breasts. Vic was so supportive and the poor guy had to listen to me complain but he did great! He really should have gotten a trophy!

February 2008: I got breasts… very own breasts. I don’t have to take them off at night. They look great, I feel like a “real girl” again. My hair had started growing back so I stopped wearing my hats when I returned to work. It took me several years before I could wear a hat again to cover a bad hair day when running errands.

May 2008: I was laid off, but cancer taught me to persevere. So I WILL SURVIVE, after my cancer journey I knew I could handle just about anything. This was just another small hurdle.

I can’t say that I am glad that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but I learned so much about life along my journey. I learned that there are so many great Christians amongst us. I had an outpour of support and prayers that offered incredible hope for me. The love and prayers I received were unbelievable. I had no idea that I had so many friends and all my relatives in New York were awesome. Vic started a site for me on Caring Bridge. It allowed friends and family to get updates on my journey. Also visitors wrote encouraging and inspirational messages.

So many people brought my son and me dinners when I had chemo or a surgery. The kindness was indescribable. I will never ever forget how wonderful everyone was to me and my son. Often someone brought desserts for my son.

I want to say a very special thanks to all my friends at St Peter’s Lutheran Church, friends at Pier 1 Imports, my children and family, the whole Carter family, Aunt Doris for all of the cards, Vic’s daughters, Rene and Laurie, Susie, Kim, Taylor, Deb and most of all to my Guardian Angel. Oh and don’t let me forget, Dirk Nowitzki, #41 for the Mavericks. He will never even know how wonderful I think he is and the stories I have fabricated purely for entertainment purposes.

February 2012: Next month I will be a FIVE year survivor!! I feel like I am on top of a mountain! Thanks to our Lord and Savior and to my Guardian Angel I survived breast cancer and am alive to celebrate! Five Alive!! You can’t even imagine the empowerment this experience has given me.

And as for me and my Guardian Angel, we are going keep dancing—even in the rain.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Almost 5 years!!

Hello Again, On 2/5 I made a post reminding you to do monthly breast exams. You also need to have your annual mammograms.......I don't have anything to mammo so I was not thinking about that. But please remember to be proactive and take care of your breasts. :)
A friend of mine recently went through radiation, chemo and surgery for throat cancer. I needed to offer him my support but, also, offer him ways to cope through such a frightening experience. In doing so, I spent some time reflecting on my experience and how I was able to emotionally handle my cancer journey.

Here a few of my thoughts:
They doctors are on your side--they are NOT trying to kill you just the cancer cells so you can be healthy again

Faith and prayer REALLY do help you on your journey- with God you can achieve anything. Strength, courage and hope help you heal.

For me personally, I learned what is really important in life--friends and family.

I sometimes feel like I see the world through the eyes of a child as there is so much wonderment out there to appreciate. Flowers, vibrant colors, warm sunshine, the wind blowing through your hair, and the awesomeness of a rainbow.....I will stop here. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

To all the ladies, do monthly breast exams, I found my lump that way. Do Not Depend on Your Man to check for you.....they are not looking for lumps!! LOL Do you own breast exam. :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Can you say lymphedema, compression sleeve and hot flash all in one sentence....REAL FAST....that is how I am feeling. LOL

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rascal Flatts - I Won't Let Go

Martina McBride - I'm Gonna Love You Through It - CMA Awards 2011

Everyday I am one day to closer to being a 5 year survivor--in some ways it seems like yesterday and other ways are fading memories. I am hoping I can get more affordable health insurance when I hit the 5 year mark! LOL I am working on a website so, hopefully, next week I will have it available. Thanks to everyone for your support.