Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm Done! With Chemotherapy That Is....

First of all before I go into any stories to be told I have to thank ALL of you, family, friends, acquaintances and strangers for all of the prayers and support I have had through this Journey of mine with the Lord and with breast cancer. It has been amazing to see how people come together and surround someone who is hurting with so much love and kindness. I am humbled to be on the receiving end.
Today December 22, 2009 marked one of the most emotional days of my life. Aside from meeting Jeff and marrying him to having 3 beautiful children. Oh and one more thing, hearing those awful words you have breast cancer. Here is how the story goes....
Yesterday Jeff and I were able to go to the city to enjoy the Christmas season and just spend quality time together. We had no agenda, nothing to be done just him and I. I treasure those sweet times I get with him. We woke up this morning and had a nice breakfast, packed up our things and headed to the hospital were I was going for my last treatment. Now in my mind I would be really nervous and anxious to go only because this last one has been a bittersweet ending for me as I explained in my last letter. I headed in where I needed to give blood and the lab was packed. I looked at my watch and noticed I was to be sitting in the oncologists office in 5 minutes. UGH!!! I hurried out up the elevator to make it in the waiting room just in time to be called back. Jeff and I sat in the room as I jotted down as many questions as I could knowing that I wouldn't be back for a while. Dr. Moasser walks in and says the words EVERYONE (that has had chemo)wants to hear. With a big smile he says "Well your done. How do you feel?" My stomach sank and with a big smile I said "GREAT, YEAH!" Now 35 year olds normally don't say YEAH to their doctors but I wasn't leaving that one out. We ventured upstairs where I would get hooked up and anticipated being there for a good 4 hours. There was hardly anyone in there and I got in right away to be hooked up in no time. There was a sad feeling at first because there has been a lady that has been on my heart from my very first treatment and I have been praying for and she wasn't there. Now in all past treatments she had always been there before me. I had a little something to give her and I so badly didn't want to miss her. A few minutes had past and up walked Christine. I was able to let her know I am praying for her, handed her the gift and off she went. Christine if you are reading this I want you to know that the Lord has placed you on my heart and I will continually be praying for you! Keep your head up and your hopes high you will get through this.
After about 3 hours my beeper went off and it was time to go. I told Jeff go get the car and pull up front lets get out of here. Just then my phone beeped and on my facebook was a comment from my friend Mary that said "your done! Just think, the conversation on the way home will be so different". I lost it! Sitting in the infusion chair all I could do was tell myself , PULL IT TOGETHER!!! You still have to walk out of here. I did pull it together and off I went to the next room to wish Christine a Merry Christmas and goodbye. I did not make it to the elevator and was crying again I told myself PULL IT TOGETHER your not out yet. I walked outside where my sweet hub was waiting for me and got in the car to just break down. For two completely opposite reasons. One for being done and two for leaving behind all of the faces that have become fellow fighters of cancer. I felt something in my heart that I will forever remember and that is the compassion I felt more for these people than myself being done! Our drive home was very different. I never once looked at Jeff and said just think only 3 more or 2 more or 1 more I said we are done! I cried most of the way home just thinking about what the Lord has done in my life because of this. There are people that I would have never crossed paths with had I not gone through this. Most importantly the hope I have in the Lord has become so real to me. A way that hope has never been presented or felt ever in my 15 years of knowing him. Just trusting Him through each step of this process and watching Him turn my plans into His even when I didn't want Him to, now all makes sense. Now going through it there were many times that I said "Oh no Lord not that way, I want it this way". I wanted to protect everyone I knew especially my husband, children and family from what was to come, hearing the news to surgeries and any other bad news that "I" didn't think they could handle. The Lord had other plans. His plan was to be very honest with everyone so that they could grow with Him and with me through this entire Journey. I was at a point in my life when I had zero compassion for anyone. Yes I was a christian and yes I walked as if I did but in my heart the compassion for people was gone. The Lord has completely changed that and my heart overflows with compassion towards people. Thank you Lord Jesus for who you have made me through this. Thank you for preparing me in so many ways ahead of time for what was to come when I didn't even know it. Thank you for all of the people you brought to me when I desperately needed them. Thank you that you chose ME to do this. I wouldn't change it for the world and would go through it again for you and what you have taught me.
As I sit 3 days before Christmas I am humbled in so many ways. I am grateful in so many ways. I know that in the next 5 days I am not going to be feeling so well. BUT I am going to celebrate my Jesus birth like I have never celebrated Him in years past. I want to challenge all of you to do the same. Maybe you have gone through hard times like me and needed to be changed from the inside out and maybe you haven't. This is a time to rejoice that a Savior was born to save us from our sins and be the hope that one day we won't have to endure things like sickness, death and sadness. We will be with Him in heaven for eternity where there is NO sickness, No death and no sadness. All things happen for a reason friends and it is Him that will get us through.
As I could go on and on and on I better close for now. I'm sure I will have some after affects of chemo and hair growing back stories for you but for now I will close with this.
I wish you all A very Merry Christmas and hold your families very close to you!
I love you all

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
This is a scripture that has been ever so present in my Journey with the Lord and breast cancer. Its starts out with the beginning of the process " For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord." Then it moves into what he will do with my journey (and yours) "plans to PROSPER you". Then it moves on to my favorite and end of my journey but yet the beginning "plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.
I am about to have my very last cycle of chemotherapy in 4 days. Can I get an AMEN, Hallelujah and Praise the Lord? As I feel like I should sit here and say " this lasted forever", all I can say is WOW I am almost done and where did the time go? There is so much that is overflowing in my heart that I want to say but I feel so overloaded I don't know where to start. First I want to thank everyone for all they have done for me. Praying, bringing meals, sending cards, telling me encouraging stories and so much more. Each and every one of them have come at a perfect time.

This has definitely been a whirl wind of an experience that I have had the privilege of going through for the Lord. There have been highs and lows through it all, but nearing the end I am proud to say I still feel honored that the Lord chose me. That he trusted me with this huge plan of His and trusted that I would hold steadfast to what He was calling me to do and still is. I know that the Lords plan for my future is just as important as it has been through the process if not more important.

The Lord has changed me so much through this journey and still is. That I am so grateful. He has given me eyes to see the people around me instead of just hurrying by. He has given me the compassion to stop and help people in time of need even if it by prayer or by presence. He has given me the ears to listen to people instead of thinking what will I do next and missing what they are saying. He has made me realize that loving and helping people is what it is all about. He has made me appreciate my family and friends MORE than I ever have before. He has made me realize that life is more than just appearance and "who" you are on the outside. Who you are are the inside is what reflects out on the outside no matter what you look like. He made me realize that ALL of the days and minutes I have gone through this journey mattered. All of the crazy things I had to do to help others get through this process and me as well. He taught me how to take my kiddos through this process being 100 percent honest with them and not leave a detail out! He put wonderful people before me at the hospitals, doctors offices, grocery stores, dentist office, school, salon, Starbucks and many other places. He gave me great scarves and hats so that I could get through each day feeling a bit normal ( haha I had to throw that in, but its true). Because I am going through this people have been able to feel comfortable around me to share things they never would have so that I can be praying for them. He has put complete strangers before me and instructed me to pray, as I have and I have watched Him go before me and prepare a place for them. He, Jesus is amazing. The list goes on and on and on.
As I anticipate this 4th treatment I am excited to go. I'm not excited for the side effects but I am excited to go. I think for me, each and every treatment has been so extremely different and has meant something different each time. As I have been anxious, nervous, sad, happy and everything else in the book, I can look at each one with thanksgiving and a grateful heart. There is definitely something very different with this one though than the last 3. A little bittersweet feeling has started to come over me. I have had the privilege of visiting a hospital with wonderful doctors and nurses and not seeing them on a regular basis will be a bit sad. But most of all, seeing the people sitting in those chairs all around me going through the same thing, being able to pray for them and see them week to week is coming to an end. Now I can still pray for them and I will, but there is something about seeing them face to face and talking with them that I will miss.
My last treatment is December 22. At first I was really nervous as the 3rd day after I am at my worst. I try to look at it through the Lords eyes (as best as I can understand). Christmas day is a day to be with family and to reflect on the birth of Jesus. This day was meant to REST in Him who brought His Son to earth for us. It is a time of remembering that and a time of teaching our children that resting in Him is good. So as I approach this Christmas it will be one I will never forget nor will I want to. It will be a great teaching opportunity for my girls to be patient and snuggle and rest with their mommy as I endure one last treatment. Praise Jesus.
I hope that this letter, email, blog, facebook finds you at a time where you can stop and do the same thing. I surely have a new appreciation for my FAMILY, TIME and most of all JESUS. Know matter what the circumstance this letter finds you in, one is not greater than the other they are all trials. What does make it different is how you handle it. I pray each and every one that is reading this will STOP and enjoy the moments you have here on this earth they are only a blink of an eye compared to an eternity in heaven.
Blessings to you all and have a Merry Christmas

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Now

As I sit and reflect back to the last 4 months I am in awe of what the Lord has done. There are stories upon stories I will be able to tell my children, their children and on and on. As the positive things have occurred and I am so grateful for them, there has been a part of this journey that has been difficult. Not the faith part I feel I have that one down as good as I can on this earth. Not the trusting part I feel I can do that semi good. But the Whats next Lord. Where are we now? What could possibly happen now that everything has occurred. I mean I found out I have cancer, I await results of what type of surgery, I go into surgery have a bilateral mastectomy, have chemotherapy and lose my hair. Now what?
I think this part falls into patience and all that know me well know I am not very good at this. Everything that has occurred has occurred quickly. Now the waiting begins..... Wait for my last chemo, wait for my hair to come back, wait for a normal life again. Whats that? Whats a normal life? As I write this I am about to go through my 3rd cycle of chemotherapy treatment. I only have 2 left. But I find myself dragging my heels as it approaches. Now knowing what I and my family endures through each treatment makes me cringe. Knowing that I will be aching so bad I am moaning makes me crazy. Knowing that my kids see me cry when I hurt makes me sad. Watching my husband bounce from work to home trying to do his best with the personality he has been given makes me nervous. There is part of me that KNOWS for sure my Lord is in control of all of this but there is a small part of me that says when is enough enough? These are the normal thoughts of a person living in a world of sin and being human and having a battle going on in my head most of the time. A battle of fighting for the Lord. At times I become tired and at times I have strength only the Lord can give.
This time of year is amazing in a normal life for me. It is my favorite time of year because it is all about Jesus Christ, love and family and friends. It is about giving of yourself in ways you would never do on a regular basis (even though I should). It is a time when I can use my gifts and talents for the Lord. But something is different about this year. The gratefulness I have in my heart is overflowing. The love I feel for those around me is unspeakable. My heart aches for my family with love I can barely stand it. This year is different. It is not "normal" but yet my new "normal". Let me set up a picture for you to imagine. My life before all of this was great. I love the Lord, I have a husband who loves me in ways you could never imagine. I have been entrusted to raise 3 beautiful girls and I love them dearly. I have 2 sets of parents that love me and my family unconditionally. I live in an amazing house that I was able to design and make our own. Now imagine my life through the NOT so normal period of time. I love the Lord in ways I never thought I could, I know Him more intimately than I ever had before, I have to and want to rely on Him at all times because He is my life, I have a husband that has stood by me and loved me through the most changes a women could ever go through or endure on her body and yet he still is attracted towards me and loves me, I have children who I love so much and treasure each minute with them and hang on their every word, I have children who are much more compassionate for me and for people than they ever were before, I have 2 sets of parents who I love so much and am so grateful for them and they are so supportive of me it is unbelievable, I have supportive friends who help me and care for me as if I am their own family. I have new friends that I would have never known. I am living in a home that has become my safe haven with my family even when I am not feeling so safe. My life has changed dramatically!
I am so grateful for the changes because who I was before all of this and who I am now may seem to be the same minus the hair. But who I am inside and who the Lord is transforming me to be is totally different and I keep hearing Him whisper to me. "Just stay the course, just be patient with me, I am not done with you yet".
As we enter this time of year and I know there are different trials out there that so many are going through. We are all facing the same thing and that is the inside change the Lord is trying to make in all of this. So stay with me on it and stay the course, be patient, He is not done with us yet!
I love you all. Please be praying as I enter my 3rd cycle on Tuesday. Pray that my fatigue body gets strength to endure this cold and flu season. Pray that this treatment would be a piece of cake!
I hope everyone had as blessed Thanksgiving as I did and really reflected on how thankful we all are for what and who we have in our lives

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How I Became Bald

I always have to start my writing by thanking everyone who has been praying for my family and I. The Lord definitely knows when to bring people in front of me even if it is just an encouraging word or letting me know they are praying.
Well as my Journey with the Lord continues my story seems to grow. Grow in length but also and most important grow in the Lord. I know in my mind that you can never "know" the Lord completely until we get to heaven but in my heart I felt like I knew Him really well. I am beginning to realize that I get to know Him better and better and a lot more intimately each and every day. I am loving how my communication with Him is a minute by minute conversation with every step I take on this Journey with Him. He gives me strength when I need it, Grace when I don't deserve it and Peace when I don't feel it. Thank you Lord Jesus!

3 weeks ago I was at UCSF receiving my first chemo treatment. They had told me between 10 and 14 days I would see thinning in my hair and about 2 1/2 weeks I would lose all of my hair. Monday of last week while all of my girls were at school my hair began thinning, and I mean thinning so bad within a couple of hours I had lost the whole bottom of my hairline. Probably the weirdest thing I have ever experienced in my life. With every tug I realized that it was happening. Everything I was afraid of was coming to real life. But it felt so surreal. I was hanging out with my sweet friend Gretchen and I would look at her and she would be starring at my head. I finally said "What are you looking at" she replied to me "your hairline is gone and it looks like your pony is about to just pull out". Now in my mind I was thinking "oh no we leave on our family vacation in 2 days couldn't the Lord wait until we got home to let this happen". I knew that if I didn't shave it our vacation would be an emotional disaster, not only for me but for my kiddos as well. I picked the girls up that afternoon and told them that mommies hair was coming out in clumps and it was time for a "FUN" shaving party. They were so excited they could hardly wait until they got home. I set up shop for the 3 little hairstylist and me as the client. They started with the scissors. Pretending they were in a salon and styling my hair all kinds of ways. I told them we needed to shave my hair into a Mohawk because I have always wondered what I looked like with one that was real! So Jeff picked up the clippers and started to shave. When he was done shaving I let the girls style it and stick it up straight. They could hardly do it because with every swipe through my hair clumps were falling out. We pretended we were rock stars and took lots of pictures of every style they did. If I could have I would have kept the Mohawk I loved it!!!!! After all the fun we proceeded to shave the rest. Reality set in. My hair was just about to be completely gone. I sat in the chair as tears fell down my face. I looked over at London thinking she would be the last one I needed to worry about! But in her little mind you could tell she was scared. Not scared OF her mommy but scared FOR her mommy. Then I looked at Halle my 7 year old and she was weeping. I looked at Madison and she just held it together pretty well I think trying to let me know she was OK. After Jeff was done shaving my head I went and looked in the mirror. WOW who is this? We all look so different with and without hair. There was a part of me that liked it, it was different. But there was a part of me that looked sick. In my mind and my heart though I am not sick so why do I have to look like this and feel like this? That night was a great night, the Lord had given me the strength to do what we did and to be OK with it all. Then the next day came.......
I woke up and walked past the mirror startled a bit at what I saw. But trying to justify the feelings in my mind I went on like no big deal and got the kids ready for school. I walked them out to Gretchen's car and said my goodbyes. I joked with her kiddos that I was the only bald women they know and let them feel my head. They all giggled and off they went to school. I walked into the house and all I could do was cry. It was weird. It was the beginning of something I dreaded to walk through. My girlfriend Kristin had called the day before and asked if we could hang out that day for a bit, so it was time I got ready. Now it only takes me 10 minutes to get ready now BUT what was I going to choose to wear on my head? How will I tie it? Will I make it work? Will people stare? Will it create good conversation or will people dodge me? All of the things going through my head. As I tried on all of my scarves they were all a bit warm and heavy so I pulled Kristin along with me to the mall to look for some old school bandannas for our trip the next day. I found myself crying the whole day off and on. We were even in a store and I whipped my scarf off to try another on and looked at myself in the mirror and both Kristin and I broke down. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE!!! We started laughing, pulled ourselves together and off to the next store we went. Later that afternoon I had to go to school for Halle's birthday in her class. The first appearance at school since I shaved my head.I was going to a place where I should be the most comfortable but I couldn't even hold it together for a split second. I walked into her classroom and even Halle hadn't seen me with a scarf on yet. Halle's teacher Mrs. Boren had had a talk with the kids before I came in so they would know what to expect. They all looked at me and went on with their business no questions asked. After the party I walked out to get the other girls thinking in my mind I don't want to run into anyone lets just get them and go. As I walked out I ran into my girlfriend Erin and All I could do was tell her this stinks and cry! Then Gretchen comes up and all I could do was tell her this stinks and cry! Then Mrs Skiles comes up and gives me a hug and all I can do is cry. I'm thinking to myself HEATHER PULL IT TOGETHER!!!! I told the girls I know I need to break down but why on a day when I am busy and have to be around everyone?
That night we packed out bags and off to Disneyland we went. I was thinking thank you Lord I get to get away with my family to a place of fun and not worry about a thing. We had a great time together laughing and just enjoying life.
As I sit and look back on this last week I am so thankful. The Lord works in ways that boggle my mind. He does things in such a complicated way but yet so simple. I mean he knew when my hair would fall out even though we had a vacation. He knew I would break down the second day even if it was in front of many people. The Lord has helped me in our minute by minute conversations as to why He does things the way He does. I really feel like my hair came out before we left so that I wasn't anxious day to day as to when it would happen. I also feel like it gave me time to be bald, where bandannas in public, experience the looks and whispers I will get when I walk into a room. All of these things are preparing me for the next day the next phase. All of these things are happening to me for a reason and I choose to live each day the way the Lord wants me too, even if it is uncomfortable at first. If I wasn't going on this Journey I would have never experienced a bald head (its very round and good shaped thank God), my girls would have NEVER been able to cut there moms hair, I would have never been transparent with all of those people, I would have never been able to bond with my girls and my sweet hub during the shaving process, I would have never experienced shopping with Kristin the way I did, I would have never been able to have conversations with people that I have had about life experiences and the Lord, I would have never been able to see such compassionate people step up and help, I would have never known how much people cared about me the way they have. I could go on and on about the I nevers. I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I do know that the Lord has made each and every day an experience I will never forget.
Thank you for being a part of my Journey with me. My prayer is that people would see the work the Lord is doing in me and want to have that relationship with Him as well. It makes going through something hard very easy.
Please be praying for me on Tuesday as I will go to the 2ND treatment. Pray that lives were touched by Jeff's letter. Pray that the people sitting next to us going through treatment will somehow see the Lord in us.
Love to you all

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chemo 1 out of 4

Thank you Thank you Thank you for all of your prayers, words of encouragement, hats and scarves, verses, texts, emails etc. I could go on and on and on.
Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun,moon and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows. James 1:17
First of all I just have to say The Lord is amazing and continues to walk right beside me or in better words carry me through this Journey he has aloud in our lives. You know by now I can't really tell a story unless I get into detail... Story telling is not a gift of mine without the long version so here it goes.....
Friday was a difficult day seeing where I was going to spend 5 hours every 3 weeks, but The Lord layed it on my heart that there are others in these rooms that probably have no hope. I felt that my attitude needed to change a bit before going today so that if He called me to something I could be obediant. It always amazes me at the immediate peace and comfort you feel when giving something up to Him. Last night as I said goodbye to my girls, as they had to spend the night with their grandmas, my little Halle bug just melted in my arms and said to me "mommy I hate that you have to go through this"! She is 6. I comforted her and held her as we talked through it a bit and then had to leave so we could get up early. I cried the whole way home asking the Lord WHY? Why do my girls need to endure this pain too? I then looked down at my phone lit up from my sweet friend Lori who wrote to me assuring me my Hal bugs will be ok! Oh the Lord gives me people and words just when I need it. We got up this morning and headed into UCSF to meet with Dr. Moasser (my oncologist) first to go over blood tests and any questions I might have. I just love him and can talk to him about anything and he will take as much time as I need. Another one of Gods blessings. We were headed out the door and Dr. came running in and said the nurse needs to speak to you stay here. She walked in and said the immunity shot Dr. wants to give you hasnt been authorized yet and I'm not sure we will get it in time for you to have tomorrow. She said if they can't send it to you ,you will have to drive here tomorrow and have it done here. I sat there for a minute got onto facebook and told everyone to pray! 1 hour later we got a call from the insurance saying they are overnighting it and it will be at Jeffs office by the morning! Praise Jesus! Only problem is Jeff will be giving it to me, more prayers please (hahaha)
We left the office and Jeff and I were able to go have lunch before my infusion. I love spending time with my sweet hub, there is nothing like it. We showed up a bit early hoping to get in sooner and that we did. Now as soon as I walked in Satan reminded me how emotional I was and how was I going to minister to these people when I can't even hold it together? I was emotional but the other part was a lie that I chose not to believe. What I did realize is that most of the time you don't have to say a word a witness can be about your actions. The nurse came over and sat me in a room filled with 5 other people. Now walking in is very uncomfortable, you see everyone has IV's going everywhere and some of them don't look very happy and all eyes are on ME! You know how I do with that. One thing I did notice about today though was it seemed a lot less heavy. More people smiling, more people make eye contact and more people talk to you. Amazing what happens when you give it up to Him. She puts the IV in twice and then started me on saline as she began to tell me about the other two drugs. She told me that there is a pretty good chance I can get an allergic reaction to the medicine so if you feel anything other than how you feel now you need to tell me and I have emergency meds here for you. By the way she says "I will sit here and watch you for about 15 minutes" Can you say PANICK ATTACK... I started to let my mind go there and then I had to remind myself again who is in control and if it happens big deal she has drugs! Needless to say I never recieved any emergency drugs just a pat on my arm saying ok girl your out of the woods! YEAH. I finished up all of my meds after about 4 1/2 hours and I did completely fine. During this whole time I pulled out my biblestudy off and on and the Lord continued to speak to me. I was studying in John about when He sent His disciples out in the boat and a fierce storm came. The men were scared and Jesus walked out to the boat and said to them "Take courage it is I. Do not be afraid". I needed to be reminded of this all day and I was. Jeff was also and I didnt even know it. You see he didnt tell me because he was afraid I would discourage him but he brought encouraging letters to ALL chemo patients today. Thinking about it brings me to tears. I will write it at the end if you choose to read it. I know the Lord gave that scripture to me all day but I think it also prepared me for what was going to happen next. My IV was pulled out and the nurse said you are free to go. I look up and can't find my hub. All of a sudden I see him handing things out to the patients. I am thinking to myself what is he doing? Get me out of here... (seriously). We got out to the elevator and he handed me the letter. I just balled and balled. I was so proud of him because the Lord had been laying this on his heart since Friday and he was obedient to Him. Thank you Lord Jesus! Next we head back downstairs for my gene test result. Long story short NEGATIVE!!!!!!! Yeah
As we drove home Jeff and I chatted about our day together and both agreed that it was a really good day! I may have had to sit and do a chemo treatment and be scared at first, but once again the Lord gave me peace, comfort and answered every pray today quickly! One thing that I loved about today was that my sweet hubby was given the courage and he prayed hard all day for every patient in that place and not only did he do that, he gave them a letter and let them know.
As I close I want to remind all of you. These little trips are to help me and my physical body but more than anything they are helping my spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. You don't have to be sick to serve him or to share about him you just have to be obediant. Lord Jesus help me to continue to be obedient to you!
Please continue to pray for the next 3 cycles and 64 days that my body will endure and pray for my family that they will have strength. Also pray that sickness is bound from our home as I am now at a high risk of infection.
Thank you all so much and I love each one of you
P.s Here is Jeffs letter to the patients

Today is my wife’s first treatment and we weren’t completely sure what to expect. We got the tour last week and everything felt a little (Ok, a lot)overwhelming. I do know that tuna sandwiches and leftover fish in the microwave will probably be frowned on. When we were told by the nurse that from start to finish treatment would be about 4 hours, one of my thoughts was “Wow, what am I going to do for four hours in that little chair”? I am not much of a reader (my wife is) and my simple Sports Illustrated magazine will only kill about an hour. So I have decided to use that time to pray. Not just for my wife, but for each and every person getting treatment in here individually. I prayed today for you and for your family and friends that are going through this with you. I prayed that your pain and your nausea will be little and that you would feel peace and relaxation during your treatment. I prayed that the medicine you are receiving would kill every single cancer cell in your body. I prayed and gave thanks that every person in here is blessed to be able to receive the best medicines at one of the best cancer hospitals in the world by some of the best doctors and nurses around. I will continue to pray for you and for every person I laid eyes on today getting treatment, and that when your treatment is done you will NEVER have to step foot in the oncology department again for as long as you live.
Blessings to you and your family

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Journey the Next phase

Thursday night as you all read was an amazing night with all of my girlfriends. We had such a great time of prayer and get together the night before Jeff and I left for San Francisco once again.
As Jeff and I woke up Friday morning to get ready for chemo teach there was a heaviness among us. It wasn't a loss of hope or a non trusting heart, it was just a heaviness of what was to come of the day. We knew we would get a lot of information that day and would we really be able to process it. As I was putting makeup on my very swollen eyes from crying so much the night before (haha) the thoughts of what was to come was forever playing in my mind. Was this really real? Are we really in this position? How are we really going to handle this? and much more...
As we got into the car it was very quiet and Jeff continued to ask if I was OK. I kept telling him yes just a lot on my mind. I really can't even put into words the way I was feeling. Jeff prayed and off we went. We arrived at UCSF to meet with Dr. Moasser's (my oncologist) nurse to go over what was to come in the next couple of months. I felt very comfortable with her and felt as if I had known her for years. She started to go over all of the details with me on what medications I would need to pick up from the pharmacy and what will help me with my nausea. After that she started reading off a list of side effects that I might get from the medication that he is giving me, now remember I had my mind set on so many things, and so many things have changed. First I was going to go in and tell the oncologist I didn't need hormone therapy and he came back and told me my test was high so not only will I need hormone therapy but I will need chemo. Next I wasn't going to loose my hair because I could do the 6 month. SURPRISE I have to do the 3 month and loose my hair. The next thing just on Thursday I was telling all the girls oh I really hope I don't lose my eyelashes because I'll tell you what if I have to loose my hair I need my eyelashes. Well number 1 on the side effect list is GUESS WHAT? Loose my eyelashes... I actually found great humor as I listened to her say this because I keep fighting the Lord with my idea of treatment and He keeps saying NOPE Heather you are going to do this my way! As she went on down the list the next thing said weight gain, swelling and bloating! Oh great now I have to loose my hair, my eyelashes and WHAT gain weight! I really started laughing because it is very humorous when we try and take over and the Lord puts a stop to it really quick! My point in telling you all of this, is just when we think we can control what our future holds or control our situation we are fooling ourselves. We just need to let it go and give it all up to Him. I seem to need to do this daily if not hourly. Especially after continueing on in this Journey I realized how much I did "try" to control certain things in my life because now that they are out of my control I mean REALLY out of my control It is so much easier to just give it up! Now all of the side effects she gave me might not even happen to me but they are forever going through my mind. She also began to tell me that every time I come for treatment I have to go give blood first, see Dr. Moasser and then go up to floor # 5 for infusion. Once I am up on floor #5 I will be there for approx. 4-5 hours. We completed our time with the nurse and she took us up front to schedule our next 4 visits. She told us we should go to floor #5 to make the infusion appointments and maybe walk around a bit and check it out. Now she had talked it up a bit before we left. Jeff and I got on the elevator and hit floor #5. As we walked out there was a sweet receptionist who helped us book our appointments and invited us to come on back and she would hook us up with the charge nurse who would give us a tour. Jeff and I walked in and my heart dropped into my stomach. There was something about it that at first I couldn't figure out. The smell of it was something I probably will never forget. There was a heaviness with all of the patients reclined in their chairs 6 sometimes 8 patients per room. No one had a smile on their faces, noone even really said a word. As I walked through my thought was "I really don't need to be here I am not sick". Again I had to remind myself why I had to be there. My husband, my children and my family and friends, but most of all The Lord! The Lord needs to be displayed here. Now some of them probably do know the Lord maybe all of them do, but there was a heaviness among that area that I noticed and something needs to be done about it! I told Jeff that if I have to be there he better make me laugh constantly. Even if he has to start making stuff up he better make me laugh. He told me that was a lot pressure and he would do his best. After walking around I told him we, him and I need to figure out ways to be an encouragement to others in there. Share with them, laugh with them, make them smile let them know there is hope even when we don't feel good and are sick.
So here is the deal. I still would love for you to pray for my family and I as we enter into a new phase of my journey but I also would like you to start praying another way to. There are a lot of hopeless people out there and I am one that has a lot of hope. I am getting chemo for reoccurance they may be getting chemo to prolong their lives a bit. I want to be a light for the Lord in a very sad and dark place. I am praying the Lord clearly shows me people that I need to share my journey with there or even just smile and talk with. I love to talk about Him and whenever I get a chance I will. But pray specifically that He will use me in great ways for His glory!
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I am truely blessed by all of you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Surprise Again Sweet Friends

Once again I am in awe of my God. This week has been a really hard week. I have been feeling depressed and really down about all of the anticipation of what is to come. Not knowing I guess you can say. Just when I think I want to go crawl in bed I have to remind myself who is in charge? Who is in control of my journey as I walk this scarey path.
Tonight The Lord showed me once again by using my girlfriends and my moms. What I thought was going to be a quiet sushi night out with 2 girlfriends ended up being a huge hat and scarf party all for me, for me? Who am I Lord that they would get together and plan something like this for me. The one that wants to go climb in bed and not talk to anyone? This is just it! Just when I feel like giving up the Lord reminds me through people that it is not about giving up! It is about continueing on for His glory! Tonight I had the priviledge to be with some of the most amazing women I know. They brought me gifts knowing that I will need them down the road so my head doesn't get cold (how sweet). They brought food so that we could eat and enjoy each other. They took the time out for ME to show me their love and support. As I was finished opening my beautiful hats and scarves they pulled out a chair and sat me in the middle of the room (I never do well being the center of attention, but tonight was different) while each girl surrounded me and prayed the most beautiful prayers. As I listened to each one pray for me and my sweet hub, my girls I was in awe of my God. I listened and I heard these words, Jehovah Raffa, strength, courage, love, support, health, miracle, healing, pray, Lord Jesus, and many more words. I was overwhelmed with the love and overwhelmed with support. I don't know how people go through something like this without the Lord! I can't imagine.... If you are reading this and you are going through this journey like me and you don't know the Lord, YOU NEED HIM! John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life"
Come to know Him and He will give you peace. Whenever I am weak (this last week especially) He is strong and He carries me through every little detail of this Journey. Thank you Lord Jesus.

Please be praying for continued peace for my family and I and that my chemo teach goes well tomorrow 10/16. I start chemo on October 20th please pray for my family and especially my girls as they are a little anxious about what to expect.
Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers through this Journey of mine.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Great Friends

As my journey continues and I await treatment I still have to keep reminding myself that I have had breast cancer, that I have had surgery And I still have to have chemotherapy. I don't look like im sick I don't feel sick in fact no one would even know from my outside appearance what I have been through in the last 8 weeks. This side of the journey is about to end. Soon people on the outside will know all of the above. The "looking" normal is about to be over. I don't know if I will be used to the fact that soon I will be bald until it actually starts to fall out. The Lord continues to remind me that it is not about me and what I look like. This, I think I now understand. I am here for a reason and that is to be a witness and in my small little brain I have tried to do! BUT ..... The Lord wants me to go outside my Heather comfort zone and go further into this"world" to be a witness. The average person that I come into contact with will now know my story, they will now know what I have been dealing with for the last 8 weeks. They will know I have had cancer and that I am in"treatment". My job now is to tell them how I am getting through it! Who is helping me! Who has healed me! Who has given me the strengh to continue on when I felt like giving up. Jesus is that answer and I want everyone to know it! Today was a very special day for me! I went into my last hair appointment(for a while) and there were my girlfriends surprising me and putting a pink stripe in their hair to support me with my journey! The owner of Streaks salon in Modesto opened her salon up to us and the stylists all took one of us and put color in each of our hair! All of us wearing Save The Tatas shirts. I was in awe of the way the Lord blessed me today! As I entered the salon with knots in my stomach knowing this was my last appointment for a while, I left there blessed with such supportive friends and ready to take this one on!!!!! I realized today how much the Lord has blessed me with great supportive friends no matter what! I left there wondering what I did to deserve what I got today? I left there realizing that the Lord continues to put people before me that shows His glory to me through them! Thank you my girlies and Streaks salon for supporting breast cancer awareness! Even though I am about to lose my hair I am excited to see the people the Lord will touch through this! It has taken me a while to get here but I am ready to rock the bald head and the funky scarves! Thank you all for continueing to pray for my family and I.
My treatment starts October 20th. It will be every 3 weeks for 3 months. Please pray for my kiddos through this part of the journey as I am sure it will be difficult.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's Just Hair Whats The Big Deal

Sundays have become a day of getting things done and getting ready for my week. As I love to be organized today seemed a little different.
You see Friday I was on the phone with my UCSF doctor and what I thought was going to be a conversation about the 6 month chemotherapy and no hair loss ended up exactly what I didn't want hear. The doctor told me he thought I misunderstood what he said about my treatment. He said he thinks I was in a little shock when he gave me the results of my oncotype test. That was an understatement! He began to tell me that we are very blessed to have the oncotype test because that test reveals to us what the chances of recurrence are. That I understood. He continued to tell me that because my score was 36 out of 50 I should be doing everything possible to prevent cancer from coming back. I still didn't understand what this has to do with my hair! He told me that every single percentage can mean life or death and recommended that I rethink my decision. He told me "you are a young mother of 3 small children and if I were you I would do everything possible to make sure you did what you could to stay around for them"! WOW again I was in shock.... I couldn't even grasp my breath on the phone but through it all I loudly told him OK OK I will do the 3 month chemo because my family means way more than my hair. I could tell he was very passionate about all of this while talking to him and when I finally gave him the OK I could hear relief in his voice. I got off the phone with him and just wept! What will I do without my hair? How will my kids handle this? Will they be embarrassed of me? Will they be teased because their mommy looks different than every other mommy? I sat there before the Lord weeping I asked him Lord is this about my hair? Is this about pride because I don't want to be bald? Why is this harder than being diagnosed with breast cancer? Will I be able to workout? Will I be sick all the time? All the questions I had for the Lord to get this answer... My sweet child Heather I formed you in your mothers womb, I have great plans for you as you battle this disease. You are my child I will be with you every step of the way and even one step further I will walk each one of your children through this, I will be by their side every step of the way. I will walk your husband through this, I will teach him how to care for you.
This brings me to today Sunday a day I received from my Lord. I had uninterrupted time with him studying the truth from his word. I was able to think back on the last couple of days and realize that hair means nothing. I was able to go over in my mind Jeff and I sitting down our kiddos once again to explain something new and different. As we told our kiddos Halle (6 yrs old) kept saying BUT mommy is doing the 6 month one the one that she won't lose her hair. After she realized that wasn't the plan, that the plan had change she ran to my room and wept, just as I had the day before. I was able to go in and hold her as we both wept in each others arms. Her concern was that chemo and baldness equals death. I also realized that I never would have experienced this with Halle had I not been going through this. The time of bonding, crying together holding one another as if there was no tomorrow. This was way worth losing my hair. As I reflected on my week and my bible study of John I realized again this is not about me! This is about My God, My Jesus, My Abba Father and I am a tool for Him to use for His glory! I know I have said this over and over but I believe the Lord has to remind me of this every day!
Today I was able to sit down and paint a canvas to which I love to do but never have the time to do it. As I looked at it and reflected what I was feeling as I painted it ( I always thought it was silly when artist say what they are feeling when they paint) I thought of the many colors that were present along with the dark spots around it. In the middle was a bunch of white. I felt like the chapters of my life story were reflected in this painting with the colors being the life, the dark areas being the dark spots in my life and the white circling all around all of those areas reflecting Jesus. He is with me always and He never leaves me. Thank you Lord Jesus for the time today to paint, it was a treasure.
As all of this has raced in and out of my mind I have not been able to get Amiee out of my head. I have never met her in fact I just found out about her just this week. She is a women much like me battling breast cancer with small children and a husband. But in her case she is trying to raise money for her treatment! I have been praying for her and her family and have been racking my brain trying to think of a way I can help her. I thought aside from financially helping her I would pass her information on to you so you can pray and help her as well. Her website is youcanhelpmymom.com.
Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers and encouraging words. I know the Lord has a plan and a purpose for me and my family and just because I am losing my hair doesn't mean my battle ends here. I will keep you posted on my treatment start date. Please be praying for my kiddos as they go through this with me and for my sweet hub and I as we will need wisdom in how to deal with them as well.
I couldn't imagine going through this without the Lord! Thank you Lord Jesus for choosing me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Journey Through Treatment

Thank you all for praying for me these last few weeks of this crazy journey! I appreciate so much all of your words of encouragement and your support.

I have to start by saying The Lord is good ALL the time and ALL the time the Lord is good. These last 3 weeks of my journey have been very hard for me. The Lord has been very patient with me as he is teaching me to be patient! A lot of unanswered questions about treatment have been running circles in my mind. I have had to continually give them over to the Lord because it seems too great to handle and the Lord hadn't given it to me to deal with quite yet. Until today!

Jeff and I spent the day together in San Francisco awaiting our appointments at UCSF. It was a sweet and fun time together as I always enjoy precious time with my sweet hub. My first appointment was with Beth who is our genetic counselor. We went over a lot of information about my family history and whether or not I qualified for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene test. After a lot of talking she thought it would be a great idea that I participate in this testing and that it would help me see if it is necessary that I have my ovaries removed. This test is also good for future use with family members if I do in fact test positive. I took the test today and will find out those results in 3 weeks. After leaving that room I entered into the exam room of my oncologist Dr. Moasser. I am sitting on the exam table in my beautiful fashion gown ( why they put me in it anymore I will never know because they never even exam me) and Jeff is making me giggle as usual. Very relaxed atmosphere and lots of laughter. Knock knock in walks Dr. Moasser. He says "How are you? O.k. let's get down to business about your oncotype test". I'm thinking to myself lets laugh and giggle some more. He opens my chart and I am hanging on his every move and every word. He begins to tell me that they measure this test in points from 1 - 50. My result came back at 36. Before I could say a word he says to me " that number is way to high way to high you need to have chemo." I said are you sure? Now this guy has gone through numerous years of medical schooling and extensive research. He looked at me like I was out of my mind and said yes there is no question about it! In my mind I am thinking "Lord I prayed specifically and believing I wouldn't have to go through it" and He brought to my mind the time I spent with Him this last week. I have been praying that His will be done with me and not mine. I gave Him my life and circumstances to do whatever He needs to do. I have been praying that I will be OK with whatever He calls me to do. I have been praying that I would get a very clear answer! He gave me the scripture John 2:5b "Whatever He says to you do it"!!!! As my mind came back into focus about what Dr. Moasser had just said to me I started to ask questions about the types of chemo there are now and side effects. He told me I have 2 options. The first is to do 4 treatments every 3 weeks for 3 months. With that I will lose all of my hair. The second option is to do 8 treatments every 3 weeks for 6 months. This treatment is only a 2 percent chance of hair loss and a 10 percent chance of hair thinning. As vain as I can be I chose to do the 6 month process so that I wouldn't lose my hair. All of this chemo is a preventative treatment so that my cancer doesn't come back. Because my oncotype dx test coming back so high there is a 24 percent chance that the cancer WILL return in another area that could be untreatable. By doing chemo it drops down to about 15 percent. We decided that UCSF would prescribe the treatments and that I would do them here in town because I will be sick the first couple of days after each dose. Dr. Moasser walked out of the room and I looked at Jeff and just wept! He wrapped his arms around me as he always does and held me until I was done. We got to the elevator and he began to tell me God is in control and we will get through this. This time its him telling me instead of me reassuring him I am going to live. Its amazing how you can reverse roles in trying times. I told him I know the Lord will be with me, I know the Lord will protect me, I know the Lord does all things for good, I know the Lord loves me and is not out to harm me. I know all of these things, but it still stinks to know that for the next 6 months my immune system will be down and if my children are sick I can't console them or if they want to run around and be silly I might be nauseous! All of those things go through my mind. BUT...... I do know that the Lord will protect me and my family through this, He will choose to use this for His glory, He will be with me always and forever. He knows what I am going through.

We were able to sit our kiddos down tonight when we got home and tell them what mommy had to do! You would be amazed at the relief they had when they heard I didn't have to lose my hair. Its amazing how we equate a bald chemo head to death! Even though that isn't true, in a 6 and 8 year old brain that's what they think. They took it very well and prayed that mommy will do well during treatment!

What I thought was going to be a very light hearted day turned into a very exhausting day. I just keep reminding myself of Job and how satan continued to tell the Lord (in my short words) "He won't be able to handle this one he will deny you" and Job continued to fight for the Lord. That is who I want to be! No matter what the circumstance I WILL continue to fight for the Lord to show His word is truth and He will continue to be faithful! I have learned a lot in the last 5 1/2 weeks about myself and about the Lord. I have learned that my plan is not always the best but the Lord continues to teach me that His plan IS always the best and He works all things for good and for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned that by grace I am saved and by grace I walk each and every day one step at a time. I have learned to be obedient to His calling. I have learned to be completely honest with myself, my husband and most of all my children. This has allowed them to see the Glory of God and how He works and answers prayers even if it is not what we expected.
I thought I was going to go to this appointment and talk Dr. Moasser out of hormone therapy and not even have to think about chemotherapy. I had it all figured out in my mind. But the Lord had a different path for me to take. I don't know why and I may never know but I know that I will stay obedient to Him and His plan for me and I will fight for Him so that His glory will be revealed to many through this. I will keep you posted as I get the other test results back and get the start date for the chemo.
I love you all and thank you so much for all of your support whether I have known you my whole life or if I have just met you by you reading this blog.
Blessings to you

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I remember a while ago my sweet friend Julie sat me down and interviewed me about joy. Now I don't know what she got out of me speaking but it really made me think about joy and if it defines me at all. While I was talking to her I didn't have time to think about it I just gave her the answers off the top of my head. I never really had thought about it I just figured joy is something you can only get from the Lord. Little did I know I would take a little interview some months ago and relate it to my life now.
In these last weeks I have gone from scrambling, to on my face before the Lord, to comforting my family and many more emotions that come with this thing called life. I have realized as I have been with the Lord day to day chatting with him, discussing my decisions that it is ONLY through him I will find joy. "The joy of the Lord is my strength".
These last 6 weeks have been a hectic, overwhelming and exciting side of life, but one I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. These last 3 weeks have gotten a little more hectic due to the surgery and the healing. This last week awaiting my oncotype results have been a struggle for me. I Know the Lord is in control and I KNOW there is a purpose for everything. Waiting is not one of my gifts. My mind starts to wander and I continually have to take all of my thoughts captive. I have been extremely grateful for how fast this whole journey has been so far, until now. This is what brings me to the word joy. Realizing that this world offers me nothing, it tells me I have breast cancer and now wait! The Lord gives me peace and tells me wait on ME my timing is perfect and through all of this I want you to be joyful. James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Now faith is a gift I have. I know for a fact the Lord does all things to grow me not to harm me. Even if I have to do chemotherapy it is for His glory. Even if I have to have hormone therapy it is for His glory. Even if my arm is numb the rest of my life it is for His glory. Even if I test positive for this gene and have to have more surgery it is for His glory. On the other side of my thoughts are: Why do I even need to do any of these treatments? The side effects are worse than the actual surgery. The thought of hair loss, menopause at 35 years old and many more. Within this thought process there is a battle going on and I will continue to give it to my God who hasn't stepped foot away from me through this whole Journey. I just pray he keeps me joyful through this whole journey of life I live for His glory.
With all of that said i received a phone call today from the lab that is doing my oncotype test. UCSF just submitted the request late Friday. The lab then received it today Tuesday. The man on the phone began to tell me that he just received it and needed my OK to go ahead with the test. I told him yes I was on board with my doctor and wanted it done. He then told me that he would submit it and my doctor would get the results in 10-14 days. My UCSF appointment to go over these results is next Tuesday. So I am waiting to hear from them to reschedule my appointment with my oncologist and with the genetic counselor. This will push back my gene test as well.
Please pray that my mind stays focused on the Lords plan and will for my life and not mine. Pray that I stay joyful through this journey as that is my hearts desire. Pray that the Lord will guard me from the spiritual battle that I can physically and mentally feel going on right now.
I can't imagine going through this Journey alone and without the support I have had from my family, friends and people I don't even know. Most of all having Jesus to hold me through this every step of the way even when I get off track. Thank you Lord Jesus.
Love to you all

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Journey to UCSF

First of all thank you all for praying for my family and I through this whole journey of mine and for your encouraging words through this.
Where to start? What a week this has been for me. I have been up, down, trusting, anxious,happy and discouraged. BUT.... The Lord has carried me through all of it praise Jesus!
This weekend I found a very hard and large area on my left side that became very painful and unusual. I called Dr. Enevoldsen (plastic surgeon that has done my reconstruction) about it and long story short he saw me Monday afternoon. He ended up suctioning fluid out to check if it was an infection. He stuck a needle in and saw it was not infected but wanted to reopen my drain hole to let it continue to drain out. So he numbed my side and began to cut out the scab and waaalaaa fluid came out. Thank God it was not infected. He then had to check other things and lets just say my pain tolerance has gone down since this whole thing has started and I have been in excruciating pain for the last 24 hours.

This afternoon Jeff and i were able to meet with an oncologist at UCSF Medical Center in breast care. He began to tell us that because I tested er positive on my pathology report I will have to have hormone therapy for 5 years. With this can come some side effects, one being early menopause ( that's what a 34 year old wants to hear is I will start hot flashes early hahaha). He has ordered a test called Oncotype DX to be done on the tissue that was removed during surgery and that test will determine if i need to have chemo or not. If I test high or medium I will but if I test low hormone therapy is all i need. I am so grateful for the resources the Lord has laid in front of us during this journey. After we talked about treatment he told me he would like us to talk to a genetic counselor because of being diagnosed with breast cancer and melanoma by the age of 34. The counselor came right in after he left and we began to discuss what this gene is. It links breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian, prostate and one other cancer. If you carry this gene you are susceptible to one or all of these. I will take this test in 2 weeks. If my results come back that I carry this gene then one of my options would be to have my ovaries removed (more yummolicious dinners from you guys YEAH) I'm kidding, as much as I love your cooking I would do without surgery!!! One of the resources the Lord laid before us was a lady named Erin who came to our appointment with us and audio recorded and took notes on the entire appointment. I am so thankful for that because you hear a lot of blah blah blah.
Jeff and I had a great day in the city and were able to relax and enjoy each other. Thank you so much for praying for today I felt the Lords presence with us and i feel many prayers were answered just in the testing. Some of these test are not approved by insurance but the type we have will approve it! Thank you Lord Jesus. Again His timing is perfect and i continue to pray His will be done for me. Please pray that my oncotype test comes back low so no chemo and I don't test positive for the gene test.
Thank you all so much! The Lord is good and I know his plan is perfect.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Testimony Through My Journey given at Big Valley Grace Community Church

My name is Heather Sutton and standing next to me is my sweet hubby Jeff. We have three little girls Madison 8, Halle 6 and London 4. On Thursday July 23rd Jeff and I sat in a doctor’s office and heard words no one wants to hear. “You have breast cancer”. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jeff’s head drop into his chest. I sat across from the doctor trying to hold it together long enough to hear the words she is saying as tears are streaming down my face. I was trying desperately to understand the words she was using but all my ears heard were cancer, oncologist, and mastectomy. I looked at Jeff and told him it was going to be ok we will pull through this together. As the day went on The Lord gave me peace about everything. Now my job was to pray for Jeff and the girls that they would feel this peace too. Later that night we sat our girls down and told them that their mommy had breast cancer. I told them the words they might being hearing over time and what they mean. They cried and were scared of the word cancer because to them that meant death. There were a lot of tears that night and a sweet time of prayer and in the end we were all able to fall sound sleep.
The next morning I woke up refreshed, it was a new day a day the Lord has made for ME. I decided that if I was going to go through a “trial” it was going to become “my journey” and I would do it glorifying the Lord. I decided I didn’t want to waste it and I was going to be His witness.
Our next step was to have an MRI and a mammogram to see what we were dealing with. After my test I was to wait a week for results. I received a call the very next day telling me the Dr. wanted to see me sooner. I dropped to my knees and cried out to the Lord “whatever it is let us know so we can deal with it”. My husband panicked and tried to get us in that day but our doctor couldn’t see us, so the waiting began. Jeff looked discouraged. He was in tears and an absolute mess. I took him to our room and we got on our faces before the Lord in the most precious time of prayer. The Lord gives peace when asked for it and He did.
The next day we found out fortunately I had only one lump but unfortunately I have a lot of calcifications. The cancer is called infiltration or invasive ductile and means I have only one option, a bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. They will also take lymph nodes and have them tested as well. I met with two doctors that day and got what some people might call bad news. But I can stand in front of you today and tell you I was excited. I believe the Lord has a plan for me and his timing is perfect.
Rick came to me and quoted James 5:14 “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord”. So on August 8th my family, friends, pastors and elders gathered in the Altar room and anointed Jeff and I with oil. The Lords presence was amazing that night. I have never felt so in awe of my God. People prayed over me the most beautiful, powerful and most important believing prayers. I sat with the most precious people in my life as they prayed and wept. I felt honored.
On Aug 13th we pulled in the Surgery Center at 6 am for my bilateral mastectomy. Our sweet friends Ben, Gretchen and Rick were waiting for us. Rick called us outside to pray. The power of prayer is amazing; you can never pray enough! I gave everyone hugs and went to change into the beautiful fashion gown they gave me. Right before I went into the O.R. satan thought he would try one last time to discourage me. I went into a massive panic attack. What I remember, as everything was closing in on me and they were wheeling me into O.R. was my sweet hubby praying out loud over me! The Lord overpowered satan that day. Prayer works. I had people praying for very specific things and I can stand here and tell you everything has a check mark! The Lord is in the details, every little detail.
On Thursday Aug 20th Jeff and I entered the doctor’s office once again for results. The Doctor began to tell me that I have infiltration or invasive ductile stage 1 and it is NOT in my lymph nodes. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jeff’s head drop to his chest and tears of joy stream down his face. She began to tell us that I would see an oncologist at UCSF and that doctor would determine what treatment from here. All my ears heard were my great Physician healed me! That afternoon we were able to sit our girls down and tell them God had answered our prayers and he healed mommy of breast cancer.
It has been 10 days since I have been home and out of surgery and 5 weeks since I heard those awful words “you have breast cancer”. The physical pain has been great at times and still is, but the spiritual growth has been amazing. I can stand in front of you today KNOWING that prayer played HUGE part in my journey. Knowing Jesus intimately played a huge part in my journey.
Now listen to me carefully. I have a huge resource and that is the Lord and the power of prayer. I can tell you many details about my journey and tell you when and how the Lord answered them. Maybe not the way I wanted but realizing the importance of each one. If you or a loved one are facing cancer or are right in the middle of treatment, whatever it is, give it to Jesus. You have 2 options. The first is NOT giving it Him and doing it on your own and two is, give it to him and let him work out the details. I chose option two and I have felt His presence and peace throughout. Now the physical pain has been painful but nothing compared to the pain Jesus suffered for me on the cross. The spiritual growth far outweighs any pain I could ever go through and It is an honor to do this for HIM. Don’t waste your opportunity. Isn’t that what we are here for on this earth is to take up His cross for Him?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My results of My Surgery

WOW WOW WOW All I can do right now is Praise Jesus and his Faithfulness!! His Love endures FOREVER....
Thank you all for your prayers, words of encouragement, scripture, gifts and everything else that has occurred in this last 5 weeks.
I HAVE BEEN WAITING ALONG TIME TO WRITE THIS EMAIL!!! Only because I knew with all of my heart that this is what I would be writing. But...... I am going to start from the beginning so you will have to wait for results til the end.

This week has been a very trying week. By me saying trying I have been in a lot "Physical Pain" this week as my surgery was 7 days ago today. For those of you just reading, last Thursday I had a bilateral Mastectomy and reconstructive Surgery on both breasts.
I was able to come home last Friday and have been well taken care of. I have had someone bring dinner every night for my family and I, my girls have been able to stay extremely busy and my sweet sweet hub has been taking very good care of me as well as the girls. I have continued to have an unbelievable peace that can only come from the Lord and have continued to pray for the physical pain as time has gone on. Now my sweet hub has continued to show me he is peaceful but still a little anxious as results were approaching.
Today at 11:30 Jeff picked me up to head to the Doctors office as we awaited my results. As we pulled into the parking lot I could tell Jeff wasn't doing well but was going to act as if he was. We parked the car and I grabbed his hand and just prayed! Prayed that the Lord would give peace no matter what the doctor was going to tell us. We walked o the waiting room and of the the room we went to meet with Dr. Eve. She came in and asked how my pain was and how I was feeling. I told her I was still in a lot of pain and she reassured me that it was normal as I have had THE most invasive surgery you could ever have on your breasts. She then told me " I will try and get rid of your pain by giving you the results of your pathology" As we are on the edge of our seats awaiting what she will say next. She began to tell us that there is one test that has not returned from the pathologist( it comes back tomorrow) but all of the other tests came back that my cancer is at stage 1 (meaning we caught it so early) and that it is NOT in my lymph nodes that all cancer was removed at the time of the surgery!! She kept speaking and again I heard NO CANCER blah blah blah. Out of the corner of my eye I see Jeff's head drop to his chest. I look over at him and he is balling like a baby! Which made me ball like a baby. The doctor then looked at an intern that was in the room and said "This has been a very emotional 5 weeks for all of us". AMEN! This test that we are waiting for is a "double make sure we are positive" kind of test. She began to tell us we will still need to go to UCSF and see an oncologist and that they would decide what treatment I will need from here. There is a test they will give me to determine the chance of it ever coming back and this will determine the treatment whether it is pills or chemo. Sh removed one drain and OUCH!!!! ( 2 more to go tomorrow).

After this appointment was over I couldn't wait to get to the car and Praise my Lord Jesus Christ with my ever so sweet hubby Jeff. We walked out of the door and Jeff bawled so hard and I can't quite hug yet and that was so hard. We got to the car and I grabbed Jeff's hand and just started praying. Thank you Lord Jesus for our faithfulness. Thank you that you have prepared our path ahead of us, Thank you that you never left our side. Lord Jesus thank you for your peace that surpasses all understanding, Thank you that you have chosen me for this! I went on and on. I couldn't stop, how could i stop praising His name after all He sweet Jesus has done for me! We had to run a couple errands after that and my poor hubby could not hold it together. i wanted to just walk up to complete strangers and say " Did you know that my Lord Jesus just healed me of breast cancer" but I guess that isn't something you just do but I wanted to so bad. We came home and my 3 sweet little kiddos were sitting here and we sat them down and this time told them "girls, Our God healed mommy of breast cancer" because of prayer He healed me! My girls had huge smiles on there faces and I tried as best I could to hug them as tight as I could. You could see the relief in their little hearts. What a Day a day the Lord made for ME AGAIN! Praise Jesus.
SOOOO What can you pray for now....
PRAISE JESUS for what he has done... Really worship Him and praise His holy name with me.
Pray the last test comes back fine ( I am certain it will but still pray he deserves it)
Pray for healing as I am still laid up in physical pain and my hubby is still taking care of a lot
Pray that my oncologist appointment on September 1st goes well and my treatment would be the least ( pills over chemo)
Pray my other 2 drains come out tomorrow!
Pray for me writing and giving my testimony this weekend. Pray the Lord will be able to touch people through my words and people would come to know Him through this!

Thank you so much for everything I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for each and everyone of you!
To my sweet hub thank you for loving me and taking care of me the way you have.
I love all of you

My Journey Continues at Home After Surgery

Thank you all for praying for me and believing in our Lord Jesus! As I sit here or wait a minute lay here and type this to you my heart and mind are going so much faster than my hands can type. I am in complete awe of my Lord right now! This process has been a bit painful physically but the spiritual side of it has been incredible and I wouldnt trade it for anything. Thank you all for praying for me, visiting me, cooking for my family and I and just being here for me and my family! It has been incredible. I kow Jeff has updated you a bit since my last post but I will give you my journey from my perspective...

Wednesday came very quickly and it was time to give my 3 kiddos to my mom as I had a couple appointments I had to get to before Thursday. That was a hard moment. I dont know about you but anytime I go into surgery you feel as if it will be the last time you see any of your loved ones. I guess it is because the whole situation is out of your control. As I said goodbye with one last kiss I got in my car and just cried. It was hard but I knew the Lord and my mom would take great care of them. 3:30 came quickly and it was time I had to go to nuclear medicine to have an injection in my right beast so that they can find my centinal lymph nodes in surgery. We show up at Doctors hospital in the nuc med department and there are danger signs all over the place. As I sat there I kept thinking to myself"should my healthy body be going into such a dangerous place"? Of course reality hit and I had to remind myself of this nasty disease called cancer is still sitting in my boobie and I am there so they can get it out. The guy called me in and told me there would be a woman doctor coming in to inject the spot with die that will move into my lymphnodes so the dr can remove them the next day. The doctor came in and introduced herself and asked about my cancer. I told her a little and she looked at me and said " I will pray for you" Within that time everything went through my head... such as, "who do you pray to", for all I know she could be praying to buddha? These are just thoughts that were going through my mind. So I began to share my journey with her. She was very interested as she injected FIRE into me.. To get my mind off of the pain I began to tell her that our church was dedicating the 22nd and 23rd to cancer patients and survivors that weekend. As she was almost done she said to me "You have to think positive and let the Almighty handle this". I still don't know if we were talking about the same Lord but I do know that God plants seeds and if this was one YEAH God! They took some pictures and off we went out the door to the next thing. Jeff and I went on a date wed. night and came home and fell asleep.
Alarm went off at 5 am and into the shower and off we went to the surgery center. As we pulled into the parking lot there was Ben and Gretch waiting for us so they could pray before we went in. SO So sweet. We all walked in to check in and on the couch in the waiting room sat Rick Countryman, He pulled us all outside where we prayed again. I tell ya you never can pray too much! I checked in and then the 5 of us sat and chatted and giggled and had a great time. Then off went my buzzer, so hugs to erveryone and into pre op I went. As I changed into my beautiful fashion gown and got all settled in the nurse came into do my iv. She began to tell me about her mom having breast cancer also. I have had some very interesting conversations with random people ( thank you Lord Jesus for putting them in my path or I in theirs). Jeff came back to sit with me until it was time to go. Dr. Enevoldsen came in to draw on me and then the anesthasiologist too. I again told him a thousand times how sick I get when I wake up.He gave me all the names of medications he was going to give me. WOW I have never had that happen before. He left and all of a sudden I began to have a panic attack. This is something I have never experienced in my life. I chalk it up to satan once again trying to get my eyes on him instead of the Lord. Dr. Eve came in at the same time and I just started crying. I was scared SO scared She reassured me and got my bed rolling as fast as she could to the O.R. As the bed was moving all I could hear was my sweet hub praying loud over me. They got me to o.r and before I even switched beds they had me out.
I woke up in recovery feeling pretty good just thirsty. They finally wheeled me upstairs into the hospital hotel room (it was really nice). They called Jeff up and he began to tell me all of the answered prayer that took place. Dr. Eve was able to get all of the centinal nodes plus 25 lymphnodes she wanted. Dr. enevoldsen was able to get the implants in fine because all of my skin stayed alive (YEAH) the other option would or could have taken months more. He told me about the lymphnodes that were taken out were black and at first they said they thought black nodes meant melanoma BUT they were black because of my tattoo! The list of answered prayer goes on and on and on praise to Jesus. I was so looped on drugs that Rick Countryman came to visit and right in the middle of talking I fell asleep! hahaha Now that I think about it all I do is laugh. That evening because of all the drugs they had going through my system and no solid foods I got very nauseated and started throwing up. I don't know about anyone else but I wish they invented something better to puke into when you are stuck in bed! Finally they gave me more medicine to stop the nausea and off to sleep I went. I woke up every 15 minutes all night wanting to be home in my own bed with my family. The next morning came and I started throwing up again. The physician assistant came in and offered to give me a shot in the behind to stop the nauseousness. At first I said no because I had had enough of the needles. But realized very quickly that I had to have it. She came in to give it to me and I couldnt roll over because I have 3 drains coming out all over the place so she decided to give it to me in my thigh! UUUGGGGHHHHHHHHH is what I yelled at the top of my lungs. It hurt so bad. Think of it as a tetnus shot times 100. But no more nausea. Both Dr.'s came into see me in the morning and told me I could go home.
I got home about??? wow I don't even know, too much medicine. The girls were delivered with my mom and dad that evening. It was so good to see them and be with them. My sweet hub along with my girls have taken very good care of me. Almost too good. I make my hub nervous when I am down so if you could imagine Jeff running and pacing back and forth it is a sight! It makes me giggle. But at the same time is stressful for him.
I am excited for the healing process. If you were to see me now with all these drains coming from everywhere you would be frightened. It is quite a sight. I had to give up my beautiful fashion gown at the hospital for a beautiful fashion sports bra! Worth the switcharoo.
This has been quite a journey so far and the Lord has prepared a path for me and continues to do so. The only thing He asks is that I stay on that path for Him. That I am more than willing to do. He has been with me from day one and never has left my side. I have seen Him be glorified more than you will ever know. Being His witness is amazing. Lord Jesus continue to use me, out of all people ME to glorify your name.
I was reading Psalms 119:73-74" Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me for I have put my hope in your word." This is my prayer for myself and for all of you. May we all put our hope in His word.
What can you continue to pray for-
- lets Praise Jesus for my surgery and all answered prayer
-pray that Jeff can handle me and the girls all at once ( his job description never read housewife)
-pray for quick recovery as I am no good in bed all the time it drives me bonkers
-pray for me as I prepare my testimony and give it next weekend (those that know me know I don't like to speak in front of people) and pray many would give their lives to Jesus and be touched by the whole service.
-continue to pray(believeing) for my lymphnodes that they come back with no cancer

Thank you again for everything. Your prayers, thoughts,gifts,calls, emails, facebooks, twitters ,poems, food and just showing up when the Lord called you to do so. It is amazing..
Thank you thank you thank you!!! I will keep you updated as the week goes by.
John 14:13 -14
If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it for you so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.
I have been a witness to this and so have all of you. Prayer works! Never Never stop praying!
I will keep you updated on my progress
Thanks again

Jeffs blog post Surgery of My Journey

"And I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for You are who You are, no matter where I am, and every tear I've cried you hold in your hand, you never left my side".

Casting Crowns

Dear friends and family,

I am writing from Heathers computer (man is her side of the desk a mess). I wanted to update everyone regarding her surgery today. To say the least, we couldnt have had better news. Scars were kept to a minimum, surgery option #1 (as we called ita nd prayed for) was a success and Heather is doing great.

I was looking at her prayer requests from yesterday and will go through them one at a time.

Pray for the injection for lymph nodes (yesterday) - Shot went very well, no lingering pain.

Pray for Jeff (me) re: anxiousness - I felt such incredible peace from the Lord last night and this morning that I actually felt a sense of guilt for not being more torn up.

Pray for Candy (Heathers mom) as she was struggling yesterday and was watching our three little monkeys during surgery - I talked to her today and she ecko'd the peace I felt.

Pray that she would come out of the anesthesia without getting sick (as she usually does) - Not a lick of sickness, nausiousness, queeziness, not a thing.

Pray for our three girls as they deal with the emotions of having their mommy in the hospital from cancer surgery - Well, they were in very good spirits when they came by to see Heather, got to doctor her up a bit, and were excited about the sleepover at Lori's.

Pray that the lymph nodes are clear - We will know Thursday the 20th. KEEP PRAYING !!

If that isnt answered prayer I dont know what is !!

I was talking to one of Dr. Enevoldsens office managers today and she said "I dont think he has ever had a case where he was able to do reconstructive surgery at the same time as the double masectomy". What that means is Heather wont have to go back in for three or four more procedures. That also is incredible answered prayer.

I keep asking myself "how do people get through these valleys without the Lord"? I am in awe of the Lord, how he can give peace, heal, answer prayers, and that He is NEVER freaked out with the situation. He is in total control and there is something very peacefull about that.

Thank you for all of you that stopped by. Whether you missed me coming and going, sat with me, prayed with me, texted me, e-mailed me, called me or prayed for us - thank you. I told Heather this morning "I dont ever want to hear the words "I dont feel loved by my friends and family" EVER come out of your mouth (or my mouth either).

We are blessed !!! Thank you again and we will keep you posted.


My Journey Begins....

My Journey begins….
Thank you all again for all of your thoughts, words, prayers, support and trusting in Jesus with me.I just wanted to write a note and let you know where I am as of the day before surgery. I will go today at 3:30 to have dye injected for my lymph node surgery tomorrow. Tonight I get to have a relaxing night with my sweet hubby. Thank you mom for making that possible!The alarm will go off at 5am tomorrow as I have to be at Stanislaus Surgery Center at 6am to check in. They did all of my labs and x-ray’s on Monday so hopefully I won’t get poked too much other than the IV( I hate needles). I will change into my beautiful fashion gown and off to the surgery room I go. Dr. Eve will start the surgery and her part will last about 2 ½ hours and then Dr. Enevoldsen will come in to do his part (YEAH Dr. Enevoldsen) 2 1/2 hours also. Dr. Eve will come and talk to Jeff as soon as her part is complete and the same with Dr. Enevoldsen. I will then go to recovery for a couple of hours and then check into my hotel (hospital)upstairs for the night! Today was a very hard day saying goodbye to the girls for a couple of days but know the Lord will take care of them with the help of my mom. I have complete peace that the Lord will take great care of me through all of this. It is his promise and I believe him. I know I am in great hands of the Mighty physician! So what can you pray for specifically?·
  • Pray for the injection this afternoon as I hate needles·
  • Pray for my sweet hub as he waits and waits for the doctors to come out as well as my family·
  • Pray for my mom as she takes care of our little monkeys and she is having a hard day!·
  • Pray that I come out of anesthetic without throwing up! This is a big one!!!! ·
  • Pray for my 3 sweet babies as they are dealing with emotions internally they don’t even know they have!
  • Pray for peace for them for the next 2 days as they are away from me.·
  • Pray that my lymph nodes are clear and the Dr.’s are in awe!·
  • Pray that I minister to the people I come in contact with today and tomorrow for I do not want to waste an ounce of opportunity!!!! This is the biggest one!
Thank you everyone for your prayers and for following me on this journey. The great physician is in control and I give myself to HIM. I love you all and as soon as I can post again I will! Jeff will send an update as far as me being out and recovering!
Blessings to all of you

My Journey Continued.....

My Journey Continued........

I always have to thank everyone first before I get into the specifics. Thank you everyone again for all of your prayers, words of encouragement, scriptures sent and stopping by. Again the Lords timing is amazing and perfect.

As you all know last Wed. I got the news that I needed a mastectomy on my right side and after a lot of talking with Dr. Eve and Dr. Enevolsden and reading the reports "I" decided to do both sides. I spoke with Dr. Eve on Thursday before leaving for the houseboat for the weekend about my final decision and she wanted to meet again to talk about it further the following Thursday (today). Now I have to say I got off of the phone with her thinking " What more is there to talk about"? I then just asked the Lord to give Jeff and I wisdom and to make it very clear to us what I was suppose to do. As I get off the phone that Thursday I looked at Jeff and told him today was going to be one of those days I was talking about in my first letter. It was going to be rough. Needless to say I spent most of the day grieving over the decision that I had to make and was a sobbing mess. I haven't been away from the kiddos long enough to lose it and lets just say I left the kiddos and I lost it! I needed to just get out and have an emotional breakdown without anyone asking Are you OK? What can I do for you? I'm so sorry. What I got was a bunch of people talking and crying with me and a husband that layed next to me for hours praying over me out loud ( I love that part it was so special). I woke up the next morning feeling again refreshed and ready to continue on my journey with breast cancer and the Lord by my side. He gave me a great weekend of relaxation, time with my hubby and time with great friends. I came home on Sunday and back to reality I came (just like any vacation when it is over). All that ran through my head was Oh no Dr. Eve is going to talk me out of the other side! What will I do? Will I be asymmetrical for the rest of my life? What if cancer returns this time on the other side and I have to go back in? My mind was racing and I finally had to ask the Lord to take it because that was something I couldn't worry about for the next few days. It was up to the Lord to put things into place. Monday morning came and so many prayers were answered. Jeff was praying on his way to work that morning about our decision that we had to make and our meeting on Thursday with Dr. Eve. He prayed that the Lord would make it very clear to him and I and that we would know for sure that we were making the right decision. Jeff walked into his office and one of his clients (a doctor) was waiting to see him. Jeff said, "Dr. "so and so" (ha ha) our meeting isn't this Monday it is next week!" He said oh Jeff I'm sorry I got it wrong I will see you next week. Jeff said to him "wait a minute I have a question for you do you mind talking with me a minute"? Long story short Jeff asked his opinion about my bilateral mastectomy and he began to tell him a story about his first wife of 29 years who had breast cancer and it started in one side. They did a one sided mastectomy and wished that had done a bi-lat because a few years later it came back and she died! As I write this it gives me the chills just knowing and believing that MY GOD is in every detail EVERY DETAIL! I am so blessed to have Him and know Him the way I do.
As I walked into Dr. Eves office this morning I felt very peaceful about that appointment and just prayed that the words out of my mouth would be from Him. She walked in the door and sat down to talk to us and told me every reason why she thought I should wait to do the other side. She felt like doing the other side with a risk of infection and it could prolong my treatment if my nodes came back positive. Again long story short she shared her side and told me why not but that she would be willing to listen to me and compromise. I began to give her the reasons why I wanted a bilateral done and told her I was not making an emotional decision. I told her that I have prayed and prayed and the Lord has given me peace about it. I told her that I believed that the Lord WILL heal me from this and that I am not worried about the risk of infection because the risk is already there doing one. She said to me "OK done I will do it" WHEW!!!!!!! I walked out of that office again Praising Jesus. He continues to show me He is leading me and He is preparing the path right before I even show up! I love that I have a planner in my midst and it is the Lord God Almighty!!!!!
So what can you pray for???
I will be going into Doctors Hospital on Wed the 12Th to have die injected for the sentinel lymph node test that she will be doing during my surgery. She will also do an extensive node test at this time as well to take out 25 or more nodes. There can be side effects to these procedures so pray that they run smooth and she can find the nodes she needs to get.
Thursday is my surgery. Pray it goes well and for Jeff and my family as they will be waiting for about 5 hours. Dr. Eve will do her part first and then Dr. Enevoldsen will come in and do the reconstruction.(YEAH I think I already said YEAH but YEAH again) Thank God for reconstruction. There are also 2 different possibilities with the reconstruction. Pray that he can do the simple one. It would mean the process would be cut in 1/2 as far as construction time.

I know that many of you know me very well. Some of you just heard about me and my journey and are praying for my family and I. I want you all to know something that I am very passionate about especially through this time. I love love love going through trials because I get to glorify the Lord. I love going through trials because it brings me closer to my sweet Jesus. I love going through trials because it makes me appreciate the EVERY day I have here on earth to be with my family. I love going through trials because it makes me realize what my Jesus did for me on that cross and that is the reason why are here on this earth to bring people to Him.
If you don't know Jesus now is the time to get to know him because he loves you! You will go through trials here on earth. It will be what you make it with Him or without Him. I know I couldn't do it with out him that's for sure.
Thank you again all of you for all of your prayers and support. I will keep you posted after my surgery. I'm honored to be in this position.