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
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.