Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Year Down

As I write this it is very early in the morning as one of my kiddos woke me up to snuggle with me and as she drifted back to sleep I lay there staring as the wall in frustration that I can't sleep. But for some reason the Lord woke me and brought me to my computer. Sometimes life gets so busy there has been no time for me to sit and write. Re: last post in September!

It has been a year since my last chemotherapy treatment and a lot of growing has taken place on my head. If someone would have asked me last year at this time if I thought I would have this much hair I would have told them they were crazy. But as each stage passes with this "mop" I am just amazed at how growth happens, not only on my head but in my heart. I do have to say it hasn't come easy and there have been moments of frustration, doubt, worry and anger but without those things I wouldn't be able to experience the peace and grace that God has given me for each day and each moment.

Since I last wrote my hair has gone from a short fo-hawk to an old lady hair style in a snap! How did I go from a wild hip look to a OMGOODNESS I look like my mom (no offense mom your hair looks great on you). Since I last wrote my heart has gone from excited about the progress with my paintings to anxiety about taking on something I can’t keep up. My physical body has gone from fragile to healthy and emotions are all over the place! hahaha. Praise Jesus for renewing each morning!

Last year as I was going through treatment and just about to end, I realized that my life needed to slow down and that I needed to enjoy and live day to day. Those of you that know me know that life in the slow lane really isn't my style. If I'm not going 100mph or over I'm completely bored. Anyway, 2 huge design projects, getting Graced Canvas started (what a process) , painting commissions, Christmas decorating at church and Omega Nu home tour at our house wasn’t really the slowing down I thought I was supposed to do! As I really enjoy doing all of those things it wasn’t the slowing down I was telling myself I needed to do. Isn’t it amazing how “good things” can take over to the point of exhaustion but yet we don’t see it until its all over and then wish we could go back? The Lord has really worked on my decision making and the ability to say no when I need to and I am excited for the new year to actually be able to put that into place. Well see how my December 2010 writing goes hahaha. I’m praying now for the sound of my sweet Jesus’s voice that I will listen and follow in the direction I need to go.

As far as “Breast Cancer” goes it has been a really neat year. I have been able to be involved in events and things I wouldn’t have been able to be involved in. I went to the wine country and modeled for Cleavage Creek Wine. That was a fun and interesting experience. I met some really beautiful people that have endured a lot over their journey of breast cancer. I can say that I’m glad I never took up modeling as a career, because the waiting between shoots to get the lighting right and waiting for all the girls to go before the group shots made me crazy! Made me crazy because the spread of food was so good all I did was eat and if this was my career I would have never made it, they would have fired me because of so much weight being gained! The wine should be coming out soon and I will let you know when it is here. I was also asked to model for a fashion event at Bella Vagos to raise money for breast cancer awareness and that was a really neat experience too. Just to talk to the survivors and know their stories and their hearts was a true blessing for me! AND I was pampered up all day of the event! Thank you Megan and Erica for organizing everything! The highlight of my year have been the times I have been able to help and spend time with women who are walking the walk that I did through this ugly thing called cancer. I have been able to share experiences good and bad with them. I have been able to encourage them and they have been able to help me through the process just as much as I have helped them. The Lord has placed some very special women in my life and I am so grateful. I have been able to share the hardest part of “my” journey with a beautiful, smart and strong woman. Losing my hair was the hardest part for me and I was honored that she let me share this experience with her. I was able to go and shave her head for her and walk her through each step of it. What a complete blessing it was and what a sweet time. Love you girl! This was one of the times that the Lord made me stop what I was doing (the day of my home tour) take my eyes off of myself and put them on her! I am so grateful for that day and what it did for “me” in the healing part of my journey.

As for my girls and my sweet hub they are doing really well. I definitely think they are excited for the Lord working on me in the department of slowing down and saying no more often. I’m sure they will hold me accountable and I pray that they will. The Lord has really grown all of them spiritually and that I am grateful for. There is still a lot of healing that needs to take place especially in fear of getting cancer again but I think all of that is normal and healing takes time. One day at a time for all of us!

I know that there are a lot of people that have prayed for my family and I as we have gone about this journey and I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Please continue to pray over the next phase of my journey with my paintings and my time. Pray that I would listen to my sweet Saviors voice as to where He wants me to spend it.

Thank you all for the prayers and support. I pray that this year each of you would slow down and listen to the call of Jesus too!

Happy New Year



Friday, September 17, 2010


As I write this I am sitting in a tattoo shop watching my sweet hub get a tattoo of Christ’s crucified hands on his back. As I watch the pain he is going through getting this tattoo it has actually brought me back to Christ himself and what He had to go through all for US and our sin! WOW what a thought and image this has brought to me. Just the thought of Christ being beaten and crucified for me is amazing and not even comprehendible BUT I am so thankful that He did so that I could be saved and live with Him eternally forever!

It has been such a long time since I have written about anything going on with my health or even just life itself. I have so much to be thankful for and wanted to share a little with you. It has been one year since I was diagnosed with cancer and man has it gone by quickly. As weird as that is it really did fly by (now that I look back).

I have really been reflecting on the last year and as time has past I have found myself drifting a bit from spending a lot of time with my Jesus (sad I know). I spend time with him daily talking with him but actually diving into His word I have found myself finding “more important” things to do. It has been sad because my reliance on Him has diminished because I am in “good” times now. No more cancer, only have to be checked every 6 months, chemo every six months etc. As I have looked back over my entire life I have cherished my hard times! Why? Because those are the times that I fall on my face before Him and really listen to what He has for me and what He is teaching me. I always wonder why it takes me to have a “trial to do this”. I often wonder why it is so hard to listen when I am not hurting. Lord Jesus help me with this!

As I am sitting in this tattoo shop I have probably heard the “f” word 100 times and every other curse word in the book 500 times. I have sat and listened to the most evil music (because that is what this industry likes) but yet the people in here are so extremely nice and I really really enjoy talking with them and listening about their life stories. I realized today over the 10 plus hours I have been in here that sometimes this is comparable to my life. Even though it might be different and my sin is extremely different than theirs yet to Jesus it is still the same. He loves these guys just as much as He loves me and wants them to spend eternal life with Him. As I sit and learn and watch these guys I realize how blind they are to the truth but yet some of them talk about God as if they know Him. Sometimes I wonder if I give this portrayal to some? Lord Jesus help me to be a witness for you. I will talk openly about my Jesus to whoever wants to hear and so badly want them to listen but realize that they are so deaf to the truth and it is up to the Lord to intervene and do the work. I am yet a tool that He has provided for the moment.

One of the things I love about the Lord is He constantly puts things on my heart and mind and leads me to share them with you and I love that. As I write I feel the Lord teaches me so much about myself and how I can make things different and bring my Jesus glory!

We just got home from LA and another doctors appointment to go to. I had my 6 month check up with my surgeon yesterday and everything is great. She said keep doing what you are doing and I will see you in another 6 months. YEAH!!!! I do have my 6 month check up in October and have my chemo treatment for reoccurrence but other than that I am good!

I feel like I am in a season of life that is a season of blessing. As I look back I probably could say that each and every season is a blessing but there seems to be something extremely different about this time. During my journey of breast cancer I felt God more than I ever had in my life. I felt him near in comforting me and holding me through a part of my life that at times was very scary. This season I feel him doing all of those same things but yet in a way of taking me out of my little box and stretching me in ways I NEVER thought I could be stretched. During and after my treatments I started paying attention to people that were going through similar things and the Lord started giving me a heart of compassion for them. I wanted to do something. He reminded me of the gifts and talents He had blessed me with and how I could use them. I have always been an artist and have painted for years, but the Lord took me down a road as I went through depression and took my paintings to a new level. With that He told me that i needed to put myself out there and sell my paintings to raise money for people who are going through treatment and have had to quit there jobs and are struggling financially. I am in the process of getting a non-profit operating license. I have had many generous people offer to put my paintings in offices and my website is under construction. Right now I have several paintings up in Dr. Lars Enevoldsen’s office, Get Fit, Chartreuse Muse and in October will be in Streaks salon. The Lord has blessed me with so much and has entrusted me to be a light for him. Now if any of you know me well you know that I hate putting myself out there. That is just a fear that I have had as long as I remember and believe me the Lord is working and working on me and stretching and stretching me more and more.! I keep saying No and then I realize ok Lord I need to surrender my fears and give in to what you really want for my life. A couple of months later I received a phone call from my dear friend Mike. As he began talking the first words out of his mouth were “ I hope your not mad at me”. I thought to myself OH NO what did he do???? He began telling me about a winery that he had researched called cleavage creek. The owner and founders wife had died of breast cancer and he felt he needed to do something about it. So he donates 10 percent of his gross sales to breast cancer research. With that each one of their varieties holds a picture of a breast cancer survivor and their story is on their website. I was chosen out of 100 finalist as 1 of the four girls to represent their winery. WOW Lord Really??? ME???? Thats what was going through my mind and immediately the Lord reminded me that it is not about me it is about giving Him glory through this.

As I look at my life where I am today I stand in awe of my God. In awe at how he works all things for good in those who love Him. I can sit back and put pieces together and never in my life would I have put myself where I am today. I am so excited as well as nervous (in a good way) to see how He will use my paintings and this wine bottle to glorify Him. I can’t wait to give out my first check to a person in need and more importantly to form those relationships with people who are struggling through something that I can relate to.

Thank you all who have supported me and prayed for me in all I have been through and all I am about to walk through. Please continue to pray as I venture out into the world to help others struggling with this yucky disease. Pray that the Lords hand guides me exactly where He needs me to be and that He gives me wisdom in what I need to say and do. Thank you my sweet husband for supporting me and encouraging me to keep going even when I get overwhelmed. As I step out it faith again and again I begin to realize that no matter where I am so is my Jesus walking with me hand in hand. Thank you Lord Jesus for pushing me out of my comfort zone again and again.

Blessings to all of you


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6 Month Check

It has been one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. WOW what can actually happen in one year boggles my mind. I normally think of a year as such a long time and now have come to realize it is but a blink of an eye. I reflect back all that my family friends and I have been through and am in awe at how the Lord put it all together. It started with the diagnosis then came the surgery, the treatment, losing my hair, last treatment ,hair growing back, depression, after treatment. All while being a wife, mother, daughter, friend and most important the Lords child and witness.
All I can say is WOW where did the time go????
We just returned from our family vacation in Hawaii where a year ago I had found my lump. I have to say this trip meant more to me than any other time. It was a time of relaxing and being with my family and cherishing every minute of it. I found myself at times reflecting back to last year and the chain of events that have occurred since then. I would let my mind wander into the details and just sit with them for a while. I have to say being on this side of cancer I enjoyed putting pieces together and was in awe how the Lord works. Realizing that His plan is so different than mine but thanking him for it. While we were there it became pretty comical because all of the workers thought that Jeff was remarried because of my short hair. They kept asking him if I was his wife. He would tell them yes and they would say "the mother of your children"? Long story short they heard about our year and my cancer and we all had a great laugh. We arrived home a couple of weeks ago. Reality always seems to hit right when you get home from a vacation. Your mind starts to wander and life and responsibility starts again. I looked at my schedule and realized that my UCSF appointment was coming. To bring you up to speed a bit, at my last appointment for my infusion Dr. Moasser wanted to give me a shot to put me into menopause. Because I didn't want any side effects on vacation I chose to wait until we got back. I also wanted to really pray about it. Just coming off of tamoxifen and being depressed from it scared me to death to even think about menopause at 35 years old.
Today Jeff and I headed to UCSF where we met with Dr. Moasser. The drive there I was pretty anxious only because I knew what I wanted out of this appointment and knew that I had really prayed about it but was nervous that Dr. Moasser would talk me out of it. Those Oncologists want to make sure they cross every T and dot every I. Which I appreciate so much BUT I feel like I have done what I need to do already. He came into the room, sat down and looked at me and said we are going to do the shots today right? I looked at him and said no I don't think I am. So he opened my charts and began to look at all of my tests. In the awkward quiet moment my sweet hub filled it with questions. (I love that man) So he asks the doctor what my reoccurrence percentage is with my mastectomy, chemo and Zometa infusion every six months for five years. The Dr. says, chemo is the biggie which was about 10%. Zometa infusion is medium about 4-5% and if you do the shots it will bring you down another 2%. In my mind I am thinking I am 35 and with all of the side effects of menopause it is not worth it to me. I don't want to live my life fighting all of the side effects that come with menopause. Just as all of this is running through my mind he looked at me and said OK. I thought to myself did he just say OK??? YYYYEEEAAAHHHHHH!!!! Thats what I said in my heart and mind. I asked him where I go from here? He said everything looks great. See me every six months for blood check and your zometa infusions and go on with your life. YYYYEEEEAAAHHHHHH!!!! Again.
I walked out of that hospital so extremely relieved and excited. I feel like besides having the rest of my reconstruction surgery and an infusion twice a year I am DONE!
WOW what a year this has been. I can look at it and really soak in myself but what I realize is none of this was about me. It was all about the Lord and growing me into who he wants me to be, and growing my family in a way they would have never been grown. I also have been able to meet some beautiful woman who have battled this or are battling this right now and am so extremely grateful for them and their journey's. The Lord has been able to use me in ways he would have never been able to had I not gone through this. I have been able to take my art and move to the next level and begin to sell it for woman who are going through treatment and are struggling financially. I could go on and on......
The Lord is amazing and as I end this I still go back to Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the Lord," plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
I always end with a huge thank you to everyone that has been praying for me and all of the support you all have given me and my family. I wouldn't have gotten through it all with out you.... Please pray with me for the woman I have been talking with who are going through treatment, pray for their strength and wisdom to make the decisions I have had to make. Pray for my sweet friend Melanie (who I met in Funworks) She finished her treatment a couple of months ago and is regaining her strength and finishing school as she raises her four boys! I Thank the Lord for bringing these woman to me they truly have become very special, very quickly.
Thank you again for all of your support and prayers. Have a great summer

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Life after Cancer

Well it has been almost 4 months since I have written anything at all. Wow what a process this has been. Right now I am on an airplane flying to Arizona with my sweet hub on a much needed vacation for some rest and relaxation.

December 22nd was my last treatment and the very last time I have written about my journey at all. I have tried a couple of times to sit and write but each time I would write I would delete it and walk away. I figured I have said all that needed to be said and no one wants to hear anymore about ME. It is amazing what lies satan will continue to tell me to pull me away from what God really wants to do in my life as well as others lives. The interesting thing is I believed him....My journey continues

As most of you know my last treatment was December 22nd. This by far was the hardest treatment out of the four I had to do. The recovery process was longer and harder. It took a lot out of me both physically and emotionally. Three weeks after my treatment was over and I knew that I wouldn’t be returning for another treatment I was ready to feel good. I was ready to get back to normal life again, whatever that looked like. I was ready for my hair to grow back, to start exercising hard again and just plain physically recover from the beating my body had taken since August. Just when I thought things were going to get better they seemed to get worse. Little did I know that I had been running on pure adrenaline for the past 5 months. I felt like I had constant communication with my Jesus through this whole process and He would never let me down, and that He didn’t. Combining the physical burden on my body with the emotional burden of my family and I, I became super weak, super tired, just down right exhausted. As I want to write and tell you that since my treatment has been done I have been fantastic, I can’t. I think the physical healing is much quicker than the emotional healing. Some good friends had told me this with the experience of it himself but until you go through it you have no idea!

After a month went by my hair started to grow back and I lost the hat and the scarves and was ready to rock the bald. I love it. I could look at my kiddos and reassure them that mommy was done with treatment and that I would start looking normal again to them. I could tell everyone closest to me that with my Jesus I had beat this ugly thing called cancer and I can now call myself a survivor! I could get on my face before the Lord and thank Him for every part of the process from beginning to end. I did all of those things and then went into deep deep depression. I have never experienced depression before although I had been around it. I knew what to look for but I didn’t know how to fix it. I would cry out to the Lord asking Him to spare me from it because I wasn’t myself nor did I even care to be. For someone who can make a quick decision and run a household of 5 with 3 busy kiddos, I found myself not being able to do either. I went into this attitude of poor me and soaked in my sorrows for quite some time. I stopped being social and if I was it was very surfaced never deep. I had no energy for conversation and I really didn’t even care to take the time to have any, not even with those I loved the most. I felt like I couldn’t be a good mom because I couldn’t even make the slightest decision for discipline or even telling one of my girls what to wear. It was exhausting. My poor hub was constantly looking at me asking me what he could do to cheer me up or make me happy and all I could tell him was PRAY. I couldn’t even pray myself. I would sit quietly with the Lord and tell Him “you know my heart and you know what I want to say Lord, I don’t have any words”. I kept telling myself that I just need time to be still. I “deserved” to be quiet and depressed for a while, whatever that means. I started painting again and found it to be therapeutic. I am considering auctioning all of my paintings to help fund people who have financial difficulty during cancer treatment. I always love to see what the Lord does with things like this when I give it to Him! Because Lord knows I would never do this without Him (hahaha).

As time went on I told Jeff I needed to go back to my oncologist and talk to him about side effects of chemo and the new drug I was taking tamoxifen. Jeff and I went to UCSF a couple of weeks ago and Dr. Moasser took me off of the tamoxifen to see if this is what is causing swimmy head, joint pain and depression. He said he will take me off for one month to see if these things stop. If they do, then we can look into alternate treatments instead of tamoxifen. I will go see him again in 2 weeks.

It has been 2 weeks since I stopped my medication and I feel somewhat back to normal! I feel like the big black cloud has been lifted off my shoulders and feel like I can function a lot better. I am still swimmy in my head a bit, but don’t feel depressed at all. Praise Jesus!!!!

Jeff and I had planned this trip away before I even started my chemotherapy and now looking back it was the best thing we could have ever done. As I sit and miss my kiddos, this is something that was really needed to reenergize my soul, my body, my marriage and my time with Jesus.

This journey has been amazing from start to finish. Even during the hard times it has been amazing. The latter of the journey has been the hardest because I do think that emotional healing takes way longer than the physical healing. Each and every step of the way I have felt the Lord’s presence even when I didn’t think I could. As I continue to walk this journey of life here on earth I realize more and more after each trial that this life is here for one thing and one thing only. I was put here to show the love of Christ to others and to be a witness for my Jesus. Even when it gets hard, those are the times that my faith grows stronger and stronger and I hear the whisper in my ear “Be Still and know that I, AM”. I hear “Hang on my child, this life here is so short compared to what it will be in heaven with Me”. I need to continually remind myself of all of this day to day because when I step out of that role this life here on earth gets hard.

Over spring break Jeff and I took our kiddos to Fun works before we left on this trip. Jeff had left and it was my three girls and I in a very crowded place. I was chasing after London my youngest in hopes she would hurry up and use all of her tokens. Out of the clear blue London stopped in her tracks and just stared at this woman. As my eyes slowly looked up to see what she was looking at, right in front of me was this beautiful woman fully bald. London turned around to me and said really loud “MOMMY, she is bald like you”. I did everything in my power not to lose it in the middle of fun works. I said “ your right London that is what mommy looked like, but now my hair is growing back”. I continued to run after London and the Lord continued to pull at my heart to go talk to this woman. Finally I just walked up to her. I asked her if she was going thorough chemo. She began to tell me her story. Bit by bit and moment by moment this woman began to tell MY story! My cancer, My journey. All of our “physical” parts of the story were exactly the same. Except she had 2 more chemo treatments left. She had 4 boys and is 35 years old. I don’t know if she knew the Lord and I don’t know where she was spiritually, but I do know that if I hadn’t been through what I had been through I would have been the person in the place just staring at her wondering what was wrong. The Lord put me there that day to reassure her that she is almost done fighting this ugly thing called cancer and that she could look ahead and look at my hair and know what she will look like 3 months out and call herself a survivor! These times are the times I say THANK YOU JESUS! Thank you for humbling me before you and letting me have this trial and experience so that I can be a light for you and do hear on earth what I was born to do!

Thank you all for the continued prayer even as I have sat quietly for the past couple months. I have definitely felt the Lord working in my life as each day passes by and know in my heart Jeremiah 29:11. You all have been a huge blessing my life and the life of my family. I will keep you posted as my journey still continues. One thing I want to leave you with to ponder on is this....... Why are you here on this earth? What were you born for???? What is your goal as you wake up each and every day? Are you doing what you have been called to do without holding back? I know I have had to re ask myself all of these questions several times through this, thats why I ask you?

Love to you all