Friday, October 29, 2010

One Big Hurdle is History

The big surgery hurdle has been leaped.  I returned to Home Sweet Home in less than 24 hours...about 9:30 yesterday morning.  Let me just say that everything in my previous blog post was answered.  The surgery went without a hitch, as did all things pre and post op.  According to Dr. Cross, it went better than he imagined. I wonder what he imagined.

The day of surgery began bright and early at the Breast Center, where I received several injections of radioactive dye.  This was to help locate the sentinel node(s) during surgery.  From now on, when there's a lull in the conversation, I can perk things up by mentioning that I was once radioactive. 

From the Breast Center we headed to the hospital.  Knowing what was ahead of me that day, they sent me off by pinning a lovely pink and bejeweled "guardian angel" to my jacket.  So touching and sweet.  The people at the Breast Center are always so kind.  I left with instructions to continually massage my left "smush and push".  This helps the dye find it's way to the nodes.  I found it sort of awkward, sitting in the surgery waiting area in the midst of strangers (all but David), while smushing and pushing.  We decided I was spending a last bit of quality time with my left girl who was about to be sacrificed for the well-being of the whole girl.

While at the hospital, things stayed pretty much on course.  Pleasantly, there were no surprises or delays. Wait...I take that back; there was one very nice surprise.  When I was in the pre-operating holding area (or whatever it's called) Dr. Cross stopped in to visit and go over what I should expect following surgery.  Right before he left to scrub up he asked if I'd mind if he prayed.  Wow!  Of course I didn't mind.  He took my hand and prayed for guidance and healing.  I'd been strong and tearfree...until then.  I was still strong...but the tearfree part was not happening.  What a comfort it was, going into surgery knowing my surgeon also puts his faith in the Great Physician.

What we learned from the surgery and subsequent hospital happenings:

The tumor>>
The big bad tumor was loose and not attached to anything (like my chest wall).  No damage to muscle is a very good thing!

Lymph nodes>>
Three lymph nodes showed up as sentinels (glowing with radioactive dye ) and were removed.  None of them appeared abnormal and, according to the pathologist who was working with Dr. Cross at the time of surgery, no cancer cells were found.  There will be more in depth testing (frozen section and other things I don't understand) in which they will be able to say for sure if there were or were not cells.**  I will know this on Monday when I return to see Dr. Cross.

Drain (singular!)>>
I received only one drain, as opposed to the earlier estimate of 3-4.  Why the difference?  I do not know.  The fewer the better, in my opinion.  This will come out in a few days, but for the time being I have a long rubber tube emerging from my body, connected to a rubber ball sort of thingy and pinned to the bandaging on my left side.  This fills with drainage from my surgical area.  We get to empty, measure, then flush it's contents 3 times a day.  Yes, I know...ewww.  (But good experience for JC, future EMT.)

I discovered that coming off of general anesthesia does make me nauseous.  I felt it in the recovery room and was medicated as soon as I mentioned it.  I then awoke to more pain and nausea later that night.  This time I wasn't medicated quickly enough and, therefore, got to know the plastic wash tub up close and personal. I noticed that the next time I hit the nurse button and asked for pain meds, they were much more prompt.

Bearers of good news>>
Following surgery, it was a great pleasure to be rolled from recovery to my hospital room and be greeted by several of my favorite people in the whole world.  I knew that Dr. Cross had spoken with them, and so I was anxious to hear what news he had shared.  However, as I was rolled into my room, everyone seemed especially solemn and quiet.  My first thought was that something was wrong.  Why else would they be acting like this?  So, of course, I asked.  I was quickly relieved by their positive responses..."Everything went great!"  "Couldn't have gone better!"  So, FYI, when you have good news for a patient, don't hold back!  Not only was I happy to see my dear family and friends, but was happy to hear them bear the good news.

Arm sling?? >>
The arm sling I'd been forced to wear made no sense to me.  When Dr. Cross walked into my room Thursday morning, it made no sense to him either.  First thing he said to me, after "Good morning,"  was "Why are you wearing an arm sling?!"  To which I responded, "I have absolutely no idea."  I was glad to know that my continual questioning of that silly thing was for good reason.  As he mentioned to his nurse, "We've been seeing some strange things lately."  Apparently his post-op instructions involved keeping my arm elevated, and, to someone along the way, a sling made sense.  Go figure. (And I have to think it probably added 100 bucks to my hospital bill.)

So, that's a general run down of my first major surgery and brief hospital stay.  It was so great to be driven home in the bright autumn sunshine yesterday morning and enjoy the bright autumn colors, feeling fairly bright inside (some thanks to the Percocet, I'm sure).  It's wonderful to have jumped that big hurdle and have it behind me.  I know there are more hurdles to jump, but, with help, I pray that all of them be leaped with equal smoothness.

**Great news!  Dr. Cross called me this morning to tell me he'd gotten a call from the pathologist.  All three nodes were clear! Yes, CLEAR!  No cancer cells in ANY of them!  This, my prayer warriors, is a miracle!  Your prayers have been heard and answered!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Right Now...A Prayer

Surgery is scheduled for 12:30 today.  If all goes as scheduled I should be in surgery at this very moment

Dear God, be with me.  Please guide the hands of Dr. Cross and the rest of the medical team. May they swiftly and easily remove the cancer from my body.  May there be no complications or unexpected negative events.  Father, guide the hands that cut and sew my body.  Allow the anethesia to go smoothly and recovery to be quick and uneventful.  God, please guide the nurses that attend me following surgery.  May they have empathy, patience, and a soft touch.  Lord, bless my precious friends and family who wait patiently for good news concerning this surgery.  Be with those in the waiting room right now.  Give them peace and comfort.  

Thank you God for blessing me so mightily in the past few weeks.  You are my strength and my shield, my comforter and encourager.  I praise you, even now, as I am unaware of what is going on around me.  I praise your Holy name.
Through Christ, my Savior,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Surgery, Sick Leave, and Peace, Perfect Peace

Is it just me, or did these last two weeks go by way too fast?  The time has really come.  My surgery is tomorrow and so is the beginning of the longest sick leave in the history of Patti. 

I worked late tonight, prepping for tomorrow's sub at Walker.  It was so weird leaving that building, my home away from home, and knowing I won't be back to teach my kiddos until January.  If this were June and the last day of school, I'd be skipping right out of there and not looking back.  Yippee!  Summer!  But this time away from school is certainly not summer and the school year will be going on without me. How is that possible?  I do NOT like that idea. 

I AM, however, ready to get this show on the road and ready to get this major hurdle behind me.  I have a great peace about this whole thing. People keep asking me if I am scared or nervous and the answer is no.   I feel no fear or unease, only calm and peacefulness and knowledge and confidence that, not only am I going to win this battle, but I am not alone.  I know that everything is going to be just fine. The peace that passes understanding is a wonderful thing.

Much of that peace stems from the fact that so many of you have been praying for it.  To add to that, David and I met with our church elders last night.  That was an amazing and very comforting experience in itself.  One by one, each elder annointed me with oil and prayed for healing and comfort and peace.  I highly recommend this experience if you ever reach a crisis point in your life.  Amazing and humbling.

So, yes, I most definitely am feeling that peace tonight.  Even though I will miss my multitude of students, my two classrooms and my fellow teachers terribly, I know that all is well.  And this time tomorrow all will be even more well.  Surgery, here I come.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How Do I Thank Thee? I Cannot Count That High.

I’m a big Seinfeld fan. Isn’t everyone? That may be the only show in history whose reruns still make me laugh.  No telling how many times I've seen each episode, yet I still watch.

There is one episode in particular that I’ve been thinking of lately. You remember the one where Jon Lovitz’s character, Gary, lies about having cancer?  This turns into a pretty good deal for Gary.  People are extra nice to him, he gets the girl, and Jerry buys him a gift certificate to the Hair Team for Men. As Jerry puts it, “I was so nice to him, I almost made myself sick.” Well, I have to admit, from the very start of this whole cancer episode of mine, I’ve thought of that crazy show. People have been so nice to me; I hope they aren’t making themselves sick.

From the first week I have had friends bring dinner, cookies, pies, candy, gift cards, flowers, homemade bread, giant jars of Nutella, and more. I have received a prayer quilt and a prayer shawl, both handmade, plus a hand knitted hat and scarf. Not to mention the cards, letters, and books. After each round of chemo my family has been treated to wonderful home cooked meals prepared by wonderful, and very busy, women…women who really don’t have time to be cooking for someone else.

On different days, I’ve walked into my room at school to find a variety of surprises, from a gift bag full of BeautiControl products for my lizardy chemo skin, to beautiful flowers and cards and even several anonymous gifts that encouraged my faith and hope. I have enjoyed perks such as free make-up from the Look Good Feel Better program and been adopted and cared for by the good people at Therapon Skin Health.

The caring, love, encouragement, and generosity of friends have been so much more than I ever expected. I keep expecting things to slow down…something like donor fatique, but my sweet friends and supporters continue to be steadfast and hanging on with me. And this last week has really topped it all.

Last Saturday I had several of my China travel cohorts participate in the Little Rock Komen Race for the Cure. They informed me a few weeks prior to the race that they were planning to walk in my honor. They did just that, and even had tee shirts printed that named their team “Patti’s Pirates”. (This was due to me feeling like a pirate in my scarves and, at some point, mentioning that I needed an eye patch and parrot. They took this idea and ran with it, creative girls that they are.) I was humbled and amazed that friends who I just met this past summer would do something so sweet for me. Of course, traveling around China for three weeks does tend to bring people close.

Patti's Pirates at the Komen Race for the Cure in Little Rock.
Next year I plan to join them as a survivor.
Then, when I went to Shaw last week (my second school), the faculty there surprised me with a Pink for Patti shower. The last time I had a shower I received baby clothes and diapers for Sean, who is now 6 feet tall and in college.  No diapers this time.  Instead, I received some of the coolest hats, scarves, and other comfort items (think cozy sleepwear and girlie stuff).  I was floored, especially considering that this is not my home school.  I do not attend faculty or inservice meetings with them and am only there two days a week.  Most of the faculty, though as kind and sweet as can be, do not really know me.  Their kiddos do, but the teachers really do not.  Wow!  Like I said...floored. 

I finished out my week Friday night at La Huerta's with the Nons.  We gathered for one last hurrah before my surgery.  Earlier in the day, I was contacted by one of my elementary art teaching cohorts in my district and was told that a couple of them wanted to meet with me to make a delivery from all of the art teachers, so they just joined up with my group of Nons.  It was a blast mingling one group of friends with another, both equally special to me.  In fact, everyone got along so swimmingly that those art teachers may just have to join us again seems Nons and art teachers have similar temperaments.  We gabbed and talked shop and basically celebrated life. 

Then it turned out both groups had gifts for me.  It was beginning to feel like my birthday...and beginning to be a bit embarrassing. 

I was starting to feel like maybe I was Gary.  Was I taking advantage of my condition?  Should this be happening?  Yes, I was enjoying the attention and the gifts...cancer's perks maybe?  But unlike Gary, I did not feel fact I felt a bit guilty.  Surely there is a limit to how much a person can be supported and fawned much niceness one person is allowed.  Was I not over my limit?

But then I came home and went through my week's worth of gifts.  I showed my family my hats and scarves and modeled a few.  They marveled at all the other gifts and at the kindness of my friends and coworkers.  What a great example this has been to my sons.  My father, who is currently suffering the slow decline of dementia, has been amazed at my stories of the support I have, and always exclaims, "You have lots of really nice friends!"  To which I reply, "Yes, I surely do, Dad." 

There is no way anyone could ever actually enjoy having cancer, but what a blessing it is to have friends who know how to make that almost seem possible. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

From Darkness Into Light

It’s amazing how much better this week was than the last. Even with finding out the major change in my treatment plan, it’s been a very good week. I think a bit of divine intervention made all the difference. Truly I do. Thanks to so many of you who were lifting me up in prayer.  I’ve had peace and tranquility and restful nights. Amazing.

I think the toughest part of this week may have been telling my students that I will have to miss most of the second quarter of school.  I will miss them terribly.

Another thing that’s been tough this week has been explaining to some of my students that the chemo that we all (students included) put our hope and faith in has done nothing for me.  As one astute young 5th grade gentleman stated, “so you’ve been through all this sickness and missing school and lost your hair for NOTHING!?”  Yep…that pretty much hits the nail on the head.  I love 5th graders. 

As I am experiencing this and learning right along with them, what I want my students to take away from this disappointment (to put it lightly) is that no matter what challenges life brings our way, when we get our feet kicked out from under us, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again (are you humming it now?).  So that is what I’m doing.  Back at square one with an entirely different game plan…for an entirely different game, but with a renewed attitude of hope and confidence in the outcome.

When I think back to how truly dark last week was, it’s hard to believe that was me; it seems like it was someone else.  But I know it was me.  And I also know there will be other weeks just like that in my future.  When I am in darkness like that, I will remember that there is lightness all around me and I will wait for it.  I will wait upon the Lord to renew my strength, to mount up with wings like the eagle, to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint.*  I will ask and wait.  Waiting is not always easy, but there are worse things I could be doing.

So I’m back and ready to fight this battle to the end….and I intend to win.

*Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Girl on the Left is Gone in Two Weeks (and taking that nasty tumor with her)

I saw Dr. Cross this afternoon and got the lowdown on where we go from here.  Looks like I'll be getting more tricks than treats this year.  Surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27.

Surgery plans have changed, though.  I will be undergoing a total mastectomy of the left breast only, without reconstruction.  The right breast and reconstruction will happen at another time.  Surgery would have been scheduled sooner, except that Dr. Cross doesn't want to do it so soon after chemotherapy due to slow healing and other complications.  Have I mentioned?...I hate chemo. 

During surgery he will also be doing a sentinel node biopsy.  The sentinel node is the first of the lymph nodes under the armpit that receive lymphatic fluid and tissue from the breast and tumor, so they check this one first.  When my tumor was smaller, his plans were to do it as an outpatient about a week before the surgery so he'd know what he was dealing with.  This was also to help prepare for reconstruction, which won't be happening (yet).  As it is, a pathologist will check right then and there to see if there are cancer cells.  If not, they take a break from surgery and do a happy dance.  If there are cells, Dr. Cross will remove more lymph nodes.  Pray for clear nodes.

Something else new...since my tumor is now over 5 cm, I will be receiving radiation following surgery.  Frankly, and from what I hear, radiation is a cakewalk compared to chemo.  Bring it on.

I may not be finished with chemo, though.  Dr. Cross spoke to me about a lab out of California (Rational Therapeutics) that takes the tumor and actually tests all sorts of chemo drugs on it to discover which one works.  This is totally what I've been thinking they should have done all along.  Why don't they do that for every biopsied tumor?  According to Dr. Cross, the doctor who runs this lab has a theory that possibly as many as 40% of post surgery chemotherapy regimens don't work, but no one knows that until it's too late.  If they had treated me in the traditional method of surgery first, chemo second, I would have had surgery, then undergone 6 rounds of my chemo regimen and never known it didn't work.  How often does that happen?

So yes, I agreed to this seriously expensive (and not covered by insurance) lab test.  Again I wonder...why wouldn't insurance cover this?  Seems like it would save them a lot of money.  But what do I know?  When I'm Boss of the World things will be different. 

They'll gift wrap and Fed Ex my tumor to California immediately following surgery and find out which chemo drugs work and which do not.  It looks like I'll be visiting Highland's Oncology once again for a whole new sampling of drugs.  Yuck and bleck.

As far as teaching goes, Dr. Cross said he does not want me back at work for the rest of the semester.  Anyone know a good art sub in Northwest Arkansas?  The kids are angels right around the should be a breeze.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

MRI Update

I had my MRI yesterday at the Breast Center in Fayetteville and got to see the images and receive results soon afterwards.  I was right.  I really like being right about just about anything...except this time.  In comparing the previous scans from 10 weeks ago to the current scans, my tumor has, indeed, grown...a lot.  This is after three grueling rounds of chemotherapy.  This, according the doctors, is NOT supposed to happen.

Dr. Grear, the radiologist who went over the results with me, said that in the vast majority of cases the tumor would have gotten much smaller, often disappearing entirely.  She kept apologizing and just seemed flabbergasted at what was on the screen before us.  I was too.  My case is very rare...maybe 1-2% of the time this happens.  I like being rare and unusual, but not this time.  By golly, why couldn't I just be plain ol' average.  Let me be wrong and average.  That sounds pretty good right now.

She wasn't certain of the next step, but quickly made an appointment with Dr. Cross, my breast oncologist.  I'll see him next Tuesday and find out where we go from here.  Dr. Grear did say, obviously, that the chemo is not working, so that will stop.  Her guess was that they'd want to just go ahead with surgery.  That's fine with me.  I want this thing GONE!

On the positive side, the nodes still appear to be clear.  Even so, there could be microscopic cells that don't show on an MRI.  We won't know for sure until they actually remove the sentinel node and check.  We need to be praying for clear lymph nodes.  If they are clear, then the fact that this chemo is not working will not be quite so devastating.  One of the main reasons for chemo is to make sure and kill any stray cancer cells anywhere in my body.  It "cleans the blood", as I've been told.  The sentinel node is the first place the cancer would appear outside of my breast, so if it's clear, then that's a very good thing.  If not, then I don't know.

Another positive...maybe I'm finished with chemo.  The thought of that really does make me feel better.  I hate chemo.

Emotionally, this was a tough week for me, but I woke up feeling considerably better and much more optimistic today.  It's hard discovering, after spending so many weeks thinking I was kicking cancer's butt, that it is still thriving and growing like something evil inside of it, unlike me, was actually thriving on the chemo.  That knocked me for a negative loop...but I'm better now.

Like I already said, I'll find out more on Tuesday.  I'll update this as soon as I know.  Thanks for all the good wishes, wonderful and encouraging words, thoughtful prayers, and love.  I am blessed so much each time I read a response, email, text or card from so many of you.  I am terrible at responding and have been horrible at thank you notes.  Don't think your encouragement hasn't made a difference in my life, though.  It most certainly has!  God bless you for your kindness and love.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good, Bad, and Pathetic

Have you ever been sick and couldn't remember what it was like to be well?  Or perhaps the reverse of that...healthy and not able to remember how it feels to be ill.  I do that all the time.  When I am feeling good (the majority of my life), I honestly cannot recall the feelings I had with the flu or stomach virus or whatever.  I know it was bad, but I really can't remember the way it felt.  On the other hand, when I have the flu, I feel as if that's the way I'll feel for the rest of my life.  Healthy and energetic people become a mystery to me.

This week has been like that in more ways than one.  Was it just last week that I had the energy to take my favorite four legged girl, Cleo, for brisk moonlit walks?  This was after teaching all day, stopping to visit my dad, going to the grocery store, doing a bit of laundry, cleaning a bathtub (or whatever), and cooking dinner.  This week those tasks seem unreachable.  All except the teaching part...I'm making that happen.

It seems chemo has a somewhat residual effect, in that I am weaker and slower to get back to normal following each round.  Yuck and blech.  That's how the physical has been going this week.  I know I'll feel good in a few days, but a part of me can't imagine it.  When I'm feeling good (like last week) I'm pretty sure the sick chemo feeling is not really that bad...surely I'll be able to deal with life after chemo in a mostly normal fashion.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now I am finding that my lack of memory for feeling also applies to my emotional side.  For the most part, I've been pretty darn upbeat during this whole cancer episode.  There have been times that I've actually enjoyed the experiences and have often given thanks for the same.  I've wondered at my thick skinned demeanor.  Was I normal?  Why have I not been breaking down on occasion?  Yet, in the back of my mind I knew that toughness could not last.  This week has proven that correct.  I have been a pathetic and erratic basket case.  

I attribute much of this to the weakness I have felt following last week's chemo treatment.  Pathetic is the perfect word for poor, pitiful me.  Pathetic.  (This is best said with rolling eyes and a slowly shaking head.)  My emotions have been floating right at the surface.  I've reached the point of wanting to avoid conversation with anyone older than 12, and have even become somewhat apprehesive when reading email at work.  A kind word or comment can suddenly set me off, and I keep forgetting to wear waterproof mascara.

I know the after effects of chemo has a great deal to do with this overabundance of emotion.  But it also has to do with the fact that I'm feeling a bit like it's July again and I am back at square one.  Why is that?  Well, from what I am seeing and can feel, my tumor is larger than ever. This is not what was promised.  With my type of breast cancer (ER/PR Positive, HER Negative) the regimen of chemo I am on should be knocking it.  Originally we were told there could be a change within 10 days.  It's been 6 weeks and the only change I've noticed is that this tumor seems to love the chemo.  So tomorrow morning I go for another MRI to determine what is going on inside of me.  I thought the worst part of this whole ordeal was early on when I didn't know how bad things were, what to expect, or what could be done about it.  Deja vu all over again.

Of course, I ask for your prayers concerning this.  I know whatever they determine, I will be able to beat it, but dark thoughts and fear do tend to creep in, so please help pray those negatives away.  I need peace of mind...lightness, not dark.  I do not want to give room to negatives and worry.  That is not who I am.

If you are one of those who witnessed a blubbering breakdown from me this week, thanks for the hugs and love and understanding.  I really don't mind you seeing me like that, it's just not ideal right before teaching an elementary art class.  Love to you all, my dear friends and fellow teachers.  What would I do without you?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nothing Super About This Woman

Again, two weeks have passed since my last blog post.  Am I on the way to being a failed blogger?  Truly, that's not the plan.  Life interrupts, however. 

People keep telling me I am superwoman.  Yikes!  I do not think so.  If I were superwoman I would not be two weeks behind on this blog.  I would also be keeping up with the countless thank you notes that have been haunting me, taking better care of my dad, presenting at our fall art conference, teaching amazing art lessons to my amazing students, keeping my house and car clean, and not becoming completely worthless on the days following chemo.  I am not superwoman on my best days, so for friends to think I am superwoman on my worst days is true benevolence, possibly brought on by pity.  

I think the hero concept can be one of those things where people proclaim someone a hero when that person, not by their own choice, is only doing what anyone else would do if they were in the same situation...but God forbid those other people ever have to be there.  There are people everywhere doing just what I am doing, many doing it much better.  I see these people every three weeks in the chemo room at Highland's Oncology.

But that is not going to stop me from making excuses. 

As usual, once my school year begins, everything else just stops.  I don't know why I thought having cancer would change that.  There are a few things that have changed, though.  I'm not staying at school until dark this year (except for last week),  I'm not going to school on the weekends (except on chemo weekends when, with David's help, I move supplies from one school to the other for my Monday sub), I'm not presenting at, nor am I even attending our annual state fall art conference, and I'm not planning all out high energy art lessons with my students.  We are having a laid back year in the art room.  Thankfully, art concepts and elements may be taught equally well in a complex or simple way, depending.  This year it's all about simple...less is more.  My students/customers are not complaining. God bless them all. 

Yet, with all of these cutbacks, I still go home exhausted each day.  However, the exhaustion this year seems different.  I am drained, and not only my body but my mind seem fried after 5:00.  I have to wonder how much of it is bad mental energy.  Cancer does that to a person.  I find myself longing for just one day when I do not have the cloud of cancer hanging over me.  In my sleep and dreams, I do not have cancer.  I have all of my hair, no port bump under my collarbone, no bad taste in my mouth, and no tumor.  I am just Patti...nothing more or less.  But upon waking, much like during other traumatic events in my life, reality hits and I slowly come to the comprehension that things are different.  What I have to continually remind myself of is that those other traumatic life events, though life changing and horrific, affected me in that way only temporarily.  Eventually I adjusted.  What I am going through right now is the same, a temporary, though unpleasant and unwanted, interruption. 

For the most part, my attitude about this whole episode in my life has been positive.  But I must admit that I continue to fight a number of dark thoughts.  These thoughts often materialize upon waking in the middle of the night.  Have you noticed?  Dark thoughts and darkness just seem to go together...or is that just me?  For the past few days I have been battling one especially dark thought.  It revolves around the fact that my tumor is not getting smaller, as promised.  In fact, from what I can tell, it seems larger.  So, yes, this does wake me with worry at night, among other times.  What I do know about cancer is that there are no promises.  As much as I really, really want to know exactly what the outcome of all of this will be, I have little real control over it.  I pray and call on God for healing daily, but I am not in control of this show.  However, I do know that God is always in control, and so, I lean on that knowledge for peace and strength.
My oncologist, Dr. Beck, wants to wait until the next round of chemo to decide what to do about this non-shrinking tumor, but I don't think I like that idea.  I will be calling my breast oncologist, Dr. Cross, in the morning.  I want to KNOW what is happening inside of me.  If it is growing when it should be shrinking, something needs to change.  If this chemo, that is making me weak for days on end, is not doing it's job, something needs to change.  Of course, this opens a whole new can of worms, and I don't know if my mind is quite ready to go there.

So, not meaning to be a downer, now you know where I am right now.  Not superwoman, but weak woman...insufficient woman...self-pity woman.  And sometimes scared woman. 

I continue to lean on my Lord, as He said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." And as Paul said,..."I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  (II Cor. 12:9)

The following is my current and ongoing goal, which is easier said than done...
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  (Phil. 4:6-7)

I am so thankful to have a real superhero in my life.