Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Carman and I enjoyed spending time with our families. Our nieces and nephews are growing up so fast and they keep us laughing. My auntie Carol treated us to a plate full of my granny's famous sugar cookies, my father-in-law Dale made me laugh so hard when we were playing cards (he was having a hard time remembering the rules), and my sister-in-law Becky and I enjoyed singing ABBA songs to drive the men nuts and reminisced our Philippines trip by singing Bob Marley's 'No Woman No Cry'.

On Dec 11th I was having a really low day. I was crying out to Jesus in anguish and I didn't even know what to read in my Bible. I just prayed God would reveal himself to me and I stuck my thumb into my Bible. When I opened it, my thumb was directly on the words of 2Kings 6:16 - "Don't be afraid". I truly believe God provided me with this advice, and that it wasn't just a coincidence. When I start fearing I tell myself, God tells me not to be afraid.

The following week I was laying in the bathtub reading a Christmas book, and a part of the Christmas story really touched me. Mary was greatly troubled when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and he said to her "Don't be afraid". So, I have been trying to find all of the accounts in the Bible where God directly advises someone to not be afraid. I welcome your help! Please e-mail me any versus you know of that claim this. I know my Bible's concordance doesn't list all of the accounts.

We greatly appreciate your continued prayer support. On January 14th I have another CT scan and bone scan and on January 29th we get the results. We pray for complete healing from cancer, and direction for Dr. Joy for treatment.

May 2009 be a healthy and happy time for all of us!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Radiation Complete

Yesterday, Dec 8th, was my last radiation treatment. Last night Carman came home with Dino's pasta and wanted to celebrate. I of course was reluctant. It is hard to celebrate when you have cancer. But, my husband is always positive and pointed out the reasons to celebrate: I don't have any bone pain in my sternum, my skin made it through the treatment without any major burns or discomfort, and I am back home!

I came home to our home beautifully decorated for Christmas thanks to my friend Alvina and her daughter Karla. This year for Christmas all I want is peace and joy in my heart. I don't need 'Jane Seymore's Open Heart Pendent from Kay Jewelers' - every time their commercial comes on Carman teases me that it is what he is getting me for Christmas; nor do I want my focus to be on anything but the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If I focus on that, it makes the 'season' easier. Because of his birth, life, and death, he has given me the greatest gift.

So tonight, I invite you to raise your supper glass for me. Help me give thanks and celebrate that my radiation treatment is done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Radiation - Week 3 of 5

15 down, 10 t0 go!

My dad came down on Wednesday to take my mom and I to the Grand Canyon IMAX. During the film they showed white water rafting scenes; and I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I would love to have that experience. I have since researched the adventure, and find the 6-7 day trip of camping and maneuvering 60 rapids on to my 'Bucket List'.

Wednesday night I went to bible study. I really enjoy my time with these German seniors - they sure know their bible, which encourages me to strive to do the same.

Thursday was a busy day in that I got another monthly injection into my abdomen to try and shut down my ovaries, and I got to spend an hour talking to one of the Psychologist at the Cross Cancer Institute. It made me feel good to hear: "that is normal", "it is good to cry".

To be perfectly honest, the hardest thing I am dealing with is the threat of not being able to grow old with Carman. Pre-cancer we had that 'talk' of us wanting each other to re-marry, but now that it threatens me, it is so hard to consider the thought of Carman loving anybody but me. I want to be his only wife, I want to travel around the country in an RV in our golden years, I want to put his socks on when we get old. The thought of another woman having that privilege floods me with tears, and makes me want to vomit. Time is not forgiving. Would Carman forget the way I feel, the sound of my voice, my love for him, his love for me? Would his new life overshadow his life with me? And what is heaven really like? I know we get our new 'super bodies', and that we will recognize each other. So if we recognize each other, we must remember our earthly lives. So how would this all work in eternity? I know we won't get this answer until we are there, and that God is too loving to make our earthly problems problems in eternity, but it still makes it so hard for my simple-minded earthly head.

When I got home on Friday afternoon I was feeling so good I took Rudy for our regular walk. Saturday I was still feeling really good that I even had times where I felt normal. Sunday had me a bit more on the tired side, but I hope I can keep my energy level up and that fatigue doesn't become much of a problem.

I am reading the book of Job right now and I would like to share a verse:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

I pray: God, heal my body completely of cancer and let Carman and my love for each other continue to grow. Thank you for this radiation and hormone treatment plan, we have complete trust that it came from you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Radiation - Week 2 of 5

10 down, 15 to go!

Mom and I try and find things to do to pass the time, but it still moves too slowly for me. It is really hard being away from Carman and Rudy. Although the invention of Skype (talking via webcam) is wonderful, it can't hug you or hold your hand in the middle of the night. Or in Rudy's case, she can't provide me her endless kisses or cuddles.

Wednesday was quite a day in that I started myself on fire. I was making soup and the string on my hoodie hit the burner, then touched the side of my hoddie and burnt a hole through it. I was noticing smoke but I thought there was something on the burner. After checking the burner and seeing there was no smoke coming off it, I looked down and realized I was on fire. I first thought stop-drop-and roll, but I didn't think I had time so I slapped my side with my right hand. The flame came out and my t-shirt melted on to my hand. The burns on my hand wouldn't normally be a concern, but because it is on the same side of where my breast cancer was, my arm is a risk of lymphodema (permanent swelling of the arm). Just the week before I went to a lymphodema prevention course and they advised protecting the arm against burns and cuts! The situation could have been A LOT worse, and I am thankful the burns are healing up well.

Fatigue is setting in a bit. I found myself quite easily tired this weekend. My skin was still looking good of Friday, but today (Monday) I think some redness is setting in. I will take all of these side effects - the treatment benefits outweigh the risks!

Carman and I took it pretty easy on the weekend. I enjoyed cuddling with Rudy (we moved the mattress from our trailer into the basement for the winter). Carman put up the Christmas lights, we did a Costco trip, and took-in the new James Bond movie. And, Curtis and Taryn and the kids had us over for cedar-plank salmon on Saturday night.

Carman and I have felt so humbled by the gifts we have received, especially prayer support. My friend Linda stopped by Sunday night and said her mom in Newfoundland is praying for me. God's kingdom is so amazing, and I am overwhelmed when I hear people are praying for us.

A friend gave me a book called 'When Your Wold Falls Apart' by David Jeremiah. I wanted to share the poem the book opens with:

A Bend in the Road
Sometimes we come to life's crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And knows that it's only a bend -
The road will go on and get smoother
And after we've stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share the load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow.
You've just come to a bend in the road.

How I pray that this is only a bend, and not the end. God have mercy on me!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What Life Will Bring?

I was laying in bed last weekend and I was pondering the shutting down of my ovaries. We will never have a child together. As I said before, I believe God prepared me for this a long time ago, but it is still something very significant to digest. If this stupid disease takes me, I won't be able to leave anybody with my eyes or my stubby legs behind. I always had this fantasy that we would have children and Carman would cave in and let them take my last name. I am very proud to be an Odovichuc, and I like the uniqueness the name provides. Will I ever be healthy enough to be a candidate for adoption?

While all this was going through my head, God reminded me of sitting on a beach in the Philippines surrounded by little girls selling jewelry and their 'jewelry pimp'. Two of the girls were trying really hard to sell me jewelryand I wasn't budging. I just smiled at them and started reading my book. One of the girls sat behind me and started reading my book out loud - she was really good at reading and I just let her amuse me. After awhile more of the girls came and sat down and we just chatted (no more jewelery antics). Probably because the girls weren't working their 'pimp' came over too. We had quite an interesting conversation. I asked why the girls were selling jewelry and not at home or just out playing with their friends (it was a Saturday). He claimed that their families need the money and every dollar counts.

How does this memory fit into my future? I don't have clue. God just brought it to my mind. I don't want God to be done with me yet. Will he let me grow old and grey? What is your will for my life Lord?

Radiation - Week 1 of 5

6 down, 19 to go!

So far so good with the radiation. I am not feeling fatigued although I find I am yawning a bit more. My skin looks the same so far as well. The doctor did say that after the second week I should see how I am reacting. Physically I am actually feeling much better. Carman even commented tonight that I am able to get up with ease versus before. I was having a lot of pain in my shoulder blade (it felt like one large muscle knot). I still feel it a bit, but it isn't giving me the grief like before.

I have been walking around my new neighbourhood in Edmonton and found a bible study on Wednesday nights and public skating on Monday nights. I attended the bible study on Wednesday and really enjoyed myself. The other participants were all German speaking seniors! I was really neat to hear someone pray for me in German. There is no study this Wednesday, but the following Wednesday they are going to start the book of James (they just finished the book of Isaiah and the pastor recommended they move to the New Testament. One of the ladies asked me what book I would recommend, and I replied the book of James. She said is was one of her favorite books and the others determined it was the next book to study!).

My sister Tara was telling that her friend who is a grade 2 Catholic school teacher has prayed for me in her class. One of her students is an autistic boy who every once and awhile prays for me (especially on the days when his teacher doesn't). This just brought me to tears.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


On Thursday we met with Dr. Joy and started the Hormone injections. The hope is this once a month injection into my abodmen will be successful in shutting down my ovaries (to stop the production of estrogen). I probably won't start experiencing the side-effects for about 1 month, and they won't know if it is working for about 2 months. When we asked about chemo, Dr. Joy is advising us to start with Hormone Therapy - I may be a lucky one where the therapy is successful in treating the cancer. He always has chemo and herceptin in his backpocket if the hormones don't work. Disclaimer: I don't beleive in luck. If it is God's will for it to work it will, and if it is not, it won't - simple as that.

I am afraid my blog may be misleading. I have had freinds say "You are so strong". I am having a hard time dealing with cancer. I really liked me life, and I feel like it is totally upside down. I feel broken and plagued with dismay. I have been reading Psalm 40: 1-3 a lot. I know God hears my cry, and I am trying to patiently wait for him to lift me out of my slimy pit of mud and mire and place my feet on rock for a firm place to stand. I want God to put a new song in my mouth.

At a counselling session we were asked to each just open the Bible. I opened to Pslam 143:10-12 and Carman opened Isaiah 30:18-19. Our God is sooo good.

If you are praying for us, please pray:

- God would provide absolute healing with the radiaiton and hormones

- God would be compassionate with the treatment side effects

- The bone scan and CT scan in January would show no other infected areas, the specs in my lungs would be gone, and the bone fully repaired.

A lady from our church whom Carman and I both fully respect, sent us a card with this written inside:

God is too wise to be mistaken

God is too good to be unkind

So if you don't understand

If you don't see His plan

If you can't trace His hand

Trust His heart

I just love it. I have been praying God works in me so I can just fully trust his heart with all of this.

I honestly don't know how I would ever get through this if I didn't have Christ in my life. Let him into your life, trust me, you will NEVER regret it.

Carman and I feel so loved during this time. Thank you all for your support!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Radiation Booked

I start my 5 weeks of radiation treatment on October 30th. My daily treatment times vary, so I still not sure if I will have the option of sleeping in Red Deer on Sunday nights. I will get the full schedule when we are in Edmonton next week to see Dr. Joy on Oct 23rd. I greatly appreciate all of the offers for rides - I will call you when I get the full schedule to book my drivers. We are praying for Dr. Joy and his treatment plan - hormone therapy and chemo.

Coming to terms with having cancer is not easy. I have been fervently praying that God would stop any spreading of the cancer, provide complete healing, and give me peace, hope and joy daily. Prayer is working - I am feeling better emotionally (I've still got a long ways to go).

Last night I had some tears because I was telling Carman that I just want to put all my faith in God when it comes to my cancer treatment. I don't want my doctors to tell me survival rates or treatment success rates. I want to fully rely on God's plan for my life.

When I was out for my walk this morning I was telling God how much I want to be the one to put Carman's socks on when he gets old (he already struggles with this). I want us to grey together and enjoy seniors cruises to Alaska. How I long for God to grant me this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Yesterday my Radiation Oncologist called to advise me that he is recommending 5 weeks of treatment (25 sessions) to my sternum, right breast and lymph nodes - a very aggressive approach. This made me feel really good as the term "very aggressive" is how I approach many things in my life. Originally he was just going to treat the sternum, and this confused and frustrated Carman and I, but after discussing/consulting with his colleagues, they believe if they didn't treat the breast and nodes with the sternum, they may compromise future treatment options. Carman and I prayed each morning that God would have his hand in my treatment plan, and we see this advice as coming directly from him.

When I start is still unknown. If I don't hear from them after the long-weekend he advised me to call to get an update.

I also had a very good morning yesterday because I met with our pastor. He gave me some scripture to memorize and to lean/stand/kneel upon. They give me great comfort:

Psalm 40: 1-4
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned me and hear my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

Isaiah 43:2-3
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold your with my righteous right hand.

Becaue I am human I fear, but the more I turn to God, these fears can be taken away. I fear I will loose my sense of joy for life during this. I love to smile and laugh, and I don't want cancer to take my smile away. I fear I will loose hope and peace. My pastor assures me if I keep my eye and heart for Jesus, this can't happen. Jesus, my hope is in you alone.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I have to admit, since being upgraded to having Stage IV cancer (there is no stage V), the winds came right out of my sails. The tears just keep coming. I have to wrap my brain around that this is just a technical number for doctors to treat me, and it doesn't phase God one bit. He hasn't changed his plan for me just because it went from 3 to 4.

It is really hard for me to read "if anybody can beat this you can", "your strength is an inspiration". I am not strong on my own at all, the strength you see is from God alone.

When I first wake-up in the morning is my hardest part of the day. I always have tears and fears. I am so thankful for the day, yet I have a day of cancer. Carman has been awesome. We just lay in bed hold each other and pray -we have never done before. I am seeing how important this is in marriage, and I am disappointed in us that it has taken cancer to truly make God the centre of our marriage. This prayer time gives me peace and the strength for the day.

I have had some low times. I had a hissy fit laying in bed fisting the mattress begging God to heal and restore my body and spirit. I've been brought down to my knees in anguish in the kitchen, basement, and my office. I share this not to make you sorry or sad for me. God is doing great work in me, and this is part of the process. As you take this journey with me, ask yourself: how is God working in you? I would love to hear about it. I don't want the experience to be just one sided.

The Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Tankle, restored some hope for us. The location in my sternum that is diseased is not large, and is very treatable at this time. He encouraged us to look as my cancer as a chronic illness, like heart disease. Many people live long fulfilling lives with heart disease. He did say that I am a special case - I replied "I am a special gal". Most of his patients are twice my age and are reluctant of radiation treatment. The location of the cancer is also unique so he was not prepared to issue a treatment plan without consulting his colleagues and posting a notice for advice on the worldwide cancer site. He recommends an aggressive approach of about 4 weeks, but he said he didn't want to be a 'cowboy', hence the consult. The benefit of radiation is it can relieve the pain and discomfort and kill or contain the cancer. Please pray the treatment is successful in absolute healing for life. We still don't know when the treatment will start, but probably in a week or so.

While I get radiation I will be staying with Carman's aunt Rochelle and her husband Harold. They have a basement suite all ready for me and my mom. Rochelle and I shared some tears as she gave us the tour - we are so thankful we don't have to worry about where to stay and the cost accommodations or commuting.

This morning I also started the drug Tomoxifen. It is a hormonal agent used to treat breast cancer. It prevents or slows tumor growth by blocking the effects of estrogen to the body. It has some really pleasant side effects: Hot flushes, Nausea, Bone or Tumor Pain, Vaginal Dryness, and Mood Swings. Hello Menopause. I know I am full of prayer requests, but I pray my side effects are not horrible, and easily lived with. I will also start getting an injection soon to start shutting down my ovaries, so Menopause is inevitable. I pray it just all works to make me cancer free.

On the way home last night I was telling Carman that I think God was preparing the shutting down of my ovaries for a long time. My sister Kari reminded me when I was little, my sister Tara and I would have Toyota Girl contests (remember when they would jump at the end of the commercial and shout "Toyota") and during the contest I said something about adopting. I used to stay up and watch 60 Minutes or 20/20 even as a young teenager and watch documentaries about the 1 child policy in China and the massive amount of orphans in Romania. Loosing my ovaries doesn't bother me one iota (this is an authorized measurement). Carman too said he has no regrets of not having children. It will be interested to see how this all unfolds and if we ever become parents.

I know many of you want to help us. When my radiation starts I have asked if they can give me a late morning schedule which would allow me to come home Friday afternoon and leave Monday mornings. To allow Carman the opportunity to work as much as possible, we would greatly accept the offer of drivers on Mondays and Fridays. I know some of you have already offered so we will be in touch with you. The next request Carman doesn't know I am asking, but he is not that fond of house work. I am a bit of clean freak and relax better when my house is clean. If any of you are interested in helping with cleaning, I know Carman would love it, and I would greatly appreciate it when I come home on the weekends.

You can also help by mailing me your picture. I want to put pictures on the fridge in Edmonton like I do at home - just to remind myself I am not alone. Our address:
12 McCune Ave
Red Deer, AB
T4N 0H2

Lastly I share some bible verses. I have been writing them on recipe cards so I can quickly flip through them when they are greatly needed:

Lamentations 3:32
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

Psalm 112:7
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Haven't cracked open a bible in awhile? I am not trying to make you feel guilty - I was once like that too. Don't be as stubborn (that Ukrainian trait) and as slow of a learner as I was.

With Love,

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bad News

The cancer has spread to my sternum. There is also some small specks in my lung. We are in shock this afternoon and have very heavy hearts. We just want a break - some good news.

I will no longer start with chemotherapy. The first objective is to hit the sternum with radiation therapy, and to shut my ovaries down with drug therapy. We will learn more once we meet with the radiation oncologist - hopefully by the end of the week.

I pray:
God, I know you hear our prayers. And although they are not being answered the way we are praying, we know you are in control. Lord, please allow the radiation to kill the cancer in my sternum, allow the drugs to quickly shut down my ovaries, and remove the specks in my lungs. Give us hope and understanding in this time of no understanding, and bless me with a long quality of life with Carman. May you grant us this time together here on earth to glorify you. And if it is your will is to take me home early, please provide peace to those who love me.

Lord, I pray for my family and friends who do not know you. May they too accept Christ into their lives so they can be assured of eternal life - I want to see them in heaven.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Still Waiting

Yesterday (Sept 25) my sister-in-law Becky and I set our alarms for 6:30am to have my CT scan at 7:45am. They give you a large plastic cup (about 1L) full of water and some type of 'magic potion' to drink within 20 minutes. You have a choice of cold or luke warm and array of drink crystal flavors. Although I like the taste of cherry, I opted for a plain luke warm water mixture (thinking it would be the easiest to chug back if it was really disgusting). In true type A personalty fashion, I chugged 'er back (using a straw) in probably less than 2 minutes.

Yes, Becky sat wide-eyed and said "you don't waste any time". I sure don't!

Later in the day I went for chemo training. The room was full (probably about 30 people). The training actually made me feel a bit less overwhelmed. They provided a lot of resources and advised the majority of people get through it pretty well. My goal: get it in, get it out! Fluids, Fluids, Fluids and Fiber, Fiber, Fiber.

Earlier this year I opened up the Yellowpages in search of acupuncture treatment. I chose Andrea by her ad, and I am sure glad I have her in my life. She is going to help keep my liver functioning well and to help with any side-effects I may experience from chemo. I pray I one of 'those' who gets through chemo with relative ease.

Today we met with Dr. Joy. We were very disappointed that he did not have my bone scan results or my blood tests. While we spoke he had his staff call the Red Deer Imaging Centre and had the report sent over. Unfortunately, they reported a small area on my sternum, but the good news is it preliminary advised that the area is not consistent with malignant cancer. Dr. Joy needs to review the actual images, and have the team of doctors determine if it is cancer, and if not, what is it? The first glance at the CT scan showed nothing, but they will look closer at this particular area. He is calling me Monday.

Please pray with us that this area of concern is NOT CANCER!!!!!

The pain I was feeling in my chest and back is down considerably, but I am still having discomfort. I am giving Praise to God for taking away the pain. Dr. Joy advised nothing showed up on my back so the pain must be muscle related. Dr. Joy gave me permission to load-up on 'drugs' and try and get this sorted out before chemo starts. Yeah, I can take Advil again!!!

A guy I met down at the dog park years ago came to our house to take some pictures of me. I had a goal of getting my website ( up and running by the end of the year, but quickly realized good photo ops will be slim for the next year with the 'baldness', so I had some pictures taken. I wanted to post one of the pictures Tim took so we can all remember what I REALLY look like. Should I be able to proceed with the chemo protocol for breast cancer (that it hasn't spread to the bone), one of the drugs will strip me of all body hair. I will look like the female Michelin Man. Just remember, these drugs can eradicate cancer from my body. I am choosing health over hair. Not having to shave my legs kind of sounds like a good thing to me!!

Your support means so much to Carman and I. This process has been so much easier due to your prayer support. We feel the hand of the Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bone Scan - Sept 23/08

This morning I had my bone scan. I first arrived at 8:30am to have something radioactive injected into my hand. I guess I should share with you that my right arm is now off limits from needles and pressure cuffs for life. Unfortunately, my right arm was much better at providing an injectible vein than my left arm. Chemo should prove to be interesting - I may have to get a port surgically implanted to elevate them digging around with a needle.

At 11am I returned for the actual scan. They lay you on a table which has a box less than 1m sq then scans the body from head to toe. I am known to have problems with chlosterphobia, so when I opened my eyes and saw I was confined, I had the urge to panic a bit. Then I prayed for peace and it came.

My friend Sharon e-mail me right before I left and advised me to bring a CD to listen to. Thanks for the advice! I brought my African Women's music and I daydreamed I was backpacking in Africa with Carman.

Last night I was in chest and back pain. I got very overwhelmed and had a down moment. I cancelled going to my women's group because I was in pain, and I just couldn't face the topic we are discussing - Eternity. I have been know to say I am looking forward to death. One day in heaven is more glorious than a thousand elsewhere - who wouldn't want to go there. But when you are faced with a potentially life threatening illness, Eternity is a much more emotional subject. Today I am feeling much better emotionally and mentally.

I feel optomistic in God's plan for my life. He is way better at planning and the details than I could ever be, and I am certain his plan is even better than anything than I could ever dream of.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cross Cancer Institute

Yesterday and today we were at the Cross. The pathology report came back that the tumor was 2.7cm and estrogen, progesterone and HER2 positive. They removed 15 nodes and 6 of them were cancerous. In a nutshell, my cancer is very aggressive and fueled by hormones. It was a very emotional couple of days for Carman and I. If the cancer has not attacked my bones, my treatment schedule will be 6 treatments of chemo (1 day every 3 weeks). After chemo I would then have 5-6 weeks of radiation which is every weekday. Six months of Hercpetion by IV will continue for 6 months after the chemo (this to to fight the HER2) and five years of Tomoxifen. They would like to see Chemo start on Sept 29th. I have been given the chance to enter into a study. Carman and I are interested, but we need to weigh out this opportunity. There is only a 50% chance I would have the drug they are testing. We both however like the idea of getting the chemo in Red Deer. It would allow us to maintain a better sense or normalcy (which is changing fast enough).

If the cancer has gotten into my bones, than a totally different treatment plan would be devised. If I just have breast cancer than I have a chance at a cure. If it has spread to my bones than it is treatment for survival.

I am concerned it may have reached my bones. It was back and chest pains that caused me to find the lump. PLEASE pray the bone scan on Tuesday does not show anything and that this pain is strictly muscular. I also have a CT scan on Thursday to check for spreading.

To be perfectly honest, I am not afraid of dieing, I am more afraid of not being able to live a quality life. By inviting Christ into my life I know I have eternal life in a glorious place. I pray God grants me a long life here on earth with Carman - I want to grow old with him.

It gives us great comfort knowing we have such great prayer support.

My Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me the blessing of healing. Lord protect my bones and internal organs and provide a cancer free bone scan. Give me the strength to endure the chemo and radiation, and use this technology to free me from cancer. You are my ultimate physician and I place my body in your hands. You are faithful and sovereign and have a plan for my life. May I never forget in this battle set before me that you love me greater than any other, and that you hear my prayers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Church this Sunday - Sept 14th

At CrossRoads Church this Sunday, we've asked our pastor to pray with us after the first service right at the front of the church. We invite our CrossRoads family to join in this prayer time with us. For those of you who do not attend CrossRoads, or have always wanted to come and check it out, we invite you to join us. The service starts at 9am and usually an hour and a half.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sept 11/08 Update - Good News!

Yesterday I had an ultrasound of the internal organs in my abdomen. Everything came back good! My friend Julie and I celebrated over Wendy's.

This morning I was happy because my drainage was down! As soon as the clock struck 8am I left a message to see if someone could come and get him out. Peggy and the nursing student Tiffany tried and tried but were unsuccessful at coaxing him. They called for back-up, and Susan came at 2:30pm. She was surprised they had any trouble - she shared that she has really had to tug on some. His tail was about 4 inches (which grosses me out for some reason).

Nurse Carman has been awesome at cleaning and changing my dressing. The nurse even commented that she thought he did a better job than they did.

Carman was asking me what I wanted to do when I healed from surgery. In no particular order: go fall camping, ride on the motorcycle, take a long hot bath (which I can't do until the steri-strips are off), and walk Rudy (I miss this very much). He added 'lovin' to the list - oh, that's a given!

Thank you all for your support!!! We are patiently waiting to see the surgeon again on Wednesday, Sept 17th for the pathology report. We are praying that the cancer had not affected the nodes they dissected.

My sister in-law Becky was telling me about an African Movie - Faith Like Potatoes. I need to watch it because I am already quoting this saying "Faith Like Potatoes". I know it sounds weird, but just Google this saying and you too will be inspired.

I was also inspired on Saturday night. I caught just the end of the tribute on Ruth Graham (late wife of Evangelist Billy Graham). I am looking forward to reading more about her!

Lastly, in preparation for radiation treatment, I am on the look-out for Aloe Vera plants. For those of you who live in Red Deer, if you ever see any, please let me know where I can get some.

Tim & Alvina Burns gave me a card which quoted Philippians 4:6-7. This verse is deeply speaking to me.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Mr. Drain and I have been getting along pretty well. I still haven't looked under my arm, and I don't think I will until after 'he's' out. My range of motion in my arm is really good considering - I even was able to blow dry my hair this morning.

I am trying not to let my mind think too far ahead. I am notorious of doing this, so I am sure this is one of the main lessons I am being taught. I am praying the pathology report comes back that the surgeon removed everything that she should have, and that the nodes were not affected.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Surgery - Sept 3/08

I felt such a sense of peace today. I know my Heavenly Father hears ours prayers and is with us. My mom and dad met us at the front door at the hospital and my sister Tara showed up shortly after with a bag full goodies: hand sanitizer (all of the scents available), a magazine, doggie bags for Rudy... And of course Diet Coke for herself.
Carman and my dad took Rudy to the dog park and dropped her off at Carman's sister's place during my 2 hour pre-surgery wait.
My ability to take instruction has been challenging - I couldn't remember which way she said to wear the gown and if I could keep my undies on - I got it wrong and they sent me back to switch my gown and put my undies back on (yeah!).
They came to get me for surgery early so Carman and my dad couldn't see me off, but I had already given them hugs and kisses and I knew they would be back when I woke up. They estimated the surgery would be 2-3hours.
I struck up a conversation with the orderly about great places to eat in Banff. We both shared a passion for great food - it helped pass the time as he took me to pre-op.
The Anasteziologist advised me her intern would be prepping me surgery - I wanted to test him and asked him about insuring I get the correct doses of medication, that there was no way they could accidentally give me sulfa drugs, and to be aware that I was born with a slight heart murmur. He answered all of my questions with ease and I felt very comfortable as I entered the OR. The nurses asked me some basic questions: what my name was, what surgery I was getting, who my doctor was, and which side they were operating on.
I woke up and the surgery was over. The first thing that came to my mind was how much I love camping! I think I even said out loud " Man, I love to camp!"
As soon as I came back to the unit I heard Carman say "hi honey" and it felt great!
My sister Jodi came up to visit and gave me a soft blue blanket and my sister Kari and husband Randy and Alex and Rykan came up with a goodie bag which Alex wrapped herself. They gave me Lance Armstrong's book, Chicken Soup for Breast Cancer, a cute little Bunny which says a prayer, a HUG children's book, a row of Soda Cracker (which ending being the best gift ever!), and a All Bran Bar.
I wasn't a very good visitor because I couldn't keep my eyes open but I enjoyed listening to the conversation around me.
My nurse until midnight was really great. She was from Austria and we had a nice chat about traveling in Europe (which I am going to do some day). My late-night nurse was a cute older lady that kept the drugs coming. My morning nurse wasn't as nice but I only had her for a short period of time.
The surgeon's intern advised me the surgery went well and that they took some nodes from under the arm (that is why I have a drain under my armpit). I didn't think my surgeon was going to see me, but right before we left she showed up and advised us that the surgery went well and the reason the lump under my arm was so big was because there was 2-3 nodes lumped together. She thought they would probably come back as cancerous (we are praying that they are not), but wanted to assure me not to worry. I see her again in 2 weeks to go over the pathology report.
By noon I was back at home in my own bed and feeling really good. My mom and dad are staying with us until Friday so Carman can go back to work tomorrow. My friend Taryn was gracious by feeding us a great supper - thanks Taryn!
We so greatly appreciate all of your prayers and well wishes. We feel very encouraged that God can heal my body and put the required people in my path.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wed, Aug 27

The days are running together!
We stayed at Carman's sister's place the night before - we are on holidays and did not want to sit around home. We stop off in Beaumont to see our friends Kelly and Josh. I have known Kelly since grade 7 and she shares that she now has someone to run for during the Run for the Cure. We went to Chapters because I wanted to buy Dr. Marla Shapiro's book - they were out so I about another book instead. I read a good chunk of it before I went to sleep and I am encouraged as the author was 35 when she was diagnosed.
We get the call that they want to see me at 1pm vs 4pm. Okay, I know that only God could provided the timeline to date so far - this type of expediency is not the norm.
The surgeon is really nice and goes over the pros and cons of a lumpectomy versus a Mastectomy. Carman and I talk, and choose the lumpectomy. The statistics are not that much different, and I can still look the same in my clothes and have cleavage (not that I've got much in the first place). I was totally prepared to loose my breast and get reconstruction, but if we can save it, why not!
She also advises us she is having the OR schedule bumped so I can have surgery on Tuesday -once again thanks GOD!
Oh, she's pretty sure the cancer has spread into my lymph nodes and may have to remove some during surgery.
I am more grossed out about having a drain out of my body than loosing 1/4 of my breast. I know, I need to get realistic and prioritize differently. But really, a drain coming out of my body. Carman thinks we should name in Drippy, Drainy, or Stinky. It better not stink!

Tues, Aug 26/08

We decided to keep our plans and run away to Radium on our bike. The clinic was advised to call us when the get the results (and we will turn around and come home). We make it to Rocky Mountain House when we get the call - can you come in ASAP?
Is it good or bad news????
To be honest, in my heart I knew it was bad news. Carman is Mr. Positive all of the time, and I was trying to be a member of his elite club, and I did not want to be a member of Bud Kelly's Pessimistic club, but I just knew it in my heart that I had cancer.
"Brenda, I am afraid I have bad news" says the doctor. You have Cancer.
They had already booked an appointment and we are to be in Edmonton tomorrow to meet the surgeon.
Carman and I walk out of the clinic still in shock, hug each other and look into each other's eyes - WE CAN DO THIS!

Fri, Aug 22/08

"You'll just feel a prick and we will put that area to sleep".
That area is my 'boob'. I have never been much of a 'boob' gal. I have joked with my sister Jodi that we should do a transplant surgery (she is the only one of us four who got a 'rack') -tee hee!
The first core they take kind of burns, but it isn't painful.
To help keep my mind off of what is going on I decide to be 'Miss. Chatty' about the book, The Shack. I had just finished it and was very inspired.
"Allow 3-5 business days for the results".

Tuesday, Aug 19/08

I get the call - the biopsy is not until Sept 12th.
I am teasing Carman that I will go into Cardiac Arrest if I have to wait that long. This amount of stress is not good for the heart.
I look online at private options and call the Cross Cancer Institute the next day. They can get me in prior to the end of the month if I am deemed 'extremely urgent'.
I call my clinic and ask if they can inquire if I am 'extremely urgent'.
Just a few hours later my clinic calls - my biopsy is this Friday in Red Deer.

Have I mentioned I am praying like I have never prayed before. Note to self: don't wait for my life to be this 'traumatic' to have this longing for so much prayer.

I know there are so many people and churches praying for me - THANK YOU!!! I know I have many brothers and sisters in-Christ praying who care about me.

Mon, Aug 18/08

Several weeks ago I had an appointment booked with my doctor regarding completing the paperwork for reapplying for Critical Illness Insurance. (Up until now I had been seeing his associate). Yes, I am trying to reapply for Critical Illness insurance and I get the news that I might have a Critical Illness.
I keep the appointment because I want to see my doctor. He too advises me to prepare for bad news and gives me some hope that the results could come back benign.
Just in case, he puts in a referral to a surgeon in Edmonton who has a good reputation. He also gets his assistant on the phone to put the pressure on getting the biopsy scheduled.

The stress level is at about an 8.5 about and my emotions are all over the board. What if I have cancer? What the heck am I going to do? I don't want to go through this!

Friday, Aug 15/08

"Brenda, can you please come in to the clinic for the doctor to review your test results".
Sure, but I am thinking what are they going to tell me that I don't already know?
"Brenda, we need you to start preparing for bad news". "It could come back benign, but from the report it does not look good - it could be cancer". CANCER???
"We will schedule a biopsy and we want you to get a chest x-ray and a full blood panel".
I call Carman crying and he comes right home. He takes me for the chest x-ray and blood test and because I am a 'good girl' I get a chocolate milk shake. I think to myself, it not the not so far future I probably won't be able to stomach chocolate milkshakes.
My friends Bud and Rhonda give me a great bouquet of orange flowers (they always comment on how I am trying to eat more orange as advised by accupunturist).
More tears - I can't beleive this is happening!

Thurs, Aug 14/08

"Show me where the lump is"
"Hang tight, I am going to get the Radiologist to take a look"
"We already have you booked for a Mammogram so we are going to go ahead with that"
"We found a suspicious mass - you are going to need a biopsy"

Don't cry, come-on be strong - too late.

Monday, Aug 11/08

3am - The pain wakes me up. This is not good! I can barely get myself out of bed to get my 'drugs' in the bathroom. Now, how do I get myself back into bed with this pain?
I am laying there - where is all of the pain coming from? Even my chest wall hurts now. I poke around and it hurts just about everywhere. Running my fingers down my sternum I feel it - a breast lump!
Okay, I have a lump. But I am in so much pain. "Carman, I think we need to go to the ER."
A 3 hour wait and I get in. The ER doctor is awesome and he gives me something for the pain and sends me for an x-ray.
Side Story: My body does not like narcotics. Yes, I am laying on the floor in the observation room vomiting in a garbage can yelling (although not very loudly) "I think I need help". Needless to say I got more prompt attention from the doctor after this incident.
The ER doctor gives me something else for the pain and advises me he has already called my doctor and I should be there at 10am for them to look a the lump.
10am - They are concerned about the lump and schedule a ultrasound a mammogram stat!
I am not too worried. Hey, I'm only 31 and there is no breast cancer in the family. It is probably just a cyst. Cysts are known to cause the body a lot of pain - aren't they?

Thurs-Sun Aug 4-10/08

With our new trailer packed-up we are off to Rochon Sands (Buffalo Lake) for our friends, Kevin & Becky's wedding. That darn knot in my back is still bothering me, but I am ignoring it until I can see Dr. Luco on Tuesday.
Friday afternoon after the wedding I just need to take a break - my back is really staring to hurt. Maybe a glass of champagne and the steel drum band music will help loosen me up.
On our way home on Sunday I was so uncomfortable. I start to classify the uncomfortable feeling as 'pain' and head straight to bed . Sorry Carman, you are stuck unloading and cleaning up.
Nurse Carman heads to the drug store for some pain relief and I try and take my mind off of it by watching some Olympics.
Okay, so if I don't move or breath I am sort-of okay - is this what they call a back spasm???
Maybe a good night sleep will help. I'll take the maximum dose and see how I feel in the morning.

Sunday, Aug 3/08

"Come on, you're tough", my husband encourages me while I help move a heavy picnic table back to where we found it. Yes, I have been known to show-off how strong my 5foot nothing body really is. After successfully completing the relocation a knot had already formed in my back.

Note to self, call Dr. Luco (my chiropractor) when I get home.