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,