Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I felt like here, Sunshine on my Shoulders, hasn't been the right place for me to share my updates, thoughts and feelings. I know there are a lot of people who don't want to read about cancer or someone's journey through it. I understand and respect that. I probably would have been one of those persons prior to this. Hopefully, I'll still post occasionally here, but you can always find me over at the new blog.
But the writing has been therapeutic so I've been doing it in private. I have realized that I needed a better way to keep my family and friends updated on how I've been feeling and what I've been experiencing. This blog seemed like the obvious answer. There's even photos.
I did have a TUMBLR blog that I made public here a few posts back where I wrote about the journey up to my lumpectomy, but then I stopped writing there. This new blog has incorporated those posts and then has continued on from when I received the news that the cancer was invasive and that I would have to undergo chemotherapy.
You can find WALKING IN SUNSHINE at this address: http://walkingnsunshine.blogspot.com/
(notice there is no 'i' in 'in')
For those who aren't inclined to visit me over there, let me give you a quick update. I made it through the last three weeks after my first round of chemotherapy. I had some minor side effects that were manageable, but nothing severe. The hardest part was that my hair has started to fall out. I go in for round 2 today.
I have a lot to be thankful for and have so many blessings that God has given me and my family. If you have said one or many prayers for me... thank you. Words can not tell you how much I appreciate them and your friendship. You are one of those blessings =)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
After stopping in Boulder to have lunch with my son, Jake, I continued on up into the mountains where it looked like a winter wonderland. I love the mountains in the summer, when you can enjoy the greenery and the smell of the wood and sunshine. But early Spring showed off it's beauty and I felt blessed to have spent time watching the snow fall and the seeing the landscape covered in white.
The weekend consisted of fellowship with 18 amazing women as well as time spent by myself, replenishing my energy reserves. We laughed until we cried, and we cried until we laughed. We praised God in song and prayer. We ate and we shopped. We loved and felt loved. It was a wonderful weekend, and I came down from the mountain, under blue skies and mild temperatures, feeling refreshed and renewed.
To see what others did this weekend, visit Michelle at Six In The City.
Monday, April 19, 2010
We didn't know anyone here. Danielle was 2 and I was seven months pregnant with Jake. We wanted to move away from the hustle and bustle of living in southern California and Don was granted a transfer from the company he worked for. The Denver area seemed like a good place and it has been. It's been a wonderful place to raise a family.
There are so many memories encased in the last 20 years. Of course, there's been some hardships but it's mainly been good memories; watching our children grow into responsible and loving adults, being blessed with so many good friends, working in different areas of church ministry, living at the foot of and trips made into the great rocky mountains, the different jobs we've held, the two homes we've lived in, and the list can go on and on (and it does). It's been nice thinking back through the years and reflecting on the times that have made up the past two decades.
Home is where the heart is. Who would have guessed, 20 years ago, that we were driving into a place that would hold our heart so completely.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I know on a head level that God is good no matter what I'm going through, but it bothered me that I didn't know for sure that I could make that same statement with the same conviction had things turned out differently.
Well, God's giving me a chance to do just that.
I had an appointment with my oncologist Wednesday and received some surprising and hard news. It turns out that when the surgeon gave me the results to my tests, she used a small - but very important - word that I didn't pay enough attention to, and she didn't go into any detail about. That word was, "invasive."
My non-invasive cancer ended up being invasive with a protein (HER2) that is aggressive in promoting the growth of cancer cells in the body. This changes the original plan of only having to undergo radiation therapy as the final step to now having to undergo a few different tests (PET-scan, MRI, etc.) to make sure the cancer hasn't spread to another part of my body and then chemotherapy to kill off any cancer micro-cells that might be floating around, and then radiation therapy.
I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, but it vanished before my eyes. My journey dealing with cancer is not over yet and this leg is even more scarier than the first. It feels like what I've already gone through was a small bump in the road. This is a bigger bump and one that I don't want to deal with. BUT... I really don't have a choice, do I?
I do know one thing though... and I can say it with confidence and conviction... GOD IS GOOD!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Besides my family, I don't know if anyone is interested in reading what I've written. Most of the posts are short as they are just quick thoughts. If you do read it, I suggest that you go all the way back to the first post and read forward from there (it will make more sense that way.)
You can find my cancer blog by clicking here.
I started it out with this post...
CANCER - That ugly 6 letter word. That word I’ve feared for most (if not all) of my adult life. That word you never want to hear from your doctor. The word that was used today in giving me the results of my latest round of biopsies. Cancer.
I have been diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). Now starts a new journey, not just for me, but my family.
At the moment, I’m overwhelmed emotionally. I’m sad. I’m afraid. I know other emotions will follow. I want to have this place (this blog) to record my feelings, my thoughts, my progress, and my insights as I travel down this road.
I believe life is a journey. I’ve just encountered a bend to my road that I wasn’t expecting and one that I definitely didn’t want to have to negotiate - ever.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Did you miss me as much as I missed you? I don't mean just my regular readers/friends, but my beloved blog where I come to share and unload. I don't think so, because I missed you all very, very much.
My last post was March 8th - exactly a month ago. A lot has happened since that time. I was diagnosed with breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ), underwent surgery (a lumpectomy), and just received the results of the pathology tests. I can now say that most of my ordeal is over and I am cancer free.
I had a very small amount of micro-invasion (the cancer was mostly non-invasive) with margins less than 1 centimeter. They also took two lymph nodes to biopsy and they came back negative for showing any cancer.
You can imagine how happy I am, as well as my family and friends, from this news. But I have also gone through some painful, fearful, and questioning times. It's definitely been an interesting process. I decided to keep a private journal, writing about anything and everything that struck me during the past month. I've decided I'm going to make it public after I take out a post or two. I'll supply the link on Monday as well as re-posting a couple of my posts here.
It feels good to be back... in more ways than one.
Monday, March 8, 2010
For health reasons, I haven't felt like writing or visiting blogs. And for health reasons, I'm going to officially take a break from blogging. I don't know how long this break will be, but hopefully not too long. I just wanted to let anyone still reading my posts know that I didn't fall off the face of the earth or quit blogging altogether. I plan to be back, and with a renewed desire to write.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
As I reflect on these winter games, I realize there's another thing I enjoy about the Olympic event, and that's the sportsmanship of not just the athletes, but the countries themselves. It's a thing of beauty to watch the people of this world getting along with each other, even encouraging and lending support to each other. For two weeks, it feels like the world is a little smaller and much more friendlier.
It reminds me of Christmastime. For a short period of time each year, the world is a rosier place where people want to share their Christmas spirit with friends and strangers alike. But by January 1st, that Christmas good will has pretty well died out and becomes a mere memory. It's the same for the Olympic spirit. It's time is limited.
I'm guessing that most of us are looking forward to moving on from the late nights of non-stop Olympic coverage and on to our normal sleep patterns, but I, personally, am going to miss watching and feeling that Olympic spirit. And unlike Christmas, which comes around every year, we're going to have to wait two years before the Olympic flame is lit again. But when it is lit, it will burn brightly, and once again, we can bask in it's glow.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
three little (but powerful) words....
you have cancer
I am not one to live my life in fear, but if I had to name a real fear I have, and have had for a long time, I wouldn't even have to think about it. It would be the chance of having cancer.
So imagine where my mind went and what I've been living with for the last couple of weeks after being told that there was unusual calcification found on my last mammogram film. Actually, I ran the gamut of emotions. Not only fear, but worry, denial, and anxiety. But after the initial onslaught of negative emotions hit, and threatened to take over, I came to a place where I could rely on such emotions as peace and hope.
I was able to get to this place because of my trust in God and knowing He was there with me no matter what the outcome was (and is) to be. I learned a long time ago that worrying doesn't accomplish anything positive - only negative, so why worry over what may never happen and something I didn't have any control over. I also had a lot of prayers and support which was of great comfort to me.
I had a second [magnifying] mammogram and ultrasound done that determined I needed a biopsy. A biopsy was done and the results came back negative for cancer - yay God! But did show that I have something called Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia (ADH). In the next couple of weeks I will have to have an MRI and then a surgical procedure to remove the tissue that is affected.
I'm not looking forward to this but I am soooooo thankful that I'm dealing with this instead of cancer. And with God at my side, and holding my hand, I know I can get through anything.
Here's the piece of scripture that I've held on to through all of this....
"For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 NIV
Friday, February 19, 2010
This week's Aloha Friday question is...
Do you give up anything for Lent? If so, what are you giving up this year?
Some years I do and some years, I don't. This year, I am not giving up anything, but I will try to find special and new ways to draw closer to God in the next 40 days that lead up to Easter. My denomination doesn't practice Lent, but I do see the value in giving up something important as a sacrifice to remind us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us all.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
First, I have to list 10 things that make me happy. Then I get to pass the goodness and the award to other bloggers who make me happy.
Here is my list of happy things...
1. Starbuck's white chocolate mocha
2. Having both of my kids home from college at the same time.
3. Photo opportunities.
4. Sunday afternoon naps
5. Honey Bunches of Oats
6. The sun shining on my face
8. The beach
9. A good book
I'm passing this happiness on to the following bloggers:
Huckdoll, because, for some reason, it makes me happy to read about her self-realization journey. She questions herself and others and she finding out who she is and where she fits in her life and in this world. We are all on this journey, but Huckdoll writes with such openness and honesty, that not all find the courage to do. That makes me happy.
Mary, of Not Before 7, because she has a weekly meme called Tiny Talk Tuesday where she (and others) share the funny things her kids say. This always brings a smile to my face and leaves me in a happier mood. I like her serious writing just as much.
Sarah, of My Wonderful Life, because I enjoy her spunk and enthusiasm. I admire her commitment to her family and her country and her friendship makes me happy. Reading about her children also puts a smile on my face.
Maybe I should have included reading blogs in my list of 10, because so many of my blogging friends out there do make me happy. So, if I read your blog and leave comments, consider yourself awarded. I'd love to hear what makes you happy.
Friday, February 5, 2010
I'm going to take a question from one of my Random Dozen post yesterday...
If you could write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?
My answer was:
She lived, laughed, and loved.
To be honest, I have never given this much thought. I like this epitaph but I thought of it pretty quickly and I might come up with something better before something actually needs to be inscribed in stone =)
Aloha Friday can be found over at An Island Life.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
1. Do you use the labels various charities send you as “free gifts?”
I don't really get those any more, and I don't think I ever did because I didn't send money to the charity and would have felt guilty using their "free gift."
2. What is your favorite time of day (or night) for skywatching?
I love the clouds we get here in Colorado so any time of day is good, but I also love a good, deep-colored sunset. I'm not usually up for the sunrises.
3. What is the most adventurous you've ever been with trying a new food? (Keep it G-rated please)
I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food. I have a texture issue with my food. I did try sushi once and that didn't go well.
4. Have you ever heard a rock sing? (Trust me, there's a reason for this one!)
I don't know what the purpose is of this one, but no, I haven't.
5. If you could learn a language you don't presently speak, what would it be?
Sign language. I think that would be cool. I love watching people sign.
6. Al Capone's tombstone read, “My Jesus, Mercy.” If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
"She lived, laughed, and loved."
7. If you were a famous musician who was known by one name, like “Cher,” “Sting,” or “Jewel,” what would it be? It doesn’t have to be your first name, but it can be, if you’d like.
I don't know. I can't think of anything.
8. Have you ever been inordinately “into” a television show?
LOST and 24. I watched the first few seasons of 24 on DVD... one episode right after another. It was addicting, and we watched it as a family so there was a sense of intimacy to it. I've watched LOST since the very first episode, and enjoy the complexity of it.
9. When you sneeze, do you go big, or do you do that weird “heenh!” sound that makes people think you’re going to blow your brains out? Any other variation we should know about?
I think my sneezes are somewhere in the middle - not too big or small.
10. Do you still read an actual newspaper that you hold in your hands, or do you get your news elsewhere?
Nope, I don't read an actual newspaper. Get my news online or from the television.
11. Are you a good speller?
Yes, I am. Always have been. I wish everyone was a good speller because it kinda bugs me when words are misspelled.
12. At what time each day do you start thinking about lunch?
I guess around noon. Sometimes I don't eat until after 1:00.
Random Dozen is hosted by Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee.
Monday, February 1, 2010
So, when I read something today that reminded me that we are once again to this month on the calendar, I started thinking about what Black History Month really means to me. What should it mean to me? Although I think it's a good thing that we recognize the many contributions made by the black man or woman, why do we have to have a month to do that? Why aren't we doing that all year long?
And why do we single out the black heritage? Do we have a Native American month?, or a Hispanic month? Not that I know of. I'm thinking that black history is a part of American history. We shouldn't pigeon-hole all that is of the African-American people into just one month out of the entire year. Their history is every American's history. That's just my opinion.
Even though I have the above opinion, I went looking into some black history. I found the Bio site is featuring biographies on all kinds of black people, from activists to athletes to politicians to musicians. The History site also gives some interesting milestones and stories. I enjoy history - all kind of history - so I will spend some time reading these features this month.
I guess that's really the purpose of Black History month... education. And to that end, it's an important month that shouldn't go by without notice.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Last Saturday, we started our road trip to California. We traveled through the Rocky Mountains as it snowed, over the high desert of Utah which was blanketed with snow, and on into the bright sunshine of southern California. We listened to an audio book as we drove and the hours flew by. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.
We've spent some of our time visiting with family, but most of the time has been spent on or near the beach. There is something about the ocean, the waves, the beach that speaks to both Don's and my soul. It's home.
So you can imagine what a treat it was for Don to book us into a hotel right on the sand in a beautiful little beach city for two nights. It was our special way to celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. It's been so nice, so special. As I sit here typing this post, I can hear the waves crashing on the sand right underneath my balcony. I'm in heaven.
Tomorrow we leave and start our journey home. It's been such a nice week, and next week, when I'm up to my eyeballs in my everyday responsibilities and probably dealing with snow and ice, I'll reflect on the memories of this week and remember the warmth of the sun and the sound of the surf, and try to ignore it as it beckons me to return.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I don't know why I'm asking this question, but it just popped into my head and I'm going with it...
If you could take any class right now,
what would it be?
There are several I can think of, but if I can only pick one, it would be a photography class of some kind. Maybe one that teaches me more about how to use my camera, or one that takes me out and helps me become a better photographer of wildlife and nature. I love taking pictures. I look at professional photographer's work and wish I could be that good.
Aloha Friday is hosted each week by Kailani over at An Island Life.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The last night of camp, the girls in our youth group talked me into adopting one of these children for the youth group. We decided that part of the offerings we collect would go to the monthly fee. A few of us stood at the table, picking up one packet after another, trying to decide which child would be the one for us. After some discussion, we agreed on a little girl from Haiti.
Her name was Mirlandia. I think one of the reasons the girls liked her was because her name was easy to pronounce and remember, compared to some of the other ones. She was 6 years old and had these beautiful, haunting eyes that seemed to stare right into your heart. Her bio gave little information about her except that she liked going to school and help her mom with work around the house.
We would occasionally send Mirlandia notes and artwork from the group and she would in turn send us letters telling us more about herself and always thanking us for our prayers and being a part of her life. I always wondered what it would be like for her to live where she did. I also wondered what it would be like to meet her in person, knowing that really wouldn't ever happen.
I write this today because I can't help but think about Mirlandia and the tragedy that has struck her small island. To be honest, I haven't thought much about this young girl since I quit my job and we left that church, but I'm thinking a lot about her now. She would be nearly 16 years old now. What has the last 5-6 years looked like for her? What does she look like? Where was she when the quake(s) hit? Was she hurt? Is she alive? What does her life look like now?
I will never know the answers to these questions, but as I pray for the people and situation in Haiti, I include a special prayer for Mirlandia and her family. May they feel God's mercy and love during this time. Won't you join me in this prayer.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Outside my window... the sun is shining, but it's cold. There is still snow on the ground where the sun doesn't directly hit.
I am thinking... about my doctor's appointment tomorrow. I hate doctor's appointments.
I am thankful for... so much! One would be having both of my children home this last weekend.
I am wearing... jeans and a hoodie.
I am remembering... a little girl in Haiti that I helped sponsor 8 years ago. Where is she right now? Is she safe? Is she alive?
Also, that it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and remembering and reflecting on him and the messages he left for the people of this country and world.
I am going... to the movies with Danielle today (it's a school holiday). We're going to see The Lovely Bones.
I am currently reading... Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst
I am hoping... for a good report tomorrow from my doctor (on my diabetes).
I am praying... for my good friend's son, who is going through a hard time and is dealing with the consequences of his bad choices. Also, the people of Haiti. We can all be praying for this tragedy.
On my mind... An upcoming trip.
Noticing that... my house is very messy and needs to be picked up. A lot of that will happen when the kids leave today and take their stuff with them.
Pondering these words... "The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life." (Muhammad Ali)
From the kitchen... signs of Danielle's domestic endeavors. Cookies she made last night, and the dishes that didn't make it into the dishwasher.
Around the house... see above =)
One of my favorite things... taking pictures. My 365 Project can be found here.
From my picture journal...
I took this picture at the Stock Show parade last week. Since I wanted to get some good pictures, I was standing more in the street than maybe I should have been and this feisty longhorn felt like he didn't need to stay in line with his fellow bovines. From my camera lens, he slowly made his way straight towards me. All photos after this one came out blurry because as he was making his way toward me, I was moving backwards - toward safety. At what seemed like the last moment, a cowboy walking along sid,e herded him back to where he belonged. Let me just say... close up, those horns are long and scary.
The original Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
So it was a real treat for me to be able to enjoy a mild weather day watching cowboys and livestock walk the streets that are normally inhabited with cars and buses. The smiles and waves from children lining the streets warmed my heart even more than the 60+ degree reading on the thermometer.
Here's just a few pictures I took while enjoying the parade.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I've started many projects - blogging and otherwise - and failed at completing
Maybe it will be easier to take a picture every single day... for a year! Maybe not. I will soon find out, for I have challenged myself to do just that. I have joined the 365Project, which is a site that promotes and challenges you to take a picture every day for 365 days (that's a year!). I actually started this same challenge a year or so ago and didn't make it more than a couple of weeks.
But this time it's going to be different. Yes, I'm going to keep telling myself this as a self-motivator. All kidding aside, I am motivated. I love to take pictures. I like the fact that I'm posting my pictures on my own profile on a site where hundreds (probably thousands - I don't really know) of other people are posting their pictures. I enjoy browsing through some amazing photos and knowing that my photos might be viewed by others. I'm hoping this not only records my year in pictures, but improves my photography skills. It's a win-win.
The site is easy to use. You can follow other people and keep track of your favorite photos. You don't have to actually post every day if you want to or need to skip a day or so. The challenge is to take a picture every day - not post every day.
If you think this would be a fun challenge for you, check it out. My profile can be found here and I'll soon have some kind of graphic on my side bar that link to my profile. I'd love to have you stop by.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I saw the movie Precious this last week. Not a movie I would recommend to everyone due to the nature of the content, but I found it to be very powerful and moving. I'm sure there will be a couple of academy awards given out for this one.
I found myself tearing up a lot throughout the movie and cried at the very end. My heart breaks when I see or hear about a young person being abused in some way. It breaks to the point where I cannot stop the tears. That was the case while watching this movie.
Another situation where I can't control the tears is at the end of Extreme Makeover (Home Edition). It's when they all yell, "move that bus!" and the music swells, and the recipients of the new home are overcome with joy, that gets me every time.
So, my Aloha Friday question this week is...
What makes you cry every time?
Maybe it's a particular movie (for me, it's The Notebook) or show, or maybe a certain situation or experience. Share your crying moments.
Friday, January 1, 2010
I'll most likely be writing about my thoughts and reflections in the next couple of days. Some things are worth writing about and some things are worth keeping to myself. We'll see what ends up in a post.
One of the tasks I give myself at the end of each year is to comprise a list of my top 10 movies from the year. As I look back at my list (always kept on my sidebar), I realize once again what I kept thinking throughout the year... there weren't as many good movies this year as in previous years. Never the less, I was able to come up with 10. Actually, it was easy coming up with 10 because there weren't many good ones to choose from.
I saw a total of 47 movies this year (51 last year). A few of these movies were from 2008, but since I saw them in 2009, they're included here.
9. The Soloist
8. The Reader
6. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
5. Gran Torino
2. Slum Dog Millionaire
Here's to hoping we have some better movies in 2010.