Thursday, July 29, 2010

Boobs......Why remove?

In March, 2002 my diagnosis with breast cancer came at a time that I was unprepared to give it much thought. I was tired from the previous year and the few months prior to my diagnosis were devastating to our family. Any decisions that were made were made based on few facts and no real thoughts.

I was given the option of having a lumpectomy with radiation as well as chemo or a mastectomy with chemo. I was advised that there were really no differences in the percentages of outcome. I gave it no thought whatsoever. I pointed to the lumpectomy on his piece of paper and gave it no further thought at the time. Some of my friends were wondering why on earth I would not have my breast removed. I simply didn't see the need. I had enough on my plate at the time and that seemed like an unnecessary surgery. At that time - it was the right choice for me. I don't regret or second guess that decision.

Two years after my radiation I could feel some hard tissue in my breast area. I pointed the area out to my surgeon at my checkup and he could also feel the area. Went for a mammogram and ultrasound and there it was - an abnormal spot. AGAIN. Scheduled a biopsy and it was benign. It was necrosis. Tissue that had hardened due to radiation.

Another year passes by and there is yet another spot showing up on the mammogram and ultrasound. This time I decide against another biopsy. I felt it was the same exact thing and we would look at it again in a few months. What cancer survivor waits and watches a lump?????????????? That would be me! There really was never a change so I just didn't bother worrying about it. I was, after all, taking Tamoxifen and getting boob exams every three months.

During this same time period my dear friends breast cancer returned and her battle for life began. I prayed with and for her and watched her fight the battle to the very end. She never wanted to give up. That proved to be a very difficult thing to swallow. I was seeing more and more women having a recurrence. These same women were diagnosed at the same time or around the time I was diagnosed.

I did lots and lots of research through the years after my initial diagnosis and just felt that I had more options. I thought that at my five year mark things would be different. I thought all of my concerns would be laid to rest. That was not the case. I just had the nagging feeling that I could still do more.

I started researching and reading and connecting with women that had bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction. I made up my mind and knew what I wanted to do. My breast cancer was highly positive for estrogen and progesterone. I had taken shots for 5 years to keep my ovaries shut down but low and behold those suckers were resilient. They were still putting off hormones. So, they were expendable as well. I had no need for ovaries or boobs. My mind was made up.

I went in for my quarterly check up and told my Oncologist that it was time to go drastic. I wanted a bilateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction and bilateral oopherectomy at the same time. He never blinked an eye - simply said "I agree". It was decided and I was ready.

I made a phone call and was put in good hands with a group in Atlanta. My first consult in Mississippi left me rather frustrated. No groups in my area or proximity would even consider doing the entire surgery. So - I hauled off to Atlanta and they fully understood. They told me to pick the day and go for it. It was almost too easy.

I planned the procedure around my work and family as I had done every other procedure or chemo. I was blessed to have an awesome friend to live there and agree to take me in as her patient for a week. (I sure do love that lady). So in early June, 2008 I had the whole thing. One surgeon removed both breasts. (simple mastectomy) Another surgeon began removing stomach tissue to create my new boobies! He also removed abdominal muscle to place in my breasts in order to have blood flow. After he removed the muscle another surgeon stepped in and removed my ovaries and tubes. The plastic surgeon then completed the remainder of the procedure. I left the hospital three days later with six or eight drains (I can't remember now) and a new set of boobs.

This was not an easy procedure to bounce back from. Six weeks was needed to feel good again. But I would do that all over again tomorrow to have the peace of mind that I have. It is a good feeling to realize that you don't have to feel around on those boobs and wonder when the beast will return.

There is nothing that gives a 100% guarantee. But there were options and I took advantage of them. The choice I made gave me freedom from fear. I know that it can still return. I know that I can have another kind of cancer. I also know that I can have a heart attack or a stroke or a car wreck. I can lay my head on my pillow at night and know that I did everything that I could to prevent it. The rest is in God's hands. He is my strength and my comfort. In Him is my trust. He gave me a peace about the procedure. I didn't feel it was a lack of faith in Him. I just felt that I needed to let go of the breast cancer and that was how I did it.

I posted earlier this year that my cancerversary passed and I didn't realize it. That is a good feeling. I no longer hate my boobs. I love them - scars and all! Heck I have scars everywhere these days - but they tell a story. They are part of who I am. I am a survivor.

I love you guys.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfect Parenting? No Way

Far from perfect parenting.

At our less than perfect home – the parents have been known to blow their cool when pressed over and over again;

and known to forget that school dismisses at 1:00 and get the message at 2:30 that my child is still hanging out in the school office;

and known to completely forget about a school program that I had all intentions of enjoying;

and known to get my dander up pretty high when I find that a bed has been used for an all purpose clean sweep. Pulling the same bed into the hallway so as to expose the clutter speaks volumes to two young girls when they come in from school;

I am the kind of mom known to march across the street to a neighbor who mistreated my child (adult neighbor).

I am one of those bad mothers that allows her child to eat pop tarts for breakfast or any other item located in the snack basket. I’m sure there are some of the food pyramid foods in them. (surely)

I am that mom who forgets her camera at very important events;

and that mean mom who requires her male child to take a bath each night and brush his teeth. (and girls too - they are just old enough to know better)

I am that mom who allows her children to study on their own. A less than perfect grade is awesome if I don’t have to study all night. This mom does NOT like homework.

So glad we are not called to be perfect parents! So glad mine were not perfect.

30 Day Challenge - Week 1

Today began my 30 day challenge. Didn't manage to get everything planned but I knew how I would go about it so I have begun. I went shopping on Sunday to get all of my better food choices. We will be eating lots of fresh vegetables and very little take-out. I won't be learning any new tricks to eating or doing any quick fix diets. I have known for many many years how to eat. I do really well at that as long as we are in a season of stability. Our lives take on so many twists and turns that we get stuck in the rut of eating take out and never being home. We are of the sandwich generation and life is not usually about us. We know that this is where God wants us to be so we are not complaining. But - and this is a big But - we often (actually always) forget that we need to take care of our physical and spiritual well being in order to properly take care of others.

Last year I succeeded in conquering my addiction to Coke. (Coca cola classic with about two cups of sugar per can) I woke every morning craving an ice cold coke. I went to bed wanting one. So after many years of battling that addiction I finally made the swap to Diet drinks. Eighteen months later and that is one area I have not fallen off the wagon to.

My dear friend and I joined Weight Watchers last year and were keeping each other on track until summer hit. Our busy lives took us in different directions and Weight Watchers was not one of those directions. I managed to keep the weight down until late last year when we became part time parents to an infant. At 45 years old we just simply do what we can to get by on food. Exercise became a thing of the past and sleep was not to be had. We do not regret our roles in his life, but we have neglected ourselves in the process.

So - it's time to dust off the treadmill, grease the stepper and change the batteries in the Wii Fit board. Sad thing is that we have lots of fun as a family on that darn Wii board. A routine is needed and this next thirty days is going to be the time to start anew. Who knows - maybe one day I can take Owen shopping with me and he will ask if I need that small rather than "we know darn well you don't need a small!" Gotta love that honesty of a child.

So - now my plan is to eat properly as in lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and lower fat foods; drink water water water; exercise five days per week and get into God's Word daily. I have fallen behind in every area that is vital to my physical, spiritual and emotional well being and my body is telling me loudly.

I covet your prayers and encouragement through this next thirty days. Join me and let me know how you are doing. I would love to pray for you as well. I am much more motivated when held accountable.

Love you all,


Friday, July 23, 2010

Reunion and a New Beginning

There's a class reunion this weekend. It includes my class and many others. I've seen some write about losing weight. Some are planning "to be carried away". Some may or may not be there. There are those that are super excited to see everyone and those that simply don't care and won't show up. Many have previous plans and won't be able to attend and then there are those that are no longer with us. Lots of things have happened during those 28 years. We've lost classmates. I've witnessed hurting and pain that some have suffered. Some have watched one another's children grow up. Lots of variables surrounding the event. I personally am on the fence. Where does one fit into your graduating class after 28 years? Most relationships are lost. Few things remain as they were 28 years ago. We've all changed in some way or another. I've witnessed first hand on facebook how some have changed. I'm in awe of the talents of some of our classmates. We have musicians, artists, medical professionals, photographers, teachers, accountants, stay at home moms (I most certainly do recognize that as a career), and many I'm not even certain what they do. But we all grew up. We all made choices.

I'm reminded that God did not create each of us the same. He created each and every one of us in His image, but not identical. He did not gift each of us with the same talents and spiritual gifts. We are different yet He loves us the same. He has painted a beautiful picture that we are all a part of. We will greet one another and brag about our children (yes mine are the most beautiful and special one's created!)maybe about our cars (proud to be a minivan mom) or our jobs. We will all be in different aspects of life. Some are riding motorcyles, some are raising babies, some will be working more than one job while others are already retired. One thing is for certain there is a time for everthing. Ecc. 3:1
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.
Another promise is that God knew the plans and continues to the know the plans He has for us. Jer. 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So I will go to the reunion. I will see faces I won't be able to put names with. I'll remember names and think "no way" not them. I'll remember some days I would rather forget and days that I'm still thankful for. I'll just be me.

Leaving the reunion and heading on to a new adventure. We have a prospective Pastor coming this weekend. He has heard the call from God and our committee believes he is the man that God has prepared us for. What an exciting time in our church. We have been without a Senior Pastor for close to three years. Our church has been pruned, but we have most certainly persevered. God has seen us through this time and we look forward to serving beside Jeff and Dawn.

This weekend takes me back 28 years and forward to an undetermined time. Praising God for all things under heaven.

Love you all,


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

30 Day Challenge

Love a good challenge? I do - not that I'm really excited about it - but I really WANT to be so - I'm in.

Amber at has issued a 30 day challenge to put our physical well being a priority. When I started blogging it was partially in hopes that I would put myself out there to be accountable for healthier living. Well - now is the time. So - starting Monday I'll be putting my best foot forward (and lots more feet while pounding the pavement) to eat better and get some exercise in. Timing is great since our church now has a small gym for us to go and workout. I've contemplated as to what time will be best for me - so now is the time to figure it out and get busy.

No excuses. Anyone care to join me? You don't have to have a blog but if you do and want to link up to Amber's site then jump right over there and do so. Let's do this thing together shall we?

Love you all,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Entertaining Baby

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Our little guy is not so little and not so easy to hold these days. He is also not mobile YET. I know that he will be soon enough so I do not wish to rush things. He can navigate a small area enough to sweep the floor with his belly and put bits and pieces of dirt, trash and/or other things only a baby can find on your floor. So - it is a challenge to get things done when we are alone. He does not like for me to leave the room EVER. He will play fine as long as I'm sitting nearby. The head banging to the floor begins as soon as he realizes he's been left behind. I often set him in his bed or the play yard but I hate for him to think of those as punishments since they are for sleeping. So - I have had to come up with creative ways to get things done. And I mean the smallest of things. For now he thinks it's a pretty fun game. We'll see how long it lasts. And I do realize that this is certainly not new for most of you moms.

He loves loves loves to take a bath - so this will not always work since he was super happy thinking he was about to take a bath....

But I sure do think he's the cutest thing in the world sitting in baskets and tubs and it sure works for me! At least for now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Salsa Time

Three years ago we decided to try our hand at homemade salsa. We had an abundance of fresh tomatoes and jalapenos and wanted to make certain they did not go to waste.

Yum Yum was the result. My dear friend Stacy has her own Cookbook and had a recipe entitled "Rod's Hot Sauce." As always, I see a recipe and do some personal tweeking. The problem with my tweeking is that I usually NEVER write down the changes. This makes for a difficult time when it is time to try the recipe for the second time. This particular recipe has been tweeked three different summers and twice each summer. It seems that each and every batch we make comes out different in some way or another. This year was no exception to that fact. I am already planning to make more salsa this year and tweek this years version.

Different taste buds abound in our home. The one thing we all agree on is that none of us like bell pepper in our salsa. We like to stick with the onion and jalapeno peppers. And as is always the case I don't measure. But since my dear friend has a cook book and I know that I left out bell peppers - then I will give you the recipe as it is written. Now my son will not appreciate this post. He believes that our recipe should be a family secret. But I love it and want to share it with you!

Fresh Salsa a/k/a a version of Rod's Hot Sauce

1 gallon of fresh homegrown tomatoes
1 1/4 T garlic powder
3 cans tomato paste
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 large onions
10 large jalapeno peppers
3/4 cup vinegar
2 1/2 T cilantro
6 t. salt
7 quart canning jars

Tomatoes need to be peeled. Just in case you don't know how to do this the easiest way - I'll tell you. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Put tomatoes into the boiling water for a minute or two until you see the skin peeling and cracking. Remove and set aside to cool. Once you have done this with all of the tomatoes and you have scalded your hands trying to get them peeled immediately (as we do) then put them in your food processor to chop finely. UNLESS you like chunky salsa. Then simply put them in to a large stockpot and chop and mash them with a potato masher. I also chop the onions and jalapenos in the food processor in order to have "no chunk salsa". BUT once again if you like chunks then simply chop both finely as you can without a processor and add to the stockpot of tomatoes. Add in all other ingredients (and don't forget the salt as I did in the last batch) and bring to a boil stirring often for 15 minutes.

Pour salsa into jars and seal. Put the jars in a water bath and boil for 30-35 minutes in order to seal the jars. Remove and let cool. Makes 7 quarts.

Stock the pantry and enjoy all year long!

Friday, July 16, 2010



Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I love books. I love love love reading Christian fiction. I love authors like Karen Kingsbury and Beverly Lewis. I also love reading anything Beth Moore writes. This whole thing makes my mom laugh. During my school years she read lots and lots of books. Mostly books that I was supposed to be reading. Yep - I rarely read those books that I had to write a report on. I could get away with that as long as she could tell me all about it and I could write something relevant. There was only one teacher that called my bluff on that little method of laziness. Mr. Hathaway. Senior English or English IV whichever way you choose to refer to our last year of English in High School. That man loved books. I am relatively positive he read every book ever written. He was an awesome teacher and I loved him dearly. I even loved the fact that he required that I read a few books that year. I didn't like poor grades so I did what was required and I read my books. I would then stand before his desk and answer one or two relevant questions about the book - just enough to satisfy him that the book had actually been read by me! Voila - 100 was the grade. He did what other teachers never tried - he made certain that the student actually read the book. For you see - he only allowed us to read a book that he had already read and as I stated before, I'm not sure there was a book he had not read.

So - thank you Mr. Hathaway for requiring that I actually read. Although he is no longer with us in body - he is with us in spirit. The love of reading lives on in many lives that he touched.

My mom also gets a big thank you for introducing me to Christian Fiction. I have learned so much through those stories born from Godly women and men.

Recently blog hopping I saw a button like the one below.

I review for BookSneeze

I was curious so I hopped right on over to their site and filled out an application. My first book is already on its way. I am so very excited to participate in book reviewing on my blog. It's a win win all the way around. Free books to read and material for the blog. I won't always read fiction - I will read other things. There were some great books ready for reviews but I decided to start out with something I thought I could relate to easiest. Or better yet - I'll be perfectly honest - I read some of the titles and thought - "Oh my - deep stuff! Not sure I can handle that right now." Yep - I chickened out on the hard stuff and took the easy road for now.

Here's what I'll be reading.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Stay tuned..........

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not Me Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

I did not start blogging a few months ago in order to be able to post on "Not Me Monday" and then Not do it for months! Who would do that anyway? Not me!

There is not a person named "not me" at my house that my husband and I constantly discuss and want to meet badly. Because "not me" is constantly getting into and doing things that would get them in trouble. Who would look at their children and say "I guess Not Me left the bread open." or Let's assume Not Me ate all of the star crunch bars." We would never be such smartee pants!

And it was most certainly not me that went to the local discount store pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and spend $50 and leave without getting the prescriptions. Nope - I would never do that!

Just like I would never drive through a fast food restaurant pay for my food and drive away without it. I certainly hope I would never do something like that. And certainly not in the same week that I did not forget my prescriptions.

But my name is not NOT ME!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hats off to Survivors (or hats on or wig off)

Shortly after my diagnosis with Breast Cancer some dear friends hosted a "Hat party" in my honor. It was a beautiful way to show me support and ready me for the dreaded hair loss. The hair loss was the biggest concern I had. I was convinced that being bald would be the one thing that told people I had cancer. I felt that people would stare and that I would be very uncomfortable. I was the recipient of hats of every style, shape and size. Bright hats, simple hats, caps, fancy hats - you name it and I got it. I actually loved trying them on - I had always loved hats. Ironic that something that I always loved was now something that I dreaded. I was not embracing the thought of wearing a hat.

I also had a wig. If I must say so myself - I had a good wig. It fooled many people. Or at least everyone seemed to be fooled! Who knows people also told me I had good color and I know that was not true! Anyway - back to the hats and wig. My sweet friend Traci helped me pick out the perfect wig. For you see I have red hair and it is not a typical red from a bottle color. It is my unique color that is all natural God given red. So I had to settle for a color that was not mine. Although it was different I actually liked the color and was pretty pleased. The problem with the wig - ITCHY! Wigs itch and they shift and they don't look really good when wet!

The first time my husband admitted that people stared at me was on a trip to Ft. Worth, Texas. We were having breakfast early one morning in the hotel lobby (the continental type) and I was only wearing my bandanna. The bandanna was my go-to head covering at home. My husband admitted later that people definitely stared at me. Yep - I knew it.

On to my funny wig story - While in Ft. Worth we took in a baseball game. Took some cousins with us and sat out in the left field lower seats. Good seats - good company - but not under cover. At some point into the game the weather appeared to going south fast. Big rain drops started and I knew that the wig was going to be a wet mess in a big hurry. So I did what I had to do. I pulled my bandanna out of my backpack and pulled the wig off and stuffed it down into the backpack. I then put the bandanna on my head and sat right through the slight rain. I really really think you could have heard a pin drop in the stands around us at that point. People were pretty much dumb founded at some crazy lady pulling off a wig in broad daylight! My kids tried to hide their embarrassment - but I seriously had no choice. I was not going to sit with a wet wig - no sirree - not acceptable.

So - hats off to all the survivors who are confident enough to go bald or with just a hat or scarf or with a wig. Next time I'll tell you what you CAN'T do with a wig on!

Love you guys.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


works for me wednesday at we are that family

I am testing my skills (or lack of them) on linking up to a blog carnival. So - please judge me accordingly - I am a rookie at this. :)

We ate TONS over the weekend. But we didn't cook TONS. The stores had huges sales on meat so it was a good time to stock up.

A large package of pork chops in the crock pot on Friday left us with LEFTOVERS! The remaining pork was put in a container for another meal.

Saturday was chicken and dumplins for my daughter! But cooking lots of chicken provided a large bowl of chicken salad for sandwiches.

Sunday was grill time. We grilled deer sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken. Yes - all at one time. Choose which you want to eat and remember that this will also be your next meal and probably the next! So - don't eat one of each. So you've cooked once Sunday and eaten twice.

Monday - guess what's for lunch? You got it - LEFTOVERS! By now you have eaten some of each item and not really burned out on it all just yet.

Tuesday night is wrap it up and finish it a little differently. A $1.99 package Cajun Spice Jambalaya mix calls for one pound of meat. Good news is that your meat is already cooked so this meal is quick cheap and easy. We chopped the pork, sausage and chicken into bite size pieces and put it into the pot of jambalaya and voila - DINNER was served. Leftover package rolls were cut open, buttered and toasted. We have fresh tomatoes so a vegetable is at hand.

Too bad it's Wednesday - wonder what's for dinner??


What a busy busy busy week. I have been a mover and a shaker. Ha ha - Not really shakin since that would not be a pleasant site these days and maybe because I may break something! Anyway - moving on. We somewhat recovered from the wedding weekend and moved right into the Holiday weekend of the 4th of July.

Last week brought a sick baby which meant a trip to the Doctor for him. Poor little guy. Look and see this pitiful little face. :(

He had "hand, foot, mouth." No clue what the heck that stuff really is other than he wouldn't eat and was running fever. He would although play with his cup of puffs. That made him happy while waiting on the Doctor.

We then visited the phone store to make some downsizing and upgrades. Everyone came out a winner (almost everyone - sorry Mike!) and saved some money in the process. That's always fun.

Brenden thought it was fun and he was cool!

Then we topped it off by celebrating a birthday with our special friend Kaden.

Brenden was not very interested in the celebration since it was not all about him - but he played with Spenser and Owen ate some cake.

It was a great weekend filled with lots of activities with family and friends. I love it when all of my kids are under the same room. We love spending time with Brenden and he loves................


He really enjoyed giving himself kisses in the mirror. No vanity in his blood!

Love you guys and hope you all had a great weekend as well. Would love to hear about it!


Friday, July 2, 2010

My favorite celebration of Freedom song

Statue of Liberty

In New York Harbor stands a lady,
With a torch raised to the sky;
And all who see her know she stands for
Liberty for you and me.

I'm so proud to be called an American,
To be named with the brave and the free;
I will honor our flag and our trust in God,
And the Statue of Liberty.

On lonely Golgotha stood a cross,
With my Lord raised to the sky;
And all who kneel there live forever
As all the saved can testify.

I'm so glad to be called a Christian,
To be named with the ransomed and whole;
As the statue liberates the citizen,
So the cross liberates the soul.

Oh the cross is my Statue of Liberty,
It was there that my soul was set free;
Unashamed I'll proclaim that a rugged cross
Is my Statue of Liberty!

Words & Music by Neil Enloe

What will you be singing this weekend?

Love you all and hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Driving to work today I was listening to KLove. They were talking about "getting mad". MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Simple gestures can make a big impact on someone's life. You never know what their day is like and that a small act of kindness may be what they need.

These are some of my thoughts.

*Slow down and allow a car to move into your lane.

*Offer to help someone put their groceries in their car trunk.

*Hold the door for someone. Allow them to go through first.

*Ask someone how their day is - not simply "how are you?" You may get the opportunity to be a witness.

*Send out a text message to all of your friends telling them how much you love and appreciate them.

*Write a thank you note to someone who has been there for you in the past.

*Pump someone's gas.

*Stop by a Nursing Home and just visit for a few minutes.

*Prepare some extra food at dinner and take a plate to someone that may need a good meal or just a night off from cooking.

*Take someone's children to the park - give a mom a break.

Ok - those are some of the things I want to try. How about it? Do I have any takers? Leave me your suggestions.

Let's get MAD together.

Love you all,