Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Birthday to me! What a blessing!

Normally, birthdays are not so happy days because I'm another year older and I always feel like I'm not where I want to be each year.  BUT, this year is different.  I do feel old and I'm at least 20 pounds heavier than last year at this time, but I am sooooo blessed that God gave me another year.  I have so much joy inside today!  He has blessed me so much and allowed me to spend another year with my best friend and hubby.  He has given me more time to tell the Good News and to proclaim His Name.  I'm so thankful to my Father who loves me.

I got up at 5:30am today...took a bath to relax a little and already walked 20 minutes on the treadmill while doing arm weight exercises too!  It is 7am as I type this.  "I will lose this weight!" I keep telling myself.  :o)  I know....who exercises on their birthday?  lol!

I'm looking forward to this year.  Kevan and I are praying about a lot of things (building a new house, kids [maybe adoption], mission trip and a few other things) and I feel like I have a future this year.  Last year I was in a totally different place.  I appreciate so many more things now.  Yesterday, in the car, Kevan told me that I'm a different person than I was last year.  He meant it as a good thing.  I'm thankful that my cancer changed me me for the better.  It could've been so different.  But, cancer was my blessing.  I learned so much, spent so much extra time with my Lord while I was recuperating and it was such a special time.  I found out I had so many more friends that loved me than I ever knew I had.  I learned how to truly lean on God for comfort and my daily needs.  What an awesome year it was.

So many years ago my mom went into labor VERY early (I think it was 2 months early).  Her little girl was born and her little lungs weren't ready.  The doctors told my parents that I was not going to make it.  They transferred me to a different hospital and my undeveloped lungs collapsed on the way to the hospital.  They told my parents to start to prepare for a funeral, but just like this last year SO MANY prayed for that little baby and God saved her.  God healed my lungs and my little body and I'm so thankful for those that prayed then too.  God has been with me all along the way.

The above pictures are of me at my own baby shower.  I believe I was in the hospital for 2 months before I was released to go home.  So, I'm unsure how old I was in the pictures.

Happy Birthday to me!  :o)  Thank you Lord for another birthday!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.  On Good Friday last year I found out that I had breast cancer.  Today, on Facebook, I posted:

"What a year it has been! So thankful that God brought me through it and I am cancer free. This is what I said on my first blog post after finding out I had breast cancer, "I am so thankful that God chose Good Friday to reveal this to me. It is a reminder of how much He loves me! He died for me and suffered for me so that I may have eternal life with Him. He has forgiven me for my sins and through his blood I am restored. Praise God!" If I had died from the cancer, I knew in my heart that everything would be just fine. I would wake up in the best place! It was a blessed year."  

I really meant what I said then and I really mean it now.  It really has been a year of blessings.  It has been hard, very hard...don't get me wrong, but I have seen God work so much in my life and those around me as well.  In a week or so I will post the "official one year post" since the one year anniversary is actually 4/6, but I wanted to say how wonderful my God is on Good Friday.

This is the day that my Lord was crucified.  The day He died.  Why is it good?  Because it is the day He died for me.  For my sins.  It is the day He wiped my slate clean and made me white as snow.  He saved me from God's wrath.  I am restored to stand before God one day as his daughter.  On Sunday, we will celebrate the day He rose again.  Amazing.  My God is a living God.  He is a God that allows me to have a relationship with Him.  To pray to Him, to ask for healing, to ask for help, to ask for mercy....He loves me. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

6 Month's Post Chemo

I finally found a little time to sit down and type up a post.  It has been quite awhile since I've posted.  I am a little over 6 months post-chemo.  Can you believe it has already been over 6 months??  Wow.  August 28th was my last day of chemo and time has flown by!  I am 3 months post-reconstruction and I'm less than a month away from my 1-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.  God willing I will be writing about my 1-year anniversary in a few weeks.  :)  I am so thankful that my Lord healed me and that I am doing so well.  God is good!

I'm so happy to be this far out from chemo.  At night, when I flip over to my stomach to go to sleep I still get teary-eyed thinking back to all of those MONTHS where I couldn't sleep on my stomach and how much I struggled with being comfortable.  I tear up because I'm so thankful that I can do it now.  Such a small thing...but it is a huge blessing.  I love that I'm feeling so much better (although I did have a cold all week).  I even met a woman today that had breast cancer last year too and finished chemo around the same time I did.  She had Stage 4, but she is doing really well now and I thought she looked great.  She is about 20 years older than I am.  Her hair is actually a little shorter than mine even though she finished chemo a month before me.  But, hers was STRAIGHT......mine isn't.  I won't go into the hair thing again.....that is why I've tried to stay off my blog lately.  lol!  I have been doing a lot of praying about it.  Anyway.....I need to change the subject.

Today was a beautiful day here in Tennessee.  Kevan and I went for a long walk.  We saw a few Guineas on our walk, followed by a bunch of wild turkeys and then watched a few baby calves playing in a field.  We've never seen wild turkeys run like we did today.  It was so funny.  Normally, we just see them rutting around or looking for food, but they crossed a field so fast it was like they were in a race.   I love our walks.  It doesn't get much better than this.  I love living in the country. 

Here is a picture of the guineas and one of the neighbors kittens.  Aren't guineas so funny looking?  They always make me laugh.  Sorry it is a blurry picture, but they were moving out of our way pretty fast.

I received my first $100 check for being a part of the 410 (Gummy Bear) Breast Implant clinical study.  I wasn't sure how it was going to work.  I thought maybe I had to come into the office, but I didn't.  I just got the check in the mail a few days ago.  :)  Yay me!  I asked Kevan if I could spend on something fun or if I had to save it.  We agreed that I can use the money for something fun.  So, I'm excited.

I wanted to post a hair picture so I can remember what my hair looked like 6 months post chemo.  Here is a picture of Kevan and I from last night.  My hair is finally longer than my husband's hair! 

Here is the back of my head.  Haha!!  Can you believe how curly my hair is?  I don't know who this woman is that I see in the mirror!

I was looking through my March pictures and this one came up.  It is from March 2012.  It is my father-in-laws horse.  It was so cute I had to post it.  It doesn't have anything to do with my day....or breast was just cute.  I love animals.  Thank you Lord for your creation.

Night all! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Get Over It!

I had my 2 month check-up at the plastic surgeon on Friday.  Seems like it has been longer than 2 months since I had my reconstruction surgery on 12/5.  I'm doing so well!  My absolute favorite result (well, other than the obvious.  HaHa!) is that I CAN SLEEP ON MY STOMACH!  Every night when I flip over to go to sleep I get little tears in my eyes because it is such a wonderful blessing and it makes me emotional still to think about how much God has blessed me in my recovery.  I have missed sleeping comfortably.  It feels so good.  Also, I'm able to cuddle with my hubby again (I know, TMI!).  Anyway, back to the doctor.  lol!  He looked at everything and felt around (yes, this makes Kevan very uncomfortable to see another man touching his wife)...then he said, "looks great, my best work ever!  I'll see you in 4 months."  That's it.  I'm so thankful that it has gone so well.

While I was there I met a woman that also went through chemo/cancer.  We talked a little while in the waiting room about our hair troubles.  It was a blessing to talk to her and to know that she is feeling the same way I am.  She also had blonde hair before and now hers is coming back brown (and gray) as well.

As most of you know that are close to me, I am still having some sadness getting used to my hair.  I know.  I know....I should be happy it is growing back.  I actually do get compliments on it regularly...which I didn't even get when I had my normal hair.  I do think it looks okay.  I just don't feel like me.  I don't feel like Kev's cute wife anymore.  I feel a little stuck in the 80's.  After MANY MANY years of looking in the mirror at a woman who has long blonde hair....I still picture that in my head.  So, when I look in the mirror I am still shocked when I see a woman with short brown CURLY hair.  Kevan and I met my mother-in-law at the store today in Nashville.  Well, I told her I would meet her at the entrance.  She walked in and kept looking right past me.  I think she did it 3 times.  Then, she realized the tall brown haired girl was me.  I said, "Were you looking for a long haired blonde Jayde?" and she said "Yes."  lol!  So, I'm not the only one that still forgets.

Anyway, while at that same store I saw a very pretty woman walk by me that was bald.  She was with her husband.  I went up to her and asked her if she was on chemo.  Again, I love talking to other women that have been through what I have so I wanted to chat with her.  Except that, the next thing she said was, "No, I have not gone through chemo.  I get approached by people like you all the time.  I was born this way and I cannot grow hair."  She had no hair on her head, no eyebrows and no eyelashes.  She was so abrupt that I stepped back a little.  Then, instantly felt awful for her.  I told her I was sorry and that I totally understood why she went around without a wig, because they are so uncomfortable.  She didn't say anything.  I wish I would've told her my first impression, but I am not a fast thinker.  I first thought how beautiful she was and how I couldn't believe someone on chemo would look so good.  Because, while I was going through it I certainly didn't want to go out shopping or put makeup on.  But, she looked great.  I guess that should've been my first inclination that she wasn't going through chemo.  :o(  Oh well...I put my foot in my mouth.  I just said, "God bless you" and walked away.  I did pray for her on the way home tonight.  Here I am worried because my hair is growing back "different' and she has NEVER had hair.  I think God was showing me that I should be thankful and happy....instead of sad about it....because there are woman out there that don't have any.  Mine is just a phase....hers is a lifetime.  I am very sorry.  I need to GET OVER IT.  I need to continue to pray about it.  I am very thankful for the hair I have...I'm just being impatient...and I need to pray for contentment.  Here is a picture of us this past weekend while attending our church's valentine's banquet.  We had a blast.  We laughed so much our faces were hurting from smiling so much.

It has been a few weeks since I've updated my blog. I haven't had time.  I am tired.  Very tired.  I wish I could sleep for a whole day.  Kevan and I have been really busy.  I've been teaching on Wednesday nights and it requires me to study about an hour each day to get ready for my lesson.  Also, work has been REALLY busy.  I love my job its okay.  I just wish I had a few more work hours in a day so I could get more done.  Yesterday, I spent the day with a very sweet almost-6-year-old.  I had a lot of fun making cupcakes, doing a few crafts, going to see some farm animals, eating Mexican (her favorite) and watching a movie.  She wore me out.  lol!  I don't know how parents do it.  I was exhausted by 6pm. 

Well....speaking of exhaustion....I'm going to go to bed.  Night! Night!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oncologist: First 3-Month Check-up

Yesterday I had my first 3-month checkup with the oncologist.  In the past few months they have redesigned the whole office so it looked very different while we were there.  It felt like we were somewhere else.  Anyway, they took blood, weighed me and then led us to an exam room.  I only waited about 4 minutes before my doctor walked in.  He commented on my hair growth and I commented on how it isn't growing fast enough.  lol!  Then, we brought up some issues.  First, I mentioned that I still have no period and how I am still having hot flashes, which still wake me up throughout the night.  Then, I asked him about some pain I've been having in my tailbone since my last chemo.  It hurts worse when I have to sit a lot (in the car, church, etc).  He seemed a little concerned about the tailbone pain so he ordered an x-ray.

Kevan and I went over to the imaging center right away and had the x-ray done.  I had to change into some hospital pants and then they led me to the x-ray room.  She took 2 pictures of me laying on my back and then 2 while I was on my side.  She said the doctor would have the results later that day.

The doctor's assistant called me today to let me know that all of my blood tests came back okay except for my hormone tests.  My tumor markers looked good too.  :-)  As for the hormone tests they just revealed that I was at "menopause levels".  Duh!  Or as my doctor said to me yesterday...they proved I'm an "old lady".  He was joking that I was really "Kevan's old lady"...and it is true since I'm still in menopause.  The doctor said there isn't anything we can do since I can't take hormones.  So, I will just have to wait.  She said they will do the hormone testing again at the year mark (a year from my last chemo).

The x-ray came back that I have a deformity of my tailbone (coccyx bone).  They were not sure if I was born this way or if it was a result of an injury.  Since they didn't have a prior x-ray they couldn't compare to see if it has gotten worse, but they checked for inflammation/swelling and didn't notice anything that was worrisome.  The assistant said I should just wait and see if it goes away.  It has already been 5 months so I'm not really sure how long they want me to wait.  Oh well.  I guess I will start sitting on one of these:

No making fun of me when I show up for church with my "cushion".  lol!  At least it isn't for hemorrhoids.  lol!  Sorry, I had to say it. That is one positive thing!  None of those!

So, I praise God that everything was good cancer-wise.  I'm thankful that I can continue to look forward to the future and I pray that I will be cancer free the rest of my life.  Please Lord.

Now, I'm off to teach a Ladies Bible Study pray for me if you think about it.  It scares me to death every week.  I'm praying God gives me strength and wisdom.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

6-Weeks Post Reconstruction and a BIG Praise

I haven't had much time to post lately.  I have a lot going on.  I'm back at work and takes up most of my time.  I was scared that it would be hard to get back in the "groove", but it wasn't hard at all.  Actually, I love my job so much (programming and designing reports) that sometimes I want to work into the night.  lol!  Kevan has to remind me to stop.  Also, I'm teaching a Wednesday night women's bible study now on the book of Luke (the ministry of Christ) so I am doing quite a bit of preparation each day for that study.  I love researching and preparing for the study, but I still have a hard time with the actual leading of the study since I am an introvert and all eyes are on me.  I'm hoping that it will get better as time goes on.  It still scares me to death each week. 

Arms/Chest Muscles
My body has healed very well since my surgery.  I am feeling great.  The only thing that has been bothering me are my arms and chest muscles.  For example, I cannot stir like I used to.  I used to make up batter (cookies, cakes, etc) and stir them...but now....those chest muscles hurt A LOT when I do that so now I have to lug out the stand mixer.  If I end up stirring manually I have muscles spasms the next day.  Also, the other day Kevan opened the kitchen window and when I went to shut it the muscle pain in my chest was awful.  It feels like something is tearing.  So, I'm going to talk to the doctor about exercises I need to be doing.  I also reached out to the personal trainer I used to go to in Orlando (Hi Rena!) and we might have some FaceTime sessions so I can learn some arm/chest/back exercises to help me.  I will let you know how that goes and if this pain gets better.  I pray it does!  Farm chores will be really hard in the spring/summer if I can't get these muscles back to where they used to be.

The other thing that has been happening the last few days is nerve pain in my underarm/breast area.  Kevan thinks this is my nerves growing back....which would be a HUGE blessing.  I had a similar pain in my arm when I had the mastectomy and the doctor said it was the nerves growing back.  It makes me sad that I have no feeling in my chest.  Really sad actually.  I have prayed a lot about it and asked God to give me back the feeling back.  So, even though the nerve pain is pretty painful I'm thinking it is a blessing.  I'll talk to the doctor about it when I see him in 2 weeks.  Hoping/praying some feeling is coming back.  :o)  Since it is happening on both sides I don't think it is anything serious going on.

Other Updates
 I finished chemo on 8/28/2012....almost 5 months ago.  I still have no period.  :o(  The doctor said if it doesn't return within a year that it, most likely, won't ever return.  I have been praying a lot about it and hoping it will return.  Before I had cancer I prayed daily about having a child and hoped that God would give us one, but each month my period would be a reminder that God still had not answered that prayer.  Then, I finally asked God that if He wasn't going to give us a child through me (maybe we will adopt) that He would take away my ability to have children so I wouldn't have a constant reminder of it.  Maybe this is Him removing that reminder.  Funny how I thought it would be better, but now I am still reminded because I don't have my period.  Go figure.  :o( 

BIG Praise
Kevan interviewed with a company in Los Angeles, CA a couple times.  The interviews went well and they called his references.  We continued to pray that he would get this job because it was 90% work from home and only 10% travel to LA.  It was also, mostly, what he wanted to do.  Well, they called and said he didn't get the job.  Then, 2 days later they called to let Kevan know that they wanted to create a position JUST FOR HIM...doing something he is very skilled at.  The other job included this skill, but it was the primary thing he would be doing, but he wished it was.  So, when they called and said they wanted to create a position just for him he told them he was interested.  Well, they called yesterday and offered him the job!  He took it and he will be traveling to LA in a week or so to start his new job!  We are so excited.  I prayed so hard that God would give him a job that he would love and it is exactly what he wants to do and what he is skilled at.  The best part.....God had them create this job just for Kevan.  That is just awesome!  God is so good!

Well, Kevan and I are heading out to go to the Nashville RV show so we can dream.  We have been dreaming of owning an RV since 2003 when we were dating.  We love camping and traveling.  We've never found a used one that we felt God was calling us to buy.  We couldn't afford a new one.  Maybe today will be the day.  :o) 

I pray God blesses you all today!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Please forgive me.

I received a comment on my last post that has really weighed heavily on me.  Kevan asked me to delete the comment so if you go back to read it, it's not there.  Basically, the anonymous person feels like I am a very shallow person.  The truth is....I struggle a lot with this blog because I feel like sometimes "it is all about me" and even though that is what the URL is, "Jayde's Journey"...I want it to be about Him, my Lord and Savior.  Not about me.  I also wanted it to be a place for others who are struggling with cancer to find hope and a few laughs here and there.  

The purpose of this blog from the very beginning was to document my journey through cancer and being sad about my current hair situation is what I am going through currently.  I can't imagine that I am the only woman that has struggled with post chemo hair, but I also want to ask for forgiveness if it came across as shallow.  I was actually trying to look on the bright side and that is why I posted the pictures of my past hair.  I wanted to show that even though I'm struggling with liking the short post-chemo hair that it isn't the worst it has ever been.  But, I guess my post came across as shallow.  I'm sorry.

Also, the anonymous commenter couldn't believe I would post about my hair when there are families that wish their family members were still alive and hadn't died of cancer...who cares what their hair looks like.  As a cancer survivor, it is hard to understand why God would allow a person like me (with no children) to be healed and go on with their life while there are others who have children and are such wonderful people and they don't make it through it.  I don't know why.  I don't understand it.  I feel bad because I lived through it.  Believe me....I think about this on a regular basis.  But, God doesn't allow us to trade places.  The only thing I know is that God has a plan.  God allows some to die in order to bring about a greater plan...just like he allows some to live.  I know that may seem odd to some, but I truly believe that even in someone's death there can be great things that come about from it.  I believe that my life was changed for the good when I lost my grandmother as a teenager because it made me realize that life was precious.  I looked back at her life and realized I wanted to know her God like she knew Him.  I'm not sure I would've changed my life around if I hadn't gone through the pain of losing her.  Of course, I'm not saying that God allowed my grandmother to die so "I" would turn my life around, but it could've been one aspect of His plan.  We may never know the reasons.  I just know that God healed me and I am thankful for it.  I understand what He has done for me.  I know that it doesn't always happen and I pray that I don't waste this gift.

So, please forgive me for being shallow.  This is a blog about my life with cancer and a part of that right now is the struggle over what to do with post-chemo hair.  It does sound shallow...but I really feel like I'm not the only wife that would struggle with this.  I'm embarrassed for my husband and I am not sure how to love my hair right now.  Instead of beating me up.....maybe you should pray for me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Never Ending Bad Hair Day

So, lately, I've been feeling like I am having a never ending bad hair day.  I don't know what to do with my hair.  It isn't long enough to brush or style or highlight.  It is getting curly.  I am not happy about this.  I bought some gel and played around with didn't work.  It just left me with hard hair that was gross.  I reached out to two people to see if they would dye it for me and I didn't hear I'm guessing that is a sign.  lol!  Truthfully, I'm getting a little depressed.  I miss my hair.  I don't know why but I liked being bald more.  I know.  Weird.  I think it is because I had an excuse to wear a wig when I wanted to look nice and if I wanted to hide behind a head covering I could.  Here is the most recent pic of my hair.  It is a little longer than this...but I have no makeup on tonight so I'm going to use this one:

So, as I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself I started thinking about my hair before chemo.  Here is one of the last pictures I took before I started losing my hair.

That brought me to thinking about when I was young.  Then, I realized....this short hair thing isn't all that bad.  When you consider some of my previous hair styles.  

This one is the start of my mom trying to tame my hair.  She just braided it to get it out of the way.

Then, I think, my mom decided to put a bowl on my head and cut around it.  Also, thank you Lord for braces!

Then Jr. High came and I started to let it be curly.

Then, I started on a bowling league and this is what I looked like.  Really, mom and dad?  You let me leave like this?

After that.....I got a spiral perm because it just wasn't bad enough.  Yes....I was a nerd.

Since I showed you my Jr. High pics...I better show you one of the bad high school pictures too.  I'm not really sure what is on top of my head.

So, after looking at these...I feel a little better.  I've had a LOT of bad hair days.  Nothing new.  I actually have more I could share, but I got tired of scanning them in and I thought I should save some just in case I get depressed again.  

I'll try to be content with my short hair.  But, I'm still praying it grows very fast!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Is it over?

Friday I had my last drain removed.  It was great.  I hardly felt this one when he pulled it out because it was placed after surgery, in their office.  So, the end that was in my body was not as long as the normal ones.  The doctor said everything was healing great.  He even lifted my restrictions.  I've been able to clean my house and cook again.  It is wonderful.  I had a little helper this weekend (a friend that has been staying with us on the weekends) so she did help me clean some on Saturday.  But, I still over did it and my arms ached all night while I was trying to sleep and my breast muscles were spasm-ing.  Is that a word?  

Sunday morning and evening I even made a fire in the wood stove and carried a few little pieces of wood in the house.  Kevan doesn't want me carrying the normal size yet so he brought in the big ones.  It felt so good to do some normal chores.  I can't wait until I can help him split wood again.  It is a chore we like to do together and as weird as it sounds....its fun.  lol!
Even though my restrictions were lifted I'm only supposed to lift 10 pounds.  Then, next week it will go up to 15 and so on.    The best is that I'm allowed to take bath's now.  I have missed my nightly baths.  :o)  Also, I can sleep on my side now and she said I could try stomach sleeping in a few days.   I am a stomach sleeper and I have not slept on my stomach since April.  You do not realize how happy this makes me.  I thought I might not ever be able to sleep on my stomach again, but he thinks I shouldn't have a problem.  I can't wait to try.  Brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. 

Kevan was talking about me yesterday and I heard him say, "You wouldn't believe what a difference it makes for Jayde to have the drains out.  I can tell she feels better and she even looks better."  lol!  Even Kevan sees a difference.  When I was talking to the nurse I told her how sad I was that so much of the swelling is gone.  I told her I feel like I lost a size since I went home from surgery.  She said that everyone says that.  lol!  I tried on a few of my cute dresses and tank tops.  I think I'll be happy with the size.  Not too big....not too small.  Just perfect.  :o)

Also, I wanted to mention how much faster my incisions are healing.  I'm not sure why this is, but they are way more healed than they were after my last surgery.  I'm putting Aquafor on them twice a day and massaging it in.  The massaging helps the scars to not be so raised and helps them heal faster.  I did this last time too.  

As I sit and think about how there really isn't much left now.  I've been through the double mastectomy, the rounds of chemo and the reconstruction.  It is over.  I'm healed.  Praise God.  He healed me.  He walked with me through it all and I love him so much for it.  I'm so thankful for Him, for my family, my friends, everyone's prayers....and for cancer.  Without the cancer I wouldn't know what it is like to have to depend on God daily.  To cry out to him when I'm scared or when I'm lying in the floor sick.  To talk to him all throughout the day.  Of course, we are supposed to depend on him daily already, but I wasn't consistent.  Cancer showed me how much better it can be if we just lean on Him for everything.

I am also thankful that it is over and I'm on this side of it.  All I have left now are the check-up appointments every 3 months.  It is a weird feeling.  I'm so glad that I am starting the New Year out healed and ready to get back to normal.  This is going to be a great year.  2013!  And.....even though it is over.....I will rely on Him.  Daily.  I hope and pray I do.