About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Calls, calls, calls

My week is is such a flux! Today I spent a fair amount of time on the phone trying to sort out my next week's medical schedule. Man! Being a cancer patient is almost a full time job.

I got my MRI scheduled for Wednesday morning down in Hillcrest. The tricky part with that is that I need to hand carry my mammograms. I called Kaiser's X-Ray department last Wednesday to order them. They said it would be 3-5 working days. I'm hoping to be able to pick them up tomorrow (Tuesday), the day before the appointment. That would also let me go down to the American Cancer Society (ACS) Discovery shop and pick out a wig. Yes, a wig. ACS gives a free wig to chemotherapy patients. Goody. I'll take all the freebies I can get. Mom and Isabelle want to go with me to help me pick out something not too lame. Sweet Isabelle. Hopefully that will be my Tuesday afternoon. (Hee hee---I'll be able to work out in the morning!)

I tried to get Friday's chemo consultation moved up earlier, but so far there aren't any openings. I suppose this isn't like getting one's teeth cleaned. Not many cancellations. I just pray that this doctor is "the one." I pray that he is kind, sensitive, and knows his stuff. I'll keep calling to see if I can get in earlier. I'd love to have chemo ASAP to start kicking those cancer cells butts.

I've been getting the run around a bit to get my mammograms from the X-Ray department. I'm still waiting on a return call from them. If I don't hear by 4:30 p.m., (about 30 minutes from now), I'll call again.

I've also been referred to the genetics department. They sent me a family history form to fill out. Cool! Who knew my knowledge of family history would come in handy? Just another example of how God has prepared me for this fight. That appointment is a week from Wednesday (the 30th). If they think I should be tested, they will test for 2 known breast cancer genes. If I have them (or maybe even 1), they may suggest a bilateral mastectomy. The surgeon told me last week that a bilateral mastectomy would make the chances 95% that the cancer would not show up on the right side in the future. We'll see. The genetics stuff is interesting, just not a priority right now.

There is a nice program the American Cancer Society has called "Look Good, Feel Better." It's for chemotherapy patients. It basically is a 2 hour workshop with cosmologists that includes a skin care and makeup program, as well as instructions on options relating to hair loss. I guess they teach you how to tie the head scarves. (I wonder if I can wear some of my Hermes scarves that way?) They also send you home with free makeup. I'm there! Like I said, I'll take all the freebies I can. I called them today also and signed up for a session next Monday.

I've also left messages with the breast care coordinator and an e-mail message to my surgeon about the PET scan results. Eek. I will admit that I am scared to find out that one.

That is a huge prayer request for me right now--that the cancer has not spread. Pray too that I not be fearful. Yesterday in church, we sang a song about leaving our fears behind and casting our cares aside to focus on TODAY, the day that the Lord has made. It's a great song. So easy to sing those words...not so easy to live it.


  1. Sweetie, get the BRCA tests, it will give you peace of mind in the midst of all of this. The wait is horrid, but you've already been through the tough part with an actual diagnosis. I went through the testing last fall due to my extensive family and personal history and it's amazing what a relief it is to have a more definitive answer. The results are not a guarantee, but they help provide guidance in the midst of everything else.

    Stay strong and faithful, you will come of this a stronger and HEALTHIER woman!

  2. Tonya,

    I can so relate to this post... all I did the week of May 3rd was make calls, organize appt's and tests. The big joke around our house was that when my cancer was truly behind me, I was going to apply for a job with FEMA, so good was I at organizing things in a crisis. *** I hope the Friday oncology consult was helpful, and that perhaps a key person on your team is now identified. So sorry you need an oncologist at all, and... well, you know. lots of love, Laura