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.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

11 days to go...

11 days until my surgery. Not that I'm counting or anything. Yeah, right.

Yesterday was Jean-Marc's 2nd birthday. We had a nice little family get together at our house with my parents. I posted my birthstory and birth slide show on my Facebook page. As I re-watched the video, I couldn't help but notice and think about...you guessed it. My breasts. According to one of the books I have on breast cancer, it takes years for tumors to grow to the point where you can feel it. So I had to have had it while pregnant with Jean-Marc. In fact, it is a good possibility that the hormonal surges associated with the pregnancy and birth may have made it grow. Who knows? It doesn't really matter at this point.

Tomorrow is a big day. I have an appointment with Judy, the nurse coordinator at 9:30 a.m. She is going to talk to me about post-surgical stuff. I'm going to be getting one or two post-surgical camisoles to wear while recovering from surgery. She'll probably also introduce me to the prosthesis as well. At 11:15, I have a pre-op appointment with my surgeon. Then at 6:30 p.m. I have a consultation with a plastic surgeon to see what my options will be in the future for reconstruction, if I choose it. In between, I have to return my original mammogram films to Kaiser and get my blood drawn for the BRCA genetic testing. Eric and I are going to make a day of it. My mom is going to keep the kids all day and overnight. Hopefully we'll find something pleasant to do in the hours in between the appointments. It will be a full day, and keeping busy will kill another day. Soon I'll be down to single digit days.

I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for the immediate post-op. I've been looking at pictures of other women who have been through double mastectomies. At first glance, it is like a punch in the stomach. Especially when I try to envision those scars on me. Two scars on top for my breasts and one below from my cesarean. Battle scars all three, without a doubt. I overcame the cesarean scar. I will overcome these new ones as well. On a bright note, seeing pictures of the same women later in time is encouraging. The scars on the outside fade. It's amazing what plastic surgeons can do to re-create the areola.

It's too bad, but sometimes it takes an intense event to "feel" God. Even though He is always there, when times are good I tend to take Him for granted. Sometimes days would go by when I didn't pick up my bible or pray. I definitely felt His presence during Jean-Marc's birth. During the few weeks since my diagnosis, I've again tangibly felt His presence with me. I'm so grateful that I know Him and can see the times when a comforting word spoken by someone, or a verse recalled isn't coincidence but GOD reaching out to me to get me through this. I want to thank all of you who have been praying for me and supporting me. God is working through you and it is amazing to see the body of Christ coming together in such a beautiful way. It's humbling.

My prayer requests today are:
  • That the cancer does not spread further before surgery.
  • That I not go crazy waiting for the next 11 days.
  • That I can sleep through the night. I actually made it to 6 a.m. yesterday. Today, I was back to 4:30 a.m., but was able to kind of doze until 6. I wouldn't call it sleep though.
  • That I be able to be less selfish in this journey. I think I've neglected Eric. He's going through his own set of stuff related to this. I need to be a better wife. Sometimes his crankiness though gets me even more upset. Hey....I'm the one with cancer here! But that is my fleshly, selfish reaction.
  • That Olivier has a fun time at boy scout camp. He's leaving this morning until the 17th. I hope he can just let loose and have a great time, not worry about me or be too homesick. A little is okay, though. :-)


  1. I am glad you were able to have a good birthday with your little one. I know that was important to you to have that before having the surgery.

    Thinking of you and sending love and support....


  2. In prayer for you...and I'm sure that your boy will do fine at Camp! He comes from good stock!

  3. And Tonya, I really respect that you are thinking so much of your family while going through this. So many people do self-center and not realize that this touches everyone like a web..it reaches out into so many other lives. I'll pray hard that this allows you and Eric to be closer while you each process this differently.