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, July 5, 2010

Freaking out

I'm freaking out this morning. It's like I can feel the tumor in my breast growing. I don't even want to look at my breast. I don't want to touch it or even feel it. It kind of reminds me about how I've felt about my cesarean scar. Except worse, because I know that there are cancer cells in there multiplying. My cesarean scar was more of a reminder of what had happened to me, what could have been. This is toxic. It could kill me if left unchecked. Ugh. I just want it GONE. I have 17 days to wait until it can be cut out.

Deep breath.

I need to pass the next 17 days without going completely insane. Our family is going to take a few days and go to Catalina. That will fill up 3 days. Maybe a change of scenery will help take my mind off of it? The kids are really excited. I just hope I don't feel like a smiling clown doll...smiling on the outside but feeling dead on the inside. (I don't know if that even makes sense!) That will leave 14 days. That is still 2 weeks to wait.

I need to think about some reasons why waiting so long could be good.
  • It is allowing us to get organized in terms of care for the kids and home. My mother in law is going to come from France on the 20th (2 days before surgery), and stay with us for a few weeks. Her job is to take care of the kids and the dog. That will free up my mom to take care of me.
  • It will allow me the ability to consult with a plastic surgeon about possible reconstruction down the road. I haven't decided if I want to, but at least I'll be aware of the options. Maybe it will give me encouragement if I freak out on my post-surgical body? I've seen a few pictures of post-mastectomy torsos and it gives me a feeling in my gut and I feel a rush of adrenaline. That's going to be me.
  • I can get other things done that I can't do once chemo starts, and that might be uncomfortable while healing from surgery. Like getting my teeth cleaned. The kids and I have an appointment on July 9th. Getting dental work done while on chemo is not recommended due to risk of infection.
  • I will be able to celebrate Jean-Marc's birthday lucid and without the pain of surgical recovery.
  • I will be able to send Olivier off and see him home from Boy Scout summer camp. He's leaving on the 12th and coming home on the 17th.
  • I will be able to do my own Advance Health Care Directive. I've drafted these documents for others and don't even have my own done. Gosh. I should probably do my other estate planning documents as well. It is kind of embarrassing to admit that we don't have these in place yet. It's like the old saying, "The shoemaker's children don't have any shoes."
I want to thank you all who have been praying for me. Words can't describe how it feels to know that there are so many out there interceding on my behalf. My church family at Calvary Chapel Escondido had been awesome, anointing me with oil, laying hands on me, praying, encouraging. I feel loved and cared for.

My prayer requests for today:
  • That the cancer does not spread past where we know it is now. That it would even shrink or disappear. God can do that!
  • That I would have some peace of mind while I wait for this surgery.
  • Strength for my family: Eric; my parents; the kids. It can't be easy for them. They all are being very supportive of me and I know how draining that can be. Pray that God would renew their strength both physically, emotionally and spiritually. Everyone has put their plans on the back burner to put me to the front.
  • That if it is God's will, that the surgery date be advanced. There is a bit of a timing issue because if it is past the 15th, I need to see the surgeon again for a pre-op visit. I've got that appointment scheduled for the 12th. I guess there is a law that says surgery has to be within 30 days of your visit. I also need to be able to have some additional lab work and chest X-rays done, which needs to be within a week of surgery. The lab work could be done on a walk-in basis though.
May God bless you richly today!


  1. Visualize that tumor shrinking in a containment center. Imagine it is dissolving into this air with a shield around it to protect your breast tissue. Or imagine it is broken up in tiny pieces by a small army with ax hammers until the bit are so small the evaporate. Visualization is powerful and can make an amazing difference to your body. You can do this. Diana

  2. Tonya ~ as I journey in a book that I have been reading for months God has allowed me to focus the words within it as a prayer for you. The name of the book is Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. It has been an amazing journey and it gives ability to have strength to prayer cover others in a renewed way. Tonya, today I pray coverage over you to carry you away from fear.

    I would assume that many are giving lots of advice and feedback ~ some desired, some not ~ so as I step forth in the next few words on this blog I pray you find them desired. Tonya I feel led to share with you about a sermon that may be a comfort to you. It is a sermon given last Sunday by Dennis Keating from EFCC. If you desire to listen, here is a link you could cut and paste:

    The topic is Romans 8:28 ~ All things for God's purpose. I have to say that God allowed the sermon to touch me in a deep way and I believe it to be one of the best sermons that God has ever formed on Dennis' lips.

    Tonya ~ truly truly dear precious one of God ~ He is with you in all of this. I pray you feel His hand on your shoulder in this moment.
    love ya,

  3. Tonya....

    There are not really words for all this, at least there were not for me. And at times, there are still not. I could not bear to feel the tumor pre surgery, either, and yes, it was hard, waiting. It was all so unreal! I thought surgery would make it real? and of course, it did, in that, my body changed... but still, for me, it remains in a way unreal. My mind has yet to catch up with my body, it seems.

    I still don't know how to explain the passage of time, all I know is that it does, somehow, pass.

    You are surrounded by so much love, so much support. Anonymous has given you good suggestions. You have your faith, your church, the word of god via beautiful scriptures... you will be on the sea, surrounded by the healing sea, there on Catalina... the earth is so glorious! We humans mind and damamge her, and yet, she still loves and nurtures us; I think she points ways of healing to us, if we can accept her messages? (sorry if this is too weird sounding; may we blame the chemo???!)

    I don't have much to add, and I hope this won't resonate badly with the "smiley doll" and... I read about, and am now practicing a simple meditation/breathing exercise, several times a day: I breathe in and relax my body, I breathe out and smile.

    I say those things to myself, and smile, as I exhale. I read that it has somehow been proven to help relax the body, and stimulate the immune system, to smile. So... here's to smiling, not in a denial of intense unwished for reality sort of way, no no no, rather, a smile that helps restore deep and lasting health.

    You are very much loved, you are an inspiration!

    all for now,

    Laura B