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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

New day, new attitude

Saturday morning, 9 days post-op.

I slept pretty well last night. Taking 2 of the pain killers before bed definitely knocks me out. Eric and I watched a romantic comedy last night, "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." It was a great escape, and a change from our usual viewing menu. Lately, we've been watching a lot of World War II documentaries. That's okay, but it was nice to get away from all of the bang bang stuff. For awhile, I even forgot about cancer and pain. Although when it was over, I was about 1 hour overdue for my meds. Ouch!

Eric and I had a "meeting of the minds" after my post yesterday. He had read my blog and got some insight into what I was feeling. He commented that it was pretty lame that he had to read my blog to know how I was feeling. True. But sometimes it is easier to write it down than say it out loud. It was refreshing to just be able to cry and be frustrated in front of someone. I hold it together for the kids-I don't want to scare them. I let Eric see it, though. It was good. I know its got to be hard for him. He's the sort of guy who wants to "fix" things that are wrong. This just can't be fixed so easily.

Mom and I went for a walk again yesterday. We added a lap around the lake, which made it a total of 3 miles. Before she got to my house, I tried doing some squats. That felt so good! I made up my own little circuit of various squats: traditional; sumo; side; etc. My legs felt like they got some exercise, and I'm even a little sore today. Mom and I are going to do the Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk when I'm over this. It will probably be November, 2011. We'll form a team-the Pink & Plaid Warriors. Anyone want to join us? We're going to get shirts and hats made. It will be fun, and its one of those things to look forward to.

I was a little bummed yesterday to step on the scale and find that I'd gained a few pounds. I've always exercised hard so I could be a little freer with the food. With my mother in law here, it just adds to the temptation. Dessert is considered an integral part of the meal...even lunch. So I need to resolve to be more disciplined in what I eat so this slow down in activity doesn't catch up to me and I regain the weight I lost before I knew I had cancer.

Yesterday, mom and I watched my sister Tara's home birth video. Amazing! Her daughter, Kathryn Marie, was born a month ago. She has it on video, and had a friend take the most amazing pictures as well. It was awesome to watch. She is so strong and POWERFUL! Like her husband commented right before she started to push, "She pushes like a ninja!" Mom and I were in tears by the end. It was so wonderful to see my sister so happy. Happy doesn't even quite cover the elation and joy. It was great. I feel bad because my mom hasn't been able to go visit Tara. She usually would go for a few weeks to help out after she has a baby. Now I'm the big baby who needs mom. I know everyone understands, but I can't help but feel like I'm ripping people off in a way.

I've felt many parallels between this breast cancer journey and the journey one goes through in birth. You can have support people around you, and it is great. But there are some parts, some scary parts, that you just have to do on your own. Even when physically there may be people right next to you. I should think on the similarities and differences some more and write more about it. One thing this experience is teaching me is to try and trust medical professionals. My experiences in birth activism and ICAN exposed me to so many stories and instances where women were lied to and manipulated by doctors to make "choices" that weren't really their own. It kind of soured me to all things "medical." Now I need to learn to do my own homework, listen to the counsel of my doctors, and trust them. As one ICAN friend, who is also on this cancer journey, pointed out: "Birth is normal. Cancer is not."

My good friend, Nicole, brought dinner yesterday. Nicole went through a bilateral mastectomy about 15 months ago. It was wonderful to talk to her, see how much her scars (on the outside) have faded. Although I tried to be supportive as best I could, I had no clue what she was going through back then. It is nice to have someone who has been there before that I can talk to and ask questions of.

Today we are going to take Isabelle to her riding lesson. It is fun to watch her ride. I also need to stop off at Kaiser in San Marcos and refill my pain meds. Later in the day, we need to go to Trader Joes and get some beverages. TJs is the best for juice. Organic, and not too expensive! It feels good to have things to "do" that aren't necessarily cancer related. Almost normal.

My prayer requests today:
  • That my body continue to heal and the pain subside. I'm refilling my pain meds, but I hope I don't have to use them.


  1. Hi Tonya,
    Just picked up a link to this blog from Krista's facebook. I'm so shocked at your news but know that you are a strong healthy living woman with huge reserves of determination and courage. If anyone can beat this illness you can.
    Anyway just wanted to send you love and lollipops from NZ.
    Annemarie (AKA kipperkid from ICAN)

  2. It was great to see you too. And anytime you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.

    As for what I went through last year, you were VERY supportive. I didn't talk about it much, because I thought I would upset people. But, I'm finding with your blog, it's actually been very therapuetic. It's sad to think that your experience (that is very tough), has become a healing for me and I think will be healing for others in the future.

    I appreciate all the help you gave with the meals, our Girl Scout Troop and now your blog and much more.

    Love ya, Nicole