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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A series of "lasts" ... for now

I've read in books where cancer survivors have described their lives in two parts: BC (before cancer) and AC (after cancer). The diagnosis has been hard, for sure. But physically my life has not changed yet. Of course, that will all come to a screeching halt in two days when I go in for surgery.

Over the past few days, I can't help but think of things and activities as I do them as being the "last" time I'll do them normally. With my whole body. Last Friday, we went to the beach. I couldn't help but think that it would be the last time (before surgery) that I would go to the beach. Not that I was ever much of a beach junkie. It is like everything is taking on extra meaning as I do it as I always have done....for the last time. Last Sunday was the last time in church before the big day. Next time I go (which I am hoping I only miss a week), I won't be able to give and receive hugs like I did last Sunday. And boy did I get some really heartwarming hugs!

Today I'll be doing my last Jillian level 3 circuit. I have promised myself that I am going to get back to the place physically when I can do it again. But it is going to be awhile. The physical hit that I'm about to take is on my mind a lot. I've worked really hard over the past year to get to this point. Those level 3 workouts are no joke! It takes me about 70-90 minutes to do them. They involve strength training with hand weights, as well as insane plyometric moves. It is crazy! When my youngest brother, Jared, was here before his current deployment to Iraq, he came over and did them with me for a week. They were a challenge to him, and he maxes out the Army physical fitness test! It has been a source of pride for me that I've been able to get to this point. It's about to go out the window. (But perhaps, that is one of the things I am here to learn. I know God prefers humility over pride. Hmmm...)

I found a book at the library yesterday about exercise and breast cancer. The exercises looked so wimpy to me. They said to be sure to get your doctor's approval before starting anything--even simple arm stretches. The book said it could be about 6 weeks before you start exercising. 6 weeks!!?? I work out 6 days a week, doing dozens of pushups! This is going to be very tough, indeed.

Some "lasts" I was okay with. Like the last time I mopped the floor. :-) Others will be a bummer. Like the last time (for awhile), that I can get Jean-Marc out of bed in the morning. I love that time. He is so excited to see me. He's fresh, happy, and so darn cute. He lets me squeeze his pudgy little toddler body and give him dozens of kisses as I carry him downstairs for breakfast. I'm going to miss that. It will be one thing that keeps me going--the anticipation of that time again. But will it feel different in my altered body? I'll let you know when I find out.

I am looking forward to the surgery, though. At least then I'll know that the tumors are gone. I will have made a devastating first strike at my enemy. But it will be at some price to me as well. It will be the sacrifice of my life "BC." So I guess I am in a bit of mourning for that life. However, I know that God has plans for me. "For I know the thoughts I think toward you. Thoughts of peace and not of evil, but to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11. He will turn these ashes into beauty. I just have to remember His promises and look toward the future that He has in store for me, and not look back with sadness. The joy of the Lord will be my strength.

Thank you for your prayers and support. I'm headed down to Spring Valley today to spend the day with my sister and law, niece and nephews. I look forward to holding my newest nephew, Caleb James, for the first time. God is good, all the time.

My prayer requests are the same as before: that the cancer would stop dead in its tracks; that my family and I would not be fearful; and that I would recover quickly without complication. Blessings to you all.

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