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, August 2, 2010

The elephant in the room

With it being summertime, the kids and I are out of our normal routine. I'm not seeing the same ol' faces at the schoolyard gate every day like I do during the school year. I was diagnosed right as school was ending for the kids. I made it clear to my "mommy friends" that I told those last few days of school that I wasn't secretive about who knew or not. I know word has spread some during the school break, I just don't know how far. I don't know who all knows about my cancer situation or not.

It is strange when I run into people right now around town. Do they know? Or not? Do I act like everything is "normal?" What is normal, anyway? I certainly don't feel normal. I'll never feel like I did before. I've been changed forever. Right now, I'm in pain. The typical superficial answers to the "How are you?" question seem so awkward and forced. So far, I've not brought up my cancer to this casual question. Should I have? I don't want to be all bright and sunny saying everything is hunky dory, because its not.

Right now, I'm wrapped up in this whole cancer thing. It is hard not to talk about it. I eat, breathe, think, sleep cancer. Maybe as the pain of surgery subsides, it will also go away. By then, I'll probably be losing my hair and it will be obvious.

Anyway, if you're a local and we run into each other, let me know that you know so I don't have to pretend. It's just weird otherwise. I'm not sensitive about it. I'd rather have it mentioned than pretend that its not there. It's something that is hard for me to bring up as an answer to the passing "How are you?" question. Does this person really want to know how I am? Or is it just something polite to say when you run into someone?

I hope this doesn't come across as angry or anything. I'm just looking for a way for it not to be awkward not only for me but everyone else. I can foresee this happening more and more as we get closer to school starting. I already feel awkward in my own skin. I hope I can "fit in" where I did before and not feel like a bug under glass.

Does this make sense?


  1. Tonya...it makes total sense. Cancer or no cancer...I often wonder if when people ask HOW YOU ARE....if they really want to know, or if it's just something polite to ask. I always say OK, even when I am not because I feel that people don't want to hear otherwise. I surly hope you are able to truly answer how you are doing/feeling and have the friends around that will support you through this. I'm hear for you if you need to talk or need anything. We're also praying for you and your family.

  2. Hi Tonya,

    Just wanting to send you my thoughts and prayers during your recovery - it's been a long time since I was on the ICAN list but I certainly remember all you have done to help so many women. I am sorry to hear that you are facing the challenge of cancer - but I love hearing how strong and courageous you are!!! Still an inspiration :)

    Hope everyone is kind and sincere talking to you as school begins - but I think no matter how they act, you should share what seems helpful to you. Not a time to worry about making everything OK for others, I'm thinking. Good post, though, I am sure it will help! Your frankness is a great gift which will be a blessing for many - already is.

    God bless you as you heal. Praying for you and your family!