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, August 28, 2010

Hair play

Oh the things one does while they are waiting for their hair to fall out. I've been getting creative.

When I went to the "Look Good, Feel Better" session, there was a lady who made custom hair pieces. I've also noticed in the American Cancer Society's catalog, "TLC" that they sell things called "halos" which are little pieces of hair that attach to the sides or bang of a hat or scarf to make it look like the hat or scarf is covering hair. They also are called "hairline accents." This is what they look like.

If you've been following my blog from the beginning, you'll remember I got a free wig from the ACS. I wasn't to thrilled with the style, but the color was not too bad. Lighter than I've been for awhile, but passable. Well, I decided to sacrifice it to try and make some of my own "hairline accents." I've cut several pieces from it to make detachable bangs, as well as hair that can stick out from under the sides and back of hats and scarves. The idea is to sew velcro to the hat or scarf (the soft side) and then velcro to the hair piece. Then if I want or need to have the look of hair peeking out, I can just stick it on. I've sewn the velcro to the hair, but only to one hat. I'm thinking of maybe trying sticky velcro rather than sew on velcro so I don't have to put seams in the hats. We'll see. It's a work in progress.

We are kidless this weekend. All three of them are down at their cousin's house for a "cousin weekend." How amazing is that? We really are blessed by my sister in law and mom for doing this. She's even bringing Isabelle up to San Marcos for her riding lesson in the middle of it. The older two were really excited to spend their last weekend of summer vacation this way. Jean-Marc has no clue, but my mom is going down too so he'll do okay with her. He has gotten very used to having "gamma" around every day. It's a far cry from when he was smaller and he would cry at the sight of her. (And most everybody else!)

Eric and I are taking advantage of our status this weekend to go out. Last night we went for a walk on the beach at Cardiff and had dinner at the Charthouse. I even wore the "fluffies" in my camisole. It felt wierd and lumpy. But having something "on top" helps to define my waistline a bit more. Otherwise, I just look thick. Tonight I think we are going to go see "Eat, Drink, Pray, Love" and have dinner at Canapes in San Marcos. My sister in law and mom will bring the kids up for church on Sunday and I'll get them back then.

It has been 8 days since chemo. I realized late yesterday that I need to just get on my knees and thank God for allowing me to come through this round as well as I have. It was almost like I wanted to get sick for some reason. Then it would feel real. Like I really do have breast cancer. (Maybe I don't anymore. The surgery may have gotten every single bit. But I digress...) I was browsing other blogs yesterday and read a blog of someone whose first round really knocked her for a loop. She was out of it most of the week, and her counts were so low she was in the hospital in a near quarantine status. What the heck am I complaining about?

It helps to read other blogs. In Jennifer Griffin's blog that I mentioned last time, she exercised every day while on chemo. Our cases are a bit different, though. She did chemo before her surgery. The chemo pretty much did away with her huge tumors. I'm almost jealous reading it. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see other women survive Stage 3. I also can be thankful that my cancer is not triple negative. At least there are more treatment options.

I realized today that one way I can combat this waiting agony is to think of ways I can fight this cancer each and every day. I can do that by eating well and exercising. I'm learning more and more about cancer fighting foods. Food is medicine! It can do you a world of good, and it can also make you sick if you eat junk. I'm trying to do to exercise every day, but I am a bit hamstrung (no pun intended) by my surgical recovery. It has been 5 weeks and I don't want to overdo it by bouncing too much. I try to mix it up so I don't get bored. I'm a little wary of the gym and the germs there, but I did make it there twice this week. I also can do some exercise videos at home, or power walks. Anything to keep my metabolism going, get those endorphins flowing, and blood circulating so the chemo drugs can get to every cell in my body. BAM!

The sunburn feeling on my chest is pretty much gone. Now it feels kind of tight on the incisions. You know the feeling when a cut is healing? It's the same thing. I've been massaging Vitamin E oil onto the scars twice a day. The scabs are starting to flake off too. It's kind of gross, but it makes it look not quite so jagged and Frankenstein-like.

So that's where I am. Enjoying a relaxed weekend. Missing the kids a little bit. Looking forward to their starting school next week when we can get into a routine with new challenges and excitement.


  1. You are very cleaver with your hair pieces Tonya.
    I had a hat with attached hair but the funny thing was, the hat was too big and it would trend lower and lower and you could barely see my eyes!!! A funny memory. You are on the right track with your attitude and faith girl. We are cheering and praying for you. Much Love.

  2. I hope you're enjoying your "kidless" time. I don't get that kind of time very often since my hubby is a pilot and gone most of the time and my family is 3000 miles away but when I do, I cherish it not because I don't want to be with my son but because I'm a better mom when I've had a break from the craziness that is cancer treatment/survival, motherhood, work, etc.

    As for how to fight cancer every day going forward - a SUPER great book for this is Anticancer: A New Way of Life. I love it and I follow nearly all the suggestions in it.

    There are anti-cancer foods I eat daily - blueberries, kale, broccoli, etc...and I've managed to have these things truly be my favorites - I feel "naked" without them on my plate every day. I feel a bit more in control of my future knowing I'm taking important steps to protect the body that God is using as a vessel for His path for my life. I wish I knew way back when what I know now! You're doing awesome - a true cancer ass kicker! :) God bless you!