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, August 17, 2010

A little loop that turned to a blessing

I was all set for my physical therapy appointment today. I have a lot of questions about my physical recovery that I was needing answered. When can I pick up Jean-Marc? What is this strange cording under my left arm & armpit? When can I bear weight on my arms? Will I ever be able to do weight training again? Why does my bicep hurt? Are there massages I can do on my arm to help the lymph fluid drain without causing swelling? Am I recovering adequately from the mastectomy?

About an hour before I was set to go, Kaiser called to tell me that the therapist was "out of the office" today. What?! Didn't they know that when they made the appointment 3 weeks ago? They have one physical therapist in San Diego that specializes in lymphedma. Actually there are two, but the one who works here in San Marcos is out on maternity leave until next month. I was very upset. They said I could come in next Tuesday. I told her that I may not be up to it since I will be STARTING CHEMOTHERAPY on Friday. So I now have an appointment on August 31st. So irritating. It's one thing if she was sick or had an emergency. But they didn't say that.

So I was left with an open morning. It is hard for me to have open time like that. For one thing, its hard with the kids, especially Jean-Marc. They need to do something. I was all set to have my mom deal with that this morning. :-) But also, the physical therapy was something that I was going to be able to do to move my recovery along. And POOF it was gone.

It was a hot day here. Summer finally seems to have arrived now that school is around the corner. What was I going to do with the kids? I certainly didn't want to go inland, where it is hotter. I pulled out a book I have called, "Walking San Diego." I opened it up at random and saw
a listing for Torrey Pines State Reserve. I asked Olivier if that was a neat place to visit, since he visited the park in the 4th grade. He got excited and said that it was. So I called up mom and invited her to go with us. (I was going to need help pushing the stroller).

It was my first time visiting this park. I just love San Diego! I've lived here since 1996, and here is yet another gorgeous place within a short distance. We visited
the main lodge first to get maps and get oriented. They had dozens of taxidermied animals and birds. Jean-Marc has this thing about owls. He knows them by their French name, "hibou." They had at least 3 of them in there. So for the rest of the morning, he was on the lookout! Bummer for him that he didn't know what "nocturnal" meant! But he kept looking up into the trees! See that picture above? He's pointing up, saying "hibou! hibou!" (It sounds like E-boo, E-boo)

We went on a couple small walks-one up a series of stairs to the
highest peak, and another one was a 2/3 mile loop. Jean Marc did them both! It was a good thing, since the trails had steps, shallow roots, and a lot of sand. There were several gorgeous vistas overlooking Del Mar. We watched surfers waiting to catch a wave, fish eating birds swooping down to find their meal, and military aircraft on their way to MCAS Miramar. Olivier enjoyed telling us about the plants and things he learned about when there a couple years ago. As mom said, "This is a walk that is good for the soul." And it was. I am so thankful and in awe of the gorgeous beauty of this world that God made for us.

There is a reason for everything, and it was not in God's plan for me to go to physical therapy today. Instead, he wanted to show me part of His creation. We had a fun time with the kids, and they got out and got some exercise too. It was a blessed time. Something that I will remember fondly forever. Of course, cancer was never far from my mind. I have a physical reminder of that fact-I have this itchy sunburn pain that is chronic. I can't lift my own baby. But I also got to hear the roar of the waves, the sound of the seagulls, and watch Jean-Marc discover pine needles! Not a bad mix.

My prayer requests:
  • That I don't need the Adriamycin. The more I read, the more confused I get. I've prayed for guidance and wisdom. I just don't know if not taking it will decrease my chances of survival. I just don't know. Right now, my chemo drugs will be cytoxan and taxotere.
  • That I not be fearful of chemo. Right now I'm not. But that could change. I want to stay strong mentally.
  • That the chemo be effective against any remaining cancer cells in my body.

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