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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Busy living in training

It has been a busy week so far, so I missed posting yesterday.  Everything is going fine.  Normal, even.  Almost like we aren't a family living with cancer.  I've just been shuttling kids from school to activities, cooking dinner, and getting people taken care of.  Olivier has been functioning with a cold, but he's hanging in there.  He's testing for his next belt level in karate this afternoon.  Isabelle had her first flute lesson with the elementary school band.  She is so excited!  Jean-Marc is as cute as ever. The potty training is going well enough.  A few accidents here and there, but that is to be expected.

I've been trying to get in a workout each day.  Training sessions, I'm thinking of them.  The gym Monday, a power walk yesterday after some pilates.  Today was my Jillian DVD "Banish Fat, Boost Metabolisom" (which I will refer to as BFBM from now on).  Tomorrow mom and I are going to meet for a walk before my first appointment and I may do BFBM in the afternoon.  Friday is "chemo day" so I won't be working out then.

Cancer treatment is coming back, though. Tomorrow I go in for all of my "pre-chemo" appointments.  Blood draw at 9 a.m., oncologist at 10 a.m. and getting my "foobies" and a compression sleeve/gauntlet at 1:00 p.m.  I'm disappointed that I'll miss Isabelle's student council speech which is at 1:30 p.m.  I'm hoping that my mom will be able to go and record it for me.

I have been debating whether or not to blog about this next topic....but what the heck.  This blog is as much of a journal for myself as it is anything else.  And who knows? Maybe it can help someone else.  I've been expecting to be thrown into menopause from the chemo.  Dr. P said that because I'm young, my body might resist it.  Well, it has been resisting strongly!  I had a week or so of being impatient and irritable (I think it came across in a few of my posts).  Then a week of spotting and very light flow.  Then this week it has been quite heavy.  With no end in sight.  Enough already!   It has been so much that I'm a little concerned about my iron levels.  I've been eating a lot of iron-rich foods for the past couple of days.  I'm definitely going to ask Dr. P about this tomorrow.  It just feels like my body doesn't know what the heck to do.  So much confusion going on!  

I do feel a total schizophrenia of sorts.  In one sense, I'm in almost the best shape of my life.  Not "the" best, that was right before surgery in July.  But aside from the ability to lift weights, the best condition of my life.  I'm eating the healthiest food I've ever eaten and I'm at the healthiest weight as an adult that I've ever been.  Yet I'm battling CANCER and having pretty strong drugs pumped into me every three weeks that damage normal cells as well as the bad ones.  It is such a bizarre dichotomy.  No wonder my reproductive system doesn't know what to do.

My prayer requests:

  • That my blood draw show that everything is fine and that I can proceed with the chemo on Friday. 
  • That Dr. P have some insight into my "female" issues.  Hopefully this does not mean that I've got way too much estrogen in me...that feeds the cancer. If there is a problem, that Dr. P have a solution that addresses it.
  • That God's will be done with the student council elections.  Especially if it means that Isabelle wins!  But if she doesn't, that she be able to accept that and grow from it.  
  • That Olivier continue to battle and beat this cold...and that Isabelle, Eric and I do not come down with it. 
  • That I do not develop lymphedema in my left arm.  I've been doing my manual drainage technique after the shower each day.  I'm just kind of paranoid about this right now.  Especially with the heat we have been having this week. 


  1. It is kind of ironic but it does happen that way for many of us. I became my healthiest during and just after chemo because I learned what I should be eating and really heeded that and live it because it's a matter of life and death whereas in the past it was just I "should" but didn't. My period didn't disappear completely until after the 2nd chemo cycle. Of course, that was the last one I ever had (and ever will have) since I had a hysterectomy and oopherectomy in May - but my chemo ended in December and period had not returned by end of May. Everyone is different but most of the ladies I know have seen it come back around the 5-7 month post-chemo timeframe unless they started tamoxifen in which case they still don't have it back yet and likely won't til they're done with that. You're doing an awesome job and now I need to get my little butt to the gym LOL thanks for motivating me to do it :) xoxo

  2. HI Tonya... I want you to know that you are are being used, I am sure of that. I am praying that HE will remind you afresh that HE is the God of all comfort and can handle your worries, your concerns, your tears, your what ifs... I am praying that you will be able to give it all over (over and over, as many times as necessary) and leave it there, at the foot of the cross and know that His grace is really sufficient for you, no matter what.. I do pray to, that our great restorer Jesus, will utterly and completely heal and restore, all you are concerned about.. Lord, please no lymphodema, no menopause, but Lord YOUR will be done, no matter what and be glorified in and through Tonya.. Thank you for her Lord, bless her life and keep her strong in You.

  3. I love hearing about your diet and exercise program. It’s so motivational! I find myself having thoughts like … “If Tonya has the energy to fight cancer and work out too, then instead of taking the dog to the dog park and reading my magazine, I can take the dog for a walk on the trail at the edge of our neighborhood.” You are a warrior!