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 8, 2010

Coming "Out"

Today I made my debut to the world as an obvious cancer patient. A sick person. Even though I feel great and normal on the inside.

Even though I have a wig, I don't want to get sucked into wearing it every day. Besides, I've collected a few hats and scarves that I want to give a try to as well. This morning, I chose to wear a "beau beau" scarf. This is the style of it. (That's not me in the picture, its from their website.) They are cool because they are lined and already pre-fitted. All you have to do is slip it on your head. You can leave the tail, or use the matching scrunchie to make a bun.

I was a little nervous getting out of the car at Isabelle's school. Although many people already knew I had buzzed my hair yesterday, still....this was it. But it was okay. I told Isabelle ahead of time that I didn't want her to draw attention to me. I didn't want a gaggle of 9 year olds whispering and giggling. Isabelle is a bit uncomfortable with it still, and she deals with it by being silly.

I went on a power walk with some girlfriends and then took Jean-Marc to his mommy and me class, "Moove & Groove." He had such a great time. But it was strange to see myself in the mirror. I didn't know any of the other moms, but the teacher is a friend of mine. There I was, the cancer patient. One lady asked me if Jean-Marc was my "miracle baby." I said "What?" I was thinking to myself, "aren't they all?" I later realized what she may have meant. Perhaps she was referring to a post-diagnosis baby? One issue younger women with cancer face is forced infertility. Some women harvest ovaries before treatment to do IVF later. Perhaps that was what she meant? Regardless, I felt a little weirded out. But it was a fun hour anyway. I hope to go to as many of these as I can with him. If I can't go, maybe his grandma can take him. He really does enjoy it.

This afternoon, I changed outfits for a couple of errands and Isabelle's girl scout meeting. (I'm a co-leader, even though I'm not doing a whole lot right now.) I tried a hat instead of a scarf. The hat was actually more comfortable. The stubble on my head hurts when its rubbed, and the hat doesn't do that as much. We did much of the meeting outside, and I was a little worried that the wind might blow the hat off, but fortunately it didn't.

So I did it. I "owned" it.

I've been having trouble sleeping this week. I must have some anxiety over the chemo coming up. Maybe last night it was anxiety over my impending "debut." It throws a whole new angle into planning what you are going to wear. It's not like I'm dreading the chemo-I actually am wanting it to come so I can get it over with. I remember having trouble sleeping the nights leading up to the first round. I wake up in the 2 o'clock hour and cannot get back to sleep for a few hours. I'm pretty tired today as a result. I think tonight I may take one of the Ativans to get me through the night. I want to be as strong as I can be on Friday, and sleep is key.

My prayer requests:
  • SLEEP! Eric and I both have been having problems sleeping. Eric's is because he has come down with a cold. Maybe I'll suggest he take some Ny-Quil tonight. I would love to close my eyes and not open them again for at least 7 hours. Maybe more.
  • The health of my family. Like I said, Eric has a cold. Jean-Marc's hives seem to have faded, so that is good. Just pray that everyone get healthy and stay that way as I go through this next round of chemo.
  • That my appointments tomorrow go well. I get my blood drawn and then meet with my oncologist, Dr. P. I have no idea what he will go over with me. But pray that everything looks good and that we are on the right track in fighting this disease.


  1. Try keeping a book near the bed (with a little booklight) for those middle-of-the-night sleepless times. Pick something light and fluffy and not demanding or overly engrossing.

    I had a lot of sleepless nights after my father died. It's good to try to go back to sleep, but if you find your brain is just going round and round or you simply can't get back to sleep, change gears. Get up and do something else for a while, or get out the book and read for a while.

    This was a lifesaver for me when I was grieving, and it's useful for me even now when I have a lot on my mind. Reading a little fluff really helps me transition back to sleep much faster.

    Thinking good sleep thoughts for you!

  2. It was so funny when I saw the picture on your post because I looked and looked at it and thought, wow, that doesn't even look like Tonya.
    LOL. Where your hat and scarves proud. You're a fighter. And I believe you are already a conqueror. That cancer is GONE! Big hugs.

  3. Thank you Norma for saying that now I don't feel so bad.. honestly Tonya that picture is SO GORGEOUS it looks professional and I thought perhaps you used some website/catalog type photo as an example for what headscarf you bought or something... it was only on second look that I realized it was you!!!