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, September 4, 2010

Drip, drop...its starting

I mentioned some tenderness on the top of my head yesterday. Last night (exactly 2 weeks post round one) while I was watching Jean-Marc eat his dinner, I ran my fingers through the top of my head where it was and gave a slight tug and several strands came out. More than would typically. I'm pretty sure that is the beginning of the hair loss. Drip.

With my new short haircut, when I wake up in the morning it is going in all directions. I usually have to spray some water on it and brush it just to get it not to look ridiculous. I did that this morning and my head was tingly for several minutes. Drop. I've read that is another tell tale sign.

So the long awaited "milestone" is happening, albeit slowly. Strange. I can help it along by tugging it out if I want. Or I can keep the touching and tugging to a minimum and see where it comes out.

It's a mixed bag of emotions. In a way, I am relieved that it is starting. I did relatively well on the chemo round. It was almost like it didn't happen. So a little part of me was a bit anxious that I didn't get enough of the drugs, or that they weren't doing their job. This shows me that it is affecting my body. On the other hand, this will signal to the world that I have a serious medical condition. I'm going to look "sick." Really sick. But on the inside right now, I don't feel like I do. Its such a contradiction. I realize that I probably will feel worse as I progress through chemo. But I am claiming each day of feeling good by working out and doing what I can do. Who knows how the next round(s) will go? It also is going to add another layer of complexity to what I wear. To have to coordinate hats and scarves with what I'm wearing is going to be hard. I'm not good at accessorizing. Sticking in a pair of earrings is one thing, but having to consider color and print of hats and clothes. Yikes! And I don't have a wig yet.

God has really been gracious to me in all of this. He most definitely has upheld me with his strong Hand. Any comments that people make about how well I am doing...well, its not me. I'm only in the state I am because of God's grace and mercy upon me. All of the glory goes to Him, not me. If it were up to me, I'd be a quivering heap of anxiety, pity and fear. I have my moments, but that is only when I take my eyes off of the Lord. God truly is good, all of the time. He loves me, and He is sovereign.

Now the question is when do I shave it off? Or do I let it fall out little by little? At some point, its going to be necessary. At this point, it is really slow-it'll take awhile for it to look thin. I'll let this go for a few days and see how much of a pain its going to be. Maybe then I'll be ready to "take charge" and shave it.

The family is busy today. Eric has his monthly target shooting competition this morning. Olivier will be gone all day today on a Scout trip to Soak City. Isabelle had a birthday slumber party to go to last night. I get to be the mom's taxi this morning. Take Olivier to the drop-off point for Scouts, then swing back to get Isabelle from her party and take her to her riding lesson. If Jean-Marc weren't going through a separation anxiety phase, and if I weren't paranoid about him picking up germs, I'd leave him at the gym's "Kid's Club" and go to my first Zumba class in about 8 weeks. Alas, I don't think that is in the cards for me. I'll have to wait until the afternoon when he is napping and just go sweat on the stairclimber and other cardio equipment.

On the health front, neither Eric or Olivier complained about his symptoms this morning. Good sign! Perhaps they have fought off the illness?

My prayer requests today:
  • That I be able to cope with the hair loss.
  • That the chemo drugs that are in my body are doing their job and destroying any cancer cells that escaped through my lymph nodes. Better yet, that I not have any cancer cells in me--that the surgery got them all and that the chemo is just overkill.
  • That the family be healthy and not get sick, even a cold could derail my chemo schedule. I would like to have the schedule stay as it is and be done in early December.
  • That the timing of my brother coming home from Iraq will work out for everyone. Yay! He's coming home, probably before the end of October. Mom and dad will want to go and greet him in Georgia. There are a lot of things going on in that month, though. Mom is already kind of worried about it. We have our Making Strides for Cancer walk, my chemo round on the 22nd, as well as few other things that make the timing a bit complicated. I know God will work the timing out, but extra prayer never hurts!


  1. I love your posts Tonya. Thank you for sharing. I chose to shave my head. Jeanne D. did it for me. I wore my shaved head as a signal that I am a fighter! Keep trusting the Lord. He is our ROCK.

  2. I shaved my head once large groups of strands started coming out. I hosted a "whine and cheese" party with my girlfriends present while my hair dresser put my hair in pony tails to cut my hair off and donate it to Locks of Love and then once the ponies were off she shaved the rest off. It was a very empowering experience unlike the very sad experiences I've heard about of some women who let it fall out bit by bit. Everyone is different in so many aspects of this journey so just follow your heart and pray on it and you'll know what is right for you. The Lord will carry you through this, every step of the way. And when you're done with treatment and your hair grows back you'll get that rooster hair again for a while - I have it now haha :) xoxo