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.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I'm not as comfortable going out post-hair loss as I thought. But I feel like everyone is looking at me, giving me looks.

I notice it a lot with kids, even my own. The one exception is Jean-Marc. He doesn't seem to notice my fuzzy stubbly head. At the school yard, I see kids who know Isabelle giving me sideways, curious glances. It's normal, I suppose. Kids are curious. What do they know about cancer? Maybe they even think that they can catch the disease.

I notice it with adults too. I get a variety of looks from them. There is the "pity" look. "Oh you poor thing." I really don't like that one. I don't want to be pitied. I'm strong, I'm going to beat this thing. In a group of women, there is the look of relief. At least one in eight of us is going to be diagnosed with breast cancer. If I have it, that means 7 others are in the clear. They've dodged the bullet, at least for now.

I'm not throwing stones from a glass house. Heck, I even give myself a startled look when I look in a mirror. Mornings are the most bizarre. After a night of sleep, I stumble into the bathroom feeling like I did every other morning of my life. Maybe I slept well, maybe I didn't. It's even worse when I actually did get a good night of sleep. Then I look into the mirror and see a stranger who looks like she's been in a prisoner camp. A few deep breaths and I can go on. I just shake my head. Right. That's me with breast cancer.

Why should I care, anyway? I was at Costco yesterday and saw one woman who really deserved some looks. You see people in crazy get ups, hairdos and makeup all the time. They go out boldly like they look like a million bucks. I'm not talking about teenagers who make a point of trying to get attention by bizarre getups. At least I have a good excuse for my alternate look.

I feel petty and superficial for even blogging about this. But its something that I've been noticing and I do want to document this journey. It definitely is a lesson about how truly superficial outward appearances are.

Enough of that topic.

Today is a good day. I was able to do a Jillian DVD exactly 1 week after my second round of chemo. I've managed to get some form of exercise each day this week. Even on Monday, my "tired" day, I went for a power walk. I'm sure that keeping up the exercise is helping me get through this. I can't do what I did before my surgery, but I am doing what I can and pushing it where I can. I may have overdone it a bit yesterday with the pushups, though. I've had some shooting pains in my left incision area. So I'll back off on that for awhile. Darn!

It has been a busy week and I am looking forward to taking the kids out for frozen yogurt after school. Jean-Marc is still suffering from a runny nose. I'm thankful that I haven't had any symptoms. My taste buds are a bit strange, but that metallic taste seems to be fading a little bit. I bought an electric razor today to take care of the stubble on my head.

My prayer requests:
  • That Jean-Marc get over this cold without anyone else in the house getting it.
  • That the sores on my head go away. Let me bald gracefully, please!
  • That cancer cells be killed by the chemo. Let this all be worth what I'm having to go through to get to the other side.


  1. I remember those looks all too well. Here where I live it is 100+ degrees in the summer time and my chemo went til December so wigs were just not practical - too hot and itchy - so I didn't wear them. I wore scarves when outside to protect my skin from the sun - very very important during treatment b/c I accidentally got a small patch of sunburn and it took 6 weeks to heal! Anyway, I walked around bald most of the time and so I got lots of looks from people of all ages. And lots of stories - some inspirational, others that made me turn around and cry. I bought a "halo" hair piece for wearing under hats for occasional use when I wanted to go to something and not be bothered by the looks - I'll send you a pic of me wearing it via FB so you can see it. They come in all different colors and I bought two colors and it looks super natural unlike most wigs but requires a hat or cap or scarf on top because it's open on the top. You'll see. I applaud you for talking about this. People need to know how their looks affect us - it's bad enough we have to go through this and then to add insult to injury is just terrible. You're doing an awesome job. I'm so impressed with your exercise! But listen to your body and remember not to overdo it either. xoxo Rock on, warrior sister! xoxo

  2. I know what you mean, I dont have cancer nor does my son, but he has many other medical issues.....I get the "looks".....one time a childrens, a monther of a little girl was talking to the nurse, her daughter had a cute shirt on it said...Im craby get over it, with an airbrushed crab on it (she has cancer), I overheard her mom saying "I just wish people would stop looking....ASK me! ill tell you all about her...just ask!"...I have alway been open to people asking about peter boy too!....There are always gonna be those looks...I "look" at it as an opportunity to share with people...not that I asked for this opportunity, but the LORD has given it to me, what am I gonna do with it?

    praying for ya sweet sister!