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.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Moving on....

Six weeks post-op. I finally feel like I am no longer handicapped by my surgery. It is now behind me. The sunburn sensation is gone. I am numb across my chest and upper arm, but that is probably a permanent thing. A thing that I was expecting. I don't have any pain in my incisions, either. It feels good to mentally close that chapter in my treatment.

What helped me make this mental switch? It probably had a lot to do with my physical therapy appointment this week where I was given the green light on picking up my toddler. It was neat last night to be able to put Jean-Marc into bed on my own last night. He is so cute. I read him "Goodnight Moon" and he says "nigh-night" to everything. That and "husssshhh." My little dude.

Per the physical therapist's instruction, I am massaging my scars while I put the vitamin E oil. Before, I would only touch them gingerly. It was kind of creepy. It still is kind of creepy, but I am able to move the tissue around more and feel like I'm doing something that is helping. Last night, the massage made a lot of the leftover surgical glue and scabs come off. Progress!

Yesterday morning it opted to work out at home with a Jillian DVD, "Burn Fat, Boost Metabolism." Coming out of my physical therapy appointment, I wanted to try a little upper body. This DVD is perfect, since it is mainly a cardio workout, but she does have a core circuit where you are in a plank (pushup) position. I did the whole thing, and just modified a few of the moves. For instance, I would do things on my knees, instead of a full pushup position. If I can do that a few more times, then I'll "graduate" myself to a full plank. It felt great to be "back." We'll see if I am sore in a bad way. Right now, it feels pretty good to have done it.

I am able to do more around the house as well. This morning, I was able to change the sheets on the kids' beds. Even the top bunk, which is a real pain. But I did it. Who knew I would be happy to do housework? I do have a post-op instruction from the surgeon that says I cannot do repetitive arm motions, including vacuuming and window washing, for 6 months. Hmm. I don't think I'm going to push that one! Wouldn't want to be injured, you know. I do expect to have an energy drain as I progress through my chemotherapy. So while I have the energy to do things around the house, I am enjoying it.

Ah chemo. Round two is in 8 days. The day prior, I go in for a visit with Dr. P, my oncologist, and get some lab work done to check my blood counts.

Having the kids in school has been a great time-sucker for me. Just picking up the kids at 2 different schools takes me from about 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. We are also having our backyard re-done, and that is also helping me change focus a bit. Today, we had concrete poured. As I type this, the guys are on their hands and knees out there, raking it and smoothing it. It's going to be great. Did I mention that after I beat cancer's bootie I am going to have a huge party? Everyone is invited. You'll see the nice backyard then.

I seem to be fighting a cold that Olivier brought home. I've had this sore throat for a few days now. It hasn't progressed to any other symptoms. I asked my son this morning how his cold started, and he confirmed that it was a sore throat. I'm gargling with warm salt water a few times a day. I just pray that it doesn't progress.

Other than that, physically I feel good. The metallic taste has gone from my mouth. My energy is normal. I still have hair. I wonder for how much longer? It is really a strange thing to wait for your hair to fall out. I run my hands through my hair and fully expect to have a clump in my hands. So far, though, it is sticking in my head. Wouldn't it be something if I was one of the ones that didn't experience hair loss? After all this preparation? I need to just stop thinking about it.

My prayer requests for today:
  • That this sore throat go away. That it not progress into a full blown cold.
  • That my kids stay healthy. Their health is my health. Not that I don't want them healthy anyway. I used to have this mommy immunity that would make it difficult for me to catch the cooties they came down with. Not anymore!
  • That I be able to wait without being anxious. In this case, I'm not anxious in a scared kind of way. Just impatient. I need more patience, I guess.


  1. Tonya my friend Amy NEVER lost any hair at all, through her entire process. So maybe you will be one of those women who skip that part.

  2. I too Tonya only got somewhat thinned out (I could pull it off though with this massive amount of thickness) but did not lose enough for people to notice. Praying for you!