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 10, 2010

Round Two in the can

I woke up this morning ready to go! The morning here getting ready was pretty smooth-I had the kids' lunches ready to go the night before. We were out the door by 7:25 a.m. I dropped Olivier off at his school, then dropped Isabelle off at her friends' house so they could walk to their school together.

I had about 45 minutes to kill, so I met my mom at Discovery Lake and we did a couple of easy laps. She took Jean-Marc from there to the Wild Animal Park for the morning. (I will never call it "Safari Park," by the way!)

I walked into Kaiser, and I'm sure everyone could see where I was headed...the chemotherapy suite! I was dressed in my battle gear: pink yoga pants and matching hoodie, my pink ribbon T-shirt that says "GOD...so much bigger than cancer!"; and a pink head scarf that I picked up this week. I even had matching hot pink toenails! That was coincidence...that was the pedicure I had a month ago. By the way, I am more and more comfortable going out with the headscarf "cancer patient" look. Own it, baby! This is what I'm going through right now, so be nice to me, world! :-)

I was able to pick my chair, so I headed right for the one by the windows so I could perhaps get a little bit of reception on my iPhone. Yep! As many of you know, I was able to update my facebook status while there.

The routine goes like this: the nurse comes over and wraps your arm in a warm towel. She logs onto the system and asks you about your meds, which ones you are currently on, and which ones you will be taking during this round. Then she puts an IV in your arm. This time, it went in a bit low. It looked like it was on my hand, but the needle inside actually reached down to my wrist. Every time I moved my wrist, it kind of hurt. No biggie, but definitely something we want to do differently next time. They start a saline wash and give you the maximum dosage of an anti-nausea pill. (Zofran for me). Then they give it some time to take effect, that was about 10-15 minutes. I was able to breeze through some back issues of People magazine. I must live in a cave, because half the people in the magazine I've never heard of! Then they come and make sure your name is the name on the bag of chemotherapy drug. You verify it, they pop it in and you sit there for an hour or so for it to pump into your body. This time, they started me off a bit slower, but faster than last time. After about an hour, they change bags with the other chemo drug you are prescribed. When it's done, they do a little saline wash, take out the IV and you are on your way.

This may sound bad, but I actually enjoy these visits. I don't have to worry about anyone else but ME. I can do whatever I want. I can read what I want. I can watch TV if I want. I can snooze. I can listen to my iPod. I don't have to worry about kids, diapers, or any of the daily minutiae that being a mom entails. I can relax knowing that Jean-Marc is having fun with Grandma, the others are in school, and its all good. I drove myself today and felt fine to drive home. I told Eric I would call him if I felt weird, but I was fine. No dizziness or nausea.

When we all got home, Jean-Marc was acting kind of weird. He had been outside and active all morning, so we knew he was tired and hungry. I made him what he asked for: PB&J. (Organic everything on whole wheat). He only ate a few bites and started crying, "pee pee, pee pee" and grabbing at his crotch. I asked if he wanted to sit on the potty, but he said "eat, eat." Okay. He just was fussy and didn't eat much. I figured he was too tired--it was close to 1:00 p.m. by then.

I took him upstairs and changed him, and he wasn't wet at all. I kissed him and put him down for his nap. He laid right down and I figured he was out for a few hours.

Mom and I went to the San Marcos Brewery. I thought the chicken tortilla soup sounded good. While we were there, I got a call from Eric that Jean-Marc woke up panicky, sweaty, and crying. He took his temperature, but it was normal. He let him play in his room for about an hour and he finally got down around 2:30 p.m.

Still, he was acting strange about food and elimination all day. I wonder if he has a tummy bug? His hives have gone away. Now this. Poor kid. When he woke up, he did have a normal dinner. One of his favorites, Trader Joes Chicken Noodle soup. Hopefully, he'll keep it down and have a good sleep tonight.

I came home and made a recipe from my new cookbook. It's Creamy Broccoli Potato soup. I've got it all blended up, it just needs to be reheated when we are ready. I hope its good.

How am I feeling? I am a little tired. But it is the end of the day, so that isn't unusual. I have moments of funky stomach. I think I'll take a Zofran before dinner. I don't feel super hungry, but I think the soup will hit the spot. Other than that, I feel pretty normal. I'm drinking TONS of water to help the chemo drugs circulate. I've easily had about 100 ounces today, and I don't feel waterlogged. In fact, I could drink more. It's great how your body will tell you what you need if you just listen to it.

My prayer requests:
  • That Jean-Marc be healthy. Its a worry when a little kid can't verbalize what is going on that is distressing them. Pray that he is okay and HEALTHY.
  • That I am able to tolerate this round of chemo as well as the last. Starting with a good night of sleep tonight.
  • That these drugs do their job. INFILTRATE AND DESTROY!


  1. Nice job today Tonya! You ROCK!!!!

  2. YEAH!!!! Look at you go, my warrior sista!!! Got your dukes up, God in your corner. You're KICKING CANCER'S ASS!!!! xoxoxo I'm raising my glass of cancer-ass-kicking green tea for you right now! :)