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, October 2, 2010

Round three, day two

Pink & Plaid Warrior ready for the battle!
I love my little warrior princess!

Chemotherapy went pretty well yesterday.  Round three marks the middle point of my chemotherapy regimen.  Only 3 more rounds to go.  Before leaving the house, the kids and I posed for a few funny shots in a pink wig for the "Pink Wig Dance" video that is being created by an awesome group of breast cancer survivors up in LA.  They are hoping to get it viral on the web.   Here are a few of our pictures.  It was a hoot!  Isabelle is wearing my "1 in 8" tank top.  It has 8 pink ribbons in a circle-like they are holding hands.  It represents the statistic that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  I thought it was neat that we can fit into the same shirt!  Sure, its a bit looser on her, but that's nifty.  I doubt I could wear it with my new foobies, though.  But that is the beauty of them.  I can choose whether or not to have them on.  Imagine that!

Back to chemo. I was blessed to be able to fit in a quick run with my mom before hand, which helped my mental attitude.  Not that I was down in the dumps or anything.  Heck, it was October 1st...the first day of breast cancer awareness month, and I'm living it for the world.  I was decked out in my "battle gear" and ready to take on the world.  So the exercise before the chemo was icing on the cake.  Thank you Lord for giving me the strength to stay active while I go through this.

On Thursdays and Fridays, I drop Isabelle off at her friend's house so they can walk to school together.  Otherwise, I'd have to sit at the elementary school for 15-20 minutes before they open the gate.  (I drive the middle school carpool those days and am back in Discovery Hills a bit early).  It's a win win for everyone-Isabelle and her friend get to walk to school. (exercise and fun all in one) and I am free to do whatever. But chemo wasn't until 9 am.  So mom met me at Discovery Park lake and we did 3 laps.  Each lap is 3/4 of a mile. We started by walking, but ran about half of it.  Altogether we did 2.25 miles in about 40 minutes.  Not a huge speed record, but I was pushing an umbrella stroller!  Again, I wasn't planning on any exercise yesterday, so it was cool to get some in.

Chemo itself went without much incident.  I had a nurse I hadn't had before.  I asked her to put the IV in on my forearm rather than my hand.  Once it was in, it was more comfortable, although she kind of squirted blood all over my arm and pillow hooking the needle up to the tube.  I got 24 mg of Zofran, the anti-nausea drug ahead of time as usual.  That was a whole days dosage. She mentioned that the steroid that I had been taking since the day before also had anti-nausea properties as well.  Knowing that, I haven't taken any Zofran since coming home and I'm feeling okay.  If I can wean myself off of that at home, I'd be happy.  The less drugs I can take, the better.  They mess with my system and tend to bind me up, despite the ridiculously high fiber diet I have and the volumes of water I drink.

I did overhear a conversation with the lady in the chair in the chemo suite next to me yesterday.  It was her last day of chemo, and she mentioned to the nurse that she had gained 10 pounds.  Now this woman wasn't very big to begin with, so 10 pounds less would be really small.  The nurse told her that about half of women undergoing chemo for breast cancer gain weight.  Ugh.  I've heard that the hormonal therapy (tamoxifen) that I'm going to be taking for 5 years after chemo also interferes with your metabolism in that way.  What an incentive to keep up with an exercise routine!

Mom and dad came into the chemo suite as I was finishing up and we went out to lunch at Panera bread.  Thanks to my ICAN friend, Berna, for the meal card through mealbaby!  We had a nice time visiting and I was happy to be able to eat a normal lunch, despite having crazy drugs pumped into me for the past 2 1/2 hours.  I just felt a little fuzzy mentally.  We still had some time to kill before picking up Isabelle from school, so we went over to Marshall's and I bought a couple of cute hats and a scarf.  I like the hats I got because they come down low behind my head to cover my neck.  You don't have that bald look like other hats give you.

After we picked up Isabelle from school, (who was still on cloud 9 after winning the student council election the day before), we went to FroYo Love for some frozen yogurt.  She also managed to get a sleepover play date with a good friend, so she was bouncy and happy.  It's nice to see your kids happy.  If a few bucks of frozen yogurt will do it, then its money well spent in my book.  Especially considering our family is in the mist of this upheaval and trial.  Bring on the FroYo!

My goal this weekend is to take it easy so I don't burn out early next school week.  Eric leaves for a business trip tomorrow until Thursday.  That is easier said than done. The thing is, there are still things that need to be done.  Yeah, everyone else could scrounge for food.  But I want to eat well and healthy myself.  So I went to Sprouts and stocked up on some veggies and organic chicken.  I plan on making a simple, yet healthy meal tonight.  (Baked chicken with kale/carrots and barley).  I also want to move every day, even at low levels.  I took the dog on a pretty good walk this morning, so the activity level was perfect.  I didn't break a sweat, but did feel my muscles moving.  Tomorrow I'll do some light yoga before church and it should be good.  This afternoon I am definitely going to hole up in my room with a book or a chick flick and rest.  Everyone else can clean up the lunch dishes and take care of whatever they need.  I'm checking out for a few hours!

My prayer requests:

  • That I don't get sick from this round of chemo.  I'm scaling back on the anti-nausea meds a bit.  I have an appetite, but my stomach does have little bouts of turning around a bit.  Not really nausea--its just reminding me there is something going on.  
  • That I am able to rest this weekend so I can keep up with life next week.  Mom is going to be here to help, and I'm going to need it.  Just getting kids fed, the dog walked, kids to school and activities is a seriously full time job. Not to mention keeping clean clothes on their backs!  
  • That the chemo do its job without too many side effects.  I would really like to keep all my finger and toe nails.  It is creepy to think that they may fall out.  
  • Travel mercies for Eric tomorrow as he flies to Toronto.  That his trip be blessed and the business go well.  He stresses over work so much, even more so than his bosses.  May doors open up for him while he is there to represent his company well.  
  • That the kids all step up to the plate and help with the necessary chores around the house without grumbling.  Better yet...without having to be asked! 


  1. I" am holding you by your right hand - - I, the Lord your God - - and I say to you, Don't be afraid; I am here to help you." Isaiah 41:13