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.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Thank the Lord that this round of chemo seems to be going like the last four.  That is, after a yucky Monday (day 4), today is better. I got a good night of sleep last night and woke to a crisp and bright fall day.  I decided to be joyful in the day and remembered the Psalm that declares "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."  (Psalm 118:24)

I think it helps to set your mind on something sometimes.  I may not immediately feel a particular way, but if I set my mind on something, like being joyful in the day, my body and spirit will follow.

It truly has been a godsend to have Jean-Marc with my mom for the past two days.  I am looking forward to having him come back now, and can be "present" with him and not irritated.  Thank you, Mom! It has made a world of difference.

I enjoyed a power walk with some friends this morning.  What a difference to not have to push a stroller!  Not that I mind doing that, it actually helps the workout.  It was nice to walk and chat, and enjoy the beautiful morning and sunshine.

Another praise report is that my forearm didn't bruise from the IV last week.  That also has helped me feel better.  I hated to look down and see a battered and bruised up arm for a week and a half.  It made me feel like a victim, a sick person.

I realized that it has only been a little over 5 months since I was diagnosed.  Doesn't it seem like so much longer??  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving next week.  I have so much to be thankful for.  This year has not been easy, but still.  It could be so much worse. I thank God for all of the blessings in my life.  Off the top of my head, they include the following:

  • I'm thankful that I found the lump in my left armpit when I did back in May. I was given a "clean" mammogram in April. Clearly, it wasn't.  It was providential that I found the lump myself, and I wasn't even doing a self-exam at the time. If I hadn't, I would have gone at least another year (or more) without a mammogram.  The stage 3 could have easily been stage 4 by then.
  • I'm thankful for my family. Not just my husband, kids and parents.  Of course, they have been amazing during this time.  I could not have made it this far as well without them.  I'm also thankful that my brother made it home safely from his third tour of duty in Iraq.  He will be flying into San Diego on Monday. It will be nice to have him home for the holiday.  My other brother will have custody of his kids and they will all be up for Thanksgiving.  I've been blessed with a new niece and nephew this year too.  We will miss my sister and her family, but are definitely looking forward to her visit in February.  And just think, Tara...I should be DONE with cancer treatment by then. (Other than the years of hormonal treatment, that is.) I may even have a little bit of hair!
  • I'm thankful for my family in Christ. I was just telling a friend at school today how wonderful the fellowship at Calvary Chapel Escondido is.  I didn't even really understand the depths until 5 months ago. Not just those at CC Escondido, but overall.  I've run into brothers and sisters in the hospital, at school, in the chemo ward, and elsewhere.  I'm being prayed for by folks I've never met and I'm so thankful for that fellowship that we share. 
  • I'm thankful for all of my friends, wherever they are. I've had so much support from everyone both "in real life" and online. I know I haven't always responded to the wonderful messages that people have sent me, or the cards I have received.  But I cherish them all and am thankful to have these people in my life. 
  • This may be selfish, but I'm thankful that the holiday is timed right for my treatment.  I'll be off the Cipro, my taste buds should be coming back and I should be feeling pretty well by Thanksgiving.  Christmas is also timed well...I'll be 3 weeks out of chemo altogether!  I feel like totally decking our house out for Christmas this year.  We haven't put outside lights up for several years, but I feel like changing that.  Celebrate!
  • I'm thankful for the advances that have been made in breast cancer treatment over the past decades. I'm thankful that I have access to these treatments. 
  • I'm thankful that it is me who has cancer and not one of my kids. I can deal with it, but the thought of having to watch one of my babies go through it is unimaginable. 
  • I'm thankful for the strength that God continues to give me.  People tell me how well I am doing with the chemo, being able to exercise and all. I am not coping with this on my own, far from it.  I pray all the time that God would renew my strength, that He would lift me up on wings like eagles, that He would help me run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.  He answers that prayer daily.  (By the way, I love praying the Word of God. You know you are definitely praying His will and His promises and it will not return void!) 
There are many more things that I am thankful for.  This is just a list to open the season with.  It helps me cope to meditate on the blessings rather than the hardships in my present situation.  I need to remind myself: its only temporary; its only temporary; its only temporary.  On the other hand, the blessings of God are eternal!

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