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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chemo swamp


Today is my "down" day from my last round of chemo.  At least, that is what this Monday has been for the last rounds. I sure hope it ends tomorrow as it did for the first four rounds.

Circumstances are easier this time around, though.  I'm exceedingly blessed to have my mom and dad nearby.  Mom came by this morning and took Jean-Marc and Isabelle.  Isabelle has a day off of school today for parent-teacher conferences.  Dad will bring Isabelle home tonight after dinner, and mom will keep Jean-Marc for another day.

It has made a huge difference to me today not to have to take care of a toddler. Of course, that is going along with a heaping dose of "mommy guilt."  What kind of person doesn't want to be around her own kid?  Especially such a cute and special one as Jean-Marc?  It's not that I don't want to be around him.  It's just that when I'm around, he is not satisfied with anyone else helping him.  It has to be me. And I just don't have it in me today.  It has been so helpful to not have to give him all of my attention.

Another blessing was the weather today.  On this day for the past two rounds it was cloudy and drizzly.  Today had clear skies and was even warm if you stood out in the sun.  I started the day with a 30 minute cardio session, just to get the blood and endorphins flowing.  After mom picked up the kids, I spent the morning reading, playing my silly "Angry Birds" game on the iPhone, and snoozing upstairs.

Eric and I did have to go out around 1 p.m. for Isabelle's conference. It was a good outing--she had a perfect report card! That is a pretty good achievement considering the drama that my illness has been for everyone.  She doesn't show it to me usually.  But others have told me things she has said to them. (At girl scout campouts, for example, she was upset about my medical situation).  The fact that she has been able to focus on her school work while all of this is going on in her life shows me that she is a warrior herself.  Olivier is doing well academically too-he's another tough cookie.

When we got home, I spent the afternoon on the couch watching movies on Netflix. It is so strange to think the next thing that I "have" to do is fix dinner, and that'll be easy without having to balance dinner preparation with toddler care.  Even at that, dinner tonight is a defrosted Dream Dinner!

Even with the leisurely "vacation" day, I will be glad when it is over. I have a touch of heartburn, my taste buds are off, and I'm a bit of an emotional wreck.  One of the shows I watched on Netflix was about Americans going over to China to adopt little baby girls who had been abandoned because of China's "One Child" policy.  I was weeping when the babies were handed over.  I'm tired too, even with all the rest.  If this round is like the others, each day after today will get better and better.

I'm also starting to think about radiation.  I made an appointment with the radiation oncologist for next week.  Dr. P said I could probably start radiation the last week of December, and I'm ready to get that ball rolling.  Bring in on, and get it over with.  But then, a little part of me is a bit scared at the prospect of being done with all my treatment.  How do you go on with life after all of this?  How do you go on without always looking over your shoulder wondering if the cancer is going to come back?

I need to keep in mind God's word that I am not to be anxious for anything. (Phillipians 4:6).  Everything is in God's hands.  I just need to live each day to glorify Him and I should be able to live "after treatment."

My prayer requests:

  • That I do in fact feel better tomorrow. That my energy comes back and I am able to cope and function with the world. 
  • That the chemo drugs do their job and kill cancer cells.
  • That I not be afraid of recurrence. I'm not even through treatment and I'm stressing over recurrence. Its ridiculous.
  • That Jean-Marc enjoy his qualify time with grandma and grandmpa and not feel like I abandoned him. 


  1. Let me just say that Jean-Marc is doing great over here tonight. We are planning a brief shopping excursion in the morning at Macy's to "preview" a big sale and then we will be off to the Wild Animal Park. Jean-Marc is very excited about the Park. He's doing very well - - - not to worry. Love,

  2. Tonya, You do not need to feel guilty for taking the day to rest! Plus, everyone wants to help out and this is one way they sure can. It's hard, but you need to be the priority at least some days. I understand about being afraid when treatment ends, that's kind of where I'm at now. Hope you do feel better tomorrow. Chemo will end soon. Hang in there!