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, December 6, 2010

Putting one foot in front of the other

Today is day 3 of my last round of chemotherapy.  Historically, it has been my "worst" day.  This time, I sunk into it a bit early.  It is still hard today, it just started late Saturday this time around.

Once again, I was blessed to have my mom take Jean-Marc for the day and overnight.  She even came by early enough to take Isabelle to school this morning.  I didn't have to go anywhere today.  A day totally to do whatever I needed to do.  What a concept, even in the midst of cancer.  

The hard part is shutting my brain off from all of the things I know I need to get done:  laundry; some Christmas wrapping; decorating the tree; picking up the clutter; getting organized for Christmas; etc.  Today, it is down to the bare minimum.  I'm in a fog anyway. If I tried to start anything, I would end up with lots of stuff just taken out and the house even more cluttered than it was when I started.

I started the day with a little bit of a workout from Exercise TV.  I can't describe how important it is for me to get a little bit of exercise every day.  Breaking a sweat and getting those endorphins going has made a huge difference for me.   I did a 30 minute cardio workout that a year and a half ago used to kick my butt.  I barely broke a sweat, which made me laugh.  Exercise TV had Jillian's new ab workout, "Six Pack Six Weeks" or some such thing.  I didn't have the mojo to do that today, but I watched it and can't wait to give it a shot later in the week.  

I got a black eyed pea salad for lunch marinading in the fridge and spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon on the couch.  Around 3 p.m. I was feeling a bit like a slug, so I took our dog, Lucie, out for a walk.  It felt good to get the blood flowing again. 

The thing with chemo is that I just don't feel like myself.  Maybe that is why it feels so good to get a little physical-it reminds me of who I am.  For a few moments, I feel a little like myself again.  Even if I am a bit dizzy.  Aside from that, I'm in a mental fog and on an emotional edge.  As I walked with the dog, I just put one foot in front of the other.  Head down, one foot in front of the other.  

That is how this whole cancer thing has been.  I've just had to put my head down and put one foot in front of the other.   To do what I've had to do to get through it.  I didn't ask for it.  I still think about that phone call on June 11 when the Kaiser nurse told me that, "unfortunately, there was cancer."  From that point on, I've been told what I've had to do to get through it.  To weather the storm.  So I've done it as best as I could.  As long as I keep moving forward, its okay.   It's not a sprint, its a marathon.  We are so tired of it all, but we can't give up and pack it in.  No retreat.  Press on.  I'm not done yet-I still have over six weeks of radiation to weather. Years of tamoxifen and a lifetime of faith that the cancer will not come back. One foot in front of the other.  I'm learning how to accept the help that is offered, realizing that I can lean on other people to take that next step sometimes.  That has been hard for me.  Above all, I've learned my absolute dependence on God to get through each and every day.  I may not read chapters upon chapters of my Bible each day.  But I do have a constant relationship with the Lord that has sustained me and boosted me throughout this journey, carrying me when I could not carry on myself. 

It truly has been like the poem, "Footprints in the Sand"

"One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?” 

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your posts Tonya. Sharing your faith encourages everyone! I love the footprint story. God Bless you.