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, August 2, 2011

August already??

Time flies when you are having fun, I guess. This summer is simply flying by.  To be sure, this summer has been so much better for our family than last summer. At this time last year, I was recovering from surgery, and preparing for chemotherapy.

Now I'm preparing for taking the whole family to France!  We used to go as a family more often, but as our family grew, it got expensive.  I know it sounds glamorous, and maybe some parts of it are. But we are visiting my in laws.  Eric's mom turns 80 years old in August, so we are going in part to celebrate that milestone. The last time I was in France was at Christmas when I was pregnant with Jean-Marc.

So much has changed for me in 3 1/2 years! I had a baby.  I lost 50 pounds. I've been through a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. I have lymphedema. I'm paying MUCH more attention to what I eat and how much.  I'm training to walk 60 miles in 3 days. I'm probably addicted to exercise. I'm going to do as best as I can at keeping with my exercise program and making good choices about what goes into my body, at least as much as I am able to. I don't want to be an irritating guest who is overly picky and annoying, though. When in Rome.....

I am looking forward to a few days with Eric in Strasbourg. His company is headquartered there, so he has a couple of days to work.  That justifies them paying for his airfare. I'm going to go with him on the TGV and explore the city while he works. I should be able to log several walking miles that way!  We also will be shown the area by Eric's boss and his wife. It should be fun.  I also hope we can take the kids to visit the Verdun battlefield with the kids.  Eric's grandfather fought in that battle during World War 1.

I am a little concerned about the lymphedema issue. My hand and arm have been pretty good this summer. In fact, I've slacked off on massaging and bandaging a little bit. My arm is doing good, but 12+ hours at 33,000+ feet may have an impact. My plan is to wear my new compression garment on the flight and bring my bandaging supplies and wrap at night when I get there. I sure hope that is enough to prevent an episode of swelling. It would be miserable to have to bandage during the daytime!

I also want to be able to keep training for the 3-Day walk. I've been logging about 30 miles a week so far. The training schedule had an easier week last week, but I kept the mileage up. I figure my "easy" week will be one of the ones abroad. I've got a few Jillian DVD's on my iPhone that I can do. I'll do what I can. Not only do I want to keep exercising for all of the physical health reasons I do now, but it keeps me sane.  I'll need that after a few days at the in-laws! We get along okay, but its always hard away from home.  We'll be 7 people sharing 1 bathroom! Oy!

As you can imagine, there is a lot of logistical planning that goes into taking the whole crew on such a long trip. Not only that, but we get back less than 48 hours before the kids start school!  I will have 3 kids at 3 different schools. Olivier in middle school, Isabelle in the 5th grade at the Elementary school, and Jean-Marc will start preschool 3 days a week. Right now, I don't have a carpool arranged for the middle school. Adding that to the kids' extra-curricular activities, I'm gearing up to be "mom's taxi."  Needless to say, I've been pretty busy the last week or two getting the kids ready for school as well as getting us all ready for this trip.

So this trip for us signals the end of summer. Sigh. Can it already be over so soon?

My prayer requests:

  • That we have a safe and smooth trip. We will be schleping suitcases, computers, roller bags, a big car seat and stroller. I'm NOT looking forward to the security screening!  Please pray that we get through it all safely. 
  • That my arm not swell. Not only the travel, but if it is overly hot in Europe, I may be at risk. Did I mention that hardly anyone has air conditioning there?


  1. Have a great trip! Enjoy Alsace. I love it there. Was there just before I was diagnosed - kept thinking, "well, at least I got one last great trip in before this...." And I visited some of the battlefields - very intense!


  2. Tonya,
    Wow you are busy these days!! I hope you have a fabulous trip to France. Traveling with young kids is a bit of a challenge isn't it? That's a long flight too. I'm sure you and your arm will do fine! I'm very impressed with your self-discipline. I'm really struggling with the weight issue. I think my arimidex is really messing with things. Reading this motivates me to keep at it! Good luck and have fun! Oh and you're right, the bathroom thing might be the biggest challenge of all! Just kidding!