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, September 6, 2011

Paranoia will destroya

First the good news: The swelling in my arm has gone down. Eric and I measured it last week and it is back to the size it was before our trip. I'm very glad for that.  Thank you for your prayers in that regard. I still massage and bandage most nights, but at least its not as urgent that I do so. It's all about maintenance now.

As I go on with life, I find myself experiencing moments of sheer panic. I had similar episodes during all of my pregnancies. The dreaded "what if." Every little pang, twitch, sensation in my body would throw me into a world of panic about the baby inside of me.  For instance, "is that the placenta separating?" (Having had a miscarriage at 14 weeks before didn't help assuage those fears any!)  But things worked out just fine and I have 3 beautiful kids on the earth.

Now these pangs, twitches and sensations make my mind go straight to thoughts of recurrence.  Unlike a pregnancy, it won't go away in 9 months.  As regular readers know, I exercise a lot. It's not uncommon for me to have strange spots of soreness here and there. But I know that I also probably manufacture phantom pains as well. For instance, right now I've been paranoid about my belly. Am I feeling pain in an organ? God forbid...my liver?

I'm sure this is a common thing among cancer survivors. At these times, I try to remind myself that I really am not in control of much anyway. My life is in God's hands, and it will end at some point. At least life in this body, that is.  This life is terminal.  I just don't want to have it end with me wasting away with cancer. I don't want my kids to remember me like that. Surely God has something better planned for me?  Certainly He put me here to do something with this disease-to speak out, to help others, to teach? To do something more than die and leave 3 young kids?  But it has happened to others, why not me?

I am thankful to have assurance of where I am headed once this body is done. That has helped me from the day of diagnosis not be so afraid. When it is over, I will be face to face with Jesus, my Savior. It will be glorious. But still.  The process can be terribly terrible, you know?

I'd appreciate your prayers that my mind be at peace and that I not have these bouts of paranoia. Like my college roommate would sing, "paranoia will destroya!"

God bless!


  1. You are a wonderful teacher, Tonya. i don't comment often but read every single post and always pray for your prayer requests.

  2. Did you ever watch the show Sanford and Sons? Although I haven't had cancer, I've had my own freakout episodes post blood clot. I call these my Fred Sanford moments. EMD therapy really helped with this. And my husband, who during one of my episodes usually says something like, "We're out of milk. Are you going to the store soon?" That used to really annoy me. But it's his way of saying keep living and leave it to the Lord. Love you and miss you.

  3. I too know where I'm going when my days are done here.
    Praying for you

    Debbi http://atoosassygal.blogspot.com/

  4. Tonya,
    I with ya on this one. I have an MRI coming up so I have been playing the paranoia game myself. We have no control, we can only trust in Him. My prayer is that we can both find that peace that comes from him..and stay cancer free
    Blessings to you

  5. Tonya,
    I'm glad to hear the swelling in your arm got better. I understand about those moments of sheer panic too! I've had a few of those moments myself.