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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Under attack!

I'm going to be speaking at a women's ministry breakfast later this month at my church, Calvary Chapel of Escondido. (October 22nd for you locals).  I've known about the event for some time, but had been putting off preparing for it. Of course, that started to stress me out when October 1 rolled around.  Last week, I sat down and started to think about what I would share.

One reason for putting it off, frankly, was that I knew it would force me to go back and re-live the past 18 months. I also was afraid that I wouldn't have anything to say. I didn't want to sound lame, you know?

The first day I worked on it, I was very anxious. Re-living June 2010 just added to my sporadic bouts of paranoia about recurrence. It definitely put me into a funk.  But as I continued to work on it, my mood changed. Initially, it was because I was making progress and it reassured me that I wouldn't be doing it right before the event.  Not only was my talk taking shape, but I could see how it was going to go beyond just my testimony. I have a message and an exhortation that I want to give as well.  Besides, I've never been much of a procrastinator. But it went deeper than that. Going back and looking at this blog and re-living it in a compressed period of time was actually helpful to me. I could see how present God was throughout the whole thing.  Living it day by day it was easy to miss HIM in the whole thing.  How the Lord would send me a Word at the right time to help me get through. I actually began to enjoy working on my talk.  It also helped calm my paranoid anxiety about recurrence. God is in control!  I just needed to be reminded of that.Things were going along just great.

Several things have cropped up since last weekend that I feel like are part of an attack by the enemy.

  • First off, my foot. It still is giving me trouble. I did a 6 1/2 mile training walk earlier this week, and by the end, I was feeling it. Yesterday in bible study, we were talking about pride and how it says all over the bible that pride will bring you down. I realized that not taking time off of the walking training was a form of pride for myself. I could boast about how far I walked, regardless of an injury. That was just going to make it worse if I kept it up. So I decided to take a week off of the walking training. I'm still able to do low-impact things at the gym (bike, elliptical, etc). So I'll keep working out. But I want to give my foot a rest. But it has been a source of anxiety for me. I need for it to heal so I can walk in the 3-Day!
  • Secondly, Jean-Marc has an inguinal hernia. He had one as an infant, so when I saw the tell tale bulge on Sunday night, I knew right away what it was. We went into the pediatrician on Monday and, sure enough, I was right. We have an appointment to see the pediatric surgeon down at Zion next week. I'm not looking forward to this at all. We've been through it, so I know what to expect. But now he will be asking questions, wanting to eat the morning of the procedure, and I dread the moment when I have to leave him alone with the nurses and doctors. Not so much for me, but I know he will be scared. On top of all of that, I'll be back in the pre-op area of Kaiser. Last time I was there was for my mastectomy in July 2010.I know the sights, smells, and sounds will trigger stuff for me. I'm not looking forward to that.
  • Finally, in the middle of the night, I awoke with a pain in the middle of my back. I got up at 3 a.m. and tried to strech, but nothing helped. I took 3 Advil and laid flat on my back. Fortunately, I was able to get back to sleep. But the pain was pretty bad. Of course, that sent my brain into, "Oh my gosh...what if it is a recurrence and I have cancer in my bones?"  Being in the dead of night didn't help any. It was still bad this morning. I called my chiropractor and was able to get in first thing this morning. I was a little fearful of going in, becuase I could just hear him say that from his point of view, nothing was wrong. (Hence, the cancer was back.)  But I went in anyway. As it turns out, I have a muscle in my back that is all inflamed and spasm-y. They ultrasounded it, which felt good. Then he adjusted me and advised that I continue with the anti-inflammatories. That should be good for my foot as well. I'm glad that its not cancer, but it still hurts. 
  • I go back to see my oncologist, Dr. P, on Monday. It's my first 6 month check up. I'm a little nervous about it.  Its just adding to the anxiety. 
I know that I should be anxious about nothing. This morning, I prayed that verse from Phillipians. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests be made known to God, and the peace that passes understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Anxiety is a common battle for me these days. To have all these other anxiety-producing things going on, it just feels like these are the arrows of the enemy. Aiming at my peace. Aiming at my faith. Seeking to kill and destroy me if I let them. Seeking to distract me from what I know is true. Perhaps even to derail me from the course I'm taking with my talk later this month.

In any event, I'm glad I recognized all of this for what it is. As I should have done all along, now when I have a momentary freak out, I can just look to the Lord. He will provide me with strength to get through it, as well as the peace that passes understanding.

I appreciate your prayers on all these fronts!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for your anxiety, Tonya - but unfortunately, it's totally understandable. We've all learned that sometimes nothing is something. And re-living it as you're preparing for a talk can definitely set things off. After 10 years, I still feel that way. It does get better, though.

    And glad you're taking a little time to let your foot rest. It can be really hard when you're training for something. Pushing through difficulties is important, but not exacerbating an injury is more important. I think half of reaching a goal is preventing injury - you can't reach a goal if you can't walk! And you've got plenty of other things you can do to keep your fitness up.