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.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Like so many other holidays, dates, and anniversaries this year, I cannot help but compare it to a year ago. Not just reflecting on the differences in my life on those days, but all of the things that have happened since.

Last year, I still had one round of chemo to go. I was bald, but I was feeling pretty good. I was far enough into the 5th cycle that I was feeling somewhat like myself, although my taste buds were definitely off.  All things considered, it was a good Thanksgiving.

After Thanksgiving, I had my 6th round of chemo, developed a severe allergic reaction to the prophylactic Cipro, which in turn triggered my lifelong struggle with lymphedmea.  I also had yet to begin my radiation treatment. Considering how long chemo took, radiation seems like a blip on the screen.

Those are the bad things.  But a lot of good things have happened in the past year as well on the physical side that I am so thankful to God for.  My hair is growing back. It's past the stage where it is obvious that it is growing in from bald. People who don't know me would never know that I was bald a year ago.  In the past year, I've completed three 5k races as well as a 10k. I may not be the fastest runner out there, but my times aren't bad. Especially when I consider where I was a year ago.  I also just completed my first 3 Day, 60 mile walk.  That left my body tired, but satisfied that I was able to complete such a huge goal-I made it every single step!

I'm also thankful for the support of my family. They went through so much with me. They are co-survivors, and don't get the credit that they deserve for what they went through. I can't imagine how hard it had to have been to witness the whole mess I was. Mom and Dad not only supported me through the treatment, but they jumped into (or should I say, stepped into), the 3 Day experience with me. Mom spent countless hours training so she could do it. She battled seeping capillaries in her legs during training and during our walk. Dad slept in a truck last weekend and schlepped heavy bags of the walkers. He met mom and I every day and walked with us the last mile into camp. The three of us ended the 60 miles together, with tears in our eyes. Not just for the accomplishment of the 60 miles, but also of overcoming the struggles of the past year and a half.  Eric did a fabulous job of being a single parent for three days while I was walking. He hasn't even balked at the hints I find myself dropping about doing it all again next year!

Nancy, Sharon and me on Survivor's Hill
Marcy and me

I'm thankful to have met so many amazing and wonderful people in the past year. Fellow survivors have become new friends. It is such a deep bond that we share. Common experiences, common fears, and the common desire just to live and be healthy. I am thankful for all of my new survivor friends and look forward to a long friendship!

Of course, there are so many other things I am thankful for this year. I thank God for all of the blessings He has showered me with. I pray that He gives me the opportunity to use the experience of breast cancer to glorify Him and help other people in the process. I know He works all things together for good, cancer included.

Thank you for being a part of my life. I am grateful for your support and prayers as well.

Let's move forward and have a joyful holiday season. Don't let the little things get you down. Focus on the big picture and be happy.

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