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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping up the year

I know it sounds cliche, but 2011 flew by.

February 2011
But in some ways, the early parts of it seem like a distant dream. I didn't finish with radiation until February 17th.  The first week of 2011 found me driving to Escondido each day to get zapped with radiation. Was that really me?   I didn't have much hair, but it was starting to grow back in.

I found a new normal in 2011.  Another cliche, I know.  Of course, there will always be concern about a recurrence. But for the most part, I managed to fall into a routine of shuttling kids around to school and activities, making exercise a priority, church, and continuing my family's menu of organic cooking.

Last year at this time, I resolved to lose the last 10 pounds. Well, that didn't happen. But it will happen this year. Maybe even 15. I have been on Tamoxifen for the past year, and that has caused weight gain in some women. At least I've maintained my weight since then. But I'm not going to use the medication as an excuse. Although I've been working out pretty strenuously 6 days a week, I tend to snack in the afternoons and overdo it a bit at dinner. So I'm buckling down and starting tomorrow will be back to the formula that worked for me to lose 50 pounds in 2009-10:  counting calories. I'm going to cut out all alcohol as well.  I've enjoyed the holiday fare, but its time to get down to business.  If I just control what I put in my mouth, with my exercise regimen, the excess should melt away. Right?? Right!

Another change I'm making that will help me in this area is with a personal trainer. For my birthday last October, Mom and dad got me an introductory 3 sessions with a trainer at my gym. Because the gym kind of spoiled the surprise, they gave me an additional 2 sessions. I enjoyed it so much that I went ahead and bought myself 10  more sessions, (Merry Christmas to me!)  Not knowing this, Eric bought me 3 more!  So I have 13 more sessions and will start seeing my trainer every Thursday.  She knows my fitness goals and I'll have another person to be accountable to.

2012 is going to be the year of the half marathon. I'm going to do my first one at Disneyland next month. Training for that has had me running 4 days a week for about 20-25 miles a week. I would like to do a total of three half marathons in 2012, but I need to get them done before August so I can slow it down to a walk to train for the 3 Day in November.  Yes, I signed up for the 3 Day again. While I did not enjoy the training until we got up into walking 10+ miles at a time, the event itself was an amazing and uplifting experience. I've met several other survivors in the process and the 3 Day community is incredible. Besides, if I'm going to be in the commercials urging everyone to "join us," I had better be there, hadn't I?

I'm looking forward to being more disciplined in my devotional life as well.  Our women's bible study for the Spring is going to start in early January. We are going to be studying the book of Hebrews. I've been asked to do a little bit of teaching and hitting the main points of the weekly lessons. I'm a little nervous about it, since I've never done anything like this. It is definitely going to be a motivator for me to find the time daily to study the Bible and spend some quiet time at the feet of the Lord so I can hear what He has to say.

I've also decided to write a book. I gave a talk to the women at our church last October about my journey with breast cancer. In preparing for it, I had 32 pages of outlined notes! I would like to make part of it into a book that can help other people who are facing similar circumstances. If nothing else, it will be cathartic for me!  Its not going to be a rehash of this blog, though. Stay tuned and find out.

2011 was a much better year for me than 2010, to be sure. I'm looking forward to 2012 being even better. Thank you for caring enough to read my blog and follow along with me. I appreciate you all and wish you a very Happy and Healthy new year!
My boys and I on Christmas Eve

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