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, April 5, 2012

Life goes on, right?

I have my six month oncologist check up next week. Friday the 13th.  Good thing I'm not superstitious, isn't it?  I can't help but feel a bit anxious about it. Jennifer Griffin, the Fox News correspondent/breast cancer survivor, likened it to having a meeting with your parole officer.  You live in the world, doing the things that you are expected and supposed to do. You get your kids to school, dinner on the table, and errands run. On the outside, you look normal.  Most of the time, you feel normal. Some days several hours go by without thinking about what is now a part of my life: cancer. But you have this appointment that takes you back to the reality that for the rest of my life, I need to be on guard for the disease to rear its ugly head again.  Just like going to a parole officer would remind an ex-con that he was in a bad place and isn't really yet free.

Isabelle and I at the Carlsbad 5000 last weekend.
I have no suspicious symptoms.  I feel strong. I'm running 25-30 miles a week. I'm planning activities and things assuming I have a long life to live. I'm signing up for races-I signed up for the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January 2013. I'm working on my fluency in French.  But just the fact that I have to go back to see Dr. P triggers a little bit of anxiety. After all, when I was diagnosed, I felt great too.  

What if? What if? What if?

I can really psych myself out.  Dr. P said if I have pain that doesn't go away, that's a concern. The mind is such a powerful organ. If I think about it, I can actually feel sensations that I don't think are there.  I'm pretty sure its not real because if I think about it and take a few deep breaths, it goes away. I'm getting better about the paranoia. The bible study from Hebrews really helped me in this respect.  One of the "take home" principles I learned was that regardless of what my circumstances may be, God has promised me many wonderful things in His Word. Eternal things. Things that will last, unlike this life. (Cancer or not.)  When I start to feel anxious, I simply remember one of the many promises from the Bible.  It could be "No eye has seen nor ear has heard  nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)  I'm so grateful to have the Word of God!

There are a couple things I want to ask Dr. P while there. I've been taking Tamoxifen for 15 months now. He originally had said I should take it for 2 years, and then they would "see" if I am officially post-menopausal.  Then they would switch me to a different medication, Arimidex, I think.  I asked him why, and he said the outcomes were better. I'm wondering if we can just "see" now if I'm ready for it.  I also want another Vitamin D test to see what my levels are now. I've been supplementing 6,000 IU every day, and experimenting with a liquid form. Has it made a difference? 

I'm expecting a routine appointment with him asking me how I feel, if I'm going to get reconstructed.  The things he asks every time. I have no reason to think otherwise. But still...I'm not really free.

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