Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
This blog thing is very time consuming. I'm used to just writing a few notes to teachers and some checks. Spilling your guts, though cathartic, takes a lot of energy, creativity and time. So if some days you don't hear from me, just know that I'm either tired, have no information, or I'm busy writing bad checks all over town.
Like any cancer patient who is about to start their fight against the beast, I decided it was time to take care of the important things; determining the childcare issues, paying the bills (see above) and finishing any time-sensitive family tasks. I prioritized my list and set out to accomplish the first--I got my teeth whitened! I figured, heck, if I'm gonna be bald, I'm at least gonna have pretty white teeth--and my friend Courtney agreed with me, in fact, she really talked me into it. She said it would be a nice distraction. Not to mention, my sweet husband Ted can't hardly say no to me these days. So now, after a little chemo and radiation, I just may glow in the dark!
Speaking of radiating, I went to my first breast cancer event last night at Calvary and heard Birmingham television personality Brenda Ladun talk about her two-time battle with cancer. I'm sure she gave a wonderful presentation, but honestly, the only word I heard her say up on that stage was "SURRENDER." After that, everything else sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher. wawaaawaaawawaaawa. There it was, right in front of me. The solution to my problem: I'd not surrendered it all to God. I was talking the talk, but the walkin' part wasn't jiving. It was ok if God wanted me to have this cancer, but I wanted to take over at that point. A little power struggle was-a-brewin'. I've decided that He can have all the big stuff and I'll worry about sweeping up His crumbs. And I'm not even worthy of that!
Yesterday, I reread my last blog and boy, you could cut the anxiety with a butter knife. whew! The entry about the doctors and the coconut shells was perfectly descriptive of how I was feeling, (note to self: surrender) but low and behold if I didn't get an email from my sweet high school friend Traci Sprenger V. and she told me that God would be under all the shells, not just one!!!. duh. By telling me of her own experience, she reminded me that God doesn't operate that way and that he would never abandon me like that! So within an hour, I had received two incredible messages that not only put Satan back in his little red chair, but it re energized me to focus on my maker, not the taker. Boy, I feel better.
My doctors appt. went ok today. But I confirmed that my tumors are pretty darn big, so they are more than likely going to schedule chemo, heavy, heavy chemo before any surgery. I'm still in limbo--although my files, charts, etc., have all been rec'd by the docs at UAB, they can't see me any time real soon. So I'm making calls to PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE to pull any and all strings that I can. Kirby Bland is the man. To quote Norma Hanson, he's P.L.U. That's "People Like Us" for all of you outside the Houston County metro area. He's from Abbeville for gosh sakes.
I almost bought a blow dryer today. LOL
Surrender all people. Surrender all!
p.s. Dona Stickler and Courtney Mann are organizing a team for the Breast Cancer Awareness walk/run on October 10 here in Dothan. Please go to Dona's blog @ www.thestickler7.blogspot.com if you would like to participate.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Heck, I even saw a palm reader one time (forgive me Lord) in Sweet Water, Alabama. I was in the midst of a shaky relationship and I needed the skinny on my man. She was very nice, but not very intuitive. Why, she never even mentioned a "Ted" and was waaaaay off about that career thing. And no, she didn't wear a turban and a bunch of fake Sarah Coventry jewelry. I remember she had long red nails with "real" diamonds glued on the tips. I'd never seen that before. Or since.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that I'm the kind of person who NEEDS TO KNOW. And for what appears to be the most important, LET'S FACE IT, life or death decision I've ever made, I'm totally confused and feel as though I have no control. I feel like I'm playing the shell game on Let's Make A Deal. Monty Hall has three coconut halves and under each one is a doctor's name and his/her plan for my cure. Of the three, there's only one that's effective, the other two, not so much. Carole Merrill, who of course is in a pink chiffon dress, is trying to distract and confuse me. She's spinning the shells and pushing them in and out and around one another. She's talking really fast and Monty Hall is behind her giving me a counter-point to every point she makes. The game clock is ticking very loud and fast, but in order to get any prize, booby or otherwise, I have to pick one right now, right this minute !!! Crazy, yes I know. But consider the frame of mind of the author..... (why did the guests on that show wear costumes?)
I say all this to tell you that I'm not the grounded, gifted woman of faith that you think I am. I am a wayward, sinful Christian who is struggling with letting go of control. I have a very nice comfort zone from which I operate. This cancer thing is messing up my charts and to do lists you see. Yes, I believe this whole ordeal is an opportunity to glorify God, and I know that it is God and only God who will heal me. But let's not get carried away. I'D RATHER LIVE AS AN UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR THAN DIE A POPULAR BLOGGING MARTYR. Did that sound bad? The anxiety is creeping in just a tad, but through my exhaustion and self doubt God (and good friends) are reminding me of Paul's words in Philippians, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Paul was one cool cucumber. Why just before they chopped off his head he publicly reaffirmed his faith.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
this blog is the brainchild of my two great friends, Dona and Courtney. it just dawned on me that they are probably already tired of spreading my hourly and daily updates! and who can blame them? let's review the details to date:
1. knot under right arm--early summer (ignored it!)
2. lumpectomy on sept. 10--removed 2 lymph nodes
3. "the call" wednesday sept. 16 "Mrs. McClendon, it's not what we expected..."
4. breast mri--friday sept. 18
5. "the 2nd call" --monday sept. 21/a.m. "Mrs. McClendon, can you come in....?"
6. ultrasound, 2 needle biopsies(ouch) and mammogram--monday sept. 21/p.m.
7. 'the 3rd call" tuesday sept. 22/pm diagnosis--"Mrs. McClendon, do you have something to write with?"
WELL-DIFFERENTIATED INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA ASSOCIATED WITH SCLEROTIC BREAST STROMA. and....
WELL-DIFFERENTIATED INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA WITH EXTENSIVE INTERMEDIATE GRADE DUCTAL CARCINOMA IN-SITU.
well, you'd think with all that in my one boob that i'd atleast be a full C-cup. let me be living proof that flat-chested women can compete!
consider yourself up to date. but be confident and know that ted and i are prayerful and joyful about our options. there are some incredible people out there who have spent their entire lives studying nothing but the life-span of a mutated cell. who, unlike me, never skipped school.... God will surely put the right one in our path.
this blog is going to cover a broad range of subjects, some of which may interest you, others not so much. this blog will not have any delicious recipes, time-saving or otherwise; i'm pretty sure i won't show you any photos of my nasty house and i will most definitely not discuss fashion (you knew that though....) this blog is a public admission of my lazy and intermittent relationship with Almighty God and how his incredible Grace is going to love me unconditionally through this entire lousy ordeal. but i must confess right now and up front--i am keenly aware that this is God's battle, not mine, not the doctors, not ted's, not even my sweet daddy frank's. i'm praying only that God enlightens me with greater wisdom of his almighty power and then nourishes my soul with the contentment of an eternal perspective. so if that seems interesting enough to you, i'd love for you to take this journey with me.
i've already shared this with some of you, but i truly feel like God has tapped me on the shoulder to be in this very exclusive bible study that He is going to lead. for the next year, we're going to get deeper into His word, taking copious notes and memorizing text (yikes). i'll have some exams, a few field trips for good measure and maybe some pop quizzes to remind me who's really in charge....anyway, i woke up the morning after call number 1 (refer to #3 above) and told ted i felt like i needed to go shopping for school supplies. within the hour, 2 sweet friends brought to me spiral notebooks, beautiful journals and an inspirational book of prayer! now how awesome is that? can i get an amen from the girls in the balcony?!!
I have this incredible peace about this entire experience. (except for the part about who's gonna keep 4 kids while we're out.) God is awesome and i am truly blessed to be one of his children. He will walk with me through this ordeal and hopefully be proud of me on the other side of it.
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.' " Isaiah 41:13
Thanks for listening
Oh yea, I had a clear mammogram on May 8, 2009.
Courtney and I will be updating when our sweet friend cannot. Dona Stickler