Our son Curtis is a sophomore at University of Virginia. He belongs to a Christian singing group there and he performed his first solo last weekend. Here it is for you. Listen to the words and know that I believe what they say…God has given everything us to fulfill all He asks of us. We put a lot of pressure on oursleves, myself included, to achieve what society deems acceptable, but ultimately we answer to God for our lives. As I have struggled this week with not feeling like I am dealing well with the emotional aftermath of last years’ events in my life, this reminds me that God will get me ‘there’ in His time. Sometimes I feel like I am falling short of what He wants me to be but I am reminded that He made me. He loves me. He will provide the tools for me to achieve His best for me.
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Last week Kelli performed the lead role of Annie in her high school’s musical. We couldn’t have been more proud! Both of her college brothers came in for the show. It was truly a delight to watch! Kelli will perform in the Virginia All State Honor’s Choir this coming week, a tremendous honor for her to be selected!
This week I began physical therapy for the numbness in my back. The therapist offered up the most plausible explanation for the numbness I have heard so far. Because I have an implant under the right chest muscle, and this muscle is in an almost constant state of spasm, the left chest muscle is having to compensate for the pulling. He feels that if we can loosen up the muscles and stretch both sides to become more agile, then maybe this will free up some of the pinched nerve sensation going on. This all started 4 months after my surgery so it would make sense. I’m going twice a week for now and also doing band stretch exercises at home.I also began my counseling position this week taking calls from my home for the Network of Strength breast cancer hotline. I will be doing this about two mornings a week. It is rewarding to help other newly diagnosed patients.
Last year at this time, our son Keith was the lead in the spring musical. That is a wig I was wearing. My hairstyle looks oddly familiar this year but now it is my REAL hair! For being in chemo at that time I must say I looked pretty darned good! I had treatment two days before this photo was taken. Maybe it was just that I was so happy?!
This past week I saw the orthopedic surgeon. He reviewed all of my imaging studies done in the last 4 months and decided that the numbness in my back might be nerve damage from chemo therapy, called neuropathy. I have that in my fingers and feet at times, but those started last spring during chemo. This began many months later. He was pretty much guessing as to what it could be and suggested physical therapy, which I will be starting this week. He said it can’t hurt and might help. He is recommending TNS. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, often known as a TENS or TNS machine, is a small portable machine that uses an electric current to provide pain relief.
We will re-evaluate in about 3 weeks. I have actually been so busy these last two weeks that I’ve been able to distract myself from the bothersome symptoms . I’m not letting it keep me from walking a lot, preparing for the Avon Walk of 40 miles coming up in just 2 weeks! Thanks to a grant from one of the chemo drug companies that treated me, my son Curtis received funds to complete his fund raising goal so that we can walk together. Thank you to all of you who supported the two of us in this milestone event! I am walking on average about 3 miles a day. How I will ever work up to 20+ miles, I don’t know. I’m just doing what I can and trying to add a bit more each day. Spring weather here has been beautiful so I am just happy to be out and enjoying it!
(And as you can see here, my hair is growing a lot now and I just had my 2nd haircut this week!)
The words that form this ribbon <——- are all words that describe the journey I began 18 months ago and the journey I am still on. Top on the list? Top of the ribbon- fear. Every day it tries to sneak in and consume my thoughts and steal my joy. Once again this week I treked up to see my doctor for pain in my sternum, that bone between the two sides of your chest. A new pain. She seems to believe it could be caused by the constant spasms in the chest muscle that covers my implant. Constant pulling and tugging, the cartilage between the sternum and rib cage becomes inflamed and is called costochondritis. The only treatment is pain management using anti-inflammatory drugs until the inflammation subsides. But for a breast cancer patient any pain signals that deep seated fear that the cancer could have returned. She scheduled my next mammogram for 3 weeks from now and we’ll go from there. She really believed if it were anything to “worry” about, it would have shown up on these recent scans and x-rays and mri I had. The appointment for my numbness in my back is this coming Monday with an orthopedic doctor.
We have out of town guests this week and Kelli in her school musical so the busy-ness is helping to keep me distracted. My business with wedding season and Mothers’ Day has also exploded, so I guess I don’t have time to worry too much. I have begun my counseling work Network Of Strength which helps keep my mind off my own cares and focus on someone else’s new diagnosis and getting them through an emotionally difficult time.
Spring is in the air here in Virginia, and for the first time in months everything seems alive again! People are out walking their dogs, children are riding bikes and playing on the playground, neighbors are planting flowers and tulips and daffodils are sprouting. It is cherry blossom week here in Washington DC and visitors abound (as does the traffic!) Time for celebrating new life!
Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC
As we pause this weekend to remember the life and death of Jesus Christ, Tim and Curtis and I attended the performance of the passion of Christ at a large church last night. I was struck by the message that God wants our hearts, our minds, our souls, our love, not our sacrifice. He paid it all (the sacrifice) at the cross for our sins and this is the glory of Easter! So I hope that this weekend you might reflect on the message of Easter, the new life and hope his resurrection brings for each of us.
Tim’s brother and family will be visiting us this week and Kelli will be performing in her high school’s theater production of Annie. It’s going to be a whirlwind of days, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!