Fight like a girl

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Top 5 must have homeschool items

With this school year creeping up really fast I though I would start blogging about homeschooling again.   So here it goes.......

My Top 5 MUST HAVE homeschool items:
(they are not what you think)

#5   Storage (baskets, drawers, canister, etc.)

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You can never have too much storage.  If I have extra bins/baskets left over, I store them.  Through out the school year we accumulate things and I need a place for them.

#4   Flashcards

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Yep.  Flashcards.  Anything they need to memorize, put it on a flashcard.  I use index cards.  You can buy them in several different colors.  They are great on the go!

#3   Interactive Games

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My son has an HP and there are so many great learning games on there like Sudoku, hangman, etc.  Even the race car games, crossy roads game or the parking games are pretty cool.  I'm not a fan of 'busy work' for the kids.  This is a great alternative.  It helps with eye and hand coordination and great exercise for the brain.

#2   Internet

Internet is a must in my home when it comes to homeschool.  There are so many FREE printable worksheets and helps, it's unreal.  I also use a web site called
to put together my own homeschool planner.

#1   Sleep
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Yep, I said it....sleep.  
My children and I must have a good amount of sleep for a successful homeschool day!  The saying is true in our home that 'if Momma 'aint happy, no body's happy'.  I need my sleep and so do my children.  We are late sleepers compared to many. We don't get up until 8:30am, sometimes 9:00am.  We stay up later as well, but this works for our family.  Whether you are an early riser family or late sleeper, you need to make sure your family gets the correct amount of sleep even if it means taking a nap during the day!

Feel free to leave any comments on what your top 5 homeschool items are!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oncologist visit post op surgery

So I made it!  Back to the Oncologist after surgery visit.  Things went well and learned something new.  I'm not out of the chemo. woods yet.  
I was cheery, and positive in my thinking that no chemo. would be needed but apparently cancerous tumors create genes while inside our bodies.  I say this next part half jokingly- Please don't judge me.  I knew nothing about cancer until I was diagnosed and I am FAR from any expert for sure!  But I really would like to know where in the world I was when this information was first told to me.  ????   Seriously.  Was I in lala land?  For those that have been in this situation (with cancer), there is so much information given to you at these appointments that it is nearly impossible to remember all of it. So somewhere along the line, my husband and myself, missed that memo about tumors creating genes.  

Anyway, as you know my BRCA1 & BRCA2 tests both came back negative.  So when the Oncologist was talking about 'genes', I associated that with the BRCA's.  After correcting me and explaining this to me, he goes on further to tell me that "we only get one chance at beating this cancer".  Um, ok.  I thought I was beating it.  But apparently these genes stay inside my body after the cancer is removed.  So here I am again, thinking I am out of the chemo. woods on my way to the radiation trail to open fields.  No, I'm not......not yet.

So he ordered something called an Oncotype test.  This test will determine how much the risk of recurrence of this breast cancer.  I read a brochure about this and I was very impressed that our technology has come this far.  (Again, please don't judge.  I really haven't lived on a deserted island somewhere.)  For more info. on this test, click the link below.

The Oncotype test will result in a score.  A low number would mean that chemo. wouldn't benefit due to a low recurrence.  A high number would mean that chemo. would benefit due to high recurrence percentage.  An intermediate would mean the doctor and I must decide if the side effects from the chemo. would out weigh the benefits.  Sigh.  

I am glad that my doctor ordered this test.  He wouldn't have ordered if I said NO chemo. for sure, but what good is going to a doctor if you don't take his advice or take advantage of this research and testing/technology?  I know sometimes doctors don't know what is best.  Trust me, I am one of those who don't go to a doctor or take medicine unless I absolutely need to!  I don't even like taking Tylenol for a headache for goodness sake. However, I DO believe that God gives these men and women wisdom to fight and help cancer patients.  I DO trust God in giving me a clear number from this test.  I DO trust that God will give me a clear treatment plan.  I DO believe that I will know EXACTLY how to go about fighting this terrible diagnosis and I DO trust that God will give MY doctor the wisdom he needs to suggest a treatment plan.  

One other thing is that due to my larger than calculated tumor size, I am now Stage IIa.  Go figure.

Though out this cancer process, I have heard several things such as:  'do natural things, not chemo.' or 'people get cancer because they have sinned'.  Yes, it's true..... I've heard it.  Some people are trying to help with suggestions of natural remedies while others are just spreading the lies from satan himself.  So take the good and throw away the bad.

I hope that blogging this information helps others who are going through this or those who are walking with a loved one through this.  I'm not fond of my cancer story being an open book but I feel the need to share. I have some pretty special ladies in my life who have shared with me and if it wasn't for them I would have never been prepared for all these steps and trials.  I believe God plants 'angels' in our lives to keep our spirits up, give us help, give us hope and to remember to trust in him.  

My next blog will probably be my treatment plan but I would really like to get back into my homeschool blogging with this new homeschool year creeping up so fast.  My middle son has now graduated homeschool and will be off to OVU in one month!  I only have one son (7'th grade) this next school year.  I am looking forward to our time together.

God Bless!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pathology report is in .....

My nurse called today and the good news is ................... NO cancer found in ANY of the lymph nodes that they removed!  Also, NO cancer found in the margin where they removed the tumor!  That means no more surgery and possibly no chemo.! The not-so great news is that the tumor size was thought to be a 1.5 cm, but it was actually 2.1 cm.  That shoots me up to a T2 grade.  The T grades are:  T1 = 0.1 - 2.0   T2= 2.1 - 5cm.  So I am just a smidge into the T2 grade, in my opinion.  

I am really praying that the Oncologist, whom I see next week, doesn't leave the Chemo. decision up to me.  Who chooses to do Chemo right?  Well, I have been told by a very wise woman who has been through this that I need to do what they recommend.  I don't want that decision up to me.  Is that wrong?  I am not a good one to make decisions anyway.  I have a hard time and often second guess myself.  I am going to pray, of course, for wisdom from the Lord to help me in the decision making part.  Honestly, I don't think chemo. would be recommended with the BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 being negative, no cancer in the lymph nodes and no cancer in the margin or found anywhere else.   But the Oncologist takes all kinds of things into consideration such as: my age, % of recurrence, tumor grade, cancer stage, my health, etc.  So I'll know more next week but for now I will REJOICE!

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Surgery Day!

Surgery day is here and as you can see I'm all pumped up ready for surgery.  Ready for my 'on-hold life' to get back on track and this all behind me.  

My mom came with and of course my hubby.  Had our dear friends (pastor and his wife) come up to see me and another dear friend whom I've known for about 21 years.  I've had a lot of prayers on social media.......I am very blessed.

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Surgery went just fine.  The Lumpectomy (partial Mastectomy / breast conservation) & the Lymph Node removal (Axillary Lymph Node Dissection) went really good.  The hospital staff were awesome!  

Something that was a little different than the other surgeries (different hospitals) I've had was that they gave you the 'knock out' med in your IV before they wheeled me back to the OR.  If the past, I have been wheeled into the OR first, then given the med. The med worked very fast and I was out before I even made it into the hallway to the OR.  I like it that way.  I didn't have a chance to get worked up.  :)

Here I am back at home, same day.  Surprisingly a little sore but very little pain.  I was given some pain meds in my IV before I left the hospital and of course got the prescription pain med filled before coming home.   

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But one thing about me is that I HATE to take pain killers.  I was in an auto accident about 5 years ago and was on a popular pain med for 2 weeks.  I had extreme withdraw symptoms for 2 full days after cutting this med out.  I had the jerking, restless legs and arms, shaking, etc.  It was awful! So I don't take them unless I cannot bear the pain.  So even after the IV pain meds wore off, I just had to use Ibuprofen (occasional Tylenol) for the pain just for a few days.  AMEN!  Also, ice packs are my friend.  

The only main issue I have had since the surgery is constipation.  I've tried all kinds of over the counter things, but I found that the combination of Mira-lax, suppositories, and then one Correctol (female laxative) before bed finally got my system moving 3 days after surgery.

I have 2 different incision sites.  One where the doctor removed the cancerous tumor, the other where she removed the lymph nodes. Both are sore, but look very good!  They are clean, healthy with mild bruising around the sites.  

The hospital put me into a surgical bra to come home in. I left this on until I took a shower the 2'nd day home.  I also removed the bandage the 2'nd day after surgery when I took a shower (doctors instructions).  I have been wearing a stretchy bra called the 'genie bra'.  The pads can be removed for a very comfortable, relaxed fit.  For those that have to have this kind of surgery, this bra is very inexpensive at Dollar General.  They also have one that is not named the genie bra, but it is the same bra.  

So all in all the surgery went great.  I should know by the end of this week what pathology found from the tissue taken at surgery.  If more than 2 lymph nodes have cancer, then I'll have to have another surgery to remove the remaining lymph nodes, then have chemo.  If less than 2 (a few) have cancer, then I'll just have to have chemo. and radiation.  If NO cancer is found, then just radiation. No matter what the outcome is, I will be ready.  God still has my back.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pre-op & surgery consult day

Met with the surgeon her.  Discussed the risks of Lumpectomy (Partial Mastectomy) & Lymph Node removal (1-4 of them).  

Before today, I was under the impression that the risk of Lymphedema was only if they all were removed.  My surgeon explained that from surgery on I will have to be careful with my left arm due to a few (1-4) nodes are being removed.  Which means, no blood pressure taken from that arm, no blood draws or pricks, no insect bites, cuts, scraps, etc.  I guess I am still stuck in that "it will never happen to me" place.  

Pre-op went well.  I'm ready for sx.  All I need is to get rid of this stupid sinus, cough thing and I'll be good to go.  ;)  I am ready for this sx to be over and I'll be one step closer to beating this.

Back to the lymph nodes.  If any cancer is found in these lymph nodes that are removed, the Oncologist is going to recommend chemo.  The surgeon explained that if she finds that a few (2 or more) had cancer in them, then she will need to go in and remove the rest.  So I am definitely praying that the cancer didn't spread.  But again, I am being realistic.  There is a difference in being realistic and negative. Being negative, to me, is confessing the outcome on myself.  I am not doing that.  I am preparing myself for a chemo. battle just in case.  I am preparing my mind, body and soul for this poison that may have to enter my body.  I do however, trust God in this whole entire process.  I won't forgot the promise he made to me on the swing that day.  He said,  "I am going to allow you to go through something. You're going to be fine; I got your back".  I am praying, along with friends and family, that I won't have to go through chemo. of course.  I do know that God is in control and he has given me PEACE.  

I thought about that last night lying in bed.  How amazing is he, that he can anoint a total PEACE over someone with something so terrifying?  Without him, I would be a total basket case right now.  I would be filled with worry and doubt.  So I thank him every day for that PEACE that I know comes from him.

I don't claim to be any kind of expert on cancer.  In fact, I knew hardly anything about the 'c' word until I was diagnosed.  I researched, spoke with friends that went through it, and still don't really understand a lot.  But I hoping that my blog might help someone that was just diagnosed or one who may have a loved one going through this ordeal.  I do know that reading blogs and watching video diaries of women who have gone through this has helped me a lot.

(below)  My hubby, being supportive and trying to get me to smile, made me take a 'selfie' with him while waiting for the surgeon.  I wasn't in a bad mood, just not feeling well that day.  I had a lot to take in.  But I am so glad he is supportive and there for me every step of the way.

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So, I feel that I am all ready for the big day next week.  
Say a prayer for me!

PS Thank you for all my family and friends who are praying and following me!  I love you!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My beginning of my breast cancer story...............

I wanted to tell people so they could pray for me without the questions, advice, comments and opinions but I didn't know how to do that without seeming rude.  I'm still not completely sure this is the correct way to tell everyone, but it is the way I've chosen.  I decided to use my blog to tell my breast cancer story.  I'm only at the beginning and I have a HUGE mountain ahead of me.  But I WILL get through this.

So, here it is.  

This is my beginning of my breast cancer story...........

I found a lump after my husband had his stroke at age 40.  I decided to wait for a bit to make sure it was a lump and not just something that would go away after a month and besides, my husband needed me more and I was going to be there for him.  I keep checking the lump daily for a while........yep, still there.  It was starting to get a bit sore.  Ok, it's been 3 months, it's time to go see my gyn.  

Of course, the gyn wants a diagnostic mammogram with ultrasound.  Really?  I have NO breast cancer (blood relatives) in my family line.  This is ridiculous.  Ok.  Fine. They scheduled it.

3 weeks, day of the mammogram and ultrasound, my husband, still being home from his stroke recovery, insisted on taking me.  I kept telling him, it's not a big deal.  I had my baseline (first) mammogram when I was 40 so I wasn't scared or anything.  It didn't even hurt last time, no big deal. Nope, he insisted.

During the diagnostic mammo. the radiologist kept wanting more pics.  Like my breast wasn't already feeling like it was being put through the wringer.....seriously?  Then the ultrasound was done.  The tech left the room and came back with the radiologist.  The look on his face was PRICELESS.  My heart sank.  He looked at me with concern and said, "Tell me your family history again."  I was getting aggravated at this point.  How many times do I have to tell these people that this is nothing and I have NO breast cancer in my family! He then showed me on the screen the lump in question (there were a few cysts as well).  This one in particular was a hard solid mass.  After the explanation, he informed me that he was going to order a biopsy.  I had to ask.  I had to hear him say exactly what he was looking for and what I was thinking!  "What is it that you are checking for with this biopsy?" I asked him.  He then said....... "cancer".

I walked out of that room, into the waiting room where my husband waited.  I had to face him.  (God made sure my hubby was there that day because I couldn't have driven home.  God is good like that you know?  Always looking over me.)  My heart was heavy, I felt myself going to bust at any moment.  I wouldn't look him in the eye until we got into the elevator where we were alone.  I looked up at him, opened my mouth to tell him, but nothing came out.  Tears started and all I could do was nod when he said, "Is it cancer?"  He then said, "We are going to get through this and you are going to be ok."

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That afternoon I sat on our porch swing in the breeze by myself and was in shock.  God clearly spoke to me at that time and he said, "I am going to allow you to go through something.  You are going to be fine.  I have your back."  At that point I felt this overwhelming sensation of peace even though I knew right then and there what the Lord was going to 'allow me to go through'.  The Lord, my father, just told me that all is going to be ok.  I can do this.............with him by my side.  

Four days after the biopsy, the phone rang.  My heart sank....again. It was the breast cancer center on the caller ID.  (I requested that they call me so I didn't have to travel 1.5 hours to hear the news that I already knew.)  Even though I knew what the results were, hearing those words was going to change my life forever. The doctor was very nice and positive.  I hung up the phone, put my face in my hands and let it all out.  The anxiety I was holding in for weeks.  (Now please know that there is a difference between anxiety and worry.  Anxiety means to me being nervous of the unknown or about something I can't control.  I wasn't worried.  My God still had my back remember?)  My husband held me.  I wiped my face and told him that we need to tell the boys.  We sat them down and told them that I had BC, and I was going to go through some surgery and treatment, but I was going to be fine.  

It's been almost 2 weeks since that phone call.  I met my Oncologist, breast surgeon and plastic surgeon.  My next step is surgery, radiation and possibly chemo.  But I have been in a good place......still have this overwhelming sensation of peace.  However, I have a new name tag on my chest.  

My name tags read:  

I am 41. 
I am a wife.
I am a mother of 3 boys.  

and my newest name tag........

I ---- HAVE ---- BREAST ---- CANCER.

I have a journey in front of me.  I will not let this keep me down.  A dear friend told me once that I am an overcomer. So I will get through this. Not because I am strong, but because my GOD is strong and he is with me ......................... all the way.

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I was one of those people who thought, 'I'll never do chemotherapy.  I'll never put that toxic junk in my body.  I will find a way naturally."  Well, I want you to know that you DON'T know what you would do until you are in that situation. I have researched natural cures for cancer.  I've read article after article and again, until you are in that doctors office hearing those words, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD DO.   (Please don't take offense by this.)

If you believe in the power of prayer, than please pray for me. I'm not trying to be rude or cold hearted.  But please don't overwhelm me with advice, natural remedies (I already know, thank you), questions, or tell me about your relative that died from cancer.  Instead, overwhelm me with how much you are praying for me and my family!   Thank you and I love you!

I will be blogging throughout this journey hoping to help someone with worry of the unknown.  I hope to be a good witness for someone who needs God in their journey.  Can you do it without him?  Maybe.  But I choose to do it with him. Why?  Because he's got my back and I completely trust in the one who created me in his image and without him.......I can't do this.

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I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to a few special ladies who are an inspiration to me!  You know who you are. ;)
You ROCK!  You ladies are the overcomers!  I thank you for all your advice and testimonies!

Psalm 145:18 says:
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Philippians 4:6 says:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says:
Pray without ceasing.

James 5:16 says:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Matthew 7:7 says:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Luke 11:9 says:
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 17:20 says:
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Bump in the Road

It's been quite a while since I blogged.  The New Year came and went.  Then, January 27'th, we hit a bump in the road.  My husband, age 40,  had a stroke.  That day will not be forgotten.  

This is how it went:

I woke up hearing the shower running at 5:30am thinking to myself, "He sure is taking a long shower this morning before work. He must be really tired and trying to wake up or his neck is bothering him again."  (He is usually out the door by this time in the morning.)  Then I heard him dry heaving.  I jumped out of bed, knowing in my mind that something is wrong.  Opening the bathroom door, I see him half hanging out of the shower with his head trying to get over the toilet.  I asked if he was ok, and what was going on.  He said he got dizzy and the room was spinning.  I helped him up and helped him onto the toilet.  He was in a daze.  He wasn't responding right.  "Something is off" I thought to myself.  I helped him up, got him dressed and helped him to the couch.  I asked him a few questions to see if he was ok and he was sluggish.  I told him, "Something isn't right.  I'm taking you to the ER."

He was transferred from our local hospital to a large hospital in Columbus, OH that specializes in strokes.  He had a stroke.  

I will never forget these next words after we found out he had a stroke:  "He has an artery dissection."  What?  

Guilt came over me.  I told my husband that if he didn't quit smoking and didn't start eating better, he was going to have a stroke.  How I wish I could take those thoughts and words back.  I know in my right mind that I wasn't the cause, but guilt is what I felt along with panic.  I didn't let my husband see my panic.  I held it together.  I was strong.  I told him that it was going to be ok and he would be back to normal soon and we would get over this.  God has always taken care of us and watched over us and I believe he is still in control.  

But when I got in the car to come home,..................... I fell apart. Every time I left his side at the hospital, I fell apart.  I KNEW God was in control, but I felt so helpless, worrisome and scared.  I prayed all the way home.  When I walked into the house to my children, I kept it together.  I was strong, positive and level headed. When I felt myself falling to that point of loosing control of emotion, I went to my bedroom and the damn opened.  But soon after, I wiped my tears, took a deep breath and opened my bedroom door back to reality.  My kids, my husband needed me.  They needed me to be strong, level headed, positive, on track, and present.  My boys are older so they didn't need someone to be here to cook for them or keep an eye on them.  They pulled together and kept things at bay.  But I came home every few days to make sure all was well and to re assure them that all will be ok.

My husband came home after a week in Columbus.  There was only one day (a few days after the stroke) that he experienced deficiencies from the stroke.  His left hand wouldn't work like he wanted and he had very slurred speech.  He would say things that were 'off', that he normally wouldn't say.  But PRAISE GOD, he was healed and now back to normal!  

I thank God for all my MIRACLE BELIEVING, PRAYING friends and family!  When the doctors follow up with my husband, they cannot believe that he walked away with no deficiencies, but I can.  I have an awesome and powerful GOD who still heals today. We need to believe, pray and keep faith when we hit these bumps in the road of life.  God is the same today as he was thousands of years ago and will be forever.

I am going to try and get back to blogging soon.  We have 5 new female additions to our family ......... SHEEP!  So much to blog about, so little time.  ;)