Saturday, April 14, 2018

sheer fear...God's Amazing Grace...

This. Week. I’m glad it’s coming to an end.

Started off okay. I went East to TLC’s Tuesday. She had a mammo that afternoon. I needed to keep The Princesses for her as Her Hubby (aka HH) was out of town. Then Wednesday morn, she took Little Leighton (aka LL) to school and went to see a new dentist for an overdue checkup. Baby Elle (aka Belle) and I played. And played. And played.

While I was watching over Belle that day, she cracked me up. (Who am I kidding? She cracks me up EVERY SINGLE DAY of her little life.) Her new thing is to check and make sure when her next feeding time is!

“Time for snack, Grammy?” (She’s usually just had one.)

“Time for lunch, Grammy?” (It’s an hour away.)

“Time for snack, Grammy?” (I’ve just told her—5 minutes before this question—that we’re waiting for LL to come home from school to have our afternoon snack.)

“Time for dinner, Grammy?” (She’s just had her afternoon snack 10 minutes prior to this question.)

She is a funny, quirky, SILLY Little Girl.

I left for home at 3:15 (to beat the 5:00 o’clock traffic that actually begins at 3:30…sheesh). LL gave me a hug and kiss and went back to coloring. Belle cried. And cried. Begged me to hold her. A Grammy’s Heartbreak.

I wasn’t due back to TLC’s until this coming Tuesday.

On Thursday morning, I was going to weigh-in at my Weight Watchers’ meeting. Meet my precious friend, Emily, there and then we were looking forward to a (long-overdue) pedi. Lunch would follow. As I sat in the salon chair, enjoying the beginning of my toes being prettied up and catching up with Emily (it’d been weeks and weeks and weeks since our last get-together), my phone rang. (I turn it off by the way! I had to buy a new Fitbit and this one vibrates when my phone rings. I think that is AWESOME.) It was TLC. She’d just visited another new doctor (long story) and was telling me about a test she’d scheduled. She was in a happy, cheerful mood. She knew I was in the chair so we didn’t talk long.

Ten minutes later—she called again. I was immediately confused. When I answered? She was hysterical. Crying so hard and loud I could understand not one word she was screaming.

Finally, she calmed down enough to tell me the mammogram place had just called her. They needed her to come back. There was a spot or two on her right breast they wanted to re-check.

To tell a 34-year-old Mom whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 40 (TLC was 10) that she had to come back for a breast issue? Tough stuff. (Yes, the young lady was doing her job. Still...TOUGH.)

TLC was to begin mammograms ten years before the age I was when I was diagnosed with cancer. That meant 30. Right on time, she did her baseline mammogram soon after her 30th birthday. Little Leighton was a toddler.

Her OB/GYN at that time told her she believed she could wait until she was 35 for her next one. I actually thought that was fine, too. She’d had another little baby girl—moved twice in two years—and she really had put it to the back of her mind. Believing she had plenty of time.

Then, when she found and recently visited her new family doctor (who she LOVES—a young, very nice woman), they decided together TLC would go ahead and do a mammogram asap. Hence this past Tuesday’s appointment. At 4:00 p.m.

I digressed. Back to her call:

In my quietest and most reassuring voice I asked her to calm down. She’d called them before calling me back and had arranged to go there the next morning (yesterday—Friday). At 8:00 a.m.. HH had taken vacation days on Thursday and Friday. So keeping The Princesses was not going to be a problem. Although she wanted one of us with her and we both knew he’d really want to go.

I told her I’d come Thursday evening. After traffic had died down and The Princesses were in bed. (They’d get all wound-up-excited if I  arrived at their bedtime.) I’d care for them while she and HH went to the appointment.

It was a long day from that point on. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) was upset for her. Me. Worried—yet not worried. (His faith in God’s Plans gets stronger and stronger every day of his life.) All of us were praying non-stop TLC wouldn’t have breast cancer. At 34.

When I got there around 8:15 Thursday night, she seemed fairly peaceful. Then, after we watched Grey’s (WTH were we thinking? WHY OH WHY did we do that???), she lost it.

At that moment I begged God to let me have it again. To please spare my child. It wasn’t just the loss of one—or two—of her breasts (I lost my left.). It was the chemo that caused me so many other health issues as time went on. (If I’d known what was going to happen to my body after chemo, would I have chosen not to do it? Nope. I wanted every chance I had to live as long as I possibly could. It’s simply the fact that it’s literally poison going in to your body. Killing everything. All the bad. And all the good.) It was the reconstruction surgeries.

I knew MSH and I would do everything in our power to help TLC, HH, and The Princesses navigate anything they had to face. Still…

I was surprised I slept! I truly thought I wouldn’t. TLC even got some sleep. She and HH left their house before LL and Belle woke up. TLC had told LL, at her bedtime Thursday night, I’d be there in the morning—because she and HH had some “errands” they had to run. (At almost 6, LL is beginning to get wise to anxiety. Problems. Stress. She can get on to an issue faster than one expects.)

Belle was surprised when I walked into her room! Confused. But happy! We had a leisurely breakfast. Around 8:50, TLC sent me and her Dad/MSH a text:

Fibroids! Come back in a year.

Praise God and Thank You, Jesus! I can’t remember feeling such utter JOY.

The radiologist she saw—and liked—recommended that TLC consider genetic testing. She said insurance companies will usually pay for the testing when you have an immediate connection to a family member that has had breast cancer. (Mother/daughter. Probably father/daughter! Possibly grandmother?) And that that person had been diagnosed with breast cancer before he or she had turned 50.)

We’ve all decided she’ll get through the summer—get LL started in public school in the Fall—and will plan on checking into this testing in September/October. Ish.

For all my precious friends (especially Emily—who was experiencing my panic in real-time) who I reached out to and who prayed for TLC—and reassured me—THANK YOU. You always, ALWAYS give me strength. Hope. Comfort. I cherish each one of you.

For TLC: I love you. With all of my heart and all of my soul. I’ll praise God and Jesus every day for this chance to be back in peace. Back to “normal.” (However, have either one of us ever been normal?)

It’s been 24 years since my original diagnosis of breast cancer. I’m alive. I’m well. I’m fairly healthy! I’m feisty—a lot. I’m blessed. I’m deeply grateful. And I DEMAND of each one of you GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM when it’s time. PLEASE do not mess around. PLEASE. It’s YOUR LIFE.

Have a Sweet Saturday—Wherever in this World Y’all are!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

tuesdays with tlc...

Today is National Siblings' Day...right? Evidently.

So, in honor of that "holiday," here are three pictures of the sweetest, silliest, sassiest Sisters who love each other BIG...

I hope they always know what an amazing gift they are for each other.

Happy Day!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

break free...

From Jesus Lives, by Sarah Young:


FEARFULNESS IS A FORM OF BONDAGE. I died on the cross for you so that you would not be a slave to fear. When I see My children continuing to live in bondage to fear, I am grieved. My sacrifice was not only to provide forgiveness of sins but also to open the way to My Father’s heart. Now that you trust Me as Savior, you are the recipient of perfect Love—My Love, Abba’s Love. This perfect Love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (and there is no punishment for My followers).

People are born into the world in spiritual bondage, including bondage to fear. Because you inhabit a fallen world and a fallen body, it isn’t easy to break free from fearfulness. However, the Spirit of adoption can help you in this struggle, enabling you to see yourself as you truly are: a much-loved child of God! The Spirit frees you to cry out, “Abba, Father,” believing you are His precious, adopted child. In the presence of a loving, strong father even the most frightened child eventually calms down. You have a perfectly loving, infinitely strong father, so bring your fears freely to Him. Let Him hold you close to his Abba-heart, where you know you are safe. Open your heart to receive vast quantities of His Love. The more of this Love you hold in your heart, the less room there is for fear. Receive Our Love in full measure!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

            1 JOHN 4:18

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

            JOHN 15:9

It’s been a fast and furious, yet, at the same time, long week. Good things. Tough things. Confusing things happening. Medical issues for TLC. Things that make her full of fear. Things that test her faith. My faith. But I feel confident there will be answers and resolutions and that God and Jesus will keep her in Their hearts.

I’ve confessed before to being The Worst Worrier. I’ve been this way, truly, since I was at least five years old. I know many of the reasons I became this way. I feel it happens to too many of us—for various reasons. My reasons would make a lot of sense to Y’all. I’m confident you’d understand. Many of you could, more than likely, relate to this curse that happened to me long ago. It’s my history. My truth. My cross to bear.

I continuously work on my unhealthy need to worry. I tell myself ten times a day...sometimes ten times an give every fear/concern I have to God. To Jesus. Many, MANY times my efforts of faith work. Occasionally?  They simply don't. I'm proud to say my efforts are working right as this very moment!

I don’t mean to be cryptic or mysterious. This post is for My Precious TLC. I want her to read it and feel my confidence.  

God bless each of you today. Tomorrow. Always. God bless you with the ability to hold in your hearts God's and Jesus’ infinite LOVE for you. To release your fears to them.

Big and Sweet Sunday Hugs, Dearest Friends…

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

tuesdays with tlc...

Happy Tuesday!

I'm back!

I hope y'all had a wonderful Easter.

On Thursday, Little Leighton (aka LL) had her Easter Party/Egg Hunt at school. I like to volunteer to bring all of the food/drinks for each of their holiday parties. This way, LL is able to have exactly what her classmates have because everything is gluten-free and delicious! Not one child (or even the teachers!) can tell.

Before they had their snack of gluten-free cupcakes and apple juice, the kids had their egg hunt. They weren't allowed to open any eggs until after school. LL couldn't wait to get into the car after the party and start crackin' hers open. Buckled in her carseat, we headed home to meet Grammy ELC and Baby Elle. Because I was driving, I wasn't able to see each reaction when she opened an egg, but out of the 12 eggs she grabbed, she couldn't have one piece of candy. Not ONE. Now, I say this not to complain about the lack of gluten-free options she received. We love our school and we have several sweet and understanding friends in her class. One in particular always makes sure she brings something gluten-free, in order to include LL. But, as with any egg hunt, it was simply the "luck of the draw." There was one egg out of her dozen that had three tiny, sparkly stickers inside. Obviously gluten-free and safe. This is what my PRECIOUS daughter said after opening every egg, suddenly faced with the reality of her Celiac Disease:

"You know, Mama, it's really okay that I can't have any of the candy. Because, look! I have three stickers. And that's really okay."

Y'all. She sweetly smiled. A pure smile. While my heart broke a little as I looked at her in my rearview mirror, I couldn't have been more PROUD. What an amazingly mature and positive attitude for a little girl that's still only "one-hand-old." I had a hard time not crying right then and there. I wouldn't let myself because I never want her to feel sad about having Celiac Disease and its limitations. Despite all of the challenges, she is BLESSED. WE, as her family, are blessed.

Children don't ask for diseases. Restrictions. Allergies. As adults, and parents, we can seriously learn much from them. I guess I also hope that, perhaps, you might consider non-food treats for any future holidays you participate in, whether it be End-of-School, Trick-or-Treating/Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day or Easter Egg Hunts. Just so there's always something one child, like my Little Leighton, might be able to keep.