Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Worries...

I’ve missed you guys!  Seems like I haven’t added a post in a long time.  
So as we enjoy the last days of September -- also known as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month -- I think it’s my duty to do a quick public service announcement on the symptoms of this beast.  Between you and me, I was not happy with KNBC’s story that ran a  couple of weeks ago.  It hardly touched on the symptoms.  Symptoms that every woman should know.
So here they are:
Bloating.  Not your average, “Oh, I ate too much” bloating.  But a bloating that encompasses your entire abdomen.  It looked as if someone unzipped my torso and put a tortoise shell in there and zipped it back up.  Bloating with a capital B.  
Fullness.  As soon as I ate a bite of a cookie, I was full.  Remember, I could eat 22 of them back in the day.  Sad, but true.
Frequent urination.  I remember having to go to the bathroom about every hour.  Not normal.
Weight gain.  I was up about five pounds when I was diagnosed.  I thought I ate too many cookies.  Probably did, but I believe the weight gain was due to the bloating and extra fluid in my abdomen.
Constipation.  Enough said on that one.
I know very little about this disease and I’d like to keep it that way.  Some people need to know everything.  That’s not me.  It’s not that I want to be ignorant about something that affects my life, but I’m better off using my energy to focus on the good things about it and not the negative things.  
Good things about ovarian cancer?  Yeah, there’s a couple.  
It still only takes me five minutes to get ready in the morning.  You saw my short hair on tv, right?  Not the cutest style I’ve ever had, but certainly the easiest.
I enjoy my kids like never before.  I just played Catch Phrase with them the other night and had a blast.  Before cancer, I would have been doing laundry.  What an idiot.  
I know God more intimately.  Priceless.  Truly.
I often wonder if I could do a “do over” would I?   I think I’d have to pass on that one.  The biggest downside to cancer, in my opinion, is worrying about the future.  If I cough, I think I have lung cancer.  If I sleep wrong and my neck hurts, I think I have lymphoma.  But I hear this is normal for cancer survivors.  It probably gets easier for some, more difficult for others.  
This week has been difficult.  I find myself worrying.  I was so good at not worrying.   And I wonder why, after 10 months, I’m beginning to struggle with it again.    
I think certain things trigger it.  But I know what will deflate it.  Scripture.
This one is gold to me.  
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  Phillipians 4:6-7.
I experienced God’s peace the moment I received my diagnosis.  I know it’s real.  And I’ve experienced His peace throughout this whole ordeal.  It is amazing.  And there’s nothing that can give a Mom more peace than God’s Word.  No need to look anywhere else but in the Bible sitting on your table.  Now given that I have such a horrible memory (aka "chemo brain"), I don’t remember a thing after I read it.  So I’ve been writing down beautiful verses on index cards.  I need to tape them to my arms.
A friend of mine emailed me today and wrote that my blog has helped her through a tough time in her life.  It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.  I love that you guys can relate to my journey, even though most of you don’t have cancer.  I think it boils down to: life is hard.  Whether it’s disease, divorce or depression we face, we all need God in our lives.  You know those necklaces I make - can’t do cancer without God.   I have others that read, “can’t do life without God.”    Any takers?
So be aware of your body this month and next.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And for any of you who don’t get routine breast exams, make that appointment.  I’m making mine.  I just received that little card in the mail that said it was time to have one, and I was hoping my all-too-often cat scans would eliminate that fun little exam, but nooooo.  As a friend of mine says, “Pull up your big girl pants” and make that appointment.
And no worries.  “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 

Monday, September 20, 2010

These Boots are Made for Walking...

I know I'm ready for fall when I buy new chocolate brown suede boots (love 'em!) and want to wear them when it's still 80 degrees outside.  I'm starting to unpack my sweaters from the garage and buy cute tweed hats.  We even bought a few pumpkins at the farm stand yesterday.  I want to pack up our goggles and flip flops.  And wear boots!

I'm wondering where these boots will take me this year.  I'm ready to travel a road I've never been on before.  A little scary, but if I'm following God, I know I'm in good hands.  His hands.  I know we've climbed a few hills together this past year, and in fact, need to climb another one exactly a month from today.   My next surgery is scheduled for October 20th -- to remove that little "thing" on my kidney.  My doctor expects me to be in the hospital for 2 to 3 days and then a month or so of recovery.  So hopefully by then, I can recuperate beneath a cozy quilt by a roaring fire.  Who am I kidding?  It's California -- the weather stays hot right until the weekend of Halloween.  I'll probably be lounging on the couch with shorts and a tank top on.  And my brown suede boots.

So if you find yourself climbing a few hills this year, grab your boots and God's hand.  I guarantee you He will be a "lamp onto your feet and a light onto your path." 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Five Important Words...

Well, as many of you know by now, I see my cancer as a gift.  I also recognize that God made me crafty.  So put those two things together, and my heart leaps for joy!   
Soon after I was diagnosed, the phrase “can’t do cancer without God” flooded my mind.     I pictured it on a t-shirt.  I saw chocolate brown words, a few "scrolly" things in pale pink and pale blue, and a beautiful, yet simple cross standing above the words.  

  I couldn’t wait to wear it.  I wanted everyone who saw me to know that God is my foundation through this cancer thing.  My dream came true a few weeks ago after my talented friend Bethany designed my vision.  Perfectly.  (Thank you, Bethany!)  
Well, the only bummer about the t-shirt is that I can’t wear it every day.  So I set my sights on creating a necklace I could wear every day.   And then, knowing me, I knew I would want to make more so others could wear them too.  
The first time I wore my “can’t do cancer without God” necklace to my kids’ school, I stopped and talked to a friend.  She mentioned she was going down to the City of Hope to see her friend’s 5-year-old daughter who had just had surgery following brain cancer.   I’m sure we all agree that the words “brain cancer” and “5-year-old” should not be in the same sentence.  So I took off my necklace and handed it to her to give to the little girl.  “This is my plan,” I thought to myself as I walked away.  “To share God’s name with those facing cancer.”
The following day, my girlfriend and I had a “This and That Sale” to clean out our garages and make a little money.  As we were pricing the items, I asked my girlfriend Kari what she was going to do with the money she made.   “I’m going to give you all of my money so you can continue to send out your books and make your necklaces,” she said.  My heart melted at her kindness.
So the next morning, several friends came over and shopped.  To my surprise, we made over $600 in three hours.  Each and every dime we made will go to giving these gifts to children and women with cancer.   
So help me spend my money!  If you know of anyone who you think would enjoy receiving the Praying Through Cancer book or “can’t do cancer without God” necklace, please let me know.   Email me at and leave their name and address.   And if you run into me at school or Von's and notice I'm wearing one, ask for it.   I would love to give you the one I'm wearing.  In fact, I wear one in hopes of taking it off and sharing it with someone.  I do it almost every day.
I thought my crafty days were over.  Knowing my hands and heart are now working for God, 
I hope they’ve just begun.
You’ll notice that there’s a new link on my blog to the web site  This is a great company that prints logos on to everything you can imagine.  I made my t-shirt and tote bag here.  And 10% of every item you make with my phrase “can’t do cancer without God” is given back to me which I will then spend at Pottery Barn -- no I’m kidding -- but will go into my little cancer fund so I can continue making more necklaces and sending out more books.  

From the beginning, you were all a part of my healing.  Now together, we can help others heal too. 
And share the phrase "can't do cancer without God."