Thursday, September 18, 2014


It was a perfect weekend.  Jeff and I spent the day outside. He closed the pool and I pruned rose bushes.  Since it was a beautiful day and the side effects (hot flashes) of Tamoxifen are still doing a number on me, I didn't wear long sleeves. 

A rose bush and I had a fight and it won.  I came inside with a bloody arm, took a shower and forgot all about it. 

The next day, when I made it up the steep stairs at the building where I work, I had to sit down at the top of the steps.  That's when I knew I was in for a long day.  Did I overdo it at (rotator cuff) physical therapy on Friday?  Surely I didn't work THAT hard in the yard.  After a couple of hours, everything was aching and my left breast was on fire.  That's when I began to cry and shake.  The cancer is back.  I called Jeff and he left work to take me home.  I was too weak to drive for seven minutes!

 I called my oncologist and my surgeon but they were both booked solid.  My Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Mater, was out of town, so her partner Dr. Matter wanted me to come in immediately the next day.   A four hour drive to and from Lexington for a 20 minute visit?  Yes. We will be there.  That night, my fever spiked at 102.  God bless those people who get 104 degree fevers because they must be miserable!  That night, I slept, if you want to call it that, in Lauren's bed.  I cried most of the night.  80% from misery. 20% from fear. From past experience,  I was way too scared to tell many people about the swollen red breast.  I can hear it now..."That happened to my mom/aunt/sister/granny and the cancer got her that time.  That's what they call it in the country..."the cancer".

Dr. Matter is not only handsome, but he's very kind with an excellent bedside manner.  If a doctor ever says, "bless your heart", "you poor woman", or "It'll be ok.", well...I'm sold.  You know how I love a good shot of empathy and validation.  Jeff who is in the room with me, looks at me with wonder as I make conversation with Dr. Matter. Just minutes ago I was telling him I was more miserable than I was on chemo!  

The redness in my breast and my side and back were likely caused from an infection from the tear in my skin from the rose bush thorn!!  Because my body hasn't recovered yet from the chemo and radiation, any infection is likely to settle at the weakest areas with scar tissue. That explains why my neck and shoulder were hurting too.  He prescribed  an antibiotic and said, "If this doesn't work, we're going to have to admit you in the hospital."  

We had a quick lunch with Jordan and Oriana at Local Taco.  It was a blur.  I was in agony, but I insisted on seeing them..and I'm glad we did.  
Jordan and Oriana 

I've certainly been a bit demanding with God this past year.   I've begged for my health back (getting there), the knowledge and strength to be the best I can be in my new position (getting there), and most of all ....praying my heart out for Lauren. She moved to O'Fallon, MO near St. Louis, in March.  She's been unable to find a position as a sign language interpreter. Someone once told me that as a parent, you're only as happy as your unhappiest child.  How true. After six months, she finally got an interview last week. She just called me today to tell me she was offered the job!

I made sure I said my prayer of gratitude 'cause I read somewhere that if the only prayer you ever say is "thanks", it's enough. It was Maya Angelou, Eckhart Tolle or Oprah or someone spiritual and inspiring like that.   I'm too tired to Google right now.  Anyway,  here goes...

 Thank you, God, for allowing the people interviewing Lauren to see how gifted and special she is.  Thank you that this wasn't a cancer recurrence.  Thank you for Alexander Fleming, the inventor of penicillin.  Thank you for my husband who has taken such good care of me these past two days and always. Thank you for my co-workers who have worried about me these past few days and give me the daily encouragement to keep going.  Thank you for my son, who calls me regularly on his walks between classes just to check on me.  Thank you for the friends and family who are just now learning about my near death experience.  Slight exaggeration, God.  Only slight.  And God, I still love my rose bushes and am thankful for them. I'll just be more careful next time.