Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Monday, September 29, 2008

Keep on Keeping On

I woke up this morning a bit late, husband and son had already left for work. I did not sleep the best again last night, but after my shower today I was thinking I could take on the world. I started puttering around my house. I call this my "walk through" where I basically pick things up, and put the house into some type of order from the weekend. I was feeling pretty good and started a load of laundry. I actually made my bed (really for the first time on my own since the second surgery) and kept going with one odd job after another. I thought, "Gee, I am thinking I could go back to school today the way I feel."

Then noon hit. Ouch. My right arm started screaming at me. Not the whole arm, but the muscle that runs from your neck into your shoulder. I have to say that it was actually very painful. I spent the next few hours in the recliner with a bag of frozen peas sitting on my shoulder and 2 pain pills in my stomach.

I guess I am not quite ready to take on the world. I just want to get back to normal. I cannot sit around all day doing nothing. I feel like I need to push the limits a bit so that I don't go from zero to everything all at once. I am so very glad that I had accumulated enough sick days to afford to heal at home, and glad that I have a district that allows you to take some of them in a lump like this in order to heal. I just did not want to take more than I need. Honestly, I have always been very careful about taking my sick days legally. I don't feel I have ever abused the system and have actually used a no pay day before when I could not bring my self to calling in sick when I had something important to do but was not actually sick. I have used one no pay day for a wedding, another for a funeral, and another when we took oldest to the airport when he left for Amsterdam. I don't want to ever take advantage of this benefit. Maybe that is why I push myself, and think I should hurry back. I just need to find a balance.

On a really good note, I am noticing today that the swelling is becoming less and less, I told my husband I did not realize how swollen my jaw line has been. and that today I felt my lower face was thinner. My neck is still very thick and firm though. I feel like a Barbie Doll that had her head removed, a stick inserted, and then her head placed back on the stick. (Yeah, I think I probably really did that before to poor Barbie, plus my G.I. Joe also had a terrible war wound which required similar the way, my Barbie dated my G.I. Joe, because I never cared much for Ken and his plastic hair, and I had military brothers).

What I am trying to say, is my neck is that stiff. It still has a limited range of motion and feels as thick and firm as a stick.

Okay, I guess that is all for now: supper is calling . Today we were blessed with all the fixins' for taco salad. Oldest gets to set it all out though. I am back to my bag of peas.

Tell me what you think

I have played with my blog and have made quite a few changes. What do you think? Can you read it clearly? Have you played the game I added? Like my music? You can scroll all the way down and pause the music, skip to a different song, or just turn the volume down. I may even add songs periodically. Tell me what you think. You all have been pretty silent lately, remember comments keep me going.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Flashback / Flash Forward


The year is 1976. fall is here and I am in college. I have made it through my freshman year, sophomore year, and now nearing the middle of my junior year. Things are changing. School is becoming difficult, my grades are slipping, my mind is wandering, and all I can concentrate on is my mother. Odd I know for someone my age, but you see, she was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half earlier, two years actually, and I miss not being at home near her. The decision is made and I leave school. Drop out. Quit. Soon I am back home living with my parents and soon wondering what I have done. I decide to pursue an different path educationally and even tell myself that was the plan all along, only I never took the time to see if the path I thought I would switch to was available in my home town schools. It is not, so I am at home deciding what to do with the rest of my life. I go to work, but only at the place where I had been working during my summer vacations. A local Goodwill Industries made a habit of hiring college students during the summer, and while it was not glamorous, it was a job, and it allowed me to pick up a pretty decent second-hand wardrobe on a college budget. They were anxious to have me return and so that was easy. It was easy to take the easy way out. It just was not very fulfilling. Spending day after day checking pockets of used clothing and deciding what would be labeled as "good, bad, or ugly" or what would bring in a dollar or 25 cents just did not fulfill much in my soul. Someone told me that the local hospital was hiring and soon I found myself working at the switchboard.

That may not have been much more glamorous, but I felt like I was providing a bit more to the community, so it was okay, the pay was decent, and other than working a boring night shift, I found I mostly liked the job. I got used to long nights, where my most "exciting" calls were the ones that prompted me to issue the emergency call throughout the hospital. I would summon doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all other necessary personnel to the bedside of a patient in a critical situation. This would be okay. This job allowed me to be at home, to spend this time with my mother. I was able to include her in the planning of my wedding, to get her input on simple things, like colors, china patterns, and the big things, like, "Mother, what do you think of this dress?". It also allowed me to be at home in other ways, to assist with the boring day to day things, like cooking and cleaning.

I was supposed to be home that year. I did not know it at the time, I felt like I was wasting my life, wasting my education, and I missed my friends and especially missed my fiance'. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. I did not know it then. Mother lived for 15 months after I left school. She held out until one month before I married in the spring of 1978.

Flash forward:

May 2008. Memorial Day to be exact. We are at the apartment of youngest son, packing him up as he prepares to leave one college and move on to another. He will live at home for the summer where oldest son is also living. Oldest had graduated college one year earlier, had spent six months in Amsterdam working in a Christian Hostel and had now been home for six months, still not finding that one special job. Home, away from friends, away from things he loved to do, and not finding any fulfilling work. He takes at job where husband works because that was easy. Easy to take the easy way out sometimes. He and youngest would find whatever work there was to be found there and muddle through.

Who knew that the very next day would set of a chain of events in all of our lives that would leave us profoundly changed? The very next day after packing up youngest, I suffer a heart attack. A heart attack which sets many things in motion....heart attack, stent placement, hospital stay, pain, return hospital visit, tests, another catherization, more tests, "What is this, a nodule on her thyroid?", more tests, biopsy, "Sorry Mam, you have cancer", more tests, time for a mammogram, "What...something on the mammogram?" additional films, biopsy, "Hmmm, not really wrong, but not right either" , wait and see, surgery for cancer, hospital stay, emergency trip to ER, "Compromised airway", emergency surgery, ICU, hospital stay.....healing, waiting.

Through most all of this my sons are home, only by now youngest has gone off to a new school. Oldest is still home, now working full time at a job he does not feel fulfilled in, missing his friends desperately, and feeling so alone.

Does history repeat itself? I certainly hope not, because I know what happened ultimately to my mother. I also know her prognosis was not the good one I have been given. But does history repeat itself just a little bit? Seems to be so.

I so want oldest to feel fulfilled in his career, I so want him to find that perfect job, in that perfect town , near perfect friends.

But can I say that maybe, just maybe he is right where God placed him for a particular reason? Maybe God knew how very much he would be needed at home, needed for emotional support, for diversions from all things medical, needed to be be a set of extra hands around the house. Sometimes we are not where we want to be, and not where we think we should be, but we are always right where we need to be. We just don't always know it.

Trying to do more

I am at that stage in my recovery where I feel I need to stretch myself a bit. My plan is to return to work on Oct. 6th, and in order to successfully do that, my arms need to work. I did not anticipate how much trouble I would have getting my arms to work without pain in the shoulders. Today I am home with our oldest son. He will help do the things that I just don't feel I can do, like, sweep. mop. and other big chores. I am trying to do some things on my own. I stripped the bed this morning, but that took a while, I may have to wait until husband comes home to put it back together. I have put a bit of laundry away, and started one load. I think I am going to rest a bit, because I am already noticing some additional pain. I will find a balance between working some, and resting some. My neck is still very stiff and sore so there is not much movement going on there regardless of what I do.

We are leaving the house for supper tonight and eating dinner at husband's folks. Yum Yum. I am anxious for that meal, and quite honestly I am anxious to get out of the house. I am wanting to get out a bit more now, so that is a good sign.

I think things are going well. If I had not had to have a second surgery I think I would be ahead of things, but all in all, recovery is going as good as can be expected.

Another thing that shows I am getting better...I am looking for deals again and anxious for the Sunday coupons. I have not completely abandoned my couponing during recovery, I had some that were going to expire so husband took me to Wal Mart yesterday. That is not his favorite place, so you all can see how much he loves me! I managed to get a $55.00 bill down to $23.00 due to 28 coupons, so that was like a dose of medicine for me. That trip was enough though to show me that I am not ready to do that on my own, and am not healed enough for everyday shopping.

I think that this last week off will afford me to build up my stamina as I try to do more, and allow me time to rest as needed.
I am looking forward to getting better!

**Update. This post sat on the computer for a while as I watched TV and did a bit more odds and ends. I think I have reached my limit. The right shoulder is just hurting too much to keep up much more. Time to plop.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yesterday morning I had a return doctor appointment. It was mostly because I had spent the night Sunday in the hospital and the surgeon wanted to make sure everything is okay. I also needed a follow up from my last surgery.

The doctor appointment went well. He said all of my pain, stiffness, firmness in the neck, movement problems, and everything else is basically right on track. He left the steri-strips on the incision and wants them to stay on until they start to come off on their own. He told me to get Mederma to put on the scar and that it really is a great product. (Expensive, but great) I will just call him when I feel like I can return to work and he will write the release. He will also have to release me to go back to cardio-rehab. I still cannot drive, because I cannot turn my neck safely. That may actually take some time, so going back to work will mean I will have to walk...HA.

The best news came later. If you all remember, there is a blood test that is very specific to this cancer. It checks the calcitonen levels in your blood. These levels are usually very low and the only way they go up is if there is this particular cancer in your body. Before surgery my level was 1356 (normal is 5 or less) which, along with the biopsy, proved that this type of cancer was there. After the second surgery they took the blood test again, My number is 5 ! There is NO cancer, additional proof along with the lymph nodes that they got it all. This blood test will be checked for the rest of my life, because unfortunately, even without a thyroid, this cancer can return. As long as this level is low, they will not do anything, if it ever starts rising, then they will investigate. (kinda like a man's PSA test).

I am pretty tight and stiff today, I don't know if the way I slept last night aggravated it, or if this is normal.

What is normal, anyway?

I have been very busy today, I emptied the dishwasher, and made ice...whew! Need to rest now. I know that is tongue in cheek, but in reality, to empty the dishwasher requires a lot of movement and stretching to put things away that are on higher shelves. I think that is probably good for me to move my neck and try at lease to keep it mobile, but I realized that it is not easy to do right now.

A good friend is bringing me lunch today and staying for a visit. She offered to take me out to eat, but I don't think I am ready for that. She gets to take a long lunch today, so that works out well.
After that I may rest again or watch another movie.

My friend Reta gave me some good advice yesterday. She said instead of calling these "lazy days" I need to refer to them as "Healing Days" I like that, that is the purpose of being off of work. I am not home to just be lazy, I am home to heal. Thanks, Reta, I needed that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What an Inspiration

Having time at home to recuperate from surgery has afforded me the time to watch some movies. Today I watched "The Hiding Place", the story of Corrie Ten Boom. Ironically, that was the first movie that husband and I ever went to a theater together to see. It was back in 1976 or 1977 in our college town. I have been wanting to watch it again for quite some time, had it in our NetFlix que for some time, and then had it sitting on top of the entertainment center for some time as well. Finally, but by no accident, I watched it today.

Oh boy, that woman's faith and perseverance is such an inspiration. To think of what she endured and the faith that remained just renewed my desire to trust God all the more. People have told me that I am strong, that I have been an inspiration to them in the midst of all I have gone through in the last 4 months. I just wish they could see me how God really sees me. I am not strong. Far from it. I think that what has been to my advantage is that for the first time in my life I have finally admitted that I am not strong. That in reality I am very weak. I have had to rely so much on God's strength. I know the only reason that I seem strong right now is because perhaps by some way people are just seeing His strength and are mistaking it for mine. I have to be reminded of His strength, reminded that only by admitting my weakness can His strength be perfected in me.

What would my life look like if I could just learn to do that in all aspects of my life? If I am only strong right now physically because I have been shown how frail life can be, and how I am truly one breath away from death, then what could I really be in regards to my relationships, finances, and other areas of my life if I would only learn to depend on Him more?

I bawled like a baby at the end of this movie because I think I do get it. I know how much I need to depend on God, and rely on Him. I just for some reason choose not to. If I learn anything from this heart attack / cancer experience then I want it to be that only by truly admitting that I am weak and depending on God can I ever be truly strong.

If you learn anything from my heart attack / cancer experience then please let it be the same, and that when you look at me and think I am strong, I am not, it is my Father you are looking at.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am Spoiled Rotten!

I could get used to getting spoiled like this. We are being shown so much love again. I feel I barely finished being spoiled from the heart attack and now we are spoiled all over again. Food, cards, flowers, calls, prayers, yard-work, cleaning, monetary gifts, errands, the list goes on and on and on. Our mail carrier must wonder what is up. The US Postal Service has probably delivered enough mail to me alone, in the form of cards this summer, to hold off the need for a postal rate increase for about 10 years! I cannot wait until I am able to return the favors. I need to bounce back quickly so that I can feel I am providing even just a bit of the assistance that has been shown to us.

I am truly overwhelmed. I don't even think that the word "overwhelmed" describes this feeling. I thank you all so very very much for the love you are showing my family.

Lazy Day

Today I am being very lazy.

That is not an easy concept for me. Oh, I know that on occasion I can be a world class couch potato, but usually I need to be doing something. I think my mother taught me that. I always wondered why she never sat still. She could not enjoy a full television show because she was always folding laundry or getting up to do something. Now, I realize that part of the reason she did that is because I WAS lazy back then, but the main reason was because she felt the need to be productive and to provide for her family.

I do not think I rate up there with her, but I usually pride my self in multi-tasking. It makes me feel good to know that I have the washer, dryer, dish-washer, stove, oven, crock-pot, and any other small appliance going all at the same time. Plus, at that very moment I am folding clothes with one hand, dusting with the other, and mopping with my feet. Okay, that is not really the case, but I do like to be doing something.

Today, however, I am not doing anything. Quite the contrary, I am doing nada, zilch, zero.

It is 10:30 and my greatest accomplishment today is that I am dressed. I even thought hard about that one. I guess the world will still turn if I cease to move much today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Hospitals have Revolving Doors...

Or so it seems.

I spent the night last night in the local Hospital Hotel due to some swelling issues again. This time it was not severe and in no way life threatening like last time, but it was enough for concern. I came home on Friday with a thick pressure bandage around my neck which had to stay in place for 48 hours. It was quite loose by that time and husband cut it off at 5:00 PM. Around 7:00 I noticed a difference, especially with swallowing. There was new swelling and swallowing was actually quite hard. After a few phone calls to the necessary medical personnel we later found ourselves in the local ER. I was seen quickly and was given a CT scan to make sure there was nothing life threatening. It was decided I stay for the night. My primary doctor saw me this morning and agreed it was good that I came. He released me and I am home doing much better. I will see the surgeon on Wednesday morning. I guess it is much better to play it safe. If my surgery had been on my leg swelling would not be the issue it is when you have to consider breathing and swallowing. I just hope that door at the hospital gets fixed so it does not revolve so quickly.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Corporate Worship

Awww, it was good to be at church today. I love joining with the body of Christ and praising God together. I love the support that comes from people who share my faith and know my heart. I only missed one week, but I missed it in a terrible way. It was so good to be at church today and praise the God who has held me these last few weeks and who has been my strength.

To see everyone at church and to receive so much love was the best medicine ever.

I slept much better last night. Husband decided to re-configure the pillows to create an incline so that my head and upper body would be elevated and my back would still have support. He did an excellent job with his arrangement. I purposely did not make the bed this morning because I do not want to change the position of any of the 6 pillows that he propped up. I only was up once due to a strange coughing spell in the middle of the night, but returned to the bed and slept well the rest of the night. I felt so well this morning that there was no question about me going to church.

There was one hurdle though that was easily met. When I was discharged this time my neck was wrapped in a thick dressing that was to stay in place for 48 hours. I wondered about my hair. I have shoulder length hair that seriously needs washed at least every other day. Much past that and it is not a pretty sight. The nurse at the hospital knew of my concerns and sent me home with an amazing product. If any of you ever have the need for your self or for anyone you are caring for, I would highly recommend these Ready Bath Shampoo Caps. They are a thick shower cap that once you put over your hair and start massaging will release a wet shampoo/conditioner that does not need rinsed out. Amazing. When you take it off your hair is wet and just needs combed and styled. Truly a wonderful product. I remember back in the day when the only option was a product you sprayed on your hair, which was much like baby powder in an aerosol can. All it really did was absorb some of the excess oil, but it did nothing to really make your hair or scalp feel clean. I am quite impressed with this new technology!

I still have some swelling and I know that is to be expected. I still have considerable pain, and some decent drugs. I have weird tingling and numbness that I will have to get used to for a while, but each day is better now than the day before and life is good.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm Clean!

The lymph nodes are clean! 80 lymph nodes were tested and came out clean. The cancer seems to have been confined to the thyroid area and did not invade anywhere else. That is amazing news! We got the report on Thursday. I think it was Thursday. I know, you would think that particular day would be etched in my memory, but I lost approximately 24-30 hours in a fog. I will explain. I also want you to know that there is a picture at the end of this blog which is a very discreet ( did you know that there are two similar words, discrete and discreet?) picture of how I look right now. I am being very careful not to upset anyone, my own son is squeamish so I have been very respectful of that here. I promise you can handle it, but it really does show you how I look right now.

Anyway, on Tuesday night we had quite the adventure, I was sitting at this computer checking email, blogs, and bargains, and for some reason I rubbed my hand down my neck. I have not had much feeling there so I was not sure I was feeling what I thought I felt. I jumped up and ran to the mirror to discover that my fear was true. Above and below the incision line I seemed to have a huge donut sitting around my neck. (That is not what the picture shows, I told you I am being discreet) I immediately told oldest son to call husband to leave his meeting and come get me. I don't know why I did not have oldest just take me to the hospital, although he would not have raced quite as fast.

Husband arrived and we got to the local ER just as my airway was starting to close. I was actually hysterical as I ran in the hospital pointing to my neck, crying and telling them I could not breathe. Mental note: that is how you advance your position in the ER. It felt like a scene from TV as they prepared to intubate me to send me on to the big city hospital. That is where my fog began. Thankfully they decided to knock me out for that . Over the next 30 hours or so I remember very little. Including emergency surgery to relieve the swelling.

I am home now, sore again from a second neck surgery and still have swelling, although this is the normal "I just had surgery swelling". It was while we were there though that the pathology report came back to let us know the good news.

The reason for the bad swelling is because of the heart drugs I went back on after surgery. Thin blood does not promote good healing after major surgery. Even though I was off of it the recommended time prior to surgery, I should have been off afterwards as well.

Okay-- because I know there are some of you dying to know what I look like, here goes....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Any one want a dog?

There might be a problem with husband on that, but this has not been a good day.

I am swelling again, and it hurts, a lot.

Our dog decided to help herself to what is left of the tomatoes in the dying garden today. Katie loves tomatoes, she eats them in huge quantities, however, tomatoes do not like her. What goes down must come up. She has gotten sick twice today. Not a good day to clean up after a sick dog. Now Katie is sequestered in an area on the patio where she cannot get to the garden and she is staying there until husband is home to care for her.

I have not done much today, have not felt like it and now I am going to do even less.

The Arm Bone is connected to the ....


I did not know that.

Well, I did in a way, but sometimes we forget that everything needs to work together even though these parts do not directly connect. My neck is rebelling right now when my arms want to do anything which might require stretching or extending.

I slept better last night. I did take something to help. I slept until 2:30 in the recliner and then in my own bed for the rest of the night. I love my bed. Our bed is an antique wrought iron bed that belonged to my mother. We have a pillow top mattress which makes the bed sit up high, so high I need steps to get into it. Match that up with a cozy down comforter tucked inside the beautiful duvet' that my sister made and "that there is some good sleeping!" Oh how I have missed my bed.

I am on my own today. Husband works, oldest son works, and sister is taking care of her own home. My plans are to piddle around the house all day. No cleaning, no scrubbing, nothing that requires my arms to cause my neck to rebel any further.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I look like a football player. My chin is there somewhere and I think my neck is as well, but right now there is too much swelling to really tell. Maybe not that bad, but there is considerable swelling. I did not make it to church today. That was tough. I did not find a comfortable position for sleeping last night due to some increased swelling, so I stayed home this morning. Husband went.
I have had a quiet day, just uncomfortable. My sister is coming tomorrow to take good care of me. That will be good medicine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Home Again

I am home. May I just say it is amazing how much rehabilitating value there is in a shower! Awww. I feel so much better. I feel like I have no neck, due to swelling and what neck I can identify does not want to move very well, but these things seem minor. Oldest son took youngest back to college town so he is staying there for the weekend. Husband and I had a quiet return home, after that shower and a delicious lunch of pb&j (which actually was delicious) I took quite a long nap.

Husband has been caring for me ever so gently in ways you just could not ask everyone. Let's say that he has become very good at wound care and fetching. My neck is very stiff, I still have the deep voice, and I am still bandaged. I am not sure if I will attend church tomorrow or not. Part of me thinks that I will absolutely go, and that wild horses could not prevent me from going. The other part thinks I am not so sure. I will wait till tomorrow to decide. I hate to miss because these are many of the people who have carried us this last month. I would miss the youth during our second hour. I did not mention this yet, and hesitated to do so, but one of our amazing blessings came last week from the youth and sponsors at church. We were blessed with a generous gift from them which helped so much this week with transportation and meals. These kids reached out to us with so much love and concern. I just want to say that if any of you have an opportunity to work with the youth at your church you should try it. These kids will amaze you.

My post op appointment is this Wednesday afternoon. I am not sure if the lab results will be available yet. We will just play the waiting game again, but I know how to wait. God has perfected that trait.

It is so odd, but I am already bored at home. I don't really feel like shopping or going out. But after a shower and a nap I feel like a new woman. I am accepting visitors.

Friday, September 12, 2008

From the Hospital

Hello faithful readers!

Thanks to oldest son, I am blogging from my hospital room. His laptop is making this possible.
Wow. God is indeed good. I will not give all of the details, but surgery went very well. Things looked good to the surgeon's eye, but everything will be tested and we will know more in about a week. I am feeling pretty well. I have a somewhat stiff neck and really strange numbness around my jaw line and ears. I guess it will take a while for the feeling to return. Today the doctor removed the big bandage, and although we expected to see a rather large scar, it still was a bit depressing to actually see it. I know though that it will get better day by day.

I am staying in the hospital one more day. I have surgical drains that are not a pretty sight, and hopefully they can come out tomorrow, if not, I will come home with them. You might put that on your prayer list right now. All of you prayer warriors were quite successful in your petitions to God that He would prevent me from getting sick after surgery, so I know what can result from your prayers.

I continue to be so blessed by friends and family. My husband has been so gentle and amazing, and has helped me pass the time. Others have come by just when we need them. The nursing staff is wonderful, and I could get used to people waiting on me hand and foot.

As far as side effects, I seem to have a deeper, voice than before, we will see how long that lasts, and the numbness I mentioned is strange. Other than that I think things have gone very well.

I guess there are a few funny stories to tell, but others could tell them better than I. I guess I asked if I could pray right before surgery, although I do not remember that at all. I guess I even did a decent job of praying while I was "under the influence" of some mighty fine sedatives. I don't remember any of that, but it makes me happy to think that God gave me such a peace that I would offer up a prayer at that moment.

So many of you had a big hand in the peace that I have felt. You have been God with "skin on" these past few weeks and have shown how we are to live and love on this earth. I will always be grateful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

God is Good~ All THE TIME !

Tomorrow morning bright and early we will leave for the hospital. Surgery is at 7:30. Today we went for multiple pre-op appointments and to see the breast surgeon. It was decided that we wait for any additional surgery there until I am released from this other surgery, The doctor said there is no harm in waiting, even if it is a month. I am fine with everything he said.

I knew God would bless me in amazing ways today and I was not disappointed. The blessings began early and continued throughout the day. My sister came around 9:00 and we had a fun bargain shopping outing shortly after she got here, then we came back to the house. She cooked lunch for us, cleaned and organized many areas of my house and stayed here while husband and I went for our appointments. When we returned home she had supper waiting. How wonderful.

While we were gone I called to talk to her and she was the one overwhelmed when she told me one thing after another..."Anita, someone planted 12 mums in your yard, you had a huge basket of flowers delivered, you got 8 cards in the mail today." I am so humbled at the incredible outpouring of love and concern for my family and I .

Many have called me today, my friend Reta came by to hug me, family came this evening to see me and pray for me, and I have gotten many emails. What blessings. Youngest son was able to make it home for surgery, so both of my boys will be at my side.

I am ready. I have had a super migraine today, but it is getting better. I do think it has helped me to not be worried, I have just been trying to get over the headache.

I feel God has done more than His part in preparing me for this day, friends and family have gone over and above their call of duty, and my husband and sons have showered me with love and concern.

I am ready.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Blog Title and Quote and other Random Thoughts

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the heading and quote on my blog. Most of you know why my blog is really named "The Silver Lining", and for those of you who do not know me, I am sorry, I cannot explain. However, when I started this blog I was not being philosophical or deep and reminding everyone that "behind every cloud is a silver lining", I just liked the name because of its special meaning to me. Now that I have had a heart attack and am walking through cancer I am reminded daily that there is truth to that old phrase. It is ironic to me now that I chose that for a title. I have seen the silver lining so much lately.

As far as the quote by Vance Havner goes...that is a bit creepy and wonderful all at the same time. I LOVE that quote. The first time I ran across it was about 8 years ago when we went on vacation with husband's parents and I found an NIV Worship Bible. I really did not need a new Bible, but I fell in love with the format and the way quotes and song excerpts are woven throughout the pages. That quote seemed to jump off of the page and I have loved it ever since. Yes it seems odd now when you read the part about "being one day closer..." but in reality, we are all one day closer. Every one of us, and whether or not we are prepared for that time, are truly "one day closer". I will be so happy when all of these earthly questions are no longer questions. When we see God in His glory, and see His plan clearly.

Today I saw the cardiologist for clearance for my surgery. That appointment went fine. Everything is moving right along. Tomorrow I have several appointments and will also learn the time of my surgery. My sister is coming early tomorrow and is going to help me get some things done in the morning and then while husband and I are gone for the appointments she is going to do some work in my house for me, and cook us supper! Everyone should have a sister like her!

Tonight my other "sisters" came again to pray for me. I love these girls. They fill my heart to the brim with their compassion and their love for me. I feel so badly for those that walk these ugly roads alone.

Tomorrow is the last full day before surgery. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me!


Sunday, September 7, 2008


How do people go through something like this without the family of God to walk with them? How do they have the strength to put one foot in front of the other? I am so fortunate. I have so many people reaching out to me. So much love. I am overwhelmed, but I don't want it to stop.

I Love my Boys

I had an amazing day yesterday with my boys. Oldest and I left here around 10:30 and got to youngest' apartment in time for a late lunch at a fun, delicious, local restaurant. We then went shopping ( I know, they are boys and shopping is not usually what guys want to do, but this was for them) and we had a great time. I just enjoyed them so much yesterday. We got home around 9:00 last night.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Two Worst Words in the English Language

There are a lot of bad words in the English language. A lot of ugly cuss words, a lot of mean hateful words, and a lot of dreaded words (cancer being one of them). But I have decided hands down that the two worst words, at least for me, are these:

What if...

Think about it. What good can come from asking those two words? Believe me I have asked them. I asked them a few different times in the night last night. I have to tell you though, that I decided if I was going to ask them then I was going to answer them. That is when the peace came. There is not a single "what if" that God cannot handle. Do that sometime. Ask the big "what ifs" that concern you, then actually answer them. It kinda goes like this:

"Okay God, what if there is a mistake in surgery and the doctor cuts something he shouldn't ? I understand that the jugular vein is pretty important."

"Yes, daughter, it is important, but you do not need to fear. I have gifted this surgeon with abilities to repair these things."

"But God, ( I bet he gets tires of us saying that) what if he can't?"

"Anita, what if he can't? Ask what you are really afraid of."

"No, I don't really want to ask that."

"No, but would you rather toss and turn than give that fear over to me?"

You can see where this went, I have asked God many of the what ifs, but like I said God has a pretty good answer for all of them.

I do have fears. I am not completely brave. I just have chosen to live my daily life during these last few weeks by not letting my fear drive me. Many people I am in contact with on a daily basis have had no idea that I have cancer. I credit that to God. He has allowed me to go through my days happy and somewhat pleasant. I am sure there will be more questions and undoubtedly more fears to come to the surface. While I may be trying the positive approach, I am not perfect. As I have said before, my husband is amazing. He hears my fears in a rational way as I tell him that while my head and heart knows something, I still have this pang of doubt or fear deep inside. He listens and even agrees with me at times, then he has just the right words to ease my mind. Case in point: I know that a scar is not the big worry here, that they could actually cut from stem to stern if it helps them to "get it all". I know that in my brain. I even really believe it in my heart. But really now, who wants a huge scar on their neck from ear to ear? Husband did not discredit me when I expressed that to him. He listened, shook his head in agreement with me when I expressed my anxiety, and then he reminded me that this scar heals well and will not be very noticeable after a while.

While I am on the subject of my husband~ He took time out from his day yesterday and hand delivered a planter with flowers in it to school with a beautiful card because he wanted to cheer me up. He brought a planter because he thought I could keep it on my desk this year at school. He knew that my hard shell was developing a few cracks due to fatigue and he knew just what I needed, an extra dose of thoughtfulness. Mental note: that is another blessing from all of this. God is teaching me again to appreciate my husband.

I know I wandered form the title. I don't care. This is not Random House, this is Anita's house. You get what you get.

Plans for the day: sister was going to come up and help me deep clean today. However she is snotty and I don't want her. Okay, I mean that literally, she has a cold. I do not need a cold right now. So, oldest son and I are going to college town and take a bunch of stuff to youngest. Then we are going out to lunch. Oldest and I will not stay late. I still have a house to clean. I just wanted to spend some fun time with my boys before Wednesday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Product Review

Tylenol PM does not work.

At least not for me. I was awake half the night again last night. Maybe tonight I will go to bed at 5:00 after all.

Everything is all planned out for next week. On Monday I go to my last cardiac rehab session for a while and then see a cardiologist so he can sign off on my surgery. I will then go to school for just the afternoon and call it quits for a while. Tuesday I have multiple appointments in the pre-op department including one with anesthesia. I had planned just to meet with them on the morning of surgery, but I tend to get sick after that stuff so I want to ask in advance if there is anything they can do about that. Also on Tuesday I see a different surgeon about the breast issue. (Remember that?) I have no idea what to expect there. Then, of course, Wednesday is the big surgery. It is scheduled for 6 hours. I won't mind so much, but that is a long time for husband and family to wait.

I think maybe this fatigue I am feeling right now is a gift from God because I am just to tired to think much past wanting some sleep. Worries are not really foremost on my mind. That may change.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I am Soooo Sleepy

It is only 5:30. I want to go to bed now. Not really a good idea because I would probably wake up at 3:00 a.m. I did not sleep last night. It was not a fitful, distressed night, I really was not worried. I did have a migraine though that I took medicine for at bedtime thinking that would be it. It stayed through the night and finally I took medicine again at 4:00 a.m. The migraine probably was brought on though by my state of mind right now, even though there was not obvious angst at bedtime. I resisted the urge to nap after school today because that would throw me off for tonight. I am sure it will be an early night for me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Let the Countdown Begin

One more week.

I can't really believe that it is just one week until surgery. It has been over one month since we learned my diagnosis, and gee does that seem like a long time ago.

Today was my pre-op physical. Other than an electrocardiogram, which revealed that I had had a prior heart attack ( which of course I knew) it was not too eventful. They did decide that I need "cardio-clearance" prior to surgery, so I will see a cardiologist next Monday. I guess that is best since the heart attack was just over 3 months ago. Speaking of that, my sister mentioned something the other day that seemed interesting. She said that it seems like now that my heart attack has just been forgotten . In some ways that is true. I am still going to cardiac-rehab, but my focus lately has not really been on my heart. I guess I need to focus on my heart more. I have not been eating very heart healthy lately.

The next few days will be spent getting everything in order prior to surgery. I plan to stay a bit late at school and get some advance plans done for my substitute . The teacher I work with deserves that. I don't want to make this any harder on her than it needs to be.

I also will be getting some things done here at home. My sister is planning on coming this Saturday to help me polish the house a bit and get some things in order. I have bills to pay and all of those other "fun" essentials that we do when we know we will not be at our best for a while.

Mentally I think I am ready. As I have said, God has been working very hard in that department. He has put songs and scriptures in my mind and has put so many people with their encouragement in my path. Last night was another sleepless night, so I have not completely won that battle, but I am working on it. I fear that as the day gets closer I will have a few more nights like that. Pray for me please.

One more week.