Thursday, April 29, 2010

New friends & old

Kelley says....
So today was the genetic test. This week has been really good. I've been in an upbeat mood and feeling more like myself. But there is just something about going to the doctor. You know, when I have an appointment it just is back to the harsh reality that I have cancer. I just still can't believe it. It just seems like this is all a dream and I am hoping one day I will just wake up.

A good friend of mine came over today and the first time we met, we both had the "Juno" song "Anyone Else But You" as our ring tone. She taught herself that song on her guitar over the weekend and played it for me AND sang it to me this morning!! I couldn't believe it. I'll never forget it as long as I live. (And I'm hoping that is a REALLY long time!) I am trying to convince her to record it so I can put it on my MP3 player. (Hint, Hint)

Then, a lady who is a complete stranger to me has been communicating with me. She is a breast cancer survivor and has been so kind to answer all my questions and has just been so patient and kind to me. She is my "Angel". ;-)

One big thing I have to share is that a lady went for a mammogram and did a self-exam because of my blog!!!! Oh my gosh!! That made me so very happy. Please forward the link to my blog to any woman you know. I believe this is the start of something big. And I would love nothing more than to help save the Ta-Tas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow, I am going on a retreat with a bunch of ladies from my church. Looking forward to posting what all God reveals and does this weekend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thanks to Everyone!

Deryl says...............................I just want to thank everyone for their e-mails, texts, phone calls, etc. It has been very uplifting and we are so grateful for all of you. Knowing how much you all care and love us makes even the darkest moments brighter. I also want to also say that if you want to know how Kelley is doing feel free to ask regardless of my previous post. There is no way to know if it is the right moment or not. So ask away. It is better to know you care.

Kelley has her genetic test tomorrow. It will take two weeks to get the results. We will let everyone know as soon as we get the results. Much Love!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Surgery Update....and what a difference a day makes.

Deryl says..............................Kelley's surgery date has been changed to May 18th. We still are not sure what type of surgery she will be having as we are waiting on the genetics test. I will post it as soon as we know anything.

By the way, today has been a much better day for all of us. Thanks for all of you encouragement and prayers. We love all of you.

My Prince Charming

Kelley says...........................................Well, after the creation of this blog I guess the secret is totally out that Deryl totally rocks! It is funny how before I was diagnosed, I didn't ever really feel comfortable telling anyone how truly wonderful he is and how great our marriage is. I mean, we have only met one other couple in our entire marriage that has had a relationship that even comes close to ours. And that is the couple who counseled us early on in our marriage. At times we have said out loud that we have one of the best marriages that we know of but people kind of give us this funny look. I know a lot of people have strained marriages so it is awkward saying how wonderful our marriage is or how amazing Deryl is without feeling bad for the person I would be saying it to.

So, I just feel like now is the time to say it out loud and be proud of how God has blessed me. Besides, I REALLY need to focus on some positive things right now. I think if anything, doing this will give other women hope that their husband truly can be wonderful or if you are single that the best guy for you is worth waiting for.

I imagine what it must be like for someone who maybe doesn't have a great relationship before being diagnosed. I imagine that for a while, their marriage would be a lot better. That the other spouse would be very loving and feel sorry for the way they have acted in the past. But that is not the case here. Deryl was Mr. Husband of the Universe long before my diagnoses. He helps me around the house. He NEVER leaves clothes or underwear laying on the floor. He does anything I ask of him. He puts the girls to bed and prays with them every single night. He spends all of his time with me and the girls. He lets me do whatever I want. He is understanding and patient. He is the kindest most non-judgmental person I have ever met in my entire life. He is the best daddy to my daughters. He loves me deeply. He is Mr. Positivity. He can find a positive way to look at things in any given situation. He loves God and desires to do his will. He calls me many times and texts every single day. He calls me even when he just runs to the store. He lets me do whatever I want. He has worked three jobs at a time before just so I could stay home with our babies. He has worked more than one job on many occasions. He puts up with me!! He tolerates my moodiness. He accepts what little family I do have. He puts me first always. He shows me great respect. He rolls out the red carpet for me. He makes me feel like a princess. He is extremely smart but yet he doesn't act like he's better than anyone else. He honors me in every way. He makes me feel like there is no other woman on this planet that is prettier than me. And did I mention that he lets me do whatever I want?

So as you can see, he indeed is Mr. Wonderful. Our marriage started out rough. But when the couple I mentioned above counseled us, we did everything they told us to do. Whatever they did, we did too because we knew they had something special. One of the biggest pieces to our marriage is that we are always looking for ways to make each other happy. I always wonder what I could do to make Deryl a happier husband. I want him to look forward to coming home at the end of a long day at work. I want my home to be his safe haven. And I know that Deryl does the same thing. We just always look for how we can serve one another rather than ourselves and I am 100% sure that this is the main ingredient for our successful marriage.

I never in a million years thought that I could love Deryl more or that I could have an even greater marriage than I did before. But this disease has brought us even closer together than before. I watched my mom die from this horrible disease with a husband from hell. I don't know how she did it. But I am very, very grateful that I do not have to experience that.

So Deryl, I just want to say thank you a million times over for being my hero husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cancer is a Fun Sucker!

Deryl says.......................................... You know cancer just sucks for everyone involved. Almost all of our days used to be good days. Now we are grateful for good moments. Yesterday was mostly a good day. But cancer just hangs a big dark cloud over everything. The cancer is scary but the treatment is almost as scary. When you get good news you are grateful. But soon the anxiety over the next test result takes up residence in your mind.

My heart breaks for Kelley. She is on an emotional roller coaster. Why wouldn't she be? This is the disease that killed her mother at 53. So things that she might take in stride before put her on the brink of an emotional breakdown. She was so happy yesterday after the MRI results but today is a new day. More pondering about if we get this result should we go with this treatment or the other. Which one will be the best to keep it from returning. And if we don't go with a mastectomy how much anxiety will we have every six months as we visit the doctor to make sure it has not returned.

We have our moments of joy and peace. But fear is still the over riding emotion. I know that in the end we will be ok. But the journey through the valley of cancer land is still scary. I mean doctors aren't perfect. What if they don't get rid of it this time? What if she suffers a mastectomy and chemo and it all comes back? I know I have no control over this. I know something else could happen besides cancer even if they get rid of all the cancer this time. But there is just something different about cancer than any other disease. It is so hard to know if you are really free from it. The treatment of it is so painful and difficult that many forgo standard medical treatment for alternative treatments or even going home and just taking their chances. It sucks any way you look at it.

Having so many express their love and concern helps us. I can feel the prayers of our friends and family keeping us out of this dark vortex of emotion. But cancer can even ruin that for you sometimes. I really appreciate it when people ask how Kelley or I am doing. Most of the time it makes me feel good. But every once in a while I get my mind to a place where I am focused on work or a conversation and feel normal. Then some well meaning person will ask how we are. When they ask I can feel the smile leave my face. Because that simple little question that would in most cases bring happiness because I know they care instead just reminds me that our life is turned upside down.That my wife's life is on the line. I hate the feeling I get when the smile leaves my face. It is something I am not used to. I don't want someone to feel bad about asking either. If you ask me and see the smile leave me it is ok. It is just part of cancer land. A place that brings fear and sadness to all who enter.

I am normally a very positive and upbeat person. Kelley would say I lived with my head in the clouds. Quite frankly I wish I could go back there right now. It feels a lot better. Maybe this is teaching me how to deal with fear, sadness, and anger. But the lesson is a hard one and I don't feel as if I have learned much yet. I have never dealt with any real tragedy in my life. Not one that was this close to me. I guess I was due at some point. But I get really pissed when I think of this disease that has turned our lives upside down. I have read about some cancer patients throwing "F U Cancer" parties. I can see why people would want to. Because you want it to die and disappear forever.

I believe that the spirit is the ultimate reality. I believe at some point Kelley and I will learn a great spiritual lesson from this journey through cancer land. But I am nowhere close to learning it yet. I am at the screw it phase right now. I am angry and afraid and sad all at once. I just want it all to go away. I want God to heal my wife immediately and to have our life back. Perhaps life will be better when this is all said and done. But right now that feels very far away. Right now cancer sucks the fun out of life.

The MRI and the Case of the Missing medical update included

Deryl says................................... I took Kelley to get an MRI on Friday. Kelley has mostly good days but it hits her the worst whenever she has a medical appointment. It just brings the reality of cancer to the forefront of her mind.

Kelley is very squeamish. She faints when she gets her blood drawn. She can faint by having the details of a medical procedure done or just explained to her. When it hits she gets very hot on the face and starts sweating. Usually she will have to bend over and put her head between her knees and breath until she feels normal again. You will see why I told you this a little later

One thing in all of this that Kelley has enjoyed is that at her doctor appointments she only has to undress from the waist up. So when the guy told her to put on the hospital gown and he'd be right back she said "You mean from the waist up?" He replies, "Well, do your pants have a zipper in them?" She says, "Yes, they do". To which he replies, "Then you will need to take everything off, but its okay, just leave your underwear on". Kelley says to the guy, "I am so embarrassed, because I am not wearing any!” Thankfully, he was great about it and made her feel at ease.

They did not have a difficult time getting the IV started. But Kelley felt the heat in her face. 
They escort Kelley into the MRI room.

Kelley says........................................... When we got to the car I said to Deryl, "Word to the wise.....Wear panties to all future medical procedures!" We got a really good laugh out of that one. He asked me what the machine looked like and I didn't even look at the machine!! When I walked into that room, all I saw was a table  with two square holes in it where I knew I was supposed to put my boobs. It really looked similar to a massage table. But I can assure you I was not getting any enjoyment or relaxation out of this! Anyway, all I could think about was how in the heck am I going to get up on that table and remain modest. A lady helped me and it all worked out. But man those holes were big! I told Deryl I thought they should at least have small, medium and large size holes so those of us who aren't as blessed don't have to feel so bad!!!!

About 15 minutes into it, I feel something drip down my arm. Then another drip. Then several more drips. I'm thinking that this just can't be good. I ring the bell and I tell him what is going on. Turns out, my IV had came out!!!! Oh my gosh, can you say GROSS!!!! Blood & IV fluid were dripping down my arm! YUCK! He must have apologized 10 times. He had to move the IV to the other side. He finished and when he got the MRI started going again I started getting a horrible stomach ache, which has been the norm the past two weeks. I felt like my face was on fire and my food was in my throat. I start sweating horribly and a drop of sweat is on the end of my nose. And I can't move! I was so nervous and anxious that I felt like I was going to come out of my skin. I just started thinking how am I going to do this? This is the first of many tests. I just didn't know what to do.

Earlier this year, I started writing down scripture verses on index cards to memorize. All I could think of to do was start quoting some of those verses. The two I could think of at that moment were Isaiah 26:3 and Proverbs 3:5. I quoted them over and over. I started to calm down and knew I was going to be able to make it through this. And before I knew it, it was over.

Isaiah 26:3 - "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you"

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths"

Deryl says....................................... Although these appointments are not fun. We did laugh about this one a while. I was not with her in the room when all of it happened. But when she told the story I could just imagine the look of panic on her face when she realized she was going to have to tell them she was not wearing panties. Or her "Oh Great!" face when she tried to figure out how to climb up on that table and then have some strange lady crawl under the table to "adjust" her boobs through the holes to get them positioned correctly. Finally as she described that sweat ball hanging on the end of her nose, all I could remember was a SNL skit with Gilda Radner as Rosanna Rosanna Danna talking about how "that little sweat ball just wouldn't fall off". If you do not know what I am talking about you can see a video of it here So at least we are getting a good laugh out of this sometimes.

The doctor called us on Saturday to give us the results of the MRI. When Kelley got the message that the doctor called on Saturday she panicked. I tried not to show it but I was very concerned as well. Doctors don't call on Saturday unless it is bad we were thinking. But when the doctor called us back the results were good. The MRI showed no additional masses in either breast or lymph nodes. They still have to test the lymph nodes when she has surgery but this was very good news for us and it was great to see Kelley happy and smiling for the rest of the day. One more hurdle crossed successfully feels really good and gives us more hope.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fearing the Ta-Tas

Kelley says.....................................................I am really feeling like God is wanting me to share this today. I think there is someone who reads my blog who needs to hear this. For some women, doing a self-breast exam might be scary. As I talk to more and more women and ask them if they do self exams and discover how many say no, I also hear that some don't do it out of fear that they might find something. This is not good! If I would have been doing monthly exams all along I would have known what mine felt like. I would have noticed what was different. I would have caught this earlier, I have NO doubt in my mind. Yes, they say they are pretty sure I caught this early. But what if I could have caught it at the very beginning the lump started to form? I am begging you to do monthly exams even if it is scary. I feel I need to reiterate this, you don't have to know what you are feeling for or what you are doing. I did NOT know what I was doing!!!! But I found it right away the first time I did a self exam.

I have come to realize that just knowing that I am 40 years old and otherwise a very healthy person makes some women scared. I understand. I have a ladies group and we have been discussing "Fears" this semester. When we discussed "Fears of the Unknown" I said that this fear is contagious. And this just proves it. When we fear what we do not know and listen to others who might be going through trials it grabs a hold of us with all its might and tries to overtake us. Another example is like in this economy. If you know someone who's husband has lost their job it might make you fearful that your husband could lose his job. Or if you listen to the news about the economy too much you suddenly have no hope that it is really all going to be okay.

But you know what? If you get yourself around people who are positive and have a great attitude, you will find it so much easier to stay in the right state of mind to not "go there" with your thoughts. Psalm 34:4 says    "I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears". It says ALL my fears. That is so encouraging to me. God is awesome and it gives me peace just reading this scripture myself.

So read that scripture several times. Put your life in the palm of HIS hands and go "Feel the Ta-Tas"!!!!! 

Do it, Do it now!!!!

I am a Lover Not a Fighter! ..........medical update included

Deryl says........................................... Well the last two days have pretty much sucked emotionally. I was feeling an overwhelming sadness yesterday that I could not really tie to any one thing. The frustrating thing is that it has been almost two weeks since we were given the "c" word diagnosis and we barely know more than we did then. Although we have had some positive news there is still so much potential negative news it is overwhelming. There are so many results to wait for before a meaningful decision can be made with regard to treatment. It is almost too much to take in. And if it is overwhelming to me I cannot imagine how difficult it is for Kelley. I mean it is her body that they are talking about removing parts from.

I believe that ultimately God will use this situation for good. As I mentioned before I can already see some good coming out of this situation. But I am afraid for my wife. I am sad that she has to go through this. I am fearful of how much she may have to suffer. I want to FIX IT! But I am helpless against this disease. I cannot fight it or kill it. I cannot protect her from it. It makes me feel weak and sad and hurt. I don't want her to have to go through this. I don't want to go through this. But we are already on the train and it is too late to jump off.

On your wedding day most people are so full of love, hope and excitement. In our vows many say "in sickness and in health" as Kelley and I did. I don't know about you but I didn't give those words much consideration. I never saw cancer in our future back then. But it is times like this when you really find out what kind of relationship you have with your spouse. If you have true love for your wife. I am not talking about romantic "you complete me" type of love. I am talking about looking at the worst case scenario. Knowing that she could lose her breasts, lose her hair, and need to be waited on hand and foot for a long time. And then saying to yourself "I am grateful for the opportunity to show my wife how much I truly love her." and really being able to demonstrate it. I mean how often does someone get to prove their love in a way that leaves no doubt. So when this is all said and done and the cancer has been vanquished forever. My wife will be able to look at me and know I truly love her for who she is. But that kind of love is not something that just happens or that we developed because of some special knowledge or skill. It is the love and the grace of God that allows me to accept this situation and love my wife as I do. I am just loving my wife the way God loves me.

I have a great family around me. And I am not just talking blood relatives only. Many old and new friends have already been there for us before we were even able to ask. That makes it hard to stay sad for very long. It will be nice when we are able to have a day without thinking or talking about cancer. Who knows when that will come? In the mean time I plan to stay positive and lean on my family and friends so my wife can lean on me. So how can I complain when we have all these wonderful people around us? So at least I got that going for me? ......which is nice.

Kelley has an MRI tomorrow. They will be looking for any possible additional tumors. They may also be able to tell if there is any cancer in her lymph nodes from the MRI. We may have a change in the date of her surgery because we probably won't get the genetics test back before the surgery at this point. The genetics test will help determine if she has a lumpectomy or a double mastectomy. I will let everyone know what the new date is when it is scheduled if it changes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Room 223

Kelley says.........................................I have spent the last 10 days in somewhat of a fog. As I mentioned in my last post, I went away for 24 hours to deal with all the raw emotions I have right now. On the way to the hotel I felt like I was going to barely be able to keep it together just to get myself checked in. But driving there I just kept hearing and seeing the words "I AM STRONG". I thought to myself ya know, I have lost a child for crying out loud and then my mother! I really am strong and I'm going to be able to do this.  

I got settled. I got out my journal, pen, bible and my MP3 player. I then took off all my clothes to change into the clothes I sleep in. I stood there and stared at myself in the long mirror completely naked. I looked at my body and the realization that unless I am miraculously healed, no matter what happens, no matter what procedure I end up having done, I will never look the same way I do at this very moment ever again after my surgery.

I had so many emotions flowing through me. I felt like someone drew blood from me only they didn't take blood, they took a huge part of ME, of my life, of my family, of my job, my normal routine. Then I was injected with change, fear, sadness, grief, questions, anger, nervousness, anxiety, and much more.

My brain doesn't stop. Since being diagnosed, I haven't really felt myself being overcome with fear or worry. It's really weird and hard to explain. Its more like just thousands of questions zooming through my head 90 miles an hour. And it is very hard to even pull one of the thoughts out to concentrate on because there are so many.

I started to journal by writing down every single thing I was angry at God about. I could feel the anger rise up within me along with sadness and tears. I ripped out a page of my spiral, wrote "GOD" in big letters, laid it on the bed and proceeded to beat it with my hairbrush. After just a few times, I stopped and grabbed my MP3 player to listen to some worship songs I had put on there about healing. And some other songs that just make me very emotional. I knew I was sad and needed to go ALL the way there rather than run from it. Its at times like these I would normally bury my head in Deryl's shoulders. But this was between me and my God.
I listened to the worship music and raised my hands in worship to him. I didn't have any bend in my elbows at all. They were stretched all the way out. When one got tired I'd just put it down and then switch to the other. I knew if there was just a way to touch the hem of his garment, I'd get through this.

When I think about how this isn't fair I think "What is fair?" We aren't born with some kind of guarantee life is ever going to be fair. Suddenly, I could feel the real Kelley slowly start to stand up. You know, the one on the inside who got knocked down when she found out she had breast cancer. Those words kept coming back to me...I AM STRONG. Then the fighter in me said "Where's the boxing gloves?"

This isn't going to get me. I am going to accomplish more knowing that I have cancer than I ever could have without it. I've always been a hard headed, controlling, stubborn brat! So I might as well take that part of my personality to take cancer by the horns and take it down. I am a fighter, I am not a quitter, I AM STRONG! This is about me grabbing hold of my God. This is about cancer NOT determining my fate nor my destiny.

Could my cancer actually be a gift to me? I mean, God is entrusting ME to take this and do something with it. I can't sit around and feel sorry for myself any longer. My attitude is everything, I truly believe it. Instead of letting this ruin my life, it is motivating me to eat better, to live better, to get better.

I grabbed my beat up piece of paper with God's name on it, smoothed it all out as nice as I could and held it tight on my chest and the following is what I said to him... The biggest part of me belongs to you God. I am a sold-out believer. You have my heart God. No matter where this journey takes me, I'm yours. I may have questions & I may not understand this, but I can only love you more. I thought to myself...

  • What if through my journey and how I handle this experience, one person came to know my savior? Then it would be worth it.
  • What if instead of making my children run away from God, it made them run to the arms of their God? Then it would be worth it. 
  • What if my good friend who is grieving over the loss of someone dear to her found healing? Then it would be worth it. 
  • What if one woman saved her life because she "Felt the Ta-Tas"?  Then it would be worth it.
I realized at this moment that I am a survivor NOW. I don't have to wait on surgery or chemo or radiation or some doctor to tell me so!! God gave me some great ideas on how to reach even more women through this and I was sure to write them all down. I felt so much better. I tossed and turned all night and woke up in tears, again. It has been a sad day and I went to visit Deryl at work and he was also having a sad day. My take away from all this emotional work is that I know I can face whatever lies ahead of me.

I will never be able to express my gratitude to all the people in our circle and even the people who don't even know us who have been reaching out to us. I so strongly feel your thoughts and prayers and I appreciate them greatly. You will never know how much you are helping us right now. I love you all and hope this extremely long post blesses you today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Kelley says........................................................Yesterday afternoon, I went to see my family doctor. I had a fever all day and just wasn't feeling well. It ended up not being a big deal at all. I just have an infection and they gave me antibiotics. When I left there I felt happy. On my way to get my prescription filled I felt joyful. When I realized this I realized that it was the first time I had been this happy since finding out I have cancer last Monday. So as I tried to figure out what was making me so happy it dawned on me that I was happy because I had an illness, I went to the doctor, she gave me a prescription and I am going to be fine. I guess it was nice to have something that had a simple solution. No further testing needed! I'm already sick of hearing that one!

Today, I am going away for 24 hours, alone. I started seeing a counselor and she suggested I get away and deal with all the emotional side of what is happening to me. I'm not going to lie, it is scary. I said I can't afford to do this and she asked me, "What if it saved your life?" Well, I guess I better figure it out then! I know I need to do this. But it is so much easier to leave this junk tucked nicely away down in the depths of my soul. I did a retreat 2 years ago that was wonderful but it isn't something you want to do on a regular basis!! It is hard, hard work. It is also much easier to keep yourself occupied and surrounded by friends so those kind of emotions don't even rear their ugly head. I guess it is much better to deal with this now and get it over with. I know these emotions are there. Didn't really know it until Monday afternoon I was on my way to pick up Heather. I felt this sudden urge to slam my fist on my steering wheel and scream "I want my life back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" So yeah, guess some anger is obviously there!

So, if you think of me today, say a prayer that whatever work God wants to do, it will be accomplished 100%!!

The Parent Trap

Deryl says............................................. Today my concern is for my daughters. Heather has been so stoic. Whenever we ask her if she wants to talk about things she says she is fine. But I think it is getting harder for her to contain her emotions. Rachel has been open about her fear from the very beginning. When she heard her mother went to the doctor today with a fever she asked if mom was ok in a semi-panicked voice. Both of the girls are lashing out at one another from time to time. I am at a loss as to how I can help them. I try to engage them about what is going on but they don't want to talk about it too much. Tonight I just tried to speak calmly and tell them I love them. I had to get stern a couple of times. I just wish I knew what to do to help them.
With Kelley it is easy. I know what she needs and I do it. With Heather and Rachel it is not so black and white because they are not even sure what they need. I just hope I succeed at making them feel loved. I am trying to balance keeping the peace in the house and letting them vent. I get concerned that it will stress Kelley out too much if I let them argue too much. If you have any advice I would gladly receive it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I am Joining the Pink Mafia!

Deryl says........................................................... You know there are so many things about this situation that you could call bad. But we really don't know if something is good or bad while we are in the midst of it. We say this situation is bad because that is how it feels right now. But I can already see some good coming out of it. I see Kelley becoming willing to cut loose a little more than she did before. She is letting go of the little things that seemed important before but really weren't. I have a greater appreciation for her. I have always loved her and have been grateful to have her. But it almost seems as if I had been taking her for granted recently. I feel more love and gratitude now than ever to be her husband. It makes me wonder why, if I was capable of greater love and gratitude, did it take something like this for me to realize it?
I had a really good week. I felt really hopeful and positive. When Kelley had a emotional moment I just felt so much love for her in those moments. I know God was giving me His strength in those moments. And I knew that we could handle whatever was thrown at us. We have so much support around us from family and friends. And I know that we are loved so deeply by God and those around us. It carries all of us.
But today was a downer for me most of the day. I was sad and could not seem to pull out of it. At one point I could feel a good cry welling up within me but never had the opportunity to let it go. I have a feeling it will be returning at some point. Hopefully I will be somewhere that I can let it loose. It's funny how not too long ago I would feel like a little girl if I wanted to cry but now I don't really care. I mean I am not about to do it at work or in a real public place but pretty much anywhere else I would be OK with it. Which is a major improvement for me. I realize keeping all that emotion bottled up is not good for me.
I do feel as if I over react sometimes when the girls argue with one another. At moments I feel really angry that they won't put aside the petty things they argue about. I want to say things like can't you get along for your mother's sake. Thank goodness I haven't let something like that slip out of my mouth. I have to take a few deep breaths and remember that they are going through this as well and no matter how good they seem to be handling it they have a lot of emotions about what is happening. I do feel guilty at times because I spend so much time thinking about Kelley and what she is going through I forget they are having struggles. They are such wonderful girls. I wish I was better at being there for them. Maybe through this I can learn to show them how I care better than I have in the past. That would be a positive from this negative situation.
I titled this post "I am Joining the Pink Mafia" because I want to kill breast cancer. However, I am thinking we might be better served promoting health and prevention. In many case we can kill breast cancer. But the treatment seems to be almost as scary as death. I know that we are so much more than our physical bodies. But for a woman to lose her breasts, her hair and suffer all the sickness and pain to kill that cancer is an incredibly taxing emotional and physical toll. I have been doing a lot of research about breast cancer and one of the most notable links is a high fat and low fiber diet. The US has the highest incidence of breast cancer in the world and the highest fat intake per capita in the world. Let's eat a little more fruit, a little less meat and french fries, and "Save the Ta Tas".

Are you hormonal? A medical update.

Deryl says................................................... Well, we got some good news today. The cancer is both estrogen and progesterone positive. This means that Kelley can take medication to help kill the cancer. The HER2/neu test had to go out for more detailed analysis. We are hoping that one comes back negative as a positive means the cancer is more aggressive. But on the good side that can be treated with medication as well. A positive result will increase the chances Kelley will require chemo but it doesn't necessarily mean she will have to have it.
Kelley is scheduled to have a MRI on Friday and her surgery is scheduled for May 4th. We will update you as any new information becomes available.
So as a guy that lives with 3 young ladies it is good to know that even cancer can be sensitive to hormones!


Rachel says.............................................

    It has been alot better this week we have really looked at the best of things and my mom is doing really good!! But she will be having an M.R.I. on Friday and a lumpectomy on May fourth, and two of my aunts are coming down and my uncle to!!


Kelley says.................................................

Well, it has been a good weekend I think. Saturday night we went to a get together with a lot of Life-Coaches. That always brings my energy level way up so that was good. It was nice to do something that made me feel normal. To go somewhere and be myself instead of this person with cancer. 

I only had about 3 hours of sleep the night before and after we were there about 2 hours I started to feel another crying spell coming on. So we quickly said our goodbyes and I didn't even make it to the car before a huge ocean came pouring out of my eyes. Deryl was so wonderful and strong and just let me get it all out. I didn't say much. Besides, if I would have, it wouldn't have made any sense and I would have looked ridiculous trying to talk at that moment. I came home and took some Ambien and went to sleep at around 8:30 and slept until 6:30 the next morning. It is amazing how getting a good nights sleep makes you so much more emotionally stable!

Sunday, we went to church. We were scheduled to greet and don't think we greeted one person. But that is because everyone was talking to us and hugging our necks. I love my church family. People are so genuine and it is obvious that they care for us deeply. And we do them. Again, it was great to just be at my church and feel normal. 

Sunday evening we went and met my mother-in-law for dinner. That was really nice. She is a crier, but she did a great job of keeping it together. I know the girls enjoyed spending time with her too.

I have noticed different things I have done unconsciously since being diagnosed. One thing is that I know the exact time things happen. Even totally random things.  I get nervous when I feel a random pain that this has spread to somewhere else or maybe it was already there. Sometimes I talk and talk and talk and Deryl just listens to me and allows me to do that. Other times I have nothing to say at all. I am thinking of ways I can enjoy life. Last night I played a Wii dancing game with Deryl & Rachel and laughed a lot. I find myself staring at Deryl and the girls when they aren't looking. I want to study their faces, look at the texture of their skin, every facial feature, their hair and the color and how it lays on their faces. I look at their profile and think of how lucky I am. And then I wish I would have started doing this a long, long time ago. I hope after reading this you will "Notice" some things about someone you love. You might discover that you notice something but it has been there all along.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Birth of the Blog

Deryl says............................................. I know that this blog has a lot of serious information and emotional insights. I don't want you to think that we are sitting around moping about cancer. That is just not the case. We have a firm belief that God is using this situation for good. Kelley is already spreading the word about self breast examinations and who knows what else will come out of this situation.

I have tried to come up with some funny titles for the posts even though the content is somber. When we decided to create this blog we had a lot of fun trying to think of names. Of course we thought of some serious names like "Our Journey Through Cancer". But we didn't want this to be depressing. My favorite title was "Cancer Can Suck It". You should have heard Heather and Rachel gasp when I said that. They both said "Daddy I can't believe you said that" and in the end we thought that might be too harsh. Some of the other titles we came up with were "Keeping You Abreast", "Thanks for the Mammaries", "Killer Boobs", and "A Tale of Two _______ (rhymes with cities)". But Kelley wanted this story to inspire women to do self breast exams. Hence the title "Feel the Ta Tas". We will update this as often as we can so we can keep you abreast of the situation. :)

Thanks for the Mammaries! The Oncologist Visit.

Deryl says.....................................................The events of April 15th - So today is the first time we are going to see the breast surgeon/oncologist. I was feeling very good and positive about what was coming. When we arrived and checked in the receptionist referred to Kelley as a "cancer patient". When she said it I felt a twinge inside. I wasn't sure that is what she said but when Kelley asked me if I heard it I knew. It hit Kelley pretty hard. Being referred to as a cancer patient felt so unreal to both of us. As we waited in the waiting room and the examination room I felt my anxiety increase exponentially. I could not sit still and neither could Kelley. She examined Kelley and then asked us to meet her in a conference room.
As soon as we sat down I became calm and focused. The doctor was very thorough and patient. She explained everything from the best case scenario to the worst case scenario and the most likely scenario. We sat there for about two hours. We never felt rushed. It seemed as if she would have sat there all night if we had that many questions. Her name is Dr. Chow and if your ever find yourself in this situation I would highly recommend her.
Now I am going to give you all of the clinical details we received from the doctor. And I will continue to update you on this blog as things progress. Keep in mind I am going to do the same thing the doctor did which is give you the best case scenario, the worst case scenario, and the likely scenario.
The tumor is small and it appears that we caught it early. The biopsy said the tumor is a grade 1. Grade 1 is the slowest growing and least aggressive grade. And the sonogram showed that it was less than 1 centimeter. Both of those fall into the good news category. There is still some results we are waiting for from the biopsy and some additional tests to do to confirm what the doctor believes is the correct diagnosis. Currently the doctor believes that Kelley has stage 1 cancer which has a 100% survival rate with the available treatments.
There are a few thing about cancer and cancer cells you should know. First, a cancer cell can have 3 possible grades (1,2, or 3). As I said before 1 is the slowest and least aggressive while 3 is the fastest growing and most aggressive. The cancer cells may or may not be sensitive to hormones. They are currently testing Kelley's biopsy for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2/neu sensitivity. The results of these can dictate what kind of treatment options we have. We are also having a genetic marker test to determine Kelley's genetic predisposition to having a recurrence of cancer. And finally it must be determined whether or not the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
If all of these come back in our favor then the treatment is surgery to remove the lump and pills that Kelley will have to take for the rest of her life. If everything comes back not in our favor then Kelley will likely have a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. If things come back as the doctor expects Kelley will have the lump removed and radiation treatment.
So here is what is coming up for us next. We expect the hormone sensitivity results Monday April 19th. If the results are ER+ then Kelley will be able to take medication and most likely not require radiation or chemo. If it comes back HER2/neu+ she will likely require chemo. Next she is having an MRI on both breasts to make sure there are no other tumors in either breast. An MRI is more sensitive than a mammogram and will show things that cannot be picked up by a mammogram or a breast exam. So we are obviously hoping there are no other tumors because if there are then Kelley will likely require a mastectomy or double mastectomy. The MRI is scheduled for April 23rd and we should get the results about two days later. After that Kelley will have a genetic marker test probably the last week of April. It will take about two weeks to get the results back. If that comes back positive then the doctor will recommend a double mastectomy. Finally in May Kelley will have surgery to remove the tumor. When they remove the tumor they will also remove a margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. They will test the surface of the healthy tissue for any signs of cancer. If there is any signs of cancer Kelley will require additional surgery. During that surgery they will also remove a few lymph nodes to test. If there are no signs of cancer in the healthy tissue around the tumor and none in the lymph nodes then we will be done with surgery. If there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes then we are no longer considered stage 1 and the treatments recommended will be much more invasive and difficult.
I know that this is a lot of information. It was for us as well. The bottom line is everything so far points to stage 1 cancer and the most likely treatment will be surgery to remove the lump and radiation treatments at the spot of the surgery. We have a lot of hope that all will turn out well. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

April 15th - Part 2

Kelley says......................................

My appointment to see the breast surgeon was at 6:00 pm in Fort Worth. We dropped the girls off at a friend's house and then we headed that way. I have been so nervous and anxious for the last few weeks that I feel slightly nauseated all the time. So, I had been too nervous to eat that day and so we were going to go check in first and then walk down to Subway so I could try to eat a little something.

At this point in this journey, I was still somehow thinking this was all a big mistake. Surely this just can't be true. Maybe somehow I misunderstood them when they called me that day with the biopsy results. But to even say out loud that I have cancer. Well now, that just doesn't even sound right.

We walk in and I sign in and give them my paperwork and insurance card and all that. There was another lady in the waiting room. A nurse walks up to the receptionist and asks if I am the other lady. The receptionist turns away from me and whispers to the nurse that the other lady is in the waiting room and that I am the "Cancer Patient". I felt at that moment that my life was never going to be the same, ever.

We walked over to Subway and got something to eat and I suddenly completely lost my appetite. If I thought I had been in shock before, I was really in shock now. I look at myself and think how can there be cancer in my body, I feel fine. All of this made us so anxious. Once I finally got into the room, it seemed like hours before the doctor came in. She came in, examined me and then it was time for the conversation we were so nervous about.

Luckily, the good news is that she "thinks" that I caught this early. That is the good news. Unfortunately, I need 5 other tests to come back with a good report in order to have the least surgery and minimal treatment. The next step is to have a genetic test done. Next Friday, I have an MRI. I will have some kind of surgery the 1st or 2nd week in May. And we won't know what stage this is or if it has spread until the pathology reports come back after the surgery. We do know that it is invasive but they don't think it is aggressive. They believe with the results so far that it is a Grade 1 slow growing cancer.


PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, CHECK THOSE BOOBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kelley says................

Before I do a post on the visit to the breast surgeon, I just wanted to take a break here and write about some other stuff. Some of it may be totally random so please bear with me. I haven't talked much about the emotional side of all of this. I have a big brother who is 9 years older than me. I love him so, so much. I didn't have a dad who supported me in any way emotionally or financially growing up. But I had my big brother! He is so great. He has the biggest heart in the whole world. That being said, this was not news I wanted to have to tell him but yet knew I was the only one who could. I waited until after the visit to the surgeon to tell him so I would have more information.

Yesterday I called and asked him if he could come over. He came last night at 6:00 pm. Funny how the exact times are so important to me now. Anyway, I answered the door and he started to come in and I said lets go outside. Deryl was inside the house. I knew how he would react and knew he wouldn't want to break down in front of Deryl.

How do you tell someone you have cancer? I mean, someone you love dearly who is very close to you. Someone who filled the shoes of my father my entire life. Someone who you know loves you dearly. I know, I remember vividly being "the baby" of the family and being told my mom had breast cancer.

He asked me "What's wrong?" To which I just said "I have cancer". I can still hardly type those words and see it come across the screen without breaking down in tears. I will never in this life time forget the look on his face. He was completely and utterly shocked and taken aback. He had asked me on the phone if everything was okay and I told him no but that I didn't want to tell him over the phone. He said he knew it was something bad but thought it would either be something wrong with our older sisters health or that I was getting a divorce.

He crumbled. He cried. We held each other like we would never hold one another again. I saw the pain all over him. He does not have a good life. And I knew this would be so traumatizing for him. I hated this! It sucked and it sucked BAD!! He said he wished he could take it out of me and put it into him. He just kept saying how sorry he was and how he just couldn't understand how this could happen to someone like me.

The truth is, it happens to women every single day who never saw it coming, who have families, who love God, who are healthy, who didn't sign up for this. I am not a person who curses but boy have I thought some pretty bad words in my head the last few days! I am guessing this is probably normal.

Anyway, we talked through everything that the surgeon told me (which I will post later) and what all the different options are. I encouraged him to think about how long ago we lost mom. How things are so different now and they have made so many advances. How this could have happened last year when my husband was without a job. How odd it was that I just randomly out of the complete blue decided to do a self-breast examination. How I truly felt that I was going to get through this. I could tell he was feeling a bit better but still in complete shock. He stayed for a while and we didn't want to leave each other.

He left and Deryl and I got in our car and held hands and said a prayer for him. It somehow seems easier being the person who has cancer. When it is someone you love, I think the enemy bombards you with all the what if's and the biggest fear being, she is going to die just like mom. My mom got very, very sick and I know he doesn't want to see his baby sister like that.

I know there has to be a purpose in this and you know what, I truly want that purpose to be done! I can't believe God thought I of all people would be strong enough to go through this so his light might shine to others and who knows what he will do through this. I am already seeing many, many, many things happening. But I really do believe that this isn't about some small events. I think God is going to do some MAJOR work not only in my own life but in the lives of those around me and I think even people I don't even know yet.

Just gotta stay positive. So keep sending me those messages on Facebook, those voice mails, those texts!! It really encourages me and I appreciate them greatly. I may not get to reply to everyone but I want you to know that those things are what is getting me through each day right now. I don't know what I would do without my wonderful husband. One of his top strengths is Positivity. And that has actually gotten on my nerves many times in our marriage. But I tell you what, God made him for me. His positive attitude and patience with me is carrying me. I love him so much and I'll have to do a totally different post on him at a later time. So be looking for it!!

April 15th - Part 1

Kelley says.............. Events that occurred the night before and the morning of April 15th

Slept from 10:30 – 3:30 and could not go back to sleep. I was very anxious about the upcoming appointment. I couldn’t stop crying. I had such a roller-coaster of emotions I was trying to work through. When I dropped Rachel off at school I could just see the weight of all this on her shoulders and the fear in her eyes. Heather told me she would be thinking about me all day so I knew it was on her mind as well. This just totally broke my heart.

I decided I would surprise Rachel and bring her lunch. When she saw me she ran up and gave me a big hug and her eyes lit up so bright. We ate lunch and she seemed back to her positive mindset. When we finished, she took her fortune cookie and read it but it didn’t make much sense. I opened mine and it said “He who has hope has everything”. Hmmmm, God was speaking to me through a fortune cookie for the second time in two weeks! At least he has a sense of humor, right? I opened up my day planner and stuck the fortune on that day. When I need a little hope, I'll put it out and look at it.

Lunch with a Survivor

Kelley says............. Events that occurred on April 14th

I went to have lunch with a friend who is a breast cancer survivor. She gave me a couple of books to read so I would have more information. She also gave me a beautiful bracelet that I will wear forever. Every time I look down at it I picture her alive, full of life, and healthy!!

While she was telling me some of what to prepare for I got so scared. I was very fearful and afraid. But I ended up being thankful that I had someone to kind of help me understand what is happening to me. I felt more informed and able to make better decisions. I looked at her sitting there “ALIVE” and that gave me hope.

One of the books she gave me was by Sally Knox. When I talked to my sister recently, she told me that was my mothers doctor!! And it was also my friends doctor. I thought that was so cool. But of course I couldn't have been happier that I was going to someone totally different and in a different city because I didn't like my mom's outcome!!

Events on April 13th

Kelley says.......... Events that occurred on April 13th

The gynecologist scheduled my appointment with the breast surgeon for me. My original appointment was for April 21st at 7:00 am. But they called me the next morning after having scheduled the original appointment to tell me they wanted me to come in on April 15th at 6:00 in the evening. I was still thinking at this time that I just COULD NOT believe this. Surely I don’t have cancer, how can this be possible. I am too young, why? I just couldn’t make any sense of it. I wouldn’t say I was full of fear or worrisome thoughts or anything like that. I just had so many questions. I was just anxious and afraid. The questions were coming into my head so fast that I didn’t have time to get consumed with what the answers to those questions might be.

One thing at this point I did know was that God was going to use this. I just started at that moment to pray that whatever purpose this is for would ultimately be accomplished. I know when I lost my child and then when I lost my mom that it was only by the grace of God that I got through it. 

Deryl says.......... This was the worst day for me. I was driving to work alone in the car. All I could think of was what if this is worse than I think? I mean I didn't think this would be cancer. Did I have a part to play in this? I had done a lot of research and read how diet and stress were major factors in cancer. I had known this before and we had discussed changing our diet but we never made any significant changes. Why didn't I push us harder towards a healthy diet? Did my forgetfulness add to her stress? Emotionally I was just hanging on by a thread.
At work I felt useless. I couldn't make any sales calls. I couldn't focus on my work. I found myself doing internet research on cancer. I managed to get a few productive things done but it was difficult to think about anything other than Kelley, Heather, Rachel, and cancer.
I went to lunch but couldn't eat. I went to the bookstore to do some research. I could feel the fear and sadness swelling up inside of me and it stuck in my throat. I almost ran to my car and as soon as I sat down I broke down. I cried so hard I felt as if I was going to throw up. My head was throbbing and my throat was sore and I had only been crying for a couple of minutes. Just then I got a phone call. It was Kelley. As soon as I saw her name on my phone I busted out laughing. God was looking out for me in that moment. I don't remember much of our conversation other than me telling Kelley how I had just finished crying my eyes out. She laughed and said she was glad she could be there for me.
From that moment on I felt better. I was more hopeful and positive. I was glad I was in that place when I called my parents to give them the news. Dad didn't cry but I heard his voice crack and all the positive emotion that was normally in his voice seemed to drain out immediately. Mom was strong at first but was in tears by the end of our call.
It is almost more difficult to tell your loved ones the news than it is to hear it yourself. I mean how do you tell someone your wife has cancer. They want to be supportive for you but they are in shock so you feel as if you need to be supportive for them. There are so many people you feel should hear this news from you but your mind is so busy it becomes easy for important people to slip your mind. Breaking the news became a very emotional chore, especially for Kelley who has such strong empathy for others. We want to keep everyone informed but calling everyone after ever stage of this journey would be too emotionally taxing. That is why we came up with the idea of this blog. It will keep everyone informed and be therapeutic for us.
Many of you who know me know that I am a spiritual person. We are a part of a church that really exemplifies the love of God. Being a part of this family, because it is more like a family than a church, has been so good for us. I believe with all my heart that God loves everyone of us just as we are right now. And we have experienced His love through this challenge. I have felt it directly in my heart and especially through others. They have showered us with love, encouraging words, and kind acts (Colleen your chicken pot-pie was yummy). I feel so grateful to God for all of our family and friends. It saddens me to think of others that go through this without experiencing God's love or having the support of your friends and family. Thank you God for all of these people you have placed around us.

Biopsy Results

Kelley says........... Events that occurred on April 12th, 2010

I would not say I was really anxious at all this day. I really expected to get a call and hear good news. Even though there was some part of me that knew differently.

I have a small group that meets in a friend’s house every Monday night and we are discussing “Fears”. For the past two weeks the fear we are discussing has been the “Fear of the unknown”. I studied fears, I researched all about fears, I went to God’s word to find out people in the bible who feared the unknown and searched high and low for scriptures. I typed up the plan of what I would tell the ladies. You have to handle fear in steps.

Here they are.

1. Imagine the worst possible outcome
2. Imagine it in steps- what is the next step, then the next step, etc
3. What can I do? Can I get more information? Can I ask for help or tell someone?
4. How likely is this to happen?

I had it all figured out, I would apply this to my situation, it would work like a charm, my biopsy would come back benign, I would get my results and share them at group on Monday night with all my friends.

The home phone, which no one ever calls, rang at 1:52 pm. I had been reading the word so I sat jumped up and ran to the phone. On my caller id it showed it was my gynecologist’s office. So I really thought if they were the ones calling and not the actual women's health care place then this was probably going to be good news!

I said hello and from the very moment the woman opened her mouth I knew my life was about to change. I heard her say that I was being referred to a breast surgeon, I heard her say the words malignant carcinoma and I didn’t hear another word. I asked her to repeat it about three times and she just very kindly said for me to just take a moment, take all the time I needed. At this point, my heart was about to beat out of my chest, my palms were sweaty, I was pacing like a crazy person from my back door to my front door and I was literally trembling.

When the earthquake in Chile happened recently, they said on the news that it was such a high magnitude that the earth actually spun off its axis for a moment in time. Well, that is the only way I can really describe that moment to you. I mean, I am 40 years old! What in the hell just happened? Is this for real? Did I misunderstand her? She didn’t use the words “Breast cancer”. So maybe somehow I am going to be okay.

I called my pastor immediately and I was a bawling mess. By now I was pacing faster, very afraid, did not know what to do, and was shaking all over. He was so reassuring and just pointed me to the Lord. He was a calming force at that moment. He advised me to go ahead and call Deryl which also terrified me. Who wants to tell their spouse, “I have cancer”? And then he said something so smart which was “Call Deryl and I am going to hang up and pray and think for a minute so I know what the right thing is to do”. Wow, what wisdom! My pastor is also my boss. And in reality, I needed to be able to talk to him on the phone but I needed close women friends at that moment and that was exactly the right thing. He called two of the women’s leaders in the church for me.

I had an appointment at 2:00 so I called and canceled that. I called Deryl and I called to get a ride home for Rachel. I called one other lady but I couldn’t reach her. Another good friend was out of town so I didn’t call her. I thought at this point I have to be moving, in action right now, this pacing the floor is not working!! So, I just grabbed my keys and purse and headed out the door. I sent a text to a good friend who has also lost her mom to cancer to see if she was home and she was. I asked if I could come over and she said sure. You know, I know from personal experience that I have a hard time reassuring people whose mom’s have cancer. It just feels like a lie to me because it is just too close to home. I knew she would be the same but yet I knew she was the perfect person for me in that moment.

The two other ladies got there and they encouraged me, they all listened to my fears, comforted me, prayed for me, I could go on and on. Deryl got there and he was so awesome too. My pastor is always talking about living in community. I realized as we all sat there that that is what we were doing. From that very day, I have had countless text messages, e-mails, phone calls and such. I can’t imagine what we would do without our church family. I truly believe they have been God’s hands extended.

We picked up the girls and they knew something was up and so we just were honest about what was going on. Rachel cried and Heather seemed to be okay on the outside but concerned on the inside. Deryl had told me a little earlier that even though he was afraid, he had a peace underneath that. When we asked the girls what they were feeling, Heather said the exact same thing Deryl did. Rachel said she was scared. And boy can I ever relate! I’ll never forget the day I found out my mom had cancer. I cried most of the night that night. At this point, it didn’t seem real. I felt like I was in this weird moment in time that was somehow going to all be a big mistake. I just somehow thought there is just no way I can have cancer in my body.

Deryl says........... I was at work when I got the call. We were expecting the results of the biopsy that day or the next. We were both expecting good news. I said hello and heard nothing but my name through intense sobs. Kelley then said “can you come home?” as she busted out in tears again. I said “what is it?” but received no answer. My stomach started to feel queasy. I knew what had Kelley so upset. All I could say was “Is this what I think it is?”. She said a barely understandable “yes”. My heart was in my throat. A shock wave went through my body. The world seemed so unreal at that moment. I immediately left for home. I called my boss to tell him I was leaving for the day. I struggled to get out the words “We just found out Kelley has breast cancer”. It seemed as if this was someone else’s life I was talking about.

As I drove home the main concern in my mind was Kelley and how she was feeling about this. Kelley lost her mother to breast cancer. Her mother was 53 when she died. I knew that would weigh heavy on her mind. I just wanted to be strong for her. Then my thoughts drifted to our girls Heather and Rachel. How would we tell them? What would we say? They knew all about how their grandmother lost her life to breast cancer Would they fall apart? Would they be strong? It was so much to think about in such a short time.

On my way home Kelley texted me and said she was at our friend Brenda’s house and to go there instead of home. When I arrived Tanna and Beth were there speaking encouraging words to Kelley. Her eyes were red from crying. It appeared that all of them had been crying to some degree. I hugged Kelley tight as she began to sob in my arms. I briefly thought “Am I going to lose my wife?”. My fear quickly gave way to a muted type of anger. Not an overwhelming rage but a “We are going to kick cancer in the ass” type of anger.

The rest of the day was spent trying to encourage Kelley and the girls once we told them the news. Kelley went to her women’s community group that night. She considered not going but I said we should not let cancer push us around. She was a leader and teacher in the group and I figured the encouragement from all of those women would be good for her. Besides if Heather or Rachel needed to have a big cry I thought they might want to do it away from their mother’s view. I was surprised that they did not want to talk about it but I didn’t push them. The day was mostly a fog for me. I felt shock and numbness most of the day.

There was a lot of fear in me at times and anger. But there was also a lot of peace and gratitude. I had fear not that I was going to lose Kelley but that she was going to have to suffer. I was angry because I felt like she did not deserve this. I had peace because I knew in my heart that eventually she would be okay. And I had gratitude because so many people were offering their support in so many different ways. I did not know how at the time but I believed that there would be some ultimate good that would come out of this. So many people loved and cared for us. And we had only told a couple of people up to this point.

The day was mostly a fog but a few things really stood out for me. First, that Kelley had a support group around her before I could even get home. Brenda, Beth, and Tanna were such a blessing for us in that moment. Paul, Brian, and Darla were so encouraging just with their presence. Sometimes there is nothing to say to someone going through difficulty. No words would make me feel better. But all of these people who were there and cried with us and just said "yeah this sucks" with us helped. My boss Stephen who told me I could work from home if I needed and was willing to bring a laptop to my house for me so I could be there for Kelley. I knew that although this would not be easy we would not be alone.

Day of the Biopsy

Kelley says......... Events that occurred on April 8th, 2010

I was so nervous about this appointment but yet ready to just get this done. It was going to be a needle guided ultrasound biopsy. They told me they would give a local and I wouldn't feel much. I was fine until I saw my gynecologist and she asked me if I had heard about those kind of biopsies. She said women have told her they were pretty painful. Then when I was in the waiting room, I overheard a lady who had just had the procedure done talking about how bad it hurt.

It wasn’t too bad of a procedure after all. It was a little painful at the end and if I would have been standing up I know I would have surely passed out! The doctor said that it was fibrous and he really thought it would come back benign; if it was, they would just leave it in and tell me to come back in a year. He patted my arm and said don’t let yourself get worried about this. Off I went to enjoy my weekend.

Up to this point, I had not told the girls anything was going on because I didn’t really have much information to give them. But after the biopsy I felt a lot more certain that everything was going to be fine. So when I got home that afternoon, I told them some of what was going on but that the doctor really thinks this is going to come back benign and I am going to be just fine. They both didn’t look like they really believed me and Rachel looked afraid. I reassured them that this was all going to be just fine.
This was on a Thursday and I was expecting the results to come back on Monday, April 12th.

We took them to see the new Miley Cyrus movie on Sunday night called "The Last Song". I had no idea that Miley's dad passes away in that movie. And her dad told her the exact words I told my girl's, "I'm going to be just fine, this is no big deal". When he said it my heart sank. I thought to myself "Oh God, please let those tests come back benign". I looked over at Deryl and I knew he was SO wishing we would have gone to see a testosterone filled movie and not this one! He didn't even want to see the movie in the first place but went with us because well, he is just so awesome like that!

Deryl says.......... When Kelley had the mammogram and sonogram and was told she would need a biopsy I still thought this was going to wind up being no big deal. It just could not go to that place in my mind where it could be anything other than a benign cyst or something of that nature. When I took Kelley for her biopsy the only time I got concerned was when she had been back there for over an hour and a half and I heard nothing. But Kelley sent someone out to tell me she was ok. As I researched this on the internet I just kept seeing this as no big deal.
That weekend we went to see The Last Song which was a movie about a father who dies of cancer. What a mistake that was! I normally do not like to spend money to go see a sad movie. If I had known what this movie was going to be about I would not have gone but there we were. We had just told the girls mommy was going to be fine, which is exactly what the father in the movie said before he died, then he turns right around and dies. Kelley and I were both concerned about how this would effect the girls if we got bad news. But it was too late now.

Day of the Mammogram

Kelley says............ Events that occurred April 1st, 2010

Went to Solis Women’s Health Care and while I was in the waiting room filling out paperwork and read that the type of mammogram I was having was not routine. This was a digital kind. So, I just thought, well they want to do this because of the situation with my mom. They do the mammogram and I was thinking “Wow that was a piece of cake!” I was expecting it to be a lot more painful. I showed the technician where the lump was and she took a circle band-aid looking thing and marked it. Then told me they were definitely going to be doing a sonogram. She took me to the room and I laid on the table waiting for the doctor.
I laid there wondering to myself what in the world is happening right now. I came in for a single test and now I’m about to get a sonogram, this can’t be good. The technician who was helping to get everything set up for the doctor was a really nice girl. But she was suddenly talking non-stop and she wasn’t doing that in the mammogram room. She knew something that I didn’t know. I had a sick, gut wrenching feeling that this was not all going to turn out fine.
At that point all I knew to do was claim Isaiah 26:3. So I repeated it over and over and over. “I will keep in perfect peace all who trust in me, who’s THOUGHTS, are fixed on me” Shortly after I started quoting that scripture, the doctor came in to do the sonogram. When he was just getting ready to start he said that there was a tiny spot on the mammogram but it ended up being just fine. Then he told me that my mammogram looked fine and if I wouldn’t have felt the lump myself and pointed it out to them, they would have told me it looked great and to come back in a year.
Well, the sonogram did detect something “suspicious”. So, he said he really wasn’t sure what it was but most likely it was a benign Fibroadenoma which would just stay in there and is no big deal. But to totally rule out cancer, they needed to do a biopsy. They scheduled that for the following week on April 8th.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ta-Tas...the Bearer of Bad News

Kelley says.......Have you felt your ta-tas today? I never did. Why? Because I was afraid that I didn't know how to do it right. I have seen the instructions and it looks so complicated! I mean seriously, lay on your back and put a pillow under your shoulder, you have to use certain fingers and in a certain motion. I'm not a doctor, how am I supposed to know if I am doing it right and how do I even know what in the heck I am really feeling for!!

Well, I am 40 years old and I knew that it was time to go in for a mammogram and also time to go get my pap smear done as well. Deryl finally has good insurance with his job and so what better time to go. With all this in mind, about 4 weeks ago I was in the shower and a totally and completely random thought came that I should do a breast exam. I just grabbed the soap and started feeling around on the right side first. Almost immediately I felt something. It was on the front kind of just below the nipple area. I went to the other side right away to see if maybe it was normal and on both sides. I couldn’t feel anything. So I went back to the right side to check again a little more thoroughly. Well, it was about the size of a frozen pea and it kind of felt like one too.

That night I mentioned to Deryl that I had found something and he felt it and said I probably need to get that checked out. I called my gynecologist the next morning and told her what was going on and I wanted to come in and get an exam and also have her check it out. You know, to see if it was anything to worry about. After pulling my chart and discovering that my mom was diagnosed at 51 and died at 53, they said you need to go in and have a mammogram then come here.

They gave me the number to call and make an appointment. I hung up and within a few minutes they called me back and had already made the appointment for me. The fact that no one even asked if that day was good for me or anything of that nature was a bit alarming. I really wasn't too worried about it at this point though because I am only 40 years old and in good health. Surely this couldn't be a big deal. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Deryl says........ When Kelley got out of the shower and told me she thought she felt something in her breast I thought nothing of it. When I felt the lump the thought flashed in my mind that this could be bad. But I quickly dismissed the thought suggesting she go to the doctor to have it checked out just to be sure. I thought nothing else of it. I guess I assumed that we live a pretty charmed life and something like cancer just isn't in the cards for us.
When she told me she had scheduled a mammogram again I fully expected everything to be just fine. These kind of things just don't happen to us. So far.