Monday, May 31, 2010

Complaints & Tears

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

My life before cancer did not consist of very many tears. I never have been much of a crier or a complainer. Actually, people who cry all the time and/or complain a lot tend to irritate me, or they used to anyway. It seems as though every single thing I have ever judged someone else for seems to happen to me. I guess you could say the scripture that has come to life in my own life is "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" Matthew 7:1 (NIV)

Today I woke up in tears and have had a hard time holding it together. So, I thought I would just turn to my blog and allow myself to just go with my feelings, allow myself to complain for a couple of minutes and then go deep within myself and pull out of this funk so I can have a good day. So here goes....
  1. I want to sleep in bed with my husband and not in a recliner next to my bed.
  2. I want to go to the pool with my children.
  3. I want to stop crying.
  4. I want to take my kids shopping by myself.
  5. I want to drive myself wherever I want to go.
  6. I want to be able to clean my house and do my laundry, yes, I said that out loud!
  7. I want to be able to be intimate with my hubby.
  8. I am sick and tired and did I mention SICK & TIRED of having drain tubes that hurt me.
  9. I am tired of needing help and assistance.
  10. I want to sleep on my side again.
  11. I am tired of Neosporin.
  12. I am tired of gauze and band-aids.
  13. I am tired of the side effects of pain medication.
  14. I am tired of going to doctor appointments.
  15. I wish I could just take 10 days of antibiotics and be all better.
  16. I want all my medical bills to magically disappear.
  17. I want to go away somewhere with my family.
  18. I want to go to church.
  19. I don't want my kids and Deryl to have to go through this.
  20. I miss Naomi.
  21. I miss my sister.
  22. I want to see my best friend.
  23. I want to take a "quick" shower.
  24. I want my dog to get better (his leg is hurt and we can't afford the vet bill)
  25. I just can't help but complain one last time about how irritating drain tubes are!!!!
Whew, I feel better already! I think I just needed to get that out and off my mind. I guess it is okay to complain sometimes. I guess I have earned the right to complain a little bit it would seem. But one side of me says that it isn't okay to complain and cry and that I need to put on my big girl panties and get over it. Yuck, I don't know why I am so hard on myself. Sure sounds harsh while saying it and I can't imagine ever being that harsh with someone else. And I know you are probably still laughing at the "Big girl panties" comment thinking I don't wear any. BUT, believe it or not, I have decided that since I have no need for a bra that I am going to become a "Pantie" girl. Ha, ha, ha. I know this is too much information for some of you but it cracks me up and that is all that matters, right!! They really bug me but I'm trying to get used to them and Deryl is having fun picking them out at the store!

Humor seems to always help pull me out of the down times. I'm starting to feel better and the tears have stopped streaming down my face. So, that is a good sign. One good thing about these kind of days is that after going through life-coaching, I have a huge tool box of ways to dig myself out of the "ruts" of life. I know how to pull myself back up. It isn't always easy but the majority of the time I am very positive about life and have a great attitude and outlook on everything. So, that is what I am doing now. Pulling myself back up from a dark place of tears, sadness and complaining. Back up to the positive. So, I must end this post with the positive side of all that is.
  1. In March, I randomly decided to do a self-breast exam because I am now 40 years old.
  2. My gynecologist is the one who referred me to Solis Women's Healthcare and to my breast surgeon. I randomly picked her from a list of gynecologists 8 years ago. I totally believe God lead me to her and I have never known why until now.
  3. My breast surgeon referred me to my awesome plastic surgeon who totally rocks.
  4. My cancer was Grade One and Stage One, couldn't ask for a better prognosis.
  5. I found Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth. 
  6. I am alive!
  7. I have the best church family in all the world!
  8. I have awesome family and friends who love us all.
  9. I have the best husband in the entire world.
  10. My kids take such good care of me and are handling this so very well.
  11. I have health insurance.
  12. Deryl's job is allowing him to work from home so he can help me.
  13. I'm not having to go through this alone.
  14. I have new friends that are also survivors which help me know I'm gonna be okay and get through the hard times.
  15. God gave me the idea for my blog.
  16. I serve a great big God and have never once said "Why me?"
  17. I have had the privilege of informing other women about the importance of self-breast exams and I have NO doubt that I will contribute to helping save the lives of other women.
  18. My job has been so understanding and patient.
  19. The girls are almost out of school and will be home to help me.
  20. We appreciate each other more.
  21. We appreciate life so much more.
  22. Prayers, support and kindness from many people who I don't even know.
  23. We have completely changed our eating habits.
  24. I have been given a platform to help other women.
  25. I believe I am now CANCER FREE!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Update on complications

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

Well, praise God that the spot that was turning purple is light pink and white now!! This is super good news because that is a sign that my body is doing what it is supposed to! But now the right side where the cancer was removed is really pink/red at the center of the incision. I'm trying not to worry about it. Of course, that is easier said than done. But, I am believing that when I wake up in the morning both sides will be very much improved.

I am really, really getting tired of these drain tubes! But the fluid is slowly decreasing so hopefully I won't have to endure them much longer. This has been by far the hardest part of this so far, at least on the physical side. They hurt and are very uncomfortable and extremely GROSS!!

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend and hopefully get to enjoy spending time with people you love.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Complication Update

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

Dr. Kunkel ended up calling me last night around 9:15 and told me he wanted me to go ahead and come in this morning so he could take a look at it. I truly believe that the reason he called was because everyone was praying. I went in and he went ahead and took out some of the saline from the tissue expander. He took all the bandaging off and said that where the lump was removed was a little dark and pink so we need to watch that too. On the spot where I am having the complication a big blister actually formed and filled with fluid right on top of the red spot. So he removed that as well. I have never been so thankful to not have feeling in my chest because I didn't feel a thing!

So anyway, he said that this will either get better or we will have to go in and remove that skin. The worst case scenario would be that I have to get the expander replaced or removed all together. But I am believing that because everyone has been praying that God was the one that let the doctor call last night and that God gave him the wisdom to do what he did today and that I am going to get better!! So please continue to pray that my body will continue to heal and recover the way it is supposed to. And that I will stay calm and at peace.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Prayer Request

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

Okay, I just got off the phone with one of the ladies from the Joan Katz Breast Cancer Center. She told me that sometimes the blood flow just doesn't go to a certain part of the skin and that skin dies. What I need to happen is for the blood in my body to go to all parts of my skin where I had surgery and flow properly! She said that if that happens, it will start getting lighter in color and will get smaller so please pray for that. She also said that if the worst happens, it will be a minor surgery where they would just fix the skin. And she also said that it would not affect my end result in appearance at all. She said there is nothing I could have done differently and that I didn't do anything wrong so that was reassuring. 

She told me that this usually happens in overweight or unhealthy people or in smokers. SO, I am hoping for a complete healing!!!!

Ezekiel 16:6 NKJV

“And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’

2 Steps forward, another step back

Kelley says........

Today, my sister-in-law came over and spent the day with me. A good friend came by to visit and she brought me food and a gorgeous pink bag filled with Estee Lauder goodies. Another friend came by and brought her precious 4 week old baby girl and let me hold her for a LONG time. 

About 4 days ago, I noticed a red spot probably about the size of a nickel near the surgery site. When I went in to the doctor yesterday, he said that we really needed to watch it. That sometimes the blood supply to the area doesn't re-establish itself. But he said he wasn't too worried about it but we just needed to keep a good eye on it. Today, it is more purple looking and the skin on top looks kind of like a blister. It doesn't hurt but I don't have feeling there anymore so that really isn't a good indication of anything. 

So anyway, we called him today to tell him about it and they just said that sometimes these things just work themselves out on their own and other times it requires another surgery. I am a nervous wreck. I took a Zanax and it hasn't phased me a bit. I have been so calm and at peace during this whole thing up until now. I have been praying myself and have asked everyone else to pray that I would not have any complications. I don't know why I am having a hard time right now. I just feel like I could totally break down. This is just so hard. This is the 4th occasion that I had a wonderful day during the day and then a major setback. I hate this. I so want to get back to normal. I just want it all to be okay and go on with my life. It is at these times when I realize how serious this is and just SO wish this was just a simple deal and I could move on. 

I have healed so much and made so much progress. I just can't imagine if I had to go in for a second surgery. Even if it wouldn't be near as major as the last one, I don't want to have to endure that. I already will have to have another surgery at the end of my reconstruction and this is all just so overwhelming.

The scripture coming to me right now as I type is "Be still and know that I am God". Hmmmmm, guess I need to meditate on that and go with it. I mean, if God could prompt me to do the self-exam in the first place and detect this so early, surely he can heal me of this and I could wake up tomorrow morning and it be much better! I never realized how much I am depending on all of you to lift me up in prayer. Because right now, I am in tears and feel like I can't do this another day. So please pray for me. I know this is just a rough time at this very moment and the enemy would love nothing more than for me to give up. But that is just not my style. I will have a good cry, dust myself off, and pick myself back up and get through this. 

Thank you all again a million times over for being there for me. I can't tell you how much it means to me to be able to type these words and know that someone is out there reading it who love me and care for me.

I'll keep you all posted.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's a Party Party Weekend!

Deryl says......We got good news today. The cancer is stage 1 and grade 1 which is the best we could hope for. They are going to run another test before they determine if Kelley will need chemo or not. I was a nervous wreck in the hours prior to our appointment. As soon as we got the news it was like a ton of bricks fell off of my shoulders. She also got two of the drain tubes removed which will improve her comfort level immensely.

I never really thought I was concerned about Kelley living or dying until we got the good news today and I realized it must have been weighing on me. Because I feel elated. It is such a relief. We are by no means through this yet but this news gives us such wonderful hope.

On a funny note, Kelley has been unable to shave under her arms since the surgery. The other day she noticed how they looked and totally freaked. She thought it was totally gross. I told her she looked European but she wasn't buying it. We forgot to ask during the appointment so we had to call and leave a message. We were driving back home when we got the call and she was told that she could in fact shave under her arms now. She hung up the phone and with the biggest grin looked at me and said "you can have sex with me now". Well I could have wrecked the car we laughed so much. Of course that would be a miracle right now but it was fun to think about! Much love!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Friends, Family, and......DrainTubes? :)

Deryl says.........While I wouldn't wish this journey on anyone at this point I would not trade it for the things we have gained so far. It has been difficult many times and emotionally draining. The thing that has been so amazing and inspiring to me is how much Kelley and I have changed for the better as a result of this experience. I have mentioned some of them before but the increased level of love and openness to others has been a true blessing. It is so much more difficult to judge others now. I considered myself a pretty non-judgmental person before but I have discovered new love and respect for the journey of others that I did not have before. Plus the opportunity to serve my wife and show her how much I love her has only increased my love for her. Then the girls have been amazing. They are such wonderful caretakers of their mommy. I know I have had struggles with their conflicts and my reactions in the past but they have matured to a new level overnight it seems. I am so proud of how they have handled this situation.
Then our family and friends have been so loving and supportive. As Kelley mentioned in her previous post all of the acts of care and support have meant so much to us and helped us through this. We have made some new friends that are more like angels. They have walked with us through every difficult moment coming to our house early in the morning or late at night when needed. We can just feel their love for us every time we are with them and we love them with all of our hearts. Jesus said that there is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his brother. And they have laid down their life for us over and over again. Of course they have not died but they have set aside their lives and all the things going on in their lives for us at the drop of a hat. Like I said they are more like angels.
Even our relationship with my mother and sister has gone to a new level. They have been so encouraging and kind. I am so grateful for them. And so proud of my sister who got her college degree a couple of weeks ago. Way to go sis!
We have our moments when the reality of what is happening hits us. And when it does it is painful and scary. The first time Kelley tried to bathe and realized she could not do it by herself was a tough moment for her. My inability to sleep the first several nights she was home was very draining. But through it all we have all been very patient and kind with one another. I think that we are able to do that because we have allowed one another to take care of ourselves and re-energize when we needed it. I have been able to get the girls out of the house a few times which has helped. Kelley made sure before her surgery that someone could come stay with her while I got to go out to our weekly movie night with the guys from church. And Kelley has just been so grateful to us and so liberal with her praise of me and the girls it makes it really easy to take care of her. She is a good patient!
My biggest concern through this whole thing was how Kelley would react to the sight of her post surgery body. I was very fearful that it would cause her to be very insecure but she handled it so well. There are still a lot of moments of fear. Any pain in a new place or anything else out of the ordinary makes you wonder if it is cancer somewhere else. Fortunately that is happening less and less.
Kelley's sense of humor in the midst of this has been inspiring. We were walking around the block yesterday and Heather was complaining that her ankle was hurting and Kelley looked at her and with a big smile on her face said "hey at least you still have boobs!". She got out of the shower today after taking a shower by herself for the first time and did a little dance and called it her "drain tube dance". If you have ever experienced drain tubes in your body you know it is not a fun or comfortable experience. I won't go into detail but in effect Kelley has 4 tubes in her body that protrude through her skin and out of her body and end in a clear plastic bulb. They are usually kept in the pockets of this special camisole but when she takes a shower they are clipped onto a lanyard that hangs around her neck and dangle in front of her. So when she does her dance they sway around in front of her. Now if you knew Kelley before this experience you would know that Kelley does not do things like that. She has been willing to show her surgery site to anyone who has been interested to see, as long as they are female of course. Again this is something she would have never done before. She is not self-conscious like she was before.
We are so fortunate and blessed to have so many who love and care for us. I don't think we would know it as much if not for this challenge in our lives. We still have some hurdles to cross to put this behind us but we are hopeful for the future and grateful for all of you. Much love!

Friendship Quilt

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

Today, a friend of mine came over to sit with me for a few hours. She told me she had brought something for me. She gave me the bag and I pulled out of it this incredible quilt. Not only did she come up with this idea and make it herself but she had my friends write their names or whatever they wanted on pieces that she sewed into it. On the back bottom corner she sewed in a note that I also included a picture of. I will post more pic's on Facebook so you can see better.

There are not many things that bring me to tears. But this sure did. When I looked at this quilt, I just couldn't believe it. I can't even put into words how it made me feel. Wow. God is just so good. I just thought this was the most thoughtful thing in the world! I'll keep it forever. And don't worry, I have about twenty spots left for people to sign if you didn't get to! This will give you a good reason to drop by and say hello and sign my quilt!

I am so very thankful for my family and friends. I can't imagine how anyone goes through something like this without family and especially without a church family. Someone has brought over a meal every night since the day after my surgery. And everything has been wonderful. It has been so nice not to have to worry about what to cook and to have that totally off my plate. So many people have done things that have helped more than I could have ever imagined. Someone came and cleaned my house for me, helping drop off and pick up the girls, throwing me a pajama party, rides to appointments, getting me certain clothes I need, thoughtful gifts, cards, totally organizing the meal drop offs, helping me with my gross drains, helping me wash my hair, calling, texting, e-mailing, messaging, the list could go on forever. 

So I just want you to all know that if you have an idea in your head to do something for someone even if it is something really small or something really big, GO FOR IT!! Because I have to believe that it was God that put all these little ideas in all of your heads to do for us and each and every single one has meant so, so much to me and to my family. I believe the outpouring of your love towards us is speaking volumes to many people who know us personally and many who don't know us at all! I think that sometimes when we have an idea to do something for another person the enemy wants us to think the idea is silly or wouldn't really mean much. Don't let anything stop you! I am learning this myself from all of you. I believe with all of my heart that we all have a very special gift that God has given us. And there isn't another person on the planet that can use that gift the way YOU can. 

Love you all so very much!

Monday, May 24, 2010


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

I've been thinking all day of ways I can document my journey even more. Trying to think ahead of how I can help other women. And I have to say that it just breaks my heart because I know deep down within my soul that I will indeed help other women. I just hate that anyone has to go through this. A lady that I met at Sing for the Cure just broke down and cried when she heard I was about to go through a double mastectomy. Now, I know why. But Deryl and I both are really trying to come up with different ways to help others. As hard as the decision was, I have even had Deryl take pictures starting from the day the surgeon marked me all up for surgery and will continue every week throughout my reconstruction. 

One of the hardest things for me was to listen to a friend of mine who has already walked this road tell me what to expect. But because she was brutally honest, I was not surprised by anything. And I think this will just be a little something extra to help someone else to really grasp not only what to expect mentally but also what to expect when they look in the mirror. I still can't believe the woman I have become. My ability to love and be loved back is so astounding. Anyone who knows me knows I have had a difficult life. The events in my life hardened my heart. 

For the 1st time in 17 years, I was finally able to come to grips with the fact that I have totally and completely missed out on my mother-in-laws love. She has tried for years to love me. I was so afraid that loving her like a mom would be dishonoring to my own mother. And I miss my mom terribly. But this revelation, I believe, is going to change my life. I see where Deryl got his patience and kind heart because his mom has been wonderful with me. I am truly grateful and feel that even though I have missed out and kept her at arms length this entire time, God is going to renew and restore our relationship. Same thing with my sister-in-law. Relationships are a funny thing. I hope you will take a good look at your relationships and not wait for something serious to happen to see what God has been trying to say all along!!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recovery Time

Deryl says.......The whole house is asleep right now. Kelley's sister has left to go home. I was so glad she was here to help. It would have been very overwhelming if she wasn't. The combination of all the tasks that need to be done and emotional nature of the situation could make a person crazy. I don't know how people handle this without help. If it weren't for family and friends this would be so much more difficult than it is.
The hardest part of all this is seeing Kelley suffer whether physical or emotional. I was helping Kelley bathe on Saturday and she started crying. She was upset that she couldn't even bathe herself. I can only imagine how it feels to be that helpless. At least she knows that I don't mind helping. I actually enjoy helping her. She looked at her chest this morning for the first time. That was a moment I was really afraid of. I was afraid she would think she looked like a freak and wonder how I could love her. But she didn't even cry when she saw it. She just said it looked much better than she expected which is exactly what I told her after I saw it. Kelley said it might have been much more difficult if not for our good friend who had already been through this. She informed Kelley of all the things she could expect to see, hear, and feel while enduring this process. So there have not been any real surprises for Kelley. And that definitely has made it easier for her.
Kelley told me that my reaction when I first saw her without the bandages has made it easier as well. I was really happy to hear that because I was very concerned about it. I did not want to react in a way that would concern her or make her feel bad. It is not that I was concerned that I would be repulsed. My concern was if it looked like it would be very painful or if it looked like it would cause her to hate the way she looked to herself. I was afraid that if it looked that way I might cry. And even though it would be a cry for her she might read it completely different. The great thing is when I saw her without bandages for the first time I didn't even have time to think about my reaction. Which, she told me, made it even more comforting for her. That is a moment I will always be grateful for because it has made such a positive impact on Kelley.
I can see that Heather and Rachel are going to need to get out of the house more. They are used to being out and about much more than they have been over the last few days. I don't want them to wind up going stir crazy. But they have been very helpful and sweet. I am so very grateful for that.

As for me, I am tired. But I am also hopeful. This won't last forever and knowing Kelley is cancer free is very comforting. We will still have to see an oncologist to find out if she will require chemo or not. Hopefully not but we will cross that bridge when we get there. Right now all the focus is on getting Kelley back to being the energetic wife and mother she was before.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rough Morning

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

Deryl helped me get a shower this morning and being the independent person that I am, that was really a humbling experience. But he was very sweet & gentle with me. I can't believe I was diagnosed with this on April 12th, 2010. Yet yesterday I think was the 1st time this all really started setting in. Today during my shower and having to sit there still while Deryl & my sister drained my tubes and helped me get dressed there was just no more denying what is happening to me and this was all done in order for me to live a longer and healthier life. If I had to do it over again, I still would have made the same choice.

Today has been a painful day. I'm very sore and kind of nauseated. Just not very comfortable. They warned me and now I know it to be true that the drains are the worst. And on top of that, I feel like I am getting a big fever blister on my top lip. BUT, I told Deryl last night that regardless of how my life ends up, I will still love my God. HE and HE ALONE is my real DADDY!! Regardless of what my life looks like on the outside, I love God with all of who I am. I can't live without him. 

On a funny note, Deryl told me this morning not to worry about my boobs because my butt has always been my best feature. I said "Well after all of this, my boobs BETTER be my best feature"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bandages Off

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

I got up this morning and my sister took me to a friends salon that is real close to the house to get my hair washed and dried. It was so nice of her to do that for me. I don't feel so gross now. Then, it was off to my post-op appointment with Dr. Kunkle in Fort Worth. Before I saw him, his nurse came in and took off all of the gauze, tape and bandages of any kind. My sister and Deryl were sitting in the room. I didn't want to be left alone so I let them stay in the room with me. I didn't even look. I still haven't looked. Everyone said I was already healing really, really good. 

It was at this moment that the reality of what all I am really going through started to hit me. How much I can't believe I am sitting here in pain having just had every cell good or bad removed from both of my breasts to help me live.  The doctor came in to talk to me and he was just so nice. Deryl & my sister Pam have just been so helpful to me. I thought I would never want for Deryl to see me like this but he has so much love for me that just pours out of him each and every time he looks at me. 

I felt bad for my sister too because she took care of my moms drains. I know this whole experience must bring back many memories for her. But I tell you what, she is a real trooper. I know it is hard for them to see me like this. The caretakers see it all. They see when I am crying, they see when I go to the bathroom, they see when I laugh or make a joke, they see when I am writhing in pain. So they see the good, the bad and the really ugly. But they just keep on keepin' on. Thank you for all your prayers and for all your support. And a great big thank you to everyone who has been wearing pink in my honor. That has made me feel so good!!



Surgery Recovery

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

They were giving me Darvicet which was only taking the edge off. So they ended up  giving me Codeine along with some Fenergan and that worked great. But they did work great. They also gave me a muscle relaxer. That REALLY helped me a lot.

I had so much I wanted to say today but it has taken me almost two hours to get this short blog entry done. If you want to come by for a short visit, please just give us a call. Thanks so Much!!!!!!!!

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Deryl says.......It is my first evening as caregiver for Kelley and I don't know how I would have handled it if Kelley's sister was not here. It is not the actual care giving that is stressful but trying to remember what to do, how to do it, and when. We had our first scare tonight as Pam and I were helping Kelley with her drain tubes. She got queasy and felt faint. We had to sit her down and get a cold rag for her head. She was very frightened that she might throw up and how painful it would be. It causes her so much pain just to hiccup. I was afraid throwing up might cause her to pass out. Fortunately we made it through without any issues.

Kelley was in a lot of pain most of the day. It was very difficult to watch her struggle with that so much today. Of course I am sure it was much harder for her. The thing that makes it difficult is that I cannot do anything for her. I am helpless in making her pain go away. I just try to focus on the end result which is a long cancer free life together. That helps me get through a day like today.

She really enjoyed all the visitors that came by. It helped her spirits. She had so many people she did not know that prayed for her and wore pink in support for her. That really touched her as well. If you are so inclined feel free to come visit her. I think it helps get her mind off of what she is going through to have conversations with friends. Although she is physically frail right now she is strong mentally. She has a great attitude. She is even cracking jokes. We were talking about how strange it feels to be going through this. Then she said at least she was never really attached to her boobs. And now they really aren't attached to her. I think we laughed for five minutes over that one.

Life has new meaning now. It is more precious than it was before. We are both so much more grateful to have each other. I can't tell you how many times we have said I love you with tears in our eyes in the last couple of days. We had a moment alone yesterday and she let me brush her hair. I felt so much love for her at that moment. It was one of those intimate moments you just cannot put into words. More intimate than sex even. Because it comes from a different place than romance. It comes from a higher place. It is a love that comes through you rather than from you. It is God loving Kelley through me. I am just grateful to be the one that gets to experience it all.

Heather and Rachel have been so sweet. They have been so brave. Kelley looked better than they thought she would in the hospital. But I think tonight's scare frightened them. Although they knew this was a serious situation I think tonight it really sunk in for both of them. They really hate leaving her at all. I understand how they feel. You wish in these moments you could just push the pause button on life while you recover. But you can't. Life keeps moving with or without you. It is worth fighting for though. And so we fight. And will continue to fight.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

There is no Place Like Home

Deryl says.......We are waiting for the doctor to come by and release
Kelley today. The surgery went well and she is recovering nicely. She is in
a lot of pain at times but she is handling it well.
The day of the surgery was the worst for me and Kelley. She spent much of
the morning crying and nervous. And I spent it as a jumble of nerves. It
was the most anxious I have ever felt in my life. Even more than when my
preemie daughters were in ICU and on life support. At least then I did not
know it was coming. We have known about this for awhile. It was like a
crescendo of nervous energy that has been building for over a week. As soon
as she was out of surgery and I knew she was ok it all left. But before
that I was fidgety and pacing about.
There are so many points during this journey when you think to yourself "I
cannot believe this is happening". Not in a "why me" way. Instead it just
feels surreal. With cancer you don't look sick or feel sick in the
beginning. There is nothing tangible. There are just pictures you don't
really understand and words from the doctor pronouncing cancer over your
loved one.
Kelley looked so healthy she practically glowed before surgery. That glow
is gone for the moment but you can see the brightness in her eyes
increasing everyday. And she is healthier today than she was Monday.
Recovery is going to be difficult for Kelley. I can see that already. It is
a "two steps forward and one step back" process. She will live and feel
fine eventually. And that is what is most important.
We have had so much support. Friends and family came to our house before
surgery to pray for us. And then more came to the hospital and stayed most
if not all of the day. Kelley loved seeing all of those people. It
encouraged her greatly.
Kelley has handled this amazingly well. She is so sweet and calm with
everyone. Even when she is in great pain she is sweet and endearing to
everyone who comes in to visit. She has had her picture taken with all the
nurses and doctors. I will post a couple of pictures later.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Pity Party

Deryl says........I am sitting here with family and friends. I will be taking Kelley to the hospital in a few minutes. I didn't sleep much last night. I snapped at Rachel a couple of times last night. At one point I just broke down in tears. It was a combination of what is coming  and feeling guilty for snapping at her. I know they are just kids but last night when they started bickering I just lost it. Rachel is more stubborn and will push back more so she winds up getting the brunt of things like this. I wish I could just remember to breath deeply a few times before I say anything. Please pray for me in this area as I know the girls are struggling emotionally as well. I want to be the father they need at the moment instead of reacting the way I did last night. I love them so much and I feel like I am failing them during this trying time, especially Rachel. I am expecting them to see everything that is going on the same why I do and that is probably asking too much of them. Please pray for the girls that they will be ok emotionally during this time and that they will be understanding and forgive me for the way I spoke to them last night. I just want my wife to be ok and when they argue I just go into protector mode for Kelley. Anyway, I just feel like a bad father right now. Maybe I am just feeling sorry for myself. Please be extra kind to them if you see them as I am sure they can use it right now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bye Bye Boobies

Deryl says........Well tomorrow is the day. I am surprisingly calm at the moment. I have been very nervous the last couple of days. They gave Kelley some xanax for the anxiety. I should have asked for some as well. I didn't sleep well last night. I don't know if I will be able to sleep at all tonight. It is scary to know what she is going to go through. I feel the most anxiety when I imagine what it must be like to be in her shoes. She is so strong it amazes me.

She came home from the plastic surgeon today and the surgeon had drawn all over her boobs with a permanent purple marker. She has to take a shower tonight and when she is done I am charged with the task of redrawing those lines for her. I asked if I could color them in as well but she said no. I was thinking that it might be fun to draw on her on a regular basis. She could be my canvas! Well, I like the idea but we will see if she does when all of this is over.

We have had a lot of laughter tonight. Kelley's sister is here and our friend Naomi from Oklahoma is here as well. It is moments like this when I cherish family and friends most. Why do we need a crisis to bring everyone together. Even though I have been nervous and Kelley has had her emotional moments this has been a great week. The friends who have been there for us in so many ways has been so humbling. Just laughing and hanging out together at our "Screw Cancer" party. I have loved it. There is so much to be grateful for. It is so much more obvious now. I knew it before but I notice it more often these days. The company I work for is so great. They are letting me work from home while Kelley is recovering. They have been so understanding when I have had to go to doctor after doctor with Kelley. If you are ever looking for a good company to work for I highly recommend Nationstar Mortgage. I think you can tell a lot about a person or an organization by how they treat you in a time of trouble and my company has been nothing but supportive and understanding.

Well my wife is never going to look the same after tomorrow. I have thought about that quite a bit. I have wondered to myself if it was going to bother me at all. But all need is one look at her smiling face to know I could say bye bye boobies forever without one regret. Kelley is not her body. Her looks may be what attracted me to her initially but you cannot stay happily married for 15+ years when your relationship is based on looks. She is an exceptional woman. She has been through so much in her life. She really deserves a break. You would never know that she was raised in poverty by a single mother, lost her 3 month old son to SIDS when she was a teen, lost her mother to cancer when her mother was 53, and is now battling the very same disease that took her mother's life. If you know Kelley you would know that she doesn't live back there in the difficult places of the past. She lives in the moment now more than ever. She is an inspiration to all who know her. I feel honored to be her husband. She feels things so deeply. When she loves someone she love them with all her soul. When she cares for someone she cares sincerely with all her heart. She empathizes so deeply she has to be careful what she gets involved in as it can overwhelm her emotionally. She love all those crazy ladies from her womens group. I don't know what you ladies talk about but I see her smirking and talking on the phone some times to you girls. She will hang up and have a big smile on her face or sometimes tears in her eyes. She tells me she just wants to have an impact on the lives of women. She has obviously been very successful at doing that already.

I think the thing I want to communicate most is that we will be OK. This is not going to be fun. But we will come out on the other side better than we are now. Wear pink tomorrow if you can and please pray for Kelley. Much love!

Saying Good-bye to the Ta-Tas

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

Well, I feel like there should be some kind of ceremony or a going away party for my Ta-Ta's, HA! Out with the old and in with the new, right? I went to the plastic surgeon today and he marked me all up for surgery. So, I have nice purple permanent marker all over my chest area. But he did say that when I take a shower tonight and in the morning Deryl will have to go back over the lines. To which Deryl is happy to to follow the doctors orders!!

Last night, for the first time, I started getting really anxious and nervous. Same thing this morning. But I know people must have been praying because I had an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness come over me. Then, when I got to the doctors office, I was so nervous I felt like I could run laps around the building and I was about to jump out of my skin. Then the doctor came in, marked me all up and then he said the following....."I want you to know something. Tomorrow when you wake up from surgery, you are going to be much healthier than you are standing here today. And from now on, that is how we are going to treat you, like you are healthy. This is all going to be okay and you are going to get through this just fine". I just love this doctor, he is incredible. I instantly felt that peace just come over me again. I have been talking 90 miles and hour so I guess I am still nervous but I don't feel like I am about to have a nervous breakdown anymore!

My surgery is tomorrow at 1:30 but I have to be there at 9:00. I will not be putting the location here on this blog because I wouldn't want any crazy person showing up that I don't even know! So, if you know us personally, you should already know where it is or how to find that out. I will be out of it most of the afternoon and evening tomorrow. So if you want to come it will be for support for my family. I just want to say now that if I am just not up to visiting when you happen to come by, please don't be offended. Because the last thing I can be concerned with right now is hurting anyone's feelings! I know you all will be very understanding as you already have. 

I also want to say thank you to everyone I know. I so appreciate the fact that no one shared their opinions with me about the surgery option before I made my decision. You cannot even imagine how much that helped me. I had four weeks to contemplate this and am 100% confident I have made the right choice and have a great peace about it. And it was one me and God decided on alone. I discussed it thoroughly with Deryl of course but even he was completely neutral.

And lastly, my prayer request today is the following...

  • For Deryl & the girls and my family
  • That every single person I come into contact with will be extremely nice and caring and have an awesome bedside manner
  • That I will have a quick recovery
  • That I will not get any infection or have any complications
  • And that I will not have to have CHEMO!!!! I still believe in miracles!!!!
And just so you know.......I AM GONNA BEAT THIS AND KICK CANCER'S BUTT!!!!!

Love you all!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Infected or Contagious?

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

Last weekend, I went to watch my niece compete in a Fine Arts competition. One of the categories was "Short Sermon".  One of the girls competing talked about the differences of being infected or being contagious. She said that contagious means ""tending to spread from person to person". I started thinking about this. The more I thought about it I realized that I am "infected" with cancer but not "contagious". 

It started coming to my mind that that is exactly how
we are a lot of the time as Christians. We get infected with Jesus but we stay that way and never get contagious. We never share him with anyone and we don't allow him to rub off on others. Honestly, I have never been the kind of person to go out and "witness" to other people. I couldn't stand it when someone did that to me when I was not saved and I would never want to push someone the other direction. But I do know for sure that when it comes to my walk with God, I want to be contagious!! I don't want to have this awesome gift and keep it all to myself.

I'm not going to sit here and not be real with you and say I haven't questioned my faith through all of this at different times. I mean, it is hard, it sucks, I wish I didn't have to go through this, I wish my family didn't have to go through it. I have lost two of the closest people to me in my life and that alone should be enough for a lifetime. But these moments of questioning don't last long. I try to focus on what all God HAS done in my life. And you know what? He's done some pretty incredible things. Especially with timing. Of course, I always think at the time that his timing couldn't be worse. But as I look back on my life, there are countless things where later on I realized they couldn't have happened at a better time in my life and that God knew exactly what he was doing. I ask myself, "What if you having this at this time in your own life is going to save many others through early detection?" Well, that brings joy to my heart and is something I hold onto. 

I am the "little sister", "the baby". My brother is 9 years older and my sister is 10 years older. My brother just cannot understand why God would allow this to happen to me. He is taking it all very, very hard. I know all the memories of everything we went through with watching our mother die must make it that much harder. But I have never once said to myself "Why me?" I just think that to say that is pointless in my situation. All I can think about is "Why NOT me?" Little kid's with their entire lives ahead of them get cancer. People go through major trials and health issues every day. The biggest question to me is "How am I going to get the message out about self-breast exams?" I want to start speaking at events NOW to spread the word. I hate that I have to go through surgery & recovery first because I want to shout it from the roof tops NOW, so more and more women will see how important it is. 

I feel like there are lives God wants to save and he is offering ME the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself. I cannot sit idly by and watch the opportunity pass me by. So again I ask, "Have you Felt your Ta-Tas this month?" If not, why not? Please, go do it now!!!! It could save your life! Here I am, a living example.

Love you all so much. Thanks for reading our blog.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We All Need Someone to Lean On

Deryl says..........The surgery date looms. As it gets closer I find myself getting more nervous. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for Kelley. I realize that this is our last "normal" weekend together. Life will be dramatically different for a long time after this week. Maybe we will get back to a kind of normal but our previous life is gone. That will have its positives and negatives. I do find myself afraid of the unknown. I have some idea from conversations I have had with some wonderful people who have been through this before what to expect. But you never really know until you have been through it. I fear how much Kelley is going to suffer. I fear the girls stressing out their mother with petty bickering. I fear I will lose my temper with the girls or even Kelley from stress. I am not normally a fearful person so feeling all of this tangible fear is strange and uncomfortable. I don't want to let Kelley down during this time. I have lots of offers for help. I welcome all the help. Right now I just don't know what kind of help I will need. I do know that if I am able to come through for Kelley on every front it will be because of the love and support offered by so many.

You know some people look at the world and say why would you want to bring a child into this evil world. But I think most people are basically good and many are exceptionally good. There is nothing that brings out the best in people like a crisis. And there is something especially unique about the sisterhood of cancer survivors. And somehow I get to join the sorority just because I married the right girl. I don't want Kelley to suffer. But I am pleased to meet so many people that are so open about life and their cancer experience. Its like you lose a couple of layers of your ego instantly as you fight death. Priorities change immediately. Things like vanity and political correctness disappear. I have had more conversations about boobs and nipples with women I have barely known in the last week than I have in my entire life. That previous statement may offend some people. And I would have cared prior to April 12th. But now I will have any conversation I need to have with anyone I feel will be helpful without any shame or awkwardness. Because my sole goal in life is to do everything I can to aid my wife in her recovery.
We had an awesome party last night. Our friends Byron and Shai organized it in a couple of days. We called it our "Screw Cancer" pajama party. Our friends brought Kelley new pajamas. She will need some that button in the front since she won't be able to lift her hands above her head for a while. We have pictures on our facebook pages. If you are not friends with us just make a friend request and we will add you. It is amazing to know that I have friends that I have not seen in over 20 years yet still care and are praying for me and Kelley. I love you all and I am not just saying that.

At the party, instead of cocktails I made fresh juice for everyone with our new juicer. Kelley and I have gone on a complete vegetarian diet since the diagnosis and we juice fruits and vegetable 3 times a day for additional nutrients. This is something I never thought I would do. Kelley tried to get me on a juice kick a couple of years ago and I would have nothing to do with it. It is amazing how easy it is now to drink something I thought I would never enjoy. I wonder why it is so much easier to do something healthy for your loved ones than it is yourself. I have always known it was good for us but I could not get past the taste. Now I love the taste.

Kelley and I have decided we are going to start a non-profit to help breast cancer patients. We want to raise awareness, educate women on prevention and early detection, educate caregivers, raise money for more research, and most of all provide financial, emotional, and practical assistance to breast cancer patients. We have not come up with a name for it yet. I was thinking of calling it the Mary Parent (Kelley's Mom) Foundation or Peace, Love, Hope, Cure. But it is early in the process. I wonder if I can get Nancy Brinker and Lance Armstrong to be on our board of directors. That would be fun.

It is funny how often I think of women's breasts now. You may be saying to yourself well "Duh!" your a guy. But I don't mean in any kind of perverted, lustful way. I find myself looking at a woman and wondering if she has ever had a double mastectomy or currently has breast cancer. It is almost as if I see them now as potential health hazards instead of how you would expect a guy to normally see them. Because I look at my wife and think she looks better than ever yet she has a potentially fatal disease. I think that is why cancer is so scary. Because the person looks so normal and healthy. It just makes it hard to register in your mind that all of this is necessary to save her life. I am afraid yet hopeful. Please keep praying for us.

New Friends from Sing for the Cure

Here is a picture of Michael and his son and Jan and her brother. Our new friends from Sing for the cure.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Night of Beauty and Agony

Deryl says.......... Tonight Kelley and I had the good fortune of being able to attend a choir and symphony at the Myerson called "Sing For a Cure". It was a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen foundation and breast cancer survivors and patients were offered free tickets. It was an amazing and emotional night. We met some wonderful people and experienced an amazingly inspirational show.

As you might expect pink was the color of the evening and most were wearing pink of some sort. However, we met two exceptional men wearing pink suits. But not just pink suits but pink shoes, hats and hankies as well. They looked so good I had to have my picture taken with them. I asked the elder gentleman if his spouse was a breast cancer survivor. He replied "no, I am". I was floored. This guy had male breast cancer just over 5 years ago and was cancer free. We also met a lady named Jan who had obviously been through chemo within the last year. She had just gone through a recurrence of her cancer and was cancer free after her second round of chemo. She asked Kelley how long ago she had been through treatment. Kelley said "I have a double mastectomy next Tuesday". Poor Jan looked like someone stabbed her in the side. Tears welled up in her eyes and she immediately went and gave Kelley a hug. Now I am about to say some unbelievable things. Before I do let me just say "I am scared of what Kelley is facing and what the treatment of this cancer will do to her." But I can also say that this cancer is a blessing. And the interesting thing is Jan said the same thing when discussing her battle with cancer. I say that because if you knew Kelley just a few years ago a stranger trying to hug Kelley would typically not receive a warm response from her. And someone other than immediate family saying "I love you" would have received silence back. But that is not the case anymore. Kelley is so much more open to love and affection. One thing I find really interesting and refreshing is that when you meet another person or family that has gone through or is going through cancer there is an instant bond. Its like all the pretense and "b.s." of normal life have no meaning and life becomes about living and loving and giving. How can that not be a blessing? Oh don't think that there are not dark days that come with cancer. There are more than anyone would care to experience. But the light days are lighter, the love is deeper, and all the things you have to be grateful for are much more visible.

The guy in the pink suits name is Michael. Kelley and I both had an instant connection with Michael. I wish you could have seen him. Michael is probably in his late 40s or early 50s. And he is a big, black, sweet, encouraging man. And when I say big I mean big in every way. And being decked out from head to toe in pink he is impossible to miss. I don't know where he is from or his background or what he does for a living but I know he is a friend and I know Kelley and I will never forget him. I will post a picture of him in a later post.

You know I was planning on writing about how sad and afraid I have been today. But just writing about Michael and Jan have already made me feel better. I still don't want Kelley to have to go through this but maybe new relationships and helping others is worth all of this. I guess it is easy for me to say since no one is cutting on me but I think Kelley would agree. Our good friend Alvin can tell you that sometimes what feels like the worst thing that could possibly happen in the moment can wind up being the greatest thing that ever happened to you. I hope that will be the case with this and I believe it will eventually.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Surgery Decision

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

After literally weeks of consideration. Talking with doctors, researching, praying, crying, talking to others who have been in my position, I have finally come to a conclusion. There is no doubt that a lumpectomy would be the easiest route for me to take. Much less surgery, less trauma on my body and I wouldn't be out of work as long. But when I really, really think about it, if I decided to go with that type of surgery and someone were to ask me if I felt good about that decision, I would not be able to say yes. When I think of only having the lumpectomy, I don't have any peace about it.

The fact that my mother and her mother both had breast cancer and my mother died from this, regardless of the genetics test, how can I not do every thing in my power to prevent a recurrence? When I said out loud to Deryl that my decision is to have the double mastectomy, as weird as it sounds, I felt happy. I felt a sense of calm and peace come over me. When I realized that this would change my surgery because the plastic surgeon would now have to be involved, I panicked. I called my doctor and she said I may have to reschedule surgery again! I just cried out to God and really believed in my heart that he was hearing me. I asked him to work this out for me. It really seemed impossible because I had to get in for a consultation with the plastic surgeon, make my decision on reconstruction, go back to see the breast surgeon and go in again to see the plastic surgeon and do all of this before next Tuesday!!

My surgeon called me last night at 6:30 and I started putting this into motion. Absolutely everything worked out. She got me in to see her at 1:00 today. I was scheduled to see the plastic surgeon tomorrow at 3:30. I just kept praying for God to work this all out. The plastic surgeon's office called me and asked if I could go ahead and come in today! So, I went to see him at 2:00. AND, my surgery date is still the same. They are actually moving other people's appointments around to make this happen. Is that amazing or what?!

The unfortunate news I found out today is that because of me getting this at such a young age, I will most likely have to get Chemo after all. But I am not letting that worry me right now. I am just going to focus on getting through the surgery and worry about that later. I can only be concerned with what I know now and that is the surgery.

So, my new prayer request is that I have peace and that surgery goes extremely well. That both surgeon's do an excellent job and that I have a speedy recovery with NO complications. And as always, for Deryl and the girls as we travel this journey. And above all, that God's will would be done and accomplished in all of this.

Deryl says....... Well I am relieved that she made this decision. I went back and forth on which direction I hoped she would take. I tried to stay as neutral as possible and not influence her decision. Because ultimately it is her body and her choice. I was planning on titling another post "   Hey Doctor Give Me a Mastectomy..... and Make it a Double"   but Kelley thought that was too long for a title. There have been so many people who have been such a blessing to us during this time but I want to give a special shout out to Byron and Shai Mitchmore. We have only recently gotten to know them and they have gone above and beyond to be a source of support and compassion and in ways you cannot imagine. Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Monday, May 10, 2010


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

I don't know where to start. I just SO don't know what to do. I flip-flop back and forth, back and forth between a lumpectomy and the double mastectomy. I mean, this sucks. I'm not gonna lie. This is just a small list of some of the questions and things that are going through my head. 

  1. What if I get the lumpectomy and this comes back in the same breast or the other or both?
  2. If I get the lumpectomy, I'll have to go through radiation.
  3. What if I get the double mastectomy and I really didn't need it?
  4. How would I ever know that for sure?
  5. If I go with the mastectomy it is much longer recovery.
  6. If I go with the mastectomy and reconstruction, there will be much more pain involved.
  7. What in the heck am I going to wear over the summer in between surgery and reconstruction?
  8. What am I going to wear regardless of which surgery I have?
  9. Will I ever want my husband to see me naked again?
  10. What if I get the lumpectomy, they find out it has spread and I have to go back for the mastectomy anyway?
  11. I won't be able to wear a bathing suit this summer.
  12. I wish my mom was here to tell me what to do.
Like I said, this is the short list. I truly thought that I would get the genetics test back and that would kind of be my marker for which road to take. The only thing that test result did was make me relieved that my daughters, sister and nieces chances of getting this disease just went way down. I don't feel any better about this decision than I did weeks ago. It would just be so much easier if God would just come down from heaven and sit across the table from me and tell me what to do. Why can't he just do that? I guess I wouldn't need much faith if it worked that way. 

As you can see, I need so much prayer. I can't make this decision without lots of prayer. I've radically changed my diet and think I look great and I feel super great. I sure don't feel like a sick person! I told a friend of mine tonight that if this cancer ever comes back, it sure isn't for a lack of me trying my best to NOT get it. I have changed so many things. If it was something in my environment then I am sure trying to fix that. And really, who knows if it was hereditary or not? Scientists only know of 2 gene mutations for sure that are hereditary with my type cancer. Who knows how many others there are out there. So many questions and so few answers. 

The only way to describe this is that I feel like I am playing Russian Roulette. I don't know how else to explain it. I feel like if I could just have another really big cry, I could come to a conclusion. Yet I cannot bring myself to feel any tears whatsoever right now. I'm sure this is just part of the journey. It is amazing how afraid I can be and then on the other hand feel totally fine like this is just not a big deal. I do know that "This too shall pass". And of that, I am very confident. 

By this time in three days from now, I will have made a decision. Please pray that it is the right one. For only God knows my future. And only HE knows the plans he has for me.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Super Kelley is Super Fly!

Deryl says......Well we got more good news with the results of the genetic
testing. Kelley did not test positive for Brac 1 or Brac 2 which are the
names of the genes that determine if you are predisposed to breast cancer
or not. It is really good news and means that Kelley will most likely not
require a double mastectomy. Kelley was subdued when we discussed the
results. There was a kind of mindset that with a double mastectomy it would
mean the cancer would be gone forever. With a lumpectomy it kind of feels
like the treatment is not final. The weird thing is that although neither
of us want Kelley to go through the removal of both breasts we both felt as
if it would give us more peace about the future. Which seems kind of
ridiculous as I write this. But then again what is peace of mind worth?
One thing I do know is that Kelley is more free and purposeful. She dances
in public places which she never did before. She is more openly
demonstrative of her love. And she is more determined than ever to have a
positive impact on women's lives. The way she has handled this and how she
has let it change her for the better is inspirational. Those of you who
know her know exactly what I mean. For those of you who don't know her I
can only hope you get the opportunity. Knowing her and knowing how much she
cares for each person she get the opportunity to know better can change
their lives. Any of you who know me well know that I have had a bittersweet
relationship with the church. However, Christ and his message of love have
always been a great source of hope and strength for me. I bring that up to
say that Kelley's demonstration of unconditional love to so many has
motivated me to be more conscious and aware my words and actions and
whether they are motivated from love or fear. And she has done this at an
even greater level while going through the most frightening experience we
have ever had in our marriage. And then she looks so hot I think she is too
beautiful to be sick. Maybe she is Superwoman and I don't know it or maybe
she is just superfly with her crazysexycancer.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Genetic Test Results

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

WOO HOO!!!! The BRCA1 and the BRCA2 genetic test came back NEGATIVE!!!! So, every single test now has came back with the results I was hoping for! Praise God and thank you immensely for all your prayers. I am feeling very weird right now. If this test had come back positive then I would have known without a shadow of a doubt which surgery to have done. But now, I have to make a very, very tough choice.

If you have not been through this personally or have not known someone personally who has gone through this you can't even begin to imagine the questions that run through my mind trying to make this kind of choice. Right now, I am leaning towards having the lumpectomy. I meet with the surgeon again on May 13th and I will be discussing with her the recurrence rates on both surgeries so I can make my final decision. She has been SO awesome and I am so glad God put this doctor in my life. She has not rushed me AT ALL to make a decision and for that I am very grateful. I have had almost a month now to have all these tests done, to pray, to have others pray and to wait on God for direction.

Of course, I could have the lumpectomy and then if they get in there and it has spread, I will end up having to have a mastectomy anyway. Oh my goodness, could this be anymore complicated?! But today, I am grateful that God is hearing our prayers. I am SUPER grateful that my daughters, my sister and my nieces will now know their chances of getting breast cancer has not increased! I would have felt awful for all of them if the genetics test would have been positive. Had it been positive, they would have had a 50-65% chance of getting it. So, thank you Lord, thank you Lord!!!!!

Please continue to pray that I will ultimately make the right choice for ME and that no one will judge my decision whatever that ends up being.

This is the scripture I am standing on. Proverbs 16:9 "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Susan G. Komen 3 Day

Kelley says..............
I have joined the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure. Thanks Amy Black for forming a team! Our team name is the Ta-Ta Titans. I will walk for myself, in honor of my mom, and for all women!! I have set a fund raising goal of $5000.00!! I hope to WAY exceed that goal long before the walk. Please consider donating to my cause!! You can go to and click on "Donate" then search for my name or by our team name. Thank you in advance for supporting me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so excited to report that several women have started doing self-exams because of my blog!! I only have 41 followers on my blog but I know a lot more than that are reading it. So, I would love it if you would become a follower so I know who you are!! Also, if you have started doing self-exams, went and had a mammogram or have gone to the doctor due to my blog, it would bring me so much joy to know about it!!!!
Still no news on the genetic test results. But we'll post as soon as we know anything. I have had a super good day today. Nothing really great happened but I have just felt really great emotionally, spiritually, and physically! And I know it is because of all your prayers, so thank you very much.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finally, some good news!!

Well, Monday totally sucked for me. I had one of the most emotional days of the past three weeks. You can't begin to imagine (or maybe you can) the questions that are in my mind and the decisions that I have to make. Maybe I will blog on that some day soon. Anyway, I just couldn't take it anymore and just felt like I was completely falling apart. I just thought to myself "I don't want to do this!!", "I don't want to go through this!!". I think I cried every last tear drop I had within me to cry.

Today I went to work and wasn't near as sad as yesterday. I came home for lunch and my cell phone rang and the caller ID said "Restricted". I knew that was my doctors office. One of the tests, HER2,  that we have been waiting for that kept getting sent off for further testing and we desperately were wanting to come back negative, came back NEGATIVE!!!!! YEAH!!!! This was the one that would tell if I was for sure going to have to go through Chemotherapy. So most likely, I will not have to go through that! Wow, what a HUGE relief. One thing that I have always had is awesome hair. I was really stressing over it and SO thankful to get this test result with the results I was hoping for!

So your prayers are working!!!! Please keep praying for God's will in my life!!!!

Don't Let Cancer Steal Second Base!

Deryl says......... Overall it was a good week. I finally felt like I could focus all day at work. There were many moments spent without thinking about cancer. Which was great after last weekend. Kelley and I were both bummed out. I think getting a call from the doctor on a Saturday freaked us out. It was hard not to assume the worst. It had been less than 24 hours since she had the MRI and the doctor called and said the results were back. We were nervous as can be when we called the doctor back. I tried hard to keep a brave face on for Kelley. I am not sure if I succeeded or not. Once we found out it was good news you would think we would celebrate. But I think the realization that one moment could change our lives forever and that none of it is in our hands really bummed us out. But when you really think about it life is always that way. There is always a moment that could change your life forever.

We skipped church Sunday morning just so we wouldn't have to talk about cancer again and again. Neither one of us were in an emotional state where we could handle it that day. But Monday came around and I felt better and so did Kelley. She still had a few moments during the week but there were very few compared to before. This past Saturday I took the girls out for a little retail therapy. It is amazing how shopping can take a girls mind off of almost any problem. Kelley said it was the first time since she was diagnosed where she did not think about cancer once for almost 5 or 6 hours straight. Yes I shopped with them for almost 6 hours. And after that they dropped me off at home and went shopping some more. That is one thing cancer is not going to stop my wife from doing. I was just happy to see her smile and be normal for so long. It was worth every penny.

My biggest concern at the moment is that Kelley had a really rough day today emotionally and I have to go out of town tomorrow. I am torn. I want to stay because I want to be there for my wife. But I want to go because I just signed up our biggest client to date and I need to get them going. I have a feeling we are going to need a lot of commissions to pay for medical bills. Plus I think it comforts Kelley to know that I am making progress at my job. And I know she is concerned about what kind of impact this is going to have on our finances. I try to encourage her about it and most of the time she is fine. But it is one of those stressful thoughts that can hit her at a unexpected moment. So please keep praying for her.

I wanted to end on a positive note. I came across some t-shirts and bumper stickers that raise money and awareness for breast cancer that were quite funny. So I thought I would list a few:

  • Remember kids......Cancer Sucks
  • I Made Cancer My B#@ch
  • Save the Ta Tas
  • My Ta Tas Have Fallen and They Can't Get Up
  • Save a Life Grope Your Wife
  • If Lovin' Ta Tas is Wrong I Don't Want to be Right
And my personal favorite is:


Sunday, May 2, 2010


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

I attended a women's retreat this weekend with ladies from my church. Yesterday morning when we sat down to get the day started, I felt my heart start racing. I don't know if you have ever felt this before but I knew the feeling was familiar. I knew it was the holy spirit about to ask me to do something I probably didn't want to do. I looked around the room at all of the women there and wondered to myself how many of them don't do self-breast exams. I knew then and there I had to say something. So I asked if it was possible and if they had a few extra minutes to let me promote self-exams. I sat back in my chair and started to wonder what I would say in just a couple of minutes time. I finally just said "God, this is your doing so you are going to have to speak through me" I knew it was just going to be completely off the cuff so I just went for it. 

I started by saying "Hello, my name is Kelley and I am a huge supporter of self-breast examinations". I asked if they would raise their hand if they never or rarely do monthly self-exams. My heart broke as I sat there and looked at probably 95% of the room raise their hands. I don't know what kind of impact this had on them but it solidified for me the mission I am on. We do not know as women how important this is. I forgot to mention to them that my mammogram was perfect! Had it not been for a self-exam, I would still be living my normal life not knowing I was walking around with cancer in my body. I told them about my blog and begged them to start doing monthly self-exams. I finished by telling them that it was my hope that by the next women's retreat, I will not start with "Hello, my name is Kelley". But that I will be able to say, "Hello, my name is Kelley & I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR!!!!" When I started walking back to my seat, everyone gave me a standing ovation. It was SO surreal. The following are the feelings I felt in that moment...
  • I have so many people in my life praying for me
  • I am surrounded by my church family who care about me deeply
  • I am as STRONG as God has been telling me I am
  • I am a woman of IMPACT
  • This confirms that promoting self-breast exams is my new mission in life
I used to be extremely terrified of public speaking. So afraid that I would get extremely nervous, palms sweaty, extreme dry mouth, it was horrible.  If I even thought I would have to speak before a group I would just get sick to my stomach. Last year when I wanted to start a women's group at my church, I almost didn't do it because of all these fears. But I just knew it was what God wanted me to do. I did it afraid. It was a great group. The next semester I had another group. We did a study on "Fears". I was still nervous. 

I am also a Life-Coach. I had been given the opportunity to help train other Life-Coaches which I felt SO honored to even be asked. But I turned it down, all because of my fear of public speaking. After I turned it down, I realized that this fear was totally holding me back in my life. I wondered what God could accomplish through me if I would just get over myself and go for it. I started immediately to visualize myself speaking in front of others and not being nervous. I did this every time I thought about it. I ended up going to the coach training after all and was not nervous AT ALL. The lady who had originally asked me to teach the class with her could tell something was different about me. She asked me about it and I told her it was a complete miracle. I couldn't even explain it myself. 

Now looking back on this, I realize that God had so much more in store for me. If he wouldn't have delivered me of this fear, I could have NEVER spoke in front of over 100 women and promoted self-exams. I think what I am learning is that women are so very powerful and we all have a story to tell and an IMPACT to make on not just others but on the WORLD!!

How are your fears holding YOU back? Start to see yourself as the person you want to become. You may not even believe it at first but keep seeing it in your minds eye until it becomes a reality. I am living proof that it works!!!! I am holding a space for you to become all God wants you to become in your life. I had a person truly believe in me for the last two years. And it is amazing the changes that come about for someone if you just genuinely believe in them. And guess what? I totally believe in you!!