Sunday, June 27, 2010


Conclusions from Kelley McElreath on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fear and Love

Deryl says........We went "chemo class" the other day. Which was informative and scary. As I have mentioned before, the thing about cancer is that the treatment is just as scary as the disease itself. So for those of you who don't understand how chemo works I will give you a brief and unscientific explanation. In essence they give you poison that kills the cancer cells in your body. It also kills a lot of the good cells in your body. The goal of chemo is to give you enough poison to kill the cancer but not enough to kill you or cause permanent damage. So we are really looking forward to that.
They also told us that Kelley's immune system would be severely depressed. So much so that we must keep everything in the house disinfected constantly, that Kelley should not touch things that are handled by many people such as a grocery cart, and if she gets a fever of 100.5 or more she needs to go to the emergency room immediately. If she has a fever of any kind we must call the doctor immediately as well. Good times.
To complete the trifecta of fun Kelley was informed that she would lose all of her hair somewhere between day 2 and day 20. We were already aware that she was going to lose her hair but hearing it so "matter of factually" from that nurse suddenly kind of struck the nail all the way in, so to speak. I don't care if Kelley is bald forever. I am not in love with her hair. But I do know that it is going to affect her emotionally. How could it not? I thought about what it would be like to lose all of my hair and the thought of it made me very uncomfortable. And I am a guy! We lose our hair all the time with no medical assistance whatsoever. But when a woman loses her hair it is like losing a part of her femininity. I think even more so than her breasts. And even though it will come back it is traumatic. This is what Kelley feared the most when we received this diagnosis. It pains me to see her in anguish over this and the many other concerns she has about this situation. But I have also witnessed her grow and let go of things that she never would have been able to let go of in the past. Just in the last few days her faith has grown. She has really embraced this "believing before seeing" concept she wrote about earlier.
So my biggest fear in all this is Kelley getting some type of infection while undergoing chemo and her emotional reaction to losing her hair. So I could use your prayers in that area. I am not much of a worrier so if I am worrying it is usually very serious.
During this time I have spent a lot of time contemplating love and specifically God's love. You could sit around and say why me in a situation like this or you can just trust in the love of God. Jesus said you can sum up the entire bible in the following statement - love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. Seems pretty simple in theory but in practice we make it difficult. I mean how do you love God? How do you demonstrate it? Well, I can try to communicate with Him through prayer, meditation, and contemplation. How is there love without communication right? Jesus said "if you love me you will obey my commands". But I don't see that as following all the commands of the bible. Many people try to do that without any real love in their heart. They do it out of fear. I think Jesus was really talking about when you hear him within. When he is trying to guide you through life. That little voice or tug in a certain direction that you can listen to or ignore it like I did with the vegetarian thing.

Another thing that came to me while I was contemplating this was that we could love God by simply choosing to see things different than we do now. My pastor was telling the story of Adam and Eve last Sunday. He said something that really stuck with me. What he said was that when God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden he said they could have everything in the Garden except this one thing. They could eat the fruit of every tree except one. It doesn't say how many trees they could choose to eat from but I imagine it was hundreds or even thousands. But someone pointed out this one thing that they could not have and all of a sudden that was all they could see. In that moment they could no longer see everything that was available to them. All of the abundance and good things God had given them was lost in their eyes. They saw the one thing they didn't have and said that thing will make my life better if only I could have it. Well you probably know the rest of the story. But what really stood out to me from that story was how that seems to be the source of the problem of most people. We get focused on how life will be so much better when we get this or that. My life will be better if I had more money, better health, a wife, a husband, a baby, etc. And we totally lose site of everything we have available to us now. Our family, our friends, our job, our life, our breath. If you are able to read this blog right now you can be grateful for a computer, internet access, your sight, not having cancer. There is so much to be thankful for in this moment right now.
If we can begin to see that God has provided every good thing in our life it will increase the love in our hearts. When we receive the money we need and instead of just seeing the money see the one who gave it to us and be thankful. Then our hearts will be full. We will begin to see more of the blessings in our lives. And the things that we lack and think we need will become less important.
Yes my wife has cancer. And yes I would prefer that she didn't. But I have my wife right now. And I don't know if that will always be the case. I am grateful to have found someone that I love so much and that loves me just as much. I have someone that treats me with love and respect and loves me in spite of my many flaws. And I have her right now. I could lose her tomorrow or 50 years from now but fretting about it today only diminishes the gratitude and love I could be feeling and sharing. We don't worry and love at the same time. We cannot feel fear and gratitude in the same moment. So at this moment I am choosing to see the good and thank God for it. That is one way I can love God. I hope this doesn't come across as preachy as I am writing this to myself more than anything else. But if it helps anyone else then that is a bonus.
I don't know if I would be spending all of this time thinking about God and His love if I was not in this situation. But it is changing me for the better.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Believing is seeing

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

Anyone who knows Deryl knows that he reads more books than I could read in my entire life! He listened to one recently and put it on my MP3 player. He has been asking me every single day if I have started listening to it yet. So yesterday, when I had to drive out to Ft. Worth I decided that would be the perfect time to listen to it. God's timing is just perfect I guess. The name of the book is "It's not about the money". 

As the bills start pouring in from all the different doctors I see and hospital and all these other places, I find myself getting very overwhelmed. Now having to drive out to Ft. Worth every week for 12 weeks on top of my other doctor appointments in Ft. Worth that I already have. Whew! So anyway, I have always been the kind of person that says "I have to see it to believe it". I am a complete realist through and through. But I listened to 2 hours of that book yesterday. He talked about how we have to believe it to see it. He also talked about the "Prison of Perception".  He stated that if we always focus on what we don't have, we will keep getting what we don't want.

Boy, this spoke volumes to me!! So yesterday after what I heard, I just started catching myself anytime I was worried and just expected that we will have what we need when we need it. Do you know that we left Ft. Worth at 5:30 and there was hardly any traffic at all! Usually, just knowing that we would be leaving at rush hour, I would have thoughts about how awful the traffic was going to be. But yesterday, I didn't have that thought at all and there was no traffic. I don't think this was a coincidence. So anyway, when I was paying bills this afternoon my stomach was just in knots and I was literally making myself sick. I caught myself and just imagined things working out and God providing for us. After this, I came to my computer and a friend of mine had e-mailed me with a fund-raiser idea. I instantly knew that I have to start believing BEFORE I see!! 

Here is a quote my pastor has me memorizing right now. And he gave it to me a week ago! "Faith is choosing to live as though God's word is true regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Issue

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

Last night, I was having a conversation with Deryl and we were just talking about life, chemo, and what our future holds. I told him that I believe that we are ALL on a spiritual journey. It doesn't matter if you are a Christian or not. This is just my opinion but I think that "opportunities" arise throughout our lives to deepen this spiritual journey. If we don't get it the first time, other opportunities will come around for God to try to show us whatever it is he is trying to show us to grow us. But, with every single opportunity we have our own free will to learn from it or let it pass us by.

I think God can use any situation to grow us spiritually. It might be just a small incident that you can learn from but it might take a death or other complete tragedy for someone else to learn the same thing. Throughout this experience in my life I have discovered that sometimes our tragedies reveal our purpose. I am a firm believer in dealing with our own issues. It is so good to get away by yourself at least a few times in your life time to really be all alone just you and your "stuff". This is really scary to a lot of people. I have done this two times. It was no fun and it was terrifying. But you know what? I dealt with some major things and the best thing to come from it is that I realized how strong I am. That I don't need to run to Deryl or friends or a pastor to help me every time but that I can run to my God and he is faithful to see me through. 

It is good to be able to have support to go to. I think this is also very important. But sometimes I see others make "people" their God. It is vital that we deal with our issues. If we don't, time will go by and we will seem better but they will still be there lurking around. If we don't deal with the issue, we'll always be dealing with the issue. I don't know if this is making any sense to you or not but I just really feel like the main reason I have been able to deal with having cancer and all that I am going through is because I have dealt with so much of my past. And I want everyone to be able to experience freedom from their past. 

If you ever decide to get away and do some work on yourself, let me know and I will help guide you through it!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm with Einstein

Deryl says.........I have had a very solemn day today. I am normally very happy-go-lucky and sail through life with my head in the clouds. But today I have been pondering deeply the things of life. The thing is that at different times of my life it has felt very difficult. But in most cases it was my own direct actions that caused my difficult circumstances. But now I feel as if I am in difficult circumstances that are not of my own doing. But then I wonder did I do anything to contribute to this? I mean I know I did not give Kelley cancer. But did I make lifestyle choices that contributed to it? I mean Kelley wanted me to become a vegetarian many years ago and I told her I would never in my life give up steak. But I felt a tug within to do it. I knew it would make me healthier and Kelley healthier. But I wanted what I wanted. So now all these years later I am happily a vegetarian. I want to make it easier for Kelley and the girls to eat healthy. I never want to see anyone with cancer again. I read a study that showed that the US has the highest rate of breast cancer in the world and we also eat the highest percentage of animal fat and processed foods in our diets of any country in the world. And the study showed a correlation between diet and breast cancer. Japan had the lowest rate of breast cancer and also had the lowest percentage of animal fat and processed foods in their diet. So it appears that my choices have influenced to some degree what we are experiencing now. I am not blaming myself for this. I know Kelley is her own person and could have chosen differently. I also don't know if we had become vegetarians back then that she wouldn't still have cancer now. But what I do know is that there was a part of me that nudged me in that direction and I ignored it. I am not casting blame on myself or anyone else. I am simply stating that I have been pondering how something so seemingly insignificant could possibly have significant outcomes. That when that little voice inside nudges you to do something you know is good for you or your loved ones but you ignore it what are the consequences.
I call that little voice God. And I am paying a lot more attention to that voice than I did before. It is funny how impossible it seemed to give up meat before and how incredibly easy it is now. What changed? My thoughts are the only thing different. I still desired to eat meat when I first started and I still crave it sometimes. But the longer I don't eat it the less I think about eating it.
Life is precious and wonderful even in the hard times because it is a miracle. Einstein once said "in life you either see everything as a miracle or nothing as a miracle". I hope you see it as a miracle. There is no timetable for any of us. Kelley had a son that died at 3 months old and a mother who died at 53. I have a grandmother that is still alive and kicking at 92. Who decides these things? Is it God that takes a son and a mother early and let's someone else live past 100? I mean Kelley's son sure didn't make a choice that took his own life. The point is you can drive your self crazy trying to figure it out or you can take the advice of St. Paul who said "whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report think on these things". Now is always the only moment you have to work with even when planning for the future you are doing it now. So take full advantage of the current moment. Life is always shorter than we expect. Do whatever you are doing with your whole heart and mind. Love life and life will love you back. It is a lesson that comes alive when the reality of death has been placed before you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How can I pray for you?

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

This morning when I was doing my Oswald Chamber's devotional, the scripture was Job 42:10. It says, "The Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends". It goes on to say "Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours". 

As I sat and pondered that, I thought about how many people are praying for me. There are times I can literally just feel that prayers are being lifted up for me. I am so very grateful that I can put a prayer request at the end of a post and there are so many that are so faithful to pray. Countless times I have asked you to pray and I have had those prayers immediately answered.

I want you to know that I would consider it an honor if you would let me know how I can pray for YOU. I mean this with all my heart. You can leave a comment or send me an e-mail or message me on Facebook. I do appreciate your prayers but I care deeply for you and really do want to give something back to all of you. So please don't hesitate to let me know so I can start praying for all of you too. The only thing I ask is that you share with me when God answers!! So we can rejoice together!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So far, so good

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

Well, I haven't had a breakdown yet. I wondered how today would go for me emotionally. I went back to work on Tuesday and that was really, really good. This week has been my best week yet. I have felt good emotionally for the most part and really good physically. 

If you have been keeping up with me on my blog then you know I have become a health nut. I haven't had any meat in a while and no sugar at all. Mainly just fruits and vegetables and fresh vegetable & fruit juice. One thing I have craved is steak. Since I have done so darn good with my eating and I am probably not going to feel so hot July - Sept I decided to let myself have a treat today. 

I went this morning and the greatest hairdresser in the world (Love you Trish!) cut my hair for me in preparation for Chemo. After that, we went to lunch with Deryl's mom. She treated us to lunch and I had a great steak!! Yum.....steak never tasted so good. Now we are home and are going to go to Cold Stone Creamery in a little bit for one last treat. Although I think I am going to allow myself to have whatever tastes good while I am in treatment. 

My prayer requests are that I will have little to no side effects with the Chemo and that it will do its job. Several of the side effects are things I already deal with so I want you to believe with me that God will supernaturally protect me from all of the awful things that "could" happen.



Friday, June 18, 2010

Being in control

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

Well, according to my calculations I will be completely bald in about 30 days. I have been wondering how traumatic this will be for me. In this whole journey so far, cancer has dictated my life so much. Even doctor's tell you when your appointments are, they don't ask when it is convenient for you. I usually have 2-3 appointment each and every week. I feel so out of control of my life. 

So when I was thinking about all of this, I had the thought that you know, I think I am going to be in control of exactly when my hair goes. I don't want to sit around and wait for it to come out and have to see it fall out in big clumps. That is just too much to handle for someone with all this hair! So, I have chosen to go tomorrow and get my hair cut into a cute short cut. Then after my first treatment, when I decide, my long time hairdresser is going to come over and shave it for me in the comfort of my own home. 

I think this will be a much easier transition for me. I'll have short hair and will have a few weeks to get used to that before it is all gone. I know some people don't lose their hair during chemo but the chemo used for breast cancer causes complete hair loss. I went to the doctor yesterday and they gave me a coupon for a free scarf at this store located inside Baylor All Saints where I had my surgery. Heather went with me. Turns out that someone had just donated a ton of scarves and stuff just the day before. I was supposed to only get one scarf for free. And all the cute ones cost so much that I had went in thinking I would buy one that I like and get the free one as well. I know God's favor must have been upon me because they let me have FOUR for free and I purchased one. So, I got 5 that I really like for $28.00!! I never thought I would be so excited about getting such a great deal on something. But that was really a blessing. 

I'll post a picture of my new hair over the weekend. Also, I did a video blog that is titled "My Story" at the top of the home page of my blog. I would love for you to share it with everyone you know to help me promote the importance of self-breast examinations. And I thank you tons in advance for helping me try to save the lives of other women. If it makes it easier, you can just send this link.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chemo Bah Humbug! :(

Deryl says.....Well most of you know now that Kelley is going to have chemo. I intended to write a post on Tuesday but was just too tired. I was in a very bad mood as well. My last post was so positive and I was feeling really good but this was just a punch in the gut. I really thought we were going to be able to skip this part. And it really pissed me off that we are not. But it was probably a good thing that I did not post that day because it probably would have been very dark and whiny. Because that is exactly how I felt that day.
But I am feeling much better today. And although I am not happy about the fact that Kelley is going to have to suffer more than she already has I have accepted it now and am moving on to action. Thinking about what can I do to make things easier for her. Chemo starts on July 2nd and continues for 12 weeks. She will definitely lose her hair which was her biggest concern about all of this. So my biggest concern is how to make this easier for her emotionally. I will post again this weekend.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oncology Appointment

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

Well, the appointment was yesterday. Turns out that the cells in the tumor were dividing at a rate that was alarming to the medical oncologist. As well as another result showed that there was statistically a 13% chance of the cancer returning in the bones or some other organ within the next 5 - 10 years. If I do not have any treatment at all and it comes back, there will be nothing they can do for me but try to prolong my life the best they can. If I get this done now, it could kill off anything that might be lingering in my body that they can't see right now. 

I don't want to do this. But I don't want to not do it either. That is kind of how it has been so far on this journey. All the choices I have to make in this ordeal suck, totally. I mean, in reality I could do everything possible to try to prevent it from coming back and it could still return. But at least if that does happen I will be able to say that I have done absolutely everything in my power to make it not come back.

This whole process will start on July 2nd. I will go every three weeks for a round of Chemo 4 times. I should be done in September. They say that I will for sure lose my hair in about 17 days after my first treatment. As most of you know, I think that is my greatest physical asset and this will be very hard for me. I never really had a hard time at all with the fact I was going to lose my breasts. But having no hair you can't really hide. I know I could wear a wig but I don't think I want to do that. It is way too hot in Texas for a wig and I know it will be itchy and pricey. I think this is going to be really hard on my family because now I won't just be sick, I will look sick too. 

But at least I will hopefully be completely cancer free and it is only 3 months of my life. In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't seem like that long to be free of this forever. I am still not totally healed from the surgery. I am really praying that God would touch my body and heal these areas. It is really frustrating. 

I get really bummed writing a post like this. It is just all the facts and seems like a downer. But ya know, that is kind of my life right now. I hate it. I wish it didn't have to be like this. But it is. Right now, even though it may not sound like it while you are reading this, I am in a good place emotionally. Honestly, I still just cannot believe this is happening. I'm sure it will creep up on me and I'll have another melt down before my first treatment but I am confident that I will pull myself out of it like I have in the past and I'll be just fine. 

My prayer request is that God would heal these sores from surgery completely and that I would have minimal side effects from the treatment. That God would handpick every single person I come into contact with during this whole entire ordeal. And that God would wrap his arms around my loved ones during this time.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Love Revolution Baby!

Deryl says......It was nice to be able to go back to work at the office this past week. It offer some sense of normalcy which for some reason brings a little comfort. Kelley is no longer suffering intense pain everyday. She is able to do more and more for herself which I know makes her feel better. Kelley has said all along that she was not real concerned about losing hers boobs. But it is starting to affect her now. She knows how much I love her and that I don't care but breasts are a symbol of womanhood. How can it not affect you when you lose them?
Kelley has handled this situation so amazingly well. She has a very emotional day about every 4 to 5 days. But she allows herself to feel what she is feeling and expresses it to those she loves and trusts verbally and shares much of it on this blog. Sometimes she will try to get down on herself for getting into a negative emotional state. But how could you not? Can you imagine anyone having any part of their body completely removed and not suffering through some kind of grieving process. I know I have felt my own grief through this and my body is still intact.
The thing about going through something like this is that it can actually allow you to deal with emotional wounds of the past as well. You are going to suffer through fear, anger, and pain when your family is battling cancer. So why not use that fear, anger, and pain to heal past hurts. Kelley mentioned that she was a life coach in her previous post (which was so moving and profound). I am a life coach as well. Kelley and I went through the same coaching program as clients and students together. Without being a client and then a coach I don't think either one of us could handle this situation as we have. The fact that I have allowed myself to weep openly and discuss it with others and even weep in front of others is such a huge step forward for me. Before I would have thought in my mind "quit acting like a girl". When the reality is it would greatly benefit many of us men to act a little more like girls when it comes to knowing and expressing our emotions. There was a time when something would be bothering me and Kelley would ask me what is wrong. I would always say "nothing". Because I was not even aware of the emotions I was feeling at the moment. Kelley would continue to question me about my day and would wind up discovering exactly what I was upset about. She would wind up saying something like "Deryl you are mad because your boss didn't go with your idea" or something similar. And I would realize she was exactly right. She could pinpoint my emotions better than I could myself. That is great if you have a wife that can do that and if she could be with you every second of the day. I am not an expert yet in recognizing and expressing my emotions but I am much better. And I can tell you life is much easier to handle when you express what you are feeling in a healthy and appropriate way.
I think in the past, on some level, I was afraid that if I acknowledged and expressed my feelings it would cause a flood of emotion I could not control. I thought that was weak and unmanly. I also feared I would hurt someone else with my expression of emotion. The thing is when I tried to keep it all in I was hurting myself and I would still hurt others. Because if you live with someone and are with them everyday you are at some point going to hurt their feelings. But by acknowledging how you feel and expressing it in a healthy way you will hurt them less and less often and become more healthy yourself.
I am a work in progress. As you can tell from my previous posts I still snap at my family sometimes and then feel guilty for it afterward. But I am getting better. And that is the key.
One thing that I have discovered and experienced at a deeper level than ever is the love of God and the love of others. Experiencing love either internally or through the actions of others and realizing that nothing in return is expected from you is revolutionary to your life. Then when your opportunity to love someone else presents itself it is so easy when you feel loved. It is as if your love for another has multiplied.
As I write this the macho side of me is saying what a bunch of mushy drivel. But that macho side of me is the side that directed me to actions that were destructive to myself and others. Anyone who knew me in high school and into my mid-twenties knows exactly what kind of behaviors I am referring to. I am not saying that men should not be masculine. I still love football and a good action movie. But men would be well served to redefine what masculinity means to them. Womanizing, stoic, emotionally distant, physically tough and superior to others are the types of definitions of manhood that are antiquated and should be obsolete. There is nothing more masculine than caring for your loved ones in a way that allows them to feel your love for them.
The place to start is to know and experience God's intense love for you. You do not have to be better for God to love you. You do not have to change for God to love you. You have not done anything in your past that has caused God to cease loving you. God forgives you before you even ask because he was never angry with you. God  only wants the best for you and wants you to experience that love in a real and tangible way. I can tell you that He will do it if you will allow Him. I have done some despicable things in my past. Yet I can feel God's overwhelming love for me today. I have tried to fill up the emptiness in side with substances, things, and shallow relationships. I have lived what some would think is a dream life. I lived in the Cayman Islands right on the water. I made more money than I needed and had many short relationships with beautiful women. I had parties all the time and had many friends. Yet I can recall laying on the beach with a pretty girl staring at the stars and thinking to myself "Is this all there is?" I had some worthwhile and valuable experiences during that time as well. But so much of my time was consumed with trying to fill this internal void and I didn't even know I was doing it at the time. But the past no longer exists. It only exists in my mind when I remember it. Kelley mentioned in her post that we spend too much time looking behind us. We drag our past into our present and we see things today through the lens of our yesterdays. Today is all you have. This present moment is the only moment you can do anything with. You can plan actions for the future but when you act it is in the present moment. Let us bring our full attention to this moment and let go of our past. God chooses not to remember it so why should we. By letting go of our past we can bring our complete love an attention into this moment of life and pour out that love in every opportunity that presents itself to us. God loves me so that I can love you. I am starting a Love Revolution. Will you join me?

Letting Go

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

As I sit here gathering my thoughts about what I am going to blog about this morning, I realize that there are a lot of you who don't know a lot about me personally. Well, I love to make handmade cards. I enjoy doing anything with my family. I work for my church which I really enjoy. And the thing that most people don't know is that I am a Life-Coach. 

When I got into coaching I started just as a client. And really the only reason I did it in the first place was because Deryl wanted to and encouraged me to as well. We were coached by The Gardner Institute in Southlake. They have a program called "Mindset for Success". I went through this program and it drastically changed my life. It changed who I was. Who I was before going through this and who I am now are so amazingly different. It was after this experience that I knew I too wanted to become a life coach and be able to take people through that same program so they could experience this life change. 

Last October, a friend sponsored me to go through what is called "Tres Dias". I had never heard of this before. It is like a "Walk to Emmaus". Anyway, with all the work I had done in my own personal life with the coaching, this was perfect timing. It too had a major impact on my life. I don't have enough space to tell you all that happened to me during my weekend at Tres Dias. The major thing that happened was that God set me completely free from the guilt that I had for many years of not having a relationship with my earthly father. I felt so free, like I could really move on in my life.

So, I had all these life changing events happen and I did so much soul searching and connected with God like never before and then out of the clear blue sky...........CANCER. What?!?! I kept wondering to myself how in the world I could make so many changes in my life, do so much internal work and do all the work it took to go through all of that and become such a different person and turn around and get cancer. I couldn't understand it until yesterday. 

Yesterday was just a down and dark day. I couldn't really pinpoint what exactly was wrong. I talked to Deryl on the phone around 6:00 and I realized that now that the surgery is over and the initial shock is over from my diagnosis, it is just now really starting to sink in what has happened to me. My own life-coach said that this is just like an amputation. Which I guess I really didn't think of it that much before because I knew the only thing I could be concerning myself with was just trying to make it through the surgery. Now that the surgery is over, more is coming to the surface. 

When I was talking to Deryl, we were talking about how much differently I would have handled this whole thing before I went through all of this personal growth. In that moment I saw this vision, which I don't think has ever happened to me before. I saw the "old" me still being an angry and bitter person and this cancer staying in my body for a long time and me never discovering it and then me dying from it. I then realized that because of all the work on myself that I have done, is the reason why it surfaced. I am feeling like all the hurts of my past just worked itself into a tumor and has now been removed from my body. I don't know about you but I think this is a HUGE revelation. 

Cancer or no cancer, I think this is what happens to people. They go through things in their lives and then they hold onto the hurt, anger, bitterness, grief, etc and who they are dies. Who they had the chance of becoming never comes to pass because of holding onto the past. I saw a picture of a man standing looking at himself in the mirror. Only instead of seeing his face he saw himself from behind. I unfortunately couldn't capture the image because I sure would love to show it to you. Anyway, I thought it was the perfect picture to show how so many of us do that every single day. All we see is our past and our past is so big that we can't even get a tiny glimpse of our future. 

I believe that there is something God wants to show you today. What are you holding onto that you need to get rid of in your life? Sometimes it is scary but God can handle it. Even if it is only one thing from your past that you can turn over to him and let go, that will be a wonderful start. If you have no idea what that would be, imagine yourself looking in the mirror and instead of seeing your future, you saw your past. What would be the first thing you would see? I am guessing whatever you see is exactly the thing God is wanting you to let go of.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Giving blood & Dr. appt

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

Funny, before all this cancer stuff you couldn't pay me a million bucks to donate blood. But now, if it is going to cancer research, I'm all about it! This is the second time I have done it and it feels great. I actually donated to two different places today. One place was sent to St. Louis for a Young Women with Breast Cancer genetic research study. The other one is being done at UT Southwestern also for younger women diagnosed with breast cancer. 

I went to Dr. Kunkel today to get the fluid build up looked at. He did end up having to use a needle and drain the fluid off of both sides. But there wasn't a ton so he was glad about that. He said I may have to have it drained once or twice more but that he thinks right now everything is progressing just fine!! This is wonderful news for me! Now, I just need to get the fluid to quit building up and for both side to finish healing. I cannot move forward with the reconstruction until this happens. And I am ready to have some boobs again!!

Have you been feeling your ta-tas?????? Don't forget!!!!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Quick Update

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

Just wanted to put a quick update that my Friday afternoon appointment with the medical oncologist just got rescheduled to Monday, June 14th at 1:00. Also, the fluid build up doesn't seem to be any worse so I'm thinking that must be a good sign.

Thank you for your prayers!

Prayer Request

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

Well, on Monday I got the drain tubes out and they told me there was a possibility that fluid would still build up and they would have to drain it out with a needle. Last night, I realized that is exactly what is happening. PLEASE pray that my lymphatic system would naturally drain this fluid the way it is supposed to and that this will be no big deal. I have an appointment tomorrow at 3:00 and I just really hope to go in and be tons better with NO problems.

This just really makes me upset. I am still not completely healed up on either side and now this. I will not be able to move forward with my reconstruction until I am healed. I know God is my healer, so I need him to heal me!!!!

Also, my appointment with the medical oncologist is on Friday afternoon. The final test result will be in that shows how likely it is cancer will recur in the next 10 years. Pretty amazing that they even have this test now. I'm praying the numbers are really low but ultimately, I want God's will to be done. It is amazing how many people want me TO have chemo. Then there are others who say whatever you do, DON'T have chemo. None of these being in the medical field. I realize that there is only one person walking in my shoes right now and that is me. Which is frightening because I would love for someone else to walk in them just for a moment and then offer me advice and try to make my decisions for me.

Only I will know how God is leading ME. Only I will know where I feel the most peace. At this point, if they recommend Chemo I will do it because of fear that the cancer will return. If I decide to NOT get Chemo, it will be out of fear of the treatment itself. It seems like every decision in this process sucks big time. Really, there isn't a decision that doesn't completely suck, it is just deciding which one sucks less and which one gives me the most peace. I mean seriously, don't get any treatment and keep my fingers crossed that my cancer never rears its ugly head again or allow someone to put poison in my body and lose my most favorite asset, my hair? No one should have to make these kind of decisions in their lives. My heart truly, truly goes out to ANYONE who has to make life changing, life altering choices. This is one of the aspects of life I will never understand as long as I live. 

Thank you for your prayers for my complete healing, no more complications whatsoever and that I will be guided by God and not "people".


Monday, June 7, 2010

Free at Last, Free at Last!!!!

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

YIPPEE, YIPPEE!!!! I just got home from the doctor's office. I got to get my last two drain tubes removed!! I am so extremely excited. I feel like a free person again. I know, I know, they already warned me not to overdo it because I will pay for it. But, I learned my lesson the first two times I did that. So, I am definitely not going to do that again. But I am just so happy. It hurt pretty bad getting the one on the right side removed but it didn't last long. I still can't believe I endured those things for 20 whole days. 

But anyway, this is a happy, happy day for me!!!! I don't think I could have made it one more day living with those things without hurting someone!


Saturday, June 5, 2010


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

I guess since my mother had a mastectomy I am more informed about this than most people. I didn't really think about this before. But I am finding that so many people really have no idea the details of what having a mastectomy really means. I am guessing people are pretty curious about what has really happened to me. So I thought I would just try to explain it the best I can. There are so many different surgeries. But what I had was a simple bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  

The day before my surgery, I had to go see my plastic surgeon. I went in and he took a purple sharpie and marked up my breasts in the exact places so he could know exactly where he wanted the skin to be removed. Basically, they remove a section from the middle including the nipple and then go in and remove all the fat and cells that they possibly can not only in the breast but up to the collar bone, under the arms and back around the sides. If you hugged yourself real tight, where your hands would be is what I am talking about when I say back around the sides. This is why I am so sore in many different places. When they removed the skin from my breast area, they cut nerves so I do not have a lot of feeling in that particular area. However, I do have feeling in all the other places. 

They also removed lymph nodes which were clear of any cancer! The lymph nodes are the first place cancer spreads. Our lymph nodes are what helps fight off infection among many other things. Since I have had some removed, I can never again have blood taken from my right arm or my blood pressure taken from that arm. I have to be extra careful not to cut or injure myself on my right arm as well.

After the breast surgeon was done with all of the above, the plastic surgeon came in and put in tissue expanders beneath the skin and pectoral muscle. It is kind of like a saline implant with hardly any saline inside. Once I am healed up from the surgery, I will get a little more saline put in. This way, my skin can stretch and grow slowly over time. I will go in every few weeks to have more saline put in. Then, I will have to go in for a second surgery which will be day surgery to have the tissue expanders removed and silicone put in. Then, I will be done with reconstruction. Unless of course I want to get nipple reconstruction and I really don't know when that will be done, if it will be during or after. But, I am not worried about that right now. The complete process will take up to one year.

That is all I can think of to tell you. But you are always welcome to ask me any questions you like. I hope one day all this information will help other women and their families and friends to be better prepared for what is happening to themselves and their loved one. Really, as far as the pain goes, I don't think it would be too terrible if it weren't for the drain tubes. Which I still have two of by the way!!!! And I am officially SICK AND TIRED of them!!!! But I am SO keeping my fingers crossed that I will get them out next week. I will be so glad when they come out so I can wear some normal clothes and not look pregnant anymore. Of course the holes where the other ones came out just now are almost healed up. So, it takes a while for holes in your body to heal obviously! But, I am ready to get on with this.

I did have a slight break down again today. I am guessing that this must be normal because it seems to happen about every 5 days. I think when I get a glimpse of my new reality, when I realize how my life will truly never ever be the way it was, that is when it is the hardest. And with these drains in, there are just so many things that I am limited to doing. I mean, they just hurt and are uncomfortable. The more I heal everywhere else, the more I feel them there. Besides the fact that I can literally feel the tissue expanders inside there which is a totally and completely GROSS feeling. When I bend over to try and pick something up I can feel something too. Can't really explain it though or think of anything that would help give you an idea of what I am talking about. Just trust me when I say it is a yucky feeling.

Well, I hope you feel more informed. I am happy to share this info with you. 


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caregiving and The Booby Fairy

Deryl says....I can't believe it has been a week since I posted last. It has been a whirlwind of a week. After Kelley's sister left all the caregiving fell to me. I have loved being able to demonstrate my love to Kelley. It is just overwhelming to realize how much needs to be done. Not just the caregiving part but that plus the house, the girls, and work. I don't know what I would have done if people weren't bringing meals everyday. And thank you to everyone who has brought meals to us. You have made this much easier for us.

It has been nice to see Kelley get better and more independent everyday. That light in her eyes gets brighter and brighter. It is great because she has had some moments of fear, frustration and pain. It is easy to listen and try to calm her fears or vent her frustrations. But man, watching her suffer in pain. That is the worst part of this by far. To know your loved one is hurting and not being able to do anything about it is tough. You feel helpless and out of control. That is not a fun place to be. But fortunately as she gets better those memories fade quickly. The joy of getting drain tubes out or finding out that a complication is getting better replaces those old negative thoughts.

Watching Kelley become more of the wonderful person she is has been very charming. One of the greatest moments this week happened when I was in bed asleep. It was early in the morning. I felt this tapping on my leg. I thought one of the girls was trying to wake me up. I rolled over ready to answer the tap with a grumpy "What?!" when I saw that it was Kelley. She had crawled in to bed just so she could lay next to me because we have not laid next to one another since she had surgery. What I want you to realize is that this was no easy task for her and if she had not been able to wake me up there was no way she could have gotten back up on her own. I know it was painful and it was a risk for her to crawl up next to me. I could have rolled over in my sleep and hit her in a spot that could have caused her even more pain. That is why it was such a sweet gesture and meant so much to me.

When Kelley's sister was here helping it was easier. I almost thought "this is all there is to it?". Kelley was doing well. She didn't seem to be suffering nearly as much as I thought she would. Everything seemed to be getting done fairly easily. Then Kelley started taking less pain medication and trying to do more. And then Pam left and was no longer here to help. Then I was in my second week of not sleeping through the night so I could make sure Kelley took her medication And when Kelley tried to do more it would cause her pain. And that is when feelings of overwhelm would crop up. Which is unusual because it is not something I am used to feeling. But wondering how everything that needs to be done is going to get done has been just more overwhelming than I expected. You have to decide what you are going to let go of and what you are going to do because there is just no way to get it all done. Thankfully, we have been blessed with great family and friends who have been helping as much as they can. I don't know how people do this without the help of others. It could really drive someone off the deep end if they didn't have the kind of support we had. And Kelley being such a good and thoughtful patient also makes it so much easier. 

Kelly makes it as funny as possible. She keeps talking about when the booby fairy will visit. The other day we were watching the TV and there was a lady on in a bikini who must have had good boobs because Kelley yelled "Deryl look! I want those right there." Unfortunately I missed it but we laughed about how before she probably would have done something to take my attention away from the TV so I wouldn't see them and now she is yelling at me to look. My how life changes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


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

I have heard the song "Smile" by Uncle Kracker many times. I was listening to my MP3 player the day I went in to the hospital and right before my first procedure I "really" listened to it. I listened to all the words. Every word was how I feel about Deryl. They were about to wheel me away and I handed my MP3 player to Deryl and told him to listen to it, that it was my new song to him.

Oh how I wish I could find a way to get paid to love him. I would make so much money. He is my everything. I am beyond blessed that he is my husband. I have never done anything in my entire life to deserve him. He is complete greatness. Before this new journey in my life I didn't think there was any way possible for me to love him more. But I do. We love spending every waking moment together but I cherish him so much. I am honored to be his wife and the mother of his children. And above all, we are very best friends. We know things about each other that no other soul on this planet knows! And yet we still love and respect one another.

So, I wanted to share the song with all of you. You can listen along if you like, I posted the song in the top left corner of my blog. Let me know what you think!

"SMILE" by Uncle Kracker Lyrics

You're better then the best
I'm lucky just to linger in your light
Cooler then the flip side of my pillow, that's right
Completely unaware
Nothing can compare to where you send me,
Lets me know that it's ok, yeah it's ok
And the moments where my good times start to fade

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Ohh, you make me smile

Even when you're gone
Somehow you come along
Just like a flower poking the sidewalk crack and just like that
You steal away the rain and just like that

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Ohh, you make me smile

Don't know how I lived without you
Cuz everytime that I get around you
I see the best of me inside your eyes
You make me smile
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild

You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Ohh, you make me smile

June 1st Doctor Appointment

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

Went to Dr. Kunkel yesterday and he said he thought that the red places on both sides were looking so much better! What wonderful news to hear. Unfortunately, they didn't take out any drains. But I am really hoping they will be out this week or by Monday at the latest. I was also released to drive!! YIPEE!!

Dr. Chow's office called and let me know that my appointment with the medical oncologist has been set for June 7th at 2:00. This is the appointment where my treatment plan will be decided. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on the latest.

Prayer request.............I still want to ask you to pray that I will not have any complications and that the pain will subside. I still don't want to have to go through any treatment but God knows what is best for my future. So I just ask that you pray that God will give every doctor involved wisdom on the best treatment plan for me.