Unearthing My Running List of Cancer Fightin’ Words of Affirmation

 

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I read somewhere long ago that every cell in my body is listening to my thoughts.    My friend Deb recently shared this quote with me along with a few of her impressions and I’ve been thinking about it’s implications in my life and especially in this cancer battle:

 

“The expectation of an event causes the same set of complex neurons to fire as though the event was actually taking place, triggering a cascade of events in the nervous system that leads to a whole host of real emotional and physical consequences.” from The Happiness Advantage. This is a psychological study of people who excel and seem happy in stressful, overwhelming circumstances. Basically, fully expecting something to happen produces all the same emotions and physical reactions as if the event actually happens. To repeat: We can fully experience all of the same anxiety and depression about an event JUST by expecting it to happen. I’m wondering how much grief I have caused myself over the years worried/expecting the worst to happen. Even if the worst does happen, I don’t need to experience it all weeks ahead of time. No wonder I’m exhausted”.

 

 

 

 I don’t really understand how the mind/body connection works in the healing process but back in 2011 I began a running list of “Cancer Fightin’ Words” that I’ve added to periodically throughout the years.  I’m now in Round Two of my battle with Her2 positive (Triple positive to be exact) breast cancer.  It picked another fight with me that I plan to win.  Now’s the time to evict any remaining cancer cells that have dared to linger and toss them curbside for Waste Management to haul away to the dump!  Here’s to making my body a  healthy  home for me to live a long life in that’s completely unwelcoming to cancer.  Here’s to replacing any “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”/dread/fear/worry/dwelling on the “what-ifs” that creep in and exchanging these with an  encouraging, positive, full-of-hope and optimism mind set with eyes fixed steady on the Lord!

 

 

Tomorrow (11/9/16) starts the first in a weekly series of 12  IV Taxol and every three weeks for a year Herceptin in my arsenol  to fight  my very personal war against cancer. Truly I am taking measures  I wish with all my heart that I did not have to resort to  but I do not see a viable alternative.   Instead of staying stuck in the “YIKES!” reflex,  I am trying to gear myself up to get back into my confident “Cancer fightin’ Warrior Woman” mode, complete with symbolic war paint and all and try to choose “HAPPY” while I am at it.  As I prepare myself for the battle ahead,  I just looked up my long list of positive affirmations that I  wrote over the years in my blog years along with some that folks graciously have shared with me.  I’ll be adding  to these periodically in the “reply” spot below this thread.  I am trying to stay positive and upbeat in the midst of all this tough stuff and frankly, that is not easy . It helps me to steer clear of the  slippery slope  near the pit of discouragement  when I speak truth from God’s Word and look at the positive side of things then  act AS If something good is already true even if circumstances or emotions seem to tell me opposite .  In other words, I don’t necessarily have to FEEL  a certain way, (like courageous) in order to affirm it and then try to walk in it with God’s strength.  If you have additional positive affirmations you’d like to include for me (and for others reading here who are also battling cancer or illness or hard things) for us to think about, I’d love to include them in my list in the replies below.   Thanks in advance!

 

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– Feelings and circumstances are not in charge of my life.  God is. Out with all defeated, negative thinking and in with positive “self talk”.  I do not have room in my mind and life for one iota of negativity.

 

I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.  Yes-sir-eee. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Amplified Bible )

 

 

-–HER2 cells are easy for HIM2 abolish into oblivion: God will do what is best for me.

 

 

 

–I’ve got great Polish longevity genes in my favor!

 

 

 

My constitution is strong with an amazing resiliency for overcoming sickness and recuperating from cancer and the treatments of cancer that I’ve done in the past and am doing in the present to heal.

 

 

 

I am grateful for all the tools that God has used and continues to use to make me strong and well.

 

 

 

 

I have all the reserves I need to heal from the inside out and without complications.

 

 

 

I have a great big resolve to proactively take excellent care of my body and my body is responding well to my healthy lifestyle by getting stronger every day.  

 

 

 

 

I appreciate my many blessings more than ever.  My cup OVERFLOWS with them!

 

 

 

The Herceptin I took every 21 days for a year  back in 2011 was like a pin-pointed laser weapon, specifically eliminating Her2 positive cells with precision.  It will do the same for me again in 2016-2017, only eradicating it for good this time.

 

 

 

 

 

– Cancer does not stand a chance with My Daddy, who is my personal Great Physician in charge.  If God wants to heal me, I will be healed in His perfect timing.  It’s an effortless snap for Him.   If that is not His very best for me, then He has something even better.

 

 

 
 
–My B cells and T cells and Killer Cells, my entire army of white blood cells along with my whole  immune system is fighting hard and tirelessly for me every second of every day. My bone marrow is thriving. I have all sorts of strong defenses working on my behalf. I will fortify them by taking excellent care of myself, nourishing myself with excellent fuel, soaking up ideal amounts of fresh air, clean water, and sunshine, moving my body with invigorating activity and exercise. I will keep very active as I am able. I will continue to work on being strong, healthy, and physically fit. I did it before and I can do it again with God’s help and enabling power.
– My body is strong and resilient and  I am beating cancer and getting healthier every day. I have every reason to be full of hope.
 
 
 
 
– In Christ I am an over comer.  I am a victorious child of God.  Nothing is too hard for God and I am His.
 
 
 
 
– I nourish myself with wholesome foods that build my body  up and make it stronger.
 
 
 
 
– Paula is not a giver-upper.  She is a warrior.  She is a fighter. She is a soldier for the Lord, on His mission in life. 
 
 
 
 
– Paula is a breast cancer survivor and a thriver, that’s what she is.
 
 
– Paula is busy living an abundant life in Christ.
 
 
– You, Paula Girl are FULL of courage.  You are brave because the same God who was in the lion’s den with Daniel is with you every moment.  The same God who walked through the flames with Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendigo is holding YOUR hand in the fire you are walking through now , Paula.  Take heart. Take courage. God is with you all the way.  He will never, ever leave or forsake you.  Hebrews 13:5 is a promise.
 
 
 
I don’t need to defend myself before you, oh cancer cells (or chemotherapy). My God, whom I serve, is able to deliver me from your hand. And even if He does not, I will not worship and serve you! (Paraphrase from Daniel 2 – the answer Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego gave to the king who was threatening to throw them into the blazing funace. ) (From Nita)

Because of all God has promised in His Word, I have a positive, hopeful outlook on life and a positive expectancy for each day I am blessed with.  What would you like me to do today, Lord? What’s next, Papa?  I want to fit into YOUR plans.  Please guide and direct me and help me not to waste this precious resource of time.

 

 

 

 

I have been blessed with an awesome immune system that is a powerful source of defending my good health.

 

 

I am very happy to be alive and thriving and every day I am on this earth is a gift from God.  Heaven is an even bigger free gift waiting for me at the perfect time of His choosing.  My Father has numbered my days and I will joyfully see Him face to face when HE says so and not a moment before.  I am in excellent Hands for this entire journey.

 

 

 

 

I am firmly resolved to do whatever it takes to get healthy, be healthy, and stay healthy the rest of my life.  It’s rewarding and fulfilling to take measures that build my body and spirit up. 

 

 

 

 

I have healthy, positive ways of dealing with stress and overcoming challenges that come my way for a season.

 

 

 

 

I make no space in my thought life for negativity: I only have room for positivity.  I reject emotions and attitudes that do not line up with what God says in the Bible about how I should be thinking, my thoughts will dwell on His “whatsoevers”.  God is in full control of my life and will give me all the help and grace I need for all He allows.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoeverthings are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

 

 

 

 

Perseverance and tenacity are my middle names (besides Victoria :).

 

 

 

 

I have a strong will to live  a full, abundant life every day as my Savior intends.

 

 

 

 

I can leave my future in God’s Lap and rest in Him, full of joy and peace.

 

 

 

 My spirit soars with the freedom I have in Christ.  My thoughts hum with satisfaction and contentment because God makes no mistakes and is wise in what He allows in my life–He has a purpose and a plan for everything and He could not love me more than He already does.  When I lack wisdom, I will ask HIM for wisdom.

 

 

 

Emotions and circumstances do not rule my life: God does.

 

 

 

When I am handed lemons with any aspect of this cancer diagnosis and treatment, I will make lemonade. The healthy, on-plan sweetener will be my attitude as I draw from God’s strength.

 

 

 

 

When I am dealt a round of lousy cards I will play my hand to the best of my ability with grace and dignity. The game’s not over ’till God says so.

 

 

 

 

 

I can clearly picture Herceptin in my arsenal of weapons against breast cancer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48VSU4AZ-L0.  I have an effective,  multimodal approach to target and attack with a vengeance  EVERY single Her2 positive breast cancer cell that might dare to linger.  It is beautifully dealing with all Her2 protein over expression for me.  This monoclonal antibody is like a well designed missile: specifically targeting Her2 receptors.  It’s extended half life is allowing for CONSTANT exposure to tumor cells and in the unlikely event that there are any left after the mastectomy and all those rounds of chemo and radiation  I’m knockin’ ’em dead every 21 days, both on the intracellular and extracellular level.  It’s BINDING to Her2 cells, flagging each and every one for total destruction by my own God-given immune system which is fighting hard on my behalf.  It is inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells so that my healthy cells can thrive and flourish.  Thank You Lord, for Herceptin! Please make it work on my behalf.  I am Yours and my hope is in YOU, God.

 

 

 

 

Psalm 139:5. You hem Paula in – behind and before; You laid your hand upon her.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with Paula, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in Paula, he will quiet Paula with His love, He will rejoice over Paula with singing. ( it’s amazing to think that the Lord sings over us!)
Psalm 32:7 You are Paula’s hiding place; You will protect her from trouble and surround her with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 121:5. The LORD watches over Paula – the Lord is Paula’s shade at her right hand; the sun will not harm her by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep Paula from all harm – He will watch over her life; the LORD will watch over her coming and going both now and forever more. (From Pam)

 

 

 

 

My body and mind are strong and I am healthy, happy,and free and able to live to be 100.
I give my system the right foods to empower it to live completely fulfilled and healthy! (From Karen)

 

 

 

“I will live a hope-filled life every day. I will handle my problems as opportunities in a different, more effective manner, based on the power of advanced mathematics; “You + God = Enough”
–Zig Ziglar

(…even MORE THAN enough!)

 

 

 

Personalizing Zig Ziglar quotes by putting them in the “First Person” for myself:

“I cannot tailor-make the situations in my life but I can tailor-make my attitudes to fit those situations.”
–My take-away: I choose to have a great attitude and grow and learn and change for the good through challenges. God will give me all the grace and help I need to respond positively to these opportunities for growth.

 

 

 

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
–My take-away: I will motivate myself daily to promote vibrant health by living a healthy lifestyle. It does make a difference and it does matter. It feels really good to take excellent care of myself. I can take better care of my family and have a greater ability to reach out and be a blessing to other people when I am taking good care of myself.

 

 

 

“Positive thinking will let me do everything better than negative thinking will.”
–My take-away: I am a happy, joyful, creative, positive thinker and doer. God has blessed me in countless ways and He is a wonderful, personal, forgiving, loving, life-changing Savior who wants His very best for me. No wonder I have so much to be praising and thanking the Lord about!  My cup surely overflows with blessings!

 

 

 

 

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
–I will set do-able short term and long term goals within my control that will positively influence my health: like what I choose to eat, what exercise I do each day, getting daily fresh air and sunshine, plenty of water, doing my best to promote adequate rest/sleep, being grateful, holding no grudges. I will carry through healthy outlets for stress like praying, reading the Bible and growing closer to the Lord, fast walking, rebounding, writing, doing things I find enjoyable like gardening, listening to music, reading, writing,reaching out to others, spending fun time with family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

–”Every day I beat my previous record for number of consecutive days I’ve stayed alive.” (Andi)

 

 

 

 

–I love being a Mom to three precious kids now and I’m going to love being a grandma in years to come and watch them grow up too. Maybe I’ll even get to play with my great grand babies some day!

 

 

 

 

 

–2011: The mastectomy, chemo, and radiation wiped out the majority of unwanted, unhealthy cells–evicting them from my body forever. If there are any left, Herceptin is putting Her2 cells to sleep for good and hormone blockers will put them in absolute starvation mode, wasting away to nothingness.

 

 

 

–My body is loaded with thriving, bursting-with-vitality cells that energize me. I am able to recover beautifully from the pro-active measures I needed to take to be strong and healthy again.

 

 

 

 

–What a blessing my God-given, robust immune system is; fighting for me every single moment.

 

 

 

 

–I am fighting to win.

 

 

 

–My future is bright because God is in control.

 

 

 

NED and I are life long bosom buddies. (HA! Just thought that one up and love it!) “NED” is the medical terminology for “No evidence of disease”.

 

 

 

“Don’t tell God how big your cancer is, instead tell your cancer how big your God is” (Unknown author)

 

 

 

 

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain!” (Unknown author)   My “Happy” song to accompany me when I dance around in the rain : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

 

 

 

 

 

I am an active and proactive participant in my own, well thought out health and wellness plan. After consulting with expert health care professionals, I get to make the decisions that are best for me.

 

 

 

 

 

“Yes is a world and in this world of yes I live.” (e.e. cummings–shared by a friend)

 

 

 

 

–The Lord has designed my body in amazing ways to recover. So far so good: as far as I can tell, I am getting healthier and stronger and am overcoming cancer.

 

 

 

 

–Every day of my life is a precious gift for me to unwrap and enjoy.  God’s plan is for me to be a blessing to others.

 

 

 

 

 

“Self limiting beliefs create their own realities. Our minds filter out any evidence contrary to our beliefs.”
–(Unknown)

 

 

 

The Herceptin is doing it’s job marvelously, specifically targeting Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 cells: blocking and binding them up completely, rendering them totally inactive just as it was intended. My body will continue to tolerate and respond to the medication with no resistence whatsoever. The medication zooms directly and exclusively to the Her2 positive cells, leaving all healthy cells alone and intact to function at their peak performance. My heart and lungs are strong and will stay strong and so will the rest of me. The Her2 componnent will go from overexpressing itself to underexpressing itself, becoming ”Her2: a powerless wimpy wimp”. I am a warrior against cancer and my body melts away cells that harm and multiplies healthy cells that thrive and flourish. I am healing. My body is designed to render harmful substances as harmless, flushing them far, far away from me, getting them out of my system completely.

 

 

 

 

The chemotherapy and radiation were tools that God used for my good in 2011 and they will be effective again, only permanently this time. Those therapeutic agents hunt down cancer cells which are hiding, expose them, and knock them off so they can be thoroughly eliminated. My body is in full blast repair and restore mode. My strong immune system and every cell in my body is on a mission to bring me to optimal health, even better than before.

 

 

 

 

I am fortunate that I can use hormone therapy. It is to my advantage that I can use Tamoxifen to target my estrogen and progesterone recepter positive status so that I can block hormones that would feed the cancer and instead I can mercilessly make cancer die of starvation. Although I might wish that I did not have to resort to hormone altering medication or the other measures that I took, it is Ok. I can get beyond that. God can protect me from side effects and give me grace should He allow me to experience any of them. Serious side effects apparently are rare with Tamoxifen and I will be in the majority of women who take this drug without a problem. (Took X  5 yrs then moved on to Femara)

 

 

 

I choose to reject fear and doubt and embrace hope, gratefulness, and full enjoyment of every day that God blesses me with. God is in charge and I have every reason to be overflowing with joy because of His kindness towards me personally.

 

 

 

 

I dwell in God’s goodness and love and ALL the things I am going through are working together for my good and God’s glory.

 

 

 

 

Cancer was with me for a reason and a season. It’s a great time for that season to be all wrapped up and finished, never to return again. I have learned many valuable lessons that will stay with me and serve me well as I let go of every negative aspect of cancer including unpleasant memories. I put them all behind me with a renewed appreciation for my many blessings, moving forward stronger and in health that is improving every day.

Image result for women cancer quote photo "Dear Cancer"

 

 

 

 

I can take all the time I need to rest, rejuvenate, and renew.

 

 

 

 

 

When my body is uncomfortable, I can relax, breathe deeply, release any tensions and modify my reactions as needed. It is within my control to make myself much more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

I will accept the things that I can’t change with the grace God supplies me with and I will change the things that I can with His help and strength. I will have the wisdom to know the difference.

 

 

 

 

 

Any and all positive lifestyle choices and changes I make all add up to significantly contribute to my healing.

 

 

 

 

 

Worry has no place in my life: confident expectation in my great big God does.

 

 

 

 

I have every reason to believe all the treatments I went through in 2011 were totally worth it and extremely effective.  The same is true now.  I am alive and still have a lot of happy living ahead of me.

 

 

 

 I am combating and putting “stinkin’ thinkin”” in it’s place and replacing those kinds of thoughts with Scripture and “Cancer Fightin’ Words”.

 

 

 

 

My left breast was removed in 2011 and my right one in 2016 . I miss them and the 13 lymph nodes in all but it is a small price to pay to being alive and healthy.

 

 

 

 

I would have found it much more difficult had I lost one of my eyes, or legs, or arms or ability to speak. I am so fortunate, so blessed.   God and my husband and children and other family and friends love me exactly as I am and I can equate the removal of my breasts with the choice to do all I needed to do to LIVE and get healthy again. Others don’t even know any difference. I can deal with this loss with self-acceptance and God’s abundant grace. If I ever choose to do reconstructive surgery, that is an option for me at any time. Right now breast prosthesiss are a perfect match for me and I can remain this way for good or change my mind any time I feel like it if I want to. I have all the time I need to make careful, well-thought out decisions that are a custom fit for me personally. I understand why some women do reconstructive surgery and why some women don’t and there is no wrong choice.

 

 

 

 

I read about a lady who read in a medical journal that “A cancer cell is, in fact, a weak and confused cell.” Yep…and getting weaker and more confused all the time, floundering against the arsenal of weapons that we let loose to overpower any stray weak and confused Her 2 positive cancer cells…adios forever!

 

 

 

 

With God’s help, I will beat Her2 positive cells, they will not beat me.

 

 

 

I am a more than a “survivor” of Her2 positive breast cancer, I am a “thriver”, living an abundant, full life. I am “more than a conquerer”. I am a victorious overcomer through Christ who strengthens me.

 

 

 

 

I am energized and running, full-blast ahead, on the road to full recovery. I had to run some sprints in my race and now I am in it for the long haul–steady, with my eye on the goal . God has a most wonderful prize for me at the end of my journey and the beginning of the next. I can keep going, keep going, keep going with my eyes on the Author and finisher of my faith, enjoying every day I run my race.

 

 

 

 

 

I am a “Strong Polish, Amazon Woman, a regular Cancer-Fightin’ Warrior” that’s what I am (!) and my quiver is full of sharp arrows that pierce and destroy cancer: arrows like prayer, like resting in the fact that God will always do what is best for me and He is WAY stronger than the most aggressive cancer out there. I have used arrows like smart/skilled doctors, surgery, chemo, radiation, Herceptin, and hormone blockers. These have accurately targeted cancer cells, like finely tuned missles, pinning them down and rendering them harmless.

 

 

 

I can picture Her2 cells shrinking smaller, and smaller, and smaller then poof—ALL gone–not even a super powered ultra magnification microscope can detect any trace because there are none left to detect.

 

 

 

 

This morning I am putting on my classy, bright pink boxing gloves by getting my port hooked up to my every 21 day dose of intravenous “Vitamin H”. Herceptin is mercilessly knocking the daylights out of cancer for me. Thank You God, for the gift of Herceptin on my side of the boxing ring! Go get ’em Herceptin! Knock ’em dead Herceptin, so that I can live! Thank You Lord, that no matter the physical outcome of this match that I am fighting so hard in and rooting so much for, I am a winner BECAUSE OF YOU! Thank You for the assurance of the final outcome.

 

 

 

 

I am a cancer fightin’ gal, with my  Herceptin boots on, hanging on tight to Jesus, squashing any Her2 remnants that dare bare their ugly heads

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Choose joy, moment by moment, Paula…the kind that has nothing to do with circumstances and emotion and everything to do with God and His goodness. Because the joy of the Lord is my strength: I can choose joy like my weather, like my very own sky. Like my very own oxygen.” (adapted quote from aholyexperience.com)

 

 

 

 

“Paula, have you surrendered to despair because of your past or the inevitable situations in your life? Stop it! The greatest days of your life are before you. The past is over. Stop living life looking in the rear view mirror. Look forward. Press on! The best is yet to be, God never consults your past to determine your future, Paula.”–Hagee (personalized)

 

 

 

“SET BACKS ARE ONLY OPPORTUNITIES TO REVIEW THE LESSON, PAULA.”

 

 

 

 

“I WILL NOT BE ASHAMED OF MY SCARS. MY SCARS ARE THE BRUSH STROKES IN THE MASTERPIECE THAT IS MY LIFE.”

 

Motivational Quotes You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.:
 
Gratefully His beloved child,
Paula

Be Thou My Vision

Image result for breast cancer quotes

 

I saw the oncologist yesterday. It’s been a little over a month since the mastectomy which was 9/27.  Next Wednesday 11/9, I’ll start weekly chemo X 12  and Herceptin every 3 weeks for a year.  I am doing  physical therapy for a post op axillary contracture and I am thankful for the progress I am making.

 

 

“Be Thou my vision, Jesus…

When darkness is pressing in, may You be the Light that guides me.

When it’s hard to see, may I seek Your face.

When doubts overwhelm me, may I rest in Your promises.

When things are falling apart, may I trust that you are holding me, holding everything, together.

When the future is uncertain, may I trust Your Word.

When I’m sinking, may I reach for Your hand.

When the world gets loud, may I listen and hear Your voice.

When I am lonely, may You be my Constant Companion.

When my heart is aching, may You be my Comforter.

When it’s hard to breathe, may Your grace be my breath.

When my soul is weary, may You be my Rest.

When the days are long and stressful, may You be my Peace.

When fear creeps in, may You be my Courage.

When I’m broken, may You be my Hope.

When this world wears me out and breaks me down and stomps on my heart a bit, may You be my vision, the only One I seek…because You are always good and You always love and You’ve already won.

So help me remember.
Help me see.
Help me really see.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.”

Copied and pasted from: http://littlehousestudio.net/blog/2016/10/21/be-thou-my-vision-free-printable

 

A Definition of Fear That’s New to me

 

Image result for oncology jokes

Next Monday, 10/31,  I have an appointment with my oncologist and will find out when chemo is to start (probably next week or the week after I guess).  Yesterday I went for an evaluation of an axillary contracture and lymphedema which has developed in my chest. Since surgery a month ago I’ve been daily doing post op exercises and proactively using the affected arm to reach with, etc hoping to avoid complications like this. Apparently I have extensive, deep scarring (beyond the incision) which is causing puckering , major indentations,  restriction of movement, shortening of muscles,  fluid collection, a burning sensation because of nerve involvement, and pulling when I stretch. Yikes-a-roozy on that unwanted  list! It feels like a great big bummer that I wish didn’t happen.  I begin the process of therapy today and am hoping this brings great relief to  a chest which honestly kind of feels miserable at times.

 

 

Yesterday my friend Mardi shared a definition of fear  that’s new to me on our way with Robin to a wonderful, healing arts cancer support group. I’ve been attending  “Victory” http://victorysupportgroup.org/ once a month over the last several years. We sing, dance, talk, do a variety of art forms, have laughter therapy, and a bunch of other fun stuff.  The meetings are a source of creative stress relief/ learning new coping skills, and encouragement.  Last night we “stomped all over cancer” with Anne’s adapted, improved version with new, cancer fightin’ words to this other rendition of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuOwXiEm_K4  It was empowering and we had a good time together.

F.E.A.R.

F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal

 

Neato, huh?  Mardi also told me about the results of a study that I just  looked up that was summarized  at ww.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/85-of-what-we-worry-about_b_8028368.html.  The article quotes,  “It turns out that 85 % of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”

 

 

I have been anxious about and really dreading the 12 weekly chemo treatments that will be starting in November and at the same time I’ve been thinking about how I really don’t want to waste my time worrying about and dreading anything that God has allowed  for a good purpose.   Honestly,  I am having a hard time shaking the thought that I have a dozen times ahead, each a week apart to hook up to a kind of “toxic poison” that’ll be directly inserted in the port I have that is in a major blood vessel in my chest.  I’ll get another drug, Herceptin, every three weeks for a year to address the aggressive Her2 neu component of the “Triple Positive” breast cancer that I have again.  This is considered a “Second Primary” cancer and not metastasis.  Thankfully it has not spread to other parts of my body

 

 

Instead of dwelling ahead of time on how terrible oncology drugs are with their potential side effects and how yukky they can make you feel,  I want to view chemo as a short term season of eradicating any remaining cancer; a temporary healing measure that is going to do me a whole lot of good instead of thinking of it as poison.  I had chemo in 2011 and I have every reason to believe that’ll be effective again.  There are medications available for side effects when/if they happen. God has made the human body wonderfully resilient.  Soooo…out with trepidation!  Out with worrying and being anxious about chemo!   This might possibly be in the 97% of  my “nothing to worry about quota”.  If indeed it happens to be in the 3% of things worth worrying about after all,  God will help me through.   My scaredy cat tendencies are peeking out.  Can you please join me in asking  God to help me  with my perspective on the cancer treatment ahead, fill me with strength, faith, joy, and hope and give me all the courage I need, when I need it ?

 

 

I am reading an interesting book (Thanks for the loan, Nita!) called  “Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without it” by Tripp.  Here is a quote that is an encouragement to me in this area of perspective:

 

“Knowing Christ lives in us makes it possible for us to get up in the morning when circumstances are hard…We don’t have to fear what things we’ll have to deal with that are just around the corner.  Our rest is not to be found in our understanding of everything in our lives or the sense that we have what it takes to face our trials.  CHRIST is our rest, hope, courage, and motivation.  Because of His amazing grace and His presence now living inside us, we are never alone, never left to live inside thee boundaries of our own resources.”

Philippians 4:6  (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

Philippians 4:6  (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

 

Philippians 4:6(AMP)

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.

 

Philippians 4:6-7 (Msg)

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

————————————–

“When a thought of anxiety comes knocking on the door of your mind you must refuse it entrance. If you invite it in, it will have dinner with you, and if it has dinner with you it will quickly move in and want to spend the night.”

Safe and secure wrapped up snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug  in God’s loving Arms,

Paula 🙂

 

 

Plans for Chemo

Ha, ha! 😉

My incision is healing well but I haven’t felt so well this past week and have been pretty wiped out and under the weather.  I was thinking maybe it was an infection with the drain even though I was on an antibiotic to prevent that but  I’m glad to be feeling some better the last few days and  I am thankful that I don’t think there is an infection after all.   What a relief it was on Monday to get that irritating drain out that was in my chest postop.  It was in there 2 weeks, a few days longer than it needed to be because of Hurricane Matthew on it’s way and then the weekend right afterwards and I developed a skin reaction from it with a bright red rash around it that had a ferocious itch, stinging, and burning.  I am on two prescription medicines for the rash.  After four days it  looks nearly the same and is not a pretty site  but I am no longer crawling out of my skin with itching so that’s progress.

 

I also saw my oncologist on Monday who wants me to continue healing more before starting chemo which will begin  in early November.  There was consideration of possibly using a research protocol with a drug called Kadcyla (TDM1)  for Stage 1 cancer which is showing promise with Patients with metastatic Her2 positive breast cancer but I was not eligible after all because this is my second primary breast cancer in six years.  I was interested in participating in the research study and getting that drug instead of chemo but am trusting that God shut that door. Kadcyla has been a lifesaver for some women with metastatic her2 disease but does have some very serious potential side effects as do all these oncology drugs.

 

 The plan at present  is for me to have IV Taxol chemo weekly X 12 and Herceptin IV every three weeks for a year.  Because this cancer is staged at 1 instead of the 3A as it was in my left breast last time and not in my lymph nodes I’ll be on a a less toxic regimen  than what I was on  6 years ago (Taxotare, Carboplatin, and Herceptin).  Last time I also had 30 rounds of aggressive radiation afterwards  and this time I am spared that part, thank You, Lord.  My Dr said with Taxol I may or may not loose all my hair, some people just have thinning.  I just looked it up on http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/hair_skin_nails/hair_loss  and it said:
  • Taxol usually causes complete hair loss, including head, brows, lashes, pubic area, legs, and arms.       Oh my, been there, done that: time will tell…sorry if this is too much info about the joys (not) of chemo.
I am a collector of quotes that inspire me.  I unearthed these:
“Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it.”
– Jim Beaver, Life’s That Way: A Memoir

“When a thought of anxiety comes knocking on the door of your mind you must refuse it entrance. If you invite it in, it will have dinner with you, and if it has dinner with you it will quickly move in and want to spend the night.”

“My Cancer Journey Has Never Defined Who I am, It’s Just Another Chapter in My Story.”

“Live every day like its your last . . . one day you’ll be right.”

“Impossible is a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is an opinion, not a fact. Impossible isn’t a declaration, it’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

—David Beckham in Kris Carr’s Crazy,SexyCancer Tips

War Strategies That Can Apply to Fighting Cancer and a Bunch of Other Challenges like Obesity:

1. “Wars are fought strategically. one battle at a time.
2 . Wars are fought on more than one front.
3. We must expect setbacks and defeats along the way.
4. When we lose a battle, we must get back on track immediately, so we don’t lose the war.
5. We will not win if we refuse to fight.”
——Carole Lewis

 

Continuing my second 1000 Gift Gratefulness List:

 

41. This sweet and beautiful “ABCs with a Twist” video was a blessing for me to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4QJEKuywG8.  It reminds me of years ago when my dear friends and mentors Sonia and Linda challenged me and my then little chickadees to memorize and meditate on portions of Scripture.  I still remember some of the hand motions we used to help us with recall as we recited verses together. 🙂  Unlike my kids, I am not a very good memorizer.  I’m going to either look for a new passage from the Bible or find an old one we’ve learned in the past to refresh (“use it or lose it” and I’ve lost lots that I’ve memorized because I didn’t continue practicing.).  I’ll post what I choose–maybe others reading this would want to learn it with me?

42. Less itching of the rash (Please pray that it’ll completely resolve soon)

 

Have a lovely day, everybody!

 

Paula

P.S. I’m sorry in advance if this post doesn’t format with paragraphs.  I always put them in but it seems when I post, sometimes it turns into one long blob without paragraphs.

 

In the Eye of the Storm

This guy is pretty funny:

 

As Hurricane Matthew nears closer and closer to Florida  and we prepare for it’s expected significant impact later today and tomorrow, I am reminded of the song, “In the Eye of the Storm”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB0ReTpA6Gg.  It’s so good that we can trust the Lord in ALL the storms of life!  He will carry us through each and every hard thing He allows.  May we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Continuing my second 1000 gifts gratefulness list:

41.

Exodus 14:14New Living Translation (NLT)

14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:14New International Version (NIV)

14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

42. Happy news from my surgeon re: the operative path report confirming no sentinel node lymph node involvement and stage 1 cancer (It was stage 3a in the other breast) which means chemo but no need for radiation this time around, yeah!

Update and Prayer requests:

-Safety and His protection for all through Hurricane Matthew

-Overall I have been recovering well since my mastectomy and port placement last Tuesday but  I have not been feeling as well the last few days and am laying low.  I have a drain in my chest that can come out when it’s output is less than 20cc in 24 hours.  I had 17 cc one day then it jumped up to 46 cc the next.  It would be wonderful to consistently have minimal drainage and be able to get that irritating thingamabopper out soon!  Please pray for God’s wisdom and  guidance for my oncologist in determining the best protocol for chemo on top of the year of IV Herceptin. I will see him on Monday.

Thanks! 😉

Paula

My Scars are Proof…

223_bravo | PickleDish... funny i just finished mine :-):

“You know what?

Your scars are proof that you’re a kind of bulletproof…

Proof that that He’ll carry you through anything, get you through everything, so you can be stopped by nothing.  Scars are proof that you can now weather any storm because Jesus didn’t just calm one storm but all storms and these scars are proof that you’re a kind of bulletproof because living through the hardest battles proves you can live through any battle…

…Your scar is proof of your brave.” “

—–Ann Voscamp   http://www.aholyexperience.com/2016/09/a-handful-of-light-about-scars-shame-being-brave/

Continuing my second 1000 Gift Gratefulness List:

36.  My incision is healing well. Thank You Lord for the scars on my chest: evidence of the courage You gave me and a symbol of being brave with Your strength and a  kind of “bullet-proof”, reminding me that You walk with me through every storm.  The scars teach me that You’ll “carry me through anything, get me through everything, so I can be stopped by nothing”.  That’s the kind of perspective I want to have about these scars, rather than looking at them as ugly things, to view them as a sign of healing and being fully alive. Thank You Lord,  that the scars on my chest  replace both breasts that held the cancer and that the cancer has been removed.  Thank You for the skill of both my breast surgeons guided by Your Hand years apart and that my future is bright and full of hope as I walk with You.

I like this quote:

“I will not be ashamed of my scars because they are brushstrokes in the Masterpiece that is my life”.

37.   The “So” in John 3:16  We can replace our names with “the world’ and make it personal:

“For God SO loved Paula (and fill in YOUR name) that He gave His only begotten Son, so that if Paula (and fill in YOUR name) believes in Him then Paula ( and fill in YOUR name) should not perish but have everlasting life.

The definition of “SO” means “To a great extent or degree; very, extremely; exceedingly, enormously, tremendously, to an immeasurable degree”.  It’s such a little word to mean a great big thing about God’s love for us that He would give Jesus to die on the Cross for us and then raise Him from the dead.  What love!  What a grand arrangement and great news that we can have everlasting life because of simple faith plus nothing!

38.Family and friends reaching out to us in so many ways

39. “Blessings” song by Laura Story:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ

 

My cup overflows with blessings!

God’s beloved Paula 🙂

 

One Live Frog is Swallowed and Over With!

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 I’m sending a great big “THANK YOU” and (((hugs)))) out to everyone who has prayed for me and encouraged me  through the mastectomy on Tuesday.  God took such wonderful care of me through it all and I had exceptionally excellent care by my breast surgeon, all the staff at FL Hospital Altamonte, as well as my family.

I am relieved to have the surgery behind me and I am recovering well at home.  Do you guys know about Mark Twain’s “Eat a live frog every morning” principle?   http://www.fastcompany.com/1592454/work-smart-do-your-worst-task-first-or-eat-live-frog-every-morning  I was really dreading that operation and it sure feels good to have that big ole’ toad swallowed and over with!   The first step I needed to do in conquering this beast is done.   The final pathology report should come through next week and then the following week we will discuss the best course of follow up treatment plan with my oncologist.

God is holding me tenderly in the Palm of His Hand.

In His love and mine too,

 

Paula

 

 

Surgery Successful!

Hi folks,

We’ve received word that Paula finished surgery around 5:15 PM.  Dr. Minton just came out and spoke with us.  She shared that everything went well (thank the Lord!) and that the two sentinel nodes did not show any cancer, so she did not need to remove any further lymph nodes.  This also means that Paula should not need any radiation this go around, just chemo; the recommended type and frequency of chemo will be determined by the oncologist, Dr. Molthrop, based on the size of the cancerous nodules.

Thanks again for your prayers.  I’m waiting now for them to come get me so that I can be with my precious Paulita!

John 🙂

Paula is in surgery

Hi folks,

Greetings!  We want to thank everyone, first of all, for your prayers and encouragement.  We had a nice prayer time yesterday at NTM, and we know that many others have been and are continuing to pray for Paula and our family.

It’s close to 4:30 PM now.  I’m here in the surgery waiting room at Florida Hospital Altamonte waiting for Paula to come out of surgery, so I wanted to give you all an update:

I’ve been under the weather a bit the past couple days.  I think I may have caught the flu or something (perhaps on one of my flights back from Tanzania) and unfortunately now Joy and Paula have perhaps caught it from me.  Paula had a slight fever (99.3) this morning, but was feeling better than yesterday, so we touched base with her surgeon and the anesthesiologist, and they were good to continue with the surgery as scheduled.

After checking in here at the hospital, they took Paula to the Nuclear Medicine area to do a sentinel lymph node mapping around her right breast.  They injected a radioactive substance under the skin of her breast, waited a few minutes as it started to be channeled through her lymph ducts, then take some pictures (with Paula herself acting as the radioactive x-ray machine) which then show the primary (sentinel) lymph node(s) in that area.  I believe the thought is that if her cancer had spread to any lymph nodes, it would tend to be channeled through the sentinel lymph node(s) first.  If the sentinel nodes appears to have any cancerous cells, they will then likely remove additional lymph nodes.

We met the anesthesiologist and his two assistants, as well as the surgical nurse who will be assisting the breast surgeon, Dr. Lisa Minton.

Surgery started around 2:30 PM, so we are expecting it to finish any time now.  The plan is to do a simple mastectomy of Paula’s right breast, implant an intravenous port in the left side of her chest (to be used to administer chemo in the months ahead), and to remove and evaluate the sentinel lymph node(s), and, only if needed, remove other possibly affected lymph nodes.

We continue to pray for guidance for the doctor, God’s care for Paula, and that everything would be successful with no complications, no infections, etc.

When the surgery is complete, I’m expecting Dr. Minton to come out and speak with me.  It will probably be another hour or so after that before Paula is moved from the recovery room to a hospital room where I can then be with her again.

Thanks much, John  🙂

Surgery Scheduled Tomorrow

Image result for cancer messed with the wrong girl

Tomorrow (9/27) I put on my pink boxing gloves and am getting in the ring again to punch the lights outtta cancer before I follow up by blasting any remnants of this beast to smithereens with  chemo! Although, honestly, I don’t know a thing about boxing, I’ve got God and my breast surgeon in the operating room with me so I’ve got a great team fighting for me as I sleep through this round, ha, ha. I want to say a great big “thank you” to you guys on the side lines cheering us on. Cancer is rough on the whole family. We so appreciate your encouragement and for keeping  John, Nicholas, Joy, Hannah, and I in your prayers.  

I’m gearing myself back up to get in my “Cancer Fightin’ Warrior Woman Mode” with my eye on the prize and I’m fighting to win. The surgery is at 1 PM EST with an injection in Nuclear Medicine  at 11am for sentinel node mapping.  My husband will pop a note here postop to let ya’all know I’m doing great.  🙂  I should be in the hospital over night then will continue my recovery at Home Sweet Home. The plans are for me to begin chemo in about a month.

Continuing my second 1000 Gift Gratefulness List:

33. Beth reminding me of this quote I put in my blog 9/21/2011:

“’I didn’t sign up for this! I know that I sang, ‘Wherever He leads. I’ll go’, but can’t we at least check the weather report first? How could He lead me into a storm like this one?’
Just cling to the knowledge that YOU COULD BE IN NO SAFER PLACE THAN A STORM OF HIS MAKING. You are safer and more secure in the tempest with Jesus than you could ever be in the calmest place without Him. That calm, you’ll come to realize, is an illusion, and the storm is for a good purpose and a short duration.”
quoted from Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, “A Bend in the Road”

34. A wonderful, wonderful weekend at a Faces of Courage retreat: https://facesofcourage.wordpress.com/

35.

Isaiah 26:3 in the NLT:

 You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

In the NIV:

You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

In the Amplified Classic:

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

I’m so thankful that the Lord is flooding me with peace…not that I am 100% at peace at all times and I’ve sure done plenty of crying, but I know Who to run to and that’s what I’m doing.  I’d love to be cancer-free again and that’s what I’m aiming towards and fighting for, but the real “prize” is even way better than that no matter how all this turns out.  I pray that my loving Heavenly Father will conform me to the image of His son through all He brings me through.  May I come forth like GOLD for Him in this Refiner’s Fire.  Life here is like a vapor, a mere blink of the eye and then comes Eternity when I’ll have forever with Him. Now THAT’s a grand thought to look forward to!  As far as I know, I’ve got plenty of living life to the fullest here on earth before then though!  🙂  Here is the truth in a nut-shell that has given me immense hope: http://www.evantell.org/the-gospel

Gratefully His,

Paula