Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 28 "Dont Google Double Mastectomy"

FYI..My heart is heavy and my thoughts are pretty detailed. This is why I have this hold on tight. :)

Another learning lesson in my fight against cancer. Don't do things you shouldn't. Googling Double Mastectomy was probably a bad choice. I got all these crazy images up on my computer screen. Ewl! Cory said that he watched the surgery online and for me NOT to watch it. Ya..probably not something that is on my to do list.

So you want to get inside my head? Here it is. Im so freaking scared of this surgery. I guess I haven't really processed the reality of it. I keep saying "I rather you take both my breasts then give me chemo" but in reality, I don't think I am as good with it as I say I am.

First of all, the night before surgery is going to be rough. I know the anxiety level will be so high so Im trying to think of something fun to do with my family the night before. Maybe a movie or something, I dont know.

The day of surgery. I feel terrible that my family/friends have to sit in a waiting room for 6 hours! Yuck! That will be torture for them. I'll be a asleep getting "worked" on, but they are awake and waiting for the "everything looked good" statement.

The Doctor will put a dye into my lymph nodes when she is in there to give her "clearance" that my lymph nodes are not infected. Sometimes the tests show a negative, but its a different story when you are opened up. I pray for just an infected lump and no more.

After I wake up in pain? Probably a dumb question.  Do I wake up wanting to look down at my scars? I sat at the dinner table with Cory tonight (we ate late and alone) and talked about this very thing. What am I going to look like? Now that I googled those images, of course that is what I have in my mind which Im sure is close to reality, but I will ask the doctor on Wednesday about scaring. Im trying to pick my brain on how I will react. My first reaction is that I dont want to see myself with the scaring, but I probably "need" to for my own emotional healing. I wont wake up to "new" beautiful boobs by any means. Im not even sure how much the expander will be filled if at all. I will wake up flat chested. Scared and bruised. That is a large piece of me that is being taken away.

I stood in the mirror today looking at "them". Trying to figure out when everything went wrong. Trying to figure out what I am going to look like with a new size, no real nipples and scaring. My hurt hearts for my husband. I want to look beautiful. Its all vanity I know and my true image is inside, not on my outside but as a women you know how that feels.

BUT I do feel peaceful about my choice of a double mastectomy. However that doesn't mean that I don't go through the normal emotions that humans do. I want to make that clear. I am not second guessing myself.....

Cory is off the next 3 days and we are going to lots of doctors appointments together. Im really excited that he gets to meet the Breast Surgeon since he didn't get to last time because he was in ER. We have a full day on Wednesday. We get to go shopping at Tina's Treasures for a Mastectomy Vest and new bras! Yay! Aren't I a lucky girl. :) Then we go to my pre-opp with my list of questions, then to an ultrasound of my left breast for my new lump and then my primary care doc for my allergies. What a fun day date we shall have. :)

Tomorrow I have the dentist. Yuck! I hate the dentist. However, Im looking forward to that so I can make sure Im good to go before surgery, but we only have discounted dental insurance so Im not looking forward to the bill. long as the surgery and chemo is paid for....Im a happy girl.

I do want to end my blog with a shout out. I went back through my blogs and noticed how pumped up for God I was when this all first started, but then it started to fade. Not because of my faith, but because my emotions are taking over my focus. Im relying on my own strength and not His. Im relying on other people to "fix" me and not Him. He can do both of these things through others, but I need to seek Him first. I pray that He heals me through the doctors and I have faith that He will. I pray that my support system doesn't fade, but only gets stronger. That is all His doing. I love Him and He loves me a lot more. He has done so much for me and my family through this time. Cancer sucks...yes it does....BUT Im a fighter. I have the personality for it. I have a reason to fight. They are two precious reasons too. So, I want to end here saying this. Jeremiah 29:11. I have faith in that.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 27 "Stressed & Cranky"

GRUGH! Can I just scream!?

Here I am entering another week of doctors, tests and results! I have NO IDEA why this just hit me like a ton of bricks tonight. As Im watching my Jr. Higher's get baptized I realized what awaits this week and it put me in SUCH a bad mood when I should be rejoicing (which I am) but my crankiness is taking over.

What probably set it off was my email to my Breast Surgeon which was returned today. She told me that I could email her whenever I want, so I did. :) I asked her questions. Like...I need some dental work so can I get it done before surgery and I have an ear ache so Im going to get checked out (its probably allergies) so can I get antibiotics for that (if needed) and can I have zyrtec AND I want to get my ear's "re-pierced" so that when I lose my hair, I look like a girl with earrings.

Her response....Yes, get the work you need now, because any infection will delay the surgery and you dont want an infection going into surgery because that can be very dangerous. Yes, you can get on meds for your allergies, but again get it fixed now if not, we will have to postpone your surgery because any infection will attack a forgein object in your body (tissue expanders). Ear piercing....ah, if you HAVE to do it, get it done at a "good" place and not the mall, again because of infections.

GRUGH! Sooooo this means that this week I will have a dentist appointment and a doctors apointment, plus my ultrasound, plus my gene testing (again) plus my post-op, plus more blood work for my post-op. And as far as earrings...WHATEVER! I'll buy stupid clip ons and be done.

Im tried of feeling good one minute and then reality of more stuff this week makes me crazy.

I was feeling the other lump again today and of course it has gone "down" because Im not having my time of the month anymore so the "swelling" has gone down. However..that doesn't make me happy or give me hope because my other lump did the same thing.

Do you know that sometimes my lump that is now my cancer lump was hard to find sometimes but the more I "aggravated" it by touching it, the bigger it got. So I was so paranoid that the doctor or ultrasound tech wouldn't find it so I kept messing with it, so I knew for sure it would be big enough to feel right before I went to the doctor. I didn't want them to think I was crazy.

So here I am AGAIN! Not even 4 weeks after my first diagnosis. I feel another one which was sooooooooooo clear last week, but I have to really concentrate to find it now. So what if my doctor says "I dont feel it", or if I go to get an ultrasound and they find something, and they do another biopsy and that comes back cancerous. This is just absolutely CRAZY! Now I have to wait again for results of the ultrasound AND my gene testing which has me worried. I am NOT even going to say "it probably negative" because I fell into the 30% category of having cancer at my age. Numbers means nothing to me!

So I guess my prayer request? Negative ultrasound, Negative Gene Test, Easy breezy dental work that can be fixed in two weeks, No ear infection just a simple allergy pill and to find the PERFECT DAZZELING Clip on earrings that aren't like the 80's clip on earrings.

Thanks for the counseling session.

Day 26 "Pajama Party"

Man, Im not even sure how to blog tonight. How to even sum up my feelings. As verbal as I am, I think I might be lost for words...but here it goes..

Tonight was amazing. Not only do I have some rocking friends, but my family is pretty great too! My sister hosted a pajama party in my honor. Pink and Purple Jammies. Games, food, fellowship and prizes. It was awesome. I laughed till my face hurt.

One of my favorite parts? Aside from the 6 chocolate covered strawberries, cheesecake, chocolate cake, fruit pizza and oreo balls....was the "what I think of Gabbee" game. Everyone wrote out a statement of their thoughts about me and we had to guess who wrote it. There were times I was shocked at what I meant to people and how they view me. Its AMAZING. And the thing is....of course its nice to hear good things, but it was so awesome to know that I have an impact on people around me. I have a purpose. Its worth the fight. That is what rolls through my head. Not only am I fighting for my kids and husband but I am fighting to continue to make people smile, or laugh, or to show that Im faithful, on and on. What a special treat.

One of the comments mentioned that they love how I am proud to be who I am. You know whats funny? I struggled so much with that in school. I always tried to be someone I wasn't because I just wanted to be accepted that I couldn't really be who I was. In high school, I was the "bully". I had this attitude that got me into too many fights and lots of broken relationships, mostly because I was angry and stuck up I guess...but that wasn't me. Do you know how hard it is to be the "bad guy" and try to turn over a new leaf? It doesn't work very well in the midst of being a teenager in High School.

So to hear that people admire that I am who I am and I am proud of it, really blesses me because I have longed to just be who I am. And finally I can be proud of myself.

Tonight we laughed lots, danced lots, ate WAY TOO MUCH food and chatted. Sometimes I would joke about my cancer. That is a release for me. It helps me in times when all I can do is think about it. And if it makes people laugh, then I am good. :)

Im so grateful to my sister for putting this together and sacrificing her time to make it perfect. Thank you so much to my friends that came and just wanted to be here to have fun. I think we achomplished that.

I hope I am still giggling tomorrow at some of the things that happened.

I love you all!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 26 "Dont shop ALONE"

Okay, so I had a couple of errands to run today and I was going to have my two gals tag along with me. However, life and work got in the way and so I had to go shopping alone. I debated for a while on whether or not I should go because I didn't want to have that much time "alone" with myself in the car. Too much thinking time. However, I had to go shopping today because I needed stuff before Sunday and this was my only day. So off I went.

45 minute drive to the stores. Gurgh! Honestly..I hope this doesn't sound lame...but I probably wont ever do that again. Way too much time to think about my life. My new journey. My new road that I am about to endure.

I started crying in the car. Not because of my surgery. Not because Im losing both of my "natural" breasts. Honestly I dont really care about that. If I didn't have the option of reconstruction, then yes, I would be hurt and sad but I do have that option. I count that as a blessing. I was sad because the thought of losing my hair. I started to imagine Sarah (my hairdresser) coming to my house to cut my hair short before the chemo takes it in chunks. I refuse to stand in the mirror watching part of my visual vanity to be lost. I imagine sitting in my kitchen with my support system around me, chatting and trying to make light of the situation, when really I am cringing on the inside trying to hold back the tears. I imagine myself completly falling apart and losing my emotions and everyone telling me I look good with short hair. The thing is....I wont have "short" hair for long. I will have NO HAIR. That's a big deal for me. I dont know why..but that is what makes me sad. I had my hair long, I had my hair short. Sometimes I hide behind my hair, sometimes I don't. Some people are probably thinking "save your life or lose your hair". Well, I choose neither. I dont want to make a choice. I dont want to fight for my life. I dont want my breasts gone, my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, my everyday normal life GONE. I just want to be cancer free. I promise you this. You will NEVER know the thought process of a cancer patient until you walk in the shoes of cancer.

Who knows...maybe I already wrote about this and its like a constant repeat. But this is what happens when you drive in the car ALONE. :)

I did hear this song on the radio that I wanted to post. The words were so real for the time of my life right now.

"To Know You" By Casting Crowns

To know you is to never worry for my life, and

To know you is to never to give in or compromise, and

To know you is to want to tell the world about you

Cause I can't live without you

To know you is to hear your voice when you are calling

To know you is to catch my brother when he is falling

To know you is to feel the pain of the broken hearted

Cause they can't live without you.

Anyway, after I got home, I got ready for my Mary Kay appointment. Facial cleanser and make up. I put my hair in a ponytail and put a headband on so I could "imagine" my face with no hair. I wanted to do my makeup so I could try and see what I will look like. UGH...I don't like the thought of it. I was blessed with tons of Mary Kay products as a "get well" gift. I was super duper thankful for that.

So...the moral of this story? When you are patiently waiting to go into surgery and start chemo....always go shopping with someone. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 25 "I just have to say"

This blog is going to be here, there and everywhere.....just a WARNING. :)

Sometimes I am in shock of how things unravel. Sometimes I think that the world is crashing down on me, and I can't see what's going on. I have faith that God is working, and I have faith that I will learn something from this, but what I struggle with is the amount of "stuff" I have to handle at times. Sometimes it feels like it never ends. People ALWAYS say "God will never give us more than we can handle". God WILL get us through what He knows we can handle. He doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. I can handle cancer and life. But not on my own. I do have to rely on Him for the tools and the comfort but it is not easy at times. Its very hard actually. I can't lie and tell you that it's easy.

Not only am I dealing with cancer, but life doesn't stop when someone has cancer. I  received my local pastoral license during this time of diagnosis...honesty thinking that I wouldn't have to "use" it during this next few months. Isn't that the most stupiest thought ever!? In the matter of two days, I have to step up to my new position in two different situations and I feel scared out of my mind and blessed all at the same time.

I feel beat down. I feel like I have failed, I feel like I have lost a battle, I feel like I have been stepped on, kicked, beat up and persucuted. Not by anyone specific...but my life. I automatically thought that I wouldn't have a care in the world for what goes on around me. I thought that I would be able to worry about me, me, me, me, and more of me. But that is not true. Life still goes on. People still need God. People still need a helping hand, and my life, my ministry, my heart doesn't stop just because of Cancer even though I want it to. And when my I say "my life", I mean my everyday "chores". My everyday phone calls, my friends, my family, my husband, my kids, my job, my ministry and everything in between.

I think once my surgery happens, and my chemo goes in place, I do feel that my focus will be on getting better and fighting this cancer. I have two kids and a husband that I am fighting for. I need to be here right now for them. That is my fight. But right now, I wait. Of course my life is different and I am constantly interuppted by life, but Im not fighting yet.

Sometimes things come up and I laugh to myself and say "OMG, this is SO small compared to what Im dealing with" or "Seriously, I have cancer, I do not have to deal with this". LOL!!! It DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY! Let me repeat! IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. I totally wish it did but reality has to take place at some point of my thinking process and say "no it doesn't".

I promised this blog would be everywhere.....but these are honestly my thoughts right from my brain. No edits, no spell checks. Just my thoughts and my keyboard.

Please pray for me. Pray that I rise above, make a difference and ultimatley do what Im made to do.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meal Planning

Hi All,

My Friend Rachelle created a site for me & my family as far as meal planning goes. This will keep track of everyone wanting to bring meals! :) Its such a great website and a continued blessing for our family!!

Everything is listed on there for you to know!!!

If you have any questions, please contact Rachelle by text, phone or email.


Walking in my name/Donation Information

Hi All,

I have been blessed by my friends and family that have felt the desire to put a team together to walk in my honor. There are two walks going on, so I wanted to give you that information.

3rd Annual Del Webb goes PINK
Saturday, October 9th @ 8am staring in Sun City in Florence, Az
Please Contact Bonnie Strunk for more information at for details. So far I have 25 people walking in my name. I am BEYOND blessed!

Susan G Komen 3 day walk for the Cure
October 10th Phoenix, Az
Please contact Bekah Riede at
Bekah is a friend of mine that I met at Middler Camp in 2009. We were both counselors and remained friends. She is putting together a team to walk in my name!! Praise God!

These walks will benefit cancer research and also assist us financially which is a big need for us. Medical bills that were not covered under Insurance, transportation, lack of work for both Cory and on and so on.

We appreciate ALL donations and pray a special blessing on each of our supporters, whether you support us by prayer, fiancially, gifts, calls, food, cards, name it, we pray for you!

Thank you all for your support! Dont stop because everyday that I receive an email or a special note it puts a smile on my face. IT DOESN'T get old. :)

Love you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 23 "Surgery Date & Phone Call"

Yay! I finally got my surgery date. September 17th @ 11:30am. Im very excited to have a date on my calendar. I thought I had everything ready and I was totally prepared until I got the phone call from the nurse with the date. Its now 9:25 and I have been on the phone since 4:30 calling my in-laws, friends and doctors making pre-op appointments, pre-op care item name it..

My schedule still isn't in order. The downside of my surgery date is that its the last day of school before the 2 week break AND its a half day. So with everyone's help, we have to decide who will stay with the kids, if they will come see me when I am out of surgery, who will stay with me overnight, trying to make the kids feel "normal", when will I come home, on and on and on. Its crazy!

The surgery will be between 5-6 hours long. My surgeon said that it'll be worth the wait because Dr. Admire (Plastic surgeon) is VERY good. LOL...Sometimes I keep forgetting that I am getting plastic surgery.

My doctor said that the reconstruction will be more painful than the masectomy, because of how they have to insert the expanders. Crazy! I will be in the hospital 1 or 2 days of course, all depending on my body and how I react.

My surgeon called me tonight at 8:30 and gave me the finer details and answered any questions I have. I love her! I totally appreciate that! She gave me tips on what to do before surgery, what to buy and what to get at Tina's closet (Cancer store) that I will need after surgery. So off to Scottsdale I will go this week to get my "gear".

I will also be getting an ultrasound on my left breast. Please pray that its nothing and just a lump of air. :) My doctor isn't too concerned BUT its better safe than sorry, because it would change the way she does the surgery. I will be getting that done in the next week or so. Then my pre-op appointment with her, my plastic surgeon and also a "redo" on my gene testing. much to do. Im glad it will keep me busy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 22 "Lump #3 Maybe?"

Ill be honest you guys. I have felt a tad bit scared since this all started, but tonight, I feel true fear.

Remember the other day I posted that I think I felt something on my left breast? Well...its there. And its not just something. Its almost a mirror image of my lump on my right breast. Same place, same feeling, similiar size and it reminds me of when I found my first one. You have to remember something....When I found my lump on my right breast, it wasn't small. It was just there. Of course it has grown since I found it, but it didn't start out much smaller.

I had Debbie feel it tonight. She is a retired Registered Nurse. I literally lifted my arms up in the air and had her check my right lump and left lump at the same time. She confirmed that she is feeling almost the same thing.

You guys...Im scared. I feel really scared right now. Why is this happening to me? Why is it taking so long to get a surgery date. I want them OUT!!! Im trying so hard to remain strong and see through the tornado that I mention, but I can't. My biggest fear? They open me up and its everwhere. I know the chances of that happening is slim to none because of the tests they have done...but my doctor told me that she has a hard time seeing a clear shot of my breasts.

I will be calling the doctor tomorrow morning. Ill be ready to go in for her to check me out.

Please pray for me tonight. Pray for peace. I have not had any anxiety attacks in about a week, but they are back tonight. This makes me so mad.

Im definitly not the one of a bright light tonight. :( Makes me sad to not constantly seem ok. But God is still bigger...don't get me wrong...I just need peace. Lots of peace.

Question for YOU?

When the shadow of Jesus' cross falls upon lives in the form of failure, sorrow, rejection, abandonment, unemployment, loneliness, depression, the loss of a loved one; when the world around us suddenly seems to be a hostile, menacing place, we may well cry out in anguish "HOW COULD A LOVING GOD PERMIT THIS TO HAPPEN?"
And the seed of distrust is sown, plunging us into a moment of choice:

Will we turn away from God, or will we turn toward him even though the darkness hides him from our sight?

To choose the light of God in the dark night of despair is an act of heroic courage.

~Brennan Manning~
I choose Heroic courage. Why? Because for me... there is no other way. I don't want to turn away from Him at this moment in my life, because he supplies me with the tools I need to get through this moment.
Here are some lyrics to ponder on, that I LOVE...
JJ Heller "Your Hands"
When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 21 "Being Swept Away"

Ahhhhh, I feel refreshed. Especially my face. LOL I dont want to touch it to ruin the facial I had, that really I have no idea what was done, so Im not sure what exactly I am afraid to touch. LOL

My sister & Hope decided to sweep me away for a night to get away from reality before I officially enter "Cancer world". We stayed at the Hilton in Oro Valley and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! Hope told them about my diagnosis so we got an upgrade to a Jr. Suite. Big room, white robes, leather chairs and lots of space. We were like kids in a candy store when we walked in.

Last night we ate at the resturant in the hotel and laughed our little booties off. It was SO FUNNY! I laughed so hard! It felt SO GOOD!!! We didn't know anyone, I didn't have to talk about cancer to anyone and they treated me as normal as I was the day before I was diagnosed. That was a nice feeling. Sometimes I want to remind people that I am not contagious. :) Im still Gabbee....but now Im Gabbee with a lump. :)

The pork that Lisette & Hope ordered came back a bit raw, SOOOO what did that mean? FREE DESSERT!!! High class resort dessert. It was so good!

After dinner we walked around the HUGE lobby and laughed all the way to the room. We were making fun of Lisette as she pointed out this "cute" outfit in the shop window and since Im her sister, I was able to be verbal and say "ewl, if your a Grandma". LOL!! Then we found these HUGE incense diffusers!! They were awesome. We took pics, because we were fascinated! This little stuff made us laugh till our belly hurt.

We finally made it to the room. Changed into our bathing suits and hit the pool. We didn't stay too long, just enough to say we did I guess. HaHa....but then we came back to watch a movie. I think we finally fell asleep at 1am. Just laughing and talking.

Since Lisette is 41 now..I guess her new wake up time is 5am!! Grrrr....I couldn't sleep so I got up with her at 5:45 but then went back to bed at 6:30. We finally all got up and out the door by 9:00am.

Pool, lunch (poolside) then packed up and checked out. Off we went for our beauty treatment. Pedicures and a facial. That was SOOOO relaxing.

After I was done, I was waiting for Lisette and Hope to be done and I was watching the hairdressers do their thing. That is when I had a moment of realizing how different my life is right now. How just a few months ago, I went in and had my hair dyed and cut and now Im trying to find wigs, hats and scarves to cover a bald head.

 Wow! In a matter of moments, my life changes. I know that saying is so cliche, but its so true! Here I was at a resort, not because I wanted to be away from my husband and kids, but because I needed to "diffuse" and get away from the stress of cancer. Everything is so different now. Everyone in my family is on hold waiting on my surgery date so they can schedule their time off to help me. Life has changed...but I think Im dealing with it better and better each day. Some days all I want to do is cry and sleep...some days I want to shop for pink stuff. Its all so rollercoaster like. Up and Down...Up and Down...sometimes upside down. :)

Regardless of all that, this weekend was GREAT! I can't thank them enough for thinking of me, blessing me and serving me with their love and friendship!

Thank you Girls~

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday Day 20 "Ministry, Ministry & More Ministry"

I forgot to blog yesterday so I will be posting this as if I was writing this yesterday. :)

Thursday's is staff meeting at Mosaic. This is a great way for us to get together, brainstorm, praise God, prayer requests, events, whats working, what's on and so on. It's also a great way to connect with our staff members, to really gain a new appreciation for the volunteer work that we all do.

Yesterday's meeting lasted 3 hours. LOL! We laughed, we cried, we spoke loud (me) HaHa...which comes from my Italian New York Back ground. We must speak loud. Its our nature. :) And we came up with GREAT ideas!!

Im soooooooooo excited about our desires in our programs for the kids across the board. From birth to college age. We just have some great people with BIG hearts for ministry and I am truly blessed to work alongside them. Ministry is never a job. Once you think of it that way, you are doomed. That is my personal experience. If you want to make money, people know that ministry is not the place to be. Being paid allows your time to be bought, so you can focus on the details that take time. Its a great blessing, however my heart is filled every day for my pre-teens/Jr. High that money is not an object in how I do ministry. I am blessed with a job that I can do from home. God works!

Cory & I are working alongside 2 amazing people in youth ministry. Their hearts for teens are HUGE! Then we come in who have that same size hearts, and have a GREAT group of kids that just want to be loved by us. :)

After our meeting....I went home, worked, went to watch my niece play baseball then back home for another 2 hour ministry meeting. HaHa!! It was great and we brainstormed and OH BOY...Its going to be GREAT!!! Im very excited to see the growth we are about to endure.

One thing that hit me today was that I didn't want to be "down" for a year during my chemo. I said this over and over again....I CAN'T have that taken from me. My prayer is that I am capable of going to our youth group every other week or so....even if I stay for 30 minutes, but I crave those kids...and if you take that away, my purpose (outside of my own children) are lost. I know chemo affects people in different ways, so I hope that Im different. The good different. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Man, my emotions were all over the place today. I think it started when I was at safeway buying a b-day card for my sister this morning. What kind of card do you get someone that you love so much AND that you are about to go down a road that was never thought of before? I started crying in Safeway and that's when I knew how this day would go.

I waited on giving her the card till dinner...and not our breakfast alone, because we would both cry and I didn't want that to happen. So we enjoyed breakfast, went shopping for my Pajama Party then met Hope and went to lunch. During this time I started to get anxious. I was trying really hard to keep my emotions under control and not take my sister's Birthday Joy away. I tried but probably failed.

During lunch I got a phone call from the lab chick again. She was calling to tell me that they need ONE MORE piece of paper. UGH!!!! If I could have jumped through the phone I would have. I was sooooo mad! I just want results. Well, really I just want surgery and chemo so I could get this done and over with.

After stressing about that....I finally got the paperwork faxed. But I thought I would call my Surgeon to see if there is anything they can do to speed up the STAT process.

On my phone call with the nurse, I informed her that I had made a decision about my surgery that I wanted the Doc to know.

Double Masectomy. Some may find this crazy, some may agree. Either way, I dont really care....LOL...because this was decision that I cried about and still do however I am at peace with it.

The day I made the decision to have a double masectomy is after my appointment with the plastic surgeon. (and of course after my MRI results)  The work that has to be done to my left breast, just for it to look somewhat like my "new" right breast is OVERKILL. Im only 31 years old. THis is a big deal for me. I rather take it all, be less anxious each year on my mamograms and start from scratch on both sides.

So....I was able to have a lengthy conversation with my surgeon to let her know my decision. Because that is what I wanted, we could stop the blood test...take it after the surgery, let the insurance pay for it, and work on the ovarian surgery IF NEEDED at a later time.


So, the nurse will call me back with a surgery date. Im hoping I should know something by the end of the week.

After all this, I laid down for a bit before my sister's birthday dinner in town. When it was time to go,  I popped some ibprofun, grabbed a pillow for the ride and off we went.

We had a good time and it was a good ending to a crazy day. I love my sister and am so thankful that I am here to spend her birthday with her.

At dinner we joked about cancer alot. My mom has been recently diagnosed with Hypertension. Actually, my mom was in the ER this afternoon and got out right before we went to dinner. She picked me up and said "I just got out of the ER, I took off my bracelet so you wouldn't know" LOL....

Her blood pressure was over 200. She didn't want to worry me. LOL...Figures.

Anyway we were talking about our health problems. Blood pressure, losing their eyesight, hearing, anxiety...all of the above. These are the things you talk about when you are celebrating your 41st Birthday right? :)

So I stopped them in their tracks and said "Im the youngest one and have the deadliest disease, so get over it". We just laughed. At that point...what can you do? :)

I love my family. As crazy as we are...they are MINE!

Each day is different. I keep saying this...that one day Im fine, the next Im not. I really can't handle all the emotions but I guess I can, because I am. :)

Please pray with me for a quick surgery date. Im anxious everyday and really just want to get the ball rolling. :)

Nighty Night!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 18 "Frustration, Praise & Teens"

Doesn't that sound like an emotional rollercoaster just from the title? But my day was exactly that. Frustration, Praises to God and Teenagers.

So this morning I called the lab to see if I can get the "inside scoop" on my blood work as I have been for 3 days and this is what I hear....

Lab Girl: "As soon as we receive the document from your doctor’s office we will go ahead and process your blood work."

Me: "Um, I’m sorry, but you were supposed to have received that on Friday, I thought my blood was already in process of being tested."

Lab Girl: "No mam, we didn't receive it, but it was on my list today to check on"

Me: "I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but I have breast cancer and I can't have surgery until you give me results of this blood test"

Lab Girl: "I understand and we will contact your doctor today to get that paper, but mam, please understand that this test normally takes 7-14 days for results"

Me: "HaHa...okay, I don’t think you understand. I have breast cancer and I am waiting for these results to schedule surgery. I was told that this test was ordered STAT due to my situation"

Lab Girl: "Okay, hold on just a moment"


Lab Girl: "Okay, mam, I spoke to the doctor’s office and they are faxing over the paperwork again. It must have gotten lost in fax air. And you are right; you do have a STAT request on your test. I can call you when we receive the results or you may call daily to check on them"

Me: "Oh, I will call you every day until I have those results."

GRRRUUUUGHHHH, can you believe that? They took my blood last Tuesday and a week later, my blood is still sitting there in the lab. Waiting on a paper from my doctor that wasn't going to be requested until she got to her "to do" list. $3500 for this test....and I get treated as if it costs $20!

So now you can understand my frustration!

However God still remains GREAT and approved me for my Health Insurance! Yay!!! Praise God!!!!! I was a bit disappointed because my approval date wasn't before this all happened as it should have been, but those are bills that will just have to be paid off slowly. I am more worried about my loss of pay during this year, than medical bills. So I continue to dwell in the praise of approval.

Teens....yay Teens. I have not been with my IGNITE kiddos for two weeks. Mostly because I have been at Doctors visits, and just having some bad days. So thankfully Teresa, Megan and Christina took on the group and kept it going. This week we combined our Jr. High and High Schoolers at Anthem K8 School. We have outgrown our homes with kids. Yay! I was holding 30 kids a week at my house and pretty close to the same with High Schoolers at the Mackenzie’s home. God is Good.

So, tonight I was kind of dragging my feet...BUT God was GREAT AGAIN. I just can't say it enough. We had a ton of kids and they are awesome. We played games and I fell, got hurt, cut my little cuticle and LAUGHED! It felt GREAT to be normal! Just sitting there with my peers doing ministry with them. What an absolute blessing that is! I had a great small group time with the girls too. No lesson...just talking about life. What gets in the way, what they struggle with, what is happening in their lives.....just talk. It was wonderful. I look forward to digging into God's word next week with them.

My goal is to be there as much as possible, BUT if I can't be there because of fatigue, germs or whatever...they are in GREAT HANDS. I’m blessed to have friends that love those kids as much as I do and that ministry is their first and foremost passion.

I’m going to get a bit TMI here, but this is what the blog is about. My journey with breast cancer. So some stuff that is blogged might be a little too "medical" for some. If it is..Don’t read it. LOL...but I won’t hold back. If you know me...I won’t hold back.

So, when I noticed my lump the most is when it was the time of the month when Cory and I usually argue the most. He blames it on menstruation, I blame it on him. LOL!

I don’t know why, but my lump is so much bigger now...after all this has happened especially since I am beginning my road of "that time of the month". I have felt something on my left breast, but thought it was all in my head. Especially because my MRI was clear. Well, as I was changing into my jammies, I usually give myself a breast exam. Actually I give myself one, probe 2-3 times a day. LOL...

Anyway, Cory walked in the closet and of course I said "feel my lump". I say that to EVERYONE! Even my 12 yr old niece. LOL...At least she now knows what a lump feels like. :) My mom and sis have felt my lump several times. Especially before I got checked. I wanted them to know I wasn't being dramatic. LOL. However...Any women that wants to feel it is more than welcome...:) I want you to be aware. :)

Anyway, he checked my lump, and said "wow, it is bigger" then checked the other side just to compare and said "woah, do you feel that". I said "yes, but I thought it was in my head". SOOOOOOOOO I will be calling my doctor tomorrow to ask for an appointment to have her feel it again. GRRRRRRR. I don't know if it’s because it’s that "time of the month" or if something else is coming up. Take them both...Throw them the dumpster. I don't care. Just get these lumpy things off me!

Okay so the reason I was telling you because it is painful. Hugging is painful. Sleeping on my right side is painful. Yes they say cancerous lumps don't hurt...but that is not the case with everyone. I have beaten the odds, so I really don’t care what they say.

So can you pray for me? I had to take Ibprofun for the pain. That is how it was before I got diagnosed and that was a concern for my doctor because you shouldn't have to take pain meds for your boobs. It’s just more sore than normal.

Pray for pain free boobs...:) & a quick test result. Let’s get this ball rolling.

Nighty night!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 17 "Just another day"

Today was....well.....another day I guess. I worked alot, took a nap, ran errands, MADE DINNER (haven't done that in 2 weeks) and then made hairbows with Bella. That was as normal as my life before Cancer.

But you was harder than it would seem. For two weeks I had a whirlwind of Doctors, phone calls, office visits and tests. During those days I had constant people around all the time. Today was my first Monday since the diagnosis that I had nothing scheduled, no phone calls to make, no papers to gather and no visitors. Just to be a stay at home mom. It was weird. I had moments to myself when I cried...just my thoughts and I, and a time when I didn't know what to do so I just laid on my bed and took a two hour nap, because I didn't know what else to do with myself.

It was kind of sad and weird for me to get a taste of my normal life again. I know this wont last long, and I am craving to do something that will utulize this time before my surgery and chemo life. I just dont know what to do. Yes I like crafts, I like to organize but Im thinking bigger. I want to maybe get involved in a support group, and I really want to meet a girl that I found through a friend that is currently going through breast cancer. Maybe have coffee. I want to be SO prepared for this, that I will be able to post a blog that says "Cancer...piece of cake" HaHa....Wouldn't that be fun?

Tomorrow Cory is off and we actually have tons of errands to run which will keep my mind off the waiting period of the blood work results. I called today but nothing. I called my surgeon too for no reason really and they just said "Hang in there" Oooook.....You tell me I have I just need to hang in there. LOL....Grugh! But like I said yesterday, I rather this, than a HUGE life change immediately with no preperation for it. We have a 504 meeting for Isaac tomorrow at 7:30. Im kind of stressed about his education during my treatment. He needs lots of support at home too but we do have supportive teachers that I know will help me as much as possible.

Well, Im off to lay in my bed, have my prayer & devotion time and chat with my hubby. Then I think Im going to watch some late night with Jay Leno until my medicine puts me into LaLa land. :)

Good night All!

New Email & Optional Updates

Hi Everyone,

My email has changed.

Also, if you would like to receive automatic email updates when I post a new blog, just email me with the email address that you would like to add. I have to do it manually (not sure why) but people have asked me for updates incase they don't check facebook.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 16 "Communion"

To take communion in remembrance of Gods sacrifice for me is a blessing in its own. However to serve communion is something else. Why? Because it truly is a privilege. It’s an honor to present God’s sacrifice to others and tell others “God Bless You.” Not in the same way as you would respond when someone sneezes. But to truly say “God Bless you”.

It’s been on my heart for some time now to grow in the leadership position and expand my biblical knowledge as a teacher. Ministry is my passion. It’s my desire for kids to know Jesus. It’s my desire for them to know where I came from and where I am now. I love those kids, and they truly love me back. However…I don’t want to be idle in my ministry. I want to be held accountable to these kids, not just as a friend, but as their Pastor. I want to be by their side, through tough times, good times, when they are close to Jesus, when they are far from Jesus. I want to be an example of Him. My purpose in life is ministry so why not grow deeper and reveal what awesome things God can do with me in this position?

Last week I went to our church committee board to give my testimony and goal in ministry. So the board voted and accepted my request and I now hold my Local Pastoral License which gets me on track for my district license which then will lead me to ordination. Ah, big word for me!

I’m 31 years old and I have breast cancer which will hold me down for a year. BUT my God is way bigger than this small cancer. So big that through this trial, ministry will NOT be on hold. This is my heart.

After my Pastor announced this to our congregation he asked if I would assist in serving communion. I sobbed, because WHAT AN HONOR! An honor to stand there in my “I fight like a girl pink ribbon” t-shirt, pink bracelets, jeans and purple vans because He LOVES me for who I am! He leads me by still waters, He is my strength when I am weak, He fills my cup when it is empty. He loves me when I’m sick, when I’m healthy, when I am beat up, knocked down and discouraged. He loves me and wants me to live for HIM! Regardless of this disgusting disease that is trying to take over my body, I will continue to be who I am, and live for the purpose He has given me.

The first person in my row today was my precious boy Isaac. He was so proud of me. He stood there and I sobbed some more. More and more people came to my line taking communion and I just kept crying trying to get “Bless you” out from behind the tears. My niece took communion then wiped the tears from my eyes. I had strangers tell me congratulations and to keep fighting this. It was a moment that I will NEVER forget and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Sometimes I am just so thankful in this situation. Thankful for the ministry that is being done. Thankful for the story that God has given me. Thankful that strangers, new friends and old are thanking me for blessing them. I’m just so thankful!

Each day I wake up and I think “how am I going to fight this today”. It’s an EVERYDAY battle. It will always be, until the doctor says “You’re in remission”. The funny thing is….I have not even started my battle yet. LOL….I’m still in the grieving process. Surgery and treatment isn’t even in place. It will be soon…very soon, but Thank God that he has given me this time to mourn the loss of my “old” normal and adjust to my “new” normal. Thank God that he has given me time to grieve with my husband, family and friends. Thank God that I wasn’t thrown from “you have cancer” to surgery, to chemo, to recovery. I was blessed. Piece by Piece. I pray that this isn’t the end. I pray that He makes this story so great and that people really see me for who I am, and what my heart and desire really stands for.

Pastor Gabbee sounds CRAZY! I would have NEVER imagined my life like this. However…I’m thankful that it is this way. I’m thankful that I’m still here and I have received the blessings thus far. I have to be. I am comforted for free. No fees, no appointments. My full time counselor. I rejoice in that!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 15 Room Makeover

I am so tired but I had to write today. I promised I would have a blog a day. :) I’m tired because of good reasons. Today was my room makeover! I hope you enjoy the pictures! It was fun. I had some giggles, cries and pure exhaustion.

We trimmed, painted, carpets cleaned and then the fun began. Decorating! However before we started I got a super duper surprise! I received AN AMAZING QUILT that will literally wrap me up in God's promises. I cried when I received it. It was AMAZING! I LOVE IT!

Three sides. 1. Abba Father 2. Comforter & Counselor 3. Prince of Peace.

Then on the top in each square is a verse stating how GREAT our God is. Then at the headboard one of my favorite verses. Jeremiah 29:11.

It is seriously the greatest thing EVER.

My room looks great. I have some pics, but more will be up tomorrow when it’s totally done. We have some shelf hanging still to do.

Thank you to everyone that participated. Cory and I are lying here, relaxed and enjoying the peace that is filled in the room!

Thank you, Thank You, Thank you!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 14 "Dear Mrs. Breast Surgeon"

Dear Mrs. Breast Surgeon,

When you take my blood, and send it off to be tested for $3,500 can you please make sure you check all the boxes on the paperwork. This way, I wont have to wait an extra week for my results.

Impatient Patient.

So yes....I called the lab to see if I can secretly get results before the doctor did and since this test is so big, its not a normal lab. Its a corporation of some type. Receptionist, call center, customer service, billing, and all the other departments. I get my very own customer service rep too. I called her to get results and she said "well, I did receive it, but I had to send it back because they forgot to check one of the boxes on the paperwork and I just received it back this morning." Grrrrrrr!!!! Come on! This test normall takes 7-14 days for results, but because I have already been diagnosed with cancer, I get the "priority" care. Max 7 business days. Yay! Isn't that exciting? No! I want them today.

Anyway, after I moan and groan with my sister near me, she jumps up and says "Im gonna go" LOL....I felt like a toddler wanting to kick and scream on the floor hoping I can get my way. But no....I didn't. So here I am all alone with noone to kick and scream at. :( Its probably a good thing.

After my tantrum...I sat at the kitchen table staring into space. Then it hit me! I thought, why I am I rushing my last few weeks of freedom. Once I go under the knife, I will be begging to get back to my normal life. Even though my normal isn't normal, I can still walk around w/out tubes and IV's and everything that comes with a masectomy and chemo. I mean..of course I want this cancer out of me, and Im afraid its growing everyday all over my body, but I asked God to stop it in it's track and even though we found another lump, they are both "INSITU" which means "in place". So...I guess at this point, even if I have two lumps, atleast they are staying in place and not my lymph nodes.

So, Im going try and appreciate my last two or three weeks of freedom before my world goes INSANE.

My plans.....

Tomorrow is my room makeover. My front room is loaded with decor, furnishings, fabric, mini fridge, frames and shelves. I can't wait. Then after we paint, I will be getting the carpet in my room cleaned by the awesome Michael Fent with San Tan Carpet Cleaning! And because he is SUPER awesome..he is donating the cleaning for me! Hard worker and my favorite part? He has a carpet fluffer! :) That was super fun to watch! LOL. I have referred him to a few different people and they were all super happy. 520-709-9594.

Tomorrow night my mommy is taking me to a cuban resturant. They make my favorite dish that Mi Abuela used to make me. "String Meat". Im excited to dwell in some cuban food.

Next week I will try and put many hours of work in before surgery. I should get my blood results in too. I should also have my insurance approved by then as well. Next week is a big tell all. Then Hope and My sister has offered to take me overnight to a fancy hotel & Spa. Im spoiled. Im so thankful for my friends and family! Im so blessed!

Aside from the crappy blood work drama, my room makeover has my mind. :) AMAZING what paint and foofoo can do to a girl. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 13 "Thank You Note"

I wanted to dedicate this post once again to say Thank you. Specifcally financial donations because some of you I have not met and I wish I could write a personal thank you note to each of you, and maybe one of these days I will, however for now, please know how thankful I am! For every dollar that has been donated, it has taken off a pound of a weight of my shoulders. Thank you so much!

For all my friends who have been at my house on a daily basis (or close to). Thank you!

For all of my church family....dinners day in and day out. Thank you!

Gifts, flowers, notes, hugs, emails, FB, Songs, pictures, kids, ribbons, visits, text messages and everything in between. Thank you!

For my sister. I love you more than you know and wouldn't get through my day without you near my side. Thank you!

For my mom. For giving me mommy hugs everyday I see you. Thank you!

For my wonderful, supporting husband. For telling me how beautiful I am, knowing how ugly I will be feeling inside. For praying for me every day, for hugging me extra tight, for always being willing, without saying a word. I love you. Thank you!

If I missed something, please know its not my intention. THANK YOU. From the little things to the big things...the level of appreciation is the same. I am just so thankful for all that you have done, and continue to do!

I pray that God blesses you for being HIS hands and feet!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 12 "Preparing my life isn't as easy as I thought"

GRUGH!! Can I just scream? I told myself to blog earlier because I was feeling "normal" and I wanted to write about it, but I got wraped up in more laundry and then as soon as I started thinking in my head "I can do this" life gets in the way. I hope this doesn't sound dramatic, but my mind can't handle life. I feel like Im so short with the kids over little things, because my patience level has gone from 0 to a negative. :)

Trying to get my house in order so that when other people are here, I wont feel embarressed if my bathrooms need cleaned, or my towels aren't where they need to be, or there isn't enough toilet paper....and so on is absolutely draining. I will worry about this, so dont tell me not to. :) Im trying to think of all the things I need for my room, paying bills, making 504 appointments for Isaac, laundry, ministry, chore list, sanitizing...AHHH the list goes on and on. When I was "normal" and "healthy" I could handle all of that. But here I am with a deadline. I need all of this done before I go under for what feels like FOREVER. Trying to do all of this when my brain is thinking about cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer is torture.

Today was actually the first day without any doctors appointments. Which is GREAT! I cleaned, I did a bazillion amounts of laundry (and still going) went to lunch with my mom, went to the bank, went to the grocery store and came home and did more laundry. But as soon as the kids come home, my whole mindset changes. HW, Teachers, Field Trips, Reading logs, Math,  Agenda's, Stories, Lunches, what I didn't put in their backpack, who didn't bring home their homework, tears, screams, sadness and so on and so on sets me off.!! I can't do what I am thinking. I can NOT hand over my life to someone else while Im stuck in a room. How would they know what to do? What bills to pay? Where to do take the kids and when? I know I wont be dead, but I will be laid up from a pretty heavy surgery plus the chemo AND I have to work too. Ugh...Im sorry for the venting session...but if you want to know whats in my head...this is it. Overwhelmed. I have already been helped so much by others and I am so grateful but I feel guilty. I think in my head "Gabbee, you have the same cancer that you had two weeks ago and you were working two jobs, full time ministry, full time mom, wife, friend, sister, and daughter and I could do it" What is so different now? The unknown. The emotions. The fear. The doctors. The traveling. The what ifs. The testing. The phone calls. The insurance. The schedule. The next year of my life. That is what is different. I have a new normal that hasn't really fit into my kids normal life. They haven't changed.

Today I thought about my last will and testament. What if? I mean...I wont lie and say its not a thought in my head. What if I go in for surgery and more cancer is found. What if I wake up with my lymph nodes gone because they were infected. What if? breaks my heart. Im trying SO HARD to be strong...and everyone keeps telling me that I am strong...but why do I feel so weak?

I feel like Im in a tornado watching everything around fly off and its so dusty and windy that I can't see the outside of the tunnel. That is the best way I can describe my thought process. When will the tornado die down so I can see clearly? I pray so much for clarity on my tests, but not really praying for clarity in my healing process. I need to see the end of the road which is "Gabbee is a survivor" but today was not the day.

Whew....I think I just got a free counseling session.

Anyway....Im sorry for the negative...I crave to have the positive. I really do. Bear with me. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 11 "Plastic Surgeon, Shopping & MRI Results"

Well first, I want to tell you that I got my MRI results today. The MRI showed that there is another small abnormal mass in my right breast (same breast). The other breast is clear. Praise God.  The doctor gave me a choice to get a biopsy if I am stern on the lumpectomy but my decision is to do a masectomy. I want it all out. ALL OF IT! I am still waiting on my blood work results for the Gene test.

When I got the call, I was standing in Sally's Beauty Supply store. I told my doctor to just call me, because the trips into Scottsdale is just wearing me out. So as I was buying nail polish remover and my phone rings. I looked at the # and knew. "Gabrielle, its Maria from Dr. Lui's office". "Hi Maria". "Gabbee, we got your results from the MRI" and the stumbling of words begin. I almost just wanted to say it for her. But she is precious and a God Send. She gave me my options but I told her that Im done and I want it out. Of course that isn't the final answer yet because of the blood work, but atleast I know that I will lose one of my breasts. She reassured me that everything will be ok and that they care for me. I guess I couldn't have asked for a better nurse.

How am I feeling? Annoyed. Scared. Shortness of breath. (which happens everytime I hear more news). I am scared because I dont want this cancer anywhere else other than what I can feel. I just want this out and my Plastic Surgeon is going on vacation. So end of August, beginning of September will be surgery. Please pray for my blood work to come back quickly and negative. :) I did pray for clarity and it happened so Thank you Jesus!

Ok, so I am going to rewind to the fun part of my day. Dr. Admire. Im SO GLAD that I went there with my sister. I find it VERY funny that I said I would never get implants but here I am, picking my size of choice. So we walked in. Yes the receptionist was "worked on". LOL...My sister just looked at me and laughed because I called it. Its kind of like everyone in the dentist office has beautiful teeth. Just works that way. :)

Anyway, the office was BEAUTIFUL. I mean..they are in Scottsdale on Princess Drive. I went into the room and waited with my blue gown. My sister sat with me until the "consultation" was over but left when the "Lets have a looky" started. Im a bit this is VERY hard for me. He looked, tugged, felt, stretched, lifted, get the picture. Then he said "Im going to get my right back". So there I stood, getting pictures taken. front view, left side view, right side view. UGH!!! I hated every moment of it.

Anyway....He was SUPER NICE, very professional and very thorough. :) He told me my options, what he will do, what size he recommends, etc....I dont think he hears this comment very often. "I just want to be the size that you are taking away" LOL.....

Then I went off to get my bloodwork done at my breast surgeon's office. I love them. They are darling. Hugged when I arrived, Hugged when I left. Big answer to prayer.

After that, we went shopping for my room makeover. That was fun. Did you know how much pink stuff there is? Everything! Its amazing. And of course, its fun to buy now, but never wanted to before. Go figure. Im really excited about my room makeover. Thank you to all my friends and Family that are making this possible. I can't wait to see the final results.

Anyway....Im off to get the kids.Thanks for your prayers donations. It is helping!! Please know that! We are $6000 away from getting approved for health insurance. They will count our medical bills as our financial outgo, which will put us back in the "approval" bracket. Im thanking God for Cory's hospital bill. $4600. :) Only $1400 away now. The one time that I like to hear the amount of a medical bill. Go figure!

Day 10 "MRI's, Cats & Bedroom Planning"

I feel so guilty for not blogging yesterday. But as soon as I walked in the door it was kids, dinner, homework, guests, and bedroom planning.

Yesterday morning I was able to finally hear my very own song that Carla wrote for me. It was great. I cried and laughed and really dwelled in God's comfort through the song. I can't wait to share it. Hopefully sometime today it will be on my facebook & Blog.

I had to go to my MRI in Scottsdale. So before you know it, 12:00 was here. Off to get gasin the car, and Debbie so we can start our hike into Scottsdale. It's far but well worth it. Some of the best doctors are in Scottsdale and I wouldn't want to go anywhere else. let's just say that I paid $250 yesterday as a partial payment to be TORTURED! If you have had an MRI, you will know what I mean. Especially an MRI of your breasts. YUCK, YUCK YUCK!
I had to get this IV of "dye" so that it would dye my tissue and they can compare. So after the IV, I go into the room with this BIG WHITE TUNNEL MACHINE THING. The nurse says "mam, there is no easy way up here, so just hop right on." Thanks for your comfort dear nurse as Im trying to be modest. Anyway...So because it was a breast MRI I had to lay on my belly, put each of my breast into a hole and lay there for 45 minutes. The best part? "Mam, Im just going to grab your breasts to make sure that they are pulled all the way in and hanging free so we can get some good pictures". Sure dear nurse..pull, tug, yank, all you want. GRRRUGH! Anyway, the nuse said "what raido station would you like". Well I opted for KLOVE..."whoot whooot" but it didn't come through, so 99.9 I got. I dont know why they even put headphones on you, they should put ear plugs in your ears. You can't hear the music through the loud jackhammer noise anyway. Speaking of the noise! REALLY? As far as our medicine has come, you would think that they can design this machine to be noise free. Well maybe soon, since I prayed for 45 minutes for that to happen. LOL

And that is what I did. Pray for 45 minutes. There is NO WAY I could have gotten through that MRI calmly without God sitting right beside me, rubbing my back and calming my spirit. We laughed together. If you think Im crazy, than whatever, but we did. Everytime I had a minute of silence I would ask God to calm my spirit and then came the jackhammer noise....and I would literally giggle and I know He was too. That was the ONLY highlight of the MRI.

Having an hour or so ride home with Debbie was just so uplifting. What a great woman of God. Im so blessed that she is able to walk alongside me during this. Learning about her and her story and just hearing how much she loves God is really uplifting. Especially when you just paid for toture. :)

Cats...oh my dear Cleo. I received some information about the damage that Cats can do to chemo patients. It makes me very sad, very stressed to think that we might have to take her away from the kids. She is our pet BUT my life is not worth the life of a cat. One scratch from her, Im done. One disease that she brings from outside, Im done. So, we are looking for someone to be a foster parent for one year to Cleo. To allow the kids to come see her. The last thing that I want to do is take her away from the kids, when they already are having to give up so much. So if you are reading this, and know of someone that would want to foster her, please let me know. Female, 5 years old, spayed/neutered (not sure of the right terminology for a female) but she is fixed. She's a great cat!

Bedroom Planning! Im really excited about this. Because of the chemo, and my kids, I am trying to find a room that can be my "recovery" room. We chose my bedroom bcuz that is where I am most comfortable at. New cozy comforter, paint, fluffy pillows, drapes, shelves for my awesome trinkets and a place for medication/dressings...and what not. I have a team of girls (maybe guys) that are coming to help. I am so excited to do this. I have about 2-3 weeks before surgery and then chemo following so I need to get organized, get clean and get my stuff together so I am ready to beat this cancer. I don't want anything gettting in the way from my survival story.

Today I have my plastic surgeon appointment. Dr. Admire on Princess Road. Oh blog should be interesting on that one. :)

See you later!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 9 "Gifts"

I wish I could take a picture of all the gifts I am receiving to share with you guys. I am amazed! Today I got a special card from a women at our church. She just started coming. Her name is Carolyn. She had breast cancer that has spread to her bones. She walks around with a smile though. She gave me a card. A beautiful pink and purple card that warmed my heart. She had such encouraging words to say.

Then I noticed some of the teens from church wearing purple. They looked adorable. Im posting a picture too. These teens have been texting me almost daily asking how they can help. Well yesterday morning they got up super early on a Saturday, got dressed in their purple clothes, put their breast cancer pin on and went to the park to take pictures. They took the picture of them holding hands walking towards the camera, put it in a purple frame, and glued a purple and pink ribbon on the side. When they all approached me and handed me this gift, of course tears started flowing down my face. When I look at this picture, I see Jesus. I have known 3 of them for a few years now and two of them are family. I've shed tears with them all at some point in time that I have known them. We have been through more together, than one would think. From car accidents, to stepping into a new phase in their life. to falling away from Jesus and asking how to get back, to life experiences and feeling alone. I've heard it all from them and I love them. Thank you! This was dear to my heart.

I thank all of you for just going out of your way and thinking of me. I wish I could thank each and everyone of you, and I try my best...but if I haven't, please know that I hold it close to my heart.

When we got home from church, after we ate lunch, the doorbell rang. I ran in  my bedroom to get dressed appropriately for company while my husband answered the door. There was a BEAUTIFUL vase filled with pink roses from my secret sister. I feel so bad for her. If she only knew when she got my name...that she would carry such a heavy responsiblity as my secret sister. LOL! She is doing such a wonderful job! I love her and I don't even know who she is. I wont lie, and say I don't try and figure it out...but I guess I wont know for sure until the day is revealed. :)

This morning was a bit rough mostly because of the lack of sleep I had. I get very anxious going into public places where I will know everyone. Not because I dont want to talk about it, but because I sense the feeling that people are feeling weird around me. Please know that I am still Gabbee. I am not contagious. My husband noticed that he has more women coming up to him now than men. LOL! Welcome to the world of Breast Cancer Cory! :)

I had an argument with my mom before church this morning. After she excitedly gave me books a journal and a hat, I started to cry and she went into Mommy mode, which I wasn't ready for. I couldn't handle the words "Its going to be ok" or "maybe you wont have those side effects from the chemo". I need reality. I need honesty. I have been hearing "sugar coating" from day one...and look where I am now? I wasn't prepared for this. I rather prepare myself for the worse, get strong doing it, and then when it hits me smaller than imagined, I rejoice that I had so much strength. After bickering...I got up and hugged her. And we cried. Then I ran to the bathroom. I think I was so mad that I had a good day yesterday and today was not that same way. I think I need to concentrate on learning how to live my new normal life. Boy, I wish I knew how.

Anyway....I feel the love. LOVE LOVE. Purple LOVE which is way better than any other kind.

Day 9. "Insomnia"

Ugh...woke up at 5:20am. Tossing and turning all night. I was so tired after our fun filled day so I thought, I could just go to bed and crash without taking my sleepy pill. Bad Idea.

I had this freaky dream...and realized how many people that were important in my life, dont know I have cancer. I wish I had a phone book from every friend that meant a ton to me so I could tell them. Yes Facebook helps...but believe it or not, some people dont have Facebook. Crazy I know.

I have a little 6 year old laying next to me. She just wanted to cuddle last night, so I opted for some cuddling in the comfort in my bed. That cuddling lasted all night.

Cory stayed up waiting for Isaac to get home from the baseball game. Thank you Clarence for taking Isaac. I will post pics later. It seems like they had a blast! So..since Cory was waiting for Isaac, Cory is on the couch sleeping and Isaac is next to him, fully PJ's. I did get up at 1am to go make sure the "boys" were ok. I woke Cory up and told him to come to bed. He woke up and said "where am I" LOL....I sarcastically said "look around" and said "come to bed". He did. He apologized for not being next to me. Bella squished in the middle of us and then when I woke up at 5:20, he was gone. Bella must have kicked her way to his side. I am assuming that he said "forget this, Im going back on the couch". LOL...We do have a comfy couch.

Well today is church and a bday party at the pool. When I think of a pool Ithink of what next summer will be like. Will I be wearing a bathing suit for women with a masectomy or would I be normal in that area, but with no hair? I can't seem to think about my new future with every thought I have.

Xtrav,Volleyball, Summer camps, Fundraisers...ugh, all these ministry events that I will probably be missing this year. I know your first thought is "its only a year for the quality of your life" but it means alot to me. It make me realize how we could never be too sure about our future. Its not in our hands. "Dont worry about tomorrow for tomrorow will worry about itself". "Sigh"...but its so true. I had a friend tell me that she never commits to anything over a year. Good stratergy.

One thing that I dont want to lose is ministry. I started to talk about it last night with my very dear friend and youth Pastor. I tried so hard to strategize the way I would 2 weeks ago, but I couldn't. It all seemed stressful to me. I have so much to worry about, so much on my plate, so much to think about. I have my life that I need to reserve but those kids are part of me. I wish I had a good median.

Well, Im off to prayer time before my day starts. God has a lot of work to do. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 8 "Shopping"

I wish shopping cured cancer. I'd be healed by now.

Today Amy took went with me shopping so I can spend my gift card that I got. She also bought me PURPLE VANS!!!! I am soooo excited to wear them! I love them! I was like a kid in a candy store today. I just love purple. She heard me say that I wanted them awhile ago and since this all happened, I got spoiled. :) So tomorrow I get to wear my pink sparkly shirt from Hope and my purple vans. This puts a BIG smile on my face. I feel normal.

So we raced into Casa Grande and went to Marshalls. I got new undies. LOL...I did this not because I needed them, but when you are going through this, your undergarments seem to be seen more and more and you have no privacy. So....I decided to get new ones. Pretty ones. :) I got a few sports bras, tanks, a shirt for church and some comfy cozy pants. Ohhhh it was soooooo nice!

While in Tilly's I found a bracelet. "I love BOOBIES". LOL...It sounds weird but it’s a breast cancer awareness foundation.

This is my world now. Full of pink ribbons, boob organizations/bracelets, hats, scarves, bandanna's, sports bras, pink rings, pink bracelets, my name it, and they have it. But it does really help. Every girl likes to shop, so why not shop for things that make you feel pretty in a dark situation.

Tonight Cory and I are going on a date. Oh I can't wait! I can't wait to sit and talk and laugh with my husband. I’m going to try my hardest not to talk about boobs, cancer, chemo, books, websites, hair loss or doctors. I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m going to try my hardest!

I think I know what I will do when I have a bad day. SHOP! :)

My mother in law Paula called me today. I probably have mentioned this before, but she is a breast cancer survivor and we were with her 90% of the chemo/radiation treatment. She called to tell us that she and Dave (Cory's dad) will come down either for surgery or chemo. Whichever we decide. ONE HUGE WEIGHT was lifted off my shoulders. Because she has been through all of this. I feel so happy that she will be here to take care of me while I am laid up...either boobless or from reconstructive surgery. She reminded me about "early menopause" and that my hormones are going to be out of wack and I will have some crazy mood swings and hot flashes. I reminded her that I do remember when she had her hot flashes, when we would all be at her house in double sweatshirts and she would have a tank top. LOL! It’s crazy to reminisce about that.

It’s going to be ok. Everything will be ok. I’m going to learn to accept tears and fears, but I won’t let it run my chance of survival.

Day 7 Treatmen Plan

Many of you have asked what my treament plan will be other than the obvious "Chemo." I didn't get a chance to go over in detail about my 2 hour consultation appointment with the Breast Surgeon and it means a lot to me for everyone to know my beliefs and my choices.

Before I begin, I want everyone to know that my treatment plan is a personal choice between Cory, myself and my doctor. If I felt in anyway that this plan was not what God wanted for me, I would know. I would know that when I was in the doctors office, I would know that this has spun out of control. However I have seen first hand what my treatment plan had done for hundreds of women, including my mother in law. That is part of my comfort. Survivor stories.

I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. My tumor measures at 2.1cm. Results show that there is no lymphovascular invasion. Praise God. They labeled me at a stage II cancer however if my tumor was a tad bit smaller I would be at a Stage I. I caught it early. Praise God. I am in the early stages of cancer. Im glad I checked. So here is my mini plug. CHECK YOURSELF!

Anyway, I will give you my options if the MRI and BRCA tests come back negative. (Ill explain that later)

***Lumpectomy/Radiation/Chemo gives me a 8-15% change of the breast cancer returning.
***Masectomy/Chemo gives me less than a 5% chance of the breast cancer returning.

That is a personal decision that I have not come up with yet. Chemo is something that will happen regardless of my surgery choice. Chemo doesn't define the stage of cancer. It defines the type of cancer.

MRI:  The MRI is being done because my tumor isn't very obvious on the mammo so she is concerned on what else "can't" she see. I feel very comfortable that she ordered this, because I want all avenues checked out. And my other breast will be checked in depth as well. My prayer is that this test comes back NEGATIVE. Its on Monday at 3pm. 45 minute ordeal, laying on my belly with my TaTa's in a hole. LOL...Funny I know. But that is my new life. Get used to this terminology. :) If the MRI comes back positive for other findings, a mastecomy would probably be a better choice, depending on where the findings are, if it has spread, if my tumor is bigger than what they see, etc...

BRCA: This test is being done because of my age (Falling in the 30% category) and that we have no family history and our family tree is small since my parents are both only children. And tons of other factors. This test will determine if I am a carrier. This is important to know for my daughter. My niece, my sister. However if this test comes back positive my whole percentages change. My chances of cancer coming back (not only breast) is very high and its also very high for ovarian cancer. So....if that test comes back positive, its an automatic double masectomy and eventually my ovaries will be taken out. Alot to swallow huh? Yup, welcome to my new life.
So, please pray for that test. NEGATIVE.

So, that is my road for a few weeks. I will also meet with a plastic surgeon on Tuesday. I will have fun blogging my experience from that. So look out for it, because the Dr.'s name is Dr. Admire and their address is on princess drive. LOL! Really? Come on! How does that happen. HaHa...

Anyway, I didn't give this information out for opinions. I will be honest. I gave it out so you can support me in any decision that is made. I trust my doctor 100%. I prayed long and hard for her, and He gave me her. I feel peace about her. I feel peace about her knowledge, her passion, her compassion and her desires for my life. I got to read her dictation notes and I felt like a friend was writing about me. It was amazing to hear her thoughts on me, my family support and my concern and most of all my treatment.

I also wanted you to know I am still waiting on my insurance approval. It sounded good. The lady on the phone was SUPER SWEET! Thank you for praying for her. She told me that she approves me in her heart, but that its up to income. All based on income. No matter what you have. We actually fell $46 over the income limit. UGH! I almost screamed HOWEVER she asked for all medical expenses incurrred from June, July & August. That will go in effect for our "outgo" ratio. PRAISE GOD since I we have over $2000 in bills since I was diagnosed. I think we will be fine. I am not concerned so much. That is God right there. Peace. Lots of people have been praying for peace. I feel it. Please dont stop!

Thank you!