Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thank you Jesus!!

This time last year, I honestly wasn't certain whether or not I would survive to see this Christmas. I am ecstatic! While my health has not quite yet caught up with my head, this year is so much better than last. I am 7 surgeries in and holding up..well, I have a cold, but in my case, that just doesn't count! ;)

And EVERY Christmas we have so much to be thankful for, so first things first. Thank you Lord...for being. Christmas is because of Who we celebrate- Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He came into this world through Mary, the immaculate virgin of Nazareth. .....and for always being there for me, in light, in darkness, in strength and in weakness. Even when I turned away. You were there. You are there. I hear you - more than ever before. I see all the little miracles now. And I am certain that I have missed many in years gone by, but I silently wait and hope you will continue to show me more. And you do. I am humbled by your grace. You are my every coincidence. Amen.

To my breast cancer sisters, I pray for you each night. You are never far from my heart. From my mouth to God's ears, I pray for your speedy recovery. Timi, Janet, Suzi, Norma, Adrienne, Cindy, Debbie...there are so many of you that I could name another 50 names.......For each one of you, my wish is peace and hope.

My new definition of HOPE is this: Humility, Obedience, Pampering, and Empathy. We should be humble; courteous and respectful of others. Obedience is that we should care for our bodies as God intends and treat it as a temple. We should find the time to pamper our own tired bodies, and others for they fight some kind of battle, too. And finally, empathize with others to understand who they are and why they feel as they do. These things will help make all of us better people.

My last message this beautiful Christmas evening is in regard to another type of blog. On Facebook, we have a "Random acts of kindness" blog. I love it. There are several people committed to doing at least one kind thing for someone else each day. I am so very moved by this group. I hope it becomes HUGE and I would love to see everyone I know take one day and pay it forward or perform an act of kindness. There is so much unjust and there are a lot of people who could benefit from your smile, your hand, an opened door, a bag of groceries.....heck, buy a stranger a lottery ticket...who knows, YOU could change their life. That may be a stretch, but you get the idea.

So, today, while this may not be so random, here is my story. I have been under the weather, but I got up and did it anyway....I have a brother who has spent more of his life behind bars than not, he has hurt many of our family members by lying or stealing. I could go further, but its not necessary. I took cough medicine, ibuprofen, put on my best smile and went to see him on this Christ-mas day. After having to wait for more than an hour to get in, I finally got to see him and was glad I went. It did us both a world of good. We sat and talked and laughed with some other folks nearly the entire time. And I fed him - lots of junk food. His favorite is a honey bun with peanut butter with m&ms mashed up on top. His smile was so genuine and he couldn't believe that I came to see him on Christmas. I knew that it had been important to him. He is my brother, and I miss him. And I smiled to myself as I thought, "I know, I know...WWJD? He would visit." Message received. Like I said, I'm glad I went. While you cannot change stupid behavior, you can promote harmony and give of yourself to help another.

While this may not fall into the category of a random act of kindness and I don't really think it should, I tell the story because it is the immediate effect my visit had on my brother that is the moral of the story. When you do something, big or small, for another person out of love or compassion you bring something special to their day......and in that one special moment all is exactly as it should be.

My children have been blessed with an abundance of gifts and I have had the ability to "adopt a child" for Christmas. I bought her many things, and trust me, it did more for my soul than it will have done for her this day...but oh how I would have loved to have been there when she opened her Princess Barbie......that was number one on her list!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope that in your day you have kept Christ in your 'mas and listened to him as you've gone about your busy schedules. Take the time to quiet your soul and hear him for he IS talking to you.

And, now, how does all of this relate to my cancer and Christmas. I am here, and I get feel, live, smell, laugh and take it all in. Every single breath of it. And my promise is to continue to keep Christ front and center, do good for others, random or not, and always, always, keep HOPE in my life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

One Set at at Time

Ladies - and men! I just want to share a recent FB email with you. It is the reason I started this blog, and continue to do this blog. It is also my Christmas wish for every woman who reads this that they will mark their calendars to schedule their annual mammograms and perform their monthly breast self exam. It could save your life.

In its entirety, my friend and old co-worker sent me this about one week ago:

"Just wanted to let you know that I had my mammogram done and the girls are healthy as can be. Viera diagnostics, who does the mammograms, gives roses to each of the women who come in for the test. The technician who did the test was so nice too!

I felt important and respected because I went in for my test. Sounds so silly when I see it in writing however, I really wanted to share this with you because of all you have been through and you inspired me to make the appointment.

Thought this would bring a smile to your face. Merry Christmas Arla, for you are a shining star".

And that note, my friends, made me feel like a shining star this week. To know that she is healthy - and took the time to do this important test.

Merry Christmas to all of you. May you be blessed beyond your wildest dreams with peace, good health and happiness.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lucky 7

This morning I had my "Lucky 7" - seventh surgery that is. They finally worked on reconstructing my nipples. I was wide awake for the entire thing - now THAT was different. A little freaky for someone like me. I don't like blood and guts - especially my own. BUT, as usual, they did a fine job.....thought I might just wrap myself up, slap a bow on me for a Merry Christmas!! LOL!

It certainly will be merry. After all, how could it not be? I am here and I have the ability to help myself and hopefully help, or at least lift the spirits of others, too.

This Christmas, I bought for a young girl, 3 years old and it brought me such great joy. I remember being that little girl some years ago. Dirt poor and nothing for Christmas but a dinner - which was fine for me because we didn't know anything else.

As you get tossed about in the Christmas rush, I hope you remember the true meaning of why we celebrate. So much has gotten lost in gift giving instead of being thankful and honoring our good Lord who gives us so much and who was born and died for us.

Wishing you safe travels and a peaceful holiday season.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saying Goodbye with Grace

In her words: "There are times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I
do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful." Me too, for every single day. May God bless you and your children and may you rest in peace Elizabeth.

I knew when I read her post here on FB early this morning that the time was near. She spoke of her children and these words. In my eyes, she put a face of grace and timeless beauty on breast cancer. She endured great hardship and now she has gone home to our Father. I had only prayed that it would be after the holidays for the sake of the children. I am saddened by her loss and my heart aches for them this evening.

This evening, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has faced this battle. It is a tough disease and we do the best we can. Thousands die and thousands live. Rich or poor, black or white, male or female, it does not discriminate, it just does what it is designed to do: destroy.

This is your gentle reminder to do your monthly self-exams to look for unusual lumps or bumps (or something that just isn't right for you) or to get your mammogram if it has been more than 12 months and you are over 40 OR have a family history of breast cancer.

Together, we can make a difference in this battle. Here's to hoping we find a cure and find the cause.

Love to all.