Connecting along the Journey of Breast Cancer

Monday, April 30, 2007


I have belatedly written this blog. The last two months have flown by as the chemo was coming to a close. The last rounds of drugs given were challenging as they were administered with steroids and that seemed to get me. Also, I think the accumulation of the chemotherapy finally made an impact on my exhaustion level. My energy was good at times and then I was out of it for a while. I let my body tell me what to do....when I was tired or felt yucky...I just gave up and went to bed. I learned that sleep was the restorative agent for my body. I am trying to listen to the rhythms of the body more intentionally now.

My last chemo treatment was given on April 2nd! YEAH!!!!! I cannot say enough good things about my oncologist and the chemo oncology nurses who treated me. They were always so upbeat. I sat there at times hooked up to IV bags going into my port with strong drugs killing the bad and good things in my body. I truly had overwhelming feeling at times. It is scary yet so incredible that there are such powerful treatments for cancer. It is not a picnic for anyone on chemo. By watching those around me, I realized we all were enduring what was to save or maybe extend our life. I have come to admire anyone who is on this journey. It truly is the unknown for a person. Once the word "CANCER" has been introduced into your life, you are a changed person. A person who becomes aware of the mysterious enemy that lurks in your body. Hopefully it will never appear again. After all this treatment, that is indeed my prayer.

As I may have noted earlier in a blog, the day my oncologist, Dr. Heather White, said I was doing well and she would consider me a poster child for cancer, my heart sang. It was a ray of hope at a time when my blood count was down and I was not at my best! Those rays of hope are what cancer patients hold onto. HOPE....I am thankful for that has new meaning for me now!

After consultation with the oncologist, surgeon and radiologist, it was decided that I was not a candidate for radiation after all. I had been told early in the process that I would have 6 weeks of radiation. I am relieved to not have radiation. If I had needed it I would have done so but not doing this is a gift to me.

I will be receiving a targeted treatment of a drug which is to help in protecting my cells from letting any microscopic cancer cells in if they still exist. I will get the drug by IV in my port every 3 weeks for a year. Treatment goes on! This will be a kind drug and hopefully will prevent anything from ever emerging again.

BACK TO WORK!......At last I have returned to work. I am so grateful for the medical leave which I was given through the diocese for the time of my surgeries and treatments. My oncologist thought I had done well due to being able to focus on my treatment and healing process during this time away from work.

I have been back for 3 weeks now. It is good to be with the staff whom I have missed. The first two weeks were a little rocky as the last treatment was working on my system. As the chemo is leaving the body though one begins to feel better. This past week I really did feel much better.I am going to pace it as I get back into the stream of things. I am aware that now my body is recovering from the months of treatments. I hope to be wise to take these steps of the months ahead with a steady and calm pace.

I am so thankful for all who have been so supportive of me over these past 7 months. I could not have done this alone. I have so much gratitude in my heart for all the prayers I have felt from across the diocese and beyond. I have felt such humility as people have offered their servant hearts to me and done so many things for me. Thank you all so much for the cards, meals, visits, calls and true hearts of concern.

I have felt so loved and want all of you to know how much I love all of you! You all have kept my HOPE alive and for that I am so blessed. Thank you for being a part of God's healing process in my body!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A glimpse at Carol's many do's during chemo!

Dad and I out at church!

My friends, Elizabeth Hedberg and Ashton Fox Johnson. Elizabeth is a PA and Ashton is my Family Medicine Doctor! Both are cool friends from youth ministry and Camp Trinity days.

Lisa Aycock, a youth minister and dear friend. Lisa was one of the pro's who originally shaved my head!

Beth Crow, Diocese of Southwestern Virginia who was the keynoter at the Diocesan Youth Celebration. This was the first event for me since the journey began! It was wonderful to be back with the youth of the diocese!

This was the first premiere of "Olivia", my wig. I have to is easy to grab your hair and go. Little maintanance for sure!

A true blonde...I am not!

Baseball hat on Dad's 82nd Birthday on December 31, 2006 with my brother Mark and sister-in-law, Laura.
My St. Mary's buddy, Nelle Keeley. We were a little pink and green at my hair shaving party!
My cancer gifts from family with a cute white snow hat from my brother.
My wig, Olivia, at Dad's 50th Anniversary to the Priesthood on February 14, 2007 with the Rector, Sonney Browne, of Trinity Church, Chocowinity.
Margaret Maron, a NC author, who went to school with my aunt. She writes murder mysteries. I enjoyed her bookreading and program with my black hat that day! This was a treat that Mimi Quick took me to for the Literacy Society at the Tipsy Teapot in Greenville. It was a nice outing for me!
The Russian look from my friend Butterball, who is my primary source of unique hats. This was brought back from Russia by a missionary. Flaps up in this picture.
Flaps down....Eastern NC just did not get cold enough for this hat!
The Bugs Bunny Look! is Sylvester! What a hoot!
An evening with David and Lorinda Umphlett and their son, James. Bless James' heart! He just could not get over me having a hairdo similar to his or was it my glasses?

Mimi and I with my fuzzy hat! My favorite hats this winter...I had a black, purple and teal one....all from my brother!

Elizabeth and Charlotte Daniel on my hatless day!
Bishop Daniel and Anne with my wig, Olivia!

"Pretty in Pink"
My multi-colored hair which I wore to greet the Trinity Church Christmas Carol group at Dad's house. I do not think the little children knew what to think. She is a "crazy lady" was written on their faces though!

I have wanted long hair for awhile even it is purple. On that beautiful hair is my "Turkey Hat" for Thanksgiving which my friend, Butterball sent me to be festive over the holiday! Did I ever look like a TURKEY!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Dear Friend....Vicki Peterson

February 24, 2007 - Yesterday my computer was in a rest mode and random slides were popping up on my laptop. This picture of my dear friend, Vicki Peterson, popped up and made me smile. Tonight this picture, makes me smile but along with that smile, I carry sadness in my heart.

My dear friend, Vicki, died this afternoon. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor on November 20th, had surgery then chemotherapy and radiation over the past two months. She got pneumonia and has been in ICU over the past two weeks. Vicki fought hard but with her family by her side, she left us to be with our heavenly Father freed from the struggling she had been through over the past months.

Of course, through the sadness of all left behind, we struggle with loosing sweet Vicki but we know she is with our Lord. She was such a faithful and loving servant in her walk in life. She touched the lifes of so many people through her love for others. She was a wonderful wife, great daughter and sister, loving Mother to her children, friend to so many in her spiritual community and beyond. She made a difference to so many in her social work, therapy and advocacy for others. She was truly a gift to the world!

This picture is of the special time we shared this summer at Adventurers Camp at Camp Trinity with campers with developmental challenges. Vicki and I loved being a duo in our program time with the campers who we so dearly love. Seeing this picture spoke to me yesterday before Vicki died and today says so much as well. Her smile and her angel wings exemplified the wonderful person she was to all of us. Angels are my thing and tonight I know Vicki is among the cast of angels with our Lord and Savior.

I ask for your prayers for her family this night and in the time ahead. Pray for Richard, her loving husband; Erin, Mike and Chris, her wonderful children; Emmy her faithful Mother, Jenny, her dear sister and other family members Greg, Larry, Elizabeth and Alex. Bring peace and comfort to their hearts in the loss of loving Vicki.

Tonight, I also pray and feel gratitude for all who have offered care of Vicki: her family, her church community, friends from many facets of life and the medical community.

For Vicki, our dear friend, may you rest in peace this night and for evermore. Thank you for being the angel in many of our hearts. We love you and will miss you. Peace my dear friend!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


February 18, 2007 - I regret that blogging has not been my focus over the past 6 weeks. I have had a period of chemo which has been somewhat challenging and I have just not felt up to writing. I am fine but moving on through the last three treatments has been fairly taxing. I will give you a quick recap to catch my friends up on the latest.

Dr. Heather White, my oncologist - she
is an alumna from St. Mary's College in Raleigh - As I told her she is a younger alumna working on a healing a older alumna. She is just wonderful! The scarf is made by my friend from my United Way days in Columbia, S.C. - Nancy Wiegand. It definitely helps give me some color with my new look of no eyelashes!

January 5, 2007 - This was the last of my first four treatments with two drugs. The journey of those two drugs primarily gave me the feelings of naseau. Thanks to the anti-naseau meds I made it through the last session. I began to realize in January there was some building exhaustion. I have really tried to listen to my body when rest has been warranted. I have to say, I was glad to get through these first 4 treatments which began in November. Now, I began to prepare for the next 4 treatments which should be easier on my body.

January 26, 2007 - Well I began my first of the next four rounds with two new drugs on this day. I have to say much to my surprise, they did not go as well. I had some reactions while receiving treatment and the chemo nurses were wonderful as they worked with administering the drug more slowly to allow my body to receive the drugs more easily.

Unfortunately, one of the two drugs along with a steroid given did not settle well with me. I had a number of physical side effects which were not comfortable nor probably very safe over the weekend after this new treatment. Over the three week period awaiting the next treatment, I really have not felt good and have had some very interesting effects. I have been wired up real tight, not sleeping, emotional, short of breath, swelling of legs, loss of eye lashes, loss of a good deal of my eyebrows, and some swelling in my face and eyes. As I have told several, I think I really look like I am a chemo patient now!

Had a trip to the Emergency Room this past week with some symptoms I could not second guess. After 11 hours in the ER, all has checked out ok. I do have some anemia apparently.

Each week between the four 3 week treatments of these two drugs, I have to receive one of the two each week. That means I have chemo each week on Friday. That drug seems to be fine for me.

February 16, 2007- I had my 6th treatment of the total of 8 I receive in the entire chemo segment today. I should be done with chemo at the end of March if all goes well.

Dr. White, my oncologist, was very wise in listening to my side effects of the past three weeks. Upon reviewing my side effects, she decided to reduce my steroid dosage some. Also, she was able to explain some of the side effects I have had over the past three weeks. Some of my drugs have been tweaked to help in balancing my chemistry better with the steroids. She also noted that why I was feeling some of the side effects was that my red blood cell count was lowering. She gave me something to begin to build those cells up which may take some weeks to come. I will be getting this drug over the next weeks to build the count. As you know these are the good cells. I do not want to loose them for they combat the white cell count which brings more complications.

Since my chemo treatment on Friday, I have had less complications from the steroids, thank heavens. They are not my friend but are necessary for some of the side effects. I am feeling some of the side effects still so we will have to see if the steroid reduction will be ok. I am content with the lowering of this drug unless something else pops up.

What I have noticed since Jan. is that my energy level has decreased. I have definitely not felt as well and know these chemo drugs are working hard on the body. I have had two long naps over the weekend which tells me my body is trying to recover and integrate the drugs in my system.

In all of this, I continue to remain in awe of the entire experience. There are so many people who continue to pray for me and offer care and concern. I feel I am beating the cancer but this is the process I must go through to be healed and achieve wellness in the future.

I was asked in a store the other day if I was a survivor...I guess the baseball hat and my bald head cued the person. I told her I was not a survivor yet but was working on being one. She said she was a survivor of 15 years. I thank all of the women whose lives have touched mine and assured me of the chance to survive breast cancer. Now I am going to keep work on healing from this disease for I want to say: "I AM A SURVIVOR!"

On Friday, I took pictures of all the wonderful staff and the Doctor who is treating me in chemotherpy. They are such caring persons who are committed to walking through the journey of cancer with so many folk. I am so grateful to be on the journey with them.

Each week I am reminded of just how lucky I am in this pursuit of wellness. Cancer is such a dreadful disease. Many with whom I have sat in the chemo room are struggling. For each of them, I pray for their recovery and healing in whatever manner it best! This disease truly can touch anyone!

Here are all the wonderful oncology nurses who administer my chemotherapy. They really have huge hearts and caring and calming ways. I have really grown to respect each of them in the work they are offering in the health care profession.

On the left beside me is Leigh Vincent, a former youth ministry friend here in East Carolina, who is now serving in her profession as a oncological nurse. How neat it is has been to be with one of my friends from St. Timothy's, my church, and one of my young adult friends along this journey.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Some memories of folks in the past weeks!

The Diocesan Staff Family - What an incredible group of people with whom I work. I am so blessed to have these folk in my life! Thank you all for your support of me during the time of my cancer recovery!
Mary Linton Smith and Sue Smith (My St. Mary's College roommate and her daughter from LaGrange - Members of Holy Innocents, Moss Hill - Mary Linton is a Sophmore at Converse and is Co-Chair of Relay for Life at Converse. She has been attending National Conferences for Relay for Life. Thank you Mary Linton for your dedication to the Cancer Society work.
Trinity Church, Chocowinity Christmas Caroling - what a wonderful group! They are ready for the road I do believe. Thanks for sharing the spirit of Christmas with Dad and I. The Rev. Sonny Browne, The Elks, The Pooles, The Deans and The Taylor's - some of our kin folk!

Third Treatment in December

DECEMBER 14, 2006 - My third chemo treatment was on this day. This time during treatment I began to have a headache. I did not know that I would have that headache for a week at the time. The staff were most kind as always. I left the treatment knowing that my next treatment will be on Jan. 5th. I will be able to get through the two weeks of Christmas without chemo treatment until the new year!
I have to admit the third go round has been tougher. I had the naseau feeling for a full week with my energy feeling most depleted. I took more medicine this time after treatments and have slept alot which is the side effect of these drugs. I have felt more exhaustion with this treatment and for some the accumlative effect takes place with fatigue more present. After the initial week of fatigue, headaches and quizziness, I began to feel better. It is a mystery what is happening to me.


Friday, November 25, 2006
My second chemo treatment was given the day after Thanksgiving. As Dr. White had suggested, it would be nice to have a Thanksgiving meal before I had my treatment. She was correct and Dad and I were well fed and enjoyed the company of our neighbors, Greg Purser and Everett Duncan, who are also members of Trinity Church in Chocowinity. With several other joining in the evening meal, it was nice to be a table with others for this meal.
On Friday, I went in for my treatment with a hat on that my dear college friend, Butterball, had sent to me from Columbia, S.C. The hat was of a TURKEY! What a hoot! I did enjoy enjoy wearing it to the nursing home and then to the treatment clinic to at least have a funny experience as I began the next round of treatments.
Once again, Dr. White, was a delight! We were pleased to see that my blood counts were good and the second treatment began! The treatment nurse, Cindy, was so kind as I quizzed her with each step she took with the medicines I was given. It really is amazing how much anti-naseau meds are a part of the plan to help with the effect of the two drugs I am given. I must say they are working but have not prevented me from having feelings of great quizziness. I have had those quizzy experiences each time though it still is tolerable.
After this second treatment, I did feel ok but not as well. Days after the treatment I did begin to feel worse but prompting me to take more anti-naseau drugs which put me to sleep. After the first week of the second treatment I begin to feel a more normal. Once again, I am amazed at what these drugs are hopefully doing within my entire body.
The day of my second treatment I went to see my dear friend, Vicki Peterson, in Greenville after my treatment. Vicki and her husband and Mother are in a picture under my posting of my reflections on family and friend back in October. A brain tumor was found and she has undergone surgery since my second treatment. She is dealing with an aggressive tumor and will be undergoing chemo and radiation treatments as well.
Please keep my dear friend Vicki and her family in your prayers. Vicki is such a wonderful person with whom my friendship is deep from many years of youth ministry and camp which we have shared. I truly know that prayer has brought me far and for Vicki and all of her family I pray for their strength and courage in the time ahead.
Sorry...I am having a hard time with spacing and inserting pictures. I will post this piece anyway but harder to read. My apologies.

Time to catch up with everyone!

It seems that the last time I wrote was over a month ago. Alot has happened during that time. I have not either felt like writing during this timeframe or seem to have gotten several things in the way of my creative writing time.

In November just after my last posting, I was delighted to have my Father return to his home in Chocowinity after being in a nursing and rehab center in Greenville the day before Thanksgiving. As much as we both are most grateful for all those who have taken care of Dad during his stay, of course, being back home was what we both wished he could do. It has happened and for this we are most thankful.

With Dad returning to Chocowinity, I have stayed with him at his home as he settles back in. We have had lots of home health care staff who have been helping with his ongoing health issues upon his return. We have been adjusting to this return and feel it has been a good one for both of us. My pace of going to the nursing home has changed from daily to being stable with staying home and resting as the body has needed.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

On this Christmas Day eve I write to wish all of you a blessed and joyful Christmas season! I hope that each of you have had a day in which good memories have been made for your family and you.

In our family we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas Eve until the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. We have begun our time of celebration and truly I celebrate this day in thanksgiving for the birth of our Lord as a babe arriving as our Saviour in our midst. The blessing of this time of year comes to us in so many beautiful ways. It is a time of reflection of how a child blesses a family and changes lifes. Yes, Jesus, did just that. He blessed his family 2000 + years ago and today his birth blesses the family of the world.

My Father and I took our first big journey since all of our health issues began in August up to the mountains to be with my brother, Mark, and his wife Laura. It was indeed a journey for us since it had been many months since we had gone afar. We made the trip fine though we both were quite tired on Christmas Eve. Today we have had a more relaxed day after catching up on several nights of good sleep. As much as people love this time of year it is also an exhausting time for many with travels involved. For all of you who are traveling this Christmas season, I hope it is safe and enjoyable. For those of you, who are staying home, I hope you have a wonderful time with your Christmas celebration as well.

For today....I wish you all a very Holy and Blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Bald is Beautiful!

November 18, 2006 - Well here is the wildest post yet! I have taken a step ahead of loosing my hair fully from my chemo treatments and had a "Hair Shaving Party"! I must admit I truly had an incrediable experience! If I had know it would be so much fun...I would have invited lots of people.

To not build your suspense, I have posted some pictures with my impressions of the evening below. Get ready...this is stitch! I must say it is not my best look but truly I am a bald woman now!

I had been pondering how I might take a little control of my hair loss to come. It was projected that with the first three weeks of my first chemo treatment, I would loose my hair. I decided that I wanted to have the choice of when I would loose my hair instead of being surprised daily with a little bit here and little bit there falling out. On day 15 after my first chemo treatment, I took the plunge!

I received an email from a youth ministry friend of mine from Kanuga conferences that received my blog last week. Janice, from Florida, wrote to tell me she was on the same journey as I. She had a mastectomy the same week I had mine and was undergoing chemo currently. She sent words of encouragment and prayers to me. She also sent me photos of her hair shaving party. I was so deeply touched by her smiling face! The joy her friends shared with her at her party hit my heart in a powerful way! She was a model for me to say..."I can do it". "I will try to do it with grace and joy too!" Thank you Janice for sharing this part of your journey. Please keep Janice in your prayers for her recovery as well as we share this journey of breast cancer from afar!

WELL....I jumped in and decided to do go for it at the last minute. In 48 hours, I was hosting my "HAIR SHAVING PARTY!" The theme on my front door was: "Hair today...Gone tomorrow! Indeed it is now gone!

I am grateful for those who joined in the evening of entertainment. My creative friend, Lisa Shaw, arrived with a plethera of HAIR jokes, stories, trivia, games, a weekend certificates for me to Bald Head Island (Joke), a membership application for the Bald Headed Association which holds their national convention in Morehead City (I even have their conference registration, a photo album of computer inserted hairdo's on my head to imagine what I would look like: Cher, A Conehead, Mona Lisa, etc. The evening was full of laughter for all of us. Thanks Lisa for your witty ideas which brought a ton of fun to the party!

My friends wore wigs, scarves and hats of all sorts! They were so cute! Through the merriment of the evening, I finally said...."Are we going to shave my head?" Then the real FUN began!Everyone was so kind and loving as they shaved my head step by step! It was so wild for me to look at each stage in the mirror. I was freaking out but could not help but laugh because I looked so funny!

First everyone clipped a swatch of hair off my head. Next I got a short cut with the clippers, followed by a mohawk, then the full shave! Everyone took part in helping me step into the next stage of my journey! Thank you for helping this be less traumatic by joining in this experience supporting me!

Thanks to Sue Smith, Nelle Keeley (my St. Mary's College buddies), Mimi Quick (my dear nurse friend and advocate), Lisa Shaw and Lisa Aycock (Youth Ministry buddies who are masters at youthful gaming...they were both a riot!) and my wonderful neighbors, Debbi and Jeff Hazelton. Jeff was a trooper to join all the ladies. I think Jeff had a great time and was definitely most versed with hair cutting. Thanks for all the tips so there were not any accidental cuts to my head!

I must the end of the evening, I was so incrediably blown away at what joy and hope was given to me as a sincere gift by the group! I really felt that I could go to the next stages of treatments knowing that this part of my anticipation was behind me. I even had FUN!!!!!

I can not believe how much everyone warms my heart day to day as I see my friends, hear from them by phone, email or cards or feel the power of all the thoughts and prayers which are near and far being offered for my healing. God is in the midst of my exchanges with so many day to day. I feel God's embrace of comfort, peace and strength to deal with what is ahead along this journey. For each of these parts of the journey....I say thanks! I truly feel loved and do love all of you so much!!!!

YES....I AM A BALD HEADED WOMAN! It is a wild, wierd, strange and funny feeling to see the difference now. Yet... I really think it is cool and fills me with HOPE for healing along the way. Please continue to pray for all those who suffer from cancer and other illnesses that they may find peace and comfort along their journey as well.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Posts and how they work....

My blog is getting longer so some things are being archived. If you want to see postings from the beginning, click on the archives October 2006 section on the right side of the blog page. You can see what has been written in the past if you are just checking in. Also if you can not figure out how to connect with me...look on the right side and click on my profile and there is a email link to me by clicking on it. Send me a note anytime if you wish.

After the First Treatment...some of what I have felt!

I have been so fortunate this first round. I have had some fatigue off and on. The first week is the toughest. I had a blood count test my second week and all was ok. I have had some bone aches in my back, hips and legs. I thought it was because I was sleeping so much. Nope...Dr. White says it is the chemo acting in the bone marrow. Fascinating though glad to understand that reaction. I have also had two nights of insomnia...that is not me. I believe that is also a side effect of one of my chemo drugs. I am trying to be aware of those around me who might be sick because I may be vulnerable to their germs with my immune system.

With winter arriving...I am trying to be careful as I do not want to complicate things with an illness. Pray that I can avoid any respiratory infections as that is my weakness.

My hair has been thinning and I have just taken the plunge to move into the next stage of baldness. I will write in the next 24 hours about my hair loss. It is very entertaining! See you all during the next posting.

Doctors, Nurses and all the Care Givers in my midst!

I have been reflecting alot on the people involved in my care over the past two months. It really is amazing how many are involved in your journey of cancer. I have been so incredibly amazed at the teams of people who have been in my life over this period of time.

First, it was the kind people of Eastern Radiology who brought the concern to me of a problem with my mammogram. Preparing for a surgical biopsy was done in a most caring way by the radiology staff. The response of the staff of the Surgical Center was exceptional in their response to my anxiety of being put to sleep for the first time. Dr. Habal did the biopsy and he was most calming as I entered the operating room even though I was only awake a few moments.

Next came my contact with Carolina Breast and Oncological Surgery. This was my follow up from the biopsy. Dr. Habal and his office staff are just wonderful! To receive word of my breast cancer at my first appointment was very traumatic! The concern and care of Dr. Habal and his staff was just unbelievable in hindsight. I was quite overwhelmed with the news. To deal with people and the shock of having cancer is a tough job. The staff of Carolina Breast have been absolutely so kind and positive with me each visit.

Dr. Habal is truly a fine surgeon with a heart for his patients. With each surgery, he greeted me in the operating room with a positive attitude and assurance that I would be fine. His prediction thankfully was correct. I do think his forthrightness with me each time and willingness to help me understand my diagnosis has been very helpful. I am grateful for his outstanding skill as a surgeon.

During my first surgery, I was most blessed to have Dr. Ferguson perform a female procedure as well. She has been my gynocologist for years and truly is a Doctor who is has great compassion for her patients and their care. What a team Dr. Habal and Dr. Ferguson were in getting me through two surgeries that day.

At each surgery... my biospy, mastectomy, entrimetrial oblation and my additional lymph node dissection, I was surrounded by exceptional staff who were involved in my operations. I was so fortunate to have two phenomenal anestisiologists from my church, St. Timothy's. Dr. Duncan, the anestisiologist and Valerie Foster, the nurse anestisist. They were right there to make sure I knew I would be taken care of by them. I called them my "St. Tim's angels". They were great even though I did not know alot of what happened. I congratulate them for putting me to sleep so well. Most of all...I commend them for waking me up so efficiently! She is the best! A fellow youth worker of many years too! Valerie was so kind to make sure I knew she would be with me the whole time during my operation. She has been wonderful following up with visits and meals after my operations. What great folks at St. Timothy's who are in the medical field.

There were other great staff in the operating room who cared for me. Those who cared for me in the recovery room and at the hospital overnight after my surgeries were superb as well. I really was so amazed at the commitment to care for patients from each of these professionals. Truly to have gone through these surgeries with the care I received brings much gratitude to my heart.

I have been through multiple scans to access the presence of cancer in my body over these past two months. Of course, I was lucky once again to be greeted by a scan technician, Jane, doing my heart scan who I had done youth ministry with in the past. She was so upbeat with me and encouraging. Once again, a angel in my midst! NOTE: My scans seem to be clear too....That is great news!

Now I have begun my patient relationship with my oncologist, Dr. White, at Physicians East. When I first met Dr. White, she entered the room with the warmest smile on her face and immediately put me at ease. She made a deep impression with me as she explained everything so well about my cancer and the treatments I would be undergoing with chemotherapy. It is so very complex what the treatment does to you both in the healing process as well as what risks one might encounter. I must say all of this is so overwhelming yet I feel I am in the hands of another exceptional Doctor commited to the care of their patient. She has been very positive and honest with me. I really feel she has my best interest in mind with my treatments. I feel very blessed to be under her care for the next 6 months of chemo.

The treatment room for chemotheraphy has a fine set of nurses who are very positive as well. Much to my surprise, I was greeted my first visit by a nurse, Leigh Vincent, who is a young adult whom I have shared in youth ministry in past years. Leigh is from St. Timothy's as well. have another St. Tim's angel with me during my chemo treatments also is a gift. The nurse, Becky, who adminstered my first treatments gets the award for her upbeat nature and willingness to ask all my questions. She was a trooper as I asked about everything happening. She was very calming with me during my first experience of the unknown.

I have really realized how significant the medical world is in my journey of healing in my life currently. I truly believe God has been in the midst of each of these encounters. I am being surrounded by people who really care for their patients. For each of them, named and unnamed, I express my deepest thanks for you and what you are doing in my life and for my life! I say prayers of thanksgivings for each of you daily as you walk with me along the journey of breast cancer! THANK YOU!

Another huge angel in my life has been Mimi Quick, who is a nurse as well. Mimi has been there for all my surgeries, for my significant appointments with the Doctors and has stayed with me after my surgeries until I passed the test to be on my own in my recovery from each surgery. Thank you dear Mimi. Having a nurse oversee me has been beneficial. I have had some learning to do in taking care of myself and allowing myself to calm the spirit and allow the healing process to be in motion. What a blessing she has been to me! Thank you my friend.

Other care givers have been those who have brought meals to me (all very yummy)! I have had wonderful offerings from St. Timothy's folk, the diocesan staff, clergy, friends in town and out of town, my family and relatives, my college friends, my camp friends, my diocesan friends and my personal friends from times of the past and present.

During this time I have met some really wonderful people as well. Visiting Dad at Beverly Care has brought a dual sharing of care for my Father and for me. I have shared my journey with the staff of Beverly Health Care who have been very kind to me. They check in to see how I am doing each time I have been to see Dad.

The presence of all these CARING PEOPLE is so wonderful in my life. I have been humbled and so deeply touched.

For each of you...too many to name...I express my deepest thanks for all of you who have been walking along this journey with me! You are in my daily prayers with deep gratitude for your love and concern.