Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

OK, I know, it's been a LONG while since I've posted. Lots has been going on. Let me take you through it as easily as possible.

9/27/08 Had a shoulder ache again, took some Aleve and tried to relax. Still achy, so I began rubbing and my wrist slipped over a rather large lump on my breast.

10/1 Saw the doctor about lump. He immediately referred me to Providence Breast Clinic. Did NOT say "probably nothing".

10/8 Had mammogram and ultra sound...now scheduled for biopsy. Lump is "highly suspicious".

It's amazing how many commercials run about breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness month. I still have a while before biopsy...hate not knowing, but praying it's nothing.

10/17-19 Church ladies retreat at Warm Beach. Great time of giggling, eating, playing games. I did tell the ladies about my biopsy. I haven't shared the information with many...don't want to until I know something definite.

10/19 Zack has decided today to move to his Dad's house. My heart is broken, but he has stopped listening to me. I feel out of control with him. He is leaving his current school and will be attending a public high school. I know God is fighting for him and I know that he is in God's hands.

10/20--Biopsy this morning. Won't know results until 10/22.

10/22--I have Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. In English, stage 2 breast cancer. IDC happens to be the most common type of cancer and we have caught it early. I really don't feel much today. During the 1st ultrasound the realization came to me that I have cancer. I don't know why, I'm guessing God was preparing me. Along with the realization came the peace that only God can give. It's still surprising to hear it come out of the nurse practitioner. I had to have her repeat things several times. Still have other tests to see what treatment will be necessary.

10/28--MRI today. They want to see how deep the tumor is. They also want to make sure there is no other cancer anywhere else in my body. This will help the surgeons decide what steps to take next.

Now, more waiting. I will meet with surgeons next Tuesday (11/4). I really am feeling ok. Someone asked me the other day how I was and when I said fine, she replied, "You can't be fine all the time!" Truthfully, I AM FINE. I don't feel sick. I'm not scared. I miss Zack, but I know that God has everything planned and timed the way He wants it. Maybe I need this time to just take care of myself and not worry about a teenage boy who seems to be mad at me all the time.

What I need. People keep asking, "what do you need?" "what can I do?" Seriously, I will gladly accept prayers, hugs, laughs, etc. What I don't want...pity faces. You know the ones...the ones that are accompanied with "How are you?" in a drawn out, whiny way. I know those people mean well too and I know they love me and are at a loss for words...but I'm truly OK!

I will try to do better at blogging and keeping everyone up-to-date on my progress. I need the outlet...I have spent a lot of time talking to God and myself this last month.

Once again, I have to give God credit for having a sense of humor...breast cancer during breast cancer awareness month. Can't get much better than that.

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Swing

I just got back yesterday from our high school retreat. (another major difference between public and private schools). Retreat was fun, spiritually uplifting and a great time to get to know the kids in a different setting. I came away with a lot...but the best thing of all was my experience on "the swing". I will have enough devotional topics to cover a long span with my swing experience.

First you put on the harness. Then you climb up a ladder to a platform where Sean, the young camp counselor, makes sure the harness is tight and then hooks you to the line. I looked into Sean's eyes and said, "this is perfectly safe, right?" I wanted to see assurance...but I saw a myriad of things in those little 20 year old eyes...things he may have wanted to say, but knew that he couldn't...things like..."How would I know, it's never had to hold this much weight before." or "How's your blood pressure, you're looking like a heart attack just waiting to happen." or "Why do these schools always have middle aged chubby women who want to do something they've never done before?"

OK, so after you get the confidence boost from Sean, you have to step off of the platform. You are being held by a line that is being pulled by 6-10 students. They pull and you begin to rise. Thank goodness all of them had the good grace to just pull. I sailed to the top with ease and heard no grunting or groaning from below. The top is 3 stories in the air. I believe they said 60 feet...from up there, all I can tell you is that it felt high. So, there I am 60 feet in the air and I am the one that has to pull the line that will release me to a straight and steady fall toward the ground. You would think that it would be difficult to make that pull...but let me tell you about the harness and why it is NOT hard to make that pull.

The harness wraps around your body in ways that is absolutely NOT attractive. It accentuates areas that surely DON'T need accentuated. As I was rising from the 6 foot dangle...that's really all that was on my mind...I wasn't thinking, "God, let me live"...I was thinking, "God, don't let anyone take my picture in this harness. Please God, please, please, please."

So, when I got to the top, without hesitation I pulled the cord and what a feeling! You are suddenly in a free fall, then the line catches you and you are swinging...straight for a huge tree...but they have it all figured out so that you really are a few feet from the tree...guess that just adds a little more excitement to the whole experience. You swing back and forth for quite a while...I actually even forgot about how I was looking in the harness. It was amazing and I am glad I did it. However, until they get the harness thing figured out or I lose half my body weight...don't know that I will.

As I said, devotion material galore...stay tuned...I'm sure I'll use it eventually.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

ME Time

School has begun. This is the way it's going to be. There seems to be no time for ME. I squeeze in showers here and there, but other than that, I can't seem to get the time to do much of anything else for me...including blogging.

The schedule is crazy. Up at 4:30, put coffee on, find clothes for the day, (iron, if necessary), get myself ready, Ji up at 5:30, Zack at 6:00. Lunches to be packed, practice clothes, homework, lesson plans to be gathered. (All the while, trying to get enough coffee in me to actually wake up.) Out the door at 6:30 with much prodding, poking, yelling and threatening. It appears that neither of my teenagers is ready or willing to get out the door by 6:30. Drop them off at their bus stop, and then on through the morning traffic to school. I leave my school at 4:00, pick Ji up from volleyball practice at4:30, Zack from soccer at 5:00, face afternoon traffic and get home at about 5:45. Everyone is hungry, so dinner prep, eating and clean up until around 7:00. Zack usually has the computer until 9:00 and by that time, I'm at the point of exhaustion that I don't even want to sign on.

This past week we had something going several evenings. Monday was homegroup, Tuesday "back to school" night at their school, Thursday "back to school" night at my school, Friday volunteer appreciation dinner for church. Wednesday, the only night we would actually have had a free evening, my car broke and had to call friend (thank goodness my friends have great husbands). Car was towed, ($300 plus to fix it), they fixed us dinner and loaned us a car for a few days, but free evening was GONE.

One teenager (my own) was a handful...taking on another goes in the "what was I thinking" category. We are definitely having adjustments. Ji is definitely a teenage girl with a mind of her own. She came thinking, well, I'm not sure what she was thinking. As long as she is getting her way, she is funny and sweet. But if she feels that she is somehow being treated unfairly, she pouts, stomps, slams...any of you who have teenage girls know what I'm talking about. She says that in Korea, teenagers go out with their friends every weekend. She is learning that in America, we make plans, ASK PERMISSION, and do this with more than 15 minutes before said 'time out with friends'. She took her packed lunches to school week one, then said she didn't want them week two. She has money on account at the school for lunches, so I figure if she's hungry she can buy lunch. But then when she was angry at me Friday night for not letting her get in a car with another Korean girl (because her mother told me I was not to do this and I don't let my own son go out in cars with kids) she got very angry and told me that she needed to go because she was hungry. (this was after wolfing down a Big Mac, large fries, apple pie and large coke). I told her that there was plenty in the house to eat and she yelled, "YOU DON'T GIVE ME LUNCH!" Aaaugh. I'm sure she has relayed this information to her parents, but since they don't speak English, I haven't heard from them.

Zack, in the meantime, well, can't say much there except that some information was found out while he was at his Dad's last weekend and he is grounded for at least 2 weeks. No phone, no myspace...so every evening this week, he has spent at least 1 hour (sometimes more) pleading for just an hour...he doesn't take no for an answer. I guess he thinks he will wear me down. It is a bit like chinese water torture...drip, drip, drip. But, so far, I haven't given in OR physically caused him harm.

The good news...I love them both and am praying my way through it. I LOVE my new students and the school. The kids actually thank me when they leave class and I have gotten some great compliments from other faculty and parents.

I am going to work on finding ME time. It is necessary. When I give up ME time, I give up ME and GOD time as well and that makes things 100 times worse. I need to put aside whatever time I can for time with God...I do most of my praying on the way to school and on the way home...but usually on the way to school I am praying away the frustration of the morning.

All that being said, I also have to find blog time. It's cathartic, and something I really enjoy. I'm hoping things start settling into routine more and start falling into a fairly even rythm. That's my goal for this week.

Hope things are well with you.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's a Girl!

Ji (Hyoji Mun) arrived from Korea yesterday at about 1:30 pm. She will be living with us for the next 4 years. She is 14 and going into the 9th grade. She is a tiny bundle of energy. OK, I'm now making her sound too much like a baby...but she does weigh about as much as my left leg. And she is full of energy. After a 12 hour flight and probably very little sleep the day before she left Korea, I couldn't help but notice how energetic she seemed. I'm excited about the prospect of having Ji be part of our family.

I LOVE having a son. When I was pregnant, I knew immediately that I was having a boy...no medical proof, just a feeling in my heart. But, there is a part of me that always wanted a little girl too. So, this past month, in getting ready for Ji's arrival, I went crazy. First of all, I should say, I NEVER intended to go that PINK. I was wandering through Goodwill one afternoon and found a sarong that was bright pink and dark blue tye-dye. Now, understand that I was never much of a tye-dye kind of person...but the colors of this piece of cloth just jumped out at me. It cost a whopping 99 cents and I decided right then and there that this would be the focal point of Ji's room decor. Well, I found pink sheets, and after taking back the fuzzy, dark blue bed spread/blanket that was leaving dark blue fuzz all over my entire house, I found a deep rose (just another name for dark pink) bed spread. That wasn't enough. I was looking for some kind of cool pillow...something that screamed teenager...yet brought out the dark blue in the sarong. I didn't find what I was initially looking for, but instead found a beautiful pillow shaped like a flower...each petal is stuffed individually...it is silk and several beautiful shades of pink...and I think it made her bed beautiful. I also found her a cute little pink lava lamp...ok, by now I think you get the picture. I put the room all together and had Zack go take a look. He stared for several seconds, then turned to me and said, "I think you went way over the edge here."

As for the sarong...I don't know what I initially intended it to be...a table cloth, curtain, I really don't know...but I ended up putting it away. I made the room so girly looking, that it just didn't fit in anywhere.

We're going out shopping tomorrow for ruffly dresses and hair ribbons. (JUST KIDDING)

Have a safe and relaxing holiday weekend!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I posted earlier in the month about needing this to be a month of miracles...and listed a couple that I felt I needed. I have prayed and waited...and am still waiting.

J, as I told you, got her answer and even though it is breaking her heart to close her own place, she looks like 20 pounds of stress have been lifted from her shoulders.

V is getting dialysis 3 times a week. She looks better, feels better, and the appointment to begin looking for a new kidney has been (miraculously) moved ahead and that process can begin MUCH faster. Keep praying though so that she can get a new, improved kidney ASAP.

The two I needed haven't happened yet. Zack's school bill needed to be paid this last week so that he can register this coming week. I know that I will have the money next week (because we get a double pay check at the end of this month)...but that means he won't get to register for classes until after classes begin. Ji arrives this Thursday and we are still in the same house. It will be ok for a couple of months, but the goal is to be moved out by Nov. 1st and that will still take the grace of God.

A realization hit me as I was praying about these needs the other day. When I think of a miracle, I think of things like the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus walking on water or turning water into wine. I really have to stop thinking like that. Miracles take place EVERY DAY! This week alone I have risen healthy and alive each and every day. I have driven safely to work (believe me, that is a miracle around here). I have made new friends. I have felt at home and happy in my new work place. I've been loved and appreciated by family and friends. The sun has been shining the last couple of days. I could go on and on.

I don't need the parting of the Red Sea. That's nice once in a while...but if it happened every day then it wouldn't seem like a miracle. I am learning to appreciate the every day things as miracles in themselves.

Hope you experience a bunch of miracles today.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to school

My summer is officially over. I started work again yesterday (Monday). These first couple of days are training days. It's been great to hear about the history of the church and school that I now work for. I have also been meeting some new people (since I have the opportunity to teach at a different school this year...different school...same school system). First thing Monday morning I met another new teacher at the school and within five minutes we discovered that we both moved to Washington from South Carolina. As a matter of fact, we lived within just a few minutes of each other several years ago. Small world, huh?

We still have a couple of training days and then finally into our class rooms to prepare. I'm excited and anxious to get in there and start getting ready for the kids. I am teaching 4 classes of Seniors (Current World Issues) and 2 classes of Sophomores (World History). I really love the CWI class because there are SO MANY world issues to discuss and I learn almost as much as I teach. I love the opportunity to get into discussions with the Seniors. They are on the verge of a whole new life and it is challenging, as well as rewarding, to have the privilege of seeing them start to realize that a whole new world is getting ready to open up for them.

It brings back a lot of memories too. (Yes, I still do remember back that far.) I remember my Government class. Our teacher kept a bottle of vodka in her desk drawer. I guess she didn't think we knew this. She kept a coffee cup on her desk and just enough coffee in the cup to make sure the liquid was brown, but she wasn't too careful about sticking the cup in her drawer and refilling it. By the end of class, she was well on her way to being sloshed...sad thing is, I had her first period. There was a presidential election my senior year and so we learned a lot about the election process. My best friend and I had to be "campaign managers" for the candidate that Mrs. S was NOT endorsing. Our whole group got nothing higher than D's...no matter what we did... because she hated our candidate so much. The principal had to step in and make her change our grades. She was also in charge of measuring us for caps and gowns. I don't think one of us had the right sized cap...so there was a lot of exchanging on graduation day to find one that actually fit our heads.

Thank goodness we are more careful about teachers these days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Last Two Weeks

On the first weekend of August, Zack and I went camping with our church home group. We had a wonderful time. Our friends have found a piece of heaven on earth and it was a great weekend of relaxation, good food, good friends and good fun.

Last week was a busy one, and I had a purpose in mind. I wanted to make sure that all my painting and housework was completely done so that I could truly enjoy this week. So, I FINALLY finished the last two rooms that needed painted, also caught up on laundry and housework. This is obviously an area where I am not like my Mom. When my Mom starts a project, she works until it is done. She will work 20 hours a day on that project until it is actually done. It still might take her a few days because she often starts new projects in the midst of the current project. I, on the other hand, "pace myself". I work a couple of hours, then rest a couple of hours, then rest a couple more hours before I work another hour. This makes a major project last an entire 2 months (as this painting project has done.) Anyway, the painting is done! Yeah.

This week has been relaxing and enjoyable. I wanted to have one week where I do only what I actually want to do. I'm finding out that that isn't as easy as it sounds. It's Wednesday and I feel like I've got to pack about 6 weeks into the next 5 days. I feel like I haven't accomplished anything. Does anyone else feel this endless need to "accomplish" something?

This week also began with a reminder that I have a critical spirit. I know that this is an issue that I need to constantly work on. It comes so naturally to me. I was raised in a critical atmosphere, but that's no excuse because I haven't lived in that atmosphere for many years. I try to use sarcasm and wit to disguise it, but even though I think I'm being funny, I'm still being critical and negative. This is an area that I need to fix.

Next Monday I'm back to work. Even though I'm wishing that "summer" wasn't coming to such a quick end, I am excited about what this school year is going to bring.

Have a great day!