Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Laughter is the best medicine

I posted on Facebook Monday that I had dinner with my long time friend Michelle Smith and we just laughed and laughed.  Gosh it felt so good to tell stories to each other and laugh and make jokes.  She has to be the funniest person I know.  We had dinner together at Chipotle and it was a blast.

I have mentioned before and it bears repeating that anytime I can feel like myself and forget all the nonsense it refreshes my sense of self and re-invigorates me for the battle.  It is tried and true advice that when life is kicking our pants we need to reach out and connect.  Even Michelle can testify to how many times I have lectured her that when she feels down that she needs to reach out to me or other loved ones.

Well folks I have to tell you that I am a person that God has blessed immensely.  There are many, many wonderful people in my life like Michelle Smith.  There are so many of you pulling for me, praying for me, fasting for me, and reaching out to me.  I can feel your hugs and squeezes even the ones from afar.  I feel like a surfer buoyed up by the staggering amount of support that I am receiving.  It means so much to me.

I want each of you to think about the people in your life that mean a lot to you.  Is there anyone whom you haven't spoken to in awhile?  Have you been too busy to have lunch with the girlfriends?  Is life kicking your pants?  Do you want Michelle's phone number?  Just kidding.  Call your Michelle and invite her to lunch. As you laugh and laugh and become reminded of the best part of yourself you will thank me.  You will thank me but the person who truly deserves the thanking is yourself because stopping and taking time with loved ones is what it is all about.  Ok gosh I am getting sappy but I am having a George Bailey...It's a Wonderful Life moment and I am feeling astounded and blessed that I am so loved.

And FYI I checked the statistics tonight on the blog and it has been viewed.....drum roll please....508 times.  Wow.  Zowie.  Hey how come some of you haven't joined or commented?  Unless of course the ten people who are following the blog have read it 50 times over each.

In Search of that Illusive Peace

Well, Susan has mentioned that Paul and I have been almost frightened out of our minds by this disease and the threat it brings to Susan and our whole family.   Fear does terrible things as you know and as I have learned first hand.  The worst thing is that is drives out peace.  No more blissful nights sleeping, you now wake up in the middle of the night and then lay there with your mind if full gear, imagining the worst.   Fear is like a giant invisible black cloud that follows you everywhere and negatively colors every moment of every day.  Yesterday, Susan journaled some of her methods for taking back control when fear starts to well up.  I have some methods of my own that I will add tonight.  Unfortunately, time is up and I am heading to work.  Have a great day everyone and thank you for your prayers for our family.  God is working in a powerful way and I am excited to be able to share that.
OK, back at it.   One weekend a few months ago, after another particularly bad piece of Susan news, I sort of curled up in the fetal position on the couch and just hibernated.  I was a low as a snake's belly and just couldn't force myself to do anything except feel exceedingly sorry for myself.  I didn't walk, I didn't swim, I didn't do anything that could even vaguely construed as fun.   Sunday evening I asked Susan what she had done.  She had gone swimming with a friend, had gone out to eat, had watched a few favorite movies.  I thought to myself, "self, learn from this."  So I have tried (operative word- tried) to live in a more positive way, believing that if I put the right efforts in, the right feelings will follow.  This has been mostly successful, and doing active things, (swimming, walking, zumba, spending time with friends, convincing Andrea to go out to lunch occasionally) has helped.  So have my prescription 'happy pills' that I finally decided to go onto when I found I couldn't concentrate and was altogether too weepy for my own comfort.  I have found some other methods of keeping busy and positive.  I try to keep the television off most of the time.  The news and talk shows are just too darn depressing.  If I need noise, I put on my favorite music or watch a really good movie. I have reconnected with a lot of my old standby Christian favorite songs and they feel like a comfortable old friend.  This past weekend, I really got into a PBS special of "South Pacific."  It was just beautiful and I watched it a couple of times.  I start each day with a short devotional and end it that way too.  I sometimes cook for other people, I enjoy that and so do they it seems.  And I TRY to keep my mind focused on God's truth. Philippians 4:8-10 is a great verse  "Finally, brothers (sisters too), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ... And the God of peace will be with you".   If I keep my mind pointed in the right direction and try to live in "today" and not allow myself to get caught up in the worries of tomorrow (do not be concerned with tomorrow, each day has enough troubles of its own) I do better.  I have also gotten involved with a neat group of Christian ladies in a Bible study who have supported me, cried for and with me, prayed for me, and been free with hugs.  And of course, every day, Susan and I, Tan and I, and Paul and I, all catch up on the phone and share laughter and the events of the day.  Even though I am hundreds of miles away, I feel connected and involved with the ones I love.  All for now.  Becky

Monday, August 30, 2010

We are looking for Suggestions. Please help.

I am starting to hear from many of you regarding this blog and how much you like it.  Some of you have even used the word uplifting.  Wow!  What a compliment. 

I would love to get some suggestions on topics, questions about things you are curious about or other things for my mother and I to address. 

You have to be a member to comment on the blog but you may also email me directly suzi890801@msn.com.

Thank you,


How to Stay Calm in the Midst of the Storm.

Many of you know that I work as a therapist and offer counseling to those with PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, and relationship issues among other things.  Often I see people coming in or those that I know who suffer from what I call busy mind syndrome.  There is so much going on in life these days that our brains are filled with swirling thoughts.  It is an important discipline to know how to calm this storm and be at peace.  There is a portion of our brains that simply enjoy worrying.  It is what they do and they do it well.

2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.

This verse serves as an important reminder that we do not have to be afraid or live in fear regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in.  We are called to live our lives in love, in peace and with a sound, rested mind.  I have met few people who actually know how to achieve that.

I attended a training with an amazing woman named Myra Tovey who taught me the principles of heart centered living.  She teaches her students how to get out their busy minds and into their heart which leads to peace. A lot of information has come out regarding the intelligence that God put in our hearts (http://www.heartmath.org/) as opposed to the intelligence he gave us in our mind.  Heart Math offers biofeedback equipment that teaches you how to reach a peaceful state by focusing on your heart.  Many therapists I know teach their clients how to do this using computer programs.

Learning how to do this requires practice but it does not necessarily require any fancy equipment.  Here are the steps that I used to learn this.  I put my hand on my heart, I take a few deep breaths, which help to quiet the mind, and then I focus on unconditional love coming to me from God.  Feeling this love keeps me out of my head and puts me solidly in my heart.  I can then pray or meditate on Him and stay in this place. 

Doing this instantly transforms any fear, worry or stress that I may be feeling and puts me back in touch with where my heart and mind should be. It works.  Try it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Emotional Support

A theme that keeps coming up as I talk to family, friends, acquaintances, and clients is that everyone seems to be at a loss of how to provide emotional support.  It touches me that I am so thought of and loved that the people in my life would struggle with how to tell me.  Everyone seems to feel the need to do something.

I can tell you that for those of you who are local visiting me, having lunch with me and helping me to feel like my normal self is what I crave the most.  It doesn't have to be often or in some expensive place.  I have received many gifts so FYI I have a lifetime supply of lotion and body wash.  ;) 

For those of you that are not local a short email or facebook post telling me that you are thinking of me is great.  You can send me inspirational pictures or a joke or even a funny story.  Sending a card is nice but cards build up and I have a small house. I feel guilty when I contemplate throwing out a card that you have spent time selecting and have purchased. Email blasts are preferred.  Attaching pictures of yourself would be cool too.  Then I can see your face.

Also I feel filled up with love to hear that so many of you are praying for me.  I believe in the power of prayer so this is a wonderful thing to do.  Well I am off to visit a friend and see her completed remodeling projects as I am planning to remodel  my tiny home.  Having things to plan and contemplate help me to have hope and gives me a positive things to think about.  Anyone who wants to help me with pictures and suggestions I would appreciate it. 

Will add more ideas later as I will be late.


I was spending a little time with The Father this morning before I head off to work and I started to pray specifically for Susan that God will give her a day free from pain and filled with joy.  The second part is easy because she is and always has been joyful.  It is a characteristic that Tan has inherited and it delights us.  Then I started to lean into God about healing and started to journal that God would indeed heal the bruised and broken places and heal them completely.  I began to tear that word HEAL apart and see if I could make an acronym out of it that made any sense at all.  So here is my attempt and I challenge you to ponder over it yourself as you pray that word for her.  Please share your efforts.  I hope your day is filled with blessings and joy too.  Off to work.
H    Heavenly  
E    Explosive
A   Anointing
L    Lasts
oh well, I'm new at this and terrible at scrabble too.             Becky

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Journey Of Countless Steps

As I lay in the hospital back in October 09 trying to come to terms with what was facing me the very first thought I had was that people beat cancer all the time and if they could I could.  I had wondered how I would handle myself if I were ever faced with something so severe.  Am I really as strong as others believe me to be?  I searched within myself but could conclude only a resounding YES!  My spirit shouted, "I have guts all day long."  Not poetic I agree but it will suffice to get the job done.
This has been a distasteful journey where many of the steps were most unpleasant ones.  I had to grit my teeth at the thought of having a bone marrow biopsy and then another in the same week.  I would have done nearly anything to save my parents from being so frightened.  It was painful to have to give up nursing my son before I was ready.  I didn't enjoy surrendering myself for port placement..in case I needed chemotherapy and don't even ask about the six months of chemo.

Some of the steps felt near impossible as I faced not being able to drive for awhile.  I didn't particularly care for the shopping in a wheelchair and I didn't think I would legally be able to park in a handicap parking spot for quite some time. I was not allowed to pick up my son for 3 months.  Sure I held him but I couldn't run to comfort him and lift him from his crib.

I could continue here but I'm sure you have derived my point.  Through all of this I kept going.  Some steps I took gingerly.  Some with strain and pain but other steps were easier.  Some steps were assisted and other steps were cheered on.  Along the way I found ways to comfort myself.  I am inspired by the song The Climb sung by Miley Cyrus.  I put this on You Tube and it gives me a lift.

Each day that passes my son learns new things.  He is quick to smile and he loves to learn new games.  Each session that concludes I am grateful that I have helped someone reach a new step in their journey.  At night I lay my head down and talk to my husband.  He is always good at making me laugh.  I am happy to have found him and I enjoy my life with him.

Life is a fabulous adventure.  Each step brings us closer to the completion of a masterpiece though we don't get to see the big picture until the end.  I have met so many wonderful people that I would not otherwise have met if it were not for this segment of the journey.  I want to be clear that this is not my journey.  It is not my wardrobe, not my identity, not my favorite color and not my journey.  This is a segment on a journey of far greater importance and I want all of you to know that I am happy and filled with peace. 

Your emails, visits, calls, cards, thoughts and prayers help to sustain me as I take each step.  Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for donating part of your journey to pray and assist me with mine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Father God, we agree with Susan and ask you to pour your Holy Spirit power into her bones as in the day of Ezekiel and bring what is dead to life and what is damaged to healing.  We pray that you focus our petitions as a laser and target the areas that need your divine healing.  Father, may her body so be healed that the healthy bone takes over and overcomes the diseased.  We pray protection for her in this process, strength and energy, freedom from pain, refreshing sleep, and joy for the journey.  Then we can also be witnesses of what you told Ezekiel "Then you will know that I AM LORD" (v6c) when you have accomplished your work.  We praise you in the powerful name of Jesus. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ezekiel 37:1-14

I would certainly hate to engage in some one-upping with Bible verses but these verses speak to me regarding my situation.  Cancer cells are cells that mutate and begin to run their own agenda.  It has always seemed wrong to me to visualize the cancer being attacked or cursing the cancer cells or even to regard them with hate.  I work instead on visualizing God breathing life into me and / or filling me with His healing love.

In this chapter God asks Ezekiel if the bones can live and Ezekiel replies, "O Lord God Thou knowest."  He is instructed to phrophesy over the bones.  In verse 5 it says "Thus says the Lord God to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life."

Many people are praying for me and we are believing in and asking for a miracle.  I would ask that you pray these verses over me and ask God to breathe new life into my bones so that I may stand strong and once again be fit for battle.


I've been thinking about the Shumammite Woman (2 Kings 4)

She should be called the Shunammite Mother because her story is all wrapped up in her son.  Her son was a miracle along the lines of Sarah and Abraham's.  A gift late in life when she had given up and now her son was dead.  She has a curious response that I've been thinking about.  First of all, she hides him away in Elisha's room (a little rooftop space she had created for him so he could rest there).  Then she asks (informs) her husband that she needs to pop over to Mount Carmel (15 miles) to pay a visit to the prophet.   Evidently, she has told no one including her husband that the boy is dead.  And, when her husband asks why she needs to make this sudden trip, she responds "shalom" - translated "all is well".  She gives this same reply to Elisha's servant when she is asked "how are you, how is your husband, how is your child?".   SHALOM.  ALL IS WELL.   The end of the account tells us that Elisha worked yet another miracle in this woman's life and the child was restored to life.  But it is her answer that has me thinking.  I wonder if her refusal to acknowledge her son's death, gave that death no room to ever be a fact.  I wonder if my answer to people who ask about Susan (and my answer to me) should be "all is well."  All is well because we trust God.  All is well because He is soverign and in charge.  All is well because all is well.  Maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't give that cancer credit for anything.  I shouldn't give it any room or any power or any strong hold.  All is well.  It really is.  Becky

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Beginning

Actually, we're sorta jumping in mid-stream.  Our Journey Together is the story is coping with the onslaught of breast cancer in our beloved daughter and our battle against this monster.  It is the account of how we will not allow this beast to win and what we will do to overcome.  It is the story of love, committment, and devotion in multi-generations and of ultimate victory.  It is the account of Susan's amazing strength and determination and of how God sustains and supplies.   Becky

Friday, August 20, 2010


Head and Neck: No abnormal activity is seen in the visualized soft tissues of the head and neck.  Chest: No mediastinal, hilar or axillary adenopathy is seen.  There is a 10-mm soft tissue nodule in the right breast which shows no increased uptake on PET scan which is probably an area of incidental fibrous tissue.  This is unchanged from previous study.  Abdomen and pelvis: There is no physiologic (physiologic = good) distribution of radionuclide in the soft tissues below the diaphragm.  Since the previous examination, the right ovary has been removed (actually both have been removed).  Musculoskeletal: Since the previous examination, there has been marked progression of osseous (bone) metastatic disease with extensive malignant involvement of nearly all osseous structures.  Compression deformity of L3 vertebra is unchanged.  Maximum SUV in the pelvis is 30 compared to 10 on the previous examination.

Previous Examination: June 30, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Important Info Regarding Cancer and your Teeth

I visited my new dentist in Colorado Springs to have some cavities filled.  The dentist was a very nice young man who gave me some important information that I wished I had prior to starting chemotherapy.  If you are in the Springs I recommend you give All Smiles Dental Group - www.allsmilesdentalgroup.com - located at

3715 Bloomington Street #160, Colorado Springs - (719) 599-0665 a try.

Here is the info:  apparently chemotherapy dries up your mouth which leads to increased risk of cavities and gum recession.  It is therefore, important to keep your mouth moist as much as you can.  Your dentist can fit you for trays so that you can do fluoride treatments at home.  He recommends this daily.  It will kill off the germs in your mouth and help you stay ahead of the game or atooth as it were.  If you refuse to go to that kind of trouble or expense then he recommends buying ACT fluoride mouthwash and using it 3-4 times daily.  Yes I said 3-4 times each day.  Finally he recommended to me that I buy the Sonicare electric toothbrush because it has a kill switch and will not allow you to use too much pressure.  This is needed to assist in being gentle enough to not cause gum recession.

Get your teeth cleaned before you start chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy works to kill all rapidly dividing cells in your body.  This includes your cancer, immune system, cells in the mouth and esophagus and stomach.  Do not have dental work done during that time as this could lead to a serious infection and worse.  Wait a couple of months after your treatment has stopped and just to be on the safe side ask them to do a very gentle cleaning.

Incidentally you are not supposed to have manicures or pedicures done either especially if on equipment used by a salon or that is regularly used on anyone besides yourself. 

Oh and while I am on a roll postpone all tattoo work until well after your immune system has recovered.

I know how important your appearance is to you so please seriously consider the above steps if you are newly on the journey.