Thursday, January 30, 2014


I don't like to be cold.
I don't like the icy wind on my face.
But watching God blanket the earth in snow
waking up to the winterized mountain view first thing
watching angels play
and the sun glistening through melting icicles...
what's not to like.  

Happy very cold Thursday y'all! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recon Redo- The Switch.

I went for my post-op visit yesterday.

December 14th I had my second surgery for the reconstruction.  The big switch.  The one where the expander's come out and the implants go in. The one with the skin grafts.  The one Dr. Thomas says is easy. The one that's supposed to make me "normal" again.

After months of recovery from the initial surgery, being stretched and carrying around the uncomfortable, hard expander's inside my chest-  I was ready for this one.

waiting, the worst part

This surgery was supposed to be outpatient, but I had some trouble waking up from anesthesia- and was in a lot of pain.  The internal stitching for this surgery is more involved- making the pain different but still intense. So, I was admitted and enjoyed the morphine pump for a while.

That's kind of a lie, there isn't anything enjoyable about a morphine pump after surgery. But having Shayne come to town to check on me, that made me smile.

Shayne, the best surprise 

It was a challenge having surgery less than two weeks before Christmas. With post-op restrictions, there was no wrapping presents, cooking, laundry, etc.  Shopping was completely out of the picture.  So I was thankful for my sister who came and stayed with us for 10 days after my surgery- and Mom and Larry who wrapped all the presents for us.  I'm not good at being still- so I'm thankful that at least for this season God slowed me to a stop and forced me to watch the season of Christmas from my couch - giving me a different view than the normal busy busy of the season.

Renee, making her famous cookies.

These surgeries took a toll on me. More than I expected.  I blame the drugs but the truth is- when you go through life and body changing reconstruction- you try to move on as if everything is the same, but it isn't.  You can only avoid thinking about it, going through the motions for so long.

The pain searing through your chest when you reach for anything, hug your kids or simply try to comb you hair reminds you that you're different.  Feeling like a mummy in your own bed because moving hurts keeps you in that place.   Privacy- hiding from others when trying on clothes or changing at the gym becomes huge. Nervous about how your husband will look at you from now on- all constant reminders.

I never hear the words breast cancer without a sting in the pit of my stomach catapulting me to that place of sensing something was wrong oh so many years ago.  And gratitude that God gave me that sense- and through all the yuck of exams, biopsies, mammograms, surgeries, disfigurement and reconstruction- twice- thankful that I am cancer free and I didn't have to go through chemo or radiation to get there. It's an emotional connection that I can't explain- a sister-hood of understanding the fear and the courage in the survival journey that are all different but in some ways the same.

Pastor Jake spoke recently on Habakkuk. He talked about the importance of expressing our true self to God- our feelings, frustrations, fears, anger and grief.  Acting like I'm supposed to, like I'm fine when I'm struggling- is just that, it's an act.  God wants us to be real with him.  Questioning God isn't doubt- it's an act of faith.

It was comforting to me, because I've wondered why God would save me from cancer but still take me down the path of loosing my breasts.  I don't have a clear answer yet, but I'm asking.  And one day maybe it will be clear.  But for now, I'm taking it a day at a time and admitting this is a very hard road.  I'm not spitting out that I'm fine and I got through this unscathed.  I didn't.  After months  of uncontrollable crying, an inability to focus, yelling at my kids for being kids and the dog for being a dog, forgetting everything important, not being able to think clearly, plan or follow-through on anything I admitted that I needed some help and asked my Doctor for some medication.

I share that with you only because it's a struggle, as a Christian, to admit that we don't have it together.  That sometimes life's circumstances throw more at us than we can handle on our own and trusting the wisdom of physicians to help us.  I spent years in shame because I thought I had to keep up the "act" and it can't be done.

God is our Wonderful Counselor, I can be honest with Him, but that doesn't mean I'll get the answers I'm looking for.  It doesn't mean you'll get the answers you're looking for.  But we can all find peace in our relationship with Him.

Other than suggesting one more minor office procedure to complete the process, I was cleared yesterday- no restrictions.  The pain I'm still experiencing is normal and Dr. T promises it will eventually go away. I am learning a new normal, and am so thankful for a skilled surgeon who takes the ugly and transforms it.

Eventually I'll look in the mirror and not be shocked with what I see.  And that 8- 10% chance that I will have the same complication again.  That I could find myself in this same place a few years down the road.... well, I'm leaving that at the feet of the cross.

Me, I'm going shopping for new clothes.



Happy Wednesday y'all!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let's. Just. Get. Over. Ourselves.

Today, I became aware of another family crumbling in the wake of divorce. It makes my heart sad.  And my heart was already sad to the brim- with the recent choices of a family member to walk away.  To leave the life and the people once promised to love until death.  It's almost more than I can stand.

I thought on it today and couldn't wait to get to the keyboard to pound out my frustration.

Oh, I know that marriage isn't all about the puppy love eyes and giggles and talking all night long.   I know it takes two-  two committed to the hard so they get to enjoy the good.  Two keeping promises to love- for better and for worse.  Two sticking it out in good times and in bad.  When we marry, we make promises- vows because this marriage thing was never promised easy.  My heart breaks for the one who is committed, who wants to keep the promise and stick it out- the one who is left to pick up the pieces because the other half of the two walks away for a new start.

So why do people who promised they do, don't?

Why do I get frustrated and angry at the man God blessed me with nearly 28 years ago?  Why do I struggle to put him and his needs first, before my own.  Why do I get lazy with my good intentions to adore him?

My sister sums it up best today in her own thoughts on this epidemic of marriage quitters.  She calls it
the ripple effect.  I don't know that I can write my own thoughts better than she did, so I encourage you to hop on over and check it out.

I don't have a daughter who explained her Daddy moved out, I was the daughter.  The ripple that started all those years ago still has effects on my life today.

So, back to that question of why people don't?  Why I don't succeed most days at being the Godly wife I'm called to be?

Selfish.  We start thinking it's about us.

So, in the words of my sister- let's all just get over ourselves!

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The power of a Thank You- note.

It's been on my to-do list for month's.  

Thank You notes. 

I owe them to a bunch of people.  People who brought meals, gave rides, watched the boys and visited me at the hospital.  

Every day I look at the list and know that I need to get on it, but put it off another day just until I can wrap my head around it and focus.  Anesthesia does something to my focus.  And then I wonder,   

Does a handwritten thank-you note matter? 
After all, we say thank-you at the time of the act or gift, right? 

And then, in the midst of my guilt and wonder, I got it. 

A hand written thank you note from my surgeon.  Yes, my surgeon.  A beautiful expression of gratitude for a few sugar cookies.  

Uh, wow. 

They do matter.

Then I started wondering - when do you send, or not send a written Thank-You?  So I went straight to the Internet, and thankfully,  Emily Post has the answers.   

So, if you're in doubt, go ahead and send a note.  It might just make someone's day.

Guess I better get busy. 

Happy Thursday y'all! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

I like to be in control.  I like order.  I like to know the plan and stick to it.  I like for all to be fine.

Truth is since I last blogged in November, none of the above has been true. Couldn't remember the plan let alone stick to it. Overwhelmed maybe.

So, let's catch up so I can move on, because the need for order won't let me move on until I do.  

A family member who I love walked away- from her life and her husband and her kids and from us- leaving a path of hurt and devastation.  Divorce doesn't stop love.  It's going to be a long road for those she left behind. We are sad.
We celebrated Thanksgiving in Tennessee- and didn't have a single piece of Turkey.
Shayne, my Daddy, me, Keith (my brother) Jordan (my nephew) and Isaiah
Recon Redo -the last surgery.  December 14. The plan was for it to be outpatient. I was admitted.  The plan was to be done 1/1/14- but I'm still getting there.
Dr's orders, I tried really hard.

Shayne and Emily got engaged- he's not just in love with her, but choosing to love her daughter as his own. I hope he learned that unconditional love from us, somehow.  And what a joy for me, I not only get to welcome a daughter, but Rex and I get to be Pappy and Grammy.  Yes, I'm already shopping like a Grammy- I'm no dummy

Shayne, holding Kendall asking Emily to marry him. 

Kendall and Me

Christmas-a few of them actually finishing up with our 2nd Annual Walton sleepover... so the family under our roof for a few days included a 3 month, 6 month, 16 month, 23 month, 3 year, 5 year, 7 year and  8 year old littles - and then 12 teenagers and adults.  Christmas coffee, cupcakes, cookies and silly games.

Larry, Keith, Rex
see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil 
We got one shot of all of us- Emily is in there, really she is. 
Peyton before the yuckies

New Years! a fun night with friends- ringing in the new year with family- and then the "yuckies" (that's puking) for my great-nephew Peyton most of the night. I'd be a lying if the rest of us didn't choose carefully what we ate for the next few days.  

Shayne is back at school.  I still cry missing part of me that now lives in another state. 

January 2nd- the call from mom, telling me they're at the ER- and  my step-dad being admitted to the hospital for a bowel obstruction and waiting for days before knowing for sure no surgery.  Thankfully he was able to go home today.  

Throw in a few melt-downs, I won't say who, taking down Christmas decorations, still fitting in our in-home therapy for Elijah, basketball practices for two boys - and the purchase of a new car.

The easiest new car purchase ever

Today-  back on track- I'm back at the office.  Kids are back to school.  Life is normal.  buahahaha!

so, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year y'all!

I'm. all.caught.up.

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