Updates on Kathy's battle with breast cancer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shrinking & Zebras

Today I completed the final dosage of the AC chemo!!  The hardest part of this mountain is almost behind us!!  I also had a Drs. appointment where they did the first ultra-sound since beginning chemo.  The breast mass has shrunk 1/3. The lymph node cancer is 1/2 the size it was.  We are thrilled that chemo is serving its intended purpose.  In 3 weeks I'll start Taxol, once a week for 12 weeks.  Then we'll take a month off and then do surgery.  We're now researching our options regarding surgery.  I'm about to take the anti-nausea meds that knock me out, so I can sleep through the rest of today and Tuesday when the yuckiness is so extreme.

Our Youth Leaders, Stake Leaders, & Priesthood leaders

This is probably the only bald picture that will ever be posted.  My hat came off on this zipline. :)

Girls Camp was amazing.  I was so thankful to be there the entire week.  I had to rest more often than during youth conference, but had a rustic, cozy cabin with 3 awesome women to rest in as needed, WITH air conditioning!  I had easy-off shoes for killing a 3 inch spider and a few other crawling creatures, and thankfully saw no rodents (in our cozy cabin).  I'll post more about camp when I come out of hibernation, including some photos, but was blessed again with the enabling power of the atonement, giving me extra energy to serve and interact with the 125 young women at camp, and the wonderful adult leaders too.  I was careful to wash hands a lot, and used disinfecting wipes and sprays.  We ate like queens, with lots of healthy foods, thanks to our amazing cooks that made the kitchen a fun place to hang out in or drop by for a visit.

Camp included a little camping--hikes, tents for Courtney's group, campfire cooking, first aid.  Roasting marshmallow Peeps is a new favorite!  Even if you don't like Peeps, when they are roasted, they take on a creme brulee taste with the caramelized sugar taste.  The added bonus--they were 70% off after Easter, so a special treat at camp and a rare find until next Easter!  Be very careful when removing them--finger tips can be burned very easily--we used an empty Peeps box to catch the cooked Peep for cooling a bit before consuming.  

I introduced the girls to a cheer from Texas high schools in 1980, where I was NOT a cheerleader, but they enjoyed watching and joining in with "How funky is your chicken? How loose is your goose?  Come on all you girls camp fans, and shake your caboose."  They rolled with laughter.  I skipped sharing another, "Chew tuh back uh, chew tuh back uh, spit on the ball, aint no body gonna beat (stomp) Rockwall."  That was written phonetically for effect, with a Texas drawl.  A few of the girls were able to witness the famous, at girls' camp only "fish face," this year with a rare bald fish look.  This also resulted in roars of laughter. 

On a more serious note, camp was filled with numerous devotionals and firesides that were uplifting and spirit filled.  We all left camp on a spiritual high.  Our youth leaders planned a wonderful camp and served the younger girls with their full hearts.  It was fun witnessing their service, seeing their countenances glow with the light our theme taught us about: "The Circle of Light....He lives in You."  It was a take off of the Lion King.  Christ is the light.  As we draw closer to Him by reading scriptures, serving others, and keeping our covenants to always remember Him, take His name upon us, and keep His commandments, we qualify to have His spirit with us, resulting in glowing countenances.  "We love him, because he first loved us."  1 John 4:19  It was wonderful seeing the youth leaders love their younger girls and serve them, resulting in a mutual, two-way love.  It was a camp full of love, with lots of hugs, "I love you" in sign language, and verbal "I love you" shout outs.

I gave a fireside talk Thursday night on zebras, zebra stripes, hearts, and shineys.  During the week, the girls received a trading pin made of zebra stripes, each with a heart, and a shiny jewel.  The "shineys" were referencing a talk by Elaine Dalton, Now is the Time to Arise and Shine!  We talked about how each zebra has unique stripes.  They live in close families that watch out for each other.  They are then within herds, but even within the herd, they are still close to their families.  When they are grouped together, it is hard for their predators to distinguish an individual zebra to attack.  When they are isolated, they are vulnerable.  When a zebra is injured, its family surrounds it, to protect it from predators.  (I can relate to this, I know that I'm surrounded and supported by my family, extended family, church family, and friends.)
We then talked about when you keep your baptismal covenants, things become very black and white, distinct, with gray areas disappearing.  We clearly see what we WILL always do, and what we will NEVER do, as we try to follow Christ.  The  For the Strength of Youth guidelines help in drawing these distinct lines.  As we follow Christ's example, we are blessed with His spirit to guide us, resulting in the "shiney," an inner glow.  We ended with Isaiah 53:5 "But he was wounded for our  transgressionshe was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his  stripes we are  healed.  I know that His stripes were terrible cuts and gouges on His back, but this verse along with the zebra stripes lesson makes me look at zebra prints in a whole new light.  I am so thankful for my Savior.  He is there for each of us.  He knows us individually.  I have had numerous experiences throughout my life, but most recently, during this cancer journey, time and again I see His hand working little miracles in my behalf, giving me the tender mercies I need to accomplish the things that are important.  I know He lives.  He loves us.  He wants us to seek after Him by reading His words, serving others, and doing our best to keep his commandments, so we can have his spirit with us, having our "shiney" on.


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  2. You remind me of Nephi when he was tied up by his brothers while sailing to the promised land. He didn't murmur but saw the greater lesson of the trials he was called to bear.

    1 Nephi 18:11 "...nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word." and vs. 16: "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did apraise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions."

    That is YOU. Your trials are teaching the rest of us and helping to show forth God's power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he's spoken concerning the righteous. You are amazing.