Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mastectomy update

WOW! It's been over a month since I last updated this blog! My aologies to those who follow it.

On October 21, I had a double mastectomy. A simple mastectomy on the left side (although, it doesn't look simple) and a more extensive mastectomy on the right side with a latissimus closure.

The cancer site was 11.5 cm x 4 cm x 5 cm. The margins were clear and the lymph nodes all tested negative for cancer. So, THEY GOT IT ALL!!!!!! No more cancer in the breast.

The plastic surgeon moved the latissimus muscle and skin from my back around to the front to give healthy tissue in the area to heal and to give me enough skin for closure. They took a huge chunk of skin from the right breast.

Since then, I've had an hematoma develop in the right breast and it is bruised and swollen and sore. It should be almost "normal" by now, but the hematoma has slowed down my progress somewhat. Nevertheless, it is healing really well, so we are happy!

I came home with three drains. Got one removed today. The other two will probably stay in another 2-4 weeks. Mike has gotten quiet proficient at taking care of the drains. He'd make a good nurse!

I weighed today for the first time after the surgery. I've lost ..............drum roll please!!!!!!!!!!!!

TWENTY POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm beginning to feel well enough to leave the house although I still can't drive and don't want to drive. But, I handle the doctor trips well and I'm looking forward to lots of other kinds of trips in the upcoming weeks!

Love to you all!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

China Day

Today, we got together with the Thomas's and the Lee's and did our study on China!

It was great fun! The children did reports.........I'll try to remember what everyone talked about.

John talked about Pandas and two other topics......The Great Wall of China....

Caleb talked about government

Naomi talked about Hudson Taylor, the first missionary to China

Darci taught origami

Isaac talked about Pandas as well. He wrote the cutest story/production

Cotter talked about silk and brought a jacket and hat from China

Linda told about her missionary friends who were working in China

Noah told about sports in China - did you know that Ping Pong started in England?

I read from the book, Jesus Freaks, about the persecution of Christians in China and a story of two young girls who were martyred.

We prayed for the Chinese people and for the Christians in the country.

Then we cooked an American/Chinese dinner! Egg rolls, fried wontons, fried rice, stirfried vegs, shrimp, chicken, green beans, wonton soup. We had chop sticks. We had fortune cookies. I forgot to serve the cream puffs.

By the time the dishes were all done, the adults were ready to retire to the yard to sit under the trees and rest. I suppose we should have taken a walk, but the lawn chairs were calling.

THEN, Linda taught Vickie and Darcie to knit!

What a wonderful way to spend a day.

We are all looking forward to our next homeschool day!

Will we study Africa and eat Ethiopian? Will we study Spain or Mexico and have tacos and burritos?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

treatment update 10-07-09

Saw Dr. Joel today. He is sooooooooo good to me! He sat down with me and went over every word of my test results that I was unsure or apprehensive about! HE explained it all.

As I've said before, we really didn't see anything new. The things that were mentioned in the reports were all things that had shown up before except for the spot on the colon - which very well may be nothing at all.

His advice was to DO THE SURGERY! HE said that it is needed and that it is important to do it now while we have this window of opportunity. We spoke of some of the advances they are making and the new machine that they are getting in his office for treating other cancers.

The difference between him and some of my other doctors is that he doesn't think of me as dying.

I am NOT dying! I am much more well now than I was this time last year and I feel good these days.

I love you all!!!!

Sleep well! Peace I give to you!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Saw the surgeon today for all my test results.

The bone scan didn't show anything new. The spot on the rib is better than before and the shoulder is about the same.

The CTscan and PET scan showed the cancer in my spine. It was there before, but didn't show up on the last two bone scans. May just be that the PET scan is more sensitive.

The spot on the thyroid is still showing, but it isn't growing or shrinking, so its probably nothing

There is a suspicious spot in my colon as well.

Surgeon said that he would do the surgery. He thinks that the cancer has regressed enough for it to heal properly. It is scheduled for Oct. 21.

I will see the radiologist on Wed and the oncologist sometime before surgery. I'm not sure that we will do it at this time. We may decide to do another round of chemo to shrink it further before we do surgery. If we change our minds about the surgery, I'll let you know. Right now, count on it being on Oct. 21.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Treatment update 9-30-09

Ok, since I posted last............finished chemo on August 28, radiation on Sept 4. Then a wait while the radiation finished it's work.

On September 21, I saw the surgeon. He ordered LOTS of tests.

This Monday, I saw the plastic surgeon. We are not planning any reconstruction at this time. However, I will need the plastic surgeon to do some work to ensure that the wound heals and closes properly.

On Tuesday, I had a MRM - a special MRI of the breast. It will show where the cancer is in the breast and it will show if there is any left in the chest wall muscles. If it is NOT in the chest wall, we will probably be able to do the surgery this time. We'll see.

On Wednesday, I get a bone scan. I'm waiting for that now.

On Thursday, I get a CT and a PET scan.

None of these scans are difficult. Mostly just lie still and rest while they do them!

Don't be in a hurry for results from any of these scans. I'll put out an update next Tuesday or Wednesday. Won't have any results before then.

We don't expect any surprises from the scans. I've been on chemo and radiation and it's done a good job of shrinking the cancer once again.

It's been a year in this battle. I'm doing well. I feel good, my strength is renewed, my hope is renewed. I'm not "dying".

Read your Bible!!!!!! It's promises are true for today. Read them, get them into your spirit again!

Salvation, healing, and deliverance are as sure for you today as they were for those whom Jesus touched while he walked the earth........the epileptic boy, the woman with the bleeding, the deaf, the blind the crippled. Many of them did not know Jesus, they did not believe, but he healed them because someone asked on their behalf! How exciting is that? I don't even have to know Him for Him to heal me! How much better for me that I believe!

family update 9/30/09

WOW! September has proven to be a busy month!

Sam's car has broken down weekly since we got the engine replaced! Can you say "money pit?" I'm not sure of it, but I think that we are gong to let it "lie in state" for a couple of weeks while we take a breather, spend $2 on somethng that is not that car, and figure out what to do about it. We are all mutually fed up with it.

Jon and Ben have started speech therapy again. Twice a week in the middle of the afternoon. It's demanding because it monopolizes the whole afternoon. But they are both making good progress and we are hoping that this will be Jon's last year.

Mike got a promotion to Director of Business Developement! We're so excited about that!

Chris finished Chiropractic school! He is now a doctor!

Drs. Chris and Stephanie Estes will be opening their practice in Loudon, TN within the next two months!!!!!!!

We met them in Lenoir City this past weekend to look the area over, look at houses and commercial rental property. We had a blast! We met a commercial contractor who was renovating an historic building in Loudon and he invited them to the Rotary Club lunch on Tuesday. They treated Chris and Steph like royalty and were so excited that they were planning to practice there! It's sooooo much fun to be treated well and recognized for the work that you want to do!

They are renting a parsonage to live in until they are on their feet enough to buy a house!!

Caleb and Ben and Jon are playing soccer. Three different teams, practicing on three different fields, three days a week with games EARLY on Saturday mornings. They are having a blast!!!! Caleb has taken Sam's training and is doing really well. They didn't play last fall and I was surprised at how much he has improved in this time off!

I'll do my update on a different post.
Love to you all!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Testosterone Strikes Again!!!!!

I'm wondering, do little boys start to feel a bit of testoterone around 4 and a half years old or is it just that they are aware that they are alive and can do what they want to do?

I keep thinking that it will be easier when Benny is five years old.........................hmmmmmm, is that a forgotten wisdom or is it wishful thinking??

Here's the scene....

On Wednesday night we have tickets to the Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville. Free tickets, nice weather, close by, lots of fun, so we go with all our ADULT friends. Boys, safe at home with babysitter.

We've been there for an hour and half and we get THE phone call.

Benny has jumped off the couch; Jon swiped Benny's foot on his way down; Benny stumbles and falls face first onto the fireplace! Screaming and bleeding ensue. Babysitter calls us, we rush home.

By the time we got home the bleeding was stopped, but it was easily evident that he needed stitches.

He was so brave.

Yesterday, he wore his Badge of Honor that Mr. Clay made for him. For Courage and Strength and Bravery! Well deserved Benny!!!!

Treatment update

Hello all!

Today is Saturday, September 5, 2009 and I am through with chemo and radiation!!!!!!!!!!

I went in Tuesday with the hope that it would be my last day of radiation and I got 3 more days.

So, as of yesterday, I am officially DONE!!!!!!!

My next appointment is with the oncologist on the 16th (I think) for a post chemo checkup. I see the surgeon on Sept 21. The effects of the radiation will peak in two weeks, then will start falling off, so my surgeon appointment is in two weeks.

So, today, I get to have my first good Saturday in 6 weeks!!!! Hooray! I sure do hope that we dont spend it cleaning, but I just might do that! I've not been able to do any cleaning in weeks!

Love to you all!

Friday, August 28, 2009

ginger/lemon/mint tea

2 1/2 inch chunk of fresh ginger
3 fresh spearmint sprigs (18 leaves)
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 3 lemons
3 decaf family size tea bags (can be made without the tea bags)

gallon of water

Peel the ginger and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar. Add lemon zest, tea bags and spearmint.

Bring to boil, turn off heat immediately. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Strain into gallon jug, fill with water. Serve over ice or hot.

Excellent for hot days, cold nights, sinuses, upset tummies. For a cold, serve hot with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on top.

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1......

It's Friday, August 28!

Today is my last chemo treatment!!!!!! EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday is my last radiation treatment!!!!!!!!

I'm excited to get this process over and done with. All docs say I have responded well to treatment.

Surgeon appointment in a week. Lots of tests to schedule. Mostly to get a new baseline to compare to in the years ahead. No big deal.

Expecting surgery by the end of September.

I know that many of you see the treatments and the drugs. I see the work that God has done!!!!

He is my healer. Not the docs, not the drugs, not the radiation. They have helped to kill the errant cells, but only God can make them die!!!!!!!! Only God can make them stop growing!

He has really done a work of healing during this last round of treatment. Generally, chemo treatments get harder and harder as they pile up on one another and weaken the body. I have gotten stronger and stronger. The side effects have gotten weaker and weaker. That, my dear friends, is God's healing touch on my body!!!!

All glory to Him!! All honor and power and praise to the one who loves us in ways that we cannot comprehend. Turn to HIM, He will give you rest, He will heal your broken soul. He will soothe your restless spirit. He will guide your blind steps to His beautiful path for your life. He forgives you everything!!!!!!! He is your only peace!!!!!!!!! Seek Him, trust Him, believe HIM!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jonah and the whale

I'd like to talk to you about the story of Jonah. You all know the children's version. Jonah didn't go to Ninevah; he got thrown overboard, big fish ate him, big fish spit him up, Jonah went to Ninevah, the people repented, God didn't destroy them..............

I'd like to look at a couple of things that I've always overlooked before......

First off, Jonah didn't confess right away that he was the problem on the ship. When he did confess, he didn't make it right! He really didn't!!! He could have jumped overboard himself, right? Couldn't he? That doesn't seem to be something that he could NOT do. It was a storm, the ship was tossing and turning in the waves. I would imagine that they were trying not to get washed overboard. I could imagine that. Even if it wasn't quite like that, I would just think that he could have jumped overboard and God would have stopped the storm then. Instead, he INSISTED that they THROW him overboard. Curious.

Then, at the end of Jonah, chapter 1, it says that he spent 3 days and 3 nights in the fish!
Jonah 1:17 (NIV) "Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights."

Imagine're in your bathroom. Put 3 inches of cold water and 3 quarts of salt in your bathtub. Next to your tub are 3 dead fish. Now, turn off the light, shut the door and sit in the bathtub for 3 days and nights. That's 72 hours! Sit there. Nothing to drink, nothing to eat, no light. You cannot get out. Three days and nights!!!!!!! Long time. What do you do at the END of that time? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Are you thinking of your family, those you miss? Are you thinking about dying? Starving to death, dehydration?

Here is what Jonah did.........Jonah 2 (New International Version)
Jonah 2
Jonah's Prayer 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.

9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."

He PRAYED and he THANKED God for saving him!!!! In between verse 1 and verse 9, he described sinking into the sea, drowning and he thanked God for saving him from the drowning! Then, after 3 days he thanked God for saving him from drowning! Is he starving and dehydrated and thanking God for saving him from drowning.

2 He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave [a] I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
4 I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
5 The engulfing waters threatened me, [b] the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.
7 "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."
10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

"I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised. The Lord liveth and blessed be the rock and may the Lord of my salvation be exalted." (an old chorus we used to sing) "All God's promises are yes and amen, all God's promises are true. All God's promises are yes and amen, JESUS, I'll keep running back to you!" (an old chorus we used to sing)

I WILL call upon the LORD and praise him for my salvation!!!!!!!!!! I lived through this year!!! I am alive! With my family, my friends, my church, my home, my work! I PRAISE HIM!!!!!!!!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

chicken snake!!!!!!!!

Guess why I'm not getting any eggs!!!!!!!!!!!!

He didn't have a name, but he don't need one now!

Mike shot him in the nest box this morning. Wish the boys were here, we'd have caught him live and let him go down the road away from the house. Mike don't like snakes, he's a good shot though!

treatment update

Radiation is going well. I am scheduled to be done by Sept 2. Chemo will be done the Friday before. That means only two more CHEMOS!!!!!!!!!! I can see the ligth at the endo fo the tunnel.

I'm feeling really good for a the day after chemo. It seems to be getting better for me. Praise God for that, HE is merciful!

My body is responding well to the treatments! When I'm done with this round of treatment, I'll scedule lots of tests, CT, bone scan, pet scan and maybe a breast MRi. I'll see hte radiologist, oncologist and the surgeon (maybe twice.) adn the plastic surgeon. Make all the decisions and then we are planning a mastectomy and reconstruction. Gonna get this stuff out of me and be done with it!

Love to you all, will update again when I have any news.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Homeschooling update

Public school is starting all over the state this week. Many homeschoolers are beginning their school year as well.

The Estii are all happy that we get to set our own schedule!!!!!! We've done limited schooling all summer long and are way ahead of schedule, so we get to continue limited schooling until sometime after Labor Day!

I'm posting about this because several people who love us very much have voiced concern lately about our continued homeschooling. Since I AM NOT SICK, we are choosing to continue homeschooling this year. I am in the middle of a demanding daily treatment regimen, but we are managing our schooling really well. Schooling around radiation treatments is easy and schooling around chemo side effects is do-able with the help that we have.

Nanny does my chores so I can spend my good time with the boys, schooling, playing, swimming, running here and there. I'm surrounded by friends that have always helped me with schooling. We work together with our enrichments, problems, solutions, questions and support. We always have; there is no reason that we wouldn't this year as well.

We've got a month of summer left!!!!! YIPPEE!!!!!!!! Come over and we'll play in the pool!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Whoa! POW! POW! POW!

Well goodness! After I that last post, I got SICK!!!!!!!!!! It was awful; all chemo side effects. I finally called Mike, he came home and prayed for me and fed me and got me all the things I needed and God heard his prayer and I quickly improved.

Today is Thursday. I went for radiation as normal and then upstairs for a meeting with my oncologist. I was not happy with the way this is affecting me. I had a written list of what I had experienced and I saw Dr. Jameson. He's very direct and straightforward and I think that by the time I was finished with my demands he was happy with me.

I told him either we would do a smaller dose of chemo today with better help with the side effects or I wasn't doing chemo this week. I've decided that I'm not missing any more birthdays or special events because of these treatments and side effects. I explained that Jon turns 7 on Monday, Mike has a birthday on Tuesday and we have 3 new soccer practices starting next week and I am NOT going to miss any of them. Dr. Jameson backed up against the door, threw his hands in the air and said,"you're the boss!" He cut both my chemo meds quite a bit. That should make the major part of the difference. He added a new nausea medicine to my pre-chemo IV regimen.

So, when I got ready for my IV's, I got Zometa in the first bag. It is a bone strengthener that I've been taking for about 6 months now. Then, they put up the bag for the anti-nausea medicine. After it ran about half in, I started feeling BAD! It wasn't supposed to have side effects and I was feeling very uncomfortable, jittery, restless. I wasn't having trouble breathing, but something wasn't right either. Roxanne ( my dear chemo buddy) called for the nurse and very quickly I had two nurses AND the doctor looking me over. They took my blood pressure (it had went down since they took it before I saw the doctor) they took my pulse, blood oxygen level. Then, I had a massive heat flash!!!!!! They turned down the air conditioner for the whole room and gave everyone else a blanket!!!!!!!! They stopped the IV, started saline and I very quickly got past whatever the episode was. Needless to say, I didn't get any more of that! Roxanne gave them back the pills that they had given me for the next two days. After that, they ran in my pre-chemo side effect IV - tagamet, decadron, benadryl and another anti-nausea med. Then, they ran in my chemo drugs - paclitaxel and carboplatin. We started in the oncologist waiting room at 10:45 or so and got out right at 3:00.

Tonight, I feel ok. I've got lots of side effects meds and I'll try to stay in front of it all this round. Please pray against the nausea and EVERYTHING else. It's been disappointing. All my professionals are surprised at how difficult this is proving to be.

On the positive side. It is WORKING! We can tell a marked difference!

When my dear pastor, Mark Ashley, prayed for me this week, I had a vision of cancer cells exploding like fireworks, never to grow in me again!!!!!!!!!!! Pow, pow pow! Ya know, after fireworks explode, they are useless!!!!!!!! No more firing, no more noise, nothing, useless! POW! POW! POW!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

HEY HEY HEY, Better today!

Just a note to let you all know that I'm much better today! My stomach was bothering me a lot more than I realized and when it quit, I felt MUCH better!

My head is more clear, too!

September 2, is my target date for being done with radiation. 6 weeks to go!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chemo is not for sissies!

Chemo is not for sissies. I have other things to say about it, but they aren't as polite and I know that I have polite readers, so I will censor myself.

I slept all weekend and had some carsickness on the way to church and the way home. I just couldn't seem to wake up most of the weekend. I was able to eat and I didn't hurt anywhere except with a little belly ache off and on. The doc's said this would be easy. I challenge that statement! I expected it to be easier than this. Although, sleeping all weekend is not particularly hard! VBG

Today, I have a little more energy........a lot more energy. I've been up all day so far, if sitting around is considered "up".

We did manage some schoolwork today, in addition to my radiation treatment.

Pray for my moodiness! I'm trying to keep it under wraps, but I'm not completely successful.

love to you all!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

treatment update Saturday July 18, 2009

Had my first chemo yesterday.

Got benadryl, metamucil, an anti-nausea med and decadron (steroid) in the first bag to counteract the side effects of the other two bags.

Got paclitaxel in one bag and carboplatin in the other bag.

Got low doses, so side effects are small. Not like last time.

Today I feel Ok. a little emotional, tired, a little weak, but I'm getting up from here soon and gonna get cleaned up and move to the living room to watch a movie.

No pain, no nausea, just tired.

These drugs at these doses will weaken the cancer so the radiation can kill it. I've got 7 more weeks of treatment, (I think). Then surgery is planned.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The desert

You all know the story of the children of Isreal wandering in the desert for 40 years. (See Exodus).
They had been rescued from slavery in Egypt, delivered across the Red Sea on dry land, all their diseases were healed.

They had rejected the idea that God, their father, leader, creator, could defeat their enemies in the Promised Land, so they were destined to wander the desert until they died. Only two who came from Egypt as adults were ever to enter into the Promised Land.

We tend to think of the desert experience as one of misery, heat, deprivation and delay of God's promises.

Now, remember where the children of Isreal, the children of the Most High God were! They guided by a cloud by day (in the desert!) and by a pillar of fire by night. The cloud provided protection and coolness from the desert heat, hmmmmm. The fire provided heat and warmth at night.

They were fed with food they didn't plant, till, weed, milk, cook or transport. they simply had to gather it each morning. And it was GOOD!

They had clean water to drink. PERIOD. It didn't need chlorination or filtration or anything. It was provided to them IN THE DESERT! In plenty for each person and animal of the children of Isreal.

They moved when God said move and they went where he lead them. They never had to wonder, "What do we do now?"

God's prescence was always with them, right outside their tents, in the tabernacle that they were camped around.

They had the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey for their children! A place of plenty for their children! Don't we all want that for our children?

When I see it this way, the desert doesn't look like a bad place. They had EVERYTHING!

EVERYTHING!!!! Complete provision.

The Promised Land was truly a land of milk and honey. But it also had giants and idolatrous people and temptations. It was a place where they would work for their provision. Till and plant and weed and harvest. A plenteous harvest, but worked for nevertheless.

Perhaps the desert wasn's a bad place after all. Perhaps we all need a desert, a place to learn and grow. A place of total provision. Let us not take our desert for granted.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Squash pickles - done!

After I got my hair done today, I felt so good that I decided to can some squash pickles. I had all the ingredients ready, so I put the boys in the pool and moved outside to slice/dice.

I ended up with 5 pints and a quart of relish (I diced the squash and onions to make relish) that I will devour on beans this winter!

I made 4 quarts into slices for sandwiches this summer!


I used the recipe that was posted earlier on my blog. For the relish, I used cider vinegar instead of white vinegar (it was what I had).

HAIR is a wonderful thing!

Well, folks, it's been 6 months since I started growing hair again and it's finally long enough to trim up, style and color!

So, today, I got my hair done!


Friday, July 10, 2009

update 7-10-09

I spoke with the oncology nurse this week. She said that compared to the chemo that I did last fall and winter, this will be a "walk in the park."

The radiologists said that I won't have any trouble with the radiation treatments either.

I believe them both!!!!!!!!!!

They DID prescribe me insane amounts of steroids to take the night before the chemo treatments, so I don't expect to sleep that night. But, I've been awake all night before. It don't hurt!

love you all,

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Treatment plan

Treatment plan......

I'll be doing radiation every day, Monday through Friday, starting July 13. Right now, I'm scheduled at 9:45 every morning.

I'll find out about chemo either today or tomorrow. I expect it will start next Friday, July 17.

I have Nanny and Sam and Patty to help with caring for the boys and driving me back and forth until Sam and Patty go to school the middle of August. That gives me a few weeks to see how this round of treatment is going to effect me.

The docs expect me to have 7 -8 weeks of treatment this round.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend

Hello all,

I see that it's been a while since I posted! We've been busy!

Sam had July 3 rd off work, so Nanny and I cooked all morning. Then Patty and Trey and Rick and Roxanne came over and we cooked out and played Sequence. If I remember correctly, Roxanne and I beat Mike and Ricky pretty soundly! And, we shot fireworks and sat in the hot tub!

(Patty is Sam's girlfriend - we love her- and Trey is her younger brother.)

On the fourth of July, Chris and Steph came! So we played in the pool and cooked out and shot fireworks again! Next day, Sunday, we all got up and went to church together - 9 of us! It was so wonderful, Sam and Patty on one end of the seats, Chris and Steph on the other end and us in the middle with the "boys". Everyone went on and on about how much Chris looks like Mike and I got to introduce my daughter-in-law, Dr. Stephanie Estes!

Gonna run, now,
love to you all, will post more later,

Monday, June 29, 2009

e books

I have downloaded Microsoft reader (free) into my netbook and now I can read books on my netbook. I'm really enjoying. I've downloaded several classics - Treasure Island, Little Women, Captain's Courageous. All free!

I've also downloaded a Debbie Macomber book for less than $4 and Tarzan of the Apes for $2.00.

I'm enjoying this! A great new toy!

Caleb is reading Treasure Island right now. I'm hoping to find some of our homeschool books on ebooks this fall.

I'm hoping that the gutenberg project has books that will work on my reader. I really like the way it works.

If you find any good resources, let me know.

Back to the squash patties

I made the squash patties a couple of days ago...........and changed the recipe and they were really good!

I used 5 "medium" yellow squash and it made a LOT of shredded squash! I shredded the onion along with the squash. Then I squeezed it all out in a towel. It made a LOT of liquid.

I used two eggs instead of one. I used Italian bread crumbs and added dried basil instead of italian seasoning.

When I had it all mixed up together, I found that it was easier to make walnut sized balls of the mixture and place them in the skillet. Then I flattened them with the spatula. It worked really well and they held together really well.

They taste great! I really, really liked it. I'm hoping they will freeze well. We'll soon see!

Happy cooking!


update 6-28-09

I know that it has been a while since many of you have heard from me. I've been doing well, feeling better all the time, more energy, and a clearer mind.

We were hoping that after the last chemo treatment that hormonal therapy would keep the cancer at bay. It should have, but unfortunately, it didn't.

So, within the next couple of weeks we will begin a new course of treatment. I will do 6 weeks of radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments. The chemo should be "less harsh" than what I experienced before because we will do smaller doses and only one drug. At the end of 6 weeks, the cancer should be small enough to remove with a mastectomy.

We did not do a mastectomy this spring for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason being that the cancer had metastisized to the bones and the benefit of mastectomy is to remove the breast BEFORE the cancer metastasizes. Once breast cancer has metastisized, the risks, side effects and recovery time from the mastectomy is no longer beneficial. Statistically, the mastectomy at that point does not increase life span or quality of life.

Unless...........the cancer in the breast is not controlled by other means - hormonal treatments, chemo, radiation. Surgery is easier on the body than chemo. Since the cancer is dormant in the rest of my body at this time, mastectomy is a good choice - remove the offending part.

So, that is our plan at this time.

Sometime this next week, I should meet with the radiologist to discuss the radiation and I think I'll probably have some more tests run.

We expect that within two weeks, I'll be back in treatment.

So, you ask, how am I doing? It was quite a blow to me this week. I thought I'd get one more month of freedom. I spent a couple of days crying, laughing, crying again. Then, I began to pull it together. I'm not afraid, but I am sad.

So, after not sleeping well Friday night and Saturday night, I slept all Sunday afternoon. Of course that has screwed up my sleep schedule so I am awake in the middle of the night now!

I've spent the last couple of hours planning my next two weeks. I've been doing menu planning. I think that we'll dosome cooking for the freezer this week. I figure two turkeys, for frozen turkey and gravy and tetrazinni's. Ground beef for hamburgers, taco meat, meat loafs and meat balls. All that can be put in the freezer after it's prepared. Mike likes Penne Rustica and it freezes well, also.

Like I said before, I'm not afraid, just sad. My sleeping pills are starting to kick in, so I'll finish this.

God has promised that He will heal me and I believe Him! So, keep praying and watching and waiting for His touch.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

squash patties

recipe for squash patties.........

3 med zucchini
3 med yellow squash

grate and squeeze out the liquid.

mix together:

1 egg
1 c. shredded parmesan
1/3 c. diced vidalia onion
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
pepper and salt to taste
1 c. bread crumbs

add the squash to the mixture and then form into 2" patties.
fry in EVOO and butter about 3 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God's many Blessings

Here are pictures of the harvest of our church garden. We have dill pickled cucumbers, dill pickled okra and yellow squash and zucchini. We are also harvesting green beans and peppers already. Thirteen families recieved produce from this work last week!!!!!!!!!!

Our farmers are doing a beautiful job with this! I went to the garden to work on Monday morning and it was fabulous! There was nothing for me to do. The rows are weed free!!!! The vegetables are picked every morning and then stored in a walk in cooler!!! It is amazing the work that our farmers are doing!

Monday, June 15, 2009

yogurt recipe

I found this good yogurt recipe when I was going through my recipe file yesterday. Thought you might be interested.

4 C. Milk
1/2 c dry milk powder
3 -4 T fresh plain yogurt with live cultures

Make sure your equipment is dishwasher clean.

Mix powder into milk and heat in sauce pan to 180 degrees (scalding but do not boil.)

Take it off the heat and let it cool to 110- 115 degrees (warm).

Mix a little of the milk into the ygurt to smooth it and then pour it into the rest of themilk. Mix well. Pour into jars and put it into a picnic cooler surrounded by 115 degree water, cover and allow to set for 5-8 hours. You can also put it into a pan of water and put it in the oven (on off) or wrap it in a towel. Or you can put it into a thermos.

This will make a runny, unsweetened yogurt. You can add sweeteners and fruit to it after it is made. You can add knox gelatin to the milk and that will thicken it up some.


More pickle recipes

Rocky Cunningham’s Salsa

10-12 pounds of tomatoes (1/4 bushel)
4 cloves of garlic minced
6 jalapenos for mild – 12 for hot
3-4 cayenne peppers
¼ c. salt
1 t. cumin

Cook until tender.

Add 3 – 12 oz cans of tomato paste

Boil 10 minutes.

Add 4 large green peppers and 4 large onions

Boil 4 minutes

Fill water bath 2/3 with water and boil.

Fill jars. Add 4-5 leaves of cilantro when jars are filled.

Put lids and rings on and water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 7 quarts.

Joyce’s Pickle recipe

4# 3”-5” pickling cucumbers
4 c. 5% acid strength cider vinegar
¼ sugar
3 T canning/pickling salt
1 T mustard seed.

Slice cucumbers ¼ to 1/8” thick to make 4 quarts of slices.

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard in 6 quart pot. Bring to boil.

Add Cucumbers, return to boil. Simmer until slightly yellow, stirring often, about 8 minutes.

Drain well.

Combine in a 2 Quart pot.
2 c. cider vinegar
3 C. Sugar
2 ¼ t. celery seed
1 T. allspice

Bring to boil.

Pack cucumbers into 5 pint jars. Pour liquid to cover. Put on lids.

Boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Mrs. Mary Ruth Stacey’s Sweet pickles - Refrigerator

1 Gallon Jar

1 gallon cut up cucumbers.

Add 1 cup canning salt to the gallon of cucumbers. Fill jar with cold water.

Shake up and let stand 3 days in refrigerator.

Pour off liquid and rinse 3 times.

Dissolve 2 T alum in a small amount of boiling water. Add alum mix to pickles and enough cold water to cover pickles.

Let stand 24 hours. Pour off liquid and rinse 3 times.

Cover with white vinegar. (5% acid)

Let stand 7 days. Drain; do not rinse. Throw away vinegar.

At this point you have sour pickles!!!! Very good!

Add 1 tsp turmeric to 3 cups sugar. Mix well and pour over pickles. At the same time, add 1 bag of pickling spices about the size of a golf ball. Shake jar, Let it stand 24 hours. (It will make its own liquid now.)

Add 3 more cups sugar. Let stand 24 hours. Shake well.

Add 3 more cups sugar. Let stand 24 hours. Shake well. (yes, do it twice)

Pickles are ready to jar and water bath!

Joyce’s Chow Chow

2 gallons chopped cabbage
1 gallon chopped green tomato
1 qt chopped onions
¼ c hot green peppers

Place in a pillow case and drain the juices off.

1 ½ pounds of sugar
1 T. dry mustard
1 T ginger
2 T salt
3 T cinnamon
3 Quart vinegar

Mix with cabbage mixture and boil until cabbage is tender.

Jar and water bath.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Amazing Grace by Ben Estes

Benny has been singing Amazing Grace around here lately. Only his version is a little unique - true, but unique.

He sings,
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. I once was lost but now I'm found. I once was blind but now I ain't."

I'll never hear it the same again!!!!!!



Here are a few of my favorite pickle recipes. I've tried to give credit to the person who gave me the recipe.....

Sandra Forbes Dill Garlic Pickles for Green Tomatoes or Cucumbers

In clean, sterilized, quart jars place the following:

sprig dill

1/2 clove garlic

hot pepper

Pack in the cucumbers. Then add:

sprig dill

1/2 clove garlic

hot pepper

Add a pinch of alum the size of a pea.

Heat 2 quarts water, 1 quart vinegar, 1 cup canning salt to a boil.

Fill the jars and seal.

for 1 quart of pickles use 1 c. water, 1/2 c. vinegar, 1/8 c. salt

I really like this recipe. I use just a little piece of pepper in the bottom of the jar. I don't like hot pickles. The peppers give it a nice bite though.

I love this recipe! I think they are better than cucumber pickles.

SQUASH PICKLES from Robin Kim's mother's cousin's wife in Arkansas!

1 t SALT


I'll post more as I get them typed out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Five in a hot tub!

The singsongy question at my house these days is, "Mooooommmm! Can we get in the pool now?"

Remember, this is only the end of May. What that really means is, "can we get in the pool, then in the hot tub, then in the pool, then in the hot tub until everything we own is wet and cold!"

I'm saying "yes" a lot these days!

Here's some pictures of Caleb, Jon, Ben, and our friends Annabelle and Isaac in the hot tub portion of that process.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jonny's new teeth

My Jonny is finally growing permanent teeth! Here is a picture of his gap toothed smile!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cross eyed Jonny!


That's our Jonny! A party every day!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Went to UGO today. They had really good, fresh blueberries for $1.99 a quart. They are really good! We made blueberry jam this afternoon!

They also have 600 thread count sheets for $20 a set. They had king and full sized.

Happy shopping!

Stillhouse Hollow Falls

We have found a realy great place for hiking. It is Stillhouse Hollow Falls between MT. Pleasant and Summertown. It is on Highway 43.

It's a beautiful natural area! We hiked down to the falls on Saturday afternoon. The information about it says it is two thirds of a mile down, but I really believe it's a little farther than that. Although, coming up seems shorter! The falls is beautiful!!!!

None of us had any trouble making the hike although I did stop to enjoy the view and look at some trees a couple of times on the way back up. HEHEHEHEHEHE!

Anyway, if you're looking for a cool hike on a summer afternoon, this is the place!

Love to you all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

UPDATE 5-21-09

NO CHEMO!!!!!!!!!!

Another month of freedom!!

Went to the oncologist today. He said that we should give the Femara more time to work. He said that it takes time and that we shouldn't jump off it yet to something else.

The swelling is NOT cancer growing that quickly. It's swelling in the lymphatic system. Ie, if you sprain your ankle, it swells. The swelling is not the injury, just a by product of the injury. Same here.

So, I'm free again until my next appointment in June!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's for dinner

It's Sunday evening and here's what we are all up to.

Sam is at Patty's house, not eating chicken! (He's a vegetarian.)

It's 60 degrees outside here according to our thermometer and Jonny decided to get in the swimming pool. That lasted all of five minutes and he is in the hot tub now!

Caleb and Mike and Ben are throwing baseball in the back yard. Mr. Estes (Pa) gave the boys some money this weekend and Caleb spent his on a ball and bat. Jon wanted to buy swim fins but couldn't find any his size so he found last year's fins in the shed (motivation), thus the desire to swim in the pool on this chilly willy day.

I'm sitting outside surfing the web and warming dinner in the microwave. Tonight we're having homemade soup (hamburger, red beans, okra, corn, tomatoes, onions, green beans) that I found frozen left over from another meal back in the winter. I thought that rice would go good with it, so I pulled a bag of leftover rice out of the freezer as well. It's thawing in the steamer on the stove. I'm thinking I'll fry some tortillas to eat with it, but won't guarantee it.

I'm bored with our food these days, so I'd love to see some of your menus! I've been looking at a website I think I'll spend some more time there. She gives you dinner ideas based on the sales at your local stores! Includes WalMart, Kroger and Save a Lot. She got some good links to others blogs as well...........blogs for coupons, recipes and frugal living. Anyway, I'm motivated for this week!

Love to you all!

Friday, May 15, 2009

update 5/15/09

I spoke with the doctor yesterday about my biopsy results. Originally, they told me that the resuls would be ready in 2-3 weeks. it would take that long to grow out the cells to do the tests on them. It's been 2 1/2 weeks so I called to check on them.

They said that the cells were growing so slowly that it would be late next week before they would have results!!!!!! So, the cells are growing SLOWLY!!!!

That's good news! Now, if they'll stop growing altogether, we'll be set!


This is what homeschooling, having lots of boys and summertime is all about!

What better excuse to stop the housework than to see the snake!

First, we determined that it is not poisonous. It's head is shaped like your thumb instead of a triangle. Then, we determined to catch it! By the time we got that far into the process, it was very displeased with us! It struck at us repeatedly! But, with the aid of a shovel, I pinned him down (all snakes are boys, right?) and grabbed him behind the head.

The brave holder of the snake is our friend John. His brother Cotter was here for the adventure as well. My Jon found him and Caleb was involved in all aspects of the hunt! Benny didn't like it much, but he was willing to linger on the periphery.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Caleb, Jon and Ben!

I'd like to intoduce you to some more of my boys! Here is a picture of Caleb, Jon and Ben.

Caleb is 9. He loves playing sports. His best sport is soccer. His best subject is math. Right now he's reading Treasure Island.

Jon is 6. He loves to build with Legos and ride his bike. He is learning to read and learning his beginning math facts.

Ben is 4. He loves everything his brothers love and he will eat ANYTHING!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sam'a Senior Night!

Tonight we went to Sam's Senior Night at the high school.

He won the National Scholar Athlete Award presented by the Army National Guard!!!! We were so PROUD!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day chick!

Hello all!

We got home from church today to find ONE baby chick hatched out!!!!! We were all excited - our first birth on the farm!!!!!!!

It's a little turkey necked chick like his mama!

I hope she hatches out some more. She was setting on 15 eggs. At least one rotten one has busted. SHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEE!

Happy Mother's Day to all you other mother's out there!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

First post- cancer update

Today I'm gonna do aI amn update for where I am today. Maybe I'll come back another time and give my full history.......Maybe not!

Today, we are waiting the results from the chemo sensitivity test. Basically, they took the cancer cells, will grow them in dishes, then kill them with chemo to see which chemo will work the best. Hope it works as well INSIDE as it does outside!

Takes about 3 weeks to grow it out, so, it'll be a couple more weeks before we know anything.

Tuesday, May 12, I go for bloodwork and a shot to make sure the ovaries are not functioning at all to keep the estrogen levels as close to zero as possible. I'll get the results from the bloodwork when I get the results from the chemo sensitivity test.

On a lighter note, I've decided to get a good tan this summer! They're treating me for cancer anyway, so I figure I'm covered! WARNING FEMALE CONTENT AHEAD! Skipped the pap smear this week for the same reason!

I feel better when I don't do laundry, and Nanny is sick this week, so if you see me in dirty clothes it's because I feel good!!! NU NU NU NU NU NU NUH!

Keep praying for our Father to reach down with his healing hand into my life. HE has always healed me before, He will again. He's my healer --- yours too!