Thursday, October 29, 2015

"The patient and humble endurance of the cross, whatever nature it may be, is the highest work we have to do." Saint Katherine Drexel
(The quote was provided by my dear friend Tara, who has texted me an inspiring quote from a saint every day since I was diagnosed. Another angel!)

We certainly each have our cross to bare. Some carry their cross in complete silence and anonymity. While others are given a cross that others can't help but notice. As the body of Christ we are called to help each other carry our cross just as Simon assisted Jesus with the wooden cross to which he was to be nailed.

My family and I continue to be so very blessed to have many around us who are assisting us with the cross of cancer. I must say that I do view this time as a time to assist my body with healing and not necessarily as a "fight" against cancer. I really don't want to be in fighting mode. I want to be in a peaceful healing mode. This is actually a beautiful time of acknowledging the many angels around us and the love that we all share. For me, this is a time to rest, love and heal, not a time to have boxing gloves on and be thinking about "fighting." This is a time for much spiritual growth and growth in relationships--- a time to be patient.

The past few days have been ones of rest for me. I was TOLD to rest. I had to be TOLD. I was trying so hard to keep life going on as normal, and it just isn't the right thing to do right now. I have enjoyed many a nap and having visitors.

Yesterday, Wednesday, my hair began falling out in clumps just like I had heard would happen. I was told it would happen in about 3 weeks from my first treatment, and it happened in only 2. Oh well. I am actually relieved to have that shock over with. Although we had planned a family event to have my head shaved and the guys were going to get a short crew cut, plans changed. Ricky and Paul were each invited to a Halloween party so Pete and I went out on a date. The first stop was Great Clips to visit my friend, Pam, who wanted to be the one to give me a pixie cut before shaving my head. I'm not sure if all Great Clips do this, but this branch offers anyone undergoing chemo free hair cuts and a free head shaving, so generous! So, I now have a very short pixie cut and will probably need to go back in a week for a full out head shaving. Then Pete and I went out to dinner to celebrate the new look! Pete and Paul will get their crew cuts today after school and Ricky will be the one to carry on with his usual look. : )

The moment when my hair began to fall out was certainly a REAL raw moment. There was no more denying that I am healing from cancer. And now, everyone I meet will know. Now, every time I look in the mirror I am reminded that something is different. It is quite humbling to walk around with this look. I do have scarves and even a gorgeous wig to wear. So, be prepared to see me sporting various looks. This could be a lot of fun, and just in time for Halloween!!!!

Today I go in for my weekly blood work to check my white blood cell count, my creatin level and many other factors. My next treatment will be next Thursday, Nov. 5th. I appreciate the many prayers on the day of my treatment. Please pray specifically that I will be patient with the side effects and patient with myself as I heal. Thank you for your continued support in so many ways. A HUGE thank you to all who have been sending us meals. We are eating like royalty over here. Be assured of our prayers for each of you and your families. Thanks to each of you, we are able to rest in God's love.

"Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him. That is all the doing you have to worry about." St. Jane France De Chantal

Monday, October 26, 2015

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56: 3-4

It is tough for me to admit when I am afraid, especially since I do have a strong faith and fully believe that God will always love me and protect me. However, the past few weeks have had some intense moments of fear, the fear of the unknown. For someone like me who likes to be in control, it is scary as I wait to see how the chemo therapy treatments will impact my body. In those moments of fear I repeat "Jesus." I know He is near and I know He will not leave me.

So, the past few days have been about navigating the unknown and dealing with each symptom and reaction as it appears. Thankfully I was able to celebrate my birthday Friday morning with colleagues and then all day Saturday with my family. Saturday was packed with Mass in the morning followed by a fun breakfast with mom and dad, then on to Paul's soccer game and then lunch with my Aunt Lourdes and cousin Ramon. From there we went to Owl-o-Ween at Kennesaw State Univ for the hot air balloon festival. I really wanted to do something new and fun for my birthday. I needed to escape. And we did just that. It was great to see the balloons come to life and then light up as the sun set. And I'll never forget dancing to the music with my dear nieces Mariana and Faustina.

OK so maybe I did too much on Saturday. Sunday I could not even get out of my pjs. I slept all day. I didn't feel like I was overdoing it on Saturday but I think my body told me so on Sunday, forcing me to rest.

Time for my Passion:
Thankfully I can continue with my passion to teach others about the gifts of essential oils.
For those who are not on Facebook, I announced last week that I am offering two gifts as an incentive to those who have been thinking about trying essential oils. For a year and a half now I have been teaching classes and holding one on one consultations with people in order to teach how we can rely on natural solutions for our wellbeing. These essential oils have made a big difference in my life and that of my extended family and friends. Since October is my birthday month I had planned on offering gifts to those who enroll in October. I am moving forward with my plans!

So, any one who enrolls by purchasing an enrollment kit through me by October 30th at 10pm, will also receive a FREE hard back resource book titled, The Essential Life, which contains hundreds of pages of researched based information on how to use the essential oils for many ailments as well as a key chain pouch that contains 8 empty vials which you can fill with your favorite oils to have on you at all times.

All you need to do is call me, text me, or e-mail so that we can set up a time to chat. I will be sure to lead you to the kit that best meets your needs. We can also set up a time to meet in person so that you can experience the oils. I will be having a class in my home in Lilburn this Thursday at 7pm for anyone wanting to learn more. There is also an online class that same evening at 9pm for those wanting to learn from the comfort of their own computer. Please contact me for the registration link to that class. Text me at 404-542-9210 or e-mail me at

This is truly a win/win proposition, you get to learn about and purchase essential oils that will benefit you and your family AND  you will be supporting my family's business as we continue our mission to provide the best essential oils and continuing education to as many people as we can reach.
Please consider this opportunity seriously and give me a call!

Much love to all of you! #Savortheblessings #Savorthegifts

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1

How great it is to know that the Lord is our shield and our reward! Even in the midst of this health crisis, I do feel completely protected by God and I know it is in great part due the way that each of you are reflecting His love to us. Thank you!

We received some more good news yesterday. It turns out that I am negative for the BRACA gene. That means I am not a carrier for the cancer gene. Therefore, it appears that for now we can proceed with the treatment, surgery and radiation plan as recommended by the doctors. We will not have to worry about removing the other healthy breast. Praise God!

Our second opinion appointment with Dr. Bowen went very well. We truly appreciated the full hour she dedicated to explaining my diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. She was so thorough and answered our many questions. We did walk away feeling that there is no need to switch doctors at this point. The convenience of Gwinnett Medical is worth its weight in gold and we know we are being served by a stellar medical staff! We will continue to move forward with the 6 rounds of chemo treatments and then we'll see Dr. Yamaguchi again to discuss the surgery.

I'm looking forward to continuing to work as much as possible and am so grateful for the amazing support of my colleagues. My work in supporting students who are learning English is so dear to me. I love that I can support the teachers and administrators even without having to physically enter the schools while my immune system is low. Soon I'll be back in there with them.

As I "Savor the Blessings" I do want to list a few beautiful blessings that I know I would have not received had I not been diagnosed with breast cancer: a beautiful walk with my mom while praying the Rosary in Spanish, my dad bringing me the Holy Eucharist, one on one time with my dear husband reminiscing about the days when we used to meet for lunch in Atlanta, special visits from friends, phone calls from family and friends, having Ricky cook me a delicious breakfast, having Paul take care of my every need not allowing me to lift a finger, getting to know amazing nurses and doctors who are excellent at what they do and full of compassion, and I could go on and on! Truly there are many blessings to SAVOR! I pray that I will continue to identify them and truly savor them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Romans 12:5

This verse has rung true for me and my family many times and it comes to life once again! We continue to be so touched by the outpouring of love and support from all of you.

The past two days have been kind of tough on me physically. Thankfully, I was able to attend Paul's soccer game Saturday afternoon and soak up some wonderful sun rays! After that, my body began to feel the effects of the chemotherapy. I became totally exhausted and nauseous while also experiencing some tough bone pain. This lasted all of Sunday and Monday.

I was able to get to Mass Sunday morning, but quickly realized I had pushed myself too hard. It still felt great to just sit and listen to the body of Christ praying as I joined in my silent way, reminded that we are one body in Christ!

Thankfully, we had friends taking the boys out on Sunday to have fun and we had my mom coming to spend the day with me Monday. We even had a friend bring us a delicious dinner Monday night. WE ARE ONE BODY! Thanks to all of you our life can continue as close to normal as possible. My boys feel so special and loved thanks to all of you reaching out to us. Through your witness they are able to see that in adversity God is present and much good can come of it.

This morning, Tuesday, Oct. 20th, I do feel that my energy is returning and the nausea is going away (hopefully). I will just take one day at a time as we continue to learn how my body will respond to the chemo treatments. One of my side effects that apparently is not very common, is that I am experiencing tough abdominal pain. Three of the four chemo drugs they are giving me list this as a less common side effect. I'm sure in time we will find a way to help alleviate the symptom. I am thankful for my husband's patience with me and my family's perseverance in caring for me.

Oh, I did see Dr. Yamaguchi (the breast surgeon) yesterday as she wanted to check on my port site. All is well. She did reiterate that with IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) the recommended practice is to remove the breast once the tumors have been shrunk. I was really hoping there was some way for us to avoid that, but apparently there isn't. Today we will get to meet. Dr. Kristina Bowen at the GA Cancer Center for a second opinion. We have been warned that she will most likely say the same thing that Dr. Peacock has recommended, but it will be good to talk with a second doctor.

Thank you for continued prayers for all of us. Be assured of our prayers for each of you!

Friday, October 16, 2015

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Thankfully our day yesterday began with the amazing news from Dr. Peacock that all of my MRIs and the PET scan as well as the echo came back showing that the cancer has not spread to other pats of the body!!! PRAISE GOD! That was such a relief! So, I remain at stage 3.

My family is feeling this compassion from all of you! We have received so much support and love already! Thanks to the compassion of many, my first treatment day, yesterday was perfect! It was great to be with Pete all day and then visited by Chris Wilson, Mom and Dad- who brought me the Holy Eucharist, a spiritual bouquet from my sister's family, and much love, my brother Mike who happened to be working his rounds at Gwinnett Medical that day, and then my brother Gene and nephew Joseph to round out the family representation in the afternoon. I had just enough time in there to take a nap and even to enjoy a great Cuban lunch with my parents and Pete in the break room. As in usual fashion, my family managed to make a party out of the event. Praise God for a fun and loving family!

The nursing staff at the center was fabulous! They took such good care of me. They kept apologizing because my port was "positional" meaning that I had to be in a certain reclined position for it to work. They think I still had some swelling from the recent installation surgery on Monday. But I kept on explaining that it wasn't a bad thing to be told I had to recline in a comfy leather recliner for the day. God was telling me to rest! So, these are the reasons I ended up not blogging yesterday.

I was blessed to have been given some cold pack mittens and cold pack footies, by Julie, in order to protect my nails during the infusion of Taxatere. That is the very strong chemo that has caused some to experience discoloration or even loss of the nails. By having something cold on my nails I can work to hopefully stop those side effects and protect the nail cells. I am also taking steps to condition my nails often with a wonderful shea butter and lavender salve.

This morning I woke up at 2am ready to climb Stone Mountain! I am on steroids for three days around treatment to help my body cope with the chemo. Apparently they can make people feel agitated and revved up. I spent all morning working and talking! I did go for a nice a long walk which gave me great time to breathe and pray. I was then able to get a lot done!

This afternoon I went back to the cancer center for a Neulasta shot that is given 24hrs after each chemo treatment in order to boost my body's white blood cell count. It will force my bone marrow to produce white blood cells to hopefully avoid a dip in my counts. It is something recommended for those on strong chemo.

I am so appreciative of the amazing demonstration of love and support that I have received from all of my ESOL teacher friends!!! Today I spent quite some time opening up a ton of cards they had all brought to a meeting that I could not attend Tuesday night. Paul counted 22 cards!! They had even included gift cards to some of our favorite places and practical places. WOW! The generosity was quite overwhelming. Thank you to all who contributed. What is beautiful is to see how the boys are touched by the outpouring of love. They feel special also. Thank you for blessing them with that wonderful feeling!

We continue to strive to keep things around here as natural as possible both in routine and in the things we bring into our home and into our bodies. We are making a conscious effort to just live more healthy. It was time to go back to what we know is best. So, we are making our own hand sanitizers from the wonderful essential oils, and making our smoothies and juices, and just eating good food created by God. It is empowering to take more control of what goes into our bodies. If you have some great recipes to share that do not include sugar and do include fresh wholesome ingredients, we would love to hear them. I also welcome juicing recipes!

Thank you for keeping up the prayers. Be assured of my prayers for each of you!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews is one of those books of the Bible that I have not had the opportunity to study in depth or to turn to often. But, this quote is so perfect for today. I AM SURROUNDED BY A CLOUD OF WITNESSES! I am also surrounded by angels and saints!!!

As I head to my first chemotherapy session today I know that so many are praying for me and the family. It is so very comforting to know that we are being lifted by prayers. Just like Jesus had his friends along his walk to support him and make the load lighter, we have our family and friends doing the same for us. Please say a special prayer for my parents. This is hard for them to see their baby going through this trial. I imagine it is much like Mary felt watching her son having to carry out the will of our Lord on the cross. Pray for their peace and strength through all of this. They are amazingly strong in their faith which I know will carry them through. They also rely on their "cloud of witnesses" to lift them up. Thank you!

The boys are nervous as I am about how my body may react to the medicines. I certainly don't want to be an overly sick mommy for weeks and they don't want to see me that way. So, we are thinking positive and claiming the best outcome, even if I do have to rest often.

However, it is friends like the Romans (carpooling the kids to school), the Wilsons (setting up the meal train}, the Beckmans (from church and soccer- taking Paul to soccer) and family all around us who are pitching in today to make this a fun day for the boys and one that will be as normal as it can be. Pete will be staying the 8 hours with me and I'll also be visited by my little brother Mike and by my good friend and Breast Health Navigator, Amy. How blessed are we!??

When we support each other through trials we are the face of God. I see that reflection of God in each of you as you reach out to us. Thank you! The texts, phone messages, facebook messages and e-mails from old friends and new alike, mean so much to me. I do have to say that it has been fun reconnecting on a deeper level with friends from my alma mater St. Pius X Catholic High School. The outpouring of support from the friends in my class and other classes has been so beautiful. That is a bond that won't ever disappear! I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to send us to St. Pius.

I have also already made some great new friends who have walked or are currently walking this same walk. How wonderful to talk with them and hear their bountiful energy through the phone reminding me that this too shall pass.

One last note, my 82 year old uncle Galo had to be hospitalized last night for a couple of blood clots in a leg. Please pray for him and his family! His birthday is tomorrow and has always been very special to me. Thank you for praying.

Much love to each of you and your families. May God grant you a day full of peace and perspective!
Don't forget to Savor the Blessings!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its works so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Many times over the past few days I have meditated on the power of suffering. Thankfully I was raised to always offer up sufferings to our Lord and join them to the cross. Mom and dad were always reminding us to offer up our pain or discomfort since we were little. Now, I have dear friends and family who continue to remind me that suffering is an honor and an amazing tool in our faith journey.

Christ himself suffered on the way to the cross. Even when he felt agony, he knew that it had a purpose and that he needed to follow God's will through the suffering. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta shared that she often suffered in darkness and would join her suffering to the cross for the benefit of souls. I am certainly not placing myself in their company when it comes to faith, but just wanting to illustrate that even those who have an amazing faith, will still suffer but turned suffering into an asset in their faith journey.

I have grown up with a beautiful story about my paternal grandmother, Josephina Garcia-Carreras. She had to suffer through ovarian cancer in her early 60s when not much was known about how to cure or treat cancer. She died in 1974. My aunts and my dad talk about how toward the end of her life she was in a lot of pain but she would refuse to take pain killers in order to be able to offer up her suffering for the souls purgatory. Her suffering had a much higher purpose. She was able to find joy in her suffering because she joined it to the cross with Christ. Thanks to her example and that of many other family members and friends, I know that I can endure any suffering for a higher purpose.

Here is a link to a beautiful reflection from Pope Francis about suffering and it's place in the family:

Please pray especially for those suffering who don't have anyone to pray for them. God knows who they are, but we must pray for them. I also ask you to pray in a special way for Fr. Joseph Peek (brother of my sister-in-law, Christina Peek Garcia-Carreras) who has endured much suffering and continues to suffer through Leukemia. Please keep his family in your prayers as they rally around him to comfort him in his final days on earth.


The port installation went well on Monday morning. Mom took me to the hospital at 7am. I was thankful for the anesthesiologist who sensed my anxiety about being only sedated for the procedure and decided I should be put fully under. Phew! Recovery went much better than any other time I have been under anesthesia. I usually become very nauseous, but this time I didn't even feel dizzy. Praise God! The pain has been manageable with ice and my fabulous essential oils, not to mention the power of prayer.

Tuesday was spent going through the PET scan and the brain MRI. We will know results of those tests Thursday morning when I report for my first round of chemo at Gwinnett Medical Center. We are nervous but have faith in God's plan.

Today, I get to go to work! I will hopefully work a full day at the office catching up and assisting our team with our ongoing projects. I'm looking forward to the professional exercise and the beautiful collegiality of our team and other colleagues!

Tomorrow I will be receiving chemo for 8 hours with my loving husband by my side and possibly a welcomed visit from my brother Mike as he completes duties at Gwinnett Medical. He is completing his studies to become a Gwinnett County fireman. I will have many beautiful things with me that remind me of so many of you and your generosity. I am well taken care of and even feel quite spoiled! Thank you!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:5-8

This is exactly what I have been doing the past few days, finding rest in God. But I must admit, I also find earthly rest in my family and friends. Thank you all for the amazing words of comfort provided through cards, fb messages, texts, phone calls and hugs! I feel so very loved! When the nurse practitioner told us the other day that a study revealed that those with cancer who are cared for are the ones who overcome, I felt like saying, "then I probably won't even need chemo as I am SO VERY CARED FOR!!!"

Let me take you back to Wednesday when mom went with me to visit Pretty Please, the boutique in Decatur owned by our friends Melinda and Warren Smith. They sell all types of bras from ones for nursing mothers to all types for all women. They also sell wigs, turbans and head covers for those going through chemo and they even work with insurance companies. Mom and I actually had fun as Melinda (another angel) took her time explaining the wigs to us and gave me time to try several on. We all finally agreed on one that looked most like me. I really feel I need one for work and any formal events that may come up. I had flash backs to going wedding dress shopping with mom. I was so blessed then as I am now, to have her by my side during all times in my life. She always goes the extra mile to support me and my family!

That evening I had the honor of going to serve 25 Wounded Warriors at the Wounded Warrior of Atlanta office when Ricky and I taught them all about how essential oils might benefit them. They were such a fun group of people. We laughed and laughed at their jokes and reactions to the potency of the oils. They truly lifted my spirits. And working side by side with my little Ricky (who turns 12 today) was an immense pleasure!

So, Thursday I had the MRI of my breasts and met another angel. Her name is Kristy. She was the MRI tech who guided me through the process and took such good care of me. She even engaged me a great conversation about essential oils, reminding me that the road I have been on is not ending. I can continue serving others even through my illness.

Thankfully I was able to go to work that afternoon to work with the amazing EL Programs team. They have rallied around me and have even made a plan to cover for me when I am out. They completely eased my mind about the work load and my work responsibilities. Again, I am grateful that I will be able to continue working when I have the strength.

Friday was a marathon day as Pete and I bounced around from doctor to doctor. The day began with an Echo cardiogram where I met yet another angel, Yemi, the echo tech! She is from Ethiopia and had a radiant energy that could brighten up any room and lift any spirit. I had so much talking with her about her days in ESOL and hearing about her impressions of America. She is living the dream! We promised to stay in touch and she promised me that I would be o.k. What a joyful soul!!!! I have always found that people from Ethiopia are so beautiful inside and out!

From there we went shopping for a new robe (I had been alerted to a robe sale by my good friend Nicole) and on to a nice lunch date with the love of my life! Then we were on to our Chemo Teaching, a time to learn about the drugs I will be given and their side effects as well as what to expect as I sit to receive chemo. It will be an 8 hour process one Thursday every 3 weeks for 6 cycles. Mr. Wan, the nurse practitioner, walked us through every detail and answered all 15 of my questions. He was so patient with me and even humored me by smelling my Ginger essential oil when I offered it to him.  Ha ha, he told me I have a wide open market when it comes to assisting those undergoing chemo treatments with their symptoms, using essential oils. We'll see where God leads me.

Then we sprinted across town to go see Dr. Yamaguchi, the breast surgeon, She explained the process of putting in the port that will allow them to give me the medications without having to get to my veins each time. The port will be placed under my right collarbone just under my skin. They will be able to access each time they need to take blood and/or administer the drugs. This procedure will take place Monday morning bright and early at 7am. Mom will be taking me. Please pray for me and Dr. Yamaguchi at that time. Thank you!

In between all of this, I have received numerous phone calls and messages from other friends who have been through this breast cancer journey. They offer great words of advice and support! I truly love it that so many have felt moved to reach out to me. You never know who God is going to use to shine light on the way he intends for me to go.

One day my friend Sonia called me to say she really thinks we should explore MD Anderson since they have the only Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Center in America. Within an hour of her telling me that, a high school friend, Beth, messaged me to let me know that she lives 20 minutes from MD Anderson and that I am welcome to stay with her any time. WOW! Then another friend messaged me on FB and expressed that I should be prepared to seek a second opinion from somewhere like MD Anderson. So, MD Anderson came up 3 times from 3 different people all within one hour. I'll take that as a sign. I'm calling them Monday morning to see what I need to do get an opinion from them. God is taking care of every detail.

It has been a wonderful weekend of spending great time with my boys as we prepared for Ricky's birthday. I had decided that I would not do any cancer research this weekend. I needed to just concentrate on family and having fun! Thank you Lord the time to rest in you and with my family!
Love to all of you. Thank you for the continued prayers.

I love hearing from all of you! My e-mail address is and my cell phone number is 404-542-9210 and my physical address is 578 Dorsey Circle SW, Lilburn, GA 30047.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Good morning to all!
Just a quick note to say that I absolutely love receiving your favorite Bible quotes and inspirational quotes. I am copying them into a document with each person's name attached. I know that I will visit the document often to be reminded of the great people I am surrounded by and the amazing promises of hope and blessings.

Thank you all for reaching out to me in various ways! My spirit is uplifted by your messages and I am constantly reminded that I am not alone.
"Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful, and he tells us: "My yoke is easy, and my burden light."
— St. Boniface

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

It's a new day! Even though it is 3:42am and I can't sleep anymore, I am filled with hope for the new day!

We met with our oncologist, Dr. Kevin Peacock, yesterday at Gwinnett Medical. (I use his name here because I would love for each of you to pray for him by name.) He is a super nice man who is very compassionate, knowledgeable and calm. Sonia went with us to lend her support and expertise in the medical field. We so appreciate her support as we navigate this new life.

The doctor did express his concern for how advanced the cancer is. He is staging it at a 3 now but the PET scan and MRIs this week will show if we need to stage it higher. He expressed concern for the fact that this is an aggressive form of inflammatory cancer which has already spread to my lymph node on the one side. We are checking to see if it has spread anywhere else.

So, he and the other doctors he consulted want to move very fast in getting the cancer to stop growing and spreading.  I am grateful for that. As he said, women do not die from breast cancer. They die from the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. OK- take a deep breath here..... I will begin chemotherapy next Thursday, October 15th at Gwinnett Medical Center's Center for Cancer Care in Lawrenceville. I will have one treatment every 3 weeks for a total of 6 cycles= 18 weeks. At that point we will begin talking about surgery and next steps. Yes, my hair will fall out and I will be very tired, but life will go on!

I have been very involved in circles of friends who always look to the natural ways to support the body through its natural healing process. My mother has always instilled in us the confidence to question doctors and to look to natural ways to go about life, being one of the first women in GA to birth a baby with her husband in the room and supporting her when I was born. So, it is not easy for me to accept everything a doctor tells me at face value. Dr. Peacock was very good about answering my questions and acknowledging where I am coming from. This cancer is too far advanced to only rely on natural remedies. I MUST take action using the amazing medical advances that have saved so many lives.

This is very difficult for me, but I must surrender to the will of the Lord and accept the medical care that is being offered. I will get a second opinion, but that doctor couldn't get me in fast enough, so we will begin the chemo and still go to the second opinion appointment on the 20th.

Once again, I am counting my blessings. We have so many people around us supporting us and praying for us. We have faith in our Lord and each other. We have faith in the medical advances and in the natural ways of supporting my body through this process. The bottom line is that I do want to continue living a rich life full of adventures with my husband, kids, family and friends.

Join us in praying for the medical staff as they guide us through this journey to renewed health. Pray also for my peace of mind as I balance the medical with the natural, that I may always clearly know the path God is wanting me to take.

Thank you for your constant support and for being so concerned about us. The love we are feeling is AMAZING!!! Many more angels have come forward....too many to list.

I feel that God is asking me to slow down and appreciate the love around me. I will certainly do so!
May you each feel His loving embrace as you face the challenges of the day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, REJOICE!" (Philippians 4:4)

And so it began, just as I completed my novena (9 day prayer) for the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux (  and wondered if I would receive any roses...

On September 30, 2015 I began the day with a beautiful communion service celebrated by my Deacon Dad with my mom by my side. Many friends and family were already praying as the day before I had gone through the biopsy of three areas of my left breast. I had been experiencing symptoms of mastitis since the beginning of August and was referred to a breast specialist. After the mammogram and ultrasound, it was determined that I should have two suspicious masses and one swollen lymph node biopsied.

Later in the day I received a call from my friend Amy letting me know that she would be my "Breast Health Navigator." I didn't know that she worked for the center in which I had had the biopsies performed. What a blessing to have a friend guide me on this journey as a friend and also in her professional capacity. She is truly an angel! I feel so much more confident with her by my side.

That was the day I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. My type is rare as it is also inflammatory and is multicentric (fancy word for the fact that it is multiple quadrants of the breast).
To say were were shocked is an understatement. However, from the very minute of the diagnosis Peter and I decided we would remain positive and always count our blessings.

That evening a set of angels, our dear friends Floyd and Jennifer, showed up at our door with flowers and the time to listen and pray with us. We knew we would not be alone. I'll never forget when my sister in law, Christina texted me to remind me that to be given this cross to bare is an honor. How beautiful to have family and friends who will remind us of the true meaning behind the struggle of life.

On October 1st, the day I was expecting to announce a fun and big promotion with my business in order to celebrate my birthday month, I was calling friends and family to share the news and ask for prayers. And YES, St. Therese did send me roses through various friends and family! Also on this day we bought the newest car we have ever owned and it is my favorite color, RED! What a blessing!

These past few days have been filled with many tears but also with many amazing moments of grace as angels have been sent to lead us on this new path. On the day after my diagnosis two friends showed up at lunch time with my favorite soup! What a blessing!

My sister spent that day with me to be my side as I researched while mom watched her kids- what a blessing! My mom, dad and siblings were calling all relatives and friends to ask for prayers- what a blessing! Already, my sister in law, Lora, and my mom were sending me information and doctors' names, another blessing. Nicole, my dear friend at work, was taking care of letting colleagues know the news and was assisting with delegating my work load. She placed a beautiful pink rose on my desk that has brought me much comfort.

Another dear friend, Kelley, brought us dinner that night. We could have cooked ourselves, but it sure was a comforting gift to receive a meal and know that we would not be alone on this journey. Another friend, Ms. Papania, showed up at our door later with an amazing loaf of bread she had made for us! What love!

A friend of a friend, Julie, who just went through breast cancer, has become an instant friend to me, calling me, texting me, sending me e-mails, making sure I knew that I was not alone and that she had just won the battle herself and she would be there to help me win! She is an oncology nurse and her husband, Dr. Jorge Spinolo, is an oncologist. Wow- such expertise right at my fingertips to guide me and comfort me.

My dear friends Sonia and Greg, another pair of angels, hosted me and my boys at their house Saturday so that the boys could play while Sonia (a wise pharmacist) could help me translate my reports and help me research options. Greg cooked up an amazing healthy dinner for us and was sure to cheer us up when the conversation became somber. Sonia will be by our side at as many doctors' appointments as she can make to lend her wisdom and support.

My business sisters have shown amazing support with their phone calls and messages! I am so blessed to have them as part of my life! Tonight, after an essential oil class, Kay and Lauranell prayed over me! So amazing!

All the while my brother Gene and Lora have been calling me and checking on me and just letting me cry on the phone with them. Gene keeps reminding me that I will get through this and that I need to rely on God. He sent me a beautiful book of meditations to help quiet my spirit and listen to God's voice. This is simply not what I had planned for October! But God has other plans and I must accept them. Each one of you reading this blog are a part of my story. You are each praying and supporting us.

So many angels surrounded me at church as so many friends hugged me and promised their prayers. I even received several thoughtful cards and even gifts! Wow!

Then Sunday evening another pair of angels arrived at my door. Lori and Joe were bringing me their juicer so that I could begin making nutrient rich juices to boost my health. When I said I probably didn't have the right ingredients to practice with, Lori pulled up several bags of produce they had brought with them. WOW! So, there we were juicing and laughing.

Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends have called me, many have sent messages via facebook and e-mail. Several have offered advice. And many survivors have offered their wisdom and love- Leslie, Susan, Cindy, Chris, Nikki, Julie, Lynn, Dianne, Helen, Kathryn, and maybe more.

(WHY ARE THERE SO MANY???? Why must so many women suffer through this. I have learned that one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. You have got to be kidding me!)

Breakfast with Lisa this morning was such a welcomed distraction and a time to concentrate on my business as well as be comforted by a friend. She shared so much wisdom with me! Hugs from colleagues this morning at work were reassuring and comforting. No matter where I go I know I am not alone! I have angels to support me in every corner of my life. What an amazing blessing!!!

There are even two friends who are bringing me a scapular from Pennsylvania! Thank you Regina and Fr. Kevin!

Well, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th, we will have our first meeting with the oncologist. I'm sure we will learn a lot and have many questions answered. Not to worry, I do have a second opinion lined up. Thursday I will be having the MRI done. We will have a couple of weeks of seeking answers and options.

I promise to keep you all posted here. I didn't want to be blasting details on facebook.

Thank you all for your many prayers! October is the month of the Rosary in the Catholic Church. Please say a Rosary for me and my family! For more information on the Rosary, click here:

May God be praised and glorified throughout this journey!
May we each strive to Savor the Blessings!