Saturday, March 26, 2016


"He has sent bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Isaiah 61:1-3

One week has passed since my surgery. We have all been surprised at how quickly I was up and about. I continue to get tired very easily but the healing process is definitely under way. I have had follow up appointments with both surgeons and both say I am healing beautifully.

We received GREAT news Thursday evening when my breast surgeon called to let us know that the pathology report shows that I am completely clear of cancer. They could not find any evidence of cancer in the breast tissue nor in the 9 lymph nodes she removed. We are amazed and so very grateful! What an amazing healing!!!!! We met with the surgeon yesterday and she explained that they are beginning to see this complete response more often with the new chemo therapy drugs they are using. However, we believe this was a miraculous healing. Let me explain.

Just one week before my surgery was to take place I was still not convinced that it was the right thing for me to do. I talked with several people including my doctors and asked them to convince me that I should have my left breast removed. The doctors' explanation for why the surgery should take place is that removing the breast and analyzing the tissue is the only way to prove that the cancer is gone. This is one area that I believe we need to make major advancement in.

So, I decided to go to my naturopath doctor for an additional thermascan in which, through an infrared scan, she can detect patches of heat which signify disease. She completed the breast scan and showed me how the left breast still showed evidence of cancer in two places. This piece of evidence helped me see that removing the left breast was probably the right thing to do to protect me from future recurrence of cancer.

Well, just a few days later our dear friend, Father Joseph, passed away after a long illness which began as Leukemia. We attended his wake the day before my surgery along with thousands of others.
I was praying for his intercession in providing me with healing grace, whether it be emotional or physical healing. After paying our respects to his body and praying for his soul, I asked Fr. Kevin, his brother, to pray a blessing over Peter and me. He did so right in front of Fr. Joseph's casket. As he prayed over us I held on to the scapular that Fr. Joseph had blessed for me to wear several months back. I asked Fr. Joseph to intercede for me.  So, when we found out Thursday evening, one week after that blessing, that I do not have cancer present, I really believed that Fr. Joseph had interceded and God had granted yet another miracle.

As we have called family and friends to let them know the good news the first question is always, will you still have to go through radiation? My breast surgeon says I will still need radiation. I am setting up an appointment with the radiology oncologist to discuss this further. Again, I am not convinced yet.

I'll be honest, my first reaction to the news was, "Great, so we removed my breast for no reason!" This had been my fear all along but also my hope, that they would remove the breast only to find out there was nothing to worry about. I did experience anger and great sadness. However, through the love of my husband and my parents they were able to fill me with hope and thankfulness. I needed to see the silver lining and they pointed it out to me. Now I am happy and can rejoice! Life will go on and I won't have to be worried about whether or not they got all of the cancer. Yes, I will be different physically, but the most important part is that I am different spiritually. I have allowed and will continue to allow God to mold me through this experience. I will continue to look to many of you for guidance toward God's will and support in following His will.

I thank you all for the prayers and that amazing support and love you have and are continuing to shower us with. Although painful at times, this has been an incredible experience to see how God showers us with love through each of you.

I ask that you continue to pray for several friends who are still healing from cancer: Eva, Jason, Victoria, Mary, Gisela, Ryan, Laura, just to name a few. I also pray for those who worry about cancer returning.

It is true that once you are diagnosed with cancer, life is never the same. But life can be better! It can be a good thing to be reminded of our mortality and our need to depend on God. It is good to be reminded that we need to treasure each day of life that God has blessed us with. And what better time to be reflecting on new life than through Easter time? I am so very grateful to be celebrating new life on this blessed Easter weekend when I get to see so many in my family and so many friends. I pray that you will each experience healing in your life this Easter. Ask God to show you where this healing is taking place. Be ready to experience the healing that God has planned for you!

Happy Easter to each of you!
With Much Love,
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." - Psalm 107:1

Friday, March 18, 2016

Surgery Update

Thank you for the many prayers today. Praise God all went well. The surgery only took 2 hours! I was up in my room by 2pm.

It's amazing how tired I have been and groggy from the anesthesia and pain medications. I am resting in bed with Pete sitting next to me.

I'll post more tomorrow when I feel more like myself.

Love to all,

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May you whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Just two days until I go through surgery to have my left breast removed, to have the cancer removed that is living in that breast and in the lymph nodes under my left arm. At times it is difficult to find peace of mind and spirit when I think about how this surgery will change my body. A dear friend reminded me yesterday that even though my body will change, my spirit doesn't have to change. I confessed to her that this is what worries me. I worry that this extreme physical change will somehow alter my spirit. But, I know I am surrounded by family and friends who will remind me to focus on God and to rest in his arms knowing that He will keep me whole. I will always be whole in His eyes.

This week our dear friend, Fr. Joseph Peek, passed away after a very long time of suffering physically. I have been moved to tears several times over the past years watching him suffer but still strive to live life to the fullest. Even in his quiet suffering he was impacting many lives and saving many souls. I thank God for his example. His sister, my sister-in-love, Christina, reminded me last week even through his physical weakness and "deformity" he still loved and was loved. He lived many years with open sores on his body and in much pain. He was sure to use it all for a higher purpose, God's purpose!

And so I am determined to use my experience for God's purpose. There is a reason I am going through this. I pray that my experience will bring others closer to God and that my suffering can be used to save souls.

Last week my dear friend, Sonia, arranged for a Mass to be celebrated by Fr. Michael Silloway in the chapel of St. Pius X Catholic High School, my alma mater, for myself and my friend and classmate, Eva McGarity Ponder. Several of our classmates and family joined us for a rosary and mass as we prayed for strength and healing. It truly was a vision of heaven to be surrounded by so many who love us and pray for us. I am so very grateful for our St. Pius community.

So, now, the practical news. I will be having surgery on Friday at 8am. The surgery should last about 4 hours. Please keep me and the surgeons in your prayers. I will actually have 3 surgeons working on me at one time. One will remove the diseased breast while the other two, who are plastic surgeons, will reduce and lift the right breast to help me with balance. (This is one of the silver linings.) I will hopefully be in the hospital just one night, but there is a possibility of staying 2 nights. Then I will recover and heal for 4 weeks. (This sounds funny to put a quantifiable number of weeks on my healing. I get the feeling my overall healing will take much longer than 4 weeks.) I actually hope to return to work in 4 weeks.

After I get cleared, I will begin radiation treatments to that left breast and armpit area. That will go on for 6 weeks, 5 days a week. I am hoping to be able to work through those treatments. We will see what God has planned.

In order to feel peace there is a need to rest. I am seeing that more and more. These next two days will be ones to reflect and rest. These next few weeks will be ones to reflect and rest as I heal. Be sure to send me your prayer requests so that may offer up any suffering for you.

Pete will keep the blog updated on Friday so that you all know how things are going.

Thank you for the continued support and prayers! I am so very blessed by each one of you. Remember to pray for Pete and the boys and my parents and siblings and close friends. This journey is hard on all of them. But, in the end, we will all be closer to God because of this journey and your prayers.

Please lift my friend and Pius classmate, Eva McGarity Ponder, in prayer as she heals from metastatic breast cancer.

Much love to all of you!

"We count as blessed those who have persevered." - James 5:11