My Inspiration

My Inspiration

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Walking the Plank

Why is it that I'm feeling so miserable about this next treatment?

I'm dreading this treatment more than the last two. (I am sure that doesn't bode well for future treatments either!)

I tried to make a list in my mind of all the things that are worse than chemotherapy - things that I could be doing on the day after Christmas, rather than sitting in a treatment room.  Unfortunately, it's not a long or pretty list. 

I should be happy. I got to enjoy Christmas with my family and it was a wonderful Christmas.  After this treatment, i'll be half way through this process.

But as Keith and I were driving here to the cancer center this morning, in the silence, he said, "Do you feel liking your walking the plank again?" 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Poor Keith

"Poor Keith!"

I think this about ten times a day lately. 

Which is odd because I used to just think poor me.

I do all the house work, caring for the kids, and no time for myself. Believe me, I complained daily about my lot. 

Now I feel so guilty about all the things I don't do and all that Keith and many others have to do for me and for my children. 

The last few weeks have been particularly hard for Keith and I.

I recovered quickly from my last treatment and was feeling good - and then two days later, it hit me!

One of the worst colds I've ever had.  I started to run a fever, so I went in to the doctor. My blood counts had dropped too low.  They put me on a antibiotic and gave me ordered to "lay low"

Which, of course, made for a horrible week for Keith - as if he need to have even more on his plate.

He literally had an 8 inch high stack of papers to grade, as well as a lot of church demands with both tithing settlement and Christmas aid for the needy.

But he did it all. He cooked the meals, he cleaned the house, he attended all the kids school programs, and he never once complained. 

How lucky am I?

Seriously, though, "Poor Keith!" doesn't seem like enough to say.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wigging Out

I'm well into recovery on this second round of chemo.

I was smarter about taking the medicine and it helped a lot.

After I was feeling a little better, I had a chance to go an get a wig with Vonda and my cancer buddies, Mary and Jackie.

I have to say,  I didn't really want to get a wig. I mean, part of me sort of wants to hide away until my hair grows back.

And if I'm going to spend the next few months hiding, I don't need a wig, right?

I spend a lot of time in denial. Can you sense it?

But during one of the snow days, I was having a conversation with my sweet Kendall.

She wondered if I would be driving her to school. I told her that I felt up to going and that I would ride along.

There was a long pause and she asked me if when I drove her if I would wear a hat or a wig to school.

And it made me realize that my baldness is still hard for her. And it makes some people uncomfortable.

So, while I don't necessarily feel like I need to wear a wig, I feel like there are situations and people who need me to, and I'm okay with that.

So, I  went.

Wig shopping is an interesting experience. There is an art to putting on a wig.

I mean, if the only wig you've ever tried on is in the Halloween aisle of Target, this is a whole different experience.

There are wig stands, and wig care, and picks and oh my gosh...just so much stuff.

The wigs are made so that it looks like your scalp. And they are snug. When you look up close, you just can't even tell it's a wig.

I seriously am doing things I never even imagined possible. Like being bald.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hair or No Hair

Today we had a head shaving party. (Yes, we even served ice cream.)

It had to be done.

I was losing hair by the handful, and it was everywhere.

The worst part of it was the "hair aches."

It turns out, on top of everything else, that it hurts when your hair follicle dies and the heavy hair is just left hanging on.

I did a good job keeping it together while we were shaving. Garrett was happy to claim sweet justice and took the clippers to my head.

It's not everyday a boy gets to shave his mother bald.

A dear friend helped even it out and my sister brought a pink wig.

But, when everyone was asleep, I went into the bathroom and stared at myself and cried.

I cried until I turned into a puddle, curled up on the floor, and cried some more.

After giving myself some time to let it sink in, I told myself I needed to come to a good place with this.

I have three little girls who feed off my emotions and reactions. This is my reality - my chance to grow and to learn.

So, this is what I've come to.

I've got a good smile and dimples.  I'll play them up to distract people from my salt and pepper buzz cut. 

I'm tall .There are few, especially the little ones in my house, who can even see the top of my head. 

It's a sad little list isn't it?

So I made myself dig a little deeper.

I've got a great sense of humor. I get it from my Dad. What a blessing it's been to see the humor in this.

I am a fairly confident person. I credit this to my mother. As a kid, she had me in dance, piano and every sport and school activity she could get me to try.

At home she taught me to sew, quilt, cook and encouraged every talent I ever wanted.

She minimized the pain of my weakness and encouraged my strength.

Now that I am a mother, I know how much she served and sacrificed for me.

Really this is the best you can come up with?  Come on Tamee, you can dig a little deeper than this.

I am a determined, hard working, successful adult. I served a mission, earned college degrees, traveled the world, taught school and now I'm a pretty good mother to five pretty great kids.

There is so much more to me than this disease.

"For the Lords seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."  1 Sam. 16:7

I am a child of God.  I know this through pray and study of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his scriptures.  I know that he has a plan of happiness for me.  And this experience is part of that plan. 

Our strength as children of God is measured by the strength of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our trust in His pure love and infinite atonement. 

Recently I was talking with a friend who is a little farther a long in this breast cancer journey.  I said to her, "It just doesn't seem fair to lose your hair and your breasts.  Those are the two things that we most often associate with femininity?"

A wise man at the table with us politely said, "I have to disagree.  Those may be the things that the world thinks of as feminine, but we know that to be a women is to be so much more.  It is your innate ability to nurture, and care, to show selfless love, to use kind words and to express wisdom. You have the ability to inspire others and  to feel and show compassion."

I now realize how true this is.  I have divine traits that my Heavenly Father gave me.

Through my life experience I have cultivated and developed these traits that make me a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and women.

Nothing, not even cancer can take that from me.  I have family and friends that love me.  Children that adore me.  A good husband that treasures me.  And I know am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me.

Hair or no hair.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wait Until Tomorrow

So chemo was rotten.

I was sick for about 10 days and felt much better just in time for Thanksgiving.

It was funny. All my food aversions went away. I didn't even really have a headache.

But I did find that I was easily tired. I would do a little shopping and put up a tree, and then need a four hour nap.

As the dance teacher said today, "You don't look anything like a chemo patient."

Wait until you see me tomorrow.

Cause I get to do it all over again.

But thankfully, sweet Keith bought me a 2nd fridge and got new blinds for the whole house. I think not having to grocery shop as often, and being able to be on the main floor will do much to improve my spirits this go round.

Vonda gets here tomorrow and I'll be grateful for the help.

She will stay through the roughest part and hopefully, I'll feel better just in time for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No Matter The Day

People have told me that they feel like I'm handling this all really well.

And that's only partly true.

But when I do handle it well, I really feel like it's been because the Lord has prepared for me this.

And so many people who have gone before me have shared their stories with me.

They have told me when it would be hard.

And helped me to prepare mentally for this.

And so, yeah, there are good days and there are bad days.

But thankfully, no matter what the day, I've got good people to lean on.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Everyone I know who has had cancer, who loses their hair, has told me the same story.

Either you are laying on your pillow and you get up and your pillow is covered with hair.

Or, you're in the shower and washing your hair, and all of the sudden clumps fall out.

Every, single one said the same thing.

And you know what?

I really thought it wouldn't be me. 


About 7% of people who do this don't lose their hair.

And I was certain that it wouldn't be me.

But, if it was going to be me, I thought it would be like losing your hair after a baby. You think you lose a lot of hair then.

Wow. It's nothing like that. 

It's huge clumps. It's everywhere. It clogs the drain. 


And as I am in the shower and holding a fistful of hair, I started to laugh.

And I got out of the shower and Keith came in.

And I said, "Keith, I'm losing my hair."

He said to me, "I remember when that started to happen to me."

And  I thought, "Oh wait, you really are. But what a bummer for you that mine will grow back, but yours never will." 

Poor Keith.

Dumb Luck

So the full biopsy came back on the node they took out of my abdomen.

I have Follicular Lymphoma‎.

It's kind of fun to say. Say it few times fast, try it out.

It's grade 2.

Lymphoma is categorized as Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins.

Mine is non-Hodgkins.

This is good, as far as cancer goes.

It is fairly stable and not expected to migrate anywhere else in my body.

The doctor called it a wait-and-see kind of cancer.  He said that they will watch it for any kinds of change.

If it gets larger, they take it out.

If it impedes any of my other organs, they take it out.

Otherwise, they just watch it.

It made me wonder how I got it or why.

My doctor's answer, "Dumb luck."

If this is lucky, I'm pretty sure I don't want to be unlucky.