Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Komen Race For The Cure Coming Up!!!

To my closest and dearest friends and family,
I am asking (and not above begging) each of you to please join me in the fight against breast cancer by pledging your support in the Race for the Cure that will be happening in Brentwood, TN in just under 40 days.

As all of you know, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 20 months ago and am currently considered cancer-free. I still have 3.5 years to go until I am considered "cured" by the doctors, but with amazing foundations such as the Komen Foundation, a cure may very well be just around the corner and it wouldn't even be a matter of having to wait 5 years to hear that word. When you are in the midst of a life-threatening illness, 5 years seems like FOREVER to wait to hear the word CURED. I am determined to hear those words, not just for me and my family, but in memory of my best friend Kate who lost her battle with breast cancer 5 months ago. She left me her pair of pink boxing gloves with instructions to NEVER give up fighting. So that it what I am doing! This is for her too!

Your tax-deductible contribution will fund local outreach, awareness and treatment programs for the medically under-served in our community. And... up to twenty-five percent of your donation will support national cutting-edge breast cancer research (which is near and dear to my heart as I was in 2 clinical trials).

Visit my personal fundraising page and consider making a tax-deductible donation to support my participation! My goal this year is to raise $1000. I know we can do this together with your help. Please feel free to forward this information/blogsite to anyone you know who may be interested in contributing. I will keep everyone up to date on the progress we are making and will be sure to post lots of pictures of Team Blevins as we walk our 2nd annual Race for the Cure.

Kelly, David, Chloe and Brody Blevins (TEAM BLEVINS!!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Bump in the Road

Well today was yet another bump in this rather long road I've been on the past 19 or 20 months. Today was tissue expansion day...or as I like to call it "pump up day." When my sweet nurse called my name to come back, I just had a lot on my mind and of course she could tell because usually I am just as happy and perky as can be. We chatted for a second and then Dr Oslin came in. I told him that I was really worried about the left side not looking right but that the right side was perfect. I totally expected him to encourage me and tell me to just be patient because radiated skin takes a while to work with, but instead he told me that he was concerned as well. And then, the tears started to well up, the heart started to speed up, and my voice got shaky. We talked about what my options were which I will share in a moment, but I left that office today just really really down, discouraged, and questioning everything.

So here are the options that I have right now concerning the reconstruction:
1. keep getting the weekly injections into the expanders until I just can't take the pain anymore or we see that it's just NOT going to stretch anymore
2. go back in for another surgery and break up some scar tissue and try to stretch me all at once making the "pocket" for the eventual implant as big as we can get it (all I want is a B - I don't need my boobs to be my GPS and lead me everywhere)
3. go back into surgery and take out the expander on that side and do a latissimus flap where they take skin/fat from the side and back and build a boob from that
4. forget the entire reconstruction process all together

See now why I left there discouraged?!? This was supposed to be the happy part of breast cancer. And now it may not work the way it should?!? So, I had a good chat with God on my way home from the doctor today. I pretty much just laid it all out there and told him that I know that in the grand scheme of things, stretching my skin for me probably wasn't the most major need, but that since I cared about it, I knew He did too so I just asked him to please allow my skin to start cooperating and to please stretch it the way it should. I told him that I just wanted to be "normal" again. I just want to look like a woman in a bathing suit when I take my little ones swimming, to be able to wear cute tops that have a V-neck or dresses that are empire waisted. And then He clearly said to me that my identity is NOT in my body, but is in Him. But the way He said it to me was so lovingly...not at all scolding for seeming to be vain. It was true peace that flowed over me. At this point, I feel like I am supposed to keep doing what I am doing and am going to trust that God will stretch my skin. I sort of have a plan for when to stop the stretching and move on to something else, but am going to just let the Lord of my life lead me in that decision.
When I got home and told my husband about the appointment, he extremely lovingly hugged me and reassured me that he would always support and love me regardless of the outcome. I know this, but it is always nice to hear him tell me this fact.
So I am once again going to ask for my prayer warriors to join my family in praying that my skin and muscles would stretch the way that they should on that radiated side so that I will not need 2 more surgeries instead of just the 1 more.
Love to each of you and again, I thank you all for taking my burdens to the feet of Jesus with me.

Psalm 71:20-21: "You have allowed me to suffer much hardship but you will RESTORE me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will RESTORE me to even greater honor and comfort me once again."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Celebrating Life A Lot this Week

This week, beginning today, we celebrate lots of LIFE. I'll explain...

Today, August 17th, 2010 marks my 1 year anniversary of being done with chemo. Yes, last year, I was getting my 16th and final round of chemo. Here's a few pics to show where I was and where I am now.

                                                        July 16th - chemo birthday party

                                                    August 18th, Brody's 1st birthday party

                                             October 10th - Race for the Cure in Brentwood

                              July 4th - St Louis zoo with my favorite baby boy ever!

                                           July 4th - leaving the Arch with my favorite little girl

Now tomorrow (Aug. 18th) we will celebrate Brody's 2nd birthday. Cannot believe my baby is 2. These have been the fastest and sometimes slowest 2 years of my life, but one thing is for sure...he has brought so much joy to my life through the suffering I have been through. Here are some pics to show his growth along this past year...(sniff sniff)

                                                                 November 2009

                                                                    December 2009

                                                                         April 2010

 Recent. Can you believe what a big boy he has grown into these past 12 months??!

And finally, David and I celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary this Saturday, August 21st. In six years we have survived learning how to live together, moving to a new state, building a home, have 2 children, and cancer. It's amazing the grace that God has poured over us and how he has protected our marriage. 70% of couples will divorce when cancer enters the picture...a very sad, but true statistic.

So, happy week to Team Blevins!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Showing Off...

Just wanted to let you all know that I appreciate you all praying about my upcoming needs with childcare and help so that I can get to my appoinments at St Thomas Hospital each week. Within 24 hours of posting that last post, God not only showed up and provided, but He truly showed off! Every single need that I have has been taken care of. That means I have been provided help 4 days every single week through October by the wonderful community that I live in. I just could not believe that things would work out so quickly. I absolutely knew that God would provide...there was never any question about that. But the speed at which it occured blew me away.

So, thank you to my sweet friends who have committed to serving my family for the next 6-7 weeks, and for those of you who couldn't help out in this way, thank you for keeping the prayers coming. They are being heard, and they ARE being answered. Love and hugs to each of you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Very Short Post

I have had a really rough and emotional day today so I'm getting right to the point. I am overwhelmed. I need prayer. Here's what's up.

1. On Wednesdays - every week - I drive to Nashville to get my tissue expanders injected. I need someone to drive me and the kids down or someone to stay at my house with my kids and I can just go by myself.
2. On Thursdays I am heavily medicated due to the pain the expanders cause on my radiated side so I need someone to pick up my kids from school at 2:00 and bring them home to me where I will just skip my pain meds until David can get home from work
3. I need a sitter from 9-4 on Fridays because again, I am heavily medicated on this day and I have physical therapy to get to so my sitter would need to be able to take me to and from there.
4. And...I also need a sitter on Tuesdays until school starts after labor day for my 2 kids while I am in physical therapy.

It's almost too much for me to even think about or worry about because I KNOW the Lord will provide, but I am easily overwhelmed when I think about all of the help that I am going to need.

Please pray with me through these things that people will just come through and be able to bless our family during these next few months. I think I am going to send an email out to my church asking if they know of anyone who can help us out, and also send one to our community group. I'm getting kind of desperate as my MIL will be leaving in the next few days and then it's just me and David left to figure this whole thing out on our own.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Introducing "Our New Child"

So I would like to introduce you to "our new child" Her name in Mitha Lerison. She is an 8 year old precious little girl from Haiti who we have decided to sponsor through Food for the Hungry. She just had a birthday in June and I so wish I had had her before her birthday. Although we are not allowed to send gifts, I would have at least sent her some stickers or something in her letter. Anyways, this little girl has her own chore at home. She washes dishes. THAT is what she does! She DOES NOT go to school even though it only costs 6 US Dollars to go each year. Her family just simply CANNOT afford it. She was affected during the earthquake. A very fast 30 second earthquake ruined too many people's lives. Think about it. Think about how fast 30 seconds goes by. In 30 seconds, I went from being healthy to getting a call telling me I had cancer. In 30 seconds, my little girl can go from happy, to frustrated, to amazingly happy again. In 30 seconds a tornado can come through and destroy a city like it did here several years ago. In 30 seconds your life can change DRASTICALLY! And literally for $32 dollars each month, we have the blessing to be able to sponsor Mitha and hopefully change her life drastically in a positive manner. Do you know what $32/month means for MOST families??? It means NOT going out to eat once/month. It means starting to use coupons when you do your grocery shopping. It means saving $8/week.
I cannot tell you how my heart has been burdened for this little girl. I just keep thinking about her, her family, her friends, her life, and the fact that the Lord commands us to take care of the orphans, poor, and widows. I literally look around at all that we have and it saddens me. It makes me feel so selfish to see that we want for stupid things like iPhones, new cars, private/home schooling for our children, new toys, big birthday parties for the kids, etc... What I would love to do is bring Mitha here and just spoil her rotten with love, attention, school, church, and anything she wants. I really have a peace that her parents are doing the best they can with what they have and I am not saying they don't love her or give her attention. I guess I just want to show her that I do care about her, and she has a very special place in my family. Chloe told me the other day, "mommy, I have 2 Cinderella dresses. I know!!, I'll send one to Mitha." Can I tell you how huge my heart swelled and how I almost cried that she is learning to think about others and care for the less fortunate. While we cannot send gifts like that, we did buy a whole book of princess stickers and car stickers for her to share with her brothers that we plan to send in her next letter.
BUT, the most exciting news that comes out of all of this...WE ARE GOING TO HAITI IN FEBRUARY AND WILL GET TO MEET OUR SWEET MITHA!!!! We are going with a group from Food for the Hungry to help with whatever they need help with...orphanages, cleaning, rebuilding, etc...anything! We got connected with this organization through our worship pastor at church who is the the lead singer for Building 429. They work with Food for the Hungry and get children sponsored at each of their concerts. I really really love the way they do it too. As of now, there are NO pictures of the children in the packet. You choose the gender you want and then you will get your child, their picture, and some things about them and their city and family in the mail about 2 weeks later. I love this because it's like when you put pictures out, all of the cute little kids get chosen...the older ones like Mitha are lots of times overlooked. I'll be honest, I wouldn't have chosen her had I seen a sweet little 2 or 3 year old boy or girl. But I think she was meant to be connected with our family and God made that happen.
Please check out their website and pray about sponsoring a child of your own. It will not only change their lives, it will change yours...I PROMISE! And while you are at it, check out Building 429 website. They are absolutely fabulous and we are super blessed to be in Jason and his wife's community group at church. You can actually sponser a child by just going to their website. Here it is too.