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How we got here…

This is the post excerpt.

On April 18, 2017 – my life was pretty normal….well, there are those that would argue that I’ve NEVER been normal, but…..anyway, I had an appointment for my yearly OB/GYN visit.  During that visit, I mentioned to my doctor that I had been experiencing some “tenderness” under my left armpit area.  I really thought the underwire in my bra was causing it (probably due to a FEW extra pounds I’d put on) but felt it was worth mentioning.  After several attempts to locate the area of my “tenderness”, the doctor found the culprit, a lump.  My doctor was optimistic it was merely a cyst, due to the feel of it, and the fact that it was tender (everyone will tell you that cancer is not typically painful).  He sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound to determine what it really was. I was able to get an appointment the same day.  Mammogram appeared to show a cyst, while the ultrasound did not appear to show a cyst.  The only way to know for sure was to do a biopsy.  I was scheduled to come back in a week for a biopsy on April 26th, 2017.  During the biopsy, the doctor saw yet ANOTHER mass that had not been apparent on either the mammogram or ultrasound the previous week.  She biopsied BOTH spots.  The next 5 days were truly the LONGEST of my life…..waiting to hear the results from the biopsy.  A phone call from the radiologist on May 1, 2107 confirmed that the biopsy results showed both spots tested positive for CANCER!  Seriously?  How can this be?  How can I feel totally fine and healthy and have cancer?  The pathology showed a Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – the mass measured 2.4 cm.  I was blessed immensely and was able to see the surgeon that same week on Friday, May 5th.  After consultation with her, I opted to have a lumpectomy + radiation in hopes of riding myself of this beast.  The lumpectomy was scheduled for Thursday, May 25th.  Surgery went well, recovery was great.  All that was left was to wait AGAIN for the pathology results that would let us know if we got clear margins.  A call from the PA on May 31st indicated that the doctor had NOT been able to get clear margins (the tumor was larger than it had appeared on the scans) and cancer cells were found in my Sentinel Lymph Node that was removed during surgery.   The tumor was shaped a bit like a sea urchin – with tentacles going in many directions.  Clear margins were achieved on 3 sides of the tumor.  Next we waited for radiation and medical oncology to review my pathology and recommend to the surgeon whether or not they needed to remove any additional lymph nodes when the re-excision surgery was done.  Oncology recommended NOT removing any more lymph nodes – they would just target them with radiation.  Surgery was set for June 8th, 2017.  The surgery was successful and clear margins were obtained.  Next up were visits with medical and radiation oncology at Duke University Cancer Center on June 14th.  The long and short of it is that I will be needing 12 doses of chemo (4 doses of CEF or FEC – it’s a combination of 3 drugs Cytoxan, Epirubicin and Fluorouracil) followed by 8 doses of Taxol.  Once chemo is over, I may get a mini break and then start radiation.  They have recommended 6 weeks of radiation at 5 days/week for a total of 30 doses of radiation.  Doing a little bit of math in my head (which is NOT my strong point) it quickly became obvious that I would spent the majority of the rest of 2017 at Duke Cancer Center.  While it’s not the Ritz Carlton or as exciting as an all-inclusive vacation – I am oh so thankful that Duke Cancer Center is less than one hour from home.  I am very fortunate to have such a world-class facility right in my back yard.

Thursday, June 15th CC and I spent over 1.5 hrs with the oncology pharmacist at Duke Cancer Center.  She went over the first chemo regimen that I will be doing (CEF or FEC depending on your preference…..same drugs either way).  She also spent a lot of time talking about the side effects and everything they do to try to minimize any nausea, sickness, etc.  It was a very informative meeting.  She sent me home with printed calendars with treatment days listed, when to take meds, what to do in event of fever – you name it, she prepared us for it.  She said her goal was to make this treatment as boring as possible and hopefully to keep me as healthy as possible during this.

I am scheduled to have labs done and port put in on Monday, June 26, 2017 and I will start my first dose of CEF on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

Pshew…..ALOT has happened since April 18th.

I have been journaling this mess since it started.  Mostly because it was therapeutic and also because I wanted to be able look back on this and see all the ways that God blessed me in the midst of all of this “chaos that is cancer”.   I’m not a very private person – I probably “overshare”…..but I truly felt like the more people that knew my story, the more people that I would have praying for me and the better off I would be.  So this blog is my attempt at sharing my story.  The highs and lows……the pretty and the not so pretty.  If sharing my story encourages JUST ONE woman to get her yearly breast exam, then it will not be in vain……or if it encourages another breast cancer warrior who is fighting this same fight alongside of me, then I will count that as a blessing as well.

This much I know is true…….God’s hands have been oh so apparent during EVERY. SINGLE. STEP. of this story so far.  It’s amazing just how many times HE has shown up and shown off and given me that not so gentle nudge letting me know that HE is right here with me and my family as we navigate the days ahead.  I intend to give HIM all the glory for the big things and the small things.  Having a cancer diagnosis truly changes you in an instant.  Your attitude…….your outlook…..your priorities……the ability to discern what things really matter and what truly is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

So…..that’s where we are right now.  Here’s to kicking this cancer right where it hurts!  And the good news is – these were just “temporary lumps”…..the real “lumps” have been removed from my body (Praise God) – but this cancer WILL NOT define me.  This chaos that is cancer is just a “temporary lump” along the course of my life.  I’m going to look back on this adventure one day and say “you know, it wasn’t ALL bad”.  I just met a new friend this weekend – she is a breast cancer survivor (just finished up her treatments around Thanksgiving 2016) and she said to me “the treatments were long and tough some days, but I was tougher”!!  I plan to look back on this mess and say the same thing…..that, with God’s help, I was tougher than all the surgeries, doctors appointments, lab work, scans, treatments, etc.  Stay tuned to hear me make that same proclamation!

**Disclaimer** for those that don’t know me personally, let me issue this disclaimer.  I have a pretty warped sense of humor…..and have been known to make jokes about this cancer.  It’s not meant to be rude – it’s just who I am.  Laughing is much better than crying……and I’m choosing to laugh my way through this mess every chance I get!

Thanks for taking time to read my blog.  I pray that you’ll hang around with me for the rest of this ride and celebrate with me when we get to the finish line!

Blessings to you!

Sonja

 

 

Rainy day thoughts….

Well, I don’t know what the weather is like where YOU are……but here in NC, it’s rain, rain and MORE rain. Goodness. I read a Facebook post last night that said….. “This rain is getting Biblical. Animals are pairing up and I feel the need to buy a boat .”

So what to do on a lazy, rainy Saturday? Well, it seemed like the perfect time to share a blog post.

Big news on the book front. I will be having my second book signing on Sunday, March 3rd, 2019 at 1792 Beer Co at 106 N. Main Street in Roxboro, NC from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. I’m so excited that Zack and the folks at 1792 are allowing me to use their wonderful space to share my book! Books and beer – what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, huh?

If you haven’t gotten your copy of my book yet – here’s the link to Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Lumps-Journey-Perseverance-Triumph/dp/1791379184/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=temporary+lumps&qid=1550945610&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell

If you’re local, you can pick up copies of the book at Truth Books & Gifts at 201 S. Madison Blvd, Roxboro, NC.

From the very beginning of this blog, I said that I wanted to be as open, honest and authentic as possible about my cancer and treatments, etc. Sharing all of that – especially while in the MIDDLE of the fight, was never a problem. Now that I have celebrated my 1 year anniversary of COMPLETING my cancer treatments and my life is back to “normal” (whatever the heck that is)……I feel that I can speak candidly about the past year.

***FULL DISCLOSURE – I am speaking from my own PERSONAL experience…..in no way am I trying to say that this happens to EVERYONE or that OTHERS will feel this way……I’m simply sharing what I know to be TRUE for me.***

For me – the 12 months I spent “fighting” my cancer (surgeries, chemo, radiation, follow-up appointments, etc) were much easier than the 12 months AFTER finishing up my treatments. How’s that, you ask? Well – I knew what I was battling. We determined what/where the cancer was…..we developed a plan of action…..and we went to battle right away trying to destroy the nasty demon that had invaded my body. My doctors were able to give me a heads up on what was coming, how my body may react and what they would do to help me through it.

So after chemo and radiation, I started on a 10 year relationship with Tamoxifen – the hormone therapy med prescribed to me. I went from spending MONTHS being cold and wrapped up in a blanket to feeling like a volcano within 24 hours. Honest to goodness…..I started having hot flashes THE VERY NEXT DAY once I started taking Tamoxifen. I remember one night sitting at the dinner table…….and a hot flash came on from out of nowhere……I was sweating bullets and literally feeling like I may pass out. Apparently I looked awful as well because Hunter was like “mom, are you okay”? And so it began…….random hot flashes both night and day. And they say I need to take this drug for 10 years? Lordy!

Then came the joint pain. Again……compliments of tamoxifen. One day I was fine……then I sat down on the couch for awhile and when I tried to get back up later – it was horrible! My bones/joints hurt all over……and when I walked, I truly looked like I might be 100 years old. And just like that – the joint pain and stiffness became a regular part of my life.

I had pretty severe neuropathy in my hands and feet during chemo……and I’ve been taking vitamins/supplements for the past year in an effort to eliminate the neuropathy. Crazy – I seem to have it worse in my left foot than anywhere. What does neuropathy feel like? Well, for me – it feels like my foot is numb while at the same time feeling like it may be frost bit (as if I know what that feels like – but it’s what I IMAGINE it would feel like). For instance, on this cold, rainy Saturday – my left foot is giving me a fit. I have cabin socks on my feet trying to keep them warm – but honestly, this is going to sound CRAZY – I have found that the BEST relief for me is to rest my foot on the back of our dog, Bella. The heat from her body warms my foot right away and offers me so much relief. So if you ever see me with my foot on/under the dog, you’ll know I’m trying to doctor on my neuropathy.

As far as my hands go, the most challenging thing for me is picking up small things or getting change out of a cash register/money drawer and using a computer mouse. The tips of my fingers are constantly “numb” feeling, but I don’t really notice it anymore. But when I’m trying to get change for a customer from the money drawer – and it takes 4 tries to pick up the pennies – it gets a little frustrating.

I’ve been back at work since August of last year. I’m working at an insurance agency 3 days a week. I work every Thursday evening (from 3:00pm – 10:00ish) at the Old Country Club Steakhouse – as a hostess/cashier. So I basically have 2 days a week at home. I’ll be honest with you – most often, I’m happy to be at home on those days off. I have found that it truly takes me using those days to “recover” and “recharge”. And plenty of times on my days off, I literally do NOTHING. I was beginning to think maybe I was just lazy or unmotivated – but Thursday night when I was working, I talked with a friend and fellow survivor and she said she experienced the very same thing. Her friend said “some days she acts like her butt is attached to the chair with Gorilla Glue” – and I just laughed and said “YESSS _ THAT’S IT EXACTLY!!!!” I find that on the days I feel good, I try to pack in as much LIVING as I can, because I know that it is most likely that I may have a day (or 2) of just being exhausted and doing NOTHING.

By far, the absolute WORST part of all of this is CHEMO BRAIN and the lasting effects of it. It pisses me off ALOT – but mostly when I’m at work – and my brain knows what I want to say – and it’s all right there – but somehow the connection between my brain and getting the words to come out of my mouth – there’s a HUGE delay at times and it completely infuriates me. Like when my boss asks me to quote some insurance for Mr. Johnson. And I spend an hour or more typing his name NUMEROUS times into different applications…….and a few hours later my boss asks me for the quotes on Mr. Johnson and I completely draw a blank……like who in the hell is Mr. Johnson? I know it makes me look like an idiot!

Or when we’re all in the kitchen at home cleaning up after dinner and I attempt to say to my son “hand me that” (and I want to say TOWEL)…..but instead I say “hand me that…………that……..” and I’m looking straight at it and know what the crap it is but the word just won’t come out of my mouth. Finally, I give up and say “hand me that damn blue thing right there”.

Please don’t think I’m confessing all of this for any sympathy or pity……I’m not. I’m just sharing this information to explain why FOR ME – LIVING after cancer has been much harder than FIGHTING the cancer. And I realize that may not be the same for everyone. And I know that others have expressed the same sentiments to me as well. Maybe it’s because I don’t KNOW what to expect.

But I don’t tend to talk about this often. It’s just the way it is…..and I understand that it’s the cards I’ve been dealt. At the end of the day, I’m very thankful to have won my battle with cancer and still be here! It’s all about perspective…..and I choose to continue to see the glass as half-full!

For any other cancer survivors out there, I’d love to hear your take on “life” after cancer. I know everyone’s experience is different – but your experience is valid, no matter what your experience.

So I hope you enjoy this lazy, rainy Saturday. I admit, I’m still in my PJ’s, bundled up in a blanket on the couch……with my foot on my pup…..enjoying some down time! What are you doing today?

Blessings,

Sonja

2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.


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Gentle Nudges

Hope everyone has been doing well and staying as dry as possible. The weather in our little corner of the world has been dreary and quite WET for some time. The sun actually peeked through the last few days and boy was that a welcome sight! Winter is definitely my least favorite season!

Life has been busy…….but good. It really hit me a few weeks ago that my life is about to change pretty drastically in the next few months. Hunter turns 16 in March…….and I’ll officially lose my full-time status as taxi driver. I’ll be honest – it’s bittersweet. I’m happy for him because I know he’s ready for this next stage in life – and even though it’s been a minute…..I remember how excited I was to get my license! And even though I’m not a fan of mornings – I’ve found myself really taking advantage of these last daily drop offs……..knowing full well that I’ll miss this more than I want to admit. It might not seem like much – but those are some moments to cherish on the 10 minute car ride to and from school. I don’t even want to think about how quickly these next few years will fly by. I guess it’s just that “season”. First comes high school, then drivers license, followed too quickly by graduation and college. Oh goodness – I guess I better buckle up and just enjoy the ride (from the passenger seat no less)!

When I last posted, I blogged about my first book signing event. It was a fantastic turn out and I have been asked several times since then if I’ll be doing another book signing. I do plan on having another one at some point – I just need to work out a date and location. My thoughts are to try to do one either on a weekend or in the evening in order to give folks a chance to come outside of working hours. As soon as I get something finalized, I’ll be sure to spread the word.

Our local newspaper had a reporter at my signing to cover the event. They did an awesome article in the paper about the book and the event. Pretty cool, huh?

So a few weeks ago, I received a text from Phyliss Boatwright. Phyliss was a former staff writer for our local newspaper and she currently has a weekly radio spot on WKRX 96.7 called “Turn the Page” where she reviews books that she has read. Imagine my surprise when Phyliss wanted to ask me some questions about my book and feature if on her show! I was completely blown away!

Phyliss was kind enough to send me the audio file so I could share her review with you. I have to pinch myself every time I listen to this!!!

Phyliss Boatwright’s review of Temporary Lumps

I have truly been blessed and completely overwhelmed at the phenomenal response I’ve gotten from my book. It still doesn’t seem “real” in many ways.

So we indulged ourselves with a long weekend away last week and spent it at our little place at Beaufort, NC. It’s always a good time to be at the beach – even in the winter!

I packed a few books to take with me because I wanted to give some to a few friends down there……but I intentionally packed a few extra “just in case” – because, well, you never know.

We made a trek to TJMaxx while we were there……that’s always a MUST for me and Hunter! I found a few things I needed and as I was in line checking out, Hunter called me and asked if I could meet him in the back of the store when I was done. I checked out and went to find Hunter and quickly found myself standing in the check-out line AGAIN with him. While we were waiting, I saw a lady several people behind us with that tell-tale “turban” on her head. Immediately I thought, “I’ll bet she’s going through chemo”. Hunter agreed with me that she had “the look” – and he immediately said “Mom, are you gonna give her a book?” Of course, I thought that would be awesome – but I was a little hesitant just because I didn’t want to insult this lady if she just liked wearing turbans!

We checked out and walked to the truck and Hunter asked AGAIN if I was going to give this lady a book. I said “YES” and he grabbed a book and we trekked back inside TJMaxx waiting for her to make her purchase.

When she finally came outside, I approached her and asked if she was going through treatment and she confirmed that, indeed, she was. I told her I was a survivor and told her that I’d like to share my book with her in hopes of encouraging her along the way. We exchanged a bit of our stories and crazy enough, we both had the same type of cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) and she was doing 10 chemo and 30 radiation treatments (I did 12 and 31). We chatted a while longer and then I hugged her and wished her all the best. I know I’ve said this 100 times before……but this “bond that is breast cancer” is a real thing. You can meet a perfect stranger in a store and leave feeling like you have a new friend.

So……yet again……God was working in the background. He gave me a nudge to pack extra books……and (thankfully) I did…..truly not knowing “why”. But honestly, I never would have imagined that I would have been giving a book to a complete stranger at TJMaxx!!

Those that know me – know that for YEARS I’ve said that when I was asking God for advice, I didn’t want him to answer in a whisper or a gentle nudge – I wanted a blinking NEON sign saying “Yes, Sonja” or “Not now, Sonja”. I wanted loud, clear answers. I’m learning, however, to listen to those faint whispers or gentle nudges.

I also need to say a huge “THANK YOU” to my publisher, Michelle Owens at Writer Book Publishing. She has been a God-send. Another one of those ways God was working in the background and I’m so thankful she was willing to work with me to turn this dream into a reality! Michelle was open and honest with me from the get go. We just kinda “clicked” on that first phone call, and the rest, as they say…….is history! She was approachable, extremely responsive and really made me feel like my project was worthy of her time. If you need a great publisher – she’s your girl! I can hook you up for sure! Check out her website below!

https://www.writerbookpublishing.com/custom-publishing1

And a huge thanks also to Andi Carlton – my artist extraordinaire who created the cover art for my book. I cannot tell you how many compliments I’ve received on that cover! I’ve also fielded lots of questions from folks wanting to know if the tattoo was real (and if they could see it) and if those boobs were really mine! Dream on, right?

Here’s wishing you all a great week! And be aware of those “gentle nudges”…..you never know what God might be doing behind the scenes!

P.S. – you can find my book, Temporary Lumps, on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Lumps-Journey-Perseverance-Triumph/dp/1791379184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548819046&sr=8-1&keywords=sonja+vaughan

Blessings,

Sonja

Deuteronomy 4:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

Is This Really Happening??

I hope everyone had a great week.  I sure did!  You know when you have one of those life experiences that are so surreal – you can’t be sure if it’s REALLY happening or not?  Well…..that’s exactly what happened to me yesterday!

Shortly after I announced that my book had been published and was available for purchase, my dear friend James Carver called me to say that he would love to host a book signing event for me at his business – Cole’s Pharmacy.  A local independently owned drug store.  I was so excited by his offer – and we go together after Christmas to settle on a date and time.  We settled on Thursday, January 10th from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  When I walked in the pharmacy yesterday, I was expecting them to probably have a small table set up somewhere for me to set up my books, etc.  Imagine my surprise when I walked up to the door and saw flyers posted announcing the book signing event……and then I saw this elaborately decorated table – complete with flowers, candles, balloons, banners and lights!  I’ve gotta say – they really gave me the royal treatment for sure!  They provided snacks and drinks for everyone – it was just a top-notch event.  I had no idea they were going to go “all out” for me.  I admit – I felt like a bit of a celebrity!

pic1

Our local newspaper had a reporter there to cover the event – and I joked with the reporter that I felt like the paparazzi was close by when I heard her camera click-clicking away!  Between the newspaper and our local radio station, I was fortunate to have received a good bit of press about the event.

Never having held a book signing event – I had no idea what to expect.  Amazingly, folks started coming by a little before 11:00 am and we had a very steady stream of folks come by over the next two hours.  I saw lots of old friends and acquaintances, and met some new ones too!  It was great talking with everyone and sharing stories with folks.  I am, indeed, a people person – and truly enjoyed mingling with everyone!  It was definitely a good day!

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I also need to say a big thank you to my friend Cindy Fox.  She was kind enough to be my personal assistant yesterday and helped me with book sales.  She did an awesome job as always and I appreciate her taking time of her busy retirement to help me out!

I handled the day pretty good – until my friend and fellow survivor Renee Gentry came in.  Renee was a few months ahead of me in her cancer fight – and she was a huge inspiration for me and answered a boat load of questions.  Just hugging her and thinking what we had both been through – and seeing how very far we had come, well, it got me a little teary eyed there for a minute.  We both have so much to be thankful for – that’s for sure.

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Roxboro is a small town…..and we take a lot of flack from folks about being a little ole’ redneck town.  Well, let me just tell you that I am very proud and honored to be from this little ole’ town.  I like living in a place where neighbors look after neighbors – and the community rallies behind you, and most everybody knows your name……or at the very least, they know “who your people are”!  This small town made me feel awfully special yesterday – and it’s something I won’t ever forget!

So those of your from this area – the next time you find yourself uptown, stop in at Cole’s Pharmacy for a yummy lunch or a delicious orangeade.  If you want an awesome grilled cheese, Bricen or Zach can hook you up.  Tell ’em Sonja sent ya!  I promise you won’t regret it!

Thanks again to James, Bridgit, Wanda, Cindy, Zach, Robbie, Gloria, GoGo and Betty for putting on such a wonderful event for me.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I’m awfully thankful for my Framily! 🙂

framily

Have a great weekend!

Hugs!

Sonja

Proverbs 18:24 The Message (MSG)

24 Friends come and friends go,
    but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2019 Everybody!  I hope you were able to spend your New Year’s Eve with family and friends and friends who are like family.

My New Year’s Eve was busy.  I worked at the insurance office all day, then hurried to the Steakhouse to hostess for the evening.  We were crazy busy but the thing about my “work family” is that we still manage to have a little fun and laugh a lot while we’re working.  After closing, I hurried home and had some TV time with Hunter……and we rang in the New Year right here on our couch!  Pretty perfect if you ask me!

So does anyone really make New Year’s Resolutions anymore?  I kinda suck at it – so I haven’t really made any in a long time.  However, I do want to try to be “HEALTHIER” in the New Year…….i.e., making better food choices.  I admit 2017 was not a great year for my taste buds.  After the first round of chemo – my tastes really changed…..and it took much longer than I anticipated for my taste buds to get back to “normal”.  So……in 2018 when things started tasting good again…….I gave myself “permission” to enjoy whatever food I felt like eating.  Pizza……and more pizza……and lots of meat and potatoes.  I can honestly say that 2018 was “The Year of Great Food” for me!  I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate.  And that may or may not have been a great choice – but that’s what I did, nonetheless.  That coupled with some medication that “helps” you gain weight, well……Maybe we can work on getting rid of these extra “chins” in 2019!

For those of you local folks, please mark your calendars for Thursday, January 10th.  The awesome folks at Cole’s Pharmacy in Roxboro have asked me to have a book signing there on January 10th from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  I’m so excited!  These folks are awfully special to me.  They have supported me immensely through the my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.  And I get to see them often getting meds refilled – and they have the BEST orangeades in town……and hot dogs, and grilled cheeses, and daily specials!  So if you’ve been wondering where you could grab a copy of my book, plan to come to Cole’s Pharmacy next Thursday January 10th!

If you can’t make it to Cole’s Pharmacy, stop by Truth Bookstore in Roxboro.  They have some copies of the book as well!

For those of you NOT local to me, the book is available on Amazon.  The link is below!

https://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Lumps-Journey-Perseverance-Triumph/dp/1791379184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546357046&sr=8-1&keywords=sonja+vaughan

One of my New Year’s “goals” is to blog a little more regularly than I did in 2018.  Once I started feeling “normal” again, I kinda got so busy “living” that I just didn’t take more make time for my blog.  I have definitely missed it – so I hope you will be hearing more from me in 2019.  I’ve thought a lot about what I’d blog about now that “the cancer” is gone.  I think I will just take it day by and day and see what direction the Lord leads me with the blog.  Suggestions?  We’ll see!

Well…..I’m still tired from a cram packed New Year’s Eve……so I’m taking it a little slow today and giving myself permission to “rest” and gear up for 2019.

I pray that 2019 is a wonderful, prosperous, happy and healthy year for you…..

Hugs!

Sonja

 

Proverbs 16:9 New International Version (NIV)

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

I Know That Was You God!

I received a wonderful “joy bomb” today……and I just had to share it with you all. I love that God is continuing to use my “mess” and allowing me to share my “message” with folks near and far. Here’s the note I received today that truly blessed my heart…..

Hey there, lady! I hope you are doing well and had a good Christmas! Just wanted to let you know I was sitting at my table this morning and saw a note that came in with my health insurance stuff…(I have Christian Healthcare Ministries) It was a prayer request for a lady out in Arizona who recently underwent breast cancer surgery and is starting radiation therapy…so I decided not only to say a prayer for her, but I went online and ordered your book and she will get it on Monday 💕 I hope it will be a “joy bomb” for her!

If you know someone who may be struggling with a cancer diagnosis and need a dose of humor and encouragement, check out my book Temporary Lumps on Amazon (link below).

https://www.amazon.com/Temporary-Lumps-Journey-Perseverance-Triumph/dp/1791379184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546053624&sr=8-1&keywords=sonja+vaughan

Be Blessed!

Sonja

Galatians 6:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Unbelievable!

Well hello there!  It’s been a bit since I’ve blogged and updated you all on what’s going on in my life…….but there’s been good reason why I’ve been MIA.

First and foremost – the biggest reason is because I have been doing PHENOMENAL and just enjoying “living” in the real world again.  Yeah – there’s still the doctor’s appointments that roll around a little sooner than I’d like…..but all in all, I’m thankful for those appointments because it means they’re keeping an eye on me.

Life has been very good and very busy and that’s a good thing.  As a Medicare insurance agent, I just wrapped up my busy season of Open Enrollment last Friday.  Goodness – I was thankful to have survived another year of that.

During my absence, I’ve also been working on turning my blog into a book.  I found this fantastic publisher who just “got” me – and she did an amazing job turning my dream into a reality.  She contacted me late yesterday to tell me that the book had been officially “published” – but I would get an official announcement in the next 72 hours that it was ready for purchase!  Well – that email came today and alerted me that my book is now officially available on Amazon!  How stinking cool is that???

And I owe a huge thank you to all of you who have faithfully read my blog and encouraged me along the way.  Without your support I would never have even thought about stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something like this!  So to each of you – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I pray that if you or someone you know is going through cancer (or anything for that matter), that you will gift them this book in an effort to encourage and enlighten them….and let them know that they are NOT alone.   And it’s available just in time for the holidays! 🙂

Here’s the info that I put on my Facebook Page earlier today!  God is good!

Ya’ll, I’m so excited I can hardly type! I just received notification from KDP that my book (Temporary Lumps) is now available on Amazon! My constant prayer has been that my cancer would not be in vain……and that I would be able to use my experience to encourage others who may be walking a similar path. Cancer is scary for sure – but I can testify that God was with me every step of the way. He allowed me to turn my “MESS” into a “MESSAGE” and now I have the ability to share that message with the masses! How awesome is that? I just want to publicly thank The Good Lord first and foremost for seeing me through this……and blessing me in the middle of my cancer chaos. I’d like to thank my “tribe”, my family, friends and prayer warriors for walking beside me during a difficult stage in my life and seeing me through to healthier days! May God bless each and every one of you during this Christmas season – the season of miracles – and I am living proof that our God still performs miracles – he healed me and has allowed me to shout it from the mountain top!

If you or someone you know and love is fighting cancer – I’d love for you to gift them this book. I pray that it will encourage them and remind them that they are stronger than they ever imagined and that our God is greater than all our fears!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791379184/ref=sr_1_1…

And a HUGE shout out to my friend and artist Andi Carlton for designing the amazing cover art! Andi – God has definitely blessed you with a wonderful gift. You took a book title and made it come to life!  Hugs!

Goodness Me!

Goodness me!  Has it really been MONTHS since I posted here?  Time has just flown by!  I have been feeling fantastic – and I guess that’s the biggest reason for no posts.  I’ve felt so good and stayed so busy “living” that……well, I just forgot!  And honestly, I count that as a HUGE accomplishment.

I’ve been working part-time at the Old Country Club Steak House since May…..just a few nights a week.  I started out really just to get up and out and moving…..hoping all along that it wouldn’t be too much…….and while I come home exhausted some nights, it has been a huge blessing for me!  I get to work with some FUN and fantastic folks…….we work hard, but we have fun in the process.  And I get to see lots and lots of folks!

Unexpectedly, I was approached about going back to work in the insurance business part-time.  While I wasn’t really “looking” to go back to work – sometimes, God just opens doors right before your eyes.  While I thoroughly enjoyed my time at home – it was time for me to get back at it – and I accepted a job working 3 days a week at Piedmont Security Insurance Co here in town.  Need some insurance?  Come see me!  Now I’ve got 2 jobs working with great folks.  God is good!

If I remember correctly, in my last post, I mentioned that I had begun working with a publishing company in hopes of turning my blog into a book.  Things were rolling along quite smoothly – until I got called on the carpet for my “potty mouth”.  The publisher was ADAMANT that I could NOT use certain words in the book.  That makes sense……I totally get that there must be some restrictions, etc.  HOWEVER, I had serious issues with not being able to say “gosh”, or “golly” or “crap”.  Are you freaking kidding me? !!!  After much debate and discussion, they refused to budge and so did I……. and I just said thanks but no thanks.  If I totally changed my language to suit them, then I was absolutely not being authentic and true to me!  Sooooo……then began the process of deciding what to do next.  Fortunately, I was referred to a wonderful publisher here in NC and I’ve submitted all the pieces and parts to them…….and we’re hoping for possibly an Oct/Nov publishing time frame.  How exciting!  And by the way – she was completely cool with my “potty mouth” – if you can call it that! 🙂

So life has been kinda hectic – but crazy good all at the same time!  It’s nice to be “back to normal” – if that’s possible! 🙂  Many would argue I’d never been normal!

The past few days have been difficult ones here in NC with the preparation/anticipation of Hurricane Florence.  Fortunately, we did not see much initial damage here – but goodness ya’ll, our friends and neighbors down east and in SC got pounded.  It’s been difficult to watch and read about.  This storm just sat on top of the NC coast for hours…….delivering devastating winds and rain.  So many have been displaced from their homes.  It’s just hard to wrap your brain around all the damage and devastation.  My thoughts and prayers go out to ALL of the victims and their families.  We are truly #NCStrong and we will bounce back from this……but it is going to take a long time.  Thankfully so many organizations have stepped up immediately to provide assistance in the relief effort.  I urge you to please help in whatever way you can.  As I lay in my warm, comfy bed last night – I had trouble sleeping just thinking about all the folks who have lost homes, businesses, etc.  I pray that God will see them all through the days and hours ahead.  But like Mr. Rogers’ mom told him……..”look for the helpers.”  Times like these tend to renew our faith in humanity…….seeing strangers help strangers…….giving and wanting nothing in return……..people truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.  And then today……seeing flooded roads all over the state…….but by the end of the day, we were reminded of God’s promise yet again, when he placed not just one, but two beautiful rainbows in the sky.

Here’s wishing you a great week…….do try to find something good in each day.  I promise it will make a difference!

Blessings,

Sonja

Isaiah 43:2 New International Version (NIV)

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.