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


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?



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.


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!


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!




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!


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!


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.


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! 🙂


Have a great weekend!



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!


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…..




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).


Be Blessed!


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.


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!


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!



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.



Oh How Far I’ve Come!

Howdy friends!  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your summer!  I have been missing in action a bit from my blog…….but there has been sooo much going on!  Hunter finished up another school year (how is it possible that he will be in 10th grade in the fall?), we started a kitchen renovation (sooo exciting)……my niece, Jalen, graduated from high school and immediately after school was out, we left for vacation!  And what a vacation it was!  We spent two whole weeks in Beaufort, NC and it was nothing short of wonderful.  We decided to try to make up for the fun times we missed last summer!  We fished, we hung out by the pool, enjoyed the beach, went to Sand Dollar Island and found lots of sand dollars, ate some fantastic food, enjoyed evenings on the deck playing cards, kayaked, read, did a little bit of shopping and just had a FANTASTIC time.  It was a wonderful vacation and all three of us enjoyed it immensely!

Fortunately, while we were away for two weeks, the contractors got LOTS done on our kitchen renovation.  We’re not quite done yet – but we should be wrapping things up in the next two weeks!  Hunter enjoyed a week at home and then he left on Sunday to spend a week in Rutherfordton, NC with our youth group on a mission trip with Appalachia Service Project.  These kids are having a wonderful time…..working hard and blessing others and having some fun in the process.  God is good!

Tuesday, I spent some time just re-reading through my blog posts from the past year.  WOW…….just WOW!  So much has happened in a short time!  It was quite cathartic reading over my posts……remembering vividly some of the days and others (thankfully) were not quite as vivid.  Time has a way of allowing us to forget some of the tough parts yet remember the good parts with clarity!

Dates……now that’s something that I don’t think I will forget.  One year ago today (June 28th, 2017) – I was at Duke Cancer Center preparing for my very first chemo treatment.  CC and Hunter both accompanied me on that very first day.  Kind of hard to believe it’s been a year all ready…….and when I look at myself now – twelve months later…..other than this crazy “hair grow” that I can do absolutely NOTHING with – you would never know I spent the last year in the fight of my life!  Praise the Lord!  What a difference a year makes!

Many of you may be in the middle of the “fight of your life” – whether it’s cancer or some other disease.  My advice to you is to stay the course…….give it all you’ve got……and keep your eyes on The Cross and the Good Lord.  He will NEVER EVER fail you.  I know that there is NO WAY that I could have survived the past year without God directing my path, calming my fears and surrounding me with a boat load of supporters and cheerleaders and prayer warriors near and far!  All I had to do was “show up” – and do (mostly) as I was told…..and the good Lord and my doctors took care of the rest!

Our message at church on Sunday was about David and Goliath.  Little ole David facing the massive Goliath with a pocket full of stones.  But size didn’t matter.  David carried the Lord with him into battle.  Just like God took care of David…….He will take care of you and me……we just have to believe in Him and step out on faith.  We all face different giants – maybe it’s sickness, depression, fear, financial issues, family concerns…..giants come in many shapes and sizes……but if you head into your battle with God on your side……..just like David, you, too, will claim victory!

This blog has been such an amazing source of therapy for me.  As I’ve said before, I started the blog with purely selfish intentions.  I knew that I just COULD NOT spend hours on the phone or answering emails updating folks on my condition.  A blog seemed like a one stop shop!  Type it all down once – and off it goes into cyber space for all to read if they so desired.  Boy……was I totally unprepared for the feedback I would receive on my blog.  Turns out it was being read by those who knew me personally and many who did not…….but my story resonated with them on some level.  Almost immediately I began receiving emails and texts thanking me for putting my story out there…..or folks messaging me to say they had their first mammogram or made an appointment for a check up…….. Who knew?

It’s been a running joke in my family for YEARS…….that my parents sent me to college and I majored in English with a concentration in Communications/Public Relations…….but had never really DONE anything that  truly utilized my education to the fullest.  And for several years, I’d spent a lot of time trying to figure out my PURPOSE.  Surely there was SOMETHING that God wanted me to do but I just couldn’t figure it out.  There had to be some way I could be used to further His Kingdom……..but I just never got my “neon sign” telling me what that something was……but I kept praying.

Isn’t that just like God…….to wait until I’m 50 years old……and diagnosed with breast cancer…..and SELFISHLY start a blog……to remind me that His hands were all over this?!  This verse from Esther has spoken to me loudly over the past year……

Esther 4:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Hmmm…..could it be?  I’d spent years trying to find my “purpose”…….could it be that my purpose was to share my breast cancer story?  But more importantly, could it be that my purpose was to share my breast cancer story and share the many many ways that God showed up and blessed me at one of the most difficult times of my life?  Yet here I am a year later…….fully recovered…….living life to the fullest…….and I continue to run into people who are so encouraging about this blog….as recently as Tuesday night!  Crazy!  Many have said “you need to write a book” or “you should turn this blog into a book” and I was like yeah – that’s a great idea…..BUT……and the BUTS were many…..

  • I’d never written a book before
  • Why would the general public be interested in reading my story
  • How do you even get started
  • Writing for friends and family is one thing – but publishing it – well, that’s another
  • I’m just a regular girl from Roxboro, NC – nothing special about me or my story
  • Thousands of others have fought this fight before me – why would I think my story is special
  • And so on, and on and on

Sure, I was enamored with the “idea” of writing a book and being an author – but…..

And the encouragement continued to come in…….from friends…….and family……..and strangers……..former teachers…….fellow survivors……..and I thought MAYBE……..just MAYBE I should give this some thought.  Maybe God was speaking to me by way of these folks and I was just too consumed by everything else to see it.

I knew straight away that IF I published a book, I wanted to publish it with a Christian Publisher.  That much was certain.  So after lots and lots of prayer…….I started researching publishers…….and collecting information…….LOTS of information……..and comparing those publishers…….and talking to other folks who had written books…….and asking for advice……and keeping all of this hush hush because I surely wouldn’t want anyone to know if I submitted a manuscript and it got REJECTED.  Lordy – let’s keep this super quiet.  What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

So my friends……….after LOTS AND LOTS OF PRAYER……..and consideration……..and encouragement……. I submitted my manuscript to 3 different Christian publishing houses…….and wouldn’t ya know – all 3 of them were willing to publish it.  Then began the arduous task of trying to determine how to choose between the three.  And as always…….God took care of that too.  One of the publishing companies came back to me with an exceptional offer……and I knew that was God’s way of pointing me in the right direction.

Now begins the process of editing……..and revising……and cover design…..etc.  I’m a bit overwhelmed………but I firmly believe if I continue to trust in God and let Him walk me through this process…….He will see me through to the end.  If my story can encourage JUST ONE person……then it’s worth it.  If I can use one of the toughest times in my life to  witness to others just how good God was to me during that fight and how many ways He blessed my family and me in ways we could never have imagined……..then so be it…..I will trust Him yet again to see me through this process.

such a time as this.jpg

Please pray for me through this process……..and ultimately, pray that God’s will will be done in and through this.



1 Peter 2:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.




Progress Notes

Well, it’s been a minute since I last posted.  May always seems to be a crazy busy month especially when you have school-aged children.  Wrapping up the school year, awards banquets, dance recitals, Mother’s Day, sporting events.  Just a lot of stuff going on.  THANKFULLY I have been feeling great and felt like going and doing absolutely as much as I could.

I had my port removed on April 23rd.  I admit I had mixed emotions about taking it out (one reason why I’d delayed it as long as I did).  The port was such a blessing over the past year.  No arm sticks for blood work, chemo, meds, etc.  I was definitely spoiled by having such easy access.  I hated to give that up…….BUT…..having TRIUMPHED over my cancer meant that I wasn’t in need of weekly appointments, labs, etc, so I truly didn’t NEED the port any longer.  I guess in some ways, it was a sort of security blanket for me.  I just liked knowing it was there……JUST IN CASE.  The removal was quick and painless……and the incision healed up in no time and left a small scar.  Crazy as this sounds – I’m a little proud of my “war wound”.  When I run my hand over my chest, and I feel that small “bump”….it’s a great reminder of this entire ordeal.  These “temporary lumps” were just that……TEMPORARY…..and it’s time to move on.  But it’s nice having a reminder of where I was and just how far I’ve come.

One year ago today I had my first surgery to remove the mass.  I guess some dates will ALWAYS be easy to remember.  Last year at this time I was recovering from my surgery and getting ready to head back home.  Oh, what a year it has been.  Even so……I would not trade the blessings and lessons of this past year for anything.  “Cancer definitely TEACHES more than it TAKES” (this quote was stolen from my friend and fellow-warrior Melissa)!!

I’m having weekly physical therapy for my breast lymphedema.  Not sure how long that will go on…..the therapist has told me that once I’m done with PT, I will probably have to wear a special bra to help keep the lymphedema away.  Whatever it takes, right?  The lymphedema has caused some loss of range of motion in my left arm.  I started noticing difficulties when trying to take off my shirt that I just couldn’t raise that left arm as high as I needed to.

I had my one-year follow-up with my surgeon a few weeks ago and had my first mammogram since I completed all my chemo and radiation.  My surgeon was pleased with how my incision had healed, pleased with the way I tolerated all my treatments……and I got an ALL-CLEAR from my mammogram.  PRAISE THE LORD!  I will return to follow-up with her again in six months!  Hooray!

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of speaking at our local Relay For Life Kick-Off Meeting.  Yeah – I’ve told my story here non-stop……but this was the first time I’d stood before an audience and shared my cancer story.  It was actually pretty awesome!  If you’ve followed my blog – you know that I’m not often at a loss for words.  I always have plenty to say!  As I was preparing my speech for that night – I kept thinking of things I wanted to share and then I’d think “oh goodness, I wonder if this is going to be tooooo long”???  But the audience was gracious and allowed me to talk as long as I wanted to and I am very honored that they asked me to speak at their 2018 Kick-Off.  I met some new friends and was inspired by their fights as well.  Many of them are YEARS out from their diagnosis and they were such an inspiration to me!  Last week, I shared at church that I shared a little bit about my cancer in my speech……but I chose to spend most of my time sharing the many ways God blessed me and my family through this experience.  I told them that I felt like I had been given a perfect platform to share with others just how God showed up and carried me through the past year.

Since my last post, I’ve also learned of several other folks who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and a few others diagnosed with other types of cancer.  One actually had surgery yesterday and is coming home today…….and the other will be having surgery soon.  Holy smokes…….it truly seems to be an epidemic!  I just can’t even………

When will this madness stop??  I believe you would be hard-pressed to find ANYONE who has not been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly.  That’s the thing about cancer…..one person is diagnosed with the “disease”, but the effects truly trickle down to everyone in their family and everyone that loves them in one way or another.

Our dog, Bella, lost a toenail a few weeks ago.  It bled a bit after she lost it, but everything seemed okay.  Several days later, we noticed her constantly licking that foot.  We thought perhaps it might be infected, and tried to doctor on it ourselves.  Eventually, a small “growth” appeared on her toe.  We took her to the vet and after examining her, the vet told us that she had a cancerous growth on her toe and she wanted to remove that toe ASAP.  Poor Bella.  It was the outer toe on her right front foot.  I asked the vet if she would be able to walk/run, etc after removing it and she said absolutely – she would probably not miss a beat.  My son, Hunter, was in the exam room with us when the vet gave us the news.  I’ll be honest – I wasn’t totally “surprised” by her diagnosis because I’d done a little research online and I was afraid it may be cancer…….but my heart immediately ached for Hunter.  I thought goodness gracious – he spent last year supporting a mom who was fighting cancer and now his faithful companion, Bella was being diagnosed with cancer.  Right after the doctor told us the news, Hunter spoke up and said “mama……you gave Bella the cancer”!  He and I just started laughing like crazy.  I don’t think the vet or the vet tech really knew how to take our warped sense of humor!  They amputated Bella’s toe, stitched it up and we brought her home later that day.  She was not herself for several days……she’d never been sedated or anything before….but she quickly returned to her old self.  Yes, she had to wear the “cone of shame” for 2 weeks and she was NOT a fan.  She was up and walking on her foot the very next day and has not missed a beat since.


So Hunter is wrapping up his 9th grade year of school.  I’m still in denial.  He’s 6’3″ tall now……but he’s still my BABY.  God truly blessed us with this kid.  He has been such a huge help and inspiration to me over this past year.  I’m so thankful for him.  He stretched himself this year academically…….he worked his butt off and he saw some amazing results.  His first AP class ever……and Mrs. Oakley told us at open house that her class would be like a college class…..and she held true to her word.  He learned the value of putting your time in…….daily……and reaping the rewards.  How are we down to only 3 years left before college???

I have been wanting to renovate my kitchen for several years but never pulled the trigger.  My mom told me last summer while I was at home recovering from surgery that I needed a “project” – something to keep me busy.  She said “why don’t you start thinking about your kitchen reno – you’ve got lots of time to think about ideas, colors, designs, etc”.  So I took her advice.  I contacted the designer and told her that I was just in the early stages of planning – and that there was NO WAY I could take on a project like this while going through chemo and radiation – so AT BEST it would be 2018 before we could start.  We got some ideas together, and came up with a game plan.  About a month ago, I called to tell them that I was ready…….it was finally time to get this thing in motion.  I spent several weeks getting things packed up and out of the cabinets.  Whoever knew you had so much STUFF???   Sooooo they started on the reno this week.  Monday was demo day!  My house is a complete disaster – but that’s okay.  I’m super excited to finally have this come to fruition.  And none of this would have been possible without ALL the input and ideas from Kelly, Trestney and Sue.  These girls have been nothing short of spectacular!

I’ve been doing well all things considered……but I did start having some pretty severe joint pain over the past week.  My hands/fingers/elbows/ankles and especially my hips were hurting like crazy…….and I really hadn’t done anything any different.  After a few days, I sent a note to my oncologist and she indicated it could either be post-chemotherapy rheumatism or due to hormonal changes since starting on Tamoxifen.  I dunnot what’s causing it – but golly gee, when I try to walk, I feel like I’m 100 years old.  The doctors recommended using ice, a heating pad and even herbal supplements like Tumeric, black pepper, etc.  I’m going to give those a shot and see if it helps.  I’ve talked to several other folks who are taking Tamoxifen as well and they’ve indicated they have endured or are enduring similar symptoms.  Goodness!  Praying that this, too, shall pass.

So how are you enjoying the holiday weekend?  No plans here.  It will be a very relaxing, low-key holiday for us……and we are all okay with that.  With one more week of school left……we’re all ready for a little break.  I pray that you enjoy your long weekend, however you choose to spend it.  Be sure to take some time this weekend and reflect and remember those folks (both MEN and WOMEN) who gave EVERYTHING they had while serving……fighting for the very freedoms you and I are enjoying today.



Philippians 3:13-14 The Message (MSG)

Focused on the Goal

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.


and in honor of Memorial Day 

Romans 13:7 New International Version (NIV)

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.



What a Difference a Year Makes

April 18, 2018.  One year ago today, I had my yearly checkup with Dr. Frenduto……and he found the “lump” in my breast.  In some ways, it seems like the past twelve months creeped by and then in many ways, it seems like it flew by.  You get so caught up in the moment……doctors appointments, tests, chemo, radiation……as I was busy checking things off one by one……the months rolled on by.  Some pieces of the last year stand out so vividly in my mind…….and thankfully, others seem a little blurred and hazy!

I’m happy to report that I am feeling FANTASTIC.  I’m not quite at 100% yet, but I’m dang close!  My energy level is great, I feel good every day, food tastes great and I’m finding myself doing most of the things I did BC (Before Cancer)!  Praise be to God!  He has brought me so far over the past year.

To celebrate kicking cancer’s butt – my sweet husband took me to see The Eagles last night.  I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate!  The concert was great!  Yeah – the original members can’t hit all the notes like they used to – but golly gee they are 70 years old.  They can still rock it though.  And Deacon Frey joined the band in his dad’s absence.  He’s adorable and talented in his own right.  He really looks just like a 70’s version of his dad……long hair, mustache.  Such a cutie! Joe Walsh can still tear up that guitar and Vince Gill was a nice addition to the band.


I had a follow up with my medical oncologist yesterday.  Everything looks great.  I did mention some tenderness/burning near my incision area – and upon investigating, she determined that I was very swollen in my left chest and breast area.  It appears I have lymphedema of the breast.  I’ve heard of folks having issues with lymphedema after they have lymph nodes removed – but it’s usually in the arm and/or hand.  Who knew you could have lymphedema in the breast.  Sooo……I’m being referred to physical therapy.  Yep – you heard me right.  I’m being referred to physical therapy for my breast!  Who knew that was even a THING???  You can ONLY imagine the comments I’ve received from  friends and family over the past 24 hours.  It’s given us some comic relief for sure!  Anyways – other than physical therapy – I don’t have to return to my medical oncologist until December.  Halleluiah!

And today was my follow-up with my radiation oncologist.  I’ve completed my steroid regimen (thank GOD – cause I was about to eat myself into oblivion)!  I definitely feel better than I did when I was initially diagnosed with the pneumonitis.  The doctor said my lungs sounded wonderful and unless I had any other issues with coughing/breathing again – I don’t need to come back to see her until September!  What great news.  She did, however, concur with my medical oncologist and believes that physical therapy was needed to get the excess fluid removed from my breast.

Wow…….sooooo much has happened over the past year.

As I’ve reflected back over the past year……I’ve tried to think of a word or phrase to describe it.  The word that continues to come to mind is COMMUNITY.

I would not have been able to endure the highs and lows of the past year without COMMUNITY.  For those of you who have followed my blog from the very beginning, you may remember that I did a post last July on COMMUNITY.  Pastor Karl’s message that Sunday was on “Created for Community” and he reminded us that Jesus created us for community and that God has said for us to be alone is NOT a good thing.  He wants us to be one with Him and one with each other.

The love that has been showered on me and my family was nothing short of spectacular.  I truly felt the love, care, concern, compassion and the goodness of my COMMUNITY.  I was the recipient of so many good deeds, meals, rides to doctors appointments and treatments……just having someone to hang out with the hospital on those long days was such a huge blessing.  Who knew you could have a “waiting list” for folks who were eager and willing to help you with transportation or meals!  Talk about a wonderful problem to have.  Not once during this whole ordeal did I ever feel “alone”.  I knew I had a tribe of folks supporting me in so many ways.

I received so many blessings from family members, old friends, church family, neighbors, mere acquaintances, new friends, and yes – complete strangers.  What a humbling experience to be the recipient of random acts of kindness from folks you don’t even know!  God showed me in countless ways just how good His people truly are.  They loved on me like nobody’s business…….and I just soaked it all in.  We are encouraged often to “be the hands and feet of Jesus”.  Lemme tell ya – I saw first hand people doing just that – doing the Lord’s work here on earth.  My friend Joni calls it JOY work.  And I promise you that I could tell every act of kindness was done with loads of JOY.  I’m reminded of this quote…

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. – Khalil Gibran

If you’ve ever spent much time in a  hospital – you know that it’s not uncommon to make small talk with those around you.  Today, as I was waiting to see the doctor, there was a young couple sitting near me in the waiting area.  I knew she was the patient because I saw her armband.  Otherwise – she had a full head of hair, cute as a button and looked as healthy as could be.  Yep – I know that look well.  I asked where she was from and she said Columbia, SC.  Turns out they had come Duke for a second opinion.  As I had been whining about making 2 trips in 2 days to Duke – I quickly stopped to count my blessings.  Yeah – I’m 45 minutes away – but I do have the luxury of coming home and sleeping in my own bed each night.  Before we were able to talk very long, I was called back to see my doctor.  I could not stop thinking about this young couple.  They’d gotten up super early to drive from SC to Durham for a second opinion – and came early hoping they would be seen early……..and turns out her doctor was running behind today.  You know how life just happens like that sometimes.  Well, while I was in the exam room waiting on my doctor, I took time to write a little note to her – (I’m ashamed to say I don’t even know her name – we just didn’t get to talk long enough).  Anyway – I gave her my contact information, shared a Bible verse with her hoping it would offer her some comfort and I told her that she was going to find out she was stronger than she ever, ever imagined……and that I could promise her there were gonna be tough days ahead – but she was going to have to be tougher…….and I told her that in a year from now, she’ll be on the OTHER side of this mess just like I was and she’ll be proudly marching out of her follow-up appointments after all her treatments are done.  We were both about to get all weepy – so I just hugged her and wished her well.  It’s crazy how this “sisterhood” bonds you immediately with complete strangers.  I don’t even know her name – but she has been on my mind and my heart all day……and I know God will hear my prayers for her.

What a difference a year makes!  I’ve come full circle.  Last year I was enlisting the prayers and support of my COMMUNITY…….and today, I was able to attempt to OFFER encouragement, prayers and support to someone just starting out on this wild ride.  My “battle” with breast cancer began one year ago today…….and while I am NOT thankful for cancer…….I am very thankful for what cancer has TAUGHT me.  God has restored my health…….and life is really good.

It was difficult to choose just ONE verse for today – so here’s two that sort of sum up my year.

Blessings to all of you!


 1 Peter 4:12-13 The Message (MSG)

Glory Just Around the Corner

12-13 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.


1 Peter 5:7-10 New International Version (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.