This cancer journey is one big mind game after another. During my treatment weeks, I am anxious, a touch fiesty(steroids, not at all anything to do with me…I know what you are thinking), and just blah feeling and acting. I get pretty quiet here at home and just try to convince myself I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel like Rachel. About day 7 and 8, the fog starts to lift and I get my spunk back. This treatment was no different.

This Tuesday was my Day 8,  and I was back ready to emerge from my nest. Over the weekend as I laid on the couch, I became more comfortable with my bald head, and kind of picked up the mindset to screw it and just be free. Y’all, wigs are so hot, itchy and uncomfortable especially on a sensitive scalp. I called up Emily and let her know I wanted to see the baby and I needed her help to do something today. Y’all know she was thinking she had to come clean or do something boring. LOL! Not a chance, an idea was planted by a friend a few weeks ago to do a photo op to reveal my new look. Well, challenge accepted. Disclaimer:  I was not having a meltdown and no one or vehicle was harmed in the making.

To my soul sister Britney:  I get you. Life is a circus. It can drive you mad. Each one of us are under our own microscope, and there are days you just want to scream at the top of your lungs, beat something with an umbrella, or shave your head. There are also days were you just want to laugh, be yourself, and live in the moment. Britney, I don’t know what made you shave your head or why you went after the car with the umbrella, but I am glad you did.  For a few minutes, I forgot I had cancer, I forgot all my fears, I forgot I was tired…I was ME again…funny, sarcastic and living life. We define our own circus…mine has a lot of ringleaders right now, but this day I was leading the pack on my terms. Thanks, Brit!  You know I will always love ya!


Oops, I did it again…


My hope is you roll on the floor laughing at these pics, and not see a girl fighting cancer, instead see a girl living life to the fullest on her good days.

All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow will bring.


Ups and Downs

Chemo # 2 is in the books!  It was pretty uneventful as far as side effects. I have been more tired this treatment with yesterday being the worst.  I imagine running a marathon and your legs just feeling so weak and heavy is similar to this exhausted feeling that I am experiencing. To all who have achieved a marathon, I salute you because I am exhausted. Haha!  It is hard just to lay around and I feel pretty useless. With all that said, I am grateful for another uneventful treatment. I will ask for prayers for an upcoming blood count on Tuesday.  My liver counts were high last Tuesday and the Dr. wanted to postpone the treatment to give my liver time to adjust, but I wasn’t too down with that. If they are high again, I may have to postpone treatment #3.

It finally happened…the great hair shed of Lumpgate 2018. I made a conscious decision to shave it because let’s face it, I have a lot of hair and the thought of it all over the place was overwhelming. As I sit here and type, I am laughing because the fuzz is even worse and is everywhere. I have to cover my head or small slivers of hair are on everything and it is sticky. What a complete pain in the ass!  This has definitely been a downer for me. It is really hard seeing yourself without hair. It is hard watching your family take glances of you as they try to come to grips with the new you. One more shitty reminder you are a cancer patient. I feel like everyone is staring, and I know they aren’t. It’s just me navigating my new normal. I have never been one to lack self-confidence, but I do find the struggle is real. Patsy and I are fighting and I hate her. She is hot, and hurts my head. So, I am trying hats and scarves. Thanks to the friends who have had to endure countless selfies and provided a positive critique to my new look. While I am not ready to share my new GI Jane look, I will share A few pics so you may recognize me on the streets. I still get spooked by my reflection at home. LOL! (Thank goodness for filters)



Looking forward to a week of recovery and feeling good again. We have a lot going on here as we just put an offer on a house in Raleigh. If all goes well with both closings, we will be moving to Raleigh on 13Jul. Really ready to be back together as a family in one city. Thank you for all the love and encouragement from your calls, texts, snaps, cards, etc. it really lifts my spirits. I know I am surrounded by so much love, but some days this journey can be pretty lonely. Positive energy and laughs is really good for the soul and spirit.

All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow will bring.


Small Blessings

I had written a whole post on Sunday, but never published it as I was having trouble downloading pictures. I thought I will give it overnight and go back to it tomorrow. It’s funny how little things keep happening to show me how God is working in my life. The post was so negative, filled with fear and uncertainty and was a total reflection of my thoughts at the time.  God pumped the brakes on my pity party. (Thank you for small blessings)

I woke up Monday feeling great and went on a two mile walk while giving glory to God for my blessings. I have been made to be still the last several months, and I am so much more aware of the small signs and timing that God is weaving into my life.

Let me give an update on my first chemo treatment. I was so damn nervous and scared on the way there. It was a surreal drive to the hospital, and I replayed all the details of the last couple of months not believing what we were about to do. Being my emotional self lately, I just cried the whole way there. Mike just let me and told me to get it out of my system before we went in. Usually, he talks me off the ledge, but I was really glad he didn’t shoot rainbows, unicorns, and glitter up my ass in that moment. We walk in and they called me back to the treatment room and I was like ‘Whoa, I am not ready because my port still is bandaged and I didn’t yet put the Lidocaine cream on it.’  This sweet 20 something year old girl was like okay we can wait an hour or I can just access it.     I kept looking at Mike waiting for him to step in and save me…he didn’t. Haha. So, as I watched all these 70 and 80 year old women get their IVs put in their veins and not flinch, I told her just do it but don’t talk to me. When she cleaned it she told me I couldn’t breathe on it in order to not put my germs on it. I was like, honey, my face is going to be over in the ER because I am not even looking that direction. I will say it wasn’t bad. It was more pressure when she punctured it, and she even drew a couple tubes of blood and I didn’t even know it. First scary part complete. She made me lay there for a while to ensure I didn’t pass out and then they sent me back to the waiting room to see the Dr. prior to the infusions. It was the first time I felt like a cancer patient. I had all these access points hanging from my chest and i was about to really do this. I met with the Dr. and she told my blood counts were excellent and there was no reason we can’t start the chemo. She did notice how anxious I was and told me she would give me a little something to take the edge off. (Thank you). So, off I went to my chemo pod. I had to wait a while as the nurse was working on two other patients. She promised me it would be more uneventful than I was expecting. Haha!  Does she know me?  I will say it was pretty uneventful (post meds). They started by first giving me a steroid and two anti-nausea meds. That took about 30 minutes. Then they brought out the Red Devil. You want to know fear look the Red Devil in the eye. The nurse had to suit up in a full gown and wear glasses to manually push this juice in my veins. She administered it over a period of thirty minutes. I was praying I wouldn’t have any crazy reaction and surprisingly I didn’t. I took my IV pole for a potty break after that while she worked on another patient and got the next drug ready. The next drug went in over a period of two hours. If they do it to fast it can cause you a severe headache. Volunteers kept coming by asking if I wanted snacks or wanted a drink or a warm blanket. It was pretty uneventful, but I was exhausted afterwards and came home and curled up in the couch. A few pics of the day.

I had a peppermint in my mouth here  the taste you get is pretty awful as the drugs go in.


Meet the Red Devil…


The week did go by really slowly, but again the fear of the unknown is the worst. I am happy to report no nausea with this round. I did have extreme fatigue on Day 3 and 4 like nothing I have ever experienced. It was hard for me to just sit and do nothing but on those days that is all I could do. I did have a strange red rash pop up on my arm Tuesday morning and my Dr sent me for an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. Fortunately, that was ruled out and chalked up to a weird reaction to the chemo. Main issues have been being tired, feeling light-headed and shaky, indigestion(sorry family, I love you for putting up with me), and my lips are starting to crack. That’s it. I am focusing on nutrition to build my blood counts back up this week and walking to stay strong and of course resting. (The hardest part for me)

I am grateful that other post did not get published because it was a real downer. I am so blessed this is all I have to report. I know this and I am drilling this into my head. I placed my anxiety and fear in God’s hands and he is working in me to remove them hour by hour. It’s a long journey, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I also found this Sunday during my pity party and I looked up and thanked him for the reminder.

Next treatment is 29May. Thank you for the calls and texts, it really keeps my spirits up.

All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow will bring.


Getting Wiggy With It

This past Thursday I set out to find my new identity once I lose my hair. I have some funny friends who suggested I get multiple wigs. For instance, a stripper wig especially for Mike. I don’t know about y’all but when you have cancer the absolute last thing on your mind is putting on your stripper wig for a dance party for your man. Lol!  Some suggested a business wig and a party wig. Maybe I have lost some spunk, but I am not feeling either. So, I set out to find one that was close to my current hair…boring. Hahaha.

Now over at Shiela’s Wigs, you will find yourself some funny ladies, but they were so kind and compassionate through it all because it is a little overwhelming. I walked in and they were like I know the perfect ones for you to try on. Well, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Photo cred goes to my friend, Suzanne.  Thanks for going with me  it made the task less daunting.

On this one below, I easily could have done both…I thought I could be on a special for Jeff Foxworthy…you might be a redneck if…seriously, all I needed was the bubba teeth. 031832F3-197B-46E9-8438-2DECD5268674

This next one was a doozy too, not quite sure what was going on here, but it was vetoed quickly.


I was trying to keep my spirits up after those two gems. Then we saw Patsy. A little longer and more my speed, and I said why not. So, I tried her on and although she feels a little rough to the touch, I will say she made me feel a little more like me. So when you meet Patsy for the first time, be nice and know that she is doing the best she can on any given day.


Disclaimer…I really wanted to try on the jet black one with blue highlights, but they were ready for me to go as they had other appointments. I secretly wanted the stripper wig. LOL!

I had my port put in yesterday and the anesthesia has kicked my ass this go round. I am happy to report I had to already test out the chemo nausea meds and they work. Since I am sharing pics and have no shame how I look in any of them, below is how I felt about my port last night, and not much has changed today.

Prayer request for minimal side effects from my first chemo treatment on Monday, a positive attitude, and no fainting. I don’t think this medical stuff will ever get easy for me just drug me, please.

All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow will bring.


Dear Cancer,

Dear Cancer,

I hate everything about you!  I hate that you have come into my body and turned my life upside down. I hate that you made my mother cry. I hate that you have placed worry, doubt and fear into my children’s eyes and heart. I hate that you have made my husband think of life with out me. I hate that you have made me cry countless nights, lose sleep, and stress over what you have caused. No one asked you to come here, no one ever would. You are complicated, stubborn and hateful. A modern day home wrecker.

I hate everything about you!

And while you try to destroy me and my family, I will not let you. I will destroy you first! I love how close you have brought me to trust in God. I love how you have strengthened my friendships far and near. I love how close you have brought me and my husband. I love how you have made me see how fragile life can be, and I will never take a minute for granted again. I love how you have made me look deep inside my soul to bring out the best in me.  You can take my energy and my hair, but you will never take my spirit, heart or fight. I love how you have made my mind stronger than it was before. For in my mind, I have already started kicking your ass. Don’t worry, you have one more week to live inside me, and then the real fight begins. You will not destroy me first, I promise you that.

Even with the good things you have brought, I still hate everything about you!

See you in the chemo pod,


Jesus, Take the Wheel

Trying to schedule anything can be a nightmare…add a surgeon, an oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and a cardiologist to the mix and you have yourself a tangled web. Everybody only had Friday available. Sorry folks, but that is not physically possible. We won’t even go to the emotional side of it all. So I shouted, “Jesus, take the wheel…take it from my hands.” Once I was done belting out Carrie Underwood and having a conversation with the man upstairs,  I asked the oncologist for her blessing to push my chemo treatments back to 14May. She confirmed I wouldn’t perish if we delayed a week. Guys, Jesus took that wheel right out of my hands. All appointments, education class and port surgery are nice and spread out over the next two weeks and I can breathe again.

I am also really focusing on getting my mind in the right place and am really relieved I have an extra week to do so. I am also so thankful that I get to enjoy my baby’s birthday without focusing on the treatment the following day.

All of your support and messages have really helped me pull though the disappointment and shock of hearing that I needed chemo. I am finding that God is answering prayers in small and big ways. While I prayed for no chemo, he didn’t answer the prayer for a reason. He knows my path and he knows where I need to go. I found the below bible verse in my daughters bullet journal this afternoon and thought “Rachel, just be still. He is lining all of this up to bring good in your life.”

P. S. I can’t figure out this blog thing. It wouldn’t let me put the pic above And write below. Forgive me. Lol!

All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow will bring




Twenty-four…Really?  That was my test score from the Oncotype. Can you guess where that puts me?  In no man’s land. Right smack dab in the middle of the graph…to chemo or not to chemo. Doc says chemo because my cancer grade is so high. I am second guessing everything and can’t stop the tears. So, I have to chemo in order to reduce my chances of reoccurrence.  I start May 7 for a five month treatment.

Ironically, I had my last hair appointment today for a while. I hope my bald is beautiful.  That was a tough one and I cried right there in the shop. No shame in my game anymore.

The hardest thing about all of this is telling my kids. They are my world and I don’t want to let them down. It was hard to tell them I am going to be sick and lose my hair. Trying to keep from freaking them out, but I dont think I succeeded.  I just hope that I will eventually make them proud as they watch me fight through this.

Prayers please for courage and strength. I have zero right now and somehow I need to muster my previous warrior attitude in one week. Lots to do his coming week, get an Echocardiogram, get a port put in, go to a chemo class, see the radiation oncologist, work, and have a birthday party for Lily!  No worries, I am not sleeping anyway. Lol!

Sorry for the rambles, I am slightly overwhelmed, but wanted to post an update.

All my love…live each day big, for you never know what tomorrow will bring.


Handprints on my Heart

I will have my second surgery at 8am tomorrow morning. I am dreading it, but ready to get it over with. Prayer request for clean margins so that I can avoid round 3. Maybe they will be sick of my pre and post surgery antics of whining and passing out and they won’t allow me back.  Y’all it is quite the scene. Lol!

I went to get the mail today and ended up stopping at my car when I saw something in the stack. I pulled out the envelope and started sobbing.  I saw the sweetest handprints from the cruisers that I help watch during the 9am church service at Port City.  They were on the front as well. A5BB72D9-AD24-4669-B706-DC5CFE5A1A54

While these babies have no idea what cancer is or why they were getting inked up, it was the thought behind his card that meant the world to me.  One thing this all has taught me is the deep impact my friendships near and far have made on heart. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. It is driving me forward each day. When night falls and the daily tasks of the day have stopped, I struggle in my thoughts and fears that this diagnosis has caused. I find myself starting to cry, and I just take a minute to let the tears fall. Then I think of all the people in my life who are supporting and praying for me, and I pull myself together.  I end my night in prayer, which always includes how grateful I am for each of you in my life. Without your kind words and acts of kindness, I wouldn’t be able to walk this journey. For all the countless prayers you have lifted for me tonight I want to lift one for each of you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace.  Numbers 6: 24-26

All my Love….live each day big, for you never know what tomorrow holds.


Lucky 13?!?!

Before I went in to surgery, I told my Doctor not to call me with results on Friday the 13th. Guess when she called me??  Yes indeed, she did most certainly call me on Friday the 13th!  I envisioned Freddy Krueger on the other end while it was ringing. Haha!  The results from the pathology report: Lymph nodes CLEAR, genetic test NEGATIVE, and the tumor only measured 10 mm which was smaller than she expected. All great news that proves God does hear, receive and answer prayers!!

I think I am also learning there is most likely a ‘but’ or one ‘not so good piece’ during a cancer battle. The margins from the tumor they removed were not clear. While she said the cells found in the margins were not the same invasive cancer found in the tumor, she said there were pre-cancerous cells found. She wants to take me back to surgery this week and shave off some more tissue. While I was not going to let the news of another surgery drag me down and away from the good news, I would be lying if I said I was not bummed and scared. That was not fun and today is the first day I feel like a human and have not had to run for the medicine bottle to help alleviate pain. I continue to stay faithful in prayer and know He is with me with each step, twist and turn of this journey.

I will know more in two weeks what my treatment plan is going to be. We are still waiting on the Oncotype test to be returned. Prayers for a low score on that test, so we can knock chemo off the plan.

I will end with this for whatever battle you are facing hold tight to Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

All my love…live each day big, for you never know what tomorrow will bring.



My Breast Friend

imageWorking up to present day…Mike and I met with the surgeon on April 4th to go over the pathology reports. I have invasive ductal carcinoma, which is the most common type of breast cancer. I am considered Stage II due to the size of the tumor over 2 cm, but under five cm. It is a grade 3 cancer, which unfortunately is a fast growing cancer. I am ER and PR positive, which is really good news. Basically it has estrogen hormone receptors that work nicely with the drug tamoxifen later down the rode. I did have the BRACA test done to see if I have the cancer gene. Those results will be in around the end of April. Prayers for that to be negative, please and thanks in advance.

With all the above said, the first step I chose was to have a lumpectomy and lymph node removal that took place this past Tuesday, April 10. I am patiently waiting the results from the pathology report that will determine my next steps. I will be honest, chemo and radiation are both on the table as of now unless these reports come back with some low scores.  I am terrified of chemo, but will do what I need to do in order to have a cancer free life. Don’t get me wrong, my prognosis is good according to the doctors, but I don’t think your human if your mind doesn’t travel to that dark place at times.

Lunpgate 2018 (the surgery) was interesting. Let’s just get this out in the open, I am terrified of needles. Add knives and other tools and pretty much consider me out.  I usually have someone with me to hold my hand while getting shots (you know who you are, lucky gals).  I handle Botox like a champ though and proudly stroll in there like I am Hollywood’s elite. I almost passed out getting my nuclear injection for the lymph node removal. That was not fun and a great start to the morning. Then I had to come back home and wait to go to the surgical place. Arrived and signed my life away and they took me right back to prep me. I had to wait a while as the surgeon was running a little behind. I don’t think I have ever prayed as hard as I did that day. Can I pause here to say all the texts and messages sent that morning made my day and made feel like a warrior. You guys are amazing. I felt the love and felt the prayers. I never thought I would be walking into the OR to then lie down on a table and say cut me here. They did mark me all up and said they were putting my initials RB on me and I said pretty sure that is for Right Boob. After that I was out and the dr did her thing. I will say if I never have to experience that again it will be too soon. I am not a good patient. Of course, I passed out when they were trying to make me leave. LOL. I tried to warn them.

Here I sit, patiently waiting for my results. I have been able to manage the pain, and my husband and mom are taking care of me making sure I eat, drink, and rest.

When I was diagnosed I got a big welcome to the club bag that included all these pillows and blankets. The lady said these would come in handy after surgery. Mike and I were laughing about all the pillows and I was thinking how is this going to help. As I type, I have my new breast friend (photo above) tucked under my arm…the lovely heart pillow in my welcome bag. Lol!  Now I get it!  It hurts!!!!!  This pillow is giving me life right now. I will never question anything given to me again by others who have traveled this road before. I have learned things I never thought I would have to know, but for that I am equipped to go into battle and win this war. Prayers for clear lymph nodes and a low oncotype score so maybe I can avoid chemo.

All my love…live each day big for you never know what tomorrow may bring.