This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Today I was an Ear

I have begun my time as a volunteer at the cancer center.  I know there was some concern that this would be too close to home for me being as I am still receiving treatments myself.  I imagine there might be days where this could be difficult.  I realize too, that it will mean beginning more relationships with people who may not have long to live, and I am okay with that now.  These courageous fighters need to be able to smile and laugh just as much if not more than most.  And I am ready for that. 

I have already met some amazing folks on this same journey and have come to understand that there is a bond that cuts through the usual "getting to know you" phase of a relationship and gets right down to whats important and what is real.  For them right now, treatment is real.  Very real!  It's scary, it can be lonely, and it's long and tiring.  Sometimes, it is nauseating, literally, and it can even have life threatening side effects of it's own.  At best, the side effects are minimal, but make no mistake, there are side effects.  Some are temporary, and can be fairly easily dealt with, and some are permanent.  These patients have opted for this form of treatment in hope that it is their best option to kick cancer in the _ss!  Dealing with side effects is just part of the packaged deal. I know.  My joints remind me frequently. 

Having the opportunity to listen and maybe answer a question or too is so humbling and gratifying.  It reassures me that there is purpose in my journey.  Not that I haven't already found plenty along the way this last year, but this is an opportunity to give back in a specific way. 

As a believer, we talk about being a body.  Each of us representing a different part, and yet working together to make a whole.  We as the church have the privilege to be different parts depending upon what God is calling you to do.  If you step up to the challenge no matter what part you are being asked to play, God will meet you there. 

Today, I was an ear.  This is not a part of the body that I am as well practiced in as I should be or would like to be.  And yet today, I listened...  To a sweet fighter who is beginning a long and frightening road.  What started as a simple trip to the doctor to fix a "muscle pain", ended up giving a diagnosis of caner.  And not just cancer in an isolated place, but all throughout the body.  Not what they were expecting to hear at all.  I listened as they told me about their family and each of the precious members in it.  I listened as I heard about a life long hobby they hoped to be able to continue in the future.  I smiled as I was privy to a tender look as a beloved spouse was described beautifully and with such gratitude and loving detail.  I quietly listened with attentive eyes as they relayed their prognosis and fear of the future.  I heard the details about chemo reactions that almost ended the fight.  And we shared a smile as they described their faith in a living God, and a strong desire for this to be used for a greater purpose. 

Today, I was an ear.  I was not noticed for adornments or piercings.  I was quietly serving by listening.


Saturday, March 8, 2014


Team Tami is joining with Philips 66 to RELAY FOR LIFE on July 11th and 12th.  Both myself and the other team captains have been directly affected by cancer and know the pain and devastation it causes.  For families, care givers and friends this can be a difficult season of wanting to help, while not knowing exactly how to offer support.  Meals, cards, rides, hats, laughs and quiet companionship were some of my most appreciated gifts. 

We also discovered last year, first hand, how the American Caner Society helps people who are in the fight. There were several times when information or products I received came from ACS.  And this year we will walk again to raise funds to support this group. 

We are ordering shirts as a fundraiser for our team. You can call me or message me with your order, you can stop by 2nd AVE SPORTS in Ferndale and place your order, or you can print the form and give it to me in person. 

The shirts are charcoal and there are 4 different styles with a ladies cut available in the wicking T-shirt (which is my favorite).   This image is the rough design.  The final proof is still being worked up, but it will be very close to this with minor changes.  

Thank you in advance for your continued support.  And please check out our Relay team page if you would like to join us.   We will be having sign ups for the different hour blocks through out the night.  We would love to have people join us for each of these hours.  Each one has a different theme and boy do they get cRaZY in the middle of the night.  Come check it out!



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Celebrating My First Cancer Free Birthday

A few weeks ago I started writing this blog... I changed it, then changed it again.   February 14th held a lot of different emotions for so many people I know.  For some it was the anniversary of the loss of a loved one, for others it was the anniversary of 27 years of shared love and marriage, and for yet another it was a day to welcome a first born baby boy into the family.   I opted to wait to post it for several reasons, but now I am ready.

For me, February 14th now holds great significance. One year ago, I decorated the most unique valentine I have ever made and gave it to someone I barely knew, but had chosen to trust with my body and my life.  It was just over 365 days ago that I had the heinous C word cut from my body, precisely and adequately making me officially CANCER FREE.  This was cause for celebration!  And celebrate we did!  I bought small lobster tails for the few in our family that would really savor the treat and two big steaks to share for the others.  I got strawberries and dipped them in dark chocolate and made really yummy stir fried beans and veggies.  We even had sparkling cider and my favorite white wine.  It was a great meal to celebrate February 14th, my first cancer free birthday

I have been told that with the passing of each birthday it gets a little easier.  The nagging reminders become a little less ominous as you purpose to enjoy each day and mark those miles stones with celebration.  I will look forward to that for sure. 

I had the occasion this last weekend to join with hundreds of others to celebrate.  We weren't gathered to recognize another birthday, rather we were gathered to honor and remember a life well spent.  I attended the memorial for Julia Pohlman, a friend and fallen fighter.  I was so moved by the attitude of her memorial.  Her husband participated as well as a few of her children.  Family member after family member shared of the rock solid faith of this courageous woman.  And it was evidenced again in talking with her oldest son and her husband.  While they were certainly experiencing a loss of indescribable proportion, they were taking the opportunity to shout out the name that is above all names and the reason for their hope... Jesus!  I sat through the service there unsure what emotions I would be feeling and realized that I was deeply inspired by the life she lived and encouraged to be so bold.  It wasn't a "sad" time.  It was a time to remember and reflect, but it was also a time to be challenged to make my life intentional and purposeful. 

None of us knows the number of days or years we are to be given.  We could get in a random car accident tomorrow or we might live to see 95.  I realize as I face this life threatening illness called breast cancer, I have felt much more outward focused than I have in the past.  I feel challenged to live a life that is less about me and more about serving others.  In the end that is the legacy that I want to leave behind.

Philippians 2:3-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!