Monday, March 18, 2013

Life is Not Always a Bowl of Cherries


As much as we all wish life would go along at an even pace, at some point in our lives, each of us faces a big turn of events, an exceptional challenge, a bump in the road. Or, one gets that proverbial pit in a bowl of cherries. I got that pit.


Fourteen days ago I was told I have breast cancer. I know that having breast cancer doesn't make me special, because in fact one in every eight women will get it.

Still, I wonder why it happens to some of us and not others. I don't have risk factors: Our family doesn't have a history of breast cancer; - though the biopsy technician pointed out that someone has to get breast cancer for it to become "a family history" - I nursed my two babies; I've never had hormone replacement therapy; I've never smoked; I eat healthily; I exercise; I'm not overweight; and yes, I drink alcohol (wine), but definitely in moderation. Cancer can happen when you do everything right.

My tumor, which is about 9 mm in size, was identified as an abnormality during a routine mammogram in January. I couldn't, and still can't feel it. After a second mammography visit, on February 27 I had a needle-guided ultrasound biopsy. Five days later, on March 4, my husband accompanied me to the doctor's office when I received the report: invasive ductal carcinoma with tubular features. Who wouldn't be frightened to hear that!?

In the past two weeks I've seen an oncologist and a surgeon. On March 26 I'll have a lumpectomy and a biopsy of two lymph nodes under my arm. Three to eight days later the pathology report will clarify whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and/or elsewhere. The doc says there's a 90 percent chance it has not. Then, I'm a candidate for a newer radiation treatment called partial breast radiation that will be delivered directly to the lumpectomy site for only one week. No one's yet told me how I'll feel during that week, if I'll feel extra tired or even sick, but I will handle it. If one week of intense radiation means that by the end of April this could all be behind me, I'm goin' for it.

I'm also goin' for soaking in God's Word! Verses about the hope he offers for the future, his strength and how he is helping me stay strong - though I do have my moments - help me bare up. When I feel overwhelmed, he hears from me... and he's hearing frequently from me these days! He's also hearing from praying friends and family, and even people who don't know me. Such knowledge is filling me with a blanketing peace. I share this, not to draw attention to me, but to invite your prayer too. It's the only thing I covet in the way of "help." God hears.

My tumor was found early, while it is small, so I have a good prognosis.

Now I'm admonishing you women, in the nicest, most encouraging way. Take advantage of the medical technology we're blessed to have available to us. Make that mammogram appointment you've been putting off. Seriously. It could save your life. I mean it!

Today I'm celebrating my 60th birthday. Even though it's a big number, am proud to be 60. Gosh, I've made it through 60 years of living!


Weeks ago I had hoped to have a party today, but this diagnosis shook me loose of that idea. But God-willing, breast cancer won't slow me down for long. Now, I'm holding out for a Cancer-Free Party. Until then, happy 60th birthday to me! Linda

76 comments:

  1. Dear Linda
    I'm so sorry to read of your news, my thoughts are with you at this trying time in your life.
    You have your faith to sustain you, a loving family, plus plenty of support from your internet friends.
    Take care, and know that we are all sending cyber hugs and love your way.

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  2. Oh Linda! I am so sorry to read your devastating news! You will be in my prayers and let's pray that your cancer-free party is just around the corner. Hugs from down under- S x

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  3. Happy ( all things considered!) 60th birthday!

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  4. Happy Birthday Linda. I hope you receive the best possible news in a few weeks. You have a wonderfully positive outlook, and I'm sure that will help you through the worries and treatments. I'll be thinking of you.

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  5. Dear Linda,
    What dreadful news as you celebrate 60 years of life.
    I have just finished 6 weeks of radiation and chemo for cervical cancer, like you no family history and mostly I have lived a good healthy life.
    As devastating as this is for you right now and as hard as it might get over the next months, please know I am praying for you and as folk keep telling me, the end of the treatment will come and the day will also come when you will feel better.
    I am happy to hear from you if you have any questions, and don't forget there are some fantastic web forums - especially in the US ( I am in Australia) if you want to chat with people about your treatment.
    Kind regards
    Jo Ferguson, Brisbane Australia

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  6. The fact that we cannot yet positively identify causes for breast cancer disturbs me the most. However, now you need support and that is what I will do. Linda, you will be in my prayers. God bless you.

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  7. Happy happy birthday Linda!!! You sure do look good girl! Sending hugs and prayers your way regarding your diagnosis. My mom was also the first "to have it run in our family". That was 8 years ago, and I'm happy to report she is doing well. Enjoy your special day today.

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  8. Happy Birthday Linda. Stay positive and do what you need to do to beat this thing.

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  9. Linda I want to first wish you a very Happy Birthday! You look wonderful and I love your picture.
    I am sorry to hear about your breast cancer but I think if anyone can beat it you can. You have lots of things in your favor especially finding it early. Sending prayers your way!

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  10. Happy Birthday, Linda - Those big number birthdays aren't so bad! My prayers are with you and yours today.

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  11. Linda, this is a post I'm sure you never expected to write and one that all of us never hoped to read. This is one of those times when our faith reaches all the way down to the bottom, and we find a Solid Rock. I will be praying for you. May God richly bless you on this special birthday and in the days to come.

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  13. Dear Linda,
    Happy birthday to you and many, many returns. As you know I'm with you in my thoughts and I wish you all the best for against the cancer.
    Edith

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  14. Happy Birthday Linda! And it is a happy day because your diagnosis came early and your prognosis for complete recovery is so good. I'm a 15+ year survivor with a similar history to yours. Back in the day the radiation treatments spanned 6-8 weeks. You can expect to be more tired than usual for a while but as I recall I was able to work during the entire period of my treatments, only taking an hour off each day for the appointments. The most important thing you can do right now is to have a surgeon and oncologist with a positive attitude. If either of them does not, drop them like a hot potato and find another! Your friends and family are all praying for you, rest in that knowledge and know that God is Good!

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  15. Linda
    Prayers and hugs to you on this special day , we wish you a day of joy. Your post hopefully brought you some inner peace and I welcome you with open arms to the first in the family club. It is overwhelming to wonder why??
    We love and miss you here and are surrounding you with hugs and oh so much prayer.

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  16. I am sorry to read you news and I want to share a verse of scripture that has been so helpful for me..."For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says Do Not Fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

    Gloria
    gyates625@bellsouth.net
















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  17. Gosh, Linda!! I'm so sorry you're facing this frightening challenge. I really admire your attitude, and I'm REALLY glad it's been found early on. How bizarre to think you can't feel it, eh? I'll be holding you in my prayers for top-line medical care and fast healing.

    And, Lady - if I look as AWESOME as you do at 60, I will be one happy woman!! You look marvelous, not a day over 45!! :D

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  18. I'm so sorry that you have to face this, but you are not alone. Your family and friends who love you are with you during this fight, which I have absolutely no doubt you will win. We became friends many years ago over the Internet and have had the pleasure of sharing each other's company several times and celebrate our birthdays in the same month and year. Welcome to the 60's. I'm finding it rather fun and exciting.

    I want to share this Bible quote with you because when I read it I thought it was meant for our friendship:

    Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

    And you do look awesome and no where near 60! Celebrate your birthday today. It's a special day for you and everyone who loves you.

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  19. Happy Birthday Linda. And you know we're all praying for you and the Drs. Sending ((((((hugs)))))) your way. Norma

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  20. Sending you positive thoughts! I just finished 33 days or radiation for DCIS and other than skin irritation I had absolutely no other side effects. Well the clinic irritated me a lot but that's not an official side effect.

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  21. Hi Linda. I will remember you in my prayers. Blessings on you as you walk this road. You are not alone ; )

    And yes, I will make that appt.

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  22. Oh Linda. I am praying for you right now as I write this, and I will continue to pray. God is our strength, and He will guide you through this. Sending hugs your way! And Happy Birthday too!

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  23. Happy Birthday Linda!
    Despite the news you sound upbeat and determined - hoping things go well for you.

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  24. Linda, I'll be praying for you. I'm sorry that you have to go through this and I pray that God would bring you comfort, peace, strength, and lots of love.
    I hope you have a great birthday!

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  25. I wish you a very Happy Birthday and hope, that "this" is only a little blip in the road. I've gone though something very similar 12 years ago and it has left me stronger in faith but also with a deeper appreciation of life. Thinking of you and sending a big hug! xx

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  26. Linda,
    I appreciate your willingness to share your personal news with us. I will be holding you in prayer. Praying for the Lord to give you and your family strength and peace. Praying that He guide the doctors with their decisions. We know He is the healer. Please let me know how specifically I may pray for you.

    Happy Birthday. Yes, I agree it is only a number and you look great. I have survived reaching even 61!

    In prayer for you,
    Linda from (Snowy) Wisconsin

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  27. Oh, Linda, you bet I will be praying for you and your journey back to good health. I'm so sorry to hear of your news, but I know you will come through this time re-energized and renewed. And, Happy Happy Birthday to you. A cancer-free party sounds like an awesome idea. God Bless...Deb

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  28. I can't see the screen through the tears that have welled up in my eyes, Linda. Embrace your birthday and know that everything WILL turn out ok. You are in my thoughts! ~karen

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  29. What a shock to read of what you're going through at the moment. Will be praying for you and know that the Lord will continue to flood in His peace in the midst of your storm.

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  30. What a fantastic photo Linda. Happy 6oth Birthday. I hope you can celebrate in some way today even if not with a big party.
    I am shocked reading your news but know that your belief, strength and the love that surrounds you will get you through.
    Stay strong or Kia Kaha as we say in New Zealand.Sending hugs.

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  31. Prayer for you is to find ways to beat the disease. Forces have positive thoughts. Happy Birthday.

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  32. You have the best outlook of, I think, anyone I've ever met! I've always admired your ability to see the bright side of any situation. You know I will be praying for your (just did!) and can't wait to hear about your cancer-free party! Lookin' good, Linda!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  33. Chin up and full steam ahead. You can beat this.

    Sorry to hear the 60th birthday party was cancelled due to lack of interest, but the 61st is going to be one grand event!

    XXXO

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  34. Firstly, Happy 60th Birthday! That is awesome and you look amazing!

    I'm sorry to hear of your cancer diagnosis and pray that you will find strength in Him. We don't always know why, but we can trust that His word is true. It tells us that He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. I pray that He will keep you in perfect peace as you keep your heart and mind fixed on Him during this time. God bless you.

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  35. Happy birthday, Linda!

    Now I see why we missed you on the most recent Scatterdays challenge. Best wishes for your treatment and recovery.

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  36. Wow Linda what a birthday present!
    Sounds good that it was caught early on and hopefully your treatment won't be too bad.
    Tho I don't know you all that well I can tell you are,a strong and positive person and will come thru this with flying colours.
    Take care and happy birthday again.

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  37. No life is not always a bowl of cherries, but as someone who last year was where you are this year... I can bet you will eat gobbs of bowls of cherries this year when they are in season... as you will find a way fine tune your eating even more and cherries are just the best....

    Prayers will be offered for you.... in all phases....and as God wills. Hugs.

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  38. Linda, Happy Happy Birthday! Even though we have only been neighbors a short time, you have quickly become one of our favorite people to know. I am praying for you everyday and I look forward to the big celebration party later! You are such a positive and upbeat person and I know you will be an inspiration to those you meet as you go through this. And WOW, you do look great for 60!

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  39. I'm praying for you, Linda!

    I hope you have had a Happy Birthday and are celebrating the many blessings God has given you these 60 years!

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  40. I'm praying for you, Linda!

    I hope you have had a Happy Birthday and are celebrating the many blessings God has given you these 60 years!

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  41. Happy Happy Birthday Linda!!! Though you've received a bit of bad news, my hope for you is in the Lord to guide and sustain you through this. My prayers are most definitely with you as well! You have such a zest for life, that I'm confident, you will conquer this! Hugs to you...Andrea

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  42. Well, I came home to this news -which I'm so glad you decided to share!- and I am so proud of your attitude, sweet friend! God is GooD, all-the-time. You are in my prayers that the outcome will be positive, and that you will be blessed and a better person for what you are facing, mostly because you know you are not alone! I'm sending a birthday hug, too. Shucks, Linda--- 41 comments tell you that you are a loved person, and very special to alot of girlfriends!!
    love and prayers, pokey

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  43. First of all, happy birthday!! You look amazing!!

    Secondly, my mother is a 10 year survivor of breast cancer and was lucky enough to have it detected early, so admonishment is appreciated but it's also to the choir, here! :-)

    Thirdly, I am wishing you much love, many prayers, copious amounts of healing, my weight in "fight!", as much serenity as I can muster, and a whole lot of hope courage. If there's anything else you need, let me know!

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  44. I always keep up with your blog and noticed you hadn't written for a bit. So sorry to learn the reason. I wish you every good wish for your complete recovery. BTW, happy birthday and may you have many more.

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  45. OMG Linda! I am so shocked, but take heart, my sister in law was diagnosed last year, and has come through all the treatment including chemo with flying colours. It seems to be an epidemic - so many women I know. ( Even my Doctor) Have you read the blog by Kathy at Material Obsession in Sydney. Same thing.
    I'm sure your faith will help get you through this very hard time. Knowing we are all thinking of you often, will also help
    Sue X p.s. Happy 60th :-)

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  46. I wish I was there to have had lunch with you today! You know that I'm here for you anytime you just need to talk. And, I talk to our Father about you often. Oh, and welcome to the 60's Club!! You are in good company, friend=)

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  47. Linda, celebrate your 60 years with your loved ones. Thoughts and prayers are with you as you face the unknown, but He is watching over you.
    Hugs
    Denise

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  48. Happy 60th Linda! You are very positive and have a good prognosis, despite this devastating news. You are in my thoughts xx

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  49. Happy Birthday Linda, Please know that you are in my prayers, to say I'm shocked by your news is an understatement. Sending healing thoughts and feel my arms around you in a big hug.

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  50. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world. Therefore since He who resides and dwells within your bodily temple is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow all sickness,infirmity and decay must, will and shall bow at His feet in submission and leave your body. May you with every breath you inhale, breathe in LIFE which is restoring each and every cell in your body. For it is written: He healed ALL sickness and disease each and everyone. By His stripes you were, are being and will be healed. He delights in giving His children the desires of their hearts. You shall walk in the land of the living and proclaim the goodness of the Lord. May you and your family be blanketed in LOVE, strengthend by PEACE, and restored with JOY! No weapon formed againsnt you shall in any way prosper for Greater is He that is in you than anything this world has to offer! Let the sound of PRAISE REJOICING in THANKSGIVING be heard upon your lips as you stand as a witness of the powerful hand of Jesus upon your life. His banner over you is LOVE. Thank you Jesus for the miraculous outpouring of lavish, abundant ever increasing healing and restoration coming upon this family! May healing invade every medical establishment you enter touching lives and restoring health. You are His daughter, the apple of His eye, He holds you and your family! God Bless You!

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  51. praying for you, Linda! And before you know it you WILL be having that cancer-free party! xo

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  52. Oh Linda, I'm so sorry to hear this. : ( My dad (who's only 63) is a two-time survivor of completely different and unrelated cancers (prostate and stomach). He is 100% in remission with both of them now, so he's a testament to what modern medicine can do. I'll be thinking of you - hugs!

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  53. Linda,

    I will pray for you. I'm with you in this one, walking a similar road. Together we will be survivors! A cancer-free party sounds good to me!

    Blessings and hugs
    Karen

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  54. I hope you will have a wonderful birthday present from your doctors (with some good news) and you will do well with all your procedures and be done quickly. I will keep you in my prayers.

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  55. Team Di posted about your birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! And the pit that recently showed up in your life. This is on one of those times in life that there is only one set of footprints in the sand as our loving God carries you in the palm of His hand. May He bless you with His amazing grace and strength as you and your family are held up in prayer by so many who will only know you here on your blog. Blessings, pressed down and over-flowing!

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  56. Dearest Linda, I dont quite know what to say - your news has shocked me, but praise God you seem to have as positive an outlook as you can at this time. Praying for healing and peace for you and also for joy!
    Hugs and blessings Di

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  57. Linda....Birthday wishes to you for a successful and speedy recovery. Blessings, Prayers and Hugs headed your way, from Canada.
    Karen

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  58. Linda,

    I am so sorry to hear! Please know that you will be in my prayers. Please please keep me updated.

    I thought you might want to know that I started smocking on that pleated blue floral bishop you sent me months ago.... I will be sure to show you progress pictures.

    HUGS, and Happy Birthday.

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  59. If love could heal you, that cancer would be licked, you have so much of it. Who knows, maybe it can, and your strength certainly will help. Good luck and lots of love!!

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  60. "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and call things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another." Doctrine and Covenants 90:24
    My prayers are with you.
    !Happy Birthday!

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  61. Oh my gosh, I am just reading this. I will the thinking positive thoughts and sending prayers up for you during this scary time. It sounds to me like you are doing all that you need to do physically and Spiritually, so its in God's and the doctor's hands now.

    Congrats on your 60th birthday, and here's to wishing you a much happier 61st.

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  62. Linda - all the very best get well and get over it wishes from me downunder. You are lucky you found it early - and I am one of the ladies that go off to have her mammogram regularly. I had a scare a few years ago and I know just how you are feeling. Lots of love and very positive thoughts.

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  63. Hey, and go girl - Happy Birthday!

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  64. Linda, I was so sorry to hear this news. You are in my prayers daily. Mark's mother had breast cancer way back in 1972 when the treatment at that time was brutal. She lived a long and healthy life until 2008, and cancer was not what she died from. I'm so very very glad I was able to spend the day with you last May. Many prayers coming your way. And welcome to Club 60--you look fabulous!!

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  65. Linda,
    I've been on an emotional roller coaster similar to the one you are riding...early detection, wonderful surgeon and medical staff, positive attitude, prayer, and supportive family and friends all helped me and will help you too.

    Will keep you in my prayers and look forward to seeing you on my return to Central Florida.
    --Lynda

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  66. Happy Birthday Linda, you sure don't look 60!
    I will be praying for you.

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  67. Happy 60th Birthday Linda- May the next year bring you some wonderful adventures and the love and laughter of loved ones.
    I am sending you positive thoughts and warm wishes as you face your health challenges. I see you as a woman of strong faith and positive energy - both will help you deal with the challenges you are facing in the next few months. May you find yourself surrounded by the loving support of friends and family to buoy you up on the days when you find yourself challenged.
    With warmest wishes,
    Anna

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  68. Linda when you say you are not alone in this diagnosis you are very right. You are the third friend this year who has shared this news. Both of them are like you - doing everything right that they know to do. Since we don't know the why of it we have to remember that God either planned it or He permitted it, and He always has us covered with His love and His grace as we go through it. Whatever "it" might be. I have lifted you up this evening asking God for an extra helping of grace, for your fears to be calmed, and for your courage to be visible to all those who know you so that they will see you and know that God is in you and around you and with you. I'm asking that every single step you take be a step used to glorify Him. And most of all I'm asking for His miracle of earthly healing. blessings, marlene

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  69. Happy Belated Birthday, Linda..I was sorry to hear your news and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I'm so glad you caught this early and I have only positive thoughts about your recovery. Take care and know that many, many blogger friends have you in their thoughts. XOXO

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  70. Happy Belated Birthday, Linda..I was sorry to hear your news and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I'm so glad you caught this early and I have only positive thoughts about your recovery. Take care and know that many, many blogger friends have you in their thoughts. XOXO

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  71. I am late in catching up on my blog reading and was surprised at your news. First happy belated Birthday, and 2nd, you will be in my prayers for a speedy and thorough recovery. This is only a small blip in your road of life and you will come through with flying colors, I'm sure. Your next party will be to celebrate cancer free and feeling fine.

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  72. Hi Linda, ever since I met you a few years ago I have marveled at what you have accomplished. Both with Stitchin Mission and in your personal life. All the work and time to get to your retirement home in Florida and all the beautiful quilts you have shared with us. Happy Birthday to a lovely woman who doesn't even look like a 50 year old (how do you do that??) This cherry pit will not be big enough to get you down. Thank you for sharing with all of us in blogland who are friends and e-family of yours. I will be keeping you in my prayers. I am positive you will be strong enough to get thru this, with a little help from your friends! Thank you for sharing and remember how many people are here for you. Next year's 61st birthday will be a really great celebration.

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  73. Dear Linda I am just reading this today because I have been ill with the flu and in hospital so have not been o n computer. I am so sorry about your diagonosis, you are such a wonderful vibrant hard working person who has just achieved marvellous things. The cancer diagonosis Knocks us flat on our behinds and we want to know why . This happened to me seven years ago when I was 63 , I ended up with double mastectomy but no chemo which I was happy about. Here I am still alive and thankful. It is a hard row but with God , family and all of your friends I know that you will be just fine keep busy quilt and if I can help in anyway with what I know just let me know. I will pray for strength and healing from God. Blessing Sandra

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  74. Oh Linda I forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday! Hugs

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  75. Sorry for this bum[ in the road, know that I will keep you in my prayers. Irene

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  76. Linda, what a shock to hear! My thought are with you!

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