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Cancer Navigator Retreat Weekend–September 2014

 

I wanted to get in touch with those of you that do not get on FACEBOOK. I am somewhat addicted, or so I’m told, to that site. I can’t help but know that it is easy to put a line or two on there, so everyone that reads it will know I am doing well, instead of having to call or text everyone.

Most of you know, I had to have emergency surgery on Thursday of last week. I was at Denise’s in Alabama (she is my baby sister) and all of a sudden my left breast just swelled and was really BAD!! I called and believe it or not (the internet is amazing to me still) I sent a picture of that ‘sista’ to my plastic surgeon. They called in antibiotics to the Rite Aid store in Alexander City, AL and believe me, those pills are the ones that cost $10 each and I was taking two at a time three times a day. Does wonders for the system ladies….

I drove home on Tuesday, by myself, because he wanted to SEE me on Wednesday (he was in surgery all day on Tuesday). I was in his office at 8:30am. He said I had a form of skin cancer at the sight of the last incision, which was the reason for the lack of healing. That was also the reason a bacterial infection had gotten behind and around the implant. HURT was not in the ballpark. I was sick!!! I won’t go into more graphic details because it makes me sick to think of it now.

When he got to see me, and examined the ‘sista’ he scheduled surgery the next morning. I told him I wasn’t all together sure I wanted to keep them, since this was my fifth surgery on them since February of last year. I was so blooming disgusted and I wish I could say that was all I said to him. I had what is known in the ‘southern world’ as an old fashion Hissy Fit. If there is another way to spell it, or another way to put it, I am not familiar with how to explain. It is when your face splits and the pure devil runs out and has a FIT!! I got the mama finger out and shook it in the doctor’s face and screamed and used some really nasty language. I had to ask God to forgive me for several of those.

I didn’t have to be at the hospital until 11am on Wednesday, thank goodness, but I couldn’t have coffee or anything to drink. It was late before they got to me and it was really late before I could get anything to eat or drink after I got out that night. Oh yes! I went home Thursday before it was dark. I had a prescription for pain medicine, antibiotics and nausea medicine. I had pain medicine, I didn’t have the money to buy the antibiotics and I seldom ever need nausea medicine, so that was a waste of paper.

I had already been invited to attend the Cancer Navigator Retreat held by Dr. Matt Mumber and Heather Reed weeks before. I cried like a baby when I called to cancel. I told the ladies at the Navigators I had just gotten out of the hospital and could not attend, I was afraid, because I didn’t know how I would do, and I didn’t know what all they would be doing at the retreat. My Navigator called me and said, “YOU ARE GOING!! You can sit home and hurt, or you can go up on the mountain, where there will be a doctor that could take care of you if you have a problem. They will not make you do anything you cannot do. Just go at your own pace. Take your time! I am not cancelling your place!” I prayed all night!

Friday morning I was a little apprehensive about going, but my husband wanted me to go and bless him, he said he would drive me. If I got sick he would come back immediately and get me. He took me up to NW Georgia on Friday and left me there at 3pm and came back Sunday at 2pm to pick me up.

I am Blessed and Highly Favored to have been able to attend such an awesome event which truly changed my mind, body and spirit. I will not TRY to tell you what I learned, for this would do it such an injustice. If I could get you who read to buy a book, this would tell you a little about what we got a glimpse into. The book is “SUSTAINABLE WELLNESS: An Integrative Approach to TRANSFORM Your Mind, Body and Spirit” by Dr. Matt Mumber and Heather Reed. They were the facilitator of the weekend and spent every waking hour with us. It was truly amazing what they taught us.

And the FOOD was strictly the best I have ever had…it was made fresh by two ladies that came in to do nothing but cook for us. “Meals on Heels” is the name of the company, and her name is Kathy Patrick. Fresh, organic food that was delicious and good for you? Don’t tell me you can’t eat this way and be satisfied!! I know different now! She does parties, luncheons and will cook if given the right time frame and motivation. She might teach …. this is my only hope!

I wish everyone of you could go to a Retreat for the Cancer Navigators of Rome, GA. But if you hear of a fund raiser, or you could do anything to help raise money for the organization, please do so. We need every penny we can get. This is a 501c3 Non-Profit that Dr. Mumber set up himself, and with Heather’s help, puts on these wonderful retreats to give back. He is a radiation therapist (his humble self) with a wife and three kids that live in Rome, GA. She is a wife, mother of one son, lives in Austin, TX and does yoga and is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. Between the two, I felt I was in the presence of greatness all weekend and so blessed to be close to people who could show me how to get closer to God just by breathing!

And they did!

Dee Bradley

Dr. Sharon Farber

Last Friday Ray and I made the trek to Chattanooga for the referral Caye Burch, PA made to see Dr. Sharon Farber, a neurologist. Caye wanted to find out why I had passed out June 27th, since she did not believe the ER doctor when it reported to be TMJ.
Dr. Farber came into the room and I almost said, “OH MY GOD” out loud. She looked like a throw-back of an old hippie. Her hair was grey and wiry pulled back in pony-tail which hung down to her butt. She had on a pair of brown gaucho pants and brown boots with a grey coat sweater and a long tunic under the sweater hanging loose over the pants. Her glasses were plane and she did not have on a dab of make-up. I dare say her face had not seen any make-up in years, if then, especially any moisturizer.
I wanted to run, and on top of this, she didn’t even offer to shake our hands. She said, “Hello. Tell me about yourself.”
I didn’t know where to start.
“I understand you have had a few sicknesses? Is this right?” She said.
“Yes, I’ve had cancer and I’ve been sick a few times.” I said really sarcastically.
Then she got on a roll. She was spouting questions and poking me and asking more questions and hitting me with this little hammer, and asking more questions and hitting this tuning fork on my elbow and asking me if I felt anything when she stuck me with this safety-pin. I did when she got up to me knee and she wasn’t just being a pin prick, she was sticking the thing in my leg. It hurt!!
Ray would try to put a word in edgewise. Dr. Farber would talk over him and just go on.

It was about here I realized I was dealing with a pure genius. Dr. Farber may look like an old hippie, but she is a genius!!
I had to stand up. Hold my hands out in front of me. Close my eyes. Stand still. I couldn’t do it. I was rocking and rolling like a ship at sea. I didn’t realize how bad it was until then. I had to touch my finger to my nose. Both hands. One did better than the other. I had to follow her finger with my eyes. I had to follow the light. I told her it hurt for the light to be in my eyes. She said she knew it did. She could tell.
This is when she ordered the MRI. She asked if I had ever had a spinal tap. I told her no. She said she sure wished she had one a week ago, but it wouldn’t do any good to get one now.
Then she wanted me to walk for her. I walked from the chair to the wall, which for me was two steps, and turned around and came back.
She wanted me to put heel to toe and walk. I told her I couldn’t do it. She asked me, “Why can’t you?” I told her, “because I am an old fat woman and my blame legs won’t let me!”
She said, “Then get your fat ass up here on this table!”
I sat down on the table.
We looked at each other and grinned. I told her I had a wicked sense of humor and she said she had none. I don’t believe her.
She went over all my medicines with me. She questioned me repeatedly about the use of phenobarbital. I told her the reason I took it was for rest at night, instead of a sleeping aid. The rest of my medicines she understood the reason I was taking them.
She ordered two blood tests upstairs and I had to go downstairs and have two more. One of those was to see if I was abusing the phenobarbital.
I know Dr. Farber and Caye worry I have kidney failure and liver cancer.  However, if I do, there is nothing I can do about it.
I am not borrowing trouble. I am going to wait on the results.
Caye did the second test and it came back worse than the first one. My kidney is not filtering and my liver enzymes are showing a massive problem with my liver. I either have a problem with my bones, my intestines or I have liver cancer. I have a colonoscopy scheduled the end of July. A bone scan will probably follow soon.
This is why Caye sent me to the neurologist to find out what is wrong. She knew it was outside her ability. She wanted me to go to someone who could find out what was wrong and help me get well.
God is in control of all of this, but the worst thing the doctor did…she said I could not drive. I cannot even go swimming, take a tub bath, climb a ladder, or work heavy equipment (ha!). How am I going to make it not driving?
I have to get better quick. She has to find out I am not at risk of passing out any more. I cannot be without my car and a way to travel! Please!! How can I make it to Canton and back?

Lord, YOU have gotten me through so many dark valley’s and difficult times. I hate to come to you again because you have always been so good to me and I seem to always fail in so many ways. I don’t thank You enough for what you do for me. I don’t ask you first to help me with things, instead I ask you to bless my mess. I don’t read the Bible like I should, because I let all the other things of this world come between me and YOUR Holy Word. And for that I am TRULY sorry. Forgive me for all the ways I fail. I am a sinner. Help me to be a better person and to shine for YOU daily.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord my strength and my redeemer.
‘For I am the way the truth and the life and nobody comes to the Father except by Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is the Word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit came to guide us daily and the word of the Lord is in the Bible to be our road map in this world. Just read it and know how to live in this place until Jesus comes or we go home to be with Him in Glory!’ Amen

Whatever may come in this journey, Lord, I just hope and pray you will not let me stay here and be a burden on my family. If it is bad, just take me on to Glory to be with YOU Lord. I am ready to go! Don’t let me linger for I am not scared. I am ready to go!
Deliska Bradley
7/14/2014

October is Breast Cancer Survivor Month–this is my Cancer Navigator submission

Only Eighteen Months to Live

My name is Deliska Bradley, but I go by Dee for this reason. Nobody can remember or say Deliska. My mother waited nine years to have children and she wanted a different name for her first child. Well, she got it.

I won’t bore you with all the ‘facts’ of my misguided youth…because I was one of those prodigal children. I did know all about Jesus at the age of nine, and joined a little Baptist Church and became baptized into the faith. I tried to be a good girl until I was about sixteen.

I married at nineteen, had a son in 1972, divorced, moved to Texas, married, divorced…and the story goes…

I moved back to Georgia in 1983 and I went to a church after being invited by my mailman to come to a bible study on Galatians 2:20, The Crucified Life of Jesus. I figured I had tried everything; I might as well try Jesus, again! Isn’t this sad? I’d try church again?

After ten weeks of Bible Study, and so much soul-searching and prayers, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. I was a new creature. I wanted to jump pews and shout, “I got it! Praise God, I got it!” But as most of us know, I was too embarrassed to do this type of praise! How awful! I should have.

I had met a man who stole my heart. He was the finest man and I loved him with all I had. He was so kind and funny! And he was good-looking, tall, dark complexion, curly hair, brown-eyed and did I say he was tall and funny? He was just what I had always dreamed of.  His name was Ray Bradley and he was from Rockmart, GA. Where was Rockmart, GA?

We married November 5, 1988, and I wish I could say all things were just wonderful, but if I did, lightning would strike me dead. We had our issues. But God and love held us together. We never really talked about divorce, but we have both contemplated killing each other a time or two.

In 1992 I was having lots of problems with my digestive system, and I had worked for a doctor who had been supposedly keeping up with my problem. He kept telling me to take my medicine and eat right. I quit working for him in March and by August I Stage 4 colón cancer was a real diagnosis by a REAL doctor. I went through seven months of chemo-therapy. The oncologist wanted me to take six more months of chemo and I told him NO in short order. He told me he wanted me to have another CT scan, because the blood test never showed any cancer.

The CT scan showed I had another mass. Surgery was scheduled for April, 1993 because I had a metastatic colon cancer and my first breast cancer. The breast cancer was a little spot in my left breast which was ‘sore’ and Dr. Banny Harbin took it out, not thinking it was anything to worry about. I had something to worry about!!

I was told in April 1993, since the attacked by Stage 4 adenocarcinoma colon cancer with metastasized cancer and breast cancer I had the diagnosis of eighteen months to live. I needed to go make my final arrangements and get my affairs in order. I did. Little did they know. I knew the great physician!

I had a heart attack in 1997, I was attacked by kidney cancer in 1999 and had my left kidney removed. Ten years less one month I was diagnosed with another tumor in my right kidney. Not a doctor in Rome, GA would touch me. They said I had terminal kidney cancer. I said OH NO I DON’T! I went to Birmingham, AL and had cyoablation on my right kidney. They froze the tumor. I had complication, but I’m alive!!

I was cruising along, thinking I was cancer free! I was scheduled in January 2013 for a mammogram, which I have every year! I went to the clinic, and when they called, saying I needed to come back in for another look, I wasn’t worried. They had to do this before. I went back in, and when the radiologists came in, with ‘the look’, I knew I was in trouble. He said, “I hate to tell you, we did find something in your left breast, and if you think we need to do a needle biopsy, I can do this now, or we can wait six months and watch it.”

Well, with my luck, I don’t wait. I said ‘NOPE, we’ll so it NOW’. He did. And it was suspicious. They found two cancers in the left breast, both different. So the decision to take off both breasts was my doctors suggestion. I had reconstruction surgery. I would not tell you to do this, if you can have a lumpectomy, please do so. I did this the first time, and this was right for me then. This time it wasn’t an option.

I do not know how much more cancer I will have to endure. It is not up to me. I do not invite cancer…I do not HAVE it as a guest! It attacks me! I do know, if God brings me to it, HE will bring me through it. If I had not turned my life over to HIM in 1988, I would not be here today. “I am a spiritual soul in an imperfect earthly body!”

Breast cancer is spelled with a little ‘c’ and my Christ is spelled with a big “C”. One day we will find the cure for cancer, but today we have the cure for eternity and it is Christ.

Praise the Lord. No matter what happens to me…I am gonna be Okay!!

Dee Bradley  10/13/2013

Testimony of what has happened to me over the past few years

Hello! My name is Dee Bradley. I want to tell you a short story. If you knew me, you would laugh at that statement, because usually I can’t tell ‘short stories’.

I have been on a 21 year journey, with something I did not invite. In 1992, cancer attacked my body. People who say they ‘have’ cancer never invited it in. You ‘have’ friends over for a party, you don’t ‘have’ cancer. Attacked by colon cancer first, after the surgery I went through chemotherapy for 7 months. Chemo is worse than the illness.

My doctor said he wanted me to take six more months of chemo. I told the doctor that God, in an audible voice, would have to tell me I had to have more chemo, before it would happen. I never ‘heard’ the voice.

In April, 1993, after x-rays, CT scans and so many tests, the doctor said I had another cancer attack. The same surgeon went back in the same incision. I had stage IV adenocarcinoma of the colon with metastasized colon cancer and breast cancer. I told the surgeon that if there was a next time, just put in a zipper. It would make it easier on him and me.

The doctors told me I had 18 months to live. My oncologist, surgeons, GP, everyone said, “Go home and make your arrangements.” I did. I’ve had to change those plans twice. My pallbearers keep dying. How when I ask anyone if they would be my pallbearer they say NO, thank you!

In 1997, I had a heart attack. I got over it. In 1999 I was very sick and scared cancer was back again. The doctors asked me if I had my gall-bladder. I told him I wasn’t sure what they had taken out. They were beginning to call me “hull”.

October 1, 1999 they removed my gall-bladder because it was not working. October 21, 1999 the doctors removed my left kidney due to renal cell carcinoma. I had kidney cancer to attack this time. The cancer was the rapid growing kind. When they found it on October 1, it was the size of a dime. By October 21, it was the size of a hen egg sitting on the blood supply tube going down to my bladder from the kidney. No discussion about that kidney could be saved.

I lived with the fact, since 2003, I had a mass in my only existing kidney. I went through all types of tests. I did know I was not able to be put on a kidney transplant list due to the facts. I pasted sixty-two years of age; I have had three primary cancers and two heart attacks. Doctors told me too often the tumor was not operable. I found one doctor in Birmingham, AL that would do the surgery. He did what is called cryoablation one month before my tenth year anniversary of my right kidney removal.

In January 2013 I scheduled my routine mammogram. I went to Rome and had the torture. About a week later I had a call that I needed to come back for another view to be taken. Something in the first mammogram looked suspicious.

I did go back and was told that very day there was a mass close to the wall of my chest. With all the other ‘c’ I had, I needed to have a needle biopsy. I did. I am going to send you to my blog post of what that was like. It was a funny.

To make a long story short…I had to have a double mastectomy. I had two types of breast cancer, after twenty years. I decided to have reconstruction. The plastic surgeon doctor stepped in as soon as the physician was through taking off my breasts. He put in my expander. I am almost through with this part of the reconstruction. I hope he will be ready to put in my real breasts soon. I never wanted watermelons, but I don’t want to settle for small oranges. I certainly won’t be getting cantaloupes.

I am so glad I am alive. I had a terrible infection after the surgery, and on April 9th, I almost died. I had to have an emergency surgery to correct the infected breast.

I am fine now. Looking forward to getting my breasts. I don’t know if the ‘c’ will attack again. I pray not. The doctors say it could come back to the bone, liver or brain.

People ask me how I make it through.  I just tell them this: I believe in Jesus. I believe I have been left here on this planet to praise the Lord in all things.  I believe cancer should always be spelled with a little ‘c’ and my Christ spelled with a big “C”.

Also, if you stay around me for very long, you will find a good sense of humor has helped!  God does have a sense of humor…look at the one sitting by you. He does.

I know, no matter what happens to me, God does have a special place in heaven for me. This life on earth does not guarantee a life without any problems. As a matter of fact, it is only a vapor…

I have lived through broken hearts, sins, BAD decisions, and so many other terrible things…but when I asked God to come into my heart, my entire life changed. I am human. I love to have a good time. I still love to have my glass of wine and I don’t think God will condemn me for that one. If He does, it’s between me and HIM. I still have to watch my mouth. I can still say things which make me so mad with myself. But when I do I know to stop and ask for forgiveness immediately.

I hope you have a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ! It is the only thing, in the end, that will mean anything.

God Bless you!!

Dee Bradley

7/30/2013

 

I’m not sure they’re gonna be worth it

The doctor said he thought it would just take time for me to get through this pain in my chest. My breast reconstruction is nothing but a ‘pain’.

I did go to my plastic surgeon on Monday, and I had to go back again today by 9am to find out why I was having excruciating pain in my breasts!! I mean I was crying out loud, with tears running down my face, and declaring I didn’t care if I had boobs or not! This is now bad it was today!! When I got to the doctor’s office, I was not in the best of moods, and Dr. Robinson took a look at them both and said this is what it takes to get a set of new breasts. I had to suck it up and be strong….not in those words, but this is what it amounted to.

I was ready to tell him to take me across the road to the hospital, take the blame expander out, and we would forget my cantaloupe size boobs. I would handle putting in a size D false boob every day to get out of this much pain!! He wants me to realize what he had to do to reconstruct my breasts, and he explained what he did to keep the expander in place. That is what I feel sewn into my chest wall. I can feel it. When he starts pumping them up, I am going to be in this much pain, or more. I don’t know if I can stand it. I may go for kumquat instead of cantaloupes.

So Pain is going to be my best friend for the next six or seven months. I may not get my entire boobs finished until Christmas. This just gives me more time to lose this weight. I have to get outside and walk or I am not going to lose anything but more time.

Prayers and dreams are great, but I have to put action behind my losing weight.

Thanks for listening to my VENT for the night……..

Dee B…..

5/1/2013

Double Masectomy

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have had such a terrible time with my breast getting well. Sometimes I think the thing is going to fall off. I am going to go back today, April 24, 2013, to have fluid drawn off. February 7th was my surgery date and twice I have gone through surgery for corrections.

I do hope and pray today, when I go to the doctor, he doesn’t want me to go into the hospital. If he does, I will, and Denise will have to bring Ray home and get someone to come sit with him. She will have to come stay with me. I think they will just have me on an IV Drip with antibiotics to knock this out.

Please Lord, let this be all I need!

db

 

Going back into surgery

Got through the wind, rain, hail and whatever took out the tree tops in front of my house, trees behind the house, a BIG pine tree through the middle of the house up the street, and Fairview Rd was pretty torn up. Trees took out our power and cable lines and if we get power and cable by tomorrow night I’ll be pleased. As far as I know, we are all sound, unhurt and blessed.

Tiny P.S. I go back into a small out-patient surgery Thursday (not sure of the exact time yet) at Redmond…should only be there for a couple of hours. Minor corrective procedure where a place is not healing properly, and he is going to fix it, so we can get my new ‘cantaloupes’ in progress. 😉 A prayer from your lips to God’s ears would be greatly appreciated on my behalf.

NO CHEMO

I am on the verge of hysteria…I don’t have to even take tamoxifen…I am doing the happy dance….in slow motion!!

I went to my Oncologist, who I call Tommy, because I have known him for twenty-one flipping years. He had only been in practice a year in Rome when I presented myself to him. He says I am the reason he won’t tell anyone how long they have to live. I have beat this monster one more time.

I want to thank all my wonderful prayer warriors for their prayers, calls, cards, visits, food, and a mere Thank You is not enough.

“If one of you do this to the least of these, You do it unto Me”…..says the Lord.

Deliska Bradley 3/9/2013

 

February 28, 2013 Jaye’s Final Divorce Heard

It would take a whole night to tell you the entire story. Short story….We are going back March 5th at 1:30pm to find out the final decision the Judge gives on who gets the children.

Just pray children……pray!!

I will write more.

I will also write about my breast being removed, but not now. I had that done Feb 7th, but I made it to hear the last part of the case. I heard the Guardian ad litem and the closing, but that was all I got to hear. Scott Kimbrough did a good job.

Good night all….I am going to BED. I have slept in this chair so much I am going to get in a bed and stretch out!!

db

3/2/2013

I lived through it

I cannot believe it is only three days past the day I had surgery. I had my surgery on February 7th at 6am, and it is not February 10th at 11:14pm. Deliver me Lord Jesus from all this Pain!! I never thought I could live through this much pain and still be a little sane.

I am hurting to badly tonight I am not making any sense. God help me!!

I know He will….He has too.

dee