June 14, 2011
Cancer is like the devil.  
It is sneaky, like the devil. 
It is often silent, like the devil.
It attacks a little bit at a time, like the devil.  
It causes pain, like the devil. 
It causes heartache, like the devil.   
It affects us all. 

For the most part I do not feel like humans want to do wrong--most of us will not commit a major crime.  But we all are influenced by the devil in little ways.  Lie a little, cheat a little, gossip a little-- then when the littles start to become  our normal way of life bigger sins and devilish ways start to be produced in the human character.   Most of us can withstand the bigger temptations. Fight off the bigger sins--but not all of us can.  Just like the devil  sneaks in and destroys a healthy soul, cancer sneaks in and destroys a healthy body. A little at a time. Sneaky almost, affecting the body for days, weeks, months, without even a notice.  
Then it hits, and it is hard to shake. 

Some people win the battle in this life.  Fighting against the devil cancer with medicine. 
Chemo, that nearly kills them on the way. Radiation, that diminishes strength and vitality.   

And some people win the battle against the devil cancer the Lords way, by leaving it behind. 
In exchange for a perfect body and a perfect soul on the other side. 
All of these people teach us as they fight the battle.  

Teach us to be stronger, to be more humble, to be more faithful, to be more prayerful, 
to be more grateful.  
Things that we all need to learn to fight the devil. 

Today I was able to attend the funeral of one of these valiant souls.  My daughters 8 year old little friend whose body was not able to fight anymore, but ready to join the legions of angels fighting for good on the other side.  I believe he is there--watching over his family and friends--for a reason, and with a purpose.  Maybe he has even met my Mom, and they have talked about Carter and her great smile.  They were both great teachers and examples of strength and love and perseverance in the times of their trials.   
Fighting that devil cancer to the bitter, sad, peaceful end.  

May 10, 2011
I now know that my chances of  getting breast cancer are about 10%, and my chances for ovarian cancer are 1.4%, the same as the general population of women.
My test came back negative. 
Had the test been positive my percentages would be 50-80% for breast cancer and 20% for ovarian cancer. So my risk has been greatly reduced.  Does this mean I will not get cancer?--No, we can all get cancer. It just means for the time being,  I do not need to take any drastic measures to look for early cancer in myself.  And more importantly to me,  it means that my kids  will not test positive for the BRCA 2 gene mutation. THAT is good news. I wondered what my reaction would be if my test was positive.  Wondering what I would say, and how I would feel, and what I would do.  But now I don't have to.  I do worry though, still--I worry for my sisters, and brothers, and I want them to all be safer too, I say safer because none of us are truly "SAFE" from the disease.   I do not want them to feel scared or alone or left wondering what they should do.  I hope they talk to me and know that I would do anything for any of them.   

April 28, 2011
I have been thinking about this all week.  Eric, the  previously mentioned 17 year-old basketball super star chose to have his leg amputated at the knee.  He underwent surgery to remove his leg yesterday.  He still has to undergo at least 12 treatments of chemotherapy and hopefully, this will prevent the spread of that devilish disease, cancer.   It makes you wonder why does he still have to go on with the chemo when the tumor has literally been cut off his body, but cancer is in the cells and there could be some floating mysteriously around his body that need to be killed.  His chances are much greater because of his choice to have the surgery and although he is a young athlete his quality of life will most likely be greater than if he would have chosen otherwise.  If you are interested in more of his story here is the link. 

He has inspired me to give all the kids that I work with a quick lesson on gratitude.  Gratitude for their lives, their homes, their families, their healthy bodies, and anything and everything else that we all take for granted everyday.  I hope that it sinks in.  Sometimes, I hope it sinks in for myself, all the blessings that I have that I enjoy everyday without even thinking about, like having two legs to walk on. Check out this link to see a grateful man with a full life who only has one leg to walk on.  Amazing!!


April 19, 2011
So I got my call today.  I will have the results on May 6th at 1:30pm.  Since my Mom tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene mutation that is the test that my sisters and I have all been given.  It is only recommended that someone get the test if they have a family history of the disease or if a family member has already tested positive for it.  What does it mean to me, that my Mom tested positive?  It means that I have  a 50% chance of testing positive as well. It means that if I test positive all my children should be tested.  It means earlier mammograms, or removal of my ovaries, or C125 blood tests to be proactive in my fight against the chance that cancer is in my body. But if I test negative it means that my children are safe--I mean as safe as any one in the general population can be in this world where cancer seems to be everywhere and affect everyone. 

Certain variations of the BRCA2 gene cause an increased risk for breast cancer. Researchers have identified hundreds of mutations in the BRCA2 gene, many of which cause an increased risk of cancer. BRCA2 mutations are usually insertions or deletions of a small number of DNA base pairs (the building material of chromosomes) in the gene. As a result of these mutations, the protein product of the BRCA2 gene is abnormal and does not function properly. Researchers believe that the defective BRCA2 protein is unable to help fix mutations that occur in other genes. As a result, mutations build up and can cause cells to divide in an uncontrolled way and form a tumor.

In addition to breast cancer in men and women, mutations in BRCA2 also lead to an increased risk of ovarianFallopian tubeprostate, andpancreatic cancers, as well as malignant melanoma. In some studies, mutations in the central part of the gene have been associated with a higher risk of ovarian cancer and a lower risk of prostate cancer than mutations in other parts of the gene. Several other types of cancer have also been seen in certain families with BRCA2 mutations.

March 29, 2011
Cancer--What is it exactly?  I have been thinking a lot lately about this nasty disease, this disease that affects millions of people, this disease that took my mother's life, this disease that may be in my genes.  What is it?

Cancer is the general name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because abnormal cells grow out of control. Untreated cancers can cause serious illness and even death.

Cancer starts when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. There are many kinds of cancer, but they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells.
Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade (grow into) other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do. Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell.
This is what,  or more like who, I know about cancer right now---
Dax---My  daughters 2nd grade friend and classmate was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (gioblastoma multiforme).  
Ava---My 3 year old neighbor has just undergone surgery to remove a malignant tumor and a portion of her kidney.  She was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms Tumor on January 11, 2011.  (Cancer on both kidneys.) 
Eric---A 17 year old varsity high school basketball player,  he has been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.  It  is a cancerous bone tumor that usually develops during the period of rapid growth that occurs in adolescence, as a teenager matures into an adult.
My brother-in-laws father---  was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
My Mom passed away in June 2010 from Ovarian cancer. 
It is sneaky, it is undetectable, it is mysterious, so is it sneaking around in my body, or yours for that matter.  Is there really anyway to know if we have cancer in our bodies right now as we sit and feel healthy and fine.    Do our genes carry some deformity that make us more susceptible to the sneaky  little devil called cancer.   I will soon know--as I have just sent my test to the lab at the Huntsman Cancer Center to find out if my DNA is in someway damaged.  DNA, really, that little piece of deoxyribonucleic acid, that amazing double helix  circling around in my body, swished around in my mouth, and spit out into the collection bottle.   All that DNA-- It is about to reveal the news to the lab, and then the lab to me.   Do I really want to know?  I think so.  I mean isn't it better to know?  Jaram


  1. It seems to me, You are a very strong individual. I admire you. Whatever the result, you will be able to handle it... this life can be so difficult at times.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. You're right. It is pretty sneaky. I had no idea that I had cancer. Most people with my type of cancer don't until it's too late. Sometimes I wonder why I was saved when so many people aren't. But I do know that cancer doesn't always have to have a sad ending. I survived. And I am grateful for each and every day that I have.

  3. I have thought the same exact things. I know someone that had no idea he had cancer and went in for cronic back aches and found out he had three weeks to live. It scares me to death to think about. It is an awful disease. I didn't realize you could get a test. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I think we can make a list of those we know and love who have had cance. It wil be good to know, knowledge is power right?

  5. Michelle, you are amazing. This is such great info to know. I will be waiting to hear how the test turns out. Thinking and praying for the best!

  6. This is good to know. Glad that it was negative for you. I had all the same questions. Just found out that my mom might possibly have lung cancer. The tests aren't back yet. Not sure if I need to be concerned yet. It's hard to be in limbo.