Thursday, April 26, 2012

This last week I have thought a great deal about Birthdays.  The yearly reminder that we are mortal and undeniably getting older.  In our youth it is a race and each one marks an accomplishment.  Early adulthood brings the dreaded twenty this and that; eventually leading to the thirties.  Once we enter into our thirties many of us seem to become complacent and routine driven.

This week specifically I watched many well wishers acknowledge my cousin James's 40th birthday!  Congrats James!  Many of us dread that birthday, why?

Last July I turned 30.  My friends and I celebrated with a very nice dinner and conversation afterwards.  I was about 8 months pregnant at the time so the evening was fairly uneventful.  Regardless though, 30 was nice.  I believe my outlook on birthdays has changed over the past 4 years.  Each year is becoming more of an accomplishment than the last.

At 31, I hope to say I have avoided cancer thus far in my life because of my decision to be pro-active.  My sister Katie was diagnosed before she turned 31.  On my 36th birthday I hope to say that I have avoided cancer again, my Mom was diagnosed at 35.  I will feel true accomplishment when I am 43.  We lost my Mom to cancer at 42.  I truly feel that each year is a gift that God is trusting me with.

We all have so much life to live, give and enjoy!  What can we accomplish this year, next year and all those after!!!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

New article

Thought some of you would like to read this article. It is about a new gene that has been found to be associated with higher risk of breast cancer.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Doctors appointments

The past two months I have been trying to play catch up. When I found out last February that we would be adding Charlie to the family I also realized I would be forgoing my recommended screening for 2011. Breast MRI's are not really possible while pregnant. My one year check up with my surgical oncologist was scheduled for last June. After speaking with the nurses it was decided to postpone my appointments until after Sir Charles was born. In October I started trying to coordinate appointments, babysitters, and everything else needed so I could make two trips to Lubbock within a two week time period to have an MRI done and then visit my doctor after the results were back. Let's just say this did not work out well. After rescheduling 3 times it was brought up that I might need to move all of my care to Amarillo. I visited with my gynecologist and we scheduled an MRI, CA-125, trans-vag ultrasound, appointment with an oncologist in Amarillo, and that was that. So much simpler than trying to orchestrate care for all 3 of the kids while trying to go to Lubbock twice.

Results- my CA-125 and ultrasound came back great! I went in for my visit with the oncologist on Tuesday, loved her! We discussed the future plans for my hysterectomy, and she said she was proud of me for the decisions I had made thus far. It always feels nice for a doctor to give you praise, and it also helps to ease the concerns of "have I made the right decision?". She continued to recommend that I have my hysterectomy this summer. With three amazing kiddos and a wonderful husband there is no reason to test my luck, especially since we are not planning on adding anymore Little Timmons to this world!!! So this summer I will join the ranks of the hormone deprived! ;).

I had my MRI yesterday. In Lubbock they had the open MRI machine, at the breast center here in Amarillo they have the machine that you are pushed into the tunnel. For some people this would be an issue, but I was face down with my eyes closed the entire time so I didn't even notice until the test was over and I lifted my head. My only regret was that I did not take advantage of changing the music before we got started. I fully recommend requesting music or a station that you enjoy. You will be listening to your selection for at least a half hour so get something you enjoy. The music is more for filling the time during the pauses when the machine is not scanning. During she scan what you hear is like a constant knocking/vibrating noise. It is not really all that abnormal (think of a jackhammer) it is just loud. During the times when the machine is scanning I tend to sing to myself in my mind, or at the beginning of the scan I pray. At the very beginning my heart typically starts to race a bit. I don't really think I am nervous, it is more of an over stimulation in my brain because of all of the noise and the thoughts of lay perfectly still so I don't have to do this again. After the first few series of scans I have calmed down and it is kind of nice to not have my everyday craziness. I honestly think I could have fallen asleep yesterday, but the technician will talk to you every once in a while so that didn't happen. Overall, I would say it was not too big of a deal. I am expecting to get my results next week!

Hope all of you are having a great 2012 thus far! If you ever have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My information junkie is coming out again today. I love finding useful websites and visiting them often to see what all is going on in the BRCA world. FORCE is one of these websites, and today I would like to recommend their webinars.

Over the past couple of years I have listened or watched a few of the live productions or looked back through the archived collection. There is so much to be learned in my mind and who better to learn it from than the doctors themselves.

For upcoming webinars you need to pre-register before the event. They will e-mail you the information and the time to log on to watch it. Archived events can be watched at anytime.

They have several great topics to look at, and I would recommend them to anyone looking for more information!!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


In a round about way I was asked my testimony today. It was not asked in a manner that I had to produce it verbally on the spot. The question came on paper with a limited amount of space for a response. Not feeling like I truly gave it justice in my tiny print I decided to let my fingers flow.

I was baptized on my 9th birthday at First Baptist Church in Denver City, TX. The same church where my parents were married, my grandparents on both sides taught Sunday school, and both grandfathers were deacons. I continued my spiritual growth there throughout middle and high school then went off to college. I met my future husband and we enjoyed many years together before starting a family. During that time I also lost my mother to breast cancer. I was 19 at the time, and can honestly say that I did not handle my mothers passing like an adult. I caused my share of problems for my family, and over time had to face and deal with them. Spiritually these were not my best times. I had grown up in the church so I knew what a was expected socially from a Christian. I became a punch your card on Sundays kind of follower. Daily devotions, Bible reading, and praying were far from my thought process on any given day. I was a jealous Christian as well, and of the worst possible kind. My jealousy came as an internal wanting of my husbands devotion and relationship with God. I felt like he had something I didn't.

After years of wanting something more as a Christian but not being willing to put forth my own time and effort I was given an open door. I was invited to a women's Bible study called SOS in Denver City. The first time I went JB went with me because I was still nursing him. I fell in love, and thus began my renewing of my Christianity. I did not know what to do first. They talked about prayer journals, reading your Bible, becoming a strong Christian woman. All I could think of though was how I really disliked reading my Bible because it just did not make sense. I knew all the stories but everything else was so boring and most of the time I would fall asleep or I could not remember what I had just read. If I was really going to do something it needed to be different than what I was continuously failing at. The first thing I did was ask Daun for a book to read. Daun handed me "A Gentle and Quiet Spirit." I tried to look on Amazon to give you a link, but its been so long I'm not sure which one I read. The book is based on 1 Peter 3.

1Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

As a very outspoken matter of fact personality this book was not what I was wanting to read as my first try at getting this God stuff right. By the end of the book I started to realize that God did not want me to fail, he wanted me to succeed. In order for me to succeed though I had to change. The ME that was dominant in my life had to start playing second fiddle to something bigger and better. If I listened and applied what I was learning ME could become what God has always desired of Betsey.

Over the next several years I started to change. I went from being on the defensive to enjoying life. I still struggle at times with getting everything right, and I know I always will. The changes God started then have truly changed me as a person. The Betsey of my teenage and college years would never have been comfortable typing her testimony much less telling it. The change for me has been impressive looking back on it now, but what I am looking forward to is what God is allowing me to do now.

Since I was tested for my BRCA mutation in December of 2009 God has placed in front of me opportunities that I otherwise would not have had. He has used my genetic mutation to build me up and allow me to tell others what He has done for me. After my first year of blogging I did not know what path I would end up taking. I was working on getting into nursing school for a while, but God had another idea. God's idea now goes by the name of Charlie, and he is truly a blessing. I took most of the time I was pregnant with Charlie off from BRCA investigations and blogging. Once again as the new year approached I was unsure as to what would happen with my blog and with my passion for BRCA mutations and learning more.

Looking back on the past two years now, I realize that God was opening and closing doors every step of the way. He wants me to blog and talk to people and continue to share my faith with others. I am human though, and if he feels the need to take control he does. God needed me to step back and reevaluate a few things last year. His plans were not for me to go to nursing school, and He slammed the door shut with a little surprise named Charlie. My focus must first be on God and it wasn't. It was on ME, that terrible thing that always gets in the way. I love to sit down at the computer and pound out an informative rambling for everyone to enjoy, but even when blogging I must remember that God comes first.

God has taken me from a meek and timid seedling to a confident follower who gives you a piece of what He has given me! I am not as well versed as I'd like to be, or deeply intimidating with memorized scripture, but God gives me everything I need to show others what He has done for me. I have a Heavenly Father who can use little ole me who still flips to the front of the Bible to find a chapter if needed to show you His love!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Who did your mutation come from?

I would like to welcome all of you back! I've decided to make a pledge to myself to get back in the swing of things and set some goals for my blog! My first easily achievable goal is one post a month with new information that I have not previously covered.

Today's blog comes from this article. If only takes a minute to read if you would like to click over. The main point of the article is a new finding related to the BRCA mutations. I'm sure we all realize that these mutations and their study is still in its infancy. Over the years to come we will all be flooded with information. This specific article caught my attention because of my family history. For those of you have read my entire story you know that me and my sister both have the BRCA 2 mutation, but we don't have a complete history of who carried it before us. Our mother lost her battle with cancer before testing was widespread, and my maternal grandparents had both passed before we made the decision to have the testing done for ourselves. This is all significant in my mind. I'm an information junkie, and I can only imagine what the future holds for my family.

Back to the article. The title caught my attention, but the first sentence carried my through the end and left me wanting to find the actual study results. Why do you ask? Anytime I come across information based on age or the early onset of cancer I feel like it applies to my family and want to analyze every word with intense scrutiny.

In this specific study 130 women with breast or ovarian cancer and one of the mutations were considered. These women were all chosen because they knew which of their parents had passed their gene mutation to them. In the cases where the father had passed the gene down there was a higher likelihood that early onset cancer was present. This was in direct relationship to those whose genes were passed by the mother. This is important for those of us carrying a gene mutation.

When we become aware of our gene mutations we are thrust into a demanding and time sensitive battle of what to do and when. Each of us face the decision making process and attempt to make the best choices based on what we have available to us. In this study we are given fairly specific information. If your mutation was passed from your mother you may have a little more time to make these sensitive decisions, whereas if yours originated from the paternal side you might need to stay a little more aware of the recommendations and what early onset could mean for you.

How far down the line do these implications carry? Let's say that my grandfather was the one who passed the mutation to my mother, are their early onset tendencies that continue to carry on to my sister and I?

Another portion of the article highlighted on the point that mutations have become consistently documented in women of Irish and Jamaican descent. These findings are not all that surprising to me. I believe as testing becomes more common place we will find a widespread population of many lineages exhibiting breast and ovarian cancer related mutations.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Year in Review 2011

Looking back at some of my posts from last year I came across my Year in Review post, so trying to keep with the tradition hear goes...

January - Cody & I successfully rented out our first purchased rental property. We made plans for several family vacations, and a vacation for the two of us!

February - The second week in February we found out we were going to be adding an addition to our family. Much to my surprise it was not going to be a Puppy. We were having another baby!

March - Let's go fly a kite! The first of our family vacations was replaced with Cody working & morning sickness for me. So before Cody left on his trip I took JB & Taylor to buy kites!

April & May - Brought about the most awful and relentless wind. We typically experience wind during the spring in the Panhandle, but oh my last year was so much worse than usual. By the time May was over we had a terrible case of cabin fever.

June - We found out we would be welcoming Charlie Dale to the family around the beginning of October. Cody and I traveled to Florida for several days to attend our dear friends Chris & Tiffani's wedding! I also passed out at Church towards the end of the month, and was tagged as the invalid pregnant one who must be constantly watched by my Dad and husband.

July - Did I mention we had the hottest summer I can remember, and as a pregnant woman this is not fun. Instead of going on another tropical vacation like this time the year before I went to Denver City to see my family for nearly two weeks. Back to the invalid pregnant tag, Cody was working and out of town a great deal so I was sent to the babysitters house with the kids. We had alot of fun and were able to swim at my little sisters house!

August - JB started kindergarten! Yeah what a milestone, but before the first week was over we ended up in the Pediatric ICU due to a Rattlesnake bite. Here is the link to that story.

September - Three weeks after JB's hospital stay we were back welcoming Charlie Dale!

October - All I can say is Oh My! Three children is much different than two. We adjusted to the life of diapers, formula, and no sleep once again. We survived!

November - Our Princess turned 4!

December - I received my first phone call about JB visiting the principals office (I'm sure it won't be the last). I started and completed my Christmas shopping on December 22nd. I must admit that we still have not had our Christmas with Cody's family, and I still have not finished making all of their gifts. I will do better in 2012!

The best part of 2011 is this!

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Hello 2012!

Well, I have to say that I am glad to leave 2011 behind and welcome in the new year! 2011 was filled with many unexpected events for our family, but in the end another year filled with blessings! Here is the link to my family blog, I am still trying to catch up there. Sure you will understand why I am behind.

This year I have many goals for myself, and one is to keep up with this blog a little more! Right now I am setting my goal of at least one blog per month with news from the BRCA world. I feel like this is a realistic goal, and one I can be proud of for the time being.

Here's to an uneventful 2012, and many blessings to you and yours!

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