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Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's Only a Boob!

By now, you have probably learned of the incredibly courageous medical choice "superstar" Angelina Jolie made a few months back to undergo surgery for a double mastectomy. I have a friend who made a similar decision recently; my daughter Michele.

They, meaning the excellent team of medical professionals who are managing Michele's medical needs at this time, informed us that it is highly unusual for a person of Michele's age to be diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age. She's 39. There are exceptions of course. The risks increase when there is a history of breast and/or ovarian cancer in the family. Such is the case in our family. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid forties and both my aunts died of a form of hormonal cancer later in life.

Now I know for a fact that the mere mention of the dreaded C word rings loudly across the world however, this is important. By being reluctant to speak of the C word in our family, we were not aware of a simple non-invasive test that can be given to check for what "they" call genetic mutations which warns of a woman's or a man's increased genetic cancer risk. If you have a high risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer in your family, please talk to your health care professional about Genetic Testing.

Michele did not have to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. However, given the difficult choice of a lumpectomy or a mastectomy in the affected area, she bravely chose a mastectomy. Her exact words at that crucial moment to both me and the doctors were, "It's only a boob!" "It doesn't define who I am." That was about five weeks ago dear friends and I am here to tell you Michele and her family are doing emphatically well.

I've chosen to share this experience with you today for much the same reason Michele chose to share it with her followers on Facebook; now don't be offended by the following statement. It is meant in reality with a hint of jest, perhaps, it is best I have Michele tell you. This is what she posted on FB.

I woke this morning and went about my normal routine; got the kids off to school, checked Facebook on my phone, played a few games, then checked twitter. I don't "tweet" very much, but I do like to keep up with what's happening in the world of the people I "follow." This morning, of all mornings, I am extremely happy I did. I came across this amazing article that was posted. I am attaching it here and encouraging EVERY single one of my FB friends to read it and pass it on. But first, my story! On March 29th, I was diagnosed with Grade 1, Stage 2 ER+/PR+, Hers2-, Breast Cancer in my right breast. On April 11th, I had a right breast mastectomy to remove the cancer. At the same time a temporary implant was put in to do breast reconstruction. I have had the most amazing support, love, and help. I am so immensely grateful to my little circle of friends that knew. But now, I think everyone should know, not to feel bad for me, or to express sorrow (I am going to be just fine... I KNOW this!) but because I want EVERYONE to be informed. During this entire process my biggest concern has been awareness. Why didn't I know that there was a test to see if I carry the gene mutation which ups your risk for getting breast and ovarian cancer? Why aren't mammograms done sooner? Why didn't I know that if breast cancer runs in your family that you should be getting mammograms 10 years earlier than your family members' diagnosis? I wasn't informed, but I wasn't proactive either. So here it is, the article is written by Angelina Jolie and I think she is truly amazing. I am following her lead and being an example... LADIES, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLAY WITH YOUR BOOBIES!! (PS I found the lump myself.)

In order to insure all that nasty disease was removed during surgery, Michele will begin chemotherapy treatment on May 28th. Much like she has handled this entire situation, she is bravely preparing herself and her family for the next few months of treatment. She has an amazing support system around her. This year they have chosen to take the energy they would normally put into their Relay for Life activities into helping Michele and her family get past these next difficult months. As you can imagine, I too am praying for the path of least resistance. If Michele needs me to return to Idaho for any reason, I will be heading back to Idaho. The doctors assure us though that all will be just fine:)

On a lighter note, I must share with you Michele's plan for "adjusting" the kids to her possible of lack of hair after undergoing chemotherapy. As many of you know, kids just love to play "beauty parlor." I can't even tell you how many "creative" styles they have put my fairly short curly hair in to. Some have been downright hysterical!!! (no chance of me sharing those!) Well, Michele told the kids that they could play "beauty barlor" on her for real! This means both Tabitha and Noah with get a portion of her head of hair to cut, curl or color just as they please. Thankfully, one of her support "sisters" is a beautician who will be on hand to not only "tidy" up things but also record the entire beauty parlor process! Needless to say, as for this part of the treatment, the kids are excited! The are very disappointed in not being able to come back east this year, as we all are, but, we have reassured them that next year not only will they be able to visit but stay longer too!!! Tabi has a "date" with Tiffany's, and Noah intends on visiting Shea Stadium which I think recently has has had a name change but Noah won't mind:)

Which reminds me. While I was in Idaho, I was thrilled to attend the judged gymnastic tournament the kids were in. After two years of a bit of a hiatus, Noah decided to give it a try once more and let me tell you, he came back strong! I cringed though when he did his "tricks" on the rings!!! As for Tabi, she is quite the competitor. She was having a difficult time with her back hand springs right up until the moment of competition. However, not only did she nail them and overcome her other coursed obstacles she managed to take the Gold in her group! We were all very proud! Afterwards she confided to me that she thinks she competes better "when the pressure is on:)"

As for me, I'm hanging on tight and planning my next post. Yes dear visitors, before learning of Michele's health issues, I had intending on rejoining the world of blogging. Fact is, I miss you AND blogging tremendously!!! I need a bit of time to get things in order, Marion, the business and of course the garden which are all in need of much attention! It seems much of my world has been in suspension for the past few months but alas, Spring has sprung here in PA and although it has been much of a fog to me, it seems nature has a plan of its own. I returned from Idaho just in time for this:

Not One Bird's Nest but Three!!!

Here's Mamma with a mouthful of food for the nest in the gutter. As of today, the eggs in front of the shed have not hatched and the other nest is still empty. Why the second nest? I have no idea!!!

As for the garden, it seems the Sweet Woodruff adapted quite nicely under the pines. I know it may get a bit aggressive but the odor from those tiny white flowers are well worth it. And, after all, who knows, one day I may just decide to whip up a brew of some May Wine or Sweet Woodruff Wine for May Day!

With the exception of my Pineapple plant and the scented geraniums, the plants in the house didn't fare as well while I was away. However, I am slowly nurturing them back to their glorious days ever inspired by the floral bouquets of Rose Geraniums that greeted me on my return home:)

References
1. Genetic Testing: What You Need to Know

58 comments:

  1. I'm so glad Michele is coming along, Louise. I am sorry to say it is the third story of this kind I have heard in as many weeks about people I know, so it just reinforces the fact that vigilance and screening is so important. Sending good thoughts for Michele's full recovery. And ... welcome back! Your voice has been missed, and we look forward to "hearing" much more from you! I think those Robin's eggs are a sign of good things ahead!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words T.W. Michele is truly a trooper and since learning of her sickness, I too have learned how prevalent these stories are.

      I have really missed blogging, T.W. so the way I figure it, it is now a part of my world. I will need to make room for it just as I do for washing dishes, lol...which I happen to love too!!!

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  2. So glad to have you and your blog back, Louise. Bravo for Michele! I was diagnosed at 45 the first time I had cancer (I've had the trifecta) with NO family history. Anything to stay alive, I say! I'm just happy to be able to greet each day. Keep us posted on her recovery.

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    1. Thanks Pattie. It sure feels good to get into the blog swing of things.

      Thanks for the encouraging words for Michele. I will pass them on. And thank you so much for sharing your story. BTW, I'm loving what you're doing on your blog revisiting your mother's recipe box. I can only imagine what surprises are in store!

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  3. Hi Louise. I am thrilled to see you back and blogging and I am happy, you chose this topic. It is such an important one. I have experienced breast cancer and I am thankful that it was caught early. Women must be diligent about this.

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    1. Yes indeed, Chaya. Women, and men, must be vigilant about their screening. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

      I am so happy to be back too. It may take me a while to find the groove but I WILL!!!

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  4. Oh dear Louise Hope Michele will be ok soon!! and welcome back Im soooooooooo happy to see you again, I always missed dear Louise, always think in you:)
    Yours pictures are amazing love this bird!
    Send love and blessings to you and Michele and a lot of hugss!!

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    1. Thank you Gloria. I'm sure she will pull through this just fine. She is very strong and has an amazing support system. How is you Mom? I hope she is doing well.

      I often thought of you too when I wasn't blogging. Your encouragement is partly the reason for my return. Actually everyone's:)

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  5. I read all post which you posted already ...nice to see again...


    web designers bangalore

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    1. Thank you Priya. Nice to "see" you too:)

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  6. Hi Louise,
    Firstly, I'm so glad to see the new title of your post in my blogger list, meaning that you are back in bloggin. Upon reading, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's breast cancer. Michele is a very brave, and optimistic lady, and you must be very proud of her. My mother-in-law had breast cancer and had her left breast removed and she has recovered, that was 16 years ago. It was a difficult time for the family, but with love, constant support and understanding, it makes the going a little easier.
    I hope that the chemo for Michele will go well.
    Your geraniums are doing great, and you even have new visitors with their new families!
    I have just harvested my pineapple two days ago! Having it later today, after dinner!
    Looking forward to more of your posts and will keep Michele in my thoughts for a speedy recovery.

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    1. It's good to be back Joyce! Thank you for your well wishes for Michele. I will pass them along.

      I am THRILLED to hear of your Pineapple harvest!!! Mine is still growing, ever so slowly:) I may encourage it with an apple this Fall if it doesn't do something soon! I hope you will be sharing your harvest post with us. I bet it was yummy!!!

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  7. Dear Louise, Thank you for thinking of me.
    This has been a trying time for you and your family. You all seem in good spirits and with much hope and love. This is so important for the healing process both physically and emotionally. I am so grateful that you all have a good spirit. You and your daughter are strong women and will get through this with the spirit the Lord has given you both.
    I will keep you, your daughter and all of your family in my prayers.
    I am very grateful you decided to come back to blogging..I missed you, though I know your days have been very filled and it is not always easy. However, you have many friends in this world who are praying for you and your family.
    Blessings dearest and love and hugs, Catherine xoxo

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    1. Oh Catherine, thank you for including us in your prayers. There sure has been a lot of praying going on around here. Things are moving along in a positive direction and for I thank God everyday. Stay well, Catherine. I'm hoping things have calmed down in your neck of the woods too.

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  8. My thoughts and prayers are with Michele.

    I have to say I'm ecstatic you're back!!!

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    1. Thanks Angela! It's GREAT to be back. Thank you for your prayers too:)

      BTW, Your dinner for under 10 dollars looks mighty good!!!

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  9. Good for Michele. I did the same. I had breast cancer at the age of 36 and was again diagnosed a full twelve years later with the other breast. A mastectomy both times saved my life, I have no doubt of it. I have been around to watch my child grow up, see him get married and join the Army. I have been around to enjoy another 20 years (so far) with my wonderful husband.

    Good choice and i wish her the very best,
    Glad to see you back Louise :-)

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    1. Dear Tina,
      Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story. Michele's decision was based on much of what you say. Her children are young and there is so much she has yet to experience as a mother. Thank you.

      I too am glad to be back and I look forward to participating more in blogging events, lol...

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  10. I hope my comment made it to you for approval! I typed but then had to sign into blogspot.

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    1. It certainly did, and I thank you!

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  11. So sorry to hear about Michelle. Sending my best wishes for a speedy recovery. But I am glad to see you back Louise--it wouldn't be spring without your robin eggs!

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    1. Hi Inger,

      It's funny that you mention the Robin's eggs, which by the way the ones in the "condo" haven't hatched yet. I thought the same thing when I was posting their pictures. It seems as I look back I've shared a lot of their pictures through the years, lol...

      I will pass your well wishes to Michele, thank you:)

      BTW, I finally used those sun dried tomatoes!

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  12. Oh Louise, I was so sorry to read about Michelle. I think the way she is handling this is amazing. I love her Facebook posting and she is so right...I don't think enough of us do self examining. I am praying for her complete recovery and am so pleased she has such a big support group surrounding her.
    On a happier note, I am thrilled you are returning to blogging. We have missed you so very much. The robin's eggs are so sweet and so are your blooms. A sure sign spring is here. At last.

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    1. If just woman "play with her boobs" after reading this post or Michele's FB post, we all would be thrilled, Barbara. Thank you.

      I am delighted to return to blogging also. Everyone has made me feel so welcomed and I can't wait to get back into the groove!

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  13. Oh Louise, yeah, yeah, yeah! I'm so happy you are back! The blog world had a great big Louise-sized hole in it. And blessings to your dear sweet daughter as she faces her cancer challenges. May she heal well and quickly and may the chemotherapy successfully knock out any rotten little cells that are left. Welcome back, Louise.

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    1. You're so funny, Lynn! It's notes like yours that make we feel like I never left!!!

      Michele is doing GREAT and yes, she is hell bent on keeping those scoundrels at bay.

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  14. Welcome back to blogging, Louise, and thank you for sharing Michele's inspiring words and attitude! With positivity and energy like that, she'll surely come through just fine.

    (And kudos to the gymnasts!)

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    1. Thank you Erica. It's wonderful to be back. I've tried to keep up with some of those "retro" meals you've been serving. Some of them have been simply out of this world!


      The kids did do GREAT! BTW, hold on to that ZEEEEEEEE...

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  15. Oh Louise, I'm ever so sorry to hear that. Your daughter is a very courageous and admirable person. Wishing her a smooth recovery. All the best!

    Cheers,

    Rosa xxx

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    1. Thanks Rosa. We all wishing for a smooth recovery. So far so good!!!

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  16. Hello Louise, I'm so sorry to hear about what has happened to Michele, but am glad she has so much love and support to see her through. I hope you are doing well and I look forward to reading your blog once again.

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    1. Hi Mich!!! Thanks and I'm looking forward to visiting you and everyone else more often too!!!

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  17. I'm so glad you're back! I'm so sorry for your friend Michele, but she's so courageous! I love her attitude!!

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    1. She does have a GREAT attitude, Duckie. Although, I must say, she can sometimes be quite stubborn, too, lol...

      Thanks for visiting, I want you to know, my granddaughter has become one of your favorite book fans. She loves that she found them on Kindle too!!!

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  18. Welcome back! I happen to know where Michele gets her incredible attitude, and I applaude her advocacy and spirit. Three cheers for those beautiful kids too!

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    1. Yes, you do, Channon but we'll keep that our secret:)

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  19. I'm sorry that Michele suffered such a diagnosis, but hooray for her attitude! At least she had you to come to Idaho and stay with the kids. Speaking of whom, how wonderful that you were there for their gymnastics competitions, and that they did so well; I'm sure Michele was proud of them, too.

    I'm especially glad that you're returning to the world of blogging; I have missed your cheerful posts and pictures!

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    1. She is really doing well, Marjie. Her spirit is amazing! And, it sure was nice to be in Idaho to "fuss" over the grandkids too. They are remarkably resilient!

      I don't know about those pictures but I can guarantee some cheerful posts. It's GREAT to be back!!!

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  20. It is great getting caught up with you Louise! Your daughter is a brave soul! Wishing her the best. Your grand kids are adorable - I bet you'll miss them this summer.

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    1. Thank you Reeni. I'm actually missing those kids already but I just got off the phone with Michele after her first treatment and she is doing fine. The kids were watching Iron Man. Something, grammy won't do, lol...Thanks for dropping by:)

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  21. My best to Michele! She seems like a strong, terrific person. Thanks so much for sharing this. And I'm delighted you'll be back blogging - I've really missed you. Terrific post - thank you.

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    1. Thank you John. Your thought are much appreciated. It's GREAT to be back!

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  22. Lovely to hear from you - sorry to hear about Michelle's cancer but great to hear her positive attitude - wishing her the best of health and your family great strength and support during her treatment - the beauty parlour games sounds fantastic (a friend of mine had chemo for breast cancer last year and had a ceremonial burning of her wig when the hair grew back)

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    1. The burning of the wig sounds just right, Johanna. Michele doesn't plan on wearing one but if she changes her mind, I will remember that piece of info. Thanks for sharing...

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  23. today is 28th , i hope all goes well for michelle and my warmest thoughts to you and your family. Is that a new picture of the birds nest? sorry to hear about your garden too, well with you around now, it should get back in good shape.

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    1. Hi Lena, thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts. Michele's first treatment went as well as can be expected. She has such positive attitude and GREAT people around her.

      YES! New families have cropped up in the yard this year. Three bird's nest. One family has flown away and there are three brand new babies in the "condo" nest. (the two nest that are together:) The garden is picking up too. I've been working my butt off catching up, lol...

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  24. Welcome back Louise! We've missed your bright spirit here in the blogosphere! I am glad to hear that Michele is doing well and that her family is there to love and support her post surgery and during the transition. Please thank her for willingly sharing her story so more women get tested. Chalk me up as one! I have a lot of cancer that runs in my family and will be having my own gene testing done soon. Hugs to you all, jane

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    1. Oh Jane, you don't know how happy I am to know that you will be getting the test done ASAP. It is so important.

      Michele is doing well. Her first treatment went as well as can be expected and he positive, cheery attitude is shining through. Thank YOU so much for those eating tips for Noah. They were priceless!!!

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  25. Louise I hope your daughter will get better soon after the chemo. It's for sure a difficult decision but it sounds like she is well prepared. I want to say too that I am sorry to hear that not everything is alright in your corner. Take care and again I am glad you are back!

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    1. The doctors assure us that everything will be just fine, Helene. The important thing is to be vigilant! Thank you for dropping by and YES! It's GREAT to be back!

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  26. Thanks for sharing your daughter's story and I hope the chemo goes the path of least resistance - and that she recovers quickly. She sounds both brave and determined and is quite an inspiration to everyone who is struggling... And welcome back to blogging - I hope it goes well and you continue to enjoy :)

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    1. Thank YOU Mark. I felt the need to share so others will be more vigilant about their own check ups. Michele is in GREAT spirits and she has tons of wonderful people around her. Jason, her husband has be simply fabulous!

      I have always enjoyed blogging. I just felt I couldn't "spare" the time. Fact is, it is now part of my daily routine! Thank you so much for popping in!

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  27. Dear Louise,
    Can't tell you how glad I am that you stopped by my blog to say hello and tell me that you're back to blogging yourself! That's wonderful!! I missed you. As for this post, you are clearly a deeply devoted mom, and I'm sure your lovely daughter gets some of her enormous courage from you. I'll send up a prayer for her long-term health, and I applaud her approach to the hair dilemma!
    Again, so happy you're back!
    Warmly,
    Jane :)

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    1. Oh thank you Jane. All prayers are welcome:) As for blogging, I'm almost to the point that I feel like I never left. I have a sneaky feeling it has to do with all the wonderful visitors I have. What a GREAT group of bloggers we "hang" with! Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to your next new mixer creation!

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  28. Louise, I don’t know how I missed this very important post, but I did! So sorry about your daughter having to deal with this, but so happy she is doing so well. She is so right…it’s only a boob! God be with you, your daughter and all of your family. I will be holding you in my heart.

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  29. Thank you for all of your kind words Kathy. I spoke with her today, actually quite a few times today, and she sounds positive and energetic!

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  30. Louise, Thank you for sharing this incredible story of courage and hope. My best wishes for your daughter and her family as they go through the chemo and recovery. PS My son had an incurable fusiform aneurysm -- the whole right branch of his artery at the back of his head was the fusiform. He was 41 at the time. God miraculously healed him and he resumed his career as an attorney. I totally know the feelings that mothers go through when their children are stricken and that's when we need to be on our knees.

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    1. Thank YOU Judy for your kind words. Thank God your son was alright. Michele has a wonderful circle of friends who are helping her and praying for her as well. I spoke with her today and she still has that cheery positive attitude! Thank you so much for visiting. Drop by anytime:)

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise