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September 18, 2020

I need to share my great news! 
My tumor markers in June 
were 286.8; and today 
they are at 84.4. 
I had 3 lesions on my liver; 
2 have shrunk 50% 
and the other is GONE!! 

Thank you from my joyful heart 
for ALL of your prayerful support.


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Happy Easter

Here is Today’s Jesus Calling devotion. It is continually affirming my journey. May you all be blessed today and always, in remembrance of the great sacrifice Christ bore for us and the promise of everlasting life. 

”she’s gonna be okay”

This Lent has been an amazing experience. I can honestly say that my faith in God has grown so much!!

The attached photo is of the 3 markers I wore for the 4 weeks of Radiation. The top one was on my chest. When I wore certain things you could see it. I went to school one day and one of the kids asked about my”sticker”, and I immediately stated (automatic response) that it was “my cross”, that because I had it it meant that I love Jesus. A teaching moment. The questions stopped, and a seed was planted in my heart.

     3 stickers, 3 crosses, 3 “trust” markers for radiation to attack an unwanted and evil disease. During Lent... 

     The stickers are gone and with the end of that part of the journey comes hope. The hope for tumor shrinkage; for pain free and deep breaths and hope for my voice to return. My breathing is near perfect and little by little my voice is returning. 

     I am two weeks into the oral chemo Ibrance and the shot companion Faslodex. Praise God for no side effects. My neuropathy seems heightened and the shots aren’t fun but in the grand scheme of things, I am doing great! 
     Romans 8:6 says: The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. In my Lenten Journal of last year I wrote; “ Be constant in prayer- at all times but especially when you are struggling.  During trials, you need close communication with God more than ever. Your ability to concentrate may be hampered by stress and fatigue. Ask the Holy Spirit to control your mind: to think through you and pray through you. Just let the prayers flow out of your current situation. As you stay in communication with God, He helps you to be steadfast and  patient in suffering.”

     I have had a miracle filled Holy Week. God spoke to my dear sister in Christ friend during a Mass we attended at Marytown. During the Our Father, as she said, “thy will be done“ she heard, ”she’s gonna be okay” .... Amazing!!! I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing... with an affirmation like that? Who wouldn’t!!

     God bless you all for your selfless prayers and encouraging words. Wishing you and your families an amazing Easter. 


Radiation ✅

Wow, that was fast! Thank you all for your prayers which kept my focus on God’s plan for me. Joshua 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I held on to these words each time I laid on the radiation table.  I know He’s not finished with me yet.                                                                

     Today was my last radiation treatment and I admitted to my therapists that I felt like I was somewhat losing my daily “safety net”.  I remember feeling the same way before, the difference being that radiation was the end in my treatment protocol last time. I know that in two weeks I will start a new oral medication  and get a shot that will supposedly not take away my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. (Very good news) My “new normal” will be living with metastatic breast cancer.
     Today’s Jesus Calling starts out by saying   LET ME HELP YOU through this day. 😊 The challenges you face are far too great for you to handle alone. (Amen) You are keenly aware of your helplessness in the scheme of events you face.This awareness opens up a choice:  to doggedly go it alone or to walk with ME in humble steps of dependence. Actually, this choice is continually before you, but difficulties highlight the decision-making process. So, consider it all joy whenever you are enveloped in various trials. These are gifts from ME, reminding you to rely on ME alone.
     James 1: 2-3 says 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

     I will continue to trust God and be aware of his amazing grace towards me.  I realize that every trial that I have faced, God has tested me spiritually (to prove me genuine), and as long as i continue to endure patiently and never give up HE will remain steadfast in my life. “ We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.” Rom 5:3

     When a doctor tells you something is wrong with you, your life immediately changes. Fear of what lies ahead can crush your spirit and you stumble along, desperate for God to strengthen you. During this time of uncertainty God has given me an opportunity to share my faith and give glory to Him. He has sent many angels and signs to me and through the prayerful support of family and friends my spirit has soared and I sensed in deep silence and through many tears that God is ALWAYS near.


March is here, I have 75% behind me!

I want to thank you all for praying so hard for me. I know in my heart that is why I am doing so well. Saturday morning I realized that the pain I was suffering with while breathing was finally gone. I have prayed every day during radiation that I would lose the pain and gain back my singing voice. I am so grateful for little victories. 
     Yesterday was Treatment #15 and I can honestly say that I can feel a difference. I have tone in my voice, finally; (it doesn’t last long yet, especially if I am talking a lot,) My esophagus feels like there is a large lump of pills stuck in it and it won’t go down (know matter how much water I drink) I know this will improve along with my random coughing fits. 
     My physical therapy has been amazing. My range of motion is improving in my right arm and I can finally lift both arms above my head with no pain. The therapist said the stiffness in the right arm has a way to go but we will get there. When I am there I am so grateful for the help I am getting to gain total body strength that I have lost over the years. I am praising God in my heart for the stretches that used to be so painful and now feel so good. 
      I couldn’t take it any more and Monday after radiation my car turned left to go to school instead of turning right to go home. In the afternoon we have extended care so the numbers are lower than if I went in the morning. I was cautioned by my wonderful boss to stay away because there had been so much illness in the building. It was the very best medicine for my aching heart. The children hugged me endlessly, the staff welcomed my with open arms. It was a long overdue healing fest!!! (Hand sanitizer before entering the building and again when I got back into the car.)
     On Tuesday morning, I received a text from a dear friend that I have known since childhood. Angie (Angela = angel) said that God had placed it on her heart to help us with our finances. She wanted to help Tom and I somehow with our never ending pile of medical bills. I was humbled beyond words and saw such relief in Tom’s eyes when I told him. I am unable to teach right now because I have no voice, I left school on January 9. We have had medical bill piles for both Tom and I for almost 15 years. She started a Go Fund Me page which I have attached to my CaringBridge. In talking to Angie about how grateful we were because of our situation, she said to me “The Lord knew that and wanted me to help you both!! I'm glad I listened to Him!! Praise God!!”
✝️✝️❤️❤️✝️✝️  Praise God, indeed. 
     I am very excited about turning over the calendar today to a new month. February, my toughest month of the year is behind me and the best is yet to come. St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, and spring are right around the corner!  I thank you again for coming here to catch up on my progress, care about me and to say hello. It means so much to me, you are precious in His sight and mine. God bless!


TGIF #12 it is!!!

What a great week!! I hit the halfway mark in my radiation therapy on Wednesday. I also found out that there was no change in the mass size (no shrinkage yet or growth). Not to worry, all things good take a little time. 
     I had the meeting necessary to complete the attack with my oncologist as well this week. I went supported by my two closest friends who were my extra eyes and ears. I learned that I will begin my next phase of oncology 2 weeks after I finish radiation therapy. I was beyond euphoric to learn that I would be able to keep my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows this time. Yippee!!!! I would also not need a mediport because I would be getting a shot in my bum once a month and take an oral medication 3 weeks on 1 week off. 
     The specialty drugs must be approved by the insurance company. Once that happens, i will be on my way to a healthier me. I am set to begin on March 21st; the first day of spring. ( insert “of course, it does” here!)
      I started physical therapy yesterday. I am extending my arms over my head daily for periods of 16- 30 minutes during radiation.  It is very difficult for me to move my arms back when treatment is completed. 19 lymph nodes were taken from my right arm the first time around making my arm very weak. My shoulders are very tender and my range of motion needs improvement. All these issues are “fixable” with faith and perseverance.  Faith in my God, my therapists, my doctors and most importantly me; and faith and perseverance to walk away from this the very best version of me that I can be.


8 down 12 to go.

I have had so many amazing things happen since Ash Wednesday, I truthfully have not known where to begin in sharing all of this. I must start somewhere so here goes....
     Every Lent for the past 20 some years I have chosen a mission for myself. I have read books about Mary Magdalen, (my fave), written daily affirmation letters, bible studies, etc. This weekend it occurred to me that I had never chosen any of these missions but rather, God had placed them on my heart and I obeyed. Last year was somewhat unusual. I was encouraged to Journal my way through Lent.  During my daily devotional time I began writing down Scripture passages. devotional segments and thoughts about what I was experiencing at that time. All the while, in the back of my mind I was seriously wondering why. For what purpose was I doing this? I just kept persevering. I wrote all the way until Palm Sunday where we celebrated Tommy's 30th birthday and Easter week in Texas.
     This past Saturday was the first time I had thought of that journal since last Lent. I had not been nudged with a "mission idea" from God this year other than this cancer mission.  I found the journal and began reading immediately.  My words brought great tears to my eyes; what I had written on the paper were chosen for me by God and absolutely PERFECT!! I will be taking pictures of select passages to affirm this but I have the answer why. I was truly going to need it this Lent!!!

     Jesus Calling has been spot on, especially yesterday!!! Another picture I will share. Yesterday marked the 12th anniversary of the great loss of a student of mine so many years ago. His journey started at the age of 5 and God took him to his heavenly home 5 years later.  This special boy taught me so much about faith during his life here on earth as he does now that he is in heaven.  He was a huge fan of music. His mom and I had a conversation on Thursday about having the ability to learn so much about his journey and faith due to his choice favorite songs. Yesterday morning God put it in  my heart to ask for others to send me their "fight' song or inspirational song that got them through a tough time.  As the favored songs were sent to me I compiled a playlist that I am currently listening to !! It wasn't until his mom added his "anthem" to my list that I knew that the idea came from Aidan :-)  GOD IS GOOD!!!

     I want to thank everyone who has mailed a card, sent a text, brought flowers, supplied us with a nourishing meal, sent an amazingly thoughtful gift and most of all took time from your busy life and said a healing prayer for me; a strength and/or a peace prayer for my family and I.  We feel the power and appreciate the "on your knees" moments your prayers have provided us. 

     May God bless us one and all!!!


Thank you, God!!!

Six down, 14 to go!  
This afternoon, after treatment I looked through the mail and found an envelope addressed to me that looked like it might be junk mail. I opened it anyway. The opening sentence had me in tears. 

Dear Susan Gallagher,
Your Group Health Plan (through Tom`s union) is offering you a special service called Case Management. This service is provided at no extra cost to you.

I currently have a general physician (with an awesome physicians assistant that I love) a pulmonary specialist, gastroenterologist,  endocrinologist, cardiac specialist, surgeon,  plastic surgeon,  oncologist and radiation oncologist. I have always been the messenger; supplying the info each time I visited one of them. I had to set up the faxes to and from doctors in need of test results, etc. 

I have great peace tonight after signing a consent form accepting the service permitting a case manager to work with all of my doctors, assessing my needs and ensuring pertinent information is shared and that high quality care that is needed is provided cost efficiently!!