My Cancer Detour

January 20, 2016

It has been difficult to write my posts and read your comments as I wished by merely using a “page” on this my blog I have maintained for many years. Because of this I have established a completely separate blog which is a journal of sorts documenting my travels through this little detour. I have copied all the entries onto the new blog. I was not able to “take over” the comments, so if you’re interested you may scroll to the very bottom here and read dozens of comments. 

I hope you will read this blog at the new site, and register as a follower. In that way you will be notified each time I make a new post.

……………………………Click here, please………………

January 16, 2016                   Entry 7

“This can’t be me. Someone else has metastatic breast cancer. Not I.”  Through these past days, these words have occasionally penetrated my consciousness.

“I’m so healthy, go years without having a cold or the flu. Certainly no symptoms. No inkling of anything wrong. How can I have cancer?”

But I do. It really is me.

And so is life. We think of teenagers who drive their cars at dangerous speed, and who cavort carelessly about, and knowingly we smile, nod our heads and say, They’re so innocent, so untried. They have such a sense of invincibility, and we clack our jaws . . .but they will learn . . .

. . .now I see, I have been the same. Oh, I didn’t consciously take out the thought and look at it, didn’t handle it and check its ramifications, didn’t label it invincibility, yet now I stand shocked that it is I whose breast cells went askew, and while I was looking the other way, clacking my tongue at young, innocent ones who think they are invulnerable, those invisible cancer cells squirmed around in my body, began replicating, burst out of their boundaries, and traveled over to a couple of lymph nodes.

Me? You’re talking about me?

Afraid so.

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January 15, 2016                    Entry 6

Because of my fascination with words, and because of my recent interest in chemotherapy, since my diagnosis of breast cancer, I found the following Wikipedia paragraph intriguing.

“The word chemotherapy without a modifier usually refers to cancer treatment, but its historical meaning was broader. The term was coined in the early 1900s by Paul Ehrlich as meaning any use of chemicals to treat any disease (chemo- + -therapy), such as the use of antibiotics (antibacterial chemicals). . .This was later followed by sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) and penicillin. In today’s usage, the sense “any treatment of disease with drugs” is often expressed with the word pharmacotherapy.”

January 14, 2016                     Entry 5

They give you funny hats in hospitals.Silver Hat

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January 13, 2016                      Entry 4

A few days after Dr. Ho performed a needle-biopsy in his chambers, I received a call from a clerk saying an appointment had been set for me with a surgeon. My heart sank a bit, but I rallied, and on the 30th of November had my first meeting with Dr. Noel Sudhakar Victor. Dr. Victor is of slight stature, from India, is a wonderful person, and I am incredibly thankful that he was selected as my surgeon. He entered the room where Jerry and I waited and introduced himself.

“I’m Shirley Buxton. This is my husband, Jerry,” I responded. He extended his hand to both of us.

He seated himself before the computer screen, pulled up my records that included the films from my ultrasounds Dr. Ho had produced. I recognized the grey images, waving up and down and across the screen. I stared at what I believed was the depiction of that particular part that Dr. Ho had said offered resistance to his instrument. I was impatient, and finally said, “The biopsy, Dr. Victor. What did the biopsy show?”

Perhaps he was not deliberately delaying, although it seemed that way, for he continued to show something else on the screen. In a bit, though, he turned from the computer, picked up papers, and looked at me. “It does seem, Mrs. Buxton, that you have a form of breast cancer.”

And so I did. An infiltrating ductal carcinoma that had metastasized to my lymph nodes was the official name of the problem. Dr. Victor was the epitome of patience and kindness, explaining thoroughly the report. I was not a candidate for a lumpectomy because of numerous pre-cancerous spots throughout a large section of my breast.

From across the room, I smiled at Jerry. He face had paled and had taken on a grim look. I ached for him.

I was asked then to remove my clothing from the waist up and dress myself in one of those charming hospital-type gowns. At least it wasn’t a paper one; rather that bluish style adorned with strings here and there to tie up!

“I’ll be back in a minute,” Dr. Victor said before he left the room.

I tried to lighten up the situation when the doctor left the room, smiled at Jerry and tried to joke about the changes that might be affecting my anatomy.

After Dr. Victor examined me, he said I needed to have a modified radical mastectomy. Several of my lymph nodes should be removed and examined since the cancer had already spread to at least one of them.

“When?” I asked.

Another time when both the nurse and the doctor were out of the room, Jerry and I discussed whether we should wait until after Christmas for the surgery. We decided against waiting, and before we left the offices the date of December 17th had been set for my surgery.

I had not spoken of any of this to my children, not wanting to unduly alarm them should the tests prove negative. But the tests results were not what we wanted, so now was my time to call each of them. I had to tell them I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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January 12, 2016                        Entry 3

On Tuesdays down at the lodge situated on beautiful Lake Gregory, a delicious luncheon is served to senior citizens at low or no cost. We lived here in Crestline for years before we decided to go one day. Now we go frequently, and over the years have made many new friends. One of them is Pat–well her name is really not Pat, but that is what I’ll call her today, for if she should ever read here, I would not want to embarrass her.

Pat is charming, dresses in a cute, young, tasteful way, and nearly always wears a hat. She has dozens of them–even a special room in her home where she houses them. Today was no exception; she was dressed in black with touches of white, a fine black blazer, black slacks and a charming hat. It was our first trip there since my mastectomy, and when we walked in the door, Pat jumped up, greeted us profusely, and hugged us tightly.

At the conclusion of lunch as Jerry and I were walking toward the exit door, Pat approached us, smiling broadly and speaking sweet, confirming words. “I’ve been praying for you.” She looked directly into my eyes, then continued. “I don’t pray much . . .sad to say, but lately I have been praying for you a lot.”

I was deeply touched, and during the few hours since that encounter have thought much about that scenario, and have been reminded of a truth I know well. Secular people as well as others, watch us Christians. They scrutinize us, perhaps unconsciously (or even consciously) analyze our actions, our motives, our responses to situations. Paul noted this truth as he spoke to the saints in Corinth–chapter 3, verse 2 of I Corinthians.

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.

I’m glad I was reminded today that people are reading me, analyzing my responses, and that because I proclaim my Christianity, my reactions reflect directly on Jesus Christ. I refuse to let this detour deflect my life focus from being stayed on Him, my Savior, my Redeemer. And if you think about it during the next few days, pray a little bit for Pat. She is dear and precious. I would love to lead her to know Jesus.

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January 12, 2016                       Entry 2

IMG_0726

When I received this letter, I didn’t think too much about it, and I wasn’t worried. I had follow-up tests which included another mammogram, and during that same visit, an ultrasound test.

I was prepped, placed on a table with screens so close I could actually see what was going on while a nurse/technician moved a wand across my right breast area. Wavy images pranced across the screen, then finally she laid down the wand and told me she was going to bring in a doctor. He was young, very nice, and introduced himself as Dr. Ho. He replicated the nurse/technician’s maneuvers, and occasionally I heard and saw that she clicked on certain images. The doctor numbed my breast, and when he inserted the needles, I could see them on the screen.

“That one is pushing back,” Dr. Ho said at one point. And I could see the place where the needle was, and indeed it seemed to be resistant to his instruments.

Once I heard the nurse/technician say softly to Dr. Ho, ” I believe that is an infiltration.”

Dr. Ho finished, pushed back his chair, and looked intently at me. “There are three places here that are irregular. We don’t know what they are. Only a biopsy can tell us.” He explained the different modes of biopsy. One was an in-office needle-biopsy.

“Can we do that now?” I asked.

“Yes, we can. Let us get the paperwork prepared, and we will begin.”

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January 11, 2016

Divergent thoughts concerning sharing rather private matters on pubic forums have conflicted me, so that it has taken some time for my decision to create this page on my blog, and within it to be frank about this unexpected detour in my life. Posts here will not be routinely linked to my Facebook, or Instagram sites, my thinking being that for a person to read here, one must deliberately seek out the site, whereas on Facebook and Instagram, anything I post can be seen by any of my “friends” there. And I’m just not sure I want to do that.

I considered saying nothing publicly about this turn of events in my life, but felt in a way I would be dishonest with so many of you who are intertwined in my life; casual friends, dear people who have attended the three churches my husband has pastored, those who have read my books, you who have listened to my speaking in conferences and other venues, and you whom I have never met, but who have followed me on my other social media sites.

So here goes. I thank you for following me, and will appreciate deeply if you take the time to occasionally leave a comment. The greatest thing you can do is to pray. All of us need God, and for us to pray for the other is the most powerful and beautiful gift we can offer.

61 thoughts on “My Cancer Detour

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Sis. Buxton,
    I saw your post and I am smiling because I had a similar reaction when I was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called ITP. My own immune system was attacking my platelets-my blood wouldn’t clot. I had an acute chronic case that led to “spontaneous bleeding”. Eating, brushing my teeth and even smiling became a issue when my platelets were low.
    I was busy working for the Lord, had a promising career ahead of me when this happened. I had read stories in the bible about being healed but I struggled to believe that God loved me enough to do it for me.

    I went from disbelief to shock to disappointment. I was a modern day version of the woman with the issue of blood. The first round of therapy was successful, then followed by a relapse. The second round started ok then began to fail, at which point I decided to depend on God. (I am not against Doctors or anything, but they had done all they knew to do). I tried fasting: ended up in the hospital. 🙂

    I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital after that. Had major surgery etc. Didn’t work. I became tired of the struggle, and confused. I was sick at least 2 weeks a month for around 9 years.

    I am now writing you from the other side of faith. The Lord healed me completely in 2009 in a ordinary church service. No fancy preacher, just a few ordinary saints testified that God healed them of cancer etc., and I listened and said to the Lord in my heart; “Gee Lord so what about me?” I went to the altar and told the Lord I didn’t understand why, but if this was the way He wanted me to live, I just needed the grace to do it. That’s when He said “It is time” and that was it. Just like when you get the Holy Ghost and no one has to tell you; I knew I was healed.

    I know we all have different paths to follow. I don’t know what His plans are for you. But I just wanted you to know, as those saints testified and it blessed me, I would like to testify to you.

    It is now much easier for me to pray for people and visit in the hospital.I’ve seen HIm do some pretty cool things since. Whatever you are going through He cares, knows and understands and better yet He is still willing to heal. I thought I wasn’t spritual enough or worthy or something; but that was just the enemy. He just needs us to trust Him completely even when it looks like all hope is gone. Trust that He loves us more than we know or understand.

    from the woman healed of the issue of blood.
    God bless

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  2. Carol Heger

    Sis Buxton, all these responses to all your posts have really encouraged me!

    My broken leg is healing very slowly. It’s been 17 wks. At 12 wks, they saw no bone growth but did see some callus, which means some healing is going on. I see Doc next week for a new set of Xrays. I fell again on 9/14, injured muscles on back side of both legs, and extreme pain in broken leg/ankle area. Thankfully, the fall did not affect broken ankle at all, just all the muscles in my lower leg. So I can barely walk and at times, barely stand up (been taking extra muscle relaxers for new spasms and pain in low back area…which helps that pain, but make standing up and walking almost impossible),

    Thankfully, you son, Pastor Stephen Buxton preached on Phil 4:7-8…the peace that passes all understanding and to think on good, positive thoughts. I know that and have done this in the past on injury or problems in the past. And was trying to do this since my broken ankle fall on 6/15.

    But since my new fall on 9/14, and not getting medical help, cuz nursing facility wouldn’t give me the muscle relaxers I needed, or even close, till I could see regular doctor at facility on Monday. So I was in horrible pain and spasms all day Sat and most of Sun when I decided to go to ER. All new pains were muscle spasms, cramping, jerking. But ER doc would not tell nursing facility that I needed more relaxers, so I went home and took what I had at home! And could relax and sleep some. I could only stand and pivot at the time. So I’m having to re-learn to walk again.

    I started having new muscle spasms and pain making standing up from bed and toilet almost impossible since Monday night. So I am focusing on the Peace Jesus gives us and on all the positive improvements or things I have and can still do, though small…and thanking Jesus for these instead of on all the negatives and can’t do stuff. It has really helped me.

    I missed 2 buses to my rehab facility this week. But I am resting and walking more…to get better here at home. And am getting a 3rd rehab/wk on Fridays…PT is not there, but a Tech Aide has stretched me before when PT was busy. So got 6am bus ride to get there by 8:30am. And thankful for that. Will use an exercise machine for a while and walk there for short time with their new LifeWalker which is more supportive for me than one I’m using at home. It’s safe, will protect me from falling…a great thing.

    And I am getting my 2 hrs of very deep tissue work on my legs, low back and back…to loosen these muscles again…finally (I went 4 months without weekly massages and 2-3x week rehab therapy with physical therapy and special equipment for the disabled…unfortunately, with the boot on broken leg, I cannot use the Lokomat machine, my miracle machine, yet. Hoping to be able to do that soon.) So I’ve gotten 7 rehab sessions and 4 massages this last month. Not enough, but we are starting to give me the therapies I need to remain independent.

    Thank You Jesus! Believing You that I can become independent again and able to drive to therapies and office job again!!!

    Thank you Sis Buxton, for encouraging me to continue to fight and keep working hard to get my abilities back…and being able to go to church most Sundays for about a month now!!! Thank You Jesus!!! I listen on-line when I cannot get out. Thank you Pastor Buxton for this blessing!!!

    God Bless you all!!! With Jesus, we can fight through stuff, cuz He helps strengthen us. And for His promises in His Word ( Bible) and the hope of one day having a new, pain free, perfect body that we can rejoice around Him (which we cannot do now)!!! Oh, how exciting that will be!!!

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  3. Pingback: “It Can’t Be Me” Entry 7 | Shirley Buxton

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  6. Kay-Kay

    Sister Buxton,

    I appreciate and love you so much. Your hugs are some of the best. Just knowing how much you believe in us does wonders for us young’ns. You are one of the most graceful women I know. Truly an example of a Godly women. Thank you for being transparent about this detour you have had to take. Our prayers are with you!

    Much Love,

    Kay-Kay Hines

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    1. You are such a dear, Sister Hines. I sincerely appreciate your kindness to me, and your positive comments here. While I know I am not worthy of such words, I do value your spirit in saying them. Please keep me in your prayers.

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  7. Buddy and Jana Jones

    We are so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. We are praying for you and look forward to hearing the good reports of your complete healing!

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  8. Sister Buxton, I am praying for your healing and that God will be very near to you at this time and fill your heart and mind with the peace of God that passes all understanding. I love you!

    Carol Connell

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  9. Pingback: My Cancer Detour Entry 4 | Shirley Buxton

  10. Pingback: My Cancer Detour | Shirley Buxton

  11. Claudette Walker

    Dear Sis. Buxton,

    It made me so sad to learn of your illness. I will always remember you inviting me to minister to the ladies in California. I was so impressed with your passion for God and with your excellent spirit. You are one of the most gifted writers in Pentecost. I love words and some of your sentences are like masterpiece paintings for the spirit. I will pray for healing and peace and courage as you walk through this valley.

    I love and highly respect you!!

    Claudette Wallker

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    1. Sister Walker, what precious memories we share. I bless you for your positive and loving words. Likewise, I admire and honor you. If anyone knows about illness challenges, it is you. Yet, here you are–still about our Father’s business. No better place to be.

      I lean on your continued prayers and faith.

      Blessings always……..

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  12. Anonymous

    Sis Buxton,
    I had no idea from your prayer request on fb for your surgery that this is what you were facing! I appreciate your friendship from afar so very much! We have only met face to face once, but your kind, strong spirit impressed me tremendously. And our communications since that time have only cemented that impression.
    Please know that our prayers for you continue.

    Johanna Kern

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    1. Good evening, Sister Kern. Thank you for being here and for taking the time to leave this beautiful comment.

      I love you and Brother Kern so much. Wish we could visit more often.

      Please continue to pray for me.

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  13. rkeithnix@gmail.com

    Sister Buxton, I will be praying for you. I hate to hear this, but I know from personal experience that our God is able – and He is faithful.

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  14. Maybe God is using you for something? I’m sure he has a plan and you are surely not alone so may the comfort of everyone’s prayers and well wishes help in your journey. Love you and positive energy is sent your way. Xo

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    1. Melina, I was thinking of you just a few minutes ago, recalling how wonderful you are, how caring, and what a great wife and mother you are. You are very dear to me–a treasure in my life. Thank you for all you have done to add to my comfort, and that of our entire family. These words you have posted here are very important to me. My sincere love and prayers for you and Mike . . .and for your families.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. EvaDiva

    You are loved, admired, highly respected and adored! Thank you for sharing your heart and your talents. Praying for you! Love you, Sis. Buxton! ♥

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  16. Elaine Hogan

    We love to share our excited news with the world but when we are hurting, we certainly don’t want the world to know. But, we who love you dearly must squeeze into that private hurt and help hold you close. We treasure your love, friendship and the Godly woman you are. We promise to keep your name in our prayers for a complete healing and victory report!

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      1. Elaine Hogan

        I have had you on my mind lately. I do pray for you daily but my mind was saying that I haven’t reached out like I need to and I had better check in on your posts. Life has a way of busyness overwhelming us. I re-read all your blogs and the comments. When I got to mine, and your reply, my eyes watered. Jerry died, revived, and came back tough but you are all his dreams come true and this must be terrifying for both of you. You and Jerry remember when our church went thru spiritual septic shock. When the Lord finally helped us break out of it, He gave Gary a list of spirits to pray against daily. Over the years, I have, with the help of others, added to that list. One of them is the spirit of infirmary. I pray against all of those spirits daily so when I get to infirmary, I claim Shirley Buxton to have complete healing and be cancer free. I want to remind you that I love you and although the weeks went by in silence, you are not forgotten. I will check out your new blog💕😍🙏🙏🙏🙏💓👍😭

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  17. Holly

    I love, appreciate, admire, esteem, and adore you more than you could possibly understand. If anybody can handle such a detour, it is you – my lovely friend with an eternally optimistic outlook on life. You have more vim & vigor than most women 1/2 your age. You have done SO much for me over the past 43 years, I hope I can repay your kindness to me & my family. I can promise you this – you will NOT travel this road alone!!

    Certainly, none of us would have chosen this detour for you, but since it’s here – let’s do it Shirley Buxton style: Head-on, with lots of class, and tons of laughter.

    XOXO,
    Your Other Daughter

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    1. Indeed, you are my other daughter, and my life would be sadly lacking without you. I know now I will forever be in your debt, for it is impossible to repay your kindness, and generosity to Jerry and me. You and your husband are a godly, caring couple; your church is blessed to have you.

      Yes, I’ll hit it head-on, capable of making better progress in a quicker way because of your support.

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  18. Anonymous

    Thank you for allowing we who love and appreciate your life and ministry to follow this journey beside you. Never far from our thoughts and prayers…lessons for life and eternity will be taught through this “detour” that we will experience together.

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  19. Linda Bristow

    Praying for you Sis. Buxton. Even though I’ve never met you- I do know your son, Bro. Steve Buxton. God is faithful and will be there in the darkest hours. Much love to you

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  20. Karen S.

    I’m saddened to hear of this Detour. I’m praying you’ll be on the road of Miracles in a short time….which is also called “God’s Time.” Praying for you and your family.

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  21. Andrea Powell

    You are in my prayers…thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights as you go through this new chapter in your life. Nothing will ever be the same again, all things will become new. We love you and Bro Buxton very much. We are here for you if you ever need us.

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  22. Jean Walter

    You are precious to us all. I was recalling yesterday how long I have known you. ..probably since 1970. Love and appreciate you so much. You are in my prayers. Strength in Jesus.

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  23. Kathy McElhaney

    Praying for you, dear lady! Your kindness to a young church secretary in Fresno during Western District board meeting in the 80s has never been forgotten.

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  24. Anonymous

    I appreciate the up dates and we have loved you along time girlie. God knows and understands even if we don’t so we keep on standing by HIS grace and we love HIM till HE comes and takes us home. We send our prayers, hugs and kisses to our sweet sister and wonderful friend. Love you, Sis. Lois.

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  25. Anonymous

    Sister Buxton, praying for you for this journey you are on, for it is a journey. I also know we never walk alone for God holds our hands. Love you.

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  26. Hi, I am a friend of Nadine Thames or I should say she has always been a great friend to me and my family as she and Pastor Thames were our pastors from our childhood until they retired. I watched your posts since the CA Shooting and thank God that was not worse
    for your group, although others were not so blessed, I’m sorry to say. Just wanted to say that I keep you in prayer since that day. I also like the way you’ve set up your blog and your writing style and photos. Very talented lady. May God keep you in his care for the road ahead.

    Like

  27. Pat Jester

    Sorry to hear this news. You are a great Woman of God and I know He will go with you thru this phase of your life. I will be praying for you.

    Like

    1. Deena Krantz

      You will be in my thoughts and prayers, Sis Buxton. I am so sorry to hear you are having to face this battle, but grateful you don’t have to face it alone. Thank you for being willing to share such a private matter. I love you!

      Like

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