Going the Distance

Dear Faithful Praying Family & Friends,


Three weeks have passed since the most difficult evening of my life, June 28, the night before my surgery.  During that time, your prayers for me were efficacious:  Into my memory came the words of ancient Hebrew Scripture, assuring my troubled mind that my present circumstances do not diminish the character and nature of Almighty God!   During that long night, I meditated upon the words of Psalm 121 [Levavi Oculos].  With the words, came the memory of a composition by Mendelssohn, a tune set to the words of Psalm 121:  “He watching over Israel slumbers not nor sleeps.”  The truth of that ancient Hebrew Scripture strengthened my mind and eclipsed anxiety, doubt, and fear.  Will you continue to pray for me, as I enter the next phase in my journey toward health?  I will need your prayers in order to endure!


Today, I met with Dr. Mabry, Hematology/Oncology, Tallahassee.  The good news is that I will have no radiation.  However, I will have four rounds of chemotherapy, each round separated by three weeks.  Yes, I will lose my hair. Dr. Mabry will order an anti-nausea drug, which I will take one-half hour before each chemotherapy session.  After these four rounds are completed [12 weeks] I will take [for one year] Herceptin, which targets the HER/2 biomarker, an oncogene for which I tested positive and which is over-expressing.  [This represents the most problematic aspect of my pathology report.]  I will also take Tamoxifen, an anti-hormone, as my tumor tested estrogen-receptive positive; five years is the standard protocol.

I imagine you are disappointed, as I am, that I require further treatment.  However, I am thankful that the treatment will significantly decrease the risk of the recurrence of cancer.  The goal of treatment is to increase my survival.  Here are the details about my path report:  Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage One, Grade Three, Nottingham Score 8, Estrogen Positive, HER/2 Positive.


*No serious side effects, complications, or allergies.

*No illness that would compromise my suppressed immune system.

*That the anti-nausea drugs would work!

*That I would remain strong in mind, heart, soul, and strength.

*That I would learn to love God with ALL my mind heart, soul, and strength.


You remember that I opted for bi-lateral mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery [RS]?   Although I have no regrets about either of those two decisions, it was great to hear this confirmation:  Last week, my surgeon and two nurses confirmed that, if I had agreed to RS, I would have been out of commission for five to six weeks AND that I would never have been able to swim as well after the RS as before!  

I am now swimming better than before my surgery!  One, I have the companionship of Stephen and my friends, Steve & Margie Gibbons.  Two, [perhaps] I have less “drag” in the [ahem] chest area and I weigh less!  Third, I am extremely motivated and consider it my focused “job” to stay strong, mentally and physically. Not only am I able to perform the full range of motion for all the strokes, including butterfly, my stamina is also increasing.  Last night, I swam 1000 meters with only a few rest stops. 


The good news is that my treatment will not start until August 19th!  Next week, Dr. Crooms will surgically implant a “port.”  For the next two weeks, I will not be able to swim.  However, I WILL be able to go to the Blair Clan Family Reunion in Beech Mountain, NC.  There I will see my two sisters and their families plus Daniel, Haley, and Benjamin, who will fly in from Waco, TX.  I hope Garrett can join us but he just returned from a two-week vacation to Europe!

I heartily thank you for reading and praying as I go the distance!  Your encouragement and support will keep me afloat!  I will update the blog about once a week and will report any significant news and I’ll post some more photos for your enjoyment! 

Benedictus es, Domine.

Coram Deo,




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7 responses to “Going the Distance

  1. Laura Duncan

    I knew you were a “kindred” spirit when I first met you at Janet Rush’s Memorial service. I have been keeping up with you through Steve and Margie and have been praying for you. I will continue to do so. I am so thankful for you and Steve’s encouragment and love for our family ,even in the midst of your own trials. I know you will tackle this new knowledge of your treatment with the same strength and perserverance you did with the surgery. May The Lord give you peace and courage to grow strong in body, soul , and mind.
    The Psalms are a balm and comfort for the soul.
    God belss.

  2. Rick Stewart

    Well, as Wolfman Jack used to say, “The hits just keep on a’coming.” We continue to pray.

    Your title for this entry reminded me of Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

    As one who is keeping your eye on Jesus, I know God will use your faith to bless others and bring glory to His Name. Your positive attitude is a great testimony.

    We look forward to being your partners in grandparenting for many years to come. Hey! When can we walk to Paradise? We also enjoyed Fusion just down North Monroe from you all this week. Give a yell sometime soon. Maybe this weekend?
    Rick and Carole

  3. Kris

    We continue to pray. We love you and we know His care is complete and perfect.
    In Christ,
    Kris & Phil

  4. Meredith Fishback

    Dear Margo,
    I was so happy to read your latest news. I am sorry you have to go through chemo, but glad you are going to be fine. I found that when I was in the healthcare facility for my leg (a month), it was very helpful to keep a journal. I wrote who visited me, what went on that day, and, of course, my thoughts about what God was doing in and through my life. The book was a gift from Dale Croft (at work) and I treasured it! I am always talking to God about my day and praying for people known and unknown. I shall continue to keep you up at the top!! Our burdens are light when we allow Him to carry them with us. He will not remove a burden we are unwilling to release. So lay it all at His feet, my friend. If anyone can, you can.
    Your sister in Christ,

  5. Kris


    I am working on some homework in a Beth Moore study of the life of Paul (TO LIVE IS CHRIST). Something I just learned reminded me of your current trials and so I wanted to encourage you by relating it here.

    We have just read of the people in Lystra stoning Paul. Before that we read of Paul and Barnabus escaping stoning in Iconium (all of this is in Acts 14). We next read in 2 Timothy 3:10-11 as Paul remembers God’s deliverance in both the Iconium and Lystra experiences. In one situation, God delivered Paul before the stoning and in the other Paul still describes God delivering him when he was stoned.

    The original word for “rescue” (Beth uses the NIV) used in 2 Tim. 3:11 is “rhuomai” which is derived from a word meaning “to drag along the ground”. Quoting from Beth who is quoting from a commentator,

    “Rhuomai means to ‘to draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver’ . . . ‘This is more with the meaning of drawing to oneself than merely rescuing from someone or something.”

    and she continues,

    “You see, God wasn’t only interested in drawing Paul out of difficulty or danger. He wanted to draw Paul closer to Himself. Every time God delivers us, the point is ultimately to draw us closer to Himself.”

    I know you already know that God is working in your life, but I love every confirmation.

    In Him,

  6. Laura Duncan

    I read this quote of Scripture and thought of you. It’s from Psalm 73:23-26 NLT “I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand. You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious distiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart;He is mine forever.”
    You are still n our prayers.

  7. Kathy Ciarlariello

    Dear Margo,

    I am thanking God for all of the good He is doing in your life! Not for the trouble, but for the good that He is working through it all (Romans 8:28). Our family is praying for you and Steve, and we know that the Good Shepherd has all of this under His Sovereign control. We love you!

    In Christ alone,
    the Ciarlariello family

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