Living with Stage Four Lung Cancer – April 2021 Update

I have been procrastinating writing this update because the news isn’t news that I really want to share.

I’m sharing because I know that people want to know what is going on with my health and how I am doing.

View of Turtle Island in Smith Mountain Lake State Park
View of Turtle Island in Smith Mountain Lake State Park

If you are new here, these are the posts that I’ve shared about my cancer:

Craniotomy Recovery

In my February update, I talked about the craniotomy that I had to endure on February 10 to harvest brain tissue to be tested for cancer mutations.

I did very well recovering from the surgery. Not driving or doing any exercise other than walking wasn’t fun but I love being at home, so it really wasn’t too bad.

We spent our weekends at the lake enjoying hiking in Smith Mountain Lake State Park every Saturday and Sunday.

Dog admiring Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, Virginia

Finally, on March 15, I was allowed to drive and I went back to working out which made me really happy.

Like I’ve said before, I do my best to live my best life every single day. I’m going to pepper this post with fun things that I’ve done since my last cancer update in February.

Vision Problems

I didn’t mention in my February update that the vision in my right eye has been blurry since mid-January. On February 23, I saw a neuro-ophthalmologist who thankfully said that she didn’t think that cancer was causing my vision trouble.

February 26, I saw an eye doctor at UVA who determined that the best treatment for my eye problem is hybrid contact lenses. They are hard in the center and soft on the outside. The doctor called these the Ferrari of contact lenses.

Eating at The Cavalier in Lynchburg, VA
Date night at The Cavalier, voted best hamburger in Virginia

I was relieved to get these contacts ordered but six weeks later, I still do not have them. Thank goodness for readers because they have helped me through the frustration of blurry vision.

I’m supposed to get my new contacts on Monday, April 12 and I hope and pray that they give me back better vision in my right eye.

Foundation One Test Results

On March 10, I had a check-up appointment with my regular oncologist. It was supposed to be an easy visit where I did bloodwork, vital signs, and just talked with my oncologist.

Dog, woman, and little boy
Sherman visiting with neighbors

It just so happened that my Foundation One results came in the morning of March 10 and Dr. Hall was able to share them with me.

There was no good news in the report. I do not have any new targetable mutations and I have developed the C797S mutation which will make my current medication not work.

Developing the C797S mutation is why the leptomeningeal disease in my brain grew between my December and February scans.

Dr. Hall told me at this appointment that the best treatment plan for me to slow the growth of the leptomeningeal disease is to have whole brain radiation along with radiation of my spine. I passed out at that point.

CT Scans and MRIs

On March 23, I met with Dr. Larner, my radiation oncologist, to discuss his opinion on whole-brain radiation as a treatment for me.

Like Dr. Hall, he believed that radiation is what I need to do to slow down the terrible, awful leptomeningeal disease.

Six women at a table with cocktails in Fredericksburg, VA
March weekend trip with friends to Fredericksburg, VA

On March 29, I had a chest/abdomen CT with and without contrast and a brain and spine MRI with and without contrast. The CT is easy but the MRIs take two hours which is a long time to be still in a tube.

On March 31, I had multiple doctor appointments.

After bloodwork, I saw Dr. Hall who gave me my only positive news of the day. My chest/abdomen CT scan showed those areas of my body unchanged.

I was SO grateful for this news because I thought that I might have to not only endure radiation in April but also have to start chemo if my chest/abdomen had shown progression.

Woman and dog in a van
Road trip to Virginia Tech to pick up our friend Lesley’s daughter. Mama got to ride in the back with Sampson.

The next appointment was with Dr. Fadul, my brain oncologist, who went over my brain and spine MRIs and showed me the areas that have leptomeningeal progression.

After that appointment, it was on to another appointment with Dr. Larner who also discussed my cancer progression.

Radiation Prep

The last appointment of the day was a CT simulation to make a body mold and face mask for my radiation treatments.

The body mold was made by using what felt like bean bag filler. I had to lie on a cushion of this material and the air was sucked out of it creating a mold of my body. This mold will be used for spine radiation.

16th birthday party picture with Destiny Middleton and Paula Skulina
My former student invited me to her 16th birthday party. This young lady has texted me, called me, and sent me gifts to me since my cancer diagnosis. I not only taught her but also her mother.

After the body mold was made, a face mold that covers my head, neck, and the top of my shoulders was made. A flat piece of heated plastic mesh with eye and mouth cutouts is placed over your face, pushed down, and attached to the table.

As the plastic cools, a mask of the head down to the shoulders is made.

After the face mask was made, the technicians drew marks all over it to guide placement for radiation. They also drew lines and plus signs on my stomach and covered them with plastic tape to protect them.

Because of the lines on my stomach, I have to be careful to protect them until my radiation starts. This means no baths, swimming, and when I’m in the shower, I must keep my back to the shower spray.

Once radiation begins, the marks will be touched up as needed.

Man and dog watching tennis at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA
Watching our friend’s daughter play in a tennis match at Randolph College.

After all of that was done, the mask was attached to the table and a CT scan was done. My fight or flight instinct immediately clicked on and it took all of my mental power to keep myself calm.

They should use this mask as a punishment for child molesters, rapists, and murderers. They deserve this kind of punishment. Having your head and shoulders attached to a table is a terrible feeling.

The many 2 hour sessions that I’ve had in the MRI tube have helped me to learn how to calm my mind. I was able to calm myself and endure the CT scan but boy was I happy when that mask was released.

Radiation Plan

On Monday, April 12, I start 17 sessions of radiation of the brain and spine. I will travel to UVA M-F until the last treatment on May 4.

Woman and dog enjoying Smith Mountain Lake State Park in March 2021
Weekend hike in Smith Mountain Lake State Park

It is a 1.5 hour drive each way to UVA from our home, so this treatment means a lot of time on the road.

Side Effects

As the treatment progresses, I will become more and more fatigued.

Knowing that fatigue is in my future has had me working very hard in my yard prepping my flower beds and landscape beds for mulch.

I’ve been very busy weeding, pruning, moving perennials, and also mowing the grass. The beds that are ready for mulch have been mulched and the ones that haven’t been prepped will be soon.

Woman spreading mulch
Mulching a perennial bed in May 2020

The side effect that I’m dreading the most is hair loss. I am not mentally strong enough to go out in public without hair. Thanks to the help of some good friends, I have a few solutions to help with this dreaded problem.

Couple and dog in front of a cross decorated with flowers on Easter Sunday
Cross my dad made in 1996 for Rodes United Methodist Church in Afton, VA, the year before he died from lung cancer.

Another dreaded side effect of the radiation will be short term memory loss. I hope and pray that this will be minimal.

Three women walking in Waynesboro, VA along the South River
Easter Sunday walk with my niece and sister-in-law

How Can you Help Me?

If you are wondering how you can help me, please pray and send good vibes my way for these things:

  • Tolerating the radiation with minimal fatigue and short term memory loss
  • Radiation success in slowing the growth of the disease in my brain and spine
  • Strength for me to tolerate the treatment mentally and physically
  • Strength for me to adapt to losing my hair and for being brave enough to go out in public
  • Strength for my friends and family to support me through this difficult time

This post was really hard to write but I’m glad that I have written it. Like always, my plan is to keep living my best life and to enjoy every minute of every day.

136 Comments

  1. Oh Paula you know so many love you and praying that God touches you in so many ways. Get rid of that awful C. Give you strength. Give your family strength as caretakers and people to lean on. We are here for you.

    1. Thank you for the update. I’ve had you on my mind. I’ve had one MRI while dealing with vertigo and I had to have them pull me out. Whenever I had blank space in the dark or white my balance goes hairwire. Not thinking, I should have closef my eyes before entering the tube. After gathering my thoughts I went right back in and shut my eyes. Mine wasn’t as long as yours so I totally feel for you! You can take this new hurdle like a champ, Paula. You got this!! 💕

  2. Paula I think of you often. I think I mentioned our granddaughter Nicole had full brain and spine Proton radiation treatments at Mass General two years ago now. She is cancer free! I will be praying for you the same. I remember Nicole talking about how she dreaded the masks! You are an amazing and strong woman. You can do this! 🙏🙏🙏🙏

  3. Oh Paulina I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. We take our good health for granted – thank you for reminding me not to do so. I will pray for you and your family for the strength to help you through this difficult time.

  4. I was just thinking about you again last night. I am so sorry to hear you have to endure more treatment. I will be praying for strength and all your prayer requests as you continue this forced March. A march no one should have to bare. 💛

  5. Paula I will be praying for you and sending good vibes. I will miss your posts, but its important for you to keep up your strength to fight the cancer. Keep smiling, dear lady, and come back to your supporters healthier and cancer free.

  6. My prayers are certainly with you along with, I’m sure, many others.
    You are a very brave lady to share such a difficult journey. I’m sure yours will be inspiration for others facing the same journey. I admire your courage.
    My Christ’s love be with you,
    Cassandra

  7. This is a lot to swallow, and tough to hear, but i admire your optimism and strength. I’ve been following you for a while, and include you in my prayers daily, but I believe that if anyone can overcome, it is you. Wishing you continued strength, sending prayers, and God bless you and that wonderful husband and puppy of yours.

  8. Paula, I continue to pray for you. You a truly an incredibly strong and most positive person. My heart breaks for you as you go through that grueling g treatment.

    Stay your strong and positive self and you know that many, many prayers are being said for good results! xoxo’s

  9. Paula you are truly an inspiration. I am praying for strength, healing, and that you will come through this with positive rest. I lost my hair because of chemo and couldn’t wear a wig. There are many clever ways to wear scarves and soft hats. I wore a soft t shirt type cap at home because my head would get cold and my scalp was sensitive. One thing to look forward to is that when your hair grows back you get curls. I will keep praying for you. 🙏🙏💕

  10. I will continue to pray for you Paula. I know you can do this . so many are praying for you. I just know you can get through this. Be strong and brave this to shall pass. God is on your side.

  11. Oh, Paula, I am so sorry. I think of you often and pray for you every time you come to mind. I’ll keep praying and I’ll refer to your “How Can You Help Me” list for how to direct those prayers. Also, and I realize lots of people probably have advice, but my husband has dealt with an illness for just over 10 years now and he sometimes gets relief with his thoughts when things get overwhelming by doing EFT (tapping). At first, I thought it was silly but after reading research by doctors like Dr. Caroline Leaf, it does help with the brain. He has short-term memory loss from the meds he takes and the illness itself but when he taps daily he seems to do better. If you would like any more info, just let me know. Sending prayers and positive good vibes to you and your family.

  12. Prayers for minimal side effects and a complete recovery. The photo of the cross brought back memories of Rodes Methodist Church. My dear friends were married there 50+ years ago. We all lived in Waynesboro at the time.

  13. Hi Paula,
    So glad to read about Nicole above being cancer free after a treatment similar to yours. Oh, how I will pray that will be the case for you, too!
    Thanks for keeping us updated. My pastor’s wife is recovering well after chemo for pancreatic cancer.
    We are praying.
    Liberty

  14. Praying that God touches your body. May he give you the strength to make it trough the treatments.
    I pray that he calms your mind and gives you peace.

  15. Dear Paula,
    I’m saddened by the disappointing news. I will continue to include you in my prayers. What is impressive is your incredible strength, both mentally and physically, demonstrated by your being out in the world socializing with friends, hiking, doing yard work, decorating and writing your blog. You are quite a testament to the strength and courage available to us through God if we choose to tap into it. You are an inspiration. May you be comfortable and strong through the coming days of the radiation treatments. I pray for your healing.

  16. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I pray that the Lord would give you the strength you need to get through the radiation. Along with that I will be praying that better, less frightening ways of treating and evaluating cancer will be found.

  17. Paula,I have been praying , but I am glad that you have included your list of needs so that I can pray more effectively for you and your family. I will pass this on to others also. Thank you for sharing this latest news. Your courage is an inspiration to all who visit your blog.
    Stay strong, brave girl!
    Suzanne

  18. Paula – your strength and your determination to live life every day are an inspiration to everyone. Thank you for writing this post. I’m sure all your ‘friends’ have been wondering how you were doing and hoping for an update, as I have been.
    Four years ago, one year after a diagnosis of melanoma, my sister was told she had less than 30 days to live and to go home and put her affairs in order. She refused to accept this, went to the U.S. ( we live in Canada) and sought a second opinion. At that time she had so many tumours they couldn’t count them, her brain and spine were the worst areas. The only organ that didn’t have a tumour was her spleen. She had treatment and one year later she was declared in remission, the few tumours she had left were minute and shrinking. Today she is still cancer free. Like you she had radiation on her brain and spine, and she does have some short term memory loss but it’s manageable and does not impede her daily life. She is also a teacher and has gone back to work part- time. Please stay strong, it’s so much to endure but your faith and strength will get you through.
    We’re all praying for you.

  19. I am a newish subscriber but absolutely shocked and saddened to read your post. What a lot you have had to endure. I cannot imagine being in an MRI scan for 2 hours.
    How lovely ( and beautiful!) your former student is. You obviously made a big impression on her and her Mother.
    I hope you get your contact lens soon , get pleasure from your garden and that your treatment is successful.

  20. Oh Paula, I am so deeply sorry for your struggles, while greatly appreciate the update and the difficulty to do so.
    Know you continue to be in my prayers, asking for strength, peace, comfort and mercy.

  21. Paula,
    I will pray for your specific prayer requests and am sending good vibes to you, your family and friends. Don’t feel pressure to work on the blog right now as we will continue to be here when you’re feeling better. Much love coming your way!
    Sue

  22. Paula, I’m sad to hear of all you have gone through and will have to go through. Though, I know your spirit and strength will help you conquer this. You have an amazing positive attitude with so many people who care about you and will pray for you. Sending you healing vibes and continued prayers.
    Hugs,
    Shelley

  23. Paula, I am so sorry about your news. You have such a positive outlook and are such an inspiring person.
    I will definitely be praying for you. I believe in miracles. I believe in healing. I pray that you feel the loving arms of God holding you and giving you peace.

    Rachel

  24. Sending lots of prayers for your recovery. I hope that all treatments go well and that life lets you get back to what you like doing the most. Stay STRONG and POSITIVE.

  25. Paula
    Your strength is incredible. May all our prayers lift you up and keep you focused on conquering this terrible disease!
    You are in my thoughts and prayers!
    Sandy

  26. Paula, I am so heartbroken that you have to endure these treatments but if it will get you to the other side then I will pray for calmness and strength. Please email me your address, too. Hugs from me, Lucy, Juicy and Leo. Yeah, I have a cat named Juicy!

  27. Paula you can do this!! I am very sorry to hear about all if this. What a grueling time, I am so sorry this all has happened to you such a great person. I to was very happy to hear about the above mentioned Nicole, so great to hear, you can do the same, I know it, but my prayers will be there also for God to hear, dont worry about us we will b hear for you whenever you feel better!!!!
    Love to you

  28. Paula ,you are in my prayers and thoughts as you face this next challenge. May God be with you and your family at this time. You are an amazing woman and I admire your strength and positive thoughts .

  29. Oh Paula I am continuing to pray for you, your family and your medical team. You are an incredibly strong woman just to endure what you have and still continue to be a light..

  30. Paula-sending you nothing but love, all my prayers and positive vibes. I am in awe of the strength you already have. I am thinking of you all the time. You can do this Paula…you are already doing it. You have so many people praying for you and your whole family.
    Love,
    Sarah

  31. Paula, please know that I am praying for you and your family. My father fought two different cancers for over 20 years and I loathe this bully that dominates our lives. His secondary cancer was multiple myeloma and he had a tumor at the base of his skull they had to radiate, so he went through the same masking treatment. My dad was a private man when it came to his health, so you sharing this with me gave me some insight to what he endured, so thank you for your candidness.

    I will continue to lift you, your family and the doctors in your care in prayer. Prayer for strength and patience during treatments for you, prayer for your friends and loved ones to be the support you need and obviously prayers for radical healing through these treatments.

    Thank you for sharing these tough posts with us. Please know that it helped me in a small way!

  32. Paula , I will be sending prayers and good vibes your way daily!
    I hope all the prayers and positive vibes from everyone will help calm your mind as you go through your radiation treatment.
    Melody

  33. Even in this most difficult post, you are still inspiring. You show us your strength and fears with grace. Even without your gorgeous hair your beauty will still be seen because it comes from within you. Take time to heal your self and know that we will be praying for you and sending the most positive vibes. We will always be here for you.

  34. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this forced march, Paula. Sending love and positive thoughts your way…praying for successful treatments, and peace and calmness in your spirit. Love and a big virtual hug are coming your way right now!

  35. Sweet one. You are always in my prayers. I know God is sending all his angels to be around
    you as you go through your treatments. Keep fighting. God bless you.

  36. Prayers for you, your family and support network. Your are such an inspiration. ❤️🙏🏽❤️❤️🙏🏽❤️

  37. Paula, you are strong with such a positive attitude. Keep this up and you will get through this! Losing hair will be ok, that’s what baseball hats are for! I have a couple of synthetic wigs to wear for special occasions. The description you gave of the molds were “spot on!” I wish that I could articulate what I went through as good as you did. If your gut gets irritated take 1 tsp of Heather’s Tummy Fiber, my radiation nurse at UWMC in Seattle recommended this and it worked. You’ve got this!

  38. Prayers continue for you dear Paula. It’s amazing what physicians and medicine can do. I’ve been a follower of your blog for many years, but am mostly a lurker. You are in my prayers every night. I work for a faith based hospital and you and your family are on their prayer lists. One of our ministers is a cancer survivor.
    I know God is holding you in the palm of His hand. I have so much admiration for you..truly, you are one of my heroes.
    Love and prayers from SoCal,
    Mary Osborne
    San Pedro, CA

  39. Dear Paula, A few day ago I told my oldest daughter, who is a teacher, about your cancer diagnosis and treatments. You have a great support group of family and friends. I will pray for you, your husband, family and the Doctors for wisdom and discernment in all your needs. You’re so pretty and fit as can be I can’t imagine that you would not be beautiful in a scarf to cover your hair loss. God is good and he works miracles everyday!

    Love & Prayers from California.

    June

  40. You are in my continued prayers! I put you on the prayer list at church a while back. You are amazing! I’m glad you had the courage to write about your illness. Sending positive vibes and prayers your way! God Bless!

  41. We are certainly praying for you Paula! Your fight and determination to live your best life is amazing. A positive mental attitude is a important as the treatments. The Lord will bring you through the daily treatments and I pray you feel the warmth of His arms around you every day and all day.

  42. Paula, you are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your update, I know it can’t be easy. I love that you were able to resume working out, that you are prepping your yard now for enjoyment later, and I just so appreciate your reminder to live our best life by embracing each day and living it to the fullest in each moment. I am sending you so many healing thoughts and prayers. xo

  43. As always, I will continue to pray. I’m asking the Lord for a miracle, as well as strength, peace, and comfort for everyone… including the hubs! Love you!

  44. I have you on my prayer list and praying for you everyday. May God touch you and your family as you go through this process to healing.

  45. Paula, I am on the other side of 35 Radiation treatments with the dreaded MASK. I am still ticking. I do have many of the side effects, some not so bad. I want you to feel like the Lord has a hold of your hand and is with you at all times. These thoughts helped me so much to still my mind and gave me such comfort. I still do it everyday. I will keep you in my prayers each day and I know you will handle what you need to. I enjoyed your posts and look forward to them. Don’t worry about not being able to post each day, just take care of yourself. We will all be waiting for you to come back. Much love to you and your family.

  46. Paula, I pray for you daily. My heart breaks for you and for all you are going thru and having to endure. It’s just stinky to have so much on your plate. I can relate as I’ve mentioned before…my breast cancer, my husbands lung cancer and now my 43 year old daughters breast cancer journey. Constant state of fear but I know that you know the Lord is with you all the way.
    I was most afraid of my hair loss but after it happened I became quite fond of the freedom I felt. I pray you experience the same feeling.
    Continued prayers for you for all you’ve mentioned in your post. God Bless you.

  47. Paula, I am so sorry you have to endure more treatments. Your strength and determination through all you’ve gone through amazes me. I think about you often and every time I do I send you healing thoughts, prayers, and continued strength to endure your future treatments. Much love to you friend <3

  48. I just happened to come across this on FB. I just wanted to tell you that I shaved my head a year ago because of not going to get hair cuts due to COVID-19. I have found that I like it and plan to keep it shaved. I know it’s not for everyone, but it gives me a freeing feeling.
    Brenda

  49. Paula … it’s devastating to read about all you have endured. I’m amazed by your ability to eloquently share your experience as well as your determination to continue living your best life. It’s wonderful to see photos of your life during this time surrounded by loved ones and good friends who care so much for you. And, Sherman, who is such a love. I continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers … and believe that you can and will not only endure but overcome. xoxo

  50. So sorry to read what you have been going through. I will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way as you begin your treatment.

  51. Dear Paula,

    We are all praying for you to have strength.

    Sending virtual hugs and love.

    Please know we pray for you on your journey.

    ❤️

  52. My heart breaks for you and your family with these updates, but my awe of your courage and strength amazes me even more each time. I pray for you. I have followed you for years, loving your DIY posts and hatin’ a little when you slip into those cute little Stitch Fit clothes. 😬 Mine were not so little or cute. 🙄 Anyway, if being loved is the miracle, you are awash in it ❤️ I will be sending good vibes and little prayers that you come through this process with the miracle so deserve. 🙏🏻

  53. Paula, you are in my prayers and my heart. Though I have MS, I do know how incredible hard it is to be in an MRI machine for 2 hours.

    Your strength and bravery are amazing! I too know what it’s like to have no hair. Again, it’s nothing like your experience, however, being a women who had gorgeous hair and lost it from a UTI in weeks is horrible. I’m still waiting for it to grow back 2.5 half years later.

    I have a beautiful wig but it’s incredibly uncomfortable and very hot. I don’t wear it unless absolutely necessary.

    I will be praying for you very hard and for your family. I also know nothing I say will make this easier.

    Prayers and virtual hugs may help. Know I will keep thinking of you every day.

    Cindy

  54. Paula, I have been following your blog and your cancer updates for a while now. Being a cancer survivor myself, I am constantly amazed at your strength and perseverance. You are an absolute inspiration. Keep the faith and know that all of us are praying for all the things you asked of us. I pray for a complete recovery from this awful disease. In such difficult times, it’s so often almost impossible to keep your spirits up, but you seem to be handling this like a true champ. This will help in so many ways as you fight to recover. Many, many blessings on you and your family. ❤️🙏

  55. Paula, you are so strong and I admire you more than I can say. Remember that there is hope and many many people love you and continue to keep you in their prayers. Hang in there! Love you 💕 Carol

  56. Paula, I continue to pray for you daily. You are an inspiration to everyone who knows you. Your positive attitude and your faith will get you through. Much love, my friend.

  57. Paula, I think about you very often, pray for you and marvel at your strength. It’s wonderful to see you surrounded by so many who care, sharing happy moments and of course, your sweet pup. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers during the next month. Sending you love and hugs. Kim

  58. Paula,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sending you good vibes on a daily basis. You are a strong woman who is kind and have the support of many.
    Take care my friend,
    Debbie

  59. I don’t know how you can endure all the horrible medical things, Paula. I’m a wimp with any body stuff. Your courage to fight and endure is so admirable. I will continue to pray for you. So glad you have so many that care for you & are surrounding you with love.

  60. Paula,
    You will have my most fervent prayers for a miracle. I, too, was worried about losing my hair when I was starting chemo for breast cancer. It didn’t turn out to be a problem. Picked out a really cute wig before starting. As soon as it started to come out, a friend shaved my head. No one except my husband and friend saw me without the wig because I didn’t want stares, questions and/or pity. Worked very well. One lady even asked me who cut my hair!! Hilarious! Silver linings in everything. . . Cool in summer and didn’t take long to get ready in mornings.

  61. You are amazing! You have such strength and optimism and I admire your willingness to share your “march.” You are in my prayers.

  62. Paula, you are such a trooper and such an amazing attitude. Thinking of you and sending good wishes for a quick recovery. Stay strong!

  63. Paula my heart hurts for you my friend. Those tests sound horrible! You are amazing that you have been able to stay calm during them. I think they would have to knock me out! I believe in miracles! Sending you love lots of prayers good vibes 😘

    Karin

  64. Oh Paula, my friend who has bravely endured more than most of us ever will. You bet I am praying!! May our God who created our beautiful bodies, send health, wholeness and nutrients to beat this cancer. We are surrounded this year with dear friends who are battling aggressive cancers and while sometimes we feel discouraged and beaten down I know there Lord will give you strength each moment taking it seconds at a time if needed.

    Also praying for your family to be held up, hard enough on you and I know they feel so very helpless. May they be given the strength they need for the days to come in their support of you!

    Adding you to my husbands and my daily prayer walk where we lift up so many in desperate need of healing.

    You are loved, cherished, beloved, adored and cared for by so very many people – but above all, by our mighty God!

  65. Paula you are inspirational compassionate loving person I know‼️🥰 my heart breaks for you but I know you are strong and have such great amount of faith , please know you are in my thoughts and Prayers Dailey🙏
    i can completely understand the radiation thing I went through 40 rounds of radiation UVA with my mother a year and a half ago they had to make her a face mask
    but she is doing well and i know you will too‼️🙌👍🥰
    please reach out to me if you need anything at all💕
    lots of love
    Laura Spriggs-Moore

  66. Paula You are an inspiration for all of us. Not just to those who are stricken with cancer but many other conditions and diseases. You are a part of our lives not just someone on our computer. Thank you for sharing your life – both good things and bad – your home, your husband,, your Mom and Sherman with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you
    Ann

  67. Oh, Paula. I am so very sorry about this latest news. Let me tell you some thing I know for sure: you will not be alone as you walk through this treatment. I am going to be praying that your oncologists are amazed at the success of the radiation. And I will pray for the side effects to be minimal. I love you, my friend.

  68. Paula, I have been praying for you every day. Tomorrow, I will ask for prayers for you in our little church in Sidney, Maine. Maybe you can think of your mask and body mold as putting on the armor of God to fight the cancer.. And there is probably no reason why they can’t premedicate you with a tranquilizer to lessen your discomfort. and fear; please check it out.

  69. You continue to be an inspiration with your positivity and how you are living life every day to the fullest. I am praying for your specific requests!!!!

  70. You’ve been on my mind lately, Paula, and when I stopped by today and saw this post, I knew why. I am sending prayers and positive thoughts your way and am so glad you have family and friends to help you through all of this. Keep living your best life with those that love you!

  71. I’m so sorry you have to endure those awful treatments to fight the cancer, Paula. I think of you often and will be praying for your specific prayer requests as well as sending you positive, healing vibes.

  72. Get yourself a GREAT hat and go out! I’m sure YouTube has a ton of instructions on how to tie a scarf.

    I’ve been thinking about you this week as we have been doing a little project at our lake house. The interior doors are all hollow-core, so we have been jazzing them up with molding. We will also swap out the hardware. 15 doors! We will paint another time. As we measured, cut, and fit each piece, I kept thinking this is exactly the kind of project you would have done and then blogged about.

    As always, I send you hugs and prayers and all good things that you deserve.

  73. I wish you didn’t have to write this post either. I will be honoring your request and praying for everything you are asking for. If I live by you I would be right next to you in your garden getting it ready for you to enjoy while you are recovering! So many thoughts and prayers coming your way!

  74. I am so sorry that you are going through this. You are so brave for tackling this head-on. I will be praying for you and wish you much peace and harmony. You are so strong to talk about this.

    I will be praying for you and your husband. Have faith and know you have a lot of people cheering you on.
    Bless you!!!

  75. May you find peace that others are praying for you and that a complete blessing and healing is in your future. GOD is Our Healer and we must depend on HIM. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

  76. Paula,
    I am so sorry to hear that you have to endure more treatment and that it is such a difficult process. I will be praying for strength, calm and minimal memory loss. You will be on my prayer list and in my thoughts.

  77. Paula, you are such an incredible woman. Girlfriend, you’re mulching right now?! I will pray for all those things you listed, and I’m grateful you are helping us to know how best to pray for you. As I read about your treatment, I couldn’t help but think about how you are helping to prepare others who might have similar procedures. What a traumatic ordeal. You are touching many lives not only through the pleasure of your friendship but also by being willing to share your story. I know it wasn’t easy. Sending all my love.

  78. Paula, as a cancer survivor, your heartfelt story made me cry. I was just in an MRI machine for a brain scan. The tapping was so hard, it made the bed shake. You are so right. In a just world hardened criminals should have to endure cancer treatment. You have a good support system and loyal posters praying for you. Remember you don’t have to be a hero. Sometimes a good cry helps.

  79. Paula sending my love and prayers , and just like Julie, praying for a miracle! You are such an inspiration and it’s so neat to see you still connecting with your students ! Thank you for being so brave to share your journey with us!

  80. Paula, I know that this was not the news you wanted to hear and yet, you once again have taken it all on board with such determination to find a positive and live your best life… you are truly an inspiration sweetie.
    May your feel the love and prayers of your blogging community around you as you enter this next phase of treatment.
    Gentle hugs lovely lady xx

  81. Paula, I just recently subscribed to Sweet Pea not realizing your cancer battle. May the Lord give you peace. You are a very brave and strong lady. My prayers are with you and your husband..

  82. I remember one time I made a comment on your blog about dreading something (perhaps it was the long, grey days of winter), and your response really made me stop and just be grateful. You said you just do your best to live every single day your best. This statement is a common denominator in each of your cancer posts, Paula, and I have really taken it to heart. I hope other readers do, too. I will pray for your intentions, and will also pray that God will guide you, should His path for you be any different than in your hopes and prayers. And also for travel mercies! Thank you for sharing your journey. Btw, you crushed the wrap dress in the Easter photo in front of the cross your Dad made. You’re beautiful!

  83. Praying for you & your family as you go through this very difficult & scary time. Praying for all the best for you; strength, patience, humor & of course a full recovery.

  84. Paula, will continue with prayers for you and your family, strength and continued grace.

  85. Paula, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you go thru your treatments. You are an amazing woman and your strength and fortitude is an inspiration.

  86. Paula,
    Wow. You are so incredible. Your honestly and willingness to share your journey brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even begin to know what this is like for you and your family. But please know I think of you often and am sending prayers your way big time.
    I am feeling a bit helpless as I want to do something. Is there anything you need? Please let me know.
    Sending love your way.
    Leslie

  87. Paula, we who have come to know, befriend you, follow all your talented projects and your trips with Mr. SP, Sherman and your Mom, love you dearly! As a group of us, which are many, we are all praying for this treatment to work. You have been such an inspiration to all of us in the throws of all of this and keeping us updated on all that is happening truly means so much to all of us. You have impacted our lives as well as all of your students and we love you for sharing your life, however bad it’s been so we can get prayers out to help any way we can. Stay strong, my friend, even in the hardest times because we have your back and just know we are there for whatever you need! Imagine all these women sitting around you in your beautiful home keeping you safe…and I’m sure there may be some laughing and carrying on to keep you smiling!! With Love and Prayers always….. you are family!!!

  88. Oh, Paula, I am so sorry to hear this. I wish you didn’t have to be writing this either. I think our human instinct is always to put ourselves in the place of someone else, and as I do this, I just don’t know how I would handle what you have gone through and are still going through. I am sitting here crying and wishing I had the right words for you. I am so overwhelmed by your strength and bravery, but just know that you have a very good support system and don’t always have to keep a brave face. I continue to pray for you and your family, for your health and healing, for peace, and for the courage to be able to go out in public. I can’t believe you are working in your garden! I hope it felt good and you got a little garden therapy from being out there.

  89. Dear Paula,
    I am praying for your good health, and for your dear husband and Sherman.
    You are brave and strong and I wish only the best for you.

  90. Dear, sweet Paula, this is the post you did t want to write and we don’t want to read. You are such a brave person. I know it must be frightening to go through all these tests and doctor appointments. You can rest assured that there are many many prayers raised up for you. To respond well to the treatment and to have positive results with minimal side effects. Prayers for your family to lift you up. Prayers for the doctors and other health supporters. Prayers for total recovery. Arms are wrapped around you as long as you need them. Hugs always.

  91. Paula I am so sorry you are going through all
    of your cancer treatments. You are a very strong determined person. Please know that you are in my prayers and thoughts. God has you in the palm of His hands. Take care of yourself!!

  92. Paula, you are so brave to share your story. I can’t even imagine the struggle it must have been to share this very personal battle you are experiencing. But you are brave and you are amazing. Sharing your story will most definitely help others. You are leading by example and that is off the charts incredible. Sending you love and hugs and prayers. If I could come weed your flower gardens I would. Big hugs 🙂

  93. You are amazing! I am praying that you will becalm during the treatments and that they will work. I believe in miracles.

  94. You are truly an incredible person. Sending prayers and many {{{good vibes}}} your way. You have endured too much and have the thoughtfulness and care to share it here with us. You truly are exceptional. I know you from afar and appreciate learning so much about your journey. You will be in my thoughts and please stay strong. This world needs more people like you. Wishing you the best Paula. XO- MaryJo

  95. Paula,
    You are such an inspiration to everyone. I will be lifting you up in prayer every day. I believe in God’s loving grace and I have experienced true miracles. My 2 year old daughter was full of cancer and doctors thought she would be gone in 6 weeks. She will be 40 in December. I credit it to prayer that was raised up to God by so many people. She lives with side effects, but she is strong like you are. She doesn’t want people to know and feel sorry for her. You have so much of her determination and strength. Your family and friends are so loving and supportive. I will pray for them also.
    May God bless you all.
    Cindy

  96. Praying for you, Paula. I pray that you will be healed completely. You are such an inspiration. I’m praying for your family too. I’m sure this is so hard for them to walk through this with you.

  97. Sending healing thoughts to you and your family and Sherman of course. You got this girl – JUST KEEP SWIMMING

  98. I am so sad that you have gotten such awful news, but I do believe in God and I do believe in miracles and a miracle is what I will be also adding to my prayers for you, along with all those things you have requested of us. May God be with you to help you, to completely heal you and give you the strength to fight this. We all love you, Paula, and admire your courage, your strength and your determination. I hope you can feel all our love and will soon feel the power of our combined prayers on your behalf. Take care of yourself, sweet lady. We are all rooting for you to get through this.

    Hugs,

    Tee xoxo

  99. You are one amazing and strong lady! Stronger than you ever thought you were and I know you have more in there to fight! Sending you many many prayers and big hugs. Listen to some great podcasts on your drive to and from your UVA trips to help lift you up and pass the time. I recently discovered these – The next right thing(Emily Freeman) and also John O’Leary, both are very uplifting!

  100. :Paula, I have been following your blog for a little over two years now. I also live in Virginia – my son is at Virginia Tech. I love reading your blog and seeing your decorating posts. I want you to know that you are in my prayers everyday. I pray for strength for you and and your family to get through this treatment. Wishing you the best –

  101. Paula,
    While I just can’t imagine what you are going through emotionally and physically, I am totally amazed by your strength and determination. You are in my thought and prayers. I so appreciate you keeping us updated so we can continue to pray for specific healing. Love you, my friend!

  102. PAULA,
    YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY. I ADMIRE YOUR GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT TO SHARE TREATMENT PROTOCOLS. YOU, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS, ARE ADVANCING MEDICINE IN WAYS THAT WILL EXTEND BEYOND ALL OF OUR LIVES AND LEGACIES. I THINK OF YOU DAILY. WHAT A TESTAMENT TO YOUR TEACHING BACKGROUND WITH YOUR CURRENT AND FORMER STUDENTS.
    GIVE SHERMAN A HUG & A TREAT! LAURA IN COLORADO
    PS IF ANYONE CAN ROCK A BALD HEAD IT’S YOU ;0)
    KEEP FIGHTING GIRL!

  103. Oh Paula,

    I am so incredibly sorry. I am in tears reading your update and cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. Sending you prayers of strength and healing to make it through your treatments.

  104. Paula,
    You are so brave. I have been following along your journey in fighting this monster. Your courage and strength will help others with their struggles. I have been lifting you in prayer and will continue the prayers. Thank you for providing the specifics on how we can help you through our prayers. You continue to be an inspiration. Know you are surrounded with love from perfect strangers too.

  105. Hello, Paula. I just wanted to say how inspiring I find your comments and positive outlook as you progress through a terrible disease. I enjoy your blog and wonderful home ideas very much. Praying for successful treatment and strength for you and your family

  106. I am praying for you every day. Our Lord is the Great Physician and a wonderful Comforter. I’m praying that you don’t become too fatigued with the treatments. You are so strong as I have realized reading your updates. Stay strong and please know that prayers are being said over you. Blessings to you and your family.

  107. I work as a social worker in Radiation Oncology in my town so I know exactly what your going through! one tip is if you think anything is wrong please bring it to their attention! they are here to help! I am so sorry you have to go through this, but you seem to have a lot of support and will get through this.

  108. I just found and joined your site. I almost could not hold back my tears for you. Your story is so touching. My family and I are sending prayers to God on your behalf, as I text. I can tell that you are a lot stronger than you know. You care about your body/your health, so you will do what you need to to fight this horrible disease. We will keep praying that God not only keep you strong, will reach out and touch your soul. Removing this cancer. We pray that he will give you strength to do what you need to do to fight and not tire out. Keep fighting and do not give up. With God’s help, you got this too. Amen! Though many of us are strangers, and may never meet you, just know, we love you. We have you in our hearts. We will keep praying for you.

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