The Unbeaten Path



Halfway there. 6 Rounds of Chemo…”Check!”  Double Mastectomy with 1st phase of Reconstruction…”Check!”  Chemo continued every 21 days? Getting that routine down… “Check?”  6 weeks of daily radiation beginning in just a few days… “Oh boy”.  Unchartered territory for me.  It’s my unbeaten path.

Oddly enough, I’m nervously excited about it.  I’m a freak, right?

unbeaten path

There’s something totally nerve-racking and thrilling about the unknown.  Sometimes, I feel the unknown, loss of control of the future is enough to drive me to drink.  (Truth be told, good or bad, there are little moments that I won’t find an excuse to toast a glass of wine to.  Again, might I remind ya, Jesus’ first miracle, he turned water into wine and his mama told Him to do it.  Cheers!) Yet other moments,  the adventurous thrill-seeker side of me comes out.  The same one that used to: spend summers in North Carolina rock-climbing up mountains and out to hang under cliffs while tourists took pics on top; white water canoe down waterfalls (backwards when my leader spontaneously felt like testing me); hike for days from one side of a gorge until getting picked up on the other; or the same one that still repeatedly reminds my family that sky diving has never really left my bucket list (although is completely aware that I would need a sturdy pair of adult diapers for that jump. Yikes!).  That’s the part of me that’s kinda excited about Radiation. I know.


It would be ridiculous to ignore the butterflies in my stomach as I sat in the waiting room yesterday, waiting to meet with my radiologist to get the ball rolling.  Although still in the same building, The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, I’m in a whole new room.  I check in on a different side of the desk.  I wait in a different waiting room.  The nurses are new, the doctors are new, the conversations buzzing among patients about their “war stories” are entirely foreign to me.  I couldn’t pull up a chemo story, this was different.  I was on another planet and didn’t speak the language. My stomach flipped as I first sat down across from a patient who was having difficulty with skin burns.  People spoke of their self-conscious feelings of having visible burns and wanting to avoid social gatherings.  They looked at me and looked back at each other.  The unsaid conversation said that I was a “rookie”.  Their glances spoke volumes, and then it hushed. The room fell silent.

Parts of me wanted to scream, get up and leave, cancel my appointment, cry, hug those patients for all they’d gone through, ask if I could help, or…. just sit in the corner like I did. Completely mute and unsocial.  (Mind you, that never happens with me!)  I sat quiet and alone and grabbed my phone.  Not to play a game. Not to scroll over Facebook or Pinterest, but to find YOUR PRAYER INTENTIONS.  Those intentions, they give me purpose. So many times, they’ve been my saving grace. I needed to get my “head back in the game”.  I went back to this blog, looked at the pics of my kids & my family (my reason to fight) , the comments and intentions of so many people who are travelling on rocky paths that they never thought they’d be on or chose to walk, yet there they are.  And here I am.  Then, SNAP!  Just like that… God gave me the grace.  I closed my eyes and I prayed what I’ve been praying since the beginning of my diagnosis:

“I give you my body,  I give you my family, I GIVE YOU MY CHILDREN. 

I surrender it ALL to you.  Your will be done.”

No sooner could I get the words, “Amen,” out of my mouth…that the nurse called me back.  God’s timing is really something.  Kinda makes me think He just might be listening, huh? 😉

do you trust me

Yet again, I have the perfect doctor for me for this next journey.  He totally put me at ease about any concerns I had, any horror stories heard, etc.  I had a purse full of oils, lotions and sprays for him to give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to, which he was happy to look through and help me develop a perfect plan of attack to keep me from turning into the “black marshmallow of a roasted s’more” that I’d been told I’d just “have to deal with”.  EWW!


#impossibletooverusethispic #majorfallonfanoverhere #iwillseehisshowinperson #tonighshowbucketlist

Brilliant doctor, blah blah blah.  Put me at ease, blah blah blah.  Set up a plan for skin care, blah blah blah.

But did I tell you he’s yet another snarky, quick witted doc that appreciates the value of witty banter and messing with his patients.  Atleast, that’s how that went in my appointment.  Perfect match…yet again! Ahhh… so refreshing. Don’t treat me like a fragile piece of glass.  Crack a joke, mess with me, and treat me like a normal chick who just had to bare all in an awkward environment when she’d rather get on with her life and get this crapola over with.  Call a spade a spade aaaand……

lets do this

…As for the whole unbeaten path thing?

The deal is, every day, we can keep trying to do the same ol’ same ol’.  I could avoid all of this.  We can stay in our own comfort zones and do what feels normal, safe, and what we’ve been doing forever.  Why? Because, well, “I’ve got too much on my plate.” … “That’s too much of a stretch for me.” … “That sounds scary.” … “I’m a little unsure about that one.”…”No one else understands, my life is just crazy right now.”

Heck! I can say, “Forget this, docs,  haven’t I done enough? We’ve been at this since July and it’s February.  My kids are tired.  I’m tired.  My whole family is wiped.  I know they are.” I mean, they did say that I’m “Cancer Free”, right?  Well, when I really look at my family, though, and I think of the big picture of what I really want for us. I think..

That’s not good enough for me.

I want to whole package.  I want no stone left unturned.  When my diagnosis was made, it was enough to make my surgeon of 30+ years turn off his computer, close my file, hold my hands and cry.  He still has in his notes, Stage 4.   If ALL docs agree on radiation,  I trust this team with all my heart and soul.  They have met my family and they love my children.  I trust them with my family.  I trust them to send me down this path.  In fact,  I’m ready to head down it as if I was next up on some wicked extreme sports course, and if I could, I’d add a zip line!

leave a trail

So please keep me, my radiologist (Dr.Woods), my radiation tech team at MBP, and MY FAMILY, in prayers as we begin in the week ahead. Monday, February 9th, we’ll conduct “a dry run” to prep for the big start on Tuesday, February 10th.

Again, we invite you to click the SUPPORT THE TEAM tab to see how you can join us in: (most importantly) PRAYER; (as the bills roll in- especially as most surgeries are out of network) funding; or in “getting yo’ shirt” (please help spread the word, we need quite afew more sales for this campaign to be able to screen the shirts and members to get their shirts):



Every little thing helps.  Every little like on this blog, every little comment, every little share… and most importantly, every little prayer.  Not just for me, not for just for my family (Whom, I BEG OF YOU TO PLEASE PRAY FOR MY LITTLE ONES NOW MORE THAN EVER, As they are getting tired. They are strong, but they are tired), …but for each and every person that reads this blog.  My prayer, my hope is that somehow, someway, somewhere, someone out there can grow from this.  If it’s just one other person, then this has given me purpose to take this path.

The path unspoken.  Now spoken.

For you.

3 jeremiah

We’re all in this together.  Team Buna is not just my family.  It’s not just about us.

Facebook Profile Pic

I hope for TEAM BUNA and this blog to mean so much more beyond my journey.  It’s about all of YOU and whatever you’re going through as well.  I hope for it to carry on to so much more.  “Buna” means “Good” after all.  God wants that “Good” for all of us.  Every path, no matter how dirty, how scary, how unknown, has some good in it in the end.  He wouldn’t place it before us if it didn’t.

God's got this




18 thoughts on “The Unbeaten Path

  1. When my mom had breast cancer the last time the radiation burns were significant . They gave her some great cream to rub in everyday, but I remember the first time I was town and asked if I could put the cream on. Silent tears ran down her cheek as I did it. Not because it hurt but because it felt so good to have someone else touch her and rub it on. That was my job from that moment on. My advice to you would be to let someone do that for you. It made me feel very special and helpful and made my mom feel better. A win win. It remains a wonderful memory for me. We love you and keep you in our daily prayers. Wendy

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elise,

    I find it inspiring that your excited related to your comments about the nerve racking anticipation of the unknown! I have read about Navy Seals and how most of them anxiously await the BUDS training with joy, knowing the challenge set before them yet determined and confident they will overcome it as they’ve done so many times before. You’ve got this and we are sending our prayers and love to lift you up!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from ya, McLean! Not sure if I deserve to be compared to a Navy seal, but I relate to the freakish excitement nonetheless. I will use their bravery and their story to inspire me though. Some courageous beasts, those guys. I guess i’ll need to sport some fatigues to my appointments?


  3. If you need a ride I am available on Tuesday Wednesday and Friday mornings until the 17th and after March 3rd. I took Eddy every morning for seven weeks and I know that it gets hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you so much, susan! I will definitely keep that in mind and give you a heads up if need be. you and deacon eddie have been a tremendous support and inspiration to me as well. if God brings me to it, He’ll bring me through it, right?


  4. My mom, sister, and I read all of your blogs and keep you and your family in our prayers. I attended your getting wiggy with it benefit and will never forget how touched I was just watching you and your husband dance/sing together. SO cute!! I will not stop following your story and definitely will not stop praying!!! You are an inspiration to many!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • wow, Bethany! I appreciate every bit of support. from following the blog and ALL THE PRAYERS, to attending “Getting Wiggy With It”. What a great memory and what an amazing night that was. I’ll never forget it. Just what we needed to mark my halfway point of my big chemo rounds.
      Keep those prayers rollin’. They’re working!!


  5. Elise thank you for sharing this journey. I cry I laugh and I want to raise a glass of wine to toast your inspiration , strength and bravery. I’ve never met you but I am Ashley Mohren’s aunt and I know she’s a good friend of yours. Before I read your story, my alarm ringtone was three little birds. Great song love it. Ordered my shirt and I’m ready to wear it proudly. May God continue to shower his blessings on you and that precious family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Yes! Keep the Marley ringtone, keep toasting and laughing and PRAYING with us. We appreciate all of that support and all of those blessings. We know that’s what’s gotten us this far. We reciprocate every prayer right back to ya!
      And whenever you see Ashley and her beautiful fam, give them big hugs for us!


  6. Elise, your posts give me strength to fight this mean illness. Some days I want to give up, but I put on my team buna shirt and think of you and your tenacity and I keep going. Know that you are doing so much good. God bless you and your beautiful family.


  7. Elise,
    You are truly amazing. I am praying for you and your family especially your little have been through so much with so much yet to do……but with prayers and your faith as well as your family, you Got This!! Look forward to your next post… Stay Strong!!💖
    Sherri ( from St Charles Hospital)


  8. Praying every day for you Elise. I am Mary Hansen’s sister and Nerissa Lowicki’s sister in law. My kids are all praying for you too. Praying for Mother Mary to hold you in radiation and for a spirit of joy in your family especially your little ones.


    • thank you so much, Julie, for all of the prayers. I’ve had a strong personal devotion to mary since i was a little girl when our family was really on rocky ground. she held me then, and i know she’s held my family now. especially, i beg ya to keep that prayer going for my kiddos. they are all smiles at school, at parties, and wherever we go… but it wears on them by the end of the day and at random unforeseen moments throughout. i know they are tired. we need a boost. mary hold them tight!


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