Terri Gray's Update

Hello. Welcome to my Blog. I will use this form of communication to keep all my family, friends and others who are interested in my life experiences living with cancer up to date. I have been battling inflammatory breast cancer since May 2003. Every day I pray "May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today!" Please subscribe to my Blog by entering your email address in the subscribe box located in the right column below my book.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Theresa “Terri” Lynne Gray
1961 – 2006

Theresa “Terri” Lynne Gray passed away Sunday, April 30, 2006 after a 35 month battle against inflammatory breast cancer at her home in Lompoc with her husband and mother by her side. She was 44 years of age.

Born December 28, 1961 in Redwood City, California to Robert and Susan Julian, Terri was a graduate of Sonora Union High School. She served in the US Army as a Medical Specialist from 1980 to 1983. She came to Lompoc in 1988 and was a member of Lompoc First Assembly of God. She was a writer and author and recently completed her autobiography titled Of Fairy Tales and Happily Ever Afters: My Story of Breast Cancer.

Terri is survived by her husband of 24 years, David Gray of Lompoc, daughter, Jennifer Gray of Lompoc, son, Christopher Gray of Lompoc, parents, Robert and Susan Julian of Sonora, brothers, Stuart Julian of Lolo, Montana, Brian Julian of Pocomoke City, Maryland, Sean Julian of Kingwood, Texas, and Kevin Julian of Tangent, Oregon, and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Visitation was held on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Starbuck-Lind Mortuary. The celebration of life service was held 11:00 am on Thursday, May 4, 2006 at the Trinity Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Ron Gravell of the Lompoc First Assembly of God officiated. Interment with military honor guard and taps followed in the Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery. A U.S. flag was presented to David Gray.

Memorial donations may be made to the Spina Bifida Association of America, 45 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC, 20007-4226, The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Lompoc, 604 East Ocean Ave., Suite A, Lompoc, CA 93436, Attn: Mellissa White, or the IBC Research Foundation, 321 High School Road NE, #149, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

A New Beginning For Terri and Family

It is with a great deal of sadness that we announce that Terri passed away this morning. She put up a valiant fight but is now resting in the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Viewing will be Wednesday, May 3, 2006 from 4-7 p.m. at Starbuck-Lind Mortuary, 123 North “A” St. A celebration of her life will be held on Thursday, May 4, 2006 at 11 a.m. – Trinity Church of the Nazarene at 500 E North Ave. (Corner of North & D Sts.)

Terri’s desire was that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Spina Bifida Association of America, Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) or Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Thank you for all the love and prayers with which you have supported our family over the past three years and most especially in these last 30 days. We thank the Lord for Terri and for you, her family and friends.

David, Jennifer & Christopher

Spina Bifida Association of America
4590 MacArthur Blvd, NW, Ste 250
Washington DC 20007-4226

American Cancer Society
Relay for Life of Lompoc
Attn: Mellissa White
604 E Ocean Ave, Ste A
Lompoc, CA 93436

IBC Research Foundation
321 High School Rd NE, #149
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110


Friday, April 21, 2006

Jesus At Work

Dear friends and family,

The last time Terri wrote you was on April 3, 2006. For many days now I have hoped she would have the strength to compose a letter to you. As the days have gone by, it's clear that she is not going to be able to do that any time soon. So it is I, David, sending this message to you.

Terri has had some good days recently. More of her family and friends from across the nation have come to visit. It was really good to see her brother Brian and his family during the Easter holidays. To all our amazement, Terri made it to the Easter service at church. After church, 12 of us set down for a turkey dinner provided by Pastor Ron. My Mom from TN is here too and she is staying with Jennifer.

On April 6th, I surprised Terri with special gifts. She first opened the gift bag to find 2 custom made license plate frames that was also an announcement to her second gift. With the help of my neighbor, a new Web site with her very own domain name debuted. It is TerriLGray.com.

On April 19, an interview with Terri, aired on a national radio program called Money Matters. I have placed the edited interview on our family Web site and Terri’s new Web site. The actual telephone interview took place on March 28th.

Speaking of March 28, I have to tell you that Terri really surprised me with a birthday gift that I have had my eyes on for some time. Terri gave me a Canon EOS 30D digital SLR camera. I want to become an amateur wildlife photographer and spend less time from in front of my computer.

Early this week, Terri appeared to stable. Wednesday she began show some signs of weakening and Thursday she seemed to be a little worse. No matter her condition, she still has enough energy to display her beautiful smile and make us laugh. She is amazing to us all.

In today's devotional, the verse was from Isaiah 65:8, paraphrased, it states "The new wine is found in the cluster." Notice it says cluster, not grape. It's all about team work. And I see that happening here in Lompoc. People from different churches and different faiths joining in our front yard to pray. It is an awesome sight yet very humbling. Isn't that what it's going to be like in heaven? No walls or boundaries between our faiths. The sign posted in our font yard states, "Jesus At Work".

Continue to pray for her and my family.

On behalf of Terri,


May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Monday, April 03, 2006

New Week

Good afternoon,

Thank you ALL so much for your patience. I know my e-mails are getting farther between, and that silence brings with it so many questions. But before I begin to share where I'm at right now, I just wanted to begin with my thanks to you all. Your outpouring of love, caring and compassion truly have sustained me through this portion of my journey through cancerland. How blessed I am! Thank you.

As you are well aware, we have had an outpouring of out-of-town/out-of-state visitors since my last message which explained the cessation of chemotherapy and my entrance into Hospice Care. And in between all of those wonderful visits, we have had those of you who live here in town pay your visits as well. So with just that said, I have been pretty pre-occupied. Then, my induction into Hospice Care has taken up several hours in my day as well. I was given the "introduction to Hospice" tour, via all of their staff, coming on different days, explaining their roles in my care. They have been marvelous. We have them coming here to do all sorts of things that are so tremendously helpful. In fact, after the visit with their Social Worker, Hospice will begin sending out a respite care worker today, not for me, but for my dad! Yes, that's right. For 16 hours each week, this person comes and will occupy Dad, whose dementia has kept mom running, so that mom can be of more help to me. And once a week, a homemaker will come and help with household chores, to give Dave and Mom a reprieve, too. Today, the two of them are going to the commissary together, while Dad's respite worker is here. Then, of course, Hospice sends out a nurse to care for my medical needs, including care for my Port-A-Cath, exchanging pain med cartridges, and overseeing my overall health.

As for my actual health, I do have to be honest with you, it is declining. The fatigue I have mentioned is worsening. I seem to see a pattern happening. As I fatigue, then I rest more, which seems to weaken my arms and legs. This makes it difficult to push myself in and out of bed. I've never had skinny arms before, but my right arm, especially, is skinnier than ever. The left still has some lymphedema, so it looks "healthier" than the other. The pain meds, although working great, cause me to be sleepier, which adds to the fatigue. There isn't much we can do about that. I do now have skin mets on my chest again, and they are itching up a storm. I haven't had them since 2004, so that was such a nice reprieve. Since I cannot take chemo therapy any longer, there isn't anything we can do about this. I also have swelling in my lower legs, due in part to the clogged bile ducts, caused by the liver tumor enlarging. The yellowness from the jaundice seems to be stabilized as well.

OK...enough of the somber stuff...let me tell you about some good things! First of all, my precious Pastor Ron, has been here every day, offering his support in every way possible. The first thing he did after that Wednesday appointment, when Dr. Lossing said he'd done all he could, was to show up at our house. He asked Dave and me if there was anything they could do for us. Well my goodness, he already does so much, I couldn't ask for anything more, except what he was already doing, which is to pray. Then, Dave took Pastor aside, and shared that for years, he has wanted to do a paint job in the master bedroom, but couldn't move all the furniture by himself. So Pastor and Dave came back inside, and asked if I'd like my bedroom painted. That sounded really nice, because I knew that I'd be spending more time in my bedroom as the days rolled one. Well, if you know Pastor Ron, he does nothing in a small way. He spoke with our church board, and before you know it, he had a complete "Extreme Makeover...Home Edition" happening right here. They repainted our entryway, hallway, and bedroom. Because I couldn't tolerate too much excitement, it needed to be done within a 5-day period...not enough time to make oodles of phone calls and arrange to include everyone. But in his very loving and kind way, he had our master bedroom transformed into the most peaceful place you could imagine. Dave took pictures and put them up on the photo gallery at our website:
www.graystarcity.com if you'd like to see just what they did! That was so marvelous, because Dave's family was here during this time, from N.Carolina and Texas, and they were instrumental in assisting with moving stuff in and out of the bedrooms, etc. Thank you EVERYONE who assisted with this project.

Now, to top this off....something awesome occurred while Dave's family were here (and I haven't already mentioned this...my mom took a leave of absence from work and my parents are living here and all a huge part of everything now) at church. Some things were shared by Pastor and another member of our church about what God put on his heart. Most of you received an e-mail about this so I won't go into great detail. But the bottom line is that throughout the month of April, there is someone praying every hour out in front of our home for some specific requests, including my healing. How can I not be joyous and thankful? I am so blessed by everyone. Every time I try to be a blessing, God blesses me through all of you, one hundred-fold. Thank you.

No matter what God's answer to our prayers is, I know He will do the very best for me, and for you. Don't walk away from Him because of this. He has great things in store for everyone who believes!

Sorry this is so lengthy. I had to make sure that I didn't forget to mention anything. And perhaps I forgot something, but you can always e-mail and ask me, OK? I love you all,



May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Hello friends and family,

It's Friday, and I realize I haven't written to you since my Wednesday update a week ago. I apologize. It's been quite hectic here...lots of emotional ups and downs. Now, I think everyone has allowed my news to sink in, they're doing ok. As you read this, I hope you're ok, too. I've had such an awesome time with the Lord this past week. He has been my refuge, my strength at all times.

Yesterday, I had my first meeting with the hospice nurse case work manager, and it was quite a pleasant experience. Donna Green, RN, explained how she could help make me more comfortable, and that has already taken place. She had a very well organized binder for me to keep with everything we discussed inside, so that we could feel confident in our part of making it all work out.

Thank you to all who have brought meals, walked the dogs, and come to visit. Since so many of you just want to help out, I must tell you that we have an abundance of meals coming, so if you wish to help with a meal, please call our new meal coordinator, Cheryl Pilkerton, at 735-8242, to find out when that would be best to deliver, and what our current needs are. Thanks so much!

Many of you have asked how I'm feeling, what my symptoms are currently, etc. Mainly, I have extreme fatigue, and that makes long visits a little difficult, as I might fall asleep on you while we're talking. Sorry if that has already happened to you!

We had the most wonderful visit with David's family this past weekend, and now my brothers, Sean from Houston, and Stuart from Lolo, MT will be here this evening, along with Juliana, Sean's fiancé and Dad and Mom Julian. So we will have plenty of guests! It's so nice that everyone wants to visit. I love to see each of you.

I promised myself to keep this brief, and so I shall. Just wanted you to know how much I love each and every one of you.



May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The latest news.

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you're having a wonderful week so far. As you all know, each day is a treasure to me, and especially today, I am reminded of the treasure of the day. Dr. Lossing called me in today for an appointment and to talk about my prognosis. He advised me that my red blood counts along with my platelets were lowered by the first dosage of Doxil, so I took a Procrit injection for the hemoglobin. There isn't anything to take for the platelets, except to wait for them to rise again.

Then, Dr. Lossing closed the doors in his office and faced David and me in a more serious and somber glance. "How are you feeling?" He inquired. I told him that I noticed the fatigue was worsening, and that it seemed to make me want to sleep most of the time. Then, he went over all the boxes Cara had checked off on the sheet in my chart. Finally, I asked him to be honest with us. "Where am I at, Dr. Lossing? Is the feeling of fatigue due in part to the Doxil and pain meds, or is my body just shutting down?"

He responded with the fact that my assumptions were correct. He said I could no longer tolerate the Doxil because of my jaundice, and that the body was shutting down. Unless I had a miracle, we had done medically, all we could do. I shed a few tears and then explained that I knew this in my heart, but that Dave and I were trusting God for a miracle. He said that we all are. Because I really need one more Procrit to bring up my red blood counts from the Doxil, he wants me to wait until next Wednesday to go onto hospice. After my Procrit, he wants to put me on hospice. Hospice does not pay for Procrit. So this is where we're at.

I need all of you to understand that I have not given up on God. Medically, we have done above and beyond what any body can tolerate. Now, we shall allow my body permission to rest and wait upon the Lord for His answer to my needs. I'm sure many of you are asking yourselves "How much time?" I want to take you back to my earlier e-mails back in 2003, when I explained that "all our days ordained for us are written in the Book of Life...Psalm 139" and that I won't enter into eternity one day earlier than God plans for me to be there. Dr. Lossing said weeks as opposed to months. I'm a firm believer in God's miracles, and I'm waiting upon mine....any time now! This is a very difficult time for my family, and I would covet your prayers for them. Dave, Jen and Chris have stood strong with me throughout this long and difficult journey, and I ask you to do the same with them. God is so great, and in my heart of hearts, I know He's working out His perfect plan. Let's wait expectantly for what He will do!

With my love,


May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Two new friends (3/7/06)

Hello to all,

Wow...another e-mail so soon, huh? Just wanted you to know what went on over the weekend. Unfortunately, I had a rough time over the weekend with low-grade fever, pain, aches, etc. I thought I was coming down with something, and e-mailed Dr. Lossing. But he didn't e-mail me back....I found out he was out of town. Anyway, by Sunday night, the pain was getting pretty intense, so I asked Dave to e-mail Dr. Lossing from his computer. Dr. Lossing wrote back...he had returned. He told Dave he'd fax some lab/x-ray forms to the hospital, and for me to go to the hospital first thing Monday to take care of it all. Then, he wanted to see me in his office.

My mom agreed to take me to the hospital and Dave stayed home with Dad. Thankfully, I had a wheelchair to go to the hospital with, because there was no way I could walk around feeling like I felt. It took especially long for us to get finished at the hospital, because although the fax to the lab made it there, the fax to x-ray did not. And when I did get the x-ray done, it had to be retaken, because the first pictures didn't take properly.

Once we returned home, Dad was anxiously pacing back and forth, waiting to go home to Sonora. Over the weekend, he had an especially difficult time with wanting to leave and go home. His repetitions were unstoppable, and I was so impressed with mom's ability to stay calm and reassure Dad that he would go home on Monday. Mom, you deserve an extra jewel in your crown!

After having some lunch, Dave took me over to see Dr. Lossing. He read the reports from my morning hospital testing, and you're not going to believe this...but I have two new friends, Billy and Reuben. That's right. No one invited them, but they managed to find their way into my blood stream. LOL. The only thing that showed up on my tests was an elevated bilirubin count. On a lab report, it gives the highs and lows of what's normal. Anything below those numbers is considered LOW...and anything above is considered HIGH. My bilirubin was 3.9. Now the high end of normal is 1.0, so mine is slightly elevated. But it's enough to make me jaundiced. Dr. Lossing said I could have a blocked bile duct in the liver, or the tumor could be growing. The interesting thing is that my other liver function tests are all lower than the last blood tests. So we'll have to wait and see with this. In the mean time, Dr. Lossing had me call the Home Health Nurses to increase my hour pain med rate, so I didn't have to be in such pain. I've kind of felt like a zombie today, but not much pain at all, so I guess it's working.

On a happier note...people have blessed me over and over again. On Friday, Pastor Ron and Vicki came over and brought us one of their famous Costco meals to share with my parents. Thank you!!! Martie and Dori came for a visit on Sunday and Dori loaned me her rigid wheelchair to use as needed until I can start feeling better. Thank you both for making the drive up from Santa Barbara. And Al and Joyce Morey showed up on Sunday afternoon with an entire "cool" meal! Nothing was hot, so I could eat it. Everything was delicious, and we thank you for that. My parents enjoyed sharing it with us. This helped so much since I wasn't feeling my best.

Tomorrow evening is going to be very special for us. A while back, Martie Levy asked me if I could send her a list of "things" I would love to do...that others could do for me. At first, I drew a blank because everyone's been so good to me over these past three years (almost) since my b/c diagnosis. Then, little ideas started coming to mind, and I made my list and sent it to Martie. Well, one of the things I've wanted to do is ride in a limo, just for the fun of it. So Martie has arranged for a limo to pick us up tomorrow at 5:30 and drive us to Los Olivos for a meal at the Fess Parker Inn's Wine Cask restaurant. It'll be our family of four going, and everyone's very excited. Since tomorrow makes a week since chemo, I am officially allowed to eat heated foods, although I'm going to take that in moderation, just to play it safe! It's always nice to have something to look forward to...so to Martie, everyone else involved in making this happen, thank you.

My mom called today to share that my brother, Brian, is having some pretty extensive surgery in his mouth, including having his tonsils removed. Please keep Brian in your prayers, as I've heard this can be more painful when you're an adult, than for children. Brian, you have my prayers!!!!

Love to you all,


May I be a blessing to you in each word I write today.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift! Enjoy today.