Fight To Win Updates

Thursday, March 20, 2014
UPDATE
Hello Family and Friends,

A quick update… please understand that it is difficult to write more often sometimes as being on the internet is tiring and difficult. I never thought I would say that….lol

Anyway, excited, because the surgery is done. They pulled out the cancer. The first chemo worked well as it dropped the cancer from 5cm down to 2.5 of which they pulled out. They also pulled out 10 lymph nodes as 2 of them already had cancer and they were worried it was moving on. Other words the doctors did a fantastic job. Now we are in recovery mode. As an athlete I am realizing surgery is so much easier than chemo. I am down a bit, but at least I feel human as I can still communicate normally, and enjoy my surroundings. I sleep a lot due to all the medicine I am taking, which is frustrating, but I know it is helping me recover so much faster. I am excited as they are letting me recover until April then we start the next set of chemo. GRRRR…

I am hoping to get out a bit within the next 2 weeks since that is about how much time I have before some of the challenging stuff starts again. They are concerned that they don’t want anything to come back and therefore they are going to try a different type of chemo. I am not sure how to take it as they said, well an 80 year old person could’t handle it, but you are young so we know you can. (not sure how to take that) LOL They said about 4 months of chemo and then we can finish with radiation and prayerfully be done. Yea! a light at the end of the tunnel. A little longer tunnel than we had hoped, but God is in control and it is amazing all the support this has brought. Thank you to all of you. My love language is acts of service, and there are many times you all have brought me to tears just because of your generous heart and and kind acts of service not just to me, but to my kids, my friends and family from Washington and to the dojang that is our community ministry. Thank you so much to all of you, I thank the Lord daily for all of you and the blessings that he has provided me with through all of you. Please everyone, have an AMAZING week and continue to put smiles on our communities faces.

Master Barb Kunkel

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
UPDATE
Hello everyone,

Thank you so much for all your encouraging words, and prayers. I am so very grateful for the family and friends that God has brought into my life.

Today, in a couple hours I will be having the surgery to remove the cancer. Praise God!, we are one step closer. Please pray for the wisdom of the doctors and don’t forget to pray for that miracle that God can do if he so chooses the one where they go in and realize there is no cancer at all. Wouldn’t that be amazing. I would love that, however, when people were praying yesterday, I realized that maybe God has other plans. I would be thrilled, but also ok if that miracle didn’t happen as he is always in control and sees the whole picture where we can’t see it all yet.

My childhood friends as well as my parents came into town to help me this past week. It has been wonderful taking my mind off of the challenge many times. I loved going to Denver and watching all our team do extremely well at the tournament and see the smiles on so many first timers faces at their success. I am grateful to God for those moments. It is truly a blessing.

As we prepare, it is difficult as it is an uncomfortable area for me, but God is reshaping many things in my life. Thank you all for your prayers and support, I could not have asked for a stronger team. I will continue to keep you updated as the progress goes. Please understand that I would love to see all of you, but first I have to come to terms with what is going on in this uncomfortable area for me. It has nothing to do with you, just me and my challenges. If it was my leg that was being operated on, I would look at this so differently, but it is not, so please understand why I want to not have too many visitors…. nothing short of saying it is a bit embarrassing for me and I now I have to get over it, but please understand my challenges and allow God not us to change my mindset. Thank you and I look forward to either talking with you all later.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian

Wednesday, February 19,2014
UPDATE
Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to give you the update of the doctor visit this week. It was Good and Bad News all wrapped in one.

The doctor measured the cancer again to see if it grew or shrunk from this chemo. Well, it grew again.
So Bad News is it grew, but Good news is that the doctor is not going to have me do the chemo this week which allows me to hopefully have more days of
feeling good. We are going to do surgery as soon as possible either the 4th or 14th of March in order to take the cancer out since this chemo is not
working. I will still need to finish the chemo, but will do it after surgery vs. now.

The cool thing is God is so much in control and apparently wants me to get the surgery first, which I am so ok with. Thank you for your continued
thoughts and prayers and know that this is all a part of the Master’s plan.

I do ask for prayer for this part only as it is out of my comfort zone a lot in this area and makes it more difficult to want to go to the doctor.
I am sure it will get easier, but I think my extremely conservative background is now catching up to me. LOL

Master Barb Kunkel

Monday, February 17, 2014
PERSPECTIVE
Hello Family and Friends,

Wanted to name this update PERSPECTIVE….

As many of you know this treatment has been much more challenging than the last. Nothing we didn’t know in advance, but as we go through it sometimes it does test the mental toughness a lot. This last treatment I went to, honestly, I did not want to go. I fought every bone in my body and a little bit of Kristi too…lol to go as I knew what it would do to me afterwards. Well, God used that treatment to remind me of PERSPECTIVE.

As we were in the waiting room we ran across a wonderful YOUNG lady. (24-26 years old.) She had a 6 and 3yr old child and had gallbladder cancer. She was sitting next to her fiancé and father waiting for her treatment.

I asked her “what was her plan to get through and when was her hopeful finish date.” She stated, “There is no plan and finish date. The doctor told me in april of last year that I only had 3 months to live, but through prayer and treatment I am still here today. I fight for each day, but have to do chemo treatments 2x a week and take chemo pills and pain pills daily for as long as I live. WOW!, Perspective was all I could think of. Kristi brightened her day as she asked about the wedding and offered to help her with a dance. It was very special.

As we walked into the back for our turn, we had the privilege of recapping the gift God just gave us.

During treatment, another lady who had breast cancer also began to talk with us and we found out she had the same thing, but all of her treatments were opposite of mine. She had many times been angry and shocked and was surprised at our positive attitudes as we got to share a bit of how God has used this cancer for the positive. Later, Kristi went over to speak with her one on one and she said, ” I can tell you are both religious and I need to get back into a church again and look at things more positively.” The conversation was wonderful as God was again present in so many ways.

Now for the doctor update: this week was just a bit of a setback, but nothing we cannot handle. When the doctor measured the cancer she was very concerned as she thought it might have grown this past time instead of shrunk. She immediately called our other doctor and set us up for an appointment the next day to possibly change the plan and do surgery earlier than expected so it would not grow anymore. We went and measured it with the ultra sound and then are going back on Monday to do it again. If it is the same size or has grown then we will do surgery right away, if it shrunk then we will proceed with the chemo treatment this Thursday. (Personally, I want the surgery. LOL)

As we were discussing, the last time it shrunk 2cm in a week, I had the privilege of going in for prayer with the elders. Because, God made such a major change last time we went for prayer, we thought that if we went again, God again would shrink it, so we once again went for prayer with the elders. (Obviously, I didn’t think it all the way through as if it now shrunk alot this week, then I have to do the chemo instead of the surgery. grrrrrrr) Oh well, God is in control and I have a new reminded perspective.

I want to thank you all so very much especially Kristi Glaze for the wonderful surprise dance on Valentine’s Night. I had such an amazing time with all of you through out the whole evening. I loved how all 3 schools came together for an evening of family and fun. I loved meeting and getting to know alot of new people from the south school as well. I loved watching parents dance with their kids, and everyone learn new dances.

I was appreciative even more when I found out it was a fundraiser especially as I just received another $5300 bill that morning. I also had a very rough doctor appointment that brought me into tears that day as I am so far out of my comfort zone with this type of cancer. So, timing was so amazing as my spirits were rough and by the time the evening was over, I felt I could toughen my mental up and push forward to finish this. That evening helped not only raise $1000 for bills, but you all helped give me a huge amount of encouragement as it was another reminder of how precious my A.L.L. TKD family is. I cannot express my gratitude enough for all that helped Kristi and came to spend a wonderful evening together with me. Thank you for the lasting encouragement.

Prayer Praises & Requests:

Thank you for the PERSPECTIVE Reminder this week.

The size of cancer to be where God wants it to be, so the decision for surgery or chemo can be made.

The wisdom for doctors to direct us in the most effective direction.

Thank you for our amazing taekwondo family that God has planted seeds for all of us to be around each other for encouragement, strength, and growth.

Help God to help me and my understanding as I am outside my comfort zone alot more than normal these days.

Master Barb Kunkel

Friday, January 31, 2014
UPDATE
Hello Family and Friends,

It has been a long time since I have written. Reason being this period as we all knew would be so much more difficult. Today is my first day that I am feeling well enough to actually get on the internet. I am very behind in my communication with everyone as well as work.

For the update: Overall, this one is harder to find the funny moments as there are not as many right now. It has been tougher mentally and I received many scripture messages from many of you just at the right moment. Thank you. Many did bring me to tears as I know God did suffer even though he didn’t want to. Even though I know this, it is always good reminders especially when my mind sometimes wants to question the when and why. I am so grateful for my entire life of good health and I do know this is only a fraction of life that things will be tough. Again, I am really grateful for all of you that have prayed, brought food and sent cards, messages and scripture. I am really blessed and don’t take it for granted.

I have also started acupuncture with my friend and Olympic Coaches wife as she has treated many cancer patients. She is in CastleRock and I go up there 3x a week with my sister or Kristi. She has been wonderful. There was one funny moment in the fact that she put a needle in my hand and it hurt just a bit, and I said, can we adjust that one a bit. She said no, because it is working if it feels uncomfortable as you said your eyes are always hurting this will help. She then said, don’t you always tell your students to suck it up? Well, that is what you need to do. Suck it up. LOL So funny as I remember the great times when she first moved here and was learning american slang. She used it correctly. LOL So fun. She made me laugh in a time that has been tough to laugh. Also, my eyes feel alot better now too.

Prayer Requests:

Please Pray for mental toughness….God gives me strength, but every once in a while I do want it to be over and back to normal. I would like to play with my kids again, go to taekwondo without feeling bad, get caught up with some administrative things that only I can do…, give to others instead of always being on the receiving end. It is frustrating to me to when I feel like I am complaining, but that is why I am asking for mental toughness prayer.

Thank you everyone for being understanding in the good times and the rough.
Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
UPDATE

It has been a while since an update, but that was because I have had 3 weeks off of chemo for the holidays. It has been wonderful to be almost normal again. I have had great memories with my children over the holidays as they got to spend time with their cousins in Washington. My body was constantly cold, but I got a robe for Christmas that helped that situation. I did sleep early many nights as my body was done as well. No out late partying for me this year. LOL Overall, it was a great experience.

I was supposed to start phase 2 on the 2nd, but due to scheduling they held me off until this past Friday. We began phase 2 of treatments not knowing what to expect, except that it would be tougher. Well, it is. This period so far has caused me to feel nausea all day. I would go somewhere and throw up before attending, which would give me a couple hours of feeling ok and then back to not feeling well again. GRRR….

They have given me 3 types of nausea medicines to fight the feeling. They offered a fourth one, but we are not using that one as it is $410 with insurance and it only works for 3 days. GRRR…. No worries as the other three we are staying on top of so it doesn’t worsen. We found out that I also need to get white blood cell shots every time I do this chemo as well. Praise the Lord that I have insurance as those shots are $7000.00 each time for a 2 minute shot. Crazy…. I never realized the extent this would be. The concern for me with these shots, is they say there is alot of pain involved with the effects of them in joints and bones. A bit concerning on this end. I am thankful for everyone that has helped out so much. Thank you for the prayers, encouraging words, meals, the assisting in driving, keeping the kids mind on other things, and so much more.

Thank you all for volunteering this past weekend at the OTC. It was a great help to them and a great opportunity for our people to see the bigger picture and show how community oriented we are. Thanks again.

Prayer requests:

Lord please limit the nausea and head pain feeling as much as possible

Lord, please keep the bone pain as minimal as possible.

Lord, please keep my children active and in great spirits with no worries.

Lord, please watch over our tkd family and allow it to continually grow and make a difference in our families and communities. This is YOUR school that we are privileged to be a part of. Please continue to allow it to make its impact.

Lord, please watch over our instructors as they use you to guide their words and thoughts as they teach and make that difference.

Thank you ALL……. I feel we are in this together with God as our Coach and will FIGHT TO WIN. Thank you so so very much. I am truly blessed, and grateful.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Sunday, December 15, 2013
Update
Hello Family and Friends,

Thank you again for your prayers and encouraging words. I am thrilled as Thursday was a milestone. It was the completion of phase 1 in the 4 phase process. We are 25% done. YEA!

I am doing great overall. It is challenging some days as the symptoms keep changing every 2 weeks with the exception of the sinus pressure and pain. Difficult to plan ahead sometimes when this happens. Obviously, it takes me out of my organized world alot. LOL I really believe, God wants me to relate with as many people as possible over the years so I understand what they might be going through, because I feel like I have learned about so many symptoms that I have never been exposed to in my life. LOL Makes for a more empathetic heart.

Phase 2 starts January 2nd and will go for 8 weeks. The medicine in this phase has been explained to be a little bit more challenging than phase 1, so we are a bit concerned, but realize we have had the privilege of preparing mentally for it. I know I have been blessed with an advantage and I have a strong family surrounding me that sends encouraging words and prayers which will make this phase go by much quicker.

Thank you everyone for the prayers, meals, visits, the cards, encouraging words, support, and so much more. Thank you also for the towels, bedding, and dishes for the house. I am so so very grateful. We ended up moving back in the house at the beginning of December. I went to cook cookies for Daniel’s birthday to bring to school and when we turned the oven on the smell came back very strong. We tried 2x and then the owners came and decided to replace the stove, fans, curtains and they are currently painting the entire house, so we moved back with the Glazes for a week. I don’t do anything halfway, do I. If I am going to leave a pot on the stove, then I am going to create the most time consuming cleanup possible. Not a good characteristic to necessarily have. LOL However, the good blessings that come from it is the kids love it as Daniel is playing more football with Uncle Scotty and the boys, and Esther is learning how to dance with Aunt Kristi. What a blessing for my kids.

Thank you again everyone. I am hoping to see you all at the Christmas party on Sunday at the City Auditorium at 5pm. Have a GREAT week.
Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Update
Hello Family and Friends,

This week chemo went very well. The doctor gave the go ahead for us to be able to start the harder chemo on January 2nd instead of before Christmas. YEA!!! This will allow for wonderful memories over the holidays. I again am so thankful for all the prayers from all of you and the answer to prayer from God.

As far as effects…Friday was great as I was able to observe the Red Execs doing an amazing job preparing for the Black Belt Graduation. The weekend was a rough one as I was laid up the entire weekend, but thankful that my kids had others to play with and keep them occupied with fun. Today, Monday I am feeling tons better with the exception of the fact that I am having trouble breathing, so when I went to kick with Josiah I was totally out of breath practicing Back kicks. LOL This is a great time to spar with me. LOL

Lastly, I am also thankful as the painters are done with my house as of today and we are trying to move back in tomorrow. That was also a blessing as my family comes in this week for Daniels Black Belt Demo and Graduation. I am so excited.

This past week we went up to Denver to go through all of our items as they were asking $10,500 to clean everything. We thought instead of them cleaning it all, we brought some home that we thought we could try to clean ourselves, and others we decided that it would be cheaper to throw away and get some that maybe people had extra laying around and were willing to part with. I need to start over with alot of items such as kitchen and bath towels and bedding, so if you have any extra laying around that would be wonderful. As we get into the house tomorrow we will know more, but that is this weeks prayer request. Thank you again to all of you.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Update
Hello Everyone,

This update took me a while as my energy to be online was at a nill. I am feeling much better this morning, so I am able to give you an update.

Saturday and Mondays continue to be my most challenging days, however, the chemo treatments are still going well. Thank you for your prayers. This week we continue to praise the Lord as the cancer continues to shrink. The doctor did explain as well why I am congested constantly. It is not due to weather, but due to the treatments. It won’t go away, but at least we now know and can learn how to adjust. We did get some challenging and unexpected news this week. The doctor wants to change the treatments a bit….

Originally, we would fight the cancer with this treatment until the 19th of December and then take 2 weeks off and begin again after Christmas–such perfect timing. Well, the doctor wants to conclude this type of treatment on December 5 and begin the hard treatment the week before Christmas. GRRRRR…. Reasoning behind this is because cancer is very smart and therefore has to be attacked from many different angles. After a while, it will become immune to one type of fight and so they change it up, so it has to learn how to fight against another way. I was just hoping it would be after Christmas.

Currently, We are in the process of weighing the pros and cons and other options as this is soooooo very important, but so are our memories with kids. If I get this treatment, they do not want me to travel back to Washington for Christmas to see my family, and they say the Holidays would be very rough. Not good as I already purchased my tickets because I got a great deal on them. It is funny, as I have never purchased tickets this early in the past, so I don’t know why I did this year, but it is done. Second, I am so excited this year as this is the first year that Esther really understands Christmas and the wonderful memories that can accompany it. I don’t want to miss this opportunity. The cool thing is God is in control of the situation especially because it is his Birthday we are celebrating, so I am not worried, but it would be nice for everything to work out timely and beautifully.

As far as my hair, I am adjusting well. I have decided not to shave it, but wear a hat because if I meet new people they don’t know anything is different about me as they only see just a small bit of hair outside my hat. Again, I am thankful that I have a little left to be able to do that too. I don’t look any different than a regular person. If I shave it, then it will draw attention to my challenge when I first meet them and that is not what I want. It is working so well. Thank you everyone who was so kind to either purchase or make hats for me. I have a lot now. The challenge is they are all in Denver being cleaned due to the house smoked, but I get some of them back on Wednesday. We decided to go hat shopping just for fun. We had planned on putting all the pictures up and having you all vote on them…. more of a fun thing than a serious request, so you could be part of the entertaining experience, but I didn’t know how to get them all in an email easily. I think I like the Taz hat or the Bugs bunny hat….. I think it brings out my character….lol

The kids are great as they do remind me that I look like the mad scientist in the mornings when I wake up. LOL Most peoples hair is heavy and they can wake up and go make breakfast with no worries on their hair. My hair has no weight, so therefore each morning I wake up as the mad scientist hair or the troll dolls that you can shake and the hair is all over. LOL It makes for a very amusing morning with the kids….. If I ever take off my hat, Esther reminds me so gently… Mom, you have mad scientist hair again. Thanks Esther is all I respond. LOL

I look forward to our Black Belt Graduation coming up on November 30th at Discovery Canyon at 4pm. I hope all of you will also come support, attend, be encouraged and be inspired. This one is extra exciting for me as we have 30 new Black Belts, but I am extra excited as my son is going to be one of them. It has been fantastic to watch all these candidates again meet the challenge of a Black Belt and grow as leaders. Everyone come cheer them on and Be Inspired for your own goals and dreams as you watch them perform. HAVE A TERRIFIC WEEK!!

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Friday, November 8, 2013
Update
Hello Family and Friends,

Last week I had a good week overall. Again, so thankful for the impacts and stories that I receive. Thank you for all of your stories. I was a bit nauseous, my nose is constantly dry and consistently drips blood, grrrr.., and I am still challenged by the taste buds, but am finding out that I like things I did not before and things I enjoyed before are not on the top of my list as much. I have been thankful for the advice from previous survivors and what steps they took through the process. It has been very helpful. I continue to be very tired which is frustrating still for me as I have never known myself to be this unproductive with my time, but again am thankful for all the assistance of others that help me feel that we as a team are still moving forward and accomplishing a lot. I cannot express the gratitude in words enough. Thank you.
Prayer Request: I will admit, the loss of hair has been my biggest challenge. Please understand that I do have a wig to replace it and I know that I can wear hats. However, that is not me, yet. I am so thankful that my friends that have had this in the past have all told me that all their hair has fallen out after the 2nd or 3rd time. I am so grateful, as I think God has blessed me to keep it as long as I have. I prayed strongly to be able to keep it through the Hall of Fame Presentation. He granted that prayer request. He allowed me to have it at the Hall of Fame Ceremony and I have been praying it holds out until my son gets his Black Belt November 30th. God also is allowing it to thin vs. just fall out as my friends have stated. Please understand, I am Soooooooooo very thankful. Many people do not think it is a big deal, but to those going through it, it is a bit of a shock. Yesterday I sat next to an older lady during chemo. She was so fun and spunky and of course lost all of her hair. The nurse came over to help and the lady jokingly said, “well, at least I only need to use a little shampoo to clean my head.” The nurse replied, “Does it make you feel like the man, that you can do your hair so quickly?” She meant it as a joke, but the lady answered immediately and strongly, “No it does not make me feel like a man, but I don’t feel like a woman either!” So please understand why I just don’t make the switch to wigs and hats so easily. Hair is such a beautiful complement to us and that is why it is so special to me. Kristi Glaze has been amazing as she has helped me do hot oil to help with my texture and layout, for the first time in my life I am curling my hair and used oils….LOL, I am writing this one down in the history books. LOL…. but when it is done I feel great, because it looks like it has more body and I feel like it looks like me. I am so grateful for some that have said, Wow, your hair looks great today more than ever, because it is a chore each day to get it to the point that I am satisfied. Please be patient with my attitude toward this, most things are not an issue, but I would be grateful for your understanding that this is difficult for me and I want to hold out as long as possible. Don’t judge my thinking please.

As far as this weeks chemo, I had it yesterday and it again went very well for the 3rd time in a row. The nurses have finally figured out a great recipe for me. The last 2 times I have fallen asleep during the whole process, but yesterday even with as much Benadryl as they put in my system I did not fall asleep. Matter of fact, I had the privilege of having a late lunch at the Olympic Training Center which motivated me to go and walk around Memorial Lake Park a couple of miles. It was a fabulous afternoon as it brought back many wonderful memories. I don’t know if my friend was as motivated as I was to walk the miles as I wanted was silently in a race with the other walkers on the trail. LOL Habits don’t ever go away I think. I used to run that path every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during my 8 years of training, so those memories and habits came back instantly. LOL I became a very fast walker yesterday. The cool thing is it tired me out enough to go to bed extra early by night time. Granted I get up extra early to finish emails and things, but the cool thing about doing it in the middle of the night is there are no interruptions as many of you already know.

I want to Thank all of you that have brought food for my family. It has been such a major blessing. My son Daniel cracked me up as he said to me this past week…
“Mom, it is great to be related with you.”
I said thank you, why do you say that, Champion?”
He stated, ” Because people are bringing us food, and it is soooo good!” LOL

Oh my goodness, I couldn’t help but laugh. The kids constantly keep us in great moods. Thank you God for kids and their innocent minds. Thank you to everyone else that has brought us food. It not only has made an impression on me, but obviously on my kids. Thank you so much.

Overall, I am always thankful for the blessings of not only all of you, but the blessings of how God is so in control of this situation and how each person that goes through something like this can have a unique situation. As far as prayer requests for this week…

My attitude for hair and possibly be able to keep it until Nov 30th at the BB Graduation which includes my son this time.

My house as the smell is still pretty strong and the costs are rising. Insurance is involved, but because it is a rental they have a cap for costs and the costs are much higher than the cap. Grrr… I am thankful for the connections and impact, but didn’t budget for the situation.

The costs of this challenge is also rising dramatically…. Once again, thankful for the impacts it is having, but didn’t have it in my budget. I know God is in control however.

Continued prayer for the dojang and the many people involved in continuing the legacy of impact on our community. Thank you.

Please understand these are prayer requests and I am so positive that GOD through prayer will answer them. I am so ok with whatever answer he gives, but if we don’t ask the answer is NO, so we might as well ask and watch how his plan unfolds. Thank you for praying with me. Have an amazing week to all of you!

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Friday, October 25, 2013
Update
Hello Everyone,

I normally wait a couple days after chemo to give my report, but this time I had such great news I couldn’t wait.

GREAT News! I had a doctor appointment along with chemo yesterday. My doctor said that the chemo is working. The cancer is shrinking alot. Yea! She stated that the pains are the battle that is going on inside with my blood cells and the cancer. The cancer is losing. Thank you for all your prayers.

that the taste buds will come back 3 months after the chemo was done…. bummer on that one, but every once in a while I do have taste. It is going in and out, I think due to prayers. We met another lady today that told the doctor she also is forcing herself to eat due to her loss in taste buds. It was good for me to hear, but I am grateful that once in a while it comes back.

I also had another very smooth treatment. The nurse was so pleasant as she wrote it down this time and said we will do this every time now since we found the recipe that works for you. Thank you to God for giving them wisdom and a kind heart. They have so many patients, that I am grateful for the one on one attention to make the process smoother. Again, I am sure due to prayers.

This past week we had a visitor that came to the school to work with our Black Belts. His name is Victor Marx. He was amazing not only in his skills, but his message to all was very impactful. The Black Belts had a blast working with him on self defense, watching his extremely fast skills and listening to his humor and serious messages. They left with some great tool in their pocket. Those watching were able to enjoy his humor and message as well. I had the privilege of speaking to him in the office as well, where he told me his mother had cancer 3x and is now cancer free. He shared some of his personal experiences and then we prayed together. It really was a wonderful opportunity and privilege having him come to the school. His bus tour is called NEVER GIVE UP! So if you see his bus driving around town or think of him, pray for him too as he is impacting our community and country. He has an amazing story and if you did not get to hear it, google his name and listen to his story, it will inspire you that nothing is impossible.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Thursday, October 24, 2013
Update
Hello Everyone,

This past week I have had the privilege to go to Vegas and receive the Taekwondo Hall of Fame Award on Friday. Thank you for all the kind and encouraging words. I was not sure at first if I would attend. I prayed to God for guidance. As this was my 5th chemo treatment, my prayer was if I was able to keep my hair then I would go, but if it was gone I was going to choose not to go. Well, God answered my prayer as he was able to allow me to keep my hair so I could attend. I felt blessed. The funny thing was the day after the event I woke up with much of my hair thinned out and alot of hair on my clothes and pillow. GRRRRR….. When I went to comb my hair for the day, again much much more decided to leave me. GRRR… It was almost like God was saying, I want you to know this WAS a GIFT NOT a normal thing. I was so grateful for the delay. I am also grateful that he allowed it to thin and not just fall out as I have been told by many that that is what normally happens.

When we were in Vegas on Saturday, I was blessed as my Mom and Kristi were there with me. Saturday was a tough day for me and I at first felt bad as I just needed to rest and sleep. I told my Mom and Kristi that I was so sorry that I was ruining their weekend since we couldn’t go and visit somewhere. Well, they replied, If we lay by the pool in 80 degree weather while you rest and sleep that is NOT ruining our weekend. LOL I had to chuckle as it was snowing in Colorado and I was grateful for their understanding and humor. LOL

Overall, this past week has been tiring, and a bit frustrating, because I feel so unnaturally unproductive as my body just wants to rest and sleep. GRRRR…. My taste buds are gone for a bit and everything tastes like chalk right now, so if you could pray for the return of taste that would be wonderful. It is not fun and tough to eat, but imperative as someone said maybe that is why I was so tired this week. I am forcing myself to eat more, but sometimes it is not easy.

Great News as well, the insurance company has started on the house to thoroughly get the smell out of the house. They said it would probably be another 10 days before we could move back in, but it will be clean. Yea! We are currently still living with the Glazes and are grateful as it has worked out so much better than I ever thought. They have a big family, but have been so generous with assisting in so many ways and the impact it has had on my kidsl and me regarding generosity and friendship has been amazingly wonderful. Again, another blessing from God.

Overall, my spirits continue to be good as I have so may things to be thankful for. I am thankful for the weekend and the timing of the hair. I am grateful for all my friends and family that are so supportive and generous with kind words. I am thankful for the continued stories of impacted lives that keep me motivated. I am thankful for everyone that has sent meals and their special recipes so that I can try them. I really am so grateful. I am grateful for everyone that is making an impact in the dojang and on lives in our community even though I am not there as much. I really am truly blessed and I do not take my blessings for granted. I thank the Lord daily for all of you.
Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Monday, October 14, 2013
Update
Hello everyone,

Thank you so much for all the prayers and encouraging words and meals. Oh my goodness, it has been such a blessing and delicious. I am honored.

I try to always update Sunday or Monday as usually the weekends are very tough. Well, I am happy to say….

Thursday’s chemo was the toughest and most frustrating yet, but over this weekend was better than all of them. Overall, my main symptoms was heartburn, and I was tired and did sleep a lot. I had a constant dull pain that felt that something was chipping away at the cancer, but no major excruciating pain this weekend. PRAISE THE LORD! I was so scared for Saturday as that is the day it usually begins, but not this Saturday. Matter of fact I was able to learn how to make Kale soup this past Saturday because I felt better. Again, thank you so very much for all the prayers.

I am trying to get a pattern on this, but each week continues to be different. Sometimes that is good, and other times for planning purposes it can be frustrating. I continue to have opportunities to share positive things that have happened along this journey with others that prayerfully gives them a different perspective on even their tough situations. I am constantly blessed that God is using this tough situation to touch many lives in positive ways.

Overall, I am blessed to have each and everyone of you by my side. I am going to attempt to come in to classes more this week, because I did not have such a rough weekend. I am so looking forward to it. Please if you are sick though, please say hello from a distance as my body is not up to normal par as it usually is. Thank you again.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Update
Hello Everyone,

Normally, I have a bit of humor in my emails, but this week was a bit rougher than others.

This week began great on Friday. I think with the extra steroids that were given on Thursday it allowed for a great day on Friday for the Black Belt test. It was either that or adrenaline…. either way I was thrilled for the amazing day with no challenging events. Saturday started out great. I was kicking and sparring having fun doing self defense etc…., but then later became a bit rough. The rest of the weekend was a little rougher than what I had hoped, but we got through it. PLEASE continue to pray for wisdom from the doctors for the sharp shocking like pains. That is my biggest weakness….. I feel the other challenges I can handle, but the shocking pains are very rough, especially when they last for 5 hours straight. It does drain me, because it comes on so suddenly and so randomly. We have not been able to find a pattern yet with them. I am thankful that Scotty keeps my kids occupied so that they are not witness to it, but they do inquire when I am not around for long periods of time. Please pray for their little hearts to also be comforted. God and Scotty are doing such a great job of it now, but it is always appreciated for extra prayer for little hearts. Thank you again for all the prayers, stories, and cards, they are always uplifting.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Friday, October 4, 2013
Update

This week has been a much more tolerable week. Maybe I am getting used to it or God is answering prayers of toleration and less pain. So cool though. Thanks again for all the prayers.

Yesterdays chemo provided for teachable moments and lots of excitement. Last week during chemo I had a bit of trouble with dizziness and breathing… not knowing totally what to expect I didn’t make a big deal of it, but Kristi went and got me juice and in the process sent nurses over to double check. It seemed to me to really have been no big deal at the time. However, this week the same thing happened and Kristi again went to get the nurse, but in about 10 seconds of walking over to the nurse I turned completely like a tomato in my face….LOL would have made for a great picture as Kristi said it was like the cartoon characters on tv…..

Well, they were able to give me extra steroids and oxygen to get things quickly back to normal. They did say that this was not a normal reaction, but each week they are adjusting my steroids so that it doesn’t happen again, and I with my teachable moment will tell them if things feel awkward alot sooner. Overall a bit of a wake up call, but it is tun to look back on as I think I provided opportunities for ninja reactions to the nurses. See they all are learning taekwondo. LOL Kristi does her scrapbooking while we are there and the nurses and Kristi were joking about letting it go one more week so they could get that picture for the scrapbook and then do the adjustment. LOL Not happening…..LOL

The second great news I would like to tell you is about the house. We had an assessor come to the house the other day…. he was a miracle because the first one we had was very rough and grim and frustrating.. we made lots of calls to others and no one is available till the end of October due to the Black forest fires and floods….. this one came in with so much compassion and is available to work on it now due to the way their company is structured. I told him of my small challenge of cancer and so I needed to make sure the chemicals didn’t interfere. He said his company is a green company and uses natural products as of 3 years ago….. then he paused and said, “I am so sorry to hear that, as my mom passed away from cancer 4 years ago tomorrow.” You could tell that he was still taking it hard by his facial expressions and sound of his voice. I told Kristi later, “Maybe this is why my house almost burned down.” Maybe we are supposed to meet this man and be encouraging and give him hope. I don’t know, but I am excited about the opportunity. God brings people into our lives even for short periods of time on purpose. Let’s all make the best of it.

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Update

First of all, today was an extra fabulous day as I got to see so many wonderful faces at our A.L.L. TKD picnic and talent show. It was great to see the talent in the dojang, fun to watch all the demonstrations, and most of all extremely enjoyable talking and seeing everyone on such a beautiful day. Thank you for keeping your distance if you are not feeling well as Saturday I did get a little congestion, but was able to nip it right away.

As far as my health update is concerned, chemo happened on Thursday and I was excited about this weekend as I am getting the chance to monitor and look for patterns. Friday was a bit tiring, however, as I am learning 2 days later is when some of the larger challenges arise. The sharp and dull pains are continually being my biggest challenge with no understanding quite yet of the why. Grrr…. However, little by little we are learning how to tame them a bit with some medicine the doctors prescribed. Daniel and Esther have been doing great… Scotty took the all the kids over the weekend to the park for football and basketball. They loved it. I am so very thankful that they are experiencing normalcy through this whole process. Praise the Lord again for this huge blessing.

My house is still not quite ready yet as the chemical smell is still prevalent. We have an assessor coming out on Wednesday to hopefully give us further insight into our next steps. What I thought would be over quickly is turning out to be more challenging than thought. Again, Thank you to everyone involved in that situation as well. Thank you also to everyone who tried to make me feel better with their own stories of their pots left on the stove…lol

I look forward to seeing all of you this week.

Master Barb Kunkel

September 25, 2013
Update
Hello Family and Friends,

Here is the latest update as so many have graciously asked. Sorry it is so late as it was an exhausting weekend.

As stated earlier, I had the 1st chemo treatment on Thursday. It is now scheduled every Thursday for the next 5 to 6 months as stated before, then in January it will be a bit more challenging as they attempt to give a little bit stronger medicine.

Over the past week, I was so pleased with testing from all schools as everyone did so well. Thank you to all of our Outstanding Instructors for carrying on a legacy of skill, and Black Belt etiquette. I could not have been more proud of the athletes testing and the coaches that are giving their expertise of knowledge.

After testing was over on Saturday I went to the Glaze home and crashed for the rest of the weekend. My kids went to birthday parties and hung out with the Glaze kids for the weekend of which I am grateful as my body just wanted to shut down for a bit. I don’t know if the exhaustion was from the chemo or from the constant pushing hard to get everything done over the past couple of weeks and then when done, realizing it needed a ton of rest. Either way, it was great to get rest knowing that my kids were still enjoying themselves. I also did have heartburn over the weekend, of which was a first for me. Something I never understood as people in the past would complain of this challenge in their chest. Well, now I understand and can relate. I also had some sharp pains over the weekend that felt like little electrical shocks. I learned to deal with them and move on, but if there is a stronger prayer request out there right now it would be this. Monday and Tuesday the sharp pains became more frequent, more intense and last much longer. It is very difficult to carry on conversations with people when my body feels like it is tense all day with no rest. The good news is the doctor thinks it is the chemo attacking the cancer but they are going to monitor it closer.

Also, I did experience this past week a bit of frustration as many of you know I also had a major challenge with my house as I left a pot on the stove for a long time. It had and has a very strong smoke smell that was and is crazy difficult to get out. First of all, among the frustration I am so grateful that nothing more major happened as it was so possible. God was really watching over the situation. I want to thank so many amazing people for stepping up to the plate and coming over to clean the house, the clothes, carpets and especially Shelly and Brian for bombing the place so that we could hopefully get the smell thoroughly out. This was all done while my body was going nuts over the last week and weekend, so again I am so very thankful to all of you that gave so generously of your time and efforts. I wish there was a stronger way to say thank you so you really would understand my heartfelt appreciation. I still am not living in my house yet, but am hopeful as God has provided many days of sunshine to air out the house and generous hearts to come up with solutions.

Looking over this past week, I did not expect to have this many challenges and struggles so quickly. I knew down the road it would be tough, but not so suddenly. But after reviewing everything even among the questions of why is this happening…. I have heard so many amazing positive stories that have come from all of these incidents. I told God, the electric shocks that are so difficult to deal with have been so worth it for the many lives that are being touched through this process. Already, God is working not only in my life, but there have been so many wonderful stories of his influence in others in all of these situations Thank you everyone for also telling me these stories as it does make the pain and frustration worth it. For my birthday, I was given an iPod with a story of a family that lost their daughters tragically and how God was amidst that situation and what Satan probably meant for bad, God prevailed and the families grew stronger and closer to him in the process. The people around the situation were affected for life through this tough challenge in positive ways and the community learned where to really draw their strength from. So many times in life we are given things that we don’t understand, but as we keep a good attitude and an open willing mind, many opportunities of growth can be revealed.

Thank you again to all my family and friends for the prayerful hearts, the generous spirit, and the supportive attitudes. I am so humbly blessed walking through this journey of life. Thank you again.

September 19, 2013
Update

Today, we started chemo and it went very well. We are doing chemo once a week for the next few months. They started me on the lighter chemo and then in January, I will go into the harder, more intensive part of the chemo. Praise the Lord for this, as it is unusual and I am being tested to see if this formula could work better for future patients.

We are working on shrinking the cancer and containing it…. We will not necessarily have a lot of updates and further information to share until the beginning of the new year when my doctors reevaluate.

An amazing crew came to the house to give it a very thorough cleaning, so that the atmosphere is as clean as possible. The biggest fear for chemo patients and concern of my doctors is being around anyone who is sick due to my immune system being low (compromised) due to this treatment. If you are not feeling well, please stay home, take care of yourself and get better. If you must come to the DoJang or other event, please remember the concerns of my doctors and keep a safe distance. I will give you a long distance hug.

Thank you so much.

MK

September 14, 2013
Update

Yesterday we did the petscan which went well. I was even more excited as the nurse got the I’ve in the very first time. Thank you for prayers as I was extremely happy. We did the chemo teaching and they said they are going to do chemo backwards and ease me into it with a lighter chemo 1x per week then the heavy chemo will follow. Again, something to be grateful for. We meet the doctor again early next week to go over all tests and then will begin chemo probably on Friday. Thank you to everyone for all your prayers as everything is going extremely well, and we are getting to bring smiles to many people’s faces in this business that probably don’t normally get to smile as often as their jobs are tough always having to give tough news. God is with us each and every time of which I am thankful. So again, thank you for your prayers.

September 13, 2013
Update

This week so far we have had the opportunity to check many things off….. The Brain MRI went well with a little humor attached and the Port was placed in yesterday, September 12, 2013, again with humor as the doctors are having difficulty finding her veins. The veins are sometimes deep or they move around so the doctors tend to shop for them instead of getting it right the first time. LOL kind of. She is in great spirits and said, “People can pray that the doctors will get gifted hands to find the veins the first time.” LOL
Next on the agenda is the pet scan today and the chemo training. After today we are hoping to know a lot more what to expect. We are actually very excited about that. She has another doctors appointment next week to review all of these tests and then they are planning on starting chemo next Friday. She is a bit worried for Saturdays testing, but I know she will deal with it.

September 10, 2013
Important Message

Hello Everyone,
Please click on the link below for an important message. Please review this by Friday if possible so that everyone is up to speed and not caught off guard in the dojang. Thank you so much.
Please check the following link:
http://www.family-taekwondo.com/fighttowin.php

http://www.family-taekwondo.com/FightToWinFAQs.php

Master Barb Kunkel
Academy of Life & Leadership Taekwondo
President/Olympian
family-taekwondo.com
719-260-4700

FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. What type of cancer are you fighting?

A. Breast Cancer

Q. In What stage is your cancer?
A. Stage Three

Q. Is cancer contagious? Can I get cancer by hugging you or being close to you?
A. This was a question from my son, Daniel. No, it is not contagious.

Q. Where can I find out more information about cancer?
A.There are many great resources for information.

One great resource is the American Cancer Society

Understanding Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and Families

Chemocare.com

719-260-4700 familytaekwondo@gmail.com