Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Ok, today's appointment with the genetic counselor is not something that's easy to explain! So, I'll do my best, and give you the basics.
Tissue from my tumor will be tested (provided insurance agrees to pay for it!) to find out if there are certain markers that will tell us if it is something I inherited. If nothing shows up in the tumor, then there is a different test I can have done that will tell me whether I have this other inherited condition where I get 1 bad gene from each parent. People can be carriers of this gene and not get cancer themselves, but if a child gets 1 from each parent, then that child is likely to get colon cancer. With one of these issues there is a greater chance that I could get other kinds of cancers also, specifically uterine. I guess some women even have their uterus removed to prevent this. So, it would be good to know for myself, and my daughters.
If there is no genetic reason for me to have colon cancer, then I'm just an oddball! (no comments from my family!) And I would only be at risk of getting colon cancer again, not other cancers.
There are other genetic "conditions" also that a person can be tested for, but I didn't fit the profile for any of those. The only reason I'm being tested at all is because of my "young" age. There is alot of breast cancer in my family, but that isn't related to my colon cancer.
So, other than all that, things are going great. I hardly noticed my port at all today. I notice it a little at night when I try to sleep, but that's about all. Sat., after we got groceries, I was putting a container of ice cream away and I was holding it in one hand by my chest and the edge of the container hit my port really hard. Man did that hurt! It hurt the rest of the day. I was afraid I might have damaged it. But all seems fine now, and I just have to learn to be more careful!!

I only have 1 more day off before I have to go back to work. I do enjoy my time off, but I'm really looking forward to going back!
Chemo starts next Wed., the 8th, and when I stop to think about it I get a little nervous, but overall I'm ok with it. I have no idea how it will affect me, so why worry? On the one hand, its hard to go to chemo when I feel so good (cuz it might make me feel really lousy), but on the other hand, I'm worried that there are cancer cells running around in my body having a party--and I want to put a stop to that! Nobody parties in me unless I say so!! Ok, that's probably the oddest thing I've ever said, but I'm really tired!!
So, off to bed I go!!
Goodnight all!

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Info

Hey everyone! (Another long one--sorry!)
I'm going to start this blog while making tacos. I usually end up burning supper when I try to multi-task, so wish me luck :-) .
Yesterday Rich and I spent most of the day down at Regions. I had a 10:30 appt. with the Radiation Therapist, and a 2:30 appt. with a nurse at the Cancer Center for a chemo class.
The RT's name is Dr. Bisignani, and I liked him very much. I met with his nurse first and she went over the details about radiation. Then he pretty much went over the same stuff, and added some details. After 4 rounds of chemo (2 months) I will make an appt. to see him again for the planning session. At that time he will do a ct scan of my pelvic area to get exact measurements and stuff. Then he will put 3 little dots on my back (permanent tattoos--I'll sort have a "tramp stamp"!!) to mark where to pinpoint the radiation. I think I mentioned in my last blog the side effects of radiation--but mostly they are fatigue, diarrhea, skin irritation (in places the sun don't shine!), bladder/bowel irritation, and feeling the "urge to go". These side effects don't usually start until about 3 weeks into the treatment, but I might already have the fatigue and diarrhea from the chemo. The doc said they have creams, drugs, etc to help ease all the symptoms, and it really didn't sound as bad as I was expecting. I will have to have radiation for 5 1/2 weeks, Mon.- Fri. I'll be getting 1 of my chemo drugs (5FU) continuously for the duration. I'll stop in at the cancer clinic once a week and they'll change the needle and give my pump a new cartridge. The best part?? FREE PARKING! We'll get some sort of ID that will let us in a gated parking lot right by the door to the radiation clinic! That ramp parking is getting expensive!

The chemo class was good. There was one other woman there who is having the same chemo drugs I am. I pretty much knew everything we talked about, and had already read over the literature she used, but it was nice to be able to ask the nurse some questions. The procedure when I go to chemo is (and sorry if I've covered this before!), I get my blood drawn to check blood counts and kidney and liver function, then I meet with the oncologist, then, if my labs come back ok, they start giving me the drugs. First they give me some fluids and an anti-nausea drug thru my port, and that takes 15 to 20 min. Then they give me 2 of the "Folfox" drugs together over 2 hours. I then get a 2 min. boost of the 5fu drug(the 3rd Folfox drug) that I'll be taking home in the pump. Last, they hook me up to my pump and I take it home! The whole thing should take about 3.5 to 4 hours.
We talked alot about side effects. I'm still not sure about the hair thing. I was pretty sure I had figured out that people don't usually lose their hair with this chemo, but I guess some do, and some have enough thinning that they like to wear a wig. I'll eventually get a shorter hair cut, but I think I'll wait and see before I do anything too drastic. I'm going to get some Emla cream to put on my port to numb the skin before chemo. I've heard that it can hurt the 1st few times. A friend told me about the cream and the nurse called today to tell me the doc ok'd it and sent in a prescription for me. If I didn't have the cream, I could also ask the nurses to use ice to numb the area first. (Speaking of my port, its feeling much better--just a little sore.)As I said, I'll get one anti-nausea drug in the IV, and then I'll have 2 others to take at home every few hours, even if I don't feel sick. Then I think I'll have 2 other anti-nausea drugs to take as needed if all the other stuff isn't working!
The nurse, Andrea, showed us around the clinic. The chemo area has about 15 chairs, some with curtains. There are 5 private rooms filled on a "first-come" basis. The private rooms have tvs with a vcr and dvd. They have a fridge with lots of juices and different drinks, a microwave and soups, and baskets with crackers and treats. You can also bring your own food to microwave.

The biggest thing I got out of today is that any side effect that gets too uncomfortable, or doesn't seem right, I need to call and let the doc know. If I'm throwing up alot and can't keep anything down, I'm supposed to call. There are things they can do to help almost any situation, and that goes for radiation too. There is a dietician and a social worker (and probably other specialists) that can be scheduled to meet with me during chemo, if needed.

The lady that was in the chemo class with me is really nervous about chemo. She watched her husband go thru it several years ago for lung cancer (he eventually died), and he was really sick from the drugs. It sounds like he didn't have all the anti nausea drugs we have now, and supposedly our regimen is not as strong as for some types of cancer (thank God!). I do know what she is feeling tho. I'm in a really good place emotionally now, and I know that's God's doing, because for awhile, right after surgery, I was feeling really scared and upset about all this. My peace right now is definintely God given!! For awhile I was upset because I have no other options. I never was one who liked being told what to do! I felt like I was on some evil train that I couldn't get off, and I was doomed to feeling sick and miserable. Now I keep thanking God for my blessings, and I'll trust in Him that I'll get thru this all ok.

On Wed. I went to work for a visit. Thanks for all the hugs!!!! I didn't even mind that they hurt my newly implanted port! It was worth a little discomfort! It looks like I'll be able to work 3.5 hours, instead of my usual 4.5 (5 hours with lunch). That's the plan now until the end of the school year. We'll figure my Fall schedule in Aug. I'll have a better idea how I'm feeling then. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have waited to see how I feel before cutting my hours, but I know me, and I know I'll be tired, and working 3.5 hours will be much more doable. Working with kids is a stressful job, and its hard to be loving, caring, and attentive when you feel like crap! I definitely LOVE my job tho. I miss the kiddos. I'll be putting some hand sanitizer in the lunchroom to use, and do my best to keep all those germs off me! Hopefully my white blood cell count will stay up and I won't have to worry about infections. I start back to work next Thurs, April 2nd!

Ok, I'll quit now. Oh! I want to thank my friend Carol for dinner the other night! I had a great time! It was good to see everyone.
Love and blessings!!
Tina :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Well, I had my port put in yesterday. A fairly simple procedure. It was done in the out patient surgery area at Regions. They didn't give me any "happy" drugs until they were almost ready for surgery, so I was a little nervous while they were prepping me in the surgery area. Because of the location of the port (upper right chest) my whole head had to be draped. My head was turned to the left and they had this arm thing attached to the bed to hold the drape off my face so I could see out a little. The nurses would bend over and stick their faces down there to check on me and see how I was doing. One guy told me to let him know if anything itches-- he said they are specially trained in nose itching--made me giggle! They finally gave me my IV drugs, and then the surgeon came in to start the procedure. I was awake for the whole thing--the nurse was surprised I didn't drift off at all. Every now and then the surgeon would tell me I'd feel a little stick, and that was the novacaine. Other than that all I felt was alot of pushing on my chest.
After surgery I thought I'd just get some juice and crackers, but she asked me what I wanted to drink (apple juice) and then brought me a tray with a small turkey sandwich, cup of pudding, banana, milk, and a small pack of Oreos. I let Rich have the milk and cookies :-).
We got home about 3 pm, and I took a nap. The site was very sore and any movement hurt. I could only take Tylenol, because of risk of bleeding from other pain meds. Didn't sleep to well. I can't sleep in one position all night, and it hurt to move around. I'm still sore now (its almost 11am), but not nearly as sore as I was when I first got up.
My advice for anyone getting a port: Plan on resting after the surgery, and don't plan anything for the next day--you'll be a little sore, and a lot tired! (I had to get up this morning to take my mom to the clinic--not a good plan!).
Well, I won't be doing much housework today-- I've started reading "At Home in Mitford", so I'll probalby read alot. And I'll be napping--very sleepy.
Next up--Thursday appt. with the radiation therapist in the morning, and a chemo class in the afternoon. Should be an interesting day. I'll find out what to expect during radiation, and how long I have to have it, and then I can get all my questions answered about chemo.
Tomorrow I am going to dinner with some friends-can't wait--should be alot of fun!
Take care everyone!
Love and blessings!!
ps. Thanks Karri for the comment (nice to hear from you!! Make sure you read Dee's comment after yours!) And thanks Karen for the phone call--I heard from both of you on the same day I think--maybe Keith had something to do with that?? Love to both of you!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Feelin' Good

Just wanted to give a little update. I've been feeling really good the last 3 days. It started Friday when I got up to do some housework, and I ended up cleaning for about 2 hours, and continued organizing after lunch. When Rich came home from work I suggested we go out to eat to celebrate my feeling so well! Then Sat. we went to Kohl's, ate lunch at Subway, then a short trip to Target. Felt a little worn out after that, but was able to take a long walk in the afternoon. Today I went to church and then to visit my father-in-law, and felt great! Last week it was really difficult to make it thru church, so what difference a week makes! When people asked me today how I was doing I was very happy to say GREAT! This is what I've prayed for--that I would be able to enjoy some of my time off, before chemo starts. And next I'll be praying that chemo doesn't affect me too badly, or radiation--which I'm more worried about.
Tomorrow morning I get my port put in, and I know that might be a little sore for a few days. I hope it goes well, and the sedation meds don't make me too sick! I'll let you know how it goes! Maybe I'll post a pic.
Thanks for the cards, e-mails and phone calls I've gotten recently! And I think I may have lost a few e-mails, so if you wrote me and I never responded, please blame it on the after-surgery haze, and know that your e-mails mean alot!
I think going thru something like this makes a person really enjoy the little things more. I feel happy and incredibly blessed. I just hope these good feelings don't completely disappear during my treatment! I'll do my best to stay positive, but I know that it might be difficult sometimes. I'm sure I'll have a few "pity-parties". But no matter what, as I always say, "God is GOOD!"
Love and blessings!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fun Facts

Hello again!
When I saw my oncologist the other day, he gave me a printout of my pathology report, and my surgeon's report.
The surgery report was weird to read. I found out all these things they did to me while I was out. Kinda creepy. Like how they "copiously irrigated" my abdomen. And things they did to my ureter (which connects to the kidney) to make sure there was no damage to it. Not to mention how they check for leaks after sewing my colon back together. Like I said, weird!
The patholgy report told me that my tumor was about the size of a golf ball, maybe a little bigger. (4.5cm). And it sounds like about 18 inches of my colon was taken, instead of the 12" I thought.
Dr. J also had me get some blood tests while I was there. I found out my hemoglobin is down to 10.9, and my red blood cell count is a little low too. Also, sodium and potassium are within normal range, but at the low end of normal. I think my blood being low is contributing to my tiredness, because I feel tired ALL day long. Yet I don't sleep as well as I think I should.
I forced myself away from the computer awhile ago and got my bathroom and kitchen floors clean. It felt good to get something accomplished, and move a little. I took Sadie out and discovered its too cold for a walk; maybe this afternoon. At least I got some exercise mopping!
I saw the urologist yesterday, and my bladder is doing much better. Not quite back to normal, but hopefully it will be soon. He said if radiation casuses a lot of irritation to my bladder I should call the clinic because there is something they can give me to soothe it. He said they have a few tricks up their sleeve to help get thru radiation.
Well, its time for lunch. I'm going to try to eat more fruits and veggies and other good stuff to boost my immune system and get my blood levels up. I already took my vitamin. I need to do what I can now so I can make it thru chemo!
Have a great day everyone! Thanks for keeping in touch--I love my e-mails!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Meeting With the Oncologist

Here it is folks...I'll try not to get too long winded!
I'll start off by saying that I like my doctor( Dr. Jahagirdar), and all the folks at the Regions Cancer Care Center seemed really nice! The treatment is pretty much the same treatment I've read about on the blogs of those who recently have gone thru this, so there was nothing new or out of the ordinary. I will have to have radiation also, due to the location of the tumor.
So this is what's going to happen: My chemo will start on Wed., April 8th. I wanted a Wed. so I have the weekend to recover before going back to work. I'll get chemo every other week, for 3 days. The first day of chemo I'll go to Regions and I'll have blood drawn (too make sure everything is ok before they start chemo), meet with the oncologist, get some fluids and IV drugs to help with side effects, and then I'll start the chemo. The whole process takes about 4 hours. I'll come home with a pump (like a fanny pack) that'll continuously give me 1 of the chemo drugs for 46 hours. On the 3rd day (Friday) either a nurse will come to the house to disconnect the pump, or I'll go to Regions to get it disconnected.
After 4 rounds of this (2 months) I'll start radiation for about 5 weeks. During radiation I'll only be getting 1 of the chemo drugs. Radiation doesn't sound like much fun! My bladder and bowels will be irritated and will feel like I have to "go" frequently. Great, just what I need. And there could be permanent damage to the bowels. Hopefully this is rare! I meet with the radiologist next week, so I'll find out more about all of this.
After radiation I'll restart the chemo process for 8 more rounds. The whole chemo/radiation process should take about 7-8 months.
The drug "cocktail" I'll be getting is called Folfox. This is a combo of 3 drugs--5FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin. Common side effects are diarrhea, mouth sores, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, decreased blood counts, sensitivity to cold, and tingling, burning and numbess in hands and feet. I was happy to hear hair loss is less common, and if it happens its usually thinning, not total loss. Shonna and her friends apparently talked about buying me colorful scarves, but I may not need them. Thanks anyways for thinking about me!!
The doc said they have drugs that greatly reduce the nausea, and he didn't think the side effects with this regimen were all that bad. We'll see! I have a chemo class next week, and I'll find out more then. I've read about the cold sensitivity and its really extreme. It hurts to drink anything cold (1 guy said it felt like swallowing shards of glass), you can't touch anything cold (have to use gloves to get things out of the freezer), and it even hurts to breath in cold air (like the refrigerated section of the store).
Next Monday I get the Port-A-Cath put in. This is a port that will go under my skin in the front shoulder area and stay there until I'm done with chemo. This is how they draw blood and give the chemo drugs. I think I'll have an IV also the first day of each cycle.
Next Thurs. I meet with the radiologist and have my chemo class.
The following Tues. I meet with a genetic counselor. Dr. J wants to do genetic testing on my tumor. It may tell me whether or not this runs in the family, or am I just an oddball. :-P
Then I'm back to work the Thurs. after that (April 2nd). So much for getting lots of rest!
So, this morning I woke up saying to myself over and over "This is really gonna suck". Then I read some e-mails and messages I've gotten, and that lifted my spirits. If I look at it as only being 8 months out of my life, then that doesn't seem so bad. By this time next year I should be cancer free, and getting ready for my daughter's May wedding! Oh my, there will be a June graduation too! My baby will be done with high school!! My family is my life, and they are what's going to get me thru this.
I thank God that He is with me thru all this, carrying me when the going gets tough. And I thank Him that I have such a wonderful husband, daughters, family and friends. Please continue to pray for me, and I am asking God to heap blessings on each and everyone of you!
Love ya all!
ps this was enough info for one day...if I think of anything else I'll write it tomorrow. If you have any questions post a comment or e-mail me and I'll be happy to try and answer!

Monday, March 16, 2009

One Store at a Time!

On Saturday I posted that Rich and I planned on going to Fleet Farm and Target...didn't quite work out that way! We went to Arby's first for a quick lunch and then Fleet Farm. After being there only 10 min. or so, I told Rich I didn't think I was going to make it to Target! We spent another 15-20 minutes there and headed home. I got very achey and tired alot faster than I expected! Sunday I made it to church, but barely made it thru the whole service (about an hour and 15 min.). I was determined to stick it out tho. I especially needed the praise and worship, but the sermon was good too. Both days I had a nice nap in the afternoon!
Today Alyssa took my mom and I to Target. Poor girl--had to help Grandma with her heavy bags and then help me too, as I still can't lift much. Luckily Shonna was home from school when we got back and she was able to help carry groceries up the stairs, so Alyssa didn't have to do it all herself. I don't think she knew what she was getting into when she agreed to take us shopping! The best part was that she did it all with a smile! My back and tummy were pretty sore by the time we were done, but its nothing that's going to kill me---its just uncomfortable for awhile.
Well tomorrow is the big day with the oncologist. Rich will be going with me, of course. I'm nervous about it. I already know I have to do chemo, but hearing the oncologist say it will make it more final. Might be a depressing day....(I'm allowed one once in awhile aren't I??)
Hope everyone else is doing well!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Outing With the Girls

Yesterday I went out for lunch with all 3 of my girls. Its rare that I can get them all in on place at the same time! We went to Godfather's Pizza--Yumm! Its been awhile since we've been there, and Alyssa and I have been craving it recently. I even put on jeans for the occasion! It felt so good to be wearing normal clothes. But I did take them back off soon after getting home--they were starting to bother the incision! When we were leaving the restaurant Rachel asked "Where to next?" and Alyssa looked at me and said "Home, mom looks pooped!" And she was right. But I had a good time--lots of laughs! Here are 2 pics of the occasion: (notice Alyssa's "I Heart My Soldier" pin!)
I am feeling pretty good. Same old bladder and bowel issues--very annoying. Can't be away from home for too long because I want the comfort of my own bathroom! I've started really praying for God to heal these problems. I would like to enjoy some of my time off before chemo starts! I'm hoping the oncologist doesn't think I need radiation too, as I don't want to risk more bladder trouble. My surgeon was going to give me some meds to help slow down the bowel, but then after asking me more about the bladder, decided the meds might interfere with getting the bladder back to normal. Overall, I'm doing better--like I said its just annoying.
Today Rich and I plan on getting out for some walks, and we are going to make a short trip to Fleet Farm and Target. I'm so happy for the warmer weather! I really need to get out walking more!
I hope all my friends at work enjoyed Spring Break. If anyone went on any fun trips (*cough* England *cough *cough*) send me an update! I still have 3 weeks off--and we'll have to see what happens with chemo. Unfortunately I don't have any sick days left, so I'll have to try to work as much as I can! The nice thing is by the time I come back to work I won't need my heavy winter coat anymore!
Get out and enjoy the sunshine--hope to hear from some of you soon!
Love ya all!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Dr. Appt and an Old Friend

Today I had my post-op appt. I think it will be my last appt. with Dr. Wolpert, my surgeon. We mostly talked about bowel and bladder issues. :P He said it could take 6 months or longer for my digestive system to get back to "normal" (or my new normal). But, of course, chemo could mess up everything as well. Dr. Wolpert thinks the oncologist might want to radiate the area where the tumor was. He also said that sometimes radiation in that area can mess up the bladder. GREAT! Just what I need, more bladder trouble. Mine still isn't back to normal. I will see the urologist the day after the oncologist, so I'll be sure to ask him about it, if radiation is something the oncologist even thinks is necessary. Dr. Wolpert also said, again, that there is alot they can do for colon cancer (unlike some other cancers), and we don't know if it spread beyond those 2 lymph nodes. He also said something about have a clear margin around the tumor, meaning, I think, that he got any cancerous tissue that may have been around it.
After we left I realized I didn't ask Dr. Wolpert about when I can go back to work, and if its ok if I drive. I called the clinic when I got home and Jean, a nurse, called me back. I can go back to work 6 weeks after my sugery, which is Friday April 3rd. I was thinking I can go back on the 2nd so I would work 2 days, then have the weekend. The following week is just 4 days. That way I can sort of ease back into it. (Of course this all depends on chemo). As for driving, I can drive as soon as I stop taking narcotics (Percocet), and am sure I feel up to it. If I were to get pulled over, while still taking pain meds, I could get a DUI! So as much as I'd like to be able to drive myself places, I'm not ready to give up my morning Percocet. I always start the day sore and achy, and it really helps me get moving!
This afternoon Rich and I went to Famous Dave's in Forest Lake to meet my friend Diane (the one who gave me the super-soft robe!). I haven't seen her in a couple of years. It was so nice to visit with her and meet her new hubby--who I liked very much! I hope I don't have to wait another couple of years to see her! They might eventually move to Florida--so I guess I'll just have to take some trips down there! She made me a big stained glass suncatcher--its beautiful! If anyone would like a suncatcher, or even stepping stones, she does beautiful work! I'll post a pic here eventually.
So, that was my busy day. My incision is healing well, except for 2 little spots that got infected, but the surgeon didn't seem concerned at all about them. He just said to cover them with gauze to keep them clean and dry. Yesterday I did some dusting, which involved a lot of reaching and some bending. After a while I noticed my tummy was hurting and I knew it was time to sit for awhile. I think as long as I listen to my body, I'll be fine. Hopefully the weather will get warmer, and I can get out more for walks.
Rich went back to work this week, except for the 2 days I had appts. Alyssa has been around alot, and keeps an eye on me (even tho I don't need that anymore!). I started reading "The Shack", (from Sandy) and can only read it if I have Kleenex nearby! After that I'll read the book that Bonnie and Karen gave me (the 1st of the Mitford series--I think Alyssa stole it from me!).
Alyssa has been wanting Godfather's Pizza for awhile, maybe we'll try that tomorrow for lunch!
That's all for this update! I hope to hear from some of you! I enjoy reading your e-mails!
Love and blessings to you all!
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1Peter1:6-7

Monday, March 9, 2009

Staple Free

Today I had my staples removed from my incision. The nurse put tape where the staples were to give my incision some support. I'm glad they are out, and it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Rich was there holding my hand, and I took an extra pain pill before I went. I can tell they are gone tho--it feels like something is missing and I find myself holding my belly when I stand up.
Overall, today was a good day. After my appt. we went to Northtown to go to Mrs. Fields. I love their smoothies, and Rich loves the cookies! I was doing ok, so we walked down to look at the puppies in the pet store. They are soooo cute! After that we came home. I figured I'd take a nap, but once again, I never got around to it. If I don't take a nap I just end up going to bed about 9:30.
Shonna had penciled me in for some "movie time", so we watched Mama Mia. She got irritated with her dad because he couldn't help but make silly comments about the movie--not his type of movie I guess! It was an ok movie, fun to watch, but not much too it. And a LOT of sexual innuendo, so not for the young teens! And now I have ABBA songs stuck in my head (Dancing Queen, anyone?). Thanks Shonna for spending some time with your momma, and putting up with your dad!
I've been reading a blog from a woman in AZ who was diagnosed with colon cancer last May. She had her last chemo treatment in Dec., and is still feeling the effects. Her cancer was stage III also. Its interesting for me to read about what I might be going thru soon. She came thru it strong and determined to kick the cancer in the butt (cause that's where it kicked us!!). I hope I can do as well! I'm going to put a link to her blog on mine so others can read about it if they want.
March is colon cancer awareness month--so if you are 50 or over GET YOUR COLONOSCOPY DONE! Or no matter what age you are, if you have any syptoms, don't let your doctor brush you off cuz your too young. Insist on getting a colonoscopy. Colon cancer can be PREVENTED if polyps are found before they become cancerous. Check out my link on my blog page for more info on symptoms.
I would like to thank Bridgewood Community Church again. Their prayers and meals have been such a blessing to me. This is a church that really follows Jesus. I'm praying extra blessings for them! Thanks also to my cousin Kathy for the yummy soup! Totally unexpected, but very kind!
I hope next week to start getting out and maybe have lunch with some people. We'll see how everything goes. I definitely have my appetite back, but I'm trying to keep off the 8 pounds I've lost already. Altho my surgical team did tell me not to diet right now, hmmmmm.
Hope all is well with everyone! Send me e-mails to update me on your lives, work, whatever!
Love and Blessings!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Yesterday morning Sandy from work came over to see me. She brought me a few gifts from work. She couldn't stay long because her family was heading north for Spring Break (weird family, I know). After she left I opened my gifts--a book from her (thanks!!) and a card from everyone at work. Inside the card was a giftcard for Target in an unbelievable amount!! OMG! I was totally overwhelmed. I'm going to buy a Wii fit, and then save the rest just in case we need it for groceries later in the month when my pay is cut due to my leave of absence. I work with the BESTEST EVER people! LOVE YOU GUYS! I also got a gift from the kdg. teachers (thanks so much you 2!!! I may have to hide the chocolate!), and with their gift was a homemade card from my little buddy I work with. It was so precious, I almost cried! I miss him, and worry about him alot. So again, thank you everyone. I have no idea how to repay anyone, other than to make sure I'm available to help others when they need it.
Today I went to a restuarant for the first time. We went with Alyssa to Northtown to have her ring cleaned, and then we ate at Applebee's. Brought most of my food home, but it was nice to be out. Rich and Alyssa ran back into the mall to go to Mrs. Field's. Rich got cookies, of course, and Alyssa and I got smoothies. They have the best ones there. They are smooth and creamy. Now I am pretty tuckered out and will probably nap soon.
I am healing fairly quickly I think. Sometimes I have some pain at the incision, but I'm not taking very many pain meds anymore either. I've been getting some headaches too. We've been watching alot of movies and this morning I finally got the checkbook up to date--its been awhile! I also got out for a walk, but it was too chilly to stay outside too long!
God has been very good and is standing by me thru all of this. And I have a wonderful husband that hardly leaves my side for a minute. My mom and daughters are always available too, if needed. I am feeling very blessed...cancer won't bring me down!
Love and blessings!!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

I'm Free!

Hey all,
Well, yesterday I went to the urologist and had the catheter removed. I am SOOOO happy to be rid of that thing. I did have to come home with a "do-it-yourself" kit, but everything seems to be working well enough without it. I cried when I was at the clinic cuz things weren't working like they were supposed to. Rich keeps telling me its just a minor thing and nothing to be upset about, but for whatever reason, I hated having a catheter. Now I can tell that there is some nerve damage because "going" isn't that easy, but its getting better each day. And I know Rich is right--in the big picture, its really a minor thing to be so worried about.
Today I've had more pain at the incision. Yesterday we found a little split between 2 of the staples that had bled a little, so I called the clinic to see if I should put something on it. They said just a bandaid, and keep an eye on it for infection, but it should be fine. I suppose that part will leave a worse scar, not that I'm that worried about what my stomach looks like. My bikini modeling days are over :-) (there is a pic of part of my incision on my facebook) Anyways, I've been taking more pain meds because of the incision pain, and then I ended up with an upset stomach for awhile, I think because of the meds.
Rich went to work today for a little while(got his review--good job Hon! I'm proud of you!!), and he had Rachel come over to "babysit" me. I didn't think I needed anyone, but I am glad she was here. We went for a walk down to the end of the street and it felt so good to be outside. Later in the afternoon Diane from church stopped by to bring 2 dinners (ate the chicken and stuffing tonight-yum!). She visited for a little bit and prayed for me. Knowing that my stomach wasn't feeling too good and it was keeping me from napping, she prayed that I would feel better and be able to nap. Well, after she left I got comfy on the couch and zonked right out! Thank you Jesus!
On a sad note, Alyssa's fiance, Jaren, left tonight for Fort Lewis, WA, and then in 2 months will go to Iraq. He won't be back until next Feb. or March. She is a very brave, strong girl, and we are very proud of her for standing by her man! And we are very proud of him for serving his country. We will do our best to keep her busy, and when he comes back we'll be having a wedding!! Please say a prayer for them too.
I hope the weather continues to be nice and the roads somewhat clear so I can keep going for little walks. And, I hope everyone from work enjoys Spring Break! I'm hoping next week to get out for lunch and maybe a little mall walking. Alyssa and I are going to plan some dinners and use Rich as our guinea pig for some new recipes. :-)
Take care!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Only a Few

Hi All!
Today felt like it was a busy day. Maybe that's because I never got around to taking a nap!
I made an appt. to have my staples removed, expecting it to be Wed. or Thurs., but the appt. person said I could come in this afternoon. So we went down to the HealthPartners Specialty center to see my surgeon's nurse, Michelle. Nicest nurse ever! I saw her at my pre-op appt., and she spent alot of time with us explaining everything. Well, today was too soon to get all my staples removed, but she removed a few. Stupid things hurt! I guess it wasn't so bad considering all I've been thru the previous week, but I was hoping it wouldn't hurt. I have to go back on Monday. In the meantime she's going to gather some info from others in the clinic about the oncologist they scheduled me to see. She'll let me know what she finds out on Monday. She knows I want someone who really knows his stuff and is keeping up on all the latest treatments. There were some other things she's finding out for me too, and she made sure I had all my appts. made before I left.
I see Dr. Wolpert(surgeon) on Thurs. March 12th for my post-op, and an oncologist on Tues., March 17th at the Regions Cancer Care Center. Anyone know anything about that place? I'm hoping that because its a teaching hospital they'll be up to date on the latest research and treatments.
I still have yet to hear back from the urologist about having the Foley cath removed...but don't really want to talk about that :-P.
Thank you Heidi for the YUMMY dinner! Rich was pretty hungry, and ate half of it by himself! It was Taco pie--I've never had it, but have a recipe I planned on making sometime. Tomorrow Rachel and Ken are making homemade Chicken Noodle soup--can't wait!
I'm feeling pretty good. I started the day unloading the dishwasher and wiping down counters--now don't think I shouldn't be doing that--its good for me to be up and moving around! I won't do anything I shouldn't! But after all the time spent at the clinic I was pretty exhausted. I just couldn't seem to settle down enough for a nap tho. Oh well, I can go to bed early (after 24 is over!)
For those of you who want to leave me messages, but don't want to post here, you can e-mail me at nuttyoaks@gmail.com. If you know my work e-mail, you can use that too, because I check that here at home.
I got even more cards in the mail today, and some more flowers from a wonderful neighbor! Each card or gift is a real treat--thank you all.
Love and Blessings!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Home Sweet Home!

Wow, is it nice to be home!!!
I slept fairly well in my own bed last night. Wasn't sure how that would go, so I had Rich sleep on the couch for the first night. I didn't know how well I would sleep, or how much room I would need, and I didn't want anyone bumping my tummy! Tonight I'll let him back in bed--Thanks honey for being so understanding!! I got up once at 3:15 to take my meds (my body sure can tell when they've worn off!), and woke up at 7:30 (again for meds!) and stayed up.
I've just been reading thru e-mails and such and am so overwhelmed at everyone's care and concern. It has really helped me get thru some rough times. I'm glad you are remembering my husband and girls in your prayers too. They have been unbelievably strong thru this--I know that they are taking care of things and I can just concentrate on getting better instead of worrying about the house and such! I know I always say "thank you" and I'll keep saying it and meaning it--THANK YOU!
Soon I am going to take a shower! I can't wait to have my own shampoo, and SHAVE MY LEGS! UGH! I've had enough of flat greasy hair to last a lifetime! I'm sure after my shower I'll need a long nap. I also want to try the steps a little bit today. In a few days Rich and I might go to Northtown to walk around there. I was even thinking maybe we could go to the school in the morning before school starts sometime and walk in the hallways there?
Sometime today Rich and Rachel are going to get groceries. I started a list in the hospital of things I wanted, like lemon pudding! My mom is going to make the real stuff for me-yum!
A couple of people at church have said they would like to make us some dinners. I tried to brush them off, but they wouldn't have any of that and insisted! So, I feel REALLY weird writing this, but Heidi or Diane, if you are reading this, I'm going to give you a few suggestions ;-). We are sort of picky eaters, and like fairly plain stuff. We like your basic meals (pasta, chicken and rice, pot roast, etc) and more importantly-- we DON'T like green peppers, heavy onions, mushrooms, or anything too spicy. (Amal-are you reading this and laughing at me??)
One more thing-- I found out more about my cancer. Its stage IIIb. Sounds bad, but my "team" of residents (I missed those guys coming in to poke at my tummy at 6 this morning!) said that each person is unique and each cancer treatment is unique, so you can't look at the percentages. There are sooo many variables. I'm fairly healthy, other than the cancer, and I certainly don't have to worry about wasting away too soon. There are advantages to packing a "little" extra. Speaking of which--I should go step on the scale! Haven't done that yet. :-)
Well--I know I get long-winded, but future posts should be shorter, now that I can do them myself. Any questions--don't be afraid to ask!
Here's a verse my sister sent me: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish." -- Isaiah 41:10-11. Also Psalm 103 has been helpful. Pastor Tom read it to us before he prayed over me, and I've gone back to it several times.
Love and Blessings!!