Thursday, April 30, 2009

Something Different--Job Search

No, not for me!
I thought I'd do some "networking" for my daughter Alyssa, who is looking for a job. She is nearly finished with her her AA in Bus. Management. She has been taking psychology and HR classes also. She has 1 or 2 classes left, and is willing to take other classes for the right job (eg. Med. terminology).
She has experience as a receptionist, retail, and customer service. She is also a cheerleading coach, and that suits her perfectly because she loves to encourage and help others, and she is my biggest cheerleader through my illness!
She has good office skills, is a quick learner, and is very speedy on the computer (her fingers fly!)
She is a loyal, hard worker!

I should put in a plug here about Shonna too. She has been doing prom photos, engagement photos, , grad photos, and even weddings! She has a cd you can view, if interested. She is also looking for a part time nanny job to work around her shortened library hours. She has references., and a car. Shonna also can sing for weddings, church, youth groups, etc. She sang a beautiful Martina McBride song at Rachel's wedding.

Ok! Enough of that!
I'm very tired today--didn't' sleep much after 3:30 am. But I think I'm ok for work. Should be an easy day, and my nausea seems to be under control. Hopefully we can be outside, as the fresh air really perks me up!
Have a great day!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Almost Normal!

Today has been a good day! Yes, the nausea is still there, but mostly under control. And the tiredness is MUCH improved. Whew! I made it to the other side (hopefully!!!). I still cannot get over how much I slept on Monday--apparently its just a side effect of my chemo--I think the 5FU. I am very disappointed that I had to miss so much work, but thankfully everyone has been sooo understanding. Hopefully I can continue this way until the end of the year (only 26 more days?). We'll worry about next Fall in August.
I told Rich how good it felt to be at work! It really lifts my spirits being there. And being outside feels WONDERFUL! Even tho I have to wear a scarf over my mouth and gloves! The kids didn't think anything of it! They think we are always over dressed anyways! I hope we don't have to have indoor recess tomorrow, due to rain. Got sprinkled on a little today.
I'm praying there are no more unforeseen setbacks the rest of this week!
Thanks to the wonderful people that sent snacks for the cancer center--they were so thrilled and send their thanks!! Rich and I had our lunch there on Wed. We had small cans of soup and crackers--and Rich managed to find a pack of choc. chip cookies in the basket!

I want to let everyone know that Jaren is safely in Kuwait (115 degrees the other day!), and should be going into Iraq in the next day or 2. I thought he was going to be there 2 weeks before he went to Iraq, but they are moving them in waves. He's a little nervous being over there, but his faith and commitment to our country are rock-solid. His buddies know who to come to when they have questions about faith, and he's always ready for an impromptu Bible study!! So, please keep this American hero in your prayers!! And the other Red Bulls too. If anyone wants to know what they can send over to Iraq, please let me know. One thing for sure is ATT international calling cards.
Rachel is doing as well as can be expected with the nausea and all. Hopefully that part of her pregnancy will be over soon. She's 10 weeks now. Blood sugars are all over the place, but she keeps in frequent contact with her Endo. She's working at it!! Anyone have any maternity clothes to get rid of? She's about 5'5" and usually wears a med. She's excitedly shopping garage sales these days! (yes they are doing fine financially--she's just "thrifty"!!)
That's my update for today. Thank you to everyone at work for being so supportive--it gets me thru, it really does!
Love and Blessings!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hanging in There!

Well, today is definitely better. There is still some nausea, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I'm still very sleepy, and that is made worse by the meds. I took every drug I had today (with the doc's ok!), and had hoped to feel even better--but I can handle this. The Oncologist called this morning to see how I was doing. That makes me feel good to have the doc himself call, and not just the nurse; makes me feel like I'm in good hands.
I can't believe how much I slept yesterday, and even slept through most of the night (only 1 potty-break!). I NEVER sleep like that. I think it must be the chemo and not just because I don't feel well. Unfortunately, the chemo seems to affect me more after a few days. I've heard of that happening to others as well.
Ugh--listening to the news--this swine flu stuff is scary--usually I ignore this type of stuff, but I really can't afford to get the least bit sick. I may not survive it. Not a pleasant thought. Oh well, its in God's hands anyway, right? OK, now that I remembered that I feel better! See how this journaling stuff helps?
Thanks to my wonderful sister, and Renee from church, my fridge is FULL! Thank you, Thank you! We won't need a meal for awhile, and we'll save money by not being tempted to get something from a restaurant. I wish people knew my sister as well as I do--she goes way above and beyond anyone I know when it comes to helping others. And she just does it, and most of the time no one even knows it. There will be alot of saints in heaven to great her someday to thank her for getting them there. Love you Dee! (and I'm sure she's very uncomfortable with this right now--but that's what little sisters are for!!!)
I've been trying to stay awake for awhile, but its time for more meds and a nap! I would like to read, but feel to woozy to focus on a book. Listening to some good praise music might be just the thing.
Craig or Mary--tell mom I got her message, but have been to sick to talk on the phone--let her read my blog please-thanks! Hope you are well up there!!
Love to all!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Not So Good

Hey everyone,
Just an update, in case you're checkin'. Today has been a rough day. I called the doc and got a new prescription for nausea, but only took it about half an hour ago, so I hope it works! Its Ativan, and I've heard good things about it, but its supposed to make me tired. That's about all I've done all day is sleep! I'm taking tomorrow off work too, because I don't think this is going to magically disappear overnight, and I'm not sure if I can work with this new med. I have to wait and see how it affects me.
Wed., Thurs. and Fri., I felt pretty good. Sat. I started having some nausea, but was still able to sit outside and even rake a little (with a scarf and gloves!). Things started getting worse yesterday, and I can only hope that the new med will work for me so I can start feeling better soon!
Thanks for your prayers!
Take care!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Ok, I HAVE to complain! This cold thing is ridiculous!! I wore gloves to take Sadie out in 60 degree weather, then decided since I'm feeling mostly "ok", and its so beautiful out, I would do a few minutes of garden raking, just to get it started. I took my jacket off, cuz I was starting to sweat, but noticed after I started breathing heavy that my throat was getting sore from the cool air! When I went in to get a drink (warm apple juice) my throat and lips felt tight. Ugh! I have to wear slippers on the cool bathroom and kitchen floor, wear gloves to take anything out of the fridge, and even the cans in the cupboard are cool enough to make my fingers tingle. Anything metal is too cool--even my eyelash curler! What I found to be really painful was taking the cold clothes out of the wash machine to put them in the dryer!! Alyssa is going to have to do that from now on! My fingers had that pins and needles feeling for about 20 minutes after--even after running them under warm water.
Needless to say, I'm learning to be very careful. I now make sure I wait for the water to warm up before washing my hands, or taking a drink.
Other than that, I'm not doing too bad. I joked that I'm glad I feel well enough to be so annoyed, and most of the time I'm actually chuckling at the weirdness of it all.
Another new side effect is my calves and hands seem to stiffen up occasionally, making me have to do a funny shuffle walk. And as for sleeping--it took a long time to get to sleep because of the steroids, so I came out to the recliner to let Rich sleep. I think I fell asleep by 1 or so, not too bad! The pharmacy didn't have my prescription sleeping med, so that wasn't an option last night. They should have it today.
The Oncologist called me last night, and after reviewing my labs decided I should take some iron pills, so he called in a scrip for that. I have to wait a few days to take them, until my tummy feels ok, and then try and take them 3 times a day. He said I should take them between meals with apple juice--they work best that way. I've always taken them with meals because they are hard on the stomach, so we'll see how it goes.
I took my Zolfran about 6:45am, then stayed in bed until 7:30, got up and ate 2 cinnamon rolls and apple juice, then took the steroid pill. It seemed to work pretty well. I started feeling nauseous after raking (more from being hungry than the activity, I think), so I took a Compazine and had some crackers and more apple juice. I got tired of warm cherry Kool-aid! Now I'm going to take it easy for awhile, feeling a little tired and woozy, and still hungry, but not sure what to eat. I kinda want a bologna sandwich, but not sure if that would be too cold to eat? I don't feel like eating anything else, and don't want anything with sugar--had too much of that for breakfast! Maybe oatmeal...
Rachel came over and made some Fettucine Alfredo--so I'm going to go eat that!
Take care everyone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Round 2 Begins

It was a long day! Got to Regions at 8:27 am, but for some reason everyone there was a little behind already. At least they acknowledged it and apologized, and its not like I had anywhere else to go! We didn't get home until almost 2:30.
My numbers all look ok, only the hemoglobin is still a little low--10.8 (10.9 last time). We talked with the doc alot about the sleeplessness and nausea, and EXACTLY how and when to take my anti-nausea meds. I will still take the Decadron (steroid), but only until Sat. The nurse said to take 9 doses total--which should put me at Sat. afternoon. I got a new scrip for Zolfran, which I'm very happy about. I can take it first thing in the morning without food or water! It dissolves in the mouth. Then I stay in bed for about a 1/2 hour and take the steroid with a little food. I still have Compazine also, to take as needed for nausea.
The doc gave me a scrip for a sleep med too. Its a 1/2 dose, so if I find myself awake in the middle of the night, I can take it and not worry about being too sleepy in the morning. Also, I can take 2 if I think I need a stronger dose.
I found out alot about this steroid--which they also give me with Zolfran thru my port before chemo. The bad side effects are: jitteryness, sleeplessness, and goofy heartbeat (its the "fight or flight" reaction, intensified!). The good side effects are: it should help my allergies, and it takes away my elbow pain--which had been pretty bad!
All in all, I think I have a better idea how to stay on top of my side effects. So I'm feeling hopeful! Of course, that may end when the nausea starts!!
So far my hands and arms feel very weak, and the cold sensitivity has kicked in big time! Standing outside with the dog in 60 degree weather my hands started to tingle and I could feel the coolness in my throat! So I have to be extra careful this time! I started getting the yucky tummy during chemo, but after eating a few crackers I feel better, and have been snacking since! Hopefully the nausea will hold off at least until tomorrow morning, like last time.
Well, I still have a few things I want to get done while I still can--so better get moving!
Thanks for checking in--and remember GOD IS GOOD!! (all the time--sing it with me!)


Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Monday (really!)

Its Monday again! Where did the weekend go?
I'm feeling good today--pretty much "normal". And very happy to be feeling this way! Now I'm thinkin'--I've got 2 days--and so much to do!! Here's a partial "to-do" list for me:
1. Boil eggs (they are an easy on the tummy way to get protein)
2. Make kool-aid to leave on the counter (hopefully it will taste better than warm water!) (maybe I should buy some small gingerale cans?)
3. buy applesauce cups and jello cups and set out on counter
4. other foods to have on hand--fruit cups, cinnamon rolls, ritz crackers, milk duds, cheese popcorn, cottage cheese
5. get laundry done (almost there!)
6. give kitchen a good cleaning, because it won't happen again for several days!
7. pay bills
Beyond that, everything else can be done by Rich and the girls, or can wait until next week when I start feeling a little better.
I think I'll get groceries tonight (except for the rolls--they'll need to be fresh on Wed.!), and tomorrow I get my haircut at 3:15, and finish up everything else.
As you can see, there is a lot to do and think about. The yucky feeling I get from chemo could be worse this time (but may not be), but I know I'll have a few days of "I just don't care", where I will simply exist and make it thru--so that's what I have to prepare for. If I'm lucky, I'll sleep alot!
I never did call the doc about not sleeping (I was too tired and out-of-it!!). I'm done with the steroid pills, and have been sleeping ok over the weekend, so I figured I may as well wait until I see him on Wed. I'm not sure why they give you a steroid along with the anti-nausea med (Zolfran), but we'll find all that out, and I'm sure they'll come up with a different plan. I know there are a lot of other things they can give me.
Wed. morning Rich and I have to be at Regions at 8:30. First they'll access my port to draw blood for labs, and then at 8:50 I have my appt. with the oncologist. When I'm done with him, and assuming my labs are ok, they'll start the chemo drugs. That takes a couple of hours, then I get hooked up to my bag and sent home! I'm curious to see what my hemoglobin is, because its been on the low side (10.9), and Saturday I was sooo groggy feeling. Standing up was such an effort! Sitting I was ok, but walking, shopping, etc. was difficult! So that made me think maybe I'm still slightly anemic.
Yesterday we stayed home all day. Didn't even go to church. I just wanted 1 whole day to hang around the house, read the paper, do some laundry, etc. Besides, it was a chilly, rainy day--perfect for staying home!
This whole chemo experience, while I haven't been horribly sick, has been disappointing. So, once again, I've tried to adjust my thinking (something I'll do frequently I'm sure!!). I don't want to plan ANYTHING for the next 8 months or so, and if I feel good enough to do something, then that will be a bonus. Rich and I were thinking we'd be able to get away to Duluth a few times this summer, but now, I don't want to plan on it--if I happen to feel up to it-great, we'll do it. I simply want to fight this cancer, and survive as best I can. Life will continue when I kick this cancer! I don't mean that to sound so depressing--I'm sure I'll have times where I feel good and can do fun things. The point is, I can't plan on feeling good--its too disappointing to plan something, then be to sick to even care.
For those of you wondering about Alyssa--she made it home safe and sound. Rich picked her up around 6am Sunday. She slept most of the day. It sure is nice to have her home! She is a brave girl to travel all that way by herself (and she's terrified of flying!), and brave to love a soldier. It's not easy for her to let him go. Jaren (and the other Red Bulls) will be leaving for Kuwait in just a few days--please keep him in your prayers!
Thanks, Rachel and Ken (mostly Ken!) for the yummy home-made pretzels!! Rachel brought them to me last night, along with some blueberry muffins. I ate 2 pretzels right away, and got a tummy ache! (from being too full--not Ken's pretzels!) I think I'll go have one now....
Take care everyone!!
Love to all!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some Pics: Easter, Ruby, and chemo "friend"

Rich and nephew Christopher-Huh? tee-hee
Alyssa and her FAVORITE! Which is what I've been eating while she's gone-ha-ha Lyss!

The adorable miss Ruby Roo! She's about full grown, believe it or not!

Shonna and cousin Emma--such lovely faces!

Alyssa and Ruby--she kidnaps her frequently!

Here are 2 pics of my new "friend", the chemo infusion bag that I wear at home for 46 hours every other week. In June, I will have this with me 24/7 for 5.5 weeks, during radiation.

Home Again

Well, I only managed about 3 hours of sleep last night. I could feel it in the evening and I knew I was going to have trouble. Its weird how I can be so tired feeling, yet at the same time feel inside like I drank 4 cans of Mountain Dew. We even went for a long walk, and my body sure felt ready for bed. I think I finally drifted off in the recliner about 3:45 or 4 am. At least I don't feel horribly sick, like I did Wed., but I can't work on only 3 hours of sleep!
I looked thru my meds and info, and sure enough, one of them is a steroid, and I think I was only supposed to take it for 3 days. I knew I was supposed to take it with the Zolfran (anti-nausea), but I assumed I should take both as long as I had nausea. I am going to call the nurse, and see what she says, and figure out what I should take after the 1st 3 days, if I'm still feeling sick. I thought Tues. I was done with the nausea, so I didn't take any meds (and still couldn't sleep!), but then it came back Wed. Also yesterday morn. I still felt queasy so I took 1 more dose so I could get to work. I'm going to read all thru my chemo info to see if there is anything else that is causing the sleeplessness too.
My lesson for the week: Take the saying "one day at a time" seriously!! I assumed I would be fine this week, having a party and feeling great--not so much! Each day brings what it brings, and I have to go with the flow. I'll try not to say things like "by Monday I should be feeling fine" and stuff like that. Only God knows!! And He has promised to take care of me.
I thank God for the people I work with, who are infinitely patient, and I promise them I am doing my best to keep myself in shape for work. There are just so many unknowns. Heather, I owe you a lunch this summer ( or maybe more than one!)!! Thankfully, we've had some good subs lately to work for me.
Take care everyone, and have a great weekend--I'm hoping for rain to green things up!
Love and Blessings!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have to add to my just finished blog--something I've been waiting and waiting to blog about!!
Finally!! (I mean finally I can tell everyone!) Most family found out this weekend, but I haven't been able to tell everyone yet. I"M SO EXCITED! I'll be a 45 year old grandma!!!!
The baby is due on Thanksgiving, altho with diabetics they usually like to take the baby a little early. Just in time for me to be done with chemo! Pray that I'm not too sick to spend time with my new grandbaby as soon as its born! I'm a little worried about that! More importantly, pray for a healthy baby and momma! Rachel is doing such a good job taking care of herself, and she will be the BEST momma!
So--my list of reasons to kick cancer's butt just got longer! Baby in Nov., wedding in May('10), graduation in June ('10), and of course with graduation comes seeing my baby go off to college!! i am soooo looking forward to the next chapter of my life with my husband! Woo-hoo! Its gonna be good folks!!

Anybody Get The License of That Truck?!?!

You know, the one that hit me yesterday??
So, after my glowing report and giddiness on Tuesday, I had a HORRIBLE day yesterday! I have no idea what happened, or why.
Tuesday night Rich and I needed to make a trip to Wal-mart. I suggested something cheap and quick to eat, so we had Wendy's. Ok, I KNOW all you health nuts are rolling your eyes, thinking someone fighting cancer SHOULD NOT be eating crappy fast food, but let me just say that at this point, I pretty much get to eat WHAT I want, WHEN I want. Especially because not much tastes good, and eating something is better than nothing. And the ketchup tasted REALLY good. :-) For the record, I did have carrot sticks and fruit at work that day! Ok-back to my story-I was very tired after going out, and went to bed early to read and relax. I was probably asleep not much after 10pm. I woke up about 1am to use the bathroom and still felt fine, but COULD NOT get back to sleep. I finally snuck a peek at the clock and it was 4:11! I was getting very hungry so I got up at 4:45 and had some cereal. The milk did bother my stomach a little, but I went to the recliner and started drifting off. Of course, then it was time for Rich to get up, and I always have to keep an ear open to make sure Shonna gets up, so I really didn't get much sleep then either. I tried to get up about 8:30, to make it to work, but I was so weak and shaky that I had to call in. It wasn't until about then that I started feeling nausea. I kept thinking it should go away, but I was so out of it I don't think I knew what to do. It got really bad, probably the worst I've had so far. I had to have Rachel come over to get my taxes to mail (don't trust putting them in the mailbox!), and she took Sadie out for me. That dog knows when I'm not feeling well; she just snoozed on the couch all morning and didn't even bother trying to get me to take her out--she waited until almost noon for Rachel! It'll be interesting to see what happens to my taxes--I shoved what I think was a full copy of the Fed. forms into the envelope with the state, but I probably missed something. Oh well, I mailed in a check too, so that should keep the state happy, right? Anyway, to make a long story less long--the nausea was better by last evening-I even made Rich take me for a slow little walk, just to feel the nice outside air, and get out of the chair. Maybe it was the Wendy's? But why couldn't I sleep? I didn't even nap that afternoon. So weird! I couldn't even talk to Alyssa when she called--thankfully Rachel was here then and could talk to her. That's pretty bad, and it probably worried her cuz I ALWAYS want to talk to my girls! Btw, she made it to Tacoma just fine, and they were going to head to the zoo at Puget Sound yesterday. Hope to hear from her again soon!
So, here I am this morning, drinking my coffee, and hoping for the best. I feel the tiniest bit queasy, and still sort of out of it, but since I slept most of the night I should be able to make it thru the day. I really, really wanted to get to Bridgewood to help Heidi out a little after work ( I used to help copy Sunday School stuff once a week) but I told her I had better just plan on coming home after work. If I should happen to have some energy left, I'll go up just to see her. She's good medicine! Always a big hug and hello!
Thanks for checking in; send me some e-mails to let me know how everyone else is doing out there! Thanks for the continued prayers and support for myself, my husband, and family. When you really think about it, this is quite the growing time for my family. Not only do they have to deal with the illness itself, but they are a little, shall we say, spoiled, ;))) as I've always felt that was my job as mom and wife! Hang in there loves! I shall spoil you all again!! I promise!!
Love to all~

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Oh, it is sooo gorgeous outside!  Its 64! (Craig or Mary--is it nice up north too??)I'm always happy to be a Minnesotan in the Spring and Fall!
Today has been a good day!  I'm VERY tired, but that I can handle!  I didn't sleep very well, but about 3am I started thinking I could probably have cold cereal for breakfast, so that's what I had, and it was fine--except of course the taste isn't all there yet.  I also had a cold glass of oj!  I was so happy I was giddy!  I didn't take any anti-nausea meds either.  I was a little queasy still, but it wasn't any worse than I'd been feeling with the meds, so I decided to try and go without.  Of course I brought some to work with me, just in case, but I've been fine without them!  See?  What a good day!
Work was good too.  Being outside for an hour is really good for me.  I think I'm supposed to be wearing sunscreen tho--I'll have to work on that!  I hope my time outside is healthy, and not "overdoing" it.  It makes me feel like I'm helping my immune system, and its only an hour, then I can nap when I get home, if needed.  I have my pump bottle of hand cleaner in the lunchroom, and use it often.  Trying to be careful not to get sick from the kiddos!  
I'm drinking a nice glass of water with a little ice in it now, and the only weird sensation is when I swallow it the back of my throat feels like something is brushing against it, like there is something chunky in the water.  I thought I was drinking oj with pulp in this morning, then realized that Alyssa likes no pulp, so that's what we buy.
I finished  my Fed. taxes yesterday am, and the state today--talk about last minute, huh?  I usually have them done by early Feb.!  I think I still have to do a FAFSA for Alyssa's college too.
Speaking of her!  I can't wait to hear from her!  She's on the plane right now flying to Seattle! She may be 21, but you never stop worrying!  It was strange coming home to a completely empty house--mom is up north, and Alyssa gone.  Of course, Shonna will be coming thru the door soon, and it that will take care of the quiet! :-))) (But I love it!)
Last night I was so proud of myself--I finally washed up all the pots and pans in the sink, made supper, and even cleaned the pans after supper (usually I let them soak!).  I did it all in a fog, but I got it done!  
My wonderful sister offered to make us some meals occasionally during my chemo days, and as much as I hate asking people for help, I think I'll accept!  Its not like I don't have food in the house, so no one is going to starve, but I feel guilty when Rich eats cereal for supper! (Not that he really minds!)  and I'd be more likely to eat if something was in front of me--otherwise I'm too tired to care!  
Well, gonna finish going thru my mail--then its off to bed for a nap!  I'll have to think of something for supper (or not!).
Take care everyone!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gotta Love Those Frogs!

The frog's are back! Our wetlands (aka swamp!) are full of the sounds of them. I LOVE it! Sounds like Spring has finally arrived. I opened some windows so I can hear them better. Its 56 out, but for some reason it feels warmer; I think the air is a little thicker today.
Well, I made it thru Easter, and went back to work today. Easter was nice--it was soo nice to spend time with the family and I didn't have to do a thing! (no, I never did get the veggies and dip-sorry everyone!) Church was great too. They had a continental breakfast, so I had 2 small danishes, and some warmish oj! My friend Pam prayed over me before we left church, and that ALWAYS boosts my mood and makes me feel so much better. Thank you Pam!
Sat. and Sun. (am) I was feeling a little blue about everything. 8 months of this is not going to be fun! But don't worry, as soon as I say or think that I remind myself that 8 months is actually a short time compared to a lifetime! And as my new friend Michelle tells me--I'm now on my way to kicking this cancer in the butt!! Thanks, as always, Michelle and Carol for making me smile, and cry alittle too. Your concern and good wishes overwhelm me at times! I hope to meet both of you someday!
When I had to get up for work today, I was VERY glad I switched my hours to only 3.5. I kept telling myself I can do this! Still have the yucky nausea feelings, the bad taste, and the "binding" problem that the anti-nausea meds cause. The cold sensation is fading! I haven't tried ice water yet, but I can drink it cool from the tap! I even took hamburger out of the freezer and it felt colder than normal--but didn't hurt. I was really hoping all this would be gone by this time--esp. since this was my first chemo. It supposed to get worse each time! But I guess I shouldn't think ahead and borrow trouble-right? One day at a time!
My family is wonderful, and I hate being a burden on them, but I know they are strong enough to handle it--I don't doubt you guys at all! Keep them in your prayers. Alyssa leaves tomorrow to fly to WA to visit her fiance before he leaves for Iraq. Its going to be quite the experience for her and I'm proud of her for doing it (not that anything would stop her!) We miss Jaren here, and can't wait til he gets home next Feb. or March.
I'll try and post some pics soon, but now I'm going to take my book and go rest!
Love to all!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Post chemo update

Hey all,
Haven't felt much like updating...but we'll give it a shot!
Still feeling yucky. Not horrible, just total lack of energy, and a little nauseous most of the time.
Yesterday a male nurse came to the house to remove my pump. He did a good job, except he removed the needle from my port (which doesn't hurt at all) and then later realized he forgot to flush it with saline and shoot in some heparin (to keep blood clots from forming in it). He apologized and had to poke the needle in again. It hurts, but its over quickly, so not too bad. I hate it when they put the saline in! It has a horrible taste/smell that immediately makes me feel sick. The nurse said it helps to hold your nose, or smell something aromatic like a tea bag. Might have to try that next time! Other than that, I was happy to have the pump removed! During my 5.5 weeks of radiation I'll have to have that pump with me continuously--that's going to be a challenge!
I was feeling pretty good most of yesterday morning. After my pump was gone, I ate a little lunch and realized I was very tired and took a nap. Rich came home from work a little early and we got out for a nice walk. Didn't really feel like it, but it was nice to get some fresh air.
I always think a walk, or getting out for lunch (like we did today), or spending time with the kids will perk me up, but it really doesn't. It does take my mind of how yucky I feel, so that is good, but I feel like I'm just sitting around with a blank/tired look on my face no matter what is going on around me. I'm sure I'm not much fun to be around!!
Today, we went to see Rich's dad for a short a visit (Rachel and Ken came too), and then the 4 of us had lunch at The 50's Grill by Brookdale. I had a small burger, fries, and a piece of apple pie, and it all tasted good, but as soon as I was done the yucky taste was back. What I really want is ice water!!! Hopefully soon I can have some again. Then I WILL get that Peanut Buster parfait, and a raspberry smoothie, either from Caribou Coffee, or even better, Mrs. Fields. Its very hard to get the amount of liquid I'm supposed to drink, when I can't have anything cold. I'm having some cran-apple tea right now, and its good, but I STILL want something cold!
Now a little about Easter:
I want to invite anyone that doesn't have a church home to Bridgewood Community church. Its north on Lexington, past 109th, on the left. Services are 8, 9:30, and 11:15, and they will be serving continental breakfast from 8:30 to11. Or, if you've been part of a church, but just don't feel like you've connected, or you want to take your relationship with God to the next level, Bridgewood is an excellent choice. The people there go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and they really let Jesus shine through them. They walk the talk!
I love Easter! Without Christ's resurrection we would have no hope of eternal life. What a sacrifice Jesus made for us. Its unimaginable to me. And eternal life is given as a gift--while we are still sinners! All we have to do is say "yes" to the gift, and we will be forgiven and changed. There are still people who feel like they are unworthy, or they have to clean up their life first--we are ALL unworthy--that's what makes it such an incredible gift! Come as you are to the throne... you will never regret it! Amen! (Sorry, but I get a little excited about God's grace and mercy--He has been so good to me and forgiven me SO much!).
We will be spending tomorrow afternoon at my sister's house--oops! I forgot to buy the veggies and dip--I'll have to stop at the store after church and just buy the already prepared stuff. I usually like to cut it all up myself, but we'll make an exception this time :). Shonna is singing with the worship team at all 3 services, and I think we are going to the 9:30 service. Hope I feel ok! Might have to go to the later one.
Well, I hope everyone has a Blessed Easter! Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Please pray for my family too--esp. Rich. He has been an angel, but I'm sure 8 months of this is going to be difficult for him and the girls--God give them strength!!
Love and Blessings to you all!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


"blah" is about the only way I can describe how I feel right now, so I'll probably use that word alot when writing about chemo!
Last night I was overly tired, had a headache and normal body aches that come with being so tired, so I finally took some tylenol about 9:15 (I was too lazy to take it earlier). We went bed not long after that and I put my anti nausea drugs and some warm water next to the bed to take awhile after the tylenol. I told Rich that I was so happy to not feel sick to my stomach, that I didn't care if I couldn't get to sleep or not! I tried for over an hour to get comfy and fall asleep, and I knew I was waking Rich up everytime I rolled over. I finally went out to the living room. Shonna was still up, but I told her I didn't care, I just didn't want to be in the bedroom any longer. She put her dvd into the computer and watched it with her headphones, and I finished reading one of my books. She went to bed about 12:15, and I still couldn't sleep, so I moved to the recliner chair (I had been on one of the recliners on the loveseat). Finally about 1 I fell asleep! I slept until Rich got up for work about 6:15, then I went back to the bed. I dozed off and on until Rachel called at 8:05 to see what the temp was going to be for the day (!). Then I turned the radio on and listened to the news. I started feeling hungry, and I thought uh-oh, cuz I was worried I'd start feeling nauseous, and of course a little while later I did. I got up and choked down some saltines, and took my drugs. Then I had a bowl of oatmeal (no cold cereal for me!). I felt queasy until about 10:45, at which time I finally dragged my butt into the shower!
I covered my port with Glad press and seal for the shower, but it didn't work as well as it should have, and the port covering got a little wet. I was very careful the rest of the shower, and just made it a quick one. I toweled it off good, and seems to be ok.
I have NO energy. I did make tomato soup and rice ( I love rice in my soup!) for lunch, and that didn't taste as good as I wanted, but still ok. After I'm done with this I think I'll go back to bed and listen to my new cd--something about rain and a garden. Don't know if I'll sleep--didn't yesterday when I tried to nap, but it will feel good to just relax and listen to rain. When I'm feeling better I need to get a cheap mp3 player and put some soothing music on it. Rich's small Ipod has the Bible on it, but I've been too lazy to figure out how to work it--I seem to be having a hard time concentrating or even caring about anything right now! Just want to get thru it and get some energy back! I'm making a mental "to-do" list of things to have ready next time.
Some wierd side effects: my cheeks and nose have been bright red and warm feeling since I got up this morning; my jaws hurt with the first few bites of any food--esp. bad with tart stuff, goes away after a few bites; and last night tears popped up during a touching moment on American Idol, and I had sharp pain behind my eyes for a few seconds. Its like things that might normally cause a little ache, now hurt worse--esp. my on my face. I've also been sneezing alot, altho I don't feel any allergy symtoms.
Normal side effects are: some mild nausea; can't touch, eat or drink cold; tiredness, yucky taste in mouth that affects the taste of foods I eat.
So, even with all my complaining, I am pleased with how I am doing. God has been hearing and answering everyone's prayers! So far, its nothing bad or too uncomfortable. I'm glad I took the day off, so there is really nothing I have to do all day. I feel a little guilty having so much "me" time, but I plan to stuff that guilt and soak it up! I warned Rich that if he keeps spoiling me so much I'm going to be hard to live with when this is all over!
Well, I'm gonna try eating a cinnamon roll (mom bought some-it better taste ok!!), and then go rest.
Hope everyone else's day is going well!
Love to all!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Round one

Hey everyone!
We left at 8:20am, and got home around 2pm. I don't think it will take so long next time, the nurse spent a lot of time just talking to me and explaining everything. They are so nice at the Regions Cancer Care center! There is a volunteer there to get you drinks and she comes around with a basket of treats. They rely on donations of snacks, so the pickins were a little slim this time, but I had a graham cracker and a small bag of trail mix. Next time I go to Sam's Club I will buy a box of snacks to donate. The lady next to me said that's what she usually does. (if anyone wants to donate-bring the snacks to me and I'll get them to the cancer center)
Speaking of her--I think her name was Sherry, and she has stage 4 colon cancer and has been having chemo off and on for 4 years. You'd think she'd look very sick, but she looked fine and doesn't have many side effects from the chemo. They've tried some harsher (is that a word?) stuff on her, but the side effects were too much. Now she gets the same stuff I do + one other drug (avastin?). She has chemo until her numbers(CEA and other blood tests for cancer) go down, then she starts back up when the numbers go up. She was very helpful, and talked to me alot. And so happy! Makes me feel bad for my whining!
I'm feeling ok. Tired, mild headache, blah feeling, but no nausea so far. When my chemo was almost done the inside of my lower lip was tingling a little, and when I'd breathe in thru my mouth I had that cool sensation like I'd recently finished a mint. I washed my hands in cool water when I got home and it didn't hurt, but it tingled. I ate some fried rice, and then to wash it down I had some warmish water from the faucet. I'm too scared to try anything cooler! I have my buddy, the pump, with me. Annoying, of course, but not really a problem. A nurse from a place called Options Care will come at 11 on Friday to unhook me. I keep the pump, but she'll take the medicine out of it and take the needle out of my port. Then I just bring the pump and bag to my next chemo visit and they'll hook me up again! My port doesn't hurt. The poke did a little--they really push it in! Rich thought for sure it had gone all the thru to the back of the port! I put some cream on to numb the area, but I didn't put enough on or have it on long enough. It needs to be on at least an hour. I put it on after we were at the dr.s office. I used an ice pack and that helped alittle, but not too much. I'll be better prepared next time, altho I'm sure I'll get used to it, and it really wasn't much worse than an IV poke.
I thought of some candy I'm going to buy. I want something tart to overcome this yucky taste in my mouth, so I'll buy some Dots, sweetarts, and maybe lemon drops--I'll try to talk someone into going to the store for me--oh my mom and sister are going later! Yay!
Last night I didn't get my Peanut Buster Parfait (but thanks Carol U. for having one in my honor!!), but we went to Godfather's pizza. It just sounded so good. On Tues. nights they have the buffet-yum! Alyssa and I were talking about it, but I know that its not Rich's favorite (he always gets a tummy ache after), so I didn't think I should suggest it. I told A. that it wouldn't be fair to play the "C" card and she said "yes it would! Go for it". So I did, and of course Rich wanted me to have whatever I wanted. He really does spoil me. We were laughing at dinner (Rich, Alyssa, Shonna, and I) about how we use the cancer thing as an excuse. Shonna jokingly uses it with her friends to explain why she didn't do something. And of course they know its a joke. She has such good friends, and they've been so good to her. Anyway, it helps to laugh, and I love nothing more than laughing with my family!
On a sad note, Shonna didn't get selected for the Gospel Dream show, but I was very proud of her for trying! Afterwards she hung out with a couple of friends in the city. They love the city--I prefer to stay out of it and worry about her everytime she's there!
Alyssa had to do a big presentation on a company at school, and she did very well--proud of her too--I know she worked hard on it! Good job Sissa!
It was an eventful day for this family!
So I think I'll close my eyes for a bit. I hope there aren't too many typos, I keep hitting wrong keys!
Take care everyone! And thanks for checking in. And know that God is hearing your prayers for me!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The LORD Your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing!"
I saw this verse in an e-mail today and it made me feel good; I hope it does the same for you!
Well, tomorrow starts part 2 of this walk with cancer. The surgery is over with, and I'm all healed and feeling great. Now its time for chemo. Its so hard to wrap my head around what the next 8 months could be like. I feel too good to have cancer! I felt the same way before the surgery. Shouldn't I hurt? Look sickly? Be frail? Well I feel great, but I will probably "look" more like a cancer patient after chemo starts! Why do I have to do this again? Why can't I just ignore it and go on with my life? Oh yeah, because the tumor could come back, and the cancer could spread, and that could be real bad. I have too much to live for--I'm only 44! One of my daughters is getting married next May--another one is graduating next June--the other one will someday (soon hopefully?)make me a grandma (whether thru childbirth, adoption, or foster care--it doesn't matter to me!). My husband and I need to have MANY more getaways to Duluth (and beyond)! I told Alyssa's fiance that when he came back from Iraq I would be cancer free--I plan to keep that promise!
So, what I do when I start getting crazy over all this is just what I did here--remind myself of all I have to live for, and I think about all the people I have praying for me. I KNOW God hears those prayers, and I KNOW He is with me, helping me. As scary as the next few months are, at least I won't walk thru this valley alone.
My "blog buddies", Carol and Michelle, have been giving me all kinds of advice and encouragement, so I'm as prepared as I can be. Rich will be with me through it all. He has been my rock--I am so blessed to have him with me!
I want to mention Shonna's audition tomorrow. I think I mentioned it before too, but I wasn't sure it was all going to work out. While I'm starting chemo, she will be downtown auditioning for the cable tv show "Gospel Dream", on the Gospel Music Channel. I think she's decided to do a Barlow Girl song. I'm excited and nervous for her! I always get nervous for my daughters whenever they are on stage--probably because I can't imagine being up there myself--I'm too chicken! I'm glad Shonna is doing this--the more auditioning experience the better. She'll be singing at church on Sunday too, at all 3 Easter services. I try not to be too excited--I used to cry everytime I saw her on stage! I'm getting more used to it now. :-)
Alyssa finally started her jigsaw puzzles. Her goal is to have all 10(?) of them done before Jaren comes back. I like to go down and help a little too. Alyssa is going out to see Jaren soon--he has a 4 day pass. He is still at Fort Lewis in WA. She's very excited! He's doing great--but wants to get to Iraq and get on with the mission! We are very proud of both of them.
I finished reading the first book in the Mitford series (by Jan Karon), and have the 2nd one reserved at the library. I'm hooked! There are a lot of books in the series, so they will keep me busy! While I'm waiting for the 2nd one to come in I'm reading some of the "Love Inspired" books I have. They are Christian romance books that I can usually get thru in a day or 2. I still want to get a paint-by-number to do also. Painting is relaxing, and its all planned out for me, so I don't have to try to be more creative than I am!
Well, I'll try to update tomorrow and let you all know how I'm doing. Round 1 shouldn't be too bad. I'm hoping to feel nothing more than a little tired and maybe queasy. Not too bad. I'm going to fill a pitcher with filtered water and leave it out on the counter so its room temp. And if thats too cold, then I'll put it in a cup and microwave it a little. I have some good herbal tea I can drink also. Tonight I'll be drinking lots of ice water and I'm trying to think of something yummy to eat! Hmmm.......I'll let you know! (How does a Peanut Buster Parfait for supper sound? I wonder if I can convince Rich??)
Take care everyone!

Love you all!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Back to Work!

I really enjoyed being back at work yesterday--but boy was I tired! My feet hurt really bad by the end of the day. I was surprised how tired I was. My schedule has changed completely, so that was a bit of a challenge, but I like challenges! Change is good for me--helps me grow. I loved the hugs I got from the kids! (Can you believe some schools ban touching of any kind? The kids really are the ones that suffer in that situation!) I was surprised how many kids noticed I had been gone!
I was like a zombie after work. Thankfully mom made a beef stew for supper--I probably wouldn't have made anything! Then we had to be at Alyssa's cheer squad's (she's the coach) fundraiser show at 6, then Shonna's choir concert at 8! Both events were very nice, and I'm glad I went! Alyssa and the other 2 coaches even came on stage and did a few cheer moves! Fun! My body ached so much that I came home and took 2 Tylenol and went to bed!
I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, but I am getting nervous about chemo on Wed. Thanks Carol and Michelle for your comments and encouragement!! It really helps alot to hear from others who have gone thru the same thing I am--and have come out on the other side just fine!!
Speaking of Wednesday--I've talked Shonna into auditioning for "The Gospel Dream". Its an American Idol type show on the Gospel Music Channel. The auditions are on Wed. at Club 3 Degrees in Minneapolis (its a Christian music club). It will be very hard to get in, because the age ranges from 16 to 40, and out of all the cities they go to only 30-35 will be chosen. But I think it will be good auditioning experience for her. And who knows? She's certainly a good enough singer! So, while I'm getting my first chemo treatment, she'll be auditioning--pray for us both!
Well, I better finish getting ready for work!
Love and blessings!