Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Enjoying Lazy Days

What a busy time last week was!  Thursday all the kids (3 girls and 2 spouses, and Brennan!) were here making cookies.  The girls get together here every year to make sugar cookies.  We do it the easy way and buy the Pillsbury dough, then shape them, bake, and decorate.  Decorating is the highlight.  I make butter cream frosting, and we have lots of sprinkles and such.  Alyssa, my mom, and I did a little shopping while Rachel was making the cookies.  When we got home Rich and Jaren were on the roof clearing off snow.  Alyssa was driving and when she saw her hubby up there she squealed and covered her eyes.  She didn't like seeing him up there--I hate it when Rich goes up there!  Next thing you know, Alyssa is up on the roof too!  Lots of prayers were said by me! Jaren jumped off into the huge pile of snow on the ground, after helping Alyssa down the ladder, and Rich carefully slid/jumped off!  After the cookies were done, we all ate pizza for dinner, then the kids headed home.  At the end of the day I was very tired, but very happy!  I am always amazed at how God has blessed me with such wonderful kids!
Friday (Christmas Eve), we all went to church together at 2pm.  We didn't go to Bridgewood, as their times didn't fit our schedule.  We went to our former church, North Heights, and got to see some of their Christmas production.  It was nice visiting there as they have wonderful productions, music, decorations and such, but I don't miss it.  Bridgewood is home now.  After church we had dinner (I make a simple spaghetti dinner) then we opened some presents.  Our tradition is the girls open their presents to each other, and Rich and I open our presents to each other.  When the kids were really little, Rich and I would open our gifts to each other after the girls went to bed, by the lights of the tree.
Christmas day started off with the kids coming back about 10am, and then they opened their stockings, we had cinnamon rolls, and they we opened the rest of our gifts.  My big gift this year was my new laptop, which I got about a week earlier.  Love it!!  I also got a Chronological Bible from Rich.  I plan to read through the Old Testament again, and I thought this might make more sense to me.  We'll see.  All the gifts Rachel bought for us this year were items that supported orphans, or the families trying to adopt them.  She gave me a pretty necklace.  Brennan was the highlight of the day.  He would help rip open a present now and then, but never really cared what the gift was!  He was happy and silly, and fun to watch!   The kids all dispersed about noon, then we met up again later at my brother's house for the family get-together.  We finished the day around 7:30 or 8. 
On Sunday church had only one service at 10, so no sleeping in then either.  Rich had to be there a little early in case they needed him for ushering. Alyssa, Rachel and I went shopping after church for some after Christmas sales.
Rich has this whole week off, and we have been doing a lot of shopping.  Using gift cards, and getting things we need at good sale prices.  I'm finding that going to more than one store at a time is too much for me, unless we are traveling between stores and I get a bit of a break in the car.  If I get too tired, Rich will drop me off at the door and pick me up again. Sometimes I just need to find a spot to sit for a bit, or wait in the car and let Rich run in by himself.  After we get home (usually late afternoon) I'm pretty much done for the day!
The mornings have been especially nice. I've been sleeping in, and taking it slow, and enjoying the mornings.  Rich has been taking it easy too--he needs that.  I'm glad he's getting some downtime. We head out around lunch time, get a bite to eat, then hit a few stores. 
I was thinking this morning how much I am enjoying this break.  I've been doing chemo, then rads (every day for 33 days!), then when radiation was done I so busy with Christmas stuff!  So Monday was the first day in a loooong time that I could really take it easy and just do fun stuff, or whatever I wanted!  So free feeling!  Finally! 
I've been very happy lately (although sometimes I'm sure I just look tired!).  Some people get depressed after they are all done.  There is such a whirlwind of activity for so many months, then it just all stops.  While going through treatment you don't always have time to really think about things.  Then when it's all over, you have too much time...and think too much.  It's hard to understand if you haven't been through it.  If you know someone who is going through cancer treatment, don't expect them to bounce back to "normal" right away.  They may never be back to the "normal" that you expect them to be.  They will be different; changed.  And it may take them awhile to move on.  Be patient, and just be there for them.  And never tell them to "get over it"!!!  You might get punched!
Although I have a little different perspective on things, I totally understand what others go through. And I can not say I never feel down or will never get depressed.  Right now I am just grateful for each day God gives me.  My life is in His hands.  None of us know how long we have.  Why waste time wishing for this or that?  Just count your blessings.  Do you have a roof over your head?  Heat?  Clothes?  Food?  Family and/or friends?  Then you are truly rich and blessed!  Help those that don't have those things.  And pray for them.
Speaking of those that don't have much, the country that Rachel and Ken are adopting from are NOT closing the adoptions!  Our prayers were answered!  Things can always change though, and we won't rest too easy until we have that little boy home with us.
Shonna and friends are down in KC at the Onething convention.  She'll be back on Sat.  Which is Alyssa's birthday.  Tomorrow we are watching Brennan for a little while in the afternoon.  It's been awhile since I actually babysat him.  We have a lot of new toys for him to play with!
Next Monday Rich goes back to work and I will try to put together some sort of schedule for myself.  I need to get back to reading God's word, exercise, and make a "to-do" list.  There are so many things I want to do, I need to list and prioritize them, or they won't get done!  There are things that have been put off for 2 YEARS! :)
On the medical front, I have my next MUGA (heart function) scan next Thursday.  Hoping and praying my heart function has increased with the new med I'm on so I can continue getting Herceptin.  I will see the doc the following Wed.(the 12th) to discuss the results and hopefully get my next Herceptin infusion.
Time for bed!

Good night and God bless!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Prayer Request and Christmas Wishes

We need some prayer warriors! The country that Rachel and Ken are hoping to adopt "Joshua" from is taking a 2nd vote tomorrow on whether or not to shut down all adoptions for a while. Can you imagine how awful that would be? There are people working on trying to get the country to at least keep it's special needs adoptions open. I know God is looking after Joshua, and will do what's best for him and our family. I'm praying hard we get him home SOON!

I went to the school today to deliver some Avon orders, and it was nice to see some friends and get some hugs!  They just have one more day and they will be on Christmas break!
I did a lot of wrapping today!  Still have lots more to do, but at least I'm making progress!  It's strange to think that soon Christmas will be over for another year!
Shonna is home from school.  I love having her here--she livens up the place!  Alyssa and Rachel stop by frequently--even Jaren stops by sometimes  between jobs.  I love it when we have an unplanned houseful!
Tomorrow is another Herceptin infusion, and more blood work.  I'll be tired, but too much to do so I'll have to push through!  I can sleep next week :)
I want to wish all my readers--family, friends, "blog buddies", unknown readers--a very merry and blessed Christmas. Unto us a Savior is born! God gave us His only son to be a sacrifice for us so we could spend eternity with Him. That is so amazing! I've sent up a prayer for each one of you, that 2011 will be a year full of blessings and good health, and especially, that each one of you feels the presence of the Lord.

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Done With Radiation!!!

Yes!! Today I finished radiation!  I AM SO HAPPY TO BE DONE!! I had 33 treatments, starting the end of Oct.  There were 4 delays--3 because of the machine, and 1 to give the skin a break. 
Overall, I am pleased with how well my skin held up.  There are areas that are very red, and could get a little worse the next few days, but hardly any pain at all.  Just some discomfort now and then, and some itchiness.  My fatigue is the worst part.  It's almost as bad as when I had chemo!  The fatigue might last a few weeks. 
I was told to keep moisturizing for a few weeks, and to keep that area covered with sun block anytime it is exposed (like my clavicle area if I wear tank tops, because the lymph nodes there were radiated).  I will need to do this for the rest of my life.  Also the area will have a tan look forever.
I have some"cording" on my inner arm on that side.  It is deep inside from the armpit to the elbow, and hurts if I touch it or reach for anything.  Cording has something to do with the tendons, where they feel like cords and are very painful.  I don't think I'll need a physical therapist, I just have to do a lot of stretching.
I brought my "team" (techs, nurse, doc, and front desk staff) some treats--a bowl of fresh fruit, and some homemade treats.  I got a few hugs, and was told they never wanted to see me again (unless it was to just stop in and say hi!).  They are a great, caring bunch of people.
Nothing new with my heart.  I seem to be tolerating the new med ok--no signs of low blood pressure.  I have my next heart scan on Dec. 29th.  Next Wed. I'll have another Herceptin infusion and more blood tests.  I won't see my onc. until 3 weeks after that.
Did I mention I was tired?  I have been doing a lot of shopping after rad. treatment, and including tomorrow (Thurs.) I will have had Brennan here 3 days this week.  I love that kiddo, but I really don't have the energy for him right now!  But he sure makes me laugh!  Tomorrow won't be so bad because I can take it easy in the morning since I don't have to go to rads!  Then B. will be here around 1:30.  Then Friday will be my first day with NOTHING scheduled!  I am staying home and getting some Christmas stuff done--like wrapping or cards and stuff.  I've got most of my shopping done, and I'll do the last minute stuff next week.
Tomorrow is my mom's birthday, and Sat. is Rich's birthday.  Then Christmas, and the week after that--Alyssa's birthday! She is a new years baby.  :)
I hope everyone is staying warm!  Even my friend in the Fort Myers, FL area is cold!  I hope we get a little break from the cold soon.  The cold affects my fingers and feet because of the neuropathy.
Love and Blessings!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'll Try to Keep This Short...

but no promises!  There has been a lot going on lately.  I'll start with this song...

It's called "Stay Amazed".  We sang this in church on Sunday.  During the song (which I love and was already moved by it) a woman came up to me and said as she was looking at me she kept hearing "Life, life, life, abundant life" and she felt compelled to come tell me that God was saying that He will give me abundant life.  I had to laugh (through my tears!) because I was singing about how God never ceases to amaze me--and there He was, amazing me!! It was very emotional.  It always is when God shows up!  I love that I have so many people at church praying for me and caring about me.  I hope those of you that are believers can "stay amazed" at all God has done this week.
In other news... Rachel and Ken did very well at their fundraiser on Friday night.  We had a lot of snow and the roads were very bad, so we didn't have as many people turn out as we had hoped for, but those who did show up brought their checkbooks (and more importantly, their LOVE), and all the silent auction items sold (except for 2 ).  People are still giving them money, and some have donated by clicking on their link (on the side of my page).  They still could use a lot more, but what they have gotten so far sure will help!! At the fundraiser we met a woman who recently adopted from the same orphanage that Joshua is at.  What a blessing it was to meet her and her little girl!  She saw Joshua almost everyday for 5 weeks.  She said he has a nanny that loves him and gives him good care.  I often pray that Joshua is being loved and cared for, and it sounds like he is!  May God bless those that work with him!
I am doing well.  My skin is red and burned from radiation, but that's to be expected.  It is a little uncomfortable sometimes, but not painful. 
I had a MUGA (heart function) scan recently and got the results of that last Wed., when I had my Herceptin infusion and saw my oncologist, Dr. Jahagirdar.  My heart function has gone down quite a bit, so I have a new med to take that might help improve it.  It is a blood pressure med.  I don't have high blood pressure, but this should help jy heart.  I have to watch for symptoms of low blood pressure, and symptoms of heart trouble (swollen ankles, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath).  I will get my heart checked again in 5 weeks.  I have to have my potassium checked weekly while on this med, because it can go to high.  If that happens, Dr. J. said there are other things we can try.  We want to keep me on the Herceptin, because that is my best chance of keeping the cancer from coming back.  But sometimes, if the heart gets too bad, it has to be stopped.  I'm hoping this med works!
I informed work yesterday that I would like to extend my leave until the end of the school year.  I will go back next Fall.  I hope they will let me, I haven't heard back from them yet.  I've been thinking about this for some time, and talking it over with Rich and my onc., and I think it is the best thing to do.  I can't go out in the cold to do recess because of my neuropathy, and I'm still going through radiation, and the fatigue from that is starting to kick in.  It will be a while before I feel up to working.  Then, I'd just like to enjoy life for awhile.  The last 2 years I haven't worked much, but I've been going through surgeries, chemo, etc, so I have not exactly been enjoying my time off.  I've missed 2 summers also.  So, anyway, those are a few of the reasons.  This heart trouble sort of sealed the deal for me.
Well, I need to go --have to bring mom to an eye appt. in Stillwater.  Of course she's ready and waiting for me already!  :)
Have a great day!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Love WIll Bring Him Home

As many of you know, Rachel and Ken are having a fundraiser to raise money to help them adopt "Joshua" (not his real name) from a Eastern European country.  Joshua is 3 1/2 years old,  has Down Syndrome, and needs heart surgery as soon as possible.  We are all excited to bring him home to his "forever family".
The event will be this coming Friday, Dec. 3rd, at Bridgewood Community Church in Blaine. Tickets are $5, and if you get them ahead of time you will be entered into a drawing for a door prize!  You can also get your ticket at the door. The silent auction starts at 6 pm, and the concert starts at 6:30.  The event will end at 8pm.  Music will be provided by The Marty Rosendun Family Singers and Tricia Bownik. I've also heard my son-in-law (Ken) might be providing some intermission piano music.  I hope so because he plays beautifully!  There will be free cookies, and some yummy treats for sale. 
Some wonderful items that will be available in the silent auction are:  Chocolate lover's basket, a baby wrap, handmade birdhouse, free fruit pie from Baker's Square, Betty Crocker basket, Thyme products, Avon products, an American Girls doll wardrobe, baskets for children, and MUCH MORE!  There will also be Partylite candles for sale.
Please stop by!  There are many of you I would love to see! Family, friends, fellow survivors!  Even if you can't stay for the whole event, stop in and buy some homemade treats for your family!
If you would like to financially support Joshua's adoption, but can't attend the event, you can click on this link:

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress"  James 1:27a


Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Hate Cancer

Just in case you were wondering how I really felt about it!
This morning, as I checked my e-mail, I found 2 e-mails from colon cancer survivors that now think they may have breast cancer.  One woman I've "known" for a while through her blog, and the support she gave me while I was going through treatment for colon cancer, and the other I just "met" today, when she contacted me through my blog. What a bummer!
I will be praying for them both, and doing what I can to help them and answer their questions.  I've mentioned the website,, to both of them.  There are women on that site that are going or have gone through just about everything.  It can be a little overwhelming at first, because, of course, people on there share their bad experiences, but when you get connected with some others (like I am part of the "June Chemo" thread)  it can be incredibly supportive.  I wish there was something similar for colon cancer.  None of the colon cancer sites I've found compare to the bc site.
I've found there are differences between the 2 cancers.  At first, the bc didn't scare me as much as the cc.  And, it still doesn't, but the it's the treatment that scares me.  I hope to NEVER go through chemo again!  The cc (colon cancer) was less disfiguring, and when I was done with chemo, I was DONE. With bc, the treatment seems to go on forever. Everyone is different, but many of us will have more than one surgery, chemo, radiation, and then possibly Herceptin(1 year) or an estrogen inhibitor(5 years!).  I had no idea there were so many different types of bc.  Then, of course, there is the loss of hair and eyelashes, which makes you look like a cancer patient--something I didn't have with cc.  For me, though, the loss of my breast was the most difficult.  It's not such a big deal to me now, but it sure was difficult at the time.  It's something that I had to work through with God.
Then there are so many other cancers out there!  We lost one of our bloggers this past week.  I think it may have even been on Thanksgiving.  A young woman, early 30's, who has been battling lung cancer for the past 2 years.  She was such a vibrant, adventurous woman.  So sad.
Well, that should give you some reason for the title of my blog!
On a better note...
I had a very nice Thanksgiving with my family.  Our group was Rich, me, Rachel, Ken, Brennan, Alyssa, Jaren (he was in Iraq last year!), Shonna, and my sister, Dee.  I've come down with some sinus crap, so everyone really chipped in and helped me out.  Rachel and Jaren both had to work, so we had an early dinner--about 1:30.  I have soooo much to be thankful to God for!!  He is so good!!!
I'm starting to feel a little better today.  I slept in and stayed home from church.  Shonna just left to head back to Kansas City.  I haven't done any shopping yet--just some looking online and gathering ideas.  Hope my head clears soon, so I can get things done and not get too far behind.  I'm going to have Rich get the Christmas stuff out from under the steps, and I'll work on that this week.
I've had 20 (I think) out of 33 radiation treatments so far.  I've had a 4 day break, and my skin is still pretty red.  My hair is coming in, but it's so light and fine that I still look bald; it'll be awhile before I can go without a hat or scarf!  My eyelashes are growing, but still too sparse and short for mascara--hopefully soon!
I had my MUGA (heart function) scan on Friday, and I will get the results of that on Wed. when I see my onc.  After rads on Wed. I will go to the cancer center (all at Regions Hospital), and get labs done, see my onc., and then get another Herceptin infusion.  I'm hoping I will find that my hemoglobin is back up near normal, and my other counts are all ok.  My Rad Onc said this radiation should not affect my white blood counts, because it's not hitting much of my bone marrow.  This will be the last time I see my onc. for a while (I think), so I will ask him what the plan is for future scans and tests, for both cancers.  I'll also talk to him about going back to work. 
Rachel and Ken's fundraiser for their adoption is coming up on Friday.  I will post more about this tomorrow, but if you click on Joshua's button on the side of my blog, you will find info there and a link to Rachel's blog.  On her blog, there is a tab at the top with fundraiser info.  There will be a concert, silent auction, door prizes, free cookies, and other items for sale.  Hope to see many of you there!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Radiation Going Well

Hi Dee!  :D  and anyone else reading this....
I have been very busy!  I go to radiation every morning at 9:45, then the last few days I've also been shopping after.  I've been planning and organizing for Thanksgiving, and of course spending time with my little grandson, Brennan.  He was here twice this week--he's 13 months old now, and a funny little boy.  Likes to make people laugh!  There were a few other things going on this week as well-- like I said, busy!
Radiation is going well, so far.  I am getting red skin, and it's a little sore at times, but most of the time I don't even notice.  I get tired in the afternoons, and by 9pm I'm ready for bed! But, overall I am enjoying feeling better, and being done with chemo!
I still have my neuropathy in my hands and feet.  I think it is slightly better than it was right after chemo.  I have a lot of aches and pains--everytime I get up from the chair I walk funny until my legs and hips get moving again!  This happened to me last time after chemo too.  It seems to happen to a lot of women after chemo, and our oncs don't seem to know why--they attribute it to other things.  I eventually will go see a rheumatologist.  I had some arthritis and RA pain before all this cancer crap, but not this bad.  Other than that, I still tire easily-an hour of shopping and I'm pretty tuckered out. But there was a time when I couldn't even shop for half an hour!
I didn't really plan on feeling better until after radiation, and I've been noticing that I am doing much better than I expected at this point.  This makes me very happy.  :)   I went up to church this week and spent an hour and a half doing some copying for the children's programs, and it felt good to be up there helping out again.  And the hugs were nice too!
On Thanksgiving I'll be having my kids over here for dinner.  This will be the third year that I've done that (instead of spending it with my mom and siblings), and it's really nice.  Not that I don't enjoy spending time with my family...I just like having this one holiday for Rich, me, and the kids.  I'll see everyone else at Christmas. :)
Rachel and Ken have most of their paperwork done for the adoption.  Everything will be sent to "Joshua's" country, and then they wait until they hear something--probably not until Feb. or March.  They are having a fundraiser event at Bridgewood Community Church on Friday, Dec. 3rd.  There will be entertainment, a silent auction, and free cookies! Also some door prizes and probably some other fun. You can get a ticket for a $5 (or more!) donation.  There are many items in the silent auction, like gift certificates for salons and restaurants, and  many other items!  Great Christmas gifts!  Everyone is welcome--doors open at 6pm.  E-mail me if you would like a ticket, more info, or just want to donate.  This little boy needs a "forever family" to love him and take care of him.  He has down syndrome, and needs heart surgery.  He'll be 4 years old soon, and at risk of being put into an institution, where he will soon die.  Read about him by clicking on the button on the side of my page.  I think there is a link there also to Reece's Rainbow, the organization that helps these kids get adopted.  As Christians, we are called to care for the orphans.  Every child deserves to be loved and cared for.  Not all of us can adopt a child, but we can support those that do, and the organizations that help them!
Have a great weekend!
May the Good Lord bless you all

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Herceptin #10 and Another Rad Delay

As I was eating breakfast this morning, I got a phone call from Regions.  I thought "uh-oh, another delay", and I was right! They are having more trouble with the computer that runs the radiation machine.  She told me to come in at my regular time tomorrow.  Then later this afternoon I got a message from Radiation that said don't come in tomorrow until we call.  Hopefully they'll get it fixed right away in the morning, and I can go in at my usual time (9:45).
After I got the phone call this morning, I thought I could have a relaxing morning without having to run anywhere.  Then I remembered I had to get my Herceptin infusion at 10:30.  So I still had to make that trip to Regions!
My Herceptin infusion went well.  I feel tired, a little nauseated, and have a little headache.  I might take a pill (Compazine) for the nausea, and maybe a nap would be a good idea!
I have my next infusion in 3 weeks, on Dec. 1st.  The day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26th), I have a MUGA scheduled after my radiation--I'll be glowing by the end of the day!  The MUGA is done in the Nuclear Medicine dept. because of the stuff ( a tracer, I think) they inject me with before the scan.  They can watch it go through my heart to see how the heart is pumping.  I'll get the results at my next infusion as I will be seeing my oncologist then and getting blood work done too.
Speaking of blood work, I asked my radiation onc. yesterday (I see him every Tues.) if radiation lowers the blood counts. He said that is not something he is concerned about because only about 2 percent of my bone marrow is in the radiation field.  If more marrow was being hit with radiation, then there might be a problem with low blood counts.
After 10 rad treatments, my skin is a little pink and sore, and I still get little shooting pains now and then.  So, really, I am feeling pretty good.  The further away from chemo I get, the stronger I feel.  Soon, I will be dealing with painful skin and fatigue, so I am enjoying feeling good while I can!
Time for a nap!  Getting too tired to type anymore.
May God bless you and keep you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Radiation Delay

Last Thursday I went down to the hospital for treatment #4, and they told me they were waiting for someone to come fix the computer for the machine.  They gave me a $5 coupon for the cafeteria, so I decided to get something to eat while waiting.  Then the nurse came in and told me I could see Dr. Bisignani first (I was scheduled to see him after radiation).  After seeing him I went to the cafeteria and had a danish and orange juice.   When I got back they were still working on the machine, so I sat in the main waiting room.  I chatted with another woman for a bit (she liked my scarf with the sparkles on it!), and then the tech came out to tell me that the machine wouldn't be fixed until the next day because they needed to get a part for it.  She said "wait a minute", and left and came back with a $10 gas card.  I thought that was pretty nice!  I really didn't mind waiting, but the coupon and gas card were very nice.
When I met with the doc I told him about my twinges of pain and he said the radiation is causing some inflammation, and that is what is making the nerves have those "twinges".  He said that's normal and will continue until a week or 2 after radiation is done.  If it gets bad he said I should take ibuprofen.  He looked at my skin and said everything looks fine! 
Tonight as I sit here I can feel some little twinges again ( I had radiation #4 today), but they are very mild so far.  I do worry about what I'll be feeling like in a week or two though.  But, I shouldn't worry, right?  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34  God's looking out for me--I just need to lean on Him!
I just talked to Shonna on the phone.  She is getting ready to go on a mission trip to California.  They leave on Thursday morning.  God sent the money for her to go, and I know He'll be watching out for her.  I can't wait for her to come home for Thanksgiving.  I REALLY am not liking this being so far away from her.
Jaren and Alyssa are going on a mission trip also!  They are going in January with a group from church to Cabo San Lucas (I think that's what it's called).  It's a very poor area.  Members of our church have been there before.  Please pray for the funds to come in for Alyssa and Jaren to go.
There are many exciting things going on in our church these days.  Actually, I think many churches are experiencing this.  Many things are pointing to revival.  Hope you all want to be a part of it!!
God loves you, and may He bless all of you!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day Three of Radiation

Had my first "rad" treatment on Monday.  My appointments are all at 8:15 am this week, so I've been getting up at 6:30.  Monday was tough--I was soooo tired all day.  No energy to do anything.  But I've been sleeping better the last 2 nights (because I'm getting up so early), and I've been doing better.  The first day I left at 7:42 and was home by 9:00.  Then yesterday I found the real rush hour!  I got off the freeway because it was all backed up and I took side streets down to the hospital.  Today was only slightly better.  I left at 7:30 and made it on time--took 45 minutes.  Found out it's 14 miles from here to the hospital.  I've been taking a different route home, because 694 is still backed up then.
Well, I guess the reason I've been going on about traffic is because that is the worst part of radiation so far!  When I get there I go back to the women's area and change into a gown.  They have 2 changing rooms, several lockers to put clothes and stuff in, a bathroom, and a private waiting area.  I spend about 10-15 minutes on the radiation table, and then I'm done!  I don't have to pay for parking either; they gave me a card to get into the private parking lot, and they have their own entrance.
I've been feeling some "twinges" in my chest and armpit today.  I hope I'm not feeling any effects of radiation yet!  Although it wouldn't surprise me--I am not normal when it comes to radiation!  I need to buy some Aloe lotion to use on my skin, then I'm supposed to switch to Aquaphor if the skin gets bad.
I really was NOT looking forward to radiation, but now that it's started I don't mind it so much.  I've been praying alot for God to help me get through it, and I know He will.  Others have been praying for me too.  I'm glad I'm not in the same radiation room that I was in before.  I think it would have been hard to walk in to that same room.  My machine is a little different than last time.  It moves around to three different positions--zapping different areas.
Other than that, I've been trying to keep busy.  Ran a few errands yesterday, then babysat Brennan, and in the evening we went to our small goup meeting (from church). Today I had to take mom to the eye dr.  Got some funny stories out of that!  First thing they have her do when checking in is have her put her info into the computer via a touch screen.  I watched her for a while and when she started making lots of mistakes I went over to help her.  The gal behind the desk was no help at all.  Mom is NOT good with technology!!  We laughed about it, but I could tell she was really flustered at first.  Every patient there today was an elderly person, you'd think the people working there would be more patient and helpful!  There were some other funny things too. Mom can be silly!
Tomorrow I'll have Brennan again. He is walking all over the place--and usually for no reason other than just walking!  He'd rather do that then play!  I just hope he naps!  He wouldn't take a nap for me yesterday. 
Boy, only 6:30 and I feel like I could go to sleep for the night!  Think I'll kick back and watch some tv!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Herceptin #9 and Rad Planning Session

Hey readers!
Today I had a long day at the Hospital.  We got there at 8:30 am for labs, onc. visit, and my 9th Herceptin. Blood work is looking ok--hemoglobin is slowly starting to come up.  It was 10.4 today (it was 10 two weeks ago).  It should keep going up now. Met with Dr. Jahagirdar, and he let me know that I'll have another MUGA (heart) scan the end of Nov., and see him again the beg. of  Dec.  I'll have a MUGA every 3 months while on the Herceptin, as it can decrease heart function.  I'm already a little concerned because my blood pressure today was 105/73, which is low for me.  The top number is usually in the 120-135 range.  The doc saw it and said, yes, that is a little low, and that was it!  I suppose because I'll be getting the MUGA in a month, he's not too concerned right now.
My Herceptin infusion took 90 minutes, because I got the larger, every 3 week, dose.  I was worried that it would make me more sick than last time, but I don't feel too bad.  Slightly "yucky", and tired, but that's it.  Hope I'm not too tired tomorrow because I will have Brennan here in the morning and again in the afternoon!  I didn't watch him last week because he was sick, so I can't wait to have him tomorrow!  I miss him.
Anyways--on to the radiation.  I had the "simulation" done to get me ready for my radiation treatments.  I had to lay on the skinny hard table and keep my left arm above my head, while the techs marked me with markers, stickers, and eventually, tattoos (4 tiny dots).  I had to go in the little CT scanner a few times too.  My left arm and chest area are still tight from surgery.  I quit doing my stretching exercises because I can use my arm just fine.  I mean, how often do I need to raise it above my head?  Apparently I shouldn't have quit stretching!  It hurt SO BAD after laying like that for at least 20 min.  Probably longer. The shoulder still hurts.  Thankfully, the actual rad treatments will only take a few minutes.  They made a mold of my head and arm, so they can easily position me the same again. My first radiation is next Monday at 8:15 (rush hour traffic-great).  The time will eventually change to 9:45--much better!  I will have 33 treatments, daily, Mon.-Fri,, except Thanksgiving.  Last one will be Dec. 9th.
The rad onc. (Dr. Bisignani) said after chemo and radiation, my chances for a recurrence of breast cancer is around 10%. The chances of getting cancer from the radiation is about 1%.  I could get a soft tissue sarcoma in the chest area, or lung cancer in the small area of lung that gets some radiation.  After all the radiation and ct scans I've had , if I don't get cancer again someday it'll be a miracle!  Thankfully I know God does still do miracles!
So, now I'm just very tired!  I'm going to watch a little tv, and play on the computer for a bit, then get to bed early!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Herceptin #8, and a Visitor!

Well, I've been busy, and that's a good thing!
Last Tues. I had my 8th Herceptin infusion.  I seem to get some side effects from it.  I felt generally "yucky" the rest of that day, and the next.  Tired, and some nausea.  The onc and nurse said there really aren't any side effects from herceptin, but I did some looking online, and found the prescribing info for the drug.  It lists many side effects:
"The most common side effects associated with Herceptin were fever, nausea, vomiting, infusion reactions, diarrhea, infections, increased cough, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, rash, low white and red blood cells, and muscle pain."  From
So, yes, there is side effects!  One that is not listed, but I have heard from nearly everyone on it, is a drippy nose!  This Wed., I will have a larger dose, over 90 minutes.  I will be switching from weekly infusions to every 3 weeks.  I hope the larger dose doesn't make me more sick!
Also on Wed., I will get my simulation done for radiation.  They will scan me, tattoo me, and make a pillow mold of my head and arm.  Then sometime next week (not sure when yet) I will start radiation.  I get tired just thinking about the daily trip to Regions for 6 weeks!  Oh well, I've been through worse!  But I really want to be DONE.
This past weekend Rich and I were supposed to go to KC to visit Shonna.  Well, she came up here instead!  She got here about 1:30 am Friday morning.  Rich took the day off and did some raking, and then we went to lunch and the dr. (Rich's diverticulitis is acting up again).  Then Fri. night he went to a buddy's house for a "guys night".  They went to the high school football game.  Alyssa was there coaching her cheerleaders.  Her dad, father-in-law, and husband all visited her!  I had a quiet evening at home!  Shonna was visiting friends most of the day.  On Sat. Shonna, Rich, Alyssa, Jaren, Rachel, Brennan, and I all went to the apple orchard!  It was so fun to be all together like that.  We were just missing Ken.  Rachel and Brennan left after the first orchard, then the rest of us went to lunch and to another orchard before heading home.  I was tired and sore the rest of the evening, but it was so worth it!  Bought some Fireside apples, and of course APPLE DONUTS!  Yum! Sunday we went to church together, and I made Shonna's favorite lunch--spaghetti with "curly" noodles (Rotini), and slices of cheese.  (I started putting slices of colby on the table when they were kids because they ate the noodles with butter and salt, instead of the meat sauce--it got some protein into them!)  She left shortly after lunch to go back to KC.
Today I organized my make-up in the bathroom cupboard--it was starting to be a big mess, and I didn't know what I had anymore.  There is a lot of other things I hope to get organized/sorted too!  I'm starting to feel stronger and have more energy, so time to get things done!
Have a Blessed week everyone!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Amazing Grace

God is so amazing.  At church today we had 2 "prophets" come in to speak to the congregation and to some of us individually.  Yes, God still uses prophets. The prophets of the New Testament are to encourage the body of Christ.  Rich and I were called up first. We had to sit up in front of the church while the 2 guys (Hugh and Stuart) told us what was on God's heart for us. Our church has never done anything like that before.  Our pastor called it a presbytery.  He prepared us in advance so we would know what to expect.  Rich and I will get a cd of our prophecy so we can take our time listening to it and thinking about what God said to us.
You have no idea how amazing it is to me that God would want to talk to me.  When I think of all the mistakes I have made over the years---well, I've always known that God loved me, but I still felt insignificant.  If God wants to have a relationship with someone like me, then He certainly wants to have a relationship with you too!
I know there are many people out there that think they have to "fix" themselves before they can come to God.  God saves us while we are still sinners.  His salvation is a gift--we can NOT earn it.  Many also think that by sitting in a pew on Sunday, or belonging to a certain religion, they are going to get into Heaven.  That is wrong also!  If we don't repent (acknowledge and turn away) of our sin, and have a relationship with God's son Jesus, then we can't go through those pearly gates.  God is perfect and just, and we cannot be in His presence if we still have sin.  Jesus died to take away that sin.  Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into a sermon. I just want EVERYONE to be in Heaven celebrating with me someday! I would encourage you, no matter who you are, or what you've done/are doing, to just talk to God.  Simply start by opening the door to conversation.  Ask God to show you things; ask Him for help.  He is all about relationship.  He will reveal Himself to you.  You NEVER have to be alone.  Amazing.
I don't know what God has for my future.  I feel that He has healed me of the cancer, but I still had to go through all of it, for some reason.  I do know that having cancer has made me seek out God more, and desire a closer relationship with Him.  No matter what I was going through, I was so grateful to know that God was right there with me.
I pray for many of you that are being treated for cancer right now, that you can have the peace and joy that I have.  I also pray God's blessings on ALL that read this, and a special blessing on those that have been praying for me.  I am here today to tell you that God has heard those prayers!
p.s. I just want to say that there is a lot of powerful things happening in the body of Christ right now.  The Holy Spirit is really moving.  Many feel that there is a revival happening in the United States.  I hope you will want to be a part of that.  It's an exciting time to be a Christian--never a dull moment with God!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Smiling Through the Pain!

The title sounds a little dramatic, but I am smiling, and I am in pain, so it works! :0)  I woke up feeling very happy this morning.  Hardly slept at all, and have a lot of pain from the taxol, so maybe its the drugs I'm on :)  I am actually very tired, but the Percocet is working pretty well for the pain, and I'm just so darn happy to be done with chemo!  And its a beautiful fall day!  Going to be 80 degrees out today!  My backyard is full of colorful trees, and the birds are busy at my feeders on the deck.
Tuesday, at my last chemo, I was filmed for a cable tv program!  I don't think I've even told my girls about this yet--I keep forgetting about it. I was moved to a private room for chemo when one became available, and a woman in a business suit came in to talk to me.  She told me about this cable program (called "Knowledge of  Wellness" or something like that), and that they were going to be filming people with the therapy dogs.  At first I said "no, I don't think so", but then I asked a few more questions, and said ok!  I was ok with it as long as they weren't going to be interviewing me or asking me questions.  I just had to look happy to see the therapy dog ("Chilly", whom I had met before), and that was easy, because I love the therapy dogs!  Chilly even got to come up on the bed with me and lay down.  I chatted with his handler, and enjoyed petting him.  Oh, he is a big Afghan --very soft and pretty, and a little "aloof", but enjoyed laying on my bed--he kept trying to lay on top of my legs and sort of  "take over" the bed!  Anyways, someone will contact me when its going to be on tv--pretty cool!
Tuesday night I had a stomach ache, and didn't sleep much at all from the steroids; Wed., I had to go get my Neulasta shot, and felt ok until evening when the steroids wore off and I got really tired.  Yesterday was my "crash" day.  I was very tired and in a bit of a fog all day.  And the achiness started to set in.  By bedtime I had to start taking the percocet for the pain.  Not sure why I didn't sleep much last night.  I was in the recliner (my hips and legs hurt less there), but was awake most of the night.  I kept "singing" praise and worship songs all night in my head.  Maybe that's why I'm so happy this morning. 
My dog, Sadie, started whining about 3 am.  She needed to go out!  Not sure what that was all about.  But she is getting older, and can't always wait like she used to.  So I got up and took her out at 3:30!  I had my robe on and I just opened the back garage door and let her go do her business wherever.  Usually we take her to certain areas of the yard, but at 3:30 am I don't really care where she goes!
Wow, I'm really starting to ache now.  Shoulders, hips, knees--might need another pill.  Then maybe I should take a nap.
I get my Avon order today--I'm happy to be selling it again.  And I'm proud of the company and the amount of money they donate to breast cancer and domestic abuse.  If you would like to see my website, just send me a note ( and I will send you the link to my Avon website. You can see the current brochure and sale flyers on there.  I can also send you an e-mail for free shipping.  There isn't any obligation to buy.  Sometimes its just fun to look--sort of "window shopping" on the internet!  And I won't send you anything else unless you want me too.  I don't bother people, I just like to let people know I sell it, in case they've been looking for an Avon Lady.
Rachel, Brennan, and my sister are on their way down to Kansas City to visit Shonna!  Hope B does ok with the 7 hour drive!  Rich and I are planning on going next weekend, but Shonna might come here instead.  She got a job at a library down there and she's not sure if she'll have to work next weekend. I was looking forward to a road trip, yet it would save us a lot of money if she came here instead.  So we'll see...
Hope everyone has a great weekend!  I'm going to make sure I get out and sit on the deck for a bit today.  Supposed to cool down quite a bit next week!

Monday, October 4, 2010


This better be the last chemo I EVER HAVE TO HAVE!!!  (Hear that God???)  I have a lot of people praying for me, and I get prayer at church every week.  Cancer doesn't have any chance of coming back!  The Bible tells us to be persistent--or as one of my pastors puts it--PUSH-->Pray Until Something Happens!
Now, I just have to get through 6 weeks of radiation (every day, Mon. through Fri.), and then I am DONE.  After that it will take a little time to get my strength back up, and hopefully the neuropathy will start to fade.  Then I can go back to work.
Sometimes people who finish cancer treatment go through a time of depression, or confusion and anxiety.  They wonder "what now?"  They want to forget, yet not forget what they've been through and how far they've come.  They are used to lots of dr. appointments, and tests, and feel sort of lost when it all stops.  And of course, there is the fear that every ache and pain is the cancer returning.  It can be a difficult time.  Other people who haven't had cancer assume you are "all better" and expect you to get on with your life.  I would like to remind people to realize that you never really "get over" having cancer.  It changes you, and stays with you forever.  Be patient and sensitive with those that are finishing treatment.  Ask them how they are doing.  Acknowledge that they've been through a lot.
I think I will be ok.  My family is wonderful, especially my husband, who is very supportive.  I think he "gets it"!  He has gone through it all with me, and I think its changed him too.  I do want to make some changes in my life; I don't want to just go back to the way things were--I want a more meaningful life.  I want to find ways to serve God.  My kids are grown now, and its time to take a good look at things and make some changes.  But I will keep praising God, and being thankful for every day He gives me!  I have learned so much about God, and have felt His presence throughout this.  With Him I can do anything!
Please take a peek at the new picture on the side of my blog.  I put up a "button" of my soon-to-be grandson.  I think you can even click on it for more info about him.  He is called Joshua, but that's not his real name, and Rachel and Ken may change his name when they adopt him.  He has down syndrome, and needs heart surgery.  Isn't he cute?? I can't wait to have him join our family.  I am so proud of Rachel and Ken.  God has given them such big, loving hearts.
Think of me tomorrow!  I'm so excited!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Longing for Hair...

 on top of my head, on my eyelids, in my nose....sigh.  I've heard eyelashes grow back fairly quickly, but its been like, over a week.  I guess not that quickly.  And the nose annoying!  Nothing to slow down the drips that the Herceptin causes!  Must have Kleenex with me at ALL times!  My poor nose is getting sore.  I've been wondering what is getting in my sinuses, without hair to filter stuff out?  Dust, dog hair?  This can't be good.
What do you think of all the pink in the stores?  I find it annoying.  Sort of.  Breast cancer awareness is good.  But all those companies making money off of it?  I don't like that.  Make sure you "Think before you pink".  Read the fine print and find out how much they really donate, and to whom.  Most companies have a limit on how much they give, and some aren't even giving anything--they are just "raising awareness".  By the way, I have read about the Avon Foundation, and they really do give alot of money, and they sell several products that have ALL proceeds going to research.  I had to do some research about it, before I could promote their Breast Cancer (pink) items.  They also give money to fight domestic abuse, another good cause.
So, with all the pink in the stores, and everyone being so aware of breast cancer right now, I told Rich I sort of feel like the poster child for bc here in town.  Here I am with a scarf and no eyelashes in the stores with all the pink stuff.  Just makes me feel a little more "noticed".  And I prefer to "blend in"!
Feeling pretty good these days.  There are lots of annoying little problems (well, neuropathy isn't so little, I suppose), but no major pain or anything.  Until my next chemo anyway.  My LAST chemo is Tuesday!!  (not Mon. this time)  I will be very happy to be done with that!  Its not quite as exciting as last year when I finished chemo, because last year I was completely done (or so I thought, anyway).  This time I still have 6 weeks of rads to go through.  But still exciting, nonetheless (is that supposed to be one word?)
In a few weeks I will have my radiation simulation (where they map everything out and give me more tattoo dots), and then radiation (rads) will start soon after that.
I REALLY need to start exercising to get my strength back!  And to lose weight. I hope to start doing something regularly after the pain subsides from my next treatment.  I keep toying with the idea of getting up around 6 am when Rich is up and going for a walk with him.  But its so hard for me to get motivated that early, before shower, breakfast, and coffee.  We'll see.
Boy is it chilly here.  Only 64 in the house.  The furnace is set so it will come on if it gets lower than that.  I just might turn it up for a little bit this evening.  My fingers and nose are cold!!  Gorgeous Fall day though!  And next week is supposed to be in the 60's and 70's all week--perfect!!  Rich and I will have to get out for some drives to see all the Fall colors.
Prayer request: please pray for the little boy Rachel and Ken are going to adopt.  Pray for him to get lots of love, his health, and that this adoption would go smoothly and quickly!  We are so excited to welcome him into our family!
Shonna prayed for $400 to go on a mission trip (costs $500+).  She (and I did too) told God if this is what He wanted then He needed to pay for it.  She received $550 from friends!!  God is SO GOOD!  He is doing amazing things in KC!  She also got a job at a local library, near where she is living in KC.  She worked at a library near here for 2 years, so she has plenty of experience.
Well, that is my little update~Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Blessings to all of you!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Surprise, a Birthday, and a Visit!

Guess who came to visit on Sunday?  Shonna!!  I haven't seen her since she left on Aug 8th!  She called us at 11:15 Sat. night and said she was going to drive all night to spend the day with us Sunday.  She got in at 6:45am Sunday, and left at 6:30 Monday morning.  It was soooo nice to see her.  Her sisters were very surprised and happy to see her.  She went to Brennan's birthday party, then spent the rest of the afternoon and eve with a few of her friends.
Yes, Brennan turned one!  Rachel had family over for a little party on Sunday afternoon.  He loved being the center of attention!  What a cutie.  I will be watching him 3 days again this week.  Alyssa usually comes to help a little, if she is not too busy.  It's hard to find enough stuff for him to do here.  I need to buy him some more toys!  Rachel would like it if I didn't go back to work, so I could continue to babysit.  She even said she'd pay me.  Sure is tempting!  She and Ken are continuing the process of adopting little "Joshua" (not his real name) from E. Europe.  They may have a fundraiser at our church in December.  I'll be sure to let you all know the details!
Today I went up to the school for a little visit.  I had an Avon order to drop off, and a stack of Avon books.  I was there about 2 hours in the lounge visiting with everyone.  It was nice to be out socializing, and laughing!  What a wonderful group of women!  I will be going up there every 2 weeks to drop off orders and books.  Everyone said I looked good, and thought I looked good in scarves.  I said my biggest dilemma is whether or not to wear mascara on my 3 eyelashes I have left!  (actually I have about 3 on one eye and maybe 6 on the other!) 
Speaking of that, my eyebrows are still there, but very thin.  My leg hair is growing slowly, so I shave about once every 2 weeks.  I'm not sure about the hair on my head, it might be growing, but its hard to tell.  I should shave a little patch so I can watch the progress!  I have a lot of 1-2" hair left that never fell out, so its hard to tell if something is growing.  Sure looking forward to getting rid of the scarves!
My neuropathy continues to get worse on my feet.  :(  But other than that, and some tiredness, I'm doing pretty well!  The 4 or 5 days of bone pain are done now, and each day this week I should have a little more energy.
Well, Rich is home from work with some pizza, so I better go eat!
Love and Blessings!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taxol #3 Update

Just a little update on me.  The Taxol pain set in yesterday.  It starts as mild aches and pains, and ibuprofen helps, but by evening I need Percocet.  Tonight I need 2 percocet!  But at least 2 works pretty well.  Just minor pains now.
I've been watching Brennan alot lately.  This is becoming his 2nd home!  Rachel has been picking up extra shifts to make money for the adoption.  But she said she's only going to pick up one extra shift a week from now on.  She wants more time at home with her little boy, and just more time in general!  I love having him here, even when I don't feel well.  My mom is here too, to help when I need to sit for a bit.  Alyssa comes when she can to help also.  Brennan is taking steps on his own, and growing so fast!  He is so funny--he loves to make us laugh!
My dream would be to take the rest of the school year off and babysit my grandson as often as needed!  In the spring, when Rachel and Ken have to go to get their new son, I would be able to take care of Brennan while they are gone, and then I'll have a new grandson to take care of when they bring him home!  Maybe if everyone buys Avon from me, I'll be able to afford to take the time off!  Well, that'd be ALOT of Avon! :)
I talked to Shonna for a bit today.  Don't talk to her as often as I would like.. Neither of us are much for phone conversations!  She has been busy this week and is enjoying herself.  God is showing her some wonderful things and revealing Himself to her.  Can't wait to go down to see her in a few weeks!
I miss spending time with Alyssa too.  She is a busy young wife, cheerleading coach, and student!  Last year she was living here and we had a lot of time together.  I'm thankful for that time we had, and I'm glad both her and Rachel live so close!  When Shonna comes home we should plan some "girl time", no hubbies, or babies!
Well, time to get ready for bed.  I've been sleeping in the recliner, but I go back to bed with Rich and we listen to a radio program on the Ipod.  We've been listening to old Dragnet and Superman shows lately.
Hope everyone has a great Friday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Taxol #3

All went well today.  We were there from 8am to about 2:15pm.  Blood counts were ok.  Hemoglobin still at 10.2--same as last week.  I was hoping it would continue to creep up, but at least it didn't go down.
My meeting with my onc. was pretty short today.  He has a "Fellow" with him most of the time (usually a different one each time), and the Fellow does the exam, after Dr. J and I talk.  They do the usual look in the eyes and mouth, listen to heart, feel lymph nodes.  No poking of the tummy today, but he did listen to it.  Neither one of them checked my neuropathy, but we did discuss it.  I told Dr. J that I was planning on going back to work the beg. of Jan., and I'd have to be outside doing recess for around an hour (not really sure how long this year, but assuming it will be at least an hour).  He said if the neuropathy isn't better by then, he doesn't want me outside that long.  He said he would write me a note, if needed (which it will be).  We'll just have to wait and see how the feet and fingers are, and how the rest of me feels.  I might have to take a longer leave, or have my job duties adjusted (not an easy task!).
I also asked him if he could reduce my steroid drip today, so I can sleep tonight.  He said that would be ok, so he cut it in half.  So now, instead of having a bit of energy, I feel very groggy.  I just hope I can sleep tonight!  Otherwise I will regret cutting back on the steroids!
The Benedryl was cut in half too, and that was because I haven't had any bad reactions to the Taxol.  My nurse ran it in slower though too, so I wouldn't get that awful woozy, nauseated feeling I got last time.  I just felt it a little bit this time.
I'm still getting prayer every Sunday.  My Senior Pastor, Mark, told me several weeks ago that he feels that we should keep praying, and I'm supposed to remind him if he forgets.  The past 2 weeks have just been quick prayers, but that's enough!  God knows what is on our hearts.  There have been times where I wanted to just quietly slip out ( I hate bothering people!), but someone always found me to pray over me!  I told Rich the Sunday before this past one to make sure I get prayer, because I think it's really what God wants me to do, so Rich tracked down Mark yesterday, before we left.  Also, a church member came up to me and gave me a Bible verse that popped into her head when she saw me in church.  When we (the congregation) were greeting each other, the woman behind me asked me my name and told me she had been praying for me--she didn't even know my name!!  I'm getting teary-eyed typing this--God is so good to me.  I feel so blessed!!
Here is the Bible verse given to me: "And be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  Matthew 28:20 NLT  Isn't that awesome?  Thank you Father!  That Bible verse isn't just for me (although it's just what I needed to hear!), it's for EVERYONE. 

Jesus is with you ALWAYS. 


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tomorrow is #3 and #5

Tomorrow (Monday) I will have Taxol tx # 3, and Herceptin tx #5.  It will be a long day as usual. Last time was 7 hours!  It will be a little shorter tomorrow if Dr. Jahagirdar is on time...but chances of that are slim! :)
We have to be at Regions Cancer Center at 8am!  Ugh! That means I have to get up around 6!  It doesn't take me too long to get ready, though, without any hair to style. :P And I could just drink a Slimfast for breakfast.  It doesn't hold off the hunger very long, but then we could get cinnamon rolls at the cafe at Regions!  I usually have a little bit of time after seeing the onc to get some food if I want.  He doesn't order the drugs (chemo, etc.) until I see him and he checks my blood counts, and then it takes a little bit for the pharmacy to get the drugs sent over.
I will have only half the Benedryl because I haven't had any reaction to the Taxol so far.  I'm going to see if we can reduce the steroids too, so maybe I can actually get some sleep tomorrow night!  My nurse, Andrea, said we will do the Benedryl drip slower this time, since I had got so woozy from it last time.
I don't know how she remembers so much!  She puts a post-it on a private room to save it for me, she remembers that I like to plug my nose when getting the saline flush (otherwise I can taste it and it tastes terrible!), she knows I need a tegederm patch over my port because the other one makes me itch, and now she remembers that I like a bandaid on my port after I am done because the tape she used to use made me itch.  The nurses there are all angels!  One nurse that I used to have, and still chat with, is a breast cancer survivor herself.  And she just recently had a recurrence.  We've had a lot to talk about when we see each other.
Other news:  I'm selling Avon again!  I've been an Avon Rep off and on for about 20 years.  I quit about 2 years ago, and Rachel took over my "Avon Empire" (as she put it!).  Well, she has since quit, so I decided to start again!  I just can't stay away.  Many friends and family members are happy to have their Avon lady back.  If you would like my website address, please send me an e-mail to, and I will e-mail you back with a link to my website, and a free shipping code.
Hope the week ahead holds many blessings for all of you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Herceptin #4

I wish I knew how many total treatments of Herceptin I will have, so I could do a "countdown".  I know it's a year, but is it a year exactly?  And now I'm getting the infusions weekly, but I will probably switch to every 3 weeks after the Taxol is done. Oh well. No big deal.  Maybe I can get more details from the onc (like is it exactly a year) and then I can sort of count down months or something.
My infusion was at 11 today.  Before my nurse, Andrea, got started, she sat down with me and asked about side effects of the Taxol.  I told her about the pain, that it was like last time, and I've been taking Percocet for it.  She said if the Percocet doesn't work, I should call and let them know and there might be something else they can give me.  I hope it doesn't come to that because I really don't want anything stronger!  There were times when I had to take 2 Percocets, and I could still feel the pain, but it helped enough that the pain was bearable.  Most of the time I just took one and sometimes 1 and a half.  This morning about 5:30 I just took a half a pill because I had to drive at 10:30.  I didn't have much pain at all, just a little achy most of the day.  I took some ibuprofen with lunch, and could probably use some more now.  Maybe I'll wait and take a Percocet at bedtime to help me sleep.  The pain always seems worse when I'm trying to sleep.  I usually end up in the recliner because laying down makes my legs hurt more.
We (Rich and I) asked Andrea if she knew what Taxol was doing that caused the pain.  She said some (docs maybe?) think its more like nerve pain, but some say its actually bone pain.  The Taxol irritates the nerves or bones somehow.  I have heard of some people getting meds for nerve pain to help with the Taxol pain.  I'm fine with Percocet, as long as it keeps working. 
When the pain started Thurs. night it was real bad, and I was worried it would be much worse this time, or last a lot longer.  I don't know if I could handle it if it was so bad the pain meds didn't help.  I guess I could always get stronger drugs, or like one friend told me, go to the ER.   Its just kind of scary when it starts.  It seems maybe a little worse than last round, but has lasted the same amount of time.
My neuropathy is getting worse, and of course I always worry about that being permanent.  Although I should remember that I have had prayer several times, and someone usually prays that God will restore my body, and take away all the damage that has been done by the cancer and the treatment.
Brennan was here again today, and will be tomorrow too.  He is such a busy little guy--he walks around the furniture carrying his plastic hammer and talking up a storm.. Then he makes his way to the bookcase and pulls a bunch of books off and sits and "reads" them!  So busy!
Rachel has been working more to make extra money for the boy they want to adopt.  They have made a commitment to a 3 year old boy with down syndrome that is in an orphanage in Eastern Europe.  He will need heart surgery right away.  He is a happy boy, but hasn't been allowed to do anything physical because of his heart.  He'll need a lot of p.t. and o.t. after his surgery.  It costs a lot of money to adopt him, and then they will have to miss a lot of work to be out of the country to finalize the adoption.  It probably won't happen until next March, but I'm praying it happens sooner!  In the meantime Rachel is trying to raise money by having some fundraisers.  She is having a garage sale at my sister's house near the Elementary school on Thursday and Saturday.  Some people have donated stuff, and all the money will go for the adoption. If you are in the area please stop by!! Please consider financially supporting this little boy so he can get his heart surgery!  The special needs kids in the E. European countries that don't get adopted get put into institutions at the age of 4 or 5 and they often die soon after.  And whether you are able to help financially or not, please pray for the little guy  (Ken calls him "Littlekid").  We are all so excited to have him in our family!!
Well, its been a tiring day--hoping I can sleep better tonight, and have a bit more energy tomorrow!
May God bless all my readers!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Weekend

In spite of my pain, I had a good weekend.  For one thing the weather was gorgeous--sunny and 70's!
Saturday, Rich, Alyssa, and Jaren were going to go to Eddington's for lunch (a soup place) then to the Grand Opening of Lifeway Christian Bookstore (formerly Northwestern Books).  I was in pain from the chemo, and taking Percocet, so I figured I should stay home.  Rich wanted me to go with, so I thought about it and decided I could sit home by myself and be in pain, or I could get out of the house, spend time with my family,  and be in pain.  If I needed to, I could sit in the van while the others were in the store.  It turned out pretty well.  I had some soup and yummy breadsticks, then went to the store I LOVE (and spend too much money at!).  Being around others and doing something I enjoyed actually took my mind off the pain, so it didn't bother me so much.  Rich found some chairs in the store and pointed them out to me, so when standing got to be too much, I had a place to sit down.
There is a store next to the bookstore that is a consignment home goods store.  I think it's called Turnstyle.  Shonna said there is one in Roseville too (we were in Coon Rapids).  I have been trying to figure out what color I wanted to paint Shonna's old room ( my new "spare" room), so I wanted to look for a picture to hang on the wall and get my color ideas from that.  I found a great painting, with a neat frame for only $20.  The frame alone is worth more than that.  It has greens, yellows, blues, and peach in it.  I was very excited to find it.  I also found 2 metal pictures for the kitchen.  I am really bad at buying stuff to decorate the house, so I was very happy to have made these purchases!
Today I got up late (after 9!), and didn't think I'd make it to church. Rich said it was ok if we went late, if I wanted to go.  I figured if I could be out shopping I could make it to church!  I could always go out to the lobby area if sitting got too uncomfortable. Again, I'm glad I went.  I always feel better after some good praise and worship songs!  I did have to sit down for awhile during worship, and near the end I had to take another pain pill.  After church we ate lunch at Wendy's (with Alyssa and Jaren), then Jaren had to go to work so Alyssa went to Wal-mart with us.  I needed to pick up a few things, and also wanted to look to see if they had any nice purple bathroom stuff.  I know Kohl's has some stuff I kinda like, but I want to look at some other stores too to see what they have.  I also need some pictures or wall hangings of some sort for the bathroom.
After we got home, Rich and I sat out on the deck for a bit to enjoy the beautiful day.  I finally got around to cutting clumps of hair off the dog--there was dog hair flying around everywhere!
I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive husband!  He helps me to get out and do things, even though I could end up being a big inconvenience--like if I started feeling sick and wanted to go home in the middle of a shopping excursion.  He's become a very patient man!  We just celebrated our 26th anniversary!  We always joke that some of my relatives probably bet money that we wouldn't last very long.  Well, I can tell you, without God in our lives we definitely would not have made it this far!  But I'm so glad we did!!
Tomorrow I get my weekly infusion of Herceptin.  I'm not supposed to drive while taking the pain pills, so in the morning I will just take ibuprofen.  Then I'll drive to Rich's work, and from there he'll drive to the hospital.
We'll probably get a little lunch after, and when I get home I'll be babysitting Brennan for a few hours.
I'm hoping to feel good this week so I can get some more stuff done around here.  There is so much organizing and cleaning I'd like to get done.
Well, time for bed!
Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL week!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everything Hurts!

The pain started yesterday.  Started the same way it did last time--I start to get a little achy in the morning, and by evening I hurt all over.  I took 2 Percocets last night, and that didn't even take the pain away!  But it does take the edge off, so its bearable.  I ache all over, but the worst is from the hips down.  I really want to know what it is about the Taxol that causes this pain.  I'll try to remember to ask my onc. next time I see him.  I couldn't find anything online about it--other than that Taxol does cause pain, but not why or how.
Yesterday I was really tired too. That happened last round too--one day of being really tired all day.  Today I've hardly been able to get out of the recliner, but that's mostly because I was awake a lot last night, and the drugs are making me really "out of it" this time.  I'm hoping (and praying!) that I'll just have a few days of this, then several days of feeling good!
We have almost finished painting the bathroom.  I think the painting is done--just some clean up left now.  Rich did most of the work.  I wanted a light purple color, but its more like a light purple-ish pink. We are going to leave it for now, and buy the purple towels and rug that I want.  We'll live with it for awhile, and maybe add one coat of a little darker paint.  I really want to get Shonna's old room (my new office/spare room!) painted soon too!  I just have to decide what color I want.
Shonna is doing well at college--making friends and finding her way around.  She's been a little sick, but is starting to feel better.  I really miss her--its been a month since I've seen her!!  This is harder than I thought!
There was a lot more I wanted to say, but my eyes are having trouble focusing--better give them a rest. :)
God is GOOD!