Thursday, July 29, 2010

Healthy Stuff

Someone on the forum that I'm part of put up this info.  I thought I'd pass it on to you.  Its easy to read, yet covers a lot of info.  Hope you find it informative.

7 Ways to Slash Cancer Risk

1. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.
2. Lower your weight to the lower end of the body-mass index for your height. Even more important, banish belly fat, which acts like a ‘hormone pump' releasing estrogen into the bloodstream as well as raising levels of other hormones.
3. Avoid sugary drinks and high-calorie foods. For blood sugar balance.
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
5. Eat less red meat and little or no processed meat. Red meat contains heme iron and other substances that damage the colon lining, making way for tumor growth. Processed meat is even worse. When meat is preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) are formed that damage cells in the body, leading to cancer. While studies show we can eat up to 18 ounces a week of red meat without raising cancer risk, research shows that cancer risk starts to increase with any portion of processed meat.
6. Limit alcohol to two drinks a day for men, one for women-but none is best of all. Scientists are still researching how alcohol causes cancer. One theory is that alcohol can directly damage DNA, increasing our risk of cancer. Research shows that alcohol is particularly harmful when combined with smoking.
7. Limit salt intake. Salt and salt-preserved foods are linked to stomach and other digestive cancers; limit salt to 2400 milligrams to be safe.

As for me, while going through chemo I don't worry too much about what I eat.  Its more about taste at this point!  I try to eat some fruits and veggies everyday, and get some protein.
My plan for after treatment is to find some meatless meals we like (I'd like to serve it once a week), continue to eat more fruits and veggies, and make some things from scratch, instead of packaged side dishes. Also, a big one for me, is to increase my exercise.  I believe everything is ok in moderation, so I won't deny myself anything!  I want to make life-long changes, not "diet".

I'll update more about my treatment later....
Have a great day everyone!

Friday, July 23, 2010


So, I think I been whining too much lately!  This AC chemo has really gotten to me--"red devil" is the perfect name for it!  Last year, while on chemo, I had some very rough days, but I spent more time counting my blessings.  I remember feeling so overwhelmingly blessed.  Maybe its not so much this chemo, but just the fact that I've had to deal with this for so long.  Whatever the reason, I want to get back to that place of feeling blessed.  So, I will be focusing on that this next week, and we'll see if I whine less--no promises  :)
Today I got out of the house and had lunch with Alyssa.  I can't remember the last time I drove--probably 2 weeks ago. I woke up about 5 am and ended up getting up around 6:15.  That's early for me!  But I couldn't get back to sleep. But I did sleep the whole night without waking up, which is the first time I've done that in a while!  I did take a little nap this afternoon--I'm still pretty tired most of the day.
Tomorrow, Shonna and I are going to go shopping for some college stuff.  Then we might get to babysit Brennan in the afternoon.  I wasn't able to watch him Thurs. like usual because Ken had the flu, and I didn't want those germs over here.  I sure do miss him!  He doesn't recognize me as well as he used to :( .  Hopefully after this next round of chemo (Monday!), I'll start feeling better and can spend more time with him again.  I'm only 46!!  I should have plenty of energy for him.  (oops!  was that whining again?)  I am so blessed to be able to spend any time with him! (How was that?  lol!)
Well, time to get ready for bed!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!  Oh-- Shonna is singing is at church on Sunday!  Yay!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Its My Birthday!

I turned 46 today!  Happy to have another birthday, but sad that its been 2 in a row that I've been too sick to celebrate.  I think we'll try to get out to eat this weekend, but that's about it.  I did have one request for today though--and that's a DQ log cake.  Rich brought me one after work, along with some flowers! 
I let the family (and God!!) know that next year I will be celebrating my 47th birthday cancer-free.   I'm already planning a family trip to Duluth!  Rich felt bad about not doing anything for me today, and I told him he'll be making up for it next year! :-)  Start saving those pennies now!
I started the day feeling pretty good, then after lunch I started having some nausea, and feeling tired.  Oh well, part of a day feeling well is better than none!
I did have some emotional moments too.  Some happy tears from all the love I was feeling from family and friends, and some sad tears because I'm soooooo tired of feeling sick and life passing me by.  But overall, its ok.  I know I just have to get through this, and God willing, I'll be done with this chapter of my life. Whatever God's will is for me, I'll get through it with His help!
Shonna wants to shoot some photos of my bald head--what do you think?  She brought this great book home from the library, called "Turning Heads  Portraits of Grace, Inspiration, and Possibilities". On each page there is a photo of a bald woman, and a short piece about her, in her own words.  By the time you are done reading the book, a bald woman seems a very natural thing.  No, I'm not going to start leaving the house without a scarf, but I'm getting more comfortable around the house "topless".  Rich and Shonna are ok with it too.  Rachel and Alyssa haven't seen me without a scarf as much, so it might look a little strange to them still.
Well, that's my little birthday update!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not Much Going On

It's been a slow week so far.  Even though the worst days of this round are over, I still don't have any energy.  Anytime I do anything I feel very weak.  My heart was pounding just from taking Sadie outside!  I did manage to do a tiny bit of cleaning, and that at least made me feel better mentally.  This chemo really hits me hard!  I didn't think anything would be worse than the FOLFOX I had last year, but I think this is, because I have fewer days with any energy.  The good part about AC is that there are only 4 rounds, instead of 12! 
I still haven't made an appt. with the radiology doc to find out whether or not I have to do radiation.  There is no hurry, as it wouldn't start until after the 12 weeks of Taxol.  That would make it around the beg. of Nov., I think.  It just would be nice to know.
I had a bit of a fever on Monday, so I assume my wbc's were low again.  I had some back pain from the Neulasta on Tues., and that usually means its working to build my wbc's back up.  So, all in all, this week has been better than this time last round.  I did "lay low" for a few days, and avoided stores and such.  But I'm probably ok now.
I like to use my blog to thank those that have been supportive of me.  A wonderful friend from work (Lynn) brought us a yummy meal Mon., and a neighbor brought over some freshly baked treats!  I also very much appreciate the cards I get from a teacher I work with--so nice to be thought of!  Thanks to everyone that continues to pray for me, and sends me cards and e-mails.  All are VERY much appreciated!
Of course my sister has still been feeding us a ton.  Oh!  Can't forget to thank my sister-in-law for the pretty earrings!  They are perfect!  And will look great with one of my scarves :)
Well, that's my little update!
Love and Blessings!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Starting to feel a bit better.  At least I thought I was, but just took an anti-nausea pill.  I think I probably just need to eat something.  Yesterday was a rough, 'out-of-it' day, but last evening I started to feel a little more "awake".  Rich, Shonna, and I went for a short drive and a DQ, and it felt soooo good to get out of the house for awhile.  When we got back we ended up having to go to the basement due to severe weather.  Doesn't look like there was a lot of damage around here, but there are oak branches all over the yard.  Rich plans on getting out after church to pick them up.  Don't think I'm ready to help with that yet! 
I wish we could get some cooler weather so I could open the windows.  At least its not supposed to be quite as hot and humid the next few days. We are sure going to have a big electric bill next month!
This is about the time last round that I started to feel 'woozy' and run a low temp.  I'm trying to stay more hydrated, and will be especially careful about germs the next few days.  I think the Neulasta shot usually kicks in about Wed.  When I feel the bone pain I am reassured that my white blood cell counts are coming back up!
As usual, when I start to feel better, I have trouble sleeping.  Last night my brain did not want to shut off!  There is so much I want/need to do, esp. with Shonna leaving for college soon.  I was able to sleep for a few hours, then once I woke up I couldn't get back to sleep.  And I still have this cough that makes it hard to sleep sometimes.  I moved out to the recliner, and did get a few hours of sleep there.  I kind of look forward to that time in the middle of the night now. Anytime I can't sleep I use that time to talk to God, and if I'm awake enough, I read the Bible.  I don't always get the answers I want, but I feel so comforted just knowing He is there and listening to my prayers.  It reminds me of how I felt as a young "daddy's girl" curling up in my dad's lap and feeling safe.  That's how I feel curled up in the recliner--like I'm safe in my "Daddy's" lap.
Well, Rich just called.  Church is done and he was wondering if I wanted anything for lunch.  He is going to pick me up some Arby's. A roast beef sandwich should provide some good protein.  And as a treat I get an apple turnover!  Yum!  Dee brought supper again last night, and she also brought a lemon meringue pie!  I'll have to try that out later!
Have a great Sunday everyone, and GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just Checking In

Good morning to all. 
I have been up and moving around a little, but fading fast!  Getting hard to keep my eyes open!  Hoping to hold out until lunch.  Have some nausea this morning, so have been snacking on jell-o and pretzels, but I think I'll need a pill soon.  I have to stay on top of it, or it gets worse.
The next few days are going to be rough, so prayers are appreciated!  Prayers for Rich to please!  He is awesome, but I know this is stressful, and work is too.  I will continue to praise God through this storm!
Only one more round of AC left, then the Taxol/Herceptin will start 3 weeks later.  Everyone is saying that should be easier, although some report fatigue with that too.  It doesn't sound like the fatigue is as extreme though. 
My biggest goal is to feel well enough to make the trip to KC to move Shonna there for college.  We will be going down there around Aug. 8th or 9th.  Orientation starts Aug 10th.  This will be 2 weeks after my last AC chemo, so I should be ok.  She will be renting a room from a guy that used to be her Youth Leader at Bridgewood.  He is married now and has 2 small children.  God has definitely shown her that this is where He wants her to be--it is so exciting to have that confirmation.   I am excited to see what He has in store for her.
Hope all is well for everyone else out there!  Thanks sooo much for prayers, cards, e-mails, etc.  I love to hear from you!
Love and Blessings!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pictures and Prayers

These are the pics of Rich cutting my hair on Monday, July 5th.  Note his concentration!  Most of that hair is gone now.  There is a thin coating of hair all over, but you can plainly see my pink scalp!  It freaked me out a bit last night when I took my scarf off and had a good look.  Its really not pretty...I wear a scarf during the day, and a sleep cap at night (so what's left of my hair doesn't get all over the bed!).  I tried on my wigs again the other night, thinking maybe I'd wear one out to dinner, but I just didn't feel comfortable in them.  I don't mind wearing the scarves.
The past few days have still been a little rough.  I haven't had any more dizzy spells, but there seems to always be something else going on. 
Wed. Alyssa came over and we went to lunch, and we were going to go to Target, but Rachel needed us to babysit Brennan last minute.  For some reason I didn't feel well after lunch, so was glad to go home.  Brennan had a little fever, so I wasn't really supposed to be around him, but what can a grandma do?  And it takes my special touch to get him to nap.  :)
That night I couldn't sleep more than 4 hours, so I was very tired and crabby on Thurs.  I cancelled my bra-fitting appt., and rescheduled it for Friday afternoon.  I was crabby because I wanted to be feeling better and have some energy!
Yesterday, I felt much better most of the day.  Made it to the bra-fitting. Ended up ordering some, so I'll have to go back again to try them on.  In the evening, we went out to eat with Alyssa, Jaren and Shonna.  When we got home my stomach started cramping up and I had diarrhea!  I think it was from the antibiotic I'm taking.  I had had enough of a certain pain in the "bum"  (those of you that have been with me for awhile might remember that radiation caused a lot of damage to my backside), so I took a Percocet.  Then 3 hours later took another one...I really needed a break from it!
I stayed out in the recliner to sleep, and read the Bible (on Rich's Droid phone!) for awhile.  Then spent some time in groggy prayer.  2 things I specifically prayed for--my "backside" would stop hurting, and the diarrhea would stop, so I could get some sleep.  I decided I didn't need to continue suffering, and I had a long talk with God.  He COMPLETELY answered my prayer.  I did not have trouble with either of those things after that, and slept well the rest of the night.  I haven't had ANY discomfort today, and no, I haven't taken any more pain pills.  We serve an awesome God--never forget that He WANTS to help.  Just talk to Him!
Today has been a good day!  I'm still pretty tired, but was able to get out and do some shopping, and like I said, NOTHING hurts. 
Well, I get one more day before my next round of chemo.  I pray that it is a good one, and that the next round is easier, instead of worse! And I often pray for special blessings for those that are praying for me--so expect to be blessed!
Love and blessings!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A LONG week!

Well, I see I haven't written since last Wed.  The "yucks" were just starting to set in at that time...seems like a loooong time ago!  Thurs., Friday, and Sat. were spent just as expected--just trying to get through each day, spending a lot of time in bed.  Sat. morning I managed to get out for a very short shaky-legged walk, and in the evening Rich took me on a little drive and we got a DQ.  Unfortunately I've been craving chocolate malts--which is unusual for me!  Looks like I won't be losing as much weight this time around!  Sunday morning I still felt like crap, and when I took a shower I started to black out--literally eyes going dark.  Rich came in and helped me get to the bed, and I layed in front of the fan for a bit.  We debated calling my oncologist--it was the 4th, and I didn't want to spend time in the ER (not that I was going to do anything else that day!).  I've also had some chest congestion and a cough for over a week--I was concerned that might have had something to do with the blacking out.  I just took it easy the rest of the day.  Rich went to Jaren's parent's house for their 4th of July party, and I stayed home and played Facebook games!  (don't worry--he called and texted me often, and he was only 5 min. away!).  The next day, yesterday, I felt light-headed again in the shower, but caught it quickly so I didn't start losing vision.  Again, I layed down for a bit.  Then, since my hair has been coming out in handfuls, Rich and I went out on the deck and he cut it short, and buzzed the back with his trimmers.  Later I went out to the garage to watch the heavy rain with Rich, and felt woozy, and had to go sit down.  By this time I also had a little fever (99.5), so I thought I better call the doc.  I spoke with the on-call nurse (everything was closed yesterday!), and she was concerned about my heart and wanted me to come in right away.  She even said the safest thing to do would be to call 911 and take an aspirin.  Ummm, no.  I was worried about my heart, because one of my chemo drugs can cause heart problems (though supposedly rare), but didn't feel I was having a heart attack.  So Rich took me down to Regions ER.  The nurse had let them know I was coming, and because of possible heart issues, I got taken in within a few minutes.  I wore a scarf for the first time--one with a cap attached because my hair is falling out all over.  I felt guilty and that people were thinking--oh sure, the cancer lady gets to go right in....Although no one probably even noticed. Anyways--long story short (sort of!)--I spent several hours there, and didn't find out much!  I think the light-headedness is low blood pressure from the chemo.  My bp did go pretty low once while I was there (99/45ish).  The heart and chest were ok.  The biggest problem they found, and what took so long, was my white blood cell count was extremely low.  It took awhile because it was so low they ran it again to make sure.  The ER doc called one of the on call oncologists(my onc's partner) to discuss what to do.  They said I could go home, if I felt ok doing so, and they would talk to my onc. in the morning and he would call me.  So I came home, with strict orders to come back if my temp reached 100.4 (I always wonder where they come up with that number?), or if I had a near fainting spell again.
When I got home I took some Tylenol (for a different pain), and about an hour later I was feeling sort of "agitated"--tense, uncomfortable.  Took my temp, and sure enough it was going up--100.2!  But I was tired, Rich needed to sleep and go to work in the morning, and by the time I got to the ER, the temp would probably be down from the Tylenol!  So I went to sleep!  I figured I could deal with it in the morning! 
My temp was in the mid 99's all morning (normal for me is mid 97's), and I finally called my onc to see if he had all the info from last night.  His nurse called me back.  He prescribed an antibiotic because of the fever, and the fact that I have no wbc's to fight an infection. 
So, that's all I know.  I feel better today, and didn't have any woozy spells.  Still lack of energy, but was able to move around and do a few things.  I feel MUCH better being on an antibiotic (altho he always gives me the scary one with all the warnings!  Its called Levaquin).  I finally took some Tylenol, and that brought my temp down and helped me to feel better too.
Rich and I just went out for a short walk--thought I could do the block, but legs got shaky and started sweating not far from home.  But any moving is a good thing.  I don't know what my platelets are, but I worry about blood clots, since I had one last summer.
I am soooooooo disappointed to be feeling this crappy 8 days out from my last chemo.  There are things I need to do!  Really frustrated...
I want to say thanks to my sis for bringing us meals almost every night last week!  We were well fed, and had lots of leftovers.  She calls whenever she's out and about to see if I need anything (Sunday I "needed" a choc. Frosty from Wendy's!).  Today she picked up my prescription for me. The wonderful peeps at church sent a meal the week before, and a neighbor also sent some food over!  How nice to be thought of!  I continue to get the occasional card and e-mail too---just friends and family making sure I know they are still thinking about me. 
Speaking of family, my cousin is in MN for the first time in 8 years, and having a grad party for her daughter.  Its about 2 (3?) hours away in the Rochester area.  I am hoping to go (its Sat.), but now I'm not so sure if I'll feel like it.  I SHOULD feel like it--but unfortunately things never work out the way they SHOULD with this cancer crap!  (Did I mention I was frustrated?)
Tomorrow night I am going to a class called "Look Good, Feel Better".  Its a popular class put on by the Am. Cancer Soc.  They teach you make up tips (how to draw on eyebrows, etc.), and hair loss tips.  I'm hoping they will teach me how to tie scarves.  Alyssa has been practicing with the scarf she got (matches one of mine), so I asked her to go with me.  I'll get a bunch of make up to bring home too.
Thursday I have another bra fitting.  Insurance pays for 6 a year, and I only have 1 good one (bra that is! lol!).
I find myself going to my list of Bible verses at the top of this page quite often.   On my worst "out of it" days, I unfortunately don't feel like praying much either--not because of any 'issue" I have with God, just because I don't care much about anything.  But I am often awake in the middle of the night, and that is when God reminds me to talk to Him.  I'll admit to a bit of "why me" lately--but as soon as I even think that I am reminded that He is with me ALWAYS, and watching over me.
Thanks for checking in!
God's blessings to all!
ps  Watch for my next post with pics of Rich cutting my hair!