Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Time for an Update!

Its been awhile!
The trip to KC to move Shonna there went pretty well.  I guess the worst part was the heat!  Even hotter than it was here!  Rich, Alyssa, and Shonna left Sunday (the 8th) and Rich got back home about 11:30 the following Tuesday night.  Poor Rich had to drive through heavy rain and thunderstorms starting in mid-Iowa, and lasting all the way home!  Shonna is doing very well.  She has been staying by herself, because the family that she is living with left on vacation the night of her first day there.  I think the hardest part has been killing spiders on her own.  :)  There was an adjustment time for her, being so far away from us, but, like I said, she is doing very well.  She is relying on God now.  I am doing pretty well too :), but I do miss my baby!
IHOP (Int'l House of Prayer--we call IHOPU the "pancake school"! lol!!) has a prayer room that has prayer and worship 24/7, and they have a live stream. I've been listening to that alot lately, esp. in the morning when I have my prayer and Bible study time.  I have it going now too.  I wish I would have thought to listen to this when having rough days from chemo.  But, I'll remember to turn it on during this next chemo--even though I'm SURE I won't have any rough days!
Speaking of which, I start Taxol and Herceptin next Monday.  NOT looking forward to it.  I heard a great saying on the BC forum "You don't have to be brave, you just have to show up".  And that's what I do, I just show up.  Put 1 foot in front of the other....I will need to take an Ativan before though.  It seems everytime I walk in the door of Regions Hospital I start get sick to my stomach now.  Its really annoying.  I was nauseated the whole day Monday from being there to have my MUGA scan.  It hurt when they accessed my port, and that just made the nausea worse.  I can feel it even now, just talking about it!  Anyway, the Ativan helps with anxiety and nausea--maybe I'll take 2.  :)
My MUGA scan went well, the test itself takes about 20 minutes.  I have to lay with my arms above my head, and my left arm (mastectomy side) really hurt when I finally got to put it down.  But, thankfully, the pain didn't last long.  I probably won't know the results until I see my onc. on Monday.  I'm assuming its fine.  If my number is a lot lower than my first one, I wouldn't be able to get the Herceptin.  I had an EKG at my primary clinic today, and that was ok.
Yesterday I saw my radiation onc, Dr. B.  I really like him, and esp. his nurse Doni (who took good care of me last year!), but when I left last year I told them I never wanted to see them again!  They weren't convinced when I told them yesterday that it was good to see them!  Soooo, its just as I expected, I do have to have radiation.  It will start 2 or 3 weeks (depending on how I feel) after chemo is done, and it will be daily (Mon.-Fri.) for 6 or 6.5 weeks.  Dr. B hasn't decided yet.  But he was sure that radiation would lower my risk of recurrence.  He feels, given my "young" age, that we should be as aggressive as possible.  I agree!  I know I'm getting the strongest chemo treatment too, so bring on the radiation!  I want to be around for many, many more years!
The main side effect of rads will be sunburned-like skin.  It can get quite painful.  Given my history with rads last year, the doc said if it gets too bad we can take a break.  He said last year I was an "outlier" meaning my reaction to rads was outside the "norm".  I am supposed to start moisturizing my chest area now, to get it ready.  Fatigue can also be a side effect.  Sometimes they don't know if its actually the rads causing the fatigue, or the stress of having to go there every day, and after being beat up by chemo.
(Cool--I hear thunder!)
I sent in my letter to HR requesting another medical leave of absence.  I said that I plan on being back to work on Jan. 4th--that is the first day back after Christmas Break.  My treatments should be done the first week in Dec., and of course that is if I stay on schedule.  Last year I didn't stay on schedule, and I ended up going back a lot later in the year than I planned.  I've also been filling out my paperwork for long term disability.  If I qualify (I did last year), I will get 2/3rds of my pay.  That will help alot!
Its been so nice to have this 4 week break from chemo.  I've been getting some things done, and getting out to some lunches.  Last week I went to see my friend at church and helped with some stuff there (I used to help weekly).  It felt good to be "useful" again! 
Brennan is getting so big now!  He's 10.5 months old.  He finally figured out crawling, but he LOVES to walk around (and around and around!) holding onto your hands.  Then he gets mad when you stop!  We get to watch him tomorrow--I have his pack n' play little crib here in Shonna's old room for him to nap in.
Jaren started a new job as a CSO (Community Service Officer) at a nearby police dept.  Its where he's always wanted to work.  And they've wanted him too.  He'll continue to go to school, then eventually he can become a police officer there.  Alyssa has been busy with cheerleading, and classes start next week.  She was a very good substitute for me on the trip to KC!
Rachel and Ken are looking into adopting a special needs child, and are starting the process for that (it takes awhile!).  Rachel has a new insulin pump and it is working very well for her.  Her diabetes is under good control now!  They are also busy with some beehives!  They got about 5O lbs of honey and plan on selling some.
Well I think that's enough for now!  I'll try to update sooner next time--but it probably won't be until after chemo on Monday.
Hope everyone is having a great week (and if you live nearby you better be enjoying this BEAUTIFUL weather!!).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tina, It sounds like you have a great clinical team. That is so important! And the love of your family and faith to sustain you. Good luck this week... hope everything goes well. I am praying for good news for you.