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!!