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!!