Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Just wanted to say "MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!"
I hope everyone is able to spend some time with their loved ones, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season.  I'm praying for anyone that might read this who isn't looking forward to Christmas and is sad and/or lonely.  May God give you a miracle as we celebrate the birth of His son.  May He comfort you and give you the peace that only He can give.  May you feel his arms around you and feel safe and loved beyond your wildest imagination. Accept the gift of His Son, Jesus, and you'll have a new home (Heaven) and a new family (the body of Christ)!
I'm posting some recent pictures of my family.  The one with all of us is on Thanksgiving (2011), the one where Rich is giving me a foot rub I included because this shows how I sometimes have to deal with the neuropathy in my feet!  Rich's foot rubs really help!  The other 2 were taken 12-18-11 on Charlie's Dedication day ( at our church we dedicate babies to the Lord, and they can choose to be baptized when they are older).




















Love and blessings!
Tina

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Holiday Season is Upon Us!

I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is quickly approaching!  I feel like I'm behind already!  You'd think this would be a normal feeling for me, since I am always behind, but I wish I could be ahead just one Christmas season.  Well, it's still early (not even December yet!), so maybe I'll catch up.
I do love this time of year though--a national day just for giving thanks to God, and of course Christmas, the celebration of the birth of God's greatest gift--our savior Jesus!  I hope everyone takes the time to soak in the meaning of the season.  Don't rush through and miss the beauty of it all!
We had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!  We've been having it here, at our house, the past few years, with our kids and grandkids, and usually my sister too.  It's very nice.  Everyone brings something, and my turkeys have been turning out PERFECT!  That's a big deal to me, because years ago, as a young wife and mom, I tried to make a turkey and it didn't turn out.  I cried.  My wonderful, patient, husband ran up to the store to buy some deli chicken to go with the rest of the meal I had prepared.  I said I'd never cook another turkey! Well, about 20 years later, I thought I'd give it another shot, and it turned out great!
This was Charlie's 1st Thanksgiving!   He is getting to be such a big boy!  He has physical, occupational, and speech therapy privately and through preschool.  He is learning to crawl, stand, and walk.  All his muscles are being worked--including core and mouth.  I love all his facial expressions.  He is a happy, funny, little boy.
His little brother, Brennan, is growing quickly too!  He knows all his colors, and his ABCs.  He loves pointing out letters and saying them all.  I love the way he says things, in his own Brennan way!
Shonna came home for the holiday.  She was going to be here for just a few days, but she surprised us and came home early!  She is back at school now, but will be back in a few weeks for a whole month!
I had my 3 month bloodwork and check-up with my oncologist recently.  Everything looks good!  My hemoglobin is back up into the normal range for the first time in over 2 years.  Still would like it a bit higher though.  My neuropathy in my feet has been bothering me more often.  Right now my feet feel tingly and like the bottoms are burning.  I found something that helps though--a foot massage!  Really, it does help, and I'm blessed with a husband who is willing! 
My next check-up will be in 3 months, and I'll have more bloodwork and ct scans before I see my onc.  My next mammogram and MRI will be in April.  After all those tests are done, I might get my port removed.  I like having it for the tests; it saves my veins.
Well, I'm going to go get a much needed foot rub now!  May the next few weeks bring you abundant joy and blessings!  Even when life doesn't seem so good, we can have true joy in knowing Jesus as our Savior, friend, and Lord!
Love,
Tina

Monday, October 24, 2011

There's a Name For It!

Since this blog is still primarily about my health and cancer issues, I'm going to share some personal things with you. I won't get into too much detail though...
I saw my doctor about a week and a half ago, after having a lot of pain and missing a day of work so I could rest and take some Percocet.  She and I both thought I had a fistula (not going to describe that here, other than to say it's a major pain in the bum!).  I was supposed to see my surgeon, but he referred me to a colon-rectal surgeon. I was able to get in this past Thurs., due to a cancellation.  I'm so glad I was able to get in to see an expert in my issues! Good news was, there is no fistula. There are some other minor problems that could be fixed with surgery, but since I had radiation there is a risk that the area wouldn't heal.  Surgery of a radiated area is always risky due to the damage done to the skin. So no surgery!  I'm so glad!
I started telling her (the surgeon) of some of my problems and pain, and she said my surgeon must've mentioned these things to me, and I said, no, he didn't! She told me my problems are very common for my type of colon resection (low anterior resection), so common in fact, that there is a syndrome named for them--Low Anterior Resection Syndrome!  We talked about how my colon now functions, and she gave me some tips and ideas on how to improve things.  It's mostly trial and error, as each person is different.  I can't tell you how nice it was to talk to someone openly and have them understand exactly what I was saying!  I hope some of the things we talked about will work.  Problem is that it takes time to figure out what works and what doesn't.
I had a pretty good week and a half or so, but the pain came back full force today.  I couldn't wait to get home from work today and take a pain pill!  I feel much better now, and hopefully tomorrow won't be so bad.
Other news-- This past week I had Wed., Thurs. and Friday off of work.  Wed. I stayed home and did some MUCH needed cleaning.  Thurs. I ran some errands, saw the surgeon, and packed for the weekend.  Friday morning Rich and I left for Kansas City, MO.  We went to visit Shonna.  I haven't seen her since early Aug. and that's way too long! 
Friday night we had a late dinner with her, then we spent all of Saturday together.  We visited a couple of Jesse James historical sites.  We love that stuff!  Shonna has loved museums and history stuff since she was about 3 or 4.  After supper on Sat. she came to our hotel and we sat in the hot tub and then hung out in our room for a bit--a lovely evening!  Sunday we took her and one of her roomies to brunch, then Rich and I headed home.  We could have spent more time there, but Shonna has very little time during the week to visit. Rich and I both had to get back to work today (Monday).
Rachel and Alyssa were also gone this weekend.  Rachel and her 2 boys went to Alabama with another mom and her 3 kids to visit some other families that adopted from the same orphanage.  Sort of a little reunion!  But what a long drive!  All survived though, and they had a good time!
Alyssa flew to AZ to visit her best friend that recently moved there.  Alyssa HATES flying, but she did it by herself---tells you how much her friend means to her!  She flew once before by herself to see Jaren before he went to Iraq.  I think she's very brave!!  I got to see her today and got to here all about her trip.  Tomorrow Rachel is coming over with the boys and I'll hear all about their trip.  It'll be so nice to see them all!
Life has been busy, and good (mostly!).  I really wish I could take a break from cancer though.  I think it's really starting to sink in that this is my life now, and cancer will always be a part of it.  I sort of knew that before, but now I'm living that reality!  I can't complain too much though--I'm still here and there is no sign of any cancer in my body!  There are too many people I know that have had their cancer spread, or return.  They are always in my prayers!
Well, that's my update for now.  I'll try and update soon with some pictures of the boys--I know they are the real reason you are here!  ;D
Love and blessings!!
Tina

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cancer: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The title of my blog is something you hear frequently in the cancer world.  It's not very often a person who has had cancer doesn't have some lingering side effects, either physical or psychological, or both.  I have been dealing with some painful side effects lately.  2 years ago I finished radiation for my colon cancer, and I am still suffering from the damage that caused.  It's not something I can talk about in too much detail, because it's just too personal, but I'll just say that some pretty tender tissues are fried!  And having 18" of colon removed causes some changes in the gastro system that contribute to the problem also.  I complain to my dear husband, and today I gave my nurse an earful!  I had to go in to get my port flushed, and my usual nurse, whom I adore, was there.  She started asking how I was doing and I said fine, except....then I told her everything, in detail.  It was SO NICE to be able to tell someone what's been going on with me.  And really, I wouldn't have told her so much, except, being the great nurse she is, she kept asking questions, and of course she will fill my oncologist in on everything too.  I told her I may be needing some more Percocet soon, as my bottle is a year old, so it's good that she will be filling the doc in on everything.  That way when I come asking for more drugs, he'll know why. :)  Percocet not only stops the pain, but it also slows down my system, which is helpful.
My shoulder has been hurting more lately, and that all started after my mastectomy.  I thought it was all better, but it started hurting again mid August.  Sometimes if I hold my arm a certain way for a while, when I move it, I get really sharps pains.  Like it gets stuck and it takes a bit for it to move without hurting again.  The pain is right in front of my shoulder socket--kind of a weird place.  Then the last few days it's started hurting up by the clavicle.  That is a spot that was hit by radiation, so that concerns me a little bit.  If either of these continue, I will go see my primary physician.
Then there is the ever present neuropathy.  There was an article recently about a study done on Oxaliplatin, which is the chemo that causes the most trouble with neuropathy.  It showed that in many cases, the neuropathy got worse for a few months after chemo, and is sometimes permanent.  They are finding that it is worse than they thought.  My neuropathy really is just a minor nuisance though.  I'm so thankful it isn't painful like some people's.
Who knew that cancer keeps giving and giving?  Sort of like the song that never ends...except this is the disease that never ends!
Ok, after all that negative stuff I just want to say that life is really good right now, and I count my many blessings everyday!  God is good, I'm alive, my cancer has not spread, my family is wonderful, and I have the 2 cutest grandsons ever!
Speaking of the boys, Charlie is healing really well from surgery.  Brennan is very happy to have his family all back together and at home!  He missed his brother! He gave him lots of hugs, and played with him a lot those first few days at home.    Charlie will be resuming physical, occupational and speech therapy 2 days a week next week, and starting preschool in 2 weeks!
May God bless you all!
Tina

Friday, September 23, 2011

Awesome Charlie

Charlie had his heart surgery last Friday (9/16).  We were all very worried about his recovery--even his surgeon and doctors thought it was going to be a rough few days after the surgery.  They kept watching and waiting for things to get worse--but they never did!  5 days later, on Wed., he got to go home!  His blood pressure, lung pressure, everything---all ok!  It's a miracle, plain and simple.  Thank you so much for all your prayers!  God has plans for this sweet little boy.  He has very few restrictions--just can't pick him up under his arms, and of course, nothing should hit him in the chest.
Brennan went to a daycare for a few days, and I picked him up at 2:30.  He really liked it there.  He wore a little Elmo backpack--SO CUTE!  And Rachel even packed a lunch for him.  Just like a big boy.  He turns 2 on Monday!
He is such a good little boy.  But he really had enough of Grandma and just wanted to be home with his mommy, daddy and Charlie!  I felt so bad for him.  I took him down to the hospital one day and he was happy to see Charlie.  When Rachel and I took him out of the room he kept signing "Charlie" and just wanted to go back and see him.  Brennan has been very happy to have his brother home!
Check out Rachel's blog for more info on Charlie.  The link to "Love is Sugar Free" is on the right side of my blog.


Here's a picture of Charlie in the hospital on Tues., after he was moved out of ICU:

Here is B with his back pack:

That's all for now!
Blessings!
Tina

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back To Work, Back To Life, and a Charlie update

Work has been going really well! I work in kindergarten and first grade in the morning, then supervise lunch and recess. I was VERY tired and achy the first week, but that is getting a little better each day (and it helps to take ibuprofen every morning!).  I still am tired, but am able to at least function after work and make supper.  I even got groceries after work yesterday!  Last week I pretty much came home and collapsed!  Who knew 3 hours could be so tiring!  I am on my feet the whole time and an hour of it is running around the playground doing recess.  I'm so glad the weather is cooler--I don't like being outside when it's hot!
Today Alyssa came over shortly after I got home, then Rachel brought the boys over for us to watch (I'm SO thankful Alyssa was here for that!), then Jaren stopped by, and Rich came home, and Rachel came back, then, finally, Dee stopped by (she saw everyone's cars here!).  Whew!  Was crazy here for awhile!  But I love it!  They all cleared out by about 6:15, and now Rich and I are taking it easy.  Just need some quiet time for a bit!
I noticed, while trying to peel the paper off the back of some velcro, that my fingers are more sensitive than I realized.  That is still from the neuropathy.  There is only a slight numbness left, but they hurt when I try to do things like untie knots and such (something I seem to have to do a lot of at school!).  After working with the velcro the tips of my fingers hurt for a couple of hours,  The bottom of me feet often feel numb when I'm walking around the playground.  Being on my feet seems to aggravate the neuropathy there.  But it's not painful, so I will just ignore it.  I wore tennis shoes today for the first time (I've been wearing flip-flops and sandals), and my toes did not like being inside shoes! Again, there was more numbness.  My feet will just have to get used to it! Too bad I can't wear my slippers to work. :)
I had a lot of other radiation-caused pain this weekend, that I took some pain pills for.  Radiation damage is nasty, and something I'll just have to put up with.  Thankfully the pain eventually goes away and stays away for a few weeks.
Monday night Rich and I got to watch Jaren get sworn in as a police officer.  We are very proud of him!  He and Alyssa have been together since they were in 10th grade.  It's been a blessing to watch them grow and mature together.
I just "skyped" with Shonna!  She had to get new tires today, so I wanted to check in and see how it went.  It's so great to be able to actually see her while we talk.  I still miss her a lot!  Rich and I will be going down to see her in Oct. when I have a break from work.
Well, now for the big news.  Charlie is having his heart surgery this Friday.  At least we are praying they will finally be able to go through with it and fix his heart!  I was so glad I got to snuggle with him and hold him today.  Most of my focus will be on Brennan while Charlie is in the hospital, so I just held him and prayed for him, and kissed and hugged him!  Brennan will be at his other grandparents' house for 2 nights, then come here Sat.  We'll have him a lot the next week.  Please keep Charlie in your prayers.  He will be very critical the first few days, as they will be leaving his chest open. Rachel and Ken need your prayers too--lots of stress and very little sleep for them! It will be good to finally get this done, so that wonderful little boy can get on with living and growing and learning!
Life is really good for me right now.  As I was standing out in the yard with my dog this morning I was thinking about what I felt like 2 years ago.  I couldn't even get out of bed some days to take the dog out, and if I did it took all my energy and I was in a fog.  1 year ago the chemo wasn't quite as bad, but I was taking Percocet for the pain it caused and still tired and weak.  What a blessing to be able to stand out there today with my face to the sun, enjoying the beauty all around me!  Such a difference.  I pray I am done with cancer forever, but for sure I am done with cancer RIGHT NOW, so I am just going to enjoy every day I have.  No one knows when their time is up, cancer or not.  So get out there---ENJOY EVERY MOMENT GOD GIVES YOU!!
Blessings to you all!
Tina

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Grandsons

Today was supposed to be Charlie's surgery day.  He was finally going to get that hole in his heart fixed.  Rachel had everything ready for the week, Brennan's schedule worked out, and Ken took the week off.  They took Charlie into surgery at 8:30 am, and a little while later the surgeon came out.  Not a good sign!  Charlie's fever went back up to 102.2.  He has had fevers off and on all summer.  They have done zillions of tests and can't find the reason.  So, now they do a bunch more tests and cultures and see if they are missing anything.  He is still intubated and sedated, and they should let him wake up in about an hour or so.  Rachel and Ken are waiting for the test results and will talk to the specialists and decide what to do.  You can read more details here: Love is Sugar Free.
In other news about Charlie, he is doing so well in so many ways!  He knows several signs (sign language), and says a few words.  He has been having physical, occupational, and speech therapy twice a week and they are getting him to use his legs!  At first he wouldn't even put his feet on the ground, and now he can use his legs to support himself!  He is happy and loves to snuggle. Now if only we could get his heart healed...
Brennan will be 2 on Sept. 26th!  He knows most of his colors and the signs for them!  He is talking a lot more, although he is hard to understand unless you know the context.  But he will try to say most everything now.  He even makes up signs for things too!  He says things like "mommy's car gold" and "Sissa's(Alyssa's) car".  He recognized Alyssa's car after just seeing it one time before!  He is a sweet, fun little boy.  Of course he has the occasional melt down--but they don't last very long.
I am getting excited about going back to work (although this surgery stuff is putting a damper on that now).  I start next Tues, Sept. 6th.  I even did a little clothes shopping--it's been awhile since I've needed clothes for work!  I wish I could say that I've lost all the weight I gained this last year, but I haven't.  I'm working on it though!  I'm feeling pretty good, and getting my strength and stamina back!
Please keep Charlie in your prayers.  God is hearing those prayers, I know.  I'm sure there is a good reason the surgery was cancelled, because God was there with Charlie and the surgeons.
Love and blessings!
Tina

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scans, Labs, Oncologist, and Last Herceptin!

Well, I'm done!  I couldn't be more excited (well, I could be if I weren't tired from the Herceptin!).  I had my ct scans (chest, abdomen, and pelvis) and bloodwork done last week. Scans are all clear, and bloodwork is good.  One of the liver tests (alkaline phosphatase) was elevated, but I think that is from a minor bladder issue I have had since my colon resection.  We'll check it again in 3 months. 
Today I saw my oncologist and had my LAST Herceptin infusion.  I asked my onc., Dr. J, if I can call my self NED (No Evidence of Disease) now and he said yes, both cancers are in remission.  He said I was actually NED when I had surgery, because there was no evidence of the cancer after that.  I said I wanted to wait until I was done with everything before saying that.  It's not too exciting to be NED when you still have to go through chemo and radiation!
When my nurse called me back to the infusion room she had a big smile, and several other nurses congratulated me.  Unfortunately my 2 regular nurses weren't there, and one will probably be on maternity leave when I go back.  But it was nice that everyone was so happy for me. They know what a long road it has been!
In 6 weeks I'll go back to get my port flushed, then 6 weeks after that (3 months from now) I'll have labs done and see the oncologist again.  6 months from now I'll have more ct scans, labs, and see the onc. again.  I only need a mammogram and MRI once a year, so that won't be until next April.  Mammo and MRI are for the breast cancer; the ct scans are for the colon cancer.
Well, that is the cancer update!!  In other news, we moved Shonna back to KCMO a week ago.  She moved into a different house, so we had to paint and move furniture.  I MISS HER!  It was so nice having her here for a few months over the summer.  Now I have to get used to her being gone all over again.  I want to go visit her in October when my school will be on break.
Yes, I am going back to work, finally!  School starts Sept. 6th. Yikes!  Just a few weeks away!  I am looking forward to it.  I think I am really ready to get on with life.  Took me awhile!  I have enjoyed being home, but it's time to get back to working.  I'm only working 3 hours a day, though.  I wanted to be able to help Rachel out with Brennan and Charlie as much as possible. 
Charlie's surgery date is set for Aug. 30th. They will close the hole in his heart at that time.  It is a risky surgery, but it's necessary.  Until the surgery he will be getting worse because more fluid will be building up.  He'll be short of breath, and get worn out easily.  Even eating will be hard work for him.  He takes Lasix to reduce the fluid in his body, but they don't want to increase that before surgery.  So please pray for his comfort, a successful surgery, and a quick recovery.  Remember Rachel and Ken in your prayers too!  This will be a stressful time for them as well!
Alyssa and Jaren are doing well!  Cheerleading is in full swing, so that keeps Alyssa busy (she's coach), along with her part time job at Noodles and Co.  They like her so much there they want to make her shift manager already.  Jaren will start next week as a part time police officer in our local police dept.  He'll be fulltime in Nov. when he is done with school and gets sworn in.  They recently got baptised together in a nearby lake!  I'm so proud of them both!
Well, Brennan will be here soon, so I better get off the computer!  Charlie has physical, occupational, and speech therapy twice a week, so I watch Brennan during that time.  Tomorrow C has a ct scan, so B will be here early, and spend most of the day here.  I think I get Thurs. and Fri. off!!  I'll have to plan a lunch or something!
Blessings to all!!
Tina

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Best Birthday Ever!

My past two birthdays weren't much fun at all.  Two years ago I was in a lot of pain from radiation for the colon cancer, and that summer I spent a few weeks in the hospital.  I remember the awful pain that my inflamed and irritated intestines caused!  You can read what I wrote here.
Last summer, I was getting a harsh chemo combo for a second cancer, unrelated to the first.  I was sick and so tired I could hardly get out of bed.  You can read what I wrote that day here. (Re-reading that just brought tears to my eyes!  I can remember exactly how awful I felt.)
In that last post I wrote that I told my family we were going to make up for my 2 missed birthdays this year--by going to Duluth!  And we did just that!  We had so much fun!  We stayed just 2 nights, but we made lots of memories.  Rachel, her husband and 2 sons, Alyssa, and her hubby, and Shonna were all there.  It was so much fun to see my grandsons experience the waves of Lake Superior for the first time!  We also went to the Zoo and Enger Tower, and spent time just hanging out in Canal Park.  I was tired, sore and sunburned, but oh, so happy! 



Duluth is such a special place for us:  Rich and I went there on our honeymoon (nearly 27 years ago!); Rachel and Ken were married there (at Enger Tower); Jaren proposed to Alyssa there (again at Enger Tower!).  Shonna once said she wanted to get married at Enger Tower, but says her sister stole that idea! :) (Enger Tower is a stone tower that has about 5 stories.  It is in a park above the city of Duluth and the views of the city and lake are amazing!  There are gardens and a gazebo there too.)
Tomorrow I have another Herceptin infusion.  After this I'll only have one left!  Aug. 15th is my last one!  The week before I will have my ct scan and labs done, then I'll see my onc. on the 15th before my infusion.  So close!
We'll be moving Shonna back to Kansas City, Mo around the 6th of Aug.  She is moving into a house that is owned my a woman who rents out rooms to girls at IHOPU.  She'll have her own bedroom and bath, and use of the rest of the kitchen and living areas of the house.  Somehow we have to get her twin bed down there--not sure how yet!  It might fit in the van--Rich has to measure it.  I'm not looking forward to having her leave again, although I do enjoy watching her be a responsible young adult!
God has been so amazing to me and blessed me with so much.  I am continuing to learn so much about Him, and myself.  I've got a lot left to learn--but thankfully God has an endless supply of grace and mercy!
Blessings!!
Tina

Friday, July 8, 2011

Letting Others Write My Blog

I've read a couple of very good blog posts lately, and instead of writing my version of them, I am going to include links to them so you can read them yourselves.
First, read this writer's take on the new cdc report about colon cancer screening: Michellwillwin
Then, read this post from Ann about things you should and shouldn't say to people with cancer (and her snarky responses).  Ann is a great writer, and is able to talk about tough subjects with her always present sense of humor: butdoctorihatepink
And then, for an update on my grandsons, you can read about them here: loveissugarfree
These are all well written, easy reads.  Please check them out!

As for me, life has been GREAT.  I have been busy with my kids and grandkids, having lunch with friends, and helping my mom with some doctor appointments.  I have 2 Herceptin infusions left, and then I am DONE. SOON!!  In mid August I will have a MUGA scan for my heart and a chest/abdomen/pelvic ct scan to make sure I am still clear of cancer.  Then, I will see my onc., and have my final Herceptin.  Oh, and a bunch of blood tests too.  I think after that I won't have to see my oncologist for 6 months.  Won't that be wonderful?!?!
Near my birthday this month we are going up to Duluth for a few days.  Last year on my birthday I told everyone to plan to spend a few days with me in Duluth this year.  My girls, their 2 husbands, and my 2 grandsons will all be up there with Rich and I.  I had been getting treatment for cancer the past 2 summers, so I really wanted to do something fun this year!
We all feel so blessed.  God has been good to us!
Hope all are enjoying the summer--around here it'll be gone too soon!
Tina

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life Lately

I often think of things I should blog about, and even "write" posts in my head, but sometimes I have a hard time putting it all down for others to read.  My chemo brain definitely makes coming up with words more difficult!
There has been a lot of  "cancer" thoughts lately.  Not because of anything going on with me, but because of people around me.  There is a lady at church that just found out she has uterine cancer.  She won't know the details until after she has surgery next week.  It may be a rare, aggressive form of cancer. I knew her face, and had heard the name, but finally met her on Sunday and put the two together.  I hope I can be of some help to her. Then there is a young (19!) friend of our family who may have melanoma.  It's almost impossible to think of her with cancer!  The latest test showed it may be precancerous, but it is being sent for more testing.  I'm thankful that both of these people are strong Christians; I know their faith will help them get through whatever life throws at them.
Then there are the people I know through blogs.  One lady, Ann, finds out today if her bc has spread to her liver. (Sadly, it did. Stupid cancer! Hugs and prayers being sent!!)) Another's husband is still fighting colon cancer after 6 years!  There have been recent deaths of people who's blogs I have read. (This is especially hard for me).  It seems cancer is never very far from my thoughts!  I have a long list of people I pray for.   I know many of you also know people with cancer--it seems to affect us all in one way or another.  Keep praying for a cure!!
Speaking of "slogans", there is much discussion about breast cancer slogans and such.  And even among those that have had breast cancer, there is a variety of opinions.  I, personally, do not like such campaigns as "I Heart Boobies", and "Save the Tatas".  I think my LIFE is more important than my BREASTS.  I think these campaigns are demeaning, and, really, quite ridiculous.  We all know teenage boys are wearing "I heart Boobies" bracelets because they like the word, more than they want to save anyone's life.  I'm sure there are a few out there that know someone personally with cancer, and they wear the bracelets to show support--but that is not the majority.  Of course, there are bc survivors that like to get attention of any kind on bc, and I respect their opinions.  We all feel differently.  Having had colon cancer also, I sure would like to see more attention/awareness brought to that.  Colons are not sexy, but having yours checked may save your life!  To me, saying "Get Your Butt Checked" is not demeaning to anyone.  It might raise awareness, which colon cancer needs more than breast cancer (BOTH need cures!!).  I think I'll stop there...that's just my 2 cents.  I always appreciate and respect other's opinions.
While all these thoughts and discussions make me sad, I am thankful I don't worry about cancer returning.  That is a fear that God has taken away from me.  I rarely think about it, and if I do think about it, it is without any fear.  Wow, God has brought me through so much.  I am blessed by His refining of me!
Aside from the sadness I sometimes feel, I am very happy overall.  I am babysitting less, so I have more time to do the things I have been wanting to.  Like organizing, getting out to lunch with friends, doing things with the girls, volunteering at church.  And then there are some days, like today, I just really don't know what to do with myself!  Do I start a project?  Watch a movie?  Read? Exercise (yeah, right!)?  So many of my projects need my husband's help--and that might never happen!  Maybe I should just start digging in by myself and see what happens!  :0)  Oh-- and about the babysitting less--I still get to watch the boys about once a week, but Charlie hasn't had too many appointments lately, so Rachel hasn't needed me for Brennan very often.  I love watching them, but am glad for some "me" time.  I have waited a long time to feel well and have some time to myself!  That sounds so selfish, but hopefully you all understand.  And I am trying to use some of my "me" time to help others too!  Soon, Charlie will start physical therapy 2 days a week, and I will have Brennan those afternoons, and I look forward to that time with him!
I plan on going back to work in the fall, when school starts.  Some days I'm excited about going back, and other days I dread it.  But I cut my hours to only 3 a day, so that shouldn't be too bad.  Then I will still be available to help Rachel in the afternoons, if she needs me.  I'm so blessed to be able to cut my hours.  Sometimes I feel guilty because my husband works so hard for our family.  But his working also helps his daughter and grandsons, because then I can work less and help them out!  I figure I'll eventually have to work more--maybe if I do we can retire earlier.  I want Rich to be able to enjoy life too--and not just work all the time!
Take care everyone!  And may God bless each and everyone of you!  Prayers are being sent up for whatever your needs are--I may not know, but God does :)
Love,
Tina

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gotta Love That Daughter of Mine!

Apparently, when Rachel was over here using my computer the other day, she decided to make a blog post for me!  It took me a few days to figure it out!  Some things never change :)
Well, yes, I am still alive!  It's been awhile since I've posted!  I have been busy with my grandsons, Shonna, my messy house, etc. 
Shonna is home for the summer, well, at least until the beg. of Aug.  Then she will go back to KC for another year of school at the International House of Prayer (IHOPU).  Today she sang on the worship team at church.  It's been awhile since she's been able to do that; it was good to see her back up on the stage.
The boys are doing great!  Charlie is gaining weight and is learning things fast!  Brennan is still a good little brother, but sometimes he gets a little tired of Charlie!  I still watch B often because C has had a lot of dr. appointments.  It'll be awhile before Charlie has any surgery though, there are other things they need to work on first. You can check out Rachel's blog (Love is Sugar Free) for more info on the boys. (Link is over there
---->)
I don't think about cancer much anymore. I do still get annoyed at the side effects I'm left with though.  I went over all the side effects in one of my last blogs. I think I forgot to add my sore shoulder though.  It has been stiff and sore since my mastectomy last May.  It got worse for awhile, but now it's slightly better.   It didn't hurt as bad when I had to lay it above my head for my last MUGA scan.  I was always going to get physical therapy for it, but I just haven't.  I think I'm just tired of medical appointments!  I still need to see the dentist too!  It's been over a year.  I see my primary doc on Thurs. to go over some things and get some blood tests.  Just routine stuff.  I haven't seen her in a long time.
I saw my oncologist the last time I was in for my Herceptin infusion.  My MUGA showed my heart is still doing good on the blood pressure med I am on.  I take the med not for high blood pressure, but because my heart function was decreasing from the Herceptin.  My onc was pleased with how well I was doing.  I will see him again when I have my last Herceptin in Aug.  I'll have another MUGA , ct scan, and bloodwork a few days before I see him.  Oh--speaking of bloodwork--my hemoglobin is finally back in the normal range!  The fist time since last April!  Everything else looked pretty good too--a few things out of whack yet, but nothing serious. 
It's been a year since my mastectomy--May 24th, 2010.  What a traumatic time that was!  I wish I could say that I'm used to it and it doesn't bother me anymore, but that's not entirely true.  It's, like my side effects, an annoyance.  I'm trying to find a good swimsuit now.  Insurance pays for bras and prosthetics, but not swimsuits, so it'll be expensive.  I just want one so I can go in the hot tub when we go to Duluth.   I did find some online, just haven't ordered yet. 
I have been seriously considering reconstruction, but that is a major surgery and I'm not sure I want to put myself through that. I will lose use of muscle, and the recovery is long.  I've put off any thought of that until next year.  If I decide I want recon, I can do it anytime I want, and insurance will pay for it.
When I went to see my onc I wanted him to say that I am "NED" (No Evidence of Disease).  I told the nurse that and I started choking up a bit.  She left the room and I started crying a bit--I had no idea I would be emotional about it!  Thankfully the doc took a while to come in and see me and I got myself under control, but I didn't want to bring it up and start crying!  So I didn't hear him say it, but since all my tests and scans have come back clear I am going to say I'm NED!!!
Time for bed!
May God bless each of you this week!
Tina

Friday, May 27, 2011

Still here

I am alive!! And I have super cute grandbabies. Their mom is so awesome.  I think I'll go make her some cookies.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's May Already!

Well, I'm happy to say that Charlie came home from the hospital last Monday; he was there a full week.  He may have to stay on antibiotics for awhile. They think his urine is backing up to his kidneys, and that may be what caused the infection.  They'll do a test on him sometime this month to see if that is really what's happening. If it is, he'll stay on antibiotics indefinitely, and hopefully grow out of the problem eventually.
Today is the first day I have not had to watch either of the boys!  Yesterday Rachel had an eye dr appt. so I dropped her off and took the boys to visit grandpa at work.  Then I brought them here for a little bit.  Charlie was very happy and alert--playing with a toy and smiling a lot.  Rachel said we were finally seeing "the real Charlie".  They are both such good boys.  [Rachel just called and she is at a neighborhood garage sale with both boys!  I don't know how she does it!]
I talked to Shonna today and she will be home next Thursday!  Yay!  She'll get to be home most of the summer!  Her boss ok'd it (she works at a library in KC).  She'll be able to work as a sub at the library here, and hopefully get a few photo shoots too.  If you need a photographer--let me know!  She does weddings, grads, parties, families, kids...whatever.  She even took pics at a funeral--the family wanted some, but didn't want to have to do it themselves.  She edits the pics, then puts them on a cd for you to print as you want.  When Shonna goes back to KC in Aug. she'll be moving into a new place with some friends.  But that is a long ways away and we plan on enjoying the summer!
Last weekend Alyssa and I went to a women's retreat with our church.  We spent the night at a hotel together, and attended a women's conference.  It was a great time!  The worship and praise alone was enough, but the awesome speakers we had made it even better!  Friday night worship was by Kari Jobe ("Revelation Song"), and The Desperation Band.  I didn't realize how many songs the Desperation Band has written that I already knew from the radio or from singing in church.  I bought one of their cds and its really good!  The worship was Spirit filled and emotional.  God's presence was there!  It was nice to spend the time with Alyssa too!
I had my Herceptin infusion Wed., April 27th, and I asked the nurse to print the MRI results for me.  As I already knew, nothing unusual showed up.  I will have another MUGA, and see my oncologist the week of the 16th.  I will also have blood tests and get my next Herceptin infusion.
Yesterday I went clothes shopping for the first time in a long time.  I was in serious need of some spring tops!  It's nice not have to worry about whether or not the top will go with one of my scarves!  But I do have to pay attention to the necklines--they can't be too low.  And by too low, I mean barely low at all--something most wouldn't think of as "too low".  It's frustrating sometimes, and makes me think more about getting reconstruction.  I want to be able to shop and wear swimsuits and such without always worrying about whether or not the scar is visible.  Everytime I shop I am reminded of the cancer, and it makes it a bummer to shop instead of fun!
I was talking with someone recently about the side effects of chemo and radiation.  I think I've said this before, but I never realized what treatment does to a person.  I thought, like most people, that once you are done with treatment, you are DONE.  But, I now know that isn't the case.  I will have side effects for a long time--probably forever.  Radiation damage from the colon cancer, the threat of lyphedema from surgery for breast cancer, neuropathy from chemo, "chemo brain", and fatigue.  And I'm sure there's more--but with my chemo brain, I can't remember!  Speaking of that, it IS real, and I have it pretty bad some days.  Thinking of the right word, remembering names (which has always been difficult, but now is much worse), and just remembering everyday conversations and such, is difficult.
So this is my life, and I've just got to deal with it.  Overall, each day is a blessing!  As much as I hate (yes, hate!) gardening, I was thankful today to be able to do it.  I am looking forward to enjoying this summer!  I missed out on the last 2!  I'm hoping it's not too hot, but with my short hair, maybe I won't mind as much!  I plan on keeping it short, at least for the summer.
Hope everyone has a safe and blessed weekend.  Invite God to be with you as you go about your day.  You will see things a whole new way!
Love,
Tina

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Little Charlie is in the Hospital

Rachel brought Charlie to the ER yesterday.  He has had a fever off and on for a few days and has not been feeling well. The doctors put him on antibiotics and wanted to keep him overnight at the hospital.  Rachel went home for a little bit last night, and then went back down to spend the night with Charlie.  This morning they found e-coli in his urine, which means he has an urinary tract infection (UTI).  They are doing some tests on his kidneys today to see if there is any problem there that caused the infection.  UTIs are uncommon in young boys, and sometimes there is an underlying problem. He will stay in the hospital for a few days to get IV antibiotics.
I have been taking care of Brennan.  I wish I could be down at the hospital supporting Rachel, but my little buddy needs me.  Ken brought him over before work this morning,and will pick him up around 5-5:30.  B is as cute as ever--always a good boy! Too bad it's cold, rainy and windy today, so we can't play outside!
Rachel sounded good when I talked to her, but I know she is tired and stressed.  Those of you praying for Charlie, please pray for his momma too!
Tomorrow I have another Herceptin infusion.  I think Ken will drop B off here in the morning, then Rachel might come here to hang out with B, give him lunch, and put him down for his nap; then she can leave. My mom will be here if Brennan wakes up before I get back, but I should be back in time.  You just never know how long it'll take to get the Herceptin--depends on how busy the cancer center and pharmacy are! The infusion itself only takes 90 minutes.
We had a nice Easter, but Charlie wasn't feeling well, so we didn't get to spend too much time with him.  At least my family got to meet him.   We were at my sister's house with my family for lunch.  I was very tired, so I didn't do much the rest of the day. The weather was beautiful, so Rich and I sat out on the deck for awhile reading and bird watching. I really don't do much for Easter, except go to church and get together with my family.  I'd like to spend more time with the grandkids--maybe I'll have to start a new tradition of having the kids over on Sat. for an egg hunt or something.  Next year it'll be my turn to have Easter here--my sister and I have been trading off.  Bless her heart for doing it this year!  My house is a mess--I have 2 years of projects waiting to be done, and although I've been feeling well, I've been busy taking care of Brennan!  I was no where near ready to have people over.
I never did hear about my MRI, but no news is good news.  I could have called, but I'm going in tomorrow, so I'll ask the nurses to look it up for me.  I got the results of my mammogram within 2 days--no changes there.  They compared it with past years and everything looks the same.
Please keep praying for Charlie!  Poor little guy is going to hate doctors and hospitals.
Blessings!
Tina

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pictures of Charlie, Brennan, and Me

Brennan and Charlie their first day together.
Grandpa Rich and Charlie
Brennan playing on our deck

Brennan in his "ball pit" (at his house)
My hair!!

My New Grandson

Charles Gabriel Andreev ( those are his 2 middle names) is home with his mommy and daddy, finally!  Rachel, Shonna and Charlie got home late Thurs. night, after a very long day of travel.  We met Charlie Sat. morning, and then went back after naps in the afternoon and brought my mom with too.  He is just a little sweetie!  He LOVES his momma!  Brennan has been really good with him right from the start--I'm so amazed!  I've been praying for a long time that God would prepare his heart for his new brother, and to give him a compassionate heart like his mother has.  When we were over Sat., Charlie was playing with a ball; he would grab it and drop it on the floor, over and over.  Eventually Brennan started picking it up and giving it back to Charlie each time.  What a helpful little brother!!  Today Rachel got them both ready and brought them to church!  Lots of people wanted to meet him. 
Someone asked me if this is the same boy that is on the picture on my blog ("Joshua"), and the answer is yes.  Joshua is the name given to him by the ministry (Reece's Rainbow) that helps these kids get adopted.  They can't use the child's real name, so they give them each a different name.  Rachel considered keeping the name Joshua, but she and her husband finally decided on Charlie.
Charlie has a long road ahead of him.  He sees a cardiologist on Monday, and they'll go from there.  He also needs to see an ENT, an opthamologist, and a nutritionist.  He'll need heart surgery, and after that physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and whatever else to get him moving and growing!!  He is so tiny.  He's 3.5 years old, but only as long as Brennan (and B is short for 18 months).  And he's 10 pounds lighter than Brennan!
Shonna left after lunch today to go back to school in KC.  It was hard for her to leave because she will miss her nephews so much.  I assured her the next 4 weeks will go by fast, then she'll be done with school, and be able to come home for awhile.  I loved having all 3 of my girls (and 2 grandsons!) in church today.  My mom went with us too, so that was really nice!
Speaking of my girls, someone at church commented on what nice daughters we have and what a lovely family we are.  I've gotten that comment before, and every time I say it's all God.  My family is truly a miracle.  I don't think people fully believe me when I say that, but I really mean it.  Rich and I have always loved our girls, but there were times when our family nearly broke apart, and just some really bad times.  Through it all, I just kept praying for my family and my girls, and asked God to protect them from the mess we were in.  God has been faithful and answered my prayers for a great marriage, and children that believe in Him and follow His ways.  We certainly went through the fire to get here, but that's what makes it such a miracle!  God's Word says believers will go through trials, but He will be with us through it all, and great will our reward be.  "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12  Well, I could write a lot about trials, and post a lot of Bible verses, because I've had my shares of problems.  For some more good verses, click on the "Bible Verses" tab at the top.
Oh--I wanted to mention that I had my MRI and mammogram on Thursday.  I haven't heard anything, other than the radiologist looked at my mammo before I left and didn't see anything that needed extra attention at that time.  If there was something on the MRI, I probably would have been called already to come in for more pictures, so no news should be good news.  The MRI was for the breast cancer.  I had a CT in Feb. for the colon cancer and that was clear, so I should be able to say I'm NED (No Evidence of Disease) soon!

I hope and pray that all my readers have a blessed Easter, and rejoice in the salvation we can now have through Christ's death and resurrection!

Love,
Tina






Monday, April 11, 2011

Waiting to Meet My New Grandson

Rachel and Shonna are over in UnKnown country right now.  They should be in the capitol city with Charlie by now.  He's officially my grandson now!  The 10 day waiting period is over.  They have some appointments at the embassy and with a dr., and on Thursday they will travel home.  Brennan is with me during the day while Ken is at work.  Rachel calls it "Grandma Daycare".  Thursday Brennan will spend the night here, so Ken can pick up Rachel, Shonna, and Charlie from the airport. Rachel will come and get him Fri. morning.  She might have us wait until Sat. to meet Charlie.  As much as I want to see him, I think that is a really good idea.  They need a little time together as a family before everyone comes to visit.  He also has an appointment with the pediatrician on Friday.  They are excited to meet Charlie too!  Brennan was just there for his check up, and they are looking forward to seeing Charlie.  The link to Rachel's blog is on the side of my blog---> It's called "Love is Sugar Free".  Her other blog, "This Little Light" is an adoption advocacy blog.  It has lots of good info--you should check it out!
In addition to having Charlie home, I am looking forward to a few days with my youngest.  She will go back to school on Sunday.  She won't be able to come home for Easter, which is a bummer.  It'll be our first Easter without all our girls.  It's not a huge deal, but still a bummer.
Alyssa got another job now (part time, to work around her being a cheerleading coach), so I don't see her very often either.  I told her I have gotten spoiled, having her and Rachel around all the time (and Brennan too!).
I had another Herceptin infusion last Wed.  It didn't make me quite as tired as last time.  But I've been extra tired from allergies too.  I've been having trouble sleeping because I cough at night, even with Nyquil.  I sleep in the recliner so I can be somewhat upright, and that helps, but then I don't sleep as well.  I'm going to be really tired this week, because I have to get up early to get my shower before Ken and Brennan get here.  I hope I sleep better tonight!  I had very little energy for poor B today! 
Thursday I have my MRI and mammo.  I'm a little nervous that they might find something.  Last year my mammo on my right side was clear, but I know that stuff doesn't always show up, so I'll probably always be a little nervous when having a mammo done.  I'm not really afraid, just a little nervous. God is with me , so I don't have to be afraid! I've heard other women say they get a different, better mammogram after they've had cancer, but I've never heard anyone say that to me.  I'll ask them about it when I go Thurs.
Hopefully next week I'll have a picture of Brennan and Charlie together to put on here.  I also want to take one of myself with my hair for you all.  It's growing in thick on top.  And it has some weird curls and waves to it.  I have to use a shaping cream to get it to go where I want it to.  I really should go in and get it cleaned up a bit.  I think I might keep it short for awhile--at least for the summer.  Maybe I won't hate the humidity so much if I don't have to worry about my hair going flat!
Take care everyone!
Blessings!
Tina

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Having Fun With My Grandson!





Some more pictures!  The top 2 are Charlie, and the bottom is Brennan (he LOVES playing in the laundry basket!)
Brennan is still with us.  He went to his other grandparents' house again this weekend, and we got him back after church.  He didn't look too excited to see me at first (but he wasn't sad either), but after church he walked up to me and hugged my legs and when I picked him up I got more hugs!  I'm convinced there isn't a sweeter boy on this planet!  He's also very blessed to have 2 sets of grandparents that love him to pieces and spoil him!  In the carseat on the way home he was "talking" to himself and giggling.  We ate lunch and then it was nap time. He has been going down for his naps and bedtime really well.  He used to fuss a bit at first, but now he just lays right down and smiles at me.  I'm getting strong "mom" arms again from carrying him.  The other day my arms were sore because I was holding him upside down (he loves that!) and he wanted to do it over and over!   Grandpa is having fun playing with him after work, and he gets hugs too!
Rachel and Ken will be home late Wed. night.  They will come over Thurs. morning to get Brennan.  It'll be interesting to see his reaction.  I think they will get lots of hugs!  He might be a little mad at them later though, you just never know how kids react--I've heard lots of different stories from people.  We have been skyping every day with Rachel and Ken, and I think that has been a good thing for Brennan.
Next Friday (April 1st) will be 1 year since I found out that I did have breast cancer.  I will have some tests done April 14th and then I should be declared cancer free, or NED (No Evidence of Disease).  I don't think I will be able to say "cured" though. I'm actually not sure of all the details on that--at what point I can say cured.  I thought my onc said at the beginning of the breast cancer that we can cure it at this stage (2b), but that might have been before we knew it was 2b.  I'll have to ask him, but I don't see him for a long time.  Maybe my nurses will know.  I'll ask when I get my next Herceptin infusion (April 6th).
I believe I am cured though. God has given me such peace about all of this. I haven't been nervous AT ALL for any of my tests, or anytime I have to go to the cancer center.  That is something only God could do, because I used to get nauseated every time I went, and tests would make me nervous about what they might find.  I'm always amazed at how freeing being a believer is.  With Jesus, I have the Truth, and it has set me free! (John 8:32)  I don't need to fear anything, because God is with me always!  I am still human, though, and imperfect, so there may be times when fear creeps up on me.  If that happens I will get out my Bible and read God's promises to me!
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10
Have a great week!
Blessings!
Tina





Friday, March 18, 2011

Daughter Meets Her Son




The top picture is of Rachel earlier today when she went to the orphanage and got to hold her son for the first time.  It is such a beautiful picture, I just had to share it.  The other 2 pictures are of Brennan this past week--wearing Grandpa's sunglasses, and sitting in his little chair after his bath this morning.
We have been able to skype with Rachel almost everyday.  The first 2 times were a little confusing for Brennan and made him sad, but now he smiles, waves "hi" and goes off and plays.  Brennan is at his other grandparents' house now for the weekend.  He loves them too, and loves to be over there.  At first he was a little shy around his other grandpa, and clung to me, but then he got a better look at him (he was busy putting in the carseat) and was happy to go with him.  I was so relieved!  I worry about Brennan so much, being away from his mommy and daddy, so I was very glad to see him laughing in the carseat, ready to go!  He has been keeping me busy this week!  I will miss him, but enjoy a little R & R.
Rachel and Ken got to sight-see in the capitol city for a few days, and then they took an overnight train to the town where the orphanage is.  They spent some time with Charlie (they have pretty much settled on that name), holding him and playing with him.  He is 3.5 years old, but only about as tall as Brennan, and much thinner.  Rachel said he and Ken started playing a little game that Charlie picked up on very quickly.  I think in the right environment he will learn very quickly. They will be over there another week or so, then come home for about 10 days and go back.  When they go back they will finally be able to bring Charlie home!
Tonight Rich and I are going out to dinner and we have a little shopping to do this weekend.  Like I said, I'll be resting a lot and taking it easy too.  I had my Herceptin infusion on Wed., and that always makes me a little more tired.  I really just want to sleep in--I've been setting my alarm to get up before Brennan--no alarm tomorrow!
I've been sort of frustrated with how tired I've been lately, even before Brennan got here.  I want to get into a routine of exercising and see if that helps, but with Brennan here I don't have the time.  I'm not getting up any earlier, and by the time he goes to sleep I am way too tired!  If it ever really warms up (and stays warm for more than a day!), I can take Brennan out in the stroller.  Alyssa and Jaren took him out a few days ago; he likes getting outside. 
Well, I really don't have much else to say! 
Please pray for Rachel and Ken's safety, and keep Charlie in your prayers too.  I'm praying this whole adoption process goes really smoothly and quickly! 
Blessings!
Tina

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Darling Baby B

I suppose I shouldn't call him "Baby B" anymore--he is a toddler now!  But I think he'll always be Baby B to me :)
Brennan came to stay with us yesterday (Sunday, March 13th).  Rich drove Rachel and Ken to the airport about 11:30 am.  Rachel left pretty quickly, to avoid crying--although I don't think that worked too well!  She said that she said goodbye to Brennan earlier that morning.  I know I was having a hard time not crying when she left!  Partly sympathy, partly the fact that I will miss her too!
She and Ken made it to Munich yesterday (or early this morning?), then they have a 10 hour (!) layover before flying to UKnown country ( ;) ).  They will arrive sometime tonight. Wed. is their court date, and, if all goes as planned, they can take the overnight train to the town where the orphanage is on Thurs., and meet their little boy on Friday.  They hope to be back home in 2 weeks.
Brennan was all smiles and silliness this morning at breakfast.  After playing for awhile, he started getting a little tired and went to the gate (at the top of the stairs) and whined a little.  He was wanting his mommy to come get him and take him home :( .  To distract him, we (my mom and I) got him ready and took him to the store!  I needed to go to the post office, and mom wanted some yarn from Michael's.  He was pretty happy in the car seat, chattering and laughing, and he behaved very well in the store.  He is an experienced shopper!  Rachel rarely stays home a full day with him.  She is always running somewhere!  When we came back it was time for lunch and nap.  He is such a good boy!  Please pray that everything will go quickly for Rachel and Ken--no delays!  God can make this work for them!
I think we'll do some coloring this afternoon, and maybe play-dough.  Tomorrow I might take him to the library for family storytime.  The only problem is it starts near his lunchtime.  I can give him a snack before we go though.  It all depends on what time he wakes up in the morning, and how well he sleeps.  It won't be much fun if he's tired, hungry, and crabby!
I have another Herceptin infusion on Wed.  Ken's sister is going to take him that morning for me.  She is a teacher and is on Spring break this week--perfect timing!  Then on Friday Ken's dad will pick Brennan up after work and they will keep him for the weekend.  It'll be a nice break, but I'm sure I'll miss him!
I am doing well!  Still tired a lot, which is frustrating for me.  I'm sleeping ok, so I feel like I shouldn't be so tired.  I might try to do the treadmill in a bit, while B is napping.  Maybe some exercise will wake me up!
Love and blessings!!
Tina

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scans and Babies

Well, I said I'd write more after I saw my onc., and I didn't!  Hmmm.  We discussed my clear CT, and some odd little things that showed up on there--my ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder) look dilated (bigger).  There doesn't appear to be any blockage, so we'll keep an eye on it.  I have had some bladder issues since my colon surgery, but nothing too major.  I remember the surgeon telling me after the surgery that he had a kidney specialist come in and look at things and everything seemed to be working ok.  I'm not real clear on why he needed the kidney doc to come in though.
Anyways...the MUGA showed more improvement on the heart function.  It's up to 61% now (59 last time and 51 at the lowest point).  The blood pressure med I'm on seems to be working!  My potassium is good--not too high like it was before.  I still have to be careful about getting too much, so I still am not drinking orange juice.  I have an occasional clementine or tangerine though. 
Not much else to say about that.  I don't need to see the onc for 3 months, and I'll have another MUGA at that time.  I will continue to get the Herceptin infusions every 3 weeks.  My neuropathy has improved quite a bit, but is still there and holding steady right now.  My left shoulder ( surgery side) still hurts, but I try to move it and stretch it daily.  I might eventually have to have physical therapy for it.
I'm still working on some "female" issues from radiation, and a cyst in my ovary that is causing some discomfort (not pain though).  I have another ultrasound in a few weeks for that.  Might eventually have an oophorectomy (ovaries removed), but I'm not to keen on another surgery, so we'll see!
I have been tired again the past week.  Hoping I'll get over this soon!  I haven't been exercising because I've been pretty busy.  Seems I'm always running somewhere, or babysitting Brennan (which I love!).
Well, speaking of Brennan--starting Sunday, he'll be here for about 2 and a half weeks!  Rachel and Ken got the date to go over to the country they are adopting from (don't know if I'm allowed to say the country's name on here yet--the country doesn't want people thinking they don't take care of their orphans!).  They have a meeting there on Wed., 3/16, and will hopefully get to meet their little boy (she thinks she's going to name him Charlie) on Friday.  Then they'll have another court-type meeting about 2 weeks after the first one, and then they can come home for about 10 days before going back over to get Charlie.  Ken will be staying home and working, and Rachel will be going back hopefully with Shonna to help her.  Then, I think it'll be about 2 weeks more before they can actually leave with Charlie.  I guess to get better details you should just read Rachel's blog--the link to her blog "Love is Sugar Free" is on the side of my page---->
We are very excited, and a little nervous to have Brennan here for so long.  He's going to miss his parents (he already clings to Rachel when she tries to leave him at the nursery at church!), but he's so young, I think it won't affect him too much.  He had his first sleepover here the weekend before last, and he did great.  Ken's parents are going to take him on the weekends, and there are others that will help during the week too, to give me a little break. My mom is here to help too--thank God!  She can watch him while I take my shower in the morning!
There is so much swirling through my head right now!  Shonna is home on break until Friday, and that is keeping me busy!  All of us girls are going to lunch today--Rachel (and Brennan--our only boy!), Alyssa, Shonna, Mom, Dee, and I. 
I'm still doing the Beth Moore Breaking Free Bible study on Thursday mornings and I love it!  The study is SUPER good, and I am learning and growing in God.  I also love the fellowship of the women.  I need to find a way to make that continue after the study is over.
This study has helped me realize what things I need to just give over to God.  You know you hear from a lot of cancer patients that they learn who is there for them and who is not when going through something like this.  That is true for me as well.  I know who my friends are, and what family members I can count on.  There are those I haven't heard from since my diagnoses.  That bothered Rich and I for awhile, and especially the ones who don't even acknowledge my kids--heard nothing for graduation or a wedding!  I've come to realize that I just need to give it over to God--not hold a grudge, not want to treat them like they've treated me.  I choose to ignore their behavior.  I will treat them with kindness, and continue to pray for them.  I have God--what can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6).
Well, going to lunch in an hour--better go get ready!  I actually have enough hair that I have to put a little shaping cream in it to help control it a bit!  Maybe I'll post a pic soon!
Love and blessings!!
Tina