Friday, January 28, 2011

A Video of Me With a Pet Therapy Dog

While at Regions getting chemo last year (sometime in Sept. or Oct., 2010) I was asked if I wanted a visit from a pet therapy dog, and if yes, could it be recorded?  I said yes, and received a visit from Chilly.  I have met Chilly and his handler, Mary before.  I love when the dogs come by to visit.  The whole video is interesting, but if you haven't got time to watch it all, my part starts at 13:44.  I was reluctant to put this on here, because my face is puffy from steroids, and I have no eyelashes or eyebrows, but the blog is about my experiences with cancer--so here it is!  The video is part of a cable program called "Knowledge for Wellness".

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24th Update

Hey everyone! I haven't been posting much because there just isn't much to say!  I am enjoying life, and giving myself time to heal.
I want to mention my sadness over the loss of a sister blogger.  She passed away a few days ago after a long battle with stage 4 breast cancer.  I knew she was getting worse, but there still seemed to be hope, so this was sort of sudden.  She occasionally read my blog, and it is sad writing this one knowing she won't be reading it.  We will miss you Daria! Please pray for her husband and family.
Last Thursday, the 20th, was one year since I finished the FOLFOX chemo for colon cancer.  Coming up soon will be my 2 year "cancerversary".  In about a month I'll have my CT scan to check for more cancer.  The thought doesn't make me nervous yet, but we'll see what happens when the date gets closer!  Even though I know God is with me, I still wouldn't like to hear there is more cancer! 
As far as the breast cancer goes, I will have my next Herceptin infusion next Wed., Feb. 2nd.  The infusions are every 3 weeks.  I might have to have some labs done because of the bp med I'm taking, but I won't be seeing my onc at this appt.  I'll see him next time to go over my CT and MUGA results.
I'm still thinking about whether or not I want to do reconstruction.  I've been reading others' experiences, and there is a private website where you can look at pictures of reconstruction.  I'm am so grateful to the women who have put their pictures and their stories there to help others.  I would probably have to have some sort of "flap" surgery, because radiation affects the skin too much for implants.  One of the flap procedures uses the muscle from your back and brings it around to the front.  This sounds painful to me!  I'm not sure I want to go through a major surgery and 6 week recovery again.  We'll see...  Any pros and cons from any readers that have gone through this(recon or not) please e-mail me!
I am LOVING my time off!  I feel so guilty sometimes, then I remember all I've been through the past 2 years, and I don't feel so guilty anymore!  Also, because of my neuropathy I can't work anyways, at least not until it warms up outside!  I usually watch Brennan once or twice a week, I have time to IRON (something I always hated to do but mostly because I didn't have time!  Rich was happy to have some of his shirts back!), I am helping out at church again ( I do copying and stuff for the Children's Pastor), AND I joined a women's Bible study that is on Thurs. mornings.  It's a Beth Moore study called "Breaking Free".  It's pretty intense, and helps you overcome anything that might be holding you captive.  I have no idea what that might be right now, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to find out!  God wanted me at this study for a reason. The study says that "A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for her".  I want that "abundant and effective Spirit-filled life" that God has planned for me!  Rachel and Alyssa are doing the study too.  Alyssa has also done other Beth Moore studies.
Speaking of Alyssa, she and Jaren are down in Cabo San Lucas on their mission trip right now.  They will be building a classroom for the youth in the area and putting on a marriage seminar.  She sent me an e-mail after their 1st day. It is warm and beautiful there and she saw some whales in the bay!  They asked for prayer for sleep (apparently the bed and pillow are hard as rocks!), and for them not to have any stomach troubles or illness. Also, please pray for the lives they will be touching down there.  This is a very poor area where the kids are often left alone during the day.  There is lots of drug use also.  Pray for the team to be strong in the Lord and the presence of the Holy Spirit to be with them.
Rachel is spending a lot of time trying to get all their paperwork done for the adoption.  Many forms have had to be redone more than once.  If everything is not PERFECT it has to be redone!  They are hoping to be one of the first families called to go over there to adopt their son.  Hopefully this will be in March or April!
Shonna is back at school and busy as ever.  She works a few hours a week at a nearby library.  She will be learning how to play the keyboard and has some sort of singing lessons too, I think. Also choir, theology, and required time in the prayer room.  Here is a link to the prayer room. It's great to listen to during your own prayer time or Bible study time.
Well, that's all for today!
Love and blessings!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Herceptin #13 Update

Wow, it's been 2 weeks since I posted last!  I think about it a lot, I just don't like taking the time to do it!
Last week I had another MUGA scan (for heart function). My heart function was 65% before I started treatment (which is very good), and after starting Herceptin it went down to 51.  Then my onc. put me on Enalapril (a blood pressure med), and my heart function has increased to 56!  And I haven't had any side effects from the med.  I was worried about my bp dropping too low, but I am on a very low dose and am tolerating it well.
Other good news--my hemoglobin finally made it up to 12, which is the bottom of the normal range.  It hasn't been normal since last April.
We scheduled some upcoming tests--a CT scan and another MUGA on Feb. 21st (6 weeks), and an MRI and mammogram sometime in April.  The CT scan is for the colon cancer--to watch for a recurrence.  My onc. wants me to have them every 6 months for awhile.  He said because I'm so young, he wants to make sure if anything does show up again we catch it early.  He did say, though, that he thinks we did a pretty good job of fighting it so it shouldn't come back!
I do not need another colonoscopy for 2 years (3 years from my last one), and after this mammo and mri I won't need another one for a year.
Some side effects I still have are neuropathy (numbness) in my fingers and feet, and just tired and out of shape!  I am starting to work on building my strength and stamina. I have a lot of damage from the colon cancer radiation, and also issues that have to do with missing 18" of my colon!  These are annoyances that I will have to live with, although they may get better with time.  I am also praying that God will take these problems away and restore to me what cancer has taken.  I can be very persistent!  I also need to continue to stretch my left arm and shoulder, or it quickly stiffens up.  When I had my MUGA last week I had to have my left arm above my head for 10 minutes and that really hurt!  Stretching helps a lot, I guess I just have to keep doing it!
I am very pleased with how well my skin did with radiation.  I was expecting much worse! The scar area peeled, but it didn't hurt.  The whole area, including by the clavicle, is tan looking, and will probably always be that way.  I will need to protect it with sunscreen anytime it's exposed (like with tank tops and scoop neck tops) for the rest of my life.
Family update:  Shonna is still here on break.  She goes back to KC this weekend.  Alyssa and Jaren will be leaving on a mission trip next weekend (the 22nd).  Rachel and Ken are almost ready to submit all their paperwork to the country they are adopting from.  Hopefully they will get to go over sometime in March or April.  They have to wait for the country to contact them with the date.
Life is good!  God is better!! 
Love and blessings!