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!

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!

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!