Monday, August 26, 2013


I recently got an e-mail notification that someone left a comment on my last blog entry...which was in March!  I couldn't believe it had been that long...surely I updated in May or June?  Nope.  So, I'm pretty sure no one will read this, but I thought it was time to do a little update!
Since my last update I've had a DEXA (bone density) scan, MRI, CT scans, labs, and port flushes.  All is well!  My bones show some "pre" osteoporosis, so I need to take calcium (which I keep forgetting to take!).  I'm still eating mostly low-residue, but have the occasional wheat bread, salad, fruits, and veggies.  The trick is to spread them out throughout the week, and not overdo it.  I mostly avoid carrots, cucumbers, and spaghetti sauce, but might have a small amount now and then.
I see my oncologist in 2 days, but not sure what we will talk about since I already have all the results of the tests I did last week!  I'm sure he'll ask about Rich, my grandchildren, and especially my adopted grandson, Charlie. This time I'll have some more family news to share! (More on that later...) I am most interested to find out if I can start going 1 year between scans, and do I really need those labs every 3 months?  I am 4.5 years out from the colon cancer dx, and 3.5 years from the breast cancer dx.  I know my onc. was worried about me, with all that cancer, but I'm doing well now.  And as our insurance covers less and less, we have to pay more and more of the costs of all the tests!
My worst complaint has been fatigue.  I planned to work on that this summer, and talk to my primary care physician (PCP) if things didn't improve.  I think the fatigue has improved a bit.  Last summer, even though I don't work in the summer, I was still tired a lot.  Many days, by mid-afternoon, I was just as tired as if I had worked.  Not good. Then of course during the school year I felt awful.  I worked 4.25 hours, and then came home and could barely function most days.  I was VERY frustrated!  I do know my job is draining, and does sap a lot of my energy (I don't know how anyone lasts for 6.5 hours, much less the teachers who work WAY beyond that!), but I shouldn't feel that bad!  So, this summer, I have been eating a bit better--cutting down on chemicals and processed foods--and exercising more (which I will do when I'm done writing this).  I am eating less, and have lost just a few pounds, but at least I've made the scale go down instead of up for the first time since chemo!  I'm learning what my body can do with and without (my body does NOT like to be hungry).  I started using the 'myfitnesspal' website, which counts calories for you, and helps you figure out how many calories you need each day to lose the amount you want to lose.  It's been helpful for portion control.  So, overall, I feel better.
I start back to work a week from tomorrow!  I REALLY, REALLY hope I feel better this year!  I get done with work at 1:30, which should leave me plenty of time to do other stuff.  Praying I have the energy I need!  As much as I would love to not have to work at all, I do think getting back into a routine is good for me.  I make better use of my time when there is routine.  And I really do like working with the kids!
A little family update:  Rich is doing well at his new job--he's been there about a year and a half.  Pay and benefits are good, and it's just 'normal' work stress, not the stress and low morale of his previous job.  SO BLESSED to be out of that place!  His drive is too long (26 miles one way), and sometimes we worry about lay-offs, but over all it's good.  
Rachel and her husband are doing foster care now, and are in the process of adopting another child! This is a child placed with them soon after they got their license.  He's 2 and has down syndrome also.  He is active, and smart, and lets you know what he thinks about things!  :)  They also have a very sweet little baby girl that we would all love to keep in the family, but it looks like the baby's mom will be able to take her to live with her soon.  Praying God will do what's best for baby, and if she has to go, I hope we'll still be able to see her once in awhile!  Rachel's older 2 boys are doing very well, even with other kids coming and going!  Charlie just turned 6 and will be in kindergarten this year!  He is our super-hero!  Brennan will be 4 soon.  He is as smart as ever, and there is no end to the amusing things he says!  Love those boys!
Alyssa, hubby, and baby girl are doing GREAT.  Selah is 10 months old.  She is really picking up things fast--she always amazes us!  She'll be walking soon, I think.  She is soooo adorable!  We get to watch her often, and she is a smiley, happy little girl!
Our youngest, Shonna, is starting her 2nd year at the U, and she is majoring in journalism.  She has a lot of talent as a writer. She is a junior now, and has 3 semesters left.  She may get a minor also (but I forgot in what! Oops!).  She moved out of my sister's house into an apartment closer to school.  I don't always see her as often as I would like, but we did get to spend some time shopping and antiquing recently, and I enjoyed that!  
We all managed to get to Duluth for a few days this summer. Alyssa, hubby, baby, and Shonna were with us at the beginning, then Shonna's boyfriend joined us, then Alyssa and fam had to leave, and Rachel and her 4 kids joined us the last day!  So we got to spend time with everyone (except Rachel's husband), just not at the same time!  Next year I'm thinking about staying at a resort/lodge/cabin type of place a little farther up, right on Lake Superior. I think it would be better for the kids if we can find a place that has a nice play area and beach.  I'm still thinking about getting away with just my hubby for a night or two up north this fall. We'll see~we might be too busy building a deck!
When I stop to think about where I was this time 4 years ago, I am amazed that I am here, cancer-free, and so blessed.  4 years ago I had just finished radiation, was weak and tired, was being treated for C-diff and giving myself shots for a blood clot, and had endured a very painful summer.  I was healing and gaining my strength back to do 8 more rounds of FOLFOX.  Little did I know the next summer I would be doing another difficult chemo regimen for breast cancer!  That is all behind me now.  These last scans I didn't even have any "scanxiety", except for that brief moment when I saw my oncologist's phone number on my cell phone.  His nurse was calling me to tell me all my tests were good! 
I make a point of remembering what I've been through every now and then, because it helps me to be grateful for every moment I am blessed with. It reminds me of the wonderful ways God showed up for me and helped me through those difficult times.
My future?  It looks fabulous.  Retirement someday with the man I love, doing the things we love and enjoy, being a grandma, and spending time with my children, grandchildren, and foster "grandchildren".  Yep, looks pretty good from here!
Love and blessings!
PS  Rich and I also went on our first 'real' vacation together in June--we went to Las Vegas!  But that is another story for another day...  ;)


  1. Ah,,,your blogs don't go unread. I pass this way periodically. And, since more and more of my friends are getting cancer of some sort, I always keep your blog in mind and I'll share it with them if they have either of the cancers you had. You are marvelous at writing and I hope you will continue to stop by with an update periodically for the benefit of others. Love you!

  2. I'm stuck on spaghetti sauce. why no spaghetti sauce? I get veggies, etc, but sauce?

  3. Hi Tina,

    Fun to peek back into your life again. :) So fun to see your daughter's updates on facebook too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  4. Hi Tina,

    Stopping in to say hi. Blessings to you and your dear family!

    Jennifer Dougan