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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Over Half Way There


Memorial Day: a day for thought and reflection on those that have gone before us.  Those brave heroes that fought for us and gave the ultimate sacrifice: their lives.  Yesterday was a blessed day indeed.  We went to Grandma’s house and had a family dinner.  With our family, it’s always loud and crazy; but you can feel the love and I’m so happy that God put me where he did and chose this family for me.  I couldn’t ask for more love then I receive from all of them.

Melissa, my first cousin, had a great idea.  She wanted everyone to write down memories of those in our family that have already passed on.  She put them on a poster board for everyone to read.  It was very interesting to read the memories and learn a little more about our family history.  She also decided to get out the old photo boxes, so we went through some of them, and learned more about our large, loving, family.

Last week was a good week overall.  The dizziness and vertigo were much better and really the main issue was fatigue.  But nothing I couldn’t handle.  I was saying this to Mom yesterday and she said, “Do you think the acupuncture made it better?” I had completely forgotten that I did get acupuncture last Monday after treatment, so maybe it was?  I decided to try it, and if it works, yeah.  I had my 9th chemo treatment today and then also went in for acupuncture again.  We’ll see how my week turns out but I’m hoping and planning for the best. 

I’m now over half way done with my chemo regiments.  I have 12 the first round and 4 the second round for a total of 16.  So I’m on the downhill slide!!  I’m praying round two isn’t too hard on me, but I know God will protect and heal me so I must have faith.

I also saw Dr. Truong a few weeks ago and he said he believed the tumor has shrank another .5 cm.  So it’s around 3 cm now.  He also said he fully believes the second round of chemo will completely dissipate the tumor.  He’s very optimistic so that helps me to be as well.

I’m still so thankful for my ‘food angels’.  Those meals really help me maintain my energy levels, current weight, and ensure we all get a healthy dinner.  We have some fantastic cooks in our community and I just hope that I can repay the favor someday. Lotsahelpinghands is a great site and I’m so glad Krista found it. I find it hard to ask for help, but I know that pride is sinful so I’m trying to get better at it.  It’s a humbling experience to admit I can’t do it all; really I probably never could but you know us type A people, we think we can so we try until we can’t try an longer. 

This diagnosis has made me stop and think about the important things in life.  Is a little dust really that bad?? I say NO as long as the baby isn’t eating it.  J  Are toys all over the house going to kill me? NO as long as they aren’t in the path so we can’t trip over them.  Life is short, no matter if you have cancer or not.  All we can do is cherish the NOW.  We are not guaranteed one more second, so I’ve really tried to learn not to sweat the small stuff. As in the big picture will it matter?

There was a girl in chemo today that was very upset.  She was having a low day and just began crying uncontrollably.  She was talking the nurse and I truly felt for her.  She said she just is so scared to die.  She sometimes wonders why she even does treatments and she’s so angry at the cancer.  The nurse assured her all her feelings were natural and part of the grief cycle.  I told her the way I make it through is one day at a time.  I do have breakdowns and those emotions are normal so break down, get back up, and think positively towards our futures.  I told her I do treatments so that I know that I did everything in my power to win this battle but in the end it’s up to God not me.  I take it one day at a time and sometimes one minute at a time as I know with treatments we can feel great one minute and awful the next.  I told her that’s what gets me through and then I asked her if she was a Christian and had a church family.  She hesitated and then said YES, but I’m not certain she does.  So please pray for her.  I don’t know her name but pray she finds peace and gives her fear and burdens to God.  Of course I don’t want to die, but when I do, as eventually we all will, I know I’ll be in heaven with my maker.  I read the book, Heaven is for Real last week and it was great.  It got me thinking more about what heaven is actually like; as before I’ve only had an abstract concept of it. 

I’m also trying to meditate.  Just a minute to start with then I’ve tried to increase it.  Being quiet and thinking of nothing to be one with my being is a very difficult task for me.  However research shows the mind body connection is critical to survival. It also shows spirituality is key as well.  That is why I had to share how I cope with this crazy disease to the girl in chemo. Thank you God for my healing and I’m looking forward to another great week.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Genetics


Well it is official; I’m on the downhill slide for chemo round one.  I had my 7th treatment yesterday.  It has also happened: I was forced to wear my wig today.  I’m not bald, but thinning and almost balding on the top.  So I thought it was time to get it out and wear it in public.  Thus far the reactions have been positive, but really what can people say? I mean they have to be nice to a cancer patient right???

Arrington says I look like a rock star and Delaney was scared of me this morning and just kept looking at me and then away.  She even had Gavin hold her, and that is rare, so she wasn’t sure what mommy had done to herself.  It was cute though.

Last week did get me down some and I can tell the treatments are slowly wearing on me but I’m still grateful I have more good than bad days.  I’ve been very dizzy after treatment 6 and 7.  Then on Friday I was planning to go to the track meet and woke up feeling horrible: nauseous, dizzy, migraine, and achy.  I thought surely if I shower and get ready I’d be OK, but I wasn’t.  So I had to miss my first event due to the effects of treatments.  Needless to say I was disappointed but Gavin took it OK.  He had people there watching him though.  Mom took the girls, since I was out of commission until about 2 PM.  He had fun and that is what matters but I was upset because cancer got me down.

I also forgot to mention Jon got his BRCA results a few weeks ago and he was negative.  Lucky goose.  We are grateful that both of the boys are negative and don’t have to worry about passing the gene on.  We’re eradicating this in our family!!  We did get some not so great news regarding Dad though.  We’ve known he had cysts on his kidneys since December. They were growing and hurting so he got into a kidney specialist. He was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease. Its progressive and 75% of people end up needing a transplant by age 70. Ugh.  We hope he won’t be in that percentage.  He’s had to make diet modifications and will be kept a close eye on by his doctors.  This is also a genetic disease.  Jon called mom and said so do we need to be tested for this too? Since there’s not much we can do to prevent it, it’s up to us if we get tested.  Right now I’m not planning too, as I don’t need another genetic condition on top of BRCA, but do plan to speak with my geneticist at MD Anderson to get her take on it. So please also keep dad in your prayers as he needs them too. 

Overall all life is good.  I’m thankful every day that I have so much support and care all around me.  From work, to church, to the community at large I’m very blessed.  My life is overflowing with love and sustenance.  I can’t imagine not having a support network during such a trying time and I thank God every day for all of you. 

I also thank God for my continued healing.  It was so funny, Fiona, my niece had an oochie on her toe.  She didn’t want to swim until it healed and was lying on the floor at moms.  I heard her say something like “Thank you for healing me body I knew you could do it” out of the mouth of babes so precious, innocent, and believing.  That is what I have to be and know I can learn from her.   So please continue to pray for me.  I know it is working.  And thank you god, and my body, for my healing. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Half way Done with Round one


Mother’s day was a great day.  Grandma, Mom, and I went to Wichita Friday and spent the weekend.  It was fantastic to get away and spend some girl time.  We ate out and went shopping.  When we got back on Sunday afternoon Stephen had the kids dressed in the shirts I bought them but they’ve never worn before.  Delaney’s says “Find a cure before I grow boobies”. Gavin’s says “Real enough to support my mom Man enough to wear pink doing it.”  Arrington’s says, “This chick wears pink for her mom.” They were really cute and happy to see us.

Our kids are some of the best blessings God had ever given me.  I’m so lucky to have three beautiful children. Children are a true gift from God. One that helps me stop and smell the roses and one that helps me see the little things in life.

Last week was overall pretty good.  Since Stephen was at a conference, we stayed with mom and dad for a few days.  On his way home, Stephen had to go to the ER in Wichita because he got a piece of steak lodged in his throat.  Evidently he had a narrow esophagus.  They went in during an outpatient procedure.  Removed the steak and stretched his esophagus. It was a very odd thing, but luckily he’s alright and hopefully the issue is solved.  His colleague Eric Ryker was at the ER with him and took him to a hotel for the night.  I’m so glad Erik was able to do that, was with the three kids, and being exhausted, it was too much for me.  Erik was yet another blessing God sent for us. 

I had a reaction after chemo and my port got a rash, however it went away in a few days.  Although uncomfortable it was bearable.  Then on Thursday, I actually had to leave work for a few hours.  All of the sudden, I got shaky, my heart began to beat erratically, and my legs were like jello. It was very odd, as it came on suddenly and without warning.  I guess these things happen with chemo? I also started losing considerable amounts of hair Tuesday after last week’s treatment.  Arrington told me “mom, I bet you have bald spots with all the hair that you have falling out.’  But thus far, I don’t have any bald spots just very thin hair.  I’m prepared for it to fall out; and would actually prefer it to, as I’m getting tired of waiting and wondering when it will happen.  You see, God is helping me learn patience.  One of the many things he’s teaching me through this journey.

Today I had my 6th treatment.  That means I’m half way done with my first round of chemo.  Yeah! Celebrate!   The treatment went well.  I am however wiped out and very dizzy.  Odd, as I’ve not had the dizziness issue before but I guess as I progress, different affects will occur.  I’m still thankful however that I’ve had very few other side effects.  

Overall, thing are going well.  I pray for this to continue.  I’m also very grateful for all the support and prayers that I’ve received. Thank you God for my healing.