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Monday, August 22, 2011

Mountain Air

Not a lot has happened since the last post however I did have treatment three of this cycle. I also was able to get acupuncture after the treatment so I thought for certain I would have minimal side effects. However, I was greatly mistaken. It hit me hard Wednesday night. Nauseous, dry heaves, aching all over, and exhaustion. All the fun of what you visualize chemo normally is. Luckily I had a doctor appointment with Dr. Truong on Thursday so when I saw him he gave me some meds that basically just made me sleep. Which was great compared to feeling like I had the worst flu I’ve ever experience.

By Saturday I was back with the living, and we had our family pictures at the church. Although it only took about thirty minutes, I was exhausted when we got home and had to take a five hour nap. I hate not feeling well, it feels like I’m out of control. But I guess I am. I can’t control everything so I must just give it up to God and let him take control. I’m willing to suffer a little for the greater cause of remission. I’m so glad I’m almost done with chemo. My last treatment is Monday August 29th. Although I’m dreading it, since Dr. Truong told me I’d probably have the same side effects, at least they only last five days or so then I feel much better. I will have 16 total treatments upon completion. It’s hard to believe I’ve done that many, and looking back it has gone very quickly.

It’s amazing how wonderful it is to feel good. If one has their health they have the power to change things and make their lives happen. It’s almost like I have a new lease on life now that I’m feeling better. I found myself singing and dancing at the strangest times, for example at work. I guess I just appreciate my health and am happy to be living the life I love and loving the life I live. Even when I was feeling completely rotten, the thoughts of those I met at chemo kept coming to my mind. How lucky I am to have family and friends that are so supportive and loving. The wonder I know by having faith, hope, and love. The privilege I’ve been given to express my faith to others through my story. I truly am a lucky woman.

As I mentioned in my last post, Stephen and I left for Estes Park Saturday. I am so excited to have some R&R. It’s wonderful up here and so cool. It rained yesterday and was about 56 degrees. The smell of mountain rain is fabulous. The mountains are amazing; where the temperatures are cooler and the air is crisper. Did you know that the Stanley Hotel is located in Estes Park? It’s best known for its inspirational role in Stephen King's novel, "The Shining". The interesting fact however is that the founder actually came to Estes Park due to poor health. So maybe going to Estes will also renew my health? We’re heading to the Hot Springs today and white water rafting Wednesday. I’m living life to its fullest and not taking time for granted anymore; a good lesson for all of us to learn and live by. Of course we hit the outlet mall yesterday. Thank you God for My Healing.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Downhill slide

Well I’m half way done with the FAC chemo. Or should I say I was half way done on July 20th. This second treatment didn’t cause me the leg pain as did treatment one however I was nauseous for over a week. I’ve made a call to Dr. Truong in hopes he can change my meds and help prevent this for treatment three which will be Tuesday the 9th. I also had flu like aching in my back and neck again. I told Stephen I felt like a bus hit me, and Gavin said “how would you know; you’ve never been hit but a bus?” It was so cute. I’m still facing fatigue but overall I have about a week of feeling yucky and then 10 days of feeling relatively good. The tiredness seems to hang on the entire time but the extent eases up on week two and three. So overall I’d say I’m doing pretty well and treatments could be much, much worse. I praise God for this daily.

We did visit Houston again last week for an appointment with the gynecological oncologist. It was interesting and to make a long story short during the initial appointment they were trying to talk me into waiting for the hysterectomy until I was at least 35 however after they saw my ultrasound they seemed to try and talk me into doing it. If the nurse practitioner would have let me have a word in edgewise I could have saved her a lot of back peddling as the funny thing is I always wanted to have it occur during the double mastectomy as my breast surgeon said it would be minor compared to what she’d be doing. Evidently I have cyst on both ovaries and my uterus. There is also a ‘suspicious lesion’ on my right ovary that they wanted me to do follow up on in six weeks. I told them there was no need as I was planning to get the hysterectomy in about 8 weeks so we’d see what it showed once it was removed. They will take out the tissue and then send it to a specialized pathologist that only deal with gemological cancers. They will then slice it into small sections and view each one for cancer cells.

The nurse practitioner tried to reassure me it was unlikely it was cancer and I told her that’s nice and all however I heard this same thing about my breast and we all know how that came out: Positive. I’m really not stressed over it however as what can I do now? Nothing so why worry. I’ve tried not to be such a worrier as I used to really stew over things I could not control. I’m told worry is lack of faith so I now try and hand it over to God as ultimately it’s all his will and in his hands anyway.

I can’t imagine being a non-believer? What would life be like; as I know when I leave this earth I’ll be with my heavenly father in eternal peace. I think life would be so scary to think that once we die we are done living. I am able to walk through life because I know I will have an afterlife in heaven and that is greatly comforting. I understand why many non-believers become so depressed when illness or death faces them as they have nothing to look forward too. This is why I’m often witnessing to those in chemo with me at Pratt as I want them to share the peace and know the truth that I know. God is always with me and if he’s on my side who can defeat me? I rest peacefully knowing that life doesn’t end on this earth as I’m promised eternal life in heaven.

We also decided to spend a week in Estes Park in mid-August. I’m looking forward to it; I’m ready to escape the unbearable heat and rejuvenate before my surgery. We are leaving the kids with Mom and Dad and this will be the first time in over two years that Stephen and I have gone on vacation without the children. I’m looking forward to sleeping in, reading a book undisturbed, and enjoying nature. I also decided I wanted to go white water rafting. I’ve wanted to go for a long time and figure there’s no time live the present. We are only going for a half day trip, so will only spend a few hours on the water, but it should be memorable. We are also planning to go to Hot Sulphur Springs and soak in the healing hot springs. It is said that the water is sacred; the Ute Indians believed in the healing qualities of the waters and referred to them as “big medicine” and “magic waters”. Ute tribal spiritual leader blessed the waters and the resort has been operation for over 140 years. I’ve read mixed reviews on the place, but I figure I can use all the healing I can get so we might as well try it.

As many of you know, I’m certainly not a mountain girl. I normally much prefer the Caribbean however I feel drawn to the mountains for this vacation for some reason. Through this cancer journey, I’ve learned to listen to my inner self so on August 20th we’re heading west to rediscover nature and get some much needed R&R.
I believe that is one thing we all need to learn is how to better listen to our inner being. If we can be quiet and actually hear what it’s saying we might learn a lot and avoid situations where we later say I knew something was wrong or I knew better then to do that. God put that voice inside us, or maybe it’s God speaking to us, but either way becoming more in tune is important.

I know God has put us all here for a purpose and although I don’t know what mine is completely yet I do know I want to leave this world a better place than when I arrived. How to accomplish this, there are many ways, but one of the particular ones I’ve discovered through cancer is to enjoy and live life to its fullest. In an odd way cancer has been a blessing. An eye opening and life changing experience that I’ve chosen to use for the better and learn from. I try not sweat the small things. I try to appreciate all the joys around me and count my blessing daily if not hourly. I’ve decided to take my diagnosis and make it into a positive as I don’t want to be remembered as the young mom who had cancer but instead the strong, faithful, positive woman that learned to live life through cancer and is helping others do the same. Live the life you love and love the life you live. As they say, when life gives you lemons make lemonade and that is what I’m striving to do. Thank you God for my healing and for helping me live life to its fullest.