Thursday, December 29, 2011

some yays!

I got my port out Tuesday.  I didn't realize how stressed I was about having it done.
They told me they weren't going to completely knock me out this time but I wouldn't
know what was happening.  When they took me into the operating room I asked them,
"You said I wouldn't know what was happening right?"  the nurse responded,
"Right, you won't feel a thing."  They tied down both of my hands so I wouldn't "help"
the Dr. and my legs.  They put something blue over my face and then I felt the Dr. give
me a shot next to the port to numb the area.  I heard her say "blade" and then felt her push
on it and I could feel it going across my skin.  I will say nothing hurt except the initial shot and
when  it felt like she was stitching it up but she used glue so I don't know why it felt like
she was stitching it, weird.  I felt fine after except very sore.  When I tried to eat later in the evening
I couldn't keep anything down.  I haven't been able to eat much in the past week and I've lost
about 6 lbs. but I am starting to feel better from the surgery and tomorrow is my last day
of radiation, yay! yay! and yay! again!!!!  I hope this is my last time of radiation forever.  
I have been radiated a total of 59 times.  I should have a long shelf life now.

I do want to say the nurse I had when I went in, her name was Cheryl, was awesome.
She was extremely sweet and tried to help me however needed and keep me as pain free
as possible.  She was just a very kind, Christian lady.

The radiologist said it would be 2-3 weeks before I would be able to eat without pain after
my last treatment.  He also said it would be up to 9 weeks or so for the areas he radiated to start feeling better.
I am going to enjoy not going to the Dr. 5 days a week very much!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I had to put this on here today because it is so fitting for my situation.
From Jesus Calling 12/21/11

My plan for your life is unfolding before you.  Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back.  Then, when time is right, the way before you suddenly clears--through no effort of own.  What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift.  You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My Power and My Glory.  
Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly.  As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles--and you will.  Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly.  Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My Glory.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Radiation will last for 15 days.  I'm looking forward to it being over - it's really making me sick this time.  The last week of radiation I will have surgery to remove the port.
I am really looking forward to having it gone.  It has hurt ever since they put it in and hasn't really been usable.  Every time it was used they would send me to the hospital for a leak or blood clot test because
Chuck said I would turn instantly white and look and feel like I was going to pass out.  It would cause a burning pain in my chest that felt like it was going into my back.  I will be happy to say goodbye port!

Good news, Jesse's been visiting the last couple of days.  It's nice when they're both home.  They both help me out so much.  It's nice to not have to worry about stuff.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Radiation begins again

bummer, I just wrote a whole post and don't have a clue what happened.  I pushed something accidently and the whole thing disappeared.  Do not push the back arrow on your computer that erases it too.

3 days of Dr visits again this week.  Wednesday, I went to the Radiologist and found out I would be starting radiation again on Thursday.  So I had to get the "planning" done which includes;
lining up, photos, getting drawn on, getting sticky-ed, and a CT scan.
Thursday, I had Physical Therapy in the morning and left a little sore.  I returned for radiation in the afternoon.  Being the first time takes about an hour of laying flat on a metal table while they do more
lining up, more drawing on, xrays, actual radiation and tattoos.  The tattoos are usually pretty painless but the one in the middle of my chest he hit the bone and I about jumped off the table.  He said he was really sorry and I know he didn't mean to do that but ouch!
After Corey and I left we stopped and got something to eat and went home.  By the time we arrived home I could hardly move.  I don't know which was the reason PT or radiation but I slept for over 2 hours.  I also had a new side effect - feeling extremely nauseous.  I hope it's temporary.
Friday, after radiation Corey and I did a little Christmas shopping and again I was sooo tired after.  I have to learn my limits again.   And another evening of extreme nauseousness.  Don't like that.  I do have a med. that they gave me a while back for nauseous and tried it last night thankfully it helped some.
I also drove for the first time since September.  Corey, Jesse, Stuart, Mom and Chuck have been chauffeuring me around since then.  I will miss their company but radiation's 5 days a week - I need to be able to do this.
The people at radiation are extremely sweet and treat me like family.  Chris one of the techs, gave me a hug when he saw me and told me they would take good care of me.  Jared, one of the ones I feel like the grandma you see on tv who wants to fix him up with my daughter or niece cause he's got such a good heart and is a cutie, he's always super nice too.  And the girls, you just want to hug them all cause they're always trying to take good care of me.  They all say it's a big family there and they take care of their family.  Grateful this is where I was sent for this part of my recovery.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Three days I spent at the Dr. last week, so tiring, And, a garage sale today. I do not like doing garage sales but it made it possible to get a car in the garage and I do like that! Jesse and Chris came and sold stuff to so that made it much better having them here.
Wednesday at the Dr. I found out I have another spot on the middle of my spine. He sent me for an MRI on Friday to see if the smaller ones they found on my pelvic bone need radiation. He wants to do it all at once so I don't have to go back again.
Thursday at the Oncologist I finally heard the good news that she's sending me to get the port out. It's been nothing but painful since it was put in and not very usable. She wants to put me on a new bone strengthener that won't use a port, yay! She also told me I was anemic which she said is sometimes normal after surgery. And she told me I need to go to physical therapy for my leg which I was hoping I wouldn't need to do but guess I have to. That's all I remember right now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The week before Thanksgiving one of my friends from work told me she was going to stop by.
Leslie came and gave me a card from people at work with 216$ in it. I couldn't believe it. I cried.
I'd just gotten a bill the week before from my insurance telling me they weren't going to pay for one of my tests costing a little over $400. I've been maxed out on my insurance since July so I don't know why they would do this.
I want to thank Leslie, Carol, and Martha going to everyone and asking for a donation that was just so sweet. Karen, Martin, Ed, Millie, Dalila, thank you for visiting that day too. It was really good to see all of you. I know if I try to name everyone who contributed I'll forget someone but I'll try - Malinda (who works at the elementary school I used to drive for and I drove her 2 sons to middle school - sweet lady and boys!) Terri, Jan, Jay and Kathy, Carmen, Kathy, Bennie, Carolyn, Michael, Barb, Beth, Mary (hope you're doing ok), Diana, Tony, Elli, 157, 163, and I know I'm forgetting someone I apologize for that. But, to everyone who donated thought about me and is praying for me thank you so very very much!
I hope you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year too!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's two weeks since surgery. I feel a little better each day. I do get extremely exhausted which
is frustrating but I'm happy to be able to accomplish something small each day.
I still have to use the walker but I can tell it won't be much longer.
We got the tree decorated yesterday. Chuck helped decorate for the first time. He made it look really pretty too. When we used to get a real tree, he would bring it in and set it up and then we (me, Corey, Jesse) would decorate it. He would do outside stuff. This time Corey was working, Jesse was at home and I needed help to get it done. It's pretty! He did a great job!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reading a book my mom gave me: Response Able

How do you live your life? based on passion or principles?

good principles:
Invest more in others than you spend on yourself.

Live everyday as if there is instant replay and your every move
is going to be reviewed.

Be grateful for everything. Even the hard days have value.

Health news: able to put some weight on my leg. Still have to use the
walker and pain meds but I can tell it's healing - I think - quickly and well.
Still get tired fast and easily but that's supposed to be normal too.

Yesterday reading: Jesus Calling
As you look at the day before you, you see a twisted, complicated path, with branches going off in all directions. You wonder how you can possible find your way through that maze. Then you remember the One who is with you always, holding you by your right hand. You recall My promise to guide you with My counsel, and you begin to relax.

This is very true and sometimes hard to keep in view but it needs to be, and I am grateful!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I had my surgery Friday - that was the rod in the leg going from the top of the leg to the knee and
the bolt at the hip to hold it in place. The Dr. said everything went well. I stayed over night Friday and left
the hospital Saturday around 2 after they went over the exercises I need to do. I knew it would hurt
but didn't expect quite this much. The pain medication helps though - which I'm really thankful for.
Now it's just a matter of time to walk normal again. I think it will be slow but that's ok. I can tell it's
getting a little better each day.
I just want to thank everyone who's been praying and keeping in touch. It means more than you can know!
Thanks everybody and I pray God will bless and be with you all.
Love you all,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reading for today from Jesus calling:
Learn to appreciate difficult days. Get stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way. As you journey through rough terrain with Me (Jesus), gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything. This knowledge is comprised of three parts: your relationship with Me, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times.
Look back on your life, and see how I have helped you through difficult days. If you are tempted to think, "Yes, but that was then and this is now," remember who I AM! Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity. This is the basis of your confidence. In My Presence you live and move and have your being.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I should have put the Strides for breast cancer photos on here instead of my other blog so here's the link:

I'll have a bionic leg at the end of the week! Pray it goes well please!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I had an appointment with the Dr., who is supposed to do my surgery, last Monday. He said I need a rod that goes from the top of my leg bone to my knee and he said a bolt at the top. He didn't say pin he said bolt. He didn't show me what it looked like but they have a video here, click on patient education and then hip. Next, click on femur fracture fixation with intramedullary rod. This is close to what he will be doing. I had to go to my Dr. and get cleared for surgery and now just waiting on blood work. Not looking forward to this but I will be bionic when I'm done! Cool.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Last week I had a Dr. appointment on Monday with
an orthopedic surgeon to find out about getting a pin
in my leg. But, he was a spine Dr. not a hip Dr.
He told me, at first, that I needed to be using a walker or
crutches. By the end of the appointment, however, we'd
worked it down to a cane. I was also scheduled for another
appointment on last Thursday to see a hip Dr.
At that appointment I found out: I have to use a walker,
I'm not supposed to put weight on that leg, he said to
walk as little as possible, the tumor has
eaten 75% of the top of the leg bone and it breaking is just
a matter of when. They wouldn't let me walk out of the
office I had to ride in a wheelchair. I also found out the last Dr. doesn't do
surgery on patients with cancer, it requires a specialist, so today
I have another appointment with that Dr.
When I found out I had to have a walker I asked Chuck
to call his mom. His sister was able to get a walker and a wheelchair
for me to use. What a blessing.
Saturday, Chuck took me to a small art festival in Winter Springs.
He made me use the wheelchair. I have to say it was very relaxing for
me but a lot of work for him (there were a couple of hills).
This was the best show I've been to in a while. It wasn't huge
but the art was good which I wasn't expecting. I thought it would
be more crafts because it was a smaller show. This first photo is for
"Tricia" I know how much you love clowns.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A couple of months ago we were at the beach sitting in
our chairs under the umbrella. I saw this group of teenagers
walking and smiled. The next thing I knew they walked up
to us and told us they were with a youth group from a church
here in Florida. They asked if there was anything we needed
prayer for. Chuck told them about my cancer and they told us
about a lady at their church going through something similar.
They said they would all be praying for me. I was very surprised
they walked up to us. I hadn't seen them stop and talk to anyone
before us or after the left. I felt like God was letting me know
He's there and He cares.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not so great news yesterday. They want to put a pin, or pins, in my leg. I don't know anything beyond that. I see the Orthopedic Surgeon Monday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thursday was a fun day spent at the Dr. asking lots of questions about lots of problems, talking about work, (which she said going back in November probably not), and going to the hospital to get checked for blood clots in the neck and arm. Thankfully, no blood clots. What was supposed to be a couple hour visit turned into most of the day.
Friday another fun day at the Dr. because my health insurance won't let me do a Dr. visit and treatment on the same day, stupid - more money for both of us. The treatment was my first. They accessed my port to do the meds and fluids. As soon as they started, I had extreme heat in my heart and I couldn't breath. She stopped it immediately and found the Dr. who decided I needed to do a port test at the hospital but before the test they decided to do the treatment through an IV. She couldn't get the vein in my hand to work, ouch!!! So she had to find another vein in my arm.
After an hour and half of treatment (which was more like 4 hours because of all the problems) I had to go to the hospital for a port test. They didn't find any leaks and said I probably have to try laying flat during treatments. Ok then. So another trip back to the Dr.'s office to get the port de-accessed. And another 2 hour appointment turned into an all day - fun time. I will say all the staff is super sweet and do their best to treat me well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reading from Streams in the Desert today

John Vincent, a Methodist Episcopal bishop of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and a leader of the Sunday school movement in America, once told of being in a large greenhouse where clusters of luscious grapes were hanging on each side. The owner of the greenhouse told him, "When the new gardener came here, he said he would not work with the vines unless he could cut them completely down to the stalk. I allowed him to do so, and we had no grapes for two years, but this is now the result."
There is rich symbolism in this account of the pruning process when applied to the Christian life. Pruning seems to be destroying the vine, and the gardener appears to be cutting everything away. Yet he sees the future and knows that the final result will be the enrichment of the life of the vine, and a greater abundance of fruit.
There are many blessings we will never receive until we are ready to pay the price of pain, for the path of suffering is the only way to reach them. J.R. Miller

Friday, September 16, 2011

Starting the "new" treatment next Thursday. It uses the port. Wondering how it will go.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Something I needed to read this day.

from "Jesus Calling" September 11, 2011
REJOICE IN ME ALWAYS! No matter what is going on, you can rejoice in you Love-relationship with ME(Christ). This is the secret of being content in all circumstances. So many people dream of the day when they will finally be happy: when they are out of debt, when their children are out of trouble, when they have more leisure time, and so on. While they daydream, their moments are trickling into the ground like precious balm spilling wastefully from overturned bottles.
Fantasizing about future happiness will never bring fulfillment, because fantasy is unreality. Even though I am invisible, I am far more Real than the world you see around you. My reality is eternal and unchanging. Bring your moments to Me, and I will fill them with vibrant Joy. Now is the time to rejoice in My Presence!

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Psalms 102:27
"But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One of the new medications I'm on is an estrogen blocker. It has a lot of side effects. One of the annoying ones is hot flashes - so I went online to find some possible helps with this. The one I thought was funny was "stick your head in the refrigerator when one starts".

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Met with fellow artist Tracy this morning. Learned
a couple of things on the computer. Now having a healthy
lunch; spinach, banana, walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette,
and a cup of green tea. I think I will start trying to post something
healthy I eat just to keep me inspired to continue with it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I haven't posted lately because I'm in a state of "wait and see". Meaning wait and see if the tumors on my bones shrink, or die, or whatever they're supposed to do from the radiation treatments. Wait and see if the pain I've had since surgery gets any better including the new problems that have surfaced and the most annoying - numbness, tingling in my arm - and feeling like I'm going to pass out when I stand up. Waiting to start the treatment I'll be getting in my port, starts the 22nd. Then wait to see what that does. Wait to see if I'll be able to go back to work in November. I'm not very good at waiting.

Monday, August 22, 2011

When I read the August 16th devotion from the book "Streams in the Desert" that my sister-n-law gave me, I had to post it. It is where I am, struggling to wait because I've always been a do-er. It is hard to not be able to go and do everything you want because your body stops you. It was also extremely hard to not be able to go back to work especially when I found out they'd given me an AC bus. The first day of school was difficult because I wasn't able to see all of my little kids in their first day of school cute outfits and get hugs from the ones that missed me. Some of these kids this would have been my 6th year with. I've seen them go through kindergarten to 5th grade. So sad that I lost my route because of this. But, I have to look on the positive side of all this -- hopefully I will get something better when I'm able to go back to work, a good bus, not a bone shaker, AC, and great kids. That is what I'm praying!

While I wait, I need to paint, draw, get my art going again and start selling some. This is the gift God's given me it's time to use it!

This was the reading for August 16th from Streams In The Desert.

Waiting is much more difficult than walking, for waiting requires patience, and patience is a rare virtue. We enjoy knowing that God builds hedges around His people, when we look at the hedge from the aspect of protection. But when we see it growing higher and higher until we can no longer see over it, we wonder if we will ever get out of out little sphere of influence and service, where we feel trapped. Sometimes it is hard for us to understand why we do not have a larger area of service, and it becomes difficult for us to “brighten the corner” where we are. But God has a purpose in all of His delays. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalms 37:23).

Next to this verse, in the margin of his Bible, George Mueller made this note: “And the stops too.” It is a sad mistake for someone to break through God’s hedges. It is a vital principle of the Lord’s guidance for a Christian never to move from the spot where he is sure God has place him, until the “pillar of cloud” (Exodus 13:21) moves.

Once we learn to wait for the Lord’s leading in everything, we will know the strength that finds its highest point in an even and steady walk. Many of us are lacking the strength we so desire, but God gives complete power for every task He calls us to perform. Waiting—keeping yourself faithful to His leading---this is the secret of strength. And anything that does not align with obedience to Him is a waste of time and energy. Watch and wait for His leading.

Must life be considered a failure for someone compelled to stand still, forced into inaction and required to watch the great, roaring tides of life from shore? No—victory is then to be won by standing still and quietly waiting. Yet this is a thousand times harder to do than in the past, when you rushed headlong into the busyness of life. It requires much more courage to stand and wait and still not lose heart or lose hope, to submit to the will of God, to give up opportunities for work and leave honors to others, and to be quiet, confident, and rejoicing while the busy multitude goes happily along their way.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's been one of those weeks where I had a Dr.'s appointment everyday
except Friday. It wore me out. I've been very tired this weekend. I
thought a beach trip would make me feel rested. It calms me, slows me
down, makes me happy, but it didn't take away my exhaustion. I guess
I need to sleep for a week. This week I finished radiation which is an absolute yay!
I had an MRI to make sure there weren't any new tumors on my spine. After 3 1/2 weeks
of radiation he said the one I have looks exactly the same. He said it would
take time to see changes. I wonder how long? I had an appointment with the
Oncologist and she gave me my new prescription so I can grow a beard.
Just kidding, an estrogen blocker. Not sure how I feel about this.
She also told me I'm not supposed to be bending over.
Wish I'd known that sooner. I also found out I'm not supposed
to have my blood pressure taken, or blood withdrawn, or shots in the
arm I had lymph nodes removed from. Wish I'd known that sooner
too because all the above have been done from that arm.

I'm trying to eat the way the book- my regular Dr. told me to get
"Beating cancer with nutrition" - says to eat. It's hard to do, no
sugar, white flour, processed, chemical, as close to the way it
comes from nature - I do feel lighter - but sometimes I just
want chocolate or a burger. Sorry I don't like dark chocolate, never have.
I found out my vitamix isn't broken like I thought, just the wet blender jar.
The dry blender jar works and I tried it to make tomato soup and it
worked fine, yay! He recommends getting a vitamix in the book
and using it instead of a juicer. He said juicers get rid of the healthiest
part of the fruit or vegetable. He also said if you can't afford organic
produce soak it in 1 gallon of warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons vinegar.
That's supposed to remove the external chemicals.
This week should be interesting. I don't have to go to radiation.
It will feel strange not going every morning.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I didn't want to post about this 'till I told my manager what was going on since I don't know who reads it. I saw the Dr. Thursday afternoon and it was decided I need to wait 3 more months before going back to work. That gives me time to finish radiation and get a couple of the treatments for strengthening my bones before I start bouncing them around again.
I talked to my manager today and found out he'd gotten me an air conditioned bus, something I've been asking for for 4 years. I started crying. When you miss more than a couple of months you loose your route - which I've had for 5 years total. I love my kids but I know I can't drive them safely right now and that's more important than staying on the route. Plus, I really need some more time to heal. I also know a really sweet lady who wants my run and I know they'll be ok with her. Her two little boys are on the run so she'll have extra special reasons for being super safe. I will miss my kids though!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wednesday I had my port test. I was really dreading it because of the horrible pain the last time they accessed it. I had to go to the Dr.'s office first and have them access it. They took me to the chemo side of the office which is a large room with at least 20 recliners and people sitting there getting their IV's. The man next to us started talking to us. It was his last visit. He had non-hodgkins lymphoma. He was very nice and knew it was our first time there. I guess after you go there so many times you know everyone. He got Beth's attention for us and told her I had to go over to the hospital for a dye study. We had been waiting and it was getting close to time to be at the hospital which I told him and that's why he graciously intervened. They just seemed so busy.
She came right over and took care of me.
I told her what had happened to me the last time it had been accessed and how painful it was when the lady flushed it. Beth accessed it and then said sorry for hurting me which I replied it hadn't hurt. Then a couple seconds later as she was doing something she asked if it hurt and I said no. She told me she flushed the port which I responded with, "I didn't feel anything". It was amazing. She said to ask whoever used it to ask them to flush it slowly. I just wanted to tell her she would be the only one I would allow to use it but that is unrealistic.
We went over to the hospital. I had the procedure done. They only found fibrous something growing on the vein which they said was normal, nothing that would be causing the pain I'm having. Then we went back to the Dr.'s office and had it de-accessed. I felt ok after unlike last time. Hopefully I won't have anymore problems. They are still going to have to figure out what's making the pain though.
And school starts in 3 weeks. Our beginning of school meeting is August 15th. My manager called yesterday to see how I am. I told him what the Dr. told me because it's what I know right now. She said I can go back to work. I'm trying to get an appointment with her next week to discuss this and make sure because I'm not so sure. We'll see what happens.

Friday, July 29, 2011

If you can go my sketchbook will be there.
July 29-31, 2011
12:00pm-5:00pm each day
Friday 6:00pm: talk with Art House founders
Winter Park, FL
Touring with The Fiction Project
Full Sail University (Full Sail Live auditorium)
3300 University Boulevard
Winter Park, FL 32792

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today was day 14 of radiation. It's been easy as far as the treatment itself. The side effects not so much. I get zapped in the neck, ribs, boob, and left top of the leg bone. The neck one has made it really difficult to swallow so I've lost 5 lbs. which is fine by me I need to loose another 35 but the Dr. says not right now. The rib has actually gotten better I can sleep on that side now, yay! The leg one has been going out of joint and hurts but it feels like it may be on the mend, hopefully. Fatigue has been a pain. Tomorrow is the last day of the bone treatments but the boob continues for a total of 31 days.
I've learned a lot along the way. I've had a problem with pain on the right side/port side and asked the Radiologist about it. He was absolutely no help. So I went home and researched the pain medication I've been on and the port. I found out that both could have been part of the problem. I called the Oncologists office, she was out of town, so I told the nurse what was going on and she said I should have a dye test to see if there are any clots caused by the port. I also went off the pain medicine, not fun, and have been off for a week now. Some symptoms have decreased but the issues on the right side haven't. Tomorrow I will have the dye test done. Seriously though, I would like the port removed. If anyone is going through any of this please stand up for yourself. You are the only one who truly knows your body and when something isn't right.
Another thing I've been learning is take care of yourself, rest when you need to even if you don't want to, and don't allow yourself to go into isolation. I was on my way home from treatment Friday and felt a prodding to stop at my friend Tricia's. I thought I really didn't want to I wanted to go home, cry, and feel sorry for myself. I know some of you don't believe in God who read this but I do and I believe He very softly let me know it's not about isolation but relationship. I went to Tricia's and had a wonderful visit. Three of her grandchildren were there and her daughter Megan and they all just made me feel so much better. Little Oliver is some awesome medicine. They all were! And I am thankful for them.
Megan and Oliver. I wish I'd taken pictures of the girls.

I also spent Monday at Mom and Dad's and Jesse went to which is more good medicine and had a blessed time while there.
Today I stopped by Tracy's, again I thought about not but the isolation vs. relationship thing came back into my head. I had a healing time painting, creating, and just getting inspiration, which you can read about on my other blog, waterwalker-firefly.
Thanks everybody for helping me feel better.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today was day 6 of radiation. I haven't been blogging because I really haven't felt like
doing much of anything. I feel ok except for being sooo tired. Hopefully it will pass.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Second treatment was Friday. My treatments will be Mon-Fri at 8:00am.
I went to both treatments by myself which makes me feel good that I'm able
to do that. I don't know if I'll be able to do the whole time or not. I
actually went to the grocery store after my appt. Friday, but I was
done for the day after that. Unfortunately I've had to go back on the pain
medication. Ever since Thursday I've had a lot of pain in my back and arm.
Even though I would like to not take the medicine - I can function when I do
and that's important. Being able to do things and feel like I'm getting something
done is very important right now even if it's just little stuff.
I'm working on a painting right now too that's a surprise for someone. I'm hoping
it turns out like I want it to.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today I thought I was going to the Dr. to finish doing
whatever they needed to do to get ready to start radiation
treatments. They did do that but they also did a treatment.
When I got there this kid came into the waiting room, and I mean
kid, and introduced himself to me and told me he was going
to be part of the team that will be taking care of my treatments.
He explained to me why they're going through my front to
treat my spine. Sorry I don't remember the explanation though
it did make a lot of sense at the time. They are also going through
the back too. I'm getting radiated in 5 places front and back.
I got 10 tattoos, blue freckles. There were 5 kids working on
me finishing scans, doing the treatments and tattooing me.
I say kids because they were all, had to be, under the age of 24.
One of the guys was funny, he started singing with the country
music cd. I think they thought because I was older I would like
country music. Finally they asked if I did - I said no so they
changed it to some other old stuff that I didn't like either.
They told me to bring in a cd. I told them all my music's on
my ipod. I don't think they thought older people used ipods.
I should bring it and play my music. I think it would surprise them.
I have to say it's very unnerving to be surrounded by
a bunch of kids when your half naked and they're singing
and joking. I know they were trying to make me more
comfortable and they were very sweet, all of them, but it
was just weird. Tomorrow's treatment #2 out of 31, hopefully
they will be side effect free and country music free.
I really shouldn't say that I do like some of it just not
what they were playing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I had one Dr. tell me to eat anything I want
through all this and another tell me to get the book
"Beating cancer with nutrition"
So the decision is mine to make and I'm going
with a sort of in between but trying to lean
more towards the book plan. Yesterdays lunch
was a spinach salad with banana, walnuts, 1/2 tspn
balsamic vinegar - 1/2 tspn olive oil dressing,
a small serving of eggplant parmesan, and
a cup of green tea. I think that's pretty good
and it was. I've also been trying to go without
pain medicine to see how I really feel. I've made it
2 days but I don't know how much longer I will last.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The radiologist appointment started with him telling me things differently than I'd heard from the beginning. I had been told 3 weeks recovery after the surgery, 3 weeks of radiation, and then to the Oncologist for the rest of the stuff. He said he doesn't usually start radiation until 5 -6 weeks after surgery and that treatment is 31 days - 7 weeks (because they do it Mon-Fri). But he checked me and my scars and said he couldn't believe how well I was healing, which I replied with, "I have a lot of people praying for me and I had an excellent surgeon." He said we could get started next week and asked could we come back after lunch and get the CT scan done so they could make my "plan".
After lunch they took me into a room with a CT scanner and proceeded to mark me with blue x's from my neck, across my left chest and left side and then on my hip. I look like I'm getting ready to join the blue man group. They said I had to leave them on till my next visit the following Thursday and that I will be getting permanent tattoos where they are (the size of a freckle). They covered the x's with clear stickies and sent me home after the scan.
I don't know why laying flat on hard surfaces in an ice cold room makes me feel like crap but it really does. I'm fine now though.
He told me the only side effects I should have are: it will be hard to swallow and it will look and feel like a sunburn on my side and chest. He said no side effects for the one on my hip.
And so will begin the next part of the journey on Thursday. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today was my checkup appointment with the Oncologist. She was very impressed with how well I'm doing and how my scars are healing. She told me they were going to take blood from and flush my port. It was the first time they used it. Taking blood was fine but flushing it hurt. I must not have looked too good 'cause they took my blood pressure twice and made me drink cold water and wouldn't let me get up. I finally recovered and we were able to leave. I won't see her again for 6 weeks.
Tomorrow is my appointment with the radiologist and I'll find out my radiation schedule which will probably start next week.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I thought I should update because I didn't want everyone thinking I'm not doing well emotionally.
Yes, I have bad days with this but more good. Today was great. I've been thinking all week I wanted to go to Mom and Dad's Wednesday but didn't think I could handle the drive there and back. So I wasn't going to try.
Then Stuart, my brother, called and asked if I would like to go to Mom and Dad's this morning.
Normally he would be at work in the middle of the week but he'd taken the day off to go look at a house in their neighborhood. I was very happy to go and extremely glad he called. I've always believed God cares about the small things but this was real proof.
I had a really nice time. Stuart, Mom and I went and looked at a house for sale which I think is fun cause I like to see homes in their neighborhood. It was weird though the house was built in the 60's and nothing had been changed even the orange shag carpet, ewww. Then we had McDonald's breakfast, played cards, and looked at pictures. Stuart and I left and went to Costco. That was nice to get something I needed to get done checked off my list and good to have someone who could pick up the heavy stuff for me.
Thanks Stuart! I had a great day!
I had a bad day yesterday. I read things about breast cancer and when it spreads and the life expectancy. I didn't want to read it or even mean to read it. I was looking up something about one of the drugs they are thinking about taking off the market for it.
Then I allowed myself to think a lot of stuff about other things - will I be able to go back to work?What will we do if I can't? I allowed myself to get upset about the pain I'm in and how in the world do people deal with this pain day in and day out (Chuck, Dad)??? I felt extremely weak.
Today is a new day and I found this blog;
She doesn't have cancer but she knows exactly how I feel.
God is in control and only He knows the plan for me, no man, no Doctor and I will trust and believe. I will fight and I will pray and I will have a better spirit this day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yesterday was the 2 week point since surgery. Somedays I feel much better and others like today I feel exhausted. I don't know what that's about. Maybe I did too much yesterday and it's catching up with me today. Jesse let me drive her new truck to the post office and then we went to the grocery store, I cooked dinner and did dishes. I guess I'm going to have to slow down just a little. It's just when I feel good I want to make up for lost time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I was going to tell you about the rest of the tests I had to have. Let's see if I can get it finished tonight.
After the CT scan I had my regular mammogram scheduled for the following Monday.
That wasn't fun. They had to do an ultrasound too. The Dr. came in after those tests were
done and said, "I'm so sorry to meet you like this", great, I'm thinking, "but it looks like a
tumor in the left breast." More apologies. But, the good at this appointment was the technician, Leslie. I told her everything that had happened. She told me to go do something fun the rest of the week and weekend and eat anything and everything I wanted because during treatment I probably wouldn't feel like it. She put her arm around me as I was leaving and told me to keep in touch she wanted to know what happened. She made me feel much better.
May 5th I saw the breast surgeon for the 1st time and she did a biopsy right then and there.
They told me it wouldn't hurt and it was ok 'till she went the 4th time beyond the point she'd
numbed, ouch.
The next day I had my first appointment with the Oncologist. This was my first appointment with her and I didn't have results from the biopsy yet but she told me then I was stage 4. Chuck was with me but didn't hear it. She did give us a lot of information that day so I think he just was overloaded. She also said she wasn't going to tell me how much time I had because she didn't know how much time she had and didn't believe in telling people that. To that I thought, not good it means she can see the end in sight. I was really scared.
The next appointment was with the breast surgeon again. It was when she told me yes it is breast cancer. I missed work a few days work because I was really upset. I had an appointment with the radiologist the same afternoon. He's the one who will be doing radiation soon. It was just a meet and greet and check through my records.
The 20th was the bone biopsy another ouch and took several days to recover. The results were positive for breast cancer, meaning it had spread from the original tumor in the breast.
Then I had my pre-surgery appointment, another appointment with the radiologist and another with the Oncologist.
My surgery was the 7th a lumpectomy with 5 lymph nodes removed and a port put in for medication to start after radiation.
Tomorrow will be two weeks since the surgery. I almost feel like I lost a few days afterwards and it seemed to mess up my sense of time. I'm so glad I'm off for the summer.
I still have pain but it dulls with each passing day thankfully. I have really begun to have some problems with my side where I have the tumor on the rib that's fractured. I don't know if it's because of the surgery or I can just feel it now. It's hard to reach and I can't lift anything heavy but that was part of the limitations during recovery anyway.
I am very grateful that I can feel I'm improving daily. Being able to do little things around the house helps me feel better too. I don't have any more appointments 'till the 30th which is a nice reprieve.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I posted on my other blog what I probably should have
put on here. So go here to read: Waterwalker

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Went to the Dr. today - the breast surgeon. She said they took out the tumor which was
1.5 cm. and another 1.5 cm. around the tumor and there was no sign of cancer in the extra
that was taken out. She said she is done with me and I don't have to go back to her.
She said I need to go to the Oncologist and do whatever she tells me to and also do the
3 weeks of radiation treatment. She was very pleased with how well and quickly I am healing
from the surgery also.
Yay! good news!
Today I'll list all the tests I had to go through to figure out I have cancer.
First I had the MRI of mid back up. Then I had a bone scan, not a bone density scan.
A bone scan defined by web MD:

A bone scan is a test to help find the cause of your back pain. It can be done to find damage to the bones, find cancer that has spread to the bones, and watch problems such as infection and trauma to the bones. A bone scan can often find a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.

For a bone scan, a radioactive substance is injected into a vein in your arm. This substance, called a tracer, travels through your bloodstream and into your bones. This could take several hours.

A special camera takes pictures of the tracer in your bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots. This could show a lack ofblood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer.

Areas of fast bone growth or repair absorb more tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures. Hot spots may point to problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection

From this test they found 2 more tumors; one on the top of my leg bone and one on a rib that showed a fracture. The fracture could have been caused by the bone being weakened by the tumor. My oncologist asked if I'd coughed hard. She said she broke 2 ribs just from coughing.

I think it happened trying to lock my bus door at work because I remembered hurting myself one day when trying to do this. I even filled out a form at work about it and that was the area that was injured.

The next test that was done was the CT scan:

A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body.

During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body area being studied. Each rotation of the scanner takes less than a second and provides a picture of a thin slice of the organ camera or area. All of the pictures are saved as a group on a computer. They also can be printed.

An iodine dye (contrast material) is often used to make structures and organs easier to see on the CT pictures. The dye may be used to check blood flow, find tumors, and look for other problems. The dye can be used in different ways. It may be put in a vein (IV) in your arm, or it may be placed into other parts of your body (such as the rectum or a joint) to see those areas better. For some types of CT scans you drink the dye. CT pictures may be taken before and after the dye is used

This was the test my Dr.'s office called after and told me the radiologist said it didn't look good. He said they found a tumor in the breast and he thought it looked like breast cancer that had spread to the bones.

I thought I would list all the tests but I wanted to say something about these and not bore you with all the information all at once.

The bone scan I had done on a Saturday. I went in at 8a.m. and was injected with the radioactive dye. I had to leave for 3 hours and then return for the test. It wasn't painful, except for the injection and that really wasn't bad. The only problem I had from it was the stuff they injected made me feel weird for a couple of days - you know not myself - nauseous and sort of weak.

The CT scan I had to drink this stuff they tried to make taste like lemonade. I had to drink 2 large glasses, yuk after the 1st 1/2 but still able to get it down. They also did the contrast by IV which again I had the same problem with for a couple of days after, weak, nauseous, not myself. I had to hold my breath for part of the test a few times and that got a little difficult but if you have to do it you can, trust me.

That's enough for today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

So I'll start at the beginning. Last year I was rear ended twice on the same road within 9 days.
The first time it was raining and the car behind me just kind of slid under the bus when I stopped at the light. I didn't even feel it but heard it.
The 2nd time it was bright daylight, 9:30ish in the morning and I was sitting stopped at a light. I remember looking in the rear view mirror, seeing nothing behind me, relaxing a little because I was nervous to be on this road after the accident, and then BOOM a lady going about 50mph hit me. I had been sitting up straight - when it happened - the next thing I knew my face was about an inch from the steering wheel, and I thought, "What the heck just happened?"
Anyway, making a long story short, I suffered back, neck and shoulder problems from the accident. I went to the Dr. a couple of times and since I had summer off - he and I both thought I might be able to get better before school started again.
Let me say I absolutely hate going to the Dr. and put off going back until I could no longer take the pain in my back. I was actually crying at night after work. When I went back to the Dr. he did find problems with my back caused by the accident but then in an MRI found something odd on one of my bones. He said he thought it might be a tumor.
This terrified me. He decided to do other tests to check the rest of my bones and found 2 more tumors. He told me I needed to go to my family practitioner for further testing.
She sent me to have a cat scan. I remember the next day her office called me and the nurse said, "The radiologist called and it doesn't look good. He found a tumor in your breast and thinks that's where the other tumors are coming from."
That's where I'll end this post except to say the weird thing in all this - the Dr.'s have said none of the pain I've experienced is caused by any of the tumors. So if I hadn't been hurt in the accident this might have gone undetected for some time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This will be my continuing story of my fight against cancer. I will start
from the beginning and work my way to my present circumstances.
Starting tomorrow. Setting this thing up took a while!