Wednesday, April 25, 2012

She's Baaaack!

My daughter got into Denver yesterday and decided to shop before going to the hotel.  I got a call from her when her GPS failed to catch a signal.  It took about an hour to guide her over the phone while looking at mapquest and deciphering the maze of roads and freeways in that big city.  Momma gps ~  Kinda frightening when you are in a big city that you don't know and are alone.

Today was her first plane trip (well, she was a year old when I went to visit my sister in New York).  She conquered her fears and arrived safe & sound.  She is now sitting here in my living room.  Glad to have her home! She will be busy with ceremonies and commencement, parties and visiting.  Plus, tomorrow, she will be with me for my 6th & last chemo. 

Praying I feel well enough to watch her get her masters diploma Saturday.  She has worked so hard all these years.

It has been wonderful having frequent visits from Jasmine.  Both my girls are very special to me.

Jaz has been borrowing my car for work and not a scratch! 

I'm a happy mommy :)

Read More

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The weekend went way too fast, perhaps because I slept most of it away.

Today is Matt's birthday.  He didn't want to do too much, so we rented movies and Jasmine stopped over to hang out.

In a few more short days, Casey will be home.  Bittersweet, as it will also be cocktail hour.  Good news though, it is my 6th and last one! At least for now!

Last Friday, my co-workers surprised me with a celebration for my birthday.  It was great and I'm a lucky girl.

Mug - from Christie

Read More

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The World Keeps Spinning

I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning. Like a whirlpool, it's never endin' .... remember that song?

I can't help thinking about Ann's post.  How the world keeps going after we are no longer here.  She says that it is surreal like a viewer watching the scene and not really being a part of it. Like split personality. I get glimpses of "The Matrix" ....of people walking around like robots, busy doing whatever it is they are doing and not even acknowledging what someone is doing right beside them.  When one of us is plucked from the space we are in, everything keeps right on moving along.  

I get a small sense of that when I go back to work even after a week off.  Walk into changes, updates, rearranging .... life continues to go on whether we are here or not.

And what do I have to offer and leave behind? 
What do you?

Memories are a way to share ourselves once we are gone.  Whether in words or actions or with tangible objects.  My sister, Cathy, was in the middle of  crocheting an afghan for her son when she died.  My oldest sister finished it.  The part she finished was just a little different in the pattern, which ended up to be perfect.  When she gave him the afghan, she was able to show him exactly what part his mother had done.  It was a very moving moment for the both of them .... he never realized that his mom had started the project.

Memories come in so many forms.  I love photography and I try to capture emotion on film ~ capture the moment.

Handwriting is such a lost art in today's world, but we have a style all our own.  Words are so rich.  When I was pregnant, I kept a journal for each of my girls.  I wrote about the doctor's appointments, my weight gain, my food cravings ... but I also wrote about my hopes and dreams for them.  Once they got older, I gave it to them.  They could read first hand just how much I wanted them even before they were born and in my arms.

None of us gets out of here alive

Don't be a waster of time

Slow down and look into your child's eyes

Enjoy the beauty that is around you

Be kind to one another

Give without expecting something back

I've posted it before, but I'm doing it again.  It gives an opportunity to ask yourself the question ~ How will they remember me?

Read More

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oncologist Update after Chemo #5

Monday morning follow up visit with Doc.  I had an easier time getting in and out than last visit.  So glad! Matt drove there and then to work so I don't have to worry about quick reflexes.

She took a look at my numbers and approved me for the last cocktail scheduled for April 26.  Won't know until the blood tests the morning of to see if I will need another blood transfusion.  The fatigue has really taken a hold of me and I need the cane now more than ever.  She asked me about my depression and I was honest and said I still cry.  We talked about anti-depressants and I'm not too keen on them because I hear they can do just the opposite of what they are suppose to do.  But, I also know I need help.  She mentioned that they will also help the hot flashes .... now, who can resist that.  The one prescribed is called Citalopram.  If you know anything nasty about it, please let me know.

I'm rescheduling my dentist appointment due to the warfarin.  She plans to take me off of it after all the chemo is out of my system (June?) 

I made it to work (after a week of being on leave) around 10:30.  It was wonderful to see the birthday greeting cards! Debbie V outdid herself with darling gifts and thoughtful ones!  I left part of them at work, so once I have the collection, I promise to snap photos.

It was a tiring day for this sicky so my sister picked me up about a 3:15.  I got home, put on my pjs and feel asleep on the couch! Yes! Sleep!

Mom is coming back home Wednesday from S.C.
Jasmine is doing well driving momma's car to work and back.
Casey is coming home next week.

Feet of Innocence
Tomorrow is another day of renewed strength .... little by little.
Read More

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday ~ Day of Rest

First day in a week I have my street clothes on.  No, I don't run around the house naked ... just been wearing my 100% cotton pjs!  But you knew that.

Finally felt able to get all my bills taken care of and feel less frantic that I have forgotten to pay something.  Even though the paycheck is 60% disability, we are managing just fine.

Late last night, I reactivated my facebook account.  It's been a year and two months since being on it and there has been some changes to get use to.  Amazing that it kept all my photos and notes from  before.  Well, that's good because Lord knows I have a lot!

Decided to play with the camera a bit.

Spent some time reading on the front porch


Maximum Ride ~ James Patterson

The lilac bush is starting to bloom! Oh, it smells sweet and heavenly

The flower basket that Christie gave us is still doing well

The neighbor's tree is the first to bloom in early spring.  It's blossoms are just about gone now, but I captured it while in its full beauty.

Here I am in all "my glory"

Well, at least with a pretty pre-tied scarf

We went to dinner today with Dad & Marge.  First time out of the house in a week. Ahhhh ~  The sun was shining and the warmth felt good.

Yes, I think I'm ready for tomorrow.  Whatever it may bring ~

Read More

Saturday, April 14, 2012

No Longer in My Dreams

One more day to pull it together before work on Monday.  I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to even walk in the building.  Just a little weak and shaky.

Hubby and I watched a few rented movies tonight and ordered a pizza.  Kinda greasy, but staying down so far.

It's been a hard week, but I am trying to keep my mind and spirit focused for the end of the hardest part of treatment.  Reading other women's blogs gives me encouragement, but also gives me anxiety as there is always potential for setbacks. 

I do know one thing.  Once my body is healed (or should I say, has strength), I'm going to do things that I haven't done before. Like hang gliding or parachuting.....

well, at least make the time to do things 

My husband and I never went dancing before.  That would be nice.  I have a brand new 10 speed I got about 4 years ago, still in the box.  We have only been on 1 vacation together.  There are people I want to visit, that's going to be a BIG time thing to do.  Plus, I want to see the tall Redwood Trees and a national park and the Grand Canyon and the Blue Ridge Mountains (again). 

Mount Mitchell - highest peak east of the Mississippi River

No longer in my dreams.....

I'm telling ya ~

Do it now, while you still can.
Enjoy life every single day. 
We work so hard and are exhausted when we get home.  Stop!
Balance ~ it's so important ... that's what we all should strive for. 
Read More

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Big 5-0

Sorry it has taken me a few days to get back on-line ~

Tuesday, Apr 10th was a big milestone.  God has granted me another day to breath, and in the middle of nausea, pain and tears, I am doing just that .... breathing.

A few years ago, I thought that my 50th birthday would be a big celebration bash!  I was telling everyone that I expected a "surprise" party and dreamt that everyone I knew would be there.  My, how things change quickly.  Most of the people I knew are no longer in my daily life.  More of the "losses" in my life.  But, sitting here at 1:00 in the morning, I can just let my mind recall memories of long ago places and friendships and feeling thankful for each one of them.    Snippets of childhood memories, of simpler times.  Perhaps it is from watching too much old programming today of Andy Griffith and the Waltons! How different life is now.

Jasmine stopped over for a bit and had dinner with us.  My first meal post-chemo.  Good going down, not so good coming back up. (sorry folks)

Christie and Katie stopped over and she has out done herself again with another beautiful quilt.  Just amazing.


Casey sent a vase of flowers and some pink b.c. items. 

It is strange how this birthday will always be remembered with fighting breast cancer. 

I hadn't had the strength or motivation to get online.  I can't say that Chemo #5 has been any worse or any better than the others.  I wanted to stay on top of the pain this time around, which means pain pills, which means sleep.  The body heals when you are sleeping.  By tomorrow, I will force myself to get up and move about the house.  Start getting my energy level up and reclaim my body.

I've done a little better on the mental side of things ... not crying (as much) and not having a pity-party. 

I only have ONE MORE LEFT!  No room for pity-parties..... even if I do look like Uncle Fester!

The rest of my birthday album

Thank you to all the birthday wishes! I will hold them in my heart :)
Read More

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Meet Jackie Zavodney

Jewell Cardwell: Breast cancer survivor focuses on her blessings

By Jewell Cardwell
Beacon Journal columnist

Jackie Zavodney (right) of Wadsworth goes over some questions with oncology nurse Regina Saus before Zavodney receives chemotherapy for her breast cancer at Akron General Medical Center's McDowell Cancer Center Tuesday in Akron. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)

Jackie Whitt Zavodney has a book in her, which those close to her say is determined to get out.

But the former communications manager for the Summit County chapter of the American Red Cross — one of the many casualties of downsizing there — is battling aggressive breast cancer.

Little could she have known years ago when she and the late Rosemary Cozart, the Red Cross coordinator of disaster relief, started the “Acts of Courage” recognitions that she would be tapping into her own reservoir of courage to get through this chapter of her life.

The 43-year-old Wadsworth mother of two (Shawn, 10, and Tristan, 12) recalls being so busy, working a brief but intense part-time job for the March of Dimes’ “March for Babies” event that she ignored a message her body was sending her.

So, she’s going public to talk about her crisis in hopes it will help others, telling all women to be vigilant about those breast self-exams and getting timely mammograms.

“I noticed back in February that I had a lump in my right breast,” Zavodney said. “I had them before and when they were checked out they always turned out to be nothing. So I didn’t stress about it too much.

“I didn’t revisit it again until late May or early June. By then, it had grown twice in size and was painful. ‘OK, this is not typical,’ ” she said of the conversation she had with herself.

She hurriedly scheduled a mammogram that detected a mass, and a biopsy was performed. “I never expected that phone call saying what it said: Stage 3 invasive ductile carcinoma.”

“The type I have is a double negative,” she continued. “That means it doesn’t respond to hormone therapy.”

Since undergoing a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, Zavodney has been receiving Herceptin, which targets cancer cells. She’ll be on that for the better part of a year. She’s also on Taxol. Both are administered intravenously through a port surgically placed beneath the skin of her left arm.

“Prior to this treatment, I was on what they call the ‘red devil’ of chemos. Adriamycin/doxorubicin is part of a three-part regimen known as ACT, which stands for Adriamycin, Cytoxan, Taxol. This is the chemo that took my hair and sent me straight into menopause.”

Her Monday chemotherapy dates at Akron General Medical Center’s McDowell Cancer Center last three to four hours on average. Through it all, Zavodney focuses on her blessings: her very supportive family and a cancer team she calls the best in the area: Dr. Jessica Partin, her surgeon; Dr. Douglas Wagner, who did the reconstruction; and Dr. Ifeoma Roseline Okeke, her oncologist.

“I also want to mention some local foundations and agencies that have helped me and my family through this rough patch,” Zavodney continued. “I want other women who might be dealing with the same issues to know that there are wonderful local and national resources out there. They are there to help women just like me. All you have to do is apply for the grants. They are very supportive! I encourage all women who are going through breast cancer treatment to apply. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

That endless gratitude list includes the American Cancer Society, the Mary Grace Memorial Foundation (Medina), Stewart’s Caring Place, the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation, J.D. Breast Cancer Foundation, CancerCare (financial assistance), Catholic Charities Community Services and FISH (Wadsworth residents).
In recognition for the many lives that Jackie Whitt Zavodney has touched over the years, friends have organized a benefit to help her navigate these difficult waters. She’s now on Medicaid with no income, and bills are piling up.

That event, organized by Nikki Cash, is planned for 4 p.m. April 22, at Ripper Owens’ Tap House, 491 E. Waterloo Road, Akron.

Owners Tim Owens and Randy Arehart have friendships with Zavodney that go back a number of years when she traveled to California with her now ex-husband but dear friend Shawn Zavodney, a keyboardist who toured with the band Warrant (the recently deceased Jani Lane’s original project).

Half of the proceeds from the event (music, food, raffles) will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Online donations also are being accepted at
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at
Read More

The 1st & 2nd Day Post Chemo #5

I didn't do "too bad" Friday at work.  I was anxious to leave though because of chest pains, which I believe was heart burn.  Matt picked me up at 2:15 and took me to the clinic for my shot.  We were too early (shot is given 24 hours after chemo ends, which was more like 3:30).

Nurse Dawn was concerned that my blood pressure was high.  She gave me a swig of milk of magnesa and gave me signs to look for. 

She said "lots of people go to the ER during this process, so don't mess around with it if it gets worse".  No worries, during the night, it soothed and settled down. 

O my Gosh! Just one more to go!!!

I went to sleep after 6pm, woke up a few hours later with a craving for Taco Bell.  Really, for the mango/strawberry drink .... hubby went and got it.  My heart burn was gone too.

Stayed up long enough to watch a recorded TV show and then off to bed again.  I sure like my room downstairs (right next to the bathroom).  So much easier.

I woke up this morning and Matt made scrambled eggs & toast. Nice.

This afternoon, he picked up my fav .... Carmel Frappe .... yummmmy

 Hoping these "bad days" that come aren't going to be "real bad days".  I've got a lot that I want to get done. 

The flowers that we pressed from Rickie's funeral is ready for some creative projects.  Mandy is just the gal to help me with it!
Read More

The Shoe Fairy

The other day, my sister got to see first hand the response to the question "Do you carry size 5-1/2 shoe?"  JCP said "no".  How shocking, right?

Next thing I know, Christie comes over with boxes of 5-1/2 shoes she found!  LOL.  Bless her heart.  Unfortunately, my feet are so bad that it is hard to find comfortable shoes.  By the way, Doc said to wear thicker socks and soles ... so that may just bump me up to the next size.

Check out how cute these are!  Got some keepers in here!

Thank you Christie!

You are spoiling me!
Read More

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chemo Session #5

It was a very close call that this cocktail hour(s) was to be cancelled for another time.  My counts were low, so Nurse Tracie wanted to wait until Doc came by to review the blood results and make a determination.  The most worrisome ~  the Hgb was 9.6 and the range is 11.7-14.7. (check on the link for more information)

I began to weigh the pros and cons about cancellation:

  • Herceptin would still be given and it doesn't have intense side effects.  SO, that would mean that I wouldn't be feeling  bad on my birthday this coming Tuesday.  That is a plus!
  • However, postponing treatment would push my dates further and, quite frankly, I want to GET THIS DONE!
Doc Esther arrived and asked about the neuropathy in my hands and feet.  Hands are not as bad as my feet.  She suggested wearing thicker socks and thicker soles in my shoes.

Then she gave the go ahead .... and included a blood transfusion.  Now, you already know how I feel about that!  But I didn't whine .... I said LET'S DO IT!

And, a whirlwind of activity began.  Nurse Tracie was another great nurse to care for me today.  She had a college student from Malone shadow her and learn about the process.  Which is cool because I get to hear more details of what is going on.  These people are smart.

I was in a smaller section this time, which made it hard for my guests today.  Teri, Jasmine and Adam rotated, as there was only one chair.  And, like I said, the whirlwind made it hard not to be in the way.

Jazz and our favorite hand sanitizer
First to stay and experience the thrill of the port was Jasmine.  She held up very well with the needles and such.  We had a great visit together and I'm so glad she was there with me.

Then, Adam came in after getting off his 3rd shift job.  He was with me when Doc assessed the situation and gave the go ahead.  He was also there when the pre-meds were dispersed, including the Benadryl.  Wow! that stuff hits fast and hard.  But, I managed to stay awake so we could catch up on news. 

Early Photo (forgot to take my camera out when he was there)

At 11:15, they were ready for the 2nd drip of Taxol (3 hour drip and the one that causes the most side effects).  We said our good-byes as I made yet another trip to the restroom.  Remember the ice?  Yeah, so I go before the 3-hour-ice-on-my-limbs is initiated!

By that time, the girls were hungry and I talked them into finding food at the main hospital.  It was a beautiful day and Jasmine agreed to take my camera to get some photos around the grounds.  She did a great job! 

Album - McDowell Center

Teri & Jazz
I fell asleep while they were gone.

They brought back a turkey wrap for me and they decided to picnic outside with their lunch.  Great plan .... I ate what I could and fell asleep again.

Then the Carbplatin .... homestretch!  By this time, Matt picked up Jasmine and Teri came back to keep me company.  We also had a good visit. 

It didn't take long for this last chemo drug and then, BLOOD TRANSFUSION.

Nurse Tracie encouraged me to drink 64 ounces of water every day to help with all the symptoms. I know this is what I have to do.  And this time, I am really going to do it.  No more "trying".  I found my 32 ounce jug from the hospital.  Just got to fill it up twice during the day.  I CAN DO THIS!

I don't want to feel bad.  I want to take any opportunity to help myself feel better.  I was never a water drinker.  I don't drink carbonated pop.  I do drink coffee all day long and ice tea at home.  Neither will do the job.  Wish me luck!  Send me "reminders"!


Teri left for home.  She gave me a wonderful birthday card.  Hard to believe I'm going to be the Big 5-0. 

I'm all snuggled in the "Ladies Lounge" with my new body pillow, sheets, comfy pjs and pets.

Will go to work tomorrow until 3:00, Matt is driving just in case.

Then, to the clinic for my shot.

Staying focused.

Staying on top of the pain.



Daily devotionals.

And writing to you.

Stay tuned
Next blog .... how my sister spoils me rotten.
Read More

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day Before my 5th Cocktail

It's the day before my 5th cocktail session .... amazing how almost-normal-I-feel.  Trying to stay positive that the side effects will be minimal this time around.  Just in case, gonna go to the super store tonight and do some shopping and then go to a yummy restaurant.  When sis took me to the mall Sunday, I didn't last too long walking.  So this time, hoping for a scooter.  My right ankle is swollen again too and my back is on fire.  Doc said chemo drugs go to "your weak spots", but I'm thinking I need it checked at some point.

Me & Teri
Teri is arriving tonight to be with me for chemo day.  This is her 2nd time and she wants another chance to hang out.  It's hard to believe .... I ONLY HAVE 2 MORE LEFT!
Read More

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hope for the Future

I named my blog "Living in the Moment".  After writing for a few months, I see that planning and thinking about my future is quite important. 

There is nothing wrong with focusing on today.  As they say, we are not promised tomorrow.

So, somehow, one must keep that balance.  Live in the here and now by paying attention and stopping to smell the roses.  Plus, one should be able to "dream" about tomorrow and strive for those things in life that bring us joy and happiness.

I got so caught up in trying not to worry about the chemo chair and the side effects, by not thinking too far ahead on the calendar.  But, now I just want to think even further ahead on the calendar and day dream about physically being well again to handle each day and what it would be like to get back into the activities I once enjoyed and took for granted.

Christie took me shopping today.  Got 100% cotton pjs and 100% cotton sheets.  I'm anxious to see if the night sweats are alleviated!  I will keep you posted.

Palm Sunday ~ May life bless you deeply
Read More
Powered by Blogger.

© In This Together, Breast Cancer Support, AllRightsReserved.

Designed by ScreenWritersArena