Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday

A beautiful day today ~

It started with an endearing church service.  The children are so darling and they are always a part of the service.  Today was even more special than normal.

Then, we spent time at my sister's house with the family.  Not all of our loved ones were there, as our youngsters have moved to other states.  Thank goodness for video chat and cell phones!

God is our refuge and strength, a ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Psalm 42:5

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
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Monday, March 25, 2013

In Sickness and In Health

This afternoon Richard gave me a shot in my stomach.  Neither of us wanted to pass out so we sat down across from each other. I know he was worried about hurting me but it was quick and practically painless. This is the first of 10 daily shots of Lovenox, a blood thinner for a blood clot in my arm.

My 7th chemo was Thursday, March 21st. By Saturday morning I started getting the bladder infection again and called the answering service to get meds started. That afternoon the pain returned to my bones so I returned to the drugs. Carol came to stay with me while my family was away. I showed her this sore spot just below the port on my right arm. She shared her war story about the big, bad blood clots in her arm during her journey over a year ago.

As I was dressing Sunday morning I noticed how discolored and swollen my arm was. The doc-on-call wanted us to go to emergency to check for a blood clot. The ultrasound didn't show anything so I was instructed to keep a warm compress on it and call my doctor in the morning.

Today it was still swollen and purple-ish, in addition to what looked like a blue-lined road map all up my arm and across my chest. The doc said I have all of the symptoms of a clot so they are treating me even though it couldn't be located.

We have definitely tested the vows we promised to each other 24 years ago. I never imagined something like this would happen to us. But he loves me even though I am a sick, bald lady with a broken boob. He is my best friend and I couldn't survive this without him.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peach Fuzz

Guess what? I will be finished with my chemo treatments in 3 weeks! Number 7 tomorrow and number 8 on April 11th!

Guess what else? I have peach fuzz on my head! Lots of tiny blond (grey?) hairs all over my head.
I am looking forward to getting my hair back and won't miss these scarves. Sometimes I wish I would have opted for the wig in the beginning.
A couple weeks ago an unfamiliar student said, "I like your scarf. Hey, are you sick?"
Well, I felt great at the moment but realized the scarf symbolized something was seriously wrong. I don't want to be thought of as being "sick" but this is breast cancer, after all.

With every phase of my sister's cancer journey, I would cringe and repeat over and over, "OMG!  I could never do that!"
Never, ever, say never...

Follow these steps if you'd like to walk a mile in my shoes scarf.

  1. You will need a scarf and a scrunchie. If you don't have a square one, use a rectangle and fold it in half to make a square.
  2. Fold into a triangle.
  3. Wet your hair and comb it back behind your ears. If it's on your neck or longer, pin it up, leave it wet.
  4. Place the scarf on your head, pull it in the back and tie with the scrunchie like a pony-tail. Make sure the scarf is pulled down to the middle of your forehead and over your ears.
If my sister had asked me to try this I would have lasted 2 minutes, then I would have ripped the scarf off and immediately dried my hair.  

Are you going to try this?
Let me know what you think about this experiment.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

CureSearch Children's Cancer

Maxwell Krem, MD, PhD, from The University of Washington strives to treat his patients as he would want to be treated, delivering state-of-the-art medical therapy. He hopes that his research will lead to targeted therapies. Read more

Sheridan Bautista was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of seven. Doctors found a tumor located above her left knee that encompassed 75% of her femur. She immediately started chemotherapy. Read more

When an adolescent is diagnosed with cancer, their future is daunting, not only because of the cancer itself, but also because of the unique aspects of psychological and social development that occur during the teenage years. Read more

The 2013 CureSearch Walk season is underway! Join CureSearch at one of our upcoming Walks as we honor and remember those affected by children's cancer. These very special days will include prizes, music, food, and fun activities for the entire family! For a full list, click here.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a member of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, is pleased to announce that this year's Childhood Cancer Action Day in Washington, DC is scheduled for June 17-18, 2013. Read more

Experience an adventure and help CureSearch by taking the Ultimate Hike challenge! Join CureSearch at one of our 11 upcoming hikes across the country. Each trail will provide a significant challenge no matter the level of hike experience. To find a hike near you, click here.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What's On Your Mind?

I'm doing much better this week and think the exhaustion is from the time change. Monday was my first class on Mindfulness at the Cancer center and I am excited to be in the program.

Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to what you are doing, being deliberate in thought, being present in the moment. It's the direct opposite of taking life for granted. (Kabat-Zinn 1994)

A few years ago I bought The Mindful Woman by Sue Patton Thoele and developed several classroom activities based on the theory. But the habits of where my mind traveled went back into the same old ruts, worrying about life around me and focusing on the "what ifs" of the past and future.

My Notes:
The mind is immature, always busy worrying, known as "magical thinking". The mind needs to think and prepare for the worst. The mind is always scanning for threats, weighing the pros and cons of every possible scenario. With each negative thought, the body goes into the  "fight" or "Flight", response to stress, releasing hormones that can be harmful to your body.

I need to tell my mind to behave and listen to the wisdom of my heart. My heart is only going in one direction and has reasons the mind knows not of. Think of the ocean. The surface (mind) can be calm or treacherous,  depending on the weather. Underneath the surface (heart), the water remains calm. The fish are not affected by the weather and the shipwrecks remain undisturbed.
The instructor illustrated how I can  interrupt negative thoughts. I just need to stop, breathe and name 5 things I'm grateful for. I have so much to be grateful for; a caring family, so many friends, a great job. But I've been filling my mind with the little things that would normally be overlooked. Like today, when I went to the store for produce and the total came to $33.39. I had $32 and lots of change. GRATITUDE

To get rid of the dark cloud filled with worries,
just think of 5 things you are grateful for 
and let the sun shine on you.

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Strokes and Chemo

The past week has been very busy ... starting with last Friday.  On my way home from work, I received a message from my sister that mom called and wanted to go to ER.  She was having trouble with her vision.  Since I was right down the street and sis just got home from chemo treatment, I headed over to take care of the situation. 

Got mom to the ER and she was taken back pretty quickly.  She described her symptoms to different nurses who asked her the same questions.  Then a doctor came in for some eye hand motor tests.  Doc ordered an EKG, a chest x-ray and a cat scan.  About 4-1/2 hours later, they admitted her for observation.  We got her settled in her room and ordered dinner (about 9:30), as she hadn't eaten since I picked her up. 

Saturday, they ordered an MRI as the cat scan was inclusive.  The MRI showed that she had a stroke located in the back of her head behind her left ear.  It surprised a lot of us because she did not have any paralysis.  (that's good)  Mom has 100% blockage on one side of her neck and 70% blockage on the other side.  They kept her Sunday and released her Monday afternoon, with a whole list of doctors to follow up with.

During the same time, Christie was dealing with the side effects from the Taxol.  Another infection, slight fever and pain.  Stupid canzer!

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Early Detection for Pancreatic Cancer

A friend of mine sent this article to me.  I sure do hope this gives a big jump to early detection for pancreatic cancer.  The comments from readers are always interesting.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Do You Read Me?

As a blogger and cancer patient, it really boosts my spirits when people take time from their busy lives to read my new posts. Thanks to so many of my friends and family for signing up to get emails when I post a new article. Here are 6 easy steps if you would like to follow my journey. This should take less than 3 minutes to complete.

1. Email Subscription is in the right sidebar.

2. Type your email address in this space. Click "Submit"
3. Type the scrambled word into the space at bottom.
 Click "complete subscription request".
4. This says that your request was accepted and
you need to check your email for the verification message.
5. You will see this message in your email.
Click the link to confirm the subscription.
6. Ta-Da! You are finished!
Now you will receive an email when I write a new post.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Under the Influence

Image from
I shouldn't be operating machinery while under the influence so forgive me for all that will be wrong with this attempt at writing a post.
As promised, the pain finally came on Sunday. I felt like I was getting the flu; achy, then warm. My temperature inched up as the day turned to night and as the story goes, we called the doctor when it reached 101.1. I was having the same abdominal cramps as last chemo and figured the bladder infection was back. The doc-on-call told Richard that the antibiotic I received three weeks ago was not appropriate for a woman with breast cancer. WTF!
The new prescription caused nausea and vomiting. Not easy to do when your legs feel like they are on backwards. It was the strangest sensation.
I was rocking and rolling back and forth from the bone-crushing pain until the meds kicked in last night. As the dose wore off at 5:00 this morning, I laid in bed, trying to find just one bone in my body that did not feel like it was being pounded with a hammer. Nope, all 206 bones were hurting.
Today I went in for IV fluid and the Neulasta shot. I can't imagine adding more bone pain from the shot to what I already have. Note to self, take the drugs.

Another note to self: This too shall pass.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013


Yesterday was chemo #6. This was a little different because it was my first time with Taxol. The day started at 9:00 am for lab work. By 9:30 I was in my lounge chair.

I had an EKG which is protocol  for Taxol.

Then I had a pre-medication cocktail of Benedryl, steroids, and Pepcid. By 11:30 we started the Taxol for a 3 hour infusion  I was so groggy and not very talkative. With my hands on ice, I fell asleep while listening to my meditation tapes. Richard's job was to hold my chin up if I started snoring!

We got out of there by 3:00 and weren't home very long before my Mom called Richard to take her to emergency. He didn't want to leave me and when we got a hold of Carol she was right by my Mom's house. Mom was having vision problems and her eye doctor wanted her to go to the hospital. The MRI showed evidence of a stroke. Read my sister's report about the results.
I'm feeling pretty good today. My cheeks are rosy, look wind-burned but I have no fever. I spent some time on Pinterest this morning after Katie gave me a lesson on the concept. Hours later she told me that I should only spend 30 minutes per day on Pinterest so I don't annoy my followers. Oh Dear! I didn't know that part. I can't wait to get back on tomorrow. Click the Pinterest logo above and see what I found!

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