Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back at work

Well....even with a small swollen face/neck, I came back to work today. BP was really high after taking shower, etc. but I think it is the fluid causing my BP to raise. Pat drove me to work and stayed to make sure I could handle things. He finally left at noon to go home. He has really been a lifesaver this weekend!
Back to Effingham tomorrow for chemo if they permit it. Dr. Dy said if it wasn't down (the fluid), they would postpone the chemo. I am suppose to be leaving for Arizona with Pat, my brother Larry and his wife, Sheila on Sunday. We were going to lounge and rest for a week at a resort out there. Larry & Sheila have a timeshare so they are graciously taking us along. Not sure at this point if I should go...will see what the dr. says tomorrow.
My sister Sarah came out on Monday to clean up some of my landscaping for me....THANK YOU SARAH! Hugs & Kisses coming your way!!
I rested all weekend and hoped it would help get the fluid down to zero but it is still evident if you see me. I even had to make a trip to the E-room Saturday morning due to so much fluid. It was hard for me to breathe. I think the fluid was constricting the veins in my neck and making it hard for the blood to flow easily. So...if I got up to do anything, I struggled a bit to breathe. It was not a nice weekend to say the least.
The meals prepared and brought to our house are a REAL lifesaver. I don't think I could stand long enough to make a supper at this point....maybe a peanut butter and banana sandwich!
Please continue to pray for a healing hand from the good Lord!

Friday, May 27, 2011

A few bumps in the road.....

Since last blogging, I had a port implanted in my chest for easier access for blood draws and chemo. The chemo was burning the veins in my arms so I had no choice. I have used it once and it HURT when they stabbed the needle into the port site. I will try it one more time before requesting a script for lidocaine to numb the site before I get the "stab".
Dr. Dy also put me on Keflex to help with the rash on my face and some where in there, I started retaining fluid in my face/neck area. Went off the Keflex....no relief. So we went to see Dr. Dy and he thought maybe it was the Tarceva......So, we went off of Tarceva. No relief. He put me on a prednisone pack which gave some relief but as soon as I was done with the dosage, the swelling/fluid in face and neck was back. Now I am off all meds(as of Friday) except Benedryl and Pepcid AC. I am going to sleep in an upright position tonight instead of laying down to see if it helps reduce the swelling. I woke up several times in the night with my throat constricted somewhat. Dr. Dy says to go to the e-room if I can't breathe.  So, in a nutshell, I have been swollen for a week and it does not seem to be getting better. He wants me resting at all times so no work either (like I would go out looking like an alien).
I know this is just a very small bump in the road compared to what is ahead for me but it is still a very emotional roller coaster. I have prayed very hard lately for God to give me the strength to get through this crazy dragon called cancer.  I seem to be very emotional right now ....not because I am afraid of death...but because I still have some things to do with my family...share in new grandchildren being born soon.....and when I feel sick, I feel weak.....and when I feel weak, I feel like I am one step closer to dying. So...this week, please pray for God to give me extra strength and faith. God has the greatest power of all and I truly believe he will lift me up out of this cancer one day soon! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's been a long week!!

My body was just starting to rebuild some strength when I had a port placed under my skin in my upper left side of my chest on Thursday. Thursday night was our Gypsy Taco Fundraiser which was a HUGE hit. All of my girls/husbands waitressed and all tips went to our Relay team. We made ALOT of $$ for our Relay team.. Then on Saturday morning, we served breakfast burritos and sausage on a stick...plus cinnamon rolls, scones, and muffins. We did really well there also. I came home and slept 3 1/2 hours.  A HUGE thanks to all who helped at either event. We had the best help and plenty of it. God just keeps providing me with endless soldiers to help raise money to fight this cancer battle/find a cure .

 I have had some really good meals this week also. 

I go back to Houston in 5 weeks to see if this chemo and Tarceva pill is doing what it should. God's will is the way I will follow. He will guide me on the best path for this journey. I pray for good results everyday and hope everyone who reads this, does the same. God Bless!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where'd that truck come from?

It is Saturday morning and I have the "feel like I have been hit by a truck feeling". I walked outside on the deck a couple of times just to feel the sun on my face but it is still just a bit chilly to sit in my lounger. My face has the rash again pretty bad but I am going makeup-less all weekend so it does not aggravate it any more.
I have rested alot this am and have a pain in the right side of my chest that is new....could be the chemo working on me. I had some pain last time with the treatment but it subsided after a few days.
When I look at my food calendar, I am amazed at how many people are willing to help share their food with us. THANK YOU ALL!  I am hoping to gain a few pounds by the time I go back next time.
I am going to leave you with a passage I read this am in my daily devotion book.
  Do not fear what this day, or any day, may bring your way. Concentrate on trusting Me and on doing what needs to be done. Relax in My sovereighnty,remembering that I go before you, as well as with you, into each day. Fear no evil, for I can bring good out of every situation you will ever encounter.

I read this over and over and truly believe God put me into this situation to not only grow closer to Him but to slow down, not sweat the small stuff, and to truly learn to trust in God!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

3rd chemo treamtent...

Well.....I was able to get my chemo even if I had "burned veins" from the two previous iv infusions.  I am scheduled for a port on May 12....right before my next treatment on the 18th of May. A surgeon will perform the nice port installation from Effingham.
    My Dr. Dy was so excited when he came into my exam room Wednesday. You usually wait two or three treatments before checking your cancer marker but he decided to do it after just one treatment and it went from 298 to 265. He was so excited he was almost shaking.  I was holding back the tears.
   I whine about my tiredness and he basically said if your body says rest...REST!  if your body says sleep....SLEEP.   And then I read about the triatholon in the paper last night and I want to do it so bad!!  We shall see.....
   I went to the Mothers Day Banquet last night at St Joe with ALL four of my daughters and it was nice....oh, and of course McKenna Grace. I saved the best for last!  It was nice to spend quality time just with them and Deb Weiler (she came with). ;-}
   I woke up at 11:30 last night feeling relly nauseous...I thought .."oh boy, here we go toilet basin" but I just kept swallowing my spit for about an hour and then got up to take a nausea pill. Still didn't sleep good but hopefully better rest tonight. I worked today and have felt pretty ok. Even walked to Fessel's and Ophelia's to support downtown Olney.
I did not know Amy was going to do a meal calendar but she talked to the girls and thought it might work out better for awhile. I have lost 10 pounds in 3 treatments and he wants NO weight loss...so I guess neither Pat nor I have the strenghth to do it.  He has arthritis flare ups that are terrible for him at times.
   I also went to my 1st Cancer Survivor Dinner although I don't consider myself a "survivor". It was really awesome and I cannot wait to be a part of the Relay. A big HOOT. HONK, and THANK YOU to all who put this worthy event together!!
Keep you posted in a few days if I can lift my fingers!!!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Food for Patty

Amy here..blogging about Food for Patty. Since the chemo has been knocking mom off her butt, my sister's and I agreed that it's crazy for mom to waste her energy slaving away in the kitchen. And we know so many of your have volunteered to bring food..so we decided to make a calendar and ask people to bring food. If we have enough people doing it, you only have to sign up once a month.

If you would like to make food for mom, please open the Food for Patty Calendar at the right and choose a date. We'd like to have food taken 3-4 times a week but on nonconsecutive days. Not a huge meal, just enough to feed the 3 people that live in the house. Take look at the calendar and see what other people are making. We don't want the same food each week. Nothing super spicy please! You can choose several dates over the next couple of months. We will be in contact with you to remind you when it is your turn to deliver food. When you have your date or dates picked out, simply email me at amyruskphotography@gmail.com. Please include your name, date you want to deliver food, and what food you will be making. I'll add you to the calendar! We'd like the food to be delivered to mom's house between 5:30 and 6pm. If you have any questions, please email me!

Thanks so much for all the support!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Well.....it is 2:45 a.m. and cannot sleep. No pain or anything like that....just can't sleep. Went to bed at 8:30 Sunday evening...no napping during the day.....I could blame it on a full moon but the pitter patter on my roof tells me that's not it. 
    I don't think I am troubled by anything as I let God do all the planning so there is no worrying. Maybe some anticipation about the port being put in as the chemo has burnt the veins in both arms so I will get a port on my upper left or right side of my chest this Wednesday. God says to only think about today as he will take care of tomorrow. And so far by golly, he has done just THAT!
    I want to set the record straight about something....I have several people each week ask either me or a close friend of the family how long I have to live as they hear it is just months. I am going to tell you what the dr has said so maybe people will get it right once and for all! I have intra hepatic cholangiocarcenoma. It usually happens in african/asian men age 70 or older. First symptoms are losing 35 pounds and being very jaundice. I am neither of those. Anyone who knows me knows I was riding my bike 20 miles last summer on a regular basis (a day) and sometimes walking 8 miles a day(on weekends and 4 miles during the week). So, for a 70 year old man with the weight loss and jaundice, yes, there is little hope and they are often too weak for chemotherapy. This is when they are sent home with this disease with No hope and lots of pain meds to last them until "the end".
     So, Pat asked the dr (because I could care less about a time line...I just want to live each day as my last and be happy with THAT) how long does she have doc?  The doctors could not answer the question. Alot of IFS...They said in my excellent health, my age, no jaundice, no weight loss......I could take the chemo and in one year, show a dramatic shrinkage in the tumor which is our first approach of pulling it out. Yes, I have had this cancer for atleast two years. There is rarely pain so you do not even know it is there until it is very large. (Mine is appr. 8.5 cm X 10 cm).  I am one of those patients it is not suppose to happen to although it does happen. Another person in Effingham is age 35 with this disease. My dr has treated 5 patients in the last month with this type of cancer....he says it is ON THE RISE in great numbers. Why?  No answer to that yet. The $4000 a month pill I take stops any new cancer cells from growing so hopefully it is doing it's thing and the chemo is doing it's thing and I go back to MD Anderson on June 22 & 23 for a checkup. If the chemo does not work, we could implant radioactive glass beads to see if it would shrink (radioembolization).  There is radiation right to the very tumor we could try(proton therapy).  We can do any of these things to make it shrink and hopefully by the Grace of God, it will.  It is not my journey, it is Our Journey! IF none of these things work over the next few years, we will see what God's plan is then. I will not let myself worry about it  in the "now and present". 
I have had one friend tell me her relationship with God has grown since seeing mine grow so much. I encourage any of you who think you are close, to really evaluate yourself and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can in serving the Lord. Not just the going to church, donating in church, (not that these are not two very important parts of being a good Christian but there is more to it than that) but also getting involved in the community and being a part of maybe enlightening other people to walk in the Light of the Lord.
     It is now 3:15 so I will close for now. I hope I have not bored you too much. Have a super Monday and may God keep you in the palm of His hand!