Friday, February 24, 2012

Live Like You Were Dying......

Monday was a holiday for me so I decided to call some of "The Beach Girls" to see what trouble could "find us" for the day. We(4 of us) met at 8 am sharp at my house and off we went.......wasn't sure where we were first it was Salem, Illinois but we ended up in Ft. Branch, Indiana. We started out at a cute little country shoppe in Lawrenceville called Frye's Country Gifts. It has been there for YEARS but one of the girls had never been there. From there, we started toward Route 50 when I saw a fire about a mile down a country road.  Just like a farmer, I thought we should check it out. It was an old house or barn that was a "controlled burn". We drove by like nosy old women do.....verrrryyy slowly. Then turned around and as we came upon the fire again, I stopped, rolled down my window, motioned for one of the men to come over to my car......I said...Sir, you boys need any help here?....he replied..."I think we got it under control"...(me) "OK...just checking". It was one of those "you just had to be there" moments and the girls with me were about to die from laughing so hard. We went on to Vincennes where we found my mom shopping a bit. We mosied on to Ft. Branch and spent way too much $. Then back to Applebee's for a late lunch. Then on the way home, after bragging all day about the V-8 in my Buick Lucierne, decided to give the girls a taste of the speed under the 110 mph. The car goes to 140 but hey, just because I am dying doesn't mean I want to scare everybody else to death (my attempt at humor). My car just glided like it was on air. One lady said her car would be shaking like an old unbalanced  washing machine!! LMAO!
We had the best time that day....or I did. Since we didn't make it to the beach last summer, this day was kind of a make-up day........when my tumor is gone, I will go back to the beach. It was a great day so thanks to my beach friends!!
I have had treatments for the past two Tuesdays but have not been sleeping well. So the dr lowered my steroid from 8 mg to 4 mg and I felt like a bus ran over me since then. I am upping the steroid back to 8 mg next Tuesday. Give me drugs to sleep but I also need energy to keep my tank from running empty! After my treatment next Tuesday, I will have two weeks off and will be flying to Houston to see Dr. Javle. This is about the time I get weepy and pray 50 times harder that my tumor has not spread not grown. Usually when I get on a plane, it is for a vacation......believe me, I don't call this a vacation. Pat & Jenn (who are the ones going with me this time) know I am quiet, don't want to do a lot but read and pray. It is a stressful time until I hear the words necrosis or no spreading to lymph nodes or anywhere else. So, as I close today, I am telling myself I will have a good weekend and try to let the next couple of weeks before Houston fly by like a whirlwind. God Bless~

Costa Rica in Pictures....2012

The view from our hotel each night....

Craig & Missy Bost. Craig sells furnaces from Benoist to our Agency.
What a great couple!! 

Doc & Elvira Dolic
When Pat worked for the police in Bosnia about 14-15 years ago, this couple was in a refugee camp.
Pat was actually at this camp when Doc & Elvira were there and of course they didn't know each other. Since then, they have  became American citizens and now own the own heating/ac company. Truly an inspiring story to hear them tell it. Pat and Doc hit it off immediately as Pat knew some of the Bosnian language after all these years. 

Pat n Pat

This was a long walkway that went from the resort to the pier. Very pretty in the day but kinda scary at night. 

View from our room. Just beautiful to look out at the hotel/ocean every morning/night.

A view from the waters edge.

This isn't the exact 50 foot yacht that we rented but close to it. This was one of the highlights for me. 

The pier 

The flowers and bushes were just beautiful. I could have taken 25 pictures just as pretty as this one. 

If we were not shopping, this is what almost everyone did during the day. I might have been the only non alcoholic drinker there. Boy was there ever alot of  good laughs.....

This "pest" was not scared of my camera at all. I got pretty close to it and it just looked at me. 

A beautiful view of the Los Suenos Marriott Resort. 

Elvira, me, Dena Hall, and Missy Bost before loading for the evening cruise. Dena's husband also works for Benoist in the warehouse at Mt. Vernon. He and Craig (Missy's husband) work together.

Pat on the front of the boat as it is moving at about 30 miles an hour. He was weaving and trying to keep his footage. I told him to get his butt off the deck and that he is NOT Leonardo DeCaprio!!

Pat, Tony Hall, Doc, and another man that I cannot remember his name....dangit! We were in town shopping and the men would stop and have a drink at every open did the girls. Me? Gingerale please ;-(

Mr. Jack Benoist, the owner of the company, picked this spot as our night out with a magnificent view. This man (who you can just look at and tell he has a heart of gold) puts alot of thought into what to do, where to eat, and what the grand finale will be the night before departing Costa Rica. This year, we had the most fantastic fireworks display you could ever ask for. Even the people from St. Louis said it was way better than their fireworks display.  

Missy Bost and Pat on the "night out" at our fancy restuarant with Jack Benoist. 
Wonderful food, wonderful friends, wonderful time!

Big Bertha at the swim up bar waiting on my peach smoothie. Even at $6.50 a piece, they were sooo good!!

This is Mr. Jack Benoist. Owner of Benoist Furnace Co. I think I can read people pretty well and I knew when I saw him, he really cares about his employees and the companies that buy furnaces from him. There were appr. 70 people on this trip put on by Jack and it was wonderful. It makes me jealous of all the other vacations he has taken people on because NO ONE had a bad word to say about any of the trips he has sponsored or about him!! They all had great respect for him and genuinely like him as a boss AND a friend.

Doc & Elvira Dolic. The Americans from Bosnia. We hope to meet up with them in about a month for supper. When Pat and I were so sick on the trip back (at the airport) Doc carried our bags, got our luggage, etc and was like a little father to us. Elvira played the little mother getting Pat goldfish and crackers to nibble on. I will have to say this is one of the best trips (excluding the ones I take with my girls) that I have ever been on. It was the people who made us feel so welcome. Pat and I were the "new ones" in the bunch but we just fit in like a glove. They asked us to come back next year and we are considering it IF my health is good enough. It is a 9 day cruise on a 5500 passenger cruise line. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The days ahead......

Had the most wonderful trip with about 68 other people in Costa Rica. Food was good....non alcoholic peach smoothies were was wonderful.....50 foot yatch sunset cruise was amazing. The white water rafting was terribly scary.....but they were the nicest people in our group of made the trip EXTRA worthwhile! The night before returning home, Pat was sick with chills and stomach ache. Then about 9pm, I got the gutt ache that almost crippled us both. We did not sleep all night due to the pain. The next day going to the airport was NOT fun. Pat was throwing up and I had the scoots.....about 36 times in 24 hours. We were both worried we were getting dehydrated but if I even sipped on water, it was out the back door in 15 minutes. It is now Monday evening and Pat still gets the gutt ache when he eats much. I am almost all better.  They called it "Montezuma's Revenge".....felt more like a devils pitchfork in my belly!
Today was a holiday for me so I picked up little Braeda at 2 today instead of 4 (I do this every Monday just to have my very own time with her). Amy or Rylan usually show up about 5:30. Tomorrow evening, I will travel to Leslie's house to watch McKenna so Leslie can go to an evening class and I can have some time with JUST McKenna.
We are really doing well at selling our raffle tickets and we really do appreciate all of you who have bought or if you want a raffle ticket (or two), get ahold of me. They are ten dollars and it is for a four night stay at The Fountains Resort in Orlando Florida. It is a $1200 value and the room sleeps up to 6.
We also still have T shirts if anyone is interested. Anyone interested in being on our team, please call us. We will never turn anyone down!
You know, I have a girl that has been on my mind this past week. Her name was Brandy Wills. She was younger than me and had alot smaller children than me and she had lung cancer.  I followed her Caring Bridge even though I did not personally know her. She passed away last week and it really saddens me that this young family has to go through this. I know God is with them right now!
You know.....I had to make my decision (Feb. 2011) as to whether I thought I was going to be able to go on the Costa Rica trip last week. Since Feb. 2011, I have had blood clots & surgery to remove them, a cerebral brain bleed (stroke), and more blood clots that we stopped with blood thinners. But when it came down to it, I was able to go and stayed right up with the crowd. I was exhausted at the end of the day but God blessed me with good health and I thank him for that! Some people thought I shouldn't go...or maybe I should think twice in case my health was not good enough. Guess I showed them!
In just about exactly a month I will make the trip to Houston. After bloodwork and a PET scan, the next day I will see Dr. Javle and an radiation oncologist which I have never spoke to before. Since my tumor hasn't shrunk (NOR GROWN...thank you God!!) in one year, Dr Javle told me a year ago we would give chemo a year to work and if it didn't we would try something else. I still might get chemo but they just might add the radiation.....I will of course keep you posted. Remember, my tumor is slow to grow, slow to shrink.
I called another Dr I have found to be a well known doctor with Cholangiocarcinoma in New York, NY. Jenn has contacted them for me as I really didn't want to go unless they saw my scans, biopsy reports, etc. THEN, if he thinks he can do surgery, I might think about flying out. I have had 3 doctors say no so why would this man say yes? Well....he is known for some of the riskiest surgeries of the stomach/liver. His name is Dr. Kato. It's alot to think about. I am not a gambler.....I cherish every day I get to spend with my family AND I feel pretty good so something inside of me tells me to just be happy with what God has given me so far and be thankful.
Oh, one more thing. Jenn had a GIRLS ONLY brunch Saturday for family and close friends. I had the best time that morning and Jenn made a killer quiche and fruit/yogurt cups. My daughter did not learn how to cook from me! But Jenn, Thanks! Every minute I get to spend with my girls fills my heart up with joy.
Of all the 42 followers on here, I guarantee you that you do not fully appreciate your family until it is your turn to get into the batters box with an illness as rare and serious as mine.
February 29 is Rare Disease Day. Maybe I will call in sick (if it's a work day) and eat LOTS of chocolate and ice feed my cancer....right Jenn!! :-}
God bless you all and keep you.
Hugs & Prayers~

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Leaving tomorrow for my trip.....

Pat & I will head to St. Louis after work to spend the night in St. Louis as our plane leave at like 6 am Friday am. We have a lay over in Atlanta for about an hour before a 4 hour flight to Costa Rica. Chemo went good this past Tuesday and all labwork still looks great according to Dr. Dy.
The only plans written in stone once we get to Costa Rica is visiting a coffee plantation and butterfly farm. It is an all day tour that includes lunch and a stop in a village to do some local shopping. Pretty sure I have Pat convinced to do the Zip Line that is 3.5 Kilometers. Weather looks pretty good with highs being around 80 during the day and 60 at night. 20% chance of rain about every day we are there....I think that is pretty normal for the rainforest.
Feeling a little yucky today but I am sure it is just the chemo churning my belly a little. It will pass in the next day or two.
Eucharisto is a latin word that means "to give thanks" that I ran across in a book I  have been reading. When I pray every morning and night and times in between, I give thanks for many things. I have quit asking God for so much and just thank him for what he has given me so far. I still ask that he shrink my tumor or atleast let me live a while longer to enjoy a blond headed Zuber grandbaby (no, there's not one in the oven) and maybe one from Samantha some day.....Leslie is expecting a little boy in four more months....I look forward to all of the celebrations life gives me and God allows to happen by keeping me on the "straight road". I don't like the bumpy curvy never know whats around the corner. You know what bothers me the most, if something happens to me, my children will be parentless. That just makes my heart ache!!  I do have four of the strongest girls around and they are is still the hardest part of this whole journey!
As I look ahead at the trip to Houston next month, I just ask God to keep the peace I feel inside right now (and have felt since this journey began). Its been almost a year since the diagnosis and some CC patients never make it to a year....some are younger than me....alot are older. I thank God every day for letting me stay on this earth to make a difference. I thank God I am healthy enough to go on this trip....and the one to Houston next month. This journey could make a wrong turn at any moment......or would it be such a bad turn if it meant spending eternity in Heaven. It is alot to think about and most people don't think about it until they hear the word CANCER! Seems I'm getting a little deep here so I will move on.
Leslie cut my hair pretty short last night....I like it but Pat does not..... My hair was so dry and brittle probably from the chemo so it needed to be whacked. I just hope it grows or the next time I will have to have it shaved to the scalp.
I had lunch with my mom this week. She looked so pretty in her red shirt. We ate at the sr center. She has lost 20 pounds and is really looking nice. Keep it up, momma!  I would also like to ask for prayers for one of my aunts having surgery this week. Just that she has a speedy recovery. They are very private people so that is all I will say.
A shout out to my sister Lisa who usually takes her lunch to come see me at chemo and spend an hour with me. It makes the time go by alot quicker and since she lives up by Shelbyville, I don't see her as often as when she lived 3 miles away from me. My other sister, Sarah, bought her dog a jacket to wear that has something about beating liver cancer. It has a green ribbon on it and is cute as can be!
We have the raffle tickets made up for the 4 night 5 day stay at The Fountains Resort in Orlando Florida. $10 each and just minutes from Walt Disney World. It is a $1200 value donated by my brother and his wife, Larry & Sheila Stoltz. Just get ahold of one of the girls to buy your raffle tickets!! Come on, it supports the local Walk & Roll in Richland County and the American Cancer Society.
I will log off for now and blog mid week to let you know how the trip is going. God bless you all and keep you!
Hugs & Prayers,