Sunday, September 30, 2012

This Is "The Quiet Time"

The few days before I go to M.D. Anderson are spent praying, thinking, meditating, sometimes crying....then getting mad at myself for letting my Faith feel weak. I pray this new chemo that is really taking a toll on my body is killing the cancer cells at a fast rate!

As I was at the Fall Festival yesterday, I just felt a little out of place as a few people stared and then turned as soon as I saw them look at me. It was like they were afraid to come up and say girls and Pat say it is my imagination...suck it up and that I could have said hello just as easy. But when you get "the stares" from is hurtful. Maybe it is because my hair is now falling out in handfuls. I am afraid I will wake up one morning and need to extract a hairball from my really is that bad. My pillow is will probably get lint rolled today.  I attribute it to the increase in my chemo. I also sleep ALOT more and had to leave work on Thursday at 11 due to falling asleep at my desk. My chemo dosage is at 75 % strength so if it gets to 100% strength....boy will it be a blow. I hope my white count allows me to keep upping it and that it is eating those cancer cells like Pac Man!!

Pat leaves today for his trip to Wyoming (he is traveling with Greg Kuenstler) but there will be about 8 other guys out there at the same time. I see Dr. Goswami on Monday (my cardiologist from Springfield) at St. Anthony's hospital in Effingham. Then Tuesday (mid-morning), Jenn and I will fly off to the big state of Texas and hopefully get good news or at least continued stability from this new chemo. We will fly back in to St. Louis on Thursday afternoon. We will probably post Thursday while sitting in the airport as far as what Dr. Javle has to report. May the scans be clear and easy for the radiologist to read no matter what.

McKenna (the oldest grandaughter) celebrated her 2nd birthday last weekend and then last night Miss Braeda celebrated her 1st birthday. She didn't care half as much about the presents as she did the little cake she got to nose dive into and put handfuls of it into her mouth. Such a ham!!

Am I going to be bald.....YES.   Will that in any way make my cancer better or worse....NO. It just makes me look worse in my eyes. I have been blessed to see my grandaughters and grandson on a weekly basis.  I will never be cured of cancer unless God's puts his hand on me and grants me a miracle. I pray for stability of this terrible cancer I have.

Pat and I do plan to take a week long drive in the latter part of October. We will just start driving each day and go where God leads us. Definitely toward the New England states and hopefully we will find some pretty foliage some where along the way.

God spoke to me when this battle first started...I have faith he is always right beside me. There isn't a battle I cannot win if He is with me. I have already outlived the odds for this type of cancer, so I will keep fighting until God changes my game plan.  God is in total control of my life, and I praise Him for the quality of life I have lived so far.

I pray for all CC patients that someone may find a cure soon for all of us. I pray for all cancer patients and people with other diseases. I pray for Ed Hattaway who has been missing for almost two weeks. May God look over this man and keep him safe until he is found.

God Bless you all and pray to God that I get a super report in less than a week!!


God Bless!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mostly a good visit at chemo.....

September 20, 2011.....if you get a chance to go back and read this so. I had NO idea how sick I was and besides a headache...all seemed ok to me....until I tried to walk and couldn't. I had in the middle of the night (probably started Sunday) a brain bleed and could hardly make it to the bathroom(weaving all over the bedroom because my balance was so off)...but I did, then went back to bed til morning when Pat called Jenn and said get here fast, something is really wrong. Of course, I had to take a shower...put on perfume  and the whole getup before going to Olney's ER. Just READ the post. It shows how far I have come (the family now tells me that I could have been confined to a wheel chair for the rest of my life).

On to the last few weeks. I woke up two Saturdays (it stormed the night before) and a branch about 3 inches in diameter had landed on my front windshield shattering it to a gazillion pieces but keeping the windshield intact. It also dented my front hood and and a few other places. Then, Samantha calls me last week. She JUST bought a new 2012 Buick Verano and was on her way to work when a man in the left lane on 130 decided to make a right turn into the left side of her car. She has maybe made 2 car payments and now has a wrecked car! Not our week for safekeeping of our cars. The man that hit Sam had insurance so that was good. It is always the second question that comes out of my mouth AFTER....... are you ok?
So, we both ended up with over $3,000 in damage.

This past Thursday I met with the most awesome group of ladies from the First United Methodist Church ladies study group who meet at Ophelia's every Thursday. I surprised most of them and just felt like I was with the most positive, encouraging bunch of ladies definitely "rooting in God's corner".  Thank you ALL for making me feel SO welcome!! I am truly blessed to know you all (and especially by name now). This bunch of ladies have sent me cards for months if not for a year on a weekly basis almost.....I just rip them open like it is Christmas!  :-)

On to my chemo visit yesterday. I was able to UP the dosage which was good for my cancer. MY belly started the "old rumbling...everyone out of the bathroom type of rumble" when I finally said something to the nurse....she gave me a shot in my IV and the bellyache was gone within 10 minutes. WHEW!! My counts were a little lower than the last two weeks ago but upping the dose is going to do that. Two weeks ago,my white white count was 5.7 and platelets were 105,000. I was thrilled with the numbers even though the platelets are still low. Today, my white count was 4.1 and platelets were at 96,000. My dr says to chill out...they are still good. AND good enough to raise the dosage which is key to it fully working. I am not at 100 % of my dosage yet but I am at 75%.  Slow and easy...slow and easy....we don't want to rush it. My Anti-Xa (blood clotting factor) was at 5.5 and it need to be at it is totally acceptable. The nurse who sticks me about every time because she usually finds my vein the first time, came in but didn't find it the first time. She hit a nerve in my right hand and it felt like an electrical jolt down my hand. We changed hands and she got it the first hit. Pat and I were there MOST of the day starting at 7:45 for bloodwork.

 I was tired tonight but I so wanted to go join the posse hunting for Ed Hattaway. I thought about taking a cooler of bottled water but figured someone already covered that....may God bless him and guide people to find him soon!

I rode my bike 2 Saturdays ago to town...did I tell you that in the last post. I rode 10 miles total.  WHEW!

I am painting like crazy right now to make Christmas cards to sell for Suntone Beach Survivors (our Relay team) . They will come in boxes (or something to hold them) of like 16...20....24.  They are not name brand but they are from me and for a good cause so when you see them out and about....well...don't have a clue where we can even sell them without losing profit. Might be doing some old door to door selling....YUCK! Please don't make me do that!!

I see my favorite cardiologist on Monday morning in Effingham for a follow up visit....I have not seen him for MONTHS so it is time for HUGS! On Tuesday by 11, Jenn and I will leave for St. Louis to fly to Houston. My scan is on Wednesday EARLY then we are free to do whatever. I think we might make a trip to a place called Rice Village where they have all the neat shops just to waste time (better leave my wallet at home that day!! :-). Thursday morning I will see Jackie, the PA and then the BIG Dr to reiterate whatever Jackie says about my PET scan, Jackie answer the small questions, and then let Dr. Javle do the foot dance answering the BIG questions. Please pray for stability, hibernation (since winter is close by...hibernation sounds kinda nice) of my tumor....or atleast no new cancer or spreading.

Pat will be antelope hunting the week of my trip to Houston so he will be driving with Greg Kuenstler to Wyoming for about a week. I told Pat the results will be the same no matter what so go ahead and hunt...he already had his date planned so keep all as planned and we will deal with the results when he gets back.....OR the dr's will tell us how to handle them or change the route we are on.

Pat and I are contemplating a trip to the New England states in October as I have some days off....if anyone has been there...any suggestions are appreciated.

As I close today, I will leave you with just a bit of scripture I have read lately....
God's faithful help and love in times of trouble: When we face trials, God will quiet our hearts and give us confidence. This comes from Psalms.

Pray for Stability, an even deeper Faith, help for others struggling any type of battle, and Peace. 



Friday, September 14, 2012

It's just hair.....right?

Well, I think this morning, I lost about 200 strands of hair. Upping the chemo this past time must be part of the reason.....I always said it wouldn't bother was only stupid hair....but it did. I cried about 20 tears...then stopped myself and told myself this is FOOLISH! DUMB! STUPID! WHINEBAGGING!!!!
On the up side of having no curling iron burns, no hairspray fog, no worry about the humidity making it "flop". Plus, I might be able to be ready for work in like 20 minutes.

So....I do have a wig we call "Fluffy".....I am not particularly fond of "it" but if I have to wear it or a dew rag...I will. Wouldn't you know it would wait until winter to start this....I do have LOTS of knitted hats from a co worker so I will be able to keep my ears warm.

When you see me, I don't have the bald look yet, BUT at the rate it is thinning, it will be about a week and a half....and I might go ahead and have a shave party. "Fluffy" will need to be dusted off, I suppose.

Oh....if this is my biggest upset for the rest of the week, month, year...I will be a lucky girl. I will be blessed by God is what I will be!!!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my oldest grandchild, McKenna Grace today!! HUGS!!

That's it.....just needed to get this off my chest. Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Well, the wedding came and went and it was beautiful! I don't think I have ever saw an ugly bride but Rachel really did shine that day!  AND it was nice to see long distance relatives that I hadn't seen for awhile.

Well, after my Neulasta shot on Tuesday, I started getting headaches that just nagged at my head...around the temples and sometimes just my head  ached. By Saturday morning, Pat and I made the decision to call Dr. Houston to see if he would order a CT scan of my head. He is such a teddy bear of a dr! He said he'd call me right back. He did within 3 minutes and told me to get to the hospital asap and he would have the reading in 15 minutes as he put a stat order on it. He texted me back and said there is no brain bleed and more than likely we think it was the Neulasta. It was better by the time chemo time came this past Monday.

I was of course, worried about my blood counts on Monday. The lab tech took 5 viles..the usual...and then I waited an hour and fifteen minutes before being called back to the scale. Then to a room. BP was perfect. Temp....good. So, Dr. Dy walks in and says my white count went from 2.0 to 5.7 (which is in the "preferred level between 3.0 to 11.0. My platelets went from 93,000 two weeks ago to 105,000 this past Monday. It is still low but crawling up. (it should be between 140,000 to 445, 000).
So, since I had the headaches, Dr. Dy changed the drug from Neulasta to Neupogen. I will self inject it three times over the next two weeks to keep my platelets in a safe level. We will see if this works...if not, I will have to travel to Effingham on Tuesays just for ten minutes to get a shot. The Neupogen was over $1,000 for three vials. Yowzer!!  Our part was $11. I am SO very thankful we have good insurance. Neupogen stimulates the blood system (bone marrow) to make white blood cells. This helps fight off infections. Dr. Dy is also hoping I will not have the severe headaches. BUT I could very well have flu side effects like achy bones, muscles, and even a fever. I had a 100.7 fever one night as I woke up shaking violently from being so cold. I took some meds, went back to bed, and woke up with a small fever but it soon dissipated.

I was able to "up" the amount of chemo I received this time so I was thrilled to be able to do that since I was suppose to up it at every chemo session. All went well and we were out of there by no later than 1. Sheila Stoltz (my sister in law) wanted to take me...our car just kinda coasted by "The Last Straw" so we decided to shop a bit in there. We also stopped at a consignment shop and found the cutest U of I cheerleader outfit for a 9 month old baby. Kinda saving it for Bartley...and Jenn too!!
After a stop at Solid Grounds for supper....YUM, it was on to Alco. I was tuckered by then but had a SWAN meeting at 6 so off I went to that. I was home by 7:30...I had to stop and see Braeda real quick :-)

So.....I believe life is about Faith, Inner Peace, Believing, and knowledge of just being a good person. It has been a goal of mine for quite some time. I had a couple older ladies walking up the hallway of my office
today, and I heard one say, oh, there's that lady you want to get. She's been here the longest and she's just the nicest young lady. I smiled....they did not get me (for their appointment) but I did go up and speak to them so I felt them at ease in our office. I have been at ERBA going on 17 years and have loved and treasured every year until this past year.  Days I haven't felt the just kinda takes the cherry off the top of an ice cream soda.

It's getting closer and closer  to my trip to Md Anderson. Since I haven't been able to UP the dosage each time at chemo in Effingham, it makes me wonder if it has let things worsen. No matter what Dr. Javle tells me, God is there....there are times when you shall walk in the valleys of death but God will ALWAYS be right beside you when you come out on the other side. I don't believe in saying why did this happen to me? It just happens....adjust, accept, and fight like a dog.

I thank each and every one of you who think of me, send me flowers, prayer groups who pray for me, my family, for God to make such an impact on my life. He knew when I needed him and I would be nothing without him.

I will keep you updated in about a week. HUGS and PRAYERS to ALL of you!!