Friday, March 22, 2013

Feeling Better Already...

I have not had a cortizone shot in my shoulder for seven months. It was hurting so bad, I couldn't sleep at night. So late this afternoon, I went to Vincennes to Dr. Chartier, a great pain specialist who injected my shoulder again. I should see relief with 3-5 days but I think he has already made it feel better. Dr. Chartier is such a kind, gentle man who just really tries to minimize the pain he causes his patients....he is very good at his job!! I have not had to take anything for the pain since he gave me the injection. I felt so good afterwards, Pat and I went to catch a movie. It was SO nice to spend some quality time with Pat and he was happy for the free refills on the popcorn!
I have been fighting the start of a cold again but I give myself a Neupogen shot tomorrow to help build my white cells so with it and the Alka Seltzer cough and cold meds I am taking, I hope to kick it fast this time. I feel pretty normal.
All of our cards are sold so I apologize if you didn't get a set. I have three sets to deliver and those people know who they are. Now....I am going to paint just to paint and enjoy NOT having a deadline like the Easter/Spring cards.

I am gearing up for the Houston trip the 10th and 11th....then Easter at Jenn's with the little ones hunting eggs. I just can't wait for them to see ALL those eggs I have to fill IF I can keep out of the candy!!
Leslie and Rhett are counting down the days to their wedding on May 18th. With four flower girls and little Kinnick as the ring bearer.... how could it not be the cutest thing ever!! We are getting all of the flowers locally from Sam Benson at Ivy's Cottage....supporting our local merchants!!! And does he do a great job or what?!  We are giving him pretty much free range in what flowers he picks but they are all going to be yellow on black linen tablecloths.

As we were driving to Vincennes today and I had the jitters as I thought the last injection was a killer, I told myself to suck it up....after all, I have cancer....isn't that worse than one lil old shot? I closed my eyes, prayed to God, and when I opened my eyes, it all seemed ok. And IT WAS!!  Like a walk in the park. So as I close this blog tonight, all I can add is God is Good ALL THE TIME! He is there....all the time. And I thank him ALL the time as I would be lost without the feeling of knowing He is right beside me. It's the best feeling in the world and I am so glad this 48-year old cancer patient is filled to the brim with Faith is filled!

May you ALL have a Blessed Easter and a Happy Spring!!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Inner Workings of Suntone Beach Survivors

After a few questions from a good friend about how much of the proceeds generated by our Relay for Life team, Suntone Beach Survivors, are donated, I thought it might be a good idea to address the way we plan and execute our fundraisers to generate maximum profits.

This year, Mom painted Christmas and Spring cards, which we had printed by a local print shop. Each set of cards was sold in a bag with a sticker. All bags were donated by Mom. All stickers were donated and printed by my husband's law office. The only cost we have wrapped into the cards is the printing and envelope cost. Mom (with help from us, Debbie, her sisters, etc.) folds, sorts, and bags each set of cards, so we do not pay the print shop to do that. 70% of the cost of the cards is profit, which is put into the big pot to be divvied up in May. The remaining cost of the cards supports a locally-owned small business. 

Our Italian Beef Night was held at The Gypsy two weeks ago. The Gypsy does not charge us anything to host our event. Chris Foust, Joe Hunt, and U.S.A. Signs donated the banner which was hung outside The Gypsy and advertised the event. We also advertise on Facebook and the Olney Daily Mail and 92.9 Community Calendar (all of which are free). Mom and her friend, Bob, were able to get every single thing needed to make the Italian Beef donated. This includes: beef, seasoning, buns, cheese, pepperoncini peppers, chips, napkins, plates, plastic silverware, and to-go containers.The Pita Place in Olney donated three bags of beef broth. We borrowed the roaster pans to cook the Italian Beef. Mom, Aunt Sarah, and I (but mostly Mom) cooked, shredded, seasoned, and stirred the meat over the course of 26 hours. Erin Michels and Debbie Weiler volunteered behind-the-scenes at The Gypsy, making sandwiches and prepping each plate.  My sisters and I (in addition to my husband and Samantha's boyfriend, Chris Foust) tended bar and waitressed during the event. Every penny of our tips was donated. 100% of the cost of each order of Italian beef was profit. Every penny of the profits and our tips were put into the big pot to be divvied up in May.

Amy, Leslie, Kate, Samantha, and I bartending and waitressing at our 2013 Italian Beef Night

Last weekend, we hosted a Thirty-One Gifts party at my and Bart's house. A local consultant and friend, Tiffany Grove, donates 100% of her profits to our team. The food and drinks served at the party were donated by my Mom, sisters, and I. 

When May and Relay for Life roll around, we typically split the total monies raised, sending about 80% to American Cancer Society and about 20% to The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. In 2012, we donated $7,991.05 to the American Cancer Society's Walk and Roll. At that event, we raised the second most money, after Richland Memorial Hospital ($9,950.03). 

Chris Foust and Mom at our 2013 Italian Beef Night
We are doing a bit less fundraising this year but hope to raise about as much money as last year. 

Written/Posted by Jenn.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Endoscopy Results

Mom had an endoscopy today in Springfield to look for any esophageal verices that might have been causing her bleeding. No varices were found. No portal hypertension gastronomy. No major arteriovenous malformations.She does have a sliding hernia, which the nurse says many women have and don't know about. It isn't causing any issues and isn't likely to.

A few arteriovenous malformations (tiny blood vessels) were found and cauterized, but Dr. Ali seems very unconcerned with them. He said he doesn't usually cauterize them, but thought he would take care of them while he was in the surgery. There is no need for another endoscopy. Everything looks great.

Mom's hoping to be out of recovery soon. Then we're on our way to get a bite to eat. Yay for outpatient surgeries and no overnight stays at St. John's!

Braeda and Mom with baby Carter Scherer at our Thirty-One fundraiser for
 Relay for Life and The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation

Written/Posted by Jenn.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cards....Cards...Everybody Get Your Cards!!

First off, thanks to all who attended our Italian Beef Fundraiser!!  My apologies to the family who drove over an hour only to find out we had just ran out. My apologies to EVERYONE who came only to find out we were sold out!!  We were sold out in two hours!!  I owe the hugest apology (a year overdue) for not thanking my sister, Sarah, every day for a month as she cooked and prepared all the meat by herself last year. What an undertaking!!  So, this year, I took off 2 days to prepare the meat, cook it, and get everything to The Gypsy (I even had help from Jennifer, my mom, and my sister, Sarah) and it took me until Monday morning to catch up with sleep and the exhaustion it took from me.....then I had chemo on Monday! I have recuperated and am now ready to sell the spring cards!! We have sold about 50 sets in a week and I only have 50 more sets to sell. IF you wanted cards, e-mail or Facebook me and we will get them to you in the next few days!!  People say they are better than the Christmas ones, and I tend to agree.

We have a Thirty One fundraiser this Saturday at Jenn's house so come have a cup of hot spiced cranberry tea and a muffin or two. The cards will be there also to buy. We made A LOT of money with this fundraiser last year as a very generous person gave our Relay for Life team ALL of her commission off of the party!! Come browse and see Bart and Jenn's are free :) We could also give a nature tour as their wooded paths are beautiful!

I am SO SO SO ready for Spring. I have two purple crocuses that start to pop open, then shut. One warm day and that is all it will take! 

My chemo day last week went well....the nurse got the vein on the first stick....sometimes it takes two to three nurses prodding under the skin to find a good spot that doesn't blow the vein. For being such a mean spirited young (young....who am I kidding!!) adult, I sure am a delicate flower when it comes to this cancer. My blood issues, my delicate veins, my trouble sleeping, and lately my low white count, which allows me to easily catch colds... BUT, it is okay. I am not afraid.

I bought a new wig for Leslie's to come when it gets here. I also have my dress for the wedding.

I am a little disappointed we will not have a booth and raise more money for our Relay team this year. Since Leslie's wedding is that day, it will just have to be. You can only ask people to donate so much! BUT....if any of you who need some tax donations, remember we accept checks made out the The American Cancer Society and The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. 

On Thursday, I traveled to Springfield to see Dr. Ali who will be sticking a scope down my throat. I was spitting up some blood but it hasn't happened in over two months. But I still would like him to take a look down there. Pray for all the sick people struggling out there.....I feel blessed right now for the calmness in my cancer life. The procedure on Monday is an outpatient procedure and I have to be there at 11 a.m. to check in. I will be asleep for the procedure....YEAH! It COULD be the bleeding was just from irritation from the rough chemo I am on OR it could be the varisces. Varisces have the potential to be very dangerous, and I am ready to put it to rest and find out what is going on.

I thank God for my girls all having jobs they absolutely LOVE! It is a worry I had when I got the news of this cancer. I now know they will be ok. They all have amazing partners whom I adore. I thank God alot for the in-laws who my children love as "family". And I ask God that they will "be there" if something does ever happen to me. They will always have Pat and their step sister/brother but with the best in-laws, it just means A LOT!

When I was waiting on the doctor to come into the room yesterday, as he entered, he said "WOW....WOW" and I asked him what he meant. He said he has only seen one other person (who was a man) that was as in as good of shape with this type of cancer. He told me he was very surprised when he walked in. I owe it all to God and the many prayer warriors out there who are so encouraging to me. I was at Ophelia's this morning and the ladies prayer group was there that I just adore. I had to give them a quick hello and talk a bit. They inspire me  to be a better person. They just give you that warm fuzzy feeling.

I have permission from Ophelia's to sell my cards there, so they should be there in the morning. 

As Easter comes upon us....please take time to think, to give thanks, for silence to praise Him and make sure to pray for ALL the sick and less fortunate.

HUGS to you ALL!!