Friday, June 20, 2014


Greetings friends;

Last Sunday morning we set out for Houston, Texas as most of you already know. It had only been two months since my last visit but since I receive no treatment of any kind.....I wasn't complaining too much!  I got my blood work done on Sunday evening as soon as we got to Houston at The Rotary House (where they have a lab from like...3 to 8 pm.)....this saved me from being at MD Anderson at 6:45 Monday morning for blood work. Then I just had to be there at 8 a.m. the next morning. Kind of spoils a person....and it also meant after my scan, I could go to medical records and get a copy of my blood work. Kind of like cheating a little because it gives you a peek at your blood work and what you hope your scans will be the next day when you see the Dr. So....when I saw My CA 19-9 dropped to 9.2......I felt a sigh of relief!!  The rest of my blood work was good...even better than two months ago!
Dr. Javle stated I was just doing amazing and that I was doing great. He stated someone sent my Relay For Life speech to him and he got to see my speech!  He was impressed but who has his e-mail?? Not I!  I approached Dr. Javle about Immunotherapy and if he thought it would be approved for CC. AND, if it was, could I be one of the first lab rats (he laughed when I said that) when it was approved. He said I was stable and my cancer is not active. You would have to have an active tumor to be eligible. He stated he knew it didn't really make sense would think it would be like the Measles get it before you get the measles.....but with Immunotherapy, you have to have an active tumor to get the therapy.....WHEN it gets approved. He states it has already been approved for melanomas and I think lung cancer. He thinks it will hopefully be no more than a year before it is approved and able to be used for CC. Dr. Javle totally agrees he thinks Immunotherapy WILL work for cholangiocarcinoma tumors. This is some of the most positive news I have heard in a long time. And to think the cure to cancer just might be right inside your own body!! Who'da thought!!

The "Feeding for Healing" Food Program that I played a key role in getting started (along with Eric Tolliver and Jennifer Emmons from RMH) at Richland Memorial Hospital that helps make it a little more easier for our chemo patients is going really good as far as I know. I wanted to be the first to take food (along with my mom's chocolate chip cookies). Roll With It Bakery was there for the next week of chemo. Right now, I am filling up August. I always went to Effingham for my chemo but it doesn't mean I can't do something right here in my own hometown!!  Some days...after you get home, you start losing your appetite for a few days so some mostly healthy food the day of chemo really means a lot!! Any one who wants to donate food, even if it's just muffins, cookies, fresh fruit....we can add it to a day that is little short on food...... You can even be a prayer group, 4-H group, a group of close friends, or maybe you had a family member who had cancer and want to give back. Donations go to buy food for a day and we post whoever donates money/food that day on the wall in the chemo room for everyone to give thanks to that person/group/business.  It may not seem like much....but it is a lot to a chemo patient!!  Feel free to call me at 618-843-5367 if you would like to Pay It Forward!!

Pat has some hunting trips planned throughout this summer/fall, I have planned a girls beach vacation with friends, we have Samantha (my daughter) and her fiancĂ© getting married in August. A family beach trip in late July....just three weeks before the wedding. And then there's the wedding planning!!!!!  I am not using my kayak as much as I would like but it IS getting used some and the kids got us a spiffy NICE lifejacket for Pats' Father's Day present. 

In closing, I  just ask that you breathe in this summer air, you enjoy the splashing of a grandchild in a pool, sip your coffee ever so slowly as you enjoy a morning cup with a friend. Life is so precious, so unpredictable, so underappreciated. Slow down and enjoy the special people in your life....and for the ones you might not!  Pay It Forward!! God is good...ALL the time!   

All the time.....God is good!!!!  


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Good News Abounds

Hello everyone:

Mom & Pat are driving home from Houston now, but she asked that I post a few words to let everyone know the results of her PET scan yesterday and appointment with Dr. Javle today.

Her cancer remains stable! No metastasis to any other organs. Her CA19-9 value went down from 12 at her last appointment to 9.2 on Sunday evening. Her liver and kidney function is great, and Dr. Javle thinks the healthy tissue in her liver that was collateral damage from radiation is regenerating.

Dr. Javle told Mom that she is doing amazing, and he expects her current break to last awhile (maybe months longer!).  Thus far, Mom has been without treatment (chemo or radiation) for over seven months!

Someone emailed Dr. Javle the speech that Mom wrote for the Richland County Relay for Life, and he said he loved it! :)

Thank you for your continued prayers. God is good all the time!!


Jennifer, Samantha, Amy, and Mom at Samantha's bridal shower

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Short Trip But One That Meant SO Much!!

My daughter, Samantha had a short business trip (last month-forgive me for not posting sooner) to Ohio so I asked if Debbie Weiler and I could tag along as I knew it was close to where two people I consider friends since starting the cholangiocarcinoma journey lived!!  Pam Kunklier and Lisa Salem-Craine whom I have talked to and visited through Facebook or the Cholangiocarcinoma website.....but meeting them in person was just so much more as far as connecting and just having fun!!
After Samantha finished her business, we freshened up at the hotel and went for supper at David & Lisa Salem-Craine's house. What a wonderful evening and a super delicious Italian supper.....lots of CC talk and telling our stories.  I felt like a bad guest as we stayed until 10:30 Ohio time but my clock was showing 9:30 (which is Illinois time). Sorry guys!! 
I was super pumped all day.....SOOO excited to meet Lisa and her family. Lisa,  David,  and their son were all simply delightful.....AND we all shared a bottle of Berryville White Squirrel wine we took a little bit of Richland County to them.

The next morning we met Pam Kunklier and Lisa Salem Craine at Panera Bread for coffee and a bite to eat. I have known Pam for appr. 3 years but never met was sheer pleasure to give her a giant hug today....such a beautiful lady with a lot of poise. Thank you both for starting our morning off on a great start!!!

Back to Illinois we drove and made it home around 7 p.m. I just wanted to share that the only good thing about having this cancer is meeting some of the most giving and wonderful people ever......I have already told Samantha I want to go next time she goes to Ohio......I think we could get into some shopping addiction problems (in Ohio with Lisa) if we were together for more than a few hours. :-)
As I walked up the walkway of my house from getting home....everything seemed so much greener, all the flowers just smiling at me......As Dorothy from Kansas says..."There's No Place Like Home"
So...thanks Samantha for dragging two old ladies along....and taking us to meet my CC friends.....

Sam~"to the moon and back"!!    :-)

I also wanted to share my Mother's Day present. I have been a huge fan of the band Chicago..... my husband and I spent the night in Evansville and saw them in concert....IN THE 1st ROW!!  Oh yeah!!!!   Thank you~ Thank you ~Thank you to all five of my daughters!!  We even went backstage at intermission and met privately with the whole band.   J.U.S.T. U.S.!!!    They gave us free shirts, hats, signed a jersey Pat bought for me, and also some posters of the band that they all personally signed. The extra special poster was the advertisement poster for that night and they also signed it. It was absolutely wonderful and a night I will remember til the end of time!

My blog is now over 100,000 hits. It is at 100,397......that is crazy!  I had a visit with my doctor in Effingham (Dr.Dy) and he did blood work and checked my blood thickness/thinness. He says platelets are good, white count is good....everything is looking fine. Kidney and liver functions are good. I feel like something is ajar....but I also know my kids say I do this every time it starts to get close to the time to go to MD Anderson. That's not until July 14 & 15.....and Dr. Dy says my lungs sound fine so I must pray for more faith and to trust in the Lord and hand it all over to Him. He is leading me on this what am I worrying about?  I think it is natural and I just tell myself that the more I worry, the less I live.   I have been slacking a bit on exercising...and I am not proud of it. I plan to join the pool program for adults only before the pool opens everyday for the kiddos to enjoy.  Even if I walk laps instead of swimming every lap....  I truly believe keeping active has helped me in the cancer battle. So I best get a marching (or swimming)....right?

I have started (with the permission of Richland Memorial Hospital) a snack/lunch program for chemo patients on Wednesdays. That is the long day for chemo patients at RMH. It does not benefit me as I go to Crossroads Cancer Center...and I am not getting any treatments right now. But I want there to be food brought in for the cancer patients and their caregiver/spouse to enjoy.  It does get expensive and if I can help Pay It Forward to some cancer patients...I feel God is calling me to help implement this program. I have had some businesses sign up to provide food and by word of mouth, I believe it will blossom into a great program. TOMORROW is the first day they will get food delivered to RMH. I am providing food tomorrow.  I am taking doughnuts and fruit for the am snack. For lunch, I am taking ham and turkey subs with Colby jack cheese on them. I am also taking my momma's homemade chocolate chip cookies and some gingersnap cookies, plus a variety of small bags of chips. The hospital provides tea, coffee, and water throughout the day.   The girls from Citizen's Bank has signed up to do like 3 times in a year, Susie Trupiano and Joe's Pizza has signed up, Lauren McClain with State Farm Insurance, Sandy Hahn with Hahn's Carpet, Zuber Law, Roll With It Bakery.....and my mom is going to pitch this program to her church ladies to see if they would like to provide food. Please feel free to PM me if you or your church bible study group or if you are a business or even a group of friends who want to do this. I need to hit up Mayor Ray Vaughn......I know he has a big heart and it would be so great to have him involved and backing this worthwhile project!!  Believe me, something like this is huge for a cancer patient who may not have an appetite by supper. This is something I CAN do for my community and all donations/people who help provide food are helping people in our area...people you might even know. There are only 52 weeks in a year....and there are already 3 weeks there will not be chemo, so if a group did it 3-4 times a year, it wouldn't take long to fill up my calendar. never know when it might be YOU who is grabbing a banana or roll with a cup of coffee while you or a loved one is getting chemo. Think it will never happen to you?  Neither did I when I had just turned 46!! 

So, as I close this blog, I apologize that it has been so long since I last posted. I am doing well and living life like a champ. Babysitting a lot, getting pulled over for speeding.....just got a warning (must be my good looks and charm.....choke- spudder- puke!  And it was only 18 miles over the speed limit! :-)  There's been wedding showers, baby showers, shopping for wedding supplies....ahhhh!

To my CC friends, know that I pray for you all each night and for all cancer patients everywhere. I pray for a cure soon...or more time for some who have less time than I do to live. Dr. Dy said he diagnosed 3 last week with CC IN EFFINGHAM!  That is a lot in one week since it is so rare.  What spaceship is this "crap" coming from.  (Excuse my language mom).

May peace be with each and every one of you who reads this blog.