Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Finish Line

Today is the day!
Today, cancer got kicked to the curb, checked off my list, project completed, mission accomplished and all those other them there cliches.

Let's review the objectives/prayer requests from my first post:

  • That God is glorified in this journey.  (many of you have said yes, that one happened) 
  • Being cancer free is also very high on my list.  (as of today, YES!)
  • Prayers for the boys (and Janet) as we all process this info  (we've all processed well)
  • Focus at work (we’re kicking off a big new project this week).  (Project completed)
Woo hoo!!! 

I wish I could have captured the confetti throw at the radiation office on video, but there was no one else there to capture it so you'll have to enjoy the last dot coming off the door instead (Take 4 finally got it).  

I thought I would share what I learned from having Cancer.

  1. God is good.  All things work together for the good of those who love Him; according to His purpose.  
  2. There is good and bad along the way.  You can look for either one as you go, and you are certain to find what you look for.  
  3. Larry is a great caretaker.  He did just what I needed and backed off when I wanted to be independent again, but checked in often to be sure.  
  4. I have great family.  All had encouraging words at just the right time, shared fun pictures, stepped in and just did things, and J did a really good job of understanding when I was 'done' for the day.  Plus he convinced me to teach him to play tennis during all of this.   
  5. I have great friends.  From the meals, texts, rides, visits, calls, spa day, all were great.  It was fun to visit with each one, especially when we got to be together in real life.  
  6. Other people get sick and need prayer support in their life too.   
  7. Getting better is a process and it's good to have fun things to do, to look forward to, and to mark off even if the next thing is an un-fun thing. 

     (someone started a countdown to Christmas break today)
  8. God's word must be in your heart, your mind, and your soul before the trouble hits.  When you need it most, is not when you can look it up in your Bible or on your phone.  Every time I really needed it I was strapped/trapped on a table or machine and told not to move.  
  9. I felt better 99% of the time when I exercised, even when I didn't want to.  
  10. I can survive without sugar in my diet.  It took practice to say, "Oh, no thank you," but it wasn't my favorite thing.  I think I ate too many celebratory cookies today, and might need to take a break again for a few days.  

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth. 

Karen asked if I had a theme song, and while I liked her suggestions, Sandy gave me this idea way back in April; Mandisa's "Overcomer".  Here's a link to watch it yourself.  

Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations; his marvelous deeds among all people.

I won't post as often going forward, but might have a thing or two to share and will.  :)  Thank you so much for all your encouraging words over these last many months.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Three to Go

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Ours was very laid back and I got to do plenty of cooking, but didn't have to clean up every time, thanks Cousin Clayton, and that's always a great combination in my book.

I'm thankful that there are only three more zaps to go.

My skin is on fire.  It does not feel good and I am not able to sleep on my right side, which makes for a restless night.  My ideal sleeping pattern is to rotate like a hotdog at 7-Eleven.

Last week I got a new medicine to take away some of the heat and even Jackie Chiles told me I could put the balm on.

Dr. N2 looked at my skin today and said it looks hot (not in a creepy way), but good.  He was certain I would make it through the remaining treatments without issue.  I'm whiny, but I'm also certain I'll make it too.

I am also thankful that my brain was back to work today as well.

Of course I am thankful for God's strength in getting this far.  Just a little bit more to go.  I would still appreciate your prayers getting over the finish line.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Single Digits

This week we crossed over a nice milestone.  We are down to the single digits.  I do say 'we' because you have all been such a great support over these past almost seven months.

Check out the two countdown boards.

No, I'm not flashing a gang sign or anything like that, just showing there are only eight treatments to go.  Check out that hair too!  So far it is soft, regular brown color with a healthy sprinkling of gray throughout.

This week I had a baseline bone density scan so that when I start taking my Tamoxifen to prevent recurrence they will know how my bones are doing.  One of the side effects of the other prevention drugs is osteopenia.

I also met with Patty the PA, which turned out to be a well timed visit, because I came down with quite a cold, sore throat, and developed a fever as Wednesday morning progressed.  The good news is that by Thursday morning I was feeling MUCH better, though my throat is still sore and I have an rough sounding cough.

Patty said she would ask Dr N. about getting the port removed.  That will be an in office procedure and hopefully that can happen before the year is out.    

Yesterday I did not get any lab work done, so I don't know how the WBC's are doing, but my energy level has been just fine (aside from yesterday).

I can tell you've been praying for my clearer brain, I've had several exceptionally good days in the week.  That is very exciting since I'm about to kick off another project.

Thank you again!!! You are doing great and I so appreciate all of the prayers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fifteen to Go

I'm definitely starting to see progress on my visual tracker.



I'm super thankful for all the prayers that are still coming (you guys are so faithful) and still making me feel strong physically and emotionally. God is so good!

My brain has had fewer and fewer clear days which is frustrating; think San Francisco--the fog rolls in rather unexpectedly and you don't know when it's going to leave.  I know it is to be expected, but there are MANY days where I know full well there is a good long list of things that need to be accomplished, and it is well past 1pm before I really start making any progress.  I've done the obvious things like make myself a list when I'm in a good state, eliminate distractions, but EVERYTHING is a distraction when I'm in that spot.

The last week of zaps have been what they call a 'burst', covering an area about the size of a silver dollar.  I have three more of those to go (total of 8).  Dr. N2 explained it as 1.21 gigawatts of radiation going in.  Since I don't have a flux capacitor, and I'm not travelling 88 mph, I have not experienced any time travel.  Hmmm, perhaps he had different words than gigawatts, but it sounded every bit like that as he described it.

Larry's thumb is continuing to heal.  Last week he got a hard cast put on, and will go back on Wednesday this week and get that one taken off, and a new smaller one put on.  That allows for a better range of motion and hopefully less rehab when the cast is off full-time.

Prayer Requests:

  • Clarity of the my brain
  • Continued good strength
  • Continued healing for L's thumb

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Making Progress

Another five zaps down, only 20 to go.  The post it notes are starting to disappear.  Yay!  
Most days I don't feel anything during the treatment, but in the last week I've started to feel a little buzz in the muscle as the machine goes through its routine.  

In the evenings I'm starting to be able to quote Tony Horton, "Feel the burn."  By morning it all feels relatively normal again.  Some point in the next week or so, I expect they will turn up the heat and go into the more intense treatments for 5-7 days.

I've volunteered for a post-chemo study at UT Nursing School and I was able to answer "Often" to about 75% of the qualifying questions that she asked relative to my ability to focus, get things done, etc.  It was actually quite encouraging that so many of the questions were things I was experiencing.  The official study will likely begin in January.  

Larry's surgery went well last week Thursday.  He was up and around town on Friday feeling pretty good.  By Saturday he was ready to go and pick J's new show pigs.  J wanted to be sure I added a picture of the new pigs to the blog.
The black Hampshire pig is named Arthur.  So far the Chester pig remains unnamed, and J is willing to entertain any suggestions you may have.  Feel free to reply to this email with your suggestion. 

Prayer Requests: 
  • Thanksgiving for L's successful surgery
  • Continued healing for L's thumb
  • Focus in getting things done

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ten Down

Radiation treatments started two weeks ago and so far I've had ten zaps.  

In the first few days there was some confusion about how many zaps I would get exactly.  Initially the plan was for thirty, then on day 1 the tech said it would be forty.  On Wednesdays I meet with Dr. N2 and he confirmed that there will be 36.  He didn't mind taking a moment to look at my countdown board.  At that point he confirmed the 36 and had an appreciation for all of my grilling questions.  

Here's a little visual for you

and as of Friday: 

If you are curious, this is what the machine looks like that administers the daily zaps.  
The table raises and slides so that my body is more centered over the big white circle on the floor. The big square panels rotate around the body and the circle on top has its own rotation schedule too.  The blue pad is shaped to my body so that I lay in the same spot each time.  

So far so good.  My energy level is still good despite my WBC's still being down at 3.1 (they checked them again today).  

My hair is starting to come back. 

Here is a picture that Dan took at a work meeting on September 23rd. 

Dan is a great photographer, and I really want another picture when I have a full head of hair again,
and then a selfie I took last week when Terry asked how my hair was coming along.  I think it is even better and longer since I took this on Thursday.    However, I am down to only eight eyelashes on my lower left eyelid.  I'm saving a ton on mascara right now.   

Remember that little motorcycle accident back during the summer when the ER docs said that no one had broken anything?  Well turns out they were not exactly right.  It seems that Larry's right thumb that continues to ache was actually broken in two places.  He's been going to physical therapy the last couple of weeks and the therapist finally referred him to a hand specialist.  

A sonogram/ultraound and fluoroscope showed a tear of the ligament late last week. The MRI today confirmed it and showed that two bones (now healed) had been broken.  All of this information gave the surgeon a plan of action.  The surgery will be this Thursday at 6am.  The doctor thinks that the surgery will take about two hours.  He has three different plans for repair, and it will depend on what he finds when he gets started as to how he will proceed.  He will not be re-breaking the bones to 'fix' them.

There is also a tear on the volar plate on his index finger, but he will not be repairing that.  According to the doctor, "If it is a bad problem, I can make it better, but I cant guarantee any improvement on a minor issue."  The volar plate is considered a minor issue.  

Recovery will require a hard cast for six weeks, but the cast will be changed fairly regularly and each replacement will be smaller than the one before.  

The idea is to get as much of this completed before the end of the year so we potentially avoid paying another deductible in 2015.  

J is not worried at all about the surgery because he gets another mid-week sleepover with his buddy J.   Oh and there is a chance that cadaver ligaments could be used; which for a boy (or man) is a cool thing.   

Prayer Requests: 
  • Successful surgery for Larry
  • Continued good energy level
  • Growth of white blood cells
  • That we are good witnesses of the hope and goodness of God as we go about all of our medical appointments

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Phase 3 Begins

Monday's visit to the doctor did not yield the results I was hoping for when it came to blood counts.  The WBC's were still at their lowly levels of the prior week; 3.1.  The concern is that with radiation the WBC's will drop further.

I have been feeling quite well, and I'm sure it is the answer to your sweet and precious prayers.  To God be the glory!

However, after talking with the PA she found Dr. N and had a chat with him.  They decided that I was ok to go ahead and start radiation.

This afternoon I started the radiation.  I had already been in and met with Dr.N2,  had a template made for my body to lay in every day, along with two very tiny tattoos.  I was sure thankful Tom warned me that I would be getting those.  The technicians were able to use a well placed mole for the third spot they needed.

The plan is that I will have 40 treatments.  That is different than what I was originally told.   For those of us who have had the conversations about 5, 6 and 30 this is not another iteration of that fiasco;promise.

As I was leaving today the technician asked how many treatments I thought I was signing up for? Thirty.  Oh, well Dr. N2 has ordered 40, but he usually lets us break the good news to the patients. Swell, but with one down by the time she asked, I guess I'm in this far I'll just keep going.

The forty treatments will be dished out every work day, Monday through Friday with 28 of them being what I translated as broad spectrum radiation and twelve will be more focused and intense.  About once a week I will see the doctor and one other time I will see his nurse just to check in and see how things are going.

All of the appointments are at the same time every day; 3:15 and only take about 15 minutes.  Today took longer since it was the first visit and they did extra x-rays.  I should be good to go back and forth to work since the office is about 10 minutes away.

For those of you who I have talked to about my wardrobe issues, I have a two week stay before implementation has to begin.  Whew!

For a little FUN along the way I thought I would do a countdown of treatments.  Since I'm at work more often than at home, I gathered a variety of post-it notes from my co-workers and made this little count down board.

I'll add another 10 post-its to capture all 40 of the treatments, update my spreadsheet with the days (yes, that IS necessary), and make a countdown visual at home too.  I'll have to figure out the plan around Thanksgiving of when they are open and closed.  I was sure hoping to be done before that, but oh well.

If you want to make a post-it note countdown too, jump right in!  I completely understand if you don't want the random chaotic looking thing I created (random is quite difficult for my orderly mind).  It is already a bit distracting in my cube and is no doubt one reason I'm thankful to be getting started and removing some of these.

Of course the real reason to be thankful about getting started is so that I can be DONE and declared cancer free!

Prayer Requests:

  • White blood cell production gets ramped up
  • The skin doesn't burn or blister during treatment
  • Sleep is less restless

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Next Phase--Wait

Yesterday morning I went and visited with Dr. N on Monday morning fully expecting him to release me to the radiologist because the rash was gone and hadn't come back.

Unfortunately, when the rash left it took the WBC's with it.  My count was down to 3.5 yesterday and because it was below normal Dr. N said that I would need to wait before getting started on the radiation.  Ugh.  Come back next week.

I'm just going to be real here, I was bummed.  I'm ready to get this show on the road and despite my inability to do math and figure out how many zaps I'll be receiving and when that will end, I want to get that going.  It was a comical series of miscalculations on my part.  The frustration comes with one of my mottoes (sp?): You can't get finished if you don't get started.

My friend Andrea, no not the girl in the mirror, pointed out that I haven't exactly been sitting around resting and relaxing.  This past weekend was Harvest Fest and several times as we got ready for the event on Friday and during the event on Saturday she made me sit down and rest.

I don't know the best way to grow WBC's without the fancy shot, but perhaps a little rest is in order.

I'm also reminding myself that God's timing is perfect and this whole journey is in His hands, but I also stomped my foot a few times in frustration.  God is good.  He knows.  He is not surprised by any of this.

Prayer Requests:

  • WBC production and growth
  • Patience for timing of treatments
  • Clear thinking for my teflon covered brain (little is sticking right now)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week Full of Adventure

This week I had a series of fun, but adventuresome things.

Monday I went in for my weekly check up with Dr. N.  The rash was getting better, but not completely gone.  When he asked if I wanted to get on a steroid pack and get rid of the rash, I jumped at the chance.  He did make the referral to the radiologist, but said that we would wait another two weeks to be sure the rash is really gone before we start radiation.

Tuesday morning the first real adventure began when I was flying from Austin to Dallas (headed to Kansas City).  It was an early flight and all of us were sleeping.  When we landed the flight attendant was quick to point out that we had landed back in Austin.  We all confirmed that by looking out the windows.

She let us know that there was a problem on the flight, including a smell in the back of the aircraft, and as a precautionary measure they had turned around half-way to Dallas and come back.  Next we heard from the captain that the fire trucks would be looking the plane over and using thermal cameras.  When they found a 'hot spot' on the left wing, the decision was made for us to evacuate the plane, via the emergency slides.  It was a quick trip down the slide, and a fireman was down there to 'catch' each of us.  We even made the news.

It was not scary, but it was an inconvenience.  After standing on the tarmac for 20 minutes the airport brought some buses out and we were taken back to the terminal.  Another 20 minutes or so and we went upstairs to wait in a line to be let back on 10 at a time to get our stuff that had now been towed back to the terminal.  Oh but the fire department was still doing some investigating so we waited some more.  Everyone was in pretty good spirits as we waited, joking along about it all.

We were told to re-book our flights and since I was at the end of the waiting-to-get-your-stuff line I was suddenly in the front of the line to get over to gate 7 and re-book.  I got one of the few remaining seats on the 10:30 flight and still make it to KC without too much delay.

Another team member had been delayed too (though not for as exciting of a reason) and so I didn't have to ride over to our event alone when I got to KC.  We had a great team building time, and several of us, including me, got to climb to the top of this 50' tower.
The climbing up wasn't too difficult, but getting on to the top platform proved to be a little more of a challenge.  I did eventually figure it out, but only after reminding myself that I'm beating cancer, surely I could finish getting up on a silly platform.

Getting down from the platform required some serious self talk too.  You have a safety rope on, but you must go against everything your momma taught ya and push yourself off the platform so the team below can use the belay and let you down slowly.

The three days in KC were great and the trip home was uneventful, which was just fine.  One trip down the slide in a lifetime is plenty.

Praise God, the rash is gone and I'm on the next to the last day of the steroids (one of those tapering packs) and that there was no serious emergency with the plane and that the pilot was cautious enough to keep us all safe.

Next week Wednesday, I have my radiation consultation so I probably won't be back in touch until that gets underway the following week.  Hopefully there is nothing too exciting to report between now and then.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roving Rash

Sunday morning I woke up with a rash.  Not just an ordinary rash, but a very itchy rash.  The good news is that it did not stay in one place very long.  The bad news is that it was moving from one body part to another.  J did his best to stop me from scratching my arms all during church.  The trend seemed to be that at the top of the hour it would pop up and last about twenty minutes of intense itchiness.

Monday morning the rash was definitely back and still roving.  At one point it was in my armpit and when I scratched I felt like a monkey. At least I didn't smell like one too.

I sent an email to Nurse Karen and she responded right away that this was likely a reaction to the chemo I had on September 3rd and to take a combination of Claratin, Benadryl and Pepcid.  I didn't have all of those at the office, but when I got home that did provide some good relief and I was able to have a great night of sleep.

Tuesday it was back, but again under control with the medicine combo, and I was prepared with the right combo at the office.

Wednesday I had my follow up appointment and Patty confirmed that this was likely a reaction to the tacotere (chemo). I asked how long this might last; anywhere from a week to six weeks.  Eeek.

I also learned that my red blood cells are still down, as are my platelets.  They are confident that they will rebound in another week.  I'm thankful that my energy level is back to what feels pretty close to normal.

Today, I decided to test things and see what would happen if I didn't take the medicines.  I had a few moments that looked like Itchy and Scratchy, if that show were really about itching and scratching, but it wasn't too bad.   I'm planning to take the combo before bedtime tonight because who doesn't love a good night of sleep.

Up next:

  • Appt Monday with Dr. N to be referred for radiation

Prayer Requests:

  • Thanksgiving for clear-minded-ness and productive days
  • Continued blood cell development 
  • Rash to subside for real, without medicine
Thank you for your continued faithful prayers.  I am ever so thankful for you and for the amazing God who continues to answer your specific prayers.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quick Update

Just wanted to give you a quick update on how I'm doing.

I checked in with the doctor yesterday and my red blood cells were definitely on the low side, which like last time, explains while I feel tired all the time. There is nothing really to be done for it, except maybe eat more beef, which I'm happy to oblige.

My brain has been clearing up too, though I haven't picked up on a few cues where a good teasing was intended; instead taking them too literally.  I did work in a good comeback in the end, but I'd already shown my hand at that point.  Luckily, it was a good friend and there was plenty of grace.

One of the fun 'benefits' of the chemo was that it would push me into an early menopause, I'm sure that's news the men blog readers are interested in; sorry, but it is one of the facts.  Since the tumor was estrogen receptor positive if I get helped along that path then it further reduces the risk of recurrence and that is absolutely a good thing and why I bothered to mention it.

I will spare you the details, but I think the most common symptom that the world is familiar with are hot flashes.  We'll I have had my share lately, thank you very much, and I've also been unable to sleep well because of it.

Last Tuesday night it finally dawned on me.  It is as if I've been thrown into the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, or Rack, Shack, and Benny if you are Veggie Tales fan; watch it here.

The good news is that while RS&B were in the fiery furnace they were not in there alone.  The account in Daniel clearly shows a fourth person in the furnace with them, commentators believe to be pre-incarnate Jesus.  The fire had not harmed their bodies, Not a hair on their head was singed, please insert your version of the lack of hair joke here. Their clothes were not scorched, and they did not smell like fire.

In the end King Nebucanezer  praised God too, that God could save the young men in a furnace that was seven times hotter than usual because they would not break the First Commandment, you shall have no other gods besides me.  We should fear, trust and love the Lord above all things.  That last part was J's memory verse this past week, so it's quite fresh on my mind.

The plus side of having no hair is that the sweat on my brow catches the breeze of the fan easily to cool things off.

I'm thankful that I'm not alone through this either, and that we have a well air conditioned house.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Checking In

Just thought I'd post a quick note to say I'm doing Ok and your prayers are again being answered.

I've definitely found that movement after this round has been beneficial.  I do still fell fuzzy headed today, but am feeling better as the day progresses.

Clayton reminded me after my last post that the reason I can feel good despite having cancer is JESUS.  He is really the reason for the hope that I have.

Thank you for the prayers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

4 of 4

Despite all the blog silence, I've been doing well.  I did mean to post an update in between, but just got busy with back to school and didn't get around to another post after Nurse Karen said, "No need to come back in before the next round.  If you are feeling good, just roll with it."  So I did.  

I grew enough corpuscles to go forward today with the LAST chemo treatment.  

Can I get a woo hoo!  Oh yeah!  Done and done!  

YOUR prayers have been so well received and answered by our great God.  I am truly grateful and humbled.  He is so good.  I can't believe that you can feel this loved, supported, fun-filled and generally good while having something as ICKY as cancer.  You are the best prayer support team.  Thank YOU!!!

By the way, I'm two-thirds of the way through the process of being someone who HAS cancer to someone who HAD cancer.  

Next up, tomorrow I am scheduled for my shots and went ahead and signed up for fluids too, since I've needed them every time anyway.  The dr's office is working on a short schedule this week trying to work us all in with the holiday on Monday, why I didn't have my final treatment then, and it might be more challenging to work me in without the appointment.  Today it was a full house in the infusion room.  

Bobbie met me at the dr's office today to keep me company and we had a lovely visit.  There were a couple of times where we thought I was finished, but I miscounted drugs going in the first time and then the second time they had an extra bag of IV fluids to add in. We were out of there and headed to eat by 1:15. We were starving!  Thankfully she packed a snack for us of cheese and square crackers. 

When you are finished with your last treatment, they bring a bell over to your chair (Clayton spotted that when we were in for Round 2) and you get to ring it three good loud rings and the rest of the room applauds for you.  That was fun.  

One of the family members that was there with her patient stopped by as we were checking out and said, "I hope I never see you again, and smiled." I thought that was nice.   

I received a Certificate of Completion.  I now consider myself a chemo grad-u-ate.  The drawn out 'graduate' word was tied to a joke my parents used to tell, and only the punchline remains.   

Plus I got the t-shirt.

Thought I would share some more funny cartoons from Steph.  I may or may not have used some of these at home and at work.

This one may be for a younger crowd, but it is still funny and Larry thought perhaps should be shared with those in Hollywood or with any amount of celebrity status.
for the record this is NOT one I've used at home or work.  

Prayer Requests: 
  • That God will be glorified
  • That the nausea will not be as serious this round
  • That blood counts will be in the right zone
  • That my bones won't ache too much after the Neulasta shot
Next Steps: 
  • Visits each week for the next three weeks with lab checks 
  • September 21st appointment will be to discharge me from the oncology section and send me off to be radiated.
  • Radiation will start sometime after all the chemo is out of my system; about three weeks
  • Radiation will likely be 30 treatments
    • Schedule: Monday - Friday 
    • Appointments are relatively short ~15-20 min each
  • Grow hair 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quick Update

Just wanted to give a quick update that I am feeling better!  Praise God!  Your/Our prayers are being answered.  Thank you.

I don't think the red blood cells are back, because my arms and legs are still weak and I don't have a ton of energy (there are plenty of dishes that didn't get washed tonight as evidence), but my head feels better and the nausea stage has finally passed.  YAY!

Yesterday, I made a serious point of sitting and resting.  Yes, it was hard for me, why do you ask?  That was also the day that I finally addressed the prayer card quilt that was falling down a few pieces at a time each day.

I took each card and removed the sticky stuff from the back of each card and took the time to pray for each of you that sent me a card.  I'll be saving the cards so Janet can look at them again in 50 years when she has to move me to a nursing home (it's a long standing joke between us).

Next update will be after Thursday's appointment when they will check my blood again.   Keep praying for those corpuscles.

Friday, August 15, 2014

End of Week Update

This week has not been all that great.

Yes, it was great to get chemo #3 out of the way, but I've felt terrible every day since.

Green around the gills.

No unicorns or rainbows.

I went back in for fluids on Tuesday when I got my shot.  That sorta helped, but only temporarily.

Blah.  Ehhhh.

Then today I went back in to see how things were going because I was just still not feeling great.

Turns out my red blood cells have gone on a late summer vacation; dropping from 14 to 12.  PA Patty was super sweet and said, "Yep, that's why you feel so bad. Your numbers have dropped two points in just a few days."

Well at least there is an explanation and it's not all in my head or in my gelatinous feeling muscles.

So I got some more IV fluids this afternoon and will have to hope that my corpuscles come together and get going in the blood stream.

Prayer Requests:

  • Come on back red blood cells
  • Feeling better

"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."  1 Thess 5:24

Monday, August 11, 2014

75% Complete

I'm happy to report that I am now 75% complete with chemo.  I know this sounds silly to be excited that I'm 75% of the way done, but the half way point was really difficult.

Halfway points are difficult in general.  The most difficult point of a race are the middle miles.  The middle part of a project where the fun of the 'new' has worn off, but the completion is still a ways away.  That is exactly how I was feeling about the chemo being half finished.

I knew the 'day of' would be ok, and it was (a bit longer than the last time).  But the next few days are what I am not looking forward to just because of past experience.  Knowing what to expect in this case isn't a positive.

Dr. N and I met today before we started the infusion and based on the poor reaction I had last time on day 2 he mixed things up a bit and used a different anti-nausea medicine today.  Plus he made a change for day 2 and beyond anti-nausea meds as well.  Hopefully that makes the difference for a better experience this round.

I'll be going in tomorrow for my shot of Neutrogena, (really Neulasta) to help grow the WBCs.

I feel very blessed.

Work has been incredibly supportive, this week sending two cancer focused cookbooks, one that I whipped up some good soup (my favorite post-chemo meal choice) over the weekend.

I've had so many texts, emails, in real life conversations and phone calls with lots of encouragement.  I also know so many of you are still praying.  I just want to say THANK YOU!

Larry is doing better each day, but still has moments of 'fuzziness', which is to be expected.  Between the two of us we are quite a pair.  I can't remember anything because of the concussion, and Larry can't remember anything because of the chemo :)  (Yeah, I did that on purpose).

Prayer Requests:

  • The new meds for nausea are more effective
  • Larry continues towards clear head-ed-ness (that might not be a word)
  • That I can work a full day on Wednesday; the first day of school for J
I forgot to include the picture of all the currently bald family members a few weeks ago. 
e decided it was easier to not grow hair.  
She knows her mom's solidarity of no sweets is a tough one.  

Steph asked if I was ready for some cancer jokes and Oh Yes, I was!  So I'm sharing my favorites.

Larry wants to know what was the point.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
I know it's not any WBC's.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week of Blessings

This week I continued to feel better as treatment #2 was a more distant memory, though I was very tired as my red blood cells decided to be a little lower than normal.  This time the WBCs were just where they needed to be, but the red ones were low.  I used that as justification to eat beef several days in a row this week.

You know what the beef industry's motto is?  Seven days without beef makes one weak.  Well I didn't want to be weak this week.  :)

Larry was also feeling better and back to work.  Thanks to the concussion, he did still have periods where he got dizzy and was still fuzzy a good portion of the time, so we took it easy every evening.
The week was full of blessings though.  I received a lovely pair of earrings from a friend who said that I needed them to go with my new haircut.  ha!

Aren't the earrings cute???

I received another gift package from my co-workers.  They have been amazing with the fun stuff they have been sending. This week was movie night!

Then I also received a a tin full of popcorn.  If you sent that and you are reading this, thank you.  There was no card included, so I am not able to thank you properly.

Life can't be all good.  Of course my hair has fallen out, well there's that weird fuzzy layer left, but like my hair, my prayer card quilt has also given up on sticking around.  I've been picking up cards every day and trying to reattach them, but they just don't want to stick any more.
My hair definitely went through a patchy stage like this.  But if this is the worst of my troubles... I don't have any troubles.

I'm expecting to feel pretty normal all week this week.  I am hopeful that all of my taste buds come back to life.  I have figured out that soups and other foods that really fill my whole mouth have more flavor than drier foods.

Jake is on the tail end of summer vacation, and asked that we do something fun this week.  So he and Larry started off this afternoon with going to the movies.

Prayer Requests:

  • Continued healing and clearing of Larry's head.
  • Continued strength for me. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Healing at the Infirmary

I'm happy to report that things are much better around our house today.

Larry came home on Tuesday evening (thanks to Shane's help) with a feeding tube.  This afternoon he was able to get that tube removed.  He is doing much better with that taken out and is feeling better too.

Chemo + 1 was not a great day for me on Tuesday.  Thankfully, Clayton was here to take me for my shot, some anti-nausea meds and IV fluids because I sure didn't feel like driving anywhere.

Wednesday, Janet and the kids came about mid-day and we all started having fun when the work day was finished.

Thursday was Clayton's 30th birthday (super bonus that we could all be together) so Shane came over too for supper.  Over the course of the day Janet and I made an effort to put sprinkles of some kind on every one of Clayton's meals (because sprinkles are certainly more fun).  Pancakes with sprinkles for breakfast, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on lunch and sprinkles on the birthday cupcakes.


  • Larry feeling better and being released back to work
  • Me feeling better as the week has progressed
  • Clayton, Shane and Janet being here this week

Monday, July 21, 2014

When Life Hands You a Few More Lemons

I also thought of the title "When it Rains it Pours".  My apologies this will be a bit longer post.

Friday was a great birthday.

The weather was unseasonably cool; high of 78.  In July.  In TEXAS.   My girls' weekend contract prohibits me from sharing many details of what goes on at girls weekend, but I am able to share these two pictures of our group as we waited in the normally baking hot sun for Zilker Hillside Theater to begin at dusk.  That melting heat is what precludes me from attending an annual basis.

The guy texting is not with us (just to be clear)

Saturday started well too, but by 12:30 took an usual turn.  Let me start this part out with the punch line, because once I get started you'll immediately want to know this part.  J is fine.  Larry will be fine and has made good improvement today.

Larry and J were involved in a motorcyle accident on the lower deck of I-35.  L ended up rear-ending a Suburban on the motorcycle.  Please go reread the above paragraph so you can keep breathing and then continue reading.

Traffic was backed up (as usual) and a truck stopped quickly.  The Suburban in front of L swerved to not hit the truck, but L ended up (at slow speed) hitting the Suburban.  Two Good Samaritans called to tell me about it because when they saw what happened they immediately got out of their car and went to J because they are also moms, of course I was very grateful for their help.  J was insisting to them, "Call my mom.  Call my mom."  Thankfully, he had the composure under pressure to be able to tell them my number.

They started out the conversation with, "Don't panic."  Yeah, right.  "J is fine, we are talking to him now and staying with him. Your husband seems to be ok, but is bleeding, but we are staying with Jake and the paramedics are arriving now. I call you back and tell you where they are taking them when I find out more details."  We exchanged a few more details and hung up.  I got the girls all up to speed, we prayed as a group and we went into problem solving mode.  I'd just like to say I'm part of an amazing group.

We were headed to Bobbie's daughter's house to check out their newlywed digs; super cute can't wait to really see it all finished and not in panic mode.  Bobbie and I broke from the group and took her husband's car (he was also there doing some plumbing work) to the Children's hospital where J was being taken.

Shane was in town, so I sent him to the hospital where Larry was headed.  Janet and Clayton were already in Texas so we said we'd be in further communication as their drive progressed closer to Austin.

J had no broken bones, no internal injuries, just a good sized cut on his elbow that they expected would need stitches.  In the end they decided that it just needed steri-strips.  We were all very excited and after a few hours he was released and Bobbie took him back to girls weekend.  He's been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that no secrets of girls' club are revealed.  We are in negotiations; I may have to call in a legal favor if he keeps bringing in his big negotiating guns.

Larry was more beat up.  He has no broken bones, but was knocked out for a while, received stitches on his eyelid, chin, and two spots on his hand.  Later we found out that he also has a four inch tear in the back of his throat on his pharynx.  The ENT doc who did the exploratory surgery said there was nothing in there to cause the tear, and he had never seen anything like it.  He put in a breathing tube as a precautionary measure as swelling was likely and there was certainly no need to get into an emergency situation with a blocked airway.  He also inserted a feeding tube because it is difficult for L to swallow right now, and the doc didn't want any food going through the tear.  He feels like that needs to stay in for at least five days.

The breathing tube was removed Sunday afternoon and there was no additional swelling, his vocal chords tightened back up and his voice came back.  By Sunday evening L has been moved to a regular room.

As of Monday he does have an infection that they are treating, plus he has some fluid on the lungs likely from being in a horizontal position for a while, or perhaps additional infection brewing.  He was able to be up and walking around the floor and working with PT.  He is understandably sore all over since he flew over the handlebars.  Likely L will be in the hospital until Friday.

The two ladies called back on Saturday evening to check on J and L.  They were also able to tell me some additional details that happened.  The passenger said she happened to be looking at them when the accident happened.  After they hit the back of the Suburban she saw L fly over the handlebars and then J fly over him, both landing on the pavement.

Larry has no recollection of the accident.

Clayton, Shane and I went to see the bike today.  It was not in good shape, but also not completely crushed either.  The boys took all of the personal items out and I filed the insurance claim.

Of course there are so many things to be thankful for, but the ones that come immediately to mind:

  • Both L and J will be/are ok
  • Girls club was not out of town and support was RIGHT there on the spot
  • J was with it enough to remember my phone number so I wasn't hours later learning about what happened
  • Shane was in town
  • Clayton was headed here already and 'on vacation' and able to help out here at home
  • I was feeling just fine and non-cancery while all of that was going on

Ok, I think I've covered all the basics on that topic.

Today, Monday, was also the half-way point on chemo treatments for me.  Remember that part?  Yeah, it kinda got pushed out of my thought process for a little while.

Treatment went well today.  Tomorrow I go back for the Neulasta shot to pump up those WBC a little earlier than the last round.  The count today was 8.3, in the good zone to start.

Goals/Prayer Requests for this week:

  • Keep giving glory to God for his protection
  • Stay hydrated (something I fell apart on last time)
  • Get L well enough to be home

I'll end on with this verse we covered in bible study this evening; perhaps it is the lemonade after the extra lemons we were handed over the weekend.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:6-7

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Little FUN Before Round 2

The last week has been great, thank you so much for all of your continued prayers.  God has continued to be so faithful at answering your requests and petitions on my behalf.  

Ever since those WBC's came back, I've felt normal and non-cancery.  So I've been doing all sorts of different fun things.

Saturday we met our friends and we went bowling.  We are a wild bunch.  Scores on one game topped 300, but only if you added all three of the guys scores together.  The wives and J didn't quite roll that high in two games combined, but we had a blast.

Saturday when I woke up I realized that my hair was starting to go.  J was having fun pulling it out all day.  It's a good thing that I was behaving myself, otherwise my momma could have legitimately come and snatched me up bald headed.

Sunday would be the last day for my old hairstyle to see the light of day. I had a hairbrush full of hair after the blow-dry.

When we came home from church I started the trimming.

First there was the mullet (business in the front):
party in the back:

Then the Pat Benetar: 

The mohawk: 

a side bonus that I hadn't planned on from the 90's, the rat tail

fish Sellers part 2, but without all of the college courses or early morning push ups and running. 

Then as the week has progressed these hairs have continued to fall out until it looked like I had a bad case of mange.  It is coming out and I'm almost completely bald by now. 

Finally, since it was girls' weekend starting tonight, we kicked it off with a fun night of  roller skating. 

Go out there and have fun, we certainly are not holding back. 

Next up: 
  • Monday 7/21  Chemo Round 2
  • Tuesday 7/22  proactive Neupagen shot to keep those WBCs up this round
  • Wednesday 7/23 Janet & Clayton bring c & e for a visit

Prayer Requests: 
  • Chemo goes smoothly
  • Feeling good and ready to babysit c & e for the weekend

Thursday, July 10, 2014

They're Baaacck

Hooray and Praise God!

I got up 'early' this morning and headed back to the doctor after a restless night.  It was restless because all of my 'long' bones were very achy despite a nice dosage of ibuprofen.  Nurse Betsy had said that when the Neupogen kicks in that exact thing would happen.

Test results did not disappoint.  My numbers were up this morning and WBC is back up to 9.9!!!!  Yes, that was almost a 5x improvement.  Certainly that didn't seem possible from human terms, at least not my terms.  I was hoping for a 4.5.  Ha!  Shows what I know.

Funny what a search on The Google will do for you... This is more of what I had in mind to share the other day and with the whole white count adventure this week I made a few more changes.

Prayer Requests:

  • Thanksgiving for the WBC's come back
  • Relaxation and continued strength
  • Preparation for the next chemo round on 7/21
Hopefully, I won't have anything to report for the next 10 days (so don't worry if there's no update).  Maybe I'll have something fun to share in between.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting Patiently???

Thanks to a search on The Google the words of Psalm 40 seem to be what I really needed to 'hear' today.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord

I'll cut to the chase.  My numbers are only slightly better today; up to 2.1.  There was something about neuroplasts not rebounding fast enough or showing any improvement and that did not make Dr. N or Patty (the PA) happy.  So I got another shot today, and get to go back and have my blood checked again tomorrow.

For round 2 of chemo they will give me a similar drug to the neupogen, but it will be delivered the day after chemo and it is longer lasting and will therefore not require a daily trip to Austin to have the other drug delivered.  I can certainly handle a process change when things aren't working you've got to keep tweaking things.

On the plus side, as long as the ibuprofen is in my system, I'm feeling pretty normal.  I've not resolved my chart issues, but I'd give today a 98%.

There is nothing that I can do about 'fixing' things other than wait, and so waiting patiently for the Lord seems like the other viable option.

In the meantime, I received a third lovely care package from my teammates/co-workers who are scattered all over the country.  The package today was from my local office and had some great teas, and plenty of flavored/good smelling lotions, body washes and candles. It was similar in sweetness, humor and encouragement.

Opening the box brought back a memory that made me laugh and I thought I would share it with you too.

One Christmas, my Grandma received a bunch of flavored/good smelling lotions, powders, and bubble baths.  After she had opened all of her gifts.she looked at all of us and asked, "Do you think I smell bad?"

I don't think I smell bad, but I've decided that cancer stinks, and maybe these will help things be less stinky.  Until then I'll keep reminding myself to sing praise to our God.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Hello??? Are There any White Blood Cells in There?

My visit with Dr. N this afternoon did not go as I planned.

My CBC showed that my white count has dropped from a happy healthy baseline of 10 last Monday, all the way down to 0.9.  Yes, that is less than 1.  That might explain why I felt a little 'foggy' this morning and wasn't feeling super strong yesterday evening either.

Dr. N thought that I looked dehydrated and thought that I would benefit from receiving a liter of IV fluids so I sat in the chair and received them.  I also got an injection of white blood cell booster.  I'll get to go back again tomorrow for a second shot and then back again on Wednesday to check my count again.  If things aren't on the up-swing by then I'll get a third shot.

I'm also on a preventative antibiotic since my immunity fighting ability is not quite at it's strongest at the moment.

I was banned, by the doc, from bible study for the evening and also from any visitors who are the least bit sick, including allergies.  At least until my WBC decide to show back up.  Not that it is a revolving door around here or anything, but good to know.

As for the last week I've had a number of texts and calls asking how I'm doing so I made a handy-dandy chart.  Tuesday was definitely the low point as far as nausea and generally not feeling well.  I had a better looking chart, but technical complications are preventing me from sharing it and I was forced to take a picture of a second version I created on the fly.  You'll have to trust me that I had something better.

Prayer Requests: 

  • White blood cells will bounce back. 
  • My energy will return.
  • Thanksgiving that Dr. N takes a proactive approach to managing all of this.

Monday, June 30, 2014

So Far So Good

Larry and I went to chemo today (despite our marital vows where the two shall become one, I was the only one to actually receive the drugs) and things went well.

They did as they promised in the training, first pushed in the anti-nausea medicine and Benadryl.  Then they let that percolate for a little while as I sat in the heated recliner with a cotton blanket; nice.  The nurse did tell me that I shouldn't wear shorts next time because it is always cold in there; sweat pants are more the expected attire.  Not sure I would survive the drive home in sweat pants and with the blanket I was just fine.

Next, they started the first chemo drug and pushed it in really slowly.  It was well tolerated--meaning I didn't have any wild eyed looks going on, the nurse did tell Larry that he should be checking on me regularly to see if I looked any different because if there is a reaction going on, it usually starts with wild eyes.  They continued to increase the speed that it was going in over the course of an hour or so until I was at full speed ahead.

When drug one was empty, the loaded drug #2 and got going with that one.

We headed home around 2pm.  I even got to pick up my free Chick-fil-a sandwich that was expiring today and enjoyed it on the way home.  I was afraid I was going to miss out.
I'm seriously considering heading off to bible study this evening, presuming I still feel like I do now.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and texts of prayers they are so wonderful!  God has truly answered each one.  He is so gracious!

I read this during my homework/devotional time the other morning and thought it would be a good verse to share.  Talking about how thankful Paul was for the Thessalonians.  I checked it out with Clayton too, in full disclosure, he had me share these verses instead of 9 and 10 because there is the whole discussion about how we are all still growing in our faith, but verse 10 ends in a way that taken out of the context of these new believers sounded a bit odd to say to you, dear readers,  who are people I am trying to imitate (which is from 1 Thess 1:6-7).

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you [or you to come to us].  May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and hold in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus come with all his holy ones.  1 Thessalonians 3: 11-13

Next Steps:
Monday 7/7   Blood work to make sure my CBC is still good; they took a baseline today.
Monday 7/20 Chemo round 2

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chemo Training 101

Today I completed my one hour one on one training session to learn how to 'do' chemo.

Janet asked the most important question this afternoon.  "After the training was complete, was there a t-shirt?"  Guess what? Yes, there was indeed!  I didn't take the time to pick it up today, but I certainly will.

Clayton established early on in his college days that if I didn't go to the event, then I couldn't wear the t-shirt, even if he was not going to wear the shirt anymore.  Well, I don't want to anyone else to get this t-shirt.  At least for me it was a bonafide training.

The chemo cocktail I'll be taking is Docetaxel + Cyclophosphamide or TC.  We went over all of the expected side effects, what is normal, what is rare, when to call the doc, etc.

I'll have two different drugs to combat the nausea, a steroid to help keep up my energy and a lidocaine cream to put over the portacath.

Monday I did have a successful portacath insertion.  I slept off and on Monday, and felt well enough that I caught a ride to Bible study that evening.

The first treatment will be this coming Monday, the 30th.  They said to plan on being there five hours!  Yes, you can bring food along.  They will take their time putting in one drug and then another to be sure I don't have any adverse reactions to them.  Future treatments won't take this long.

The second treatment will be 7/20, yay for being after my birthday!  That is when my hair is expected to be on its way out, but we girls have a plan for beating it to the punch during girls weekend starting on the 18th.  Ok, it is possible, that I might have a few control issues (at least around the edges).

Then two more treatments each three weeks apart.

So we (do you love how I'm dragging you along??) are on our way... Thank you so much for all your encouraging notes, texts, emails and especially all of your prayers.  They make such a difference, my stress level which has been very low. It is a peace that passes all human understanding.  Praise be to our great and gracious God.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Memory Monday

One of the things that I have been so thankful for these past two months is some unintended prep work that I have done over the last couple of years.  That is bible memory.  I'm by no means super memory girl or anything like that.  I thought it would be FUN if you guys did a little memory too, starting on Monday, of course to pick up on the alliteration; Memory Monday.

All of the boys have had memory work as part of their elementary and middle school years. Each of them needing various levels of help to complete the assigned verse(s) for the week. It's natural that when you hear them repeat the verse 6-10 times you start to pick up on them as well.  J's strategy is to teach the verses to me in the car while we drive to school.  Then after I learn it, he works on teaching it to himself.  Of course we all know that in his teaching is where he learns it.  Admittedly, some are only kept in the memory long enough to complete the week's assignment.

In 2012 my good friend Cindy challenged her blog followers to memorize a verse every two weeks and to make it fun, she did them in an A to Z order.  You can read about it here.  Her friend Darlene even has a business that prints verses on business card size card stock that fit neatly into your purse (if you carry one).

God asks us to hide his word in our hearts.  And while I'm not great at it, I am happy that I've taken the time to do some memory along the way.  Especially the day that I was strapped into the mammo machine for quite some time.  I was happy to be reminding myself that, "Nothing is impossible with God."  Sparing you further details, let's just say reaching for my phone and looking up a good verse on my bible app was not a possibility that day.

How can you incorporate some memory into your daily life?

  • Write a verse on your mirror with a dry erase marker
  • Make a little card and keep it on your dashboard (I used one of Darlene's cards)
  • Change your computer password to be a verse (it meets the new super security standards)
  • Sing it in a song
Here are a few of my favorites these days, I'm terrible at remembering their address (where to find them), but I figure that is when The Google can come in: 
  • He works ALL things to the good of those who love him.  
  • Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds (ha ha, I first typed kids)
  • Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful [for the answer]and thankful 
  • Every good and perfect gift is from above
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength
  • Nothing is too hard for God
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding
  • Victory rests with the Lord
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
  • Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus
'Life' is going to happen.  Attitude can make all the difference in whether you have a pleasant or miserable time along the way.  The choice is yours.  99% of the time, I'm choosing the positive route, how about you?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Wheels are in Motion

Friday I received a call from the surgeon's office that they were ready to schedule the porta-cath installation.  Turns out that the only available spot next week is Monday morning at 7am.  That means that we will need to be there by 5:45am.  Ouch.  The good news is that we shouldn't run into any traffic at that hour.  :)

I won't be going fully under, the nurse said it was called conscience sedation, but it out enough that you can't eat after midnight and you need someone to drive you home.

The procedure lasts 30 minutes and then recovery for about an hour before they kick us to the curb.  So I'll be taking it easy on Monday, but should be home before lunch.

Never mind all the work that took place on Friday, chemo training was also scheduled for this coming Wednesday.  Janet suggested it might be like fish Orientation Week at A&M and I should be practicing my "Sir, yes sirs," just in case.

Also next week on Thursday, (oh sure I love driving to Austin every day) I have a follow up appointment with Dr. N, but I'm not exactly sure what that is for. I expect that will be when the first chemo treatment will start and they will shift the time around a bit from where it is now.

I should mention too that we have a new family member these days.  Last week we adopted Hank from the animal shelter.  He is a 2-3 year old wire terrier and has a great disposition. We are glad to have him around.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We Have a Plan of Action

Sorry that the poll did not work well yesterday, but I'm glad I didn't order an entire roll of these stickers.

When Larry and I left Dr. N's office today we did not have a plan.  Instead we had more indecision from the Tumor Board.  They were still on the fence and because they met at Olive Garden this week the janitor didn't bother to attend (he's gluten free) and therefore there was no deciding vote.  Just kidding about the attendance of the janitor.  The Tumor Board really was still on the fence,said it was 'patient choice' and they meet via web conference call.

Based on that indecision Dr. N had called two additional docs and was considering taking my case to the city-wide tumor board.  We left with the plan that he would hear back from these last two docs and call me and let me know their opinion.

The indecision by the numbers:
Out of 100 women with same size tumor, no node activity, estrogen receptor positive, histologic grade 2, only further radiation treatment:

  • 80% are alive and without cancer in 10 years
  • 17% relapse
  • 3% die of other causes

If you look only at the 17% who relapse if they went through additional treatments:

  • Hormone therapy alone (forced menopause to get rid of the estrogen source feeding any microscopic cancer cells floating around) helped 7 more women
  • Chemo alone helped 10 more women
  • Combined helped 13 more women
That 7 to 13% benefit is a 50% improvement on eliminating the relapse.  Yes, it's a percent of a percent, but that very circumstance made me laugh.  Tim B, if you were reading I know you would be laughing too.  

But really that 50% improvement of chances was already swaying me to a decision.  I mean what self respecting over-achiever would ever want to score in the 80's when they could go the extra mile and get an "A".

We left, still in undecided mode, but stopped downstairs to talk amongst ourselves when Dr. N called back and we went back upstairs to hear what he had learned in the subsequent 10 minutes.  A doc had reviewed my case and because of two factors she recommended chemo.

  1. The tumor was multi-focal (the seeds of the strawberry).
  2. There was lympho-vascular involvement in the tumor.

Neither of those two factors were considered in the numbers above, which are riskier.  So we have a decision.  I feel fine about it.  I just want to get started so I can get finished.

Next Steps:

  • Next week I will need to go to 'Chemo Training'.  I have no idea what that might entail.  
  • I also need to get a copy of my heart echo tests, he wanted to order new ones, and I quickly stopped him and said wait I just had that done less than two months ago.  
  • I will also need to get the port-a-cath installed.  I suppose that's better than a port-a-potty.  

The chemo plan will be 4 total treatments at the lowest dose.  Have a treatment, wait three weeks, have another treatment, wait three weeks, etc. until four treatments are completed.

J was instantly wondering if I would lose my hair, doc says yes.  Oh man, you're going to look weird.  :)

THEN, start radiation.  Only one torture at a time. No further details about that yet.

Answered Prayers:

  • I am so thankful that there is so much data available for a person like me to use for analysis
  • That so many have been praying for me
  • That treatment options are available
  • I feel great physically and emotionally
  • That the genetic tests showed that nothing cancer related (that they tested for) passed down to C, S, J, c and e
  • We have a plan of action

Prayer Requests:

  • God would be glorified
  • I would be cancer free
  • Appointments next week would be easily coordinated
  • That I wouldn't feel too sickly when treatments start
I'm gettin my boots on.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Will I need...

Will I need...

When Negative is a Big Positive

Today I learned that I am not related to these guys.

Praise God.

The results of the genetic testing came back negative, which is a good thing.  It means that I don't have the mutated gene and therefore I am not exceptionally predisposed to three other kinds of cancer.

The last few days I've been as nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers, not sure how this test result would come out.  I have appreciated your prayers of support for those of you who have asked.

Next appointment is tomorrow (no, I couldn't have two appointments in the same day due to insurance so I get to drive back to Austin again), where I hope we will finally have the results of the Tumor Board and a plan of ACTION.

The options so far are
Radiation or
Chemo+ Radiation

Not sure if this link will work to take a poll.

More tomorrow!