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.