Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009: Pea Green Soup

Friday night Nathan shared a riddle with me. He said he was going to ask me four questions and that I had to answer "pea green soup" to every question (sorry if you've heard this one before!). Anyway, here goes.

What did you have for breakfast? (Pea green soup). What did you have for lunch? (Pea green soup). What did you have for supper? (Pea green soup). What did you do all night? (Pea green soup). Sorry, gross. Little did I know at that point that I would be experiencing my own four "pea's" over the next two days.

The first one was "power". We lost power a couple hours after Nathan shared this joke with me.

The second one was "pool". The kids have always wanted us to have a pool. I'm pretty sure they wanted this to be in the back yard though . . . not the basement.

The next one was "panic". Over the past couple days I have been slowly letting the panic overcome me. This afternoon I was very close to having a panic attack. (Last year I had the joy of experiencing my first full blown panic attack - let's just say it wasn't good).

My final "p" was for "peace". I realized that if I didn't slow down soon that the panic attack was going to win so I went to a quiet room and did some of the techniques that my kineseologist had taught me last year. Once my breathing started improving I started to think of where my "happy place" was that I needed to mentally go to. Right away I could almost hear God saying "come back to Me - I've got this all under control". I literally felt my panic being replaced with peace.

So over the past couple days I have lost "power", gained a "pool", took control of a "panic attack" and found "peace".

Praise God!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


As fast as the guys can suck the water out it pours back in!

Saturday, June 20, 2009: When It Rains It Pours

At 8:00 last night out power went out. At 8:00 this morning Brian went downstairs and heard "splash" with the first step (actually he saw it before he heard it). Most of our cul-de-sac has flooded basements. It was unreal watching all the neighbors going from house to house this morning - everyone working together to empty basements.

Thankfully our power has returned. Modernistic is in our basement right now sucking the water out and will then be ripping out all the carpet. We "had" a finished basement. I guess now it's unfinished. I'm trying to find the silver lining in all of this but I have to say . . . . this sucks.

I am very thankful to have Ashley and Nathan home from Camp Geneva safe and sound. As of this morning that was all I wanted - the kids home safe and sound. Now that I have that all I want is a dry basement. And new carpet. And this entire disaster to go away without all the physical labor that is soon to follow. One step at a time. One teeny tiny painfully slow baby step at a time.

Please pray that we continue to look for the positive and not dwell on the negative. We've been meaning to clean the basement . . . pretty soon it will be cleaner than it has ever been. We have our power back. The sun is shining! Insurance won't cover this. Oops, forgot, looking at positive . . . .

Despite how awful this is I have to say seeing our neighborhood pull together this morning was just amazing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday, June 18: 2009: Shine On

I can't believe it has already been almost a week since the Relay for Life! I have been busy being a taxi cab driver this week. Nathan has been going to day camp at Camp Geneva so we've been making a couple trips a day out there. It has been so wonderful though hearing about how much fun Nathan is having that I would drive twice as much if necessary! Ashley has been at camp since Monday morning and won't be coming home until Saturday morning. This cutting the apron strings thing never gets any easier!

The relay was again a wonderful experience. I made it the entire 24 hours this year! I wasn't awake the entire time (thanks to a sleeping pill) but I stayed the entire time. I walked, visited with friends & family, rested, cried, ate (too much) food, cried some more, reflected on the past and was encouraged by survivors. So far over $150,000 has been raised! I am already planning on attending next year and the year after that, and the year after that . . .

I've been reading back over the blog and am always shocked at everything that we have endured. I have forgotten about so much which is good but at the same time I don't ever want to forget. I want to always be grateful for every day that I wake up and for every battle that God brought us through.

There were some battles that didn't make sense and I don't know that we really won them. What I do know is that the final battle has already been won and that is all that really matters. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day stress and forget what our main priority here on this temporary earth is.

At the beginning of this journey I told everyone to put their sunglasses on cuz God was going to shine bright through me. He has done that more than I could have even imagined. For those of you that don't know me, I am probably one of the most extremely anxious, always worrying person with a very, very low tolerance for pain. Knowing this makes God's light seem so much brighter.

God isn't done shining through me yet (and I hope He never is). In addition to His shining, I need to start doing some shining of my own. I need to get out of my comfy little routine and quit using the cancer card (yup, I'm still using it). I have a survivor story to share (not only cancer but eternal life) with anyone that will listen.

Recently I've noticed some changes in myself. I've been a people please all my life and it's really getting tiresome. I also realized that the way I'm trying to please people is how I would be pleased and I'm actually probably ticking them off! I've heard that once you hit 40 you finally start to become more comfortable with yourself and start worrying less about what people think of you. Although I'm not quite 40 yet (5 months, 3 weeks and 6 days to go) I am starting to understand that concept.

At risk of making this a very long post (shocker, I know) I need to publicly apologize to Brian. I have always given him a hard time about how he is constantly listening to music. We have a radio and unnecessarily large speaker in every single room of the house (yes, even the bathroom). I prefer things to be "quiet". He has also been known to break into dance at any given moment. Every time he does this I will put four fingers up with my left hand and a zero with my right hand (to remind him that he is 40 - not the 20 year old rock star he is acting like).

Well, today I put on Toby Mac (once I figured out how to get i-tunes going on my computer and how to get the surround sound speakers working). I turned the music up loud (no one else was home) and I sang and danced (loudly and badly) while I cleaned the kitchen. Go figure, I had fun cleaning the kitchen. I felt very upbeat and positive and happy. I guess my husband is pretty smart after all. Maybe next time he starts dancing I will have to try joining him instead of mocking him. Okay so I'll stop mocking him but I'm not sure I'm up to having a witness to my dancing yet . . . maybe some day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009: The "maintenance" begins

Today was round one of fifteen on my maintenance treatment. The drug I receive is Avastin and it goes through my chest port over 1/2 hour. The cost . . . you may want to sit down . . . . $12,000. Yup, twelve thousand dollars. We are extremely fortunate that our insurance covers this or I would not be able to receive it at that cost. I don't need any premeds for this which means . . hooray . . . no benadryl! So far I haven't had any reaction to it.

We had an appointment with Dr. Downey this morning and I asked him straight out - were there times over the past two years that he didn't think that I was going to survive and he said yes. There were times that he didn't think I would beat the odds. I've told him from day one that I was going to survive and I think he finally believes me now :) He is very happy with the way things are going.

At the clinic today there was a woman with a bandanna on her head because her hair had fallen out. She looked very drained. It instantly brought me back a couple years when I was on that awful chemo. We would go in day 1, day 2 and day 8 out of a 21 day cycle. I would just finally feel human again and wham! That year was absolutely horrible.

My heart ached for this woman. My thoughts then turned to "what if the cancer comes back and I need to return to another aggressive chemo". I can't go there - I can't do that. I was overwhelmed at the thought of fighting that fight. I didn't think I was capable of something that difficult.

Then it hit me. I am capable of that. I did survive that. I went there, I did that and I kicked cancers butt!! Right now I can't imagine having it in me to survive something like that. Actually, I don't have that in me. I am a complete wimp when it comes to pain. That makes it all the more obvious that God was fighting this battle through me. He gave me just what I needed to get through each day. Should the day come where I need to fight some more . . . He's going to be there again.

The Relay for Life is coming up in two days. As I looked at all the people in the chemo clinic today I was thinking about the magnitude of this event. The money raised here goes to research. That research discovered the chemo and maintenance that I've been on. Without that . . . well, it wouldn't be good.

Thank you so much to those of you who have donated already. If you would still like to donate, the link to my web page is on the right hand side of our blog. I realize that times are tight right now and there are so many wonderful causes that need our support. Even if you can't contribute financially you can still contribute by keeping this event in your prayers.

At 6:00 on Friday night there is a victory lap. This is one of the most emotional parts of the evening. All the survivors and their families walk around the track. It is amazing to see all the purple survivor shirts. It is so encouraging to see all the people that have survived! Anyone is welcome to come check it out. If you have been thinking about being a part of the Relay I would recommend coming this year just to see what is all about. It is a very family friendly event. All the information about the event (time, location, activities) are also on my web page.

On a completely separate note, Brian is really struggling with his fatigue again. He had a few really good weeks and we saw a glimpse of the "old" Brian (well, not literally old). Just a couple days ago the fatigue returned and today he had a hard time even staying awake during my treatment. He is so tired of being tired. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.

As always - thank you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009: Absolutely Perfect

I heard back tonight from my nurse and she said my scan and x-ray looked "absolutely perfect". There was no evidence of disease anywhere. Phew! I knew deep down that they wouldn't find anything and I haven't really been too worried about it but when I heard the good news tonight I realized I was a bit anxious about it. It was wonderful to put those fears aside.

Friends of ours brought us an "end of chemo" celebratory supper. We had the best lasagna I have ever had, cheesy garlic toast, a salad and a very yummy dessert. (Thanks Bernie & Arlene - you guys are too good to us!).

I'd better get to bed now so I'm ready to wake up the kids for their last day of school tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009: Side Effects

I am sooooo glad that I am done with Taxol. The side effects have been getting worse with every round. Yesterday I was a zombie all day from the Benadryl. Today it feels like I have a bunch of mosquitoes biting at my face - kind of a prickly feeling. A friend of mine came up with a great name for it - chemosquitos!

My tongue has that scalded feeling again and food is tasting rather yucky. I'm trying not to be whiny and remember that once these go away they should stay away! There is always a chance that the side effects can become permanent but hopefully that won't happen. On a positive note my hair isn't falling out! With the last round quite a bit was falling out within a day of treatment.

I will be starting my maintenance treatments (Avastin) next week Wednesday (the 10th). I was kinda bummed that I am starting already but next week will be three weeks from my last round of Avastin. I guess the sooner I start the sooner I'm done.

The kids are pretty excited that summer break is almost here. I am too . . . except for the sibling rivalry factor :) Next week Friday is the Relay for Life (thank you to those of you who have donated so far!) and the following week Nathan and Ashley will be at Camp Geneva. What happened to the good old lazy days of summer? Yikes, that made me sound old.

I'm still assuming no news is good news with my ct scan and x-ray but I'm going to call tomorrow just to make sure. I will update tomorrow if anything bad was found on the scans.

Thanks for the prayers.