Saturday, June 14, 2014

The journey is coming to its end.

I can't believe it's been 2 years since mom or I posted on this blog. Life certainly flies by when you're not documenting it.

I'm heartbroken to share the news that mom's fight with cancer is all too quickly coming to it's end. Her body has just not bounced back since December. The decline of mom's health has been devastating to watch.

Through it all, mom has remained a fighter, positive and optimistic. It has been her spirit that has pushed her body to amazing limits.

I can't encapsulate in one blog post my emotions. In a word, I'm crushed. However, I have faith and I take comfort in mom's unshakeable faith. She has a relationship with her Heavenly Father that is quite remarkable. 

Mom, I know you won't read this in this life, but I know you will know of my thoughts in the next. 
I love you. Endlessly. Completely. Truly. Happily. Joyfully. I will miss you being on this Earth with me. Every single minute of every single day. I hope I will continue to reflect your goodness, your grace, your generosity, your care, your laughter, your joy, and your love. You have made my life magical and I am the most blessed daughter ever.

Even though this journey is almost at its end, I have no doubt that we made it matter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 6, 2012

I've been "absent" for awhile.  Forgive me.  I have been enjoying not have chemo and not feeling so tired and not feeling nauseous every day and not having a sore mouth that prevents me from eating.  It was amazing to discover that I don't have to have radiation and that I just have to have maintenance medicine once every three weeks. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but a new health issue has arisen.  It seems that the medicine has only one side effect - high blood pressure.  So for the past few weeks we have been trying to find the right formula to keep it in a good range.

A week ago, Feb. 28, I had to go to the emergency room it got so high.  They kept me a few hours and got my pressure back down.  Then Thursday, March 1, I was so bad they put me in the hospital for tests and to help me.  The tests showed that my heart and carotid arteries are good.  There seems to me no other cause for the high BP except the Avastin.  I came home Friday afternoon and that night my BP went too low!!  Had to call the cardiologist and ask what to do.  I was told to stop some of the medicine.  So now we are adjusting the medicines day to day to come up with the magic formula!  I could not receive my medicine today because my BP was too high, so I will go back tomorrow at 1:30 and try again.

I would appreciate your prayers that my BP will get stabilized and I can continue with my medicine.  Thanks for your continued support and encouragement.


P.S.  Dana could use some support and encouragement too, I think.  Thanks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 8, 2012

GREAT NEWS!  I met with my oncologist yesterday and got the results of the PET scan.  The cancer is no longer active!!  After these past six months of chemo and all its side effects, I was so relieved to know that it did exactly what it was supposed to do. 

There is still one matter that is not settled yet. Even though the cancer is no longer active, the tumor itself [although greatly reduced in size] is still there.  So . . . I meet with the radiologist Tuesday to see if she recommends some radiation or radiation/chemo.  The chemo would not be harsh and should not make me feel bad/awful/terrible as before.  Still . . . what I want to hear is that radiation would not be helpful and, based on the major side effects, is not recommended.

You'd think that I would be satisfied with my good news and I am.  I just want it to be OVER!!  I don't want to be faced with four weeks of fatigue, diarrhea, and not being able to sit down!!  Call me crazy, but that doesn't sound like fun to me.

As it stands now, I am on "maintenance" for the rest of forever.  That means that every three weeks I go to the clinic for a quick IV drip of an amazing medicine that keeps the tumor inactive.  The best thing about this is that the medicine has no side effects and will not make me sick.  I know I can do that!  My doctor and all the nurses at the clinic are wonderful.  They are so caring and supportive and encouraging.

The radiologist will have to give me some really major reasons to have the radiation.  I am anxious to hear what she says.  At this point, I don't think I'll consent.  Guess I'll wait until Tuesday to make an informed decision.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and good wishes.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012

A belated Happy New Year!!  No good excuse for not updating sooner.  Life just got in the way!!

Our family had a wonderful Christmas.  My Mom was able to come up for a few days and I was able to pick her up and take her home!!  Enjoyed a low key welcome to 2012 and am anxious to discover what this new year holds for our family.

I have completed treatments 10 and 11, which means that the treatment I have next week will be THE LAST!!!  Can I get an AMEN???   I like my approach to this cancer and my treatments.  My philosophy has been to only know what I have to.  I didn't want to see the Big Picture.  If I had known there would be 12 chemo treatments that would be given over six months, I would have been overwhelmed!!  I never asked my prognosis or wanted to wait around for my lab results like many of the other patients.  My point of view is that, if there is a problem, someone will let me know and give me what I need to fix it.  I can't see putting my little bit of energy into worrying about my "counts."  I need my energy to focus on getting stronger and on thinking about all the positives in my life.  That is just who I am.

My head and heart are multitasking these days as I near the end of this chemo journey.  I am amazed at how quickly the time has gone; how supportive my family and friends have been; and how strong I have been through the highs and lows.  At the same time I am anxious to have the tests done that will emphatically prove that the cancer "has left this body."  I am nervous about what happens next.  Will I need to have any radiation?  Will I still need surgery?  This journey is not complete and there are still questions to be answered.  Still, I take one day at a time, rejoice in all the blessings in my life, and am determined to not whine so much.  However, I must be honest that the next two weeks will be the roughest yet and I ask your prayers to give me strength to endure.

Before I close, I want to share about a friend of mine from work.  Mary was a co-worker who was diagnosed with colon cancer just a few weeks before me last summer.  I had worked with Mary for over sixteen years at Calhoun.  She was a good friend and someone on whom I could count to help me with any financial aid problems I had.  Mary lost her battle with cancer on Christmas Day.  When I got the news, it was like someone kicked me in the stomach. Why weren't her treatments as successful as mine?  So many questions and so few answers.  I was able to speak with her only a few times after our diagnoses when both of us were able to be back at work at the same times.  We shared a bond that I would not recommend to anyone.  She was the one who gave me the idea about using a purse to hold my pump instead of the fanny pack I hated.  One day, she told me that she wished she had my positive attitude.  I told her that I was born that way and couldn't be any other way.  I hope that in some measure I shared my attitude with her. 

This has been a difficult journey to this point [I won't lie to you] and now the path ahead is a little uncertain.  All I know is I will keep on keeping on.  Thanks for listening.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011

I apologize for being , shall I say, lax in updating this blog.  Honestly, I feel like I am being repetitive as I record my journey.  Let me just say that I had Treatment #9 on December 13-15 and I am just now getting my energy back.  Although I should be accustomed to the side effects that control my life for a few days AND although I should be extremely thankful that I don't feel any worse than I do, I still want to complain and have a pity party sometimes.

As my family will affirm, I am a "glass half full", positive kind of person.  According to them, I can be a little too "positive" sometimes.  HOWEVER, I'll admit that it is a little more difficult when I try to encourage myself.  I am pleased to report that I only have three more chemo treatments and should be through by the end of January.  I'm glad that I never asked at the beginning how many treatments or long it would take, I would have been overwhelmed if the doctor had said, "Six months!!" 

I am so grateful that the treatments are scheduled so that I will be feeling good for Christmas.  I won't have another treatment until December 28-30.  New Year's Eve should be yucky, but that's okay.

One blessing I would like to report before I close.  Thanks to several of my wonderful co-workers/friends at Calhoun 8 weeks of sick leave have been donated to me!!!  How great is that!!!!  That should, hopefully, be more than enough to get me through the rest of my treatments, etc.  One less thing to worry about.

I managed, with the help of my patient, personal driver Son, to finish my Christmas shopping today.  Hope to finish decorating the house tomorrow. Then I must wrap the presents.  I should be able to accomplish those tasks this week. If I don't, it will be rather pointless after Christmas Day;

Wishing all who read this blog a joyous Christmas and a New Year full of good health and encouraging friends!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 6, 2011

Forgive me for using this blog for a different reason today.  I am trying to work through a problem and I thought, if I wrote about it, it might be helpful.  So here goes.

This morning I had to go to the Clinic for blood work.  No big deal.  In and out in a few minutes.  HOWEVER, this morning, as soon as I drove into the parking lot, I started feeling sick. My doctor and nurses had said that this could happen.  Just the sights and smells of the location, even without the actual chemo, can make a person feel sick.

BUMMER!!!!  I get so anxious about next week and treatment #9.  My head knows that there are only four left and SURELY I can do that!!  But my SELF is dreading it so much.  I try to talk to myself and calm myself down, but I apparently don't want to listen to me.  I have felt sick ever since I left there this morning.  I usually can talk myself through anything, but this one has been stumped!

I have some medicine that the doctor gave me that I could take the night before so I can sleep.  But I really hate to do that.  Dana could tell you about the last time I took a Xanax [after minor tear duct surgery] and how badly I scared the kids.  Apparently, me and drugs don't always get along.

Hopefully, by Tuesday, I will have worked through this craziness.  It's not like I don't want to be through with the chemo.  Only four more.  SURELY I can do this!!!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

November 21-December 4, 2011

Oh, my!  Where has the time gone?  Please forgive my neglect of this blog, but life keeps getting in the way!!!

Just so everyone is caught up . . . I was able to work some the week of Thanksgiving and really enjoyed being with my Calhoun cohorts!!  They always are so supportive and positive in their comments.  I truly miss them when I am not able to work.

Thanksgiving day was wonderful!!  We spent the day at Dana's with family and new friends.  There was enough food to have fed the entire neighborhood!  And it was all delicious.  It was a great day!!  After returning home that night my mission was to bake two apple cakes to take to Tuscaloosa the next day.  Nothing smells better than a house with something good baking in the oven!!

Friday, we traveled to Tuscaloosa to see my Mom, my brother and his family.  It was so good to be together!!  We usually see each other once a year [my brother, not my mother] so it was imperative not to miss going.  We had wall-to-wall family and IT WAS GREAT.  Mother enjoyed having all of her great-grandchildren together at once.  The two oldest [girls] are 13 and 11 and the four boys are 6, 4, 3, and 11 months.  We enjoyed eating, talking, watching football, eating, talking, playing cards, etc.  The biggest attraction for the boys were the trains that travel near Mother's backyard.  Thanks to the April 27 tornado, you can not just hear them, but you can see them amazingly well.  The boys were beside themselves every time they heard the whistle.  They would yell for everyone to "COME SEE THE TRAIN!!!"  And we would all rush out the back door onto the patio to cheer on the train.  Noting, of course, if it was passenger or freight and if it had a caboose.  What fun!!

Saturday morning the last piece of the puzzle was in place when my nephew, his wife, daughter [2 yrs old] and son [expected the end of January], arrived in T-town. .  Ain't family great?!?!?!?!

Traveled back to North Alabama in time to watch the BIG GAME at Dana and Steve's.  Roll Tide Roll!!!  Enough said.

I worked again on Monday, November 28.  Then Tuesday-Thursday [Nov. 29-Dec.1] had treatment #8.  Only 4 more to go [not that I am counting].  I am just now starting to feel okay from this treatment.  I feel guilty when I complain, when so many others feel much worse than I do.  It's the same old problems - weakness, tiredness, no appetite, awful taste in my mouth that won't go away!!! 

My current quest is to decorate the house for  Christmas.  I need a huge surge of energy to accomplish that.  Maybe if I just do a little each day, then ,hopefully, it will be done in time.  Also this week I will attend K's choral concert and B's band concert and go to the Christmas Festival.   This will truly be a musical week!

Hoping that each of you is enjoying this wonderful season of JOY, PEACE and LOVE,