Monday, October 31, 2011

Days 81-85

Can I be honest?  I have had a disappointing few days.  Haven't bounced back from treatment #6 as I did from treatment #5.  This time two weeks ago I was feeling really good.  Today I still feel "yucky" and tired.  Sometimes being the eternal optimist isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Now I need to get a grip and remind myself how very blessed I am to be doing as well as I am.  I could always be feeling worse.  I need to remind myself that even gradual improvement each day is GOOD.  And just because I don't feel as good as I think I should, that does not mean that I am not doing well.

Tomorrow is a BIG DAY!!  At 8:00 I will have a PETScan that will tell my oncologist how much progress we have made in fighting this cancer.  I "feel" like the chemo has been fighting the good fight, but the scan will confirm it.  I am offering a "twofer" for this event.  You can pray a two-pronged prayer:  one - that I remain calm . . .  and two - that the test results will be AMAZING!!  Even though I won't learn the results until next week, I will be so happy to just have the test done.  Can you believe that in preparation for the scan, I could not have carbs or sugars this afternoon and night????  What???  On Halloween???  You can be assured that I will make up for that tomorrow.  I have some Reese"s Peanut Butter Cups stashed!!!

I hope that everyone has had a safe Halloween and I wish you all a Happy November!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Days 78-80

UPDATE:  Monday I was able to work six hours and felt really good.  Two of my friends/co-workers brought be a gift of a comfortable outfit that I can wear at home.  It was such a thoughtful gift.  The only problem was I apparently look smaller than I am.  They got XS and that was a little too tight.  So now they have exchanged for the more accurate size.  What great friends.

BEST UPDATE:  As many of you know I have avoided asking my doctor how many treatments I might have.  He told me yesterday that he would tell me.  I said "Oh, no.  Because if you tell me I have to have 40 treatments, I'll just have to lie on the floor and cry!"  He said, "Sandra, what if I told you that you are half way through treatments?"  I was so excited.  I am on #6 this week and I only have six more to go!  I am thrilled.  And then he said that after I complete the next six treatments I might have radiation for a while.  That means I won't have to have chemo AND radiation at the same time, which is what they had first thought.  YEAH!!!!!  Actually, he said, depending on how things go, I might not have to have radiation at. all.  DOUBLE YEAH!!!!!

They made a couple of changes in my meds - a different anti-nausea [which has really worked] and added some "calming" meds to help keep me calm during the 3+ hours I am receiving chemo.  I think we have come up with the perfect combo.  I was able to drive myself to my "refill" today, which I have not been able to do since my first week of chemo the first of August.  AMAZING!!!!

Let me thank you all again for your wonderful prayers and encouragement.  Not only for me, but also for Dana.  And . . . since she asked, I am posting a picture of my purse/pump holder.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Days 74-77

May I say that I have had a GREAT week?!?!?!  After my treatment [Oct. 11-13], I felt awful, as I usually do.  But . . . I began to feel better sooner than usual!  I was able to drive my husband to a doctor's appointment on the following Tuesday and drop by to see the grandkids.  I was able to work the mornings of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  It has been months since I was able to work three days in a row.  It felt so good to be able to be at work and to see all my friends/co-workers.  And, since my next treatment isn't until Tuesday [25th], I will be able to work tomorrow!!

Now let me tell you about the past three days.  It was amazing to be able to spread my wings and fly a little this weekend.  Friday: worked 8:00-10:00; drove to Kayla and Carter's school to "Have Lunch with Someone You Love"; drove home to rest and then buy groceries; and, last but not least, drove to a craft party!  Had a great time at the craft party - enjoyed great fun, made some cute Halloween crafts, and was uplifted by amazing fellowship with new friends [and my daughter].  Saturday: cleaned house in preparation for special visitors [better known as the best grandkids in the world]; had a great time entertaining and being entertained by said grandkids for several hours; and then finished the day by watching Alabama win again!  Then today I was blessed to go to church and Sunday school where I was surrounded with love from my church family.  So after these past few days I am ready for treatment #6.

I want to try to explain a purchase I made this weekend.  It has a great deal to do with my mental health.  I bought a small, denim purse that I can wear on my shoulder.  And you're asking at this point, "So . . . .?"  Let me explain.  When I have treatments I am "hooked" to a pump from noon on Tuesday until noon on Thursday.  The pump is about 4"x6", is pretty heavy and is worn in a black pouch/fanny pack.  I don't mean to fuss or complain, but it is awkward to wear and makes me feel "odd."  I realize that this pump is an amazing upgrade and much better than other alternatives.  But just the thought of having to wear it was becoming a huge dread for me.  I know that is unreasonable.  But so be it.  So, I got the idea that if I could put it in something else that I could carry with me, then I would feel better.  I have a friend who had shared with me that when she was going through the same treatments she found a bag she liked that she could wear over her shoulder.  I went looking for something that would work for me and let me feel better about my life as it is today.  I found a cute denim purse that will be perfect!!!  I can't wait to try it Tuesday.

I continue to learn as I travel this new path.  I am continually blessed with the love of those around me.  I am encouraged and cared for by my wonderful oncologist and nurses at Clearview.  I am reminded each day of God's love for me and am supported by his strong arms as I make my way on this unexpected journey.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Days 66-73

Quick update:

Mom had her chemo last week and it IMMEDIATELY made her sick. :(
She tried some new anti-nausea meds. She was determined to not have them put her on fluids again.

By the weekend she was feeling better. I know she thoroughly enjoyed the Alabama game! (I got a GO TRENT!! text.) :)

Sunday, mom felt well enough to get out and about. She and Daddy stopped by and visited for a few minutes, took B to see where the new high school is being built, and took lil man to see the new Paradise Donuts. Tuesday afternoon, they stopped by again and surprised us with dinner...Whitt's BarBQue...YUM!

More awesome news:
Mom is at work today! She is working tomorrow!
She is also going in Friday morning for a couple of hours before she goes to have lunch with K and lil man at school!

Then...and yes, there is more:
Mom and Dad are watching the kids while Steve and I go to the temple on Saturday.

I am SO HAPPY that mom feels well enough to do all of these things!!
I will never take for granted fun mom/Goppie times...or even just the everyday things.
They are far too precious not to savor and lovingly treasure each and every time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Days 63-65

It's me again.
Mom got hooked up today and is feeling sick so I offered to update. Mom should probably be the one to write this post because I can guarantee you she has a better attitude than I do.
However, I started this blog to chronicle the journey...the goods and the here I am with my bad attitude. Feel free to chastise me later, but for now...I vent.

Mom received the results of her CAT scan this morning.
I was so anxious I thought I would vomit.
After sitting here for a few minutes, I realize I have absolutely no energy to develop a clever and witty sentence structure for your reading pleasure, so I'll just begin. (Sorry. I told you I have a stinky attitude.)

Good news and disappointing news. (I won't say "bad" because that's not in mom's vocabulary.)
The good news: blood counts are improved...seemingly a lot. Yay!
Other good news: no new growths, enlargements, or lesions. Double YAY!
The disappointing news: no shrinkage. Boo.

Big fat ginormous stinky BOO! (That's my opinion. I can't speak for mom...the eternal optimist.)
I say BOO because I want progress. BIG progress. I want this crap gone from my mom's body. And I want it gone yesterday! I want her to feel good. All the time. I clearly should want to have a better attitude, because frankly...mine is super stinky bad today. And I know why. Because I am being a baby and I want things to go my way and I want my way NOW. I know things could be TONS worse and I am SO COMPLETELY grateful for the good news. I guess I just want it all to be good news. And I want it all NOW.

(Sorry to subject you to my temper tantrum.)

Here's the deal:
Mom will have her chemo this week. Take next week off. Have her sixth round of chemo the week after that. Then she will have a PET scan. This will show in larger detail exactly what that stupid old cancer is doing. We will know what's active and what's not...if there has been any microscopic shrinkage or not. The results of this scan will be what her oncologist use to re-evaluate her treatment.

Please continue to pray for mom. Please specifically pray for her body to not only respond to the chemo, but to be able to tolerate it well. Thank you from the depth of my heart for your concern, care, and prayers. Some days I just want to pretend all is "normal". Other days I just want to hit something. And then there are many days I am filled with such enriching love and peace...and I know that Heavenly Father is aware of my mom. He's aware of me. And He is aware of each of you.

I think my bad attitude is subsiding for now. I truly am grateful for the good news. I'll try to continue and learn patience. I'm just really REALLY impatient with my progress. *sigh*

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Days 61-62

Had a great time yesterday when Dana and I took the grandkids to see their great-grandmother in Tuscaloosa.  It was a beautiful day to travel and we had an ALMOST uneventful trip.  More about that in a minute.  It had been months since Mother had seen the kids and she was so excited.  I can now announce that two of them are taller than she is.  I'm thinking it will be awhile for Carter.  It was, as usual, a noisy reunion.  There were many stories to be shared and fun to be had.  Hopefully, if all goes well, we will return for Thanksgiving and the BIG annual reunion.  That is when my brother and sister-in-law, my niece and her husband and three boys, and my nephew and his wife and their daughter converge on Tuscaloosa from points west [Kansas and Texas].  Also, Dan and I, Dana & Steve & kids, and Daniel will converge from North Alabama.  This is the one time a year that our family is together.  We always have such a great time.  Plenty of delicious food, lots of talking, much playing with the little ones, and the required card playing [a family tradition!].

About that ALMOST uneventful trip.  We were about 20 minutes out of Tuscaloosa on I-59 South when an 18-wheeler to our right lost a LARGE amount of tread off of a tire.  It came flying across the lanes so quickly that there wasn't much time to react.  I saw it coming, but there was no place to go.  I swerved a little to the left to try to avoid it, but it hit on Dana's side at the front tire/bumper area.  There was a loud sound and we rode over it.  I slowed down to assess if the van would drive okay.  It seemed to drive fine so we continued on to Mother's house.  We piled out and went in to share hugs.  Dana decided to check out the van.  It drove so well, I never even thought about damage.  May I tell you that Heavenly Father was watching over us in a BIG WAY.  There was:  damage to the bumper, the little light under the headlight was missing, the panel that should be behind the tire was missing and the panel along the whole side of the van was barely attached!!  Dana took care of the necessary calls to Steve and the insurance agent.  So good news is we survived and the van will be repaired. 

Today has been a good day.  I felt good enough to buy groceries this morning and do the laundry when I got home!  It is so nice to be able to do common chores!  Looking forward to seeing my church family tomorrow.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Days 59-60

I'm feeling soooo much better!  Each day I have gotten stronger and I believe the anti-acid medicine I am now taking is finally "kicking in."  Had a good day yesterday, but today was an extra-special day.  Our grandson's 6th birthday was today and we had a great time with him.  We watched him open presents - he was so excited about each one; enjoyed playing with the games he received; ate pizza and breadsticks; and watched him blow out candles on his birthday pie.  It was a great time.

Tomorrow our little group will head to Tuscaloosa to see my Mom [their Grandmom].  It has been several months since she has seen the kids and she will be amazed at how much they have grown!  I see them almost weekly and I am amazed at how quickly they are growing!

Thanks, again, to everyone for your continued prayers and well wishes. 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Days 53-58

Sorry for not updating sooner.  Wish I could claim that I have been "too busy," but that would be a lie. Simply put . . . I have just not felt good.  I know that I could have felt much worse.  The 25% reduction in chemo and the extra week to recover and gain strength before my 4th treatment really made a difference.  I am most grateful.  No mouth sores this time!  Yeah!!!!!  The weakness and periodic waves of nausea just drive me crazy!!  Also, today I began a new medicine - prilosec.  It should help with the acid reflux that burns my stomach and throat.  It's just like the doctor said "If you tell us everything - tell us what is wrong - we will fix it!"

Tomorrow morning is BIG!!  I will have a CTScan at 9:45 a.m. that will let the doctor know what, if any, progress the chemotherapy has made in my body.  All decisions for further treatment will rest upon those results.  See what I mean?  It's BIG.  I probably won't know the results until next Tuesday when I  meet with my doctor again.  I would appreciate your prayers that we will receive good results.

Also would appreciate your prayers that I will feel like going with Dana and the grandkids to see Mom in Tuscaloosa Friday.