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I am all kinds of exhausted and all of my muscles ache! So....I thought I better dig deep and find something that I am thankful for...
......I am thankful for.......warm smiles, tylenol PM, and my bed! Goodnight! =)


Covered in Prayers

Today was my last chemo day in round two of six! 1/3rd of the way done with chemo (before my cancer and me are reassessed). Chemo went well...the doc was running way behind and I saw the PA today. She is super nice, very easy to talk to, and makes me look short (she must be 6'3", kinda cool)!
My lab today showed that my reb blood cells (rbc's) and white blood cells (wbc's) are very low (my platelets went back up from 58,000 to 216,000, way to go little buddies!). Yes, sometimes I have to give those blood cells a few words of encouragement!!! (no, I didn't make the appointment with the psychologist, maybe next week). =)
I was just under the level of wbc's that they prefer to do chemo, but since 1) I have next week off to rebuild, 2) I was able to take a shot of Aranesp today to boost the rbc's, and 3) tomorrow I can take the shot of Neulasta to boost my wbc's, they thought it important that I go ahead with the chemo. Time is a tickin' and I am ready!! I only got the Gemzar today, and it is the Carboplatin that generally wrecks havoc on my labs, anyway.
Well, that is the short of it!
What am I thankful for today? A yard full of sod, the prayer blanket I received in the mail from Faith United Church in Gibbon (which my children have affectionately name my "snuggy blanket"), and the big beautiful full moon (to remind us how small we really are)!!!
Sleep tight!


A hairy situation

About 4 days ago I got an unmarked box in the mail. When I opened it I caught a glimpse of a styrofoam head and quickly shut that box and put it in my closet- without even inspecting the contents. I thought, well, the doctor had said my hair may just thin, and I might l not even lose my hair. Maybe I shouldn't have ordered these so soon....

Yesterday, as I was applying some crazy hair product (that I spent way to much money on) to get my hair to stick out in all the right places in that perfectly planned "messy" look, I looked down at my hands to find that instead of the goop sticking to my hair, my hair was sticking to the goop.

[It is weird, I have been starting to go several minutes and even hours at a time without thinking about "my condition" when all of a sudden, a hand full of hair can bring it all slamming back in grand fashion.]

Today, I gathered my wits and my children (god knows that looking at things through the innocence of children can make the most stressful situation better) and I pulled out that unmarked box. I explained to the kids that I was starting to lose my hair, and that they needed to help me get this stuff unpacked. So, in an excited fashion the kids pulled everything out of the box. They told me which hair looked more like me, and we tried the wigs on them. A picture perfect momment. Somehow, with them by my side, it wasn't so scary....HOWEVER, as I put on the wig liner prior to trying on the first wig I got my first glimpse of what I might look like bald, and mom and dad, I might have been thankful for a little smaller ears!!!!!!

Let me see, what am I thankful for today? the hair that is still on my head no matter how short it is and how old I think it makes me look, the laughter of children, and the health of my family!


Tomorrow is a new day...

Tomorrow is a new day, and one that I am thankful for. The last couple of days I have been feeling a little sick to my stomach, very tired, and quite honestly, a little sorry for myself. And ya know what, I don't feel bad about that anymore, because at some point it is going to happen. I kept telling myself that I need to be strong for everyone else, and you know what I found out?? When I wasn't strong, you all took over and were strong for me! Thank you! In the last two days, we have had people cook us food, watch our children for some respite, entertain us, and one friend even got me some faux "beverly hills perkys"! (I work with some crazy people!)

I slept lastnight (and half of today, if you must know)! I haven't slept for about three days prior to this. I am feeling much better now, the nausea medication is helping, and I think that the sleep has improved my outlook. I am ready to take on another weekend!

What am I thankful for?!? The amazing support network that I have, the smell of spring rain, and, quite frankly, I would be thankful for anyone who could invent a breath-right-strip for dogs, because right now, my dog is snoring so loud I can barely think to type!!! =)


Day 1, Round 2

Today was the first day of my second round of chemo.

For those who like to know the plan, here it is:

I am on 21 day cycle:
Day 1: Carboplatin (brand name Paraplatin), Gemcitabine (brand name Gemzar), and Trastuzumab (brand name Herceptin)- totaling 3 hours of treatment
Day 8: Gemcitabine- totaling 1 hour of treatment
Day 15: Blood draw in Lincoln- totaling about 5 minutes!
I will go through 6 cycles(18 weeks). After 18 weeks they will determine how my treatment is going. They we make any adjustments at that time.

I did find out that I will not be having surgery. At this point there is no mastectomy in my future. So much for those new perky boobs I thought I might be getting at the expence of my insurance company. Somewhat of a bummer, I was kinda looking forward to that little gift in the midst of all of this treatment. Doc said that they generally only do surgery if it is expected to cure the condition. Since the severity of my condition is considered controllable, not cureable, he said they generally do not do surgery unless the treatment isn't working and they think removing the tumor would slow down the spread/progression. He thinks that Chemo will shrink my tumors to the point that I could be on Herceptin alone. At least until/if the cancer would start to progress then I would go back on a full chemo regimen to get it back into check. Basically, he is thinking no surgery but likely a lifetime of chemo. I told him he is going to get sick of me then, because I am going to live a LONG, LONG time! He said that he knows that I am and new advances in medicine happen all the time! He also gave me the name of a good psychologist that works there at the cancer center. I figured it was about time someone caught on to the lunacy!!! I really think that was a preexhisting condition, though!!! =) That happened after I started crying in his office after hearing that I had to keep the breasts I have! Ya know, people cry at different things, and at the moment...it was the thought of the "Beverly Hill Perkies" that was getting me through...I guess now it is going to have to be some other little thing...I will let you know when I figure that out, because right now I am tired and am going to go roll around in the 2 strips of sod they layed in my front yard...

What am I thankful for today? The smell of freshly watered grass, be it in a box on my office chair (thanks J, you crack me up) or 2 strips in my front yard...boy it smells good!!!!

Love to all who care enough to read!!!


Days going by

I haven't had much to say lately. The days have been pretty much going by uneventfully. No chemo this past week, so I have felt pretty "normal" lately, and have had blocks of time where CANCER has never even crossed my mind. In the first 3 weeks never a minute went by that I didn't think about it. It consumed my body and my mind...now, things are getting better...while I still think about it a lot, it doesn't consume all of me!

I did some research and have decided to add some "natural", "alternative" treatments to the plan. I haven't decided which supplements I am actually going to take yet, but if you are intested in reading the information, you can go to:
www.cancer-prevention.net. I figure, now is not the time to knock things one has never tried! If standing on my head and reciting that abc's backward (yes, I practiced that in college, ya never know when you are going to need that skill) might cure me...I think I might just do it.

Well, chemo starts again this Tuesday. My dad is going to take me. I am kind of glad to be going...this last week without chemo, I felt like I wasn't doing anything to help kick this! I realize that my body needs time to rebuild and rest from the therapy, but it is hard for me to be wait... (A huge surprise to those who know me, I am sure!)

Things I am thankful for today: friends/family/strangers wearing pink breast cancer awareness bracelets and/or liveSTRONG bracelets, cards and e-mails I have received from friends and family that I have not seen for a long time and those that I see all the time, and riding lawnmowers!!! =) Love you all!


Things I am thankful for:

I have decided that at the end of each blog I am going to try to rememeber to note at least one thing that I was thankful for that day. I think that this is probably pretty good practice for anyone, and would be a great thing to do with the kids at bedtime.

Today was a great day, and I have several.

Today, I am thankful for- sunshine, flip-flops, pink flamingos, my hubby, peacefully sleeping children, friends that make me laugh, and neighbors with brownies!



Lab Results

Not too much going on today. I got my lab results back. My white cell count is back up in the "normal" range (I use that term loosely when referring to myself). My red blood cells are down so I will be getting a shot every other week to help control that. That should solve or at least help with the fatigue that I have been having. My platelets are also very low, but they do not worry about that unless I start having a lot of nose bleeds or something like that. So... any bruising you might notice is a result of "normal" behavior. (Sorry to those of you with overactive imaginations!)
....and...that about covers it! All in all- it was a great day. Most of the day I spent working and laughing with friends and managed to think about CANCER very little. And...THE SUN WAS OUT!!! Ya just can't beat that (now if I could just get that sod in my yard.....)



No chemo this week. I had blood work today. I have to call and get my results tomorrow. I had a long day today, and I am exhausted. Gotta go shower the boys and get to bed. Nite-nite!


Adventures with WIGS!

Ordering a wig...One of the many things I didn't think I would have to do once I hit age 30! When I cried at midnight...yes the very first moments after turning 30 (FYI-I stayed up 'til midnight watching some dumb movie on USA network just to suck every last second out of my 20's), the worst things I could think of were....my jeans fitting a little tighter than normal, a few smile lines on my face, and less wild times with friends replaced with the feeling of real adulthood and more responsibilities. At that moment, I thought I was getting old. Funny how things change in an instant! Now I just hope and pray that I get the chance to be old. I will never cry over a birthday again...I will celebrate everyone PROUDLY and with GREAT happiness!
But anyway...the whole wig thing...not really the funnest thing I have ever done. First of all, I had to measure my head in three different directions, and while I always thought I had a big head, it turns out my nugget is of average size! See, there is a good side to everything, one less thing to obsess about (okay, I wouldn't really say I obsessed about it, well, not since I was about 13 years old, anyway)! And, secondly, have you ever seen a styrofoam head in your grandmother's room as a child and been freaked out?!?! I just ordered one, so if it was too traumatizing for you, you may want to avoid my room next time you are over.
Okay, time to go tuck my kiddos into bed! Good night all!


Whew, the weekend is over!

Well, I made it through another weekend, with lots of help that is! Weekends are hard b/c that is when my fatigue seems to be hitting me. Thursday night I got one of those tireds, where you are so tired you just want to cry, or in my case, you do start crying....right in the middle of the driveway!!! And my neighbors thought we were weird before, look out, I have skills in that department!!! I have been known to walk our dog in my monkey jammies!!

Anyway, as far as everything else cancer related.....I still have my hair, and trust me, I inspect every hair on my head to see if it is still there...no wonder I am so tired! I haven't even had to take any extra meds for nausea this week!

Up and coming...NO CHEMO THIS WEEK! All I have this week is a blood test (CBC). I have that on Tuesday, and will find out if the shot that I had last Wednesday has helped to boost the production of while blood cells in my bone marrow. The Dr said that the shot may give me an achy feeling in my bones, but the only ache I have is in my Gluts from that walk I took on Friday afternoon!!! (But THAT is a good kind of pain!) =)

If you are reading this.....thanks for caring! And hey, do me a favor? Do the best to be greatful for all that you have! I know I am!


End of a good day...

....the day started out a little rough....but, I worked 5 hours, as scheduled, and then went on a 3 mile walk.

I think the exercise really helps. Normally I would run those 3 miles (plus 1 or 2), but my chest muscle is still sore where they put my port in...I only ran a few blocks here and there. Mostly when cars were coming =) I hate looking like a like a wimp. I am used to running!!!

Thanks to my friends and my sister and brother-in-law who spent the night hanging out, and a HUGE thanks to C and A for taking the kids to play tomorrow so that I can sleep(guilt free).

There are no words to express how much we appreciate you!

Nite-nite all!!!!


Good News

I got some good news today. The rib x-ray readings came back and either there is no cancer in my bones, or it is too small to have created any bony damage. This is such great news!

On the flip side. The fatigue has hit and I have one fabulous headache! All, part of the game I guess...the game I refuse to lose! So, I am going to quit typing now, get some advil and a soda, and get my cancer "free" bones to work!!!


Day one of the blog

Well, here we go. In attempts to keep everyone updated on my situation, which all began March 14, 2005, I have created a BLOG. What is a blog? I have no idea, but I guess we will find out, because my vocal cords are starting to wear out!

Here are the stats regarding my condition, and what I know so far: I have Stage IV infiltating ductal carcinoma. Biposy has proven spread from my breast to my lymph nodes and on to my liver, where I have 3 "small" spots. MRI has shown NO cancer in my spine, as previously suspected. My ribs are still undetermined, but I will be getting the results of some rib details(x-rays)soon.

I have started chemo. I will go through 6 cycles- 3 weeks per cycle. I have done 2 weeks of my first cycle and it is going well. On my 3rd week of each cycle I only have bloodwork, no chemotherapy. My white cell count is a little low from the chemo at this time, but my port (which they give me my chemo through) is now working and that is a relief! I got a shot today to boost my white cell production. I have very little stomach upset and am only fatigued 2-3 days per week so far. Other than that, things are going good.

To all of my friends and family, thank you for all of your love and support, I could not do this without you!! And...I know this doesn't cover it all, but it is a start! We shall see how this works out. Stick with it if you like.