Professional Help

I am going out of town for the weekend, but when I get back, I am going to see if I can get a little professional help.
Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of me, I am sorry I am being such a downer, I will try to pick it up next week, I just have a lot to process right now!
I have a blood draw on Monday to make sure my counts are okay after the little weekend getaway, and I am also having my mammograms done on Monday.
So, I will not be blogging over the weekend, but I will try to update everyone when I get the results from my lab and mammogram back.
What am I thankful for?!?! Cooler days!


The NEWS!!!

The news:
My CT scans and the MRI of my spine showed no evidence of tumors. Tumors that were in my liver initially are no longer visible on CT,and there was no evidence of disease in my spine, or any new places, for that matter.
The doctor did a physical exam on my breast and said that he can not feel any residual tumor. He said that all he notices are the changes at the biopsy site.
So....I guess, as of right now, I have no visible evidence of cancer!
I was low on all my blood counts, so I did get to hang out at the hospital til 9pm tonight to get two units of blood and platelets.
The plan:
I will be setting up a mammogram in the next week or so, and then I will go back and see the doctor in two weeks. If the mammogram shows evidence of residual tumor that the doctor was unable to feel on exam, then I will potentially have a lumpectomy to remove the residual tumor. I will also be staying on the herceptin to try to keep the cancer from coming back for as long as humanly possible, which per my doc could be "several years". I will get the herceptin via IV just like the chemo was, but I will only have to get it every three weeks. The side effects are less, w/o the nausea, fatigue and hair loss. My mood should be more consistent, and my hair should be thickening back up. I will be on the herceptin indefinitely, and have several options should my cancer recur. I will be having scans done every three months to check for recurrence and to monitor my heart functioning due to the herceptin use.
I plan to continue with my herbal supplements, will have more energy and better blood counts to kick my exercise up, and will be monitoring my diet closer than ever, because now....the chemo is gone, and it is all up to me and a higher power to keep this stuff at bay.
The emotions:
I am really in an odd place right now, while everyone is very excited (as they should/better be), I have not been able to get all that excited yet. I think I am in shock and quite frankly a little terrified to go off the chemo, because the chemo is what I was placing a huge part of my faith on, and now that is being taken away. Please, be patient with me, I have a lot to process, and this is a big step. Also, I still have some uncertainty going on, as I have not yet had my mammogram, and I do not know if I will be having surgery or not. But believe me, I am VERY thankful for the news I received today, and if I could quit crying, you would be able to see that.
The love:
Thank you for all the love, hugs, prayers, thoughts, vibes....etc!!! They must have worked!!! And PLEASE do not stop on me now, I need you more than ever, because I have a lot of hard work ahead of me now; I have to keep this from coming back!!!
What am I thankful for?!?! Modern medicine! The power of hope and faith! And, did you see the sunset tonight, it looked more beautiful to me tonight than it ever has! Sweet dreams!


I feel the power!

Okay, stop. All the good vibes are vibrating me right out of bed! (And the best part, no quarter needed!) hehe!!
You know what, I was scared and a little weepy yesterday, but today, I have had so many people wish me luck, give me hugs, send me thoughts via my blog, e-mail me, and text me, that I have not even had time to think a negative thought, and really, it has apparently worked. It is almost 11pm and I am actually considering sleeping! I am not all that nervous or scared either. I know the lump(s) in my breast are much better, not gone, but much better, so already that is some good news. And, if it is getting better in my breast it surely can't be getting worse elsewhere, right?! AND...all I can do now is fight. Either I keep fighting as I am, or the situation makes me fight harder, either way....there is not a whole lot of mystery at this junction.
One of my biggest concerns now is getting this bum leg figured out, and maybe getting a refill on the good blood, because I am pretty tired.
Thank you to everyone who has sent good vibes either openly or telepathicly!!! ...and if you know my hubby's cell number, you might want to call him tomorrow and see how HE is doing, as he will be spending a lot of time hanging around in hospital waiting areas!! Not too fun! At least I get to run around in one of those cute little gowns with the opportunity to moon (or not moon) the hospital staff! =)
What am I thankful for?!?! The rain!!! (and JR, if it rains all day at work tomorrow, I am SO SORRY to miss it!) =)



.....I have a better state of mind now. I think Thursdays are just so hard because I am so tired and just plain worn out.

I have some weird swelling situation going on in my leg right now, but I had an uldresound done at the hospital and there is no clot, and my oncology office put me on antibiotics, so if there is an infection, then it should be getting better. I think it is a bruise that just isn't getting better and is getting more swollen from my blood counts being low, but I am no doctor. I will see the doc on Tuesday(as we all know by now), so I should get it figured out then.

I don't really have much to say, so I am going to defer to you all. I am going to make it so that my blog will accept comments. If you have something you want to share, go right ahead. Remember, I have my restaging on Tuesday, so if you could put some positive vibes in there that would be great....but, you are welcome to say whatever you want, please just don't use other peoples names, as they may not want their name on the internet.

What am I thankful for?!?! Friends, family, and other concerned individuals who take the time to read my blog, because they care! (Oh, and A- thanks for the card and for sharing what you are thankful for!! I love to hear that other peole are thinking about things like that too!)


Nothing to say...

....chemo went okay. I am feeling fine, I guess. Just know that my hgb is low because I am getting short of breath doing nothing, and just generally feeling run down.
I am a little upset b/c I know I am not doing enough of anything...not getting enough done at home, not getting enough done at work, and probably not being as healthy as I should be either. Seems like it takes all my energy just to pretend like I feel fine.
Same old frustrations, different day.
Anyone want to be sick for me for a little while?!?!
What am I thankful for?!?!.....
..........I don't know.

I am thankful that most of you will never know how this feels!


Was feeling a little down.....

.....so I decided to wear my favorite little black dress to chemo today! HA, so there! I am telling you, this stuff is NOT going to rain on my parade!!!
What am I thankful for?!?! Little Black Dresses! (Guys, you won't understand this, but I think all you girls will!!!)


Carboplatin vs. Steamroller....

....really, I think they both have the same effect on a girl! Wow, that stuff sure does pack a punch. I think the insane heat has a lot to do with it too- (really, if it is going to be 97 degrees out, there really should be a BEACH near by!! REALLY! Did I say really?!?!)
The last week has been a little rough with the morning naseau and vomiting (just until the meds kick in), and I also think the heat may have added to the chemo fatigue and the bone pain from the Neulasta shot. But, never fear, we didn't really miss out on anything. By the end of the weekend I will have grilled out twice, went swimming twice, attended a t-ball game and the horse races, and played games at my nephews birthday party at the park! Not to shabby for Little-Ms-Cancer-Pants, huh?!?!
Well, that is the update...I really don't know much else other than to note that the worsts part of this chemo phase is over, so it is all downhill now, until we get to the restaging...and I would just like to say, BRING IT ON!!! (Apparently those extra good vibes people have been sending me are working great, because I am not nearly as scared now as I was a couple of weeks ago, but who knows...talk to me in two weeks, my mood may swing again...careful, it is dangerous around me!!!)
What am I thankful for?!?! I am thankful for 85 degree days (Can't wait to have a couple!) ...but mostly, I am thankful for the special time that I get to spend alone with my kiddos, we had a lot of fun swimming together this weekend and they are great snugglers at bedtime!


We have a plan.

Well, today was my first day of my sixth, and final round of chemo prior to getting rescanned. It was a fairly long but painless day, as usual. =)
Here is the plan- I will have chemo again in a week, and then on the 26th of July I will go in to the hospital in the morning and have CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis done, and also an MRI of my entire spine (which was kind of by my request, because every little back pain...probably normal....makes me nervous, so I would just like to see that it is still just the normal wear and tear going on in there). We also talked about a brain MRI, but I think as long as there are not additional tumors, I am happy just knowing from my last brain MRI that I have a brain in there. No need to go upsetting it. After my CT's and MRI I will go to lunch and my Doc will have the results by that afternoon, so we will have our meeting to discuss the plan for the future, but what it looks like is- 1) if things are going well and the tumor in by breast is shrinking (which we know it is), and the spots in my liver are not larger (which really, how could they be?!), and there are not any new masses (which is completely unreasonable to think about), then we will continue with chemo as we have been, and he will determine that day about how many more rounds before we scan again. He basically said that as long as the treatment is working and I still have visible tumors we will continue the treatment as we have been. 2) If at some point the tumors would actually start to increase in size or spread then we would sit down and devise a new treatment plan. 3) If at some point the tumors are no longer visible then I will go off the chemo's and continue on with only the herceptin, for as long as that keeps the cancer at bay.
Well there you have it, I have a plan, and actually was starting to get a really good mental attitude which was enhanced 3-fold by a doctor that I work with who loaned me a book written by a surgeon, Dr. B. Siegel, titled "Love, Medicine, and Miracles". This book has been so helpful for me because it is giving me examples of instances where people have been "cured" or at least had life significantly prolonged beyond expectations, even with the most grave prognoses, and proceeded to maintain exceptional mental attitudes and had their tumors simply "melt away". I have maintained since the beginning that living was the ONLY option that I was going to entertain and that I would do anything to make that happen, and this book, had it only given one example (rather than the many that it provides) to hang my hat on, still would have given me the hope to proceed with that attitude. If it can happen to one other person on this planet, there is no reason to believe that it can't happen with me as well. And really, HOPE is all you have in this type of situation, and I have never been the type to have to have numbers and statistic's and a 40 page thesis to prove anything to me. If I believe, then that is all that matters. When I was growing up my parents routinely told me that I could do anything in my life that I set my mind too, and I believe that. And you know what...I have set my mind on living and that is exactly what I intend to do! (It is not that I am forgetting about my moments of fear and frustration, but I am trying to counteract them the best I can, and with my absolutely FABULOUS support system, it is not all that hard! As soon as I show signs of fear or disappointment in how things are going I seem to have a number of people step out of the shadows to pump up the support, and after my last blog, I have gotten a lot more hugs! THANK you, I really believe (and you can find this crazy or goofy if you want) that hugs are healing!
What am I thankful for?!?! Dr. Siegel's book, the doctor at work who loaned it to me, and my medical team who seems to follow many of the suggestions that this book puts out there! Also, I am forever thankful for my daycare and the ALL the wonderful teachers who are patient and kind to my children during this difficult time for our family, especially Mr. K (who is FABULOUS!=) He is the real deal!!), Ms. M (who cares for my youngest with one of the most patient and loving attitudes-and who can be tough when he needs it =)), and Ms. S who has been not only a director, but a friend and confidant! I LOVE you all!!!


Good or Bad News?

This last round of chemo left me feeling better than rounds before it. In doing so, it made me worry a little that the chemo is no longer working....however, I had lab work done today to find that my hgb and platelets are both very low, so I am in need of both a blood and platelet transfusion tomorrow. On the bad side, that is long, and boring, requires missing more work, and adds a trip to Omaha on my "off" week. On the good side, that means the chemo must still be wrecking havoc in my body, and I am just somehow tolerating it better (must be that acupuncture!).
The nurse was surprised that I was up and running...she said that with my counts as low as they are she expected me to be in bed. While I did nap today, that was probably more due to the long, active weekend we had, and the fact that as I am nearing the end of my first phase of treatment and I am not sleeping well. I am just so scared to go in to that appointment after all my restaging tests have been done, especially when all I really have to compare it to was my initial staging appointment where the doctor so calmly read though all my test results aloud and noted all the places my cancer had seemed to have spread to.... my liver, my spine, my ribs. It was a moment that no one should have to experience, and no one can possibly imagine unless they have experienced it. Each day, every little pain in my spine is a constant reminder that my cancer now may have really spread there. It is scary, but I am trying to work through it the bast I can, and maintain the attitude that "I" will be the one who gets the miracle of life!
What am I thankful for?!?! Fireworks and my loving and supportive family and friends, thanks for the GREAT holiday weekend!!!!


Summer is busy as usual!

It really doesn't matter what illness you have, summer comes on in full swing whether you have the energy for it or not....so I have chosen to go at it with full force and sleep when I can. The kids' sporting activities are keeping us running, but it is well worth it. There have been a lot of cute moments and lessons learned!
The Relay for Life went better than expected!! Our team raised over $4000.00 which is way more than I expected us to raise when I signed us up in the middle of the night on a chemo/steroid induced insomniac moment. It was quite a night. It was nice, but being involved in all the activities kept me so busy that I really didn't think too much about the fact that I was a cancer survivor, and that all the hoopla had a lot more to do with me than I was really acknowledging. Not to say it was without its moments, but it just didn't have the impact on me that the Seward one did. I think the Seward Relay was just calmer and quieter, and seemed to lend itself to reflection and the luminaries seemed to glow brighter there. My team and I managed to stay up all night and actually had 2-4 people walking most of the relay! The symbolism of the event is very powerful if you stop and think about it. I definitely felt supported by my team, and was touched that they all cared enough to spend the entire night walking with/for me. I sort of felt like I shouldn't have asked that of them and wanted to just turn in our money and cancel our walk in the few days before the event, but they didn't let me, and it all turned out just fine.
As for treatment, the side effects have been less this last round, and I actually made it to work for 5 hours today...no throwing up, no debilitating fatigue...it was a good thing! Maybe the acupuncture is helping, maybe it is mind over matter, but being the nervous person that I am, there is the thought in the back of my mind that maybe the treatment is not as effective anymore. Either way, I have one round left and then I get restaged. So, it looks like the last week of July is when I will be having all my CT scans, x-rays, MRI's, and bone scans, to see how my cancer is responding to the treatment. Until then, I have no idea what the next step will be.....and frankly, I am willing to go an extra few rounds, but my doctor said no, it is about time to see what is going on! I am going to have to trust him on this one, I guess. But, if I start to get a little moody towards the end of July, please be kind, as I am very scared to go through all the testing again. If it comes back as mediocre or bad news, I anticipate it feeling a lot like the moment the doctor first told me the extent of my cancer! And believe me, it was not a shining moment in my life! If it is good news, well then I will have worried for nothing!

And all you positive thinkers in my life can yell "I TOLD YOU SO" as loud as you want, and I will be happy to hear it! Until then...I may need a hug or two or twenty!

Okay, that is the extent that my mind will let me BLOG tonight, I need to get to bed. I will get you updated again, as time permits...

What am I thankful for?! Friends and Family who will walk in circles all night long and not even think twice about it, just because they know how much it means to me! Okay, I have to go, it makes me tear up just thinking about it!