Saturday, December 24, 2011


Good morning!

And, yes, it has been a pretty good one for me...all things considered. I rested well and it is Christmas Eve!!!

I thought that with everything that has gone on, I needed to take note of how far we have come. Everyday seems to get a little better. The improvements are sometimes so small it is hard to recognize them, but as I search for good in my life I see how I am being blessed.

First off let me start with my hand/arm. This was a huge problem in the beginning. I was in more pain than I thought I could bear. Nerve pain is not anything you ever want to experience. Give me childbirth any least you know that it will eventually end. With a combination of changing my treatment and therapeutic exercises and stretches, I am happy to report that my hand and arm are about 90% back! Yay! I almost have full range of motion, My sense of touch is slowly returning and my strength is getting better. But by far, the BEST news of all is that I am in no pain and am off all pain medications! I almost have a completely happy hand!

My neck was also very painful and swollen. I couldn't turn my head at all. That is gone and my neck is only tender in certain places. I have most of my range of motion back.

The next huge problem we faced was the nausea. Nausea so bad that it was impossible to take 10 steps by myself. If I had to go far and I had no help, I crawled...and I usually threw up on the way there. This nausea was caused by the chemo drugs and the pain meds. So as I weaned off of the meds, the nausea naturally got better. This is the time that I started to loose weight and was almost hospitalized for dehydration because I couldn't even keep water down.

As the nausea got better, the vomiting didn't. Because of a different reason. The drugs are super hard on your stomach and digestive system. Anything that was put in...wanted out! My appetite for food was less and less and my weight continued to decline.

Now for the good news! I haven't thrown up in 2 days!!! That is such a big deal. Such an enormous step forward. That means that I may start to put on weight soon. (feels weird saying that)

The major thing that I'm dealing with right now is crazy, painful mouth sores. They make it very hard to eat, drink, swallow, talk, and even sleep. We are treating them and hoping that they are on their way out too. Really, because the last time I got on a scale I only weighed 95 pounds. Depressing.

I still do daily IV's at home to stay hydrated, and I have absolutely no energy. Walking up and down my stairs feels like a mile run. But these things are easily solved by eating good food and having a body healthy enough to utilize it. I know that will happen with time because look how far we have come!!!

Oh...I forgot to mention somewhere in there that I lost all my hair. It's a bummer, but it is causing me no discomfort other than having to my pride shaken. Having to be a bald, skinny lady again really does suck, but it is the thing that I am least worried about.

So there it is! Your "glass half full" update. :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

PET Scan Results

Ok, so here's the news. We got my PET scan results today and honestly I don't even want to be writing this right now. I almost wish that no one knew about the scan so I can deal with the results on my own. But part of having a huge, wonderful support system is that people care and love me and want to know too.

So yeah, as you have probably deduced, I'm not happy. It isn't bad news, necessarily, but not a lot of good news.

I am not responding as well as I did last time to this treatment. The cancer's activity is down, but the masses are still there and HAVE shrunk, but not anywhere near where we hoped to be by now (based on last time and the great results we had).

As we listened to the Dr explain where there was still masses and activity I kind of zoned out, so I don't know exact details yet. I'll figure that out when I get my own copy of the written report. All I heard was, "not responding as favorably as we hoped" and I kind of shut down. Been kind of in a zombie state ever since.

So maybe writing this and sharing is good for me right now. I don't know. It does feel good to get this out.

Thank you for your inquiring texts and messages asking how it went. I hope you consider this a suitable answer. Not very personal, but it is a way for me to answer everyone at once and only have to say it once.  Know that I appreciate all of your love, your prayers and your concern.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Weak Moments

Right now I wish this was all just a bad dream and I want to wake up NOW!

I want to eat.
I want to sleep.
To play, to run, to dance.
I want to clean my own house!
I want my body AND my hair back.
I want to feel pretty.
I want to be done.

Man...I sound like a bratty kid. Sorry. Sometimes the situation gets the best of me. The sadness of it all seems to be ever lurking around the corner trying to get me down...sometimes it wins for a bit. Like right now.

I generally don't write when I feel like this. Who wants to read someone elses' sob story? It's depressing.

So because of that I'm going to keep it short. I know these are passing feelings, but I am sad and frustrated. Exhausted trying to stay happy, or to appear happy to protect others from the truth. Truth? The truth is, I am miserable.

At least right now I am. It will pass. Sorry for exposing my weak moments, but I just had to write. Not really sure why.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Early Morning Thoughts

How do I push past the hardest times? I don't.
I endure them.

How does one endure day after day things that they never thought would happen to them?
You just HAVE to.

Now comes the tricky question.

How can I maintain my love of life when I feel like everything I love about it has been ripped away from me?
...well, the answer is, I pray.

Please excuse me as I expose the thing I treasure most in this world.
My testimony.

I know we are here for a reason. We are not alone and are not forgotten. This world is a place of trials, sadness, illness and death. Tragedy and heartbreak sometimes mold who we are. But is that a bad thing? Do we not learn from these and then the sweet times in life become that much sweeter?!?

For instance, I am SO hungry right now. Beyond what I can describe. My body is just so empty and calling for nourishment, yet it rejects everything I have to offer. This morning I am starting to feel a bit tortured by it.

All I know, is the next time, whenever that will be, that I eat a meal and feel full...I will rejoice!!! Do you ever marvel at how miraculous the human body is? I do. Especially now. I long for mine to function as it was designed. To be strong and happy.

So what does that have to do with praying?

Well, when I pray, I have a confirmed feeling that everything will be ok. That this too shall pass and be for my good. I know that. I long for it. And I know it is coming soon...never soon enough of course, but soon. I just ned to be patient and stay faithful. My faith sometimes wavers, but it is only because my body is weak and suffering. My spirit, though, is totally willing to submit to His will.

I love prayer. Like a telephone up to heaven. I always feel comforted by it. Maybe not physically, but mentally and spiritually it offers me things that are unattainable by any other means.

Try it. Just talk to Him. He is your Father and wants to hear from you. Thank Him for your blessing when you are down. That is actually my biggest "be happy" tool. Gratitude.

I may not be able to eat right now, but my kids are healthy. ALL of them! My husband is too and has a good job to support us. The people who love and support us are beyond measure...i could really go forever! I have my vision and hearing to fully enjoy the sights and sounds of life, my hand is starting to have good function again, I just turned 31...etc.

Life does suck sometimes...but it is also SO good. So count your blessings for me today. And start with enjoying your breakfast! ;)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chemo Week 1 Report (Part 2)

 ...continued from last post...

Making it through Thursday was a feat, but then came Friday morning. A morning I will remember forever. Both for terrible and beautiful reasons.
When my 6am alarm went off I felt ok...until I moved. Uh oh...this isn't good. The nausea was back with a vengeance. My world was not right and my stomach was in knots. This Friday was not a special day and Jess had long left for work. I was alone and I had to get three boys up and  ready for school. I am still a mom with kids to take care of.
As I started to get out of bed I realized that my arm was also screaming at me.  And for good reason too...I had missed a dose of one of my pain medications. It felt like someone had taken a hammer to my forearm and elbow while I was sleeping.The bottle was downstairs. Dang.
With all of the strength that I could muster I literally staggered out of my room. The nausea was ripping at my stomach and spinning my head. I needed to get downstairs to my medicine. As I made it down the hallway I opened Joey's door. "Time to wake up Joe. I need you to get up and get dressed." I tried my best to disguise my voice, as if I felt fine. Trying to sound cheerful, like I usually do in the mornings. Further down the hallway this repeated at Andrew's room. Neither of them budged, but I couldn't care. I needed to get downstairs.
As I made my way down I could hear my oldest, Matthew, up Iand doing stuff. "Thank goodness." I thought. "One less kid to wake up."
I literally stumbled into the kitchen where my pain medicine was and just grabbed the bottle. I knew I had to lay down, and I had a plan as to where the perfect place would be. Near the bottom of our stairs is very central to our house. I knew that I could talk to pretty much any of the boys from there, no matter where they were.
I made it there, fumbled with opening my my bottle (I still can't use my right hand well) took my pills, and layed down. Just as I got there Matthew noticed me. "Are you going to throw up?" He had concern in his voice, yet a very direct tone. "Yes, probably..." and he was gone before I could say any more.
Still no movement upstairs from the younger boys so I muscled through another stomach cramp before calling to them, "c'mon boys, I need you to get up." Next thing I know my sweet 11 year old, Matthew, has brought me a tall glass of water and a large metal bowl. He places them beside my head on the carpet, and I look up at him. "Thanks!" "You're welcome."
The nausea is so strong I put my head down. I hated that he was seeing me like this. Then I hear his voice coming from upstairs waking up his brothers. "C'mon guys! Get up. Mom doesn't feel good." Then...I threw up. Matthew's bowl and drink of water were much appreciated!
Just as I was finishing up (thank goodness) Joey came down. Dressed and ready to go. He didn't say anything, just came and layed next to me. "Hey sweetie...I'm ok...I promise. I need you to go eat breakfast ok?" He nodded, smiled softly and went into the kitchen. I could already hear that Matt was in there too. He came out to check on me. I asked him for some tissues to blow my nose and if Andrew, the youngest, was up. Not long after that Andrew trampled down the stairs.
As he approaches me laying on the floor he asks, "Are you sick mommy? Is that bowl so you can throw up?"..."yep" I get out. "I need you to go eat breakfast ok?"..."k". And he gives me a quick hug and goes to the kitchen. But just for a moment to come back with the question, "mom, can we have eggs for breakfast?"
I had to chuckle a little. I obviously was not in any condition to provide a hot breakfast this morning. I had actually thrown up again. But...I knew that I had taught Matt to cook himself scrambled eggs recently and he had done it a few times, but he had never cooked for everyone. "You will have to ask Matthew if he feels like making everyone eggs." Matt jumped at the idea and did an amazing job scrambling up 10 eggs for him and his brothers! As I lay on the ground in pain and discomfort, it still amazed me that this was all going so smoothly!
I felt sicker than I ever have. So much that I couldn't get up from the floor. Yet we had one of our easiest mornings EVER! No fighting, no whining. Just cooperative boys, doing what they were supposed to and keeping an eye on me at the same time.
I have never felt so low, yet I have never ben so proud and in love with my boys. I hope they never have to see me like that again, but they sure did show me what they are made of.
Their ride arrived and they were off to school. Just another day to them, but one I had to tell the story of so they can read about it someday. So they know that they are my heros.