Monday, June 27, 2011

Bad News/Good News

Bad News: Cycle 3 chemo effects happened alot more quickly than previous cycles
Good News: Cycle 3 isn't as bad as Cycle 2

Bad News: I had to go to the ER Friday night.
Good News: Everything was fine.

Bad News: Woke up Sunday morning with a lopsided belly and knots around my IP port
Good News: My blood pressure was no longer 157 over 120.

Bad News: Didn't feel well enough to go to church and spent the day sacked out in my living room chair.
Good News: Still felt well enough to enjoy all my family who spent the day with me (mom and dad, brother, sister and brother-in-law, kiddos)

Bad News: Got way behind on my anti-nausea medicine Sunday night
Good News: The reason for that is I slept for 8 straight hours.

Bad News: Saw the doctor today and my IP port is definitely screwed up. Having a port-o-gram tomorrow morning and possible surgery.
Good News: We had these waffles with ice cream for breakfast and marked it off our summer list.


Sunday, June 26, 2011


Side note: I'm going to be so sad when Rory stops mispronouncing words. :)

A week ago today, the four of us loaded up and headed to Chattanooga for a fun 48 hours. Because the overwhelming majority of our family lives spread across the country (think WV, VA, OK, UT, IL), we rarely just head somewhere for a few days just the 4 of us so this was extra special.

Here's our trip photos in all of their unedited glory. :)

We hit the pool first thing Sunday night.

And hit up Starbucks for a little Wifi and coffee Monday morning (since our hotel was sorely lacking both departments).

Chattanooga Aquarium - so much fun. Camden kept saying all day, "this is the best day of my life." (notice Rory isn't wet yet)

The shark tank was Camden's favorite.

We took a break from the fish and went to see the iMax movie, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was a documentary on orphaned elephants and orangutans. And we know I'm not an animal lover, but this was just plain fun.

After the aquarium we found a splash pad and let the kids play. Did I mention it was 98 degrees both days we were there? Miserable!


After swimming, ice cream was a must, and I have to say that I'm still dreaming about it. Ice cream will always be my first choice of dessert, but I'm pretty snobby about it. This little bowl had everything - firm texture, coffee ice cream with oreos and pecans in it.


Camden loves food as much as anyone I know!


Did I mention it was 98 degrees outside?

Tuesday morning we got up and went to the Incline Railroad. We found out later that we didn't actually have to drive the scenic route to ride it, but I was so glad we made the trip.





My favorite pictures of the weekend are these next two. Brian and I are pretty strict parents. Okay, some might call us uptight. :) But on vacation we really wanted the kiddos to get to do whatever they wanted. So if that meant sprite at every meal, or popcorn in bed at 10:00 p.m. because sleep wasn't coming, we did it.

This is the life.


Brian and I came home from this "vacation" feeling like we needed a vacation because sharing a small room with a 7 and 4 year old isn't the most relaxing thing ever, but it was a lovely two days of family time. And we're all going to remember the year we went to "Chaccanooga" and Rory went swimming with the sting rays.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just Another Friday Night

Have I ever mentioned that I was perfectly, completely healthy before this cancer junk? Cause I was. And, honestly, most of the time I tend to ignore the fact that I have cancer and that it's serious. I mean, there's all these scars on my body and no hair, plus being sick. But really I do not dwell at all on the seriousness of cancer. So yesterday as I went about my day (which mostly consisted of laying on the couch trying desperately to keep my eyes open),  I noticed my shoulder port was more sore than normal. Didn't give it too much thought. When I actually got around to looking at it late afternoon, it was swollen and very hard. I called my resident cancer expert, a.k.a. Becky, and she immediately said I needed to call the doctor. I pretty much put this off as often as possible, by the way. :) So I called, and they said I needed to get to the emergency room because it could be indicative of a blood clot. Obviously, kinda serious. I still didn't panic, made a couple of phone calls, while Becky texted me repeatedly and said "go to the ER!" We were actually planning to wait a couple of hours, but she convinced me to get moving.

Managed to arrange quick childcare for the kiddos (thank you, Mrs. Marion, Gram and Gramps!) and went to Nashville. The check-in nurse stuck us out in the hallway away from the waiting room and made me wear a really great blue mask to help protect me from germs which matched my glasses, comfy clothes, and no make-up look really well. My sister Liz came and sat with me and Brian, and we had a pretty lovely time considering the situation. Have I mentioned recently how much I love my family? My blood pressure was 157 over 120 and I had a crazy heart rate, but the x-rays came back fine, and they sent me home with orders to call them with any changes and no strenuous activity. No problem there since I barely have enough energy to drag myself to the bathroom much less hit the treadmill or do yardwork.

So that was my Friday evening. Not quite like date night, but I did get to spend it with Brian and Liz, who is not just my sister but my friend.

Oh, and the good news for today is that my parent's are on their way. There's nothing better than having your parents around to take care of you. And I didn't know how much I needed to see them until they called yesterday offering to visit (and this was before the ER trip). One little heart breaking thing, though. When I told Camden Grandma and Grandpa were coming (via phone while I was in the ER), he immediately said, "Why? What's wrong with you?" Oh, how I wish that he didn't have to think about things like that. I've decided we're going to learn this verse together tonight. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27


Friday, June 24, 2011

Sprung a Leak

You know how in those dramatic movie (or TV) scenes when someone gets shot, and they pull the shirt back to see the gory bullet hole and the blood is just bubbling over? Yep, that would be me. Okay, so not blood or getting shot, but my IP stomach port started leaking yesterday shortly after chemo just like that. Seriously bubbling (or gushing if i want to be more dramatic) out running down my stomach, legs, etc. I had strict orders from the doctor to spend the afternoon and evening flat on my back in an effort to stop the leaking, and it finally slowed down sometime in the middle of the night, but not before changing the dressing way too many times to count, drenching several shirts and towels. Fun times. Cycle 3 is living up to the hype - many of the chemo patients I've talked to said that it was after cycle 3 that they couldn't go back to work, took much longer to recoup, etc. Not complaining here, but I'm definitely finding it true that the pains/nausea/sickies/neuropathy in my feet has hit much more quickly this time.

In other news, Camden and Rory spent the day yesterday with some of Brian's co-workers and their children, and did they ever have a great time! They literally spent the entire day in the pool barely breaking even for lunch. They came home tired, but happy (and several shades darker despite the 50spf sunscreen we use).

Brian has the unenviable job of taking Rory (and Camden is tagging along) to the dentist this morning. It's one of those places that I dread. Not because Rory doesn't do well, but because the wait is ridiculous, the office has two TVs blaring different movies, plus all the video games, crying children, etc. So far we've never had a cleaning without Rory needing some serious additional teeth work, but my fingers are crossed.

In the meantime, I'm snuggled up on the couch with my new blanket (it was yesterday's chemo gift from Brian's school). I SO love this color! And does it seem like my toes are making the blog a little too often to you? Yeah, me too.

And want to know what else I love?

This girl.


And this boy.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sting Rays and Shark Tanks

We went to the Chattanooga Aquarium, and the kids loved it. They especially loved the touch tanks, which means you can touch the fish/creatures inside, and it's monitored by employees.



Notice how Brian is helping Rory?


And this would be the point Rory started striking up conversations with anyone who would listen.

And now the parents have deserted these two cute Korean kids so one could take pictures and the other could direct the sting rays toward those two cute kids for a better aquarium experience.

Oh, look! I can put my whole arm in the water!

And anything Camden can do, I can also do.

Yep, she fell in. Face first. Brian didn't see it happen; Camden didn't even make a move toward her or change his expression at all. I immediately started yelling (and possibly hitting at him to get his attention since he didn't see it happen) at Brian to grab her (I had to protect my camera!) and panicking about the creatures she was in the water with. And then I took pictures. LOL You have no idea how much I wish I'd gotten a picture of her going in the water.

Is this not pitiful? She was totally fine until she was out of the water and then she cried. Her panicked mother probably didn't help keep her calm at all.

Totally and completely soaked for the rest of the day. And smelling slightly of sting rays and little sharks.

Once I got over the shock of having my daughter fall into a pool of sting rays, Brian and I laughed hysterically the rest of the day. Notice Brian wasn't panicked at all. It felt like he was moving in slow motion, and he had a whole lot more confidence than I did that not only were those creatures not dangerous but that Rory was not the first child to fall in. We've had a major case of sibling jealousy going on here for years, but it's been especially bad in the last couple of weeks. Rory is just positive that she can do everything Camden can do and it was in full force during our trip. Let me just tell ya that falling into that tank of water and sea creatures put a big damper into her little independent streak. :) Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you are), it's back and stronger than ever today.

I have lots more Chattanooga pictures, but they're just not going to happen today. Chemo was fine yesterday, but I'm feeling tired.

One more note about Rory. She clearly has a tendency for drama. Last year in Texas the child jumped into the pool with water over her head, no life jacket on while I was getting towels and life jackets ready. Totally over her head. She cannot swim. Camden saved her that time. And this morning Aunt Liz watched the kids and took them to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Liz had to slam on the brakes to avoid a wreck and Rory's carseat wasn't fastened (totally my fault because I forgot to install it after we took it two weeks ago) and she went flying into the seat in front of her. So thankful she wasn't hurt!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chemo Update

After whining the last two days about going back to chemo, I feel like I owe you an update. :) It was fine. My Wednesday chemo is my easiest of the three, and after a three week break, it was good to see my friends. It was a slow day in the chemo room so we had plenty of time to catch up, and got to spend extra time chatting with Sara (our chemo nurse), who is my age and expecting her first baby this fall. I also was finally able to meet and talk to another young mother that I've seen a couple of times. She finishes up tomorrow, and I'm so happy for her.

I met a new patient today. This is her first ovarian cancer treatment, but she just finished treatment for breast cancer and is very beaten down. I felt so sorry for her; she is fragile and very sick. The overwhelming feeling in our chemo room is one of camaraderie and the women are full of positive spirits. But I felt none of that from her; only despair. She has been heavy on my heart the rest of the day, and I am praying that she will be able to dig down deep and find some strength.

Also heavy on my heart is my friend who finished treatment last cycle as well as our new friend who is on the same treatment cycle. Both of those friends (Glenda and Barbara) are currently in the hospital having serious issues with scar tissue from their surgeries. I'm sure I've mentioned before, but the treatment I'm on is a specialized one. Dr. W says only 1 out of 10 patients qualify and many are unable to finish this particular kind of chemo. So the few of us on this treatment plan share a bond, not just because we spend alot of time together, but because it's particularly difficult. We're there in that chemo room together approximately 16-18 hours during our 3 chemo days.And let me just say as a side note, you better believe I'm going to be asking Dr. W about it tomorrow because it's not a complication I knew could happen!

So while I have friends who are on my heart tonight, and I'm currently exhausted (but not feeling sick yet), it was still a good day. I don't know why chemo days are good days, but they generally are. It's comforting to be in that room for some reason. I know that tomorrow will be tougher, but today was encouraging, and I feel strong and ready for it.


After taking steroids last night, I slept a total of 2.5 hours and this morning had a mini-breakdown. Oh, how I'd like to just stay home today and not head into Nashville to spend the next 10 days feeling miserable. 

As I was getting ready, however, Brian brought me up a gift from his West Cheatham School Family. He's got a big rubbermaid downstairs full of gifts ready for each chemo treatment - they've given me one for each chemo day. Attached to every gift has been a card with a specific quote or Scripture of encouragement, and today's envelope said Hope. So many times these quotes or Scriptures have come at exactly the right time. You can't tell me God's not helping guide what quote I get on what day. The quote inside was "When the world whispers "give up" hope whispers "try it one more time." Just what I needed. Although it did bring more tears. :)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

We're in Chaganooga (as Rory calls it) on a mini-getaway, but I have a few Tuesday tidbits to share from last week. I'll be back tomorrow hopefully with pictures and definitely a great story you don't want to miss. :)

Last week Camden and Rory made their own concoction of bubbles, dirt, and rocks and decided it smelled bad and they could kill bugs with it. They spent the morning chasing poor ants and bugs and drowning them with the concoction.

I've been trying to teach Camden and Rory to only use our back door instead of the front door, basement door, and back door all at once. :) Somehow they haven't learned yet, and will stand at the front door and knock for what feels like forever before they remember the back door is unlocked and ready for them.

Camden told me he had decided he was going to eat healthy today so he came back from the continental breakfast in our hotel with 2 pieces of sausage, a chocolate donut, and an apple. LOL

I saw this print a couple of weeks ago and really loved the bright colors (which is what made me click on it), but when I saw the verse, it brought tears to my eyes, and I clicked purchase. It arrived last week and I just love it. Not sure where it's going in the house yet, but I love it.

"Wouldn't it be cool if me and daddy were married?" Definitely from Rory.

Tomorrow I start cycle 3 of chemo. I'll have chemo Wednesday and Thursday and then the following Thursday. I am immensely grateful for the extra week I've had, but am SERIOUSLY dreading going back as I remember how sick I was after cycle 2. Today I choose to be grateful for feeling good the last couple of weeks and for the fact that I'll be halfway finished after this third cycle.

No pictures today, but here's a page I scrapped last week using Gina Miller/Jacque Larsen's iGo kit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

fathers day-web

And a few links for you:

I wrote a little blog post for The Lily Pad with some Father's day inspiration. Click here.

New pictures on my photography blog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011 Project 365, Week 24

2011_week24 web

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Day

Earlier this week we had a Family Day. It started off with meeting Joy, Jason, Ellis, and Sumner at the park for picture and then lots of play time. We then headed to Pei Wei for lunch, then to Michaels to buy some fun craft stuff and also kid supplies for an up-coming trip. We hit up the library for lots of books, then we saw Kung Fu Panda 2. It was fabulous, by the way, and we all had many laughs. And I might have shed several tears over the adoption theme.

All 4 kiddos

I made Brian stand in so I could get my settings right

And then he took this picture of me and Joy.

And a little blooper shot of Ellis and Sumner. (I have multiple pics of Ellis and his tongue.)

It was a very fun day, and I was so glad to see Joy and her family again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good news

Our busy week has caught up with me today, and I can't seem to wake up or find motivation. Of course, it could be the busy week or it could be the 4 loads of laundry, one batch of cookies (more on that in a minute), trip to the grocery store, cleaning spree I've been on this morning. After all the bad days during a chemo cycle, I feel very compelled to take advantage of the days I feel good, which is why this has been such a busy week. It's also why we're headed to a magic show this afternoon as well as VBS tonight.

I also wanted to mention here (in case you missed it on Facebook) that I got my first CA125 level back yesterday. The CA125 blood test is how they look for cancer in your system, specifically ovarian cancer. Before my surgery, my CA125 level was 1,100. Normal range is anything below 34. Yesterday, my level was 30. Woohoo! While we won't know if my cancer is gone until my chemo is finished in September, and I have a scan, that normal CA125 level is very encouraging.

And, now those cookies I made. I saw this recipe on the How Sweet It Is blog this morning, and immediately went to get butter out of the fridge to soften. They did not disappoint. There is oatmeal and cinnamon in the cookies, so it's a little different, but very yummy. And the texture was perfect. I highly recommend them.

Clearly, I am no food photographer, but you get the idea.

The kids played SO well together yesterday. All day long. Mostly crammed in Camden's closet. Clearly, I'm no child photographer either. This was the best I got.

This one's slightly better if you wanted to see a picture of Rory's molars.

Mostly I just wanted to show you this cute clip from the Briar Claire Etsy shop. They have so many adorable things. Go shop!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Look what we did Tuesday. And by we I mostly mean Brian although I am responsible for a coat of paint on the red and yellow chairs.


And I already put the yellow one to good use. Despite what it looks like, my kids are SO over having their picture taken. Brian used bodily function noises to help me out. :)



And as far as the other projects in the house, the closet doors in our bedroom and bathroom are now painted white, shower curtain purchased, cool Paris prints have arrived, pretty blue paint ready for the bathroom, and a new ceiling fan and light fixture is installed in the living room. The one that was there was at least 15 years old and more than a little outdated.