Showing posts from January, 2015

A Recovery List

(I've had several people emailing me about a way to subscribe to the blog. If you'll scroll down, there's a spot on the bottom right side that lets you sign up for the posts to be delivered via email. If you're on a mobile device, this doesn't work so hop on your laptop desktop, sign up, and then they'll shop up via your email address each time I post.)

1. Brian surprised me with a steak for supper Thursday night (purchased from a local butcher shop that we typically can't afford). When I had my tonsils out last year, the doctor told us protein helps you heal faster. It was SO good, and I only felt slightly guilty that I was eating steak while they had hamburger soup.
2. Speaking of my tonsils, I clearly have issues with Superbowl weekend since in 2014 I had my tonsils out. Superbowl 2015 weekend involved a new port.
3. Thank you, Liz, for sharing the good stuff with me. Tylenol was not cutting it. Again, doctors, why do you not think this is painful enough…

4/52: A Part of Me

Remember when I used to have all kinds of unique hospital experiences? I know, that's not really something to brag about, but it's still the truth. I've been in tornado drills with old men and their open-backed hospital gowns, had someone else's underwear be in my hospital bed, etc.
We can chalk yesterday up as one of those hospital experiences that I'd prefer not to repeat. Turns out I had reason to be concerned about the whole "conscious sedation" scenario because I was awake . . . the whole time. The procedure ended up lasting almost 2 hours, and I was awake for it all. According to the nurse, he gave me enough Versed to "knock out a horse" (exact quote), but I still was awake and talking (and freaking out) for the whole thing. For the most part, I wasn't in pain - there was lots of Lidocaine for that - but it was the strangest experience. I held it together until it was over, but once they started unwrapping me from all the sterile wra…

Good News, Bad News

The bad news is that my port has kicked the bucket and needs to be replaced via surgery tomorrow morning bright and early. The good news is that we figured out the problem early enough this week, and it will not interfere with chemo next week.
My Vanderbilt doctor said (in a more professional way) that not only is the port I have basically an antique, but that it's also on the wrong side which contributed to it giving out several years earlier than expected. 
They tell me this surgery will last about 90 minutes and only uses conscious sedation, not general anesthesia. All I know is, I'd prefer unconscious sedation. 
And prescription drugs.
I am tempted to feel frustrated by this, but instead am choosing to just accept that ports are a part of my life, be grateful Brian was able to take off work with such short notice, and feel lucky that my boss/work place is incredibly understanding. Did I mention I'll also be off work 3 days next week because of chemo? I've managed …

3/52: Light

I've worked during daylight hours this week, and there have been more than our fair share of gray dreary days. This morning we woke up to a bit of snow and a whole lot of sunlight. I put on a hat, jeans and sweatshirt and marched myself out the back door at 7:30. Sometimes I put a little too much faith in my big girl camera instead of taking my time to really set up a shot, but that's okay.
My Bible study group from church put together a bag of family fun for us right before I started the new chemo regimen, and this DIY bird feeder was one of the projects inside. So far the birds aren't crazy about it, but maybe they'll grow to like it.

I'm desperately behind in blogging and sharing pics. Maybe I can get caught up later this week.

Throwback Thursday - 100th Day 2014 Edition

As I go back through 2014 and catch up on Project Life, I found these pictures sitting on my hard drive never processed or shared. Considering the 100th day of school for this school year is tomorrow, the timing is perfect to share them.
I think Rory is loving her sweet friend to pieces. They are too cute.

This week has been one of work, homework, and little sleep, but blessedly boring. Tonight Brian and Rory are completing their 2nd grade project for the 100th day of school tomorrow, and we'll probably watch last night's episode of American Idol. I'm kind of loving this season. Loving even more that it's (usually) appropriate for Camden and Rory to watch with us. Camden loves the music aspect of it while Rory is caught up in the glamour that is Jennifer Lopez and the fantasy of going to Hollywood. Bless her glitter-loving heart.

The Weekend Lens

(borrowing that cute title from Ali Edwards)
Our weekend was full of lots of good things: sunshine and basketball (which doesn't happen too often in January), overnight sleepover with Addison, Paddington with the family paid for with a gift card (doesn't that make it even better?), church Sunday morning and then a long Sunday afternoon full of NFL playoff games.

Kids are obsessed with basketball right now. Rory got a basketball for Christmas, and Aunt Liz (who his her PE teacher) is teaching them basic skills this semester.

Sharing gummy bears and few rare peaceful, but happy moments together.

 Already scrapped! Credits here.

2/52: Storytelling

Miss Rory has always struggled with math. Sometimes I think it's all in her head - that she's convinced herself she's bad at math. Other times, I'm not so sure. Calculating money is a pretty big hang-up so we spent some extra time working on it this week, and I grabbed the camera for one quick shot while they were practicing.

Fend For Yourself

The kids had a "snow day" (a.k.a. it was cold outside and everyone else canceled so our school did too) on Thursday last week. Honestly, the day after chemo I'm still hyped on steroids (a.k.a. mean and cranky) and generally feeling pretty gross (my official definition for that chemo feeling in the pit of my stomach) so having the kids at home all day wasn't exactly ideal.
Brian left Camden and Rory with strict instructions to "fend for yourself." We've been letting Camden especially do a little more of this anyway, and I love watching him. I mean, I love the idea of watching him. I mostly just try not to nitpick on all the messes he makes when he fends for himself.

I know there's a streak of light across his face, but I kind of like it - I'll take all the sunshine I can get on these dreary winter days.

Cancer update

I never quite know how much information to share. Some of it seems so mundane, but since I continue to receive emails and texts asking, I will continue to share here. So, just a few highlights:
1. My CA125 went up 11 points to 55 after 1 month on Doxil. Not necessarily encouraging, but I've had many patients and two oncologists tell me this is typical for Doxil and that it is not necessarily an indication that Doxil isn't working.
2. My rash reappeared yesterday morning and by afternoon had spread so I took a steroid. Have I mentioned how much I hate them? They make me feel so sick, seriously almost worse than this particular chemo drug. Good news is that by this morning the rash is about 99% gone so the steroid is effective, and I just might put off taking anymore and see what happens. Shhhh, don't tell my doctor or Becky or my doctor brother-in-law. :)
3. Our second opinion with Dr. M last week went very well. He gave us a lot of information, but was also personable (th…

Tuesday Tidbits

It seems strange to move on with regular blogging in light of last week's events (Becky blogged about it here), but that's part of the beauty of life I think. For better or worse, minutes turn into hours and hours into days.
Last week's reduced dose of chemo was better than round 1 although I still found myself staying firmly planted on the couch for several days. Day 5 certainly seems to be the magic moment when things completely turn around. I kept wanting to push past the side effects, but some things can't be rushed. I missed the weekend activities, but happily went back to work yesterday.

I decided that pop culture was throwing me a bone by having both Downton Abbey and American Idol start new seasons during chemo week - I had plenty of time to watch.
I also managed to burn through the entire first season of The Paradise, a BBC show set in the 1870's (think along the lines of Downton Abbey) last week. It is binge-worthy, but be warned that it ends with a clif…

Kill Cancer Day, Take 4: Round 2

I'm sitting in our private infusion room at Vanderbilt, shoes off, feet propped up, warm blanket covering me, red rimmed eyes as I experience a whole new appreciation for the opportunity to spend today receiving a life-giving poison.
I fell asleep last night with a specific situation on my mind and before I was even fully conscious this morning, the verse from Psalm 46 was echoing through my brain: "God is my refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble. Therefore, I will not fear though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."
Over the course of the past few days, a friend went from a breast cancer diagnosis to the news that the cancer has spread extensively through her body with little hope for a cure.

I don't even know that I can call her a friend. We have certainly spoken on several occasions. In fact, the last time I remembering seeing her she met Camden and Rory for the first time and was a little bit star struck at seeing …

1/52: Fresh

I completed a Project 365 (one photo a day) for several years, but haven't even attempted that for a couple of years now. I'm going to give Project 52 a shot - just one photo per week. You can find more the information and weekly themes here.
This week's assignment is fresh, and these clean counters and tabletop are my version of fresh. I really wanted to start off the back to school/work week with a clean house and meals prepped/cooked. By some miracle, it actually happened. I haven't been on top of my domestic game since I started work back in August, but these counters are clear at least for today.
And nothing makes me feel like I can take a nice deep breath than clean counters!

Good News

Today I met with Dr. C and discussed my next treatment regimen. The good news is that I'm going to continue on Doxil. The not-as-good news is that they're lowering the dosage, and she is predicting I will have the rash/blister reaction again. We are taking some precautions against it. I have steroids in hand so that I am prepared to combat the blisters as soon as they start. I am to baby my skin big time via a special lotion and mouth wash. I am to not use hot or cold water whether it be ingesting hot beverages, washing dishes, or hot baths/showers. Also, no repetitive movements such as walking on a treadmill, folding envelopes, repeated writing, etc. etc. I can live with all of that.
The other piece of decent news is that my CA125 from December 2 remained basically unchanged from the November 1 number of 44. That means I had a month of no chemo, but my CA125 stayed the same. That is very good news. I don't have the new CA125 number from today.
The plan is that I will go …

Hello, 2015

I've spent the last 48 hours in a state of fuzziness as a result of no sleep. Dumb steroids. It may or may not have been the perfect time to convert my 2014 blog posts into a book. There were so. many. words. So. many. pictures.
In those odd, foggy hours, the words and pictures all felt a little useless. The hard of the past couple of weeks overshadowed so much good. Here are just a few things that came to mind when I stopped the negative talk for half a second. The great snow storm of 2014 immediately following Christmas break, which meant almost a 4 week break. What a fun time of just complete relaxation (although I might have had a slightly different attitude at the time).The spring break trip to AtlantaThe family trip to Illinois in MayHosting a youth group for a week in JuneSurviving Burgess Falls!Sending the kids to Gram and Gramp's house for a week in JulyA quick weekend with Brian's family at Lake HolstenStarting a new jobWorking at D6 4 days at Winshape, including…