And So it began

"ONCE UPON A TIME"....there came along this little lump...insignificant really when you compare it to the entire world of lumps. That is, right up to the point that it wasn't...insignificant I mean............... and so began my journey.

A NEWER SHADE OF I more then SURVIVE...I am learning to THRIVE...

OF COURSE... we all know things are bound to get a little crazy with a surprise around most every corner...not to mention an assortment of bumps and bruises along the way...but I am ever thankful for them all...they have all made me who I am. So buckle up, hold on tight and enjoy the ride thru what I lovingly refer to as LIFE

Monday, December 31, 2012

(-my team-)
-None of this last year would have been possible without each one of YOU-


I can't let this year end without including some wonderful things that happened in our little world during the end of this eventful Year ....

and especially the last  5 days.....
Pragmatically Speaking and NuMo added a beautiful little "Hop" to the family. She had a rough start but is pulling out all her Amazon spirit and should be going home to her parental units by Thurs if not sooner.  Where once again we see the healing hand of the Lord and are truly humbled and blessed by His ever watchful care and loving arms of support and strength. Thank you for all your prayers on Hop's behalf.

Random Wisdom and "BmF" (boy/man/fiance) have officially got the rock on the appropriate finger and "she's so in love with the boy"... ( that song). They are so totally in love which is followed closely by all that cute and gooeyness  you would expect.  We are thrilled for them.
Empress of Awesomeness continues to be just that.....and with the loving heart and hands of Doc to support her and little "Beb" (a chip off the mother ship for sure) they are the cutest little rock solid unit.  There is hardly a minute goes by that there isn't a smile on my face from something we have talked about or that Beb has done.....Truly an Empress in training.
 Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, calls and emails that have lifted me and carried me thru this journey. I have been cared for and loved beyond words by my rock and very own VoR who has not uttered one complaint or shirked at anything I have asked or need and not asked of him over these months....he quietly and lovingly walks beside me (at my pace) with peace and compassion... letting me see that I am still me....his love reflected back as I look into his gentle eyes and feel the strength in those great (but softly gentle) hugs.  As I look back at all these decades together....It is so wonderful to see how that first goeey gushy love morphes into something way better and grows stronger with each step we take together.  He is such an amazing example to me in so many ways.... his words and deeds and his compassion and treatment of others.  His strength and testimony of the Savior never wavers...he truly know from where his strength comes. 
 I have been blessed from above from a loving Heavenly Father and Savior that have lifted and carried me every single day of the journey for I KNOW I could not have done this alone.

THE LAST CHEMO.....(January 11th)

ROCK ON 2013!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

In the words of a couple great old guys
I am kinda fond of...
Bing and Danny...
     Wow did we ever get dumped on yesterday...white Christmas for us...about 30cm along with rain so was it heavy...but it is Great for an awesome SNOWMAN.  It took forever for VoR to get it shoveled in the morning before work...then the snow plows cleared the street and the end of the driveway looked like the top of the the poor guy had to do it all over again!!  Now add a 4hr power outage and it was a great day.  I turned my chair to face the burning log in the fireplace and just relaxed and enjoyed the peacefulness...okay I may have slept a smidge too.
     As I sat here for the past few weeks (being on VoR-enforced house arrest...for my own protection) with out any of the trappings and hoopla of the Christmas Season (6wks of madness) taking over my mind and wallet successfully turning me into one of those "Crazy"/"Stressed out and grumpy" women (trust me I worked retail for a few decades and saw some doozies).  I have had a good chance to REALLY think about what it all it CHRISTmas, christMAS or Xmas?
     Vor and I have been having some debates on this subject for a while and with agreeing on the REAL reason for the season...we agree.  What gets a little hazy is our different views on exactly what the "commercial trappings" are.  As I have sat on the sidelines this year (not baking, shopping or decorating) it is easy to see just how bad it really has gotten and how it has been turned from the birth of Christ to a 6wk marathon of doing/buying everything in sight to see just how burned out we can get ourselves. (Is my tree perfect? How many am I guilting myself into buying a gift for...those people I barely know outside of work or class? Is my house the best lit on the street? How many pounds of treats do I have to make to have on hand...just in case cause we all know we can only bake "special" stuff for these 6 weeks? Is my house clean enough? How many parties do I get pressured to attend or host?  Is my new dress gonna fit and be nice enough? etc, etc, etc!) Now don't get me wrong....I have jumped head first onto this crazy train too.
     My first pet peeve - is all the BIG Media FLASH and "you are awesome" Ceremony companies and groups do to try and out do each other to prove who is the most generous, charitable and consumed by the "Spirit of Christmas"....I mean seriously people.
     Second Pet Peeve - Why do we only open our minds, hearts and wallets becoming Christlike for these 6 weeks? We all feel those warm fuzzies. Why do those quiet acts of love, service and kindness abandon us (or we push them away) for the other 46 weeks of the year? The fact that we lose our minds trying to be kind, generous and charitable for only these few weeks and dismiss each other is so screwed up...not to mention that we give all the credit and responsibility of the success of our Christmas day to that tubby little man in the red suit.
     Christ's Birth changed the world and us forever...He is the Greatest Gift we have ever received.  The miracle of His birth ISN'T just a 6wk deal but a 365/24-7 example for us to live our lives show the best of ourselves. Why do we insist on short changing ourselves and those we could be serving. Yes...we get stressed but if we take a second to stop and re-focus our compass then we are able to open our eyes and hearts to the suffering of others...we will find the best in Ebenezer, George Bailey and the Grinch... to just name a few. 
     Are we blind part-time in keepers of Bethlehem or the meek shepherds that watched patiently for the birth of our Savior rejoicing because they understood that this small baby was the greatest gift and blessing from a loving Heavenly Father.  That He would change mankind forever...not just 6 weeks in December.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

WEll.... I learned a valuable this week......
(and a reminder me and meds)

     They don't lie when they (doctors) call it a  "medical practise". They give their best shot, hoping for the best result, but can change things totally cause we just aren't a statistic....we are human beings and no 2 DNAs react the same so they tweek, and tweek, until they find the best for you.

     So what does all this have to do with my past week.....ummmmm....everything!!  Let me start with Chemo (last Friday). After having that mild reaction the chemo before....they tweeked my cocktail this time to give me all the "anti-allergy" meds before we started this 2nd treatment.  I was feeling great....they did notice my blood pressure was elevated and my temp jump to 37.7 (.3 under the 38. degree that results in a mandatory hospital stay....whewww...dodged that bullet. and when they checked after the cocktail everything was back to normal (temp and BP)

    The next morning (okay....noonish really).  I got up and walked into the kitchen and had to grab the stove to stay up.  Right out of left field...both my arms were numb and tingling, really light headed with headache and the biggest herd of elephants stomping the middle of my chest. (yup...kinda freaky...first time for everything)  It only lasted less then 2 minutes and then I was fine except for feeling "OFF" and random thick sensation up the side of my neck and then a shooting headache. I pretty much sat and did less then normal until the home care nurse came to change the dressing on my PICC line.  I told her what had happened and so she took my BP and pulse only to see that the BP was WAY high and that I had a irregular heart beat.  So was told (in no uncertain terms) to pack and get the ER.  So off we jaunted for yet another 3 hrs stint.

    The ER doctor was great....ordered ECG, chest x-rays and full blood work.  It all came back clear no indication of it being a heart issue (HUGE sigh of relief!!!!)  But he wasn't ready to totally rule out that it my have been Pulmonary Edema that had broken up and filter out with no damage...but if ANYTHING like that happened again "GET YOUR BUTT BACK HERE FAST"

    So I have been really tired this week and spent most of it sleeping (except at night..great!!).  I had phoned my oncologist to let her know what had happened and so Thursday she called me and told me that it had indeed been a drug reaction and the magnitude of reaction between the first time of this cocktail to this was so HUGELY escalated that she can't give me more or it might kill me next time....dying is not in my plans so.... we had to come up with options...

1) just stop chemo now....not really an option because it really felt cheat.  They have a great tradition at the chemo unit I didn't really miss out a rite of passage..."Ringing the Bell" at the chemo unit to celebrate that I had made it thru and won.or....

2) go back to the original cocktail to finish


     Sooo we are gonna do the next 2 with the old stuff.....YIPPEEE...back to the nausea cocktail again!!!!  Now the effect of going back to cocktail 1 (having done 6)  could boost my chances of heart failure or permanent damage. So I asked my oncologist point blank, what would she do if it was her in my shoes.  Lucky for me we were on the same page.  She said they will give me everything they have to protect the heart.

     I have honestly felt this time of treatment to be just flying by.  It never got as bad as I had thought it would so I haven't been bed ridden the whole time.  I didn't get much of what I had "planned to do" thru this down time....that didn't happen either.  I expected to read (all those you never have time to do), study scriptures and gospel lessons (couldn't get my mind to even concentrate...kept reading the same thing over and just not getting it....argg...chemo brain) and watch old movies...ya...couldn't hold my attention either.  So here I sit 3 WEEKS to my last treatment and feel like I have accomplished nothing.  I did what I needed to and focus on healing not the "to do " will be waiting for me when this is all finished.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

FRIDAY - DECEMBER 14/12 - 10:00 AM
So here we are this morning going into round 2 of my last know what that means....
2 LEFT!!!!!
     I can't say I have been feeling "bottom of the barrel" awful this past week (since the last treatment actually) and can see the major shift from the last cocktail.  The "drive me nuts" part is that I can be sitting in my chair or resting in bed and think "I am actually feeling pretty good".....Then reality hits...I get up and BAM hits me like a brick wall....."Nope...I think I will just sit back down"  energy zapped in an instant.  Then there is the taking 5 or 6 steps and being so winded and heart just pounding like I just ran a full marathon...and I am POOPED!!!
     I have made the same changes in my sleep routine that I did at the beginning with eating....schedule out the window!!!  When I am hungry...I eat...regardless of the time and now I just shut my eyes and rest/sleep whenever the urge hits...ZZZZs follow quickly. I don't look at the clock anymore and (see if it's too late in the day).  I have found that if I put it off and push myself thru I end up nauseated and dizzy.  So when this is all over I will get back on a schedule....for now...whatever.  One hurdle at a time.
     I have to admit I headed into this one with a little trepidation....not knowing if I would have another reaction like last one...or if they really have the drugs figured out so I will fly thru ... The truth is really...when you have this much toxic slug running free in you system for 12 just seems to put your entire system into a state of flux, nothing really is the same as the last one so you just don't know what you would expect . I do realize it really is a Krap shoot... with every new treatment just compounding on the others.  VoR had an all day training meeting so I called on a dear old (old only cause I have known her over 25yrs) to come with me.  She has gone thru this twice before and has been there every step with insight and what to expect and validation for what I have felt on this journey.  She has steadfastly been at my side with prayer, phone calls and friendship.  She sat with me for my 5 hour chemo session and then stayed and visited when we got home....the day just FLEW by.  We had a great day just visiting and spending time together something we never were able to before while we had our hands full raising kids.  She is true treasure in my life and I love her dearly.
Thank you!!!
     This week I took advantage of one of the free workshops they have here for cancer patients...this one was how to care for you skin, draw on "believable" eyebrows and liner to hide the no eyelashes.  Since we still have not lost either of really was fun to have "my own beauty consultant for the 2 hours.They talked a lot about how to cover/conceal your lousy skin and coloring and hide those huge black circles under you eyes and how to conceal them and she kept looking at me saying "and you don't have that...what great skin and coloring you have" and was baffled when I told her I was at end of my journey not just starting out.....THANK YOU LUSH for great skin lotion!!!! Since I don't really wear a ton of makeup normally...never foundation and powders  and all that krap (maybe that's why my skin looks good now..hmmm) so it really wasn't for me but I enjoyed other info and the SWAG BAG!!!  Major cosmetic companies donate to this program so you leave with $600 of stuff..SWEET!!!!  My other sister-friend (that's just how we have always felt...sister beyond the confines of just friends) came with me. (FYI...we discovered that she and my oldest sister actually knew each other when they were young girls.....SMALL WORLD!!)  She is another one of those trusted kind of friends that we share a no holes barred devotion to each other " fluff"  so I know I can trust her to tell me  if you look bad (or the wig looks like a growth on your head) or if I am being silly about something"........keeps you out of trouble (looks, word and deeds) or if I just need a good cry...she is right there crying with me. (trust me...we spend WAY more time laughing than tears) She will tell me...complete honesty....I LOVE  that about her....but really...I just love her more then words can even say....when someone has been in your corner... at your back for 30 yrs....what more is there really to say.
Thank you
     I must give a HUGE shout out to my oldest (again time not age) friend for the service she is doing for me.  We all know just how squeamish I am when it comes to needles...(ok, that word doesn't even come close to how terrified I am about them) I can't even watch one on TV. home care company won't administer my mandatory super shot I need 24 hours after chemo and she comes across the city every day after chemo and gives me my shot.  This is SOOOO above and beyond to me...she has a really busy life and works full she schedules this in so I get shot and we get some great girl time in....bonus!!!
Thank you
     I have been blessed with an amazing group of "long time low maintenance" kind of friends.  You know who you are and what I feel about and for you.  Most certainly tender mercies who have loved me, supported, prayed for me, held me up, laughed til we couldn't breath, partners in crime....and every time we meet (even with years/decades apart) it is as if time has stood still and we pick up right where we left off.



Monday, December 10, 2012

First my apologies for being off the grid for a  few days...This wasn't one of my better weeks...but still no puking so LIFE IS STILL GRAND!!!

     This new cocktail is supposed to be totally different in a good way from the last one with a new list of "what to expect" attached to it..
            1) it isn't supposed to make me nauseated ---WRONG...3 of my worst days yet!!!
            2) your hair will fall out ---WRONG!!
            3) make your bones ache like a bad flu ---GOT THAT ONE RIGHT
            4) totally change your taste buds again -- YUP...this one too!!

     I have spent a ton of time just resting and trying to find food that doesn't gag me from the first bite.  VoR was cooking dinner last Sunday and the smell of the cooking rice was my undoing...good thing I had an open window close by...fresh air is for sure my saving grace.  I have managed to get outside for a short walk to the mailbox everyday.  I have to honest....some days....that 10 houses down seems miles longer then it was the day before...but I still did it....followed by a well deserved nap.

     I have been battling with a new side effect this week to.....since my allergic reaction to the skin around my PICC line isn't holding up real well.  I have been dealing with a severe rash on that arm and my hands along with running nose and eye issues.  Hopefully this won't change anything but we will have to see what the oncologist has to say on the next home care nurses are sure keeping their eye on it though.  It only has to last for 5 weeks...CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT!!!!!!  I will still deal with side effects longer then that but the PICC can come out as soon as my last chemo is they say. 

     This has not been what I expected at the beginning....not even close!!  I hoped and prayed for the best but still expected to be feeling the worst.  At this point everyone tells me I look great...I have color, energy, cheerful and bald...I choose to believe them however....they could be fibbing I guess...HMMMM!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sometimes you go along on a journey and get caught up in the "stuff" and forget to acknowledge what really matters. 

      Along this past month of welcomed visitors....I blogged about them all but the most important one....RANDOM WISDOM.  She came at the end of that busy time and left just before my "new" without meaning to....her visit (along with her BOY/MAN  friend) just got skipped over.  We had a great time "shopping" and going out for a really nice dinner, doing all the touristy stuff and just hanging out spending time together.  It was especially great getting to know the boy/man friend and to see them together....just too darn cute for their own good....brings to mind that quote from Princess Bride.."Wuv...." 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chemo #5 done...but what an adventure!!!)
     I have to start by saying how eternally grateful I am for the Chemo Unit I am blessed to be in. There are a ton of benefits to being in the smaller unit in the city...besides the 10 minutes from my house...I am surrounded by the same core of nurses every time I go to treatment.  There are 4 that I have gotten to know quite well over the last 4 treatments we know each other by name and know stuff about each other and each of our quirks and personalities....which I must say made a big difference today. 
     I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to new drugs and my's always a krap shoot.  There were a few surprises this last cocktail took about 2 hours from start to finish...this one was supposed be just over 5 hours (2 pre-drugs 15 mins apart then 15 min wait then the chemo for 3 hours)...except for yesterday when we took over 6+ hours thanks to a lovely mess of side effect/reactions right in the middle of infusion. My nurse/friend told me IF I felt anything unusual. no matter how small or seemingly insignificant to let her know.  She reinforced it with me  a couple of times because she said "I know never whine or complain about anything but this is important to let me know"  So I knew she was serious and I needed to pay attention. About 90 minutes into the chemo drug part I started getting heaviness in my chest, a miserable headache and a real sore I told her...WELL...they moved like lightening!!!  The curtains were drawn, the pharmacist suddenly appeared, the doctor was called and another nurse came flying over.  (She was one of my friend/regulars too) She took one look at me and said "Where did your rosy cheeks go girl, you have no color?  And she grabbed my arm noticing that I was really clammy .  They started shooting me full of anti-reaction drugs and at this point stopped chemo ...then they made me sit for 45 mins until I was completely back to normal.  Then we restarted the chemo with the "slow boat" infusion of half speed for 45 mins to be sure I wouldn't react again then finished up at full speed.  So the next one they will add all these anti-reaction measures before we start the chemo bag and so it should run smoother.It is an interesting feeling sitting  watching the entire Chemo unit fill up with people and empty out during my stay.  I always felt sorry for the patients that were there before I came and I left behind during my last sessions... know I was the LAST one to leave....weird. 
     I met some great women today and was able to help one who was there for her first treatment who was really nervous so that was really nice...and I met a woman married 68 years...she was way cool.
LESSON LEARNED TODAY:....step outside yourself and engage with others around never know when or what you have to offer will calm their fears and who can brighten your day with a smile.   We are all in there together going thru the same icky mess of drugs for different kinds of this lousy disease....we need to be there for each other....we are kind of a "cancer made" community and we need to remember that sometimes it takes a village to help/lift/heal each other. Just because you don't look like the old you....doesn't mean that YOU aren't still inside and you need to be ready to reach out to others...let the Lord work thru just may be the answer to their prayer for comfort, friendship, a smile to let them know they aren't alone in this.  Listen for those promptings and then be brave and act on them...step outside you own little chemo world and look are there for more then just yourself.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Friend...
- a person you know well and regard with affection and trust.
- a person whom one knows, likes, and who supports, sympathizes

     I haven't ever really given the word FRIEND much thought...I know I have them, I know who they are and that they are great and mean the world to me...end of story.  But until this journey began I had never really stopped and thought about what the word REALLY means and if I fit into my own ideas of what a friend should be.  I have to admit...the best definition for the kind of friends I cherish and rings the truest to me is the  "low maintenance" kind.  I am sure you all know who they are but let me explain what I believe they are...the ones you can trust with anything, knowing that they will be there when/if you call and always have your back...but  are tucked away safely in your heart when distance and time come between you....but you KNOW when you once again get the chance to pull them out and spend time with will be as if time has stood still and you pick up right where you left off with no awkwardness, re-acquainting, no formality, or fake/phonyness.  They are the ones that REALLY know you - scars and all...and love you for them.  They have left a deeply profound and permanent mark on your heart. 

     I have been blessed in my life with a small circle of those kind of friends.  You mean the world to me, are my greatest support over the years and especially now.   I know you are there if I call and need would move heaven and earth to be at my side as I would for you.  We have felt that special bond from the start...."Friends are born not made"  THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU!!!

     This experience has blessed me in so may ways...but most importantly today I see how my life has opened up and the loving arms of friendship have reached out to me by so many of you.  You truly are a gift and strength to me.  You never really know how your life has impacted those around you until something like this happens and the friendship and love comes bouncing back to you....It has been one of the most humbling things I have ever experienced.  I always thought I lived in my own little corner and quietly went on my way...but I was wrong.  You do leave a mark on every single person you come in contact with either for good or for bad....Life really is full of "George Bailey" sure to live each and every one of them....they all count!!  You never know when the Lord will use you to answer the prayer of someone are always changing someone else just by strolling thru their life.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

     Next chemo is the start of a whole new drug cocktail and so all bets are off at this point as to how I will react to it.  They warned me of the possibility of more aches and pains and BIG TIME exhaustion - I guess we will just wait and see - I didn't really follow the usual path on the the last 4 treatments so it's just wait and see now.  It has been such a thrill to have my family and friends come and spend time with me helping where they could...trying to take the heavy load off of VoR.  He is my ROCK and my ANCHOR...he's  never to busy to drop what he is doing to go grab something for me...he never complains when he has to come home after a long day at work and run the household...and is ALWAYS there when I need to just be held and told "I'm okay and it's still ME he sees"...bald, scars and all... 

     It's amazing to be the receiver of so many prayers, blessings and well wishes from dear friends both old and new....I truly feel them all. It is such a sweet tender mercy to feel the Lord holding me gently in his arms....knowing His plan for me is bigger then any other force on this earth  & beyond anything I could ever have thought possible for me...and so I travel this cancer journey as He sees me the strength, experiences and lessons I need to learn from this.  So you see really...only He knows what's in store for I'm feeling, coping and reacting to every little nuance as I go thru this with an eye focused on Him...knowing... He is in control and I have total faith in Him.  He is my BROTHERSAVIOR and LORD.  He as walked this path before me, having experienced ALL that I am asked to go thru and face in this earthly existence in the Garden of Gethsemane.  What a comfort to my soul to know He knows EXACTLY how I feel and so knows best how to help and carry me thru ANYTHING & EVERYTHING...trial, heartache, joy, hick-up and miss-step I will have. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, to the deepest parts of my spirit that...

I have felt His gentle embrace and guiding hand thru my life & especially thru this journey.  Prayer works!!!  If we are humble, sincere and accepting of His will of what is best for us even if it's not what we would have asked for or wanted...He will be there to help you thru the growing pains, smoothing the rough edges no matter the cause.  We just need to take time to pause and listen for those promptings of the Spirit then be brave enough to follow them. 
We are NEVER alone

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who woulda thunk we would get to this day...ESPECIALLY feeling as good as I do!?!?!
     I still feel mostly great...sure I have had a day or few of total exhaustion and a couple bouts of really bad nausea but I would have to honestly say 90% of the time I am feeling 95% great. You would know ...just my oncologist told me at the beginning that I would lose all my hair within the first we are treatment 4 (wk 8) and the only hair I have lost is in my nose and my bald head that I did myself as a preemtive strike not wanting to wake up to a huge hair ball on my pillow and to be do it on my terms.  So few things about this cancer are totally crazy and out of your control but this one was and it was really empowering.  Now however I am a smidge miffed cause maybe it would have stuck around too and I would have looked "unsick"...Argg!!!  I always forget I look different to other people and then I getting all those strangers with that giving me those "that poor woman" smiles and hellos with that look in their eyes.
     Then again looking sick has its upside....I have been known to work it when I need to...after all, you only get this once (with any luck) so use it if you need to...wink wink!!!
     I have to say when I had my treatment yesterday was the first time I had a real nasty swing of nausea when the last bag on my cocktail was was really strange and all of a sudden.  They were really good and gave me some other drug and watched me for  15 minutes to see if I needed more but the one shot did it.  I felt way better but really tired (another first) Nothing major I just needed to take it way easier....."gosh I do have breast cancer after all" (see how easily it can be slipped in anywhere...LOL

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I learned....

     Let me start by saying....sadly I made some dumb choices this last chemo round....okay...they didn't seem dumb at the time but proved to be after the fact.  Luckily...I am a quick study so I will not be repeating them.

Lesson #1 - Pay attention to the clock!!!!
      Don't let yourself get distracted and forget to EAT, DRINK, SLEEP or take those all important    anti-puke pills on time!!!

Lesson #2 - Car ride.....not your friend!!!
       Not ever suffered from motion sickness....never crossed my mind that 2 days after chemo would   maybe not be the wisest moved...especially in the dark....and in combination with Lesson #1.

Lesson #3 - Never under-estimate the crippling power of total exhaustion!!!
        I have never experienced this level of bone weary pooped!!!  When you have to work yourself    up to walking the 8 steps into the kitchen to get a drink....and that is WAY beyond your reach and feels more like a 10K's bad....not to mention the energy it takes to have the ability to put any thoughts together....WHO KNEW!?!?!?

          ....Thankfully I have a bed in my living room!!!
Smartest move so far!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

     Let me start by apologizing for the lack of posts these past few days and add a disclaimer that it may be slim reading for the remainder of November. I have been and am being blessed with family visitors so my blog time will likely be spent visiting. My plan is to post at least once a week so you will continue to know how this is going.....and while we are on that subject.....
CHEMO #3 - done!!!!
     As of right now....a repeat of last week so I feel really good. I am a smidge more tired but that could have to do with the fact I could not sleep last night...I got a couple hours but by midnight I was up and there was no going back.....ARGGGG!!!

     I have had a great time playing quietly with my sis for the past 6 days....I know she feels like I pushed myself and didn't rest enough but I was feeling good and I would not change a single second!!! It's not like we did anything real exciting or strenuous except for her last couple days....the poor girl was being drug from hospital (new PICC line) to oncologist appointment and blood work at a different hospital....back to the first hospital for more blood work.....that had to be repeated a 3rd time early on chemo day. THANK HEAVENS FOR THE PICC!!!!! .....then finally back to the hospital for my chemo.

     She never complained about being drug from hither to yon.....she is a real trooper. She is and always has been such a blessing in my life. We figured out that she had actually gone away to college when I was 10yrs old and we only spent a few years together later when she returned from her mission. You can see that these times we get to spend just us are very precious to me. I love to just get to reconnect with her and just hang out being sisters. VoR is such a great man....he just steps back into the shadows and insists we spend time together and not worry about including him in anything while she was here...except for the night we watched Star Trek (the new one)....he can never pass those up...tee hee.
It was a great 6 days....
Thanks Sis...
For always being there!! You're such a huge inspiration to me!!!


Friday, October 26, 2012

     Now….on the chance that I may look like a moron…I will admit that I don’t know as much about the life of Christ and His gospel as I THINK I should.  I also know that this is a common feeling among most people….there is so much to know and we are always learning so we never truly feel that we really have a true grasp on things eternal and that we are always running to catch up.  Having said that…. here is a perfect example to me that when you prayerfully search for new insight….for light and knowledge, with a deepening desire to build that most important relationship with your Savior, He will bless your efforts.

     Now having said that…. I KNOW to depths of my soul the truthfulness of His life, mission, gospel and that He lives still. My testimony is beyond question….it is just that I am a details person and so to focus on those little tiny smidges of knowledge and understanding are really key to me.  For the most part I think they are more the “DUH” moments that I haven’t really given much thought to that will really open up my Savior’s life to me….(you know all those little things that we take for granted and gloss over quickly)….turning this study into a wealth of “AH HA” moments.  I know He lived/lives and is the son of God and my elder brother but he also lived this life the same as we do (okay…perfectly but He lived it too) with all the trials and temptations and learning curves we are subject to. It just never occurred to me that His mind would be veiled like ours…that He had no memory of where He had come from, His role in the plan or in the creation of this world.  His life came with the blinders too so that He could authentically go thru all that we will. All this so He could know how best to help us and to KNOW/understand exactly what we are facing, struggles and weaknesses. I know this is not a new insight and probably most of you have already thought about this… but as I studied today this one “small” detail that really gave me more than a few minutes of pondering, a new insight and understanding…line upon line.


     The Lord is always there waiting for us to open the door to Him to enable Him to  bless us.  As you prayerfully search for light and knowledge, with a deepening desire to build that most important relationship with your Savior, the things we may have quickly skipped over in the past will cause us to pause and ponder.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

     I don't really know what I was expecting but I am pretty sure it wasn't this "brain block" exhaustion. I knew I would be tired but not beyond the point where sleep wasn't what I wanted. It's really just the overwhelming need to just lay down and be completely zoned out…the stare out the window at nothing zoned out kind of exhaustion...seriously....when the idea of squishing toothpaste on your brush requires a nap's never a good thing. My plan all along has been that once I got into the bowels of treatment I would at the very minimum post twice a week....not ever thinking that the single act of "thinking" and composing a post would be so monumental a task. So my plan for Sunday was to do some scripture study, go to church and post....the reality....studied some scriptures, outlined a post and slept.....epic fail.

     So here we are on Monday and I will try (amid day 2 of "Holy Pooped") to get this done and posted before the end of the day....wish me luck....I just might need it as the "Nap thrusters" are fully firing at the moment...and as I already mentioned the idea of squishing toothpaste on my brush requires a nap first....sigh!!! we are now Tuesday morning....

     Well...we started a new drug cocktail to help with the lingering nausea and I can't even tell you the difference a week and good drugs makes!!! All I know is that this new cocktail they have brewed for me is a miracle. I have (thankfully) not had any more "Tigger" days and the few turns I have taken with nausea have been handled easily...and probably caused by me trying to eat something new. For the record...Kraft dinner, soggy Frosted Flakes, and ginger snaps can get to be a smidge boring. It is a pretty steep learning curve though....the gag reflexes kick in on the very first bite so I know right away if whatever I put in my mouth is a HUGE mistake. I am trying to avoid any of my Fave foods so they aren't tainted for me when I am done....probably silly....but worth it....just in case.

     Not all my days are gloom, doom and sleep....I am feeling really good after the chemo for the first couple of days...which is really good considering the "hoops" I need to jump thru 48 hours after the first chemo treatment. I am chemo positive for those first 48 hrs so once that time has passed I need to double wash in HOT everything I have come in contact with (bedding, towel, clothing, dishes, etc.) along with a serious scrubbing of the bathroom. It really takes the entire day and by the time I am done....POOPED is exactly how I am feeling....but it is a small price to pay. I am just blessed that I feel good enough on that day to do what I need to get some form of normal life back into place....and after is only every 2 weeks. (2 down, 6 to go!!!)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

 DAY 2.....
 or I guess it would be Day 15
I know I am likely to jinx it but...
     I am feeling like my points of references are a tad toward Disney but life is mostly filled with Poppins days....and well...after the first chemo and the "Crack Tigger" they just seem the most appropriate.   I have to admit after that last one I wasn't sure what to expect but figured, short of throwing up... it couldn't be much worse. Now I know that is really a naive and optimistically broad statement that I don't really believe  because honestly I do know that things can ALWAYS get worse....but just humor me on this one.

     I was trying to figure out what my focus of scripture study should be for now....since my assignment teaching a youth seminary class ended I have been just grabbing and reading where ever I open it to and with no real regularity or purpose.  I decided that since my life is sooooo centered and completely aware of the Lord cradling me in the palm of His hand that I would study the New Testament and His life and Teachings.  I really have always wanted to really know who He was and all that He did for me especially the atonement but as is usually the case you get an assignment do teach a class or a lesson every Sunday and so you tend to do all the study and reading that goes along with that and not make the time to really do some personal that is my goal since I happen to be assignment free for now and so I look forward to getting to know my Savior on a whole new level.
     So I was so proud of myself.  VoR went into work and I ventured off for the pre-chemo blood work with the understanding that I would find a quiet corner to sit and read a book and wait the 90 minutes for the blood report to come back before we started chemo (yes...VoR will be here for chemo).  All seemed to be picture perfect for me....I had slept REALLY good last night 8+ hours and had eaten some breakfast....even showered (much more of a production then normal) no nerves or anxiety and no is grand.
     Now this is ME we are talking about!!!  I have come to discover over my life that I am that "1%" that stuff happens to....reactions to meds, extra roots in my teeth, problems with my PICC line, etc.  So today was gonna be one of those 1% days.  I calmly saunter into the chemo unit expecting things to be normal.....I guess someone forgot to tell my poor picc that.  AARGGG!!!  Soooo...when the nurse doing my blood work looked at it, she realized that it was WAY too far out and so the chemo had a chance of not being sent where it should be (by my heart) but sent up my vein to my brain....SUPER NOT GOOD!!!  They made the decision to just give me chemo thru a traditional IV and then pull the picc out then schedule me to have it re-inserted before next cycle in 2 weeks.  Not my best reaction I must admit.....I had left my "big girl panties" at home and so faced with the only IV option....I crumbled and cried.  I felt like I had just what I wasn't sure, since PICC issues really had nothing to do with me but somehow it was still my fault....worse yet....fobia #2...NEEDLES!!!  The girls (nurses) were exceptional with me.....they felt as bad as I did over the entire debacle that this has turned into.  So I had 90 mins to find a quiet corner to have a good cry and say a pray...or 2, pull out my scriptures and try to retrieve my once mastered control.....and wouldn't you know took 2 tries to get the IV in and running well enough.  The nurese felt really bad and she did really good especially under the HUGE heap of pressure my stress level added to her.  I am so blessed to be where I am with the care and the staff that I have.
     The silver lining of this latest cloud is FOR ability to have a great deep soak in my tub in a couple of days (every day) until they put the new PICC in.....and trust me...that is a HUGE !!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


WOW am I glad the last couple of days are over!!!! Nausea reared its ugly head again with a vengeance!!! Thursday night I was so blindsided by this wave of nausea that was as bad as any I have felt thus far and REALLY thought I was not gonna win the battle this time. Poor VoR felt so bad for me and feeling helpless is not in his DNA so it was equally hard on him to have to just sit there. They did say that day 9-10 could be bad flash....they were NOT kidding!!!!! I sat up in the chair the entire night listening to my iPod...singing (in my head...VoR had gone to bed under much protesting) to every song I know (and making up lyrics to the ones I don't)...FYI song writing is not my bag...just sayin’ wasn't pretty. The most annoying part of this whole shenanigans...I had been feeling SOOO good for the couple of day before, so getting knocked down again SUCKED!!!

This is how the rest of the week went....."the Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

THE GOOD: Life is gonna change in a good way for one of our distant family members and I am really excited and happy for them. With any luck this chemo business will be all done on time and on schedule so I can be involved but chemo is something I have no control over. They check your blood before each chemo round and see if your platelets are rebuilding and your white blood cell count is high enough. If for some reason white cells are being lazy, that puts chemo behind schedule because they have to wait 7 days before they will test for them again. So what this really means...planning is almost impossible to do until about the last 2 treatments. I am scheduled to be done January (week of the 7th)...IF all goes according to the plan...but I will still have radiation and it can only be delayed a certain amount of time after chemo. Now having said all that don't for one second that I am not beyond this world happy....cause I SURE AM!!!!

THE BAD: I actually had my first real full blown Pity Party. Now if you knew me you would know that once I get past the initial hurt feelings...I turn to house cleaning. My house is always cleanest after I have turned my pity party into "whatever move on" I am mad and the house usually gets the brunt of it. I will go into high gear and clean and be ruthless with stuff lying around. What I didn't take into consideration was that "oh ya...I'm sick" and the fact I had already gone on a 45 minute walk so I was kinda tired already. Apparently the concept I thought I had mastered to "Pace myself" was grossly exaggerated and completely under rated...I am WAY more tortoise then hare. So I guess you could say I need to break out my inner Scarlett O'Hara because you see...she really made a good point and on the upside my house looks great.

THE UGLY:  hmmmm...sorry Clint...I just can’t put a finger on any "ugly" yet...oh yes I can...Nausea!!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

     I have had a few "AH HA" moments....well maybe more like "DUH" moments along this journey but especially in the last week.
     As the gong show of the PICC line continues...I have been in Emerg a couple of nights for a few hours. At first I thought..."wow...this moves really quick here..they get you right in" followed quickly by..."everyone is so friendly and smiley"....then I looked in the mirror and once again being surprised by my shaved head realize that what I thought were random friendly people were in actual fact seeing this "poor bald uni-boobed cancer patient". It isn't that I don't understand that I am sick....I just tend to forget about it mostly....YES I am nauseated, not much of an appetite and tired a lot...I just forget it's what it is. For example...I was really annoyed with myself yesterday because I still felt mostly "under the weather" and it has been 6 days....get over it already, I should be feeling better...then it's OH YA....this doesn't get better like the flu....this is gonna be around for the next 14wks (at least). It is just little silly things that remind me what I am doing. It is really quite astonishing to me that I can be so blasé about this entire shouldn't...but sometimes it really does. What a great blessing to be at such peace about everything and have that sweet assurance that "All is well" and the Lord is in charge.
     I am really sad that with all the silliness going on with me that I actually (for the first time in decades) missed all the sessions of General Conference. I will have to catch up online as I love to hear the messages from the leadership of the church. There is always something said that is exactly what I was praying get such inspired instruction and direction is a real tender mercy from the Lord. I love the sweet assurance that I get that He is truly in charge and has me in his great embrace as I stumble and fast-track my way thru this mess going on around me now. I was randomly flipping thru my scriptures and came across a couple of verses that really spoke to me this last week as I seriously began the "ugly" stage (don't get your knickers in a knot...I know I'm not ugly....the chemo part is ugly). They just really moved me,,,                                  
"Be still and know that I am God"
"Stop and Stand Still"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

     Can I start with....I TOTALLY underestimated the level of "bone weary" tired and drug side effects. If these effects are cumulative and this is only the beginning of Day 4....I am sooo hooped!!!

    But I digress...the chemo gong show first...I am gonna assume most of you are in the same boat I was when it came to a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) know next to nothing.  So here is PICC 101...They numb you (thank heavens) and insert this ultrasound guided tube into your large vein near you armpit.  That sounds simple enough....until they either 1) hit a nerve and have to start all over again (talk about hot lightening bolts down your arm) 2) having to pull it out 1.5cm.. OR 3) they insert it too deep and causes irritation to everything around it....check and check!!  About an hour after having it was put in I started having really bad heartburn/acid reflux/hot frying pan with nausea that radiated like a hot curling iron inside along my mastectomy incision.....are we having fun yet??? 

     So the next day (24hrs pre-chemo) I meet with the home care nurse so she can change the dressing on my PICC and make sure is it working well....I do what I understand to be the protocol and tell her about my weird which she says..."hmmm...just tell them in the morning before you start your chemo".  Now it has started to bring on real big "purple nurple" pinches in my right chest. (nothing consistent but bothersome all the same. 

     CHEMO DAY...I get not much sleep (3hrs maybe - refer to earlier Phobia post) but ready to do this.  I get there only to find out that I should have in fact had this PICC issue dealt with BEFORE showing up for my  chemo cocktail.  The nurses were pretty miffed (NOT AT ME...they were awesome!!!) with the "dropped ball" by everyone else along the way.  So after trying to get a doctor to come order yet another chest X-ray to see if the PICC had moved out of place...(who knew they should have X-rayed after they pulled it out too...sheesh!!)  The new x-ray shows that it is in fact still too far down and needs to be pulled back another 1.5cm.  So then they spend the next couple of hours trying to get the PICC (specialized unit) to come pull it back....finally the doctor (who was awesome) decides to do it himself....he did reassure me that even he knew NOTHING about PICC lines....he knew a ton about anatomy and the heart so he could do this...yikes!!!  I got immediate relief...amazing...(holy princess and the pea -high  So finally at 12:15 we start the first of 8 chemo cocktails....(7 to go) that was scheduled for 8am...ooppps!! 

And thus began my adventure....wait it gets better....stay tuned

Friday, October 5, 2012

     Here I 3 of the chemo portion of this ride (1 down=7 to go)....and what a ride it has been up to this point.  It started off like more of a Gong show...gotta love PICC line issues....but alas we will have to wait for a less nausea filled day. 

     I am blessed to be working with a remarkable oncology team and they are doing everything they can to make this madness not so daunting.  They are hooking me up with a 3rd med to manage the nausea...which...let's be honest here...isn't much fun but WAY better then the alternative!! 

    Lesson #1 - raspberries are not my friend.....rookie move by me....lesson learned

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Here we are.....8 hours to chemo...
     There are so many thoughts and emotions flying around my brain...I will be lucky to be able to settle it down long enough to get any sleep. Last night was kind of a bust....between my right side still healing and the PICC line in my left arm....and not really being a back was pretty much a gong show.  Tonight is more the concept of facing the "unknown".  I know...all of this has been "unknown" but this is the BIG stuff. 
       You will remember my needle puking phobia is WAYYYYYY WORSE!!!!!  I have tried to "put on the big girl panties" about it but....I have failed here I sit with the terror of throwing up (EVEN ONCE) over the next 14 weeks roaring thru my mind at lightening speed. I don't think I am a that big of a coward....(except mice too) I have jumped in and done things in these last few months I never imagined I would do and be okay with it.....seriously....I have shaved my head, lost my boob, made it thru all the needles....but this is just the BIG ONE for me.  I must admit I am banking on really good meds (winky winky) 
      .  I KNOW I am not alone and He will get me thru this and all the other schmutz that I am required to slog thru...
Here goes nothing....and everything!!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

     I am really feeling a SLUG kinda....I have been sooooo busy this week trying to get all the things done I NEED to before Wednesday morning (drs, tests, etc).....(not to mentions all the little things I WANT to get done)....that I find myself suddenly at the end of the week and I haven't had any time really to do what I LOVE....this!!!!  Sadly...this isn't much of an entry, as today is the "final get the house ready" push so I have things set up the way I want  for when I am feeling lousy ( would drive me crazy).  It all goes back to having all my bases covered and getting my duck in a's just who I am.

    One of the biggest bummers for me...(okay so there are more then a few when you stop to think about it....luck for me I can keep myself ...with lots of help from above from doing that) is that my already limited ability to eat the few things I TRULY love to may be altered significantly by a change in my buds due to the chemo chemicals.  SOOOOOOO.....tonight VoR is taking me for ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT......wait for it.....CRAB!!!!!!  Words can't even begin to describe the level of my excitement!!!!!  I told him a couple of nights ago I was going to spend til Wed eating everything I love since they limit what you eat because they want to protect your mouth from any mishaps (heat, cold, sharp, spicy, acidic...all the fun stuff).  I see my future being filled with warm plain pasta noodles and white rice...sigh!! Good thing I really don't mind that at all.

     You will never know what all your
you all do means to me!!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

     As I sit and let my mind wonder from reflecting to looking forward I stop and ponder on how this journey has changed for me from where I started.....not in a bad way.....just a change/growth.  It has moved from a simple "boob issue" in the beginning to "can you get me a Kleenex" this week.

     I have not been overly emotional so far (except for a few minutes on the first day) until this past week and it took me by surprise (though it certainly shouldn't have).  It wasn't caused by stuff that has or will happen to me but because of the collateral damage that this little ugly troll has inflicted on my life and those around me.  I have for the most part adjusted to my new normal and the realities that I now face...but that fact that important, one time only events will move along without me is a little harder for me to come to terms with.  Not that I would want their lives to come to a screeching halt because of me...but missing milestones in my family's lives are just harder to accept. 

     My 3rd granddaughter will be born while I am still going thru chemo (for some funny reason....they don't like you travelling too far in the middle of treatment) I will miss those precious moments that come with a new baby.  I am thankful for skype and face time but you just can't duplicate that glorious new baby smell and feel....or kiss those beautiful little cheeks.  There is just a special bond that happens when that tiny hand grabs hold of your finger.  Things like babies just don't wait for anything, anyone or usually when it's convenient. It is truly amazing how little babies bring about the greatest changes in everything we are, all that we know and how we feel about life.  These little ones have the grandest capacity to instill love in all our hearts

(this cutie isn't one of ours but what a great photo)
     I found out that they have moved my chemo start date ahead so I actually have my first treatment Oct 3rd instead of the Oct. 15th. So there goes any chance for VoR to get away for a few days before this ride starts since it is gonna last well into the Spring.  They aren't kidding when they say that this cancer thing can last an entire year.

Friday, September 21, 2012

     It is mind boggling to me that 6 months ago we were all together as a family on vacation celebrating my BIG 50 and now I sit doing all the pre-tests before starting chemo!!!  What crazy twist and turns life takes.  The minute you become comfortable and complacent with where you are in your voyage thur this life you get thrown a curve ball that will either build you or break you....the choice is really make it wisely.  It teaches you many valuable lessons...the biggest for me can never bank on or be sure of tomorrow.  Everything you know about your life and the plans you have can be flipped in an instant.

     In that heartbeat when your normal turns into a runaway train picking up steam and roaring down the know you can't stop it so you just hold on tight and praying that it stays on the rails and  makes the jump to the NEW normal track.  You know it will eventually find the new track and slow itself  down you just have to pray that it's a  peaceful and smooth transition.  It won't ever be like it was before....that heartbeat will never be repeated or is what it is and we learn and grow from and with it.

     The bonus of great life changing events is the great learning and growth that is there for you to grasp onto if you are willing to accept and embrace it.  The old "normals" aren't always the best and who you are is completely different so where your journey takes you has changed as's a new Jumping Off Point....welcome it fully and take in every second....who's to say the new path isn't WAY better then where ever you were headed before.