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

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!!!!