Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy July 12, 2012 to you all! I know it has been a long time since my last post. I am sorry and I have a huge list of excuses. Number one being that you really don’t want to read a bunch of whinese as we used to call the kids’ whining. (“I don’t speak whinese, better speak clear English if you want me to understand.”) Anywhooo, I am here now.

April 19th, also known as Kite Day but that is another wonderful story, was “our” last chemotherapy. Hooray!! We only go now to visit and to get my mediport flushed. You know it is more than a career; it is a vocation to work in a cancer clinic. The staff quickly found a place in my heart.

I was put on a new medication. It is an anti-hormone drug to keep my hormone receptive cancer from coming back or spreading. We thank the Lord and the person who came up with that idea. About the same time we received the results from my PET scan. It was so exciting. The tumor that was huge in the beginning had shrunk to the size of the end of Dr. Sehgal’s pinkie. How amazing is that! A level of fear subsided. Because of this great news it was decided I would get a lumpectomy and if all margins were clean, then a round of radiation and we would be done.

The day of the procedure began with getting markers inserted into my breast at the radiologist’s. Well, let me tell you that was pure torture! I am squished in the vice for mammogram fun and flatness while the tech inserts dye and wires. As unpleasant as it was, prayer and the “one foot in front of the other” proverb kept me from fainting. And the fact that I was held in place with the Torturous Tongs of Tits that kept me from moving much less than falling to the floor. The tech must have recognized the “your testicles are next” glint in my eyes because everything was “positioned perfectly” and we moved on the hospital for the next procedure.

All went well as far as my surgeon could tell. We had to wait until the next week for the pathology report to know for sure. In the meantime, I acquired the first infection I have ever had from a surgery. High temps, antibiotics, trips back to the doctor, a huge needle and a TAD of discomfort. Finally, the greatly anticipated pathology report showed NO clean margins. Within a couple of days we were back again for surgery, a mastectomy. We were so relieved to learn that the margins were clean.

Now I am getting 30 sessions of radiation. I refer to it as the “tanning spa.” Today was tanning session number 12. Today, they got me into the correct position and left the room. As that huge piece of frightening but life saving equipment circled me, tears that I could not move to wipe, fell. Why? I don’t really know except that I was feeling sadness, fear, anger and worry that after all of this, I would still die from this disease? I was in the darkness and as Debbie once told me, “Always remember in the darkness what you believe in the light.” So I prayed, selfishly for myself at first, then for others which really takes me out of my stuff and brings to mind others in greater need. I remember that even when my faith takes a hit, so many others are praying for me.

I am such a blessed woman. I have an amazing husband and partner. We can read each other so well. I love him so much and will never ever have enough togetherness. I have six awesome and spirited grandchildren, each of which is my favorite. My grandchildren have amazing parents that we love and I gave birth to three of these parents. I am expecting my 7th grandchild in January! I have an amazing family of those to which I am related and those you who became family as you found your way into our hearts. I am such a blessed woman. I cherish each of your prayers. I know that prayers more than anything will help us to our goal. I love all of you.

Randy Kleinschmidt, I am so sorry your dad is no longer with us. I know that he is in a better and heavenly place. But for those times when your heart aches and you miss him, and your times with him, please know that you are loved and never alone. With an amazing wife like Debbie, I know I don’t have to remind you of that. Mike and I love you both so very much. .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I am a blessed woman!

Good morning loved ones,
Tomorrow is the second treatment with the new meds known as FAC. It is a combination of three drugs, Fluoraouracil, Adriamycin (aka the Red Devil) and C for Cytoxan. I also get a baggie of steroids and one with medication to keep my tummy sane.  The first treatment caused what felt like a little morning sickness.  I asked Dr. Sehgal if the second treatment would be more difficult. He refused to tell me insinuating that I might convince myself to have the side effects that he might describe. I informed the good doctor that I planned to NOT have any ill effects from the treatment. He likes to pick on me and I respond well to good humored “abuse.”
I was so pleased to still have my hair at my doctor appointment last week. It seemed shortly after bragging to Dr. Sehgal, my hair began to come out in small clumps.  I postponed the inevitable hoping the thinning would stop.  On Tuesday, the hair just kept coming out and not just when I tugged at it but it filled my brush every time I ran it through my hair. I really didn’t expect this event to bother me. I have been buying caps and scarves for just this moment. But as I looked at the pile of hair in the trash can, I cried. I felt completely helpless. I felt like I was completely at the mercy of cancer.  What else was this disease going to take from me? I so want to travel with my husband and grow older with him. I want to see my grandchildren graduate from high school. Well, that panicky runaway train of thought was careening toward the proverbial cliff but I pulled the cord and ended that useless path.  Oh poor, poor me!! That ride lasted about thirty minutes.
I prepared a nice dinner for Mike. After dinner, I manned the clippers and at his request, sheared off Mike’s long silver hair.  We ended up with the number two comb for the clippers. Mike chose to be first so that I could decide how short I wanted my hair. Then it was my turn, bring on the number two comb! As my hair fell to the floor, I thought, “Take that cancer! “  It felt so good to be free of my rootless mane!
Mike finished the clipping. He looked at me. He looked at my head. The expression in his eyes agreed with his choice of words when complimenting me on my new look except that his eyes used breathtaking adjectives.  I am a blessed woman.
I showered and applied a few cosmetics. We then took pictures of our bare heads and texted them.  All of our responses were very positive. I am a blessed woman.
You are the reason that Mike and I are not just enduring this disease but we are thriving in the light of your love and prayers. Thank you from us both.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some of the Positive amd the Negative

Good morning all. I was discussing with someone very special to me. Someone comfortable with asking questions about my dealings with this cancer that has invaded my body which in turn invades the  lives of those I love and who love me.   I was telling her that I haven’t blogged because my sense of humor and good attitude is not always the mood I can easily access. But then I asked her if that was fair to someone else who might be going through the very same things I am. Would I make them feel better by only being up and funny all the time? Would they think less of themselves because they didn’t have such a good attitude about their experience? She said I should blog it all. So here goes.

Disclaimer                                                                                                                                                                 There will be days where I will not feel like typing. So if I blog on those days there may or there WILL be grammatical errors. I won’t feel like doing corrections and won’t care.  Words may not be capitalized, the ‘may be missing, there may be a. where there should be a ?. Please just read like we were having a conversation. 

The Positive, so far.

This disease has definitely improved my relationship with my Maker. My prayer life is more focused and not just for myself but for others as well.  My list of thanksgivings is so very long.  My relationship with Mike is amazing and with the diagnosis of my cancer we are even closer. We never take each other for granted and we never have. I love that man so very much. We are so much a part of each other. Ok, ok enough mushy stuff.  My family! My family is good medicine. Each one  is a dose of something special and much needed. All of you amaze me. I know I am loved but I guess I didn’t realize how many and how much. I have so many people loving and praying for me.  I know that is more powerful than any medicine or surgery that I receive.  Thank you all so very much. The prayers, the love, the cards, emails, posts on Facebook, letters, etc., just amazing.  Of course my doctors, with your prayers for them and me, seem to be making decisions that are especially right for my cancer and its personality.  I know there is much, much more, but for today I will end with one more item on my list of the positive, my medi-port. It was surgically implanted just below my right shoulder. We place a dollop of numbing cream about an hour before treatment. When the time comes, my oncology nurse tells me to take a deep breath and then she inserts a huge needle into the center of this device. Nothing! I feel nothing!! Hooray!  I see the nurses attempt to start the IV’s the usual way, and they have trouble and the patient hurts.  I am most grateful to not have to do that for every treatment.  

The Negative, so far,

Having cancer sucks!! The oncology nurses wear tee shirts that say the very same thing.  When I am not grateful for having the medi-port, it is a reminder that no matter how well I feel, I have cancer. I see a circle shaped lump under my skin, I touch the lump and sometimes, not all the, but sometimes I get really scared. Or I get really angry. Or I just cry. In Bishop we always leave on the light in the bathroom, we have always done that so the kids could find their way. Here in the apartment we didn’t do that. But since my diagnosis I am very uncomfortable in complete darkness. I don’t know why but fear sets in. Debbie sent me this: Never fear in the darkness what you believe in the light. So I am working on that. But that is just a little bump in this walk of mine.  Of course side effects from treatment are not pleasant but have not been too bad. I do still have my hair oops, that should be a positive.

I am going to go for now because the weather here in Duckville is getting stormy. And I am going to sit outside and enjoy it. I wish Mike was here, we love storms. Have a good week everyone. I love you and thank you for your love and prayers. I could NOT do this without each of you.
Later, I will send update on the treatment details. For now, I will tell you that I have graduated from
Taxol to FAC, which is a combination of three drugs. It was predicted that my hair would turn loose this week. I guess we will soon see.
Comments gratefully accepted.