welcome

(photo of my sister's backyard fence...all photos are thru my lens)

This is just a way to express my thoughts as I walk this path and journey through as a breast canSURVIVOR.

Make cancer mad, just piss it off by misspelling it..... like "canzer"

In remission ~ December 2012

Invasive Moderately Differentiated Ductal Carcinoma T1cN0M0 Stage 1

Estrogen receptor-positive cancer - Here is how it began



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Not Again

No, really, it's not happening again.  Thank God!  But, boy, did I have a scare.

I found a new lump and finally called my oncologist and made an appointment.  They got me in same day.  This process (like last time) always happens incredibly fast.  So, I left work early on Thursday and made my way thru the familiar building.  I didn't tell family because I didn't want anyone to needlessly worry.

It was the nurse who did the initial exam and then said that she wanted Doc to see for herself.

Oh, Boy....

I laid there waiting.  Please, Lord, I don't want to go thru this again.

Doc came in and was amazed that I even found the lump.  She said it was "small".  I told her there was pain associated to it too.  I asked her "what do you think?"  Doc looked me in the eyes and softened her tone.  "You're original cancer was small and you've been taking Tamoxifen.  Very unlikely this is cancer.  I think it's scar tissue from the breast reduction.  But, let's go ahead and make sure."

So, I was scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound the next day.

Man, what a flashback that was sitting in the waiting room wearing my "ball gown".  The technician only smashed my left side (thankfully not a full mammogram).

Then the ultrasound.  I watched the screen as this technician meticulously measured the dark matter. Surprisingly, the tech said that she was giving the information to the radiologist who would give me the results before leaving the room.  Good, it's Friday and I didn't want to wait over the weekend for an answer.

So, after she was done, she left the room and again, I laid there remembering that first time (in the same room).  This time, I hung onto the words my oncologist had said the day before.  I wasn't going down that dark path in my mind.

NO! Not again!

And, sure enough, the radiologist confirmed that it was scar tissue that had balled itself up to make it feel like a pea-shaped hard lump.  He said that I would be doing this again in 6 months to monitor the area.

I don't think I can tell you how relieved I am.  You see, this had been detected for a couple months before I finally got the nerve up to make the appointment.

OK, OK, next time I won't wait as long.  And, yes, I'll tell my family beforehand instead of trying to "protect them".

PRAISE GOD! It's NOT back again!! PLEASE STAY THAT WAY!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

# 3 - Anniversary

It's hard to believe! 


December 9, 2011 was the day I received my diagnosis.


December 14, 2012 was my last Herceptin drip and


December 20, 2012 my port was removed.




How can time

feel like yesterday

and also

feel like a life time ago

at the same time?





Thursday, February 20, 2014

I've "Graduated"

On February 11, I had my 3 month visit with my oncologist, Doc Esther.  She was running late and just as she was starting to take my information, a phone call from ICU pulled her back out.  That is definitely more important than my check-up.  So, I tried to occupy myself while waiting.

During the exam, our small talk turned into who we were named after, other names of her siblings and "older" names that aren't used very much.  How many children do you know with the name "Carol"?  Esther is a good Biblical name.

Needless to say, I forgot to tell her the areas that were painful.  I know, I know .... first time I didn't write a list for her. Who am I to try to remember the things I wanted to relay to her?  If it is any consolation, I did remember to show her 2 moles and she said they were nothing to worry about.

Right before she hurried off to the next patient, she said "You've now graduated from 3 month visits to every 6 months".

Progress.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Annual Mammogram

On January 13, 2014, I had my "annual" mammogram.  I went back to the place (Reflections) that had originally found my cancer in 2011 ... talk about deja vu! This would make the 2nd mammogram since my diagnosis.  Surgery sites on both breasts and you might ask ... did it hurt?

Yes! Bloody hell it did!

The technician was great though and the intensity only lasted for a bit.  After I left, my mind settled down and I placed all thoughts in a corner shelf in my mind.

On January 21, I received my results via US mail. I must admit that my hands were shaking a tad as I opened the envelope!


When I was diagnosed, I received a phone call a few short days after my mammogram. So this time, when a week passed, I was thinking positive thoughts. Piece of cake ~


Thank you, God, for watching over me!




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Arimidex vs Tamoxifen

I have been taking Arimidex since August 2012. As the months go by, my pains are more extreme. My husband is the only one I really "show" just how bad.  After all, I'm in remission. I should be "all better now". That is what most folks think. They don't understand that poison streamed through my body killing cancer cells AND my good cells.  It takes time to repair, it takes time to get your strength back.

I don't mean to sound so whiny

I am very grateful that I have made it this far through "my journey".  I do try to have a smile on my face, stay out of "my bubble" and focus on others (thank God for the type of job I have),  and I get up every day to go to work.  I have to.  The mornings are the hardest .... that is when the pain is the worst.

So, Sept 12 I had a visit with my favorite oncologist to discuss my meds.

Quality of Life VS Recurrence 

Taking the estrogen blocker will give me a 40% chance of keeping cancer away .... at least this type of cancer.  I'm HER2 protein positive and estrogen receptor positive.  Just a little aggressive and mean-spirited.

Doc changed my meds to Tamoxifen, stating that I should start to feel  better in about a month and the bone pain will not be a side effect.  She said that the worry would be blood clots, uterus cancer (don't have one of those, so I should be good on that count).   I came home and looked it up on WebMD to read the reviews from other patients.  Looks like the same kind of complaints as Arimidex patients.

They don't call it "practicing medicine" for nothing!

I've given my life to God and I will give Him this too.  My church family gave me a prayer cloth anointed with oil and their prayers.  It is precious to me.

I'll be sure to keep you posted .... still living in the moment, each day at a time.

What Rock do you stand on?


Originally posted Saturday September 14, 2013

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 - The Year of Adventure

It has been a while since writing on the blog.  I just moved some posts from In This Together BCS to my original blog .... so you will see about 7 of them that actually belong in the year 2013.  I'm not sure if I'll continue writing (not sure if anyone is reading), but I wanted to combine my posts because I can turn my blog into a book.  I thought this would be a nice keepsake.

I have to look at my timeline to really remember the "whens" and "whats" of the past 2-1/2 years.

December 2011 - Diagnosed

2012 - Treatment

2013 - Recovery

and now we come to 2014 .... I have decided to call it the year of adventure!  I want to DO something! I want to explore! I want to take my camera and capture unique and beautiful things through my lens! I want to check off things from my bucket list!  Even though my pain has returned (same as when I was on Arimidex), I want to do these things.

What do YOU want to do?



Oh, hey, check out my beautiful sister, Christie ~ A picture of health!


Tamoxifen - Day 50

It's a miracle! The effects of my last estrogen blocker, Arimidex, is practically out of my body. And, boy, do I feel so much better!

I don't think I will get to 100%, but 50 days into the change of meds, I sure am feeling like me again.
Celebrated with a new cut, color and style!


Originally Posted Thursday October 31, 2013

Planning Our First Event

Christie is a creative woman who has many, many wonderful ideas.  When she feels a project coming on, the wheels start spinning, ideas start flying and thoughts are written down on anything handy.

See that  book of notes?  If you remember, you are lucky....(joke).....what I was going to say: If you remember, there is such a thing as chemo brain.  It is hard to hold onto a thought.  We just have to write down everything! One page has a sentence written on it, but it is upside down on the page.  It was funny to watch her when she noticed it, "huh, wonder how that happened."

See that phone in hand?  It has the latest technology, apps, internet connection and all.  Constantly ready to keep the ideas rolling ... at all 24 hours of the day.

The current project is our very first event ~ A celebration of our win against breast cancer.  I can guarantee that with Christie's ability as a public speaker and teacher, this will be informative with a flair of wit, laughter and thought-provoking revelations.

So, where do I come in?

Well, I'm the "sounding-board", the ying to her yang, and the organizer of these ideas.   Not the planner, (not going to happen), the organizer.  My hundred years of office work will come in handy as we begin to lift off the non-profit inthistogether.org

Oh, how I love Microsoft OneNote!!! (check it out if you haven't seen it).  That is my job this weekend. Creating our notebook, sync it on sis's computer and teach her how to navigate.

She is going to LOVE it! 

After this event, we will welcome feedback, collect more ideas, tweak it here and there and then .... take it on the road.

In between all of that, we are looking for our Board of Directors.

The divine appointments over the past few weeks have multiplied.  We are both meeting women who want to get involved by using their God-given talents.  As they tell us their stories of their own journey or of a loved one, an instant connection is made.  And, of course, a hug is freely given ~


Originally Posted Saturday September 28, 2013

Tamoxifen - 1 Week

One o'clock in the morning - after waking up ump-teen times, I decided to stay up for a bit.  Took 2 more pain pills and logged on.  I've had some inquiries about the effects of the Tamoxifen.  Can't say it is any better than Arimidex ... yet, it's only been a week.

The pain is intense and I just wish I could describe it in a way to make myself understood.  I'm trying not to let this show at work and when I come home in the evening, I collapse.

My bones feel like they have been smashed by a sledge-hammer.  The shredded pieces like glass in my hands, arms, knees, legs, feet, ankles.  Today, my left elbow feels like I hit it against something hard.  I'm still bruising very easily. I'm hunched over like I'm 110 years old.  It is worse in the morning, and now seems to carry throughout the day.  I'm starting to have menstrual pains (I don't have a uterus and no cycles for 11 years).  What's that about?  My surgery sites (original surgery, plus nodes under my right arm, and reconstruction on my left side) all produce stabbing pain.  Sometimes the pain hits unexpectedly that I "yelp" out loud.  That can be embarrassing in public.

I tenderly hold my hands, softly rubbing to help ease the stiffness.  My neck and back ache so much.

So, this is the medicine to keep cancer away.  It sucks.

I've completed year 1 of 5 ~ can I endure 4 more?


I'm falling apart

Originally posted Saturday September 21, 2013

Thrive!

Tonight was a long time coming .... A celebration dinner with my good friend "M" and my sister, Christie.  M & I had planned to get together after our treatments were done to celebrate coming through to the other side (M was diagnosed 2 days before I was).  When Christie was diagnosed, we then decided to wait until the three of us could come together and make a toast to success!

Tonight was it! Panara's.... yummmmm

I was thrilled to introduce the 2 of them and tickled pink when we giggled like school girls as we shared our more humorous stories.  And the conversation doesn't always have to be about cancer.  We shared about our families, our learnings from our experiences and how it changed our outlook in life (ok, alot of it was "because of cancer") and just enjoyed each other's company.

Chemo brain was a huge part of our laughter as one of us would start a thought and then forget what we were going to say... and then the other 2 would have to try to remember key words of what was being said in order for the memory to jolt back into the moment.  If you don't get it, don't worry about it!  It truly is a memory loss that only a chemo cocktail can promote!

I thought it very interesting when M said she didn't think of herself as a survivor, but as a thriver.


No matter what your circumstance

Everyone should strive to thrive!


Originally posted Monday August 19, 2013

Follow-up Appointments

The morning of July 23 was certainly busy.  My follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon was 8:30 am.  He announced that the tissue sent to pathology came back clear. All Right!  The swelling has gone down some and he was pleased with the work he had done.  He left the room and the nurse proceeded to remove the surgery tape with tweezers and small shears, and snip the long pieces of stitches.  I left there feeling a little tender and raw.

No more appointments for the plastic surgeon! Yay!

I made my way to work and then had to leave again for my follow-up appointment with my oncologist.  It has been awhile since being there and I walked into the place to see much change ... reconstruction.... the place had more room and organization.  Doc was also impressed with the breast reduction.

"No more leaning to the left!" she said. Funny Doc! 

We discussed my current state of being as she recorded it on the computer system.  I saw my history of the last 18 months and we had a good chat. The smile on her face was enough for me!

I can remember her saying,
 "You will be able to fire me in 5 years". 

My next appointment isn't until November 2013. Nice!

I feel like I have come out of the depths of hell and am now renewed as my healing continues with each new day.

May peace be with you ~


Originally posted Saturday July 27, 2013

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

A friend of mine shared this with me.  I just thought it was perfect for everyone and especially those who are going through cancer diagnosis.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PWKZVbG9egQ


Originally posted Sunday July 28, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Moving to a new website

My sister and I are SO excited!  We have combined our experiences and set up a new website that also includes our blogs.  A brand new look and new endeavor.



Come and take a peak!

 
 
 
This is the last post on Living in The Moment ....
 
but I'm not remaining silent!
 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back to Work!

Tomorrow is my first day back to work since June 28.  Getting butterflies in my tummy, which seems to happen after being off for awhile.  Never know what I'm going to face when I get there (kinda hard to describe).  But, I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be!

This month makes 1 year since my radiation treatments ended. I think that is long enough to make a decision. Most of the bleeding/seeping has stopped, and the bruising is slowly clearing up.  Still looks like Frankenstein! I don't regret the procedure, even though sometimes it feels like someone hit me with a baseball bat (too graphic?)

~~~~~~~~~~


Saturday, we had a wonderful get together with extended family from my father's side.  It was great to see everyone again....it seems once a year now.  There is also an emptiness in our hearts for the ones that have moved far away and for the ones who are now in spirit.  The world keeps turning and we keep getting older. 

It reminds me of one of my favorite songs that I have posted before. It makes you think about your own legacy.


Nichole Nordeman - Legacy 



My sister and I are developing a website.  Christie is the brains of the operation and my husband is working on logo ideas.  We hope that it will be helpful and hopeful to breast cancer patients.  It is a need to "give back" and to help others going through the brutal journey.  So....stayed tuned!


Christie's green thumb

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Follow-up from Reconstruction

My follow-up appointment was this morning.  It lasted all of 5 minutes.  He was amazed at the bruising.  Good news, no signs of infection.  Just remembered, I forgot to ask about the pathology report.  I'm sure it is fine or else he would have brought it up.

I will have to go back about 3 more times.  At one of those appointments, the surgery tape will be removed and the stitches.  Doc said that it will look more like the other breast in about 3 months or so. 

Would I do it again?  Probably. The weight on my shoulders and back does feel lighter.  My bra straps aren't leaving crevices on the top of my shoulders!

Kind of wonder if I should have done the other side as well.  Guess I won't know until I'm fully healed.  Will they really be symmetrical?

My sister is managing her radiation treatments.  She is a real trouper!
No need for a scarf anymore! What a beauty!


Me & Christie
Next follow-up is July 23. Same day as my oncology visit .... wonder what Doc Esther is gonna think of my "boob job".

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reconstruction - Post Surgery

Hello all! Day 1 of post surgery.  Yes, there is pain - plus, taking antibiotics as instructed.

Last night, I was curious (who wouldn't be) and decided to peel away the bandages to see my ta-ta.  Lots of blood on the gauze and I can see where the cuts were made. Still have the marker drawing on my chest (tic-tac-toe anybody?)

I get to shower after 3:00 today!

So, as I was exploring, I found an electrode on my hip from the EKG.....and I was worried they would leave something "inside" me during surgery! hahaha, I was lucky!


Electrode laying on the lid of my laptop

Amazingly, I didn't go to bed when I got home until after midnight.  I woke up a lot too because I couldn't get comfortable. 

I don't regret doing this, not for vanity reasons, but for comfort.  They don't make bras that come in 2 different cup sizes.  (although that would be an interesting manufacturing business)  Doc says the breast will start to look "normal" in 3 months or so. 

My follow-up appointment is July 9th. 
 
 
Have a Safe & Happy 4th of July America!





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pre-Surgery Testing

Talk about walking down memory lane..... I started at the same place (building) where my diagnostic mammogram was done Dec 2011. 

First was the check-in with a nurse to ask a few more questions for my record.  She did my vitals and then sent me across the hall for my EKG and blood work.  A big kudos to Sheila who didn't even make me flinch.  Two vials and she was done!

Then I made the walk across to the other building to radiology.  Now that really brought back memories.  There, I had my chest x-ray.

So, I'm pretty sure everything will check out okay.

Ready for surgery, July 2

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pre-Admissions

The hospital pre-admissions called me today to update all my information.  She said the last surgery recorded was December 2011 .... lumpectomy.  Yep, that sounds about right.  That long ago? A lot of times, it seems like yesterday. 

I am to report to pre-surgery testing tomorrow at the same place I found out I had cancer.  Glad she told me that because I planned to report to the place I had the port inserted.  (would have been the wrong place)

This little process here is taking me back to some memories. 

And that's what they are....memories.

I try not to think about that "anvil-over-the-head" feeling.  I'm in remission and want to stay right there!

I'll be off work for a total of 12 days.  Hope to hang out with Sis for some of those days.  Looking forward to some R&R.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reconstruction

I finally decided to do it .... Reconstruction. 

Most people kinda give me a double-take when I tell them, "no, they aren't touching the affected side. They are taking care of the good side."  I really don't want things stirred up if you know what I mean.  The plastic surgeon said that it is more difficult to reconstruct skin damaged from radiation.  Besides, it really isn't that bad.  It's just much smaller. Ha! So, we are downsizing!

June 25 - pre-surgery testing

July 2 - Surgery

Doc said recovery is 2 weeks. Since I have a desk job, just taking a week. 

No worries, no concerns, looking forward to some down time at home.

I'll certainly let you know how things are going!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Shot of Cortisone

Hi all!  I finally got some tests done (June 4) on my right knee to discover moderate arthritis aggravating my knee and making life difficult.  It actually started with soreness and swelling in the back of my knee that my family doctor thought was a Baker's cyst.  The MRI and x-rays did not show a cyst....just a little bit of fluid.  I met with an orthopedic doctor (June 7) who took a lot of time with me and diagnosed me and gave me a cortisone shot in the knee.  I've never had one of those miracle shots before and WOW, it has provided such relief!

Today, I had my first physical therapy session to learn how to build some core strength and begin on the road to recovery.  I have sessions twice a week. It was so difficult to try to walk and exercise through all the pain throughout my body.  The cortisone shot not only helped my knee, but a lot of other joints, aches & pains. 

Once I fulfill my sessions, I will be able to utilize the facility for FREE for a month!  I like that :)

This weekend is actually the first time I have felt better and felt like "me" in almost 2 years.
 
A-MAZ-ING!!!!
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Howdy

Monday, the beginning of a new week.  How have you been?  I haven't had much to report under the "cancer" umbrella.  I have an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss reconstructive surgery. Don't know if it will happen yet, but I thought I would check it out.  I am doing better in my diet....trying to exercise more, dealing with the bone/joint pain.

Matthew has finished the bulk of his classes.  One more during the summer and he will graduate in the Fall.  Now, he is job searching.  Such a job in itself!

Jasmine has now moved in and going into the 3rd week of being home.  Lots for her to get settled into, but she will find her way.

Casey just closed on her first home.  Her new job and her new home are keeping her busy.  We hope to see her in August!

All of our fluffy-butts are doing okay except Moe.  He is not going to make it much longer. That makes my heart sad.

On another note, my sister had a 2nd surgery and this time CLEAR MARGINS!  Today was her first day back to work and soon she will be starting radiation.  She is a strong woman and doing well in her journey! 

I will keep in touch from time to time .... stay well and be happy!



Colorado ghost town

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Looking Forward

When all this cancer stuff began, blogging became good therapy for me.  To tell you the truth, it really helped keep dates and events organized.  Chemo brain still haunts me.  So, when I thought about the name of this blog, living in the moment was exactly what I was doing.  I had to learn from step 1 terminology and everything else a person has to comprehend when hearing those words "you have cancer".  Since I didn't have a crystal ball and I didn't know from day to day what was going to happen...perfect theme.

Now, I don't blog as often because a lot of the treatments, tests and appointments are done.  I'm still taking the Armidex (5 year pill), still see my oncologist every 3 months....and I'm sure tests will occur from time to time. 

Cancer took a whole year + some and I'm ready to move from "living in the moment" to something else.  A reoccurring phrase has been cropping up in my conversations with Christie
 
Looking Forward

She is in the middle of her treatments....first chemo, then surgery, next is radiation.  It was, and may still be, important in her journey to live in the moment but I think she is getting to the point of looking forward.  We had fun thinking them up.

Looking forward to ~

  • Having "my" time back again
  • Energy, strength
  • Hair!
  • Warmer weather
  • Taking walks with each other
  •  Living life!

And, there are others I have thought of .... what are you looking forward to?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reconstructing My Life

Yesterday, I saw my family doctor as a follow up to some medication changes he recently made.  I'm doing just fine in that department.  He wants to do another blood panel in 4 months.  He seemed very pleased at the last results .... about $100 came out of my pocket for it.  So, one more, then I'm putting my foot down.

Today, I saw my oncologist for my 3 month check up.  She asked if I had my colonoscopy screening set up since I'm now "of age" .... Should of had it last year when I turned 50, but I was busy!  Now that I turned 51 last week, guess I should put it on my calendar.  She asked if there were any relatives who had colon cancer.  I don't think so. 

She asked about the neuropathy, the pain.  And I asked about the weight gain and fatigue.  You will NEVER believe what she said! Eat right and Exercise! Imagine that!
 
Questions for doc

As usual, I had my written questions next to me.  She would look them over and answer them during the examination. 

* Since I'm taking estrogen blockers, why not just yank my one and only ovary and be done with it.  She said NO. Leave it as is.  (anybody know why? I got side tracked and forgot to ask)

* Should I get reconstructive surgery?  I really didn't care either way (nor does my husband).  But as time is going on,

my girls are getting more and more unbalanced.

Not my daughters, the other "girls"

She recommended the procedure and also recommended a plastic surgeon.  My sister heard great things about this doctor, so I will begin making plans.

That's all I can remember at this time.

All our prayers for the Boston people and the visitors from all over the world that were there during the heart-shattering chaos.  Prayers for the first responders, the people who began caring for the victims and each other ... for the families of lost loved ones and those who were injured. 

This world is broken .... ask God to hold you, give you comfort and amazing grace ~

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday

A beautiful day today ~

It started with an endearing church service.  The children are so darling and they are always a part of the service.  Today was even more special than normal.

Then, we spent time at my sister's house with the family.  Not all of our loved ones were there, as our youngsters have moved to other states.  Thank goodness for video chat and cell phones!

God is our refuge and strength, a ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Psalm 42:5

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Friday, March 15, 2013

CureSearch Children's Cancer


Maxwell Krem, MD, PhD, from The University of Washington strives to treat his patients as he would want to be treated, delivering state-of-the-art medical therapy. He hopes that his research will lead to targeted therapies. Read more

Sheridan Bautista was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of seven. Doctors found a tumor located above her left knee that encompassed 75% of her femur. She immediately started chemotherapy. Read more

When an adolescent is diagnosed with cancer, their future is daunting, not only because of the cancer itself, but also because of the unique aspects of psychological and social development that occur during the teenage years. Read more

The 2013 CureSearch Walk season is underway! Join CureSearch at one of our upcoming Walks as we honor and remember those affected by children's cancer. These very special days will include prizes, music, food, and fun activities for the entire family! For a full list, click here.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a member of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, is pleased to announce that this year's Childhood Cancer Action Day in Washington, DC is scheduled for June 17-18, 2013. Read more

Experience an adventure and help CureSearch by taking the Ultimate Hike challenge! Join CureSearch at one of our 11 upcoming hikes across the country. Each trail will provide a significant challenge no matter the level of hike experience. To find a hike near you, click here.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Strokes and Chemo

The past week has been very busy ... starting with last Friday.  On my way home from work, I received a message from my sister that mom called and wanted to go to ER.  She was having trouble with her vision.  Since I was right down the street and sis just got home from chemo treatment, I headed over to take care of the situation. 

Got mom to the ER and she was taken back pretty quickly.  She described her symptoms to different nurses who asked her the same questions.  Then a doctor came in for some eye hand motor tests.  Doc ordered an EKG, a chest x-ray and a cat scan.  About 4-1/2 hours later, they admitted her for observation.  We got her settled in her room and ordered dinner (about 9:30), as she hadn't eaten since I picked her up. 

Saturday, they ordered an MRI as the cat scan was inclusive.  The MRI showed that she had a stroke located in the back of her head behind her left ear.  It surprised a lot of us because she did not have any paralysis.  (that's good)  Mom has 100% blockage on one side of her neck and 70% blockage on the other side.  They kept her Sunday and released her Monday afternoon, with a whole list of doctors to follow up with.

During the same time, Christie was dealing with the side effects from the Taxol.  Another infection, slight fever and pain.  Stupid canzer!

Early Detection for Pancreatic Cancer

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/06/18/wait-did-this-15-year-old-from-maryland-just-change-cancer-treatment/

A friend of mine sent this article to me.  I sure do hope this gives a big jump to early detection for pancreatic cancer.  The comments from readers are always interesting.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Father-in-law

The one year anniversary of the loss of my father-in-law is upon us.  How did a whole year go by already?  Matt is still trying to deal with the loss and my heart aches for him.    What happens if you die on Feb 29

I heard a message on the radio that said "If you think you are in the land of the living, you got it all wrong.  We are in the land of the dying and it is in heaven where we will live for eternity." Dr Hendricks was married for 66 years and has been celebrated for his many years of service with Moody.  What a legacy ~  I hope Pa is visiting with him now

Dr. Howard Hendricks is With the Lord


February 22, 2013
Dr. Howard Hendricks beloved teacher, speaker and author, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Dr. Hendricks was the co-author with his son William of the best-selling books Living By the Book, and As Iron Sharpens Iron.

"Moody Publishers, along with the family and friends of Howard Hendricks, are saddened by the news of his passing," said Greg Thornton, senior vice president, Moody Media. "We will greatly miss Dr. Hendricks, his humor, and especially his tremendous ability to communicate truth through his speaking, teaching and writing. We mourn his loss but rejoice in knowing he’s with our Savior." 
A wonderful tribute has been developed by the Dallas Theological Seminary, which can be viewed here.

Please pray God’s comfort on Howard’s wife Jeanne, four children including son and co-author Bill Hendricks, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren


Monday, February 25, 2013

Lymphedema After Breast Cancer Surgery


Denise shared a very interesting post regarding Lymphedema http://denise4health.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/learning-to-live-with-lymphedema/#comments

So, I’m on the path of learning what I can about it.  This is from WebMD.com

 
Save This Article For Later
{fontSizerContenLymphadema is related to the functioning of the lymphatic system, which helps the immune system fight off infection and clears debris from the body. Here's how the lymphatic system works:

·       Excess fluid is collected from the space between tissues in the body and moves through the lymph vessels. The fluid (now called lymph) isn't pumped through the body like blood, but instead is "pushed" through the lymph system as the vessels are compressed by surrounding muscles.

·       Filters called lymph nodes remove certain harmful substances from the lymph fluid, such as bacteria and debris. The fluid from most tissues or organs is filtered through one or more lymph nodes before draining into the bloodstream.

What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of fluid that causes swelling, most often in the arms or legs. The condition develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged, or removed.
There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary.
Primary lymphedema is rare and is caused by the absence of, or abnormalities in, certain lymph vessels at birth.

Secondary lymphedema occurs as a result of a blockage or interruption that alters the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system. It may develop from an infection, cancer, surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a vein), radiation, or other cancer treatment.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Results From The Family Doctor

Yesterday I had my follow-up visit with my family doctor to discuss the blood work he ordered.  He was so pleased with the results that I could hang it on my refrigerator! Well, I won't go that far ....

The iron, vit D, vit B12, all good - no issues with thyroid, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and a bunch of other items from the panel were good.  The only thing I need to work on is my cholesterol.  Not bad enough to control with medicine, but I need to make changes to my diet, get more exercise. 
 
Everything all of us need to do.


The changes he made in my blood pressure meds seems to be doing the trick.  Not getting those crazy dizzy spells, flashes and stuff now.  Still adjusting the depression meds.  It's hard for most people to tell that I am on that stuff because I don't show most people that side.  I don't even know if I'm really truly depressed (if that makes sense) because I've worked through a lot of issues the past 13 months.  My sadness is what he called "situational".  That is true. 

I brought up the issue of the lump at the back of my knee.  Had it since last November.  He is convinced that it is ligament related. An MRI would tell.  He recommended anti-inflammatory and overall gentle exercise.

Follow-up in two months ~

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Update on Christie

I would like to request prayer for my sister, Christie.  She spent a long time in ER Saturday night and today is no better.  This evening, it was difficult to gauge whether or not to get her back in ER again. 

She is fighting an infection and has a slight fever.  However, those slight fevers are just brimming below the mark 100.9 ...... the mark of when we are told to seek medical attention. 

Their experience with the ER on 2 other occasions were horrible.  I can't believe that as a cancer patient, she had to stay in the ER where all the germs are!  That is NOT what our oncologist told us.  We are to be whisked straight up to the oncology floor!

Please pray for healing, comfort and that the fever and infection are controlled.

Thank you ~

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Friendly Family Doctor

I have finally made an appointment to see my family doctor ~ scheduled for tomorrow.  I have only seen him once since my diagnosis of bc.  I thought it would be a good idea to have him look at my blood count to see if I'm lacking in iron or any other deficiencies.  Trust me, I'm tired of doctors, tests and needles. But that's just it, I'm tired. 

So, I plan to start with a blood work up and then discuss all the aches and pains I have been experiencing before cancer and after.  Starting from my feet to the top of my head.  Sound radical?  Nope. Not really. 

Remember when I got the MRI on my back and Doc said I had a pinched nerve and some degenerative stuff going on?  Well, nothing as been done for that and I can't stand long enough to wash my dishes or shop the grocery store without tremendous pain.

Remember the pain behind my knee and pea sized bump?  Gonna ask about that too.

I had a terrible episode the other night that brought me to my knees.  My blood pressure was sky high, so I'll be talking to him about my meds........ALL my meds.  Hope to discontinue what my body doesn't need anymore.

So, that's the short list! 

In other news, my Uncle Bobby went home to be with the Lord yesterday.  My heart breaks for my Aunt and my cousins.  Rest in Peace ~

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I want my brain back!

 
I'm extremely curious about http://www.lumosity.com/


I want to get back in the game!  back in life! back in work! 
 
I want my brain back!


Got this from my new found blogging friend Denise http://denise4health.wordpress.com/


I'll keep you posted :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chronic Fatigue

Have you ever been sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Have you ever wondered if people are sick and tired of you complaining about being sick and tired? 
 
Well, that's me in a nutshell. 

You would think that after declaring that I'm "cancer-free", it would all be "okay" by now.  After all, the treatments are done.

And I'm still not feeling 100% and I'm still really, really tired.

There are probably things that I should be doing to help myself through this process of recovery. 

Eating better
Exercising
Do I need more iron?
I could use some sunshine for sure
Less stress?

What the heck is WRONG WITH ME?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Introduction to Breast Cancer

Article from Health Monitor Fall 2012

Learning that you have breast cancer can, quite literally, stop you in your tracks. You may feel frozen in time, replaying over and over again in your mind the moment your doctor told you the news. It's normal to feel a wide range of emotions—fear, shock, depression, anger and even guilt.

Slow down, take a moment and breathe. The emotions you are feeling are completely understandable. And if you are feeling nothing, that's OK, too. Oftentimes, when a woman hears the diagnosis "breast cancer," she goes temporarily numb.

Take comfort, though, in knowing that, as of 2010, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. Experts report that the death rate from breast cancer has been decreasing since 1991, due to public awareness, earlier detection and advances in treatment.

The truth is, there is nothing fair about breast cancer. But you can find plenty of help and reasons for hope. Turn to your family and friends. Choose a healthcare team you trust. Prepare for a battle and be strong.

http://www.healthmonitor.com/womens-health/breast-cancer/living-breast-cancer

Names of Survivors

My sister has a wonderful idea for a project.  She is asking for a list of names of breast cancer survivors.  I got side tracked, like I normally do, and read a few of these googled articles .....

Pink Warriors

Kate Jackson

Celebrities - Breast Cancer

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Simplifying My Life

January 15, 2013 was my appointment with Doc Esther, my medical oncologist.   This was to be my official parting of the ways.

Product DetailsI was reading a book as I waited to be called in.  Something not cancer related.  The nurse took me to one of the exam rooms to take my vitals.  As she did so, she asked me what the numbers 316 meant that was written on my bracelet. 

"It's a Bible verse."
"Can you tell me what it says?" she asked.
"Are you sure?" She said she was.

I then spoke the words ~

John 3:16

New King James Version (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Mind you, this was the first time a stranger asked me point blank about the bible or anything related to God.  My heart was overflowing to be able to say that out loud to a person who actually gave me permission to tell them words from the bible.

Then, she was gone .... and in walked Doc Esther.  She booted up my medical records on the computer and said

I'm going to simplify your life

She said my team of doctors collaborated and decided that patients only needed to get the final clearance from one of them (not all 3).  She asked me if I had appointments to follow up with my surgeon and I said yes, March 5.  And my radiologist?  I said yes, March 6. 

"Cancel them, you don't need to see them."

After the exam, I followed her to the nurses station as she wrote a script for me and instructions for my next visit in 3 months.

I gave her a hug and said "thank you for saving my life" and she said

I was just the recipe maker

As I left, I decided to walk thru the treatment area to find some angel nurses .... I found nurses Karen and Regina and got some heartfelt hugs.  I came to a stop in the waiting room as a woman caught my attention.  She was wearing a hat and holding her husband's hand.  I laid my things on the chair near them and put my coat on.  I wished I could just sit down and talk to her. Instead, I said "I just finished a year of treatment.  I'm all done!" She smiled and said "congratulations".  I replied, "There is hope."

My journey is done ..... now, I just need to focus on gaining my strength back and getting my body cleansed of all the chemo drugs.  This will take some time, I'm sure.  Isn't that a thought? 

Time is what I now have back.


Thanks to my heavenly maker and my recipe maker ~

Monday, January 7, 2013

Unapologetic

I've spent the last week concerned about my sister, Christie.  Now, I just got my hair back and she is gonna turn it gray! 

We are all keeping a sharp eye on missy now!

I think this was a lesson to all of us, but especially for her.  Each of us knows our own bodies best and when it is feeling bad, especially chemo patients, we got to recognize it for what it is and get help. 

Unapologetic
 
 
For patients everywhere:
 
  • Are you worried about being a nuisance?
  • Think you are calling the doctor's office too many times?
  • Feeling like a hypochondriac?
  • Don't want to rock the boat?
 
 
 
Get over it!
Call the doctor!!
 
You have my permission ....
ok, ok, give yourself permission!
 


Friday, January 4, 2013

Prayers for Christie

Christie was admitted to the hospital yesterday and will stay in for another night.  She is getting a much needed dose of hydration and TLC. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

While the rest of the world celebrates New Year's Eve, my husband and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary.  This year is definitely more special, as our gift to each other is my life. 

So today represents the end of a difficult year, but a year that has been full of blessings.

It represents a deep love of husband and wife.  We are still as mushy, romantic as ever .... he still opens the car door for me.
 
And, the fact that I'm a cancer survivor.  I am still wrapping my brain around that one.  The anvil is still over my head and it will probably take time for that feeling to subside.

I don't think that my life will now be a bed of roses, but I sure have learned a lot about myself and the people that are in my circle.  Most of all, I have learned so much about what faith really means in our broken world. 

Last year, I had made a new year's resolution of de-cluttering.  Thanks to my daughter and husband, they were key in making this happen.  Now, it seems that I want a more substantial proclamation.  I have been praying about it and I'm close to putting it into words.

Until then, my friends, may this day be safe, happy, fun, light-hearted, loving, inspired, and may you find many blessings in the new year to come!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrating the Holidays Despite a Cancer Diagnosis

It is my pleasure to post this message
from a husband and wife who wanted to share
their experience with you ~

By: Cameron Von St James

My wife gave birth to our only child, Lily, in August of 2005. We were already looking forward to the joy that the winter holidays would bring. I have always looked forward to the opportunity to spend the holidays celebrating with the ones I love. I have always been thankful for being blessed with so many amazing people in my life. Heather and I had already started talking about the holiday traditions we wanted to pass on to our little one, and the new ones we would start as a family.

Unfortunately, our holiday spirit and excitement were stamped out just three days before Thanksgiving, when Heather was diagnosed with cancer. Our daughter was less than four months old at the time of the diagnosis. We learned that Heather had malignant pleural mesothelioma, and in an instant our focus shifted from turkey and holiday shopping to fighting a rare and very deadly form of cancer.

I was filled with anger and fear after the diagnosis. Everything that had seemed so positive, everything I seemed so sure about disappeared in an instant. I tried my best to remain positive and hopeful, but my mind went straight to fearing for the worst. I had thoughts of losing my wife and growing old as a single father. I felt that I had little to be thankful for that year.

Despite the horrible news, we did have a Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration with my wife’s family. The family discussed all the ways they would support us in this trying time.  I had been dreading this discussion for days.  We talked about money and childcare. Heather and I had previously both been working, but we were now reduced to living on my income alone, and the diagnosis brought with it a wealth of unexpected expenses that we were not equipped to handle.  Heather’s parents went through our finances with us and helped us figure out what we could liquidate to stay afloat, as well as what they could afford to help us pay for.  I was mortified and embarrassed, and once again I felt that I had nothing to be thankful for. It would be years before I could look back on that day with anything but shame.

Now, however, I can see how very mistaken I was to look at it that way.  Looking back, I can see how truly blessed we were to have such a strong and loving family supporting us through our tough time.  My pride and my fear blinded me to that at the time, but now I can see how very much I had to be thankful for that season.

This holiday season, I will not let go of that memory of our family gathered around, communicating and helping each other. I will keep in mind everything that I have to be thankful for. I have more than many people will ever have; I am surrounded by kindness, love and good friends. Lily is healthy and as usual, this year will revolve around surrounding her with fun holiday traditions.

In the end, with the love and support of our incredible community of friends and family, Heather beat her mesothelioma. She beat all the odds stacked against her, and we have celebrated numerous holidays together since her diagnoses. We are looking forward to many more together in the future.  We hope that our story of success can help all those currently fighting cancer find something in their lives to be thankful for this holiday season.

Husband of Mesothelioma Survivor Heather Von St. James
Read more:  
http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

 
Christmas Eve ~ a special night

Candlelight service at 8pm with special music, sermon and communion.

The reason for the season

Sunday service was special as the children and choir presented a Christmas play.  They did a fabulous, fabulous job.  I wish we can do an encore!

Here is a picture of the manger (none of the children, not on public web)

 
May this Christmas bring blessings and deep peace to you and yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Prayer

I created a form on my blog for folks who would like me to pray for them. 
 
I'm a prayer warrior!

If you would like me to pray for you, just click on the image on my side bar, or you can click on the praying hands below.





Once you click on the praying hands, it brings up this form:




Your message comes directly to my e-mail.  Your request is private and I do not put it on my blog, or facebook etc.  I ask for your e-mail so I can type out my prayer and send it directly to you. 

For me, prayer is powerful. Prayer is a way to talk to our Father and to bring our praise, our worship and our burdens to Him.

I received so many prayers from others and would be honored to do the same for you.

And I do it in Jesus' name ~

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

One Year Anniversary

Dec 20, 2011 was my lumpectomy surgery. It almost feels like a lifetime ago. It is hard to wrap my brain around surgery, 6 rounds of chemo, 33 days of radiation and 17 IVdrips of Herceptin.

Not to mention 3 MRIs, 3 ultrasounds, 1 bone density screening, 2 blood transfusions, 2 echos, hospitalization due to multiple blood clots, followup appointments and just to throw into the mix, a neurologist specialist.

At 8:00am, I was scheduled for my port removal.  The doctor was the same one that had put the port in my arm last January 5.  I had an added bonus of dissolvable stitches, so I won't have to go back and have them pulled and cut out.  The doctor asked if I felt a sharp pain and I said yes ... so she gave a little bit more numbing on the area.  The only other person in the room was a nurse.  The doctor held a conversation with me as she worked and had several questions.  It was a good distraction.

"How did your life change after going through cancer treatment?" she asked.

I have been asked that before.  "I have grown closer to God."

She nodded. "I have heard that before many times from patients."

I explained that my faith has always been strong, but now I got to experience "the peace that passes all understanding" as in

Philippians 4:7

New King James Version (NKJV)
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gentle, deep peace wraps around my whole being and removes any anxiety and worry I held on to all my life.  This peace cannot be explained by mere words, it can only be experienced.
 
Once the port was finally removed, doc stitched me up with dissolvable stitches.  So glad I don't have to go back to get them removed.  No bruising yet. Do you remember the last bruise when it was put in? Oh, yeah, and the "multiple" blood clots it created.
 
 
 
After the procedure, I went back to the lobby waiting room.  This is also the day my mom is getting her kidney biopsied.  I waited for my brother in law to bring her.  The place was getting busy since my early morning appointment.  Filling up with patients, wheelchairs, canes....
 
This broken world filled with broken bodies. 
 
How many with broken spirits?