Friday, November 21, 2008

November 21

Happy Birthday to me!

So – last week was my birthday. It was the end of a very interesting year – I must say. I was able to celebrate at a few different events with my lovely friends. Shawna cashed in a Sub-4-Santa dinner at Angie Vriens cabin the Saturday before. We had an amazing meal and some great conversating (thank you George Bush) by the fire afterward.

On my actual birthday – I took the day off and totally chilled at home. I didn’t get dressed or even bath. It was wonderful. I watched a BBC miniseries on DVD and hung-out with my muddy-pawed dog as it rained like the dickens outside.

The next night I went to dinner with some friends and the night after that – several of my friends met at one of my favorite restaurants – Red Iguana – to celebrate with me. Cute Joaquin from my ward played Happy Birthday on his trumpet. It was so fun. Thanks to everyone that helped me celebrate in any fashion.

I have an appointment with my Oncologist – Dr. Morgan – next week and an appointment with my Radiation Oncologist Dr. Sause the following week. After that – I may not have any appointments for a while. My skin has completely healed from my radiation appointments. I’m really doing well. My energy level seems to be getting better and I am really looking forward to the holidays.

As trying as this year has been, I am so grateful for how blessed I have been. I am so grateful for my family, friends, work, home, church, dog – you name it. I have certainly been able to get some new perspectives this year and I’m so grateful that things have gone as well as they have.

I saw the movie Twilight last night with Shawna. Remind me to never go to a mid-night show with screaming teenage girls again. I remember when they announced the release date for the movie shortly after my diagnosis. I wondered at the time if I would be around long enough to see it. I am not only around – but a cancer survivor that feels well enough to go to a midnight movie. How great is that?

The scarves, caps and hats are coming off in the next couple of weeks. I look a little Anne Heche from the Ellen years – but it will keep growing. That’s the great thing about hair.

My Dad and Meize and my brother Kevin’s family are coming to my house for Thanksgiving next week. It will be so nice to see them. As much as the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket the last few months – there is much to be thankful for. I pray the next year will bring everyone I know the happiness they desire and every possible blessing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24

And so it ends! Thank the dear Lord!

I had my last radiation treatment this morning. I honestly can’t believe it. I’m done with the treatment part of this stupid breast cancer. Hallelujah!

I’m doing pretty well – but still have some areas that look pretty burned on my chest and under my arm from the radiation treatments and am, frankly, a little sore in all of the areas I had surgery. I also am still a little tired. But, from here on out I should get more energy and gradually feel better.

I have follow-up appointments with both of my Oncologists next month and will start hormone therapy – which will last for five years.

I have still been able to work and have taught my Gospel Doctrine class the last couple of weeks. I’m still not as social as years past, but am being able to make most of my commitments.

It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks. My, what a year it has been. I am so looking forward to this coming year without cancer or treatments – and with hair! What a bonus! I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from this experience and help others that are going through trials in their life. I have been so blessed and have had so much help during this trial and I want to pay it forward.

I have learned more about breast cancer than I ever imagined I would this past year. If any of you ever have questions or know someone that was just diagnosed and would like some information, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, remember to pray for those you know that are struggling or suffering – whatever their situation. Prayer is the answer! I promise you this. It not only blesses those that you pray for – but blesses those that are praying.

Thanks to everyone for your love and kindness during this trial. It will still go on for a while, but I am getting to the end of the road and the view from there is heavenly.


Friday, October 17, 2008

October 17

One more week of treatment and I’m done! Someone buy the fireworks. I’ll provide the diet coke.

The radiation treatments have been making me feel pretty tired the last couple of weeks. My friends and co-workers hate talking to me in the afternoons because all I do is yawn and then it makes them yawn. And, after going through my first 4 weeks of treatment with no skin issues – I developed a rash and am pretty red everywhere on my left side.

Yesterday – they marked me up and made a special template and my last 6 treatments – including today’s treatment – will only be to the area where the tumor was. The treatment takes 20 seconds. The rest of the area on my chest should start looking and feeling better in the next few days. My first 5 weeks of radiation treatments treated not only the tumor area – but under my arm and up to my collar bone on my left chest. My whole left side was pretty much getting treated.

May I just give a big shout-out for Aloe Vera. What an amazing thing. I got some of the good stuff at Whole Foods that is 99% aloe and keep it in the fridge. It is the only thing that seems to work on the rash and burn and makes it feel SO much better.

My eyelashes and eyebrows are back. In fact, my eyebrows are fuller than they have been in years – so there’s a bonus. I have told a few people that you can lose your hair and eyelashes and still look fairly decent. No eyebrows makes you look somewhat not human. You need eyebrows. I faked them till I had them. It was a necessity.

On a somewhat humorous note – I ran into Jason from my ward and his friend at TJ Maxx last weekend. I had on a knit winter cap because it was butt-cold that day. His friend later said to him that with my hat on – if he didn’t know better – he would say I looked like a chemo victim. Jason was like “Dude – she is a chemo victim! What rock have you been living under?” This totally made me laugh.

I have shaved my head a couple of times since my hair started coming back and am now in the home stretch. It seems to be coming in quite well. It is darker than before and there are some gray hairs here and there that are not pleasing me. Someone at church said they can’t wait to see what color my hair comes back in as. I told them that they won’t see that. As soon as my hair is long enough and can be in a decent sort of style – it’s getting dyed to whatever color fits my current pleasure. I’m not going to waste any time getting it to look the way I want it to look once I quit wearing the caps and scarves.

I have started teaching the Gospel Doctrine class in my ward again. It is nice to be teaching again. It is really good for me to do the studying and preparation. I get a lot more out of my reading and studying when I know I have to teach it on Sunday.

Work has been good. It has slowed-down a bit – which isn’t great – but we are hanging in there. I love my job and am so grateful to have it and keep working through everything that has been going on the last few months. It has saved me not only financially – but emotionally and mentally as well. Some may argue that there is no saving me mentally. I might have to agree with them.

I’ll be glad when the election is over. I’m sick of all of the negative back and forth and just want one of the guys to win and do a really good job for the next four years. We need someone to do a really good job.

I’m excited for the coming year. I’m excited to have hair again. I’m excited to feel and do things that I haven’t done much of for a while. I’m excited to get past the trials of this last year and put my energies in other areas besides myself and my cancer.

It’s weird. It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When I see the stuff you can buy and the reports in the news, it still seems like they are talking about someone else – not me. I think that I have not completely wound my head around everything that’s happened and everything I have been through. I feel that I have been so blessed through this trial that I haven’t been as worried or scared as many people can be. I have felt so confident that I am going to be cured that it hasn’t even seemed like there was a possibility it would be otherwise.

In one short week – I will be able to confidently and officially say that I am a breast cancer survivor. I am grateful to God for blessing me to be diagnosed and treated so that I can say this. I am grateful to Him and Jesus Christ for blessing me so greatly through my trail. I am grateful for and to my doctors and techs that have taken such good care of me and treated me with great kindness. I am grateful to all of my friends and family for their support and prayers on my behalf.

I couldn’t have made it through this without all of you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7

I have actually been feeling pretty well the last couple of weeks. My radiation treatments have not been making me as nauseated – a super-big plus – and my energy levels have been somewhat better as well. I’m not having any issues with my skin where I am getting treated and am now more than half way through my radiation treatments. I still get tired, but have been able to run around for my weekly errands and hosted a wedding shower for Andrea Rockwood from work last Tuesday and my annual Fall Conference Soiree this past weekend. I wasn’t going to have the annual party – but decided I could certainly handle it. It was so good to see everyone that came.

The last couple of weeks have been difficult ones for some friends and acquaintances. Betsy Berge, my friend Dave LeCheminant and York Powell at Sun Litho – all lost their Mothers to cancer. My heart truly goes out to them and I hope we all can keep them in our thoughts and prayers. It is so hard to lose your Mother – this I know.

I started a Tai Chi class. It’s through Community Education and meets once a week at East High. I am really enjoying it. It’s great for stretching, balance and strength. Our teacher is really nice and patient – which is good because it will take a long time to get any good at this.

I have had so many people so show much kindness and concern since I was diagnosed with cancer. I was not – however – shown any mercy today by the Motorcycle Cop that pulled me over just blocks from my house this morning as I was driving to my radiation treatment. I was apparently going about 10 miles over the speed limit. I may have been – but I certainly didn’t feel like I speeding or going any faster than the rest of the traffic. He asked me if there was a reason I was speeding and I pulled up my cap and showed him my bald head and told him I was trying to get to radiation treatment on time. He still gave me a ticket. Cancer cannot get you out of a speeding ticket. Yet another lesson learned.

I am going to teach my Gospel Doctrine class this Sunday. This will be the first time I will teach since getting in to my chemo treatments and asking for a reprieve. I am looking forward to it.

Thanks to everyone that is still praying for me. I am doing really well and know that I have been so blessed through this trial because of all of you.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 24

So, last Monday – September 15th – I started Radiation Treatments. I asked the techs again if it is possible for the treatments to make me feel nauseated. They said – no way! Well, guess what? Radiation Treatments make nauseated. I looked online and it said that although it is rare – it does sometimes happen. I spoke to my Radiation Oncologist last Friday and he said that it really doesn’t happen often – but it can happen and if I need something – he would be happy to get me a prescription. I am – of course – very dubious that anything would help me since nothing did during my chemo treatments.

Cathy – at Dr. Morgan’s office – said I could just be one of those barfy people that get nauseated for no good reason and nothing seems to help them. I think she was right. What the heck? I mean – it is RARE that someone gets nauseated from radiation for breast cancer. Do I really need to be part of that group? If I am going to be part of a RARE group – couldn’t it be that I am part of a rare group of women recovering from breast cancer that meet and marry a really handsome, nice millionaire?

It’s not nearly as bad as the nausea after the first week after chemo treatments – but it’s not fun either. I am just going to grin and bear it.

Other than this unpleasantness – I am actually doing quite well. I haven’t noticed too much of a decline in my energy yet. Last weekend I was able to go to the UMFA to see the Monet to Picasso exhibit – so glad I didn’t miss it – and a party at Darci Anderson’s home. She is currently in her parent’s home in Draper with the most awesome audio-visual room.

This week, I was able to go to book club last night and actually start Tai Chi classes at East High tonight. I hope I will do okay and will have enough energy to get through it.

My hair is starting to come in but it is coming in all weird. It’s really blonde and then has some darker patches. Cathy suggested I shave off the fuzz and it should come in better. I think I will do that in the next day or two. My eyelashes and eybrows are making a comeback as well. One of these days - I may feel like a normal person again.

As many of you know, our dear friend Betsy Berge lost her Mother last weekend. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. Also, our friend Sheree Fitzgerald Hastings is in the hospital after delivering her baby early and suffering from preeclampsia and HLLP syndrome. Her kidneys are not functioning and she is very ill. Her baby boy is doing well and gaining weight but is still in the hospital. Please keep them in your prayers as well.

I will hopefully be able to start teaching my Gospel Doctrine class again in the next few weeks. I think I could handle it. We’ll have to see.

Thanks again to all of you that continue to pray for me. I know it has made all of the difference for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15

Back to work. Sigh!

I had a great week off from work last week. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I went to the Tetons and Jackson Hole with some friends last week. We all had a really good time. After my summer of chemo – it was a welcome relief from not doing much for a few months.

I had a friend give me a condo for the week at The Jackson Hole Racquet Club – now called The Aspens – and had some friends up to stay with me here and there over the week.

The first weekend, Shawna, Bruce and I had Emily, Clayton and Angie up for their Sub-4-Santa weekend that they bought in the auction last year. They left on Sunday. Michael and his roommate Nate came up and stayed with us Saturday night and stayed until Tuesday. Don T. and a friend of his from Brazil came up and stayed Monday night and again Thursday night. Betsy H. and her beau Rick came up Wednesday night and stayed until Saturday.

We did a little hiking on the first Saturday and I actually got to do the fun part of the Snake River on Monday. It was mucho cold and I was so glad I had a wet-suit on. I even have a little neoprene hood for my bald head – which, by the way, is getting some fuzz. The river was so fun. Thanks to Bruce for being my kayak partner. We didn’t dump out and go in the river – which was a good thing for me.

I think I got a bad sinus thing or something the later part of the week. I’m starting an anti-biotic today to see if it will help. My sinuses are out of control. I hate that. And, thanks to Darci Anderson who house and puppy sat for me while I was gone, along with Shawna after she got back. I really appreciate them doing that!

And, I had my first radiation treatment today. It really happens very quickly - about 5 minutes – but today they had to take some x-rays first. The hardest thing was keeping my arms above my head for about 30 minutes in a somewhat awkward position. It was amazing to me just how hard that was.

Things are moving right along with my treatments and I will be done with all of this nonsense before we all know it. If I stay on track and don’t miss any radiation appointments – I will be done on October 24th. I can’t wait.

It was a little frustrating last week when I can tell that my strength and stamina are just not up to par. Hiking was not easy – even though it wasn’t a very tough hike. I can’t wait until I feel like myself again. All in due time, I suspect.

What is the most important thing is that I am going to be around to kayak, hike, whatever for a very long time. I’m going to kick everyone’s butt next summer – just wait and see.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September 2

This just in.

I had a mammogram this morning and already got the results. I am good to go. They saw nothing of any concern.


I really wasn't all that nervous about this appointment. Since they found something in March and I had it done at LDS Hospital, they have you sit there and wait while the radiologist looks at your films. So, I sat there and waited. It took a little longer than I was comfortable with and then I got a little nervous. When the tech came back in to the room with the radiologist I thought - Oh no! - but he was all smiles and said that everything looked great. What a relief. I now have to have one every 6 months for a while.

I'm really looking forward to my vacation next week. I can hardly wait.


Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29

Well, I got my first tattoo - or should I say tattoos - today.

I went to my appointment with my Radiation Oncologist - Dr. Sause - and he set-up my radiation schedule. While I was there, they marked me with these little metal things and ran me through some sort of CT scanner. When I was done - they gave me little black pinhead sized tattoos on my chest and sides so they can line-up - with laser beams (every time I hear the word laser - I think of Mike Meyers as Dr. Evil in Austin Powers - fingers up in quotation marks - it makes me smile) and hit the right spot each treatment.

I will have 30 treatments in all. Basically - it will be 6 weeks - Monday through Friday - I will start Monday, September 15th and have my last treatment on Friday - October 24th. It only takes about 15 minutes for the treatment. I will start during my lunch breaks and change over to mornings

Dr. Sause assured me that this will not be a big deal and I should feel quite well - especially compared to chemo - while I am having the treatment. I certainly hope this is the case.

I know I am feeling better this past week since I have had several press checks and have been on my feet – standing around – all week at work and haven’t felt like I’m about to pass out. This is an improvement over the weeks during chemo. I really feel I am starting to get some of my strength and energy back.

Late last week and earlier this week – I was having some trouble sleeping. Dr. Morgan’s office has helped me and I am back to getting a good 8 hours each night – which I desperately need.

Work has been CRAZY busy. I was talking with Shawna about it and she said it’s a good thing that I’m not in the middle of chemo right now. A very true statement. I have had several HUGE projects going and printing all at the same time. I had 15 press checks – that means 15 trips to the printer – for one project - a coffee table book that we did for one of our clients. I got my first sample today. It turned out great – thank heavens. We’ve had several other projects going and this past month has been really busy for me. I’m taking a week off in a couple of weeks and going to the Tetons and Jackson. I need a break.

I will have a mammogram next week. Wish me luck. I don’t know that I will need it – but it can’t hurt.

I’m looking forward to the long weekend. No big plans – but after such a busy few weeks – I can use a little break.

And – drum roll please – I have fuzz on my head. It’s like baby hair fuzz. I should start seeing some real hair sprouts in the next couple of weeks. Yeah!!

Love you all! Thanks for still thinking of me and praying for me. I still need it.


Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22

Well, today is the first Friday I won’t have chemo based on my chemo schedule. Yeah!!!

I have been doing okay the last couple of weeks. I still don’t have very much energy and feel pretty pathetic when it comes to my strength. I am, however, doing well and looking forward to feeling better in the coming days.

I have an appointment with my Radiation Oncologist next Friday. I will have my schedule for radiation from that appointment. I will also be having a mammogram the first week of September. I feel like everything will be okay and I will be cured of this nasty cancer.

I have been amazed at how many people I have heard about having cancer in the last couple of months. I am sure that it is because of my situation, but so many people have loved ones or friends that are going through their own trials. In fact, our sweet friend Betsey Berge could sure use our prayers as her Mother has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

I feel so blessed to have been able to catch my cancer in the early stages and have done as well as I have through my treatment so far. So many suffer much more than I have and my heart really goes out to them.

My nose is still running and I keep feeling like I might be fighting a summer cold or sinus thing. I have no idea what is going on with that. I can’t wait until I can stop using box upon box of tissue. I literally dripped a couple of times on some printer proofs I was going over the other day right in front of my vendor and co-worker. It’s so annoying.

No hair, anywhere. But, I have been assured that over the next 4 – 6 weeks, I should see some results. It will be interesting to see the color and texture it will come back in as.

Thanks again to all of you for your love and support. You have made the last few months much easier for me to get through.


Monday, August 11, 2008

August 11

So, on Friday I had my last chemo treatment. YEAH!!!

Dr. Morgan was very nice and said I had done really well through my treatments and said it was great that I had been able to have all of my treatments on schedule. I took his office some cupcakes from Mrs. Backers to celebrate. I had no idea that Shawna had also made some of her famous chocolate-chip-pecan-oatmeal cookies to bring to my treatment as well. We left them on a major sugar high with a copy of Shawna’s recipe. They really are the best in the world. I tell her this all the time.

My hands and feet were feeling a little weird after my pervious treatment, so I actually got a reduced treatment – about 80% - for my last treatment. I shouldn’t have any permanent problems with this, but Dr. Morgan thought he would give me a reduced treatment to potentially help insure that. I have a meeting with my Radiation Oncologist – Dr. Sause – later this month and should probably start radiation some time mid-September. I’m so grateful that the chemo part of my treatment is behind me and I can start recuperating over the next weeks. I can see the end of the tunnel and I’m very grateful.

When I got home from my treatment on Friday, on my porch was the most gorgeous flower arrangement. Some of my friends went in together to send me a congratulations on my last treatment. They are so sweet!

A couple of weeks ago, Camille showed up with Betsey Berge and Shawna and brought over my finished quilt. I simply love it! I brought it to the office to let everyone at work see it. Shawna even made sure my dog Atticus was able to contribute a square. She is sneaky. Camille, thanks so much! What a huge undertaking. I appreciate you doing the quilt for me and will treasure it always.

I am doing okay, physically. Over the last few weeks, my energy level has started to get worse, but should hopefully start to pick-up now that I am done with my chemo. I haven’t been nearly as nauseated since switching pain meds and I haven’t had to barf in about 4 weeks. That has been really nice.

I didn’t feel well yesterday – Sunday is always my bad day – and Perry Clegg and James Martineau brought me the Sacrament to my house. That was very nice of them.

I have some really busy weeks ahead of me at work. I am in the middle of some huge projects. I would be traveling to Chicago for a press check if I was up to it next week, but my co-worker is going instead. It’s probably a good thing since I will need to be here for a slew of press checks on a coffee table book we are producing for one of our clients.

Thanks again to all of you for your prayers and concern. They really have been what has kept me going and kept my spirits up through this treatment. I bore my testimony in F&T Meeting on the 3rd and thanked those in my Ward for their prayers, blessings, everything. Thanks to EVERYONE for everything you have done for me during this trial. It has not been easy, and so many of you have made the burden lighter.

Love you all!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29

7 down – 1 to go! YEAH!!!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog. I could give a list of excuses, but that’s really all they would be.

I had my 2nd Taxol treatment on July 11th. My doctor and tech were able to give me a different kind of pain killer and – honestly – it made all of the difference in the world. My weeks between my last treatments – as far as the pain went – were so much better. Also, the medication didn’t make me sick. I didn’t hurl once between treatments 6 and 7 – a record.

I have still been going to work and have been able to take care of most of the things at the office. Some of my great co-workers have been going on press checks occasionally for me when I am really having a difficult time. Standing around is hard for me right now. I’m done after about a half hour. Everyone at work has been really great to me during this whole trial. I appreciate them all so much.

Last week, I was able to go to Marian Decker’s for a visit with Roz and friends. It was so good to see everyone. I just love Roz and I’m so happy to see that she is so happy. I also got to see Shellly, Karen, Susan Frost, several girls I haven’t seen in a while. And, Marian made the most amazing lemon zucchini cookies. They are honestly so good. And, Connie Kitchen’s rubbed my neck and back for me. Now, she has the magic touch. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise since she is a certified massage therapist.

I was also able to have some people over to grill and celebrate the 24th. It was so nice to socialize and mingle. One of the hardest things over the last few months has been feeling a little isolated and not being able to be as social as I usually am. It is really nice for me when I get to see some friends or someone just stops in to say Hi!

On the 24th – I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold or something. My sinuses and eyes have been watery and runny throughout my entire treatment – so it’s hard to say when it’s something other than just dealing with the effects of the chemo. Friday – I woke up with killer sinuses that were so sore and my throat was getting sore. I would have had my chemo treatment that day on my usual schedule, but my doctor’s office took the day off and gave their employees a long weekend and scheduled me to have chemo yesterday on the 28th. I called the answering service on Friday and got Dr. Morgan’s associate – Dr. Prystas – and she called in a Z-pac for me. I felt quite rotten all weekend.

Frankly, I was really bummed that I didn’t feel well this past weekend. I thought that since I had 2 weekends in a row with no treatment that I would be feeling up to actually going out and doing something. I was really hopeful I could go kayaking on the Weber with some friends on Saturday. As it was, I stayed home and rested pretty much all weekend. Sunday, I went to a different ward to hear Bart and Liz Warner speak – they are back from serving in Dallas, TX as Mr. and Mrs. Mission President. They seemed great. It was really good to see them. Afterward, I went home and rested some more.

On Sunday, I had a great visit and prayer with my visiting teachers – Catherine Nelson and Stephanie Skaggs. Later that night, Bishop Foster and Brother Knowlton – thanks to Catherine for asking them – came over and gave me another blessing. I have to admit that the Priesthood Blessings I have received during this trial have made such a difference for me. I have had a blessing when I was going through an especially difficult time or there seemed to be a hurdle to get over. They have meant so much to me and I know that I have received so many tangible blessings from these worthy Priesthood holders laying there hands on my head and calling on the powers of heaven on my behalf. The blessing Bishop Foster gave me on Sunday was simply awesome. I will never forget it.

Sunday night, we had a pretty decent storm come through that knocked down some branches in my back yard and blew over my arched bench. It took off the top of my little Japanese maple. It still looks sort of okay – but made me sad. Poor little tree.

I was a little worried that they wouldn’t give me my chemo treatment yesterday. I wasn’t sure how sick you could be and have them give it to you. I felt somewhat better, but was still a little iffy when I went to my appointment. They checked my blood count and told me I should be good to go. So, I had my treatment. Yeah!!!! It’s interesting that you can actually really hope they will give you a treatment. I just SO want to stay on schedule.

I’m feeling pretty well today and am at work. I’m even getting caught-up on some filing I have been putting off for a month or so. I usually have pretty good energy the day after my treatments from the steroids they give me in the drip. Tomorrow – I will start feeling like pooh on toast again for a few days.

I’m down to about 3 eyelashes on each eye and am learning some great techniques to make me look like I have some eyebrows. I actually tried some fake eyelashes the other day and I just felt that I looked like a huge tranny. I probably won’t go that route.

Liz Hale still keeps bringing me meals and treats on a weekly basis. Thanks so much to her. What a doll. Also, Donna Hill brought me some great eats a couple of weeks ago and Marian, Connie and Karen Hunter are bringing me some this week. You’re all so sweet. Thanks a bunch. I haven’t had a problem feeding myself, but it is nice to not have to worry about it. I had to cancel on my friend Scott because of a work thing. Hopefully, we will make it another time.

Shawna is still checking on me daily and I can highly recommend her as the best lawn boy that is a girl that you could possibly have. She does so much for me. And, Michael and Bruce are on water heater patrol this week. What would I do without you guys?

Thanks so much to all of you that have offered and keep offering to help me. It’s hard to know what to ask for and, frankly, it’s just hard to ask, period. But thanks for the offers. And, know that it still goes that your prayers on my behalf are the thing I need the most.

I know I have mentioned this before, but it is hard on the really bad days to feel that I am being blessed and remember all of the blessings I have received. Luckily, there are not too many of those days and, for the most part, I have felt so blessed and comforted during this trial. I am so grateful that things have gone as well as they have. I know there is still some road ahead – it may be quite a while before I am feeling up to par – but there haven’t been as many bumps as there could have been and I have been truly blessed on the journey so far. I will have another mammogram after I fnish chemo and will start radiation treatments in the middle of September sometime. They will last about 4 or 5 weeks - every day Monday through Friday. After that, I will be on some type of hormone therapy and will be in maitenance mode.

My friends in the know are telling me I should have some hair for Christmas. What a nice gift that will be.

I know that I will continue to be blessed and Bishop Foster, along with others, has assured me that after this trial of my faith – other blessings will be in store. I’m hoping for that. In fact, I’m counting on that.

Thanks again to everyone for their love and concern. I wouldn’t get through this without you.

And – drum roll please – I have my last chemo treatment a week from this Friday. I can’t believe it! The Chinese picked 08/08/08 to begin the Olympics because it is supposed to be a very lucky day. I can tell you, it will certainly be a very lucky – or as the Chinese would say – a vely rucky day for me.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 9

This week has been better so far. The pain is all but gone. I still feel a little achy in some of my joints, but overall – I feel much improved from last week. It’s great how you get feeling just good enough before they blast you with another round of chemo. After this Friday’s treatment – I will only have 2 treatments left. I can’t begin to say how happy I am about that. August 8th – a day that will reign as one of the best ever days of all time.

My eyebrows and eyelashes are barely hanging in there. I told Shawna that I’m starting to have to sort of pencil in my brows and I’m starting to look like the leader of a Ladies Bowling Team. She told me that I should go bowling to see if this will help my score. I would, but don’t have the energy for that sort of nonsense right now. Even on the best of days – bowling is nonsense.

My energy level has been very low since this last treatment. I am always so tired. Honestly, it is a big day for me if I have enough energy after work to go to Albertsons on a quick errand. I am usually in bed between 9 and 10 p.m. This is the first time since grade school that I have gone to bed so early. But, sleeping is just the best. I heart sleeping.

I played Let’s Make a Deal with Heavenly Father and told him that I really want to go to the temple this week and do Initiatory. I told that him I want to go but need to feel good enough to go. I think I’m actually going to make it tonight. I’m so glad.

I had another great blessing this past Sunday from Brother Knowlton after Sacrament Meeting. The blessings are really helping me get through this trial. Last week was very difficult and having another blessing has helped a lot.

I didn’t do too much over the 4th of July weekend, but was able to take Atticus to the park across from Hogle Zoo so he could do a little swimming and run around like a spaz on Friday. He LOVES the water. Saturday, I spent some time working in my yard. As I was trimming my rose bushes – an analogy came to my mind.

When it comes to gardening – sometimes you have to really cut and whack at something to make it grow to be more beautiful. I think that is how it us with us and our trials. God gives us trials to help us grow and become more beautiful – more like Him – more like Christ. I hope that is what is happening for me in the middle of this trial. I really want to grow and learn all I can from this and hope I don’t get in the way of my own education.

Thanks – again and again – to all of you for your love, concern and prayers.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3

This has been a hard week so far.

The pain from my Taxol treatment started kicking in Sunday night and was working full force Monday and Tuesday. It’s hard to explain what it feels like. It’s flu-achy times ten. The hardest thing has not been sleeping all that well no matter what I take to help.

Tuesday was the worst day I have had so far since this whole thing started. Not only is the chemo messing with different aspects of my body, but it is making a royal mess of my hormones. I felt so bad – hadn’t had much sleep – and cried like a baby a few times. There were also some work situations that made it a difficult day. I called my doctor’s office to see what the deal was with the pain and if it was really going to be this bad. The nurse/tech told me that I wasn’t taking enough pain meds and I needed to take more. I left a little early that day and took more once I got home. Only problem was – within a couple of hours – they totally made me barf. And, I mean barf.

I sat there wondering what the heck I was supposed to do. I need the pain meds for the pain – but can’t take them because they make me barf. I waited until right before I went to bed and took a pill with my Lorezpam. Luckily – I didn’t barf and was able to get a decent night’s sleep.

Gratefully the pain has not been as bad the last couple of days. It’s more to the flu-achy part. I’m sticking to Advil and not taking any more Loritab at the moment. And, thank heavens for Lorazepam. It has saved my life during these chemo treatments. I don’t know that I could get any sleep without it.

There are days during these treatments that I feel like a total wuss and want to call my doctor and tell him thanks, but no thanks to any more treatments. It is a good thing that by the time I have my next treatments, I am usually feeling much better. You couldn’t drag me there in the initial days after my treatments.

I got an email from Camille Thorpe yesterday and she and her cute Mom were quilting on my quilt last night and asked if I wanted to stop by. Even though I didn’t feel great, I really wanted to stop by for a visit and see it. It’s so amazing. It totally made me cry. It is so sweet of her to put this together for me and so sweet of everyone that made a square for me. This will be something I will treasure until my dying breath.

There are squares from friends from work, church, etc. There are still some blank squares if anyone still wants to really sign one. It is such a lovely gesture and I am so excited to have it.

Camille mentioned to me how great it is that I haven’t been missing work. I told her it’s not that I’m tough or this is easier for me than it is for others. I really think it’s that I’m stubborn and just don’t want to sit around my house any more than I already do. Most nights when I get home from work, I sit around my house and recoup. It gets very old very fast and I would rather be at work if I possibly can.

I knew when the treatments started that this summer would be a bit of a wash and that it really would be a summer of enduring more than a summer of getting to do the stuff I usually get to do. It’s hard some days watching the world do their usual thing and go about their lives and not being able to do the things I usually do. I keep reminding myself that it really isn’t much longer and this will indeed be over sooner than later. I really want to get out there and do some stuff, but I just don’t feel up to it.

As I said before, no matter how bad things get, the comfort always comes. I told Shawna the other night that it’s hard to understand why things need to be as hard as they are sometimes. We both agreed that this is where your faith comes in. Whether you are praying for yourself or praying for someone you love, it hard to not see the immediate miracle or understand why the burden isn’t lifted. If you can exercise your faith, in time, you really will see the miracles and the burdens lifted – maybe not the way you have been asking for it – but in other, even greater ways.

A week does not go by where I don't hear from someone about how they are praying for me, putting my name on temple prayers rolls, etc. Sweet President Sam on Sunday told me he and Liz are praying for me. I said, I know. I do know. I know because I can feel the prayers. I can feel them working for me. On the really bad days, all I have to do is think about all of your prayers and fasting for me and I feel better just thinking about it.

Thanks again to everyone for their love, concern and prayers on my behalf. I know that my treatments are working and I am going to be cured of the cancer. I know I am going to get on the other side of this and be able to continue to live a happy, healthy life. Thanks for helping me know this.


Monday, June 30, 2008

June 30

First, I want to thank everyone who fasted and prayed for me last week. Again, I can’t begin to tell you what it means to me. I know that your prayers are what are sustaining me through this trial.

My treatment on Friday went well. I didn’t have any sort of allergic reaction. Sweet Betsy Hintze came to my appointment with me and we had a really nice visit. They administer the Taxol much slower than my previous treatments. We were there for over four hours. I won’t have to be pre-treated with steroids for my next treatments since I did okay with the first one.

I felt quite well Friday night – much better than the night after my other treatments. I did have a problem sleeping though. I think the steroids they had me take may have counteracted the other drugs that should have helped me sleep. I didn’t get much sleep Friday night. I felt pretty good on Saturday – did some yard work and ran a couple of errands – but felt really tired and tried to rest and nap on Saturday afternoon.

My body refuses to nap during daylight hours. I don’t know why. I have never been able to take a nap. It sucks that this is the case. I could have really used one on Saturday.

I got some decent sleep Saturday night but still felt really tired on Sunday. I did, however, want to go to church. Bishop Foster had put together a great meeting and I knew I wanted to be there for it. I also wanted to make sure I was there to hear President Clark and President Aldredge speak in Sacrament Meeting. I felt a little out of it but managed to make it through the meetings. I was glad I could attend. The meetings were so good and I got a lot out of them.

I went home and took it easy last night. The tech told me that on day 3 or 4, I could start having some leg pain and feel a like I have the flu. Well, last night, I had leg pain and felt like I had the flu. I didn’t sleep very well. I hate it when I can’t sleep – especially right now. I need all of the sleep I can get. I called my doctors office this morning and they told me the leg pain can last 3 – 4 days or so. They are going to get me some meds to help with the pain and help me sleep.

I’m tired today, but feeling okay. I have not had really any nausea with the new treatment. YEAH!!! So, the trade-off is leg pain, which is kind of bad, but I’m sure I’ll survive. There are other symptoms that can come as well, but I’m hopeful they will be minor.

So, only three more chemo treatments to go and I will be done with the stuff. So far, I am staying healthy and well enough to keep having my treatments. I’m still on schedule to have my last chemo treatment on August 8th. That seemed a long ways out a couple of months ago. I can’t believe how fast the time is flying during these treatments. Don’t get me wrong, it is very hard, but they will be over soon. I can’t wait.

I have opted to not teach Gospel Doctrine during the rest of my treatments and until I am feeling really well again. It is something I really love to do, but was becoming a little overwhelming to me. Cinda Morgan is going to substitute teach for me until I am ready to come back. I’m so grateful to her. It has helped to get that off my plate for the time being.

I keep feeling very blessed during this trial. There are days and nights when it can get petty bad, but the comfort always comes. I do sometimes wonder just what it is that I’m supposed to learn from this trial. I just hope that whatever it is, I am learning all I can and keeping the hope and faith.

Again, there was a woman who was getting chemo at the same time that I was last Friday. She just found out a couple of weeks ago that she has stomach cancer and is terminal with about a year to live. Unreal. There are so many people that suffer so much. It certainly makes me grateful for my prognosis and treatment.

Thanks to all of you that have called or emailed and show me your constant concern. I sometimes don’t answer my phone when I’m trying to rest, but the calls are appreciated none-the-less. I have actually been able to be a little social the last couple of weeks and went to a get together at Angie Vrien’s for a little while and even made book club last week. It’s hard to get out sometimes, but so nice to see some people and have some interaction. I hope I can continue to do that over the last weeks of my treatment.

Thanks again to all of you for your love and concern. I don’t know what I would do without you.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17

So, I am pretty much still living in chemo-maintenance-mode. I am doing pretty well, considering. It is certainly up and down, but I am getting through it and haven’t had too many really bad days. I’m starting to get a little bored sitting around so much. I’m usually more active and have a lot more going on. All in due time, I’m sure.

I had my last of the first 4 chemo treatments this past Friday. I am half way through my chemo treatments. Yeah! The next 4 treatments are a different kind of chemo and should be easier to handle. I’m still getting very nauseous and my hurling reflex seems to be getting more refined with each treatment. I may never be pregnant – but I can certainly sympathize with people who have morning sickness. Honestly, I am so amazed at how the simplest smell can send me to bend over the sink. Another interesting side effect that was not expected was that my eyes and nose will not quit running. My doctor told me there really isn’t anything to do about it. I have never used tissues much. I have gone through boxes of them the last few weeks.

The next treatments also have some side effects that are, honestly, quite worrisome, but I am hopeful and prayerful that I won’t experience these. My doctor and nurse tell me that 95% of the people they treat say that these treatments are easier to handle. Let’s all pray for that.

Chemo sucks! It really does. I do feel, however, that I’m handling the treatments as well as can be expected. I have been able to work – I haven’t missed a day yet, knock on wood – and am still able to take care of the things that are the most important to me. There was a sweet woman getting chemo with me during my last appointment. This is her third bout with cancer. She has cervical cancer that has gone to her esophagus. She can’t eat at all and was so frail. It made me realize that even though I am very uncomfortable at times and going through these difficult treatments, there is always someone that is struggling more than I am. It definitely brought some perspective. My heart went out to her.

I had a stupid weekend a couple of weeks ago. I prepared my Gospel Doctrine lesson on Saturday and went over it a few times on Sunday morning to make sure I was prepared. I drove to the church and the parking lot was empty. Duh!!! It was Stake Conference that weekend. I was so mad at myself for not figuring that out so I could have attended my meetings. The Sunday after treatments is pretty harsh and I haven’t felt well enough to attend church. This past Sunday, sweet Bishop Foster and Brother Knowlton came and administered the Sacrament to me. It was so nice of them and meant a lot to me. I hate missing my church meetings right now. I really need them and am glad when I can make them. I miss seeing everyone. I feel a little out of it and can’t wait until I can come every week again.

I had another great Priesthood Blessing from Rod Snow last week. The Priesthood Blessings I have received have helped me so much and have done so much for me. He said in my blessing that I can feel free to let Heavenly Father know when I’m not happy about how things are going – but to let him know that regardless, I love Him and trust Him – and more blessings will come. What great insight!

I am still feeling the love from everyone. So many have shown such great concern for me. I can’t tell you what it means to me. There isn’t a week that goes by that Liz Hale doesn’t put something on my doorstep. Shawna and Bruce have been making sure I don’t get a chance to even consider mowing my own lawn. Shawna checks in on me daily and has been going to my chemo appointments with me. So many people have offered to come with me. She insists that she come. How I can I refuse? So many have offered to help with anything I possibly need or do whatever they can for me. I haven’t been able to take most of you up on your offers, but please know that it means a lot to me that the help is there if I need it.

When people ask me what they can do for me, I tell them that the most important thing they can do for me is keep me in their prayers. I know that the prayers of all of my friends and family are sustaining me through this trial. It is really the most meaningful thing anyone can do for me.

Everyone at work has been very supportive as well. Along with all my girl homeys that have been wearing the ribbon pins for me on my treatment days, last Friday everyone at work wore a hat or head covering to show their support. And, today as I was sitting at my desk, all of the people from our PR Department brought me a bowl of pink and lavender M&Ms that have “4 Lovely Cynthia” and “Love and Prayers” printed on them. They must have ordered them for me. So sweet!

I feel badly that I can’t commit to or attend many social activities at the moment. Even though I have been able to work and feel pretty well, I am usually pretty beat by the time I get home from work and have been going to bed very early, at least early for me. I’m grateful that I still keep getting some offers and hope to be able to make at least a few social events over the next couple of months.

My yard has finally burst into bloom. It is so pretty right now. I wish I felt well enough to have a big party so everyone could see it. It cheers me up and I spent an hour just sitting in my backyard last Saturday – looking at all of the beautiful colors and feeling grateful that God created flowers. I LOVE flowers. How could you not?

I’m still doing okay with the baldness. I even forgot to wear something on my head as I walked my dog to the park the other day. Shawna thought – Wow! She must really be getting comfortable with her baldness. I really just forgot – but didn’t really care. I still have eyelashes and eyebrows. They may still go – but are hanging in there for the time being.

There are so many silver linings to this trial. I have been able to reconnect with people I haven spoken to or had much contact in a while. I had a long conversation with my friend Trish the other day who had just heard about my situation. I hadn’t spoken to her in a few years. It was so great to catch-up with her – as it has been with others that I’ve had contact from.

Other silver linings are that I don’t have to shave my pits or legs, getting ready time has been cut by about 5 – 10 minutes with no hair to worry about, I’ve lost a few pounds, and I keep my house cleaner than usual in case someone stops in to see how I am, plus many others.

There are so many blessings in the middle of the trials. I’m so grateful to everyone for their prayers and concern.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June 3

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. This is – most likely – because I really haven’t had anything too interesting to say.

The past few weeks have been me – trying to adjust to the chemo – and feeling rather nauseated quite a lot of the time. Being bald hasn’t been so bad. I honestly have felt bad enough in other ways that it is the last thing I care about right now.

My doctor and his tech haven’t been able to get something for me that seems to work for the nausea. I am really bad the night of my Friday treatments – okay on Saturday, I think because of the medication they give me with the chemo – and not very good on Sunday or that first week after.

This past week – they tried a different medication that they were hopeful would really help me. They went as far as to call it “The Cadillac” of anti-nausea mediation. It didn’t work. I joked that it was more like a "Yugo". In fact, this past treatment was the worst so far. I felt horrible on Sunday and really bad yesterday to the point I left a little early from work and went home and slept the rest of the day and night. It’s amazing how bad you can feel and how horrible even the simplest thing can smell. It’s really weird.

The second week after chemo has been better so far. I’ve been able to be a little social and even had a few people for dinner at my house last week for Michael Bothe’s birthday. I am being blessed – even though I feel sick some of the time – to be able to work and take care of everything I need to take care of. I have been able to keep teaching my Gospel Doctrine class and go to work every day. I’ve had some killer allergies as well that have added to the fun – but all in all – I am doing all right. I only have one more of the more difficult treatments to go through and then start on the next round which I am told will not be so bad – FINGERS CROSSED!

Thanks again to all of you for your concern and prayers. When I’m feeling at my worst – it’s sometimes hard to remember just how blessed I am. Perspective always comes, however, and I am so grateful for everyone and everything they have done and are doing for me.

My house and yard are in great shape. With our late Spring and Summer – the buds are just about to start opening. I can’t wait for all of the blooms. I’ll post some pictures on my next blog.


Monday, May 19, 2008

May 19

On Friday – May 16th – I had my second chemo treatment. They tested my blood counts and everything was good to go. Catherine Nelson played chemo-buddy to me this time and took me to lunch afterward. I think I may not be going to lunch after chemo anymore. I got so sick Friday night – I thought I wanted to die. The anti-nausea medication they give you with the chemo is supposed to last three days. It may last three days – but it certainly doesn’t seem to help much that first night.

Once again – Saturday – I felt pretty good. I felt so good, in fact, that I went to Georges – aka The Roundhouse – for breakfast with Michael and Bruce. Bruce mowed my lawn and then we all went to Home Depot to get what was needed to fix my sprinkler system. Michael got that fixed for me and then I spent the rest of the day running some errands and doing some yard and house work. It’s amazing that I can feel like I want to die on Friday and can feel so good on Saturday. It’s also amazing that I can feel so good on Saturday and feel so rotten the next day – Sunday. I spent most of the day in bed – trying not to hurl. I hope I can get this worked out and get some medication that will help me through the worst times.

On Saturday, I realized that I could not wait any longer and needed to have my head shaved as soon as possible. The pile of hair on my pillow was enough to make me want to hurl – let alone the chemo. Bruce and Shawna came over Sunday night – as did Michael to fix my swamp cooler. I didn’t realize it would be so hot on Sunday and he offered earlier in the day to fix it. By the time I realized I needed it – it was an ox in the mire situation - and he came over and made it like brand new. What would I do without him? He fixes everything around my house for me! Thank you Michael!

So – the shaving began. I think I would have felt worse and maybe cried if I hadn’t felt so nauseated all day long. Bruce did the honors and was very gentle. No knicks to speak of. After he was done shaving me – I got to start shaving him. He ended up with a really great mohawk that he said he is going to keep for a few days.

There are so many things about treating breast cancer that can make you feel like less of girl, or woman. I am so blessed that things had gone the way they have and know I will be able to get through all of this – nausea, hairlessness, whatever it is, and get well. I am still being blessed all the time – am still being able to work and take care of the things I really need to.

I forgot to mention that at my scarf party the other night – sweet Betsy Hintze brought ribbon pins for everyone to wear on my chemo days. I am so grateful to all of my friends, family, everyone that is supporting me through this difficult time. I couldn’t make it without you.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 15

Just in Time!

I woke up yesterday morning and washed my hair. As I was styling it - I noticed that I had a bunch of hair on my hands. It has begun. I am starting to lose my hair!

So, my Scarf Shower last night was very timely.

Liz Hale and Betsy Hintze put it together and invited some of my beautiful girlfriends that all came bearing gifts of headware and helpful items to help me try to feel somewhat pretty and like a girl over the coming months.

The shower was at Liz Hale's condo meeting room and it was - of course - decorated beautifully. There were lots of great treats and goodies - a wonderful spread.

Some of the girls wore pink. You know me. I am going to have to learn to love pink like everyone else now that I have this breast cancer thing. Marian Decker told me that wearing pink once she lost her hair made her feel better. I'm sure that will be the case with me as well.

I received so many great scarves and some really cute caps and hats. There were also a couple of things - just for fun - from Betsy - a lovely blue curly wig and a tie-dye scarf with long blond braids attached. They are too funny.

Alex Bennion sent a beautiful cap she made and Don Taylor made sure I got a tye-die Gilligan hat before he left for Italy. I got some great scarves from American Apparel that will work really well, some really good hand sanitizer and even some eyelashes if mine decide to fall out.

Natalie Mano ordered some stamps for me online with a picture of me and my dog Atticus and gave me some note cards and thank you cards. I will really need these as I am going to have to send many thank you's for all of the many gifts and services I am collecting.

At the end of the evening, we all posed for a group picture with everyone wearing one of the scarves I was given. What a great group of girls!

I know that dealing with breast cancer and the treatment is no fun. I have to say, though, that I am feeling rather spoiled at the moment.

Everyone could not be more kind and gracious to me. I feel so special and loved. I hope you all can feel this way - but not have to go through breast cancer to feel it - just like Natalie's Mother said.

Thanks so much to all of you!


Monday, May 12, 2008

May 12

The Race for the Cure!

Saturday, May 10th, was the annual Race for the Cure. Both my work had a team with my name on their back and sweet Natalie Mano put together a team - "Cynful Celebration!" - with my name on their back.

Team "Cynful Celebration" met at the Gateway at 8:00 a.m. on the top of the stairs by Barnes and Noble. It was very emotional for me to walk over and see my friends - my team - waiting for me. We took some pictures and then started our walk/run.

I didn't know I would be walking the entire 5K - but I felt good enough so I thought, what the heck? Some in our group ran but most of us walked. We were in the middle of a sea of people - there were 17,000 people that registered this year.

It is overwhelming to look around you and see the names on the backs of so many people that were there "Celebrating" someone or "In Memory" of someone. So many people have been affected by breast cancer. I hope I am in the "Celebrating" category for many years to come.

There were several people with VERY interesting shirts and outfits. This race is always a great event. I have done it in the past. I never imagined my name would be on anyone's back one day.

After the race - I met my co-workers at my office. Cute Marcia Winn put together a brunch and we visited with each other for a while. They all had signs on their backs that Ryan Anderson had made. He made one for me that said "I race in celebration of ME!"

Then, I went to Natalie and Betsy's - and had some more brunch. The ham, egg and cheese croissants were so delicious. We sat around the table and had some laughs - Shawna showed us her pretty feet - and then I went home and had a busy Saturday washing my car, yard work, cleaning my house, and preparing my Gospel Doctrine lesson.

I over-did it a bit on Saturday and felt a little tired on Sunday. I went to church - taught my lesson - and took it easy the rest of the day.

I have been feeling better regarding the nausea the last few days. I stopped taking my vitamins in the morning and it seems to have helped. They were killing my stomach. I'm going to have to figure out another way to get my daily allotment.

I have my next chemo treatment this Friday and some of my girlfriends are having a "Scarf Shower" for me this Wednesday. Since I have never been married or had a child, I have never been to a shower for me. This is going to be fun!

I'm still doing quite well and feeling pretty good. It's still just day by day, hour by hour. I will have hair for another week or two.

Thanks to my co-workers - especially Marcia - for putting together the work team that did the race for me. And special thanks to Natalie Mano for putting the "Cynful Celebration" team together and the delicious brunch with Betsy. You are so sweet and it meant so much to me!

I don't have any family that lives within a 100 miles of me. I talk to my Dad every day and he is so appreciative of my friends and everyone that has been helping me and doing so much for me. Every time I talk to him, he mentions how blessed I am to have such great friends. It is so true!


Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 8

So - Chemo, Week 1.

I told Shawna the other day that dealing with the affects of chemo are like dealing with a bad boyfriend - completely unpredictable - you never know what it will be like day to day - minute to minute - good times and bad times.

All in all, I haven't done too badly. So far, the nausea is the worst thing. I can't quite predict when or if I'm going to have it. Last Friday night after my first treatment, I felt horrible. I didn't want to sit-up, I didn't want to lie down. Poor Shawna kept asking me what would help and I had no idea what to tell her. I finally took some anti-nausea drugs and went to bed. Saturday, I felt GREAT! Good energy, not to barfy. I worked in my yard - Shawna helped me get out all of my yard furniture - and I ran errands. I felt a little tired and stayed home that night and took it easy.

Sunday - I didn't feel so good. I didn't feel so good on Monday either - but I worked and have worked all week. Tuesday - I felt okay earlier and not so okay later. Yesterday, I felt great all day. I thought I felt great today until I hurled after taking my vitamins this morning. I think when they said you're not supposed to have spicy food - they meant it. The Mexican I ate last night was not a good idea.

Honestly, it's not too bad so far. I just sometimes can't see food or smell food without feeling yucky, but feel like I need to eat or I will feel even worse. My doctor and tech told me that there is plenty more they can do to help me with the nausea. I will let them know at my next appointment and see where we go from there.

I have been giving myself the shots. Piece of cake. I ran in to Diane Higginson at Home Depot on Saturday. She came over Sunday morning and helped me give myself my first shot. The shot part is the easiest part so far. Tammy Bleak was also ready and willing to come over and help. Thanks to you both!

I met with my surgeon on Wednesday and she says I am healing really well from my surgery. I can start working my arm more to relieve the pain and tightness from my surgery under my arm.

I am looking forward to The Race for the Cure this Saturday and seeing everyone. I am so grateful to everyone that has entered - both my work people and my friends - and know it will be an emotional day for me.

I continue to feel very blessed through this trial. I have had people comment that things seem to have gone very well for me so far. I know that this has nothing to do with me, but has everything to do with your prayers, love and concern for me. I wish I had a dollar - let's make that $100 so I could retire early - for every time someone has told me that they are praying for me, fasting for me, putting my name on prayer rolls, or sending good thoughts my way. You all lift and sustain me and I know that every good thing I am experiencing is because of your love and the love of my Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ.

I am learning a lot during this experience and learning to really appreciate the blessing of having such wonderful family and friends. I’m sure I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I just have to keep letting you all know how much you mean to me.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 2

Good News!

First - I have been preparing to start my chemo treatments the last couple nights with trips to Costco for a couple of cases of water - I need to drink a lot of it - and some other things I thought I might want or need. I hadn't heard anything on Wednesday about any of my tests and it was starting to concern me that night. I prayed - a lot - and went to bed.

Yesterday, I didn't think about the tests at all and went about my day at work preparing for my treatment and getting things in order in case I can't be at the office for a few days. I even Clorox Wiped my office - desk, keyboard, phone, etc. just to be on the safe side - before I left the office last night. I ran a couple of errands and went home. At about 9:00 or so, I realized that I had some messages on my home phone - I don't check it as much as my cell - and I had a message left at 10:00 a.m. from Dr. Morgan's office. All of my tests came back okay. They didn't see anything of concern. Hurray!

Shawna brought me in to work really early today and I put in a good few hours and then picked me up and took me to my chemo appointment. Dr. Morgan confirmed everything with my tests. My heart, lungs, liver, bones, etc. - everything looks good. This would be great news even if I didn't have cancer. Dr. Morgan said that he knew he made me nervous by requesting so many test, but felt he wanted to be confident that there weren't any other issues. We now have the BIG picture and can move forward with my treatment. I am officially classified at Stage IIA cancer which is very survivable.

I had my first chemo treatment. Honestly, it wasn't too bad so far. I chewed ice chips - per Marian Decker - and I've been taking Lysine - thanks to Darci Anderson. The tech said that taking 2 - 3 tablets of Lysine a day was the best thing to take to prevent mouth sores, which is one of the possible side effects. They gave me an anti-nausea medication with the chemo and I don't feel like barfing yet. I feel a little drugged up but that's about it. Shawna took me to have my prescriptions filled - more anti-nausea meds - and then we went to lunch at Trolley Square.

I felt so good I had her bring me back to the office. I figure, why not get my hours in when I feel fine. There may be plenty of days in the coming weeks when I won't.

I love Dr. Morgan and his staff. They are all just the nicest people. I felt like I had been a patient for years when I walked in today. They all remembered me from my one single visit and commented on my hair. They administer the chemo in a private room with a DVD player and all. It only took about an hour and a half.

I got a bag of needles - that sounds like something a drug dealer would say - and I have to start giving myself shots on Sunday. Help! Anyone? I'm sure I will get it figured out. The shots will provide my body with a drug that will help stimulate my white blood cell count so I can have another treatment in two weeks and will help prevent me from getting sick.

The nausea can kick in big time in the next couple of days. And, the tech told me that I might feel like total crap on Sunday and Monday. She said it was very important to move and walk. She said that walking has been shown to help people signigicatly during chemo with their fatigue. She also said my hormonal balance could be completely thrown off by the chemo. I may become even more weepy. Please, no!

This is going to be one day at a time. I will just have to see how I'm doing and deal the best way I can.

Wednesday night, Jeff Stowell brough me a LIVESTRONG band that he had in his pocket when he did the Logan to Jackson Hole bike ride. He figured that some of his energy and strength should be in that band and that it would hopefully help me. I wore it today and will wear it to all of my chemo treatments. Thanks Jeff!

I KNOW that I am being greatly blessed during this trial. I wish I could talk to every single one of you and thank you for your prayers and concern in person. It's hard to answer all of the emails, but know that I do love you all so much and am so grateful to you. I see compensatory blessings daily as I deal with the not-so-pleasant stuff. I have said it before - but I have never felt so loved and blessed. God answers prayers! I can attest to this.

Please know that as you are praying for me, I am praying for you - to have every needful thing and the desires of your hearts.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 30

Much has happened so far this week.

I was able to get with my Doctor's office on Monday and find out what I needed to do about getting the CT scan done. They put me on Predisone - 2 hits on Monday and 1 hit Tuesday morning - to pre-treat me and I was able to have the CT scan - contrast dye and all - yesterday around noon. I didn't swell up and look like Quasimodo this time - in contrast to what happened to me years ago - to the disappointment of some of my friends who were hoping to see what that looked like.

When I picked up the prescription for the Prednisone - the Pharmacist asked me if my Doctor had mentioned that I might have a hard time sleeping when I take the pills. I said he hadn't said anything. He suggested I take something - anything - to help. I did take something. It didn't help. I hardly slept that night. I felt like I had some great energy for a day there - even with no sleep. That was a bonus.

I don't have any results from my tests back - but I did have a call from Dr. Morgans office and I am scheduled to start my chemo on Friday - May 2nd - at 10:30 a.m. Yikes! I suppose I will get the test results then.

And - I had all of my hair cut off earlier today. Jeff Martin at Dexterity Salon - he used to cut my hair years ago when it was short - got me in after calling him only yesterday and cut my hair off. We had three decent size braids that I am donating to Locks of Love - an organization that makes wigs for children that have lost their hair due to medical treatments from donated hair. I will post pictures on my blog site. The salon will send in the hair for me - everything. Jeff was so great. He has offered to help me once I start getting hair again to get it into some sort of reasonable cut. He is awesome and it was good to see him after so many years.

I also saw my sweet friend Jennifer at Cafe Niche that's connected to the salon. She is my best friend from college. It was so good to see her and cute Amanda - her sister. The food there is awesome. You all should give it a try.

My hair is SHORT! It's really cute - but it's SHORT! It will, however, only be 2 - 3 weeks before I lose it all anyway according to the statistics. And, I got to donate a lot of hair to a good cause.

Marian Decker brought over several scarves for me this weekend and showed me some techniques. She is such a great ally to have right now. I have ordered some scarves and cotton beanies and am going to a place in Trolley Square later to look at American Apparel - they apparently have some really cute scarves to tie in different ways and some girls at Dexterity and my friend Jennifer recommended them.

So, that's the latest. I am hoping for the very best in regards to my chemo treatments. I really hope I won't get too sick and don't feel too knocked-out energy-wise. I am praying for this and really hope I can work and take care of everything I need to over the coming months. I may not be very social - I need to stay away from crowds and sick people. I will just have to do what is best for me to stay healthy and keep on track with my treatments.

So many of you have offered to help me and want to know what you can do. I really don't know yet - but I promise I will let you know if there is anything you can do for me. Honestly, your prayers and concern mean the most to me.

As everyone was coming in to my Gospel Doctrine Class on Sunday - I got very emotional. I had this overwhelming feeling that many of the people coming through the door had been praying for me. It was unreal. I have been having so many experiences like this. I am so grateful to all of you.


Friday, April 25, 2008

April 25

Today was a sort of stupid day.

I went to the hospital for more tests today - a bone scan and a CT scan. I went in and they gave me the contrast dye for the bone scan - which you have to wait three hours after they give it to you before they do the scan - then I was supposed to have the CT scan. I have told the entire medical world that I had a horrible allergic reaction to Iodine contrast dye during a CT scan many years ago. The tech at the time told me the reaction was bad enough that I should wear an emergency medical bracelet - which I don't - shame on me. I am yet to have an appointment with anyone that doesn't ask me what I"m allergic to and I always mention this.

So, I got to the CT scan desk and they handed me a bottle of Gatorade looking stuff to drink. I had - with me - papers that mention the allergic reaction thing. Just to be sure, I told the tech that I was allergic to Iodine contrast dye and wanted to make sure the stuff they were giving me was okay for me to take. She made a phone call to someone who told her that I had to drink a different kind of stuff - more like yogurt smoothie-type-stuff that was just gross. I drank all of it - 2 big bottles in 1.5 hours - after which someone comes and tells me that they are sorry, but they can't do the test on me because of my previous allergic reaction and that the newer dyes they use still contain Iodine and they usually pre-treat cases like mine with a steroid to avoid any problems and they are REALLY sorry and I will have to make other plans next week for the test once they can get in contact with my doctor.

This was something I could have been told 1.5 hours earlier - thank you! If I don't have cancer all over my body - I will shortly. I have been loaded with all kinds of chemicals and radioactive material this week.

So, I only had the bone scan - and some additional x-rays they ordered after the bone scan - which is not fun when they make you get more tests based on the test they just did. That has not worked out for me well so far.

Oh well, I guess I will find out next week what the next steps are on the CT scan. My doctor is out of the office today and they won't be able to get a new order from him until early next week. I'm still planning on my first chemo treatment a week from today - but we'll see if that changes based on not being able to have this test today.

I know this is not the biggest deal. It's just a little frustrating when you have so much going on and you're missing so much work already to waste time and energy like I did today. I never in a million years thought I would say this - but I am actually looking forward to starting the chemo part of this and kicking my cancers butt. I want the tests part to be over - at least for now. Remind me that I actually said this in a few weeks. I'm sure I will deny it.

Aside from today's snafu, I am still doing very well. I am healing from the surgery very well. I had a lovely experience with a Patron at the Salt Lake Temple last night doing Initiatory. I am amazed at how many choice moments I keep having since beginning this trial. I have received so many emails, calls, notes, everything. It's still so overwhelming. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Thanks again to all of you. I won't quit saying that. All of your prayers and love are keeping me sane - at least my version of sane - hopeful and positive.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 23

You know, this is truly a roller-coaster.

I had my first meeting with my Medical Oncologist today. His name is Dr. Ross Morgan. I thought he was great and I really liked him. After going through my case, he decided that I should have some more tests to insure that the cancer has not spread to other parts of my body.I know I had heard that it would be highly unlikely from other doctors – but he wants to be sure.

I had a test on my heart done today to make sure it is strong enough to handle the upcoming chemo. I will have a CT scan and a bone scan this Friday. If everything is okay from these tests – I will start my chemo treatments next Friday – May 2nd. Wow!! That seems really soon. Marian, get those scarves ready.

I hate the test parts. I feel like they are somewhat pass/fail and I haven’t passed some of the tests I’ve had in the last month. I am praying and hoping that there are no more findings that could mean the cancer has spread anywhere else in my body. I need all of you to help me pray for this as well.

As for the chemo – he is prescribing that I have treatments every two weeks – 8 treatments total. The first 4 treatments will be combination of Adriamycin and Cytoxan and my last 4 will be Taxol. Marian, you may be a lawyer, but you hit this on the head. I will have to inject myself on days 4-12 between treatments with a drug that will help my bone marrow so my body can be ready for the next treatment.

He told me I will probably loose my hair between weeks 2 and 4 once I start treatment. If you have an extra hat or scarf – please send it my way.

I will start radiation treatments 3 -5 weeks after having my last chemo treatment. They should last between 5 and 6 weeks - every day - Monday through Friday.

This is honestly what I expected to hear on the treatment side. I didn’t realize I would have more tests before the treatment and that scared me a little. Looking at it – we really need the Big Picture to make sure my treatment is right and there won’t be other problems later. I just know that the waiting for the results part is hard for me. It’s very trying emotionally and hard not to be scared.

I had another wonderful blessing from Bishop Foster with President Alldredge last night. I know that the blessings I have received have truly helped me. I know that everyone’s love and prayers have truly helped me. I have already experienced some great miracles and know that there will be more to come.

I found out on Sunday that cute Camille Thorpe – a friend, fellow-MP19er and actually an associate of mine from work – is putting together a quilt for me from pieces of fabric given to her by my friends, etc. If you want to add your own piece, please let her know. She is taking 5” x 5” pieces of fabric with your name embroidered, with fabric marker, whatever. Make sure your name does not get close to the edge of the square.

Camille Thorpe
Or, just bring it to the MP 19th Ward house – or give it to me. I will make sure she gets it. She wants these by May 4th.

My house looked like greenhouse there were so many flowers after my surgery. I am healing well from surgery and have worked all of this week so far. The pain is starting to come. It's not too bad, but the numbness is starting to wear away and I can feel my nerves starting to try to connect. I haven't had any infection and the incision sites look good. I'm feeling a little tired, not tons of energy. Other than that, I'm doing really well.

Thanks again to all of you for your love, concern and prayers. I keep saying it, but I really wish there was a way for me to let you know how much they mean to me. I feel them. I know you are praying for me. I know that they are being heard and making difference.