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.