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.