Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Girls

This week has been a rough week for me and my family both. Lots of tears, lost sleep, and a little worry. I can write about it now as I am heading into my second week from the chemo and I am starting to feel better and have a little hope again that I can make it through this. It has been a difficult week for my girls though. So far, I have been able to be very straightforward with them and we have just taken everything in stride and been able to keep their routines the same. That all changed this week with me being sick. I think it has finally hit them that something could be wrong with me and they are starting to worry a bit.

Hallie (10) has asked me if she will get cancer since I got cancer. Emma (8) had a boy at school tell her that I could not have cancer because I am still here and people with cancer die. She came home this week, lay down in the bed next to me and started to cry. She said, "It's so hard to have a mom with cancer, and having no hair. It's so hard to have a life with your mommy sick." Needless to say that broke my heart.

Yesterday at my treatment (which will now be every Tuesday morning for the rest of the year) we spoke with Sam, a cancer patient advocate. He was a grandfather figure who was so awesome to talk to and put us at ease. Our hospital runs a program strictly for children of cancer patients. Next Tuesday, we are going to take Hallie and Emma out of school and take them to my treatment with me. On that morning, Sam and Janet (a wonderful lady who heads up the cancer dept.) are going to take the girls around the hospital, buy them lunch, let them meet my doctor, show them where and how I get my treatment and that it is a safe place to be, talk with them about cancer and answer any questions they might have. I am so, so excited for the girls and hope that this will be such an encouragement to them and help to take a small weight off their shoulders.

I'll let you know how it goes! In the meantime, thank you so, so much for all the prayers and words of encouragement. They are my lifeline and let me know that I am not alone!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sweet Worship

This morning I could not go to church as I am still not feeling well. Also, I am heading into the week where my blood count is supposed to be at its lowest and my likelihood for infection stronger, so I am just resting at home. We did, however, have our own church service with all the kids singing, Emma reading scripture, and a play performed by the kids. (Nothing is complete in our household without some kind of play production. Wonder if that is inevitable with 2 theatre majors for parents?) Anyway, the play was a version of the story of Esther in the Bible that I have never heard before and it just made me smile inside! Esther was taken by "carriage" to the "castle" where she went on "stage" to "audition" for the king. The words in quotations are my girls words. :) After she was chosen by the king, she saved his life by pushing him out of the way from something falling from the ceiling that was about to land on his head. The king was so grateful! It took me a while to figure that one out. Then my husband remembered that that is what happens in the Veggie Tale version. Needless to say, the story I heard this morning is now my favorite version of Esther that I have ever heard. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I was just reminded yesterday of something I heard from Louie Giglio in a message he gave at a concert. I hope you will click on Louie's name above and watch it. It is an AWESOME reminder of God's love and sovereignty and the fact that He knew us before He created us! I can rest confidently in the fact the the Lord is in control, He knows what He is doing in my life and He will hold me together!

Colossians 1:16, 17
For by Him all things were created,
in heaven and on earth, visible, and invisible...
And He is before all things,
and in Him all things hold together!

Have a Little Faith

Ok. I finished one of the books on my reading list for this year. It is a very compelling story and an easy read. I did make me want to add the book "Tuesdays with Morrie" to my list. Although I didn't necessarily agree with a few of his conclusions on different religions I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the 2 men in the stories and was again affirmed about what "true religion" should look like and act like! It definitely made me appreciate my church and my family and the blessings God has given me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One Down, Five to Go!

2-1 and we are off. Yesterday my day surgery went well and I now have a porta cath in my chest. Besides a big bruise and some ugly stitches, you would not know it was there unless you looked real hard. I am so thankful they waited till this morning to start the treatments because once again, the anesthesia made me sick. Although the fact that they left the needle in overnight made for an uncomfortable night, I sure appreciated it this morning when they did not have to re-stick me! My wonderful nurse, Lori, called me in some wonderful numbing medicine that I can put on my skin each time before they have to stick me!

Today went well with my treatment. Today I was there for 5 hours! Usually on my Herceptin weeks, they said to plan for 1 hour. On my chemo weeks it will probably be 4 hours. I am so thankful that the room is not a sterile doctor's office environment. There are leather lounge chairs and recliners everywhere, a living room area with couches and a little kitchenette area with drinks, sandwiches, sweets, etc. for those who are there for a while. My husband even got to come back with me and he could sit and watch t.v., grade papers, etc. The biggest reaction I've had so far was to the Benedryl...I fell fast asleep. :) Right now I am just a little shaky and tired. My husband is at the pharmacy stocking up on the nausea meds, pain relievers, stool softeners, diarrhea meds, and other suggested items. I'm in it for the long haul. We are one down and five to go!

For Valentines Day my husband got me the bracelet that was suggested in the comments. Now I will plan to buy one new bead each time I complete another chemo treatment. I may try to get my first bead tomorrow if the steroids are still working and I have the energy. :) That will give me something to definitely look forward to! I should have a beautiful bracelet by this summer!

Friday, February 12, 2010


"3" - Today I began the countdown leading up to my first treatment day. My echocardiogram went well. I was not sure what to expect, but it was basically an ultrasound of my heart. Although I was not looking forward to another medical procedure, it is nice to know that my heart looks great!

After my visit, my husband and I went out to lunch for our "Valentine" date since I will be going to visit my grandparents this weekend. My grandpa is in a nursing home and although they have chosen not to tell him that I have cancer, someone told him that I was very sick and he has been worried about me ever since. I have not seen them since Christmas and once my chemo starts I don't know if I will be able to travel for a while, so I am going to go for a quick visit and set my grandpa's mind at ease.

So, I will enjoy the weekend and get ready for my surgery on Monday!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Uuggh! That is exactly how I have felt this weekend. Last week, I tried to squeeze in doctors and dentist appointments for the kids so that I did not have to go into any children's doctors office once I started chemo and run the risk of catching something. So what happened? I caught a stomach bug this weekend. I do not do well with nausea and it made me afraid of my first treatment coming up. I know they have great nausea meds, but none of them worked for me when I was pregnant (I was sick for about 7 months with each pregnancy) and I am fearful that they won't work now. I have all the factors of someone who might get sick on the meds. I had bad morning sickness with my pregnancies, I get motion sick (I can't even swing), I am sensitive to medications, etc. I can't even begin to imagine being sick for the next 5 months! I have to stop and take a deep breath and put it out of my mind. I won't borrow worry, I will just wait till Tuesday morning and see what happens. They are going to start the process slowly to make sure that I don't get really sick or have an allergic reaction, so I am supposed to plan to be there for about 4 hours. Good thing I have a great book list started. I've gotten some great suggestions and can't wait to get started. I've started the list that I have on hand on the side of my blog site. I will add to it as I finish the books and I have and get some new ones. If you are reading one of the same ones, feel free to comment on what you think about it!

The writing is therapy for me and your comments are encouragement to me. They make me feel like I am not so alone on this journey. So thank you! And I will share with you that after my bout with sickness this weekend, my main prayer request right now is that I will be able to be strong and not be sick when I start chemo on Tuesday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Making the most of it!

Well, little by little I am finding out more details about my treatment process. I will be going in on Monday the 15th to have day surgery to have my port put in. This port will allow me to have the chemo and Herceptin with a minimal amount of pain and will protect my veins from collapsing. The veins in my hand and arm would never hold up to an I.V. every week for a year. Then, on Tuesday the 16th I will go in to begin my first treatment. We forgot to ask, but my friend said that her treatments took about 2 hours each time, so that is what I am going to try to prepare for. They did show me the room where I would go each week. There are huge leather recliners with cup holders where I will sit while I have the infusion. Since it looks like I'll be spending some time there, I'm going to try to make the most of it. I am loading up my i-pod with all my favorite songs and starting to put together a list of books I'd like to read. I have 5 so far that I'm excited to read. Feel free to offer me more suggestions of your favorites. :)
  1. "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  2. "Have a Little Faith" by Mitch Albom
  3. "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen
  4. "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller
  5. "Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear" by Max Lucado
My friend Pam, a fellow adoptive mom who I got to meet for the first time today, suggested that I find some small way to celebrate and count down each chemo treatment. Something small like buying a purse or something I've been wanting, stopping on my way home to pick up my favorite dessert (5 layer chocolate cake with raspberry sauce from O'Charley's or Italian Creme Cheese cake!) I think that is an awesome idea. I was wanting to count them down anyway. So, while the suggestions for books are flowing, any ideas for small ways I can celebrate as I finish each chemo treatment? Thank you for all the love and support!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Treatment Plan

Today was my first visit with my oncologist. We really like him so far and have friends who sing his praises, so we feel like we are in good hands. We had a long talk and have lined up our plans for the cancer treatment. Someone asked me this week how I'm feeling about everything and right now, I am in a fighting mood. :) I am ready to do whatever it takes to get going and get rid of whatever might be lurking around in my body. Because my cancer was HER2 positive (only 25% of breast cancer patience have this more aggressive kind) right now I have a 45% chance of it recurring. The treatment plan that I will be taking has a 90% success rate, so I am ready to get started.

  • Friday the 12th I go in for an echocardiogram so they can get a clear picture of my heart. The Herceptin can damage the heart sometimes, so this will allow them to keep a check on me.
  • Some time the week after Valentines Day, I will go in for a day surgery to have a port cath put in my chest. This will allow them to give me the treatments there. My veins would not hold up to an I.V. every week for a year.
  • The same day the port is put in, I will have my first treatment of chemo and Herceptin. I will have 6 treatments of chemo, 1 every 3 weeks till I reach the 6. I will have the Herceptin infusions every week for 1 year.
This week, I got an e-mail from a friend of my husbands. She said that the Lord had given her 2 verses for me and they are perfect "fight songs" for me as I get ready to head into this crazy year that lies ahead!

Jeremiah 32:27
"I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?"

Jeremiah 32:17
"Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm!
Nothing is too hard for You!