It’s Be Getting to Look A Lot Like…

The end of chemo. YES that’s right– 2 more treatments and I’m done. I didn’t think I would make it. Well that’s not true— I knew I would- God’s got this. He is carrying me through this. No more hot flashes, no more diarrhea, and no more fatigue. I am not so delusional that I will magically be back to normal within a week, but just the thought that I will start to feel better every day gives me hope. The next step is to see the surgeon to see where we go from here. That appointment is Jan 14th with Dr. Beck at Katzmann Breast Center in Des Moines.

I am almost ready for Christmas. I’ve got all my stocking stuffers, Chris knows he’s getting an Xbox One as he is paying for half of it. Jarl bought himself his own present. Did I mention that he is the Grinch? All he needs is to be green. I asked him to put up lights outside and he said ‘it ain’t gonna happen this year. He also said this wasn’t going to be a typical Christmas this year. That’s funny because he is being the same Grinch that he is every year!!

I probably won’t blog next week as it’s CHRISTMAS! I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season!!

It’s My Pity Party

And I’ll cry if I want to. I’m tired of putting on my brave face. I’m tired of having cancer. I’m tired of chemo. I’m tired of having my fingers and toes tingle from neuropathy. I’m tired of having mouth sores. I’m tired of hot flashes. I’m tired of the chemical burn that’s peeling. Oh heck. I’m tired of being tired.
Yes, this is my whining blog post. It is the Christmas season and I don’t remember ever not wanting to celebrate. I’m going through the motions because that is what is expected of me. Marcia loves Christmas. She is always full of comfort and joy. I’m tired of doing what is expected of me. What I really want to do is curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep. I want to sleep until this is all over.
I feel I’m letting everyone down. I really thought I could kick cancer and I feel like it is really kicking me. Oh I still believe I’m going to beat it, but right now I feel as if it is winning. Yes, the end is in sight-four more treatments, but even with only four treatments left that still means at least a month more of feeing like crap. And of course the effects won’t go away right away.
How can I have come this far and want to quit? NO, I won’t quit. I have too much to live for. I just want others to know that it is okay to feel sorry for yourself once in awhile as long as you don’t dwell on it. There is so much I can’t do right now and I am mad! I can’t walk though Wal-mart without needing a nap. I cannot last an entire day a work. I can’t make plans because I don’t know how I will feel. Sometimes I can’t complete a full sentence due to chemo brain– it’s real–look it up. It’s hard to do anything for fear of not doing it right and creating a disaster. If I go to work, will I remember how to get there? And once there, am I making lots of mistakes? Will I find my way home? And the list goes on and on.

PS I wrote this last week when I was really down. I almost just deleted it but decided to go ahead and share it. I hope everyone realizes that it is ok to get down as long as you don’t stay down. God has this and I know it. He does get us through the most difficult situations as long as we let Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus!!

Thanksgiving, Wal-mart and Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had a nice Thanksgiving- just the three of us. We had Hy-Vee do the cooking and it was very good. We had a nice size turkey breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and Jarl had his green bean casserole. It was nice not to have to get dinner ready. I recommend Hy-Vee if you don’t want to cook!!
No, we did not take part in the craziness of Black Friday. Nothing is that important to go shopping in the middle of the night. They boys helped me clean the living room and arrange it for the tree. Miley and Suzy were confused where they could lay down. And Max the cat- he’s was like a kitten running in the open space. We moved his bed but he was able to find it.
I did venture out Saturday to buy a Christmas gift for our party at work. I was at Stepping Stone downtown only ten minutes and worn out. I quickly bought my gift, ran to Medicap and went home. I hate becoming so worn out so quickly. It’s frustrating not to be able to do anything.
We put up the tree Saturday night. I was able to sit and hand the boys the ornaments and they decorated it. Jarl’s idea of decorating is hanging maybe a dozen ornaments. Chris hung some more but when I walked out into the living room this morning there was a big gapping hole right in front.
Jarl brought the big tub of snowmen up for me. It was like seeing old friends again. I love my snowmen. Most of them have been given to me and each are quite unique. Last year a friend/co-worker gave me a very fun snowman. It is the head of a snowman complete with a hat. The head is hollow and holds five snowmen heads. I had fun throwing them over my cubical wall at my co-worker Vera. She must have enjoyed it too as she asked me to be sure to bring them in.
With Christmas around the corner I do need to do some shopping. Jarl took me to Wal-mart today but of course Chris had to go too. I ride in a wheelchair and let them pushed me around. If you want to go to Wal-mart and not buy anything, let Chris push you around. You won’t see anything. I wanted to go down the Christmas aisle and it passed in a blur. Jarl disappeared and conveniently didn’t hear his cell phone when I called it several times. To say I was exhausted when we finally checked out, is an understatement.
I bought some frozen premade chocolate chip cookies that you just have to bake. I tried them last night and they weren’t too bad. Hid them from Chris– he would have eaten them all.
I have yet another chemo treatment today. FIVE more to go!! An update on my chemo burn– the left side of my chest is very red and is now peeling like a sunburn. It hurts and makes sleeping in bed difficult. I will definitely be glad when it is cleared up.
Just saw a commercial for CBS- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is 50 years old. Happy birthday Rudy!!!!

Praising God Even When It’s Not Easy

I am so very blessed and it is so easy to Praise God when things are going great. My treatments have not been horrible. I had heard the horror stories– vomiting, blood transfusions, etc. so I am thrilled that it hasn’t been that bad.
Monday we had our first hiccup. It was just a small hiccup and these things happen. My catheter came out of my port undetected during treatment. Alicia (my nurse) found it when my treatment was done. Fortunately it didn’t totally come out where the chemo was running down my chest, but did get into my body. Just not into the vein. Where did it go? Under my skin. My chest was swollen. Alicia contacted my oncologist for instructions. He had her flush the port again to be sure it was clear, then he had me do heat on the area for 20 min, ice for 20, and then nothing for 20.This will help the chemo absorb into my body. I did that for about 4 hours and the swelling came down. The itching did not. They do put Benadryl into my drip but I still had an allergic reaction. The area is really red and itches/burns like a sunburn. I only got 3 hours of sleep so I’m hoping the oncologist will let me take a Benadryl to help with that.
It has been hard not to whine and cry (I admit I’ve done my share), but then I read a post from my sister from another mister on FB. Her sister is laying in a hospital bed in the last stages of her life here on earth, waiting to go home to see her Lord. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when someone you love is going through that. I can’t imagine losing any of my sisters. It is not something I want to even think about.
I have been up since 1:00 am since I cannot sleep due to the itching and hot flashes I usually get after chemo. Whenever I start thinking about whining I start praying. Oh sure I am still whining a bit– part of it has to do with being tired. But it helps me focus on something other than my problems. Our own problem are never a bad as we think and never as bad as someone else’s.

Dana Do Right- if you read this please know that I love you with all my heart. I wish I could be with you right now. Sending love and hugs.

Thanksgiving Challenge

Halloween is over and Christmas has taken over the stores. Wait a second… isn’t there another holiday in there…. Ummmm I think it’s called Thanksgiving?? YES! Thanksgiving! Some people think of it as Black Thursday. Why do we think we can skip over Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving should be everyday since we should be thankful every day.

Since being diagnosed with the little c, I am learning to be thankful for the little things in my life and not just the big things.

I am thankful that I accepted God into my heart years ago. Having Him as my Lord and Savior has helped me take on whatever comes my way. Knowing God is with me gives me an awesome sense of peace. There is nothing like it.

I am thankful for Jarl. We have had our problems, but I believe we are stronger because of them. He has my back and I hope he knows I’ve got his. Jarl doesn’t smother me as I’m going through cancer, but he’s there to pick me up when I need him to. He does an awesome job of taking care of my needs. I love him so much.

I am thankful for that 6’2″ son of mine! He’s has grown into such a sweet young man and I can’t believe he is 21. Chris says it like it is- black and white. Oh sure, there’s many times when I want to strangle him (what parent doesn’t sometimes?) but I don’t know what I’d do without him.

I am thankful for my best friend Mary. I can’t think of anything better than having your sister for your best friend. I am lost if I don’t either talk to her or email her every day. She makes me laugh and says I make her laugh. She knows just what to say and if she doesn’t, oh well. I can’t believe that my having cancer has brought us even closer. Sometimes I don’t know where I end and she begins– we are that close.

I am thankful for my pets– Max the cat and our two dogs Suzy and Miley. Crazy thing about pets- they get under your skin! Their love is so unconditional.

I am thankful we caught my cancer early. I am thankful I have wonderful friends and family that support me in many ways. I am thankful I have a job I really love and co-workers that are awesome. I am thankful that each day is a new day that I can be thankful for!!!

There is much more that I am thankful for that I could go on for days. My challange to my readers is this– each day find something you’re thankful for may it be big or small.

Feeling Almost Normal

I just completed my 2nd chemo treatment with the new drug. I’m going every week now for 12 weeks. Last week was a bit rough but I think I found the key–remembering to drink LOTS of water. I drank 2 quarts on Monday and yesterday I felt almost normal! What an awesome feeling!! I woke up feeling refreshed, went to work for part of the day and even when I got home I still felt good! I was able to pick up the living room a little and unload and reload the dishwasher without having to sit down and take a breath… or two. I had Chris run his clothes hamper to the basement and I did a load for him. The stairs didn’t wear me out! This morning I ran a load of dishes, washed towels and cleaned the cat litter. I think Max appreciated that! I am a bit more tired than I was yesterday but still going strong. I even dropped money off to Chris at Genesis so he could eat lunch. I would hate for him to starve! I usually would have had him come to the car but since his cell wasn’t on, I went in. I think my wig sort of took the staff and client by surprise as they all just sort of stared at me instead of saying “hi Chris’s mom”. As I walked out, I heard Chris say that yes it’s a wig. She’s got the big C. LOL Gotta love how he just says it like it is.

Speaking of my chemo treatment… I got a surprise vistor. Jarl picked Chris up from Genesis and instead of taking him home, Chris came to see me!! His first time. Imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes (yes, I was dozing) and saw his beautiful face. This was a big deal for him as he has not wanted to come with me– which is understandable– who does? He liked how bright and cheerful the room is and told me it wasn’t what he imagined. He thought I was being tortured. Well- usually not during chemo, that comes later! He asked some questions about the IV and my port. My boy is really growing up. I don’t expect him to go again but at least he faced a fear head on. I’m a proud mama!!

God Is Good All The Time

And all the time God is Good!!

He is amazing!! He answers prayers in His own time and at the time we really need it. Chris isn’t able to express his emotions easily but I know when something is bothering him. I let him get it out and then I ask him what is bothering him and then he is able to tell me. Two weeks ago we went through some angry nights and when I was finally able to talk to him about it, he told me he didn’t think there was a God. He believed God gave me cancer and that I was going to die. It broke my heart. I tried to tell him that God didn’t not give it to me but Chris didn’t want to talk about it. How do you explain something to someone who needs to see something to believe in it? That has been a problem for us all along.

Then God did His thing. I went in for a mammogram and ultrasound to see how things were progressing. Long story short-they had a hard time finding it!!!! The techs, the radiologist could barely see it!!!! The lump has shrunk to more than half its original size!! Praise God, Praise God!! The first person I called was Jarl of course. And then I called Chris. He started crying and said “Mama, God did this!! He is curing you!” Hallelujah!! Is this the reason I’m going through this, to show Chris what God can do so Chris can see it? Then this is so worth it!! I want God to use me to bring people to Christ. He is using me!!!

I started my new chemo yesterday. It is every week for 12 weeks or just in time for New Year’s and my b’day!! It shouldn’t be as rough on me and has less side effects to worry about. They put Benadryl in my IV for allergic reactions. They must put in a large dose as I got very sleepy. It also gives me some awesome hot flashes!! Dr. H was pleased with the results of the imagings. When I am done with chemo, he will send me back to my surgeon in Des Moines and we will see what the next step is. I don’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the LIGHT is shining on me!!!