Thursday, December 22, 2011
Alright, so I have had my MRI - still awaiting results. I have a MUGA scan tomorrow morning on my heart to see if it is still holding up well so I can continue with the Herceptin shots. I have a CT in the early in the new year. That is the one that I am anxious about. I just want to know if everything still looks the same. Please pray with us that it is!!
Had my amazing feel up at the doc's. It was amazing because he said that everything felt good and it seems that I am doing well. I was SO excited when I left the hospital. You have no idea. Also found out that my hemoglobin is back up to 125 (I think it was) which is why I have WAY more energy and feel like I can actually make it up the stairs without needing a nap halfway up... or an inhaler!
Today is a good day. I am not feeling so down. I am getting excited for Christmas and spending time with my family. I think we might just get to see almost everyone this Christmas and that is a miracle!!
Monday, December 19, 2011
I am really trying to be excited about Christmas this year. It is my most favored season for so many reasons. Giving, loving, helping, hoping, being kind, smiling, hugging, laughing and of course the birth of our beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ. For me, this year seems to have lost some of that sparkle... I am more fully aware of our Heavenly Father's plan, and how blessed we are to have this plan. I know where I am going and what awaits me on the other side, but I have no strong desire to be there at all.... not for the next 60 years!
My desire is to be here with my family. To have a loving, close and growing relationship with my witty and charming husband. Be a mother and friend for my cherished little children. Watch them grow and learn and blossom. I don't want to see this from Heaven. I want to experience it on earth. Although I am certain when I meet with our Savior again I will feel nothing short of pure joy and utter peace, but I don't want to meet up with him just yet. No offence! ;) (I believe we are made in the image of God, so that being said, I know he gets my sense of humor so he wouldn't be offended by my choice.)
So as I am trying to find time to bake and clean and wrap gifts, I find myself blankly staring at my surroundings, trying to take it all in just in case it's my last. I wish I didn't have a cold so I could smell our Christmas tree and baking.... I want to keep every decoration the kids have made with tiny fingers and hands.... I want to hold my family closer than I ever have and love them more strongly than I thought possible.... I want their diarrhea to be gone so we can all feel healthy and happy, and I don't want anyone else to barf. I want to laugh and get up early on Christmas morning... I just wish it could be us, for the rest of our lives. And have all the time in the world to be together.
I am not a tard, I know that would be short lived and I would be annoyed in less than two days, but still.... sometimes it is hard as world around our family goes on and I can't help but wonder how much more family time we have. It could be years and years, it could be days, it could be months... I just wish I had more faith and could replace my feeling with it instead of fear and sadness.
So my wish for you this Christmas is that you will love your family and laugh with them. Cherish them and their weirdness and quirks. Love all that makes you a family and don't rush to be onto the next party and event. Slow down and take it all in. Enjoy this special season and all the reasons that make it so.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
We headed up some very slippery forestry roads, luckily we have 4 wheel drive this year, and finally decided on a sunny, open (I know, weird. Wouldn't you want a heavily treed area?) spot so the kiddies could play. And play they did!!
We walked up a hill and didn't really see anything that we LOVED. So we headed back down. This is awful but so funny!! My girlfriend A is at least 11 months pregnant (jks - she thinks she is huge but I think she looks no bigger than me and I don't have a bun in my oven) and she was carrying a saw. She happened to stumble upon a little slick area and in slow motion, she went down on all fours into the fluffy snow whilst the saw did a few triple flips in the air and somehow, managed to miss the four kids, her and I, before it came to a stop in the snow.
Of course like a true and concerned friend I asked her if she was ok and if the baby was on it's way now.... and then I held her arm like she was an elderly woman until she told me she was fine and pried my fingers from her. And the entire time I was laughing. What a jerk. But it was just so funny and it was honestly in slow motion!
They are doing the MRI to check my right breast for a mass that was noted at my first MRI. Dr. T said it was small and we would just keep checking on it... so that's what I am waiting on.
I would pay out of pocket for another CT to check my lungs and make sure that everything is still fine on that department.
I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow with Dr. O (I love him!! He's amazing! One of the nicest men I have ever met.) I am sure I will get the usual feel up, which honestly, I have missed. No body has touched me since I went for radiation and that just makes me a little nervous considering I had a check/feel up every three weeks before. I have been doing it myself a little but I tend to find things that aren't a big deal but totally freak me out! I will also have my blood taken and we'll find out how my hemoglobin is doing and where my counts are at. I am excited! We are all sick right now so I am sure my counts aren't stellar, but a 1,000 times better than they were on chemo.
I will be having a CT scan every six months for the next 5 years to check and see where I am at as there is a high risk of recurrence... Lovely... But at least I know that they will be on top of it and that I won't slip through the cracks. I find security in that. My dream is to get through the next 5 years and then onto the next 40! Once I make it past the 5 year mark I will relax a little I think.
Once again, I will keep you posted on what we find out for results. Please continue to pray for us!! The power of God brings even the tiniest of miracles to his beloved Children. And thank you to those of you who haven't stopped. Again, I don't know what we would have done without the power of Heaven being called on in our behalf. Thank you.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
As I looked at myself I thought, "What's the point? No matter how much makeup you put on, earrings you place in your ears or hat you choose, you don't look like you at all! You look chubby and swollen and nothing at ALL like the girl you used to look like. All it does is make you sad when you get ready because it frustrates you that you aren't who you were. Just forget it."
At this point in my dream I put on a green shirt and thought I would give it a try regardless of how I felt. As I started to do my makeup I noticed that my hair was growing. I played around with it for a bit and then I looked into the mirror again. I was about 140 pounds... not my pre-pregnancy weight but it felt way healthier than my current weight. I felt good. I was actually happy about what my body looked like. I wasn't annoyed that I had another 12 pounds to loose to get to my "goal" weight. I was truly satisfied.
I looked back to the mirror and my hair was about three inches long all over, dark and cut in a really cute way. I had side swept bangs and I was in awe at how it framed my face and my eyes. My eyes!! I still had to do my eye makeup. I was going to go out for sure on this evening. I felt so great!
I carefully put on my eyeshadow and eyeliner. I thought for a brief moment about my beloved eyelashes. They were still pretty thin and only about a third as long as they normally were. I wanted to put on mascara so badly but knew it would only look silly. After snuffing out that thought I decided to put it on anyways. After all, I had already had the most amazing transformation so I figured "Why not?"
I swept the mascara wand carefully over my eyelashes, as if it was the first time I had ever put it on. Every time I finished the stroke to the end of my lashes, they grew longer and longer. It was the most amazing thing. By the time I had finished my lashes, they were full, thick and longer than they were before. I was mesmerized by my eyes. They were stunning. They were happy. They were beautiful. I was beautiful... once again.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
On Tuesday or Wednesday of this week I was really starting to feel better, in a sense. Although I feel like Fat Bastard's sister and I can pick off more skin than Goldmember could ever dream of, the pain was going away and I was starting to heal.
I am no longer getting up in the middle of the night to put on lotion as relief. I wouldn't say that I am sleeping really great, but at least I don't have to do the cold lotion thing.
The next phase that we have moved onto is the peeling. Everything blistered before it dried out and started to peel. My skin literally (I am not exaggerating!!) sounds like brittle, dried, fall leaves under your feet, when I peel it off. Don't barf! I know, it's sick but I told you I would be honest in this journey.
If I reach or stretch too far, it pulls and can become a little painful as it feels like it is going to crack open. Kind of like I am not quite supposed to be able to "go there" yet. It is also a little bit itchy and I do have an obsession with grooming the area with my eyebrow pluckers. Could I get any sexier??? My poor husband.
I have to be careful when I shower because the water from the shower head can be too strong when it is streaming out and it gets caught in the small pockets of skin that are starting to peel and it makes it sting. But it is honestly getting better.
In the midst of the pain, I did say that I wasn't sure if I could do recon. This entire journey is one of pain from diagnosis, to surgery, to recovery, to chemo, radiation and then reconstruction. It is a lot to take in. Ken was quick to answer "BABE.... you don't have to make that decision right now you know!" That made me give a good hearted, belly laugh. He's such a man.
To bring you up to speed... My second last week of radiation I was able to double up on one treatment because they were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was in my little plan to be able to get home a day early and surprise Ken and the kids. That weekend of the 28-30th I somehow managed to keep my big yap shut and not spill the beans. Again, it was very hard when the kids were crying on the way down the street but this time I wasn't sad. I was very excited!
By this time my radiated area was getting really, really sore to say the least. I had a big area under my armpit that was opening up and was really painful. I thought to myself that I wasn't sure if I would be able to smile this coming week of radiation. I told this to one of the therapists and he said, "NO!! You always smile. You have to." That made me smile. :) It was really hard to life my arm over my head though because it was so sore.
I finished up on the Wednesday morning and we were on our way by the afternoon. I knew that we (Dad, Mom and myself) wouldn't be home in time to see the kiddies before bed. I was really nervous too that Ken might be trying to pull a surprise of his own, even though I knew he couldn't take time off of work, but I was stressed he would show up in K town or something along that line. I had called him three times that morning to "chat" and see how work was going and I couldn't get a hold of him. So I had to call Mom and Dad Atwood to find out if he was actually home or not. I really didn't want to tell anyone, but it was good that they knew what was up. And they confirmed that yes, Ken was at work. Lucky me!!
We got home at 9:30pm and my mom and dad-in-law motioned that Ken was downstairs. I crept down the stairs (apparently I was louder than I thought because Ken said he wondered who was coming down because it was too heavy for Carson and too fast for his Mom!). I walked around the corner and all Ken could say was "What the heck? What the heck?" And it took him a bit longer than I thought it should have, to get off his arse and come and give me a hug. I actually surprised him!!! He had no idea!
We went into the kids room so I could say hi and give them a kiss. K was completely out of it. I kissed her a few times and then headed over to W. He rolled over and gave me the biggest smile I had seen in a while! I was so happy. W was so excited he didn't want to go back to sleep, but he was really good and did. It was so nice to be able to tell him that I was going to be here in the morning!
I headed upstairs... I guess my little fart of a C wasn't quite asleep either and he was playing in his room and he didn't seem as surprised when he whispered "Mommy..." Still there was a big smile on his little face and a huge hug came right after that.
I was home. Finally home.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
So this morning when I came across this beautiful YOUNG Mommy's blog, I deemed it safe because although her treatment is completely different than mine, she is just a few steps behind me and I am alright with the fact that I have BARELY!!! been there and done that.
So I read on... and on... and on. She is also 31 and has three children, a 5 year old girl and twin boys (3 I think). Anyways, her blog is great. While reading I came across a little poem I guess, can't think of the right word, and LOVED it immediately. So I thought I copy it and post it here for you to read. It is completely true.
There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
Well, she said, I think I'll braid my hair today!
So she did.
And she had A Wonderful Day!
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
Hmmm, she said, I think I'll part my hair down the middle today!
So she did.
And she had a Grand Day!
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
Well, she said, today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail!
So she did.
And she had a Fun Day!
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
Yay! she exclaimed, I don't have to fix my hair today!
Attitude is everything!
And I have to hold onto that. :)
Monday, October 31, 2011
Cancer doesn't care if you have an amazing holiday planned or are going to a friends to visit for the weekend. It doesn't mind at all if you have an abundance of money or you are barely scraping by. It could care less about the size of your house or what car you are driving.
It doesn't mind if you are married or single, in love or utterly alone. It doesn't care about the plans that you had for your future or the things you wish you could have changed about the past... because maybe if you could change the past, you could have done something to prevent it...
Cancer also doesn't know that it can change one forever. It can make a person stronger and yet softer at the same time. It has the ability to make you think about what is important and what really matters in this life. It can push you to learn more about the world we live in and who we truly are deep down inside. It can make you fall deeper in love.
Cancer automatically invites you to be a part of a special group of people who all share the same ideals. People who have the same fight and determination. People with the same willingness to succeed, live and thrive. Special people who are linked to each other, even if they don't know your name. People you can have a conversation with and find so much in common in a matter of minutes. People who you can find comfort in and draw a certain strength from.
It doesn't matter who cancer decides to pick on because it can't completely take away who you are and the mark you can make in this life.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
- Never go out in public without my make-up on, unless to the Gym which has been a long time.
- Never go out in public without a bra on.
- Never go out in public without a bra on and only one boob.
- Willingly show people my boob/non-boob.
- Avoid people I know out in public so they don't have to see me, or so I don't have to talk. (rude I know and I am NOT like this normally)
- Have skin so dry it literally feels like fruit leather.
- Never thought I wouldn't have eyelashes or brows.
- Never thought I would shave and then WAX!!! my head.
- Didn't think I would ever miss so many days of church (even though I know my relationship with God is more than just a Sunday affair, I really miss being there)
- Make plans (because in the bottom of my heart I am still me and I can do everything) and then cancel because I can't do it.
- And my most favorite, added to this list as of today... wear those mesh panties that you get in the hospital when you have a baby, as a partial tube top (crotch cut out!) and part of my church outfit!!!!!
What has happened to me?? I know what has and I hope that once I am past this "stage" in my life, I will NEVER do these things again!!! ;)
Saturday, October 29, 2011
24 down - 4 to go!
The reason it is so crucial to stay in the same position is becase they literally work in millimeters when lining you up on the machine. So if you move, they have to start all over again. I think it would be quite a tedious job. And there is always two people in the room to double check what the other is doing while setting up.
This is me laying in postion ready to go... well almost, I have to expose my burnt, disfigured left used-to-boob and then they draw markings on me by following the tattooed areas and then all things are a go.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I am going to try to explain a few things for you. Where my boobie used to reside is very thin now and it is probably the only place I can feel my ribs... sick. Anyways, in order to radiate it better/deeper they put a fake piece of skin on me called bolus. This helps the radiation to be more effective. As a result of this, the area that the bolus is applied usually ends up being more red, especially along the scar. So far so good I think. I know that I am red, but I don't honestly see it to be in any specific area on the front of me... except that nice red spot on my neck. The reason that I have that little area is because the position that I have to lay in causes a neck roll (not surprised, I have a lot of rolls right now!) so the double up of the skin acts like bolus, and therefore, treats the area more effectively. I have a prescription that I put on the skin once a day to help thin it out.
My armpit however, is a complete mess all on it's own. No doubling up on skin, but just irritation from my sports bra, shirts - whatever comes in contact with it, like my own skin! It really hurts to have anything constrictive on so I am back to no bra and one "girl" running free. And if I am not wearing a bra, I am not wearing my fakie. So I am back to sporting the awkward body form... again. Brings back sweet memories of post mastectomy... "U-G-L-Y you ain't got not alibi. You ugly - - you ugly..."
I asked the "radiation therapists" (that is the correct term for these amazing people) how long until the redness disappears. I told them that I know that everyone's skin is different, and one of my friends is still "pink" and it's been a year. They told me that a therapist or a radiation oncologist will always be able to see it on a person. I guess I may not ever completely cover up the path that I have traveled. Which is fine, but I kind of always pictured a few years down the road when people would assume me to be a normal girl and wouldn't have a clue as to what I had been through. You know, when I have lost weight, have hair, and two boobs again. Is that what "normal" is?
Sunday, October 16, 2011
The part that really sucks is when I rub my eye and then rub off my eyebrow and forget about it. Then I look really odd...
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The "hot" are hot flashes from being put into menopause from the chemo. One moment, I am fine and the next my face beams red, like I am embarrassed about something I said, and I can't get cool fast enough.
There are a list of symptoms that one may experience while this temporary menopause is "inflicted"... (word carefully chosen).
Sometimes at night I have night sweats. I wake up soaked, literally, like I have just got off the treadmill from a 1 hour run... my pillow is wet, the sheets are wet, my head is sweaty and my whole body feels glossy. It is a gross feeling.
I will just list a few of the symptoms that I have/am experiencing. No cycle anymore, mood swings, fatigue - not sure if that is from chemo, radiation and fake menopause... most likely all of the above, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, dizziness, anxiety, TOTAL irritability and some itchy skin. Don't feel sorry for Ken, he is fine and I am not that cranky unless it is too loud, hot, cold, the conversation is too confusing... ok, feel a little bad for him. ;)
As the old saying goes, "It's better the devil you know than the one you don't." I am looking forward to the day to have my old friend come for a visit again. At least I won't be hot, crazy and exhausted!
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Chemo, explained by my simple brain, are drugs that are given to you to kill cancer throughout your body. There are many, many different chemo's, so there are many, many different combo's they can come up with depending on what you are fighting. So again, there are various side affects that can occur. It kills the cancer cells, but also kills your good cells and can cause you to become sick very easily because your immune system is shot.
Radiation is treating a very specific area of the body through - well, radiation. Like an x-ray I guess. This is what the machine looks like... a giant kitchen mixer.
This picture is one off the net, but the one that is used here is very similar.
You lay on a table in a specific position to how your treatment has been set up. That is why they put tattoo's on so that they can line you up exactly for your treatment each day. The tech's (I think that is what they are called) set you up, and double check your positions with one another and then they leave the "vault", seriously that is what it is called. It is three walls of cement and there you lie, half naked on a table being fried while everyone else is well out of harm's way. I have told myself that the people who do this job for a living need to be well away from the beams as they do this all day everyday. So it must be safe for me... ya right. But, life saving? (still reading a lot about natural ways to kill cancer) none the less.
Dr. M explained it to us as an extension of the surgery. Just to make sure that they got everything. They are also doing my neck because I have lymph nodes that run up there and still more behind the chest muscle that aren't removed.
That about sums up the difference in my uneducated version. I hope this helps!
Monday, October 3, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
I am sure that by now you are fast asleep... probably having a good one because last night, you were robbed of that. Something to do with a tiny 3 year old kicking you in the face as he was pressed between us and upside down in our bed. I hope your sleep is peaceful.
I wonder if you can feel that I am up. If you know that I am sad. I wonder if you know that even though we had a good cry yesterday about life and the reality of what our future may hold, I am still scared.... I wonder if you can feel me through the distance. Do you sense that tonight (and probably all week) I am sleeping in your t-shirt, just so I can feel like you are with me? I wonder if when my heart aches, does your heart ache?
I wonder if you know how much I absolutely love you. How I could not live this life without you and your money...... kidding. I wonder how much of "me" would exist if I didn't have you. I know you don't know how much I appreciate e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!!!! that you have done, that you do and that you will do.
Do you know how much I love ALL of the things that we have gone through together in our marriage? The most memorable highs and lows. For without these, we would not be shaped into the people we are now - capable of the love and sacrifice that is needed to endure the moments at this time.
I wonder if you know how much I love the man, father, son and friend that you are. You bless the lives of many. Do you know how I love that you dream? Yes, it does drive me crazy and causes me to often roll my eyes, but on the inside I am smiling... because not one thing in this life, to you, is unattainable.
I wonder if you know that it is hard for me to breathe and my heart pounds when I think of all that we need to do in this life, together, as husband and wife, and mother and father. It overwhelms me to think of 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road. I NEED to be here. I NEED to help and love and teach. I guess I need to have more faith and know that only the Lord know of the plan for me and I have to trust in that.
Do you know that I can see us when we are older, sitting on a front porch of a white house, holding hands, wrinkled, old hands that have worked hard, on a sunny day watching life happen on the street we live on? The sun in shining through the leaves on the tall, green trees as the wind slightly moves them. It is beautiful and I hold onto that...
I wonder if you know how often I pray for you and your safety. That the Spirit will be with you and guide you and keep watch over you. I pray you never feel alone.
I honestly wonder if you will read this post because you don't read my blog. I hope you do. I hope you know how much I love you. I hope you know how important you are to me. I hope you know that you are mine and I am yours.
I love you sweetie! I miss you. My arms and soul ache for you... for that feeling only you can give to make me feel complete (thank you Tom Cruise for ruining the word "complete" and making it cheesy in most instances!!). I am doing the best that I can to hold it together to make it easier for you and the kids until I can come back home. And we can be a family again.
And finally, I wonder if you know how much it means to me, when you take me in your arms and kiss me softly on my bald head. It is a moment like that, that I know how much you love me.
From brighter days.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
One thing that I have learned is that USUALLY you have some time to figure out your best approach to a treatment. The doctors that I have been reading up on have had quite a bit of success treating people who are at stage IV cancer. Of course there are a few people who are too sick to be able to be treated. Which is sad, but none of the Dr's say that they have a 100% success rate. Which I think is very honest of them.
They have cured (a lot of them don't like to use the term "cured" they prefer "managed") many cancer's with metastasises, which in conventional medicine is usually deemed as incurable. That alone is totally depressing, so it is nice to know that there are other options other than death to treating a cancer that has spread.
What I find totally interesting is that they have had success with pancreatic cancer which is most certainly a death sentence within 5 years.
A lot of it is done through diet and supplements and it is a lot of work. Most of the fruit and veggies are organic and the protocol is longer than conventional medicine. I am not saying that for one moment I would have changed the route that I have taken. I believe that I have had amazing doctor's that have my best in their interest and they have done what they deem to be the very best options for me to give me the best possible outcome. But now that I have had time to read a bit, I think if I had to go through this again I would possible take a different approach. One that is less toxic and better for my body.
One of the great books I have read is called "HEALING The Gerson Way" by Charlotte Gerson with Beata Bishop. Following their protocol has healed many people with cancer and other chronic diseases.
The other book that I am currently reading is Suzanne Somers book "KNOCKOUT Interviews with Doctors who are Curing Cancer and how to Prevent Getting it in the First Place." I am almost through it and I love how she has interviewed a few different doctor's and found out the different things that they do to "manage" cancer.
The Doctor who I am reading about right now is amazing. He has his board-certified oncologist and a board-certified homeopath. This is the kind of doctor that I think that we need more of. I always say that I wish that people of the medical profession and people of the holistic approach could come together and come up with the best options for all. I personally think that this route would benefit many, many people in the best way possible.
I have a lot of other personal opinion's that I will keep to mysef at the moment, but I think anyone should read these books... we all know someone who has cancer, may get cancer or you yourself may (Heaven forbid!!!) come in contact with it and then you will be able to offer some helpful info to others, or have the info at your fingertips so you can make the most informed decision for you.
I got another two tatt's! Again, little blue pinpoints on my skin, now I have 5! I wish I didn't have any...
They are going to radiate me from my sternum to half way around my back, maybe a little bit less than that. And then it will go from about two inches above my belly button but in line with my sternum on my left side and up to my collar bone. I will also have part on my neck radiated because of the lymph nodes that run up there. And also part on my left armpit. That area is a LOT bigger than I thought would be covered... but better to be safe I guess???
They said it will eventually feel like a sunburn and some of the areas MAY open up and ooze. Gross!!!! I hope that this won't be a side affect for me. Anyone else have any info about themselves or people who have gone through this... did this happen to them? I know that everyone is different, but I was just wondering.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
We met with Dr. M and talked a little. He asked me if I have gained any weight and I asked him if it looked like I did. He laughed. I am sure he noticed! How can you not! Anyways, then I had to have a CT. They do this to set me in the exact position that I will be laying in while I have radiation, from there Dr. M can draw up his plan on how I will be radiated.
Then I was received my second and third tattoo. Don't worry, these are literally two little blue dots on my skin for marking. They alcohol wipe you, put some ink on your skin and then poke it with a pin. Easy. I have one in my old-cleavage-stomping-grounds and one my side under my arm.
I will start my treatments on the 22nd of September and I will have 28 treatments in total. I hope I am done in time for Halloween! I don't want to miss that with my kiddies. PLUS, if I can think of it, I could have a really cool costume this year with my bald head and all... any ideas??
First of all, when people would argue how bad some things to eat and or feed your kids were/are, for example, Macaroni and Cheese, I always said, "I ate that when I was growing up and I'm fine." Can't say that anymore.
Also, for now, I can't say "I have an eyelash in my eye." I don't have any, so I can't say that.
Can't say, "My boobs are too big, too small, hurt, are saggy, ugly, not perky enough..." etc. I CAN say that they are different sizes!
I know I will think of more so I will add them as I think of them.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
This hasn't really bothered me before, but for some reason today, I wanted to cry. And to make matters worse, when I was driving home from the grocery store, I was watching people. I was looking at them laughing in their cars with their friends, jogging on the sidewalk with a child or by themselves, walking their dogs. And I was wondering. Wondering if they have ever had a moment on their life, when the world absolutely stops, and you seem to be alone... the only one who is about to embark on a journey that you were never prepared for. An illness, the death of a loved one or most recent to a lot of us, a missing child.
As the world seems to carry on as usual, you do not. And it seems weird and unfair that everyone else gets to go about their day as "normal", or so it appears. As you sit in a fog of unbelief, sadness and despair, life continues on. I am luckily not here anymore, but my heart aches for the family of this little boy who is lost. As the world around them continues on, their world is at a major stand still.
I don't know how to explain exactly what I am thinking and feeling, but it is odd to me that when things are so impossibly wrong for some people, life is usual for others.
One thing that I am thankful for are people... people who love you and know you inside and out, people who are acquaintances or people who have never met you and wouldn't know you to see you, but would stop their world to help you out. I am thankful for all of these people who have helped our family, friends of ours and complete strangers. I am thankful that there are still so many good people in this world that can get together and help others. To start their world in motion again and give some reprieve amidst the storm. I am thankful for our Heavenly Father who created us in His image and for our Savior who taught us how to be. I am thankful for the love they have for us and that they have placed others here on this earth to help and love and guide... people that are filled with the light of Christ.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I have felt ill from day one of this chemo. I know that my body is just tired and run down and is doing the best it can for me, but it's a rough one. I was nauseated for the first three days after this chemo, which I haven't been from the last two treatments. And then like clock work on Sunday, the old lady crept into my body and has been in charge ever since.
Yesterday I felt particularly sick, but I had things to do so I sucked it up and went out. K and I had to get a few last minute school supplies (which I forgot the list at home so that was pointless - Thank you Mom and Dad Atwood who went out today and picked them up for me!!). We did have fun though, the two of us girls... who am I kidding, I felt awful and was really short with her. Luckily she loves me and just kept smiling over her little glasses. But we did share some really good chocolate, a cheese bun and she got to have a cookie.
After we had supper we went outside for Family Home Evening to play a little game and when we went outside I was freezing. Yay. I thought it was maybe just because I hadn't been out all day and it was pretty warm.
We came in, bathed the kids and got them ready for bed. I came with C into his room to settle him and get him to sleep, and I thought I might be able to catch a few winks myself, so that I would have enough energy to stay up for a while and visit. Well, he farted around the whole time and I was trying to keep curled up in his blankets because I was cold. Eventually I left and went and grabbed my house coat, slippers and the thermometer. If I go above 38 degrees, I have to go to the hospital. I checked it and I was 37.8. Last time we did this dance I was just 38 so this time I wanted to wait until it was legit to go. About a half an hour later I checked again and I was 38.2. I honestly just wanted to crawl into my bed and get some sleep, but I knew we couldn't risk not going. So, Ken and I grabbed our books (Hunger Games!!) and headed up.
When we first got there they did all the vital stuff at the desk, bp, pulse and temp. When the nurse took my temp and I was 37.7 - and really annoyed. We should have just stayed home.
They got me in right away to the wonderful isolation room and we started the whole process of elimination. Listen to the lungs, 7 vials of blood, a urine sample and a chest x-ray. A while later they checked my temp again and I was 38.8. So not a total waist of time! After 3 hours, we found out that my counts were good enough, and there was no sign on infection. The Dr said it could have been a drug fever and just keep an eye on myself. If I felt blah blah blah blah blah, or blah blah blah, come back up. This is not a slight against the hospital at all. They were awesome and didn`t make me feel like it was all in my head... but I was just so tired.
Came home, and couldn't sleep... of course. And tonight is the same. My feet are cold, which happens when I get sick, my temp is 37.7 again but I have some drugs on board which makes me wonder if it is actually higher or if I am really ok. I know I am not going to the hospital right now that`s for sure. I have been laying around restlessly since 12:30am, just after I finished up my book.
The Tylenol and Advil don`t seem to be helping at all and I keep getting juts of pain throughout my body... mostly in my legs, but also my jaw. I am hot and cold and just want to sleep... again! So, I resorted to whining about it online to help pass the time and take my mind off not feeling so hot. Sorry!!
I thought about going outside with a huge warm blanket and willing the cool, soft grass up between my toes. But I think I am mentally disturbed from reading The Hunger Games so I just want to stay in the house. Great books though, so gory and twisted that you can`t put them down. So here I lay, in C`s bed because he is in mine, sweating on his mattress cover (how do kids sleep on these horrible things that don`t allow your body to breath) will Ken`s wool socks pulled up to my knees, bald and tired. I am just so hot, physically I mean, the way I look, that I amaze myself! ;) Even at 3am I am a specimen to behold!
The greatest thing that happened this time after chemo was that my Mom showed up, unbeknownst to me. I was totally shocked and so exited to see her. She said, "I was here for the first, I couldn't miss the last!" It was so nice. I know I have not been through this alone, but, it was so special that she came all the way to see me. She had flowers from my Gramma for me, a beautiful ceramic gift of the Savior and we shared some lunch. I'll never forget how amazing I felt because of her kindness and love. And I know that many of you were with me that day too!
I am still not done at the hospital though, I will finish up 14 more treatments of Herceptin and then I should be good to go!
I start radiation on September 22 and will go until the 31 of October. I have very mixed feelings about being away from Ken and the kids, but I know it is the last major leg in this journey so I just need to "get 'er done"! And when I get home, the Christmas tree is going up!! Hope Ken reads this before too long so he can prep. :) I am craving the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" feeling... wonder why...
Friday, August 12, 2011
I don't know if I can wear makeup anymore, it honestly hurts my skin so much. My eyes are so sore and red, and the dry skin around my mouth makes it hard to smile sometimes. It literally feels like my face is going to crack.
My face has never been so round in my life, even when I gained 60 pounds with my first babe, it looked very different from this face. The lower half of my face was fuller, not through my cheek bones and such.
Oh well, just a bit longer...
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Thank you... many times over.
Ken and I have had some great one on one time together. To talk, to reconnect, to discuss fears and anxieties, to laugh and hold one another. Our lives seem so busy with everyone around and we have neglected each other in all that is going on. Trying to keep our kids as happy and entertained as we can. We could NEVER do any of this without help and are beyond grateful for all that has been done for us... but we miss being us. Our family. Our kids. Our home.
I honestly don't know how my amazing husband does it. How do you kiss a bald, yet sprouty head, good bye in the morning and really feel completely in love with this human being? How can you look at someone who you once thought was so beautiful (I am assuming he thought this, maybe I shouldn't) and not really see any of them in the face they have? How do you see beyond the flaking dry skin, swollen face, red and sore eyes? I don't know. But I know he does. And I know he loves me no matter what disfigured Disney creature I look like. He has told me he loves my bald head and all 5 of my eyelashes. He often counts to see if I have lost anymore. I have more than five, but I am sure less than 10.
Enough of that blab. So I have been doing whatever I want. On Monday I lay in bed, listening to the rain and thunder outside the bedroom window. Although it was "dreary", my soul longed for it. The rain was so powerful and so cleansing. I did stay in bed most of that day, but it felt so good. Just to be able to listen and to smell was what my spirit needed. And I read a lot.
Tuesday I did a road trip with some great gf's and we shopped. It was fun to get away from the house although my body was in total pain, it was good to be out.
Wednesday, I stayed in bed until 4pm. It was just what I needed. I am sure I showered before Ken got home and made our hamster nest. I napped and read a lot that day too. My body has been sore and I have been tired. I feel like I should be doing something, but I am honestly just taking every advantage of my babies being away to rest and not worry about silly things. I planned on going on the treadmill but never got around to it.
Today, I felt rather great! I had a horrible sleep, I am sick of taking pain meds, so I wait and lie there awake thinking that the ache will stop soon and rest will come. It doesn't and eventually I choke something back and wait for the pain to stop - THEN, I am able to drift into sleep. So, although I had a horrible sleep, I woke up at 9:30am and felt "rather great"! I got my rear out of bed and put on my running shoes and hopped on the treadmill. For the first 15 minutes, every step hurt, but I tried not to compare my current state to when I could run a 10 minute mile and think that I should still be able to accomplish that. Because right now I can't. So walking is just as good.
After my walk, I ate a healthy breakfast and then climbed back into bed and read my book for a couple of hours. Again, the ache was there and I took forever to decide to choke some more meds back and then decided I should shower. The water was so warm and I could not resist filling up the tub with an amazing milk bath that my gf M gave me in March. Ginger nutmeg... made me crave fall. And I don't know why I haven't used it sooner. I am not usually one for baths. But the water helped soothe my body and my spirit yet again.
I feel hopeful that the next two week before cycle 6 will be great. I feel that I will feel more like me and less like whoever the heck is looking at me in the mirror. I am getting excited as we are wrapping up chemo, to find "me" again, and truly let her shine.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
The other reason is that I just don't want to be honest about how I feel right now. I know I am over the hump as far as chemo, but I miss my old body... even if it was overweight. At least I knew what to expect and what it did... now it is just a mess and a guessing game that I don't have time for. Nothing works like it used to it seems.
I have been feeling really down about my self image. I REALLY hate looking in the mirror. I dread looking at my "normal", un-make-up'd face, it's awful. I HATE seeing my body and what I have done to it. I totally dislike staring there for minutes wondering "What could I do today to make me look and feel more like me" when all I want to do it crawl back into bed and pull the sheets up over my head and shut the world out... letting my kids come in to tell me something cute or funny, or even angry because "so-in-so kicked me in the face", or just to give me a hug and tell me they love me. And I don't want Ken to see me like this anymore - there is nothing attractive about me when I don't feel like doing "me" up.
I am not saying all of this to get sympathy comments, that is why else I haven't wanted to tell you all how I feel. I don't want to hear that I am still so beautiful. I guess I should post a picture of what I really look like so you all know what I really see.
I do like to look at old pictures because I can still, deep down in there somewhere, see the old me. The girl who I will become again. The healthy one, who loved life and loved to move.
One thing that I do more often is laugh louder than I used to. It feels good. And I laugh more often! (Unless it is one of Ken's cheesy jokes) ;) Love you babe! It just makes the moments feel so real. And is one of the greatest doses of medicine. And I LOVE holding my man's hand while we watch our kids dance around, laugh and play with each other. And right now I find nothing more romantic that having one of our babes, crawl between us and sleep with us as we hold hands around their little head... thinking that the love that we have for one another, brought this precious (most of the time) child into our lives.
I know that my Father in Heaven is aware of my feelings and how I feel. I know that he blesses our lives in many other ways, other than with looks and how I perceive myself. He blesses us with you and your calls and your thoughtfulness and you love and support. And that means so much.
You like how I turned all that bad blab crap around at the end there???
The one sweet man who is usually on the same days as me, has to skip for a week until he starts to feel better. I was sitting by his wife who was leaning over close to her husband as she asked if I had a cold. "Yes," I said, "but I am getting better." "That is why I am leaning over this way a bit," was her remark. I felt so bad that I could have got them sick, and he is already not feeling up to par.
I brought W with me yesterday too. He has been having a really hard time with all of this. He worries a LOT. He gets a LOT of tummy aches and often asks what kind of cancer he could get. "Mom, do kids get cancer?" "Can you get eye cancer?" He has some dry scalp and Ken and I were picking at it and he wondered "Is it skin cancer?" Yesterday we were driving home from the hospital and he asked "Can I get leg cancer?" "How old was Terry Fox when he died?" "I wish you never got cancer..." THAT breaks my heart. I want him to worry about how many days until he goes back to school, where his fave toy is that C hid on him, when he'll get to play X-Box, why he has to eat cereal all the time for breakfast... I just want him to be a kid and worry about kid stuff. Not adult crap! Please pray for my little man. He needs it more than me I think.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
This is probably TMI but this is what I usually take when I have my period...
That's right, nothing.
This is my current plethora of things available to me for a whole bunch of different reasons.
Amoxi - for a throat infection, two different creams for an infection in my armpit, Tylenol and Advil at my leisure, an anti-depressant, nupeogen - complete with needles for self injections to help my white blood cells grow faster, Emend - for nausea, Dex - steroid, Super gravol, regular gravol, ondansentron - all for nausea, and hemorrhoid cream. I think that about covers it all.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It feels like there is an 80 year old woman trapped inside my body right now. My bones are so sore and it is a deep pain throughout my body.... knees, legs, hips, back, ribs, feet etc. I am sure you get the picture. Again, little nausea which is great, but may have been a little easier to control than this.
My finger tips hurt, just like they said would happen. I just can't believe how quickly these potent drugs seem to work. I know that is the point, but it is so fast. My nails have not changed colors yet, but the entire nail bed is very tender.
My eyelashes are thinning quickly, along with my brows, and I don't like to look in the mirror. I know this isn't permanent, but I am feeling very unattractive... rather gross.
We took the kids to the park yesterday and that was a huge thing for me. I actually went out. I don't like being "out" very much right now. But the kids had fun and made me remember that no matter what, I am a Mom. Their Mom. I watched W skip 4 rungs on the monkey bars; gave all the kids under-ducks; watched K try and catch butterflies; and watched C try and get some helicopters to fly. They had so much fun. We didn't stay that long, but I was so happy to be out, looking at the mountains and enjoying (not really) the heat.
I am thankful for moments of being reminded who I really am and what my purpose is here.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I am not sure today if I am sore from the yard work, or from the chemo. Like I said earlier, I have had little to no nausea and have felt pretty amazing the past three days. However this morning when I woke up, my hips and knees, were bothering me. It is not really painful, just uncomfortable. And I feel like my face looks like a big, red, balloon. I just feel swollen and sore. But I would take this any day over the last three cycles of chemo.
So currently, I am sitting in our bed, in all my beauteous glory, missing church and thinking about life. I am so happy that I can hear the birds outside. I am so happy that the sun is shining. I am so happy that I got to have a wonderful day yesterday at our little friend's baptism. She looked so beautiful. I am so happy that even though my children are coughing like freaks, they are still smiling and were so happy to go to church. I am so happy that my husband still kisses me even though I do not feel or look like me. I am happy that he loves me for me. I am so thankful for all that has been done for us and I will NEVER stop being thankful for that.
I may be a little sore and uncomfortable, but I am blessed beyond measure.
FINALLY!!!!! after chatting for a while, he told us the highly anticipated results of my last CT scan. The spots on my lungs and spleen have not changed, indicating that they are most likely lesions from being sick at some point in my life! I think I had a perma-grin plastered on my face for the rest of the day. And still do when I think of it. It is the best news that we have had all along. It was hard to wait 9 weeks to have the repeat scan done to see if anything had come of it. I hope I NEVER have to hear those words "deemed incurable" in my life. But if I do, I will fight with all I have. But for now, it is out of my vocab!
In the Book of Mormon, in the Doctrine and Covenants chapter 84:88 it reads, "... I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." This is completely true. No matter what is happening all around us in this world, the Lord is here with us, "bear[ing] us up." And for that, I am truly grateful.