Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cloudy Turned Bright, Sunny!

Today I woke up with feelings of uncertainty and dread. Tyler started a course of antibiotics last night for a sinus infection and actually felt worse this morning, and I was nervous. I never want any of my babies to be sick, but with me going into chemo tomorrow, this could possibly be the worst time! So I let Michelle check him out this morning, and luckily, it is still just a sinus infection, the antibiotics just haven't had a chance to start working yet. I was so relieved! Not that he was sick, but that it was still the something simple she thought yesterday. I hate the idea of leaving town, even for 24 hrs. with one of kids not feeling perfect...I think that's what bothered me the most this morning, was that I may have to leave this afternoon with him feeling worse. But, since then, he has had ibuprofen and eaten breakfast and said he's feeling a little better. Work, antibiotics, work! Or should I say, Work, Jesus, Work! Heal my big little boy so Mama can go start to get better without worrying that he needs her. (Although, we know a boy ALWAYS needs his mama!)

After that, I was feeling MUCH better! Enjoying the beautiful day, SO LOVING my new haircut and back to smiling! :-) Once we got back home, I did my Week 4 Day 3 homework in my Bible study. I am always uplifted when I dive into His Word; it seems no matter what the lesson may be about, it always seems to speak to just me. Like it was tailor made for me...duh, it totally is! teehee! Today's lesson was about Noah and how he had faith and stepped out in that faith despite the evilness, taunts, and jeers he heard from humanity around him. He was faithful to God, and God rewarded him. Praise God! Praise Him for the endless promises His word hold for us! You know, though, when I was reading Genesis 6 about Noah I couldn't help but keep picturing the movie "Evan Almighty!" Maybe because it was just on the other day and I watched it...twice. But how God kept trying to tell Evan what He wanted but Evan just didn't get it...his alarm clock kept going off at 6:14 am when it was set for a different time, his new congressional license plate was GEN 614, and even someone calling his office with a baby announcement said the baby weighed 6lbs. 14 oz. God was trying to get His attention, Evan just didn't get it! I am so thankful that God is relentless on us when He wants something from us, which is always! He NEVER gives up. Never tires of telling us again, and again, and AGAIN. He is constantly showing us how much He loves us and wants to be close to us, NO MATTER what we have done or how we have lived! He just wants to be close to us! It is like a parents' love times infinity! How awesome is that??! God is so good! Thankful doesn't even begin to describe how I feel! Praise God that He never gives up on us!

From Psalm 91:
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
11 For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
14 "Because He loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Another Pic!

My phone is slowly cooperating...here is another pic of my haircut!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A New Me!



What a difference a haircut can make! I feel F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C! Actually, strangely, I feel grown up! 13 years of marriage and 3 kids and I get a new haircut and feel grown up! LOL! I can't believe I didn't do it before! Now I'm kinda mad that it's gonna fall out! Ha! Hey, but at least at this short length, it won't take as long to grow back out to here. Lacey did such a great job cutting it and Michelle and my mom were sitting there going, "Why didn't you cut it sooner??" But it was such fun! All the kids took a turn cutting a big chunk of hair off...they really enjoyed that! There was so much hair on the floor! Wow, I bet I lost weight, seriously. And I can feel the wind on my neck...cool!
Check out all that hair! Geez!!


Today was SUCH a busy day! I had all three kids in PB...dentist for me, orthodontist for Tyler, and an eye exam for Zachary. Katie was just along for the ride. Thrown into our to-do list, was new jeans for Zachary, prescriptions to pick up, and a Walmart list a mile long. I was so glad when Tyler said he didn't have to be back by 3 for practice. I could've made it, but it would have been pushing it! But we had a good day. It was very normal...which was very nice.

I was running this morning, listening to some praise and worship music, trucking along, when a song from my childhood popped into my head. It was a song that we always sang at revival when David and Geneva Bentley would come to our church once a year. It went,





"The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear. The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear. The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind."


As soon as I finished 4 miles, I hopped off and googled it (!), so I could see where it came from...it's 2 Timothy 1:7. Thank goodness for internet access! Ha! Anyway, it is perfect of course, as any thing in God's Word is, and spoke to me, as anything in God's Word does, if you listen to it. That anxiety I'm feeling about diagnosis or treatment is not what God wants for me, it is the devil that gives us fear. God gives is FAITH! And faith is much stronger than fear, anyday! Praise God for that! Praise God that we can count on Him because He is with us always!



More and better pics tomorrow...my phone is being cantankerous tonight!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Trip Up North

Another day, another trip to St. Louis! I probably shouldn't say that yet because, as we found out for sure today, we will be going EVERY SINGLE DAY WEEKDAY for 6 weeks come spring! But, except for the cost of gas, it will be ok. It will fly by, I'm sure! It's only 6 weeks. So yeah, we really liked the radiation oncologist we met today. She was so nice! And if I had to wish for one thing (besides being uber-smart, of course!) is that he/she is warm and fuzzy nice. I dunno. It's just my personality-type! I NEED that! And she was totally warm and fuzzy nice! And, like I said, she recommended 6 weeks of M-F radiation following chemotherapy.

After that we went to the cardiac testing area for my echo cardiogram. They needed a baseline scan of my heart because the Herceptin that I will be taking for a year has a small chance of causing heart muscle damage. So now they will have something to compare future scans to, if they need it. I pray they won't. That was a fairy easy test, though. I laid on a bed in a dark room while they ultrasounded my chest. Man, am I tired of taking my shirt off! My poor hubby! The only time he has seen my chest lately is when they are testing or examining me for something! LOL! Probably tmi, but it had to be said! Haha!

After that, I made a short dash across campus to grab a Starbucks while he waited for our car at valet. Then we headed for home...well not home, Tyler's ballgame. We made it there at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. I think he was happy we made it. They lost but I'm really glad we were there. Zach and Katie were glad too! Katie especially. She has been a mama's girl lately, I think because of all the trips we have been making to drs and stuff, and that is completely unlike our normal routine. She is ALWAYS with me...my little sidekick. So tonight, my incision is feeling better and I think we are going to take the body pillow out from between us so we can snuggle! We always snuggle! Maybe I'm kinda excited, too! teehee

Tomorrow I am going to PB to get my teeth cleaned (have to do it before chemo starts) and take Tyler to the orthodontist for a check-up. We will probably make a Walmart run through the grocery aisles, and then hopefully have time to go to lunch somewhere other than a drive-through. Uck! I am so ready for Friday to get here...I guess so I can get my first-treatment jitters over with. And because the sooner we start the sooner we finish!

Ooh, and I may get my hair cut tomorrow evening! Short!! I'm kinda excited about it! Of course I'll post pics if I do it! Night!

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." Matthew 6:33

"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14

Monday, October 27, 2008

Working Monday

I am having a great Monday! I got up this morning and got my boys off to school, Katie was snuggled on the couch watching Dora, and I went downstairs to hop on the treadmill FOR A RUN!! I ran 3 miles before I needed a break! I stopped to turn on my praise and worship music and check on Katie then I hopped back on and ran another 1/2 mile, then walked a 1/2 mile. It.felt.amazing. 4 miles of mind/body/soul therapy! I did notice, however, that my incision, which is on the lower side, was a little more bruised afterwards this morning, but I guess that's ok. Probably just associated with the bouncing, even though I had two sports bras on. But I will be mindful to take it very slow and easy.

It is COLD here today! Now, I know I waited and waited for fall weather so I'm not going to complain, but today the temp at noon was 49! Geez! But it does feel nice. I have spent the majority of my day totally immersed in my week 4 Bible study. See, even my lunch was eaten at my dining room table with my computer! My, how I love Beth Moore! God is totally using her as a tool to reach women everywhere about faith, believing, and God's unfailing love. I am so thankful to be a child of God and so thankful that He is always there and that He loves me. I am so unworthy of His unfailing love, yet I know He doesn't see me that way and I am so thankful! Praise Jesus!

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

We have to go the STL tomorrow to meet with the Radiation Oncologist. It is a consult appointment and I'm assuming she will be going over with us the exact course of treatment for radiation when chemo ends. I also have to have a baseline echo cardiogram tomorrow. The Herceptin that I will be taking for a year has a small percent chance that it could damage the heart muscle or something...so Dr. P wanted to get a baseline echo in case we need to compare them later. Be in prayer that my heart won't be beating a million miles a minute while we do the test! Talk about a wacked out reading; they certainly won't be getting an accurate resting heart rate! Ha!

In just a few minutes, Katie and I will be making our daily trek to the school to pick up Zachary; Tyler has basketball practice today. We are getting our flu shots today, too. Ugh, that may ruin Katie's afternoon. Then it's haircuts for the boys...maybe me! I'm thinking about getting a lot of my hair cut this week. I thought I would go short (for me) this week, then very short next week. Kind of a gradual thing before I shave it. It's so long, and I've pretty much always had it long, so I'm actually kind of excited about cutting it. I'm so curious to see what I would look like with short hair! Now seems to be the perfect time to experiment! I don't know if I'll do it today, or just look at Lacey's books, but we'll see! Have a great rest of your afternoon, all!

God Bless!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Award Winning!

Thanks to the FABULOUS Julz from Simple and Divine, I have received my first blog award! Thanks, doll, for the shout-out!! Julz has been a sourch of booty-kicking inspiration ever since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in mid-September. I told her that I can tell when a message is from her before I even finish reading it because I'm ready to stand up and kickbox something before I'm even finished! And, that's exactly what I'm doing...kickboxing breast cancer into oblivion! So thank you, Julz, for my award and most of all for inspiring me to stand tall and proud and FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!! *fist bump & hugs*





I, in turn, am awarding 7 of my own favorite blogs...in no particular order. I hope you come to enjoy them as much as I have:

So congratulations all! And even more, thank you for being an inspiration to me in one way or another!

We are off to take the kids to see a movie today and eat some delicious mexican food, and check out the progress on our cabin! Yay for a beautiful day out! Hope ya'll have a blessed Sunday!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Celebrate!


Praise Jesus! More good news! The dr called last night from STL to tell us that there was no residual cancer left in the tissue she removed on Wed.! She said that she had the path lab working overtime so she could get us the results by the weekend. And, yes, it TOTALLY MADE our weekend! So, with all the scans having come back clear on Tues. night and now last night's report, she said I am officially CANCER-FREE! Now it's just on to step two...taking my medicine (chemo and radiation) to ensure that any microscopic bits that may be floating around are also gone forever! Boy, it sure makes the whole chemo thing easier to take knowing that there is nothing else to fight! After she called last night, we went out to dinner to celebrate our good news. And I had the best night's sleep in probably a month!

There's not a whole lot going on today around here. It is going to be a beautiful day, mid-60s and sunny. Too bad I can't drive yet, or go for a run..ooohhhh that would hurt right now! Ha! Jack is going to work today because our trips to STL have put us a little behind so the kids and I will probably just chill here. My sister, Jessica, may come over today to hang out. I hope so!

I hope you all have as beautiful of a day as we are having here and are able to get out and enjoy it!


Friday, October 24, 2008

7 Days 'til Halloween

Guess what?? Only 7 more days until Halloween! Katie has been counting down for the past month! She is excited! She is going to be Supergirl this year. I'll admit, I kind of steered her that way to avoid going the "princess" route again. We've really worn out the whole Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, etc. costumes in the past years! So when we saw Supergirl, she liked it and so did I! Tyler has officially grown out of the whole dressing up thing. And Zachary kinda wants to, but kinda doesn't. He said he may just throw on something or other. Works for me! We don't really go all out for Halloween...it's all about the candy and trick-or-treating around here! Our church started a new tradition for Halloween called "Trunk or Treat" where groups of people from our church decorate their cars, or inside tables for inclement weather, and you can go around and get candy and a message from each group. It has become quite the outreach.


We have a population of less than 1,000 in our town, so it is kind of an intimate holiday. We take our kids to the same neighborhoods and peoples' houses that I went to as a kid...the older people "can't believe I have kids that are trick-or-treating!" and "I remember when you were that age!" We hear that a lot! Benefits of growing up in a small town, I guess.


My favorite Halloween benefit comes when the kids have gone through their candy and have went off to bed...because then I can go through it all, too, and pick out some of my favorites! Shhhh...teehee!


The weather is beautiful today! The kids are out of school for parent-teacher conferences and have spent the entire day outside playing with the puppies. They are pooped out! The puppies and the kids! Michelle's kids, Hailey and Spencer, are here today playing. They all just came inside, probably to gather more energy to take back outside to play football. They were teaching Rex and Riley to play this morning. It was too cute! Yellow little furballs rolling around over a football...lol!


There is nothing else going on today. I have all my laundry done, and the housecleaning that needs to be done I can't do just yet, like vacuuming, mopping, the kind of stuff that requires a lot of arm/core work. Because my core hurts! So, I am catching up on General Hospital today and curling up in a blanket by the fireplace, listening to my kids play. It's a nice way to spend the day, I think!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What A Day!

Me waiting in pre-op! Au-natural!
Kim and Jack waiting with me...doesn't he look excited?!

Me and Kim...1st post op pic!


WOW! What a day we had yesterday! As far as the pics, I hate that you can't wear make-up or contacts! Just a little mascara would've helped! Ha! So yesterday Kim and I went to the fitness room at the hotel and walked a couple of miles; I didn't want to overdo it, though because I couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight. So we did that and headed over to the medical center to get our surgery on! I was so excited when my surgeon came in and said that we could do it with a local and a MAC (monitored anesthesia care), which means the local area will be numbed up (obviously!) but the anesthesia consists of a "don't care shot" and light sedation, which doesn't require the tube down the throat, basically you are breathing on your own. You come of out of it faster, and greatly decrease your chance of sickness. Now that's what I'm talking about! But they did give me plenty of anti-nausea medication and I requested no morphine, because we're not actually sure which made me sick.


We did the procedure, everything went perfect, woke up great and was ready to go about 1 1/2-2 hrs. later. We were on our way home, in search of a Starbucks, and I thought my bra was too tight. So I had Kim loosen it and it still felt tight. As I felt my breast, it was hard and huge! We're talking like Girls Next Door huge! And standing up all perky! If it wasn't so painful, I would've told them to make the other side match! LOL! Anyway, I called them and they said to come back and let them take a look, some thing was not right. It really hurt by the time we got back, only about 15 mins. later. My surgeon was finishing up another procedure and so she came to take a look and apparently a blood vessel was bleeding under the skin. And building up, BIG! So unfortunately that meant another trip back to the OR. Ugh. So they restarted my iv, and we did the local again and she went in and cleaned it up. She said it was still bleeding a little so that was good, she could see exactly where it was coming from. She tied it off and waited awhile to check it all out, then reclosed the incision. That poor place on my boobie! It has been opened and reopened now 4 times! :-( After that she said we could stay or go home, it was up to us...of course we opted to come home! I'm so glad we did! Our kids were so glad to see us and we were SO GLAD to see them!! But even through the extra procedure, it was going to be hard to get me down after the fabulous news we had gotten the evening before!


When we get the path report for this procedure, it will hopefully show all clear margins and I will be cancer-free! All that would need to happen now is to take my medicine...chemo and radiation. I am over the moon excited about the clear scans and that my procedures are over! God is so good! He has had His hand on me throughout this whole ordeal, and I am praying that He will continue to guide us and watch over us. I hope you all are having a great Thursday!
"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom." Psalm 145:3









Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God Is Good!

Hey all! I have very happy news to report from yesterday's testing. I had a bone scan and a ct scan to determine if the cancer has spread. As you probably guessed from the "happy news" part, they came back clean!!! Praise God! The dr called us last night to tell us the exciting news. I'm so glad he didn't wait! We had gone out to St. Louis Mills outlet mall to do some shopping and get away from the hospital setting when he called my hubby. I was getting ready to try on pants in the dressing room and I had to (after I called my mom and sisters of course!) get down on my knees in the dressing room in NikeTown and give pure thanks to God. I was praying for strength and strong faith that they would be clean and He answered prayer! After that, I was REALLY in the mood to shop...and eat ice cream! *lol* So after today's procedure, I should be cancer-free and ready to take my meds (chemo and radiation). But just knowing that there is nothing else to fight, is truly prayers answered. Thank you, God!

On a side note, interestingly, the only thing the bone scan showed was mild shin splints from my running. :-D

So I just wanted to get this quick post in to share my fabulous news! I am praying for an easy and quick procedure today and no anesthesia-sickness!! Hope ya'll have a great day!

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday

Morning all! I had a great night's sleep last night! Probably the best without medication in awhile! Ha! My hubby, on the other hand, was up and down all night. I know I heard him shut off the alarm and go out to check on the puppies more than once! Making sure nothing was getting them I guess. ;-) I guess it was a good thing we got them both because they have been snuggled up in one little light yellow ball of fur every time we've checked on them. The kids were even up bright and early cleaning the pen area, changing the water, and getting them food...I wonder how long this will last??

I felt like I finally got back on my routine this morning. I walked/ran on the treadmill for 45 minutes this morning, 3 1/2 miles. Yay! I probably would have ran a little more, but I forgot to put on a second sports bra to minimize any bouncing; not that they are that big, but to keep my incisions from tugging! Lol! But it felt great, a little weird, but great. So now here I am, getting my blog on, watching The View as I type (I love Hot Topic days!), and getting ready to dive into my 3rd week of my Bible study that Jenna and I are doing together. I look forward to my "homework" every day...now that's a first!

As you can see, I dug into breakfast before I remembered to take a picture! I made myself a parfait this morning with mixed berries, vanilla Light & Fit yogurt, and sprinkled some Kashi Honey Almond Flax cereal on top (my favorite part).

My oncologist's office just called and set up my appointments for tomorrows scans; a bone scan and a CT scan. Then my clean-up procedure on Wednesday, which is same day...thank goodness! As long as they give me something to prevent me from getting anesthesia-sick I'm in good shape. Then they have scheduled my first chemo treatment for Friday, October 31. I'm a little bummed about it because we have "little" kids and Halloween is a big deal for them! I always take cupcakes and treats to the classes, and of course there is the trick-or-treating that evening. :-( But my appointment is at 10:30am and they said to allow about 5 hrs for my first treatment, because they have to keep me longer afterwards to watch for reactions to the medicines and stuff. So that puts it at 3:30pm before we can leave STL. And probably 7pm before we get home. Maybe we will have time to take them trick-or-treating when we get back. I hope so.

Well I'm going to get on with the day. Tyler has a ballgame tonight so it's another busy one around here! Hope you have a good Monday!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Meet Rex and Riley!

Meet the newest additions to our home...Rex and Riley! We took a little road trip today about 2 hrs. to pick up our newest additions. Rex and Riley are 8-week old Golden Retrievers and they are the cutest things EVER! We set out today to get ONE puppy, but came home with two. How did that happen, you may ask?? Well we get there and the lady had this one little puppy that had his nose snapped at by another dog a week ago. So she couldn't sell him for what she was selling the others for. So for the cost of the shots and wormer, we got another puppy. I was SO not into the idea, but now that we have them both here, at home, brothers with each other, I'm so glad we did. They have each other and are so precious to watch! They just play and roll over one another like little butterballs! So cute! We had the name Rex picked out already for the ONE puppy we were supposed to get, so it took us the whole way home to come up with Riley.



The ride home was quite interesting! We live in a rural area in southeast Missouri. Ozark country. That means rolling hills and valleys. No straight roads hardly. Not exactly the best thing for our daughter who gets carsick, and two puppies who have never been in a car. Katie threw up on the way to get the puppies. We had to stop not 30 minutes after we left the house. Rex first got sick on Tyler not long after we got in the car. We knew it was coming, too! He was whimpering and moaning...oh yeah. It was gross. But we were cracking up! Tyler was like, "Uh, Mom, he puked on me...uh, yeah, all over me." It was so deadpan serious, we just died laughing! Then after he cleaned that up, he pooped on him! For that one we had to pull over! It was hilarious! And disgusting! And now my car smells like a barnyard...ugh. So it is in the garage, all the windows rolled down, trying to air out. I hope it smells better by tomorrow!



It was a beautiful day to be out and about. It was pure sunshine, and no clouds in the sky. It was 65 degrees and just lovely! This is my very favorite weather ever! It would have been perfect to go for a run today (since I got permission!!) but family time trumped personal time. It was a "perfect" day! So maybe tomorrow, I will get to get back on track. For now, anyway, my hubby went to go get pizza and when he comes back we will settle in to watch Desperate Housewives (it's DVR-ing right now so we can skip commercials!). I hope ya'll had as wonderful a day as we did!





    A new verse I came across today; lovely, beautiful, powerful:

  • "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9




Saturday, October 18, 2008

Science Lesson

First of all, our trip to St. Louis yesterday went GREAT! We met with the surgeon, who took out my drain (Yay!!) and said I could start running again...her actual words were "Take off!" So that was awesome! Then we had a little break before we met with the oncologist. We went across the street to Applebee's, had a bite of lunch, then went back to the medical center. I REALLY like my doctor! He was fantastic, optimistic, and took sooo much time with us...all the things that are very important to me.

Are your ready for a science lesson in breast cancer?? Here goes...Breast cancer is fed by a certain receptor in the body,estrogen, progesterone, or the HER2 protein, these receptors act as vitamins for the cancer. HER2 is the least common, occuring in 20% of cases...ready for this...my cancer is fed by ALL THREE. Geez. He said it's actually a mixed blessing to have the HER2 because while it makes the cancer more aggressive,the medicine given for it makes the whole chemo process 50% more effective. The drug for it, Herceptin, is given along with the chemo and has little to no side effects. He said he has no
reason to believe that it has spread, but there is no way to know until they do the scans. So, my treatment outline is:

Surgery next Tuesday to remove the last microscopic bits of the cancer...theyare extremely confident that this will happen.

Chemo will start in 2 wks (from now). I am having the TCH therapy (abbreviations for the names of the drugs, with the H being the Herceptin). I will have 6 treatments, each being 3 weeks apart, but the Herceptin portion will continue up until the year mark. So I will be going to STL every 3 weeks for the next year for treatment. But the good news is, after the 6 chemo treatments, it will just be the iv Herceptin, with no side effects so my hair will start to grow back, more energy, etc. So, like my hubby was saying, after that it's just a shopping trip! Yeah!

After the 6 chemo treatments, 6 weeks of radiation will begin, daily 5x/week for the 6 weeks. That's the part that will totally suck because we are 3 hrs from STL..lots of driving, lots of trips. Meh. But one trip at a time, different "partners in crime" to go with me, and it will fly by I'm sure.

I will also have to start anti-estrogen pills, and get my IUD taken out, since it's the Mirena and emits a low amount of progestrone.

He said that we are not treating this cancer, we are CURING it. It is a total fluke that I have it, with no family history, no genetic mutations, etc. He said we are going for the CURE. YOU HEAR THAT?? THE CURE! That was music to my ears, and exactly what I needed to hear! We left there very positive and excited! My prayer right now is that when we do the scans on Tuesday, it will show no spread anywhere else and we can continue treatment as it has been laid out. He told me to keep running, keep doing what I'm doing. He said running is good for me and as long as I feel like it, to do it. Yay! He said I may be tired a couple of days on the weeks of the chemo treatment, but he will give me medicine for the nausea, and I will def lose my hair. I think I surprised him when I saidthat's ok, cause I have already bought my wig and I actually like it better than my real hair! Ha!

So, that's it in a nutshell. We are ready to rock and get started and get it over with! Thank you for your continued prayers, please continue!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Memory Jogger

Time to get back to delicious-ness! For lunch, I had a Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger on a Whole Wheat Light English Muffin with a slice of rf colby cheese and a Oikos Blueberry Greek Yogurt. Soooo good! I haven't had one of these burgers in over a month, so I reminded my mouth just how wonderful they are! And I noticed I only have one left so I'd better get grocery shopping! On the side, a blueberry Oikos...mmmmmm. OK, off to do some banking, some mail, and some kid-picking-up!

Active Recovery

So I'm back! And yeah, there's a food picture on my blog! Thank you, Jenna, for encouraging me to get back to it. Not only does it give me something else to think about, but it's also more "normal"! Yay for normal! Breakfast was an oatmeal and egg white pancake (hadn't had one in awhile and it was fantastic) and some mixed berries and vanilla yogurt. Delish and just as filling as I had remembered!

I have been busy recovering since the last time I posted. Active recovery, with a hubby and 3 kids...but recovery nonetheless! We have been going to Tyler's basketball games like crazy, the season actually winds down in the next 2 weeks. They have done pretty well! Tyler has grown up so much this year, there's something about Jr. High that will do that to ya! He has these girls that text him all the time, and are now saying "hi" to me at his ballgames (what?) and trying to play with Katie, too. Uh huh, trying to get it with the 'rents...I see. I may be young, but I was not born yesterday! *lol* It's quite a trip.

I have also spent the last week completely immersing myself in a new Bible study. I decided to do Beth Moore's Believing God study offered on Lifeway's website. It is all online, so that is very cool! I am so psyched about it. I find myself wanting to do the daily "homework" and am anxious to see what God is going to reveal to me everyday. And, boy is He working! My new favorite verses are:

  • "Do not be afraid...just believe." Mark 5:36
  • "...Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:10
  • "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

And these aren't even the tip of the iceberg of the great strength and joy I have gained from fully trusting in the LORD. My hubby told me the other day that I was so strong and he admired me so much...I just had to point upwards, because that is where my strength come from. I'm not necessarily strong...I am stubborn! So maybe God has used that stubbornness to turn into strength and positivity for me and my family and friends. Yay for Him to use it for His Glory!

I have also stumbled across another positive thing this last 2 weeks. I have been a little spoiled! My friend, Lacey, who is a stylist, has been washing my hair for me (cause I can't raise my right arm above my head until they take the drain out, grrr), and Kim has been washing it this week at Lacey's shop because Lacey is in Mexico on vacay, Kim has also cleaned my bathrooms (poor girl, boys bathrooms are the worst!), Michelle has been my caretaker by changing bandages, cleaning wounds, and just being THERE, and to top it off my sister, Layne and her precious boy Ethan were here for a little over a week; there's nothing better than sister time! My girls, I tell ya, they are the best! I don't what I would have done without them. So, yeah there has been many positives of being post-op!

This Friday we go back to St. Louis to the drs. First is the surgeon who will be taking out the drain...can you say WOO-HOO! I am SO excited about the drain being gone. I feel like I am tethered down with this darn thing...even though I am clearly not. It safety pins to my sports bra and has all but quit draining, so I'm not even having to empty it that often, but it's THERE. And that's enough. I am so excited for them to take it out on Friday! I think the first thing I want to do on Saturday is try to go for a run! Oh, I hope I can! I haven't been able to do ANYTHING for the last 2 weeks. It's been 2 weeks today since I have went for a run...I miss it soooo much! I miss the endorphins, strength, and time to think. So I am hoping I will be able to at least walk/jog some on Saturday. So, anyway, we will do that and we will talk about the next clean-up procedure set for next Wed. Ugh. But at least it is same-day and they will give me something for the post-anesthesia nausea (which was the worst part). Then we will go meet the oncologist. I am anxious to meet him. I hope he's nice. I mean like, warm and fuzzy kind of nice. I need that as a patient. His picture looks nice and my surgeon says he's "very cool." That's good. "Cool" will do, too. And he's the medical director of the whole cancer institute (Siteman Cancer Center)...that HAS to be good!

Anyway, now that my breakfast is posted, it's almost time for lunch...ha! Hope you all are having a great day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stomp It Out



LOVE this graphic! A friend of mine posted it on her myspace page for me and I thought it was super cool!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pure Good News!

Pure good news here!

My dr called this evening with fantastic news! My genetic testing that we had done for the BRCA 1 and 2 genes results came back this evening. The results were negative! This is such good news because it would mean that my risk for breast cancer returning after we deal with this bout would be 90% and my risk for ovarian cancer would also be through the roof. So if they had come back positive, it would have meant a double mastectomy and reconstruction, and after chemo and radiation, then a hysterectomy to prevent the ovarian cancer. My mom and dad, sisters, and brother were all over here at our house having dinner when the dr called. It was like a giant cheer went up when I told them! It was such a fun moment! Just pure good news. Nothing I had to look for the silver lining for, or spin in a positive way....just 100% pure good news! Praise God! I have read Psalm 57 over and over this evening, wondering where it has been the last two weeks...it is perfect, as all of God's Word truly is and absolutely spoke to my heart:

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose, for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness. I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts-men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exaulted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. They spread a net for me feet-I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path-but they have fallen into it themselves. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exaulted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth." Psalm 57

Good News and Less-Than-Good News

Ugh..... Let me just start off with that! So the surgeon called yesterday, and we have a good news, less-than-good news situation. I am focusing on the positive so I am not going to say "bad news" because the overall news was GOOD. The good news, only 3 of the 6 lymph nodes she removed in surgery last Wed. came back positive. Yay! That is really the best news ever, because if they had all come back positive we would be looking for more affected areas. So *sigh* of relief. But, where she did the "clean up" from the very first procedure, to get clean margins around the cavity, wasn't completely clean. It was all good except for 4mm (ugh so tiny!) on the lower margin. So 4mm wide of the whole perimeter she took out showed cancer cells. So that requires another surgery to go back in and clean out a little further down to ensure she gets it all. I couldn't believe it when she told me that yesterday! I was like, "what??" She said there is no way to test in the OR with breast tissue because it has to be frozen and placed in a special solution and it takes like 48 hrs or something. So, we are keeping the appt with her on the 17th as planned for her to take out the drain under my arm and then we will set it up for the next week to do the clean up procedure. It will at least be same day, and I shouldn't even have to be stuck for anything either since I have this handy-dandy port she put in during the last surgery. I am focusing on the positive! I would much rather have this result than the opposite. She said she would normally recommend a mastectomy at this point to a patient, but she doesn't think so in my case because she has the mri results and what is there is so minimal with no other abnormalities in the rest of the breast. It is kind of in a tricky location, and we knew that going in. Where the lump was, was right where the underwire of a bra lays. Right in the crease. So, like she said, we are almost out of breast tissue in that area. So, one more time we will go in and clean it out. I plan on telling her, "take as far as you need, do whatever you have to, to get it all this time." I am ready to have this step over!

Also on the 17th, we are meeting with the oncologist who will set up the chemo and take care of me during treatments. So we will have a busy day in the city. Maybe that day we can make a trip out to Whole Foods!

My sister and Ethan are still here and I am so glad! They are staying at my mom and dad's and they will be here this morning to hang with me today. He is at the age where he is discovering everything...thanks to my handsome perfect nephew, my house is now baby-proofed! It works out perfect! Although, I think I did hear my sister say something about a "pen" yesterday, and Katie mentioned a "cage." Lol! I LOVE having them here and I hope they can stay awhile.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Good Sunday

I am enjoying a beautiful day today! After a great night of sleep, I took a bath this morning! Don't laugh...and don't underestimate the joy of a good, warm bath after 3 days of sponge-bathing! Then, my hubby took me to my friend, Lacey's shop so she could wash and straighten my hair...fabulous. I can't lift my right arm over my head until they take this flippin drain out so it works out great that she can just wash and fix it every 3 days or so for me...I may milk this part just a l.i.t.t.l.e longer! *teehee* But now my hair is silky soft and smells so good, no wonder the sun is shining today!
But it is a beautiful day today. The sun is shining and it is warmer today, which you know I could do with the cooler, but it is beautiful nonetheless. I opted for a change of scenery today. After I got my hair done, my sister picked me up and we came out to mom and dad's to have dinner and chill for the day. I love my house, but it feels really good to be out for awhile. And to get some good home-cooking never hurts either! We are planning on going for a walk too, this afternoon. I am REALLY looking forward to that...I've been missing my exercise endorphins bigtime!!
My sister and I have BIG plans for the evening...it's 2 hours of straight tv tonight. From Desperate Housewives, to Girls Next Door, to Kimora, it's gonna be a good night of tv watching at our house! I'm so glad she's here!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Much Needed

(L to R) Layne, Erica, Jessica

Sister time is totally what I needed! My sister came down yesterday from KC-area with her son Ethan, and they are the best medicine I could have! We are doing absolutely nothing, and it is wonderful! Ethan just turned one and is toddling around the house, smiling and just being cute. My kids love him! Tyler is a good watcher-outer, Zachary is a perfect play buddy, and Katie is a teensy bit jealous! She is a little more protective of her baby dolls and her toys when Ethan is around. It's too cute.


But it's been a good day. My post-op pain has been much better today. I'm still pretty sore, though. I've been trying not to do too much but it is so hard to watch my family and friends (and hubby!) do the things that I normally do. I am a very independent person when it comes to taking care of my home and family, but I'm trying to do better! ;-) Hope you all had a great start to the weekend!




Katie, Ethan, Zachary, and Tyler at Ethan's 1st birthday party! He looks ready for cake, huh?!
"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light." Micah 7:8



Friday, October 3, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It feels so good to be home. I am sitting in my recliner watching "Regis and Kelly" and typing away on my flamingo pink laptop. Ahhhh, this is the life! Lol! Kim is here with me today...she is on her laptop, too. I'm sure we look pretty comical both sitting here typing and gossiping the day away! Haha!

I was so glad to see my little ones when we got home yesterday. I know they were glad to be home, too. As soon as we got home, though, Jack had to turn around and go to Tyler's basketball game about 20 minutes away. My mom came to keep me company while the men and kids went to the game. We got take out salads for dinner (with extra breadsticks!), watched the vp debate, and emptied and measured my drain...ya know, typical evening!

I slept so good last night. I was a little surprised because I figured I would have to get up to take pain medicine or empty my drain, or something else during the night. But nope! We went to bed around 10pm, and I didn't wake up until 6am. I awoke feeling rested and recharged. Yay!

Today is a beautiful day outside! You know how I've been longing for that crisp, fall weather? Well it's here and I am so glad! I hope it stays around. But it really makes me miss running. I wish I could just lace up and take off for the park this morning...but I will soon enough I guess. But I am looking forward to going to the park to at least walk before the weekend is over. Yay for fall!

I guess I always knew that Breast Cancer Awareness month was October, but I never paid much attention to it until now. Ironically, I had my surgery on October 1, the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness month (and my dad's 60th b-day) and ever since then the BCA promotions are EVERYWHERE! The ladies on The View are featuring all kinds of pink products with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, Wednesday night in St. Louis they lit the arch pink in honor of BCA month. I wish I could have seen it from my hospital room, but at least they showed it on the news. But it is everywhere! It makes me feel very "not alone" right now...it's very important I think that you don't ever feel like you are fighting this battle alone.

My mom just got off the phone with my sister, Layne. She and her son Ethan (who just turned 1) are on their way here to hang out with us for awhile. Her hubby, Brett, works at Whiteman Airforce Base near Kansas City, and he can't come but she and Ethan will be here for several days. I am so excited that she is coming for awhile! I thought she was just coming for the weekend, so I am super-stoked that she can stay longer! Sister time is perfect medicine! My other sister is gone to Texas for the weekend so I will see her next week. My baby brother will pop in and out this weekend I'm sure, too. My family has been wonderful and I couldn't ask a more loving and supportive family. I hope you all have been blessed with a fantastic family as well!

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Post Op

It's over! In my "game to recovery" from breast cancer, I have rounded first base! My surgery went off without a hitch yesterday. I went into the or around 11:15am and it took about 2 hours. They did the lumpectomy, using the same incision from my last procedure and cleaned that site out. They also put in a port for future blood work and chemo, and then took all the lymph nodes out from underneath my arm. We took them all out because the biopsy showed a couple of them positive for cancer, and when she was taking them all out yesterday she said she saw the couple that looked abnormal, but the others looked fine. So I am praising God today for the smooth procedure, and that the outcome will be just that. I have never had general anesthesia before, so we weren't sure if I would have any side effects from it or not....I did. I was so nauseous from the time I woke up until about 9:30pm. It took a couple of different kinds of medicine to take it all away, I'm sure glad they figured it out! That was probably the most miserable I have ever been. My pain isn't too bad, mostly just really uncomfortable. But not too bad that I couldn't sleep; I was exhausted. It was the constant checking of my vitals, emptying my drain, shutting off my beeping iv that woke me every once in a while. But it must be done.

We will be going home today, thankfully. It will be little crazy getting out of here today. We are on the campus of WashU here in St. Louis, the site of tonight's vp debate. It kinda exciting with everything going on...satellite trucks all over the place, secret service sweeps, and the general preparations, it's really neat! We are watching cbs on tv and they are broadcasting right across the campus from us, but I'm ready to get back to my babies and my house. I hope the ride is comfortable and quick! Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers...I felt so calm going into surgery yesterday, and I know that kind of peace only comes from God. I'll post again later, probably when we get home. Home, yay!!