Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don’t Stop…Get It, Get It…

I am so sorry for the lack of posting  last week!  It has been a week of busy-ness.  This was my first full week of radiation in STL.  As far as radiation goes, it is going great.  It just a lot of driving…A LOT.  It is, essentially, 6 hours of driving for 6 minutes of treatment, every day.  We stayed the night twice last week and that helped some but the whole driving thing is exhausting.  And I’m not entirely sure that staying a couple of times last week saved me much because both times were also turned into major outing and shopping expeditions.  It just felt so good to get out and about, doing normal stuff that I couldn’t help myself!  I did make use of the hotels fitness room both times.  So far, my running hasn’t suffered, but I am thinking of lowering my expectations for the weeks to come.  Last week I did 34 miles and had two days off so I was very happy.  We’ll see how it goes this week when I will be making the drive every day.  Zachary has 3 games this week (all away), Tyler has his first baseball game and a tournament on Saturday as well as 8th grade prom.  In looking at the schedules, this looks to be the worst of the 5 weeks left.  But I am up for the challenge!  106

My sister and I took Katie to the Magic House last week in STL.  Our parents had taken us there when we were little and I had forgotten how much fun it was!!  Katie had the most fun ever!  She said, “This truly IS a magical house!” 

   045 049  104 070057

And yesterday, Zachary’s 5th grade basketball team won first place at their all-day tournament!!  They did such a great job and played so hard.  It was a great way to spend our Saturday!  (Even though I didn’t get to sleep in, which I so desperately wanted to do!)

zach_tourney zach_inbound zach_shot

zach_ft3 zach_tourney1

And today is my hubby’s 34th birthday, so we just finished UNC punch their ticket to the Final Four next weekend and we are about to have dinner and relax!  Just exactly what we all wanted to do!  Happy Birthday, Sweetheart…the love of my life!

jacknerica

So here goes another week…if I don’t post much (and I probably won’t!) forgive me, and you’ll know why!  Please pray for us as we cross another week off our list!  ONLY 26 MORE!!  Love ya’ll! 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Different Weekends

I have a feeling that my weekends are going to take on a whole new meaning for the next 6 weeks.  I usually see the weekends as a time to plan something fun, go somewhere different, and of course, eat somewhere good!  But now I think they will consist of time to sleep in, spend time with my family, and leave the house as little as possible…lol!  I have only been in STL 3 days this week and I am pooped!  Starting next week it will be 5 days/week…sheesh! 

I was beyond exhausted last night when I went to bed, I slept until 9am this morning…I can’t remember the last time I slept until 9…I know, sad right?!  I woke up feeling MUCH better and rested, but I still don’t want to do much.  I did get on the treadmill this morning and did a 5K, 3.1 miles of a nice easy run/walk and that made me feel good.  I need to find a good balance of not doing too much but still doing enough these next couple of months.  Because, as you probably have experienced at one time or another, if you do nothing but lay around all day that’s all you’re going to feel like doing, but if you do too much you’re not doing yourself any favors either.  So I need to find a new happy medium for the next 6 weeks!  I’m sure I will figure it out as it goes on.  But as I keep reminding myself every day, it is only 6 weeks…not forever.  This is totally doable.  Period.

radiation

 

BTW, this is what my radiation “machine” looks like.  Kinda like a big water faucet, huh?  Completely painless and VERY quick.  My treatments take about 5-10 minutes.  WOOHOO! 

 

 

Well I am off to watch some BASKETBALL!!  North Carolina plays today at 445pm so I am looking forward to that game very much.  But my bracket is looking pretty sad with all the upsets yesterday!  Have a great weekend friends!   

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Radiation Day 1

As I type I am sitting in a hotel in STL, after a wonderful girls’ day!  We have had lunch, been to 2 malls, are now relaxing in the hotel playing online and watching tv, trying to decide where we want to go for dinner, and we may go see a movie later.  Oh yeah, and I had my first radiation treatment this morning!  Cross #1 off the list!  WooHoo!!  It was, by far, the easiest thing I have done in the last 6 months.  I just had to lay there!  It was also the fastest dr’s appointment I’ve ever had.  Praise God!  I have my schedule in hand for the next 6 weeks and everything is going to be fantastic.  I am so excited that I have now started this part of my treatment and am looking forward to crossing the days off my list!  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let The Countdown Begin…Tomorrow

Well yesterday was my final setup day for radiation.  In truth, I dreaded it for two weeks.  But after praying and praying and praying about it, God gave me peace about it.  My dr had told me it was a long 2-hr process, and that I should be prepared and take motrin or pain medicine ahead of time because my arms were going to be in that same overhead position for the whole 2 hrs.  AND to top it off, I couldn’t move.  Not an inch…not a muscle…or they would have to start the whole process over again.  Nothing like restarting a 2 hr procedure to make you lie completely still, even when you’re in a very uncomfortable position!  I can’t tell you what all was done in those 2 hrs, all kinds of measurements, computer formulas, xrays, new line drawing, scans…so much stuff, I don’t even know what all happened except for one thing for sure….

God showed up.

At one point I asked one of the 4 techs that were working in my room how long I had been in there, thinking it hadn’t been very long.  My best guess would have been that I was maybe, halfway done.  She said “And hour and forty-five minutes, you’re about done.”  I was floored…and SO EXCITED!  I had no idea it had been that long!  Thank you God!!  I totally felt His presence in that room from the moment I laid on the table.  I recited my memory verses, except for this week’s darn it I couldn’t remember how it went for the life of me (Note to self: work on that verse!), and I prayed.  The Bible says in Joshua 1:5 that “…I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you.”  And I completely felt like He was right there with me the whole time.  Hallelujah, LORD!

countdown

So I am ready to begin my 30 days of radiation tomorrow…that is 5x/week for 6 weeks.  I made a countdown for us and the kids so we can take off numbers each day.  My sister, the teacher, will be proud!!  I feel ready and strong.  God heaps strength on my head and my family’s heads every single day.  It is my prayer that He will continue to keep all of us safe and healthy and continue to walk with us every single moment.  That every mile that we drive is accompanied by Him, and that all we do will only bring honor and glory to His Name.  And I may have also thrown in there that if He would make these next 6 weeks fly by, that would be GREAT!  teehee

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Scripture Memory Team – Verse #6

Good glorious Sunday morning!

“Wake up sleepyhead!  The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day!” – Does anybody else remember that line from Sister Act?!  The plump and perky nun says it Whoopi’s ‘Sister Mary Clarence’ when she is trying to get her up at 5am.  Silly, but this line really does come to mind when I wake up and it’s pretty outside!  I could watch both Sister Act 1 & 2 over and over…I just love the music. :-D  I couldn’t resist putting a little clip on today…Enjoy!  Just see if it doesn’t get you keeping tapping your toes and wanting to dance.  Teehee, it does me!  I can hardly stay in my seat.

It is 15th of the month, so it is time to choose another verse for my “!st & 15th Scripture Memory Team” with Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries.  In my quiet time this morning, I asked God to give me a verse because I still hadn’t looked for or chosen a verse.  I always want to choose a verse that is meaningful to me, that I am currently applying in my daily life and that I can relate to, right now.  So while I was getting ready for my 10-mile run this morning, I grabbed my cell phone and thought I would do a quick check of my emails before I jumped on the treadmill.  And lo and behold, there was my verse!  I subscribe to the daily Bible verse emails and today’s verse, and the one I have chosen is:

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”  Colossians 1:10

Have a great rest of your Sunday!  If you are watching any of the March Madness, as the conferences wind down and the NCAA Tourney begins, I hope your team does well.  I was hoping to watch a UNC/Duke rematch today but sadly, the Tar Heels lost yesterday.  Tennessee men are playing, though, so I’m putting that game on my radar.  I LOVE this time of year!  Nothing but basketball for the next 3 weeks!  Woohoo!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

He’s Got Game

Zachary, that is!  That’s my little #40 up there in the pics!  So special, too, because my hubby also wore #40 all through school.  Awwww……  I can’t believe I’m actually typing this, but his first 5th grade basketball game was last night.  Man, where has the time gone??  I was waiting in the car, picking up the boys  after school and Zachary made it to the car in record time!  He threw open the door and was smiling from ear to ear.  He was so excited and ready for the game!  After watching Tyler play for 3 seasons, he was finally having his very.first.game.  I was excited for him!  I was headed to pick up dinner for him because the bus left at 4, and he even asked me if he had to eat…as if not eating something would make game time come any quicker.  And his belly was full of nerves, too!  But after I insisted, he ate 3/4 pieces of a personal-size pizza and had some Gatorade.  He was good to go! 

The games weren’t a win for the Bulldogs, but they accomplished the task of getting the first-game jitters out of the way.  The scores were pretty lopsided!  But on an unexpected note, we were very proud to see Zachary starting on the 6th grade team!  He actually played more for 6th grade than he did 5th.  Cool!  His next game is Monday and he came downstairs saying this morning, “I can’t wait ‘til Monday, I wish it was Monday already!”  Whoa.  Please don’t wish away our weekend just yet!  Please!  It will come soon enough, I’m sure.  Enjoy your weekend everybody!   

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Worn Out Mama

I am a worn out mama! Today consisted of:

  • Took Zachary to see Michelle this morning. He awoke with a icky-sounding cough and there is flu and bacterial pneumonia going around at school. Thankfully, he has neither, but better safe than sorry. She recommended that he stay home today and just rest up. After all, his first basketball game is tomorrow!!
  • A 6 mile run
  • A trip to Poplar Bluff which was supposed to be "quick," but turned into a major day! On my original list was new b-ball shoes for Zachary, lunch, and something for dinner. Turned into a massive hunt for b-ball shoes (nobody had any he liked, guess he will wear his practice shoes, which are Tyler's hand-me-downs, oh well), pay for dishwasher for our new cabin, lunch (Cici's Pizza), big grocery shopping trip, pick up tickets for PBR this weekend.
  • Got back just in time to pick up Tyler from school, check the mail, come home and collapse before heading back out to take him to baseball practice at 530. 530? What?? Why so late I have no idea. Ugh.
  • Was planning on cooking dinner for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who are coming over tonight, but I'm too tired...think we're gonna order pizza!

Needless to say, I'm ready for bed and it's only 430! I hope it's a quiet and easy evening! (For ya'll too!)

Check out Mrs. LC's blog for a FANTASTIC giveaway! I am totally excited after seeing Jenna modeling her new robe!

Monday, March 9, 2009

They Stole My Name!

Good Monday Morning! I was dreading the alarm this morning because I knew it was going to feel like 515am instead of 615am. I really don't care for the springtime time change when it comes to waking up in the morning. However when it is 7pm and it is still very light outside, I DO enjoy it! Makes me ready for summer!



Yesterday was a low key day around here. We had a serious thunderstorm move through in the morning, but I had no idea because I was on the treadmill downstairs putting in 11 miles. It was pretty when I went down, and it was pretty when I came up! Everybody was like, "Did you hear the storm?!" Uh, nope! Thanks to my fabulous run and The View (which has episodes now available online!!) I had no clue we had any bad weather.



We watched a lot of basketball yesterday. This is my very fave time of year for sports...March Madness, when there is always a good game on! Yesterday's highlight was the UNC/Duke game. GO HEELS!! Their star player, Tyler Hansbrough, is from Poplar Bluff, about 30-40 mins from here so we have been following UNC pretty heavy for the last 4 years. It was a great game and in the end, the Tar Heels came out on top! I hope they do well in the upcoming NCAA Tournament...a National Championship would be a great way to end Tyler's college career.



Does anyone else watch The Apprentice? We really like it, and have watched every season of it. I REALLY like Celebrity Apprentice because all the money raised goes to the celebrities' favorite charities. And to see all these posh and pampered stars working their tails' off without assistants or people to do it for them is great tv! On last night's episode, the contestants had to create a comic book character/superhero that would become the "spokesperson" for Zappos.com. The team of men totally stole my name!! They named their character EEE! Which was a pretty stupid name for a superhero in my opinion, and Scott Hamilton eventually got fired for it, but when he first suggested it I was like, "Hey! That's me!" Jack looked at me so weird, but understood after I reminded him of the blog. I thought it was cool. Anyway, that was my excitement for the evening. Pretty sad, huh?! *lol*

I hope everyone is having a good Monday and didn't oversleep too much! ;-)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Prayers Answered!




This was the beautiful sunrise we enjoyed while on our way to STL yesterday morning! Isn't it fantastic? There's something about a sunrise that makes me so thankful that God has allowed me to wake up and enjoy another day that He has created, being so thankful to be His child.



Yesterday was a great day! We got up at 4am and left here around 5 and headed to the city. Almost 3 hrs later we arrived at Siteman and headed upstairs for my heart echo. Now, I must prepare you for a true miracle... At my very first echo before I started treatment, my heart ejection fraction (the amount of blood your heart pumps out with each beat) showed 50%. Normal is considered 50-75%. So mine was low-normal...what?! Even with all the running and activity I do, my doctor was shocked that it was so low! So we would have to watch it closely because the drug that makes me curable, Herceptin, has a small chance of causing damage to this very heart muscle. So after 3 treatments we checked it again, it showed minimally improved! Yay! I was so stoked that even on a drug that could cause my percentage to go lower, my heart actually showed a point or two improvement! So yesterday's echo was ordered because I had had 6 treatments. The nurse/tech that was doing the echo was like "I don't know how they ever got low-normal from your ef%, I just measured it three times and got 62%, 73%, and 67%." I almost jumped off the table!!! I said more that one "Praise God!" and "Thank You, Jesus!" The nurse was excited, too! I truly believe with all my heart that God answered my prayer that my heart would show dramatic strengthening, and any doubt that I should be able to take my cure (Herceptin) would be completely gone! I can't tell you how excited I am! And how God manages to strengthen my faith every single day, just leaves me in complete awe.... I'm almost at a loss for words.


I had the best treatment day yesterday, too. I had my very fave nurse, Renee, who I had for my very chemo treatment back in October who taught me so much and is so charismatic and fun! I just love her. And my treatment took only ONE HOUR! No pre-meds: so no steroids, no Benadryl (!!), nothing. Just my bag of Herceptin that takes one hour to run in. Yay!


And I was glad to be done so quickly because I couldn't wait to go see Tiffany. And I was so impressed when we got there because she looked great...especially considering what all she's been through. She is 4 days past transplant and hopefully will continue to gain strength every day and get to leave the hospital in a week and half or so.


I was so ready to get home when we left the hospital, but we hadn't eaten yet so we stopped at a new mexican restaurant in South County that was just so-so...nothing like our Maya's. And it was on home after that. Hallelujah!


This morning it is so warm and beautiful here so I took advantage and headed to the park for an OUTSIDE RUN! It was great. I parked in the middle rather than at one end just in case I didn't feel like doing much (not sure with yesterday being my first Herceptin-only treatment), and I ran for an hour and did 6 miles. I was a little slow, but I didn't care because I was running outside! So here's to another day of wonderful-ness! Hope ya'll are having one, too!

"Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed..." Jeremiah 17:14

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Whole New Day

radiation Pictures, Images and Photos
Of course this is not me, just a photo I found online. But this is exactly what I did yesterday, plus a whole lot more! I'll back up....

We left our house at 6am yesterday morning. Made it to STL in plenty of time for my 930am mammogram. While waiting in the women's waiting area there, I began talking to another woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. As we started talking I learned that she is a married, 36 year old mother of two kids and she begins chemo next week. She was there for another core needle biopsy of her lump (which they are going to remove after chemo because it is too large) and a lymph node biopsy. She had so many questions, as I did at that stage of the game, and we talked for probably 30 minutes about how they do this and that, my neulasta and chemo side effects, etc. She said I made her day because everyone else she had talked to with breast cancer was in their 50s or 60s and those treatment and situations are completely different than those of us who are younger with young families and such. As I left, I told her that God would take care of her and she would make it through this. I tell ya, I felt so blessed to be used by God in this woman's life. I have prayed that God would use me and would allow me to help others who are in the same situation, and that I "would be called according to His purpose." I completely give all honor and glory to God for the opportunity to share what I have been through, and what I have learned in the past 6 months. I don't even know this woman's name, but I will continue to pray for her daily.

After that we went down to Radiation Oncology and began the LOOOONNNGG process of setup. Normally they do their simulation over a period of about 3 days so it's not such a long day, but since we are driving so far, we requested to do as much as we could in one day. So I guess it's our own fault, but man! We got there at 11am and didn't leave until 430pm! When we finally left there I had been drawn all over, photographed, CT-ed, MRI-ed, and just felt generally violated! And my hubby says he's checking for my pics on the internet! LOL The absolute WORST part was my arms. It seems like a relaxing and easy position when you first lay down; I thought "ok, this is relaxing, this is good". But after about 10 minutes it became uncomfortable, after 15 painful, and 30 unbearable. They hurt and ached so bad from holding them in position (which consists of holding poles back behind my head) for the simulation so my dr could draw the lines on my chest and do the CT, which took about an hour (seemed like 10) and then the MRI, arms up overhead for 30 minutes (seemed like an eternity). My arms were trembling but I couldn't move. The MRI was the worst, probably because it came second and my arms were already shot. The tech came in and stuck her head at the end of the tube by my head and said, "you're doing great, we have about 10 more minutes." And I just had big ol' tears run down my cheeks. I'm telling you, it was longest 10 minutes of.my.life. I had hymns come to mind that I hadn't heard in years; I recited all my memory verses over and over and over. And when I finally heard the door open again, and she came in and said "Ok, great! I'm going to pull you out now," I thought, well good, 'cause if you were coming in here to tell me it was going to be 10 more minutes again I was going to crawl out the end of this tube! I was MORE THAN RELIEVED! I could have kissed her! I had to actually have her help me bring my arms back down to my sides because they were numb and hurt so bad at the same time (who knew that could even happen?!). Then she tells me that I when I come back for the block check in 2 weeks I should take motrin or some type of pain medicine because I will be in my simulation position for about 2 HOURS!! WHAT???!!! I keep telling myself this is the hardest part of radiation, the long long couple of days of setup. But to tell you the truth, I am already dreading my next appt in 2 weeks. You can bet I'm going to load up on Motrin when I get there!

After that emotionally and mentally draining experience we headed to go see Tiffany. And I stopped feeling sorry for myself. She had her stem cell transplant at 11am yesterday. She did great, but is completely wiped out. And they said the next 2-3 days will be torture as her blood counts completely bottom out and her body begins to rebuild with the stem cells. Bless her heart. Please keep Tiffany in your prayers! She is not only physically sick, but also extremely homesick, and she knows she will be there for another 2-3 weeks before they discharge her. She is missing her daughter Gracey and it's just really wearing on her. She is on her way to being cured, though, a whole new woman...literally. We are going back to see her on Friday. She is the absolute strongest 24 year old I have ever seen...truly an inspiration.

Needless to say, I dropped the ball on my 31 days of yoga challenge yesterday! I couldn't even fathom doing even 20 minutes when we got home at 830 last night. I just wanted to cuddle my babies and go to sleep! So that's what I did! But I am just calling it a forgiveness day and picking it back up today. I am really enjoying it. I ran 6 miles on the 'mill this morning and it felt great! The arms still feel a little jelly-like and the backs of my shoulders (like my shoulder blades) are sore. I'm also having to be very careful of the blue and purple lines and dots I have drawn all over me...don't want them to wash away. They will replace them with tiny tattoo dots at the next appt. I would show you a pic of all my body art if it wasn't on my chest! But that would be a LOT risque!

I'm off to enjoy my day! This morning in my quiet time I prayed that God would change my mood and way of thinking about yesterday. That He would refill my strength and positivity and that He would change my day. And if you don't think He did, you should've seen me last night! He most definitely gave me a new day and a new mood. Praise God that He can even change our MOOD! I'm sorry if I sound like Beth when I say this but,

"LORD, I'M JUST CRAZY ABOUT YOU!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yoga Challenge!

I'm kind of excited because I am going to participate in Tina's 31 Days of Yoga challenge! I started yesterday evening with a 20-minute Yoga for Runners from yogadownload.com. 20 minutes is a perfect, very doable time frame for me. Although yesterday's yoga was not without 3 interruptions, one from each child, and I guess Katie found downward dog so interesting that after her first peek into the room she decided to come back and join me for the final 5 minutes or so. She was too cute! She was very quiet, like I asked, and every time I would glance over at her, she would be looking right at me, smiling from ear to ear. :o) So she was a welcome, peaceful addition to my new daily practice. As a runner, my muscles stay so tight, so it feels so good to get a good smooth, easy stretch. I hope I can keep to the commitment to do some yoga daily. The only times I feel will be more challenging is like a couple of days this week when we have to be STL all day. But hopefully I will make it work! I would love to make it a habit.

So tomorrow we are going to STL for my radiation setup day. It is going to be a long day! My friend Tiffany started her stem cell transplant last Wednesday and has had her 5 straight days of chemo that leads into the actual transplant, which happens tomorrow at 11am. Please keep her in your prayers! So after our stuff is done, we are going to see her before we head home. I hope we get home at a decent hour.

I am praying for as easy a day as possible tomorrow...that God would just move things along at a quick speed and we would come away feeling strong and positive. And ready for radiation! Bring it on! Have a great Monday!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Scripture Memory Team - Verse #5

jeremiah 29 11 Pictures, Images and Photos

This is my memory verse for the Scripture Memory Team on the LPM Blog. I have always heard Jeremiah 29:11 but have never committed it to memory and I absolutely LOVE the promises it holds:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

LOVE IT! If you are participating with me, just head on over there and post your verse! And if you haven't started memorizing verses yet, it's ok! You can join in anytime! Our goal is to continue for all of 2009! I hope everyone had a very blessed Sunday. Love to all~