Friday, September 29, 2006
We have had another amazing week of nourishment from the community. The food feeds our bodies and the gesture fills up our souls to the very brim. We are so thankful. We are so blessed.
Dd had her first preschool 'field trip' this week to the local salon to get beautified. The theme is 'all about me' and let me tell you she has this one figured out. A little curl, a little hairspray, a little eyeshadow and some glitter nailpolish and she is good to go. I volunteered to 'help'. As I watched these young innocent children looking at their reflections in the mirror I wondered what thoughts were bouncing in their tiny heads. Exploring who we are and how we fit into this world is such a amazing concept. What better place to review it than in the fantastic resilience of a preschool classroom? I wanted to whisper in their little ears that each one of them is a beautiful creation and they have so much potential and that they are loved so dearly by those around them. I know I take for granted how lucky I am, raising up my children in a place where life is valued and my kids are loved not only by their blood relatives but by the members of this tiny slice of heaven I call my hometown. Again, I count my blessings. I pray that all children will know their place in this world.
My husband's little sister is a nursing student at USD. She needed some children to observe for a class and we so graciously volunteered ours. I thought for sure I would enjoy the quietness of an evening alone yet both my dh and I found ourselves a little lonely come bedtime. 'The house is too quiet," he said as we poured our tired bodies into bed. We only had to call once to check on them. She wanted to keep them for a couple of nights, but we'll see how tired she is this afternoon after 24 hours at the hurried pace of a potty training toddler and a busy preschooler.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The infusion center is amidst some construction projects, today I had to move out of my chair half- way through the drip to allow the electrician to work. It wasn't too bad. In fact, now that I am looking more bald I got to go through the donation basket and I chose a hat and a bandana to wear. My counts were really good today, wbc = 11.7.
As we left the oncology clinic we were met with a glorious sunshine filled day. It was really nice, though the sun is not really good for me. I popped a zofran and we went on our merry way.
When I got home the monkey was predicting my future, for the next week or so. I love that monkey almost as much as the bottle of pills.
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Dear Lord: So far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, moaned, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. I have not charged on my credit card. However, I am going to get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot more help after that. Amen.
Tomorrow is treatment number 6. Then I will be half way done. I am filled with mixed emotions about going tomorrow. This weekend was good,and today I feel good. I know that going to treatment tomorrow will knock me back down to square one again. It makes me anxious and I dread having to go again, but at the same time I just want it to be December and this to be over and done with. I wonder if I will undergo surgery again before Christmas to remove my port, or if we will wait until January.
My hair seems to be the only consistent thing in my journey. It is consistently falling out. I don't know what to do because it is getting colder and my head is not insulated any more. Just yesterday I felt a chill when I took the kids out for awhile. I fear the headcoverings will come in handy over the next few months. I can put my dd's pony around the entire depth of my hair and cinch it five times. The long hairs are becoming a nuisance in the dryer vent, the vacuum cleaner and the drains. This shedding thing is really getting old. Maybe it is supposed to work this way, so that cutting it all off will feel like a relief instead of a necessity?
It is the season for colds and flu and I am a little nervous about my blood counts. I have been right at 11.2 or better for my white blood cell counts. It's a little low, but I am taking iron and a multivitamin and a calcium pill along with my goji juice. I know it's risky exposing myself but I do have two small children and my husband works in the hospital, so I get exposed even if I stay home.
That's about all I have for a Monday before treatment. I will try to post more often this week than last time. It's really hard to think clearly when I am not feeling the best. The treatments seem to be doing the job and I know I shouldn't complain, but I am really anxious to be back to normal again. October is nearing fast and I have a busy month planned with treatments, birthdays, hunting, shopping, craft sales and Halloween. My goal is to be able to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the next few months and not make it more difficult than it is already going to be.
To serve God, to laugh and cry and laugh again in spite of it all, to have your priorities in order, to hold a child's heart with love and their hand with encouragement, to learn from the older and wiser and give more than you took, to appreciate the touch of the Master's hand, to see the best in others by being the best in yourself, to serve others, to give all you can from your heart not just your bank account, to pray daily, to live contentedly, to keep the faith, to fight the fight and walk the walk, to leave the world a better place than you see it around you, to know that you have made a difference in at least one life; that, my friends is the purpose in a life well-lived.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
This was one laugh from the monthly newsletter I get emailed. If you would like to sign up here's the link....laugh letter.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I reentered the work force for a full day today. I was a bit anxious about my tummy but when I woke up I found one of my daughters cocoons had changed colors. I thought to myself, maybe we might get a monarch today and what a wonderful day to be subbing in the third grade! So I packed up all my cares and woes and my peanut butter jar of cocoons and went to school. Sometime after we went to lunch the butterfly emerged and the life cycle was completed. The children were so excited about the butterfly saying things like, "She needed her privacy, that's why she came out when we were at lunch." and "It's the beginning of a new life." Even the rain outside that cut recess short couldn't dampen the spirits in that classroom. They were bubbling over with energy. We shared the butterfly with most of the other classes too. I am such a nerd.
Being out and about brings me back to reality. I learned that the principal is having surgery for a benign tumor and he is expected to recover and return to school soon. At lunch I heard some disturbing information concerning the community daycare and it tugged at my heartstrings. If you are interested in finding out more about the issue concerning the daycare check out this site.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
We decided to head south for dh's birthday and spend some much overdue time with his parents. I told myself I would feel better using distraction therapy. We left early in the day to do some shopping in Mitchell. My dd really wanted to get her daddy a birthday present so I persuaded dear dad to let us walk around the Goodwill in search of the perfect gift. She took every stuffed animal out of the bin until she found the perfect stuffed monkey with a tall hat that said Happy Birthday. She also chose a pink monkey with velcro hands that sings the first four lines of the Monkey's theme song. She was so excited exclaiming, "These are for you and daddy, mom!" She made dad look the other way while we made our purchases (it was a steal at 35 cents a piece). I barley had time to think of my tummy problems during the trip. As soon as we got to Grandma's she made daddy open the gifts. She was so proud of her presents. We spent the afternoon fishing at Lake Henry and the kids caught at least four Blue Gill a piece. I caught a small Bass and daddy caught one of each. It was great fun and I could have kicked myself for not bringing the camera. My son made some pretty awesome memories nevertheless. We had an awesome meal of pork ribs and cheesy potatoes and my favorite creamed green beans. YUM! We broke into the better than "pretty much anything" cake later on and we ALL came home with tummy aches.
The craziest thing happened when we got home. The monkeys had been riding on the dash together the whole afternoon. When dh went to bring them in the house he said he found them in a different position. We are going to have to keep a close eye on these monkey's, I think they're nothing but trouble.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Zofran, my little Zofran.
You make me happy when my stomach is queasy.
You'll never know, pills, how much I love you.
Oh, please don't take my Zofran away.
Zofran, my little Zofran.
If I forget you, I'm up all hours.
You're so expensive, thank the Lord for copays.
Oh, please don't take my Zofran away.
Thank you, thank you very much. I'm here until the end of the year folks...
Monday, September 18, 2006
This is from a blog I frequently check. Here is the link. http://indexed.blogspot.com/
Last night I came to the realization that I am going to have to get sicker to get better. I must admit after the first few treatments I was pretty cocky and felt confident I could kick this. But now as my hair continues to fall out and my eyelashes and toenails are also leaving I am facing the truth that chemotherapy kills as it heals. I already knew this. I spent the time researching what it does to my fast growing cells along with killing the cancer cells. I just haven't experience the reality of it till now. My stomach has been causing me a lot of grief. I have come to the conclusion that the chemo kills all the bacteria both bad and good and I am having trouble digesting foods. So, I add yet another pill to my morning routine, this one is lactobacillus (like the bacteria in yogurt). It replaces the good bacteria my body needs to aid in digestion. I also take iron to keep my white blood cell count up, calcium for my bones, and a multivitamin. A couple ounces of Gogi juice several times a day keeps me full of antioxidants and helps keep those mouth sores at bay. Top that with some ibuprofen every 6-8 hours and a handful of antacids and you have a medication sundae, Rani style. Yesterday I was so tired I slept most of the day, again. I can't seem to kick this exhaustion. Maybe I should add an energy drink to my daily dose of 'get betters'? I feel like a walking pharmacy.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Nothing like a little South Dakota tornadic weather to free you from the funk of life and remind you of your priorities. Tonight the siren went off several times and my dh and my mom spotted the real thing. I remember exactly where I was the night the tornado hit Spencer. I was in a totally different place in my life, but some of the same thoughts that crossed my mind that night ventured into my conscience tonight. Life is so precious, I do not want to take it for granted. What we have at this moment could be gone in a flash of wind and storm.
Obviously this week was a chemo week hence my lack of posting. I am practicing the "if you can't say anything nice don't say it at all" lesson. I have noticed that the worse I feel the more apt I am to bite someone's head off. My dh just called and wanted to know what I wanted to do tonight and I was astounded that he even thought I would feel like doing anything. "I don't feel good," I said for the millionth time. I can't believe he even puts up with me when I act so immaturely. My sister tried to cheer me up yesterday by taking me shopping and all I did was complain about my feet and my stomach the whole time. I am so frustrated with my fatigue and lack of patience. I should be celebrating the good news of remission and all I can think about is fast forwarding to the end of the year when I am done with chemo.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
PET scan went well. See previous post for details. The one thing I left out was that the enlarged lymph node or mass did not shrink,it just died. So it will be there forever. They do not remove them because the risks far outweigh the benefits.
Chemo went fast today. I was really tired coming in to this one. I hope I can get some well needed rest today and tomorrow and get on with it.
Planning a celebratory evening of dd's current favorite meal pancakes and a Disney movie called The Wild. You know what? I couldn't imagine it any other way.
I was nervous. Even after the massive amount of prayer and spiritual warfare my friends and family have been sending my way. Even after the outpouring of support from my community. Even after the vitamins, the supplements, the extra care I have been taking with my diet. Even after I stopped having night sweats, the cough went away and I gained my 15 pounds back plus a few more joiners. Even after the four rounds of chemotherapy pumped into my veins.
But I shouldn't have been. The PET scan did not detect "any convincing evidence of active disease at this time...Overall, one would judge the appearance of this study to be consistent with an excellent response to the patient's chemotherapy over the last several months" Hallelujah!
He knows I ain't giving the chemo all the credit for this one! AMEN!
I have to continue chemo until the end of the year. Another PET scan early next year and then probably pretty frequently for awhile. I am in remission. Who could ask for anything more?
Monday, September 11, 2006
I hope that standing on my feet for hours and shivering in the cold dusk of South Dakota evenings isn't considered exercise because the nurse specifically told me that physical activity is not recommended before a PET scan. I couldn't pass up a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the work of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, so when my friend called with VIP passes I had to say, "Yes Lord, send me!" It was a joy to see the people all coming together for this family. It is so refreshing to see cameras taping good people doing good, decent things. The VIP tent was fully stocked with snacks and even some entertainment, an acapella family quartet. It was bliss. This on top of Beth Moore coupled with a girlfriend lunch on Saturday and an sermon on Sunday that picked up my weary soul and breathed life back into it. I know it's not November but it felt like my birthday.
PET scan is scheduled for 10:30 am this morning with results to be read tomorrow at my chemo appointment. May the Lord and I be on the same page for this one granting me full remission from Hodgkins.
Famous girl Tanya was moved by this young child's donation to the family. Famous guy Michael was actually the first one to come over and greet us, he was really friendly.
This is the schedule of construction just for Sunday. It was orchestrated extremely well and they were running ahead of schedule.
The crowd may not have been mighty but they were pumped when the famous designers came out. People would shout their names and the designers would wave from the set. During the course of the afternoon three famous people made their way over to the spectator tents to sign autographs and tape some footage for the show. There was a little boy who came to give the $13 he had in his piggy bank to the family. He wrote a letter and Tanya came over and read it and tears welled up in her eyes as she hugged the little boy. She addressed the crowd and told us to keep helping our neighbors after they leave. She talked about how great her job was getting to help these people out, but we are the ones who keep it alive. It was very moving, but I couldn't help the awkward feeling as the producers made her shoot it over 3 or 4 times to get the best shot. She did very well, I wonder if she new she would have to act when she applied for the position.
The first photo is of the house when we got there at 2:29pm. The blue shirts are some of the people who would be first in line to heaven if we got there by good works alone.
A group shot of us and the house again at 5:30ish,
notice the amazing amount of change.
Not by works of righteousness which we all have done, but according to HIS mercy He saves us.
And it's a good thing Martha Stewart, because after what I saw yesterday the line into the heavenlies would be a long one. Amazing example of good old fashioned help your neighbor out with a little t.v. camera's and a magnification of power added. If I had to guess at any one time there was at least a hundred people working on or in the house. It was like watching a house being built in fast forward. It was breathtaking. It was cold on the outside, but in my heart it was warm and fuzzy. Every tiny piece of my being wanted to volunteer to help.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
I have been wondering how to do this since I stopped working. I talked with a friend at church about it and she agreed that we could all benefit from it and enjoy each other's fellowship. I love to learn. It make me feel young and keeps my brain alive. Yesterday on the way to the conference I spoke about it briefly to a friend and she, too, agreed there was a need. Then, at the conference in the the booklet it was written in black and white (actually chocolate brown and sage green - now that I have a lot of designer friends I should try to be a little more specific). "How To Start A Bible Study". Well, I may not be a rocket scientist but it can't really get much clearer than that. So I race home after, of course, fighting for 'air time' with 4 amazing women at lunch (thanks for the amazing time girls same time next week?). And this is the super duper amazingly awesome part, get this - according to the web site, there is a training session, next month not even 30 miles from my house. IS THAT A SIGN FROM GOD OR WHAT?
A few years ago, a wonderful women in our community held Saturday morning sessions in her home. It was an amazing time for Christian fellowship, prayer, and an excellent Scripture learning opportunity. Women from 4 different denominations attended, the thing we all had in common was our yearning for learning the Bible. I really enjoyed my time there. Several times I have thought of starting a Bible study in my home. I didn't know how to start, I can't imagine myself being a leader or what materials to use. I only know that I want to study the Word of God. Attending Beth Moore's Living Proof Life has turned the light on again for me. This time, I am going to do everything it takes to try and make this a reality. The four hours in the arena felt like minutes yesterday. I was so intent on studying the story of the Last Supper in Luke:22 that I completely lost track of time. She made it so interesting with references to Dueteronomy, Exodus, I Corinthians and more. I was flipping pages in my Bible faster than I can blink. Several times in her session she took moments to motivate us to inhale the truth of Scripture and make our life a priority to God. She said that Christianity is NOT the unthinking man's religion. It is based on fact and truth from historical eyewitness' mixed in with a splash of prophesy. It is perfectly reasonable and beyond a shadow of a doubt that God sent his only Son to die for my sins and free me to live an eternal life in Heaven. It says so in John 3:16. Isn't that so AMAZING?
Coming SOON to a (hopefully clean) home near you! A Bible study where we can come together to learn about God breathed Scripture through fellowship, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Love of God. Can I hear an Amen? If this doesn't motivate me to make this happen, I don't know what will.
UPDATE: pastor's sermon this morning was about how to be a SERVANT! I can't believe it. He talked about making choices to prioritize Christ in our lives. I spoke with Pastor after church about how I felt and do you know what he said? "What's stopping you?"
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I'm having trouble remembering the exact date, but I think tomorrow would be my dad's 55th birthday (If you are thinking I am off on the years, I may be, BUT his mom actually fudged his birth certificate so he could go into the army early). I spent a lot of time in college dealing with the separation of my parents and then the death of my father. He was so sick from the drinking that his body just gave out on him. That was in May of 1994, that would make him what? 43, I think. Eleven years older than I am. On the way home from running around all morning we listened to that new song from Big & Rich (when dh is driving he picks the station otherwise it would have been KNWC for me) about that vet from South Dakota "the 8th of November" (link)
BIG & RICH LYRICS"8th Of November"Said goodbye to his momma as he left South DakotaTo fight for the red, white and blueHe was 19 and green with a new M-16Just doing what he had to doHe was dropped in the jungle where the choppers would rumbleWith the smell of napalm in the airAnd the sergeant said...look up aheadLike a dark evil cloud, 1,200 came down on him and 29 moreThey fought for their lives but most of them died in the 173rd Airborne[Chorus:]On the 8th of November the angels were cryingAs they carried his brothers awayWith the fire raining down and the hell all aroundThere were few men left standing that daySaw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky1965, the 8th of NovemberNow he's 58 and his pony tail's grayBut the battle still plays in his headHe limps when he walks but he's strong when he talksAbout the Shrapnel they left in his legHe puts on a gray suit over his Airborne tattooAnd he ties it on one time a yearAnd remembers the fallen as he orders a tall oneAnd swallows it down with his tears[Chorus]Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky1965...On the 8th of November the angels were cryingAs they carried his brother awayWith the fire raining down and the hell all aroundThere were few men left standing that day[Chorus]Said goodbye to his momma as he left South DakotaTO fight for the red, white and blueHe was nineteen and green with a new M-16Just doing what he had to do
It must have been a sign or something. So I dug through my old college files to find some poems that I wrote about my dad. In honor of his birthday I will bring these words back to life for just a few moments.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Today was my dd first day of preschool. It really took me by surprise. I just can't seem to catch up with the rest of the world right now. She has grown up so much this summer. I hope she enjoys playing with her friends and being a kid again. She has been taking such good care of me this summer she needs a break. I am constantly wondering what is going through her little brain. She is so independent it scares me, but it has made this illness much easier. Yesterday, she convinced her father to set up the tent in the backyard and she and her brother spent all afternoon organizing toys and clothes and blankets so that it looked like a little house. She had her pj's all folded neatly in a pile. I was so impressed with her organization that I couldn't complain about the tons of things we would have to bring back into the house. Lately, she has been the first one up, she gets her own cereal and turns the cartoons on. She makes her bed and brushes her teeth. She takes care of her little brother if he needs help. It has all happened so fast, I haven't even realized how out of character it is for a almost 5 year old. I had such big plans to help her learn her numbers and letters this summer and I did not even sit with her much at all. My health affects so much more than just me...I pray that she will not be scarred because I was too tired to read to her or sit and play a game.
This weekend went by fast, we did some family things on Sunday and Monday and then I became ill again. It seems that after the last two treatments I have been sick during the gap week. Yesterday my tummy hurt so bad, I hardly got up at all. I was up most of the night again and today I am beat. It would be nice to be able to predict how my days will go but I can't complain, my symptoms could be much worse. Today I can pull my hair back into a tiny barrette that I used to only wear on the top of my head.
I am nervous for the PET scan on Monday, I am praying for a full remission. I know that God's plan is already written but it eases my mind to think about this cancer being gone. I can't imagine adding radiation to chemotherapy right now, but I am sure if it has to happen there will be a way.
The weather has been beautiful. I have been able to sneak out for a few moments and enjoy the cooler air and the sunshine. The sights and sounds of fall are just around the corner, I can feel them. Soon we will be wearing jackets and jeans again, my favorite wardrobe.
I have started reading some of my friends blogs and their friends, too. It is nice to hear what other people are saying and also have something to look forward to each day. I love distractions.