Friday, June 22, 2018

Hip hip hooray halfway!

Yesterday was my third chemo round which officially puts me halfway through this aspect of treatment! Wahoo! Thank you so much for praying over me and supporting my whole fam through this adventure. I firmly maintain that I've still never felt like a file number, not even once. I've been treated with respect, kindness, compassion, professionalism, and humor the whole way. I know a lot of that is a testament to the higher ups who do the hiring of fabulous professionals, but I also know that your prayers of protection and soothing-ness are contributing factors. Please keep it up as they are working. 

To be honest, I'm trying to not look ahead to the impending surgery as that just seems overwhelming at this point. At the very least it will involve a right side mastectomy. I don't have enough information (though I have tons of questions) to make a decision on reconstruction or not and/or if I should leave the left side alone as nothing has shown up there (yet? ever?) or have it removed and be done with it. All those Q&As will come at a surgical consult that I'd rather have sooner than later. I'll keep you posted. ;) I'm also a side and stomach sleeper which makes me anxious as I'm assuming I'll have to sleep upright while recovering. I'm also not looking forward to being put completely under with being tubed and cathed and all that. Yiiiiikes. Like I said, trying to be in the now and not the eeeeeeeek-then. One thing at a time...

For those of you who are the "where are the numbers" types, on May 31 my white blood count as 15.4 and yesterday it was 10.21, so it's down but not alarmingly. My hemoglobin was 11.0 May 31 and yesterday registered 10.4, also down. I asked if I should be eating more red meat or anything but my adorable Doc said, "think of your bone marrow as a factory. You have all the raw materials you need, but the chemo means your machinery is slower. Just keep taking your multivitamin, that's all you need." That was reassuring and a great mental picture for me! I'm assuming PLT means platelets and they were 247 in May and yesterday was 170. He said all were in the realm of normal and to not worry about it. He was pleased that I was doing so well and said that my big smile when he entered the room made his day. Another important number is my favorite; I only needed Immodium three times this past cycle instead of the 7-10 times I used it the first round. Can I get an amen and several hallelujahs!? Again, I know it's your prayers and I won't name names but you know who you are so thank you! 

Blackbutton, you asked about the Neulasta and yes, I was told to take Claritin and Aleve to help with the bone pain. I take a Claritin generic almost daily anyway, and I might have already said that Aleve works great for my dad but my mom can't tolerate it so I brought that up with my doctor and she said, "then stick with Advil since that works with you and don't risk the Aleve"- fine by me. I tried it this last round and managed to head off the old-lady-I-need-one-of-those-self-raising-chairs pain, wahoo! I took Advil the first day and was in pretty good shape, skipped it the second day because I didn't feel like I needed it but then didn't sleep well at all because my darn femurs hurt, so I took it before bed the third day and that was much better. Then I didn't need it anymore.

 My patch for this round is on and should fire early this evening and then I won't be a lightning bug anymore, haha. Dada told me I should sit out on the porch last night, blinking away, and see who I could attract. I thought it would be fun, but something (other than my husband) snuck into bed with me Tuesday night and chomped all over my torso. I didn't want to invite anymore bug bites so I abstained from attracting any more unfriendly visitors to my poor itchy bod! My Doc checked it out and said it's definitely not shingles or poison ivy or an allergic reaction. And it wasn't from weeding the garden because I only got 2 bug bites out there. Something definitely crawled into my pajamas! Stupid bugs... 

Liam had an appointment with his pediatrician and asked what chemo would do to bugs. Dr. Jon had a good chuckle and said, "wouldn't it be great if it had bit you and flew into the neighbor's yard and dropped dead? But think about the awful stuff some of them carry already..."
Liam piped up, "like malaria!"
Dr. Jon continued, "right, and Zika and West Nile and all that. I think chemo probably wouldn't do anything to them since they're capable of hosting all that icky stuff as it is..."
Well phooey! 

My Rita kept me good company yesterday while Mommee watched the Thingz and Bosley Underfoot. Not sure who needs a bigger medal. ;) Again, thanks for the support, the dinners, the cards, flowers, prayers, visits, groceries- you all are amazing, near and far! I have several more posts to do, but we are off to get some summertime bowling in since it is pouring today and then karate tonight. Have a fabulous weekend! 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Brimful of blessings

I want to start off by thanking those of you who have been touching base with me and for the gentle nudges about, "so, um, the blog doesn't have anything new on it yet, does it?" 

You're so sly. I love it.

You're right! The blog does indeed not have anything new on it. And there is old stuff that is also not yet on the blog.

So here I am. Thanks for the reminders. 

Last Thursday I had my second of six chemo treatments and my sweet Emily went with me to keep me out of trouble. 

Everything went well, I had a fabulous weekend, good energy levels for the most part with a touch of fuzziness around the edges, all food staying where it belongs, and had a good time with Grandmama visiting. We even got a girls-only breakfast out. Thank you, Mommee!

Monday night we had the honor of hosting a retirement party for one of Dada's coworkers. I heard several of them say they very much enjoyed themselves, but I had an absolute blast. It was so nice to talk with people and let the kids run around in the yard  and have "far too much food" and enjoy the sunshine in the trees. Even the bugs were minimal! The weather cooperated beautifully and nobody was tempted to stay too late as it was a work evening, so we had a perfect shindig. Thank you all who helped plan, prep, clean, and party! Thanks for blessing our home with your fun selves. We loved it.

Yesterday was Damon's birthday. Can you believe that kid is 8 already? Me neither. I love the Facebook memory feature that shows pictures of my huge stick-outy belly and the big kids as little kids kissing it. And yes, I'm aware that Carrie's birthday has come and gone and there was no blog post about that yet. Hush. I'm getting there eventually...

Did I mention when I asked what kind of cake he'd like he told me, "a minion leading a storm trooper"? 

So far today I've had to kick Carrie off my laptop two or three times and it's only lunchtime. And she slept in until ten. Yesterday I had to kick Damon off of it at least three or four times. So as you can see, blogging is difficult when one has no access to her tools. Another part of the procrastination is having coherent blogging thoughts, which are much more difficult to come by once all the kids are home. Mainly because there is no quiet once all the kids are home. I hear that that is something I will miss once they all move out. Someone who has actually experienced such an event might have to let me know if that is true or not. To go to the bathroom in peace... but I digress.

Annnnnd my computer is sticky. Ewwwww.

Also, Dr. Pepper doesn't taste like Dr. Pepper when you're doing chemo. *sip sip* It tastes astringent like what I'd imagine cleaning solution would taste like. As I need the liquids anyway, bottoms up. Please ignore any belching you hear from my general area. My apologies. My mouth is just now starting to feel a little pebbly and strange again, but as I know that doesn't last forever it is easier to mentally manage. I've also been using my alcohol-free mouthwash this round but haven't started the baking soda and salt rinse again yet. Perhaps today. Fritos taste pretty much the same in case you were wondering.

After the first chemo, I had a few good days and then Immodium became my best friend. I think I already talked about that in a previous post. I find it interesting that two of the chemo drugs caution you against constipation and one of them warns about the likelihood off diarrhea; you would think you'd end up about even in the middle. My bod declares otherwise and ends up needing Immodium, though I have to say that this round has been much better thus far, and yes, I'm knocking on my wooden kitchen table as I type. All that to say thank you to those of you who are praying over such things, and I know some of you definitely are. It is greatly appreciated, even though I have no secrets, haha. Nobody wants to spend all summer in the bathroom. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Mucho! Keep it up! I have no shame. ;)

Also knowing that bone pain would be approaching this time around, I got proactive and popped some Advil this morning when my femurs started to feel sore. No point in feeling like I'm 80 when I'm not there yet. Femur is such a funny word. Nothing like when your femurs start feeling funny. Teehee. My Doc said I could do Advil as long as I did it with food and only 400mg as 800 would be too much. Since mine are only 200mg, I can happily oblige. Aleve was recommended and works well for my Dad, but Mommee can't tolerate it and I already knew Advil works well for me, so my other Doc said to just skip it and stick with what works. I like that they are willing to work with me and be flexible instead of me blindly following orders. 

I've had super incredible friends pop in to visit, take me to treatment, bring us dinner, clean our bathrooms (seriously!), go grocery shopping for us, give us blankets and candies to settle my stomach, lavish us with books, flowers, coffee mugs, and other gifts, offer to take the kids to karate, give us money for pizza; it's been amazing. My sister in law's Bible study made us 14 freezer meals. Fourteen! Then her family drove them out to deliver them and visit with us. People all over creation are praying for us. And still you ask how you can help. You all are so loving and so supportive! We are truly blessed. Every day. Your love and the ways you show God's love, grace, and mercy blow us away. How could we ever not believe that He is good!? 

Two bits

And then there were none. Hairs, that is. Carrie officially has the longest hair in our household, and she can actually get it into a half-inch ponytail. Me? Not so much:

Thanks to Mommee, Lainie, Jessie, and Theresa for the scarves and head wraps. Adding them to my bandanna stash, nobody will ever know the difference since they're so used to seeing me in them already! Hehe!

So far, I still have eyebrows and eyelashes. One of my Docs ruefully told me I may still have to shave my legs. Talk about a lack of justice. Sheesh. ;)  My other Doc said my hair will grow back, and probably curly. Then I will look exactly like my mother! At least now Merida hair for the summer, whoohoo!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Shave and a hair cut...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Last day of school

Friday, May 18, 2018

Further proof of God's faithfulness

And the power of your prayers: both my bone scan and my CT scan results came back clear which means the cancer has not spread to bones, lungs, abdomen, anywhere other than where it had already been found. Thank you, God, for your protection and your faithfulness. Thank you all for your prayers and support. The only other thing the bone scan revealed was arthritis, which wasn't any real surprise other than location. My doc said it was in my shoulders as she touched her own collarbones. As I feel it in my hands and neither of the above places (yet), we'll just roll with that later! 

She also reported that all my blood work looked perfect. I have all those numbers but they don't mean anything to me other than they're good, haha. I do remember that platelets are 132,000 and I'm fairly sure she said 12.7 for hemoglobin for those of you who know what such amounts translate into. I'm content knowing it was good news. 

She looked me full in the face and said I'd probably lose my hair this week or next week. I appreciate the concern and the sweetness, but hair has always just been hair to me: no biggie. I am glad that I cut it short first before it falls out. I'd imagine it's still heartbreaking to see short tufts on one's pillowcase but it would be harder to see long locks. I am excited for the shaving to happen, actually, but as Damon's awards ceremony is next Tuesday I'd like to wait until at least that evening as I don't want to scare any of my smaller friends unnecessarily. Waving one last time to the bus with no hair is an entirely different story, one I'm looking forward to with relish! *Insert maniacal laughter here*

Now you know everything that we know. We have a meeting next week with my radiation oncologist to discuss our options and then an EKG to determine my baseline heart stuff before the possibility of the Herceptin messing with it. More firsts! 

And lasts. Next week are the very last days of 9th, 6th, and 2nd grades. The boys have squabbled since they got home this afternoon about anything and everything which bodes fantaaaaasticly for the long summer ahead... 

Liam has begun the orthodontic journey that is getting braces. He survived a few weeks of having rubbery separators between his teeth and today those were removed and his custom made expanders were... installed? Can I say installed? Think metal bridges attached to molars which will widen both his upper and lower jaws. I have a "key" which will be inserted and rotated in his upper expander every day for a month and in his lower expander every other day for two months. He's understandably sore and his Turtle Speed One eating habits have, alas, deteriorated into the realm of Slower Than Molasses. Thankfully we have the weekend to recover before he tries to get breakfast into him on a school day. Braces go on the day after my third chemo treatment. Sounds like a movie marathon kind of weekend to me!

In other news, Dada wrapped up a week of helping train other quality folks from around the globe. He put in mucho hours and had some fun, yummy dinners out this week. I know because I partook in some of the leftovers, hehe!  I may or may not have had some steak for breakfast this morning which sat decidedly better than the Raisin Bran I had yesterday. 

Carrie has been participating in a wood working project for one of her classes. She chose to make a clock and is nearing the final touches. You know, details like, oh yeah, a clock kinda needs hands. She did a nice job painting on Roman numerals and has stained it. She has been procrastinating a bit on the entire process and was flabbergasted to discover that school lets out an entire week before she thought it did. And then there is her brother, who could probably tell you how many hours and minutes and seconds there are left until dismissal on the last day. 

Damon had field day today and said his favorite part was the jumping race where they had to jump over "these triangle things". Sorry, that's all the information I got out of him while he's on the iPad away from his brother. Divide and conquer. 

Have a great weekend! May it be relatively peaceful in the madness that is May.