In the Air!

In the Air!
400 feet above the ground in Orlando.

Florida

Florida
Taking my first step towards a new life.

Virginia

Virginia
Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

My rocks!
Wouldn't be where I am without my parents!

Graduation

Graduation
Walking for my Masters. An interesting book end as this all started when I graduated from undergrad!

Awesome Nurses!

Awesome Nurses!
After my port removal and saying goodbye to my chemo nurses before moving away from Michigan. Wouldn't be doing that without them!

Hair again!

Hair again!
Growing longer each day

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

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Silliness

Silliness
Something to remember and return to. A good day!

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm Well Aquainted With My Bed!

Well, I'm slowly coming out of chemo 5 and it has been far from good.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent in bed, just begging God for this to be over!  Today, Sunday, I've been able to get up for short periods of time and am even about to eat my second baby egg if the day!  And I'm still praying that this be over!

Exhaustion, complete loss of appetite and all the other unmentionable things chemo causes seem unbearable sometimes!  I have to say, without my parents, I'd be more than a wreck!  Fingers crossed i can graduate from baby eggs in the next couple days!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chemo 5

Well, I was going to do another video at chemo but my tablet went on the fritz, turned off and now won't turn back on!  So, looks like it needs to go back to Best Buy for some investigation!  Fortunately I still have my phone...but no access to my Kindle or Netflix!!

Today has gone ok.  I'm on my last chemo bag for the day.  It has been a very tired day because we switched up some of my anti nausea meds and one makes me SLEEPY!  I'm usually buzzed by now from steroids but I'm more mellow and tired. 

Other than that it has been ok.  Dozed a lot but considering I got only a little sleep last night and was up early that's good.

So, once I'm done today I will only have one more chemo!!!  So, even though things are getting rough, the light is now visible at the end of the tunnel!!

I might try to do a video when my tablet is working and I'm feeling better:):):)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not Bad This Week

I know I haven't written much lately.  I think part of me has wanted to forget what I'm going through for awhile and not acknowledge it!  Which is hard to do when the bigger part of your brain won't shut up about all your crazy fears!

But this week hasn't been too bad.  I haven't gone out except for blood work but I've been outside a bit more:).  It was so great to see my friend Annie who came to visit!!  It has been years and it was so good to just sit and talk like everything in life was normal!  Then we went out and picked apples in the back yard and while it totally wiped me out....it was so worth it!  Because for a few hours, I felt normal!!  For a few hours, it was like my cancer and the chemo didn't exist!

Tuesday is chemo 5.  Part of me wishes we could just stop...no more!   But then I remember...I choose to do this and I have to finish this.  So as much as I would love to run away and hide, I have to suck it up, do two more chemos and deal with what comes after each one.  But also remember that the sick feeling WILL eventually pass and I'm almost there!  Please dear Lord, help me get through this two more times!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baked Goods For The Infusion Room

After I had my labs done this past Monday, I got a little shaky.  A combo of my anxiety over blood draws and the blood they draw...always happens to me.  The nurses have a chocolate drawer that I can usually dig through to help with the shakes.  Sadly, it was a bit depleted.  So I asked my mom if we could get some chocolate and bring it back for the drawer.

Well, as what usually happens, a small idea turned into a big idea and we landed at Lances Bakery in town.  One box full of doughnuts, muffins, cup cakes, lemon bars and scones and a few bags with six giant cookies later, we headed back to the cancer center!  I think the goodies were a hit for not just the infusion room but all the other doctors and nurses on the floor too!

I freely admit, this made me feel good!!  I haven't felt that good in...well...months!  In fact  I was feeling so good I found myself walking at my normal fast pace...something I haven't done since the beginning of April!  My legs weren't too happy with me afterwards but for a few minutes...I felt NORMAL!!!

I know from experience that sitting in those infusion chairs all day, for patients and family members, is not easy!  Physically, mentally and emotionally, iy is rough!  So when someone comes in with a surprise it brightens everyones day!  For a little while, you find yourself smiling and laughing and feeling good:).  This is definitely something I want to continue when my chemo is done!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Feeling of Isolation

The number of emotions a person feels while going through all of this is staggering sometimes!  And never are these emotions small.  I think one that I've been struggling the most with is isolated.

Yeah, that is an emotion.  It's actually a whole slew of emotions that culminate somehow in that one word.  Sadness, fear, loneliness...actually, I think loneliness is the best word for it.  I'm daily with my parents and I know without them I would be completely alone and adrift in this storm.  But that feeling is still there.

Because of a combination of how tired (and sometimes rotten) I feel there is no desire to leave the house.  And because I have to be careful of not catching any bugs (and I'm permanently exhausted) it is hard to connect with the few friends I have within driving distance.  And having most of my family and friends living hundreds of miles away adds to it all.

I have so many wonderful friends and an amazing family offering prayers for me, and those prayers are essential to me getting better I know, but in a way, it contributes to the isolation.  I think so many people are so focused on assurance of prayers that they forget that even Jesus needed the physical comfort of His friends.

Prayers are so very important, but I think people forget that Jesus had his friends with Him in the garden for a reason.  Physical comfort of any type is just as important as prayer.  I have one friend who doesn't say anything to me but he is praying for me...which i greatly appreciate..and only says that if i contact him.  Nothing else.  This is the same friend who begged me not to leave VA to go back to school.  And since this all started...I only hear from him when i contact him.  I love his prayers...but I need his support and support of all my family and friends.

I know friends and family can't come from out of state to visit me but that isn't the only way to break my isolation.  A letter, a text, an email.  More than once.  And saying more than I'm praying for you.  I know you're praying for me!  I love those prayers!  But I need YOU!  I need you to mentally break out of this isolation if not physically.  I need my friends and family!  Please!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Things To Look Forward To.

This has been a rather difficult chemo recovery.  I truly discovered nausea for the first time and spent two days in bed not eating and several more days in bed slowly starting to eat again.  In fact, I'm still spending more time in bed than out but am back to eating enough to sustain a person!

Last night I found myself talking to my mom about my fears and how they seemed to be all i could think about.  She very wisely told me that when that starts happening it is likely the old boy wiggling his way in trying to stop me from fighting.  So we started talking about plans for after chemo.

I realized I had stopped making concrete plans for afterwards...being too afraid I would have to cancel them for some reason.  But I need to pull out of that and start planning again!  After all, my last chemo is only a short 5 weeks away now!  And I'm determined to conquer this unwarrented fear that the doctor will find cancer some where else now!

So things I'm definitely planning for after chemo!!

1. Pumpkin carving on Halloween!
2. A birthday / chemo is over party the weekend before Thanksgiving!
3. A trip to Virginia for New Years and a much longed for reunion with friends!
4. Walks as I regain energy and strength through the fall colors!
5. Clothes shopping for cloths that fit me!
6. Being able to sew again!!
7. Visiting my brother and his family in Battle Creek!  (miss you guys!)
8. Seeing as many family members as possible!
9. Gong to hang out with my grandma a lot more often!
10. DRIVING MY CAR!!!
11. Going to church on Sunday!

I'm sure there are so many more things on the list that will get added too:).  And this isn't even my Bucket List!  This is my Lets Get Back To Normal Life list!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Exhausted...But Coming Out If It

I'm sorry this is another short post but this chemo has been pretty rough.  I guess I've had it "easy" so far:)

I'm hoping in the next day or two to be able to write more:).  Slowly coming out of things.  I can do this!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Very Tired

I didn't want anyone to think I have disappeared.  For the first week after chemo I'm pretty wiped out.  Probably doesn't help that Zofran and Benadryl both make me sleepy:).  I'll be back on blogging more hopefully next week!  Until then, I'll be praying for you all!  Less than 6 weeks until my last chemo!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

4th Chemo Done! 2/3 There!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmdOx-YhNxs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Hello all!!  Along with a picture from today's chemo is a link to my youtube video I made today on a little exploration outside of the infusion room!!  It only took me this long to find out that you can walk outside in the pretty little garden just outside!!   Lol!!  Hey, what can i say...the chemo makes me slow!  Lol!

So mom got a crash course in using the video function on my tablet and voila...a very armature but heartfelt hello from yours truly!!   I am coming to the close of chemo 4 and am properly hyped up on the steroids given to me to keep me from having reactions.  Trust me... starting tomorrow with a combo of Zofran, Benadryl, my white count shot and crashing off the steroids...it isn't very pretty for the next five days!!!  Living on oatmeal and peaches and water and spending a lot of time in bed!!!!  Oh yes, and the Tylenol for the bone pain.  Ever had your bone marrow forced to grow new white blood cells??  One word to describe....OOOUUUCCCHHH!!!   I could have used another word but it wouldn't be lady like!

Well, my last chemo just beeped so I better wrap up!  Not sure if I will blog for a few days but will try!!

Ciao!!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Grandma's 90th Birthday!!

Today is my Grandma's 90th birthday!!  It was only the second time I have been able to see her since June and the first time without a face mask!  Grandma has had a rough summer.  Starting in June she went through two procedures for a pace maker in two days, fought off pneumonia and plurasy and spent over two months in a rehab facility.

Grandma is home now and settling back into life again and is doing great!!!!  It was so wonderful to finally see her not in hospital gowns, beds and wheel chairs!!!

While it was nice to see her...it was frustrating to get so tired so quickly.  I will be happy to be able to sit and visit with grandma longer and more often:)  

Happy Birthday grandma!!!!  Love you lots and so happy you are home again!!!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Painful Muscles...But Good Pain!

One of the frustrating parts of chemo is the extreme fatigue.  Because of this fatigue, I don't get much exorcise.  If I push it too hard the exhaustion makes me feel sick.  I spend a lot of time sitting in a chair or laying down.  Especially for the first week or so after chemo.  Well, today, being so close to my next chemo, I was feeling well enough to go outside and walk around.  Mom and I walked down the road to the property line...which isn't very far to be honest.  It has a slight hill up to the line and by the time we got there, I could feel my leg muscles WORKING!!!

This is new to me...especially over such a short distance!  I have always been good at walking.  I enjoy it!  My legs were conditioned to it!  Especially after two years of tramping all over a college campus...sometimes at a power walk to make it from one class to another!  It is frustrating to me that I have reached a point where walking the equivalent of a block or so makes me want to sit down not only to rest from the tired feeling but also to ease my aching muscles!  And I have discovered muscles in places that shall remain nameless!!

I wish I could say that from now on I will go for a walk every day to make sure my muscles stop their downward spiral...but sadly I know that just isn't going to happen:(.  While I wouldn't call the fatigue completely debilitating...it comes close I think!  So I am going to have to do some serious and hard work after chemo.  Something tells me the recovery will be just as hard as the treatment!  But, I am determined that the muscles will no longer hurt unless I want them to hurt!

But in the mean time...excuse me as I take a moment to vent and let the whole world know that I HATE CHEMO!!!!!!!  And that I would really like my leg muscles back!  Please!!!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Want My Hair Back

I know this sounds incredibly vain, but I want my hair back!  I actually almost started crying looking at a picture of me with my long hair a couple days ago.  I have beautiful scarves, hats, a wig and bangs to put under the scarves.  And they are wonderful and I am so thankful to the people who have given them to me.  But I think I need to take a few minutes and just talk about hair and how the lack of it can affect a person!

It may sound silly.  But for a woman, her hair is a bigger part of who she is than you might think!  It certainly is a bigger part of me than I was aware of!  I'm actually coming to the point where I don't like looking at myself in the mirror.  It just makes me sad!  The craziest thoughts go through my mind when I see my head with a sparse, almost white, fuzz on top, that sticks strait up by the way!  Like, what man is going to look at me looking like this?!  Forget about the cancer, which is a whole other issue that a man would have to deal with, the bald look isn't working for me!  And I have no idea what color or texture it will come back in with when it finally does come back!  I have nightmares of it NOT coming back in and I have to rely on scarves, hats and wigs for the rest of my life!  That is not a reminder of this time I want to deal with!

I know I am looking at things not in the most positive light with this.  I know, logically, that this too will pass.  That my hair will grow back (fingers crossed it grows back as it was before!) and that someday I will meet a man who can handle what I'm dealing with.  Doctors appointments and CT scans for the rest of my life.  No biological children.  And the possibility of a recurrence.  And the crazy thing is, this is what jumps into my mind every time I look in the mirror and see a bald head!

I know I am not the only one who is dealing with this.  And to be honest, I also work on not letting it take over.  Yes, it gets to me...a lot of things do...but I know I have to work hard to not let it take over.  I do notice that as I slowly loose weight, the lack of hair accentuates my high cheek bones that are starting to show as my face becomes less round:).  Call my crazy, but I feel like my eyes are actually bluer!  And, I finally look good in a fedora:)  Granted, I think the hot pinkness of the hat helps but the no hair makes it fit better:)

I guess what I am trying to say is that while I work very hard every day to stay positive and fight this...it isn't a guaranteed win every minute of the day.  It is just too hard to be that way.  But, after I wipe the tears away and take a deep breath, I fill my head with all the good things around me.  My parents unending support and love.  My sister-in-law and her never ending support and drive to make me look my best!  My bother's and sister's phone calls and text messages to make sure I'm ok and talk about silly and every day things.  My niece Rachel always giving me encouragement and trusting that I am stronger than I think I am:).  All my family, being there for me in their own way and my friends praying so hard for me!  I am very blessed, I know.  And I am grateful for that every day because that strength and those prayers hold me up.  But honestly...I can't help saying it...I want my hair back!