Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Great Week

Again, I spent the past weekend at home, and managed to write very little.  I'd apologize for that, but I had too much fun to really be sorry!

I got to spend several days with Debby and her family, went ballroom dancing, had 3 different meals  at friends' homes, and a whole slew of other fun things.  I didn't even mention how relaxing it was to see my dogs, take them walking, and visit with my neighbors.  

I feel so blessed to have felt so good when I was at home.  I had energy every day, didn't need naps, and I got to see lots of my friends.  The only downside was that I didn't sleep very well at night, but it was well worth the trade off for all the fun I had.  

Now I'm back in Houston, ready to start round 3.  It's hard for me to believe that in 9 days I'll be halfway through chemo.  I can only hope the 2nd half goes as well as this first half has gone so far.  

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Feeling the Love

What a great day today has been. Do I say that every day? I am not apologizing if I do, just wondering.

I realized today, perhaps for the first time, what amazing support I have from my family and friends. I have it all the time, I'm sure, but I certainly notice it more now than ever.

One book I've been reading, Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips, has a whole section on support groups. There are groups whose volunteers will write you little notes, another place where you can connect with people with the same type of cancer you have, and the list goes on and on. I have done a little bit of web research, and none of these groups appeal to me. For a while, I wondered if I was just in denial, as if being affiliated with others who have cancer would make it too real for me. Now, I just think those groups don't appeal to me because I have so much support around me already.

I have had, among other things, people come clean my house, bring me meals and snacks, send countless letters, cards, and prayers, in addition to the family who've been flying or driving in to take care of me on each step of this journey. When people ask how I am, I am honestly able to tell them that I am doing well. It's not a false optimism, I am not trying to protect the people who love's that I am truly as good as I could hope for.

Tonight I took both dogs for a short walk and stopped to see some friends a few blocks over. Lisa kept telling me she couldn't believe how good I look. I think she was probably just referring to how amazing I look with no hair, but I am taking it as an overall "looking good." When I feel good enough to exercise every day (well, for 3 days in a row, anyway), I must be doing well!

This is my way of saying thank you. I know I am being lifted up in prayer. I know I am loved, from near and far. It is a great thing, to have so much support that I don't think I need more. Thanks!

My 100th Post

There is nothing exciting to note, but you are reading anyway. Thank you. I realized in a message sent earlier that I am now one of "those people" who overuse exclamation points. In a five sentence email, I used exclamation points on four of them. I must be really excited most of the time. When did that happen?

It is great to be home. I took a 30 minute walk last night (and even sprinkled in a bit of jogging), and on the way stopped to say hi to neighbors I had met a couple of months ago. It felt awesome to actually recognize people on my street, unlike in Houston where everyone I meet is a stranger. The only people who know me in Houston are my brother's family and the medical staff at MD Anderson. When I finished my radiation treatments yesterday, the receptionist seemed a little sad that I wouldn't be back. The folks at the clinic are friendly, but I cannot honestly say I am sad that I won't be seeing them again. I am ready to be phasing out whatever treatments I can.

Today I am off to have someone look at the rear bumper of Debby's car that has to be replaced because of a fender bender in a parking lot, and I think if I don't go do it now, it won't get done today. My drive home last night was uneventful. I got to talk to Tracey for about 40 minutes, and it sure made the drive seem way shorter than it normally does. Before my last treatment yesterday, I got to pick up Missy and Frannie at the hospital and deliver them home for the first time. It was so sweet to watch the older sisters' faces light up to see their Mom, and again to see Frannie. The oldest sister, Lucy, is only two years old, but she is totally in love with her baby sister. She holds her, touches her face, and pats her hand. I think if she were big enough she would take charge of that new baby and no one else would ever have a chance to love on her. It is so sweet to watch.

One of my sweet friends came and cleaned my house for me. When I walked in the door last night, it smelled so clean and looked so nice I could hardly believe it was my house. She had even washed my sheets and folded some clean clothes for me. What a blessing! Thanks, Sandy!

Have a great day, I know I will!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I feel good!

For the first time in ages, I am tired from exercise and not because of a side effect.  Praise God! I went out for a walk tonight and it felt great.  Now I am just waiting for laundry to dry so I can make the bed and crawl into it for the night.  This kind of tired feels so much better than the other.

I think I am going to go back to training for a 5k.  As long as I can walk/jog 3 times a week, I should be ready to jog a 5k in 9 weeks.  My goal is November 8th in DC for the "inaugural" conference of the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation.  The conference itself does not interest me, but running a 5k as a survivor really does.  I think Mary & I are going to run it together.  I am very excited!  I know November is way further away than 9 weeks, but this gives me a little bit of cushion time to duplicate training weeks if I need to.  The thought of exercising at this point releases about as many endorphins as an actual workout...that's got to be a good sign.  

All right, time to check the laundry, sleep is calling....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2 Months

I was thinking this week it has been about 2 months since I was diagnosed with cancer.  How can time seem to move so fast and stand still at the same time?  It's weird.

Since my diagnosis, I have learned a couple of helpful things about myself.  I do not do well with lots of time on my hands.  So, when my treatment is done, I either need to get back to work in a serious way, or adopt several children and pray the Lord provides for all of them (since I'll be too busy raising kids to work outside the home).  Really, since I'm not married, I'm thinking the "get back to work" scenario works for me.  I have also learned that I am a sucker for anything that doesn't require a lot of brain power.  When I was a kid, I really thought I was pretty smart, but now I see myself for what I really am--given to what rewards me the most.  As a kid, that was getting good grades in school.  Today, that motivation is gone, so now I spend my time with the Food Network, easy fiction, and puzzles...not the stuff great minds are made of, I'm sure.  The last thing I've realized in the past week is that I really need to get over myself.  I'm not all that special, not all that unusual, not that extraordinary--people are not required to sit up and take notice just because I walk into a room.  I love that you, the people who love me, have made me feel that way, but it's not actually true.  

I would like to spend the next couple of months seeing past myself.  I know there will be times of feeling really yucky, where all I can do is sleep and recover.  Beyond those times, I want to be able to reach beyond myself, stretch my natural inclinations, become more of who the Lord is planning for me (and frankly, expecting me) to be.  It seems like a lot to ask that of myself now.  But if I'm not going to do it now, when will I?  

I told Janice last week that I really think my cancer is gone.  Every time I get blood drawn before chemo, the numbers are all moving in the right direction.  I haven't struggled with infection, or with inordinate side effects.  All of you who have prayed for God's healing for me, let me tell you, I think He has heard you.  I think I am going to finish the next 4 rounds of chemo and after that I expect to be cancer free for the rest of my life.  Period.  God can do that.  I want to be the person who trusts that and celebrates that every. single. day.  

Oh, yes, the two month perspective.  I'd say it's long enough to know what to expect, but too long to sit around and keep waiting for something different to happen.  I don't want to be reckless or foolish.  I still want someone here to make sure I'm okay after chemo, but I don't want to be helpless, either.  If this is what 2 months feels like, what will 6 months feel like?  I guess we will all just have to wait and see.  

PS-Hi!  I'm glad you're reading!  You know who you are :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Be Still...

I woke up this morning thinking about 2 things.  First, I wondered what it would take to get an ice maker in my home in Temple.  I seriously love good ice.  Second, I thought about the phrase, "Be still."  Fortunately for you, dear reader, the "be still" won the battle of the brain.

Be still can be deceptive.  It sounds almost like passivity, doing nothing.  I don't think of it that way.  I think of being still as being in the best state to hear what I should be doing, praying, considering, or contemplating next.  Being still allows me to hear something besides, "You have cancer" when I feel lousy.  Being still reminds me that I am not the only fighter in this battle--I have God, my family, my friends, and my very well-trained doctors and nurses in this battle--all of whom are battling it in their own mighty ways.  Being still reminds me there is still blessing in quiet fellowship, in early mornings, and getting the chance to know others I would have never met.  

So many people I read about are just ticked off when they hear they have cancer.  I can't say I was thrilled, but I don't remember anger being my first response.  I think I was shocked first, then a little scared.  Fortunately, being still after my first surgery really helped me to hear the wisdom of all the people who love me, which got me to MD Anderson to start my treatment.  Thank God I didn't stay scared.  It's amazing to me how much being still can still move me.  

I realize now that I am one-third of the way through my treatments (can I get a hallelujah!), I may have a lot more feeling icky, tired, and cranky to go.  I probably will cry more.  I will occasionally be less than sunshine-cheerful about what's ahead.  I will definitely, though, spend some time being still.  I know I will feel the Lord's hand guiding me in that stillness.  I know I will hear your voices of love and concern and cherish them.  I will probably still wake up thinking about having an ice maker in my home, because I still love some good ice!  God Bless you today...spend some time being still.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So Sleepy...

Just a quick update...I apparently cannot get enough rest.  I get up in the morning, watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, drink some coffee & have some breakfast, then I'm done and need a nap.  I get a wild hair, need a shower, then need a nap again.  The shower is just too taxing apparently. Then radiation, where I lay down and read for a few minutes, then over to Greg & Missy's, where, you can guess, I take a nap while Janice & Lori go shopping.  I wake up for snacks & meals in there, but mostly, I sleep.  Crazy.  I hope it's not like this for long.  I am ready to feel normal.  I am all for a good mid afternoon siesta, but this is getting truly nuts!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Busy, busy

The last couple of days have been busy, probably not by most people's standards, but definitely by mine.  I finished chemo in the middle of the night on Saturday (so technically Sunday morning), and at the end of it I felt pretty tired and yucky.  There is a lot to be skipped in talking about pumping fun chemo poison straight into my belly.  Let's just say it isn't bad until it's over.  I finished w/chemo about 5am, but didn't get discharged until after 1pm.  For whatever reason, writing up the right prescriptions and getting me out was low on the priority list.  Ah, well...

Janice took me home after 1, and we stopped for Mediterranean food on the way home.  The bonus with the icky belly chemo is that my appetite is way smaller.  We were able to share a meal for one, and still had food leftover.  I napped after lunch, and almost got caught up with what I missed in the night.  I was able to sleep through the night last night, which was a blessing.

Today, we were optimistic that Missy would have her baby, so Janice and I arranged to have Janice here so Greg and Missy could go to her appointment.  We just found out that Missy will be coming home tonight, no labor, no baby.  I ended up going to my first radiation appointment on my own.  I am still unbelievably tired, but survived the bulk of the day.  The appointment with the radiation oncologist went fine, but slow.  I was able to read more than 100 pages of my new library book in the down time.  It's a good thing I brought it with me, otherwise you would have gotten an update about things that you probably don't really want to know about!  I had an xray, some radiation therapy, so fun.  Tomorrow is my only "non-appointment" day all week, so I am praying it will be restful and relaxing.  It is also Janice's birthday, so we may do a fun Mexican fiesta for dinner.

I hope that you are having a great day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


In my last post, I optimistically mentioned that I would start treatment tomorrow (which is now yesterday).  I think I will eternally be optimistic, which is not a bad thing in itself, but I am wondering how to inject more reality into these chemo rounds.  To be fair, I DID get admitted to the hospital yesterday, but it was once again after midnight (but before 2 am) when the chemo started.  I didn't fight the Benadryl so hard this time, and I think I was asleep before my nurse started the 24 hour drip.  I woke up a few times in the night, but overall, I slept well--certainly better than my last stay in the hospital.  

Instead of wasting the day waiting for "the call" from admissions, Janice and I decided to go out and do fun things until it was time to "come on down."  And fun things we did...We went shopping, had coffee & lunch, got turned around trying to find Rice Village (aka more shopping), had dinner, and then finally found out I had a room around 6pm.  We got here, checked in with the lovely folks in admissions, and now, just 13 short hours later, I'm talking to you.  

The staff here has been gracious and accommodating, as usual.  My nurse even made a pot of coffee before 6 this morning because (gasp!) none of the cafes in the hospital are open on weekends.  Shocking!  And, if you know me at all, you know that I can function about an hour after waking without coffee, but after that, I get uglier than normal (and meaner, too).  I had a visit from a new oncology Fellow this morning.  Can you say "cute doctor"?  Don't worry, Chad's married, I won't try to make the moves on him.  It wouldn't really be fair, after all, who can resist this bald head?  Well, nearly bald, anyway :)

All right, my lovelies, I am signing off for now.  It is nearly time for breakfast and I want to be ready.  Leave me some love with your comments.  I love knowing who's reading.  Have a great day, I know I will!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Round 2...almost

Well, it's Thursday night.  I should be in the hospital, getting some good poison chemo pumped into my system.  But, I'm not.  There were no beds available today at the hospital, so instead of getting in early and getting things rolling with the chemo, Janice and I did a whole lot of nothing today.  To be fair, I was the one who did a whole lot of nothing, Janice was actually productive.

I watched Food Network, napped, and ate.  After waking up from my 2nd nap (yes, you read that right, I took two naps!), I got a call from the admissions folks at the hospital letting me know that there would not be a bed available for me today, but I would be "first on the list" for tomorrow.  Instead of being cranky and annoyed by that, we decided we had time to see a movie and do something fun.  Off we went, to see "The Proposal" and get groceries to make a Paula Deen recipe.  You know breakfast is going to be good when it involves Paula Deen.  How can you go wrong when a recipe includes heavy cream, butter, and croissants?

So, tomorrow I should have more of an update.  It sounds like I will be in the same unit as before, which means I'll be able to see the nurses I liked from the last time around, which makes me happy.  I will keep you posted about this round when treatment starts tomorrow.  

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I thought I was going to escape it, but it turns out that I'm not. My hair officially started falling out today. I'm not going to do anything drastic about it yet, but I did ask Angie if she'd like to have some fun cutting it off. Maybe we could practice re-styling the mullet, or maybe the mohawk, or both! Then, after all the practicing is done, we're going to take it all off. Keep an eye out for photos.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


It has been a gorgeous day. Breakfast and lunch outside. Talked to Tim. Read some, watched a movie, had dinner with Jimmy, caught up with an old friend who's in town for the summer. Quiet day.

I started reading this book from Judy called Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips. I'm just a few pages into it, and I can already tell it's going to be a tough one to read. It's positive and uplifting, but it will require me to think about the fact that I do, in reality, have cancer. The author is chronicling the days just after her diagnosis. My reality is that I haven't really thought about MY cancer all that much. I've thought about treatment, about details, but not so much about how this can affect the rest of my life.

I do know that I intend my life to last quite a bit longer. Good news for me, not so sure about the rest of you who are going to have to put up with me.