Monday, March 31, 2014
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Shortly after that, K picks up her phone and heads to her room, saying, "I'm going to learn how to speak Italian. I have an app for that!"
That girl and her unique spirit light up my life. I'm so blessed to have a husband and children who give me purpose and bring me joy and laughter.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
People are always asking me how I'm feeling (and that's not a complaint, I definitely appreciate their concern) and I always give the same answer: TIRED! I don't know if I'm trying to do too much too soon after chemo and surgery or if it's just a cumulative effect of everything I've been through, but I feel like I could sleep for a week. I'm a little anxious about that, because I've heard the number one complaint during radiation is fatigue. So I'm wondering...how much more tired can I possibly feel?
The good news is my little stickers they put on me to cover my markings for radiation are hanging in there. I thought surely there's no way they will survive multiple showers. But it's been five days and they're still there. I told Hubby I don't know why we didn't think to ask for some extras in case one came off while I'm at home.
Speaking of Hubby, would you please keep him in your prayers? It is taking his tongue a LONG time to heal and he still can't eat much of anything besides soup, yogurt and pudding. He popped a stitch the other night and bled like crazy - scared the you-know-what out of both of us! So now he's being extra careful. This has been a long week and a half and it shows no signs of letting up. I feel so badly for him and know he's ready to be feeling back to normal. Please ask for healing for him so he can talk, drink and eat like normal without pain. Thank you!
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Going back to yesterday's appointment - it was the radiation planning/simulation that didn't happen last week. Last week I waited an hour to see the doctor and got nothing accomplished. Yesterday I was in and out of there in an hour and they did everything they had to do. Maybe Hubby is my good luck charm! They did a "mold" for me to lay on that conformed to my body to insure I will always be in the exact same position for every radiation treatment. They did a CT scan of my torso and marked me where they will do the radiation. Now the radiation oncologist and physicist will work their magic to come up with my computerized plan - where to direct the beams and how much of a dose. This all takes a week or so, and then we'll be ready to start my 33 treatments. Sounds fun, huh?
One bonus - normally when someone has radiation, they will mark you with pen-point sized tattoos so when you go in they know exactly where to line things up. Instead of tattoos, I was offered to keep the sharpie markings covered up with little clear band-aid things, as long as I promise to keep them on the full six weeks. Since the radiation techs will see me every weekday, they will change them out if they start coming off so we don't lose my marks. So the good news is I won't have permanent black dots on me reminding me of radiation. The bad news is I look like my daughter colored on my chest with a green sharpie and most of those marks will stay for the next two months.
Another day of kicking cancer's ass...
Monday, March 24, 2014
I am a husband/ caregiver...
I didn't know where this should be posted---and since my wife is going through treatment now, I just picked here.
I have lurked since my wife's diagnosis and have been posting only for a few days. I can recognize a sisterhood when I see one. An army of kind souls.
I am humbled by your humanity. Your grace. Your power.
My wife says she's just doing what she has to when I tell her I'm proud of her. But she's doing more than enduring treatment for self serving means. She's doing it with a grace that doesn't frighten our 2 small, sensitive girls. THAT is strength. I see my wife comforting our 4 year old over something trivial (the kind of thing only 4 year olds think is apocalyptic) and I see a woman of strength and beauty the likes of which I cannot imagine life without.
I read your posts and I see my wife or sister or mom. I see a beautiful woman who is power and grace and humanity.
I read accounts of people letting you down or failing to support you.
It breaks my heart to think that you aren't being held or hugged or listened to to the degree that you deserve or more importantly NEED.
You are beautiful. Worthy of love and support and someone is missing out on YOU. It's not your fault. People with a heart and a soul and a brain are inspired by you. Touched by you... whether you think you deserve it or not.
People in pain don't reach out like you do to comfort others. You ask very little. You deliver day after day for others. And you think you aren't worthy of praise or wonderment or fanfare. You are wrong.
You are to be cherished and held and loved. And even on days when someone in your physical environment doesn't seem to be doing quite enough of this, you are being cherished and held and loved from afar by someone you have touched----even if quite by accident.
Know this to be true.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Breast cancer and Hubby's 24 stitches not-withstanding, my biggest complaint right now is a head cold. My eyes won't stop watering, my nose is runny, and I have a tickle in my throat that makes me cough ALL.NIGHT.LONG. Ugh. I've been pretty healthy all through chemo and surgery, so I hope it's not a bad omen that I'm feeling puny right before radiation! I'm supposed to have my radiation simulation on Tuesday.
Hubby's tongue is still awful. I feel so bad. He can't eat anything. Even though they are some of his favorite things, I'm sure he's sick and tired of yogurt, ice cream and pudding. He goes back to the oral surgeon on Tuesday and we wonder what he will say. Probably "Oh, this is normal" but that does not help Hubby with his sore tongue!
On a side note, second grade girls can have SO much drama. Sheesh. Can't we all just get along?!?!??
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Here's my girl and her friends at opening ceremonies:
First of all, the lump that Hubby had removed from his tongue that made him get 24 stitches? It's still extremely painful, BUT IT'S NOT CANCER!!!!!!!!!!! Doctor said it was fine. Thank you, God.
After an entire week of working nonstop, ignoring the dishes, my pet, my husband and my kids, I think I finally have a schedule for softball. I'm sure there will be tweaks along the way, but right now I am DONE. Tomorrow is our opening ceremonies (technically today since it's 1:30am) and I'm going to enjoy some softball games.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Let's make this quick.
I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist yesterday. They were supposed to do my planning and sim... which basically means they put you on the table, do a CT scan of your anatomy that they'll be radiating and do a mock-up of your radiation plan. Then the RO and a physicist work on the plan to get it precisely where the radiation beams need to be. After 5 days or so they're ready for me to come back and get started. At least that's the way the process was explained to me. I might not have that 100% accurate. Oh, and I also get cool little tattoos that show where I'll be getting radiation.
However, the physicist is going to be gone for a week and Dr. Au didn't want to do my CT and sim yesterday and then have to wait to start, because my anatomy might change (skin and muscles loosening up) before then which would throw the whole plan out the window. So now I'm rescheduled for next Tuesday.
I want to ask for prayers for Hubby. He had to have a bump removed from his tongue the other day and they are going to biopsy it. You can imagine, after everything we've been through, we don't want to hear the word "biopsy". Please pray that it's nothing. Also pray for healing. He had to get 24 stitches in his tongue and now, three days later, can't even eat anything more than ice cream or yogurt. He's in a lot of pain and not feeling good at all. I know he needs a lot more TLC than I've been able to give him this week because madam softball has been so demanding, but I hope he knows how much I worry about him and how sorry I am to see him hurting.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
I'm happy to say the softball schedule is done. Not written in stone, of course... more like written in my blood, sweat & tears! I can't even tell you how much time I've devoted to this in the past week. I've had dishes in the sink for three days that Hubby finally washed despite his hydrocodone fog. I have laundry in the dryer that is probably so wrinkled I will have to wash it again. I haven't spent any time with my kids other than to yell at them to do something or not do something...... The pressure was on and I don't like the person I've been this week.
However, tomorrow is a new day. I know it won't be a pleasant one when the coaches all wake up to find the schedule waiting in their inbox. This was a ton, I mean a TON of hard work for me and very time-consuming, so all complaints will be directed toward someone else. My back hurts, my eyes hurt, my brain hurts. I won't let my feelings get hurt, too.
On a positive note, K's team had an impromptu scrimmage tonight during practice. K had a fantastic day at catcher, making three outs at home plate including a double play (caught a pop fly & tagged the runner out). Of course I missed all the fun because I was at a board meeting upstairs... but I heard about it. Games start next week and I'm ready to WATCH some softball instead of working my fingers and brain to the bone getting READY for softball.
It's 1:09am and I'm turning into a pumpkin. Sweet dreams, all. I'll update about my non-radiation appointment tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I have been working non-stop (literally every waking hour possible) to do the softball schedule for our league. Almost 40 teams, 8 weeks, combining two other leagues with ours for some games....it has meant hundreds of texts, dozens of emails and one very unpleasant meeting.
So while I've been busy kicking cancer's ass, softball has been busy kicking my ass!
The only bonus is that I've been so busy I haven't had time to think about my radiation appointment today. I don't actually start rads today, but they will do everything to get me ready and it's supposed to be a two to three hour appointment. Oh boy.
I can't complain, though. Hubby had to get 24 stitches in his tongue yesterday. Yes, TWENTY-FOUR. Needless to say he is still in a hydrocodone coma.
My life is so much fun sometimes!
Onward and upward... today is a new day.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
K and K went to see MattyB in concert. If you don't know who he is, don't worry. I didn't either. K discovered his music by watching him on YouTube. How my Taylor Swift-obsessed, country music-loving second grader turned into a rap lover is beyond me, but he's clean cut, his music is age appropriate and they tell me he was very nice. What more can you ask for out of an eleven year old boy?
Monday, March 17, 2014
I thought I would write a big meaningful post for #200, but I've been working on a softball schedule all day long and I'm too tired to think of anything.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm feeling this:
Saturday, March 15, 2014
But, in the grand scheme of things, regarding a cancer battle, 199 days plus a couple of months isn't very long. My friend Allyson has been at it ten times longer than that. I've posted about her before, but I would love for you to read her latest blog entry. It's as awful as it is inspirational. This woman, my friend, is going through the unthinkable and somehow manages to share that with the rest of us through words that exude the goodness and grace that are inherent in her.
My 3 Sons: Bellies, Beds and Body Bags
The strength and courage that Allyson shows by sharing each horrible step down this road she shouldn't have to walk is astonishing. Talk about courage under fire.
Count your blessings everyone, and pray for my sweet friend.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Today was a long, busy day, but a fun one. I managed to get a few things done that I needed to before meeting up with friends that I don't see often enough. We took our kids roller skating - and I even put on roller blades and skated for an hour! We all had lunch together before I had to leave to take K to one of her favorite places in the world - Pony Pal Stables. For a spring break "treat", she got to go twice this week for riding lessons. Her favorite horse there is Maggie - I think she would curl up in Maggie's stall and stay forever if I'd let her.
We capped off our day of fun with softball practice. Luckily it was a gorgeous evening with no wind. A girl could get used to this!
I'll probably wake up tomorrow sore from skating and overwhelmed with two dozen things I'll think of that I have to do, but for tonight, I'm pleasantly tired and happy to say that no part of my day today had anything to do with cancer. (Aside from taking my thirteen daily pills - blah!)
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Since it's spring break, the kids went with us to Dallas. They are excellent travelers and really liked seeing where we have been going every time I have an appointment there. We stopped for lunch at a place called Boomer Jacks, which is one of J's favorite restaurants.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I knew my mouth could be sore because a temporary crown is just that...temporary and it's not meant to feel like a real tooth. There's no fooling my mouth that there's a real tooth in there. For a few days that's all I thought it was.... a vague soreness on the bottom from the position of the temporary on top. By Friday I was having stabbing pain when I drank something cold, and to me that didn't seem to go along with this crown business. Unfortunately my dentist was out of town so I couldn't see him until today. I hobbled along all weekend with Advil and lukewarm drinks. Oddly enough, it doesn't hurt at all when I eat.
Anyway, I went to my appointment today so they could see what's going on. X-rays didn't show anything worrisome (which is good) so he seems to think it's all stemming from my bite being "off" while having the temporary. The good news is my permanent crown was ready a week early, so they went ahead and put that in. He also evened out my bite a bit on the bottom where it was hurting. Between the two, the hope is that it will slowly get better. The bad news is, slowly could mean up to another week of tooth pain before it's better.
Normally going to the dentist doesn't bother me, but with the pain on my bottom tooth and the sensitivity from them putting in the crown on top, I was about ready to jump out of that chair. I clenched my fists under the leaded x-ray blanket and had to tell myself I made it through breast cancer surgery for crying out loud, I can get through this silly little appointment.
I popped three Advil as soon as I got in the car (cringing from the cold drink) and tried not to cry on the way home. An hour later I'm much better. I even managed to eat a piece of toast. Hopefully this is the start of better days as far as my crowned tooth issue is concerned!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
So many people fighting a battle like this are called heroes, or inspirations, or strong and resilient. I can honestly tell you, at least in my case, there is no special hero secret. I don't wake up each morning thinking of ways I can be awesome. There have been many, many days since d-day when I've wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from this mess. There were many days when I actually did curl up in a ball. There are days when I cry and days when I want to shut out the world and days when I've wanted to escape from myself - from my own body or my mind. There are days when I want to say "I can't do this anymore".
You know how I get through? Life goes on. Even with no hair, no energy, crazy uncomfortable foobs (that's breast cancer speak for fake boobs) and more fatigue than I can even describe, life goes on, it's beautiful and I want to live it. I don't want to look back in a month or six months or a year and say "Wow, I missed out on so much because of this cancer thing." Cancer is harsh. It's ugly. It's devastating. It's time-consuming. It's scary. It's exhausting. But I refuse to give it any more power over me than it already has.
Hubby posted a video on Facebook today a woman made about fighting cancer and she used Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger". It shows people with signs that say "Fighter" and "Warrior" and "Survivor". The lady is dancing at her chemo treatments with the nurses, and singing along to the song. He said, "Maybe not the dancing in public part but the rest of this is exactly Michelle's attitude and feelings." If I'm stronger, it's because of him. He's my only other "secret".....him by my side, helping me get through each day, each appointment, each test, each treatment. That, and seeing my two kiddos' sweet faces..... best medicine ever!
Monday, March 10, 2014
I never worried before if a headache might be because of a brain tumor. I never wondered before if digestive trouble was a sign of cancer building up in some hidden place inside me. I never before worried that my constantly watery left eye had something do with the cancerous lymph nodes on that side. Now I have to worry about blood clots from the Tamoxifen I take every day. I have to worry about getting cut or injured on my left arm because of lymphedema. I have to worry about my heart because the red devil chemo has been known to be toxic to the heart. As if I didn't have enough on my plate just worrying about cancer not being 100% gone???
All that being said, I do not live my life in fear. Do I have my dark moments? Of course I do. Anyone who says they don't is a liar. But when I say faith is my beacon of hope, I mean it. And I don't just mean faith in God, although I have that, too. I mean faith that I will be ok. Faith that I'm doing the best I can to be healthy. Faith that I'm doing everything I can to fight this stupid disease. Usually it's not good to take things for granted, but in this case, I'm going to take for granted that modern medicine and my fighting spirit have worked wonders and will keep the cancer away for a long, long time, if not forever.
K told me tonight that she really wished I didn't have cancer. Me too, baby girl, me too.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Today I had two more appointments in Dallas, so Hubby and I made a date night out of it. We had a free hotel room at Winstar Casino (haha...free.... we definitely paid the slot machines for our stay!!) so we headed east yesterday afternoon. I love spending time with Hubby, and I love spending time at a casino.... Put them both together and it's a great date!
Did you know you're not supposed to be around secondhand smoke when you are healing? I got busted by my plastic surgeon last time we went to Winstar because he smelled smoke in my wig!!!! I was prepared this time. I wore a hat today instead of the wig I wore yesterday and didn't wear anything the same except jewelry, not even my shoes.
I thought we were free and clear until we were at the checkout desk and I set my drink on the counter... the drink cup that we'd bought at the store next to the casino this morning. Duh.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
On a side note, I still have my port that they put in for chemo. Since it's not being accessed for treatment anymore, I need to have it "flushed" every 4-6 weeks. If you ever have to have a port, you'll need it flushed, so remember to pop a mint in your mouth when they do that. I forgot one time and <gag>. It's the strangest thing, but when they flush your port with saline, you can actually taste it somehow. Even the mint doesn't completely disguise it, but it helps. Thankfully I remembered today, and now I'm good to go for another six weeks.
As one of my friends said to me today, it would be nice to spend as much time with my children as I do with doctors!
One more thing....reading my blog yesterday where I mentioned a groggy, grumpy hubby made Hubby even grumpier, so I must apologize. He was under sedation for oral surgery which is one layer above hell for him, so I'll give him a break and allow the grumpy factor. Sorry Hubby!
Monday, March 3, 2014
6:35am - wake up and feed the cat, make breakfast for the kids
6:45am - wake up kids
7:00am - pack lunches & backpacks for school
7:15am - 7:30am - continuously
7:20am - wake Hubby to take kids to school (he drew the short straw since it was only 13 degrees outside)
7:35am - shower and get ready for the day
8:05am - eat breakfast while waiting for Hubby to shower
8:40am - take Hubby to periodontist for unknown procedure (he doesn't want to know what they are going to do to him)
9:00am - 10:30am - sit and read while waiting for Hubby
10:40am - pay $610, then escort a groggy, grumpy Hubby home
10:45am - make a detour because the aforementioned groggy, grumpy Hubby demanded donuts
11:00am - settle Hubby into his recliner
11:00am - 2:00pm - put away laundry, check Facebook, work on softball league stuff, eat a snack, listen to Hubby talk in his drugged sleep, try to stay warm, read some more
2:15pm - give in to overwhelming fatigue and settle in on the couch for a nap
3:30pm - be awakened rudely from nap by phone alarm
3:50pm - welcome kids home and announce they can get their own snack
4:00pm - 5:00pm - watch Ellen and try to stay warm
5:10pm - head out with J to get some chili for my groggy (but no longer grumpy) Hubby since he can't chew anything solid
5:45pm - eat a totally unhealthy dinner of chicken nuggets and fries
6:00pm - wash dishes and put away more laundry
6:45pm - ride 4.2 miles on the exercise bike
7:05pm - torture myself with post-op stretches and exercises, hating every minute
7:30pm - present time - try to stay warm in between hot flashes, rest on the couch
When someone asks me how I am, when I say "I'm doing good", this kind of day is what I mean. I'm never really good. There are days when hardly anything bothers me. There are days like Saturday when I'm in bed all afternoon and evening. Then there are days like today. Days where I'm so tired by afternoon I can barely see straight. Days where it takes all my energy just to get through the day. Days where I'm able to play Mom and wife - and according to grouchy but no longer groggy Hubby, play pain pill Nazi. Days where I'm able to exercise for twenty minutes without stopping. Days where I'm able to eat what I want, not need any extra medication and keep up with what I needed to do that day. It's all a balancing act and it's never, ever easy. Having cancer is hard.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
After trying three different pain meds (we have quiet the selection in this house!), a massage, a hot shower and a nap, I'm finally feeling better, but it was the kind of headache that had me in tears, it hurt so bad. I haven't had one that bad since my first chemo six months ago and I ended up in the ER. Ugh. Luckily I'm feeling a little better now, but after my extended nap time this afternoon/evening, I will probably have a hard time getting to sleep tonight, which means I'll be worthless again tomorrow. Not exactly my plan for this weekend.
On the plus side, I just registered my son for church camp. J went away to camp for the first time last year (how I managed to let him do that, I don't know.... that was hard on this mama's heart!) and he absolutely loved it. I showed him the brochure for camp this year (different place) and he said he definiely wants to go. I love that he wants to go, and I love that it's a place he can meet new people and experience new things in a safe environment supervised by trusted people from our church. Any time he can experience an opportunity to let Jesus into his heart with young people his age is a good... no, a great, thing. Funny thing - after looking at the brochure, the one thing he told me he's looking forward to most is the lazy river. If there's anything to do with the word lazy, my son is all over it!