Welcome! Read Me!

This blog is created to give you a central location to answer any questions you have about my current and upcoming treatments and reactions. It is also created to help me make Lemonade out of the Lemons I have been given, so I will keep this as positive as I can.







Monday, September 30, 2013

Video Tribute

Thank you Lanette for working to setup this Video!

I have said it before, and it will not be the last time, I have the BEST neighbors, friends and family!!

I love you!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Follow the Yellow Brick Road...

So I guess the Million Dollar Question is... What is going on and Where do we go from here? (I feel like we have been here before)

A few weeks ago I started having more serious pains in my right arm and shoulder. It got to a point that it would be increasingly more painful to even push a computer mouse, so I decided I needed to get it checked out. I went in and there weren't a lot of other symptoms other than my pain, so my doc sent me to get an x-ray to make sure I didn't break it, I didn't. So then I was sent in for a PET scan to see if there was a tumor. This time I went up to the Main Huntsman Hospital to get the scan. It was definitely different. Not only did I have the Radioactive sugar going through my Port, but I also drank the radioactive "smoothie" (more like a huge bottle of Milk Of Magnesia blended with fruit flavored Tums) So I was placed in a dark room and told to relax as I was interrupted every 20 minutes to remind me to drink another little bit of the "refreshing" beverage. Apparently the one though my Port shows tumors in the bones, and muscles, and the Drink shows the ones in organs if any.

Once I completed the scan and headed home, I called to see if I could get a copy of the CD so I could continue to have the complete set of my scans. Well, I was pleasantly surprised because when I left I was under the impression that once I ordered it that I would have to once again drive clear back uptown to get it once it was done loading, or wait for that and then for them to put it in the mail for it to be delivered to  me. I was very happy when they let me know I could pick it up at the Radiology department in the office next to my Oncologist, 15 minutes away. That was definitely a relief. I had the CD by the following day which was good and bad I suppose. When I looked at it (again, I am NOT trained in reading these things by any means) I noticed that my shoulder area seemed to glow like the other known tumors that I have. So I pretty much decided that is what it was.I don't know about you but when I am left to my own devices I can dream up a lot of Best and Worst Case Scenarios. And, unfortunately, I ended up with nearly a week to do so before I met with the Doc again. This is not a very good thing except I had really started preparing myself for the worst.

That week came and went and it was now time for the visit with my Doc. When the order was sent for the PET scan, She requested that they specifically compare my prior scan from July to this new one so that we could see if anything was getting smaller or not. The person who read the scan apparently missed that particular note and only gave results of the new one and did not review the prior one. This was still enough information that we could get some results, just not 100% of them. Those results were essentially what I had assumed. Yes, the pain in my shoulder is caused by new tumors. I have one in my arm bone connecting to the shoulder as well as one in my shoulder and the one that I have had in my shoulder blade since the beginning is starting to do damage to the bone. Unfortunately, they also found that I still have the tumor in my right Femur, but also now in the Right Hip, Tail Bone and my Left hip. The only one of these currently causing any bone damage is the one in my shoulder blade. This is good news because this is not a Weight Bearing bone so unless I fall flat on my back I should be fine once we get it under some control. Since I do have these additional tumors though she has restricted my weight bearing activities. I should not be picking up things that are more that 20 lbs with my right arm, and I need to "take it easy" so as to not risk any falls that could cause any issues with my hips.

We wanted to find out why it was doing what it was doing. I was on the Hormone inhibitor that should have kept my body from feeding the cancer and causing it to grow. So I had a blood test drawn to see where those levels are. They are low as they should be on the inhibitor. so in other words, it is no longer relying on the estrogen to feed it for it to grow. There is something else feeding it. (we don't know what at this point) So... The inhibitor is not going to work for me. At least for now.

That being said it is back to my favorite Chemo! Whoo Hoo! I started it today. I am only taking the Xeloda Pill in the same dose as I was originally. This is a great plan, if it works, especially since I don't have to spend an hour in the Infusion chair, I can do it all at home. I am being monitored closely to see how it is reacting so that the doc can "tweek" the dosage as needed to ensure that we have the right process. The bright side here is that while last time when I was taking this at least I wasn't getting large amounts of re-occurrence, it was at least slowing the growth. So it should allow us to have a better chance of getting it to a manageable point. For now I simply have to work with a pain management processes until it shrinks to a point that it is no longer pressing against my nerves so much, which is essentially what I understand the pain to be coming from. We will go into Radiation if at any time any of my weight bearing bones start to appear compromised.

The "Glowing" ares (except my brain) are the areas of concern. 

At this last appointment I also asked the question that I never really wanted to ask, but because of the growth I wanted to be up-front with what I should be expecting. My Doc calls it the "Elephant in the Room" question... I asked her for a more official Prognosis as to the timeline I should be looking at. She avoided it for a good 5-10 minutes reviewing things in my chart and reviewing the plan that we had discussed, and finally qualified the answer she was going to give me with where the stats come from, as in mostly women over 70 with additional health issues and contributing factors. So my time could likely be higher than the averages that are gained from this group. but the timeline she gave was approximately 2 years. This is a somewhat common timeline that  I had seen online and through others experience.With this information she also stated that there are at least 6 additional treatments on the table that we can use, so there are more options to hold off the disease. If we can get it to go into remission then that time will have a likelihood to go up and add years to my life. So, we do have some additional hope. We are not at the end of our options yet, and who knows what new options that we will have within the upcoming years with new treatments and such.

I had told my dear friend Kami about my scan and what I thought it could be when I had gotten my CD back, and being who she is, she went to work. She started things in motion because she wanted to make sure that I would be taken care of if/when I had to be on Chemo again and missing work and pay. With this there has been an ever increasing, and an un-fathoming, outpouring of generosity that I could have never imagined. Additional neighbors and friends jumped in quickly and increased the goal to not only include some financial stability, but to also include the goal to send me and my little family on a wonderful trip to Disneyland. The timing is great as we were intending to try to get there in the next year as well. The girls are finally getting close to the height requirements for many of the rides. Dani still has an inch or two to go for some of them, but Emma and Katelynn are right about there if they are wearing the right shoes. ;) Now things are in motion so we just have to find a time that is going to work. We want to bring Grandparents so they can be included in the joy! With all of this we need to make sure that we can find a time that works for everyone.

Now that I am officially off work on Short Term Disability for the next 6 months I can continue on my quest to keep my kiddos as my central priority This begins with an extreme BANG this weekend. My Sweet neighbor and friend Nancy arranged for us to have tickets to go to the Circus tomorrow. The girls are so excited! They all told me tonight that they were so excited that they weren't sure if they could calm down enough to get to sleep. Thankfully, they did finally crash so I don't have to take sleep deprived children to the Circus tomorrow. :) And now that they are off track we will be spending a great deal of time at the Jump and Bounce. This is something they were excited about but will definitely PALE in comparison to the Circus!

Tomorrow is also a Yard Sale to help increase the fund and help us to continue to make ends meet and care for our wonderful girls. I could not have asked for more. And I am astonished and overwhelmed every day because of the wonderful generosity of those who surround me. "Thank You" just doesn't even seem to come close to the Gratitude that My Family and I have for all who have contributed to the cause in any possible way. I know that Every Prayer that goes up on our behalf is helping me stay emotionally together at least some of the time. I am still consistently increasing the Lemonade at our house for the girls. We are not currently telling them of any time line. They don't need the stress of that worry at this point, but we are preparing them in our way by helping them understand the process and where we go from here and the promise that we as a family will be together FOREVER! There is Nothing that will ever change this! And I want my girls to know this beyond a shadow of any doubt so that it will help them cope with the end result no matter how long I have with them. I do not want them to have ANY question that I love them and will never stop.

My Upcoming Lemonade will definitely include a Photo Diary of the Wonderful memories that we are going to be making. in the Months and hopefully MANY Years to come.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Motivation! Why do I do what I do?

I have had a few people mention to me that I do more than they would if they had what I have. Well I have 3 very good reasons do do things. They are my Daughters!
My Princesses

I was talking to a friend of mine about how my spirits are lately. I had to admit that they are not always high, but that because of my cute girls I try to at least keep the appearance that they are. Now I will never claim that they have not seen me cry. That is not realistic. However because of them I will do things that I don't always feel up to. This past summer I have gone with the family and friends to several places that I may not have physically been up to. We have a family tradition to make sure we get to the Zoo, This is the Place Park and the Aviary. These along with family and work parties, me and my cane did them all. And of course we also made the walk for Komen, even if we did cheat a little and cut some corners. On more than one occasion I had to be physically lifted from the ground since I had no strength to do it myself. But, I want my girls to have a "normal" childhood. I don't want to kill traditions that they love just because it may cause me temporary discomfort. I love to see the looks on their faces when we go places and do things. I just can't bear to tell them no, just because I have Cancer. 

Katelynn- Age 7

Because of Katelynn I work on Art Projects. I set up Lemonade Stands. I Read with her and I Love to pick her up from school so I can learn about her day and what she is learning and what games she played at Recess. She is my helper and she is always the first one to organize a project  for her and her sisters and friends. She will also  make sure that I have a fresh bottle of water to drink and to scratch my back whenever I need it, even without me asking!


Emma- Age 5

Because of Emma I play pretend. I play games, anything from My Little Pony to Candy Land or card games. She loves to play and she is so creative that she is always coming up with new rules that make the games even more fun. She is my Snuggle Bug! When she gets home from school, once she has had either a snack or lunch, we always have to spend the next 30 minutes just siting with each other and snuggling while we talk about her day. If we ever have a day this doesn't happen we have to somehow fit in our snuggle time in at dinner time or before bed. She has a million questions bouncing around in her head and I am constantly checking Google to make sure I am giving her the right answer. She is also my inventor, so when she gets an idea about how to make something I have to run around the house looking for all of the supplies that she needs. 
Dani- Age 3

Because of Dani I Laugh! Dani is my Entertainer. I can not count how many times each day that I have to be her audience to watch her latest Dance Creation or another Show that she has come up with. My day is not complete until I have had these performances. Because of Dani, I walk to the park because she wants to play. She is also my daily reminder that I am loved. She will randomly come up to me, put her hands on my cheeks and look right in my face and say, "Mom, I Love you!" And how can you not do whatever she wants you to after that? I don't think it is possible!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Healing Wounds for Sensitive and Difficult Skin


For those of you who have been following me for any amount of time you know that there have been PLENTY of setbacks with the healing from my Reconstruction efforts. Well I believe I have found the process that may have just put an end to all of my struggles. It has been about 2 1/2 years of continuous stitches, bandages and skin issues. As of today my reconstruction site is healed over with my own fresh skin! No Stitches! No Scabs! No Bleeding! No Draining! This is definitely something that I am extremely grateful for at this point! Now the miracle of it all... It was healed within 18 days! How did I do it??? I will tell you! :) It wasn't simple, but it WAS simple... Here is the Process I followed:
CLEANING:
I found that if I used the same cleaning method every day that my skin would be irritated by the cleaning solution that was being used, so I alternated my cleaning solution to keep that from happening in this time.While it was still fresh and sore I would spray the area with Bactine. This not only gave an initial cleaning but it also had a numbing agent in it so that the rest of the process didn't hurt. Next I would alternate days using either Hydrogen Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol. Once cleaned with that harsh cleaner I would clean it with a mixture of Betadine and ASEA (Cell repair in a Sodium Chloride solution) after letting this sit for a little while I would rinse it off with plain water then allow it to dry. Once dry I would apply 1 drop of Purify Blend by doTerra, and then allow it to dry again.
TREATMENT:
On a small Gauze pad I would put 2-3 drops of each Lavender and Melaleuca oils as well as 4-6 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil and rub all over the effected area. I realize that it does take more oil to use it on the gauze, since it soaks in, but I feel that there is less chance of germ transfer from your fingers or hand, and because of the quantity of oil I don't have to worry about it spilling out of my hand or whatever container I would mix it in. Once this is applied I allow it to dry for a while then I would apply 1 drop of Helichrysum with a Q-tip, I would allow this to dry then apply 1 drop of Frankincense with the other side of the Q-tip. Again I am sure a finger may be fine, but I am a little OCD with things like this.
OINTMENTS:
Once everything is applied I would also apply an ointment to the area to keep it moisturized. I would alternate this as well. The Ointments that I used were Aquaphor, Tripple Antibiotic and a Bacitracin Zinc. I would apply a small amount of the ointment with one side of the Q-tip and then remove any excess ointment with the other site of the Q-tip. If it is too moist then it can Harbor germs and then you end up with infections, But if it is not poist enough then it can cause brittle skin that won't heal.
BANDAGING:
The area needs to be able to stay clean and yet be able to breathe a little as well. I Love to use a Non-Stick pad first. I have tried most every brand out there and my favorites are actually the Generics. Specifically The Kroger Brand for the Smaller wounds and the Target (up & up) Brand for the larger bandage. They wick away the excess moisture from the wound and won't snag on your wound. When it is bleeding, or draining a lot I use an attitional Gauze pad (any one will do here) to keep it from getting on my clothes.
ADHESIVES:
There are TWO types of adhesives that I can use with my skin. The first is Paper tape. When I am using it as often as I am I use very little so that it doesn't cause additional irritation to my skin. The second is Tegaderm. This is the Transparent dressing that the hospitals use to cover your IV when you are in the hospital. The only place I have found that carries it is Walgreens. This is great for keeping moisture in AND out of the bandage.
THE END RESULT:
I am Healed! Here is a Before, During and After pic as proof.:)
Day 1

Day 9

Day 18



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Good days!

Today I was able to go in to the doc to find out my new plan... So I am now singing this song... Happy Lemons Yes I have young kids, so it is normal for kids songs to pop into my head first when doing most things... Some of you relate, Right??? Why am I singing such a catchy tune you may ask??? Well I found out A few things today. First; The Tumor in my Femur bone is not putting a hole in it and therefore not putting me in immediate danger of it breaking... So that means I do not need to do Radiation treatments at the moment. Score One for me! Next; Yes, I am officially Post Menopausal, so that means that I have the option of an Aromatise Inhibitor. That is a pill that will stop my system from trying to make more Estrogen elsewhere not just my Ovaries and feeding my cancer. So in doing this, we can avoid additional Chemo for the time being, and just starve my cancer to death. What Does this mean? It means I can feel more like a "normal person" soon. As soon as the residual junk gets out then I should be mostly back to where I was before my new Diagnosis. This new treatment is not without it's side effects of course, I will have to deal with the chance of increased "achiness" as well as an increased risk of Osteoporosis and it may also help bring on more Hot Flashes... I already know how to deal with the Hot Flashes at this point, so I think it is a better option that putting my body through additional craziness of Chemo at this point as she said I am not in any immediate life threatening danger. Score: Me 2 - Cancer 0! This is so nice that I would do the Happy Dance if I could move at this point... But unfortunately I got the great idea to try to stretch out my hip, and unfortunately instead of making it feel better and nice and stretched out, it made it hurt worse. I am sure it will go away eventually, but no dancing the Dance of Joy for me at the moment... You will have to settle for this: Dance Of Joy I will be set up for some Physical Therapy to see if I can get my back to move, and my hips to move, and my Shoulders to move... Until then we will settle for the Steady increase in my mobility and decreased Fat face, and my additional strength in my legs as the steroid drains from my system. Keep the Prayers coming. I know they are the reason I am getting a break right now.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Future

It has been a while since I have updated. We have been just doing the usual, so there hasn't been anything of real consequence to report. We went through a total of three 21 day cycles of Chemo capped off with a PET scan to compare to the original one that we had before everything started. WE wanted to make sure everything we have done has done what it is supposed to do... In the mean time I also went to Huntsman to get a second opinion to see if we were on the right track. In that consult she only mentioned minor changes but I liked how she used the resources of Huntsman to review her answers. So I made the decision to change to a new Doctor to get the full options available. I decided to wait until I had finished this cycle and gotten the PET scan before moving so we would know all of the information up front. Last Wednesday I had the scan it was uneventful during the scan. I am not a super patient person so I called on Friday to get the disk so I could at least look at the images of it in comparison with the one in May. When I reviewed it to my untrained eye it looked like there was nothing in my spine and it looked like the spot in my Lung was smaller. There were a couple troubling spots, to me, but I have no training in reading PET scans so I did not trust that judgment there, but decided to trust the person trained to read them. Today I met With Dr Legant at Huntsman she contacted the Radiation department where my PET scan was taken and requested the results. (Another thing I like about working with her, if the results haven’t been received by the time we are talking she will have her staff drive the other office crazy until we get the result. My prior Doc would often just wait and be at the mercy of whoever we are waiting for... I like to have someone totally on my side.) So the results were interesting... I was right in my assessment to a point... My back tumors are "undetectable", my tumor in my Lung is "considerably smaller" So that is Great News!

Unfortunately, there was more news than that. I had some growth in the spot on the Lymph node under my arm, but the doc said that could be in part from the work it is doing trying to heal my recent surgery. There was a "hot spot" on my Adrenal gland. In some research after my appointment I am wondering if this is caused by the Cushing's Syndrome since it is the Adrenal Gland (with the help of my favorite steroid) that is "causing" the Syndrome in the first place, so I don't know if it caused a tumor, or if it just has extra activity that is showing up on the PET. Which came first? The Chicken? or the Egg? She is not as concerned about that one as she is about the next spot. So we will just keep watching for that one. The other concerning spot... My Femur. It is right at the joint at my hip on my right side. This is very concerning since it is a Weight Bearing Bone/joint, so we don't want it to cause a Fracture as that is NEVER a good thing. So we needed to get an X-Ray to determine if it was hollowing out the bone or if it was just growing on it. Thankfully we were able to go right over to the Radiology and get the X-ray right after my appointment. I won't have the results of that scan until my next appointment next Tuesday. Once we get that we will either start Radiation on my femur or I will start right on to a new Chemo and/or Hormone Therapy. Now I need to call and cancel my Mail Order Chemo that it on it's way...

So all in all, there are good things and the things that are not ideal it is good that we know it is going on so we can hurry and make the changes that we need in order to kick this cancer crap in the Butt.

More research... More planning... and we will keep on trucking...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who, What, When, Where, Why????

Well I have to admit... I have been putting off my blog.... I was hoping to have more answers last Friday... I didn't.... Then I thought; Surely they would call me on Monday... Nope... So I don't know when I will have any answers on my biopsy so I am just going to go ahead and post what I do know... So here is the Answers to your Questions... Or at least some of them...

I listen to my girls do a program on the computer and it teaches them that when you get done learning something or reading a book you should be able to answer the basic questions... Who, What, When, Where, Why so I thought I would start there.

Who???
Well the obvious answer is me... as I am the one who is immediately affected... But more than that I wanted to say that we have talked to the girls about what is going on. They know that Mommy has Cancer, and that I am sick and hurting right now. They are tough girls, and they try really hard to help me and Alex with the things we need them to do. They often want to snuggle and I try to welcome it whenever it comes to them. Sometimes it isn't as easy as I want it to be, but I try to make it happen. They ask a lot of good questions and I try to be as open and honest with them with what they need to know.
Secondly, is Alex. He is really being my Rock right now. I feel a little helpless but he has picked up on all the duties that I can't manage on my own. He has become the Sole Cook in the house. He was cooking many meals since I work at night as well, but now he had added the nights I would have been off as well. I am not complaining either as he is fixing Wonderful Meals daily. With a wide variety that I never dreamed to do on my own. He is a Pro in the kitchen, so I am Loving it.

What???
Well Here is what gets a little more tricky to answer... So I will start at the basic...
I have been diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (unless the Biopsy comes back as something else) I don't know what Kind or any of the Receptors and such until I get the pesky Biopsy results as well.
Speaking of the Biopsy, if you have never had a Bronchoscopy... I don't recommend it... It is not fun. The actual process was fine, but the numbing was Miserable... the '80's phrase "Like, Gag me with a spoon" Came to mind often! Except it wasn't a spoon it was a metal Rod spraying nastiness into my throat. They did have a Pathology Lab next door, so as the Doc was pulling out samples he would take it to the lab and check it... then he would come back, re-numb and get more... take it to the lab... come back, re-numb and get more... I am definitely glad that they could do it that way so that I know that they got what they needed so that I don't have to do it again. The doc apologized for it taking a long time... but I am much happier having a chance for results and not coming back with Nothing. He is also ordering all of my scans to see if he can tell when it may have came in. So someday we will know what will come of that.
Anyone who has seen me recently has noticed my Round Face. This is caused by the Steroid (Dexamethasone) that I have been taking for the inflammation in my back. It has given me what is called Cushing's Syndrome. There are several things included in this syndrome that I am really looking forward to going away... "Moon Face" Hot flashes and Sweating, Dry skin, Muscle Weakness, and Acne.

When???
 So, on Tuesday the 4th I had my Final Radiation treatment on my back. It did really help out with my mid-back, but It looks like it missed my Lower back, so I may end up going back in for more radiation, but I am done for now. Then on Wednesday the 5th I started Chemo. My current Regiment is on a 21 day cycle. I go in for an infusion of Gemzar on Day 1 and Day 8 then I get a week off. And starting on Day 1 I also start taking Xeloda, a Pill chemo 2 times per day for 14 days then get 1 week off, then start over. We are planning to do 3 of these cycles and then I will get a new PET Scan to make sure that things are reacting as they should. At that point we will either keep going or make adjustments as they may be needed. Keeping in mind that if this Biopsy comes back drastically different than what is assumed at this point we will make adjustments as well...
I am tapering the steroid off starting the 5th and should be done taking it by the 19th then I will be able to detox it out of my system and hopefully start feeling/looking normal.

Where???
This could be taken a couple different ways... But I think I will use it to Show you Where my cancer is, and Where I am affected. So here are some pictures.


There are 2 "shining"  Vertebrae in the Lumbar, The L2 and the L5, these are the ones that took me to the hospital in the first place.
 
The "Glowing" spot hanging out there in the Black space is the mass in my Lung

This is my Port. This is what it looks like to have it "accessed" so nice not to have to worry about IV's in my arm anymore!


My Moon Face
 Why???
Well that is a great question... Some may ask it as Why Me? For right now I am asking it as Why not??? For those who have known me for a while know that I can't ever really seem to take the Easy Road with most things... And somehow things seem to fall into place and work out in the end... So Why Not this too? My Pregnancies were never Easy, so Why Not this too? I think that my Pregnancies may have been something used to toughen me up for what I would face in the long run.
So the second Why is Why/how do I keep positive... Why Not??? It is not going to help anything to mope around all the time, and there have been enough studies out there that show that attitude does actually play a huge part in recovery, and overall health. So if I can smile through these things then I am giving myself a better chance to fight this crap for a LONG time. Now don't get me wrong... I am not Perfect, and I will never claim to have not cried or broken down. I am not that person... But I WILL make myself smile and Laugh every day. There isn't a question in my mind. I Have to keep fighting this battle and I will as long as I possibly can. I want to see my Kiddo's get married, and the only way to do that is to just keep on going! So Why??? Because there is no other choice.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Still Waiting... But Progressing...

Well it is nearing the end of another week. It was a short week as far as Radiation is concerned since I got Memorial Day off. I just have 3 more radiation treatments scheduled. I will go Friday, Monday and Tuesday. Radiation is a weird thing for me. It takes about 45 minutes to get there and 45 minutes to get home...and about 10 minutes for the entire process there. So if they would just invent the beaming machine from Star Trek already it would save me so much time. If it wasn't for the travel I could just zap over and back before the girls even knew I was gone. But alas this isn't available so I have been lucky enough to have wonderful people who help out. I seriously can't thank you guys enough who have stepped in to play with my girls while I take care of this fun little chore. They are always so excited to play with friends and they love you guys. So Thank You a MILLION Times!!

Yesterday I met with a Pulmonary Specialist. We discussed the options we have to get the biopsy results that we need. The original biopsy was a needle biopsy through my back. This was apparently not the right option as we believe that it didn't reach the mass that we needed to reach. So the two options we have now are to go through the bronchial tube and if the mass is broken through the wall of the "pipe" then he can take the biopsy from the part that has come through... However, if the mass has not gone through it then they will have to then do a turn in the pipe and go out into the lung opening and reach  (watching through Ultrasound) to get the biopsy. The doc is reviewing my x-ray and CT Scans  tonight to determine what we need to do. If it is the first option we will get the procedure scheduled right away, if it is the second option I will have to go to an additional Pulmonary Specialist up at the U. So here we are... Hurry Up and Wait!

I feel like I should be functioning better than I am. I usually do ok while I am running around town, but once I get home and stop I am pretty much done for the day. I have dropped a dose of Steroid so that is dropping my energy level. it does help me to not feel like my head is going to swell to the point of explosion, and it has decreased my hot flashes, but it has increased my need for Percocet. So I guess it is just one of those things that I have to decide what is better... Which side effects do I prefer??? I would love to have NO side effects.... but I guess at this point that is not in my options.

I am grateful that my work is working with me. I feel bad that I have been missing as much work as I have been recently, but at least they are holding my place and letting me get to where I can feel ok when I work. I was thinking since it is just sitting I should be able to do some more, but it takes a lot of energy to do what I do. I love my job, but it is REALLY hard to be super high energy when you just want to sleep. LOL I am so blessed to have help in places I need it. It is like jobs for Alex and Myself happened at the right time and place to make things easy in this situation. It is awesome to know that I am being looked out for by my Father in Heaven! He knows what I need and provides! Sometimes directly and sometimes through those around me.

While looking at some of my images from my PET Scan I found this one... Not fully related, but it made me smile... :) Enjoy!



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Better News

Well, Sometimes patience is not my strongest attribute, and sometimes it gets the better of me. With all of this "Hurry Up and Wait" stuff  I am being tested. I may be passing by the skin of my teeth... Maybe...

The good thing about time, though, is that it passes and you don't have to go back and feel the stress of that time again. I am just going to let it go.

So... Where are we now???  After the Great Hub-Bub with the Port on Thursday, and deciding that it is much better to have it paid for flat out instead of having to pay for it out of pocket,  I was able to get in on Friday and get it taken care of. I am excited to have that part behind me. It is a little sore from the procedure, but more sore because I have limited motion in my neck. It is like a forced "crick" in my neck. I go in on Tuesday for them to check the site and make sure that things are ok, then I will get the stitches out on the 4th just in time for Chemo to start on the 5th. So I have a beautiful bandage for all to see  for a while, but that is a small price to pay to avoid the constant needle pokes that I have dealt with up to this point. My veins are not always great, so to not have to deal with that is going to be WONDERFUL!!!

I am meeting with a Lung specialist on Wednesday to discuss how we will be able to best get the Biopsy result that we need and not have to go through the fiasco of no results next time. This will delay the result a little but I am again going to try my test of patience and instead of rushing into it will opt for having a result instead of bunk.

All in all I think things are turning out ok. I wish I could figure a way to get my Biopsy result sooner, but I can't... So we will keep on moving forward and do what we can with what we have.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Answers must be overrated....

After a week of waiting for the Biopsy results to come in... we find out.... NOTHING.... It looks like the Doc who did the Biopsy missed and got some normal tissue. So that test is a complete bust. I love waiting so much that I get to do it again. My Oncologist is consulting with a pulmonary specialist in order to determine the best route to get to the mass to get the biopsy result that we need. Hopefully in the next day or tow we will have this scheduled. I am hoping that we can put a rush on it so that we can get answers without having to wait for another week again for a result.

In the mean time... We are going to try to move forward to get ready for Chemo for when the time comes. I am going to have a port placed so that I don't have to deal with the consistent IV sticks. This will be nice with my history. I was supposed to go in tomorrow for this, but something is awry in the scheduling so I may be going in on Friday instead. I am still trying to get to the bottom of that. I hope to have that question answered sometime early tomorrow so I can plan around it.

The rest of the plan is coming together tentatively. All things going as planned, I will be starting Chemo on June 5th. Unless the biopsy results come back drastically different than we expect we will have Chemo once a week for 2 weeks and then have a week break. This will be Gemzar. He is also looking into using an Oral Chemo, Xeloda, that I would have to take every day for 2 weeks. Depending on cost I may opt to just do an IV form, Carboplatin, with the first Gemzar. The bonus to this is that my health benefit is maxed out so I wouldn't have any out of pocket for it, for the Pill it would come out of my Prescription benefit and I would have to pay the co pays on that. Not sure what that would be yet, but definitely something we are looking into.

In addition to this I will have to take a bone strengthener. Since I have this in my bones it has the tendency to make things more brittle. So every month I will get a nice boost with X-geva.

At Radiation they did a new little tweak it zinged me a little, and it made my face look like it was a giant Balloon. it went down eventually, but I am hoping it doesn't do that again. I look a little weird all swollen up like that.

So... All in all... it was a little of a humbug day. but at least I have something moving on... and some more Hurry up an wait....

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A new Week...

Here we go into a new week. We know a little more than before, but still waiting on more to keep learning.

The updates. The Certainty is there that it is a Cancer. The uncertainty is in what kind it is and what to do with it. I go in for my biopsy results on Wednesday. At this point we will know more of our game plan. Part of this game plan, unfortunately, will include some Surgery. Not for the new bits, but residual from the Old bits. In hindsight the healing issues that I have been dealing with are quite possibly linked back to this cancer being in my body. Before I can start Chemo though I am going to have to get things to hurry up and heal. I meet with my surgeon on Monday morning so that we can make a plan.

As for my current Pain Management. I am taking a pretty High dose of Steroid, as well as Percocet to manage my pain. In addition I have started using doTerra Deep Blue. I started full Radiation late in the week. This is an eventual help. But when I went in on Friday feeling worse than I was on Thursday, I was only slightly discouraged when they said that they do expect it to be worse before it gets better. This is Proof that they are radiating the right place and doing what it is supposed to do. The Cancer in my spine is essentially swelling in my bone and causing the nerve to be very painful. The Radiation causes additional swelling as it gets to work. So... that means it is not feeling great all the time. I did get some reprieve today and felt actually pretty good. A Sabbath Day Miracle. I am not sure if the break from the radiation this weekend is enough that it will cause it to re-swell when I go back in tomorrow, or if it is good enough that it will actually stay down for the remainder of my treatments, I guess time will tell. I have 11 more treatments to go (Monday-Friday) Once Radiation is complete then we will tackle our Chemo Options.

In the mean time I will be setting up appointments for Second Opinions. As my Aunt put it,"This isn't just a broken Leg" I want to make sure that I am getting the Right care for me. I am going to have to trust in my Discernment to help guide me to the the right treatments. There have already been a couple options placed before me, and I am not sure how I feel about them. But time and research will get me going the right way.

I just need to take a quick moment to say Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful Family and Friends! There is no place I would rather be than in your company! The Faith that Resonates from all of you is bound to keep my spirits high and my outcome wonderful! I am inspired by each one of you and your devotion and ability to help when the need arises. I am going to try not to use up more than my welcome from those who have offered their time. I just hope that my kiddos are not too much of a burden on those of you who have the joy to have them visit you from time to time. I know they can be a crazy handful sometimes. But hopefully in little chunks they are ok. ;) They are a blessing that breathes normalicy into my crazy day's at least. Something has to keep me grounded.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Here we go again...

Well things are all in the preliminary stages of everything, but I know that there are a lot of people curious and needing more information. So here goes...

For the last few weeks I have been having pain in my back. I have been to the Chiropractor, but it was very temporary relief. Then last week it got to be so intense that I couldn't take it anymore and I had my mom take me to the ER after the girls had gone to bed around 9 PM on Friday night. It was a long night, we left the ER around 3 AM on Saturday. When we got there they had to get me set up with an IV so they could give me Morphine to give me some relief... (it didn't work) they also did some blood draws. What they were looking for is elevated levels of Calcium and one that shows signs of blood clots that can sometime cause this type of pain. While I was waiting for those results they gave me another shot of Morphine... (it didn't help) and then set me up for an xray of my back as well. Well the xray didn't tell us much, I have some mild arthritis and some degenerative discs but nothing that should be causing me to be in as much pain as I was in. So they set up a CT scan to check for blood clots because that blood test came up high, But that didn't show us any blood clots either. Unfortunately my lung was also in this shot and they saw a mass around the Stem going into my lung. Because of my history with Breast Cancer they decided that it is most likely cancer. They also set me up to get an MRI of my spine to make sure if there is anything else going on, and then told me to get an appointment with my Oncologist. I was an obedient girl and did that and after a little bit of a fight also got the MRI scheduled.

I had my MRI Tuesday morning and then went to my Oncologist shortly after. We didn't have the results on the MRI until the end of the appointment but after my Oncologist saw the CT Scan he said that he agreed with the ER diagnosis. Once he was also able to get the MRI results at that time he said there were also a couple spots on my spine. So with all of that put together it was more likely for it to be cancer on both spots. My Oncologist then prescribed me with a Steroid to help me with my pain. It is better than the Morphine and Percocet that I have tried, though it is also not perfect, but at least I can move without screaming. That is definitely better!

The chore now is to determine if it is my Breast Cancer Metastasized or if it is a completely different thing. So... Tomorrow I am going in for a PET Scan to check my whole body for any other signs of Tumors. Friday I will go in for an MRI of my Brain to find out if there is anything in there. (no jokes about them not finding anything after 3 kids and Chemo I will be shocked if they find anything there too.) :) Monday I will get set up to start Radiation on my back so that we can hopefully give me even a little more relief from my pain, Tuesday I will go in for Results on the first two tests and then Wednesday I will go in for a CT guided Biopsy of the spots on my back. Then I will be back in the Oncologists office on the following Wednesday to get the results of the Biopsy. Then once all of that is done we can start to actually get a plan in place to figure out where we go from here.

At this point I know many people have offered to help. And I am so grateful to be surrounded by awesome people!! I wish I had something to help with at the moment, but mostly we are in a phase where we are just playing things by ear and trying to figure out what we need and what we will be doing and for how long... So... I will definitely be letting those of you who have offered to help know what is needed as that becomes apparent to me. (I hope sooner than later, but you never know with these things.) In the mean time please continue to pray for me and my family. I know that will be the biggest help at the moment.

I haven't told the kids all of what is going on until I have a plan that I can tell them as well. They have been through this before so I am hoping that they won't take it too hard. But in the mean time if you talk to them please don't talk to them about it yet. All they know right now is that mommy's back is hurting and they have to be gentle with me for now.