Monday, November 26, 2007

This is Matt with what will be the last update to my mom's blog. The last 5 days have had their ups and their downs, but the immense amount of support that has been received from family and friends has been a great blessing. We have decided to post the message that Dr. Delp delivered during the memorial service and the music that was performed. This is to allow anyone who wasn't at the service the oppotunity to read Dr. Delp's sermon and to hear the beautiful music that my mom personally requested the day before she passed.











The music that was played during the service was:
There are now two options to listen to the music. If one does not work please try the other option.
"On Eagle's Wings" by the Faith Westwood Chancel Choir
"I Can Only Imagine" by Jeff Anderson (Jacque's nephew)
"A House Is Not A Home" by Chad Stoner, accompanied by Jim Mertz
"Come To Jesus" by Diane Muir

We would like to thank you all for sharing your stories, memories, and how much Jacque meant.
God Bless.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Update on time

The funeral will be at 3 PM on Sunday. The memorial service is still from 6-8 PM on Saturday. All directions can be found in the post below.

Again, we would all like to thank you all for your continuous prayers and support.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Better Place...

This is Jacque's youngest son, Greg, checking in. I'm sorry to say that my mother passed away earlier this morning. Yesterday, the doctors discovered that her liver was failing, and they gave her two to four weeks. Over the night, her breathing became labored, and the doctors called us to come in at 5:30 this morning. She was able to hear us, and we were all able to say our goodbyes to her. She went peacefully with her family around her.

Her visitation will be at the Crosby-Kunold-Burket Funeral Home from 6pm to 8pm on saturday. Directions to the funeral home are Here

Her funeral will be on sunday afternoon at Faith Westwood United Methodist Church at 3pm. Directions to the church can be found Here

We would like to thank all of you for your continuous support and many prayers as she fought the battle of her life.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Still Mark

No chemo today due to low blood counts. Dr. Silverberg's P.A. indicated it might be time to switch treatments. We will meet with Dr. Silverberg next Monday to determine the next treatment options. Jacque will be meeting with a home health care consultant tomorrow to see what is available to help her move around the house a little easier during the day. We are watching the weather for Wed. night closely: Matt and Courtney will be driving in from St. Paul, MN. after school and work. The snow forecasts make us a little nervous. Hope you had a chance to enjoy some of today's 70 degree temperatures, it was very nice outside. Thanks to all who continue to support and pray for us.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mark again

Jacque is home from the hospital. She is tired from her stay, and it is hard for her to talk due the meds she is taking. Please, no calls or drop in visits. She is saving her strength with a goal to enjoy Thanskgiving with friends and family. Chemo tomorrow is dependent on blood tests. We thank everyone for your continued support.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mark Checking In

This is Mark checking in for Jacque. A trip in for fluids at the cancer center turned into a hospital visit and check-in. She is not up to writing her blog today. She had two transfusions of platelets today, and had her lung drained, and is quite tired. She is not supposed to talk much, so please hold back on calls and visits. Hopefully, she will feel better soon, and be able to come home this weekend. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I have had a busy day (thanks to the steroids). Mark is on vacation until Thursday - but had cut his hunting trip short due to circumstances with the hunt that weren't panning out. He was going to go ahead and head back to work today - but when the alarm went off this morning, decided one more day would be nice. It was truly nice for me, as Mark took me to Westroads, got a wheel chair and pushed me thru DSW to find some much needed shoes! He also ran me through Younkers where I grabbed a couple sweaters. I didn't try them on, so hopefully they work! But - Mark rocks!

We ran through Arby's on the way home from shopping and I got ANOTHER sandwich - of which I AGAIN ate half! I am not sure why those are tasting so yummy - but I figure - go for it!

Carolyn drove me to my podiatrist's appointment this afternoon and I got a gold star on my healing toes, so I won't need to go back. Yea!

Tonight, my dear PEO sister Martha is bringing by supper, so Mark and I can relax this afternoon and look forward to a nice home cooked meal.

My prayer request for all my prayer warriors is that my blood counts are good on Friday, that I stay 'healthy' until then and that the procedure to drain my lung is a success. I know I will feel so much better once I can breathe. Hugs to you all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Puffer Fish

Woke up the same way I did Saturday - more unwanted purging - so Carolyn dropped me off at the Cancer Center so I could get fluids. I would really rather not get fluids - I already feel like a puffer fish from retaining water - and the infusion, of course, adds to that 'look'. Also, while the steroids make me feel better on the whole and give me back somewhat of an appetite - it also causes me to loose my voice and makes communicating difficult, at best. Another draw back is the two and a half to three hours of sitting in a chair while being infused. If my body would let me totally relax I could take a nap - but it won't, and when I am feeling punky I really don't want to visit on the phone or watch TV, so there I sit. OK, enough complaining - the bright side is, I DO feel better. Also, I ate an entire half of a Market Fresh Sandwich from Arby's for lunch! Yea! It tasted wonderful!



Tonight is PEO, and I won't be able to attend. I would LOVE to hear tonight's program - but, since I still don't have daylight savings time figured out, I am usually in bed by 8:00 reading and many times fast asleep by 8:15 - So PEO is definitely not on my to do list, yet. . Donna and Cindy are reporting on their trip to Africa, where Cindy is establishing a women's hospital. They have received so much support for this venture - it is truly heartwarming.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grazing

Saturday was a real blah day. Extremely sleepy, nausea (and yes a little unwanted purging). I basically slept all day - and night. I have a bit more energy today, but food still doesn't sound all that wonderful. Carolyn has volunteered to go to the store and get me some 'grazing' items to make it through today, since an all out meal makes me shiver. Thanks, Carolyn.

Diane was going to take me shoe shopping on Saturday, but my body just didn't think it was a good idea. It would have been nice to get out of the house and enjoy some bff time, but we'll just have to hope for a good day this next week. I really do need some new light weight black tennies. I know Diane would bring shoes for me to try on, but I have such a weird foot - that would be a full time job!

Greg came over this morning to do a few things around the house for me. (Mark has been on his yearly pheasant hunting trip and comes back this evening. I am anxious to hear all the details of this male bonding ritual.) Greg has a busy day today - frat house clean up day (of which he is in charge, some type of board meeting, a parent pot luck (which unfortunately I won't be able to make :-( ), and then his regular Sunday night frat meeting. I appreciated his sharing a bit of his hectic day with me.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Repairs

Dr. T will be draining my lung a week from today, if the counts are good. He said it has filled up some more - which I was pretty sure of since I was so short of breath! Thanks for your prayers.

This is the first day since Monday's treatment I haven't slept the day away. A good sign I am sure.

Furnace guy out today to fix the humidifier - only to discover the heat pump isn't working - Yikes! The cost to cover the repairs is not a pretty number. The joys of home ownership. Sigh.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Busy Lazy Day

I have had as busy, lazy day. Busy in that both the clock guy was here to pick up the clock innards (didn't take the case - which I found interesting), and exterminator came today. Two planned items. BUT I also had a plumber, as our hot water heater was out. Tomorrow the furnace guy will be here to see why our humidifier isn't working. Sigh. Referring back to the beginning - lazy, because I have basically snoozed and rested all day.

Tomorrow I see my pulmonologist to see if he can help with my breathing issues. Last I heard, he is planning on draining my lung that never fully healed from the procedure I had done earlier this year. This won't take place until next week sometime - if my blood counts allow.



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Clock Getting Repaired!

Mark decided to chip in some of his birthday money to help pay for the clock - so it is going to get done! Yea!

My new cleaning guy started today - the house looks great!

I am not feeling the best today. I am running a fever - probably from the flu shot, am achy and short of breath. Hopefully tomorrow things will calm down. I know for sure it will be an early to bed night as I have basically slept all day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dinner, Side Effects and Presents

Dear Donna brought dinner by last night. It is so nice, after sitting in that chair getting infused to come home knowing I don't have to even THINK about cooking. We did so appreciate it.

I made it through last night with NO side effects. Not so lucky today - but nothing horrible. I have the normal husky voice caused by the steroids and mid morning my hip began to act up. I have taken my heavy duty drugs, but so far they haven't seem to do much. Who knows - maybe it would be a lot worse without them. I have been icing the hip all afternoon, and this seems to help. One good thing is my body seems to have adjusted to the pain drugs so I am not totally wiped out when I take them. However, I still don't think I would get behind the wheel of a car - I would hate to cause an accident!

I am SO disappointed. Mark's birthday is today and he is terrible at giving good ideas for presents (other than his usual socks or underwear - boring) so I had the great idea of getting his grandfather's clock repaired! Speaking with the receptionist at the repair shop, it sounded like the repairs would be within my budget. I scheduled it for today and was going to just have it running and see how long it took until either he noticed it chiming or I couldn't stand it and told him. But NO - the repairs were three times what I had expected - needs full blown revamping of the gears. So, at least for today, all he gets is the paid receipt for the house call. :-(

Monday, November 5, 2007

Yea!

I was able to have chemo! Yea! It was touch and go - my counts weren't as high as they would have liked, but they went with a lower dose (1/3 less). I am glad, as I don't want to give this beasty any room to grow! I also received my flu shot, so the next couple of days will be interesting to see what kind of side effects I will have. Thanks to Carolyn for dropping me off and picking me up!

The Brabec's and O'Connor's were over last night and we enjoyed pizza, cherry pie and conversation. I was rather whimpy, but I still enjoyed listening and laughing. I hadn't thought about daylight savings time, and by 8:00 my body was longing to go to bed. Our dear friends had no problem letting me do just that. Luckily we had started at 5:00, so we still had a nice visit.



Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pizza

I missed blogging yesterday as I was nursing a bladder infection and all the side effects I get with the antibiotics. Yuck. I didn't stray far from the couch, so there wasn't much to report, anyway.

Dinner at Famous Dave's on Friday night was tasty - even though I didn't taste very much of it. By the evening my appetite is shot - but I do graze most of the night in hopes my stomach will remain full enough to get me through the night.

This evening our friends the Brabecs and O'Connors are coming over for pizza. It has been quite awhile since we have gotten together as a group so it will be great getting caught up with everyone!

Tomorrow is my Gemzar treatment, if my counts are good. I will also be getting my flu shot, which always has it's own side effects for me, so I am not looking forward to that. However, I do so want to have the chemo so we can continue to stomp on the beast. Thanks for all your prayers. Oh, and thanks for all who have written me about special prayers that have been sent up on my behalf. You will never know how much they mean to me.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Resting

I spent the day resting so I could go out to eat tonight for Mark's birthday. His actual birthday is Tuesday, but Greg has to work and I might not be feeling the best, so we are going tonight.

I went all day with no need for my breakthrough pain meds! I will have them in my purse, just in case, but so far so good!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rested

Wow, we had the best Halloween turn out we have had in years! It wasn't anything outrageous, but I would guess at least 50! With a later Daylight Savings date this year we didn't see anyone until around 7:00. My friend and former teaching partner in crime, Melanie, her hubby Jay and brother in law stopped by with their kids - SO adorable. In the confusion, Brenna, Melanie's daugher, kept saying "Where is Miss Jacque?" over and over, and I had to go show her! I told her - I know I look different tonight (no makeup, stocking cap on my head) but her eyes lit up once she realized who I was. I wish I would have been awake enough to have thought to grab my camera! She is a beautiful, sweet little girl - and is a real prayer warrior!

I was exhausted last night. I had had two nights in a row of no sleep and napping during the day just hadn't happened. I finally went to bed at 8:30 and slept all night. I felt so much better this morning! However, I am still tired and have taken little cat naps off and on today. I switched to my lesser pain pill today and so far it has been enough. Hopefully it will continue and I will adjust to it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!!!

True to my nature, I made the wonderful comfort food meal and then had to choke all but the taters and gravy down. What is with that? Hopefully, tonight's chili will have more appeal!
The side effects from the Aredia kicked in late afternoon yesterday and I suffered through body aches all night. Even my narcotics didn't seem to want to budge the pain. Everything settled down by this morning and I have kept on top of the pain meds, so hopefully I am due for a good night's rest. I should think it should start to dwindle and be gone by tomorrow afternoon (fingers crossed).
My biggest accomplishment today was driving myself to the store and getting the makings for the chili. I was pretty wiped out by the time I got home - Ladies and Gentlemen, steroids have left the building. I still feel pretty good, though, compared to the last few weeks, so I am not going to complain!
The chili is simmering on the stove and I need to go get the corn bread in the oven. We will lock the cats in the storage area and eat our chili in the great room while we wait for our trick or treaters to arrive. I am curious how many we will see this year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Shoes

I am riding the wave of my steroid high and enjoying it. I spent a quiet morning on the computer and watching TV (doing the minimal housework - emptying dishwasher and reloading), had lunch and waited for my shoes to arrive via UPS. I ordered some mule like, slip on, light weight tennies as all my shoes right now feel too heavy. It is hard to go shopping when you can't pick up your feet! I had also ordered a pair of casual pants and a pair of jeans in my new slimmer size. While it is nice to need smaller clothes, I don't particularly like how I have arrived there. I was thrilled as all fit great, so no returns and no need to keep looking!

Once my shoes arrived I went to Kohl's - I even drove myself! I was hoping to find another pair of pants in a different color like I ordered from Penney's, but Kohl's doesn't carry them in talls. A check of the shoe department for a similar pair of shoes on a different color was unsuccessful, too. Guess I will have to go to Penney's and hope the items weren't catalogue only. I could order again, but I hate the wait - I want immediate gratification.

I finished up my eventful day by stopping at Fareway to get one of their frozen cherry pies to keep on hand for Mark's birthday which is coming up (I may have mentioned this earlier when I made one for Carolyn's birthday). If you haven't ever tried one you are missing out. The brand is something like Village Peddler, or some such, but they are as close to home made as you are going to get with out making it yourself. They are pricey - $10 to $11 bucks, but are well worth it. I do a egg white wash on top, put on a crust protector and bake away. Mmmm -mmmmm - and I am not a pie eater!

Fareway also has awesome meat, so picked up a boneless turkey breast for supper. I am in the mood for comfort food. So in a bit I will peel some spuds, make gravy and green beans and wallow in the comfort.

Monday, October 29, 2007

No Chemo

Well, it finally happened. I wasn't able to do chemo today because my platelets are too low. This means I have to wait until next week. I realize, in the big scheme of things, it is not so bad. I should be use to not making plans, etc. but this inability to make even small future plans does get old. If I were truly able to plan I would, as I type, be sitting on a beach in Naples, Florida with my hubby and friends. But that was not meant to be. Don't worry, I am not going into a pity party - just saying how things are.

So, while I didn't have chemo, I did have the premeds, which always perk me up for a bit and the Aredia (bone strengthener). This will be a good week to see what type of side effects the Aredia gives me since that is really all I received. Dr. S gave me a prescription laxative and changed my breakthrough pain meds a bit, so hopefully things will improve on that 'end' (sorry, couldn't help myself).

I am also retaining fluids big time and was mad at myself when I realized I stretched out a new pair of shoes on Friday night when we went out to eat. Does anyone know if a shoe repair shop can 'un-stretch' leather? Dr. S also tweaked my diuretic, so hopefully my ankles and toes will soon return to normal. I should be able to stay out of the cancer clinic this week since I didn't have my treatment, so not receiving IV fluids three times in a week will surely help, too.

Dear Krista, friend and PEO sis, is bringing dinner by tonight. What great timing. Right now I am to the point that just about anything sounds good, but getting it made and on the table can be daunting. Where is Aunt Bea when you need her?

Tiny Post

A quick post to say all is fine, I was just so wiped out yesterday I slept most of it away. I will post more later after chemo.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wonderful Night

I had a wonderful night. Dear Lois, a friend from church dropped off a meatloaf dinner to be cooked when we like (we like tonight :-) - thanks Lois). Mark and I WENT TO DINNER at China Buffet - my first official outing in almost a month! I was hungry for crab legs and I can also do the Mongolian grill to control my salt intake (this is where you create your own stir fry dish and put what oils and sauces you want on it and they cook it to order). We then came home and Steve and Diane stopped by for a visit as did Greg! It was a nice evening.

Of course, things can't always be rosy. I awoke to a major case of constipation. It was a pretty wild morning - but I successfully birthed a baby (or so it seemed). I then had to wait while my body cleansed itself of all the laxatives, etc. I was freezing cold (96 degree temp) and pretty miserable. Mark and Carolyn nursed me through it and I am starting to get some zip back. Of course, this set my spine and hip off, so it is back on the narcotics - which got me here in the first place. I am going to be more proactive this time and have my ducks in order with the help of Carolyn's expertise. Yuck! A gal from my discussion boards has a drug she takes for her bone mets pain that I am going to run past Dr. S. It is worth a try!

Mark spent a busy morning taking care of me, cleaning house and doing yard work. He is presently 'watching' the Husker game with the cat on his lap, chair back in recline and eyes closed. Good for him!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nice 24 hours

What a nice 24 hours I have had. The fluids and steroids from yesterday kept me perkier than I have felt in some time. My PEO sis, Cherie, brought over a wonderful casserole that Mark, Carolyn and I enjoyed immensely for dinner. After a good night's sleep I was back at the cancer center this morning for more fluids and steroids (precautionary due to the weekend). Finally, I was visited by two fine ladies from my church, Vikki and Mitsy, who besides spending time talking, also gave me communion and healing /prayer/anointment. It was lovely.

The next round of chemo will be this Monday, if lab work looks good. Your prayers are apprciated!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dehydrated

Well, it is a good thing I didn't hold my breath yesterday. By bedtime I was nauseated and vomiting. Spent the morning in Cancer center getting IV fluids, steroids and anti-nausea meds. Now I feel fairly well, again. I am going back tomorrow for more fluids in the morning - as a precaution. I am not sure how you can drink as many fluids as I do and still be dehydrated - but I manage - just talented, I guess :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thanks

The pain medications have been a Godsend. Other than being tired from them, I feel fairly well. I also have very little appetite - but I force myself to nibble on something every few hours. I know this too shall pass. So far - no nausea problems. Hopefully this will continue, but I won't hold my breath until the week is done. Thanks to you all for your continued support!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Overall Pain

Day two of chemo and I felt great this morning. However, as the day wore on my bones began to ache and now I am having a hard time getting comfortable. I think this is chemo related, as it is pretty much all over my body, not just the hips. On a good note - no nausea or vomiting - yea!

I took my new pain pill yesterday and it really did the trick - no achiness all night. In fact, I skipped the second dose thinking I would just take it later in the day like yesterday. Wrong choice, I see now. Hopefully pill two will give me some relief and the first one has done nothing.

My dear friend, Diane, stopped by with delicious soup from Wheatfields and one of their little sandwiches I love. Of course, by the time she arrived the aches were taking over so I wasn't able to eat much, but it will taste good tonight or tomorrow. She also brought me some thank you notes - I was completely out! Hugs to you, Diane!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Round Two

Round two of Carbo/Gemzar is done. As usual, today is a not so bad day. I have an IV anti-nausea med as well as a steroid before they start the chemo to hold back side effects. Tomorrow will be the telling day. Last round I ended up at the Cancer Center getting fluids (and unfortunately the hospital). They have me on the books for fluids tomorrow, and I can decide in the morning if I want to go in or not. I have learned that fluids are a GOOD thing and to not fight them. I try to drink bunches of fluids, but it just never seems to be enough.

My hips have been dealing me fits. I can't sit in my comfy chair right now, as it just irritates them. I have been trying all types of pain relief to no avail. Today I start the big guns - ocycontin. I am not thrilled, but I am tired of not being able to sleep. Hopefully I can get it under control and back off a bit. The nurses seemed to think I could.

Dear Lord, Please get me through this week of side effects as gently as possible. I also pray that the new pain med will help at it's lowest dose.
Lord, please direct these drugs to the cancer and lay your loving hands on me to heal me. I also pray for increased energy, return of my appetite and easier breathing.
Thank you Lord for all the caring people in my life. I am boundlessly blessed. Amen

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Patience

Matt headed back to Minneapolis before lunch. He had to swing by Des Moines to pick up Courtney who was having a girls weekend and attending a shower for a friend. It was great having him home!

Matt and Mark went to the UNO hockey game last night with Steve O and then met Courtney O and Kaitlin afterwards at a new brewery for some appetizers and a few beers.

I am not feeling well today. I am achy, short of breath and nauseous - not a good combo. Hopefully once I get through tomorrow's treatment and the week of side effects I will notice a big change. I certainly hope so! I was going to go to a PEO catered dinner tonight, but I knew it was not a good idea. Patience, Jacque, patience.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Closet

Dinner last night was delicious. Jaime, Greg's girlfriend, joined us and it was a very pleasant evening.

Matt helped me straighten my closet and change clothes from summer to winter. It is so nice to open the door and be able to find what I am looking for so easily. I have a few bags for Goodwill and much more room in there!

I am not feeling well today. My hips are aching and my stomach is a bit 'off'. I am sure it is signs that it is time for another treatment. I am not looking forward to it, but I am looking forward to knocking out the cancer!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Birthday Dinner

I haven't accomplished near what I hoped today, but that is OK. Matt drove me to Fareway so I could purchase some items for my mother in law, Carolyn's, birthday dinner tonight. Fareway's meat is SO good. We are having New York strips - mmmmmmm.

No other news and I need to go start on dinner with a lot of help from Matt. :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blood Work Better

Blood work looked pretty good. The platelets are on the rise, the red blood cells are high and the white blood cells are low. I have no idea what all that means, except I don't need a transfusion. I showed the nurse and PA my ingrown nail on my big toe and now I have a podiatrist appointment this afternoon. I have been complaining about this toe being sore for months, and all I have been told is 'Yea, your chemo does that to your toes'. Guess I should have been more vocal.

Matt will be here around dinner time. I am sure he will be tired after his long drive. He didn't leave Minneapolis until noon or so. He had some friends over last night and he had to clean up the house before he left.

Greg has a new part time job at Nebraska Furniture Mart in the warehouse! It is holiday temporary, with the hopes it goes into permanent after the holidays. I am so excited! Why, you might ask? Well, for those of you who don't know, NFM is a HUGE furniture, electronics, appliance megastore. It is an amusement park for adults who like to shop - and Greg will have a discount! Who Whoooo!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tired Day

I am having a tired day. Part of it might be the dreary day.

My friend and PEO sis (and fellow church member), Becky, brought by some homemade veggie beef soup and Great Harvest bread this morning. It looks yummy and I plan on enjoying a bowl as soon as I post.

Matt has fall break starting on Thursday and is coming home for a long weekend. It will be nice to see him!

To answer Rosebud's question on yesterday's comments - I don't really 'clean' - like vacuuming or dusting - I just got rid of any piles that have accumulated (mail, magazines, etc.) so he could see what there was to clean. Plus, I really do like to keep my house that way as much as possible - but when I was feeling so punky the piles took over!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Feeling Better?

People keep asking if I feel better and I have to stop myself from saying no. I want 'feeling better' to mean feeling like I did before all these liver and new chemo issues started. BUT - if I think back to last week on Tuesday - heck YES I feel better!

Today I spent the morning straightening the house as I had a house cleaner coming over to give me a bid. Mark had done a nice job of cleaning over the weekend, but there were piles of stuff here and there and of course I want the house cleaner to think we live exemplary lives :-). I would go through a stack and then lay down. Make the bed and then lay down. Do another stack and lay down. Now the house looks presentable (albeit dusty - Mark hates to dust) and I have a new house cleaner!

Tonight our friends, Lori and Jeff, are bringing us supper - so kind. After my busy day I am happy to not have to worry about coming up with something to eat! I can tell it will be an early to bed night. I tried to stay up till 9:00 last night, but just couldn't do it - I hit the hay by 8:30 and zonked right out. Then the dryer buzzed, the cat catterwalled and the phone rang - and you guessed it - the edge was gone and I couldn't get back to sleep for quite awhile. That's life.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lab Work

I had my blood work done today. My platelets are low - 54 - 150 to 400 is normal, but not low enough for a blood transfusion. Every thing else looks fairly good, considering. I go back on Thursday to have it checked again to make sure I am climbing, not descending. If they don't go back up I might have to postpone my Monday chemo - which I don't want to do. The nurse just encouraged me to eat and drink as much as I am able.

One small improvement today - I walked into the cancer center rather than riding in a wheelchair. I was a little tipsy, but I made it. Now this afternoon my hips and thigh bones are aching - probably from the 'exertion' of the morning walk. It is sad how quickly one's body can deteriorate! I took a little nap when I got home (20 minutes) and managed to get the dishwasher cleaned out and dishes put in. One small step for womankind.....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogger Friends

Mark drove me to my friend Melanie's home this morning so I could give her and her cousin Nikki (part of our blogger group) their 30th birthday presents. Stacey, from Florida, was there along with her twin sister (and I DO mean twin!). They and some of their friends had spent a girl's night out, first eating at Spezia's and then going over to the casinos, renting rooms, etc. We were to all meet at Melanie's home this morning for rolls and coffee, but I just didn't have the energy to stay to visit - but Mark was gracious enough to let us talk in the drive for a bit. It was a nice outing.

Still horrendously tired. Tomorrow I go for blood work and I won't be surprised if I learn my red blood count is down. This is such a weird tired. But I have the week to recoup so hope for daily continued improvement.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Slow Going

I have been able to eat today, albeit just small amounts. I made myself sit up in a chair, rather than laying on the couch all day as has been my habit, until around three when I took a little nap. My biggest accomplishment today was emptying the dishwasher and loading the breakfast dishes. But hey, that is much improved over just laying on the couch!

My dear friend, Diane, ran errands for me today, which was greatly appreciate! She also brought me some tasty soup from Wheatfield's!

Mark and Greg were given tickets to the Husker game in Lincoln by our friends Dave and Judy - so they drove down to watch the team get spanked - royally. I think they still had a good time, though. :-)

My but this recovery is slow going. I know my doctor said to be patient - it would take a couple of months, but SURELY he was kidding! Right? Time will tell.

Thanks to all for your kind messages in emails, cards and blog comments. They are all appreciated!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fatigue

I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel - but it is still quite a ways away. I was able to eat some breakfast - another good sign. Now if the fatigue would just subside, I would feel pretty good. Take care!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Icky Day

Today was not such a good day. Food has again lost it's appeal and I am achy still (but I am pretending it is better) and it is difficult to walk. Hopefully this too shall pass quickly.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

So Far So Good

So far, so good. I am achy - I realize now from the bone strengthening drug they gave me yesterday. Before it got masked by the Neulasta shot. Otherwise, tummy is cooperating and I have forced myself to have two solid meals today. I have even poked around the house, straightening and laundry. Feels good to feel better. I pray that I will continue to gain strength and desire to do more things each day. There for awhile my only desire was to sleep and stare at the walls - pretty disconcerting!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chil's Baby Back Ribs

My second installment of new chemo is over. So far, I don't feel any worse for the wear. Tomorrow will probably be the telling day - but who knows? My dear friend and neighbor, Carol, picked me up after my chemo (Mark took me over his lunch hour) to take me home and I do appreciate her willingness to help out.

I got home in time for supper, which was baby back ribs from Chili's. I have been craving ribs and I knew tonight would be a good 'eatin' night because of the IV steroids I get before my treatment. I ate a half rack of ribs, cinnamon apples and a slice of banana bread my friend Lois dropped off earlier. My tummy was quite distended, but nice and full! I often wake up in the middle of the night because I am empty - I just can't seem to eat enough to make it through the night. Hopefully tonight I won't have that problem!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Race for the Cure

I slept like a log last night. I think I would have slept solidly through had the cat not knocked a basket off the dresser. But even with that, I used the restroom and slept until 6:00 this morning. Heavenly!

Today was Race for the Cure, and it is a tradition for the Brabecs, O'Connors and Nielsens to walk in it every year. Then we take turns making brunch for after the walk. I obviously didn't make it to the walk, but my family swung back and picked me up and took me to brunch at the Brabec's home. Chris planned, shopped and cooked the entire meal himself - it was delicious! I spent a lot of time in an easy chair, and listened more than talked, but it was great to be out and about doing normal things.

I am far from being back to where I was a few weeks ago, but I am home - and that is worth a million dollars. I am still not in a visiting mode- visiting just wears me out (I napped after this morning's excursion) so appreciate your understanding. I need to get through this next chemo and I have no idea how I will react to tomorrow's treatment. Love and blessings to you all.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hospital

A quick post to apologize for worrying everyone. I have been in the hospital due to complications of my cancer. I am home tonight -I begged to get out - as Matt and Courtney are visiting from Minneapolis, I figured I could feel yucky at home just as easily as at the hospital - and be a lot more comfortable.
I would prefer no phone calls or visits at this time - I am not the best company - but I will try to keep you up to date. Please don't think my not writing means I am worse - it is probably just I am not in the mood right now!
I will have chemo again on Monday, so as always - your prayers are appreciated!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hanging in There

Asleep, awake. Asleep, awake. That is my life today. I am also not feeling the best, so will keep this short. I am hoping tomorrow will be better.

Received word that Pastor David Bronstad, of St. Michael's Lutheran Church died of prostate cancer. He was our pastor when we lived in northwest Omaha. He was a wonderful man and while he will be greatly missed, he left a wonderful legacy. He is also the father of a friend of our's daughters. My prayers to Erika and Kirsti - as well as all of his family.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Side Effects

My desire for easy side effects were dashed when I awoke at 2:30 this morning not feeling well. By 6:30 I was heaving and by 10:00 I was at my oncologists receiving fluids and anti-nausea medicines. My dear friend, Diane, drove me and then stopped and picked up my prescriptions and got some groceries for me. Thanks, Diane!

I do feel a bit better this afternoon, but it took some time for everything to kick in - but it did kick in.

Mark is back from his duck hunting trip to North Dakota. He got back around 4:00. He was feeling very guilty about being on his trip when I was feeling so poorly, but I told him I would have felt more guilty if he had missed his trip! It all worked out and he is home safe and sound. He had a great time.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Carbo/Gemzar

Hi dear family and friends. Thanks for every one's encouraging wishes via comments, emails, cards and phone calls.

I had my first round of Carbo and Gemzar - my new chemos, today. Dr. S doesn't think I will have any horrible side effects and my nurse agreed with him. Hopefully they are both right! He chose not to give me Aredia, the bone strengthener, this time so he could get a truer reading on how I was handling the new treatment. I also don't have to take Neulasta, unless future bloodwork says I need it. This combo, Carbo/Gemzar, usually plays havoc on platelets rather than white blood count. I am thankful to, hopefully, get a reprieve from Neulasta! I go in next Monday for the second treatment of Gemzar only and will get my Aredia at this time, too.

During my treatment I also get fluids, an anti-nausea medicine, and a steroid. These three things have given me a little vacation from the nausea and weakness this afternoon. I actually was able to go out to the mailbox and check the mail (which was late and not there, wouldn't you know) and grab the paper. I know this doesn't sound like much, but this morning I had to sit down in the middle of hanging up clothes to drip dry from the washing machine because I was so nauseous and weak feeling! Gotta love those drugs.

Is anyone else's allergies acting up? I feel like a gooey waterfall in cascading down the back of my throat. Yuck! Add to that the sneezing and runny nose and I am a poster child for allergies. I am sure this doesn't help my funky stomach!

Wish I had some fun news to report, but since I haven't traveled far from my comfy chair this last week, I don't have any stories. I am in fighting mode and appreciate your continued prayers as I try to knock this beasty to the ground! Charge!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Post Vacation

No new news. I am still feeling punk and getting very tired of it. I made a not so quick trip to the ER yesterday - an actual comedy of errors which I won't go into 'cause I just am not feeling up to it - but the good news is I was sent home (after about four hours at the hospital). Just wanted to make a quick post and say I will probably not post for a few days as I am just not up to it, so please don't worry. I just want to lay low and recoup. God is good.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Healthier heart

Went to my cardiologist's (Dr. Gangahar) today for my three month ecco cardiogram. She was thrilled with my heart, said it was perfect and looked like it was ready to take off and go (in a go way). My blood was WAY too thin, which explains my continually bloody nose and bruising. Dr. G's and Dr. S's office coordinated and she did bloodwork to see if they could figure out why I have been feeling so punky. I haven't heard on that, yet. She had the nurse do a laying, sitting, standing blood pressure and discovered it dropped rapidly when I stood up, so she cut back on my blood pressure meds. That is a good thing.

My appointment was suppose to be at 10:00, but after a long wait in the waiting room, tests, etc. it was after 1:00 when I left. I was feeling very light headed and a bit nauseous - I am sure from not eating anything. The sweet nurse gave me some crackers, but they were stale - which one doesn't need when one's tummy is already queasy. Luckily I had some pretzels in the car!

By the time I got home, all I could think about was having some lunch and resting. I had gone through Arbys' and grabbed one of their garden fresh salads. I couldn't eat it all, but it tasted good - I will save the rest for another meal. I don't usually do salads since it counter reacts with blood thinners, but I figured I was fine since my blood was too thin anyway! Gotta take the perks where you can find them!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chemo Sooner

Well, my chemo reprieve has been withdrawn. Since I haven't been feeling well for quite some time, Dr. S thinks it best I get started on treatment, since my symptoms could be from the cancer. So, on Monday, I will have my first round. He thinks I will tolerate it very well. He said people usually have fatigue and constipation, but not nausea or hair loss. He did preface that with one 87 year old gal who recently ended up in the hospital within 24 hours because of massive diarrhea, but said that was highly unusual. I am hopeful that my body doesn't do anything weird and I can prove Dr. S right in his side effects prediction. As always, prayers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Chemo

Dr. Silverberg's office called yesterday afternoon to say he had decided on my next chemo. It will be Carboplatin and Gemzar. From what I can tell online, it will be a little rougher than what I was doing, but I could be wrong. Each person responds differently to treatment - so I guess I will just have to wait and see. The first treatment will be Oct. 8. I will receive both drugs on this day. Eight days later I will receive the Gemzar again. After this week I will have a week off and then start a new cycle. I have heard good things about this combo, so hope that it will eradicate the new spots while working on the old mets. Tricky business, this cancer fighting.

I went to school today for a special education dept. luncheon. We have a big department, so the staff signs up in groups to provide lunch. They are always so busy and spread out in the building, so it is nice now and then to sit and visit while enjoying good food. Today's theme was a football tailgating party complete with nachos, mini wienies, meatballs, enchiladas, salads and lots of desserts. My appetite, being what it is, didn't allow me to imbibe too much, but what I did have tasted good - and the company was even better!

I cut my visit short as I started to feel light headed, hot and had a bit of a tummy ache (could have been all the rich food I'm not use to). I headed home and rested for a bit and now feel a bit better. However, I am getting tired of this touchy stomach. I have decided to stop taking my antibiotics. I know you aren't suppose to stop antibiotics in the middle, but I feel worse instead of better, and since I was the prescribing 'doctor' I figure I can also choose to stop taking them.

One thing I am curious about with my new treatment plan has to do with hair. Now, I know that hair is the least of my worries, but it would sure be nice to have again. It has started to regrow in spite of my treatments (this happens sometimes in long term chemo - the follicles get use to the drugs). My eyebrows and eyelashes are also returning. One gal on my discussion board had just slight thinning with this combo, so maybe I will regain it! A girl can dream!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Early News

They say no news is good news. It stands to reason that early news is bad news. My wonderful oncologist (and I mean that sincerely - the wait is the worst) called me last night to tell me there was bad news. My cancer has now metastasized to my liver. Sigh. Not what I was hoping to hear. He said what was odd about it was the bones showed marked improvement (except for a new spot on my thigh) and my lungs and heart showed no new fluid. But then there was the liver......

Another problem was my tumor marker had quadrupled. This marker is an indication that the cancer is multiplying and on the move. Not what you want to hear.

OK, what does this mean? It means the chemo I was on is no longer effective. My onc wants to take a couple of days to decide how to proceed. He doesn't plan on starting the new chemo until Oct. 8, so he has time to do a little research and I have time to ask questions.

I again recommend to any of you who know someone who has breast cancer - newly diagnosed or metastatic - to check out breastcancer.org. This site has so much information, plus a discussion board of women (and men) from around the world who are dealing with breast cancer. Knowledge IS power!

Mark and I are handling this the best we can. I go from calm to full panic mode - but I know this will get 'easier' once a plan is in place and I know what to expect. A plan is always good, For now, I am going to rest and psych myself up for this new road I must head down. God is holding my hand - he will not let me stumble.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fever BE GONE!

Yesterday wasn't so great health wise. My fever continued through the day, along with a queasy stomach and little appetite. I was bound and determined to get back to normal, so helped Mark make a nice dinner of steaks, bake potatoes and asparagus. I actually ate quite a bit, for me, and it tasted good. I took my antibiotic after dinner and then started experiencing a return to queasiness (I am thinking it was the antibiotic causing this). At bedtime I took my normal medications and promptly gagged and up they came along with part of supper. I felt extremely yucky.

However, I awoke with very little temp issues until just a bit ago when it started climbing, but that is an improvement over it being 24/7 like it has the last week. Perhaps this is just the bug's last hurrah before ditching my system for good. While I haven't eaten great amounts today, I haven't had any issues with it wanting to 'return to sender', either. So I feel strides have been made!

Here is a hint for anyone who has to have a CT scan. Usually they make you drink large quantities of barium - a nasty thick chalk like substance. I knew after my evening the night before there was no way I was going to keep it down - especially on the empty stomach that is required for the tests. So, I requested the 'clear' drink. I don't know what it is, but it tasted pretty much like water. I had to drink two large glasses of it - but it was a breeze compared to the barium! I am going to request that from now on!

The scans are over and the wait begins. Dr. S is very good about contacting his patients as soon as he has the info, so I know I will hear from him tomorrow sometime. I won't post until I have spoken with him. I have appreciated your prayers and have felt their support. Thank you.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Scans Tomorrow

I have decided I still have a bug working on me. I have started another antibiotic and hope this one does the trick. I am very tired of feeling useless.

Mark and Greg had a great time at the game yesterday - even though the Huskers didn't play much like a college team. They managed to squeak out a win - 41 - 40. Pretty sad. They stayed for the last play - something they don't usually do in an attempt to beat traffic. In the olden days you wouldn't need to stay since the Huskers would be so far ahead. Not sure when we will see those glory days again. Greg said the fans actually boo'd the Huskers after one play. Now THAT is bad!

Scans tomorrow - pray like crazy, please!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Still Blech

Perhaps I can see a light at the end of the tunnel - a rainbow after the storm. My desire to miraculously wake up this morning feeling close to my old self was short lived. Last night I slept very poorly, woke up early and felt rather blech all day. I have intermittently ran a low grade fever, and my appetite has not really returned - although I was able to eat a bit more for lunch than I have the rest of this week. I am just impatient.

Had breakfast this morning with Steve and Diane and our mutual friend, Betsy, from Pennsylvania. As always, we had a nice visit. I ate probably a third of my yogurt parfait and took my muffin home. Just couldn't get it down - but did eat it later in the morning. Silly stomach.

After breakfast I stopped at an estate sale of a friend's mom that Diane had volunteered to help with, but I didn't stay long - just felt like a weak kitten. Ok - I have had enough of this. Tomorrow has to be a better day!

Mark and Greg went to the Husker game in Lincoln, thanks to my sister in law's mom who has season tickets. It is a beautiful day, so I hope they are having fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No Charm in Food

Hopefully this will be the last day of side effects and I can start the climb out tomorrow. I do feel somewhat better today, but I am still just a blob and running a low grade fever. I have forced myself to do a few things around the house, but not nearly what needs to be done. I have also force fed myself - food does not have any charm right now. Not even a cookie or ice cream sound good. The only thing that really sounds good are things like pretzels and snack mix, but since I am suppose to still watch my salt intake I am trying to steer clear of those items. All I have to do is make it through today and things should be looking up. The Neulasta shot - I have to keep reminding myself what a miraculous drug it is and how fortunate I am that I get to take it. No, really. Really. REALLY! (Sorry, I'm trying to convince myself.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hippy

Live and learn. My hip was really singing all day yesterday and last night I could hardly stand it. When I went to bed I put a heating pad on it and took some Benadryl to try to get myself to relax and sleep. I had a toss and turn night and my hip just got worse instead of better. When I woke up this morning I had a revelation - hmmmm - maybe ice would be better. Put an icepack on it and it immediately started to relax and feel better. It is still not perfect, but it seems to be on the mend. Whew!

Carolyn is doing fine - had some tests done and waiting to hear from her doc. Hopefully she will be home soon.

My day has been very low key - still a bit under the weather - but I'm looking forward to having these side effects run their course so I can enjoy my two week chemo break. I am trying hard not to think of the scans on Monday - always a little disconcerting - but I know it will be good to get them over and done with.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Emergency Room

It has been a crazy day. My mother in law, Carolyn, is in the hospital. Poor thing has been miserable for days and it took two trips to the emergency room today to get them to do anything. She may have to have surgery tonight - waiting to hear. I had gone in with her to the emergency the first time, but when a gal came in coughing a hacking a light bulb went off in my slow brain and I realized an emergency room probably isn't where a girl with no immune system belonged. So I had to leave her there. They gave her a shot for pain and sent some medicine home, but the pain just got worse, so it was back to emergency. Again I had to leave her at the door. They ended up admitting her, but the last I spoke with her she was still in the emergency room waiting for an open room. I know she would appreciate prayers. Mark is up there now, and will stay if they decide to operate tonight.

I have been achy all day - and just out of sorts. Food has no appeal and I have been having to force food down. Yuck! I know that Neulasta shot is good for me (it will restore my immune system) but I DO hate the way it makes me feel. So between not feeling well and helping Carolyn I did not make it to my bible study tonight. The good news is that I should feel pretty darn good for next week's class!

My mom has an appointment next week with a new surgeon to see if she can get her knee fixed. More prayers, please!

Sorry this is a very uplifting post. Some days are like that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Facial

I had a pleasant day. Mark's stepmom, Joyce, picked me up and we went to Regency for lunch (Paradise Bakery - yum). We went to some of the shops and dropped our rings at Borshiems to be cleaned (my how they sparkled). We then went to Gloss, a day spa, and had facials. A friend of mine (thanks Paula) had given me a gift certificate there. This was my first time to ever have a facial, and let me tell you, it was divine. It was like an hour long massage of your face, neck, shoulders and arms. You laid on a comfy bed, the room was surrounded in glowing candles, there was soft ''new age' type music playing and an ever so soft scent of incense. Heavenly.

I got home in time to reapply my eyebrows and eye liner (otherwise I look like Lord Voltamorts twin sister), take the delivery of our new treadmill, and then head out for my opthamologist's appointment. I am so glad I made it on time, as I had to SIT for 40 minutes to get back to a room and then had to SIT another 25 minutes waiting for the doc. As I felt my blood pressure rising, I finally decided to be more productive and closed my eyes and counted my blessings. By the time the doc arrived I was in a much better frame of mind. He said the surface of my eye looked improved, but since I was still having major symptoms, he wants me to use Restasis, an eyedrop that helps unblock the oil glands in the eye. I am also suppose to hot pack my eyes twice a day and scrub my eyes with baby shampoo, put lubricating drops in every two hours and a gel ointment in my eye at night. Riiiight.... I am not sure I want to give up my retirement for this full time job!

After the opthamologist's appointment I went to the oncologists to get my Neulasta shot. I didn't get there until 4:45 (because of the late opthomologist) and the desk was all flustered that I was there so 'late'. I had asked my nurse yesterday how late I could come and she said up to 6:15, so I thought I was fine. Oh well. Since it was so late, I decided to do take-out and ran by Boston Market for a rotisserie chicken dinner on my way home.

It is nice to feel well again - yeah, I know, not for long. But at least whatever was ailing me over the weekend and yesterday morning seems to be history, so now I can face the side effects unencumbered.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Only Lower Dose

I had a pleasant surprise today. I thought I would be getting the full round of chemo today, but instead I just received the lower dose Abraxane! So, that meant less time in the chair (an hour and a half compared to three and a half hours). Unfortunately, my white blood count was low, so I will have to go in for a Neulasta shot tomorrow. The hopes of not having to have the Neulasta shot is one of the things that made this lower dose regime look more palatable. (The Neulasta causes severe muscle aches, etc.) If I have to take it anyway ... Dr. S said it was a good thing I was taking an antibiotic, because of my blood count, he would have started me on one anyway for good measure.

Another pleasant surprise is I am going to get a short chemo break! Dr. S and I were talking about the Elton John concert - ends up we are both going to be attending it - and he said 'You don't want to feel yucky for the concert! Let's skip a week so you can feel good." Yea! So, I will get a week's hiatus. I am thrilled! Of course, this plan is dependent on how the tests come back - praying for good results!

I felt really nasty this morning. I would have some cramping and general feeling of blech. I seemed to be always on the verge of nausea, but never quite get there. By noon things had calmed down a bit and now I am feeling fairly well. I assume my antibiotics have kicked in - or what ever it was has run its course. I am hoping to feel even better tomorrow. A gal from church, Cheryl. invited me to join a class called Christian Believer that meets on Wednesday evenings. I had thought I would get back to choir, but my lungs just don't allow me to sing, yet, so thought this might be a nice alternative. Hence - I would really like to feel better for this class!

Strange weather this week. It was cool and fallish over the weekend, and back to summer now. The wind has been blowing up a storm today, and something (I think a rosebush) keeps knocking on the window in the living room. Now, you would think my mind would just say 'that's the wind', but each time it happens it makes me pause. The cat has found it disconcerting, too, and has to go check it out every now and then.

Mark isn't going to be home for supper tonight, so as I left chemo I called an order into Wheatfields. I ordered two turkey and Gouda butter buns - hold the tomato and lettuce - and a bowl of veggie soup. Picked my order up, got home and I got two turkey butter buns with tomato and lettuce - no Gouda. Sigh. By the way - those butter bun sandwiches are so good. It is is their dinner roll made into sandwiches. They have lots of varieties to choose from and they are only $2.00 a sandwich. The turkey is actual sliced roasted turkey - not just deli meat - yum!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lazy Day

Another lazy day. Went to church this morning and have basically sat the rest of the day. I think I may have a bug of some kind working on me, so I will get my standing antibiotic filled and hopefully it will nip this in the bud. I just feel tired and a bit 'off' today.

Tomorrow is my next round of chemo. This time I will get the whole kit and caboodle - just a lower dose of the one. One week from tomorrow are my scans. I am toying with going back to the once every three week regime of chemo - but won't decide until I have done all four weeks of the present way - and have my scan results, of course. Your prayers for signs of shrinkage are appreciated!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Faux Fall


It is a crisp, cloudy faux fall day. Well, at least hopefully faux fall - or we are in for a long winter! The temp is a chilly 61 degrees and it is overcast - trying to rain. A great day for a nap - and football!

We are going to our friends' house tonight for dinner and the Nebraska Husker/USC game. We are to bring dessert, and I thought I would share with you a dessert that always tastes great in the fall - and is SO easy! All you need to do is purchase a box of Peppridge Farm Apple Dumplings (in the frozen dessert section at the store) and a carton of Cinnamon ice cream. Tonight, one half hour before we want to have dessert, I will pop them in the oven and serve them hot with a scoop of the ice cream. MMMmmm. I don't usually like fruit based desserts like this, but I do like these dumplings. They just say fall to me (and are SO easy!).

I made a decision about the gym yesterday. I have decided to purchase a treadmill rather than join the gym. I already have a recumbent bike and weights. As I drove to the gym the other day I thought about how excited I was going to be driving in the dead of winter when the roads were icy and I wasn't feeling particularly well. I have nothing against Wellbound, the gym I was considering. It is clean, with new equipment and friendly staff. I just feel this is a better option for me.

Enjoy the game all you out in Husker land! What do you non-Huskers have planned for tonight?
Ant Alert! None sighted today.
Perhaps the siege is over!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Caddyshack Time


Today's post will be short - not a lot going on today. I was so happy as I saw NO sign of ants this morning in the kitchen. So I scrubbed the counters down with bleach and got everything looking nice and sparkly clean. When Mark came home for lunch, I commented on the fact that the ants were gone - but as he was fixing his lunch one strolled across the counter -AAAKKKK!!!! I went in and found another - so, guess they are still around. When will they leave us alone! I am afraid I am going to go ballistic like the Bill Murray character, Carl Spackler, in Caddyshack when he blew up the golf course trying to get the gopher. Sigh....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seems like today flew by - I can't believe it is already 7:00 in the evening! This morning I managed to fritter away time - I am not sure what I did other than a little laundry, but by the time I was showered and ready to head out of the house it was already 11:00! I went to Younkers to return a dress and turned some old clothes in for 20% off coupons (Goodwill Days) and found a couple of things on clearance for myself. By the time I was through shopping I was dragging, but I forced myself to go to the gym - and I do mean forced! I took it easy, but got my workout done and headed home for a little mid-afternoon nap.

This afternoon I attended the Millard Public Schools Transition Workshop meeting. I have been on this committee for years and was happy that the powers that be let me still sit in. I stopped by Sgt. Peffers to grab some spaghetti for supper and now I am typing my blog and hoping I can keep my eyes open until 9:00.

Side effects so far this week seem to be a hoarse throat, limited appetite and a tired body. My breathing has been so improved this week - I am thinking allergies and humidity were taking their toll.

It is almost the weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

To Lincoln

It has been a busy day for me! I headed to Lincoln this morning so I could go to my Mom's doctor's appointment with the surgeon that did a bypass on her knee last November - and who had referred her to the surgeon here in Omaha who refused to do her surgery. He was very kind and helpful and has given her two names of other surgeons he felt would do a good job and she also got a referral for a new internist. Hopefully all of these things will work out for her.

My brother, Bert, had picked Mom up (since I can no longer finagle her wheel chair nor push her long distances) so it gave he and I a chance to talk and catch up while Mom was having tests, etc. We had a late lunch in the hospital's cafeteria and then I headed home.

I made a few stops on the way home to return some items and pick up a few things at the grocery store before heading home - and I am TIRED! I had thought I would try to make it to choir practice tonight, but my voice is hoarse from chemo and allergies and I am so tired I don't know that I could concentrate on the songs. I don't plan on performing with the choir, yet, as I can't stand and sing (takes too much breath power), but I thought it might be good to exercise my lungs - plus I miss my choir! Maybe next week.

Diane and I went to a PEO sister, Becky's, jewelry party last night. Silpada, I think it is called. Very pretty silver jewelry. There were lots of other 'sisters' there, too, so it was a pleasant evening - and Becky had really outdone herself with her spread of goodies!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

chemo #10

Chemo #10 is under my belt. Today I received just the pre-drugs and Abraxane. I will be interested in how this affects me. I don't know if I am going to like this regime, but time will tell. At least it was just a two hour infusion instead of the normal four hour one - a plus!

I have a roast in the oven for supper and it smells very good. My appetite has been rather weird this week, so hopefully it will taste good, too.

I am still having ant problems. My neighbor, Carol, emailed me after my last blog about the critters and said they use a product called Terro. You put it on a little piece of paper and then allow the ants to swarm all over it and take it back to the nest. It is so hard to just let those little buggers do their thing and not kill them. If they are still around tomorrow, I am going ballistic. I called the exterminator and got a bit of a run around. I had told her they were swarming all over one of my counters (they were just here to treat for this problem one week ago) and she said they couldn't come back so soon to retreat. I asked her what to do in the mean time and she made some comment about flying ants being hard to kill. I told her they weren't flying - they were just little house ants - and she went in this big song and dance how house ants don't swarm - only flying ants - yada, yada, yada. What? Who CARES? Excuse me? I told her I obviously wasn't a 'professional' and didn't know the right 'terminology' to use. She said they would come back out tomorrow to take care of them. I am hoping they are gone by tomorrow (because of my Terro usage) so I can call and cancel. They are sending the same guy from last time who stuck a screw driver inside our lightswitch cover and blew a circuit on our garbage disposal - not the brightest bulb on the earth.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall Is In The Air


It is cool outside and a light rain is falling. So different than just a few days ago! Fall is definitely in the air. The plants on the deck are starting to show the wear and tear of a hot summer and I am getting tired of caring for them. The tomato plants are still growing like weeds, but without the hot summer heat many of them will probably not make it to the table. Things are slowing down.

I made it to the gym today. I walked on the treadmill and rode the nu-step. I did dumbbells and stretches. Boring, but necessary. Sigh.

Tonight is PEO and we are initiating two new members. Hopefully the night won't go too late -but it will, of course, because of the initiation. Oh well. I can sleep tomorrow during my chemo treatment.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

OPA!

This is day five after treatment - my normally worst day. So, you ask, how do I feel today? Well, compared to other 'day fives' pretty good! I feel a bit 'weird' around the edges - hard to explain - and a little tired and achy, but nothing I can't handle. So, do I think this is better than doing dose dense? The verdict is still out. I need to do the full four week cycle before I make a judgement call.

We went to Piccalo Pete's for supper (an Italian Steakhouse in an older part of town). We all ordered filets (small for the ladies and large for the guys) and got the soup, and mostacolli (or green beans) and salad, and potato - along with bread and real butter and crackers.....WAY to much food - but very tasty.



After dinner we headed down to the Greek Festival at the Louis and Clark Landing (an area along the Missouri River). OPA! The event was on the smallish side - with just a few tents of things to buy, Greek musicians with dancers, and a few things for kids to do. The big draw was the food. Oh - My - Goodness! I am glad we opted to eat elsewhere, as the line to the ONE tent they had set up for food had an almost two hour wait! Bad planning on their part. There was a dessert tent that we hit that had a short line - and the baklava and almond cake was tasty. There were very strange 'flies'? that kept bothering us, so we ended up leaving and going to Brewsky's where we could sit outside and enjoy the beautiful evening. Unfortunately, there was a large group there that had been there a while (if you get my drift) so it wasn't as peaceful as it could have been.

This morning I opted out of church (again - shame on me) because I just couldn't seem to get myself moving. I am sure it has to do with it being a 'day five' day. I did manage to get to the grocery store and drop some things at the Goodwill. Mark was a doll and scrubbed all the floors in the house for me - what a guy! I also cleaned the masterbath (except the floor, of course), so I wasn't a total blog today (but close to it). Mark then had me go downstairs with him to go through the storage room so he could get it organized. When Matt was home this summer he went through a lot of his boxes of memorabilia and 'treasures' but didn't seem to get everything put back and/or thrown away. Now things are tidy once more.

I am in dire need of going to the gym. I had every intention of going today, but my sore spine and achy body was enough to talk myself out of it. Tomorrow. I WILL go tomorrow!



Saturday, September 8, 2007

Good Day Four

I have hung pretty close to home, just venturing out to get lunch for Mark and I during the Nebraska game (Go Big Red!). Otherwise, I just did a little around the house (very little) and took a nap. I feel good today - much better than a normal day four after chemo - just a bit tired. Tonight we are going out to supper and then we will probably walk around the Greek festival down by the river. It should be a beautiful night, weather wise. My only complaint, physically, is I have very tingly lungs. For a couple weeks now they have felt like they do when you are first getting a chest cold - with out the cold. I am not sure what is causing it, but it is distracting and a bit irritating. I will have to run this symptom past my doc at my treatment on Tuesday.

Have a super Saturday!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hmmmmm

Hmmmm - normally by this afternoon I would begin feeling the side effects of my treatments. However, as of this writing, I am feeling fairly normal - or at least as normal as I feel these days. I do feel a bit tired, and did crash for a half hour or so this afternoon, but I will take tired over achy and the general feeling of yuck. Tomorrow and Sunday will be the real tests, as they are typically my 'worst days'. I know I can't count on every week being like this week, so I will hold off to make any judgements of whether this is better or worse than the old schedule. Time will tell. I do think many of my achy symptoms were brought on by the Neulasta shot, so I pray that my body will keep up with the manufacturing of white blood cells so I don't have to endure that again.

I have had a pretty uneventful day - quick trip to exchange some things for Mark at the hardware store, laundry, straightening, etc. I also worked a little on some projects for the Unlimited Possibilities board I am involved with.

The weather is quite nice today - when I went to the hardware store in the early afternoon it was still in the 70's! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Steroids and Ants

One good side effect of chemo is the steroid high you get the day after the treatment. I woke up feeling great, did many little things around the house (cleaning, changing out a new handle on the screen door, laundry), then headed to Wellbound to work out. Diane stopped by with some paperwork for the Race for the Cure and then I headed to the grocery store. I am now feeling like a nap would be wonderful, but since it is after 5:00, that would NOT be a good idea if I want to sleep tonight, so I will just have to keep on keeping on.

We are having a battle with little tiny ants. We hired an exterminator a few months back because the silverfish from our shake roof were winning the battle in our master bath and Carolyn was having ant issues in her apartment. He comes periodically to respray. However, this week the ants decided to show their ugly little heads in MY kitchen. One day I saw one or two. The next day three or four. The NEXT day - hundreds swarming out of my light switch by the kitchen sink. I immediately called the exterminator and he came out yesterday. Most of them are gone, but he said to expect to see a few for the next couple of weeks while the poison takes effect. YUCK! I thought once you hired a professional, the little buggers would stay away. I guess not.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chemo # 9

I got a late start to my chemo appointment and then hit every stop light and construction delay possible. The cancer center parking lot was full and I had to sit in a long line to get into the overflow parking garage, then had to drive in circles to finally find a spot. Walked over to the center (no shuttles there at that time) and got to my lab appointment 15 minutes late. Had to sit for 15 minutes for them to draw lab work and another 15 minutes at my onc's office. Needless to say, I got a late start on my chemo. I got home around 4:00.

Dr. S and I discussed my side effects - he checked my balance - which is horrible, and asked about my neuropathy. He had me stand with my feet together, then put my arms up like I was sleep walking, and the close my eyes. Oh boy - couldn't do that very well. (Yesterday, when I was being assessed at Wellbound I couldn't stand on one foot for more than seven seconds! When did THAT happen?). I told him about my lack of appetite and general feeling of blah - and about taking the zpack and feeling better once I took it. He is going to call in two antibiotics for me take as I see fit, since he is sensing a pattern with my fevers, etc. He also checked in with me on the bleeding, etc. He said that next time I was going to have to start the once a week regime. I told him I would prefer to try it now, and he said that was fine. So, long story short - I am now on weekly infusions. My schedule will be:

Week 1 (today) Avastin, Aredia and lower dose Abraxane

Week 2 lower dose Abraxane

Week 3 lower dose Abraxane & Avastin

Week 4 Chemo Break

Start over the following week

Dr S said he can not guarantee that my side effects will be less, as each person reacts differently to chemo. He hopes I will still have good quality of living with this new regime. If I don't like how it effects me, I can go back to the dose dense version. My onc nurse said that most people who switch to the lesser dose do very well as his/her body is already use to the big whammy, so they just breeze through the lesser dose. I hope she is right!

Another plus for the lower dose version is that, at least for now, I don't have to have the Neulasta shot tomorrow (YEA!). It is the shot that helps the body make white blood cells. It's side effects are sore muscles, achy bones and fevers. Often, people on the lower dose can maintain their blood counts since they aren't being hit so hard. I pray that this is true for me! If my next lab shows I can't do this - they will start the shot again.

My next scans are set for September 24. I will receive a bone scan and a CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. Time to start storming the heavens for great results. I would LOVE to see everything smaller, smaller, smaller - or even gone! Mmmmmm - sounds wonderful......