Sunday, September 30, 2007

Today was another ‘Ouch’ day. That’s okay. We got Subway sandwiches so I didn’t have to tear up salad greens or fork any food. Sandwiches work! Tomorrow will be a better day because I’ve never had more than two ‘Ouch’ days in a row. This week is going to be a great week. The housekeeper comes, so the house will be smiling, again! I’m packing to go to Houston. This week will be the last week of this Taxol round and next Tuesday will be the beginning of the FAC round. Onward we march!

Sidney continues to do better and better. Bless his heart; these days are so tough on his family, but, thankfully, he won’t remember anything about these days. His family will never forget them, though. Hopefully, they will use what they’re learning to help someone else get through days like this. Those of you who have been through a brain injury with a loved one have a clue what I mean. There is not a good way to describe it; you just have to be there. It’s better if you never have to go there, but that’s not real life. It’s like a life with no cancer; you will always know someone with cancer. Let’s brace to support each other in whatever comes that we have to face. It sure makes life better when there are loved ones there to support us through the tough times.

Thank you all for being there to support me. This doesn’t seem so tough, yet, but the tough days are coming. I sure appreciate your support and love!

On the blog today:

1) A picture of my Panioli outfit. Ha! Panioli is a Hawaiian cowboy. That’s a dress I bought in Hawaii and my cowboy hat. My toes were no way wearing shoes, so I had on the Hawaii flip-flops. What a garb! If Bob Dwyer sees this he’ll be embarrassed; pardon me, Bob! In the background is the Mike Buchanan wall (That means something to my Itazuke buddies; that’s all either work of Mike’s or else a memoir from our trip to visit him.)
2) Another picture of me in the Panioli garb. (Tom and Linda, your rose is in the vase with the pink rose. It’s still your rose, it’s just waiting on it’s trip to your house.)

God bless you all. I love you and count you among my most rich of blessings.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A wonderful visit from Jane!

I don’t think I’ve done a thing that was constructive today. I woke up saying, “Ouch.” It’s funny how this neuropathy works. Some days are much easier than others. Today was an “Ouch” day. It’s good I didn’t have any plans or anything that had to be done. It feels strange to be deciding what to wear by whether there are buttons or not. It’s a good lesson to me about folks who have arthritis issues! I’m starting to like Velcro better and better!

I’ve done lots of research on the Internet today, so that was good. I guess I needed to take the time to do that. I learned that the reconstruction I was considering (TRAM-flap) couldn’t be done at the same time as my mastectomies because I have to have radiation. That’s okay. It’s simply another clue. I’m not bent out of shape about having reconstruction. I’m okay with being flat chested; I was flat chested until I was 13 and it was a good life. There are lots of things we want to do with our lives next spring, summer and fall besides reconstruction. I figure if I go through all we want to do without boobs, then why would I ever need to have any later? We’ll just see how it all works, but it was good for me to have the time for research today. Maybe after doing the things we want to do flat chested I’ll know that I really want to go through the reconstruction! I trust God to give me the signals I need to determine what I should do. So far I’ve had good signals that I need chemo, surgery and radiation, so I’m happy to do those.

I must tell you: Sidney continues to do better and better! PTL! Thanks for your prayers!

On the blog tonight:

1) Don showing his disgust at the windmill weeds.
2) The windmill weeds gathered by our dumpster in the alley.
3) Our wonderful guest, Jane, David Rule’s sister. David had a gob of company at his house this weekend, so we were honored to have Jane stay with us. It was their high school reunion weekend and David’s son was also visiting. What an honor for us to have Jane stay with us! (She’s a breast cancer survivor, so I love comparing notes with her, but mostly she’s so much like David that it thrills us to get to know her better!)

Our lives are so rich with blessings. Count and give thanks with us! God bless!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Whew! Long day, but Sidney is better!

We got up and went to OKC early this morning. We went first to see Jo Ann and Frank at the hospital with Sidney. Of course we saw Jeff and Staci, too, but they were so wiped out from nearly no sleep since Wednesday night. It’s getting really hard for them. Sidney is really doing much better, but he’s at a stage that is hard to witness. If you aren’t familiar with brain injuries, it’s a really tough thing to see. My brother, Jim, had a motorcycle wreck about 20 years ago, so I’ve seen this before. It’s hard. The good thing is that Sidney is past the touch and go stage. He will live. They’ve taken him off the respirator and taken the tubes out of his nose. They are letting him come out of the coma and he’s reeling in the bed, wanting OUT! He recognizes everyone and knows who he is, but doesn’t know where he is or why. He wants all those restraints taken off and he wants out of there! Bless his heart. His brain is healing and he’s got to be in there, but he can’t understand that. He looks around and sees all the monitors and sees the bands on his arms and feet and thinks he’s tangled up in TV cords and begs you to get the TV off of him! It’s just hard to watch. He’s a strong kid and all the prayers for him will work. Thank you for your love and concern for someone we love.

The pictures on the blog today are of me, yesterday with the windmill weeds. It was really kind of fun to ‘play’ with them. Don did the really hard work of picking them up. I held the plastic bags for him. He picks up all he can with a big wide arm grasp and then wads it around itself until it sort of makes a ball. Then he crams it into the bag. Then I sit on the bag to mash it down and we go through the process again and again. We’re getting pretty good at it. Those things are unreal to capture and bag, but we got a bunch of them. They really are a nuisance, if you don’t have a partner to help you get them or if you’re really sick. Fortunately, we were in pretty good shape yesterday. The thing that made it really work was that we worked until we were tired and then quit instead of working until we were done, which is our usual mode of operation. We’re learning!

We visited Trish after we went to the hospital today, so we got there in time to see Grace, Mason and Sadie as well and Raynie. The big boys, Nate, and Gabe were visiting somewhere, so we missed them. Raynie was laughing out loud, her new trick, so we loved that! I forgot my camera, so I didn’t get pictures today. Ugh! I did get some pictures with the new cell phone, but I don’t know how to get them out of the phone, so we may never see them. HA! God is good; He’s still working with me!

We thank Him for bringing Sidney around and for healing him. We thank Him for giving patience and strength to Jeff and Staci and Jo Ann and Frank. We thank Him for our safe trip and for our healthy, baby and big kids who can laugh out loud just because Grammy remembers Patty Cake! PTL!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sidney report; windmill weeds and chemo 11 down!

Today went well. We completed chemo #11 today! Only one more Taxol! Then we go to Houston on the 8th and I’ll have appointments all day the 9th beginning my first of the last 4 ‘hairy’ chemo treatments. I think I’ll do fine with them. I may not feel so good, but that’s okay. I’ll be counting my blessings and bringing you all with me to give me great support. I’m excited and looking forward to the reunion and getting through this next stage. After the 12 weeks it will take to do the final round of chemo I’ll have a month off to rebuild my immune system and then the surgery. That’ll be the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and I expect it to be fun! I expect the surgery and radiation to be the worst parts of this adventure. The surgery will be major and I’ll be way sore and have to lie around. I’m not so good at lying around, but I know you all are coming with me (in my mind), so that’ll be the fun part. I’ll know that my mom and my grandmother went through it, so I’ll be proud to follow in their footsteps and do as well as they did. I was there when it was my mom’s turn and I don’t remember her ever complaining, so I’m not going to complain, either.

Reporting on Sidney: He has been on a ventilator and in a drug induced coma, but they are weaning him from the ventilator and expect to be able to let him out of the coma soon. Both his lungs are bruised. He has a cracked skull and a blood clot in the brain and another outside the brain. (How does that work? He aunt reported that to me, and we’re all lay people; we’re just reporting it as we get it.) Those are very serious things, but lots of prayers are being said on his behalf. They eased him from his coma a bit today to see if they could determine how much damage has been done and to see if he could handle it. They asked him his name and he answered correctly. They asked him his girl friend’s name and he answered correctly! They asked him if he knew what happened and he didn’t. That’s so common for brain-injured people to block out the offending event. It’s a gift from God, because don’t you know it would hurt all over again to recall it! He began to get agitated, though, as he found 3 IV’s in his body, and he was trying to pull it all out and they had to put him back into the coma.

We’re going tomorrow to OKC to see them. If I don’t sleep tonight, I can sleep in the car tomorrow. We’ll also run by and see Trish , Raynie and Grace. We’ll go in the morning, so we’ll miss the other kids this time, I guess.

We got home this afternoon and found windmill weeds blown up from the nearby farms. God is good to us. He knew we needed the chance to stretch our legs and count our blessings of being able to walk and bend and get them. I got to run the risk of sweating because we’re changing my bandage tonight. It was fun and I thank God for the windmill weeds and the ability to get some of them into bags. I also thank Him for my precious husband who helped and was willing to stop before we picked up every last one!!! What a breakthrough for him and for me. Used to we would have worked until every last one was gone before we quit. We quit today when we could use the doors. Count blessings with me! PTL!

Pictures tonight are me in my hat that I bought in Hawaii and Don in his Hawaii shirt; on our way to Chemo 11! The last picture is the windmill weeds.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Please ray for Sidney and his family.

We just got a call about our friend’s Jo Ann and Frank’s grandson, Sidney. Sidney had a four-wheeler accident and had to be flown to Oklahoma City, unconscious. We don’t know how serious it is, but it’s pretty serious or they would have taken him to a local hospital.

Sidney is 16 and is very experienced and capable on the four-wheeler. The first picture on the blog tonight was taken back in April when we were out at Jo Ann and Frank’s house celebrating Sidney’s little brother, Joe’s, birthday. I took a picture of the family that day. From left to right are Jeff (Sidney’s dad), holding Joe, Staci (Sidney’s mom and Jo Ann and Frank’s daughter), Kristy (Jo Ann and Frank’s other daughter), Frank, Sidney, and Jo Ann. They are an awesome family. Kristy’s son, Jacob, is one of my heroes that I wear a red shirt for on Friday’s. He’s in Iraq and we pray for him always. Kristy is the one who called me. They are all headed to Oklahoma City to be with Sidney. We’re praying for all of them and hope that you will also.

The other picture on the blog is one from a few weeks ago; it’s a sample of one of my 3 hat ensembles. Ha! It’s how I keep my head warm these days.

We’ve got an electrical storm coming, so I’ve got to rush to get this online and shut the computer down. Thank God for helicopters to fly us country people to the city and for the care Sidney is getting. Thank Him for safe travels for his family to get there to be with him. I’ll keep you posted on tomorrow’s blog.

God bless.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Today was a bad day for fingers and toes. Good thing I didn’t have to get anything done except work on time with the timeshares. I spent most of the day working out our holiday plans. I’ve got a tentative plan made for one week. Ha! I’ll have to see how I do with the next round of chemo before I see if we can use some other weeks. I’m sure hoping that my chemo can go without delays and then we can get right on with the surgery and get home in time for spring break. Next year I have a reunion and Don has two reunions to make. Besides that we love to do our family reunion, plus we wanted to do a cruise to Alaska. I don’t know if we can do all that or not, but we’re going to aim for it all.

I don’t know why some days are worse or better than others with the fingers and toes. Yesterday was a pretty good day. Today was tough. They did give me pain medication, but I don’t want to take that until the pain gets to where I can’t take it. I call that a 10. Today it was about 9, so I’m close. Medications usually hit me pretty hard, so I imagine the painkiller will wipe me out and I don’t want to go there. So, I’m doing my best to hang tough with the hurting fingers and toes. I’m going to take the gabapentin (medication for the neuropathy) and go to bed early. That gets me out of my misery. J

The picture on the blog tonight is today’s cutting of reblooming irises with a second picture of Elena. Those blue eyes are grabbers, aren’t they? They grab me when I’m standing at the kitchen sink admiring her.

I was supposed to figure out how to use the cell phone today. I did figure some of it, but I can see it’s going to take me a while to get it down. I know how to dial and I’ve saved a few numbers. I’m sure glad I don’t have to do this every week! At least I memorized Don’s number, so I can call him!

God blesses us so much. I am so grateful for the rebloomers. Actually, Elena and Raynie are like rebloomers because we sure didn’t expect more babies, but they thrilled us this year! 15 grandkids! 13 were blessings galore, but we’ve been over-blessed with two more who dropped out of heaven when we thought we had all the kids we would have. God has a way of teaching us not to THINK that we know how to THINK! I’m so glad that He’s in control of counting the hairs on our heads (He even counts my stubble!) as well as all the grandkids. I know He’s responsible for letting the chemo take the hair off my legs, too! I’m amazed that I still have eyebrows and hairs on my arms, but He knew I didn’t have to shave those and a nick from a razor could be catastrophic! Count the blessings with me; I know He’s working in your life, too!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thanks for what we have; nobody cares what's missing!

The picture on today’s blog is only another from yesterday’s photo shoot. We didn’t get around to any more pictures today.

I don’t even know where today went. It was one of those days. Don came in around 3 and asked if I’d gotten my nap today and I told him I hadn’t even thought of it! I guess I wasn’t too tired, huh? Well, I’m pooped, NOW!

It was a beautiful day here, though! Don went to breakfast with a guy who is visiting his sister-in-law here. He and his wife come every year to visit a dear friend of ours and he and Don always go catch a breakfast or two while they’re here. I caught up on emails while he was gone. When he came back in he said, “Since we’re changing your bandage today, do you want to go walk with me?” I was so thrilled! The day was gorgeous and the breeze was great. I didn’t sweat a bit. That went so well that I went out this afternoon and hoed some weeds! I’m hoeing all the weeds that jump up and go, “Na-na-na-na-na,” each day that I can. I’m so proud. I’m out there going, “Na-na-na-na-na!” Actually, someone sent me an email today that said something like, ‘So often we think about the things we are missing instead of the things we have.’ That went CLUNK with me! I go out there and mentally growl at the weeds as I hoe; today I went out and gave thanks for the irises and crepe myrtles blooming as well as all the other flowers that bloom in the spring. It made it lots more fun to do! That same email had a song with it, and while I couldn’t understand some of the words, the main, recurring phrase was, “I’m ALIVE!” I loved it! It came without a link; it’s a power point kind of thing that I just opened and there it was. If you are interested in it, email me and I’ll forward it to you. If you have dial up, I think it will be a very lengthy download, but it was sure good.

Also we had company today. We love company. She didn’t stay long, but it was a nice visit. Also David and Dorothy brought our new phones, so we’re in cell business, again. We don’t know how to work the phones, but we know how to answer. We’ll figure out how to use them tomorrow. I’m so glad that Don has one this time! Now if we get separated at MD Anderson we can call each other!

We changed the bandage a while ago. That is always so stressful. We have to keep everything sterile for that procedure, so of course my nose itches. Too bad; no scratching; no touching. Ugh. When we took off the old bandage there was a blister about the size of my little fingernail from the tape. I’m lucky it hadn’t burst, so the skin wasn’t raw under it. Each week I have to figure out a new direction to make the bandage go so that the tape eats up a new piece of skin. I’m so running out of good skin. I’ll be so glad to get to Houston and get on with the next phase of this chemo. I don’t think it will make any difference with these bandages, though. I’ll have to keep bandaging as long as I have the port and that’ll be a long time. Maybe MDA will have another bandage we can use that will work better. This was the best one of all we used, but I think there is one other one we haven’t used. We’ll see.

God is good; there are so many things for which to give thanks! Forget what we’re missing; let’s count all we have!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

No weeds; clean house!

I’m going to do the blog today before I start taking my gabapentin for the neuropathy. I’m counting down the days until I’m done taking Taxol, now! 11 days from now is my last Taxol treatment. Then, I’m hoping this neuropathy thing will begin to diminish. The FAC (next kind of chemo) might aggravate it, but I hope not. I chatted with a girl online the other night who told me it would begin to get better as soon as I quit taking Taxol. I’m ready for it to get better!

Today we went to a play in town because our neighbor, Sonia was in it. She did a great job, but I missed my nap; well I got a 10-minute nap. We came home from the play and I jumped into bed, but just as I got to sleep the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor returning a table and chairs we had given them and they never used. I got up to fix a place to put it, so I’ll go to bed early tonight. That’ll work because I’m going to start taking the gabapentin and it will make me really sleepy. God works everything out for the best for all who love Him, so it’ll work.

The pictures on the blog are all me, today. You can see I’m still smiling. Two weeks from tomorrow and we’ll be headed for Houston, so that’s a thing about which to smile! We’re approaching the next step in this whole adventure. I’ll be glad to see if I can handle the FAC well enough to go to Branson between treatments! I really want to do that, so I hope I can do it.

Trish does our cell phone plans and she got our new plan for the next two years today. We’re going with T-mobile, so our contract with Cingular is over. I didn’t do that much talking with Cingular people, but we’ll have to do as much talking after 9 and on weekends as possible, but we can still talk whenever necessary. Dorothy and David are in OKC today, so they picked up our phones from Trish and will bring them to us tomorrow. I’ll spend Tuesday figuring out the new phones, I guess. I may not have phone service until Tuesday, so if you need to call me, you might call the house if the cell phone doesn’t work.

God is great to work things out for us. I’m so pleased with a yard that looks great (notice no weeds in the picture, thanks to Joan) and a house that is clean, thanks to a wonderful housekeeper. I’m so pleased to be able to find good people to help us when we can’t help ourselves. I’m so grateful for Trish to figure out the cell phone service and share a family plan with us. My number will remain the same, by the way, and we’re getting a phone for Don this time, too. We are so blessed! You be blessed, too! I love you all.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Updated Elena and a reblooming iris.

Picture on the blog today: It’s Elena with a reblooming iris from our yard. I’m so proud of Elena and the rebloomer! Elena is growing beautifully even without us around to help do the spoiling. She has a big brother and a mom and dad who love her gobs and we miss her gobs. They send us lots of pictures and keep us up to date on her growth, but we still miss being there for this time when she is growing so much. The rebloomers are so inspirational at this time of year. It’s fun in the spring when the irises bloom, but when they bloom at this time of year it’s so refreshing! It looks like spring when it’s 90 degrees outside! If we don’t get a freeze they’ll bloom until after Thanksgiving, and that’s so fun! Even when it’s cool outside, I’ve got fresh irises in the house. I love it!

I had so much pain with the neuropathy last night; Don suggested that I spread the medication out during the day as long as I’m not driving. A side effect of the pills is that they make one sleepy and dizzy. Well, they have me taking all three pills at bedtime, and I suspect it’s so the sleepiness and dizziness won’t bother me. The pain is always so much worse in the evening, like it’s time for the dose, so we thought if we spread it out over the day then it might not be so painful. We were right; taking it during the day does help the pain to not be so acute. However, I was also right in that they had me taking it all at bedtime because of the sleepiness and dizziness. I’m not dizzy, but I am SO sleepy. As soon as I finish this blog, I’m going to take a bath and go to bed. I’ll have to be very careful about spreading the dosage over the day. If I’ve got anything to do I won’t be worth anything, but it’s nice to have the pain eased.

An interesting thing I’m finding is that the scrappy hair that I shaved off my head is growing. I really have to shave my head every week because that scrappy hair is still growing and it feels prickly when I rub my head or pull my sleep caps on and off my head. They must be some really tough hair follicles to be standing up to this chemo! I find that so interesting. I’m glad I didn’t wait for all my hair to fall out before I finally shaved it. I would have been scrappy looking this whole time. Bald is great, but scrappy was depressing!

Today, I sat out at the garage sale with Olya for a couple of hours, so I actually got down to one hat! We quit at noon or I would have probably gone to no hat! It was nice out there, but I was getting warm. I got rid of some stuff that needed to go and some folks went home with some new treasures. It was fun!

God is great! He is so taking care of us and we thank Him! Thank you for keeping up with us!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Meet Dorothy and David!

I slept until 4:45 this morning, so that was really good for the night after chemo; usually I lay awake most of the night. This morning I got up and came in and worked on the computer until Don got up and came in for breakfast. I worked all morning on stuff for a garage sale. My neighbor is having a sale and I took a bunch of stuff over there. I sure hope it sells; I’ll be glad to be rid of some stuff and collect some coins!

I got a nap this afternoon, so I had a pretty good day. I also got beans cooked for the next week. That doesn’t seem like a big undertaking, but it is for me. Clean the beans, cook them, and then put them into containers for the freeze. For once I didn’t even let them boil out of the pan!

I even went outside to see the work Joan had done in the gardens. She has them looking great. Of course when you look at someone else’s work, you see what they missed, so I hoed a few weeds; just enough for fun; not enough to sweat! She’d done most of it, anyway. It looked perfect until I came in the house. Then I’m sure the weeds yelled, “She’s in the house; let’s jump up!”

The pictures on the blog today are Dorothy and David. They are two of our very best friends. We play card with them and hang out with them as much as possible because they are such a delight. They are so inspiring to us. David never lets there be a dull moment. He knows so much about everything and he has such a tremendous sense of humor. His classic kind of thing to say is this: My adopted baby sister, Terri, when she first met him asked if he’d lived all his life in Hobart. He replied, “Not, yet.” He keeps us in stitches with dry humor like that. Dorothy is such a delight. She goes around humming, no particular tune; just humming. It makes you feel like she’s in a constant communion with God. Dorothy is the president of the board of directors of our local hospital, so she’s quite the community minded person. She and David know everybody and who owns what farm all over the county. It’s amazing to hang out with them. David has COPD and Dorothy has macular degeneration, but they go right on and keep up with the rest of us as if they don’t have a problem at all. We admire them to no end and thank God every day for their influence and love in our lives. They don’t have a computer, so they’ll never see this, but I’m proud to tell you more about them since I mention them so often. David is my favorite cowboy; you’ve seen them both before, but this is their highlight.

Today is red shirt day; a day to recognize our support of our troops. I thank God for them and for all our friends and family. Thank you for keeping up with us as we go through this treatment and recovery process. God is great and so are you in our lives.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Introducing Linda and Tom Rose.

This was chemo #10 day in Lawton. My numbers were just about like last week, so there were no snags! Nobody seems to be the least bit worried about my disconnected stitch on the PICC line, so I won’t be worried, either. We just changed the bandage when we got home and made sure the other two are right. We’ll keep the bandage in good shape, so the PICC line really can’t go anywhere. When we get back to Houston we’ll let them fix it if they want to do that. I thank God that I’m doing so well with all this!

I don’t have current pictures to share, so I will introduce Linda and Tom Rose. Linda is a frequent poster on the blog, so I want you to know who they are.

Linda and Tom were both in my graduating class at Franklin County High School. I moved to school in the middle of our sophomore year. Linda was always a sweetheart, but she was kind of shy, and she lived in a nearby town, so we weren’t thrown together much. (You know kids didn’t have their own cars then; we did good to borrow the family car from time to time!) She was voted Most Neat in our class and she was physically and personally, too. Tom had done his freshman year at a private school up on Sewanee Mountain, so he was kind of a newcomer to FCHS, too. Most of the kids knew him, but he wasn’t attached to a girl. He was kind enough to ask me for a date, and we became best friends. I had never known a nicer guy. Neither of us dated anyone else and we graduated thinking we would get married. We went to college together, but then went our separate ways and never stayed in touch. (Snail mail has always been a pit and long distance was impossible back then. We found each other on the Internet about 10 years ago and kept in touch. When I told them we were going to Hawaii to house sit last winter, Linda told me they’d love to house sit if ever we couldn’t do it and reminded me that she is neat. Ha! I wrote and said they should come join us, so they DID. It was the best reunion! Having Tom in the house was like having someone from the family there because he knew my brother and sister from the time we dated. He’d fixed my Dad’s boat trailer on a boating trip once. He’d been there when my Mom had breast cancer. We’d been through a lot together. Anyway it was wonderful to have them join us for a great time in Hawaii. More treasured memories! Linda has been such an inspiration; we love them both like family.

Pictures on the blog:
1. Linda and Tom and Don on the lanai eating biscuits, gravy and that wonderful juice that Linda helped me to juice.
2. Linda and Tom after we’d nearly killed ourselves hiking to the green sand beach. Don’s Tours (Don; Linda gave him that nickname.) took us on to the black sand beach and we were barely standing. The best way to stand was leaning on the best person in life.
3. Linda and Tom on the ‘storybook hike.’ It was an easy and beautiful hike right beside the ocean.

Thank you, God for great friends, family, and the memories that go with them. Thank you for keeping us all safe, healthy and happy. God bless you all for sharing our lives with us.

Today the housekeeper came and she blessed our house! I’m so pleased to have had her come and do such a thorough job with the house. Our house is smiling tonight; it’s almost acting smug! Thank you, Linda, for encouraging me to do this!

I’ve had trouble accessing the blog today, so I hope I can get in tonight to get this entry posted. I need to look to see what pictures have already been posted. Okay; I couldn’t get in last night, so I had to post this morning; sorry if anyone came and couldn’t find us.

I’ve talked to Ruthie today (I talk to her every day and twice so far today.) and she was really ready to go home today. Bless her heart, she’s not happy with the drugs they’re giving her; I know how she feels. I sure hate that she has to go through this. It’s so hard to rest in the hospital and then the doctor gave her the same steroid that I’m getting that makes me lay awake after chemo! She was awake all last night and she was fuming today. Bless her heart. Let’s pray for her to get better really soon!

I’m ready to take my neuropathy medication tonight. I’ll be really glad when this round of Taxol is over, so can get past the neuropathy thing. It’s not anything I can’t take, but I do not like this part. I remind myself that Jesus’ feet and hands hurt so much more than this and I don’t see anywhere in the scripture that he said “I do not like this part.” Shame on me!

The pictures on the blog tonight are:

1) Raynie with another smile for Dorothy.
2) Me last Friday celebrating Jacob Sells promotion in Iraq.

God bless all our troops and all the civilians, too. PTL!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today has been another good day. I worked all day getting the house ready for the housekeeper to come tomorrow. How silly is that? Well, it’s just how it has to be. Before I can dust or vacuum I have to go through and pick up everything. So, it’s the same way with someone else doing the dusting and vacuuming; I had to go through and pick up all the loose things! There are still some stashes of ‘stuff’ that she’s just going to have to go around until I can get them organized. This is good for me, because it’s forcing me to get things better organized. She was going to come at 8:30 in the morning, but she just called to ask if it was okay if she came at 12:30. That was GREAT, because it means I can type out her instructions tomorrow instead of staying up tonight to do it! I have the rough draft done, thanks to Don starting it for me. Bless his heart. He is so organized; it just comes naturally to him. I have to work at it, but he helps me with it a lot. The last thing I would do is make a list; I mean where does one keep a list? Right! My list is always lost, so what would the point be in making one? Well, I do make lots of lists; even if I lose them it helps me to remember what I wrote, and sometimes I can find my list! Well, I have instructions for Angelica and will put it in a plastic window and put that in the box of cleaning supplies. I did all the laundry and changed our sheets so I’ve done all the dust strewing things. It feels good to be ready for her.

Tonight is also the night I get to increase my medication for the neuropathy. Ruthie was confused about it, so maybe I should explain it again. Probably I wasn’t clear last week. Last week I was taking 400-mg. per day. The doctor had me increase it to 600-mg. per day starting last Tuesday. Tonight I am to increase it to 900-mg. per day. I’m hoping this level will do the job. Every night it begins to hurt as the time to take the medication gets closer. I only have 3 more treatments, so I sure hope this increase will get me through to the end of these treatments. After these treatments I will start another kind of chemo, which is a combination of 3 different chemos. I only take it once every 3 weeks.

The pictures on the blog tonight:

1) This is Raynie playing fun and games with Dorothy yesterday.
2) This is Gracie modeling her hand me down outfit from Sasha (my next door neighbor). You’ll recognize her stance; it’s the modeling stance she taught me for my hats! Notice David in the background doing his breathing treatment.

God is so good to take good care of us. Things work; not always the way we expect, but they work. I thank Him for being in control. I ask Him to give me patience and strength to accept and appreciate His control. So often I want to do it MY way; I know His way is best and love Him for keeping control. I thank Him for you to help me with your support and love!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tired, but great day!

I am so absolutely exhausted! We got up early to go to OKC today and it was a wonderful day. We learned so much going through the visual training and testing with Dorothy. She has macular degeneration and hasn’t read anything in over a year. They had some aids that could really help her and she was reading like a champ with their help! We’re so excited for her to be able to get some of this help! There was a whole bunch more for which we were giving thanks today! What a delight to see Dorothy seeing some things she’d missed for so long!

We got to go by and see Trish and Grace and Raynie. Trish had told us that Raynie has moved from the newborn stage to more of an infant stage. She cooed and gooed at us and smiled and smiled! We were all tickled pink and giving thanks all the more!

The pictures on today’s blog are:

1) Dorothy enjoying a Raynie fix
2) David in the background enjoying some antic of Grace’s
3) Raynie enjoying a conversation with Dorothy

I was having lots of neuropathy pains last night when I went to bed. It dawned on me that I might have missed a dose on Saturday, but when I got up this morning I counted my pills and I hadn’t missed any. I think I just start having pains when I’m due another dose. So, I’m going to hurry and take my pills and go to bed before the pains get ahead of me. I’m a chicken when it comes to those pains. I’m thanking God for the pills and the smart doctor who prescribed them! It’s been a long but great day. We had so much fun with Dorothy and David. I’m giving thanks for their friendship and for our safe trip. I could go on and on, but I’m racing to bed! God bless you all!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tomorrow we are going to OKC with David and Dorothy Rule. Dorothy has an appointment to see if there are some aids that can help her with her loss of vision due to macular degeneration. (See, I have nothing compared to that, in my book!) Dorothy’s appointment is the next street over from where Tricia’s house is, so we’ll get to go by and see Raynie and Tricia, at least. If we get there in time we’ll get to see Gracie, too. That’ll be a great way to start our week! I’ll probably nap in the car, so the trip will be harder on everyone else than on me.

Today’s pictures are more pink pictures of me. I had a plan for a whole different outfit this morning, but Don said, “Are you wearing pink today?” I told him I wasn’t and he told me he was, so I re-grouped and came up with this outfit. I know people pay attention to what I’m wearing THIS time, so it’s better if we don’t clash. HA! So, now I have next week’s outfit already planned because I can wear the one I had planned for today.

My rest day went well. I have only thanks to give today! I’m having shooting pains in my toes and fingers which are very painful, but that’s a small price to pay. Things are going well. The Taxol is working. Tuesday I can increase the medication, so I hope that will make these shooting pains go stop. My vision is blurring today, but that’s probably a side effect of the medication. Anyway, none of this is anything compared to the price Jesus paid for us, so I’m not complaining. God is so good to us; I thank Him for blessing us so richly. God bless you all!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Oops! A loose stitch!

Today has been good. I slept like a brick last night. We got up and met the canasta crew for breakfast and I came home and went back to bed for my nap. I did a little work on the computer today and then we played canasta here tonight. We can’t seem to get enough of it. Well Don had enough; he watched football (He can’t get enough of that!) and our neighbor, Hazel, came over and played in his place. She’s too good; the guys beat us tonight! Ha! We changed my bandage after everyone left and he’s still watching football. We noticed that one of my sutures came loose, so I’ll have to be very careful with my PICC until we get to the doctor’s office on Thursday and they’ll replace it or else let them replace it at the hospital. I’m not looking forward to anyone replacing it, but it has to be replaced. Probably they’ll numb it locally. Ick; I hate complications, but I guess they happen. There are supposed to be 3 or 4 sutures to keep it from falling out of my arm. I had only 3, so now I have only 2. I sure don’t want it to fall out because it was a bear to get in there!

Tomorrow is going to be my big rest day. I did pretty good resting today, but I’m going to do even better tomorrow, I hope. I’ve got to be really careful with my arm. My neuropathy is doing better. I don’t have any pains in my ankles or wrists. I feel the tingly feeling all the way up my fingers, but not so much in my hands. I feel it in my toes and on the outside of the soles of my feet and around the bottom of my heels. My toes and fingers feel like they’ve been smashed in a door, but they still work clumsily. I only have 3 more Taxol treatments, so I think we can make it through this. I think after the Taxol the next chemo won’t contribute to the neuropathy.

The pictures on the blog today show me in my white on pink hats. The norm is to wear 3 hats. That does a good job of keeping my head warm and I can always pull them off if I have a hot flash.

I’m headed to bed soon. Don is watching another game, but I’ve had all the fun I can have today. I’m over quota. God is telling me it’s time to go to bed. God is so good to us; He’s my best bedfellow. He takes care of us in every way and I give Him all the praise, glory and thanks! Just think; He’s seen us through ¾ of these Taxol treatments and I’m still doing very well, and the tumor has shrunken to where the doctor can’t even feel it! I’m so pleased and thankful! The last ¼ will go quickly and then we’ll plunge into the FAC phase of chemo. He’ll take care of us then, too. Thanks for keeping up with us; God bless you all!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tired day!

I was awake most of last night. I must have dozed a bit, but mostly I was talking to God. I guess we needed a long talk. I had hot flashes out the wazoo that kept waking me. Plus my toes were really hurting. None of that should have kept me awake, but since I was awake I was very aware of it. I sent an email to the doctor in Houston today reporting those things and her nurse wrote back that the sleeplessness is likely because of the steroids they give me with the chemo. I’m glad to know that there is a reason for it. All my life I’ve slept like a brick, so this laying awake is not in my comfort zone. I finally got up at 5 and have been up all day. The printer quit working, so I’ve been going round and round with it most of the day.

The pictures on the blog are from tonight playing cards. We played cards with Jo Ann and Frank, Jack and Tillie and Joan and Floyd at Floyd’s house. Dorothy and David were at the high school football game and Diana and Bob are on their way to Sherman to spend the weekend with their kids as Bob is leaving Sunday for another month of work in Russia. We missed them all, but the girls beat the guys. That’s why Jo Ann is showing the red 3’s that we got to beat the guys. Frank is trying to cover them. They all said the missed Ruthie and Phil and Terri! Jo Ann and Frank’s grandson, Jacob, is in Iraq and he got a promotion this week! We were celebrating his promotion tonight.

It’s been cool here, so we’ve walked 3 times this week. Don walks everyday, but I can only walk when it’s cool. It’s been great to walk! God blesses us with great weather lots of times. It’ll get hot again next week, but this has been nice. My re-blooming irises are starting to re-bloom! I love it! Thank you, God for making our lives so rich. God bless Jacob and all the other troops who represent our country and work for our freedom. God bless us all!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chemo #9 went well; only 3 more of these!

Today started early, so I’m writing this and going to bed. It was a great day, though. We got up at 5:30 to get there early for our appointment. My blood tested almost perfect! I only had one low number and it was just a little low, so that was so good. The doctor examined me and he was very happy with how the Taxol has worked. He couldn’t feel the mass in my breast or the node at all! He was pleased that the medication for the peripheral neuropathy has also worked, so he was happy to write a prescription to increase it like I had done at the Houston doctor’s suggestion. With the neuropathy seeming under control we’re all committed to forging ahead at full speed. We only have 3 more of these Taxol treatments!

That was a big relief to us. We went on and did the treatment and it went very well. We got through quicker than ever and got home in the middle of the afternoon. I got to finish off packaging Don’s herbs and vitamins for the next 2 months, so that job is done until I do the next two months. We met David and Dorothy at the Mexican Restaurant to celebrate! That’s always fun; we love spending time with them.

Pictures on the blog today:

1) We thought you might want to see a picture of me getting a chemo treatment, so this one is me sleeping through the treatment. The IV is to my left and is hooked into my PICC line, which is under the blankets.
2) The second one is me waiting for them to hook up the IV. Notice the blankets; the multi-colored one is one a sweet lady who helped us take care of Boone made for me. The other one is one our sweet niece gave to me (and one also to Ruthie) when we were leaving on the road trip to a class reunion in Delaware last summer. She knew we might freeze in the car; little did she know how much I’d use and love that blanket! Thanks, again, Debbie!
3) The hat show continues.

God works in mysterious ways. He is so good to keep up with and provide for the birds and the flowers, so we know he keeps up and provides for us, too. “To Him is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever, Amen”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Upped the dose and doing better.

Today is the first day after upping the dosage of my neuropathy medication last night. I took the medication with supper. Then when I went to bed I had no pains in my ankles or legs or wrists. I still had the tingling and the hurting toes and fingers, but I was surprised to not feel the other pain. I hope it means that the medication increase surely could work that rapidly! Today I continue to have had no pains in my ankles and wrists. I hope it lasts through the night!

Tomorrow we go to Lawton for the 9th Taxol treatment. I hope the doctor in Lawton agrees with what we’ve done with the advice from the doctor in Houston. I don’t want to be caught between two doctors!

I spent today throwing herbs (and vitamins) for Don for the next 2 months. I cut mine off a couple of months ago because the doctor didn’t want to risk anything conflicting with the chemotherapy. It was easier to do it than fight with her and I didn’t want to fight the person I was looking to for answers. But, Don had run out of his, so it was time to throw them again. It was hard to do with fumbling fingers, but with a few spills I got a bunch done. I threw them for 60 days, but, now, I’ve got to package them. I hope I can finish that before I go to bed tonight.

It was cool again today, so I got to walk today, too. After the walk and breakfast I had my nap, so I’m good, today!

The pictures on the blog today:

1) Me on August 25th, modeling what was a new hat then, but I’ve worn it lots since. I decorated it with a bead necklace that Grace made for me.
2) Me on Sept 1st, enjoying feeding sweet Raynie.
3) Me last night modeling the sleep cap that keeps me warm instead of 4 little caps. This one is actually a winter hat, but it sure sleeps warm and I never could wear it in the winter because it wrecked my hair and left it a static mess, anyway. It’ll be my first gift to the next person I know who gets breast cancer. I’d like to think that would be nobody, but I know too many women to believe that nobody I know will ever get breast cancer.

Where do you put over 20 hats? I’ve got to figure that out before the housekeeper comes next week! The pile I’ve got going isn’t going to work. God is so good to give me 20+ hats, a house to need help keeping and even a housekeeper and a husband who is willing to pay her! He gives me all this to get me through these lessons. I give thanks! Besides those material things, He’s given me great supportive family and friends and doctors to do the work of helping me to beat this cancer. How great is our God!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Floorboard it!

Okay, I talked to Ruthie today and she’s had a pretty good day. She’ll see her MS doctor tomorrow and hopefully will learn more. She did get to go home last night and sleep in her own bed. That’s worth a lot.

My Houston doctor’s nurse called me back today and she is NOT in favor of cutting back on the Taxol dose at all. She wants me to increase the medication I’m taking for the neuropathy each week. In other words, she, like me, wants to floor board it with the attack on the cancer. Okay. I’m with her. I hope my doctor in Lawton agrees on Thursday.

I think the medication I’m taking for the neuropathy is what is making me so sleepy. Duh; drowsiness is one of it’s main side effects. I’d needed naps before, but this two-hour deal was new. I didn’t think about the medication because I’d napped before. Anyway, I don’t have any trains to catch so a 2-hour nap isn’t a sin.

I called a girl to come and help me with cleaning the house today. She will come a week from tomorrow and she’ll come every other week after that. That’ll be good. I’ve got a week to get ready for her to come, now. Ha! You know, I have to get the house all cleaned! No, I won’t do that. I will make a list of things I want her to do; tools I want her to use, etc. I hope we can work out a good relationship. Mostly I want to be able to ignore her and let her do it. If I’m not able to do that then it won’t help to have her do it. This is a big step for me.

Pictures on the blog today:

1) Me standing on one of my birthday presents over the years: a bridge I had to have. I’m wearing my Boise hat; it’s one of my favorites, like Boise is one of my favorite places. It’s one of our country’s best-kept secrets.
2) Gabe and Garrett this summer at our family reunion. They are the coolest dudes; such good buddies and cousins.
3) Gabe and Garrett with an arm each around Sadie as they take off in the rumbles seat of Uncle Phil’s roadster.

If I’m going to floorboard it anywhere I’ve got an army of great kids covering my back. They keep me motivated. Of course lots of grown up family and friends back me all the way, too. Better than all that I know that God is holding me in His hands. I trust Him and love all the support He sends. He’s got you covered, too! How cool is that! God bless!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Meet Dot and Frazier

Today has been another rest day. I think my body is demanding rest; must be the chemo taking its toll. I took a 2-hour nap this morning. I’m embarrassed to admit that I sleep that long, but it’s the truth and I’m no good at hiding facts. I’ve power plated and Jiggled today, hoping to help the neuropathy. I can’t tell that anything is helping, so I fully expect the doctor to cut back on my Taxol this week. I can only cooperate. My initial response is that I don’t want to cut back on the cancer attack, but I don’t want to let this neuropathy get ahead of me, either. I’ll do what they say.

It's my pleasure to introduce Dot and Frazier tonight. They are a precious couple who went to church with us when we lived in Tennessee. They are good friends with my sister Ruthie and her husband, Phil, and they keep up with us like family through this blog. Dot is so sweet to post from time to time. Her daughter was sweet to share pictures with us so that I could make this introduction. As her daughter said, Dot is exactly like the first picture; a ray of sunshine. She is like that EVERY time you see her. The next picture is exactly how Dot and Frazier look around the house. The last picture is their Christmas picture. What a precious couple they are; you can tell they are so delightful to know and love. Now, when you see a post from Dot and Frazier, you’ll have their smiling faces to go with their words of encouragement.

Dot, I know you’re reading this. Phil called and told me about Ruthie, so we know to include them in our prayers. To the rest of you; Ruthie fell and couldn’t get up (sometime in the past, when I can’t get straight); she’s very weak and can’t walk without help. Phil has her in Jackson at the ER running all kinds of tests as I write this. Ruthie has MS, so this could be an MS thing, but they are testing her for anything else it could be. Thanks for including her and Phil in your prayers!

I’m still feeling good. The neuropathy isn’t a horrible thing unless it gets to my wrists and ankles, which it has not. I have to learn to be careful and wear gloves, etc. I’m so lousy at being careful. God knows I need this lesson. I will cooperate with Him, too. I hired a lady to keep the weeds out of my garden today. That was a big step for me. I’m slow, but I’m getting there. Soon I will hire someone to help with the house cleaning. It’s on my to-do list. (Don will be so glad to be relieved!!!)

Thanks for keeping an eye on us and for keeping us in your prayers. God listens and is so great! I thank Him for you.