Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Had to Cry "Uncle!"

The other day when we took pix of the herons I got this one of the nests.  That one in the top nest is interesting.  When I zoomed in I realized that that heron has it's rump up and it's head down.  I wonder if an egg has hatched and she's actually feeding it?  What fun to watch these herons!

Last night I went to bed thinking I could finish this round of  Xeloda.  However, at 3:30 a.m. I woke up to use the bathroom and could barely get in there and back to bed.  Then the pain was so bad that I was awake for another couple of hours.  I had plenty of time to decide that today was a good day to stop this round and start the week of rest from it.  I took 2 Ibuprofen this morning and that helped me to make it through the day.  I will test in the morning and then be done for the week.  Once that Ibuprofen wore off the pain spiked, again.  My hands don't hurt as much as my feet do, but buttoning my clothes has become a real trick.  It was even tricky to put on make up this morning.  I need help to get a lid off a jar or to get the top off of one of those cans with a ring that pulls open the can.  I sure hope taking a week off will make me feel better enough to go back onto the Xeloda because it was obviously working on the cancer because the pain in my forehead and side are gone.  I thank God that the docs are working with me to discover what dosage is enough to keep ahead of the cancer but not so much that the side effects are intolerable.

This is how it goes in the life of someone with breast cancer metastasis.  I can do this!  God will help and all your support will help, too.  Love you all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Side Effects are TOUGH!

I got this pic of one of the herons the other day.  This is down in the water below the tree where the nests are.  I love watching these birds!

Now, about the side effects.  I'm having a really hard time with the hand and foot syndrome.  My feet are the worst and I can barely walk.  I CAN WALK, though.  I also have dermatitis from my waist up to my hairline.  I treat it with hydrocortisone and that subdues the itching a lot.  I'm treating my feet and hands with bag balm.  They are not cracked or blistered, but they are swollen and red.  The oncologist encouraged me to stop this round of chemo today, but I told her I'd like to finish this round if I can.  It's obviously working because I have no pain in my head or my side.  I only have tomorrows doses and then Thursday begins my week off.  She thinks the side effects will clear up as soon as I quit taking the chemo.  If I can walk tomorrow, I'll go ahead and finish out this round.  If it's too painful to handle, I'll stop taking it tomorrow and begin my off week.  I have to consult with the oncologist before I start another round.  She wants to be sure that my body has had enough of a rest in 7 days.  Whenever I start with another round, I will use a smaller dose; hopefully that will be enough to stop the cancer but not so strong that I can't handle it.  I thank God that I've been able to keep walking and that I have good docs to keep a close eye on me through this journey.  I can do this.  God is in charge and I have tons of support!

Another side effect that I'm having is dermatitis.  It's a rash on my body from the waist up to my hairline. Hydrocortisone helps to keep the itching under control.  The worst side effect is, by far, my poor feet.

The MRI that I had done on my head last Thursday showed that there is NO cancer in the brain.  However, the brain has several layers of membrane covering it and there is a lesion on one of those layers covering the brain.  It may or may not be cancer; they will watch it closely.  I'm to be alert to headaches on the left side of my head; I've never had any pain there.  Pain there will indicate that the lesion is causing pressure at least. We'll do radiation on it if it begins to hurt or moves closer to the brain.  Right now we're watching it closely for any change.

More good news is that my replacement smart phone came today.  I have to get it activated and remember how to use it!

Monday, April 28, 2014

I Didn't Notice!

I didn't notice last night that the flower arrangement behind me in this pic was cut from the pic.  I don't know why that happened, but I'm posting it, again, so you can see all three arrangements.  These are in the dining room and there is another big on on the bar between the dining room and the kitchen.  I am so enjoying these flowers!  After we got home from OKC today I went out and deadheaded all the irises.  I so thank God for this rich blessing!

Lee did really well with his teeth this morning.  They were done with him and we were headed home by 11 this morning, so we got home around 1.  I got a good nap, so that's a good thing.  He can't eat anything except jello and yogurt, so I've made him a bunch of jello and we had some yogurt.  Tomorrow we'll get some applesauce for him.  His eating is not much fun, but my chores in the kitchen are sure minor, too.

I've been itching like crazy and it's getting worse and worse.  It finally registered with me that this is another side effect of the Xeloda.  From the waist up I have this rash that really itches.  I've been putting hydrocortisone on it and that helps for a while.  The benedryl I take for allergies is probably keeping me from going itch crazy, too.  I thought I was getting by pretty easy with the side effects, but they are starting to pile up on me.  I'm so grateful that I'm not sick at my stomach and I still have hair.  If my hair falls out, I can deal with that; been there and done that and I know I can do it, again, if I must.  The side effects I have so far are the hand and foot syndrome (feet are the worst) and the dermatitis.  So far I'm able to function even with these side effects, so I give thanks and praise to God!

I figured out why the flowers over my left shoulder were cut from the pic.  I had checked to make the pic be X-large and in my rough draft it showed the whole pic, but in the final draft it was cropped.  It happened, again, on tonight's post, so I went with only a large pic.  I wanted you to see all the irises!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Big Winds, but no Rain or Hail.

I'm so glad that I cut all these irises yesterday because the wind has sure battered the ones in the yard.  We didn't get hail, though, so maybe they won't be totally shredded.

Dorothy  bought our lunch at the Subway today because she was worried about me standing on my feet to prepare a meal.  That's so sweet of her.  I really can do all I need to do, though.  My feet burn and hurt, but I can continue.  My hands are beginning to tingle and burn, but they don't hurt as bad as my feet do.  That may come, but for now I'm doing fine.  It's funny:  I used to love my crocs and any shoes that have little bumps that are supposed to stimulate the feet.  Those little bumps are treacherous to me, now!  I've gone through all my shoes and picked out the ones that have very smooth insole.  Times change!

Tomorrow Lee has to have 3 teeth pulled in OKC.  I'm going with him to drive him home.  I don't test, again, until Tuesday.  That day I work only until noon, then we go to Lawton for my treatment and for an appointment with the doctor.  It's a busy week for us, but I thank God that we can handle busy times.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This is Pretty Much Magical to Me!

The irises are really showing out today, and I'm so thrilled with them.  I have 3 huge arrangements in the dining room.  It smells and looks like a funeral parlor in there; I love it!  I'd much rather have the flowers now than when I'm gone!  The top two pix are beds in the front yard and the bottom two are beds in the back yard.  Those green things that look like weeds are weed to farmers, but I'm not a farmer.  They are larkspur and the hummingbirds and I love them.  They'll bloom after the irises are done.

I got all carried away today and planted okra and loofahs.  I think we will be here most of the summer, so I should be able to take care of them.  Oh, man, I love the okra, too.  The loofahs are just fun to watch grow. They'll grow up the trellis you see on the bottom picture.  I have another one of those on the other side of the back yard.  God is blessing me with rich flowers and the will to play with them.  Praise Him!

I wanted to post this early because the Thunder is playing Memphis tonight and I can't miss a minute of it. Besides I was all excited to show you the irises in bloom!  I'll take pix of the bouquets in the dining room and post that another day.  We also went to the park today and got great pics of the herons, too.  It's been a great. fun day for me.  Do my feet still burn?  YES, but they are no worse and my head and side aren't hurting at all; that makes me think the chemo is doing it's job.  I can learn to walk on hot coals if we can just beat this cancer!  Thank you, God!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Side Effects Begin.

One of the common side effects of this chemo I'm taking is called 'hand and foot syndrome.'  As much as I love to play hand and foot canasta, it's rather appropriate that I have this side effect.  So far I only have it on the soles of my feet.  My feet feel like I just ran through a bed of hot coals.  So far they are red and I feel like they are burning, but they may blister and peel.  I hope this is as bad as it gets, but I'm sure I'm not the only who has to learn to cope with this, and it sure beats nausea and vomiting, so I'm determined I can cope.  I don't have it on my hands, yet, so that's a blessing, too!  I see the doctor Tuesday and they may have a suggestion for me besides what I'm doing.  I'm putting bag balm on my feet and hands twice a day to help to keep them moist.  Anyway, that's the honest truth and I can deal with it.

This is a pic that Lee took of me with the irises I cut for the dining room table.  Notice my 'group hug' candle holder beside the flowers.  It's my year round center piece because it reminds me of all the people who care about me and hold my hand or give me hugs when tough times hit, as well as when things are going great. You all mean so much to me and I thank God for you, the flowers and Lee.  I am richly blessed!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Front Planter Boxes

We bought sweet potato vines to plant in these planter boxes, but it's a little too early to plant them.  I'm nurturing them in the 'Florida room' until May 1.  Then I'll plant them and post a pic once they fill the boxes. These planter boxes get almost no water; even when it rains, they are under the roof, but I've buried plastic bottles with holes in them to help me keep them moist.  Last  year they did really well with sweet potato vines.  These plants that are in there, now are 'live forever.'  They are very hardy and will have pretty blooms on them in the fall after the sweet potato vines die.  I'm having fun with these boxes and plants.  There were more irises than I could count blooming today.  I brought in another bunch for a big arrangement on the dining room table.  I just love it when the irises bloom!  I thank God for the pleasure I get from these flowers!

We had an MRI done on my head today.  I won't have the results until I see the oncologist on next Tuesday. They want to keep a close eye on my head since they know the cancer is in my skull; we want to keep it from going to the brain if at all possible.  I trust God to see to it that if it goes to the brain it will go to a part that I'm not using.  God is good and He holds us in his arms; I count on that!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Not Magical, Yet, but I've Brought Them Inside!

The kids finished their tests quickly today, so I was home before noon!  Lee had gone to OKC to consult with the dentist who will pull 3 of his teeth next week, so I went outside and pulled all the rest of the weeds in the flower beds.  Then I cut these three irises and brought them inside to enjoy.  I'm sure there will be more open tomorrow if the storms tonight don't shred them.  I love how they make the house smell so good, and of course I love their beauty, too.

In the top pic I've got on pajamas that my good forever friend brought me from Japan several years ago. Judy, I love these jammies, still!  I took the bottom pic so you can see how tall the irises are and how many there are.  Our yard stops with that flower bed on the left and there is a big clump in the front of the bed and another big clump in the back of it.  Last year I divided some that were too thick and planted a bunch more in the middle.  In time there will be irises in that whole bed.  In the very front of the house the iris bed is under the window on the right.  Under the left window is artemisia, echinacea and daisies.  I love it when they all bloom; I use the artemisia as filler and the echinacea and daisies for accents.  God sure blesses me with these flowers!

I came inside and cleaned up and got ready for church, then I laid down and took my nap.  That way all I had to do was get up when the alarm sounded and go get Dorothy.  Lee met us there.  I feel good about today because I got a lot done and I loved doing it!  God is so good to give the the flowers and the ability to keep them going.

I've had a full week of this chemo and am suffering no side effects.  Praise God.  I sure hope that it's working on the cancer!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Remember These Flowers?

This is a pic I got on April 1.  Today is April 22 and my first 2 irises bloomed!  By tomorrow there will be quite a few in bloom I think.  I can hardly wait to cut some and bring them inside. I should have taken pix of all the stalks that are ready to bloom.  I'll get some good pix tomorrow.  I don't think they'll all open tomorrow, but it will be magical out there, I'm sure.  I am so excited.  Even Lee can't believe how many stalks are out there ready to bloom!  I thank God for a bumper crop year.  The last few years have been kind of bleak because of the draughts and hail storms.  I sure hope that hail doesn't shred them this year!

Today I got a good nap, so I'm not having any trouble holding up my head.  I feel really good.  The chemo pills are not having any side effects that I can notice; I realize some side effects don't happen immediately, but they start to have an effect after they build up in the body.  I'm drinking tons of water in an effort to keep them flushed through my body.  I sure pray that they are doing their job on the cancer cells!

I am so grateful to not be nauseous!  I really think if that were going to happen it would have, already.  This was my 6th full day of chemo and I go 14 days before I take a week off from it.  I go this Thursday to Lawton to have an MRI of the brain done and I will also meet the doctor who will see me in Lawton when my doctor is out of the office.  (He travels some and won't always be there when I need to see someone, so it's good to get acquainted with the doctor who I will see when he's gone.)  She will check me to be sure I'm tolerating this chemo okay.  I will keep you all posted on how I feel and what the doctors report as I see them.

Thank you all for caring enough to read this blog and keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  I love you all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Barely Holding up my Head for this Game.

Today we didn't have school, so I didn't work.  That means I attempted to squeeze in way too much and missed my nap.  I'm like the walking dead; barely holding my head up to finish this blog, write my journal and see the Thunder through this play off game with Memphis.  At the halftime I'm going to take a bath and wash my hair.  Then when this game is over I'll fall into bed.

I am so blessed; I am not feeling any side effects from this chemo and I so thank God for that.  The last drug I took made me sick and I feel fine, so I'm so grateful!  I just pray that it's working well against the cancer.

My 'smart phone' turned out to not be so smart.  It wouldn't turn on without me plugging in the charger or taking the battery out and replacing it.  I can see me being held up by someone and I call a timeout to plug in my phone or take the battery out and replace it.  Sure.  So, the company is sending me a new phone. However, they sent me the envelope and label to return it to them and THEN they will send me a new one. That means I'll be without a phone for about a week.  UGH.  Then I'll  have to reload everything, so I'll be a while getting my phone in order.  Maybe it's a smart phone, and it makes me feel like it's smarter than me, but at least I'm still kicking and it's headed back to it's maker.

We had to take the phone to Altus (about 35 miles) to send it by Fed Ex.  While we were in Altus we had lunch, shopped at Wal-Mart and the Dollar Tree.  I had gone to ladies' Bible class this morning because Sonia, our neighbor and the preacher's daughter was giving a special speech.  I really was so glad to hear it.  She competed in the speech contest at Leadership Training for Christ this weekend in Dallas an won at the gold level; she was giving that winning speech to us, so I was determined to go.  I am so proud of her.  By the time we could leave after Bible class and did all that running around in Altus, I'd missed my nap.  I know better, but sometimes it just can't be helped.

God bless; don't forget to count your blessings and praise God!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Able to Revive the Desktop!

Dorothy came home from church with us today and shared Easter chicken pot pie with us.  I took her home and came home to Lee 'test driving' his recliner.  He was sound asleep, so I wasn't about to wake him up to get in the pic.  So, this is all you get; just me, again.

I am still having no side effects from the chemo pills and I think they may be working on my liver because I haven't had pain in my side for the last 24 hours.  I thank God!  Of course I may be jumping to conclusions, but I feel better than I have for the last 3 or 4 months, so, I'm thinking this chemo is as least easier on me than the last pill they had me on.

There is no school tomorrow, so I get another day off.  That's fun!  Then I work the rest of the week monitoring testing.  That means I only work from 8-noon unless they need me to stay and finish the day for someone who gets sick or who has to go home with a sick child.  Thursday afternoon I go to Lawton for an MRI of the head; they want to keep a close eye there since they know I have mets (metastasis) in the bone (skull) of my head.  I'm glad for them to keep a close eye on that.

Oh, I managed to revive the desktop last night, but it crashed, again, today.  I've revived it, again, but I think it's probably on it's last leg.  I'll be gentle with it and hope it lasts a while longer.  I'm not much of a computer guru . . . I just fumbled into reviving it, but I'm grateful that I could!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Desktop Appears to be Dead.

Look at these yummy snacks!  The same Red Monkey Santa, who sent us disco shower nozzles and hair bands for the granddaughters sent this package of snacks!  We're saving them to have a celebration when Bob Clark finishes his little house.  They are living in a huge house, but they want to totally remodel it and don't want to be living in it while they do it.  So, they bought a little house on the street behind them and they've been remodeling it.  As soon as they finish the little house, they'll move into it and go to work on the big house.  The little house is SO cute!  Bob does great work, so they will both be very nice.

While I started to write the blog a few minutes ago on my desktop, crashed.  I attempted to restart it and it's not even interested.  I won't replace it.  I'll just use my laptop.  I enjoy using it, but not enough to pay for another one!  Some day when I feel like it I may fool around with it and see if I can revive it, but I'm not going to get a stressed with it.

I'm still feeling very well.  I haven't had a bit of nausea or any other side effects.  Praise God!  I pray that this chemo is working against the cancer.  It seems like I can tolerate it, so it will be so wonderful if it does the job!

Have a great Easter weekend!  God bless!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day Two is Good Friday in Every Way

I got this pic as I was about to lay down for a huge nap.  My blanket was waiting for me on the bed.  I was reaching in my pocket for my bapa (lip gloss; it's a long story that I'll explain sometime.)

I got some paperwork done this morning and then a long nap this afternoon.  Lee and I went over to inspect Bob Clark's work on his house and visited for quite a while.  I hate to slow down his progress, but it's so fun to visit.  I'm so grateful that I feel good, so far.  I realize that once the chemo has a chance to collect in my body it may take a toll on me.  I'm drinking tons of water to keep it flushed through my system, so maybe too much won't collect.  I thank God for two good days, so far, not to mention 65 plus years of a wonderful life.

I'm headed off to bath and bed.  I hope I won't be so draggy all the time, but if this is what it takes to deal with the cancer, then I'm willing to drag into bed; it's not a terrible swap.  Being sick would be nasty, and so far I'm not having any trouble with that.  I have pills to take for nausea, but haven't had to take any, yet. PTL!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

So Far, So Good!

Today I had two full doses of the new chemo pill.  So far I'm not having any side effects, so that's a good sign.  I know that once there is a bunch of it built up in my body side effects may happen, but they MIGHT NOT and that's what I'm hoping will happen.  Won't it be wonderful if my body can tolerate this drug and it works to keep the cancer from growing!  God can make that happen, so I pray that it's His will.  I thank God for the opportunity to take this drug!

It dawned on me today that I should get a picture of my redbud tree, so here's the pic I got.  The redbud is the Oklahoma state tree, so we have lots of them and they are so beautiful!  Lee says it looks like I'm dancing in the driveway!  Ha!  I do well to stand; dancing is just not in my repertoire.  I have another beautiful redbud in the back yard and I got a pic of it today, too.  I'll post it another time.  In the very right side of this pic is a clump of my irises.  They'll be blooming soon and I can hardly wait.  I love the irises!

Lee and I watched Forrest Gump tonight.  I always loved that movie and enjoyed it even more tonight.  I'm happy for quiet times we can enjoy a good movie!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chemo Pills are Here!

I got this pic a bit ago when we got home from church; still in my school clothes.  Tomorrow I'll help with testing and then come home at noon unless someone has to leave sick and they ask me to stay.  I'll be happy to stay if they ask me, but if I come home I'll surely be able to get a nap.  Love those naps!  I also love the kids, so either way is good.

My chemo pills came today and they aren't as big as some I've taken, so I think they won't be a problem. I just hope I can tolerate them well and they do the job.  I didn't take any today because I couldn't get in a full day's dose.  I'm supposed to take 3 in the morning after breakfast and 3, again at night after supper.  I don't want to just have half a day because I am on them for 14 days and then off for 7 days.  I think it will be much easier for me to keep track if I start with a full day.  So, tomorrow I'll start the chemo and get this show on the road!  Woo hoo!

It's warming up again, so I thank God for that!  I do so much better with warm than I do cold.  I think my irises survived the late freeze we had Monday night and I thank God for that, too.  I'm so ready to cut some irises and bring them inside!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Today was a Really Good Day!

I only monitored testing this morning, so I had the afternoon off.  We went to Wal-Mart and got my anti nausea pills and they were only $.48!!!  They worked for me when I was taking chemo in 2007, so I hope they'll work this time, too.  I just love that price, though!  I sure thank God for giving me that financial break on top of the one yesterday where I learned that my copay for the Xeloda is ZERO!  This is so wonderful. It has been very expensive to keep up with this cancer 'habit' over the last 8 years, so I'm sure ready for some breaks!

While at Wal-Mart I got the lotion they recommend for my hands and feet.  There was another thing they recommended, but Wal-Mart didn't have it.  I looked it up on the Internet and found that the local Farm and Garden store carries it!  So, I went there and got that.  It's Bag Balm and dairy farmers use it on the cows' udders to keep them in good shape.  I'm a little dismayed, but if it works, I'm happy to use it!

Tomorrow I sub all day for the algebra teacher.  That means I'll write the assignments on the board and then be sure they don't start any fires or hurt anyone, because I sure won't be teaching any algebra.  I'm amazed at how well the kids do with it, though.  There is usually someone in every class who can help the others if they get stuck.  I thank God for those kids, too!

Tomorrow my chemo pills should arrive, so I'll take my first treatment tomorrow night after supper.  I'm hoping I can be one of the people who handle this really well.  I'll report to you as the time passes and I notice (or don't ) any problems.  Again, I'm hoping for no problems!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Great News Day!

This is another shot I got yesterday; I'm using it because it has such a big smile.  Today I was smiling really big because, I felt good, and I talked to the specialty pharmacy and they'll ship my chemo pill to arrive on Wednesday.  The other good news is that my insurance is covering the whole cost of it (over $5000 per month); my co-pay is $0!  That is such good news for me.  I am so strapped with medical bills for the last several years before Medicare hit, so this is really a relief to me!

The kids were all reliving the prom from Saturday night today.  They were all in a good mood even though we've been hit by a big cold front.  I guess Got thought we needed a little more taste of winter.  I have some stalks up on my irises; I sure hope they don't get nipped by a hard freeze tonight!

The Thunder is playing a game and I'm watching it and then going to bed.  I'm scheduled to monitor testing tomorrow.  Unless someone has to leave sick at noon, I'll get to come home at noon.  Either is good for me. I love subbing, but coming home early is a good thing, too! God provides and I trust Him and praise Him.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Truth isn't Always Pretty.

I did get a new pic this morning.  I was waiting for Lee so we could get one together, but he came out wearing a short sleeve shirt.  I said, "Are you not afraid you'll freeze at church?"  He forgot that they keep it so cool in there, so he went back to change for a long sleeve shirt and missed the photo op!  He is always by my side and such a great support.  I thank God for him in my life.

This site is all about truth and how it really is.  She lives, but she's living WITH cancer these days.  The good thing is that I haven't taken any medicine for a week, so I haven't been sick at my stomach!  The pain in my forehead is really better today for some unknown reason; maybe it's God's goodness!  I woke up several times in the night with my side hurting like it never has.  I finally got up at 6 and went online to see where my liver is; yep, right where it was hurting.  Oops.  This is very interesting.  This time last week I was thinking that the headache might be the thing that breaks me; now my head is better and my side is hurting.  I've taken Ibuprofen today and it helps, so that could be why my head is not so bad.  I hate to walk around holding my side, but it's what I feel like doing.  Sometimes I move and gasp with the shock of the pain.  This is totally new to me, but I'll get a handle on it.  Now, don't you all be worrying about me.  I'm just telling you how this really is.  I promise there are worse things.  I mostly feel good; just some pains here and there that I've not ever had and I need to adjust to them.  I report them so that if you or someone you know is ever here, you will have had this experience with me to help you to brace.  I think I will get a handle on this and soon be back to only reporting good stuff.

Look at this quote from Joel Osteen that I just saw on FB: "God’s plan for our life is not just to make us comfortable, it’s to mature us. You may not like where you are, but you wouldn’t be there if God didn’t have a purpose for it."  Now, was that perfect for me today, or what???  I love Joel and God!

I'm scheduled to sub two days this week and monitor testing the other two.  Friday we are scheduled for no school, but I'm thinking we may make up a snow day.  I think once I'm at school, I'll be distracted enough that these pains won't bother me so much.  Prom was last night, so I'm anxious to see the kids and tell them how awesome they looked.  Man, they sure clean up good!  I thank God for the kids in my life, too; they are wonderful for me!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

No New Pix, Yet.

Some things don't change in three years!  This is me holding Ava and she's 3 now.  She's a very bouncy 3 year old and smiles even bigger than in this pic!  She won't sit in my lap for a pic, now, though!  I'm sure glad I got this one 3 years ago.  She has bouncing ringlets, now, and I have my hair all cut short, but I still wear those ear rings!  Precious memories and I thank God for them!

Today we did the church garage sale give away this morning.  That was amazing and fun. Then we went by the Antique Car show at the park; Lee liked that, but on my list of things I'd like to do it's way on the bottom.  I'm just not any good at lollygagging.  I like to have a destination and then GO there, or else sit. Lee enjoys lollygagging . . . so we have some adjustments to make.  :)  Then we came home and I took my nap on the back deck so I could get some sun.  It was wonderful to be outside in the sunshine and the wind kept me plenty cool.  It nearly blew me off the deck!  He sat in his recliner and checked it for flaws.  :)

We were going to the promenade tonight, but it's just too windy.  I can't face that wind anymore.  The promenade is where all the kids who are going to the prom walk across the gazebo on the square and are announced.  I love to see the kids all glamoured up, but I'm settling for the pix they put on Facebook and opting out of the beating the wind gives!

(Hi, Gayle!  We saw Joe today at the car show and he says you read the blog every day.  Bless your heart for caring and keeping up with us!  Love you!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Really a Better Pic, but Blurry . . . Maybe that's So Perfect!

I went through the pix I got the other night and this one doesn't look so tired, but it's blurry.  That might be very appropriate.  I got a wee nap of about 20 minutes today, so I'm not so tired, but kind of blurry!  I'm sleepy and only staying up to see the Thunder/Pelicans game.  I'm hoping they'll get way ahead and let me go to bed and let them finish it on there own.  I might just let them do it on their own, anyway.  I had such a good night's sleep last night and I'm so ready to do it, again!  I'll do my best to get some new pix this weekend.

I had a great day subbing today.  It wasn't as easy as yesterday because I was subbing for one teacher, but they brought kids in from two other classes, too.  Of course nobody was in any humor to work.  It was fun, but calling roll was mountainous job!  We had kids out for everything from baseball to academic meets.  I am so grateful for these kids in my life.  I hope I can finish out this year of subbing; I really refuse to let this chemo rob the kids from me.  I had one basketball player come up to me today and ask me if I was related to one of the other basketball players.  I told him, "No, I'm not any more related to him than I am to you; I just love to watch you all play!"  He said, "I just noticed that you were at nearly all of our games and I thought maybe you were related to him."  I took that as a complement.  I hope they know I love them all as much as if we were related; we are bonded by basketball at least.  It's been such a joy to watch our guys and our girls play, from junior high and junior varsity to high school.  No lie, they are awesome kids!

Of course I thought the ones who were in the play last week were awesome, too.  I just love catching these kids in there element!  They bless me!  I thank God for the opportunity to know all these kids.  It's meant so much to me to be able to sub and get to know and love so many kids!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ho Hum.

She's one tired little old lady.  I couldn't make this pic be any better.  I took it last night, but I still feel that tired today.  It's just tired.  I really feel okay; just tired.  Yesterday Lee and I worked out in the yard all day and I took this pic before church while he was cleaning up.  He did a WONDERFUL job of trimming our crepe myrtles!  Doris had told me several years ago that they called that crepe murder where she lives, so I quit trimming mine.  They were all scrappy looking, though!  Then we were at their house and they'd trimmed theirs!  (Doris wasn't so proud of it, though.)  That was good enough for me, mine got a good murdering. Lee is afraid he killed them, but I assured him they will bloom and be so happy.  They look a ton better, already.  Anyway, he did all the hard part and I stacked up all the branches in the alley and pulled weeds as he worked.  It was a great day of working outside, but it whipped this little lady.

Today Lee had to get up at 5 to get to OKC for an early appointment with his dentist.  I was scheduled to sub, and then had the appointment with the oncologist in Lawton this afternoon.  My day was the easiest sub day I've ever had.  The kids were excused to go to the baseball games if they wanted to, and the ones that didn't want to wanted to work, so I had no problems!  My last class, they ALL went to the game, so I got to come home an hour early and get a nap before Lee got home to take me to Lawton.

When we got home, he sat down in his chair and said, "It feels so good to be sitting in something that's not moving!  Bless his heart!

I learned from the oncologist that my drugs have to come from a specialty pharmacy since they are heavy duty chemo.  I will receive them sometime in the next few days.  I will take 3 in the morning and 3 at night, with meals for 14 days.  Then I take 7 days of and start the whole thing, again.  I have to see the oncologist on the first day of starting the cycle over, again, to make sure I'm still strong enough to take it.  Lee says I'm tough as an old boot, so we expect I'll do fine on this chemo.  If not, then there are still other things to do. I thank God for my strength and for the options that we have.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Love This Pic of Precious Memories!

Lee says this is the fuzzy faced man, the princess and her two little court jesters.  They are sure wonderful guys!  Their mom got this pic for us and I'm so proud to have it!

Lee has to leave in the morning at 6:30 to get to OKC at 9 to make impressions for his new partial plate.  I sub tomorrow and have permission to leave school at 2:15 so I can make it to Lawton with my appointment with the oncologist there.  Lee will come back and pick me up at school and we'll go straight to Lawton and pick up my car on the way home.  It'll be a fast and furious day.  There is a Thunder/Clippers game tonight at 9, but we're going to bed at 9 to be ready for tomorrow.  We'll just have to miss this game.  Friday I sub again.  I'm subbing in Senior English and Speech; I'll love this.  Seniors are great because they have goals and they're going somewhere.  I thank God for the opportunity to do this.

I'm glad we can see the oncologist soon and get started on my plan C treatments.  God is good and will provide for however He wants His plan to work.  I'm glad to be a part.  Trish posted a post on Facebook today that said, "Your body is the piece of the universe you've been given."  I love that and thank God for my piece and ask Him to help me work it to His glory!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Plan C.

I really ought to get everyone to stand in a group and get a good pic of everyone, but I settle for some here and there.  This is Heather with Luke and Logan and Jerry in the background.  Last night was a fun night of visiting; I'm so glad the kids could come and spend some time with us!

Now, here's what I know about plan C.  I will be taking Xeloda, which is a pill form of chemotherapy.  I read about it on the Internet and it sounds pretty hairy.  Death by breast cancer is pretty hairy for sure, so I'm willing to go with the Xeloda to see if it can help us to stop this cancer.  It has some side effects that need to be closely watched by an oncologist, so the oncologist at MD Anderson is turning me over to my oncologist, here in Lawton.  This is good because I only have to go an hour for check ups.  I will still be checking in at MD Anderson from time to time, but for this particular treatment I will be primarily in Lawton.  If this treatment doesn't work, there are still more things to do after this.  I'm grateful that we are not at the end of the road.  I am grateful that I have good doctors here, in Houston and in Branson.  It's good to be able to still travel.  I just hope I feel like traveling!  Right now I'm about traveled to a nub.  We got up at 6:30 this morning to drive into Houston and we've been driving ever since, it seems.  Lee and I are both really tired.

We came home to find a Thunder game on, but I'm going to have to leave this one to them to do on their own.  I'll be really proud if they win, but I've got to get a bath and get to bed.

We decided to come on home today because I was able to make an appointment with the oncologist in Lawton on Thursday.  We thought it would be good to have a day of rest between getting home and going to Lawton.  Plus, Jerry woke up sick this morning, so we thought we should get out from under their feet, plus get out of there before we caught whatever bug he had.  I sure hope his was just a 24 hour bug that nobody else caught when we were all visiting Tuesday night!  It's wonderful to feel at home when we're away from home, but it's always so sweet to come home.  I thank God for home and the concept of families!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Plan C Coming up Tomorrow.

This is a pic I got tonight of my awesome great nephew stacking cups; is he ever good at this!!!  In the background are his little brother, his Daddy, Jerry, Doris and Lee.  He put on quite a show for us. Luke is a first grader, about to turn 7.  He's also a great athlete.  He has hit 3 or 4 home runs already this year!  I am so amazed at him!

That was the best part of the day.  I was stuck and prodded all day at MD Anderson and one of the girls let me see the results of my blood work.  It was all good except the cancer marker and it was way high for what it has been and should be.  It was 198.  Back in January it was in the 80's.  The lowest it's ever been is 52.  The highest it's ever been was 287 this time last year.  So, I'm sure when we see the doc tomorrow we will be looking at another treatment plan.  I don't think this is a big hairy deal, because I am still doing really well, but we want to get this number to go down.  This is just like a detour in our journey.  I thank God that I have a good place to turn for help in getting this under control.  I thank Him for awesome family to stay with and to encourage me.  Tomorrow, Doris will go with us to see the doc.  We're planning to come home on Wednesday unless something the doc recommends hinders that.

I didn't get a nap today.  Then both sets of Doris and Jerry's grandkids came over to visit this afternoon. It's been a wonderful day, but I'm so ready for bed.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Long, Old Street.

This is a pic I got last night before Lee and I left for the Play.  The play was awesome because I knew all the kids.  I was so impressed at how talented they are in ways that I never saw in the classroom. That was one thing that impressed me. The other thing that impressed me is how well I fit into that play!  It was staged in the '50's and was about how offensive rock and roll was to the older generation but how much the kids loved it.  I found that many of the things that were common to them, are STILL common to me.  It sure dated me!  Like they used the terms square and holy cow and the duck tail hair style was in.  I wear my hair in a duck tail to this day and use both those terms regularly!  Anyway, it was a fun night and, as always I'm so proud of our kids!

Today our trip was uneventful.  We had very little sunshine, so didn't have to squint.  It rained in spurts and sometimes downpours, but we were happy to see rain.  Dorothy said we got a few little showers at home.  I guess we get what God thinks we need.  I thank Him for the rain and for a safe trip.  How wonderful it is to be able to come to Doris and Jerry's home when we make this trip!  Family is awesome!

The Shnell family used to gather every year in Hobart at the house that is now ours.  One time one of my great nephews came in and said, "Boy, it's a long, old street to here."  He came from somewhere in the state, but at about 6 that was a long, old street to him.  I bet Jeremy doesn't suspect that we've used his quote many, many times since that year!  Love you, Jeremy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Family is a Team; Herons AND People!

Here is the pic I got of two of the herons who were guarding the nest right below the tree where the nests are.  There were 3 on that stump when we got there, but one flew before I could get the shot.  I think it's cool how God gave these birds the will to help each other.  I sure thank God for these herons in my life and neighborhood.  I thank Him for family and friends who are on my team with me, too.

Tonight we went to see a play in town where many of the kids who were in it have also been in my classes over the last years that I've subbed.  It was a good play and the kids did an awesome job!  I thank God for these kids in my life, too!  I love it when I can catch the kids doing a fantastic job and brag on them a bunch!

We leave in the morning for Houston, so I'm packing up the computer tonight.  I have tests all day Monday, but I won't know anything until I talk to the doctor on Tuesday.  I'll post a report as soon as I can get to a computer to do it.  Maybe I'll figure out how to do it from my phone, but don't anyone hold your breath.  I'm still really clumsy with the phone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Babies on the Way!!!

Lee and I walked to the park today and were rewarded!  This is the tree where the herons hatched last year; the nest at the top is last year's next.  There is a new nest and a mother sitting on eggs in it!  Woo hoo! Below this tree there were three herons sitting on a stump, seeming to guard the nest!  There was another one flying around that end of the lake, so we saw a total of five herons.  I couldn't even count how many turtles we saw sunning.  There were turtles galore.  I hope heron eat turtles because if they do there is plenty of food for them!

I cleaned out my front flower bed today and it wasn't in bad shape at all.  Now, I just have the back flower bed to do.  I think it won't be so bad, either.  I love getting outside in the sunshine!  I thank God for the awesome entertainment with the animals and flowers!  I thank Him for the healing vitamin D3, too!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fun Times Last as Long as We Can Remember Them!

This is a pic I took of the kids watching TV when we were in Branson.  Notice the snow outside and it was spring break!   That's Sadie and her boyfriend, Ryan watching something on her computer.  Mason is on the couch with them.  Raynie is the one with the balloon and Gracie is in blue right in the front, middle. We had a wild and wonderful time!  We even enjoyed the snow.  These kids are happy to be no matter what happens. We played lots of cards and Gracie and Mason both beat me, anymore.  They're good card players and I love playing with them!  I need to take some current pix, but I'm glad I've got good ones to pull from the Branson trip.

Today I subbed at the middle school for one of the coaches.  It was a great day.  The weather was awesome, but we got a dust storm tonight.  It was way windy and dusty out there, but it seems to be calm out there, now.

We're watching the Thunder play the Spurs.  I'll be ready for bed as soon as the game is over.  I don't have a plan to sub tomorrow, but they may call me so I'll need to be ready if they do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Wonderful Spring Day.

This is a pic that Lee took when we had a spring sort of day in Branson.  They were few and far between, but we took advantage when they happened.  This day we walked at the State Park, and it was wonderful.

I was reminded of this day today because it was so awesome here!  I pulled weeds in the whole side flower bed today.  Sometimes that bed really gets away from me, but because it's been so cold, it really wasn't bad. It only filled one huge bag.  I've got the front flower bed to go and the back one.  This is the main iris bed, though, so it's ready for spring irises and I can hardly wait for them!

Then after lunch I took my nap on the back deck and got some sun on the front of me.  (I got sun on my back when I was bent over pulling weeds this morning.)  I'm so glad to get some sun.  I know that Vitamin D3 is a powerful cancer fighter, plus I LOOK so much healthier when I'm not so pale!

The day started ugly though.  I just had my makeup on and my hair combed when I suddenly started tasting salt water in my mouth.  I thought I'd go lay down and see if that would help, but didn't make it past the stool and heaved for a while.  Man, that's a wicked start to the day!  I did fine all day after that, though.  I really don't get it.  The doc in Lawton wrote a script for me for pills to help with the nausea, but it comes on so suddenly that I don't think they'll work at all.  I'm supposed to take them when I feel nausea.  If  I had a pill in my pocket and took it immediately, I think I'd just throw it up.  I went back over my journal the other night and tallied up all the times I've been sick.  In 6 weeks I've only lost it 10 times.  That's nearly twice a week and not really so bad.  It just seems bad because I think, what if that happens when I'm at school or in church or out in public somewhere else?  I guess it won't be the end of the world; babies spit up all the time. When I was bald from chemo Tricia's kids said I looked like a baby grammy, so I guess now I'm acting like a baby grammy.  Sorry if that's TMI, again!  Thanks for your love and prayers!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

God's Message . . .

This pic I took tonight because these flowers are fading and may not last many more days.  They have been such a joy to me!  Some years when we get home from spring break the jonquils and hyacinths have already bloomed and I've missed them, but this year, I've had such a good time bringing them inside.  These are the last of the hyacinths; I may be able to get a few more jonquils, but I love the contrast of the blue and yellow, so I'm happy for a digital camera to catch plenty of pix .

Every day I get an email called 'God's Daily Message.'  Today's message was really good, so I can't resist sharing it on this post.  I hope it touches you as it did me:

"Today, God’s message for you is to recognize that you are what the world needs most, give freely of yourself. You were created with a purpose, which only you may fulfill. Our lord may work in mysterious ways, but rest assured you are on a very sacred path, traveling in just the right direction for this moment. Each day will urge you toward this higher good." 

I'm sure that everyone can think of times in their lives that things could have gone differently, but God took over and got us to where we are today.  I was not a planned child and I know I was difficult because I threw up every time we made any motion (like rode in a car or on a bus, ship or plane).  Most moms carry their wallet and other odds and ends in their purse; my mom carried a plastic bag for me to use when I threw up.  The only question about it was when I would do it; not whether I would do it.  I'm surprised she didn't pinch my head off and tell God I'd died, but I never felt anything but love from my family.  Through life there have been other times that my life was really in danger.  I've had this cancer for the last 8 years, but Don died and I lived.  I'm convinced that God has a purpose in all our lives and I totally trust Him.  I'm happy as long as I'm fulfilling a purpose for God and I thank Him for the opportunity.

My treatment was non-eventful today.  We leave Sunday for Houston and I'll have tests at MD Anderson on Monday and see the doctor for the results of all those tests on Tuesday.  I'm grateful that I can go to MD Anderson, as well as have wonderful doctors both here and in Branson.  We always stay with Don's sister and her husband and usually get to see their boys and their families, too.  (That makes the trip way wonderful even though it's for tests, etc.)  I saw my doctor in Lawton today and he did a very thorough exam.  He was very positive about treatment options if we find that the one I'm on now is  not working.  We have no indication that this treatment is not working, though.  I seem to be doing very well.  Thanks so much to you for your love and prayers as we all 'travel on our sacred paths!'