Friday, June 27, 2014

Time Out For a Few Days.

I am headed to OKC to the ER for the 3rd time since June 19.  I have fired my oncologist in Lawton.  I am not battling cancer so much as I am battling the oncologist who tells me today that he's done all he can for me and I need to call MDA.  So, we're working to get me back onto my feet.  There won't be much news for a few days I think.  I just need to not have this blog hanging over my back.  I need freedom and time. If there is news that needs to be known Trish can post to the blog for me.  Y'all take a break from it, too.  I'll be back.  God is in control and I totally trust Him!  Love you all.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cousins Are First Friends!

And they are friends forever!  This is Gretta and Deanna, first cousins and forever friends.

Today has been better, but I'm still very tired.  Lee's daughter arrived around noon and it's WONDERFUL to have her here!  I wanted to get the blog done and a little rest before dinner.  

I'm not in the hospital today, so it's a good day!  I'm keeping this short to save energy.  I'll get pix of Lisa with us for tomorrow's blog.  As always, I thank God for family and friends!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hairy Day; ER, Again.

Okay.  Today I called the oncologist and waited all day to hear from him as he was out of town.  Finally at 3:30 his office called to tell us to come in and be there in an hour.  I could barely move.  I knew it would take me 20 minutes to get ready to go.  Lee and I grabbed what we thought we'd need if they kept me over night. and literally flew to Lawton.  He turned on the flashers and drove 90- 95 to get us there.  We made it by 4:38.  As soon as the doc saw me he rushed me right over to the ER.  My heart was racing for some reason.  THAT was the reason I couldn't breath and was so weak.  He said it was like I'd been running sprints all day.

Trish (pictured above LAST August) was in Lawton in the last of a graduate class she's been taking.  She made her presentation first and then was excused from class so she could come be with us in the doc's office and the ER.  As Lee says, "She's sharp; she knows enough to ask good question and process the answers. At 9:30 we all got to leave.  We stopped by Walgreen's to get 2 scripts filled.  We're home, now and I'm breathing and getting around much better.  Tomorrow we'll address the swelling in my abdomen.  Sheesh; what a day.  God certainly took good care of us all, though.  I had no idea my heart was racing; I was too out of it to realize my heart was racing.  Nobody knows why that happens, but, they got it stopped and got my blood pressure up (it was 88/50) so I could come home and get a good night's sleep.  Ah.  I'm so ready for that.

I've done so much thinking and praying.  I thank God for the avenue of prayer.  I thank Him for wonderful friends who went out and spent the evening in prayer and love with Dorothy, who was worried sick about me.  I thank Him for all of you who care.  I'm really doing okay.  This morning I could not have written this blog.  I was too tired!  I did a few posts this morning on FB, but nothing of any length.

Trish kept Gretta up to date all day.  Gretta is on day 2 with no hair.  She's hanging tough and doing great. Tomorrow I hope I can eat.  Today, it was like putting one more thing into my purse; no way it's too full! Same way with my tummy; no way to eat or drink when it's so swollen and full.  They think it's more gas trapped than liquid and that's good.  I'll keep you posted.  Love to all; thanks so much for caring and for prayer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Bath Totally Bushed Me, but I'm Clean and I Smell Good!.

I'm bushed tonight, but I'm clean and refreshed.  A bath is such a big deal because I have to
grease down my feet and hands . . . it's a lot like giving a baby a bath, but I'm much heavier than a baby and all this grease is to keep my feet and hands from peeling so bad, not just to make me smell nice.  Actually, after the Bag Balm, I lotion up real good so that I do smell sweet; it's a have to kind of thing.  That bag balm is good stuff, but it was invented to keep cow's udders healthy.  So, I smell like a cow until I get some good lotion going.

I absolutely love this pic of Garrett and me.  He is Gretta's 17 year old son and that's his Poppy's (Don's) shirt that he's wearing.  (Love you so much, Garrett!)  Those are our Fox reunion shirts and I was so pleased he would wear it proudly!  I almost said that he has no idea how much he means to me, but I think he does!  He's the most supportive and caring guy, ever.  (Lee insisted that the shirt was too little for him; he can't stand anything tight and I guess it was a little tight and short.  It was perfect for Garrett, though, so Lee wore a polo shirt the same color as our shirts; he's a great sport, too!)  I thank God for the awesome men in my life.  Nobody could be more blessed than I am with 7 awesome grandsons and 8 awesome granddaughters, plus I inherited another dozen grandchildren when Lee and I married.  Together we have 27 grandchildren and he has one great grandson and two more due in just a few weeks!  God is so good; I praise Him and give Him thanks, honor and glory!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Off Day. The Beginning of an Off Week.

Today I spent most of the day talking to doc's nurses.  We finally came to an agreement that I'll take the next week off and see the oncologist in Lawton before I resume treatments at a lower dose. The drug is working on the cancer, so I hate to give it up, but I'm taking the same dosage a 200 pound person would take. That's ridiculous, especially since it's throwing me for such a loop.

I washed my hair last night, so this hair and no makeup is what we get on an off day.  Maybe I'll look like this for a week.  I will until I feel like going through the work to look better.   The hardest work I did today was walk out to the flower bed and collect a bouquet of echinacea.  There are a couple of daisy blooms in there, too; I hope they'll open for me in the house.  Then I walked out to the magnolia tree and collected a couple of blooms for a cup, which I learned from Doris, my sister-in-law.  That tomato is my first tomato off my own plant in the back yard.  Joan (who looks after the house for us when we're gone) took it off the vine for me and it was waiting in the kitchen when we came home.  I scoffed half of it down for supper, which is a good thing because I have had trouble eating.

Our next door neighbor smoked some pork and brought some over for our dinner tonight.  Man, was THAT yummy!!!  Smoked pork and a fresh tomato; then Lee suggested some ice cream and I even had some of that!  I feel so stuffed, but I'm not nauseated!  Our neighbor, Bill, is also our preacher; he's a real gem in every sense of the word.  Love, love, love that guy and his family.  It's really a comfort to have them right next door.  They were here for 8 years and gone for 3 or 4 and now they're back and it feels so perfect!  I thank God for them and for the time to take a week off when I need it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I am so pleased that I got this and many other great pix at the reunion.  There were many pix I wish I'd gotten, but I don't need to be a pig about it!  This is me in the middle.  On the right of meas you look at the pic is my sister, Ruthie, and then my daughter, Gretta.  On the left of me as you look at the pic is our first cousin, Suzanne, and on the far left is Ruthie's daughter, Deanna..

Suzanne is one year older than me and we were close our whole lives.  All our kids call her Aunt Suzy because she's more like a sister than a cousin.  She and I spent every summer together.  My mother and her daddy were two of 5 siblings.  Suzanne and I would go from aunt's houses to grandparents'' houses enjoying vacation Bible schools all summer.  I grew up wearing her hand me downs and I was so thrilled to have them!  She and her brother keep the reunions happening every year. I wouldn't take a million dollars for this pic!  (If someone out there wants a copy, I'd sell a copy!  Ha!)  This reunion was tough to go to because I've felt so lousy, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything!

We made it home about 5 tonight.  I took a bath and went straight to bed.  I just woke up a few minutes ago to do this blog.  Tomorrow I'm calling the doc to see what he wants me to do about this swelling and bloating.  I'm sick of it!  I thank God for our safe trip home and for such a wonderful reunion!  I suggest you look around and count your blessings; I really can't count that high, but God knows how I praise Him for blessing me so richly!

(You might notice Gretta's pic line in her left arm: that's where she gets her chemo.  Her hair started falling out on Friday before the reunion on Saturday.  Bless her heart, she was back at work today praying that her ponytail wouldn't fall off her head.  She's dear and losing her hair is not a fun option, nor does she have any choice!  She's taking it like a CHAMP and I am so proud of her.  Cancer is so rude to pick on a young vibrant mother, but God has us in His hands!)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Early Blog; It Will be a Late Night.

I need go juice of some kind.  I am really so fatigued.  I slept 11 hours and then got up and got dressed and had to go back to bed to rest from that.  It isn't that big a deal to dress, but when this chemo fatigue hits it's just a real bear.  I got up and combed my hair and then painted on s bit of a face.  I forgot some of my make up, but I don't think it will matter.  I just hope I can make it through the reunion.

We just meet at the noon hour and visit over lunch, so that's not that big a deal, either.  We'll leave and head for home.  I have a room booked for us about 8 hours down the road, so it'll be late when we get in and I wanted to have this blog done, so I won't have to dig out the computer then because I know I'll be crashing big time.

When I get home I will see the doc about this fatigue and also the swelling, which is back.  It's not as bad as it was the other day, but it's getting there.  I really can't eat or drink much because there's just not room to put it.  Gretta's hair started falling out yesterday, so she's being very careful not to brush or comb it.  It's pretty traumatic for her.  I know she wants to get through the reunion and then I imagine when she gets home she'll soon be cutting it, so she can donate the biggest portion of it if possible.  Bless her heart; she's a trooper.  I'm so, so proud of her.  Oh, this pic was made the other night after we'd spent the day in the ER draining the swelling in my abdomen.  That's Garrett, Gretta, Elena and me.

The next time I post we should be home, so happy reunion to everyone and have a good weekend, whatever you're doing.  God is keeping us safe and holding me together, so I know He's working in your lives, too. Let's all give thanks and praise to such an awesome Father who is big enough for all of us to share.  What a concept!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Snuggle Buddy.

There's no snuggle buddy better than this one!  Elena wanted to snuggle with me last night when we got home from the hospital.  I can't think of anything I needed more.

We made it to Nashville today and we're ready to leave from here to go to the reunion in the morning.  Then we'll head for home.  Lots of travel on this trip, but lots of great visiting, too!  I'm learning a lot and may be sticking closer to home for a while  I've got to get me stable to travel.

Tomorrow I get to see my sister and her husband and lots of cousins.  That'll be a grand day!  I thank God for a safe trip for us and hope everyone else is able to travel safely, too!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Party.

Lee was at the "party" but he was taking pix.  I borrowed his shirt and a pair of his shorts to wear to the ER today.  All my stuff was too binding.  I could barely breath this morning, so I called my doc at home.  He said to go to the ER and let them make me comfortable.  Actually it was a pretty nice day even if they were poking and testing me all day.  All the tests were good except that I had these ascites pressing on my abdomen so that I couldn't breath or wear any of my clothes.  They drained those off and I'm feeling so much better.  This pic is Garrett, Gretta, Joe, Elena, and me after I got back to the hotel from the hospital. They pulled into our parking lot at the same time that we did, so it was fun!

I thank God for wonderful docs and nurses all day.  Everyone was so kind; even loving.  KY people are good people!  The doc told me to go on to the reunion, enjoy it and then go home.  So, that's what we're doing.  Thank you all for your concern, love, and prayers!  I love you for your tremendous support.  Google ascites; it's just liquid that builds up sometimes in cancer patients.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So, So Tired!

Please forgive me.  I'm so tired.  I can't dig up a pic or say much.  I am so exhausted.  We are checked into our hotel.  Lee has gone to get a bite to eat.  I am going to bed.  We're not even going to see the kids tonight.  We're just so tired.  Old people shouldn't make these long trips, maybe?  Anyway, God got us here safely and we give Him thanks!  Don't worry about us.  We just need rest.  Love to all for checking on us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

On the Way!

We left at 8:30 this morning and made it to our stopping place at 4:30.  Lee got this shot of me sitting at the computer to do this blog.  That fleece jacket Tricia gave me when I was doing chemo in 2007.  I was freezing then and I'm freezing now.  I think it embarrasses Lee for me to wear it everywhere, but AC just freezes me.  I'm so glad to have this jacket!  Actually, I get lots of compliments on it.  Thank you, Trish!

I'm awfully fatigued, my feet and ankles still look like they belong to Miss Piggy, and my stomach is rumbling, but I'm ALIVE and I'm getting to go see Gretta and make it to the family reunion.  We missed it last year because Lee's grand daughter's wedding was the same day as the reunion.  We loved the wedding, but I sure missed being at the reunion.  I thank God we can go this year.

I'm off to bath and to bed so we can leave early in the morning.  Thanks for checking on us!

Monday, June 16, 2014

He Tried to Escape; I let Him!

He was on the run and almost got away,

But I was more stubborn than him.  Anyway, I won and got his pic.

I was watering my tomato plants and happened to see this guy out the corner of my eye.  Hurried in to get the camera.  Life in Southwestern Oklahoma is grand!

Today was hairy.  I hardly slept last night because of these fat feet hurting (they throb at night; maybe they do during the daytime, but I'm distracted.) and I have this horrible rumbling going on in my stomach.  My stomach is swollen like my ankles.  I got up and read all the papers about the Xeloda and, yes, it's the culprit.  I called the onc in Lawton this morning to see if there was anything he could do to help and see if I really should make this trip.  I want to go so badly!  He said, go and have fun!  He said to get something over the counter for the swelling and bloating of my stomach.  I went to the pharmacy today and got some anti-gas pills and some water pills.  It hasn't helped much, yet, but maybe a few days will be better.  He said the correction of the problems would take several days to notice.  Joy.  I woke up Lee and told him I was going to the front bedroom to sleep because I needed to be warm and I needed to moan a lot (Somehow that helps?).  I didn't want to bother him or worry him if he got up and couldn't find me.  I didn't want him fumbling around in the dark and stub his toe or fall.  He wouldn't hear to me going to the front bedroom. Bless his heart he meant to be a loving husband, but I really felt the need to toss and turn and rumble without bothering him.  Too bad.  I whimpered and cried a bit and then went to sleep in his warm arms.  He was probably right.  (Depression is another side effect of this Xeloda.)  I don't usually cry, but I needed to moan or cry or SOMETHING last night.

We went to Wal-Mart and got stuff for my stomach, so it's really been having a fit today.  Maybe something good is happening, but I don't see or feel it.  I don't tell you all this for sympathy or so you'll worry.  I'm doing great; I just don't feel good.  The cancer is stable, so I'm winning.  Sometimes winning is just not easy. I want this blog to be honest so that if you or someone you know walks on this path, you will have my experience to support you and them.  It was such a help to me that I was around when Mom had breast cancer.  She never had metastases, though, so I'm kind of forging that path on my own.  Thankfully, I have a great online support group!

Lee asked if I wanted to not go and I nearly busted a gut!  Of course I want to go!  I can hurt on the way as well as I can hurt here.  At least I will be able to sit all day except when we stop to walk around the truck. By the weekend, I'm hoping I'll feel really good.  In the meantime I'm good for a few minutes at a time.  I debated whether to be this honest with you all, but this blog is all about what really happens.  Don't worry about me.  I'm fine, just feeling pretty lousy for now.  We are not going to condos; we'll be staying at motels.It should all be pretty easy for me.  We'll just be gone a week and God is always with us, so we'll be fine.  That's my greatest support, plus He sends you all as well.  I'm blessed and grateful!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Fathers' Day!

I believe in celebrating everything every single day.  To me it's like worship; one day a week is not the deal; we live our lives either worshipping God or ignoring him.  My goal is to live my life worshipping God every day.  My goal is also to live every moment loving and appreciating all my family and friends.  I'm just not good at putting those kinds of things on and taking them off; I'm an everyday sort of gal.  It may not be a big thing or a big celebration, but I feel like God and all these people have influenced my life and the way I live it shows them that they influenced me and I love them for it.  By all means I hope everyone had a great day today and every day.

It was day 2 of my rest from chemo.  I did literally rest.  We went to church and Lee chose the Mexican restaurant for lunch since it was Fathers' Day..  We were honored to have Dorothy join us.  I wish I'd taken a pic of that, but I'm so forgetful about the camera.  After taking Dorothy home, I went straight to my nap.  I woke up and dressed for the evening church service.  We came home and I fixed scrambled eggs for Lee's supper.  (I didn't feel like eating.)  I caught up on FB and have been watching the Spurs do a GREAT job on beating the Heat!  I'm almost through with the computer, so I can sit down and relish the rest of this game.

I wish I could say my feet have gone down, but they haven't.  They still took me to church.  I have a new side effect showing up.  I have a red rash on my thighs and hands and arms.  It doesn't itch or hurt, but I take note of it in case it means something.  I also have ascites collecting in my abdomen (result of liver disease where fluid collects); it feels like a ate a whole watermelon.  I really don't want anything to eat, but I'm doing my best to get down some protein.  I've gained 7 pounds in the last 5 days and I'm sure it's all the liquids I'm retaining; I look 7 months pregnant and am grateful I have some next size up clothes!.  This is all normal, just not comfortable.  I still have so much for which to be grateful!

Yesterday I got all our laundry done, so tomorrow we just have to pack to leave Tuesday for KY and TN. We'll just be gone a week this time.  I'll have a lot of work to do on weeds when we get home!  They're getting a head start on me, now, but I don't need to be on my feet enough to spray them, so I'm ignoring them and doing my best to stay out of a snit over them.  :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Live in a No Snit Zone.

This is a pic of me when I finished chemo the first time in 2007 and we were meeting Trish and Gretta and their families in Branson.  I'm just comparing the last chemo to this one.  This one I'm having trouble with my feet and hands.  Actually, I had peripheral neuropathy in my feet in 2007 and my toenails became infected just because I was on the chemo.  My two big toenails have never grown back right since I lost them over that.  I didn't have any hair (ANY hair, anywhere!).  This time I still have hair so far.  I have issues with my feet, but I can handle it.  I'm in an online support group where many of the women on Xeloda have adjusted their dosage to 7 days on and 7 days off.  I really think I could handle that because it's after the 7 days that it starts to get complicated with these side effects.  I'm going to ask my doctor about considering that schedule.

The girls insisted that I not get into a snit over anything when we all got together.   They were right.  I needed to not have any stress if at all possible.  I tend to be OCD and get into a snit if a picture is hanging crooked. Once I fix it, I'm okay, but they insisted that I should concentrate on having a No Snit Zone rule while we were all there.  Our two littlest grandbabies were just crawlers at that time, so they were concerned that they would get to me, not to mention the other 6 siblings who would be there. I had been pretty much quarantined from people and especially kids while I did chemo because it brought my immune system down so much.  I was so eager to spend time with them all and I sure didn't want to get into any snits.   Mostly I'm blessed to have learned to concentrate on living in a No Snit Zone.  I relapse at times, but I do much better.

To answer your questions (Several have written to ask me if my feet are better today.), my feet are not better, yet.  It took 10 days to get them to this point, so maybe it will take them 10 days to correct. Lee was able to let the buckle out 3 notches on my shoes to wear to church tomorrow, so I can make it.  (My fingers wouldn't do it.)  I thank God that I had the previous experience with chemo.  I can compare that to this time and I still think this is a better side trip on my journey with cancer. Be sure not to be mislead; tonight's pic is from December of 2007; it is NOT current.  I gave myself a haircut today and they all seem to be in tact.  :) I sent all my hats to Gretta, so I hope I don't lose mine!  If I do, she'll have to share with me.  I did it before, I can do it, again, if it happens.  I really didn't mind being bald except I got so cold!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Gross Pix.

These are ugly pix, but ugly is just how it is today.  The bottom pic is how my legs looked last October.  The top one is how they looked on May 29th (2 weeks ago) when I was concerned about swelling and burning of the hand and foot syndrome.  The middle pic is how they look right now.  Those squatty little toes can't hang onto a flip flop to keep from walking out of it.  At least I can stand the warm water of a bath.  I can walk, but I only have a couple of pairs of crocs that my feet will fit.  I DO have both legs and feet!  I can walk!  I thank God for that.  And, the Xeloda is holding the cancer at bay.

This morning when I got up my hands were all swollen, too.  I could hardly bend my fingers to hold anything, but most of their swelling went down during the day with activity.  I didn't do much at all today.  I am totally fatigued and I think that's from the chemo, too.  It sure isn't for any work I did today because I didn't accomplish anything today except talk to the doctor's nurse.

This is only day 10 of my 14 day cycle, but they told me to stop taking the Xeloda and give my body a chance to recover from it.  I'm ready to reduce it somehow.  It feels like my feet are about to explode.  I don't guess they'll do that, but I would hate for them to start seeping fluid!  So, I'm thanking God for the flexibility to cut back on the Xeloda when the side effects are too ugly, too.

So it is in the life of a Breast Cancer Metastasis SURVIVOR.  Survivor is the key word.  Poor Lee is fixing his own meals and doing all the shopping so I won't have to walk.  Besides all the extra chores he takes over from me he's loving and gentle with me.  What a Godsend and I thank God so much for him.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Report on Lee''s Tests.

This is Lee's son, Jim, and his wife, Kathy.  They bought our dinner last night and I ate the potato I brought home with me for dinner tonight!  We loved getting to visit with them and Barb last night.

Now, the tests.  They found another blockage in Lee's heart, so they have him scheduled for another angiogram on July 7th.  I am so glad that they have found this before it causes him more problems, but I'll admit I'm not eager to go with my husband to have an angiogram and stints put in.  I just don't have a good history of such a thing.  I must trust God and know that He knows what is best and will see to it that His plan is worked.  The doc assured us that this will not require open heart surgery.  He also said it's not anything we have to hurry to do.  July 7 is 3 weeks.  He did say that if he has any more spells like he had in church a few weeks ago to call him.  Believe me, we will!

Just when I thought my feet were better (they were yesterday), they are blown up like footballs today!  I can walk, but I don't have many shoes that my feet will fit!  I'll take a pic of them and post it soon.  I'm going to call the local oncologist tomorrow and see if I should continue with the chemo or stop it early, again.  I have 5 more days to go in this cycle.  If they keep swelling at this rate, something is going to burst.  My legs are swollen up to my knees, too.  Thankfully, this is the only side effect I'm having.  My hands hurt, but aren't as swollen as my feet, and they aren't peeling bad.  I sure wish I had met that lady in Houston whose leg was missing from the knee down.  I think of her every day and she gives me courage!  God is good to give us hope and courage and I am grateful!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tired on Top of Tired.

Lee has 3 tests tomorrow in OKC.  He has a fasting stress test, and echo cardiogram and some test for his carotid arteries.  We decided to come to the city and spend the night so that we wouldn't have so far for him to drive on an empty stomach in the morning.  I thought we'd get a good night's rest, but this hotel room is freezing.  There is a microwave and I brought my rice buddies, so I'll survive.    We had a wonderful visit with his daughter and son and daughter-in-law.  The pic above is us with his daughter, Barbara.  Tomorrow I'll post the pic I got of his son and daughter-in-law, who were sitting across from us.

I am so tired I can hardly type.  All this travel is hard, plus I freeze everywhere I go.  I'm really so sick of being cold.  It's summer; it's supposed to be warm.  Well it's warm outside, but if I go inside everyone is so hooked on cool.  Lee freezes me in the truck.  I'm sure it's me, because my normal temperature is around 97.5.  I can't expect everyone else to sweat just because I'm cold, so I usually have a jacket or a blanket on me.  I know why little old ladies wear shawls, now; they're freezing!

My feet haven't been so bad today, so I thank God for that.  Maybe they maxed out yesterday and will be gentle with me for the rest of this cycle.  I ate way too much tonight, so I'm paying now for that.  I knew better, but Hollies makes the best hamburger and I couldn't resist it.

These tests that Lee is having tomorrow are following up his spell in church a couple of weeks ago.  I pray that God will give us some answers with these tests.  We are relatively healthy and wonderfully happy, so we have so much for which to give thanks and praise to God.  Life is so much better with a wonderful partner and I thank God for Lee.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What a Wonderful bur Tiring Day!

Trish is taking a couple of graduate courses this month in Lawton this month.  They are online, but she has to be there for a few classes, so she came here to go from here in the morning.  It's sure wonderful to see her! For the last 22 years she's always had 1 or more kids with her, but it's just her this time, so we have an undiluted visit.  I miss the kids, but it's wonderful for her to be the kid!

We got home in time to see most of the Spurs beating the Heat, so that was fun, too.  We got up at 6 this morning to drive an hour and a half into Houston for the appointment with the oncologist.  Thankfully, going back to Doris' house only took 30 minutes because the traffic was much lighter!  We were flying high anyway because we had such good news from the Oncologist.  Our drive from Houston was another 8 hours, so we're so ready for bed!

The Oncologist gave me copies of the results of all my tests and they are all wonderful.  They all bottom line with something like, "Improvement in the metastatic disease compared to 04/07/14."  "Stable metastatic disease," is another common comment.  My cancer marker was down to 90 from 198 in March.  It had been 52 in January, so I'm so glad to have it going in the right direction, again!  This Xeloda is working, but it's sure wrecking havoc with my feet.  Riding in the truck all day probably didn't help much.  I'm going to give them as much of a break as I can for the next week as I finish this cycle.

God gave us good news and a safe trip.  I give Him honor and praise and all the glory.  Then a bonus visit from Trish.  It's so fun to have here here!

Monday, June 9, 2014

So Tired! Thank You, God!

Oh my goodness; today was so tiring!  Tomorrow will be another long day since we're driving home.  We get the results in the morning of all these tests, though.  I learn if this current treatment we are using works, so that's a really good thing.  I'm eager to know!

They keep it so freezing cold at MD Anderson, my teeth were chattering today.  I had on long jeans and a jacket with the shirt you see in the pic above.  They finally gave me hot blankets, but they only stay warm for 20 minutes or so.  I told the last lady who did my CT that I could just see the headlines:  "Old Lady Survives Breast Cancer, but Freezes to Death at her Check Up!"  She said, "That's not very good PR for us, is it?"  I was never so glad to be out of there where I could get warm!  My feet were numb all day; they're just now thawing out and they remember that they hurt!  I kept reminding myself about the lady who had her leg amputated from below the knee at the ballgame, but it was hard not to whine when my teeth were chattering.I need a good night's sleep and then we'll head home tomorrow. I'll post results as soon as I can but it may be when we get home tomorrow night, late.

Thanks so much for your love and prayers and support.  God gave us a safe trip and I still have both legs, and I can walk on them, so I am grateful even if I have an occasional pitty party.  Party's over and I'm rejoicing to go to bed, now!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Full Mostly Fun Day!

Look at this bloom; it's still beautiful and our room smells delicious!  I like this in a cup; I'm going to do that at home and put one in my bedroom!  This was after church this morning and then watching two of our great nephews play softball today with a nap in between the two games.  It was a fun, fun day!

Gretta had her first chemo treatment today and went for over 6 hours with no side effects.  However about a half hour ago she started itching all over.  I hope her oncologist will have an answer for her to relieve her of the itching.  Chemo can sure be a bugger; I hope they have a good answer for her; itching is a bummer.  She went to work after her treatment, though, so she's been working all evening. She's a champ!

At one of the games today we saw a lady who was there in a wheelchair because her right leg was missing from just below the knee.  I felt like a real weenie for whining over my feet.  I'm thinking my feet feel really good and I give thanks for them and the ability to walk!  Everything is relative and I thank God for helping me to keep things in perspective.

Tomorrow my appointments don't start until 1 p.m., so we're planning to sleep late.  My last test is a CT at 8 p.m., so it will be a late night.  Then Tuesday morning we see the oncologist at 9:20 and head straight home so we want to rest all we can tomorrow.  It's been so nice to be here a little longer and get to watch the boys play ball and visit more with Doris and Jerry.  God gave us a safe trip and we praise Him for that.  We look forward to going home, though, because Trish is going to be at our house when we get home, so we'll have another sweet visit.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Even a Magnolia Bloom!

Today we went in to MD Anderson for an MRI of my brain and when we came home Doris had put this magnolia bloom in our room!  Isn't that sweet?  They are so awesome to welcome us and share their home and lives with us, feed us meals and even leave my favorite flower in 'my' room!  We are so, so blessed!

After the MRI, we got home about lunch time and had lunch and then I took a good 2 hour nap.  I think I was behind on some sleep; it sure felt good.  Then we visited all afternoon and ate supper and then visited some more.  It's so good to be here and enjoy some really good family time!

It was so nice to drive into town on Saturday; still scary but only a half hour of it instead of an hour or more!  Monday we don't have to be there until 1 p.m. so maybe the traffic won't be so bad, again.  My last appointment is for a CT scan at 8 p.m. so we'll be coming home late and will probably miss traffic again.  I'm happy to miss traffic!

I am so grateful for good health care and awesome family and friends.  I could not ask for more and I thank God for how He has blessed my life.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Precious Times From Tough Times.

Today Gretta posted the most precious post on FB.  She had a pic of she and Garrett and I that was taken the day after Don's death when the family was gathered at Davy and Susan's home.  It was one of the hardest time of our lives, but we survived it.  We will survive cancer, too; it'll be a picnic compared to life without Don.  God puts the people we need in our lives when we need them.  He was with us for years and we have the strength that he gave us, still.  There are others in our lives who can help us to muster up the strength we need.  Lee is that person for me.  Garrett may be that person or at least one of those people for Gretta.  God works in mysterious ways and I totally trust Him.  He didn't promise it would be easy; He did promise He'd be there with us always.  That's enough.  In fact He gives us abundance; look at all of you who are supporting us with love and prayers.

I'd like so much to share that pic with you and I have it on my computer and have found it, but I can't get it to post.  I must be frazzled.  (No doubt.)  There will be no pic tonight, but I hope to be able to figure out how to post one tomorrow night.

We made it fine to Houston.  Thank God for that.  It's a wonder every time these country bumpkins make it through that Dallas traffic.  I think we'll go home some other way; it may take us two hours longer, but it won't be so stressful!  Love you all!  Thank you so much for your tremendous support.

I finally got the pic to load!  It's at the bottom instead of the top, but I don't dare attempt to move it. This was a tough, tough, day but we survived and we'll survive this cancer, too!  Those smiles were not because we were happy, but they were because we were recalling our precious memories of our husband, Dad, and Poppy; with those memories and all the great support we had we could muster up some smiles.  We'll muster the strength to get through these tough cancer days, too.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Great Fishing!

Got these pix off facebook today of Garrett and Elena with their catches from their recent fishing adventure. Elena's is a 3 pounder, and it looks like Garrett's is even bigger.  These kids love fishing.  Love Elena's smile! She loved everything she does.

Lee and I spent the afternoon pulling up all the larkspur in the back flower bed.  I wanted to pull them up because they are almost done blooming and by the time we get home from Houston they'll be all brown and ugly.  I'm so glad to get that behind me.  My hands are plenty sore, now.  I figured by the time we get home I'll be too far into this cycle of chemo to be able to stand or pull flowers.  Anyway, we got it done.

We're all packed and ready to go.  We'll leave early in the morning after breakfast.  I'm looking forward to the trip with Lee.  By the time we get there, I'll be tired, but it's fun to make these trips.  I'm so ready to see Doris, Jerry and their kids if we can, too.  We're blessed to have a 'home' in Houston.  Those trips to MDA have all the potential to be very good or very bad; it's just wonderful to have caring folks to greet us and care with us instead of just the 4 walls of a motel!  I'm expecting this trip to have good news for us.  I also get to see my friend since 7th grade, Judy.  Often when we go she meets  us at MDA; I think they think she's my sister.  Sometimes she's in Japan when we're there, so we miss her sometimes, but this time we'll connect for sure.  I'm thanking God for the chance to see so many folks we love on this trip.  (Judy went with me the very first time I went to MDA and she was there the day I had my surgery; she's been there for many other appointments.  I love the little reunions with her, even if it's over treatments.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Aging is Interesting.

This is a pic I got a couple of weeks ago.  I guess this top is one of my favorites because I have it on today, too.  Anyway, we look pretty much the same today.

This aging thing gets complicated.  We go from doctor's appointment to doctor's appointment.  Lee talked to one of his daughters today and she wants to come and visit!  We love that, but I had to grab the calendar and see if we can work her in between appointments!

We leave Friday for MD Anderson in Houston.  I pray that we'll learn that this treatment I'm on now is working.  That will be great news!  Today I saw my chiropractor, who is wonderful to keep me in motion and is also great to minimize my pain from issues with my back.  Then we saw Lee's cardiologist, who scheduled him for 3 appointments in OKC next week when we get home from MDA!  They're following up on the 'event' he had at church a couple of weeks ago and just want to make sure that there is not a problem with his heart.  So, we'll scurry back from Houston and dash on to OKC.  I guess as long as we can keep going, it's a good thing.  I just don't remember my grandparents having these issues.  They had a few problems, but I think they must have protected me from knowing all that was happening in their lives. Naturally, I'm very aware of what's happening to Lee and I.  

I am grateful, though.  I feel really good and I give a lot of the credit for that to my chiropractor.  He does a great job to relieve me when I get all tight and can't seem to move.  I'm also grateful for the docs at MD Anderson who are working with me and the doctors here to beat this cancer.  I'm really grateful for the docs who keep Lee's issues under control.  We are blessed to be able to go to the docs on our own.  I do remember that my grandparents didn't drive and my parents had to go and take them to their doctors' appointments.  I'm glad that we can still function on our own.  We are so blessed.

When I was a little kid if someone got cancer, they usually died from it.  I've lived 8 years since my first diagnosis and hope to live many more.  I'm a part of a support group online with people who are living with breast cancer metastases and there are many 'long termers' on there:  folks who have lived 10 to even 30 years with breast cancer mets!  I'm so grateful that they will share their experiences and help to pave the way for folks like me.  I'd like to live to be a 'long termer' if it's God's will.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Brave Turtles.

This is a pic I got of the dead tree branches right below the tree where the herons' nests are.  Herons eat turtles, so I'd say these turtles are pretty brave!  Look at the bottom limb in the picture; on the far left end there is a turtle and on the far right end is another one.  In the center of that limb another limb goes up toward the right corner of the pic; about 1/4 of the way up is another turtle.  I took these pix around 5 p.m.  If I'd been out there at 11 a.m. or noon there would probably be a dozen turtles on these branches.  Well, I don't know if there are that many turtles that close to the nest, but about 20 yards from this tree there are branches like this where there are dozens of turtles.  It's interesting to me because we had that bad kind of disease that killed so many fish in the lake last year, but I guess enough were left to restock it somewhat.  They said the turtles fed on the dead fish; no wonder we have so many turtles.  I'm just glad the lake seems to be able to support the herons!  God's plan is amazing!

We are winding up our plans for out trip to Houston.  We were toying with the idea of going from there to my family reunion in Tennessee.  We decided against lumping those two trips together.  We're just going to Houston and then coming home for a week.  Then we'll go to the reunion.  On our way we'll go to see Lee's Aunt Leona in Pulaski and then we'll go to the reunion from there.  After the reunion we'll stop by Gretta's for a couple of days if the timing is good for her and then we'll come on home.  We'll stop and see Gina in Indiana if the timing is good for her.  We just have to hang loose because we don't know how well Gretta is going to do with her chemo and I never know how mine is going to effect me, either.  Gretta begins hers this coming Sunday.  She will do chemo for 3 weeks and then have a week off.  Her chemo will be given by infusion, I believe.  Again, God's plan is amazing.  She's no push over and neither am I; we'll tough this chemo out and still be standing when the cancer takes an exit (or in my case at least takes a back seat). They say that mine can't be cured; it can only be treated.  That's okay with me, but I know God could heal it if it was his plan to do so.  Gretta's chances of total recovery and curing her body of cancer is very good.  We're like white on rice after this cancer thing!  She will be cured and I will wear mine out with treatments.

I missed my nap today, so I'm headed to bed right now, as soon as I brush my teeth; bath is done! I am really sleepy!  Lee's watching a good TV show, but I'm done with this day, so I'm going to leave it with him.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Heron Report and RIP, Martha.

I really haven't been able to walk over to the park and around it because of my sore feet.  But, I drove over there today and walked up close enough to get pix of the herons.  WOW!  It was really breathtaking!  (Of course I'm so easy!)  There were 3 juveniles in the two bottom nests and then in flew an adult to the top nest!  I never heard such a clatter as all 6 of those juveniles made in hopes that the adult would feed them. He made a couple of jabs at the middle nest, but I didn't see any feeding happening.  I'm wondering if there might be babies in that top nest!  It was really wild to see all these juveniles, though.  I can't believe I missed their baby stages.  The second pic is of another adult that was fishing over on the other side of the lake.  I got 51 pix, but I'm not going to bore you with all of them.  It was hard to choose the ones to share.  It's really cool that I got to see 8 herons; 7 at the nests and one fishing.  Wow!

I thank God for this treat, though!  I love these herons!  I'm so thrilled that our lake is a good place for their nesting.  I hope these will all stay and raise families next year!

Today was the funeral of a dear friend who Don and I used to see really often as we were walking at the park.  She and her husband were good friends and my heart aches for him and their family as they lose her. Her funeral was a celebration of her life and it was as close to that as we could get.  You can't get away from the tremendous loss, but she was such an awesome person it was easy to find opportunities to laugh and smile at her service.  (That was a good time to blow my nose and wipe my eyes from the tears that kept coming.)  I thank God for Martha Alford in our lives.  She was an inspiration so often.  Her husband, Tracy still is; God bless his broken heart.  Martha was 81 and she was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia. She didn't have a long battle, so that was good. I'll bet she enjoyed the herons at the lake, too; I'll think of her whenever I enjoy them.  RIP sweet Martha and, Tracy, hang tough!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lucky Me!

Dorothy Rule is one of the real treasures in my life!  When we are at home we always go pick her up and take her to church with us.  On Sundays we either eat here at the house or we go out somewhere together. Lee is so good to her, too.  I've thanked him for loving her as I do and for being so kind and loving to her, and he just says, "If she was my mother I'd want people to be good to her."  His dad died when he was 7 and his older brother was 14 and his younger brother was 4.  Their mom raised them and they grew up loving and respecting her so much.  I love how he transfers that love and respect to Dorothy.  When we get to her house, he goes to the door and escorts her out to the truck and helps her up into it.  Then when we get to church he helps her out and escorts her into the building.  She loves him.  Bless her heart, she always tells me on the sly, "Jo, you did good; I really think he's a good man . . . a keeper."  I so agree with her.  I consider myself lucky to have Dorothy and Lee in my life.

I got this picture today after lunch.  Dorothy can't see good, but she was enjoying the fragrance of the magnolia blooms I had on the bar.  She thought they were beautiful; she can see out the corner of her eyes. She's such a wonder!  They are somewhat battered, but they still smell good.  I had to fight a couple dozen bees this morning when I was collecting them.  I kept imagining the headlines:  "Little old lady survives breast cancer and dies of bee stings."  But I wanted those magnolia blooms, and I won.  I'd cut one and drop it down to the ground and go get another one.  Each one had about 6 bees on it, so by the time I had a pile of 4 blooms, there were a couple dozen bees buzzing around the pile.  I grabbed the pile and shook the bunch as I ran into the house with them.  The bees were pretty confused and I managed to not get stung.  One followed me into the house, but he was pretty baffled and I was able to get him quickly with the fly swatter. I've never had trouble with bees before, so I thank God for saving me this morning.  I thank Him for Lee and Dorothy in my life, too.  I feel richly blessed!  I talk to Dorothy nearly every day, even when we're traveling. I love her so much.  If I live to be 90 I sure want to be as much like her as possible!