Thursday, April 23, 2009

The climb may be steep but the reward... ~Monumental

The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster. Things started moving very, very fast once the decisions were made and the calls made. My house is on the market as a "short sale" in order for me not to keep making the payments on it.

I have a friend who works for Mercy Housing and she gave me a tip on a facility where I could go in as an independent resident and then as my cancer progresses I can change buildings to assisted living and stay within the same system. I just knew that they would have a long waiting list – I was wrong. They had an apartment, one bedroom-one bath, available immediately. It is small but it will be much easier for me to take care of. It is on the 15th floor, corner apartment, so it is a little larger than most in the building. The view is magnificent – Sloan Lake and a full view of the mountains – couldn’t ask for more. I will lose my garage but I can live with it. It is very possible that I will be moving the 1st of May. Wow! That is only a week away. I am already worn out so this is going to be a real challenge. I have been packing for a garage sale tomorrow, the 24th. I know that my pastor and others in my church will make sure the move goes smoothly. So much to do – but I am not complaining.

A friend of mine sent me the most beautiful, powerful message that I have read in a long time. Please click on it and read for yourself, it is worth it. Click here: He Is God Thank you Jolene.

More later!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Angels are servants of God that help carry out His commands.

God has sent me many angels to be with me through my journey, but one angel stands out above the rest - Rebecca. I don’t know what I would do without her. She lets me cry and she cries with me and then we laugh together. You can always find something funny in most situations. She listens to me babble on and on and never gets tired of listening to me (if she does she hides it well). She is always there when I call or when I need someone to go with me on one of these doctor appointments or want someone to go with me to look at a place to live. She has so much going on in her own life but still finds the time for me. Please pray for Rebecca, for God’s protection and strength for her.

Appointments wtih surgeons

On Tuesday, the 14th I met with my pelvic surgeon for probably the last time. He said that I was looking well and if there was anything he could do for me to give him a call.

There is a funny side - there always is if you look for it. My pelvic surgeon is Dr Kimball and my general surgeon is Dr Kendall. I was always saying the wrong name, even to their faces. They just laughed.

On Friday, the 17th I met with my general surgeon about the breast issue. He can make a small incission and take out the cancer or we can just wait and see what the future holds. It is slow growing so there is no hurry. At this moment I have decided to wait since that has been evryone's decision since day one. I don't think it really going to make a difference one way or the other at this point.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Like an Avalanche - it comes tumbling down!

"You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book."
~Psalm 56:8 (The Message)

“It is amazing how one so powerful can love one so lowly as to know every tear that has fallen." ~Lance Gargus

One of the things that I have learned is that you cannot walk away from cancer you must take a stance. Along with God’s direction, I feel that I am taking a stance that is right for me. I have made the decision not to fight the cancer but to embrace the life that I have left until my day comes to meet God face-to-face.

This past week the reality of cancer came tumbling down on me like an avalanche and became overwhelming. I had to make some very hard decisions about my living arrangements for the duration of my illness. I can honestly say that this is the first time I have really, really cried. There are so many decisions to make; selling my house, where to live, what to take with me, finding a place where I can take my cats, etc. - I just wanted to walk away from it all. I am sure that there are going to be other days in the future when I still have these feelings and I know that my friends will be there to support me.

Sharing my personal feelings is one of the hardest things that I have ever done. Please continue to pray for me through this journey.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ways to cope with cancer

Faith, trust, laughter, prayer, sharing, positive attitude and hope are just some of the ways to cope with cancer. And, here are just a few more from the American Cancer Society.

Eat: Listen to what your body wants and needs.
Talk: Talk to anyone about anything you are feeling whether it be your friends, family, nurses, pastors or even a support group.
Keep a journal: Go out and buy yourself a good journal or find one online. (I chose this blog.)
Hugs: Hugs give us the sense of safety that when we are being hugged, nothing can seem to harm us.
Relaxation: Make time for yourself throughout the treatments.
Do whatever you want: Try to get as much normalcy into your limited life.
Ask Questions: Ask your doctors any question you may have about your cancer, chemotherapy, symptoms and limitations.
Exercise: Finding a type of exercise is a good idea.
Cry: Yes I said it, cry. Not all the time, but when you feel the need to cry go ahead and just let it out.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Call from Radiologist

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

The radiologist (the salesman) called this morning to make plans about how to handle the breast cancer. His main concern was that it might be the same as the endometrial cancer. It is not however so it would be a completely different treatment. He said that the most important treatment would be the radiation for the endometrial cancer for now and the breast cancer could wait until we finished radiation. He wanted to personally cancel my appointments with the surgeon. He said that he would call and explain to him what we were going to do. I told him that I still wanted to meet with the surgeon.

I have felt like none of the doctors are being really honest with me. I am a realist and I need facts. Everyone wants to beat around the bush. Today I really pin-pointed him and he finally admitted that my chances are "not good" but I do have "a chance". He kept saying 20% so I asked if that adds 2-6 months to my life or what. He said that the 20% is based on a 5 years survival rate. Okay, it might give me a year. But that year will be miserable with the side effects from the full pelvic radiation which he admitted was going to be very diffiult. Once again, I have decided to go for quality of life over quantity of life. I will not be doing radiation therapy. The real catch to all of this is that the type of cancer that I have does not have a 5 years survival rate to start with, so what does that make the 20%? My common sense did not go on vacation without me after all.

I have researched my type of cancer, as much as possible, since there are not many studies, and the survival rates for this type of cancer, USPC, is approximately 24 months and that is for Stage I and II. All of the big cancer hospitals say the prognosis is poor - MD Anderson, etc.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Needle biopsies of right breast

"We cannot change the cards we are delt, just how we play the hand."
~ Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture

On Wednesday, April 1st, I had several needle biopsies. The procedure took 4 times as long as it should have because - well, I'm not really sure why. The radiologist stopped the ultra sound tech and said that she wanted more mammograms. So everything stopped and after the mammograms we started all over again. It was a long afternoon.

They said it would be about a week before I received the results and one of the radiologist would call me with the results. Today, April 3rd, just 2 days later, I received that call. The results - "Invasive Ductal Carcinoma".

I just received the results of my CA 125 - it was 14 in January and it has gone back up to 20. However, the CEA was normal.

I have an appointment for an MRI of both breast on Wednesday, the 15th. And, an appointment with the general surgeon on Friday the 17th.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CAT scan and tattoos

I made it through the CAT scan yesterday and I have my tattoos. The radiation does not start for two weeks and they will do a trial run the first day just to make sure everything is lined up. They made a mold of my buttocks that will be used everyday just to make sure I am in the correct position. Fun stuff!

I know that I said I would "never" do radiation therapy. Lesson learned - "never say never" - I knew better but my common sense has gone on vacation. The chemo did not kill off the cancer cells and they are traveling through my lymphatic system. So far they have not entered the vital organs and I pray that by doing the radiation the cancer cells will be stopped. We can only pray and leave it in God's hands.

This afternoon I will have my breast biopsy. (April 1st - Hmm!) More Later