Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's over!!

I had my last radiation treatment yesterday.  I am completely through with treatments except for some follow up visits with my surgeon, oncologist and radiation oncologist. 

I've got some skin irritation and shrinking at the radiation site.  I would ask that you continue to pray for healing.

Also, it could take several months before I am back to normal energy-wise (I'm not even sure I remember what normal feels like).  Please pray for my strength and stamina to return.

Those of you who have been praying for me regularly are a true blessing to me.  I couldn't have gotten through this experience as well as I did without you.  Thank you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Radiation update

I am halfway through radiation!  No side effects so far except a little red skin at the treatment site.

Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Friday, November 11, 2011


8 treatments out of 28 done. So far, so good. No side effects that I have noticed.

Thank you all for continuing to pray.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Radiation update

I met with the radiation oncologist today.  I will not be starting treatment right away because my incision has not healed well enough yet.  I have another appointment scheduled for October 19th.  We are disappointed that I will not be completely finished with treatment before the holidays, but I appreciate the doctor acting with caution.  Even with the delay, I should be done by the end of the year. 

Please pray for quick and complete healing before October 19th so that I can move forward with radiation.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

3 weeks post surgery

On Tuesday, it will be three weeks since I had my mastectomy and reconstruction.  My plastic surgeon says I am healing well.  I am still a little swollen and sore, but nothing I can't handle.  I am still recovering my strength and stamina.  I worked all week last week, except I left a little early on Friday.

I meet with the radiation oncologist on September 28th.  We will decide then when I will begin six weeks of radiation treatments.  Once I am done with radiation, this season of my life will be over.  I am looking forward to feeling like myself again.

I participated in Race for the Cure this morning.  I walked the 5K course along with several ladies from work, my parents and my daughters.  It was amazing to see all of the people there.  I saw A LOT of survivors which gives me hope.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I came home from the hospital late yesterday morning.  It feels really good to be home.  Both of my surgeons said that the surgeries went exactly as planned and everything looks great.  All of the nurses and CNA's at Willamette Falls were amazing.  I'm still pretty sore but am taking some medication for the pain.  Thank you to all of you for your prayers.  I could definitely feel them.  I am feeling stronger and stronger each day.  I am hoping to be up for going to church tomorrow morning, but don't want to push it.

I love you all very much.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Surgery next week

I have surgery on Tuesday next week.  I see the plastic surgeon Monday morning and he is going to mark me all up.  Then I have to be at the hospital at 6:30 Tuesday morning because I am participating in a research study on lymph nodes.  They are going to insert some radioactive dye so that my surgeon can pick out my sentinel lymph nodes.  The dye takes a couple of hours to go through my system.  My actual surgery will begin at 10:00 am and will last anywhere between 5 and 7 hours.  I will be in the hospital at least overnight, probably more like two nights.  I will have drains at all three of my incision points (my breast, my lymph nodes and my back on the left side from the reconstruction) that will have to be emptied several times a day for a couple of weeks.  Luckily, the girls will still be home from school at first and then Josh will be home the rest of the time.  Mike will not have any time off, but he will be trying to make it home as early as possible each day.  My best friend, Melissa, who has been with me through this entire process (she's been to every doctors appointment and chemo treatment) will be my advocate at the hospital on the day of surgery.

Please pray for a speedy recovery.  The nurse at the plastic surgeon's office told me the normal recovery time is 4 to 6 weeks.  I am only planning on taking two weeks off from work.  I can take more, but it would be better for me to go back as soon as I can.  I have somebody covering for me at work, but she will be trying to do her job and mine for the two weeks I will be gone.  I don't like putting that kind of pressure on her.  Also, I only have 6 days of paid time off left, so I will be taking a couple of days off without pay.  If I can't go back to work when I plan to, all fo the days I take off will be unpaid. 

I really appreciate all of your prayers.  I have only gotten this far this well because I have such a great support system.

I will post again when I am home from the hospital.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I scheduled my surgery today.  I will be having a mastectomy AND a reconstruction on Aug. 30th.  It turns out that the reconstruction is covered by insurance.  I will probably have to stay overnight in the hospital.  I am planning to take two weeks off from work to recover.

About a month after the surgery (to heal), I will have 30 sessions of radiation.  I will need to go Monday through Friday for six weeks.  The sessions themselves will only be a few minutes long.  The main side effects are fatigue and skin irritation.

Emily is stressed out by the thought of helping to care for me after my surgery.  Please pray that she will be able to cope well with the entire situation.

Thank you all for your continued prayers.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Next step

I met with my surgeon today.  I did not, however, schedule my surgery.  Apparently, if we decide on reconstruction, they do it at the same time as the initial surgery.  So, I have an appointment with a plastic surgeon on Wednesday at 11 am.  If we decide on reconstruction, the two surgeons will coordinate and we will schedule a time that works for both of them.  There are a couple of different methods for reconstruction, one of which is more invasive.  The fact that I am having radiation will be a determining factor in which method is used. 

My surgeon said that I would probably have to spend one night, maybe two, in the hospital and that my recovery would probably take about two weeks.

I would appreciate prayer for clarity about reconstruction.  The main concern is recovery time and whether or not the insurance will cover it.  I also would appreciate prayer that my employer will continue to be as understanding as they have been.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Last chemo!

Friday cannot come soon enough.  I get my lat chemo treatment on Friday morning.  I'm really looking forward to being done with this step.  I am hoping that we will also be able to schedule my surgery.  It would be such a blessing to know when the next step is going to take place.  My husband is on vacation the week of August 22nd, so I'm hoping to have surgery sometime around then.

I know I keep saying it, but thank you to everyone for all of your prayers.  I can definitely feel them.  God is so good.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I was able to get chemo last Friday at a 25% reduction in medication.  My fingers and toes are feeling more numb today.  Assuming that they feel better, I will get my last treatment on July 22nd.  If they do not feel better, then I am done with chemo and will schedule my surgery.  Thank you to all for your prayers and support.  I appreciate it very much.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Wow!  I didn't realize it had been so long since I had updated my blog.  I said I was going to try to post more often, but that didn't happen.  Oh well.

I feel like I've had a setback.  The chemo drug that they have given me for the last two treatments has made my fingertips and toes go numb.  Because of that, I didn't get treatment today.  They want to make sure the numbness will get better.  I'm going in next Friday to get treatment of a reduced dose if the numbness is getting better and then will have my last treatment two weeks after that which makes it a week later than we thought it would be.  If the numbness is not better by next week, then I am done with chemo.  So I will know next Friday whether I am done or will be another week out for my last treatment.  The numbness can become a permanent condition which is why they are being so careful.  Once I am done with chemo then we will schedule my surgery for about a month later.  Mike is already scheduled for vacation the week of August 22nd, so I'm hoping my surgery can be scheduled then.

My tumor is the same size that it has been for about a month.  I'm guessing that it is still large enough that they will have to do a mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy.

I'm not sure how to pray.  I don't know if I want to have two more chemo treatments or if I want to be done.  Well, actually, I do know that I want to be done with treatment, but I don't know if two more treatments will do any good.  I guess I'll pray for God's will to be done in this situation, whatever that may be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Well, it was another crummy weekend.  I felt fine on Friday, but on Saturday, I got a really sharp pain that travelled up my forearm to the tip of my middle finger.  Then on Sunday, I got severe body aches and felt like I could barely move.  I stayed home from work yesterday because I felt so awful.  I talked to my oncologist today and she said that the body aches can be associated with the new drug I got last Thursday.  They're not sure why I had the shooting pain, but I think it was related to the chemo.  I have felt really weak since Saturday, so I went in to have my blood drawn today.  My counts are okay, but I was running a slight fever, so they think I may be fighting a virus.  Hopefully, I'll get enough rest this week that I will feel better this weekend.

I joined a website called "Blogging for Books" that gives away free books to bloggers that will read the books and post a review on their blog, so occasionally, I will be posting a review of a book that I have read.  This is my first review, so here goes:

Secrets of the Vine for Women is a simple book.  Simple to read and simple to understand.  Based on John 15, Darlene Marie Wilkinson compares God to a vinedresser (the gardener in a vineyard).  When we are living with sin in our lives, God lovingly disciplines us, like a vinedresser cares for each vine.  When we are showing spiritual fruit, God prunes us, like a vinedresser prunes each vine.  The purpose of the pruning is so that we can produce more spiritual fruit and live in abundance.  Simple but powerful truth.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Session 5 down

More shrinkage!  My tumor is now 5cm by 4 cm!  It makes the chemo worth it to know that it is working.  I am now 62.5 % done.  I'm planning to just take it easy this weekend as I'm not sure how I'll feel.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.  And thank goodness this is a three day weekend.  It's been a long week.  I've been really run down all week.  I'm going to spend all weekend resting up, with a pedicure thrown in for fun.  I've discovered that if I eat anything fried, it upsets my stomach.  Note to self, no fast food.  Next chemo is Thursday.  It'll be a new drug that brings different side effects, like numbing of the hands and feet.  On the good side, the fatigue should go away.

Thanks to Melissa for reminding me about Infinite Aloe, a lotion we first discovered on one of our trips to Vegas.  It moisturizes and doesn't make my hands feel sticky or greasy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Crummy weekend

I've had a really crummy weekend.  I've had absolutely no energy and I've been achy all over.  Praying that my week will be better...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Session 4

Well, session 4 is under my belt.  I am 50% done with chemo!  And praise the Lord, my tumor has shrunk again.  It only shrunk by 1 1/2 centimeters, but that's better than nothing!  Thank you again for all of your prayers and support.  Prayer works!

I am anemic again, so I have to go in to the hospital again tomorrow for another blood transfusion.  Not exactly the way I wanted to spend a rare sunny day in Oregon, but it it what it is.  Please pray that the transfusion will give me a needed boost in energy.

Whenever people ask me how I'm doing, I always comment on the large support system we have and what a blessing it is.  Thank you all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday musings

I didn't realize that it had been a whole week since I had posted anything.  I'll try to post more often.

I just shaved my legs for the last time.  I'm guessing that I won't have to shave them again for quite a while.  Woo Hoo!  The benefits of chemo.  Who knew?!

Tomorrow is going to be a long day.  I will put in a full day at work and then our girls are both singing in the District Choir Festival tomorrow night.  Luckily, my mom and dad are bringing dinner over to us.

My next treatment is Thursday.  After this treatment, I will be 50% done with chemo!  Yes!  Nikki has a concert Thursday night that I will not be able to go to because of how tired I will be after treatment.  This is the first time that I have had to miss something (besides a few hours of work) because of treatment.  I didn't want to let it affect my life in a negative way, but it will on Thursday.  I almost feel like I am failing because I have to miss something important.  I feel like cancer is winning. 

My skin is really dry from the chemo.  My hands have been so dry that they hurt.  Does anybody know of some good lotion that doesn't make your hands feel greasy?  I would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks for following my blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wind in my (no) hair

Yesterday, I was feeling poopy, both physically and emotionally.  I was weepy all day and couldn't get out of the funk I was in.  I kept wondering, "Why me?"  Today, the weather was so beautiful, I was able to roll the car windows down and let the warm breeze in without worrying about my hair getting messed up!  What a blessing!  Thanks to Deanna for making me laugh about my preferring to wear hats now since I NEVER wore hats before even when it was for a good cause.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I am reading a book written by cancer survivors.  In one of the stories, the writer suggested making a list of all of the things to be grateful for.  Here is my list for today:

A loving Heavenly Father
My family, Mike, Josh, Emily and Nicole
My extended family

I know there are more, but "chemo brain" has set in and I can't think of them right now.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One more session down...

I had my third chemo session today.  I am feeling a little queasy tonight.  I cannot say enough good things about all of the people at my oncologist's office.  They are absolutely marvelous.  I would recommend them to anyone.  Over the last couple of weeks I have had a little difficulty swallowing because it feels like there is something in the back of my throat.  The nurse practitioner said it didn't sound like anything to be worried about.  My blood counts are good, although my hemoglobin is going down, so they're keeping an eye on it to make sure I don't have to have another transfusion.  As usual, Melissa has been terrific.  She has appointed herself my personal assistant and is even sending me reminders of appointments because I have "chemo brain" and cannot seem to remember much of anything these days.  She brought me some more thank you cards today in the cutest box that she made herself.  Her talent is amazing.  My hair has alomost all fallen out.  I've tried wearing some scarves and some hats.  I prefer the hats.  The scarves kind of drive me crazy during the day because they move around on my head.

I'll try to be better at posting more often.  I haven't had much energy for anything lately.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Not feeling well today

I was not feeling well today, but I was so busy at work that I basically stayed all day and only cme home a little early.  We were planning to go to a Cloverdayle show tonight in Vancouver, but I wasn't feeling well enough.  I was disappointed to miss it.

Last night, I read a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.about suffering that touched me.  He said, "Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear.  To be a Christian one must take up his cross, with all its difficulties and agonizing and tension-packed content, and carry it until that very cross leaves its mark upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way which comes only through suffering."  I am bearing this cross in order to wear a crown in Heaven later on.

My friend, Sue, sent me Isaiah 61:3.  "to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."  What a comforting thought that God can make beauty from ashes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Everyone says I am a fighter.  Everyone says that I am a strong woman.  Most days I see myself as that woman, but some days I don't want to be her.  Most days I just want someone to tell me that it's all been a horrible mistake and I really don't have cancer.  Most days I am so thankful for work because I have something else to focus on besides my health.  I am over analyzing every little symptom and worrying that it is a sign of something serious when it turns out to be simple heartburn.

I am deeply indebted to Melissa.  She has appointed herself my personal assistant and has been absolutely amazing in all of this.  She's been to every one of my doctors appointments and has stayed through both chemo treatments.  She and Chris brought us Easter dinner.  She reminds me of little details that I would likely forget if it weren't for her.  I can only pray that I would be the kind of friend to her that she has been to me if the tables were turned.

Erin, thanks for following my blog!  Melissa talks about you all of the time.  I'm glad she has you for a friend and prayer warrior.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hair revisited

Everyone has been really wonderful about the fact that I am bald.  I wore a ball cap yesterday and a scarf today.  Everybody has been very complimentary.  I also found out that my leg hair and armpit hair will fall out, too!  What a bonus!  No shaving for awhile.  I'm feeling better each day since chemo.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Today I got my head shaved.  My hair was falling out by the handful, so it seemed like a logical choice.  My hairdresser, Sue, shaved it for me.  She said she would have been peeved if I did not ask her for help.  I will eventually get used to how I look without hair.  And the great thing about hair is that it grows back.  I have a couple of wigs, a couple of  baseball caps and some scarves.  My biggest concern is that other people will treat me differently because I don't have hair.  I'm still myself, just follically challenged.  I will try to make it as easy on others as possible, but I can't help it if they feel weird.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's real

It took my hair falling out to make cancer real.  Ever since I was diagnosed a little over a month ago, it hasn't really seemed like I have cancer.  Even with all of the procedures I have gone through since then.  Even after having a port-o-cath inserted.  Even after two chemotherapy sessions.  Now that I face being bald, I realize that I really do have cancer.  I am finally scared.  I'm scared of what the next 4 or 5 months hold.  I am scared of more chemo treatments and the side effects that will accompany them.  I am scared of surgery and all that will entail.  I am scared of losing my hair.

I am, however, blessed with people who have gone before.  My medical team is incredible.  I have a colleague at work who is a 6 year survivor.  I know someone who has just finished going through chemo, surgery and radiation.  I have a HUGE support system.  People deal with this every day.  I am no different from them.  But, right now, I am scared.