Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Ugly Thyroid and Other Stuff !!!

Yesterday was a busy day.  Early morning appointment for blood draw for my Internist, Dr. A.  I was unable to get to the office to work this past weekend due to the Cowtown Marathon running through downtown and the streets were all blocked so I went in to the office to work after my blood work until my afternoon thyroid ultrasound.  I worked with my office door closed and when I left my office, I wore my mask over my face.  Everyone was so understanding about me not wanting any hugs or touches due to me having my 5th round chemo last week.  I needed to leave at 1:00 and about 12:45 some of the ladies I work with came to my office door and ask if I had a minute.  They came in carrying a pink bag with a quilt in it.  A couple of the sweet ladies had made me a rag quilt and I almost cried.  It is so pretty and soft.  Thank you
L. C. and S. B. for putting so much work in to the quilt and know that every time I use it, I will think of the love that went in each stitch.

 Above:  Just look at the softness.  Are you jealous? 
Above:  Notice the little pink breast cancer ribbons.

When I got to the radiology place in the Ben Hogan Center, I had to wait a few minutes which was OK.  I had my mask on ... after all I was sitting in a doctor's office where there are major germs.  I get a kick out of the stares and quick look-aways when people see me with my mask on my face and my cap to cover my bald head.  <smile>

Soon the ultrasound lady came and got me and took me back.  When we got in the room, she ask me why I was having my thyroid scanned and I told her about the PET Scan results.  We chatted for a long time and she shared some stories about herself and her family and thyroid.  Once again, Praise the Lord as I feel He put this woman in my path yesterday.  After a bit she told me to get up on the table and lay down and the ultrasound began.   The first thing she said was, "You have an ugly thyroid".  I ask her what that meant.  She said it was ugly and a little enlarged.  OK, great.  I wanted to know if she saw anything abnormal looking like a mass.  She said she didn't see anything abnormal.   ... I know I have to wait for a radiologist to read the scans for the official report. <smile>  She told me that ugly thyroids are good.  She said you don't want to see a normal thyroid with a mass on it.  I found some images of thyroid stuff that I wanted to include in this post.  I didn't find an image titled 'ugly thyroid' so I'm going to use my imagination as to what mine looks like. <smile>  As I've said before, knowledge is power and the more we know, the better off we are.  Pictures help me visualize things.
Above:  This is not me but an image I found
of someone getting an ultrasound.
Above: Location of thyroid.  Looks normal.
Above:  An image of a normal thyroid 
with a mass.

After the ultrasound I came home and rested a bit.  While I feel good this week, I know I still have limitations as far as my energy and blood counts.  After resting a while, I got some fresh brussel sprouts roasting and pulled the grill over to the patio to get ready to grill my fresh salmon fillet.  It was early so I got caught up on my Jesus Calling devotionals and started reading the book of Job.  I was very engrossed in my reading and unbeknownst to me, my sister had come over.  I didn't see her at the front door so she decided to scare me to death and starting rapping on the door which made me jump completely out of my chair.  If my blood was not pumping at that time, it was after she banged on the door.  She had herself a good laugh and I have to start over reading Job because she scared all that I had read right out of me.  I enjoy providing someone a good laugh.  <smile>

Early this morning I logged in to my Next MD account which is where I knew I would get the results from the blood test.  Praise the Lord !!!!  I mean big big Praise the Lord !!!!  Dr. A wrote that my lab results looked quite good and did not recommend any additional medications for the present.  I will hear from her when she gets the results of the 'ugly thyroid' ultrasound.  The blood results for my thyroid were normal.  The blood results included my cholesterol and are good.  Total is 183 with HDL 73 and LDL 97 ... this compared to 2010 when my total cholesterol was 259 with HDL 111 and LDL 121.  In 2010, I met with my Cardiologist about my cholesterol and he had no concern due to my HDL (happy cholesterol) being so high.  Since then I diligently eat healthy and use my Cardiologist recommended products that include plant sterols/stanols.  Red wine also helps your cholesterol and before cancer I did indulge in a glass of red wine maybe three times a week.  Since the cancer, I drink Welch's Grape Juice which has the same affect.  There's something about the red grapes that help your cholesterol.  

I want to share a quick comparison on my lettuce and spinach growing.  These plants are flourishing and I'm happy.  
Above:  Newly planted spinach and Chinese

Above:  Spinach and Chinese cabbage now.

Above:  Newly romaine and bib lettuce.

Above:  Romaine and bib lettuce now.

*  Good reports from blood work
*  Good energy
*  Family who cares about me and gets on to me and brings me back down to realize, I'm still in a compromised health state.
*  Being able to grill salmon last night for dinner.  After my surgery, I didn't think I would ever be able to move my arms again much less grill salmon or anything else for that matter.
*  People that God continues to put in my path.
*  Knowledge ---  The Neulasta shot I take the day after chemo affects my muscles, joints and makes me feel like I have the flu.  Several people have told me to take Claritin (allergy med) for these side affects and it helps.  Today those side affects are happening and I've taken the Claritin.
*  Beautiful weather

Prayer Requests:
*  'Ugly thyroid' ultrasound comes back normal.
*  Those beginning their journey through breast cancer.
*  A co-worker and her family whose Father who passed away and the funeral is today.

Blessed and sending you blessings on this beautiful day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thankful Tuesday ..

Good morning and welcome to thankful Tuesday.  I pray for you today to have many blessings.

As I mentioned in my post from last night, I have blood work this morning early which is good because no breakfast or coffee with Coffee Mate makes me grumpy.  Early afternoon I will have the ultrasound on my thyroid.  I have given this situation to God and He has it all under control.  What peace I gather from knowing that.

I have plans to eat better and better even if I may not be too hungry.  I know I need to feed my body for healing and well being.  Healthy fresh veggies and a fresh salmon fillet cooked on the grill is on the menu for dinner tonight.  I can't wait.  I love fresh salmon.

Thank you for your prayers and love.  I wish for you a most blessed Tuesday.

Psalm 30:11-12
11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Blessed and sending you blessings!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Update

I didn't get to post this morning due to a new doctor appointment and my blood check appointment.  I have met yet another wonderful doctor who will be my Internist.  Dr. A took her time with me and answered all my questions and explained everything I needed to know.  Back in October 2011 when I had my PET Scan, something showed up in my thyroid.  Dr. A explained all the things that could have been happening at the time of the PET Scan, as well as, what it could be if there is anything still present.  Tomorrow morning I will have blood work to check the various things like thyroid, cholesterol and all the other stuff and tomorrow afternoon I will have an ultrasound on my thyroid.

After meeting with Dr. A, I went to the Center and had my routine Monday blood check for my counts.  The counts were not the worst or the best.  All in all my blood counts are holding their own against these chemo meds.  Praise the Lord!

I am feeling much better.  I know my limitations and my body definitely lets me know when it's had enough and it's ready to rest.  Listening to your body just ain't half bad.

*  I am feeling better.
*  My mouth is healing --- BIG Praise!
*  My appetite ... it still isn't the best but I actually find my tummy grumble when it gets hungry.
*  I ate some beef steak tonight for dinner.  I'm not a big steak eater but with every little bite, I was thinking
red blood cells, red blood cells, red blood cells.   <smile>

Prayer Request:
*  My thyroid is OK.  I've given this issue to God.
*  My blood counts continue to rise.
*  Those who may have just found out they have cancer.  Pray for these as I do.

Thank you for your continued support and love.  You are my blessings!

Blessed and sending your blessings!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thankful For The Little Things - Literally !!!

Saturday proved to be a good day.  It was a 'take my time' kind of day and I did.  I got to go to Home Depot (my sister took me) and I got some lettuce, Chinese cabbage and spinach starter plants.  I fluffed the potting soil in the pots that I mentioned in yesterday's blog and I planted the starter plants.  The plants I bought were water deprived (shame on HD) but I got them in the soil and watered them good and they are standing at attention on the patio this morning.  Here's a picture of them right after planting, they are thirsty.  I didn't get the fountain going as I need to clean the filter but I will get that done soon.  It felt so good to be outside just planting these pots.
 Thankful for the little things - literally!

I have mentioned that the chemo gives me thrush in my mouth.  Thrush is a fungus that covers your tongue with white stuff, gets sore and causes you to not be able to taste anything.  I have had a bad case of thrush this time along with sores on my tongue and major sore gums around my teeth.  After calling the Center to see what I could do, I began rinsing my mouth with warm salt water (very soothing) on Friday.  Brushing my teeth was excruciatingly painful so for a day I didn't brush my teeth.  Yesterday I got a baby toothbrush that has extra soft bristles and last night I was able to brush just my teeth as the bristles are very soft and do not touch my gums.  After a soft brushing and another rinse with soothing warm salt water, my mouth felt better and I was good for the night.
Thankful for the little things - literally!

In my 55 year span of life, I must say that I have never had too many digestive problems.  You know like heartburn, reflux, and whatever else there is to have in your esophagus or where ever it is you get that stuff.  About two weeks ago, I started experiencing a burning sensation down in my chest from my throat to my sternum.  Since I have never had heartburn that I ever knew of, I didn't know what it was.  Drinking water would cause it first thing in the morning and it stayed with me all day.  NOTE:  This burning sensation could have been my eating problem for the last couple of weeks.  Everything I ate made it worse.  Finally last night when my sister and I ran to the store to get milk, I told her I had to have some relief from this .... heartburn ... which is what I was guessing it was.  Being a chemo patient you don't just buy stuff off the shelf and take it, it is important to call the doctors office before taking anything that you have not been told to take.  My sister and I talked about what to get (even if I couldn't take it) and we decided on Prilosec OTC.  My heartburn was so bad last night I had decided I was just having a bowl of cereal for dinner.  When she let me out at my house, she said read the label before you take this because you might not be able to have milk with this.  GREAT!   There goes the cereal and my dinner.  <smile>  I dutifully came in and read the label and it didn't say anything about milk but it did say ... Consult your physician before taking this drug if you are taking anti-fungal medication.  HELLO!  I take Diflucan, an anti-fungal med for the thrush.  So I called the Center  answering service and got to speak to my precious Helena, Nurse Practitioner, and she said, "Oh honey, I want you to take two of those right now and two in the morning.  The OTC drug is half the strength of a prescription and when I see you Monday, we will get you a prescription."  I mentioned the warning about the anti-fungal drugs and she said, "You're ok, take the Prilosec".  I took two Prilosec and almost had immediate relief from the heartburn.  I was able to eat my cereal for dinner and drink my water and the burning has pretty much all gone away.  
Thankful for the little things - literally! 

Yesterday afternoon while I was planting my little plants, my sweet neighbor, Paul, came over and mowed my front yard while he was mowing his.  Of course this is the time of year for those prickly weeds and dandelions and such are growing rampant so he gave that particular area of my yard a nice short hair cut and then raised his mower to accommodate the remainder of my front yard.  I am so appreciative that he has mowed for me three times.  *Thankful for the little things - literally!*   Paul and I talked quite a while yesterday and I told him that I was going to start my mowing season out by hiring a young man who mows my sister's yard and has mowed for me before.  Justin does a great job and as he and I have discussed, we are very picky about our yards.  Mowing is not my issue, starting my mower is my issue for now.  I have my port that I take my chemo in and at this point I am not sure when it will be removed.  Of course, we are not in the major throws of mowing season just yet either so we will see how it goes. 

Yesterday morning Bonnie and Braxton came over and visited Grammy.  Braxton is walking and talking and he had so much fun because Madelyn has different toys than he does.  Watching these babies play and talk to each other in a language that only they can understand is so amazing.  I generally sit on the couch and just watch them interact.  And they love love love ... marshmallows.  I am truly blessed with these two little people and I am so thankful for them.  
Below: Braxton  and his Daddy last 
Wednesday outside 
 enjoying the beautiful weather.  
Below:  Madelyn enjoying the sunshine
and her sidewalk chalk. 

Looking back ... and while this has been the toughest round of chemo yet ... I am so thankful ... for everything ... small or big.  Sometimes we take for granted the little things but writing my blog this morning ... literally it's the little things that have gotten me through the last couple of days.  I urge you to appreciate the little things and be thankful.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says ... give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  

Blessed and very thankful for the little things .... sending you blessings for this beautiful Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Swirlings In My Mind

Isn't it funny how when you are not feeling your best, your mind goes to swirling about things you want to do?  It happens to me every time that I am in a place where I may not be feeling my best.  My body is saying, "no ... you need to rest" and my mind is saying, "gosh, let's go get all those bags of potting soil, cow manure, plants and let's get planting."  And so starts the little battle among the body and mind ... I love it.  Then there is the decision as to which one to listen to, I actually listen to both.

I know my limitations as this point so I will do what I can do.  I have some pots from last year that have last years potting soil in them that needs to be fluffed, you know kinda tilled like you would a garden.  I can get those pots to the back patio and fluff them and go get some lettuce and other stuff that my brother has told me I still have time to plant while the weather is still cooler.  If I take my time and perhaps with a little help from my daughter and sister, I can possibly get the potting soil for my raised garden beds and get those beds prepped.  (I figure my sister and daughter are reading this and saying .... NO WAY! <smile>)

I have a question for you reading this blog post.  What makes you happy?  For me it's being busy.  I love to grow things.  I love to feed the birds.  I love being outside and thinking of what I can do here or there.  For years I put so much pressure on myself though that I do not know that I always enjoyed life.  After being diagnosed with breast cancer and going through the surgery and almost all of the chemo, my life changed.  I now know how to enjoy life.  I used to put so much pressure on myself ... run here, run there, get this done, get that done that I never stopped to smell the flowers I planted and grew.  NOT anymore.  I do not get in any hurry for anything.  I refuse!  It is not worth the toil it takes on your body.   I take my time now for any project I do and if all the things I 'want' to get done do not happen, well there's always tomorrow.  If the Lord takes me before tomorrow, then He didn't deem those things as important.

Now I must admit that this does not stop my mind from swirling but I keep that in check and just proceed with a little at a time.  I'm much happier now in my new laid back way of life and I'm thankful.  Thankful that I realized that it's ok to not hurry here and hurry there all the time.  We never stop learning these life lessons.  Sometimes it takes some of us longer to learn them than others but the blessings that come from learning are tremendous.

Yesterday's post was on 'thankful'.  Today I continue to be thankful.

Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present yourself to God.  And the peace of God,  which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Quick update:  I am thankful to be feeling so much better today.  When I post how I feel after chemo, it is because when I started this blog last October, I said I would write about the good, the bad and the ugly of my journey.  I had someone say to me this week ... how's your pity party going?  I would like to say, my health reports are NOT pity parties, they are true to life feelings, things that I and others are going through with our treatments.  I am sorry for the person who made the reference of the pity party.  I have to remind myself that people may not have a clue or just do not know what to say and use an unfortunate choice of words.

Blessed and sending blessings for a beautiful Saturday!

Friday, February 24, 2012


I love the title of this post .... Thankful!  I am so thankful for many things.  Let me begin ... Chemo round 5 is behind me and I am beginning to feel better.  I weathered the waves of nausea and fatigue and flaming red hot face that the chemo causes.  I was able to work part of the day yesterday.  The weather was beautiful on Wednesday and Thursday and I was able to sit outside and soak up some vitamin D.  My correct compression sleeves are in so I will be able to pick them up today.  I am very thankful for my family who lets me complain about how bad I am feeling after the chemo treatments and they continue to give me encouragement.  They show me love when I know I must be unlovable.  I am thankful for my friend, Greta, who shares encouraging words and our precious Jarrod's scriptures just when I need them the most.  The encouraging emails I get from my friends are priceless.  Being thankful in the tough times is difficult, I cannot deny that, but holding on to my faith, I am thankful because I know God has a plan for my life.  I know He has everything under control so what I need to remember is to be 'thankful'.   Thank you to all who continue reading my blog and for your continued support during my journey.

Jarrod's Verses and Greta's Uplifting Words

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV – Jarrod’s Bible)
17) Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are
no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18) yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19) The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to go on the heights.
Though you go thru fatigue, thrush, no tears, no appetite, I know you rejoice in the Lord.
I know you know and believe He is your strength and He does give you days of good energy
and good appetite! You rejoice and praise always. He is going to lift you to new heights!!!

This morning ... I'm thankful and I am so blessed.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Round 5 Day 3

Yesterday was a low energy day which required much resting.  I was able to eat 5 little meals.  The thrush is back in my mouth.  Thrush makes it hard to want to eat because I cannot taste anything.  I started the thrush medicine for that last night.  The new prescription eye drops are helping my weeping left eye.  I will use the artificial tears in my right eye today as it seems a little dry.  My sister came over and braved giving me yet another Neulasta shot which assists in building my blood counts up.  My face  flushes after this shot and is extremely hot.  Alicia looked at me last night and said, "you need to take your fever".  It's not a fever, it is the Neulasta shot.  So this is my world for today.  I know Jesus is carrying me and I will feel better.  Please pray for my patience, sometimes they waiver just a tad from feeling fatigued.  Thank you to all who continue to read my journey.

Above:  Just one of the beautiful flower arrangements
I have received from my sweet friend, Camille.  Every 
Tuesday since my chemo began, she has sent me flowers 
that have truly brightened the difficult days that follow my
chemo treatment.  

Above:  Monday evening Alicia and Madelyn were
able to have a few minutes on the patio after they got 
home before it cooled off for the evening.  Alicia had gotten
 Madelyn sidewalk chalk for Valentine's and this is the little picture
 I found that she had drawn.  Too sweet!  

Blessed and sending you Wednesday blessings!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Round 5 Update

Chemo round 5 is behind me.  Praising the Lord.  Please continue to pray for appetite, energy and getting through these next 2-3 days.  I know my precious Jesus is not just walking with me but carrying me right now.  Steroids keeps me from sleeping well so not much sleep combined with the chemo drugs is causing the fatigue.  Eye issues from the chemo drug Taxotere which has caused my oily tears to stop.  I was given a prescription for eye drops to get my oily tears flowing again.  Without our oily tears, the salty tears takes over and causes major eye watering and goopy eyes.  This is all for now.  I appreciate your prayers ... thoughts are good but prayers are better.

Blessed and sending blessings!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Round 5 of Chemo Today

Steroids are good for energy but not so good for sleep.  I'm working on about 4 hours of sleep after a very busy day yesterday that started very early.  The steroids kicked in early yesterday morning and my day consisted of a thorough cleaning of my house.  I mean thorough - remember from my list of things about me last week that I am OCD about a clean house.  I bought a Shark Steam Mop and steam cleaned my tile floors in both bathrooms and the kitchen (note: this is an awesome machine), bought a few groceries, cheated and put Round Up on the grass in the raised beds to get that grass out of there in a slightly easier way than me sitting out there pulling it, started my income tax and computer decided to do a reboot in the middle of it.  Stopped that for the night and proceeded at 4:30am this morning.  Almost finished the taxes but the gas lease royalties are a little confusing but I'll get it figured out.  Today is a holiday for me so I won't be taking my work lap top to chemo today but get caught up on my Tim Tebow book.

Round 5 of chemo today one round closer to the last chemo treatment.  Prayed during the night while I was not sleeping that Jesus allows this round to go as smoothly as possible.  I know He is walking and carrying with me today.
My Jesus Calling devotional today says:
LEARN TO LIVE from your true Center in me.  I reside in the deepest depths of your being, in eternal union with your spirit.  It is at this deep level that My Peace reigns continually.  You will not find lasting peace in the world around you, in circumstances, or in human relationships.  The external world is always in flux --- under the curse of death and decay.  But there is a gold mine of Peace deep within you, waiting to be tapped.  Take time to delve into the riches of my residing Presence.  I want you to live increasingly from your real center, where My love has an eternal grip on you.  I am Christ in you, the hope of the glory.

I praise my Jesus today and know He holds me in His awesome arms.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  Thoughts are good but prayers are better.

Blessings and love to all who read this today!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friday and Saturday Happenings

My lyphedema therapy appointment was Friday afternoon and I am so very very glad I got that appointment when I did and went.  The compression sleeve that was ordered for me with specifics that it was to be a Max which means the sleeve is flanged at the top of the sleeve was not what I was given.  Flanged or flared at the top means it should have a wider band at the top so it doesn't cut in to my arm.  The compression sleeve I got was not flared but rather straight up and down was cutting in to my upper arm.  Linda, my therapist took one look at my sleeve on my arm when I got there and said that she had some serious concerns about the sleeve.  When I took it off, she read the tag and found out it was not what she had ordered.  The tight band at the top of the sleeve caused the lymph node fluid from flowing up my arm which means it was trapped and was pooling around my elbow.  Linda took new measurements of my arm and we did a comparison from the last measurements and sure enough there was swelling around my elbow.  I must tell you that I was and am aggravated that this happened.  We trust these trained sales people and in my opinion these sales people should ensure that what they are providing a customer is 100% correct because most people like myself knows nothing about these products and trust my providers.  You may be sitting there saying to yourself ... Gena, people make mistakes.  Yes, people make mistakes but remember something of this nature could be life altering.  I guess I could take this a step farther ... what if this had been a chemo nurse and gave someone the wrong chemo drug ... these things can be life altering for a cancer patient.  On Friday when I went to the place I purchased the sleeve and talked to my sales lady, she said, "Ooops".   Lesson learned ... you have to look out for yourself in these things and question to ensure you are getting what is ordered.  I have lost trust in the place where I bought the sleeve and will never walk out of the store without ensuring I am getting what is ordered.  Of course the store had to order my new correct sleeves and it will be the end of the week before I can get them.  Today I have made a make shift sleeve with a wide ace bandage so I can clean house and scrub.

While in the store where I met two women - sisters - both had had breast cancer.  One of the sisters was on her third diagnosis of breast cancer and was getting ready to begin chemo that would make her lose her hair.    These ladies were a blessing to me and as they left, I wished her the best as she begins the journey of new chemo drugs.

All in all my therapy appointment went great.  Linda is top notch about all this and Friday she provided me with some exercises that can be done sitting at a desk or standing that will help keep the lymph fluid draining.  So combined with the lymph node drainage procedures I do and the exercises, I feel I am doing all that I can to keep this fluid flowing and I pray that I do not get lyphedema.  

After I got back to my area of town on Friday, I went to Home Depot to get the lumber I needed for my raised beds.  I had talked to my brother about what I needed and had it all written down.  I got my cedar 2 X 4's and got the boards that needed to be cut to size, found the screws I needed and home I came.  The Home Depot closest to my house had just enough cedar 2 X 4's for one raised bed so early Saturday morning, my sister and I ran to another Home Depot and got some things she needed and I got enough lumber for another raised bed.  Since it was raining and my brother couldn't get out and do anything in his yard (we are all yard people), so he came and screwed the boxes together and because it had rained so much, getting them set in the ground was not an issue.  My brother is a rather large man and a few good stomps on the anchor posts and both beds were anchored in the ground.  We put them exactly where I wanted them which is centered with my patio and I cannot wait to get the grass cleared away and the beds filled with soil and plants.
Above:  Raised beds centered with my patio
 Above:  Bed off to the right
 Above:  View stepping back on patio
Above:  Bed to the left
When you look at the fence line, all that green stuff is weeds.  Yeppers, I have a lot of work getting my yard in shape this year and I look so forward to it.  

Friday I got the Wii out and used the Wii Fitness DVD.  I did about three cardio exercises and it felt good.  I am not in the best of shape so boy did I get sore.  <laughing>  My plan is to start small and keep building up.

My appetite remained non existent and I finally gave in Friday night and ordered me a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut thinking this would help me.  I must say the pizza was good.  Saturday for lunch we had the same thing.  The appetite and taste thing is kinda funny how it affects and when it affects.  I know it's the steroids causing my weight gain and there is nothing I can do about that.  Once I am finished with the chemo and the steroids, I know I can get the weight off.

Speaking of steroids, today is the day (Sunday) that I start them again.  I've had my first two steroids of the day already.  I didn't do any cleaning yesterday, saving it for today when I know my energy level will be off the charts with the steroids.  As a matter of fact, yesterday after my brother and I got the raised beds in place, I didn't really do anything.  Alicia and I watched Whitney Houston's funeral and I must say, it was a beautiful service (pretty long - 4 hours).  Yes, Whitney fought her drug and alcohol demons but she never faltered from her faith and love of the Lord.  Kevin Costner was an invited guest and speaker spoke about his Bodyguard co-star.  If you didn't watch the funeral service, take about 17 minutes to listen to Costner eulogize Whitney.

Tomorrow (Monday) is round 5 of my chemo.  I want to say I am jumping up and down and can't wait but in reality that's not the case... however, I am very happy that this is round 5.  I will get through this round and move on to round 6.  I look forward to this part of my journey being over and behind me.  At the same time, I am very thankful for the treatment that will have killed any escaping cancer cells and will allow me to continue on my life.

Today I will clean and get some fresh veggies and fruits and get prepared for next week.

*  Round 5 of my chemo treatments.
*  Linda, lymphedema therapist.
*  Continuing to meet survivor sisters that bless me more than they know.
*  All the rain that we have gotten in the last couple days.
*  My family and friends who continue to hold me up in prayer.
*  Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas.

Prayer Requests:
*  Nothing gets in the way of round 5 and I get through without any glitches.
*  The precious lady I met Friday who is facing yet another battle with her breast cancer.
*  The compression sleeves that I am supposed to have, come in and I can get them picked up to use.  I really miss the sleeve.  I wear it all day and know that I can do anything with it on and not really have any worries about my arm.
*  Those who are beginning their journey through breast cancer.  They need our prayers more than you know.

Blessed and sending you blessings!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Friday .... YAAA~   What's on tap for your weekend?  I have several things that I want to get done before my 5th round of chemo on Monday and I feel great and plan to get it done.

I wanted to show you a closer up picture of the plant that I got for Valentine's Day.  It is a Cyclamen.  The instructions on the little tab that came with it states:  Enjoy indoors by placing in any area of the home that is not too warm or receives south sun.  Likes air conditioning!  (don't we all)  Plant will continue to flower for several months and in time will produce 1 flower for each new leaf.  It can be placed outdoors in a container during temperatures of 35 to 80 degrees.  Best with shade from noon on.  (I will go for that too).  My plant has already added about 4 new blooms.  It is so cool because this plant blooms from the middle.  When I look in the middle of the plant, there is a little bloom tucked under the leaves just waiting to get strong enough to burst through the mature leaves.  I am going to transplant this precious plant and put in on the shelf above my kitchen sink.
Above:  See how all the flowers are in the middle
of the plant?  

Above:  See the little bloom  hiding under the mature

My Jesus Calling devotional speaks to me in unbelievable ways.  I know it is Jesus speaking to me about my upcoming chemo treatment.  Below is yesterdays reading.
      THANK ME for the conditions that are requiring you to be still.  Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.  Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells.  Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances.  Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.
      Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you.  Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me.  Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms.  My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.

Reading this devotional made me remember that Jesus knows our every thought.  This was very powerful to me and made me realize once again ... that He has is all under control.  Thank you Jesus.

If you happen to see my appetite, send it home and bring a tow truck to get these three pounds I've gained.  <smile>  Not sure what's going on but something is.  I guess it's all to be expected. The last 3 or 4 nights I have found that my lower legs and ankles are swollen to the point of no ankle bone.  All I can figure that is causing this is one of the meds I'm taking so I pulled out all the information sheets on the meds and sure enough there is one that causes legs, ankles and feet to swell.  It's the Singular that I take to open up my bronchials.

I have been wearing my compression sleeve all this week.  Before I put it on, I do my lymph node drainage procedures.  There is so much more to lymphedema than anyone really knows.  Beginning the drainage procedures as soon as possible after lymph node removal surgery really helps in prevention and control of lymphedema.  I am so glad that my Oncologist recommended I get to a lymphedema therapist when she did.  I still do not think I have lymphedema but so glad that I have the drainage procedures that I do twice a day.  I have an appointment this afternoon with my therapist to go over some exercises that I can do.  I also ordered an exercise DVD yesterday that is specifically designed for breast cancer patients with lymph node removal.

Oh ... update for dinner last night.  I didn't cook again because with no appetite it is very hard to even think about food.  My sister and Alicia both got home about the same time and we put our heads together and decided we would have breakfast for dinner.  Bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and biscuits it was.  I didn't eat the eggs, you guessed it, funky tasting to me even with some hot sauce on them.  Biscuits and a piece of bacon... good!  Sometimes it's just good to have breakfast at dinner.

Gotta run for now.  Have a great Friday.
Blessed and sending blessings!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This and That

Yesterday was an extremely busy day with work.  About noon I decided I didn't want to cook dinner so I text my sister and Alicia with the following:
Dear Fellow Diners,
I will not be cooking tonight.  Your choices:  Chic-Fil-A; Boston Market; Ci Ci Pizza; Pizza Hut Pizza; Pizza Hut Wings
Let me know.
The Cook
*** I added:  I will add Pei Wei as the only place to will go in for pick up.  Pei Wei Spicey Chicken salad sounds good to me.  My appetite is missing.

Pei Wei won out.  My sister opted out though and ate some left overs she had.  I got my Pei Wei Spicey chicken salad and I ate the entire salad.  It was good and I just couldn't stop.  I feel like it was a healthy choice ... OK so I didn't figure the WW points on the chicken but for the entire day without an appetite, I'm sure I was in my range.

As the news broke yesterday about the drug bust of the TCU students once again my mind went in to a tail spin. I will never ever understand why?  Why do people do drugs to begin with?  Why would these students risk losing everything to sell and use drugs?  Actually there are so many whys but I do not believe it is for me to understand.  I don't judge ... I can only shake my head and wonder.

For fun .... a few things you may or may not know about me.

I have a shih tzu pooch named Tootie.

I know how to pronounce shih tzu and it doesn't involve the s**t word.

I absolutely love to be outside.

I love to cook.

I love coffee with Coffee Mate.

I love to feed and watch birds.

I love to grow things.

I love spring and fall but my favorite is spring.

I have changed oil in my own car.

I love tie wraps.

My ambition as a young girl was to be a secretary.

I analyze things way too much.

I laid ceramic tile in both my bathrooms by myself.

Most of my life, I have been a health nut.

I laugh when I see someone fall (if they are not hurt).

I drink anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of water a day.

I like Welch's Pure Grape Juice.

I love spicey foods.

I love my job.

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of 15 at Oak Knoll Baptist Church in Haltom City.

I had my girls in my late 20's.

I will be 56 years old in March.

When I turn 56, I will have outlived both of my parents.

I dislike dirty dishes being left in the sink.

I love orange juice.

I am afraid of the dark.

I like to read autobiographies.

I am OCD about having a clean house especially kitchen and bathrooms.

I am the middle child.

I have an older sister and younger brother.

I love to laugh.

I have an addiction to donuts so I stay away from them.

I love clean sheets.

I make a pleat in my top sheet before I tuck it in to give my feet extra room.

I do not watch many movies because it requires me to sit still.

I love Malt-O-Meal.

I have great listening skills.

I stopped watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice this season.

I dislike drama riddled shows.

I love being a Grammy and look forward to many years in this role.

I love my family.

I love my friends.

So there you have a few things you may or may not have known about me.  Trust me there are many many more.  <smile>

Blessed and sending you blessings!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday

I hope you had a beautiful Valentine's Day.  I did.  I love giving and I got to pass out all my Valentine cards with little surprises.  I hope the cards that I mailed were received on time.  I am always in question when I want to mail cards for a special occasion as to "when" do I mail them to get there on the specific day.  I have a friend who never misses the day and I do not know how they do it.

As a child growing up, Valentine's Day was not a big deal in our family.  When we were in school, we got the little Valentine cards to distribute to our school mates but our family didn't celebrate the occasion.  When I got married and we had our girls, I always made a big deal about all the special occasions and I loved doing it.  I would buy just the right card and find just the right gift for my girls and their Dad.  I got almost as excited about the special occasions as Christmas.

Yesterday my Neulasta shot was supposed to be delivered via UPS.  At noon it was not here.  It has always been delivered by 10:30am so I began making some calls.  Evidently the fog in Dallas yesterday caused quite a delay in deliveries.  I had a quick errand to run yesterday afternoon and guess what?  They came during the time that I was gone.  (Murphy's Law)  <smile>  Today it will be delivered at the regular time (before 10:30am) per the lady from UPS who called to check last night.

Dinner last night seemed to be much better than the night before with the salty beans and vinegar coleslaw. <laughing>   I really was not sure what to make for dinner and finally decided on meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a nice green salad.  Again, I do not cook with salt (nor do I eat it) so I knew nothing should be salty.  I have a specific way that I have made my meatloaf for years that includes a package of Lipton Dry Onion Soup Mix.  Well I had used all the soup mix I had the night before trying to make those stupid beans <smile> so I had to wing it.  My meatloaf last night contained sauteed red and yellow bell pepper, onion, pepper, an egg, 1/3 can of Cream of Chicken soup and Panko breadcrumbs.  I have to tell you that it was really good.  The soup gave it a little different texture and a really good flavor.  I put Panko breadcrumbs in the meatloaf and under the meatloaf and on top of the meatloaf so there was a little crunchy texture.  I think I got an A+ on dinner.

After dinner I ran to see Braxton for a little bit.  When I got there, we read a book as he sat in my lap.  Of course he is way too active to sit still too long.  Mom and Dad were doing laundry and putting it away and he got down and followed them to the bedroom where he decided he was kinda done with Grammy and stayed to play with the door.  He is tall enough to reach the handle (not a knob) so he opened and shut the door and had himself a good time.

I had the opportunity to start the Tim Tebow book last night and it is so good.  I have it posted on my bookshelf as one of the books I am reading.

I feel good and have high energy.  Praise the Lord!  We all have another day ahead so make it a good one.  There is no second chance.

Blessed and sending blessings your way!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day ...

Good morning all!!!  
Dressed in pink wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

What a fun day Valentine's Day can be.  This day to me does not mean  "why show love on just one day" day OR "oh whoa is me, I don't have a "honey" in my life" day.  It's a fun day.  Yes, we should and do show love everyday.  As far as not having a "honey" in your life, I say "LOOK AROUND" and see how many "honeys" you have in your life.  I have so many 'honeys' and how very thankful I am for all of them.  If you don't have that one special "honey" ....  well get off your duff and go to Walmart and buy a bouquet of flowers for someone else.  Get a 99 cent card and go do something nice for someone else.  It's never too late or too bad to indulge yourself with a small box of chocolates (if you wait until tomorrow the heart shaped chocolate boxes will be cheaper).  Do not sit around and drown in sorrow ... GO HAVE FUN WITH IT!

Creativity can be a big part of this day.  Look at the pictures below of the goody bags my Bonnie made to take to the baby sitter for the kiddos party.
 Above:   These are the labels she created.
It says:   Would you o-'fish'-ally be my Valentine?

Above:  The label attached to a baggie full of gold fish makes a cute
treat for the kiddos especially Braxton and Madelyn since 
they are still to young for the candy.

This morning Madelyn gave Grammy a Valentine.  A new plant which is so pretty, a box of chocolate covered cherries and the cutest card from her Mommy and her.
Above:  Madelyn was really more interested in looking
at Tootie on the bed. 

 Above:  She was really interested in 'picking' the flowers

Above:  She was really NOT interested in having her
picture taken.

And Cupid visited Madelyn.  

 The little boxes of goldfish caught her eye immediately
and she was signing "more" by tapping her hands together.
Above:  AND she still wasn't interested in having her picture

This evening I am going to see Braxton.  Can't wait to see my little guy (and Bonnie and Buddy).

Last night was pork spare/short ribs night with baked BBQ beans and coleslaw.  I recently bought a can of Bush's Baked Beans intending to serve them with the ribs.  I opened the can and poured them in my dish and added a few things and they tasted like 'yuck' to me so down the disposal they went.  I went to the pantry and looked for some pork and beans to make my baked beans, found two cans of what I thought was pork and beans and once I opened them, realized they were pinto beans.  So my quick brain kicked in and I decided BBQ beans.  I added a package of onion soup mix and some BBQ sauce and stuck them in the oven with the ribs.  I got the shredded coleslaw mix out and was going to make the Sammy's BBQ tart coleslaw dressing.  I didn't have any plain white vinegar so I grabbed my sister's house key and across the street I went.  My sister always has everything I need in her pantry if I don't have it.  On the vinegar shelf (yes, she's that organized) was about six different kinds of vinegar but no cheap plain white vinegar, however, there was a bottle of white wine vinegar.  To know me is to know I was thinking ... ahhhh, this will work.  So I set the alarm and locked the door and back across the street I came to mix up the dressing.  Now chemo brain sets in because I couldn't remember if I was supposed to mix the vinegar with water or olive oil ... no problem, I didn't mix it with anything and put straight white wine vinegar on the shredded coleslaw mix.  Stir it up and put it in the fridge.  My thoughts ... Dinner is cooking and will be ready at just the right time.

Dinner:   Alicia gets Madelyn in her high chair and gets the beans and ribs out of the oven, coleslaw out of the fridge and makes their plates.  Alicia tasted the beans, looked at me and said they were good but really salty.  I did not put any salt in the beans whatsoever.  She gasped a bit when she tasted the coleslaw from the straight vinegar dressing <laughing>.  I said in my happy energetic voice, "is it good? < really laughing hard right now> And she quietly says, "yes it's ok".  My sister gets here and she's starving and makes her plate and sits down to eat <I'm laughing>.  She loves Sammy's BBQ tart coleslaw and she gets a fork full of  my coleslaw <laughing so hard I'm crying typing this> and she gasp and cleared her throat.  At this point I'm making my plate (I'm always the last to sit down at the table and the last to get up) and I hear the gasp and try not think anything.  I sit down at my place at the table and look at my sister and ask if the beans are salty.  I told her Alicia said the beans were salty and she said yes, they are.  I explained I didn't put any salt in them and I used canned pinto beans but maybe it was the package of Lipton onion soup mix that caused that.  I could not taste any salt, I could not taste the beans period.  I ask my sister about how to make the dressing for the coleslaw of which she was getting another bite and she said, "Vinegar and a little olive oil, salt and pepper".  I said, "oh well I left the olive oil out" ... she said we can tell.  I could not taste the vinegar or the coleslaw either.  The ribs were a success though.  So one out of three dishes was good ... hmmmm wonder what to make for dinner tonight?

I went to the Center yesterday for my routine blood work and took my five day log for my fever and meds that I had kept since last Thursday when the temp started.  I got my blood drawn and went to the little room to sit with Cindy, the nurse, who gives me my results.  She ask me how I was and I told her good.  I told her I had my log and she read over it and immediately got in the appointment area of her computer and grabbed the last appointment with Helena, nurse practitioner.  Cindy got my blood results and there is this category titled NEUT they look at and if it's high, that usually means something is going on ... like infection.  Cindy showed me the report and all was good except that NEUT number was high.  Cindy handed me a mask and told me to keep it on especially while sitting in the waiting area due to the fever.

Yes, that is me under the leather coat, scarf
heavy knitted cap, reading glasses and 
my MASK!!!!  <laughing>  
So I headed downstairs to the vending machines just in case they were running really behind and got me some snacks and then to my doctors office to wait for my appointment.  Eating Cheetos with a mask was pretty comical.  I text my nephew and he told me to wipe my cheesy hands on the outside of my mask.  I didn't do that but was tempted. (I have a weird sense of humor .. so does my nephew, he gets it from me!)

While in the waiting room, I met some beautiful survivor 'sisters' and had such wonderful conversation with them.  One of the ladies and I were at about the same place on our journey, there was a five year survivor, a beautiful young (30's) Philippino lady who had walked and completed her surgery and treatment journey last year and then the young (30's) lady who had just begun.  It was awesome getting to talk to all of them.  I'll see them again as we are all on the Monday schedule.

When it was my turn, I got called back and Helena came in and listened and looked and determined my fever had to be coming from a sinus infection.  Thankfully she gave me a prescription for antibiotics and told me to keep doing what I had been doing.  I went by the pharmacy in the Center, got the prescription and headed back home.  Took my first antibiotic last night and went to bed with a temp of 98.1 ... now that's what I'm talking about.  My normal temp is not 98.6 but lower like 98.1.  This morning I woke up and it was 98.7 and I feel good.  Praise the Lord.

One last picture for today.  I believe my left upper arm has begun swelling a bit so this morning I am wearing my compression sleeve.  Remember the post from the other day when I bought the sleeve and made comment that I hoped I never have to wear it because it is so tight?  Well let me say that I am taking that back.  This compression sleeve is making my arm feel so much better.  I did my lymph node drainage before putting it on so hopefully everything is draining upward to the right place.

If nothing else from today's post I hope you laughed.  I did ... out loud and a lot~!~!~   I hope you realize that while you might not have a 'honey' you certainly have people who love you so go have fun with the day. Make some salty BBQ beans and vinegar coleslaw and serve them and watch people's faces ... that'll make you laugh.  (Now Alicia and Pat will think I did that on purpose but I promise I didn't.  <laughing>)

I leave you today knowing that I am VERY blessed and sending many blessings!!!