Memories

Souvenirs of the mind from the past. So beautiful. We all carry them till we die. It is what has helped shaped our lives. Bad and good. I have so many good memories of my life, 54 years of them. From doing karate as a kid, when I really wanted to do dance, then growing up, having my own kids, all girls, and putting them in dance and cheer. lol

I had a big family on both my mom and dad’s sides and I had a lot of cousins. A lot of my best memories growing up were spending time with them. Easter egg hunts, tamales at Christmas, and summers swimming till dark.

Since I have gotten sick with cancer I have reunited with cousins on both sides which has been like winning the lottery. We have reconnected and spent time together, which has really been nice. We hadn’t seen each other in over 30 years.

Family is so important, sometimes we take each other for granted thinking we will always be there…but when things like cancer hit the family everyone becomes suddenly so individually precious.

I have 9 grandchildren and the 10th one is currently in the process of being born as I write. She will be here tonight or tomorrow. She lives in Utah so no telling when I will get to meet her but at least we have social media so that I can see her. Out of the 10, one is biologically mine and she looks just like me. I see her almost everyday. She is the only grandchild that lives close to us. The other 9 all live in other states so we rarely get to see them. Eliana will be 6 weeks old tomorrow and she is the light of my life. She makes me so happy. I can stare at her precious little face for hours. I have never known love like the love for a grandchild, an extension of me. My blood runs through her veins. I hope and pray that I live long enough to make memories with her so that she remembers me. If not, I will be her guardian angel always. I wish the rest of our grandchildren lived close by so that we could spend time with them and make memories with them. They hardly know us. But each one is so precious.

Grandchildren are the best. You can love and spoil them and then give them back to their parents to take care of them. I love watching them all grow up and watching their little personalities develop. They are such little people and so smart. Our grandchildren range from ages 7 to 0. And again….all so precious. I am so happy that we have at least one that lives close by that we can be a part of her life and she will know us.

When I’m not feeling good or having a bad day I just have to think about Eliana, look at her picture, and my day immediately brightens up. I can’t explain the feeling that I get inside when I see or hold her. It’s a feeling of so much love I didn’t know was possible. I feel so blessed and am so thankful that God has given me the time to be here and experience such love.

As long as I am alive I am still making memories for myself and those that I love.

Coming out of the fog

I’m finally feeling better today and coming out of the fog. The ‘chemo flu’ (that’s what me and my husband call it cause it feels like the flu) hit me on Sunday night and knocked me off my butt on Monday and Tuesday. I was lethargic and could do nothing but sleep. My family tries to get me to eat, which I do very little of on those days cause I am in so much pain that my body shakes and all I want to do is take pain meds and sleep. Those are days that I wish I had a caretaker to feed me and help me cause it takes everything I have to just get out of bed to go to bathroom, brush my teeth or get some water, much less feed myself. My family has offered to come help me, but I say no cause not only do I not want to be a bother, but then I feel like I can’t sleep, and that is all that I want to do. My dear cousin Michelle was here from Virginia over the weekend. I felt bad for her cause I wanted to do a lot of things with her but I had no energy to do so. She came on Saturday and we had a good day–we went to see my new granddughter, got mani\pedis, then went to dinner and had wine and listened to a live band and just chit chatted, on Sunday we went to a park called Zilker Park where we used to go when we were little and went swimming in Barton Springs and just reminisced. It was fun. On the way home from dinner that night I could feel the ‘chemo flu’ coming on… and sure enough on Monday I couldn’t get out of bed and it was her last day here. She spent the day cleaning and reorganizing my pantry and fridge while I slept then made a lasagna for dinner. I got up and went and laid in her bed and she laid with me and watched me sleep. I love her for that. Had I not been sick I would have had a get together at my house with the whole family to come and see her and I would have cooked for her. But not this time. And she didn’t expect anything. She came to see all the family in May while I was in Vegas that is why she said she came this time just to see me and spend time with me. She knows I’m terminal and wanted to spend time with me while she still could. I appreciate that. All in all we still managed to have a good time just being together.

Between the meds and therapy I’m starting to feel better as far as the anxiety that I was having. But one thing I have noticed that I miss and don’t know how to get back is laughing. I don’t laugh anymore, not like I used to. And I miss it. I watch funny stuff on TV, my husband tries to get me to laugh but it just isn’t there. I might chuckle, but that’s about it. I need to laugh. I could fake it, but that wouldn’t be the same. lol I guess I’ll bring that up more in therapy.

This chemo has been harder than I thought it was going to be and it is making me sicker for longer than I thought it was going to. I didn’t think it would debilitate me as much as it has. It kind of makes me feel sad in a way that my quality of life is waning, but I feel like I have no right to complain because it is keeping me alive and still here. It’s a hard life to be living. Not that I’m giving up, it’s just hard. I have a new pain in my stomach that I believe is from the chemo. I think the chemo is tearing up my gut. I’ve been putting peppermint oil on it which helps temporarily, but then the pain comes back. I’ll tell my Oncologist when I go in next week. It will be chemo round #6 on Tuesday. Every three weeks comes so fast.

Correction to my last post…my daughter brought to my attention that I left the H off of Hakuna Matata. So Hakuna Matata to all ~no worries. 🙂

It’s been a rollercoaster ride!

People have been asking why I haven’t written in my blog, it’s because I’ve been having some really hard days, both mentally and physically. I’ve been suffering with a lot of fear, anxiety, and pain. I know in my last blog I said the pain was going away but last week it came back for a few days with a vengeance and I got scared that the cancer was spreading again. Every time I have gotten pain like that in the past, I have gotten a new spot. But this pain was in the same spots where I already have tumors. I had scans done on Monday and got the results yesterday and found out that all is stable and well and the tumors are actually responding to the new chemo and they are slowly shrinking. So that was good news and a relief. The doctor said the pain in my back is from the damage that the tumors have already done and something I will have to just live with from now on. At least it was nothing new. There was a new little spot on my liver that is 4mm….really small, too small to biopsy. But the doctor does not think it is cancer. He thinks it is a part of a liver hemangioma (a benign lump of blood vessels) that I have had and was possibly born with. They saw this on the first scan and did not think it was cancer. But now that a new spot next to it has developed he is going to get an MRI just to make sure it is not cancer, which he is pretty sure that it isn’t. I’ll get re-scanned with an MRI of the liver in 2 months instead of 3-4 months. Just to rule it out and be sure.

So last week was a very bad week for me. I was put on anti-anxiety medication and the med also treats depression which I probably have a little of. I started having a lot of fear and anxiety when I was diagnosed with cancer and it has only gotten worse. My therapist helped me realize it is more anxiety than fear that I’m dealing with. So I got put on meds to help. I think they are starting to work. My thoughts of the ‘what if’s’ are starting to lessen. But I was getting to where I was to afraid to go anywhere or do anything and I didn’t want any of my loved ones out and about either. UGH…what an awful way to live. Along with the severe back pain that I was having came the brutal realization that I actually have Cancer. It never has really hit me before, until last week. The pain was so bad it was making me cry and I don’t cry easily. Pain meds were only taking the edge off. Cancer pain is a different kind of pain than any pain I’ve ever experienced. It hurts deep down inside and it is relentless. Even though the tumors in the bone are non active, they have damaged the bone and the nerves. All the tumors in the lungs cause my lungs to have a constant ache and sometimes twist and turn with cramps. A very painful sensation. So I was sad and crying a lot last week. My therapist helped me get through it along with the new medication. I’m starting to feel better again this week and the good news of the scans made me hopeful again. I was starting to give all my stuff away, lol…which my kids were like…don’t do that!

I realized that from day to day good and bad things are going to happen to us that we cannot control. For instance….last week my husband was in a minor car accident where he was rear ended. We found out yesterday that they are going to total the car cause it is not worth fixing so now we have to get a new car…the good part was…my husband was not hurt, and we will get a newer car with a lower payment. Also last week one of his employees was in a pretty bad car accident as he was turning into work. Luckily he was ok too. Then 2 nights ago we get a call that my mother in law had a stroke. She lives in AZ. Luckily it was a mild stroke and since she never goes to the doctor now they have caught all this stuff that is wrong with her..diabetes, high cholesterol, and her carotid artery is 95% occluded so she is going to need a stent. She can still talk and comprehend, and she is ok, she only lost some of her strength in her arm and leg and will be going to rehab to get that taken care of. But everything was mild and caught early. Thank God! So we just NEVER KNOW! And sometimes the bad stuff comes with a little blessing in disguise. It’s life. And that is what I was starting to be afraid of… LIFE. But I cannot live that way or I won’t have a LIFE. So that is my struggle right now. Cancer has just made life more precious to me and I don’t want anything bad to ever happen to anyone that I love and care about, but that I just cannot control. I just have to pray blessings over everyone and let God take care of it. After all worry is your imagination gone awry.

Akuna Matata~No Worries.

99% Of surviving cancer comes from a positive mental status.

There are ups and downs in cancer, good days and bad days. It’s not always easy to stay positive. BUT it is a must to try to stay having a positive outlook as much as possible in order to survive. If you have negative thoughts about you dying all the time, then you are probably going to die sooner than later. But if you think positive and think about living instead of dying, then you most likely will live longer. It’s been proven again and again in patients with cancer. Those with a positive outlook live longer. Yes, just longer. Cancer always gets us in the end eventually, but those who live positively seem to live longer than what was expected. And it’s hard to do. Not going to lie. I get told quite frequently that I have a great attitude and you can hardly tell I’m sick. I try to think positive, but I do get those days that get me when I start counting down the years of my prognosis and I start to cry and have a pity party… And start thinking about the what ifs…I’m not perfect, but I try.

The bottom line is ANGER. Why did this happen to me? Why now in my early 50’s? I’ve still got a lot of good years left in me, I’m still young..etc.. But it happened, to me, now. Cancer does not discriminate.

I had chemo today. 3rd round of the infinite chemo. Until my body gets too toxic to take anymore. I am hoping that is years and years away. Then I will go to the next treatment…the 4th line of defense…I’m on my 3rd line. And the doctor says there are many lines for me still. Although this one is supposed to be a really good one. I feel fine on days 1 and 2 from all the steroids I get. I get ravenous hunger and I can’t sleep, (thus this writing at midnight). The diarrhea and nausea start, but I have meds for that. Then it hits me like a ton of bricks on day 3 where I feel like I have the flu…BADDDDD! Then I’m sick on days 4 thru 10 and start to slowly get better on days 11 thru 14. By day 15 I’m starting to come out of it and start feeling better on week 3 before I have to go get hit with chemo again. So basically I have one good week out of the month. I still feel weak and I tire easily, BUT this Shit is keeping me alive. I get scans in 3 weeks. I will have had radiation and 3 rounds of chemo so we will see if it’s all working. I am feeling better, the pain in my spine is gone. And the cough that I get from the tumor on my sternum, (yes it causes a cough) is going away. So I am thinking this Shit is working. Hoping so anyway.

I have way too much to live for and am in no hurry to leave this earth. I just watched my first biological and 9th grandchild be born and it was the most awesome thing I have ever seen and experienced. It was sooooo beautiful! Eliana Ruby. 6# 8oz, came into this world on 7-27 at 10:58 AM after a 23 hour labor. My daughter was a trooper and did sooo good! So there you go. I can’t go anywhere anytime soon. I have to see her grow up. I have to see my other two daughters bring their kids into this world too. And I know Jenny plans on having more than just one. So, too much to live for. So I must have a positive attitude more than not.

I am in heaven with that baby. She spent 5 hours in my arms this evening. I just couldn’t put her down. She is the sweetest thing ever! I changed her poopy diaper and fed her a bottle, burped her and put her back to sleep where she slept in my arms until she got hungry again. I am soooo in love. There is nothing like a grandbaby. I love her and give her back to mommy when I have to come home and get some sleep. LOL My poor daughter. She got to take a 3 hour nap while I was there though. Plus I took them some dinner that I made, so I fed her and hubby too. They are such a cute little family. And it is so awesome to see and experience my daughter with her own babygirl. I told her that now she knows and understands the kind of love that I have for her. The love of a mom is like no other and the love of a grandmother is even more so. WOW. I am so thankful and grateful. GOD IS GOOD!

There are women that I have heard of who have lived for more than 13 years with metastatic breast cancer, and I plan to beat them all! 🙂

Goodnight my friends.

Done with radiation…onward with the chemo!

Finished radiation yesterday, did my 2nd infinite chemo today. The radiation will continue to work in my body for 4-6 weeks with it peaking in 1-2 weeks. My esophagus is hurting when I eat which is one of the side effects of radiating the T-11 (Thoracic 11 spine)…inflammation of the esophagus. It hurts when I swallow food so I have to eat soft foods and liquids for the next 2 weeks as they told me the symptoms would get worse before they get better as the radiation peaks. 😦 Good news is my back pain is just about all gone. 🙂 I am to expect the same symptoms as last time that I did chemo and radiation together…major fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea/vomiting. We are hoping the symptoms will be better once the radiation is out of my body and I am only doing chemo by itself….which will be by the 3rd and 4th treatments. Then I’ll know how I am really going to be doing on the new regimen. I get scans again in 5 weeks so we can see how all these new treatments worked. Fingers crossed…nothing will be new and the old will be going away!!!! Nothing but hopeful here!

I have the best cancer treatment team and Oncology nurses! They have all been with me going on 3 years. There have been some changes, but luckily there is not a big turn over there…so all the doctors, nurses, techs, etc… remain the same and you get to know all of these people seeing them all the time. I go to a small town Texas Oncology Center in Bastrop. Sometimes I have to go to the big one in Austin, (which is an hour away) but for the most part I am blessed to be able to go here in my little town. Radiation is in Austin, but chemo is here in town, less than a 10 minute drive from my home. My Oncologist works at both locations. The hospital is next door if there are any emergencies. (Convenient. In Austin the hospital is right across the street too. I guess they need to have a hospital close to their locations just in case of emergencies.) My whole treatment time with labs, seeing the doctor and the infusion is looking to be like 3- 1/2 to 4 hours. Basically 1/2 a day. Longer than I was expecting to be there…but I guess I should know by now to expect long times at the infusion center on infusion days. So far so good. I just mainly feel tired. Been chilling and watching movies this afternoon from the Red Box. I would love to go swimming and spend some time in the sun…but there is no swimming for 3 days after accessing the port and no swimming for 2 weeks after radiation. That is what they told me yesterday…ooops! I went swimming on Saturday. lol and I shouldn’t have. But I felt fine. Sun and radiation don’t mix. Nothing happened that I can see anyways. Maybe that is why my esophagus started hurting worse…hmmmm….sun intensifies the radiation in the body. BUT I HAD A BLAST!!!

My son Conner and his 2 boys came for the weekend to visit. (Conner lives in Virginia now) We had a great time. They love having sleep overs at grandma and grandpas house. They have little tents they put up in the front room and love to “camp out”. We took them to the park and the pool on Saturday so Grandma HAD TO SWIM with them. It was a good time. I love playing grandma. I packed them a cooler with PBJ sandwiches and Cheetos, and melon… the BEST lunch for swimming! lol

On Friday all the kids came over to hang out with Conner and the boys and I made a big batch of chili and cornbread. It was deeelish! We had a good long weekend with family and it was soooo nice!

This weekend the chemo will peak and I am due to go to my daughters baby shower on Saturday. I am sooo hoping I’m not doing to bad. I don’t have to do anything but show up. But still. I hate when I have to do something or be somewhere when I’m not feeling well and I just have to suck it up and do it! Like NIKE….JUST DO IT! There has been a lot of that these past 3 years, but what the hell…I just tell myself I’m still here and I’m alive…so suck it up Buttercup and Just Do It! UGH….and I do. Some call it being strong…I call it stubbornly living. I refuse to give in to this disease and let it get me down. I know it will eventually beat me… but not anytime soon if I can help it! I go back to work next week…people tell me that I should take more time off due to chemo, but I can’t. Not that work won’t allow me to take the time off, but mentally and physically I NEED to get back to my normal routine. I’ve been gone long enough. Right now I can continue pretty much where I left off, with too much time off, I have to have refresher training and I feel like have to start all over again. Blah on that! So I would rather much go back sooner than later. I know I will most likely be retiring earlier than I had normally anticipated, but even that is a ways off…I’m hoping. So I take advantage of being able to work whilst I still can!

Sooooo just keep doing what your doing and LIVE LIVE LIVE and LOVE LIFE! It’s the ONLY ONE YOU GOT! :)—-and if you have to…SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP and JUST DO IT…LIKE NIKE!

Happy Fourth of July!

Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe fourth of July! We just watched Netflix all day long and stayed in our PJ’s. It was VERY RELAXING! It was a little sad as this was the first fourth of July in about 5 years that we did NOT have a get together with our family. Since we moved into a much smaller house, we just don’t have the space to entertain anymore like we used to. We went to the fourth of July festival that our town had on Saturday and watched fireworks. It was fun. They shoot fireworks over the Colorado River and we just happened to sit behind a big oak tree that was right in front of the fireworks. lol My hubbie asked me if I wanted to move to where we could see better but I said no, something eerie and sweet about seeing the huge fireworks behind the shadow of that big old oak tree. They were really beautiful and a memory of fireworks that I will never forget.

We binged watched season 3 of Stranger Things that was released today. lol We started at like 10 AM and finished it at around 7 PM. It is soooooooo goood!!!! Then we watched a movie about cancer called 50/50. I highly recommend it. It is a great movie. Caused a lot of discussions between my husband and I as we watched it. A lot of tears shed as I could relate so well to the character. The one thing that bugs me though when I watch movies about cancer is that they always shave the head…but not the eyebrows or eyelashes. When you get Chemo you lose ALL of your body hair….not just on your head. The movie had a good and happy ending…just fyi.

I saw the radiation doctor yesterday who said it looks like the tumor in my spine is responding to the radiation as the pain is lessening. I’ll know more at the next scans in Sept. But the pain is getting better. Yay! Two more radiations to go…and I’ll be done. Hopefully the tumor will be dead.

My husband and I had a lot of interesting conversations today about my treatment, chemo, radiation, and how I’m taking it all. I feel like I am doing good with it all.. I still take myself to all my appointments, and I still function daily. But I guess he see’s it all differently. I felt like I did ok after the 1st chemo treatment but he reminded me of how sick I got for almost 2 weeks. I thought I did good and only was sick for about a week after. lol He remembers better than I do. Getting chemo is kind of like having a baby, you forget about all the pain of the delivery so you go on to have other babies. We talked about the quality of life that I will have while on this chemo. I think I’ll be fine. After our talk tonight, my husband seems to think otherwise. I still feel strong in my mind, my body doesn’t always agree, but my mind tells me I’m fine. I have my second treatment on Tuesday, I’m glad I have 3 weeks in between…gives me time to recover and forget. lol

We talked about MY end of life and preparing. I always HATE having that conversation, but it is my reality now and I know I need to prepare and get ready..ugh. I sure am hoping the cancer responds to this chemo for “awhile” and gives me more time. I know it won’t respond forever, but hopefully for several years. We talked about downsizing where we live even more and perhaps moving into a one bedroom apartment. Gosh…that discussion always depresses me. I know he is preparing for the day when I can no longer work and we have to live on only one income. That is going to suck! And that is the worst conversation I really hate having. Selling all of our stuff and living as minimalist. Gosh…I’m too young to have to give up all my things…your usually old when you have to do that. Damn, this sucks. I just pray that I will still be able to work for many years. The day I give up working will be a hard one. Because I will be forced to retire before it’s time and I have been working since I was 15. It will be an end of an era for me. I think I will die sooner if I feel like I have no purpose. Work gives me purpose.

I read a lot of other cancer blogs and realize how fortunate I have been in my treatments and how my body has taken them. I really have been blessed. Surgery is no longer an option for me since I have so many cancer spots, so chemo and radiation are my only options now. GOD is in control. And he has kept me calm and blessed through all of this. I could not go through this illness without my GOD and my faith. He keeps me strong. I pray a cure for cancer is around the corner and comes about soon. Cancer is a monster. It saddens me to see when children and young kids have this. No child should have to suffer with this disease. It is a horrible disease to have. Just like AIDS.

Update

Just another quick update..I’m feeling a little better. Radiation makes me really fatigued and nauseas. But I feel better from the chemo at least. The back pain at the T-11 where the tumor is in my spine is getting better and I haven’t had much pain anymore. So that means the radiation is working. I see the radiation doctor tomorrow, I see him weekly while getting radiation. I have 3 more treatments left. And hopefully I’ll be done with radiation for a long long while. They are closed on Thursday for the 4th so my last treatment will be next Monday.

Chemo unfortunately will go on every 3 weeks…it seems to make me sick for about a week after before I start feeling better. Just as long as I do my anti nausea and anti diarrhea meds and get sleep I do ok. And boy do I sleep ALOT! It makes me feel like I have the flu with the body aches and all. Ugh.

Tomorrow is July 3rd and marks the one year anniversary of when I found out the cancer had metastasized to my sternum and both lungs. A lot has happened in the last year. We downsized our home and moved out of our family home where we would entertain and hold all the family functions. We had a pool that I miss dearly. Especially in this hot weather. Our life has calmed down a lot and become more simple. My life now revolves around this illness since it seems to keep spreading. I’m hoping this chemo will keep it from progressing any further. And I pray for a CURE in the meant time.

My husband remains my rock through this all and I have the best family and friends ever!! My middle daughter is getting ready to have her first baby and I am just so excited about this new little life! I will finally have a grandchild who is of my bloodline. Who will finally have some characteristics of me and my bloodline. I’m soooo excited! I have 8 grandchildren from my husbands side of kids…but none look at all like me. lol This one will finally have some resemblance!

I still have so much to live and fight for…babies are being born right and left… My stepdaughter is having her 3rd baby a month after Jenny has hers. Both will be girls. Then my brother in law is having his 3rd baby too. His wife is newly pregnant. And who knows..my step son may have some more babies with his girlfriend now that she is graduated from nursing school. They moved up to Virginia together and are coming to visit this weekend. He has 2 boys from a previous marriage. I have two other stepsons who both have kids and you never know….lol

We love getting calls telling us we are going to have another grandchild. I always dreamed of having a HUGE family when I was younger and now that has come into fruition. I just love big families! Getting us all together is the challenge though. Everyone lives all over the United States. Thank God for Social media and Face-time.

Fight Fight Fight….that is my motto/mantra. Never give in, and NEVER give up!