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!

Treatments are kicking my butt!

I started radiation today and then came home and slept all afternoon. I got up when my husband got home, had a bowl of cereal, showered, and now I’m back in bed. This will be a short blog tonight. Just wanted to give an update. The chemo from Wednesday has kicked my butt more than I expected. I’ve had nausea, diarrhea, and major fatigue. I’m just waiting to ‘wake up’ already!

On Thursday, my birthday, I was thrown a huge surprise party! My family and friends got me good! I have never been gotten before but this time I had absolutely no clue! They threw me the surprise party at the little restaurant my husband was taking me too. And there they all were! It was so much fun! I forgot about all my tiredness, aches and pains…if only for a few hours. The room that we were in had karaoke going on so people would sing to me. lol It was a blast! I ended up having 2 really weak margaritas, I wasn’t supposed to….but hey, it was my birthday. Then I made sure to drink lots of water to flush it out.

I got a lot of nice gifts too…one if which is a laptop desk that you lay in your lap…using it now and I love it! Got some Holy oil that I have been using everyday…praying for a miracle. I got some money, books, candles, nail polishes, wall art, water bottles for hydration, and a decanter with the cutest little glasses for my port wines. I felt so incredibly loved that night. People came from far away on a week night just to see me. Thanks to everyone…I love you all soooo very much and I appreciate you all!!!

Since then I have been sleeping a lot. I can’t seem to keep awake for very long and when I am awake, I’m very sleepy. My body feels like it has run a marathon…and I won! lol

I sure hope my body adjusts quickly to this new medication and I can get back to living normal, or pretty close to normal. I’m glad I won’t be getting chemo brain again either. Ugh…that is rough.

Well just wanted to give a quick update on how I’m doing since starting treatment. No worries…I’m hanging in there! But I’m going to bed now. Night.

Cancer Muggles

So my first Chemo got moved up to today instead of the 27th. I’ll get it every 3 weeks…indefinitely, or until my body cannot handle it anymore. I start radiation on Monday. I have a radiation dry run tomorrow, on my birthday, where they do X-rays and do a mock radiation treatment to make sure everything is lined up perfectly on the tumor.

I tolerated the infusion just fine today, I feel a little ‘weird’ but nothing too bad. The real side effects start kicking in on days 3, 4, and 5. Symptoms will be some mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and or constipation, mouth sores, fatigue, and neuropathy in my extremities (hands and feet). Hopefully the symptoms will be mild, however I have medications ready to combat all the side effects so that I can still function daily. NO HAIR LOSS IS EXPECTED!!!!!! YAYYYYY!!!! I WAS SOOOOO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT! With this being a long term chemo, I was sooo happy that I would not be bald the rest of my life! And I don’t have to give up alcohol totally! I can have the OCCASIONAL glass of wine or margarita. Just not on Chemo days or for a few days after. I do however have to avoid swimming in lakes, rivers, and the ocean due to the high bacteria count. I won’t have the immune system to fight those nasty little bacteria’s. I can go to a pool cause it’s chlorinated, BUT I cannot be in the sun while doing radiation or for about 6-8 weeks after. UGH…all these little life changes BUT, I’m still ALIVE!!!! And because I don’t need all the Pre-meds that knock you out during chemo, all but Dexamethasone (a steroid that is an anti-inflammatory), I can drive myself to and from chemo this time. Today I was there for 4 hours, but because it was the first day and they have to run everything slow…plus I had labs and the chemo teaching. After today though, everything should only be a couple of hours, with about an hour and a half in the chemo chair.

I have to stop all my good supplements that I take that are high in antioxidants because it interferes with the chemo. I have to stop the Apricot seeds, and the Tumeric, and others that I do. I don’t think they were helping much anyways as the cancer still is spreading. I was doing Frankincense and all these anti cancer supplements before I was diagnosed with cancer. So I’m just not sure if they really work or not, but I still take them.

That brings me to the Cancer Muggles…ugh. Get on my last nerve. I know they mean well, but C’mon. If you don’t know what a cancer muggle is…it is someone who thinks they know anything and everything about cancer and what cures it. Some people who are close to me would much rather me not be doing conventional treatments like chemo and radiation and would rather me be fighting this naturally with fruits, vegetables, teas, supplements, and essential oils. I do certain natural things, but being a nurse, and having seen all sides of the coin and what has worked for people and what hasn’t, I chose to go the conventional route. And in Oct of this year, this conventional method has kept me alive for 3 years. And though my quality of life has changed some, it is still very tolerable. I still enjoy life. I know of some people who have chosen to NOT go the conventional route and go natural or do nothing and have not lived past 2 years. One had breast cancer. There is a Katherine Study on the drug T-DM1 that I am doing that has found that it stops the cancer progression for at least 3 years. Three years may not seem like a long time, but every little bit counts when you have terminal cancer.

Although I have changed what I put into body drastically (for me), I still enjoy foods. Everything in moderation right? But when you see me eating sugar, or having a glass of wine, or skipping my supplements, or oils, please don’t think that I don’t care, or worse, that I don’t want to live…cause it’s just the opposite…I DO want to LIVE..AND THAT’S JUST IT….I WANT TO LIVE AND ENJOY IT WHILE I AM DOING IT!

I hate when people tell me…”you just don’t care”, “you must not want to live”…ugh…give me F&*^$## Break! Let me see YOU get diagnosed with terminal cancer and then eat, drink, and have nothing but fruits and vegetables for the rest of your life, everyday, alllll dayyyy longggg! That would mean…no more sweets…AT ALL, including most high content sugary fruits, NO alcohol, No meats, No dairy, No fats, NOTHING! It is a lot harder than you think! So please… leave me alone…and have a little compassion…I don’t care how close you are to me… you can say some things to me…but know that some things you say may be hurtful to me and those of us that are struggling with cancer. The struggle with cancer is hard enough. Let me enjoy the things I love. Which in all reality is even a struggle anymore because of the taste changes in my mouth due to the neuropathy in my mouth, and the nausea. It’s a struggle to even eat or smell food. So let me still enjoy my burrito from Chuys, (when I can eat it), or my brothers delicious BBQ (his is the only brisket that I can tolerate), or the popcorn at the movies, (when the smell doesn’t make me nauseas). Let me enjoy what I can when I can, cause it’s not very often that I enjoy food and drink anymore.

Enough about that. My 54th birthday is tomorrow. I was born at 1:03 AM on June 20th in Austin TX. I am a 4th generation Texan and damn well proud of if it. I don’t have any plans other than going to dinner with my husband. I have a Dr appt like I said earlier. But other than that, I’m just going to be taking it easy at home seeing how this chemo is affecting me. Did I mention how much I love LIFE??