New Years Eve

Well it’s 2020 on the east coast and here in the central time zone we have 30 minutes left so we are still in 2019! I am finishing off 2019 with my last blog of the year. I started blogging this year and it has been very therapeutic. I finished today, 2019, with my last chemo of the year…it was supposed to be yesterday but they messed up my schedule so it was rescheduled for today. My husband was home so we ran errands and went to eat at Chuys, our favorite restaurant. Then we came home and opened up a bottle of Dom Perignon, which neither of us had ever had. It wasn’t as good as we expected it to be, but it is growing on me. Eric didn’t like it so the rest of the bottle is up to me! I can’t finish it all tonight, so I will finish it tomorrow! It’s too damn expensive to not finish the bottle. And now I can say I’ve had Dom Perignon! Also the Texas Longhorns ended the year on a good note and won the Alamo bowl against Utah! What a great end to 2019!!!

I want to say how blessed I feel to have been given another year of life with my loved ones. Fighting Cancer is no easy task and the treatment has a lot of side effects that mess up your body inside and out. But I’m proud as to how my body has been holding up. I believe it is all the prayers and love sent my way that is keeping me strong. 2019 brought a lot of cancer progressions in my body and the cancer spread to every place that breast cancer spreads too. But I have a great Oncology team who stays ahead of the game and kills it as soon as it spreads…thus giving me more time. And that is what it’s all about now, buying time. Since Metatastic breast cancer is incurable…which I pray for a cure everyday!

I pray that in 2020 I have no progressions and stay on this treatment that continues to work. And that a cure is found for this disease. I pray that I am still here and healthy as to be expected and strong come the end of 2020. And I get to see 2021. I pray wellness and health for all of my loved ones as well. My son gets married tomorrow. We are all excited about that. We are starting our year with adding another daughter to the family. And she is a wonderful girl and is good for our son. They make a good match. My husband is excited to marry them.

I start radiation again, my 5th round, to my lung on Thursday. Not looking forward to it, but I know that it is something that I just have to suck up and do. I just can’t wait until it’s over already.

Central time countdown to 2020 is about to start! Here we gooooo……10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….Happy New Year!!! I MADE IT ANOTHER YEAR AND I AM SOOOOO THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL!

Hellooooo 2020!! Please be good to me and my family. I am praying for a fantastic year!

Love too all and many blessings in 2020!!

Getting ready for the New Year!

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas! I had a wonderful Christmas and am looking forward to the New Year! 2020 will start off with our son getting married. He gets married on New Years Day! Then the next day I start radiation on my lung which will be 5 treatments over 2 weeks. It will also be body scan time and in Feb my brain will be scanned again. Hopefully this next year I will be blessed with no new progressions. So far I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’ve been too busy to feel bad. I don’t have time to be sick. During these last 2 cycles I haven’t gotten the chemo flu too bad. I’ve had days when my stomach hurt or I get really fatigued, but it hasn’t knocked me on my butt like it usually does. I’ve been lucky and God has answered my prayers for Nov and Dec since it has been over the holidays. My chemo was delayed by a week since it was Christmas and my next dose of chemo would have been on Christmas Eve. Instead they moved the date to Mon Dec 30th. So I am really hoping I am not sick for my sons wedding.

My new puppy is doing good and got a good clean bill of health from the Vet yesterday. He went for his 3rd set of shots. He didn’t even cry. He does have a mild case of ear mites so they gave him some ear drops. He also got his first bath tonight which he did pretty good. He was scared at first, but once he got used to the warm water on him then me scrubbing his little body, he liked that and just sat there. He is now fluffy soft and clean and smelling pretty. At the Vet yesterday I also picked up my Chips ashes. They had them in a nice little wooden box engraved with footprints and his name. Inside the box is a little plastic bag with his white ashes. It was bittersweet. I miss him and still think about him daily. But I’m getting better at calling Hopper Hopper and not Chip or Chopper. This little puppy has kept me really busy during the day and keeps me from being sad. I think I would still be crying daily if I didn’t have that little puppy. Cause being alone during the day can get lonely. And this little puppy is constantly by my side!

This holiday season has brought a lot of time being spent with family. I have really enjoyed that. For the last 3 years since I was diagnosed, Time, my family, friends, and just life itself have become really precious to me, more so than normal. When I was first diagnosed my prognosis was 5-8 years. Then when it went to my spine I was told maybe 5 years. Then when it went to my brain I was told maybe 2 years. So Time is dwindling but my spirit is strong and my will to live is strong and I know that people outlive their prognosis’ all the time, and I plan on being one of those people. It’s weird, but before the brain radiation I felt like my time was getting near the end, but then the weirdest thing happened…after I was done with brain radiation, I all of a sudden felt renewed and like I was going to live a lot longer. Death did not seem to linger in my near future anymore. My outlook became positive. I actually have been feeling great despite how my body feels…from the effects of chemo and radiation. I don’t dwell on how my body feels, I just keep going despite the pain and I try not to think about it or let it stop me from living and going on. If I did give into it, I would never get out of bed and constantly be on pain meds. But I don’t want to give into this disease and let it win, so I FIGHT! I do take the nausea medications on a regular basis throughout the day to keep me from vomiting and so that I can tolerate eating some food, but other than that, unless the pain is intolerable, I don’t take any pain med. I just deal with it. I think what really hurts the most are my feet from the neuropathy, it is a constant pain. It hurts to walk. I finally got a handicap parking placard for my car so I can park close to buildings and not have to walk so far which has been a blessing givin that not only do my feet hurt, but I’ve been weakened by the chemo and tire and get out of breath real easy. Sometimes my body feels like it is over a 100 years old. I’m going to try to start doing yoga this next year to hopefully help my body not feel so old by stretching and doing some strengthening exercises. On black Friday my husband bought me a smart TV for the front room so I can get on YouTube and do exercises that they have on there. Once all this hustle and bustle from the holidays is over and things calm down and get back to normal I can start to focus on my body more. I also have gotten used to using CBD oil and taking THC edibles. At first I didn’t like they way they made me feel. But now I’ve gotten used to them and they don’t make me feel so weird anymore and I can function just fine. The good thing is they give me the munchies so I eat! And the food actually TASTES good! They also help with pain, nausea, and sleep. I don’t eat them as much as I should, but I’m going to try to start eating them more since they help so much.

Another present that I am excited to open up is a Centipede Mini Arcade Game that I got for Christmas. It’s just like the real Centipede arcade game except it is a miniature one that sits on a table. That was always my favorite arcade game and I used to be really good at it. I’m sure that will keep me busy and entertained for hours during the day. I’m also going to try and write in this blog more, plus I’ve been writing my life story in this book that my oldest daughter gave me when I was first diagnosed. I tried to finish it by Christmas so that I could give it to her as a gift, but it is really long and I didn’t get to finish it in time. But I hope to finish it soon and give it to her. This Christmas I got hooked on watching those cheesy Christmas love stories on the Hallmark and Lifetime Channels. LOL They are FEEL GOOD kind of movies. I like those kind. Finding things to do that I have the energy for here around the house has been hard. I just started driving long distances again since the brain radiation so now I can start going places again. I just have to keep busy. I don’t have energy everyday, but on days that I do feel good, I have to stay busy.

Well that’s it for tonight! I hope everyone has a blessed and safe New Year!

Much love, Laura.

Still waiting…

Still waiting to start radiation on my lung. I guess with the holidays it is taking a little longer. I am hoping they do it before the end of the year since I have already met my deductible. In January it starts all over again and I have to pay out of pocket until I meet my deductible again. Usually I have to get on payment plans which I try to pay off by the end of each year. I just paid this years medical bills off. Yayyyyy!!! A cancer benefit was held for me last Sunday which my oldest daughter put together and threw for me with the help of my other two daughters and family. They raised over $2000.00 for me which I could not have been more grateful for. I have such a loving and caring family. 🙂

The next day, Monday, 1 week ago today, I had to put my little Maltese puppy to sleep forever. 😦 while we were gone on Sunday something happened to his back. He was fine when we left in the morning but when we got home in the evening he could only walk using his front legs and he was dragging his back legs. He was paralyzed from the middle of his back down and no longer had control of his bowels or bladder. I took him to the Vet the next morning and I had to put him down. Since we have no idea of how he injured himself, the Vet said it is common in Weenie dogs for their spines to fracture since they have such long bodies. My Chip had a long body for a Maltese and they think that his back just fractured. So weird. He wasn’t even 3 years old yet. His birthday would have been on January 8th.

Putting my Chippers down was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I still cry when I think about it. He was my baby boy, my little buddy. He was a Velcro dog and stuck to me like glue. Wherever I went he was right by me. My heart hurt so bad. I loved that little dog so much! That same night, my husband surprised me with another little puppy. He is a black and white Malti-Poo. I didn’t want another dog, especially not so soon. I was mourning my Chip. But my husband said that the puppy was not to replace Chip, but to fill the hole in my heart and give me something to nurture, and to love. Although my heart hurt, this new little puppy warmed my heart and made me smile. Not only smile, but laugh. He is a really funny little puppy and since he has Maltese in him, he is a lot like Chip. He too is a Velcro dog and sticks right by me just like my Chip used to. Since he has Poodle in him, he is really smart! His coat is really soft like Chips was. We named him Hopper cause he hops around like a bunny. LOL It’s really funny. I find myself accidentally calling him Chip at times or Chopper..cause Chip starts to come out, then I remember it is Hopper…so it comes out Chopper. LOL I’ll get it eventually. Just going to take some time. Even though I didn’t want him at first, I am glad my husband got him for me cause he keeps me really busy and I have a new little buddy that is always by my side. 🙂

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and me and my whole family are getting together at my brothers house for a Prime Rib dinner. I just LOVE Christmas and being around my family. I don’t want Christmas to be over so soon! I think I’m going to keep my tree up until the end of January. 🙂 I love it and all the pretty lights! We finished wrapping all the presents tonight. FINALLY! WHEW! That was a chore! We have family coming in tomorrow. Our son and his wife and son from Kentucky will be here over Christmas and leave on the 27th. This will be the first time seeing our new grandbaby, Clark. He is a little over a year old. So we will have 2 grandbabies here with us this Christmas! How exciting!

On Saturday night we took Eliana to get her first picture with Santa Claus. She did great! Didn’t even cry. She looked so cute in her little red dress with her sparkly red shoes. She is a little Princess! I can’t wait to get pictures of her and Clark together. Gonna be so fun with the grandbabies here. I just love babies, kids, the whole shabang! And the little ones just make the holidays that much sweeter! Speaking of sweet….my husband made his famous fruit cake and I can’t wait to dive into it! It has been soaking in wine since Thanksgiving and we get to eat it on Christmas! I’ve never liked fruit cake and don’t like most, BUT THIS ONE…this one is the bomb!

Well it’s getting pretty late and I’m getting pretty tired so I better get off of here and call it a night. Just wanted to give an update and let everyone know that I have been doing pretty good. Fighting fatigue, and insomnia at times. Still nauseous all the time and a very little appetite. But I have had some energy to be able to get things done. For the most part I’ve been able to keep this ol body going.

Well goodnight everyone and I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year if I am not on here before then.

Goodnight.

Been awhile.

Hello everyone! I’m still here! LOL I know it’s been awhile since my last post, I actually wrote a really long post in Nov. that got erased twice when I tried to post it due to no wifi. Then I just got frustrated and haven’t written since. A lot has happened since my last post. I finally had radiation to my brain and it was every bit as bad I thought it was going to be! Laying there with a tight mask over my whole face and head, and my head locked inside of a cage for 45 minutes being as still as possible was no picnic. Now I’m waiting to start lung radiation. I’ve already had the mapping where they make the molds of my whole body that holds me still, and take the CT scans to pinpoint the tumor, now they have to do their calculations and make the plan. I have to wear this barbaric black metal brace thing over my chest/lungs that has a large screw thing in the middle that screws down over my diaphragm as tight as I can stand it so that I barely breath. Again, I have to lay on the table with that thing on for 45 minutes, really still, for 5 treatments. I AM NOT looking forward to this at all! UGH…the shit I’ve had to endure from having cancer. This will be my fifth round of radiation. I remember when I finished the first round, the radiation team ‘graduated’ me by throwing confetti on me when I walked out of the radiation room for the last time and gave me a certificate that everyone signed. Not anymore!….now I walk in and I’m greeted by my name, everyone knows me there now.

I’ve been dealing with major fatigue this week and slept till 4 pm today. I got up, ate, showered, and went back to bed. I had chemo last week, so the chemo and radiation in my body together takes a toll on me and wears me out. But I was able to get my Christmas tree and decorations up a week before Thanksgiving thanks to the help of my youngest daughter Katy Bug. She has also been coming over to learn and write down her favorite recipes that she grew up eating to carry on with her children…that warms my heart. I had a great Thanksgiving with family. I actually ate OK even though my appetite wasn’t the greatest. I wish I had the appetite I used to have so I could have eaten all of that delicious food. But nothing tastes like it used to since chemo has killed my taste-buds. But I enjoyed being with family. Christmas is our next family get together. We get together and celebrate with the whole family on Christmas Eve, then our immediate family comes over to our house on Christmas day morning and we eat breakfast and open gifts from each other. Then everyone goes their own way and me and Eric will usually go to a movie. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the holidays. Especially Christmas. We have yet to go walk the lighted trail down by the Colorado river. We like to take mugs filled with Amaretto spiced Hot Chocolate. YUM!

My oldest daughter Chelsie will be 31 on Christmas Eve. She was my Christmas present in 1988. BEST Christmas present EVER!!! I can’t believe its been 31 years. Seems like it was just yesterday that I was pregnant with her. Time flies.

Our son that lives in Virginia is coming home to get married here on Jan. 1st. They are getting married in a movie Drive In and Eric, my husband, is marrying them. Maybe I’ll be expecting our 11th grandchild from our new daughter around Aug of next year??…hmmmm….mayyybeee….

Scan results…not the greatest news, but not too bad either.

Sooo….I had full body scans yesterday and got the results today. The tumors in the lungs showed that they are stable and some are shrinking, except one, the biggest one that is about an inch in diameter is growing. No new spots on the bones and the one on the sternum is not showing “hot” anymore. The one on my spine at T-11 is still showing a “little hot” however it could be just from the damage to the bone and the bone healing itself. Although I still have intermittent pain in that area. There are no spots in my organs or other tissues. There is a 6mm spot in my liver which they are not sure if it is cancer or part of the hemangioma that I have, but since it is a new spot that has showed up, and it is showing “hot”, they are going to radiate it just in case. The spot is too small to biopsy. And of course we have the 4 little spots in my brain–Which I am waiting on Authorizations from the insurance company for a high definition MRI. The doctor wants to do that before starting radiation as it will pinpoint the spots more clearly. It will also show if there are more or less spots. Meaning that some of the spots could be a clump of blood vessels and not a tumor. Definitely hoping for less, but if there are more they will be zapped! So treatment wise we will continue with this chemo, which I got today, and I will get it two more times before getting whole body scans again, including my brain. If the scans are all good at that time then we will continue with the same treatment–chemo infusions and radiation as needed. If the scans are not so good then we are going to change the treatment. Which will be two different chemo pills, stop infusions, and still do radiation as needed. Once that treatment stops working, I will move on to something else. The doctor says there are like 5 treatments to do still, and there are new ones coming out as research continues, plus he said when we run out of options, we start all over again and try the treatments that we started with, because as the cancer cells change and migrate sometimes they become receptive to the old treatments again. So my prognosis is still good, I still have some years left. 🙂 Just as long as this ol’ body holds up and stays strong from all these chemicals and radiation that is going into it.

Faith. I thank you all for all of your prayers, they are working. I know to some of you it may seem like they are not working, but perhaps this is my destiny and part of the journey that GOD put me on to touch others and to learn from. After all, I’m still alive, 3 years later, and doing fine for the most part. I’m still working. I have had no complications from the chemo or radiation that has put me in the hospital. I’m still living my best life. And I totally believe that I have done so well due to all the prayers. So please keep praying, they are working. I may not end up getting healed from all of this as I know a lot of you are praying for, but just know that I believe and trust in GOD and what he will allow and not allow to happen to me. And for what he does allow to happen to me, I know there is a reason that I am suppose to go through that, no matter how bad, there is a reason. But so far so good. Yes it’s a tough journey to be on, but it is my journey and this battle has only made me stronger. So I say to the DEVIL who comes to steal, kill, and destroy…”Bring it on…’cause GOD is on my side!” “And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” 🙂 HALLELUJAH!!!

Am I scared?? Hell yes I’m scared! Despite my faith, I’m human. And now that we are dealing with my brain, my computer that runs me, I’m terrified. The brain is the one place I was praying that this cancer would not go. And now it has. Why GOD has allowed this? I don’t know. But I know there is a reason. Thank GOD it was caught really early so that they can do pinpoint radiation and not have to radiate the whole brain. Supposedly I should not have any side effects other than fatigue. Doctor said I could drive home, but Eric is still going to drive me there and back just in case. It should not change my personality, or behavior, or affect my memory. There should be no vision or speech changes, or anything else. If they had to radiate the whole brain, then yes, I would have memory loss, loss of hair (that would grow back), and other side effects. So I feel blessed that GOD had them do a MRI that caught all the spots while they are still very small. The biggest one is 4 mm. See? Prayers are at work. Don’t lose your faith or think that GOD is not answering your prayers, because he is. He answers them how he see’s fit to answer them and by his plan. He stands by me, holds my hand, keeps me strong, gives me comfort, and leads me through these waters–good and bad. I still believe and have my faith, despite my human emotions which I ask GOD to help me with everyday.

So now this breast cancer has migrated to all the places that breast cancer migrates to…the breast, lungs, bones, liver and brain. It sounds bad, I know, but honestly…I still feel fine. These tumors are caught before I get bad symptoms, I may have mild symptoms, but as soon as I feel ANYTHING different in my body, the doctors send me for scans, and if cancer is there, it is caught very early so it is treatable. GOD is good. 🙂 Amen.

Here we goooo….again.

More radiation is coming. This time to my brain. Found out today that I have four new spots of cancer in my brain. Next week I find out if I have it in my liver too. Nothing will surprise me at this point. If it’s also in my liver, I will be getting radiation there too. The doctor said I shouldn’t have many side effects with either one other than fatigue. The spots on my brain he said he could take care of with one dose of really high radiation. Not sure about the liver yet. Next week I also find out if this chemo has been working on the tumors in my bones and lungs. Apparently the chemo does not cross the blood brain barrier so no chemo is going to my brain. (thus the new tumors).

Was I shocked to hear the news today? Hell to the yes I was! I thought the doc was going to come in and say… “scans all clear!” But nope! I had gone just for a follow up with him on Monday to follow up on the radiation that was done on my back. Then he started asking me if I was having any new symptoms…I said yes. — Blurry vision, tremors, pain in the left side of my head, increased nausea—He then ordered a brain MRI STAT! that scared me! By the next evening I was in the MRI machine. Then today at 2 o’clock, I got the news. GEEEZZEEE….is this EVER going to end??? I’m waiting for the day that my routine scans keep coming back clear after clear and then I don’t have to get scans but once a year just to check. But that hasn’t even gotten close yet. I keep getting progression after progression. SUCKS!

Of course, once again, the hardest part is telling my family. My first thought is always…Why??? And my second thought is…How am I going to tell my family? Telling your loved ones is always the hardest thing about this journey. You hate to hurt anyone. And they never know how to act or what to say, or how to feel. There is so many mixed emotions on both our parts that we just have to be honest with ourselves and just let it out. Some of us are better than others at doing that. Over these last three years I have learned how to let it out…I scream, I cry, I listen to music and sing, then I write. And I like to be held when I don’t feel good or am sad or hurt. So into my husbands arms I go…so comforting. If I didn’t have my husband, then I would grab a pillow and curl up into a ball.

I know those closest to me are having the hardest time with this. And to them I say…It’s ok. I’m still here, and I’m still me. I try to call them so that they can hear my voice and see that I sound normal. I don’t sound like I’m dying. Cause I’m not. Death is knocking….BUT he hasn’t come through my door yet. And I am keeping that door locked for as long as I can!

After my husband and I got the news we went to Zilker Park and just walked around. I wanted to ride the train but it wasn’t working. So we watched people swim and sat and talked, and people watched. It was nice. I grew up in that park. I just wanted to be somewhere outside that I was familiar with and held a lot of good memories. We then went to Chuys, one of our favorite restaurants and I had a large swirl margarita. That made me feel better! lol

Then I came home and took a nice long hot bubble bath as I listened to the 70’s on Spotify. I’ve been reading and responding to texts, and the comments on instagram all night. People are sweet and I really do appreciate all the love and prayers.

Well for now is the next step and that is to get ready for the radiation to my brain, get the next scans on Monday, results and chemo on Tuesday, and back to the radiation doctor on Wednesday. Cancer sure does keep you busy!

But hey, I just want to say…please don’t feel sorry for me, or pity me. I am fine. And I write this to educate others on what it’s like to have cancer and go through the journey, cause it really is it’s own little world. I also write this for those who are affected by cancer to know they are not alone. Not alone in the symptoms that you experience or the emotions and feelings that you go through. If anyone needs to just talk to me, please don’t hesitate to call me. I am always open for a phone call.

I love you all…and I will continue to fight no matter what! ~Laura

Clarification on why I’m writing this blog.

Hello guys and gals,

I would just like to clarify why I am writing this blog. I started writing this for my family and friends who wanted to know exactly what I was going through and how I felt about it all. I also hoped to help those that are affected by cancer as other cancer blogs helped me know that I was not alone in having all these symptoms and feelings. I understand that this blog can be difficult to read sometimes but people wanted me to be ‘brutally honest’, so I have been. Cancer is not funny, fun, or pretty. Whether you have it or are dealing with a loved one who has it. I know because I have been on both sides of the coin. I totally understand if you cannot read what I write, I would not be offended at all if you stop reading it. But just know that in this blog you are going to go along with me in this cancer journey. I write from the depths of my soul. I let you in to my deepest thoughts. And I keep you updated on my condition as I live it.

This blog is not for everyone, so if your having a hard time reading what I write, then don’t read it. I’ll keep on writing because there are a lot of you out there that do like reading it no matter how raw it may be. I let you into my personal life and thoughts. Plus this has been really therapeutic for me. So if I end up writing for no one but myself then so be it. lol

Love you all no matter what! Goodnight.

PS…I get full body scans in less than 2 weeks to see if this chemo is working, so I will be giving you and update on that soon. 🙂