Sunday, December 30, 2007
We have taken the tree down and the Christmas decorations and Christmas is officially over in our house. It is always a little sad to take it down, but I am looking forward to some routine. I have about 6 weeks before radiation begins. I have some weekly appointments in the meantime but I enjoy these breaks in our cancer world where I can just be "mom" for a little while. Not as many moments of explaining to my children that "I can't because of . . ." is a welcome change.
I am also excited that I will begin the New Year with full range of motion in both arms. I am almost 4 weeks post op and am moving my arms in ways I couldn't 2 weeks ago. Thank you to my physical therapist and her encouragement, I will begin strengthening in another week.
Hope all of you had an enjoyable Christmas! Happy New Year!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Well, my wonderful husband has placed the presents in the proper manner and we will be able to sleep soon. I wish you all a loooonnnggg night's rest (hopefully, no 5 am tugging to open presents) and a very Merry Christmas. Remember to relax and enjoy (and I also know that it is easier said than done).
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I have also started my physical therapy and am getting close to full range of motion. I started driving yesterday and today was able to do the backseat pass. You know - "Mom, I want . . ." and I was able to reach back to the kids and give it to them. That movement was difficult but the desired item was passed.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
We put together a toddler bed for Dawson yesterday. We were torn on whether to keep the child caged longer or not. The toddler bed doesn't require lifting but he is able to escape and escape he did. It was only a couple times, though. We kept the crib together just in case it wasn't working, but the way Dawson was talking about his "big boy bed" made us think he wasn't going back to the crib. This afternoon, he didn't want to get in his bed for his nap and I asked him if he wanted to go in his crib like a baby and his response was "No baby" so Dave is cleared to take it apart. I was looking at that crib yesterday and recalling some memories. I also realized it would probably be the last time we use it. Just more tears.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I have accomplished many small everyday tasks in the last few days. I was able to take care of more of the boys' needs than I expected, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were cooperating!
I met with the breast surgeon yesterday. Everything looks good and he gave me some practical tips to help me avoid injury. He also told us that the cancer that was found in the right lymphnodes is the same as the other side, but they can not pinpoint how it got there. No cancer was found in the right breast or its skin. We will still meet with the oncologist to get his take on it. I have also been cleared to start physical therapy. We have a busy week next week, Dawson has a feeding evaluation and will begin his speech and physical therapy, I already have 3 doctors' appointments scheduled, and David has his Christmas program at school. So, I think I will just begin after Christmas. I have exercises to do at home in the meantime.
Thank you for all of your cards and prayers and I am planning on going to church this Sunday - big outing!
Monday, December 10, 2007
He didn't seem too concerned. We will meet with him again next week to talk about the final pathology report. At this point, my treatment will remain the same. I love this doctor because I always feel hopeful when I leave his office. We had met with other doctors, where we felt like my days were numbered. He has always been honest with us that I have a very serious and dangerous form of cancer, but looks at what we have beaten as opposed to what might still be out there.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Dave went to McDonald's with everyone for lunch today. He was quickly reminded of the chaos known as David and Dawson.
I see the oncologist tomorrow for a scheduled IV drug but we will be talking to him also about this new development. I don't know if they will have the pathology report back or not. I am not sure what the best news would be or what the courses of treatment are, if any. This is upsetting to me and I have had to distract my mind from all of the thoughts associated with this. We need more answers and get to wait - again.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Just knowing that so many people care is so encouraging.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
My hospital roommate had the same surgery I did. She and I compared notes and were able to help each other through some tough times. I am so comforted by God's hands in all of this. We will get through this, one day at a time.
On a lighter note, I called Pop and Gam to talk to the boys. Pop answered the phone and went to fetch David. Well, David apparently had better things to do than speak to his mother who is recovering from major surgery - he was watching a movie and did not appreciate the interruption. Pop "encouraged" him to speak to his mother and he promptly got on the phone. He told me about the snow and his field trip today to the Christmas tree farm. Dawson was also very excited about the snow. I miss them - this house is too quiet without them here.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
We are thanking God because he gave her the wisdom to pursue a bilateral mastectomy. It's a good thing she did, because the surgical team found new active cancer cells in some of the lymph nodes that were extracted from her right side. They will be sent off to the lab for further analysis to determine whether they are of the same type she has had or if she has a new type.
Please keep us in your prayers.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We have spent the last few days enjoying our time together, while also trying to prepare our house for the holidays and family gatherings. My list is almost done, but I am tired. I am not sleeping well (to be expected) and am trying to be Superwoman (and Supermom).
Dave has class this evening, so I am on my own with the boys tonight. I am planning on resting this afternoon while Dawson naps, but I just need my mind to rest also. We met with the cosmetic surgeon today to talk about the surgery and I left feeling a little better about what is happening. She is laid back and really listens to our concerns and questions. We always feel hopeful leaving her office. I had a moment of quiet in the car today and took the opportunity for prayer. "God, I am trusting you with this surgery. I don't what is going to happen, what complications, if any, but I trust Him."
Thursday, November 22, 2007
It is an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving day here in Wilmington - 70 degrees at the moment! We have so much to be thankful for and we are looking at today as much more than just a day to eat! We are seen here with Dave's parents. Barbara's family will be coming into town in just another week.
Truly wishing you and your family blessings upon blessings for the year to come. Love, The Anderson Family
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Before I met with her, I arrived early and decided to sit in the parking lot and eat my lunch. (Arriving early is a rare occurrence for me!) So, I enjoyed listening to the radio and the solitude for a few minutes. Then it hit me - the next time I come to this office, I will be changed. So much of my life will be different! I will be 2-4 weeks post-op and will not be skipping down the sidewalk to her office. The song on the radio confirmed that "He has promised good to me." The vision of God walking (slowly) beside me as I entered that building the next time came to mind; the pain in His face as I struggle with everyday tasks; and, the love. God will get to you in those quiet moments, when you least expect it. The therapist said that I was handling all of this pretty well. I told her, "You didn't see me crying in the parking lot."
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
My mind has trouble thinking about something other than this surgery - how it is going to affect me and my family. I meet with a physical therapist this week to discuss what will happen after the surgery. Christmas shopping and wrapping is a nice distraction!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
One morning this week, I was lying in bed, thinking about our day and a friend came to mind. I thought that it would be nice to visit her, but wasn't sure of her schedule. I had a significant prompting to call her, so I did to see if Dawson and I could visit. She was available so we stopped by her house. We had a great visit and as I was leaving, she told me that she had wondered if her husband sparked this visit. The day before, she was having a rough time and really needed a friend. She thought maybe her husband had contacted me and told me what was happening. He didn't call me, but God laid her on my heart and He knew about her moved mountain. His goodness shines through!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The surgeon explained to us what will be happening in the surgery. Prior to meeting with him, we knew what would be happening with the affected side and thought we knew with the other side. But, after speaking with him and the way things looked on my MRI pre-chemo, he wants to test the sentinel node on the other side also. I was thinking that my underarm would not need to be cut on that side, but he wants to make sure everything is out of there. I want to treat this aggressively, but just wasn't prepared for that.
We are now in prep mode - mentally and physically. How do you prepare for something like this?
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I have had the opportunity to talk to many people this week about a lot of the struggles I have faced. I was also able to share how I have been blessed in the midst of this tragedy. I just feel like I am on cloud nine and am at peace with finishing the course of treatment. I had really feared this surgery because of the recovery. But, I feel like since I had chemo, I can take almost anything. Where's that Rocky theme song?
Monday, October 29, 2007
I feel like I can stop holding my breath! I am also very tired and am looking forward to sleeping better. My 2 favorite words these days - cure and remission.
Today is Dawson's 2nd birthday - what a day to celebrate!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Dave had a lot of schoolwork to do today so I try to keep all of us out of his hair. The boys also needed to get out of the house since we have had 4 straight days of rain. At one point this morning, Dawson was amusing himself by pulling tape off of the dispenser. I noticed this while a Frisbee thrown by David whizzed by my head - needless to say, we needed a change of scenery. Longwood Gardens opened a new Indoor Children's Garden this weekend. We were prepared to hike through the pouring rain to get to it, but the sun popped out as soon as we pulled up to the Garden. A fun time was had by all and yes, that is Dawson attempting to climb into the fountain.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
"Make me, take me, break me, I am pierced
Though I am wounded and unworthy
Though I am selfish and untrue
You are holy, You're the healer
You forgave me and made me new
Oh, this love, how can it be
That my God would die for me
For my sins, His wounds did bleed
Jesus, you were pierced for me"
Well, I had my last chemo treatment. I had a list of questions for the doctor about what I can and can't do in the upcoming weeks. I have realized that I am now back to prodding and poking. I have lots of appointments scheduled with surgeons, plastic surgeons, and tests. Also, I am trying to squeeze in the everyday appointments too, like dentist appointments for the boys and for me, well visits for the boys, etc.
I felt more anxious today about my last chemo than any other treatment. You would think that I would be jumping for joy right? Just so much more on my mind. The oncologist is confident that the scans I have scheduled in a few weeks will show less cancer. I have also begun the process of preparing for surgery.
I felt like I was stepping into the ring this morning, ready to fight this beast, but that quickly turned into a whole lot of anxiety. When I walked David into school this morning, I spotted a friend and we began singing the "Rocky" theme music. That song was also played at our wedding reception when we were introduced. I have the song in my profile, if you would like to hear it.
One thing that helped today was that we talked to the oncologist about having a bilateral mastectomy, to remove the healthy breast as a preventive measure. He asked if we had made a decision and I told him I was leaning in that direction. I told him my reasons why and he told me that he could support that decision.
I now get to endure my chemo week, with some confidence that this is the last time I will have to go through this.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Lots of things have happened this week - from my Internet going down (an inconvenience) to receiving bad news about 2 friends' cancer status, along with some other things in between. I am also hesitant to be too excited about my last chemo treatment on Monday. I have some tests scheduled at the end of this month to see what the cancer looks like after chemo. I have heard a lot lately about people who thought the cancer was responding and then test results come back saying otherwise. I had a chat with God last night about my doubts and how I want my faith to believe that this cancer is gone or at least on the path of going away. He has brought me this far and looking back on the last 4 months, there have been some difficult moments, but overall, it hasn't been too bad. I know He will give me strength, no matter what the results are.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I have also found out that a friend is now facing cancer. My heart breaks for her and the pain that she is about to endure. I think about her family and their struggles. This disease blows into your life and wreaks havoc. My prayer for her and her family is for peace and rest - the 2 things you need the most and seem to get the least.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I am feeling better than I was yesterday. I am still trying to recover from this cold. The cold and recovering from chemo has led to a lot of sleep. My body is just tuckered out.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I was able to rejoice with a fellow patient today. She and I are on the same schedule and today was her last chemo. We have sat next to each other a few times and she is a such a pleasure to talk to. Dave joked with her that she would be running for the door on her way out. That will be me on my next treatment (and I will be running for the door)!! When my chemo is done, I will still need to go back every 3 weeks for Herceptin. I will need to do that until next June. So, I will still need to walk into that room every 3 weeks but will be able to walk out with little to no side effects.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I am long over the stomach problems from my last treatment, but my body gets very fatigued at this time of day. I will take a nap but the rest of the day is a struggle. This is to be expected because of the cumulative effects of the chemo. I have my fifth treatment on Monday and I am too tired to think about it.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Dawson has not been himself lately. It seems to be more than just the adjustment of chemo week. He has been very whiny and crabby. We aren't sure what is going on with him.
David starts Kindergarten tomorrow and there is a lot of excitement - new school supplies, new teacher and turning 5 soon.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
My parents are in town this week and I am looking forward to their company and help. It will relieve Dave of a lot of the responsibility. Not to mention, both grandparents and grandchildren will be very happy.
More tests are being scheduled to take a look at everything before surgery. My oncologist said to me that I only have 6 weeks from today before my last chemo. 6 weeks doesn't seem too long to me today. Talk to me tomorrow and we'll see how long that seems.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I took the boys to a free movie yesterday, "Charlotte's Web." David and I were talking about what meat comes from a pig, when he pointed out to me that Charlotte died. He said, "It was her time." We talked a lot about death and he had a lot of questions. That was not an easy conversation to have with my soon-to-be 5 year old. But, those are the moments I don't want to forget.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I had a good day with the boys today. I took David to his last gymnastics class for the summer and then we went to the pool. I sported a new hatless look at the pool and only noticed one person staring at me! It is just too hot to put a hat on my head. David was a little concerned that I wasn't wearing a hat. He asked me, "What if someone is sad to see that you are sick?" I told him that they could talk to me about it. He said, "What if they think you look funny?" I told him, "What if they do? It doesn't matter."
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I was thinking the other day about all of the plans I had for this summer - going lots of places, teaching David to tie his shoes and getting him prepared for Kindergarten, spending time with the boys each day doing some kind of educational activity, etc. We found out about the cancer the first week of June and my summer "plans" have changed. It is now the end of July and David doesn't know how to tie his shoes, we haven't gone to all of the places I wanted to, and formal education has not taken place every day. I am now realizing that it is okay. Time spent with my children doesn't have to be so organized and purposeful. The most important thing about that time is just being together - pushing them on the swings in the backyard, watching Dawson chase the neighborhood cat, going for walks around the neighborhood while David makes skid marks with his bike, and just snuggling on the couch. I still find myself rushing them sometimes when it isn't necessary, but I would like to think that we have all slowed down a bit to enjoy.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
When I met with the oncologist last week, he said that the tumor is responding very well to the chemo and I should be "ecstatic." My next question was, "Do I still have to do all of the treatments?" and he told me I did. He also used the word "cure." I am happy that the tumor is getting smaller, but I am still trying to catch up to the fact that all of this is happening.
I am so happy to be feeling better.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I was nervous going into this. I know it is a standard procedure, blah, blah, blah. That doesn't mean I can't be nervous though, right? I also had to leave the boys yesterday which I haven't had to do for awhile because I was feeling so good. It gets harder and harder to leave them every time. They are okay, but I'm not. You know, I would leave them at their childcares before all this when I went to work, but this is different. Every time I leave them now, it is because of cancer or something related to it.
I prayed for God's peace and presence yesterday morning because I just wasn't feeling it. I busied myself in the morning so I wouldn't think about the procedure (and how hungry I was - fasting is not my gift). I shared this prayer with Dave on our way to the Surgicenter. 2 things happened while I was there. My OB/GYN's nurse came in to deliver some charts. I have become very friendly with her and she is a breast cancer survivor of 5 years. She was leaving for vacation to the Outer Banks and it just sounded awesome. A friend offered for us to come to their beachhouse in North Carolina in a few weeks but we weren't sure about going. Talking with Peggy and the idea of a relaxing vacation just sounded awesome. We have decided to go. Also, my Prep nurse asked me about my job. I shared with her that I was a church secretary and she began sharing with me about her church. She was a Christian and I was able to speak openly about my fears and she encouraged me. Talk about God's presence!
I received an e-mail from Rose Marie Miller yesterday. She is the author of a book, "From Fear to Freedom." I just led a Bible Study on that book and think I highlighted 90% of it. I couldn't believe she was talking to me! She shared with me some verses in Psalms that she read while going through her cancer and her husband's illness. These are some parts that stood out to me, O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness . . . So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In Your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am Your servant.
The other thing that kept coming to my mind yesterday while I was waiting for this procedure is a VBS song David has been singing for weeks, "God is good, all the time" The exact words are not coming to my mind today, but yesterday they were in there. It says something to the effect that though I walk through the valley, I will not fear for He will keep me safe and strong. What a blessing my family has been to me.
Friday, July 13, 2007
The surgeon told her she couldn't eat 12 hours before surgery; so she didn't get her first meal until late this afternoon. Friendly's take out never tasted so good! It think she liked the Reese's peanut butter swirl ice cream "thingy" the best.
Anyway, I'm grateful for a great surgeon and a strong wife! Thanks again to all of you for your prayers and support. Thanks especially to those of you who gave Barbara those gift baskets. We cashed in our gift card getting the Friendly's food. It was wonderful and is such a blessing to be supported by such a great group of family, church family and friends.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tomorrow, I am having a port-a-cath put in so the doctors can stick me less. Monday is my next treatment. I am trying to get all of my ducks in a row before the next treatment, but find myself seriously stressing right now. I feel like I am preparing for an extended vacation where I will have no contact with the outside world - although, this is no vacation and I will have contact. Someone asked me, "What will happen if you don't get all of these things done?" "But I have to do them" is not really an accurate answer. I feel like I have to do them. I finally had to ask for help and am feeling much better. I know, I know - I should have just asked for help in the first place. I am still learning how to take care of myself.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
David wanted to read a book tonight, "Where's Mom's Hair?" once he found out what was happening. Dave had to read it because I just couldn't even read the first page. I'm feeling a lot of things - sad, obviously, but also angry. This is just another reminder of what is happening to me and will be a reminder every time I look in the mirror, regardless of how I am feeling that day.
The good part about this is that I got to go shopping. I have some new accessories to show off and David keeps telling me, "Mom, that looks beautiful." Dawson, on the other hand, screams and runs away from me or tries to rip it off my head. We are going to have to work on that . . .
Monday, July 2, 2007
I used to get so frustrated at the waiting that seems to take place constantly. Waiting to get test results, waiting to feel better, waiting to feel worse, waiting to lose my hair. I have decided to stop waiting and start enjoying. Enjoying my hair, enjoying the time with my family, enjoying everything there is to enjoy. A Bible verse came to mind as I enjoy my hair -
Matthew 10:29-31: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Friday, June 29, 2007
A friend of ours also put up a fence to trap our boys in the backyard. We had put this project on hold for now, but a friend showed up and wanted to help.
I also received 2 incredible baskets of goodies from my friends at church. I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness put into the baskets. People really knew what I needed to lift my spirits.
Last week, I was about to do my devotions and thought to my self that I could really use a book geared towards women like me. Guess what arrived in the mail the next day from a friend I hadn't even shared this with? A devotional for breast cancer. This is happened with numerous other things - a new tote bag, a blanket for chemo, and even an ipod. I just thought "That would be nice to have" and it shows up! Dave wants me to wish for a boat . . .
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I spoke with a Care Coordinator from the Cancer Center today and one of the programs they offer is to connect me with another woman about the same age with children who is at least 6 months out of treatement. I am looking forward to talking to another mom with young children and see how she did it.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I am feeling better - physically and emotionally. Still having some bouts with nausea and of course, fatigue, but it is manageable.
I had to take the boys to childcare yesterday and today, but feel like I actually have something left to give when they get home. I can spend the evening with my family, eating dinner, baths, etc. instead of collapsing at 6 p.m.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Dave and I took a walk around the block last night (to burn off some of this energy). The boys went to the beach for the night with their Aunt Robin. The walk was slow but some fresh air was just what I needed after staring out the window at the blue skies yesterday for 5 1/2 hours Yes, that is how long it took, from the time I sat in the chair until I left.
More tests today and 2 more next week (and I will not be attending alone). I have to go back Monday for a shot to boost the growth of new white blood cells to help me fight infection.
Thank you so much for all of your cards, e-mails and comments. I may not be able to respond to all of them, but have so enjoyed reading them. Please keep them coming.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I had a difficult time today. I went by myself (which I now know is not the wisest thing for me to do). By the time everything was done ( I agreed to be part of a clinical study also which required more time), I was exhausted. I wanted to just stop in Happy Harrys' for some meds and 4 things before I came home to rest. 4 things with no children should not be difficult to remember, right? I had to stop several times in the store to recall what those 4 things were. My brain was just on overload and my body was pooped. It was just a hard day. And the real fun hasn't even begun.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Our household, as you can imagine, is a lot crazy right now with doctors' offices calling, concerned family and friends calling, not to mention the 2 boys running around. We are doing okay and firmly believe that we will remain that way. We also know to expect ups and downs, but are "excited" that chemo is beginning soon. Who would have ever thought that anyone would be excited about chemo? Well, I am. I can not wait for this thing to stop invading my body so much.
We have found verses in the Bible that we have known all of our lives, but take on a new meaning now. God's grace has been demonstrated to us in even the little details these days. Today was a good day and full of good things and we thank Him for everyone of them.