Friday, July 27, 2007

Ever since the news went out about my diagnosis, not a day has gone by without us receiving a card or package in the mail, an encouraging email or phone call. I must confess that I do forget to tell people thank you sometimes for the cards, etc. but we do appreciate every thought and prayer lifted on our behalf.

I think the same gremlins who added stairs to our house have also been hiding things. Dave and I scoured the house yesterday for a prescription that I picked up at the pharmacy and then it mysteriously disappeared. Throughout the course of the evening, we were on the search for other things and some of them turned up today when I wasn't looking for them - that is how this usually turns out, right? This morning I was still stressed about the lost prescription, and at one point made the comment to David that I was losing my mind. Now, David has been saying all day that he has "lost his sense and his brain." Well, he's trying to get it right. On a more serious note, he also told me that he wanted to go live with someone else because he is sad to see me sick. Ouch. He made that comment a few days after chemo and I was still not getting around well. Since I have been feeling better, he seems to be okay. It was still tough to swallow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I have been left alone with the children!

Today is the first day in about 12 days that I have been alone with the boys and it was great. I think I was so excited to be feeling better, I wore them out (and myself)! We didn't hear a peep after they laid down for bed.

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

Feeling better

I went to the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday with Dave and the boys and Robin. I realized after the fact that it may have been too much. It started out as a fairly cool day but turned quickly to a warm day. I sat down a lot but just couldn't cool down. We had a good time, but I was worthless the rest of the evening. One more day and I should be able to keep the boys home with me.

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

Day 3 of chemo

The day is almost over. This is one of those days that drags on forever. My physical being is exhausted but can't rest because of restlessness. My emotional being is on overload. That is harder for me than the physical part. I miss the boys but can't have them home because I can't take care of them. I know maybe another day or so of feeling this way and then I will be on my upswing. Now that I have this new port, I was wondering if God could pump some strength right into it?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ready for some R & R

The port insertion went well and I was the only one in the recovery area of the Surgicenter not throwing up. My right arm is very heavy today and every time I move it, I pull the stitches. The port is near my collar bone on the right side. I am going to take it easy today and the boys are at my in-laws having a grand ole time.

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

Slicing and Dicing

This entry is not from Barb. This one is from her husband. She is resting, at least comfortably for now. Thank God for good drugs, though she is still not sharing any with me!

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

The countdown has begun!

Well, I am now sporting a new do - or what is left of it. I finally had to have a friend cut it very short because it was a mess - patches some places, bald others, and needless to say, making a mess everywhere. Some hairs are still hanging on but not many. The boys have done much better with it than I expected. I can go natural around the house and no one screams in horror.

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

My hair's days are numbered.

Well, it happened. Shortly before giving Dawson a bath, I scratched my head and removed a large clump of hair. As I "helped" it come out, I looked over to find Dawson, now 20 months old, pulling his hair and placing it in the trash can. It brought humor to a mournful experience.

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

Still feeling good!

Altogether, I am still feeling good (and can even "forget" about things for a little while.) We had a great weekend. David, Aunt Robin and I sailed on a tall ship yesterday on the Wilmington Waterfront and there were pirates aboard. We had a nice time and a beautiful day. Today, we went to Bellevue State Park and the good news is I am not totally exhausted. I have enjoyed being able to do "normal" things with my family. I had a little bit of a setback today because of an infection but it looks like a course of antibiotics should treat it.

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.