Monday, October 28, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It is off to the Hospital I Go

It is 4:15 am and I am nestled into my hospital recliner.

Hmmm...I'll work on that one.

But, I am in the hospital for a few days. Saturday evening I started to feel some sharp pains in my right side. I was worried it might be my appendix after playing doctor via Google, so I called my mom who brought me to the ER. Ten hours later I was diagnosed with two kidneys that were not functioning properly, kidney stones, and at least four pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in my lungs). On the sunny side-my appendix looks great!

So I have been admitted to the hospital. First up is using a different blood thinner than the one I normally use to try to ensure no more blood clots form. Then we will address my kidneys. My pain has increased slightly, but overall I feel about the same and with my painkillers all is tolerable.

Under the category of well, that sucks: Kelly and I were supposed to leave next weekend for a trip to Aruba, but that plan was (not surprisingly) nixed. We were really looking forward to a few days away together, but hopefully we can arrange something else down the road.

Much more to write, but I am actually feeling groggy and am going to try to grab some sleep.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nap vs. Blog

The wedge biopsy procedure went smoothly last Tuesday. I had to stay over, as expected, due to a chest tube (um, gross). Everyone on "Tower 2" (cancer floor) was excellent. They let me move to a private room when I had a rowdy roommate. True story: Her phone would ring every 10-15 minutes. If she wasn't there to answer they would call my line to see if I could go find her. Really. The staff was also great helping me get comfortable with the um, gross tube.

Unfortunately, the first part of the testing from the biopsies has come through indicating the cancer in my lungs is not the nice, grow slowly neuroendocrine cancer, but cervical cancer. If you go to my post Reality (iPad is acting up, so no hyperlink for you), you will realize why this sucks.

My dad is also not doing well. I ask for your continued prayers for his healing.

But most of all right now, I ask you to think of my mom. She is a wonderful woman who does not deserve to see her husband and daughter go through these things. I have no idea where she gets the strength to get up each morning, but I am thankful she does and so fortunate that I get to spend time with her almost every day.

No kiddo story today...they are sweet and bright and I couldn't do justice to one of their wonderful little tales.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, September 27, 2013


Earlier this month I attended a retreat for women with cancer at Silver Bay on Lake George. For those of you who know me well, you know this sounds like an unlikely journey for me to go on voluntarily. I had seen the brochure at the cancer center, but never picked it up. Then one chemo day the cancer center social worker, Karen, popped in my room and...well, I am not sure what happened, but by the time she left I had consented to go.

Silver Bay is a beautiful retreat. When I was a teenager I attended several church gatherings there. Two high points from those days: tipping a canoe with my friend Rama and having my youth group leader, Dennis, teach us a little about astronomy out on the point. My takeaway: who knows what is out there, but it is breathtaking.

I digress. Surprise!

The women's cancer retreat was very rewarding. The simple fact is, I know you care and you love me and would help in any way you can, but at the end of the day (most of) you are cancer-free and I am not. These women all had cancer. These women understood the chronic pain, the apprehension before each scan, the worry that 'is this weird breathing the cancer spreading or just some allergies?'

It was a relief to let the walls down for a while. To not have the pressure of being an 'inspiration' because I am willing to keep fighting this dreadful disease. To belly dance in a chair (not so pretty). To easily laugh with others about side effects that others may feel awkward even talking about.

I hate to admit it, but I am thankful Karen came into my room that day. Whatever voodoo she worked to get me to Silver Bay, I liked it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 9, 2013

Here I Am....Brought to You Like a Hurricane...

Ah Whitesnake lyrics....such a surprise they didn't make it over the long haul.

Speaking of long hauls I know it has once again been far too long since I have posted. I am on week 4 of a treatment schedule, so it should be my best week. Unfortunately, the hip pain continues to make uprightness painful and now I have some random thing going on with my feet that I need to call the office about. I should have done it today, but life is busy. Tomorrow...

I have had a great deal of down time which often means me, a heating pad, a variety of blankets, my Kindle and/or a remote control. Ask me about any trashy Bravo show. I can probably fill you in. I am not proud of that fact. :)

During my down time I have lots of time to think. Sometimes my mind wanders to the negative, but I really fight to keep it towards the positive. One of those positive things are the people who have been with us through this journey. I think of Meg who came up with Team SMAC and had one of her graphic designers take time to make "our" ninja. I think of my mother-in-law who has spent endless hours here with me. Often chasing children, but sometimes just talking to me helping to pass the down time. I think of my former neighbor Lisa who stops by and texts. And when we go out to dinner makes sure I eat (the hospital folks would be proud). I think of Ruth, one of my nurses, who has twin boys and simply by hearing her talk about her twins has helped me to better cope when hearing stories of all twins. I think of my mom who whips this house into order within seconds of arriving and continues to help us, even as she cares for my ailing father. I think of Brenda, Kevin, and Lori - all "alternative" therapists who have helped me through reiki, acupuncture, and massage (yes, I am allowed massages!).

I can go on and on: my father-in-law (he might require a whole post...), Kelli-girl, Ms. Ginny (aka the Cookie Lady), my neighbor Jane who is an amazing cook, my church family, my preschool family, my oncology family, Courtney - my late night texting buddy, Bethie - a dear college friend who reentered my life, my swimming friend Deb who arranged for an audio recording for my children, I could go on and on...and I think in another post I will tell you more about these wonderful people. But, the point is whenever I start to think of the crappy my inability to wander the aisles of Target...I think of one of these people and my attitude changes completely.

My guess is you are one of the people I think of at some point. So, thank you. What you do for my spirit I am incapable of putting into words. I am just grateful that you are part of my life and have stuck with me (or joined me) for the past two years.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

URLs, CT scans, and a crazy 5 year old

Turns out I had the wrong URL for my Pampered Chef site in my last post. Here is the correct URL:

I also wanted to mention that I really love the Fundraiser program PC does. A percentage of sales from each party goes directly to your cause - whether it is a national cause, like the American Cancer Society, or a more personal cause, like a friend struggling with the cost of medical bills. I also donate a percentage of my earnings to the cause as a way to give back to the community that has been so giving to my family. If you are interested, contact me - this is my favorite type of party!

Medical news: last week I had a scan to check on the tumors in my torso. The tumors in my liver and abdomen are shrinking slightly while those in my lungs are growing slightly. I suppose we are at a 'stable' place for now. In a few weeks I am going to meet with a lung and chest surgeon about having a biopsy of the tumors in my lungs. The purpose is two-fold: determine if the lung tumors are related to the cervical cancer or the neuroendocrine cancer. The second purpose is to do a test called a chemotherapy assay. In this test a variety of chemotherapy agents are applied to the tumor to see which ones work best in the lab. Dr. S can then use this information to help him decide where to go from here.

Last weekend we went up to my in-laws' home on Lake George where my father-in-law surprised Rory with his very own fishing pole. And worms. Rory was all smiles. He was even more thrilled after catching over 20 sunnies off the dock. He'd put his pole in and almost instantly had a fish. His little brothers were equally excited by watching the fish in the bucket before we put them back in the water. It was great to see Rory have such fun with a new hobby!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I miss working. I miss interacting with new people who are not doctors or nurses. I miss the challenge of doing something new.
I cannot go back to my old job. It is a deadline-driven job and I cannot guarantee I will feel well enough to meet my deadlines. Plus, chemo brain. For those who have not heard of chemo brain it is a term used to describe the forgetfulness and slower thought process of those on chemo. Again, not great for my former profession.
So I thought about what I could do, factoring in my hip pain, treatment schedule, and medications.
Turns out that list is fairly short. But then my friend Betsy came over to do a Pampered Chef party with me as the hostess. And it hit me...this would be a great job. Flexible hours, work when my treatment schedule allowed, and selling a great product that people can actually use in their homes!
I talked to Kelly and he agreed to sign up with me, that way if I am unexpectedly having a rough day, he can fill in for me. (I know...he should probably just do the cooking part of each show anyways!)
We would love to have some of you as our first hosts/hostesses! In September all stoneware (like the famous pizza stone) will be 20% off, so it is a great time to host a party. I also have some clever, useful, and affordable Christmas gift ideas for teachers, etc. You can be a host or hostess in many different ways:
1) Host a show where I come to your house (again, with wine!), you invite friends and family, and we make some yummy food. One friend feels her house is too small, so we are going to have her party at my house. Keep that in mind if you feel the same way! You will earn free and half price products for hosting. Kelly and I earned over $200 in free products when we hosted!
2) Host a catalog show. I will give you catalogs for you to give to your friends and family. They can then place orders online through my website or by contacting me. Easy breezy. And, you will also earn free and half price products for yourself!
3) If you would like some Pampered Chef products, but don't want to host a party, you can go to our website and place an order:
I'd love to hear from you - Pampered Chef sells awesome, reliable products that you will love to use. Thanks!
Email to reach us at:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I am running out of title ideas for basic updates.

I have returned from Michigan after a great mini-vacation with my mom. We were able to spend lots of time with family and my cousin's wedding was beautiful. My only comment is do not have my mom push you in a wheelchair. Thankfully I can't feel my toes so the bumps into various metal poles didn't hurt too much!

On Tuesday I had a pelvic MRI because Dr. S was concerned my severe hip pain could be caused by the cancer spreading. The MRI was brutal - I cannot be on my back comfortably and had to be on the hard table being still for about 45 minutes. I thought of my husband's cousin who had to have an MRI of her brain a few days after brain surgery while lying on her staples and thought...she had the fortitude to make it through, so can I. Thankfully, the MRI showed no signs of cancer in my bones or pelvic organs.
He changed my pain killer plan so now I am on a long term pain killer, use other meds for short term pain relief, and flexaril - a muscle relaxer - has been added to see if that helps. Last night I took my meds, fell asleep at 11 and woke up at 1. In the afternoon. I think I will space out my meds a bit more tonight!

Tomorrow my beloved grandfather-in-law, Pa, is having a pacemaker put it. I know this is a very safe surgery, but please keep him in your thoughts. He is a feisty 94 year old with lots of living still to do.

My dad is still in the hospital. He receives dialysis 3 days a week and that seems to help his mental clarity. Overall, his condition seems to be stable - not going backwards, but also not making much progress. I am hopeful once he is in a rehab facility that changes.

Kid story of the day:
Kyan and Rory go to camp at a place called the Dome. They love it there and come home exhausted from all the activities they do. One of Kyan's favorite sports is baseball - he must take after his great grandfather. The Dome has a batting cage. Kyan ended up spending about 3 hours in the cage and came home with a blistered hand. The next day I thought that would slow him down a little. No sir. Back in the cage again. I think his great grandfather Stokes would be proud.