Showing posts with label Breast Cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Breast Cancer. Show all posts

Friday, December 23, 2016

It is Almost Christmas

Christmas will be here in two days, so now is the time to record photographs and what has been happening in our neck of the woods this month.  We have not put up a decorative tree in years, but I do make displays of angels and votive candles and Madonna and Child icons to commemorate the season.

On Tuesday, friends came over for coffee.  I was so bold as to ask that each bring a refreshment, otherwise I just did not believe I could host a small coffee.  Why, getting up from bed or resting would have required an hour of standing! I am only half kidding here, because I do spend most days fatigued and prone on the bed. Thank you, everyone, for bringing tasty treats.

This is Marianne and Janice's boys putting together origami trees. Marianne brought tasty biscotti and entertained the young guys for quite a while; the boys seemed to enjoy playing with the papers.

This is Janice, the boys' mom.  We lost her mom, Maureen, to metastatic breast cancer (mbc) almost three years ago.

The ornaments above are like ones that Julie chose to give to the workers at the manor.  Every one of the workers at Mesa Manor received this small gift, along with a candy cane.  After going back four times to Michael's to supply the goodie sacks, ensuring no one was overlooked, we made a total of 52 sacks.  Julie and the last few bags are posing below.

This picture was taken prior to our holiday lunch last week and pasted on FaceBook by Verda, so I am reposting it here.

Healthwise, it has been a rough couple of weeks since pneumonia germs seemed to have found a nice spot to multiply in my lungs. Talk about a fatigue maker, pneumonia and its fighter, capsules of Leviquin, combined to create an atmosphere for feeling awful.

A PET scan and an MRI are scheduled next week to determine if the Ibrance is working to keep tumors at bay.  The oncologist decided to change medicines and will make further decisions after he reads results of the scans.  "Scanxiety" is the term for wanting to know, yet not wanting to know results from tests scanning for cancer growth.  Actually, I do not have scanxiety. as I will never be abandoned or lost (Hebrews 13:5).

Leaving you with a favorite Norman Rockwell Christmas painting:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spiders and Shorter Days

Note: Spiders are not attractive to potential house buyers.  Don't get caught with them in the tub.  Here is one I found this morning, trying to ward off looky lookers.  (Six walk-throughs with realtors, with one offer on the house thus far.)
Tomatoes are ripening on the vine, neighbors have been too kind with their squash, and days are getting shorter with kiddos out early in the mornings making their way to school.

Yesterday proved an interesting day with the oncologist in that I learned I qualify for a clinical trial.  At first my altruistic thoughts were quite positive, until I read through the 23 pages of the abstract and learned I would have to make at least fifteen overnight visits to Denver, in winter months, over the continental divide, and at my own expense.  So now the inclination is to let some other "lucky" lady take my place in the trial.  In this double blind study, I had a 33.3 percent chance of receiving the placebo instead of targeted radiation, and even though it would be do-able, it would also be very taxing.  I am continuing on with the Ibrance and letrozole, targeted therapies to slow down tumor growth.  Dr. L offered steroids and analgesics for back and hip aches, but I am holding off for now and trying other avenues for pain relief. There will be time later to bring in the big guns to control pain.  And actually, the pain, dare we say discomfort, is mostly under control, in case you were to worry.

On the Julie front: she is doing pretty well, better than I would have imagined a year ago.  Her new social avenue is playing a card game, Phase 10, with one of her and my best friends at the manor, Ms. Louise.  Louise just passed her 91st birthday last week with much hoopla.  Julie gave her sweet presents and flowers, and Louise had two birthday lunches that she very much enjoyed.  These days, all three of us are playing Phase 10 together in the mornings after Julie gets to the garden room around half past ten. This is sweet Louise with Julie.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Homestead for Sale

Our home for almost 20 years is now for sale.

It is with mixed feelings that Gene and I are selling, along with all the hard work that has gone into it, from choosing a floor plan, to building on a vacant lot, then forwarding on to create a home. 

(nostalgic pictures from 1996 as we were building)
(Larry Bennett was builder)
(late 1996)

(August, 2016 our house for SALE!)

You can imagine the reasoning that has gone into the decision to sell, if you have been following this blog for a while.  It is difficult to say that the return of cancer is nudging us along, because that ugly disease is not going to make me a victim. I do so want to be the Girl on the Right. SHE would not be a victim.

My brother John and SIL Char were here this week and John was a trooper, helping to fix the garden gate, transplanting iris into a big pot, trucking dead foliage into the pit, and helping to move a 75 year old workbench and heavy oak table onto the back of a friend's pickup bed.  The workbench and table have already found a new home thanks to Marianne, Judy and Bill.

We also had some recreational time.  SIL tickled heads for Julie and me while Uncle John photographed. We had some good days together.

Today starts day 9 of 21 days for the first cycle of the Ibrance chemo drug at 125 mg/day with expected side effects (SE) of fatigue and woozy-ness.  Not too bad, and SE should diminish as time goes by.

Pictures tomorrow of a Girls on the Right Luncheon with friends and salads and summer drinks on the patio.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ever Visited Breast Cancer Dot Org?

Over where it is beautiful one day and perfect the next, Sandra posted:
"Negative people need drama like oxygen.
Stay positive. It will take their breath away."

And on an optimistic note, this week Ibrance is to be delivered to our doorstep.  It is a pill generally taken orally along with a hormone inhibitor. I have read that it costs $10,000 for a one month supply, but I am hoping that is an unsubstantiated rumor.  Yeah, yeah, there are those nasty little side effects, but look at it this way, those tumors may not get bigger anytime soon with pricey meds on board!

At this site on one of the community forums at "breast cancer", I spent several days reading through, actually skimming, over 14,000 messages on one board alone.  About anything you could ever question has been addressed by one person or another in this one thread about BC bone metastasis.  And that is just one thread of conversations covering almost 135,000 topics.  It is amazing how many competent people, mostly women, are in charge of their health care.

Simply filling in the information on the profile site took me a while.  It was worth the time to complete the profiling because now I have specific email updates on news relating to individual diagnoses sent to me by email.  Of course, if you are only a lurker and not an overachiever trying to be on top of it all, you can skip the emails and enjoy your latest Big Bang Theory episode, if that is your fancy, and just check in every few months on medical updates. Obsessiveness comes in all shapes and sizes other than fretting over one's health; my personal favorite ocd activity is blowing dead leaves off the patio.  At least that is an activity that can be controlled by hot air (not touching politics)!

Leaving you with this beautiful song...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cancer Update

Events this week have shown an about-face, proving challenges are ever changing. Example: from being given information that cancer cells were not running amok, to being informed that those errant cells are indeed attaching and growing inside my bones. Two weeks ago, a CT scan showed no problem, but a previous MRI  indicated some suspicious areas of clustering cells congregating under my left arm and under the implant where I once had a breast. 

Then a new day dawned and a PET scan performed Tuesday showed lesions on the lower spine, the upper pelvis and also deep under the left rib, thinning the bone and causing havoc with nighttime sleep and daytime movement.  Liken the discomfort unto a bruised rib. Kind of.

Yesterday, prayers from family and friends and a helpful technician giving me extra doses of fentanyl helped me breeze through two bone core biopsies in my upper pelvis.  Now we wait for the definitive news from pathology to tell that sorry old story that breast cancer has spread to the bones.

Several days ago I read this poem by Jo McDougalk, published by The Writer's Almanac on July 12.  It reverberated in my chest wall.


You’ve come to the oncologist’s office
to talk about your options.
You view the scans,
forgetting to breathe.
“It’s metastasized.” He frowns,
pointing to where and where.
He ticks off the preferred treatment,
the side effects,
low rates of success.
“It’s your choice,” he says,
closing your folder,
“but we need to start tomorrow.”
You think of yesterday
when you lived in a different universe,
of a waitress,
hand on her hip, asking,
“Hon, you want mustard or mayo
on that sandwich?”

Chew on that one.  Some choices are mundane, a few are critical. Time will tell, and decisions will be made with prayer and the Holy Spirit backing us up.

While meditating this morning, Psalms 91 came to mind.  (Joyce Meyer has a great sermon about Psalms 91 on YouTube here). These are the first two verses in the scripture, but read the entire psalm for comfort.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psalms 91:1-2)

photo by Carol Lewis

I am trusting and desiring to be a good example of dealing with cancer in a realistic and God centered manner so that I can give Julie that as a legacy.  My mother did the same for me in 2000 when she dealt with the cancer issue, and was never fearful of one day following the next.  Nor am I, and I trust that Julie will also face her own mortality with faith and dignity.

Next posting with be all about knitting, I promise.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Show the Pink

We are bombarded this month, rightly so, with October Breast Cancer Awareness.

Inspiration Avenue challenges you this month to show your pink art.  So much out there, so little time.

This post will review some of breast cancer awareness that I have blogged about over the years.  Click on the links if you want to read more about breast cancer thoughts (links are under each picture).

Go on over to see more Pink Art here at Inspiration Avenue!

linked to a previous post here
bra inserts linked to a previous post here
lymphedema, a common side effect of radiation, linked to a previous post here
There are things that we don't
want to happen but have to accept,
things we don't want to know but have to learn,
and people we can't live without but have to let go.

~ Author Unknown
(linked to a previous post here)
Remembering Rivka post here
printed on my favorite t-shirt with post here
Sisterhood of the Traveling Shawl post here
post here
post is here
Show YOUR pink!  And look at Inspiration Avenue and others' posts to show art to Fight for the Cure.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October is ...

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, if you didn't know already.

This logo is on the front of one of my favorite black t-shirts, and I wear it with gratitude.  The logo looks better straight on; otherwise if I were to show a picture actually wearing it you might be looking for non-existent boobs.

This t-shirt usually gets a laugh when I show it off! Linking with Pink Saturday.  Here are a few of the other 125 bloggers who have linked so far:

Everything you need to know about understanding Breast Cancer is here.

Go HERE to participate in the Pink Scarf Project!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elusive Secret of Happiness

Remembering the good times is so important that researchers in the UK have found a clue that
The elusive secret of happiness could be as simple as remembering the good times and forgetting the regrets, a new university study reported
Valentine's Day, 1997 when daughter Julie and SIL Jack married:

Just look at the smiles on all our faces as Julie sets forth on a new journey with her husband Jack! It brings tears to my eyes remembering that joy.

1997, Jack and Julie enjoying their wedding cake on Valentine's Day after their marriage ceremony

Update: Julie has completed her second round of chemotherapy and had a PET scan yesterday in order to better target radiation that begins next week.  She is happy, upbeat, sweet and a joy to have as a daughter.  (Further links to Julie written by her mama can be found here, here, here, and here.)
Further: For people who look at the past through rose-tinted glasses are happier than those who focus on negative past experiences and regrets, according to a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
The study helps explain why personality has such a strong influence on a person's happiness and the findings suggest that people with certain personality traits are happier than others because of the way they think about their past, present and future.
The study examined how peoples' ratings on the "Big Five" personality traits relates to their approach to time and life satisfaction.
The "Big Five" model assesses how extroverted, neurotic, open, conscientious and agreeable a person is, and rates individuals as high or low on each personality trait rather than assigning them a personality type.
"We found that highly extraverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Becoming a Pensioner

These articles are worth a look.  I became an early pensioner today, so everything is not all bad.

Pensions in the United States  Thank you, Sisters of Charity, for my pension plan

Study Hints That Statins Might Fight Breast Cancer  (more advances in breast cancer research)

The Upside Benefit for Women of Guaranteed Income in Retirement  (women do live longer than men)

and finally, just for a chuckle, here is one of the cards daughter Julie sent me for my birthday:

Happy Birthday to me, just another old broad :o)  And thank you, Gene, for my new red leather loveseat where I can plot, plan, knit, read, converse, watch tv, and generally thoroughly enjoy my retirement.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Breast Cancer Update on Julie

Just an update on Julie to say she will have three tumors removed from her left breast next week.

After several months chemotherapy, the tumors have shrunk enough to facilitate their removal. The largest is one inch, and the smallest is 1/6 of an inch.  A mastectomy is not a viable option for her due to complications from VA shunt tubing that goes to her heart

Then following surgery, Julie will go back on chemotherapy for an undetermined length of time.

She and her husband face many trials, with cancer being the most recent hurdle to wheel through.

From a fellow blogger comes this motivational sign.
  (If you go to her website, you can download the slogan in various formats.)

For sure, Julie and Jack are examples for accomplishing hard things.

Your prayers for her well being are appreciated.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beauty, Older Women, Courage, Quotes

An arresting photo of a woman in her late years:
A quilt of unknown origin, size unknown

this from just a portion of a poem well worth the entire read found here called The Invitation:
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it is not pretty, every day,
And if you can source your own life from its presence.

(A Study -Limbo ID:374 from 2006 Lilly Oncology On Canvas 2006 competition)

The picture above was an award winner in the referenced art competition.  She is a symbol of a woman carrying a burden, but knowing she will survive the battle with courage and victory, no matter the outcome of her health issue. This particular art piece of the introspective woman who has lost her hair from chemotherapy reminds me of  a reference given to me by my husband when we were discussing our daughter's recent photo.

Julie's smile below shows her inner beauty of personal strength and almost continual attitude of optimism.  She, too, is undergoing chemotherapy and has lost her hair.
These preceding photos all tie together with this quote from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land ( referring to Rodin's sculpture of  "Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone")
... she's a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women - this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under their loads. It's courage... and victory.

Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn't give up... she's still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her... she's all the unsung heroes who couldn't make it but never quit. 
Rodin's plaster of Fallen Caryatid referenced here 1881-1882

1920, Rosa by Walter Grammatte

And finally, one of my favorites:
(from a picture in my study that is over 30 years old with the poem below by Nadin Stair)

If I Had My Life to Live Over
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans. 
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones. 
You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day. 
I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute. 
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds. 
I would pick more daisies.
Nadine Stair, 85 years old

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Headband for a Bald Head

This is called "headband for a bald head" and it should fit right into the wardrobe of a person without hair. And it took less than a day to knit.

  You can click on the badge to the left to get all the details and the free pattern.  It is a good thing, and I'll bet you can guess who will be the recipient.

And another cotton number from the same pattern:
and yet another:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good News!

Instead of linking to a care page, I'll just let my blogging buddies know what has happened to daughter Julie over the past two days:
  1.  She had her chemo treatment, but a week later she had severe nausea.
  2. When the nausea continued to the point that it was obviously not related to the chemo, she was taken by ambulance to her local hospital (20 miles from her home in S. Carolina) and then AGAIN transferred by another ambulance several hours later to Charlotte, NC to the 700 bed Carolina Medical Center for tests on her AV shunt (the AV shunt drains fluid from the brain to the heart to treat her hydrocephalous).  She has had over 100 AV shunt revisions in her life.
  3.  Julie underwent emergency surgery last night to replace the clogged. She is speaking coherently now, has no headaches and has no memory of anything that happened, including her intense pain from the headaches, for the past 72 hours. That short term memory will likely not be regained, and I say "who cares?" as she won't remember that awful time.
  4. Julie is supposed to sit up in her wheelchair for a few hours today while in hospital and will be discharged tomorrow if all goes well.
  5. Thank you all for your prayers and concern!
The other good news is the package of breast cancer clothing accessories that came in the mail yesterday from Cafe Press.

This is the t-shirt I wore yesterday:
It says: "They're Not Real (the real ones tried to kill me)

Here is a hat for Julie going in the mail today, also from Cafe Press: