Wednesday, November 29, 2006
If you work with someone that is ill....see if you can transfer one of your sick days to your co-worker..this woks too if that person is the main care giver for another person that is ill. There is a lot of down days when the patient needs someone to stay home with them or take them on one of their numerous doctor/treatment appointments.
If your a neighbor of someone ill you can help by raking leaves, shoveling snow, cutting grass, taking in the trash cans or taking them out, bring the newspaper closer to their front door in the morning or organize some of your other neighbors to put some funds together to hire a service that can help with the outdoor stuff for a season or a whole year.
Organize some neighbors to rotate cooking dinner for the family that is going through a health crisis...everyone takes turns making enough dinner food to feed their own family plus the other family.
Volunteer to run errands, if your going grocery shopping call and see if there is anything you can pick up for them, pick up or drop off things at the dry cleaner and such. If one of your kids is in a sports or other activity with one of their children, video tape the event and share that with them.
If you have rented any movies and after your finished watching it. ask if they would like to view it too and then you can return it to the video store, or you can ask them if there is a movie that they would like to see and rent it for them...remember there is a lot of time spent in ones bed during a serious illness or recovery from an operation. If you want to, send over a bag of microwave popcorn and other treats with the movie.
If its a good day for the person, invite them over for a football party..nothing beats a tail gate party in the comfort of a living room, keep the guest list small...chemo lowers ones ability to fight off colds and viruses....a major illness on top of their other illness can delay their treatment.
Send a goody bag over loaded with antibacterial items, a box of tissues, heavy duty moisturizing cream, lip balm, a lavender scented candle....best known for its calming ability, a back scratchier ( A MUST HAVE!LOL) be careful of sending anything over that has a really strong scent to it....strong odors become offensive when one is ill.
If they have small children organize play dates with your own kids and other neighbors, offer to drive their children to these play dates too.If they have kids of the furry kind lol! volunteer to make that late night dog walk, see if there are any vet appointments that you can take care of.
offer to Christmas or Holiday shop for them....last place they want to be is at the mall or toy store with all the germs that are around this time of year. If they have small children that still believe in Santa offer to hide the gifts at your house.
If they are a really close friend or family member, look through your old photos and make a copy of one that has you and that person in it, find a fabulous frame and send them a note telling them how much they mean to you.....this will bring back happier times and let them believe that those kind of days will happen once again, some time soon.
I have been very blessed as far as health insurance goes....we have hardly any out of pocket expenses...just 20 pills of the Zofran (an anti-nausea medication) is an $ 887.00 dollar expense and that only lasts you for one treatment per chemo, we only had to pay $10.00 co pay.....like I said I am blessed, my entire operation hospital cost was over $45,000.00 and that did not include any of the Doctors fees (still waiting for those bills lol)....Our insurance covered the whole amount.....others aren't as fortunate...see if there is a need to raise funds for that family..sometimes all it takes is a phone call to your local newspaper to generate a story of that family's plight and then the snowball "good will" effect takes over and the family can get some help with the financial costs that burden them too...especially if the person that is ill, is the main supporter of the family.
I made that call a few years ago for a Mother that was donating one of her kidneys to her very ill 5 year old son (she is the SIL of a very good friend of mine) that story help set up a fund to cover the expense of that lil boy's life long medicinal needs.
You might think that what your doing seems so small and insignificant, but trust me that small deed is huge in that person's life.
And remeber that person when you are counting your blessings and last but not least.....A prayer goes a long way and is the easiest to bestow.
Life is good and I am blessed!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Going through this Cancer ordeal has taught me many things....first is I am not alone....almost everyone that reads my blog has someone in their life that has been touched by some kind of cancer, everyone feels the same helplessness that goes along with knowing and watching what goes along with this terrible disease. The most frustrating thing is not knowing what to do for that person....here as some things that I know brightened up my darkest days.
We don't always want to talk, if someone says it's ok to call then by all means call, if you don't get the go ahead to call wait for them to make the calls.
Encourage them to start a blog for family and friends to keep updated without worrying about calling and waking them up while they are resting.
Buy them a box of Thank You cards and a book of stamps, or a stationary set.
Buy them a bed tray so they can eat their meals there when they aren't feeling up to making a trip to the kitchen.
Buy them one of those dorm back pillows, after surgery you have to sleep at a 45 degree angle for awhile.
Buy them a small pillow 5 X 7 to tuck under their arm between then breast area and the under arm......feels good especially if they had lymph nodes removed.
Send cards weekly, those let that person know how much they are loved and are a good picker upper especially if they aren't ready to make phone calls.
Send some soft stretchy hats that can keep a bald head warm but still let some heat escape.......Thanks Sheila!!!!
If you know them and their family well enough to know what they enjoy meal wise or snack wise by al means do so....especially if it's a Mom that is going through Cancer and Chemo. We are smell sensitive during the first part of chemo and strong smells make us gag. Send them a pizza or Chinese food or gift certificates to their favorite family restaurant that they can call and order dinner to bring home and enjoy.
If your a neighbor volunteer to drive their kids to the bus stop or school on bad weather days or after school activities...last thing we want to worry about is getting our kids to school safely.
If your the parent of a friend to their children, invite them over for a sleep over, the kids need a fun night away from the illness and it is especially important during the really rough times....as a Mom, I don't want my children to witness a really bad day for me...it freaks them out and is hard to forget watching one of your parents sick or in pain.
Buy some super soft and comfy through pillows for their bed....they will be spending a lot of time there.
If they are an avid reader get them a gift certificate to an online store....that way they can pass the time escaping into a really good book and forget for a moment what their real life is like at the moment.......same thing for movies.......nothing beats a really good comedy.......laughter really is a great pain reliever.
I hope this gives you some peace of mind when knowing someone who is going through a really difficult illness.....it will bring them joy and give you the peace of mind that you made a small difference in their lives.
As a Cancer patient myself........I know my illness isn't easy for the majority of the people in my life, so if you can't find yourself being able to deal with their illness face to face a small gesture goes a very long way! With my family and friends only a very few can deal with my illness and it is people like you that come by my journal and inspire me to keep up the good fight that gives me comfort when people who are in my everyday life can't!!! Thank you for making such a difference in my life.....you will never know how much you have touched my heart.
Thank you so very much my J-Land Chemo Angels!!!!!!!!!
Monday, November 27, 2006
I finally was able to spend sometime with my Brother yesterday with other family and friends for the Bears game....it was a Thanksgiving left over feast and I got to enjoy yet another very cold beer! I also shed the wig and traded it in for a pair of reindeer antlers with bells...and by the end of the day I was so brave with my light up the night bald head I did the drive home with my glorious bald head catching all the headlights! lol weird but exhilarating feeling to have the cool night breeze blowing through my.....ummmm hair nubs! lol It was good for me to get out again and very good for my Brother to see me doing so well in my Kickin cancers ass mode once again! He said, "Your the baby, this isn't supposed to be happening to you, you don't even smoke anymore(I quite 22 years ago Thank You very much!) I told him it's not supposed to happen to anyone but it does and I'd still rather it be me than anyone one else that I know and love.
There were alot of chits and giggles as my wig was passed around but we all decided it looked best on my friends 200 pound Great Dane named no other than Scooby Do! lol lol lol
Life is good and I am thankful!
Saturday, November 25, 2006
My hair is already starting to grow back...WHITE in the front with BLACK in the back.........GREAT!!! I'm gonna look like Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians! lol! I was what they refer to as a toe-headed baby.....my hair was so blonde that it was white....I wonder if that is the color my hair is coming back as? It got darker and more golden as the years went by.....but with Chemo who knows! Just give me a few curls or waves....hell, I'd be satisfied if it was just thicker than what I had before! lol This sure will be interesting, not matter what! lol
Whatever happened to me feet with my last A/C round is still a mystery to me and my Oncologist. Yesterday I woke up to find huge blisters on the bottom of my feet where the red burn marks were when I was unable to walk last around. I still have the one hot spot on my left foot that will have to go through what ever it goes through....but hopefully that won't happen again and I will be able to really enjoy my feel good days. Very Strange......and I'm still breaking out in new hives even though I have been off that medicine for over a week....I feel like such a lab rat with all these weird side effects! lol
I am still finding me having Cancer is much harder on my family and friends than it is for me to deal with....to protect my family(Mother and Siblings) I have not let them see me when I am looking as bad as I feel....But this Thanksgiving was only 2 days after my chemo round and I was in no shape to camouflage the effects of chemo and cancer has taken on me.....so no make-up, no wig, no sunny disposition. My Brother is still avoiding me and that is ok, so he spent Thanksgiving with my SIL's family. I did get to talk to him and told him that I love, miss and want to see him soon....but I do understand everyone has a comfort level when dealing with illness and I will not push past that comfort level for my own sake. In my huge extended family Cancer was never caught in time so I know and understand the loss....So it is up to me to prove to my Family that if found soon enough, you can survive and I'm gonna! I find some comfort in that and what a great legacy to leave behind when it's my time......like 40 years from now! lol lol lol
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
With the Taxol I won't have to take antibiotics, or anti-nausea pills and all the meds I had to take after those to counteract all the new symptoms that accompanied them with reactions to those meds and now that my immune system will be stronger and I won't run the risk of getting sick so easily (which could of delayed my treatment) I will be able to socialize more without the fear of getting sick! Yipeeeee and the best part of all I won't feel so weak and fatigued outside of the possible bone and joint pain which is very common with Taxol and I won't have any down days!!! (crossing fingers)
Before the Taxol was added to my IV drip they gave me two types of other medicine (intravenously) to stop any kind of allergic reaction to the Taxol (very common) One was a steroid and the other was benedryl........now let me tell you about that benedryl! lol I have taken it before with no problem but this dose must have been pretty strong because I was stoned for about 40 minutes.......I mean whippy in the head, unable to put a decent sentence together and off in my own world stoned! I know it was the benedryl because I always had the other stuff with the A/C treatment part of the chemo. I'm still having moments where I can't find the right words I want to use and I am still having trouble with some confusion this morning.... but this too shall pass! lol
After I had my Chemo Jim took me out to dinner and guess what I had?? Fettuccini Alfredo again! lol and when you have Cancer and are going through chemo all the rules fly out of the window. You rest when you need to, you eat when you want to and you can eat whatever and whenever you want to so for breakfast this morning I had left over Fettuccini Alfredo again! lol lol lol Oh, and I can now confess I have a scoop of vanilla ice cream almost every night around 8 p.m. So I get to break that no eating past dinner rule too! lol jealous aren't ya??? lmaoooooo
Now the only rules I still have to follow with my new chemo is that I still have to have a shot of Neulasta within 24 hours after chemo and I still have to drink an obscene amount of water for the next few days 64 ounces a day for 5 days then I can go down to only my normal amount of water a day which is around 48 ounces. And if next Tuesday my blood counts are good (they shouldn't drop as much as they do with the A/C) I won't have to go for anymore bi-weekly blood draws! yipeeeeeee! One less trip to the Cancer Hospital will be a blessing in itself especially when it starts getting colder and the snow hits......the only time I like snow is if I don't have to go out in it! lol lol lol
Tomorrow my family and I will be going to my Sister and BIL house for Thanksgiving and we have a whole lot to give thanks for, big and small....Dr. Serious told me that by tomorrow night I should start to feel a few body aches which he said feels like flu symptoms and to take ibuprofin first and if that doesn't help or the pain gets to bad hit my vicodin and it shouldn't last that long. Yup....I think me and Taxol are going to get along just fine!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
With this latest round of chemo I was robbed of a few of my good days....in fact I only had 2 good days.....not much of a respite. But yesterday (Monday) I took full advantage of my last feel good day (later today is first round of the Taxol) and took my friends up on going out to lunch! Ü I have been jonesing for Fettuccini Alfredo so since the lunch was in my honor I got to pick where we ate....yeah me! lol We all ordered different dishes and different wines and just had a huge share fest feast! lol I actually passed on the wine and had a beer.....I hadn't had a beer since this past summer and let me tell you I really enjoyed that beer! lol lol lol
It felt so good to be out of bed, out of my room and out of the house! It really felt good to have hair (my new wig, I'll have to post a picture of "us' soon, it really looks like my old hair before I started doing all my pre-chemo hair cuts) and I did my nails and make up and dressed in something besides jammies....it felt good to look and feel good. Some of my friends that I dined with had not seen me since I started chemo and they kept telling me that if they didn't know I was sick and going through chemo that they would of never known I was even ill.....that made me feel good even though my lifeless eyes tell a different story.
I was soooo happy that lunch lasted 5 hours! lol lol lol
later today (yes I'm up in the middle of the night again) I go to the Cancer Hospital.....meet with the nurses for blood work, blood pressure and temperature check...then back to the waiting room to see my Oncologist Dr. Serious to go over this new round of Taxol, side effects and such then I go into the chemo room. It is a huge open room with floor to ceiling windows on one wall and big comfy chairs inside and outside on the terrace and for those that want more privacy they have small rooms with TV's off to the sides of the room. Now me being that chatty person that I am, I like to sit in the open room, in one of the big chairs in front of the floor to ceiling windows, so I can watch life go by on the street below and enjoy all the fall colors of the trees below. By now I know a lot of the other patients and the whole staff by name.
I learn so much about other peoples struggle with Cancer and meet a lot of survivors...those are the ones that give me hope. I met an older woman there who was keeping her ornery Husband company during his chemo and she walked over to me and told me that she was a 27 year Breast Cancer Survivor.....music for my soul that conversation was.
Another 27 years sounds good to me! I'd be a young 70 something year old woman by then.....I wonder if my new boobs will STILL be perky by then! lol lol lol....Hey Dr. Hollywood? Is there a life time guarantee?? lmaoooooo
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Ok, so you were able to sneak into my body and cost me a few days in the hospital and cost me a few lymph nodes and my left breast! In actuality, in the bigger scheme of things, it is really no big deal to me....Having that surgery saved my life and gave me more time to spend with those I love..is there really anything more special than that?? I don't think so and I am sure I am not alone in my way of thinking either...... So Cancer, I am getting my life back and you got a boob......big deal....anybody get a boob these days! lol lol lol
Oh and Cancer? I was wondering how you liked my lil friend called Chemo.....now even though he is doing a number on me....he's really gonna do a number on you! So prepare for you untimely death (to you) and not soon enough of your death to me! How's that feel, to have something trying to take away your existence? Not much fun is it!!!! So if this is all you got.......chemo and me....yes I said me...........wins!
Now I know you are in here in my defense....but could you just be a little kinder? a lil gentler? I mean for God's Sake.....Don't you think my plate is a lil full already?? Cancer, teenagers, the DH's first wife who calls every few weeks to see if I still have a pulse as if she still has a chance??? lol lol lol
Let's see since I've become up close and personal with you I've been dehydrated, I've passed out into walls, sores in my mouth and down into my esophagus and not to mention I've been so constipated that I now have a new visitor in my life called Mr. Hemroid and made my walking quite comical for those that saw me do the BUTT SCOOTIN BOOGIE for a few days 2 weeks ago and what did you bring me this time?? why swollen inflamed feet of course....so now your messing with my total mobility?? I have spent this last week on my back in my "I'm so sick of my bedroom" bedroom having to have help just getting to the bathroom or crawl when I have had to just to do a basic body function.....my patience is starting to wear a lil thin I should say! Oh and let's not forget to mention the allergic reaction to the meds they gave me for my feet in the form of HIVES! and that lovely reaction some women get to certain antibiotics which will be left anonymous.......so could you cut me some slack these next 4 rounds of chemo, you know the TAXOL? Because the only thing all this is really doing... is starting to get my IRISH TEMPER up and that only makes me stronger....or was that your main objective anyway?? lol lol lol I admit I have shed a few tears and this past week I finally had my huge melt down that people have been expecting and waiting for me to do......still don't know how I feel about that but....today is a new day and I'm ready to do battle once again!!!! So bring it on!!!!! I'll just need a bigger stick this time! lol lol lol
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I'll be back when this stage passes.......enjoy your weekend!
Friday, November 10, 2006
First of all......I would like to thank Jackie and Chris for all their heartfelt work and dedication on the 2006 VIVI AWARD JOURNAL Bravo Girls Job well done!!!!
Second I would like to congratulate all the nominees and the winners! A lot of blood, sweat and tears get poured into some of these journals.....So KUDO'S to you all!!! Winners can be found by clicking on this link.... 2006 VIVI AWARD JOURNAL
And now for me.....lol I never knew my journal was going to become so serious, but then again I had no idea it was going to become a great way for me to cope with my diagnosis of Breast Cancer back in July of this year and I hope by me sharing my journey with BC I can help ease some of the fear when the next person is diagnosed and I hope to some day Happy Dance the night away when there is finally a cure! I want to thank everyone who nominated my blog, for voting for my blog and for every donation made in my Honor for Breast Cancer research... I have never felt so overwhelmed with love and care from people I may never get to meet in person but who have found a way to live in my heart and I thank you........so very, very much!
Best Attitude Winner........I always try to with everything life throws my way......so thank you very much for this!
Best Inspirational......you never stand taller than you do when you are holding someone else up and many, many times you have lifted me and I thank you! I just wanted inspire others to do the same.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
I am having a real difficult time as well as many of my other family members convincing a few of them that I am not dying from this, my Brother being the most difficult to convince. I think a lot of it has to do with all the remorse that has built up in him since the end of our childhoods and about the way he treated me during my childhood. Being raised with an alcoholic abusive Father was never easy and was even harder on my oldest sibling my Brother, for my Brother took the brunt of my father's wrath more so than my Sister and I and in turn, he took it out on us, especially me.....I never could hold my tongue! Big Surprise on that huh? lol My Brother was in so much pain growing up that the only way for him to let some of that escape was if he took it out on my Sister and I and let's just say my beatings were viscous....and there was always a threat afterwards of if I told....I finally held my ground my 16 year....he was warned by me that if he ever laid a hand on me again, I would have him arrested and that was the end of that.....I couldn't even like, and sometimes hated (but always loved) my Brother until my 30's and then I was able to forgive him.........he has never been able to forgive himself and that is why he his having such a hard time dealing withmy cancer.
In a way this Cancer has brought a few things full circle for me in many ways and how can I not be grateful for that?
Monday, November 6, 2006
EVERYBODY HAPPY DANCE WITH ME!!!!!
My In-Laws have been in town since last Wednesday and I am forever grateful to my Daughter Melissa and SIL for putting them up at their place since I was in the throws of my bad week last week. My FIL's last Brother passed away and even though the news of that was sad, it did a world of good for my In-Laws to see me looking and feeling well at the wake Saturday...I wasn't sure if I was going to make it after how bad I had felt, but I was blessed with my good days. Now my MIL and FIL won't break into tears every time someone mentions my name. It took this woman 20 years and I had to get BC for her to bond with me? Strange but true! lol lol lol Now I am the GOLDEN DAUGHTER-IN-LAW! lmaoooooo
We had a full house yesterday for DA BEARS game and it felt good to have my home full and noisy once again. It will be soooooo good to put this chapter of my life behind me then I can go back to being the social butterfly that I was born to be! lol In my late 20's early 30's we were the "Entertaining King and Queen" with our family and friends.....big house, big lot and big swimming pool with party deck included. Then I got smart and a little tired of all the work that entailed....so we don't entertain at our house much, but between being on everyone else's party list and all the time we spend out at the lake together I still get to be the social butterfly but don't have all the mess to clean up afterwards at my house anymore! lol told ya SMART! lmaoooooo We haven't even opened our pool for the last 4 years! lol I'm done being the Kool-Aid Mom and that is a really good feeling too! lol
I think every Mother at this stage in her life looks back at her grown and almost grown babies and wonders how the hell we did it??? Ok, I must confess something here....2 years of therapy (cleaning up some childhood issues) and 2 years of Prozac (I think this had to do more with having 4 young kids of my own plus cool and kool-aidmom to many more) helped me BIG TIME lol back in the mid 90's! lol lol lol
So when Chemo, Cancer and my final surgery is all said and done, I hope to be looking back at this time say....10 years from now and wonder where I got the strength and perseverance to go through this and then pray that the next say....40 years is a PIECE OF CAKE! lol lol lol
Saturday, November 4, 2006
The VIVA Awards for journaling is open for voting (until nov/6th I think).........
I was nominated (yipeee! Ü) in 3 categories......drum roll please!!!!!!
Best Attitude.....My Momma would have to differ during my teen years! lol
Most Inspirational.....My Momma would be happy I am using my powers for good instead of evil......again referring back to my teen years! lol
And Most Emotional....I think my Momma would of said I had lots of practice being emotional.......again the teen years!
So in the words of Sally Field.....if you really, really like me or another of my fellow nominees in my category and the others...........go show some love if ya get a chance!
I'm ready for my close up Mr. Deville! lmaooooooooo!
Ok, I will be spending the rest of my day......gettin' ova' myself! lol lol lol Ü
Friday, November 3, 2006
I believe in the PAY IT FORWARD theory.......when someone does something to enrich your life or make a tough situation easier to bare, (which I am going through with cancer) a little bit easier, a little bit kinder, you in turn should pass that good will on to others when and if you are able to.
There are wonderful people in J-Land that took time to let me know they were thinking of me and my family during my battle with Breast Cancer and every good thought, prayer, karma whatever you choose to send me has warmed my heart and kept me afloat through some pretty rough days and my eyes fill with tears every time I let that kinda love wash over me.
So it's time I PAY IT FORWARD in your name, the ones who keep me afloat and on my good days I will be getting packages ready to send on to others out in J-Land that could use a little extra kindness sent there way.
I just want you all to know how much I appreciate every kind word or gesture and when I am strong enough, I will be another link in the chain that remembers to be grateful for the smallest of things and when I can, try make someone else's burden a little lighter to carry.
If you are in need or have things to donate please visit this journal and see if somehow you can be of help.....some requests are just for a warm winter coat, many are for children's clothing. Put it on your alerts.....you might have something that you no longer need and someone might just be looking for it. :)
Here is the link........it will explain it much better than I ever could.
The Giving Tree
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Four months into my "Extreme Cancer Makeover" I have learned many things....my hair and my breasts do not matter to me as much as I thought they would, they do not define me as "Woman" and I have come to discover that I was much cuter as a bald baby then I am as a bald women..thank you eye lashes and eye brows for sticking around a lil while longer....at least I can run my fingers through those instead of my hair huh?? lol I can't tell you how much money I am saving by not having to buy hair products and razors.. and the only thing I am 'curling' right now are my eye lashes! lol
One more round of the "bad chemo"......next Tuesday..... then on to 4 rounds of the Taxol, but after reading up on Taxol the side effects seem to be exactly the same...at least I will be half way done with treatment. I will get some peace knowing that....and that tomorrow will be even better than today as I am on the incline of my good week.
Cancer.... you have taken only a brief moment of my life but I have learned many things about myself because of you....I'm going to be a survivor and I will light the way of many other survivors as those before me have lit my way. We are only as strong as our weakest link and I have yet to meet anyone who could or would walk away from life so easy....
Life is good and I am blessed!