Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Judith Heartsong artsy essay

kmh 2007 

A perfect day for me is to actually forget that I am not well, it is to feel the warmth of the sun on my face as it sets for the day. I sit patiently in one of the colorful Adirondack chairs, today I chose the bright yellow one to  perch myself in. Book still in hand open but no words have been read,  I sit along the shore line waiting my Fisherman Husband to return to me after spending the day on the water teaching his son what his Father has taught him...the art of fishing.....they Fished for Walleyes, Northern Pikes and Large mouth bass.

It is their routine to go before dawn, grab a quick breakfast in hand and not return to the cabin until the sun starts to set. The sky so golden with the low mist rolling in from the lake....My Son spy's me waiting for him at the shoreline and is eagerly awaiting to show me what the lake has given him this day, he starts to wave his lantern from the boat to let me know of his arrival....it is now dusk, the most mystical time of the day. I raise my camera and take one last picture for the day and it's magical! All is right in my world for a moment....I hear the loons calling to one another off in the distance...the bull frogs searching for new mates even if it's just for the night. I am blessed that I can spend a few more tomorrows waiting for the eagles to fly high over my head, the boy to grow into a fine young man and if I'm lucky.... a cure for Breast Cancer. 


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Monday, October 29, 2007

little black boots

lil jimmy 2007

Once I get my energy and my balance back........... look out world! I miss dancing........ me and a few of my best girlfriends have been known to do a lil pole dancing from time to time. I also found a cute lil pair of shorter black boots in the kids section that were cut chunky, kinda like little biker boots in a size 4.5 Wide and they fit so I bought them too! Just tooooo cute with my cammo capris! Those jeans I have on on the picture are the size 6 skinny jeans from Old Navy......I either gain 5 lbs or try on size 4 the 6's are already baggy. Somewhere along the way I lost my booty, and I had lots of junk in my trunk.....I want some of my curves back.............. I am a woman after all!!! lol lol lol

Jim knows I've had a couple of good weeks, I'm out having dinner with him more often and I'm shopping again! lol lol lol

Life is good and I am blessed.....now I'm gonna need a few new winter coats! lol Thank you for this day, it's just what the Doctor ordered!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hairspray? Check! Spackle? Check! Fun? Check! lol

I clean up good when I have too! lol! Amazing what a goldilocks wig and a half tub of spackle can do for a woman going through Cancer and chemo! lol lol lol

I promise next time to get a picture of the new boots....oops and they aren't thigh high they only go up to just below my knee, but hey! When your only 5 foot most everything goes up to your thigh lmaoooo!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Birthday Boy Brother and his Wife Laurie

Diva for a day! lol

Wooo Hooooo! A whole week of no falling down and going BOOM! I guess I will be on the low dose steroids for awhile, and that is ok, because it gave me back my appetite, my body and what's left of my mind, and I'm much stronger for it!  Since my hair is growing back ever so slowly. I bought a sleeker goldilocks. Yesterday was My Brother Michael's 49th birthday, so about 12 of us went out to a wonderful cajun restaurant and did it feel good, to put on make up, I bought some skinny jeans! not since high school have I put on skinny jeans...... levi 501straight leg!

Bought the skinny jeans from Old Navy..... size 6 junior!!!!! So what if I don't have any hair! I'm wearing junior size clothes! LMAOOOOO. I had a on my NEW thigh high black suede boots.. (bought Friday afternoon!) lol...normally I run around town the bald headed circus freak with one head light showing and what appears to be a small crop circle in the back center portion of my skull, and big hoop earrings of course! lol

My Brother Mike, My Sister Kelly, My Momma and Me! lol

Me & my Guy

My sis & BIL (Steve)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's fun Tuesday ..aka Chemo Day!

I'm off for my chemo, I'll update this entry when I get back...so far, knock on wood, that steriod they gave me to take every morning while on this chemo made for a pleasant but sleepy week....talk to you soon! Small blessings indeed!


UPDATE: All my blood work (cbc's)came back great, I have the numbers of a person not sick with cancer! Lets just put all our good thoughts into another week of feeling good even if I'm just a lil sleepy and I will try to stop waking up on the floors around my town! lol

Thank you all for your warm wishes, your prayers, your karmas, your words of wisdom, your angels sent to watch over me. Once again you have carried me! I  love and adore you all for that!



Monday, October 22, 2007

Just possibly the best damn song ever written :)

I had my Mastectomy August 16, 2006.....3 days later while still in the oncology unit my heart went into A-FIB. I was rushed to the Heart Hospital (same campus) and by the 5 day I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I was sitting in my bed with my door closed watching my husband Jim try to catch up on some much needed sleep ( he never left my side) I was thinking about how much of this having cancer is going to change everything and everybody.......tears started welling up in my eyes......it was a quiet cry, I didn't want to wake my Jim and I didn't want him to see me defeated by all this.

My room was in one of the corners and even with my door closed I heard what was a violin and an acoustic guitar in the hallway and they were playing "What A Wonderful World" I never did get to see who was playing but suddenly my outlook changed it still was a wonderful world and I was going to remind myself of that everyday. I never had the chance to tell whoever was playing that they made a difference in my life.

Image one sunny winter afternoon while up in the chemo room while I was sitting in front of the floor to ceiling windows a 50-ish couple comes in with violin and guitar in hand and starts playing old, wonderful standards for the cancer patients. I wait for them to finish their set and then I tell them how much they changed my life that day. How that day I was thinking  my life was over, that I would never be happy again....I told them about "What a Wonderful World" did for my outlook on my new life.....they thanked me for thanking them and proceeded to play it for me again....of course I cried like a baby....They day of my Chemo graduation they were there again and played it for me as my gift......it just reinforces life.......my life force.

Even though cancer isn't so wonderful..... life and the world still are, so when I need to be reminded of that again somehow that couple is sent into my life to bring back the wonderment of it all over again!

Life is good and I am blessed!

"What a Wonderful World"
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes......

This was left in my comment section....I am so impressed with these two young bff's!

Ok, How cute is this Cathy F (11years old) and her BFF Hayley......

While at camp Hayley told Cathy something for people who survived cancer. It is "Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!" Even though Cathy F has never met anyone with cancer it inspired her....She told me to now take this and BELIEVE!     

From the 11 year Catherine F

Saturday, October 20, 2007

melancholy baby.....day 472

My Mom says she misses my smile, my laughter.....I didn't even realize that I had lost it. I know my mind is still very active it's just that my mouth isn't as much anymore. I used to be talker.....hopefully not to the point that I annoyed anyone and people always seemed drawn to me, but now I think I keep all conversations locked in my head. I'm not sure if it's the Cancer and the Chemo that keeps me quiet with being to tired and sick most of the time or if it's the tons of pain medicine they have me on make me too stoned to share what's on my mind........quiet is not my norm. It could of been the whole brain radiation too, they said that WBR can alter ones personality. Maybe it's because after 44 years of talking non stop people finally feel the void...I hear the whispers  "she's so quiet now! I'm not used to her being so quiet!" It's been a while since chemo took my voice but it did this time I can either yell really loud or talk in a broken whisper.........my side effects are always so goofy! lol

The steroid is helping with my appetite....I find myself having to have a lil something in my stomach every couple of hours or I get the dry heaves now. With food comes nutrition, with nutrition comes strength. I had to stop my physical therapy while doing chemo, I was too weak for both, chemo first then hopefully at some point when I get to remission or a milder chemo and can do both.

I hate the fact that my blog seems to be taken over by my breast cancer, but cancer and it's treatment has taken over my life so there doesn't seem to be anything else to blog about, I get grounded from leaving the house by myself, I can't run off for hours with my camera anymore, one reason I have seemed to misplace it (oops!) some times when my weakness and my balance is real bad I'm banished to my room until someone gets home.....I'm feeling a lot older than my age.

I am craving my old life, my healthy life........I guess everyone that  goes through a life changing event does..........today is 472 days since my diagnosis........seems like forever then again seems like only yesterday...... I miss hanging out with all our friends, but with my immune system being compromised I have to avoid large groups and public places.....my Son already passed along his "PINK EYE" to me, but being breastcancer awareness month "PINK EYE"
seems appropriate! lol

For those of you who have put off their yearly mammogram ......it's time to do it....they say if caught early enough the success of a cure looks good.......I caught mine early enough but it didn't do me any good....too aggressive....so a day can really make a difference, don't waste your tomorrows thinking it can't happen to you, because it can and it does....I'm living/dying proof of that.......no longer curable only treatable......what does that mean? That means until they either find a cure I am going to be dealing with cancer the rest of my life.....even if I'm one of the lucky ones that finds my way to remission the threat of it coming back will always be there

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bubble Wrap Anyone?

Since I had my chemo on Tuesday and I usually don't feel any sick side effects till the upcoming weekend I thought I had a few days of "normal" allotted to me..........WRONG! Wednesday I was a good girl, stayed in the house, off the stairs ate what little I could but drank all the water I was supposed to. So Thursday I finally go to buy a refurbished lap top (DELL) and go to pick it up, The sales man gave me $20 bucks off the lap top, a free mouse, and all the cables I needed......I'm thinking this is going to be a good day..........right??

Feeling so good, I'll stop off at the grocery store.....now mind you I only buy maybe 15 items and while I'm standing there waiting for the girl to finish putting my bags in the cart, I get overly warm and next thing I know I passed out on the grocery store floor....I feel as if I'm in a very restful sleep, but there is some man talking to me....my eyes won't open.....finally I open my eyes to see what the fuss is all about and it's all about me! The back of goldylocks is flipped up over my head, I am still flushed in the face and my rescuers don't know if they should leave me down on the ground or sit me up and pour cold water down my throat. I didn't want an ambulance called, I didn't want a family member called......I just wanted to sit out in the cool breeze for a few minutes...so they all followed me out to my truck, put my groceries in the back of it and all said they would follow me so I made it home safely. I had enough attention  for one day and promised that I would drive extra slowly to my house less than 2 miles away.

I make it home, leave the groceries in my truck (nothing was perishable) and climb into my bed, M Sis-in-law calls I groggily tell her I passed out at the jewel but that I'm home, she doesn't hear the "home"part. I tell her I need to rest and hang up......she calls my Mother and gets her all upset, Laurie is getting dressed and plans on hitting all the Jewel Stores in my neighborhood since she doesn't know which one I shop at.....My Mom tells her to wait and calls my cell phone, I answer the phone from my bed and tell her that I'm fine and that all I need is rest......she clicks over to tell Laurie I'm home and fine. "Search for Kim called off" lol lol lol.... My poor Sis -in-law was so freaked out!

I guess I don't care where I put my head to rest.....now all the other times I have just fallen over, this time I justpassed out......what a weird feeling. I've fallen at a funeral, I've fallen at the hospital, I have fallen out of the tub, into my bedroom wall and so on.......bubble wrap I tell ya! BUBBLE WRAP!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Time to happy dance again! lol

I knew it! I knew the chemo drug (Navelbine),the chemo drug that my body can't tolerate..... is driving down the tumor marker test numbers (another huge decrease). Dr. Serious doesn't seem to think its the Navelbine that has made me so sick. , no matter how much I tried convincing him it is. First dose (full dose) became familiar with my toilet, second dose (Half dose,didn't SEE the toilet) third dose (full) made plenty of visits to the toilet....so today I go in plead my case but because of the tumor markers going down significantly in the last month and the tumors I once felt in my left leg are gone and Jim can't find any signs of the ones down the sides of my spine, I was given another full dose!

He thinks it's the lack of steroids in my body that are making me sick, so once again I am being put back on steroids...a milder one this time Prednisone, at a low dose so I don't get the weird side effects I had on the other steroid(Dexamethasone) in previous treatments. They should also help with my appetite and my nausea ..... lost 8 pounds being ill since last dose. I am now wearing a size 7 in the junior section thanks to my "Extreme Cancer Make Over." All I have to say is I better get to enjoy this body of my youth for quite awhile after I'm put in remission! lol lol lol

Well, I just wanted to let you know how my visit with Dr. Serious went and if you don't see me around much in the next week or so, I'll be face to face with the tidy bowl man! lol 2 more rounds of this chemo, then another tumor marker test, if they are still declining then no other testing (scans and such) until 2 more rounds....Lets hope it continues to work for me and not stop working in another month like the others have.

GO ME!!!!

what the..........?

Very strange, I added an entry late yesterday afternoon, about my hair finally starting to come back, I clicked save, I re read it after I saved it and I took my later afternoon nap. When I woke up from my nap. my nextel (when trying to log on to the net and AOL told me 404 not found, so now I can't access AOL from my phone anymore and when I logged onto my blog just now that whole post is missing....this happen to anyone else???




AOL...............love/hate relationship! lol

Good thing is first I compose it in my file, under "new" on the top of tool bar, that way if my computer locks up or aol boots me it's still sitting on my desk top, then I mail a copy of it to myself so I can re enter if it gets eaten by aol ...thank god this one wasn't a soul searing entry it was meant to share my good mood and my feeling good for a change so here is what aol ate for a midnight snack last night.

(Yesterdays entry)

Today I don't feel sick, today I don't feel weak.....but tomorrow is Chemo Tuesday and I will feel good for a few more days then it will start all over again.....oh how I love those "Feel Good" days! 

My hair has finally broke through my scalp, it looks so dark again, I wonder if I'm gonna have that schnauzer look again. If I do, it's gonna be me and a bottle of Nutrisse hair color as soon as it's long enough to dye! The weird part of it's re growth is that I have a streak from the front of my head to the back of my head right down the center that shows no sign of re growth...what I was thinking was, then just dye the sides black leave the all natural white scalp untouched and instead of looking like a schnauzer I can look like PePe LaPew! Whatcha think?? lmaoooo

Today is good day and I am blessed!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Short and sweet

Today I don't feel sick, today I don't feel weak.....but tomorrow is Chemo Tuesday and I will feel good for a few more days then it will start all over again.....oh how I love those "Feel Good" days! 

My hair has finally broke through my scalp, it looks so dark again, I wonder if I'm gonna have that schnauzer look again. If I do, it's gonna be me and a bottle of Nutrisse hair color as soon as it's long enough to dye! The weird part of it's re growth is that I have a streak from the front of my head to the back of my head right down the center that shows no sign of re growth...what I was thinking was, then just dye the sides black leave the all natural white scalp untouched and instead of looking like a schnauzer I can look like PePe LaPew! Whatcha think?? lmaoooo

Today is good day and I am blessed!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

where my head is at today 10-14-07

When I was a kid and I got sick my Mom would take me to see the family Doctor who would always tell me to stick out my tongue and say "ahhhh" check for swollen glands in my neck, take my temperature and then send me home with a lollipop and a prescription for an antibiotic......all better 10 days later!

So this being sick and not being able to just "get better" in 10 days is hard for me to cope with, Why can't I just take a pill twice a day for 10 days and be all better now? I thought my childhood Doctor could cure me of everything.......the scared little girl, that still lives hidden deep inside of me wishes Dr. Pelic was still alive, still believes he could of made me all better.

Fast forward 40 something years and I can't seem to catch a break with any of the meds I have been on......1st round 8 weeks of AC & T
ACT Chemotherapy - Adriamcin Cytoxan Taxol  Now I just read an article that Taxol does Nothing for ER/PR positive Breast Cancer......great! Then my 2nd round of new chemo was Xeloda... XELODA: The first FDA-approved oral chemotherapy for metastatic Breast and Colorectal Cancer Easy to take pill form, taken at home but the longer I was on it the sicker and more weak I became where I lost all my strength due to the fact I was either too sick to eat or sleeping my life away. Then we tried another chemo cocktail of Gemzar and Carboplatin  Gemzar.com for Patients and Caregivers –  Information About Treatment withGEMZAR for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Pancreatic C.. and  CARBOPLATIN - INJECTION  (Paraplatin) side effects, medical uses, and drug interactions.   again  I did nothing but sleep, couldn't eat if I wanted too, and even though my tumor markers went down the tumors in my liver and in my lung grew so on to my 4th chemo drug Navelbine  Navelbine and Navelbine Side Effects - Chemotherapy Drugs And this one is the worse yet, I'm still getting sick to my stomach almost 2 weeks after my treatment, not eating will soon make me weak again and unable to get around on my own.

I see Dr. Serious on Tuesday.We already tried the full dose (puke) we tried the half dose (much milder but is it still effective?) I'm going to see about a 2/3rd dose or trying something completely different, I can't spend my life looking into the bottom of my toilet bowl! I can't even keep down the Zofran (anti sickness medicine ) most times.

How much my world has changed. If I didn't take this cancer one day at a time I think I would of given up a long time ago. I'm tired but most of all I am sick of being sick. Now lets break it down......I find my lump early enough stage 2B breast cancer, I have the breast removed, I have a tram flap reconstruction, I do my 8 weeks of AC & T, I start my hormone therapy of tomaxifen, I get the all clear even without any further testing and 3 months later I'm told I now have cancer in my lungs,my liver, my brain and my spine....now it's called stage IV breast cancer..no longer curable only treatable and I will be a cancer patient the rest of my life.....after reading all the above kinda makesya wonder if you want to be a cancer patient the rest of your life. Chronically ill people are a tough breed, we dig deep inside for what is worth fighting for and we fight for it and only sometimes do we let our mind wander to the otherside.

Tomorrow's a new day! I'll be around to see it!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just what is a Tumor Marker Test?

Most of the time when I am sitting in Dr. Serious Office, I'm a very good patient..... I listen, I take notes in my Cancer Journal and I ask tons of questions. The only thing I never asked him about was....just what is a tumor marker test and what does it reveal........I just thought it would be too involved for my chemo, radiationed and narcotic damaged brain to comprehend.......So I never asked.

Well, last week a couple of my old, working brain cells must have reunited and hooked up because I finally ask a chemo angel of mine about the test. So here is what I learned......

First of all, the markers appear in non cancerous conditions & everyone has some + number, because they show a protein (in most cases) that everyone's cells normally make, but CA tumors make a lot more of it.  These markers go up/down to a certain degree in every person...even certain drugs & short term illnesses can affect them, as well as other serious diseases that again, are not cancerous.
They should not be used as the only tool (& I know your doctors do other testing as well) & on some people, they are not a good indicator.  BUT in general, if the protein production in the testing is high over time & climbing, there is a larger tumor burden & growning cancer. 
People vary, things should be  based on what your individual markers have been (reference range is affected by age & other factors)~ I say individual because I've known people, years out from successful cancer treatment, with no evidence of disease from any other testing BUT they have high markers, or at least higher than some... for them this can be normal. On the flip side, some may have low markers, & rejoice only to find out they have growing cancer from other tests.....
 It is more based on how your individual markers have gone.  If they were high, treatment lowered them & then they started creeping up again, & the diagnostic tests have showings   then that denotes recurrent disease.  Some have continuous rise right thru chemo & those people SHOULD GET ANOTHER OPINION & see what other options are available, sooner rather than later. 

Basically what it 'tests' & measures is cells most of the time normally made by everyone's body, but much moreproductive with cancer & higher tumor burdens....so way higher in someone with active or recurrent cancer.
I want to thank my Chemo Angel for helping me with this, others have asked me in the past but I was unable to explain it to them.

This new chemo I am on Navelbine is horrid, I am having the worst time since I was diagnosed, hence so little new entries or visits to others journals.....My bedroom is 2 floors up and I basically have been to sick and weak to make the trip 2 floors down to where the family room is with our computer. I had to go to the cancer hospital Tuesday  for fluids and blood tests...I've been very sick. I can get partial blog alerts on my cell phone, but I am not a great text messenger by any means........I think you have to be under 25 to be good at it! lol

Well, I wanted to share what I learned and let you all know I'm still alive and kicking.......no new boots yet though, maybe next month.



Saturday, October 6, 2007

chemo, contract talks and boot shopping! lol

I've been a bad, bad blogger!  I haven't updated in 10 days! Well, when I showed up for my chemo last Tuesday I was running a slight fever but all my cbc's were good so I told Dr. Serious I still wanted the chemo treatment even with the fever, I was happy about the "Half dose" the week before because I hardly had any side effects so I was looking forward to the second half of the dose this past Tuesday. But it did make me wonder if I was screwing myself by not taking the full dose. If I have to have chemo for any chance to survive then I want to make sure I'm benefiting from it. Well, Dr. Serious saw it the same way so I had a full dose of the Navelbine.

So that is 2 full doses and a half dose...wont know if it's doing what it's supposed to until next batch of cat scans and tumor marker tests are taken. Physical Therapy is really helping my legs and my balance, I've gone grocery shopping by myself, I've run errands and last night we had dinner at our friends Jay and Annette's house. Felt good to sit out on the back deck after dinner and let the warm wind blow thru all 7 of my hairs! New chemo doesn't make your hair fall our...it only thins it out...that means I should be down to 3 by the time they switch THIS chemo! lmaooooo

This week is my "Off chemo" week and I also don't have any P/T scheduled. I need this week....I want to nothing but I also want to boot shop....sorry just an addiction of mine....I tossed out all but 3 pairs of boots while "nesting" due to them being 4 years old and Chicago winters with it's salt really trashed them, so I tell myself and Jim! lol

I do tire easy so I try not to go to far from home, and it has been incredibly hot here in Chicago....October? High 80's? I don't like to be hot anyway so this killing me....I'm more of a mid 70's girl with a warm balmy breeze! lol

With the GM contract signed, there are going to be big changes in the health benefits area...should be interesting  seeing the difference in the two policies....I think Jim said they are no longer offering the BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHEILD HMO...... it served us well when our family was young ( 4 kids get sick a lot and like to recycle the same germs! lol) and at the Doctors office every week...no office visit co-pay, no prescription co-pay, no out of pocket expenses.........Jim has informed me I am now HIGH MAINTENANCE! LOL.......

Oh well, I have a boot sale to get too sometime thisweekend! lol lol lol

AOL is no longer offering GM employees discounted AOL....if I now change Internet providers will I lose access to my AOL BLOGS? I'm not sure I'm ready to give up my blog...it's been my therapist, my security blanket, my pacifier, my link to some really wonderful, caring people.