Monday, August 31, 2009

Blood tests & town

Today I decided to go ahead & do my 1hr fasting glucose test for gestational diabetes after doing my CBC for Dr. M. Not eating for 14 hours really kills me! My CBC was fine - low normal like always - but I don't have the results for my glucose test yet. Hopefully it'll be ok too - it was for Simon.

Mom & I then went out on the town intending to catch a matinee (Julie & Julia). However, we were mistaken about the time & I got too tired b/4 it was set to start. So we basically didn't accomplish much today except for wasting some time (and $$).

I'm still wearing my head-bands sans wig for now. I feel kind of funny about it. If I look at myself too much in the mirror I kind of feel self-conscious. However, as I go about my day, I don't really remember that I'm nearly bald. It made me feel good at the Health Park when the lady doing my registration didn't even notice I was balding until I said something & bent my head down to sign the papers. She said I glowed. I'm trying to make sure I dress very feminine & wear good make-up so that I don't look like one of those 'butch' girls. I also don't want to look sick. While we were in Target, I heard a guy say "Ewww" or something right as he saw me. I'm hoping it wasn't a reaction to me, but to something his companion was saying. Then I got self-conscious b/c I was afraid he was talking about me.

Mom says I'm a little fireball b/c she doesn't want to wear me out, but I just keep going & going. Then she forgets that I'm probably getting worn out, so we keep going. Then all the sudden I just melt & feel awful. That's what happened this afternoon. I was good to go, but then its like I hit a wall or something. Actually, I feel like I hit the wall, then I try to do a little more b/c I don't want to be 'sick' or weak or anything. Then I *really* do myself in! Oh well, its nothing that a good night's sleep can't fix I'm sure.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farewell party

This afternoon Simon, mom, dad, Laura, Rowan, Abby, Sarah, & I all went to my grand-dad's in Calhoun for a going away party for my cousin, Austin. He's going into the Navy to ride around on submarines. We don't get together very often, so it was nice to see everyone. We had some great food - especially the fresh shrimp my grand-dad brought from St. George Island where he lives most of the time!

I'm doing pretty good today. My hair is driving me crazy falling out. I have that feeling you get when you get a hair-cut & the hair doesn't get caught by the cape. I itch all over, but especially my neck. I kind of just wish it would hurry up & fall out! My mom is intrigued by how steadfastly my widow's peak & cow-licks are staying. The top of my head is mostly bald, but the front is just thinned & short. I've been going mostly just in wide head-bands b/c I think its too hot for a wig. I'm feeling kind of self-conscious, but mom thinks it looks ok. Even Andrew doesn't think it looks too bad. I kind of feel that it makes my head look even smaller especially since my belly is growing pretty quickly. I'm wearing make-up more often to try to balance the sick/chemo look. Perhaps after this is over I'll actually be good at applying make-up!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Slow day

Today is going to be a slow low-key day. I'm still exhausted from the chemo & going to town 4 days in a row. Today hopefully we're not going anywhere.

What I am doing is some research online for my new driving horse & possibly even a new cart! I've found a design that sounds like it'll be great for us - heavy-duty, but easy for the horse. I think Andrew can pretty easily do this for me. Of course, there's no hurry since I still don't have a horse or even any real prospects. There's no need to put the cart b/4 the horse!

Andrew's new Bronco II is going to end up being a parts truck for the 2 he bought off eBay. I'm sure he'll end up harvesting all kinds of stuff out of it for the ones he likes. It'll keep him busy - that's for sure! I just hope paying work keeps him busy too! Don't forget - if your car needs repair & you're in the area go to VRODs in Rumsey (Calhoun)! He's ASE certified & does a good honest job. Plus it'll help keep our family going!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Unplugged day!

Today I got unplugged from my portable pump! Its really a great feeling to finally be free! I'm also through the 1/2 way point for this round of chemo! I only have 2 more chemo sessions until after Rachel is born! Yippee!!!

I'm still super tired... Actually I slept for over 13 hours last night & still didn't want to get up! Simon is doing much better than me w/ his cold/ear infections. He's running around playing & just having a grand time. He coughs occasionally & still sneezes, but he's definitely on the up-swing. He's also still a bit more whiney than usual, but he's doing so much better I'll take anything I can get! He gave mom his cold too though, so she's feeling pretty bad. Dad's home to help her out now though.

Andrew got another Bronco II today! This one is tan & stick-shift. I'm not exactly sure what he's going to do w/ 3 since they're all drivable, but he's the mechanic/car guru... He's an exhausted mechanic/car guru right now. I think all this going on wears him out almost as much as it does me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 3

Today I woke up w/ a very sore throat. Not sure if its my allergy/sinus/cold or related to the chemo. Last time I got a sore throat too, so??? Otherwise I'm doing pretty well! I got in again this afternoon to hear Rachel & then get a new bag of Agent Orange.

Simon seems to be mostly over his cold. We're still giving him Amoxicillin though. His friend James had an accident last night & had to have his head glued together. His mom reports that he's doing fine though. I'm just glad it was James (sorry Jen) and not Simon. So far we've gone 18 months w/o anything besides a couple ear infections.

Andrew is happy today! His Broncos are getting delivered today. He bought them off of eBay. They're both 4WD. One is fully functional, but the other needs some work. One is red (the fully functional one) and its also a a stick shift. The other is either silver or blue (I'm not 100% sure). I hope everything goes smoothly for him.

Yesterday Rachel was very active for her doppler - around 155 bpm. She was also really active when I tried to lay down for bed! The baby shower was fun! I met a couple new people that will hopefully be FB friends too! I also shamelessly plugged Andrew's business! Hey, pregnant girls & new mom's need their cars worked on too! ;-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 2

Today is day 2 of chemo. At 4 I go have my Agent Orange changed out. First though we get to go hear Rachel's heartbeat! Here's what I looked like yesterday. The bulge under my right arm is actually my pump. The big bandage is where my port & IV lines are attached. I'm wearing my 1st attempt at head scarf tying. Simon is having a blast on the 4 wheeler & didn't even bat an eye at his momma w/ a crew cut. He rubbed it & grinned.

Rachel did great yesterday! She wasn't very cooperative though as usual. According to her measurements (Haddock?) she was on average measuring 28-29 weeks. However, according to our 1st ultrasound & my conception date she's only 26-27 weeks! She weighed about 2.25lbs according to the measurements. All her vital organs are looking great too. Even though I've not gained much weight, she's doing the gaining for me! Dr. B said to just keep doing what I'm doing! We have a 3-D photo of her that I need to scan in (maybe I'll try to do that today... or I may be too tired) so I can share. Anyway, everything is looking pretty good.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Well, I think today is the day. I have bald spots the size of nickels on the top/back of my head. I think I'm going to impose on mom once more to cut this stuff off... I'll start my bald is beautiful style for chemo today.

Simon is feeling better. He's at Brenda's (mother-in-law) house today. He's so funny b/c he LOVES the amoxicillin the doc gave him for the ear infections. He actually asks for it! I'm gonna have to keep an eye on this one! ;-)

Today will be my first day to bring home my portable pump. I'm kind of wondering how it'll work out w/ Simon, showering, etc. I'm sure its feasible or else they wouldn't offer it. Before I get to try out the portable pump we get to see Rachel via ultrasound! She's been kicking a LOT lately - so much that Andrew even makes comments! I think she kicks more than Simon did at this age... I wonder if there's an inverse proportionality to kicks in utero verses activity once born?!?! I kind of hope so! ;-)

Well, I'm off to beg a quick buzz cut from mom! Wish me luck!

Here it is - GI Erika ready for Agent Orange!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Picnic lunch

Today Simon, Andrew, & I even w/ our runny/stuffy noses & colds/allergies, had a picnic lunch with Jen, Barry, and James. We ate hamburgers, baked beans, corn on the cob, and macaroni salad. The boys played w/ the toys in the house for a while. Then we all went outside to play w/ the red wagon, kiddie lawn mower, and scooter. The Tucks stayed until almost 5. I was exhausted, but think it went very well!

Due to our various illnesses, we had to miss Corbin's 3rd b-day party. I'm sure Simon would have loved to go, but w/ his snotty nose & ear infections I thought we'd be best off at home. Plus I woke up this morning feeling rather ill w/ a cold myself. Tomorrow I think we're all going to have to have a really really low key day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Poor Simon

Since Wednesday Simon has had a pouring nose, frequent sneezes, and a harsh cough. Since he's under 2 they won't let us give him Benadryl or anything to dry him out. Now he's even more miserable (if that's possible) and running a low-grade fever (99 - 100). Mom & dad are taking him to the doctor at 1130 this morning. They're taking him b/c I don't need to be exposed to all the sick kiddos since I have chemo on Monday. I'll be keeping an eye on Sarah while they're gone.

I'm not feeling all that great either, but no fever. Rachel is still having a blast kicking & rolling around. Hopefully this weekend will be uneventful, but fun!

UPDATE: My poor baby has a double ear infection. The doctor said that it probably started as a cold, but he got fluid in his ears & bred bacteria. The cold is contagious, but the ear infections aren't. Here's hoping he feels better & I don't get my chemo postponed due to a silly cold! We're both going to be drinking lots & trying to rest!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Busy day

Yesterday was a very busy day for us. It started Tuesday night when Simon woke up at 9 pm crying inconsolably. He was sneezing, coughing, & snotting profusely. In other words, he was miserable. He kept us up until about 12, but did finally go to sleep. Andrew then couldn't lay down & go to sleep so he kept me up til about 1 am. We all sleep until 930 am. So much for an early start to the day for any of us!

Simon & I bid Andrew goodbye & began to hurry to get ready to go to Madisonville to visit my lab. We were both ready w/n 30 minutes. We picked mom up at her house & drug her with us! We stayed at the lab for a while so I could finalize a report, pick up some case jackets for my deposition soon, and generally chat w/ my co-workers. As we were there Simon started feeling worse & worse. He was very good about it, but you could just see the misery in his eyes. We left, but were starving so we went to Tumbleweed for some lunch. Simon refused to eat anything, but he did drink. We had planned on a short stop at either the mall or Walmart to pick up a few things, but w/ Simon feeling so bad, we didn't really do anything. Actually, Simon & I sat in the car while mom ran in to pick up a few essentials.

Once we got home Simon was needing a nap & comfort in the worst way, so mom agreed to hold him while he napped so I could go home & get some rest. At my house, Andrew was working on the vents/AC b/c we've been having trouble w/ 1/2 the house not cooling properly. He found that the cross vent from the left to right side of the house is collapsed, blocked, & generally in really bad shape. I basically just laid ther & listened! When I went back up to mom's Simon had just woken up, but he was not in the mood to be up. He cuddled back into my lap and laid for another hour & 1/2 partly sleeping and partly just resting. I was afraid w/ all the afternoon resting he wouldn't sleep last night, but he did.

This morning we woke up around 7 and checked his temperature. It was about 100.4. I gave him some tylenol & sent him to mom's. I called my doctor since I have chemo scheduled for next week (they won't give it to you if you're sick). I'm supposed to limit exposure to him, wash my hands lots, and keep an eye on my temperature. Hopefully I won't get sick... I really can't afford to miss a chemo session b/c I've got such limitations due to Rachel's impending birth! Oh well, I guess we'll roll w/ the punches!

Today I'm finally going to have mom cut my hair. We're probably going to go for her hair-style. My hair hurts where its heavy & trying to fall out. Its also kind of crispy/dead. Probably, according to the "Chemo & You" book I have, within a week I won't really have hair left. Its weird, my arm hair is still really firmly attached. My leg hair seems to be growing slower, but still growing. My arm-pits are still growing too. Its just odd to me! Oh well, that's just another roll w/ the punches kind of thing. The rest of today is hopefully going to be a restful and relaxing day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doing the blood happy dance!

Yesterday I went to have my blood checked & again the results were normal to slighly low! I'm still exhausted, but I guess I have a couple of excuses for that! ;-) After my blood test mom, Sarah, Simon, and I all went to the American Cancer Society. I was going to have them give me a hair cut, but they don't do that there. They have volunteers around town who do it for free, but not in the building. Anyway, I tried on another wig & liked it enough to get it. Its a little lighter brown w/ some highlights. Its short as well. I also got a scarf & a hat. I'm trying to get prepared for the complete hair loss. I think I'll have mom cut my hair today (if she has time) to be a bit shorter. I'm having a hard time not running my hands through my hair to see if its still coming out. Maybe if its shorter I won't have that same temptation... Yeah, I know wishful thinking. Oh well, its all going to come out sometime anyway. Maybe if I'm lucky when it comes back it'll be black & curly like mom's was!

Today is all about trying to catch up on some business that needs doing... I've got a couple (three?) depositions that I have to give an attorney from Paducah/McCracken Co. This attorney is the only one giving me trouble over my medical leave of absence & his cases... :-( I'm also working on insurance-type papers. Trying to get reimbursed for travel expenses and procedures - gotta love Cancer policies! Rachel is being her typical active self. She's decided that my bladder is one of those bouncy toys that just begs to be jumped on ALL THE TIME! I'm drinking a fruit smoothy (I even added a bit of milk) to feed her. I'm not all that hungry - so I have to get creative. I'm also washing the sheets & trying to keep the house picked up a little bit. All-in-all I'm fairly busy - especially when you factor in that I have to take breaks all the time b/c I'm so tired. Par for the course & all that jazz! :-) Ya'll have a great day!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pulling my hair out - literally...

I had a startling realization last night. I was brushing my hair & when I finished I saw there was a bunch of hair caught in the bristles. That's not entirely an unknown phenomenon I know (especially since I'm a rather vigorous brusher). However, I then ran my hands through my hair & noticed more than normal coming out in my hands. So I think the hair loss is beginning. Of course, its not too bad yet - a few strands here & there. Its just that I think the hair loss will make this journey *really* feel REAL finally... Up to this point, with the exception of the port, I'm still pretty normal looking. Once the hair falls out, it will be obvious that something weird is going on with me. Oh well, can't do anything but wear hats & my wig and go on with life.

Today I have another blood-test (every Monday until who knows when). Mom & I are going to get together before we leave and work our magic on our faces with the make-up from the Look Good Feel Better program. I think we both experimented yesterday for church too! If I say so myself - we look awesome when we try! Then we're off to Target (I think) for some incidental purchases. I plan on bringing home a pizza for supper too! Simon's going to be with us as well.

Right now I'm actually still in bed while I write this. I'm a *VERY* slow starter these days. I've actually been up for over an hour, but it just takes me a long time to get motivated to actually do much moving (beyond bathroom & picking up the computer). I felt pretty good Saturday, but the bottom dropped out again yesterday. I'm trying to save my energy for our visit to the big O-boro. Mom says its typical to have good days surrounded by 'bad' days even when you didn't over-extend yourself on your good days. The key is to just keep a moderate level of activity so your body tries to work the way its supposed to. So with that key point made, I guess I should get up, take my shower & gather up all my make-up goodies to take to mom's. That way we'll have a good long time to primp before we have to leave.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Picking flowers...

Today I went up to my mom's and picked some of their flowers for cutting. Simon helped me pick them. Having cut flowers in the house sure does make a difference. I finally had to throw out the ones dad bought me while I was in the hospital. I couldn't stand to put the vases away though. I've got Zinneas, Marigolds & Cosmos in 2 separate vases. The colors are so bright & beautiful!

I've now been added to the Human Case Worker roll call. A representative called me today to see how I was doing after my hospitalization. I told her fine. Of course, she wanted to know more about my emotions than anything. Everyone who knows me should know that I'm not exactly fond of speaking my emotions out loud. So I pretty much blew that part of the conversation off. However, she is going to set me up w/ a case worker so that any problems I have w/ Humana (which can be tremendous), I have someone to go to bat for me. That takes a lot off my plate b/c hopefully I won't have to call to gripe at them like I've done in the past.

Andrew just let me know that his mom's church Calhoun Baptist has given us a check (actually 3 b/c it comes from 3 accounts) to help us pay for our plane tickets. Its really great that the community can help out. I'm sure this kind of thing happens in large cities too, but it just seems so much more personal when you're in a small town.

Speaking of small towns & Calhoun, at the Look Good, Feel Better class there were 2 ladies that piped up & said "Are you a Vandiver" when I introduced myself. It turns out that they were from Calhoun & had already added me to their prayer list. One of them went to church w/ Brenda (Andrew's mom) and had even already met Simon. Talk about a small world! Both these ladies are fellow breast cancer patients. I'm not sure what kind of treatment they're getting, but they seemed to be in good spirits & health so far as well.

This prayer list thing is amazing. When I think of all the people that have never met me that are praying for me I am humbled by God's power in our lives. I'm such an insignificant person. I won't find the cure for cancer or appear on network TV. However, there are so many people out there who have become involved in my story regardless of what's in it for them. That's truly God's grace present in our everyday lives. Sometimes, when things are working smoothly, its easy to forget that God's always truly present in our lives. We can get closer to Him through the Eucharist, prayer, and meditation. However, we are continually close to His presence in our neighbors. When things go poorly, its very easy to turn on God & blame Him. Its also easy to suddenly become devout followers in the hopes that He'll forgive your past (and probably future) transgressions. However, we all need to struggle to remain close to Him through thick & thin b/c He sent His Son to pay for our transgressions. All He asks from us is that we follow His commandments and keep Him near us always. Its easier said than done - I know. However, if we fight the good fight and run the race like Paul exhorts us, we will see Him in all His Glory one day. Of course, we all hope that one day is a while in the future, but He knows and He's not telling!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Still hanging in there!

I'm pleased to report that my hair is still hanging in there. It seems as though my leg hair may have gotten the message to not grow back, but thankfully, my head hair isn't following suit. Of course, I still have some leg hair that grew back, but its just not as quickly growing as usual. My energy has definitely gotten the message to not come back. I actually have to rest after taking a shower or doing anything. Its kind of frustrating since most of you guys know I'm usually the 1st one to get up & do stuff. However, I've been told that is just how my life will be until I'm through w/ all this junk. I guess as side-effects go - this isn't a bad one. It could definitely be worse!

Simon is apparently at that age where he's constantly testing boundaries & seems to live for disobedience. Right now our big issue is running on the couch. I think I put him on the floor 6 times w/n the space of less than 5 minutes as a consequence of this. He's also rebelling against naps. He did ok yesterday in the race-car bed but that was probably b/c he was SO tired. Right now he's in his bed squawking because he's afraid he'll miss something fun. He'll go to sleep eventually. He's so cute, but he is quite a hand-full!

Andrew's doing pretty good through all this too. I think he de-stresses sometimes by completely shutting down (ie taking day-long on/off naps), but if I ask for something - he generally gives me what I need. I don't think its quite sunk in yet that I'm sick & more tired/weak than normal though. If I'm having a hard time dealing w/ that aspect, I can only imagine his struggle b/c I keep trying to look like I'm ok even when I'm battling. I'm sure it'll all work out though.

Mom & dad are the best! They've been there - done that so they are my go-to people. I ask mom all kinds of chemo/cancer related questions. She answers when she can. I hope I'm not bringing up bad memories for her though.

Everyone at work is great too. I've got my supervisor fighting w/ an attorney for me. I've got people I don't even know donating time to me. I've got people I don't even know plus people I do know praying for me all over the state. Its great to be such a far-flung close-knit group like this!

My friends are really stepping up too. I get comments on here & facebook that help me realize I do have people out there who care. I hope I'm not too self-involved to pay them proper attention.

All in all, this pregnancy/cancer bit is showing me just how blessed I truly am. Maybe that's my silver-lining! :-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Last night's festivities...

Last night Mom & I went to the Cancer Center for a Look Good Feel Better class. The purpose of the class is to teach cancer patients how to help themselves look good so they can feel better. My co-workers know that I do occassionally dress nicer than necessary just to make myself feel better (especially on Mondays). So this is just expanding on this theme. I was the youngest in the class (typical for me) and also probably the least experienced with make-up! Our leader was a licensed cosmotologist named Zelma. We got kits for our skin-tones with various kinds of make-up & moisturizers. Zelma went through all the different side-effects chemo & radiation can have on your skin, hair, and nails. She gave us tips on using our wigs & caring for our nails. Then she started w/ the make-up session. When we opened our kits there were all kinds of different things from companies like Clinque, Este Lauder, Chanel, Physicians Formula, Avon, and others. All the things in the kits were donated by the various companies and given to us free of charge. Its really a wonderful program. Zelma took us all through the process from cleansing to mascara. She showed us a few tips for making eye-lashes and eye-brows appear fuller - or even just drawing some in if they're gone. Here's how I looked after the class w/ my wig from MD Anderson.

Simon's 1st race-car nap!

Just gotta share how cute Simon looks in his race-car bed all sound asleep!

We went to Calhoun to take Andrew his lunch since he forgot it this morning. When we were driving back I noticed Simon's eyes rolling back in his head. So instead of letting him start his nap in the car, I kept chattering at him. We got home & I gathered up his huggie blanket & pacifier blanket & put him in his race-car bed. He went right to sleep. He so cute!

Simon's 1st race-car nap!

Just gotta share how cute Simon looks in his race-car bed all sound asleep!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another day!

Today is going to be a low-key day. I got my blood test results back & they were actually low-normal, so the doc was very pleased. I'm glad the results were good, but in a way it makes me feel like I'm a weenie for feeling so drained & tired. I was hoping I'd at least have the excuse of low blood levels to blame! Of course, Dr. M (the oncologist) wants to blame all my symptoms on pregnancy, so he says that's why I'm tired. Oh well, bottom line is that I'm moderately healthy, but inordinately tired. I guess the reason/excuse doesn't really matter!

Last night Andrew & I brought Simon's race-car toddler bed into the house. Actually, Andrew did all the heavy lifting - I held Simon back from the door. The bed was a HUGE hit w/ Simon. Its a blue Little Tikes race-car. Thanks to Jill & Chris (and their boys) he has a Lightning McQueen sheet set. Once I got the bed made he couldn't wait to start jumping and climbing on it! He's still used to his crib, so walking on the bed hasn't been ruled out in his mind yet. However, we're going to work on it.

He's not quite ready for this bed yet, but we may try it out for some naps in the near future. I just want him to get the idea that bed isn't such a bad place - especially this bed. Rachel is going to use the crib, but she'll be in our room for at least the first 3 months I'd say. Simon stayed in our room till he was 6 months old, but I was nursing him... Since Rachel is being forced to be a forumla baby, she may surprise us and sleep through the night earlier. I can dream anyway!

This is how his first times (perhaps months) in the bed are going to be controlled! That way he only has a little room to mess around in! Thanks to my brother & his wife for the idea - they used it on their little girl too!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A new week...

Hopefully this week will go a bit better for me than last week! I'm still really tired, but otherwise doing ok.
I think Andrew is wearing down almost as much as I am. Simon is, of course, still full speed ahead!

Simon is such a little card! We've been working with him on saying his prayers before eating. Dad really did a good job with him while we were in Houston. So now his cue that he's hungry is to put his hand to his forehead like the beginning of the Sign of the Cross! His uncle Matt, a newly out ex-Navy man, has also taught him to 'salute'. Sometimes Simon gets a bit confused & uses both hand for both things! Its so cute!

We went up to mom's yesterday where she has kiddie paradise set up - a pool, their own chairs & table, a ride-on car, and more. Saturday we had a little picnic out there w/ the grown-ups & the kiddos (Sarah & Abby were at mom's too). They watched the grill smoke as it cooked out burgers. Apparently it made quite an impression on Simon b/c yesterday when he got hungry he kept pointing to the grill & saying "Mmmmmm". Then he'd walk over to his little chair & table set up (I think you can see photos on my mom's Facebook) and did his Sign of the Cross. He wanted another picnic!

I go in today to have my blood levels tested (see how my white & red counts are doing). Wish me luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Another day in paradise...

Everythings going ok. I'm still really tired (guess that's just going to be my new 'normal'). Otherwise, I'm doing ok.

Simon is such a card! He discovered sunbeams today in mom's kitchen. He danced around and stomped on them. He's also learned to salute (thanks Uncle Matt) and when he's hungry he puts his hands to his forehead for the Sign of the Cross. There's very little difference between the two gestures except for context, but he's learning! He's still a man of few words. The thing is that he knows lots of words & can say them. However, he'll only say them for about a week at a time. Then he'll never say them again. I'm just waiting for him to walk up to me & say something like "Can I have my juice?" instead of grunting & pointing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where'd that truck come from?!?!

Today isn't as bad as yesterday - which is definitely good, but not saying much... My biggest complaint today is that I feel like I was chased & then run over repeatedly by a very large truck. I'm so tired it takes all my energy (it seems) just to type. Not to mention the energy it takes to keep up w/ a 17 month old boy determined to start his terrible two's early! I'm not really sick much today, so that's definitely a good thing. Rachel's still kicking away in there, but seems a bit subdued, so maybe its taking its toll on her too.

I'm making a banana bread for hubby - gotta love the bread machine! I just hope it works out b/c that's as close to supper as I'm going to make tonight. I don't even really like banana bread, but Andrew says he does, so I'm trying to make him happy. Its supposed to be rising, but so far, I'm not seeing much air in it... There's no yeast - how does that work? Here's the recipe - I'll let you guys know if it turns out...

Well, I'm exhausted just from this short note, so I'll quit... Andrew just got home too!

Oh yeah - I just found out that I've had over 850 hours donated to me through work. The benefit of working for the state is that people can donate their accumulated to others in need. I've had people donate time that don't even know me. Let that be notification to everyone out there that people are still generous and caring in someone else's time of need! Especially those good old KYians!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If there was a loser lottery - I'd definitely win...

Just when I was pretty sure I was going to be able to handle my situation, something else comes along to knock me down. When I woke up this morning I went out to check on my horse, Wally. He was laying down in his field and didn't get up when I spoke to him. For a horse, that's *REALLY* unusual. So I put shoes on Simon & take him outside so I can check to see if the horse is just sleeping harder than usual. I go out there & again, the horse doesn't move much. I was going to have to call the vet. I had a doctor's appointment today though, so that made it a bit more difficult. I called the vet & when she got here, she called me and told me it didn't look good. She thinks he may have contracted West Nile Virus. Long story short... I had to euthanize my horse this afternoon. The backhoe just left after digging a hole & burying him in a corner of our pasture.

Wally & I began our relationship about 4 years ago. We've had some great times. We've also had our share of problems. In May of 2006, Andrew got trampled by Wally while trying to do a 'John Wayne' move & mount him bareback from the ground. Andrew was pretty slow in recovering - especially since he lost his spleen, bruised his kidney & pancreas, and bruised/broke a couple ribs. Since then though, Wally & Andrew seemed to have made up and were quite friendly w/ each other. Of course, Andrew was only comfortable w/ him on the other side of the fence, but that was pretty easy. I've been worrying about Wally lately b/c of all my medical stuff keeping us away from home so much. I guess I don't have to worry any more. I was trying to sell him, but again, I don't have to worry about that either.

I put calls into my OB and my oncologist to see how concerned I need to be as a pregnant cancer patient about West Nile so close to home. There are vaccines for horses (and other animals), but none available for people yet. Its transmitted by mosquito - something we have an abundance of here at home. My oncologist spoke to the infectious disease doctor at the hospital to check. All they could really tell me is that I need to not get bitten by a mosquito. My OB told me to watch for a rash and/or numbness and to avoid contact w/ animals. The last is the hard part b/c we have 2 beagles (one sleeps in the house w/ us) and 2 cats. I should really avoid the cats b/c they're both solid black & we all know that superstition...

All in all, I had a pretty crappy day. Started w/ the sick horse, now dead horse. Mid-day I started feeling sick while running errands with my mom. Now I'm crying b/c I think everything is overwhelming me. Oh well...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Home at last!

Yesterday IVan and I got grounded to our floor b/c one of the nurses caught me traipsing around the hospital w/ Agent Orange & IVan. So yesterday kind of stunk. However, today I got released completely from IVan & the hospital! Andrew came driving up to the hospital entrance w/ Cal's (the Dodge Caliber, my new car) windows down, sunroof open, and radio blasting! I don't think I've ever been quite so happy to ride in a car!

I'm still waiting to see if I'm going to have any side-effects besides a bit of nausea, fatigue, and the big D. So far, so good. My only limitations are basically what I feel like doing & staying away from germ carrying people (especially kids). Simon is the exception to the anti-kid rule b/c obviously I can't just give him up! I'm probably going to bend that a bit depending on how I feel & what my blood counts do. I can't very well give up seeing my neices, nephews, & cousins. However, I'm probably going to need to stay away from day-care/pre-school/school kids b/c those are the major germ swappers!

My next treatment is August 24th. I get another ultrasound before this one too (for all of them). I have to get bloodwork done once a week in between too. That kind of stinks, but its how they'll keep up w/ my blood counts. Tomorrow I go see Dr. Schell for him to check on my port. I'm kind of disappointed about the port b/c it sticks out of my chest a lot. I'm hoping it will kind of settle into my skin/muscle eventually, but its not looking like it so much. Its also still kind of sore - I'm going to ask him about that tomorrow.

I kind of had a couple of freak-outs last night. I got kind of down & depressed when they wouldn't let me leave the floor, but I coped b/c mom stayed w/ me & I kept reading my books. However, when Andrew came back from work, we got to talking about my treatments & the updates I'd gotten that day. I was frustrated not to be able to move around b/c I *HATE* being sick, but I especially *HATE* being treated like I'm sick when I don't feel bad... I cried a little on Andrew about that. Then later, we were talking more about my treatments & when & what's going to happen & suddenly it hit me... I'm already stir crazy & tired of being "sick" and I've only been treated for 4 days! I've got at least 6 months of this crap. Right now it feels never-ending & its only been FOUR DAYS! I don't even feel sick yet or look any different. I can only imagine when my hair starts falling out, I'm fat-pregnant & sick...

I'm hoping the prayers & thoughts you guys are sending my way will help support me along w/ my support team through all of this. I'm sure I'll have breakdowns more often than I wish, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I know that the well-wishes, prayers, thoughts, and kind words have helped me this far. I just hope I have the remaining inner strength to let it continue helping. Notice, I said "let it" b/c I know its my doing when the prayers, thoughts, & well-wishes fail. Its when *I* try to do it on my own that I fail. I'm really going to try to let you guys (and the Big Guy) get me through this. I am putty in His hands & in *your* prayers, thoughts & well-wishes. I just have to make sure I stay malleable and open instead of forcing things to go *my* way. Amen...

Monday, August 3, 2009

One more night!

Tonight is my last night in the hospital! I get released tomorrow morning - hopefully. I spoke to Dr. M & Dr. Briones both today. Everything is looking good. Rachel's heart-beat was 155 again - very consistent. I think I start my next round of chemo on the 24th. The next time I do chemo I'll be able to be home instead of stuck here in the hospital.

An attorney in McCracken Co is giving me (my boss actually) he!! about a case going to trial next week. I called & spoke to him before I left & he said not to worry about it - he'd deal with it. He called my boss today & was whining about me not being there. We're giving them an option of coming to my house to do a deposition or doing a phone deposition. If they want more they're going to have to come pick me up! I can't believe what butt-heads some people can be.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pole dancing w/ IVan!

Those that know me know I'm not terribly graceful. However, spending time here in the hospital has given me a reason to learn a new dance-step... Pole dancing! I get to drag IVan around the hospital with me everywhere I go. Our tether is short (and painful), but in my grace, I sometimes get tangled. That's when we show off our moves! So far there haven't been any mishaps, but I don't think we're ready for Dancing w/ the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, or Dance Your @$$ Off! I think we'll stay local & hopefully break up Tuesday morning.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 2...

I started my Adriamycin chemo treatment last night around 10 pm. I'll be here for 72 hours after that. So far I'm not having any ill effects from anything. I'm quite sore from the port insertion (and no one wants to give me any pain killers b/c of the baby &/or risk of hiding a fever). Its workable though. Andrew stayed the night & serenaded me w/ some gentle snores - just like home. I slept with Simon's soothie blanket and was able to smell my little boy all night long! It was comforting. Rachel is still bouncing on my bladder, so she's apparently not having any side-effects yet either! I'm going to ask to have her heart tones checked again either today or tomorrow just b/c I may as well! She's been pretty consistent in the 150s bpm. Its funny Simon was always in the 180s it seems & the old wives tale indicates it should be the opposite. I guess our kids are as contrary as Andrew & me!

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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