Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TAKS night at Kaci's school

Tonight was TAKS night at Kaci's school. Very informative..what parents need to expect from 5th graders on the TAKS test. It occurred to me as we were walking to the building that the kids there would be my first year teaching kids!! It was so cool to see so many of them. And OH MY GOSH!!! How they have grown!! They are truly all pre-teens! What was cutest is that they ALL said, "Oh! You got your hair cut!"

Physical Therapy is working with me right now getting the compression pump therapy ordered and running. I'll be getting the pump soon as it comes in and will be going in more frequently (it sounds) for heat therapy and something else...can't remember! Elaine did measurements on my arm today to send in with my prescription. I don't think any of the measurements were more than a 2cm difference from the other arm..I am remembering 1.3cm, maybe a 1.8?

I had a different therapist yesterday who did a much different massage. A very light touch down the arm for quite some time. I asked about it and she said the lymphatic system was very sensitive and that this would stimulate it. Then was followed by the more firm massage.

Dr. Sewell didn't show today...maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, students getting more practice with some of the hands-on stuff we use in the classroom. I had TWO kids absent today! I don't ever have more than one on any one day. Hopefully, they'll both be back tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

thawed out!

Remember I said my feet felt like they were frozen and it was hard to walk on them? They hurt when I walked. At first I was very careful in my steps, but then decided to just walk the heck out of them! I didn't want to lose the sensitivity in them.

Well, it appears that I am pretty much all thawed out now! YEAH! I do have some of that fuzzy feeling in them...more of the feeling you have when your feet are asleep and you're at the tail end of it. Walking is no problem. Dr. Green had told me the effects of chemo would wear off (or she said I'd be back to normal) in about a month. It is now two weeks out of chemo.

Last night though. OH MY!! I woke with the WORST pain in my left foot. NOT a frozen or an asleep. But an unbearable pain. I'm not sure what caused it. Christmas shopping, the way I was sitting on it while working on a project, or the medicine. All I DO know is how much it hurt! I could only describe it as a car having rolled over it. No exaggeration. I would touch the bones on the top of my foot and it would hurt. I'd try massaging it by running it along the mattress or rubbing it with my other foot. Oh, gosh! Finally, morning came and I told Graland about it. He tried touching it and I about came out of my skin. He did get me to walking on it. It was very painful, and did slow step/limp across the room. By the time I got out of church, it seems back to normal. Praise God! I can still feel where it ached. But the whole thing was just too strange. Looking forward to a good sleep tonight as I sure didn't get it last night.

Great news! The Believers group of Relay For Life from Livingston was in the Polk County Enterprise this morning! Allison (from church) and some other ladies from the Believers group went to New York City a couple of weekends ago and went to a taping of Good Morning America. They were able to meet, speak with, and give Robin Roberts (anchor & currently going through breast cancer) a Believe t-shirt. The story the Enterprise gave was very touching and in fact, brought me to tears.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I really have to learn how to spell that!! Graland and I talked about menopause this morning and how long it is supposed to last. I looked it up and it said months to years, so yippee!! lol I have been having night sweats every night since starting the tamoxifen. When I looked it up earlier, it sounds like since it is medication induced, and the tamoxifen was one of the meds listed, that this is more referred to as flushing, than night sweats. However, it's sweating and it's at night, it what you want! lol

Had a great Thanksgiving. It was interesting to figure out who actually reads my blog! NOT that I expect anyone to!!! But one couple and they know who they are used correct wordage and knew exactly where I was. "So, the genetic testing will tell if you have the bad gene?" And then another couple who wondered when I was going to start teaching again now that I am through with chemo. lol I just thought that was too cute!

Diana is doing well. She went home the following day from the hospital. I like the way Val put it, she got to start her 46th year cancer free. (Her surgery was the day before Thanksgiving and her birthday was Thanksgiving!) All her Christmas shopping has been done. I'm looking forward to getting my going myself!

Worked in my classroom yesterday to get ready for the Winter Season. I have my snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and my snowman put up with flakes around him. I love the room when it is Christmas time. Also, my appraisal will be this week sometime. So, esp looking forward to that coming and going.

The year has gone by so fast. It is hard to believe that everything happened THIS year!! One hurdle left. My Dec. 3 genetic testing. It would be esp wonderful if I didn't have the bad gene. I would love to start the new year (and Christmas) knowing I haven't given the gene to my girls. But God is always good and He loves them more than I, so this is in His hands and not my own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Diana's day

Today Diana will have her mastectomy. She has cancer in the left breast and some lymph nodes. She has to be at the hospital at 6. It's 4:10 now and we're up and hopefully will get there on time before she goes in.

I called Dr. Green's office yesterday for a prescription for pump compression therapy. Alice called in the evening and got the wording correct for the prescription and I'll pick it up today while we are at the hospital. Hoping this is all I'll need to get the swelling under control.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

visit with Dr. Green following chemo

Had my follow-up appt with Dr. Green last Thurs. I had information prepared from what I've researched online and she was right in line with everything I had for her! So, on with Tamoxifen. I'll take it for about 2 years and that will be followed by an aromatase inhibitor. This will block the estrogen in my body so my body will think there is none. Apparently, my problem is that I am hormone receptive positive. I don't react well to things with hormones in it.

She said anything that said "this will help with your menopausal symptoms" from the store or pharmacy for me NOT to take. It would invariably have some type of hormone base to it, natural or otherwise.

Next month will be full of appointments beginning with a genetic testing for the bad gene. Then later in the month I'll have chest xray, blood work, ultrasound and biopsy on the neck for the thyroid, a pre-assessment for the port, then these follow the next day: port removal and internal medicine for biopsy report. Tried my best getting my appt. moved to Thanksgiving or Christmas break, but it didn't happen. So, out 3 days in December.

GREAT NEWS!! Zach came in this weekend for our Thanksgiving at Vals (which was nice, btw). He'll be back in a couple of days for Thanksgiving break! This has been so much better than that long 6 weeks from beginning of the semester! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

always beautiful maybe Graland DIDN'T think of the pink shirt idea!! lol I wore my shirt yesterday and Donna came in wearing hers. She said she read Graland's idea and thought it was a good one. Well, then the whole 2nd grade team wore theirs!! Donna said, Well, umm, she kinda called Graland and put the bug in his ear to tell me to wear my shirt! That was soooo sweet!! I met a woman yesterday, June M., who used to teach at Pine Ridge for years. She is a breast cancer survivor as well. I told her really there was no better place to have cancer than here! :o) It's hard to get your mind around how God works so perfectly. You just take it as natural and think nothing of it. But He put me here, at this school, 4 years ago for a reason. And it was for His own glory..that He would be glorified through the oh, so many people at Pine Ridge. I couldn't have gotten it anywhere else to the degree I have here. I'm not talking about gifts or cards or anything superficial. But an outpouring of love, devotion, and Here are my nail scarred hands.

I also went to the therapist yesterday. Lymphedema. I thought I was regressing because it has hurt and I feel such a tight pull in my arm when it is outstretched. Well, it's the fluid build-up in there. :o( So she "pulled it down" through my arm for most of my therapy. No exercise this time, just getting the swelling worked on. So, the arm sleeve full time and sleeping with the arm elevated. I have to say it kept me up last night thinking about it! Grrrr

Looking forward to seeing how I did on yesterday's walkthrough. Actually, I don't care!! My kids were awesome! My lesson was outstanding! (it was on probability..power point, hands-on, the whole thing was seamless!) No flubs. I thought, MAN! I hope my observation goes this well. Anyway, sometimes they don't know exactly the correct things to give you a check mark for. Mine was completely higher order thinking. If they missed it, they missed it. And that's ok. My kids were excellent and it went off without a hitch. Yeah kids!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

the post we've ALL been waiting for!!!

YEAH!!! I'm through with chemo!!! I had my last treatment on Sat., Nov. 10, 2007. It was a bad, foggy drive to Houston, but cleared the closer we got to the hospital. I brought my camera with me for the big day and took some pictures. (you can click on the picture and it will give you a better resolution)

In the slideshow you'll see 5 pictures. The first was just outside the Infusion Therapy Unit doorway. (chemo) I'm giving a giant YES!!! I'm through!!! :o) It WAS a great feeling. There was a woman outside on a bench near where we were. She said in the Radiation unit, the ladies can ring a bell signaling their last treatment! Cool!

The second, third, and fourth picture are of me kissing the chemo unit last time. I am very thankful to all the nurses and attendants there. They are all wonderful, kind people. But if I never see them again, that will be GREAT!!! lol

The last picture was taken by the reception table when you first come across the skybridge from the parking garage (10) over to the Main Building (Clark). Behind us is a giant wall of MDA Christmas cards. This was a big day for both of us.

Afterwards, Graland took me to Red Lobster. As I said before that is where we were engaged and so it was fitting that we would begin again there. I am normally very frugal when I eat, but I wanted to eat things we'd never get in Livingston, so.... I picked the item that would feed a small village. I intended on eating enough for lunch and saving the rest for dinner. However, it didn't turn out that way!! I got the ULTIMATE platter!! lol King Crab legs, rock tail lobster, butterfly shrimp, shrimp scampi, baked potato, and a salad, not to forget the garlic & cheese biscuits! I offered to split it with Graland (see...I WAS being frugal!!) but he declined. Yes, I ate the ENTIRE meal. It was SOOO good!!!

I celebrated at home by going to school and getting things ready for Thanksgiving week!! Woo-Hoo!! Do we know how to celebrate or WHAT!!! I wore my pink shirt on Friday as I have been every Friday, esp in Oct (breast cancer awareness month)...and Graland suggested I wear it again on Monday to close that chapter...and start wearing my green again on Fridays.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

back to the arm sleeve

Looks like my arm is swelling, so I'm wearing the arm sleeve again. Sherry at therapy measured and yes, it was bigger than the other arm. Hopefully, the sleeve will get it back to where it needs to be. Elaine, the other therapist, gave me some wonderful, secret ingredient, Vitamin E cream. It is thick and feels great on the skin. ((Elaine))

Well, most of the people who read this already know what the "I wonder what it is" is! A new hairdo! It is Sassy, as one teacher put it! I like that description! A short cut, no more flip. In fact, it looks like my other hairdo with the flips cut off. I can't describe how good I feel in it. It is completely natural, no frills, and easy to care for. It has highlighting on top and a bit darker on bottom. And where else would I get it but ebay! Not one of the 10 dollar do's, but still a great price!! Don't have a picture of me in it yet, but I'll get it soon. One of our speech teachers was taking some kids down the hall and she caught me and said, Oh, I like your haircut! Did you get highlights too? I'm not sure, but I really think she must not have known it was a wig. Someone on the 2nd grade team asked if was my real hair (because the wig IS short) or a wig. Anyway, I love the look. :)

Elaine made a comment that she admired how strong I am. Those comments always throw me! I just don't see it until I stop and sit still a moment to think about it. But then I have to give that to God in praise...because strong is NOT me!! lol And yes, it is all God because this is not my nature at all!

My last treatment is Saturday! Told Graland I wanted Red Lobster as my celebration lunch! I haven't been in, well, since Granny's funeral...and that was 8 years ago! So, it's been a while! It is a special place to is where Graland proposed to me! So what better place to celebrate!?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

a slightly new wardrobe

My fingernails are looking kinda like someone stepped them. Getting red under the nail on several fingers. It feels like they could pop off and are very tender. Man, when I tap them against something!!! And it is hard to unbutton my pants and zip the zipper. Can't really use the fingertips to do it anymore. I have to use my index knuckle and thumb to do the zipper. And then loop my fingers through the belt loops to take off my pants.

Anyway, I thought....get elastic band pants! Did a check at the outlet mall, but knew that WalMart had them. They couldn't be pajama looking style. I had to have pockets and a zipper (mock zipper) I found them! In my size AND long enough! And they were an excellent (very low) price! I got 5 one for each day of the school week: black, brown, red, fall green, and a denim. :o)

Something else too... I wonder what it could be?!

a could have been rough day that wasn't!

Was up early for the appt and we made it there with time to spare. As I was figuring what time to put on my numbing cream for my port it hit me! I left it at home!!! ARGHHH This was just as we were pulling in to our parking space, so no turning back. We discussed what to attempt. Ask the nurse if she has extra, bum some off someone else, go to the pharmacy... Went in, got the blood draw, then went to chemo VERY early..over an hour early to get their advice.

New girl at the desk. yeah...small letters. her: Ask your nurse when you go in. us:Hmmm...that's over a hour away and you have to put the cream on 45 minutes prior to chemo. Can I go to the pharmacy? her: You need a prescription. So Graland explains what the cream does. him: The 45 minute thing, etc. her: I'll ask your nurse. Be seated. So we wait and she eventually comes back with my patient armband and says I talked with your nurse and she said you all can talk to the nurse when you see her. us: OK. I've done this before.

So, in the meantime, a couple come in. Wife is pushing husband in wheelchair and he is moaning. Broke my heart and I started praying for him and for his wife. God is so good (not that I want bad things for others!!!), but to show you you don't have it so bad. So praying for them and closing my eyes, but really wanting to lean my head over on Graland's shoulder and cry. Wanted to go outside in the hall to cry, or to the bathroom. (But they might call my name early and I'm not missing an early call. Ok, that's cold, but that's the way it is!! :o)

Wife had called husband's doctor and doctor said to come in and page him. her: he needs to go to the EC (I guess that's emergency clinic). wife: no, doctor wanted to be paged.. it went back and forth. Husband still moaning and wife saying he is in extreme pain. her: go to EC. wife: page the doctor.

I get called back for vitals before getting a room. First question was How many times have you fallen in the last 24 hours? None. Wow!! He puts the blood pressure cuff on me and then gets called to go get husband to bring to the back. He comes back and gets my stuff done and puts me in a COLD room. (no, not normally the ice chest we got today) I put on my warmed blanket that they give you each time onto the bed and make my bathroom run before the nurse comes in. Well, wife and husband are at the bathroom. Husband is inside so I talk to wife. I look at her and tell her I've been praying for husband and her...and we talk. She said husband can't go to the bathroom, he needs a is he going to get chemo if he is in this much pain?!

So, all I can think is Praise God! It's a potty issue! NOT that I'm putting down potty issues, cause YES they are a pain! But when I looked at him in pain, I just thought oh no...I'm not looking forward to that. :( (to finish story, doctor was called, he said go to the EC).

I go back to my room (after taking care of MY potty issue..just having to go) and nurse is already there. She and Graland have been talking about the port issue. Gives the options, get some now, wait 45, blah, blah. I knew the routine. I get into the bed and said "Let's just do it!" So Graland goes for the breakfast run and she does her duty. Yes, it was a little bite, but NO BIGGIE!!! Wasn't bad at all. Yes, I WILL remember next week anyways so I won't feel it at all, but this wasn't too bad. It was still sensitive to the touch when I showered though. But I'm a big girl and God is bigger than the boogie man.

Friday, November 2, 2007

LIFT confession

I was at the LIFT and we had gotten to prayer time. I told them when Diana's surgery was but not Val's news...didn't get her news until I had come back home! Well, the leader was about to start praying when I spoke up. I said, I know you're already praying for me, but there is something else I'd also like to you pray for. This is something kinda odd, esp being that we are in a Bible study...but when the leader said YAY! You only two more treatments left, it hit me. I have been very excited about that, but it was like OH!! I have been under MD's protection and I'm about to NOT be. I'll be on my own. YES...I am under God's protection..I always have been. But MD is keeping stuff in my body that is keeping the cancer away...and I'll be leaving them.

And earlier a woman said something about her being 60. I said, And I want to see 60! I want to see my Abbie graduate high school. I want to see my kids get married...ok, I'll stop! Thankfully, they validated my fears....and prayed for me.

Later, Donna said it showed my humanity and my dependence on God so much the more. I had seen it as lack of faith. But she saw it that I have had to depend that much more. I wish I could see as clearly as she does.

Great news!! and pooped!

Update on the counselor story: Talked with the counselor and we agreed to let it drop. :) Telling either of the girls to not say something would make them tell everyone! lol I think it'll all just fade away if it isn't already.

The great news? Val, middle sister who had her genetic testing done last month got her results back for the bad gene. Her test was negative!! YEAH!!!

My day. Had a great Friday! We did some fun projects, some writing assignments, and all our testing. Ended the day with bus duty. I walked my line to the cafeteria. We are usually close to the last bus to leave but today we were first! So a few of the kids were in line to leave but classes were still coming down the hall and I was making sure they went to the line quickly instead of our regular place to sit. One girl who I had last year was one of the first to come through and then I lost her. She always goes to the line quickly. Today I couldn't find her. All the kids had left to get on the bus and I was getting ready to watch a different line. And there she was!! I said Are you on 19 today?! Yes. Grabbed her hand and said It's leaving!! They're gone! We ran like the wind through the cafeteria and bus lines forming to get on their own buses. Made it barely to 19 to whack on the door a couple of times before it left completely. And on she went.

Oh gosh! That pooped me out!! Just 30 second worth of running, but it did me in. We have to wait til 3 before we can leave duty and it was 10 til. I made the executive decision to part myself outside the cafeteria and rest a while (the hallway was empty). Massaged my legs and was just thankful my feet carried me where they needed to be so quickly. Was getting ready to head to my room when Mrs. Holder (Asst. Prin.) saw me. She came over quickly and asked it I was OK. Yes! I am. Told her the story. She offers to carry me back to my room or piggyback me! lol I tell her I'm OK, just needed to rest and go get a drink from my fridge. (She is so sweet!)

Make it back to my room. Get a cranapple drink from my fridge, open it and nothing comes out. This has happened's so cold in there, it'll freeze. Oh, shoot! I really wanted my drink! About that time Carla (the nurse) comes in! I say, She is such a tattle-tale!! lol Carla pulls up a chair and I tell her the story too and that I'm about to have a drink, but low and behold, I can't! I show her by tipping the bottle over and out it all comes into my hands and all over my jeans and carpet!! Oh MY GOSH!!! We laughed and were running everywhere trying to get a tissue or toilet paper to get the mess up! I said, It really WAS frozen. Actually, apparently only the very top section froze and it loosened up. And there it was floating around in my drink. Goodness!

Home now, almost 8, and I am looking forward to an early bed. We have to be in Houston at 7 for bloodwork, then chemo at 9. After this week, only ONE more to go!! Praise God!! What a long treatment this has been. This weekly thing has gone by very quickly though. You're barely finished and BOOM, it's time to do it again.

My fingertips are getting more sensitive. I can't use them to scratch and itch. It hurts like the nail will some off. Or to pick up a book from a student's desk. oooooch. BUT, we're almost there!! I am so excited! :)

Oh yeah, I got THE most beautiful present last night from a young lady (a teen, I believe). One of those WillowTree Angels. It is the Courage Angel. It is just beautiful! The angels arms are outreached to Heaven. I keep thinking about it...what the angel is doing symbolically. Maybe arms up in a Victory pose, or I'm lifting you up in prayer, praising God in worship, or This is my last chemo and praise God, you're still with me! I have her in my vanity mirror. Thank you Holly!!! ((hugs))