Monday, December 28, 2009

Busy busy

I've been so busy lately that I've not been getting on the computer. I have some cute photos of Rachel that I need to post. I just can't seem to get the time or motivation.

On the cancer front, I've postponed my next chemo until January 4th. I was cleared to drink adult beverages for Christmas & New Years, but if I'd left my chemo day alone, I'd be having chemo on New Years Eve. Not a good plan in my opinion. My hair is falling out again. Its almost more annoying this time. I'm not exactly sure why that is, but its the way I feel. Maybe its b/c my hair had already starting growing back & its leaving again...

Rachel is doing great. She's taking 4.5 oz every 3-4 hours already. She's an eating machine! If I'd feed her every 2 hours she'd take it I think. However, the pediatrician says she can only eat every 3 hours at minimum. We weighed her unofficially the other day at my doctor's office. With her clothes on she was 11 lbs! She wasn't quite 4 weeks old yet! ;-) I grow big babies whether they're breast babies or formula babies apparently!

Simon's Christmas was great! We got him a Dig'n Ride (its a digger that he can ride on in the house). He also got a large assortment of other trucks and toys too. He's very happy! Andrew got me an 'Open Hearts' collection angel. I found Andrew the same pocket knife I gave him last year & a wallet. Rachel got the movie Snow White and some clothes for the most part. She really doesn't care as long as I give her her formula... :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Electronic Christmas greetings

Believe it or not I bought more Christmas cards than ever this year & still ran out of cards b/4 I ran out of recipients! :-) So here's one of my solutions - I'm composing practically the same thing here on my blog & sharing it w/ all my e-friends! I really didn't want to leave anyone out, but I lost my addresses from last year & waited until late b4 ordering my cards, so I didn't have a chance to ask for more addresses. I hope these greetings find everyone well & bring in a wonderful Holy season!

Unto us a Child is born! +

Have a Merry Christmas & Blessed New Year! Thank you for all the prayers & thoughts through this difficult time! ~ the Vandivers

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blessed day!

Such a wonderful blessed day! Thank you to all who made an effort to attend the baptism. For those that didn't get a chance - the surprise was that Andrew got baptized as well as Rachel. It was a joint ceremony. Andrew is now officially a member of the Catholic Church in all its glory! He still needs to be confirmed at a later date, but that's no biggie! I'm so happy & proud that my miracle baby & wonderful husband are now officially members of God's community!

Check out this blog... Its a friend of mine that is currently a freshman photojournalist major. She did a story on the journey my family has been on for the past 5 months.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rough week

Its been a rough week. I've got some kind of cold/funk thing still. Andrew had an allergic reaction last night at his mom's Christmas celebration, Simon is being a bit more dramatic lately (might be getting sick), and Rachel has been spitting up a lot all the sudden. She may be coming down w/ something too. Tomorrow we're going to baptize her. I still haven't decided which gown she should wear... Frilly or not

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another day in my life.

Well, this Taxol is kicking my hiney! :-( Rachel is doing good, but I'm feeling every bone and muscle screaming in my body for relief. I also feel like I swallowed a razor blade for some reason. Oh well, if it gets rid of this demon cancer, I can survive it!

I can't believe how smart Simon is already! Not only does he know pretty much all his colors - red, blue, yellow, purple, green, and orange (he can even say all of them) - he also already knows some of his letters by sight. We have some of those magnetic letters for the fridge & he can pick out A, E, I, O, & P. He can also help you say the alphabet after you get to the letter O. If you say O, he says P, you say Q, he says R, etc. He can also count to 3 (altho 'three' sounds just like 2). He's just amazing me w/ his intelligence! I love it!

Rachel is also amazing me. She honest to goodness smiles 'on command' - mostly for anyone but me. She can also hold her head up for about 10 seconds at a time for a period of about 15 minutes. She loves to take a bath - apparently she inherited that from me! She likes to soak in the sink of warm water. She's not a big fan of getting wiped though! She's also eating like a champ!

So many wondrous things! Even w/ the cancer and chemo I love my life! A wonderful husband & 2 awesome kids. What more could a girl ask for?!?!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do you believe?

Do you believe in every day miracle? Can the power of prayer have such a profound effect on an individual to make that individual be healed? If so, then jump on the bandwagon of those who believe that my 2nd lump was cured by the power of prayer. On initial examination the Dr was probably 85-90% certain it was cancerous. Now I have a clear PET scan all w/n just a few days.

Praise God! I'm in awe as to why I deserve two miracles in such a short amount of time. The first was Rachel's healthy, normal, blessed birth and now this... I am truly humbled.

Isn't it wonderful and/or odd that this is the time of year when people put out signs asking/saying "Believe" but they're actually wanting us to believe in Santa Claus. So few people truly remember the reason for the Season is God & God alone. He needs us to believe in Him and His Son's miraculous birth so that we may have eternal life with Them.
Let us all BELIEVE in the power of God!

Let us not forget to show God the depth of our believe by attending Mass - especially December 20th at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Curdsville, KY . That is the date of Rachel's baptism & a special surprise. Come one, come all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 1 of Taxol down!

Day 1 of Taxol chemo down. 3 more Taxol treatments to go. They'll be once every 3 weeks (at least that's the plan for now). I'm feeling kind of sick, but hoping that the drugs they give me will keep me from losing what I've been able to eat today. **NOTE** Please disregard blatant mis-pellings, grammatical errors & the like. I'm typing under the influence of some stout drugs!

My new growth of hair is most likely going to fall out again. Plus the usual fatigue and weakness associated w/ chemo. Hopefully I can fight it off & still be a good mom & wife for my family.

One of my biggest fears now is that I'm going to have a chain reaction if/when Rachel or Simon spit up/throw up. Its that kind of nausea... always in the background waiting for an excuse to escape.

I'm so relieved about the clear PET scan. That was truly wonderful news. I did finally get all the MD Anderson stuff straightened out - the hell w/ them if they don't like it! If something changes I'll put it up here ASAP.

Rachel is doing so well. I know all mom's say this, but she's *very* aware and advanced. She can smile kind of on request and/or in imitation. She already coos and 'talks' to get what she wants. If you catch her eye she'll follow you w/ her head and eyes if you move slow enough. Right now she's staring lovingly in Andrew's face and giving him smiles as he smiles & talks to her.

Simon's doing great too. We're slowly trying to figure out if he's ready to potty train. I think he's close, but not quite confident enough yet. He's still in love w/ Rachel though & wants to 'help' all the time. Its so sweet!


Just got the good news that my PET scan is clear! That means there isn't any other cancer cells anywhere in my body!!

Now I've got to call MD Anderson to figure out why they won't communicate w/ Dr. M. Grrrrr!!! It appears that Dr. L & her whole team are out of the office for a breast cancer conference in San Antonio. There was no one there to actually talk to Dr. M. Angela (Dr. L's nurse) finally called & spoke to Tiffany.

Dr. M decided to give me the full dose of Taxol once every 3 weeks. I'm fine w/ it. When Dr. L gets back in, she can contact Dr. M if she wants any changes. Apparentely the Taxol is pretty stout b/c they doped me up w/ enough stuff that I probably slept for 2 hours while I was getting the rest. I get a cocktail of a steroid, Ativan (nerves), Benadryl(allergic reaction), Zantac (allergic reaction), Aloxi (nausea), and fluids before the chemo even starts. Then I get the chemo spread over a 3 hour stretch of time. I think I slept for 2 of those 3 hours! That's an amazing feat for me since I generally don't even sleep well in my own bed - much less in day-light w/ people talking, walking around, etc.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PET scan done!

Thanks to the miracles of Xanax I slept through part of my PET/CT scan! I prepared this time, so I didn't freak out like my earlier MRI experience. Tomorrow I'll start chemo & hopefully be that much closer to being finished w/ this mess!

Rahcel & Simon are so great together. Simon is actually pretty good w/ her. He wants to be involved at all times, so we're trying to let him 'help' as much as possible. I would definitely not trust him w/ her by himself, but he has helped me feed her, change her, dress her, bathe her, etc. Rachel for her part is already reacting & smiling at her 'favorite' people. Its beyond gas b/c she actually does it in response to something - a noise, a smile, a face, etc.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Change of plans!

Well, today I was supposed start my chemo at 9 45 am. We (Andrew & I) got there to start and waited for quite a while to even be looked at by a nurse. They did my blood counts & everything was good (white blood cells a little low, but not enough to stop anything). Then Dr. M examined me to find the new lump. He manipulated the area & couldn't find anything. I asked him what that meant - he says there's a 70-80% chance that what I felt was just scar tissue that was inflamed from pregnancy hormones. It could still be cancer, but even if it is the course of action will not change. To ensure that there hasn't been any spreading of the cancer, tomorrow I have a PET scan. Then I will start my chemo on Friday. The PET scan means that I won't be going to Houston. The reasoning is this - the PET scan will tell us if the cancer has spread. The tests they're wanting to run in Houston will just tell me if the new lump is cancerous or not. It won't tell me anything about whether or not I have cancer elsewhere. I'd rather know that the cancer is isolated than just have an answer if the one lump I felt is/was cancer.

Thank you for all the prayers & thoughts!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I've been remiss again...

Well, its been a crazy time. I haven't been blogging b/c I've been concerned about other things. Rachel is doing fine. I think she's going to be growing quite nicely! She's eating 4 oz every 4 hours and sometimes demanding more after only 3 hours. Simon is doing great as well. He's still in love with her, but he's getting a little more comfortable with her. Its not a great thing b/c that means he's more touchy-feely than he needs to be... Andrew is also doing well. Business is definitely not brisk, but its enough to keep him paying his bills!

I was upset today though. I've been having second thoughts about my chemo and going to Houston. Dr. M said I could skip chemo until I got back from Houston - to avoid being sick on the trip down there. However, Dr. L from Houston sent an email that made me think she didn't want to do any testing on the lump I found to see if its a tumor or scar-tissue until after I finished all my chemo. That would have been 12 weeks of not knowing what this lump is. I couldn't take that mentally or emotionally. I immediately got on the phone and tried to get it straightened out. I think the consensus is that the testing on the lump is going to be done - Dr. L meant for it to happen regardless. However, according to Dr. L the most important thing is to not delay my chemo. I think we're still going to Houston for the testing next week. The testing could be done here, but I'm afraid something will get missed or done not quite up to MD Anderson standards. So tomorrow I'm going to start this next round of chemo (Taxol) at 945 am. Then theoretically Andrew & I will leave for Houston early Sunday morning. We should be back in town by Wednesday for my next chemo treatment.

This new lump has me more upset than the original lump did I think. The thought of having gone through the chemo while pregnant w/ all the risks and worry for nothing is driving me crazy. I'm also probably doing the hormonal switches/moodiness associated w/ a recent delivery, so my emotions are all over the place (well, by my standards anyway). Also, I'm nervous about this new chemo anyway b/c I don't have the pregnancy to 'protect' me from the side-effects. Plus I've got 2 kids now to worry about - even though my mom and mother-in-law (and lots of other people) are still helping me out tremendously. Its going to be hard to leave my babies behind just to go to chemo & Houston - much less anything else.

I'm really afraid too that this cancer is resistant or something. I know that's a negative thought, but I just can't get it out of my mind. I was ok with the cancer when everyone (doctors and others) told me the chemo and surgery would take care of it easily. Now that it seems like either a) my body is just cancer-crazy & can recreate cancer *really* fast, b) the excisional biopsy didn't actually get all the tumor nor did the chemo kill all the cancer cells, or c) some combination thereof.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sleepless night...

Last night Rachel decided that she'd slept more than enough during the day. She did the 'normal' thing of wanting to eat every 1-2 hours until about 1 am. Then she decided she also wanted to eat at 4 am and then it wasn't good enough for her to be in her bassinet... No... She wanted to be held. So I held her all night. The bad thing is that I think I gave her a heat rash on her face b/c we were skin to face most of the night. She's got pebbly-bumps all over her face... Oh well, they'll go away. At least I know she was warm enough.

Simon on the other hand went to sleep like a little angel. I put him down to bed at his normal time and he even crawled into the bed for me. We sang some songs - including some Advent/Christmas songs and said our prayers. He slept all the way through. I think he's adjusting pretty well.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Settling in...

Today was Andrew's first day back at work. I took the easy way out & sent Simon to my mom's for the morning. Rachel & I slept in for a while, then we went to visit Nana & Simon. Everything is really going pretty well. Simon didn't sleep well last night - Andrew had to hold him all night in the recliner. However, Rachel sleeps from 1am till 730 am or so every morning. She's actually even sleeping right now. Usually she tries to eat every 2 hours between 6pm & 1 am. Tonight she must just be really tired. I hope that doesn't mean she's not going to sleep tonight for me! I think we're getting into our routine of happiness!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

bad news - need encouragement

Well, here's the bump in the road I mentioned yesterday...

While I was in the hospital I felt another lump in close proximity to the 1st. I've had another ultrasound & the oncologist is pretty sure its another tumor - possibly this time in my lymph node... The mass is 1.7 cm already. The theory is that it began growing once I quit the chemo 7 weeks ago. That's one quick growing/aggressive tumor! I'm feeling pretty down & overwhelmed right now. Anything would be better it seems...

The plan of action at this moment is to start my chemo as scheduled on December 8. Andrew & I will then be making a trip to Houston starting December 13th for further testing at MD Anderson. So far I know they're going to do a ultrasound guided core biopsy on December 14th. I'm also trying to go ahead & get all my consultations done at that time as well. I won't really know anything more until after December 14th.

The blessing is that Rachel is just fine. Hopefully there won't be any more complications in my treatment. I knew it was going to be a long hard road, but this is putting another up-hill struggle in the mix that I wasn't expecting. Andrew is going to be there every step of the way...

By the way today was mine & Andrew's 3rd wedding anniversary. Not a very good way to celebrate 3 years, but we have been blessed both w/ children as well as with each other. Here's hoping we get at least 3 more years! I love my husband tremendously.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crazy times...

Its been crazy, but wonderful. There is a new bump in the road, but I'm not going to get into it until I know more.

Rachel is absolutely fine though. She's eating like a little piglet. She's already up to 3 oz per feeding. Right now she's generally eating every 3-4 hours, with a couple times at night (between 6 and 11) of wanting to be fed every 2 hours. However, last night she ate at 1 am and slept until I woke her up around 8 am. That's amazing to me... When Simon was this age he was eating every hour to hour & 1/2!

Simon is absolutely loving her. He can't leave her alone (in a good way). He's not seeming to be jealous or anything either. He is a bit nervous if Andrew or I aren't w/ him or visible at all times, but I think that's just a phase he's going through.

Andrew is adjusting quite well too! He's such a great daddy. His babies love him from birth onwards. I love him too!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What publicity...

I can't believe how much publicity we've gotten since Rachel has been born. Today News 25 came out to the house to interview us. It'll be shown at 530 pm and 10 pm Sunday night. This is the 2nd news station and 3rd media outlet that has interviewed us. In a way its kind of embarrassing b/c I don't really feel like I've done anything note-worthy. However, I am more than willing to help educate anyone in a similar situation and/or give someone else hope in what seems like a hopeless situation. I sincerely hope that others can see that it is possible to do this kind of thing and not be depressed, horribly ill, or any of those other negative things that are easily done in situations like this. I also hope people understand that even in the world the way it is, people are fundamentally good and helpful.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Busy busy days!

Well, things have been going quite well since little Rachel made her debut. She's passed all her tests with flying colors - her APGAR was even a 9.9 out of 10 in the delivery room. Hearing, PKU, CBC, etc all coming out perfect! I'm doing quite well too. We're waiting on my doctor so we can be released.

She's even a TV star already. Channel 7 News came by yesterday to do an interview with us. The Messenger-Inquirer did a story as well. Not even 24 hours old & she had already been on Channel 7, 25 and in the M&I! Wow - what a diva!

Her doctor just came in to let me know that she's lost about 6 oz (perfectly normal & acceptable) and is just a little jaundiced, but not bad (again pretty normal & acceptable). I just fed her almost 2 oz of formula again. She's a good little eater! She's helping me type right now actually!

Simon is a great big brother. He cannot get over her! He wants to hug, touch, & kiss her all the time. He'd definitely hold her if we gave him the opportunity!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rachel has arrived!!!!

Late last night (after stuffing myself w/ turkey & other Thanksgiving goodies), we ended up going to L&D to check on some bleeding I was having (10 -11 pm). I wasn't in hard labor, but I was definitely having contractions. Since I was due in for my augmentation at 6 am they just kept me. I hadn't made any progress yet though. Around 3 or 4 am the contractions got really painful and really close together. I made some progress (finally). They finally gave me my epidural & the pain went away! When they checked again I had gone from 4 cm to 7 cm in just a matter of getting the epidural. My water didn't completely break, but I did have some fluid loss. By the time Dr. Briones arrived around 7 am to check me, my water broke and I was already fully dilated! After 3 contractions, Rachel arrived - all 8 lbs 4 oz and 20 inches of her! She's got a little bit of curly black hair. Her eyes are a little bit swollen from the delivery, but otherwise she's absolutely perfect! I'm doing well also! I'll post photos as soon as I get some available.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Less than 24 hours to go!

Well, we're still together - Rachel & I! We have less than 24 hours in this same position though! I can't wait b/c I've even gotten more uncomfortable lately. I woke up last night (early this morning) dreaming that I was in labor. Thankfully it was a false alarm. I'm still holding out for tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2 days to go!!!

Well, Rachel is actually obeying orders so far & staying put for now! I think I've progressed more, but other than having annoying and very uncomfortable contractions, there's no sign of her coming now. Hopefully, 2 days from now we'll have a baby girl in our arms instead of in my belly!

Today I'm slowly making my potato salad for our Wednesday Thanksgiving feast! Its taken me all day to boil the potatoes, mix the dressing, and I still haven't put it all together yet. However, I'm getting ready to do it so that it can soak & get that wonderful flavor we love so much!

Monday, November 23, 2009

3 more days!

Rachel is still cooking well! The ultrasound showed no problems at all. Actually, it showed that she is even more ready to come out - she's dropped a lot lower & the amniotic fluid has particles in it - something the tech said indicates baby is cooked to perfection! Hopefully my little turkey will come out of the oven well-done on Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We made it another day...

Well, Rachel is still snug in the womb! I'm very glad! I'm still pretty miserable, but I'm happy we're still hanging out together! I *really* want to keep her in until Thanksgiving! Here's hoping!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can she wait 6 more days?

I've been up since 4 am this morning w/ contractions. They're not getting more intense or closer together, so I'm staying home. However, they are on average 5 minutes apart & lasting for a minute each. They're also not very comfortable... not absolutely positively painful, but more than my typical contractions have been up to this point. I really don't want to have her today, but if she's determined to come, so be it! Part of my reason for not wanting her today is b/c I *really* think it'd be awesome for her to get here on Andrew's b-day, plus Thanksgiving, plus on her due date. Another reason that Andrew informed me of last night is that today is Joe Biden's birthday... I don't want her to have to share a birthday w/ him! ;-) Anyway, I'm sitting here trying to decide if I should go try to lay back down (its almost 7 am) or if I should just stay where I am (in my recliner). I'm leaning towards bed... Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One week left!!!

Well, I didn't go into labor last night... It felt like I could have, but I didn't, thank God! I'm still kind of miserable though, so I'm going to take it easy. I'm keeping my fingers & legs crossed that she'll stay put for another 7 days.

I think Simon is either coming down w/ something or he's sensitive enough to realize that things are changing. He's been exceptionally lovey-dovey lately. He's also actually being pretty compliant - a switch from a few weeks ago. He was having tantrums & stuff, but now all the sudden he is very good. I'm not knocking it though!

Its hard to believe that in a week we're going to have another little live in our hands. Its going to be weird, but wonderful. I just hope we're ready!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

8 days & counting!

Today is my 39 week appointment! There are only 8 days left of this pregnancy! Yippee! I wonder if I've progressed any more at this point. In a way I hope so, but I hope I haven't progressed too much. I *really* want her to arrive on Thanksgiving! Not only will it be neat for her to share Andrew's birthday and occasionally Thanksgiving, it will also signify that she is the cause of great thanksgiving throughout my family. Her continued health and good growth has had a profound impact, not only on close members of my family, but also on people who previously were only tangentially (if even that much) in contact with us. Plus she'll continue my holiday baby theme as well as my Thursday baby theme & right-on-time baby theme! Dr. Briones doesn't think we're going to make it until Thanksgiving. She said if I really want to I need to do a lot more laying around & a lot less of everything else. I've progressed to 3 cm & 80%... I'm laying here w/ my legs crossed now! ;-)

Today is also the 4 year anniversary of mine & Andrew's first meeting. At the time I was still in recovery mode from the loss of Brian. However, I was trying to open myself up to the possibilities again. That fateful day 4 years ago I was being a pack-mule for my friend. She & her now-husband had just bought a house. She was bringing boxes of her things to the new house. The guys (Andrew & her now-husband) were mowing the yard. Apparently for Andrew it was pretty instant that he wanted to know more about me. I really didn't give him a second thought. We joked for a while in the house and went our separate ways. My friend told me that he was her now-husband's best friend, so we'd be seeing a lot of each other probably. It didn't bother me either way. Eventually, one thing lead to another & now here I sit married for almost 3 years with an adorable little boy and a precocious little girl on the way! Isn't God grand?!?!

Now for some serious stuff (some of this may be directly political, so if that will offend you - please quit reading).

I am shocked & appalled at the recent news that a health panel is advising women to not get mammograms while they're in their forties. They're also recommending that instead of yearly mammograms, women get mammograms once every 2 years. Apparently this group - USPSTF - has reviewed some data & decided that its not worthwhile to catch breast cancer in a 40-49 year old woman. The American Cancer Society (ACS) uses the same data as this group as well as other sources, and begs to differ as you can read here. To summarize the ACS position, breast cancer deaths in women diagnosed at 40-49 account for 17% of all breast cancer deaths. The USPSTF acknowledges that 15% reduction of breast cancer deaths in women 40-49 is the same as the reduction in breast cancer deaths in women aged 50+. However, the USPSTF apparently doesn't think that the lower risk 40-49 year old women are worth saving. The raw numbers (from the ACS site) indicate that the screening of 1904 women (age 40-49) to save one of these women from dying of breast cancer is not worthwhile. However, the screening of 1339 women (age 50+) to save one of dying of breast cancer *is* worthwhile. I'm no mathematician, but statistically speaking, saving 0.05% of women (40-49) vs saving 0.07% of women (50+) is not statistically different. If you remove the numbers and actually think of the people you personally know in either of these age groups, you'd probably agree that all the screening in the world should be done to protect your friend, relative, associate, etc - regardless of their age!

I know that if my mom had followed these new suggestions she would either still be fighting or already dead from her breast cancer. She was diagnosed via annual/typical mammogram at age 48. She wasn't having any signs. There was no visible/palpable lump or dimple. There was no pain associated w/ her breast. However, she was a walking time-bomb. My aunt Jacqueline, through the Holy Spirit, finally convinced my mom to get her mammogram that year. Thank God for you, Jacqueline!

This new suggestion from the USPSTF to me screams ObamaCare. From their website I can't tell how their board is selected or how often. I can see from scanning the list of board members, that none of them are oncologists. In my opinion, that means that they may have book knowledge of cancer, its statistics, and such, but they're not in the trenches dealing with it day in & day out. To me, that takes away from their 'expertise' at making guidelines for cancer screening. For all we know they are selected by the current administration to toe the line. I'm not typically a fan of conspiracy theories, but I think the recent passage of the Health Care Reform and push for reduced health care costs may be driving this type of statement. Afterall, mammograms are fairly expensive and we have a very large population of women 40+ who should be getting mammograms. Since this administration is also pushing for government funded/run health care it would seem that in order to 'lower' costs, they would have to decide what programs to cut. If you watch TV commercials you'll see competing viewpoints - some say Medicare was cut, while others say those are lies. However, since I doubt anyone who actually voted on the bill read the entire thing, I'd say chances are pretty good that there are some serious restrictions and re-allocations of funds that are going to take everyone by surprise. However, it would quiet the masses tremendously if some of these restrictions and re-allocations were approved by a theoretical 'unbiased' medical group... Enter the USPSTF... I wonder what their next recommendation will be...

I feel that I'm in a unique place right now. I pay for my own health-care sort-of by working & contributing to my employers health care plan. I also pay for my own cancer insurance in the event of my getting cancer (how fortuitius for me that I started the policy 3-4 years ago). Since I am now in that dreaded category of 'cancer survivor' changes in health care could drastically affect me. My fear is not that I'll be dropped from my insurance coverage b/c of my diagnosis. My fear is that w/ new rules and regulations pressed upon them by the government (and 'unbiased' groups like the USPSTF), I will not be able to get the care I need to see my children grow up. To many, my continued treatment after removal of my 'lump' seems excessive. Some local doctors got downright pissy b/c I went to MD Anderson for consultation and treatment. The entire course of action I am doing seems excessive to some lay people as well as doctors. However, at this point my insurance company covers this course of treatment/prevention. I am lucky in this fact. The race is on for me to get everything done to the best of my benefit before any more restrictions come down the line. At least thats how it feels to me.

At this point, I don't even know if there's anything we can do. Grass-roots campaigns are great, don't get me wrong. However, I haven't seen them lately actually accomplish their goals. The current climate politically is to merely tell the people "Pay no attention to what you see behind the curtain." They aren't even really hiding their duplicity. As a point in fact, the government web-site has congressional districts that don't exist showing signs of economic improvement due to the stimulus. I heard this on the news & thought surely they'd either fix the sites errors or pull the site down for maintenance. They haven't yet... Here is what they report for my state, KY. The numbers look pretty good, don't they? However, closer inspection (and a little bit of knowledge of KY's congressional districts) reveals that all is not right on this site... KY only has 6 congressional districts and they're consecutively numbered. Therefore, reports of money & jobs in congressional district 7 for instance *has* to be fraudulant or at the very least a serious mistake. There are 9 * imaginary* congressional districts that are shown by this site as receiving funds... I challenge any of my readers from out-of-state to check their state for these same types of 'mistakes'. What can we do though? Even though this has been on the news and questions have been asked about it, I've heard no apologies or true explanations for why or how these imaginary places are reported to have been awarded stimulus funds. I'm definitely not a politician, but as a moral individual, I would be compelled to 1st pull the site down and keep it down until the numbers can be properly assigned. However, b/c this administration knows there's nothing we, the public, can do to them, they continue to put forth their bad numbers and present them as truth.

I guess I'll get off my soap-box now. Sorry for hi-jacking what has typically been a very up-beat, non-political blog. However, I just had to get some of this stuff off my mind & onto someone elses! ;-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

9 days & counting...

Today there are only 9 days left until Rachel's arrival! I actually got some sleep last night thanks to Ambien! I may have to do the same thing tonight.

I'm still working on crocheting Rachel's hat. I got mine finished a while back, but I've not been very good at working on hers. Hopefully when she arrives I'll have guessed her size close enough so we can have a photo taken of us in our matching hats. They're elf-style sleep hats (long top-knot w/ a tassel) & I chose a multi-colored blue, lavender, etc yarn. I really like mine - its warm & kind of cute if I do say so myself!

I'm really amazed b/c today I had to have my head shaved again. I'd actually had some growth - especially on my 'characteristic' areas (widows peak, side-burns, & neck tails). It was looking kind of scraggly! Now its neatened up again just in time for Rachel's arrival!

Monday, November 16, 2009

10 days to go

Only 10 more days! We saw Rachel again today & you wouldn't believe the difference in size already. I'll try to scan another ultrasound photo in, but they're not nearly as clear as the ones from last week! She was breathing & moving well again. However, this time my fluid levels were a bit low. Apparently this weekend I didn't drink quite enough & maybe did too much as well. My blood levels were ok again - altho I was a little on the anemic side as well. Everything looks to be fine for Rachel's arrival on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

13 days left

Today there are only 13 days left until Rachel's arrival! Isn't it amazing?! I just can't believe she's almost here.

I'm being fairly easy on myself since I'm so close. Sometimes I don't have a choice - I don't have enough energy, I can't get anyone to help me, I can't think of anything interesting to do... However, sometimes I actually reject the idea b/4 it gets off the ground.

Not part of taking it easy was yesterday. We harnessed Febe up to my newly re-designed cart. It was our first hitching & instead of taking the chance myself, mom got behind the horse. It didn't go badly, but it didn't go as well as I had hoped. I think there's something on my equipment that she wasn't liking. However, I think we're going to post-pone any more harnessing until after Rachel arrives. Who knows, it may be another 6 months b/4 I try. As long as I get to pat her nose & breathe her horsie smell I'm sure I'll be fine!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

38 week check-up

Officially I'm not 38 weeks until tomorrow, but today was my appointment day, so that's what we'll call it! I was right about my progress... Not a whole lot, but definitely some - I'm now 2 cm dilated & 60% effaced. Dr. Briones wasn't worried about it at all. She was kind of concerned b/c I've been having times where my entire stomach gets rock hard & stays that way for quite some time. Apparently, that's called a hypertonic (I think its hyper- and not hypo-) uterus & can be bad for Rachel. Anyway, if it happens for more than 2 minutes I'm supposed to lay down & rest. If it still doesn't go away - or if it keeps up, I'm on my way to L&D again. Hopefully, I'll be good.

The big news today is that we've decided that Rachel is going to come on or before November 26 (her due date). If she's not here before (hopefully not) I will be 'augmented' in my labor on Thanksgiving day! I did the same thing w/ Simon and didn't have any trouble what-so-ever, so I'm hoping to continue that trend! Its funny the coincidences between Simon's pregnancy & this one... I had some problems early on where I thought I was going to lose Simon - same w/ Rachel. Then everything was pretty smooth sailing - same w/ Rachel. I started progressing around 34 weeks w/ Simon - same w/ Rachel. I was on 2 weeks bed-rest w/ Simon - same w/ Rachel. I was offered the option to augment my labor w/ Simon on his actual due date - same w/ Rachel. Simon's due date was a holiday - same w/ Rachel. Simon's due date was a Thursday - same w/ Rachel! I think its meant to be! :-)

Tomorrow is a red-letter day for a completely different reason. I get to try out my horse & cart tomorrow! Andrew brought the cart home yesterday afternoon. He put the bench seat out of his dad's Dodge Raider on the frame of my old cart. He even included both seat belts so that when I ride w/ kiddos I can strap them in to keep them from standing, climbing, and falling! He fabricated a new pulling bar & attached it for me. He also looked at all the welds, bolts, nuts, etc for wear and tear. Hopefully, if the weather is nice (its supposed to be) I'll hitch Febe up and go for a drive! I can't wait!

On a more serious note... I want to mention how grateful I am that we have men & women who are willing to risk their lives for our freedom & rights. Even if its not popular or safe for them, they willingly step up and protect this wonderful country of ours. Its amazing to me that I've got so many military people in the family... A brother & brother-in-law, two cousins (different sides of the family), my grand-dad, my dad (Coast Guard counts in my book), and I'm probably missing more. I wasn't called to be one of them, but my prayers, thoughts, and support are present & accounted for these fine individuals! Its heart-rending to think of the lives lost recently at Fort Hood as well as those lost in the Mid-East and other locations around the world. However, it is wonderful to know that their lives were not in vain. They will live on in our hearts, souls, and memories as heroes. God bless!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our 1st official BPP...

Today we did something a little bit different. Dr. Briones ordered a Bio-Physical Profile (BPP) for Rachel that was done outside of her office. The key points were to check that Rachel was pretend breathing (she had the hiccups for the 1st 30 seconds or so - so she passed), heart-rate (154 bpm - good), movement (she wasn't still the whole time - pass), and my fluid levels (passed). So while we got to see her to check all these things, we didn't get any measurements, so I don't know how huge she's gotten in the past week or so. I guess since I already know she's over 7 lbs, I know she's not going to be small!

I also had one of my weekly blood-tests at Dr. M's office. My blood levels have all come back up to normal range. That hopefully means there won't be any complications to my delivery caused by the chemo! I'm still having paranoid thoughts about delivery for some reason, but I think knowing that my blood levels are ok will relieve some of that tension.

Yesterday we had Alix out at our house. She's from Morganfield (knows my sister-in-law & brother) and is currently studying photojournalism at WKU. She chose me as her photo story. She's to catalog my journey of being pregnant while going through chemo. She started w/ the benefit & yesterday was supposed to just be a day-in-the-life. I was afraid I'd bore her to death, but apparently w/ our 4-wheeler riding, horse petting, house-visiting, and Simon we're not terribly boring. Anyway, since I had a photographer at my mercy (he he he ;), I asked her to take some family shots of all 3 (4 if you already count Rachel) of us. One of the photos is hopefully going to end up as our Christmas card photo. Anyway, here's a small selection of the 300+ shots she took all days.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

37 weeks! 3 more to go (hopefully)!

Well, today I officially made it to 37 weeks. I was also officially released from my bed-rest. Of course, I didn't do all that much more than I have been... Well, just a load of laundry & a load of dishes in the dishwasher. I'm not entirely convinced that I needed the bed-rest to prevent pre-term labor these last 2 weeks b/c it just seems like it doesn't really matter what I did when I was pregnant w/ Simon. He was going to come when he felt like it! :-) I'm pretty sure this one is the same!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still cookin'

I found out today that Rachel is still snug w/ no progress toward the outside! Her heart-rate is still good at 147 bpm. We didn't get an ultrasound today, but that's fine. Starting next week until delivery we'll be having Biophysical Profiles done every week. I'm not exactly sure, but I think that's an ultrasound where she's checked for breathing, movement, blood-flow, etc. I also found out that my bed-rest torture will be over tomorrow! :-) Of course, I'm not able to do a whole lot anyway, but maybe now I won't feel like I have to make excuses for doing silly stuff like fixing supper or walking to give the horse a treat! ;-) Dr. Briones also made a very favorable comment about letting Rachel decide when she wants to come! I was kind of afraid she was going to be pushing for induction/augmentation. She still has 3 weeks to change her mind, but I think she spoke to Dr. Ramariz (the high-risk OB from Houston) & found that the healthiest way for both me & Rachel is for nature to take its course. The earliest I've been considering augmentation/induction is November 23 - St. Rachel's feast day. However, the best option would be for Rachel to arrive *on* her due date - November 26. We'll see what happens! :-)

WOW! I just calculated (based on last week's ultrasound) that if Rachel comes on her due date & gains an ounce a day (like the books say) she's going to weigh a whopping 8.59 lbs (8 lbs 9 oz)... Simon was 7 lbs 14 oz... I'm glad she's growing so well, but I'm still kind of freaking out about how she's coming out that big!!! Especially since I know her head measured at 38 weeks last week at 35 wks 6 days... Fat head & fat body coming out where?!?!?!?!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Its November...

Its hard to believe that its finally November... Rachel should be here b/4 the end of the month! Its so amazing! That reminds me that I need to do some planning & get Andrew's b-day gift as well as try to get a jump on Christmas shopping! Of course, its kind of looking like I may be doing my shopping from my recliner since I'm on bed rest & too tired to really do any shopping. Oh well, its the thought that counts!

I'm not being particularly inspiring lately... I think I'm finally getting worn down by everything & it takes all the inspirations I have just to make it through the day. I'm still not feeling sick or anything, but as delivery day approaches I keep thinking of all the stuff I still need to do & how I'm afraid of how I'll feel afterwards... I think I'm thinking into the future too much. However, I'm not really worried, just overwhelmed w/ thoughts. I'm trying to make sure I lay the burdens at His feet and not try to do it on my own. I think I'm doing an OK job of it, but sometimes I try to do it by myself. I'm just lucky that I have a great husband, parents, & friends on my side. They remind me - sometimes subtly & sometimes w/ a good fussing - that I'm not supposed to be doing so much! Of course, most of the time my body agrees! :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

A day at the garage

Today I went to the garage w/ Andrew just to be out of my house (and mom's) for a change. I pretty much did all the same things, except there instead of here. It wasn't quite as comfortable, but it was good to see Andrew in his natural habitat!

I'm having some discomfort tonight. I don't think its really contractions, just too long in the wrong position today. I'm not rushing to L&D by any means. However, if it gets to where it feels like contractions for real, I definitely will go.

Mom took Simon's picture as a "Baby Bug" this afternoon. Its not his real Halloween costume, but its adorable none-the-less. Tomorrow we're going to Trunk-or-Treat at St. Alphonsus just up the road. He'll be dressed as a monkey (I hope). I'll try to get some pictures on here too.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

36 weeks!

Today is our 36th weeks together for me & Rachel. We've been a pea in a pod for that long now. Everything is still good! I can't decide if I'm excited or not though... I think I'm having a delayed reaction to everything that's going on. Actually, though, I don't think I got all that excited about Simon either. I'm the type of person that thrives on routine & the familiar. Having a baby is a HUGE step outside of routine & familiar! Oh well, I want the babies, I'll just have to deal w/ the mental issues! ;-)

Simon is so cute. He's really learning to say lots of different words now. I think the list is probably in the 50s or more. Just last night he popped out w/ 'Papa' (my dad), 'Coppa' (Copper my dog), 'cracker', and a few others. His vocabulary is coming right along! He's also a sweetie, even though he prefers Andrew to me... He's also got a touch of our OCD... I was helping him put his tractors to 'bed' last night so he could go to bed. I was lining them up for him against the entertainment center. I stepped away to help him find one across the room & told him to go put it w/ the others. Instead of just randomly placing the tractor near the others (or throwing it) he continued the line-up. He did that several times (probably 3-4 tractors). The boy likes order, routine, & the familiar! He doesn't have a chance! :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rachel update...

We had another ultrasound today. Rachel measured 37 weeks even though I'm actually only 35 wks & 6 days. She's estimated to weigh about 6.67lbs - I think the average for this stage is 6 lbs. She's still a big gal! I'm doing good too. Everything is going well for her to arrive on time. Hopefully she'll pop out just like a well-cooked turkey on Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I've been slacking...

We had a crazy weekend this weekend. Saturday I had to have Andrew take me to L&D b/c I was contracting & just feeling 'off'. They monitored me for a couple hours, checked me for dilation/effacement, and then released me to bed-rest.

Then Sunday morning really early, Simon had to be taken to the ER b/c he quit breathing for a moment or 2 while Andrew was trying to rock him back to sleep. He'd been coughing w/ a snotty nose earlier that night, and woke up screaming high-pitched while coughing & making a weird noise. Andrew tried to get him to calm down for 3 hours b/4 he noticed Simon quit breathing. When we got to the ER of course we waited & waited & waited. Once the doctor actually saw Simon, he tested him for flu and did chest x-rays. Both came back negative (that's good). The doc said Simon has croup and a double ear infection.

Well, I'm not a big fan of ER docs, plus he told us to check in w/ Simon's pediatrician in a couple days, so I had my mother-in-law take him to the pediatrician. The pediatrician said his ears were clear (less than 48 hours after the ER doc said he had double ear infections). He did say Simon probably does have croup. He recommended that we give him steroids for the upper respiratory inflammation. We were hesitant and had already refused a steroid injection at the ER b/c the last time Simon had steroids he became a crazy child. However, the pediatrician said that we could cut the dose to once a day to reduce the side effects.

So w/ me on bed rest & Simon not feeling so well, its been a bit crazy. Theoretically I should have all the time in the world since I'm on bed rest, but I'm not really handling it all that well. I hate just the idea of being inactive on purpose. Its one thing to lack motivation on your own, but to be told you can't do anything besides sit/lay around is just irritating. Andrew is really stepping up though b/c he's doing a lot w/ Simon (especially since Simon rejects me most of the time for bed & stuff) and cleaning up the house for me. I just hate feeling worthless and helpless.

Now I find out that our lovely little Sarah has the flu - theoretically the swine flu. Of course since Thursday we've all been practically living together. Since I'm in several high risk categories, I called my OB and she's going to give me Tamiflu to hopefully prevent me from getting the full blown flu. I'm wondering about Simon & Andrew too though. I don't want/need either of them to be sick either. Oh the drama!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another kiddo day!

I love spending time w/ kids. They're so enthusiastic about EVERYTHING! Abby is 3.5 and knows everything already! She's so cute when she's telling us what she wants to do and how she wants to do it! Sarah is a silent one, but she's always in the mix. I love how she's probably at least 5 lbs lighter than Simon & several inches shorter, but she gives just as good as she gets! Simon doesn't really understand sharing toys or people yet, but he's pretty good with both of them if I do say so myself.

He's learning so many words. Mom & I are keeping a running list & I think at this point there are over 50 words on there. In the last week or so, he's gained a bunch of words that he actually uses frequently. He's even perfected some of them - 'lawnmow' has now become 'lawnmowa' (gotta love the little Southern accent already). He's also experimenting w/ putting some words together like 'big boy' to describe himself. Of course, he still has a lot of random gibberish that I don't understand along w/ some 'sign' language that completely baffles me. However, overall I think he's very proud of himself for being able to communicate. I know Andrew & I are very pleased w/ his progress.

Rachel seems to be getting impatient b/c she is almost constantly exerting more & more pressure on me. More than half the time I feel like she's using my insides as punching/kicking bags. I have contractions on & off - most are the harmless Braxton Hicks type, but I'm afraid some of them are the more serious type. However, so far I've not had any more alarming ones that make me sure I need to go to labor & delivery.

I'm feeling a bit nervous about Rachel's delivery. For some reason (probably my cancer/chemo riddled brain), I'm paranoid that something bad is going to happen to one of us. I know that besides the chemo I'm a pretty healthy person, but the newness of this experience has me worried. I try to avoid reading all the problems that can occur, but I just can't seem to get them completely out of my mind. So far it seems like I'm the only one that's worried though. Dr. M & Dr. B seem completely confident. Andrew & my family seem pretty confident too. I'm going to have to trust God to take care of us (w/ a little help from Dr. B & Dr. M).

Even though I feel like I've grown since my diagnosis, I'm still riddled w/ uncertainty & probably a bit too much pride. I still want to do most things myself instead of accepting help. I'm also still having a bit of trouble letting go & letting God. Somehow I think that my pitiful attempts will be better than God's Almighty efforts. It doesn't make logical sense, but then again, I'm human... I just keep praying that I'll come out of this difficulty a better person in Faith, Hope, & Love. Those truly are the greatest virtues you can have I think. However, I think a good dose of Humility would do me some good too! ;-) So those of you out there praying for me, don't just pray for healing or strength, pray also for humility and understanding.

Thank you so much & know that even if I don't know you by name, I pray for you (w/ Simon & Andrew) nightly! Without the support of so many people, family, friends, and even strangers; we would have never been able to come this far. I get a lot of people telling me how strong I am and/or what an inspiration I am for handling this, I know that I'm not doing it by myself. Its God's help through prayers of people like you that helps me get through each day! Thank you and God bless!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kiddo day!

Today I get to go up to mom's & spend time w/ not only my own kiddo, but also my 2 adorable nieces! They're at mom's until Sunday, so we'll have lots of time to play! Otherwise, I'm going to take it pretty easy!

I'm going to try to make sure Rachel stays snug & warm where she is at least until she's 37 weeks! That's 2 more weeks! Here's the update on how she's supposed to be developing so far! Of course she's already 5.78 lbs and completely head-down/partially engaged, but theoretically the other things are right. Oh, I can't remember if it mentions it or not, but at the ultrasound I had Monday we saw her practice breathing amniotic fluid. We could actually see her little chest rising & falling fairly regularly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Taking it easy...

...Stinks! I'm really not set up mentally to be inactive apparently. I can stay home & take care of the house, the kid(s), and cook - no problem. However, as soon as I'm told *not* to do anything I find 100 things that need to be done - laundry, floors, toy pick-up, food to cook, dishes to put away & wash, etc. I don't really have the motivation to do things really, but I can't stand to be forced into that decision. Hmmm... is that obstinacy rearing its ugly head? Probably...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Butterball continues growing well!

Today we got to see Rachel again! She's doing great! She's still measuring at least a week to 2 weeks ahead by size. The weight estimate is now at 5.78 lbs! My fluid levels are also up which is a very good thing. The only negative is that I'm already dilated 1 cm and 50% effaced. I did the same thing w/ Simon w/ no real problems. I'm supposed to be easier on myself though to keep from progressing further than necessary. Overall, Dr. Briones is very pleased w/ our progress!

I got my blood tested today again as well. Everything is still doing pretty good, but my white count is probably as low as its ever been. I'm not on any restrictions that I know of, but I'm going to try to remember to step up the hand-washing & avoiding sick people.

Simon learned a new word today - comba (combine). So far his favorite words are tractor, lawn mowa (lawn mower), big (for semi trucks), and now comba. He can also count to 3 now on his own. I'm not sure if he understands completely, but he does a pretty good job. He counts stop-lights (at those intersections w/ 3 in a row). He can also say bee (any kind of bug), beeble (either people or bubbles depending on context), momma, daddy, nana (like the nah-nah song), nanny, apple, and some others. These are the words that he actually says - there are bunches others that he has said in the past for about a week, but he doesn't repeat them. Of all crazy things he doesn't say car or truck... Weird for a mechanic's son in my opinion. Oh well, he's learning! Its great to watch him continue growing so well!

Friday, October 16, 2009

100th Post!!

This is my 100th post since beginning this blog shortly after Simon was born. Things have changed so much since then. Its amazing to look back at my life then verses now.

Then: 1 newborn baby boy... Now: 20 month old little boy and expecting a newborn baby girl in 6 weeks!
Then: Full-time working at the lab... Now: Full-time stay-at-home while fighting cancer & hoping to deliver a healthy baby girl.
Then: Healthy me & family... Now: Cancer diagnosis for me with chemotherapy and surgery in the future.
Then: A horse in the backyard... Now: an empty pasture waiting to be filled.

However, the important things have stayed the same: family, friends, and faith! I think this situation has helped Andrew & I grow closer together. We are more focused on each other instead of what's outside of our lives. We have a healthy, active, and loving little boy who brightens our lives as well as those of our families. We have a healthy, active, and hopefully loving little girl on the way to add to the brightness of our lives. We have learned that our faith community not only knows who we are, but also has great concern for us and our problems. Even though this is not an easy situation (cancer while pregnant),

I think we're making the best of it and we're going to end up better for this experience. I know I have a greater appreciation for others help and support that I've never really realized before. Accepting help can actually make you stronger. That's something I never realized - I've always been quite independent and 'strong' on my own. However, in refusing help, I was actually weakening myself. It is only in becoming humble that we can achieve what God wants for us. He wants us to be servants, but He also wants us to accept and acknowledge help from others. There can be no servants if there are no people accept the service. So don't just serve others, allow others to serve you!

"So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 - How to get these? According to Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, "The fruit of Silence is Prayer. The fruit of Prayer is Faith. The fruit of Faith is Love. The fruit of Love is Service. The fruit of Service is Peace." Words to live by!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crazy morning...

This morning the dog woke me up at 6 by hacking her lungs up. I have no idea what caused it, but it sure was annoying. She even woke Andrew, but thankfully not Simon. We booted her outside... What can I say - we aren't morning people! (She's fine by the way.) Well, then it started raining & spoiled little creature that Copper is, she started barking incessantly at the door wanting back inside. Andrew got up & let her in, but that was it - he couldn't go back to sleep. So he got dressed for work & since Simon wasn't awake yet & I suggested it, he left Simon with me.

Luckily Simon decided to sleep until 9 - yippee! However, when I pushed his door open I was met by the overwhelming smell of pee. I walked in & at first glance everything was fine. Then I touched a blanket, only to find that it was sopping wet. The same w/ his pillow, sheet, mattress cover, huggie blanket, and pajamas. I just washed all his sheets & stuff yesterday, so I wasn't really very thrilled. Guess how much more thrilled I was when I went to change his diaper only to find that it had basically exploded inside his pajamas. The gel-like goo that's inside the diapers to soak up the pee was all over him. Its in little tiny pebbles that are wet, but not completely. He had little pebbles of the gel from his chin all the way down into the feet. So had to stand him up & strip him. Of course, the gel got EVERYWHERE and he still smelled like pee.

First things first, I needed to clean him. So since I just wanted to do a quickie, I ran hot water in the kitchen sink, where I used to give him his baths. Apparently he's developed a phobia about taking a bath in the sink. He shrieked, bucked, stiffened, and was basically very uncooperative while I rinsed him off. He wouldn't sit in the sink, so I had him standing. He wouldn't let go of my neck, so I got soaked too. He kept trying to get out so I had to hold onto one leg to keep it in the sink. It was horrible! When I finally got him rinsed off & wrapped him in his towel he was fine. That is, until I headed to his bedroom. Then he started screaming again. I think he associates baths/getting clean w/ going to bed & he didn't want to go back to bed. Once I grabbed a diaper & left his room, he was fine again. Go figure... Of course, by this point I've broken all the rules Dr. Briones told me. I'm not supposed to pick him up - how else could I get him into & out of the sink... I'm not supposed to wrestle with him - how else was I supposed to get him cleaned off... I'm not supposed to stress out - what else could I do w/ a pee-covered, screaming little boy... In the end, he was clean & I was exhausted. Thank GOD for mom! I dressed him for her & brought him to her house. The up side of this whole adventure was that mom got to see him in his cute little pumpkin sweatshirt w/ matching socks again!

Oh yeah, 20 months ago today, Simon was just coming into this world! I have to say that the 30 minute clean up today was harder than my 13 hour labor! ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not much going on today...

Yippee its a slow day today! I don't really have any obligations or anything today. Mom & I are still heading into Owensboro to run some errands, but nothing pressing. I should really be using these down times to work on my Thank You notes, but I think I'm going to procrastinate another day.

I may get to go see my prospective horse again this week! I thought I was going to have to wait for another week. Yippee!! From the sound of her she'll be a perfect addition to our family. I'm going to have mom make sure for me though!

Rachel will be here (hopefully) in less than 45 days!!! Whoop whoop!!! I hope we're ready!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wonderful community event

I am so blessed to be surrounded by the friends & family & community that I have. Yesterday there was an effort headed by my local parish St. Elizabeth in collaboration w/ a nearby parish of St. Alphonsus and Calhoun Baptist Church to raise some funds for mine & Rachel's continued health. There were 400 servings of chili available - all but one serving was eaten. There were children's games, face paintings, 'train' rides (a lawn mower pulling 'cars' made of 50 gallon plastic barrels), corn hole tournaments, silent auctions, raffles, baked good sales, and pumpkin (painted & plain) sales. The turn out was wonderful and I was so touched that when I tried to thank everyone for coming I choked up. I'm not typically an emotional person, at least not publically, so that was a big thing!

Today I helped mom deliver some of the silent auction items to the winning bidders as well as going to check on Rachel & my blood levels. Rachel is Ms. Consistency w/ a steady heart-rate of 145 bpm (like always). I'm also pulling consistent numbers on my blood tests - fairly low-normal ranges. Everything looks good for delivery the week of Thanksgiving (hopefully on Thanksgiving, but she'll come when she wants to come). Yippee!! I'm also needing to start my Thank you notes to all kinds of people! Hopefully I'll have that finished by the end of the week!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lazy rainy day...

Today was a lazy rainy day. It was nice though b/c I got the surprise of Andrew coming home around lunch. I made a vegetable soup for lunch/supper so he'd have something warm to eat. Simon stayed w/ mom most of the day so I could keep resting. Mom was really busy making breads for the event this weekend. I actually brought her my breadmaker so she'd have twice as much dough ready to go! It was fun to see both machines in action. She just uses the machines to knead & do the 1st rise, then she bakes in her own pans in the oven. She's WAY more talented than I am. She's also finished the pumpkins. They're all uniquely painted w/ either faces or a design. I can't decide which is my favorite! I hope it clears up tomorrow and Sunday so everyone doesn't get waterlogged this weekend. I'm supposed to be helping Andrew install a program though, so I should get to it! Have a blast!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I got unplugged this afternoon! What a wonderful feeling! I'm off chemo for 8 weeks (at least) and will only have my regular OB appointments and weekly blood tests for the oncologist. It will be a wonderful break especially after going to the doctor 8 times (4 days in a row) this week and other chemo weeks! I hope I get my energy back in time to bring Rachel into the world!

the Middle of the End...

I'm still plugging along w/ Agent Orange, but I get unplugged today. We haven't done a whole lot this week - I'm trying to save up my energy for this weekend's event.

Yesterday was a great day though. We went to a road-side farmer's market that had a straw bale maze for Simon, a pumpkin maze for him, a corn pit, and lots of pumpkins to examine! He had an absolute blast. Then we drove through Panther Creek Park. We had some leftover bread from our lunch, so we stopped and fed the ducks. Simon hasn't played w/ ducks that I know of since we went to Gatlinburg in June. He loved it! When we got home, he was even more thrilled b/c Andrew was mowing the yard. Simon got to sit on the front porch, play with his tractors, and watch Andrew mow. I think that rounded out his day quite well!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Since it is breast cancer awareness month I thought I'd say something about donating to the various causes. Since I am currently battling breast cancer as well as being pregnant (and very pro-life), I thought it would be good to share what I know. You can take or leave my advice as you wish, however, I encourage you to do your own research on any/all organizations that get your hard-earned money. I am in no way saying any of these organizations are bad in & of themselves or that those that donate to their worthy causes are committing a horrible error. I'm simply trying to help save the babies as well as the women carrying them.

Some of the breast cancer funds are kind of sneaky w/ what they do w/ their money. Some support organizations that provide abortions and do embryonic stem cell research with aborted baby cells as well as 'abandoned' IVF embryos. Even if the Breast cancer group isn't directly supporting abortions (although many would have encouraged me to have an abortion in my situation), indirect support means that more little babies suffer. For instance, the Susan B Komen group gives and gets funds from Planned Parenthood - the leading provider of abortions in our country (if not the world). While Susan B. Komen doesn't actually fund abortions, the fact that they give money to Planned Parenthood for Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening programs, opens up the possibility (probability) that they provide more abortion services. To my understanding, many of the government funds that go to Planned Parenthood focused on breast cancer screening, can easily get diverted once it reaches PP. The same is true for money given by Susan B Komen and other 'good' organizations that want to help w/ women's health issues like breast cancer.

Here's the breakdown w/ fake numbers of what *can* happen. Government funding gives 1 million to breast cancer screening to PP. Susan B Komen gives 1 million to breast cancer screening to PP. PP budgets and needs to use 1 million for breast cancer screening. They're left w/ 1 million extra to do w/ what they want, b/c everyone knows no-one is going to give the money back to the government or Susan B Komen. Therefore, if their abortion services aren't getting as much money, they're going to funnel at least a portion of that money there. Some of the money may also go to cover administrative needs. In other words, unless you completely know where all the money is going when you give to an organization, in the health industry you cannot guarantee exactly where it is going in the organization or in their 'favorite' sister organizations.

The way I personally get around this is to do lots of research on my own & only donate to organizations that don't have any ties to pseudo 'good' organizations. Any breast cancer screening money I have to give is going to go directly to MD Anderson's research section. They do not use embryonic stem cells. They were among the first (if not the first) to acknowledge that abortion during pregnancy does NOT in any way increase survivability of the mother. They've been treating pregnant women w/ cancer for 20 years with absolutely wonderful success.

BTW I've included embryonic stem cell research b/c some of the ESCs come from IVF babies that are 'abandoned', but some also come from aborted baby tissue. There has been little if anything done by ESCs that adult stem cells cannot do as well. However, the government is really standing behind ESCs while somewhat neglecting adult stem cells. Most people don't realize that their baby's cord blood is very rich in embryonic-type stem cells. As an adult, you also have a plethora of adult stem cells that can be used just like ESCs. Plus they're already tailored for your body unlike ESCs. There is no problem with rejection and it can also encourage your body to produce more similar cells. If you're the inquiring type, you can easily go online to research what I'm saying. There are several Pro-Life organizations that have a list of organizations that fund (even indirectly) abortions through 'sister' organizations. You can also email or write & ask individual organizations their stance on both abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

My Chemo-Jane hair-style

My Chemo-Jane hair-style
I just had to have my mom buzz my hair because it was falling out so badly.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.

Pre-op wearing my hand-crocheted cap with my prayer shawl.
My loving husband is watching me distract myself with a game on his iPhone.

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs

2 days after my BMX w/ 100ccs in the TEs
I even have a fashionable belt to hold up my drains.

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE

3 weeks post-op w/ 400ccs in each TE
The smile is fake because the TEs were irritating!