Sunday, January 31, 2010

Still hanging in there...

Rachel's doctor's appointment went well. She weighs 12 lbs (75 percentile) and is 24 inches long (90 percentile). She's still coughing & sounds pretty bad, but he said that's likely to last until Valentine's day. :-( However, she's eating about 5-6 oz a meal right now and still sleeping through the night... So she must not be bothered too much.

My allergic reaction (all over itching) seems to be taming down. However, I feel like my fingers & toes may have gotten a little worse. Since I'm on such crazy sleep-inducing drugs (Benadryl & Lortab) in addition to the overwhelming weariness the chemo causes in general, mom & dad have been keeping Rachel over night for us. I feel kind of bad about giving her to them, but they assure me there's no problem. She's loving it anyway!

Simon & I played in the snow both days this weekend. We've got some great shots thanks to our photographer (mom). He had a blast plowing through the snow & face planting (on purpose)! We built Rachel her 1st snow man since Simon had one around this time too. Its tradition! Hope everyone else is having a great time!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Well, I had an allergic reaction to the Taxotere Monday night and into Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm on steroids now to control it. I took enough Benadryl to make myself pass out for close to 36 hours! This reaction cemented my decision to go ahead w/ my surgery on the 19th. Plus I spoke to one of the chemo nurses about the reason behind another chemo treatment. She indicated that Dr. M likes over-kill. She said that if he had any doubts about me still having cancer cells in my body he wouldn't back down & let me skip this last treatment. Since he did - pretty easily - she said that he thought I was probably fine w/ just the surgery. So even though the surgery is still freaking me out somewhat I've at least got a plan I feel I can stick with.

Rachel is still sick, but seems to be feeling better. We're still giving her the breathing treatments and suctioning her nose out pretty frequently. She's also has backed off her formula a bit, but she's still taking 5 oz per meal. Not too bad for a 2 month old! She has a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so we'll see what he has to say about her condition.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prayer request...

Even if you don't know these people....Prayer is the best gift you can give to someone...and it's free.... Urgent Prayer Request: Emmalee Bowlds, 5 months, daughter of Kristie and Andy, diagnosed with a malignant chest area mass. She is at Kosairs, awaiting a treatment decision. Kristie says.................. the more prayer intervention the better!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm confused. Last chemo the Dr. said this treatment would be my last & to schedule my surgery ASAP. I did so. Now he wants to do another chemo & reschedule the surgery after he switched chemo drugs?!?!?!

I've already fired off emails to my oncologist & surgeon at MD Anderson for their take. So far I've gotten a reply from the oncologist & her opinion is to take the last chemo as long as it doesn't push my surgery date back too far. So now I'm waiting to hear how quickly I can get another surgery date.

I wish these people would a) make up their minds and b) talk to each other w/o putting me in the middle. I just want the end result to be good. I don't really need to know the specifics except for when to be where & for how long. I really hate trying to schedule w/ one doctor based on what the other one said, then having to back-track. I'm sure they just think I'm a hot-headed idiot who's messing the doctor's preference up... :-( I just want to be finished, so I'm pushing for the surgery staying on the 19th. Its the plan I've accepted & now changing it is causing my OCD to flare up big time!

Rachel is having trouble too. This RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is kicking her cute little pink bottom. Breathing treatments and watered down formula to try to make sure she drinks plenty. She's lost weight since Friday. :-( My poor little girl is miserable, but still smiling & talking when she's able. She has another appointment (this was for her 2 month well-baby visit) on Friday. He's going to re-evaluate & decide if she gets vaccinated or not.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Goodie, but sitll a downer...

Well, silly me... I just figured out that tomorrow is my last chemo! I've been so caught up with not feeling well, Rachel being sick (she's still sick by the way & goes for a check-up tomorrow while I'm doing my chemo), and worrying needlessly over my surgery that it slipped my mind.

Its weird to think that 6 months ago I didn't know I had cancer. Then a couple days after my birthday I was diagnosed. A few days after that we found out our new baby was going to be a girl. Sad to say, the cancer diagnosis put a significant damper on our baby news. Then within 1o days of diagnosis we were in Houston getting top-notch advice. Less than a month from diagnosis I started my first chemo treatment when I was 6 months pregnant. Fast forward 3 fairly uneventful months to Rachel's uncomplicated and much publicized arrival on Thanksgiving day (and Andrew's birthday). Now Rachel is 8 weeks old & I'm getting ready to have my final chemo and less than a month away from major surgery - bilateral mastectomy (both boobies) with reconstruction from my own tissue (belly fat). Geez, time really does fly when you're out of it!

Hopefully, 6 months from now I'll be able to look back and not remember the bad parts. I'm grateful to all of you who've read my rants and whines and still continued praying, complimenting, and above-all showing support. I couldn't be more grateful for my wonderful husband. He's been a rock - even when it seems he's sitting like a stone. I couldn't have made it this far without my awesome mom. She's been-there-done-that, yet still accepts and anticipates that things are different for me. Of course, my dad is always there too - he's taken a more backseat, but I think he's been a very strong support to Andrew even w/o them ever really talking about it. I'm also grateful for my in-laws (yes - finally someone w/ something good to say about their in-laws). They've helped with the kids and with money when its tight. They also lend a caring and kind shoulder when necessary - even when its not taken it counts.

All-in-all I think this chapter in my life is going to lead to great things. Perhaps not terribly obvious things, but if even one woman out there now knows that she can go through chemo while she's pregnant - it was worth it. If one child is saved the horror of unnecessary abortion - it was worth it. If someone is inspired to do something generous, kind, etc - it was worth it. Basically, I'm thinking the ripple effect of a no-body from KY getting cancer while pregnant, could in a very vast way affect a large number of people in a positive way. That's why I've felt called to be so exceptionally up-beat and open about the whole process. I feel that's the least I can do for God since he's given me this curse that is mine to turn into a blessing. I hope I've done what He intended.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sad day...

Today is the commemoration of Roe vs. Wade. What a sad day for all those babies since 1973. Simon, Rachel, mom, & I went to the Cathedral for Mass today. We brought up the gifts - me in my bald head, Simon in his energetic toddle, Rachel in my arms, & mom as our support system. It was a nice Mass full of meaning. Father's homily told about a woman who found a mass on her ovary when she was pregnant. The doctors wanted to remove it. She asked what would happen to the baby. They said there was a 98% chance she'd (the mom) be ok. The mom chose to live with it and her baby. That baby was Father. What a wonderful story.

Another kind of sad note. For the past several days I've not been feeling well. Rachel has also been a bit under the weather. Mostly for Rachel it was showing as her spitting up a lot more than normal and sneezing/coughing infrequently. Well, today after Mass it got bad enough that mom decided to take her to the doctor. They diagnosed her as having RSV. In very young babies it can be life-threatening. She's on the edge of the age-limit. So she spent the night with my mom and is sleeping and getting electrolytes mixed with her formula to keep her hydrated. Her breathing is a bit labored, but the doctor said her lungs are clear. We're not really sure what's wrong w/ me, but for the most part RSV only bothers the very young (according to the pediatrician). Sadly we cannot go visit my new nephew for at least 2 weeks though.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tata to my tatas

Well, I found out today that I'm scheduled for my bilateral mastectomy & reconstruction on February 19th. Right now there's no guarantee that I'll get the reconstruction I want done, but I meet with the plastic surgeon on the 12th for evaluation. Scary stuff. Right now we have appointments on the 10th, 11th, and 12th. Then we'll come back for Simon's birthday on Valentine's day. Then my next appointment is for the day b/4 my surgery on the 18th. Not much rest b/4 major surgery like that, but that's what I've got to do.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just had to get these off my chest...

As I went to bed last night a few things were running through my mind. Selfishly enough, my main thoughts were focused inward - how my fingers & toes were tingling, burning, or just plain numb, how my hair hurts even though what I have isn't really enough to call hair, etc. However, another of my thoughts - while still selfish - was somewhat focused heavenward. I was wondering if I'd prayed enough w/ my little ones & husband. This got me to contemplating some things...

I'm sitting here, while not particularly miserable at the moment, pretty uncomfortable due to my cancer treatment. I know there are any number of women (probably men too - though they don't admit it as readily) who are sacrificing their sweet tooth in the name of fitting into a particular clothing size or look. There are any number of men (and women too) who exercise to the point of pain again for a particular look or clothing size. However, I don't know many who allow that same amount of discomfort for their Faith. Yes, we 'suffer' through an hour of Mass on Sunday and maybe pray for a few minutes every night. However, when we're suffering for the sake of health or beauty (handsome-ness for the men), do we ever consider the great gift we've been given by God by our very existence?

Really, we don't need to do much of anything different. We just need to be mindful of God's grace in our lives - even when we'd rather crawl into a hole & ignore everything. Sometimes in our struggles we find God - ie in devastation like Haiti or illness. However, when things are smooth we generally putter along as if we're in control & we are responsible for our good fortune. While all the good in our lives (and some would argue even the bad) is due to God, we give Him very little credit.

After those thoughts (actually some of that came to me just now, but the beginnings formed last night) last night I had a dream as well. In my dream there were two little girls - probably aged 3-4 or so. They were mine somehow (perhaps they were the dream personification of my lost babies) and playing happily in our home. Then another girl appeared about the same age, but she had an otherworldly aspect to her that the other girls didn't. She was holding a candle. I didn't recognize her, so I asked who she was and what she wanted. She announced that she was the representative of all the murdered babies. She looked at me and said "God is good. God is great. God is Love. Love Creates." She glided around a bit and played w/ 'my' girls for a while. By the end of the dream they were all chanting, "God is good. God is great. God is Love. Love Creates."

I'm not typically one to believe in ghosts or even messages or dreams from God to ordinary people. However, this struck me as being particularly telling since this week is the memorial of Roe vs. Wade. There are probably millions (I'm not up on my statistics) of babies who've been legally killed by their mothers "choice". These mothers forgot that even if they did not intentionally become pregnant - God intended each & every one of those babies to enjoy His creation and love. They forgot that God is Love and He loves us all - no matter how small. Much like Horton informed us in "Horton Hears a Who", "A person is a person, no matter how small." Sure, some would argue that while still in the womb the unborn child is not truly an independent person. However dependent the unborn is on its mother - my newborn 7 week old daughter is pretty much just as dependent on me (or another adult). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for civil rights for the African American people. His niece fights for the civil rights of the unborn. In my opinion, his niece's fight is all the more vital to the American people (and the world in general) because if we can deny rights to these most vulnerable of people, who is safe? Especially since (and I'm pretty sure of this statistic) a large percentage of abortions are perpetuated on African Americans.

So while you (and I) try to suffer a bit for God's sake instead of just our own, perhaps we should also suffer for the most vulnerable of us all - the unborn.

FWIW My blood test today was good. Rachel has become the unofficial therapy baby of the Owensboro Cancer Center. While the vampire's stick me, mom takes her back to the chemo room. By the time I get back there several nurses have passed her around and patients are impatiently waiting to get their hands on her as well. My little chemo baby is hopefully brightening some other cancer patients' days!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Keeping you abreast...

Well, I've not yet heard back definitively from MD Anderson on my possible surgery date, but I'm going to try to keep everyone informed of news as it pops up. Just in case anyone is wondering why I'm so worked up about the surgery I have to have, here's what happens... A tummy tuck & a boob job all at once.

NOTE: Any guys or gals who don't want to hear descriptions of breasts/boobs, should skip this next section or 2!

By that I mean that I'll have one team of surgeons removing the tissue from my breast area. They'll leave as much of the skin as possible (think of it as pillow cases being emptied of their pillows). While the breast surgeon is removing tissue from my chest, the plastic surgeon will be removing tissue from my lower abdomen (the scar should be a bit bigger than a C-section scar, but similar in location). This tissue will be taken into the breast area (think of putting a new pillow in the pillowcases left behind by the breast surgeon). Some of that tissue will travel under the skin to keep the nerves and blood vessels as intact as possible. Some of the tissue will be directly lifted & reconnected tediously by microsurgical techniques.

For the most part, my new breasts will not have any sensation in them - ie I won't be able to feel the poke of an underwire bra, etc. So I'll have to be extra careful of things like that. On the plus side, I'll get to choose my bra size and since they're taking my new breast tissue from my abdomen, I'll have a flat stomach. The down side is of course there will be scars, some loss of sensation/feeling, and some displacement of things. They actually cut around the belly button to keep it in the same location, but some of the other skin gets stretched around. At first I won't look 'normal' b/c the new breasts will be blank. However, by the end of all my surgeries (at least 3 I think) I'll look 'normal' even w/o my clothing. I'm trying to be delicate here, so just use your imagination if you want...

NOTE: If you turned away earlier, you can start reading now again...

Anyway, it freaks me out b/c although I will look 'normal', I won't 'feel' normally. Plus that's a lot of surgery and moving of this & that. Plus the reason I'm having to have the surgery isn't exactly a walk in the park. So I'm kind of freaking. However, for the most part, I think I'm ok w/ it. It just is what it is & will be fine I'm sure. I appreciate the prayers & thoughts I'm getting from everyone. Keep 'em coming if possible!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I can see clearly now the snow is gone...

I don't think the snow had anything to do w/ my emotional breakdown earlier this week, but that somewhat twisted lyric came into my head... So I ran w/ it!

Anyway, things aren't really any different, but apparently I'm dealing better. My fingers are still largely numb or tingling as are my toes. I'm still having overall body aches. Et cetera etc etc...

Maybe that old saw about letting it all out making you feel better does have some somewhat longer term effects than I give it credit for usually. I hold things in b/c I can't stand to cry & stuff b/c it always makes me feel more miserable in the immediate long term. However, this time it seems to have worked - or else I just don't care anymore.

Today I had fun w/ Simon. He played in the snow w/ mom then they came down to see me & Rachel. He & I walked to water Febe - not far, but far enough for me to be glad mom had the Durango following us. Then we wrestled for a little while at mom's. We played airplane for a while. Then we did some flips and spun in circles. He's such a cutie. He's got so much energy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pity party is over - I think - for now?!

Well, my last post was a doozy! I was definitely feeling down & depressed & quite sorry for myself. I apparently reached a breaking point. I hope no one was offended by what I said, because that was not my intention. Its the way I'm made (apparently) to try to be super-woman even when others tell me I don't need to be. I heap the stress on myself sometimes. However, most of the time it is a coping mechanism that works quite well.

Yesterday (and the days b/4 that) were pretty hard, but I think (hope) I'm on the upswing again. Rachel & Simon are blessings that constantly remind me of God's wonder, but also the awesome responsibility we've been given. Andrew is a blessing as well, even when he's a challenge. I have so much that's been given to me by God. However, sometimes the trials that God is allowing me to work through overshadow all the good He's given me. Here are a couple examples of God's blessings on me...

Monday, January 11, 2010

a new 'normal'?

Well today was another pretty bad day.

Rachel woke me at 630, which was actually a good thing. However, after I'd fed her, changed her, etc she wouldn't go back to sleep. She'd let me get all comfy & cozy back in bed, then scream again. I'd get up, give her the pacifier, and pat her a bit before going back to bed. Just as soon as I'd get comfortable, she'd scream again. I tried to ignore her, but I could tell it was going to escalate until Andrew & Simon woke up too. So I got back up, repeated the process at least 4 times total. Finally, I'm ashamed to admit I cussed her out soundly & picked her up & held her until she went to sleep.

When I finally got up again it was, of course, time to feed her again. Then we had to get ready for our trip to town for my blood work. No problems getting ready - except that is always when she decides she has to do a doozy of a doodie. We finally got ready and headed out the door w/ mom.

We waited at the doctor's office for a while. I got my blood tested & then I met a 'fan' of mine. She has cancer as well & is on chemo treatment 8 of 12. She also has Parkinson's Disease. She must have read and/or watched our story repeatedly b/c she could tell me (and her daughter who was with her) everything about Rachel & me. She was a sweet lady. OK - so that was a good thing I'll admit.

However, when I spoke to Dr. M about my fingers & toes, he told me that we're going to most likely have to discontinue my chemo. Note: while that sounds like a good thing on the surface, its really not. Stopping the proscribed number of chemo treatments means there's a chance (albeit a small one) that there are still some cancer cells lurking somewhere. Even though my PET scan came back clear, it can't see very small cancers. Nor can it do anything about ones that hadn't shown up at that time. The reason for discontinuing the chemo is that apparently the Taxol is not only killing the cancer cells (we hope) it is also killing the nerves in my fingers & toes. Some of that cell death can (& may very well) be permanent. While mine hasn't gotten to the point of me being unable to fasten buttons, there is still a while for it to continue developing. As I type I have tingling pain in my finger tips for the most part, but it seems to me that the feeling in my right hand is more on the numb side. I noticed when I got home that I had a very serious dent & scrape on my left little toe that I absolutely cannot feel. Not only is that scary in the normal sense - ie w/ a perfect immune system and a graceful body; it is also doubly scary w/ a lowered immune system (my WBC's were a little low this time) and a somewhat klutzy/careless body.

Since not continuing chemo is not necessarily a good thing for the cancer fighting end of this treatment, Dr. M is pushing that I have my surgery sooner. While I'm attached to my breasts in the normal sense (ie they're appendages I've grown quite used to having), I don't think I'm overly attached. However, something about having the majority of your chest whacked off is daunting to say the least. Not to mention the fact that they will be largely numb for the rest of my life. I've also got the added doubts in my mind that I will have enough extraneous tissue for a good reconstruction. I know most women will want to smack me at this point - so if you're feeling violent, please stop reading or at the very least take your violence out on a pillow or inanimate object - I don't have much belly fat even though I'm 6 weeks postpartum. Actually, by the scale I think I'm back to my normal weight already. I know I can wear my pre-pregnancy jeans & such already - although I do fill them out a bit more so they actually fit. I know that most women have continued reading this are saying, 'You can have some of mine - I'll gladly donate at least 5-10 lbs to build your boobs back.' However, sadly, this won't work for any of us. I do have the option of getting *really* fake breasts reconstructed, but that's just not really my style. Plus, since I'm quite young there is a high likelihood that I'll have to have them replaced a couple times in my lifetime. Definitely doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

Here's something else most people probably think I'm retarded to be bothered about... Its hard to be upbeat and "inspirational" all the time. Its also more than slightly embarrassing and heavy to feel like everyone has that expectation for you. Its not in my nature to break down in public & I really even try to avoid it in private. However, one of my biggest fears is to disappoint people. I didn't want my 15 minutes of fame, but I had it thrust upon me. It never occurred to me to do anything but follow the course I'm following. Looking back I wouldn't change anything really (unless I could get some magical means of preventing the cancer). However, just b/c I am upbeat & positive, I don't expect or want accolades or congratulations. I just want to be a normal person. I don't want to be labeled as that cancer survivor who was pregnant when diagnosed & going through chemo. I'd really have preferred to have stayed in the fringes of notice, blending in with everyone else. Not too smart, not too pretty, not too anything - just a little above average in some things, but not spectacular or even all that memorable at anything.

However, I have apparently done something in my attempt to survive as best I can that makes people take notice and get 'inspired'. I'm not sorry for it necessarily, but it does weigh heavily on my mind sometimes. For instance, what would the people who think I'm inspiring think if they *really* knew what was on my mind when I'm cracking bald jokes & cancer puns? Oh, I know you guys all know I'm human & have good & bad days, but sometimes when I have a *really* bad day I really wish I could not feel like I'm letting everyone down by feeling crushed by everything. Reading that makes it sound so dramatic & its not really. It just is what is.

I'm kind of feeling for George (?) from Its a Wonderful Life - I really don't think anyone would particularly notice if I weren't here or if I died now. I secretly hope that my husband would be terribly overcome and grief-stricken without me, but I'm realistic enough to know that he'd grieve, but he's very strong and a very good dad, so he'd push on for the kiddos and eventually they'd be just as well off without me as they are with me. If mom &/or dad are reading this they're probably shaking their heads and saying, "But we love her and we'd miss her so much." and some more. However, no one currently actually *needs* me to live. Rachel doesn't even need me specifically. As long as someone gives her formula, cuddles, diaper changes, etc she'll thrive. Simon has Andrew. Andrew is very self-sufficient. Mom & dad are, well, mom & dad.

Even if reading this shocks you, just think about any loved ones you've lost. Yes, you still miss them & you still wish they were alive. But you grew from their absence and have mended that spot in your heart that they occupied. It may still pain you at certain moments, but its not crippling. If your loss is recent it may feel crippling, but trust me, you will grow and learn to live your life fully without that certain someone. I've lost at least 2 very special people in my life. One, my nana (mom's mom) died from this same, terrible, genetic cancer I'm fighting. The other died from another type of cancer at a young age. I was devastated by both of those losses. I really didn't think I could go on - especially after that 2nd loss. I was fairly young for the 1st loss (about 12 I think), and in the way of children fairly quickly adapted to life without my nana. It changed me - probably more profoundly than anyone realized - including myself - but I'm still here & still living. The second loss took me longer to recover from. I suffered from all sorts of emotional and even physical ailments after his death for a number of years. I distanced myself from his family, who I loved, and from most things we did together. However, here I am, married w/ 2 kids, and living life as it comes to me. I have some regrets from those years after his death, but I did what I had to do to survive and given the chance I'd probably make the same choices.

We're all cogs in a big wheel that God controls. While together we make things run smoother, small absences here & there won't negatively affect the whole wheel. God built in lots of fail-safe's and redundancies in His wheel of life. I'm not saying we're not all necessary, but God knows how long our usefulness will last & has designed His system to adapt to these losses along the way. I don't know how long my usefulness will last since that's entirely God's bailiwick, but right now I feel I'm not of much use except to take up space. Perhaps things will change, but only if it is His will.

In a way I'm glad I've become an inspiration to people. It has helped me truly understand using my life as a living prayer. That's one of my favorite songs by Alison Kraus (I'm not sure if its hers originally or if she remade it), A Living Prayer. In it she asks that her life be a prayer. To me it sounds like a song Mary must have sung. As a matter of fact I'm not entirely sure that its not an oblique reference to scripture come to think of it. I think there's a scripture verse w/ a similar sentiment. However, its a good thought and one that we should all try to keep in the forefront of our minds. I'm trying, but sometimes (like now) I'm failing miserably. I'm pretty sure I'm looking back at the beach & only seeing one set of footprints. I know Who's they are, but I can't tell He's carrying me. Darn this human short-sightedness.

Friday, January 8, 2010

bad day

I need a boost right now. I'm feeling fat, ugly, stupid, & useless. I know the fat is from giving birth 6 weeks ago. The ugly is just something I deal w/ a lot of the time - its worse now b/c I'm almost completely bald & feel swollen. The stupidity is from the chemo - I can't even put Rachel's diaper on right. The useless is from exhaustion. I'm also having issues w/ my feet that I don't understand. It feels like a combination of my feet getting smashed, 'waking up' from being 'asleep', tremendously swollen, and cramping. Its really painful - sometimes it hurts too much to walk. Of course, try explaining that to a hungry 6 week old!

I hate complaining b/c I know it could be much worse. I actually looked at myself finally in the mirror last night/today. Talk about a shock. Anyway, I'm trying to keep my chin up, but sometimes its too heavy! that's when I rely on you guys. You guys help me tremendously by offering me kind words, prayers, inspiration, and cyber hugs. I hope you guys know what all that means to me.

I'm not doing anything any one of you guys wouldn't do if you were in my shoes. Its just that I got the opportunity & you didn't. Things like this bring out the best in people, even if you don't think you have it in you. I'll admit that I am generally too stubborn to show or talk about pain, but that doesn't make me strong. That makes me prideful. I'm trying to swallow my pride and allow others to help me. Even if its just by sharing my discomfort and asking for a hug (even a cyber one), its hard for me. I'm a very private person (although from this blog you'd probably never guess it) and its hard for me to share my feelings - especially when I believe them to be useless...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 2 down... so am I

This Taxol is kicking my butt big time! I probably won't be updating much this week. Muscle and bone aches, exhaustion (even though I slept for close to 12 hours - only slightly interrupted), nausea, etc doesn't make me want to get on the computer much.

On a good note, Rachel slept for 9 hours again last night. She had a little bit of a hard time going to sleep tonight - she cried for at least 30 minutes - but hopefully she'll sleep again tonight. Dr. H said to expect a revolt tonight... Hopefully, she wore herself out crying though. She did really well today too. She's learning to actually play w/ her toys. She's batting at the things on her toy bar & mat.

Simon is so smart! He recognizes the letters 'O' and 'R'. The amazing thing is that he recognizes both the upper & lower cases of 'R'. He's such a little man now! I can't believe how long & lean he looks now.

Andrew is doing great too. Business isn't busy, but its enough to keep him occupied sometimes. He's really looking forward to the snow though. He wants to take Simon sledding and try out his new mud tires on his Bronco II. Mostly I just want him to be happy & healthy.

I love my family so much!

Monday, January 4, 2010

50%, 75%, 90% & 110% - A day of percentiles!

50% Today I am 50% finished w/ my chemo! We got there bright & early (930am). I'm not quite sure when they started, but we didn't get out of there until close to 4pm. I slept most of the time b/c they give me Benadryl, a steriod, Ativan, and Zofran before they even start the Taxol. Some people have had some very serious side-effects and allergies, but its a great drug to kick cancer's @$$. This way they can keep some of the side-effects and allergies at bay, while they give you the best drug for the job. To those of you that know me, you know that for me to sleep during the day is hard, much less in a crowded chemo room where people are talking, walking around, TVs are on, etc. I did it though!

75% & 90% Today was also Rachel's late 1 month appointment. Of course, the first thing they do is weigh her in her diaper (or maybe its naked for these early ones). She came in at 10 lbs 10 oz - in the 75% percentile! That's a gain of 2 lbs 6 oz since birth and much, much more from her hospital release weight! They also measured her length. My little long-body gal came in at 23". That's a gain of 2" since birth! That's a long, tall, drink of water - or actually formula in this case. She's got a little bit of baby acne, but no issues. We're currently on our 1st night of trying to get her to sleep through the night. Dr. H did a similar plan w/ Simon & it worked mostly. She eats at 5 pm - as much as she wants regardless of when her last meal was. Then she stays awake with 30 minutes of tummy time until 8 pm. Then she gets a warm bath followed by another meal - again, as much as she wants. By then of course, she's exhausted, but relaxed and has a full belly, so she gets put in her bed w/ no fanfare, cuddling, or anything. She's expected to sleep until 5 am. We'll see how that goes!

110% Andrew came to chemo with me, so his day was pretty wasted. Simon stayed overnight last night with Brenda. So he spent all day with her, playing, making a trip to Henderson/Evansville, and basically getting spoiled by his grandma. He loves coming home though - especially when its just Andrew that comes to get him in the Bronco. He's absolutely infatuated w/ Rachel, but his Daddy holds his heart and attention mostly. My boys are so great and give me (and I think everyone else) such great pleasure. God has truly blessed us!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy 2010!

Well, the new year is here. Although I don't necessarily think that it's going to be a whole lot different, I'm kind of glad to bid 2009 good-bye. I started last year pretty bad w/ a hospital stay caused by a miscarriage. I ended it ok, but not 100% since I'm still in the midst of chemo & haven't started any of my surgeries. I guess all's well that ends well & I'm well for the most part. The boys (and maybe even Rachel) seem to have gotten the 'crud' that's going around. I still have it to some degree, but I'm mostly over it.

I just realized that not only have I not been writing, when I am writing I haven't been very philosophical or anything. Maybe I'm losing my touch. Or maybe I'm just too busy w/ everything on my plate... Hmmm...

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!