Crickets Chirping….

Been awful quiet around here lately.  Oh, but I guess since I maintain this blog, that would be my fault.  Sorry ’bout that.

Christmas Season is in full swing here.  I think in the last week I singlehandedly kept the dairy farmers in business with all the butter I’ve purchased for baking.  I’ve also managed to kill off my sweet tooth so feel free to FedEx me a salt lick for Christmas. 

Sooo, let’s get the not so cool news outta the way.  Put my cat to sleep right after Thanksgiving.  That sucked.  I miss him.  Blane contends that he’s going to grow up to be Iron Man, rocket into Heaven, and steal Isaac away from God.  I guess he misses him too. 

New chemo isn’t much fun.  But I complained to my oncologist and he will be giving me even more souped up drugs to counter nausea.  Also, I think I had a weird reaction last time (my mouth felt like it was filled with marbles), so I’ll get doped with Benadryl tomorrow.  Bring a dolly ’round and wheel her home, folks.

Ok, now the good stuff.  I had this really cool experience this week – a lot of people would chalk it up to a coincidence, but I know better.  Last year the church identified some  families at a local school that were in need for the Christmas Season.  I volunteered to help Tina, a recently divorced mother of three who was unemployed and living with a friend until she could afford housing on her own.  I got gifts for her children and something for her, supplemented it with food collected from the church, and delivered it to her right before Christmas.  It was then I learned her ex was an aggressive man who was violent with her.  She left him, but there was a fear that he may be hostile towards the kids when they were with him.  I advised her to contact CPS and consult with them for an investigation.  And then I walked out of her life.  Over the last year, I’ve felt such guilt over that.  I should’ve done more.  I should’ve checked in on her, provided some support.  In the last month, I’ve been praying a lot about her, and also asking for guidance.  I asked God to help me find her again, and then help me do the right thing. 

I went to a client’s office the other day for a Christmas lunch.  SHE WAS THERE.  She knew she remembered me from somewhere and when I told her, it was like this flood between us.  What a wonderful connection!  I asked God to help me find her, and He put her there right in front of me!!  I’m happy to say that things are MUCH better in her life, on all fronts.  She told me God stayed with her the whole time and has provided for her.  We exchanged info and we’ll be going to dinner soon to catch up.  I’m still in a state of awe.  Coincidence, schmoincidence.

Also of note, I want to introduce a new member of our “family.”  Recently, I decided that with all the good in our life, it was the right time to share our resources and love with someone in need.  So Amner is now my family’s sponsored child, through Compassion International.  Amner is 7 years old and lives in Guatamala; I’m so looking forward to getting to know him and his family as he progresses through the program.  Compassion will be providing educational, spiritual and medical support to Amner as he attends a Student Center in his town.  It’s a wonderful way to help a child and family in need in such a poor area of the world.  I hope we can make a difference in his life.

So that’s the goods!  I’m off to wrap the last of the Christmas gifts and then enjoy the rest of this blessed season.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, anyone??

Don’t freak out, people…

My last post was just a “whew, feel free to give me that miracle cancer-curing shot anytime, doc.”  We all get weary from the big C, just like everyone else that has a lifelong disease just wants some normalcy, no stress. 

Well, I didn’t want chemo this week.  Not even a little bit.  The doc agreed with me – I get the week off!  I’ll have a PET scan next week and the day after start a new regime, one that will no longer give me neuropathy! 

And the clouds parted, and God said, “you’re welcome, child.  Now go get a pedicure.”

I did.  The End.

Sweet mother of PET scans….

I am so over cancer.  Holla if you’re tired of cancer too…

That is all.

When life hands you lemons, eat a pop tart…

That’s pretty much the best I could come up with for this one.  Today was my rescheduled chemo day.  Doc said my platelets were even lower than last week.  Again, “prohibitively low.”  I say, live dangerously.  Ok, that might not be completely true.  The truth is that I’m obsessed with the idea of my chemo not working if I take more than a week off.  I’ve been burned that way before, and I had to start at square one again.  So, I convinced my doc to gimme the juice anyway.  I’ll get a shot of Neulasta (a white blood cell boost) on Wednesday and then if my platelets are still shot on Friday, I may have a platelet transfusion.  Worth it to get the goods, especially since my tumor numbers continue to go down.  That means that I have to be ultra careful not to injure myself in the next few weeks.  Tough for me sometimes because I’m super accident prone.  Gee, I can’t use a knife this week – the man will be cooking dinner I guess!  Sweet….

I’m eating a pop tart during chemo today because another patient I met weeks ago told me that there’s this theory going around about consuming sugar during chemo.  Cancer loves sugar.  Cancer cells absorb sugar faster than regular cells, so a lot of people with cancer cut sugar out of their diets in an effort to reduce cancer growth.  So the idea is that if cancer loves sugar so much, eat some during chemo days and when the cells go nuts absorbing the sugar, they end up absorbing more chemo, too.  I have no idea whatsoever if this works or not, but it sure is a nice excuse to eat a pop tart, something I just don’t keep in the house.  Fiber One makes a yummy brown sugar/cinnamon, and since it has tons of fiber, I don’t feel quite as guilty eating it. 

Ok, done talking about crappy cancer.  Cleaned out the garage from moving weekend, and donated a ton of stuff that had been in storage for the last year.  If it wasn’t used in a year, we probably don’t need it, so to the thrift store with you!  Here’s a great tax tip:  if you donate, you’ll get a blank receipt because the thrift store or Goodwill can’t assign a value to what you donated.  Instead of itemizing everything, take a few pictures of the whole lot and save it.  Then, when you file your taxes, you can list the used value of the lot that you donated and you’ll have those pictures as backup in the off-chance you ever get audited.  It’ll save a ton of time in the long run and you have photographic evidence of your donation to back up your deduction.

Playing “Where’s Waldo” with music and getting off the rollercoaster

I loved in High School reading all kinds of literature and trying to decipher its meanings, both obvious and hidden.  Shakespeare was so fun for me.  Who knows if some of my guesses are what the author intended the reader to absorb from the work; it was kind of like playing Where’s Waldo with each novel or play.  I still do that sometimes with music.  Today’s a good example – I was of course listening to the 80’s station on the radio and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” came on.  Seriously, I doubt she was thinking of God when she wrote this song, but for me, I can see a parallel there:

“If you’re lost you can look and you will find me, time after time

If you fall I will catch you I’ll be waiting, time after time.”

So, I’ve been so busy this week that I haven’t had a chance to post the results of my CT scan on Friday.  I saw my oncologist on Monday morning, and the first thing he said to me was, “Let’s just cut to the chase; your scans look great.”  The bottom line is that while the CT doesn’t show quantity of disease, it does show size and apparently it appears that if the cancer in my liver isn’t already dead, it’s certainly dying.  My diseased lymph nodes look “significantly” better.  The embolizing agent that was injected back in May is surprisingly still in place, which is another thing along with my chemo that kills the liver cancer.  All good news, if you ask me.

Slightly disappointing was that I got ejected from chemo on Monday because my platelet count is too low.  Not surprising, and the only thing I can do to counter it is to take this week off from chemo to allow my body to make some more, just so they can get demolished again during next week’s chemo.  No worries.  So, about that rollercoaster:  I spent the last week telling myself that no matter what the scan revealed, this was just another day in the cancer fight.  Since this will likely be a lifelong battle for me, I have to keep in mind that whether it was good news or bad news, I need to avoid the emotional peaks and valleys.  Having those huge swings aren’t good for me or my immune system.  That being said, I took Monday’s news in stride and then was surprised at the end of the day how blase I felt about the whole thing.  So, I’m off the rollercoaster for now – I’ve decided that I’ll just go play on the nice even go-kart track, and enjoy the fun turns instead!!

Whew, what a week!

Busy goings on here at Casa Rogers.  We’re still getting the new digs situated, organized and decorated.  I’m trying to be selective in our accessorizing since the look is really clean and modern.  I’ll probably try some DIY ideas that I’ve ripped off shows on the HGTV channel.  I’m not a really creative or artsy person, so this is a bit challenging.  I’m also like Lee, who says he couldn’t draw a stick figure with a ruler and a compass.  We’ll see how it goes.

Traded in the 4Runner on Friday for a new Toyota Venza.  So far, I love it.  She’s a speedy thing, and just high enough off the ground to make me not feel like I’m in a car.  Plus, I’m frankly addicted to the XM that came with the car…it has an AWESOME 80’s station that I listen to all the time, along with some pretty good Christian stations.  This morning I was totally rockin out with Toto on the way to work.

Speaking of work, I’m back!  My 2 month sabbatical ended and I started back to work on Monday.  I so love and missed my clients, so I couldn’t be happier.  I’ve been busy since I rolled in Monday morning, and that’s how I love it.  Some people I talked to couldn’t understand why I missed being at work so much, but my career is a part of who I am, and what defines my personality.  When I die, cremate me with my printing calculator and an amortization/depreciation schedule.

Big B starts official pre-k on Monday, and the little booger has to wear a uniform!  Part of me feels rebellious of this, like the system is assimilating all the little kids, turning them into identical robots.  The other part of me is happy that he won’t be able to ask to wear a batman or lizard costume to school.  I guess I shouldn’t be complaining – Primrose has been such a great school for Blane to attend; as a mom, I gotta brag:  my kid can write his name at the age of 4.

Most importantly, I’ve got a CT scheduled for tomorrow morning, and I’ll get the results at chemo on Monday.  Haven’t had one of those since April, and it’ll tell us how well the chemoembolization from May and my current chemo regime worked.  What we’re hoping for is that the cancer in my liver is completely demolished and my infected lymph nodes are being ridded of the yucky stuff.  That would be some pretty great news.  Part of me is scared to be hopeful and optimistic, because the letdown (and I’ve been there, sister) is devastating.  This is one of the hardest parts of my fight – I’m a control freak, and I have to accept that I am not in control on this one.  I have to give up the illusion and belief that I have control over any of this.  I can’t make my chemo work if my cancer becomes resistant to it.  I’ve always felt that hard work will get you what you want, and it doesn’t necessarily happen that way with cancer.  I’ve tried lots of experimental things to try and increase the efficacy of my chemo:  ingesting turmeric daily for its anti-inflammatory properties, drinking this wretched papaya leaf tea in large quantities, drinking Kombucha daily (that’s one thing I’d love to keep doing, it’s just so darn good), cutting out all white flour and sugar from my diet.  None of those things worked, and I was really bummed when I realized that there wasn’t a whole lot I could do on my end to affect change. 

Such is the struggle with faith as well.  It’s all about giving up control, trusting that someone is going to take care of you, ultimately.  Babies do it…why can’t we?  Our kids, at least till 2 or so, trust us to take care of them.  They know they’re not in control.  After that, all bets are off, and the only thing you’ll hear outta them is, “I can do it myself!!!!”  So, surprise, surprise, I’ll be praying tonight for positive results…..right after I drink my barium.

One more scan and I’m going to start glowing in the dark.

For Rebecca….

I’ve been thinking of you lately and first off, I’d give you a big ‘ol hug if you were in front of me.  The stress and anxiety we sometimes feel can be simply indescribable.  That’s why I’m so in awe of you, and beyond happy that we discovered one another.  I’m less than 1 year into this mess, and there are so many times I think to myself, “Ok, I’m done with this ride.  Can someone turn off this rollercoaster and let me get out??”  And here you are, kicking cancer to the curb for the last 4.5 years.  Your strength, your courage, your tenacity are something that most of us just don’t have.  You and I know why you’ve fought so hard, and let me tell you, it’s working.  Kylynn is so lucky to have a mother that refuses to give up, no matter how hard it is, no matter how much it hurts, no matter how scared you are sometimes.

YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION.  When I worry, I think of you, and the amazing job you’ve done.  You have no idea how much hope you’ve inspired in me.  If it weren’t for you, I certainly wouldn’t be as optimistic.  Keep fighting, sister.  We’re in this together.

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