Thursday, October 16, 2014

Surgery was a kick in the head


Oh boy did I have this surgery pegged wrong.  I was thinking it was going to be short and easy-ish.  It was like a punch in the face.

I was under the impression that it was a day surgery and a couple of hours at best.  There was some serious miscommunication in the equation.

Monday afternoon (the day before surgery) I went to meet with the doctor for a pre-op appointment.  I started talking to her about the hysterectomy and she was like, "What? I didn't realize we were doing that".  As we discussed it, we realized that someone in her office dropped the ball communicating to her that I decided to have a hysterectomy.  A few weeks before when I met with her, she told me that I should really probably have a hysterectomy.  I left her with the impression that I wanted to think about it.  I was having a hard time pinpointing where my pains were coming from, and I didn't want to do something without thinking about it a bit.  I spent the next couple of days really trying to pay close attention to when/where I felt pain.  A few days later, I called her office to let them know that I wanted the hysterectomy done (in addition to the bladder fix), and the girl did not relay the message.  The doctor told me that she was fine doing the hysterectomy but they would have to scramble to get it all approved through insurance.  Then she told me that I would definitely be in the hospital at least one night, possibly two.  She told me that I should also stay another night at a nearby hotel in case there was a problem.  I called the insurance also to give them a heads up.  I was just another added stress to an already stressful situation.

John and I stayed Monday night at a nearby hotel.  I sat and read for hours.  I wanted to escape my thoughts about the surgery.  I'm a nervous Nelly when it comes to anything medical.  I read the book, "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson, for hours.  She was in an airplane crash a few years ago.  It was a great book.  Reading it made me feel peaceful. Like I could get through this hard trial that I had been going through for almost 6 months--piggy backing 9 months of cancer treatments.  A year and a half of pure torture.  Seriously, pure torture.  I felt like I related to a lot of things in the book.

Tuesday morning we left for the hospital.  I had some serious butterflies in my stomach.  I was praying over and over and over for a successful surgery that would get rid of the terrible symptoms I was feeling (i.e. tons of pressure like I was about to have a baby and killer pain when I went pee).  Ouch is an understatement.

I told my anesthesiologist that I wanted to be OUT COLD before entering the operating room.  She told me that I would not remember a thing.  Wrong.  When we entered the operating room I was awake and feeling panic.  The nurses talked to me to put my mind at ease.  I remember talking to them and moving from the bed to the operating table...thankfully, then I was out cold.

I woke up to OH SO MUCH PAIN.  I remember waving my arm around trying to get a nurses attention.  My legs/hips were absolutely killing me.  It ended up being almost a 5 hour surgery with my darn legs spread eagle in the stirrups.  I am no longer a limber lady and that position for that long was excruciating.  My hips were so sore and 16 days later they are still in bad shape.  I must have pinched some nerves.  The pain starts in my hips and shoots down to my knees.  I could hardly walk for several days.

Doctor N. started first with the hysterectomy.  I think everything went according to plan.  Then, she started working on the bladder.  The poor wounded bladder.  What she discovered was that in April when the bladder mesh was put in, it was done wrong.  She thought she was just taking the mesh out but it was much more complicated than that.  When the mesh was placed it was supposed to be put on the side walls.  But, instead the end of one side of the mesh was stabbed through the urethra and up into the bladder.  The end of the mesh apparently has a hard piece (I think it's plastic) that anchors it when it is placed.  Well, that part was IN my bladder.  Every time I emptied my bladder I just wanted to scream out in pain.  I'm sure when my bladder flattened it was just being torn up by the mesh and hard plastic end.  It made a nice large hole in my bladder.  When the doctor realized how bad of shape my bladder was in, she called two Urologists into the surgery with her.  After the surgery she told me that there is no way she would have done the hysterectomy at the same time if she would have known how bad of shape my bladder was in.  It was just too much.  In the surgery they removed all the mesh that they could and sewed up 3 different layers of the bladder.  Then Dr. N told me that I would be going home with a catheter for two weeks.  A lovely "yellow purse".  The goal was to baby the bladder.  She didn't want my bladder to stretch and work, hence the catheter.

Because of the miscommunication on how long I would be in the hospital, John had to head home late Tuesday night because he had patients the next day.  He was thinking about cancelling them all, but I told him to go.  My mom had offered to drive down to get her poor wounded girl.  I had a completely terrible night.  I think I dozed off ten minutes at a time and then woke up.

Wednesday my mom and brother Jared showed up at the hospital around 11:00.  They stopped and bought a whole bunch of food/snacks with them.  It was so nice to sit and visit and take my mind off things.  I was feeling very weepy.  Their visit was interrupted by 2 urologists.  They were there to take out the hospital catheter and put in a take home one.  Good grief that was painful.  I couldn't even help myself while they were putting it in.  I just kept yelling, "OUCH".  I felt like they were getting a running start to place it or maybe using a blow dart method.  I wanted to kick them both in the face with my feet.  Unfortunately my legs were completely useless from the pinched nerves in the hips.  They were lucky.

A couple hours later, my best friend Heidi (from Junior High/High School) showed up for a visit.  She brought soup, bread, and treats.  It was such a great, much needed visit.  She is completely wonderful.  I just love her.

They released me from the hospital early Wednesday evening.  My mom and I drove to a nearby hotel and went to bed early.  The car ride home the next day was not easy on the ol' rear end.

Fast forward two weeks of painful, humiliating, catheter hell.  Two days ago, my mom and drove the 6 hours round trip to see Dr. N.  I silently prayed all the way down that the results would be good.  They were possibly going to remove the catheter if they could determine that there were no leaks in the bladder.  My first appointment was to have several x-rays done.  They x-rayed the bladder first several times and then they filled it (as full as I could stand) with a solution.  Then they did more x-rays looking to see if anything was escaping.  An hour later I met with Dr. N and she felt confident that the bladder was holding and the catheter could come out!  BEST NEWS EVER!  Six MONTHS from the awful April surgery, the catheter was taken out.

The surgery was done 16 days ago, and I still feel like crap.  I'm quite certain it will take a few more weeks before I feel decent.  I can already tell that things are so much better though.  That killer stabbing bladder pain when I went pee is gone.  I just hope there are no lasting traumatic effects on the bladder.  I have to go back down to see Dr. N next month.  Then again in 6 months and then a year later.  As far as a future bladder repair, I'm not sure if I will even do it.  I had it done in April to prevent leaks when jogging, jumping, sneezing, etc.  At this point I'd rather deal with the leaks unless I just wet myself walking around.

I'm hoping this is the end of a very long road of awful health issues.  It has been a very bumpy road and at times, I honestly didn't know how much more I could take.  I have tried my best to patiently turn it over to the Lord.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Finally arrived

Tomorrow I am heading for Utah.  The time for surgery has finally arrived.  I have never been so excited to have a surgery done.  Sounds kind of weird.  But, I have been miserable since April.  Monday is the pre-op and the next day, surgery.

This will be my 5th surgery (in my lifetime) where I've had to be put out with anesthesia.  I always seem to have a little twinge of panic a couple days before the surgery.  I am a baby.  A chicken.  I hate needles, blood, hospitals and mostly anything medical.  I can't watch a surgery on T.V.  I hate to even see pictures in a medical book.  I get light headed and nauseous.  My mom used to have to hunt for me as a child, when it was time to go get immunized or if I had an appointment with the dentist.  I would crawl into a closet in the house and sit quietly.  (Good thing I had such a patient mom.  If my kids did this, I'd probably want to kick their backside).

With one of my surgeries, I was still semi-awake as they wheeled me into the operating room.  The anesthesia hadn't quite kicked in.  I remember watching the ceiling tiles as I was being whisked down the hallway.  As we rounded the corner and into the room I recall seeing the big lights on the ceiling used for surgery, and I wanted to scream. 

Last July, when I was heading into surgery for breast cancer, I was SO nervous.  I spoke with the anesthesiologist to ask beg him to help me be asleep before entering the operating room.  I was out cold ten steps into the hallway.  What a relief.  The strange thing is...this time I am welcoming the surgery.  I'm hoping all my symptoms will go away after it is done.  My fear of needles and hospitals is still there, but I have become a little more brave as I have had to deal with LOTS of needles the past year.  When you are going through chemotherapy, you have a weekly needle in your arm if you don't have a port.  I did not have a port.

The surgery on Tuesday is supposed to take a couple of hours.  After that, I will spend a lot of time trying to wake up from the anesthesia...barf.  I hate that feeling.  Once I am fully wake and have passed off the checklist of things I need to do (pee on my own and such), they will release me from the hospital.  It is a day surgery.  Then John and I will jump into the car and drive the 3 hours home.  It would be nice to head back to the hotel and just sleep and relax, but I hate to have John miss a lot of days of work.  I am hoping that with my seat back and a few drugs, I will just sleep most of the way home.

I am fasting and praying today that the surgery goes well, and that the doctor will be guided.  I am grateful to my loving Heavenly Father, that He is watching over me and helping me to feel at peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weary


20 days until surgery, and let's face it, I'm so completely past miserable.  Every day drags on and seems to be a repeat of the day before.  Pain, pressure, burning, repeat.  It hurts so much to stand and walk very long.  I've become a fat-pro-couch-sitter.  I'm so frustrated that doctors do not warn people of the mesh used in bladder repairs.  Why do they even still use it?  Oh, to go back and NOT have had that procedure done!  I'm also fairly certain that my last surgery caused my uterine prolapse. 

I was recently talking to my sister Pauline.  She is expecting a baby and will be delivering soon.  I told her she was lucky to give birth to a cute little baby.  I am about to give birth to my uterus.  Gross.  I think I will name it.  Riley thinks it should be named Billy because that is her nickname for me.  I am kind of partial to Bertha.  I'm trying to keep some kind of sense of humor.  I've tied a knot at the end of my rope and have been holding on like crazy.  But, I'm about ready to tie that rope into a noose and hang myself.  Okay, maybe that is a bit dramatic.  There are days that I literally can feel that I am gritting my teeth.

During my research on removing mesh, I've learned that oftentimes it requires several surgeries to get the mesh out.  It is a very difficult surgery and is not always successful.  I feel plagued with worry.  I'm not sure I will ever feel normal again.  I know that worrying does absolutely nothing toward fixing the situation, but it is just human nature.  Plus, I'm just SO DONE.

My brother-in-law and his family say that when you are going through a terrible on-going situation, it's like eating a sh@# sandwich.  (Hey, they are the ones that came up with it, not me.)  Well, I have been savoring and sucking on that sandwich for over a year now.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.  Barf.

I'm just so done with health issues, it's not even funny.  Pray for me.  I'm not even joking.

Friday, September 5, 2014

New School Year


A new school year is upon us.  This year I have a Senior and am not sure how to navigate through that one.  ACT/SAT tests and applying for scholarships and colleges...yikes!  This past summer we toured a couple of colleges, which was fun.  The thought of sending her out the door to fend for herself is very frightening.  I think I better take advantage of this year and make sure she knows how to cook more than toast and cold cereal.  She's getting close to having a smack of adult reality to the side of her head.  KA-POW!

I sure am blessed with good kids.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Another surgery on the horizon

In April I went in for an elective surgery.  I had my tubes tied, an ablation, and a bladder repair.  Since then, I have had problems.  My surgery was done on April 14th and at my six week check up, I was complaining that something didn't feel right.  The doctor told me to give it about three months and see if things changed for the better.  I couldn't wait three months and finally went in on July 3rd for more answers.

During the July 3rd appointment a cyst was discovered on my right ovary.  The doctor assumed that was the root of my problem, and that we needed to watch it for 6-8 weeks.  The next week, and the week after that, I was back in the doctor's office.  I was having a tremendous amount of burning.  After testing for a UTI both weeks, (and both tests were negative) they sent me on my way.

The 4th week of July I called the doctor's office again.  This would be my 4th appointment for the month.  That meant I had been to the doctor every single week during the month of July (except for the 5th and last week in July).  My doctor was out of town for 2 weeks, so I saw a P.A.  She couldn't find anything wrong.

I then started asking for my records to be send to a specialist.  My doctor's office drug their feet for over a week to send my records.  I couldn't get an appointment with the Urogynecologist until my records had been faxed to them.  I finally had to get down-right mean to the lady in the office that dealt with referrals.  I told her that she would get it done for me TODAY, or I was going to get a lawyer involved.  I felt like the only way I could get through to her was by getting angry.  I had already spoken to her several times the week prior and she was simply not doing what I was asking her to do.  After all, they are MY records.  She finally faxed my records and I had to wait another 3 weeks to get in with the specialist.

Thursday, August 21st, I saw a Urogynecologist.  She discovered that the mesh that was placed for the bladder repair was twisted when it should have been flat.  It also felt too tight.  She gave me a piece of mesh to feel.  It really is very scratchy if it is not flat and loose.  She also found that I have a prolapsed uterus.  Both will have to be fixed, and when I say fixed, I mean the mesh and the uterus and going to have to come out.

Without going over the top sharing about my "lady parts" and symptoms, I just have to say it has been several months of misery.  Burning, pain, pressure, etc., etc., etc., etc.

I was feeling extremely frustrated last night.  I feel like all of my problems are a result of my last surgery.  I felt good going into surgery and came out feeling terrible.  I paid a bunch of money to create a list of problems for me and now will pay a bunch of money to have it reversed.  Not to mention another dang surgery.  Yuck.  I started reading about my life a year ago.  Read about it here.  Suddenly, I felt a lot better about my problems and symptoms.  Perspective.

Surgery will not take place for a month.  I have to be on estrogen for a month before they will do the surgery.  It makes it easier to get the mesh out.  It has been such a waiting game since April.  It seems like everything has a long time frame attached to it.  It is SO HARD to be patient when you feel terrible.  I feel better when sitting.  I have become so proficient in the art of sitting.  I want to be out walking, biking, etc.  I feel like I have "sat" the summer away. 

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”           -Orson F. Whitney

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another Health Scare

For several weeks I have been struggling with trying to heal from my last surgery.  In April--I had my tubes tied, an ablation, and a bladder repair.  Since then, I have felt many different kinds of negative symptoms i.e. pelvic pain, lower back pain, etc., all of which I thought were results from the surgery. 

Last Thursday, I went back to the doctor to let her know that I thought something was wrong.  After running several tests, she found a cyst on one of my ovaries.  Given my track record for the last year, it put me in a tailspin.  How could I go through cancer treatments again?  I cried in the doctor's office as I talked to the doctor.  She is very aware of the rough year I have experienced, and she did her best to put my mind at ease.

The nurse ran a CA125 blood test (last Thursday) to see if I had elevated levels (which would indicate cancer).  They told me that it would take about a week to get the results back.  They called me this morning to let me know that the results came back as "normal" and that to be 100% positive that it is not cancer, the cyst would have to be biopsied.  I will be meeting with the doctor on Thursday to discuss the action plan.

I cannot express the relief of normal results.  I had so many sleepless nights worrying about the future.  I'm not completely out of the woods yet.  Next week will probably consist of a few more tests and surgery.  I am praying that the surgery will be just what I need to relive me from my yucky symptoms.  It will probably also give me peace of mind.

Last night Riley and I were talking about how last year I was at Haley's baseball game (at the Elk diamond) when I received the phone call with the news that I had breast cancer.  I knew that I would be at Haley's game at the same location the next morning.  She said, "Can you imagine if you get a call tomorrow at Haley's game telling you that it is cancer?  Do you think that baseball diamond would be your least favorite place on the earth?"  That baseball field is also the same location where my dad got sick while dealing with his cancer.  I remember him watching a baseball game and excusing himself to go throw up behind the trees.  It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

This morning---sure enough, the phone rang while I was at Haley's game, at the same baseball field.  It was finally good news.  The curse of the Elk baseball field has been broken!  Halle-freakin-lujah!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Car Search

A couple weeks ago, John was in a car accident.  He was stopped at a stop light and noticed in his mirror that the car approaching was coming fast....too fast.  It didn't look like it she was even going to break at all. Sure enough, she slammed into the back of him.  The force of the collision caused John to hit the car in front of him, and that lady hit the car in front of her.  Shortly after the wreck, John called to say that he was in an accident and needed a ride.  I went to pick him up with all of the kids because we were heading to Brynn and Jace's piano recital.  When we got close to the scene I could see a lady standing in the back of her SUV wearing handcuffs.  She had failed the sobriety test and the police said her vehicle reeked of marijuana. John was completely stopped.  She was probably traveling 45-50 mph, and didn't even touch her breaks. 

So, now we are in search of another car.  Car shopping can be such a royal pain in the butt.  This car was paid for, and we certainly won't get what it is worth from the insurance company.  Grrrrrr.  On the bright side, John wasn't majorly hurt.

THE TRACK RECORD---This is the 4th car John has totaled.  He was driving our white Buick on the interstate and hit a patch of ice. Bye, bye Buick.  In dental school he was driving our Geo home from the school (read that story here) and hit a TRAIN.  Holy heck!  The 3rd car was a tan Altima that was totaled a couple years ago (read that story here).  The 4th car was this little beauty, and I don't think I will be buying him a motorcycle anytime in the near future.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cedar Badge


Monday morning bright an early, my friend Nicole and I dropped off these 4 cute boys for Cedar Badge.
Saturday we drove back to pick them up and see the graduation.  John and I took all of our kids and we were gone for most of the day.  It was a great experience for Jace and he loved going.  He wants to go again next year.  He learned things about planning, goals, and future success.  He also learned more about scouting. 
Graduation started with a bang!
After the gun shot sound the boys came running in from all different directions.  They were shouting and chanting as they ran.  They had a lot of energy.
Jace and some of his buddies
We stopped for lunch afterwards.  They had a fun little spot for pictures outside the restaurant.  Brynn managed to sneak past me and I didn't get a picture of her.
I'm not gonna lie, we brought home a tired, dirty, smelly boy.  His dirty laundry was ripe and practically climbed out of his bag and into the washing machine.  All in all, it was a great day and we are glad to have him back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A year ago...today

One year ago today, I was sitting at my daughter’s softball game, waiting on pins and needles for a phone call from my doctor.  I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the news was not going to be good.  When the phone rang, I jumped up from the bleachers and ran to the fence, so I could have a little privacy.  “We got the results back…it’s cancer”, I heard her say, and suddenly the baseball park started to spin and I could no longer focus on what she was saying.  I handed the phone to my husband and started to cry.  I asked myself, "How can this be possible?"  I worried about my 4 kids.  I worried about the future.  Suddenly I couldn't see into the future.

I always thought I had a pretty good idea what cancer was all about (because of what my dad went through)—but it’s been a lot harder going through it then I could have ever imagined.  I have shed more tears this past year then I can count.  It has been my ultimate test, causing me to dig deep down inside for strength and positivity.  Cancer has completely changed me.  It has made me redefine my priorities. It’s made me realize that some things are important…and other things are not.  It has taught me that life is short.


I have been blessed with angels here on the earth, and in heaven, that have helped and supported me through this trial.  Couldn't have done it without them.
I have prayed constantly and more fervently.  I have completely relied on my Heavenly Father for help and strength, and he has blessed me and sustained me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scattered thoughts and recent happenings

Schools out.  It's only been a few days and I have already threatened to kick some butts.  I'm just not one of these moms that allows a summer-free-for-all.  I totally get the fact that kids need a break and some down time, but they also need to work and gets things accomplished.  Sleeping in until noon, watching t.v., and laying out on the trampoline to get a tan--do not fall under the umbrella of getting something accomplished.  I really don't like to be a nag or bossy, but I will certainly wear that hat if I need to.

Riley and Brynn are both taking some online classes this summer.  Riley INSISTED last summer that she wanted/needed to take Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry through BYU Independent Study.  She needed to take these classes before her Junior year because she was signed up for AP Calculus in school and she needed to take these classes first.  She didn't even come close to finishing before school started.  Her Calculus teacher wasn't too excited about Riley being in her class because she hadn't completed the classes yet.  She got an A all three trimesters of AP Calculus and ended the year with a 4.146 GPA.  She's a smart cracker.  She has until July 4th to finish the BYU classes.  Ugh....more nagging from mom.  Riley also is preparing to take the ACT this Saturday.  I think she is frying her brain.  Brynn is taking an online Economy class.  I'm not totally sure what her GPA is, but I know that she finished with all A's.  Smart lady.  Where in the heck do these girls get their smarts?  From their dad....certainly NOT their mom.  She is just a smart alec and that is about it.

Jace and Haley are staying fairly busy with track and softball.  Jace is also preparing for Cedar Badge and Scout camp.

John and I recently celebrated our 22 anniversary.  When I say "celebrated" I mean the day came and went.  It happened to fall on the same day as the father and sons campout.  We will have to celebrate on a later date.
These are a couple engagement pictures.  Kind of hilarious.  My hair and clothing are hideous.  Speaking of hair, I got my first hair cut today!  It's SO nice having hair again!  My hair was starting to get poofy and looked a little like a bad wig.  I've decided to keep the short hair for the summer and try it out.  I might as well try all kinds of styles while I have the opportunity.

I am still SLOOOOOOOOOOOOWLY healing from my last surgery.  Walking and standing for awhile makes my insides want to be on the outside.  I'm not trying to be a whiner, but I'm getting pretty dang sick of it. Sometimes I walk around like I'm 105 years old.  I really want to start exercising, but it just hurts too much.  My sister suggested that maybe I start swimming.  I think that might be a great place to start.  The only problem is pouring this butterball turkey into her swimming suit.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Limping to the finish line

Ten. more. days. until school is out for the 2013-2014 year.  I feel like we are limping to the finish line, maybe even more like crawling with one broken arm and two broken legs.

At night we can't get kids to go to bed, and when they finally do, we can't get them out in the morning.

If I have to make one more sack lunch I'm going to scream.  To say nothing about the fact that these poor kids have eaten the same meat and cheese, or PBJ, day in and day out.  I have thought about just putting random things in their sacks just to keep it entertaining...for example--taco seasoning packets, small tube of tooth paste, you get the picture.

Just this week as I was walking out the door to drive Haley to school, she opened her backpack and pulled out homework.  Completely not done.  Not even started.  Good thing she is in 3rd grade.  She completed the page on the way to school.

This school year will go down in the books.  I'm quite certain we will not forget it.  We kicked off the year with me still trying to heal from breast cancer surgery in July.  I was still feeling very thrashed.  Then after a couple of terrible allergic reactions to chemo on two different occasions (the end of August), I finally completed my first round of chemo in September.  By the middle of September I was losing hair, and finally shaved it off Sept. 12th.  I spent a good portion of the school year sick, in bed, out of energy, quarantined in my house to stay away from "sickies".  It was hard to take care of myself, let alone 4 kids, a house, a husband, meals, laundry, etc., but we did it!  We are now on the other side of it and I am SO GRATEFUL.

I hope to make this a fun summer for my kids.  Maybe we can make up for all the fun things we couldn't do last summer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blessed Art Thou Mother

It's been 4 weeks since surgery.  I have a couple more weeks until I will be given the green light to return to normal activity.  Normal activity for me...vacuuming, laundry, lifting heavy things (like hauling bags of water softener salt down stairs), etc.  Yesterday morning (looking at the floor in my living room and kitchen), I was like--FORGET IT!  I busted out the vacuum and gingerly went to work.  Let's face it, I've been doing the laundry too.  Moms just can't take a 6-8 week vacation from housework.

On Mother's Day my mom pulled out a poem for some of us to read.  We were laughing so hard that we had tears rolling.  You will get it, if you are a mother...

BLESSED ART THOU MOTHER

Blessed art thou woman,
For thou shalt be called Mother.
Yea, and thy chores and thy tasks
Shall follow thee all the days
Of thy life.

And thou shalt eat the bread
Of thine own baking and
Thou shalt dwell forever in a
Dirty house if thou doest not choose
To clean it thyself.

Thou shalt arise before the cock
Croweth and thou shalt say unto
Thine self, “Where are the offspring
Which were given me? Yea, and the sun
Has risen high in the sky and the
Hour is getting late; wherefore, I
Have been long at my labors.”

And thou shalt go and find thy
Offspring prostrate on their cot.
And thou shalt say unto them, “Haste,
Arise and shine, for I have many labors for thee
To perform, wherefore, I have
Been many hours already preparing the way.”

And thine offspring shall linger in sleep
And shall say unto thee, “Thou didst
Not watch the late, late, late show
As I did last night and mine eyes are
Heavy and mine bones acheth.”

And thou shalt say unto thy offspring,
“Get thee up from thy cot
Ere I lay hand upon thee
And go ye hither and scrub a
Sparkling tub, for thou has left black rings upon
Its sides.”

And thy offspring shall say unto thee,
“I will go and do thy bidding, ….in a minute.”
And thy rage shall know no end
And thou shalt weep and wail
And gnash thy teeth mightily.

Nevertheless; thou shalt scrub
A sparkling tub thyself and glory
Shall be added unto thee, for thou didst
Not strike the lazy beast.

Thou art blessed above all others
And thy descendants shall call thee
Blessed, for thou prepares a table before them.
Thou cookest meat and all manner of
Tasty vittles, and they shall sit at the
Table with thee and partake with thee.

And they shall add glory to thy crown
For they shall let thee also wash the
Dishes, if thou wilt.
And when the night falleth, thou shalt be pooped.
And thy offspring shall say of thee,
“She is an old woman wherefore
She neither goes dancing, nor does she
Watch the late, late, late show.”

Thy art and thy craft shall make thee
Called on and thou shalt labor at
Many tasks in the kingdom for whosoever
Asketh, thou do his bidding.

Thy back shall acheth with arthritis
Thy cane and thy husband
Shall be thy support.
Thy veins shall be varicose
In thy aching legs but thou shalt
Do thy labor with a smile, neither
Shalt thou gripe for in the day
That thou doest, thy name shall be mud.

Nevertheless, thou art blessed for
Thou art crowned with the angels
On the second Sunday of May on each
And every year.

Wherefore thou shalt be blessed above
All others for thou art Mother
And thou shalt find peace and joy in
Thy offspring forever and ever,
If thou endureth to the end!

--Author unknown

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slow going

It's been 10 days today since surgery.  I am still not feeling super great.  I was told that it could take several weeks before I start to feel better.  My surgery was Monday of last week.  On Thursday (last week) I called my doctor's office because I felt like I had a UTI.  I went in and they put my on another antibiotic.  (I was already on an antibiotic for the surgery)  On Saturday, I was just not feeling good.  Major UTI symptoms and I was leaking a lot of urine.  Just what everyone wants.  (Sorry, too much information).

I made the decision to call the doctors office and talk to whoever was on-call.  The doctor that answered was not the one that did my surgery.  I started explaining to him what was going on and all my symptoms.  It was like I was just talking to myself.  When I would pause, I would hear nothing.  No sounds of "okay", "yes", no questions, nothing.  He finally said, "I don't understand what the emergency is."  I told him that it wasn't exactly an emergency, but that I wanted to know if it was fairly normal, or if I needed to be doing something about it, or be seen.

When I hung up the phone I was fuming mad.  If you looked closely, I'm sure you would have seen steam coming out of my ears.  The doctor was absolutely no help and just gave me a lame, brush off answer.  I was so mad, and after a minute I called him RIGHT BACK.  I basically gave him a piece of my mind.  I told him that it may not be a big deal to HIM, but to ME it was a big deal.  I said, "Do you think I am just sitting at home with nothing to do, so I decided to call you?"  I let him have it for several minutes.  I did not hold back.  He then started apologizing and answered my questions and offered to go to the office and meet me.  I didn't end up going in.  I felt like he needed to know that he should be a little more helpful and kind when a patient calls in with questions.  It's not like I was wanting him to prescribe me drugs or was asking anything hard of him.

At the end of the phone call I apologized and explained to the doctor that I have been going through breast cancer treatments and that it's been a rough year.  But, I didn't completely let him off the hook.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another Surgery

Yesterday morning I went to the hospital for another surgery.  Reason being, I was put on the drug Tamoxifen after I finished my chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Tamoxifen is an antagonist of the estrogen receptor in breast tissue
  • Some breast cancer cells require estrogen to grow
  • Tamoxifen is currently used for the treatment of both early and advanced ER+ (estrogen receptor positive) breast cancer (I tested ER+)
  • Tamoxifen can hurt fertilized eggs (embryos) so don't take it if you are already pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant, stop taking Tamoxifen and contact your doctor right away. In lab studies on pregnant animals, Tamoxifen has caused birth defects, miscarriage, and prevented fertilized eggs from attaching to the wall of the uterus.
Last time I met with my oncologist he encouraged me to have a permanent procedure done so that I would not get pregnant while on Tamoxifen.  We had a discussion on whether or not I was even considering having more children.  I have always wanted to have another baby or maybe even two.  I have not had any success in that department since I had my last child (who just recently turned 9).  I am also now 42, and will be taking Tamoxifen for 10 years.  I came to the conclusion that it was time to be done, and decided that I better do something about it, before I accidentally got pregnant. 

I decided to have surgery and get 3 different procedures done while under anesthesia.  I had a lubal ligation, ablation, and also a bladder repair.  (Chemotherapy kind of messed me up, hence the ablation and bladder repair.)

I got to the hospital at 10:00 am, and was very nervous.  I feel like I am still trying to regain strength and energy from the chemo and radiation.  I was also nervous because I hate surgery.  I hate waking up from anesthesia.  I wasn't sure how hard this surgery would be on me.  I am still recovering from the breast cancer surgery which took place 9 months ago.  It was SUCH a painful surgery.

The surgery started about 12:00 and took about an hour and a half.  After surgery, I spent time in recovery, and was able to go home later that afternoon.  It was nice to be able to go home to recover and rest.

My stomach has 2 small incisions that are tender and I have stomach cramps, but other then that, I am feeling pretty good.  I am just tired and taking it easy.  This surgery seems SOOOO easy after what I have been through (breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation).

I was told to take it easy for 6-8 weeks and not do any heavy lifting, vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, etc.  It is going to be tough to not do those things.  I guess my kids are going to learn some things pretty quick around here.  I have a feeling that this place is going to get quiet messy.  Oh joy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On the mend

Last week I went to my follow up appointment with my radiologist.  As we talked--he told me that he normally doesn't need to see a patient again after their follow up appointment, but because my skin is still very much in the healing process, he would like to see me again in 6 months.  (You can see a picture of the burn in the previous post).  I still have many scabs and some healing to do.  He once again voiced that he was surprised how quickly I started to burn in the treatment process.

It's been 34 days since I finished my radiation treatments.  I am starting to feel more energy, but still not yet totally full of energy.  My surgery was 260 days ago, and my last round of chemotherapy was 111 days ago.  I still cannot believe that I made it though it all and am now on the other side of it.  What a year of craziness!

There are times that I feel a little depressed and frustrated, because I now have "a new normal".  (I try not to let it get the best of me).  My new normal includes a numb left upper arm and armpit, poor circulation in my left arm, and lymphedema issues.  Not to mention a pill that I have to take for the next 10 years that causes some serious aches and pains.  I'm dealing with the crazy hair growing in and such, it's just hard to be okay with the things that will never go away in this lifetime.  Having said that, I'm HAPPY to be alive and well!

I have learned so much going through this trial.  I have learned things that I could not have possibly learned any other way.  I have fasted and prayed more earnestly and have felt closer to my Heavenly Father than ever before.  So I guess I can say, this trial has been a blessing.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

All done!

I have been wanting to update my blog recently, and just can't seem to get the job done.  Part of the problem is that I've been feeling a little thrashed physically.

14 days ago, I finished my last radiation treatment.  I am still recovering from the radiation treatments.  My skin is feeling less burned on the surface, but the tissue (and everything underneath) feels like it's been traumatized.  I think it is just going to take some time.

I made John take a picture of my left armpit before my last treatment.  My skin was so very fried that I couldn't wear a bra for 2 weeks.  The burn went from one armpit to the other...all the way across my chest.  I guess no one can accuse them of not being thorough.  I'm pretty sure the radiation killed any and all cancer that was not killed off by chemotherapy.

The doctor (and some of the radiation team) said that some people receive radiation treatments with a little discomfort.  Not me.  I've hit a home run on everything from the moment I was told I had breast cancer. It seems like most things that weren't supposed to happen...did.

My grandpa, dad, and aunt all died from cancer.  I also thought that I had a pretty good understanding of how hard it is to deal with cancer, until I had to go through it.  There is just no way to explain/describe it.  It's rough.

I have been taking the drug Tamoxifen  for the last 48 days.  I have to take this pill everyday for the next 10 years.  My body, especially my neck, and has been very sore (kind of like I slept on it wrong).  One of the side affects of the drug is aches.  I hope that it will be better or subside.  I was feeling a little frustrated about it the other night and decided to make a list of the side affects of chemo/radiation.  It makes aches seem a little less bothersome.  The list of problems from chemo and radiation looked a little like this...

  • Neuropathy in fingers and feet
  • Nausea
  • Things didn't taste good
  • Thrush (took forever to heal)  Medicine tasted SO gross.
  • So many pills- always sleepy/groggy
  • Steroids - felt like injected with bees
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Chemotherapy- allergies to first 2 chemo drugs
  • Benadryl
  • Heart burn
  • Unrecognized by many- made me sad
  • Pale
  • Weekly blood draw
  • Weak
  • Extremely Tired
  • Out of energy
  • No hair, eyelashes, eyebrows 
  • Achy
  • Neulasta shot made my bones ache
  • Constipation 
  • Mouth sores
  • Allergic reaction to Amoxicillin 
  • Very sore joints
  • Lost a toe nail
  • Sore head when hair falling out
  • Lymphedema 
  • Sore lymph nodes
  • Breast surgery
  • Weight gain
  • Major burns from radiation 
  • Bleeding for 40 days
  • Tamoxifen makes me ache
  • Emotional 
  • Mental
  • Physical 
  • Financial 





I am officially DONE with treatments (aside from a daily pill).  I am THRILLED and hope to start feeling more energy very soon!