Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day & Treatment #7 Update: Medical talk included

I want to start out by saying Happy Veterans Day. I know many people that have served and many who have passed. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all because Freedom is not Free by any means. Thank you for helping protect my right to worship God as I choose. Thank you for standing up for the rights of people who can't do it themselves. Thank you for your sacrifice in time, money, your lives, etc. Thank you does not seem enough but I greatly appreciate all you've done and those that continue to serve. I pray for healing of bodies, hearts, & minds for the things that you've seen and done and struggle with. For those with PTSD that they will be free from it and healed by God's amazing grace and touch. Thank you Grandpa Kenny for serving in WWII, for Uncle Randy who served in the Navy, for my Dad who served in the National Guard to name a few that are close to me. Thank you to my Grandma Mahoney for writing to service men when they were away from their homes and families to help them stay connected. I too did that for a few people and I like when our community pulls together and sends cards and packages to those stationed away from home.  I am going to choose not to name anyone else because the list would start to get long and I know I would miss many special people so instead I will just say Thank you to all service men and women. God Bless you ALL!!!

 This pic is from a few years ago but I really like it & wanted to share.

I thought that since I'm trying to include a warning about medical stuff I'll be talking about that perhaps I could find an image to use when it comes to that part of the update.  It won't always mean that I'm talking in great descriptive detail about things that might seem gross to others but it will include the medical stuff.  Hope this helps. Just trying to make it a little easier to navigate through all of this and I am a work in progress and so is my blog. LOL

Had another Treatment Tuesday Nov 10th.  Spoke with the doctor and what I don't understand is why no one at the hospital told me that on the chest x-ray they did last Wednesday that they found a lung mass. My doctor said that he wants to give me a little time to get over this cold the rest of the way and do a CT scan before my next appointment in 3 weeks so he has the results to go over with me. He said that it doesn't appear that it should be cancer spreading to my lungs because I haven't had anything else that would indicate that but he had a tumor marker number drawn yesterday and we should get that number back in a week or so. And then the CT scan.  I am standing on God's word that no weapon formed against me shall prosper and that God is greater and will do immeasurably more than I could even think or ask for. I would appreciate others standing in agreement with me and also for prayer to help keep my thoughts captive to God so that fear and other thoughts don't try to take over as I am entered into the waiting game of the tumor marker numbers & CT scan & results.

On a good test note, the blood tests that they ran for sepsis came up completely free and clear of infection so PRAISE GOD for that result. I actually had no worries about that. I was like 99% sure it would be clear. That 1% was a slight waiver because my flesh was trying to tell me different than my Spirit already knew & I was fighting it, just like I am fighting this lung mass information.

I told my doctor that even though today marked Taxotere treatment #7 which is not an even number, I would like to stop at 7. It is viewed as a holy number, God's perfect number.Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).  I told him that I usually like even numbers but that I had been praying about it and feel as though this is the time to stop. He said okay, we will discuss the next options of treatment in 3 weeks. I will still receive the Her2 meds which are perjeta and herceptin every 3 weeks but they don't cause as many side effects for me as the taxotere has. And like I said, I am believing and expecting for the CT scan to be clear in a few weeks

Wrapping this up I will I have 3 days worth of steroids in my body. Adam has only a few days left of vacation, Friday will be a down day for me when my body needs to rest from the taxotere treatment I got yesterday so today is the big work day to get as much done in our house as we can. We were hoping to declutter together but Adam came off of about 5 weeks of pre-load work where he's up at 2:30am and was working 12 hours most days and it isn't even Christmas season yet. It took his body a little longer to get back onto a more normal schedule and we are really hoping to get lots done today. So I'm off to get dressed and start our day.  Have a great Wednesday and remember our Veterans.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Was in the hospital

So Gabby went to Youth Convention last weekend and had a great time. She got home around 8:30 and then had some homework to finish so she was up kinda late. When she woke up on Monday morning she wasn't feeling the greatest and I thought it was from being tired. Being a little more compassionate for people not feeling well since being diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago, I allowed her to sleep a little longer and tried to take her to school for 2nd hour. She missed Chorus 1st hour and that was okay. However, when she was going to get out of the van she was very nauseous and by the time we walked into the house again, she was in the bathroom getting rid of that nausea. She started running a fever between 100-almost 102. She missed Tuesday as well but the fever was gone by Wednesday so she went to school.

Warning: Medical talk below....

I had been very cold Tuesday night and didn't sleep much because I was shivering. My alarm clock went off and  I got up, took the kids to school. Made myself a shake for breakfast but was really cold so I didn't finish it. Took a shower trying to warm up and then curled up in my bed to get warmer and fell asleep. I slept most of the day. Made Sadie some food and she stayed pretty close to me so I'd wake up and check on her but I was so sleepy. Then Adam got home and I took my temperature. It was up to 101.6. Not good, especially for a person that has been doing chemo treatments. So I called the doctor's office and waited for a call back. They told me they were concerned that my WBC was low and that I needed to have it checked so I should go to the walk in clinic. I did. They checked for strep because my nose was all stuffy and drainage in my throat and it looked nasty. Negative. They did a urine culture and that was negative and instead of sending me to the lab for the blood draws, they opted to send me to the ER. Oh joy!

They got me checked in with Triage and into a room fairly quickly. They had the lab people come to me and they had a hard time accessing my port at first because they didn't have a long enough needle, so we waited for about 15 or 20 minutes until someone could get the right size. They had to collect from 2 different sites so my port and then a poke on my arm because they needed to test my blood to see if I had an infection in my blood which translates pretty much to sepsis. But that test takes 2-3 days to get results back. They did a chest x-ray which was negative, and they did a flu test which was negative. I had been praying and the Tylenol that I had taken before going in started to work and I was feeling more myself. They started an IV to re-hydrate me and I continued to wait. The doctor ended up coming back in to tell me and my mother-in-law that I would need to be admitted overnight in order to figure out what was going on. It is protocol for people that have a fever and have had chemo treatments or something. I was not thrilled to hear this. So my mother-in-law couldn't do anything else with me there and went home to get a few things and went to my house in order to get the kids to bed and get them off to school on Thursday and take care of Sadie on Thursday.

It took until midnight for them to get a bed for me in the hospital and then nearly another hour to get me checked in with a million questions to answer, vitals to be done again and then for me to wait to be seen by the doctor there for an evaluation. I was mostly fine except they hadn't been able to get me any Tylenol to bring the fever back down and I was chilled again. It had been about 9 1/2 hours since I had any and because of the procedures they have in place, I had to wait for the doctor's orders to get into the computer. The doctor was very nice and told me that they planned to keep me until they got the blood test back whether I had an infection in my blood, which meant 2-3 days in the hospital. WHAT!!!!?!!?! No way!!! I did not want to stay so I prayed and told God that I did not want to stay there because I wasn't sick enough to be in the hospital and I wanted him to do something about it.

I finally took some Tylenol at 1:45 am and was able to try to fall asleep. I was cold but when the Tylenol kicked in, I got hot and threw off all the covers and felt fine ever since then. I've had a bit of a runny nose but that seems like nothing compared to what they were trying to say I might have. I kept telling them that my daughter had the same thing on Mon & Tues but they wanted to keep me. So Adam encouraged me to call my Oncologist in Green Bay and share the info of what was going on and see if he would do anything different. He made a call to his associate that was in Escanaba yesterday and asked if he'd come see me and see whether he felt comfortable advising that I be released. Then he called me and told me this information. I tried to watch tv earlier but there really wasn't anything good on so I shut it off and opened the blinds a little and sat in the chair near the window and prayed. I was just thinking that I wished I had my cell phone so I could continue reading the book I started called "When Heaven Invades Earth" but I had forgotten my phone in the van and I didn't have a charger with me anyway. Then I remembered that there should be a Bible in the room thanks to the Gideons and I went to find it. I found it and sat down and started reading, pausing when my lunch came & when the nurse came to take my vitals. I read for a few hours I think and stopped to pray at different times when I felt I needed to or when the scriptures spoke to me. Then the Oncology doctor came in to see me. He only cracked the door a little and didn't see me in the bed and said where are you because he had heard me reply for him to come in. I said over here. He was like oh, you're not in the bed. I said no, I refuse to lay there when I'm not sick. It made him chuckle. He asked how I was feeling and I said I feel really good. He said well you look great! He examined me and then asked if they were going to release me tomorrow. I said maybe but my other doctor said you might be willing to talk to them and ask for me to be released today. He said, oh sure, I can do that. You seem fine. I explained again how my daughter had the same thing earlier in the week and ran the same kind of temperature and that I hadn't run a fever for any of the chemo treatments I have had. He talked to the doctor and she came in to see me and signed the discharge papers. In the meantime, they had pumped me full of antibiotics and gave me diarrhea to which they tested to make sure I didn't have c-diff. She said that they would call me with the results and she sent me home on an antibiotic of HUGE pills and told me to treat the head cold. I haven't had a fever since it broke in the hospital and I am ever so thankful to be back at home. I don't expect to have a blood infection because if I did have sepsis, I would not look or feel the way I do.  I didn't have my phone with me so I didn't have any phone numbers to call anyone and I couldn't get online to tell anyone either. I figured this was the easiest way to share what happened when people start hearing I was in the hospital and asking questions. Sorry I didn't contact anyone, especially close family members. Once I got home around 4:30, it was snuggle the kiddos because we missed each other so much. Then dinner, then chores & homework and a run to the pharmacy to get the meds they prescribed to me. Then get the kiddos to bed and help Gabby finish her homework and then off to bed myself. Whew! But I was sooooo thankful to be able to do those things. Today I did most of my usual things in the morning with getting the kids ready for school. My mother-in-law stayed the night in order to help out again today and took the kids to school and then we've been picking up and cleaning today. And when I received a text asking how I am doing...I thought it was time to sit down and type an update so questions are answered.
God continues to be so GOOD! I was going to share a few verses that spoke to me yesterday but I was unable to mark them because I had the hospital bible and didn't even have a pen in the room so as they come back to my memory, I'll be sure to share. But today was really quite normal. Thanks for the prayers and concerns. And it's Friday so I'm doing great!  ~Jeannette :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

We need to think before we post words, images, and video, etc. on any type of social media. WARNING included

Here's something that has been bothering me & I think I may be personally at fault too.

This is my personal opinion and I know I could get flack from it but I feel the need to share this. I write this in a non-judgement capacity and out of love. I do not want to take away from what I think were positive intentions, nor do I want to come across as bashing this woman, she has been through a lot, I know this because I've been walking a similar road for 2 years now.

WARNING: I will be describing an image I have seen circulating on FB of a former cancer patient that I feel is inappropriate. I however, will not be sharing this image. I also describe an abusive video that was circulating months ago. Continue reading if you choose.

There is a picture that is circulating on the internet, mostly FB, and while I think I understand the reasoning behind this woman posting her picture after having a double mastectomy and radiation treatment and I think chemo as well, I do not agree with the posting of it, especially with no warning in the description that it will show a woman topless. While I believe that her heart is wanting to do the right thing by encouraging women who may get the same diagnosis as her to fight, or her desire to encourage people to educate themselves on breast cancer, or her desire to share with people who have no idea what it may look like to go through treatment of breast cancer, and her desire to give God the glory for getting her through this ordeal,  I do not think it is okay to have this picture all over FB and here is why...

I am trying to teach my children, especially my girls to be modest and this picture, though it does not contain breast tissue as people are used to seeing, it is still the part of a woman that is typically covered by a swimsuit making it private and therefore should at the very least come with a warning. Another reason, this one is near and dear to my heart, is that I have at least 1 child who is very visual. God created her with a phenomenal imagination which means that when she reads something, she very vividly has a picture pop into her head & she can come up with some amazing things to write out with her imagination. It also means that when she does not have enough information about something, her imagination can fill in the gaps and sometimes that can be very scary for a child. It also means that when she sees an actual image, it is burned into her memory. Actually, I've read info from studies done that shows that images of people with few or no clothes on are burned into a person's mind forever, both male & female & I don't think it is limited to an age. So if my child happens to come across an image such as I have described above, it will forever be in his/her mind. What about a person who has a mother that has gone through some of the same treatments as the woman sharing on FB.  Another reason I think this image should have contained a warning at the beginning of it's description is because I'm sure I'm not the only mother who has children, specifically girls that may wonder if this will happen to them because it happened to their mom or someone they know. I am speaking about all children in general, whether young or old. Children are dear to my heart, that's why I volunteer to work with them in many capacities. I believe we should help preserve their innocence for as long as possible. They already grow up too quickly and are exposed at younger and younger ages to things they should not be.
Whether you think I'm a prude or fuddy-duddy, or over-protective please know I just want the best for children and want them to enjoy their childhood without being scarred for life. I've worked with and seen far too many people that are grown adults and have so much hurt and pain to work through because of things that they experienced early in life when they should have been protected & they unwillingly pass it to their own children in some way, shape, or form. As for my own children, I do not feel that I am over-protective. Anyone that knows me knows that I do not shield my children from the truth or from bad things that happen, we face them head on and with God's help and we've had more than our fair share of practice. So when I say that it should be my choice of what to share with my children and when an appropriate time is to share these sensitive issues with them, I do it out of what I believe is in their best interest. I have had many private talks with my children addressing all sorts of subjects, including some uncomfortable ones that needed to be talked about. I do not hide them from the world but I know my children and what they can handle better than someone else and at least having a WARNING about content of words or images should have been included in the previously mentioned FB post.

Please remember that  FB is not only for adults and quite honestly, even if it was, this image is not what I would consider appropriate. I have thought about reporting it and have not decided whether that is the way to go or not but I thought that I would at least jump on my soapbox for a minute and give people some other things to consider when posting images on FB. Please think before you share. As I type this, I am reminded that some people don't want to read all the things that I have going on for the last 2 years with a cancer diagnosis. They choose to pray for me and think positive for me rather than reading all the updates.  Some people feel deeper than others, it's how God created them and they need to find a balance so they can continue to function in life without being overwhelmed with feeling everything.  I completely understand and it's why I try to say that I'll be talking about an update including the diagnosis at the beginning of my post if I can remember. No I'm not perfect, no one is. But I felt it was necessary to remind people to please think before you share, especially an image or a video. For example I saw a description for a video about a woman doing horrible abuse to a small child and I did NOT click on the video. I chose not to. Not because I didn't care about that child but because I knew that imagery would be burned into my mind and I don't like to put all that negative stuff in my mind. I know it happens, I don't need to see it to know it either. Watching things like that, especially done to children, makes it more difficult for me to stay positive and heal. I will admit that I prayed for that little girl right then and there and I prayed for that woman to be held accountable for her actions and to get the help that she needs since she clearly lacked control and proper thinking. My heart tells me that she was hurt, probably in a similar way or saw these kinds of actions and it sickeningly seemed normal to her.  I did not agree with what the video description said about the woman deserving to get the same kind of treatment. I'm pretty sure she already did so what good does that do? nothing, she needs Jesus and she needs help to heal & to understand that behavior is not okay.

My point about the original image I described is this post is this; just because stupid cancer was involved in how this woman came to have a double mastectomy and radiation and shared a photo of her bare torso does not make it entirely different then if a woman that had not had these atrocities happen to her shared her photo. It's not quite apples to apples but also not apples to oranges in comparison either.

There is no denying that Cancer SUCKS!!!! Mastectomies SUCK!!!! Chemo SUCKS!!! Radiation, the kind that takes several weeks and often causes a sunburn affect on the spots treated, SUCKS!!!!
I don't mean to step on toes or accuse anyone or hurt anyone, I say this in love, we need to be careful of what we share on social media, regardless of the circumstances.  We need to think about the BIG PICTURE. For every intention that is meant to help someone, think about whether it should come with a warning to give a reader a chance to make a choice for themselves whether they want to proceed with reading and especially viewing an image or video.  I will certainly be trying to do this from now on as I type about my journey to health and healing through my faith and how God is directing my path.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far. If you have opinions regarding this matter and plan to leave a comment, please be considerate and kind in what you write whether you agree with me or not. I don't want this woman to be bashed because I know that she's been through a lot and she is a survivor. Please be respectful. You may or may not see it in the same way I do...that's ok but please be loving and kind. I have fairly thick skin but I don't want this woman to be bashed.  Thanks. Oh and if the image that I have talked about is posted anywhere on my page or shared in my comments, I will remove it.

Treatment #6

October 20, 2015

It's only 10 days until my birthday of 39 and I am happy to celebrate that age. In a few days it will be 2 years since I was given a diagnosis of stage 4, metastatic breast cancer by the doctors. And today I had Chemo treatment #6. I had 4 chemo treatments before surgery, then I had 2 months off of it while waiting to heal from surgery and then I had 2 more treatments of it.  I still haven't decided whether I will continue with the chemo treatments up to 12 total or whether I will say let's take a break. I have been praying about it and don't feel that I have a definitive answer on it just yet so I will continue seeking God's plan for me until I feel at peace with the decision. Right now I am planning to see how today's treatment affects me to help with my decision but ultimately I am looking to God for direction. I know that God's best for me would be for me to receive complete healing from him right now but since I am having trouble with moving myself towards receiving or something is in the way, I know that God can use other methods to bring about the healing that he wants for me and that he has told me I'd have. His word does not change, we do, but he doesn't and I know I've said this before because it's my favorite verse. In fact, I gave Sadie my bible from when I was 4 or 5 and she carries it around with her and even sleeps with it on her pillow next to her. Yes, I know, very CUTE!

 I opened it up to Hebrews 13:8 and I'm not sure when I did it, but I underlined it even in my very old, small, new testament bible that my 3 year old now has. It says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!"  That means that when he gives a person a word, he means for it to happen. And through the Holy Spirit I have heard him tell me that He has tore out the root and will take care of the rest. A person praying over me shared with me that I would be completely healed and I believe these words of truth. There are different things that can hold it back from happening right away but God's best is for it to happen immediately and so I am working on getting my mind and heart to line up with what God's word says and what the holy spirit has told me.

And to cement it's truth, here is another verse that shares that God does not change in Malachi.  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one so when God says he does not change and in the New Testament it says that Jesus does not change. That's saying the same thing and that is SUPER cool in my mind and heart.

Remember that awesome gift certificate that Gabby received to have a 1 night hotel stay...we were planning to use it this Friday but the hotel called and they are closing for the season earlier than anticipated and had to cancel our reservation. They did apologize and state that they will most certainly honor our certificate when they reopen in the spring. So even though we are bummed, we are thankful that we have something fun to look forward to after the winter months and we are planning to have a fun family night in our home this Friday instead. I have to plan ahead since I may not have a whole lot of energy but it will all work out. I would likely have had to miss out on swimming in the pool with my family since starting Thursday evening I may be more tired from the chemo treatment and in the past it has lasted about 48 hours total so perhaps it is better that we have to wait until spring so I can join my family in the fun! Yes, this is how I look at things as often as I a positive light. It sure does make life a lot better. And I tried to soften the blow for the kids by telling them that they can each take turns using our whirlpool tub over the weekend. That's a lot of water to put in the tub but it can be very relaxing and fun for them.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I love Fall

October 15th

It's probably not a big surprise if I say that I love fall. The colors of fall are my favorite. I have a lot of my home decorated in fall colors. And my aunt once told me that a woman should look good in her home and that's why I'm drawn to those colors because they look good on me. Maybe that's true and maybe part of it is because my birthday is at the end of the month of October. Either way, I love seeing the colors change, the trees with the leaves that are bright red and orange jump out at me. I enjoy Fall in the UP with all of God's beauty. What an amazing world He created.

I have been a very busy person. I have 2 kids that are in Cross-Country and have practice Mon-Thurs each week with meets on Saturdays usually. They got a late start but are doing really good and have changed their attitudes towards it even though I made them be in it. I could see far more valuable lessons being learned by being a part of it that I actually didn't give them a choice. Their last meet is this Saturday and I do enjoy them, even if it can be quite cold to watch and wait for them to race. It would be neat for them to metal but it isn't necessary. I am more proud of them for having good attitudes, trying their best, completing each race, and having such a good relationship with each other (Gabby & Braly) that I am beaming with a smile from ear to ear with their accomplishments this season. I don't even know if they've improved over last year or not. The coaches tell me that they love watching Gabby run because she's always smiling her winning smile. And they have enjoyed watching Gabby & Braly together because they are such good friends besides being siblings. That makes this mama proud.

Morgan is in Girl Scouts again and we've had a parade for her that helped collect Toys for Tots and they wore costumes and handed out candy. She's had 2 meetings for Scouts and there are several things lined up already for her to participate in if she wants.

Sadie has been anxiously awaiting Storytime to start back up and next Wed is the day. She's pretty excited. She's had a fever of nearly 103 the past 3 nights so I haven't gotten a lot of sleep during the night and am thankful that I was able to sleep after getting the kids off to school 2 times this week.

Adam has been working the pre-load which means he's been having to go to bed really early. sure can make for a long day for him. He works so hard.

I had a chemo treatment on Sept 29th with the harsh stuff. It made me tired on Friday the 2nd and I slept for quite a while in the afternoon and have been doing pretty good for the most part. A little mouth cells sloughing off and making my lips and mouth feel weird, almost numb but nothing super bad. Some issues with digestion and having trouble with gluten and diarrhea but overall, I'm doing pretty good and thankful that I am able to take the kids to the places they need to go. I will be thankful for the x-country season to be over with as well and not run quite as much but I have enjoyed this season as well.

I will be having another chemo treatment with the harsh stuff on the 20th of October and will then decide whether that will be the last for awhile and see if the other meds work or whether I continue. I have had some pain in my low back which could be from previous back injuries or it could be from the metastatic cancer in the tailbone. I am praying and believing that God has removed all cancer cells from my body and speak to the pain to command it to flee.  I have been listening to a group called About a Mile and enjoy their music. You should check them out on their YouTube channel and Jeremy Camp's newer cd is amazing. Since I've been busy, it's been challenging to listen to sermons and get out of them what I can because I like to sit down and take notes. I'm one of those geeky note-takers in order to learn. So I've been playing certain songs. There is one that I'll share the video to because it really speaks to me. I hope that you listen to the lyrics and that it speaks to you as well.  Check it out and leave a comment about what you think of it.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Archived Day 3....coming to terms

This was accidentally sent to my old blog because I was trying to update from my phone while recovering from surgery back in August. After talking with a few people recently, I realized that some may only follow my blog for updates and not be on Facebook so they don't really know how I'm doing. Sorry friends for that. I will try to remember to update the blog and then share it on Facebook. I will be working to move all updates since the surgery onto here so please forgive me if they become a jumbled mess. I will try to figure it out.


Day 3...coming to terms

I have never been taught to walk away from anything throughout my life.  In fact,  when I was 16, I totaled my parents van. It was the van I had prayed for us to get, even, right down to the color. I was on my way to DC and hit black ice and totaled it soon after I got back, my parents had a new /used van for us and guess who had to drive? Me of course because they couldn't have me afraid of driving or afraid of life.
Yesterday I didn't do the greatest at facing the situation head on. I tried and well, let me explain.
I was supposed to have a nurse come to the house to help with the drains and the bandages.  It had been 48 hours and I was allowed to remove bandages for showering. I was looking forward to it.  Showers always make me feel better and with all the iodine on me,  I was a little itchy so I wanted to clean up.  The nurse didn't call so Adam took the bandages off. Seeing not much left of where my chest was but an incision made me feel light headed so I had to sit on the toilet so Adam could still take care of me. He put a fan in the door to cool the air and gave me a cold washcloth to hold on my forehead.  Then he used a warm washcloth to take as much of the iodine off my shoulder and arm while being super gentle and understanding. He joked with me as he checked to make sure everything looked good and then re-bandaged me carefully.
It wasn't even that my belly looked like it stuck out farther and made it look larger.  It was simply grieving the loss of part of me that I see every day. It is also grieving the loss of intamacy to some extent. Yes, reconstruction is an option but that will be another surgery,  more pain, new things to learn, etc.  I am thankful that God is my fortress.  He never changes. I can always count on Him!
I am blessed with a patient, knowledgeable, gentle,  & kind husband and so many others around me, too many to name. Continue the prayers please.  I followed directions and took pain meds every 4 hours for 48 hours and now it's time to see how it goes backing off of them.  My skin is still dry and itchy in spots, I'll see if I can fix that today. Hoping to be a little braver & stronger today than yesterday so I can get that shower I long for.

Sorry no cool graphics for verses today. This is the first blog post I've done from my phone I think & I'm not pushing it. Have a great and blessed day.  I know I will because it is Sunday and I'm expecting God to meet me where I'm at.