Wednesday, December 23, 2020

5 Left to Go!!

I cannot believe it. I can count my rounds on ONE HAND!! 


Monday I had my labs drawn to make sure my platelet levels were high enough to receive chemo. They have to be over 100,000. Last week they were at 79,000 but Monday morning they were at 175,000!!! That week off really did my body good, as much as it’s frustrating to have a delay and end up with chemo on Christmas week.

Chemo was reduced by 25% because my body is just maxed out on the amount, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Treatment went great on Monday and then on Tuesday I went in for hydration. They were able to use my port site by splitting the line I didn’t have to get poked!! I got to see my favorite nurse and just rest for about 90 min.

Today (Wednesday) I went in for my pump removal and the extra tubes. I also found out while I was there I was to get another Neulasta shot to help my bone marrow stay up. I’m guessing that might be a regular thing the rest of these rounds to avoid any dips in my WBC’s and avoid becoming very susceptible to infection. So hoping the bone pain isn’t bad. 

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I will go in for more hydration and I’m hoping that sets me up well for Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day and that my bad days hold off until after. 

Tonight the boys and I went through the Christmas Drive-Thru experience our church put together. It was amazing! Trevor was with his team but we did get to wave! We had hot cocoa and then went out to see some more lights. When we got home we watched Mickey’s Christmas Carol before I tucked my boys in bed.

Today was a good day. https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=16Uyuu2X7NdbXHaY97ajCEQI3vaEDz99Mhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1shcK9-PuEUVZVJYd2HDoo6gf7Fz75Hnphttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1BFTj2pHpEKviFhATVU_8AuM5mIdizq99https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1_uNyUOGqunPr1r9jAfvw9lplLjWCCdqzhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1BGvRRaVbyckpM7z8FtyI-0v5Z_M10PBT

Monday, December 21, 2020

Round 7/12

So thankful I was able to get this round done. The extra week off allowed my platelets to go up. The normal range is 140,000-450,000 or somewhere in there. Last week mine were 79,000. To have chemo they have to be over 100,000. Today they were at 175,000!!! 🙌🏼 


Since I’m doing hydration twice this week I didn’t have to have it today so it was much quicker. No delays. I took a great nap (thanks IV Benny) and am now home resting. But also Sleighing Cancer https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=111-jud03EFUvqZ0svZR1uEqFVIeGo80F

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

GLITCH




If you follow me on social media you know that my chemo got cancelled this week because my platelets were too low. 
Normal range is 140,000-400,000
For chemo the have to be over 100,000 and mine were at 79,000. So pretty low but not so dangerous I’m at risk for bleeding.

My doctor said that basically we’ve maxed my body out with the chemo and I need a week break in addition to reducing the drugs by 25%. 

It was such a bummer to get this news. It means my treatments will go into March instead of being done in February. It means chemo on Christmas week which really stinks since we started my treatment on a specific date so I wouldn’t be having it on the week of Christmas.

So I go in next Monday for blood work and if it’s better I will have chemo that day. I will then go on Tuesday for hydration, Wednesday to get the chemo pump removed and Christmas Eve for more hydration. 

We shed tears. But my Mom picked me back up with her encouragement like she always does and I’m trying to find the silver linings. One of them is that I never bounced back from my last chemo. Usually 9 days after treatment I’m back to having good energy and feeling like myself but this time it never happened. So I’m hoping the extra days of rest this week help me to feel somewhat normal. 

Set backs are set backs but we are still fighting. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

6 Months

6 months ago today I got the sucky news that I have cancer. It’s weird how the body keeps track of things. Yesterday I was going through all my pics and posts since I shared and remembering and feeling it all. It was only after awhile that I thought “hmm, I wonder how long it’s been since I found out?”


6 months of endless medical bills. Seriously, endless. 
6 months of driving back and forth multiple times a week to the doctor and or hospitals. 
6 months of trying to work, do distance learning with 3 kids, and be as present of a Mom and wife as I can be.
6 months of blood draws.
6 months of retelling the story over and over.
6 months of fighting massive fear and anxiety. 
But also.....

6 months of encouraging cards coming to our mailbox at regular intervals. 
6 months of notes and gifts for our boys to remind them they are “seen”.
6 months of front porch coffee drop offs.
6 months of meal gift cards and meals being donated or made.
6 months of fundraising to help us pay for the endless bills.
6 months of constant prayer.
6 months of checking in on us. 
6 months of the best kind of support anyone could ever hope for.

I (we) could not have made it these past 6 months without you. Thank you for being a part of my story. Thank you for loving us so well and in doing so, showing the love of Christ in a tangible way, a way that I had never known quite like this. 


 .https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1G0EE7mKs8ojkSld5h1b-UtcfCEcKJglT

Let’s Keep Kickin’ 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Gnarly Truth

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1BC28RA8LLIl3I6fDMxzE95bGt-Kw-JUR
I am halfway done with chemotherapy. The truth is, these last six are going to be tough. I’ve been warned by my doctor, my Mom and other survivors that the days you feel good in between treatments aren’t as many and the length between the bad and the good days is much shorter. I’ve got new side effects popping up, my body is showing through lab results that this is getting tougher (having a low white blood cell count and needing extra hydration etc).

I now have this terrible taste in my mouth all the time, and food doesn’t have the same flavor. The tip of my tongue is numb and the days where cold doesn’t bother my hands or feet are gone. I wish I could explain how painful it is but just imagine trying to hold or step on dry ice. That’s what it feels like just to touch something cold. 

I have major chemo brain. Ask me how well I’m doing balancing my financial statements for work.... (thank goodness for help from coworkers). I’ve also repeated the same things to my friends via text on multiple occasions and they’ve always been gracious. If I don’t write it down, I will forget it. I might forget where I wrote it down at too. 

My port incision has never fully healed the way it should have, I’m still putting ointment on it daily to keep it from infection. I will end up with a much bigger scar there so I’m already planning a strategic tattoo.

Every day I wake up with a bloody nose. Sometimes it drips throughout the day. 

My GI system is still recovering from the massive surgery I had. I was told it could take a year. If you could see the basket of items the doctor has given me to help me with allllll the digestive issues you’d be surprised (not the kind of gift basket I’d like). And my gnarly scar still gives me flashbacks of the worst week of my life. I’m pretty sure I have some scar tissue build up in there somewhere because every now and then I will have pain. 

Some days I’m taking 4 pills a day. Some days I’m taking 12. Depends on where I am in the cycle. 

I have bone pain from the shot that is pumping my white blood cell count up. It’s not as bad as it could be since I’m taking some preventive medications but it’s annoying that’s for sure. Nighttime isn’t so fun. My poor cat thinks she’s settled and then I have to move my legs again! How dare I.
I celebrate being done at the infusion center but I still have chemo pumping into me 24/7 for the next 48 hours so I’m not really done until I’m unplugged from that. 

Sometimes I feel like because my hair hasn’t fallen out - it’s not real to people. Maybe that’s just a story I’m telling myself. But it is, my cocktail just spared the baldness for other things. I might look different from other cancer patients you’ve known. The thing is, I don’t post when I haven’t showered in 6 days, when I’m at my worst or when I’m in tears. I can write about those things but I’d rather not have it out there for all to see. I am going to be authentic but it will show in my writing. So you see me at my semi-best or best. Showered, makeup on and dressed, and still fighting cancer. 
I’d love the continued prayers- just don’t be surprised if I’m not “feeling better” as the days go on. It is what it is and the downhill slope is approaching and I am counting down the days. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

What’s more lame than having one type of cancer? Having two.

I had two colon polyps that popped positive for cancer. The thing is, they were in such different places they are considered two different cancers. Colon stage 3a and Rectal stage 3b . What’s more sexy than that? 


My 5 weeks of radiation and oral chemo was to kill off any remaining cancer cells in the rectal area because even though my surgeon (while tactless) actually did an amazing job by literally remaking that whole area internally and avoiding any sort of colostomy bag- you can’t guarantee you got it all. So standard practice is always pelvic radiation for that area. 

The chemotherapy infusions are to make sure every last naughty cell in my body is gone. Because I had it in one of the lymph nodes they removed, it showed this cancer was able to travel which is how cancer spreads to your other body parts. If it wasn’t in the lymph nodes yet chemo wouldn’t have been necessary. So glad we caught this when we did and that I actually had symptoms to warrant a colonoscopy. Often times this type of cancer doesn’t show until it’s spread elsewhere. 

Thankfully mine was caught before it traveled to any other body parts and we hope it stays that way. 
My doctor did genetic testing on me because 1) My Mom had breast cancer with no real family history and 2) Colon polyps in our family and 3) I’m young and to have my body pop out two cancers is something to look at. So it was either a genetic mutation or I’m just unlucky. 

I’m just unlucky. This was a relief as far as my own kids go but also a bummer as a generic mutation would have allowed for a more targeted approach and less chemo. No real winning side there. 

So there’s that. Something I hadn’t yet shared publicly, but as I walk this journey I’m finding the more open I am, the more others are seeking out medical advice for issues they’ve been neglecting. So take this as a PSA to listen to your body, advocate for your health and keep at it until you get answers.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Y5QLRRj5Pw7iQ4moVotU9Qme4dI1v5i1

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Devotional



I am working my way through Matthew slowly, focusing in on how Jesus responds and interacts with others and how to model life after him. In Matthew 9 Jesus is seen hanging out with non religious people. In fact, it wasn’t just that they weren’t religious but scripture says they were sinners, and tax collectors. While we might not love the IRS, the place tax collectors had in Jesus’ day were on a whole other level. Tax collectors often taxed people extra just to line their own pockets and were often labeled as traitors because many were Jews who worked for the Romans. Not people you’d want to be hanging out with. In addition to the tax collectors mentioned in this passage, it says Jesus was hanging out with sinners. The NLT version calls them scum. Yikes. 


To make this more applicable think of someone among us today that is considered disdained? Who is seen as someone you wouldn’t want to be around because of their beliefs, their lifestyle, their orientation, or their livelihood? Put those people around the table with Jesus and imagine him relaxed and eating, poppin some olives in his mouth, enjoying his company (Jesus had just been healing a lot of people, dealing with a storm and I’m thinking he was happy to relax for a bit) and watching the religious people flip out about it. 


They are not happy! They are wondering what the heck Jesus is doing. In fact, they ask Matthew why Jesus is hanging around these people and Jesus overheard. I find this interesting because I’m sure they meant for Jesus to hear.  At this point I’m realizing that when Matthew got up and followed Jesus leaving behind his tax collecting days, his transformation was real and instant. How else do you explain a household of people mixed with both the religious and non-religious and Jesus with his disciples!? You know, those people wouldn’t have just come in unannounced, they were there on purpose. They were all invited to the table. 


I’m guessing the religious people were wondering why Jesus didn’t take up the chance to call out their sins, maybe bring up a conversation about the way they were living their lives. Maybe the religious people were so ticked off that Jesus was just chilling and not defending himself, their view of religion or anything else. He didn’t seem concerned about any of that, but more about just being present. The religious leaders call Jesus out and he quotes a passage from the Old Testament he knew they’d all be familiar with. It’s from Hosea 6:6 and it says “I desire faithful love, not sacrifice” In Matthew it says “I desire mercy not sacrifice”. So what does that mean?


In the book of Hosea, Israel has returned to God but they have returned without repenting. God is looking for a changed heart, for a right relationship, but the Israelites just go through the motions, their rituals if you will. They make their sacrifices but there is nothing more. Maybe today that would look like showing up for church, going to Sunday School, giving your 10% and posting about doing your devotions daily. Maybe you fast and post scripture online. This whole thing, it’s relationship driven and it’s not one way- God desires it. The Israelites and us get it wrong so often. So Jesus is pointing to this passage to make a point. The religious leaders care so much about rules, following a script, participating in rituals and but that’s not what Jesus is concerned about. 


God doesn’t want our empty rituals and our feel good actions, but a heart that is in right relationship with God and others. What does that look like? In another Old Testament passage it says “Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” Amos 5:23. The Message says this: 


“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”


Mic Drop. 


Are we just making noise? Are we just causing arguments on social media feeling justified because we use scripture? Are we changing our cymbals about loving others but not actually doing the hard work of loving others? Are we wailing about freedom forgetting that the reason we have freedom is for the sake of others and not ourselves? 

Right relationship with God and others looks like justice, it looks like living out what has been modeled to us by Jesus. It looks like going places and doing things that are counter culture to many religious ceremonies or traditions because maybe we’ve gotten lost along the way and we have forgotten what it looks like to pursue holiness, righteousness and justice.


Look up the scriptures mentioned and read them a few times slowly and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. What word or portion of scripture stood out to you the most? Spend some time sitting with the following reflections: 



  1. Am I willing to sit in uncomfortable places in order to be like Jesus? 


  1. Am I willing to admit going through the motions has left me feeling numb, empty and hopeless? 



  1. Am I making noise or am I making a difference? 


  1. Am I interested in seeking out community with people who aren’t like me for no other reason other than to be in  relationship with them or am I always looking for an angle to confront, call out, “speak truth”? 


  1. How can I move forward in my own repentance this week that allows for personal transformation that then allows for others to see Jesus in me and not an agenda?