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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pink the Rink

A goal in the first couple of minutes!!! Woo hoo!
Wow...a lot has gone on with us in the last week or so! Actually, the Rough Riders game was LAST Friday but it was a lot of fun. Ryan and Dawn were not able to go because of the marching band event at the football field (I was torn too because I would have liked to be there). At the last minute Johnse and Micah joined us in the suite which was fun. The kids loved going back for food and we finally had to give them a few limits.

The game started off exciting when the Rough Riders made a couple of goals in the first half of the first period. Unfortunately those were the only two they made and Chicago made five. It was a fun night. I mentioned in a post last week that I was worn out but it was nice to be worn out in a good way because we were able to have some fun.

During the game in between the advertisements there were pictures in the slideshow of those who are going through treatment right now. We could send a picture of us doing treatment, one of us before we started treatment or one with our family. I opted to send one of our family that was taken before my hair came out.

Then during the break between the first two periods they played a song and showed all of the pictures. The last period of the game was interesting with a couple of fights and at one point four players from each team were in the penalty box. I don't get all of that because then each team brought in three more players and they played those two minutes 4 on 4. We were all hoping that we would be able to see 1 on 1! Ha ha! Shows you how much we know about hockey!

I am thankful we were invited to join the group in the pink suite. I was sad last week that I wasn't able to attend the Strands of Strength fundraising lunch at the country club with my fever but glad that we could go to the hockey game. The week didn't look like I was hoping it would but it was still good. We had to make a rule on the way home because we all got pink cow bells at the door. All of the bells had to be put on the console between the two front seats of the van or it would be a long ride home!

Matthew was hoping to buy a kids Rough Riders jersey and knew how much money was in his bank account. The only downer of the  night for him was that they didn't have the kids sizes in yet and told us they would in a couple of weeks. I told him that I guess we will just have a date night in a month or so and bring his money and he could buy his shirt then. He is working on being patient with things and so it wasn't his favorite idea but later as we were talking he thought that would be great because that means we could go to another hockey game!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pack Meeting

We have had a couple of month of scouts and so Monday night was our first Pack meeting with awards night. Not a lot has been done on the achievements yet but there were many Bobcat patches to hand out and a few other belt loops. The Wolves were responsible for the flag ceremony and did very well with the challenges of being smaller and having many ribbons on our scout flag making it very top heavy!

They did a great job and so many of the scouts in our pack have sold popcorn. If anyone is still craving popcorn, our boys have one more week to sell, so last chance to pick your popcorn. Far away Minnesota relatives who may be planning to attend the fall party in Waucoma, it would be a great time to get personal delivery! We wouldn't want anyone to miss out!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Princess Zelda

Ahh...normal life. Saturday I got to spend a bunch of time in my sewing room. I have to remember on the days when I am not totally drained that I need to get down there because if I am only feeling a little rough, the busy-ness of something I love to do can really get me over a hump mentally. When things come to life (or are created) in my hands it is a huge boost!

We had picked a pattern that we thought would work from Grandma's stash of patterns and she had given us the go ahead to have it and cut it up like we need to. (with multiple sizes in each pattern, I usually try to maintain the other sizes in case we ever need to use the pattern in a different size). With the go ahead from Mom and my dislike for cutting out patterns from fabric, I cut it out like we are only going to use it once.

I got the skirt done and ready to hem with a minimal amount of problems. Let's just say I am giving myself a lot of grace where zippers are concerned! It isn't matching up exactly and so I just put the hook and eye where it would keep the skirt closed up for Dawn. After all, it is a costume and not a prom dress! The bodice will lay over the top of the waistband of the skirt anyway.

Dawn is in charge of all the "jewels" and accessories. She has a huge piece of styrofoam that she has been cutting out and painting for the different parts of the costume. Yesterday we got her long blonde wig on half price clearance because unlike the people who really think ahead and pay full price, I usually don't get to the current holiday until everything is on clearance (which really does work well for the budget).

The fabric is not fancy, in fact it is a "slippery" fabric that Dawn has used before to make pajamas so it isn't satin or taffeta or anything like that. In fact, it doesn't hold its shape that well. My problems with the bodice will become more evident later today when I have to have the dress done. Dawn is helping at our church's fall festival tonight. So, I have spent more time in the sewing room today.

The cool thing about the fabric though is that the wrong side has a soft feel to it (which is perfect for pajamas but not so perfect for costumes you are trying to make with a formal dress pattern!) It will do the trick though, she tried on as much as I had done and showed me some of the "bling" she has made and I got a boost of confidence that this might just work after all!

She has the necklace done taking three bouncy balls (which there is always an ample amount of around here) and painted them all with hot pink paint. Then she took a pin and made a hole in each one putting a string through. It looked pretty good, actually...exactly like the picture. I love it!

I am hoping that I will be able to share a picture of her finished product next week and a few of fall fest when I find out what the rest of the kids are going to be wearing. Dawn has been working on a coat of armor with pop tops (pretty sure that the breastplate will be all that will be done of that). Ryan really wanted that to wear. Matthew and Zachary have been so good at settling for what they can find in the dress up bin. Stacey is using an apron and some gardening tools along with silk flowers and being a florist.

Dawn bought her fabric and is doing a lot of the extras. It is normal and it is fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Am Back...

There was just nothing in me last week and all through the weekend so I took some time off trying to organize my thoughts for you. Actually, once the weekend got here we had the Rough Riders "Pink the Rink" night on Friday and then Saturday I realized what the hospital two weeks ago and my sickness this past week has kept me from getting accomplished.

Dawn has wanted to make a "Princess Zelda" costume (see right) and we were so good to watch coupons and pick fabric that would be economical. We have had the fabric since early September and we were both so proud of our thinking ahead.

I will post some more about that project in the next couple of days. For now, lets catch up on the stuff I don't really like to write about. Many have asked and having a fever, I haven't felt like sitting here in the recliner with a warm laptop in my lap.

Last Monday as I posted, I came down with a fever. It was so humbling for me to see with one post on Facebook that I wasn't well how many people responded and by the time I went to sleep Monday night I felt so prayed for and at peace. Dad came with me to my chemo appointment Tuesday and they ran all of the tests that they ran at the hospital. My nurse said this time of the year they want to do everything then can to keep me out of the hospital so as the results came in, she put me on an comprehensive antibiotic that will take care of a number of problems.

I went into the clinic every day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get my hour of IV fluids and antibiotic. By Wednesday evening I felt much more comfortable and by Thursday morning I felt I could get up and drive to Bible study which I am glad I did, the lesson last week was so encouraging for me mentally! Friday I was running errands and cleaning up around the house. Stacey did a great job going to her annual check up with the pediatrician with Grandma since I had to be hooked to my medicine at the same time. A little update on Stacey's leg and our plans for that in a future post.

I felt pretty good to go the the Rough Riders game Friday night although by the time we got home I was worn out. But in a good way! David took the soccer players on Saturday to their games and I took stock of what was needing to be done around the house and felt bad that we had had Dawn's fabric all this time and I haven't even got the dress cut out. More about that tomorrow.

I got a call from the oncologist last night giving me an update on what has been growing in the culture from my port. If you didn't read the update on Thursday, the port blood had a bacteria growing in the culture which potentially could be bad. Friday I was told that it was only growing in one of the two samples from the port so they really didn't know what was going on. Ugh!

But, the doctor told me last night that they identified the bacteria and it is resistant to the antibiotic I have been taking. So instead of continuing on the oral meds I had, I now have a new prescription for a different antibiotic that will address the bacterial infection, whatever that is.

My theory is that there must have been something else going on too if the other antibiotic has helped my fever and achy symptoms. I have to be careful to limit my time working with children and I got a whole box of masks today to wear if anyone in the house comes down with something. It is kinda stinky because I love teaching my 2nd grade Sunday school class and thankfully for the fall session the Good News club has its last day this week so I won't have to miss anymore of those. Hopefully by spring my life will look totally different than it does now.

So...what does this all mean? Well, I had my second round of Taxol today. Yea! I was extremely tired through most of it and have been most of today. That is 2 down 10 to go. I do have to say, I am bummed that I can't report 3 down 9 to go but I just have to get over that. It is going to happen that our plans are not always going to turn out the way that we want them to. God is in control of all of this so like everything else, it is His timing.

There are a few things I can report on getting farther down this chemo road.

  • Chemo brain really is a thing and I totally HATE IT! (if you see me just spacing off at times even in the middle of a conversation, I really don't want to and I really can't help it.)
  • Sometimes the chemo experience is so mentally overwhelming (which I never saw coming) that all I can do is knit or crochet in a chair. (Actually the preferred place is in my bed with pillows propped just enough to be a little upright where you will find me on a regular basis after about 8 pm at night). There can be music or a movie on but I won't necessarily be following it. There is something about busy hands that help focus my brain to a part of it that still seems to work pretty well. I am thankful that I knit and crochet!
  • I can't think of something to have for supper. I think that part of my brain isn't working well. It may also be that our brains take cues from our taste buds and our cravings and I have none of that right now.) I have tried a few times to sit down and plan some things and I can't even remember what we used to eat when I would make a grocery list.
  • I have the best man in the world. David has been a rock and has filled in almost all of the holes that this cancer has put into my ability to do my job. He and I both are thankful for those who have brought us meals because that makes his day so much easier too.
  • When people see me out and about, it takes a lot more behind the scenes to do the "normal" things. Life in almost every form is exhausting. I am thankful for the moments I can get dressed and put on my make up and go to church, a cub scout meeting or out with a friend or just running errands. Being able to do that is important for morale!
  • Monday's are sad for me because I know that this is the best I am going to feel until next Monday.
That is probably enough to report for now. A lot of the specific prayer requests are the same. The kids are doing remarkably well and for that I am grateful. For those of you who are thinking and praying for them, thank you! We are also all enjoying our new to us van.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Good News/Bad News

So...bad news quick: there seems to be something growing in my port culture based on the 24 hours after the blood was drawn. That stinks, won't know til tomorrow afternoon what it might be but worst case scenario is the port will have to come out. I am praying that they can clean it up without having to remove it. I have been in the clinic everyday getting a large dose of antibiotic mixed in a liter of fluid and the fever is gone so that is progress.

Onward to the postives of this week (to be honest, I have been "counting my blessings, name them one by one" as a constant exercise to keep my mind off of my feeling crappy self)! So...Introducing my new Mom taxi!

Batman was my first passenger
 It is the same year as the dead Dodge that is sitting next to it in our garage and has more miles but we are going to go with the fact that everyone we know who have Honda Odysseys have driven their vans much longer than our Dodge lasted. It seats eight (so Auntie Chelle, we won't have to take two cars everywhere when we are together!)

And, we haven't had leather in a vehicle in 11 years so that is a treat for sure. It drives much more smooth and everyone is excited that the automatic door locks work on every door! (our auto locks went out about three years ago.) Budget wise, we were hoping to be able to drive our Dodge for another five years at least but after David worked hard on the resuscitation last week we realized that if the bank agreed to give us a loan, it would be in the best interest of our already stressed out household to look for something that could get us around.

I love David. He and Dad went up to Cedar Falls in pursuit of another vehicle and when that or any other on the lot didn't pan out, I started emailing possibilities as I sat home on my computer. When the text came "what do you think of red"? I was excited because as I looked at the pics on my computer, it was the one I was hoping would turn out to be a good choice. I said "I LOVE red, my Probe was red".

Not driving the red sports car anymore but I am loving my red mini van and my husband and dad for doing the stressful part of shopping for it. Over all it has been a very trying week for me and chemo (or what is causing the lack of getting to have this week's round) but there are some things I can't ignore that has made this week really good.

A huge thank you to the three people who brought dinner to us this week, Rachel Booms, Johanna Fentress and Nicole Doig. So many others have been wonderful and have been bringing meals. Thank you to so many friends who have sent a little something for my mailbox this week. I got a little something special this week every day when the mailman has come from my far away family and dear friends! I am amazingly blessed and I have learned if I can keep my mind fixed on these things then the horrible way I am feeling isn't dominating my life.

I told David just yesterday that this is much harder than I thought it would be. It is nights like this one when we find a movie that everyone wants to watch and we all sit in the same room for a period of time laughing at the same funny things and listening to each other's comments that make for huge medicine for this mom! I love my family and I am so thankful that this week is almost at the end.

I have learned to take one day at a time because if I try to ponder what is on the agenda for next week and if I will be able to handle it, it is too much. God it already there. I pray that my port will be too but He is in charge of that and so I will do today and let Him prepare me for tomorrow.

One weird "plus" I have found that is not quite what I was told to expect:

 I have never had such long fingernails all at the same time. Both hands...I was told my nails would chip and crack and maybe fall out. Hmm...not complaining, I will take it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Sick Girl...Again

If there is something I am learning about cancer and chemo it is that there is nothing that can be predicted. This week is my second time in two weeks running a fever. Thankfully, we are trying to get on top of it with an infusion of strong antibiotics yesterday and today. Many tests have been run to find out what is causing my fever but nothing ever comes up.

I am missing out today on the Strands of Strength fundraiser banquet since I am still running a fever. That is the worst part of it. Missing things that I am looking forward to is hard. Not only that, but I wasn't able to get chemo yesterday so now that bumps me past Christmas and who knows how the rest of the fall will be.

You could say I am discouraged. Just the realization that I have no control is difficult. The fact that I have to take one day at a time and that nothing is for sure is hard for me. I feel so far from the end of all of this when these kind of weeks come up. 

But, I am thankful that I have been able to be home this time and have not had to spend a couple days in the hospital.  I am also thankful that David found us a new vehicle (well, new to us). I will write a little more about that when I am feeling better.

For now, I will be going into the clinic again today for another super dose of antibiotic and I have been told I should feel much better by this evening. I hope so. I still had a fever this morning but not as high so I guess that is good. I just want to get better and I have realized that I have to be careful around people as fall and winter arrive.

I am praying that this infusion this afternoon will take care of the bug, whatever that bug is.

Monday, October 17, 2016


I haven't felt very sparkly lately. That is why as I sat outside in the mild fall morning on my swing with my coffee, my ring really caught my eye. It usually isn't sparkly enough to catch my eye unless I have just gotten done washing dishes by hand with no gloves.
The picture doesn't do it justice. In the real light of the outside, it was sparkly. I needed to see something sparkly, and it makes me smile because the man who gave it to me is the perfect match for me.

God has blessed me so much. We are totally different individuals and we can make each other crazy sometimes but as I paused a bit this morning to think about one of the few things in my life that sparkle right now (not so much the ring, but what it represents), I would have to say that I am blessed beyond compare.

We have been dealing with a little extra this week as our van died. David has been under there on and off all week to figure out if there is any way he can get it running again.

Today he went out with my dad looking for a vehicle for our family. Maybe I will be able to update you in a couple of days. I certainly don't want this to drag on. It is hard getting seven people around in a five passenger vehicle. I just didn't have the energy. I told him that he usually has a lot higher standard than I do so I am sure that I can leave the vehicle hunt in his very capable hands.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

NO Retakes!

In an effort to keep the blog positive this week, we are celebrating a wonderful achievement in the Sloan house! For the first time in the history of me having five students in school...NO RETAKES this year! Some things in life just have to be celebrated!

Ryan / Stacey / Dawn - 8th Grade
Zachary - 5th Grade
Matthew - 2nd Grade

We will be keeping every single one of them (the pictures too)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

When We Don't Win Every Game

Last Tuesday night before I ended up in the hospital, I was able to go Matthew's soccer game. He makes me smile. This boy puts his heart into everything he does and I love watching him do something he loves. He loves to win, but who doesn't?

The evening games get a little dark as we move into fall and I was able to also see the sunset. It was a great reminder of the beauty around us when we just look for it. 

I hope that I can always remember to look for the beauty even as I teach my son that sometimes when you play awesome, your team doesn't always win. You can't let the fact that you didn't win turn you rude when people tell you that you played well. You need to be grateful and thank them for the compliment. It is a very rare team that wins every game. That is a hard one for Matthew but he is slowly learning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Tasty Iron Infusion

What do you do when your hemoglobin is slowly going down during chemo? Well, when your mom takes you out to lunch you order the daily special LIVER AND ONIONS! Yum!

Infusing myself with IRON today!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Survivor Files: Chemo #5...New Protocol

So, nothing came of my trip to the hospital that could stop us from moving forward with the new chemo protocol. Starting today, I am on Taxol which has different side effects but supposedly not so bad. We will see in the coming days how this works.

The scary part that made me dread coming this morning was the fact that this particular drug causes more reactions in the first couple of times it is given. As you see, David joined me today to be close as a support if anything went amiss.

Funny thing, as I got prepared to start I get an anti-nausea medicine through the port along with benadryl (to help stop some of that reaction) and something else that I can't really remember what it does. So, all and all it takes 30-40 minutes to get started with the actual chemo drug.

When the nurse came back to see me before starting the Taxol, my neck had become bright red and she said it looked like I was reacting before I even started the drug. Well, I can work myself up to be anxious and nervous and along with that comes flushing of my skin. That is in my genes. I figured it was just that but still, we had to wait about 30 minutes for it to go away so that the nurse could tell during the first 15 minutes of treatment if I was going to "flush" or not. It is the first sign that I am not tolerating it well.

That made me a little more nervous. But...thirty minutes later and we were ready to start. I sat and talked to this nurse who I hadn't seen before today. I don't know if she is new or transferred from another place or what but we talked through the first 15 minutes until she said "okay, looks like you're good!" Whew!

45 minutes went by and we were on our way. So now, every week I get to do this until December 20th. Hopefully no more trips to the hospital along the way! I met with my oncologist before chemo today and we were trying to get to the bottom of my headache I have had pretty persistently since being in the hospital. My eyes have really be bothering me too. She asked me if I had tried Excedrin Migraine. Hmm...I thought, migraine. With everything else going on I have forgotten that I am sometimes prone to migraines. I came home, took my Excedrin Migraine and within an hour my headache was gone and my eyes felt much better too! Glad to have my doctors to remind me of the things I forget!

Monday, October 10, 2016

My One Political Piece

I am tired of the commercials, tired of the phone calls, I have prayed for over a year as this country seems to think that we need to have campaigns that drag on for years. (Which is utterly ridiculous) I am sad and the biggest sadness isn't that the choices we have are not good, I am sad as I watch the way our country is more divided than it has ever been.

I am sad that people just blurt out whatever is on their mind on social media and that we seem to think we can decide who is the best candidate because we have followed their tweets and what other people tweet about them.

Clearly, the Lord Jesus Christ has not returned but until He does and I can lay my crowns at HIS feet, I will be the dutiful citizen of my home here in the United States and vote. Daniel tells us Who puts our leaders in office and so I pray and trust. That doesn't mean I don't get sad. Over the last year, I have wondered if I have actually seen 2 Thessalonians 2:11 come about right before my eyes.

The real sadness lies in how I have watched the "dumbing down" of America. I have been shocked to see how many people are basing their choices on the Facebook posts and tweets and most people only know what they have heard in quick sound bites from commercials, Facebook videos and the news media (don't get me started!) I am thankful that many are getting off the emotion driven sites and finding sources to research our candidates but those places are harder and harder to find.

It isn't tough for me to make my decision. One of our candidates has been "working for the children", "working for the middle class" and working her way up the ladder my whole adult life. I have been paying attention to how she has fought to keep legalized abortions at any stage of pregnancy (so I guess, it is only the BORN children she cares about although I have not seen any proof of that either) and I have experienced first hand during the last eight years how our family take home pay has gone down EVERY year while our health care deductibles have doubled and our premiums have as well. So middle class? No.

It is understandable how she can't speak anything in her campaign about her own record so she has brought the discussions down to middle school level and talking trash about her opponent every time she opens her mouth. Let me tell you, if you are an avid reader of history, there are some pretty human men who have sat in the Oval office. Male chauvinists, slave owners (some not so kind to their slaves), even Indian haters. It is just that back then, there weren't 24 hour news channels and social media to keep tabs on them. To say you are voting for her because she is a woman is nonsense. There are 100 or more different women in this country I would be happy to vote for. They are not on the ballot.

About the other issues, well, if we can't secure our country then we won't have a country.  I think that is my number one concern. There certainly is no confidence over the last eight years as I have watched my country become less and less secure at it's borders. If you believe that "radical Islam" is not a thing than you are not qualified to be Commander in Chief. Keep in mind too that the average age of our Supreme Court justices is 75. If you believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and upholding our freedoms, you don't want a majority of liberal judges on the Supreme Court. Just sayin'.

I did not vote for hope and change because back then I did my research and I knew this is the hope and change our president meant. His is not a "legacy" I would like anyone to continue. I didn't want it then, and I don't want any more of it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday From the Heart: A Journal Entry

Earlier this week when I was feeling rough I had been praying for the long list of people who I know that are dealing with yuck...it is getting longer every day. I wasn't feeling very encouraged until I was done and opened my Bible. But, prayer really isn't ever done and it is when I opened the Bible and found myself in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I heard God speaking to me and I wrote it in my journal...

I Corinthians 6:19-20 says:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are Gods.

So, as chemotherapy seems to reign in my physical body, as it tackles any cancer cells that may be hiding in various places, my body is STILL the temple of God. The Holy Spirit STILL lives in me, My body is STILL called upon to glorify my Father - however He sees fit to use me! I am not my own, this is God's will, His doing, His trial to steer me through. So for now, I rest and sometimes write.

This body is a temple of the Holy Spirit - the One who has SEALED me! (Eph. 1: 13) The One who guarantees that I walk as a saved slave of the Almighty God. (Eph. 1:14) This is what He has asked me to do right now so this is what I will do and because He has called me to this, He will get me through.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Couple Days of R & R...(Sort of)

An ER date night
Tuesday afternoon I started feeling more than just extra tired. I was feeling like I may have a fever. I had taken my temperature a couple of times through the day but it was normal. It was about 6:30 p.m. when I took it again and saw 100.3. Ugh...100.5 and I have to call the 24/7 oncology phone number. If I was going to have to go to the ER, I thought I would take a shower and take it again. Maybe it wouldn't get any higher.

I was shivering as I made my way to the bedroom. I closed the window so that it was a little warmer in the room. I will admit, I cried a little in the shower thinking that here was something else I haven't experienced before. I certainly didn't want to have to be in the hospital. By the time I was done, I knew that the fever had gone up. Sure enough, it was 101.3, a whole degree.

After checking in with the oncologist on call, we made our way to the ER. I was a little horrified as we walked in and the ER waiting room was full to overflowing. The nurse behind the desk checked me in and asked "do you want a mask?" I nodded. Sigh. We found a seat around the corner and away from the crowd.

It took about 45 minutes to get into the ER room and everyone worked quickly to get my information
and get the port accessed and the blood test started. In the hospital environment their protocol is very sterile. My whole body was draped, the nurse accessing the port had a gown, mask and hair covering, then there was another smaller drape with a hole in the middle. She got the needle in and was able to flush it but she couldn't get blood from it. She tried a few times but then called in another nurse.

The view from room 537
A visit from my people
Finally, they were able to get it in correctly and they drew the blood. Let's just cut to the chase and say it was about 1:30 a.m. when I got to my room upstairs. I was pretty discouraged. David had left making sure he knew who needed to be where when and to relieve my dad who had come to stay with the kids after bedtime. The hospitalist said 2-3 days. I was thinking "overnight for observation".

It is funny how desperately I wanted to just get upstairs into a bed. Running a fever and past midnight I was just spent. I say funny because once I was up in the room, in my bed and the fluids were hooked up and going, I could not for the life of me fall asleep. It is like my adrenaline had somewhere kicked in when I wasn't paying attention.

Alone for some rest
In the morning when the doctor came to see me, it sounded like there was a possibility that I would only have to stay one more night if my fever were to go down. Wednesday was a nice peaceful day. The hospital floor was pretty quiet except for the man across the hall that would every so often get angry at the nurses and yell how much he wanted to go home.

I do have to admit, the only thing you really can do at the hospital hooked to fluids is rest. I did. The
kids came up for a very short time Wednesday evening which was nice. By 9:30 Wednesday night I was ready to sleep. I remember one time in the night when the nurse came to check my vitals. I didn't wake until 5:30 a.m. When I woke up there definitely was a notable difference in how I felt.

A happy ride HOME!
This morning when the doctor came she gave the go ahead to start discharge papers. It always takes so much time to get everything put together on their end to let people out. It wasn't til 1:30 p.m. when the papers were in the nurse's hand and she was ready to give me the heprin in my port and get me disconnected.

Unfortunately, my excitement was delayed when the nurse, working on the tape all around the needle in the port pulled out the needle before she injected the heprin. UGH! Remember the description from above when they accessed the port in the ER? Yes...same thing, she had to re-access with all the draping and then again, calling in another nurse to help when the port would flush but she couldn't get blood return.

All that said, I am glad to be home. I am laying low through the weekend and praying that anything that has happened this week will not affect the start of the next protocol that starts next Tuesday. We will see how the bloodwork comes back. God is in control and I am good with that. I feel so much better than I did when we left for the hospital Tuesday night so I am thankful for the R & R.

I got teary on Wednesday when I was reminded by my sweet brother Arlen in Honduras in a message:

Psalm 41:3 "The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed"

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My New Dark Side

Back in August my friend Minette sent me a message out of the blue. She told me that she had found a place online where she could donate her hair and they would make a wig for me. Would I be interested and could she do that for me?

Well, all of you know who have been reading with me that I have learned way more than I ever wanted to know about stuff I never knew there was to know! I could tell that she really wanted to do this and I was excited to see how it would all work, she in Texas, I here in Iowa.

She told me that it would take 5-6 weeks, just in time for cooler weather and for me to get used to wearing a wig and being a little more comfortable trying something new. You can see us in college, a long time ago.

I have said before that cancer can give us some unique experiences and can teach us things that we never would have learned or known about had we not experienced it. This is one of those times.

The first step was for Minette to get her hair cut. So, the very next day, she and her son Dane (with the camera) went to the salon on her end and sent me the pictures so that I could see that it was all happening! I was eating lunch with a friend here in Iowa when she sent them and so I showed Michelle (who was with me). We both got a little teary when I explained it to her.

When I was diagnosed in June, I made it a point to tell the people I love around me that I didn't want anyone to shave their head for me. I TOTALLY understand for those who are moved to do that, but for me personally, I wanted to see the people I love and who love me the way they are supposed to be. I didn't want a reminder that I am sick whenever I looked at them. I had not said anything though about an Anne Hathaway bob...and doesn't it look GREAT on Minette?

Later that evening over the phone we went through the website and the wig was ordered. Minette sent me a picture the next day of the envelope all packaged and ready to ship to the company called Care and Comfort. Then we waited...

What I found inside
the package
Late last week Minette sent me a message that it had been shipped and when the mail carrier stopped for me to sign yesterday I wasn't thinking that the wig was on the way. After I stepped inside I realized that it was here. When we ordered it, we had the option of paying to have it cut and styled or to just have the hair put on the wig. With the second option, I could take it to my stylist and because it is real hair, she could cut it like she would cut my hair.

Since my sister Johanna lives a block behind me and does my hair, I ran it by her in August and she said she would be up to the task. Yesterday I took a picture of me in the wig and texted her that it had arrived. She had some time in the afternoon and so I went over not knowing what to expect.

Minette has beautiful thick hair, and I...well, not so much! As beautiful and thick as the wig came, we needed to take some of the heaviness off the top. I say "we" but Johanna is the one who jumped in even when I was a little nervous about all that had gone into the wig and making a mistake. Not that I didn't trust her, as you can see, she is amazing!

Johanna said she wasn't nervous, she just knew we would take it one step at a time. The wig came a lot curlier than we expected so she started by straightening it. We read the wig instructions and you can use a straightener as long as it is on low heat. Having a cooler week it was nice to think about having a longer hair style because as much as I have loved my short wig and wearing hats and scarves, my neck gets cold!

When we were finished in the salon, it was about 20 minutes until the kids started coming home from school. I got a couple of "wow Mom!"s and Zach said that it doesn't look like me. I asked him if it still looked okay and he did approve.
I actually had a few errands to run so I went out and a bout on the dark side for a bit and I found myself flipping my hair (or should I say Minette's hair) and it was very natural. As I got used to the short wig, I will get used to the feel of this one too.

I would like to say a big "THANK YOU" to Minette and Roger Bryant, Minette's hair stylist in Texas and my sister Johanna for this great experience! Now I have another way to keep people guessing!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Surgery Day...

With ME as the surgeon! With the lack of energy lately, I decided today that I would work through this Monday with laundry and do a few things from my recliner that I have been putting off. If you have read along with me for awhile, you know that there is only one person on this earth that I darn socks for. Well, Zachary has been handing me a few and the basket by the recliner had three holey socks this morning. 

You can read more about darning socks here.

There were also three stuffed friends that needed "surgery" on various places that were coming loose. I felt like these small tasks were definitely doable today. I got two of my "patients" taken care of and recuperating nicely so all in all, I got some things done.

The "discharge" instructions to their care givers was as follows: DO NOT USE YOUR STUFFED FRIENDS AS WEAPONS AND THEY WON'T RIP APART!

There was a surprise that the mail carrier left me this morning that I am looking forward to sharing with you tomorrow, but other than that excitement, it was a nice quiet day.

The windows are open in my house right now and the cool feeling of fall is nice for me and my crazy internal thermostat. I didn't sweat very much today although I hear that there may be a little return of some warmer weather toward the end of the week.

For now, I will enjoy my cool crisp mornings and the cool fall sunshine coming in my windows. Tomorrow I may just get the laundry finished too!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Filling My Tank

They know what they are talking about at the oncology office. "You will probably feel a lot more of the fatigue by round four". I had heard what they said of course, but I was hoping to feel a little more excited that the double whammy chemo was done but instead I find myself fatigued, crabby with my family and worried about new things like reactions to the new chemo drug and neuropathy.

So much for my celebratory attitude! No, really, I am glad that the big bad stuff is done, don't get me wrong. In fact, I am going to turn this little pitty party around and by the end there will be something good to report. Today, I was able to hang out at Fareway while Zachary sold scout popcorn, David took the boys to the soccer field so that I could get some rest this afternoon.

This evening Mom and I got a chance to go out for a bit and get caught up with some great people I haven't seen in a long time. It was wonderful! The people that touch our lives are so very important. I have learned that through the years. It doesn't matter when you knew them, or how long it has been since you have seen them, you just kind of pick up where you left off.

When I got home tonight I felt so filled up. That is when I realized that I do truly get energized by spending time with people. I am not one for huge crowds of people that I don't know, but I love being able to spend time with my friends, those I have known in any stage in my life. I would also include those people I would like to get to know better. I think that is what I miss most in this temporary life I am living, I miss the ordinary ways that I get to be with people.

So, today I am thankful for getting out of the house this evening and heading to a benefit for a childhood friend, Beth Dunkel. She needs our prayers too as she fights colon cancer and has some big things coming up.

We also got to chat with a couple of other friends we hadn't seen in awhile who were there as well. It did a whole lot of good for my crabby spirit today. It may be a little thing to some, but when you are facing down another twelve weeks of whatever this next drug will bring, it was so good for my soul!

Tonight I guess I am thinking a lot about friendship. There are many ways people define "friendship" today. I think about it a lot, we are all so busy with life. Proverbs 27:17 says "Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend". I am going to put this challenge out there...who will you "sharpen" today?