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Thursday, December 6, 2018

For Life

Day one of chemo went much better than expected. It was a reunion of sorts with all of the nurses who I again say are amazing. They are so positive and helpful and are true servants. I was a little anxious about the beginning of the Taxitere because it can cause a reaction. They put the steroids and the Benedryl in first to counter it. When I was getting my right hand massaged a new nurse to the infusion room sat down and joined our conversation. About 8 or so minutes after he sat down, I realized that he was here to watch to be sure they would be on top of any reaction I would have. He had already started it while I was talking to my massage friend and I felt JUST FINE (I didn't even know it had started)!!! Huge sigh! It takes about 15 minutes before we are in the safe spot where they know my body is handling it with the help of the cocktail of goodies I get beforehand.

I have a plan. Six rounds of this combo, every three weeks. PET scan after the third one to see how the cancer is responding and then if all is well after the sixth, the Taxitere goes away and I will be on the two immunotherapy drugs "FOR LIFE". I won't lie and say I didn't feel a lump in my throat when I read that. I mean, DUH! I knew that, just to see it was, well, really real. It was on my mind as I got my port accessed and the meds started.

Cindy Bauter...these socks. My VERY
favorite! So I took you along today!
For life. I am a lifetime cancer patient. As I was folding Christmas letters and stuffing envelopes and getting my hands massaged and chatting with the new nurse, I had one of those little conversations in my head about being a cancer patient for life, you know...the negative kind. After the Taxitere was going in and I sat alone, I read the first two chapters of Job. Job's boils and afflictions must have been so bad that he had wished to never have been born. It was somewhere in there that the thought developed further and I realized. For life...it COULD be for life as in for the rest of your life, you HAVE to do this.

OR...the "find it all joy" response could be thankfulness that there is something I can take FOR life, to LIVE. Metastasized cancer is not the death penalty it may have been in times past. So for life, to live to continue fighting this, I will come and I will take my medicine.

I am feeling all right so far. Bone pain comes with the immunotherapy drugs and that is the only thing that I can report for now. My hips and legs have some pain but I can keep on that with pain meds. I have had a little nausea as I move around but nothing that I even feel I need the anti-nausea meds for yet. I am looking very forward to a good night's sleep. I will then focus on Christmas.

Your prayers have been a God-send! Thank you all. The cards and notes. You all are too good to me! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Some days you have to turn off the Hallmark Christmas movies and find a good version of the full Handel's Messiah at Christmas time. Or, maybe its just something you have to do the day before your first round of chemo for your third time fighting this stupid thing called cancer. I am not going to promise anything this time around. I am not sure how many times I will be on the blog posting or how my attitude will be when I am typing out my thoughts. This cloud is darker and heavier than I remember and I do tend to spout yuck when I am not being guarded. And, honestly, it is exhausting to guard every thought, feeling or attitude.

So Handel's Messiah was in order for this morning. I started listening a bit Monday morning but didn't get too far into it, probably because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords knew where my heart would be last night and kept the rest of it for me this morning when the lack of sleep and sick feeling in my stomach needed ministering to.

I sat in the stands at Stacey's basketball game last night in two different worlds. The first world was obvious to all around that there was a basketball game going on. The second was the other world inside my head that would say things to me like "I wonder how many more years you will be here to sit in the stands watching your kids, they are still so young, what a shame". It had me wishing that it were last year when the only thing I was saying to myself inside my head was "Oh shoot...I left the house without wearing Stacey's basketball pin!" Of course, I forgot that last night too!

The heaviness of the beginning of this treatment is quite a bit more daunting this time around. Actually, it is not just the treatment, it is the heaviness of a third diagnosis and the first time that other "M" word I dare not have spoken before "metastasis" was ever uttered. I am going to keep that little word in all lowercase thank you very much because I don't want to dwell on that, but I find myself not being able to shake the cloud.

It is exhausting having such an active mental thinking process going on. To be able to be in the moment with whoever I am with and at the same time being bombarded with the thoughts that pretty much run on repeat. The broken record of negatives. The doctor talks positively about treatments that have at least a 5 year survival outcome. That would be positive to me if I were 80, but at 48, that is actually pretty negative for me. I have already heard from a few who have given me examples of long time remissions in their loved ones or people that they know and I LOVE hearing those stories.  So, in my brain I know no one really knows except for the One who numbers my days and He has always been so good to me.

I am thankful I was somewhat protected from the gloomy dark clouds before. Now my prayer is that I can enjoy the noises in my home and trust in the loving goodness of my God in the little "conversations" that I have in that mental processing. There is no doubt what He has done for me and that where He has me is where I am supposed to be.

I don't claim to have ANY idea of the anguish of Jesus when He asked His Father to take this cup from Him, but I find myself in quite a funk wishing this one that I hold would not be so heavy. If I am to go through this storm, I need to give Him more of what I am carrying. I am not "wrestling with flesh and blood but with principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph 6) It is just not transferring into His possession as quickly or in the same proportion as it has before.

Specific prayer requests for this week would be:

  1. That my body will tolerate this chemo/immuno therapy cocktail that I will be taking tomorrow and in the months to come. That it does what it is supposed to do and gets rid of what is in my liver that shouldn't be. Remission!
  2. That my mind will rest. That there will be peace in my brain so that I can enjoy the things that are happening all around me (mostly enjoying the amazing people that God has given David and I to live with and grow up in Him).
  3. Guard our Christmas celebrations and keep our focus on Him not just for this Christmas season but for every day that we live.
  4. That there will be no long term effects of the chemo on my organs and that the side effects they claim are temporary will be just that - temporary.
  5. Protection and special grace for those who have and will come forward to help with food and children and well, basically the things of life that I won't be able to do fully for a bit. We are SO thankful!
  6. Me...as a wife and a mom. I may not be able to serve my family physically like I will want to in the months ahead, but I still certainly want to be present to share what they will with me.
  7. Stacey's legs. Yes...on top of all of this, she is suffering again with compartment syndrome pain and we don't really know what that means for her. Doctor hasn't called me back yet. So...maybe as a start, please pray that he gets in touch with us so we know how to move forward.
  8. Precious family time.
Thank you!

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.


For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth...Hallelujah!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Office Christmas Parties and Farting Pigs

...and a few other things that are keeping us busy through the weekend. We end on Sunday with a funeral for our sweet nephew and cousin Samuel who was born right into Jesus' arms this past Monday morning.

Life is crazy! Life is hard! Life is silly! Life is rich. Last night wasn't as bad at home as I thought it might be. We are sadly used to the routine. Life has just been plain heavy. There is no way around it. On the bright side, I have lost seven pounds on the "bad news diet" so there is that. However, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

I talked the boys into playing the farting pig game Auntie Chelle got Zach for Thanksmas. We laughed until our bellies got sore, that is for sure! A perfect game for pre-teen boys! I have had "Pop Goes the Weasel" in my head all day today! We highly recommend it for a great laugh.

Thankful while it is still thankful month because after years and YEARS...I am talking YEARS, God has answered my prayer for my husband. I have prayed for a job for him where he would feel valued for what he brings to a company and a career he enjoys. Now, it has only been since September that he has worked at Samsung but the whole atmosphere in our home alone is blessing enough for me.

He has never in 26 years worked for a company that holds a Christmas party. I think one year one of his managers did a little something at his house, but other than that, he may have gotten a Christmas turkey or two along the way. So we are looking forward to Saturday night at Cedar Ridge Winery. I have given my liver a rest these past couple weeks and went through Thanksgiving without a single glass of wine so I will celebrate with a small one..at a winery...so...yeah.

I will start chemo next Thursday. It will be a three week schedule. Life is still good. God is still good. Every day I wake up and He is still good.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Answers...To Some of the Questions

There are so many who encourage and have encouraged me along the way on my path by telling me that I am strong and inspiring and all of that. I thank you. But I thought just so you know that I am human I would report that I do find myself in a puddle sometimes as I did this morning after I dropped Matthew off at school.

He has an amazing teacher and he came early to choir practice and she was coming in from her car. Just the idea of dropping him off into the care of his teacher warmed my heart. Then of course I put on my playlist on the way home. I should have waited to put on my make up that is for sure!

Well...there is some news today. And, I am much happier about it than I expected. Happier about it than the pictures from this morning anyway! It doesn't sound that great when it comes out but I have stage 4 "metastatic carcinoma consistent with breast cancer". So to answer my sons question we still wear pink!

The good news is that it has mutated from Her2 negative to Her2 positive and there are more options for treatment including immunotherapy. (spell check doesn't like that word). We will start with an immuno / chemo thereapy combo and monitor with scans until the liver is clear and then maintain with immunotherapy. And that is all I know.

I will be getting an echocardiogram next week before we start. I do know that they are three week rounds so we will see how my body tolerates it. I have no idea if I will be able sub some still (because I do really love to be in a classroom), but I do know that at least while I do this I can take my two online courses to renew my license that expires in March. That can be done from the recliner just fine and will help me feel productive!

Thank you to all who have given me suggestions for holistic options. I do faithfully use my Juva roller ball with essential oils over my liver every day. I also have options for liver cleanses and the woman and the health store down the street was a very good resource as I made may way around.

I love all of you...this morning texts and comments on FB kept my phone busy. You are all so good to me, to all of the Sloans. This is all very preliminary. In about three weeks we should get results back from the molecular testing and we may switch things up if they find a better path to cleaning out this mess! I told my daughter today (well, texted actually) "God numbers our days. Today I am happy that the prognosis is better than I had imagined".

The reminder again from a song that my grandma used to like "One day at a time Sweet Jesus...that's all I'm asking from You. Just give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do."

"Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me 'there is no help for him in God'. Selah. But YOU, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts my head. I cried out to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah."
Psalm 3:1-4

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Give Thanks

A sure fire way to "de-uglify" Facebook is to get a cancer diagnosis. Seriously...there are so many times that I want to just duck out of the Facebook world. It is so much easier for people to "speak (or type in this case) their mind" on Facebook than they would if you were sitting across from them. That is why I have always tried to follow the rule that I won't post anything that I wouldn't say to someone in person. I have shared my rule with my kids too. It is just a good way to stay out of "cyber trouble".

So, the results have come in. We will go in tomorrow morning and hear what they have found. And then the best thing, we will start attacking back. It is the limbo and waiting that is the worst. I sound like a broken record in my head. I find myself thinking deja vu...I have typed this before. Probably because I have. This is not my first rodeo.

I am always amazed at the people who rally around when they hear my bad news. So many of you who have popped over to my blog after reading my aunt Jo's post on her amazing blog. If you haven't been to Jo's Country Junction you should visit her. I love her a lot and she has been such a support to me. The rest of you...those who have FILLED my FB feed and texted and called with love and support and prayer...THANK YOU near and faraway!!!! There has been so much activity that there is no room on my feed for those posts to pop up that are less than uplifting.

Today I am going to sew. I have things in my sewing room that need to be finished so I can work on a couple of Christmas projects. I have not sat down at my machine in weeks. The quilt that I was working on is still on my machine from a month and a half ago. My heart wants to create today. I will  not borrow tomorrow's trouble. It may actually be quite manageable. I expect my God is ready for it and so my heart will be at peace.

I sat down at the piano this morning. I am working on a song, George Winston Thanksgiving. I have loved it since I was a teenager and a couple of Christmases ago Michelle, my sister-in-law gave me a George Winston piano book. The song has a sad sound. It sings to my heart on the days that are hard. Back then I wondered why in the world he called it "Thanksgiving". As an adult I have learned that there is peace in giving thanks in all circumstances. It is not always easy but I will tell you that my thankful list is WAAAAAY longer than any complains I could have! Life is truly RICH!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ for you.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Happy Thanksmas 2018

Thanksgiving week went by fast. It always does for me. We have celebrated "Thanksmas" as our family tradition with my husband's sister Michelle. I don't remember how many years it has been , but we don't see her at Christmas time so we do our gift giving and turkey eating all together.

This year there was a wrench in our plans. We planned Thanksmas to be on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving based on plane flights and kids' activities. Michelle's fiance was planning to be with us for a couple of days and came last Monday. The wrench came when my biopsy was scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Troy and Michelle made the whole meal so by the time we got home, it was all ready. We enjoyed our family meal and then opened presents. It was very nice and low key for us. We are thankful for the timing of everything and they were more than happy to help.

Thursday they had plans for Thanksgiving with Troy's family so we had a small gathering again at the house with David making turkey number two. My youngest brother and his family came over along with my parents. We enjoyed food, a puzzle and football. (not so much the football...the Falcons lost.)

The rest of the weekend was quiet and I was able to hem two jacket sleeves, three tux pants and five choir dresses for the high school choir. (I love jobs I can do sitting around!) We had movies going while I stitched. Quite a range of viewing actually, we watched the latest Jurassic World, followed by Pride and Prejudice, and then Lincoln.

It was a great weekend. This week we hope for some news...preferably the good kind!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Basketball Season is HERE!!!!

Basketball season is upon us and the Indian women started out strong with solid wins against Benton last night. Stacey played JV and a quarter of the varsity game on Tuesday night. I am looking forward to something fun in the months ahead!!

Number 3 shoots for 2 (yep, the ball went in)