Rest and Recovery

I have to update you all because I was in really bad shape in my last post. That was the closest to death I’ve ever been. The chemo therapy elevated my calcium levels so much that it almost killed me.

I came from the hospital and had a home care nurse visit twice a week and a physical therapist visit weekly. My vitals slowly became better and my strength started coming back. I can walk again! I’m not back to where I was. I can walk around inside my house. I can get out of the car and make it inside the grocery store to the wheelchair. Oh, the joy of going to the grocery store again for the first time! I can’t drive and still have to take a lot of breaks. I can’t do steps, but I do see progress!

I made it outside on Halloween and sat around a bonfire with my family! Memories💕. I will include pictures.

I see my oncologist again on the 28th of this month. Until then my plan is to rest and try to recover more.

Thank you all for the love and prayers. They mean so much to me!

Enjoy the holiday season and make lots of wonderful memories!💕

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Back In The Chemo Chair….An Update

Xeloda has not been good to me.  My tumor markers are higher than they have ever been.  They are sitting at 1613.9.  It’s usually accurate with what’s going on in my body.  70 percent of my bones have been invaded by cancer.  We still are not sure if it’s new cancer in my brain or brain necrosis.  I will have new scans in another month to reevaluate exactly what it is.  If it’s necrosis then we don’t want to go cutting on my brain.  Wait and see.   For now I’m taking Paclitaxel.  I’m doing it once every three weeks.  It can also be given once a week for every three weeks to lessen the side effects.  My oncologist thinks once every three weeks is a better punch.  That’s what I’m doing.  It’s day two and I’m exhausted.  I feel so weak.  It’s actually hard to get out of bed right now.  I’m just dealing with it and resting.  It will be worth the down time if it works.  Some pictures from my first day back in the chemo chair. I’ll go in one day soon for a port.  My arm can’t handle this kind of treatment.  I did it, but my arm was on fire afterward.

I love you Guys! 💕  Plan something fun for the weekend!  Make some memories and    send me a picture! 💕💕  I’ll do a friends adventure post.  We may have cancer, but we’re still loving life!

Sharing My Family Vacation!!!!!!!! …………………………………………………………………………………… We just spent a week in North Myrtle Beach as a family. It was the best trip ever! 
 I was worried if we would even make it there. My arm was in severe pain and I was doing radiation treatments until the morning we left. I was in radiation at 8 am and we were on the road soon after. Thank you mama for driving! My oncologist prescribed me steroids and morphine to keep the pain flare ups away, it worked! Thank you Dr. Smathers! You know I adore you! The afternoon before we left I was going to let T.J. drive me around town ( He got his learners permit!!). My car wouldn’t start. I was devastated because it was after hours and no shop was open. A few years ago we went on a Little Pink Houses of Hope beach trip. I ended up in the hospital with brain mets. We planned a trip to the beach at Bear Island the next year and I ended up in the hospital with treatment induced diabetes. Was it going to be my car this time? I asked God “Why can my family not have a beach trip without something happening.” My Javiee happened to be at Auto Zone when I called to tell him the car wouldn’t start. He met a mechanic that said he would come to my house and look at it. He came out and put a new starter on my car and didn’t even try to overcharge us! Change of perspective……”Thank you God for letting this happen before we left on our trip and for putting that mechanic there”. I knew this trip was blessed! Here are some pictures……
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That’s my Javiee and I with our grand babies. Then my son, Kori, his wife, Emily, and our grand babies. Then my sweet mom and I. The next one is my oldest son, his wife, me, my mom and my youngest son.

 

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My grandbabies at the beach. My mom and I with T.J. at one of his favorite places. That’s me. Then my daughter in law, Emily, my mom and me again.

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That’s my mom and I, My Javiee and I, My youngest, T.J and I, My oldest, Kori, and I. Then Kori and I with my grandbabies.

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My grandbabies! I love being a glamma! That’s Jax and I at the pool. Then my favorite! This little lady has sas!

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My mom and granddaughter. My daughter in law, Emily. My oldest and youngest boys. My grandbabies at the beach. My mom and I in a shark head. My guys going on a helicopter ride

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That’s my Javiee and I on date night in a helicopter. I love this man!

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For our last laugh we stopped at Dicks. The food was horrible but it was so much fun to laugh at each other.

I love you all💕 Thank you for your love and support!   Summers almost over!  Get out and make some memories! 💕💕

Another Weekend In The Hospital

Let me start by telling you I told my Javiee last week that I was craving mashed potatoes and meatloaf. I never eat that! You’ll understand why I told you this soon. On with my story. I received a call from my cancer center telling me they were now doing special chemo drugs and they wanted to send me my Xeloda instead of it being shipped from out of state. I agreed, it sounded like a good idea. I started my 4th cycle of Xeloda last Sunday. Monday I started feeling weak and it worsened as the week went on. I figured it was my 4th cycle and it would get harder with each cycle. Thursday I received a call from my cancer center saying I had an appointment Friday. I said no, it’s next Friday. She looked and said your right, I don’t know what happened but your also scheduled for this Friday. I decided to keep the appointment and cancel the next one. My mom picked me up and drove me to the cancer center. I was too exhausted to drive. By the time I made it from the car to the door of the cancer center I was out of breath and couldn’t walk. My mom wheeled me up in a wheel chair. They checked my heart rate and sent me straight to the hospital. My room was waiting for me when I got there and my heart rate was over double what it should have been. I went straight to CT. They were looking for a pulmonary embolism or a clot in my lung. There was nothing. When I got back from CT my hospital food tray was waiting for me. It was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. ( I was right where I was meant to be). They stabilized my heart and told me to stop taking Xeloda. I went to my purse and my Xeloda pills were scattered in my purse and the bottle was closed tightly. Not taking those! I’m home now and feeling like I should be. My heart is stable and I will go back on Xeloda, but from the original pharmacy. There was something going on with the pills from the cancer center. We’ll find out more about that this week.

I give God the glory…..

The unexplained appointment ( I was told if I had waited another week I would have had a heart attack)

The pink Xeloda pills in the bottom of my purse and don’t forget…….

The meatloaf and mash potatoes….yes meatloaf and mash potatoes!

God is Good!

Now for some pictures from the weeks before this mess!

At the Circus…making memories 💕💕

T.J’s now playing tennis……

Good food and beautiful faces….

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You never know what tomorrow holds!  Get out and make some memories!  I love you all!!  💕💕

 

MEXICO

I’m so happy to tell you our trip to Mexico was a success!  No hospitals, no doctors, only good times and precious memories.

This is Naucalpan,  where my Javiee grew up and where we stayed while in Mexico.  I imagine it looks scary to some of you.  So many people talk about how dangerous Mexico is.  I never felt that and we visited so many places during our stay.

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This trip was so special to us.  It had been twelve years since my Javiee had seen his family and I had never met them.  I’ll share some family pictures.

 

 

 

Family is a priority in Mexico.  Everyone gathers together in the morning for coffee and bread.  There is no sitting in front of the computer or TV all day.  It’s  family time, work and then more family time.  I think we should all disconnect and focus more on quality family time.

Food is a big deal.  If you visit or have someone visit you, you eat.  They expect you to eat.  That’s exactly what I did.  More pictures…..

 

 

 

I loved the street markets!  A definite must if your visiting Mexico.  The difference in the size of the produce is crazy.  It’s all so tiny compared to the produce you get at your local grocery store.  It will make you think about what’s in the food your buying here!  More pictures…

 

 

Here are a few pictures from one of my favorite days.  I climbed the sun and the moon pyramids!  I told my Javiee I deserved a Wonder Woman shirt after accomplishing that!

 

 

Here’s a few more of my favorites… I took so many pictures!  If you want to see more you can find them on my Facebook page.

 

 

Why the picture of me coming out of the bathroom??  Because you have to pay to use the bathroom.  Then you tip a lady inside the bathroom for toilet paper. 😂 Keep pesos handy if your visiting Mexico!  That was lesson number one for me!

I loved Mexico. I loved meeting my Javiees family.  It was all about love and family.  Life in the United States is so fast paced.  Slow down and make time for yourself and your family.  Share a cup of coffee and a doughnut with someone special today.  Life is short!  Get out and make some memories! I love you guys!💕💕💕

New Brain MRI Results

I don’t like to do scans in December. I love the happiness that fills the air this time of year.  Bad scans could dampen that.  I’m so excited to tell you that 15 rounds of WBR and a CyberKnife session gave me a good brain MRI!!  Can we all do a happy dance!?!?!

This doesn’t mean I’m dancing with NED again.  I was on Ibrance and Falsodex for the mets to my lung, hip and spine.  It did nothing to keep those areas stable.  I was on it for four months and my tumor marker went up monthly.  My last scan showed progression in all those areas.  My oncologist changed my medication to Afinitor and Exemestane two months ago.  I have a new PET scan in January to see if it’s working.  I’m praying it is. The side effects are easier to deal with than the ones I had on Ibrance.  I’m dealing with mouth sores and little bumps that randomly appear in different places.  My pain medicine is keeping my spine and hip pain under control and I’m no longer completely exhausted. I’m actually feeling pretty good right now!  I feel so blessed to be here for another holiday season.  I think my New Years resolution will be to make everyday a holiday!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Life is busy, slow down and spend quality time with your loved ones.  Keep your family traditions alive and make memories (they last forever!).

Thank you for all the prayers and love you’ve showered me with over the past 4  (almost!) years.  It means so much to me! 💕💕💕

Now I have to share family news!  Remember how I wanted to live to be a glamma?  Well, now I will be glamma again!  Kori and Emily are expecting in May.  Jax will soon have a little brother or sister.  I’m so excited!  I love being a glamma!  He will be 2 when his new brother or sister arrives.  Look at how big he is!image

What you should know before an Oophorectomy

One day after completing 15 rounds of whole brain radiation I went in for my Oophorectomy.  It was an out patient surgery.  My surgeon told me the recovery would be easy.  I shouldn’t be in pain and I should feel ok the next day.  Just take it easy and no heavy lifting.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me.  Don’t lay down after surgery.

I went home and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning in horrible pain.  Not abdominal pain, it was shoulder pain.  The gas that had been used to expand my abdomen during surgery had set up in my shoulder.  I should have slept sitting up in a recliner and I would have felt fine the day after surgery.  I wasn’t told that and I took pain meds and cried with shoulder pain for about five days.  It was bad!  If this surgery is in your future remember that and you should have a fast recovery.  I have four tiny scars from the incisions and they healed within two weeks.

Now for what was hiding in each of my ovaries:

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That’s a picture of a tumor that was in my ovary.  There was one in each ovary.  This is the largest one (2.0 cm).  How did a tumor this size not show on my scans?   The good news here is that we had it tested and it’s still er/pr+.  That gives me hope that the new medication I’m on can work on my bones and lung.

I go in for new scans next month to see if Faslodex and Ibrance are working.  I’m a little concerned because my tumor marker keeps getting higher every month.  Then in October I will have a new MRI to see what all the brain radiation has accomplished.  Until then I’m staying positive and living every good day to the fullest.  I’m also sleeping a lot.  I don’t know if it’s still exhaustion from radiation or my new treatment plan but there are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone that has messaged, called and came by to share their love.  I even received  care packages from Australia (I ♥️You Emma!) and from Arizona (I ❤️ You Sally!)  You all make my world brighter!

Get out and make some memories!  💕💕

 

Whole Brain Radiation

I have survived 15 rounds of whole brain radiation.  Initially the hardest part was driving to Asheville and back everyday for a treatment that lasts less than 10 minutes. I videoed a session for those of you that may one day have to go through this.

Whole Brain Radiation   Here’s the link

It was a painless procedure.  My mask was latched to the table, everyone left the room and the radiation took a few minutes.  There was a smell that came with the radiation. It reminded me of Clorox.  The first 13 rounds were fairly easy on me.  I was dizzy afterwards and needed a nap.  I was surprised because I was expecting worse.  It hit me at round 14.  My forehead and my ears burnt so bad.  After round 15 I couldn’t hear and my ears smelt horrible.  I was told to take Mussinex to relieve pressure behind my ears.  I did that for a few days and didn’t notice a difference.  I ended up putting peroxide in my ears for a few days and my hearing is back!  I must tell you my oncologist advised against using peroxide.  It worked for me.  My eyesight also got bad with the last rounds of radiation.   I couldn’t read anything!  I’m using readers now and I feel them getting stronger everyday.  It’s been two weeks since my last round of radiation and the fatigue is extreme.  I’m so tired.  I just keep reminding myself that it’s over!  I have had a hard month!!  The day after my last radiation appointment I had my ovaries removed.   I’ll do a post on that soon.  I’m scheduled for the gamma knife and a new MRI in August.  Until then I’m going to get out and spend some time with my guys. I’ll end with some pictures.

 

This is my radiation mask.

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This is one of the Mets to my scalp.  Radiation healed all of them.  Let’s hope it’s working as well on the inside!

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This is a harsh one, but I share my truth with you guys.  My forehead after 15 rounds of WBR.

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Now for one that shows me on the mend!  It’s a wig!

 

 

 

 

MRI Results and A New Treatment Plan

What a week!  I’m exhausted, mentally and physically.  I had an IV steroid treatment last week to reduce the swelling in my head.  I was then put on an oral steroid that I am taking two times a day.  I’m not a fan of steroids.  I hate not feeling like myself.  They make me irritable and nauseous.  They make my blood glucose out of control.  They have relieved my headache, but I have decided I’d rather deal with a headache.  I quit taking the steroids yesterday.  Today I slept until 1 p.m. and I’m feeling a little better.

I saw my radiology oncologist, Dr. Smather’s, last week.  I really love her!  We went over the results of my Brain MRI.   She is confident that this is something we caught early and can control.  There are tiny spots all over the cerebellum (the back of my brain).  It’s almost as if someone has taken a Clorox bottle and sprayed it on my brain from behind.  Because these spots are scattered our course of treatment will be WBR (whole brain radiation).  I have always known I didn’t want to do WBR.  However, this is the plan.  This is what I will do.  My youngest son is 13.  I cannot discount any treatment.   I will do whatever I have to for the chance to see him graduate high school.  So, here’s the plan…

15 days of WBR starting this Thursday.  The following Friday I will leave radiation and then go over to the hospital to have my ovaries removed.  While all this is happening I will also be adjusting to the new chemo I will be starting this week.  When WBR is completed we will do a new MRI and decide if we can do targeted radiation to the tumor behind my eye or if we will gamma knife it.  Geez!   I believe this is going to be a hard month!! (understatement of the year!)

My doctors are confident, as am I.  I have so much left to do and so many more memories to make!  I am hopeful that this is just a temporary setback.

Thank you all for your love and support.  I will do my best to keep you updated.💕💕

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Here’s a picture of my Javiee and I on our latest road trip.  I’m focusing on a family cruise when this mess is over!  Take time to make memories!💕

Little Pink Houses Of Hope

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I’m sharing exciting news today!  I was chosen to participate in The Little Pink House of Hope!  Our toes will be in the sand on Carolina Beach this time next week!  I screamed like a ten year old when I got the email saying I was chosen!  The Little Pink Houses Of Hope give people with breast cancer a break from life and a chance to reconnect.  We will be staying in our own private beach house for a week.  Food and activities are included.  Those of you that read my blog will remember we had a beach trip planned last summer.  Instead of the beach I ended up in the hospital.  I was devastated!  This trip is such a blessing to us!  We’ve been through so much over the past three years!  I’m really looking forward to some down time with my sweet Javiee and T.J.  I am full of gratitude!

Here is the mission statement for The Little Pink Houses of Hope:

To promote breast cancer recovery by offering opportunities for survivors to reconnect and celebrate life.

I celebrate life daily, but what better place to do it than the beach!?!

If you want to help people living with breast cancer please support The Little Pink Houses of Hope.  They are helping breast cancer patients get a new lease on life.  Treatment can be so harsh and cancer takes so much away from you.  Sometimes a break from reality can be the best medicine!  Click the link below to help!

Click here to support Little Pink Houses of Hope