Monday, June 21, 2010


Hello Warriors!!

First let me apologize for not writing sooner.

I am DONE with chemo!!!

Jim and I headed down to MD Anderson Thursday morning.  He made the ride down special -- he had washed his car the day before.  I was drinking my coffee on the way down there, not realizing that my coffee was dripping onto my white shirt.  When we got to MDA I headed straight to the bathroom to try and get the coffee stains out, as I knew I would be taking lots of pictures.  Wouldn't come out so Jim went to the gift shop and bought me an MD Anderson Cancer Center shirt.  Nice to have a shirt to remind me of the end of this chapter.

Time for bloodwork.  I once again requested Lena.  She's so good at what she does.  Lena told me that my vein has just about had it (my best blood giving vein is in my right arm).  That was kind of a bummer to hear.

Then Jim and I went and checked in for my appointment with Dr. Green.  While we were waiting we were relearning how to play cribbage.  A card/board game we used to play while Jim was in college.  Julia came up and told us that my numbers were good and FEC treatment number 4 was a go!!  My ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) was 2.56, which was thanks to the Neulasta shot I received after my last treatment.

Examination time with Dr. Green.  She's so happy that she can't feel anything where the tumor originally was.  I told Dr. Green what Lena said about the vein in my right arm, and I said I guess we'll just have to use the left arm.  She said that after surgery the left arm cannot be used for blood draws due to the fact that I will be having my lymph nodes removed.  That increases my chance of lymphedema.  So blood draws in the right hand from now on.  Ouch!!

The big debate we had with Dr. Green was whether or not I should receive a Neulasta shot after this last chemo.  She felt confident that my ANC would be good by the time I have my surgery.  I told her that I appreciated her being so conservative with prescribing meds.  Jim and I explained to her how wonderful I felt after the Neulasta shot last time (after the 2 days of bone pain).  We told her we were getting ready to go on vacation and that I would like to feel well.  She said she doesn't let patients talk her into anything but she agreed it would be best if I received the shot.  We even talked Dr. Green into letting Jim take a picture of her and I.  My next appointment with Dr. Green is 2 days prior to my mastectomy.

The sad part of my last chemo was that I would be receiving it in the Main building of MDA.  I had my first chemo in the Main building and my 3rd FEC treatment in the Main building but all the rest of my treatments were in the Mays Clinic.  I got used to the same personnel in the Mays Clinic.  Oh well -- the main thing was...IT WAS MY LAST CHEMO!!  I had been so excited to ring the bell upon completing chemo but was informed that the Main building doesn't have a bell to ring.  Another disappointment but still IT WAS MY LAST CHEMO!!

Everything went smoothly.  Ingrid was my nurse.  Jim and I watched a movie -- the time just flew by.

Time to leave.  Say goodbye!  Usually I don't like to say goodbye -- it sounds so final, I usually say see ya later (Aufwiedersehen) but this was  a time goodbye seemed appropriate!!!

We got into the car and drove home!  We got to the entrance of Kingwood and there was a sign that said, "Way 2 Go Moni".  There were signs all the way along Kingwood Drive (which is 5 miles to our home).  Jim had the video camera going, videoing me and the signs along the road.  I was so honored.  I felt like a celebrity.  My friends and kids did this for me!!  It must have been so hot out there hanging those signs.  There were signs in our yard too!  Forks with pink ribbons attached to them stuck in the grass.

I open the door and there is a whole houseful of friends (and our kids of course) to greet me.  To welcome me home -- to celebrate the end of the chemo chapter!!!

We went out to get some appetizers and drinks.  It was a good night!

Then at about 10:30 Danielle and I drove down to the front of Kingwood so I could get pictures of all the signs.  I got in trouble from Jim for staying up too late.

Then on Friday Jim made me take it easy.  I love that he's so overprotective of me.  Danielle took me down to MDA to the Mays Clinic to get my Neulasta shot.  I had told Carol, the nurse's aide that yesterday was my last chemo -- she asked me if I got to ring the bell and I told her no because I was at the main building.  She told me that when I was done with my shot I need to tell Jocelyn, my nurse to take me to the room where the bell is so I can ring it.

The plaque on the bell says, "May she and all others after her Ring this Bell in Victory!"  I got to ring the bell!!

So Saturday and Sunday I spent in bed due to the bone pain from the Neulasta shot.  But today I feel like a new woman.  I feel great!

One other thing I wanted to mention that touched my heart this weekend.  I have a friend that had heard that I didn't get to ring the bell on Thursday, she has been collecting bells since she was a little girl.  On Saturday she and her precious son dropped off two of her special bells for me.  Thanks Steph!

This week will be spent taking it easy -- as I don't want to overdo it (Jim doesn't want me overdoing it).  We have one more swim meet on Sunday.  And then we will be going on a family vacation to the Smoky Mountains.  We thought it would be nice to take a little getaway before my surgery on July 14th.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me and helping me close this chapter.  I will still be needing your prayers as it's still a long road ahead.

There is no way I could have made it through 6 months of chemotherapy without your prayers, thoughts, messages, love.

God Bless you all!!  Here is a big hug from me to you (({}))!

I love you!

Love and blessings from the top of my heart,


Thursday, June 17, 2010

So excited!!!

The day is here!  The day that we've been counting down for is here, my last chemo!!!  We'll be leaving the house in just a little bit.  Bloodwork first, then my appointment with Dr. Green and then chemotherapy.  I get to ring the bell today!!

Thank you so much for all your prayers up to this day.  And thank you so much for your continued prayers!!

I will be reporting back to y'all on how today went!!

I love you, I love you, I love you!!

May God Bless your day!!!

Love and Blessings from the top of my heart,


Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's the little things...

I was so elated yesterday when I realized my eyebrows are growing back.  Eyebrows are usually not a big deal to me but since they were gone they were a big deal.  It's the little things in life that have taught me appreciation.  My eyelashes too, they are growing back.

This journey is teaching me so much about myself.  I have been blessed most of all by so many that are praying for my recovery.  I hope you know how special you are to me.

I have 4 days left until my last chemo infusion.  4 honestly seems like just yesterday that I looked at my countdown clock and it said 52 and back then I thought I can't wait till it's 30, then when I got to 21 I knew that was only 3 more weeks.  Although it didn't seem like an "only".  When I got to 10 days I really began seeing the light at the end of this chemo tunnel.  Now I'm down to 4 days.

We need to pray that my numbers are good so that I can receive my chemo on Thursday, June 17th.  Please pray with me.

Many people have asked what's up next.  So I thought I'd give you an idea of what the projected plan is.

The last course of chemo will be infused on Thursday.  It takes 3 weeks for the course (treatment) to actually be considered finished, so I'm officially finished with chemo on July 8th.  On July 7th & 8th I will be going for scans, mammograms, ultrasounds to see how much of the tumor is left (please pray it's all gone).  July 12th are all my pre-op appointments and then my mastectomy is July 14th.  At this time only the cancerous breast will be removed.  From what I understand recovery lasts about 3-6 weeks.  Once I have recovered I will be going for radiation everyday to shrink the lymph nodes.  Then there will be a break and then the other side mastectomy with several reconstructive surgeries in between, along with having my ovaries removed.

It sounds like there's a lot left to do, and there is.  I feel really confident that the worst is almost behind me.

I've had days of ups and downs but I am comforted by the fact that so many are praying for me.  Please pray for Jim, Jakob, Kelli and Joey too.  This has taken a toll on all of them not just me.

I do have the best family and friends a girl could ask for.  I have made friends along the way too that I wouldn't have if I didn't have cancer.

Like I've said before, cancer's not what I would have chosen for my life, it was chosen for me.  I trust that God is using me, my family and my friends in ways unimaginable.  Lots of people have told me to keep the Faith -- you do the same.

Thanks for being part of this Army of Prayer Warriors with me.  I appreciate you so!!  And I love you!

Love & Blessings from the top of my heart,


Thursday, June 10, 2010


I turned 39 yesterday.  I'm very happy to be 39 -- it's a milestone to overcoming this cancer disease.

I have always been really big into birthdays, in fact the big joke is that it's not just my birthday but my birthmonth, because I celebrate all month.  I wasn't as eager to celebrate this birthday as others in the past, don't get me wrong I felt blessed to have a birthday but I didn't have a countdown to my birthday like I usually do.  My countdown has been the countdown to my last chemo, which happens to be only 7 days away now!!!

As it turned out my family and friends celebrated my life with me yesterday and that made it an extra special birthday!  I had no plans to do anything on this year's birthday I was just happy to be blessed to have another birthday.  But by the Grace of God He has brought so many special people into my life to make things better!!

I felt really good yesterday, I had a great energy level, my emotionalness was under control.  I had no excuses to not go out and celebrate my birthday.  I went to lunch with the kids and some great friends.  I was spoiled with flowers, cards and gifts.  I received many phone calls, emails, facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday.  I even ended going out to dinner with a great group of girls and then a movie afterwards.  I really enjoyed myself.  And then I came home to a loving family who showered me with love and presents.

Cancer has taught me to value each day that I am given as a Blessing!!  I pray that I am glorifying God through this journey!!  Life does have it's ups and downs but Jesus does carry you through -- you just have to let go.

I look forward to celebrating many more years of my life with you.  Thank you Lord for the Gift of Life!!

May God Bless your day!!

Love and Blessings from the top of my heart,


Monday, June 7, 2010

A Good Reminder...

I'm doing well and feeling well.  We had a busy weekend with swim meets, and another one tonight.  I have 10 days to go until my last chemo!!!  Almost into the single digit countdown!

There have been so many "bad news" stories that we have heard lately.  Many prayers going up for all the sad happenings.  I received an email from Papa (my Dad) today that had a great reminder in it.  I will post it at the end of this blog.

I speak personally from my experience of the Power of Prayer.  Don't give up Hope!  Jesus does carry us through.  Please continue praying for all those you know that are in need of it.  We all are in need of prayer.  I thank you for your fervent prayers, for your faithfulness through this journey with me.  I love you!!

Love and Blessings from the top of my heart,



You say:  'It's impossible'  
God says:   All things are possible  
( Luke 18:27)  
You say:  'I'm too tired'  
God says:  I will give you rest  
( Matthew 11:28-30)  
You say:  'Nobody really loves me'  
God says:  I love you  
( John 3:1   6 & John 3:34 )  
You say:  'I can't go on'  
God says:  My grace is sufficient
(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)  
You say:  'I can't figure things out'  
God says:  I will direct your steps  
(Proverbs 3:5-   6)  
You say:  'I can't do it'  
God says:  You can do all things  
( Philippians 4:13)  
You say:  'I'm not able'  
God says:  I am able  
(II Corinthians 9:8)  
You say: 'It's not worth it'
God says:  It will be worth it  
(Roman 8:28 )  
You say:  'I can't forgive myself'  
God says:  I Forgive you  
(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)  
You say:  'I can't manage'  
God says:  I will supply all your needs  
( Philippians 4:19)  
You say:  'I'm afraid'  
God says:  I have not given you a spirit of fear  
( II Timothy 1:7)  
You say:  'I'm always worried and frustrated'  
God says:  Cast all your cares on ME  
(I Peter 5:7)  
You say:  'I'm not smart enough'  
God says:  I give you wisdom  
(I Corinthians 1:30)  
You say:  'I feel all alone'  
God says:  I will never leave you or forsake you  
(Hebrews 13:5)  

Friday, June 4, 2010


Hey there!

Jim and I went down to MDA on Sunday afternoon so I could get my Neulasta shot.  After about an hour wait, I got it.  It stung a little.  Jodi, the nurse was real gentle and kept rubbing my arm as she was injecting the shot (it was done by slow injection).  And that was it -- back home.  I felt pretty good on Sunday just tired, but that's kind of the norm these days.

Now we just were waiting to see if I would have any side effects from the Neulasta injection.  They usually occur 24-48 hours later.  Boy oh boy did they occur.  Twenty-four hours after the shot I started feeling really fatigued and a little achy.  I was thankful it wasn't too bad.  I went to bed early that night to hopefully ward off any more side effects.  I woke up Tuesday morning feeling okay, I had a slight headache and felt well enough to make it to Joey's 3rd grade awards ceremony.  God was really watching out for me because  almost immediately after I got home from the school I started to feel really bad.

My whole body ached like I had the flu and my headache was so severe I could barely lift my head up.  Linda came over and got me situated comfortably on the couch, I wouldn't be moving from there for a while.  She went and got Jakob from school for me too.  I took some meds so I could get rid of the pain and sleep.  I slept from 11-2:30.  My whole body was writhing in pain.  I just didn't know if I could do this anymore.  We knew it was temporary and Linda was encouraging by telling me "you can do this, make it through another 24 hours and you'll feel better".  Remember this shot was too boost my white cell count, so the bone marrow was working overtime therefore causing the pain.  I should feel better soon.

I literally laid on the couch all day.  Finally at 8:45pm Jim said I should just go to bed.  I did.  I woke up a couple of times in the night to take some pain meds.  At one point I had asked Jim if he thought it was too soon for me to take some ibuprofen after taking something stronger 4 hours before and he said, "babe, trust me with all the poisons injected into your body from the chemo, the ibuprofen isn't going to hurt you".

I was so worried I was going to miss Kelli's 5th grade awards ceremony on Wednesday morning.  She was so sweet, she saw how awful I felt on Tuesday and she told me it would be okay if I wasn't there for the awards.  I couldn't miss them, this was her last day of elementary school.

Thankfully on Wednesday morning I woke up looking and feeling alive again.  My white count must be up.  So far I have felt the best on this round of FEC chemo than on any other.  Guess the Neulasta really works.  I only had a headache and it was nothing compared to the day and night before.  By the Grace of God I was able to go watch my baby girl graduate from elementary school.

Summer has began for us.  The kids still have to get up early for swim practice but life is much more relaxed.  In fact the kids are bored.  I told them this summer was going to be very low key.  I feel bad about that but I just don't want to overdo it, we are almost at the end of the chemo.  In fact the countdown is 13 days until my last chemo!!!!

I went down to MDA yesterday just for a followup visit.  Everything was good.  I also had to return a 60 something page survery/questionnaire and this watch I was wearing for a sleep study I'm participating in.

I have some more specific prayer requests.  Please pray for the following:

1.  For my kids to enjoy their time at home
2.  For me to have energy
3.  For the next 13 days to zoom by (I don't want to hurry life away I just want to be done with chemo)
4.  For me to be a light that shines for the Glory of God
5.  For the tears to stop
6.  For my nutrition (I have lost my appetite and am being put on Ensure as a supplement)
7.  For my caregivers (they have been so awesome and patient)

Thank you for continuing to read my posts and thank you for your continued prayers.  I couldn't get through this without you.

Love & Blessings from the top of my heart,