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,


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