December 24, 2010

Our family Christmas Card...

First of all I need to apologize.  This is the closest anyone is getting to a Christmas card from us this year.  I have a picture, but don't have time.  At first I was making myself feel really bad about it, but then I started talking to many others that were not doing them either this year.  I feel bad because I do love to receive cards, so I promise that next year I will be more on top of things.  And who knows, there may even be a new year card or valentines card in the works.  (or maybe even an easter card...).

This past year has been a whirlwind. 
Lynette: I have learned more drug names and medical terms than I ever cared to learn!  I have endured being more tired than I've ever felt, more pain than I've ever felt, and more appointments than I care to count.  But I've also felt more love and kindness than I've ever experienced as well.  That has made it all worth it.  (I promise.  I don't mean to sound cliche when I say that, I really DO mean it).  I've made friends I would have never met had it not been for cancer, existing friendships have been strengthened because of cancer.  My faith has been strenghtened because of cancer.  Right now I'm working on gaining energy again, working on growing some hair and working on getting back to normal.  I have one remaining surgery in January and then I should be "done" for the most part (aside from some maintenance drugs that I will have).  Aside from cancer my life is pretty much the same as any stay at home mother of 4! 

Matt: He keeps very busy with work.  Working from home has been a huge blessing for us this year, God knows what he is doing!  He has coached 3 sports in 2010 I believe.  Basketball in early 2010.  Baseball in the spring and football this fall.  Now I think he has a break until next fall when football starts again.  He was able to re landscape the lawn this fall, and build a few garden boxes so we can plant a garden in the spring.  He also just built me some awsome lockers in the garage.  Finally a place to put all the coats and shoes and boots and backpacks!

Landon:  He's a 12 year old boy.  What more can I say?  (Actually, I can't say much because I'm sure anything I say will embarrass him).  He is doing great in 7th grade, all A's so far.  He loves his sports and his wii.  He probably won't admit it if you ask, but he loves his sisters and brother as well.  He went on the possum trip with church this summer and loved it.  He's hoping to be able to go again next year!

Bailey:  Oh the drama that comes with a girl.  She's 9.  I'm sure it won't get much better from here.  She too is doing great in school, she loves being social, watching t.v., playing school, painting her nails and reading Diary of a Wimpy kid books.  She loves her brothers and sister as well!  Bailey also just got finished with basketball, it was more of a camp style, but loved what she learned.  She loves to play in the driveway with Landon or Matt, but get's intimidated around other people.

Elliot:  It's hard to believe that he is 4.  He is in preschool this year, and will be attending young fives, I hope, next year.  He loves to play with guns.  Landon would have never been allowed to play with guns at his age, but there is nothing we can do to stop this boy.  He builds guns out of EVERYTHING, although Trio blocks are his favorite building material.  He also loves super hero's of any shape and size!  He is also my cuddler.  He loves to go do bed with me and snuggle!  I love it!

Lila:  She is a toddler.  A 20 month old terror toddler.  Just kidding.  Kind-of.  She can absolutely have us laughing one minute and then pulling our hair out the next.  I love the age she is for so many reasons, one being watching her learn new things every day, but it's definitely a hard age as well.  Her favorite things right now are her baby stroller, her friend Reed and cousin Parker, chap stick, markers and food.  Oh, and don't forget the blankie and pipey!  This is a girl that knows what she wants and will not stop until she get's it.  That should serve her well in life someday, but for now it's just frustrating!  but we love her dearly!

We love them all!

Hoping you have a Merry Christmas
and many many blessings for 2011!

December 10, 2010

Last One!!!!

WoW!  6 weeks went by SO fast!  Today is my last day of radiation.  For the past six weeks I've been driving the same route every morning.  Thankfully the weather was good for most of those six weeks.  And, today I will drive that route for the last time.  (OK, that's an exageration, this IS the same route I take to Target and Meijer and Starbucks and JoAnne's and...)  All this to say... I'M DONE!  Or at least at 6:30 this morning I can see that oh so bright light shining, and I've only got steps until the end of the tunnel!  It's kind of like a race... I started off strong, no problem, but at this point I'm crawling to get to the finish line.  I'm sick of it and I'm SOOOO tired!

For the most part radiation is easy.  5 minute appointments, the staff is wonderful, no sickness... the bad parts have been that I have a pretty intense sunburn going under my arm, at one point (no exageration) my skin was black.  I've noticed about three layers of skin peeling off.  (Think of the worst sunburn you've ever had... times 10)  It's uncomfortable to say the least.  About two weeks ago I developed shingles.  Luckily I caught it relatively early and was given some medicine and it was getting better quickly.  Right now I can still see the spots but have very little pain associated with them!

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers during radiation (and before).  They are so appreciated, I have felt them.  Truly, I have!

But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 30:17

November 23, 2010

Advent Calendars

I mentioned it before and I'm mentioning it again.  I want an advent calendar.  A dear friend called me and said she had picked one up for me on a recent vacation, for which I am so grateful and excited!  But, I still want one "like I used to have".  I remember when I was little the felt calendar that hung on the wall.  My brother and I would take turns each day taking the handmade ornament out of the pocket and hanging it on a button on the tree (on the calendar) and reading the corosponding verse.  The anticipation grew to the day that we could hang up the final ornament.  The star.  I wish we still had that calendar, I'm sure it was something handmade that my mom picked up at a craft fair somewhere, I've looked and looked and looked for a duplicate somewhere, but with no success. 

While searching on Etsy yesterday I found this.  I'm so excited to get it.  While it's not the calendar itself, it is what I want to be IN the calendar, verses and tokens to go along with the verses.

Now, I'm going to make (with the help of my kids) a calendar of sorts to go with it.  I'll be sure to show the finished product when I'm done (which could very well be next year, so please don't hold your breath). 

November 17, 2010

What's your busy?

Sorry.  Two weeks.  That's a long time.  But there are two reasons for the time between posts. 
1.  There is nothing really new going on
2.  Were just way to busy. 

On dictionary.com busy is defined as the following:
–adjective

1. actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime: busy with her work. check
2. not at leisure; otherwise engaged: He couldn't see any visitors because he was busy. check

3. full of or characterized by activity: a busy life. check
4. (of a telephone line) in use by a party or parties and not immediately accessible. check 
5. officious; meddlesome; prying.
6. ornate, disparate, or clashing in design or colors; cluttered with small, unharmonious details; fussy: The rug is too busy for this room. check

I'm not complaining.  We are all busy in one way or another.  I think the word busy is defined by the user of the word.  Busy for me may be a lazy day for someone else.  Were all busy in our own ways, right?

What have I been busy with?  Well... let's see.  Driving the bus... oops, I mean van, to pick up and drop off kids (all while watching Baby Einsteins to keep the girl (and sometimes middleschoolers) happy), driving to and from radiation every morning, editing shoots, laundry, laundry and more laundry (although, I have to say, I'm thankful to have a washing machine so that I can do laundry), doing everything I can to keep my daughter happy (her name starts with an L), basketball games, laundry, cleaning the kids' rooms (that took 2 full days), selling kids clothes, ordering pictures, cooking dinner, deciding what to have for dinner (I realized recently that it's not making dinner that I hate, it's deciding what to have for dinner and seeing if we have the stuff to make it... my three least favorite words are "What's for dinner?"), returning basketball shoes for Landon (twice now), BSF lessons, additional time spent in prayer (although, never enough), sweepting and mopping the floor, playing games, doing puzzles and reading books, watching movies with my family, MOPS stuff, snack stuff for church, eating (ugh, I've gained to much weight, need to quit this one), and sleeping (trying to keep the energy up during the day requires a very early bedtime).  And, I'm sure once I hit "Publish" I will think of 100 other things I've done this week that could go on this list. 

As far as radiation goes... things have been going great.  I've been home by 8:20 every morning, it's so nice to ahve it out of the way and not have to think about it every morning.  I get up early (around 6), do some work and or BSF (while drinking 2 cups of coffee), get in the shower at 7:30ish, put on my comfy clothes (typically yoga pants and a zip up hoodie so that I don't have to change at the office) and head out the door at 7:50 (there is an upside to short short hair).  Come home and change and I'm ready to go for the day.  The skin that is in the radiation area is getting red but it's not that noticeable and it doesn't hurt or anything.  I've been quite tired lately, but am still undecided if it's radiation or life.  Either way, it probably won't get better anytime soon. 

Anyway, just wanted to do a quick update.  I've got to run and get Landon from church and pry the crying child off my leg.  (No, I'm not neglecting her, this has taken me almost 2 hours to type while caring for her!)

November 4, 2010

Question of the week?

OK, so there seems to be some questions about what radiation is.  So, here's your lesson for the day (and mine, because I couldn't really answer that question before)!

Radiation is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading.  At low doses, radiation is used as an x-ray to see inside your body and take pictures, such as x-rays of your teeth or broken bones.  Radiation used in cancer treatment works in much the same way, except that it is given at higher doses. 

I am receiving external beam radiation.  A machine aims radiation at cancer cells.  Radiation is used to cure, stop or slow the growth of cancer. 

Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells right away.  It takes days or weeks of treatment before cancer cells start to die.  Then, cancer cells keep dying for weeks or months after radiation therapy ends. 

I receive radiation treatmens once a day, 5 days a week, Monday through Friday.  I will receive approximately 28 treatments.  Lindy did a great job showing the building and the room where the radiation occurs here.

Radiation side effects can include fatigue, skin changes (including redness like a sunburn, itching, or dry peeling skin), tenderness and swelling. 

So, there you have a description of radiation.  Hope that helps!

My treatments are going great so far, I truly can not wait to get on the 8:00 schedule, this all over the place stuff is quite a pain.

**On another note... Landon did make the basketball team.  Turns out there weren't 70 people trying out, but more like 35.  Either way, were proud of him and all the boys that either made the team or just tried out.  What would we ever do with our time without a sport to watch?  (His first game is Tuesday already!)

October 29, 2010

checking in

Thought I probably should check in quick, it's been a while!  I've been so busy with other things that I haven't had time to do even a quick update. 
Since my last update:
5 - number of photoshoots I've had (also the number still waiting to be edited)
3 - number of doctor appointments I've attended
3 - number of football games my family has competed in (finally done!)
4 - dozen cookies we've baked (and subsequently eaten)
4 - pumpkins we've carved
1 - number of photo sessions cancelled due to weather (rescheduled actually)
1 - number of "tornado watch" days with my kids home all day

OK, so individually those numbers don't look very big, but put it all together and then add in all the baths I've given, meals I've cooked, number of times I've mopped the floor, loads of laundry done, dishwasher ran (and emptied), stories I've read, paint I've cleaned up and it all adds up to quite a bit! 

I will be starting radiation on Monday.  The first one is just a simulation to make sure that everything is in the right place, so actualy radiation starts on Tuesday.  I will have 28 treatments, I think that brings me to approximately December 10.  My schedule the first week is all crazy, all over the board, but after 7 days of craziness I will then settle into a routine schedule of 8am every day.  It's early, but it will be the best for having someone here watching the kids, Matt can more than likely just work from home until I get back from my appointment, Lila will more than likely still be sleeping when I get home!

I go in for another Herceptin appointment this Tuesday.  I'm not sure if it's the Herceptin or not being on chemo anymore, but I am HUNGRY ALL THE TIME.  I want to munch on something.  With as much time as I've been on the computer, this is NOT a good thing.  I want chips, I want chocolate, I want chocolate covered chips (ha, just kidding, I do want chocolate covered peanuts though).  I will not be loosing any weight if things continue like this, I won't even be maintaining, I'll be gaining.  Like an elephant. 

Landon starts basketball tryouts on Monday, please keep him in your prayers, there are 70+ kids trying out, so lot's of competition.

Halloween tomorrow (Sunday really, but we live in Zeeland, were celebrating tomorrow).  Elliot is going to be a Ninja turtle.  I always made costumes for Landon and Bailey, but buying a $12 ninja turtle costume at Target seemed so easy this year, I cringe when I see it, but it's just one thing I'm letting go!  He's excited!  Lila is supergirl or wonderwoman.  My pudgy little baby in a little leotard... I really do just want to squeeze her!  Bailey is a Mime (is that even how you spell that?).  All her idea.  We had to search and search for a black and white striped shirt (ended up with black and gray), black berret and suspenders.  We found the latter two at Claires in Holland.  Did you even know there was still a Claire's in Holland, because I sure didnt!  Landon... well, he's Landon.  He had a halloween party at church and just wore a mask that I picked up last year after halloween at Walgreens, not sure how long he even had it on though. 

OK, so I'm off to have lunch with some great ladies... but I leave you with a picture of my wondergirl!

October 18, 2010

Putting on my armor

When we align ourselves with Christ we become the enemies adversary.  It's a scary thought.  Despite the fact that the enemy has already been defeated by Christ at the cross, he will continue to attack us and keep us from putting our faith in God.  We don't need to fight him, but we do need to resist him and his lies daily.  When we resist, he flees.  (See James 4:7)

Use your weapons, the Holy Spirit, the belt of truth, the body armor of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet, and your sword (the most powerful weapon of all... the bible) (See Ephesians 6:14-17). 

You have prayer, faith, hope, love and the Word of God on yoru side.  The Holy Spirit within you is far greater than all the powers of darkness combined.  (See 1 John 4:4)

I feel like the enemy is attacking me a lot lately.  I get in these slumps where I am just down.  Nothing is right or good and I get angry easily.  I tend to be able to hide these feelings from the outside world, but my family sees it.  And it is not pleasant.  I feel bad.  I didn't really realize I was feeling or acting this way until this morning when Matt asked me why I was always crabby?  Hmmmm. 

About two weeks ago I quit taking my sleeping pills to sleep at night.  (That is going quite well, sleep, that is).  But, because I didn't need anything to sleep, I was no longer forced to take a pill evey night.  But that also meant that I didn't take any pills.  Including my anti-depressent, Zoloft, which I have been on pretty consistently since Elliot was born.  Yikes.  Just realized it today, it's probably been two weeks since I've taken one (which would also explain all of the vertigo that I've experienced lately).  So, I need to be more deliberate about taking that, because without it, the devil certainly has a way of sneaking in on me, tearing up relationships, making me feel really bad about myself, tearing my whole world down.  I realize that pills are not a specific part of the armor of God, but it is a part of my helmet, it helps to protect my  mind from doubting God's promises.  It is frustrating to know that I still depend on these little yellow pills so much, I was hoping that at some point I would no longer need them, but it is what it is and if they make me a better person, I'll go with it!

Whoa... talk about open and honest You sure are getting a good glimpse into my real life, I'm sure putting myself out there, but I have confidence that we all have our issues and you all understand at least a little!

And, because a post isn't complete without an adorable picture... here ya go!

October 15, 2010

Tough Love

Some of you may have seen me at church this morning before MOPS. Most of you did not. Some of you may have noticed that one of my dear children was still in pajamas. Many of you may not have noticed. No, it wasn't the baby, although her runny nose and cough are what prevented us from staying for MOPS (your welcome, I didn't put her in nursery)! It was Elliot. He's 4. He hid in dark corners so that people hopefully wouldn't see him in his footie jammies.

Let me start from the beginning. Getting him dressed in anything but basketball shorts and t-shirts is a big issue for us. Before school started I made him a deal that he had to put on whatever clothes I picked out for school, church and if we went away somewhere "important". The rest of the time, as long as he was inside, I don't care what he wears. This went well for about a week. The last few weeks have been difficult though. He doesn't want to wear "those" jeans. He doesn't like "that" shirt. I'm sick of fighting about it. Every morning is a battle that I just don't have the energy to fight.

So, this morning I got out jeans and a shirt (one that buttoned, so we know it wasn't basketball worthy). I laid them on the floor and told him to get dressed. I told him if he didn't get dressed he was going to wear his pajamas to church. I've threatened this multiple times, most of the time it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Today, it didn't. So, 10 minutes later, as were getting closer and closer to the time we need to leave he is still in his pajamas, playing in his room. I walked in. Picked him up. Carried him out of the room. Closed the door. And wouldnt' let him go back in. I think he finally realized that I meant it. He brushed his teeth (I think he was scared not to), and then I announced it was time to leave. He "WAS NOT" going to go with me. "OK, stay here BY YOURSELF then". And off I walked, closed the door and started the van. That scared him even more. (I don't condone parenting with scare tactics all the time, but sometimes that is what works.). He ran outside. I opened his door and told him to get in. He said no. I backed up the van like I was going to leave. He stood screaming in the driveway (sorry neighbors). I gave him "one more chance" (I had to give him lot's more chances on this one, because I'm sure that I could get in a bit of trouble for leaving my four year old home alone). He decided to climb in at this point.

We got to church. He said he wasn't getting out. I told him he was. He was SO embarresed. I got Lila out and then carried him out. He was not going to come into church though, so I had to carry him in (again, probably could get into trouble leaving the screaming four year old in the parking lot alone). He walked around church finding every dark corner that he could.

I'm sure many who saw him wondered what in the heck my child was doing. What kind of mother would let her kid go to church in his pajamas. Well, trust me. It was HARD for me to do. I like my kids to look presentable (most of the time) adn this wasn't the look I was going for. But let me make you a promise. HE WILL NEVER NOT GET DRESSED AGAIN. It was well worth it not to have to do that battle again!

So, that was my tough love parenting adventure for the day!

The B-I-B-L-E

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 (The Message)

  • [When reading the bible] we are tempted to pull out the things we want to believe and ignore the things we don't. 
  • The Bible is not a human book.  It is beautifully written, but it is not literature, or a collection of stories and fables.  It is the inspired Word of God. 
  • [The Bible] is my safeguard against false teaching and my guiding light for how to live.  It reveals the true charecter of God and the full life I can have in His presence.
  • Just because we can't or won't follow the Bible's teaching perfectly, or we are perplexed by some of it, doesn't mean that it isn't truth.  It simply means we can't or won't follow God's word to a tee.  And this is no suprise to God.  We all fall short of His glorious standard.
  • Every word [in the bible] is truth.  Every word is God breathed.
(From Grace for each Hour by Mary J Nelson)


I remember in high school a friend was justifying some things she was/we were doing because of different ways of living in the bible times/different cultures etc, but ultimately she was trying to make herself (us all) feel better about our blatent sins.  It was wrong.  God said it was wrong.  There is no changing Gods word.  It was true then.  It is true now.  Nothing has changed.  Lucky for us, God knew we couldn't live to His standard and sent us his Son so that our sins would be forgotten. 

Happy Friday!

October 9, 2010

Picture Recap

Don't these look delicious?  I sure think so.  They were delicious too!  Marshmallows, sucker sticks, chocolate, graham crackers and oreos (oh, and a little peanut butter on a few as well, my favorite).  These were used instead of a cake for Elliot's birthday party!

Little goodie bags for the kiddo's!  A little flaarp and some candy!

 The crew, just before going on the train ride!  The kiddo's LOVED the ride, Elliot LOVED the train ride.  Elliot loved having a party!  Elliot loves being 4!  What fun it was to have Tom's Train entertain us/the kids!

And... Team BELLieve!  Two seperate pictures because there was just way to many people to fit into one!  Seriously, this was amazing, you were amazing, the event itself was amazing, to see so many survivors was amazing.  It was a great event!

 Crossing the finish line!
More pictures can be seen on my facebook page, feel free to check them out there, and tag yourself while your there as well, I coudlnt' possibly tag everyone myself!

I met with the radiation oncologist on Friday.  It was a LONG appointment with lot's of technical details that, to be quite honest, I don't remember much about (or even really care).  I get to go back on Tuesday morning (followed by my first herceptin only treatment), and then will start radiation in about 2 weeks.  I just want to get going.  Because, ultimately I just want to be done!

October 6, 2010

Linky link link

I'm still torn on my feelings regarding bib necklaces.  Not sure I'm in love with them, but this did catch my eye, maybe it's the color.... who knows, maybe someday I will learn to love them and just HAVE to create!

Praying for this little girl and her family tomorrow!  Will you join me?  (Oh, and her mom, pretty darn crafty too...)

Kim actually posted about these on her blog, she made them into magnets though!  Love this idea!

I kind of like this bag, but this would require me buying and following a pattern.  I don't like patterns.

And, I realize it's not even Halloween yet, but I looked high and low last year for an easy advent calendar.  And came up with NOTHING!  So, this year I've started looking early.  So far I've found a few that I like, but am totally open to suggestions as well (did you see those price tags???)!  (Link me up please!)

This project may (or may not) be a hint at one of my purchases at the Antique Fair a few weeks ago...

This skirt is kinda cute!

Here's another cute bag.

October 5, 2010

And it's done...

I didn't expect to feel this way.  I expected to be thrilled that I was done with chemo.  But this morning I found myself near tears a few times and unable to answer the question of "Are you happy to be done?".  I didn't want to feel this way, I wanted to feel confident and ready to move on.  My friend Amy was quick to assure me that it was normal to feel this way, which made me feel a bit better.  At least I was normal. 


Then I tried to go to bed around 8:30 tonight, I was tired and my legs were hurting already.  It's 10:50 and I'm still awake.  My mind just will not stop.  So, I decided to see if in one of my numerous cancer devotionals I could find one that addressed the feelings I was having.  Of course they did, haven't I learned that God always comes through?

(Loosly based on a devotional by Barbara Johnson, from "Praying Through Cancer", some words were changed and added to apply to me)
When my treatment ended and the doctor said I was done with chemo, I found myself in totally new territory.  Expecting to feel happy and full of joy, instead I found myself tense - and lonely.  Now that was an emotion I hadn't expected!  But that's truly how I felt.  Despite all my complaining about the ongoing tests and medications, the thought of not having weekly appointments made me feel like I was being tossed out on my own.

(Again, loosly based on a devotional by Joanne Arentson, from "Praying Through Cancer", some words were changed and added to apply to me)
Just one chemo treatment left.  Fear quietly became my companion as the day approached, not the fear of dying from breast cancer, but the fear of life beyond it.  I was dreading the end of the sessions, not because I enjoyed being fatigued and nauseated, rather, I'd have nothing left to hide behind once I was deemed healthy.  That scared me. 
Being treated for cancer afforded me a sort of protection.  Expectations were lower.  People were kinder.  Now I would be accountable for my "job" performance (a.k.a how clean my house was), my level of activity, my responses to people.  How would I fare without the familiar armor?
My words are never good enough, but the words of others do a fabulous job of telling how I'm feeling.  This is really heavy and I didn't expect to feel like this, it's going to take some prayer and working through to be get past it. 
 
Thank you to the people that stopped by today and for the numerous cards that I received, in the mail, at chemo and in my car!  Thank you for the flowers, the candy, the wine and the cake!  You are all fabulous, I appreciate you  helping me to celebrate a milestone in this journey!  Thank you to all of my friends that have listened to me complain, tried to understand what I'm feeling, been there for me no matter what.  You have all made this so much easier on me than it could have been.  (I'll accept my Acadamy Award now... doesn't that previous paragraph make you think of an awards speech?)
 
 
A snippet of the prayer from one of the devotionals:
You simply desire that I trust in you and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  You tell me to delight myself in You and You will give me the desires of my heart.  Help me to be content with just that.  Help my focus to rest on trusting You, doing good, dwelling, enjoying life and delighting in You.

October 1, 2010

Update

So... what's new?
Cancer talk:
ONE chemo treatment left!  ONE!  ONE!  Did you catch that?  That's ONE!  I think I mentioned that I had a week off.  It was a great week.  I dare say that I felt almost normal.  What is normal?  Whatever it is, I was almost there! 
I walked the Susan G Komen Grand Rapids on Saturday with a couple of other people.  Just a couple!  (Like 6000).  I would love to be able to run it next year, it's a good goal! 
On Sunday I went to Allegan.  I know, it sounds exciting.  But, we went to the Allegan Antique Market.  The biggest garage sale I've ever seen.  You know I love garage sales (sarcasm intended).  This wasn't all that bad though.  I actually got a few great finds (Someday I'll show them off, but please don't hold your breath).  I look forward to going back next year!
Then on Tuesday I had cancer again.  Meaning I had to go have chemo.  I really have felt pretty decent throughout this whole chemo thing that sometimes I feel like I only have cancer on Tuesdays.  Ugh.  I was quickly reminded what I felt like prior to a week off.  Super dee duper tired (yup, super dee duper... I said it again).  By wednesday afternoon I was slightly nauseous.  Not real hungry (not complaining about that side effect at all).  Just no energy to do ANYTHING.  Although I did go for a fast, 3 mile walk on wednesday morning while E was in school, which could explain the lack of energy I suppose.  I was in bed around 7:30 Thursday night, and it felt good.
The good news.  Only one more week!  ONE!

Football:
Yup.  Lot's of it.  Landon's team is 2-1, Matt's is the same (I think).  Wednesday night games make doing church stuff very difficult.  Very.  Three games left though and then we get a break! 

Ummmm, yeah.  So that's it for now.  I am hoping to come back with pictures of E's birthday party and Team Bell-ieve this weekend. 

September 30, 2010

Good Morning

Just some words on prayer this morning (from Grace for Each Hour by Mary J Nelson)

  • When we pray, we often ask for the wrong things, ask with the wrong motives, or we don't ask at all.  And then we wonder why He's silent (James 4:2-3)
  • All you need is a humble heart and sincere faith to seek God in prayer.  Give PRAISE because He is an awsome God; CONFESS your brokenness and your need for Him; ASK because He is the giver of all good things.  Pray to the Father, in the name of His Son, in the power of the Spirit.  Ask God to change your desires so they line up perfectly with His will (1 John 3:21-22)
  • Ask and expect to receive.  He hears you knocking, and He always opens the door.
And from another reading in the same book:
  • James 5:14-15 Are any among you sick?  They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well.  And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
  • All too often, instead of gathering around and praying over us as the Word commands, friends quietly tell us we're in their prayers.  And at church, our prayer requests often slip discreetly into the hands of strangers on a prayer chain.  It's just more comfortable that way... no less effective, just more comfortable. 
That was convicting to me.  I'm not a person that is comfortable praying out loud, I'm quick to say a prayer by myself, but to pray out loud for someone, in front of them is way outside my comfort zone.  I need to work on that. 

September 23, 2010

Some thing's I'm lovin' right now...

This idea using fabric on the walls!  And this example is super cute!  And, best of all, if you get sick of it, you can peel it right off and do something different!  It's about as good as Command Adhesive!

All of these people!  Look at this team!  Are you AMAZING or what?  I sure do think so!

You will defininetly be seeing my version of this on my walls soon!  My version will be a touch easier and have a black frame!  (when I say soon, think 2011 or so)  To find the pattern go here, scroll down to free patterns and then scroll down that page!

This blog post.  Very convicting.

This wreath!  Her's is for spring, mine may just be for Christmas.  OK, who am I kidding, that would be Christmas 2011.

This bag is awfully cool too.  But it looks time consuming and a bit confusing.  Maybe someday!

Learning to sew some of these would be fabulous as well.  Miss Lila has some BIG thighs that need stretchy, wide leg pants.  Probably w/o the knees though.

A super easy quick craft to do with Bailey would be these!

And, last but not least, I may have to try one of these with a recent Goodwill find.

Oh, and one more.  I think instead of cupcakes or cake for E's party we will have these delicious treats!  (I need to get on that though... yikes!)

Whew!  Are you linked out?  Because I sure am!

September 22, 2010

WOW - busy busy busy

I've been wanting to update for days, but just have not had the time! 

First, I should go backwards!  Elliot started preschool last week!  He get's to go with his buddy Brecken, which is the coolest thing EVER according to him!


We had a little boy with a big birthday this weekend!  Elliot is now 4 years old!  He's lovin' it too!
Oh yeah, and Lila enjoyed his birthday as well!  The girl enjoyed the cake!  (Suprised???)  Elliot got some fabulous gifts that he enjoyes SO much, he had a great time celebrating with family and next weekend he get's to celebrate with friends as well!  What a lucky lucky 4 year old!

And, did you notice anything new (and shiny) on miss Lila?  She got her ears pierced on Saturday!  What a brave girl.  She cried for a second and then it was sucker time, that took all the tears away!

Lila got a bit mad when I took the greem marker away!
This is an every day occurance!  "MAMA"!

Chemo:  Still 2 left.  They decided to take a break for a week, but instead of skipping one, they are just adding a week to the end.  Bummer, I still have to say two left, but really in the end it's ok.  I'm ok with having a week off, having a bit more energy for the race this weekend and life in general.  We have a super busy week (or at least I do), with something going on every night!  Oh well, we shall survive, we always do!

Off to a football game!  Sorry for the lack of blogging and then the super short update, I'll try to find a bit more time soon!

September 15, 2010

Who do you say I am?

In Matthew 16:15 Jesus asked, "Who do you say I am?"

If Jesus asked you this question today, how would you answer?

Simon Peter answered this question by calling Jesus the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

The Bible promises those that confess that Jesus is Lord can have:
Faith instead of fear
Health instead of sickness
Hope instead of despair
Peace instead of worry
Provision instead of lack

In the midst of our suffering, we can have a quality of life that knows no anxiety, no doubt, and no hopelessness... a quality of life where no test report, no doctor visit and no chemo treatment, no bad news, no demands, no phone call can penetrate the perfect peace that rests deep within our spirit. 

Do you hunger for peace like this?  Have you invited Jesus into the center of your life?  You should know the Lord is a gentle man, he will not come barging uninvited through your front door like a knight in shining armor, claiming to be your Messiah and demanding that you surrender your life to Him.  You are not a puppet on a string, and he is not some divine puppeteer orchestrating your every thought and every move from a heavenly realm.  He chose you first, to love you and die for you, to invite you into His kingdom to live with Him forever (John 15:16).  But He gave you the freedom to accept or reject His offer.  Who is this Jesus?  The final choice is yours.  Choose wisely... your very life depends on it.

From "Grace for each hour" by Mary J Nelson


Only 2 more chemo treatments and I'm DONE!!!!  Yeah!!!  My counts are continuing to drop.  My white is currently at 2.0 (normal, w/o chemo is 4-11.0), but my neutrophil count is 1.2 (normal is 1.52-7.7), good news though is that I'm not anemic at all.  As long as my neutrophil count is above 1.0 they will continue to do treatments as scheduled.  They say that the low counts could be contributing to my exhaustion, but they are not low enough to do anything about it.  The Ritalin I was trying to use to combat the exhaustion was making me feel very jittery inside, so I'm trying not to take it unless I have to!  Really, I know that I am very lucky, compared to a lot of people I feel very good, I'm still able to go about my day to day, even doing extra things beyond what is required of me as a mom and wife.  I'm not throwing up, I don't seem to have anymore bone pain that can be associated with Taxol, and the neuropathy is getting better/non-existent.  I do have some pretty intense heartburn, like worse than being pregnant heartburn, but that is minimal compared to what it could be!  I am so grateful for all of the prayers being said during this time, I know that without you all, your prayers and my faith in an awesome God, I couldn't have done this!

Landon has a football game tonight, if interested in his schedule you can find it here: 7th Grade Football Schedule

September 6, 2010

More finished projects

So, for Lilas skirt, I ended up not having a big enough piece of any of my fabric, and I didn't really want to get any more.  I had to improvise.  Like I said, hers is only one layer, I think I like two better for the weight, but for now one will work.  I used about 22 3" pieces, sewed them all together and that was my skirt piece.  Super easy, and this one only took me about 2 hours total!  It's so hard to guess how long it really took because of all the interuptions!  (My model was a little unwilling, can you tell?)


And, Bailey's backpack.  It's been "almost" finished for quite some time, but today I put the finishing touches on and it's ready to go for tomorrow morning!  :)



Happy first day of school to everyone!

September 5, 2010

"Labor"ing this weekend

There is a TON of laboring going on over here.  If you've driven by our house at all, you may have noticed the rocks that took up a good portion of the driveway ("took" being the key word here), or the huge pile of dirt in the front yard.  My amazing husband has been working overtime to get it all taken care of.  Our landscape was in desperate need of some new rocks.  There were some when we moved in, but they had been there a while and were pretty thin in spots, not to mention the lava rock that was mixed in with the regular rocks was quite an eyesore.  Some of the landscape has been reconfigured, some was added and some just received new covering!  It looks amazing if I do say so!  Did I mention my husband is amazing?  He is also spreading dirt out in the yard to make it even/fill in the holes.  We moved in exactly two years ago now (I can't even believe that), it's finally time we did this stuff, we just never seemed to have enough time.  Is there ever enough time? 

OK, so that's not all he's doing.  He is also going to build some garden boxes so that we can plant a garden next year.  We always have good intentions of doing this, but the boxes were never done, and once again, there was never time, so we figure if the boxes are done next year, we may actually do it!  Matt's got a whole list of things he wants to plant.  I am SO not a green thumb, so this is going to have to be his thing, I'll help where I can, I just don't know anything about any of it!

And me.  Well, I'm working on pictures this weekend, lot's of editing to do!  I also started another project.  Did I ever tell you that I DO NOT sew?  I've never had the patience to actually follow a pattern, that and I didn't understand what a pattern was telling me to do.  So I always gave up.  This weekend I got an itch to try it again.  Matt always rolls his eyes when I get these urges.  His exact words were "I feel like you are going to be extremely frustrated".  Thanks Matt. 
But, I found an easy pattern on "The Polka Dot Chair" blog and was able to follow it almost exactly.  I made one change to make it a bit easier, but nothing that would be noticeable!  The skirt is FAR from perfect, but I think it looks great anyway especially for my first time!  Bailey loves it as well!
With any luck, Lila will have a cute matching one tomorrow, but hers won't be two layers, just to save a few steps, and hopefully an hour or so.  This thing took me approximately 8 hours to make (there were breaks in there to pick up kids, play with kids, cook dinner, eat dinner, bathtime, bedtime... so maybe 4ish hours really).  You can bet that by 10:00 when I got done my eyes were hardly open anymore and my head was spinning, but I just HAD to get it done!

I hope that everyone is enjoying thier labor day weekend.  Enjoying this chilly, but beautiful weather.  I noticed the clouds yesterday were really looking fall like.  All fluffy and gray.  It really made me want to eat chili and got to Cranes and pick apples.  But, that will have to wait!  A few weeks at least!

September 2, 2010

It's official...

the school year is about to begin.  We did our picture/packet pick up day yesterday with Landon (who claimed I talked to much while we were there, but it was great to see so many people that I don't get to see all the time or only see on facebook) and Bailey's open house at New Gronigan as well, where I guess I apparently talked quite a bit as well, but it was wonderful to finally meet Lindy there, and see many many other familiar faces as well!  I really am ready for the kids to go back to school.  Mostly right now because I feel bad for them.  My energy level is very very low right now, which means we do a lot of sitting around, inside the house, being bored.  It will be good for them to get back out with thier friends and moving around, doing things. 

Elliot get's to start school the following week, which will mean lot's of running around, but he is SOOo ready.  Although, I'm not convinced he is ready for school as much as going to school WITH BRECKEN.  Either way, it will be good for him!

I also am ready to start BSF.  So ready to get back into some regularity and to study Isaiah.  I've found so many meaningful verses in that book just from the bible studies I've done this summer. 

For the most part I've been sleeping great, but I seem to wake up around 5:30 or 6 every morning.  I'm wide awake and I know that it's God's way of getting me to do some extra praying and studying.  I actually end up enjoying this time, it's quiet and I'm able to go through my prayer list and pray specifically for everyone and everything I can think of.  This morning though, I was resistent.  It was gray outside and surely didn't feel like morning.  But then I got a bloody nose, so I had to get up.  That took a little while to stop, and I was just going to go back to bed, I was tired.  I walked back to my bed only to see my insulin pump light on, telling me that I was out of insulin.  So I had to refill that as well.  God was NOT going to let me settle back in to a good sleep until I spent some time talking with him.  He's a persistent guy like that!

My energy level is getting lower and lower every day.  A simple trip to get school supplies is exhausting to me.  I tried taking some medications to help it, but I don't like the way they make me feel either.  Just something I have to deal with for a few more days I suppose.  My stomach has also been a bit upset so I'm not eating much, not that I can't stand to lose a few pounds, but this may not be the best time to do it either. 

A BIG thank you to everyone that has offered to help lately, and those that have helped.  Even the little things get noticed and I appreciate it all so much.  Seriously, I am so grateful to have such amazing people in my life!  Thank you!

Enjoy your last summer weekend!  We have a driveway full of rocks that need to be spread out, if you get bored I'm sure Matt wouldn't turn down any help!  ;)

August 31, 2010

Miscellaneous

Community Reformed (our church) is starting a MOPS program this fall.  We will be meeting on the first and third Friday of the month.  They have started a wonderful blog full of great information, we would love to have you join us.  The open house is Friday, September 17 from 9:30-11:00 a.m. There will be refreshments, a chance to meet the steering team, & a kids craft. You will receive a welcome packet when you register.  We've got some great speakers and craft projects lined up!

We are also doing a fundraiser on September 11.  A garage sale at the church.  You can reserve a table to sell your own things at for just $10 (think of how much you would have to spend on advertising for your own garage sale, this is a great deal), you keep your profits, or you could donate items for us to sell and we keep the profits.  Either way, it's a great way to get rid of some junk!


On another subject comepletely... I'm growing hair.  My shower this morning took longer than usual because I had to shave.  Definitely didn't miss that ordeal.  My hair on my head is growing longer every day (and every morning I get up and check it out and then make Matt look at it too, he's kind of sick of it).  Yay for hair!!!!

I have five treatments left!  FIVE!  I'll be thrilled to be done with all that, although I'm far from done.  I will then have radiation (the thought of that scheduling nightmare stresses me out more than I care to admit) and then Herceptin treatments once every three weeks until next July(ish).  Today my appointment is much later in teh afternoon than normal, I'm hoping to still get out on time, I've got a photoshoot tonight as well!  Busy busy busy!

August 24, 2010

Meals

I've had a few people ask why I don't have any meals scheduled anymore.  For a while I felt guilty letting others cook for me, I was feeling pretty good, had decent energy and there really wasn't a great reason not to do it ourselves.  But, as I get more and more worn out and with Matt being gone 3-4 nights per week it's getting harder and harder to get time (and energy) to cook something.  So, I've added a few dates to the ekklesion site (see link on the right side of blog), please read the info at the top of the page (on the ekklesion website) as I've revised it just a bit.  Any help is appreciated, if you can't bring a meal, but want to help, gift cards are great options too, we have been so blessed by so many of you doing wonderful things to help us out in this way (both meals and g.c.'s), you can't possibly know how helpful this was and continues to be for us!  Thank you!

For the Broken

In Isaiah 6:10, Isaiah said that those who do not seek to know and understand God have hardened their hearts against Him and cannot turn to Him for healing. Only when our hearts are broken can God shower us with righteousness (Hosea 10:12). (Fill in the blank here, make it personal) broke my heart wide open. It shattered It into a million pieces. It was my brokenness that allowed the Word of God to slowly begin penetrating the depths of my hearts (Prov. 4:20-22). And, it was through that brokenness that God could begin the most significant restoration project in my life.


Have you given God the pieces of your broken heart? Sometimes we hold on to our brokenness because we’re not finished grieving, were not finished being angry, or we simply don’t trust Him to make us whole again. But, God wants to fill the empty void you feel in the pit of your soul. He wants to send you a skilled craftsman, one who knows every piece of your shattered heart. One who knows your every pain, one who has shared in your suffering, and one who can put the pieces back together and make you well and whole and more beautiful than before. (Isaiah 61:1). He wants to give you Jesus.

Just some thoughts and inspiration from a book I was given by a dear friend.  The book is called "Grace for each hour" by Mary J Nelson.
 
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August 18, 2010

Pictures

I promised some of these pictures a while ago... but it took way longer to finish than I thought it would!

Not the greatest pictures, but I took these with my old camera so that I wouldn't have to resize them for uploading.  I now wish that I had painted the larger frames with chalkboard paint, but I won't tell you how many coats matt put on them to get them perfect and I didn't dare ask for a change!  :)  All in all I'm happy with how it turned out!

FYI, these are all hung with Command Adhesives, best invention EVER!  No holes in the wall and when I want to take them down I can and no one will ever know there was anything there!


I started Bailey's backpack, just that one ruffle on the bottom, but I was super excited with the change that just that one ruffle made!  So much more personal!  Can't wait to get more on there.  Slowly but surely!

And... look what I got working today!  I was doing all the sewing by hand and wow that was taking forever, now I can go much faster!

August 16, 2010

Links galore

Seriously trying to do this for Bailey this year... so super duper cute!

Some SUPER cute roses...

How cute is this t-shirt.  Reminds me of something I would get at Ann Taylor Loft!

Wouldn't Miss Lila look absolutely ADORABLE in this?

OK, that's good for now, but I've got lot's more.  Now if only I knew how to fix my sewing machine, but then I guess I would have to figure out how to work the silly thing!  I don't really have the patience for sewing, but I sure wish I did!

Losing my mind and painfully tired

WOW, what a difference a few days makes.  I am seriously losing my mind.  I can remember just about nothing.  I start doing something and can't remember what it is I'm doing (while doing it).  Two minutes ago I couldn't think of the website name where you can upload videos.  You know, the popular one.  The one everyone uses... yeah, that one.  I hope that it is just a result of being painfully tired.  Yes, I said PAINFULLY tired.  Worn out.  Fatigued.  I've been sleeping ok, so I'm guessing its just from the chemo, but it really stinks!  Seven more weeks!  Seven more weeks!  I CAN do it!  I'm still not "sick" and I can still do everything I need to do so I'm still considering myself very lucky, just had to complain for a minute!

August 14, 2010

Note to self...

Cleaning out the closet takes a lot more effort and a lot more time these days.  I decided to get our closet clean this morning.  We do not have closet doors, so this really is a necessary evil.  Don't get me started on why we don't have closet doors, we just don't right now.  Never have actually.  Ten+ years of marriage and no closet doors.  In the big scheme of things, closet doors don't matter though! 

Matt was responsible for his half (actually more like 3/4) of the closet, so I didn't have that much to do. I've been really good the last 6 months or so of getting rid of clothes I don't wear, so there really isn't that much left as far as clothes go. But I do have a bag and blanket obsession that needed to be sorted through. That and all the little projects that have found thier way to the shelf, and the tub of shoes that lie on the floor. Anyway, it was a lot of work. By the end I was laying on the floor nearly sleeping with a back ache like I haven't had before. It occured to me that chemo really is taking a toll on my body. Even if I don't feel it every day. It's all accumulating, making life just a little bit harder. But, as always, it could be worse! It could be much worse.

Last weekend I had the honor of second shooting a beautiful wedding with my friend Becky (of Bee Tree Studios).  The details of this wedding were incredible.  Such a laid back, yet stunning event!


Landon had a fabulous time on his Possum Trip.  They went to Chicago, St Louis, Minneapolis and Madison.  You can read more about their trip here.


On Wednesday I was able to go with some friends and our daughters to Chicago for the day.  All of the girls bought new dolls at American Girl.  When we got to the store, I was completely stubborn about Bailey not getting a new doll, but in the end it was all her money and she could do whatever she wanted, so, a doll it was.  A curly hair doll.  While we were there we saw a doll getting her hair done at the salon, this doll and wicked hair.  Someone had had way to much fun with her.  I'm glad that Bailey got to see it so she knows that it can happen and that her mom really isn't that mean when I tell her not to do her hair to much!

We also hit up Cheesecake factory where our waiter was quite a charecter.  By the end (or actually middle) of the meal we were scared to say "thank you", our waiter ALWAYS responded with "No, Thank You.  That's my job, that's what I do" or "I'm here to take care of you beautiful".  The one time he said "your welcome" we all just looked at each other, not sure what was happening!

And, just because he is awfully darn cute... Elliot!

Speaking of cute, miss Lila is doing way more walking these days than she is crawling!  I would say we officially have a fourth "walker" in our house!  :)

Whoa, I just checked out the Susan G Komen "Team Bell" site... 102 member strong!  WOW!  You are all AMAZING!  If you haven't signed up and would like to or know someone that would go here!
If you wanted to order a long sleeve "Fight Like a Girl" t-shirt or sweatshirt the deadline is fast approching... information can be found here!

August 9, 2010

Life in general...

I thought I would stop in and do a more thorough update, but I warn you right from the beginning, it's not that exciting.

Lila is walking more and more each day, I've found that putting her in a dress helps that situation.  Have you ever tried to crawl while wearing a dress?  It appears that it would be quite frustrating and so walking is a better option!  I still wouldn't call her a "walker", but it won't be long.  She is a feisty little girl, unafraid to let us know what she wants or more importantly, does not want (typically by screaching quite loudly).  Ahhh, life with girls!

Elliot is loving summer!  I was having him try some shirts on for fall the other day and he was putting up such a fight.  He doesn't like "regular" clothes.  He ONLY likes basketball shorts and basketball shirts (preferably sleeveless).  We've finally made progress in this area though, the only thing I ask of him is on Sunday's for church I get to pick out his clothes AND he get's to change right after church.  We discussed how I get to pic out his school clothes, as well, this fall, we have not yet discussed that this may include jeans or pants and long sleeves at some point, I'm sure that will once again be an adjustment that includes some tears or yelling.

Bailey has been working on keeping her room clean in hopes of getting a few toys back, it's not perfect, but I'm trying to remember that she is 9, it isn't supposed to be perfect.  She is getting some much needed one on one time this week.  She is already soaking it all up.  I'm pretty sure she won't be sleeping in her own bed all week either, she is so scared to be downstairs alone (see the following paragraph for the reason she is alone downstairs).  Matt doesn't get it at all, I on the otherhand, remember being afriad of the basement, and even my own bedroom, all to well.  Every little nonise was magnified to an unbearable point, every little noise must have been the monster lurking just beyond the door...

Landon left yesterday morning on a possum trip with a group from church.  If your unfamiliar with possum trips, it's basically where they travel at night (on a bus with beds) and wake up in a mysterious location each morning, the kids don't know where they are going until they get there, this particular trip (although I'm sure it depends on the group) is full of service projects along with other fun trips and activities!  Once the kids boarded the bus we received an itinerary for the trip.  He is going to have such a great time!  Yesterday they went to Willow Creek for church, they fed homeless in Chicago, went to Chinatown and visited Navy Pier.  This morning they should be waking up in St Louis and have another fun day planend there!

We had a great weekend, I made it through all the busyness better than I anticipated (thanks for the prayers).  Nothing really exciting to share.  The heat this week is going to be interesting.  I'm quite sick of the humidity.  Heat is ok alone but good grief, it get's nearly impossible to go outside when the air is this thick.  That said, I'm not ready for winter yet either... I guess you could say I will never be happy!

There's a pretty general update for you, sorry, life just isn't that exciting.

August 7, 2010

2:33 am

Yes, it's the middle of the night, yes, I'm once again awake.  My memory is not serving me as well as it used to and I've been meaning to blog about this for a week or so now.  So, since I'm awake here you go:

Many of you have asked when I will have another PET or CT scan to make sure the chemo is working.  I had never been told anything about it but finally remembered to ask.  I will not be having another one.  Because the first one was clean there is no reason to have another one.  If ever I start to have problems of one sort or another then they will be quick to do one, but in the meantime they say the additional radiation combined with the stress that comes with the fact that they always find something on those scans (making you wait 3 months until they can do another one to see if anything has changed), it just isn't beneficial to do. 

So, there's that.  I still think that my mind would be put at easet to just check things out, but for now I'm trusting my doctor to make the right decicions.  She knows how I feel about this and I fully trust that she has my best interest in mind.

OK, trying to get some sleep now... we'll see!

August 6, 2010

Prayer Requests

Just a quick update, I promise to update more later (like in a few days)...

1. I'm very tired.  It seems to be getting worse each week.  I know this is petty and I am very thankful that I'm not sick (aka throwing up), but I'm definitely more and more worn out each day.  Part of it is my own fault, I tend to over schedule, but I like to be busy and naps have been harder and harder to get (b/c I can't fall asleep, not because I don't have the freedom to do it).  So, prayer request number one is ENERGY.

2.  I started physical therapy again today.  Long story short... the first time improved my movement, this time will actually loosen the cord that was caused by the removal of lymph nodes.  The PT massaged it quite a bit and I am not scared to admit that I was near tears once or twice.  And now it really is hurting me.  I get to go back three times a week for at least 2 weeks, possibly a month.  So, prayer request number two is pain management and time management.  This definitely makes me feel more rushed.  In addition to the pain from pt today, I got rear ended on my way to work.  Luckily I had Matt's truck so the only thing she hit was the big ol' hitch (no damage for me), she had a little damage from the hitch going into her front end, but she did hit me quite hard and I got a jold, now my back is in pain as well.

On a side note regarding the time management, I'm so sad to say that I recently had to quit my job.  I just am struggling to much to find babysitters and the time to actually be there.  I'm sad that I'm missing things at home when I'm gone, and it's hard for me to exert the energy working when I know that I need the energy for my family.  That said though, they are currently accepting applications, it's a great place to work if you want to work approx. 10ish hour/week (stop in soon to find out more information and to get an application).

I am done (for now) with my expansions.  I may decide to do one more before the initial surgery, but I have until late September to decide on that!  This is wonderful for me, as it's one less appointment (although, if I was going to do weekly appts, this office, Dr. Dodde and Dr. Hoberman, is definitely where I would want to do it, they have an incredibly friendly staff!), one appointment down and now I add 3 more/week!

July 31, 2010

Consumed

It is 3:44 am.  I'm awake and have been for quite some time now.  I shouldn't be awake, I've been sleeping great.  But I am.  I'm sitting here listening to crickets and the whirring of 2 fans.  My mind is consumed with someone else's pain.  Someone I know only through a few emails.  I don't know what to think or say, all I can do is pray.  And pray I have.  I don't think in the last 24 hours an hour has gone by that I'm not saying some sort of prayer for her, and I know that I am not alone in this, I know that God is hearing constant prayers, begging him to make it all go away. 

This all has me thinking of my cancer and my own mortality more.  I had a clear PET scan, it didn't show more cancer.  But, that doesn't mean I will never have cancer again.  Cancer is an ugly word and an even uglier disease.  I hate cancer.  Because I've been feeling so good, both Matt and I tend not to think about cancer anymore, but reality is, it could come back at any time, it will always be a factor in my life.  A big factor.  Did I mention I hate cancer?

As I often do when I wake up in the middle of the night, I turned to my devoational book.  A few quotes from Praying Through Cancer
  • Don't forget in the dark what you've learned in the light. 
  • It is not that any of us would choose to have cancer.  But, as Christians, we're in a win-win situation.  Some wise wordsmith put it this way: "The worst that can happen is the best that can happen."
Please, join me in saying prayers for others with cancer.  Pray that they would have peace, energy, healing... and God's arms wrapped around them tightly!

July 30, 2010

Not much to say...

or maybe I just don't have time to say anything! 
We've been busy over here.  I tried typing out something lengthy, but in the end it was a jumbled mess of words so I'll give you a quick overview instead!

Me:
I'm feeling great.  Too good really.  I can't find much to complain about.  Taxol is going great, no really terrible side effects.  The biggest one I'm noticing is just being tired.  I'm trying to get to bed on time, but "on time" seems to be getting later and later. 
I do get to go through physical therapy again, the cord that was causing me trouble is still there, and as of just this morning seems to be causing quite a bit of pain.  All tolerable, just irritating.  Physical therapy just means more appointments.  I'm sick of appointments. 
On Wednesday I had a 3 month checkup with Dr Hoberman and then I went home and started cleaning/purging.  I made it through Lila's room, the basement "family room", and Bailey's room.  I was cleaning from 11am until 10pm.  I was worn out in the end, but felt like I definately got something accomplished (more on this later).

Us:
We have been spending lot's of time at the beach (the kids and I).  It's been great.  We try to go quite early, beat the crowds and get a good spot by the water, and by the time we leave it's always a sea of people and umbrellas! 

Matt:
He's been busy at work (praises for that)!  Football starts in a few weeks so that too will keep him busy.  He's been slowly working on my little projects at home (they aren't done yet, which is why you still haven't seen pictures). 

Landon:
Not much new to report.  No current sports going on, he is leaving on a possum trip with church in a week and a half.  We won't find out where he is going until he is on the bus leaving, but it should be a great trip. 

Bailey:
Bailey turned 9.  We celebrated at the beach with some of her friends (and mine) for the day!  We took her out for ice cream instead of birthday cake in the evening.  She picked a "Banana boat" from Captain Sundae, I think it was more about getting the biggest thing she could than what it actually was, she ate about 4 bites of the thing.  After that she wanted to go to Target to spend a gift certificate so we were there until almost closing time, way late for me, but she had fun!  She has been very into art creations lately.  She really would like her own art room like one of her friends, but her budget doesn't allow for an addition on the house so were going to look for an old (a.k.a cheap) table to put down there for her.

She also spent a few nights at my aunts house in St Joe this week.  She had a great time with them and can't wait to do it again!  She had so much fun upon her return showing me all of her art projects!  While she was gone we went through her room.  My blood pressure was very low before beginning that process.  I went through her closet and pulled out items that were a size 5, I went through her Polly Pockets and pulled out about 15 dolls without heads, I went through her Barbie's and threw away half the dolls, not to mention all of the "extra" junk sitting around that we threw away.  Matt said that someday Bailey will be a t.v. star... she'll be on "Hoarders".  We filled the garbage can (the outside one) with all of the junk from her room.  I really thought she would be mad, but she doesn't seem to mind all that much, she actually likes that we cleaned her room!  Whatever.


Elliot:
Oh Elliot.  What can I say about him?  He loves having a big brother and sister.  He loves when Landon has friends over, he loves Landon's friends.  (Bailey isn't so nice to him when she has friends over.)  He has a knack fo rmaking us laugh.  A lot.  He all of a sudden has a fear of monsters and ghosts as well.  I'm pretty sure it's a stall tactic of his, because he always hears noises in his room when it's time to get pajamas on.  He can never decide on which pajamas to wear either, such a difficult decision!  :)

Lila:
She took her first steps while getting ice cream for Baileys' birthday.  Why is it no surprise that all it took was food?  She is slowly walking more and more.  It makes me both happy and sad all at the same time.  I think she will be happier if she can walk, but it's just one more stage we are leaving behind.  The girl definately knows her food, go ahead, next time you see her ask her if she wants to eat, but make sure you have food on hand because that girl knows what "eat" is and she WILL want food!  ;)


Very often I forget that I have cancer.  It definately helps that I'm feeling great and haven't had any really terrible side effects from the chemo.  One of the major changes for me has just been all the appointments and trying to keep everything straight, but that's nothing terrible.  This is probably the main reason I can stay so "strong" (not my word, but something I've heard a few times from others), I'm not sick, I can keep up with the day to day (for the most part).  I only think about cancer on Tuesdays when I'm at chemo and on thursdays when I see Dr Dodde, other than that it's on the back burner. 

Last night though it was brought back to reality.  Cancer is not a joke, it is very real and a very real part of my reality.  My heart was broken to hear that Lindy had cancer again, the doctors found two brain tumors.  No one deserves cancer ever, much less cancer twice.  Please say a prayer for her and her family and the doctors.  We all know that God does amazing things, let's storm the gates of heaven with prayers!