June 28, 2010

Good times

The last few days have been PACKED with goodness!  Seriously PACKED! 

But first, the not so good part.  Saturday morning Landon's team lost their last baseball game.  The season is done for us now, which while it frees up a bit of time, I will miss some of the games!  I'm sure Lila, Elliot and Bailey are ok with being done!

After baseball we headed up north to visit a childhood friend.  Her mom was also my mom's best friend.  I haven't seen them since my wedding 11 years ago.  It was well worth the long drive to be able to visit with them again, the kids did great driving there and back and had a GREAT time while we were there, which was evident by the amount of dirt that we had to clean off of them!  :)

Sunday morning we had our last day of VBS at church.  It's always fun to see ALL the kids in the front of church worshiping God!  This year they registered 460+ kids, the kids brought in an insane number of pounds of coins and the adults were able to raise more than the kids, which meant that Dann got a pie in the face!  A big thank you to Dann and all the members and visitors at Community on Sunday.  The proceeds from the donations will be put toward our medical bills, we are so humbled by everyone's generosity.  I can't even explain how grateful we are (have I said that before???  I feel like a broken record, but that does not mean that it's not true)

Sunday evening I got to spend some great time with great girlfriends.  My friend EJ is here from Vermont for the first time in far to long!  We enjoyed dinner together and then hung out in my freezing cold basement.  I will have to share a picture once I get it downloaded from EJ's camera.  EJ bravely spent the night in that freezing cold basement (and survived) and this morning we were able to go window shopping downtown Holland with the kids and spend some time together this afternoon!  It has been so great having her back in town, now if only we could keep her here! 

Tonight I went back to work for the first time in like 7 weeks.  It was great to be back, I didn't realize how much I missed it! 

And tomorrow... chemo again, I'm actually going by myself though, so if you want to stop by and visit, feel free.  If you want details on location or time please message me before 10:00 tomorrow morning and I will try to respond, otherwise call my cell phone (sorry, not posting that info here)  Not much more to say about that!

June 25, 2010

Looking ahead

These every other week appointments have been kind of nice.  I know that I initially wanted them to just get going, skip the off week, just get this done with, but I'm now realizing that it's giving my body a chance to be "normal" for a week.  And that week feels great!  In four days I have my last "every other week" treatment, then I have a week off and then for 12 weeks straight I get to go in for a treatment.  Should be fabulous.  I'm not sure how that will all go, it's a different treatment alltogether, so it's like starting over for me.  I don't like not knowing, have I ever mentioned that I like to be in control?  Of my life at the very least?  Well, I do. 

I am so amazed by the number of people that purchased coupon books from 84 East, 8th Street Grill and Froggy's.  THANK YOU so much.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!  We received our check today and were just dumbfounded by the amount.  It will definately help to cover some of the medical bills that have been mounting!  What a blessing you all are!

When Marci and Bethany dropped the check off I was telling them that I'm a bit fearful that I'm making myself seem a bit stronger on this blog than I am in real life.  Sometimes it's easier to type things than to actually {Bell-ieve} them.  I do quite often (especially lately) think about the fact that cancer does kill people, I COULD die, am I using my time to make the best family memories possible? 

I DO complain, sometimes a lot (feel sorry for my husband), but often I am thrown back into reality by something I read or see, someone who has it so much worse than I could EVER imagine.  I don't KNOW that I'm going to die due to cancer, but there are many people who do know that thier cancer is terminal.  I'm lucky. 

I am blessed in SO MANY waysI am blessed by your prayers, I am blessed by your meals, I am blessed by your time, I am blessed by your cards, visits and calls, I am blessed by your finanacial donations, I am blessed by your kindness and your concern.  I thank you for sharing your gifts with me and my family.  As we get further and further into this I'm feeling more and more overwhelmed by your generosity, I don't know how to thank everyone.  I don't even know where to begin.  I could never repay anyone for all they have done.  I know that the majority of you do not expect me to repay you, but we live in a society where it is not easy to ask for help, or to accept help freely.  I will always carry this weight of gratefulness, looking for ways to repay, and I will soon be healthy and strong again and be able to pay it forward in some small way!

June 24, 2010

Fight Like a Girl t-shirts

If you ordered a Fight Like a Girl t-shirt don't forget to pick them up tomorrow at Community Reformed Church between 4-6pm!

Thanks so much for your support of Amy's Angels!

June 23, 2010


I never knew what BMX was, until this week.  Not the bike either. 

Sunday night it started and then Monday it got worse and by Tuesday it was unbearable.  Canker sores on the tip of my tongue.  Seriously.  Lot's of them.  I couldn't eat very well (except ice cream and popsicles), I drank more ice water on Monday than I have drank in my entire life I think. 

Tuesday I went in for my weekly blood draw and they weren't able to get anything from my arm, so instead of letting them use my hand (b/c that hurts) I went back for a port draw in the afternoon after applying Emla cream.  Which also meant I got to see my nurse (didn't realize that the nurses and not the lab had to do the port draw, until I went back).  Lucky for me because she was able to look at my mouth and prescribe some BMX mouthwash.  Basically it's  nasty, thick pink stuff that numbs my tongue that I can "swish" every hour.  I put swish in quotes because it's so thick that swishing is nearly impossible because of how thick it is.  But it does a FABULOUS job of numbing my sores, so I'll take it!

Other than that everything is going great!  We have a super busy week this week.  Elliot has swimming lessons in the afternoon and Elliot, Bailey and I have VBS every night, Landon has 2 baseball games  this week and he's helping with VBS the other nights.  Elliot is going to be one very tired little boy by Friday, but he's having a GREAT time doing it all!

I am happy to report that I have NO appointments today!  NONE!  Prior to cancer I never realized how excited I would be for an appointment free day!  They are rare, but I will enjoy them when they come!

June 17, 2010

Chemo Round 3

I thought I had everything figured out and under control.  I thought I knew that on Thursday I wouldn't be feeling well, because that is what happened last time.  Obviously I shouldn't expect anything.  God keeps throwing me curve balls. 

I made it through the treatment fine (thanks Jen) and then woke up yesterday (Wednesday) feeling pretty lousy.  Very nauseated and very very tired.  I figured if I made it through yesterday today would be much better.  Nope.  Today I'm still very tired and very nauseaus.  Don't get me wrong, it's all bareable, I'm able to force myself to get out and do things if I have to, it's just not pleasent!

Another thing I hadn't anticipated was bone pain.  From the Nulasta shot.  I've had this shot two times prior (always the day after chemo), it stimulates white blood cell growth.  I've heard of others having bone pain, achy feelings from it, but had yet to experience it myself (which I proudly announced when asked), but I can no longer say that.  Along with being tired and nauseaus I also feel like my body has the flu.  I'm achy all over.  I did find a bit of relief this evening by going swimming with the kids (thanks Kate and Carol).  Being surrounded by water (or even just having my legs in the water) made the pain disappear.  I did jump into the "deep" end with Bailey a couple of times and swam to the shallow end, wow, that was a workout for my arms (silly considering it's not an olympic size pool or anything), swimming is something I should consider more of!  Anyway, enough complaining, tomorrow I will wake up and be just fine!  :)

Lila LOVED swimming.  She was definately not scared to put her face right into the water.  Over and over and over.  It wore her right out and thankfully she is in bed now!

I was doing a devotional before bed last night and felt like I could have written the story myself.  It was amazing to me how similar I felt to the author.  It's from "Praying Through Cancer" and was written by Sheri Schut:
I don't recall going through the so-called stages of grief...Why not me?  After all, God had blessed me and spared me from so much.  How could I question His will for my life, when at thirty-(one) I was diagnosed with (breast) cancer?
C.S. Lewis once said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world".  I was hearing God's voice loud and clear.  He used my momentary suffering not only to conform me more to Christ but to put my focus on eternity
God gently reminded me of all Christ had suffered - the perfect example of how I should endure trials.  And He assured me of what awaited me on the other side of suffering when one day I will be permanently restored!

No matter our trials, big or small, we will all one day be permanently resotred with Christ!  What an amazing day that will be!  One day I will look normal again, God's normal though, and who knows what that looks like?  One day we all will!

Prayers for continued energy and just feeling better are much appreciated right now!  Prayers that my arm completely recovers so I have one less appointment to attend.  Prayers that chemo does what it is supposed to do, that it kills the bad cells, but leaves me with some good!  Praises that my blood counts on Tuesday were completely normal (good bone marrow she said)!

June 15, 2010

Little Mexico

I was really really excited to go out to eat at Little Mexico and even more excited to go out with Matt, alone, no kids!  I hadn't been to Little Mexico before the fire and remodel so I didn't know what to expect, although I still had a picture in my head of the last building.

While waiting at the light across the street prior to parking Matt and I commented on how half of the building is very obviously brand new and spanish looking, while the other half is old and swedish style.  Odd, but whatever.

We parked and walked in and were thouroughly disappointed.  We were brought into a big room with LOTS of tables and chairs, very little to no atmosphere like the previous building had.  There were paintings on the walls which were good, but didn't do muich for me.  It felt more like we were eating at a McDonalds than Little Mexico. 

It had been so long since we were there that we forgot what it was that we really really liked from there, so we ordered "blind".  I got #18, a combination plate with an enchilada, tamale, and chimi, along with the standard beans and rice.  The food in general was good, but I've definately had better.  I didn't leave thinking about when the next time I would go back would be as I had done in the past. 

The chips and salsa were so-so, I remember the chips being warm before, but this time they weren't. 

All in all, I don't need to go back, there are many places closer and easier to get to that I enjoy more.  Disappointing because I remember LOVING going there, but I'll move on!

June 14, 2010

It's a process

Just wanted to start off with some cuteness!  See those top teeth on the girl, she actually is getting the other two next to them as well, crazy how old she looks, with teeth!  My kids have always gotten their teeth late, she wanted to break tradition though and got her first two about 6 months ago and has just had two bottom teeth since then.  Finally were getting more though!

No, onto the process.  My hair is COMPLETELY gone.
The steps of the process were this...
1) cut off enough for locks of love
2) cut and shave the rest
3) pull pieces out and notice spots of baldness
4) try combing it out (didn't work)
5) try washing it out (didn't work)
6) try clipping it out (didn't work, but did make it shorter)
7) press pieces of duct tape onto my head and pull them off, along with lot's of hair (Sarah & Amy were right on the uses of my duct tape, quite creative if you ask me)
8) this morning I took a razor to it (don't need it for my legs anymore, might as well get some use out of it)
9) I'm completely bald now!  FINALLY!

Many of you have figured out that today is also my birthday.  I don't like birthdays, actually they depress me a little.  I used to like them when I was a kid, but now they loose thier appeal.  Not because I'm a year older, ultimately that doesn't matter to me, but just because they are boring now.  No more balloons and streamers and cake.  Just another day.  I took the date off my facebook page thinking it would go unnoticed, but it didn't.  I appreciate all the birthday wishes despite my trying to hide it! Matt and I are going to be able to go out tonight for dinner (thinking Little Mexico maybe), something that we just have not have a chance to do in a very very very long time!

Chemo number 3 tomorrow, only 13 left after tomorrow.  I feel like I have a handle on what is going on now and don't feel like things are so unexpected anymore.  I know that on Thursday I probably will be very tired and not feel great, but other than that it's just being tired, but not to bad! 

When He formed me in my mothers womb God knew that this would be a path in my life, he knows what my tomorrow brings and he knows what my next year brings, I'm trusting in him, knowing that His way is the best way!

June 11, 2010

Brightening up this blog

Just thinking that this blog needs some happy stuff.  Some brightening.  Some pictures that is!
Lila LOVED her watermelon, just about as much as she loved her corn on the cob!
Landon doesn't get enough show time on this blog, so I had to add one of him!  He is almost done with baseball, he heads to camp next week, he has been going to the Edge (through the recreation department) 3 mornings a week and I'm sure once he remembers it he will also be going to the Bridge again.  Busy boy!
My nephew Parker had his first birthday last weekend, isn't he a doll???

And, last but certainly not least... I receive a LOT of cards and I cherish every one of them.  They make me smile, laugh and sometimes even cry.  I have saved them ALL in a hat box on my fireplace so that I can look at them if I'm feeling down.  Yesterday I received this card from my friend Ali... she didn't care that it wasn't my birthday, she just LOVED the card and thought it was the best one for me (the crown really sparkles):

And, on the inside she wrote her own little message, talk about "melt my heart" sweet:

Coming soon to a blog near you (this one):
a new use for duct tape.  Trust me, you will not want to miss this one!  Actually, let's make it a contest, first person to guess what my new use is get's a BIG (GIANT) Smiley face!  From me!  What a fabulous prize, huh?

June 10, 2010


WOW.  Yesterday was just the beginning.  Today my scalp started to feel tender and sure enough, clumps of hair were coming out.  Now, realize that I had to pull these clumps out, but anytime I grabbed a few pieces (hard b/c it was so short) and pulled they all came out.  I did this multiple times on the way home from the baseball game this evening adn when I got home I realized how dumb and spotty I looked.  So, I tried rubbing it to see if it would come out better.  Nope.  Next was a comb.  That didn't work either.  Next came the clippers, Matt shaved my head again.  But that just made the long ones shorter and the spots were still there.  Then I got in the shower and rubbed it with a washcloth.  Nothing.  It only seems to come out when it's pulled and now that it's so short I can't pull it very well.  I just put a bandana on so as not to scare visitors (that's you Laurie) and realized as I was tying it that it kind of hurt to have on.  My scalp actually hurts.  Very wierd.  I'm praying that it all just comes out soon and this part is over.  I'm not grieving over lost hair anymore, what I had was doing me no good anyway, I just want it GONE.

Now, when the eyebrows fall out, then I may grieve a bit more.  But until then, I'm good.  Nothing to complain about. 

I saw Dr Dodde today and got a little fill up.  I'm starting to see progress, but feel like there's a LONG way to go until I'm content (were not talking out of control here, just something natural).

I also started physical therapy today for my arm.  Wow, didn't realize I would hurt so bad afterwards.  It's not a terrible pain, it's just that I can tell I worked that muscle, along with the other muscles that are being stretched it's just a lot of upper body muscle pain!  Oh well, nothing a few pain pills won't help tonight.

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the one who makes me who I am. 
Philippians 4:13

June 9, 2010

Spoke to soon

Of course, I posted THAT to soon.  Today it started, there are little pieces of hair all over.  every time I rub my head more fall out!  Just thought I should pass that along after my post yesterday!

June 8, 2010

Hair today... AND tomorrow

Most of you have heard me complain about this already, so if that's the case, I apologize, I really try not to complain to much, but this I will complain about.  My hair has still not fallen out.  From my neck down it's definately thinned and slowed down in the growing process, but neck up it's all there.  Well, what was left of it after I had my time with the clippers at least.  We are 21 days into this already, I was GUARANTEED it would fall out by day 14.  100% guaranteed.  FOR SURE.  NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.  WHATEVER.

I think at one time I may have admitted that this was the one area I could have control, in most other areas I was ok to surrender control.  Ha!  Shouldn't have even tried to control this one little thing because God is just using it to teach me a lesson.  Let him steer the bike.  Granted, if my hair never falls out I will not be upset, just annoyed at myself for jumping the gun.  Soon it will be long enough to have in a short spiky hairstyle, which is SOOO not me, but could be fun for a little while.  Until it grows half way down my back again.  I'm sick of seeing commercials for shampoo.  Seriously, gorgeous hair, just flowing around and around and here I am... G.I. Jane.  Lovely!  Oh well, I'm letting it go.  I will {try} not to complain anymore about this!

Everything else has been going pretty smoothly around here.  As smoothly as it can go with all the kids home from school now.  It's always hard to adjust the first few weeks, and then again the first few weeks they are back at school are an adjustment as well, I don't mind having them home, we just need to work on a few rules and chores and charts or something. 

Lila is feeling MUCH better.  We went to get re-checked this afternoon and all looked good, they said to start weaning her on the breathing treatments so that was a good thing.  Although I will admit that I think she started to enjoy them, and I kind of did too.  We would turn on some bright colorful cartoons and just snuggle while the machine chugged along.  It's not often I get to snuggle with my girl anymore!

My energy level has been pretty good.  Today was a full day and I'm sure I will feel it and pay for it tomorrow.  I didn't really sit down until about 7:30 at a meeting at church for Landon.  This is two days in a row that I didn't take a nap.  That's big news even when I'm not taking chemo drugs, much less when I am!  :)  This is the same time last treatment though that I crashed.  I see the psychologist on Wednesday following my treatments and I pretty much had a breakdown last time, but it was after I had done way to much all at once, so I'm praying that I make it through my appointment tomorrow without breaking down again.  I think a good night sleep would help that a lot. 

My heart is heavy with prayer concerns tonight for others, and once again a few verses jumped out at me, one for myself:
Psalm 63:3-4 (The Message) In your generous love I am really living at last.  My lips brim praises like fountains.  I bless you every time I take a breath; my arms wave like banners of praise to you. 
I feel like through this whole process I am finally able to give God the praise he deserves in my life, just sad that it takes this to make me see him worthy of so much praise.
and one for myself and others:
Matthew 6:34 (The Message) "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
A great DAILY reminder!

June 4, 2010

Things are looking up

Today started off great, I was feeling much better when I woke up, I got to meet and visit with a new friend this morning, I had some energy to pick up the house a little, it was great! 

Lila on the other hand... woke up for the morning around 10am, not completely abnormal for her, but definately a little later than the usual.  She was back down for a nap by 11:30 and then I woke her up from her nap at 4pm so that we could head to the doctor.  She's been sleepling like this for a while and normally she will then go on to take an evening nap before heading to bed at 8:30.  I just wanted to have her checked out, I had heard a little wheezing yesterday and didn't want to go throughout the weekend like this. 

Luckily I got a nap this afternoon because it was a long evening.  We got to the doctor and they ended up doing a breathing treatment which made her sound a lot better, but still wanted to do some lab work and x-ray to check for pneumonia, so after the doctor we headed to the all to familiar hospital to have her poor arm poked (which she handled remarkably well) and her chest x-ray, we finally left the hospital at 6:30 and headed to Landon's baseball game and wait.  Wait for results. 

Thankfully Sarah took two of the younger kids for me while I was doing all of this, I can't imagine how much I would have been sweating if I had extra kids along, yikes.  Around 8:00 we got a phone call that all was well with the blood work and the x-ray and to just continue the breathing treatments at home for a few days (praise the Lord).  That should be fun, since she loves the treatments so much (much sarcasm intended).

I had been tossing around the idea of attending the relay for life survivor walk adn missing part of Landon's game prior to all of this doctor stuff, but that obviously wasn't meant to be, but I was definately thinking of all of my new and old friends that walked that lap, and those that weren't able to call themselves survivors.  Maybe next year. 

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Gabrielle today and my nephew Parker tomorrow!  I'm going to finish watching Whale Wars and then off to bed I go, it's been a long afternoon/evening/day!  Enjoy your weekend!

Oh yeah, and hair loss.  I STILL have not lost my hair (on my head), although I'm done shaving my legs (which cuts WAY down on shower time), if I don't loose my hair soon I might get really really upset, I cut it early I know, but good grief, it was supposed to fall out at 14 days not hold out for 17+ days...

June 3, 2010

A yuck day

It doesn't take much to get my spirits down.  After yesterday I was all happy-go-lucky, feeling great, but then this morning hit me like a ton of bricks.  Nausea like I haven't known in a LONG time, extremely tired, headache.  Just rough.  I'm trying not to let this feeling get me down, because so easily I could start feeling sorry for myself, but a reminder that it could be so much worse brings me back to reality (part way at least).  I was blessed enough to be able to nap for about 4 hours (yup, 4 hours) this afternoon and then again for another hour after dinner (did I mention how much I love my husband and friends for allowing me that time?)  Yet, after all of that rest, I'm still tired.  How could that be?  A good reminder would be this post, this is why I feel this way, and this is just how life is going to be for the next 5ish months.  Accept it and move on, deal with it day by day.  Lucky for me I have more good days than bad!

Psalm 29:11 says God makes his people strong.  God gives his people peace.

And, on a completely unrelated note: Whale Wars starts tomorrow on Animal Planet at 9pm.  I'm excited!  :)

June 2, 2010

2 down 14 to go

2 treatments down, now we only have 14 to go.  Good grief that sounds like a LOT.  But so far, so good.  I am maybe just a little queasy, but it hasn't stopped me from eating.  I did get a nap today which was so nice.  I am super tired again and will probably head to bed soon, but if tired is the worst of it, that's ok, I'll take it and deal with it with a smile on my face!  I actually slept last night as well, broken sleep but for the most part didn't have a problem falling back to sleep once I was awake!  Praise HIM!

I have another appointment with Dr Dodde tomorrow, I'm hoping to get a little fill up, just to see a little change would be fantastic!

Just wanted to update you all quickly, I'm sure I'll be back with more in a few hours (think 2am).