Sunday, November 25, 2012

The calm before the storm...

This weekend has been great.

The time off from school has helped me catch up on my sleep (10-12 hours a day, oh yeah).

I feel like I have finally recovered from my sinus infection and now I am hoping not to get sick again anytime soon.

Thanksgiving was great. Great food that I was able to enjoy. The mashed potatoes I was in charge of turned out great and so did the pie.

Sweet, sweet cherry pie

We enjoyed hanging out with my family and Dan's mom. We watched old home movies and laughed at our awkward childhood years.

It was my Dad's 60th birthday on Friday and we had fun celebrating with him. He had presents to open first.

 Then he got to open his special present. My sister and I had sent out a letter to our friends and family asking for their memories of our Daddy. We got a ton of responses. Enough for the 60 envelopes we had planned to fill with the memories.

 What I wasn't expecting was how tickled Daddy would be by all the memories people had sent in. We laughed and cried at all the memories about Daddy. 

We heard all about how he was going to be a preacher when he was little, and about all the hilarious fraternity stories from his college years. We even got some pictures from family and friends that none of us had seen before.

 Daddy opened every single one and we got to hear all the stories behind the memories. 

It was great and I am so glad we did it. I learned a lot about my Dad this weekend and will never forget all his great stories! Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and sent us memories. It was greatly appreciated!

Dan had a gig Saturday and then we spent Sunday getting some stuff for my BIRF-DAY! 

This week is the last calm time we have for awhile. Next week we have to get ready for the party, clean the house, set up for my school concerts, have 2 concerts at my school and then celebrate my big 3-0! 

So we will enjoy this calm before the storm and enjoy our week off.

But I am getting very excited about celebrating with our friends on my BIRF-DAY! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So much to be thankful for...

Here is the obligatory "thankful" post before Thanksgiving. 

I have so much to be thankful for that I have to put it in list form:

1. I do NOT have to go to chemo this Wednesday!!!!!

2. I will not have to radiation. 

3. I am in remission from cancer.

4. This whole journey has brought Dan and I closer together. When I am around him I don't feel "sick", I feel like his Julia.

5. I never lost all my eyelashes or eyebrows (just most of them)

6. That 2012 is almost over! (I have never wanted a year to end so badly)

7. I get to have my port removed on December 27th. No cancer things allowed in 2013.

8. That we have such amazing friends and supportive family that have been there to carry us when we could no longer stand.

9. I have a homey house to live in which now has a gorgeous deck outside of it.

10. We are going to have a great Christmas season with people with love.

So yes, mostly a cancer related thankful list, but really cancer has been with us since May. 

2012  has been spent fighting cancer and surviving cancer. I am hoping cancer however will never take up this much time or energy in our lives ever again.

We are spending Thanksgiving with my family over in Indiana. We have hosted the past 3 years, but figured this year we would be pregnant so we scheduled Thanksgiving over at my parents long ago. We are still glad we did that, but now it is for a different reason.

I am in charge of bringing pie and mashed potatoes. Since I haven't cooked since I started chemo I may be a little rusty in the kitchen. I am looking forward to it though. I love to cook, especially in the fall and winter when it is all about comfort food. I am hoping after Thanksgiving to make more of a permanent fixture of myself in the kitchen as well as the gym.

I am meeting with Dan's personal trainer after Thanksgiving to start a "hey you are done with chemo but now need to get all strong and hot" workout. Hopefully I won't throw up! :)

So a lot to look forward to and be thankful for. 

More than we could have ever thought when 2012 began.

P.S. The hair shampoo may be working!
November 17th :)
October 10th


Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick, Sick, Sick

Well I missed my first day of school since starting this whole cancer journey.

I am bummed!

I was always so happy to tell my oncologist that I wasn't missing work and that the only days I missed were treatment days.

A lot of people take time off work during chemo, because of energy levels and all the germs you have to worry about. I would lose my mind though if I had to stay home all the time. And I really haven't felt that bad! The chemo I am going through is not too hardcore and we knew I only had to do it for 4 months.

Well now I am done actually! :)

Problem is a sinus infection took me down. I started feeling poorly last week during my last chemo. Luckily everything was still a go and we got to finish, which felt soooo good! 

When I got back to school on Thursday I had more surprises waiting for me. The staff and students of my school wore purple for me and made me a big banner.

Yay purple!

All the kids signed my banner outside my room.
Sorry about the name. I figured maybe a few people don't know my last name yet!

One of the teachers made me this!

So it was a great Thursday and I continued to wear the purple as well!

Our weekend was good though we kept it pretty low key since I was starting to feel more and more sick. Sunday we went to our friend's one year old birthday party, which was a first for Dan and I. It was an experience but we had fun. I ended the party curled up with one of my favorite kids. 


By the time we got home though I was coughing non-stop. I took a whole bunch of meds and hoped I would feel better in the morning. Not the case, but luckily my school found me a sub. 

I spent the day in bed after calling my oncologist and asking for some drugs. Bonus if you have cancer! No more convenient care and waiting in line hoping for antibiotics. I called the doctor and 2 hours later had a prescription for a z-pack waiting for me at Walgreens. Sweet! Mucinex-D has also been my best friend and I got some vick's vapor rub in case I was really feeling old school tonight.

My plan is to conquer school again tomorrow. I have a very short time left before our Christmas concerts and I am already starting to feel behind in preparation.

P.S. I got my new LUSH shampoo bar today that is supposed to help with hair growth. I am excited!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I did have treatment today.

I am all done. Forever and ever. Amen.

Dan did an awesome post below with all the pictures that people sent to me. I was astounded, amazed and some other "a" word. So many people sent me pictures. So many people rocked purple today!

He did a neat layer on effect of all the pictures we received first and then made collages since we had so many. 

Some things I want to point out about some of the pictures:

My staff at school rocked the purple! My college roomate (and awesome friend) Kate had each of her classes wear purple and took pics of each. Dan and his best friend had t-shirts made that said "Real Men wear Violet". He came out of our bedroom wearing it this morning and totally surprised me. My mom dyed her hair purple! That's right, purple! And if you know my mother even an inkling you should know that she isn't the type of person to dye her hair a crazy color. But that's my mom and she is awesome.

I rocked purple myself today and got lots of compliments even on my purple nail polish.

Ahhhh yeah!

So thank you so much to Dan for putting together all the collages and thank you to all of you for wearing purple, supporting Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and MAKING MY DAY!    <3     :)

Little Purple House On The Prairie


You guys take your internet assignments seriously.
I'm about as sensitive as scrooge mcduck and I was getting pretty misty at all the purple shirts I saw.

Two Words:
Thank You.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holding our breath

Tomorrow is supposed to be my LAST chemo.

I say "supposed to be" because I am sick. Not fall down sick, not run a temperature sick, but a nice cold. I have a lovely sounding cough and runny nose. I could blame Dan for getting me sick (and believe me, he already blames himself), but I am a teacher and exposed to all kinds of fun germs. We knew it was going to happen. Especially since we stopped doing the white blood cell booster.

But it's ok. 

As long as they don't delay my chemo. 

Right now I have been waking up at night in a panic. I thought I was having bad dreams, but it is really my anxiety about my doctor postponing my last treatment. I wake up thinking I have missed something or messed up and I can no longer have my treatment.

If I do have my treatment tomorrow this weekend will suck. BUT! I will be fine by Thanksgiving. I will be great by Christmas. And I will be able to party hard on New Years. All of these things I am looking forward to. All of these events I want to feel NORMAL for again. Not tired, not nauseous, not bald. Normal.
I think I look a little less bald though!
Present Day...

This is my "hair" back in September.

I want to have energy again to go to the gym. I miss the gym! I haven't gone since I started chemo in July due to energy levels and all the extra germs. 

As chemo has gone on I have noticed a pattern. I lose and gain about 10 pounds during the 2 weeks after chemo. The first week, everything tastes off and metallic and I stop eating. The second week I am starving all the time and everything sounds great (thanks steroids)! My weight though has pretty much stayed the same, but I feel so lethargic since I used to spend most of my time at the gym.

So I started running.
It is cold, but not too cold to run!

I don't like running. It is not my friend. But I started a Couch to 5k program and have been running now for 2 weeks. I figure that since I can't go to the gym yet and I can't really help what I am eating at the moment, I can at least do something to start getting back in shape.

Dan has been joining me most nights. We enjoy running together and he can at least carry on a conversation while I huff and puff beside him. It is also nice to do when I am jacked up on steroids since I sleep better after running.

I plan on doing the program 2 or 3 times to get ready to run a 5k in April that Dan wants to do.

But tonight and tomorrow morning I will be holding my breath and praying that we get to end this journey and move on. You can be sure that we will have a little party during my last chemo with the nurses and doctors. There may even be donuts! :) 

I will be wearing my purple tomorrow and may even find a purple shirt for Dan to wear. If you wear purple, send me a text or email! I would love to see it!

Monday, November 5, 2012



  I can think of exactly one regular reader who will understand that.  So don't panic.  I will explain.  I started learning a little bit about writing code for work about a year and a half ago.  The really neat thing about programming languages, and computers in general, is that when you break it down to the smallest parts; they are very simple.  In fact, the statements I wrote above would probably be clear after the simplest of tutorials in computer logic.  Let's go step by step.

The "if" statement is straightforward.  If there is a green light, you go.  The "else" statement is also straightforward, but it's trickier to read.  It simply means "if that IF statement above is false, do this down here instead!"

I can still think of only one regular reader who understands it now.  Here it is in english.

If there is cancer; julia is.  If there is no cancer; julia is.

  I am a very logical thinker.  It's probably my greatest fault.  I like things to make sense.  I assume that everything has a condition that makes it true.  The sun will rise, and the leaves will always blow from my neighbors yard in to my own.  It is silly but this kind of thinking gives me comfort.  If all these different ideas can have these "true" states, then perhaps there is a global equation that ties them all together.  Some sort of greater good, or even that elusive idea of "right."  I don't have the answer but it does help me to defend my own pursuit of perfection.

  This sort of thinking worked.  It guided my actions and decisions for a long time. It still does.  But to be completely frank, Julia screwed it all up.  Meeting Julia was the first time I had considered that I might not only be wrong, I might be REALLY wrong.

  Julia is not a logical thinker.  Yet it would not be fair to just say she is an emotional thinker.  It's astoundingly more complex than that. You see according to my thinking, and computer programming, the parenthesis and the semi colon mean something.
It means that there is something inside julia that does something based on whats given to her.  And what the logical mind wants to do is to figure that all out.  I want to know the exact blueprint that goes from ziplock-bag-full-of-red-skittles to gigantic-smile.  (julia likes the red skittles).  I'd also like to know why she thinks the top of the dryer is an appropriate place to leave dryer lint.  

You want to know what she is trying to figure out?
The perfect outfit for her upcoming birthday party.
The perfect activity for all her guests at her upcoming birthday party.
The perfect "house cocktail" to serve to her guests at this upcoming birthday party.

She's got cancer and she's planning the world's greatest party.

I really want you to think about that for a minute.  She is so not concerned about this silly disease that she is picking out the best nail polish to go with her invitations to the world's greatest birthday party.  Spoiler alert, it's the one with the most sparkles.

You would be amiss to pass this off as foolish, childish, or selfish.  Even at an event that historically celebrates her, she is most concerned with providing a great time for her guests.  That, is probably the best "definition" there is for julia.  Giver of gifts, and provider of good times.

So back to the computer programming idea.  Since we said "if there is, or isn't cancer, julia will still be there" we have really opened the doors for anything.  If there isn't cancer it could be a rhinocerous, or a new car, or anything else.  It could just be life.

So I'd like to amend that piece of code at the beginning.


  It's a little simpler that way.
  But there is more.

  Since we (I) have established that the definition of julia is parties and good times I would like to take it one step further


  I really hope this doesn't sound like a trite rehash of ferris bueller's famous soliloquy about "life moves pretty fast."  What I'd really wish to impart is that I'm somewhat grateful for this cancer.  It has shed new light on the equations I form in my head and also helped me to redefine my view of julia.  This new view encompasses the idea that maybe things don't need to be broken down to their smallest elements to understand them.  I can just accept them as they are and probably get the exact same result.

  I know that julia and I get to spend future days worrying about more cancer or more life, but it's comforting to know that as long as life is still happening there is still a party to plan.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yay Halloween!

Today was crazy/good!

The kids at school are always a little crazy for Halloween. They are so excited about dressing up and candy and their class parties and then our concerts that their little heads seem they will BURST from excitement!

Everyone did so well at the nursing home and bank and the parents seemed to really love the songs.

After school I ran home and baked some snickerdoodles for our friend's Halloween party. We hung out with everyone, ate some good food and took the kid's trick or treating to a few houses around the neighborhood. 

It was really nice.

Did I mention who I went as this year??

Mary Poppins!

I have been showing my student's the movie in class so they would know who I was. It seemed to be a big hit this year.

Only 1 more week till my LAST CHEMO!

Can you tell I'm excited?? I am afraid I may have pushed myself too hard this weekend because Monday at school I was so sick. I had to go home early and just sleep the rest of the day and try not to think about food. Tuesday though I felt a lot better and I got through today without any problems!

I have parent/teacher conferences Thursday night and Friday and then a whole weekend off with DAN!

We do have to rake some leaves, but we are also going to try out a few bakeries around town to see who could do a dessert bar for my birthday party.

That's right! A DESSERT BAR! Have I told you yet about how awesome my 30th birthday/no mo' chemo party is going to be?! We got Laser Tag, Karaoke, food, dessert bar, signature cocktail....The works!

I am very excited about it already even though it isn't till December. It will be a month after my last chemo and the longest I will have gone without doing chemo, so the perfect time to celebrate!

I already picked out my purple outfit for next Wednesday as well as a cool new nail polish. 
Oh yeah!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chemo #7- DONE!

We are so close right now I can taste it!

The downer attitude I had last week has slowly faded away. We are no longer concerned about me getting sick from Dan or feeling awful because Rowland upped my Vinblastin dose. 

By Wednesday of this week I was feeling back to normal and felt great over this past weekend.

Dan and I enjoyed our weekend together and did all kinds of fun things. 

When we went in for chemo today I felt like such a veteran of all this. All the nurses and doctors know us and say hi. We know what to bring now to entertain us for the 6+ hours that we are there. And now we get to tell everyone we only have 1 treatment left!

When Rowland saw us today he was pretty happy with my liver counts and could live with my white blood cell count. We took that to mean I was within the normal range for my white blood cells even though I didn't get a booster shot last time. 

Also since Dan didn't get me sick we figured I must have not bottomed out on my white blood cells like I have before.

When we went back to the infusion room though the nurses were in a tizzy. They didn't like my numbers at all and couldn't understand why Rowland wasn't ordering a booster shot for this time or how come I was even getting treatment. 


I really didn't want to put off treatment since that would change my plan to finish on November 7th so we held our breath as they went back and forth with Rowland about the plan.

In the end Rowland won and I got my treatment, again with no booster. The reasoning behind it is that the booster shot would interfere with the chemo treatment so Rowland really doesn't want to use it unless he completely has to.

Which is just fine with us. We don't want to ever step through the infusion suite door again. We know we will have to stop by and see Rowland every 3 months for awhile, but never stepping into the chemotherapy room again would be awesome.

Dan won't miss it either.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pink, Pink, Everywhere

The email I just received has pushed me over the edge.

Panera just sent me an email about their "Pink Ribbon Bagel".

Aren't there other cancers out there?!?!

I know Hodgkin's Lymphoma is not very common, but I haven't met anyone who hasn't known someone that has had it.

But everywhere I look everyone is promoting pink. If it brings more attention to cancer in general, then great. However, it isn't the only cancer that affects women. 
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women but it isn't the most deadly.Actually lung cancer is the most deadly cancer to women. Skin cancer is the most common overall. 

Dan agrees.

Maybe breast cancer is so popular  because boobs are cool. Everyone likes them. Half the population has them. September was Hodgkin's Lymphoma month. And yet no NFL players were wearing purple shoes. I didn't get any emails from Panera about their Purple Ribbon Bagel.

Right now, with how I am feeling, I would love for everyone to show their support for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  If you read my blog (obviously right, since you are reading this) will you wear purple to support Hodgkins? 

How about on my last treatment day, November 7th? I would love to get a photo or a text or an email with you showing off your purple. And if you would let me I will post the pics on my blog and spread the word about Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And maybe next September when this is all over with and worries are far from our minds we can wear purple again and bring more awareness to not just pink, but cancer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better and Worse

So the better things:

I have my energy back (mostly) and while I don't LOVE food at the moment, I at least like it.
The horrible heartburn and burning tongue have gone away. 

School has been great, the kids are so looking forward to our annual Halloween concert. It's our first concert of the year, but it is just the younger grades so it's is usually ridiculously cute.
The kids dress up and go to the town's nursing home and local bank, sing their songs and get lots of candy. It is great practice for singing in front of an audience and makes a great first concert for the little Kindergartners.

And the worse things:

Dan has a full blown cold. Boo! He has taken to sleeping on the couch so he doesn't cough all over me at night. So far, knock on wood, I haven't felt like I was catching anything.

I called my fertility doctor yesterday to get the low down on our next step. I figured we would get started before Christmas with tests, ultrasounds and getting this show on the road! 

Unfortunately she doesn't want to see me till March. 

Womp womp.

She wants me to stay on birth control till the first of the year to make sure all the chemo is out of my system and then wait for that to get out of my system before we do tests.

So it will be March before we can go in for tests to make sure my body hasn't shut down the baby making factory (sorry).

So some better and some worse.

I am looking forward to this weekend though. Dan will be home the whole weekend. We have NO PLANS! I know! I know! 

So we are going to do all kinds of fun things like get coffee Saturday morning and maybe visit some animal shelters (yay!) and then Sunday we will make a ton of really bad-for-you-food and watch football! 

So I am very excited about that and we will work on looking forward to all the great things coming to us in 2013.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not such smooth sailing

The chemo this time hasn't been as nice as before. 

I felt ok Thursday and Friday, though extra tired. Saturday I had some trouble with nausea, heartburn, the usual. Just more so than usual. 

Today has been long. I haven't wanted to do much and I haven't been hungry at all. Mostly laying on the couch with Dan worrying over me. 

It definitely isn't as bad as the first chemo though and for that we are thankful.

Dan has a little bit of a sore throat so of course we are both freaking out that he is going to get me sick. But at this point, there isn't a lot we can do and there is no point worrying about it. I'll keep my room at school sanitary and hope that I still have enough of an immune system to fight off what Dan has.

November 7th is still my day. It is still the day I keep in my mind when I don't feel well and when I tell myself I just want this to be over. 

As my dad always says, you can do anything for 4 weeks.

And I have to say thank you to everyone for your emails, notes and prayers. It has been great to have such support surrounding us, and I feel I can never thank everyone enough. But I will try.

Another cake I made! I was pretty proud of this one. It was chocolate
with swiss meringue buttercream icing. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Everyday I'm Strugglin'

I had treatment number six today. Only 2 left!

Dr. Rowland increased the vinblastin (the "V" in ABVD) to 75% since I have been handling the chemo so well. It has been at 50% since my first chemo. We are also not doing a white blood cell booster this time. My counts have been really good, even high at times, so we are going to see how I do without the booster. Needless to say I am a little nervous since we are getting really close to having the same treatment I did for my 1st chemo. You remember the first chemo. It went HORRIBLY! So I am hoping to keep up my liquids and cross my fingers that I will still feel well. Struggling with my desire to be cancer free and not put any more freakin' chemicals in my body!

Dan made meme.

Dan and I love listening to This American Life and this past weekend featured part of a stand up bit by comedian Tig Notaro.  Tig was recently diagnosed with some pretty vicious breast cancer.  She also lost her mother and she walked on stage to talk about it.  Aside from being courageous she very eloquently summarized all the emotions you find in cancer.

It is tense, uncomfortable, and if you're honest with yourself it is also funny.  Laughing while crying is an interesting life experience. We have done a lot that too during this whole journey.
Here is a link where you can listen to an excerpt of her bit.
Just click on Act One and it will begin to play.

If you want to hear her entire set Louis CK is selling it on his personal site.  It's only $5.

Ok, now I'm done with my little PSA.

We will not have a CT scan until 6 months after chemo is over. Having to wait 6 months before my first scan to make sure the cancer hasn't come back seems long. I also would not be able to have a scan while pregnant  Sigh. 

If the IVF had worked I would be busy planning a nursery or painting furniture for the new nursery. I wouldn't think twice about getting pregnant right after chemo either since we would have had an egg on ice ready to go. Instead of looking forward to that though I have to question when my body will ever be ready to have kids. Have I hit menopause? Is it too late? We are still worried about whether or not I have started menopause due to the chemo. We can do some tests as soon as I am done with chemo. Even if I have already started menopause it is sometimes reversible later on.

I am also struggling with the excitement of having only 2 treatments left and the weariness I feel about it all. I hate everything. My chemo clothes, my chemo bag, my lack of hair. Tired of being bald, tired of being tired, tired of feeling weaker and weaker. Tired of not being able to drink a glass of wine (we are too worried about my liver), tired of feeling unnaturally hungry at times (damn anti-nausea drugs), tired of how manic I feel (steroids). I'm sure Dan is tired of me being a crazy, bald lady with weird food cravings too.

Though maybe not as bald as before???

I am trying to look forward to things to keep my mind off of these last few weeks of chemo. Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday/no'mo'chemo party. 

Those are all fun things I can look forward too.

We had a great time this weekend too. Wisconsin was great, the weather was perfect and it was so pretty with the fall colors.

Sunset and windmills

It was great to see our friends and hangout. It was also great to hangout with Dan since he has been so busy with gigs. He is luckily a little less busy in October and November, but we do like it when he is busy because this is what he does. Being married to a musician is a lot of fun and a whole bunch of long nights. More for him than me, but I always like having him home. 

Turns out that chemo is actually really boring

A recent study showed that a majority of side effects experienced by chemotherapy patients are actually attributed to boredom and not the toxicity levels caused by the medications.

Some of these side effects may involve house shopping, clothes shopping, and puppy shopping.

After about 40 minutes of waiting Julia and I shared a brief quibble over the pros and cons of a house for sale. Being the logical man I am, I decided to end the conversation with this gem:

Me: "We're not even house shopping anyway."

Julia: "I have to look at something Dan. Either puppies or houses."

Me: "Houses."

Julia: "Puppies it is!"

Me: .......

Julia: :-D

Number six today. Only two more after this.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Keepin' Busy

Well it has been a great weekend. 

Chemo hasn't got me down too bad this time. My worst day was actually Wednesday, the day of treatment. I didn't drink enough while getting my drugs and felt a little worse for wear by Wednesday evening.The rest of the week has gone great though. 

I also think that our good news on Wednesday has really helped me be OK with the rest of treatments too. I have such hope now that everything is going to be alright and this is just a minor hiccup in our lives. The hope and the joy we got from the cancer being completely gone has really carried me through this chemo treatment and I feel will carry me through the last 3 as well.

So it was a normal weekend around here. Dan was gone at a gig all day Saturday and today his band is recording some songs to put together a better impression of what the band sounds like for their website. If you ever need a rockin' band for a party or wedding keep The Shenanigans in mind!

The band does wear suits but they are also really good!

So since Dan was gone I did my usual errand running and decorated the house some for Halloween. I am way more excited about holidays this year than I normally am. Not that I usually don't like the holidays or decorating for them. This time around though, each holiday that comes my way is something I can look forward to and have fun with. So I am doing just that.

Spider webs are my favorite

I love my new little owl on the left hand side 

Spider rings and magnets on our yellow door and a wreath
made of plastic snakes and grapevines.

I have also been insisting to Dan that my hair has been growing. He doesn't really see it yet, but I have also been trying a all natural hair growth treatment. It has avocado, honey, coconut and olive oil. It is all I am willing to try right now until my chemo is done, but I am hoping to have enough hair by Christmas to go without a scarf or wig.

We'll see how it goes!

Next weekend we are going on a mini-vacation with some friends to Wisconsin. I am excited to spend some time with Dan and friends doing a bunch of nothing!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chemo #5 and Good News

We have finally started to breathe again.

We have been holding our breath since Monday after my mid-way PET scan. In all actuality we have really been holding our breath since July and my first chemo treatment.

All of the toxins, all of the stuff I have been going through, was it going to be worth it? Were we killing the cancer or was it still growing inside me? Would I need radiation or just chemo?

Just a reminder, here is where I had cancer showing up in the first PET scan:

Lots of cancer and awesome MS Paint skillz

So here we are at the big mid-way scan. I got my blood drawn this morning and then went to see Dr. Rowland. We barely let him get in the door before we started asking how the PET scan looked. He read the findings out loud to us. All of the cancerous cells have disappeared and the tumors in my chest aren't even there any more at all. Everything. Gone.

No more cancer.

I immediately began to cry and Dan wrapped me in a big bear hug right there in Dr. Rowland's little office.

The Dr. went on to explain we would finish out the chemo which is the bare minimum of chemo you can get and then we would be done. No radiation.

Dan and I couldn't contain our smiles and tears. We were just so happy that this was going to be done soon. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Dan has been saving this meme for awhile now

Now I only have 3 chemo treatments left. 3 sounds like such as do-able number. We have noticed however that its taking me longer to start feeling 100% again after treatments. Nausea is lasting a little longer. Exhaustion sets in a little more quickly than B.C. (before cancer). I also had some lost feeling in my right finger tips after the last chemo. That luckily faded after a few days, but that is also a side effect from chemo.

So only 3 left, but those 3 may be the hardest yet. We'll see. 

I feel pretty good after my treatment today and just ate some dinner (potato soup!). 

I think I might need a new t-shirt:
Maybe I could find one that says "butt" so I can wear it to school.
Though my kids are pretty sensitive to the word "butt" too.

We also asked Dr. Rowland about how long we would need to wait after treatment to get pregnant. I had in my mind that he had said 6 months or that our previous oncologist had said 6 months. He told us today though that we only would need to wait 4-6 weeks. This news almost made me as excited as the cancer being gone.

When times get really tough and I start to feel down about this whole cancer thing I imagine myself pregnant. With really short hair! That always makes me feel better.

Results are in from Pet Scan

Zero Cells lit up with the radioactive indicator.

All lymph nodes have resumed normal size.

Everything is working

Couldn't be more relieved.
-the editor

P. S. Will post more info later. But the cancer is all gone!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mid-way PET scan

PET scan #2 was today.

It was a crazy day actually.

We had an appraisal scheduled today for our house. We are trying to refinance our mortgage to save some money. So the appraiser was going to show up at 8am and my PET scan was at 10am. Not a big deal really until we got a note on our door Sunday night telling us that our sewer lines were going to be worked on Monday as well.

So no water. All day. Monday.


This made things very interesting. Luckily Dan's mom only lives a mile away from us and she is out of town right now so we were able to use her shower this morning.

I head over to Carle for the PET scan with already a ton of butterflies in my stomach. I have my iPod and took a xanax this morning but worry it wasn't enough to beat the "little tube" that is the scan.

I sit for an hour in a comfy recliner drinking the lovely day-glo contrast liquid again. I also am shot up with radioactive sugar again to help all the cancer cells glow. By the time I need to go in the scan room I am feeling more calm until I see the machine.

That damn machine.

This one is backwards, they actually put me in head first. I think that makes it worse too.

So 30 minutes in this thing. I have my iPod blaring and I just keep my eyes shut so I don't see how close the tube is to my face.

A few times I think I'm going to call it quits, but I go back to focusing on my "This American Life" episode. 

After what seems like forever, its over! It definitely wasn't easier, but at least I got through it.

Now we wait for the results. Easier said than done.

by Dan 

We will find out the results on Wednesday with Dr. Rowland. So really not that long to wait but entirely too long with everything riding on these results.

We are holding our breath.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Still Truckin'

Well the dreaded "red devil" has not got me down!

I have had a great and very productive weekend. Felt pretty much the same as every other chemo. A little crazy while taking my steroids, a little tired when I'm not. Some nausea, but staying on top of the Zofran takes care of that.

Dan was gone all weekend at gigs so my mama came over to hang out with me and make sure I drank my water and ate something.

She may have gone a little overboard with making me drink!

We ran errands on Saturday, made some dinner and Sunday we spent the day painting outdoor furniture.

Ever since I got this great new deck this summer I have been wanting to outfit it with some great furniture. Problem is outdoor furniture is EXPENSIVE! So 6 cans of spray paint later, I have "new" deck furniture!

Check it:






Ahhhhhh! The deck is feeling complete!

So a big thanks to my mama for helping me paint a TON of furniture. I am getting ready to have a late dinner with Dan and then some lesson planning for the week.

By the way, mid-way PET scan is scheduled for September 24 at 10am. Your positive thoughts, prayers and good vibes are welcome any time. I already feel like I am holding my breath.