Turning 50 Isn't So Bad...

Turning 50 Isn't So Bad...
Thank you to all who sent cards, presents, and well wishes. My birthday was Sunday and I finally made it through all the cards today. I think we counted over 70 cards! I appreciate all of you! They made my days!

My parents came into town to help me celebrate and apparently it was too much for Devin to handle. The morning of my birthday Devin started having severe abdominal pains. They got worse as the day went on. He had these one other time about 19 years ago and it turned out to be Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. Needless to say our dinner plans got scrapped and my Mom and I took Devin to the ER where we spent the evening. The Dr gave him 2 prescriptions and said he needs to see a Gastroenterologist this week. He has an appointment today. The prescriptions have helped him keep the pain away the last two days.

So, we finally went to our favorite restaurant Epic Chophouse to celebrate me, last night. It was delicious!

On the chemo front, I seem to have some different symptoms everyday to deal with. The good news is the anti nausea drugs they gave me seem to work. That was a symptom that I haven't gotten. Mostly it is tingly and numb fingers and toes. I did have about three nights where I had some leg pain that kept me up but that thankfully has passed.

Starting tomorrow through Monday I will be hunkered down at home as that is when my white blood cell counts will be at their lowest. I will be the most susceptible to infection and disease. 

My next scheduled chemo infusion if my blood work is good next week will be February 15th.

1. That they can figure out what Devin needs to stop having these abdominal attacks
2. That I can stay healthy during my low white blood cell counts

1st Chemo is in the books...

1st Chemo is in the books...
So yesterday I had my first chemo treatment. It was a long day. I had to get up at 5:45AM to get to Charlotte by 7:45AM. Chemo started at 8:00AM and we finished about 4:15PM. The hardest part was that they had to stick me twice to get the IV in. Other than that everything went very smooth.

They gave my the Immunotherapy drug first, then all the pre chemo drugs and then finished up with 3 chemo drugs. If you are interested in the names refer back to my first blog post called  How I'm Beating Cancer. 

So far I am feeling really well. The best I have felt in a month. No nausea or anything. I have only been taking the anti nausea drug that is taken on day 2, 3 and 4 in the morning. They gave me 2 other anti nausea drugs to use as needed but so far I haven't needed them.

I've been told to expect my hair to fall out about day 7, so we will see. I have a few hats ready just in case. Also my white blood cells will bottom out at about day 10-14. Then they will rebuild until my next chemo treatment on February 8th.

  1. That I continue to feel well.
  2. That I stay healthy while my white blood cells bottom out. I can't ask my husband to not work during that time as he is our sole bread winner right now.

10 of 10 Radiation Treatments Done & What's Next...

10 of 10 Radiation Treatments Done & What's Next...
This week Monday and Tuesday I finished my last two radiation treatments. Just in time for some the radiations symptoms to kick in. I'm left with some irritated skin, irritated bowels and very tired. So rest has been my friend this week.

On Wednesday I had several appointments, one was with Palliative Care. They are helping me to manage all the many symptoms that I experience. In the afternoon I went and had my pre chemo blood work run and all of my labs looked great. After that we had an appointment with Dr Brown my oncologist. She reminded us yet again that this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. She had me set for chemo to start on 1/17. I went home to rest after all this as I was exhausted.

Thursday afternoon I got a call from Rose. She is Dr Brown's coordinator. They have to push out chemo another week, so now I will start on 1/24. The reason for this is that 2 of my 4 chemo drugs are very expensive and they need to have insurance prepay for them before they can be ordered. Since we have Samaritan Ministry a health share program we are classified as self pay. So they are trying to go through the individual manufactures to cover the costs. Apparently the paperwork is taking awhile to go through.

The rest of the week has been spent resting!

  1. That they would get the costs covered by the manufactures so I can start chemo on 1/24
  2. That my lingering radiation symptoms would clear up

8 of 10 Radiation Treatments Done!

8 of 10 Radiation Treatments Done!
Thank you for your continued support and kind words of encouragement. I appreciate all of you!

This week was pretty uneventful. Which I guess is a good thing. I had radiation treatments Tuesday thru Friday. Each day left me more and more tired. I feel like all I do sometimes is sleep. But I am reminded that healing happens when you sleep. So for now I sleep! 

  1. For our daughter, Kylie as she starts back in public high school after being homeschooled for the last 7 years. She is excited. This decision had come before we learned of my cancer diagnosis. In fact we signed her up to start this semester about 6 hours before we got my cancer diagnosis. God really does work in mysterious ways.
  2. For me to be less tired this week so I can get caught up on some things before I start chemo

4 of 10 Radiation Treatments Done

4 of 10 Radiation Treatments Done
Happy New Years Eve!

I wish I could say this last week was easy. It has been at times very trying. I do want to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate it!

 I started my radiation treatments on Tuesday and had one per day through Friday. The treatments themselves are very easy & quick. I'm only on the table about 2 - 3 minutes. It's the rest of the day that has been difficult at times. 

I slept all day after my 1st treatment & slept great that night too. I got up Wednesday morning and when I got out of the shower I almost dropped to the floor. I had lightening like pain shooting from my low back down my legs to my mid thigh area. After that the muscles felt really tight and stretching didn't seem to help. After my treatment that day I went to talk to the doctor about what I experienced. He said they call that a pain flair and he prescribed a new pain medication for me to try. He said that  about 30% of the people who start radiation have these. It seems we "angered it", causing some inflammation. It should get better as treatment progresses. So I went to fill my new prescription and headed home to rest. I slept most of this day too.

Thursday morning I woke up feeling nauseous and dizzy. To say Devin and I were a little worried is an understatement. None of the doctors warned about nausea during radiation so we were a bit confused as to what was going on. I managed to get myself ready and drive myself to treatment and I told them how I was feeling. After my treatment they walked me down to the nurses station and I spoke with a nurse about it and she prescribed another prescription to take away the nausea. I was feeling so lousy at this point I was willing to try anything that would help. So off to get the new prescription filled and the pharmacist told me that the main side effect of this drug is migraines. I thought, "are you kidding me. I am prone to migraines and I sure don't need one of those in the middle of this." So that prescription is sitting on my counter unopened for the time being. Meanwhile I think I figured out the the new pain prescription was causing me to be dizzy and nauseous so I stopped taking it. I rested a lot that day and was able to keep the pain to a minimum by just lounging around. Most of my pain is when I am standing and walking around.

Friday I woke up feeling much better and only took 1 pain pill to get me to treatment and back home. I layed down to take a nap when I got home and woke up with a headache. I didn't want it to turn into a migraine so I took one Tylenol and slept some more. It was gone when I woke up. Other than being tired a lot and having pain when being up and about I am doing pretty good now.

  1. For the swelling to come down to relieve some of the pain in my low back/pelvic area
  2. For next weeks treatments to go much better - no nausea or headaches
  3. For my appetite to return
PS.  I still have my hair. My good friend Valerie knitted me this hat & dropped it off today. I will most likely lose my hair with my chemo. So she is doing some knitting for me to keep warm!

How I'm Beating Cancer...

How I'm Beating Cancer...
This blog post has been hard for me to write. I have been struggling with it for four days now. I guess because once this is posted it makes it all VERY real. This is how we have chosen to keep those who are interested informed of my treatments, how I am doing and how you can pray for us. This has not been easy on my family as we have been through a lot this fall (a different family crisis) and adding another stress, somedays just feels like too much. We are all hanging in there and remaining positive. This is all we can do right now. We will get thru this. So here is what we know at this point. 

On December 6th I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. On December 7th I met with my GYN oncologist, who concurred with the original diagnosis. On December 19th my PET/CT scan showed metastasis to my lymph nodes (pelvic & along the spine in my abdomen), bones (sacrum, left ischium & right pubic), and my liver (I think 2-3 spots).

For now I am seeking treatment at Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte. The doctors, physician assistants and all staff that I have come in contact with have been some of the most kind humans I have ever met. They truly have made this difficult time a little more bearable.

Tomorrow I start my first of ten radiation treatments to the pelvic area. As long as nothing changes I am set to finish this on January 10th. They said that the most common symptom of this will be tiredness. In the last week I have been really tired. Most nights I fall asleep on the couch about 7:30, so this should be interesting.

After the radiation treatments I will be sent for chemo therapy. For those who want to know there will be 3 chemo drugs given via IV (Paclitaxel, Carboplatin, Avastin). They want to add an immunotherapy drug (Keytruda) also but I need to pass a pathology test first that will show that my body will accept the drug.  They will administer this cocktail once every 3 weeks. I do not have a start date for chemo yet and have no idea right now how many are planned.

We haven't been made aware of a lot of the extended treatment details as they have just been pushing me through all the different departments ASAP. It has been a whirlwind of appointments over the last two weeks.

Besides all this I have incorporated more targeted nutrition and supplements that help fight cancer. We will be looking into some other natural therapies to help support me through chemo when the time comes.

How you can pray for us
  1. that pathology test will show that my body will accept the immunotherapy
  2. that we can remain positive through this challenge
  3. my God is a big God full of miracles - complete healing
My plan is to keep you all updated here on my blog as things change. If I am unable I will have Devin post. Thank you to all my family and friends for keeping us in your prayers during this difficult time. We are extremely grateful for all of you.

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