Monday, September 29, 2008

Bad News

The cancer has spread to my sternum. There is also some small specks in my lung. We are in shock this afternoon and have very heavy hearts. We just want a break - some good news.

I will no longer start with chemotherapy. The first objective is to hit the sternum with radiation therapy, and to shut my ovaries down with drug therapy. We will learn more once we meet with the radiation oncologist - hopefully by the end of the week.

I pray:
God, I know you hear our prayers. And although they are not being answered the way we are praying, we know you are in control. Lord, please allow the radiation to kill the cancer in my sternum, allow the drugs to quickly shut down my ovaries, and remove the specks in my lungs. Give us hope and understanding in this time of no understanding, and bless me with a long quality of life with Carman. May you grant us this time together here on earth to glorify you. And if it is your will is to take me home early, please provide peace to those who love me.

Lord, I pray for my family and friends who do not know you. May they too accept Christ into their lives so they can be assured of eternal life - I want to see them in heaven.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Still Waiting

Yesterday (Sept 25) my sister-in-law Becky and I set our alarms for 6:30am to have my CT scan at 7:45am. They give you a large plastic cup (about 1L) full of water and some type of 'magic potion' to drink within 20 minutes. You have a choice of cold or luke warm and array of drink crystal flavors. Although I like the taste of cherry, I opted for a plain luke warm water mixture (thinking it would be the easiest to chug back if it was really disgusting). In true type A personalty fashion, I chugged 'er back (using a straw) in probably less than 2 minutes.

Yes, Becky sat wide-eyed and said "you don't waste any time". I sure don't!

Later in the day I went for chemo training. The room was full (probably about 30 people). The training actually made me feel a bit less overwhelmed. They provided a lot of resources and advised the majority of people get through it pretty well. My goal: get it in, get it out! Fluids, Fluids, Fluids and Fiber, Fiber, Fiber.

Earlier this year I opened up the Yellowpages in search of acupuncture treatment. I chose Andrea by her ad, and I am sure glad I have her in my life. She is going to help keep my liver functioning well and to help with any side-effects I may experience from chemo. I pray I one of 'those' who gets through chemo with relative ease.

Today we met with Dr. Joy. We were very disappointed that he did not have my bone scan results or my blood tests. While we spoke he had his staff call the Red Deer Imaging Centre and had the report sent over. Unfortunately, they reported a small area on my sternum, but the good news is it preliminary advised that the area is not consistent with malignant cancer. Dr. Joy needs to review the actual images, and have the team of doctors determine if it is cancer, and if not, what is it? The first glance at the CT scan showed nothing, but they will look closer at this particular area. He is calling me Monday.

Please pray with us that this area of concern is NOT CANCER!!!!!

The pain I was feeling in my chest and back is down considerably, but I am still having discomfort. I am giving Praise to God for taking away the pain. Dr. Joy advised nothing showed up on my back so the pain must be muscle related. Dr. Joy gave me permission to load-up on 'drugs' and try and get this sorted out before chemo starts. Yeah, I can take Advil again!!!

A guy I met down at the dog park years ago came to our house to take some pictures of me. I had a goal of getting my website ( up and running by the end of the year, but quickly realized good photo ops will be slim for the next year with the 'baldness', so I had some pictures taken. I wanted to post one of the pictures Tim took so we can all remember what I REALLY look like. Should I be able to proceed with the chemo protocol for breast cancer (that it hasn't spread to the bone), one of the drugs will strip me of all body hair. I will look like the female Michelin Man. Just remember, these drugs can eradicate cancer from my body. I am choosing health over hair. Not having to shave my legs kind of sounds like a good thing to me!!

Your support means so much to Carman and I. This process has been so much easier due to your prayer support. We feel the hand of the Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bone Scan - Sept 23/08

This morning I had my bone scan. I first arrived at 8:30am to have something radioactive injected into my hand. I guess I should share with you that my right arm is now off limits from needles and pressure cuffs for life. Unfortunately, my right arm was much better at providing an injectible vein than my left arm. Chemo should prove to be interesting - I may have to get a port surgically implanted to elevate them digging around with a needle.

At 11am I returned for the actual scan. They lay you on a table which has a box less than 1m sq then scans the body from head to toe. I am known to have problems with chlosterphobia, so when I opened my eyes and saw I was confined, I had the urge to panic a bit. Then I prayed for peace and it came.

My friend Sharon e-mail me right before I left and advised me to bring a CD to listen to. Thanks for the advice! I brought my African Women's music and I daydreamed I was backpacking in Africa with Carman.

Last night I was in chest and back pain. I got very overwhelmed and had a down moment. I cancelled going to my women's group because I was in pain, and I just couldn't face the topic we are discussing - Eternity. I have been know to say I am looking forward to death. One day in heaven is more glorious than a thousand elsewhere - who wouldn't want to go there. But when you are faced with a potentially life threatening illness, Eternity is a much more emotional subject. Today I am feeling much better emotionally and mentally.

I feel optomistic in God's plan for my life. He is way better at planning and the details than I could ever be, and I am certain his plan is even better than anything than I could ever dream of.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cross Cancer Institute

Yesterday and today we were at the Cross. The pathology report came back that the tumor was 2.7cm and estrogen, progesterone and HER2 positive. They removed 15 nodes and 6 of them were cancerous. In a nutshell, my cancer is very aggressive and fueled by hormones. It was a very emotional couple of days for Carman and I. If the cancer has not attacked my bones, my treatment schedule will be 6 treatments of chemo (1 day every 3 weeks). After chemo I would then have 5-6 weeks of radiation which is every weekday. Six months of Hercpetion by IV will continue for 6 months after the chemo (this to to fight the HER2) and five years of Tomoxifen. They would like to see Chemo start on Sept 29th. I have been given the chance to enter into a study. Carman and I are interested, but we need to weigh out this opportunity. There is only a 50% chance I would have the drug they are testing. We both however like the idea of getting the chemo in Red Deer. It would allow us to maintain a better sense or normalcy (which is changing fast enough).

If the cancer has gotten into my bones, than a totally different treatment plan would be devised. If I just have breast cancer than I have a chance at a cure. If it has spread to my bones than it is treatment for survival.

I am concerned it may have reached my bones. It was back and chest pains that caused me to find the lump. PLEASE pray the bone scan on Tuesday does not show anything and that this pain is strictly muscular. I also have a CT scan on Thursday to check for spreading.

To be perfectly honest, I am not afraid of dieing, I am more afraid of not being able to live a quality life. By inviting Christ into my life I know I have eternal life in a glorious place. I pray God grants me a long life here on earth with Carman - I want to grow old with him.

It gives us great comfort knowing we have such great prayer support.

My Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me the blessing of healing. Lord protect my bones and internal organs and provide a cancer free bone scan. Give me the strength to endure the chemo and radiation, and use this technology to free me from cancer. You are my ultimate physician and I place my body in your hands. You are faithful and sovereign and have a plan for my life. May I never forget in this battle set before me that you love me greater than any other, and that you hear my prayers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Church this Sunday - Sept 14th

At CrossRoads Church this Sunday, we've asked our pastor to pray with us after the first service right at the front of the church. We invite our CrossRoads family to join in this prayer time with us. For those of you who do not attend CrossRoads, or have always wanted to come and check it out, we invite you to join us. The service starts at 9am and usually an hour and a half.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sept 11/08 Update - Good News!

Yesterday I had an ultrasound of the internal organs in my abdomen. Everything came back good! My friend Julie and I celebrated over Wendy's.

This morning I was happy because my drainage was down! As soon as the clock struck 8am I left a message to see if someone could come and get him out. Peggy and the nursing student Tiffany tried and tried but were unsuccessful at coaxing him. They called for back-up, and Susan came at 2:30pm. She was surprised they had any trouble - she shared that she has really had to tug on some. His tail was about 4 inches (which grosses me out for some reason).

Nurse Carman has been awesome at cleaning and changing my dressing. The nurse even commented that she thought he did a better job than they did.

Carman was asking me what I wanted to do when I healed from surgery. In no particular order: go fall camping, ride on the motorcycle, take a long hot bath (which I can't do until the steri-strips are off), and walk Rudy (I miss this very much). He added 'lovin' to the list - oh, that's a given!

Thank you all for your support!!! We are patiently waiting to see the surgeon again on Wednesday, Sept 17th for the pathology report. We are praying that the cancer had not affected the nodes they dissected.

My sister in-law Becky was telling me about an African Movie - Faith Like Potatoes. I need to watch it because I am already quoting this saying "Faith Like Potatoes". I know it sounds weird, but just Google this saying and you too will be inspired.

I was also inspired on Saturday night. I caught just the end of the tribute on Ruth Graham (late wife of Evangelist Billy Graham). I am looking forward to reading more about her!

Lastly, in preparation for radiation treatment, I am on the look-out for Aloe Vera plants. For those of you who live in Red Deer, if you ever see any, please let me know where I can get some.

Tim & Alvina Burns gave me a card which quoted Philippians 4:6-7. This verse is deeply speaking to me.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Mr. Drain and I have been getting along pretty well. I still haven't looked under my arm, and I don't think I will until after 'he's' out. My range of motion in my arm is really good considering - I even was able to blow dry my hair this morning.

I am trying not to let my mind think too far ahead. I am notorious of doing this, so I am sure this is one of the main lessons I am being taught. I am praying the pathology report comes back that the surgeon removed everything that she should have, and that the nodes were not affected.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Surgery - Sept 3/08

I felt such a sense of peace today. I know my Heavenly Father hears ours prayers and is with us. My mom and dad met us at the front door at the hospital and my sister Tara showed up shortly after with a bag full goodies: hand sanitizer (all of the scents available), a magazine, doggie bags for Rudy... And of course Diet Coke for herself.
Carman and my dad took Rudy to the dog park and dropped her off at Carman's sister's place during my 2 hour pre-surgery wait.
My ability to take instruction has been challenging - I couldn't remember which way she said to wear the gown and if I could keep my undies on - I got it wrong and they sent me back to switch my gown and put my undies back on (yeah!).
They came to get me for surgery early so Carman and my dad couldn't see me off, but I had already given them hugs and kisses and I knew they would be back when I woke up. They estimated the surgery would be 2-3hours.
I struck up a conversation with the orderly about great places to eat in Banff. We both shared a passion for great food - it helped pass the time as he took me to pre-op.
The Anasteziologist advised me her intern would be prepping me surgery - I wanted to test him and asked him about insuring I get the correct doses of medication, that there was no way they could accidentally give me sulfa drugs, and to be aware that I was born with a slight heart murmur. He answered all of my questions with ease and I felt very comfortable as I entered the OR. The nurses asked me some basic questions: what my name was, what surgery I was getting, who my doctor was, and which side they were operating on.
I woke up and the surgery was over. The first thing that came to my mind was how much I love camping! I think I even said out loud " Man, I love to camp!"
As soon as I came back to the unit I heard Carman say "hi honey" and it felt great!
My sister Jodi came up to visit and gave me a soft blue blanket and my sister Kari and husband Randy and Alex and Rykan came up with a goodie bag which Alex wrapped herself. They gave me Lance Armstrong's book, Chicken Soup for Breast Cancer, a cute little Bunny which says a prayer, a HUG children's book, a row of Soda Cracker (which ending being the best gift ever!), and a All Bran Bar.
I wasn't a very good visitor because I couldn't keep my eyes open but I enjoyed listening to the conversation around me.
My nurse until midnight was really great. She was from Austria and we had a nice chat about traveling in Europe (which I am going to do some day). My late-night nurse was a cute older lady that kept the drugs coming. My morning nurse wasn't as nice but I only had her for a short period of time.
The surgeon's intern advised me the surgery went well and that they took some nodes from under the arm (that is why I have a drain under my armpit). I didn't think my surgeon was going to see me, but right before we left she showed up and advised us that the surgery went well and the reason the lump under my arm was so big was because there was 2-3 nodes lumped together. She thought they would probably come back as cancerous (we are praying that they are not), but wanted to assure me not to worry. I see her again in 2 weeks to go over the pathology report.
By noon I was back at home in my own bed and feeling really good. My mom and dad are staying with us until Friday so Carman can go back to work tomorrow. My friend Taryn was gracious by feeding us a great supper - thanks Taryn!
We so greatly appreciate all of your prayers and well wishes. We feel very encouraged that God can heal my body and put the required people in my path.