Friday, July 24, 2009

CT Results

On Sunday night we headed out to Gull Lake for some more camping. We enjoyed our time visiting with 3 other families for four nights - the men got up early and went to work and us women got to enjoy the nice weather. I spent the majority of my time sitting under the awning reading and studying (oh, and eating lots of snacks and drinking a wide range of cold drinks).

Monday we were up to Edmonton to get another CT scan and we saw the doctor yesterday (Thursday). The good news is I get a break from chemo. How long of break? Only God knows. The bad news is that my liver did not come back clean as I had so greatly hoped and prayed for. However, the doctor says that there is just a trace left and it is not worth hitting with a new chemo. The current chemo has done all it can.

About a month ago I did a special 24hr urine tests for my bones. Carman didn't like have the large orange 'pee jug' on the fridge. I would joke "make sure not to pour the special orange juice". Anyways, this test revealed that my bones are on a 'healthy' path of recovery. It will still take some time to determine the status of my bones, but I get another bone, ct, and muga scan in 3 months. In the meantime, it is back to hormone therapy - the monthly injection into my abdomen and daily pills and the continuation of Herceptin and Zometa.

To be truthful, I was pretty upset that there is still cancer in my liver. I wanted it gone! I prayed for it to be gone!! But while reading the book of John, especially chapter 11 when Jesus got word from Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus was sick, Jesus declared, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's son may be glorified through it." If you don't know this story, Lazarus did die before Jesus arrived. But, Jesus rose him from the tomb and he lived.

What got me the most were the 'notes' in my bible regarding this. In particular: He (Jesus) knew their (Martha and Mary's) pain but did not respond immediately. His delay had a specific purpose. God's timing especially his delays, may make us think he is not answering or is not answering the way we want. But he will meet all of our needs according to his perfect schedule and purpose (Philippians 4:19). Patiently await his timing.

So I am trying to patiently await. Patience is hard. From the beginning of this painful journey one thing I know for certain is that God called me to patient and to persevere. He also told me to not be afraid. These are all hard requests for a simple human like myself.

Today while at the Cancer Clinic getting my Herceptin and injection I noticed a handbag display in the foyer. For those who do not know me well, I have always had an addiction to purses and bags. Since I already bought a 'summer' purse I thought I should resist and just walk away, but I felt a strong urge to browse. Can I also write a disclaimer that I am a tight wad and not much of a shopper so stopping to shop is rare. There were lots of nice bags but my eye caught a small purple/black briefcase. Since my work life has barely been on the scale of 'work' for almost a year now I was mentally listing all the reasons why I shouldn't buy it. But I felt like with all the reasons why I shouldn't God told me to buy the bag. Okay, I know what your thinking does God tell us to shop? I think he did with me today.

The story keeps going. When I got home with my new bag I checked my e-mails. Since we have been away most the week there were 23 new message to go through. One in particular made my day. Can you beleive a total stranger from Isreal has read my blog and emailed me!!! She told me to find my passion in life. I have always loved my work and I have worked hard to get where I am today - it is my passion. I love helping people manage their money (remember my disclaimer of being a tight wad). I feel even better for buying my new briefcase!

The picture is of my friend Curtis and I at the Red Deer fair using up his free tickets on the lamest ride ever built! I can't beleive it would cost a person $5 to ride it.

Lastly, I still have all my finger nails!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pet Therapy

Last weekend we got away camping again. The original plan was to go to Red Lodge out by Bowden, but because we didn't have a reservation we missed the last campsite by about half an hour. So we kicked-it-up Wilson style and just started driving. You see, Carman has fond memories (I'm being a bit sarcastic) of being a kid driving around trying to find a place to camp and arriving and setting up in the dark. While driving I thought I saw a sign that said Pearson's Berry Farm had RV sites, but they just had RV parking (a bit embarrassing). After a phone call to a friend in Sundre, and some back roads later, we ended up at Burnt Stick Lake. I also share that at one point we stopped to let the dogs out only to have the truck not start - we were in the middle of nowhere! But, Carman is pretty handy and got us up and running again after resetting something.

It was nice to be out of the house, but this last dose of chemo sure lingered awhile and I didn't recuperate as fast. It was nice just to lay in the trailer with the dogs and read.

I think my body has had enough of the chemo though. I am at risk of loosing several finger nails and my body is just tired out. My hair is slowly filling in and I've got their weird thick dark patch on the back of my head - I guess it's better than it being front and centre. It will be interesting to see what colour and texture it comes back as. Right now I feel a bit like a calico cat.

On Monday I get another CT scan and we see the doctor on Thursday. I pray these two extra doses were the ticket in kicking the rest of this cancer's ass!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Dreaded Wednesday

With round 8 behind me I enter my 'ugly days'. From about Tuesday to Saturday the harsh side effects of chemo appears. My body aches (which is an understatement), nothing tastes right, nausea, and my digestive system is out-of-wack. Wednesday always seems to be the hardest. This round Carman insisted that I only read, watch tv, or sleep - so boring! But, I always over-do-it and pay for it later so I decided to listen to him for a change. The days have been long, but I don't feel as crappy.

If there was a reading contest this summer I think they would be putting my name on a trophy. TV has lost its entertainment value with me so reading is keeping me occupied. I'm averaging a book every other day. My friend Alvina lent me some books by Immaculee Ilibagiza who survived the Rwandan genocide. Her story deeply touched me and her faith was inspirational. I highly recommend reading her books. I would love some book recommendations - what are your favorite books?

The shock of cancer has been settling. For the first 10 months I felt totally out of my element - in a foggy other world. You just go through the motions to do what you have to do, but the pain and uncertainty is extremely overwhelming. I have forgotten what it feels like to feel 'good', but I am looking forward to chemo being over and starting the process of true healing and discovering this new life that lays ahead of me.

Carman took this picture of me last night. The 'chipmunk' look is a side effect of the steroids. When I look at the picture I laugh because I can't believe that is me - wow!