I'm not really sure how to begin this page. It is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. To those of you who know me best, you may or may not realize that I am a very private person and difficult to get to really know. Andy could tell you a lot on this subject. Well here goes - I'll do my best to keep you up to date on what is going on with my progress. The best place to begin is the beginning, it has been a fast ride since the middle of January, when I thought I was going in for my routine yearly mammogram exam.
I'm not even sure that I like this new color I feel branded with. I never really liked pink, now I have very mixed emotions about it. I know I'm going to need some time alone to deal with what will be happening to me.
January 21, 2008
A day I thought that I was going to visit three different doctors and not have to take any more days off from school unless I decided to. Well, the dentist visit went well, then the doctor for my blood pressure meds, and finally the mammogram at 4:00 in the afternoon.
January 29, 2008
Had to go back to St. Anthony's for an ultrasound, I've had to do this in the past so I thought no big deal. Well the doctor came into the room with lots of gloom and doom sort of information. I needed a biopsy, the lump didn't look good, looked really bad, but couldn't tell for sure what it was. Lots of good news there for sure.
February 6, 2008
Well, I've gone through other core needle biopsy procedures, why should this one turn out any different. It will be nice to have a few days off and rest - or so I thought any way.
February 7, 2008, 2:35 p.m.
Well the phone call came in that has completely changed my life. I now am among many others who have had to battle breast cancer. The information was confusing and my head was swimming in all of the information.
February 8, 2008
We went to meet with the nurse who called with the news. She answered questions and gave a vast amount of information. Who to go see, what to do, what would happen, and above all this only increased my chances of getting this again by 1%. Well, lets see - 1 in 8 women will get this on the average now, so where am I with all of my family history. What? You have family history of this? Oh, don't worry. Yea, right, easier said than done for sure.
We went to visit my OB/GYN to ask her advice on the situation and what would she do if this were her. Funny thing - it was her a few years back and this is what she did and who she saw. So, we have basically done just what she has done.
February 12, 2008
I don't remember the date, but Andy went with me while I had an MRI done. It wasn't a difficult procedure, but I'm a person who needs air and the air was blowing on my arm making it cold, and not past my face to keep me going. I thought that I would not make it through the last two pictures as I was beginning to feel gee in my stomach. Add to that the magnetic pull on my stomach area and I was praying that I would make it through this process without embarrassing myself. I hate that. You see I wasn't laying on my back, I had to be on my stomach in a strange position so that they could get pictures of my breasts. Arms were stretched above my head with an IV sort of thing for some sort of dye to make everything clearer in the pictures.
February 18, 2008
Andy and I met with a wonderful person who is going to be doing my surgery. For the first time in weeks we received what I call hopeful news. If I opt for a double mastectomy, then I should not need any follow-up radiation, or possibly chemotherapy since we caught this so early and it is so small and slow growing. If I desire reconstruction we need to see a plastic surgeon for more options. We decided to do that.
February 21, 2008
We met with the plastic surgeon. He doesn't want to do reconstruction right away, because I will need radiation and that will cause other issues. Scar tissue will form around the implants and make for a mess when it is time to deal with that. We tried to explain that we were fairly sure I would not need any follow up procedures, but he wasn't so sure. Upon leaving Andy and Dr. hit up a friendly conversation, that led to us knowing probably more than we should about my two doctors. We feel comfortable with both of them and certain that all will go well. Andy told the two doctors to get together and decide if what I want done at one time can happen and make it happen.
February 25, 2008
I'm at school, on lunch/prep and the phone rings with news of when surgery can take place if I want. Well sure I want this thing over with! Wait a minute - that fast? Mixed emotions are going through my mind, but I want this over and out of my body. I want to start getting better.
February 28, 2008
Today is my first day off from school. I miss the kids already, but have to take care of me.
Today at 1:00, I have all of that pre-hospitalization forms to fill out, blood work and EKG. Hopefully, I'm healthy enough to make it through all of the procedures. It is supposed to take an hour, but we all know that an hour in the hospital is a long time.
Well, I was right - the hour turned into an hour and a half. I had a nurse entering information who didn't know how to type! (See kids be this a lesson - she didn't think it was important back in high school. She was going to be a nurse!) I do know all of what will be going on for surgery though and knowledge is comforting. Surgery should take about 2 hours and then some time in recovery. Then they will have to find me a room. Hopefully, it will be a quiet room.
February 29, 2008
This will be a long day. I'm not used to having surgery in the late afternoon, although I was warned that this is the time of day when my surgeon liked to do surgery.
I have to be at the hospital at 12:15 today. They are going to put some dye in so that when I have surgery they can check my lymph nodes to see if they are involved. I will also have some wire markers placed to mark the lump so that they can test the correct lump. At 3:30 today, I will have my surgery. This process will take about 2 hours and some recovery room time afterwards. Then a stay in a hospital room for a few days. I'll try to keep you posted.
Supposedly the hospital is wireless and I can use that if I want. I'll add more when I can. The day I can't move my hands to type we will be having problems.
A note about surgery and the shots to discover the sentinel node. The radioactive fluid that they inject into your breast has small metal particles that they will massage into your breast so that it will begin to flow to your lymph nodes that are involved. This "shot" will burn a lot, but you have to do this process in order for the Dr. to know what nodes will be taken during surgery. While they take pictures of this process you might be able to watch the process. The nodes affected will "light" up and be easily seen.
Surgery wasn't too bad. I had to have an IV in the top of my foot that wasn't all that comfortable, but manageable. I couldn't bend my ankle without pain from the needle so I didn't do it and limped around when I needed to. The recovery room wasn't bad although it seemed like I didn't want to wake up very well. The pain from the procedure wasn't too bad, but the first ice chips weren't very nice and I had a few dry heaves for a little while.
I got to come home at 4:30 - I'm a little afraid, but know that this will be easier for my caregivers. ;-)
March 2, 2008
It is easier at home than at the hospital, I'm feeling a little better each time I get a nap. This will be a long recovery, but with all of the help from so many friends and God, I will get through.
I'm glad I came home!
March 3, 2008
Needless to say Andy gave me my computer to add to this. We see the plastic surgeon again on Thursday and the surgeon on Monday. We are to know in a couple of days if all is well - meaning did they get everything. So far it looks like they did, but the official people have to read the test results - you know we don't know how to do that. ;-)
March 4, 2008
I'm feeling a lot better this morning. Almost feel human - for those of you who have been through surgery you know what I mean by that. I'm still helpless in that I cannot move my arms. I have to have them down to my side and can only move my elbows or my hands (not much fun). I'm hoping for more movement after we see the plastic surgeon on Thursday morning. We go to see the other surgeon on Monday and maybe they will take these drain tubes out then, maybe not.
Some of the Wheatfield Chamber members are cooking meals for Andy and I, they say he needs a break too. I've gotten many cards, care packages and flowers, and a really neat wire tree of fishing lures! I appreciate them all and want to say thank you for each one.
Well, I got tangled up in the pillows in the bed and something let go. I'll go to the surgeon in the morning to see what happened.
March 5, 2008
Everything is good and ok. The drains are fine, and I'm alright.
We got the pathology report on the lymph node today. I'm fine. NO CANCER there! So, I should not need any follow-up treatment. Thank you for all of the prayers that have been answered. I know that they all helped.
Tomorrow, I see the plastic surgeon and he might take the drains out. We go early - 9:30 so hopefully I'll feel up to adding to this about lunch time. ;-) I'm also hoping that I will be able to move after this visit, even if it is a little bit.
March 6, 2008
Today we went to see the plastic surgeon - I got my drain tubes out! HURRAY! I was amazed at just how long each of them was. They were about 8 to 10 inches long and then another inch or two was also in side. Getting them out was interesting - there was a couple of stitches holding them in, which I didn't even feel. I feel so much better with them out. I'm amazed that it hasn't been a week and all-in-all I feel pretty darn good.
Not always the strongest, but not hurting all that much and able to do some things that do not require anything more than moving your elbows. We see the surgeon and plastic surgeon on Monday so that will be a very long day for me. I'm going to add some information about reconstruction as there are so many different options and most people have no idea what any of them mean.
Family and friends have been bringing food off and on. It is nice to get to try so many different dishes. Thank you each and everyone!
March 6, 2008
Today we went to see the plastic surgeon - I got my drain tubes out! HURRAY! I was amazed at just how long each of them was. They were about 8 to 10 inches long and then another inch or two was also in side. Getting them out was interesting - there was a couple of stitches holding them in, which I didn't even feel. I feel so much better with them out. I'm amazed that it hasn't been a week and all-in-all I feel pretty darn good.
Not always the strongest, but not hurting all that much and able to do some things that do not require anything more than moving your elbows. We see the surgeon and plastic surgeon on Monday so that will be a very long day for me. I'm going to add some information about reconstruction as there are so many different options and most people have no idea what any of them mean.
Family and friends have been bringing food off and on. It is nice to get to try so many different dishes. Thank you each and everyone!
March 7, 2008
Not much planned today, hopefully resting from yesterday. It is amazing how just doing anything outside of what has become routine - just exhausts me. By evening, I'm really tired and talking on the speaker phone gets rough. I cannot hold the phone up to my ear so the speaker phone is a necessary evil. I really hate it when Andy always put me on it when we spoke, but I really understand the need now.
I went into the office today with Andy and printed out some stuff for the service on Saturday for him. He made arrangements/prearrangements and such. I had my little heater in the office to keep it toasty. I also got my hair washed at my favorite hair dresser - Alley Cuts in Wheatfield. I needed a good head scratching. I want to go to the Legion tonight for fish, but that depends on how tired I am. Will need to take a nap for sure.
March 8, 2008
Andy had a graveside service this morning and a friend came and took care of me. I'm beginning to feel the soreness of the bruises today, but a good 'ole pain pill will take it away.
Reconstruction: There are several options with reconstruction, actually three. 1. Is when they take muscle and fat from your abdomen and slide it up under the skin to the breast area and rebuild what they can. 2. Is when they take muscle and fat from your back and slide it under your skin to the breast area and rebuild from there. 3. Is when they implant a bag and inject silicone a little at a time to stretch the chest muscle in the breast area. After a while the implant has to come out and a permanent one has to be put in.
There is always good and bad with all options, options 1 & 2 work nicely and you use your own materials, but there is a chance that the tissue will not "take" and will die inside of you and cause a bigger problem. There is also the problem with the abdomen option that you can have hernias much easier because of the lesser muscle issue.
I have chosen the third option with the implants and they say they will begin expanding them in a week or two. I'm in no hurry for now.
March 9, 2008
Today was a "tired" day. I did a few things, but mostly just slept off and on, and watched TV. Life was good.
March 10, 2008
2008Today I was supposed to see the surgeon and the plastic surgeon, but I'll end up seeing the plastic surgeon at 1:00. I'm hoping that I will be allowed a little more movement, but we'll see what happens.
Lynn is also going to fix my hair today.
I'm FREE! I can take a shower, move my arms (boy does some of that hurt) slowly and carefully. The shower was the best thing in a long time. They will start expansion next week - we'll see how that works.
March 11, 2008
Today, Andy and I will go to NJSP for the yearly blood work that is offered to the teachers and their spouses. I'll pick up some of the student work and call it the end of the nine weeks. We'll probably go and eat breakfast at Fingerhut's like we have in the past.
It was good to see everyone that I ran into this morning. I really miss each and everyone of you. You don't know how much strength I draw from our friendships, but then again maybe each of you know that, as we help each other get through another school day. Keep your heads held high and reach for better things in life. Remember those teachers who helped to make a difference in your life.
Ok - off the soap box. I'm going to take a break and rest some today. In case some of you didn't know. We hit a deer this morning coming over to the school and wiped out my suburban. Hopefully it will be fixed before I'm ready to come back to school. I'm alright and that is what matters. Tell others to be careful for me and everyone stay safe so I can see each of you when I return after Spring Break. ;-)
March 12, 2008
I'm feeling really good this morning. It is amazing how much arm movement you lose when you aren't supposed to move for 10 days. I'm at a point that I can reach about 4 to 6 inches above my head without too much trouble or pain. I also seem to be sitting up straighter today. It is amazing the "little" things that you do not realize until you have to pay attention to them.
Last night was also the first night in my own bed. I've been using our hospital bed that I bought several years ago. Many people in the family have used it over the past few years. It is really very comfortable.
March 13, 2008
I helped Andy at the funeral home yesterday. Even got another nap there, they are not as good as being at home, but the phone rings both places so can't help when that happens We made this really good dish for supper - smoked sausage, green beans, potatoes, and kraut, with brown sugar to taste. Really is a good dish and fills you up really well.
Supper was provided by The Belstra's - beef stew.
Andy is on a funeral and I plan to try and figure out all of these papers I brought home the other day.
March 14, 2008
I can't believe we slept until almost 7:30 this morning. It felt so good too. So far so good for today. We should be heading to North Judson on Tuesday. The school is changing our life insurance company and I have to have end of the nine weeks grades ready for Parent/Teacher Conferences on Wednesday of next week.
Thanks go to Schnick's Good Eats for my lunch today - Jeff the owner makes the best creamy mushroom soup there is. It was so good today!! Thanks to Jeff and the girls.
We have a visitation/memorial service tonight. There is also the Catholic Church Fish Fry so I'll get some really good fish tonight for supper.
March 15, 2008
Mom and Dad are heading home from Florida today, should be home in a couple of days - sometime Monday.
Last night was rough - not having a gallbladder and eating fried foods can always hold interesting problems. I'm really tired today and need to rest as we hope to attend the last night of the school musical tonight.
News on the truck - $3500.00+ in parts were damaged when Andy hit the deer. Good job Andy!
I believe the Virgie Church Fish Fry is tonight and is sure sounds good for supper. (I'm not so sure that this sounds good right now feeling the way I do. I know they have wonderful fish though.)
March 16, 2008
Sunday - maybe go to church this morning and rest the rest of the day, since I have to see the Drs on Monday. That always takes a lot out of me.
Yes, I made it through church and going to Rensselaer for dinner at the fair grounds. It was a good chicken meal provided by the fair board as a fund raiser. I can't believe how nice the fair grounds look when I remember how the grounds looked when I was a teenager. Keep up the good work!
March 17, 2008
7 years ago, my uncle was killed today in an accident at Inland Steel. A gas line blew up. Today is also his wife's (my aunt) birthday. Sad day, but life goes on.
I see the Drs today, plastic surgeon at 12:45 or so, and I'm not sure when I have to see the surgeon, they haven't called back just yet. I'm getting really frustrated with this one nurse who does scheduling at his office. We called Monday for an appointment and haven't heard from her, we called Wednesday to see if she forgot us, and we got cut off. Well, I now know when the appointment is - 11:00 a.m. so we'll have to do something for lunch. Also, need a Sam's run, but who knows how much energy I will have. Hopefully, I can rest Sunday to get ready for this day.
Well, we saw the surgeon today, see him again in 6 months. I'm doing a wonderful job of healing keep it up! He suggested that we see an oncologist just to be sure with everything, so we are going to NorthWestern in Chicago on Tuesday of next week.
We could not see the plastic surgeon as he had emergency surgery all day on someone.
March 18, 2008
I made it to school to finalize grades for the nine weeks and signed up for the new insurance offered by the school. It was good to see some of the students I did not get to see last week when I stopped by. I think it helps me as well as them to visit.
We had lunch today at Schnick's Good Eats and saw many good friends. Thanks to Jeff for making my favorite soup again. He knows I like it and is keeping the place stocked just for me. Thank You!!!
March 19, 2008
Today was a tired day. I don't know why, but seems I need one every so often.
March 20, 2008
Hopefully today we go to the architect about the plans for DeMotte. Hopefully this will be the last time and all will be set for building the new funeral home. We also have to go to the tax accountant today - oh so much fun for sure. The Tax man is sick so a day next week is set to try again.
March 21, 2008
Good Friday - No School - Spring Break begins for most schools in the area. Running day, Andy took me to the Dr in DeMotte to have a mole taken off of my arm. Then we ran after lunch to get my toe nails taken care of. Andy's being so good running me around today, I wish I had my truck and could drive.
March 22, 2008
March 23, 2008
Happy Easter! Going to church for sure, and eating a goose here at home and resting!
March 24, 2008
Monday, my usual Dr visit day, except they forgot to call me with an appointment. We'll call them in the morning and see what to do. I'm usually the first one after lunch and get squeezed in the way it is.
March 25, 2008
Going to Chicago to Northwestern to see another Dr. at 1:00. Hopefully all is right and no other treatment is still the plan and just a "pill" for the rest of my life to make sure the cancer doesn't come back.
Ok, news from Chicago - my tumor will be sent to California to be tested further. They will determine how likely I am to have cancer show up somewhere else in my body in the next 5 to 10 years. This test will take at least 14 days. If it determines that I am at a low risk, then nothing more than a pill a day will be needed, if I am determined to have an intermediate or high risk then one round of chemo therapy will be done - which will be 4 treatments that will be about 2 or 3 weeks apart for a period of time.
I should be able to do this in Crown Point with Chicago monitoring what is done. I have a 50/50 chance for any of this, so we will see what the Lord has in store for me next. At this point I can also be part of a study to help determine if chemo helps women who have had breast cancer to prevent it from coming back in other organs in the body.
I may also have a genetic test to determine my genetic risk for what has happened and what the future might hold for my descendants. Not a pretty picture if this is genetic, but it very well could be. I have too many people in the family tree that have had this issue over the years.
I think I've reported this correctly, I'll have to have Andy double check this when he gets home.
March 26, 2008
Driving to town is getting easier each time I do it. I wish my truck was fixed, but anyway. I'll use Andy's until it is.
March 27, 2008
Having a "blue" day today. Don't know why - just down and crabby this morning - or so Andy says anyway. Nick and Amanda will be back from the Wisconsin Dells this afternoon. We are going out with Amanda's folks and the kids tonight for a little while. ;-)
March 28, 2008
Today Andy and I had lunch at Stephanie's Cafe - great place to eat for sure. Also, I got to go and get my nails done again. They were looking pretty sad since I had them done just before surgery. Went to Hollywood Nails in DeMotte, Holly Hebda is the owner and is making a start of a new business in DeMotte. She did a really good job.
I also, got to deliver our taxes to the accountant in Rensselaer, thanks to Deb Smundin who drove me, since I am a little afraid of driving so far, after already driving so much today. I'm really doing pretty good with the stamina thing. No naps in a while, but look out for when the body says it needs one.
March 29, 2008
Probably going with Andy to LaPorte to pick up cremains. Will maybe visit the Michigan City Outlet Mall, as Andy wants another pair of "Clark" shoes. Amazing how you don't know anything about comfortable shoes, until they have a pair, and suddenly this manufacturer is just great. Hopefully the weather will not be too cold for me. Muscle crawlies happen more when I get cold.
March 31, 2008
Hoping to return to school, but will have to double check with the plastic surgeon from last weeks visit. Might not be able to go to school every day for the first week, maybe just half days, not sure what will be the plan, but hoping this is the day.
Going to try a half day today, since I have to go to the plastic surgeon's office in the afternoon. Everyone thinks I might be doing too much, but who knows. I've been putting in some really long days at the funeral home the last couple of weeks My school schedule is three classes, lunch and prep of an hour, then the last three classes and go home. I should be able to take a nice rest at lunch/prep like I do once in a while when I need it.
Well, I managed a half day of school. The kids were really glad to see me and I was really glad to see them. I was tired by lunch time, but I think some of that was because of doing one round of stairs - I won't make that mistake tomorrow. Walking is much easier and I'll do more of that and the elevator.
Went to the plastic surgeon today and they put 60cc's of saline solution into the implants. It didn't hurt and actually feels better than what it did. The "crawlies" are not as painful as they have been. We'll see what happens in the next few days. Sometimes it takes a few days for someone to get sore from this process. Next week Tuesday after school I'll get some more.
April 1, 2008
April Fool's Day - always a day for the jokesters. The students always like to see if they can trick me, most have learned that they cannot. Hopefully, I will be sharp and on my toes ready for their tricks.
Today went pretty good. I was involved with two students who were having serious words in the hallway, another teacher was backing a student up towards me and I had no where to go. I thought one of them was going to accidently hurt me. So I said such, poor student thought that he did hurt me and finally got the principal to bring him up after the situation was over so he could talk to me and make sure I was "ok". The effects you have on students some days and over time. He's a decent kid, but had a rough upbringing to this point. I'm doing well. Was a little sore at the end of the day today, but that was to be expected.
April 2, 2008
Going to the dentist this morning. I've decided to take Wednesdays off for the next week or two. Work a couple of days, have a day off, work another couple of days. We'll see how it works.
The trip to the dentist went well, teeth are doing really good.
I wonder why it is though, that people have to make remarks about having your breasts as large as "Dolly Parton's" or bigger. It really isn't funny and this process hurts. The muscles in your chest have to be stretched to allow for the size that they will be. This stretches your stomach muscles and all other muscles under your arms, around your back and chest area. Even the muscles in your neck feel the stretch. I haven't found all of them that hurt just yet.
Arm movement is another issue, every time you gain movement, something happens and you have to re-stretch your muscles. It is doable, but just rolling your shoulders can be interesting on a cool day. Lifting a laptop computer is sometimes too much and other times like a piece of paper. I'm complaining, but trying to make everyone aware that not everyone finds jokes that hit so close to home funny. Think how you would like it, you do your best to laugh with them, when you are crying on the inside.
April 3, 2008
I went back to school today - had a really good day. Energy level was really good all day. Went with Andy to the Wheatfield Chamber meeting. There will be some really neat new additions to the Sandhill Crane Festival this year. I hope everyone likes them - check out the Chamber website at www.wheatfieldchamber.org for more details in the future.
I have to have some time to get all of this on the site and new flyer. Should be really interesting!
Oh, for those of you following the truck vs deer saga. - I finally got my truck back from the shop tonight. I can't wait to drive it again. The cloth seats keep me from sliding around so much. Unfortunately, I forgot it is also a few inches taller than our other suburban.
April 4, 2008
TGIF! I'm doing pretty good today, not too tired. The elevator is not working at school today, so I'm having to navigate the stairs. I'm sure that I will be tired later today because of it. They are supposed to get it fixed, but I've known of students getting stuck in it and I'm a little afraid of that issue.
We are going out for supper with my parents and Nick & Amanda to DeMotte American Legion for their fish fry.
April 5, 2008
Today the weather is supposed to be so spring like. I'm sure I'll be wishing to be outside, but I'll have to be careful and not get too cold. Don't want to get sick, or get those muscle cramps/contractions in my chest. They are painful at times.
All of the guys worked outside on the yard. I wish I could have helped, but couldn't do anything anyway. I worked on making a math facts DVD for the students at Liberty Elementary. Hopefully it will help the kids learn their math facts. What ever happened to just memorizing those facts and just knowing them as a result of the memorization? Calculators may be fast, but for simple math, memorization is still the best.
April 6, 2008
Sunday - was supposed to be a day of rest, but we have visitation. I did well until about 6:00 at night. Then I was really getting tired and ended up going home.
The weather is so beautiful outside!
April 7, 2008
Monday - Today went well. I'm tired but not too bad. I wish I could sleep at night, but never could in the past few years. My students in a few classes do not seem to understand that they need to do their work. They didn't do the work while the sub was there, and wondered why they ended up with low grades for the last nine weeks.
Student are expecting good grades for doing nothing at all. I have a couple of students who claimed that they turned in an assignment when they didn't. The document was created after the end of the nine weeks. Life stinks for this right now.
April 8, 2008
Tuesday - I'm supposed to go after school and get more saline solution added. I hope it will be like last time and not hurt while they are adding the liquid. I've had more muscle stretching issues this week, but it's not too painful for now.
April 9, 2008
Wednesday - the extra day of rest for this time. After Monday, I'm sure that I will need it.
April 12, 2008
Saturday - Today, I lost my father. He passed away at the University of Chicago. We were all with him until the end. He will be deeply missed. Services will be Wednesday/Thursday for now. Last night he feel again, and hit his head. Did his usual and didn't want to go to the hospital. He suffered a bleed inside his skull from hitting his head. He didn't wake up this morning and was transported to Porter Hospital in the early am., then on to Chicago where he passed away this evening.
So much for going to school this next week.
April 13, 2008
Sunday - Well, visitation will be Wednesday from 3 until 8, and the funeral will be at 10 in the morning on Thursday. Memorials may be made to the Trinity Presbyterian Church building fund. Dad looks wonderful, but then again that happens at our funeral home. I have a lot of pictures to share with everyone. I have to go now, have to make sub plans for the week. Thank you everyone.
April 14, 2008
Monday - Today we picked out Dad's casket, he will get what he wanted along time ago, an oak. We then had to pick out cemetery plots - that was difficult, he wanted to be on a sand hill - had to have drainage, don't want to have water all around me and leaking in so that I have to swim - he'd say. I think the flowers were the most difficult - or maybe by then all of it had hit really hard again.
I managed to get more paper work at the funeral home finished and have the slideshow and memorial folder to get ready today. Andy has to travel back to Chicago again for the death certificate - the place locked up the safe at 3, and was still open till 4, but would not file the certificate for him. Needless to say he wasn't really happy.
April 15, 2008
Tuesday - I thank God that my son, Nicholas found such a wonderful person for his wife. Amanda scanned most of the pictures for Dad's show, as I tried to help, but ended up doing so many other things getting ready for tomorrow. The kids have really helped a lot through this whole process, I hope that they know (I've told them) just how much I appreciate all of it. I think that I'm as ready as I can be for the visitation, this is going to be rough for sure, but with God's help we will all get through this process.
April 16, 2008
Wednesday - I don't know why - I'm dreading this afternoon, I guess that I am content knowing that Dad's spirit is in heaven, and that I have him to check on. He looks so much more peaceful than he did in the hospital. He would not have liked to have been that way for any length of time.
I received a call from Northwestern University Hospital - the results of my tumor growth have been determined. A low risk is a score of 0 to 18, an intermediate risk is a score of 18 to 31, and well I scored a 20. This test is to determine the chances of the cancer returning somewhere in the next 5 to 10 years. We will return to Chicago to see what the Doctor wants or suggests for a course of prevention. I've already been told that I'll have to have my ovaries taken out, might as well have everything taken out at that time.
Wow, what a testimony of how many people all of us have touched. There were over 500 people who signed the register book tonight. I know that there were people who could not stay and wait as they had other commitments. I (We) appreciate them at least stopping by and checking on us. It was a busy night, but we were expecting it and all went fairly well. To those who stood outside and waited their turn - thank you.
April 17, 2008
Thursday - Today was Dad's funeral, other than being really tired I'm doing pretty good. For some reason today was better, I guess the realization that Dad is in heaven and can now take care of all of us has settled in. It was a little dreary this morning, but then the sun came out and was so warm and so much like spring. It was a beautiful day. Dad would have loved it.
My house feels like a flower shop - thank you everyone. I appreciate each and every one. I guess I'm comforted in the fact that the last thing I could do for Dad was to make the funeral as perfect as I could. I think it was a wonderful tribute to an honest, hardworking farmer, who loved his family and God. He always tried to live life his way.
April 18, 2008
Friday - 7 weeks from surgery this afternoon.
April 19, 2008
Saturday - I'm really tired today. Trying to wash bed linens and just pick-up some things around the house. Andy is trying to campaign a little. It has been really rough for him to do this with all of my Dr visits and how busy we have been at the funeral home. We manage and what will be - will be.
April 20, 2008
Sunday - Dinner at Mom's
April 21, 2008
Monday - Have to go to the plastic surgeon, should get 60 more cc's of saline fluid and find out when or what else to do. Should just go every week and get filled more and take a week off every once in a while.
April 22, 2008
Tuesday - big day appointment is for 3:00 - will find out what course of action to prevent the cancer from coming back in the next 5 to 10 years we will have to go through. I'm scared again, but know many people have gone through this process and survived. We will see what is suggested and choose a plan.
News on me – We just got back from Chicago seeing the Oncologist. Under normal “old” standards I would not have radiation or chemo therapy, but there is a new test that is fairly reliable on predicting the chances for reoccurrence somewhere else in the body. Well, I fall in at 13% chance it will come back sometime in the next 5 to 10 years, but with 4 doses of chemo, I will lower that even lower. It is totally up to me what I want to do. Well, I’m sure you guessed that I will be starting that as soon as I can. If I get going then I will be able to be finished just before August and still able to enjoy some of the summer. Anyway, that is where I am at the moment. Having a little rough time dealing with it mentally, but want to get this started to have it finished.
April 23, 2008
Wednesday - I'm going to try to go to school today. I hope I'm not too tired.
April 24, 2008
Thursday - Hasn't been the best day. It isn't fun trying to pick out a wig. Nothing is like your own hair and style no matter how you try to find one. Then there is the try this on for size only - white hair, all puffed up on top - I've never had so much hair on my head before.
April 25, 2008
Friday - Went to the Oncologist in Crown Point - Dr. Drasga. Seems like a really nice person, and they did their best to try to cheer me up today, but for some reason the last few days I've been really down. Doctor told me that after this, I shouldn't get cancer again. That would be nice, it's just the thought of everything you have to go through for this. You have to kill good cells and bad cells in your body, feel like crap, possibly get sick and throw-up, and become so weak that you can end up in the hospital with just a fever.
I hope it doesn't turn out that way. There are some meds that can be given to help with the nausea and vomiting. The first round they say is the worst as you don't know what to expect or how your body will handle it.
I was surprised that they wanted to start so soon. I guess don't put it off any longer than you have to. I've been so tired this week. I think that last week and this week with so many different doctors appointments and things that have to be done I'm just exhausted.
April 26, 2008
Saturday - Working with Andy ~ Nick and Amanda have some sort of concert tonight at Valparaiso University in the Chapel.
The concert was with the Valparaiso community band/college band and Kankakee Valley High School. It was really good and I have a good part of it on tape with I will transfer to DVD dependent on how busy I am this next week after Chemo.
Sunday - Tried to rest - did get some.
April 28, 2008
Monday - Back to school to get midterm grades to the office.
April 29, 2008
Tuesday - Have to write lesson plans for the rest of this week and most of next week. Will be off from Wednesday until Wednesday, but have to see the plastic surgeon on Thursday in the middle of the day so Thursday will be out of school too.
April 30, 2008
Wednesday -First day of Chemotherapy.
Everything went well. I drank too much liquids for me and we had problems finding a vein, but one on my thumb decided to work and held out for the whole process. I'm not feeling any nausea for today and hope all of the meds will keep it away for now. Have found the "right" wig finally.
I’m tired, but it’s probably because I didn’t sleep well last night – Andy’s snoring and the cat’s loving me bothered for 2 to 3 hours. Anyway, will take a nap and drink some more to work this stuff out of me in the next 24 to 48 hours.t
May 1, 2008
Thursday - So far this morning am feeling well. Still no nausea and hoping for the day to continue like that. I have to have a neulasta shot to help with my blood cell count so that it doesn't bottom out like it will do sometimes. This will make the bone marrow get to work and really start production of the needed new blood cells to fight off all of this.
May 2, 2008
Friday - So far this morning, I'm just a little tired and seem to get hungry every couple of hours. Don't need much to eat, but just something. Nice excuse for a snack. Mouth has a funny taste, but they said that might happen. Later, my large bones decided to kick in with the pain from the Newlasta (sp?) shot. The shot makes the bone marrow start working overtime making new blood cells. It's really starting to kick me hard. I'm afraid to take something for the pain as most will hide/mask a fever and the doctors may need to know this if I do develop a fever. Oh well, will get there.
May 3, 2008
Saturday - Man, this stuff is really getting to me. I'm so tired and run down feeling and my large bones ache so bad. I can't hardly move. Walking and just getting up is a major struggle, but I'm not going to give in. Still don't want to take anything - I'm afraid of a fever and what that can develop into. Not good issues either way. Just not feeling well today at all, getting tired of feeling like this stuff is getting the best of me. I have discovered that "hair" isn't what it's cracked up to be, a hat works just as well and actually feels more comfortable at times. "Hair" also does not work with hooded sweatshirts, the hood pushes the "hair" up and causes issues.
May 4, 2008
Sunday - That's it - I'm not going to take this any longer - no fever so far, so here goes with the massive IB stuff. It sure helped and the more fresh air I got today the better I felt. Still had to rest and take a nap, but those are little things when compared to always feeling this way no matter what. The IB helped with the pain so I could feel like I can move - I don't like feeling helpless when I can do things, but the last two days, I just didn't even feel like I could do any thing.
May 5, 2008
Monday - Had the best night sleep in a long time, actually slept 6 hours before I woke up. Bones are aching, but not nearly as bad, a more tolerable pain. The pain doesn't just come and go, or stay around, it is a sharp, stabbing traveling pain, then just a deep ache that will not quit. Not much you can do about it at all, but deal with it.
May 7, 2008
Wednesday - Trip to Indianapolis to pick up the oil painting of Dad, from the Indiana Funeral Directors Association - NOPE, Andy will get this, not sure I could take it or the trip.
Well the election results last night totally blew us away. Thank you everyone who voted for Andy. He was totally surprised with the results.
May 8, 2008
Thursday - Trip to Plastic Surgeon, then blood work, then wig fitting, but I like it the way it is; I've also discovered that just a hat is fine too. If you don't like what you see then don't look - I'm dealing with this my way and controlling what little I can control about this whole process.
May 9, 2008
Friday - Hope to go back to school today if my numbers are good at the doctors office with the blood work. Don't want to go back when one little germ will send me to the hospital.
Went to school today, what a mess.
Got my numbers, whatever we are doing we are to keep it up. My numbers are totally normal, not as high as they were before I did the chemo, but they are all in the average range.
May 10, 2008
Saturday - Went to Sam's Club and Olive Garden for lunch.
May 11, 2008
Sunday - Mother's Day without Dad. Had Mom and Dale over for dinner and supper. Nicholas and Amanda came back from her folks and we had pork chops on the grill. Nick really knows how to grill well. I'm really tired this weekend. Sleeping well, just not getting the added rest for some reason. Andy and I got Mom a pink iPod Nano and a speaker system.
May 12, 2008
Monday - Back to school.
May 13, 2008
Tuesday - Back to school.
May 14, 2008
Wednesday - Blood work to check my counts again. All looks really good, almost as good as before I had the first treatment.
May 15, 2008
Thursday - Back to school.
May 16, 2008
Friday - Back to school.
May 19, 2008
Monday - second chemo treatment if counts are good. Yep, we are on for today - treatment starts at 10:00 hopefully and will take almost 4 hours. This will mark half way through the treatments! HURRAY!!
Well, I made it through the chemo today and they did not have to put it in my thumb this time. All went well and worked out just fine. The Doctor asked me how I was doing and I said fine, feeling good, he looked at my counts and stuff and said there wasn't much he could tell me as I was doing so well. Just keep up the good work and could I use a hug. Well, who couldn't use a hug! Always, and so he took me into the chemo room and things got started, at about 11:00 and by 2:00 we were finished. The next time should go just about as well or better. Doctor did tell me to use the pain pills for the few days after the neulasta shot and not to be so tuff, they are there for a reason and I should use them for that reason!
May 20, 2008
Tuesday - Have to have shot (neulasta) to rebuild blood cells.
May 21, 2008
Wednesday - Should be a bad day. Have to stay away from big crowds and people with colds! Foods will really taste bad, actually not taste, but texture. Get hungry, but just can't find anything to make it all work. Can't tell if full, but definitely know when empty.
Doing pretty good today considering - I took some Motrin to help with the bone pain from the neulasta shot. I'm feeling weak, but that is all part of the chemo. Weak I can deal with knowing that in a few days I will feel better and stronger. I am not going to be able to attend some graduation parties I was hoping to attend, but will be there in spirit. I have to make sure that I do not get near large groups of people and then can get contaminated with germs. I'm so glad to be doing this at this time of the year, when most people are not sick with colds, but I still have to be careful of germs - I do not want anything to slow down this process or to send me to the hospital for an infection. Please understand.
May 22, 2008
Thursday - Should be another bad day. Have to stay away from big crowds and people with colds!
I will be heading to school - after everyone has gone home - to collect all of the late assignments that the students should have turned in. I have someone to drive me!
May 23, 2008
Friday - Today should be a day of getting better every hour - or the more fresh air I get the better I feel. At least that is what happened last time - we'll see what happens this time. Hopefully heading for the lake to spend the weekend. Have to stay away from big crowds and people with colds!
May 26, 2008
Monday - Memorial Day
May 27, 2008
Tuesday - Finals begin at school - should be there. Blood draw - counts came back wonderful again.
May 28, 2008
Wednesday - Finals - should be there.
May 29, 2008
Thursday - Finals - should be there.
May 30, 2008
Friday - Teacher's last half day. Graduation in the evening.
Well, it was a tough week, but I made it. Three days was a little rough, but I was glad for a nap after school on Tuesday and Wednesday, helped to make the week work. I was also glad for final exams, because there wasn't any teaching so to speak. Life lessons were still happening. It is amazing what parents do not teach their kids these days and how they want to know, or have no common sense. Trying to teach this is even more difficult as they do not understand, but sooner or later it sinks in to some degree. People wonder why I'm afraid of where this generation will take the world, some of the students coming up will make wonderful leaders, others will never make it.
June 2, 2008
Monday - Blood draw at 11:00 a.m. Mom and I are going to do a little shopping. Counts are again as good as the first round. Doctor cannot believe how high they are and how fast they return to normal.
Also, went to see the plastic surgeon, and got another fill. Will see him again in a couple of weeks for probably the last one. Then will wait a while and have the final surgery for this.
June 3, 2008
Tuesday - Heading to school to get some curriculum work completed, have to spend the whole day there.
June 4, 2008
Wednesday - Went shopping at the Michigan City Lighthouse mall - got some new shoes, kitchen gadgets, and lots of things Andy needed. Went to the China House in Valparaiso for lunch - that was really good. Headed to the lake, but when all of the storms came up we headed back home.
June 5, 2008
Thursday - Helped Nick and Amanda plant flowers around the house, well, Andy did, I supervised. Lots of hostas and stellas! Then Andy got busy at the funeral home.
June 7, 2008
Saturday - My Birthday -
June 9, 2008
Monday - Third chemo treatment at 9:30 a.m.
June 10, 2008
Tuesday - Went to pick out a headstone for Dad this morning. I didn't know it would take so long to do such a task. We knew what we wanted, but WOW!
Andy got approval from the DeMotte BZA, to build the funeral home south of DeMotte.
June 11, 2008
Wednesday - Should be a bad day, but I'm not feeling too bad. Tired, but the bone pain is more manageable. Eating is always a task for this week. Food sounds good, but not much taste, or doesn't even feel good. Textures are interesting for sure. Trying to keep my body not so acidic as it happened to turn into with the last treatment. We'll see what happens.
Andy has a memorial service tonight at the funeral home. I really miss being there too, but it can't be helped.
June 12, 2008
Thursday - We are hoping to head down to the lake, so I can rest some more and Andy can finish up the one last task that we want to do down there. Need to get the electric boat lift working - it works, but no electric at this point.
June 13, 2008
Friday - Well, we made it to the lake yesterday. Andy found out more of what I have been going through with each round of chemo. He thought he was paying attention, but was really too involved with what needed to be done those other two rounds, and this round he had to take care of me after the funeral.
Fortunately, some things this round were better and some were not. Those "down" days are absolutely horrible and there is no other way to put them, you are so weak and your large bones ache so bad. Yes, pain pills are there, but they really make you "out of it" and that isn't much fun either.
One round, I felt like my whole insides where part of an acidic pit that did nothing but burn as if on fire, this time, that didn't happen. Don't know why, but anyway, I'll take it. This time though lots of water and then running to the restroom too many times, not having the strength in my legs to hardly get me there and back to the couch. I've had that weak feeling through all of the "down" times.
Just can't find the strength to do anything but take care of the barest essentials. Sleeping isn't easy either. For some reason there are other GI track issues too. Gas is a real issue and taking Gas-x doesn't really help because of the amount that is produced. I wonder if I should try a whole box and see what happens.
June 14, 2008
Saturday - Felt a lot better today. We went for a boat ride and then something on the motor went out so we had to pull start the engine. When Andy got the motor case off he found something was burnt, so he at least knows what to try and replace to see if it will work. Always fun at something.
June 15, 2008
Sunday - Father's Day - Happy Father's Day to all who are Dad's. I miss my father. I miss what he used to be when I was younger.
June 17, 2008
Tuesday - Computer class
June 18, 2008
Wednesday - manicure
June 19, 2008
Thursday - Blood draw and see Dr. Mike (plastic surgeon), should be the last fill and maybe set up when this fall I'll have my implants changed. Finally got my numbers for the blood counts - everything is like always - normal. I've been really tired lately though.
June 21, 2008
Saturday - Coroner's Conference in Fort Wayne
June 22, 2008
Sunday - Coroner's Conference in Fort Wayne
June 23, 2008
Monday - Coroner's Conference in Fort Wayne
June 24, 2008
Tuesday - Coroner's Conference in Fort Wayne
June 25, 2008
Wednesday - 3:00 appointment with the Genetic Doctor to see if all of this is a genetic issue or just the luck of the draw.
Talking with a genetic counselor is like taking genetic class again. Even though I have so many people with breast cancer in my family - the only one that they are concerned with is my cousin who was the same age as I was when first diagnosed. They are more concerned with people under the age of 50 who are diagnosed than the over 50 crowd.
I do not understand that part, but any way - there is a 6.8% chance that this breast cancer might be genetic. Hopefully, my insurance will cover the cost and we will know for sure one-way or the other. Want to know for future generations and what they can do to help prevent it.
June 27, 2008
Friday - Andy was working at the funeral home and I went to Hollywood Nails and Spa, for a healthy check.
June 28, 2008
Saturday - Went to the lake for the day, was hoping for the weekend, but the phone rang from the funeral home and we are home again. Andy will be able to go with me for my final chemo at the moment. Hopefully, all will allow this.
June 30, 2008
Monday - Hopefully the final chemo treatment. Have to watch Mom's dog - Jake, when I get done with this for the rest of the week.
July 2, 2008
Wednesday - Brother, Dale's Birthday.
July 4, 2008
Friday - Happy 4th of July!
July 5, 2008
Saturday - Hopefully going to the lake for part of the festivities this weekend.
July 7, 2008
Monday - An information/comment entry - each dose of chemotherapy is just that a dose. You do not "get used to it" or "it doesn't get more difficult or easy" or anything else. Each dose is different - you think you know what to expect, but it doesn't always react the same, I had day one the day of chemo - I'm all hyped up from the steroid/anti nausea pills (had to take these pills the day before/of/after) - then they put in the chemo, it made me tired and my knees rubbery.
The second day I had to have a neulasta shot to help my body rebuild blood cells - each time it made the large bones (thigh, upper arms, spine, etc.) ache at the joints, my knees and hips at times felt like rubber when I stood on them. Then day three - to day five, feeling incredibly weak, tired and UCKY! Almost sick, but not - at times wondering if I did throw up would it all go away? For the most part I did well - I didn't get the nausea which is supposed to be really bad, but kept wondering about the UCKY feeling I did have. Food is terrible, smells incredible, but just is texture - the worst part is a bite does have taste and suddenly it changes to something that is totally horrible tasting.
Now that the treatments are over I get to look forward to taste coming back and staying, but for some reason it doesn't seem to becoming back as quickly - just don't know. People think that I've been doing "ok," well I have been considering all of the "bad" things that could have happened, but I've also felt really terrible with all of this. Sometimes I'm so weak that just opening a can of vegetables and microwaving it is difficult.
Another issue that isn't fun - the main chemo drug causes you to loose your hair to some devastating degree. Why is it that everyone is so worried about that issue? Yes, I've lost almost all of it - should have lost it all last month, but you know I'm not doing this like the "book" either with my blood counts so this isn't happening like the book either.
I don't understand why no one seems worried about how I'm doing for "real." It's the hair - that was probably the most emotional part of this whole process - that and loosing my father just before I found out I had to do all of this. NO - I'm not particularly fond of my wigs - they look great, but they are hot and itchy. My head sweats like crazy for some reason now. Some people get cold and some get hot.
You really find out who your "real" friends and family are too. They say, "I've been telling everyone you're doing so well" - how would you know? You haven't called me or stopped by the funeral home or our house to find out how I'm feeling or doing? This web page allows you to know what the process/progress is, but I haven't been totally honest here maybe you don't understand what "bad" days are - don't want you to really know just how horrible this process is.
I'm so glad that I do not have to do this as long as most patients have to. I chose to do this because I didn't like the 13% chance of the cancer coming back in the next 5 to 10 years - remember? Think long and hard before you or a love one has to go through this process. I'd never make an elderly person do this. I see so many of them with their children telling them it will be alright - The poor soul is over 70, feeble and weak already and you want them to go through this process - take how many treatments per week, then do it all over again in three weeks!
What is their quality of life? Mine for a week wasn't there, but the knowledge that this was a preventative measure rather than an only hope helped.
THANK YOU to all who have sent emails, cards, stopped by the funeral home, called, etc., YOU will never know how much you have meant to me through all of this process. I hope that some day I can return the uplifting knowledge of "someone caring" that you gave me - hopefully not for the same reason though. I appreciate each and everyone of you MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW.
July 10, 2008
Thursday - Have to go see the plastic surgeon and then have blood drawn for my counts.
July 11, 2008
Friday - Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary, today will be rough for sure. We went out for supper and went somewhere that Dad would never have gone. We went to the House of Kobe, in Merrilliville. It was good, but don't tell them you have a large party - they tack on a 20% tip that the waitress sure wasn't worth. Glasses were empty well before they were filled for sure. The entertainment of watching them cook our food was fun. Many of us are pretty good cooks anyway and it gave us some ideas on another way to cook foods.
It was fun and we all agreed when it was over that Dad would not have gone there, he would have gone to the Golden Corral next door. ;-)I did get some good news today. I had some genetic testing done to see if breast cancer is a family trait, since I have so many in the family who have had this. Anyway, it isn't - no mutated gene - but this isn't 100% sure, but pretty sure.
What a mix for sure. Makes you feel a little bit better about the whole thing. They just suggest that females obtain a base line mammogram between the ages of 30 and 35, and at 35 to 37 start doing yearly mammograms. That the family can handle.
July 13 to 19, 2008
I thought that I would give weekly updates as not as much is happening daily.Mom, Dale, Andy and I went to visit our ancestors graves in Illinois on Tuesday. Dale had never been there so now he knows where a few generations back are laid to rest.
Thursday was a visit to the plastic surgeon and getting filled for the last time. We will see him again in September to schedule the final surgery of swapping out these implants and putting in the ones that can stay forever. Andy had to go to the fair to be at the republican booth in the evening. I stayed home because it was so hot.
So thankful for rain on Saturday! We really need some more after all of those hot days of fair week.
July 20 to 26, 2008
Sunday is Andy and I's 29th Anniversary - I hope my taste buds are working by then.
Monday - I have an appointment with Dr Drasga (chemo Dr) should see him again in three months for another blood draw and how I'm doing.
Well, Dr. Drasga thinks I'm completely cured and should never have to go through any of this again. (That would be nice for sure.) I will see him again in October and then every three months for two years, and then every six months for another three years. He's debating on what to do after this time.
I'm beginning to feel stronger every day - school begins in two weeks. I sure didn't have much of a summer to rest, but will see how the year goes. I'm also still fighting with sore shoulders. Boy, I'm glad I have some time to get used to this before I have that last surgery. I didn't realize just how long this takes to get my muscles used to this process.
I'm not only sore on the front, side (under the armpits) and my back. I've discovered that working at a table or desk isn't a "fun" thing. It pulls more muscles than just sitting as the arms end up being used to prop oneself up. I know that this will be an issue at school as well as grading papers.
July 27 to August 2, 2008
This has been a really busy week for us. Trying to deal with the realization that this is basically all over with other than dealing with doctor's appointments and such just to be sure is sometimes overwhelming. My hair isn't growing back as fast as I would like, but I guess I could deal with being almost bald a little longer. I'm not sure I want to deal with this the rest of my life though. Andy says to be glad I'm still here - I am, but I guess like everything else we always want more.
I am also having issues with dealing with the fact that school starts so soon and I do not have any free time on my calendar to go to the lake. I sure hope the weekends are open once school starts. I had wanted to go fishing this summer. Dad was going to help me figure out how to fish the river down at Monticello, he just might have to wait until next summer to help me out.
August 2 to 9, 2008
Well, I already know that we are going to have the caliphone in the parade at DeMotte. I will be at my usual spot, driving my truck pulling the trailer. Andy says he's not walking this year as his leg is so sore from all he has done this summer and not resting it like he should. Oh well, I bet that he walks some of it. We bought something to go on the trailer this year so we'll see what everyone thinks of it - NO I'm not going to tell you what it is - come and see for yourself!
Well, we did not need to use the surprise - a top to keep it somewhat dry if it rains. Also, we were busy at the funeral home, so Andy was not at the parade. I hope you enjoyed the caliaphone this year.
I'm getting to the point I'm not sure what everyone wants to know anymore. I do know that if it weren't for AFLAC, I would be having a lot of financial issues right now. Between finally hitting the large deductible and maximum out of pocket amounts from our insurance - AFLAC has helped to cover almost all of that. I am thankful for taking out the extra policy several years ago, even though someone else wondered what I was thinking when I did this.
Yes, it was some money out of my pay check each pay, but now it was well worth it. Even if this would not have happened, it was worth the peace of mind to have it. I just didn't realize how good it was!
August 10, 2008
August 12, 2008
The 10th would have been Dad's 70th Birthday. We were so busy at the funeral home I just kept busy. I'm not sure that always being busy is a good thing.
School begins - what a summer! Well, I survived the first "teacher" day. Fortunately, the classroom wasn't as hot as it was last week when I went in to work for a little while. Tomorrow students will return to the classroom.
This week was pretty good. Wednesday, I came home, ate supper and crashed for the night, but Thursday and Friday were much better.
August 17 to 23, 2008
Just like Paul Harvey
This will be the first full week of school that I've tried to work/do since January. Hopefully my strength is up enough for all of it. It still amazes me how much muscles hurt every time you move or even holding them still. I wonder when this part will be over. Maybe one of these days it will be over.
Beginning of September
Well I made it through the weeks, and now it is the weekend after Labor Day. Next week on Thursday, I go to the plastic surgeon to set up when I will have surgery again. Hopefully, this will be around late October.
I'm also taking an online class at the moment for the next 6 weeks, as I have a student teacher who is covering a lot of my teaching duties at school. I thought that this might be the time to take a class so that I can keep my emergency teaching license. I'll have to take at least one more in the spring, but hopefully I'll feel better then. I will also need to take one more during the summer, then another year about like this one. Strategic planning for sure
End of September 2008
The end of September is here, and I have my last surgery scheduled, it will be on October 28th. I will have my implants changed out. I've seen both of my surgeons this month. I have to go back to the main surgeon in March of '09. My plastic surgeon - well, I'll see him again October 28th and thereafter. He says that I will be down 7 to 10 days. I'll finish up my college on-line class the 13th.
I have been doing pretty good. Trying to balance work, schooling and the funeral home is always interesting, but so far I'm managing. I just make sure I get my sleep - or at least try to. Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep has always been an issue, but lately I'm doing better with this.
October 5, 2008
Well, needless to say it is another sad day for the Swart family as Leonard 'Joe' Swart, has passed away. The visitation was on my son, Nicholas' birthday, October 9, 2008, and the funeral will be on Friday at First Reformed Church 'Dutch Corner.' Today, October 9th, was also the first day I retired the 'hat.'
October 12 to 24, 2008
This is a full 5 day week, next week is three days with Fall Break happening on Thursday and Friday. The Tuesday, is also Parent/Teacher conferences so I will be out late. I do not do so well in the evenings, so I'll have to make sure that I get my rest for the weekend and those nights before. Fall Break will be a welcome rest - or so I hope. The funeral home has been so busy, I really hope that this weekend is slow and quiet. We'll see what happens. ;-)
Well, conferences are over. All went well. Contrary to what most parents might think - teachers dread these conferences probably more than the parents do. I'm tired, but can't seem to get to sleep just yet. Tomorrow, the 22nd I go see Dr. Drasga (chemo dr.) in Crown Point. I'm assuming that all went well, as I have not heard to the contrary.
I checked on line today and got a 96% for my class - an "A". That was a nice issue to find for sure.
October 28, 2008
Out patient surgery is on the agenda for today. Hopefully all will go as planned and I will be home in the afternoon.
Tenative times are arrive at St. Anthony's Medical Center 6:45 a.m., surgery at 8:00 a.m. One hour of surgery and about one hour in recovery, then the trip home. Stay home from school for a week, rest and enjoy it. ;-) - Well, I got into the surgery room at 9:00 - went home at 1:00.
I'm heading for work on Monday. I am thankful for the same sub to be in my classroom the whole time I am out. That means a lot. The kids will like him too, he understands them like I do. More probably later in the week when I'm feeling a little better.
November 4, 2008
4, 2008Well, today is the first day that I'm feeling human again. I woke up with 4 drains again, two came out on Thursday of last week and the last two came out on Monday of this week. Tomorrow, Wednesday, I go to see the Dr - I was to see him on Monday, but he had to leave for emergency surgery so I just saw Lili, who took out the last two drains (HURRAY! !). I'm hoping that I can go to school on Thursday -
I guess someone asked Andy why I wasn't over this just yet. I guess they do not understand the whole process. Imagine taking a pumpkin and cutting off the top, hollowing out all of insides, then trying to pull the top together and stitch it back together. The next step is like taking a ziploc baggy with washers and placing it between your chest muscles. This was the first surgery.
Now mind you the muscles of your chest are not very thick, and your sternum sticks out farther than your new chest/breasts. Every week someone puts 60 cc's of fluid into the bag to stretch your muscles. 60 cc's is like 60 sugar cubes - count out and look at how much this is. Do this until you have 560 cc's in each side - you want to be balanced. Your back muscles hurt from stretching, your neck muscles are stretched, your upper arm muscles ache, and the muscles around your arm pits cry for help. That brings up another interesting thought - the hair in your armpit is in a new location. The top half is where it is supposed to be, but the bottom half has been moved forward onto your new anatomy parts. Now you have to have another surgery, because the ziploc bag isn't made of material that can be left in your body. This time they stretch the muscles of your chest by hand some more, and now you have to have a pair of socks crammed in your arm pits to keep your body tissue from shifting from your chest to your side! Fortunately this only has had to last for a couple of weeks.
Some times I wonder if all of this was worth it, then I think of not being here and do not like that either. I thank God that the medical industry is so advanced today & for the many "true" friends that Andy and I have. I know I would not have gotten this far in this process without each and everyone of you. There are times when I just get tired of the whole process. I would like for it to be over and life to return to 'normal' whatever that might be. I'm not sure any more just what that will be like. Always worrying about this issue.
November 7, 2008
Well, I made it through Thursday and Friday at school with the kids. They are all glad to see me back. One student carries my computer in and out every day for me. I'm not supposed to pick up 10 pounds just yet. I have to go back to the doctor next week Thursday - I'm not sure if I am going to take half or the whole day off. I think I'll wait to see how tired I am on Tuesday.
November 23, 2008
Well, the Doctor doesn't want to see me for 6 weeks. I think I'll be having withdrawals from not seeing one of the doctors during that time. All is going well and I feel so much better with these implants, they give/move. The others being so 'overfilled' were hard as a rock - or so they felt anyway. At times they felt like the old Indian grinding stone. These give and feel more natural. NO more socks in the arm pits, and after 3 more weeks of 24/7 wearing a bra all will be almost normal again. They are not sore - amazingly. I'm not hurting other than if I overdo, but that usually I know at the time and just stop. I'm trying to get my strength back, but that isn't an easy process either right now. I'm getting better each day for the most part so hopefully it will continue. I even started doing the up on the stairs at school a couple of times a day. It is amazing how out of breath you get just from a couple of flights.
December 22 - I'll go back to see him again and see what else I have to do.
I have started a new hobby - turning wooden ink pens. It is fun and I like making something to say - I made it. Computers used to be my hobby, but they have been the 'hobby'/work for the last 15 years. Crocheting is fun, but anyway.
November 26, 2008
Well, the kids at school and I made it through another week. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to one and all!
We hosted Thanksgiving again this year.
December 8, 2008
Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day, it is amazing how certain days touch your life. When I was a teen ager, my first new car was built on that day and I also found out that my uncle was married on that day. Later in life when you learn more about history because of the movies that are produced to help us all remember history and other factual events. We are supposed to learn from these events and hopefully keep them from happening again. Somedays, I wonder if the present situation we are involved in isn't a worse version of WWI and WWII. Just a thought.
I'm doing pretty good, going to school everyday and working at the funeral home. Andy bought us some pieces for a wood shop and I have been turning wooden pens - like the students at NJ-SP are doing. The students learned from the wood shop teacher and they have been working on a large project. The students are making pens from firewood for our service men and women over seas. In fact a load of pens left the high school last Friday. These students are the ones who taught me how to do it. I've really been enjoying this new hobby. Andy helps by drilling the blanks, and setting me up and I get to do the creative part of the process. We are making many of our Christmas presents this year.
There are times when I'm still having some emotional issues. Owning the funeral home and running into people who have had a similar fight with cancer really causes one to think differently. I am so thankful for finding mine while it was so small and basically (almost) contained. So many others didn't have that opportunity. We have a girl from NJ-SP who graduated last year ( Ashley Ann Derrickson). She was my inspiration through all of the chemo treatments. I kept telling myself that if she could do this I could do this. We talked about the first two treatments that I had while school was still in session, the last two I had to do while school was out and really missed the students' support. Now this young lady is fighting for her life, she has developed Leukemia and has been at Riley's for the last 6 months trying to go through a bone marrow transplant and other treatments. She is presently in a drug induced coma fighting the fight.
Another issue that is difficult to deal with is the passing of someone else who has had cancer. You are thankful it isn't you, but don't know what to say to the grieving family. I feel for your loss, I'm so sorry are beginning to get to me at times. I've lost a lot this year so far, my father and two uncles in six months. I told my last uncle to be careful and not do anything stupid. I don't think I could handle that right now. I know the Lord doesn't give any of us any more than we can handle, but we all have times of wondering or doubt. Somehow the Lord gives us the strength we need when we ask to get through everything.
I had to start a second page today - I think it has something to do with the size this page has become. I'm not sure, but at least it will be here for everyone to read and I won't have the frustration of trying to figure out why I can't add to it any longer. It is difficult to know what you have typed when it keeps disappearing from the screen.
Next week is Finals week here at North Judson, I can't believe how quickly the year has flown by. Dad always told me that as you age time flies faster than when you were a kid. I truly believe him.
December 19, 2008
Well, they called off school due to the ice that Mother Nature saw fit to leave all of us to deal with. Now we have 2 days that we will have to make up this school year. The last day of finals will be when the students return to school on the 6th of January, then we will start the new semester. Always a new challenge for sure.
Monday, I go back to see my plastic surgeon. I'm not sure what he will tell me this time around. On January 21, I go to see the Oncologist, Dr. Drasga in Crown Point for my three month check-up. Probably a blood test too, but I'm not sure what will happen.
Yesterday, we helped with a funeral at North Judson. A student I spoke of earlier, Ashley Ann Derrickson, passed away on the 12th, she was 19, she would have been 20 on the 23rd of this month. She had a cancerous tumor on her left femur 4 years ago. The doctors removed the femur, left the knuckles and put in a titanium rod for the missing piece. Told her she would never play basketball again, but she showed them and played for another year or so. She under went chemo, and many other treatments, she was a fighter, lover of life, and one of the best young people you could ever want to be around. Then last spring, after I was diagnosed and trying to figure out what I had to do, she started having problems again. She graduated the end of May, and had to go to Indianapolis (Riley's) for 3 to 6 months, or so they said. She under went a bone marrow transplant given by her oldest brother, it was to be a preventative treatment. It didn't work, and leukemia developed within 10 days she was gone. She will be sadly missed by many people, me especially. She was there to tell me what to expect, what to take with me for my first trip, what to have around, how I might feel, and everything. Ashley and other students even made a care package for me while I was out of school with my first surgery. She always had a smile on her face, one for her and one you caught looking at her. We used to share smiles at school. One of us would always be up and get the other one up, if we were having a 'bad' day. Many of the students at school joined in with this and we always kept everyone going. I've been blessed to know such a fine young girl in the elementary and a wonderful young woman in high school. The Lord knew what he was doing when he sent her to earth, and unfortunately for us, her mission is finished. Jesus got a wonderful Christmas present this year, I just hope she doesn't tire him out playing basketball.
January 4, 2009
Sunday, Andy and I are working on getting my 'new' kitchen cabinets in - actually he's doing it all, I'm the gopher again. I've also been grading the last of the projects from school and some final exams today. I'm glad that North Judson had some of the finals completed before the first ice storm hit. We still have two classes to get finished up, but we will get those completed. I'm tired but getting along well. I'll see Dr. Drasga on the 21st of this month for a blood test and check-up. Then in February I'll see my plastic surgeon again. I hope the weather is good for the rest of the winter, but something tells me to expect another week of school after the supposed end of the year.
January 24, 2009
Well, the kitchen cabinets are in! Now comes the process of where do I put what? Put it where it was before you say? Well, I have more cabinets and space to hide those kitchen things than I've ever had before.
The visit to the Dr's office was good. He told me I was the healthist person he'd seen all day. Can't believe how I'm bouncing back, but yet, I feel I'm not there. I guess I should consider all that I do teaching and working at the funeral home, and then anything else we have going, plus I've taken a college class and am going to be taking another one soon. I guess I am doing pretty well, but just doesn't seem like it. There are days when the normal day begins at 5 or 5:30 am and doesn't stop until I call it quits at the funeral home around 7 or 8. Andy stays to get what I can't finished up and then comes home. I love how we can do this together and somehow we always manage to get everything done just fine. Someone lately said we complement each other and each other's skills so well - that's how we make it all happen.
Andy's sister, Connie, has been gone now three years. She is still missed, but it doesn't hurt so bad as we know where she is and that we will see her again. Loosing Dad is still fresh, but getting there. Loosing family that are so close is really rough.
February 2, 2009
Well, today is "Ground Hog Day" and we are to once again get 6 weeks more of winter. I'm really getting tired of all this snow and cold, but 6 more weeks and it will technically be spring anyway.
Blood work was good from the last Dr visit and in a couple of weeks I'll see the plastic surgeon again. Then in March, I have to see the original surgeon again to see how my body is doing with all of the changes that have happened. There are times that my muscles seem to want to be where they were, and then realize that they need to get into the 'new' place. This sort of surprise movement is always interesting. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it just feels really strange, and other times it is unbearable.
I had a student come to visit me during lunch today. I had this student a few years back when he was in third grade. He wanted to check on me and tell me how I had made a major influence on his life. If he only knew how much he helped me during that year in third grade. I guess we all touch each other more than we ever imagine. Thank you to each and everyone of you, may you touch people with caring and love.
February 23, 2009
I still can't believe that 2009 is here. It's been almost a year since my first surgery. Today we journed back to the plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Malcheski (sp? - I know that is wrong - Dr. Mike works better). All is looking well, and if I'm happy about things then we are just on check-ups. Now it will be 3 months before I see them again, so that makes it the end of May, then he said 6 months, and then a year. They are such wonderful people there. They are always so full of encouragement, and can't believe all that I'm trying to do and how well I'm doing. They just love my curly hair. Some people pay dearly for this type of hair-do. I used to be one of them, years ago. Some people wonder where my grey hair is - well I've been fortunate to not have all that much grey just yet. I'm sure I'll get it sooner or later, and when it hits, look out. My hair is about 3 & 1/4th inches in length! I remember when it just wasn't getting started like I thought it would, or like they said. Begins so slowly for sure, drives you crazy, then everyone makes over it like they've not seen hair before.
Life is scary - it's been almost a year - will I make another year, and another? Gets depressing at times. I try not to think about it, but sometimes can't help crying about it.
I'm taking another on-line class, Quantitative Reasoning for Business. Lots of math and difficult problems to do each week, not always fun, but a challenge for sure. So far I've been able to get most of the work completed easier than writing those 20+ page papers that I used to have to write each Saturday for class. Keeps me busy for sure.
March 15, 2009
Sunday, Andy's 50th Birthday was the 6th, he's getting old - ready for AARP he says.
One more week of class. I'm doing well with all of it. Math has always been a strong point for me, so this has been a manageable class. I'm really starting to enjoy it, and I'm getting most of the assignments done before Friday, so that is a plus for the weekends. Economic math, Accounting math, Statistic math and Probability math are all interesting topics.
I go see my original surgeon on March 23 - hopefully I'm finished with him after that day, but who knows.
Plans for the DeMotte Funeral Home are going slow, lots of red tape and prices have changed. We'll get there, but it will take some time.
April 3, 2009
Finished my class in Economics, Accounting, and Statistics - started with a 93.1% and finished with a 96.7%. This was the first class that I could get the work completed during the week and have most of the weekends to do what I wanted. Thinking of taking a class in Operations Management next (in a couple of weeks). Should finish by summer vacation that way.
Saw Dr. Tom (original surgeon) on Monday of Spring Break - March 23rd - I think, see him again in 6 months. They like to keep tabs on you for a longer period of time now about 2 or 3 years after surgery. I told Dr. Tom it was a good thing that I liked him, or coming back to see him so much would not be fun. He's glad for success stories.
April 9, 2009
April 13, 2009
Waiting on results from a test that I had on Tuesday. Having other female problems, so we will see what has to be done. Should know tomorrow, as the doctor had an emergency this afternoon. Hope someone is having a baby!
Well it has been a year ago yesterday (Easter Sunday) that I lost my Dad. We made it through the weekend fairly well. I still miss him and get angry that he would never go to the Dr. don't know if it would have helped or not, but oh well.
Today, I also have the results of my tests from Tuesday - need a D and C so on the 24th of this month. So I'll hopefully get everything everything taken care of and all will be just fine.
April 25, 2009
Well, I'm feeling pretty good, but Dr said the anesthesia would be interesting to get over and she was right. Head is 'fuzzy' at times. I have a 3 cm fibroid tumor that we will probably have to deal with and what ever else they find from the D and C. I'll know more after Friday when we meet with her again. I'm so groggy at times today, but I know what is causing it.
I think I'll start a class the following Tuesday to get me through the end of the school year. Then summer vacation will be here and we will deal with whatever we have to deal with. School does not start in North Judson until August 17th so I'll have a little longer vacation than usual, since we've been starting around the 12th for the last few years.
May 13, 2009
I wonder why 13 is so unlucky? Well, today I am to find out what is going to happen - Will I have the thermal oblasion or the hysterectomy? God knows for now and I'll get word later today whenever the Dr calls. I have to travel to the Oncologist this afternoon.
May 31, 2009
Well, it has been a while, it has taken a while to find out what is going to happen. June 23rd, I will have a hysterectomy at St. Anthony's Medical Center in Crown Point. I'll finish teaching on the 2nd of June, and the college class will end on June 15th.
June 7, 2009
Had a nice birthday, had dinner with family and friends at Marti's place, and then had pizza from Kouts for supper. Andy made it to everything even with all that was going on at the funeral home.
June 11, 2009
Hopefully, heading to the Coroner's Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Andy needs to get his hours and I have a paper to finish for my class - Operations Management. I'm in the last week, so Monday at midnight this will be over!
June 22, 2009
Well, tomorrow is the day, 7:30 am is the surgery time. Should take about an hour to an hour and a half. I have to stay in the hospital until Thursday. Andy has a visitation that day so life will be interesting this week
June 28, 2009
Well, I'm home from surgery. I had to deal with blisters from the tape because people do not listen or read the information that you provide them. The blisters are starting to heal and not hurt so bad. Felt like someone was burning me when I took a shower or moved the wrong way. Now I still have to deal with the swelling from surgery, but I'm beginning to feel better from all of it.
Surgery was more involved than expected, as I had more issues that the doctor had to deal with than was normal.
Another slow process, but will have the summer to heal and get better again. Hopefully, I will remember this summer, as last summer with chemo and everything was a blur. I walked to the end of the driveway this morning, the fresh air felt good to breath, and the sunshine felt wonderful. Thank God for the little 'things' in life.
July 1, 2009
Heading to the doctor's office after lunch for a check-up. All is going well, looking good, walk more, don't lift, take care of yourself, get the picture?
July 7, 2009
Watching Mom's dog, Jake, as everyone is fishing, except us. I'm feeling better, but still moving slowly. Have to see the doctor again a week from this Friday. In all actuality, I'm feeling a lot better than I've felt for the last 4 to 5 months. ;-) Glad to have this behind me!
July 13, 2009
Had a long weekend, it would have been Mom and Dad's 51st wedding anniversary Saturday. Then I spoke with someone who is just now going through what I did last year, only she is having other health issues too. Then to top it off her boss fired her from her work, and her step-father just passed away. I guess it is always something, and makes you realize that you might have had it rough, but there are always other people who have it even rougher than you do. This can be a very humbling experience, and yet one that makes you very sad and 'down'.I thank God every day for helping me through all of this, and for being there to carry me through the roughest times. I think that is why we are so busy at the funeral home at times, because it gives both Andy and I something else to think of at the time, and then suddenly it is time to go to the doctor or whatever we had to do.
Friday, I go to the doctor's office from the surgery and see how I'm doing. I'm feeling pretty good for the most part, but I sure can tell that there were issues with my left side toward my hip joint. This area is always tender, and feels sometimes like someone is burning something in there. Other than this I'm feeling much better than I have in a long time. I need to call my oncologist and see what he wants to do now that this is all taken care of - something for later this week.
Well, Dr Mary says see you in three weeks, so August 4th we will make the journey one more time. She'll send Dr. Ray, my oncologist, the information he needs after the next visit so that he can decide what to do with me. So, I'll worry about contacting him later.
July 27, 2009
Well, tomorrow marks 5 weeks from surgery. I'm beginning to feel really well, but still cannot lift over 15 pounds per Dr's orders. I go see Dr. Mary Tuesday of next week, hopefully for the release, but who knows. One thing I've learned over the last year, is that these Dr's like to do lots of follow-ups and checking to make sure you really are 'ok'. I appreciate that.
Andy and I celebrated a quiet 30th wedding anniversary on the 20th. We had been at our little place at the lake for part of the weekend and came home to cook out at home. Nick (our son) had KV's marching band camp that week so he was busy with his life and career. That's good. I know how he loves kids. I tell mine at NJ-SP that they will always be my 'kids', because they will always be younger than I am. 'Kids' are special and it is wonderful being part of their growing and becoming adults trying to make their way in this world.
School begins for teachers on the 17th of August and once again, I'm not so sure I'm ready to go back. I miss the 'kids' but, need some time to just relax. I haven't been able to do that much this summer. Maybe later..............
August 2, 2009
Andy and I just got back from our little trailer on the river. It was a short weekend, but an enjoyable one. We are hoping to get back there later this week to spend some time. We haven't gotten much time to relax and rest this summer with me having surgery again and the funeral home just being so busy. School starts in two weeks and the kids will ask me what I did over vacation - not sure what to tell them. They hate it when I do not do something. I'm hoping that the fish will also agree with us and allow us to catch a few big ones to eat. It's been a long time since I've had a good catfish or some other kinds of fish. Nick and Amanda shared crappie from Wisconsin with us and they were good, but it isn't the same if you didn't help catch them. I miss that part and so does Andy. Hopefully we will have some luck and some good eating.
Tuesday, I go to see Dr. Mary for my 6 week check-up and am sure all will be well. I feel so much better than I did before school was out. Should have had this done a long time ago, but how do you get Dr's to realize this or the INSURANCE companies who want you to play a testing game to be sure. Doesn't feel like this is the best thing most of the time. Oh well. I think I'll start page 3 when I start school. Seems like the thing to do for now.
August 18, 2009
Today is the first day of school for students at NJ-SP. I made it through the day pretty good. I think this semester's classes will be good. Seems like I have a good bunch of students again. I will be starting page three shortly. I wish I would have had one more week off, I think it would have done me some good to have a little more rest. I don't sleep well when Andy's out at night doing Funeral Home or Coroner's stuff. I know he doesn't see so well in the dark and I worry about him.
We did make it to the lake this weekend and sort of got to relax. There were several Coroner's runs for Andy, but he did get to relax on Sunday and that was good. He needs that too. Sometimes this job gets to both of us, but that is what makes us human and 'real'. I'm hoping to get to the lake this weekend for a couple of birthday parties that we are supposed to make Ollie Bolen for. We'll have to teach the KV Band how to make them and not over cook them. They will learn - we'll be around for when they have a booth at the Sandhill Crane Festival in Wheatfield on September 19, 2009. Come and see us and them, and all the GREAT cars that people bring to show.
September 1, 2009
School is going pretty good, but today one more computer went down. Now I have 19 working computers in the lab and 20 students. Life isn't very fun right now, someone have an idea what to do with the extra student? The teacher computer is down and now one of the lab computers is also on the fritzzzzzzz. NOT much fun for now and is very aggravating when the technology people will not come and even look at it. I think the HD is out, or forgot what to do. Joy of joys.
September 12, 2009
Made it through what seemed to be a long week. Homecoming activities are very draining at Judson. Looking forward to the weekend, after the parade in Rensselaer - we'll have the caliaphone there, starts at noon, then on the the lake? Start a Marketing class on Tuesday - look out world, life is going to get busier..........
Yesterday, was different, I still remember where and what I was doing when the Towers went down. It was my first year teaching third grade after teaching computers for 6 years, the day was also the first day of ISTEP testing. Those 3rd graders are now Juniors in high school. Time flies, but memories of this magnatude still linger.
October 12, 2009
I guess it has been a while - sorry. Today was a visit to Dr. Tom G. my original surgeon. He likes how everything has progressed and I do not have to go back for 18 months, so that is a year from Andy's next birthday.
Nicholas is now 29 years old. Oh, to be that age again and know what I know now.
School is going well, and so is my class that I started. Week five starts tomorrow, so 2 weeks to go. Then I think I'll take statistics, which deals with a lot of high level math. Then I think I'll take a break again and rest for the holidays.
November 9, 2009
Statistics class is really deep. sometimes I want to quit, but that isn't me. I am also encouraged knowing that most of the class finds the math problems difficult. Tomorrow makes the beginning of week 3, so almost half way. I managed an almost perfect score in the last class, so I'll get through this one.
Had to stay home from school today -I've been running a fever since late Saturday evening. Went to the doctor today, and he wanted all sorts of test ran, so off to Porter Hospital for that. Good news is I do not have the H1N1 flu, but not sure just what I do have. He doesn't want me going back to school until after he sees me again on Thursday, so this will definitely be a short week for me - hopefully I can go on Friday. I'm on some really strong antibiotics.
I got to go to school on Friday, thank goodness for friends!
November 14, 2009
I think that I will start page 3 at the beginning of the new year. It will not probably be as full as these first two pages, but hopefully someone will have learned how to understand a little of what a person having breast cancer might be going through.
One of my biggest hurdles to overcome is all of these cancer adds, emails, etc. One day they make me cry my eyes out, put me into the biggest downward spiral you can emagine emotionally, and then the next day or so I'm able to say thank you for thinking of me when you got the email, but I do NOT need it forwarded to me. I remember every waking moment of that part of my life, I have been touched by this disease and do NOT need to be reminded. You might need to be reminded, but I do not. I can't do anything that I'm not reminded by moving a muscle that is in my chest and they let me know life isn't the same there at all anymore. Somedays, I wonder would life have been different if I would have had different procedures. There are so many to choose from, and you have to make such quick decisions, because if you wait you can make the situation worse, and then the choices change. NOT something that you want to do for sure.
I love all of the thoughtfullness in the breast cancer gifts, but you could just make a donation, or keep the item yourself so that you remember. I'm constantly reminded of what is going on.
November 27, 2009
December 9, 2009
Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. Mine was good. Everyone seemed to have a nice time.
I see the Oncologist on Monday after school unless he cancels again.
The visit to the Doctor was good. I was the healthiest person he'd seen in a while. ;-) I feel so sorry for some of his patients, they really look bad when they leave his office. Andy says I looked like that when I was going through treatment. I'm glad I didn't notice that look. It is sad for sure. Anyway, see him again in 3 months which will be my 2 year anniversary of my first surgery. Wow, how time flies when you are having fun - NOT! I have no clue where the first year went other than trying to survive, and taking care of me. The second year was going pretty well, but I needed surgery again. I'm so glad that I feel so much better after the hysterectomy in June. I'm doing pretty well. I'm tired now, but after finishing 2 classes back-to-back online, teaching and helping with the funeral home. It is no wonder that I'm tired. The end of the semester is drawing near and I need to create final exams. I'll rest over Christmas Break - I hope.
January 11, 2009
It has definitely been a while. Andy and I had a nice quiet Christmas Break. Everyone was here for Christmas Eve and a good time was had by all.
I will definitely be starting the 'page' three next entry. The last few weeks have been rough again, more of an emotional issue than anything else. The reality of possibly not being around next year, or the following year, or maybe the year after that is a very scary issue. The Lord knows what he wants me to do, who he wants me to help, and I'm sure that I'll do my part when the 'time' is 'right', but this is so scary at times. You want to be here for your children, and hopefully someday grandchildren, but you never know, and having had cancer makes this all so much more real and threatening. I've got to dig myself out of this hole I seem to have fallen into, God will help me if I ask. I've been asking, but wow what a hole. I thank God for the rest that I managed to get over break to give me strength to tackle the new students I now have again. Remember January is like August to me, new classes and a new bunch of kids to get settled into the routine. On January 19th I start a Finance class for 6 weeks, and when it is finished I will have only one more to go. Can't wait for all of this to be over! The light at the end of that tunnel is getting brighter all of the time.
This is a link to a really neat video on youTube. A hospital bought pink latex gloves for everyone and they danced to a song for Breast Cancer Awareness. Enjoy the link.
Februrary 15, 2010
It has been a while, but I'm doing well. I started another class, Finance. It is really difficult, but I only have 2 more weeks to go and it will be over. Then there is only one more class in this quest for a second master's degree. I will hopefully start that class on March 31st.
I can't believe I have begun having 2 year anniversaries, for my diagnosises, and procedures. February 28th makes 2 years from my double mastectomy. February 7th was a little rough, we celebrated my grandmother's 87th birthday, while I remembered a phone call telling me that I had cancer. Some days bother me, most do not. I guess keeping busy helps to not think or dwell on these things that have happened.
March 3, 2010
Good Morning Wednesday. Today I go to visit with the Oncologist in Crown Point after school. Just a 3-month check -up, I should be doing well. I feel better than I have in a long time and I'm hoping that it continues. This past weekend was the 2 year anniversary of my first surgery. It was a little difficult dealing with that during the week, but school and everyone kept me busy for the most part.
Saturday is Andy's 51st birthday - I haven't planned anything yet, as I'm waiting for Nick and Amanda to tell me what day is best for them. They are almost half way finished with their master's degree from Indiana Wesleyan (online). I'm so proud of them for doing this now and together. It is funny to hear them comment on who is finished with the week's homework, or ahead of the other.
March 24, 2010
Well, after my visit with the Oncologist, I will now be on 6-month check-ups. It sounds scary, as now doctor appointments and blood checks will be farther apart. Now Spring and Fall will be check-up times for this. I have to remember to make some phone calls in a couple months for appointments in June with my OB/Gyn and my Plastic Surgeon. It seems like it has been so long since I saw them. Sometimes, time flies and other times it drags by. You worry, but try not to because worry and stress are not good for you. Keeping yourself busy seems the only answer, but trying to find what works now is difficult. I used to enjoy crocheting, but this doesn't seem to keep my brain occupied anymore. I enjoy turning ink pens on my wood lathe, but one cannot do that when you are tired, way too dangerous.
Today, my garage arrived at the house. I cannot believe that there will be mo more cleaning snow off from my truck in the moring on those wintery mornings when it snowed the night before. (That is if I remember to put the truck in the garage!) I am sure that I will remember to use the garage. I actually cannot wait for it to be finished, but I'm sure after looking at it all, that this will be a project that takes a few weeks for sure.
April 12, 2010
Went to the dentist today - 6-month check-up, all was well/good. This past weekend 3/5ths of our new garage went up. The weather was so good. Sunday evening, Andy and I snuck down to the lake and spent the night. We then had to hurry home as the funeral home, got busy. This is really nothing new, as I start my last class Tuesday, it seems like it always happens this way. I'm glad this will be the last class. I'm tired of taking classes. I like to learn, but I think sometimes I've pushed too much or been pushed too much. I'm looking forward to the summer, and getting some rest and time with family and friends.
June 13, 2010
I know it has been a while. Next week I go to the OB/Gyn and the Plastic Surgeon again. Today I'm at the Coroner's Conference with Andy, in Indianapolis. I'm feeling really well this year. Just tired when I do not get enough good sleep. The school year finished well and I have completed the coursework for the second master's degree (Business Administration) from the University of Phoenix - online. This has proven to be a challenging group of classes, that I have learned a lot from. I understand Andy's business better, and have worked to optimize the inner workings. We are doing fine.
Some one asked me if I had to do it all again, what would I do. I'd pretty much do everything that I've already done. The only part that I might not do is the implants. This really depends on what you want, and at the time you have to make some hurried, but educated decisions. You can wait with this, but if you do then it is another couple of surgeries to go through, which makes it that much more difficult. Having 4 surgeries in 16 months and chemo, left my brain a little 'foggy' as I have decided to call it. But this was for a brief period of time and my brain/memory is working well again - other than for those 16+/- months.
June 27, 2010
Well, received good results on the pap's test. Also, good news that the implants help Dr's feel for lumps too. So I guess all is well and that everything worked out as it should.
In case anyone has missed it - I started a newspaper for Wheatfield - the Wheatfield Gazette - not sure I really like the name, but no one was helping me think of one or researching if we could use an older one. The first edition went out this week and I'm working on the next edition. Don't know if this will be a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly paper just yet. Most of this will depend on when I have time and if anyone helps me with the information/news. The next edition will have a memories of Wheatfield theme.
July 14, 2010
Went to the plastic surgeon today, Dr. Mike. All is well, and I'm doing like everyone else at this stage of the 'game'. Some movements are strange. Still feels really weird when I use my chest muscles too much or for something too heavy.
July 20, 2010, Happy 31st Anniversary Andy - Love you!
July 29, 2010
Today I received a wonderful phone call from Phoenix. My enrollment and academic counselor called to make sure I had received my diploma and that all was well. It is so wonderful to have so many truly caring people in this world. I know that this is what has kept me going these last few years. Brett you have gone from a fiend taking classes with me to a wonderful counselor who helped guide and encourage me to keep going, yet understood that I still needed some surgeries or other procedures and time was needed inbetween classes. Thanks so much for helping everyone at Phoenix understand that I would get this degree, but had to do it on my terms. Samantha, thank you for being there and understanding that I could not take classes consecutively at the end. You also helped me to take classes with new friends as I progressed down this journey.
September 6, 2010
School began August 17, 2010, with students. This year will sure be different teaching 5 'book' classes and 1 computer class. Usually it is, 5 computer classes and 1 book class. I'm sure that I will be feeling like a first year teacher again. Lots of work to do, but I'll get through this. Glad that I did so much Finance work as soon as school was out in June.
Later this month I go to the Oncologist, Dr. Drasga, in Crown Point. This will be the first 6-month check-up, so it will definitely be different. I know it has been a while since I've seen them. Sometimes I miss them, and other times I do not. It is a constant reminder of something most people would rather forget.
My grandmother, Mary Bruechet passed away August 6, 2010, which left a lot for me to handle with little help from others.
December 5, 2010
It has been a while since I've written everyone. Teaching school is keeping me really busy this year. Teaching 'book' classes like Business Foundations, Personal Finance, and Business & Personal Law and only one computer class, is really different, and yet very similar. It is just that I've not taught these classes before and needless to say it takes more work when you have not taught a class before. I'm really enjoying teaching these classes, especially the finance class as students are realizing just how important it is to save, plan and prepare for the future.
Healthwise, I'm doing pretty good. Went to the oncologist in October and will return in March for a 6 month check-up. I believe I see my original surgeon at that time too. The plastic surgeon and Ob/Gyn are both due in June again. I don't know how Andy and I kept going to all of these Dr's separate and didn't miss an appointment before.
I'm wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
January 16, 2011
Wow, how time flies when you are having fun. Christmas break was all too short with Andy and I getting a sinus something the first week. The fortunate side is we were getting better just before Christmas Eve so that was good. We spent the rest of break working on our new project, which we will hopefully get to enjoy this next year. (More later on that one.) I can't believe that February 29th makes 3 years from the first surgery. Now I've got you thinking about when that date rolls around. It really won't until next year which will make 4 years at that time.
It has been a while, but this will be a long month. This makes 3 years now since my first original surgery, so check-ups are in order with Dr. Tom and then later with my Oncologist, Dr. Ray Drasga during spring break. I've been doing well, but have been tired. It is something how 5 or 6 hours of sleep catches up with you, when you are one of those who needs 7 or 8 hours of sleep. One of these days I'll learn that the 10 o'clock news isn't the one I should watch, and pay more attention to the earlier news. Or better yet, I should be home to watch it, not at the funeral home. Ya, right - paperwork to do there and help get everything ready for each service. Andy's had a cold, and I'm hoping that I do not get it. Many of the kids at school have had some sort of flu or something. Many are out for 2 to 4 days before they come back to school.
Andy had his 52nd Birthday the other day - March 6th. We tried to have a quiet weekend, but that was not to be. We are both so tired from last week.
Andy made it to one day of the Funeral Director's Conference, then he needed to stay home to do some things.
Well, all too soon it will be time to visit the plastic surgeon (Dr. Mike for short) at the end of the month. I'm glad that school is out and for the first time in a long time, summer vacation is feeling like just that. We are enjoying some R&R at our lake cottage, but just seems like we can't get more than a couple of days in a row off. Maybe later. ;-)
Coroner's Conference was good. One of these days I will finish that Certificate too. What's one more at this point in my life. Might as well keep collecting them as I go along and the opportunity presents itself.
Well school has started and I'm feeling pretty good. Maybe a little tired, but really doing well. The end of September marks another 6 month check-up with Dr. Drasga, my oncologist. I'm hoping all goes well.
End of September 2011ugust 2011
Well, it has bee 3.5 years and all check-ups this month went well. Bone density test came back sound. Still waiting for comfirmation on my blood test, but I'm sure they would have called me if there were something wrong. Feeling good, but not looking forward to this winter. The almanac predictions do not sound good.
Blood counts are good. Someone asked lately "Aren't you feeling well? Then you are just fine!" Well, I wish it was that simple. I felt just fine when they found the cancer several years ago. Feeling good isn't always an indication of cancer.
Life has been busy, and school and Andy keep me hopping. The funeral home has been increasingly busy this winter. Life is a schedule more and more.
Last month I filed for District 16 - House of Representatives for the State of Indiana. This will be a new challenge, and a new phase in my life if everyone decides to vote for me. In order to defeat Doug Gutwein from Francesville, I will need everyone to vote 'REPUBLICAN' that is able. District 16 takes in the northern part of Newton County, the northern part of Jasper County, 3 townships in Starke (Wayne, California, and North Bend), all of Pulaski County, and a couple of townships in Fulton County.
I want to represent the working class people who's voice has not been heard of late. I will welcome your input in decisions down state. Most of you know that I grew up on a farm, just north of DeMotte, married Andy Boersma, 32 years ago, have a wonderful son, Nicholas who is married to Amanda. I hold a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a Master's degree in Education, and another Master's degree in Business Administration. I am a distant cousin to the late Charles Halleck who served in Washington during the mid to late 60's, during the Civil Right's movements. I have been a teacher at the elementary level and the high school level for 18 years now. I believe it is time to help make a bigger difference in the communities.
Next note - February 29th marks 4 years from the first 'big' surgery, the end of March I will start visits/check-ups with Doctors again. I feel well, but I did at the time when the cancer was found.
Also, Please keep Joe and Jenny Misch's granddaughter (Krissy & Mike's daughter) in your prayers. She has had the brain cancer removed, but will begin cancer treatment on her birthday this month. There will be two rounds of chemo, then radiaiton, then two more rounds of chemo. Having been 'there' I know how much prayer helps, and I'm asking for some help for this little girl who will be 3 very soon. The family is at Riley's in Indianapolis.
Check-ups went well - all is good see you in 6 months. So I will continue.
Well I gave politics a run, and caused a great uproar. I tried to become the State Representative down in Indianapolis, for District 16; which is an area that covers 5 different counties. Newton County from Morocco north, Jasper County from Rensselaer north, all of Pulaski County, 3 townships in Starke County, and 2 townships in Fulton County. I did well for my first run in politics loosing by a little over 1000 votes. Somehow, we need to educate people that they have to vote in May, not just in November. May is where you decide who will be on the ballot in November. This can be very important as the voter turn out is so poor, that this is not a true representation of what the communities really want to choose from.
Having to declare your politics isn't fun for many people either. Many do not realize that in November you can vote for whoever you want to, but in May you have to declare if you are REPUBLICAN or DEMOCRAT. Personally, I think that we should be able to vote for whomever we want to in May just like in November, but until someone down state changes that ruling or law this will continue.
I also believe that this state needs to be in one time zone, that we need to keep our right to keep and bare arms, and protect unborn children. I don't understand how sometimes people draw conclusions based on their assumptions from no information at all. Such is the life of politics. Amazing how everyone all of a sudden knows you, when they really do not.
I have been substitute teaching at K.V.H.S. since my retirement from NJ-SP. I cannot believe that in March it will be 5 years. My how time flies when you are and are not having fun. Cancer is an interesting enemy that many people fight in so many different ways. I hope that no one reading this has to deal with it in any fashion, but usually if you are reading this you are doing so because you care about me or want to use this to help a friend. I am glad that this has helped several of you out there to help a friend by understanding the rollar coaster that this sends people on. The ride is the bumpiest that anyone can imagine, yet you really find out who your friends are. (Just like in the song - And you learn to live like you were dying in some fashion.)
Andy and I flew to Disney World in late September, only to discover that 5 days really isn't enough time to see this place. We plan to return in a couple of years. In the mean time a trip to Washington DC is being thought about. I hope we can go in the spring. They say it is the best time to visit that area. We will see what happens........
Merry Christmas to everyone!! Spend some time with your family and friends, hold them dear; you never know just how long you will have them with you.
Well, I've made it through the 5 year check-up.Everyone tries to make me feel better, but those check-ups are scary. I felt fine when they originally found the cancer, so feeling 'fine' or 'good' doesn't necessarily mean everything is all 'good.' I remember very plainly when the Oncologist said, "Maybe we can get you another 5 or 10 years." Well, I want more than that - but this ride that has become my life is just scary. I'm actually more afraid of these next 5 years than I was of the first. I take each day as it comes and as God blesses me with another day, I try to realize that I shouldn't worry, and for the most part I do not worry. That is until someone says something, anything can change a thought pattern and there it is again.
We made it out to Boulder, Colorado to see our nephew Keith marry Katie. I wish them well. We took the long way out there and viewed many places: The Corn Palace, The Badlands, YellowStone, Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole Wyoming and a very up close and personal visit with a Prong Horn Antelope - who decided it wanted to ride inside our new truck cab. What an experience that was! We got to see many wonderful sights. I really understand now how the 'bad guys' could hide from the Marshalls back in the early pioneer days. You could hide from someone not 20 feet from you in those craters and no one would know you were there! That is unless your horse gave you away by making a noise or something. Nice places to visit and see once in your life.
A very dear friend has passed away from cancer. Her's started with breast cancer too, so it is bringing up unwanted thoughts. Why me, why am I still here, how long will I be around, and I want more than the 5 to 10 years the oncologist said I might get. If this is the case, I'm in my last 5 years. "Live like you were dying" is a scary thought, but seems like a reality right now. Andy's been taking time off and he doesn't know that he's been doing my 'bucket list' which makes me wonder. I know God's the one in charge, but there are times, you wish you could see into the crystal ball for what the future holds.
Someone said - You are cancer free aren't you? Well, I don't know that any more. They have only done blood tests and that comes back 'ok' as far as the marker goes, but that doesn't guarantee everything is 'ok'. Breast cancer can come back in many forms, and when you start chemo, the types of cancer they tell you about with taking chemo, you increase your chances of getting about 12 other types of other cancers. I wish at times that someone had to deal with this, maybe she would understand finally, but I really doubt it. This is a bad thought, forgive me, but if you knew who I am speaking of you might excuse me.
A dear friend of mine has also contracted a cancer, tomorrow is her day for surgery. I know she would appreciate prayers. Good news - she should be just fine!!
Wow! I cannot believe it has been an year since I've added something. Time has flown by. I had a slight scare with skin cancer in the spring, but all is good now hopefully. I have crocheted a lot of lap blankets or baby blankets this past year, and donated several to the needy children's group in Rensselaer, gave some as gifts, etc.
I've taken a position at K.V.H.S. as the Learing Lab Coordinator. Trying to keep students from failing classes.
I had a couple more moles taken off, these came back 'ok' so I am doing well.
Blood tests are good, counts are good, just have been so busy.
Thinking of playing with politics again.................
I am sorry, that I did not write much last year.
I am running for Jasper County Coroner. No one is running against me in the May primary, so I will make it to the November election.
This year has been going well. My counts last month were the best that they have ever been a 16! I've always averaged between 21 & 23 before. I'm feeling stronger than I have been in a long time too. Even on nights when sleep does not come as easily as it used to I can function for the day. Something else has changed too, I can actually fall asleep, as long as I am not wound up, fairly easily. I haven't been able to do that in what seems like forever. Actually cannot remember when this was the normal.
I am hoping to take a fishing trip this summer - back to Wisconsin. It has been since we opened the funeral home that we have gone to Rice Lake. I hope the fishing is good. Just need to sit on the water and remember.
Oh the fishing trip to Rice Lake Wisconsin happened, but unfortunately I broke my left ankle and had to deal with that the rest of the summer. Took till January to really get to walking sort of normal, but at least I was walking. Crutches weren't for me, and a wheel chair wasn't fun either. I had a knee scooter that worked pretty good, but Andy loaned it out to someone else, when I still needed it for Walmart trips. Large stores are always an issue.
I cannot believe that it is March - In January I was sworn in as the first female Jasper County Coroner.
I have retired from teaching after 20 years.
Well, it has been 10 years. The oncologist said "maybe we can get you 5 to 10 more years". I guess I was lucky and made it this far. For some reason it has been very rough this year. Andy was kind and gave in to my wanting a 'fur baby'. We now have a bloodhound named: Dr. 'Holi' Holiday, she has brought tears, and laughter back into this house. She can be so much fun, so loving, and just plain silly. Boy does she have an attitude at times when you correct her, just like any young child these days has.
Yearly check-ups are around the corner and hopefully all is well. Remember I felt fine the year they found everything, so it is always scary.
Everyone - take care and hold your loved ones dearly.
Being the County Coroner, has again brought emotions of losing loved ones to the surface. I'm doing fine.
I can't believe that it is the first of September! Time flies these days and for some reason the time goes even faster the older you get. Take care everyone, have a great fall and holiday season!
August 30, 2019
Ok, 11 years ago, God gave me a challenge, and together we overcame it.
About a week and a half ago, he gave me another challenge and with his help we will overcome it too. Sometime on Thursday, afternoon, August 15, 2019, my breast implants will be removed due to a ‘recall’ and hopefully nothing else is needed. The road to recovery will begin once again. Hoping for a good results.
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.
On August 16, 2019, I received a letter from the implant company stating that they would not pay for the removal of the implants unless non-hodgenkins (?) lymphoma had developed. Really? The fact that women are developing this between the implant and the scar tissue, isn't enough to say remove them?
Anyway, mine are out, Dr found an encapsulated something, and sent it off to testing. Fortunately, it came back ok, but it was a long almost 2 weeks waiting for the results.
Now my main task is to not move my arms too much and develop other problems, and just rest and get better. I am waiting for a 2 week check up which will make it 4 weeks from surgery. I am hopeful all will be 'ok' and that I do not have to really wait the 8 weeks. Not moving your upper arms is a difficult task, anything that makes you flex your chest muscles is a NO-NO too.