Crush’ing News

4 06 2014

I love it when a plan comes together and the fact that the radiation was doing it’s job on this buggery new tumor gave us just the boost we needed to believe all would be well.  However, after my radiation treatment this morning, we met with my radiologist, Dr. Littles who informed us that there is an overlap on my spine that requires radiation but also received radiation last year. In this type of case, more harm than good could come of it.  In my case, irreversible damage to my spine, possibly causing paralysis.

We chose radiation over surgery because there are so many possible risks involved with surgery, not to mention 4-6 months of recuperation time.  In that time, I would be unable to receive chemotherapy or any other treatment, let alone travel to receive the treatment.

Ugh.

Here we are burning away the tumor, having positive results and happy that a plan is in place that is working and BAM!  We should no longer use radiation treatment.  Ironically, the Sirius 70s station played at the Radiology Center started the song, “Burn, Baby Burn (Disco Inferno)” while I was receiving treatment this morning…lol.  Thought that was funny.  I needed that giggle.

The news from Dr. Littles really upset me because we already knew treatment options were pretty much exhausted.  We didn’t know what to expect.

Hubs had set up an appointment with my oncologist so we could get the low down on what to do next, especially since we had not seen him since I was admitted to the hospital Saturday.  Being that my tumor grew so fast and resisted the last chemotheraphy treatment I received, Dr. Hurtubise wants us to go to Texas to MD Anderson ASAP.  Time is of the essence since the little bugger popped up so quickly.  Specializing in ONLY cancer, MD Anderson is the best in the nation.  This gives me hope.  The news today absolutely crushed and devastated my positive spirit that I have worked so hard to maintain over the last 13 months.

The idea of this journey continuing or worse, me getting sicker or possibly dying, leaving my girls and Fred brings me to my knees. It terrifies me.  Those poor girls have already lost so much and I don’t want to leave them.   There are graduations, weddings, grandkids and other major milestones I want to witness and I’m sure they want me to take part in.

The doc says, my odds “are not zero”.  Yeah.  I like my stats, I’m a total stats nerd but being told that my odds are not zero does not exactly build a lot of confidence.  I make light of this but I am struggling to maintain my composure at this point and not break down for the 1,000th time today.

I need to research MD Anderson and learn what they have to offer.  A dear friend who is housing us during our stay in Texas has already poked around their website and has given her thumbs up.  I’ve been too scared to check it out for once because we all know that researching on the internet usually ends up causing more strife!  But I will now, for I hope it gives me the juice I need to boost my positive spirit once again.

Due to the haste at which we need to get to Texas, we are asking for help to pay for the flights. We expect to leave early next week and we will need to fly commercial. I expect that I will stay for treatment instead of coming back with Hubby but he may need to fly back and forth, who knows, I may, too. There is not always time to arrange for the free flights due to the fast-growing nature of this latest tumor.  Time is of the essence.  If you feel compelled to give, please use the following link to make a secure donation Go Fund Me Kindergarten Crush.

And please, share this website, the Kindergarten Crush Facebook page or KCrush Twitter page to spread the word.  I have not worked since my diagnosis 13 months ago so any donation is helpful and so very much appreciated.

Always, your prayers and well wishes go so far.   As I said, I am completely devastated by today’s news and for the first time since this journey began, I am immobilized with fear instead of hope and positivity.  Please keep praying, Peeps.  Thank you for your help. Much love to you all.





Funny Tee Thursday ;)

22 05 2014

 

 

 

Diva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.zazzle.com/cancer_picked_the_wrong_diva_non_hodgkins_lymphoma_tshirt-235616287721354978





“The Climb”, Part 1

26 03 2014

Last October, during one of her class “Write to Music” assignments, my younger daughter, Brynn, wrote how she was sad that our family could not do things together because of my cancer. Her words make me cry.  How dare this bully enter our lives AGAIN, to a SECOND parent, to worry my sweet babies who already went through this before.  But to read Brynn’s words written in response to hearing the Miley Cyruses song, “The Climb”, I am moved and I am inspired.  I believe all will be well:

“I love that song it is a good song to listen to and life has struggles and we get through. And nothing can stop us from what we want to do.  She says in the message of the song, “there’s always gonna be another mountain and I’m gonna have to make it move”. It makes me sad because its sad to think about my mom and whats going on even though she is going to be fine.  So it is true that there is always going to be another day that we can do things we haven’t with each other and that will be and always will be another mountain.”

The 5th grade teachers had considered changing the 5th grader’s annual outreach project from one in which cans of food were donated during a community service project.  After Brynn wrote the above essay, the idea was discussed once more.  It was this paper that inspired her teacher, Kristen Yockey, with a defined purpose: the community service project would benefit a family from the school, and since Brynn is a 5th grade student, the project would be more meaningful for the students.  A perfect fit.

So began approximately 6 weeks of gathering materials and donations and creating crafts which the students then sold to the younger students.  All three fifth grade classes and teachers were involved with the project.

In the next “Write to Music” assignment, the students wrote to “I’m on top of the World” by The Imagine Dragons.  Brynn wrote:

My mom said that it is okay to tell people what is going on in my life.  This whole thing you are doing for us Mrs. Yockey, my whole family is touched. (It’s true. I would cry everytime she would come home with an update, how many materials were donated, how all the kids were enjoying the project. Happy tears. LOTS of happy tears!) I love to have someone feel special and I love that this time its my turn and I love to come to school and have people ask how is your mom and I say she is doing great because she is.  I know everything is going to be okay.

The students raised enough for our family to plan some serious family fun time.  In addition, a parent, and local restaurant owner, Vince Stewart, contributed by gathering donations for a Kalahari Waterpark Resort package, complete with transportation. “Overwhelmed” is an extremely underwhelming description of how touched and flabbergasted we were by the effort of the student, the teachers, Mr. Stewart and the community.

A snow day interfered with the 5th graders presentation of the project results to us so the teachers stopped by our house with a wonderfully written description of the project history and a video of the students in action.  More happy tears- they would not stop! I could not believe that, being so new to the community, our family would be wrapped up in this great big hug!  The efforts by everyone involved inspire me to stay positive and helps me to believe that all WILL be well.

In a “Community Outreach Reflection”, Brynn wrote the following:

  • I’m happy we got to do something for my mom.  She needed a little cheer (very true!)
  • Usually we help other families but people are helping us this year (it’s a wonderful feeling to help others)
  • I had a great time meeting new people from the other classes and working with them. (very cool way for her to meet new people!)
  • I liked that we did not just help my mom we also helped other kids who could not go to the store to buy gifts for their family so that was cool. (Christmas shopping right at school, can’t get better than that!)

The Kalahari trip was this past weekend.  I’ll write a Part Deux later this week.  Until then, I miss volunteering on the Speaker’s Bureau and raising funds for Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children that helped both me and Asher after the death of her father. I miss helping local widows with young children.  However, we started paying it forward last Fall when Fred and the girls took part in a couple of fundraisers for a few families struggling with their own cancer issues.

We are not wealthy people, but we are making it through.  A small donation of $25 or so once a month is easily squeezed from our budget. And for such good causes.  People in need.  Locally.  I post about them on my Facebook page, KindergartenCrush from time to time so feel free to check it out if you’re feeling a little Robin Hood-y ;)

There is ALWAYS going to be a mountain to climb but if we face it head on and keep taking one step, then another, it isn’t that bad.  Giving is a great way to make you feel better about your own mountain.  Keep those chins up, Peeps. :) xoxo





What Up Recipe Wednesday!

15 01 2014

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, and recovered from the initial shock (lol…), the first thing I wanted to do was, what I call, “Feed to Fight”.  Feed to Fight is eating to kill cancer.  For a long time, I couldn’t stomach many, many of my favorite foods, namely vegetables.  Now that I am more mobile and off of assistive oxygen (i.e. no blowing up the house while using the gas range LOL), I’ve started juicing and cooking.  Following is the recipe of one of my all-time FAVORITE teas from the book The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Matt Edelson. Cinnamon Ginger Tea – isn’t it pretty???

018

Cinnamon Ginger Tea

4 cups water

4 1/2″ peeled knobs of ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp honey

Bring the water, ginger and cinnamon stick to a boil in a saucepan, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the ginger and cinnamon stick, and stir in the honey.

Personally, I prefer to turn off the heat and let the ginger and cinnamon steep awhile longer.  I taste it every five minutes or so to make sure it’s not too gingery or it can become quite spicy.  I love a heavier cinnamon taste so I take the ginger out when I’ve reached a preferred taste and leave the cinnamon stick in to steep until the tea becomes this beautiful amber color.  So yummy and so good for you.  Enjoy!

Much love to all of my Warrior Peeps, Yetis and other friends ;)





8 Signs of Chemo Brain

17 12 2013

You know that Monty Python sketch, the one that goes something like this:

“I got me head stuck in the cupboard!”

“Sorry!”

“Oh my brain hurts…”

Preeeetty much what it’s like to have nasty chemicals coursing through your body, destroying cancer cells and anything else that is nonessential.  Like brain cells. LOL (Sigh).

I wrote this list because sometimes, I am so thoroughly dumbfounded how my once intelligent brain has become sheer moosh.  I laugh at things on this list, partly because it’s funny and partly because they’re so true.  Enjoy!

8 Signs you may have Chemo Brain:

1. “Zero Tasking” – I used to expertly multitask. Now, I expertly zero task. This is the ability to toss aside the To Do List because one of the following has occurred:

a. Forgot there’s a To Do List…shoot, I was supposed to do something today…now what was it?

b. Realize there’s a List…wait, was there a List?

c. Definitely made a List…Just.Don’t.Know.Where.It.Is…hmm

d. Found List…and seconds later, started other tasks

e. Commit to one task, but became distracted and forgot task

f. Give up …maybe I’ll get lucky and complete a task without even knowing it!

2. Scavenger Hunt

Finally found what I was looking for however, can’t remember for the life of me why it was needed. Or who needed it.  For what purpose. Ten days ago.

3. What Was My Mission? A.K.A. “Where Was I Going” or “What Was I Doing”

Left one room only to forget why I’m there. Or where I were going.  Even it’s the same place I always go.  Oy.

4. Repetition

Ever bought the same book twice?  In hardcover? Didn’t realize it til you read 50 pages? Yeah…let me know if you’d like to read Someday Someday Maybe… funny that the title includes a repeated word. LOL

5. Continuing Conversations

From last week.  And nobody has a CLUE what I’m talking about.  But to me, we were JUST talking about this. Weren’t we? LOL

6. Charlie Brown‘s Teacher – word balloons filled with scribbles and  the sound reverberating throughout my head is “Wa wa wa wa waaaaa”

7. Static Brain – I got nothin’.  {Insert UHF static noise here}

8. Brain Will Self Destruct in 3…2…1…

Sometimes my head just aches, the feeling of utter confusion won’t go away, I can barely string a sentence together and when people talk, my brain cannot compute. This is especially hard when the daughters return from school and their lovely, happy, (endless) chatter about their day goes uncomprehended.  I’ve mastered the “Oh, that’s great!” “Awesome!” “Good job!” canned responses…hoping they don’t catch on!

I’ve tried everything from tea to memory exercises and nothing helps.  So I crossed Remembering off my To Do List and hope that someday, my brain will return to normal. In the meantime…wait, what was I saying?

Much love to you, Peeps!





How Are You, Really?

9 12 2013

Recently on Facebook, a friend asked this of me, “How are you, really?”

How am I?  Really???

LOL Honestly, I feel like a caged animal.  It sucks being housebound but for the most part, I’m used to it. However, the holidays are upon us, and my cabin fever is worsening.  So many traditions in which I cannot participate…

At least I can report that I am sloooowly improving, walking around the house is a little swifter, sometimes holding onto countertops, walls and bookcases if needed.  My “last” chemo is today! Yay!  I will need a PET scan to determine if more treatment is needed. Lungs are still only functioning at 50% but could improve. They will never be completely normal…and that’s the scoop.

My oncologist believes the cancer is gone and what I’m dealing with primarily is the resultant nerve damage the tumor inflicted upon my spine.  He said it could take up to a year before I am fully recovered.  While news is not what I hope for, I am glad to know that it’s possible to recover completely.  I will have to work hard but hard work is not new to me.

This past Friday, for the first time since March or April, I walked down the stairs. I WALKED DOWN THE STAIRS! Slowly.  I did not need to scoot on me arse, I hung onto the rail with one hand and kept the other behind me near a step in case I became weak. My legs are so much stronger these days and I made it all the way down! I actually started a load of laundry! THEN I walked UP the stairs! WOO HOO!

Unfortunately, a few hours later, I started experiencing pain in my right knee, so painful I am unable to put weight on that foot.  Once again, my feet felt like they were asleep with that frostbitten prickling sensation.

Great.

Hellooooo Square 1!  *&@$!

Wouldn’t you know, we planned to pick out a Christmas tree…Friday night.  The message from my knee was clear:  stay put.  I was very, very depressed about missing yet another family adventure. One good night’s sleep and a very long pep talk from the hubs and I felt better Saturday.

To describe how my legs feel, here’s an example.  My neurologist has me perform an exercise in which I am standing still and close my eyes.  Normally, no big deal, right? It’s a little different with a spinal injury.  For one thing, this patient has zero balance.  My body starts weaving to and fro almost as if my brain says, “Uh, HEY! What the hell are you doing?!  Stand still!” Try as I might, it is an impossible task.

I assimilate it to the ski jump game on the Wii. Crouched at the start, the gunshot shouts “GOOOO!” and the object is to maintain composure and balance, virtually unmoving, like a normal human being, (LOL) until the end of the ramp, then WHOOSH!  Take off into the air hoping for distance…..

Sometimes, distance is achieved and sometimes it is not.  All year I have been pretty good at keeping my optimism in place.  The last few weeks have been trying my patience.  I believe this is since it’s the end of the year, I had, optimistically, hoped to be further than this.

LOL…overachiever strikes again.

I’m getting there…I just want 2014 to hold so much promise:  cancer/spinal injury zero, Lisa for the win.  And a little part of me, when I let it surface, it absolutely terrified. Terrified of a recurrence and terrified I won’t regain my ability to walk.

Brushing that off, I am back to optimism.  You can’t let fear win, right?  Keep pushing, keep moving forward and don’t look back.  Been using that philosophy for 10 years.  Just keep swimming.





Walking Like an Egyptian…Almost!

2 12 2013

No oxygen machine, no walker or cane…I may not be walking completely normally, or like an Egyptian (yet!), but I am walking unassisted BABY!  Woo hoo!

I feel like a toddler, walking unsure, unsteady and stiff-legged.  Thank God for this and thank God, I am able to climb a step or two.  Each time I do, I remember how I couldn’t even manage one 4″ step into the house not very long ago.  The frustration of not being able to support myself muscularly just to step into the house was maddening- my heart rate would escalate to abnormal heights and it would take every ounce of energy I had for the entire day.  Maddening.   My brain would scream, “WHAT THE HECK?!  Didn’t I run 740 miles last year??? And now, I can’t manage this one, tiny, transitional step???”

Oy.

Thank God.

Next week, I have one “last” chemo treatment.  Mentally and physically exhausted, I am trying to rest up this week.  My brain hurts as I work it to schedule appointments and manage my everyday tasks.  I hope and pray this is the end of my war with cancer.  A PET scan will be scheduled sometime after this last treatment and we will learn the next step, if there is a next step needed.

Until then, I am going to keep listening to The Bangles and practice walking like an Egyptian.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.  It means SO very much. Pray on my Warrior Peeps and Crushers! xoxo








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