Friday, April 27, 2007

movie premier

I wanted to let you all know of another great fundraiser. Chris Ireland set this up to raise money for the Jennifer Ireland Foundation in honor of his wife. As many of you know, she had the same type of cancer I do. She is how I got my inspiration to start this blog. I encourage you all to go to this movie premier to honor Jen. The premier is on May 10th at the Tivoli theater. The tickets are $100 and include the movie, snacks, drinks before and after the movie and dinner after the movie. It will be like a red carpet premier. The name of the movie is "The Wind that Shakes the Barley". It won the 2006 Cannes film festival and got rave reviews in New York when it opened. Again the proceeds go to a great cause, The Jennifer Ireland Foundation, a tax deductible contribution. This money goes to people like Jennifer and I who have cancer. The money is for additional expenses such as childcare, medical bills, etc. This would be a great night out for those of you who haven't gotten out with your loved one lately! Or this could be a great event to meet people in Kansas City! As you can tell, I really encourage you all to attend this event, Chris and Jennifer's family are working extremely hard to make this a success. If you want more information, you can check out Jennifer Ireland's website, there is a link on the left of this screen.

On another note, I am doing well, still a little pain, fatigue and tingling. I had a great moment last night. Ella woke up crying around 9:45pm. I went to check on her and ended up holding her, rocking in her chair for the longest time. I was taking in that moment and cherishing it. I know down the road, she won't want to snuggle like that. I was fully in the moment and enjoyed every second of it! What a wonderful feeling!

I will try to get pictures up soon of Ella, we tried to get a clip of her riding a little bike but we couldn't get it on. So pictures will be coming soon! Everyone have a wonderful weekend! shawndra

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Round 6

Well, I had my procedure monday morning then Doug dragged my groggy tush to chemo where I slept quite a bit until I got out of the anesthesia funk. The nurses were teasing me, Doug brought an eye mask with us so I could sleep better at chemo. They were calling me princess because of it. Everything went well, no complications. This afternoon I was a bit tired. Ella and I had a pajama day, which was kind of nice. I am still in my pajamas as I write. I love those days. We got to try out one of the meals I made at DreamDinners the other night. It was a hit with my husband, so I was happy. (He can be picky sometimes).

We had a great weekend getaway saturday. Doug and I got to layout on the dock, go for a boatride, lay in the hammock, fish and drink a pitcher of strawberry margaritas (my absolute favorite). It was wonderful. Sunday evening, we had pictures taken with Ella and her cousins on Doug's side. They took great pictures and we had a fun evening at cheesecake factory after that.

I go tomorrow to get my pump off. That gives me a feeling of freedom, when I have the pump I feel a bit bogged down. I am glad I only have it a couple days every two weeks. I hope the rest of the week goes well, my mom seems to think it hits me the most towards the end of the first week. We will see.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I am keeping you all in my prayers, for I can not do this without you! I am blessed with such a strong support system. You all inspire me to keep on. Thank you. shawndra

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Transportation to Pub Crawl

I wanted to provide some information to all of you participating in the Crawl for Cancer Pub Crawl with us.

We have two groups within Jennifer Ireland's large group. Brandi is so kindly looking into transportation for all of us. Some type of bus or something so we don't have to worry about driving. I found out the pub crawl starts at 1pm on Saturday May 12th down in Westport. It lasts at least until 5pm, but the afterparty will last much longer than that. I don't know if us old folks will make it much more than 5pm, ya know.

If any of you are opposed to the transportation idea, please inform me or Brandi as soon as possible so we can figure out the reservations. We just want to be safe and allow everyone to have a good time and be together. She is working on getting the best deal possible and will break it all down as to how much it will cost per couple, etc. Again email or call Brandi or I to let us know if you know you don't want to do this. If you can send me your email address to, I will try to compile everyone's email and that way I don't have to bore the rest of the readers with these details. :)

If you haven't paid for the event yet, please do so TODAY! (Use the link below.) Chris Ireland has already fronted the money for all the teams, and the asterisks missing next to your names on the "Crawl for Cancer View Teams" link (top left in blue), indicate payment had not been made when the original document was created.

I am really looking forward to this event. It will definitely be a long afternoon for me, but I am sure it will be a blast and it's for a great cause. Thank you all in advance for doing it with me. Talk to you all soon. Shawndra.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Good Days

Hey Everyone- I have had a couple of great days, yaaaa! It feels so good to feel normal, not dragging myself around pretending to be normal or sometimes not pretending, flat out showing it. I am happy that everytime Doug askes if I am okay, I can say "yes" and not complain about something. What a great feeling these couple of days have been. The weather is great too! My mom and I did a little shopping yesterday, got some new pajamas for Ella and a couple of things that weren't on the list but I couldn't resist. Hey that rhimes, ha.

Earlier in the week, I did want to extend my sympathies and prayers to all the people at Virginia Tech, I, as I know you all were as well, devastated and saddened by this event. I am praying for all who lost someone and those that were affected. My heart goes out to you all!!! (Not that anyone from there reads this, but ya never know).

I have to say Happy Birthday to my nephew, Keaton, who is three today. My mom left today to be there with them and my dad goes tonight. I wish I could be there to celebrate. But I am so glad Andrea and her family will be moving to KC only in a few weeks. We are so excited.

This weekend I am doing a fun evening out with some ladies to Dream Dinners, making some meals I can freeze. I am looking forward to that. Then Nana and Grandpa are taking Ella on Saturday and Saturday night. Doug and I are heading out to my parents lakehouse to have a night to ourselves. Much needed, so thank you Nana and Grandpa. I can sleep in, ahhhh, and get up when I want. It is supposed to be 80 degrees so it should be a perfect day at the lake. I hope you all have a fun weekend as well! Enjoy the great weather.

Monday, I have a small procedure in the morning before a fun filled day of chemo. I am going under general anesthesia for my left ureteral stent replacement. They have to replace it every 3-4 months, ugh. As some of you know, I had to have it placed for possible hydronephrosis which we thought was causing severe back pain a while ago. They did try to remove it after my surgery but the pain came back, so I guess I will just have to go in every few months for awhile to have it replaced. Doug will have to drag my groggy tush to the cancer center were I can plop in the chair and get plugged up for chemo. Next week may be interesting.

I want to thank Lisa Mudge for coming over this afternoon to help me out with Ella since my mother is gone. I greatly appreciate it!

I better go, I can hear Ella in her room talking, nap must be over...Everyone, have a great weekend! I will talk to you soon. shawndra

Monday, April 16, 2007

Darn Hormones

Hey everyone- Sorry, it has been so long since I wrote last. I am better now from that stomach bug. The getting sick part didn't last but 12 hours or so but I think it as well as just trying to keep up with daily life got to me. This Saturday I spent most of the day in bed, thanks to Doug, who cared for Ella all day, I was able to get some much needed rest. It didn't exactly perk me up all that much, I am still dragging a little bit. I think the chemo may be causing that. I did have a good weekend, we did get to have dinner with some friends friday night and celebrate my cousins birthday with my family saturday night.

We had our first Chucky Cheese experience on Sunday when we went for one of Doug's friend's daughter's birthday. It was a good time. Ella absolutely had a blast! I tell you, I think we have a basketball star on our hands, she loved to play the basketball game, throwing hoops with all the other boys!

I am going to explain the title of this blog. This morning I woke up and I was in tears, I am not exactly sure why, but I just felt like crying and that went on most of the morning. Poor Doug, I made him so nervous, he called my mom who attempted to keep that secret but I knew he had called. So, I was feeling a bit blue, some days, it gets to be overwhelming and... don't get nervous with this next statement, please, but it all seems too hard, maybe easier the other route (not fighting). Of course, that is not me, and I would not do that to my husband, to my daughter or to all my friends and family but it was one of those moments, ya know. I think, truly, that some of this stems from going off my hormone patch. As some of you know, I had to have a total hysterectomy with my surgery, so they placed me on hormones to help. No problem! Well, with the pulmonary emboli (blood clots), I had to go off the hormone patch. So this, I think, is why I was an emotional basketcase this morning. I sure hope this doesn't happen a lot. I don't like it one bit!

I am otherwise doing fairly well, my back pain is getting better. I haven't had to take quite as many drugs as I had been. Darn, right, ha! My mom cheered me up today. After my bloodwork, which seemed to be okay, except lower white blood cell count, normal with chemo, my mom, Ella and I went out to my parents lake house. It is only about 40 minutes away, so we got to play a little outside and do a few things my mom wanted to do inside. Then the neighborhood ended up congregating in our backyard after we had dinner outside, because it was soooo nice out! Of course, Ella wants to be outside as much as possible. Have I mentioned how much we love our neighbors. We have grrrrrrrrrreaaaaatttttttttt neighbors!

If you see me in the next few days, don't panic, I have a bit of a bruise on my nose, Ella clocked me with the remote control yesterday, with the blood thinner I am on, it definitely left a mark! I hope everyone is enjoying the nicer weather. Believe it or not, we had snow Friday night into Saturday morning and Doug and Ella made a snowman. ha. He is just barely still there in our yard. Actually probably not anymore after the kids were playing tag back there.

As you can see, I have my ups and downs, mostly ups but a few downs and life goes on, doesn't it! Take care everyone. love, shawndra

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Under the Weather

Hey everyone- I am glad you all got to see my television debut. Thank you Doug and his coworker, Shane, for figuring out how to put it on my blog. (See below.)

I have to tell you, I was just reading my last note and realized that Doug is coming in behind me and making me sound much better. I have a tendency to write quickly and not always grammatically correct... as in crossing my Ts, dotting my Is, so-to-speak. So, he is making me sound better than I really do.

I am trying to respond to as many people as I can. I have been a bit under the weather since last night. Chemo seemed to go well but I think I caught a stomach bug from someone this weekend. I was having some nausea and vomiting all night last night. I couldn't keep my medication down, so this morning at around 4:30am Doug had to go downstairs to get my pain medication. My back was hurting since I hadn't taken any pain medication in several hours.

Today, I layed around a lot and felt pretty helpless. Doug, thankfully, stayed home from work to help me out with Ella. His company has been so amazing in letting him be away from work, more than usual to be with me. But, I think they know that Doug is a very hard worker and doesn't slack at anything. He gets his work done no matter what. He truly is amazing.

I was sad I missed an event with my mother and sister this morning with my mother's JCYM group. I was supposed to go but with my recent illness, I was not able to attend. My mother has been trying to get me to go but each time something comes up. I hope to make it to one of their meetings. Sorry mom!

I hope now that I have had a little time to rest, and I got my pump off today, that I should be up and at 'em tomorrow. As I tell you all the time, Ella keeps me going. She is so fun to watch, she was daddy's little helper today. She helped him clean the vacuum cleaner, put new door stoppers on, etc. She is quite the little helper! She is just amazing to me and really brought my spirits up! I am so blessed.

Anyway, hopefully my bug is gone and I am on the go again soon. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. They are definitely working. I appreciate you all. shawndra

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chemo Round 5 & NBC News

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and for watching Kansas City NBC News yesterday evening. Cynthia Newsome and her crew did a wonderful job compiling the news segment dedicated to colon cancer. Ella is famous! I'd like to reply to each of you who left a comment, so please leave an email address.

Below is the 5PM segment that Doug embedded on this page. Sorry for the audio synchronization. Doug's co-worker computer nerd Shane is working on that :). Hopefully he won't get into trouble for copyright infringement...

Adobe Flash must be installed to view the video.
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I had my fifth round of chemo treatment yesterday as well as bloodwork. My "protime" (blood thinning) was checked. I met with Dr. McKittrick too. Doug went with me yesterday. He is so wonderful. Cynthia said it just right... I married the love of my life! He has truly been so great through all of this and he is in it as much as I am, so please continue to pray for him as well! Thank you.

Dr. McKittrick had pretty good news... the cancer has not spread to any other organs or areas. The liver spots, at this time, did not look indicative of cancer. Cancer still exists in the omentum (abdominal lining) but we aren't sure if it has improved or stayed the same since we don't have anything to compare it to. I am no longer on bedrest/low activity but will have to continue taking Coumadin for probably 6 months to a year to prevent additional blood clots. I may have to be on chemo for longer than 6 months if I can tolerate it. I'm lucky to have had very minimal side effects (so far). Today I have some tingly fingers but no nausea. I'm a little tired (I don't think more so than any of you though.) I'm still experiencing back pain, but it has been a little better the last few days. I'm going to try a NSAID that is compatible with Coumadin to see if the pain may just be muscular in nature. I think that is all we discussed. It was a great meeting though, Doug and I felt reassured and happy with the results. Oh, they are going to continue to monitor my CEA level (tumor marker) since it has gone up slightly to make sure it doesn't continue to rise.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We sure did. We were at my 94 year old grandma's house. She is truly the greatest. I hope to be like her someday! She is amazing. We spent Saturday at my aunt's farm house. All of us went outside to do a egg toss, jump rope with a laso rope, and play tug-of-war. I stayed out of tug-of-war for fear of injury and risk of bleeding. It was great fun to be with my family. I am so blessed to have a wonderful family on both sides. I truly have terrific friends and support system. You are getting me through this!

Ella is doing well. I think she might have a cold or ear infection. Last night she awoke a few times crying and pointing to her ears. She slept in, ahhh, and now seems as spunky as ever.

Andrea, my sister, arrives in town today. She and Greg and their kids are moving back to Kansas City, as many of you know. They just sold their house in Houston. Yaaa! They are going to be spending the next few days looking for houses here. Andrea will be going on a couple of job interviews, and Greg will have an orientation meeting for his Physical Therapy program he will be starting in June. We are so excited to have them back in KC! Andrea has been amazing through this time, she has kept family and friends informed with her well worded emails and has such great faith that I am working on achieving myself. Thank you Dre for all you have done for me! Love you lots.

This is getting lengthy. Sorry. But thank you for following my story, I think this "diary" helps me. The responses you leave me lift me up! I am amazed how many people I've known in the past and even those I do not know who have reached out! I can't thank you all enough and again I wish I could respond to you to tell you how appreciative I am.

Some more light blog entries to come... Love, Shawndra.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Happy Easter

I just wanted to tell everyone Happy Easter weekend. Doug, Ella and I are going out to my grandma's house in Holyrood, Kansas. We will spend Saturday at my Aunt's farm which is always so much fun.

I have not gotten the official results from my oncologist. I hope to know more tomorrow and I will let you all know as soon as I know more information.

I wanted to let you all know I did hear from Cynthia Newsome from NBC. She informed me that I will be on the news this coming Monday the 9th, on the 5, 6 and 10pm news.

Doug and I have included a couple pictures. One is from our neighborhood easter party this past weekend. The other picture is with

Ella's new castle that Grandma, Papa (my parents) and I put together from a box. She loves it! It was a fun activity creating it!

Everyone have a great weekend, let's celebrate the resurrection of Christ and enjoy our time with friends and family. Until next time.... Shawndra

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

pulmonary emboli (blood clots)

Hey everyone- I wanted to send a note of what I know so far from my PET/CT scan. I don't know yet the final result about the cancer. I do know, however, that they found a couple pulmonary emboli (blood clots) in my lungs (hence pulmonary). This can happen with an abdominal surgery, like I had. We don't know how long it has been there, it may have happened shortly after surgery. My doctor has started me on blood thinners, Lovenox shots for atleast 7 days as well as Coumadin, which I will probably be on for about 6 months or more. They will be monitoring my PT (Protime or clotting level) fairly frequently. I am on "bedrest/low activity" for a few days, so I don't have to into the hospital, I told him I could do this from home. It is concerning, but I haven't had any symptoms and it is nothing to be too worried about. It is under control.

The scans also showed something in my liver, which did not show up on the PET scan but did show up on the CT scan, they are getting old CT scans so they can compare them to figure out what is going on with that as well as what is going on in my pelvic area. Since surgery, things look pretty messy down there so they aren't quite sure what they are looking at without comparing. I should know more today or tomorrow and will let you all know.

One more thing they saw was some fluid in my pelvic cavity, which is possibly infectious. This could be the source of my low back pain. My nurse practitioner started me on antibiotics (for those medical people out there, we know there is an interaction between them and it is being monitored), so if the pain starts to go away, we know that this was probably the cause. If not, they may have to drain the fluid and culture it to see what it is.

Are you all confused yet? Like I said, this is the initial report, I should know more soon. They did adjust my pain medication, so I am taking a long acting pain medication and short acting as needed for breakthrough pain, that is doing the trick at the moment... I feel gooood! hehe.

That is all for now. I do want to remind all the people that signed up for the crawl with us who have not paid need to get that in ASAP. Doug put a link on the site so you can all go look at the teams. We had enough people I know want to join, so we have two teams of us. For those of you who don't know each other, we are all together on the two teams and I will request that we go around together that day. I will talk to Chris about transportation plans, but I think we might want to find our own transportation from my house so we don't have to worry about driving. If any of you have questions let me know.

I will post more when I get more information and Doug and I are going to work on getting pictures out tonight.

Thanks for staying posted. I am doing okay, just having a hard time staying on "bedrest/low activity". I hope you all are doing well. We are very much looking forward to Easter weekend. I will tell you all more about that later. love always, shawndra

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Hey everyone - I hope you all had a good weekend. Since KU didn't make it to the Final Four, we didn't go to Atlanta, which is probably for the best. I have been having more pain the last few days, and my pain medication does not seem to be completely kicking it. I am sorry to Leanne and Chad that we had to cancel our plans on you. I was able though to go to my friend's son's birthday party Saturday morning, which was great fun for Ella and me. We also went to Deanna Rose for a little outing and had our neighborhood easter egg hunt too. So it was a fun weekend, but I wasn't able to do all I wanted because of the pain. This, to me, is very frustrating, that I am limited on what I can do, and I have to rely on others for help. I know what you all are going to say, but put yourself in my shoes, not many people like to rely on others, do you? So mentally this was a tough weekend. Normally I would cover this up and not tell anyone, but I don't want to paint the picture that I am great all the time, and fake my true feelings. I do that enough and figure I should be true to this experience and to you all of what I am going through.

A few people have asked about my initial symptoms that lead to my diagnosis. I want to address that, especially for those who may be experiencing some of the same symptoms and not sure if they should go get checked out. If you don't like hearing about some very personal (BM) info, you can skip this section... About six months after I had Ella I started having bowel problems, I guess you can call it constipation. I was only able to go little bits at a time and had to go more frequently because I couldn't get it all out. I would sometimes describe to my mother that it was almost like dust. I started to have lower abdominal pain which would cause me to crunch over at my waist and a small amount of blood in my stool once in awhile. I kept thinking I just had irritable bowel syndrome and put off going to the doctor until my mother kept pushing me, saying, Shawndra, this isn't normal. So, if any of you have any symptoms, please get it checked out. Also, you need to be persistent with the doctors if your symptoms are not going away, I initially went to a primary care doctor who didn't find anything, then a few months later went to a GI specialist who initially didn't think much of my symptoms, tried me on some medication for a couple weeks. I asked him if I needed to be scoped, he didn't think it was initially necessary but if symptoms persisted he said we would do one. So, the moral of the story, be persistent and pay attention to your body. Most people will not have my scenario, this is fairly rare, but it is better to be safe than sorry!!!

Okay, for those who skipped that section here is the rest... I am going in tomorrow for my PET/CT but probably won't get the results for a few days. I will also go in for my weekly bloodwork. I am going to contact my doctor to see what he recommends for pain. I guess part of me is scared what the pain may mean... is it the chemo working (ya), or is the cancer spreading? It has been an emotional weekend. Don't worry, that won't last, but I do have my moments.

Oh, I haven't seen myself on television. I think they are doing the series for one more week, so it could be this Monday, Wednesday or Friday evening, 6PM or 10PM on NBC. Maybe they didn't think they could use my interview though, so I may not be on. They never let me know for sure.

I will try to get a picture of Ella at the easter egg hunt out to you all soon. I need Doug for that part, as I am not computer savvy enough. I will let you know when I get some results from my scan tomorrow. Let's hope I don't forget that I can not have anything to eat or drink after 6:15 am. Ugh, I hope I don't have to drink barium, since the last CT scan, I get nauseous just thinking about it. Have a great week everyone! Shawndra