Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spa Day

Ahhhh today was such a great day!!! Thank you Nana (Doug's mom) for taking Ella for the day! I had a packed morning with getting my nails and toes done, my hair cut, and my eyebrows waxed. It was wonderful to pamper myself a bit! I then got to have lunch with my husband, ran a few errands I needed to get done then went home and took a long nap. We got to go see one of our old neighbors and friends 3 week old baby today. Oh, it gave me baby fever. I had forgotten how tiny they are. She is such a cute and good baby, look out Doug, we may have to thaw out one of those 13 frozen babies, hehe. I am feeling pretty good, I only had to take my pain medication once today, the pain is subsiding a bit. I got a new yoga and pilates tape so I am going to try to get back into working out a little, slow steps! I haven't really worked out in 6 months or so, I am excited to try to get back into it. I used to be an avid exerciser. I am actually thinking of getting my personal training certification. It is something that I have thought about in the back of my mind for a long time. I talked to a personal trainer this weekend and she said I could even start with a few clients in my home and build from there, hmmmm. It sounds good! Would any of you want me to be your personal trainer, hehe. We will see, I have a lot of ideas in my head these days. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Anyway, my sister is patiently sitting on the phone while I finish my writing, so I better go. I am so excited about my reunion and the 4th of July, yaaa! I hope you all have a great weekend and 4th, please be safe!!! Most importantly, have fun! love, shawndra

PS. Ella pee pee'd on the potty again last night and tonight. yaaa Ella!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I wanted to let you all know I got the results from my labs this week. Well, I got my CEA level back. I assume everything else is normal since the nurse practitioner didn't mention the other labs that I have drawn weekly. My CEA level was 6.9, before it was 7 something, so it has gone down a little bit. That is good, atleast it is not going up and is still going down some. Normal is around 4 so this is not bad! I meet with my doctor on Monday the 9th of July, after next week (4th of July week). I have lots to talk to him about and ask him, same old stuff, what is the plan, where do we go from here. I want to see if I can have "surgery" or a procedure to go in laproscopically to look to see what it looks like in there as far as the cancer goes, since nothing else is quite definitive. This would probably be after my next scans which I believe is in another month. Anyway, labs are good for now.
I was so excited today, Ella went pee pee on the potty for the first time. This morning as we were playing, she mentioned pee pee, so I took off her diaper and she sat on the little potty we borrowed from Andrea. She sat and read a book for awhile, then got off the potty, then she went back and sat down and went pee pee. It was sooo exciting. I hope she tries it again soon. I wanted to let you all know, this is an exciting moment. Yeaaaa Ella!!!
I have been having a little bit more pain the last day and night, I woke up last night hurting and had to take some pain medication. This morning it still hadn't subsided so I had to double up on my pain medication, which I haven't had to do in awhile. I am not sure why I am having more pain, maybe there is more stuff dying in there and that is why I hurt. This is what I hope anyway.
I have a big weekend ahead, my dad's side of the family has a family reunion around this time every other year. It will be great to see family we don't see much. We will play out at my Uncle's farm in Ottawa a day, then go to my parents lake house a day. It should be fun. Then there is the 4th, again at my parents lake house, always a great time with friends, family, fun and food!!! Again, one of my favorite times of year. I hope you all have fun plans for the 4th as well. Have a good hump day tomorrow! shawndra

Monday, June 25, 2007


I am happy to report that I have gotten through my funk and am feeling much better both physically and emotionally! I had a rough 3 days last week where I just cried off and on and couldn't stop at times. But I have no more tears left in me so I have stopped crying for now! I think that around the time of chemo is difficult for me, my body is tired. When I have the pump on I almost feel chained down. So both of those feelings as well as just not being able to do all I want to do is mentally challenging. Don't worry, I think I am going to seek some help with those feelings, one of the nurses at the cancer center saw my uncontrollable crying and gave me a name of someone who specifically counsels cancer patients. She is supposed to be excellent, so I think I might check her out!
I have my bloodwork today, I think they are drawing a CEA (tumor marker) level, so I am interested to see how that comes out. Otherwise this week is calm and so far fairly uneventful.
We, as usual, had a busy weekend. I went with some neighbors to dreamdinners, one of those places where you prepare your meals and then take them home and freeze them. This is definitely my kind of cooking!! It is great fun. We got to have dinner afterwards and had a great time, thanks ladies! Saturday we had a wedding in the evening. It was a wonderful wedding, but we should have gotten a babysitter for Ella, she was a bit stir-crazy. We had lunch with a couple yesterday, who we hadn't seen in awhile, it was great to catch up with them. I got to have dinner with my nurse practitioner's that I work with. It was great to get to see them and catch up on some work gossip. It really makes me miss being at work though.
I think part of my mental sadness as well is that I want my life back. I love my life now, but I had my life put together before this diagnosis. I had a great job part time, I was with Ella the other days and everything was set! I knew what I wanted. Now, everything is so up in the air, there is no decisiveness, just "we have to just wait and see how things go", which drives me crazy. I don't know what I want anymore for my life, besides to live and take care of my family. I am such a planner in my life that it is very difficult to sit around and wait to see what this chemo will do. I hope this makes sense. As usual, I feel like I am rattling on with no point.... no hypothesis.
What I do know is I love my daughter, my husband (even though we have our moments, right honey, hehe), and I love my family and friends. I am so blessed with people. I also believe that this is a lesson for me, I need to learn patience in life, I am the type of person that wants everything immediately, if not yesterday. I need to be more patient. I think God is wanting me to learn this from my experience. God... I am trying very hard!!! I am working on it, but it is driving me crazy, just kidding. I like to tease him just a little bit, as I do everyone.
I better go, hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the cancer center I go....
I will let you know how the results come out, when I get them. Have a great week everyone. Don't forget, next week is a short one with the 4th of July coming up, yaaaa! The 4th is one of my favorite days of the year. love, shawndra

Monday, June 18, 2007

No thinking

Well I had my 10th round of chemo today. It went pretty well. There is always a time when I am there that I get a bit sick feeling but it always passes. Then I just get really tired, physically. That is how I feel now. My brain is going a million miles a minute but my body is so tired. I hate it. I have my tingly fingers and throat with cold things, I wore oven mits to get stuff out of the fridge and freezer tonight. My nose feels dry, I think that is a side effect of the chemo, anybody elses feel like that. Otherwise I am good, I will try to rest some tomorrow and hopefully perk up in the next few days. I have 3 weeks off, they decided just to skip the week of the 4th of July. I will go back the following Monday for my 11th round. It sounds nice to have 3 weeks off but I don't want it to allow things to start growing inside, ya know.

Today has been an emotional day for me off and on throughout the day. I think just sitting in the chemo treatment room, trying to rest gave me a lot of time just to think. Ella usually distracts me enough so I don't think about all that is going on. She is a miracle to me! I thought some about my ostomy and how I want to get rid of it. I don't talk about it much on this site because I didnt' want people to really know. But I guess it is a part of this experience. I can hide it fairly well but it is constantly on my mind and mentally difficult to have it. For the most part it isn't bad but I feel like it limits my activities, even though is shouldn't. I called my surgeon today to see if I can convince her to take it down (get rid of it) but I am sure she is going to say not until atleast I am done with chemo which who knows when that will be. I figured all I can do is try, right?

The other thing I thought about today that made me cry was children. As most of you probably know, I had to have a total hysterectomy.. uterus and ovaries, with my surgery because some of it was affected with cancer. I am so grateful to have Ella, sooooooo grateful! But I did want another child so Ella would have a sibling to grow up with. But you know there are many days that having just Ella is perfectly fine with me, two sounds exhausting. But I still had hopes of one more. Now, my sister agreed awhile ago to carry one for us, since we did do fertility stuff when I was diagnosed. But I worry about that as well. I don't want anything to happen to my sister, I would never forgive myself if it did. I also think that if something does happened to me, Doug would be left with double duty and I know he is concerned about that as well. It just made me sad thinking that I can't have another one. You know when someone tells you you can't, it's hard to accept.

The third time I really got upset today, I think there were 4 total, one was random though, I don't remember why, hehe. (my poor husband had to put up with all this by the way, he is a miracle in my life as well) The third time Doug and I just put Ella to bed and had her music on in her room. The song "Only Time" by Enya came on. I love this song, and what it has to say. If you get a chance, take a moment to listen to this song if you have access to it. I was going to try to get Doug to put it on the site, I don't know if this is possible, we will see.

I will finish there, enough emotion for one day. That is why I titled this No thinking, it is not good for me, but it is good to cry once in awhile, I guess. I hope you cherish what you all have, your family, husbands (if you have them), children (if you have them) or single life (that is nice too!). Cherish it all and let it be know to those people you do cherish, don't wait! I do. I cherish all of you who are supporting me and helping me through this trying time. Thank you! shawndra

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's day to all you dad's. I hope you had a great day. Doug, you are a terrific daddy to our daughter. She is so lucky to have you. I hope you know how much Ella and I cherish you!

This weekend was Doug's weekend dedicated to the garage. Since we moved about a year ago, all the stuff in the garage has been in disarray. I told him this weekend would be his to get the garage organized and build the shelving unit he wanted to put in. Doesn't sound like much fun to me, but I think he enjoyed it. Ella and I layed (Again, I don't know if this form of layed is correct. I need to go back to English class!) low this weekend. Ella was sick with fever, runny nose and croupy sounding cough. We were supposed to get together with Chris Ireland and his girls but unfortunately had to cancel on them, I didn't want his girls to get the crud. We hope to get together though soon so the girls can play, I think Ella would have a blast with them. Tonight we did a family dinner, yum, we had so much good food, I practically made myself sick with so much good food. I couldn't stop eating! Good food and good family fun, it doesn't get much better!

Tomorrow is round number 10, 5 months of chemo, yaaa! After having some bleeding issues my nurse practitioner and doctor discussed taking me off one of the medications called Avastin. I called my doctor last week and told him I didn't want to stop the Avastin if I didn't have too. So we are going to keep going with it and if I have more bleeding problems then I will have to stop. It is supposed to be a great drug and I don't want to go backwards in my progress. I will also hopefully find out tomorrow what my schedule will be for the following round of chemo since it falls on 4th of July week, I am trying to figure out if I will just skip that week of chemo and go the following week or go later in the week. I think I convinced them to allow me to take my pump off on my own if I have to that week, since I am a nurse. hehe.

I am off to go relax and read the paper in bed before I go to sleep. I want to thank my neighbor Jenny for agreeing to watch Ella tomorrow while I am at chemo. My mom is helping Andrea with her kids so this will give her a little bit of a break to not have to watch all the kids. Thanks Jenny and family! Have a great week everyone. Please keep praying that the chemo continues to get rid of the cancer in my abdomen and I continue to have minimal side effects as I have been having. Thank you God! Shawndra

Monday, June 11, 2007


I hope you all had a great weekend. We had a fun filled weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks with Doug's sister and her family and another family. It was just what the doctor ordered, a little getaway weekend. No projects at home, yaaa! We stayed in a really nice condo with a hot tub, our own room, patio overlooking the lake, a grill, even an area for the adults to "party" with a bigscreen TV and a poker table. Saturday we rented a boat, a tube, and a waverunner and spent most of the day on the lake. Sunday morning we woke up to rain which was perfect, the girls got to do a short shopping spree at the outlet malls and then it was back to reality! Thank you Krissy and Ed for planning the trip. We had a great time with all of you! Ella had a blast too, she got to swim in the pool and watch all the commotion in the boat. Truly a great weekend. We finished it off watching the disappointing Sopranos Finale, anyone else disappointed. I just started watching about a year or so ago with Doug so I wasn't all that invested but it still didn't live up to the hype.
I am glad to hear Paris is back in jail, I didn't get all the details but I think she needs to do her time for her crime!
As far as my health goes, I am doing well, I had a few concerns last Thursday, we got those addressed and everything is fine. Just the typical day to day pains that come and go that a little "medication" can't fix. I go in to get my labs drawn again today, the needle poking never ends, good thing I got used to needles. When I was very young I hated needles, as most kids do. I would fight and flail to try to avoid a shot. I even stopped telling my mom when I had a sore throat because I didn't want to have to go to the doctor and get a shot in my butt. Ugh.
I got a call from Chris Ireland on friday, who was also heading to a lake for the weekend. He was intending to talk to one of Jen's doctors, who they became close friends with during her treatment. He wanted to talk to him about my case and see if he had any insight as far as other treatment. I think that is incredible that Chris cares enough to do that for me. He hardly knows me and he is so generous to me. Thank you Chris! We are hoping to get together with him, Jan and the girls sometime. There is a "force" that brought us together!
I better go get ready for my labwork. I have to look like I feel good, otherwise they might keep me there longer or stick me in the hospital, I don't want that! hehe. Ella and I are on our own today, we miss daddy but we know he has to get back to work. Have a great week everyone. shawndra

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Not much

I don't have much to say, but I am sure I will come up with something. I have done okay since chemo, I have been tired, as usual, but not too bad. Today was a bit of a crummy day for some reason. I think half of it was mental, just one of those days I didn't have energy which affected my mood (is it affect or effect: sorry English people, I don't remember). I was having some strange symptoms, abdominal cramping and some odd bleeding, so I had to go get abdominal xrays and bloodwork done today. Everything came back normal so that is good. They talked about stopping one of the chemo drugs because of the bleeding. I am a little concerned about stopping it, it is supposed to be a great drug. I don't want to halt the progress that is being made, ya know. Anyway, we have a fun weekend ahead, I will tell you all about it next week.. I will keep it top secret for now, hehe.

My heart goes out to Kelsey Smith's family. I can't imagine their heartache. This and all the many tragedies and senseless acts that happen are so frustrating and saddening to me. I was praying that they would find her safe and not harmed. I don't always understand why these things happen. I know we will never know why some people can be so inhumane. I am sure though that she is in Heaven. It is another reminder that our time is short, we have to live today. I sometimes feel like a broken record saying that but I think that is one of my main messages from this experience. Maybe I am going through this to remind people through my life that we are to "live on earth as it is in heaven".

On a more upbeat note: We tried to put Ella on the potty today. When I was going to the bathroom, she kept saying potty, potty, so I tried to get her on the potty. She didn't want to go but then proceeded to run off without her diaper on. Then grandma went potty to show her and as soon as grandma started to go Ella pottied right on the floor. It was hilarious. I guess she is not quite ready for pee peeing in the potty. It is so cute seeing her run around without her diaper, she's got such a cute tushie, you all know what I am talking about. Anyway, I am going to go eat some crunch berry captain crunch cereal, I am addicted! I hope you all have a great weekend. oh, is anyone else appauled that Paris Hilton is out of jail. ugh! don't get me started.
Enjoy the sun and time with your family and friends this weekend.

Here are some new photos of Ella and the family.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Round 9

Hi everyone- I am writing to you as I am getting my chemo today. Doug came with me today and brought his laptop. They finally got wireless here so I can do a little email/blogging as I sit here. Other than this I am reading up on my "trash", specifically "What happened to Lindsay Lohan?" hehe. I will probably rest a bit today as well, take advantage of a day without Ella.
I met with my oncologist this morning after my bloodwork. He said everything looks as good as it can right now. So that is positive. They really don't have a protocol on how long I should do chemo, so we are going to continue on for atleast another couple months, then do another PET/CT scan and reevaluate. I don't know if we will ever truly know if the cancer is gone or not. My kind of cancer is very hard to detect and monitor. I would like them to go in during a procedure and look, but so far the doctors haven't been for that plan. I no longer have the pulmonary emboli but I will continue on Coumadin for awhile, atleast 6 months because there is an increased risk of getting another one if I stop the Coumadin now. My CEA level (tumor marker) is 7.3, about the same as last time but that is good. The lower the better. So this is all good news. I will just be continuing on and praying that the treatment continues to work and that someday I will be able to stop the chemo and the cancer won't come back. That's one thing that sucks is I will always have that in the back of my head that it can come back. I'm not going to worry about it now.
This weekend was great, Doug and I got a few things done we have been wanting to do around the house and then we had a barbeque last night with some neighbors. It was a lot of fun, we got to meet some more neighbors who have reached out to us. This also gave me a good reason to clean house a little before the party, then I had help cleaning up, Thank you so much Pam and Brandi!!! Thanks to all who got to come, it was so much fun. Those who couldn't make it, we will do it again sometime! I really like having people over. Just being with great people is therapy for me!
Oh, we took Ella to the pool this weekend, she had a blast. At first she was a bit apprehensive, she had to gradually get in, one step then get out, two steps, then get out and so on. She got so comfortable she was eventually putting her face in the water. Doug got in with her and swam around. It is so fun to see her doing all these things. I took a great picture of her yesterday, I will get Doug to post it soon.
Well, I feel like I am rambling again. Doug is out getting us lunch, when he gets back he will be on the computer, back to work. Everyone have a great week! Thanks for all your prayers, they are definitely working! love, shawndra

Friday, June 1, 2007

I'm not normal

Hey everyone- Well, are you curious about my title to this blog? I wrote it because yesterday I was on my own with Ella. I tried to be a normal person again, doing the day to day things. I did laundry, washed the sheets, did dishes, picked up, watered the flowers out front, got up in the morning and got cleaned up before Ella woke up, prepared a dreamdinners meal. It doesn't seem like much but with Ella running around and doing that, I was completely exhausted last night. I thought I was sick when I went to bed, my whole body ached, my throat hurt when I swallowed and I was just physically exhausted. I even had a slight temperature. I was so proud of myself for doing things on my own (my mom not there with me). But after all that I didn't have any energy for anything else. By the time dinner was done and a little cleaning up of dishes, I had to plop on the couch pretty much until I went to bed. I think I have underestimated how much my mother and others help when they come over. I thought, well I still do most things even though my mom is with me, but she helps me so I don't get so exhausted and still have some energy for when Doug comes home. Thank you mom, and everyone else who helps me so much. Thank you Vicki, my mother-in-law, for your help this morning so I could take my time and get ready and not worry about Ella.

I did get to see a friend, Adrianne, yesterday who came over with her son to play. That was great to see her.
On another note, I did get preliminary results of my PET/CT scan. They look pretty good. There is no appearance of the previous pulmonary emboli in my lungs, there is no new concerns as far as metastasis. I am not sure about the cancer in my omentum, it looks like it may be unchanged but there was a statement in the report that says that area may be scarring or "stunning" from chemo. I will meet with my oncologist monday to see what his interpretation is of all this. I think though, this is good news. I am hoping I will have my CEA (tumor marker)redrawn on Monday as well. Thank you all for your prayers, they are helping!!!!! God is working on this miracle because he has so much pressure from all of you, he doesn't want to let all of us down, right!
Thank you for everyone's words of encouragement these past few days. Probably 99% of the time I am upbeat and don't think about the negative, but the other 1% of the time, something pops in to my head, or I read things that bring about the negative. Not to worry, I am still fighting with all I have and still doing pretty well, I must say.
I better rest while Ella is sleeping. I am leaving the unfolded laundry on the bed, the sheets to the spare room in a pile on the bed and going to lay down in my bed. Ella and I are going with my sister's family to Baldwin City today to see Thomas the Train and ride the train. That should be very fun. Otherwise this weekend, we have no set plans which is nice... just house stuff to do, as usual.
Everyone have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the sun while we have it and the rain while we have it too. Round 9 of chemo is Monday along with my doctor's appointment. I will let you know how everything goes.

Today is a gift, shawndra