Monday, October 29, 2007


click to enlarge photoIsn't my punks a cutie! I love this picture. Ella just got some kitchen items along with a hat and apron from Angie. It is hard to get that great smile in a picture, she is too quick to catch her looking at the camera and smiling all at once. I will look at this picture all the time. (You can click on it for a larger version.) I love it.
Anyway, I am getting ready for bed because chemo starts fairly early tomorrow. Gotta be there around 8:30 for labs, then chemo at around 9am. Gotta keep reminding myself, only a few down days then some great days ahead, and Oprah next week. I gotta shop this weekend and find the perfect outfit.. something stylish and bright.
I had another appointment today with Cancer Rehab. This time it was with a physical therapist. It was basically a massage trying to redirect the fluid in my lymph nodes. It was pretty relaxing, not a bad appointment to have to go to.
I hope you all had a good Monday, I know it is hard to get the week started sometimes. I always think Tuesday is Monday, when I take Ella to daycare.
Okay, I am blabbing. I will talk to you all soon. I just wanted to show off my punks! I am so proud of her. Ella, if and when you read this... You mean everything to me and I can't be a prouder mother of you. You are everything I could have hoped for and dreamt of. I love you forever and always. Your mommy, Shawndra

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fun at Halloween Party

Doug and I, or Victoria and David Beckham, had a good time at our Halloween party and dressing up. That was the most fun, being someone else for a night and spending it together. It has been awhile since we have gone out together like that. This was a party that Doug's boss put on. I want to thank him and the VP of the company for allowing Doug to be with me thru most of this ordeal. We are so lucky that Doug found this job at Sourcecorp. They have been incredible to us and we can't thank you enough for helping to ease the stress of the situation.

Anyway, it was a great weekend, celebrating my dad's birthday at the lake Friday night and going to the halloween party Saturday night. We are headed into the 4th week of chemo on Tuesday. I hope it isn't too bad like last time.

Enjoy the pics, I still want Doug to add some more of our outing to Deanna Rose and another pic that I love of Ella and me.

Have a good work week everyone. Talk to you soon. Shawndra

PS. That took some major duck tape to get that cleavage. Major (as Victoria says a lot) ouch, it hurt coming off, but it looks good, doesn't it.hehe.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

As always- thank you all for your wonderful comments. I always like to write something, if I can, before the weekend. I am excited about this weekend. Tonight we are going to go out to my parents lakehouse to celebrate my dad's birthday that is tomorrow. Happy Birthday Dad!! I don't talk a lot about my dad but recently we have become closer than ever and I want to thank him for that. I am very proud of my father, he is a hard worker, good at what he does, he has a great personality ( I like to think I have his personality) and he is a great Papa! Dad- I hope all your wishes come true this year and every year. I am looking forward to celebrating with you tonight. We are also going to do some pumpkin carving with all the kids. What a blast.

Saturday night Doug and I have a Halloween party to go to. I want to go as something kind of sexy this year since I rarely get to dress sexy. I decided to be Victoria Beckham and Doug is going to be David Beckham. I had a few people helping me out with my costume, thank you JJ, Brandi, Angie, and the lady who cut the wig for me who wants to remain anonymous. It wasn't the easiest wig to work with!! But she did a great job with what she had to work with. Anyway, I am really excited. I still need to go get a few things, a huge fake ring for my wedding ring... I am sure hers is huge as well as I have to go get a bra that is going to push mine up and together .... a lot!!! They need a lot of work. We actually tried duck tape last night and that didn't do the trick. Oh, after having Ella... well most of you mothers know. Anyway, I better get to Target to get those things to finalize the costume. I can't wait. I was also excited when I went to get Doug's costume, I was going to pick out an Adidas shirt and thought I would have to get tape to put the number and his name on the back. Well, I found out that Dick's Sporting Goods has t-shirts with all that information on them. So that made this costume very easy.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Have fun if you have a costume party to go to. In the past I haven't cared that much to get dressed up but I am very much looking forward to it this year.
Next week is chemo week so gotta live it up these next few days. Have fun and be safe. Shawndra
PS. Jen Miller, I will be thinking and praying for you on October 29th. Please keep her in your prayers everyone. That has to be a difficult day for you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You Inspire Me!

You all have brought tears to my eyes. I just sat down and started reading all of your responses. I am so blessed to have you all with me through this. You all tell me how much I inspire, but you all inspire me. Ella and my family is my ultimate inspiration and motivation to live and fight. But through this blog, I have found countless other inspirations and motivations, each of you! So, I thank you and I thank God for each of you.

I have to tell you, I am almost glad that I have Cancer. I have realized so much in my life and put things into perspective. I have learned that so many people are incredible. I wouldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams that so many people would check on me daily and want to read what I have to say. Just a year and a half ago on my 30th birthday, I was thinking I had a great life but I had no friends. I have realized that that is so far from the truth. I have realized who my good friends are and have gained so many more friends in the process. I believe God brought this into my life for a reason. I still wish I didn't have Cancer, but now that I do, I have found the positive aspects that it has brought to my life.

This week has been a wonderful week. I think it was Tuesday ( I lose track of my days sometimes), I had an appointment with Cancer Rehab to address the swelling issue I have had in my lower abdomen. The Occupational Therapist I met with was absolutely wonderful and I found out that she can help me in so many other ways. I have been very very stiff, especially when I get up in the morning. She said we can work on that. She will actually help me get started doing some exercises again and possible get to start Yoga, which I have been meaning to do on my own, just haven't done it yet. So, I was very pleased with this meeting, and I will see her several times in the next couple months to help me with some of this problems.

My bloodwork came back okay, except my protime is a little higher than we want it to be meaning my blood is a little too thin. I have had more bleeding because of this, especially nosebleeds. But I am working to get it back in range through my medication, Coumadin.

I thought I would tell a funny story from my meeting with the Occupational Therapist. Some of my family might be a bit embarassed by this but I think it is very funny and since we are all such good friends, I feel like it is okay. hehe. I was in the room, I had undressed with just my gown on and my bra. After she was done with the education part, she had me lie down to do the massage part to help with the swelling in my lower abdomen. As I was lying there ( no underwear) she said, "You are a redhead", oh my gosh. I couldn't believe she said that. In my eyes, it was funny and maybe she didn't mean to say that at just that moment, but I was a bit shocked and what do you say to that. I just said, a huh. Oh, it was funny. I haven't even told Doug that yet, I have been meaning to I just haven't gotten around to it.
Anyway, this is getting very long. I want to thank all of you for writing Oprah. Terra, your message was incredible. Thank you for sharing what you wrote. Again, thank you all for being in my life and following my blog.
Oh, last night we finalized our plots at the cemetary. It was actually kind of fun and exciting to have it picked out and to know where I will be some day for eternity. I encourage you all to look into this, it really is a great thing to do, for yourself and to relieve the burden on your family!

I feel like I am forgetting to tell you something and I know I have more to tell, in time.
Oh, one last thing. I just got out of the shower a little bit ago and was looking in the mirror. I realized the way I am living my life, I don't feel sick. Come next week, I will probably have a different feeling after chemo. But right now, these past few days and today, I feel like I am living life as a healthy human being. Nothing is wrong with my health. What a great feeling that is! I am going to hang on to that feeling as long as possible! If I believe it to be true, it can become reality. Thank you for listening to this lengthy message. Talk to you all soon. Shawndra

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Favor

Hello Everyone- I will write more later. I feel like I have so much to tell you all but I have limited time right now. I do have a favor to ask of each of you who follow my blog. A few people have commented about this idea on the blog as well as other people I know. I would love it if you all could each write to oprah, I think there is an area that says email oprah on her website If you could email her and tell her how you got connected to my blog and if I have affected you, how I have done so. Or something about my story. I would also like you to tell her that I will be in the audience with my sister Thursday, November 8th. I don't know that this will do anything but it can't hurt, right! Thank you for doing this for me. You never know what can happen until you try. I will write more soon. Gotta go run a few errands while Ella is in daycare. Doug is going to help me hopefully tonight to get pictures up. There are some really great ones. Talk to you all soon, my email family. Shawndra

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Big Secret.....

I am like you, I can't wait for secrets. I am also not good at keeping secrets. It really isn't a secret. Some of you alread know and some of you have already guessed it. I am going to Oprah Show!!!! Thanks to one of my incredible neighbors who gave up tickets her and her sister received so I could go and take one other person. What an incredible gift. I didn't think I could accept it at first but she apparently insisted and had been to the show before, otherwise I would not be taking someone else's opportunity to go! So I am soooo excited. I am going to take my sister, my mom declined so Andrea could go. THe only the I wish is that I had so many tickets I could take everyone. I guess I can't be greedy though. We are going in early November, they don't tell you the topic of the show.
I heard that today's Oprah was about the girl who had a documentary called "Dirty Sexy Cancer", which I did watch. I missed Oprah this afternoon, but I will watch it tonight. I wish she would have picked me to be on to spread the word, but that is okay. At least it is getting some exposure! I am curious to watch and see what they talk about. It is interesting to watch things about cancer, fiction and nonfiction. I watch Desperate Housewives, Lynette has cancer now and I can actually relate to some of it. Anyway, once again, I can't hold in a secret. I have to share with everyone. Thank you Diane and her sister and their family for giving me this incredible opportunity. Now I have to figure out what to wear. Any tips about being on the show? I hope you weren't disappointed with the surprise. Tomorrow I have a few appointments with different people so it will be a busy doctor day. Labs too. Nothing too important though. Have a good evening, I hope it rains again tonight. shawndra

Pumpkin Patch

We had so much fun at the pumpkin patch. I will try to have Doug help me get a picture or two up from this weekend. We went to Deanna Rose Farmstead, rode the hayride to the pumpkin patch which had a maze and all sorts of fun activities. It was a blast and a beautiful day for it. It was so hard to wake up this morning. It was dark and rainy out, I tried to get Ella to snuggle in with me after she woke up but she is not good at sitting still once she is awake. I am not a morning person these days!! It is also hard when Doug goes back to work. It is so nice on the weekends to have his help getting her up and all snuggling, having breakfast together, etc. Ya know. It makes you think, wouldn't it be nice to win the lottery so he wouldn't have to work and we could just live as one happy family all the time, hehe. Wake up Shawndra, right! Just kidding. You can't tell me it hasn't crossed your mind too. Anyway, I felt good this weekend, besides the pumpkin patch we went out to the lake for a little bit and Sunday after church we celebrated Doug's grandma's birthday. Busy weekend as always. I have lab work tomorrow, it will just be my basic labs, CBC and Protime level since I am still on the Coumadin (blood thinner) which it sounds like I will be on for a long time, since I am at high risk for another clot.
I have my appointment set to go back down to MDAnderson first of December, Mark I hope you are in town that week! I have to call today and set up an appointment at Creighton for a follow up in a few months too.
I have very exciting news. I haven't decided when to share it with you all. But it deserves its own title and blog. So I am sure I can't keep it secret much longer, so it will be out soon.
I hope you all have a good week. I am being called to "sit Mommy" next to Ella to do a puzzle. Gotta go. You are all in my prayers. Thanks for your prayers, they are working my miracle will come. Shawndra

Friday, October 19, 2007

Just soooo tired

Hey everyone- I hope you are on your way to having a fun weekend. We don't have much set in stone, but I think we will try to go to a pumpkin patch with Ella this weekend. It has been a long week for us, Doug and I are both tired. His grandfather is in an assisted living place at the moment while he is going through radiation for his tongue cancer. Then with this being chemo week, he picks up a lot of the slack that I am not doing. I just get soooooo tired. Yesterday I drove to the cancer center to get my pump off and snoozed at every light, that probably wasn't a good idea. It is hard, I just want to stay in bed all day but with Ella I have to get up and get moving. It is a struggle. Anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend. I am sure we will. talk to you all soon. shawndra

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Round 3

This round went much better than last. I got a little nauseous yesterday, so they gave me some additional medication to help. I got to sleep most of the day today, under the rain, so that was nice to catch up. Ella is at daycare so I can rest. Nothing much else to report. We are looking into another daycare or nanny for Ella and my sister's children. Our daycare is splitting up. Anyone know of anyone with a childhood education background that would be willing to come to my sister's house full time to watch 3 children. Let me know. I am off to continue to veg on the couch until I pick up Ella from daycare.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Prayer Request

I hope you all are having a fun filled Saturday night. It is about 11:30 pm and I am still awake. This doesn't happen very often but we just finished watching a movie. I thankfully got my second wind so I didn't fall asleep watching it. Speaking of sleeping, apparently I now twitch a lot when I sleep. Doug has informed me of this. It was so bad last night he left and slept on the couch. I don't know what this is about but I guess it is something else I will have to mention to my doctor. I do see my doctor on Monday so this will be on the "do tell" list.

I got an email from Jan Velander (Jennifer Ireland's mother) today. Her father was just diagnosed with a late stage adenocarcinoma in multiple areas of his body. I asked for her permission to say something on my blog. But I want to request prayers for Jan and her family at this time. Jan has been through so much in the last few years, she does not deserve more tragedy in her life. Jan- your family will be in my prayers and I have such a tremendous support system of prayer warriors that will pray for you as well!
We have to stop cancer, it is truly our worst enemy right now. There is so much talk about war and other countries, etc. I am not much for politics but we need to open our eyes to what is really killing us and cancer is often in the lead. It makes me sooooo ANGRY!!!!!!!

I will end on a positive note... today was a great day. I woke up to rain, which I love. We went today as a family, Doug, Ella and I to her gymnastics for open gym to make up for one session we missed. Doug had never gone before. It was so fun being there all together, watching him with Ella. He is so great with her, he is a little kid at heart at times and comes up with such fun things to do (some a bit dangerous) but it was just one of those moments you will cherish for the rest of your life.
I better get to bed, before I know it Ella will be crying out Mommy, Daddy or lately she says "Hello, anyone". isn't that cute. it makes me laugh. Good night everyone! shawndra

PS. Miki I was awake with the thunder and lightening last night and the hail. My dog, Lexi, made sure we were up!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Well I got my labwork back for the week. My white blood cell count and neutrophil counts are low which means I am vulnerable to illness/infection. I am on precautions, I have to wash my hands more, stay away from crowds, sick people, lots of children, no fresh fruit, etc. Hopefully that will come back up soon. This is pretty normal with chemo, so it isn't too concerning. I also got my CEA level done this week. It came back as 26 which is double what it was when I restarted my chemo. My nurse practitioner tried to console me, because I practically screamed out when she said the number. She said, is this good or bad, I said "bad". She told me it is just a number and that lots of things can affect it, constipation, diarrhea, lots of things. It was still pretty upsetting to me. I know the numbers can get soooo much higher, but I am wanting the numbers to come down, not up. I know also that the doctor from Creighton said it may take a few cycles to see real results, so I am trying to go on that and not get to worked up over it. I ask though for continued prayer that the chemo is working by killing the abnormal (Cancer) cells in my body and bring my CEA number down. Dr. Foster is basing his decision to operate on me on my CEA number, so I want it to come down so he can atleast go in and take a look. I know though that God has the plan and so whatever happens is supposed to happen. I put my faith in him.
My parents, Doug and I went to a cemetary again to find a nice place to rest. We think we found this place. I have to admit, I am a bit excited to know that is where I will be someday, it is a nice spot, near trees, central to were I grew up. Kind of wierd to be excited but that is how I felt. I am also excited to know that some of my loved ones will be nearby. We haven't figured it all out but I think some of my family will be next to me. Now I just have to figure out what to wear? I am a planner! You are probably reading this thinking I am twisted, aren't you. But, I promise, I am not, I just don't want to leave this burden to others, and this is one thing I can have control of what I want, ya know.
Today, I got to relax. Ella was in daycare and I literally rested all day long!!!! It was great, but it went so fast. Tomorrow Ella has gymnastics, which is always so much fun, then we may take Ella to get her hair cut. It is so nice having Angie here. I think Doug agrees that he is getting nagged less about being around now that I have her here with me. Hehe. He has a new found freedom.
Thank you all for you comments on the blog. I love all my new friends that follow me, I appreciate you all. I know everyone has such busy lives, knowing that you take time to check up on me and think and pray for me means so much. It doesn't go unnoticed or unappreciated. Enjoy these beautiful cooler crisp days, aren't they wonderful! shawndra

Monday, October 8, 2007

Beautiful day

It's raining, overcast, dreary, drab but at the same time it is a beautiful day. I bet if I look back at my blogs, I could see a pattern. Negative titles on chemo week, positive titles for off chemo week. I am feeling pretty good today. I haven't been taking my sleeping pill for the last several nights and I think I wake up better without them. My parents, sister and her family, Doug, Ella and I went to Branson this past weekend. My dad had a meeting there so we went with him and stayed at a condo near his meeting place. We had a good time, I was pretty tired on Saturday, I could hardly keep my eyes open in the morning, so I rested while everyone else took the kids to swim and play on the swingset. The swimming pool had a cool slide, I guess Ella went down but seemed a bit shocked at the end,hehe. Then we got out in the afternoon and took the kids on a short pony ride, which Ella cried through most of, then played some putt-putt golf. I haven't done that in years, it was fun.
Today, Ella and I had a great morning. We just played with lots of her toys, colored, did puzzles, helped mommy clean out the closet, etc. I was just sitting there playing with Ella and thought to myself, this is such a great day. I also had this thought.... I am going to live! It just popped into my head. I am going to live!!! What a great morning, I get to play with my daughter, I feel good, it doesn't get much better than that.
After last week, feeling bad, when you just feel normal it is a great feeling. I get so down when I don't feel good. It makes just feeling normal a terrific feeling.
Ella just went down for a nap, so I think I am going to go rest too. I don't want to overdo it and then be too tired later when Doug comes home.
I hope you all have a great week. I just have lab work tomorrow, my family has an appointment at the cemetary to think about our plots, gymnastics later in the week. It is a fairly slow week. That is good! I will talk to you all soon. shawndra

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Round 2 roughed me up

Well, I had chemo yesterday. It started off okay. I actually had a great visitor, a cancer survivor herself, she actually got to just visit the cancer center, not be a patient. Thank you Christy for coming to visit and chat with me. Towards the end of my treatment I start to feel strange, it is hard to describe. I feel out of it, hazy, like there is nothing in my head besides maybe air, I feel like that at other times too, hehe. I started getting a bit sick feeling to my stomach which persisted most of the evening. I tried to take some compazine before I went to bed, then I got sick and took another compazine since I probably brought that one back up. So it was a bit rough yesterday. I just hate feeling nauseous and vomiting, it is up there as the worst in my experience. I am feeling a bit better today, not nauseous. I still feel abit out of it. I am going to try to rest most of the day besides a dentist appointment. Ella is at daycare so I can rest. Daycare is so great, she loves it and I get a little time to recouperate. Win win situation. Since there isn't much going on in my head, I think I am going to leave it brief today. I hope you all have a good day. My prayers are with all of you who support me. I pray each day for all you who support me, I pray to God that he keeps you safe, happy and healthy. I hope you have these three things in your life. I know God is going to pull me through this and perform a miracle on me. Again, one of my favorite quotes... "I shall not die, but live, and declare the work of the lord." I struggle on these days when I don't feel so good from chemo. It gets me down and sometimes I think it would be so much easier to give up the fight. I truly feel like I am fighting on these days. Thank God they are few and far between. I am sure there are so many more people who suffer much more than I have. Until next time... shawndra

Monday, October 1, 2007

MRI results

Well, late last Friday I finally received the MRI results. Basically it stated that there's thickening in my pelvis, which substantiates the results of the previous CT scan results. And the edema is most likely due to post radiation cell changes. Well, this at least this sounds better than the remarks the ob/gyn gave. What it comes down to is nobody knows for sure, and none of the scans can tell us what is causing the swelling. I think the only way we will really find out is if I have a surgeon go in and look.
I want to send my condolances to the O'Reilly family. They are long-time family friends. Michael passed away today of lung cancer. He was diagnosed only a few months ago or less I believe. His sister, Kelley, comments often on my blog. My family's thoughts and prayers are with you all right now. We are so saddened to hear about Michael. If there is anything we can do, please let us know! Please pray for this family right now with this loss of their loved one.
I have round two of chemo tomorrow. The last few days I have been really tired. I don't know if it is from the chemo, the increase doses of pain medication (which doesn't seem to help all the time), or if I am just too busy and need to slow down more. I am trying to live life to the fullest... literally. I try to do as much as I can and enjoy as much as I can. I'm doing that, but I suffer as a consequence.
I will let you know how this round of chemo goes. I need to go get Ella from her nap. We went to the zoo this morning so she is very tired. So is mommy. That zoo will wear anyone out. Gotta run.... Shawndra