Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shawndra is Feeling Better

Sorry for the delay in posting. Yes, Shawndra made it home a few days before Christmas, and was able to enjoy all the holiday festivities. The day before Christmas, Santa made a personal visit to Ella's house (thanks JJ for arranging that experience for Ella & Shawndra). She was so excited!

The Turner family has been laying pretty low at home the last week or so. Shawndra had an outpatient procedure today to change out the G-Tube to an easier-to-manage type.

Shawndra has mentioned wanting to post, but hasn't had much time to do so between all the resting and doctors visits.

- Doug

PEG switch out

Hello all - this is Andrea, Shawndra's sister. I wanted to let you know that Shawndra did come home for Christmas. We actually got to celebrate as our family on Saturday night. It was nice. Shawndra and Doug are getting used to being back home, adjusting to TPN, all the fun tubes, etc at home.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that Shawndra went in today for a procedure to change out the PEG tube for a different diameter tube. Haven't heard anything yet except for that the procedure is done and she is back in a room, waiting for her to wake up more. The doc had not returned back to her room to discuss how things went when I was talking with my mom.
I want to personally thank you all for all of your support for our entire family. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family, group of friends, and community of supporters. I took this post upon myself, so sorry Shawndra and Doug, hope you'll get back on soon!!
Wishing each of you a Happy New Year! May you have many blessings this new year!
With great appreciation and love,
(Shawndra's sister)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?

You'll never guess where I'm writing this post from... yep, room 416 of 4 north at St. Josephs Hospital. I'm glad I waited almost all day to write this, cause I was pretty pissed off at the world come 1AM. Ah... but those two days at home were bliss, considering the alternative. (The weekend was also highlighted by the fact that I got to see one of my best friends, Kevin, who, with his wife, and 6 month old baby, were in town from San Diego for the holidays.)

Around 1:00 AM, Shawndra vomited quite a bit of bile, even though the PEG was opened up to relieve fluid and pressure. Thinking the PEG was blocked with a tiny piece of food, or something, I tried to flush her stomach with water, but that made it worse. Not one minute later, she vomited 60ml of almost clear water. And since she couldn't keep any medicines in her stomach, the break-through pain relief (oral Oxyfast) was all but useless. (Dang it! Why didn't we get a prescription for those morphine lollipops! My bad.) So fast forward to 2AM, and we're in the ER for fluids and pain relief. After three litres of fluid, things started working again. So... dehydration? Per the ER doc, it seemed as such, although the lab results didn't indicate that.

Without describing further details, I pray Shawndra can come home tomorrow. That's the tentative plan, at least.

Oh, and if by chance, the police officer from the KCMO or Leawood area remembers a maroon 4-door doing 80 MPH on State Line Road... I saw you do a quick u-turn to pursue, but thanks for not pulling me over. Hey, at least I had my hazard flashers on, right? Maybe I should be a part-time ambulance driver. My job would be to get the vehicle there, then somebody else drives it to the hospital.

Doug @ St. Joseph's Hospital, over and out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Home For the Holidays!

Hello Everyone- It is good to be back blogging with you all. I've missed you. I have to say, I am making a lot of mistakes in my typing, which I am trying to correct but apologize. My fingers aren't need a little typing rehab,hehe.

Well I got home this afternoon, so it has been a long day. About ready for bed, but wanted to say hello. Thank you all for your love, prayers, words, etc. Please do not worry about what everyone says, i can handle anything anyone chooses to write on the blog (unless it is downright mean). I appreciate everyone's protection, but I am realistic, I know what is going on, for the most part. Even though i am optimistic for a major miracle to keep me alive for many years, I am aware of my situation. People are free to blog how they wish, and I appreciate them all.

Thank you to everyone who came to help me out, thank you to my family and most of all thank you Doug. Many men can't handle such a situation and he has not only stood by me but he has loved me unconditionally even when i struggle to love myself. He lifts me up when I am down and he endures so much to keep our family running when I am not there to help (with a lot of help from my parents on that on). He is incredible. I have received so many miracles already, Doug being one. I think I have already received my share of miracles. I will just continue my service to God and hope he will use me here. Only he knows....

Happy Holidays everyone, I wish you great days ahead with family, friends, love and lots of laughter. Your friend, Shawndra

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Second Thought, No Chemo

Just a quick FYI that Shawndra decided this morning not to take the chemotherapy treatment today. She hasn't been feeling very well the last few days. We whole-heartedly support her decision.

The infectious disease doctor visited this morning. He suggested that one more round of antibiotics be given, tomorrow (Friday), before heading home.

Ella's daycare/school is throwing a Christmas party late this afternoon. The kids have been learning songs for quite some time now. Ella sang Jingle Bells on the way to school this morning. She's quite the performer, I must say! I plan to shoot video and throw it up on YouTube so we can embed it in the BLOG. (Sorry, I may have just geeked out a bit there...)

- Doug

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MUCH better. Homebound Friday?

I am happy to report that Shawndra is much better this week. My apologies for the delay in posting. Honestly, I purposely waited until I had good news to report.

You know Shawndra is feeling better when she's cracking jokes and wanting to eat a greasy hamburger. :) It appears her bowels are functioning again, as evident by consistent, significant ostomy output and very little PEG output. Yeah! Her nutrition is still limited to liquids though. At home she'll be receiving TPN via her porta-cath. Sorry, baby, I don't think a hamburger is going to go down very well, but, I will blend that meat patty up to pure liquid, if you so desire!

What brought her out of the 20 hour/day sleep regimen was two units of fresh, red blood. Her hemoglobin was down to a very low 7.5 g/dl, where 12.1 to 15.1 g/dl is a woman's normal range. Tis the season for compassion and miracles, and I want to thank everyone, so very much, for taking time to pray for Shawndra, and our family. God is listening...

On Thursday, while still in the hospital, Shawndra will be infused with a different chemotherapy called ERBITUX. Her decision to continue chemotherapy was difficult, because at this point, there's a careful "quality of life" balance. If all goes well, we should be home on Friday.

Ella met Santa Claus Sunday! My sister, Kristine, is a Sunday school teacher at Prince Of Peach Catholic Church. After mass, Krissy's class, which Ella attends, and five other classes, sang songs. Afterwards, Santa strolled in and surprised them. (I'll post a photo the next time I see Krissy.) On seeing Santa, Ella's jaw dropped. Then she looked at me, pointed to Santa, and mouthed "Santa Claus"! It was a joyful moment to see how excited she was.

- Doug

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Surgery = More Pain

Shawndra is experiencing a lot of pain from this surgery. The doc mentioned that he had to "move things around" to access her stomach. There were many adhesions to contend with as well. Luckily, Dr. Morgan arrived early this morning to change the pain delivery to a continuous drip. An infectious disease doctor visited this evening to address her fever. It spiked to 103 just about an hour ago... arghhh, just another hurdle, but seriously... how much can one person tolerate? True to her spirit, she is a fighter.

For those of you that continue to feed our family, thank you! It's nice to have food readily available. I think I've dropped five pounds this week, mostly due to erratic eating schedules (not depression).

It's highly unlikely we'll be home this weekend, but perhaps early next week. Gary and I had not planned on bringing Ella up to see mommy tonight, but as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, she recognized the building and said "daddy, I want to see mommy". She told me she would be real quiet, as not to wake mommy. She said she wanted to sing mommy two songs: ABCD and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Mommy awakened with a big smile and sang to Ella the ABCD song. Then Ella sang to mommy the other. I hadn't cried all day (first in a week), but that, my friends, was just too much. What a little angel.

- Doug

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bile Be Gone

Shawndra is in the recovery room. Gary, her father, and I just spoke with the surgeon that performed the PEG placement procedure, and everything went as planned. Our family is very grateful that the surgery team at St. Joseph's Hospital was able to fit Shawndra into an already very busy schedule today. The surgeon started work this morning around 6:15AM, and it's 11:45PM now.

It's been a long day. I'm in the hospital room, waiting for her to arrive. The surgeon suggested she try to walk tomorrow. Perhaps in a few days, arrangements for Shawndra's care at home will be organized (home-health/hospice to hook up her TPN, instruct us on how to operate the pumps, if something should arise, etc.) and she can come home.

Last night's slumber party was fun, up until about midnight, when I was awaken by Ella's snore. For a few minutes, I just watched her breathe, so peacefully. Daddy ended up in the guest room, and Ella had the big queen bed all to herself. There's something fundamentally wrong with that sleeping situation, I know! But, I did not want to risk waking her up while carrying her into her bedroom. A few hours later, my mind finally let me sleep.

These days, I fall asleep praying. My intentions are the same tonight.

Love you baby. I can't wait for all of us to be home again.
- Doug

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No hole for the PEG... yet

Thank you, everyone, for your BLOG comments, phone calls, and support. It is greatly appreciated. For the past four days, Shawndra has been sleeping a lot, so she hasn't read your BLOG replies. But, she will soon.

This morning a gastroenterologist was unable to place a PEG. He said that he could not see the light from the scope to make the hole. This could be for a variety of reasons, one of which is the intestine has moved in front of the stomach. A general surgeon has been consulted to perform the task instead. We should see him this evening. And since our darling, mischevious Shawndra decided to let the NG tube "fall out" yesterday (hey, who was on duty while I was gone!?... just kidding), she will continue to throw up bile until the PEG can be placed. I'm trying hard to convince her to put the tube down one more time, but she'll have none of that! Once the PEG is in, that will be her "drain" since her bowels are not letting anything through due to tumor pressure. For nutrition, a nightly bag of TPN is infused via her portacath. That's the technical side of the story...

As I write this, Shawndra is in good spirits. She's semi-awake, while Pam is washing her hair with the "shampoo cap". Also she's listening to an Enya CD. That alone will relax just about anybody. The goal is to get Shawndra home so we can finish up the Christmas decorations and enjoy the holidays. The oncologist suggested Shawndra try a different chemotherapy named Urbatux, perhaps in a few weeks. Whether she chooses to continue chemotherapy is yet to be determined.

Tonight Ella and I will have a slumber party at home together. I'm near the point of exhaustion, so the family has arranged for Dustin to stay overnight with Shawndra. I need a good 8-9 hours of sleep, then the next 3-4 days of 4-6 hours won't be a problem.

There is a time and place for serious conversations with Shawndra. In a few weeks or months, or who knows when, those conversations may take place, but for now, while she is in the hospital, fighting to come home, please, be positive, and choose your words carefully. This also goes for BLOG replies. We pray she will be able to come home soon.

I refuse to end this post without some kind of laughter. Sweetie (Shawndra), I know when you ready this, you'll laugh too. And laughter IS the best medicine...

Shawndra's parents, Carolyn and Gary, have been caring for Ella during our hospital stay. A few nights ago, between the hours of 3 & 4 in the morning, she played a manipulation game with Grandma & Papa, not wanting to go back to bed, due to monsters in the closet. Last night, Grandma resorted to putting a plastic doorknob on Ella's room so she couldn't open the door. After much screaming, Ella tired, and fell asleep. Well, this morning, Grandma stepped into the backyard to leave the dogs (yes, Lexi is on a little vacation too) out. She stepped ALL the way out, and shut the sliding glass door. Can you see where this is going? Ella proceeded to lock the sliding glass door and run off the other direction. Grandma pleaded for Ella's return, but that had zero effect! Grandma had to use the garage door keypad to let herself back in. Needless to say, Ella was in big trouble. Although Ella didn't explain her actions to Grandma, I have a feeling she was just returning the "lock out" favor she experienced the night before.... :) I love that little tinker! Daddy & Ella will have NO problems tonight at home because.... she's sleeping in the same bed as Daddy! Yeah! Sorry Grandma & Papa, but I miss her so much. She's already requested to watch Scooby Doo cartoons. Hmmm, that explains the fear of monsters. Those "meddling kids"!

- Doug
I wanted to clarify what hospice means and why it was suggested. First of all, the surgeon suggested that the family start thinking ahead and maybe get the paperwork and ball rolling now, to ease the stress/hassle/work later. Hospice is seen by so many as the last few weeks/days/hours. But hospice can be the support needed for the family and care in the home for the patients in keeping pain managed and keeping them comfortable for quite some time. No decision has been made yet and no one has started any paperwork that I'm aware of. I pulled off some info from the internet to maybe clarify hospice even more.
*Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals (including as physicians, nurses, social workers, clergy), as well as volunteers and family members.
*Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient's pain and discomfort.
*Hospice deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient's family and friends.
I hope that you all understand that we have NOT given up hope nor fight. Shawndra told me that she had not given up and I feel like I need to pass that along. We are all still in encouragement and positive mode. Please continue to pray for strength, for love, and for faith and hope. Each of us has different things that we are struggling with and each of us have our strengths. This has been such an amazing dynamic to watch my family hunker down, hold fast, lean on one another and others, and feel the amazing amount of love,faith, and support that has surrounded us. God has definitely been hard at work.
We are planning on having a nice Christmas with Shawndra at home!! Pray that Shawndra will be able to get out of the hospital by the end of the week.
- Andrea

Friday, December 5, 2008

Back in Hospital - Uncooperating Bowels

Just a quick post to inform everyone that Shawndra is back in the hospital (St. Joseph's on State Line). Please, no visitors yet.

Her bowels just aren't cooperating these days. Fortunately, with an NG and lots of fluids, output via the ostomy has increased.

Although it's never fun being here, it was nice to see the familiar faces of the 4 North Oncology "crew" yesterday. Many of them remember Shawndra's stay from two years ago, and as recently as a few months ago.

Thank you for your prayers.
- Doug
Hello all -
Shawndra requested that I send another email out asking for prayers. The surgeon spoke to her this morning and said that there was not much she can do at this point. They suggested speaking with hospice at this point. It sounds like they will be putting in a pic line for feeding in order for Shawndra to get nutrition. As you can imagine, Shawndra is very emotional at this point, as are all of us. I tell you, I must be an excellent actress. I sit here and cry finding out this news and emailing you, then I turn around and treat my patients with a smile and joke with them. Truly a roller coaster of emotions! I would guess that they want no visitors at this point, but please call first and find out from Shawndra and Doug what they are ok with.
So, the point of this email is to request prayers. Pray for peace for Shawndra, for comfort, for salvation. Lift Shawndra, Doug, mom, dad, Ella, and our entire family in prayer. We all need lots of thoughts and prayers for strength, peace, comfort, and love.
I will be holding on to the following verse:
Psalm 18:2-3 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

Thank you all!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not even Pureed.

Hi everyone- This will probably be a quick one. I am getting ready for bed but wanted to let you all know, who don't already... I ended up in the hospital for Thanksgiving, part from my stupidity taking my pain patches off and then also to find out if I did have an obstruction of some kind. I think my bowels just went to sleep on me, but had to stay in the hospital a few days because my potassium was very low as well. I got home yesterday afternoon (Saturday) thankfully. I have chemo again tomorrow as long as everything is good to go. I will let you know. I am planning on revamping my pictures at some point but here is a quick picture of Ella. She has gotten so big.. My big 3 year old, going on 21! Talk to you soon. The dog is snoring, better get to bed. shawndra

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

pureed turkey?

Hey everyone- Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I am so thankful for so many things, especially to be here with everyone. I have had a few up's and down's this week. I thought I was all better and clear then I started having a great amount of pain (like labor contractions) in my abdomen, above my ostomy Monday night. It was a sleepless night, ontop of the pain, nothing was coming through my ostomy that night. I started to get very concerned that somehow I had another obstruction. With pain significant pain medication and some advice from my dad, at 1:30am, I finally got some sleep. The next morning, I thought things were okay. I got Ella to school and by 10am I started to feel rotten again, not as severe pain but still discomfort and ended up back in bed. I had to cancel my lunch/pedicure plans with my friend Kelly, who immediately came over and helped me all day from consoling me to,massaging my arm and back and even going to the grocery store for me and getting me a smoothy. She was so helpful, I am so grateful for not only her help but her friendship! Betty Boop, I also want to thank, another friend who I got to talk to today and always feel wonderful after talking with her! One more while i am on the thank you/love you roll... thank you Dustin for coming over today and helping me too ( I will get to that in a minute). Ang- I have to thank you too for coming over this past weekend and helping me out with Ella, it is nice to have a friend who i can hang out with and who helps me play with Ella at the same time..

(I didn't want to leave anyone out or offend anyone by not acknowledging them, and I know there are sooo many more to thank, but that is just for the last couple days, hopefully everyone else knows how much I appreciate them, I try to tell them as much as I can).

Anyway, back to my story, where was I, oh, so I made calls all day Tuesday to my surgeon to find out what to do, then after she suggested trying to use a catherer to put through my ostomy ( I know, sounds fun, huh), I had to call around to find that type of catheter to use. What a hassel all this is, while in bed, feeling like crap, just wanting to sleep. Finally I got the products I needed, thank you for my parents who picked them up for me and that evening my dad and Doug helped me do the cathererization. Oh, this is after I threw up. When Ella got home, I sat up in bed to try to look okay and started to feel nauseous. I had not eaten much but had some of the smoothy and tea and every time I just felt fuller and fuller. Finally it just all came out. So when we did the catheter, nothing seemed blocked and eventually things started to go threw last night.

Today I thought was all better. I ate a bit here and there very cautious about what i am eating and how much so as not to have the same problem. Well, I was fine until this afternoon, Dustin was visiting, I had a little applesauce and part of my smoothy from the day before and all of a sudden, I didn't feel well again and within a few minutes I was racing to the bathroom, brought it all back up. I have to say if you are going to get sick, drink something that tastes yummy right before. It is much better getting sick with the taste of Strawberry smoothy than anything else! So, again, I was on the phone to my surgeon, to atleast let her know what happened, especially before the holiday weekend. SOmething always seems to happen right before a holiday, when no one is around, except the stinkin' ER. For now, I am to be on a soft/full liquid diet and see what happens. If things still aren't staying down, I will have to page her(thankfully she is on call all weekend) to get a CT or Xray on Friday and possibly have to be readmitted. ugh. So hopefully things are resolving and there isn't a major problem.

I was so looking forward to gorging myself tomorrow, especially since I haven't been able to eat a lot lately. Now it looks like i will have to be very cautious again and not eat a lot of the food. Oh well, the food isn't everything, right... that one takes a lot of convincing.

We are kicking off the holiday weekend Ella, and I are in our sleeping bags on the floor, Doug didn't get his sleeping bag, but we are all watching Cinderella together and she is getting to stay up late. Wow, I just looked at the clock, it is 9:15p. really late... Don't you all love the Cinderella movie, so good, but those sisters and the step mom infuriate me!!!

Happy thanksgiving everyone! I hope you enjoy every last bite of yummy food, guilt free because everything is fat free on this holiday, I declare. Most of all let everyone know how thankful you are for them in your life and remember all you are thankful for! good night, sleep tight, don't let the turkey's running for their lives bite, hehe. good one I must say. teheehee. Shawndra

Monday, November 24, 2008

Am I awake?

well- This first round back to chemo threw me for a loop. I thought it would be a breeze, since I didn't have a lot of the medicine accumulated in my body and I have been threw it all before but it didn't turn out that way. I was very, very tired for about 3-4 days. Thursday I went to get my pump off and I was so nauseous all morning, I didn't want to get out of bed to go. When I did finally get up, I threw up, so I ended up getting fluids and antinausea medication when I went to the cancer center. I thought I was doing a bit better Saturday morning and laid low with Ella. I was supposed to have a fun night out with some girlfriends. I only got to spend about 30 minutes with them before I had to go home because I felt so nauseous. I thought it was the chemo, but Doug didn't feel so good last night so maybe I got a quick bug on top of the chemo... who knows. Anyway, I am doing better today. I am actually awake and somewhat productive. The pile of papers on my desk that was oozing onto the kitchen cabinets has diminished significantly.
This week is a free week, free from chemo that is so I am happy about that. Of Course it is also Thanksgiving week as well, which is always one of my favorites! I was just looking at a Kohl's ad and actually thought it sounded fun to get up at 4am on Friday to do a bit of shopping. If you know me that is incredibly strange, I don't do mornings or shopping well at all. But it kind of sounds like an adventure.
We get to spend Thursday at my parents with family and friends then we will go down south of here to spend Saturday/Sunday with Doug's family for another thanksgiving. It will be fun. I am very much looking forward to it.
I am so Thankful to be here and to have you all in my life one way or another. Thank you! I have so much to be thankful for and i will definitely be basking in it this week. I am now thankful for water and showers, because I need one, and I need to do it now before I pick up Ella. have a great week everyone. I will talk to you all soon. Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe. Shawndra
PS. I don't think I said, but all my scans that I have had done recently come out pretty much clean, which I know isn't the case because of what my surgeon saw, but isn't that great, but in an apprehensive sort of way. hehe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to life.. back to reality

That song just popped into my head. I am sitting here, needle in my chest (port), getting my antinausea medication that they give me before starting the chemo infusions. I will be here for about 3 hours, then they will put the last medication on a pump that I will take home with me for two days, then I come back in one Thursday to have the pump taken off and I am free for a week and a half. That will be the schedule for the next several months. Doug is with me today, yaa!
I had a great weekend. We had Ella's birthday party on Saturday. It was fun, about 13 kids got to get their face painted if they wanted and hair sprayed different colors. They then dressed up in tutu's, tiara's and wands to dance around to music. I was a bit disappointed, they said there would be stuff for the boys, which there really wasn't, except for the hair spraying they liked but they weren't too excited about tutu's and tiara's. I know Ella had fun though and got a lot of fun girly gifts! My close friend, Sara, was in town with me for the weekend which always makes me happy! She is one of those friends that you just feel so comfortable around, you don't feel like you have to entertain, you can just be yourself and can talk about anything. That is a rare find sometimes, I am lucky to have found a few people like that. Unfortunately she lives in Chicago, good to get to see Chicago once in awhile but I wish she was closer so I could see her more often. We had a lot of fun, thank you Sara!

I haven't gotten the results back from my scan last week. Which, I am going to ask my nurse right now if I can get those results! They should have them by now. I will let you know what the findings are.

The plan for now is to continue this chemo regimen (folfiri) every two weeks for the next two -4 months. If my CEA level is not dropping with the chemo after a couple months, then I need to have a CT scan and possibly need to change chemo med's. If my CEA is dropping, then after 3-4 months on chemo I will do my CT scan then and touch base with Dr. Foster about surgery. This is all based on Dr. Foster's plan. So please pray that my CEA level does drop with chemo, that the chemo is killing those "bad" cells,and that my miracle does happen.

I don't remember if I really discussed with you all my appointment with my surgeon last week who did my first surgery and did my surgery a few weeks ago with my bowel obstruction. She is a great doctor, I like her very much. We discussed what she saw when she went in this last time. She saw a lot of little cancerous spots all over my small intestine, kind of like little beebee's all over. Then there is the mass of cancer in my pelvis that is all over the bottom wall, which was what caused my bowel obstruction, because the cancer had wound it's way around the intestine and she couldn't cut it away so that is why she had to do the ileostomy, so I wouldn't be blocked. That was very difficult to hear and picture. Again, it brings me back to reality of the situation so I can only pray for a miracle. I just keep repeating in my head.."I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the lord." I like that saying. Through him, all things are possible, even miracles! Thank you all for the prayers. I know he hears each of you! I will try to write sooner! I hope you all are doing well too! shawndra

Monday, November 10, 2008

Peeing Prunes

I am sure you are all curious what in the world I am talking about with this title. Well, as you know, I had my port put back in when I was up in Omaha last week. Well, I had been taken off my blood thinner, Coumadin until I had the procedure and placed on Lovenox shots instead. after Wednesday, I restarted the Coumadin but no one really told me what I should do about the Lovenox/Coumadin after the procedure. SO I just did what I thought I should do, restarted coumadin. Starting Friday night and Saturday, I started urinating blood, which is not uncommon with the ureteral stents, sometimes. But this time, I literally was having to push clots through so I could pee. I was pushing through clots the size of prunes through, what would you say ladies, a pinhole? arg! not fun. This was every time I went to the bathroom. So with some good advice from my dad and thanks to my wonderful primary care doctor who I bothered on her personal phone on a Saturday ( I promise I won't do that regularly!) I restarted taking my lovenox shots along with my Coumadin to help my blood thin out as much as possible to get rid of these yucky prune sized clots. Are you all cringing by now, hehe. I told you, I don't hold back much, do I.
Anyway, I had a good weekend with my family, we layed low most of the weekend. We did celebrate Doug's dad's birthday on Saturday night and played our new WII game, it is so fun. Sunday, we went to church and then I got to go see one of my cousins very tiny baby. It was so fun to get to hold a little tiny baby again. I was in heaven! Makes me really realize how big Ella has gotten. Speaking of Ella, she is going to be 3 tomorrow! Wow, already 3. She seems like 3 going on 18. She is a bit more cooperative most of the time, but is at that stage of wanting to do everything herself, well everything she wants to do... but when it comes to having to throw away her trash or hanging up her coat, forget it, she all of a sudden turns into a little baby who can't do it. Ha, not happening girl! She is into the computer right now, we go to mickey mouse clubhouse website and she can sit there for a long time playing the games. She uses the mouse and the keypad with only a little assistance from us. She is her daddy!
I was supposed to have a PET scan this morning but it got rescheduled to Friday. I restart chemo next Monday I think. I haven't looked at my calendar yet to verify all of this. It is a full week of doctors appointments, Wednesday is the dentist, thursday I see my surgeon here in KC, for a follow up of my bowel obstruction surgery. But then this weekend I will have one of my great friends here with me to celebrate Ella's birthday and just hang out with us. I am very excited for that. So there is a lot going on that I am anxious about: restarting chemo infusions for one, but there are so many fun things to look forward to that is coming up...
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, it is a time when friends and family can get together and just be thankful for each other and for everything in our life. I love Christmas but it has just gotten out of control. We need to all stop obsessing about gifts and everything else. Instead I think we need to simplify the holiday and enjoy the beauty of it all and again just enjoy being together. I know the kids won't understand that, so don't worry I will be getting all the kids in the family a little something!
Well have a great week everyone. Until next time... Shawndra
PS I just hit a wrong button and almost lost this whole thing... Oh my gosh, that was close. I was also going to add for Sue that I am restarting Folfiri, not Folfox. That is all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

here's the news

Hey everyone- Here is the update; things went well with Dr. Foster. As usual it was great to see him. He did his exam under anesthesia as well as put my port-a-cath back in so i can restart chemo. It sounds like, from my most recent CT scan and the exam, that he doesn't see a lot of new stuff, which is good. Things seem to be stable, which is good. Except my CEA level has gone up. So for now, I need to get back on chemo and see how the CEA numbers go, if they are going down after 3-4 months, then there is a possibility he might be able to go back in and try to clean out more of the cancer. If the numbers don't go down, I will probably need to try another type of chemo. So please pray that the chemo again works and keeps things at bay and gets those CEA's to go down so I have that possibility of another surgery. The disappointing part, is that if we take this path, the hope of removing my ostomy may be non-existent. It may be permanent, which is very disappointing to me, but extending my life is more important and I know that, even though everytime I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes. it could be worse!! There are a lot of positives with it. anyway, I have been resting quite a bit the last couple days.
I am looking forward to hopefully a low key weekend. It is a lot chillier here, so I am hibernating. have a great weekend everyone! shawndra

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It is late. We stayed up to watch the presidential election and to listen to Obama's speech. It almost seemed like a happy ending of a movie. However you voted, we have to remember, everything happens for a reason and that goes for this situation as well.

I wanted to let you all know that Michelle, who ran the marathon in my honor, finished the marathon and helped raise a great deal of money for colorectal cancer. Thank you Michelle and congratulations for an incredible feat. I hope you aren't too sore and you're recovering well. Please let us know how it went for you! I wish we could have been there to see you cross the finish line. That is just an amazing accomplishment, one I could not achieve.

I am off tomorrow to see Dr. Foster in Omaha. I am excited to see him. Even if he doesn't have the answers I hope for, I know he wants to do whatever he can to help me. I always walk away feeling good and hopeful. There is so much going on with so many other people lately, that I am so thankful for all of you and your prayers. I want to share you all with them and I know that you support them as well.

I know some of you are following Stephanie Vest, and I don't know details, but, it sounds like they are keeping her comfortable and she feels at peace. Please send out prayers to her and her family as well.

I will let you all know what Dr. Foster has to say when I get back.

I am praying for all of you who are going through a difficult time, as I know many are. I read something tonight that said something to the affect that we have two paths, even when there are problems, there are also blessings at the same time. I believe that is so true.

I have to go to bed, so I will end here. I gotta get up early, and I hate to wake up early. :) Good night all -- Republican and Democrat and all others. I am glad we are called the UNITED states. Shawndra

Sunday, November 2, 2008

God has a plan

Hello everyone- I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. It was incredible weather here in KC this weekend so we had a lot of opportunity to get outside and play! Halloween was a lot of fun, Ella the mermaid had a great time with all her cousins. I got to take her door to door around most of our neighborhood, but had to cut out a little early so as not to wear myself completely out!
This coming week I will be heading up to Omaha for a day to see Dr. Foster, please pray that whatever God's plan for me is to be able to have as many opportunities to be treated and cured as possible so that I may stay on this earth, because I believe that my work here is not done. I believe my work here has just begun when I was diagnosed and that there are many more things that I need to take care of here. Most importantly raising my beautiful, precious daughter, to be a loving, kind, faithful woman who has as much to give as I do. But also to help others who possibly question or doubt their faith. I am learning and seeing that there is a God and seeing first hand how he does take care of us, for example...
I have a friend who wants to remain anonymous, but wants her story to be told to help others. Let's call her, hmmmm, Betty as in Betty Boop. (That just popped into my head, I have no idea why) Anyway, Betty was just diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught at a very early stage, so hopefully she should be able to be treated and cured. Betty has a history of breast cancer in her family and was supposed to have her first mammogram last year but was scared because she heard it hurt so she put it off. Her sister-in-law and her were talking a few weeks ago and somehow got on the subject of mammograms. Her sister-in-law encouraged her to go get a mammogram and went beyond the suggestion and made an appointment for both of them to have a DIGITAL mammogram on the same day. Well, it turned out that Betty ended up having to go back for another mammogram and then a biopsy where they discovered that in fact she does have cancerous tissue. It is caught so early that only the DIGITAL mammogram would catch it. The general mammogram wouldn't have picked it up. I don't know much about the digital versus regular mammogram but I believe that this is a new testing option. So obviously everyone who goes for a mammogram should request a digital mammogram and if they don't offer it, go somewhere that does. The message that Betty wanted to share with you all is that she didn't wait for a lump to show up before she got the test. DON'T WAIT FOR THE LUMP! is what she stated. If you have a history or you are at the age when you should be getting one, do it!!! Don't worry about a little (or a lot) of pain that is involved, if it could save your life, if you can catch it early. I will repeat a statistic I believe I have written before: One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer.
The other thing she wanted people to understand and see is that this was obviously divine intervention! God has a plan and she knows that she and her family have been prepared for this "bend in the road" which they don't believe they would have been able to handle three to five years ago.
I believe that there is a reason we moved to this neighborhood, there is a reason I got pregnant when I did (shortly before we planned), there is a reason Doug switched jobs and we changed our insurance to his, there is a reason we got our life insurance policies less than a year before my diagnosis. God prepared us for what was ahead of us. If you new me two years ago, I would not be saying this. I doubted God existed and here I am now telling the world,(whoever is listening) that God is non-fiction and he watches over us and hopefully answers our prayers not always how we want them to be answered but in a way that he knows is best.
Good night you all, please keep "Betty Boop" in your prayers too!

PS. I just started my journal for Ella. I have wanted to do this for so long but didn't know how to start. I want her to have something from me if I am not there to tell her about when she was little, or give her the advice I want to give her when she is older, etc. I am definitely not giving up hope, but no one knows when there day will come, so I encourage all of you, especially mothers, to start a journal, or video's, or something to have for your children if you do leave earlier than you hoped.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Hi- I hope you all have fun halloween plans made! We are having a bunch of family from both sides over tonight to have pizza and go around our neighborhood to trick or treat. Ella is a mermaid, she is sooo cute. Luckily it is warm today too, so that will help a bit! I had my CT scan yesterday, it went smoothly. I actually didn't have to drink as much of the contrast, and they have a new drink that doesn't taste bad, just like an orange drink, so yaaa! Now if they could just cure cancer, I would be happy! I don't have the results back yet. I have been really tired the last couple days. So sleeping a lot. I even went to bed last night when Ella did. Well, I am at a lose for words, so everyone have a safe and fun night. I have a busy week next week. Wednesday is when I will see Dr Foster. I will keep you posted. Shawndra

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

As the title says, Happy Birthday dad! We enjoyed spending time with you and the family this weekend at the lake! The kids absolutely love being around you, as we do as well!
Hello everyone- I hope you all had a good weekend with the definitely fall weather! I love fall, seeing all the changing, falling leaves, bundling up with a fire in the fireplace, ahhh! One of those great things on this earth!
As for me, I am recovering quickly, still tired a lot,wearing out quicker but getting around better. Last night I had some really bad cyclical pain, but either the pain medication or some other medication I took helped get rid of it after an hour or so, thank God! I saw my oncologist today, the plan is to get back on the rounds of infused chemo, back on the same regimen, most likely, of Folfiri, which I was on before I started the Xeloda pills which did not seem to be working for me! I got my flu shot today as well, my arm actually kind of hurts a bit from it, but that is okay! small potatoes to everything else. Have you all gotten your flu shot yet? or pneumonia shot if you are sick or older? good thing to do not only for you but to protect your family as well! I go up next week to see Dr. Foster in Omaha. I will have my port-a-cath put back in up there since he was going to put me under anesthesia anyway for an exam under anesthesia. For those of you who may not know the port is how they are able to give me chemo without having to start an IV every time. It is a little pin cushion like thing that is placed under the skin in my chest. They took my last one out when I was in the hospital because i was having fevers and they thought it might be related to an infection from the port, which it wasn't but they weren't sure at that time! I am looking forward to seeing what Dr. Foster has to say. He is a surgeon, so we are going to see if he thinks another surgery to possible remove more cancer in my pelvis area is possible. i know it has risks, especially messing around the bladder, and now that I just had this surgery for the bowel obstruction my guess is he will say we should wait a while and see how the chemo goes and then reevaluate but we will see. I will also be having another CT scan this week sometime so i can take it up to Omaha for them to look at. I hate these scans because I have to drink the contrast which always makes me sick, just because it is sooo much to drink. I will go prepared with Compazine (antinausea) before the fun begins. I am not sure which day that will be yet, I will let you all know when I find out. It looks like I will be restarting chemo November 18th, so I still have a few more weeks to recover before I restart chemo.
I don't know if I have been keeping you posted on Ella. She is wearing big girl underwear most of the time during the day now! She has had a few accidents but does well most of the time! She is going to be a mermaid for halloween and she is very excited. THis is really the first year she really understands it all. She has been very into "Sleeping Booty (beauty)" too. so cute.
Oh, I am still thinking about the whole foundation thing. I would love to start one to bring awareness to colorectal cancer, especially in younger people, and have somewhere that can bring all of us who are diagnosed with this together to support each other. I talked to Doug last night about it, he likes the idea too but is concerned it is a lot to take on for me right now. I am still in the research phase to see exactly how to start something like that and if it is necessary, etc. I will let you know. but I am glad to know that I have a lot of people who would be willing to help out if I did start a foundation. I would probably need a lot of help.
THank you to everyone who has taken their time to help me these last few weeks. I appreciate everything you all have done. I also want to thank you all for the continued support, especially through prayer. It is all in his hands, we have to continue to look to him for the miracle and trust his plan. have a great week everyone. I will talk to you all soon. Shawndra

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hi everyone- Well it has been a few days back at home and it has been wonderful! Our slumber party was a bit sleepless but we managed and hopefully Ella was happy to be with us on our first night back home together. I have gotten to spend time with some friends and family and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Sunday, Doug made sure I got outside a bit to enjoy the sunshine. Which I am glad because the last couple days and the days to come are dreary and colder! Speaking of Doug, he has been incredible. Have I told you all that I have an incredible husband, as if you didn't know already! He has been so supportive with everything, physical and mental! I don't know if you know my dad is a doctor, but he is also a very fine nurse! He is so great to have with me in the hospital, unbelievable! So thanks dad! You already know my mom is the best so I don't have to repeat that. While I am accepting my Oscar, I also want to thank my sister! I don't thank her enough for all she does for me. She has made so many sacrifices for me and Andrea I want you to know they don't go unnoticed by myself or others. You have a way with words that is wonderful and your faith is something I strive for. As you know, you are always my hero, the wind beneath my wings (I know cheesy but she knows!). Love ya sis! I sometimes forget she needs as many prayers, if not more and I do pray for you and your family always!
I am just so lucky. It does take these experiences to really open your eyes and appreciate and boy, am I appreciating! I did sleep most of the day yesterday so I guess I needed to rest up but today I was back in the game and pretty active. I may regret all my activity tomorrow but it is worth it. I hope you don't all forget that Michelle, on of my blog friends, is still training for a marathon in my honor and has raised and I believe exceeded the amount necessary! What an amazing thing to do for someone you have never met. I am beside myself in awe! But I think she is having trouble with her knee so, Michelle, please take it easy, do not force it! I do not want you to hurt your knee and have problems the rest of your life because of this! please listen to your body and if you can't run, that is okay! The thought is the most important thing, you have done such an amazing thing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart to raise this money for such an important cause!
I want to know what you all think: I have been thinking that I want to become the Susan G Komen of Colorectal Cancer. I am thinking about starting a foundation. My mom and I were talking the other day and she said, why do you have to be gone before we start a foundation. We mostly want to get the word out and make it as common as breast cancer awareness has become. This is not just a rare disease any more, even though my "kind" is rare. So many people I have heard from are affected by this disease at a young age. So what do you all think about a foundation. I know it would be difficult to get started but I hope it would be worth it. Anyway, I just wanted some feedback from you all to see what you thought about this.
I also want to mention before I go that my husband's company, SOURCECORP, has been absolutely incredible to our family! They have been so accomodating and understanding that family comes first! SO, thank you to them for everything they have done to help make our situation easier for us! We are blessed that Doug was hired at such a great company before all this happened!
Also, Naomi, thank you for focusing on me, but I am also concerned about you all! I have to be, you are in my life now and it goes both ways. So, I am concerned about you and hope your tests go well! You will be in our prayers, please pray that her tests go well. I pray for all of you, because you do the same for me!
Enough for now, I better get to bed so I can function tomorrow. good night all. Enjoy the rainy weather tomorrow, hehe. It is kind of nice sometimes! shawndra

PS. I found out that my neighbors had a prayer vigil for me after my surgery! I want to thank my WS family for praying for us and helping us in every way! You all have been incredible to us and we are so thankful to all of you! To my angel giver, you know who you are, a special thanks for my angels and for sharing with me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Broke Out!

Hey everyone- I am home, yaaaa! I convinced the doctor today that there was no reason for me to stay over night. Which is true, I wasn't fibbing! So I got home around 5pm today. It is so nice to be home. I am getting ready for bed so I will write more later. I just wanted to let you all know that I broke out of the clink, hehe. Tonight, for one time only we are having a slumber party in our room. Ella gets to sleep in our bed with us since I have been gone so long we thought she might like that. We will see how it goes, yikes. We may regret this decision but I am just so happy to be with her that I think it will be fine. As long as there are no swift kicks to the abdomen! Anyway, good night all! Sleep well. Thank you for ALL your love, support, messages, visits, decorations, goodies, cleaning, staying with me...EVERYTHING you have all done for me to get me through this unexpected ordeal. I still have a bit of recovering to do but nothing I can't handle. I will drift off to sleep thanking God for you all and for this day and everyday and for all I am blessed with. Mostly thanking him for all of you, you truly amaze me! Good night friends! Enjoy your very comfortable, non aerating bed without railings (unless you are a young child). Love, shawndra

Friday, October 17, 2008

Irrigating ...bad

Hello everyone-I am typing from Doug's laptop, which really throws me off, so it isn't the drugs! I promise, if I make mistakes. I am doing much better today. Yesterday was a doozy! They decided to try to irrigate my ostomy since i am impacted with stool, lovely conversation. I hope you are eating your meatloaf right now. Well they put about 500cc of fleets enema in and boy did my stomach start cramping up BADLY!!!! So they couldn't give me enough drugs so they tried giving me something called Levsin often used to relieve cramping for irritable bowel and other GI issues. Let's just say, I think I found my first medicine I am allergic too! I immediately had uncontrollable tremenbling, shaking,shivering, I was so cold and I felt like I was going to pass out. My face was tingling as well as my hands and feet. I was soooo scared. I truly thought I might pass out and not wake up! I kept saying, just get a doctor in here now. That finally did resolve and I rested. But everytime I got up to go to the bathroom I would get that flushed, tingly feeling in my face and legs. Very aggitating! That finally went away last night. I am hoping to get to go home maybe Sunday, I think tomorrow is pushing it.
It has been very mentally difficult as well because they had to put in another ostomy so now I am trying to decide what to call this, a cow with udders or a rose garden on my belly, if that makes sense to anyone. This is very devastating to me, I was so self conscious before and frustrated to have to have an ostomy, now to have two is even more difficult. But I guess I will do what I always try to do is make the best of it and think, it could be worse. The doctor did say that when she was in doing surgery she found more cancer cells in my abdomen. So, again, I feel like I am fighting a battle I can't win. That is what superman Dr. Foster is for. I go see him in November to see what he says. If he has any hope. In the mean time, no more break of just taking pills for chemo. I have to start back on the infusions again since my oncologist doesn't think they were working very well. They did take out my port when I was in surgery because they thought I was getting septic (infection) from it. So they will have to go back in later to put a new one in, that is going to be around late October it sounds like. It was so nice when all I was doing was taking some pills and getting bloodwork once in awhile. Now back to all this chaos. Oh, and if you all didn't know, we are supposed to be on our Mediterranean trip right now. We were supposed to leave this past Tuesday for our cruise, so that really just sucks!!!! That is all for now. I was truly bummed I wasn't able to be at my Cousin's wedding and to see Ella walk down the Aisle. Amy you were a gorgeous bride!!!!!!!Wow! Thank you for allowing Ella the honor of being in your wedding. I will write more later, my soft food is waiting for me,mmmmm - PBJ! Shawndra

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Shawndra is healing quickly. Already the NG has been removed, the catheter will be disconnected shortly, and she'll be preparing to do laps around the hospital halls. Dr. O'Brien is very encouraged by the rapid progress she's making.

I know I promised photos and video of Ella's flower girl debut... and I'll try to accomplish that today. I'm going to engage Shawndra in that process. (Better than reading trash People & US magazines!)... j/k baby! I know you like those. :)

Emotionally speaking, today has started out 10 times more positive than yesterday (as perhaps evident by the tone of this post).

Okay, this concludes my stint as substitute BLOG guy. Next up... your lovely host, Shawndra.
- Doug

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shawndra is out of ICU

Hello all-
This is Andrea, Shawndra's sister, posting an update. Shawndra's surgery happened on Sunday afternoon. The surgeon said that there were some adhesions in Shawndra's small intestine however, this was not the main reason for her problems. The surgeon said that the obstruction in her small intestine was from cancer in the pelvis, it was occluding the last section of the intestine that goes into the colon. Therefore, Shawndra received an ileostomy. This is something that Shawndra did not want/did not expect to at all. Dr O'Brien, the surgeon, said that she did find more cancer throughout the small intestines. Shawndra was put in ICU overnight and was moved to the floor this afternoon, Monday.
She is doing fairly well. I judge this by the rude comments - ha just kidding, by her ability to joke around with us and talk with everyone. My mom and I washed her hair this evening and I gave her a mini-makeover - really just makeup!! She looks good! Just pain in the abdomen where she's had surgery. The nurse said she transfered from the ICU bed to her bed in her room really well and had good strength.
The oncologist has some encouraging news about options for chemo, meds, etc after this surgery. Shawndra will also be returning to Dr. Foster in Omaha once she is recovered from this surgery to discuss further options/possibilities.
So, let me lay out some prayer requests:
1. Pray for Shawndra's bowels to regain function - and quickly!
2. Pray that her small intestine will absorb well and she will get enough nutrition with her ileostomy.
3. Pray for new methods of chemo and alternatives that come forward to be beneficial.
4. Pray for Doug for strength, endurance, love, and faith.
5. Pray for the Turner and Beauchamp families.

I call upon all Prayer Warriors, take heed, this is the time to pray! I praise God for all the wonderful people who keep up with Shawndra, pray for her, support our family, and help in so many ways. Thank you God for Shawndra's prayer/supportive community. We feel covered by your love and compassion.
We will keep you updated as we know more. Thanks for continuing to check the blog!

With great appreciation and love,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Surgery Very Probable Sunday Afternoon

Last night Dr. O'Brien (the colo-rectal surgeon) ordered a repositioning of the NG Tube to better extract bile from Shawndra's stomach, in preparation for surgery tomorrow (Sunday). I should preface that statement with there exists a small chance the situation could resolve itself by tomorrow, although there still seems to be a consensus that surgery is necessary even if that occurs.

Thank you, everyone, for commenting on that last post. I will read them to Shawndra after she awakens. Special thanks to Dustin for staying overnight with Shawndra last night. Ella and I got some much needed sleep. Shawndra's cousin, Amy, will be wed to Judd this afternoon, and Ella has the privilege of being the flower girl! Last night, during the rehearsal, Ella did a great job! She and Ian (Ella's cousin) were so cute together, holding hands. Angie has offered to sit with Shawndra so Ella and I can go to the wedding. I want to videotape Ella, so Mommy can see what a big girl she is. (I'll post the clip on the BLOG as well.)

Shawndra is pretty bummed out today. She's missing the wedding, missing Ella walk down the isle with Ian, missing her dream cruise vacation to Italy, Greece, Turkey (we were scheduled to leave this coming Tuesday) -- I'm just now mentioning this vacation because prior to this week's events, we didn't want to divulge our being out of town for two weeks, for obvious reasons. But you know what? Her health is number one. And there will be future Ella moments and future vacations. Honestly, we're lucky this culminated this week instead of next. I can imagine being in a foreign country, having to make surgical decisions. I told her this is just a little bump in the road. When I arrived to the hospital this morning, I just curled up with her in bed, let her cry tears on my cheek and told everything will work out... and I just know it will. Baby I love.

I'm handling everything pretty well. I must admit, over time there's a certain desensitization that occurs. Personally I let things build up, and then let it all out at once. When that will be, with respect to the latest setback, I don't know.

Thank you for your prayers. Photos, videos, and updates forthcoming.
- Doug

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Back in the Hospital

Hello everyone. Shawndra is back in the hospital with bowel complications. We arrived via the ER Tuesday morning. Initial tests indicate partial bowel obstruction. It's been three days now with very little output. I won't go into details, but attempts at flushing things through are not working. Just a few minutes ago an NG Tube was placed in her stomach. Okay, enough about that.

Ella came to visit Mommy at the hospital tonight. Her little laugh always brightens up a room (and we needed it). She danced for us and sang a song. She handled Shawndra's situation pretty well. She's spending the night with Grandma and Papa tonight so I can stay with Shawndra.

I'll leave with a few photos of the Worlds of Fun trip Ella and I took last weekend with my good high school buddy, Jason, and his 4 1/2 year old daughter, Jillian.
click photos for larger versions

Monday, October 6, 2008

side effects

Hi- I am nearing the end of my week of Xeloda pills. But I am waiting to hear back from the doctor to see if I need to stop early. I have the redness and sore, tender feet that is a side effect of this chemo. I thought he told me that I might have to stop them if this is the case, because it will get worse before it gets better, esecially if I continue to take the pills after this side effect appears. I also a difficult weekend. I had to cancel plans on Friday night because I was soooo tired, then I cancelled a playdate yesterday to the park because I was so tired. I spent pretty much the whole day yesterday in bed! I really hate feeling like that and staying in bed all day! I was helpless. I try my best to continue life as normal and not focus on "being ill". Most of the time I don't feel ill, therefore I think others forget that I am sick as well. But I do have days like yesterday were I just don't feel good, or am just so tired that I can't do anything. My pain has gotten worse too. Especially at night, when I am lying down. I have increased my pain medication and still haven't had much improvement.
Good news: my mother-in-law is out of the hospital, yaaa! She is still having difficult breathing without additional oxygen but is atleast at home.
I do have blood work tomorrow where they will also draw blood for my CEA and then meet with Mckittrick on Thursday to see how things are going.
Doug took ELla to World's of Fun on Saturday, she had a great time but didn't like the Snoopy character, he was "scary". I didn't go to church yesterday because I was so tired but Ella wanted to go to church school so we took her so she wouldn't miss it. I thought that was great that she wanted to go! I did take her to daycare today so I could rest more. It is so hard to keep up with a two year old when I am worn down from chemo! It is a bit of a challenge at times. I am blessed to have so many people around who help me when I need it. I hope you all are doing well! Thank you to the people who have given me some advice on products to use for my feet/hands. It is nice to have that kind of feedback from people who have experienced it.
talk to you all soon. shawndra

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

long time-no talk

Hi everyone- I don't really have a good excuse for not emailing this past week, but there just hasn't been much to report and Doug has been hogging my laptop at night,get your own baby, oh wait.. you have your own... use it,hehe. Anyway, I start my chemo pills again tomorrow, same amount, 3 in the morning, 3 at night for 7 days. I have done pretty well on them. I have noticed changes in my hands and feet, which is a side effect. I started having redness and blisters on my feet at the end of the chemo week last time. That did get better but my hands are feeling very, very dry right now and a little tender. We will see what this week of chemo will bring. I have been able to maintain most of my energy though as well as my appetite for the most part. I have gained a few pounds so no problem in that area, yikes. I am anxiously waiting for the beginning of November when I go back to Omaha to see Dr. Foster. I will do a lot of tests and an exam under anesthesia ( of my buttocks, that is why anesthesia is involved, wouldn't you want that too!) that reminds me of the movie, Father of the Bride II, when Steve Martin is waiting for his daughter and wife to have their babies, he is so tired and takes sleeping pills, ends up in a wheelchair in the hospital, they mistake him for a patient, take him in to the proctoscopy (?) room to have an "exam" of the back end and he comes running out pulling up his pants, saying, "Do I know you". Hilarious... anyway, Dr Foster will then be able to determine if another surgery may be possible to remove more cancer in my pelvis area, which at the time of the last surgery was the only stuff left after he removed the rest. So I am very much looking forward to that. I hate this sitting around and waiting. I just want it gone, gone, gone ,gone forever!!!! If that is possible... through him all things are possible!! I just keep praying that God's plan is for me to be here on earth for many years! I happened to watch Oprah tonight, which was about Breast cancer, one lady on there who was diagnosed at a young age, said, she gives God all the glory for curing her, and that is so true! This experience, as I have said before, has really been a spiritual journey, as I believe was his intent.
Anyway, I do have a couple requests...
1. Please pray for Doug's mother, Victoria Turner, who is in the hospital with Pneumonia, which has not been improving with antibiotics.
2. continue prayers for Stephanie vest, if you have been following her blog, she was improving but has taken a turn for the worse and is very ill!

Oh, this is news worthy. Ella decided this morning she wanted to wear big girl underwear and she didn't have any accidents all day while wearing them, yaaaa!!! I hope she does it again tomorrow, we will see. how exciting.
Good night everyone. I will try not to go so long without emailing. I have missed you all, hehe. shawndra

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stents and prayers

Hello all- Well everything went smooth today. I was a bit nervous prior to the procedure and talked to the doctor about the stents, if they were absolutely necessary. He did feel like I needed the stents, especially because of the previous concern of kidney failure in my left kidney. SO, I did get both of the ureteral stents replaced. It went well, they gave me a little happy medicine, wheeled me in, I got onto the table, they gave me the gas mask and medicine and I was fast asleep. Next thing I know, I am awake in the waiting room asking to go to the bathroom, which the nurse blew off, and went on to take care of another person (this has happened more than once, i think they think I just FEEL like i have to go, but I really have to go). So I grabbed the next nurse that came by and said, I HAVE to go, so she brought the bed pan right in time, whew, that was a close one. When I told Doug about this, he said, next time just pee the bed, I said, NO, not if I can help it.
Anyway, I felt good afterwards, but I think after the anesthesia wore off, this afternoon, I started to have some more pain. Not as bad though as before, so hopefully this will be brief pain from the placement and manipulation then my body will adjust and I will be pain free for awhile!
A couple of you asked about Chris Ireland and the girls, to be honest I don't know too much and do not feel that it is my place to comment about much. I did give a brief update about Jan (Jen's mom, I do talk to her from time to time) but I don't talk to Chris much. I did say "hi" to him and he said the girls are doing well, they are growing up fast he said, going on 18. So that is all I know and will say about that.
Kelley, we will pray for your daughters friend and the baby and the family. It is times like that that make it difficult to understand where God is and what the plan is, but we do have to trust him even though we are angry and can't possibly understand!
I feel like there was something else I wanted to comment on...let me look back at the posts. I think that is all for now. Ella's daycare is on vacation the rest of the week, so she and I will get to hang out more. My mom is going to help me out a bit tomorrow so that will help. I have to brag a bit about my girl. She is so amazing. I know every person's child is amazing, but even the daycare talked to me about how good she is for 2 with puzzles and other games/projects, organizing, categorizing, etc. We do puzzles at home and I have been amazed at how good she is with them for her age. I wasn't sure if this was normal, but I think she is a bit ahead in that area. She also has such a great memory. I talked about the hospital briefly this morning and she asked if I was going to have a tube in my nose, that might be because we scared her when she came to see me in the hospital in March for my surgery. But she also noticed this morning a school bus and said, mommy that is a short busy, where is the longer bus, I thought that was pretty darn observant. okay, enough bragging. A momma has to brag once in awhile, right. She is getting better about her fits and attitude, but still can bring it out once in awhile. Good night all. Sleep well in this wonderful weather. Thank you God for this day and everyday we are here. I pray that my prayer warriors have a great day tomorrow, stay positive, happy and healthy! I pray for all those going through treatment for cancer or other illnesses, all the people who are suffering a loss of a loved one. Thank you God for all the people who read my blog and have come into my life to support me silently or not. shawndra

Monday, September 22, 2008

stents replaced

Hello- I hope you all had a great weekend. It is amazing that the weather has stayed so warm, it has been great. We are still able to keep our windows open especially at night with the fans on, ahhhh. I had a good weekend. Saturday was the Jennifer Ireland Golf tournament. Doug played with my father, his father and his brother in law. I went to help out, but didn't feel like I helped much. They had it well organized and running smoothly. I got to see Jan, Jenn's mom, who I just love to see. So that was great! She seems to be doing well, she looks fantastic. She has a lot on her plate though, her husband is now in an assisted facility because of a stroke from a few years ago, her dad is battling cancer as well and unfortunately, she does not get to spend much time with her grandgirls which tears her up! So, keep her in your prayers! She is such an amazing woman!
Ella started church school this Sunday, she loved it! she is getting so big, she already seems like a young lady. This will help us get to church regularly, since we haven't been to good about that lately. I was glad to, we had a great sermon that really spoke to me, which is exactly what I asked of God before we went to church. The basic theme was that God's way isn't always our way and that things happen, some appear bad, some appear good but there may be other outcomes that we don't expect. For example, my cancer seems like a bad thing to have happen, but I have gotten some good out of it, I have definitely gained a relationship with God because of this. So as the Priest repeated with every situation or example he gave, "we'll see", you have cancer, or poor you.... we'll see. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I was doing fairly well until last night. I started getting worse pain in the night and into today. I slept all day until about 5pm. Also my feet are getting sore and it is harder to walk on them, this is one of the side effects of the Xeloda chemo I am on. Tomorrow I go in for my stent replacement procedure under anesthesia. I have to be there around 9am and the procedure is about 11am. I am going to ask the doctor if it is possible not to put the stents back in since they seem to cause a lot of my pain and problems. I don't know what he will say, but I will try. Usually after this procedure, I am a bit uncomfortable for a few days with the new stents, I can usually feel them a bit, it just makes me feel like I need to go to the bathroom a lot, so very annoying. I hope that there won't be much pain afterwards,... we'll see. I will let you know how things go in a few days. Take care all of you, don't forget that God is in charge and has a plan, we just have to trust him and know that everything will happen for a reason, even though many times we don't understand or see what the reason could possibly be! I believe I was given this opportunity to believe in God and find him, since before I wasn't sure what I believed. I also pray that his plan is to keep me here on this earth so that I can help others in their belief in God, spread his word and show that only through him miracles are possible! That may not be the case, he may take me earlier than I would hope from this earth, but I believe that next life in heaven will be amazing, I will be up there eating all the powdered donuts and sweets I want and be as happy as can be. Again, we'll see! Good night everyone. Shawndra

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hello everyone- Thank you all as always for your continued support. Michelle, I am so grateful and amazed with the money you have raised for Colon Cancer in my honor. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you to all the people who contributed to the cause and if you still want to give, you can still go to the Fred's Team link on the left to contribute to research for colon cancer. Michelle is a friend only through my blog, we have never met, but she is training and running a marathon on November 2, in my honor. How is the training going? How amazing is that! Thank you to the people who went to her fundraiser this weekend! I am so appreciative. It is research funds that will help the incredibly knowledgeable researchers find new and improved ways to treat cancer, in this case, colon cancer.
What did you all think of the Stand up for Cancer show? It was touching. If you didn't see it, I want to point out one statistic that was on there. One in two men and One in Three women will have cancer. That is shocking!!!!I am not alone.
It was an emotional day, I am not exactly sure why. It might be just the fact that I had my great friends from college here a couple weekends ago, then I went to Seattle surrounded by my wonderful family, then today I was by myself for the first time in awhile! I missed my daughter, my husband, my family, my friends and was very sad. It could have been that I am unconsciously worried about my CEA and my pain and if this is a sign that my cancer is growing? As someone said, the not knowing is very worrisome. I was also thinking about our big trip we are taking to the Mediterranean, not taking Ella for 2 1/2 weeks, that makes me very sad to think about. Who knows, but I am better now. Thank you to my husband who stopped work today as I was driving back from my doctors appointment uncontrollably crying and came downstairs to see my and comfort me! I love my husband! I missed him so much this past week.
My oncologist did reassure me though, he said that the Xeloda can take a few months to really show it's effects. So, he wasn't too concerned at this point with my CEA rising. So things are status quo, started my pills today, a day early, I forgot, woops. that's okay though. I have my stents replaced next week, so hopefully that will help the pain. My pain continues to increase in my back which is very frustrating. In November, I go back to Creighton to see Dr. Foster who will do an exam under anesthesia, as well as a CT scan, labs, etc. I look forward to that visit to get more answers on how things are really going, if things are looking good or if the cancer appears to be larger and if there is anything else he can do surgically. So these are the things to come.
Doug and family have encouraged me to see a psychologist I have seen before if I desire to help with the emotions, etc. I really like her but for some reason don't know if I want to go. I know it can't hurt I guess I just feel like I go see so many doctors already, I don't really want to take more time right now.
One last thing, last but definitely not least. The Jennifer Ireland golf tournament is this coming weekend, September the 20th. They are in need of more teams! Please, if you can, get yourself, or someone who loves to golf, get a team of 4 together for a great day of golf, and honoring a wonderful woman who lost her life to colon cancer at a very young age, leaving her two adorable children behind as well as her husband and her mother, family and friends. Please sign up if you can!!!!! You can get to the Jennifer Ireland Foundation on the link on the left or go to .
Okay, that is enough for now. I told you I would write more later. I wish I could say more than thank you, it doesn't seem to do justice to how much you all have helped me but I don't know how else to get the point across. Thank you, my friends, Shawndra

Doctor, Doctor

Hello- I am back from my trip to Seattle. It was great to see my cousin and Ella got to play with her cousins. Thank you Leanne, Rick and girls for a great trip! Ella was very excited about flying and didn't want to leave her cousin sisters, as she called them. I didn't have time to get on the computer to let you all know that I found out my CEA from last week went up to 10.9. I am not trying to get worried about it, but I do have an appointment today with my oncologist, so we will see what he has to say. I have been having more pain than usual so that is a bit concerning but again, trying not to worry at this point. I actually need to go for my appointment now so I will let you all know how it goes. Thank you for continuing to pray for me. Even though I haven't been blogging as much I am still here, fighting every day. Today I am a bit emotional, I don't know if I am just down because all the activity is over for now or what. agh,, emotions! gotta run. talk to you all soon, i promise. love, shawndra

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seattle bound

Hey everyone- I hope you all had a great weekend! My weekend with the girls from college was incredible. We just laid around and laughed all weekend about old times. We all brought our old photo albums from college, to sum that up... "what were we thinking?" Was sloppy in at the time or was that just us? I wouldn't take it back though! Great memories and great friends. I will try to post a picture in the near future my beautiful girls!
Thank you all who are praying for Stephanie Vest. I do not know her personally but got an email from a friend about her. It sounds like she is progressing a little but is still critical so please keep up the prayers.
I finished my week of chemo pills last night, yaaa! I did well, little fatigue a bit of an upset stomach yesterday but otherwise I did fine. I got bloodwork done yesterday, with my CEA which I will hopefully find out today what it is. I have had more pain in my back lately which has concerned Doug and I a bit. We hope it is just the stents that need to be replaced, which I am having done on September 23rd.
Ella was just sitting on my lap while I typed this blog. Now she is off, so I can type a bit better.
Ella and I, along with my mother and grandmother (95) is going to Seattle today to visit my cousin and her family consisting of 3 girls. So Ella will have lots of fun playing with them. They are all around her age so hopefully that will keep her entertained and we can all just hang out together, without too much stress. Doug is staying here, he doesn't have enough work days to take off, which I am sad he isn't going, but understand. (Now I got kicked out of my chair by Ella, so I am standing, leaning over her typing.) What mothers are able to do! I better go before everything is out of my desk and all over everywhere. Have a good week! I hope you all are doing well! Suite 3, thanks for a great weekend and your frienship! Shawndra

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Please pray hard

Hey everyone- I am enjoying a great weekend with my college friends at the lake but happened to check my email and got a prayer request from one of my friends. A girl named Stephanie Vest is in critical condition after a reaction to chemo she just received. I checked out her website,, it sounds like she was just diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma and she is a young mother of three, the youngest only 9 weeks old, I believe. She has a beautiful family! Please pray hard for her. I know prayer works, we need to all pray hard and pray now to help save her. She needs to be around for her children! Please stop and pray and check out her site. Shawndra

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stand Up 2 Cancer

Hello all- I wanted to remind you all that tonight on all the major tv stations: ABC, CBS and NBC there will be a telethon with a lot of famous names and incredible performances all to raise money for cancer research. I believe it starts at 8p/7central, in KC it is at 7pm. I encourage everyone to watch and if you can give any amount, please donate what you can! This is so important and a great step in trying to cure cancer. Every little bit helps! So please, tune in and contribute to the cause if you can!!!!
So far, chemo pills going well. I have had a bit more pain in the last few days, mostly at night. I am not sure if it is because of my ureteral stents that are to be changed in the near future or if it is something else. I did get a bit concerned a couple nights ago, the pain was pretty bad and I started to worry that this could be the cancer growing, so I pray it is not. I will continue my pills every day this week until next Tuesday.
Today, I am getting ready for a great girls weekend with my college friends. There was a group of 7 of us that were very close in college. We haven't all been together, all 7 of us in 10 years.. except my wedding, but I didn't get to spend much time with them. They all come in tonight and we are going to spend the weekend at my parents lakehouse. I am soooo excited. We will be reminiscing on some of the best times of my life! It will also be good just to hang out and relax. Daddy will have Ella most of the weekend, so they get to spend some quality time together too.
Anyway, I just wanted to remind you of the Stand Up 2 Cancer program tonight.
Have a great weekend everyone! Talk to you soon. shawndra

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chemo week

Hey everyone- Today I restart another week of my chemo pills. Just a reminder: I take 3 pills in the morning and evening for one week, then I am off for a week, then on a week. It is so nice not to have to go to the cancer center for infusions as I used to do. Last chemo week, I had fatigue but otherwise no other side effects. I hope that will be the case this week, it may change as the chemo accumulates in my body. The other thing to know is that on the weeks off, the chemo is still working in my body, so that is reassuring that I am not just giving the cancer time to grow in between chemo weeks.
I had another comment about my original symptoms that lead to my diagnosis. This is probably the most frequently asked question. A good question... it is explained a few times previously in my blog, but I don't expect anyone to read the whole thing. So, I did post my symptoms to the left above our picture. I did this all by myself too. I am getting pretty computer savvy if I say so myself! hehe.
To answer the question fully, I had symptoms for a few months, I did blow them off a bit because I had just had a baby not long before so I kept thinking this was just my body getting back to normal. The symptoms though did come on fairly suddenly, it wasn't just gradual. Probably about 6 months after Ella was born, I started having abdominal cramping where I would literally bend at the waist, arms around my stomach in pain. My bowel movements were not normal, prior I was a fairly regular person, with no problems going. I started to struggle to get BM's out and when something did come out, it was just little bits, sometimes just looked like dust. So, thank's to my mother who finally pushed me that this wasn't normal. I took action. I am a nurse practitioner and I still hesitated, I was taught to look at the most common diagnosis first, cancer at my age was not a common diagnosis. Even the GI doctor I ended up seeing after I saw a primary care doctor first, said that he didn't want to do a colonoscopy right away because cancer would be so rare. So, lesson learned...listen to your body, don't hesitate, and don't take no for an answer if your doctor doesn't think it is a concern. Also, listen to your mother, hehe. Because my mom kept telling me, shawndra, this isn't normal, she probably saved me from it getting much, much worse. Thank you mom!!! If anyone has any more questions,please feel free to ask. I am a pretty open book, as you all can tell. It is a rainy day today,a good day for getting things done inside. I better get going for the day. I need to get some fall clothes for Ella, it seems to be coming quickly. It was kind of chilly this morning. I love fall, ahhh. Have a great hump day. shawndra

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2 years

Hello everyone- I hope you all had a great weekend! We had fun, but of course it went by so fast. We spent most of the weekend at the lake with just my immediate family. It was nice, but of course with three children under the age of 5 it was not really relaxing. It was just nice to be with each other.
To me, this was a celebration weekend. It was two years ago that I had my colonoscopy the friday before the long weekend. Then I had to wait the long weekend to find out the results of the colonoscopy that showed I had a large mass that the nurse described as "an angry mass". It was that Tuesday after the long Labor Day weekend that I found out that the results showed that I had a very rare form of colon cancer, signet cell adenocarcinoma. Of course this turned my world upside down, with a very young daughter, only 9 months at the time and having only been married just over two years. I had just started my new career as a nurse practitioner almost two years before. But after my surgery in January when they found that there was more cancer in my abdomen and gave it a Stage IV, they told me I would have maybe two years to live if I did chemo, only one year without chemo. Well so far I am still hear and feel well enough that I think I will greatly surpass that guess. Even though I wanted to know what they predicted my prognosis to be, the truth is they really don't know. Everyone and every case is different. Even though this is not what I wanted in life for myself and mostly for my family, it has brought about some positives and some negatives. The negative is that I can not carry another child which we had hoped to do around the time I was diagnosed. I have not been working which I really miss. I probably could off and on, but I want to be able to commit myself fully! At that point, it was more important to be with my family as well. I didn't know what the future held and I want to spend as much time with my family as possible.
With this experience I have strengthened my faith and believe that God's plan for me is to help others become stronger in their faith after seeing my miracle of life. As I have told you all before, I struggled with my belief's and my faith prior to this. I have since put my trust in God and know that he will take care of me. I know that this is just our temporary life before out eternal life, which I think will be even better than this life. Some of you may disagree with this depending on your religious belief's and that is okay. We all have our own opinions and beliefs and I have learned that too from this blog.
I have gained a tremendous support system from this experience. I wouldn't have all of you in my life, praying for me, thinking about me, etc. I appreciate each of you. Even if you don't always believe in some things I do or say. I am only doing my best in the situation I am in. I have also had the opportunity to bring awareness to Colorectal cancer, especially in younger people who statistically this isn't supposed to affect. But as many of you can tell, cancer does not discriminate and it can happen to anyone. Most importantly you have to listen to your body and be your own advocate when something isn't right for you. Keri- who just commented on my last post, I am soooo glad that you listened to your body and took action when you knew something wasn't right. I am very happy to hear that it has been taken care of and they caught it before it grew from a polyp. That is one reason I am doing this. To hopefully help people learn from my experience. Oh, you don't know how glad I am to hear that my story helped you and others!!! Thank you!
Ella is here with me (she is supposed to go to daycare today but she and I are taking our time). She just finished the United States of America puzzle all by herself, wow, I am so proud of her. She is very good at puzzles, but usually needs a little help with that puzzle but she just did it on her own. Wow, yaaaa Ella.
Anyway, I will let you all get back to your day. I hope you have a good, short week. I hope you all had a fun, safe weekend. Talk to you all soon. Again, I would love to hear about you all and what you are up to. Shawndra

PS. Don't forget that the Jennifer Ireland Golf Tournament is September 20th, so sign up now!
PPS. The new wellsphere site will be up soon, with the new cancer community, so keep checking out the site. I will let you know when it is up. I will also be putting my "Top blogger Award" up on the site soon.
PPPS. Stand up to Cancer will be airing this Friday, September 5th on all the major stations, I believe. NBC, CBS, ABC. Check it out as well, this is a fundraiser to get funding for cancer research which is soooo badly needed. My diagnosis may be able to be considered a chronic disease instead of a deadly disease with the help of research. This is research for all cancers, not just colorectal cancer. Everyone is knows someone struggling with cancer or have lost someone to cancer unfortunately. Please if you can, donate to the cause.

I have to run, Ella is calling.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

so tired

Double click the image to make it larger and see her closer up.

Hey everyone- Well I am almost done with my first week of the chemo pills, Xeloda. I have been really tired this week but have not had any other side effects so far. I get very frustrated being so tired, all I want to do is stay in my bed but of course I can't do that. I did have some chances this weekend to rest thanks to Doug and my sister. We had a surprise birthday party for Andrea Friday night which was a success. I think she was fairly surprised. I was pretty wiped out Saturday. Doug went to help Andrea and Greg with a few projects at their house. I intended to go, but ended up taking a long nap. Then we had the Croquet for Cancer fundraiser Saturday night. It was a lot of fun. I think it was a success. I don't know yet how much they raised, but they were off to a good start early in the evening. So, once again a fairly busy weekend. Yesterday it was Ella and I. We laid low in the morning but when it came to nap time, of course she didn't want to. She looked sooo tired and she still fought it. I tried everything I could think of. By that time I was so exhausted and tired myself. I called my mom, who thankfully rescued me. I am so blessed to have her. She is there almost every time I need her. It is upsetting to me though that I have to call for help. I sometimes feel inadequate, like I can't do anything on my own anymore. So, I was a little down on myself last night. gotta have those moments once in awhile. gotta go pick up my punks from daycare. I have the most adorable picture i took of her the other day, but of course, I need to either figure out how to put it on myself or have Doug help me. (Insert later: I did it myself, I just got the picture up and figured most of it out myself, with a little help from Doug. yaa for me.) One of these days i will learn! have a great week. Just think, only a few more days and then a long weekend. Yaaaa! shawndra

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrea

Hello everyone- Today is my sister's birthday. She has been such a wonderful sister and friend. I am so lucky to have her and now have her back in Kansas City. We have definitely had our differences in our lives but we have unconditional love for each other! Andrea- I hope you have a great birthday and a great year ahead. Love ya!

I started my pills yesterday. I found out my CEA is 7.3, so up a bit but I am not getting concerned even though it would have been nice to still be at 5 or below. Hopefully the new medication I am taking will bring it back down. I really don't care what the number is as long as the cancer cells are being killed.
There are so many things I need to tell you all about so I will jump in...

1. Croquet for Cancer is a fundraiser my cousin's fiance started and has annually in honor of his mother who passed away from Breast Cancer. If people want to make an online donation they can click the link above, or on the logo to the left. The raised funds will go directly to the Drug Discovery, Development, and Delivery program which develops new medications and reformulates existing medications to destroy cancer on a molecular level, thereby working to alleviate many of the side effects of cancer treatment and targeting the disruption of cancer growth.

2. The Jennifer Ireland Foundation is having it's 2nd Annual Golf Tournament Saturday September 20th at the Adame's Pointe Golf Club. You can get more information at the Jennifer Ireland Foundation website, again we have a link at the left side of our screen. The money goes to patients and families who are fighting cancer. I was honored to be the first recipient of some of the proceeds from their fundraisers. It also honors a courageous young woman with two young girls who fought cancer and keeps her memory alive today.

3. -- Have any of you heard of this site? I hadn't until I got an email from the creator of this site, Dr. Geoff Rutledge. He invited me to be a wellsphere blogger on this site. The site focuses on health, fitness, and nutrition. It has many communities you can be a part of in your interest area. It is a very informative site. Apparently, coming soon is a cancer community. My blog will be featured and I believe they will have a link to my blog so it will be available to a much broader audience. My hope is that this will help many more people. I started my blog to inform family and friends of my progress as I fought cancer. It has become a huge support system for me. I hope though that it is beneficial to others fighting cancer as well as others who read it. I have had several people find my site and ask questions because they are going through something similar or know someone who is. I hope i have helped people through my experience. I believe this was God's plan and that I am here to help others through him and hopefully make people believers in him especially through the miracle you will see through me. Anyway, check out the site. I don't know when the cancer community will be up but I will let you know when I find out. Maybe this site can help some of you out there who are needing advice in health, fitness and nutrition.

I think that is all my plugs for now. I did have someone ask the question, what have I told Ella about cancer or have I? I haven't talked to her about cancer yet. I don't think she would understand yet and I don't want to confuse her. She definitely see's that I take a lot of medication and she saw me in the hospital with my surgeries, but she knows nothing different. I guess that is one good thing. For people with older children, it is all new. This is all Ella knows at this point. When Doug and I feel it is the right time we will talk to her about it and explain it too her or if she comes to me with questions, I will answer them honestly.

I was a bit tired today, I don't know if that is already from the chemo or not. Otherwise we are all doing well. Talk to you all soon. Have a great weekend. Shawndra