Friday, February 29, 2008

Prayer Vigil

Hello everyone- Well it is getting closer and closer. Surgery is next week, on Thursday morning at 7:30, I just found out the time. I will have a small outpatient procedure on Tuesday to place the filter near my heart to prevent clots into my heart and lungs. I will then go home that night and be admitted Wednesday to prepare for the early Thursday surgery.

I wanted to let you all who follow my blog know that some people have planned a prayer vigil for this coming Monday evening at 6:30 in my neighborhood. Due to privacy issues, I do not feel comfortable giving my address out on the blog! But, what I will do is if you are interested in coming please comment on my blog that you are interested and give me your email address that I can respond to you on. I will then let you know where it will be. I know many of you by your name, so I can then screen who I recognize and who I do not. I also had someone mention sending Ella a gift, again I won't give my address out, but you can do the same thing, give me your email and we can talk privately! Thank you for understanding that I do share a lot of things on my blog but I have to keep my family safe and unfortunately I don't know everyone out there that see's this blog.

I did find out today that my CEA level has gone up a bit, to 22. I am not alarmed yet, I know that it can very and that even though it has gone up, it is still a low number.

Thank you all for your continuous support you have shown me! I appreciate it so much and can not thank you all enough. This is a very stressful time for myself and my family but with all of the support we have received we can get through it. So thank you for helping us get through it together! I hope you all have a great weekend. I have to leave on one more important note.... GO KU! hehe. Saturday night, the Jayhawks will stomp the wildcats. I am off to go watch the Huffalump movie for the 100th time with Ella. Enjoy the wonderful weather we are supposed to get this weekend. shawndra

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No sleep

Good Morning Everyone- It is 7:30 and I am up, showered, dressed, makeup on, bed made, room picked up.... this is very rare for me. Usually these days, now that I am not working, I wait until Ella wakes up before I wake up and hang out most mornings in my pajamas for awhile. I even sometimes take her to daycare in my pajamas. But last night, I didn't get a lot of sleep. I even took a sleeping pill and still tossed and turned. Ugh, I think lexi, the dog, just woke Ella up too! Yep, she is starting to fuss. Well, I need to make this short. But I think the upcoming surgery is weighing more heavily on my mind than I realize. I finally went to the couch around 1:30am and slept there so Doug could sleep.... I gotta go, Ella calls, I will write more later! Shawndra

Monday, February 25, 2008


Hey everyone- I had an incredible weekend! I was totally surprised Saturday night with a lot of my closest friends at the lakehouse. Doug and I were supposed to have a night out at the lake by ourselves, so we grabbed take out from Cheesecake factory, got a movie and headed out to the lake Saturday night. When we pulled up, there were all these cars in the driveway. By that time, I knew something was going on! I could see faces peering through the windows and the lights went out in the house. As I opened the door, a bunch of my friends yelled suprise. I glanced at a lot of my great friends around the room, my best friend from growing up, Julie. My lifetime friend Dustin. My sister, my friend Angie who lives with us and just disappeared that afternoon, mysteriously! Some of my friends from the neighborhood. A couple friends from Children's Mercy Hospital, my cousin-in-law (Mary, is that what you are called?). And then... I saw two of my great friends from college who came from Chicago to be there! It brought tears to my eyes. It was such a great night! I needed it so badly! Thank you to all of you who were there for me! I cherish each of your friendship! We had soooo much fun! We giggled, played games, hehe, ate (a lot) and just had an incredible time. This is what I was wanting to plan before my surgery, but hadn't gotten around to it. So thank you to Andrea, Angie, Doug and whoever else planned this incredible surprise. I love you all sooo much. I, then got to spend the rest of the weekend with my friend Sara from Chicago. I love spending time with her! She is one of those friends who I can talk to about everything. I also want to thank my parents who got the lake all cleaned up, all the christmas decorations down and allowed us to go out there for the night! To top it all off, it started snowing! After it had been snowing a little while, I took Lexi (my dog) out to go potty and it was like a winter wonderland! I just sat there in the snow and looked up into the ski and felt so blessed. It was just an unforgettable night. At that moment, I knew, everything is going to be alright!
I do have pictures, but I think some of you would absolutely come after me if I posted them, so I don't know if I will be posting any of them. or will I?.....hehe
Anyway, we also celebrated Doug's grandpa's birthday. He has been in KC in an assisted living facility for several months now due to his tongue cancer and issues. It was great to celebrate his birthday, so Happy Birthday Papa!

One of our daycare providers is sick this week, with Pneumonia, KEllista I hope you get better soon! So, Ella is with me all week, which I was thinking I was going to do anyway. I want to spend as much time with her before I leave as possible! It is going to break my heart leaving her in a week! Even when I took my friends to the airport today, Ella thought I was leaving too and she started to tear up and her bottom lip started to stick out. It was so sad, and I wasn't even leaving. I will probably be a wreck when I leave her. I don't even want to think about it!!!!
Anyway, enough babbling. I just had to share my incredible surprise and tell everyone who was there that I appreciate it so much that you all came. Each of you are special people in my life and I really hope we can do that again soon!
Have a great week everyone! Until next time....
Oh, I have a doctors appointment with my oncologist tomorrow, so I will let you know if there is anything to report! Shawndra

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Sorry I have left you all hanging. I found out that the PET/CT results look pretty good. No metastasis to other organs. Some improvement in my pelvis and maybe a little more thickening in my omentum. So all in all, not bad. Still, I wish one day it just showed up that there was nothing there, ya know. I am happy to report that Kelli who I mentioned last week had her surgery and is doing very well. They got it early at a Stage I so she has a great chance of being cured. To be honest, that was hard for me to read. I am soooo happy for her but it still popped into my head, why me. Why can't I be cured, why couldn't mine been caught that early. Why, why, why!!!!! I got over that. But something happened again this week, Wednesday was very emotional and rough from the moment I woke up! I even had some anxiety and had to take something to calm me down. It maybe because of my upcoming surgery, but I really haven't been thinking about it all that much. Well, probably more than I realize. It was a tough day. My life has just changed so much. I gave my notice at my job so now I am officially unemployed, no longer a working nurse practitioner. That is so hard, that was so much a part of who I am. I took pride that I was a working mom and had become a nurse practitioner. I am lonely at home! I wish my husband never has to go to work. I am so glad Angie is home somedays but then when it is just me, I am so lonely! I don't want to get out somedays but I don't want to be by myself either. I know, classic depression. Well I got on medication for that as soon as I was diagnosed! It's just hard at times. As much as I do well most of the time, some times it just all hits me like a pound of bricks and I can't help but melt down!

I am very nervous for this surgery for so many reasons. I am sad to be away from Ella for awhile. She got sick last night, pucked all over me and all over her bed and her floor in her room, ugh, it was a mess. But it allowed me to be so close to her and care for her, and that is what I need. To be needed! I feel like I am not needed anymore. It is really hard staying at home and being a mom, I now know how so many women feel that stay at home and raise there children. It is sooooo hard!! We also have our fertility payment for storage of our embryos due. We have to discuss what we want to do, do we want to pay to store them another year or go ahead and stop payment. I always wanted two children. But I can't even imagine right now having another child. I have such a lack of energy so much of the time, I have a hard enough time with Ella. Ugh. Sorry, I am just unleashing so much of my thoughts in the last 24-36 hours. I really need to go to bed, since we didn't sleep well last night because of Ella being sick. Thank you all for listening to my problems. Sorry to put them onto you. This blog helps me get it all out. I was seeing a counselor awhile ago, but I haven't gone in a few months. So you all are my counselor sitting in the chair next to me, listening to my thoughts. Thank you counselors. I think part of all this is the weather and not being able to get out much. Anyone else feeling like they are going crazy? I still have so much to be thankful for. I just wish this was all behind me and I could just move forward with my life! I want my life back!!!!! Good night, everyone! Cherish what you have, your health, your life, your loved ones! love, shawndra

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PET/CT Today!!!

Hey everyone- This will be quick, as I am in a hurry to take Ella to daycare and head off to my PET/CT scan this morning. My computer has been down the last couple of days, otherwise I would have written this earlier. This scan is just to see where I am at prior to surgery! I pray that the cancer has not spread to any other organs or tissue and that the scan shows decrease in cancer. Remember though, the scan doesn't always show the whole story. That is why Dr. Foster wants to take a look. It could be worse or better than what the scans actually show. Let's pray for the latter! Have a great day everyone! I will let you know when I know something! Shawndra

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma!!

I had to title it Happy birthday Grandma, who turns 95 today! She is such an inspiration to me. I love her so much. She lives by herself, is independent and hardly takes medication she is so healthy. I hope to be like her when I get older!

Happy Valentines Day to you all! I hope you have a great day filled with love, happiness and friendship. To be honest, this isn't a big day for me. It is just a day to make sure you tell important people in your life that you love and appreciate them. I think we are too caught up in getting that perfect something that we forget to even say or show how much you care. I haven't gotten much, I just got Ella a Valentines book. I like to just commit to spending time with the people I care about instead of gifts! I like time. We are going to go to Great Wolf lodge tonight to take Ella swimming with her friend Aidan and my friend Adrianne and Kevin(Aidan's mom and dad). Ella loves to swim, so this should be a lot of fun! Then we have a lot going on over the weekend. We are celebrating a family friends heart on Saturday. It was one year ago he got a new heart, so we are celebrating his heart. Then Sunday we are celebrating my grandma's birthday. We have a lot of celebrating to do.

I wanted to tell Leisa, have a great trip, she may already be gone and not get this until she gets back but I hope you have a lot of fun!

I wanted to say hello to my mothers Tuesday meeting group. You know who you are! My mom says you all usually discuss my blog on Tuesdays after your meeting. Thank you for being there for my mom. She cherishes your group and has built some great frienships through this group. I am so glad she has you all to go to.

I better get going. I have a lot to do before this fun filled weekend. Again, Happy Valentines day everyone, Will you bee mine? hehe. I had to stick a cheesy line in there for V-day! all my love, shawndra

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reaching out

Where to begin?.....I was extremely touched by the last couple of comments I received. I am touched by everyone's comments and I wish I could respond to each of you every time you email me. I feel like I have gained friends through my blog and I hope I have helped a few people through my blog as well. Forrest- I am saddened by your story and not only because of your wife's passing, but by the apparent sadness you are experiencing. I can't imagine the pain you feel but I hope you use that pain, sadness, and anger in a good way. Use your experience to help others and maybe that will help you. I am by no means licensed to give advice but I see your email as reaching out to me and I want to be there for you! I know that medication makes things easier at times, but in the end it doesn't take care of our problems, it only adds to our problems.
To all of you going through chemo and fighting cancer as well who have reached out. I do know some of your pains and experiences. Even though we are all different in ways, we now have many similarities. I hope you all know how loved you are and how many people support each of you. That is what gets me through this. The love I am surrounded by. Faith, your daughter is a blessing, as is my daughter. God works in mysterious ways, but we have to trust him and he will guide us in the right direction.
My husband has been very "busy" lately, cleaning, fixing things, not stopping to relax as he normally does. I realized tonight, after he told me, it is because he is anxious and nervous for my upcoming surgery. I realized I am not the only one feeling this anxiety and fear. Please keep Doug and the rest of my family in your prayers, help us with our anxiety and fears. Lord, help us ease our minds, take away our anxiety and fear. We trust you will be with us during this time to carry us through it. What ever happens, happens. Right?
On a lighter note, I have been consistently working out and it feels so good. I have a new found confidence. I notice I sit with better posture, I walk with more confidence and my body just feels good. I have missed that feeling in myself. I still have a long way to go, I have done some Pilates and Yoga and am soooo stiff it is truly embarassing. I noticed the Pilates instructor looking at me at times and instructing me. I wanted to just tell her my story so that I have an excuse for my stiffness and lack of ability but everyone has an excuse don't they. I just hope you all who are wanting to work out do and feel that great feeling I am feeling from working my body. ahhhhhh. it is great, better than sex, hehe, just kidding honey. teeheehee.
Anyway, I am busy getting things set up prior to surgery. Actually one of the blog commenters is a physician, and I have set up an appointment to see her for my physical. I am excited to see her. She has been a great supporter of me and I want to thank her as I want to thank all of you for supporting me and praying for not only me but my family who is also going through this journey with me.
Thank you for listening, thank you for responding to me and if there is anything I can do for any of you, I would love to give back what I have been given.
Oh, I also wanted to mention, Kelli, who I mentioned a couple blogs ago was just diagnosed with colorectal cancer, she is having surgery this Thursday, so.. Kelli, I will be thinking about you and your family, I wish you the best of luck in the surgery and the recovery! Prayer warriors, please add her to your prayers, especially these next few days.
Love, shawndra

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I Promised

Here are some photos I've been promising. We are having a great weekend, spending a lot of time together as a family. I love this time together. I got a new play dough kit so we have been making things with play dough, and just messing around the house. Getting these pictures up actually motivated us to work on our pictures we need to put in frames and hang on the walls. Right now Ella is jumping on her trampoline (a mini indoor trampoline) as I type this. I better go, she is calling out, "mommy, mommy,mommy,....
PS. She is not wearing lipstick, this is her natural lip color!

Also, Doug uploaded photos from our New Years Eve party. We just had a few friends and some family over to celebrate. Yes, there was dancing. Jason brought over his T-Rex laser (like the ones you see at dance clubs). It was fun. You can view them here.

Here is Ella in her underwear. She wanted one pair underneath, but also another pair on top. Silly girl! We are working on going without pullups this weekend. So far so good!

Early morning snuggling in the rays of a bright sun.

Daddy and Ella getting ready to play outside together. Daddy is so much fun!!!

Doug and I at dinner in Snowmass, Colorado (our ski trip). Doug's the love of my life!

Ella and I hanging out with Chucky Cheese, last night. She was very interested in Chucky. We had a great time! Happy Birthday Emma!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Back to the gym

Hey everyone- I hope you all had a great work week! It has actually turned out to be a fairly busy week. I guess though, most of the time I hung out with Ella and didn't do too much but today has been busy, therefore the rest of the week feels like it has been busy. I have been meaning to write several times but it is hard to write with Ella around so I haven't had much of a chance. I have had a lot going through my head that I have wanted to share with you all.

First of all, I appreciate Jaz's email last week about seeing me at the grocery store. I would have loved for you to come up and say something to me. I don't think it would be wierd. I would love to meet you all who follow my blog who I have never had the opportunity to meet! Especially to get to put a face with a name!

When I found out that Heath Ledger died of a combination of drugs, this truly brought tears to my eyes. I don't have some infatuation with Heath Ledger, the concern was that just a week before, when I was having all my problems with chemo or during chemo. I had been taking a lot of the same medication they found in his system. I was taking more and more because some didn't seem to be working, so I would take one thing, then I would take something else and so on. It scared me to think that this is exactly what killed him. He couldn't sleep and was having some issues so he would take on medication and then another to try to get his symptoms to go away. How scary!!! I would never intentionally take these medications to hurt myself, but how easy it could be to do it accidently is what scared me. I could have done that to myself and not even realized I was taking so much. Ugh. I don't want to even think about it anymore, but it brought tears to my eyes!

On a happier note. I started working out again and it feels great! I actually went to the gym with my sister and Angie last night, did mostly cardio on the bike and did some weights. I had done some weights the night before with Doug who is a good motivator too. I am also working on stretching since I am soooo stiff. The doctor actually had on my pre operative form, that I needed to exercise atleast 30 days most days of the week prior to surgery to gain some strength. It feels so good to be exercising again and I really don't feel that out of shape. I am sure I am out of shape if I tried to run like I was doing before I was diagnosed but starting back up feels so incredible. For all of you out there who are making excuses not to work out and work on getting your body healthy, if I can do it, you can do it!!! You will feel so good if you do!

Let's see, what else. I am missing my punks, I will send pictures this weekend, I promise. She is just so cute and funny to be with. Her language skills are incredible, it just amazes me every day. She continues to go potty off and on. Getting rid of the binky was a success, she has hardly even asked about it pretty much since we got rid of it. She did so well with it, I can't believe it was that easy. We were dreading it immensely but she tolerated it so well!

I hope you all have a great weekend. We are going to decorate some Valentine cookies tonight at Nana and Grandpa's house with her cousins, that will be fun. Then we have a birthday party tomorrow night at Chucky Cheese and I think we are going to go to a Yoga class tomorrow for some more exercise. It should be a fun filled weekend. It just feels so good to feel good! I am enjoying it immensely! I am glad I have a few more weeks to feel like this before my surgery. I just wish this was the end of everything and I would feel like this the rest of my life. Unfortunately after this month I will have surgery which will probably knock me back down and then I will have to restart chemo again probably indefinitely. But I am not going to think about that right now!!!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Talk to you all soon. shawndra

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A prayer

Hey everyone- I hope you enjoyed your weekend. We did. I took Ella to storytime at a bookstore with Andrea and Avery (my sister and her daughter). That was fun even though they are a little young for it. Otherwise we laid low. We did get to spend a little time outside and got to eat out as a family, just the three of us Saturday night, which was great. We haven't done that in awhile! Today we made church and I stayed in with my family during the super bowl as doug went to a friends to watch the game.
I am feeling well this weekend. I am looking forward to this month off to regain my strength before surgery. The bad part of this is I have to start working out again. I had a great excuse to not work out before this, hehe. It will be good for me though to get somewhat back in shape, or atleast a start.
I wanted to mention a couple things. Jess in Nebraska, I loved the email you sent, thank you!
I don't remember the exact date, but it did occur to me tonight that it is around a year since Jennifer Ireland passed away. Please keep Chris Ireland, the girls, Jan Velander and the rest of Jenn's family in your thoughts, which I am sure many of you have already!
There also has been another young woman who was just diagnosed this weekend with colorectal cancer. I don't know her personally but have briefly met her sister who lives here in KC. Kelli is the girls name. She just found out this weekend and will be going through several tests to get more information to form the plan of treatment. Please add Kelli, her sister Jami and the rest of their family to your prayers please. I have been where Kelli is right now and it is a very scary time.
Oh, Michele, I will try to get pictures of my punks out soon. She is getting so big. Even my mom said tonight she is starting to get longer and taller! She needs a haircut though, she is a little shaggy right now. I will have to have Doug help me with that this week sometime...the picture not the haircut!
Have a great week everyone. Oh, I guess the ground hog saw his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter. I hope it goes quickly. Good night everyone. Shawndra

Friday, February 1, 2008

Worst treatment yet

Well, I am finally up and able to write. These past few days have been, well, to be honest, hell! I suffered from SEVERE anxiety and agitation, uncontrollable jerking, crawling out of my skin and just plain feeling miserable! I was in bed from the time I got home from chemo until I got my pump taken off yesterday. When I did get my pump off they gave me fluids and then I had to go get an MRI last night, which thankfully turned out negative. Just before going into get my MRI my back started really hurting and I needed my pain medication which I hadn't taken in several days. My dad and Doug came to a possible conclusion that maybe I was having this agitation because of withdrawal. It is highly possible. I had run out of my long acting pain medication a few days before and hadn't gotten it filled and I wasn't feeling good the day before chemo and was already getting agitated Tuesday morning before chemo even started. I took my pain medication last night and felt a calm come over me. That scares me that pain medication can do such a thing and that it is right now needed in my body, I think the key down the road would be to taper the medication so I don't have withdrawal, if this were the case.
I am feeling so much better today and so glad to have these past few days over with. I really was mentally having a very difficult time and wanting to just give up because it was so hard, I just didn't feel like i could do it anymore! I hate to admit that but it was getting the best of me! I am glad that I should have the next month off of chemo so I can regain strength to face surgery. Another source of some anxiety in me as well!
I want to thank you all sooo much for helping me through this, my husband, who is incredible and I can't get through this without, my family and his family, my neighbors, Angie who helped so much this week, my friends and my blog friends. Your unending support brings tears to my eyes! I can't thank you enough. We put Ella in an extra day of daycare because we didn't know how I was going to do today. I can't wait to see her smiling face and really get to play with her. All I could do these past few days is raise my head off the pillow and say "hello baby" to her! I just hope I don't have to keep going through this forever. I hope this surgery is successful so I can lead a somewhat normal life and continue to take care of my daughter, myself.
I am really looking to God and continuing to strengthen my faith in him, as I just read, We entrust him with our lives! I have to do that and believe that he will perform that miracle in me. I pray for all of you out there suffering as I have. This is not any easy battle and I wish you strength, courage, perserverance and peace. Michele, I am praying for you. Uncle Glen, papa, you too! You all are in my prayers constantly. Ella is learning to pray along with her mommy! I also want to thank my sister for her role. You all don't get an email but she sends an email out to a lot of friends and family. She started this when I was first diagnosed and the list grew and grew. She is so eloquent with her words and her faith is so strong. I am so glad to have such a wonderful sister who is there for me! I am so glad that she and her family are close to me now. I need her so much. THank you Dre! I hope you all have a great weekend. Please enjoy each moment you feel good, it is so taken for granted and as Ella says "oh my gosh" it is great to feel good! I actually just accidently typed it is great to feel God, I believe that too! Love always, shawndra