Friday, March 28, 2008


Hey everyone- It has been a short week but a long week, if that makes any sense at all. Ella got sick I believe on Tuesday and stayed home Wednesday. I think having her around the extra day right now wore me out! My mom was with me and helped but I still was so tired on Thursday. I literally was in bed from when Ella left for daycare around 8am until 4pm in time to go get her from daycare. I slept all day long! I should enjoy those days, but I don't really. I feel lazy and nonproductive and hermitish. I was supposed to go to a lunch to celebrate Brandi's birthday but I just couldn't get myself out of bed to go. I am so sorry Brandi! Today I got up and finally got cleaned up and out of the house a bit. I think I really get lonely when I am home by myself. IT is really nice to have Angie around for company but she is so busy these days that I don't have anyone around on the days Ella goes to daycare. I could keep her home, but then I would get no rest!
Ella has been very fussy lately, it is driving me crazy. I don't know if it is just because she isn't feeling good or a phase in her life or what but I am a bit worried about her attitude and being the only child. I can't imagine having another child at this point but I do worry about her being an only child. There are good and bad to both, I know!
Doug and I ended up flipping to Supernanny the other night to see how Ella compared.. we were happy that she wasn't to that point, but I think now I worry that she will end up running the show after awhile. She is so manipulative, they just repeat things until they get there way. Now that she is in her big girl bed(we did that so I could help get her in and out), she is finding ways to not go to bed and arriving at my bed early in the morning. The other morning it was 5:45am and she was hungry, because she didn't eat dinner. I was trying to hold my ground but then Doug got frustrated with the noise and took her down to eat. Ugh. What a challenge!
Oh, I am doing well, the pleurisy pain is much better, if not gone. Thank you Sue for your wisdom, I do believe that is what I had. It sounds like it! I am sorry you deal with that a lot, it is painful! So I am still on the mend and doing fairly well. Not much of an appetite still but otherwise doing good!
KU Jayhawks play tonight, lets hope they blow Villanova away!!!! I don't want it to be too close of a game to worry me all night!
I hope you all are doing well! We finally have a bit of sunshine today. I was not liking the dreary last few days! Have a great weekend everyone! I will write more next week. I will start having more doctors appointments and stuff in a couple weeks and then restarting chemo. It is a bit frustrating that I am not done. I am a bit tired of fighting, ya know. I want my life back, ugh!!!! I will never have "my life back". This is my life now. Ugh, I need a vacation! Talk to you all soon, shawndra

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Hello Everyone- I am so sorry it has been so long since I posted. I left Omaha after much testing to try to figure out my fevers on Tuesday. Everything came back negative so we got the green light to go home. I have been settling back in at home. IT is good to be home, but I have been having problems with shortness of breathe because of a sharp pain in my right side/lung area. I went to the ER yesterday, said, again, everything is negative. Ugh. I am glad it is nothing, but I wish we could figure out why I have these symptoms, ya know. THey think it is pleurisy, basically where the lining of the lungs rubs together, something you just have to deal with and treat the pain. The pain is mostly when I lie down, so I was a bit scared to go to sleep last night. I stayed up watching basketball longer than I normally would have. I propped myself up last night with pillows and must of slept in that position all night. I tried to get up this morning when Ella cried out but the pain was so bad Doug had to go for me and then I spent the majority of the morning in the same position, not moving!! Even missing church. Frustrating, now that I am home I am glad for all the success but frustrated that the rest continues, it's not over, ya know. Even though I knew it wouldn't be over. My mind is tired of dealin with all this.
By the way, Naomi, I did get you flowers, I am sorry I made you wait this long to ease your mind about that. I even checked the front desk Tuesday before I left, they said if they would have received flowers after I was discharged, they would have got sent back to the flower shop. So, I thank you all for all the things, flowers, snacks, gifts for Ella, for me, etc. that you all have given us. We are appreciative but really it isn't necessary! We just appreciate your prayers and support, that is all we need!
Ella slept in her daybed for the first time last night. Her bed converts from a crib to a daybed to a double bed. So we made it into the daybed, so that maybe I could be more help since i can't lift her out of the crib right now. SHe was so tired it didn't matter last night but she did wake up crying this morning, I am not sure if she fell out of bed or what but she was a bit scared. She seems okay with it today though.
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter celebration! I will try to be better at blogging from here on out. I spent a lot of last week resting so hopefully I will be up and at em more. Gotta go Ella is not following the rules. I have to follow through with my discipline, she has to get off the trampoline (small inside one) since she didn't follow the rules. Mean mommy I am, hehe. Talk to you all soon. Shawndra

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More with it!

Hey all, it only took me about 30 seconds to get my email and password in. I am still not great at typing on the laptop,but I just read my post from yesterday and realized I still wasn't so mentally with it! I am hopefully making much more sense right now. Anyway, last night I had more fevers, and malaise (icky feeling). I still haven't had anything out of my ostomy. So I did call the Dr on call. He finally responded this afternoon and wasn't too concerned about the output but more the higher fevers. He still didn't seem too concerned and just wants me to go in tomorrow morning and get I believe a urine culture. I believe there is nothing wrong with my urine, but whatever. I would believe one of the bloggers more, Lisa is it, who said it could be an ileus. But we will see. I feel better today. We did quite a bit this morning with Ella. It was so good to play with her. She is such a sweetheart. Doug finally got back around 11am from the funeral and activities the last few days. He said it was a great celebration of life, I only wish I could have been there to celebrate with Doug and be there for him!
Ella was so excited to see Doug, they got to play a short time before my parents headed back to KC with her. We headed out to grab lunch after they left and then I had enough for the day. So we headed back to the hotel room for rest, tv, etc. I feel good except when my bowels try to move and I get a horrible cramping feeling until the gas. I know this is just what you want to hear about, but you pretty much know everything about me anyway, right?
Oh, i did want to clarify the Diet Coke thing. I am not a diet coke fiend. That was the first thing I saw sittin on one of the nurses desks when I believe I was leaving the ICU. SO anything sounded good! I think I still had the NG in sound hadn't had anything but ice chips. I did have a diet coke when I got to the hotel but it doesn't feel very food going down with all the bubbles so I have only had one sparingly to get something besides water and then I am done!
Thank you all for your tremendous comments. I have worked on catching up with all the emails. I started with 540ish and now am at 450ish. So I will continue to plug away tomorrow. I appreciate them all though! I am going to head to the bed and watch some tv alittle while longer while getting to snuggle with my husband and fall asleep. That is one of my favorite things to do. Thank You Palmer family for having doug over for dinner last night, he greatly appreciated the company and the great meal! We can't wait to get home and see all the neighbors, friends and family in KC!! Hopefully this will be after our Tuesdat visit with Dr. Foster as long as everything goes well. Love always, good night, shawndra

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Hey everyone- It just took me about 2 minutes to put my password and computer in, my brain is much, and it isn't due to pain medication!!!!! Ugh. I got out of the hospital, let see,you all probably know better than I do. Thursday, since then I have been hanging out in the hotel. I haven't had much to eat, I haven't been very hungry. This morning I woke up very early feel sick, just with malaise or the best way to describe it is icky. I was running a temperature, so I have been icky feeling off and on all day and running a temp off and on. I haven't had much bowel moving either. So we are a little concerned, but still hesitate to call the person on call. I will see how I do over night and maybe call tomorrow if I still feel icky. Doug will return from his grandfather's funeral tomorrow. It has been wonderful to be around Ella. Even though all I can do is lay around, she always calls my name when she wakes up and wants to snuggle and that feels good,
I am so thankful for my parents who have been here almost the whole time.
The one problem I have had is remembering what they told me at discharge, when I can take dressings off, etc. THey tell you everything when you were all drugged up and then the less medical people don't catch on so later, we are like, hmmmm I don't remember.
Not much else to tell, we are just in the lobby, getting out of the room. I gotta go, Ella is wanting go back to the room "by her self!", so I will write soon and hopefully catch up on some of the responses too! thanks to all the faithful follower, so far so good. shawndra

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hopefully, Doug's Last Post ;-)

Hello faithful readers. Shawndra had planned on catching up on the BLOG posts and comments tonight, and writing the next post, but sleepiness caught up to her tonight, so I'll jot a few comments about her progress over the last two days.

It's been an eventful day! Shawndra went from drinking clear liquids this morning, to eating a muffin and fruit this evening. The morphine pain delivery pump was removed tonight as well. She's back to taking (orally) Oxycodone and Oxycontin to control pain. Those of you in the health field will be proud of me... I've been doing a little "charting" myself this afternoon, by writing her Oxy* dosages on the whiteboard hanging in the hospital room. Mainly because she's been acting kind of loopy tonight; talking in her sleep, waking up and commenting about things out of the blue. Nurse Lindsay just came in with another 120mg of *contin, and Shawndra had just taken 120mg of her own supply three hours ago. Now, I'm no doctor, and never claim to be, but I'm thinking another dose like that could have turned out bad. In no way am I faulting the staff here (in fact, it's our own fault), it's just a bit of a mix-up on our part, not informing the staff tha she took her own supply. Dr. Foster's reaction when Shawndra told him her daily Oxy* intake was funny. He said something to the effect of "that's quite a load". Tonight Shawndra is feeling no pain. That's for sure.

I don't know how you nurses work in this profession. How do you handle eight patients at one time throughout a twelve hour shift? It's ridiculous! You guys/gals should be paid more! I have a new respect for the nursing profession.

Now check this out... Dr. Foster says he may discharge Shawndra TOMORROW! I can hardly believe it. (For precautions, though, we'll be staying in Omaha over the weekend and the first part of next week.) Is she a tough girl or what!?

Wow, it's like our whole lives for the past few weeks have been nothing but hospital this, surgery that. Our lives are more exciting than this. And we can't wait to start having some fun again with family and friends (and our little "punks").

Good night sweetie. Hope this is the last post I ever have to write. Not because I don't enjoy doing it, but because you're so much better at it. And I miss reading all the little things you post out there to the world, that you forget to tell me. I feel like I'm missing out on surprises. And if I may speak for the masses, everyone reading this is missing you too. LOL

- Doug

Monday, March 10, 2008

Out of ICU and Ready for a Diet Coke

Hello everyone. I thought I would send out a quick update before heading back to the hotel for the night. Shawndra moved from ICU to a private room tonight. She's doing SO well! As I left her room tonight, she asked me to come back early tomorrow, so she could walk around. She's really missing drinking Diet Coke. Her goal is to have the NG tube removed ASAP! :)

Speaking of which... Ella saw Mommy today in the ICU. Now, normally this isn't something the nurses would recommend doing, especially with a 2 year old, but Shawndra was asking for her, and Ella was asking for Mommy. I did my best to explain that Mommy would have a tube in her nose, but that didn't prevent Ella from crying when we walked into the room. I know what you're thinking... bet that was traumatic.. but wait... hold those negative thoughts! About 10 minutes later, Papa Gary carried her out of the ICU (still upset). Forty-five minutes later, Ella asked to "go see Mommy". This time around, she was her cheery, lovable, self. She held Mommy's hand, and asked if she could watch "Mickey" (Mickey Mouse) on the LCD monitor (that was displaying graphs and numbers related to Shawndra's heart rate, saturation level, etc.) I'm laughing now just thinking about that moment. Elizabeth, Shawndra's nurse, also made it easier this time around too, by filling up a plastic glove with water, tying it, and handing it to Ella for her to draw a smiley face. That little glove... this afternoon, she wouldn't take a nap without it! LOL. The nursing staff in the ICU here at Creigton is TOP NOTCH. And of course, it goes without saying, the aggresive treatment options provided by the colo-cancer department here is THE best. (Thank you Jennifer Ireland for leading us to Dr. Foster and team. You have not been forgotten.)

Gary, Carolyn, and Ella will be heading back to Kansas City tomorrow. I'm going to miss Ella, but she'll be back up on Friday to see Mommy. I leave Friday for Southeast Kansas to attend activities for my, recently deceased, grandfather.

I can honestly say, this is the first time since Shawndra's diagnosis that I feel, and believe, that she's going to beat cancer. And for all that have been a part of her "healing"... thank you.

- Doug

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday strole down ICU lane

Shawndra is improving fast. With the help of her sister, she walked the ICU hall this afternoon. This feat provided a huge mental boost. She's already talking about things she wants to do once she's back home; like enjoying spring weather at the lake. Besides having a bit of a problem producing red blood cells, Shawndra is doing remarkably well.

This morning Carolyn, Andrea, Ella and I attended Uncle Les' Sunday church service -- Les is a wonderful man; and such a motivational speaker. His message today about "hands" is one I think anyone would enjoy. (The audio recording can be found on the website.) Associate pastors Jerry and Dave have been there for us too, and we can't thank them enough. Ella enjoyed playing in the "Advanced Toddler" room. She shot me that great big smile of hers when I showed up at the door. I love it! She's been daddy's little girl the past few days. This morning I made her a promise that if she was a good girl today, she could pick out any toy in the store tonight to play with in the bathtub. So far so good! :) Good job Ella. I'm proud of you!

Ella has been crying for mommy off and on today. Thankfully, she's easily distracted, because it just makes my heart ache to see and hear her long for Mommy. Each time, I tell her we may see Mommy tomorrow. That she's resting and that Mommy loves Ella so much. She loves her "all the time." I hope I'm providing her enough comfort. I just want to spend as much time as I can with her now, because I may not see her much next week.

Okay, enough about me. I told myself ,when Shawndra asked me to BLOG, that I wouldn't make this about me. I'll try to tone it down a bit, and concentrate more on Shawndra.

With that said, I'm hoping, in a few days, Shawndra will be able to personally write a post, or at least dictate one (so that I may write it).

There's really not much else to report. Thanks again for the BLOG comments. Shawndra will enjoy reading them one day soon.

- Doug

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sitting Pretty!

Hello all!
This is Andrea, Shawndra's sister, blogging today for the family. We made it up to Omaha last night just in time to see Shawndra before visiting hours were over. Shawndra was alert and spoke some, just still drowsy. Ella got to see "Daddy" and have some special time with him last night. This morning we got to the hospital in time to see Shawndra sitting up in a chair (eyes closed mind you, but sitting up nonetheless!)!! We were all so proud of her - day 2 and sitting pretty! I was there when the OT helped her get back in bed and she did awesome. She stood up walked 2 steps from the chair to the bed and then laid down and rolled slightly over to her right side. Since that point in time, she has been resting - quite deeply I might add. It is so peaceful watching her sleep in such a slumber. She looks good and whispers things here and there when we are talking. Her nurse is great!
We are still waiting to see Dr. Foster for the day today. (I can't wait to meet him and tell him thanks for giving my sister more life!) Doug got to take Ella to lunch and get a nap with her this afternoon. Otherwise, we are in the holding pattern of the waiting game. Well, not much else to report.
I want to personally thank the masses of you who have posted such positive and encouraging comments, who have prayed so hard for Shawndra, and who continue to support our entire family through this journey. We are just so pleased that this was such a successful surgery. Thank you so much. I continue to lift each of you up to God in praise that He gave Shawndra this opportunity to touch lives and that you all have been integral in supporting her.
With great appreciation and love,

Friday, March 7, 2008

9:27AM... The Next Morning

It's the next morning and I'm sitting with Shawndra in the ICU. She arrived to the unit last night around 9PM. Fortunately, she was able to speak with us about the surgery. I couldn't wait to tell her the good news. The smile she gave, when I told her the "bad, caked-up omentum was gone forever", is one I'll never forget. As a matter of fact, she smiled a lot last night. And that brought joy to my heart.

There were many encouraging me to get some sleep, so at around 10:30PM, I reluctantly left the hospital, and left Shawndra in the hands of the ICU team. Surprisingly, I slept well at the extended stay hotel. I'm refreshed. I feel strong, and am mentally prepared to aid Shawndra in her recovery.

As you can imagine, she's experiencing a lot of pain. It's strange to see her sleeping soundly, yet almost subconsciously pressing the pain pump button. Dr. Foster will be rounding later today.

My little "punks" will be arriving tonight. I'm anxious to see her and hear her yell "daddy!". I plan to take her to McDonalds to play in the tubes. She loves that. Daddy likes to play too. Onc benefit to being only 5' 5" is, I can squeeze in those tubes too, slide down the slides, and play with her like I'm a kid. She likes to say "daddy, this way"... Maybe Greg will join me in some adventure climbing and sliding with his kids, Keaton and Avery.

** It's now 10:45. Dr. Foster, and his students, came to check on Shawndra. Dr. Foster says he'll keep her in the ICU over the weekend. He also ordered higher doses of pain meds. He also mentioned that he wants her to sit up in a chair sometime this afternoon.

Carolyn, Shawndra's mother, made a comment a few minutes ago about how last night, Shawndra could have asked a 100 questions, and the one she asked was "how is Papa". Last night, I tried to skirt the question, but she knew I what I was doing, and asked again. Yes, I told her about the uncanny timing of his passing and the decision to continue the operation. That Papa was holding her hand.

Oh, how I love you baby. You're so brave.
- Doug

Thursday, March 6, 2008

3:15... Dr. Foster Reports

Dr. Foster is very happy with the outcome of the operation. He completely removed Shawndra's omentum, gall bladder, spleen, a small portion of the pancreas, and was able to remove a large portion of the disease. Although not completely cancer-free (there is still milliary disease in various cavities) , the organ systems are functioning fine and Shawndra is doing well.

The next phase of the operation is the hot chemo flush. Dr. Foster estimated we'd be able to see her in the ICU at approximately 7PM.

I think this may have been the longest 12 hours of my life. But the outcome was well worth the wait. Make no mistake about it. This news is very positive and we're grateful.

After re-reading this post, I should apologize, because it comes off a bit "matter of fact". I think I'm just emotionally spent, and my mind knows no other way to communicate.

Sweetie, I love you. I can't wait to see you.

- Doug

1:48PM... no news yet (no news is good news)

The morning flew by. The afternoon has come to a crawl. We're due for a progress report, and have yet to receive it. I'm just anxious.

Thank you for leaving comments. Be assured that Shawndra is listening to those songs on the radio in her dreams.

I suppose I'll work for a while to get my mind off the situation at hand. My boss has been amazing during this whole ordeal (for over a year).

I'll report when the latest is made known to us.

- Doug

10:18 AM... Extensive Surgery Will Happen!

Thank the Lord! A nurse in the OR just personally informed us that Dr. Foster and Dr. Logi deemed it beneficial to open up Shawndra's belly for in-depth removal of cancer. They're in the process of removing her omentum --

The nurse mentioned that there is quite a lot of disease. More than what the PET/CT scans have shown. Nevertheless, this is such good news! The nurse says she'll have a progress report in a few hours. I can't express how grateful I am for everyone that has prayed, and continues to pray.

My mother called about 5 minutes ago. Papa passed away peacefully in her arms. It's not a coincidence that these two events were... well, you know what I'm trying to say. Mom, Nanie, Krissy, thanks for being by Pops' side.

My Dad just arrived. It's nice to have him here.
- Doug

1 hour down, ? to go

It's 9:40AM. Shawndra has been in surgery for a little over one hour. Shawndra's parents, Les (Shawndra's cousin), Jerry (Les's collegue) and I prayed together during her pre-op phase. Shawndra was nervous and scared, but ready to get if over with. Shawndra spoke with Andrea also. I think that gave her comfort.

I just spoke with my mother. My grandfather is most likely in his last hour. What a day, huh. My mom mentioned that Papa was waiting for something... and maybe it was for Shawndra's surgery. Love you Papa.

Love you Shawndra.
- Doug

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Clear Liquids

I am just sitting here in the cafeteria as people around me are eating fattening, yummy smelling food. I have my jello (whip cream removed), diet mountain dew and jolly ranchers for lunch, since I am only allowed clear liquids today before I start my bowel prep in a few hours. We are waiting for our room in the hospital to be ready. Doug just arrived with a large hamburger, globbing ketchup, mustard, pickles, tator tots and diet coke, ugh! torcher!
We got a great night sleep! The bed was so comfortable, I don't think I woke up once in the night. So I am well rested, ahhhh!
We met with Dr. Foster this morning. He went over the surgery, he will start examining me under anesthesia and then taking a look inside laprascopically. If there is just too much that they don't think they can do anything, they will be done, and I will be home in a couple of days and getting back on chemo to try to keep the cancer at bay and not grow for awhile. If he thinks there is not so much that he can go in and do a larger surgery, he will possibly remove my omentum. intraperitoneal chemo, possible remove my spleen, possibly part of my pancreas might be removed, possible remove more colon. etc. This could be up to a 10 hour surgery, he said he could be doing surgery from 7:30 until 4pm or so. I am planning on getting him a few protein bars to help him out! Wow, that is a long surgery. I am hoping that he can do this major surgery. The ultimate goal is to get all the cancer out, or atleast as much as possible. We will just have to keep praying and wait and see how things go tomorrow.
When I get to my room today, I will get to drink the lovely tasting golytely, ugh, and get all the gunk out of my bowels for surgery. This is such a fun process! yikes. I will probably be heading down to surgery tomorrow morning around 6am or so. Early! So please keep praying, I need all the prayers now more than ever. Thank you all! I keep telling myself and god that I trust him and whatever happens is for a reason, only God knows that reason and the outcome. But I trust that it is whatever will happen is supposed to happen and be okay! If God needs me in heaven, I guess that is a gift, I must be important for him to need me this soon! Thank you all for following our journey and sending your messages, they truly help me get through this difficult time. DOug will keep you posted in the coming days. I may be in the ICU after my surgery and unable to write for awhile. Until I write to you all again, all my love, shawndra

PS. Ella... I miss you soooo much and love you all the time, hugs and kisses to my baby!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Just a quick follow-up to the last post...

The filter is in place and Shawndra is resting upstairs. We checked into the extended-stay hotel in Omaha about 45 minutes ago.

She mentioned eating at an italian buffet tonight. (Geez... more pounds for Doug!)

- Doug (the hubby)

*** Edit ***
Thank you everyone for buying us the web cameras! Thanks Andrea and Greg for taking care of our little girl. We're comforted knowing she's with you.

The filter is being placed now...

Dr. Jordache is currently performing the filter placement procedure. He informed us he will make a small puncture in Shawndra's neck, instead of via the groin.

Although a bit tired this morning, Shawndra is in good spirits. Ella didn't shed a single tear this morning at daycare. That made it easier to leave. We know she's in good hands while we're away.

Tonight, Shawndra and I plan to settle into the extended stay hotel, find a good restaurant, and most importantly... rest.

I'll just quickly mention that my grandfather is succumbing to the inevitable. It's remarkable how strong the mind is. I won't go into details about his condition, but I will comment that his will to live over the past few days is an inspiration. He's comfortable, and my mother and grandmother are by his beside. I dread receiving the phone call. I struggle with the decision to attend the funeral and remaining by Shawndra's side. Shawndra comes first. I'll just have to evaluate the everything later in the week.

I better get back to the surgery waiting room. I'm sure the docs have finished up with my baby.

- Doug (the hubby)

Monday, March 3, 2008


Hello Everyone- Well it is here, we are heading up to Omaha tomorrow. The prayer vigil tonight was absolutely incredible! There were so many people there who I care so deeply for, it was the best send off and gave me a lot of encouragement that I can do this! I was having a bit of anxiety today but you all gave me the strength and the will to fight and win!
We drop Ella off at daycare early in the morning, give me strength for this moment! I think this will be tremendously difficult for me! Then I have a procedure around 1pm to have the filter placed near my heart prior to surgery. Then Wednesday I will be admitted to the hospital to do my bowel prep and surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am on Thursday.
Doug will blog to update you on what is going on. He will be there with me for it all so he will know exactly what is going on. My sister has a list of people she will send updates too. THis list was created when I was first diagnosed and grew and grew. So she will keep some of you updated through that. I will be at Creighton University MEdical Center.

Thank you all for your tremendous support you have given my family. Doug and his family really need prayers right now as his grandfather, his mother's father, is probably going to pass away soon. He took a turn for the worse this weekend and we have said our goodbyes. So please keep doug and his family in your prayers as well, he not only has to deal with his grandfather passing away, but me and my recovery. That is a lot to handle!
I better get to bed and try to sleep. Tomorrow will come quickly, we have to be up early! We will have our laptop so I will try to write before my surgery. Maybe as I am undergoing the bowel prep I can write something, hehe. Again, thank you all who came to the vigil, it was an amazing moment! And thank you all who are praying for us! God is listening and he will not let us down! Love, shawndra