Friday, May 30, 2008

Emotional Week

Hello everyone- My computer was on the fritz yesterday so I haven't been able to check my email or write. I had my 3rd round of chemo this week. I also met with my oncologist before I started the chemo. I got a bit emotional in his office and then the floodworks started and I couldn't shut them off for a while! He didn't tell me anything bad, necessarily, he just asked me how I was doing... I told him I am tired a lot and I am just tired of being tired. I started taking Ritalin which he prescribed to try and help with the fatigue. I just feel so guilty about being tired all the time, people having to help me all the time, people always bringing us meals, etc. I am so very appreciative of everything people have done, but I just feel so guilty and tired of not being able to do everything on my own. He also asked if I was just sick of everything, I said yes!!! I am tired of this! My CEA has been creaping up a bit, a couple weeks ago, I guess they did draw it and didn't tell me... it was 4.7 or something like that, then this week they drew it again and it was 6.1. I am not going to panic yet, but if it continues to go up, that will make me very nervous. I am, as he says, tired of this. I start to question am I fighting something that I can't win! Is it worth the fight? My prognosis is very poor, it has been from the beginning. I have tried to think, I can beat this and I continue to think that way. But I have to ask, is this something I can beat or am I just fighting a losing battle! The rest of the week has gone well, I rested a lot! Doug was gone for a few days this week too which was difficult. He has never really gone away for a few days like this time and I miss him tremendously!
My family on my dad's side has also had a tremendous loss this week. We lost one of my cousin's (my dad's sister's son) very unexpectedly! I have been praying so hard this week that things would turn around for him and he would fully recover but he did not! The only good from this is that he was an organ donor and hopefully saved others lives. But he will be missed!
On a happier note, Ella is growing leaps and bounds! She is talking so much lately, full sentences!! She says the funniest things, I can't help but laugh.
Tonight, I am going out with the girls for the Sex and the City premiere!! It will be so much fun. I am getting dressed up and we will have some Cosmo's in honor of the show and go to dinner then the movie. I am so looking forward to this! It should be a great time. Hopefully by the time I get home, Doug will be back home. I can't wait to see him! I hope you all have a great weekend! I am so sorry I haven't written much lately, but I would love to hear from all of you! I miss my support system, I miss hearing from you all and how you all are doing? I hope you all who are also battling cancer right now are doing well and fighting hard! Naomi from GA (I think)- I hope they have found out what is going on with you and are able to take care of it! You all are always in my prayers! Thank you for being there for me, I hope i can be there for you too! shawndra

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Research and Remember

Hey everyone- Well, I don't have too much to report as far as results. My initial PET results sound like everything is about the same as before. I just got that result from the nurse over the phone. I haven't actually seen the report or talked to the doctor about it yet. I will see him next Tuesday before chemo and discuss it then. but it sounds like there is really no change, some suspicious area in the pelvis and nothing else really lights up, except the gallbladder area, which was removed in surgery, so this is probably from post operative changes. As far as the CEA, blood work, they didn't end up drawing it. They said it wasn't ordered, even though it was on my schedule to be drawn. So, I will have them do it next week before chemo. So, this really isn't very exciting or informative news. I guess though that no news is good news, atleast there is nothing new showing up so that in itself is good news.

On another note, I was asked by a faithful blogger named Michelle if she could honor me while running the New York Marathon for cancer research. I agreed with only having to give my name and a few signatures in order to do this, nothing else on my part. She will do the hard part of training and running the marathon and raising the funds (which I have done before and is no easy task). She needs to raise atleast 3,000 dollars, but it is going towards Colon cancer research in my honor. Doug helped by putting a logo/link (see Fred), on the left hand side, under our picture. You can go check out her webpage and get more information and donate as well. This is the least I can do for her, is to tell you all about it and try to help raise the funds. I have heard several reports that researchers are making incredible strides in finding a cure for all cancers. Specifically colon cancer research has come a very long way in the last several years. If I was diagnosed only 5 years prior, I would not have the chemo drugs I am using today which have been found to prolong life if not save lives. I probably would not be here today if that were the case! Researchers continue to look for better treatment with fewer side effects and they are succeeding but still need help. Please consider donating to the cause. It is completely anonymous so I won't know who has given or who has not. I know a lot of people can't afford to give and that is okay. But Michelle, by doing this, you are saving so many lives and I am in aw of you for doing it! A marathon in itself is a tremendous feat but to honor me, someone you've never even met, and raise all that are an angel!
Everyone have a terrific Memorial Day weekend!!! I hope you all get to spend time outside in the beautiful weather, rain or shine, and are able to spend some time with people you love or doing something you love and smiling! Also spend a little time remembering those soldiers who have passed while in military service -- memorial day. We shall never forget those who have passed, even though our memory begins to fade, our love never does. Shawndra

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Lots of stuff going on today. I am getting ready to go have a PET/CT done, then I go have labwork, which will consist today of a CEA. I pray that the CEA level is still normal/low and that my scan shows nothing but improvement. I also go to see my primary care physician today about my blood pressure. So it is a busy day for doctors appointments. I will let you all know how things come out. Please keep up the prayers, let 's hope I get good results!!! Then maybe I can get off chemo soon. Yaaaa. thank you my prayer warriors, shawndra

Friday, May 16, 2008

High blood pressure

Hey Everyone- I am done with my second round of chemo. It went well, just tired is all. I spent most of Wednesday in bed, I never did get out of my pajamas. I forgot to tell you and Sue reminded me about my most recent scan. It basically was about the same, nothing exciting to report. I don't know if that is good or bad but my oncologist said there wasn't anything to report. I have a scheduled PET/CT scan coming up I believe this Tuesday, May 20th. So I maybe this scan will show more improvement or something.
The other thing that has been going on is I've noticed my blood pressure has been rather high since I started chemo again. I thought maybe the first week I was just nervous but it has been high ever since and yesterday when I went to get my pump off, it was super high for me 163/101. Yikes. The nurse practitioner talked to the doctor and they gave me a prescription for high blood pressure medication. But what really upset me was they didn't even mention trying to figure out why my blood pressure might be that high. They just threw the script at me and said, well we don't know why it is that high. I thought, and told them, well maybe we should draw some blood to see if anything is abnormal. SO they did, only because I told them too. Maybe there isn't a reason it has all of a sudden shot up but then maybe there is a reason and I would like to find that reason, if there is one, ya know. I was a bit frustrated by the whole situation and a bit upset that they just kind of blew it off! I will be following up with my primary care doctor when she gets back in town next week, so we can try to figure out if something is causing this.
I have been meaning to mention something else. I know some of you found my site through Jennifer Ireland's website which has not to long ago been quiet since Chris is no longer blogging. I keep in touch with Jen's mother, Jan, who misses the website tremendously, the support she got from it. I think she said she has blogged atleast once about the girls. So you might check the site from time to time. Also one of her doctors is blogging on the foundation site, I believe. So you might go and check that out as well. We can still support the foundation which is trying to raise money for young adults like me who need some help financially from time to time for extra expenses from cancer. They have many activities set up, a golf tournament and pub crawl in St. Louis, etc. The website will tell you more about all that, so please don't forget about that site! Jan still checks the site regularly so I think you can send her comments through there or you can through here as well, she says she checks my site regularly too! Recently her father is going through chemotherapy so she has had one thing after another going on in her life. She continues to need support!
well, I think that is all for now, there is so much I had been meaning to write about so I am glad I have. I need to go, Ella is trying to touch buttons on the computer and almost just erased this whole message a minute ago. I will try to write soon. Everyone have a great weekend. I am pump free and am going to enjoy the weather. Shawndra

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to all you mom's out there! I hope you had a great day, smiled and were proud that you are a mom. I am. Here is a poem I just received and had to send it on to you all....


This is for the mothers who have sat up
all night with sick toddlers in their arms,
wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer
wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying,
'It's okay honey, Mommy's here.'

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at
work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains
on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and
make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.
And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to
babies they'll never see. And the mothers
who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art
collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars.
And that when their kids asked, 'Did you see me, Mom?' they could say, 'Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world,' and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with
their children and explained all about making
babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who
wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go
hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read 'Goodnight,
Moon' twice a night for a year. And then
read it again, 'Just one more time.'

This is for all the mothers who taught
their children to tie their shoelaces before
they started school. And for all the mothers
who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons
to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls 'Mom?' in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home -- or even away
at college -- or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids
to school with stomach aches, assuring them
they'd be just FINE once they got there, only
to get calls from the school nurse an hour later
asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone
astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they
bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of
recent school shootings, and the mothers
of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their
children to be peaceful, and now pray
they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good mother anyway?
Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips?
The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and
sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?
Is it the ache she feels when she
watches her son or daughter disappear
down the street, walking to school alone
for the very first time?

The jolt that takes her from sleep to
dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put
her hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again
at 2 A.M. when she just wants to hear
their key in the door and know they
are safe again in her home?

Or the need to flee from wherever she is
and hug her child when she hears news
of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are
universal and so our thoughts are for
young mothers stumbling through diaper
changes and sleep deprivation...

And for mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us...

Hang in there. In the end we can
only do the best we can. Tell them
every day that we love them. And pray
and never stop being a mother...

'Home is what catches you when
you fall - and we all fall.'

Please pass this to a
wonderful mother you know.

(I just did!)

love, shawndra

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Happy Nurses Week

Wow, we must be special to get a whole week, ha. My mother just reminded me that it was nurses week by bringing over flowers and a card to me. It couldn't have come at on a more perfect day. I have been .... what's the word... struggling lately with my new identity as a stay at home mom. Let me start off by saying this is one of the toughest jobs there is and it is highly respected! I don't mean to offend anyone out there this is just my personal story. I went to school for sooo many years to become a nurse practitioner, worked so hard and prided myself on being a working woman. After I had Ella, I had the best of both worlds! I could work part time and be home with Ella. It was the perfect mixture of work and being a mom and a wife. Since I was diagnosed, I tried to continue to work but with the unknown I decided I couldn't give my full commitment to my job and quit working. There are some perks to this too! I get to spend more time with Ella, I don't have to get up every morning at 6-6:30 shower and get dressed up, etc. But I feel like I have lost that part of me and I am no longer Shawndra the nurse or nurse practitioner, which was a large part of who I was. This along with the many changes that have taken place in the last two years. It really has struck me hard as I repeat the same tasks over and over. These past few days I have gotten so sick of the laundry basket half full the day after I just did laundry or the dishwasher full again and the dishes piling up beside the sink waiting for the dishwasher to be unloaded just to be reloaded again. This reminds me of a movie I saw with Cher in it many years ago... Witches of Eastwick, that was it! Does anyone remember that movie? Anyway, I know the grass is greener on the other side and I can't complain about my life. I do have a great life and am lucky that I am able to take this time off of work. THere are many people out there fighting cancer and working and many other things. I feel like a wuss when I think about that but I am just telling you how I feel. That is the point of this blog, to get things off my chest, good and bad. Freedom of speech, right, ahhh. It all makes mothers day even more special and meaningful. I used to think, this is just another day for hallmark to rack in the bucks. But mothers really need a day to be noticed and applauded. Just as nurses do as well. So does every profession. sorry Andrea, Physical therapist's don't have there day yet. We will come up with one!!!!
Thank you Nurses for all you do. You are truly important and vital. We deserve so much more than we get in pay, we should be up there with athletes, for who is more important, someone saving lives or throwing a ball. Don't get me started on that one! If you know a nurse let them know how much the mean! That is what makes our job worth while. The reward of our patients and families who need us in a time of difficulty and can trust us to be there for them. What a great profession I chose, someday I will be back to help others again. Right now I have to focus on myself and nursing myself back to health so I can take care of others! Another reason to fight! Happy Nurses day! Shawndra