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. Wellsphere.com -- 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

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Change Chemo

Hey everyone- First, Ella is feeling much better, so thank you all for your concern. Today was chemo day and a meeting with my oncologist. Doug and I met with him before the treatment. I was still having a difficult time, mentally, this morning. When I am not there, I live my life and forget about my diagnosis, for the most part. When I go back to the cancer center for my treatment, it is that reminder that I have a serious illness and that I am going to be knocked down and have to start over picking myself back up. So, I was very emotional this morning. Even Ella saw me crying and said, "What's wrong Mama?", and gave me a hug. It was sooo sweet and just melted my heart. Well, when I met with my doctor, he recommended I start doing a pill form of chemo called Xeloda, which I actually took for six weeks, when I was first diagnosed, before I had my first surgery. This will consist of me taking 3 pills in the morning, 3 pills in the afternoon for 7 days, then off for 7 days, so on one week, off one week and so on. The common side effects with this is mouth sores, diarrhea, fatigue, hand and foot syndrome(?). So we will see how it goes. It can also cause problems with my Coumadin and make my blood thinner, so I have to watch that carefully! I am very excited though to try this. I just need a break from the infusions. Doug and I agreed with my oncologist that this would be a good idea and if my CEA starts going up with this then we can go back. I did have my CEA drawn today, so I will hopefully find out tomorrow what it is. Especially since I didn't go to my chemo last time so I have been off for a month.
I want to thank you all for your mommy support and advice. I think being a mom is the toughest job ever. I just want my daughter to grow up knowing right from wrong, being first safe and healthy, but also happy, kind and caring to others. I do my best to accomplish this but am constantly guessing and second guessing myself. I love her so much I would do anything for her. But I don't want her to just get away with anything and everything, that does not help her for her future. So thank you all for your support for my health and my role as a mommy. I am so grateful to have you all who have unconditionally supported me.
I start taking my pills tomorrow morning. I will let you know how it goes and what me CEA is. gotta go to bed, Doug is standing here waiting for me to go up. I will write soon. Sorry it has been so long.
Oh, also, please check out the Croquet for cancer logo on the left. I will write more about that tomorrow. Good night. shawndra

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ella has a fever

Ella has been with me all week because starting Monday night, she has had fevers. We were really hoping she would be better by today, because she had a field trip at daycare, which she missed the first trip also because she was sick. I think these are the only two times she has been sick. Poor girl. The tylenol does wonders for her, but as soon as it wears off, she starts getting really warm. So, needless to say, we have been laying low for the past 3 days. I think our dog is even feeling cooped up. She has been a wild thing the last couple of days.
Last night I did get out for an hour or so to go to dream dinners to cook up some meals that we can freeze. If you all haven't done something like this, it is a great way to cook. Definitely my type of cooking, since I really don't cook much but the basics. Everything is already cut up for you and you just dump it all into bags, then freeze it and pop it out to thaw and cook usually in 30 minutes or less. I love it!! So I did that last night!
Ella is telling me to be quiet, hehe, I guess my typing is waking up her babies. She is so funny! She has been very challenging lately as well. Some of you may disagree with this but I did spank her the other day,and you know that is the only thing that works these days. Any time I say, do you want a spanking, she does what she is supposed to do. Otherwise, she just walks the other way. I don't think a spank from time to time is abusive. It is far from it! Anyway, I hope none of you turn me in,hehe. Thank you all for your comments! I gotta go, Ella is trying to sleep. hehe. Enjoy the Olympics! Talk to you soon. shawndra

Sunday, August 10, 2008

butterflies and race for a cure

Hey everyone- It's Sunday evening. Doug and I are sitting here on the couch, both with our laptops on our lap, watching the Olympics. Wasn't the opening ceremony amazing! Watching these athletes, I am just in awe, especially the gymnastics. I can't imagine doing all the things they do. Jumping and flipping on a tiny beam, or on uneven bars, gosh that is talent!
We had a good weekend. We went to Powell Gardens for a butterfly exhibit on Saturday, for those in KC, I highly recommend going. It was incredible. Just Powell Gardens itself is impressive and then the butterflies, spectacular. Today I woke up very early for me, to volunteer for the Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer. My girlfriend, Dustin, and I got to hand out roses at the finish line to the Breast Cancer survivors. It was so worth getting up early for it. I had a great time. There were soooo many people there. I actually had a few ladies who read my blog come up to me and say hello. Thank you for doing that, that makes me feel good! I really appreciate it! I like meeting you all who read and/or write on my blog. I have been just so amazed that so many people who don't even know me read my blog and care enough to pray for me. That is one thing I have learned from this experience... so many people are so kind and caring! I thank you all for that, for being so kind, so loving and caring.
Anyway, we had a good weekend, but a very tiring one. Thanks to my parents, who spontaneously took Ella on Saturday evening after the butterfly event, so I could rest that evening so I could get up early. I was so exhausted Saturday, or maybe it was because I ate a funnel cake at Powell Gardens and came down from my sugar high. It was sooo yummy though. I haven't had a funnel cake in years, ymmmm. I don't know though if it was worth the exhausted feeling after the sugar high wears off.
I hope you all had a great weekend as well. The weather here has been so much more bearable! Have a good week. I have this week off of chemo, then it is back to chemo the following week. I am going to try to live it up this week, as well as try to rest, hard to do with Ella around. I will talk about that more later. I better end this lengthy note. Go USA in the Olympics! Shawndra

Thursday, August 7, 2008

4th Anniversary!

Hey everyone- This day four years ago, I was putting on my wedding gown, getting my hair and makeup done and getting ready to walk down the aisle with my mother and father into the arms of Doug Turner to say those simple but powerful words "I do". It was an incredible day. We had an amazing wedding which was just the beginning of an incredible relationship. I believe that God prepared me for this challenge in my life by bringing into my life a man who will love me literally "For better or worse". He then made sure we were secure, Doug joined Sourcecorp who has been a great company to work for and so understanding with our circumstances. They have been incredible to us! God then gave us the opportunity to be pregnant, which was not quite planned that quickly anyway, but came at the perfect time and brought us a beautiful daughter. I used to question my faith, God,and Jesus. I know see how God has worked in my life to prepare me for the challenge I face with cancer.
I have had tremendous guilt that Doug has to be a part of this illness and has to financially support me and my disease. He has been nothing but loving, caring and nurturing throughout our 4 years of marriage. We have obviously had our share of challenges in these few years together. Sometimes such a situation can pull people apart. I think we have only gotten closer. We have definitely had our differences and our arguments, we are not perfect, no one is. But I am so blessed and thank God every day for bringing Doug into my life. He is my best friend,my husband, lover (hehe)and everything I could ask for. Thank you Doug for a wonderful 4 years of marriage. I look forward to growing old with you and sharing many more anniversaries, many more memories and many more challenges. I love you, Doug! Thank you for your unconditional love! I am blessed to have all of you in my life as well. God has brought you all into my life for a reason and I thank him daily for each of you who have touched my life! Shawndra

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I cancelled chemo

Hey everyone- I woke up Tuesday morning exhausted. I have been tired and emotional and I just didn't want to go to chemo. I couldn't do it. Doug helped me by telling me it was okay and that the doctor was telling me not long ago that I could take a break, so it was okay. That was reassuring! It doesn't mean I am not fighting, it just means I need a break. I don't know why I am so tired, it could be the heat, it could be my hemoglobin is lower than normal since I have had more blood in my urine from those darn stents than normal. Who knows? But I have spent a lot of the last couple days in bed or relaxing on the couch. Monday I had Ella and I was just so tired it was really hard to take care of her, atleast to do fun, active things with her, which I try to do with her when I can. I am just so tired all I can do is lay on the couch and watch cartoons with her. Which somedays I think she is okay with since at daycare they are so active, that some days I think she just wants to lay low. Oh, it is a hard job, isn't it. Anyway, so I have another couple weeks off until I go back to chemo. Hopefully by that time, I will be ready and rested enough to continue. I am going to go have my lab work drawn tomorrow to make sure I am not anemic or something else causing the tremendous fatigue. Even the Ritalin, which they gave me to help with my energy level has not been helping much lately.
I feel like there is so much more to talk about, but I am blanking on what I want to say. So I will leave it at that for now. I will try to post again soon. If my internet is accessible. When I tried to get on today, I had to do a whole bunch of things to get the internet connected. ugh. technology. take care everyone, have a great week and stay out of the heat! shawndra

Sunday, August 3, 2008

on the fritz

Hey everyone- I haven't been able to get connected to the internet the last several days. That is torcher, ya know. But thankfully it is working this morning. I wanted to let you all know that my CEA from last week is a steady 5, which is good. I am glad that is has been this same number the last 3 times we have drawn the CEA level. I think that is good news. I am going to continue my chemo for atleast another month and then we will see if I can either do some maintenance chemo, maybe in pill form instead of having to go in for infusions for awhile atleast while my numbers stay low and consistent. I pray that I can keep my CEA low and the cancer minimal without spreading. I can live like this, if that is the best I can achieve, even if they think there is still some cancer in there, I can handle it as long as it stays there and doesn't spread. I have chemo again this week, so probably a few rest days ahead and hopefully nothing else.
We've had a great weekend. We got to spend time with some friends friday night and went to the first friday's art gallery thing downtown. It was very fun. Yesterday we got to play with Andrea and her kids while Doug and Greg worked on a project, in the unbearable heat, poor guys! Thanks Greg for your help! Then Ella got to go to the pool with her cousin, Ian and we got to hang out with my cousin and fam. It was a lot of fun too! Ella even napped yesterday without a major production. ahhhh it was so nice. I was so proud of her! We are still working on eating her meals instead of wanting just to eat snack food all day. That is the challenge these days.
Doug gave me my mother's day present last week. He and Ella have been working on it off and on for awhile. It was incredible. They made this collage of pictures of Ella and I with wood pieces that said Mom and Ella on these wood pieces. It is hard to explain. Maybe I will take a picture of it and post it. I still need to learn how to do all the pictures. My friend, Angie was going to give me a lesson the other day, but we couldn't get the computer to work so I will learn soon so I can do it all myself. I have been wanting to update the pictures on the side too. I will work on that. I hope you all had a great weekend too, even though it has been soooooo hot! Take care everyone.
Sandy- good luck at MDAnderson, you also might check into Creighton, Dr. Foster, who did my last surgery, he was the only surgeon willing to do the surgery.
Thanks for all your posts. I appreciate hearing from you all. You continue to be in my prayers.