Tuesday, September 30, 2008

long time-no talk

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

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stents and prayers

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

stents replaced

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


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

Doctor, Doctor

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seattle bound

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

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Please pray hard

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

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stand Up 2 Cancer

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

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chemo week

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

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2 years

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

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

I have to run, Ella is calling.