Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Hi- I hope you all have fun halloween plans made! We are having a bunch of family from both sides over tonight to have pizza and go around our neighborhood to trick or treat. Ella is a mermaid, she is sooo cute. Luckily it is warm today too, so that will help a bit! I had my CT scan yesterday, it went smoothly. I actually didn't have to drink as much of the contrast, and they have a new drink that doesn't taste bad, just like an orange drink, so yaaa! Now if they could just cure cancer, I would be happy! I don't have the results back yet. I have been really tired the last couple days. So sleeping a lot. I even went to bed last night when Ella did. Well, I am at a lose for words, so everyone have a safe and fun night. I have a busy week next week. Wednesday is when I will see Dr Foster. I will keep you posted. Shawndra

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

As the title says, Happy Birthday dad! We enjoyed spending time with you and the family this weekend at the lake! The kids absolutely love being around you, as we do as well!
Hello everyone- I hope you all had a good weekend with the definitely fall weather! I love fall, seeing all the changing, falling leaves, bundling up with a fire in the fireplace, ahhh! One of those great things on this earth!
As for me, I am recovering quickly, still tired a lot,wearing out quicker but getting around better. Last night I had some really bad cyclical pain, but either the pain medication or some other medication I took helped get rid of it after an hour or so, thank God! I saw my oncologist today, the plan is to get back on the rounds of infused chemo, back on the same regimen, most likely, of Folfiri, which I was on before I started the Xeloda pills which did not seem to be working for me! I got my flu shot today as well, my arm actually kind of hurts a bit from it, but that is okay! small potatoes to everything else. Have you all gotten your flu shot yet? or pneumonia shot if you are sick or older? good thing to do not only for you but to protect your family as well! I go up next week to see Dr. Foster in Omaha. I will have my port-a-cath put back in up there since he was going to put me under anesthesia anyway for an exam under anesthesia. For those of you who may not know the port is how they are able to give me chemo without having to start an IV every time. It is a little pin cushion like thing that is placed under the skin in my chest. They took my last one out when I was in the hospital because i was having fevers and they thought it might be related to an infection from the port, which it wasn't but they weren't sure at that time! I am looking forward to seeing what Dr. Foster has to say. He is a surgeon, so we are going to see if he thinks another surgery to possible remove more cancer in my pelvis area is possible. i know it has risks, especially messing around the bladder, and now that I just had this surgery for the bowel obstruction my guess is he will say we should wait a while and see how the chemo goes and then reevaluate but we will see. I will also be having another CT scan this week sometime so i can take it up to Omaha for them to look at. I hate these scans because I have to drink the contrast which always makes me sick, just because it is sooo much to drink. I will go prepared with Compazine (antinausea) before the fun begins. I am not sure which day that will be yet, I will let you all know when I find out. It looks like I will be restarting chemo November 18th, so I still have a few more weeks to recover before I restart chemo.
I don't know if I have been keeping you posted on Ella. She is wearing big girl underwear most of the time during the day now! She has had a few accidents but does well most of the time! She is going to be a mermaid for halloween and she is very excited. THis is really the first year she really understands it all. She has been very into "Sleeping Booty (beauty)" too. so cute.
Oh, I am still thinking about the whole foundation thing. I would love to start one to bring awareness to colorectal cancer, especially in younger people, and have somewhere that can bring all of us who are diagnosed with this together to support each other. I talked to Doug last night about it, he likes the idea too but is concerned it is a lot to take on for me right now. I am still in the research phase to see exactly how to start something like that and if it is necessary, etc. I will let you know. but I am glad to know that I have a lot of people who would be willing to help out if I did start a foundation. I would probably need a lot of help.
THank you to everyone who has taken their time to help me these last few weeks. I appreciate everything you all have done. I also want to thank you all for the continued support, especially through prayer. It is all in his hands, we have to continue to look to him for the miracle and trust his plan. have a great week everyone. I will talk to you all soon. Shawndra

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hi everyone- Well it has been a few days back at home and it has been wonderful! Our slumber party was a bit sleepless but we managed and hopefully Ella was happy to be with us on our first night back home together. I have gotten to spend time with some friends and family and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Sunday, Doug made sure I got outside a bit to enjoy the sunshine. Which I am glad because the last couple days and the days to come are dreary and colder! Speaking of Doug, he has been incredible. Have I told you all that I have an incredible husband, as if you didn't know already! He has been so supportive with everything, physical and mental! I don't know if you know my dad is a doctor, but he is also a very fine nurse! He is so great to have with me in the hospital, unbelievable! So thanks dad! You already know my mom is the best so I don't have to repeat that. While I am accepting my Oscar, I also want to thank my sister! I don't thank her enough for all she does for me. She has made so many sacrifices for me and Andrea I want you to know they don't go unnoticed by myself or others. You have a way with words that is wonderful and your faith is something I strive for. As you know, you are always my hero, the wind beneath my wings (I know cheesy but she knows!). Love ya sis! I sometimes forget she needs as many prayers, if not more and I do pray for you and your family always!
I am just so lucky. It does take these experiences to really open your eyes and appreciate and boy, am I appreciating! I did sleep most of the day yesterday so I guess I needed to rest up but today I was back in the game and pretty active. I may regret all my activity tomorrow but it is worth it. I hope you don't all forget that Michelle, on of my blog friends, is still training for a marathon in my honor and has raised and I believe exceeded the amount necessary! What an amazing thing to do for someone you have never met. I am beside myself in awe! But I think she is having trouble with her knee so, Michelle, please take it easy, do not force it! I do not want you to hurt your knee and have problems the rest of your life because of this! please listen to your body and if you can't run, that is okay! The thought is the most important thing, you have done such an amazing thing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart to raise this money for such an important cause!
I want to know what you all think: I have been thinking that I want to become the Susan G Komen of Colorectal Cancer. I am thinking about starting a foundation. My mom and I were talking the other day and she said, why do you have to be gone before we start a foundation. We mostly want to get the word out and make it as common as breast cancer awareness has become. This is not just a rare disease any more, even though my "kind" is rare. So many people I have heard from are affected by this disease at a young age. So what do you all think about a foundation. I know it would be difficult to get started but I hope it would be worth it. Anyway, I just wanted some feedback from you all to see what you thought about this.
I also want to mention before I go that my husband's company, SOURCECORP, has been absolutely incredible to our family! They have been so accomodating and understanding that family comes first! SO, thank you to them for everything they have done to help make our situation easier for us! We are blessed that Doug was hired at such a great company before all this happened!
Also, Naomi, thank you for focusing on me, but I am also concerned about you all! I have to be, you are in my life now and it goes both ways. So, I am concerned about you and hope your tests go well! You will be in our prayers, please pray that her tests go well. I pray for all of you, because you do the same for me!
Enough for now, I better get to bed so I can function tomorrow. good night all. Enjoy the rainy weather tomorrow, hehe. It is kind of nice sometimes! shawndra

PS. I found out that my neighbors had a prayer vigil for me after my surgery! I want to thank my WS family for praying for us and helping us in every way! You all have been incredible to us and we are so thankful to all of you! To my angel giver, you know who you are, a special thanks for my angels and for sharing with me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Broke Out!

Hey everyone- I am home, yaaaa! I convinced the doctor today that there was no reason for me to stay over night. Which is true, I wasn't fibbing! So I got home around 5pm today. It is so nice to be home. I am getting ready for bed so I will write more later. I just wanted to let you all know that I broke out of the clink, hehe. Tonight, for one time only we are having a slumber party in our room. Ella gets to sleep in our bed with us since I have been gone so long we thought she might like that. We will see how it goes, yikes. We may regret this decision but I am just so happy to be with her that I think it will be fine. As long as there are no swift kicks to the abdomen! Anyway, good night all! Sleep well. Thank you for ALL your love, support, messages, visits, decorations, goodies, cleaning, staying with me...EVERYTHING you have all done for me to get me through this unexpected ordeal. I still have a bit of recovering to do but nothing I can't handle. I will drift off to sleep thanking God for you all and for this day and everyday and for all I am blessed with. Mostly thanking him for all of you, you truly amaze me! Good night friends! Enjoy your very comfortable, non aerating bed without railings (unless you are a young child). Love, shawndra

Friday, October 17, 2008

Irrigating ...bad

Hello everyone-I am typing from Doug's laptop, which really throws me off, so it isn't the drugs! I promise, if I make mistakes. I am doing much better today. Yesterday was a doozy! They decided to try to irrigate my ostomy since i am impacted with stool, lovely conversation. I hope you are eating your meatloaf right now. Well they put about 500cc of fleets enema in and boy did my stomach start cramping up BADLY!!!! So they couldn't give me enough drugs so they tried giving me something called Levsin often used to relieve cramping for irritable bowel and other GI issues. Let's just say, I think I found my first medicine I am allergic too! I immediately had uncontrollable tremenbling, shaking,shivering, I was so cold and I felt like I was going to pass out. My face was tingling as well as my hands and feet. I was soooo scared. I truly thought I might pass out and not wake up! I kept saying, just get a doctor in here now. That finally did resolve and I rested. But everytime I got up to go to the bathroom I would get that flushed, tingly feeling in my face and legs. Very aggitating! That finally went away last night. I am hoping to get to go home maybe Sunday, I think tomorrow is pushing it.
It has been very mentally difficult as well because they had to put in another ostomy so now I am trying to decide what to call this, a cow with udders or a rose garden on my belly, if that makes sense to anyone. This is very devastating to me, I was so self conscious before and frustrated to have to have an ostomy, now to have two is even more difficult. But I guess I will do what I always try to do is make the best of it and think, it could be worse. The doctor did say that when she was in doing surgery she found more cancer cells in my abdomen. So, again, I feel like I am fighting a battle I can't win. That is what superman Dr. Foster is for. I go see him in November to see what he says. If he has any hope. In the mean time, no more break of just taking pills for chemo. I have to start back on the infusions again since my oncologist doesn't think they were working very well. They did take out my port when I was in surgery because they thought I was getting septic (infection) from it. So they will have to go back in later to put a new one in, that is going to be around late October it sounds like. It was so nice when all I was doing was taking some pills and getting bloodwork once in awhile. Now back to all this chaos. Oh, and if you all didn't know, we are supposed to be on our Mediterranean trip right now. We were supposed to leave this past Tuesday for our cruise, so that really just sucks!!!! That is all for now. I was truly bummed I wasn't able to be at my Cousin's wedding and to see Ella walk down the Aisle. Amy you were a gorgeous bride!!!!!!!Wow! Thank you for allowing Ella the honor of being in your wedding. I will write more later, my soft food is waiting for me,mmmmm - PBJ! Shawndra

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Shawndra is healing quickly. Already the NG has been removed, the catheter will be disconnected shortly, and she'll be preparing to do laps around the hospital halls. Dr. O'Brien is very encouraged by the rapid progress she's making.

I know I promised photos and video of Ella's flower girl debut... and I'll try to accomplish that today. I'm going to engage Shawndra in that process. (Better than reading trash People & US magazines!)... j/k baby! I know you like those. :)

Emotionally speaking, today has started out 10 times more positive than yesterday (as perhaps evident by the tone of this post).

Okay, this concludes my stint as substitute BLOG guy. Next up... your lovely host, Shawndra.
- Doug

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shawndra is out of ICU

Hello all-
This is Andrea, Shawndra's sister, posting an update. Shawndra's surgery happened on Sunday afternoon. The surgeon said that there were some adhesions in Shawndra's small intestine however, this was not the main reason for her problems. The surgeon said that the obstruction in her small intestine was from cancer in the pelvis, it was occluding the last section of the intestine that goes into the colon. Therefore, Shawndra received an ileostomy. This is something that Shawndra did not want/did not expect to at all. Dr O'Brien, the surgeon, said that she did find more cancer throughout the small intestines. Shawndra was put in ICU overnight and was moved to the floor this afternoon, Monday.
She is doing fairly well. I judge this by the rude comments - ha just kidding, by her ability to joke around with us and talk with everyone. My mom and I washed her hair this evening and I gave her a mini-makeover - really just makeup!! She looks good! Just pain in the abdomen where she's had surgery. The nurse said she transfered from the ICU bed to her bed in her room really well and had good strength.
The oncologist has some encouraging news about options for chemo, meds, etc after this surgery. Shawndra will also be returning to Dr. Foster in Omaha once she is recovered from this surgery to discuss further options/possibilities.
So, let me lay out some prayer requests:
1. Pray for Shawndra's bowels to regain function - and quickly!
2. Pray that her small intestine will absorb well and she will get enough nutrition with her ileostomy.
3. Pray for new methods of chemo and alternatives that come forward to be beneficial.
4. Pray for Doug for strength, endurance, love, and faith.
5. Pray for the Turner and Beauchamp families.

I call upon all Prayer Warriors, take heed, this is the time to pray! I praise God for all the wonderful people who keep up with Shawndra, pray for her, support our family, and help in so many ways. Thank you God for Shawndra's prayer/supportive community. We feel covered by your love and compassion.
We will keep you updated as we know more. Thanks for continuing to check the blog!

With great appreciation and love,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Surgery Very Probable Sunday Afternoon

Last night Dr. O'Brien (the colo-rectal surgeon) ordered a repositioning of the NG Tube to better extract bile from Shawndra's stomach, in preparation for surgery tomorrow (Sunday). I should preface that statement with there exists a small chance the situation could resolve itself by tomorrow, although there still seems to be a consensus that surgery is necessary even if that occurs.

Thank you, everyone, for commenting on that last post. I will read them to Shawndra after she awakens. Special thanks to Dustin for staying overnight with Shawndra last night. Ella and I got some much needed sleep. Shawndra's cousin, Amy, will be wed to Judd this afternoon, and Ella has the privilege of being the flower girl! Last night, during the rehearsal, Ella did a great job! She and Ian (Ella's cousin) were so cute together, holding hands. Angie has offered to sit with Shawndra so Ella and I can go to the wedding. I want to videotape Ella, so Mommy can see what a big girl she is. (I'll post the clip on the BLOG as well.)

Shawndra is pretty bummed out today. She's missing the wedding, missing Ella walk down the isle with Ian, missing her dream cruise vacation to Italy, Greece, Turkey (we were scheduled to leave this coming Tuesday) -- I'm just now mentioning this vacation because prior to this week's events, we didn't want to divulge our being out of town for two weeks, for obvious reasons. But you know what? Her health is number one. And there will be future Ella moments and future vacations. Honestly, we're lucky this culminated this week instead of next. I can imagine being in a foreign country, having to make surgical decisions. I told her this is just a little bump in the road. When I arrived to the hospital this morning, I just curled up with her in bed, let her cry tears on my cheek and told everything will work out... and I just know it will. Baby I love.

I'm handling everything pretty well. I must admit, over time there's a certain desensitization that occurs. Personally I let things build up, and then let it all out at once. When that will be, with respect to the latest setback, I don't know.

Thank you for your prayers. Photos, videos, and updates forthcoming.
- Doug

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Back in the Hospital

Hello everyone. Shawndra is back in the hospital with bowel complications. We arrived via the ER Tuesday morning. Initial tests indicate partial bowel obstruction. It's been three days now with very little output. I won't go into details, but attempts at flushing things through are not working. Just a few minutes ago an NG Tube was placed in her stomach. Okay, enough about that.

Ella came to visit Mommy at the hospital tonight. Her little laugh always brightens up a room (and we needed it). She danced for us and sang a song. She handled Shawndra's situation pretty well. She's spending the night with Grandma and Papa tonight so I can stay with Shawndra.

I'll leave with a few photos of the Worlds of Fun trip Ella and I took last weekend with my good high school buddy, Jason, and his 4 1/2 year old daughter, Jillian.
click photos for larger versions

Monday, October 6, 2008

side effects

Hi- I am nearing the end of my week of Xeloda pills. But I am waiting to hear back from the doctor to see if I need to stop early. I have the redness and sore, tender feet that is a side effect of this chemo. I thought he told me that I might have to stop them if this is the case, because it will get worse before it gets better, esecially if I continue to take the pills after this side effect appears. I also a difficult weekend. I had to cancel plans on Friday night because I was soooo tired, then I cancelled a playdate yesterday to the park because I was so tired. I spent pretty much the whole day yesterday in bed! I really hate feeling like that and staying in bed all day! I was helpless. I try my best to continue life as normal and not focus on "being ill". Most of the time I don't feel ill, therefore I think others forget that I am sick as well. But I do have days like yesterday were I just don't feel good, or am just so tired that I can't do anything. My pain has gotten worse too. Especially at night, when I am lying down. I have increased my pain medication and still haven't had much improvement.
Good news: my mother-in-law is out of the hospital, yaaa! She is still having difficult breathing without additional oxygen but is atleast at home.
I do have blood work tomorrow where they will also draw blood for my CEA and then meet with Mckittrick on Thursday to see how things are going.
Doug took ELla to World's of Fun on Saturday, she had a great time but didn't like the Snoopy character, he was "scary". I didn't go to church yesterday because I was so tired but Ella wanted to go to church school so we took her so she wouldn't miss it. I thought that was great that she wanted to go! I did take her to daycare today so I could rest more. It is so hard to keep up with a two year old when I am worn down from chemo! It is a bit of a challenge at times. I am blessed to have so many people around who help me when I need it. I hope you all are doing well! Thank you to the people who have given me some advice on products to use for my feet/hands. It is nice to have that kind of feedback from people who have experienced it.
talk to you all soon. shawndra