So wordpress was too hard for me to figure out on my own. I was asking Jason questions allllllll the time. So much to his dismay, I have switched back to the much easier and more manageable blogspot. It’s for the less-internet-saavy bloggers 🙂 Anyway, if you’d like to read about my little family and our happenings…head to mashayandjason.blogspot.com. Thanks!
Well, I’m back at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center today, getting my first Herceptin only infusion. The doc says I should have no problems with side effects. Woo Hoo! Plus, it only takes 1/2 hour. Darryl is here with me and we get to go out to brunch when I get done. Woo Hoo again! (I can almost even taste things–not quite right yet, but almost.)
Now I start on the long-term maintenance plan: Herceptin infusion every 3 weeks for a year (8 months left, actually), Arimidex for 5 years or longer, Lupron shot every 3 months to keep me in menopause (until I’m actually in menopause), echocardiograms every 3 months and bone density tests occasionally. All cake, compared to chemotherapy!
My doc says I should have enough hair in 4 months to be like a crew cut, and enough hair in 8 months to really style. So August is looking good! Oh yeah, at the end of February or beginning of March I’ll be able to finish my reconstruction. I hear the actual implants are much more comfortable than the expanders–very exciting! It will just be an outpatient surgery.
Enough cancer stuff. I finally put some Christmas lights on the front of the house last night. I don’t know why lights matter so much to me, but I really do feel WAY more “Christmasy.” Also, Eli and Em and I put lots of ornaments on the tree, but we still have the “life story” ornaments to do. We can’t find the pics we took last year of them, so we kept them off the tree until we take new pics for a scrapbook. Honestly, we have SO MANY of them, I don’t know how we ever put everything on one tree.
We’re sad we won’t see Jason & MaShay or Steven & Ceci this Christmas, but at least we’ve been able to see them several other times this year. Can’t wait for everyone to move to Colorado!!! 🙂
Well, I’m going to go talk with my husband,m who is looking really bored!
(This is Dad typing) Actually I am really tired. Last week I left for Riverton Wyoming, returned Friday night 11pm. Called out to Vail Saturday night, worked all night, got home 5:30 am. Left for Aztec NM Sunday afternoon. Drove home last night.
Now I need to go grocery shopping before I have to go back to Wyoming. I am really looking forward to brunch!!
Take care everyone, we love you!
It’s Saturday, December 5th, and I had my last infusion 10 days ago! (Yes, I waited way too long to do this update–now that it’s old news…) I had the same nurse from last time; her name is Carla. Anyway, she did it like before, nice and slow, so no bad reactions-Yay! I went with my sister Ellen, and we had a nice time chatting the whole time. We looked at some catalogs at the end to try to choose blinds for my living room, but didn’t really choose. We did solve many of the world’s problems in our conversation, though!
Afterwards, since I couldn’t get my last expansion until Monday, we went to eat and then to Dad’s house to give him our joint birthday present a few days late. We had a really nice visit with Dad and Irene. We stayed too long, though, since I also wanted to get home to spend time with my family. Jason & MaShay and Sarah were home for Thanksgiving. They’d all gone to play racquetball with Darryl, but they still beat me home!
Thanksgiving day Darryl stayed home with me and everyone else went to Grandpa and Grandma Griff’s house for dinner. We had a wonderful, LONG nap–good to build those white blood cells! They brought us plenty of food home. I slept a lot the next two days too; kinda feel like I missed all the visiting with the kids. But the sleep was great too.
To make a long story short, I’m doing much better now, and excited to be REALLY on the road to recovery. People tell me it takes quite awhile (about a year) to feel like yourself again, and I can believe it. This really does take it out of you. I’ll think I feel really good and feel like I have energy, but when I get up and start to actually DO something, I’m weak and easily tired out. So I have learned to pace myself–vacuum, then paperwork, etc. But it’s already not as bad as it was a few days ago!
We just had the strangest surprise. We heard a couple of popping sounds outside and Hurley (the dog) ran under the coffee table. So Darryl looked out the window to see what it was and there were BIG fireworks in the sky. It looked like they were being set off at Sweetwater Park. We watched for a few minutes, wondering who in the world would be doing fireworks in December in 25 degree weather? We kept wanting to go find out what was going on but thinking it would be over any second. Then we just hurried and jumped in the truck and drove down to Sweetwater. The fireworks were still going all the way there and for about 10-15 minutes once we parked in front of a house. It was a great show, just as good as the Fourth of July! And nobody knew! What was going on? We still don’t know. We saw some other cars leaving afterward when we got to Maximus Dr. (like they pulled over to watch too), and some trucks in the park who set them off, and that’s it. Too weird, but a great surprise!
Eli and Darryl had a great day snowboarding and skiing, respectively, with the scouts. I wish I would have sent a camera with them! I, myself, had a VERY productive day. Made 4 different kinds of Christmas cookie dough, cleaned and dusted the kids computer desk and tv, got a screwdriver and removed the old cracked keyboard tray, played a bunch of Christmas songs on the piano, watched “Kiss Me Kate” and made chicken enchiladas for dinner. Don’t worry, they were very mild, didn’t bother my mouth at all. We’ll have to wait a few hours to know about my stomach! 🙂
Enough boring you by now, I know. I’ll try to figure out how to post pictures, since we actually have some! I can’t thank everyone enough for your support and prayers. It really means a lot to me and I KNOW it has helped me to get this far in the whole cancer journey.
Have a wonderful Sunday tomorrow!
Sue, Susan, Mom
Hello friends and family,
Well, it’s Friday night, November 6, 2009. I intended to update this blog this morning. I took some new balder pictures and pics of me in a new hat, but I don’t know how to get them from my phone to the blog. So, all you get is a picture-free update, until we take camera pics (which I think I can figure out)!
Yesterday was chemo #5–that’s 5 out of 6! Only one more to go! Everything went extremely well, with no bad reactions AND we got out of there in record time. My sister, Christy, took me there and we actually had time to go get lunch between the chemo and the expansion. We went to a mediterranean restaurant and had NO IDEA what anything on the menu was, so we finally just picked something. It was ok, but we probably won’t go there again.
We spent almost the entire time while I was getting the infusion talking…and talking…and talking. Then when Christy dropped me off we started talking…Eli finally came outside and said, “So are we going to eat dinner, or what?” That snapped us out of it and we finally parted ways. Of course, we’re not done “catching up.” I guess we could have used the extra time of the other treatments!
I must say, I know I have several days of feeling kinda crummy ahead, but by next Thursday I can really say I only have ONE TREATMENT TO GO!!! It is a very exciting place to be. I’m going to keep being very careful, staying out of public as much as possible, etc. to stay healthy between treatments.
I really have done well, all things considered. Mostly bad body aches for a few days, light headaches, annoying mouth damage (I don’t know if I can really call it sores, or if it’s just swollen/damaged taste buds.) I can’t really taste food like I once could and have to eat bland, because spicy food hurts. And millions of hot flashes. And some fatigue and dizziness when I stand up. And my eyesight is really going bad. But other than that–this is no biggee! I’m lucky to be generally healthy.
Here are some positive things about all of this that I’ve noticed:
- Baldness helps during a hot flash.
- No chin hairs.
- No mustache.
- Hardly ever need to shave my legs.
- ZITS are RARE now. First time in 35 years!
- I get to read more without feeling guilty.
- I get to have great one-on-one time with my sisters.
- Showers are FAST with no head hair or body hair!
- Getting ready after showers is fast with no drying, styling.
- Rain, snow, wind–nothing messes up my hair.
I know there are others, but I can’t think very well on the spot any more. (Chemo brain) Something that was weird this past Sunday: I went to church and had missed the week before, so I hadn’t had my wig on for 2 weeks. When I was getting ready and put my wig on, I thought I looked strange with hair! I actually hated how I looked with all that hair. Even though I still feel like it’s not really me when I look at that bald woman in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself with hair either. VERY STRANGE.
Thanks again to everyone for all your love and support. I really do read your comments, even though I don’t always answer them. It’s nice to know I have such wonderful friends and family rooting for me. I’ll try to add some new pictures within the next couple of days!
Well, I had my 4th (yes, that’s 4 out of 6!) chemotherapy treatment today. I had the same nurse as last time, but his name is Robert (I think I called him Roger in the last blog). I did fine until the last drug, and about a minute into the drip I started feeling my chest tightening up. Completely different from the last reaction. It was really uncomfortable, kinda like when you swallow something that gets stuck in your esophagus and then scrapes its way down, but in my chest. I was sure it was my heart. Then it felt like it was moving its way through me and was in my back and chest both, but the same tight feeling. Just like what I imagine a heart attack would feel like. So Robert stopped that IV and squeezed the saline line to get it going into me and left it on for awhile. My blood pressure was 189/90 or 97 (can’t remember). Way high for me. But I quickly felt better, so he started the drip again MUCH, MUCH more slowly. And everything went fine and I’m alive to tell about it–YAY! I have to admit it was pretty scary for several minutes, though. Then I went across the street to get a curvy figure. I will most likely finish the expansions the same day I finish the chemo. How nice is that?
Also, I got to have a wonderful time with my sister, Pam, who drove me there today. We laughed so hard I once felt compelled to apologize to the nice, reserved, quiet lady across the aisle. We even each did some coloring in color books, which was great for relaxing right after the reaction (I think Pam was inspired to bring those!).
The last treatment was a lot harder (achier, more fatigue, etc.) but was still only bad the first week. So I have high hopes for this time. I should feel good by next Thursday, when I can officially say I’m 2/3 DONE!
Thanks to everyone for your faith and prayers. It means a lot to me, and I’m sure it improves my outcome–how could Heavenly Father ignore so many good people? I feel very blessed to have such good, supportive family and friends.
Love you all,
Mom/Susan/Sue (Whatever you use when you refer to me, insert here)
Thought you’d like an update on my 3rd chemo treatment. Aunt Robyn took me down there, and I warned her that it would probably be a long day, since I had a bad reaction last time. The nurse, Roger, really did set it to drip slowly for 1/2 hour with each of the 2 main drugs. Then when I didn’t react (I just sat there! :), he’d speed it up a little more for awhile, then a little more. He also put me on oxygen the first 1/2 hour each time, just in case. Luckily for all of us, it all went well–very uneventful. Robyn and I had fun talking, doing puzzles and reading Reader’s Digest jokes–ah, chemo! Great bonding time!
One of the other patient’s wife popped some popcorn, causing us to covet it. Robyn went over to check out the snack area and JACKPOT! Popcorn was there! That was a great treat. That same couple also brought a travel game–so smart! You can really learn a lot from the experienced patients.
We were there from 8:45 until about 2:30 (that included seeing the doctor and everything), so we had just enough time to walk over to the plastic surgeon for my expansion, aka to make me more curvy. Instant curves–gotta love that!
Then we went to lunch, even though it was 3:30. Turns out that chemo day is one of the best parts of chemo 🙂 And in a week, when I start to feel good again, I’ll be truly HALF DONE!
Have a wonderful day, whenever you read this. We love you!
We had a wonderful time with all of our 9 kids this past week end. We are so proud of all of you. Thank you for all your support for Susan. Just wanted to give an update on the Chemo. Well Susan had a reaction. She got hot, her blood pressure went way up, her face turned red and she had trouble breathing. The nurse gave her steroids, benedril and not sure of anything else. She quickly returned to normal with a good scare. She finished her treatment and then I took her over to the plastic surgeons and had an appointment.
On the way home from Idaho we picked up a box of peaches. Incredible tasting. We spent part of yesterday making freezer jam and eating them with ice cream. We had some left over rasberries from the yard and so we made rasberry/peach freezer jam. Tastes good.
To finish the day we finally had to cut moms hair as it was getting everywhere and was uncomfortable for her. It was pretty scary to begin but then we had some fun with a mohawk and finally finished it all. We then walked the dog. Sue is not feeling well today and is sleeping now. I am making some cinamon rolls using honey as part of the sugar. dough tastes good! Come over and have one.
I will try and post the pictures that we took while cutting hair.
Well, we are still here (of course) and just enjoyed reading all the newlyweds’ blogs. What a great activity to do during a chemo treatment! I was supposed to watch for any reactions to the Taxotere (the first drip) but I was so into the blogs, I completely forgot to pay attention to how I was feeling! I guess there was no reaction, or at least not enough to notice. I just started getting the 2nd of three main drugs: Carboplatin. This one doesn’t usually cause any immediate reactions. It will go for an hour, then on to the last!
We are sitting in the rocky mountain cancer center. We saw the doctor and got instructions. They put the needle into the new port and drew blood. The Nurse just now started the anti nausea drip. After that the Chemo will begin. Hardest thing we have done this morning is to have Susan decide where she wants to sit in this big treatment area. I will turn this over to Susan now.
OK, the only reason it was hard to decide where to sit was because I didn’t know where Darryl wanted to sit (none of the visitor chairs looked very comfortable). I kept trying to figure out what he wanted, since ALL the chairs for me looked good. 🙂
I obviously didn’t put enough numbing cream over my port this morning, since it was a VERY pokey poke when the nurse put the IV in. Better luck next time! So far it has been pretty uneventful–just sitting here with my puzzle book and Dad started up a conversation with the lady next to us, and her daughter who brought her. Her daughter already left, though.
I think Dad will go crazy before we’re done. This is a pretty boring place so far. I’ll write more a little later…
We went to the Oncologist today. Susan will probably start Chemo in 2 to 3 weeks. Chemo will be 6 treatments one every 3 weeks. New type of Chemo with fewer side effects. However she will still lose hair. She will have to carry around an anti biotic in case of infection etc. she will have a 24 hour phone number in case her temperature goes up. she will also have an immuno therapy that will continue for a year. During Chemo she may develop sores in her mouth etc. She will be given lots of anti nausea stuff.
Radiation is up in the air as there was cancer in only one Lymphnode. That will be determined at the end of the Chemo.
There are some other girl issues that will be determined towards the end of Chemo also.
We also went to the plastic surgeon and had the surgery drains removed. The Plastic Surgeon said everything looks as it should. No infection and everything for reconstruction can be scheduled along with the Chemo. Any reconstruction process has to be coordinated with the Chemo to ward off infection etc.
Susan feels much better with out the drain tubes. she is very excited about being able to shower tommorrow.
The ward and neighbors have been incredibly supportive. We can feel thepower of the prayers in our behalf. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!