29 October 2015

All Good

It is 4:25pm and everything has been good today.

I am eating real food (not a ton but no yucky drinks), walking upright without pain or major discomfort, enjoying the company of others, and sighting a tad bit of a personality in my own self.

Let's keep it up, Thursday.  You are coming along nicely.

Oh, and it is also a BEAUTIFUL day here in Boise, Idaho.

Three cheers!

28 October 2015

No Appetite Again...ARGH

It started fading last night and I hoped it would return this morning but, alas, no.  We are back to a combination of yucky drinks and force fed soup and stuff. Grrr....

Besides that, I enjoyed so much my time with my brother and my parents.  They sacrificed so much to come help me.

I also received all of my pre-op paper work today and we are off and running-ish.

10 Nov.:  Appt with Oncologist
20 Nov.:  CT scans to see what's a growin' and what's a shrinkin'
24 Nov.:  Consult with Surgical Oncologist
29 Nov.:  Stop with blood thinning shots
30 Nov.:  Big Ole Surgery at 9:30am  (live broadcast begins at noon ET)
01 Dec.:  Go to the Beach!!!

Oh, and I feel like Spleeny is shrinking.  I know I've spoken of Ding, Dong, and Dork; however, there's also Spleeny (which is much too cute of a name for such a nuisance)  Spleeny sits under my left ribcage and feels most of the time like a full-sized football is lodged under my left ribcage.  The Spleeny tumor has been the most prevalent and annoying.
The last few days, I haven't been disrupted by Spleeny really at all.  I'm not sure what to make of it except that he/she/it may be getting smaller and smaller?  Wouldn't that be nice?!

Love to all



27 October 2015

I Will Start Reporting In The Daytime

The reason I've been sparse lately is because I always feel yucky at night.  I will start reporting during the daytime hours because, especially the last few days, I have felt so much better.

I am actually eating!!!  Food.  Real food. Not chemically engineered yucky drinks that give me calories and spike my blood sugar but provide no real nutrition.  Don't get me wrong, I know these things have their value, but I am so glad to not be entirely dependent on them today.

In the last post, I mentioned Mindy's visit.  Since she left, my sister, Stephanie, my niece, Syvanna, my brother, M, and my parents, have all showed up.

M showed up with so many fun and meaningful gifts.  Two of the gifts he gave me were a Mrs. Potato Head (we look alike), and a fro wig.

Another development in the past few days is a FIRM SURGERY DATE!
30 November is the day, folks!  It's amazing how much I am looking forward to the day that I will be cut open from top to bottom, and stripped of almost every non-essential organ in my body :)

Please, please continue to pray that the tumors will shrink and that my blood will only clot when it is supposed to clot and not when it's not.


Best Gals You'll Meet


Mini-Me



M knows how to pick a wig!

23 October 2015

Three Chemo Down

Chemo #3 is in the record books.  Now, the story of post-chemo 3 is being written.

The first couple of days included energy, appetite, pretty good everything all-around.

On the afternoon of day three (Thursday), it all tanked.  We are back to fighting for every ounce of energy, no appetite..the whole routine.

However, my sister Mindy showed up from San Francisco on Wednesday with baby Berrett!  Her timing was great and it's been all blessing to have her here.

The little food I have been eating the last couple of days hasn't stayed down well.  I'm not doing well with car transportation lately.  It seems like I throw up every time I get out of a car.  This is a new development which I hope is short-lived.

With chemo 3 done, the next item on the agenda is the massive de-bulking surgery which we are hoping takes place 01 December.

Please pray that the tumors will shrink.  The smaller the tumors, the more enthusiastic the surgeon is about the success of the surgery and the post-op recovery. So far, the jury is out as to whether or how much they are shrinking.  We need them to be smaller.  I ask for your faith and prayers with this.  I know that IF it is the will of the Lord, they will shrink.



20 October 2015

Cinderella Part Two

8:30am-  Amity picked me up and dropped me off at the hospital
8:45am-  Lab draws through my port
9:00am- Met with Oncologist and my sister
10:30am-4:00pm Chemo treatment
11:00am-present (9:30pm) Feeling great and normal

I felt like myself today.  It is hard to explain how much I've missed my own self.  Enjoying this fall season has been darn near impossible because I have felt so sick most of the time.

During the 5.5 hour chemo treatment, my normal self had fun conversations. I made some new friends with staff members, visited with the cute dietician about institute and singles wards,  talked with the beautiful Lutheran chaplain about the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith (She will be a wonderful Relief Society President sooner than later), ate real food and enjoyed it, and had a really good time.  Melissa is always faithfully by my side and having Jeanette there for the last few hours was a bonus.  On the way out of the chemo center, we found a wig room, and I had some fun trying on some wigs.  I'm not convinced that the bald look is my absolute favorite, but I know that I prefer it over wigs for the time being.  I'm probably heading in the hat direction sooner than later, especially since it's the weather is starting to cool down.







After the chemo, it was off to The Olive Garden where I was treated to the Never Ending Pasta Bowl. True to their word, they comp'd my dinner again.  My oncologist was unhappy again about my weight.  I had lost another ten pounds since my last appointment. Olive Garden is a great place to start to regain weight.  Did you know that each breadstick is 140 calories?  You had better believe I said "yes" to each time the server asked "Would you like grated cheese on that?" The server sent me home with an extra bowl of pasta just to contribute to my weight gain.





video

video

I was feeling so great, I invited a couple of friends to meet me at The Village Meridian to watch the nighttime light displays and enjoy the fall weather outside.  It was so fun.  I felt NORMAL!!


video

Thank you for so many prayers, thoughts, and well-wishes today,  I know I was blessed today by the miracle of medicine as well as the power of priesthood, love, and  prayer.

Part of me knows I should go to bed now to keep up my routine.  The other part of me wants to stay up all night and have a slumber party because I don't know when the carriage is going to turn into a pumpkin again.  Best day in....I don't know how long.

18 October 2015

It's Been A Rough Few Days

Howdy.

The last few days, I've been all sorts of lethargic, not eating, barely functioning.  It's always hard to know what is going on.

This morning was the same.  I got a substitute yesterday for my Primary class today because I could tell yesterday that Sacrament Meeting was probably going to be all I could handle.  That was a good move as I barely made it sitting up straight for the 1.25 hours of Sacrament Meeting.

The rest of the day was decent.  I felt stronger than I had for the previous few days but nothing all too impressive.  The food situation is a disaster.

My third round of chemotherapy is Tuesday morning.

I am surrounded by so many wonderful people who are sacrificing left and right to help me.  I just wish I felt well enough to enjoy them and to give something in return.  I feel so high maintenance.  I pray I will show my gratitude the best I can because I truly am so very grateful.

15 October 2015

The last two days have been up and down.  I am growing more accustomed to the downs because I am increasingly aware that there are monsters that live inside of me that are not going away until they are surgically removed.  Until then, there are some variables that I am just not going to be able to control no matter what.

I've done fairly well with food two of the last three days.  I am experimenting more with solid food and having more success than before. I just have to remind myself that food is medicine and I have to take medicine every hour or the monsters in my body start taking over and it's hard to play catch-up.

I receive constant help and support and I am so grateful for every text, email, phone call, letter, prayer, act of service, suggestion,..all of it.  Thank you.

I know that the Lord has not left me comfortless.  He hears me and He helps me every day.  I know He knows his little daughter is struggling and He will never abandon me.  I cannot imagine my despair if I didn't know that.

I want to go to the beach.

13 October 2015

Yep, Today Was Better

I am pleased to announce that yesterday's storm found its place in the universe, and today was a new day with more success all around!

I have come to accept that the food issue will continue to be part of my new normal (instead of getting mad and discouraged every time I have to eat something.) I actually choked down solid food today--real food, not the fake food!  It made a HUGE difference.  My body felt stronger today, my emotions felt more balanced, and I felt just better all around.

Some day, it will be interesting to find out just how much all of your faith and prayers have contributed to my days.

Thank you thank you thank you

Today Will Be Better

12 October 2015

Must Do Hard Things

Today was hard.  The morning was very nice, but the afternoon and evening were just so hard.  I may even have cried my head off for an extended period of time.

The disease takes a mental toughness far beyond my natural ability.  I am dependent upon superpowers beyond my own, and sometimes I just come up painfully short.

Must. Do. Hard. Things.

11 October 2015

Sunday Update

Church was great.  I love to be with my sweet ward family.

My primary class is beyond amazing.  A whole room of fabulous twelve year olds.  I love them.

This afternoon and evening, I felt just miserable.  Eating is such a burden.  My sister is quick to remind me that if I don't eat enough, I will be admitted to the hospital with an NG tube up my nose. That is always enough to get me to choke down one more yucky drink.

I had some sweet visitors today.  I wish I had the energy to be more interesting and entertaining. I appreciate the kindness so much.

I hope you had a blessed Sabbath day.  Thank you for checking in!  It means a lot to me

10 October 2015

Bulgy Belly

I measured my belly.  It is a circumference of 40 inches around my belly button, and it is tight as a drum.  Does that sound frustrating and uncomfortable?  Good!  Because it is.

I contacted the doctor yesterday about bulgy belly, and he wasn't overly concerned, probably because there is nothing that can be done about it while I continue to be a clotting risk.

The morning today was nice....I went to three soccer games for three of my nieces.  It was nice to spend some time outside in this beautiful, beautiful fall weather, even though I think I may have sunburned my bald head.  In my defense, I did wear a hat for two of the three games!

The BYU football game distracted me a bit from bulgy belly tonight.

Thank you, BYU, for winning!

09 October 2015

Extra, Extra

I am frequently asked if I have good insurance.  The answer is YES!  I have great insurance for which I am extremely grateful.

That said, even with great insurance, treating this disease gets pretty pricey.  And, if I am fortunate enough to get the de-bulking surgery in the next couple of months, it's going to get crazy expensive.

I am not out of money, and I do not want to wait until I am before I reach out for assistance.

I have just received my second round of hospital bills equaling $1000.  I paid for the first round using the generous donations I received last month.  It was amazing to receive this unsolicited help.

If you have a little EXTRA money lying around that you would be interested in contributing to this round of bills, it would help me out tremendously.  I really do mean EXTRA.  I don't want it to be a sacrifice or a burden or come from any fund that needs it more than I do.

If you have a surplus and would like to contribute to this cause, you can use this PayPal link:



If you don't have PayPal, or don't like to use that venue, you can mail to me at:
1160 West Anton Drive
Meridian, Idaho
83646

Is this unconventional?  Probably, but it is more my style to be direct than to turn the matter over to someone else to speak for me.  Thank you!  Thank you!!  Thank you!!!


Update:  Good day, miserable evening.  My belly is big and tight and bothering me.  I am also not eating nearly enough :(


08 October 2015

Two Days

Yesterday was quite good again.  I ate pretty well, felt pretty good, and had the pain and nausea under control.  I got some homework done (Thank you, Amity), and spent some time visiting with a wonderful friend who came to visit me from San Francisco.

Today was kind of weird.  The day started out well, especially in the calorie department.  I had eaten 400 calories by 10am which was great!  None of the food was all that exciting, of course.  I drank an Ensure (I call it the yucky drink), ate 3/4 of a yoghurt, and chewed and swallowed a few bites of leftover vegetable beef soup...off to a good start!

At 11:30am, I threw up the yucky drink on the drive home from the airport (I wasn't the driver).  I also threw up at 630pm after I took my evening medications.

My belly has been bulging, tight, and compacted since last night.  I don't know what to make of it. Is it inflammation? fluids?  rapidly growing tumors?  Whatever it is, is uncomfortable and unsettling. I'd like to just ignore it but it is too uncomfortable to just ignore.  It's like being pregnant but not knowing what it is that is causing me to be bigger overnight.  I am curious to see what tomorrow brings.  Maybe it will be smaller.  I really don't know what is going on.  Hmmm...

06 October 2015

All Great

Today was all and only great.
I had no pain, no nausea that couldn't be controlled, no throwing up, no other yucky elimination-related problems, nothing bad.

I did go on a couple of walks.
I ate and retained about 800 calories (including 3 chips and some salsa)
I spent some quality time with friends and family.
My body didn't do it's 6pm meltdown
I got to think about and do stuff for people other than myself.

Let's have more of these!

Thank you for ALL of your support, love, help, faith, and prayers.


05 October 2015

Happy Monday

Last night, I had quite possibly the best night's sleep I've had in two months.  I awoke feeling quite good and got off to a good start.  The good start continued until about 10am and I have been sick ever since.  I think I caught a stomach flu.  Not fun but not worth complaining about because I hear that a lot of people have had stomach flu lately so I will just sound like a big, whiny baby if I complain.  So, here's to all of us who had the flu today.  I am sorry for all of us...it's no fun at all.  We will look forward to a healthier tomorrow.  Happy FHE everyone!  It's Monday night!

04 October 2015

Fabulous

Great Saturday.  Great Sunday.  So very glad I went to Utah.

So many sweet highlights but it definitely rocked to see so much of my family in just 2.5 days.  I had family with me for each session of conference.  They had tickets to the conference center for each session but rotated between the conference center and sitting with me.  It was so nice.

We all got together after the priesthood session.  That was a definite highlight.  Everyone came to my friend's ginormous house where I was staying and it was so much fun. I got to visit with so many family members and it is always a blast to watch the cousins play so cute together.

After the morning session of conference today, which I watched with 13 family members and a friend at the house, we all met for one last time at a park in Bountiful close to where Ronald is sequestered.

We had a lovely picnic at the park and then we hopped in our cars and headed back to our individual cities and states.

My energy held up quite well on both Saturday and Sunday.  I melt every day round 6pm and struggle to regain energy but I cannot complain because making it that long makes for such better days.  I really wish I could push through that 6pm lethargy but I'm grateful for the strength I do have.

Eating continues to be such a problem.  I rarely get in more than 500 calories a day and it is very frustrating.  I have a daily goal to eat, eat, eat.

I have been sleeping very well at night and for that, I am extremely grateful.  Thank you for your prayers,

I am grateful to be surrounded by so many people of faith.  I love all people everywhere and am grateful for each person's contribution to my life; however, I find that I am the most strengthened and uplifted by wonderful people of faith.  Thank you for lifting me with your faith.  I need you.

Three million cheers for General Conference.  Can't beat it.


 Crazy Aunt Michelle who refuses to wear a hat


Dad showing off his Team Michelle T-shirt


Super-Cute 16 year old nieces.  They called themselves the "Modest Monkeys" when they were just little.  They are awesome


Some of the Conference Center crew.  Bright looking bunch for sure


All of the Du Bois clan that was in Utah for the weekend.  We missed you, Mark and Matt!!


03 October 2015

Better Day All Around

The ride from Boise to SLC was pretty rough on my body which made for more pain and discomfort than I had expected.  I had hoped Friday would be better all around and it was.

I was talking to a friend about how I would define a "good" day vs. a "great" day. According to my definition, I would say that Friday was definitely a good day.  It could have tipped into great if I had eaten more because lack of calories is so problematic.  I also needed to move more but, of course, the weakness from the calorie issue directly impacts the movement issue.

Friday had some really positive moments.

I got to spend some time with my bro-in-law, Ronald, who is now 32 days post bone marrow transplant.  He looked so great and is such an inspiration to me. He continues to defy odds left and right and I instantly felt more motivated after seeing him.  It was awesome to finally see my sister, Stephanie, whom I haven't seen in two months because of her need to stay with Ronald.

While in Utah, I am staying in the super-comfortable home of a dear friend.  Their family has waited on me hand and foot since I arrived.  I can hardly believe all of their kindnesses.

My sister, Mindy, and her family are here from San Francisco and they are staying here with me at the house.  They always bring so much help and positivity.  It is fabulous to be with their happy little family.

I didn't throw up at all on Friday.

I stayed up late with my niece to watch the entire BYU football game.  She is a wonderful treasure.

Today, Saturday, is off to a great start. Let the Conference begin!
 

01 October 2015

I Made It!

Another rough post-chemo day.  Did manage to make it to Utah, although my breakfast and dinner from today are sitting in plastic bags in the garbage, having made a reappearance not long after ingestion.

The good thing about being in Utah is, even though I still feel miserable, at least miserable is surrounded by many dear loved ones!

Tomorrow, six of the eight Du Bois children will be together--so blessed.  Bring on General Conference!