30 January 2016


I would say the biggest change since my last post is that I have eaten more.  I've actually gained 2.6 pounds in the past week!  What am I eating, you ask?  In the past week, I've eaten Costa Vida sweet pork salad, buttered noodles, Kimchi, pizza, restaurant Mexican, and restaurant Italian.   I also enjoy tomato and orange juice.

I don't know if that list looks impressive to you or not....I eat random things when I have cravings, and I'm never sure what it will be or when.  I wish I was on a more normal schedule where I was eating regular food at regular times of the day, but I am grateful to be consuming anything and grateful for cravings that are coming more frequently.

Tuesday marks the start of Chemo Round Two.  I've been pleasantly surprised with the minimal side effects I experience with Round One.  I pray every day that the chemo is doing what it's supposed to be doing, and that we can obliterate this disease from my body.

Thank you for your help with managing the last couple of weeks.  I know your faith and prayers are helping me!

24 January 2016

Better Than Expected

I have felt better following this first round of treatments than I had expected to.  Don't get me wrong....I feel yucky ALL the time.  But this yucky doesn't include severe nausea and vomiting, which is really great.

I've had more of an appetite the last two days, and I've managed to eat (and almost enjoy) buttered noodles and some restaurant Mexican.  It's good to have something besides yucky drink all the time.  I dream about food almost every night.  One night this week, I dreamed about a ham and pepperoni sandwich.  Another night, it was spoon-size shredded wheat cereal.  I wake up with the dreams lingering and hoping I will still want to eat, but reality is a different story!

I have also been watching quite a few episodes of a program called Chopped on the Food Network this past week.  I also watch Hallmark movies on occasion.  I go on walks every day, and I try to go a little farther each time.  I sure love it when the sun shines, even if it's cold, and I'm glad I don't live on the East Coast these days!

Thank you so much for reaching out to me--I'm sorry I don't have the energy to reach back the way I wish I could.  Thanks for praying for me, too.  I know it helps me.

19 January 2016

One Down, Five to Go; Three Down, Fifteen to Go

I finished my first complete round of my new chemotherapy today!  Due to the fluids and drugs they gave me, I have a bit more energy this evening, but my appetite is still a complete loss.  I lost four pounds since last Wednesday, and got many lectures today at the hospital about eating more and drinking more fluids.

I can honestly say that the side effects of the first two treatments this round were better than I expected.  I'm not sure what to expect from the one I had today.  I start up again in thirteen days, and I'm hoping to have some appetite back by the first part of next week.

Let me know if you have any great ideas about what I should be doing with my time the next thirteen days....it's hard to fill the long hours without a schedule.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!  I really believe they help me.

17 January 2016

The Last Few Days

The last few days have been pretty standard, post-chemo days.  My energy has been very low with a nonexistent appetite.  I've been drinking about 900 calories a day of the yucky drink.  Fortunately, I haven't had the nausea and vomiting that I had before, which has been great.  I've also been sleeping a little bit better, which is also great.

I got out and saw Star Wars yesterday....I went to sacrament meeting today.  It's hard to fill the many hours of the day when you just don't feel good.  I miss the days when there was too much to do and not enough time.

I have another treatment on Tuesday, then I'll have thirteen days off.  On we go!

14 January 2016

On We Go

My Cinderella time ended around 2 pm.  It was nice while it lasted!  We're back to no appetite and super low energy, and two yucky drinks as meals.  Fortunately, I have had no real problems with nausea yet, but it sure makes me grateful for the few weeks where I had a little bit of an appetite.

Some people have asked me why I drink the yucky drinks if they're so yucky.  It's because each one has 430 calories, and is only 8 oz of liquid.  So, it packs a lot of calories per ounce.  The best way I've found to describe them is the taste and texture of vanilla ice cream that has melted in the carton.

I'm grateful for everyone who asks what they can do to help me.  I really don't know right now, other than to continue to ask for your prayers.

On we go!

13 January 2016

IP Chemo #1

Thank you so much for all of the well wishes that came my way for this first IP chemo!

The chemo itself was surprisingly easier than I expected, although longer.  It took 6.5 hours at the hospital.  It's a weird little deal.  After putting hydration fluids and pre-meds in through my IV port, I am then filled with two liters of fluids and chemotherapy drugs through my IP port.  The IP port has a little tube that deposits everything straight into my abdomen.  The objective is to coat every single cell in my abdomen and find all the little nooks and crannies where the cancer cells might be hiding and coat them all in the deadly poison.

To accomplish this task, once the fluids and drugs are in my abdomen, then I have to rotate from side to side every 15 minutes for 75 minutes.  I had been warned that the two liters of fluid in my abdomen may be very uncomfortable for 24-48 hours.  It didn't take long for me to realize that because of my previous bulgy belly and the 8+ liters of fluid I carried around for weeks, these two little liters of fluid were nothing.  In fact, I didn't even notice them going in!  Who thought I'd ever be grateful for my bulgy belly?

I feel really good right now, but that's one of the deceiving things about the day of chemo.  They pump you so full of pre-meds, including anti-nausea and steroids and feel-good drugs, that many patients call it their Cinderella day.  This is why I was surprised when I threw up yesterday, because that is not standard Cinderella day behavior!   When I left the hospital today, I felt great, and I even went out for Chinese food, which tasted YUMMY.  That is Cinderella day material!

I have been warned that there may be many days of severe nausea ahead.  But of course, I am praying that the side effects will be minimal, and greedily, I am actually praying that I will sail through this chemotherapy.  (Yep, that last comment is definitely from someone in her Cinderella day.  But a girl can dream, can't she?)

Oh and also....I gained two pounds in the last week.  Yipee!!

Thank you again for every prayer, thought, text, note of encouragement, flower, gift, demonstration of faith, and visit.  They have really lifted my spirits moving into this next phase of the journey.  I really am so blessed with so much light and love that comes my way every single day.  I don't deserve you all, but I definitely love you.  Thank you so much.

12 January 2016

Tuesday, Wednesday, Tuesday

My chemotherapies this week are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and the following Tuesday.

I had my first one today, and it was a standard IV chemotherapy.  I was there for five hours, with good company that made the time go by quite quickly.

I got home, felt pretty decent, made myself some lunch, but then within two hours of returning home, I had thrown it all up.  I've struggled to eat dinner tonight, as it seems my appetite is gone.

Other than that, I feel pretty okay.

Bring on Wednesday!

10 January 2016

Strength Beyond My Own

Yesterday I received a phone call from Jeanette's bishop.  He asked if I would like a priesthood blessing leading into the coming week.  I was delighted that he called, but a little bit baffled about how he knew what was coming this week.

When he and his counselor arrived this afternoon, I asked him how he knew what was coming up.  He responded that I'd been on his mind repeatedly on Saturday, which is odd because I've never met him.  So he asked his wife if she still had my blog address.  They pulled up the blog and discovered that I was starting chemotherapy again this week, which encouraged him to reach out to me and ask if I wanted a blessing.

I was touched by his story and grateful that the Lord is mindful of me and aware of what is going on.  I don't remember all of the blessing, but I do remember being blessed with strength beyond my own, and help from both sides of the veil.

I am, understandably, not excited about the upcoming treatments and ask for your help.  Please continue to pray for me, that I will have the mental and physical stamina to endure these treatments.  Please pray that they will be effective, that they will kill the remaining cancer cells in my body.  Please pray that I will endure minimal side effects associated with these drugs.

My treatments this week are Tuesday at 8:30 am and Wednesday at 9:00 am, then again the following Tuesday.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and thoughts and encouragement and help.  I love you so much.

06 January 2016

Here We Go Again

I've been waiting to update until I had more information.  I had an appointment with my oncologist today and have a better idea of what's coming down the next few months.

To recap:  my first three rounds of chemotherapy were once every three weeks.  This time around, it will be three times in a week, with a thirteen day break between rounds.  There is also another major difference--two of the three treatments (each round) will be done through an intraperitoneal port.  This is a very different experience.

When the doctor did my surgery, he also implanted a device that will make it possible to squirt the chemotherapy straight into my abdominal cavity.  Although this is a nice idea when it comes to the effectiveness of chemotherapy, rumor has it that it is brutal for the person receiving it.

As of now, I am scheduled to receive six rounds of chemo, totaling 18 treatments, 12 of which will be intraperitoneal starting this Tuesday, Jan. 12.

If it sounds like I'm dreading this, you're reading it right.  I am.  I'm not just dreading the side effects of the chemo, but also the fact that I've already lost 70 pounds.  The nausea that accompanies chemo makes it nearly impossible to eat right, and I can't afford to lose more weight.

My plan is to not let the cart get too far ahead of the horse and stay focused on overcoming the challenge of each day.  If I get too far ahead of myself, it becomes too overwhelming.

One day at a time!