Sunday, December 28, 2008

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas! As expected, my daughter Kelly arrived home from Texas, around 4am on Christmas Eve morning. My nephew, Ben Govero, also lives in Texas, and they had gotten together to make the trip back home to Missouri for Christmas. They had lots of funny stories to share about the Govero Christmas Road Trip! The kiddos were so excited to have her home. Emma Jean woke up, and looked out the window to see Kelly's truck and trailer sitting out there, and squealed "Kelly's home!!" I made pancakes and we all sat around and had breakfast together, laughing and listening to stories. That evening, we loaded up and headed to Keith's parents' house for the annual Govero Christmas Eve get together. My daughter, Jen, was at my mom's house. She called, and said that they were coming to the Govero's and they were bringing Grandma Adams with them! It was a surprise, but a good one. I truly think mom enjoyed herself. She got out of the house, and she got to have conversation with lots and lots of people. Jen, Mom, and Jen's boyfriend, Mike loaded up around 8:30 and went back to mom's. We stayed a little while longer, but by 9:30 or so, we too were loading up our crew. By the time we got home, we were all tired as we carried the younger ones inside to bed. Christmas morning, we got up around 7ish to watch Emma open her presents, teehee. This year was a very different year for us, and the focus was not on the gifts. There were a few under the tree, but nothing compared to Christmases past. Mom and Jen arrived around 11ish, and my son Nick, and his family arrived about the same time. We all gathered around a table of good food and had good fellowship, as we celebrated the birthday of our Lord. After dinner, Nick's wife, Jessica sang a couple of songs for us! She sang one of my favorites, "Mary Did You Know". She has a beautiful voice, and sings acapella.

We received 4 box seat tickets for Christmas, from Mike and Jenna, to see the Radio City Rockettes at the Fox Theatre on Saturday night. Keith "declined", so it was my daughter Kelly, Jenna, Mom and I. My daughter, Jen, turns 21 on the 30th of December, so we used that as our birthday dinner celebration. We went to the show, then out to eat afterwards at Herbie's in the Central West End. It used to be Balaban's, where Jen worked until it closed and she was forced to find other employment. As we were walking from where we parked the car, to the restaurant, Kelly was walking on the outside of us, next to the cars parked on the street. As we walked by this little white car, a huge German Shepherd tried to eat her up!! It was sitting in the back seat of the car, but apparently Kelly got way too close for that dog's comfort, and he decided to let her know she was too close!! I thought Kelly was going to have a heart attack! We laughed all the way to the restaurant, and for quite awhile once inside! It was tooo funny.

This morning, as we were getting ready for church, my son called and said that he had a commercial to film today, and Jess wanted to go with him, so could they bring Ruger over. I never miss an opportunity to watch my grandson, so yea!!! We packed him off to church with us, and he was such a good boy, he was awake during the music portion, but once Bro. Carl started preaching, Ruger laid down with his plug, in Kelly's lap, and went right to sleep! We then came home to a big pot of beans and ham and cornbread. What do you do with your leftover Christmas ham??? Soul food baby!!

Today has been a relaxing day, watching my kiddos play together, watching my grandson play with them. I'm trying to practice what I preach, and let go and let God. I'm trying not to think about the fact that Tuesday morning, again, we will be leaving at 6am to go to Barnes again. At 8:15am I will be getting an EKG, and at 9:30am, another biopsy. I can do this...........

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good Morning folks out there in cyber space! I am here to "eat crow", so to speak. I have said my daddy was a baby when it came to pain tolerance. Let me just say, I got no sleep last nite!! He didn't complain near enough about this port thing!! The more the lidocaine wore off, the more my neck and chest area hurt, where they had placed the port. Actually, it was my neck muscles that were hurting, and only when I used them. Ha! You don't realize how many times your neck muscles flex! Smiling, chewing, laughing, even when you need to "raise your voice" to say something to your teenagers, teehee. My, my, my, this is going to be fun. I can't even grit my teeth, instead of raising my voice. So, hmmm, I just have to say what I need to say in a gentle, quiet spirit. That's going to be uh, hm, different.

I just need to vent a little here. This is Tuesday. Christmas is Thursday. I have absolutely nothing under the tree for my teens!!!!! I did have some things I had bought back in the summer for my little girls, and they have been pulled out and wrapped. But for Ethan and Adam, nothing. For Jessy and Kate, nothing. And, it goes without saying nothing for Nick, Kell and Jen. I have been a bit distracted, and kept thinking, after I'm done with this, or after I'm done with this. I still have time. And after each of the procedures, it took me a day or two before I felt comfortable getting out and navigating the "zoo" that's out there this time of year. My daughter, Kate, works at Wal-Mart. She comes in last nite, after working a 10 hour shift and declares...."I hate Christmas!!" Of course, I said, as strongly as I could without using any neck muscles, "KATE, DON'T SAY THAT!!! YOU DON'T HATE CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS IS JESUS' BIRTHDAY!!!". She said, ok, I hate what they have turned Christmas into, can I say that??? There you have it, from the mouth of an 18 year old babe. She is getting to see, up close and personal, what Christmas has turned into. I am torn between, letting Christmas come, without trying to get something under the tree for my kids that are "old enough to understand", or just letting it go. This morning, I am leaning towards letting it go. I still can't turn my head either direction without feeling "pressure", since I can't really label it as pain. Therefore, I don't feel like that is a condition I can drive with. Not to mention, it is drizzling freezing rain and sleet out there. My son, Nick, just called from town to let us know the roads are hazardous, and the crowds are worse! So, I guess, the decision has been made for me. What's there is there, and nothing more.

I think I have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day covered, when it comes to my mom. My husband's family have their get together on Christmas Eve at his mom and dad's house in Festus. Jenna has volunteered to go be with mom on Christmas Eve. She says her and Mike, her boyfriend, will go to Grandma Govero's to make an appearance, then they are going to mom's to cook her dinner on Christmas Eve. Then Mike will leave, and Jen will spend the night with mom. Christmas morning, Mike will return to pick up Jen to have breakfast with his mom and family to watch them open their presents. Then Jen will return to mom's to help her make banana pudding and then bring her down to my house for Christmas Dinner. Then, before dark, return mom back to her house. I say before dark, because mom keeps saying, as long as I am back home before dark. Of course, all this is easily changed by the weather, but at least if the weather turns bad, Jen will be there with mom, and she won't be alone on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Pray for us!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

We got in the car this morning at 6:35am. The temperature was 3 degrees. Slightly chilly today! We drove the familiar route to the hospital. 55 North, get in the left lane to exit onto 44 West. A drive that never fails to bring memories flooding back, that I have tried to push out of my mind. Only, on my current routine, I do not get off at Grand to head to St. Louis University Hospital. I go one exit past that, get off at Kingshighway, and head towards Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Center. A place my daddy wanted to be. A place my daddy repeatedly told us was "the best" hospital. We pull into the parking garage that has already become a familiar routine. We have already learned to go past this level, start down the other level, so as to get ahead of the "rookie parkers", and get the best parking spots. We find our way to the 2nd Floor Radiology where I am to get a MUGA scan to test my heart health, establish a base line, before they start the chemo. They stick me once in the left arm, inject me with something. Then, they insert an IV in my right arm and inject me with something else. I am then escorted into a different room, told to lay on my back very still, while they take pictures of my heart with this huge camera thing. The good thing about that procedure is that they let me keep my phone, which I had playing my Praise and Worship songs through my headphones! About an hour later, I am released. We then head to 3rd Floor Radiology Procedures, to have the Portocath installed. That lasted about 2 hours, and they gave me some sweeeeeeet sedation stuff! I was awake, I could hear them, I could even answer their questions, but I felt nothing, and basically didn't care what they were doing, LOL! Then they wheeled me back into recovery, where Keith was brought in to hear the "discharge instructions". I am to pick up nothing over 5 lbs with my left arm for the next 7 days!! And nothing stronger than Tylenol for pain. We then gave my nurse, Karen, a call and she met us in a conference room on the 7th floor to go over my prescriptions and what side effects to expect. I have been known to faint whenever I get really scared or nervous. As we were sitting there in that conference room, as she was going over all the meds; "compazine is an anti-nausea drug blah blah blah, Zofran is also an anti-nausea medicine blah blah blah, lorazepam is an anti-anxiety medicine which has good anti-nausea properties blah blah blah. You will also be given Neulasta, an injection that you will have to give yourself the day after each chemotherapy treatment blah blah blah." The more she talked, the warmer that room got and before I knew it, the clouds were coming in. I mentioned with a shaky voice I needed water. Keith was on it. He saw it coming. I mentioned to Karen, while Keith was gone to get me some water that I was feeling slightly dizzy and she suggested I lay my head on the table. Seriously...... Out of respect, I did that....for about a minute. I realized quickly that wasn't going to slow it down. I said, I am gonna have to lay down on the floor. She began to get nervous, no honey, you don't need to lay down on the floor. By the time she was at the "honey", I was flat down on my back, laying on the cool floor. Keith was wiping my face with a wet paper towel, and talking me out of it. Karen left and returned with several choices of food and beverages, one being OJ!!! Keith set me up, I drank the OJ, and began to feel better. Keith was making excuses about having nothing to eat since yesterday, and it was 2pm. I knew better. That may have played a slight part in this, but I feel it was more the "familiarity of the drugs, the side effects,", the whole deal. It was her talking. It was memories flooding way too fast. It was me not wanting to talk about it, and me not wanting her to talk about it!! It was me wanting to scream "just give me the papers, I can read, besides I know everyone of these drugs and what the side effects are!" I wanted to run out of there, down the hall and back to the parking garage! But, they had one more stop for me to make. I had to go across the hall, get blood drawn one more time, for this one last test they needed to have in their files........a pregnancy test! LOL! Now that is laughable, is it not? They have x-rayed me, injected me with radio active die to make the pictures show the contrasts, etc. I mean, seriously, now they are going to do a pregnancy test?? But, hey, they need that paperwork and test result in their file. Routine. Whatever, we then left and headed for the parking garage. On the way home, we stopped at Arnold Ready Mix to pay a concrete bill or two, then on to Herky to stop and check in on mom. She seemed to be in good spirits, so after she asked a couple times where we had been, I told mom that we had just come from the hospital. She said again? Didn't you say you were there last week having some tests done? I finally told mom, that yes, they had found cancer in my breast. She asked me, rather quickly, what they are going to do about it. I told her they were going to start me on a treatment plan of chemotherapy for several weeks. But then told her the story of comparing leukemia and breast cancer was like comparing an elephant to a mouse. Two very different animals. Breast cancer was curable. And I wasn't going to be in the hospital. All my treatments were going to be out patient, one day a week, for several weeks. I think she was ok with all my explanations. I hope so. I guess time will tell.

Prayers are welcome.....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This morning, Nick, Jess and Ruger, joined us at our church for morning services! It was "Gift Sunday", and they presented each and every child between the ages of 2 and 4th grade, in church today, with a gift! It was so cute to see Ruger open his present on stage, as well as Emma Jean, Kassy and Kimberly. Kim and Kass both got backpacks with water bottles that sported the logo "Kid City at Calvary Temple". Emma and Ruger both got toys! When Bro. Carl read the prayer list, my name was on the list. Some came up after church, wanting to know why. Very emotional.....

I am not to have anything to eat or drink after midnight tonight, until after the PORT is put in tomorrow morning at 10 am. After I am done with that, I am supposed to meet with my Clinical Nurse, Karen, to go over my prescriptions and what each drug is for. I have been reading on line what to expect from each of these drugs. Some of it is scary. But, most of what I am reading is convincing me that, even though this will not be a fun journey, it will be a journey that I will be able to get through. I have a good support system. I can not imagine the people that make this journey without the faith I have in my God. I spent all of 2007, "helping my dad" walk this path, or so I thought. Apparently, it was more to prepare me to walk the path I am about to walk. When my Oncologist sat down to begin to explain to me what a PORT was and what to expect. Tears filled my eyes. Again, not because of what he was saying. But because I had to say, I know what a PORT is, and I know what it is daddy had a PORT. Again, memories. I don't know whether it is a good thing or a bad thing that I am so familiar with the terminology, the tools, the tests, etc. When I was processing all this Friday, I reached up on my shelf, and got down "The Notebook". I kept a notebook all during the journey of dad's battle against Leukemia. Everything from meds, to notes about how he felt on each day, how he responded to each drug or test or procedure. I wanted to read about the day daddy got his PORT. It was not hard to find. "Daddy got a port put in today. He left his room about 8:30 and returned around 11:30. He was asking for breakfast, saying he was hungry and had gotten nothing to eat today, and had not had any coffee." As I read this, again, memories flooded back. It is all still so vivid, even today, more than a year later. It is just so weird that now it is me hearing everyone say, we will get through this, it will be ok. I can hear daddy saying, "Quit talking to me like I have one foot in the grave!" But I also am reminded of how many times he had to go to some procedure, have some tests run, and what all we said to try and calm him down, keep him from being worried. Now I know, it doesn't matter what is said. I know that daddy did it, and he was a baby when it came to pain tolerance. But that doesn't stop me from being nervous about tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

OK, now that I have played around with this website, figured out how it works, now, I will share the details of my distractions of late.

I have been noticing some changes in my body. I can't put my finger on when it started, or how long it has been going on. I guess I was in denial. There was a sore that just wouldn't heal. I couldn't feel any lumps. But, there was this sore that wouldn't go away. I tried Neosporin, after all, that fixes everything, right? I then tried Goldenseal. That is an herb, that is very powerful and has wonderful healing qualities. Still, no luck. I began to research breast cancer, just in case. Couldn't hurt to have some information, right? I located a program on line that offered free cancer screenings to women, Show Me Healthy Women. I called the number, in Jefferson City. They asked appropriate questions, then gave me numbers to call locally. I called and made an appointment. The date they had an opening, was the same day I was putting mom on the plane to Beck's, November 19th. It was for 3:30. I thought, hey, that will work. Mom's plane was scheduled to leave at noon. I could put mom on the plane in St. Louis, then drive straight to the clinic for the appt. I drove up to mom's the night before to help her pack and help her with any last minute details. She was going to be gone for 2 weeks!! The next morning, we packed the last minute things, then drove to pay her water bill before she left town. We then drove to the AT&T store, to get her phone turned back on. We had let it lapse, oops. That took about 15 minutes, but we were then, free to roam about the country. We drove up there, checked momma's bag, got my security pass, and made it through security without any problems. Once she was on the plane, I headed for the parking garage. Stopped in at the Alzheimer's Support Group meeting in Festus, then headed down to the clinic. As I was pulling onto the parking lot of the clinic, my phone rang. It read, Ann Adams. Thinking, she's there, safe and sound, and Beck suggested/helped mom phone me to let me know, I answered it with "Your there?" Mom responded with "I am, but Beck's not! They switched gates, and I don't know how to let Beck know!" It took me a minute to process that, because, the realization that my mom had just used her cell phone, by herself, was BIG!!! Way bigger than the fact that Beck was not at the gate to meet her!! I told mom I would call Beck, for mom to stay put, right there by baggage claim and not move. I then called Beck, gave her mom's cell phone, and within minutes they were hooked up. I then went on into the clinic appt. During the appt, the dr. did a physical exam and was "concerned" at what she was feeling. She told me she was going to send me to Barnes for a "diagnostic mammogram". I informed her I did not have medical insurance, and therefore, couldn't afford to do anything about it if they found something. She said, not to worry, no matter what they found, it would all be covered under this program. I left there to await a call from Barnes. The next morning, Barnes called and scheduled an appt for December 9th. I then kicked into Thanksgiving mode, and prepared my house for my sister's family to arrive on Sunday. Lois then joined us on Wednesday night, and Thursday, we all enjoyed a good old fashioned turkey and dressing dinner. Then, Lois and her family packed up and moved to Bryan's family farm. I boarded a plane for Colorado at 6:30am, the next morning! I spent a wonderful week with my other sister, Becky's family, and my mom. While there, Beck and I truly bonded again. I then shared with her, the path I was sure to be walking in the future. Together, we both tried to talk mom into staying there with her family, at least until after the holidays. Mom, again, couldn't be convinced to stay. So, in the middle of a slight blizzard, Becky drove us to the airport. We boarded a plane, and landed in St. Louis. Keith picked us up, and after stopping for dinner at Cracker Barrel, we took mom into her home, sat a few minutes to make sure everything was in good shape, and then we left for home. Lots and lots of hugs and kisses from my kiddos!!! Church on Sunday, life picked up again. I did share with my pastor's wife, that I was going to Barnes on Tuesday for a diagnostic mammogram, because in the physical examination, the doc had felt a lump. Tuesday morning, off to Barnes we went. Sign in, fill out papers, be escorted back to a dressing room, given a pink gown, and escorted to a different waiting room full of ladies in pink gowns. Then, my name was called. I went into the room with what looked like a young girl to do the dreaded mammogram. No comments by her. Then told to wait in the inner waiting room for results. Soon they came to get me, escorted me to a different room, informed me they needed confirmation, and were going to do an ultrasound. From there, they took me into a room with a dr., went and brought Keith in for the consultation and results of the day. They did tell us they couldn't be 100% positive without a biopsy, but were fairly certain it was cancer. Lots of info, lots of discussion, then scheduled me for a biopsy the next day. We drove home in silence. Way too much to take in, way too much to process. I feel the need to say, that at this point, it was not what they had just told us, as much as the fact that it was all way too familiar, way too fresh. The memories that I had spent a year trying to deal with, came flooding back way too fast and furious. The next morning, we got up and headed back up to Barnes for the biopsy. Again, dressing room, pink gown, small room with drs., ultrasound guided core needle biopsy. Two samples taken. Painful? Slightly. But nothing worth screaming about. Then, given an ice pack, instructions not to lift anything heavier than 5 lbs with that arm, no showers for 24 hours, and only Tylenol for pain. Back home, and we have a sit down with all the kids. We carefully explained to them what was going on, what was coming up, and how very very different this was than what Grandpa had. My doctor shared a story I could share with my kids to help them understand, and I did that. Comparing leukemia cancer with breast cancer is like comparing an elephant with a mouse. Yes, they are both mammals, yes, they both have 4 legs, but after that the similarities slim. That is the way it is with leukemia and breast cancer....2 very different animals. They are saying that I have a very good prognosis. I am healthy otherwise. And, it appears to not be in my lymph nodes, and that is way positive. It appears to only be in my right breast, so that, again, is good news. We were back up there again Wednesday, for what we thought was going to be a consultation with the surgeon. The appt was for 8:15, so we didn't eat breakfast, thinking, we will go get breakfast out somewhere when this is done. HA! What were we thinking???? The surgeon said that he would like us to meet with the oncologist as soon as possible. And, because we drove so far to get there, he would make some calls and see if that could be arranged for today. His nurse came back in, and said that he was successful, and we had an appointment for 2pm today with a Dr. Ellis. She said, "and that works out perfectly, because we want you to go to 3rd floor and get a Bone Scan done, and that takes about an hour, and then to the 2nd floor and get a CT Scan and that takes about an hour, and back up to 3rd floor to finish up the Bone Scan. Then you will have just enough time to grab some lunch, before you meet with Dr. Ellis. Wow.... By the time we got to 1pm, which is when they released us from Bone Scan, we were starving!! We found the cafeteria, stood in line, got some food, gulped it down, then quickly found our way back to the elevators to head to 7th (?) floor for the meeting with Dr. Ellis. That entailed lots more paperwork, meeting with Clinical Nurse Karen, then Research nurse, Jennifer, finally, Dr. Ellis. He took his time explaining his different approach, how he customized the treatment plan to each individual patient. Then offered me the chance to sign on to clinical research trials. After much discussion, I signed up. No, I didn't need time to think about it. By the time we left the hospital that day, it was 5;30pm. When I turned my phone back on, it lit up like a Christmas tree, for a zillion times!! Everybody, my girls, all wanting to know what in the world had happened to me. Lots of explaining to several people. On the way home, we stopped at the bottom of mom's hill, went through the drive through at Wendy's, got some salads, and called mom and stopped in for dinner with her. We walked in, and her blue "lift" chair was all the way up!! Not only that, it was in the spot that daddy's chair usually is in, and daddy's chair was in the spot her chair is usually. Now, I am here to tell you, I have moved that chair myself. Daddy's chair is a Niagra chair, with heat and massage. It weighs ever bit of 600 lbs!!! We agreed to sit down and eat the food first, then Keith would take a look at it. So, we fixed drinks, and thanked God for the food and his blessings, and ate dinner with mom. Then Keith took the controller apart, and found the switch broken. He took it out, asked mom for some super-glue. She found a brand new tube!! He then glued it carefully together. After a few minutes for it to set, he put the switch back together, and it worked!!! Momma's chair set back down in the appropriate position to actually use as a chair. Meanwhile, she didn't have daddy's chair plugged in, because the cord wouldn't reach, so we got that situation fixed, and mom was good to go. When we left her, she had the heat in daddy's chair going, as well as a slight vibration going. She asked us why we were up running around at this time of night. I told her that I had a mammogram done, and that we had been to the hospital to have some more tests run. She responded, "yea, hospitals love to run tests." Then went on to talk of other things, so I let it go at that. She didn't push, I didn't give her too much to dwell on. I will spoon feed her with just enough information for her to process, a little at a time. Please continue to pray with us for mom. I am sure this news will be harder on her, with all her memories still so fresh. The docs have called, and it looks like we will be back up to the hospital on Monday, next week, December 22nd, for another all day long trip. They have me scheduled for a MUGA Scan at 8:30 am, and an appointment to install a PORT at 10 am. The MUGA scan is to check my heart, to make sure it is healthy enough to withstand the chemo. The PORT is give them an access point for the chemo. They are going to do another breast biopsy on the 30th, my daughter's 21st birthday. On that day they will take 4 core samples, ouch. Then on the next day, new year's eve, i will receive my first chemo treatment. The perfect ending to this year, don't you think? People keep calling to say, what can I do? What you can do is take care of my mom. Call her. Visit her. Take her goodies?? Take her food? Take her out to eat? She is extremely lonely, and once she finds out about this, will be more lonely and more depressed. If we can't talk her into going to visit my sister in Colorado again, and I am still trying on a daily basis, any help you could give me in that area, would be helpful. She doesn't drive at night, so most Christmas parties are out, unless someone picks her up and drops her off. I thank you in advance for your prayer support!!
Now it was our turn in front of the tree! Merry Christmas!
We made the effort to take pictures of the kids after church last Sunday. At least, the 7 of them that are still living at my house with any regularity. From the top down, Katlyn (18), Ethan (12), Kimberly (10), Adam Richard (16), Kassidy (8), Jessica (14), and my Baby Girl Emma Jean (4).
May 2nd, I had tickets to join the ladies at my church to hear Beth Moore. Then I received a call from one of mom's life long friends, Thelma Harmon, telling me that another of mom's life long friends, Martha Barnes, was turning 80! And, she had come up with a plan for me to grab momma, start south on 55, stop and pick her up in Portageville, then take them both down to surprise Martha in Little Rock!! How could I turn that down!?! I called and gave away my Beth Moore tickets and made a road trip to Little Rock! It was such a precious trip to watch momma laugh and giggle with her "girlfriends". Precious memories......
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My daughter, Jennifer Rebecca Govero, on the day she graduated from Culinary School!! That is a picture of her very close friend, Alberto!!
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I started this blog to help me get through an incredible year. I had grown use to writing my feelings out, basically talking to God, through writing. As the year got busy, my visits to the blog got more spread out. Lack of time? Maybe. Probably more so, just losing the desire to make my feelings "public", and more keeping them inside. But there have been many changes lately. One of the biggest changes, has been that the Lord has healed the relationship between my sister, Becky and I. I actually was invited to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family! Of course, I declined, since I had other family coming to my house for Thanksgiving. But, I did agree to come the day after Thanksgiving! I had put mom on a plane on November 19th, to go visit Beck and her family for 2 weeks. When Beck began to call and urge me to come join them, I was a little nervous, I won't lie. The relationship between Beck and I had been seriously damaged with all that had gone on surrounding my dad's fight with Leukemia, and then mom's "memory issues", and all the different opinions of what should be done and when. But all that is behind us now, and God is good!!! We have now come together as a family again, and are enjoying the fellowship and support that I have missed out on this past year. Praise Jesus!!!!