Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The day before Thanksgiving, I was at Barnes, getting my Herceptin treatment. There is a rumor going around that I am done with all my treatments. Well, I am not exactly done. It is winding down, yes, but won't be done for a while yet. I still have to have Herceptin treatment every 21 days through March, 2010. In May, I will begin the process of re-construction. Sometime after March, I hope to have this Porta-cath removed. But, for now, my burns from radiation are all healed up. I still am carrying around the extra weight gain that comes from Herceptin. As of this writing, I have gained 21 extra pounds since this journey began. I can barely contain my excitement at that knowledge. Can't wait to see what the final total will be, considering I have 3 more months of this Herceptin treatment. Trying to make me feel better, my plastic surgeon told me that "don't worry, we will need all that extra flesh to re-build you later". I am still trying to feel better about that. I just keep telling myself, "this too shall pass", and someday, this will all be behind me, and I will again, be my normal self, with my new normal body. My hair is growing back too! It is now long enough to actually curl with a curling iron, and this week, I have actually used hair spray again! Geez, the things that excite me now days. I am still working on getting rid of the fatigue that is also a side effect of all the stuff I have been through. I walk a little more each day, but I am still not up to my 2 miles I was doing.
Now that I have you all caught up on the Thanksgiving stuff, and the cancer stuff, I want to vent a little. Bear with me here. Has anyone else noticed all the stuff going on in this world these days? Satan is alive and well on this planet earth, and walking to and fro, seeking whom he can devour. The blatant sin around me these days never ceases to amaze me. Nobody seems to fear God anymore. Even though the bible clearly states in Hebrews 12, how God will punish His children, people just keep on living in sin, daily, as if there is no God. Now don't get me wrong. I know that the Bible also says we all sin. But the Bible also tells us to "go and sin no more". So, as Christians, we should at least be TRYING not to sin, TRYING to live a Godly life, TRYING to show the world there is something different about a follower of Christ. When a Christian sins, there should be remorse, we should feel bad! We should try harder, do better. But daily I get news that breaks my heart. News that yet another "believer" has fallen, or worse, walked away from their faith. They have decided that "it is just not worth fighting anymore". "life is too short", or "I deserve to be happy". People just aren't willing to do the hard things anymore. If it is hard, they walk away. Marriage is hard. My mom and dad were married over 55 years. Keith's mom and dad have been married 62 years! At the rate that this generation is going, not to mention the younger generation, I doubt seriously that will be found in a few years. Give it 10 years, and people who are willing to do whatever it takes to stay married, will be hard to find. It is way too "acceptable" to live together without benefit of marriage. It is way too acceptable to have a baby, without being married. "bastard n. A child born out of wedlock." Yea, that's in the dictionary! Hmmm, does that mean the dictionary is a "religious book"? Because to get married before you have a child, well, that's just some religion telling you what to do. Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." Hebrews 13:4 That's Bible, people! I know people in their 70's, that are living together without getting married, because "she would get her social security cut in half if we get married!". I know people who are struggling financially, and their answer is not "for richer for poorer". It is, "I can do better than this. I am gonna divorce you, go out, get me a job." It is the same line Satan has been feeding people for years....the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. If marriage gets hard, lets throw in the towel, go our separate ways, and ignore the fact that we stood before God and VOWED to each other. We made commitments to each other, in front of witnesses! And this generation that we are raising up now, watching all this, are gonna grow up seeing, words are just words....empty promises. People will say anything, in the heat of the moment, to get what they want. But they will not stick to their word. There is no honor anymore. There is no character. It is hard to find anyone under the age of 30 who is willing to do hard things, and walk the walk of a "disciple of Christ". I know they are out there! I have friends that are doing it! But I am sure they are feeling like the lone ranger. You can always find a huge support group for sin! But finding a "support group" for those that want to go against the grain, stand up for Christ, do Godly things, make Godly choices, come what may? That is harder to do. Too many people let money dictate their morality. Let their friends' opinions, dictate what they will or will not do. Not many are willing to do what looks good in God's eyes. Do what God wants them to do. That would just be hard, it would cost them something! My daddy used to call it "cheap grace". They profess faith, if it's easy. But if it costs them anything, well, let me think about it. Today, the Bible Study I went to, was out of the text Hebrews 12. We jumped around to Romans as well. It was about how to live for Christ in stressful times. Yea, I needed to hear that!!!! I am not the only one, I am sure. Stress is all around us. Satan is attacking every single family I know right now. Some are suffering financially, some have children that are walking away from the faith of their families, thumbing their noses at God! Some have thrown in the towel on their marriage, saying "they're done!". The constant stress and frustration causes many Christian parents to feel like failures. They pour their life into their children. Try to raise them in Christian homes, take them to church, teach them about the Bible, teach them about Christ, and yet, as soon as they get their own "freedom to make my own choices", they don't live Christian lives. The choose sin. They no longer attend church. They move in with their boyfriends/girlfriends. The Bible says, "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." OK, so, I keep telling myself, my children are not old.......yet. My prayer this week, is for Christians to stand up and do the right thing, the Godly thing. Even if it costs them something......even if it hurts.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Life has been busy since we got back from Florida. For starters, last week, Kelly called me early one morning, and told me that "grandma fell and hit her head". I talked to mom on the phone, and once I was sure she was ok, told her I was on my way. When I got there, she had a cut on her head that was bleeding, and they had a rag on it. It wasn't bleeding badly, but it looked like it could use a couple stitches. It took some talking, but I got mom to agree to go to the "doctor to have it looked at". Once in the car, I took her to the ER at St. Anthony's. They did an EKG, and a Cat Scan, and a couple x-rays. Once they were convinced she was fine, other than the bump on the head, they came in and cleaned it all up and glued it shut. Apparently they don't stitch anymore, they super-glue! Thankfully, they didn't opt to keep her, and released her to go home. She kept saying she wasn't staying and they had better not keep her this time. My opinion is that mom is not eating like she should, and was putting her clothes away from her suitcase. Lots of bending over, up and down, she got dizzy and passed out. She's a hard headed woman, and no matter what I say, she just says, "Deb, I don't eat the way I used to eat, I know, but I do eat." Right after she had her seizures, I had made several phone calls to inquire about some services like Life Alert and Meals on Wheels. Right after her seizures, she was all about doing whatever it takes to stay in her home, agreeing to everything I suggested. She even told the doctor that I was building a room addition for her. She even went so far as to say, "Deb, I don't want to take my bed down there, but we can take that bed from the blue room. That way, my bed will still be here for when I want to come home for awhile." Yea, well, the further we get away from the seizures, the more confident mom gets about her ability to stay in her home. And, the more she becomes convinced she is not ready for things such as Life Alert and Meals On Wheels. The Meals on Wheels people are very kind, and just answered the questions, and that was it. The Life Alert people, however, have called me numerous times since then, trying to close the deal so to speak. I put them off because of going to Florida in September, didn't want to be paying for something during that month, that we would not be needing. Then when we got back, they called once when I was in the office with my doctor, so again, I put them off telling them I would call them when I got my mom to agree to all this. It is an upfront expense, as well as a monthly fee. I am already paying for mom's Jitterbug phone, both the upfront fee, as well as the monthly fee. I am trying to do what I can without upsetting mom, and if it doesn't cost her anything, she will agree more, but if it costs her something, well, then, she doesn't need it. That is just mom. Kind of like the Aricept. More times than not, I pay for that. I figure it will all even out eventually. The hardest thing about taking care of mom right now, is her inability to actually make a decision. She does respond to suggestions, but if she feels you are trying to make decisions for her, she gets a little, hmmm, how do I say this....angry? The other day, after my treatment, I was on 55, headed south, and fully intended to stay on 55 and go right on by Herky, and go home. I was tired, and just wanted to be home. As I was coming down the highway, I called mom, just to check on her, make sure she was ok and not expecting me to stop by. She was fit to be tied! She was so angry with me, that she told me not to come by because she was too mad and upset. I tried to talk to her, asking her why she was so mad, what I had done, told her I had been at the hospital, I had not done anything. She said she got a phone call, but she didn't remember who it was from, but she told them she had not authorized this to be done, and she figured I had authorized it, since I am here, and I am the only one that could have authorized it, so it must be me, and she was upset that I had authorized something without talking to her about it!! I went down to the next exit, turned around and headed back to mom's. She answered the door, with a very angry look on her face. I tried to talk to her, tried to help her remember who called, what they said, anything!! She didn't know who it was, what they had said, just that she was mad! I finally just gave up, told her I was hungry, and was gonna fix something to eat. She said, in a tone, she was not hungry and not to fix her anything. I said, fine, but "later, when you get ready to eat, will you want soup or spaghetti?" She said, "probably soup, but I am not hungry right now Deb, don't fix me anything." Ok, mom. I just messed around in the kitchen for about 20 minutes or so, unloading the dishwasher, washing some dishes, and making the soup. When I got it done, I said, "mom, the soup is ready, are you ready for some now?" In her normal mom tone, she answered me, "Sure, soup sounds good." I set the table with 2 bowls, 2 glasses of tea, some crackers, and mom came in and we sat down to eat supper together like nothing had happened!! Then her neighbors came in, Lloyd and Ada. We had a nice visit with good conversation. When we were done, I cleaned up the mess, and when Lloyd and Ada got up to leave, so did I and we all walked out at the same time. Later that night, when I called mom to check on her before bedtime, I asked her if she had gotten any more phone calls. She said, "No, I don't think I have talked to anyone today on the phone but you. Did somebody say they called me?" I smiled, as I hung up. Successful "creative redirection" is a wonderful tool. For her to be sooo upset one minute, and within 15 minutes, not even remember it at all?? Amazing. Now, mind you, since then, I have brought it up a couple times. Like reminding her that I have talked to Life Alert people, or Meals on Wheels people. Reminding her that the Life Alert people are still calling often, and I keep putting them off, because she says she is not ready yet, she is not "that far down the road yet". Gently keeping that in her mind, I hope, so that she knows I am putting them off and they may go around me and call her, she will be aware that we are talking, and they are wanting us to make a decision. She will hopefully be aware, and therefore, not be mad and think I have authorized something that she didn't agree with. Just one part of the up and down roller coaster rides in my life. Last week, on Wednesday night, all my family went to the visitation for a very good friend of ours that died of a heart attack. He had just turned 50, like 2 weeks ago. On that Wednesday night, I am certain mom didn't eat supper, since neither I, nor Kelly was there to urge her to eat. She did eat lunch that day, just not supper. But nevertheless, that next morning was when she passed out, fell and hit her head, and I was once again taking her to the ER at St. Anthony's. And then, ended up taking her with me to my radiation appointment, since we were already in St. Louis, and I didn't have time to actually take her back home, then turn around and head back up to Barnes. Not to mention the gas and mileage!! This week, she had been great. Yes, she still has her up and down days, some days are better than others. And with all this rain we have been having, it is not conducive to her sitting out in her swing, watching the people come and go. So, yea, she has been cooped up in her house, and it shows. Her moods and her memory is definitely based on how tired she is, and how stressed she is. And when she can't get outside, and sit in her swing, she starts to think about winter, and being cooped up in the house all the time. She starts to repeat a lot more often, and says often, "the bible says to come before winter". But, today, the sun is shinning!! The beautiful fall colors are creating a beautiful display of God's handiwork. If we go up there for church tomorrow, I will take mom for a car ride and show her some of the colors!!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Howdy folks! Man, I will be so glad when I get my brain back in full functioning capacity. This whole "chemo brain" thing is real. Lately, it has been brought to my attention that Keith's driver's license is expired! They expired on July 20th. So we spent yesterday, trying to get them renewed. In today's world, that requires 3 forms of I.D. 1) A State Issued Birth Certificate, 2) A Social Security Card, and 3)Proof of Residence, such as a piece of mail addressed to you. The "state issued birth certificate" is what proved to be harder than you might think. Since we have never needed that for any reason, we went to the health department prepared to pay the $15 fee in order to get one. The lady asked for his identification (driver's license and social security card). "Sir, we can't give you a birth certificate. There seems to be a discrepancy. On your driver's license and your social security card, your first name is spelled K-E-I-T-H. On this birth certificate it is spelled K-I-E-T-H." So, Keith asked her what that means exactly. She explains they will have to request some forms from Jefferson City that will enable him to fill those out, and get that corrected. Are you kidding me? For a typo?? Needless to say, we left there very frustrated. He calls his mom and dad to see if they have a copy of his birth certificate. They call us back, and yes, they have the original from the hospital, dated July 20, 1958 and the state issued one dated June, 1968. Apparently they had needed a "state issued one" for little league or something. Somewhere along the line, it was spelled wrong. Because on the original one from the hospital it is spelled correctly Keith! On all the doctor receipts in their folder, it is spelled Keith. But on the one they had gotten from the state (10 years later), yes, it was spelled Kieth, and no one had ever caught it, or questioned it! But in this post 911 country, this country now has new rules dictated by the Department of Home Land Security. And because of someone's stupid mistake, we now have to fill out "papers" so that can be corrected before they can issue Keith a birth certificate so that he can get his driver's license renewed. The lady suggested we go get some lunch, while she tried to get the appropriate forms from Jeff City, and she would call us and let us know what we needed to do. We left there, and we never got a call. And of course, life took over, and we didn't think about it again....until today. This morning, we got up early because I had a doctor's appointment. Today, I met with the radiologist to go over all the details of my upcoming radiation schedule. Before we left the house, Keith had already gotten several phone calls from contractors as well as from our son, Nick, who was on the job site, to fill Keith in on the problems that had arisen with the job they were currently on. After making several calls, he said we needed to leave now, as he had a few stops to make on the way. First stop, gas. Second stop, at the job site our son, Nick was on. Third stop, at mom's. Then, finally, on the way to the appointment. However, on the way, I was being secretary, and taking dictation from Keith, putting a break down of all the charges on a bill for a contractor he was supposed to meet with later today. Apparently, we have made the trip to the hospital enough times, that it has become routine, and "mindless". We were so involved with the figures and the billing, that neither of us even remember getting off of I-55, and onto I-44 West. When I finished up the bill, I looked up and said, "Uh, where are we? Because none of this looks familiar as the route to the hospital." The next sign we saw read "I-270 - 2 miles"!! We had been so zoned that we had driven right past our exit for Kingshighway! Seriously! We went on up to Bowles, and turned around, and got back onto I-44 east. About the time Keith was saying, no big deal, we still have time to make it to the hospital on time, we noticed a police car behind us, and yes, his lights were flashing! Here we go! We pulled over to the side, and waited for the policeman to come up and asked for his driver's license (knowing full well they were expired, and we were going to have some explaining to do!) He asked, and yes, Keith handed him the license. He walked back to his car. We waited. After a few minutes, here he came. "Sir, can you explain to me what the deal is with your driver's license? Because, it says on here they are expired, yet in the computer, it shows you have an extension until 2010!" Well, how about that! They did put it into the computer, even though they never called us back! So, Keith explained to him about the typo that never mattered, for 51 years, and now all of a sudden it was a big deal that required numerous forms to correct their mistake. He believed us, and yet, still issued a speeding ticket. Apparently, the speed limit at that particular part of the interstate is not 70 mph, it is 55! Again, we did not see the posted sign, and was driving with traffic. But, oh well, ignorance of the law is no excuse. So, needless to say, I was late to my radiology appointment. We had thought it was going to be a consultation, therefore, not that big of a deal. The appointment was for 9:30. We did not leave the hospital until 1:45!! She is very thorough. And not only that, the procedures and precautions and possible complications were explained by the resident doctor, then the "real" doctor. And yes, I had a clinical examination by the Resident, and then, yes, the Radiologist. After all was said and done, I signed the consent to treatment forms, and we were out of there starving and hunting for food. After tracking down the contractor we were supposed to meet with to deliver the bill that had caused us all the distraction this morning, we were heading south towards home. To say it has been a long day just some how doesn't seem to describe it properly. But, I am very grateful they are working with me and my schedule. My next appointment is scheduled for August 31st, Monday, to get my tattoos. Yep, that's what I said, tattoos! Stay tuned..........life just keeps getting interesting. As it stands now, tonight, I will be starting my 6 weeks of radiation on Monday, September 23rd. And that will mean many trips to Siteman Cancer Center, Monday through Friday, daily, for 6 weeks. But never fear, they say the side effects are "cumulative", so I won't notice any until I am "well into the radiation schedule". I feel so much better just knowing that!