I'm sorry I haven't written since I shaved my hair off two weeks ago, but my energy levels have been down with this crazy chemo.  Now my hair is really becoming scarce and patchy.  I'm just ready for it to be bald cause this prickly feeling is for the birds.  I even had it shaved again to try to make it feel better.  There are some perks, however, to this hair loss thing.  I don't have to wax my upper lip or shave my legs or armpits any more.  Got to look on the bright side some times.  It has been kinda frustrating lately because I'm used to getting up early to run or workout and then going through a full day no problem.  Now I'm lucky to make it to 7 or 8 pm before I have to go to bed.  I guess I have been doing more lately because this last week before chemo I felt pretty good overall.  I have been trying to work closer to 40 hour weeks, run my errands, and get ready for Christmas.  This has all played a toll on my body.  This week I had my expanders filled with 90 cc of saline with Dr. Proffer on Tuesday.  He was funny.  As soon as I walked in he said I had to take off my hat so he could rub my head.  He really meant it too, so when he came in to do the expansion, I removed the hat.  He stared at my head several times and told me that I had a really great rounded head and that I should rock my balding hair look without my hats.  I told him it was too cold outside to do that.  It would be fine if it was summer time.  I'll take his complements though because after all he is a plastic surgeon.  We are going slow on the expanders doing it about every 2 weeks because of how much skin Dr. Arredondo had to take with the mastectomies.  It felt pretty tight after the 90 cc of saline this week, and I'm still a little sore.  However, I can tolerate this no problem compared to the chemo crap.  Dr. Proffer's stuff is the highlight of this journey.  I have to find as many positive things along my path that I can because otherwise you can feel bogged down with all the negative things that stress you out.  I asked Dr. Proffer about the knot under my left arm too while I was there.  At first, we thought it was another seroma (fluid filled area that my body would absorb), but it felt much harder to me.  I have been having some bad nerve pain down the back of my left arm when I try to extend my arm all the way out or lift it up too high, so me and my friend Susan Kendall, another physical therapist at my clinic, have been working on it.  It seems that the nerve pain is a little better, but the knot under my arm is really scar tissue from digging for the lymph nodes.  Dr. Proffer said he can put me on neurotin for the nerve pain if needed and then when we do the next surgery to put in the implants he can clean out some of that scar tissue.

This week I had a follow-up with Dr. Pruitt, my oncologist, as well.  I had bloodwork at Northwest on Wednesday morning and then went over to his office for my visit.  It was mostly to check my counts and to do an overall body check to make sure everyting was going well with chemo.  He decided to change one of my meds from receiving it in my IV before chemo to an oral dose pack that I took for 3 days.  This med is named Emend.  I took the first one an hour before chemo and then a pill each morning for the past 2 days.  I don't know if it was changing this med or the fact that my body may finally be getting a little used to the chemo, but this round went much smoother.  I am still wearing the zofran pump to give me a constant dose of anti-nausea meds for one week.  I'm very thankful for this.  I have still had a little uneasy feeling in my stomach, but overall this has been much better.  God again has been good and answered many prayers for this.  I still so appreciate each and every prayer that goes up to our heavenly father on my behalf from each of you.  I meet and hear from new people all the time that tell me that they pray for me daily and have never even met me.  That is so humbling, and I feel so blessed.  I have never felt so loved and cared for in my life.  I can never thank God enough for my family and friends.  You are awesome!  Thank you to Laurel Warren (Hayes) and Melissa Cox (Hayes), who were my college roommates, for driving up to entertain me during this chemo session.  We did some remeniscing on old times and had some good laughs that made the 2 hours go by faster.  Then, we went to eat with our husbands after chemo and continued to have fun.  It was a good day even though I was nervous as usual for the chemo.  I guess worry has continued to be my hardest battle spiritually during this journey.  I want so bad to give everything up to God for him to carry this burden for me, but something in me just can't give up that control at times.  Believe me I want to.  I have enough on my plate to deal with daily so I would love to just give it all to him.  I'm working on this though.  I've been reading Acts in the New Testament of my bible lately, and I've learing a lot about Paul and his journeys.  He was so faithful to God through many trying times in his life and was willing to give it all up for God in the end.  He knew his journey would end in a bad way with being beat up and jailed and placed on trial many times, but this did not stop him from spreading God's word and kingdom.  He was devoted to his calling and didn't let hard times stop him from serving our wonderful God.  He deserves our all each day whether or not we feel good or regardless of how bad our day may seem.  I try to remind myself when I get down, that there are way worse situations out there than what I'm going through and that I should be thankful for each day that I have to serve our God.  What an honor.  I've been getting up early each day to start my day with reading my Bible and a daily devotional book as well.  It has been so nice to start my day by doing this because I feel that it gets my focus on the right things for the day and makes me feel closer to God.  Again, cancer has changed my life in many great ways.  Thank you God for new perspective.  I hope that each of you are enjoying the holdiay season and getting ready for Christmas.  Please remember the true meaning of Christmas is not the presents but the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ, who lived and died for us so that we could go to heaven and live with God some day.  This should be our focus during this time.  Enjoy your time with you family and some relaxation hopefully too.  I want to end with a quick prayer.

Dear God, our heavenly father, I want to say thank you for each day and each breath that I have been given to serve you more.  I thank you for my precious husband, child, friends, family, and support system that have raised so many prayers to you on my behalf.  Thank you for this time of the year and what it means to us, and please never let us forget that wonderful day when our saviour, Jesus Christ, was born in that little manger,  Thank you for the life he lived and the sacrifices he made so that we can come be with you in heaven some day.  I pray for a heart of a servant like Paul that was willing to give it all up for you no matter what his circumstance.  Please continue to shape me into your mold so that I can be a better Christian each day for you and so that I may be a light to others to know you more.  Thank you for caring about every aspect of my life and for walking through each day with me hand in hand.  I love you God.  Amen. 
Darcie Milsow
12/17/2011 13:21:13

Dearest Shayla,
As always, i enjoyed lunch with you this week. You are stunning with your sweet bald head. You can carry the Sinead look with no problem! :-) I agree with Dr. Proffer, no hats! You continue to amaze me with your strength and grace. I think I will rename you Shayla Paul, because you are like Paul...giving it all to God and continuing to march forward with Faith and Hope and Trust. Hardly a negative word when we speak or text. You are a warrior against cancer and a warrior for God our Father. I know you must put a smile on His face each day for the good works you do. Not just now with cancer, but always. I pray that you continue to feel good, the lump eases up and gives your nerves a rest, that you can rest when needed and celebrate this Season like never before. I continue to pray for your sweet husband and baby girl...they are warriors too. I am so proud to know you. I love your sweet heart and beautiful smile. If I don't see you before Christmas, have a blessed one!!!
Love you to the moon and back,
Darcie
p.s. I got my chemo pushed back a week till after Christmas! What a gift! Yee Haw.

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Cyndia Copeland
12/18/2011 23:31:24

May we all share that same prayer. You will continue to be in my prayers. God bless you through your journey.

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Jenny
12/19/2011 10:49:05

Shay~
I know I don't know you very well, but I am a name cutter....so, I will call you Shay if that is ok. When I looked at your pictures, I got tears in my eyes. I remember that all too well! You look so beautiful! It is funny that my family was just the opposite. Kyle didn't cry, but Brae did. Brae finally told me she liked my new hair cut! :) It is hard, but you are so right in that you just need to shave it off so it will be done. It was the one thing I felt like I had control over. I know you have probably adjusted by now, but I almost forget I don't have any hair sometimes.
I am so glad that you are tolerating the chemo better! Thank you God for wonderful drugs! Whatever it takes to get through this stint in your treatment!
Thank you for always thinking and praying for me! You are in my prayers as well. As a matter of fact, I have joined you in praying for you to let go of your worry! I know it is hard, but remember that God will lead you through. I am not preaching, but a friend said this to me one day....If you pray, don't worry, and if you worry, don't pray! It really hit home with me. I know you are strong. It is inspiring reading your blog! Your faith and courage are amazing, and I know it is not that easy all the time! Hang in there, and I truly cannot wait to meet you!

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Connie
12/19/2011 20:19:22

Sweet Shay,

Just wanted you to know that I've been praying for you and your precious family so often. Haven't written in awhile but just wanted you to know I continue to lift you up to our Awesome Heavenly Father! Your sweet prayer touched my life. I totally agree! Praying your Christmas is filled with His Joy!!

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TK
12/20/2011 12:45:01

Hey There,
I wish there was a way for you to know how your words of wisdom are touching my life!!! I am so humbled by your perspective and Christ centered thoughts! I am blessed everytime you blog!!! How lucky I am! I contiunue to pray for you and your sweet family!!! I hope Santa finds Little Miss Bren and you guys have the best Christmas ever!!!! Merry Christmas sweet cousin!!!!!! Love Ya!!!!!

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Lynn McPherson
12/22/2011 10:52:37

Shayla:

You are an inspiration to us all. I read your blog every week or so and cannot believe your strength. We all pray for your complete recovery. Bless you.

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