First I want to say thank you to all the veterans and current military personnel who serve our country to give us the freedoms we enjoy daily. Your dedication and willingness to be away from your families is so appreciated and respected today and everyday. Well, I am so thankful to have a day of rest away from work to be home with my sweet Brenley. I was so excited to get to sleep in today, but luckily Bren woke up at 6:45 am. She must of had a bad dream because she woke up crying and saying that "Daddy hurt my feelings". I knew that wasn't true since her Daddy was already at work, but I was still mad at him for hurting her feelings in her dream and waking her up! Just kidding. I was sad she woke up so early and then she curled up beside me, kissed me on the cheek, and said "I'm so glad that I get to stay with you today". This made my heart smile and also made it much easier to wake up and get the day going. So radiation is going well. I can't tell any effects from it except the dark tan I'm getting on my left side under my arm and across my chest. I just wish they would tan all of me instead of just one part. I want my tan to be even. I only have 11 more treatments left and then I'll be done with that chapter too. I'm on my second month of taking the tamoxifen, and it seems to be going fine. I have to take a baby aspirin everyday with it because of the increased risk of blood clots, so I've noticed more bruises on my body lately. Other than that, I'm feeling pretty good. My hand is still swelling from the lymphedema, and I'm still getting treatments three times a week. Praise God that it hasn't gotten worse though with the radiation because this could have happened. It actually seems to be a little better, but I have to wrap it each day to keep the swelling down to a minimum. I can live with that I guess. My hair is really starting to come in and get fuzzy. And yes it is dark brown! I'm almost to the point that I need to use gel or hairspray on it cause otherwise I look like a peach or like I have bed head. I'm also getting my eyebrows, eyelashes, and arm/leg hair back. I can't say that I missed my arm or leg hair, but I sure have missed my eyebrows and will look forward to having to pluck them in the near future. I will not complain about shaving my legs either. The small joys in life!
Well, Tiff had her double mastectomy this past Tuesday. I got to be in the OR with her to watch her surgery. She had the same doctors, so I just asked Dr. Proffer and Dr. Arredondo if they would mind me watching for the medical knowledge. They didn't care. It was awesome. I hated seeing Tiff go through that, but it was really neat to watch. No, I didn't pass out or feel faint at any point. The surgery lasted about 3 hrs and 15 mins and was a success. They did the mastectomies and then Dr. Proffer placed her expanders. She was hurting pretty good the first night, but the day after she was doing ok. She could sit up with the help of the hospital bed. They sent her home not even 24 hrs after surgery, and then the pain and muscle spasms hit. She had a rough first night home like I did. You go from having morphine and good meds in hospital to just hydrocodone and valium every 6-8 hrs and suddenly your pain and spasms become a real issue. I feel for her and know exactly how she feels firsthand. That is not an easy surgery or recovery. She is starting to get around better. I've gone over to help her take a couple baths. The first time was pretty funny. She did good getting into the tub and sitting down slowly, but when it came to getting from a seated position to on her knees to wash her hair was another story. She tried to tuck her legs under her, but then she struggled to get her trunk forward over her legs because she can't use her arms to push. I ended up having to get in the tub with her and pull up on some cheeks to get her to her knees. She couldn't tolerate me pushing on her back because of her drains and soreness. I can say it was quite hysterical. The things we will do for our siblings who we love so much! Sorry Tiff but I had to tell that story. Tiff says that she is fine one minute if she doesn't move and then the spasms suddenly start. She is definitely getting a little better each day and is on the road to recovery. Please keep those prayers coming for her and her husband and kiddos. I know she is really missing seeing and holding her kids.
I've had some sadness and joys around me lately with my friends. I ask for prayers for my sweet friend, Carey Nazario, who recently lost her husband after 32 yrs of marriage. My heart really hurt for her. I pray that she will look to God for strength to find a new norm in her life and that her heart will be able to go on after such a loss. There is also a very sweet guy at our work that recently found out that he has a brain tumor and has to have surgery soon to remove it. I don't want to mention his name just because I'm not sure if he wants everyone to know, but pray for him too. God will know who you are praying about. My friends, Bekah (who is a occupational therapy assistant at NWTH), has not had a lot of changes. She is the one who had the brain aneurysm right before Christmas. She was in Denver at a neuro rehab center, but they are about to move her back to Lubbock now. Her parents live down there. I ask for continued prayers for her and her family for healing and big changes in her medical status soon. As far as good news goes, my dear friend, Darcie Milsow, just had a PET scan during her colon cancer treatments. I'm pleased to say that the scan showed no new growths! Praise God! She is a fighter. She will continue chemo, but I know the good results will help give her some more strength to continue her fight. I love that girl. She gives me strength. We go to lunch regularly to talk and enjoy each other's company. She is a great friend and a blessing to everyone who knows her. I also wanted to report on my cousin, Lisa Weatherly, who I am so proud of. She recently started a weight loss battle which she is documenting through a blog like mine. I have not only seen a change in her physical apprearance with her great weight loss recently, but more importantly I've seen my old cousin Lisa come out. She is smiling and laughing a lot more than she used to and I love that about her. She is hilarious and used to make all of us laugh a lot. I've always wanted happiness for her and I think she is finding that more these days. Congrats Lisa and keep up the good work. We are all so proud of you and love you! Again sometimes God uses hard times in our lives to make us who he wants us to be. It is through battles and blood, sweat, and tears that shape who we are. We can either let them knock us down or we can draw closer to God during those times to have him bring us back up to a level we never knew we could achieve. We can't do it on our own for sure, but God can. He is so much bigger than cancer, brain tumors, death of a spouse, and daily struggles in our lives. Don't waste your time worrying about these things. Let go and let God have them. Let's enjoy each and every day and turn our focus on the positives in our lives and be thankful to God for them. This is the only way we will ever have comfort, peace, and happiness. Thanks again for reading my blog and wanting to keep up with my battle. It means more to me than you'll ever know! Smile life's not that bad! God bless. Shay
Well, I can't really complain right now because I'm feeling really good. I'm still struggling with my energy levels and being tired a lot but what's new? I have still been having lymphedema problems in my left hand and forearm that have been lingering for about 3 weeks now. We have tried numerous compression sleeves and gloves, but to my dismay these have all failed. It is quite frustrating to be quite honest. I just want it to go away all together, but I guess this is going to be an issue that I will just have to deal with for the rest of my life. I'm still getting treatment from one of our occupational therapists named Tammy, and she has helped me a lot. She specializes in lymphedema and does a great job. You know right as I started feeling sad and pouting about my arm the other day, I heard a great story on Air One. There was a man born without any limbs that decided to go skydiving. They were talking about how incredible this man is and how he makes the best of his situation. This is all I needed at that moment to not only put me in my place but to again make me realize that my ailments could always be worse. There are some terribly sad medical stories out there that make me realize that my medical problems seem like nothing compared to those. I should be thankful always. God is good in all situations.
I have now completed 5 radiation treatments and have 25 to go. I will finish in 5 weeks from today. These first 5 treatments have gone by really quickly and don't seem to have any effects on me so far. I'm so thankful for this. Radiation seems like nothing compared to chemo. I can handle this stuff. I had a follow-up with Dr. Stafford, the radiologist, today after my treatment. He just basically checked to see how I was doing so far, and there wasn't anything exciting to report. We just joked around and laughed a little and then I headed back to work. I will meet with him once a week so he can check on me. The staff at Harrington has been great throughout all my time there, and they make me feel good each time I go. Again, this has been a blessing. I thank God for them.
To update you on my hair growth, I look like a little spring chick with my fuzzy head. It is really soft to touch and seems to be growing each day. Some of it is light colored and soft while the rest of it seems more like my old hair that was brown and thick. I heard that a lot of times it come back initially like baby hair and is curly. We will just have to wait and see. I'm just ready to have any hair at this point in time. To my dismay, my eyelashes and eyebrows are still falling out here and there. I don't have many of these left. I thought I had done well with keeping these up until the end of chemo, but then God said "think again" and they started coming loose. This was a cruel joke, but I can laugh about it. I never thought I would have to paint my eyebrows on my head. Usually, I'm plucking them to make them not as bushy and now I would die to have those back. I will never complain about thick eyebrows again Lord! Also, I have decided that I will continue to place mascara on my eye lashes regardless of the fact that there is only one lash left on the bottom of each eye. Hey, I don't want that lash to feel left out! LOL! I always say that cancer is the gift that keeps giving, and frankly I'm tired of receiving those gifts. I'm not compaining. I'm just saying (one of my new mottos). You just have to laugh about these things because if not you might get down on yourself now and then. This just a phase and my hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows will grow back soon enough. No biggie.
Something amazing happened yesterday. It would have been my Grandmother Lois' 99th birthday. She passed in 2001 at the age of 88. This was my dad's mother, and I still miss her today. She was an amazing women of faith and loved her family dearly. I was up early on Sunday morning before Bren and Chris woke up. I went in the living room to do my daily devotional. I have been reading in the New Testament and had just started 2 Timothy 1. I was reading the chapter and got to verse 5 which says, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also". How awesome was this. It totally put a smile on my face. I had already been thinking about my grandmother from the time I woke up and then by God's divine intervention I read that verse on her birthday.
Thank you God for that sweet gift yesterday and for my wonderful grandmother that I know is up there in heaven with you celebrating eternal birthdays. Thank you for the great faith you gave her and for the great Christian example and influence she was to each of us. We thank you for her many years with us and look forward to seeing her and our other family members that have gone on before us (Uncle Gene, Aunt CD, and many more). I am so blessed to have been raised in the family that I have. You have provided financially for all of us through the years and taken care of all of our needs. You have given me Godly greatgrandparents, grandparents, and parents. I not only want to honor them by living for you like they did, but I want to honor you God for such a wonderful blessing in my life. I praise you for feeling good and for radiation going so smoothly. Thank you for continuing to work in my life in so many ways even though I don't deserve it sometimes. You are always faithful and true. Thank you for loving me so much as your child and for all the little things you do daily for me. You are an awesome God and I love you! Amen.
Don't forget Mother's Day is this weekend. If you have been blessed with a wonderful mother like I have let her know because tomorrow is never promised to us. Live each day if it were your last without any regrets. Love each of y'all and thanks for the continued support. Shay