Well, I successfully finished chemo #8 today.  That means only 1 month (4 treatments) to go.  I'm still doing pretty good except the neuropathy (numbness and tingling) in my hands and feet is increasing a little.  Previously after chemo, this would happen a day or two after and last through the weekend and back off Monday or Tuesday.  Now, it isn't going away before the next chemo.  It makes my feet feel weird when I walk almost like I don't know where exactly they are touching down for sure.  My hands are worse than my feet, but luckily I'm not dropping things.  Dr. Pruitt knows about this but states they will not do anything about it unless I start having problems picking up items or dropping them when I hold them.  Taxol, the chemo drug, can cause permanent neuropathy problems if it gets too bad.  Otherwise, the neuropathy should go away.  My bleeding issues are really weird.  I'll be fine one day and then suddenly get a bloody nose or rectal bleeding.  It may last a few days and be heavy and then go away again.  Chemo causes the weirdest things to go on in my body.  There is no rhyme or reason to anything.  Today I attempted to go running with my running partner.  Her name is Denali and she is my 1 1/2 yr old brindle great dane.  She loves to run with me and knows our route.  We used to run together all the time before I was diagnosed.  I felt pretty good when I left the house to run but quickly realized how much the chemo is affecting my endurance.  I have been working out pretty regularly lately and trying to increase my cardio on the elliptical and with cycling, but obviously running is another story.  I had to run as far as I could and walk for short stents to catch my breath.  I made it about 2 miles but was exhausted when I got home and all day.  Then, my body definitely told me about it all day after this.  I noticed my morton's neuroma (nerve problem) in my foot was worse and my IT band near my right knee was killing me all day.  Again, I love chemo - NOT!  I'm not going to let this get me down or stop me though.  It just makes me mad and makes me want to go further and harder.  If you haven't figured it out, I'm kinda competitive and especially when something frustrates me.

Monday night I went to Canyon to the WT activity center to watch my high school friends (and ex-Lady Eagles) play basketball against some Nazareth and surrounding town girls.  It makes me really sad to not get out there with them and play, but I just can't right now.  With that nerve popping out of my left armpit, my left wrist and hand swelling, my left arm pain, and with the chest area being really sore and tender, I didn't think that was a smart idea.  I was tempted to for sure.  After they finished, I went with Lindy Lombard, Brooke Hancock, Sarah McBride, and Valeree Valdez to Hastings to get coffee.  It was so nice that night that we sat outside.  We ended up talking for 2 1/2 hours and laughing our butts off.  It was so fun catching up and reminiscing about old times.  It's funny how your topics of conversation change over the years.  At least we can laugh at ourselves when it comes to body changes that have taken place through the years.  I'm sure that will just get worse with age.  The one good thing about having a mastectomy and expanders in with really tight skin is that my breast are not droopy.  They aren't going anywhere fast.  Again positive thinking!  I could have sat out there and talked to them all night.  It was so fun.  I definitely needed that.  I thanked God that night for bringing these girls into my life years ago and for the influence they have had on my life.  I believe God is doing great things in their lives because they are focusing more on him like myself.  It's so neat to see those changes in all our lives.  God is good.  This past Saturday, I was also blessed to have two of my college best friends, Lezlie and Tifni, come down for a surprise lunch date.  They are both teachers and are on spring break.  We ate and then came to the house to hang out.  We looked at old college pictures from many trips we took and from Texas Tech.  We had a lot of laughs too.  I've missed those girls, and I'm so glad that they came up to see me.  That was so sweet of them.  I think God brings people into your life at certain times for a reason.  He has been so good to me in this regards because I couldn't ask for better friends from high school days, college days, and now.  I also have amazing family that encourages me all the time too.  I couldn't ask for more.  Thank you to each of you for caring about me and my life and for wanting to be my friend.  You have truly been a blessing to my life.

So my bible reading is still going well.  I try to still do it everyday even if it just a chapter or two.  I love the Life Application Bible that I downloaded to my Nook.  I read the chapter and then the study notes that go along with that chapter.  This has really helped me understand things better.  I encourage you again to make time in your day for God and for reading and praying.  I saw a saying that really hit home yesterday.  "What if you woke up only with the things you thanked God  yesterday?".  Oh crap.  I thank God for things but not near enough.  You know I have days that I feel down and are discouraged, but then I see a lady in a restaurant about my age that is only able to use mouth or breath control device to maneuver her power wheelchair.  She is a quadriplegic.  What am I complaining about?  I'm being selfish.  I stop and thank God for the fact that I can still work, walk, exercise, roll out of my bed on my own, and pick up my 3 yr old little girl.  We all have a lot to be thankful for, but remember this quote daily because it will change the way you pray.  Remember God never gets tired of hearing us thank him for anything and everything.  He loves a thankful heart.

Update on my second cousin, Lori.  She had her mastectomy last Tuesday and seems to be doing well.  She has been hurting quite a bit and really sore, but that is just par for the course unfortunately.  She was running a little fever in last few days so please pray that she doesn't get an infection and that her recovery continues to go well.  Update on my sister, Tiffany.  You know she tested positive for the same gene as me (BRCA 2).  She had already met with Dr. Arredondo last month about doing the mastectomy surgery in June.  Then, last week she met with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Proffer, to talk about the reconstruction part.  She was worried because her insurance only goes to one plastic surgeon here is town, but she really wanted to use Dr. Proffer.  He is awesome and has been really good to me through all my cancer stuff.  The good news is that it looks like they are going to be able to work something out with out of network pay.  She was so happy and relieved about this.  Thank you God.  It looks like she may try to move the surgery up to May possibly since Dr. Arredondo is moving to Albuquerque on August 31st of this year.  She wants him to still do the mastectomy part of the surgery and then be able to see him through her 3 month follow-up.  She meets with him in a few weeks and hopefully they will collaborate with Dr. Proffer's office to come up with a date for her surgery.  I still agree with her 100% on going through with this prophylactic surgery because of her high odds of getting breast cancer.  She is smart to just remove the tissue before she gets cancer.  I don't wish this cancer stuff on anyone.  It's tough stuff.  It will test you in so many ways.  Anyway, Chris and Bren are doing well.  Chris is almost done with his EMT advanced class and then will go back to shift work.  He is ready to get back on the big, red truck again instead of being in a classroom all day.  He officially is done being a rookie firefighter now.  He passed his one year mark on March 10th.  I'm so proud of him.  Bren is busy being a princess and keeping us laughing.  She can't stand wearing anything but dresses, high heels, princess dress-up dresses, Hello Kitty stuff, and cheerleading outfits with light-up pom poms.  She is so girlie-girl just like her mom.  Just kidding but I love that about her.  She is ready to start pre-school in the fall and talks about it often.  Well, I've rambled enough tonight and am very sleepy from the chemo treatment this afternoon.  Take care and keep on serving God in anyway you can by reading his word, telling others about how he works in your life, loving your neighbor, being thankful for everything, and praying daily.  He will do things in your life that you never thought were possible, and you find so much joy at times in your life when you didn't think this could happen.  God bless and love y'all.  Shay
3/14/2012 21:14:25

You are incredible. Congrats on making it this far and keep your eye on the prize. You are almost done with this booger bear chemo stuff. You are doing awesome!! You will be back to your old self in no time. I didn't know about Tiff. Will keep her in my prayers too. Love you both!!!

3/14/2012 21:35:02

Shay--thanks for the update. 4 to go is HUGE and I so admire that you make time to remind others of God's greatness in the midst of trials. I LOVE the quote you shared about thanking Him today and those things being what you have tomorrow. VERY HUMBLING to think about that. There is a book called the Power of Praise: the prayer that changes everything. It makes me sad that there are time periods where I need REMINDING to praise God. He loves us so much and I am thankful you are IN THIS TO WIN THIS!! I am SO GLAD you had some super girl time this week. I am sorry that you didn't get to play, BUT glad you were there physically and with them in spirit. I pray you have many more of those fabulous moments. You are precious and I am so thankful for you.

3/15/2012 21:54:15

Shay, everything you type I can almost hear it coming out of your mouth. You are so encouraging and have truly put everything in Gods hands! I am so proud to be your little brother and love you so so much. Hang in there, almost done!! Love you!

8/9/2012 17:11:46

Through God all things are possible. When He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. We serve an awsome God. He will never leave us or forsake us.


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